To recap the last few weeks of Drew’s life: he’d gone to the medic because he thought he might have a food allergy, but he didn’t. Then Medic Rock wanted to test him for mono (which Drew thought was a little rude and also unlikely because wouldn’t Remy be sick then too?) and immune disorders, and that was when Drew started to feel like he needed his dads in the room. And then after some more tests and more adults involved, Medic Rock and Rob and Professor McCloud all agreed that what was actually going on was that Drew was being poisoned.
Which sounded insane, but as soon as they said it, Drew’s mind immediately went to one person. And Dad and Aaron also both immediately suggested the staff interview Darlene about what was happening.
Actually, that was an understatement. They’d both immediately demanded the staff interrogate Darlene about the poisoning. Drew didn’t think he’d ever seen his dad so angry. He’d never seen Aaron so angry either, even when Drew had punched Connor. And it turned out they were right—the staff found the poison in Darlene and Kit’s room, and Darlene confessed, and that was that. And Drew was left… confused? Betrayed? Scared? Bewildered? Mad? All of the above and some other things too?
After that a lot of things happened really quickly. Medic Rock gave him a bezoar and he felt better instantly, which meant that it really had been poison. Dad wanted to press charges but Drew just wanted this whole thing to be over, and Aaron had kind of talked Dad down to getting Darlene expelled, which hadn’t worked out either. So now there was some kind of restraining order situation and Darlene wasn’t coming to their shared classes anymore and that helped, because Drew didn’t want to talk to her, preferably ever again.
It was supposed to be private, so of course pretty much everyone had heard some version of the events: Darlene had poisoned Drew, the Knights had stopped Dad from expelling her, and now she wasn’t in classes or living in Lyra anymore. Drew really couldn’t be bothered to correct any of it. Obviously he’d told Remy everything as soon as it happened, and he’d talked to some of his other friends a little. Drew wasn’t answering anyone else’s questions. He’d agreed to let Eugene Hardie interview him for Rocky Voices, and Eugene had come back with a piece that contained a few quotes and a lot of theories about ghosts.
Drew hadn’t run it. He hadn’t published anything about what happened. It was weird. This was the biggest story to happen in RMI in a long time—way bigger than a pop star transferring in, which they’d run a cover story about a few years ago. Journalistic integrity said Drew should cover it, or at least let someone else cover it. He was the editor. He was supposed to report the news.
But this was his life. He didn’t know how to report on that.
He was just supposed to keep doing things, he guessed. So he found himself at a winter festival in May (not weirder than anything else that had happened this year), staring at the food table.
The poison hadn’t been in any of his food or drink. They’d traced it back to Drew’s bookbag—the next day, Dad had gotten him a new one and Aaron had put approximately two dozen protective charms on it—which meant he’d just been poisoned by touching it. It made him want to wear his ethically-sourced dragonhide gloves all the time, but he wasn’t the King of Pop and couldn’t pull that off, so he was trying to ignore that constant low-grade worry.
And yet. He couldn’t help thinking of that first year saying there were fifteen ways to poison someone with common ingredients. Drew couldn’t bring himself to take anything off the table even though gingerbread was his favorite. He was so up in his head about it that he jumped when someone came up to him. “Oh, am I blocking you?” he asked, stepping out of the way. “Sorry. I just can’t…” He gestured vaguely at the table as though that would explain it. “Anyway. Go ahead.”