vertebrae press
Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

Teen And Up Audiences
Archive Warning:
Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
The Breakfast Club (1985)
John Bender/Andrew Clark
Andrew Clark (Breakfast Club), John Bender
Additional Tags:
Not Canon Compliant, Post-Canon, Whumptober 2023, Whump, Hurt/Comfort, 1980s, eighties typical attitudes, Mutual Pining, pathetic himbos pining, Broken Bones, Fist Fights, Blood and Injury
Part 6 of whumptober 2023
Whumptober 2023
Published: 2023-10-06 Words: 1,064 Chapters: 1/1

vertebrae press


“You sure they aren’t broken?”

“What, you suddenly know how to diagnose broken ribs?”


Day 6: Recording | Made to watch | "It should have been me."

vertebrae press

“It should have been me, Clark.”

It’s a new development. Bender not calling Andrew Sporto. (And all of the other things that came between, but mainly this.) It came seemingly out of nowhere, Bender cycling up to Andrew after school one day on his bike, slapping his shoulder and going “Watch out, Clark!”

Something small, but something that made Andrew’s stomach flutter violently, lips stretch in a big grin. All subconsciously. His heart beats wildly every time, like after a big wrestling win, or when he manages to make his dad proud. Made him feel like he could just float off the face of earth and rise into the sky, climb onto Mount Everest without any previous preparation, become a fucking saint in a split second. Sun shining, birds singing, all that shit.

Bender is dabbing at Andrew’s split lower lip with a wet toilet paper ball. His eyebrows are drawn together, dark and serious and focused, and he looks strangely handsome – like the guys from teen magazines Claire has shown him at their latest outing together and pointed out which looked good. Defined jaw, dark hair, dark eyes, look like they would be accused by your elderly neighbor of killing a cat.

“You shouldn’t have taken that beating for me.” He says. His voice is low, and a pleasant tingle runs down Andrew’s spine, like walking into a hot shower after a tough match.

“I wanted to.” The words spill out like guts. Before Andrew can notice.

Bender stops dabbing, leans back slightly with a curious glint in his eyes, and only then Andrew realizes the weight of his words and goes lightheaded in the speed of light, fuck, if Bender tries to dig deeper he might actually try to jump out of the window, fuck, fuck, say something Bender, or nothing at all, fuck—

He laughs.

“What the fuck? What are you, Clark, a masochist?”

Andrew chuckles too, nervousness melting out of his system. Bender’s laugh is like a cool cloth on a sunburn, ice cream on July 4th, putting your hands on a heater after playing in snow. Nice and slow. Like it’s just them two in the world. Bender is okay with this. Another accidental push of boundaries, and he’s okay with this. Andrew might float away.

And then he hisses loudly. His ribs are fucking sore, and the movement of his diaphragm only makes them ache more. He tries to catch a full breath and everything in his body seizes painfully, as if screaming in process, and a sharp bolt freezes his brain for a good second before he comes back to full awareness.


“My ribs.” He manages to force out, even though words are in the category he would call ‘ finding a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow–impossible’. The world seems to spin on a wild theme park ride, and he can’t hold on and is about to lean over and puke. Lights flash before his eyes. “They’re a little sore.”

Bender’s eyebrows draw together, like a dark curtain over his eyes. The bright walls of the school bathroom bounce in Andrew’s eyes.

“Yeah, more than a little sore.” All of a sudden, he presses a hand to Andrew’s stomach and Andrew yelps, trying to jerk away, but his mind and limbs are two separate entities and will not cooperate. Cold, freezing pain sprints through Andrew’s entire body, shaking and ravaging it. His ears ring violently, and puke comes up to his throat. He tries to turn to his side, thrashing against Bender’s sudden grip on his sweater.

Andrew dry–heaves and gags against nothing, fighting off a new wave of nausea coming from the violent assault on his guts, ribs, lungs, everything and his windpipe swelling. Bender is ominously silent, holding Andrew by the shoulders from behind.

“You sure they aren’t broken?”

“What, you suddenly know how to diagnose broken ribs?”

“I know broken ribs are no fucking joke, Clark.” Bender gruffs out. Andrew has enough of a brain left to not ask how he knows that. His last two brain cells presume it would be an invasion of privacy. Or Bender would kill him after telling, to protect his secrets. “How much did they kick?”

“Uh,” Andrew tries to squeeze his eyes closed, remember the moments the beating came. There was something on every side, on every turn, no matter how much he tried to fight back it just came and came until they were. “I’m not sure.”

“Fucking moron.” Bender swears under his breath. “Always thinking he’s all that shit. Stupid sport guys, so sure that you can take on guys from bad places. All that posh and boxing teams won’t do shit if you don’t have actual experience in fighting without rules and a referee. You’re only shitty in fighting, hear me? ”

“Yeah.” Andrew manages to get out before another bolt of pain strikes through his chest. He makes it very known with a groan of pain that makes Bender’s head snap towards him. His vision swims. Like the time where his parents took him on a cruise ship along the Gulf of California when he was in elementary school, and he spent most of it throwing his guts up in their room.

“Don’t move.” Bender booms at him. His brain shakes in its skull, rattling painfully, and he must’ve made some kind of noise or movement indicating pain, because Bender’s next words are spoken much softer. And quiet. Nicer. “I’m going to call Claire, she’s taking her dad’s car. If she doesn’t pick up, I’m beating the shit out of her. And calling Brian. Or maybe first call him, then beat Claire. What do you think, Clark?”

“Don’t break her ribs at least.” Andrew forces out. A dry laugh follows, and only after a quiet moment Andrew realizes that it’s his own laugh, and Bender is looking at him, rather fucking concerned from the door. His eyes are fucking foggy and blurry, but he can clearly make out that weird look in his eyes. Something far away, uncatchable like a butterfly.

“Jesus, Andrew.”

Andrew wonders if Bender did that subconsciously. If he thought that Andrew wouldn’t remember what he called him when he got better. What he was doing now, running down the school corridor to the phone booth, change bouncing against each other in pockets.

And then he doesn’t.


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