Zeke does not really WANT to be in a graduation team that Rebecca isn’t, as graduation day approaches, but he isn’t quite capable of rearranging alliances on a whim and there were probably lots of good reasons for partnering up separately, or something.
The school gives him a spell that makes him a quarter of a percent faster, every time he casts it, and takes several days to wear off; he spends a few days casting it hundreds of times, on himself and the rest of his alliance, and he WANTS to cast it on Rebecca but it’d just put her out of sync with the rest of her team, probably.
All four of his teammates are indies; they politely pretend that he’s in the center of their formation because he’s the tallest, and not for the obvious reason. One of them knows a brief timespear, enough to pause time for a few seconds, and she casts it over and over again until a stray claw rips her entire torso open and her everything spills out and her corpse starts bubbling into - what the fuck - Zeke doesn’t need to know what’s happening with her corpse he just has to keep going. Another one of his teammates works with explosions; that one spends a little too long staring at a hypnotic ripple in the air, and then he miscasts and blows himself up and everything is covered in blood and there’s blood in Zeke’s hair and in his eyes and in his mouth and his clothes are covered in things he doesn’t need to think about and he still needs to keep going.
His remaining team reaches the graduation gate; he’s back in New York and he’s throwing up and his parents are crying and he’s crying but he’s alive, probably, maybe, and none of the blood on him is even his. The world is distant and bright and everything still has sharp edges from all the stimulants, and he eventually drifts away to a bathroom, and the shower is a lot smaller than he thought it would be and he sits down in it with his clothes still on and he vibrates so much that he’s afraid that he’s going to explode too and he does not WANT to explode.
And then he dismisses the hundreds of zoomy spells that he’d spent hours and hours stacking, one by one, and takes off his clothes, and gets back in the shower, and empties an entire bottle of shampoo onto his head, and scrubs at everything until he feels very slightly more clean, and puts on a towel, and leaves the bathroom.
He checks his - he resets his forgotten email password, first, and then he checks his email.