Beyond Birthday had never had it easy, just a bit better than some others. He dealt with loss and solitude; abandonment and heartache; emotions a child shouldn’t experience. Especially at the hands of their own blood. He had always been a strong person though, even as a child. Those years still haunted him sometimes, but he had found ways to cope.
When A first arrived it only took B one moment to decide that he would overcome any of his own problems- just as long as it meant he could keep those brown eyes from overflowing with sorrow ever again. There was such pain in his face and B didn’t want to see it. He didn’t want to watch it break down and destroy the boy like it had done to so many others in his life. Alternative had survived an early run in with death more times than Beyond could count. When he finally opened up to him about what had happened, B found it hard to look at his own skeletons and feel like he had suffered at all.
The scrawny and pale six year old still had red puffy eyes from crying and there were semi-wet tears on his cheeks when he was ushered into the room by an impatient Roger. The man reminded the little child for what seemed to be the hundredth time to introduce himself with his ‘proper’ name. When the door closed, the boy’s shoulders slumped in a meek relief. He wiped his nose with his sleeve and timidly shuffled further in. It was easy enough to tell where his side was, as Beyond’s was quite a mess from an earlier experiment. So he set his bag down at the side of a bed and climbed onto it. He seemed to be producing fresh tears just sitting there.
B was a few years older and had only been at Wammy’s for a short period of time but he still remembered how alone he felt the first day. Actually, he had felt alone for quite a while after too. There were no other children there and the adults didn’t care to interact with him after classes were over with. That lead to him staying in his room most of the day, isolated. When he heard he was getting a roommate he was excited and nervous and over-joyed all at once. Finally there’d be someone else to talk to. He didn’t mind being alone sometimes, but it got boring and tiring after a while.
A had been timid, recoiled when B touched his shoulder and spent the first night crying softly with his knees to his chest, lying in the fetal position. The morning after he finally spoke without stammering or a voice crack from his worn out throat after crying so long. He was quiet and his voice felt smaller than he was; almost like it belonged to a mouse.
B had taken a moment’s pause before they left to go to class, quite literally stopping in front of A to halt him too. He turned to face his new friend and elegantly rendered off a painfully awful series of puns.
A’s laugh was pure and lovely, even when it dribbled off into a squeak as his throat and voice quit on him. It had been contagious and had B hiding snickers behind his hand. And when he took A’s with his free hand, the boy didn’t jerk away like he had the night before. He still looked tired and upset, but it was a little less and B considered it a victory.
He wished to be young again, before all the darkness of the world suffocated them both. Back when sneaking to the kitchen at ten to midnight was the boldest, most risky thing they could imagine themselves doing. At the same time, he was glad to be in this moment. He was older and stronger and he could live up to his personal promise to keep A safe.
But the problem with keeping A safe was that A didn’t want him to.
Alternative was an injured fawn surrounded by predatory animals ready to rip out his throat. Beyond knew this. So did A. He begged and pleaded with B constantly. Told him to stay out of it. He could handle it on his own. It wouldn’t last forever. He was fine.
The little fawn was also a terrible liar. At least when it came to spitting them out to the other teen. It was his eyes. They always gave him away. The bronze hues rarely showed anything but misery.
It was when he saw the sorrow that made B want to be a child again. Bad puns didn’t do the trick anymore. A would smile but it would never reach his eyes. The bright browns that Beyond had loved to look into for years were no longer the same. They were darker and colder and now anger had manifested in them alongside the sadness.
The bells chimed in the distance and relieved Beyond of his trip into the past and all the what-ifs. At least for now. He silently thanked the noise, grateful for the intrusion to his self inflicted sadness.
B closed his eyes and stifled a yawn. He hadn’t slept yet, but he knew he’d succumb to it sooner or later. For now he was just content to hear the soft inhales and exhales coming from Alternative; now curled up with his head on B’s lap, sleeping soundly.
Some time in the night A had crossed the room and crawled into his bed. B didn’t exactly recall what he’d said, but he never refused A’s pleas so it didn’t really matter. He had laid his head on Beyond’s lap and there he fell asleep; with B’s fingers combing through his silky black strands. It was sometimes the only thing that put the prodigy to sleep. An intimate exchange between the two boys that, for a while, could make the bad things go away. Something that they shared only with each other. He preferred it that way, as long as this was theirs no one could dirty or pervert it.
He began to grow tired as he played with A’s hair. Tonight he didn’t need to worry about touching a bruise on his near perfect porcelain skin. They had had the past three days off. Being the top two students, A and B were well ahead of most of their peers and the teachers were running out of materials to give them to prevent boredom. Roger finally had given in and told them to take until Monday off so the teachers had time to collect more work for them. A had almost seemed devastated but B was more than happy to not go to class.
Without A having to leave and the two being separated in different classes, A had gotten through each twenty-four hour day without a single physical attack made on him. The old bruises had nearly faded away and no fresh ones were there to mar his looks.
And with the relentless rain pouring two days straight, the two teens had finally gotten to spend more time with one another.
B was hopeful he could talk A into asking him for help. He was ready to give it at a moment’s notice. Ready to stop those bruises from ever gracing his skin again.
He slouched a little and let his head sink into his pillows. His hand left A’s hair to take one of his hands instead and the gentle squeeze in response only served to make his heart lurch. Sleep took that moment of weakness to lull him further into its clutches. He was asleep before the bells rang three chimes.
Outside it continued to rain for the third night.