Title: Staying Buried
Warnings: serious AU, probable OOC, angsty/depressing, language... lots of language, yaoi later on
Notes: I swear to all who come across this that it is indeed a GW fic... it may not seem that way at first, but trust me it is. So if you continue reading and find the g-boys somewhere, thanks a bunch for sticking with it!
Feedback: yes... yes!... YES!!
I hold onto her a second longer, but at her look of irritation I let
go. As we continue to walk, I stay beside her, which seems to annoy her
further. I get a flash of inspiration: I know now where we should go.
Another caring spark, "Where I'm taking you, it's pretty far on foot. Do you want to drive there instead?"
"Fine. But I'm driving." If I didn't think it would make her hate me more, I would have chuckled. She knows better than Pauline to allow me the keys to any car.
We head back to the hospital. As expected, Alexis wants to find my aunt and tell her that we're leaving. I'm not one to order people around, so I let her do as she will. In the meantime, I begin a search for cigarettes. I dash across the street and into a convenience store. The clerk doesn't even look up from his magazine as I enter, reminding me of the waitress. I suppose it's a common attitude for people working dead-end jobs in a dying town.
"Pack of Camels," I say to him, interrupting what I assume is a very interesting article by the almost-glare I receive.
"What kind?" he replies, not too kindly.
"Surprise me." I feel like biting back today.
He tosses down one at random, not even looking at it. I throw a five on the counter, grab the pack and leave. I step outside to light up and notice Alexis glaring at me from beside her car.
"I thought you said you were going to quit," she says angrily at my approach.
"I never said that. You told me that I should quit and I never replied," I correct and take a nice long drag. This only makes her angrier.
"Get in the fucking car," she mutters loud enough for me to hear. She always swears when she's angry, as if to emphasize her words more. I comply silently, knowing that she needs to calm down before she'll listen to what I need to say.
"Turn left out of the parking lot and head down that road for awhile," I inform her as she turns the ignition. She makes no signal that she's heard me but follows my directions anyway. The silence in the car is choking. Alexis is grabbing the steering wheel tightly, looking like she wants to rip it from the dashboard, and then proceed to beat me with it. I won't deprive her of the chance to be angry with me.
Only half of my attention is focused on directing her to our destination. The other half is still thinking. I look blankly out the windshield and finally notice where we are. These woods are about a mile from my uncle's house. The dirt road looks untended, as though no cars have come this way in months. Alexis looks suspicious. It occurs to me that this is a perfect spot to get rid of someone. I start laughing again. Now, she looks scared.
"I'm not going to kill you, Alexis. I just want to show you something," I say between chuckles. She looks very much unconvinced. I shake my head. "Besides, if I were really going to do it, I'd think up something more creative."
"Fuck you," is all she replies with.
I open the car door and step out into the cold. A slight breeze carries along the few dead leaves left over from autumn. Alexis watches me warily across the roof of the car. I ignore her paranoia and begin walking deeper into the forest.
"Now where are you going?"
"I said I had to show you something," I reply. She doesn't move. "Oh come on, stop acting like an idiot." That gets her going again. She slams the door shut and gives me the finger.
"Much better," I murmur and continue walking. She follows but at a distance.
I turn off the grassy road onto a similarly unused footpath. Even though seven years have passed, I still know the way by heart. The area is smothered with a deadly quiet, interrupted only by our progress through the undergrowth and Alexis's muttered curses. A quick shiver runs down my spine, not from the fact that my hands are nearly frozen through but there's something about returning here. This place is just as full of memories for me as my uncle's house, except these are remembrances that I want to revel in, not escape. They fly away on the breeze with the leaves, only to return, swirling up and away to the bare tree tops. I'm feeling more alive than I have in years. I turn to Alexis, who's still fuming.
"There's a clearing up ahead. You'll know it when you come to it. There's a giant stump right in the middle. I'll be there," I say and take off running. The biting wind fills my lungs and whips past my face as I sprint between the trees. I close my eyes briefly and once again I'm chasing a laughing figure and running away from the world. My eyes open again and I can see the clearing through a gap in the trunks. At the edge, both my legs and my heart stop. The laughing figure is there, in the middle of the clearing, dangling its feet off the stump without a care in the world.
As soon as I reach out, the apparition disappears and my heart starts pounding again. Oh, the pain, it fills me until I think I'll explode in little bloody chunks. I never wanted to feel this emotion again, or any for that matter, but here I am with a gaping wound in my heart so fresh that I'd be the next prey for vultures.
"Thank you ever so much for leaving me back there," Alexis mutters sarcastically. The vulture just found me.
I sink to my knees, clutching my chest, trying to breath. I never expected this to happen. I thought I kept this all bottled up, neatly separated from myself, but never far enough to take it away. For the first time in my life, I wish I could cry. I've only cried twice, once when I was six and the last time was seven years ago. I desperately need some way to relieve myself of these emotions and crying seems like the expected reaction, only I can't.
"What's the matter with you?" Alexis snaps, then starts to get worried. "Hey babe, are you okay?" She crouches down near me and tentatively touches my shoulder. Damn it, I don't want her sympathy no matter how much I need it. I throw off her hand and jerk to a standing position. I will show weakness to no one, especially her.
"I'm fine," I reply stonily.
"You are such an ungrateful prick." She's itching for a fight again, but I won't let her do it here. I won't let this place be fouled in my mind by anything.
"Alexis, stop. Please." The kindness in my words shocks her as much as it makes me feel hypocritical. Silence reigns for a few tense moments.
"I just don't know what's happening with you, with us " She sounds almost deflated by her admission. "I know that the relationship is over, but I don't know what's going on. Why are you doing this, dragging me out here?" I look over at her, sizing up her current emotional state. It's time.
"If you'll let me, I'll explain." She nods and I hesitate for a second. "Back at the diner I decided that you should finally know about my childhood." Her jaw drops.
"But-but why all those times when I would ask you before you always refused to say anything? You would just yell 'my past doesn't matter!'" She's not angry anymore, just almost hurt and very curious.
"Because, Alexis, it's painful for me. I thought I should tell you so you could finally understand the reasons why I'm such a, what was it? An 'ungrateful prick'?" The corner of her mouth quirks but she manages to control the rest of her smile.
"Why now?" she asks, returning the seriousness to the conversation.
"We're at ground zero. That's partially why." She looks around the clearing skeptically.
"You'll understand later."
"So what happens now? And what do you mean 'partially why'?" Her limitless question are starting to drain on my nerves.
"Now, I'm going to sit on that stump over there and start talking. And I meant that there are a shit load of reasons for my sudden urge to talk about a subject that I really don't want to talk about." I give her a long look, trying to convey as much meaning as I can right now. She looks at me in return, questioning silently. I notice for the first time ever how peaceful she looks in the face of such idiocy. But it's too late for such sentiments.
Alexis moves her hazel gaze from mine, regards the stump and waits as though she's expecting it to come to her. With one more skeptical glance in my direction she marches over to the rotting wood and plops down onto it, and immediately shoots back onto her feet.
"Shit that's cold!" she yelps.
"I should have anticipated that." Her look reads 'no shit'.
"I hope you can talk as easily in the car as you can outside, because that's where I'm going," she states and brushes past me, back in the direction of the road. I take one last lingering look at the clearing and follow her.
As the hot blasts of air from the car heater work to warm the space, I try to work some feeling back into my hands. The silence is less deafening but no where close to being companionable.
"Alright, start talking." She's as impatient as ever, I see. I don't hesitate and delve into my world of pain.
"I was four when my father died in a car accident. I can barely remember him, just fleeting images, but I was left with the impression that he was a thoughtful man, always laughing and so likeable that he could charm anyone. When he died, everything stopped. My mother had little means to support us, so we moved in with her sister, my aunt Pauline, and her husband. Before my father died, my mom was so gentle and loving, but after moving to my uncle's house she changed. She would sit for hours at a time, just staring blankly at the wall, not responding to anything and leaving me to the care of my aunt and uncle. She had a few moments of clarity and those times were the happiest during my childhood. She was gentle and loving again and remembered that I was alive.
"She died when I was six, not because of illness or injury, she just finally gave up on living. There was no doubt in my mind that it was my uncle's fault. Even after my father died, when she was so grief-stricken, she still cared about me. It was moving into his house that killed her. He sucked all the life out of her and Pauline was too stupid to notice. She died and I was left alone, crying my eyes out until my uncle came and hit me until I stopped.
"Growing up in that house was truly hell on earth. Oppressing falls short in describing how controlling my uncle was. He hated me because I had been left in his care. I was a drain on his resources and his precious time. He ignored me most of the time except when it suited his purpose and ordered my aunt to the be one to deal with me. She tried to be kind but was so wedged under his thumb that she didn't dare cross him.
"So you can imagine how such an environment could affect a growing child, and I was no exception. I never laughed or smiled. I barely even talked. I hid away all my emotions because my uncle could use them against me. I had no friends because I was never allowed to go anywhere except school. Even in school the other kids tended to stay away from me, as if I had an infectious disease. I wasn't normal in their eyes. A normal kid talked to people instead of sitting quietly. A normal kid had cuts and bruises from playing tag and soccer. A fucking normal kid wasn't two grades smarter than everyone else because he had no other company than a collection of books."
I stop talking as soon as I realize I'm almost shouting. I feel like I'll start trembling if I don't pull myself together. I close my eyes and feel a tentative hand touch my shoulder. I shake my head and open the car door, breaking the contact with Alexis. Once outside I light up another cigarette, only to regret leaving the car. It's fucking cold out here. I don't like being affected by the cold again.
I sit on the hood of the car for warmth and watch the smoke drift from the embers of my Camel. Alexis has stayed inside, most likely because she wants to stay warm, but I kid myself into thinking that she's giving me a bit of space for once.
I notice after the fact that I'm smoking the filter. I'm more distracted than I thought. With a flick, the butt goes flying and I hop off the car to rejoin Alexis. I could feel her eyes on my back while outside, now they're focused on my face. I don't dare look at her, I don't want to see whatever pitying look she's giving. Damn sympathy smiles.
"That's how my life went through most of school," I continue, talking more to myself than Alexis. "Then near the beginning of eleventh grade, the only other high school in town was demolished in a fire. The students from that school were all transferred into mine. It was hard because the place was just packed, but at the same time a blessing because none of these people knew me. I was an outcast in the group that I'd been going to school with since kindergarten, but these people didn't know our superficial high school hierarchy. I could make a fresh start and, against all odds, maybe even a friend.
"It was a few weeks after the new students had integrated, but the system was still a mess. People were still being shifted from class to class in an attempt to even out numbers. Then one day in my English class, we received one last new student, someone who would change my life forever. His name was Duo Maxwell."