To you he is a savior. He’s the erratic beating of a heart as his stress level skyrockets for the tenth time this day. He’s a hero, but he doesn’t even realize it. To you, he’s everything that you need. From childhood, you knew that this guy (your best friend, you call him much to his dismay) was going to be probably the most pivotal figure in your miserable life. He’s insecure, and with good reason. He’s different, but you don’t seem to care so much. He knows that what he’s been cursed with from birth is an affliction that he can never redeem himself for. Caste structure makes him a pariah, without his consent. In his mind, he’s cursed (and he makes it known that he thinks so) but to you, he’s a miracle. A magical little miracle that life has blessed you with, for you to take care of, just as much as he is there to take care of you and your sorry ass.
You watch him from the corner of your eyes as he gets up from his computer, kicking the chair in and stomps off, with the frustration of a thousand furious suns. Someone has given him some sass through his most recent conversation on the internet, and he’s essentially performing his “I’m so done with everything.” gait as he saunters off to busy himself with pestering some of your other friends. He might not show it often, but he genuinely cares about you and the other ten of your friends all trapped here. Living on a meteor bobbing through space with the same group of people for eternity can wear anyone out. Thankfully, he’s an amazing leader, and he’s been doing his best to make sure everyone is happy. He’s got a harsh exterior, accompanied by the appearance of someone who’s too focused on helping others to care about his personal appearance. His eyes are saggy, showing exhaustion from a lack of a good nights sleep (he’s vowed not to sleep much) and his lips are semi-permanently shaped into a consistent scowl, his teeth of a slight overbite sticking out over his bottom lip. He slouches when he walks, sits, even when he lays down—he’s never comfortable, even when he’s trying to be—and when he does manage to sleep, it’s poorly so his hair is a constant mess of birds nests long since past.
He’s arguing with this girl who likes him, he’s been having conflicting feelings for her for the longest time. She teases him about everything, about what makes him different, so he can’t tell exactly how he feels for her. Maybe he has a crush on her, maybe he’d rather see her dead. You’re not sure how it is, and you realize that neither does he. She leans towards him, licking his cheek and giggling causing him to pull his sleeve up over his hand and wipe her saliva away in disgust before strolling over to one of the more tolerable kids aboard the craft. Your best friend is a ladies man, even despite his grumpy exterior and bitter attitude. The other girl he’s talking to is a bubbly little thing with an adoration for cats—and your best friend. She does nothing but smile when he’s around, and you even see your friends rough side soften a little bit, in an attempt to be nicer to her while still maintaining his take-no-prisoners attitude. You catch the faintest of a little smile from him as the other girl says something sweet to him. He rarely smiles so when he does, it’s a little miracle within a miracle. He moves on to another one of your friends—okay, you don’t actually consider him much of a friend, he’s got a bit of an ego—and the smile that had very briefly graced your friends lips has been replaced with a mouth open wide with frustration. The boy he’s talking to now is…rich to say the least. He dresses the part, acts the part and then pulls the “no one cares about me” card on anyone who will listen. Your best friend is trying to tell him to put that stupid idea out of his head, because plenty of you here care about him. Even if he’s not your friend, you still care. Your best friend might be yelling, asserting himself, despite what makes him inherently freakish, but he’s doing so out of love. He doesn’t want any of you to be unhappy.
He comes over to you, and you make your happiness to see him, apparent as he actually sits down next to you instead. He asks how your miserably annoying, drug-infected brain is doing, and you can only laugh. Sure, the words might sound rude, but it’s his way of asking “hey are you hanging in there?” You reassure him that you’re doing just fine, and you’re doing even better now that he’s here to help you out. He groans, the sound of your affectionate banter irritating him, mainly due to fear.
He doesn’t show it often, but part of his attitude is because he’s terrified. He knows he’s a freak, a mutant among the living. He cares deeply for those around him, because he doesn’t want them to be hurt, but he’s angry with them, because he’s scared that they will get too close to him. If they discover his secret, if they discover what makes him different, or if he dies, they’ll be hurt. And that’s the last thing he wants.
You ask him how he is doing instead. He looks taken aback, his lips pulling into a grimace and his arms raising up over his chest, crossing themselves defensively. He’s not expecting someone to care about him. Actually, no, he does expect it. But he’s doing his best to destroy any positive feelings anyone might have for him out of fear. The same fear that he believes is very real. But you don’t plan on abandoning your platonic feelings for him. His expressions softens, much like it does with the feline-fanatical girl on the other side of the room. He says he’s tired, and you aren’t surprised. He then adds that he’s doing better than most days, but all he wants to do is sleep.
You suggest to him that he take a nap in the pile of randomly-collected knick-knacks that you’ve built for the sole purpose of naps. Wearily, he shakes his head, insisting that if he sleeps, he’s sure something will go wrong, and he’ll be at fault because he wasn’t there to prevent it. It’s this defeatist attitude he has, that he’s responsible for everyone that makes him a hero in your eyes. You insist he take himself a short nap, and you’ll keep an eye on everything, make sure nothing goes wrong. If something does, you’ll wake him up.
He grumbles, arms shuffling against his chest as he glances away. You can see that he’s conflicted, and he’d rather not be stuck letting his guard down, but he can tell that you’re being sincere. You say ‘Get some rest, best friend.’ And he grimaces because you’ve used those words again. He hates being called a best friend. But you call him that anyways.
Mostly because deep down, he thinks the same of you.