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Good Kid

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Jeremy had always been someone who needed love and support in his life. As a child he supposed getting that love and support was never really a problem, though the more he looked back on his childhood, the more he thought about his early life and his mother, which also came the memories of his childhood he had repressed. Jeremy thought he had all his memories, all of them were usually when he was hanging out with Michael, making himself cheese sandwiches with his dad, but he could hardly remember his mother in his early stages of life until this night. Usually his head was loud, filled with voices, it used to be quiet, the voices were nothing but whispers until the Squip had come and used Jeremy's inner voices to do what he wanted. His head was particularly loud tonight, he had a killer headache from thinking so much, and also from crying so hard. The memories of his mother flooded in his mind, images of her yelling at him, the voices just yelling at him. He couldn't decipher which voice was his anymore.

Needless to say, about after an hour of suffering and crying, he had decided to text Michael. For some reason, Michael forgave him for everything Jeremy did. They took time rebuilding their relationship months ago, and after countless times of Jeremy apologizing and Michael saying he had forgave him, he finally got to the point where he didn't need to apologize anymore, which was about a month ago. They were even dating now, which had blissfully surprised Jeremy when they begun to. Things were awkward for them for about a week before that started to feel normal too. Jeremy had been so awful to Michael in the past, to so many people, he had been just like her, he now realizes. He apologized to his new friends countless times for his behavior as well. 

Still sobbing, although a bit quieter now, he was curled up in the corner of his bed, hugging his knees to his chest and his head buried. He almost didn't notice the sound of his door being opened, he almost didn't hear Michael's quiet footsteps as he cried. Though he looked up, tears streaming down his cheeks. Michael was dimly lit in the bit of light his lamp was giving off, but he looked as the same as he always did. He wore his red hoodie, but instead of some old jeans, was in his pajama pants. Jeremy couldn't help but notice that Michael's usual smile was replaced by a look of concern and sadness mixed together. He looked broken, and it was all of Jeremy's fault. 

"I-I'm so-sorry." Jeremy choked out, sloppily wiping his hand across his cheeks. He shouldn't be crying so hard. A lesson Jeremy had forgotten, the first lesson Jeremy's mother had taught him was that crying was for the weak.

He could now clearly remember his mother cleaning up a scrape when he was no older than five. He was crying because of the scrape on his leg, as well as the seemingly harsh sting of the medicine.

"Jeremiah, you know better than to cry. Don't you know only weak little boys and girls cry, Jeremiah? Are you a girl or a weak little boy?" His mother asked him. Jeremy wiped his cheeks, sniffling.

"I-I'm so-sorry, it just hurts so badly." Jeremy replied, his voice shaking.

"What hurts? What happened?" Michael had asked, snapping Jeremy out of the flashback before it got worse.

"W-what?" Jeremy asked him, confused as Michael sat beside him, hugging Jeremy close to him. On instinct, Jeremy cuddled up to Michael, crying into the familiar fabric of his hoodie.

"You were mumbling, and then you said that something hurt." Michael explained. It clicked in Jeremy's mind that he had been reciting what he had responded to his mother. "You don't need to tell me if you don't want to. If you aren't ready yet, you can tell me when you are ready. And if you're never ready to talk about it, then you don't need to talk about it ever." Michael said after a few moments of silence.

Jeremy shook his head, wrapping his arms around Michael, and feeling Michael wrap his arms around him in turn. "I-I w-want to ta-talk about it, wi-with you more than anyone." Jeremy told him. If anything, Michael already knew about what his mother had done. Maybe he did, and maybe he didn't. He tried to take deep breaths, realizing he had been stumbling and stuttering his words.

"Again with the stutter, Jeremiah." His mother said, standing up from where she was previously sitting. She stood in front of him, towering over him now, although the more he grew the shorter she became, although it didn't mean that he was any less terrified of her, even while short in stature. 

"I kno-ow mom, I'm s-sorry mom." Jeremy said. His mother sighed at his apology.

"Come along, Jeremiah, I need to find you another band aid. Unless you've gotten hurt so many times we've ran out. Every one of the things that run out come back right to you." His mother told him, leading him to the bathroom and leaving Jeremy to cry even more now that she had left.

"I-I-I'm stumbling and st-stuttering." Jeremy laughed bitterly through his tears. He only remembered his mother being strict with him, never yelling or hurting him. Or at least, he always thought that qas ahat happened. Now, he wasn't sure, be he knew she probably never meant to do either of those things. "She a-always told me, stut-t-tering and stu-stumbli-ing isn't manly, i-it isn't something I sh-should be doing. Tha-that I'm a f-fucking wreck." Jeremy sniffled. "Mm-my problems aren't fu-fuckking happening an-anymore and I'm still fucking not over it." Jeremy sniffled.

"Jeremiah, did you knock over my vase onto my cat?" His mother's stern voice had asked. He was nine when he broke his mother's new vase, she had bought it for a bunch of money that could have been used for more important things. They always seemed to be having money problems, sometimes because his mother bought pointless things and other times because Jeremy had wanted a new toy and his father could never say no to him.

"I-I'm sor-" Jeremy had begun, fear clear on his face.

"Stuttering and stumbling Jeremiah! Speak like a person! It's a yes or no question, did you or did you not break another one of my things?" His mother snapped. Jeremy winced at her yelling, feeling as though he was shrinking back into himself, or at least, he wanted to. Jeremy wished he had a time machine that would take him back before the moment he had swung his backpack over him and had broken the vase, it falling onto one of his mother's favorite animals. It always seemed like his mother paid more attention to their cats than to Jeremy, but Jeremy never held it against the cats. Rather, he pinned it onto himself. If he was a better son, maybe his mother would love him. If he wasn't so reckless and disappointing, his mother would love him at least the same she loved the cat.

God, why couldn't she just love him?

Jeremy nodded slowly. "Yes, I did. But I'll clean it up! And I'll-I'll skip going to Michael's house so I can take care of Oreo, I'll feed him, I'll make sure his litter box is empty, I'll-"

"I don't want to hear it Jeremiah!" His mother snapped, putting a bony hand on her face, pinching the bridge of her nose. "You always are the root of every problem, aren't you Jeremiah?" His mother mumbled. It had seemed that she thought he didn't hear it, however he did, and he hung his head down, not letting her see his tears as he walked out of his house that morning and onto the bus.

"I guess she was right, I-I am the root of everyone's problems." Jeremy mumbled. He felt his face be shifted, and suddenly he was looking up at Michael. Michael looked sad, but his eyes weren't filled with pity, more so anger. The same anger that filled his mother's eyes. Jeremy felt more tears weld up into his eyes, this was it. The moment that their relationship ended. Michael hated Jeremy, and who wouldn't? He wasn't as good as their other friends, and besides Michael could do so much better. He could do so much better than Jeremy, Jeremy hardly deserved Michael, and Michael deserved someone better than Jeremy. It was inevitable, after all. Everyone left him eventually, and he had already left Michael once, so why wouldn't he suffer the same fate? He looked at Michael as he spoke, but didn't listen to his words. He knew that he was ending things with him, he knew it, he didn't want to hear the words of how pathetic he was from the person Jeremy care about most.

"Hey, are you even listening to me?" Michael asked.

"Jeremiah, are you even listening to me? You need to make dinner!" Jeremy's mother snapped. She was at least six glasses of wine in, and it was only six o'clock. He was much older now, being fourteen. He had lost count after six glasses, though she just kept pouring them, and his eyes were fixated on the way her hair looked. Her hair was like his, brown, messy, but usually her hair was more neat. However, she looked as of she had completely let go. He wondered why she drank so much. He knew that she fought with his dad a lot more than usual parents. He knew that their family was worse than most families, according to her. Snapping out of his deep thought, Jeremy just nodded, standing up and going to the freezer and-

Crap.

He and Michael had eaten the last of the burgers and fries for dinner the other night whem they were left alone, and they had nothing else to cook. Jeremy closed the freezer, and looked in the fridge frantically. He turned back to his mother, trying not to seem overly confident or seem afraid, even though he was always terrified of the shorter member of the Heere family. "I don't think there's anything that I can make, Michael and I ate the last of the burgers and fries." Jeremy explained quickly, his eyes widened with fear. It was so much worse that she was drunk, the last time he was drunk he had gotten a nasty bruise on his side, but it was only one time and had never happened again.

She stood angrily, wine glass in hand, throwing it at Jeremy's bare feet. He was lucky only one piece had gotten into the top of his foot. He winced a bit at the mark, staring at her as she yelled at him again, though he didn't listen to her, and made a plan on how to avoid the glass as he stood surrounded by it.

"Jeremy, hey, are you still there? You're mumbling again." Michael said.

Jeremy cried harder, though didn't seek comfort in Michael and turned away from him. "I get it! You never want to se-ee me again, you never want to talk to me e-ever again! You-you want to avoid me in the hallways becau-because you ha-hate me!" Jeremy sobbed into his hands.

Michael hugged Jeremy close to his chest, and Jeremy could hear how fast his heart was beating, and he could feel him shake his head. "No, I never said anyrhing like that! I would never, ever say that to you Jer-bear." Michael assured him, running his hands through Jeremy's probably tangled hair. "Your mother has never been kind to you. You've never seen it and every time she's been brought of you've spoken highly of her. But she was not only a bad person, Jer, she was wrong. She was wrong about you." Michael told him.

"No, she-she knew everything, sh-she said that-" Jeremy begun defending her. 

Michael shook his head. "No, she doesn't know everything. Not about you. The only person who knows everything about you is yourself." Michael told him. 

Jermy shook his head. "No, she taught me so many things, she was just strict-" Jeremy tried again.

"She abused you Jer. She manipulated you and hurt you emotionally and physically, she always made you feel like the awful person." Michael said softly.

"I can't fucking believe this family, Denise. Jeremiah has never been worse, he makes me feel like I don't matter to him, he's always off with that Michael character. I don't know if I can stay here anymore." Jeremy's mother had been talking on the phone with his Aunt Denise, and he had just gotten home. He didn't mean to eavesdrop, but he heard her say his name, amd thiught she was talking about how proud ahe way that he's gotten straight A's through his first two years of high school. After he heard, he went up to his room, wondering if what she said was true, wondering if he really was hurting his mother. Maybe he was the abusive one.

"You don't know what went on, I hurt her, I was the one who hurt her Michael." Jeremy shook his head, feeling more tears coming on.

"Jer, do you remember the first time you slept over at my house?" Michael asked, brushing a bit of hair out of Jeremy's face. 

Jeremy nodded, his arms were before tightly wrapped around Michael and were now loosely hung over his shoulders. "You're parents were nice but told us all the rules,  and your mom never yelled at us." Jeremy said.

"And they also confiscated our video game privileges because I let it slip we went to sleep past the bed time playing them. That's strict." Michael explained. "And do you remember what it was like when I first slept over here?" Michael asked.

Jeremy shook his head. He tried searching for the memory, but he just couldn't remember. He knew that Michael had slept over at his house when they were kids, he just never remembered it.

"Okay, well I said we should pull an all nighter and you started crying because you thought that would get you in trouble with your mom. That's not strict, that's abusive." Michael explained.

"So many others have it worse-"

"But she abused you, just differently." Michael said. "Maybe it wasn't that physical, at least from amything I saw, but it was emotional. That's just as valid as physical abuse." He explained.

Jeremy looked back on everything he had remembered that night, realizing how terrible those things were that the reduced him to tears. He sniffled a bit. "Maybe you're right." He nodded a bit. 

Michael sighed a bit, pulling Jeremy into a hug and kissing the top of his head. "It's okay to not fully accept it right now. It's okay not to accept that she was a toxic parent right now, but you're on the right track, Jer-bear." Michael said, his voice slightly muffled by his hair.

"Wh-what if you leave me? I-I thought you were g-gon-na break up with me because you looked angry and sad." Jeremy said. Before Michael could answer, Jeremy continued. "I left you, I hurt you. You shouldn't even be my friend, much less my boyfriend. You shouldn't have forgiven me, I was so awful and I still don't deserve you." Jeremy said against Michael's shoulder.

"I forgave you because you realized what you did was wrong, and because I know you weren't in the right state, looking back on it. Everyone makes mistakes, Jeremy. If everyone was perfect, then everyone would be filled with the same, boring people." Michael told him. "I never want to hear you say you don't deserve me. You deserve to have the things and people who make you happy." Michael continued, pulling away from the hug to gently wipe away some of his tears.

"You make me happy. Really happy." Jeremy said, earning a small smile from Michael.

"I love you." Michael smiled.

Jeremy looked a bit shocked at this, but shocked in a good way. "You mean that?" He asked.

"Of course I mean it. I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true." Michael promised.

"Well good, because I-I love you too." Jeremy grinned. Only when he completely calmed down did he remember the giant headache he was currently suffering from. He let out a hiss of pain and held his head in his hands. "I would love you more if you got me painkillers from the bathroom and some water." Jeremy confessed.

Michael chucked a bit, kissing Jeremy on the cheek and getting up, shortly returning with what he had requested. Jeremy in turn downed the two pills and small glass of water. "Cuddle me?" Jeremy asked quietly.

"Anything for you, Jer-bear." Michael said, laying beside him. He pressed a sweet kiss to Jeremy's lips, and Jeremy kissed back, just as softly as Michael held him.

So maybe Jeremy wasn't okay. Maybe his mother fucked him up really badly and it had affected him more than he thought. Maybe the voices in his head were usually too loud.

But Jeremy not being okay, was completely okay. And Michael was there when his demons came back to haunt him, just as Jeremy knew he would be if Michael ever needed his help. And for once, the voices in his head were quiet as he fell asleep to the sound of birds chirping.