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Lick. Lick. Cary couldn’t stop licking his teeth. No metal or crooks, not since Saturday when he got the fucking things removed. He couldn’t stop, even when the rest of the gang gave him weird looks….not that they were much of a gang anymore. It wasn’t that they didn’t hang out, because they did! But not at school. Never at school. Charles had his football buddies, Joe had Alice, Preston had the math nerds, Martin had track, and Cary….well he didn’t have any group specifically but that was fine. He still had his explosives which, surprisingly enough translated into chemistry. He was good at chemistry.

“Mr. Adams if you could tell us….Mr. Adams! Pay attention!” Cary winces as he gets ripped out of his thoughts by the goddamn whiny voice of his English teacher, the bitchiest woman at Lilllian High School, maybe all of Ohio. She looks down at him. “Thank you for joining us, Mr. Adams. I assume whatever you were thinking was enjoyable?” Cary stiffens then retorts back, as he always did. He might have lost his braces, but that didn’t mean he lost his mouth. “Oh yes, Mrs. Patton. Much more enjoyable than your half-assed teaching. Do you even try?” Everyone is quiet, looking at him in his back of the class seat with open mouths and wide eyes. He just rolls his. Just as Mrs. Patton opens her mouth to bring justice to her classroom-


Cary’s out of his seat and into the hallway before she can say “Detention!!!” (Which is pretty damn fast.) Grinning at himself for once again outsmarting his English teacher, he walks through the end of the day hallways, towards the front door. Before he can vanquish any real distance, he hears them. The people who stand in his way and try to break his barriers, also known as the bench-warming third stringers. “Hey faggot! Running away?” The main idiot, Brett Evans, was standing there smirking with his cronies, his tiny brain running sluggishly behind flat eyes. Cary sighs, before turning around. He had ignored them once, only once, and went home with his eyes so swollen shut he couldn’t go to school the next day. “What, do you want this time, you pussies? Do you not know the meaning of fuck off? ” He get out his lighter, if it didn’t get him expelled. Cary swallows, but he hides his fear, as they get closer backing him against a locker. He curses God for making him this way, a whole foot shorter than Brett, and built like a girl, even with his coat on. This makes him easy to pick on, which makes life a lot fucking harder than it has to be. If only they knew what he could do…Cary is once again yanked from his thoughts, this time by a voice he dreads for an entirely different reason. “That’s funny coming from you, queer. Seeing as you are the pussy and I am the real man.” Cary couldn’t help it, he couldn’t. He snorted. “ Oh, yes, some man you are. What’s your I.Q again? It never seems very high with the way you recycle insults. Plus you can’t catch a pass to save your balls.”

Brett glares at him, and he glares back, chin up. He likes to say it was in defiance...but mainly it was because he wouldn’t be able to see his attacker if he didn’t. “It’s no mystery your father left, didn’t want some queer for a son.” Cary grinds his teeth, but doesn’t say anything. If he does, all hell breaks lose and he can’t get another detention, he can’t. Brett scowls, noticing the lack of reaction, he keeps talking. “Or maybe it was because your moms a whore, one can’t help but notice your little sister looks nothing like you.” Cary looks away…. because it was true. Hayley did look nothing like him, and a lot like the next door neighbor, not that it mattered because Hayley was his sister, and he loved her. He would die for her. Cary notices Brett is still talking, but this time, it’s not about him, his dad, or his mom; he was talking bad about Hayley. “....probably going to end up a filthy whore like her mom, not that I’d mind,” He smirks at his cronies, before turning back to Cary.“I bet she’ll just as pretty as her older brother.” Cary looks at him, not believing he went that far, but he did and now Cary’s mind-numbingly furious.

His blood was boiling and all he could see was red; all he wanted to see was Brett lying on the ground, broken. So this image was what he attempted. Cary launched himself at the other boy: punching, kicking, scratching, biting, giving all he had and a lot that he didn't. Because Hayley was six years old, she couldn't protect herself; which is why he would, why he had too. He wouldn’t forgive himself if he didn’t. But Brett was bigger and stronger than he was. He picks Cary up and throws him, his head hitting glass and cracking it. Cary slumps to the ground, head spinning and pounding much more than should be possible. He looks up to see Brett and his buddies walking towards him, people crowding around to watch the smart-mouthed kid who nobody liked that much get the shit beat out of him by Brett. No one cares that he might’ve helped save Lillian all of three years ago because nobody knew. ( He still was nightmares about the government coming for him because he let slip what he knew.) He could hear whispers of the chant “Fight! Fight! Fight!” through the pounding in his head. He could see his friends, faces worried, not stepping up when Brett smirks down at him and kicks him. Repeatedly.

Cary can’t breathe, Brett won’t let him. His foot keeps kicking Cary in his stomach. He remembers Preston once telling him that if a person gets get in the stomach hard enough or long enough they could end up spitting up blood. God, he can feel it coming up, blood mixed with stomach acid burning in his throat. Cary knows he needs to change positions, knows that this isn’t going to end well if he doesn’t, but he just can’t move. All he can hear now is the jeering of the students as he spits up blood, staining his new smile. Brett stops and Cary reacts, putting his hands on his head and curling into a ball. He knows it’s dangerous, that it can hurt people, but right now he doesn’t care; he’s in too much pain to care… if anyone asked him, Brett deserves it.

Cary can feel the….whatever it is, he doesn’t actually have a name for it, rise up. Growing stronger off the pain and anger and fear that he is feeling and pushing it into a ball behind his chest. The pulsing is unnerving, the deep-set shaking he can feel in his very soul, and it’s growing stronger as Brett grins at him down at him. He can see his own blood smeared across the floor and he can hear someone crying, most likely Alice, for Brett to stop. Brett won’t, of course, he never does. Brett nudges Cary with his foot, making him look up. He smiles, a horrible smile, that chills Cary to his bones. Cary sees him raise his foot and ducks his head back down. His friends cry out “CARY!!! NO!!!” His last thought is I’m sorry…