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Tending to Wounds

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William "Billy" Batson was only four years old when his mom lost him at the Carnival.

He was only four years old when he was sitting on a cop car, being told by an officer that his mom would come back for him, that they always did, when he saw her turn away from him and walk off, leaving him.

Billy was only four years old when the cops had to take him to an orphanage, because his mom never came and got him, and began the cycle.

He was only four years old when he decided he didn't need a family if his real family didn't want him. He's bounced between foster homes so often, after that, he doesn't bother remembering names or faces but he remembers experiences.

The first place is a couple with four kids of their own and he only remembers the family so well because they had a problem with being clean. Billy can still smell the molded and rotten food that was left to fester on kitchen counters. He remembers the couples oldest kid, a pregnant seventeen year old girl with dirty skin, pink and green hair and so much metal in her face, he still doesn't know how her skin never ended up getting pulled off. He only ingrained her looks into his mind because she snarled at him, with her black and crooked teeth, to get out of her way. When he didn't move fast enough, she kicked him and he went tumbling down a flight of stairs, ended up with a broken arm, a fractured jaw, and a concussion. Because they didn't take him to the hospital, he was gone from his bed by the next morning. When the officers asked him what happened, he stayed silent the entire way to the hospital and they didn't ask again. Thankfully, they didn't send him back to that house.

The second home was a single dad with two boys. This house didn't smell like rot or mold or anything really. It was always clean, never a speck out of place, and that made the hair on his neck stand on end. He lasted there three weeks before leaving at night, after he watched the father grab his eldest sons crotch while he licked his lips and stared at Billy. He didn't know what that gesture meant at the time but he knew it wasn't a good one.

A cop picked him up seven blocks from that house and took him back to the orphanage building when they couldn't get any words out of him. A day later, his social worker told him the family reported him missing but she never sent him back there.

He didn't even last three days at the third house. He was slapped so hard, he broke his wrist and fractured his freshly healed arm when he hit the wall and ended up losing one of his baby teeth. At the hospital, the doctors reported the family to CPS and again, cops took him away.

He doesn't remember the next six familes after that, all he really knows is that he left them before they could see how broken he was and get rid of him. He'd caused problems and picked fights and ran for a multitude of reasons, any he could come up with just so they wouldn't miss him; he was tired of the foster parents with kids of their own looking at him with pity because his own parents didn't want him; they talk to him slowly because he doesn't talk much so they think he has mental problems; the kids at every school he winds up at avoiding him like he carries a disease that will make their parents not love them; he didn't like dinner that night. Some nights, he runs because he has a lead on where his birth mom is and he needs to see her. Not so he can cry into her arms and beg her to take him back, but so he can flip her off and tell her to eat shit and die for abandoning him at a carnival with police instead of handing him over to the system like a responsible human being.

He runs away the same night he arrives in the tenth house because he sees the man punch his daughter in the stomach when she asks for money.

For two years, nobody takes him from the foster building, orphanage, prison, whatever. For two years, he has a bed to sleep in at night and doesn't have to worry about corrupt people who only keep him because they want something out of him. 

Billy is ten and already planning his escape route from the eleventh house, barely stepping over the threshold of the home, when he gets a sick feeling in his gut and feels eyes on him but brushes it off. The woman who runs the group home is really nice, sickeningly so, and wraps Billy in a hug so tight, he's so tempted to melt into her arms and stay here, no more running. He stays for seven weeks with nothing out of the ordinary happening; nobody hurts him, nobody threatens him, nobody looks like they want to eat him, and nothing on where his mom might be. He's no longer suspicious of this place and enjoys sleeping in a bed longer that a week, in a room all his own. It's at this moment that he learns he can't trust anyone, no matter how friendly they are. Especially if they're overly friendly. Those are the dangerous ones. As he gets older, this lesson gets ingrained into him so badly, he can barely sleep the first week anywhere that isn't under a bridge or in a pile of trash behind a fast food joint. But it's in the that hellhole some people would call a house he learns that lesson the hard way.

He's awoken because his body is hot and tingly in a way he's not familiar with and before he knows it, he's panting heavily and feels the pressure in his lower stomach dissipate. When he looks down, he finds out why.

The woman he thought was so sweet and nice and perfect, is settled between his legs and licking something off her fingers and Billy. He screams. He screams until she gets off his legs and kicks her in the face, screams until his throat bleeds, screams until he's in the yard and keeps screaming until the cops show up. He doesn't know what she was doing to him but he knows he doesn't like it.

He is raped by the foster brother in the next home. He punches the other boy hard enough, the next night when he tries to touch Billy and he breaks the boys nose as well as his eye-sockets and he fractures his own wrist.

The three homes after that are nice people but he can't force himself to stay because last time he was with 'a nice person', he screamed so long, he ruptured a vocal chord.

Billy is pinned to a table by the foster mother of the sixteenth foster home and she shoves something up his ass, keeping him strapped to the table for seventeen hours before he manages to escape and report her to the police and CPS.

The next six houses after that are uneventful because he leaves the same night he's brought there, living on his own for weeks between each time the system tracks him down again.

It's eleven years since he was abandoned at the carnival and he still doesn't like cops because they always find him and take him back to the foster building where he inevitably ends up with another abusive family that he still doesn't need. He didn't need the first one he ran away from after his mom abandoned him and he didn't need the twenty-third one. He's standing in front of a pawn shop, alarms blaring and trying his best not to look like he's pulling a prank, when the cops show up. They look at him warily at first, and why wouldn't they? He's a little shit and he's the only one in the vicinity. So he decides to be an even bigger shit and gets this star-struck, awe filled look on his face.

"Holy moley! The boys in blue! I'm so glad you showed up! I called as soon as I saw!" He's being overly dramatic and he knows it. The cops know it too because they still look at him with suspicion in their eyes, so he spoke again. "Yeah, they're still in there! At the back." He points inside and towards the back of the store and finally, finally they go inside the store, turning the alarm off while they look around. As soon as their backs are turned, Billy's face turns from I'm meeting my hero this is the best day of my life! to I want to be anywhere that isn't here in less than a second.

As soon as they're at the back of the shop, he jumps up and grabs the security gate, yanking it down and kicking the lock into place. He yanks on it to be sure it's locked just as the cops start shouting and then he's grinning at them like the shit-eating child he is. He runs over to the police car, ignoring the male cops demands for him not to get in the car, and immediately he's on the laptop, clicking away on it until he pulls up what he wants. He pulls his notebook from his backpack and scribbles down the address that the screen shows. He scoots out of the car and waves at the cops with a cheeky little grin at their yelling before taking off down the road and towards the address he found.

An hour later finds Billy in front of a house that has to belong to his birth mom because she's the last 'Batson' in Philadelphia. There are more out there, he knows there are more than likely thousands more across the United States, but he doesn't live in those states so he'll have to make due with the ones here. He clenches his jaw so hard, the fracture that he got as a four year old, that never healed right, ached and throbbed.

Billy stepped up to the door and dug his fingernails into his glove covered hand as his fingers tightened to a fist before he knocked on the door, foregoing the doorbell in favor of feeling his knuckles hit something heavily so he could restrain from socking the woman who left him. He heard a voice call out through the door and sucked in a deep breath. "Hi, is this Rachel Batson?" She confirmed through the door and he shifted nervously. "This is gonna sound crazy but I think I'm your son." Try as he might, he couldn't keep the hopeful lilt out of his tone and physically deflated when a woman, who was very much not his mom, opened the door with the most utterly confused look and a suspicious tone in her voice. He apologized for bothering her and stepped away from her door just as the cops pulled up and now they were doing the whole thing over again.