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The floor board creaked under Evan’s weight as he stumbled down the hallway, gripping his wrist to slow the blood flow now dripping down his arm. It happened so often now, there was no panic in the sight of blood or watching the blade he hid under the mattress slide across his skin. Pulling at the soft, scarred flesh just to open the wounds further apart to watch the blood ooze out but tonight he had cut too deep.

He knew the other children seen, that they talked about him behind closed doors as if he was nothing more than an unwanted mutt. Dr Corenthal would stop him in the halls or knock on his door after one of his ‘siblings’ ran to tattle on him again, as if they were three-year olds again. The doc would offer a smile and ask Evan how he was feeling, he would step into the poster filled room while Evan turned down his newest favorite song. The Doc would stand awkwardly in the doorway, never wanting to get close to the ticking time bomb of a teenager.

Corenthal would ask about the bandages on his arm, maybe ask to see them before Evan would give a half ass excuse that ‘Habit made me do it’. The doc always looked disappointed, whether it was because he knew Evan was lying or the idea that Habit was getting stronger didn’t matter. He left in the end with nothing more than a quiet,

” Alright well... I’m always here if you need me Evan.”

Bullshit.

Evan snarled at the thought of the fate sympathy as he pushed open the bathroom door, closing it behind him as quietly as he could. Jeff’s room was closest to the bathroom due to Alex’s nightmares that caused the poor kid to wet the bed.

With a brief glance in the mirror, the short teen quickly moved on to rip the cabinet door under the sink open, shuffling through the cleaning products and extra toilet paper in favor of pulling out the ‘hidden’ first-aid that was now running dangerously out of contents. He would have to either suck up his pride and ask the Doc to refile the box, or he would have to walk into town and steal what he needed from the drug store while the pharmacist was busy. No, Evan wasn’t allowed to be left alone in public now after.

Maybe he could talk Vincent into driving him into town, the brown eyed boy got his driver's license last week ago and Corenthal could never tell the kid no. No one seemed to have an issue with the obvious fact that Corenthal favored Vincent over everyone else, but then again Mother and Stephanie were practically inseparable when she wasn’t spoiling Jeff. That left Evan and Alex alone most day but the moment Even would sit down next to the little squirt to play a board game or help Alex with his spelling packet, Jeff and Vinnie would walk in to drag the poor kid out and away from the danger that was Evan.

On the surface, he would brush it off and chuckle with the excuse either would give about ‘being worried about Habit’ but deep down it hurt like hell to not be trusted. They would offer smiles of sympathy even as Alex whined about wanting to hang out with Evan. No one wanted to explain to the boy that Evan was dangerous to be around alone, not even Corenthal. They didn’t know how to explain that their dear brother Evan could rip Alex’s throat out with little to no effort if Habit were to show its ugly face.

The thought made Evan sick as he leaned against the counter, staring down at the empty sink as bile came to build up in the back of his throat.

“You wouldn’t… We wouldn’t hurt them, right?” Evan whispered as he looked into the mirror, watching as a soft purple clouded over his once innocent blue eyes.

‘We want the same thing’s Evan.’ Came a gruff, static filled voice that never seemed to leave. It was comforting now, even with the docs constantly warning to not listen to the voice inside his head. Habit was always there, he never left Evan alone unlike the others…

Evan had never felt safer than when Habit took over and let him pretend as if he didn’t exist anymore.

“That’s not what I asked.”

‘... No, we couldn’t hurt them even if we wanted to.’ The answer was comforting if not morbid. There was already blood staining their hands, something Corenthal never let him forget every time he picked up a fork and knife. It hadn’t been his fault.

It had never been his fault, but no one reported that the nurse had been yelling and had hit Evan for not eating his meals countless times in the past. Evan had been tired of it, and Habit was scared.

It all happened so quickly, but he remembered snapping awake as Corenthal walked into the hospital room to see what the screaming had been about. The look of disgust on the doc's face had been enough for the child to stop and look at the man, only to shove his blood cover pudgy hand into his mouth to enjoy the sweet taste of copper.

They complained about him not eating, then bitched when he finally made himself a meal.

‘I’m hungry….’ The voice whispered.

“Me too.” Evan agreed quietly as he looked back down at his wrist only to find the blood had already clotted and dried against his pale skin. He raised his wrist, only to drag his tongue over the burning cuts with a low hum as his tongue collected copper flavors flakes of blood. He could feel his mind become cloudy as Habit took over, and Evan allowed it for this next part as the demon bit down hard into its host flesh. Blood flooded his mouth like biting into a filled gusher, seeping out of the corner of his mouth and down his throat while Habit tried it’s best to not rip its host apart past fixing.

Just as Habit began to tear at the flesh, a knock startled Evan back to reality. A hiss of pain left the teen as he gripped the large wound, now aware of the pain without Habit there to block it out.

“Someone's in here.” He snarled out in pain and annoyance as he quickly reached for a towel to stop the blood that now coated the counter top and tile floor.

“Evan can you please hurry up, I need to get ready before Jessa gets here.” Stephanie's voice whined out from behind the closed door. Any anger seemed to melt away as Evan grew silent, nodding his head before he would give a verbal response. He waited until he heard the other teen walk away from the door before he would quickly scramble to pull out a large patch.

Stephanie was a cute girl, that was something he could admit, and though they weren’t blood related, that was just weird. They had grown up together and did almost everything together before Stephanie started making friends and suddenly Evan felt like JD in this Heathers story. Hell he had been there when she started her period. They had both panicked and both assumed she was dying.

Looking back at it now, he felt bad for their adoptive mother as she walked into the room only to find both Evan and Stephanie crying their eyes out while holding each other and babbling about the blood. That night they had all been set down for ‘the talk’ from both Corenthal and his wife. It had been embarrassing to say the least but the couple praised them all for asking questions and showing sympathy for Steph’s pain.

With a deep sigh Evan peeled the cloth off of his wound, staring at the mass of muscles and veins that was supposed to remain protected under his skin, or temporary flesh trap as Habit called it.

“Can you fix this?”

‘I’m hungry…’ Evan would nod his head once more in understanding and instead picked up the bandages. It wasn’t a permanent fix but until they had eaten and Habit could regain enough energy to heal their body, they would have to deal with this and pray it didn’t get infected until then. He turned on the water, filling the sink just to dip the towel in the water and run it across the counter to clean up the mess he had made. Doing the same for the floor and his face.

Everyone already knew of his bad habit but that didn’t mean he wanted anyone to know of the extreme they would take it without shame or worry about Evan’s already fragile body.

Slowly he opened the bathroom door, glancing around the hallway before he would finally step out once he knew it was empty. The sound of Alex’s babbling with the occasional mumble from Jeff could be heard as Evan moved down the hallway. He found himself stopping in front of the doorway, a soft smile on his lips as he watched the six year old run around the room with a toy airplane in his grasp.

Alex would stop abruptly, flashing a bright smile to show that he was missing another tooth. Evan chuckled at the sight as Alex quickly stumbled to his older adoptive brother, dropping the airplane in his excitement.

“Evan!” He squealed in a high pitched voice, small hands grabbed a hold of the thick chains attached to Evan’s ripped jeans.” I lost my tooth and Jeff said that the tooth fairy is going to come tonight.” Alex said, all the while rattling the chains in excitement.

“I can see that, just don’t lose all of your teeth or we’ll have to spoon feed ya again.” Evan leaned down to pick the boy up, only for the harsh throat clearing of the other in the room to catch his attention. He looked up just in time to watch Jeff toss his math textbook on the bed and walk up behind the youngest. With one glance down at Evan’s wrist, Jeff would frown while a hand protectively pushing Alex back and behind him.

For a moment the two stared at each other, neither saying a word while Alex tried to move past Jeff to get to Evan again. As much as Evan wanted to argue the point, to say that he wasn’t dangerous, he knew Jeff wouldn’t back down. Sure Jeff was the easiest to push over from the group of adoptive sibling’s, always the first to bend and try to avoid fights but when it came to the sweet blue eyes boy behind him? Evan wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff killed one of them over that boy.

After a moment of tension, Evan would only nod his head and walk away. He knew when he wasn’t wanted, and the door slamming shut just as he turned away was enough of a hint to get lost. He moved down the hallway, passing by Steph as she rushed into the bathroom with her painted make-up bag. For a moment, he thought about stopping her but why would he bother? She was busy, and it wasn’t as if he had a reason to strike up a conversation. It wasn’t her fault that he just didn’t want to be alone right now, it wasn’t her business.

A sad frown crossed Evan’s lips, fingertips brushing over the bandages on his wrist before he would tug his shirt sleeve down to cover the mess. It wasn’t anyone’s business but his own.

Silently, the blue-eyed teen made his way to the kitchen only to be greeted by judgeful eyes. Corenthal leaned against the kitchen counter, the smile that had been on his lips quickly fading at the sight of the troubled teen. For a moment, Evan thought of just walking out of the room in hopes of not dealing with another pep talk but the growl of his empty stomach quickly reminded him that he hadn’t eaten in two days. No wonder Habit was always so weak.

A shuffle from the corner brought his attention to Vincent who sat quietly in front of the counter. Unlike Corenthal, Vinnie would offer a warm smile and would wave at Evan, and this time the shorter teen would quickly return the smallest bit of kindness with more kindness. Vinnie was a handsome lad, even with the acne covering his forehead and thick framed glasses. It was another thought that haunted Evan late at night but worry about whether he liked boys as well was never on his mind when he needed to battle a literal demon for control of his body.

Briefly he would wave to the doc, only to be given a short nod before Corenthal would return to the previous conversation about Vincent’s while Evan silently busied himself with scavenging for food. He pulled open the fridge, his blue eyes quickly finding the packet of thawing meat that was meant for tonight's dinner.

He licked his lips with an audible hum, unknowingly stopping the doctors and Vincent's conversation once more as both stopped to watch Evan. A hand raised to poke at the pork chops, testing if it was soft enough to bite into before the teenager would let out a pleased squeal before he would quickly pull the tray out of the fridge. He placed it on the closest counter top, just across from Vincent, as he cut the plastic wrap with his painted black fingernails. With two fingers Evan picked the cold meat up, only to pick up the styrofoam tray to run his tongue over the red watered down blood at the bottom of the tray, only stopping with Vinnie audibly gagged and pushed away his lunch.

“Sorry…” Evan mumbled, placing the meat back down on the tray slowly. He wiped his hands on his shirt before picking up the weak tray to take his leave once more, only for a large hand to fall on his shoulder, forcing Evan to stop and turn to look at Corenthal while he spoke.

“Don’t apologize son. If you wait just a minute, I’ll heat it up for you. Would you like that?” Corenthal’s gruff voice was oddly comforting, it always had been to the frightened teen. It had been one of the first things that caused Evan to trust him when he had first been dropped off at the hospital once his mother couldn’t stand to look at him anymore.

Hesitantly Evan would nod his head, only allowing the Doctor to take the tray from his grasp before Evan would take a step back. It hadn’t been that he didn’t like the contact, it had been the fact that he knew he didn’t deserve it. Only good kids were treated nicely, and Evan had not been a good boy.

A new noise caught Evan’s noise as he quickly looked back at Vinnie, only to find the other boy had pulled out the chair next to him and was patting the seat for Evan to sit in. Slowly a smile played across his lips as he quickly took the opportunity to be close to one of his sibling’s.

“Are you thirsty?” Vinnie would whisper, as if it was a secret that human’s needed liquid to survive but they both knew what he really meant. Evan chewed on his bottom lip, feeling the fangs breaking the skin while he shook his head no. It was a blunt lie, one Vincent seen straight through.

Vinnie was a smart boy, not as book smart as Jeff or as street smart as Stephanie but he knew how to read emotions, and for that Evan was grateful. He watched as Vinnie quickly stood, jogging to the fridge to tug open the tented drawer at the bottom, pulling out a specially made juice box that was made specifically for Evan and Habit’s ‘needs’. Without a word needing to be said, Vinnie poked a hole in the top of the juice box with the straw before he placed it in front of Evan.
“Thanks.” Evan managed as he quickly accepted the drip greedily, gulping down the thick liquid while Vinnie began to spout nonsense about a new book he had picked up from the library that morning. With the constant chatter and laughter, it was long before Jeff would peak his head into the doorway with Alex balanced on his hip. Jeff settled at the island counter with his adoptive brothers, placing Alex on top of the counter next to him while they quickly joined in to the conversation. Steph would walk in to tell the forming group she was heading out, and even stopped to give Evan a half hug before the sounds of a horn honking outside would interrupt the small moment of joy.

Soon enough the plate of pork chops was placed in front of Evan, still raw but now warm to stimulate what it was like to bite into something living. It was a sickening craving, one Evan had been ashamed to admit he needed. Even now he felt guilty as Alex asked for a drink of his ‘juice’ but instead of a look of disgust, Vinnie would laugh and tell the boy no while Jeff left to get a real juice box out for Alex.

It was far from a perfect household. It was fucked up. Evan was fucked up but they never hated him for that, and for that Evan was grateful.