The first time Corpse had falsified his records was when he was eight.
Falsifying records was a stretch, but he did have someone else write his absence note. Old man Smith from down the road was a beta widower who smelled of lilies and rain, and he wore his grief on top of his overalls like a cloak. His back curved like the moon and every time he took a step, his bones rattled like a maraca. Corpse spent most of his time not hiding underneath the bed sprawled over Old man Smith’s porch, listening to him hum age old tunes that settle the anxiety in his veins. Occasionally, he helped him tend to the garden patch he has at the back of his lawn.
“You have a mighty green thumb there lad,” Old man Smith spoke in a weird accent, posh and sophisticated, but with a twang of roguishness that makes him more approachable, “The flowers like you.”
“I l-like them too,” Corpse would say, eyes bright and cheeks flushing, “They make me feel safe.”
Old man Smith would smile sadly at that and Corpse would never really understand why.
Not even when he’s eight years old and he was sporting a bruise on his face, his arm in a makeshift sling that he had to make because the principal called and Corpse had to go to school.
Old man Smith made a wounded noise in his throat when Corpse had flinched back from him, and no matter how many times Corpse had apologised because Old Man Smith never did anything wrong to Corpse, Old man Smith would never hurt him, would never raise a hand against him, he had just looked worse.
“I h-have to go back to school,” Corpse had said to him, clutching the strap of his backpack in one hand, heart jackrabbiting in his chest, “I need a n-note. I-I’m not good a-at writing.”
“Okay,” Old man Smith had whispered back, and Corpse would wonder why he would sound so sad, “Okay sweet lad. I’ll write you a note.”
When he’s older, when he’s broken the bones in his arms so many times that there must be splinters left in its wake, when new bruises smooth out the brown and yellow hiding underneath his shirt, and when Old man Smith grew frailer, his scent shifting from wet lilies and grief to spoiled funeral flowers because that’s what it’s always been, that’s what he was - a man who’s been grieving for a long time - Corpse would skip school and cry, and skip school again and always cry, and Old Man Smith who Corpse had loved with a ferocity he could never quantify -
Old Man Smith would write him notes, never mentioning a word when Corpse shows up to his door instead of going to school. Because while Corpse hadn’t initially understood a lot of the things Old Man Smith felt in regards to him, not until he’s much older, until he’s rebelling and he’s kicked out of the house he’d stayed in for the past 12 years just because it was close to Old Man Smith-
He understood enough about dying to know that no one ever wants to face death alone.
And when that day comes, when Corpse realises exactly why grief can be worn like a heavy cloak, Old Man Smith would say “Thank you, and I’m sorry to have to leave you sweet lad.” and Corpse would memorise that soundbite, inject the last cadences of Old Man Smith’s fading voice into his being and make it his lullaby, especially on nights where he wants to just disappear -
So falsifying records started with Corpse’s desperation to hold onto the one good thing in his life before it inevitably gave way to nature, but it never really ends even as he grows.
Especially as he grows.
He never bothered lying to the police after Old Man Smith had died. They would ask him where his parents were and Corpse would stare blankly at them until they cleared their throats.
And then they would drag him out of the little bungalow Old Man Smith left to him, kicking and screaming. Corpse would scrape his nails on the porch that he used to spend his afternoons basking in the sun and he would pull the grass on the lawn in an effort to stop them from making him go outside, because Corpse hates the outside and hates the education system even more.
But Corpse back then had been twelve and powerless and soon, he would be thrown into a car and driven to school. They would dump him in a classroom where Corpse would be good and still for five minutes at most, not because he genuinely was good but because he would be too busy trying to stop the quiver in his limbs or the bile rising up in his throat.
Except - Corpse has always been quick and nimble, and he was smart enough to know that teachers were different from trained police officers.
They could have stopped him from jumping out the window, he had thought, if they had just been a little more forceful.
Corpse has hated who he was ever since he was old enough to know what he was. And while he tries to acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with being him, he’s still working on erasing years of his father saying otherwise.
So he fakes his records. He lies on his driver’s license, he lies on his passport, he lies on every single one of his documents.
The one thing he doesn’t lie on are hospital forms. When it comes to something that can affect his health, when it comes to his biology, Corpse tells the truth.
Dishonesty has been a bone of contention of his, has always been the reason why familial bond is as foreign as the taste of smoke on his tongue. Corpse tells lies to protect himself but he isn’t dishonest. He doesn’t do it to hurt, to cheat. Because it shatters relationships and shatters childhoods and shatters his body and Corpse, who’s intimate with the sound of bones breaking, mind cracking and every single thing in between-
Corpse has been breaking for a very long time and he’s tired of it.
The doctors can’t say anything - patient confidentiality and all, but they give him weird looks. Corpse stares them down and dares them to even utter the classification on his profile. They look away and clear their throats and Corpse would crinkle his eyes, asking them, “So what the fuck is wrong with me.” and he would act as if they weren’t jarred by the contradictions of his existence when compared to the data on the paper.
Because that was Corpse - that’s always been Corpse. He shouldn’t have half of the chronic diseases he has. He’s too young, too fit, too outside of the demographic and his hormone levels fluctuate so much it’s dizzying to even document. He’s intimidating with his all black clothes and stocky boots and his plethora of piercings, with his devil may care attitude and domineering voice. So he should be this and he shouldn’t be that but the fact of the matter is this:
Corpse is chronically ill even when he’s too young and too fit. Corpse likes flowers and jewellery and the smell of wet lilies. He likes fishnets and soft hoodies and showing how much he loves because he never knows when he’ll ever get the chance again. And Corpse is tall and commanding and charming but that doesn’t mean he’s an Al-
Corpse shakes his head.
In most cases, he’s almost glad he isn’t. It just means he’ll never be like his father.
But there were expectations to be met that he just can’t and sometimes, he wonders; would life be easier if he was?
Loey finds out pretty quickly, because Corpse can’t lie to her like he can’t lie to Dr. Sanders or Dr. O’Shea or Dr. Andreyev. He omitted a couple of things and mastered the art of prevarication, but he hadn’t lied to Loey. Not to her of all people.
He tried to, once, and almost drowned himself in liquor to combat the guilt of even attempting.
“Oh god,” She says, keys dropping to the floor and feet padding across his apartment. Corpse bares his teeth, shaking as he skitters away from her, pressing himself closer to the wall. He hadn’t been counting the days, hadn’t realised it was creeping up on him until it was there and suddenly, he’s on the floor and he can’t move and he’s so warm, too warm, and his body feels like it’s on fire -
Loey wasn’t supposed to be here. She wasn’t supposed to come into his apartment without him knowing -
She touches his forehead and Corpse doesn’t even realise that the high pitched keen was coming from him.
Loey kneels down and then presses a firm hand to his mask, right above his cheeks. She smells of cinnamon and peppermint, smells of comfort and good and safe.
“Oh angel,” She whispers like her heart was breaking, and Corpse scrunches his eyes closed, nausea churning in his gut, “I’m so sorry you had to hide it. ”
Maybe if it had only been Loey, then Corpse would have been fine with that. He would have coped with one person knowing who he was and loving him unconditionally despite it.
But Dave invites him to a lobby with Pewdiepie and they play until the sun goes up. And they keep inviting him until Pewds became Felix and Spedicey became Jack.
Jack who plays the drums, only to have no sense of rhythm when it came to dancing. Jack who’s accent gets thicker when he gets drunk and Jack who was kind and welcoming and acted so much like he cared.
And suddenly, it isn’t just Felix and Jack and Loey and Dave. It’s Sykkuno and Toast and Rae and so many other people that know of him and that are friends with him. Corpse goes from having no spotlight to suddenly becoming one of the biggest people online within a month.
It helps, because Corpse can pay his medical bills and he can finally stop worrying about whether or not he’ll have a roof over his head in the next two months.
But there’s so many eyes on him now, there’s too many expectations and he feels like he’s getting dragged into the sea by the high tide. His paranoia ratchets up until the deadbolts on his doors goes from two to five and fortnightly grocery trips decrease to monthly because he’s too fucking terrified, too fucking keyed up to go outside.
They can’t know, Corpse thinks, gasping into his arms. He bites down on the fabric of his jumper, knees tucked into his chest as he rocks on his bed, They can’t find out. They can’t fucking find out.
The conversation on discord replays in his mind, echoing in a torturous loop. They didn’t mean anything by it, they were just having fun, but -
“With a voice like that? Of course he’s an Alpha.”
Fuck , he thinks, breath hitching. He digs his fingers into his forearms and feels himself spiralling until he has no sense of up or down, left or right.
Fuck no one can ever find out.