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Read below for pointless babble or bad stories....
Trigger warnings for: domestic abuse, verbal abuse, blood mention, homophobic slur, age gap, underage drinking, death mention

The first time it happened, Yuma let it slide. They were both worked up, Carter's parents were going through a nasty divorce and Yuma's brother had just been redeployed into a war zone, and tensions had been high for days. Time had seemed to stop, and Yuma could only stare up at his boyfriend from where he'd been knocked on his a**, hand pressed to his aching jaw. Carter's face, which moments ago had been twisted in rage, had gone completely unreadable. They stayed like that for what felt like hours before the sound of the front door opening had set time moving again. Carter bolted, leaving Yuma to pick himself up and examine the damage.

He told his parents that he'd tripped at school.

The second time, he was more prepared; he'd been able to see it coming, but moving out of the way had been a different story. Pain exploded across his face, blood pouring from his busted nose. Yuma cursed, flinching away from his boyfriend when he bent to help. Carter looked hurt, as if he was the injured party instead of the one swinging fists. Yuma told him to leave, and he did. They broke up later that week. Yuma told himself that they were done, he wouldn't take him back, but that barely lasted through the month. He'd never been able to say no to Carter, even when he really really should have.

Fights started becoming more common, more physical; bruises became more common place, and his nose wound up broken on more than one occasion. His eldest brother looked at him with scorn, figuring he'd become a delinquent. It wouldn't be too surprising, considering the sort of people his other elder brother associated with. It wasn't too unfair an assumption, Yuma was a shy individual and dating Carter had chased away the few friends he'd had, and they'd always been a bit on the odd side anyway. He broke up with Carter for the second time, just before the other disappeared for two weeks, and withdrew further into himself. He tried to ignore his family, his parents fighting and the things his brother said; delinquent, troublesome, uncontrollable, reckless, stupid. Over time, it wore him down.

When Carter came calling again bearing flowers and apologies, he didn't turn him away. And for a while, everything carried on as it should. His boyfriend was back to the person he'd known before, if not more affectionate than usual. It was odd, but Yuma wasn't complaining. He was content for a time, passing notes in the hall and stealing kisses beneath the staircase between classes. He felt like he was in some stupid romcom, and he was happy. The last thing he expected was Carter snapping, worse than he ever had before. He swung angry fists, spit biting words that tore the younger one apart in ways that only he could. Weak, shallow, moron, hopeless, coward, f*****t, everything he knew that had even a chance of hurting him. He could take the punches, the bone breaking hits landing over and over until Carter was spent and fell to the floor sobbing, but the words dug deep. Was this what his love had thought all along? Was he just a punching bag, an outlet, something to be used and tossed away when all was said and done? He felt sick, his heart aching worse than his body. Yuma felt dazed, like he'd woken from a deep sleep and everything was all wrong. Finally, after what felt like hours of lying on Carter's bedroom floor with just the sound of quiet sobbing, he was able to pull himself to his feet and make the long trek home.

One visit to the hospital later, he made the tally. One broken arm, two broken toes, three cracked ribs, a handful of stitches on his cheek, and an innumerable amount of bruises covering his body. A nurse said he must have been hit by a car, and he was too dazed to correct her. After much coaxing, a police report was filed, but nothing ever came of it. His descriptions had been vague, for how else does one describe a car that doesn't exist? No poor motorist deserved the blame for this, not when the true culprit was far closer to home. He had to quit the track team, the one thing that had made everything bearable, and felt he was left with nothing. His average grades started to dip, from C's and the occasional B to straight D's, and his coworkers asked him at least twice a night if he was all right. He couldn't concentrate in class or at work, especially with the painkillers clouding his mind as he slowly healed.

Carter kept his distance for a time, but even that didn't last. He came spouting apologies and begging forgiveness, and eventually Yuma had relented. He'd hoped that would keep the other at bay for the remaining few weeks until the other graduated, but slowly the messages began to flood his phone again. How was he feeling, was he taking care of himself, were his parents still fighting, was Matt still being an insufferable p***k; the list was endless, and he found himself responding if only to get the other to stop pestering him sooner. It felt like a game. If he didn't respond, Carter would send more messages until he did. If he responded, he'd get a short response, sometimes as short as just the letter 'k', and then he'd hear nothing for hours. He was losing this game, he knew that much, but he didn't know how to get out of it.

The game turned to one of waiting, he would be free once Carter graduated. It was a long wait, and there were so many times he was tempted to return, but he held strong. Going back would be easier, dating Carter was all he'd really known the past year and a half, but he couldn't do that to himself. Not again, not after what had happened last time. He'd never had much self respect, but his sense of self preservation always kicked into overdrive when Carter approached; he felt like a bleeding man being slowly circled by a shark whose last meal had been far too long ago. Finally, after what felt like far longer than it actually could have been, graduation day came. No one asked if he was going, and he had no intention of doing so. Part of him wanted to see it with his own eyes, the thing that confirmed his tormentor would finally be gone, but he knew that it would send the wrong message.

He could relax, he could breathe. He spent the summer taking a bus into Seattle and working at one of the newer branches of the convenience store chain he'd been working for the past year. There was one individual that struck him as odd, and the two struck up an unlikely friendship. Their schools had competed, and even if the two themselves never had, Yuma swore he recognized the other man. Sky was reserved, but he was strong and honest and a rock that Yuma very much needed. After many snippets of conversation and a few bummed cigarettes, they exchanged contact information and Yuma gained a friend not spoiled by his vengeful ex. It was a rocky beginning, but he felt he was slowly needling his way into the other's life. He stayed a couple weekends his first semester of his last year in high school at Sky's apartment, usually after pulling late shifts at his job. At first, he felt like a bother, but that was always par for the course with Yuma. Slowly, he began to open up further and wiggle his way into a firmer spot in his new friend's life. He was happy again, and he really really should have seen the storm coming.

His ex hadn't gone far, and though there hadn't been a peep from him over the summer or well into the first half of the school year, he came back with a vengeance. Yuma was catching the first bus that headed back towards home early in the morning, around 8 a.m., after a long night of work and whiskey and cigs and Sky's friends. He'd slept on the floor in the living room, his usual spot on the couch taken by someone easily more intoxicated than himself, and his back was clearly not happy with this decision. He was stretching, arms raised high in the sky in loose fists, when a familiar voice sent a shiver of dread down his spine. Spinning on his heel, he came face to face with the easy smirk that filled the pit of his stomach with lead. He took a step back, only for the other to dart forward and grab his wrist to pull him back onto the sidewalk. 'Don't want you to get hit by a car.' he'd joked, dark eyes lighting up in good humour. Yuma hadn't even realized he'd stepped into the street, but that joke... Carter knew the lie he had told in the past, was reminding him of it, even if it wasn't a conscious effort. He found himself feeling sick, and he gently tugged his arm free, genuinely surprised when it was released without a fight.

'You should be more careful, babe. Can't have you getting hurt.' he'd winked, using the pet name so casually as if they were still dating. Yuma had to force himself not to take another step back, and gave a slow nod in response. No sense in riling him up, right? Carter had laughed, the sound light and cheerful and so very wrong coming from this figure that had brought him so much pain and fear. 'You look like you've seen a ghost. Don't worry, love, I'm just in for a funeral. The old man passed last week. I'm on my way to the airport now.' he'd stepped closer, completely invading Yuma's personal space, and pressed a short kiss to his cheek. In the span of a heartbeat, he'd made it clear that he was both aware of Yuma's fear and that he simply didn't care. There would be no stopping him, not until he grew tired of the other. Or one of them died. 'Get home safe, yeah?' he winked, tucking his hands deep into the pockets of his dark dress slacks as he stepped past and carried on down the sidewalk. Yuma had watched him go, frozen to the edge of the curb until long after Carter was gone. He almost missed the bus, but the stern voice of the driver brought him back to reality and he'd shoved his change into the fare box with trembling hands.

He'd pulled his phone out immediately, typing out a long message to Sky that he'd never ended up sending. It would sit in his drafts for just over a year, only going away when he and the others would ditch their phones on the run from the very man that had caused him to write it in the first place. If he had seen the future then, he never would have begged Sky to let him move in, never even gotten the chance to drag their neighbours into the mess he'd created. Maybe if he'd been stronger, more confident, more something, he could have handled it himself. Told Carter off, somehow made it more clear than he already had that he just wasn't interested, just wanted him gone. It wasn't as if he hadn't had enough opportunities, as Carter had shown his face even more once his move to Seattle was final. Or maybe that would have just made the whole thing worse, brought everything crashing down even faster than it already had, especially if the bruises he'd earned each encounter had anything to say about it.

He'd never have the chance to find out.

Krombopulos Michael
Community Member
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