Author's Notes: Ahhh! I'm writing too many stories at once. I've got writer's block with the others. Consider this story your guy's savior, as with out it.. There would be no other stories anymore. I give credit to my own group therapy for this one. Woot. I don't go anymore, but they still deserve credit.
The Cause

Joseph wasn't sure what he'd done wrong this time. His mother screamed from outside the bathroom door, but he could barely hear her through the thoughts of his own sulking. His thoughts preoccupied him. What had he done last night to upset her? He remembered going to a party with his friend Rick. That must be it. Too bad he couldn't remember what happened afterwards, which happened to involve underage drinking and sex with a middle school kid. The very middle school kid that was still passed out half naked on his couch, and he hadn't seen yet.

Seph was more interested in the pounding that was ringing through his skull as his mother continued to scream at him through the door. "I can't take it anymore, Seph," he heard her sobbing. "This is the last time! The last! I swear to God, Joseph Daniel Parker! You're getting help for this shit! I can't do this on my own. Admit it, you're a fucked up little boy, Seph! A fucked up little boy!"

"Shut up," he yelled weakly in return. Joseph turned and opened up the cabinet, proceeding to throw anything he could get his hands on at the door. The glass container for the toothbrushes shattered, and Joseph's mother shrieked at the noise. Her shrieks contented Seph despite his pounding skull, and so he threw everything he could. Everything…until his hands fell upon a pair of scissors. The idea wasn't original, but it was appealing. Joseph could slice himself up, and make her scream like a five-year-old. Not to say he didn't feel like she was already.

Seph had cut himself before, but never when he knew his mother could just get the keys and walk right in on him. He decided this time to cut himself just to make her shriek. If only so he could make her shriek. And so Joseph set himself down on the toilet and drew back the sleeve of black undershirt. The cold metal swept across his wrists, making little x's as they went along. He'd occasionally stop to squeeze the vein and let more blood pour out as he smiled wickedly to himself. She'd scream for sure.

After he'd managed to make several patterns on his arm, his mother burst through the door with the bathroom key in hand. Her other hand was tightened around the young girl that Joseph and fucked through the roof last night, if only due to his inebriation. Joseph wallowed in how pale her face grew to be as she grabbed him, causing him to dig deeper with the scissor than he'd intended. He winced and tossed the scissors away as his mother grabbed a towel and pulled it around his arm. "Joseph! What're you thinking? You're not thinking! This is it, Seph! This is it! And you-" she spun viciously on the young girl who seemed horribly disturbed by the whole ordeal. "We're calling your parents! You deserve as much punishment as Joseph does! You got that?"

The girl nodded, but Joseph only chuckled. His mother pulled the girl over and forced her to hold the towel against Seph's wrist as she went off to find the number for Elmhurst's Mental. Seph looked at the girl and cast her a weak smile. "You should probably just go out the window and go home, sweetheart. I'm guessing you know where my bedroom is… if not it's down the hall and the second door on the left. Be swift, or you're gonna get a boot up your ass."

The girl seemed to be hesitant, but nodded again and took off down the hall. The lack of shrieks from his mother told Joseph that she'd gotten about with an ass free of a boot. "Fucking little kid," he mumbled to himself as he stood up, walking over to the mirror and glaring at his reflection. "Fucking little horny bastard. Look what you got yourself into. Note to self: Going on spur of the moment is not always the best fucking option. I'm going to get locked away! Locked up! You hear me, me? Locked up!" He glared at the identical head of medium platinum blonde hair that glared in return with gray and tired eyes.

Seph's mother entered the room as if on cue a few moments later. She was crying and she forced Joseph into a hug. He didn't hug back, and the gentle trickle of her tears down his shirt excited him slightly. After all, a bitch got what she deserved in the mind of the adolescent. Which mind you, is downright peculiar. Seph's mother was a good-natured woman of high class origin, and even was a psychologist herself. Seph's only problem with her was that she concentrated more on her patients, and so he felt abandoned. She never seemed to notice. Then again, she wasn't very good at her job.

"Come on, Seph. I'm taking you to Elmhurst's. I know it's a few hours away, but I can't take you to where I work. It's against policy," she cooed as she patted down those blonde locks of his. "Go pack a bag. Bring only a few clothes, pajamas if you have any are the best. We'll buy you a new toothbrush, okay? You know I love you, right?"

"You just called me a fucked up little boy, and then you tell me you love me. You're a walking contradiction. Hmph. This is what happens when you fuck your way through medical school," Seph snorted as his mother's arms tightened around her. "One way or the other, if you don't fucking let go of me I'm not going to be able to pack a bag. And you damn well better be the one buying the new toothbrush." He pried himself free of her grasp, and she sunk onto the toilet sobbing silently. It brought that wicked smile back across his face, despite a slight pain in his stomach that rang of unfamiliar guilt. He ignored the pains.

Joseph pulled out a suitcase he'd used when he decided to run away (like he often did). He threw it on the bed and tossed in a bunch of random pajama pants, various plain white tops, his boxers, socks, and as many hooded sweaters as he could find. He went into the bathroom, finding his mother was no longer there, and dug through the almost barren cabinets. He faired well enough by stealing his mothers ugly purple hairbrush and the only tube of toothpaste, tossing in a metal bottle of cologne and some deodorant. That should be all he'd need next to the toothbrush.

He met his mother in the car, and threw his bag into the backseat. He buried his arms in his shirt as he pulled back his head, and out the driveway the car went. It was time to head to Elmhurst's Mental, the place that was about to change Joseph's way of life. Too bad he wasn't going to like it very much.

End Cause

The Effect

Elmhurst's was the smallest mental clinic around. The paint from the walls, of which were supposed to be lavender, had been chipped off by the patients to reveal the light blue, yellow, and lima bean colors beneath. The colors were nauseatingly dull, as was the whole atmosphere of the in-patient wing. The left hall was dedicated to girls, and only had four rooms and one of said rooms was a solitary room. Only one of boarding rooms in the girl's hall was currently being resided in, and the patient was a young girl by the name of Mae Lynn (as Joseph aptly found out during his 'tour').

After the girl's hall came a television/game room (named due to it's solitary gaming platform from the nineties). "The television isn't hooked up to cable, because we don't want our patients watching anything that could be potentially damaging," the male nurse in cartoon character scrubs informed Seph. "However, you'll find we've got a good collection of movies. They're all educational in some way, too." Seph could only roll his eyes at this.

The nurse, to prove his point, opened up the cabinet over the big screen television to reveal a rather large collection of movies. Seph ran his eyes over them, spotting several Disney movies. "How are those educational? Disney movies are the pinnacle of fooling children into false beliefs in happy endings. Not to mention they ruin the plots of perfectly good stories. And," stressed Seph as he finally got into movies not meant for the weak of mind. "-They're for illiterate crybabies who can't take that the Hunchback of Notre Dame most certainly dies in the end and that his love interest with a gypsy is completely one-sided since she's scared to death of him for him being a freak."

"Well," corrected the nurse pointedly. "We don't want anyone to thing that it's alright to not love someone because they're a little different, do we?" The nurse cast Seph a cocky smile and Seph definitely wanted to punch the man for a moment. There was something about the air in the place that just seemed to calm him down unnaturally. It could have been the fear of consequence, or it could have been the fact that mental clinics use a technique of altering the temperature of the building so that it's more relaxing. Mildly cold temperatures create a need for comfort that is easily granted, and also slows down reactions.

"Sure we do. If there really is a guy like the hunchback gettin' it on with some hot gypsy, then someone needs to slap that bitch around since she could definitely be fucking me. Or anyone else for that matter. Maybe even you, but judging by the pants, you're not used to that kind of attention. I'd say you're a preemie for sure," added Joseph irritably. He didn't like Elmhurst's already. "Not to mention, dude, but the only way that bitch would fuck him would be if he was extremely well-endowed. Which I'm highly doubting. Unless he's more mutant than I think."

The nurse, seeming unphased by Seph's poor attitude, continued on the tour. He showed Seph the payphone that he'd never use, the arts and crafts room, the men's bathroom, the enclosed balcony, the group therapy room, the three solitary therapy rooms, the cafeteria, and finally the boy's hall. Once more, this hall consisted of only four rooms and one of them was a solitary room. "There's only two other boys in this hall. Dimitri Jasli and Stanley Crow. We're supposed to be getting a new arrival soon, so you can pair up with one of them or have your own room. I suggest you just take your own room, even if you might get stuck with the new kid."

Deciding to go against the nurse's advice, if only to be a bastard, Seph nodded towards the first door on the right. "I'll take that one. It's closest to the bathrooms." The nurse nodded and then took Seph inside, where they soon found a boy just a little older than Seph with spiky black hair, green eyes, and ghostly pale skin. His bony fingers were clicking away at a three-dollar pocket poker game. He glanced up at the Seph and cast him a smile.

"I'm guessing this is the new kid, Dave?" said the bony boy with the beeping poker game. He tossed it to the side and gave Joseph a good hard look before crossing his arms. "He doesn't look too sickly to me. Eh. Mae's going to be happy she's got more 'eye candy' one way or another, eh?"

The male nurse, now known as Dave, gave a small laugh and pointed at the bed closest to the closet. "That'll be your bed, Seth."

"Seph," interrupted Joseph.

"Seph," spat out the nurse with a forced smile. "Yes. Seph. My mistake. Anyways, half of this closet belongs to you. We don't allow the use of hangers, and if you get anything new that we didn't see when we scanned your bag, you have to let us make sure it's allowed. Other than that, I'll leave you boys to introduce yourselves, and group therapy will start in about a half an hour. Afterwards, Seth-"

"Seph," corrected Joseph with a slight growl.

"That's what I said," spat Dave. "Afterwards, Seth, you have a session of personal therapy with your psychologist, and then your psychiatrist. You've already had all of yours today, Stan--"

At this, instead the bony child interjected. "Stanley. Stan is a crappy nickname. We've gone over this, Davy."

The nurse gave a sigh at being interrupted again but continued with a fake smile still on his face. "-then we all have arts and crafts, and then it's dinnertime. Got that, boys?"

"Got it," replied the bony child as he hopped out of his bed and slung his equally bony arm over Seph's shoulders. "Don't worry, now. I'll take good care of the new kid. I can't let him die before Mae can molest him."

Dave nodded and left as Seph pulled himself free of Stanley's bone arm. He sat his suitcase down and set about unpacking, feeling nervous as Stanley watched his moves like a hawk. After a few moments, Seph decided he couldn't resist saying something about it. "Why in hell are you staring at me? I'm not going to do a trick. I'm just unpacking."

Stanley gave pleasant laugh and smiled. "Damn, I was hoping you were. Naw, I was just trying to figure out if you brought clean underwear or not.--Just kidding again. My name's Stanley Crow. I'm the resident talking male. Apparently, I'm now not the only talking male."

Joseph threw his clothes messily into the shelves of the closet before turning around. "I thought there were two guys here?"

"Well, there are, but the other kid's name is Dimitri and he doesn't talk for shit. In fact, we're all pretty sure he doesn't speak English. He never has. He does mutter in his crazy language (of which someone said was Macedonian). Who the hell has heard of Macedonia, anyways? Seriously."

"Maybe he's a crazy terrorist," muttered Seph in an annoyed manner as he finished his second trip of throwing random crap on the shelves. "I bet that's why he doesn't talk. He doesn't want to give off his plans for some crazy ass attack. 'Ka-pow, die American scum!'"

"I asked him about that," answered Stanley with a completely serious tone. "He said he wanted to kill Bush, but I mean…it seems like everyone does. The crazy bastard. I wanted people to vote for Kerry, but I'm too young to vote still. A few more months though and I can sign myself out of this fucking place. Eighteen is on it's way--what, don't look at me that way," snorted Stanley as Joseph stopped packing altogether to stare at Stanley disapprovingly. "I didn't seriously ask if he was a terrorist, and mind you, even if I had he wouldn't of said anything I could understand. Besides, you totally started this conversation."

"You're insane," scoffed Seph as he continued his task of putting away his clothes. "Completely bats. I can see why you're in here. I'm only stuck here for a week. I just have to prove that I don't have a death wish, which seeing as I know how these people operate will be easy as fuck. You, on the other hand, are just plain crazy."

"You mistake friendliness for craziness. Wait 'til you meet some of the nurses. They'll put you in your place if you talk like that. Unless of course you like being heavily sedated. Signs of being extremely anti-social can keep you hear longer until you open up properly. So be nice, buckaroo, and enjoy the fuckin' ride.. It gets better as it goes along. Except arts and crafts. That's just a bitch. You have to participate. I can't even begin to count how many crappy little birdhouses I've had to pull out of my ass. I could seriously get a job as an arts and crafts tea--Mae!"

A girl with long black hair bounded in. Her eyes seemed almost black as well and it was clear even past her name that she was of Asian decent. She threw her arms around Stanley just as Seph threw his arms around his pillow and debating taking a nap on his messy and still clothes-ridden bed (if only to escape Stanley's rambles). "Great, we get a new person to encourage you to talk," mumbled Seph into his pillow as he caught himself pretending it was Stan.

"Crow! Guess what!" shouted the girl with an annoyingly high-pitched voice. "I got the pass from the psychologist so that we can all 'go home' this coming Wednesday. Just for a few hours, but hell, we get to visit someone outside of this place! Isn't that kick ass?"

"How on earth did you manage to let him agree to let us out, Mae?" blinked Stanley Crow, but Mae Lynn didn't answer as she suddenly climbed up onto the bed next to Seph. Seph cringed at the thought that his personal bubble had just been horribly mutilated, and so he glared into his pillow about it.

"Woot! New kid! Check you out, Gorgeous. I think you just walked out of my dreams," said Mae as she grinned down at Seph. He cringed slightly more, definitely becoming more and more mortified of the crazy people around him. "So, what's your name, Pretty Boy?"

"Joseph Daniel Parker," came the sound of snotty Dave again as he walked into the room. "But you can meet him formally later, Mae. You have therapy, and so do you, Seth." Joseph jumped up rather thankful, wondering how in hell thirty minutes had passed in such a short time, but not bothering to comment despite the fact that he was sure that his meeting with Stan couldn't of been more than five minutes. Seph followed Snotty Davy down to one of the private therapy rooms, as Mae made her way to her familiar one by herself.

Seph sat down and Davy turned to him once before leaving. "Sorry to mess up your schedule, but Dr. Joy wanted to see you sooner. Have fun, little Sethy. I'm sure you'll fit in to our happy society just fine." With that, Dave left and Joseph scrunched up his shoulders as he glared down at the floor.

"I think that bastard just called me Sethy."

End Effect

Yay for chapter one. Hehe. I love Seph already.