When she first saw the scars, the knife, the blood, she couldn't believe it. She refused to believe it. To see her closest friend stained by tears, stained by blood and broken down in a heap on the floor. To see that the one person she thought she understood was now a complete enigma to her. Wiping at her eyes and at the tears that refused to disappear, she left the room silently. Her friend never even noticed that she was there.

It wasn't that she was afraid of the self-mutilation, the self-destructive personality that her friend had. She had attempted to do the same herself, but the kitchen blade had been too dull, too blunt, and as she had slid the knife across her arm, weeping, no blood was shed. She had been far too afraid, too weak to make that first incision, too pathetic to let the guilt and self-pity wash away. She had cried herself to sleep that night, hugging her pillow closely as she silently searched in her mind for someone who would understand. She had slept. And in the morning, sanity and ugly, rational thought had returned.

Now she knew that she could never be like her friend. The pain in her friend's eyes, the soft whimpering as he collapsed in a heap, the blood on his arms, that image had scarred her for life, her own internal wound, which bled, and wept. She would never need to do this now. Seeing that pain in her friend was punishment enough. And she could not bring that pain into others by forcing them to watch her fade away.

She kept her distance from him after that. He was a complete stranger to her now, not the boy she once knew. She knew that with each sharp remark, each time she turned away from him, she was adding a new scar to his wrists. But how could she stop? It's wasn't the physical pain that hurt so much, anyway.

How she wished she could end this eternal torment. She was weak. Unable to stop herself from hurting him. Unable to stop him from hurting himself. She wanted to just jump off a bridge and die - it would be so easy, so painless, and with her death she would stop others suffering. But she was too weak. Too helpless. So unable to stop herself from hurting others, as she wasn't willing enough to do the one thing she could to help. Each cutting remark left a scar on her soul, and added another sleepless night to both of them.

The next time she saw him, weak and defenceless, she couldn't turn away. Not when he hadn't finished. She watched, transfixed as he thrust the blade expertly, his blood slowly dripping onto the cold stone floor. Later, he would clean it up, but for now his eyes were tight shut, focused on not focusing. With each cut, she flinched, at the same time mentally taking notes to attempt the same act in the future. She stood her ground as he looked up, and as their tear-stained eyes met, she could almost believe that she understood him again.

But that was just another illusion.