Perseverance

By WrittenByRandom & Dead Caffeine Junkie

As they dragged me to my feet
I was filled with incoherence.
Theories of conspiracy
The whole world wants my disappearance.
I'll go fighting nail and teeth
You've never seen such perseverance.
Gonna make you scared of me
'cause haemoglobin is the key
.
- 'Haemoglobin,' Placebo

Chapter One

Nail bitten hands put down the already worse-for-wear paper and followed it with a sigh.

Homework just wasn't going to be done this week. Especially not maths homework; he could manage the finances for a complete household on his own but he couldn't find the angle of a goddamn triangleā€¦ ah, the irony.

Dainton McDevitt took a second to give his mind a break before he had another look over the problems. He ran both hands through uneven dirty blond hair (which immediately fell back irritatingly about his face, being chin cut and just long enough to get in his way with his head bowed) and covered his face with his hands for a minute. He was sooooo tired. He propped his chin on one hand, scanning the maths paper again with cola dark brown eyes, smudged underneath with tell-tale signs of lack of sleep. He wanted to put his head down and have a quick kip, despite the fact that he was at lunch and surrounded by his screaming peers, but now would be the only time he had to get this work done. Okay, so how the hell was he supposed to do this...?

Reilly Monahan entered the cafeteria in a bored mood. He didn't know why he still subjected himself to the shithole called school, when he was more than able to give the administration the finger and walk away with no consequences. Maybe, just maybe, he actually held a soft spot for the place.

Yeah. Right.

Sifting through his front pants pockets found him two nickels short of a milk. Scowling at the offending change, he shoved it back into his pocket and instead looked for a place to sit and a student to pester. Surveying the scene, his light eyes practically glowed at the sight of one bent, dirty-blond head. Target spotted, time to zero in on the kill.

"Hey, fag," he greeted almost casually, slapping Dainton on the back of the head before straddling the chair across from him. "Give me ten cents." He yawned lazily.

Dainton didn't even jump anymore. He didn't bother to look up from his work to see who it was, because he knew that voice anywhere. It belonged to the kid who'd made his life at school more of a hell than it should have been: Reilly.

"First of all, that wasn't sex, so what the hell am I paying you for? Second of all, isn't ten cents a bit pricey for someone like you? I mean you practically give it away free, Reilly, come on." Weak whore-reference joke, but he was tired, okay. And now his head hurt.

Reilly smirked briefly at Dainton's joke, then reached forward and slid the maths paper toward him, holding it up as if he had bad eyesight and squinting at it, out of Dainton's reach. "Jesus, McDevitt, are you really this stupid or do you get off on failing? Let's see, that's wrong, that's wrong, oh look... wrong, too. Fucking moron, give me some money." He crinkled up the paper, threatening to throw it away if Dainton didn't do as he commanded.

Dainton leant back and stared back at Reilly dispassionately. He really couldn't deal with this today, but to show that would be suicide. Heh. "I'm not the one who failed twice, Monahan. Don't go projecting your sick and twisted fantasies onto me; as if you'd be able to see what's wrong on that paper, the best you can do is hold the damn thing the right way up." Like he was going to give Reilly money. Like he had money...

The gleam in Reilly's eyes turned decidedly sinister. His mouth twisted, not leaving Dainton's face as he unfolded the piece of paper and spit in it, crumpling it back up, scooting back off the chair and tossing it in the nearest trash can, all the while not breaking eye contact with Dainton. He left without a word.

Dainton stared back at Reilly as he trashed his homework. Watched him leave with an odd feeling of drowning in his chest and decided that he'd really had too much. He couldn't continue at school today, he'd end up a mess on the floor. There was too much to do at home and too much to do here and he couldn't deal today, so he signed out sick (easy enough as he looked ghoulish) and walked home.

--

He opened his front door with his key and stepped into the mail. Damn. He'd kind of hoped his mum would have a good day today, maybe even have cooked his tea. But this crushed that hope. He picked up his mail (mostly bills) and walked in, going upstairs to put his bag in his room and felt like crying when he saw that the house was in a bigger tip than when he'd left it. "Mum?" he called, wandering into her room. The curtains were pulled and he could see her lying under the covers, curled up. He ran a hand through his hair and hoped that she'd be nice today, if not active. "Hey mum... I'm home," he said softly, going over to her side of the bed and shaking her arm gently. "Mum."

Vacant eyes slowly opened, turning zombie-like at the sound of Dainton's voice. She didn't say anything; she didn't even look like she registered her son was standing in front of her. There was spittle on her chin, and she wiped at it half-heartedly, coughing as she tried to sit up. "Dainton." It took three tries to say his name. "What are you doing home this time of day?"

He was surprised she knew the time. "My teachers for the next few classes aren't taking them, so we were allowed to come home," he lied smoothly, wiping her face with the palm of his hand gently. "What did you do today, Mum? Downstairs is a mess..."

Sometimes he wished she'd help him more. Not even that she'd start treating him like the kid for a change, but just that she wouldn't make things harder for him than they were already. Then he felt bad for thinking that of her... it wasn't her fault she was mentally sick. He loved her, he did; it was just sometimes she made him feel like screaming or crying or both.

Her face crumpled, lines deep becoming deeper as she sought to think. "I..." she hesitated. "I couldn't find... I couldn't find..." She became a repeating, looping record, hitched on one phrase and broken, jumping back to its previous spot and moving forward endlessly, hop skip jump, hop skip jump, on and on. Becoming agitated at her loss of memory, she hit at her head, as if that would jog it, and the record would play on. "GodDAMMIT!" she cried, her face screwing up like that of a child's.

Dainton took her hand and petted her hair soothingly. Damnit, she was in one of those moods. "It's okay, Mum. I'll have a look while I'm cleaning, okay?" He knew there wasn't anything there. She could have been being paranoid, looking for spy cameras, or she could have just plain thrown a temper tantrum and trashed the place, it didn't really matter. "You hurt anywhere?" he asked her methodically, mentally arranging what he had to do.

Clean first, clean the kitchen, make Mum tea if she's hungry, shit I need to do a wash, okay, do a wash while she's eating, make up THIS room, sort out the bills, oh FUCK its Tuesday. Okay, clean, make mum's tea, go to work, come back, THEN do a wash, do the bills, eat, bed. The idea of it all made him feel dizzy, but he suppressed it. That odd broken-off, panicky feeling was hovering about and he couldn't give in to it.

Dainton watched his mum and sighed. He hated when she got into these incoherent moods; more than when she was in her scarily happy, smiling manic moods, when she'd hug him too hard and too tight and make him food that she didn't know he liked; or when she was in her angry moods and spoke through gritted teeth and hit him if he said the wrong thing and threw things around and screamed obscenities and curses at him; or when she was in those moods when she criticized him for everything he did wrong and blamed him for her situation; or the moods where she eyed him with suspicion and poked around behind him to make sure he wasn't setting up spy cameras or anything like that; or even the moods where she sat still and cried silently, refusing to even move or look at him.

He could see the most clearly how crazy she was when she was in these moods, her most disjointed schizophrenic, with slurred confused speech. Sometimes she didn't know who he was in these moods. The only times that were worse were when she tried to kill herself, which she did roughly once every three months; poisoning or overdosing. Every single time. Luckily he'd always reached her before she'd done anything permanent.

He tugged the covers over her more securely, smoothed her hair back and kissed her on the head before he went out and closed the door. He leant back against the door frame and put his head in his hands, willing the flood of everything not to crash down on him as he balanced for a second on hysterics. But he overcame it, as he usually did and moved fast to get dressed out of his uniform and ready to go to work; after cleaning the mess downstairs and making his mum's dinner, of course.

--

Work was terrible. He couldn't concentrate from the sheer exhaustion he felt, which made everything dissolve like oil on water before his eyes. Eventually, the irritated shift manager put him on stocking shelves and let someone else take over his till. His new position wasn't much better; he stacked two whole rows of tins upside down until he realised what he was doing and had to restack them all over again. He directed at least three people to the wrong area when they asked for something and fell asleep leaning against the wall on his ten minute break.

When he left for home he was told he'd better have his act together by Thursday. He wondered if the shift manager thought he was on pot. He fell asleep on the bus on the way home and overshot his stop by two others, so he had to walk an extra twenty minutes to get back home.

He got back at a quarter to ten thanks to the bus problems. He planned to just do the wash and leave the bills for tomorrow. He felt so tired he could cry, so shattered that he decided he'd just crawl into bed without dinner. He couldn't wait for the day to be over and when he let himself in, carrying three bags of shopping with him, he wished for his mother to have had another mood swing and have done the wash for him so he could just go to sleep, as he always wished. It rarely came true.

The sight that greeted him nearly sent him to his knees. It was like he'd gone back in time, like all the cleaning he'd done before leaving had undone itself. He wondered if he'd just dreamt cleaning the house before until he saw the slight difference that made him realize- it hadn't been a dream. She'd just done it again. He leant back against the door with a low whine that you usually only heard from dying animals

Obviously, this had been a paranoid attack; the pictures were torn down from the walls, the cheap and tacky ornaments that she'd bought when they caught her eye in one of her more manic moods were lying in shards all over the place, the phone was nowhere to be found. He walked, with numb steps, into the kitchen to see if it had been spared. It hadn't.

The fridge had been ransacked, the things inside it pulled out and left in a schizophrenic casserole on the floor, packaged things mingled with broken eggs and spilt milk. The freezer door hung open above the fridge, thawing quietly to itself as the frozen food melted in a wet puddle into the collage of everything else on the floor.

Dainton stood and stared and couldn't move for what felt like his lifespan so far. The bags fell out of his nerveless fingers as he swayed, catching himself on the counter top. All those days, months, years of this life, over and over again, all the same. He had no one to turn to, no friends, no social support, only his mother, stuck in this damaged house with his crazy mother... all the times he'd helped her and fucking hell, he was trying to run a household, look after an invalid, hold down a job, get an education AND deal with being a teenager all at once and he had to come home to THIS.. He felt like he was having a heart attack, his head full of white noise until he couldn't hear what he was thinking. He felt cold for a little while, and then he felt nothing.

The next thing he was aware of was the feeling of a beans tin under his ankle. He moved it a little, and then wondered why his jeans leg was so damp. He looked himself over and saw the blood swathed over his arm, smeared nearly pink across the cabinet doors. He couldn't seem to be able to lift his head. His arm ached. Deep. Oh. He'd better put that bloody bread knife in the dishwasher and back in the knife block before his mum saw it and had ideas...

It was his last thought for a while. He wasn't even conscious when his mother found him.

--

Dainton woke up feeling sick and still tired. He was hooked up to something, some machine, and this wasn't right. He had things to do. He tried to sit up and saw the IV drip and then he remembered what had happened last night, in an oddly detached way, like it had been a movie. Oh. He'd tried to commit suicide. He pressed the button for the nurse.

'Can I go home now? On purpose? No, I slipped on the floor and must have done it on the way down... yes, I felt round to catch myself and it was lying on the counter.' Gotta get back home and make sure mum's okay, how'd she manage to get me here? Good mood? Had to be... still. 'Please can I go home? My mum's sick. She has the flu. I promise I didn't... an appointment with the counselor? If it makes you feel betterā€¦' Won't have time for it. Might keep the card anyway though, just in case. 'Yes, thank you. Goodbye to you, too. Yes, you too. Goodbye.'

And he was home. The first thing he did when he got back, apart from seeing his mum, was clean the mess still left uncleaned. He scrubbed at the bloodstains with bleach and they eventually grew fainter, though he doubted it'd ever come off all the way. It had sunk into the fake plastic grain.

He decided to take the day off from school tomorrow; he had too much to catch up on around the house. At least now he'd had some sleep.

----

Author's Notes: If I can keep up my schedule, this story will update at least every other day. It's about time P made it to FP haha.