Okay, random little thing I came up with. It's strange, but I kinda like it.

Going Places and Standing Still

He's a cringing, messed up wreck of a human being. But really, people say, who can blame him. Never had a lucky day in his life, the poor boy. They shake their heads, sigh and look on in pity. He forgets to care, sometimes. Really, at this stage and in the places he stays, it's okay for him to be a mess.

She's always going to be places, folks say. She has the looks, the talent and the ambition she needs. Her family isn't upper class, but she has big dreams and bigger scams, and she is going to make it. She smiles at the well wishers and tosses her hair. Really, from where she's standing, the world is hers.

He doesn't fight back these days. Another bruise isn't going to make a difference, and sometimes they leave him alone. It's no fun taking a ragdoll out back for a beating. The barkeep hands him a free shot of whiskey for the pain when it's over, and gives him the usual look of barely concealed pity.

She makes it to university, and doesn't stop at the bottom. She works hard, but never struggles for her grades or friends, and sooner rather then later, she's almost at the top and still rising. Things click into place for her, and folks back home are proud as punch.

It's raining the first time he sees her. He's at the bus stop, nursing an arm that feels broken, and she stands next to him. She's holding an umbrella, but her shoes are damn near ruined. He looks back down, and studies his own. They were ruined long before, but they don't stand out so much on him. He lets her get on the bus first, because she's mostly dry and he's already a drowned rat. He tries not to be surprised when she thanks him.

She doesn't quite know what to make of the boy at the bus stop, but she doesn't dwell on it. Her shoes, that she saved up for and everything, are wrecked almost beyond repair and she's already late for her lecture. The boy doesn't seem to mind being ignored, lets her get on the bus first, and smiles behind his flinch when she thanks him.

He sees her next when she's out with friends. He doesn't interrupt her, and instead slips out the door. It's too early to be as drunk as he is, and he needs to go home.

She spots him in the corner shop one morning with her best friend. She's sporting the worlds worst hangover, and they're out of everything in the flat. He's sitting on the counter, with a busted lip and a fresh black eye. The shop keeper has given him ice and is looking at him in pity. Her friend cringes at the sight of him, but he meets her eyes and she can't help but blush.

He speaks to her for the first time in the porch of some random hotel. It's storming outside, and he hadn't dared stay out. He tries not to jump at the rolling of the thunder, but can't help the shakes. It's times like this that he actually feels like the mess people say he is. She comes over, asks him if he's alright, and he stares, dumbfounded, for several seconds, before a loud crash makes him jump so badly that she does too.

She finds it somewhat funny that he's afraid of thunder. She doesn't know why. She used to love watching the rain and the lightening roll across the plains back home, and her daddy always said that thunder was God moving the furniture. She tells him that, but it doesn't seem to help, so she sits with him and tells him about her studies, and her dreams, and he listens. When the storm dies down some, she gives him her umbrella and tries not to laugh at the look of bemused gratitude on his face.

He shows up in the campus cafe sometimes now, and wonders why she's always glad to see him. The rest of the room looks at him with the usual badly concealed pity, but she fusses over him, and tells him stories and never seems to mind that he almost never contributes. He still can't bring himself to fight back when her friends push him around, or away, and often leaves after half an hour anyway. She always hugs him goodbye, no matter what state he's in, and he smiles even though he can't help but flinch.

She's the one who asks him out the first time, to her graduation ball. He looks at her with something like genuine terror on his face, but he shows up anyway, in a borrowed shirt and tie, and somehow manages to look charming despite the faded bruises and general scruffiness. Her parents turn their noses up, and the folks that came up from back home stare in disbelief. He tells her afterwards that he's nowhere near good enough for her. She doesn't believe him when he tells her he's not her knight in shining armor, he's just a mess. She shakes her head, takes his hand and tells him she'll be the judge of what she wants, if he wants her that is. She can't believe the sudden rush of terror that clenches her heart when he pauses.

He can't understand her, not really. And he doesn't know a damn thing about love. He just knows that he's mixed up in too many bad things to ever really make her happy. He tells her that, and she looks hurt, confused, as if she actually thought this could work and doesn't understand why he doesn't. He shakes his head, tells her that he can't love her, and leaves. There's something downright pathetic about this.

She doesn't see him for months afterwards, until she's sees the papers on morning in June. Now he's not here anymore and she throws herself into her new job with all the determination she had in university. She has never stayed at the bottom long, and she climbs fast. She always was going places, folks back home always said.

He avoids her after that night, drowns out the nagging feeling of self disgust with alcohol. He goes back to all his old haunts, and takes everything that comes with that. He takes a knife to the throat early one morning, and is found in the gutter a week later. He never had a lucky day in his life, people said.

So, there you have it? R&R, pretty please?

Horrorjunkie666