So yeah. Trigger warnings. This short story is definitely not all fluff and rainbows and kittens...kind-of the exact opposite.
This takes place around the middle of Riker and Jeff's sophomore year of high school, to give reference. Though, this part of their lives is talked about a few times in the main story, this is just elaborating on it because the idea had been rolling around in my head for a while.
So, I guess, proceed with caution.
~Also, I noticed how in the picture I have up for this story, one guy has his sleeve up while the other has his sleeve down. How freaking accurate *sigh*
It was the last class of the day. Riker was slumped over his desk, chin rested on his arms which were crossed over the surface of the desk. George was next to him, doodling on his paper as the teacher rambled on about something in history none of them cared about. Riker could hear Lily and Jamie giggling and talking at the desk behind them, but he really didn't care at the moment.
Riker pulled on the sleeves of his shirt slightly, feeling the fabric pull against the scabs on his wrists. He didn't mind though. He was all too used to that feeling after almost two years. Though, the fabric brushing against his skin made the scabs itch slightly. Riker huffed out a breath, refusing to scratch at the scabs. He didn't want them to break open.
George sighed next to Riker, clicking his pen shut. Riker ignored him, not really wanting to start a conversation about what might happen at soccer practice later. Lily and Jamie were still whispering to each other and George shifted slightly to join their conversation, being careful not to let their teacher notice.
Riker realized he should probably get involved in some conversation too, because when he was left alone to think, he thought too much, and his own thoughts were his enemies at this point. He immediately started thinking about his dad, and that was never a good path. Images from his reoccurring dream of the day his dad had died immediately start flashing through his mind, making him close his eyes tightly, trying to make them go away. They only got worse though and Riker took a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself down. He clutched at the sleeves of his shirt and wanting to just go back to his room. He knew Jeff wouldn't be there yet because Jeff's last class went later than his, though Jeff might have set up other precautionary measures, especially because of when he had walked into the room to discover Riker was going to try and drown his sorrows in alcohol he had found.
Then, the bell rang. Riker jumped slightly and his eyes snapped open. George looked over at Riker, eyebrows knit together with confusion. Riker just sighed and pushed up from his chair, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. Lily and Jamie were looking at him too, expressions concerned.
"You okay, Riker?" Jamie asked. Riker just nodded, pushing his bangs out of his face, but making sure his shirt sleeve wouldn't move up too much.
"You sure?" Lily asked.
"Yeah, I'm just tired," Riker replied.
"Go sleep then," George said, nudging Riker in the direction of his room. Riker just nodded, adjusting his bag on his shoulder and then heading towards his room. A few of his friends smiled and waved as they passed, and Riker waved back, putting on a fake smile.
Once he got back to the room he shared with Jeff, he shut the door and then collapsed against it, throwing his bag in the direction of his desk. He took a deep breath and pressed the heels of his palms to his eyes, trying not to cry. He failed though, tears leaking out from beneath his eyelids and rolling down his cheeks. He took another breath and moved his hands away from his face and then crawled over towards his bed and pulled himself up onto it.
He immediately reached under his bed and searched around for the familiar box. He had no idea how Jeff hadn't found it yet, because he knew Jeff had searched around the room for it many times between the past year and a half living in a dorm with Riker. Riker pulled out the box and opened it, shifting the pictures of him and his father around before finding what he really wanted that was down at the bottom of the box wrapped in a tissue. He pulled it out, the metal glinting in the sunlight filtering through the blinds.
Riker took a deep breath and pushed one of the sleeves up, exposing his wrist. Scars were scattered across his wrist, along with a few healing cuts. He took another deep breath, pressing the metal to his skin. Then, he hissed out, biting down on his lip. He looked down and winced, still biting his bottom lip. He knew this was bad. It looked deep, which meant it was deep.
He took in a sharp breath, trying to ignore the pain that was actually unusual for when this happened…which was another sign the cut was too deep. He looked down at his bed and sighed. Then, he carefully pushed himself up from his bed and walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. He let out a shuddering breath and then leaned against the wall of the bathroom and slid down it so he was sitting on the floor. Pain was still shooting up his arm and he tried to take calming breaths, but he ended up just starting to feel tired. He took another deep breath and closed his eyes, resting his head back against the wall and allowing his vision to go black.
Jeff was wiggling around in his seat, trying to avoid Lauren's fingers as she tried to poke his side. They were in their last class of the day and ready to be out, especially since the weather was nice out and it was a Friday. Lauren giggled and reached out to try and poke Jeff's side again, but he reached out and slapped her hand away from his side, giggling also. Their teacher didn't seem to notice their distraction, but he didn't seem to notice any of the others goofing off either.
"Okay, I'll stop now," Lauren finally giggled.
"Good," Jeff replied, sticking his tongue out at her. She smiled and pat his cheek.
"So, what do you want to do after this?" she asked. Jeff huffed out a breath, blowing his bangs out of his face.
"Well, I'm gonna check on Riker because he seemed a little out of it today, and then I will probably just hang around outside," Jeff replied.
"Sounds good," Lauren said. "I should bring out my bubbles."
"Yes!" Jeff whispered excitedly, clapping his hands together quietly once. Lauren smiled and rolled her eyes, leaning over to kiss Jeff's cheek as he giggled. "Only a few more minutes and then we're free for the weekend."
"Yep," Lauren breathed out in agreement. "First weekend in a while we don't have to go to set, too."
"I know. I'm so happy," Jeff replied, smiling widely as he shoved his pen into his backpack. Lauren smiled and pat his cheek again as the bell rang.
"Alright. I will catch you in a few. I will be outside with bubbles, and probably some of the others," Lauren said.
"Mkay. I will be out soon enough," Jeff replied, smiling and waving to her as he headed off towards his dorm.
"Jeff!" Jamie suddenly called out.
"Hey, Jamie," Jeff replied, turning around to meet her.
"Where you headed to?" Jamie asked.
"My dorm. I'm gonna drop off my bag and try and find Riker," Jeff replied.
"He should be in your room. He told us he was tired and headed off in the direction of your room," Jamie said. Jeff's eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened.
"Did he seem out of it at all?" Jeff asked. Jamie nodded in response, lips pressed together. Jeff swore under his breath. He knew the signs well enough to gather what had happened. "Thanks, Jamie. I'll catch you later."
"Is everything okay?" Jamie asked.
"Yeah, just…I'll see you later," Jeff said before waving and hurrying off towards his dorm, hoping his gut was wrong. He passed a few other people on the way, but ignored them except for a small wave. He needed to get back to the room.
When Jeff got to the room, he practically threw the door open. He looked around, panicking, barely noticing Riker's bed over the fact that Riker was not actually in the room. He dropped his bag to the floor by his desk.
Then, he looked over at Riker's bed.
Jeff almost fell to the ground, already choking on a sob. Next to a small box that contained pictures of Riker and his father was blood. Within the blood there was a razor that had blood along the edge of it.
"Riker!" Jeff called out, voice shaking. He started panicking even more, panting slightly, as the room remained silent. Tears welled up in his eyes and spilled over. "Riker! Where are you?"
Once again, there was no response. Jeff looked around, noticing the bathroom door was shut. He jumped over to it and threw the bathroom door open. This time, Jeff did fall to the ground. He caught himself on his hands and knees and crawled over towards Riker, gasping and crying.
"No, no, no, no," Jeff rambled, reaching Riker's side.
Riker was slumped against the wall and unconscious, left arm exposed and bleeding. Jeff reached out and shook Riker's shoulder, trying to gain some sort of response from his friend.
"Riker. Riker, wake up, please," Jeff cried, shaking Riker's shoulder again. Riker's head rolled to the other side, brows knitting together. Jeff let out a relieved sigh, because at least he knew he could get to Riker eventually. "Riker, come on. Wake up, Riker. Wake up, please."
Riker let out a small groan, eyebrows knitting together a bit more. Jeff grabbed at Riker's right hand, squeezing tightly, letting Riker know he was there.
"Come on. You can do it. Wake up, please. Wake up for me," Jeff pleaded, using both his hands to squeeze onto Riker's right hand.
"Jeff?" Riker mumbled. Jeff let out a relieved sigh and let out a small sob.
"Yeah, Riker. It's me," Jeff replied. "I'm gonna let go of your hand quick, okay?"
"Mmh," came Riker's muffled response, eyes still closed. Jeff quickly grabbed a washcloth and got it wet before dropping back down to Riker's side and pressing the washcloth to the cut along Riker's exposed arm. Riker let out a hiss and tried to curl up defensively.
"No, Riker, don't. This is going to help, okay?" Jeff asked, panic evident in his voice.
"Hurts," Riker whined, letting out a small sob.
"I know, Rike. I know," Jeff said, searching around the bathroom for something to tie on Riker's arm above the cut. He saw a ribbon Lily had left on the sink a few days ago and quickly grabbed it and tied it onto Riker's arm.
"Tired," Riker breathed out.
"I know, but you have to stay awake, Riker. You have to," Jeff said, fumbling around in his pockets for his phone before dialing 911. Once it connected, Jeff started rambling. "Please, my friend. He needs to get to the hospital soon. He cut too deep…Riker no, stay awake."
"Alright, where are you?" the person on the other side of the line asked.
"Westtown school. Main dorm on the fourth floor. Room ten," Jeff gasped out.
"Alright, paramedics will be there soon," the person said.
"Thank you," Jeff replied before they hung up and he returned his full attention to Riker.
"Tired," Riker repeated, slumping down the wall a bit more.
"No, Riker, you have to stay awake. Come on, you can stay awake, for me," Jeff cried, clutching at Riker's right hand, which seemed to be mostly unresponsive. Riker let out a deep breath, slumping down the wall even more. Jeff choked out a sob, trying to pull Riker back up the wall.
"Come on, you have to stay awake. Don't leave me. Don't leave me, Riker, please," Jeff sobbed. Riker didn't really respond, except for the fact that his fingers moved slightly beneath Jeff's. Jeff continued up his stream of talk as he cried, waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
Once they did, everything seemed to move in fast forward for Jeff. One second they were in their dorm room, and the next they were in the ambulance. Jeff was clinging tightly to Riker's right hand, Riker's fingers moving slightly against Jeff's. Jeff kept talking to Riker, pleading with Riker to stay with him as he cried. Though, after a few minutes, Riker's hand went slack in Jeff's and Jeff started to cry even harder, holding on to Riker's hand tighter even though Riker probably didn't even notice since he had slipped into unconsciousness.
When Riker woke up, he was completely confused. He didn't remember anything passed when he had blacked out against the bathroom wall. He slowly opened his eyes, blinking at the bright light and the bright walls. He looked around, eyebrows knitting together as his sleepy brain tried to register where he was. There was beeping sounds coming from somewhere near him, but he couldn't understand what it was. His left arm was stinging, and that was about the only thing he understood. Nothing else made sense.
Then, he saw Jeff.
Jeff was curled up on a chair, which was probably uncomfortable. His chin was tucked against his chest and his hands were draped lazily over an arm of the chair. His feet were slipping off the edge of the chair, knees pulled up to his chest. He seemed to be asleep, his dirty-blonde hair a mess and bangs falling across his forehead and eyes, which seemed to be a bit red around the edges.
Riker took a deep breath and looked around, trying to figure out where he was and what time it was. The more he looked around, the more evident he was that he was in a hospital. Everything smelled like cleaner and the beeping seemed to be coming from a heart monitor. He figured Jeff must have gotten him to the hospital somehow, but he had no idea what exactly had happened.
Then, Riker looked over as he heard Jeff take in a deep breath. Jeff let out a small whimper, shifting in the seat as if he was trying to get more comfortable. He obviously wasn't successful, because a few seconds later he huffed out a sigh, groaning. He pushed his bangs out of his face and yawned, dropping his feet heavily to the floor and letting his arms drop limply to the sides of the chair. He yawned again and then blinked his eyes open. He looked around, eyes coming to a stop at Riker before moving on.
Then, Jeff did a double take, eyes widening.
Jeff let out a small sob and then jumped up, running over to Riker and pulling Riker to his chest. Riker allowed Jeff to pull him into a tight hug and wrapped his own arms around Jeff, closing his eyes as Jeff started crying against his neck.
"Thank god, I was so worried," Jeff cried. Riker just held Jeff tighter, closing his eyes tightly as tears began to roll down his cheeks.
"I'm sorry," Riker choked out as Jeff held onto him tightly. "I didn't mean to, I'm sorry."
"It's okay, just don't scare me like that again," Jeff replied, leaning away to place his hands on Riker's cheeks and look Riker in the eye. Riker just sniffed and nodded as Jeff wiped tears off of his cheeks. "Riker, I want you to promise me you won't cut anymore."
"Jeff…" Riker started.
"No, I need you to promise me, Riker. I can't go through this anymore. I can't watch you destroy yourself anymore. It kills me. I'll do anything. If you want to, come find me, okay? Drag my ass out of class, I don't care, just promise me you'll stop," Jeff pleaded, leaning forward to press his forehead to Jeff's. Riker let out a choked sob, closing his eyes and pressing his forehead into Jeff's even more, reaching up to latch onto Jeff's wrists. "Riker, please. Promise me."
"I promise," Riker choked out, coughing slightly. Jeff let out a relieved sigh.
"Thank you," Jeff whimpered. "I can't stand to lose you, okay? I love you."
"I love you too," Riker cried, pulling Jeff to his chest. Jeff let out a sob, allowing Riker to pull him in and wrapping his own arms around Riker's chest.
They both continued to cry and Jeff reached up to kiss Riker's cheek. Riker sniffed and held Jeff tighter, both of them still whispering that they loved each other over and over.