If you have the time to spare, then PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE review; I don't get very many comments and it really means a lot to know that someone has found my work.

This story is dedicated to Sarah Wood, who is quite possibly the love of my life.

Warnings: Child abuse, allusions to rape, violence, blood, eating disorders, references to self-harm, self-worth issues, alcohol, minors having sex, the fuck-word, suicide, abuse of italics, the word Albuquerque and BIG (NOT) GAY LOVE

Let it never be said that Gabriel Xylander lacks Mommy Issues. That's not to say that he's about to go have sex with her and then gouge out his eyes. But you don't have to be Oedipus to be a whirling cesspool of insecurity and abandonment issues. Gabriel is fairly certain that the first thing his mother ever said to him was that he wasn't supposed to cry because he's a man and men don't cry. In hindsight it was probably a misguided attempt to make him feel more masculine and 'grown-up' but he was three years old and it just made him want to cry more. To make matters worse, he ended up getting spanked when he told his sister the same thing when he was six. Gabriel thinks that if he just wrote "Miscommunication" on his forehead in big block letters, it would solve a lot of issues.

He was thirteen and he was supposed to be watching her, but fuck that shit. He drops her off at her boyfriend Emmet's house, and it's really brilliant because nothing bad can come of that. She has a crush on him and doesn't even know it yet, so he's doing her a favor really. When they get hitched he expects a fucking thank you note for his gross negligence. With his newfound freedom he hops on his bicycle and rides into town, pissing off drivers and pedestrians alike because everyone hates cyclists.

He stops when he reaches the skate park and leans his bike up against a bench and sits. It's kind of pathetic, but Gabe doesn't really have anywhere else to be and the people watching here is awesome. He wishes he could do some cool tricks like these guys, but Gabe was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his parents would probably ground him if they knew he was here. And not just because he pawned his sister off on their neighbors. But right now Gabriel wants to get out, he wants to think and this is the best and most amusing place to do it. He does it often.

However, it's not often that someone gets the bright idea to sit next to him. Gabe glances sideways about to snap at this hooligan for interrupting his thinking. The kid beats him to it.

"Do you like to watch, too?" he asks sounding sheepish.

Gabriel thinks he probably shouldn't come to the skate park anymore. "Dude, I'm flattered and all, but you're creeping me the fuck out. And also I don't swing that way."

The other guy's face pales. "Jesus, that's not… Me neither, I mean." He gestures towards the people in the park. "They do cool shit and I always felt weird for just watching but I don't know how to do any of that stuff and I have no one to teach me. And I've never seen anyone else out here just watching."

Gabriel is still creeped the fuck out. "Yeah, they're cool." But he also feels like less of a dork. "I don't really have the patience or willingness to break every bone in my body to learn how to do it," he adds.

The other guy laughs. "Me neither. I like my teeth where they are." When he smiles, Gabe notices he has braces on, the dork. "I, uh, I'm Collin."

"Gabriel," he responds, not sure whether he should reach out to shake the kid's hand or what. He doesn't, because he thinks it'd be weird to start touching a guy for no reason.

Collin stays on the bench and when it starts to get dark they go to McDonald's and get cheeseburgers. Gabe has to go through the hassle of walking his bike along next to Collin. It's annoying but the alternative is going home to his bratty sister so cheeseburgers it is. He learns, among other things, that he and Collin go to the same school, Collin is an only child and his favorite actor is Nichols Cage.

Gabriel chokes on his cheeseburger. "No, I said actor. Reevaluate your life choices, right fucking now," he demands.

Collin looks affronted. "Fine, who's your favorite actor, hotshot?"

"Vincent motherfucking Price." Gabriel doesn't miss a beat. He does pause, however, when Collin just looks at him blankly.

"Oh, dude, I have a lot to teach you," Gabriel says, immediately standing up, burger in hand and gesturing towards the door.

Collin follows him back home. Apparently his parents never taught him how not to be brutally murdered, and Gabriel sits him down in his basement and puts in The Last Man on Earth. Collin practically has a seizure when he realizes the movie is in black and white.

"Everything in this movie is old!" he cries out. Gabriel kind of wants to punch him.

"You mean classic."

By the time his parents come home Collin has reluctantly conceded that "Vincent motherfucking Price is kind of cool." Gabriel rewards him with a high five. Then the garage door opens and he's staring at both of his parents while they assess the situation.

"Who's this?" Gwen asks while Max demands "Where's Lori?"

Oops. "Not here," Gabe offers with a shrug.

Max blanches, leveling Gabriel with a cold glare while Collin sinks into the couch. "What do you mean not here." An angry vein pops up on Max's neck.

"Not in the house? I kind of just threw her out the door and left." Gabriel shrugs. I just abandoned my sister, no big deal.

Gabriel thinks Max is literally going to strangle him for a second. "Dude, chill. I just dropped her off at Emmet's." His parents like Emmet's parents.

Max deflates, if only slightly. "Were his parents there?"

Gabriel shrugs. "I kind of just dumped her in the front yard and left." Now they were back to the strangling look.

Max replies "I am going to go get my daughter. Gabriel, you have no idea the kind of trouble you will be in when I get back," and storms out.

Gwen just looks at the two boys sitting on her couch vacantly. "I'm Gwendolyn Xylander, and you are?" She offers her hand for Collin to shake.

"Collin," he offers meekly, shaking her hand.

Gwen smiles warmly, "Have you had dinner, Collin?"

Collin turns to Gabe, with an expression that says what the ever loving fuck. Gabe just shrugs, it seems to be a thing tonight. "Uh, yeah, Mrs. Xylander."

"It'd probably be best if you leave before my husband gets back. Do you need a ride home?" Gwen offers.

"No, Mrs. Xylander. I can walk," Collin replies, ever the gentleman.

"Are you sure?" Gwen puts on her sympathetic face.

Collin nods and gets up, awkwardly turning back to Gabe. "I'll, uh, see you later." He turns to Gwen. "You, too, Mrs. Xylander. Have a nice night?" He isn't really sure whether it's the right phrase to use, considering. But he smiles and leaves, very politely letting himself out.

What Collin doesn't know is that it isn't Max that Gabe is afraid of.

"What the fuck were you thinking, dumping your sister like a bag of trash?" Gwen shrieks, turning on Gabriel.

Gabriel is surprisingly resistant to the screaming. "I was thinking that I wanted to go have fun without her." There's really nothing he can say at this point to right the situation.

Gwen slaps him and the only thing Gabe can think is how the hell did she get over here so fast? "What the hell is wrong with you Gabriel?" She hits his shoulder. "You'd throw your own sister to the dogs for nothing!" His stomach. "You can't even get this one thing right!"

Gwendolyn is really not that fucking strong, it's not a walk in the park, but at thirteen Gabriel can take a beating. He just ignores her, because at this point it's really just tedious. When she's done Gabriel just looks at her, face stinging. "I'll be in my room," he mutters.

He stands up and walks the ten feet to what is pretty much a closet with a bed in it. It's the only quiet room in the entire damn house and Gabe loves it. He sinks down onto the bed and wraps himself in the covers and faces the wall. All in all, it's been a tiring day. Max comes home a few minutes later and demands he sit up and listen. Gabriel can't find the strength to move, so Max drags him up and yells at him for ten straight minutes on the value of family and how he's grounded and yada yada yada. Gabriel just nods and waits for him to leave so he can go the fuck to sleep.

All through Max's yelling, the only thing he can really hear is Gwen outside his door, telling Lorelai sweet nothings, asking her if she had fun with Emmet, if they treated her well. Lorelai just smiles and nods and Gwen practically melts at the sight. Yeah, Gabriel is the unfavorite, but somehow he doesn't really mind.

After Max is finished, and after Lorelai is put to bed, Gwen comes back to his room. She stands over his bed and looks down at him with sympathy. "Gabe?" she asks, even though she knows he's not going to respond. "Honey." Her voice is too sweet and Gabriel wants to claw his ears out for hearing it.

"You can't just leave your sister alone, sweetheart. She could have been hurt." Gabe knows this, and it makes his chest ache. "I'm not mad, I just need you to know that you have to be more considerate."

When Gabriel goes to school the next week, he finds himself looking around instinctively for Collin. They're not on the same team, so he doesn't see him until after school and what do you know. Their lockers are literally right across the hall from each other.

"Gabe!" Collin calls out in surprise when their eyes meet. Obviously he didn't think they'd be seeing each other again.

Gabe nods at him. "Collin," he replies.

Collin claps him on the shoulder, looking at him like he's seeing a ghost. "Dude, what happened after I left? Your dad looked like he was about to beat you." Gabriel would laugh at the irony if he was the laughing type.

"It really wasn't even a thing. Dad came home, yelled at me, took my phone away, I went to bed and dreamed of cheeseburgers dancing the Macarena. Nothing to brag about." Gabe shrugs and it is definitely his new favorite substitute facial expression.

"Well if that's not the most heartwarming story I ever heard," Collin drawls. "Do you have a bus to catch?" he asks.

Gabriel shakes his head. "No, I bike to school."

Collin gives him a funny look. "You really love using that thing," he comments.

"I have to keep my lovely figure somehow." Gabriel frowns, he likes his motherfucking independence, so what?

Collin shakes his head. "Well it's good, because we are going to celebrate the fact that you're still breathing." There is very obviously no wiggle room here.

"Oh yes? Do I see strippers and pizza in my near future?" Gabriel asks.

"Better than." Collin smiles wickedly.

And Gabriel soon finds out that his new friend needs to straighten out his motherfucking priorities because "A pony ride is not better than strippers and pizza! It's not even as good as one of them."

Collin looks disheartened as he holds the horse for his inspection. "I am not a thirteen year old girl," Gabriel huffs.

"Don't listen to that bastard, Magic, he's just cranky," Collin coos, shooting Gabe a glare. "You're hurting his feelings."

Gabriel steels his jaw. "And you're fucking insane. The horse doesn't even have tits."

"Because that would be appealing."

"I want my strippers damn it! Or food, that would be a nice substitute." Gabriel crosses his arms.

"Well sorry, but we're not leaving until you ride the damn pony." Collin throws out his ultimatum.

"You have to buy me dinner first." Gabriel throws out his.

"After. And I'm not spending more than five bucks," Collin concedes.

Gabriel feels a sense of pride at having won some ground. "Great. Now how do I get on this thing?" he asks, sizing the horse up warily.

Later that night Gabriel finds multitudes of pictures of him riding and falling off of a pony all over Facebook. Gabriel isn't too fazed, because this just gives him an excuse to return the favor when he has the chance. And he'd make sure he has that chance by sticking to Collin's side. It isn't at all a lame justification to make a friend.