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    Demiurge
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Mental Health will be discussed. I will flag specific chapters where it is heavier than others

I Hate This Town - 9. Chapter 9: Ouch

*Injuries mentioned

*Mental health

Alec had known the minute he opened his window that his parents would ruin his life even more when he got back home. His earlier lockdown now seemed relaxed in comparison. For the first two weeks after his night adventure with Finn, he had no communication with the outside world. He lost phone privileges, computer privileges, and anything else his parents could think of on the fly. He'd been incredibly upset when his father had taken his bedroom door off its hinges. His chores had doubled and his mother had forced him into weekly meetings with their pastor. It was brutal. He didn't get to know how River’s art camp was going. He was cut off from his best friend and boyfriend.

He felt so isolated, that most days he could barely keep himself from breaking down. Worst of all, was not being able to see or at least talk to Finn. They finally made progress, but now it hurt Alec more that he couldn't see the other boy. He missed things that had seemed silly when he hadn't been an involuntary shut-in. Like the good morning and good night messages. Finn’s bright moods and near constant compliments had been the best parts of his day. For the first time he could remember, he felt special. Alec felt like a real person. Not just an extension of his parents.

After two weeks, his father convinced his mother that he should slowly be allowed basic human rights again. Emphasis on slowly. He was allowed his phone for a few hours a day and he could leave the house if he was with a parent. All his messages were fair game, though. His parents read through them all. It was awful and still made Alec feel crazy, but at least he got to talk to Finn and River.

At the one month mark, he got his phone back full time with the condition that they'd still be checking it whenever they wanted. It also meant he got to leave the house. With a curfew of five. Alec wasn't even allowed to leave until after lunch at noon. At most, he'd have four and a half to four total hours free of his house and parents.

“Why don't you leave when they're both at work?” River asked, lounging on top of the picnic table in the park they were in. Finn was late and Alec was starting to worry. It was already three and his walk home was 20 minutes.

“My mom calls on her breaks to make sure I'm home when I say I am. Plus, if I don't get all my chores done, they'll limit my freedom again.” Alec sighed, dropping his hand from making air quotes. He nudged his skateboard away with his toe before dragging it back to himself.

“Where's your knight with his valiant, rusty steed?” River asked, pushing his hair out of his eyes.

Alec ran his fingers over his jeans and resisted the urge to pout, “Not sure. Maybe running late at work?”

River nodded and rested his hands on the sketchbook balanced on his stomach. The things he'd drawn at camp were beautiful and he only seemed to get better as more time passed. Flipping through the pages, Alec had been amazed at his friend’s talent and a little upset that River’s mother refused to acknowledge it. He'd even done a rough sketch of Alec while they talked and waited. It was in Alec’s hands now and he had a hard time believing his friend had churned it out in only an hour and a half.

Alec was starting to grow more restless and a little annoyed. Where was Finn? They were going to miss their time together!

River shifted to a sitting position, resting his jaw on his hand, “What's the reasoning behind the clothes and dye?”

Alec frowned. It was another condition. He had to start acting more “respectable”. Which roughly translated to his clothes turning into plain blue jeans and T shirts or polos. He'd been made to take out all his piercings and they'd cut his hair much shorter before dying it back to his normal dark brown. He hated it. He hated everything. The way he looked, his parents’ ridiculous rules, and ultimately his parents altogether. He rested his forehead against his knees after bringing his feet up on the bench he was sitting on.

“Conform or risk more punishment,” he said.

“Bro, there's gotta be something we can do. This has to be abuse! I know they're your parents, but good God!” River scowled up at the sky and Alec didn't know what to say.

“Hey! Why so gloomy?” Alec ignored the heat in his cheeks and his uneasy stomach as he turned to see Finn jogging to them from the parking lot.

“Where is your truck?” Alec asked in confusion.

“Uh, broke down. It's at home. Milo's trying to fix it.” Finn grinned and shrugged, wiping sweat from his forehead.

“Did you run all the way here!?” River gasped as he sat up. Alec glanced from his friend to Finn, frowning. Sure, he'd been disappointed, but now he just felt bad. How far had Finn had to run? It was a fair distance from his family's bakery to the park and an even farther distance from Finn's house.

“Only from the store. I rode with my dad to work. He's still there, so uh, yeah. Got a jog in! Cardio!” Finn smiled but it did nothing to hide the fact that he was still panting a little bit. River laughed, throwing himself backwards on the picnic table.

“Oh wow, so whipped in such a short amount of time!” Alec glared at him but blinked when Finn answered without missing a beat.

“Yeah. I am pretty far gone, huh?” River whistled low and Alec felt heat flare in his face and all the way up to his ears.

“Anyway, I'm going to go over there to sketch. No funny business you two!” River hopped off the table with a grin and Alec’s middle finger popped up in answer. His friend laughed and Alec rolled his eyes as he turned back to Finn.

“How's things?” Finn asked quietly, running his fingers over Alec’s shoulder and up to hold the back of his neck gently. Alec shuddered a little bit. During his solitary confinement, he longed for the physical contact that used to send him into an anxiety spiral. Now, he leaned into it, grimacing.

“It's still awful. They are still awful. I hate them.”

Finn frowned, pulling Alec to him, “Don't say that. They are still your parents.”

“They're more wardens than parents. I don't care. I hate them. I hate not being my own person and I hate this town.” Alec was stubbornly fighting back tears as Finn's arms locked him into a tight embrace.

“I know everything is hard, but River and I are here at least. I hate seeing you so upset.” A gentle kiss was placed to his forehead. Alec tilted his head back, closing his eyes and hoping Finn would take the hint. He did, of course, and Alec relaxed the smallest bit when lips pressed to his.

“I promise. It's going to get better. It’s going to be okay Alec.”

He desperately wanted to believe the blond. He wanted to ignore the persistent thoughts in the back of his head, screaming for him to go, to run. Alec had to get out of this place. He could wait for now. He would listen to Finn and wait for things to get better. Alec convinced himself halfheartedly, snuggling closer to Finn as he watched River strolling back to them.

 

It didn't get better. His parents didn't grow laxer. They hovered right on the edge of inhumane and there was the constant threat that they would revoke his privileges again. The remaining summer went fast. Alec managed to squeeze as much time as he could with Finn and River in. Which wasn't a lot. It was hard with his limited free time. He wasn't allowed to accept rides from either and he was starting to reach his limit. The only reason he didn't explode was that he couldn't go on total lockdown again. He'd completely lose his mind this time.

Alec frowned and curled up more into Finn’s side, if possible, he'd grown even more attractive. To Alec anyway. His days in the summer sun had added a gorgeous glow to his skin and bleached his natural highlights a few shades lighter. His arm was looped around Alec’s waist as they lounged on a warm blanket with the school's logo on it. He took in Finn’s features as they laid in the sunlight. The straight line connecting his brow to the end of his nose, his thick eyebrows, dark brown eyes, the strong jawline, and lips curled in a gentle smile. He was gorgeous and perfect.

Alec had rolled his eyes to hide his smile when his boyfriend presented him with a picnic in the park. The park was their new go to. It was the easiest place for all of them to meet up. The picnic had almost lifted his very negative mood completely. Laughing, innocently flirting (mostly Finn), and snuggling had replaced it entirely with contentment.

“How are you going to get to school?” Finn asked and Alec picked at a light blue button on the other’s white shirt.

“River. They timed how long it takes from our house to the school.” Alec glared as the conversation replayed in his mind, uninvited. His mood abruptly plummeted.

“Did they, I don't know, enter a competition to see who the worst parents could be?”

“I don't know either. Sure feels like it.” Finn made a noise inside his throat before kissing Alec’s cheek then nose.

“Well, they've got to be winning. They're giving it their best effort.” Finn rolled onto his side and leaned down to rest his face in the others neck, “I really wish we got more time together this summer.”

“I wish I had an actual life! I can't wait to leave them and this godforsaken place!” Alec fell onto his back and let out a frustrated huff.

Finn rolled onto his back as well, “Yeah sounds great.”

“Hey. I didn't mean to upset you.” Alec frowned.

“It's all good.” Finn's eyes were closed but he smiled weakly.

 

Alec was a semester into his sophomore year before his parents relinquished a little more control. He was allowed to go to River’s if they approved it ahead of time, but not spend the night. Not that it mattered much. His course load was so heavy, he barely had time to think, let alone make plans. Or have fun. He'd done it to himself, but it was a means to an end. He couldn't wait to move and forget he'd ever had to deal with any of this. The finish line was near. The goal posts had been moved closer. Was that the correct sports ball reference? Alec didn't know but it didn't matter. He was one step closer to freedom.

“What did you get for number twelve?” River asked, tapping his pencil's eraser against his cheek.

“Uh, one hundred seventy-nine.” Alec said, frowning down at his notebook.

“Mm. What about the proof?” River asked, sucking his lip ring into his mouth.

“I don't know yet. I have a few of the steps, but I'm stuck.” Alec ran his fingers over his short hair, groaning, “Can I just graduate already!?”

River dropped his pencil on his paper, “If you could go anywhere, where would you go?”

“For school or in general?” Alec asked.

“Whichever,” River shrugged.

“MIT or Stanford for school. MIT would be ideal but it's in the wrong place. Stanford is at least on the right coast.”

“You want to live on the West coast?” River tilted his head to the side and smiled, “I always wanted to be in Oregon or Washington.”

Alec rested his hand on his fist and spoke quietly, “We should do it.”

“Do what?” River’s eyes widened.

“Move to the West Coast.”

River snorted and looked away. Then slowly, Alec began to see his mental gears turning, “The University of Washington has an art program. They have engineering programs too.”

“So...”

“So...” River echoed, meeting Alec’s uncertain gaze.

“What do you think?”

In short, River thought he was a little crazy. That was fair, Alec also thought he was crazy. Moving that far without anyone around to help if he needed it? Other than River, of course. Alec had never been on his own. What would he do without constant rules and a less than kind hand guiding him? Could he swing it on his own? There was no doubt that if he told his parents he wanted to go to school on one of the coasts they'd surely be upset. He didn’t know when to break the news to them. They had to know that at some point the relationship was going to end. Alec had been unhappy for a long time. Being enrolled in the regular high school had just been the breaking point. Then, on top of that they had added homophobia and an invisible chain around his ankle so he couldn't go too far.

He used to think that they would have a relationship down the line. He thought that after he had freed himself and created a life separate from his parents that he may be able to forgive them for what they had done. But the more punishments they inflicted on him and the more freedoms they took away made him doubt that ending was possible. What kind of parent didn't want their child to be happy? The way his mother looked at him was soul crushing. His father seemed confused by the whole ordeal but his mother was the ringleader. Seemingly overnight, she had decided that who Alec was wasn't okay. Their pastor hadn't helped either. Unfortunately for them, you couldn't punish or pray the gay away.

It was exhausting. Every day was an uphill battle that he didn't have any resources left to fight. The people that were supposed to care for him, protect him, and support him as he became an adult were too focused on their own prejudice. He was tired. He didn't want every interaction to be an argument or a fight. There was a time when they had a different kind of relationship. He wished he could get that back, but not at the expense of his self-worth and happiness.

 

Alec curled up in bed, letting out a heavy sigh. He'd been so excited about his plans with River. He had actual goals and something specific to work towards! How could he not be thrilled? He'd been nearly beside himself and keeping his secret had proved too difficult. He been sitting with Finn at his family's bakery, when he slipped up. It had been innocent. They'd been discussing Finn's college prospects. Of which there were plenty.

“Um, I like this one but it's too far. How am I going to visit everyone and help here?” Finn's smile was uneasy as he gestured around them.

“You shouldn't worry about that. I'm going to be halfway across the country as soon as my diploma hits my hand! It's your life, live it for yourself!”

“Halfway across... What do you mean?”

The excitement rushed forward out of nowhere, “River and I are going to apply in Washington! Maybe California too, but that's Plan B.”

“Washington.” Finn's face had fallen, “As in, literally on the other side of the country. You're not exaggerating. I really thought that up until now you had been exaggerating. Washington...”

Alec realized his mistake right away. He felt so stupid. Oblivious. He knew Finn got upset whenever he talked this way. He couldn't blame him, what they had going was nice. However, Alec was newly 16 and Finn was approaching 18. They were so, so young. It was a little foolish to think that any relationship made in their teens could last forever. Finn was sweet. Naïve in ways that Alec wasn't while also being aware of things that Alec hadn't even considered. He liked the blond, but nothing was going to keep him here.

“Since when did, ‘as far away as possible’ become a set-in stone place?” Finn's voice was much quieter than it had been. Alec watched him mindlessly play with some of the college brochures on the table between them.

Alec shrugged, “It's still over a year away. Nothing’s concrete yet, Finn.”

“Yeah,” the blond smiled weakly, “you're right.”

 

At the start of Alec’s freshman year, both Finn and River had been juniors. Now, on the tail end of sophomore year, they were seniors. River had followed through with their plan and sent applications out to the schools that they had agreed on. Of course, with River’s grades, he got into almost every school he applied for. Unbeknownst to Alec, his friend had built a portfolio and submitted it. Alec had known that River was incredibly talented but when his friend had shown him the letter detailing the circumstances of his full-ride scholarship, Alec had been over the moon. Their plan had been set into motion and now Alec just needed to follow through on his part.

Where River was all but decided, Finn didn't seem to be any closer to making a choice. After Milo had been deployed, the other boy’s priorities seemed to shift. He didn't want to leave his parents even though he'd been offered a full ride scholarship to play football at almost every school in Iowa and the surrounding states. Alec didn't understand football until he had gone to one of the games (dragging River along). Seeing Finn play, he started to get it. His boyfriend was incredibly talented. Alec wished that he had an ounce of the other’s athleticism. It made perfect sense to Alec when he'd seen all of Finn's college offers. His parents were one hundred percent on board with any decision he made and Alec could not fathom why Finn was even considering staying home.

Only the last bit of the school year, summer vacation, and one semester stood between Alec and his ticket out of Sunny Side. He was growing more excited as it grew nearer. His goals were coming into range and it made dealing with his parents a bit more bearable. River was going to move first and get himself set up. It made Alec’s head spin. River had always been the braver of the two, but he was going to move so far away by himself! He was going to be all on his own in a city he didn’t know! Alec had intended to do the same, but now that it became real for his friend, he was terrified. Both for River and himself. He’d never really been in the “real world” and he was beginning to doubt his ability to survive in it. His parents had thoroughly handicapped him.

 

Alec had just finished five hours of homework when his phone buzzed on his desk. He stretched backwards, arms above his head and chair pushing against his lower back in a much needed stretch. After he’d popped and groaned with satisfaction, he grabbed his phone and flopped onto his bed.

[F: Are you up?]

[A: Yeah, just finishing up homework. Shouldn’t you be asleep? Don’t you have early morning lifting with the team?]

[F: Yeah, and yes. Can I come get you?]

That was a loaded question and they both knew the technical answer. Alec wasn’t even allowed to breathe in Finn’s truck’s direction, let alone go for a ride with him. His parents still hadn’t even loosened their restriction on his rides from River. He’d been foolish one day and caused an argument when he explained that he didn’t like River in that way and it was only Finn he was attracted to. Apparently, they didn’t want to hear that because it was disgusting. Alec hadn’t heard it that way, though. He’d heard that they thought he was disgusting, but it didn’t matter. None of it would soon.

[A: Yes. I’ll throw my shoes on.]

 

Finn took around a half hour to appear on the street in front of Alec’s house. He had managed to get better at scurrying from his bedroom window to the ground below. He hardly ever even knocked the wind out of Finn now. Climbing into the truck after catching his breath, he paused when he looked at Finn. His eyes were red and he dragged his hoodie sleeve over his face before starting the truck up.

Alarm bells went off in Alec’s head. Oh no, oh god. What had happened? Finn was clearly upset and Alec didn’t know where to begin. He had managed to get better at comforting Finn, but the other teen was still worlds ahead.

The truck pulled away from the curb and Finn started driving slowly out of the neighborhood. Alec was frantic in his head. He needed to say or doing something. That part was obvious, but what specifically did he need to do? It was harder when Finn was busy. He should start there. He couldn’t touch Finn in certain ways while the other was driving. If he wanted head pats or forehead kisses, there wasn’t enough room. He scooted across the seat, wiping his damp hands on his pants. Alec rested his hand on Finn’s shoulder and swallowed as he built up the courage to speak.

Finn beat him to it, “Milo’s unit got hit and he’s in the hospital.”

“Oh…Oh Finn. Oh god. Is he…is he going to be okay?” Alec’s chest hurt as tears slid down the other boy’s cheek.

Finn pulled over on the side of the road and the truck jerked roughly to a stop. He draped his arms over the wheel. Alec’s face twisted with horror as he watched Finn’s shoulders shake and heard him cry. After a minute-wherein Alec felt totally helpless- Finn took a deep shuddering breath and sat back away from the wheel. He wiped at his face with his forearm and then pressed his fingertips against his eyes.

“Finn…” Alec murmured, wrapping his arms hesitantly around the other boy’s neck.

“He’s stable but pretty messed up. They aren’t sure if he’s going to be paralyzed.” Alec’s heart ached as Finn sniffled and tried to fight back another round of tears. Alec was still new to any physical contact and initiating it was still a mostly foreign concept, but Finn was struggling.

Alec brushed fingers through the messy blond hair and kissed his temple. He bit the inside of his cheek and let his free hand rub over Finn’s shoulders and nape. There was still sniffling and Finn still wouldn’t look up, but it felt like he wasn’t shaking as much. Maybe Alec was doing okay? There was another deep breath and Alec moved away as Finn leaned back against the seat. His eyes were red and puffy and Alec frowned, linking their fingers.

“I’m sorry to spring this on you. I just got overwhelmed. I got the news earlier and then I was trying to decide on what to do after high school. It all hit me at once.” Finn closed his eyes and let his head drop back against the seat. It made a dull thud and Alec remained crouched next to him, knees tucked under him. Did he touch him again? More than the hand holding? Or should he continue with that alone? This was so hard! How did other people, Finn included, comfort others so easily?

“I-It’s okay. You should’ve called or something earlier. Like when you found out. The school thing has already been freaking you out and this must’ve been so hard on top of it.” Alec was proud of himself. He’d started off weak and nervous, but by the end of the sentence, his voice had evened out and he’d found some confidence.

“Can you…can you, like, hug me again? I don’t want to think about Milo or the class of 2011 anymore.”

Alec looked around the truck’s small cab and maneuvered himself back against the passenger door. His head rested against the cool window as he held his arms out to Finn. Finn crawled over him and fell into his arms, his cheek against Alec’s chest as he wrapped his arms around his waist. Finn wasn’t a small person, but he looked it now. All sad and vulnerable, curled up against Alec’s smaller body. His chest began to hurt even more and he busied himself playing with Finn’s hair and rubbing circles over his shoulder.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do when you go. Fuck. I don’t want you to.”

Alec didn’t answer. He wasn’t sure how a simple sentence could cave his chest in. Finn had managed it. He closed his eyes and tried to remind himself that this is what he wanted. He adored Finn, but it was inevitable. Their paths weren’t going in the same direction. He didn’t want to focus on the horrible outcome sitting on the horizon. He wanted to stay in the moment where they had each other to lean on.

Alec needed to enjoy the present because he knew that the future was going to tear him in half. His mind and ambition dragging him away from home while his heart dug in its heels. Alec could only hope that when the time came, he’d be able to stitch himself back together when his main source of comfort was absent.

Sooo, this was split into two chapters.

Next chapter will be up sooner rather than later. Then there will also be an update next Saturday.

After the next chapter, the high school portion will be over.

Also, y'all can thank @Etotsirafor "encouraging" me to get this done 😂

Copyright © 2022 Demiurge; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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1 hour ago, Georgie DHainaut said:

Yeah...this was "Ouuchhhh"!!!!! It broke my heart and scorched my eyes. 

This one sentence: "Unfortunately for them, you couldn't punish or pray the gay away"....it is SOOOOO legit!!! So beautiful.

As far as Alec's parents are concerned: somewhere among the readers there must be a lawyer or a judge who can organize or issue a court order for their immediate admittance to the closed ward of a psychiatric clinic...because these are not parents, but demonic tormentors. It might give Alec the much-needed freedom and space to breathe.

But between the lines it becomes clear: the kid is tough...he's struggling back and my guts feeling tells me he's going to make it...although it is still a very long way to go.

Can't wait for the next chapter. 

 

 

As badly as I disagree with Alec's parents, they haven't broken any laws. They haven't abused him physically, verbally, or mentally in any legal sense. He can't even be said to be imprisoned as he isn't locked up. Up until now Alec has had a good deal of freedom to express himself.

They aren't perfect parents, but they aren't monsters either. There are plenty of kids who would happily trade p!aces.

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 There are no perfect human beings and since parents are human beings there are no perfect parents as a consequence. But there are parents who are more imperfect than others and in my opinion Alec's parents are on the extreme imperfect side of the spectrum.

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25 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

I don't view them in quite so bad a light. The main problem is his father is letting the mother do this. I think she's the religious zealot and from there all problems flow.

You could be right in that, but in my opinion that makes them both still bad parents as a couple. And I can't imagine that Alec is suffering less, no matter from where the problems flow. 

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The thing is, as much as I adore Finn, and think he’s a great character, did he really expect Alex to stick around there?  He’s been seeing what the kid has gone through the previous years, of course he’s going to get as far from his parent’s suppressive atmosphere as possible.  Finn could have followed right along with them for school and is choosing not to.  Obviously with Milo now seriously injured his plans are changing, but should Alex’s plans be changing?  I know that Alex leaves, but is he selfish for doing so?  

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