I wrote the first part of this what seems like an age ago. And then thought I would do something from the other perspective because I got an idea that would not leave me alone, so this is the product of that now that I have finally gotten around to posting this. It’s kind of necessary to read the first part of this because it is a continuation as I said, Part 1 and Part 2 are over here.
But anyway, enjoy.
He kept them hidden as best as he could. Always wore long sleeved t-shirts which he constantly tugged down and got his fingers tangled in. To most people it looked like a nervous tick, to him it was constant paranoia. He lived in slight fear that someone would notice them, see them, ask about them. And then pity him.
And he didn’t want that.
No, so he created a life that suited his fears. He surrounded himself with people who were more than comfortable talking and smiling and laughing. He faked it pretty well, and never kept focus on him for too long. It worked. It stopped him from relapsing. He could convince himself that there were people who would notice if he started again. (There weren’t really because they didn’t know to look out for anything, he never made it that obvious). He noticed things about those around him though. He had to, it made him look engaged or something. And he also thought that if he paid attention to others he could make sure that no one ever suffered like he did.
So to him when he found out that Lydia’s parents had died, it only seemed natural to offer her some kind of support system. He would offer it and she could do with it what she wanted. She seemed pretty responsive to it early on. She hung out with them, she seemed to have friends and he felt good that she had people to talk to. So he hung back a little, let her live her life.
It was through a fluke that he found out where she lived. He happened to see her leaving to take a bin outside one early evening as he walking around trying to clear his head of the fuzz and the negativity. He didn’t mean to stare at her briefly while she carried out the action. He didn’t mean to it’s just in his peripheral vision he had noticed movement and then he had recognised her Captain America t-shirt and then noticed that it was her. It was a brief moment but it was long enough for him to feel bothered slightly by actions that could be deemed as creepy. But he never forgot it. He didn’t know why, he just didn’t. It turned out to be useful.
One day he noticed that Lydia wasn’t around. It seemed out of character for her, even if she wasn’t a huge presence , she was always there. She was a comforting presence like that. Reliable. He wasn’t even really sure why he noticed, but he did. So he decided to check out if she as okay. He didn’t realise that was what he was doing until he took serious note of his surroundings on a drive to clear out his head and saw himself back on her street. He summoned up the courage to knock on the front door and when he got no answer he walked around the back and looked into the kitchen window and saw Lydia slumped against a counter with blood trickling steadily from her arms.
His impulses carried him forward then. He broke a window, scooped Lydia up and carried her to his car to drive her to the hospital. He waited in the waiting room until the nurse told him he could see her, pretending to be her fiance as it was the only way he could stay with her.
And then he waited for her to properly wake up.
Lydia was out for six days and the most he did was leave to go to the toilet, occasionally eat sub-par food and drink less than satisfactory coffee. All because he felt some weird compulsion to be there when he woke up.
When she did wake up he finally felt able to sleep. So he did. He slept hunched up rather uncomfortably in an armchair nestled in the corner of Lydia’s hospital room.
When he found out one night that Lydia is finally ready to be discharged the next day, he took the opportunity to drive home and shower while she slept through the night. While he was getting dressed he looked down at his arms. The majority of the marks were faded now, time had a way of covering up old wounds. They traveled up his forearms in a criss-cross pattern. The skin was raised in tiny bumps in the places where previous wounds joined together to complete the puzzle he hadn’t even known he was creating at the time. He pressed into the scars gently and traced them up his left arm (where the more intricate paths of scars resided) and could remember the way that it had felt. The quick stab of pain that bled into a sweet release that always far exceeded the pain. The never ending cycle of hating himself for doing it but feeling a compulsion to do it again. The almost addictive nature of it. He remembered the time that it almost went too far. Nearly put himself into a similar position that Lydia was in not even over a week ago. He shook himself out of the memories and took a deep breath. He selected one of the few short sleeved t-shirts he owns and headed back to the hospital.
Once Lydia had been discharged he escorted her to his car and waited, hoped, that she would notice. He gripped the steering wheel tightly, all the tension in his body being forced into the wheel of the car. He kept his eyes focused on the road, his jaw clenched and his body thrumming with nerves. He noticed her looking at him. Glancing at his arms and studying them. He briefly thought that if Lydia’s mind worked anything like his then she would be trying to figure out which ones were the most recent.
Eventually she shifted her gaze out the window and he felt himself calm down. His grip loosened on the steering wheel and his teeth stopped grinding. He knew she understood.
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