by Colleen

I can't take this shit.

I can't help him.

Cos... I don't know if he'd even let me try, considering the fucked up shit that's gone down between us the last few weeks. I had thought maybe it'd get back to our kind of normal, you know, and then he started this bullshit with Schillinger and his long lost, boo-fucking-hoo son...

Jesus Christ. You know, will power ain't my best feature, but I'm using all I've got not to say to him, I told you so, you stupid bitch. Even I'm smart enough to realise that's just gonna make it worse.

As if it could GET fucking worse, I swear to God I don't know how it can.

Toby's stopped screaming and moved on to sobbing, so now it's only our tier that hears him instead of the whole fucking prison. It's... deja vu all over again, right? Back where we started, in a way, only this time, I really WANT to comfort him, and this time, I don't really think I know how.

He all of a sudden stops, like flipping a switch, and that, THAT gets me. Next thing I know I'm standing, looking at him, taking in the situation I've been avoiding. He's shaking, curled up in a ball, like a rabbit hit by a car in that stunned moment of pain before it dies.

"Shit, Toby," I say softly. I can't think of anything better.

He gives me a miserable, half-angry stare. "What?"

I grit my teeth, he's not makin this fucking easier. "You, man. What can I do?"


"Gotta be somethin."

When I put my hand on his neck he jumps, moves like he's gonna pull away, and I've got this sudden *certainty* that if he pulls away from me now, he'll be gone forever. Not just from me, either. So I close my hand, firmly, with a little soft movement of my thumb.

Then the tears come again, quiet this time, just the shaking and the tears, while I hold his neck and rub his back and try to come up with anything, fucking ANYTHING to say.

Eventually, he looks up at me again, swallowing hard.

"You know what you can do?" he asks in a hoarse voice.


"Try to be this nice all the time. It'd work a fuck of a lot better."

Shit, man. I really want to just ball up one hand and deck him for that one, it's only one dead kid stopping me. For a moment, I can see he's judging my reaction, he tenses up, ready for it. Then it's gone, my urge to hit, his to hit back.

"Maybe we shouldn't talk," I suggest. Never been one to play it safe, but this is about as delicate a situation as I'll ever be in. So fuck it. Go with what I know, which ain't talking anyway, and I lean forward, kiss his forehead.

"Maybe not," he answers, returning the kiss a little more directly. "Just..."


For once the hacks don't do anything about it. It's good, it's rough, which is kinda sick, but I can understand it. Let him take out his anger on my body, I can fucking take it. After, he starts to cry again, and that's okay, too.

I just hold on.

*Your sad eyes take and own me
Words are unecessary
Grip the back of your neck and slowly
Move 'til it all becomes all right

Let the fighting words lie
Let the candlelight die
Let the sun come up
Let the saline dry*

- lyrics from Nocturnal, by Eve6, c. 2000 Eve6 & RCA Records, used w/o permission

Continued in Post-Traumatic

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