compos_dementis: Picture of anime Mello with gothic M (chibi tsuzuki)
[personal profile] compos_dementis
This is basically a response to the Warren chapter I posted earlier, “Habits.” This is about Daniel now and the reasons he treated Warren the way he did. Another reference tool for radioactive_x, I suppose, but mostly to show her that Daniel shouldn’t be a hated character.

Chapter 14: Skies

Daniel liked the early morning sky.

He liked watching the sunrise paint the clouds in red and gold, liked hearing the awakening birds singing their hearts out in the blooming sycamore tree.

Mostly, he liked the silence that the morning offered him, so peaceful in comparison to the noise his friends made as they fought over breakfast, as they laughed over an illogical joke, as they just talked to fill the uncomfortable silences.

It hadn’t always been like that, and Daniel sometimes had to remind himself of this when he tried to drown them out. Before school, Daniel had been living with his parents. His mother was a tiny woman – Daniel had her to thank for his height – brunette, with a smile that could melt any man’s heart.

Why couldn’t she have been smarter? Choosing a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol over her own family hadn’t been the right decision, Daniel knew; then again, what would have been the right decision for a woman like her? To stay with her family, with an abusive husband that beat her into submission, with a son who wouldn’t speak?

The days had dragged on with nothing but the silence for company. Most of the time, Daniel would just try to fill in the quiet with his own thoughts. He liked to think about the world more than anything else, liked to watch the children playing in the park from his bedroom window, trapped behind glass. Being alone was the only lifestyle he knew, the only option that his parents offered to him.

After his mother’s death, Daniel hadn’t been the same. He’d remained mute for most of his life, preferring to listen rather than to speak. What was there to speak of? He never asked the question that ate away at him, why the other children got to play with their ball outside and he didn’t.

His father filled in the silence for him. Screaming, probably in grief. “You’ll never amount to anything, you’ll never be good enough, silence gets you nowhere.”

As if that would make him want to talk. Instead, he clammed up more, keeping his mouth closed and looking up at his light-haired father with blue, blue eyes, eyes that matched neither of his parents. Sometimes, his father would hit him, and Daniel wouldn’t make a sound as the bruises littering his body turned from green to purple.

What could he possibly say?

The man he’d called his father for years eventually drank himself into unconsciousness. It was a neighbor that called the hospital for him – although sometimes Daniel wished that she hadn’t, that she’d let him lie there until the bastard died – and when he was taken to the emergency room, Daniel went to live with his grandmother.

For a while, he’d looked up to her. She was intelligent and proper, intent on getting her grandson into a decent school. She was also a witch, a word that Daniel hadn’t been familiar with in his life before that moment. She performed spells for him, making paper cranes fly and matches strike themselves, making paper fold and water freeze and flowers bloom from ash.

He was fascinated with magic from that point on. But she was like his father in many ways, letting him know just how worthless he was whenever he worked incorrectly. She smacked his knuckles when he used improper grammar, and she would beat him when he would even speak of love.

“There is no such thing as love,” she informed him, her face inches from his own frightened expression. “Just take a look at your parents; a whore and a boozer can’t possibly love one another, especially not when his ‘son’ is the useless product of another man.”

Useless. Worthless. He was a waste to his family, and only intelligence would really make up for everything he’d done wrong just by existing. Love wouldn’t save him now, only a soft-spoken manner and a genius mind.

He learned all he could from her, soaking up information to be proper, to maybe earn the love of his father. He memorized all the facts he could possibly contain, ready to show his family that he was worth something now, that he could be worthy of their affection.

When his father finally got released from the hospital, Daniel was more than prepared to be showered in the love he believed he now deserved. But his dad, the same as when he’d left, only beat Daniel down and let him know that not even brains could make him worth anything.

It was late one Sunday on the year of his thirteenth birthday that it happened. A tall man in a hat came to get him, and Daniel was shipped off to school, far away from his father and grandmother.

At school, he tried his best to keep quiet. But it was so difficult now that excitement boiled up inside of him, and he began to have a conversation with a girl, of all things. A pretty girl, with dark hair and dark eyes and dark skin that made his own tingle.


She was the height of perfection, he noticed later. Her laugh made him melt, her smile made him blush, and her touch – oh, her touch – made him squirm and heat with some unknown emotion. He followed her like a stray puppy, offering her all the information he had to give, but still, she wasn’t satisfied. And then there was that Elaine girl always a step behind, keeping a watchful eye on them, as if making sure that Daniel wouldn’t hurt her.

He’d gone to his dorm that first night thinking about her. When he opened his door, he hadn’t met her pretty face or her meltingly dark eyes, but a red-haired boy that automatically made him on edge, although he didn’t know why.

Warren was gay. Daniel was fine with this at first, even when Warren would get a little too close or get a little too excited about Daniel’s wardrobe. Warren liked to talk to him, words coming out of his mouth nonstop while his eyes – unsettlingly green, pupils blown to ridiculous size – went wide at the mere mention of romance.

Warren was Mildred’s opposite, and Daniel didn’t like him. Warren made him uneasy, made him edgy, made him want to run away as fast as his feet could carry him.

Warren had a life. Boyfriends came in and out of their dorm on a regular basis, while Daniel tried his hardest to study in the middle of the night, Warren’s breathless giggles getting in the way of his thinking. Nothing about Warren made Daniel happy; Warren was anorexic-type skinny, sickly pale, bony and small and wiry. His eyes were too green, his arms mostly scar tissue (although Daniel pretended not to notice), his hair too styled.

He was just too much, and Daniel didn’t know how to handle him.

Daniel tried to drown himself in Mildred more often than not. Mildred’s shampoo smelled like peaches, and her hair felt like silk in his hands. She liked to be around him, leaning against him playfully and lowering her lashes to let him know her intentions. Daniel believed he was in love, despite his grandmother’s warning, and he was lured to her like a moth to the flame.

But every time that Daniel started to think that maybe Mildred was a bad idea, that he should turn away from her and focus only on his studies, Warren was there. Warren, with his torn forearms and his crooked smile, with that voice that made Daniel have to grit his teeth because it was just too happy and too perfect to belong to such a person. With those freckles that scattered pale skin like stars on a faded early-morning sky.

Warren wasn’t Mildred. That’s all that anybody needed to know about Warren Mallory.

Warren followed Daniel around the castle. Daniel tried his best to get used to him, but found that he couldn’t. The worst part of it wasn’t even that somewhere in the depths of his heart, he knew how Warren felt; it was that although they were so close, Daniel knew virtually nothing of Warren’s life.

A large family. A younger sister that was both taller and more aggressive than he could ever hope to be. A yearning in the bottom of a broken heart, mended with half-torn scotch tape and bent staples.

But nothing substantial. Nothing important, nothing that could make Daniel see why Warren was the way he was, why he was so… broken.

It was that hot, swelteringly hot Saturday evening when Daniel was shambling up to his dorm early in a desperate need for sleep, and he’d caught Warren red-handed. The needle in his arm was enough of a surprise to begin with, but when pressed for answers, Warren’s only response was tears.

And Daniel couldn’t handle it.

Warren wasn’t Mildred; Warren was someone broken and tainted and dirty, someone trying so hard and then failing to drugs and sex and alcohol.

Warren wasn’t Mildred; Warren was Daniel’s mother all over again.

Daniel tried to stay away from him after that, but Warren was always there, shaking and pale and dangerously skinny, those feminine green eyes glittering with unshed tears. Daniel kept quiet, because what could he say in this situation? How was he supposed to react to this thing, this filthy creature that inhabited a boy’s body?

Daniel hovered around Mildred as much as possible. She took his presence with open arms and a kind smile, telling him about her own family and her interests and the problems she’d had with her hair. Daniel loved hearing her talk, so unlike the mindless chatter that issued out of Warren’s mouth; Mildred was perfection, a kind of heaven, while Warren was a living nightmare.

Finally, in their fifth year at school, they kissed. It was as special as Daniel had hoped it to be, and he savored the taste of her strawberry lip-gloss, the feel of her hair in his fingers. He felt so safe with her, unthreatened, as she curled up in his arms and laid her head on his chest. Smaller than he was, gentle, no scar tissue on her arms or makeup smothering her beautiful brown face.

The heaven seemed to last a lifetime. Shared kisses beneath crescent moons, hands entwined, laughs passed as they recounted their dates. Nothing, it seemed, could go wrong. Because Mildred loved him and Daniel loved her. Because she was his breath of fresh air, his silence, his open sky.

It came crashing down.

He hadn’t cried when she told him. “I think it’s best that we just stay friends.”

Too forced, and Daniel knew it. How could ‘best friends’ possibly try to be lovers? He hadn’t been able to give her everything he wanted to, hadn’t been able to lose himself in her, hadn’t been able to escape his grandmother’s prophecy.

Love only makes everything worse.

So Daniel did the best he could. He’d gone to bed and then not hours later, Warren had followed, climbing into his bed with those green eyes filled with tears, with those hands knotting in his blankets.

What could he do but try to prove to himself that he was worth it? Warren loved him beyond reason, and even when Daniel didn’t know why, even when he couldn’t accept that, he craved Warren like a drug. Those words, those three little words said in the excitement of a promised dessert, made Daniel understand for a moment what it felt like to be wanted.

Not only that; to be needed.

“I love you.”

The words that Mildred had never said.

It wasn’t enough. Daniel tried to make it enough, tried to gain something from the experience, but instead, he’d only given Warren his virginity, his sense of self, his confidence. Because Warren drove him insane, Warren made him feel angry and frustrated and jealous and irritated and…


Something that he could never be.

And he’d taken something special from Warren in return; he’d stolen away the one thing that made Warren the least bit stable in this world.

Daniel ended it. He’d let Warren know that it couldn’t happen again, that Daniel didn’t love him and never could, that nothing in this world could make what they’d done right.

It was a mistake.

A mistake that happened twice.

This time, Daniel had more experience in the matter. This time, Warren actually offered himself, begging and half-sobbing and looking so human that Daniel couldn’t possibly resist. Yes, he’d fucked him and yes, he’d regretted it afterward, but what choice did he have? It was something they both needed.

And the fight afterwards was a release of all of the emotion he’d had crammed down his throat for his entire life, his fists clenched and his mouth open in a rant of insults, of confessions of hatred, and he didn’t know why he was yelling after a while.

Warren began to scream about Mildred, hitting Daniel’s most sensitive button. Daniel screamed back about how his love life was none of Warren’s business, about how Mildred wasn’t like Warren, about how she was clean.

“Your perfect princess Millie is just… like… me!”

Daniel had lost it. His hand met Warren’s face in the contact that Daniel had promised would never happen, and he’d cried angry tears while Warren fell to the ground in shock, hair mussed and face red and eyes… empty.


Daniel had to get away, as far away from that monster as he possibly could, because those eyes had belonged to his mother then. Empty, lifeless, stoned, just as she was spiraling into the depths of her drugs.

He left, seeking solace in work like he did before, ignoring the voice in the back of his head.

I hope you’re happy now.

Silence was the gift that his family had taken for granted.

And how could he be anything but silent when the sun rose and the dew on the lawn clung to his pants and the air smelled of blossoms…

How could he possibly say anything when, for the first time in his life, the sight of the sky sickened him?
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