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Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

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Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:48 pm

Michael knew that this was supposed to be a psychiatric facility, but there would have to be people around, wouldn't there? He didn't know where his roommate, or mates, were; the room was completely empty when he first arrived in the mid-afternoon. The few security officers that he saw kept him from spiraling completely into an anxiety attack. He knew that the building was populated somewhat, but he seemed to have missed the memo about where everyone was at certain times. Maybe that was in the handbook that he didn't read yet- he promised himself that he would read it when his roommate was back or someone was in the room with him. He hated being alone in a room almost as much as he hated hurting people. He actually couldn't tell which one freaked him out more- he had obsessions and compulsions to go along with each of them.

Michael walked through the hallways of the Robertson Home for Boys, careful that he wasn't running again.

'You ran through the hallways.' His brain scolded.
'You ran through the hallways.'
'You ran through the hallways.'
'You ran through the hallways.'
'You ran through the hallways.'
'You shouldn't run through the hallways.'
'The security officer is mad at you.'
'You're a terrible person for causing a ruckus.'
'You could have hurt someone if you weren't careful.'

"I'm sorry," He whispered to no one. That didn't silence his thoughts. He chewed on the sleeves of his shirt to comfort himself.

He knew that his thoughts weren't hallucinations- he couldn't hear them. He thought them. They were thoughts. But, just like hallucinations, he couldn't control them. That's what St. Christina's was for; to pick up where Dr. Ivanova and Marquette General Hospital had failed.

"I'm such a nuisance," Michael said to himself, continuing to bite his sleeves.

He realized how hot it was on this island- he was sweating, but not profusely. Perhaps he shouldn't have worn a long-sleeved shirt, but then again, he'd never traveled or moved from Upper Michigan his entire life, so he wouldn't have known about the weather. Marquette, his hometown, was probably one of the coldest places in America- it snowed most of the year, or at least half of the time.

Michael decided to go outside of Robertson- he could hurt someone there. He almost did before- he was running through the hallways and the security officer told him not to run. He ran because he was scared that there wasn't anyone in Room A2 when he arrived, but he knew that wasn't an excuse.

'That's no excuse.'
'That's no excuse.'
'That's no excuse.'
'That's no excuse.'
'That's no excuse.'
'You could have crashed into someone like you did on January 29th your last year at Graveraft Middle School.'
'That poor girl was late to her class.'
'You're a terrible person.'

Once Michael's body hit the sunlight, his thoughts were calming down. Sunlight was nice, but it made his skin all hot and sticky. He walked on a pathway to the co-ed building (He'd taken a map from the patient handbook he was given.) and went inside where it was air-conditioned.

Michael frantically looked for a room with people in it and the first place he looked was the recreation room. There wasn't anyone in there, but besides a few couches and a TV there really wasn't anything to do. He turned to leave before he got anxious again until he saw a small bookshelf in the corner of the room.

Michael's fingers itched for the bookshelf and his whole body followed. It was as simple and concrete as that. It was a small bookshelf- he took a little more than twenty books off and started compulsively organizing them by last name of the author. The bookshelf looked new, but the books themselves looked tattered and old. They were probably donated.

"Okay, Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" is in the M pile... Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations... D..."

Michael heard a voice behind him and he cringed as his heart stopped for a second. What if he was breaking a rule? Maybe they have a rule against organizing bookshelves!

'You broke the rules!'
'You broke the rules!'
'You broke the rules!'
'You broke the rules!'
'You broke the rules!'
'You broke the rules!'
'You broke the rules!'
'You should have read the handbook!'
'They'll never forgive you!'
'You broke the rules!'

Micheal scrambled to his feet and wasn't even looking at the person he was addressing as his mouth spewed apologies ceaselessly from his lips. Everything that he was saying was spoken so fast that it seemed to be within one sentence.

"I'm sorry I didn't know that organizing books was against the rules I should probably clean this up, shouldn't I? Everything's in piles I'm so sorry!"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:12 am

Sitting on his bed and looking around the otherwise empty room, Talon decided he was bored.

He had read his daily Bible verse, he had written his reflections on it in his journal, and he had hunted through his things for another book to read...only to discover that he didn't actually have any. Cursing himself silently, he remembered that he hadn't been allowed any books in the place before Hadley except his Bible, and he'd never thought to ask if he could get more before he left. And his months at Hadley had been so busy he'd never stopped to think about a book. But now, suddenly bereft of lessons, alone in his room (he didn't seem to have any roommates yet) and not sure where anyone he knew was, Talon wanted to read. He didn't like to get too far ahead on his Bible readings--it threw him off--but he would have picked it up and reread some of his favorite stories if he hadn't remembered that St. Christina's had a rec room. He had passed it the previous day on his wanderings trying to find Tara Anne--which he hadn't--and now he wondered if they might have a bookshelf. Thus cheered, he got up, slid his feet into his comfortable loafers, and headed out across the grounds.

The day was warm, making Talon glad for his t-shirt and lightweight jeans. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back momentarily, letting the sun's rays soak into his face, and he murmured a quick prayer of thanks for the glorious day before moving on. He pushed open the door to the co-ed building and mentally added "air conditioning" to his list. Every day he had taken to making a list of the things he was thankful for right before bed; it helped him get in the right frame of mind for his nightly prayers. He found the door to the rec room and stepped inside. At first glance, the room was empty except for a couple of sofas and a TV. At second glance, he found what he had been looking for: the bookshelves. Bonus: there was a person standing over there. Talon headed over, noting that the boy seemed to be sorting them. He smiled. "Hi!"

It was evidently the wrong thing to say, and he'd startled the other boy, who turned around, a panicked look on his face, and began talking rapidly. "I'm sorry I didn't know that organizing books was against the rules I should probably clean this up, shouldn't I? Everything's in piles I'm so sorry!"

Talon held up his hands in a placating gesture. Who was this kid, anyway? And kid he seemed--he didn't look more than ten or twelve--but he certainly hadn't been at Hadley, Talon would have seen him before. Then again, if he wasn't thirteen or fourteen he probably wasn't a patient. A doctor's kid, maybe? Anyway, something about him tugged at a part of Talon he'd thought long dormant. He softened his smile, lowering his voice a bit so as not to scare the other boy again. "It's okay, really. You're allowed to organize the books. I'm not here to get you in trouble. Want a hand?"

He looked over the small piles. Actually, there didn't seem to be too much help he could give. "Then again, you look like you've got them sorted out pretty well, so why don't I help you put them on the shelves?" He flashed the kid a friendly smile. "I'm Talon, by the way. Talon Rogers. I just got here a week or so ago from New York. What's your name?"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:51 am

While Michael was apologizing, he wasn't even truly looking at who he was talking to. His eyes may have been in that direction, but his anxiety had blurred it by making him not focus. The older boy's voice had calmed him, and now he could take a look at him instead of breathing heavily and quickly.

The older boy was definitely in high school, that much was for certain. He had a sort of gingerly voice tone that allowed Michael to breathe normally. When he thought it over, the boy had only said one syllable. Maybe he was just saying 'hi'. Now Michael really felt foolish. But he didn't let that get to him as he turned his attention toward the older boy again.

"It's okay, really. You're allowed to organize the books. I'm not here to get you in trouble. Want a hand?"

Michael watched the boy look at the piles before he said, "Then again, you look like you've got them sorted out pretty well, so why don't I help you put them on the shelves?"

'Wow! He's such a nice person!' Michael thought to himself. No one really spoke to him like that, if at all.

"O-Okay!" Michael's nervousness went away when he smiled. "I already sorted them by last name of the author. I guess we could start with the A's."

Michael put the pile that began with Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" and placed the books neatly on the shelf.

"Here!" He piped, offering the boy the B pile. "You can put the B's away if you want to help!"

This was a change for Michael- he usually didn't speak unless spoken to and he usually organized alone. It was his job. But he was thrilled that he was talking to someone. And that he was with someone instead of being alone. That's what got him anxious in the first place.

He saw the boy smile and say, "I'm Talon, by the way. Talon Rogers. I just got here a week or so ago from New York. What's your name?"

Michael compared himself to an empty glass that was filled up with joy. He was making a friend! At least potentially.

His gray-green eyes smiled for him as he said, "Talon? That's a really cool name! I've never met a Talon before. My name's pretty ordinary- it's Michael. I guess that's okay because I'm named after a saint. No one really called me anything else besides 'Michael' back home because the only friends that I had called me by my last name. They used to call me 'Court' because my last name is Courtenay. It's a mouthful, I know. The ones on the team who didn't like me very much called me 'Courtney'."

Michael was pleased with himself that he was talking again. He was shy initially, but once someone started a conversation, he wouldn't shut up. He acquired that habit after he cured his stutter.

He listened to where Talon was from. "New York? Wow- that's an even farther plane ride than where I'm from. I'm from Michigan- I think that's why I'm so hot here... it never gets above 65 degrees in Marquette. I'm used to snow and the cold."

Michael desperately wanted to know more about Talon. His excitement was only matched by the number of questions he asked.

"Where in New York were you? Are there any other patients from New York too? I came alone, and I was really scared, but did you come with other people? Are you from the city-?"

Michael caught himself and blushed a furious shade of scarlet. He was bombarding Talon with questions and he felt bad. Was Talon bothered by it? He hoped not. He might be alone again if he bothered him and he didn't want that to happen.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:38 pm

Talon smiled again as the boy's nervousness seemed to melt away. I guess all he needed was someone to talk to, he thought as he took the proffered stack of books. He began setting them on the shelf one at a time, making sure the spines lined up and the titles were in the right direction. Talon didn't have OCD but he did like to see a neat and tidy bookshelf. As he placed the books upright, he noted some of the authors. Hmm--they actually have an Erma Bombeck book. I'll have to pick that up some time. He nodded as he listened to the younger boy chatter on about his name.

"Michael, huh? That's a good strong name." He tried--and failed--to remember what St. Michael was the patron saint of. Actually, he was pretty sure there had been a number of St. Michaels over the years, but he guessed Michael was referring to the Archangel. "At least you had a nickname. Nobody ever called me anything but Talon." Well, or "heathen", "sinner", "heretic", "sodomite" or a host of other derogatory terms, but he didn't consider those nicknames, and anyway he wasn't going to mention them to Michael unless the kid brought it up. He wasn't sure what it would take to get that to come up in conversation, but you never knew.

Actually, it seemed like the question might come up--every other question imaginable did. It added to Talon's earlier assessment that Michael was rather young. The younger boy stopped and flushed scarlet, as though embarrassed by the number of questions he was asking. Talon gave him a crooked grin. "It's okay--you're one of the few people here who wouldn't know, so it's natural you would ask. I grew up in Red Hook--it's a little town in upstate New York, so I'm not from the city. I've never really been there, either...my parents called it a hotbed of sin. Most recently, though, I'm from another little town called Phoenicia. I was at a mental institute there called Hadley. There were...gosh, I guess about a hundred of us? Something like that. Anyway, Hadley got bought out by the people who run St. Christina's and they shipped us all here, lock, stock, and barrel."

He rubbed the back of his neck briefly. "I'm glad you were in here. I don't have any roommates yet and I was starting to think there wasn't another living soul roaming around the campus. I was starting to get lonely."

He was being honest. Another time he might have cynically said that even the company of a kid was better than nothing, but something about this kid made his company not just something to be tolerated, but something to be actively sought out. He reminded Talon a bit of Gareth Green and his naive optimism.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:11 pm

Michael took the C pile and placed it next to where Talon had stacked the B's. He was grateful that Talon was as careful as he was with the books. If they were out of place, Michael wouldn't be able to control fixing them, and that may have insulted Talon. Talon seemed like a nice person who wouldn't get mad at just anything, but he couldn't make a judgement like that- he'd only met the older boy for two minutes.

"Michael, huh? That's a good strong name."

Michael's face brightened immediately when Talon said that. He took it as an indirect compliment. He didn't consider himself to be strong, as he was afraid of practically everything, but it was a nice thing to think about. That made him excited.

"It is? Really?" He squeaked with childish enthusiasm.

When Talon commented about how he never had a nickname, Michael took a book that he hadn't sorted yet and placed it with the S's.

"I think your name makes up for not having a nickname," He said simply. "It's fierce- it could make someone who's mean to you intimidated by you, which would come in handy if you were bullied."

At the sound of his last word, Michael's face showed the pang of reminiscence that he didn't want. Whatever he felt he wore on his sleeve, and his emotions showed through the temporary loss of his smile. When his former teammates weren't around to defend him, he was a prime target for getting shoved into lockers, duck taped to the flag pole and occasional beatings.

Michael was brought out of remembering the things he didn't want to remember when Talon told him where he was from. He'd never heard of Red Hook, but looked surprised when Talon mentioned his parents' view of New York City.

"Your parents are religious?" He asked innocently, taking a little more courage to ask his next question. "Are you? It's okay if you're not- I think God loves everyone, no matter if you're Christian or Agnostic or Hindu. As long as you're a good person, it shouldn't matter what you believe. That's why extremists kind of bother me."

"I was at a mental institute there called Hadley. There were...gosh, I guess about a hundred of us? Something like that. Anyway, Hadley got bought out by the people who run St. Christina's and they shipped us all here, lock, stock, and barrel."

"A hundred of you guys came from a mental hospital to this one? Wow- that's a big move. It happened just like that? When did you guys get here? I recently got out of a mental hospital before I came here. Well, I went from the youth home to the hospital, to the youth home again and then here."

Michael moved his fingers to map out his story, but it sounded about right. "I was in the hospital for my birthday. It was horrible."

Michael saw Talon touch the back of his neck as he said: "I'm glad you were in here. I don't have any roommates yet and I was starting to think there wasn't another living soul roaming around the campus. I was starting to get lonely."

Michael's face expressed his shock; that was exactly what freaked him out when he first came to St. Christina's.

"I don't have a roommate either! Well, I actually saw stuff on the first bed when I entered the room, so I think I have one, but he wasn't there. I got nervous and ran off because I don't like being alone."

His eyes shifted to the ground. "I'm glad you're here too. I couldn't find anyone and I was really scared- that's why I was organizing the books in the first place."

Michael smiled sheepishly. "If we're both lonely, then maybe we should stick together! Like in Men In Black where the two of them wear tuxedos and make sure aliens don't take over the world!"

When he mentioned MIB, he made a Charlie's Angel's gun with his hands.

"I could totally see you in a tuxedo and thick sunglasses." He laughed.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:55 pm

Talon reached for the D's and began setting them upright on the shelf as he listened to Michael. Despite his prior assessment that the boy was a child in many ways, he found himself liking the kid. There was something young and innocent about him. It reminded Talon of himself, or at least himself as he could have been in the right environment. The way he had been at six, maybe, before he realized that his feelings about the other little boys in his class weren't normal and that his parents wouldn't allow him to be himself, but wanted him to be a "perfect Christian". Before he had felt wrong somehow, and well before he had decided he didn't give a damn. Before Henry had entered his life.

He actually stopped and turned in surprise to face Michael when he sounded surprised at his comment about Michael being a strong name. "Sure. Michael is the Archangel, isn't he? He's the one that led the Army of God against Lucifer and the fallen angels, and in Revelations he's the one that fought and killed the dragon. It's the name of about sixteen different saints, the name of kings and emperors and conquerers, the name of scientists and athletes." He smiled at the boy. "Seems like it suits you just fine."

At Michael's innocent comments about his name stopping him from being bullied, Talon gave a sad little half-smile, but said nothing. How could he explain to this kid that far from protecting him, it had almost made him a target? Snide comments in the Sunday School room, whispers on the playground...he'd let it all roll off of him, but it probably would have worn him down if it hadn't been for Henry. The older boy had failed the third grade three times by the time Talon met him, but he had risen above the teasing (the fact that he was the size of a sixth grader minimized it) and had firmly taken Talon under his wing. He'd showed him how to deal with passive-aggressive bullying, and shown him other things as well...

He shook his head to clear it of those memories. What Henry had gotten him into had left lasting impressions and deep emotional scars, but part of being at Hadley--St. Christina's--was getting over those issues. Besides, he had a friend to focus on, and one who had never been touched--as far as he could tell--by the sorts of things that had held Talon Rogers in their dirty grasp.

Focusing on Michael's question, he smiled. "I am, actually. Not the crazy kind of religious my parents are--I don't believe women who work outside the home are going to hell or anything like that--but I do consider myself a Christian. Hence the shirt." He spread out his arms to display the white legend "Obey. Pray. Trust" over the yellow stylized logo reading "not of this world." He had about a dozen NOTW shirts, but this was one of the newest. "I agree with you that God loves everyone, though."

"A hundred of you guys came from a mental hospital to this one? Wow- that's a big move. It happened just like that? When did you guys get here? I recently got out of a mental hospital before I came here. Well, I went from the youth home to the hospital, to the youth home again and then here." Michael moved his fingers to map out his story, but it sounded about right. "I was in the hospital for my birthday. It was horrible."

Talon winced sympathetically. "I bet that did suck. As to the move, uh, it's kind of hard to explain. They didn't really tell us anything other than to pack our stuff, except our uniforms, because Hadley was closing, but I listened to the gossip, discounted about half of it and pieced together the rest. I think that when G. R. Biotech--I think that's what the forms said--when they bought Hadley, they just decided it would be easier to send us directly here. Keep the whole organization in one place. Anyway, New York had some bad memories for most of us. We--" He stopped. He remembered what had happened--Headmistress Bennett's brutal miscarriage that all the students had gossiped about, the student who somehow managed to sneak out and nearly froze to death...the three students who had probably died, either committed suicide or had an accident or been killed by an experimental drug. Michael didn't need to know about all that. For one thing, it would probably scare him, and for another it was all hearsay. He had no firsthand proof of any of it. "We had a lot that went on," he finally completed, rather lamely.

A smile crinkled the corners of his eyes as Michael struck a Charlie's Angel pose. "You think? Bet they'd look even better on you." He laughed as well, then clapped his hand on the younger boy's shoulder. "We should totally stick together. We can be like Agent K and Agent J...or Paul and Silas, whichever you prefer." He alluded to the Biblical story of the two men who had been imprisoned for their beliefs; they had prayed and God had sent an earthquake that shook the door off the cell and broke their chains. He guessed Michael would understand he was suggesting they band together until they could get out together.

Because Talon had decided he would be damned if he walked away from this place and left Michael trapped here indefinitely.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:42 pm

Michael watched as Talon put the D pile on the shelf. He giggled to himself as he thought about how uncommon this was. His old friends, besides Alan and Jorge, looked at him weird or even made fun of him if they saw him organizing things. They wouldn't have organized a bookshelf WITH him in a million years. Back then, he wouldn't have allowed them to help him even if they offered- he would be afraid they'd mess it up. Talon was careful not to have the books stick out- and that was just one of the reasons why he liked him. Talon could talk to him about anything and, more importantly, was especially able to stand him. He didn't get mad or even annoyed when Michael was anxious the moment they met. He knew they would be friends, at least it seemed now, for a long time.

"Sure. Michael is the Archangel, isn't he? He's the one that led the Army of God against Lucifer and the fallen angels, and in Revelations he's the one that fought and killed the dragon. It's the name of about sixteen different saints, the name of kings and emperors and conquerers, the name of scientists and athletes."

"Wow! I knew about Michael the Archangel, and I knew there were a few other saints with my name, but I didn't know they were as many as sixteen!" He exclaimed in excitement. "I didn't know he killed a dragon either. Gee, I have to read the bible more. I've only read the whole thing twice, but I read some stories one at a time on occasion. How many times have you read the bible all the way through? You know a lot so you must have read it lots of times."

The smaller boy smiled widely as Talon mentioned successful people who had his name. "I know of a baseball player with my name- Michael Epstein. He was a player in the 60's for the Orioles; they called him Super Jew."

Michael took a stray book, "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden, and put it with the G pile.

"I know about him and many others because besides church, baseball was really all I did since I was old enough to play tee ball. When I stayed at the youth home, I wasn't allowed to do much, but before then I threw at a target after school, setting the bar for 100 pitches a day, then however many it took for me to get tired. That was one of my many routines that were broken when I went to the youth home. I'm a pitcher, so I didn't want to lose my accuracy. That's what Alan, my old catcher, thought was good about me."

His voice lost its excitement after he mentioned Alan's name. He shook his head, trying to rid him of his persistent thoughts that were bombarding him.

'You left the team.'
'You left the team.'
'You left the team.'
'You left the team.'
'You left the team.'
'You left the team.'
'You left the team.'
'Alan hates you.'
'The whole team hates you.'
'You left the team.'

Michael bit his lip when Talon seemed to be thinking after he mentioned bullying. He was probably bullied too, and probably didn't want to talk about it. Michael couldn't blame him- he only talked about getting beat up by the members of the wrestling team when he was forced to. He decided to change the subject.

"What do you like to do for fun?"

It was a simple question, but one that meant a lot. This was true for anyone, but if Talon didn't have something to do other than think about the issues that got him into St. Christina's, he'd go crazy. That's what happened to Michael when he wasn't allowed to pitch or play baseball altogether. The other kids could hurt each other, or themselves, with the equipment and that's why he couldn't play or throw at the youth home. That's what Teagan told him anyway.

"I am, actually. Not the crazy kind of religious my parents are--I don't believe women who work outside the home are going to hell or anything like that."

"My mom taught English at a university for a long time before she lost her job. I love her but she has a lot of issues- but hey, it's not like I can talk. She's definitely not going to Hell- she's doing whatever she can do to get better and do good things."

Of course, this was just an assumption, but it felt true to Michael. He knew his mother- she felt guilt even though she didn't show it while she was mad at him. She was a good person; she cared about things. The woman in disarray who was Evelyn Courtenay knew she had a drinking problem and that was why she gave her son up to the government and went to rehab. Michael could only pray that she was doing well, but he knew that the reason why she gave him up wasn't because she was a sociopath- she couldn't support him without a job and she needed to get better. That's what got Michael through most days.

Michael perked up when Talon mentioned he was a Christian. "I knew it! Which sect? I'm Roman Catholic."

He saw Talon's shirt and read its lettering past 'Obey. Pray. Trust.'

"Not of this world..." He read aloud. "Is that a youth group?"

"I agree with you that God loves everyone, though."

Michael beamed and nodded as he repeated his ideology. "It doesn't matter what religion you are, or what color your skin is or who you love. I memorized a quote in John 4:7 11 that describes that perfectly- "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God." When people hate others for their differences while preaching the bible, it goes against what brought Christianity together in the first place."

Michael listened to Talon speak of the old institution where he and the other patients were at. He wondered about the situation, but it seemed even Talon didn't know the full story.

He laughed as Talon liked the MIB idea, and patted his shoulder. The gesture showed how close they'd become in a matter of minutes.

"We should totally stick together. We can be like Agent K and Agent J...or Paul and Silas, whichever you prefer."

"Paul and Silas? The story from the bible about two friends who believed in Jesus and went to jail, but were freed from their belief in Him?" He asked excitedly.

Michael smiled as he thought about it. St. Christina's wasn't as bad as prison, at least not yet, but he knew that Talon and him were going to stay friends through it all.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:58 pm

Talon hadn't relaxed so quickly with a person since coming to Hadley. Even Tara Anne and Ronin he had needed to warm up to, and he wouldn't have had an intense religious discussion with either of them, at least not so soon after meeting them. Okay, he probably wouldn't have an intense religious discussion with Ronin at all--in fact, he doubted he would have any kind of intent discussion with the older teenager; he had a feeling that if anything got intense between them it would be of a physical nature. The thought made him flush slightly and he had to concentrate very intently on the stack of books he was putting on the shelves. Hmm, maybe he could get a part-time job at the bookstore or the library. This was kind of fun. And that way he would have a little income, something to buy presents with and something to maybe treat people with. If Michael or Tara Anne were able to go out into the town, he could maybe buy them a milkshake at the cafe or something...

Michael's voice snapped Talon back to reality, and he smiled at the question. "I'm really more familiar with the stories--I had a Bible when I was a kid that was just the stories. My favorite was Elijah and the chariot of fire...but when I was ten my parents gave me my own copy of the King James Bible. I sort of fell out of reading it over the last year, but I try to read a little of it every night. But the only reason I know about St. Michael and the dragon is because when I was little and everyone thought the world was going to end on January 1, 2000, my Sunday School class spent an insane amount of time talking about the Book of Revelations. That was the only part I ever really remembered. I mean, I didn't even turn five until the day before the world was supposedly going to end."

He listened to the litany on baseball. From listening to the kid, Talon was forming a picture of at least some of his issues. He was either a really, really dedicated athlete--or he had OCD. Talon was betting on the latter, considering the way he'd been organizing the bookshelves and how relieved he seemed when Talon put them on straight. He smiled softly. "Baseball? I always wanted to play that. But I was never allowed to get involved in sports. I was only allowed to do church-sponsored activities...at least when I was younger." A chuckle. "I sang in the Youth choir, and in my school choir too. I loved it. Still do. Every once in a while I'll just break into song. If you've been thinking you're all that you've got, Then don't feel alone anymore...." His rich tenor filled the rec room. The song was one of his favorites, by one of his favorite bands, and he sang it well.

"What do you like to do for fun?"

Talon stopped and looked at the boy's innocent expression. "Well...like I said, I love to sing, and I like to read. That's really what I do when I'm here. Before I started at Hadley, my idea of 'fun' was a little...off." He hesitated, then sighed. "Honesty is the best policy, right? And I don't want to lie to you, even by omission. The reason I'm here is...well, I was a drug addict." He rotated his arm and held it out, showing Michael the track marks that still stood out faintly near his veins. "Cocaine. One of my friends, a boy in my class about three years older than me, which should have clued me in, got me started on it. And...I supported my habit by becoming a prostitute." He stopped, realizing that he could feel a blush coming on. That was odd. He'd never been ashamed of his past before. Well, he'd been ashamed of the drug abuse, sort of, but he hadn't ever been ashamed of prostitution. Either Hadley's techniques were finally starting to be effective--which he doubted, since he hadn't had any shame in telling Ronin--or he was seeing himself through Michael's trusting eyes, and he didn't like what he was seeing. Was the truth going to destroy his blossoming friendship with Michael? He swallowed twice before he managed to say, "I...I'll understand if you don't want to be friends anymore after that, but I promise, I've put all that behind me. I'm doing my best to behave myself." And he was, he swore to himself. When he went into town with Ronin, he would be on guard. He wasn't going to get transferred out of Ward C, not even for someone as devasatingly sexy as the older blond.

Michael's question about his sect of Christianity brought on a small sigh. "We call it the Church of the True Light. It's a...a charismatic church, I guess. The church split off of the Catholic church before I was even born because of a split over the woman's role in the family. We still follow a lot of the Catholic creeds and tenets, but the rituals and stuff are a lot simpler, and we don't have ordained clergy--the married men take turns running the services." He shrugged. "At least that's the sect my parents belong to, and the one I was raised in. I don't really believe in that, though. I guess you could call me non-denominational, only because I don't know what sect I really belong to."

The mention of the t-shirt, however, brought a smile back. "Actually, it's a line of clothing. There's a store called C28--it's a Christian clothing store, and this is one of their most popular brands. I've got about a dozen NOTW shirts. One of 'em has a picture of Mr. Rogers on it and it says 'Love Your Neighbor'."

A grin split Talon's face when Michael recognized the reference. "Right on the money. They got out of prison by sticking together and trusting in God, and we will, too. Right?"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:05 pm

Michael listened to Talon talk about the bible stories he knew and which bible he had, but his ears perked up by the name of one of the stories that his friend mentioned. "I've never actually read Elijah and the Chariot of Fire- can you tell that one to me?"

Michael's smile widened and his eyes emanated his excitement- he loved hearing stories and being read to. It was such a child-like quality, and it was one that he never really grew out of, even in his early adolescence.

Talon mentioned how his Sunday school class spent a lot of time preparing for the rapture by talking about the Book of Revelations. Michael listened to how old Talon was when that happened- no older than four or five. "Wow, I've never heard anything about that- maybe because I was too young to remember anything at all at that point."

Michael did the math in his head.

"Yeah, I wouldn't have turned three years old by then. That's okay- you're not old." He giggled.

"Baseball? I always wanted to play that. But I was never allowed to get involved in sports. I was only allowed to do church-sponsored activities...at least when I was younger."

"Really? Gosh..." Michael's eyes showed his confusion; he tried to wrap his mind around what Talon had said. He knew that if he wasn't allowed to play baseball, or anything for that matter, he wouldn't know what to do with himself. "Your parents must have been really strict. Church is nice, and all, but that's all you did?"

"I sang in the Youth choir, and in my school choir too. I loved it. Still do. Every once in a while I'll just break into song. If you've been thinking you're all that you've got, Then don't feel alone anymore...."

Michael laughed excitedly and clapped for the performance. Talon's voice really surprised him- he never expected Talon to be into singing.

"That's amazing!" He said as he stopped clapping. "Have you ever tried out for a vocal competition or a musical play? You're really good! I didn't recognize the song though- who's it by?"

"Before I started at Hadley, my idea of 'fun' was a little...off."

After Talon said that, the atmosphere changed. Their conversation wasn't so bouncy anymore- Michael watched Talon sigh and he was getting worried. He could tell that Talon was hesitant to say anything else, which was a change from how it had been a moment ago. Something was wrong.

"Honesty is the best policy, right? And I don't want to lie to you, even by omission. The reason I'm here is...well, I was a drug addict."

Michael watched Talon rotate his arm to the inside and he winced when he saw the marks from injections. He knew that the faint, red dots were as a result of Talon poking himself with a needle to get his fix. Michael winced because it must have been really painful, and not just because of the needles- Michael had anxiety attacks whenever he had to get a shot at the doctor's office and he'd hate it if he had to get a shot every day just to feel better. It pained him to know that Talon suffered that much; the scars were a permanent reminder of that. He wondered what drug Talon got into previously, but his question was already answered without him having to ask.

"Cocaine."

Michael's eyes widened. Cocaine. That was the drug his mom had warned him about. She was raving, as she always did when she was drunk, but she sought him out when he was practicing pitching at his target outside. He remembered her staggering, her voice slurred and irregular. 'Don't do drugs, Mike. If you *hic* get into shit like heroin and cocaine, then you won't amount to anything.' He remembered going into Dr. Ivanova's office the following day and hysterically crying, asking her frantically what cocaine looked like so he could avoid it. Michael's other darkest fear, besides hurting people and being alone, fell into the category of hurting people- he was terrified of upsetting the ones he cared about, and he knew that it would hurt his mother if he got into cocaine.

"One of my friends, a boy in my class about three years older than me, which should have clued me in, got me started on it. And...I supported my habit by becoming a prostitute."

Michael was silent when Talon said that too, because he didn't know what to say. Talon was obviously ashamed of it- at least as far as he could tell. He felt terrible that Talon had to take such a desperate route to get what he was addicted to. This hadn't, at all, diminished how highly Michael thought of Talon. Sympathy shined through the green in his eyes as he tried to find his words.

"I...I'll understand if you don't want to be friends anymore after that, but I promise, I've put all that behind me. I'm doing my best to behave myself."

"No!" Michael practically shouted. He could feel tears well up in his eyes. He didn't want Talon to leave. Michael had to leave too many people behind just coming to St. Christina's. He really didn't want to lose anyone else who mattered to him.

"Please don't say that. You... you're a good person. I know you are. Of course I still want to be friends."

Michael relaxed a bit, his shoulders sinking slightly. He sniffled and wiped away his tears with his chewed-up sleeve. He really didn't want to cry.

"My mom is addicted to alcohol and she's a good person. Usually when people do drugs they're unhappy- I know drugs are bad for you, but it just shows how much people suffer to have to resort to that. You must have gone through so much to have to turn to cocaine. And why does it matter, anyway? There are plenty of assholes out there who've never touched drugs-"

Michael's eyes widened and the red in his cheeks reflected his embarrassment. Did he... just curse? He wasn't sure that was the first time he said something bad, but he certainly didn't do it frequently.

"Um..." He looked down, the heat changing his face and ears to color of a firetruck. "S-Sorry... I don't usually swear. But..."

Michael leaned over and rested his head on Talon's shoulder. "... This doesn't change anything. Really. I'm glad you told me, but don't scare me like that."

Michael lifted his head and found Talon's eyes so he could smile into them. He listened attentively to Talon talk about the sect he formally belonged to.

"The Church of the True Light? Never heard of them." He said as he smiled when Talon said he was non-denominational. "There really isn't much that separates the different sects- they all lead to God and His love anyway."

He laughed when Talon mentioned the Mr. Rogers shirt. "My friend Jorge told me that Mr. Rogers was a sniper in the Vietnam War and wore sweaters to conceal military tattoos. Is that true? Because Jorge knew that I'm gullible and he tricked me a lot. All in good fun though."

He smiled as Talon told him that he'd gotten the Paul and Silas reference right.

"Right on the money. They got out of prison by sticking together and trusting in God, and we will, too. Right?"

"Absolutely!" Michael said as he rested his elbow on Talon's shoulder. "We'll get through anything together!"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:45 am

Michael's shout startled Talon, making him jump slightly. Tears came to his own eyes as he listened to the younger boy talk. For a moment, all he could feel was a profound sense of relief. He doesn't hate me. Thank you, God, he doesn't hate me. They had only known each other for a short while, but it felt like they had known each other forever, at least to Talon. In Michael, he had found the little brother he'd never had but always wanted. He didn't think he would have been able to cope had the younger boy walked away at that point. He cared about Michael, more than he would have thought possible even just that morning, and he couldn't have stood it if he had lost the fragile connection they had formed already.

When Michael leaned his head on Talon's shoulder, he reacted instinctively, putting his arms around the boy and hugging him gently. God, the poor kid. In the back of his mind, he realized how much Michael must have trusted him to tell him about his mom, but he set that aside...for now. "I'm so sorry," he said softly. "I didn't mean to scare you. I just...I haven't had too many good experiences telling other Christians about the circumstances that eventually led me here." He closed his eyes briefly, remembering the shouts, the threats, the hateful names, the accusations. The times whoever was running the service had specifically directed the congregation to pray for him en masse. The night several members had gotten it into their heads to perform an exorcism--which had been interesting, as none of them had ever actually seen one and they had therefore made it up on the spot (which they claimed was the reason it hadn't worked, not that Talon didn't actually have a demon inside him). The night his father had literally beaten him with a large wooden cross while his mother held him down. Yes, all things considered, he had had pretty good precedent for thinking Michael would have been upset.

He felt Michael pull back, and he drew back slightly as well. Brown eyes met green and Talon managed to give a reassuring smile, albeit a rather watery one. "I won't scare you like that again. Promise." He would do whatever it took to keep from scaring Michael.

Keeping one arm around the smaller boy's shoulders, he used the other to quickly wipe his eyes. "I'm not surprised you haven't heard of it. It's really more a cult than anything else. I think the only members of it live in or around Red Hook." He couldn't help but laugh a little at the Mr. Rogers comment. "No, Fred Rogers was never in the military, in Vietnam or otherwise. During the Vietnam War he was taping Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He was a Presbyterian minister. That rumor's been going around since before I was born, and I promise it isn't true."

He sat down on the nearest surface, keeping an arm around Michael. "Anyway, I'm sorry, you wanted to hear the story of Elijah and the Chariot of Fire, right?" He looked up at the ceiling, trying to recall the pages of his Bible--both the children's Bible with the simplified story, and the language of the "adult" Bible. Ah, there it is. "Okay. Elijah was a Tishmite living in the land of Gilead. God told him that it wouldn't rain in Gilead until He said so, so Elijah went to live in the wilderness by a brook, and ravens brought him meat and bread. When the brook dried up, God told him to go to--to Zarpheth, I think, something like that--and he would meet a widow who would help him. The widow only had a little bit of water and meal and lamp oil, but Elijah told her to make a cake for him and for her and her son, and there would be plenty until it rained. And no matter how much they ate or drank or lit the lamps, none of the jars got emptier. One night the widow's son got sick and died. Elijah begged God to send back the boy's soul, and He did. The widow said that truly Elijah was a man of God, and that he only spoke the truth.

"After three years, God told Elijah to go to King Ahab and show him God, and He would make it rain. So Elijah went to the King and told him to bring four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, and all the people of Israel, to Mount Carmel. When they got there, Elijah put a challenge to the priests of Baal. They killed a bull, cut it into pieces, and put it on an altar on top of some wood, and prayed for Baal to come light it on fire. They prayed all morning, and nothing happened, so all afternoon they preached that no one was listening, no one would answer. Then in the evening, Elijah killed a bull, cut it up, and put it on an altar he had made, on top of some wood. Then he poured three barrels of water on top of the wood until it was soaking wet. He prayed to God, and God lit the wood and the bull and even the water surrounding the altar on fire. After that Elijah went up Mount Carmel and prayed, and the hand of God appeared in a cloud and made it rain. The people of Israel began praising God, and Elijah slew all the priests of Baal.

"Understandably, this made King Ahab and Queen Jezebel angry, and they sent word to Elijah that they would kill him if they ever saw him again, so he went to Beersheba and met Elisha, whom God said would take over for him when he left. They travelled around together for many years, spreading the word of God and teaching people, and then Elijah told Elisha that he really was going to have to leave him this time. He said that Elisha could ask him for one more thing before he went to God, and Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Elijah told him he could have it if he watched him depart. They were walking along the river, when God sent down a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind and a flaming chariot."

Talon caught his breath and smiled at Michael. "Anyway, that's the story. Elisha carried on Elijah's work, and even though fifty strong men went looking for Elijah's body, they never found him. He truly was taken up to God. Elisha lived another two generations and finally died of a sickness." He chuckled a little. "Always did like that story. I told my father once that I wanted to drive the chariot of fire when I went to heaven." The smile dropped slightly. "He didn't understand. Jackson did, though...Jackson always understood."
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:37 pm

Michael didn't mean to raise his voice that much, and he felt guilty that he startled Talon, but the high volume really did display how distressed he was when Talon even mentioned not being friends anymore. He didn't want to lose Talon, especially not after they'd bonded so quickly. Usually, it took longer for Michael to warm up to someone, particularly when the other person always left after not being able to deal with his anxiety.

Michael was an only child even though he had two younger half sisters; he only met them once anyway so they didn't really count. But despite that, he was sure now that he'd found the big brother he craved all his life in Talon. He finally had someone to look up to; someone to aspire to be when he got older. If he left, Michael wouldn't know what to do, and judging by the fact that Talon was moved to tears as well about them possibly splitting up, Talon wouldn't either.

Michael felt Talon's arms wrap gently around his shoulders and he relaxed. He loved hugs; all of his troubles seemed to go away, or at least put on pause, when he was hugged or when his hand was held.

He heard Talon apologize and he opened his mouth to say it was okay, but then Talon said:

"I didn't mean to scare you. I just...I haven't had too many good experiences telling other Christians about the circumstances that eventually led me here."

Talon's voice was heavy, as if he were remembering something he didn't want to remember. Michael's eyes filled with sympathy, thinking about what Talon could have meant by that. 'They didn't hurt him, did they?'

"...What did they do to you?" Michael asked, his voice suggesting that he might cry again. "Did... anyone hurt you?"

Michael hoped that wasn't the case. "S-Sorry," He said finally. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

But that didn't stop his wondering. Did someone, or a group of them, hurt Talon? A flash of anger erupted inside that closet door that he stuffed it in. Whenever Michael felt anger, it immediately changed to guilt because all his life he told himself that he didn't have a right to feel anger, and that if he ever showed it he would hurt someone. Anger was uncomfortable, he knew, and he only allowed himself to feel it for a few seconds. Instead of dwelling on it, he rested his head on Talon's shoulder again, and it all went away. At least for now.

He lifted his head and his eyes met Talon's, and he saw the tears held back in his friend's brown eyes.

"I won't scare you like that again. Promise."

Michael smiled as he nodded. "That's okay," He said sweetly. "And I promise not to scare you! Although I don't really know how I could. My friend Jorge from the youth home used to scare me all the time by jumping out of the bathroom when I walked in the room or hiding behind the couch and yelling in my face, and I'd always try to get him back, but it would never work. I guess he's not as jumpy as I am. I get startled easily." He laughed.

He watched Talon wipe away the tears in his eyes as he told the smaller boy about his family's church. It was a cult? Michael didn't really know how to feel about that one, but it really wasn't his business. He pictured a cult, thought immediately of Satanism and shivered.

Michael laughed when Talon told him the truth about Mr. Rogers. "Oh! So Jorge was trying to trick me. Or, the rumor has been going on for awhile? Maybe he just didn't know. But I guess that makes sense. Mr. Rogers really didn't seem like a war veteran to me."

Talon still had his arm around him as he began telling him the story of Elijah and the chariot of fire. Michael sat and listened attentively, allowing himself to get lost in the story. He loved hearing stories and this one was no exception. He listened to the story of Elijah and how his faith restored water to the brook and helped people in the end. He looked awe struck when he found out how it ended.

"Wow!" He exclaimed childishly, thrilled that he got to hear a story. He giggled when Talon mentioned his wish as a child. "Well, who wouldn't want to drive a chariot of fire to heaven? That's a pretty cool way to ascend if you ask me."

He listened again, his ears perking up when Talon mentioned someone named Jackson, who always understood.

"Who's Jackson?"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:58 pm

"...What did they do to you?" Michael asked, his voice suggesting that he might cry again. "Did... anyone hurt you?"

Talon wanted to protect Michael. He didn't want any of the horrors that had touched him to touch this boy. But at the same time, he had asked...and Talon had already promised himself that he would be honest. Even though Michael said he didn't have to answer, he knew he did.

"Once or twice," he admitted. "Although I don't think they really meant to, exactly...I mean, they were just doing what they thought would help. The men of my church decided I had a demon inside me and needed to be exorcised...none of them had ever seen an exorcism before, so they made it up, and some of the things they did were...painful." Excruciatingly so. One of the men had forced his jaw open while another had pushed a rosary down his throat, beads and all, then dragged it out. They had poured holy water--hot holy water--onto his track sites, over his penis, into his...he winced at the memory and forced his thoughts away from it. "And my father decided I needed to have Christ's sacrifice beaten into me...his way of accomplishing that was rather literal. He got his Bible Study group to pray over a wooden cross, and then he beat me with it while my mother held me down. Mostly, though, it was just shouts, accusations, names...massive congregational prayers." He shrugged as though the matter was of no consequence, but anyone looking at his face could see that it still bothered him. He had never understood why his parents couldn't accept him for who he was.

The eager look in Michael's face as Talon told the story of Elijah spurred him on to new narrative heights. His childlike, enthusiastic response to the end of the story made him smile. He'd always loved telling the Bible stories, and telling them to an eager listener made them even better. The song "I Love to Tell the Story" floated into his head and he beat back the urge to sing it. True as it may have been, it wasn't particularly relevant at the moment and he didn't want to alienate Michael. "And wouldn't that be a great job to have? Driving horses for all eternity...ferrying souls from Earth to heaven...bringing God or His messengers down to speak to the people? It almost makes me want to learn to ride while I'm still here."

"Who's Jackson?"

The question was an innocent one, and there was no reason not to answer...except that Talon hadn't mentioned Jackson to anybody since arriving at Hadley. Well, he had mentioned him in veiled terms to Tara Anne, the night they first met, but he'd never gone into any detail. Suddenly, though, he wanted to tell somebody. And not just any somebody--he wanted to tell Michael. After all, if the boy was his little brother, then he was Jackson's little brother, too. Someone began to speak and it took Talon a moment to realize it was him.

"Jackson is my older brother. He's nineteen. He and my sister Agnes are twins. Aggie is a member of our church and, last I heard, she was engaged to one of the eligible men of the congregation, but Jackson...well, he got thrown out of the house when he was seventeen." Talon swallowed. How was he going to explain why? He didn't want to go into the details--not only because they hurt, but also because they were, quite frankly, terrifying. Finally, he settled on the basics. "He...he saved me from someone who was trying to hurt me badly, but in the process he got really sick. Our parents demanded to know why he had done what he did and...he sort of lied. He didn't tell them it was to save me--they didn't know I was...working yet. Jackson did. Father ordered him out of the house and said he never wanted to see him again. From then on he said he only had one son, and we weren't supposed to be in touch with him."

A smile flickered over his face. "I did, though. We corresponded using codes, invisible ink, the whole nine yards. My parents never caught on. He was the first person I wrote to when I got to Hadley." The smile faded as he remembered the letter he'd received from Skylar. How was Jackson doing? Talon resolved to write to him at the first opportunity. They may be a whole continent apart now, but he wanted to remain as close to his brother as he had always been.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:25 pm

Michael's stomach sank when he heard the truth. He didn't think that there was a demon inside of Talon- he had no idea what the men of his church were thinking... if they were thinking at all. They wouldn't have done those horrible things to Talon if they actually got to know him and saw past the issues they thought he had- and Michael wasn't even sure what those horrible things were. Talon was vague about it, maybe intentionally, and that was a good thing because Michael would have definitely cried... out of anger this time. In truth, Michael cried predominately when he was upset, anxious or frustrated, and right now he felt two out of that list. He was upset that those terrible things happened to Talon... and frustrated that he could do nothing about it. He watched as Talon winced as he remembered the past.

"And my father decided I needed to have Christ's sacrifice beaten into me...his way of accomplishing that was rather literal. He got his Bible Study group to pray over a wooden cross, and then he beat me with it while my mother held me down. Mostly, though, it was just shouts, accusations, names...massive congregational prayers."

As Talon described how his parents (HIS PARENTS) beat him, the shocked/angry look Michael displayed cleanly on his face quickly melted into a mix between sympathy, hurt and guilt. Tears welled in his eyes as his gaze fell downwards, away from Talon's. He took a shaky breath as he bit down hard on his lip to keep it from quivering anymore.

Michael felt his mouth open to form the word 'why', but it was held back. It was useless to ask why. Talon's parents and the men of their church, even if they thought they had a reason, didn't. There was no excuse for holding your son down as you beat him. Michael couldn't decide which was sicker- having your father beat you with a wooden cross or having your mother hold you down throughout that.

"Parents aren't supposed to do that," He whispered shakily. "Parents are supposed to love you no matter what. There are other ways of teaching your kid something is wrong without hitting him."

Michael shifted closer so that he could wrap both arms gently around Talon's shoulders. "I'm really sorry that happened to you. It shouldn't have."

The air in the conversation quickly changed, however, when Talon started talking about Jackson. His voice projected the admiration he felt for his older brother, and the happiness of all of the memories they must have had. Michael smiled as Talon spoke freely, and probably didn't even realize he was talking. He must have been itching to tell someone for a long time.

And then, as quickly as the words came, Talon hesitated when he mentioned that Jackson was thrown out of the house. Talon's explanation for it, and the way he told it, kind of reminded Michael of a story in a picture book, but it was a story that he didn't quite understand. Michael's face spelled out 'sadness' as if it was tattooed on his forehead when Talon mentioned how their family took Jackson's deed (whatever it was). His own father pretended like he never had Jackson to begin with after he left?

But Michael smiled brightly again as Talon mentioned that he still kept in contact with Jackson. The codes and invisible ink idea was really clever.

"Wow!" He exclaimed brightly. "That's like what would happen if a psychiatrist here told me that I couldn't talk to you!"

Michael stuck his tongue out cheekily. "I'd break the rules anyway. If anyone told me that I couldn't talk to my brother, they'd be crazier than us to think that we wouldn't find a way!"

He laughed as he realized that he hadn't spoken the word 'brother' yet. But Talon was his brother, and he hoped that Jackson, wherever he was, was okay. He saw Talon's smile fade as he thought of something, most likely Jackson.

"Where is Jackson now?" Michael asked as innocently as all of his questions. "When was the last time you talked to him?"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:18 pm

Talon returned Michael's hug, wondering again how he had managed to get this far without someone like the younger boy in his life. How had he survived the last six months without someone who cared about him, someone who believed in him...someone who felt for him? Tara Anne was a great friend, but she had her own problems to deal with, and right now Talon got the feeling that Michael would gladly take Talon's burdens if he could. Which was great, because he felt the same way about Michael. He didn't want to ask outright why Michael was here, but he definitely wanted to know...and then protect the boy from it. Whatever it was.

"It's not your fault," he said softly, but firmly. "I don't think they understood...actually, I know they didn't understand. They just did what they thought was best. I'm just thankful that I was able to get away when they sent me to Hadley." He looked down at the boy and smiled, a quick, crooked grin. "After all, if they hadn't, I never would have met you."

He could tell that Michael didn't understand his explanation of what had happened to Jackson, which was okay. Michael didn't need to know the gory details--and gory they were. The worst of it was Talon felt a certain amount of guilt over the whole thing. Jackson had tried to get him to say nothing, but Talon had been worried about the amount of blood he was losing and run to their parents, saying that Jackson was hurt and needed to go to the hospital...and the police had come to meet him after his treatment...and the shouts, the arguments, the sheer hatred that had emanated off of his parents....He drew a deep breath to cut off the rush of memories. If he let it continue he might tell Michael what had happened. He'd never told anybody about that...not even the police. Jackson had never told them, or anyone else, that Talon had witnessed the whole thing.

The bright smile on Michael's face as he enthused about the invisible ink idea pressed Talon's face into a matching grin. The grin broadened when Michael called him his brother. "You got that right," he said affectionately, tousling the younger boy's hair roughly. "I'd rather get bumped out of Ward C than follow a stupid rule that tried to keep us apart."

"Where is Jackson now? When was the last time you talked to him?"

Talon hesitated slightly. "Well...the last time I actually talked to him was before he moved out of the house. We've mostly been corresponding by letter...I don't even have his number. Last time I wrote to him was way back in December...I've been kinda busy. I got a letter back four months later from him--well, from him through his--" He stopped. "I don't know what they are anymore. I guess 'life partner' about covers it...I know they're together, and I know they want to get married, but I don't know if they have yet. Anyway, they live in Massachusetts." It never occured to Talon that he hadn't mentioned that Skylar was male, but in his mind it didn't matter anyway.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:03 pm

When Talon returned the hug, Michael felt a lot better. He felt warm and safe again, thanks to Talon. His arms had a way with protecting Michael from his intrusive thoughts. The anger/upset about Talon's parents abusing him didn't disappear, but it was put on a shelf and left alone for now. Besides, Talon had said himself that it wasn't his fault that he was hurt in the past, so Michael believed him. He was glad that Talon was away from his family, as weird as that sounded. It seemed like it was what he needed.

"After all, if they hadn't, I never would have met you."

Michael beamed in response. Where had Talon been all his life? Obviously about 1,000 miles away, but the question wasn't in the literal sense. It was amazing how close Talon and Michael had become in a matter of minutes, but Michael was sure their brotherhood was a gift from God. God had planned all along that Michael and Talon would meet and fill each other's emotional voids.

"I'm really glad I met you too," Michael smiled. "I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't."

It was true; a couple of minutes after he arrived, he met Andry, but for some reason he didn't have the same connection with Andry like he had with Talon. He could tell Andry held a lot back when he talked to him. Michael didn't like to think he was lying when he talked, but it was quite possible. Then, a couple hours into the day, he met Talon. And he was sure that he would be a sobbing mess (Well, more so) if he hadn't.

Michael giggled as Talon ruffled his hair, just like a big brother would. He was glad that Talon agreed that there wouldn't be a rule in the entire hospital that could possibly separate them, and honored that Talon would sacrifice the freedom that came with his ward if that were to happen. It showed how important they were to each other.

When Michael asked where Jackson was, Talon's words didn't come as easily:

"Well...the last time I actually talked to him was before he moved out of the house. We've mostly been corresponding by letter...I don't even have his number. Last time I wrote to him was way back in December...I've been kinda busy. I got a letter back four months later from him--well, from him through his-- I don't know what they are anymore. I guess 'life partner' about covers it...I know they're together, and I know they want to get married, but I don't know if they have yet. Anyway, they live in Massachusetts."

"You haven't spoken to him for that long?" Michael frowned slightly. He didn't know how he would take it if he wouldn't speak to Talon for that amount of time. And he didn't even know if Jackson was married yet? That was pretty important.

"I... I haven't spoken to my mom face to face since late April- and it's really hard. So I know it feels."

Michael sighed, his expression numbing slightly, then he looked at Talon. "I haven't actually told you why I'm here, right? Sorry,"

Michael sat up, crossing his legs, as he told his newfound sibling.

"My life pretty much changed on a dime in the course of one month. Last month. My mom was drunk, as usual, but this time she went to get me while I was sleeping- usually she drank alone and yelled at me if I disturbed her. She told me to get in the car; she's actually really good at driving while intoxicated, so we made it there just fine. There, meaning, the police station."

Michael gulped as he told the story as vividly as he remembered it.

"She stormed into the police chief's office. I could hear her screaming, but I couldn't tell what she was saying. I just sat in the waiting room... really scared. I had no idea what was going on. Then, she came out of the room... and... she hugged me, then without saying anything, she went into a police car and they drove away."

Michael paused, catching his breath and sighing again, then said: "The police chief told me that my mom just lost her job that morning. She was an English professor at Northern Michigan University, and without that, she had no way of taking care of me. So she... gave me up to the government."

Michael winced. He really didn't want to put it that way, but it was true. He continued: "The police decided to call my dad up in Kentucky, in the middle of the night, so that went horribly. Dad said that he wouldn't be able to take care of me because there was no room in his house, but my stepmom, Morgan, was screaming in the background so she probably persuaded him to say that. She's evil; he hates me and I didn't do anything to her. She's always trying to keep me away from Tori and Brielle, her ten-year-old daughters who smoke weed behind her back, and I don't understand why. I was fine when the policeman said that I couldn't live with them- I visited them twice, so I only met my dad twice in my life, and I was miserable. So I was kind of happy that it didn't work out."

"The police found that I didn't have any other relatives who could house me temporarily, because they're all old; some of them are in nursing homes. So they sent me to a youth home- Marquette County youth home, to be exact. And I stayed there for the month of May. But a few days after I was there, I quit the baseball team because..."

Michael paused. He didn't know how to say what he needed to, but he did his best: "After my mom left, I was- well, I still am grappling with the idea that she abandoned me... so everything that I loved to do, I couldn't even touch anymore. Baseball was the main thing; it was all I did. So when I went to practice that Monday, as the youth home keeps you with your school, I told the whole team I was quitting. I was the ace pitcher on their team, and I was really the only arm they had. I was the one relied on the most for official games, and I left in the middle of the season. Coach had to go through everyone's roster to see who had pitching experience and Alan... our catcher... who really was the only one out of the whole team who didn't think that interacting with me was a chore, starting screaming at me. And he told me that he never wanted to see my face again. He was my best friend up until that point."

Pain filled Michael's green irises, but he kept talking with a steady voice. "A few days after that, everything was too hard. Everything unraveled for me when I was in the home. I had a mental breakdown... it was a cross between nervousness, depression and... anguish, actually. I was hospitalized for three days, the second day being my birthday. I was hospitalized once before for anxiety, but that was nothing compared to this one. Then, I stayed at the youth home for a few more weeks, getting through it all with Jorge and Teagan's help... and then I came here."

Michael looked at Talon again, shrugging. "And that's really my full story. I left nothing out; 95% of why I'm here happened last month."

Michael grinned and moved closer to Talon, resting his head on Talon's shoulder again. "I don't regret any of it though; because I met you."
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:57 pm

Talon's brown eyes got rounder and more filled with sorrow as Michael spoke. Oh, God, the poor kid. Yes, Talon had had issues with his parents...especially in recent years...but they were still his parents. They were still together (well, they had very strict views on divorce, polygamy, and extramarital affairs), and he knew, rationally, that they had done what they did because they loved him and thought they were helping him. Okay, so Michael's mom had done what she thought was best in taking him to the police station...but there had to have been other options, other avenues she could have explored before going straight to the police. The scenario reminded Talon of the way people abandoned unwanted puppies--putting them on the side of the road or the beach, telling them to "stay", and then just walking away. It was heartless and cruel.

And the way his father and stepmother had acted...Talon ached for Michael. What must it feel like, knowing that your own father didn't want you around? Who wouldn't want such a sweet kid? At least on that point, Talon was pretty sure he knew the answer that was troubling Michael. If his father acted like he didn't have a son, he would put all his financial resources--and eventual inheritance--into his and Morgan's daughters. It was a simple, selfish action to protect the interests of her blood children at the expense of Michael. His heart ached for the boy.

He saw the pain in Michael's eyes as the boy talked about quitting the baseball team, and the rage and hatred that had come from that, and his eventual breakdown. He responded instantly the only way he knew would work--enveloping Michael in a comforting, protective hug. No one should have been subjected to all that, and especially not a boy like Michael who was totally innocent. Talon had done most of what had brought him here to himself, but Michael had had it inflicted on him. He was helpless, innocent, fragile, and certainly didn't deserve what had been done to him. He wouldn't have wished that on his worst enemy, and certainly not on his little brother.

"I don't regret any of it though; because I met you."

A small, gentle smile crossed Talon's face, and he stroked Michael's hair in a comforting gesture. "I'm sorry you had to go through all that," he said softly. "I wish there was something I could do to fix it, but about all I can do is promise you that I'm not going anywhere, and I would rather die than see you hurt." Continuing to stroke his little brother's hair, almost without conscious thought, he began singing softly.

"You've been livin' way too long,
In broken-promise land.
Your dreams crushed an' scattered,
Like a million grains of sand.
I'd love to be your redemption,
But I am just a man,
I may never be a hero.
But I'am a rock you can lean on.

If I don't love you like you deserve;
If I don't stop every tear you're cryin';
If I don't make your life,
A Heaven on this earth,
I'll die tryin'.
I'll die tryin'.

I'll listen to your secret prayer,
An' share your deepest wish;
Search for a hundred years,
Just to find the perfect kiss.
Of everything within my power,
There's nothin' I won't give,
To be that part of you an' your life,
Oh, that takes what's wrong an' makes it right.

If I don't love you like you deserve;
If I don't stop every tear you're cryin';
If I don't make your life,
A Heaven on this earth,
I'll die tryin'.
I'll die tryin'.

I may never be a hero,
But I'm a rock you can lean on.

If I don't love you like you deserve;
If I don't stop every tear you're cryin';
If I don't make your life,
A Heaven on this earth,
I'll die tryin'.
Oh, I'll die tryin'.
I'll die tryin'...
"
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:43 am

As Talon wrapped his arms around Michael, the thoughts that circled around the wound that was opened as he revealed the story of all of the people who abandoned him... evaporated with his gentle embrace. Michael melted into his big brother's hug, putting his arm around one of Talon's arms, hugging him back. He felt safe when Talon hugged him, like there wasn't anything that could hurt him ever again. Michael seemed to calm down... his heart rate, which was always on the fritz because of anxiety, slowed down. He didn't know what it was about Talon's affection that seemed to be an instant problem-solver... maybe because, in the past, physical affection was something to be grateful for because it didn't happen very often, and savored so that he could get through an anxiety attack or a worry smoothly. Sometimes, he had to remember what a hug from his mom or Teagan (At one time, Alan) felt like so that he wouldn't have an anxiety attack or break down crying, as those moments were few and far between.

Michael felt Talon's fingers run through his hair and he smiled; partly because it tickled and partly because he was so happy and grateful that he met the older boy.

"I'm sorry you had to go through all that. I wish there was something I could do to fix it, but about all I can do is promise you that I'm not going anywhere, and I would rather die than see you hurt."

Michael stared up in awe, silent because he couldn't find the words in response to that. Talon was doing MORE than fixing Michael's past; he was being a part of hie life and making his future better. His lip quivered again when Talon promised that he wasn't leaving. Tears welled up in Michael eyes again as he realized that Talon was really the only person who hadn't left him. His mother was in rehab, his father left the house before he knew what Michael would be like as a person, Alan hated him, Teagan worked at the home in Michigan and Jorge was with his foster family. Everyone had left... except the one person who mattered now.

Talon still had his fingers gently through Michael's hair, and started singing. As if Michael couldn't be even more amazed, Talon's voice had been unlike anything he'd ever heard. He sang a song Michael didn't recognize, but he didn't have to know because Talon sang it so well. The entire room was filled with Talon's voice. It wasn't just the fact that he was an excellent singer that Michael was amazed. He listened to the lyrics and knew in his heart that Talon meant every word he sang. Michael smiled as he started crying again, out of happiness this time. He listened to the whole song, so grateful and blessed that Talon was in his life.

When the song ended, Michael sniffled and wiped his tears away, while smiling.

"I promise I'm never leaving you either. And," He began. "I think I've always had a hole deep inside of me, but I never noticed it because I didn't know any different. Back then, I thought that everyone had holes in them somewhere and that mine would never get filled."

Michael's eyes smiled for him warmly. "Now that I have you to be my brother, the hole disappeared."

Michael's cheeks flushed slightly after he said that. "It's a weird way of putting it, but it's true. Before, I was kind of lost without realizing I was lost. And..."

He looked into Talon's eyes again. "... I'm so happy you found me."
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:42 am

Talon hadn't written the words--Steve Bogard and Jeremy Stover had, whoever they were--but he meant every one of them with every fiber of his being. He would do whatever was in his power to protect Michael from anything he could. Whatever the younger boy needed--a friend, a confidant, a co-conspirator, a prayer buddy, someone to kick his butt into gear--he would provide, wholeheartedly and without reservation. And if, on some far-distant day, someone from Michael's family did turn up to reclaim him, Talon would be right there at the boy's side to make sure that they were going to treat him right when they got him out of there. No one, no matter how entitled they felt, was going to take advantage of Michael Courtenay again, as long as Talon lived.

He had to wipe away a few tears of his own as Michael spoke. He had never made that kind of difference in anyone's life, and certainly not so quickly. It was almost the way he'd always felt with Jackson, only...deeper, more intense. He wondered if Jackson felt this way about him...and if he had, how much it must have cost him to leave New York, even with Skylar to think about. Talon knew that even if he were released from St. Christina's, he wouldn't be able to bring himself to leave Green Ridge--not without Michael. For the first time, he wished Jackson could have come to the island, too.

He met Michael's eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to marshall his thoughts in a coherent manner. "You know, you've healed something in me, too--something I didn't even know was broken. I've been...lost in a lot of ways since I met Henry. I always knew Jackson had my back, but then he made the ultimate sacrifice for me and my parents threw him out. "

Talon shook his head. "I think I closed down after that. I know what I was doing got...easier somehow. I wouldn't let anyone else get close to me because I didn't want to get hurt again, or get anyone else hurt." A warm smile rose in his eyes. "And then I got here, and I met you...and all of a sudden everything opened up. I wanted to get close to you. I wanted to be there for you like Jackson always was for me, the way I never could be for anybody else."

He met Michael's eyes, and his entire face seemed to glow with his smile, even though the tears were in his eyes again. "I didn't just find you. You found me. You found me and you brought me home."
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:28 am

What Talon said was true- through meeting each other, Michael and Talon were healed. They healed each other. Through Talon's words, Michael knew he wasn't just imagining things- they both had wounds, or holes, hidden inside of them that they didn't even know they had... until they met each other and they were made better. For the first time in his life, he didn't want his mom (or father at this point) to take him back. He knew that if he somehow managed to cure his anxiety and the psychiatrists decided to set him free, he would refuse to leave St. Christina's, or Green Ridge, without Talon.

Michael finally realized that his parents, in their own ways, were always very distant, and he didn't think anything was wrong because he didn't know any different. His mom was always getting drunk, trying her best to have time to herself and now gave him up, while his dad left him from day one. That was just one of the reasons why Talon had filled a deep void- to him, he was the only family he had. He didn't have any siblings to keep him company or mentor him or protect him or comfort him... until now.

"I think I closed down after that. I know what I was doing got...easier somehow. I wouldn't let anyone else get close to me because I didn't want to get hurt again, or get anyone else hurt. And then I got here, and I met you...and all of a sudden everything opened up. I wanted to get close to you. I wanted to be there for you like Jackson always was for me, the way I never could be for anybody else."

Michael smiled as he felt his eyes start to fill with tears again. He felt so special that Talon tore down all of his inner walls and took a huge risk... for him.

"You know, I've never known what it felt like to not trust anyone at all, because I trust everyone... and that gets me hurt sometimes. But I know that if I suddenly shut everybody out, that would be more painful than getting hurt by someone. It would hurt more than all of the times I got beat up in school combined. So... that must have been horrible for you to build up all these walls around you and not let anyone in. And,"

Michael wrapped his arms around Talon's shoulders and gave them a small squeeze.

"-I promise I'll never hurt you. I don't know why I would, but I promise just to be safe. And I'm so happy... I feel... such joy that you're letting me in. From the way you spoke, not too many people have gone through your barriers. I trust you with all my life too."

"I didn't just find you. You found me. You found me and you brought me home."

Home. Michael had to pause for a moment after hearing that, his heart exploding with joy... and warmth. He looked down in thought.

"You're right. At this point in my life, I kind of have a shaky idea of what "home" actually is. Right now, Home isn't the two-bedroom condo in Marquette where I lived all my life with my mom. Home isn't the big, Southern house in Somerset, Kentucky where my dad, angry step-mom and angry half-sisters live. Home isn't the Marquette County Youth Home, because it's just that- a temporary placement for kids like me who were left alone. But I know where Home is now."

Michael smiled into Talon's eyes. "Home is with you. And I wouldn't have it any other way."

As he waited for Talon to answer, Michael mentally combed through his memories... and realized that he wasn't this close with anyone, especially not within the first hour of them knowing him. Alan, when they were friends, at first only liked Michael because he was the exact opposite of the pitcher he used to work with. It was a tumultuous battery (pitcher and catcher combo) with a guy named Sebastian Young- a no-control power pitcher who never followed Alan's signs and was generally an "arrogant asshole" as Alan put it. Michael was a nice, obedient control pitcher... so it made sense that Alan liked him when they first met. At that time, Alan had been the only one who believed in him and his slow pitches- Alan believed that his excellent control and wide variety of different pitches more than made up for his lack of speed.

Jorge, and his fiery Spanish temper, saved him from getting beat up by this guy named Butch, who was thrown in the foster care system after just getting out of juvie. Jorge was tiny too- not much taller than Michael, but he somehow managed to intimidate a huge guy who was hardened by prison. Jorge was funny and really provided the energy that Michael needed to get through the youth home experience... but he was hard to talk to because of his blatant lack of empathy. And besides, Michael only knew the guy for a month. But then again, he'd only knew Talon for twenty minutes or so, and look how they turned out. So he decided that time wasn't a deciding factor.

And those were Michael's two closest friends before Talon, and one of them hated him now. Everyone else that Michael considered to be his friend were friendly but distant, because they couldn't stand how anxious he was.

The scrawny brunette finally said cheerfully to his brother: "Where have you been all my life?"

He laughed to himself as he found Talon's eyes again. "I mean, I'm starting to think that we were separated at birth or something... which doesn't make ANY sense at all, because we have separate sets of biological parents... your parents or my parents would have had to cover up my existence somehow because I'm younger than you... and you were born in New York and I was born in Michigan... and we don't look a thing like each other... but other than that, all the signs point to that we're related somehow."

Michael laughed as he rested an elbow on Talon's shoulder. "Guess it shows that you don't have to be biologically related to someone to be their sibling. You're my brother even though not by blood."
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:28 am

Talon smiled. He could tell that Michael was a trusting soul, and of course that had got him hurt before--that much was evident from his story. And the younger boy's hug made Talon feel better straightaway. There was something about Michael's wholehearted affection that did better for him than seven months at Hadley had ever done. For the first time, he believed that he really might get out of here someday. He believed that he stood a chance at rehabilitation, that maybe he could beat the issues that had stuck him here in the first place. He'd always be gay--and anyway, that wasn't an issue--but he could totally kick the cocaine habit without risk of relapse, and he could get over the urge to prostitute.

He returned Michael's hug. "When you're...doing what I was doing before I got here, you can't afford to let anyone get close to you. It's so easy to get hurt when you're dealing with the sort of people who...paid for my services. I just wasn't able to separate my working life from my daily life. And you're right--that was hurting me, not being able to trust anyone with myself. I'd just been scarred too many times by people I had trusted, and I was sick of being hurt. I've told bits of my story to a couple of different people, but you're the only one I've told everything to, because you're the only one I really knew I could trust." His smile deepened. "I'm glad I was right."

Michael's comments about home had him nodding. "'A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams,'" he quoted. "I never felt at home with my parents. I felt at home with Jackson, but it wasn't a whole home. I always knew something was missing, but I didn't know what. I used to think that it was because my parents didn't love us, but now I realize, the hole in our home was exactly your size." He grinned. "You've always been part of my family. I just didn't know it."

He couldn't help but laugh at Michael's question about being family separated at birth. "If I'd known you existed before, I'd have moved heaven and earth to find you," he promised. "Biological connections are secondary. Emotional connections are true. You are my brother, from now until forever. And there's nothing you can do about it," he teased, poking a finger into Michael's ribs lightly. "Face it, kid, you're stuck with me for life."


Last edited by Talon Rogers on Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:45 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Broken BB code)
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:53 am

When Michael gave Talon a hug, it made him feel better too- he didn't get to give hugs very often. Although Michael thrived on giving anyone anything and was a particularly affectionate boy, he often feared upsetting or angering someone he felt needed a hug, and when he was depressed he had trouble asking and therefore didn't initiate one. With Talon, his OCD didn't send a barrage of thoughts around obsessively making sure he wouldn't hurt or upset him. Michael had a tendency to over-think things, but with Talon, he wasn't over-analyzing and being indecisive. Instead, he was jumping right in. He was living, instead of being afraid all the time. He didn't know what it was about Talon, but his big brother's presence seemed to radiate happiness, strength, and more importantly for Michael, confidence.

For the first time in his life, even though he didn't realize it consciously, Michael felt that he had the power to overcome his many anxiety-issues... without anyone else having to tell him that he could. Alan once told him that he could easily get over OCD, for example, if he exposed himself to the things he was obsessing about and if he didn't respond to his many rituals... Alan even offered to help him. But despite that, Michael still held onto the idea that he could never get better... and that attitude was part of the reason he wound up in the mental hospital those many times including this one. Now, Michael felt more empowered than he ever had in a while- he suddenly felt that he could get over his anxiety and stop his many unhealthfully rigid routines... now that he had Talon.

Talon began to speak about the times when he hadn't let anyone in as Michael felt his arms wrap around him in return. He spoke about his days in prostitution and Michael's heart tugged in a different direction out of sympathy. Talon hadn't let anyone inside of his walls because he feared being hurt. Other people had taken advantage of him and hurt him and he had been afraid to tear down his barriers... until now.

"You were continuously hurt in the past and now you're letting me in," Michael breathed in amazment. "I didn't think I was worth that before..."

That much was true. Everyone Michael knew besides his mother, Alan and Jorge shied away from him if they knew that a friendship would blossom... because of how blatantly anxious he was. It got too much for people to handle, he knew, because his anxiety would cause him to be awkward or cry or organize their things. And even his mother and former best friends had their moments when they'd had enough of him, especially Alan... even before he hated him.

"-because everyone I've come in close contact with kind of got sick of me after knowing me awhile."

Michael smiled at Talon again. "I'm never getting sick of you, I can tell you that much. And... I'm really happy that you trust me that much. It must have taken a lot."

"'A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams,'

Michael's eyes portrayed his descent into deep thought after that was said. That quote couldn't have been more true, especially in Michael and Talon's case. The houses they were raised in all their lives really didn't feel like home to them. Talon's parents were abusive and Michael's were distant, with the fact that Jackson was forced out of the Rogers residence and the man named James Miller was never really in Michael's life to begin with. His smile widened as Talon mentioned that he was what he had been missing all along. Michael, at that point, felt something that he hadn't felt in a long time- he felt wanted.

"My family would have been complete if you grew up with me too. Because my dad left before I was a month old, it was just my mom and I. I consciously thought that was fine because I didn't know anything else, but I knew that someone was missing. And after I met my dad for the first time two years ago, I knew it wasn't him."

Michael smiled into Talon's eyes. "Now I know that I was missing you all along."

"If I'd known you existed before, I'd have moved heaven and earth to find you. You are my brother, from now until forever. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Michael giggled as he realized that all of that was true. "Of course! Your my brother too, and I know that's how it's going to be. Why would I want to change that?"

When Michael felt Talon's finger poke at his side, that simple graze was enough for the smaller boy to fall over, grasp his stomach and laugh hysterically. Michael was extraordinarily ticklish, and this was apparent as he was on the floor giggling incessantly due to one poke to the ribs.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:29 am

"Of course you're worth that," Talon told Michael, amazed at the boy's astonishment. "You're worth more than that. You're worth everything in my power to give you and probably a hundred times more." He meant it, too. The younger boy had a heart of gold and a soul bright as a newly minted penny--that was obvious just from the conversation they had already had. A slight frown creased his forehead at Michael's completion of the sentence. "I can't imagine ever getting sick of you. I'm sure we'll have our disagreements--brothers always do--but at the end of the day, I hope you know I'll have your back."

He was momentarily startled when his simple poke in the side, which had been intended to make the boy squeak, caused Michael to fall over on the floor giggling uncontrollably. Talon blinked in surprise, but a slow, teasing, slightly evil grin came over his face as he got down on the floor next to his little brother. "I didn't know you were ticklish, Michael," he said, his voice dripping with obviously fake apology. "If I had, I would have done...this!"

Without further warning, he leaned forward and began tickling Michael's ribs furiously. "Hahahahahaha! Now I've got you right where I want you!" he intoned in an intentionally bad parody of a James Bond villain. He had gotten into more than a few tickle wars with Jackson when they were younger, which had usually culminated in Jackson picking Talon up, throwing him over his shoulder, and tickling his ribs while Talon squealed and kicked and laughed hysterically. They'd had pillow fights, water balloon wars, built blanket forts that spanned the hallway between their rooms, and chased each other around their backyard. Once they had played "Aircraft Carrier", laying out a towel in the yard and building the most elaborate paper airplanes they could think of, then launched them one at a time towards the "carrier" to see who could land. If it missed the towel, it had landed in the "ocean" and the pilot had drowned. Talon had won when a stunt plane he had made seemed to overshoot, then abruptly looped back and landed neatly on the "deck".

It was the kind of childish, innocent fun he had always enjoyed with his big brother and it was the first time he had done something like this since losing Jackson. Talon felt as though all the stress and cares of the last few months had dropped away as he played with his little brother now.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:11 pm

In truth, there really wasn't a place on his body where Michael Courtenay wasn't ticklish. One of his teammates, an infielder named Carter, once tried to calm him down right before they were switched to defense. Alan had obviously failed in that area after he yelled at Michael for freaking out right in the middle of a crucial game. Carter ended up attempting to give Michael a back massage, and that ended with their ace pitcher giggling and frantically trying to jerk away. In the end, Michael felt better, but he was the farthest thing from being calmed after that. Michael thanked Carter after the game- it really was the thought that counted, and he wasn't being very compliant from his efforts to try to get away from him.

Talon's poke to his ribs probably wasn't intended for Michael fall on the floor and laugh ceaselessly, but that was the end result regardless. His form was curled up and he held onto his stomach, not being able to control laughing so much. Throughout this, he could hear Talon come down onto the floor next to him.

"I didn't know you were ticklish, Michael. If I had, I would have done...this!"

If Michael was viewing the scene from a parallel universe he would have been like, "Dang... you should've seen that one coming." The smaller boy felt Talon's fingers move around his ribs like he was a death metal guitarist creating lightning fast notes up and down the neck and frets of a Gibson SG. Although, it would've been incredibly unlikely that Talon would ever become a death metal guitarist, considering the music he sang and listened to. But, right now, Michael wasn't thinking about that at all. Instead, he was laughing a whole lot harder, trying to roll and inch his way to freedom, but his efforts were of no avail.

He took heaving breaths in between laughter as he heard Talon say something like a villain's line in Batman or something, but it couldn't have been more true. Michael was completely powerless in yet another situation in his life- but of course he was enjoying this one!

"Ahahahahahahahahahaha!" Michael squealed, realizing he hadn't had this much fun in a VERY long time.

His previous ideas of fun consisted of baseball (Even though a larger portion of that was made up of training and effort), occasionally playing video games with Alan (Except Resident Evil- that was the reason he was afraid of zombies), playing with puppies in pet stores (Even though it was excruciatingly disappointing for his mother to say no to adopting one at the end of the adventure), Jorge's schemes (Although they always ended up with the duo getting into trouble) and Michael had some hobbies that he never really pursued revolving around art. (But those moments were few and far between because he couldn't truly create anything on his own- he always used other people's ideas, and he was too occupied with baseball.) There were other activities, but they mainly consisted of what the other person wanted to do. Michael didn't really mind that mainly because he thought that spending time with someone was enjoyable in itself... and the fact that he couldn't truly ask for what he wanted. The first point was especially true with Talon- this tickle fight showed that it didn't really matter what they did together, as long as they were together.

Michael continued to laugh, squirm, roll and rotate sides uncontrollably as he tried his best to flee. That, of course, was impossible.

"T-hahahaha-T-Talon-ahahahahehe-I-I can't-hahahahaha-breathe!"

In between giggling, Michael took heaving, choppy breaths as he felt his lungs start to hurt along with his cheeks and abdomen.
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Talon Rogers on Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:49 am

Talon himself didn't have too many ticklish spots, but Jackson knew where each and every one of them were and had used them abundantly. Sometimes he had done it to subdue him, sometimes to relax him for something. Usually, though, it was just for torture, plain and simple. He would squirm and giggle and try to get away and end up buried in the crack of the sofa or falling off of his bed or rolling on the lawn begging for mercy.

He found himself giggling, too. He was probably having about as much fun as Michael was.

"T-hahahaha-T-Talon-ahahahahehe-I-I can't-hahahahaha-breathe!"

There had been days when his brother had made him collapse on the bed, gasping for air--days when he would have to repeat "Jackson, stop" three or four times before the elder Rogers boy realized that Talon really wanted him to stop and wasn't just saying "stop" when meaning "don't stop". He knew there was a point when tickling stopped being fun and started being painful--even dangerous. As soon as Michael said he couldn't breathe, Talon stopped tickling him immediately and held out a hand to help him sit up.

"You okay?" he asked, a half-smile on his face. "Sorry about that. I'm not really ticklish--well, not super-ticklish, anyway--so sometimes I forget that other people can be." Not that he'd tickled many people--and Jackson hadn't been ticklish at all, which made revenge lousy. Gosh, it had been so long since he'd had a tickle-fight with his brother...why was that, anyway?

The smile faded as he remembered. Aggie. His older sister had caught them in a tickle war one day and told their parents that the innocent fun had actually been something far more sinister. Jackson had been thoroughly switched for the incident and had never dared do more than a quick flutter of the fingers once in a while. Two months later Henry had seduced Talon and robbed him of what little remained of his innocence. He didn't necessarily connect the two incidents, but he had definitely been hurting and unhappy, and that had undoubtedly made things easier for Henry.

Regrouping his mind, he summoned up another smile for Michael, this one (had he realized it) slightly sadder. "I promise I won't do that again...unless you want me to."
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

Post by Michael Courtenay on Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:41 am

Even after Talon stopped tickling him, Michael remained laughing until it was eventually slowed down and evened out by breathing. For a few more moments, he was still on the ground, clutching his sides and giggling uncontrollably. The sensation of Talon tickling him remained there even though his brother hadn't touched him for several seconds. That was honestly how ticklish Michael was- he still felt it even after the war was over.

He was still giggling by the time Talon offered him his hand, and he took it. In the momentum from the pull, Michael's balance was thrown off. He leaned a little too far forward and ended up resting his head on Talon's shoulder, still laughing.

Michael still had a bright grin on his face, the loss of energy making him a little loopy. "Ohhh my cheeks hurt.... awwrrrawrrrahhhhblehhh...."

During the nonsensical sounds he was making, Michael pushed his cheeks down and rotated them around in a circular motion so that they would get a break from being upright by laughing and smiling so much. In the process, he looked like a ghoul, and continued to giggle a little more once he found the sounds he was making funny.

It took him a little while before he made sense of what Talon had said to him moments beforehand- he was disoriented, but the enjoyable kind of disoriented.

"I'm okay..." He took a deep breath as his inhalation and exhalation pattern was finally calmed. He then laughed again. "You don't have to apologize, silly, that was the most fun I've had in a looooong time. And of course I want to do this again- but not right now, because- heeheehee-"

Michael ended up laughing uncontrollably again, though it was unclear to him why. Anyone else would have seen that he still had a few butterflies left over in his stomach from the tickle war. "You're not like Tori and Brielle- they kind of had malevolent ways of using to their advantage the fact that I'm really ticklish."

Through his mother being an English professor, Michael had a very wide vocabulary, even though he only let it show once in awhile, for two reasons: 1. He'd be made fun of more than he already had been, and 2. He hated showing off (or even showing a tiny example of pride).

"If they were bored and I was staying over for the summer, both of them would tickle me at the same time just to have me heaving for breath afterward. And once, I was carrying a vase and ended up dropping it because Brielle poked my sides. Morgan was furious that I broke it- it was just one more reason to be mad at me."

Michael realized that he hadn't spoken about his half sisters to anyone before. His mom didn't want to know any details at all about the Millers and the two of them never came up in conversation with his friends. He continued anyway:

"They're both ten, but they look like they're in high school. They hang out with a lot of people from high school, too. So it's kind of funny because I look a lot younger than I actually am, and they look older- once, we went to a diner and they were given regular menus while I had the one with crayons. It's embarrassing but hilarious at the same time. My dad had a colleague over while I was there one time and when he said, "My children are ten and fourteen", the guy thought I was ten and they were fourteen. They also smoke weed behind Morgan and my dad's backs."

Michael spoke his last sentence and found himself yawning, which took him by surprise. "I guess all that tickling wiped my energy out..." He thought to himself. He leaned more into Talon's shoulder and sighed. He was tired now, but he was sure that if the two talked about something, he would wake up. Michael was so disoriented the song that he had stuck in his head all day came out in a soft melody as though he were singing a lullaby:

"Take a storm and watch it sing... take the thunder, create a scene... take a light and throw it across the sky... for the whole world to see...... And take the ocean, take the tide.... sweep it in here on beaches wide.... wipe my eyes and let me see... the beauty of your... sunrise..."

In truth, Michael's singing was really only limited to when he could stand being alone and when he was in the shower. He had never taken voice lessons, and he mouthed the words to songs he sang in chorus class because of how embarrassed he was at the high pitch of his voice. Because of he was pre-pubescent, he was an obvious treble. His voice could have been comparable to a little kid's singing voice, and one that hadn't cracked that time.

It had taken a few moments before Michael realized that he sang, and now he was definitely wide awake as he sat up, his face the color of a ripe tomato.

"S-Sorry," Michael stuttered. "I didn't mean to do that. But if you wanted to know, the song was "Nothing Like You" by Chasen- it's about God... and I... don't usually sing when there's someone else around."

He knew that Talon wouldn't make fun of him, but he was embarrassed regardless. After all, Michael was teased and flat-out bullied in middle school because of how high his voice was, so his reflexes told him that this wouldn't be any different.


Last edited by Michael Courtenay on Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Charles Dickens Makes My OCD Worse (Talon)

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