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Flower Boy

Ian hated the word crazy. It was frozen into his brain, the dark overcast of the word leaving a heavy shadow over his thoughts. He spent countless hours sitting in his pitch black room, the only light source coming from the screen of his laptop. His eyes stared at the words on the screen, the definition of what was haunting his everything. Crazy; Mentally deranged, especially manifested in a wild or aggressive way. He took a deep breath as his eyes raced across the sentence, the words sinking into the void of his body. He wasn't crazy, he couldn't be. He didn't understand why his father snarled the term at him as his fists collide with the soft skin of Ian s face, leaving a galaxy of bruises covering his cheeks and forehead. He couldn't remember what he looked like without them, his skin not soft purples, blues and blacks splitting around his eyes and nose and mouth, making him look like an abandoned canvas from some twisted abstract artist.
All the nights he spent glaring at the screen never helped him escape from the worries of the world like he hoped it it would. His pupils enlarged as his eyes went too long without blinking, the term crazy taking control of his sense to see. He tore his head away, unable to face the definition any longer, finding that anywhere he looked the word appeared, written in blood red across his walls, the floor, the bed, ceiling and anything thing else in the existence of his room.  He took a deep wrenched breath as the letters began to ooze off the wall, turning into a dark hole of pain enclosing around him. His nails clawed into his wrist, digging their way into his previously scarred skin.  The pinch stung, as the pain of his own bringing started taking over the whirlwind of terror in his head. Ian  shook his head and the words around his room began to fade, his wall coloring back to the pale blue that they have been for years. He let out a sigh, half relieved that the word went back into his head where it belonged.
Crazy, crazy crazy, crazy, he thought as he felt his skin break under the sharp pressure of his nail. Not that he would ever admit it outloud, but he knew his father was correct. He was somewhat crazy. The acceptance of knowing that he wasn't sane didn’t make him try his hardest when his father told him he would be going to the Twin Lakes Psychiatric Institution.  He knew he needed to go or he was forever going to be trapped in the grave his life has dug for himself.  and he didn't want that. Ian  looked down at his arm as a sense of relief flooded his body.

______________

The car screeched as the brakes were pressed, bringing it to a quick stop. Ian 's head was thrown back hard into the headrest, as he faintly opened his eyes to look at his father who was driving.
“ Ouch,” he hissed as he removed his headphones and reached back to touch the matted curls that were tucked underneath his beanie on the back of his head.
“ We’re here,” his father said in a monotone voice as he turned the car off and stepped out. He started walking to the building, leaving Ian  to grab all of his things on his own.  He let out a slight huff as he slammed the car door shut,  wincing as the loud noise made his head vibrate. He yanked down his sleeve subconsciously, a habit that his body picked up after countless years of doing it. He threw his duffle bag over his shoulder as he followed him into the building. His father began an emotionless and boring conversation with one of Twin Lakes countless employes, finalizing some last minutes costs, as Ian  stepped into the building. His eyes went wide as he adjusted his beanie and he glanced around the building. His nose was overwhelmed with the scent of laundry detergent and rubber. The building interior mildly reminded him of a mix between a nursing home and a hospital, he already despised the place. His father ended the conversation and gave him a slight nod before leaving the premises. Ian  sighed as he looked down at his well worn sneakers. His shoulders tensed as he felt a strong hand clamp down on them. He jumped and turned around looking at the monster of a boy behind him. He  gulped, as he stared up at him. The boy had a good 7 inches on Ian's own short, 5”8 frame. “ Can I help you?” he declared as he yanked down his sleeves and crossed his arms, trying to look somewhat intimidating.
The boy smirked as he looked Ian  up and down, “ Yes you can. You new here kid?’ he asked in a cold tone.
Ian  nodded and bit his lip, “ Obviously, if you haven't seen me around this place” he snarked, trying to hide the fear in his eyes.
The boy gave a nod as he looked over him, studying him. “ Skate. Your name is Skate.” He began watching the smaller boy with narrowed eyes. “ You have attitude and your obviously a fan of blades,” Ian  glared at the boy as he pressed his arms into his chest, trying to hide the scars.  “ And you also look like you have the tendency to waist your time at parks with other morons riding around on skate boards,” He shrugged innocently as he grabbed Ian's hand and forced him to shake it. “ The names Dodge. I've been here the longest and know this place better than everyone, even some of the staff. I give the names, and you don't mess with me if you don't want to be outcasted, got it? There's a few things you need to learn.”
Dodge smiled as he dragged him over to a big crowded room, causing Ian  to drop his bag in the process. “  First off,” Dodge started as he motioned to a group of kids sitting on and around a ugly big lumpy couch. “ These are the people you should stick with,” He pointed the group. They all looked unhealthily skinny and too pale, their translucent skin tones contrasting on the dark, hollow circles under their eyes, giving them the demeanor of vampires
Ian  nodded and looked around the rest  of the room, seeing a small amount of kids spread along the wine red carpet randomly.  “ Who are them?” he asked as he flinched, seeing movement from Dodge headed directly at him
Dodge grinned as he glanced around at the the room. “ Ah,” he said as he put a hand on Ian's shoulder “ that, my friend, is something you don't want to be.” Ian  furrowed his eyebrows as he looked around at the people. They all looked normal as the group seated around the couch.  
“ Oh.” Ian  stated as his sight caught a glimpse of a foot sticking out from behind a chair. His lips went up into a soft smile as  he notices that there was a boy hiding back there, curled up in a ball in the three feet between the side of the chair and the wall. He wormed his was out of Dodges grip, ignoring his protests and his eye rolls. He walked over to the boy and bit his lip as he looked down on him.
The boy had his long legs pulled into his chest, his left arm wrapped around them protectively. He was writing in a journal, his hand moving so fast that Ian  could barely follow along with it with his eyes, let alone read what he was writing. His penmanship was small and delicate, tiny curly letters escaping from the lead of the pencil. Ian  watched, mesmerized. He had never seen someone write so quickly and so well at the same time. He glanced up at the boy's face, not seeing anything but a wave of brown hair that feel over it as if it was a veil, shielding his face from the world.
“ Is that comfortable?” he heard himself remarking in a questioning tone, mentally hitting himself for sounding rude, not wanting for the boy to hate him.  The boy looked up, tuffs of hair falling over the crown of his head, revealing eyes the size of saucers. Ian  couldn't pin point the color, they were blue for sure, but swirled with shades azure and sapphire, before being dotted with flecks of gold. They were magnificent.
The boy stared up at him, fluttering his long eyelashes over his wide eyes. “ Never thought about that.” He spoke no louder than a whisper, his voice coming out smooth and flowing with delicacy in a higher tone. “ My legs, they just fit into my chest. My body fits into this spot. I was made for sitting here.” Ian  nodded as he looked down at him, struck by his voice. He quickly sat across from him crossing his legs, setting his hands in his lap. The blue eyed boy smiled at him, revealing dazzling teeth that looked like pearls from beneath his faint pink lips.
“ You look… distraught.” he reached over and softly touched his knee. “ Like you have been beaten down for so long. People don't understand do they?  Don’t realize how unique and special one person can be. You're an Orange Tiger, hiding behind flowers in a world of Monarchs.” 
Ian  tilted his head and stared at him, not knowing what to say. “ It's okay, you don't have to say anything,” he continued tapping a long finger on his knee before pulling it away, letting it brush on Ian's cheek before it fall back into his own lap . “ You have very lovely eyes. Like dark chocolate and stardust. “ The boy smiled and wrote a few more sentences in his journal, letting Ian  work out his words. He didn't know how to react, again.  The words would seem foolish coming out of anyone's mouth but the boys, but somehow with the poetic way the words flowed,  they just seemed right.
The boy's eyes smiled as he glanced up from his journal, cupping a hand around his ear. “ Can you hear that? Listen Stardust,” he said in a faint whisper as he glanced around the room, terrified that someone would hear. The sounds were only his, and he only wanted to share them with Ian . “ It's the universe, it's the only thing you will ever need listen to. If you let the universe in, it will guide you. It will save you. It will give you a voice, it will give you words and tell you what to do with them. Supply you courage, strength to fight off your demons. Listen, listen to it and it can set you free. Hear it cry your name, let it guide you.” The boy looked at Ian  with a grin, giggling at how he froze in place.
Ian  looked at him, blinking away his shock. “ What's your name?” he asked softly after he gave up on trying to find anything else to say. His head was still racing over the words from the boy, trying to decipher a meaning.
“ Alex. or you can call me what all these leviathans choose to call me, Flower Boy.” Alex Whispered with a slight huff looking down at his lap. “I don't mind the name, I enjoy being the finest individual in this place. But they gave it to me out of a sign of detestation. They just don't understand me. They don't understand the way I see things. None of them do.“ He didn't see Ian s frown as he took a shaky breath. “ Everyone has their own story. Everyone sees things from different lights. Everyone is different!” he let out small screeching sound as he buried his head in his hands, pulling at his hair.
Ian  eyes went wide with concern as he grabbed Alex’s hands, holding them to tight to make him stop, his sleeves slipping off his wrists in the process. “ Alex,” he said with enough force to try and snap him out of his head. “It's okay. You're okay.. Shush…” He swallowed as Alex Looked up with blank eyes, his hair falling in strands over his porcelain forehead.
Alexs hands made their way out of Ian s tight grip as one of his fingers slowly traced down the scarred skin on his arm. “ Your a persever” he whispered as he looked over his arm. Ian  gasped softly at the smooth feeling on his skin.
“I'm a what?”
“ Persevere. You have survived, star dust. These marks of hate signify a heart of iron, big enough to capture pain and love at the same time and blend them together, creating a mixture of something called life. Your ratios are just a little off. You have had a lot more pain then love haven't you?” he continued after seeing Ian  give a small nod and whimpering softly as Alex's delicate fingers continued to caress his arm. He wasn't used to being touched in such a caring matter. He wasn't used to being touched like that at all. “ It's the universe's way of saying that pain will always be an overwhelming factor in are everything, giving out uneven ratios of love and pain. If someone ended up having an even ratio, that person is perfect. But it hasn't happened yet, nobody's perfect, but damn, some people get close. The ratios are always off even by the most insignificant amount. The universe has this tendency to create a blunder, by giving a person total pain and no love, or the opposite way around. It then tries to reverse its mistake by causing enough pain or love, making the person break, or explode like a star. Its goal is to remove all of its mistakes from existent, to maintain its image that the universe is truly flawless, when we have proof that it's obviously not. But the universe doesn't know that we know, so don't tell it.” Alex Smiled as he looked up at Ian  who was staring into his eyes. He was trying to figure out where the philosopher was hiding inside the 16 year old boy.
“ You’re… odd.” Ian  started, instantly continuing when he saw a flash of pain cross Alex's face. “ I like it. A lot. Whenever people talk to me.. Or about my, um condition-”
“You don't have an condition. You're just sad. That's not a condition. “
“ Oh, my problem then.” Ian  said looking up at him. “ People always don't talk in depth to me. They sugar coat things. It like if they think they will say the wrong thing it would cause me to shatter. I hate it. I may be delicate, but i'm not glass,” he sighed and shook his head.  “ So that's why I enjoy it, your oddness I mean. Its compelling and you actually talk to me like i'm a human.” Ian  smiled up at him. Alex Didn't respond. Instead, he stood up and walked away from him and left the room. Ian  watched him, his face twisting in confusion. He stood up to see where he was going, but it was too late. Aex had disappeared. Ian  shook his head, disappointed that the conversation ended at such a halt. He decided to get up and retreat back to his own room. Both boys didn't notice that Alex's journal still sat in the spot where they had been seated, opened wide with the spine facing the sky.
_____

Ian  spent a Couple hours unpacking his things. He left a few boxes unboxed, hoping that if he didn't completely unpack everything, the reality of the situation wouldn't sink in. That he wasn't completely stuck there. After moving his favorite book around to new positions more than ten times in a course of a few minutes, he figured he should get out of the cramped space. He yanked down his sleeves and walked back into the common area. 
He froze as he saw Dodge sitting on top of the hideous chair as he read loudly from an unrecognizable book, surrounded by all the people present in the room, all of them laughing uncontrollably. Ian  eyes went wide as he heard Dodge speak.  “Oh, oh  how the universe works in peculiar ways, creating explosions of gold and silver to represent way of lust from people, to show how chemistry is connected in an explosion of sparks. Oh why can't I find my Romeo, Shakespeare has to be greedy and keep his fictional perfectionists to himself. ” Dodge mocked in a high pitch voice as he buckled over from laughter. “ What is this!” he chuckled loudly shaking his head as giggles flooded throughout the room, all laughing at the writing. Ian  stared at him with hate in his eyes, as he recognising the journal as the one Alex Was writing in earlier.  He didn't deserve this, nobody deserves such hate for doing nothing wrong, for being unique and original. It was sickening. He was so caught up in his anger that he didn't notice a flash of pale skin run behind him to the garden outside.
Ian  took a deep breath as he stormed over and ripped the journal from Dodge's hand, pulling him close to his face. The size difference didn't bother him. In his head, he was 20 feet tall, and Dodge was the size of an ant. He cackled at the thought.  “Why the hell do you have this?” he snarled in his face as he twisted the neck of the shirt into a ball in his hand from anger. 
Dodge laughed coldly, not afraid of him. He said,  “The freak left it, it's not my fault. It was like he was asking for me to read it.”
Ian  groaned as he dropped his shirt. He rolled his eyes and punched him hard in the nose, smiling big as he heard the crunch of the bone breaking. He quickly turned around, needing to find Alexand return his property to him. He ignored all the gasps coming behind him from the room as he ran off.
Ian  searched everywhere, not having any luck at locating Alex. He sighed loudly as he stared out the biggest window in the main hall. Where could he be? He barely noticed the small outline of a boy curled into a ball sitting at the roots of an oak tree. Ian  swallowed as he recognized the ball as Alex. He was relieved that he found him, but a pained expression overtook his face as he realized why he was out there. He was hurt, he knew that they had his journal, and he saw what Dodge was doing, or that he maybe even heard some of the cruel mocking.  A small fire burned inside of him as he tucked the journal into his chest protectively as he began his short journey outside.
He blinked quickly as his eyes adjusted to the bright sun as he reached the garden. He glanced around and chewed on his lip, when he found Alex Curled under the tree. His grip around the journal tightened as he slowly walked over him, scared that he would frighten the boy.
“Hi,” he whispered as he arrived, looking down at the ground when Alex Didn't look up, let alone move. He bent down and slowly touched his arm, letting his fingers linger over the flawless skin. “ I'm not going to hurt you Alex. I wouldn't dream of it.” He set the journal next to him as he sat down crisscross on his side. A smile appeared on his lips when Alex Slowly uncurled from himself, looking up at Ian  with tear stained cheeks and red, swollen eyes.

“ Thank you,”  Alex whispered as he picked up his journal and set it in his lap, resting his arms over it. “That means more to me then you know. I just ha- I can’t believe that they took it. My journal, it's my best friend, my only friend actually. It's the only person who will listen to me, accept me for who I am and listen to my thoughts.” He looked down at his lap, stroking the cover of his journal with soft touches. He face colored bright red out of embarrassment, as  his eyes began to shine with tears. Alex curled back into himself as he began to cry, tucking his head into his chest to shield his face from the world.

“ I know, I know what that feels like.” Ian began trying to free Alex from his emotions. “ I have no one also. Before I came here, music was my only friend, it was like to me how your journal is to you, a support system. No one in my school would talk to me, I was just that poor suicidal boy whose father hit him. I was a mutant to them,” He whispered, taking a deep breath when Alex looked at him, silent tears still streaming down his face.  “I used to believe that I was crazy, like really really believed it. I let it control my life. I even cut the defintion into the my arm once,” Ian confessed. With a grimace, he looked down at his pale, scarred arm, remotely seeing the words under the fresher marks. “ I will never forget how heartbreaking that word is. But I don't believe I am anymore… so thank you for showing me that I'm not crazy, that crazy is just an overused and meaningless term. I'm not crazy, I'm just a slight imperfection from a screwed up universe. So thank you for opening my eyes, Alex. Just thank you.” He chuckled softly as he took Alex’s hand.

Ian paused for a couple of seconds, only continuing his ramble when he got no physical or emotional reaction from Alex.  ”I know everyone has there own story who is stuck in this place, each one has terrible and heartbreaking as the elast. But Alex, just looking at you, I can tell you're more of a survivor than anyone else, than anyone ever in the existence of everything. What they did to you was monstrous, and I'm sorry that I distracted you and caused you to leave your journal. You writing was beautiful, from what I heard. You write how you speak, and that's what creates pure talent. Once you get out of this place, you should make something out of it, go around telling people what you believe. I know they will listen to what you have to say. I know I do.” Ian expressed his thoughts as he  looked over at Alex, gulping when he realized that even more tears were streaming down the blue eyed boys face. He couldn't tell if they were from pain or happiness, or a mixture of both.

“ Alex…” Ian  frowned as he stood up, glancing around the garden, looking for something that could make the other boy smile. He caught sight of a small group of stunning flowers in the corner of the garden, and a small grin appeared on his face. Perfect. He grabbed a radiant blue lily and ran back sitting in front of Alex. “ Flower Boy,” he whispered in his ear as he grabbed his chin and slowly tilted his head up. He tucked the flower gently behind his ear as he as he pulled away from him. “ I remember you told me that you love being the finest individual in this place, am I correct? And I agree, your one hundred percent  you, and no doubt are you the finest Individual to walk this planet.” Ian sighed happily and took a deep breath, not being able to pull his hand away from Alex’s cheek.

Alex smiled softly, a small blush covering his cheeks as he pulled away from his touch. He tucked a loose strand of hair behind his ear as he looked up at him through his long, dark lashes. “ T-The universe does give you a voice, and promise me you will keep using it. Courage, Stardust, you have a lot of courage. Enough that you refilled mine and still have plenty left for yourself and to share with others,” He said with a small sutter, and for the first time in the day, unconfident with his words. He had zero idea of the impact they gave to Ian, how much his wisdom and strange but remarkably psychological views opened his eyes in realization of how the world should be then it really is.

Ian took a deep breath, taking all the courage that Alex claimed he had, and pushed it behind the one small action. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Alex’s, capturing him in a soft, delicate kiss.






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