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Teenage dream

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Robert hated feeling out of place. He hates not knowing or understanding someone. He hates when he got pushed to choose what he was. The thing Robert hates most is putting a label on someone. You should get to be who you want to be.  There should be no right and no wrong. If you don't like someone, you keep it to yourself.  You can't try to change people because you want them to. You have to understand that everyone has their own worries and they don't need anyone else to make it harder.

If someone likes other things than you, you accept it, and agree that it's good to all be different. That it's good to be unique. Don't follow the crowd, stand out, say what you want to say, but, sometines speaking your mind isn't always the best idea. People break. They crack and they get hurt. A bruise will heal in time, but your heart will take longer in order to grow fonder

Robert will soon learn his differences..

 

 

 

**********

 

 

A FEW HOURS EARLIER:

 

Victoria had been planning this birthday for months. It all had to be perfect. She gave strict instructions to everyone. Nobody could step out of line or do something wrong. She'd walk around with her clipboard, ticking off things as she saw then completed. It was just her being organised.

One morning, Robert was sat at the breakfast table, fixing up his tie when Victoria walked in, tears pouring down her face. Robert wasn't good in these situations. 

"Err, you alright?" He asked.

"No!" She wailed, wiping her eyes weakly with her  sleeve.

"What's up Vic?"

"This party. It's all been planned!"

"I know, you haven't stopped going on about it."

"I know.."

"So, what about it?"

Victoria sat there in silence for a moment before she cried out, "Adam says something may be going on with Aaron tonight and he mightn't be there!"

"Aaron's his best mate, yeah?"

"Yeah."

"Okay.. I've never met this Aaron, but he must be pretty special if Adams gonna miss your 16th for it!"

"Aaron's a nice lad, but he's Adams best mate! I don't wanna come between them because Adam and Aaron are like brothers!"

Robert never liked Adam. When Victoria first brought him back for lunch, Robert laughed and said "Muppet!"

"Ah, well, you know Adam loves you very much though.."

Robert couldn't believe he was fighting Adams corner right know.

"YOU DONT GET IT ROB! YOU NEVER DO!" She roared, stomping up the stairs. 

Robert really did want the day to be special for her.  You only get the day once, so spend it the best you can. Then Robert knew what he had to do. He sighed.  He had to get the party back on track. He had to. Even if that meant digging intu Adam and Aaron's problems to ensure he'd be at that party. Would he regret digging up something so deep and dark that he could t bury it again? Only time would tell..

He ran to Victoria's room and snatched her clipboard.

 

 

VICTORIAS BIRTHDAY BASH!

 

1.  Collect my beautiful dress from the Hotten cleaners 

2.  Buy banners and balloons

3.  Pick up the cake from Hotten Bakery

4.  Go to Laura's house to borrow her disco ball.

5.  Have the best birthday ever :)

 

 

"This is gonna be fun..!" He whispered to himself.

He jumped into the car and spun off into Hotten to pick up the dress. When he did he carried out to the car but gulped when he dropped it. Luckily it was okay. 

He raced to the shops to buy the balloons and banners.

He strolled into the bakery to pick up the cake. Victoria loved cooking but was too busy to make it. 

He drove just outside Hotten to lock up the disco ball from a mate of Victoria's.

He ticked off everything on the list, except for the last one, that was yet to be discovered..

 

When Robert got home, he quickly darted upstairs and put the dress hanging on her door. He put all the snacks in bowls and put them out around the place. He placed the beer bottles in a cooler. Then, He ran around putting up decorations and hung the disco ball from the ceiling. Then, he went to the car and got the cake and carefully placed it in the fridge. All he wanted now, was for Victoria to get ready and people arrive.

He was deafened by a squeal of joy.

"OH MY GOD ROB, YOU DIDNT!?" She yelled, looking around at the decorated room. The Fairy lights hanging low, the balloons floating about, the banners from wall to wall and the disco ball in the centre of the roof, lighting up the place.

"Best go get ready." Robert muttered, pushing past her, smiling, leaving an amazed Victoria staring around the room.

 

**********

 

Meanwhile, Adam was banging on Gordon's door.

"AARON?" He shouted. Suddenly the door swung open and Aaron was pushed out. Adam became face-to-face with Aaron and his bloody nose.

"What happened?" Adam asked, digging into his pockets for tissues, which he handed to Aaron.

"Nothing.." Aaron mumbled

it was clear he didn't want to talk so Adam nodded.

"I've been ringing!" Adam added.

"Sorry. Gordon took my phone, didn't he." Aaron said, rolling his eyes. 

"At least your here now to go to the party." Adam muttered. Aaron smiled. He wasn't looking forward to it much..

Aaron was shocked when he and Adam walked through the door and saw the group in a circle. Aaron didn't like these sort of  games that much.

He noticed a tall blond straight away. 

"Adam, who's that?" He questioned. Adam laughed, "Robert."

Robert. Aaron liked Robert instantly. He seemed dark and suspicious. Aaron wanted more but soon he'd bite off more than he can chew..

Chapter Text

Adam and Aaron were ushered into the room and told to join the circle.  Aaron and Adam went to join Victoria and Robert who sat beside eachother. Adam squished in beside Victoria and Aaron sat at the other side of Robert, with Holly on his other side. They were both shifting about awkwardly.

"Now that everyone's here, can I just point out that Robert did all the work!" She announced. All eyes landed on Robert, who waved, feeling uncomfortable. Victoria laughed, "To the games!"

Robert wasn't one for 'Games' because he hated having to decide on the spot about things and have to do what he thinks people will like him doing rather than what he wants to do. 

"You start seemings your the birthday girl!" Adam yelled, putting an arm around Victoria.

"Okay. Adam, truth or dare?" She asked. Adam smiled widely, "Dare."

"I dare you to keep your top off for the rest of the night!" 

"DEAL!" Adam said, quickly taking off his t-shirt. Everyone laughed.

"Aaron, truth or dare?" He started.

"Truth." Aaron muttered.

"What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened this week?"

Aaron had to think. A lot happens to him in a week, a lot.

"Err, it'd have to be yesterday in gym, you pulled down my trousers and I tripped and knocked myself out. Then, in the nurses room, you decided to come with me and you whistled at  the nurse when she was bent over and she thought it was me and wacked me!" Aaron explained.

"Oh yeah, funny times, mate."

Everyone in the circle burst out laughing.

"Victoria, truth or dare?" Aaron questioned.

"Truth."

"List your favourite people to your least favourite people with everybody in this circle."

Victoria didn't want to mean, she never usually was, but she shrugged and begun speaking,

"Adam, Robert, you, Finn, Ross, Holly, Debbie then Pete."

Victoria felt a bit bad afterwards.

"You love your boyfriend more than me? The one who wasn't gonna attend because of his boyfriend? Robert joked, but the look on people's faces made him re-think. He didn't understand what he'd said wrong. Suddenly, Victoria grabbed him and dragged him to the kitchen.

"Aaron's just after coming out, idiot!" She shouted.

Robert froze. He knew how hard it was for anyone to come to terms with themselves and accept it. He himself had been through it, but he wasn't ready to tell the world he was bisexual yet. He couldn't. He felt like snaking himself really hard across the face. He had to go back in and sit beside the bloke he had just insulted. 

Robert crept back into the room and joined the circle. It was only then he noticed Aaron's nose. It was bruised and blood was dropping out. 

"Your nose is bleeding." Robert whispered. Aaron put his fingers to his nose then looked at them. He then saw the blood.

"Shit! I thought I cleaned it all!" He huffed. Robert furrowed his eyebrows. Aaron got up and ran to the bathroom. 

Robert became anxious as Aaron was gone for at least 20 minutes now. Robert walked up the stairs, cautiously and stopped in his tracks when he heard light sobbing. He stared at the bathroom door. Then, eventually found the courage to knock, 

"Aaron?"

Hd heard sniffling. 

"Err, Y-Yeah?"

Robert hoped it wasn't what he said.

"Was it what I said? Don't mind me, I'm an idiot." He mumbled. Then he heard a faint laugh.

"It's not you. I've heard worse."

"Why are you laughing so?"

"Because you just called yourself an idiot."

Robert was glad it wasn't something he said. He didn't want to upset Aaron. He wanted to get on with him. To be mates.. but he did feel attracted to him..

"Right. Well, can you let me in?"

Aaron froze. "Why?"

"Is the door locked?"

"No."

Just then, Robert pushed in the door. He saw Aaron sitting on the floor in the corner. His Eyes were red and puffy. Robert closed the door, locked it and sat beside Aaron.  He stared at Aaron's nose, wondering what had happened.

Robert wanted to reach out and touch Aaron. He wanted to hug him, but decided it'd be a step too far. 

"What happened?" Robert asked, pointing to Aaron's face. 

Aaron sighed, "Its a long story."

"I'm good at listening." Robert said, smirking.

"I don't even know you. Why would I tell you?"

Robert laughed, "Good point. I guess you just have to trust me, ey?"

Aaron did like Robert. He did want to get to know him, but was telling him really a good idea..?

Robert couldn't resist temptation so he reached out and placed a hand on Aaron's cheek. Their eyes locked. 

"I want you and I to be mates."

"I'll think about it.."

Robert snorted. Aaron was quite the character! 

"Anyway, your face?" Robert started.

"Ask me Mum that, not my fault what I look like."

"That's not what I mean, your face is perfect." Robert smiled.

Aaron froze once again..

"I-I mean.. I-I.. your nose!" Robert stuttered. 

Aaron laughed at Roberts panic, but his face soon fell when he realised he has to tel Robert the story.

"You see, I just came out.." Aaron begun. Robert nodded.

"I wasn't planning on ever telling my da--... I mean Gordon."

"Gordon's your father?"

"Mmhm. Anyway, a bloke he works with called Paul, his sons in my class and he told his dad who told mine. My dad freaked at work and threw stuff at Paul and lost his job over it, so he was mad. Then he came home and punched me a few times and stamped on me.."

Robert couldn't find words.

"Aaron, oh my--"

"it's okay."

"Can I see?"

"See what?"

"Your ribs."

Aaron cuts himself on his stomach when things get too much. Nobody had ever seen his scars and nobody knew about them.

Robert saw the instant look of worry displayed on Aaron's face.

"You okay?"

"I can't, erm, I can't show you."

"Why?"

"Why do you ask so many questions?"

"Why don't you answer them?"

"Why do you care!?"

Without noticing, they were both leaning in. Aaron stopped but Robert gave him a reasurring smile. Then, their lips crashed together.

They both jumped when the door handle started moving.

"Oi, im bursting!" Ross yelled. Robert and Aaron shared a glance. What would it look like, them locked in together..?

Ross knocked again, and again. Robert walked to the door and unlocked it. Ross was in utter shock to see both of them side by side.

"Oh my god! The gay boy and you getting off in the bathroom? Robert I never knew, mate!" Ross shouted. Before anyone could react, everybody who was at the party gathered behind Ross, all looking in and the boys.

"Robert?" Victoria muttered

"Aaron?" Adam mumbled.

"GAY BLOKES GOT OFF AT VICTORIA SUGDENS PARTY!" Ross roared, taking out his phone and snapping a picture.

"What? You honestly think I'd go anywhere near him? Him! A dirty Dingle!? Your joking Ross, he walked in on me when I was washing my hands, mate. I'm not like THAT! Im not a freak!"

All eyes were on Aaron, who stood there with no emotion whatsoever. What could he even say? What could he do? Aaron just pushed passed everyone and got outside. When outside, he just started running. He kept running.

Meanwhile, Ross handed Robert a beer and told him to deck 'The Gay Freak' came on to him again. Robert felt awful.

Adam knew Aaron wouldn't just force himself onto someone. Aaron had told him he wasn't gonna act on anyone for a while until Gordon calmed a bit. Adam knew Robert was lying. He knew it! Anger was building up inside of him and he just couldn't control it. Hearing Ross explaining what to do if Aaron ever tried it on made his anger increase. Suddenly, Adam had Robert pinned down and was sending fist after fist to his face. Victoria gasped, "ADAM, STOP!"

Ross and Pete pulled him off. 

"AARON WOULDNT DO THAT!" Adam shouted.

"Why not!?" Robert asked, standing up, wiping his bleeding lip.

"Because.."

"BECAUSE WHAT!?"

"Because!"

"WHAT ADAM, SAD YOUR BEST MATES A FREAK THAT BURST THROUGH BATHROOM DOORS?"

"NO! BECAUSE HIS DAD SAID HE WOULD HOSPITALIZE HIM IF HE HEARD ANYTHING LIKE THAT!" 

Adam soon realised he'd said too much. He ran out the door, Victoria called after him, but Adam kept running. He had to warn Aaron for the dsy ahead because everyone now knew what they shouldn't. What if Debbie told the Dingles. What would chas do?

TBC??

Chapter Text

Debbie was piecing it all together. Since Aaron came out two months ago, he's had some horrible injuries. A black eye, limping, bruises and now his nose. It all made sense now that Adam said what Gordon said. It all fitted into place. Debbie was mad. Ross has no right to tease him. 

She noticed how Aaron left the circle first and then Robert so, she knew Robert walked in on Aaron. It wa typical of Robert to lie and cause a huge wreckage. Things just get worse from there.

 

******

 

Aaron was running. He didn't care that he was now in a woods. He didn't know where he was running to but he just knew he had to run from the humiliation. Next thing, Aaron's tumbling down a hill. His leg gets jammed. He can't budge. 

"HELP!" Aaron shouted, but who's gonna hear him in the middle of the woods?

 

*******

 

At the party, Debbie's eyes were filling with tears. She couldn't hide her emotion. Just imagining what Aaron was going through.

"Debs? Baby?" Ross muttered, putting his arm around her. Debbie was becoming more angry by the minute.

She quickly snaked Ross across the face.

"Ow!" He cried. Debbie stared at him. She went to leave, but Ross put his hand on her shoulder. She reached for glasses. She had a glass in each hand and threw them at Ross, one after the other.

To male matters worse, Robert appeared, "Oi, stop!"

A table full of empty glasess caught Debbie's eye. In one vast movement, she swiped them all off th table towards Robert.

"OI!" He shouted. Debbie darted out of the house, Ross hot on her heels.

 

She was in the Dingle house drive way when Ross  finially caught up with her.  He grabbed her wrist.

"Debbie! Listen!"

All Debbie wanted to do was tell her family everything and find Aaron. She pulled out of ross' grip and carried on walking. Ross knew what the Dingles would do if they knew what he had said to their Aaron.

"Stop, please!" He muttered. 

"Go away."

"Debbie. Stop."

Debbie turned back to face him, 

"Drop dead!" She hissed.

Ross grabbed Debbie's arm and roughly pulled her back, she fell to the ground. She gasped, "Ow."

When she went to stand up, Ross pushed her back down.

She felt unsafe and trapped. A single tear fell down her cheek.

"Get off me." She whispered. Ross was taking things too far. He put his knee on her back and pushed down hard.

"Don't open your mouth. I'll find Aaron and tell him the same."

"Stop Ross.." Debbie mumbled.

Ross didn't know what to do. He didn't realise what he was doing. He was drunk, very drunk. He had both hands on her shoulders and one knee on her back. He pressed his knee into her bask harder.

"OW! GET OFF ME, NOW! STOP! ROSS!" Debbie roared. 

Cain and chas were watching television when they heard the screams. They both jumped up and ran out the door. Ross panicked when he saw them, he pulled up his hood and ran before he was seen.

Cain was shocked to see his daughters lying face down on the ground.

"Debbie!" He muttered.

She groaned as Cain helped her up.

"What happened?" Chas questioned.

 Debbie didn't know where to start. All she could say was, "We need to find Aaron."

"My aaron?" Chas asked. Debbie nodded.

"HE DID THIS TO YOU?" Cain yelled. 

"No dad, it was Ross."

"Why? I'll kill the lad!"

"He only pushed me, I don't know what he's gonna do to Aaron!"

Chas butted in, "Why my Aaron?"

"I'll explain later. I need to find Aaron!" Debbie shouted, running off. Cain and chad shared a glance but followed her. 

 

*****

 

Ross thought it'd be a good idea to run through to woods to stay out of sight but he didn't know what he'd find. He saw him. Aaron, sitting there, breathing heavily. If he was trapped, he couldn't tell anyone what Ross said. Ross smirked and ran the other direction. 

He took his phone out of his pocket but stopped. He told Debbie he was gonna find Aaron so it looks really bad. He put his phone back in his pocket and ran the other direction. He left Aaron there. 

 

*****

 

Debbie gasped. 

"OH MY GOD, AARON!" She wailed, seeing him. Cain and Chas appeared on scene and they both were in shock.

Chas hadn't seen him in a while. What a lovely reunion, right?

Chas fell to her knees beside him and cradled his head. She smiled st her son. "Mum?" He muttered. Chas smiled from ear to ear, "Hiya love." Her face fell when she saw his head. Blood was dripping from it.

"Hello.. i need an ambulance.. Yes.. Emmerdale..." Cain explained.

"My poor boy." Chas whispered, kissing his hand.

The ambulance came rather fast and loaded Aaron up. Chas jumped in beside him. She wasn't ever gonna let him go again.

 

If chas reacted badly to this, how will she react when Aaron opens up about Gordon..?

TBC?

Chapter Text

Aaron was taken into a hospital room and chas, Debbie and Cain were sat anxiously.

"He was out all night.." chas muttered

"You better start explaining." Cain demanded.

Debbie sighed, but explained everything. From him coming out, his nose, what Adam said, what Robert said, what Ross did, Aaron running off, her throwing drinks to Ross pushing her.

Chas didn't know what to say. She couldn't find any words. Cain just wanted to kill Ross and Robert, but the person he really wanted to get was Gordon

"I need to make a quick trip to the Sugden house hold, then to good old Gordon's!"  Cain muttered, but as he was gonna leave, the doctor came.

"Aaron's family?" He called for. Chas stood up. The doctor smiled and went to join her.

"Aaron's fine. His head was something of nothing but he will be on crutches. He really messed up his ancle."

"But he's okay?"

"Yes. He will be discharged tomorrow. We just wanna keep him under 24 hour observation. Its rule for all head injuries. May I say, if he wasn't found then, he would've bled to death"

 

Chas wasn't even gonna imagine what it'd be like to loose her son. Yes, she hadn't seen him in a long time but she always thought about him. She pictured him, what he wa doing, what he looked like. She always hoped that one day, he'd come back to her. Death. Her baby boy was close to death. She shook the idea off.

 

"Mmhm. Thank you." Chas mumbled. She was just glad that Aaron was okay, but she needed to ask him a few things that no mother would enjoy asking..

 

*****

 

Debbie and Cain  left the hospital because Chas asked for space.

Cain went back to the Dingle house as Debbie walked into the village.

She frowned when she saw Adam.  He was running around everywhere, asking everyone for Adam. She felt bad for not ringing him.

"Adam?" She yelled. 

"Yeah?"

"He's found."

"I looked all over! I spent the night looking! Where is he?"

"Hospital."

Adam stared in disbelief.

"Why?"

"I don't know, his ancle is messed up and his head was bleeding. He was found in the woods this morning, trapped."

"Damn. Should I go see him?"

"Chas asked for some space with him. She wanted to ask him about Gordon."

"You told her?"

"Yeah, I did."

Adam felt horrible. Aaron didn't want everyone to know. Aaron doesn't ask for help, he doesn't. He is the kind to deal with it in his own way and Adam accepted that.

"You can text him though." Debbie added.

"Yeah, I will. Wanna grab a something?" Adam muttered, pointing toward the café.

Debbie smiled, "Yeah. I haven't eaten yet."

 Adam ordered a bacon buttie, as did Debbie. They were glad to be eating. 

Adam took out his phone and text Aaron, 

10.22am | To Aaron ~ 'Im sorry if I said too much. I may have blurted out a bit and Debbie told your mum. So sorry.'

10.30am | From Aaron ~ 'Its okay mate. There's so much more that I'll never be able to tell you, not now anyway.'

10.31am | To Aaron ~ 'Are you gonna tell your Mum everything? Even the parts you won't tell me?'

10.33am | From Aaron ~ 'Yeah. It's time to, I guess. I feel weird telling her stuff when the last time I saw her was when I was 8'

10.35am | To Aaron ~ 'Mate, don't feel that way. She's your mum!'

10.37am | From Aaron ~  'She left me with him tho Ad, she left me with a monster.'

10.39am | To Aaron ~ 'I told you months back to go back to her and to leave Gordon.'

10.41am | From Aaron ~ 'I tried. I tried to.'

10.43am | To Aaron ~ 'You tried to leave Gordon?'

10.44am | From Aaron ~ 'Whete do you think the black eye came from?'

10.46am | To Aaron ~ 'You should have said'

10.46am | From Aaron ~ 'And what good would that have done? He's a violent man. He'd have no problem punching you!'

10.48am | To Aaron ~ 'You remember the day that he swung for you, and I decked him?'

10.50am | From Aaron ~ 'How could I forget?'

10.51am | To Aaron ~ 'Point is, if you tell your mum, she'll take you back to the Dingle house and you'll be safe. No more Gordon.'

10.53am | From Aaron ~ 'But Ik scared Ad. When I tell her, she'll make a huge deal if it :('

10.55am | To Aaron ~ 'Is it serious?

 

Aaron is typing..

 

10.58am | From Aaron ~ 'Yes. Remember when you called for me when we had no school because of the snow and my dad told you I wasn't in but I was. You heard a huge crash then you saw me climb out my bedroom window?'

11.00am | To Aaron ~ 'How could I forget. You were in an awful state!'

Adam closed his eyes and replayed that day as he did so many times before.

 

11.03am | From Aaron ~ 'Thats because one of the bad things happened that day.'

11.05am | To Aaron ~ 'Will you ever tell me?'

11.08am | From Aaron ~ 'I'm sure it will come out sometime..'

11.09am | To Aaron ~ 'You okay now though, yeah?'

11.10am | From aaron ~ 'Honestly, I've never been okay since, mate.'

11.13am | To Aaron ~ 'Answer.'

11.15am | From Aaron ~ 'I can't. My mums here now.'

11.16am | To Aaron ~ 'If you won't tell me, tell her.'

11.16am | From Aaron ~ 'I will. I'll tell her everything.'

 

Chas sat down beside Aaron,

"Hiya.."

"Mum." Aaron said, then cleared his throat.

"You know I always imagined seeing you, but, I never thought it'd be like that!"

"Sorry.."

"No, no,  sweetheart. My fault. I should have came looking."

"Mum--"

"I always wished that you'd come find me, but you never did--"

"Mum, plea--"

"I presumed you didn't want to or you were too happy with your dad--"

"Stop--"

"Always liked him more than me, I always knew. The way you'd hug him all the time--"

"sto--"

"You never hugged me. When you came to visit, you'd always not talk and sit there waiting for him to come--"

"Mum--"

"Used to hug. You wouldn't go to sleep without him reading you a story--"

Aaron couldn't handle it. Hearing what she thought of him made him want to hurl.

"STOP MUM! JUST STOP! HES CHANGED! HES NOT LIKE THAT ANYMORE! HE DOES THINGS THAT ARENT EVEN IMAGINABLE!" 

Chas was frozen on the spot.

"He raped me.." Aaron whispered. Chas was speechless.

"Son!" She wrapped her arms around him. He begun to tell her the whole story..

 

******

 

Meanwhile, Debbie and Adam were having a chat in the café, 

"What else has Aaron told you about his father?" Debbie questioned.

"He doesn't call him anything but Gordon. He doesn't like to talk about him.." Adam explained. Debbie nodded. 

 

 

******

 

When Chas left her son who had Just told her everything, she ran to the bathroom and got sick. She couldn't imagine it. 

She grabbed her phone and sent a group text message. She saidwhat Aaron had just said. Cain was drinking a pint in the Woolpack when he got the message. He nearly choked reading it. He grabbed his coat and ran to his car.

Lisa read the message out loud, without realising what it would be. Sam covered belles ears. Marlon and Zak were speechless.

In the café, Robert, Pete and Ross walked in and sat at a table across from Adam and Debbie.

Deep down, Debbie was kind of scared of ross now.

"Hiya brother!" Ross said in a mocking tone.

Adam glared at him.

"Don't be in a strop with me!" Ross mumbled.

Ross was sorry for what he did to Debbie. He took it too far.

"debs can we talk?" Ross asked. Debbie then heard her phone beep so she looked at it. She dropped her coffee.

"Debbie?" Adam muttered. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she handed the phone to Adam who read through it quickly. 

Adam and Debbie shared a look a darted out of the café. Now the broken nose, the limping and the black eyes are nothing compared to this.

TBC?

Chapter Text

 

Word had quickly spread about Aaron. 

"Poor Aaron" was all people said. Aaron was dreading the day ahead. He'd gone to court and he'd told them everything. He never ever imagined telling the police but Cain said he'd choke Gordon if he wasn't banged up.

"He's safer behind bars!" Cain said. 

Today was the day they'd hear the verdict. Guilty or not guilty?

Gordon had put up quite a fight.

"She walked out on the boy. He's confused, messed up!" Gordon explained. It had been the hardest time ever for Aaron to hear Gordon lying through his teeth to a gullible court.

"Quickly, Aaron love." Chas called up the stairs. Aaron liked the excitement of living with the Dingles.

He tied his tie and skipped down the stairs.

Chas placed bacon and eggs infront of him. Aaron smiled weakily.

"I'm so proud of you" she said.

 

******

 

At the Sugden house, Robert and Victoria sat at the kitchen table.

"You should feel awful!" Victoria muttered. Robert did, he felt so bad.

"I do." He whispered. 

"You don't feel anything for anyone! Only yourself! You won't admit the truth about that night!"

Robeft decided to tell her. He couldn't handle the lies no more.

"I did it. I walked in on him. I forced him to open up about his nose. Then I kissed him!"

"YOUR GAY!?"

This is what Robert was dreading.

"Bisexual! There's a difference!"

"Oh okay.."

"I'm sorry.."

"So, I've been sticking up for you all this time against Adam when it's really been true what he's been saying?"

"Yeah.."

Victoria sighed, "The things I said to him.."

"I'm sorry"

"I need to go call Adam!" She said, running up the stairs. 

Robert put his head in his hands.

 

*******

 

"Have thr jury reached a verdict?" The judge asked.

"Yes, your honor."

"Go on"

Chas grabbed Aaron's hand.

"guilty"

Aaron's heart raced. The look on Gordon's face said it all.

Everyone in the stand jumped with glee. Everybody was content except Gordon. He was being dragged away, "Aaron! Son! I'm sorry!" He yelled.

 

*******

 

The news travelled through the village and all the villagers were happy. The Dingles were having a few drinks in the Woolpack but Aaron couldn't handle the sympathetic looks. He stood up, 

"Im going for a walk" he muttered, leaving the pub. He walked through the village and stopped at the bridge. 

"What a day" he whispered to himself. Aaron jumped when he felt someone touch his shoulder. 

"Robert, what are you doing, sneaking up like that!"

Fear was written all over Aaron's face.

"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry, for everything. I wasn't ready to come out, to tell people."

"Forget it"

"No, I hate myself for it!"

"Robert, it's okay."

Robert felt awful. He did truly hate himself for it.

"It's not though, is it?"

"It's forgotten about"

"I heard about court. Must have been tough."

Aaron nodded. It was tough.

"See where talking to a stranger in a bathroom gets you!" 

"Yeah.."

"It went from a chat to a court in like 10 seconds!"

"Mmhm. I know, all the hurt because of me--"

"Because of Gordon!"

Their eyes locked again.

"I was thinking about that night.." Aaron started

"Yeah." 

"We need to arrange Victoria another party, ey?"

Robert smiled, "Yeah."

They just stood there together, enjoying the moment. 

"Aaron son?" Chas called from the distance.

"Coming!" Aaron roared back. 

"Gotta go Sugden, talk later. Give me your phone and I'll put in my number" Aaron said.  Robert handed Aaron his phone and he quickly typed in the number. Then he was gone out of sight.

 

******

 

3.30am

 

A ~ 'You awake?'

R ~ 'Am now'

A ~ 'Sorry..'

R ~ 'No worry :) You okay?'

A ~ 'Can't sleep'

R ~ 'You at the Dingle house?'

A ~ 'Yeah. It's so packed and noisey!'

R ~ 'Like being a Dingle?'

A ~ 'Better then a Livesy!'

R ~ 'That's good, DINGLE'

A ~ 'Haha SUGDEN'

R ~ 'But your okay after today?'

A ~ 'How can you be fully okay after something like this, ey? I'm fine.'

R ~ 'Im here for you :)'

A ~ 'Like I'm ever telling you anything again! Joke.'

R ~ 'Sorry, again :('

A ~ 'Don't worry Suggers boy'

R ~ 'Did you honestly just call me that?'

A ~ 'I don't know'

R ~ 'What are you doing tomorrow?'

A ~ 'Trying to escape from the house probably, why?'

R ~ 'Wanna go somewhere?'

A ~ 'As in..?'

R ~ 'To hang out. Like I said, I wanna be your mate.'

A ~ 'Ever gonna talk about that kiss?'

R ~ 'Why, want another? ;)'

A ~ 'Slow down!'

R ~ 'Haha, sorry..'

A ~ 'Are you tierd?'

R ~ 'A bit. Are you?'

A ~ 'No, can't sleep when I'm cold :('

R ~ 'Maybe I should warm it up for you?'

A ~ 'Steady the pase!'

R ~ 'Sorry, I keep doing that!'

A ~ 'Muppet :)'

R ~ 'Silly Dingle :)'

A ~ 'Thanks for staying up just to chat about nothing with me.'

R ~ 'No problem. I owe you that much.'

A ~ 'So what would tomorrow be?'

R ~ 'Whatever you want it to :)'

A ~ 'Mmm. We'll have to wait and see!'

R ~ 'Meet at the café at 1pm?'

A ~ 'I start work tomorrow at 9am!'

R ~ 'Work? Where?'

A ~ 'The Garage. Cain insisted.'

R ~ 'Good luck working for Cain!'

A ~ 'Im done at 12pm, so I'll have time to change out of overalls.'

R ~ 'I like overalls ;)'

R ~ 'Sorry. I did it again!'

A ~ 'I'm tierd now. Thanks for the  chat!'

R ~ 'My pleasure. Looking forward to tomorrow. I hope you know that you can talk to me, about anything.'

A ~ 'Goodnight Robert'

R ~ 'Goodnight Dingle boy'

 

******

 

1pm came faster than ever and Aaron had Just arrived at the café. Robert was already there. They smiled at each other. 

After the café, they walked to the pavilion. They sat on the steps together. 

"How's your mum after all this?" Robert asked.

"Blames herself, really." Aaron muttered.

"Why?"

"Because she walked out"

Aarom took a bite of his sandwich. He didn't realise he'd gotten mayonnaise on his cheek. Robert laughed. Aaron stopped chewing and looked up, "What?"

"You got mayo there." Robert said, pouting to it. Aaron went red and tried to wipe it off but totally missed it.

"No.. its there.." Robert mumbled. Aaron tried again but to no avail. Robert grabbed Aaron's hand and wiped off using Aaron's hand. Roberts eyes met Aaron's and soon they were both leaning in. Then their lips crashed.

Robert pulled back. It killed him to say this, but, he had to.

"Aaron, this can't go any further, you know that?" 

Aaron couldn't find any words. All he forms muster was, "Why?"

Robert sighed, "Your my little sisters mate. I've hurt you once, I don't wanna do that again."

"It doesn't matter if I get hurt."

"It matters to me."

Robert knew he wasn't convincing Aaron so he had to say things to fully stop Aaron. Things he didn't want to say to him.

"I'm not ready for anyone else. Not someone that has so much stuff going on.." Robert scrunched his eyes closed, he couldn't look at Aaron.

"I've got my eyes on someone else anyway.." Robert added, standing up and walking away. Aaron stayed sitting there, totally confused and hurt.

"I'm done with you" Aaron whispered to himself.

Things only got worse fro there..

 

 

Aaron had gotten close to a guy called Nathan. 

Nathan had found Aaron one night when Aaron was alone and excepted him into 'his gang'. 

He was definitely a bad influence. Nathan had persuaded to try a cigarette. Aaron coughed and Nathan burst out laughing. 

 

Nathan ~ 'You coming to the village?'

Aaron ~ 'Don't know'

Nathan ~ 'Go on. The boys have something lined up :)'

Aaron ~ 'Fine. Outisude the café in 5 minutes'

 

Nathan smiled when he saw Aaron standing by the café.

"You came!" Nathan greeted. Aaron smiled. 

"The boys are in the pivillion." Nathan said, directing Aaron away. Robert was watching from the Woolpack. He frowned. There was something about Nathan that Robert just didn't like.. 

 

At the pavilion, the gang quickly welcomed Aaron then showed him what they had in store.

"Drugs?" Aaron asked, quite shocked. Nathan laughed, "Yeah!"

"Where did you get them?"

"Does that matter?"

Aaron didn't want to do this. He wasn't gonna be like that. Aaron couldnt.. right? 

"Try it!" Nathan suggested, holding it out towards Aaron.

Aaron shook his head.

"CHICKEN!" Roared one of the lads.

Nathan started laughing. Aaron sighed and nodded. He snached it from Nathan's hand. Aaron didn't want to do this. He wouldn't..

His will power clearly wasn't strong because soon he was smoking it. He was dizzy, but everything seemed better, happier..

All thr boys cheered.

Aaron was out of it. He was high. It was as if the world was running away and he was trying to catch up with it. Nathan and his gang cracked open a few cans as they were entertained by Aaron, who was sitting down in a daze.

"Have more!" Nathan demanded. 

"N-Nah." Aaron muttered. Nathan's face fell, "No?"

"Im good!" Aaron said, smiling.

"Why not?"

"I don't wanna become a smack head.." Aaron explained. He wasn't thinking about what he was saying. All the boys he was surrounded by, were smack heads. They smoked this stuff a lot!

"You calling me one?" Nathan stepped forward and pushed Aaron a bit. Aaron tumbled to the ground, the drug clearly over powering him.

Suddenly, Nathan was on his back with a bleeding lip. Robert stood over him, with his fist clenched. 

"Get away from him!" Robert hissed.

Nathan glared and nodded towards his gang who quickly followed him.

Robert helped Aaron up. He was speechless. What could he do with aaron? 

Aaron was totally out of it. Robert sent a messsge off Aaron's phone, 

 

6.44pm |  To Mum ~ 'Sorry, Mum, staying at a Mates tonight. See you tomorrow.'

 

Robert put Aaron's hand over his shoulder to support him as he walked. Where could he go? 

Robert spotted an old barn. "Perfect," he thought. He lead Aaron inside and lay him down on  the hay. Robert couldn't believe that Aaron was in this state. He'd have to deal with it in the morning. Robert took out his own phone,

7.04pm | To Victoria ~ 'Tell everyone I won't be home. Staying at a mates. No time to argue, talk tomorrow.'

 

Then he lay down beside Aaron. It felt right being there beside him. Was that all that bad..?

Tomorrow would be an interesting day..

Chapter Text

Aaron was first to wake. He stirred a bit, then his eyes shot open. He knew someone was beside him.. he hoped it wasn't Nathan. Aaron was scared to turn over..

He lay there for about 10 minutes thinking about what's the best and worse solution. Eventually, he decided he'd just slip out and not look so he wouldn't have to deal with anything.

Aaron got off the hay bail and took a deep breath, then in one quick movement, he ran out the door, leaving the unknown sleeping person alone.

Aaron raced back to the village. Aaron was confused when he saw Nathan, with a fat lip, giving him evil eyes. Aaron was totally oblivious to what had happened. But he'd soon find out..

 

Nathan wasn't letting this go. He was gonna get Aaron. He was gonna get him bad..!

He hatched a plan to his gang and they all ageeed. Then they put it into action. 

Nathan strolled up to Aaron casually,

"Oi, can we talk, in private?" Nathan asked. Aaron nodded. Nathan walked behind the pavilion and Aaron followed. 

Clearly Nathan had no mercy for anyone! It wasn't even Aaron that punched him, but Nathan saw this as a way to get at Robert but of course this was to get Robert here, so the real fun could begin!

As Nathan turned the corner, 2 other boys jumped out and grabbed Aaron by each arm. Aaron was restrained!

Then, Nathan punched Aaron in the stomach. 

Aaron groaned, "What's this for?"

Nathan viciously kneed Aaron in the stomach, winding him. Aaron gasped for air.

"Think its funny for your little boyfriend to smack me, ey?" Nathan hissed.

Aaron was puzzled!

Nathan sent fist after fist.

Aaron took them all, he attempted to wriggle away but it was impossible!

 

******

 

Robert woke in the barn and instantly he noticed he was alone.

"Damn Aaron!" He whispered to himself.

Robert ruffled his hands through his hair and took out his phone. 

 

3 missed calls from Victoria

1 missed call from Andy

 

From Victoria ~ 'Don't panic but Dads really mad at you. He's searching the village for you. Get home fast!'

Robert Knew he was in trouble. He knew he had to get home. When his dads got mad, he got really mad. Mostly with Robert though.

 

 

 

Robert sighed. "Typical Dad" thought.

Just as Robert was about to go home. He got a message. An attached image.. 

Robert was frozen. It was a picture of Aaron. He had cuts, bruises, black eyes, a bloody nose and he was curled up on the ground.

Then he got a text saying ;

Uknown ~ 'Aaron needs his boyfriend now ;)'

 

Robert had to get home. His dad was already mad that he stayed out all night with no explanation. Aaron just left this morning without a second thought about Robert. So, should he really care about Aaron..? Even considering leaving Aaron was wrong! Robert knew he had to go get him help. Nathan's gang could do anything. Robert Just wanted to hold Aaron and tell him everything will be okay. Things won't be okay when Robert gets home, will he get home..? it's a risk Roberts gonna take.

No way could he leave him.
What would he do with him when he gets to him?

Robert had no clue, but he knew he had to find him. Aaron looked to be in a lot of pain. It absoloutly broke Roberts heart to see Aaron clenching his side with his blood covered fingers. It broke him!
Nothing anyone could say could persuade Robert to leave him there.

If his dad showed up right now, Robert would still go. He would still try find Aaron.
How on earth does he explain this to the Dingles?

Robert sent a text off Aaron's phone last night and if he turns up today in an awful state, they're gonna be out for blood.
Preferably Roberts blood if they think he did it. No way would Cain let this go lightly..

Robert studied the picture, then it clicked.

"The pavilion!" He muttered, darting out the barn door.

 

*****

 

At the Dingle house, Chas and Cain were chatting,

"Who do you think he's with?" Chas questioned.

Cain shrugged, "Victoria, Adam?"

"Nah, he would've just said Victoria or Adam, you know?"

Cain shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. Chas was kind of worried.. but little did she know she had reason..

 

******

 

When Robert got to the pavilion he was stunned when he saw Aaron. Yes, he saw the picture, but it's nothing compared to actually seeing him. 

"Aaron..?" Robert called 

Someone with their hood up, jumped out from behind Robert and smashed a bottle over his head. Robert fell to the ground with a thump..

Chapter Text

"Robert!?" Victoria called, running through the village. 

"Aaron!?" Chas roared, going off the other way, Cain following close behind her.

Their families were all worried about them, but nobody knew that the boys were in trouble together.

The whole Dingle clan were all out looking together. Whether the Sugdens called the police straight away. Honestly, the Dingles had a batter chance of finding Aaron because that police weren't even looking for Robert, not until it was after 24 hours.

"Chas, are you okay?" Victoria asked, seeing the tears in her eyes.

"No, Aaron's missing!" Chas wailed.

"So is Robert.." Victoria muttered. She had an idea that they may be together.

"Aaron sent a message to say he was with a mate for the night, but hasn't picked up his phone!" Chas added. Victoria now knew something clicked.

"Robert sent a message saying he was with a mate for the night too!" Victoria mumbled. Chas had the same idea now.

"AARON!? ROBERT!?"  She shouted. 

Cain was by the pavilion and he took out his phone and dialed 'Aaron'

It rang and rang. Cain knew that annoying ringtone too well. He'd heard it so many times. It was Aaron's. He looked around the corner and saw the boys, both lying so weakly on the cold ground. Cains eyes widened.

"CHAS!?" He yelled. Chas and Victoria came sprinting around the corner. 

"Oh my god!" Chas shouted, kneeling beside Aaron, cradling his head. Victoria stared at her brother.

"What the hell happened here?" Cain questioned.

Aaron slowly opened his eyes. Everything hurt. It was blurry. 

"Aaron son?" Chas whispered, putting her hand on his cheek. Aaron was frightened and flinched a bit, Chas saw and frowned.

"It's okay. Your safe now.." she whispered.

Roberts eyes fluttered a bit. They opened, they closed, then opened again. Victoria sighed in relief.

"Rob, are you alright?" She asked, putting out her hand for him to take to help him stand up.

Robert stumbled a bit. Everything was going in circles. Robert was so dizzy. He felt so puzzled. His head hurt a lot!

"Oh my god, Robert, your heads bleeding!" Victoria pointed out. Robert put his hand on his head and looked at his bloody fingers. He stumbled and tripped onto Cain, who gently supported him.

"Who did it?" Cain muttered. Aaron coughed,  "Nathan"

Robert knew it! He just knew it!

Cain nodded. He was gonna pay a visit to this 'Nathan'

"Let's get this boys to the hospital, ey? A quick check over because you look awful!" Chas said. The boys agreed and they all jumped in Cains car. Victoria, Robert and Aaron in the back and Cain and Chas in the front.

The boys were taken off for an examination right away. A doctor appeared around the corner, calling for Aarons family. Chas stood up. The doctor smiled and went over to join her,

"Aaron's a lucky lad." The doctor started.

Chas nodded, "He can't keep outta trouble that boy!"

"Well, he has lots of cuts and bruises, but they're harmless! We were concerned when we got to his stomach.." 

All Chas could do was nod.

"He has open wounds, look to be a few weeks old."

"Right, but he got attacked today.."

" clearly you don't know about them." the doctor said, in almost a whisper.

"No, I didn't. I'll ask him about them. Anything else?" Chas mumbled.

"He has burns, cigarette burns. We asked him about them and he wouldn't speak to us. Maybe you could ask..?" The doctor suggested.

"I will. So he's okay?"

"Yeah, only his stomach, bruises and 2 broken ribs." 

The doctor smiled and walked away. Chas now had to ask Aaron about the cuts on his stomach. She wasn't gonna like what she was gonna hear..

 

 

 

*****

 

 

 

"Roberts family?" A nurse called. Victoria and Andy stood up. Andy came when Victoria called him in an awful state.

"Is he alright?" Andy questioned. 

"Just a minor head injury. He's fine. He's on medication to ease the pain. We gave him stitches. All head injuries have to be kept under a 24 hour observation."

"Thank goodness, he's okay!" Victoria smiled.

"Can we see him?" Andy asked. The doctor nodded and pointed to a room. 

Robert lay there full of worry. The image of Aaron stuck in his head. Then, his room door swung open. It was not who he expected. It was Nathan!

"Hiya Sugden!" He greeted in a mocking tone. 

"Get out!" Robert demanded.

"What, in a sulk over your boyfriend?"

"Your sick, you know that?"

 

Nathan laughed. He came closer to Robert and leaned over him,

"Head looks nasty!" He joked.

Robert has seen what this boy can do, he was frightened. There was no question there. Looking at Aaron like that, seeing his heartless Nathan was, was disgusting.

Robert gulped, "Get out!"

"You keep saying that, like I'm gonna actually obey you."

Robert was just hoping someone would come in soon. He couldn't display this hard front much longer.

"I better go, Mate. Sorry it was a short visit. Get well soon.. or not." Nathan said, then left, slamming the door. 

 

*****

 

Nathan saw Chas talking to Cain so he presumed Aaron was alone. He was right. Aaron was alone. 

He slipped in the hospital door. Aaron was weak because he was restrained. He couldn't fight back. If his hands were free and Nathan didn't have 6 other boys fighting with him, Aaron would win. 

Nathan went and sat beside Aaron. 

Aaron glared, "Come to look at your handy work?"

Nathan snorted, "Actually, yeah, I did!"

Aaron rolled his eyes, "Your pathetic, you know? You call yourself a big man, but you just hide behind your gang. If you took them away and you only had your fists, you'd be nothing. Nothing!"

Nathan was shocked. He had just burned cigarettes into Aaron. He had just beaten him up, why was he so cocky?

"Want round two?" Nathan stuttered. Aaron laughed, "Man on Man, none of your gang. I'd take you any day!"

"Yeah? Then why are you the one in the hospital bed?" Nathan hissed.

"You were holding me arms, I can hardly beat you with no fists ,can I?" Aaron muttered.

"You could kick!" Nathan suggested, smirking.

"Although, I think I recall head butting you at one stage.." Aaron said cheekily.

Nathan narrowed his eyes, "And I told you I'd break your arms if you did anything like it again!"

Aaron laughed mockingly. 

"I noticed some scars on you when I was putting out my cigarettes on your stomach. Someone else leave their mark on you before I could?" Nathan asked.

"Something like that, yeah." Aaron mumbled.

"Well, I better go." Nathan said smiling weakly. 

"Yeah, go back to your gang and you learn how to use your fists independently, Mate because I know how and I intend to show you." Aaron said, feeling cocky even though he was in agony.

Aaron took a deep breath when Nathan left. He was proud of himself. He was a little scared but the psycho did burn cigarettes into him, so, Aaron had a right to have a little fear.

 

Chas appeared, then looking like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. 

"Aaron, your stomach..?" She started. 

She was gonna get right to the point. 

"Yeah..?" Aaron whispered.

"The wounds?"

 

Aaron knew the day would come when someone would find out. 

"I'm sorry.." he mumbled. Chas furrowed her eyebrows.

"I did it. It just helped.." Aaron added.

Chas gasped, "Love.."

It wasn't what she was expecting to hear.

"So you cut yourself?" She asked, trying to come to terms with it.

"Mmhm. I've stopped since I came to live with you." Aaron explained.

Chas smiled, "Good! Don't ever do it again, you hear me?"

Aaron nodded , "Sorry.. you probably think I'm a freak.."

Chas shook her head, "Never! People deal with things differently. You had lots to deal with. I don't blame you for one second! Your my perfect boy and I love you. If you feel the need to do it ever again, you come to me!" 

"I won't." Aaron muttered. Chats kissed his head.

"Did you burn yourself too?" She questioned.

"No." 

 

Chas shut her eyes. Imagining someone else hurting him like that was terrible.

"My hands were held. After a couple blows to the stomach, he lifted my t-shirt and threatened to burn me. I didn't think he would, but then I saw him light it. I was still trying to act strong, but inside I was screaming. If I screamed, he'd love it, so, I just had to take it. The first one hurt the most. Oh god Mum, the look on his face when he was twisting it and digging it into me is stamped onto my mind.." Aaron admitted, tears filling his eyes.

A single tear, rolled down Chas' cheek. Hearing what he'd been through was hard, but she couldn't picture actually living it.

 

*****

 

 

Robert and Aaron were discharged the next day. Aaron in the morning and Robert in the afternoon.

Aaron stood by the mirror that night, staring at the burns when his phone beeped. He smiled when he saw who it was from. Robert.

 

R ~ 'Sorry I didn't see you today. I was only discharged like an hour ago. I had to Answer all my dads questions. You okay?'

A ~ 'Healing nicely, I think :) What about you, are you okay?'

R ~ 'Fine. Fascinated by these stitches :)'

A ~ 'You got stitches?'

R ~ 'Yeah. Judy stitches. I was bottled, Mate. What happened to you?'

 

Aaron wasn't sure if he wanted to actually say, but, he trusted Robert now. 

 

A ~ 'Beaten and burnt'

 

Robert was confused. He didn't see any burns in the picture.

 

R ~ 'Burns?'

A ~ 'The muppet burnt cigarettes into my stomach."

Robert was gobsmacked.

R ~ 'Oh my god, Aaron!'

A ~ 'It's okay.'

R ~ 'No, no it's not.'

A ~ 'He came to see me yesterday.'

R ~ 'Me too'

A ~ 'Did he hurt you?'

R ~ 'No. Said he'd see me soon though.. I'm kinda worried.'

A ~ 'Don't be. Everything's gonna be fine!'

 

"Everything's gonna be fine.." Aaron whispered to himself.. What will happen if he comes face-to-face with Nathan?

TBC?

Chapter Text

Aaron was standing by the bus stop one cold morning, when hd heard that all too familiar voice..

"Adam?" Aaron muttered. Adam turned his back and saw Aaron. He walked over to him and pulled him into a hug.

"Bro!" He greeted. Aaron's bruises were healing, but they needed time. They were gone faintly,  but not enough for Adam not to notice.

"What happened?" Adam asked, pointing at Aaron's face. 

"Mate, it's a long story..!" Aaron's sighed. Adam was concerned now.

"Better start explaining, then." Adam demanded. Aaron nodded and started from the very begging.

 

 

*****

 

At the Sugden house, things were running late, as usual. Robert had to walk with Victoria everyday because apparently she's too young.. says Jack.

"Victoria!?" Robert called, standing in the kitchen, tapping his foot. 

"Wait!" She shouted back. Robert sighed. Would he ever get to see Aaron? 

10 minutes later, Victoria came sloping down the stairs. 

"See, still on time!" She said, smiling.

Robert shook his head, "We've got 5 minutes to catch the bus!"

"Well what are we doing standing here?" She mocked, grabbing her bag and running out the door. Robert rolled his eyes and followed.

Getting to school with Victoria was hard..

"Wait Robert!" Victoria yelled, stopping to take out a pocket mirror to check her hair. Then, they had to all the way back for her Maths book and had to stop to tie her shoe laces. Robert hated walking to school.

When they eventually got to the village, Victoria heard someone's voice, 

"I leave for 2 weeks Aaron!" Adam yelled. Victoria threw her bag at Robert and ran. Robert caught it and half winded himself. Victoria ran until she saw Adam. Then, she dived on to him, hugging him tightly.

"Hiya Vic!" Adam greeted.

Then Robert came strolling around the corner. He saw aaron and smiled.

"Better get going!" Adam suggested seeing the bus pull up. Just as they were about to get on, they heard someone shouting things at them, 

"Oi, look, it's the freak and Sugden! Our best punching bags!" Nathan mocked. Aaron was 1/2 in the bus but he got back out. Robert grabbed his arm and whispered, "Aaron, don't!" 

Aaron pulled his arm away and carried on.

"Punching bag, more like my ash tray..!" Nathan added. Adam and Victoria were confused. They didn't hear anything about things like that..

"Not something to be proud of." Aaron muttered. Nathan burst out laughing.

"Do it again, Any time!" Nathan added. 

"Did you learn how to use your fists?" Aaron asked.

"What?" Nathan questioned.

"YOU came to visit me. I told YOU to stop hiding behind YOUR little gang and fight like a man!" Aaron yelled. With every 'You' or 'Your' he'd poke Nathan's chest, pushing him back. Robert felt like covering his eyes. 

"I always knew how to fight. That's why you were in a hospital bed!" Nathan shouted, getting the attention of some villagers. 

Aaron sniggered, "You Mean when you restrained me? That's because you knew to god, is hurt you!"

Nathan narrowed his eyes.

"Yeah, I couldn't let a dirty Dingle touch me!" Nathan hissed.

Aaron burst out laughing and Nathan stood there puzzled.

"Yeah, im a Dingle, what about it, Mate?" Aaron asked. Nathan rolled his eyes.

"Your filthy, but not as filthy as your slapper of a Mum!" Nathan yelled, laughing into Aaron's face.

That was a step too far. Little did Nathan know that Aaron knew a bit about his family..

"At least my Mum isn't a drug addict, or is that where you get it from..?" Aaron asked. 

Nathan dived at Aaron, tackling him to the ground. They wrestled a bit. Nathan got a few good punches in.

 

Nathan was a large guy. Broad shoulders, big arms. Part of Aaron thought Nathan would knock him out, but Aaron took his chances..

 

"Aaron!" Robert called. Robert could hardly watch!

 

It was for him. Aaron was also fighting for him. Robert was touched but he didn't wanna see Aaron hurt..

 

 

Aaron flipped over, holding Nathan down and threw fist after fist. Aaron had wanted to do this a long time. No way would he hold back!

Cain was in the garage when he saw a group of villagers gathered yelling , "AARON! AARON STOP!"

Cain sighed.

"What's he done now?" He muttered to himself, running out to look. Cain laughed when he saw Aaron beating a guy that had a bloody nose. Nathan will definitely have a black eye tomorrow.

Aaron has never tried so hard. He wasn't giving up. Aaron wanted to win this fight. Nathan deserved it and much, much more.

 

"Aaron lad?" Cain asked when he had pushed through that crowd and saw. Aaron didn't even look up. Nathan flipped on top and started punching him. Aaron had a fat lip and bloody nose. 

Cain was shocked. He never k we Aaron had so much fire, so much anger, so much force! Aaron was giving it his all!

Cain went to stop it but Adam told him not to,

"Its gonna happen anyway.." Aaron muttered.

 

One of the boys in Nathan's gang stepped forward to help Nathan when Aaron got back on top and was beating him black and blue. Luckily, Adam stopped him by pushing him away before he could though.

Chas came outta the café and saw the group of villagers. She was walking away but then she heard,

 

"Get off Aaron!" 

 

"Aaron" she whispered to herself and ran to join the crowd. 

She watched as 2 boys from Nathan's gang went to join in. Aaron elbowed one who tried to drag him off. The other boy punched Aaron in the face, so Aaron got up, and with a his force he kneed the boy into the stomach, causing him to fall to the ground. 

While aaron was pre-occupied, Nathan had got up and was getting ready to run at Aaron from behind.

When Nathan was running, Robert yelled, "Aaron!"

Aaron instantly stepped to the side and Nathan ran straight passed him, landing stomach, winding himself and cutting his face.

Aaron laughed, "You did that one yourself, mate!" 

 

Nathan glared at him.

 

Nathan got to his feet again and ran at Aaron again, but this time he actually got him. Aaron fell to the ground with a thump. Nathan stood up and started kicking Aaron in the stomach and head. 

 

"Cain! Do something!" Chas roared.

Cain shook his head.

"Aaron's got this.." Cain mumbled.

 

Hearing those words from his uncle, it encouraged Aaron to get up. Aaron got to his feet again, despite Nathan trying to push him  back down.

"Aaron! Leave it now, son." Chas pleaded.

Nathan stared at Chas,

"So this is great slapper Chastity, ey? Honour to meet you." Nathan said in a mocking tone.

Cain was gonna punch him, but Aaron got there first. 

Aaron grabbed Nathan by the back of the neck and pushed him with all his force. Aaron pinned Nathan,  face first up against The Home James van. 

Carl got out of the van and looked  puzzled. Then he saw Aaron.

"Jimmy, I'll call you back.." he muttered. 

Aaron grabbed one of Nathan's hands and pulled it behind his back. Pushing it further up his back to his right shoulder. Nathan was in agony.

"Stop Aaron!" He muttered.

 

"You think this hurts? Look what you did to us!" Aaron hissed. Nathan groaned, the pain was horrible. 

Carl jumped in and dragged Aaron off.

"Calm down, Aaron." He mumbled. Aaron was trying to wriggle away.

 

"SAY IT YOU PATHETIC MUPPET!" Aaron roared.

 

"I'm.. s-sorry.." Nathan whispered.

Aaron couldn't believe it.

"What?" Aaron asked. Nathan wasnt the one to day sorry.. not really..

"Sorry.." he whispered. 

"Say it go Everyone. To Robert!" Aaron shouted. Nathan knew this was the only way. He sighed.

 

"Robert , Aaron, im sorry.." Nathan yelled. Aaron laughed. Nathan's gang walked off.

"Pathetic." One of the boys whispered, before walking away.

 There was another thing Aaron had to say.

"Don't come near us. Don't even look at us.  Now get lost!" Aaron shouted.

Cain stopped Nathan as he was walking away,

"If you touch him again, I'll make you disappear.." Cain whispered. Nathan gulped, nodded, then ran off.

 

Carl released his grip on Aaron. 

"Thanks Carl, I don't know wat happened there." Chas said.

Carl smiled.

 

"Well done Aaron!" Adam said, patting his shoulder. Aaron smiled.

Victoria handed him a few tissues for his nose and lip. Aaron had no major injuries. Only a bloody noise and a fat lip. Aaron was proud of himself. He really was.

 

Robert stared at Aaron.

Aaron stared at Robert.

"You okay?" Robert asked. 

"I am now." Aaron muttered.

"Err, thanks.." Robert said, feeling suddenly awkward.

"He deserved it!" Aaro replied, wiping his lip. They just stood there smiling at eachother.

"Aaron, here now." Chas demanded. Aaron nodded.

"See you later Rob." Aaron mutteres before walking off.

Robert smiled, 'Rob' thought.

"ROBERT SUGDEN!" Someone yelled. Robert turned and frowned..

 

*****

 

Nathan ran home. He burst through his front door in an awful state.

"Mum, Dad?" He called. Nathan walked into the kitchen and his parents were smoking at the kitchen table.

"What the he'll happened to you!?" His dad roared.

"The Dingles happened.." Nathan whispered.

"I hope you gave as good as to got boy. How many was there?" His mother asked.

"1, but his uncle threatened me!" Nathan explained. His father stared at him, then questioned, 

"What did he say?"

 

Nathan sighed.

"He said he'd make me disappear!"

His father dropped his cigarette.

"What's his name?"

"Cain Dingle."

His father burst out laughing.

"Cain.. can't remember the last time I saw him. The Dingles will see me very soon..!" 

Nathan smirked.

 

 

*****

 

 

"ROBERT JACOB SUGDEN! WHY ARENT YOU IN SCHOOL!?" Jack shouted. 

Victoria was smart. She fled the scene with Adam, but Robert was there to get caught. 

"Damn it!" Robert thought.

"Err, missed the bus.." Robert lied.

"Don't lie to me! Diane told me all about the fight going on here. Some boy apologised to you?" Jack said, walking over to Robert.

"Yeah. He was the one that bottled me.." Robert explained. Jack laughed, "Leave it go! Your fine! You don't wanna get involved in things like this, you hear me?"

Robert nodded.

"Stay away from that Dingle boy, he's trouble!" Jack added. Roberts face fell. That Dingle boy..?

"Get in the jeep!" Jack yelled.

 

When they got home, Robert ran straight up the stairs. He looked at his phone. Message from Aaron.

A ~ 'Mums angry at me for being violent, but she's proud too. Everyone here is like celebrating. Weird right? Are you okay?'

R ~ 'I'm fine. That's good that they're happy but err, Aaron I can't..'

A ~ 'Can't what? Everything okay?'

R ~ 'I'm sorry.'

It killed Robert to say that. 

A ~ 'What do you mean?'

A ~ 'Robert? Your scaring me, now.'

 

 

Are you sure you want to delete 'Aaron' from third contact list?

Robeft clicked 'Yes'

...

TBC?

Chapter Text

Robert couldn't sleep. How could he have done that. At least he'd be good in his fathers eyes. How he dreaded the day ahead.

 

"At least he had Adam and Victoria to look after him.." Robert thought.

 

 

****

 

 

Aaron woke at 8am. He was happy and totally unaware of what has gone on. He presumed Robert fell asleep or had something to do. He didn't look into it. 

Adam called at 10am. 

"Hi bro!" Adam greeted. Aaron smiled. "Mate" he said. 

"Sit down Ad, I got bacon butties" Chas suggested, pointing to the table.

Adam laughed, "Get in man"

Aaron and Adam were close. Like brothers. All the Dingles treat him with reverence and always give him the best, like he's part of the family. Most of the Dingles call him 'Ad' as a nickname. Adam liked being with the Dingles, he finds them interesting. 

"So, any word from that boy?" Chas asked. Aaron shook his head.

"Good." Chas added. Aaron hated lying to her. He had heard from Nathan. He's gotten texts all morning.

 

 

N ~ 'Don't think you get away with this'

N ~ 'Ill get you Aaron'

N ~ 'Watch your back'

N ~ 'Think the cigarette was bad, what until you see what I do.'

N ~ 'Your a dead man walking!'

N ~ 'A kitchen knife or a bread knife?'

N ~ 'Nah, a gun.'

N ~ 'Nah, I got the perfect way to torture you..'

N ~ 'No mercy gay boy'

N ~ 'I will destroy the Dingles'

 

 

Honestly, Aaron felt a bit uneasy... He wanted to tell someone. He knew exactly who to tell. 

"You alright?" Adam questioned clearly noticing that Aaron was anxious.

"I'm fine." Aaron lied.

 

Adams phone began to ring. 

"Hi mum." He muttered.

"Adam, the cattle all broke loose. I need you to come help!" Maria explained.  Adam sighed.

"On my way." He replied, then hung up.

 

 

Adam loved the farm but sometimes he just wanted a break. Needed a break.

 

 

"Gotta go mate." Adam said, quickly running out the door.

"See you later Mum." Aaron started, getting up and putting on his coat.

Chas frowned.

"Where you off to?" She asked.

Aaron smiled and said, "Stop worrying, in fine. If I wasn't I'd tell you." 

Chas nodded as Aaron left. A part of her wanted to believe he was fully okay, but deep down she knew he wasn't. 

 

 

****

 

 

"Robert! Out on the farm in 5"  jack roared. Robert sighed. He hated the farm. "Won't catch me Doing this when I'm older" Robert thought.

"ROBERT!" Jack shouted.

"On my way." Robert muttered. When he got to the stairs he heard a sound. Like someone crying. Then saw Victoria sitting on her bed with her head in her hands. Robert was curious.

"Vic..?" He called. Victoria looked up with puffy red eyes. Robert crossed his fingers that it was nothing serious.

"It's Adam..!" She wailed. Again Robert found himself stuck in this awkward position. He hated when people cried. It made him feel uncomfortable because he didn't know what to say. 

"What's up with him?" Robert questioned, sitting down across from his sister.

"H-He has to go for a bit.." she mumbled. If this was a year ago, Robert would've laughed and thrown a party, but, he's grown to like Adam. Being with him, Aaron and Victoria all the time brought them all closer as a group.

"Why? When?" Robert asked. Victoria wiped her tears and took a deep breath.

"Tonight." She whispered. Suddenly, she threw herself into Roberts arms. Robert wrapped his arms around her. Robert was a hugging type, but it's Victoria and he hates, with all his heart to see her upset.

"I don't want him to go.." she cried.

"Where is it?" 

"London." 

"Damn. How long?"

"2 months!" 

"Oh.."

"it was 2 weeks last time and I struggled, so what'll it be liht now!?"

"Is a long term realationship gonna work?"

Robert asked, not realising that he clearly wasn't helping. 

Victorias face fell.

"What if there's a nice girl over there that he gets with!? Oh my, I nebet thought about it. H-He'd stay true to me.. right Rob?" She muttered.  Robert smiled weakly.

"Err, yeah. He loves you Victoria."

"And I love him! Hey, Rob! Maybe I could go too!" She suggested. Robert shook his head.

"Like dads gonna allow that!" He snorted.

Victoria nodded, "Your right.. unless I don't ask.. I could run away!" 

"Never gonna work." Robert sniggered. It was like Robert was the wet blanket to all her ideas. There was no words to explain ikr much she was gonna miss him.

"Does Aaron know?" Robert asked, thinking about him. How could he just forget this boy. He didn't even get what he loved so much. His strong head when things need to be done? His grumpiness? His mood swings? His face when Robert asks if they'll ever get on a first date,  the way he is caring anskind to the people he loves and the way he sticks up fir what's right.

 

"No. Adams gonna tell him to be at the café in 30 minutes. Tell him then." Vic explained.

 

Robert nodded. He knew this would break Aaron. Saying goodbye to his best mate for 2 months. Aaron and Adam are like eachothers shadows, so it'll be hard for both of them. 

 

Aaron was walking through the village when he got a text.

N ~ 'Your not safe alone mate.'

N ~ 'When I catch you, you'll know all about it!'

N ~ 'I was doing a bit of thinking..'

N ~ 'Those cuts on your stomach, I figured it out.'

 

Aaron froze.

 

N ~ 'The way you get so weird when I mention them. Does the freak also slice himself?'

 

N ~ 'Your a waste of oxygen. You should go cut yourself too deep.'

 

Aaron shut his eyes. He couldn't deal. This was too much. 

Suddenly, he threw his phone over the side of he bridge and into the water with force. Full of fear, full of anger.

 

Meanwhile, Adam was sitting in the café, waiting. 5 minutes turned to 10,  10 turned to 20,  20 turned to 30..

"Where is he?" Adam whispered.

After another few minutes, Adam decided to walk around the village to look. 

He searched the pavilion, the pub, and the shop. Adam walked down to the bridge. He usually went here when he needed to be alone or to think. He decided he'd ring Aaron's phone one more time. 

Adams eyes widened when he heard the ringing coming from by water.

"AARON! OH NO! PLEASE DONT SAY YOUR IN HERE!" Adam cried, diving into the water. He searched and searched the water. Then he looked up and saw the phone laying on the bank. Adam sighed. He was furious that he dived in for nothing. To top it all off, Aaron came strolling around the corner. 

"WHATS YOUR PHONE DOING HERE!?" Adam yelled. 

Aaron frowned. 

"Shit.." he thought.  

"Err, fell in.." Aaron muttered. A message popped up, 

 

N ~ 'Keep that mouth of yours shut or ill cut your toungd out!'

 

Adams eyes widened. 

 

TBC??

Chapter Text

Aaron didn't know what to say. Adam had just read all those cruel messages Aaron received. It was embarrassing for Aaron. "Can't even fight off some village muppet." Aaron thought. 

Adam couldn't adjust to what he was reading. Some of these things were so vicious and threatening. Adam didn't expect Aaron to keep calm and say nothing. That was the last thing he expected, Aaron was usually the one to stick up for things and set things right and this wasn't right. 

Tears filled Aaron's eyes as he watched Adams face when he read through the messages. He couldn't handle it. It felt as if no air was reaching his lungs. He felt trapped. He hated the feeling!

 

 

****

 

Adam had agreed to keep quiet after a lot of persuasion which made Aaron greatful. Could you imagine him telling the Dingles? It wouldn't go down well. Aaron thought if he told them, they'd think he was weak, well, he is weak, but won't admit it. 

 

 

 

****

 

 

 

"into the car!" Nathans mum roared as the spun off though the village then to the Dingle house. 

There was no question, they were out the blood.. Dingle blood.

 

Nathans family wanted to build up  these actions, start small.

They arrived at the Dingle house and searched all around the yard. Nathan's father opened all the gates to release all the animals, Nathan's mum threw rocks through the windows of the house and Nathan was trashing the van.

Nathans dad grinned when he saw the barn full of hay. All of them thought the same, they all stood in a circle in the barn and watched as Nathan took out his lighter. 

Then, the barn door swung open, chas and Cain stood there with their arms folded.

"What on earth--?" Chas started. Cain burst out laughing when he saw the lighter.

"Even think about it and I swear.." Cain muttered. Nathan smirked. Cain stepped closer, so Nathan's dad stepped closer.

"Back off!" Cain demanded. Nathan's dad snorted, "I think you should, before you get hurt."

Cain hated advice or being told what to do.  

Cain swung a punch in the flash of lightning, knocking Nathan's dad off his feet.

"Dad?" Nathan questioned. Nathan was unsure what his dad wanted him to do. Usually he's just tell him. Nathan appreciated his judgement and did whatever he did with no second thought.

"Drop it" Nathan's dad mumbled. You may think this means to stop but on this case, Nathan's dad was giving clear instructions for his son to light the place up. Nathan sniggered, "Yes boss!" Then dropped his lighter. 

Flames quickly spread as Nathan and his family darted out the door. 

"Cmon chas." Cain said, grabbing her arm to lead her out. Chas was coughing like crazy as the dunes from the smoke was intoxicating. 

 

 

Nathan and his scheming family were gone faster than they came an we're nearly at the village begged they knew it, leaving Cain to call the fire men.

In the car, they cotkdnt control their laughter, clearly happy with themselves and what they'd done.

 

 

 

****

 

 

 

Aaron had to get away! He darted off the bridge, leaving Adam stood alone in the cold water. 

Aaron was running. He didn't know where to, but he didn't plan to stop. He did this a lot. Run. How can your problems catch up to you if you run away faster? They can't, but that isn't a healthy way to deal with your issues. 

You'd think when you hear "run from your problems" wouldn't mean to actually run, more to avoid, but in Aaron's case, he found himself actually running away. 

When he reaches the village, he doesn't even take a second glance at his surroundings. He just wants to run home.

Suddenly, Aarons body was lifted off the ground, smashed into a windscreen and was flying through the air. The feeling was breathtaking. The wind was zooming him along. He felt winded.  It all happened so fast that Aaron didn't realise what had happened until his body hit down hard on the ground from the impact of the car.

Robert and Victoria were standing at the café when it all happened. Robert dropped his bag and ran to Aaron. 

"Oh my! Are you okay?" Robert asked. All Aaron could hear was ringing in his ears. Everything hurt, his head, his neck,  shoulders, his chest, his thighs and all way down to his toes. Aaron was in agony. He has been cut by the glass from the windscreen on his face an arms. His eyes shot open. He saw Robert leaving over him. Aaron groaned.

"Hello?.. ambulance please.. Emmerdale village.. Yes, someone's been run over.." Diane explained. Victoria gasped, the scenes before her eyes not setting in. 

Adam came bolting around the corner after receiving a call from Victoria saying to come quick.

Adam saw people gathered around a dented car with a smashed windscreen. He peeked through the people to get a good look. His eyes widened.

"AARON!" He yelled, pushing through the crowd. Robert refused to move from his side the any reason. He felt awful that the last thing Robert had done was ignore him. Words can't justify his feelings.

Reassuring sirens echoed in the distance causing Robert to sigh in relief. Aaron tried to sit up,but Robert told him to stay put. 

Little did Aaron know, he had a piece of glass sticking in his left side. Robert saw the blood pumping from it and smiled wrakily. 

"Don't worry, everything's gonna be fine.." Robert muttered. Aaron nodded. Aaron felt tierd. His eyes were heavy and he struggled to keep them open.. then, they started closing..

"AARON! Hang in there, please!" Robert wailed. Aaron nodded. A tear rolled down Roberts cheek. 

"Aaron..? Please..?" Robert pleaded. 

Voices were becoming whispers to Aaron now..

 

Nathans family stepped out of the damaged car and shared a look between them.. what had they done..?

TBC?

Chapter Text

Robert was replaying that moment over and over.

 

Robert and Victoria were standing by the café, waiting to say goodbye to Adam, when they saw Aaron come sprinting around the corner in an awful state. Then, the car appeared, at full speed. Aaron didn't notice it as he kept running. Then In the flick of a switch, Aaron's flying through the air and hitting smack hard off the ground. Robert remembers dropping his bacon buttie and running to Aaron. He renewers kneeling down and trying to wake Aaron, but to no avail. He remembers Victoria's scream at the car. It was loud, grabbing the attention of some. Then, thinking Aaron was dead, smacking his cheeks, praying he was okay. Suddenly the ambulance were on scene, taking Aaron off with them. Robert just knelt there, frozen anc alone..

 

He remembers for a split second, he thought it was all over for Aaron. He thought that the last thing he'd done was delete him. Robert just hoped. Regret was overwhelming. He regretted ignoring him, he regretted listening to his dad and he regretted acting the way he did. At this stage, he just wanted someone to tell him Aaron was okay. It had been 2 hours since they arrived at the hospital with a lifeless Aaron and still no information.

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

Nathans family were bad people. They weren't a normal family, but what family is? Nathan's family don't care, they don't care for eachother. Nobody stopped to think what the consequences would be for one another and some may be more extreme than others. 

Nathan's parents were in questioning. 

"Which of you was driving the vehicle?" The inspector asked. 

"Me." Nathan's father admitted, his mother nodding in agreement.

 

"Did you not see the boy?" 

"No, he jumped out."

 

Nathans father was always in trouble but managed to get off the hook, but not this time..

"So, you were driving the car, hit the boy that your son has trouble with, the boys house that I was told you trashed? Then threatened a teenager, Victoria Sugden when she was on the phone to an officer, smashed her phone and drove off?" The inspected muttered, scanning over the statement.

"Yes." Nathan's father mumbled, rolling his eyes. He'd usually get offered deals to cover up his mess, so that's why he was being so honest about what had happened.

"What deal we got this time? Taking down the drug dealers again?" The mother interrupted.

The officer shook his head.

"There is no deal. You've been let off the hook all your life, I've said that it was your last chance so many times, but I meant it last time. You were in here for shoplifting and I said one more time and I'd drop you? Well it's the day. No deals. You go to court and you deal with the outcome. " He explained. 

The room was silent ..

 

 

***

 

 

Aarons eyes flickered a bit. Everything seemed so blurred. He couldn't make out where he was. The last thing he remembers was seeing Victoria and Robert standing by the café, then hearing Vics deafening screams. It all happened too fast.

When he could actually see, he noticed he was in a hospital room. Things just got more confusing. He wanted to get out of bed, stretch his legs or see a familliar face but he was wired to so many machines. He felt fine. A bit of aching, but he'd live. Maybe the pain wasn't bad because he was so high dossed on pain killers.

His heaving eyes shut again.

 

 

 

***

 

 

Chas, Cain, Robert and Victoria stood in the waiting room for any bit of news. 

"Aaron's family?" The doctor called. Chas inhaled as she lifted up her hand in the air.The doctor smiled and stood by them.

"Aaron's one of the luckiest people I've met in a while. Cuts, briuises, nothing too deep, he has a minor head injury, but nothing worrying and when his body hit the floor, he landed on his shoulder, popping it out of place, but it's back now. He will need a sling for it for a while, but overall, Aaron's okay." The doctor explained to an anxious family.

Everyone was more then relieved, but Robert was still overcome with regret and sorrow. He blamed himself.  No words could describe how happy they were. 

"You can go sit with him.." the doctor added. Chas nodded and ran through thr doors.

 

 

***

 

 

Nathan father wasn't cracking from there, he refused to give information and wouldn't talk. 

When the interview was going down hill, a female guard walked in and whispered about the new evidence come to light.

"John burrows, im arresting you for thieft, fraud, illegal drug dealing and attempted murder." The officer said, cuffing him immediately. 

He had been charged for all the things he had done in the past, which made things way worse.

Nathan watched as his father was dragged out of the station. What had he done? He should have never got mixed up eyes a Dingle, never! 

"DAD? DAD?" Nathan cried. 

"Get Revenge son. It's because of them they im leaving." Nathan's father hissed.

"This isn't happening!"  Nathan thought. As much as he respected his dad, he didn't want to get involved with the Dingles.  

 

This just made things worse. Now, Nathan wanted Aaron gone more than anything..!

 

 

***

 

"What happened up at your house?" Adam asked, turning to chas who sighed.

"Nathan and his family paid a visit. Smashed the windows, messed up thr van, let the animals escape and set fire to the barn." Cain butted in.

He hates this. Hasn't Aaron been through enough in his life? It's only his childhood and it's already so awfully complicated for him.

"Think running him down was deliberate seemings they did that to your house?" Victoria asked. 

The look on Cain and Chas' face displayed that they didn't know that it was Nathan's family who ran Aaron over after trashing the Dingle home..

"I can't believe it.." Cain muttered.

"Oh, you and us Dingles need to pay a visit to this family, ey?" Chas yelled. Everyone ageed and started plotting.. 

This wasn't gonna work out in favour of the Dingles, was it?

 

 

***

 

Aaron was discharged the mrxt morning. He sat immediately when they got back to the Dingle house. Chas rushed straight up the stairs. Zak stared at the television, as did Belle, Lisa and Cain.

"Glad to be home?" Zak asked. Aaron nodded.

"Lost your tongue? Hospitals, oh I've never liked them but that's no excuse. It was your problems that got our home wrecked!" Zak added.

"Leave him alone!" Chas yelled, coming down the stairs wearing a tight black dress, high heels and her hair tied back. She struggled trying to put earrings in. 

"Sorry." Zak muttered. Aaron nodded.

"I'm going out with Carl, so you have to watch Aaron." Chas said, putting on her coat. 

"We're going to the Wooly, unless he wants to come?" Lisa smiled, looking over at Aaron.

"No." Aaron replied.

Cain sighed, "Looks like your staying here with me then."

Cain acted as if he didn't care, but really, he did. He just wanted everyone to bf happy!

"It's settled then! I'll be back late, don't wait up. No booze and keep him out of trouble!" Chas explained to Cain, who didn't listen and nodded.

"CAIN! No trouble!" Chas roared causing Cain to jump. 

"Sis, calm down, I'll watch him!" Cain pleaded. Chas smiled and ran out the door, Zak, Lisa and belle following.

 

Aaron and Cain spent the next hour watching television as Cain drank can after can.

"Get me another can, Aaron?" Cain Asked, throwing his empty Cain on the sofa beside him. 

Aaron strolled to the fridge and got a can. His side hurt a bit, so he half limped across the room.

Cains phone started ringing as Aaron handed him a can.

 

"Yes Charity?" Cain greeted, picking up his phone. Aaron sat back down, listening to the conversation.

"Its Debbie." Charity mumbled. Cain put down his can.

"What about her?" He asked.

Charity sighed, "She's at the station."

Cain froze. "What this time?"

"She was caught drinking and her and her friends threw rocks at the police car when they were stopped." Charity explained.

Cain ran his hand over his face. "I'll be right there!" He said angrily, putting down his phone. 

He jumped up and put on his coat. He had his hand on the door handle when he remembered Aaron. He sloshy turned around and saw Aaron sipping out of his Cain.

"Oi, stop! You heard your mum. I gotta go get Debs, I'll be 15 minutes. Don't touch anything!" Cain yelled, snatching the can from Aaron.

Then he was gone. 

 

 

***

 

 

Robert couldn't relax. He just kept thinking about Aaron and how he'd been treated. Robert lifted his sleeve and scratched his arms viciously. 

"Why am I so stupid and inconcoderete!?" Robert thought. 

He was full of hatred for one person.. himself.

 

 

***

 

Aaron picked up the can and took a huge gulp, another and another. Soon he was onto his second can, then his third and fourth. He heard a car door, so stumbled up the stairs and threw himself into bed, dreading it he Cain or his mum. He was asleep before his head even hit the pillow.

 

Meanwhile downstairs, Nathan had crept in the door. To his delight it looked empty. What was he gonna do? He climbed the stairs and searched all the rooms. He smirked when he saw Aaron asleep in bed. Nathan could smell the alcahol and thought it'd be a good moment to strike. He sneakily picked up a pillow and stood by Aaron's side. Then, pressed the pillow down hard over Aaron's face. Aaron kicked and swung his arms. Nathan grinned. He thought Aaron deserved this, but he didnt. Aaron was drunk ams so weak, he couldn't fight him off. Luckily they heard the  door downstairs open, so Nathan dropped the pillow and darted out with his hood up. 

He saw Chas standing with her back facing him so he snuck out the door.

Aaron sat up, trying to catch his breath. He figured it was a dream.. but it seemed too real.. Seeing the pillow sent shivers down his spine.

 

 

***

 

It was 7.00am when chas shouted from him to get out of bed. Aaron had a banging headache but slumped out of bed, over the hall and onto that shower. 

When he entually was ready, he strolled down stairs to the table where chas had bacon and eggs waiting. The cans on the sofa caught his eye.. had he really forgotten to bin them..?

 

 

 

.***

 

 

Robert was in the shower. He had been staring at a razor fir the past ten minutes, leaving the now cold water run over him. A knock on the door knocked him out of his daze.

"Hurry up rob!" Vics yelled. 

"Coming, sorry." He answered. He cautiously picked up the razor, he stared at his pale arm. This would relieve a lot of pain he held inside. 

With a tight grip, he dragged the blade over his arm..

 

 

***

 

Aaron waited at her bus stop as Robert and Victoria showed up. 

"Hiya Aaron." She said, smiling widely. Robert smiled too, but Aaron blanked him. 

You clukd cut the tension with a knife.

 

They all went their seperate ways to their classes when they got to school. Robert to English, Victoria to History and Aaron to maths.

 

 

As Robert was walking to English he was dragged into a closet.. He saw something coming towards him, then all went black!

 

 

When Aaron got to class he was last in so there was only one seat left. What are the chances that it's beside Nathan. Aaron held his head up high and walked in and sat down. He felt a bit uncomfortable all through class, feelings Nathan's eyes burning into the back of his head but he just carried on.

After class Aaron was handed a note by a girl called Chrissie,

"It was passed around satin to pass to Aaron, so here." She says smiling. 

"Err, thanks..?" Aaron muttered, taking it and opening it. 

"Oh my god..!" Aaron whispered to himself. 

 

TBC??

Chapter Text

Nothing seems to be a limit for Nathan. How far can he go? Aaron just had the urge to cry. He wanted to scream. Nothing seemed to stop Nathan. Aaron just wanted an end to the madness. How many people need to get hurt before he gives up? How many souls must he crush? How many lives must he destroy and crumble? Aaron just wanted to go back in time and avoid all of it. Reading that note was too much. 

The words written on that note echoed in his head. He needed to warn someone! He needed to tell someone!

As he raced down the halls, he heard muffled crying from the closet. He needed to get home but he couldn't just abandon someone in need, ecspecially when it sounded all too familliar..

 

 

He was shocked to see Robert sitting in the corner, two black eyes, a bloody nose and an open wound on his arm. Aaron was speechless! 

 

"Oh my.." Aaron whispered.

 

He knew that wound all too well, he knew what had gone on. Seeing the screw-driver layered with dry blood explained everything. Had Robert been self harming?

 

"Did you do that to your arm?" Aaron asked. 

 

Roberts mind was racing. He couldn't think straight.

Words just blurted out,

"The pain from their punches and kicks just hurt so much. I tried to fight back, but 3 against 1 isnt fair.  Eventually, I just lid there while they kicked my head in. I had given up. What's the purpose of living if you've nothing to live for? When they left, I picked up the screw driver and it felt so good to dig it into my skin, to tear it up. I felt so..--" Robert explained, breaking out into sobs. 

Aaron's eyes flooded with tears. It was all sinking in. He stared at Robert, then at the note. He had so much going on, so many decisions. 

"Robert, I got given a note today. I need to warn a few people, but I also need you, alive. I need you to be okay." Aaron muttered. This was a moment when he wanted to erase himself from the world. He had many of these moments but none like this. Seeing Robert like this is absoloutly heartbreaking.

Aaron stepped forward but Robert shut his eyes so Aaron stepped back.

"Aaron, what keeps you going?" Robert questioned.

Aaron froze. He hadn't thought about it. 

"I don't know." Aaron mumbled. Now that Aaron thought about it, he went blank.

 

Robert snorted, "You've got a family that'd do anything for you, an interesting life, good mates and you've nothing?" 

It annoyed Robert that Aaron was so thankless. 

"I know I've good people in my life, but I'm not good." Aaron said, looking down. 

Robert looked up, as Aaron did and their eyes locked. Robert looked awful. 

Aaron extended his hand for Robert and was glad when Robert took it. 

Robert noticed the note held tightly in Aaron's hand. He reached forward and took it from his grip. Robert was lost for words as his eyes scanned the words,

 

  • "Heard Chastitys birthday is approaching. Big party at the Dingle house, ey? What could go wrong? Petrol = fire
  • Fire = .. well you know.."

          

 

                      TBC?

Chapter Text

Robert was in utter shock. 

"What time is the party?" Robert asked, staring at the note. 

"Six O' Clock." Aaron muttered. 

Robert lifted his sleeve to check his golden watch. 

"We have time." He replied, rolling down his sleeve again. 

Robert was oblivious that Aaron had seen his scars on his arms when he lifted his sleeve. Aaron took a deep breath.

.

"You need to go get checked out, your not getting into anymore dogey business!" Aaron yelled. 

Was robert gonna dis-miss his injuries? His arm was pumping blood, no way could he leave it and he needed help, badly.

"Ill deal with this.. please, go to the hospital." Aaron pleaded, staring at Roberts wound.

"And let you face this alone?" Robert whispered. He couldn't leave Aaron. It'd be wrong.

"Robert, you need to get checked out!" Aaron shouted. Time was ticking, he couldn't waste it arguing with Robert over this. His family and everyone coming to that party were in great danger. 

Robert grabbed some blue tissue paper and roughly raped some around his arm, then pulled down his sleeve. 

"LOOK! IM FINE!" Robert said, nodding at his arm. Aaron sighed, but nodded. It was clear Robert wanted to be there for him.

Neither of them had cars so they had to walk to the village. A walk turned to a jog, a jog turned to a light run and a run turned to a sprint. 

Sooner then later, they were at the village. Robert came to a hault when he saw his dad standing by his jeep, talking to Andy.  Robert looked over at Aaron, who gave a reasurring nod. 

The boys were nearly out of sight when Andy looked over his shoulder and saw the boys trying to hide. Andy shook his head.

"What is it, Andy?" Jack asked. 

"Robert and Aaron Dingle sneaking around when they should be in school!" Andy said, sighing.

The anger built up in Jack as he marched over to the boys. He saw them both crouched down peeking over a wall. Jack sneakily tapped Robert shoulder. When Robert turned around he saw an angry looking jack staring back at him. 

"Dad.." he started. Hearing that, Aaron turned slowly to see jack Sugden looking at him and Robert. 

"Robert Jacob Sugden, why aren't you in school and WHY are you running about with the Dingle boy?" Jack roared, pointing at Aaron.

 

Robert looked straight to the ground. 

 

"ANSWER ME, BOY!" Jack added.

 

Robert hated nothing more than being in these situations with his dad. He never knew what to do.

"Would.. you believe me if.. I said I was doing something g-good?" Robert stuttered. He felt nothing more, nothing less, than fear.

Jack sniggered, "A Dingle sling something good?" 

People presume Dingles and scheming, thieves but really they're not. Robert hated when his dad said this about Aaron. It wasn't fair. How can you label someone so easily because of their family. Robert hoped people didn't compare him to his dad. 

"I am doing something good." Aaron piped up. Jack was taken back.

"Wasn't speaking to you Dingle." Jack hissed. 

Aaron couldnt help but laugh. 

"Well SUGDEN, I think I instantly am apart of the conversation if you start bad mouthing me." Aaron snapped. 

Robert felt like covering his eyes. 

"Get away from my son!" Jack demanded. This only made things worse.

"If that's what Robert wants." Aaron mumbled.

"It is! He doesn't want to be near a dirty Dingle!" Jack muttered under his breath. 

"Oh really? Well--" Aaron started but he was stopped when Robert yelled,

"STOP! STOP! STOP TALKING! How do you know what I want, you never listen Dad! How can you call him a dirty Dingle just because his family history? You have NO right. Aaron don't be smart towards my dad. Dad, don't treat Aaron like he's nothing!" 

Silence filled the air. 

"Get in the jeep Robert." Jack said suddenly. Robert shook his head. 

"ROBERT!" Jack shouted, punting at the jeep. 

"I have to help Aaron first. Don't wait up." Robert said, nodding at his dad. 

Jack was totally taken back. Robert never stood up to him, It was a first. 

The boys climbed the wall and began sprinting again. Jack was left standing there, in shock watching as the boys darted off. 

 

 

***

 

Nathan tip-toed around the Dingle house and hid in a barn. He took the back-pack off his back when he got in and shit the door. 

"Let the fun unfold!" Nathan whispered to himself.

 

***

 

Aaron and Robert fell in the door shortly after. The Dingle house was in full swing. Drink was flowing and people were dancing. 

"Are we too late?" Robert asked. Aaron hoped they weren't. He needed to have time to search around for Nathan.

"Let's get looking." Aaron said firmly. 

Thdy set off in different directions. 

 

Chas was deafening people as she sang the karaoke with Charity. 

Cain was handing out more cans of beer and Zak was sitting on his chair watching the night unravel. 

 

 

**

Nathan slipped in the front door when Robert and Aaron were checking the barns and the Dingles were concentrating on Cain as they played charades.

"A movie... 2 words!" Chas yelled.  

Nathan crept up the stairs grinning widely..

**

 

After a good 40 minutes of looking high and low inside and outside the boys decided it was safe for now. 

"I appreciate this, you know." Aaron smiled.

Seeing Aaron smile made Roberts heart skip a beat. It was such a nice moment. The boys leaving over the pig pin fence, staring up at the star filled sky, the smell of pigs kind of killing the moment.. Robert wanted to kiss him but it definitely wasn't the right time. 

They just smiled at eachother, eyes locked.

Suddenly they heard a deafening scream. Aaron and Robert shared a look before running inside. 

Chapter Text

Nathan had a bucket full of petrol and he threw it out in the crowd of Dingles, getting it in some. Suddenly, he took out a lighter.

Aaron and Robert were met by the smell of petrol when they walked in. 

"Nathan.." Robert started.

"YOU GOT MY DAD LOCKED UP!" Nathan roared. It was clear this kid was crazy. He needed help and in a way you'd feel bad for him.. 

"Put that away if you don't want to be locked up with him!" Zak shouted.

Nathan laughed, "SIT DOWN GRANDAD!"

Everyone was speechless from there. He sat at the table staring at the lighter for 10 minutes, as everyone sat anxiously. 

"Cain.. try ring for help." Lisa whispered.

"That'll make things worse." He whispered.

"Do something!" She muttered. 

Nathan looked up, "NO WHISPERS! If you've something to say, say it!" He hissed.

"I do have something to say." Cain started. "Your tapped."

Nathan was getting more angry by the second. Setting the family alight wouldn't solve anything but the boy won't listen to anyone. 

"Nathan, put it away. You'll get in a lot of trouble.." Aaron advised him. Nathan narrowed his eyes and muttered, "Shh" 

This was going down-hill fast.

 

 

"We all know your not gonna do it so can you stop wasting our time?" Cain blurted out after a while of silence. Nathan slammed the lighter on the table, 

"SHUT UP!" He roared.

Cain nudged Charity telling her to carry it on, she nodded,

"We know you don't have the guts!" She exclaimed. Nathan stood up, leaving the lighter on the table. Cain nodded at it, to Aaron, indicating for him to go grab it. 

Nathan matched over to charity and punched her in the face, knocking her over. Cain went to stand up but chas stopped him, 

"You'll make it worse." She told him. He didn't think it could get worse.. little did hr know. 

Nathan turned around when he saw chas and Cain looking behind him. He was shocked to see Aaron reaching for the lighter and grab it. He ran over and dived on top Aaron.  People wanted to step in, but punches were plying everywhere, it was hard to try to help. Robert grabbed Aaron and dragged him off, causing the lighter to fall out of his pocket. Instantly, Nathan grabbed it. 

Nathan had a bloody nose and a bust lip. He stood up and flicked up a flame, 

"This is for you dad." Nathan said, dropping it and darting for the door. The place went up in flames and the impact blowing people back. It was a cloud of black intoxicating smoke. Most people tried to run for the door after getting to their feet but it was chaotic!

 

"Chas? Cain?" Zak called. 

"Belle? Sammy?" Lisa roared.

"AARON?" Chas shouted, all pushing through, trying to find one another.

 

Aaron couldn't see through the smoke easily so he went on his hands and knees trying to find Robert. He touched a flame the odd time and it hurt but he concentrated on finding Robert. 

Then he saw a figure laying on the floor and shook it, "Robert, is that you?" He yelled, picking him up. 

Cain, Debbie, Lisa, Zak, Belle, Sam, Marlon and Charity were out safely but Chas, Aaron and Robert still remained.

"Debbie, don't move!" Cain demanded before he ran back in and he tried to shield his face from the smoke.

 

"CHAS? CHAS?" He shouted, trying to see through the thick flames. He frowned when he saw her thrown out by the oven. It was clear she wasn't moving. 

"Sis.. no, no.. sis.." he muttered, patting her cheek. She wouldn't budge. 

 Meanwhile, Aaron was trying to find his way when a piece of the roof fell down on him, knocking him over, Robert falling on top of him. 

"Don't worry, Robert." He reassured, picking him up again. Before he left, he heard Cain shouting to him, 

"I NEED HELP!" 

Aaron looked over at Cain and saw his mum, 

"Mum?" He mumbled then looked at Robert.

"AARON!"

"One minute. I'll be back."

Quickly he ran out the door with Robert, laying him on the grass.

Robert opened his eyes and began scratching his head, what had happened?

Aaron darted back in.

"mum?" He called, seeing her so weak and lifeless.

"Son.." she muttered.

"I think she's stuck in something, I've tried lifting her.." Cain explained. It broke Aaron to see her like this.

"I'll grab someone else to bro too. Hold down on the wound!" Cain said, running out the door. 

Aaron held his mum tight on his chest as tears clouded his eyes. 

"Mum, hang in there." He whispered. The flames were increasing and he was getting worried now. Where's Cain?

He could see the big wound on her leg, blood pumping out. Cain said she'd been hit by a part of the roof when it fell.

"please." He added. She grabbed his hand and kissed it gently. She knew herself, as well as Aaron that it wasn't looking good. She rubbed his hand.

"I love y-you Aaron.." she whispered.

"Mum, your gonna make it." He insisted. She shook her head. He didn't picture his mum dying in his arms, ever but here it is happening.

"Aaron.." she started. 

"Mum. Please, hang in there!" He cried.

"Stop crying, love." She told him, smiling weakly, eyes shutting slowly.

"Please. Dont--" he wailed when he saw her eyes shut.

He couldnt feel her heart beating anymore.. but it was all so hectic that it was hard to tell. He didn't want to find out, but he had to. He placed his fingers on her neck to check her pulse. He inhaled deeply, reality hitting.

"Mum! Wake up! No.. mum! Please." He said, breaking out into uncontrollable sobs. He needs her, like she needs him. She can't be gone, she can't be.

He kissed her check and wiped his own tears. Cain and Sam came running then but Aaron's face told them all they needed to know. Cain dropped to his knees and stared at his sister.

"Sis..?" He whispered. All of them starting coughing frantically so they freed her leg and carried her out, tears pouring.

Cain and Aaron carried her out and Aaron held her as they waited. All the Dingles gathered around her, crying when realising she was gone. 

"Chastity!" Zak roared. 

Aaron didn't want to let go, but as the sirens approached, he knew he'd have to.

"Mum." He said. No way could this be happening. All because of a sychopath bully. 

Aaron held chas' hand as she getting ready to go. The driver stepped out and placed his hand on Aaron's shoulder, "We've got to go.. sorry for your loss.." 

It took a lot of strength to let go of her hand but he did. Robert stood there, pure shock as he watched Aaron fall to his knees, 

"My mum." He cried. 

 

Nathan watched from a far and was laughing to himself. He didn't care if anyone died but didn't mean to kill anyone, 

"You took my parent, I take yours." Nathan hissed.

TBC?

Chapter Text

Thinking back at all those times Chas asked for Aaron to come somewhere for the day or to talk, he wished he did. Why wasn't he better? What if he got there faster? What if he wasn't with Robert and could've rescued her? He wanted her back more than anything..

The Dingles arranged the funeral with Ashley yesterday but Aaron wouldn't have anything to do with it. "I can't." He told them. Everyone who was at that house that night is struggling but Chas died in Aaron's arms, how does he forget that?

Cain was putting on his suit when Aaron returned. 

"Get ready, Aaron." Cain muttered, trying to fix his tie.

"Not going." Whispered Aaron, pulling the blanket over his head because he was exhausted after another sleepless night. 

"It's your mother's--" Cain started but Aaron interrupted by yelling, "FUNERAL!" 

There was no way anyone could empathise his Aaron felt. Yes, others have lost their Mums, but everyone takes things differently. Clearly Aaron and Gordon will never ever be father-son kind, but Chas was truly something amazing. 

"I-I can't do it." Aaron stuttered.

"I won't push." Cain said before leaving. 

Aaron was left alone with his thoughts which wasn't usually a good thing. He felt bad for not going, but he knew himself he couldn't handle it. He knew he was weak, too weak. 

"If only I got to her faster. It's my fault." He told himself. Of course he was blaming himself ehh he shouldn't be, only Nathan is to blame. Aaron was on self-district mode so he grabbed Cains razor and in one fast, thoughtless movement, he had a pumping wound. Blood poured down his arm but Aaron felt relieved. He dropped the blade when he heard a knock at the door. He jumped up and hid the razor behind his pillow and slowly walked to the door.  

Robett stood awkwardly at the door..

"Aaron, you haven't answered my texts or calls." Robert muttered.

Aaron said nothing.

"Look, I'm so sorry--" Robert began but Aaron butted in, 

"Don't be." 

"I thought you'd want someone to lean on today at the.. the erm..funeral." Robert said, looking sincere.

"Not going." Is all Aaron huffed. The look on Roberts face was shock and worry.

"But--"

"She's my mother, I know, but I killed her!" 

Robert was puzzled.

"I-I didn't get to her fast enough." Aaron cried.

"No, you don't blame yourself. Nathan, he's the one to blame. If someone's getting blamed, it's me. It was because of me that you had to walk passed her first." Explained Robert. 

Instantly, Aaron swung a punch, hitting Robert on the cheek, causing him to stumble.

"Go!" Aaron spat at him. Robert held his cheek and tried to shake off the pain. 

"Aaron?" He called, but the door was slammed shut. 

 

 

There was was a huge number of people at the church and at the Woolpack after. Cain, Zak and Charity all spoke so kindly of mentors and Belle read a poem she wrote. It was all so emotional. Nearly everyone there was in tears after the few Dingles spoke. Charity called on her best friend, Cain called for his beautiful sister and Zak wanted his daughter-like figure. Nobody could console any Dingle then but Aaron wasn't even there and he wasn't coping. He decided to get out for some fresh air so he left the B&B. 

Villagers looked at him with pitty displayed all over their faces. He couldn't avoid it. What really pushed him over the edge was the whispers. Couldn't everyone just stop.

Cain was in the café with Zak and Debbie when Aaron arrived. Robert was sitting in the corner but stayed quiet.

"What can I get you, Aaron?" Cain asked. 

"I'll get my own." Aaron huffed.

"Son, talk to us." Started Zak.

"Let us help." Cain added.

Aaron stopped and stared. He was so annoyed at this stage,

"I DONT need your help. I ONLY need my Mum.. my Mum.. but she's g-gone now. You can't help me and you can't and neither can you. I'm not a charity case that everyone can try to fix." Aaron explained, tears forming in his eyes. Debbie stepped forward, 

"Aaron.." she whispered. He pushed her away, nearly knocking her, making Cain angry. 

"Oi, no need did that. We're all hurting here, you don't get special attention, you know!" He shouted.

"I don't want attention. I want to be left alone. I'm trying to erase the memory.. but--" Aaron couldn't carry on, he just darted out the door. Robert ran out after him. 

Aaron kept running, Robert on his heels until he reached the pavilion and threw himself down. Robert cautiously lid beside him. 

"I'm sorry." Aaron said after a while of silence.

"For what?"

"Earlier, I was a total muppet about things."

"Your grieving."

"So is everyone else." 

"Your her son.. Maybe talking will help?"

Aaron was reluctant but nodded in agreement.

"When I got to her, Cain said she has gotten hurt.. I didn't think his bad it was until.. until I saw. It aaa huge and the amount of blood pumping out was uncontrollable. S-she spoke to me and told he not to cry.. t-then it was all over. I head her as the took her final breaths.. she died in my arms!" Aaron explained, a single tear falling down his cheek.

"I can't bear to imagine it." Muttered Robert. He couldn't possibly understand how Aaron felt, but he wanted to. 

Suddenly, he pulled Aaron into a hug. 

"Wanna go visit her?" Robert questioned. Aaron gave an unsure glance. 

"Not ready?" Added Robert. He was trying to do what was best.. but it was hard. He lost his mum too but his story is so much different. 

"I'm ready." Aaron said, looking down at the ground. Robert led the way into the graveyard...

Chapter Text

Aaron felt he never truly appreciated the people around him until it was too late. Being brought up by a heartless Gordon, made Aaron struggle to build solid relationships with people, seemings he was never given the same love and care a parent is supposed to offer. Becoming best mates with Adam, gave him the chance to have a someone who looks out for him and cares about him. When Aaron found himself living with the Dingles, he formed so many valuable relationships, but loosing his Mum was the most painful thing he had ever had to go through.

Standing at her graveside, seeing her headstone, made everything feel too real. "Loving Mum, sister and friend."

 Aaron regretted not going to her service but everyone said it was beautiful. Having Robert alongside him made things feel more bearable and he was glad to have him.

Looking back on how their story began made Aaron question how they ever got to this point. They felt comfortable with eachother and knew eachother as well as if they'd known eachother all their lives. If Robert hadn't come into Aarons life, there was no way Aaron could've got through grieving. He needed Robert and without him, he would have done something stupid, but Robert gave him hope, hope to want to live.

Aaron went off the rails after his Mum passed, although he had been living at the Dingle house and had everyone looking over his shoulder. He struggled to fill the gap in his life his Mum left and for weeks after he blocked out the pain and distracted himself. He got drunk nearly every night after and would stumble home, fall into bed and straight to sleep. It helped him to go straight to sleep because laying in bed usually left Aaron alone with his thoughts and he dreaded that.

Robert never stopped checking on Aaron and often spent many sleepless nights up talking to him just to make sure he was okay. He noticed Aarons cuts but persaded Aaron it wasn't the answer to how he felt and told Aaron how much it pained him to see him hurt himself.. so Aaron stopped.

Nathan was arrested a few hours after the incident and was up in court. Luckily he got locked up and won't see outside prison walls for a while. Nathan going to priosn wasn't a great comfort for Aaron because he still didn't have his Mum back, but it was somthing he had to accept over time.

 

Adam was in London during Aarons spiral but still called everyday to check in. He wold be home tomorrow and everyone hoped, things might fall back into routine..

*********

 

"Oh I'm just so excited!" Victoria shouted walking down the stairs, while putting on her coat.

Robert was sitting on the sofa, where he had been with 20 minutes waiting for Vic to be ready to go. "Whoopie." Robert muttered sarcastically.

Victoria took his coat from the rack and threw it at him, "Come on then, lets go."

 

Adam was sitting at a table outside the cafe with Aaron when Robert and Victoria finially got to the village. Robert was annoyed because of how many times Vic stopped to look in the mirror and asked him if she looked okay, but he soon snapped out of it when he saw Aaron smiling at them from the cafe.

"Vic!" Adam yelled picking her up and twirling her around, "Ah I missed you!"

Aaron smiled at Robert and Robert couldn't help but laugh.

"What's so funny?" Aaron asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

"Just really nice to see you smiling." Robert explained, pulling a chair up beside him and leaning in to kiss him.

Adam froze and looked around, "Erm Robert, mate? When did this happen?"

Robert sat back in his chair laughing, "I finially came out, I'm bi sexual."

Victoria patted Robert proudly on the shoulder, "He walked into the kitchen, sat Dad down and told him this is how he feels and if he doesn't like it, dont look at him.. but obviously Dad was shocked, but after a week or two he just carried on and he even said who you love doesn't effect who you are and that he's still his son."

Adam patted Robert on the shoulder, "Nice one, mate. Ah I'd say we grab a few cans and go back to mine, chill out and watch a movie?"

Everyone agreed and Adam and Vic walked hand in hand, while Robert and Aaron walked together beside them. Victoria stopped in her tracks, her face lit up and she looked at the boys,"Seemings you two are together now and Adams back, does this mean a double date is in order?"

Aaron sniggered and rolled his eyes, but Victoria stood there waiting, "Oh, you're serious?" he laughed.

"Double date with my little sister, how.. nice." Robert joked. Victoria playfully hit him on the shoulder as she pulled him back to talk about the ideas she had.

Aaron and Adam walked ahead in silence, Aaron still laughing about the idea. He never imagined his life would end up to be like this, but he was happy, happy with Robert and happy  with his mates.

"How you feeling?" Adam questioned, definately not giving up on his daily routine and check in. Aaron smiled, "I'm genuinley feeling good, I'm happy to have you back and I'm glad to have Robert with me."

"He really cares about you, you know?" Adam muttered.

"I know and I really care about him too.. I love him." Aaron admitted, walking into the shop. Adam poked him, "Aw, look at you, all soft."

 

Victoria finially managed to persade the boys to double date, so there they were sat around the table eaiting dinner together. Robert had never felt more comfortable and at ease with himself and he was happy that he could make Aaron happy. He stared at the man sitting across from him and smiled, he reached across and put his hand in Aarons, it was at that moment he knew, he never wanted to let Aaron go.

"This is forever." Robert whispered to himself..

Chapter Text

 For as long as Aaron can remember he always wished he was someone else or that he was dead. He struggled to see the good things that make life worth living, but life was never easy for him, he felt as if there was always something around the corner that will try to knock him down, but life was good. For the first time in a long time he felt as if he could breathe again.  Things with Robert had never been better, they had been together 3 months now and still had the same strong feelings as they did day one.

Ever since the  double date, the two young couples have spent a lot of time together. Robert was still not extremely happy about the idea of double dating with his little sister and boyfriend. Whenever Adam and Vic kissed, Robert would feel uncomfortable and look away, which Aaron found really funny. Before Robert came along, Aaron spent a lot of time with Adam and Vic so double dating was like hanging around together and made it feel normal.

The young couples had gotten into the routine of going to café every morning, either before school  or just to hang out on the weekends.

"Americano, please." Robert smiled, handing over the exact change as he was familiar with the prices now seemings he got the same thing every morning.

Aaron was being adventurous and was working his way through the menu, sampling everything and hoped to eventually find a favourite. No matter what time in the morning it was, Vic would get the same sticky bun and Adam got coffee.

They were all sat around a table, Robert and Adam with their coffees, Vic with her bun and Aaron sizing up some sort of cake that was next on his list to try.

"That looks.. like a lot of chocolate,'' Adam started, "for 11.15am in the morning." he laughed, pointing at Aarons food.

"Oi, at least I'm not boring, mate, with your coffee.. every morning." Aaron smiled.

"Coffees amazing." Robert added, nudging Aaron. Aaron picked off a piece of his cake and flicked it at him playfuly, "Shut up you."

Just then the door swung open, a girl with long blonde hair stood in the doorway, looking around, taking in the atmosphere before walking to the counter to read the menu. She spoke with manners and her accent made her sound very polite. She took her bun and coffee and wondered to the back of the room to sit.

"Someone new?" Robert whispered, nodding towards her.

"I've never seen her about or in school." Vic replied, shaking her head.

Adam turned around and waved at her, but she looked around her to see if it was directed at her because she knew nobody and didn't expect to be noticed.

"Are you new here?" Adam asked.

She shuffled in her seat before smiling and saying, "Yeah, yeah, we just moved here, me, my Dad and my sister, we're up at.. Home Farm."

"Oh nice one. You know anyone?" Adam questioned, but she shook her head.

"Well I'm Vic, this is my brother Robert," she smiled pointing, "and this is my boyfriend and our friend Aaron."

"I'm, I'm Rebecca." she muttered, waving over.

"Come join us if you like, then we can give you a tour of the village." Robert suggested.

Rebecca stood up, got her food and walked over to their table and sat beside Robert, "Thanks."

 

The tour started at the pub, the playground, then to David's shop, then the pavilion and bridge.

"Seems like a nice quiet village." Rebecca muttered as the all stood on the bridge looking into the stream below. Aaron and Adam started firing rocks into it but one splashed water on Vic, which she wasn't happy about so they stopped.

"What time are we going to the party tonight?" Adam asked to fill the silence that had invaided.

"Oh my god, you have to come!" Vic squealed, grabbing Rebecca's hand, "It's at a mates, at 6pm, It'll be a chance for you to get to know some people before school Monday."

"Oh I don't know--" Rebecca mumbled.

"Oh come on, It will be fun, meet us outside the shop at 5.30pm and we can all go together." Vic explained. Once she finally persuaded Rebecca to come, they all set off home to get ready.

**********

The boys were the first to be ready because all they did was shower and pick out a nice shirt, whether they had to sit there for 20 minutes waiting for the girls to get ready.

"Seriously man, this is cutting it close, we need to go." Adam sighed tapping the steering wheel of the car.

The back door of the car suddenly opened and both girls climbed in. Both wearing dresses. Rebecca's was a short red dress with floral at the bottom and Vic's was a plain black. Both of them had their make up and hair done. Adam was driving, Aaron was in the front seat and Robert sat behind Adams seat, Rebecca next to him and Vic behind Aaron's seat.

"So excited." Rebecca said, smiling widely and nudging Robert.

Aaron looked in the car mirror at the two, she seemed close, too close..

"Okay lets go, quick or we will be late." Vic shouted.

Adam rubbed his ace with frustration, "You're the one who held us up, babe."

"Just go!""

************

When they pulled p, they could already hear the music thumping and saw how full the house was, but they went in anyway.

"Will I get you a drink?" Robert asked, nodding at Aaron.

"Yeah, why not." Aaron smiled back.

"Me too!" Rebecca yelled, forcing her way into their conversation.

Robert glanced to Aaron for reassurance but Aaron said nothing, so Robert turned to go.

"I'll just come and keep you company." Rebecca said, winking.

Aaron furrowed his eyebrows, did she just..? He refused to let himself jump to conclusions. People always wink, maybe she's just friendly, it was nothing to worry about, right?

 

Robert came back, Rebecca by his side and he handed Aaron his drink.

"Come dance!" Vic yelled, grabbing Rebecca and dragging her out to the floor.

Robert wanted to explain himself. He wanted to explain how he has no idea why she winked at him, but Aaron seemed happy, he knew, right, he didn't need reassurance.. He doesn't need to explain.. so he didn't.

Aaron and Adam went outside so Adam could answer his phone seemings it was way too loud to even try hear yourself think inside. Vic found herself talking to some girls from her class in the kitchen and Robert found himself sitting on the sofa next to Rebecca in the living room. He was on his phone, being anti-social. He hated parties, not so much the getting drunk part, but the talking to people. He was never one to mix easily, he knew who he knew and stuck with them and could never find himself purposely starting a conversation with someone there.

"Don't like parties, ay?" Rebecca laughed, moving closer towards him on the sofa. Robert was too busy on his phone to notice how close she was getting..

"Erm no, I just come along with Aaron." Robert muttered, still staring at his phone.

"Aaron?" Rebecca started, "he seems nice."

"He is." Robert said smiling.

Rebecca stopped, "Are you and him-?"

Robert put down his phone, "Together? Yeah."

Rebecca's face dropped, she downed her drink and poured another angrily.

"What?" Robert asked, picking up on her attitude.

"Nothing, just I thought I had a shot, but you're gay." she said bluntly, the drink was kicking in and her polite manner was going.

"I'm bi actually, did Vic not mention anything?" he asked, pouring himself a drink.

Rebecca's mind raced, she was drunk but she wanted Robert sober too, but he was with someone, but did she care? She was too drunk to think straight. Next thing she was leaning in and she kissed him. He was shocked, it was just forced upon him, unexpected. He hated himself for it, but for a second he kissed her back. It only took a second to ruin everything. He pulled back and saw Aaron and Adam standing in the door, frozen, speechless.

Aaron just turned around and pushed through the crowd.

"Aaron!" Robert called after him, but he was gone.

 

What had just happened? Why did it happen? Aarons ,mind raced as he pushed through the crowd, he pushed open the kitchen door, grabbed a bottle of vodka and turned to go out the back door until Vic grabbed his arm, "Aaron, are you alright?"

"Fine, Vic." he muttered, "I just need to go."

He turned to leave, but Vic grabbed his arm again, "What happened?"

Just then a boy accidentally bumped off Victoria as he was running after his mates, "Oh sorry, didn't see you there." he laughed.

Aaron was in a mood, a foul and bitter mood, he knew he needed to explode, "Oi, think it's funny, mate?"

The boy froze,"I said sorry, didn't I? Back off!"

Aaron nodded, handed Vic his bottle of vodka then threw a punch and the hits kept coming after that until the boy was on the floor, both of them rolling around fighting. Aaron's nose was bleeding but it's what he needed to calm himself down.

Adam and Robert walked in when they saw a group of people huddled around saying, "Go on Aaron, go on."

They pushed through the crowd and that's when they saw him, fighting. Adam jumped in and pulled him off, "Mate, stop."

Robert stood there with his hand over his mouth, he didn't know what to do. What had he done to him?

Aaron snatched his bottle of vodka back and took off out the door.

**************

 

Aaron was crouched in an ally way, slugging out of his bottle when his phone rang.

"Aaron, you muppet, where are you?" Cain snapped.

Aaron rolled his eyes, "Why?"

"We got a lovely call from the coppers, fighting? Really Aaron? The cops are here looking for you. Get home now."

***********

The minute Aaron walked in, he was faced with a copper, "Mr Livesy, how nice of you to finally show up."

Aaron stumbled in and fell onto the sofa. Everyone looked shocked. The copper walked over and bent down and stared him in the face, shaking his head.

"Oh what, do-do you want a bru?" Aaron laughed.

"No.''

"Well am I wearing some-something belonging to you, the way you- you're staring at me." Aaron sniggered.

Cain and the copper shared a look, "I think it's best we go down the station."

**********

 

The car journey home was very silent. Adam drove, Robert sat in the front and Vic and Rebecca in the back.

"So, that was, unexpected.." Victoria muttered.

"Shut up Vic." Robert sighed, shaking his head.

Just before the car fell silent again, Adams phone buzzed.

"Read that for me please Rob."

Robert sighed, picked up the phone and gazed over the message, "Oh no," he mumbled, "Aarons only gone and got taken to the station, that bloke must have called the coppers. Cain said he's really drunk and saying all the wrong things and is making the copper really angry. We should go over there."

"Oh god, Aaron." Vic whispered to herself.

Adam shook his head, "No, no, if he sees you, he'll definitely say something stupid. I'm going to drop you all in the village and I'll go on my own."

Robert knew he was right. He had messed up, bad. Aaron is in this mess because of him.. it was at that moment Roberts heart broke and he realized what he had to do.

*****************

"Muppet got a warning, anymore trouble will mean he has to go to court." Cain sighed, walking out of the station alongside Adam and a very drunk Aaron stumbling behind him, "why did you even do it?" Cain added, turning back.

Adam cut in to prevent Aaron from having to talk about it, he couldn't handle it, not in this state, "All that matters is he's okay."

Cain drove Aaron back to the Dingle house and Aaron struggled up the stairs. Cain jumped when he heard a crashing noise and Aaron came tumbling back down.

"Did you seriously just fall down the stairs?"

Aaron peaked his head up, waving his hand, "I'm okay." he shouted.

Cain put his head in his hands, "Oh, Aaron."

********

Robert lay rigidly in his bed, he couldn't sleep. His mind couldn't settle, it was racing. He hated the fact he had the power to make Aaron break like he did tonight. Tomorrow would be the day, the day Robert talks about it with him, no matter what, he just dreaded the way the conversation would end....

 

Chapter Text

Aaron woke up with a pounding headache, he reached over and checked his phone and saw a message rom Robert, "Meet me at the bridge at 3pm, please."

Aaron smiled for a moment, but then reality set in and realization hit him hard. Everything from last night was flooding back and Aaron felt like he was drowning. He knew he had to face Robert sometime so why shouldn't it be today?

Aaron jumped out of bed and headed for the shower.

 

Robert hadn't slept well, his conscience eating away at him all night long. There's nothing worse than having a head running wild and having to spend all night trying to slow it down and to no avail. He woke up, still lost in his thoughts. Robert spent most of the night thinking about what he was going to say to Aaron at the bridge, that is if Aaron shows up.. would he?

His bedroom door creaked open and Victoria walked in with a cup of tea in hand, "Brought you this," she smiled, placing it on his locker before she sat on the foot of his bed, "let's talk.. about what the hell happened last night."

Robert sighed. There was no way he wanted to talk about this but he felt as if he needed to.

"I was just sitting there, on my phone-"Robert started but Vic cut in,

"Anti-social git." she sniggered.

"Whatever, well then Rebecca started asking about things and I told her I was with Aaron and she said she thought she had a shot but that  was gay and I said I was bi, not meaning she had a shot because Aaron is the only person I want but before I had the chance to, to even try explain, she was kissing me and Aaron was standing there looking at us."

Victoria smiled apologetically, she couldn't help but feel bad for him, "Did you get the chance to talk about things with Aaron?"

"He took off, beat a bloke senseless, got drunk and got taken to the station, so no, but I asked him to meet me today so I can.." Robert mumbled. He couldn't say it.

Vic furrowed her eyebrows, "You will sort it though, right?"

Robert gave her a weak smile, "I'm gonna fix things for him, I know what I have to do.."

*****************

 

Aaron skipped down the stairs to see Cain, Charity and Zak all sat around, Charity on the sofa, Zak in his favorite armchair and Cain standing by the cupboard, arms crossed, as if this was going to be a giant lecture.

"Come sit down, lad." Zak sighed, nodding towards the sofa.

Aaron knew this wasn't going to be a good but he plopped himself down beside Charity on the chair anyway.

"Nice to see you walking down the stairs and not falling down them." Cain said, raising his eyebrows at him. Aaron couldn't help but laugh as he thought back, he was a mess last night.

"Oi, back on topic, look Aaron, we don't want coppers coming around again, we thought you were passed this." Zak yelled.

Aaron's smiles faded as he thought back to how he was after his Mum's death, he was drinking non stop and fighting and getting in trouble with the cops daily. He remembered Charity's face, full of disappointment every time they drove back from the station.

"I am, look, it won't happen again, last night was different." Aaron explained.

Charity and Zak shared a look.

"We're all just worried about you..'' Charity smiled.

"We just don't want you ending up inside, that's not what your Mum would want, in fact my sister is probably looking down right now disgusted with how you're acting." Cain barked.

Aaron froze. He was hurt, that hurt, every single word piercing his heart like a knife. 

''Cain.." Charity muttered, shaking her head.

''That's not what the boy needs to hear!" Zak yelled, putting his head in his hands.

Aaron stood up and darted out the door, Charity on his heels.

''Aaron, Aaron, please stop." she called, grabbing his arm and pulling him to a stop, "just come back and we can talk."

"I'm not going back there with him in the house." Aaron roared.

"Look, I get it, okay? Come back to the pub and stay with me. It's only me and Noah and Debs there, you can stay with us." Charity pleaded, smiling at him.

 

After Aaron unpacked his things in his new room, he strolled down the stairs to see Charity sitting at the table, bru in hand and one on the table waiting for him.

''Now that you're here you must listen to my rules, don't get the coppers around, try to stay out of trouble and if something is going on, talk to me, no matter what it is, I'm here. I know it's tough without your Mum, I've been where you are now, in self destruct mode, so I understand." she explained.

Aaron nodded, he was genuinely going to try to talk about things, he was going to do better.

Just as he was leaving the pub, he saw Robert heading towards the bridge. Aaron took out his phone and saw it was 3pm.

"Here goes nothing.." he whispered, walking after him.

 

Chapter Text

Robert was scared. His head was spinning and his stomach was in knots, would it be too late to run home? Just then he saw him coming, Aaron had his hood up and was headed his direction, not looking at him in the eye but not ignoring him either.

The two stood side by side, Aaron leaning his elbows on the bridge, gazing into the water and Robert stood upright with his hands tucked in his pockets. The silence was deafening and Aaron didn't eel like he had to fill it seemings Robert called him here to talk and mainly because he didn't feel like saying anything.

"Look Aaron, about the kiss, it was nothing, she's nothing." Robert muttered.

Aaron shook his head, "Not what it looked like yesterday."

"She kissed me and I'll be completely honest because you deserve the truth, I did kiss her back for a second, one stupid second and I regret it."

"That second is what confuses me. Why did you do it?"

"When someone kisses you, your automatic response it to kiss them back so I blame it all on my stupidity and for what it's worth, I'm sorry." Robert explained, reaching ot for Aaron but Aaron scooted further away.

"Look Aaron," Robert started, taking a breath, preparing himself, "I think we need to stop seeing each other.."

Aaron shut his eyes tightly, "Break-up? Is, is that what you want"

Aaron stood upright now and looked straight at Robert, glossy eyed.

"What happened last night, you beating the bloke, the drinking, getting nicked by the cops, that's proof that I'm bad for you, that I make you act out like that and, and it scares me Aaron, it scares me that I have that hold over you... and that's why I must let you go." Robert stuttered, his heart breaking with every word that fell out of his mouth.

Aaron was speechless, he didn't expect that.

"Wow, erm.." he blurted out, shaking his head, "If that's what you want."

Aaron felt numb, shaken. He felt so much that he felt nothing.

"It's what I need." Robert admitted. It killed him inside to see Aaron looking so lost, so broken, but he hoped in time, the hold he had would disappear and Aaron would be happier. What was once whole is shattered and a life that finally felt it had peace was emptiness.

A tear rolled down Aaron's cheek, after so much love and history between them, was Robert letting go? Aaron wiped his tears and walked away. This heartbreak was cold, on top of the world one minute and cut down the next, all the pain started with that stupid kiss.

Although Aaron was angry at Robert, he didn't want to let him go, he would've forgave him in time.

Aaron walked in the back door of the pub, ran to his room and once he slammed the door he dropped to the floor with his head in his hands.

************

''Aaron, mate, get up out of bed." Adam pleaded, annoyed that Aaron had spent 2 whole days hibernating in his room. Aaron groaned.

Adam puled back Aaron's blanket and the cold hit him, "Adam you muppet, give it back."

"No! Up now! Cain's asking for you at the garage and I miss you mate, plus you can't stay here forever." Adam smiled.

Aaron sighed and sat up, "Fine, I'll be 5 minutes."

 

Aaron and Adam were walking by the café when they saw them, Vic, Rebecca and Robert waiting for the bus to go into town.

 Adam glanced at Aaron when he saw his friend gazing over, eyes heavy now.

"You alright, mate?"

"I'm fine.. let's just get the day over with."

When Robert saw him coming he dropped his head, he realized how bad it looked, him breaking up with Aaron, then getting seen with Rebecca, the cause of the situation, but Aaron walked on to the garage to work, as if he didn't care.

"See you later, mate and we can go grab a few beers." Adam smiled, as Aaron strolled in to the garage.

 

"Nice of you to join us, 25 minutes late." Cain snapped, looking at his watch and tapping it. Aaron didn't respond, he knew he would only end up in an argument if he snapped back. He just got on with his job..

 

Cain and Aaron didn't speak for at least 40 minutes, until Cain couldn't take it anymore, "Look Aaron, what I said about your Mum, I was just mad, I didn't mean it."

"Don't worry about it." Aaron muttered. Cain walked over and gently wheeled him out from underneath the car he was working on, "Is something up?"

"No, I'm fine."

"Did something happen with Sugden? Charity mentioned you went to see him yesterday and came back in a right mood."

"It's nothing, alright? I'm going on my break." Aaron yelled, getting up, dropping his tools and heading towards the café.

 

The second he walked in the door, he saw Robert, Vic and Rebecca sitting around a table, all talking and laughing. Vic spotted Aaron and waved him over but Aaron shook his head and walked out again, causing Robert's face to drop. Is this how it was going to be from now on?

***************

It took a lot of persuasion but Aaron agreed to come up to Vic's with Adam for a few cans, promising Robert would be out. When they walked in the door Aaron started opening a can as Adam greeted Vic with a kiss in the living room.

Victoria's face dropped when Aaron strolled in behind Adam, but she kept her cool and gave him a smile, but then dragged Adam in to the kitchen and shut the door.

"Adam! Did you not get my text? Robert's plans got cancelled, he's home!" Vic whispered angrily.

"What! Something that important, you should have called!" Adam said, pacing up and down the kitchen.

Before they could think of a way to fix things, the door swung open and Aaron stormed in, "You promised me that Robert wasn't in! I can hear him coming down the stairs."

Adam and Victoria shared a look..

"Little misunderstanding.." Vic whispered, dragging Aaron in to the kitchen and shutting the door so Robert wouldn't see him, but just then, Robert walked in to get a drink, but froze in his place when he saw Aaron looking back at him.

"Erm.. Am.." Robert stuttered.

Just before Aaron could turn to leave, Vic stopped him, "Look boys, it did not work out, but no way am I letting you two live like this, leaving to avoid each other, it's not right. Can you just try be mates or even just be civil.. for me?" she asked, filed with hope.

Both Aaron and Robert nodded.

"Great!" she said throwing them both a can each, before they walked in to the sitting room.

 

Aaron sat on the furthest seat away from Robert so they ended up on opposite ends of the room. Adam and Victoria carried on talking normally as if they were the same 4 friends they always were whether Aaron and Robert eased themselves into the conversations together. It was hard and it was an awkward struggle at the start but the comfort they felt around each other was still strong.

Just as Aaron was beginning to consider the 'being mates' part, Roberts phone rang, catching the attention of everyone in the room. He gave Aaron a apologetic look before he cautiously answered.

"Hey.. Yeah, When? I'll meet you at the pavilion, just calm down and wait until I get there and we'll talk." Robert mumbled, like a half whisper because he didn't want it to be the main attention in the room.

"Who's that?" Vic asked as Robert got p and put on his coat.

"Erm, it's Bex, she's upset and just needs to talk over some stuff. Catch you later." he muttered, before walking out the door.

''Bex?" Aaron thought, were they such close friends now? Were they only friends? He shook his head and refused to let himself overthink things.

 

Aaron left about 20 minutes after Robert so it didn't seem suspicious and then he made his way to the pavilion. He wasn't creeping on them because he wanted them apart, he was looking to put his mind at ease, to see for sure if this was the end of him and Robert .

With his hood up, he sneakily peaked around the corner and he saw them, Robert and Rebecca sitting on the steps, talking but she didn't look upset, in fact she was giggling at whatever Robert was saying.

Suddenly Rebecca looked over and saw Aaron staring at them around the corner and his eyes met hers, he knew he had been spotted and he moved back quickly and began walking back to the pub, feeling confused and hating himself for caring too much.

 

If Robert was moving on, why shouldn't he? He was definitely not ready, but he needed to do this for himself so Rebecca would hurt him less..

"Adam mate, just wondering, do you want to go out to town tonight?" Aaron asked, shutting his eyes, "great, see you in about an hour."

 

Chapter Text

Aaron felt strange standing sitting by the bar, looking around him and seeing all the opportunities, but none Robert.

"Get that down ya." Adam yelled, handing Aaron a beer and Aaron nodded, he just stared around him.

"See anyone that catches your interest?" Adam asked.

Just then, Adam notices a bloke looking at Aaron and smiling at him. Aaron smiled back and this gave the bloke the need to head in Aaron's direction. He pulled up a seat next to Aaron and introduced himself,

"Hiya, my name is Ed." he greeted.

"Aaron."

Ed smiled widely, "Nice to meet you, mate." he extended his hand for handshake.

Adam was happy for Aaron but even he felt it was too soon to move on and he thought Aaron would regret it later.

Aaron and Ed talked without stop, always finding something to say to each other and Aaron liked that about this new bloke, there was never a moment of silence or awkwardness between the two, although they were strangers still.

''You fancy coming back to mine for a few drinks?'' Ed whispered. Aaron didn't know what to say. Somehow he felt like he still needed to be loyal to Robert, but this night was about moving on.. Ed was good-looking but still wasn't Robert.

''Why don't you call me tomorrow," Aaron started, reaching for Ed's phone to put his number in, ''and we can meet up for a drink then."

Ed smirked, ''It's a date." he said cheekily before leaving.

Adam gave Aaron a fist bump and congratulated him on pulling. The two finished their drinks and headed home.

********************

Early the next morning, Adam, Vic and Robert were in the café and Vic asked how his and Aarons night in town was. Town? Robert's heart sank in his chest.

''Did he find someone?" Robert asked.

Adam and Victoria shared a look, Adam didn't know if he should say, it was Aaron's business after all.

"Well?'' Vic added.

"He erm, he gave his number out to a bloke and got a date for tonight.'' Adam said, shuffling awkwardly in his seat.

''Aw, good for him.'' Vic smiled, but Robert said nothing, there was nothing he could possibly say but all he knew is the idea of Aaron with someone else wasn't right.

*****************

Aaron sat anxiously at a booth in the pub. Ed was due to appear any minute and it was terrifying knowing Robert could walk in at any time too..

The door swung open and Ed strolled in, he looked nice, as if he had made a lot of effort for this date and Aaron smiled at the thought.

''Can I get you a drink?" Ed asked, standing at the bar and nodding to Aaron.

"Pint, please.''

Charity smirked when she saw the two laughing from a cosy corner booth. They had been there for about an hour and Ed seemed like a gentleman, so Charity was happy for him. The smile fell straight off when she saw Robert sat at the other end of the bar.

''Sugden.'' she muttered to herself. She refused to let him ruin this for Aaron.

''We're closing sorry.'' she sighed, leaning on the bar in front of him.

''There's other people here.'' he said, looking around and that's when he saw them. His gaze froze on Aaron and Ed sat side by side in a booth and Aaron was laughing loud. Robert sighed, he remember he used to be the one making him burst out laughing and now he watched someone else in his place.. It hurt.

''Never mind, I'm going anyway.'' he muttered, narrowing his eyes at the new bloke. 

It's funny how things never really turn out the way we expect them to, Robert thought he could handle seeing Aaron with someone else but it broke him. Robert had convinced himself in the past that no matter what happened he would always end up back with Aaron, but this new bloke made him doubt that.

Robert pushed through the pub doors and began walking home. His heart was racing and he felt as if the wind had been knocked out of him. All he wanted to do was turn back time and fix things.. but he couldn't.

 

Ever since he saw Aaron and Ed last month, he couldn't take his mind off it, he thought things couldn't get worse all until he overheard Victoria refer to them as 'a couple'. They were together. The pain Robert felt was like somebody had been squeezing his heart and knotting his stomach. He was absolutely broken. Robert hadn't eaten n 2 weeks and he could hardly sleep. He struggled to come to terms with the fact he had thrown it all away.

One morning Robert and Vic were walking to David's shop when he saw them, Ed sitting in to his car and Aaron leaning in to kiss him before he drove off. Aaron waved him off and turned to see Robert staring.

''Hiya Aaron!" Vic greeted, walking down towards and Robert following her, ''You look happy.''

''I've got some news actually.'' Aaron smiled nervously, ''Ed is moving to France, something to do with his rugby team.. and I'm going too.''

Aaron wanted Robert to know, he hoped he would say goodbye to him when he was leaving or it would bother him.

Vic wished him the best of luck and pulled him in for a hug, while Robert stood silent.  Aaron looked Robert up and down, full of concern, he seemed different. He looked pale and out of place.

''Hi Rob.'' Aaron mumbled.

Robert smiled weakly at him and still remained silent.

Aaron wanted to ask him if everything was okay, but it wasn't his place anymore, right? So he let Robert walk away.. little did he know he would regret it.

**************

Robert liked to come to the bridge at night, it was peaceful and quiet and allowed him to think. He had gotten used to the feeling of not eating but tonight was different, his stomach felt more empty and sore. Suddenly things got blurry and his head felt like it was spinning.. Robert collapsed to the floor of the bridge, hitting his head on the way down..

 

 

Chapter Text

Victoria paced the kitchen wondering where her brother had gone, full of worry and immediately jumping to conclusions.

''What if he got into a bit of bother and someone attacked him?" she said, shocked.

Adam shook his head, ''Robert always manages to come out the other side of anything, don't worry, I'm sure we're over thinking this and he stayed at a mates.''

Victoria wasn't convinced, he never went off and didn't at least text. Something was wrong, she could feel it in her heart.

''No Ad, please check around the village and I'll look around the farm.'' she smiled, her eyes glossy.

Adam left to go searching although he had made plans with Aaron but it looked like he'd have to cancel now.

Aaron was walking to the café to meet up with Adam when his phone rang out.

''I'm on my way, keep your knickers on.'' Aaron joked when he answered the phone. Adam sighed, ''Sorry bro, Vic has me out looking for Robert, I can't come.''

Aaron froze in his steps, ''Looking for Robert?"

''He didn't come home last night, didn't leave a message like he usually does and he hasn't any of her calls.''

''He always leaves a message.. do you think something happened?"

''I don't know bro, I'm by the pavilion now searching, but no sign of him.''

Fear built up inside Aaron and his mind raced, ''I'll be there soon, we've got to find him.''

 

The two boys had checked nearly everywhere and they still couldn't find him. Just as they were walking passed the bridge, a body laying on the floor, looking still and lifeless, caught Aaron's eye. His heart shattered, right there and then. The fear he felt inside built up and he couldn't handle it. He sprinted over and crouched down beside them.

''Adam! It-it's him!'' he roared, his voice breaking, as tears filled his eyes, ''Call an ambulance.''

Aaron patted the side of Robert's faced, as he cupped it in his hands but Robert lay still, too still it terrified Aaron.

''Rob.. Rob, c'mon mate, open your eyes. I cant loose y-you..''

 He quickly checked for a pulse and sighed with relief when he found one, just bearly though.

He couldn't see any wounds or anything on Robert's body so he didn't know what to do to help him.. all he could do was wait with him until the ambulance arrived.

Aaron had never felt so guilty, he saw Robert yesterday and he suspected something wasn't right, but yet he chose to ignore it. He thought it wasn't his place because they hadn't talked in at least a month. Aaron wished he had. He wished things were different. If only he could back in time, he would change a lot.

 

Aaron, Vic and Adam sat in the waiting room, Aaron bouncing his knee because he felt so impatient and on edge. Just then a doctor walked passed and Aaron jumped up and tapped him, ''Any news on Robert Sugden, he's been in there a while now.''

Adam and Vic got up and rushed to Aaron's side, ''Will he be okay?" Vic asked hopefully.

''Robert was suffering from exhaustion before he even collapsed to the floor. He hit on his way dow n, but it seems to be healing nicely.He's awake now and he's told us he hasn't eaten in about 2 weeks but hasn't told us why..'' the doctor trailed off.

Aaron rubbed his head with frustration. He felt terrible. If only he had given this 'mates' thing a real go, maybe he could've been there for him because he would have been, without a question and that's because, although he didn't feel like admitting it, he still cared, as much as he ever did.

''Can I see him?" Aaron questioned. The doctor nodded and led him to Robert's room.

Aaron gazed in the window to see Robert laying there, staring at the wall, almost like a daydream. He snapped out of it when he heard the door open and sat up when he saw Aaron coming in.

''Aaron..'' he smiled weakly.

Aaron stood there for a moment, just appreciating the fact he was there, sat in front of him, alive. His eyes filed with tears once again, although they were still red and puffy from earlier.

''Aaron?" Robert muttered again, furrowing his eyebrows seeing him tearing up.

Aaron still stayed quiet, wiped his eyes as smile crept from his face. Suddenly he walked over to Robert and pulled him in for a hug. He held him tightly and couldn't help but notice how nice it felt to have Robert close again.

''I really thought I'd lost you.'' he whispered into Robert's neck.

Robert shut his eyes, ''I'm sorry, Aaron.''

Aaron let go of his grip on him and stood back, ''What happened, Rob?"

Robert couldn't help and feel disappointed their hug was over and he dreaded having to talk about things now..

''I, I wasn't eating properly and I couldn't sleep, with weeks. I just couldn't turn my mind off, not during the day, especially not at night, it was always acing..''

''Not eating properly? Rob, the doctor said you hadn't been eating at all.''

Robert sighed. He hated himself for feeling so weak.

''What's wrong?" Aaron asked again, even though the guilt for ignoring he signs was still strong, he refused to let a problem go unnoticed, he would try his absolute best to help Robert now.

''It doesn't matter..''

Aaron grabbed his hand in his, ''It matters to me.''

''I, I couldn't accept the way things were.. what I'd done.''

Aaron's heart sank. He knew it, n the waiting room he was trying to think and he presumed it was because of him and now he knew..

''Rob- the way things went it was-''

''Don't say it wasn't my fault. You did nothing wrong, I messed up and then I broke up with you- like a fool, I let you go. The only good thing in my life.''

''I will always love you, you know that, but-''

''But you're with Ed now, I get it. I had my chance with you and I threw it away.''

''I'm sorry..''

''Please Aaron, don't go to France, I'm begging you!" Robert pleaded.

Aaron bit his lip, he was gonna breakdown crying if he didn't..

"I can't do that, Robert- I'm sorry, but I'm still going.. set to go tomorrow actually..''

Silence invaided the room and it stayed, it was deafening. Thankfully Vic walked in when she did, ''Hiya Robert, it's only me.'' she greeted, smiling widely, she was over the moon that he was alright.. Robert wished he felt the same about himself..

''I erm, I better take off, I'll talk to you later, Rob.'' Aaron said, pulling up his hood and then he was gone out the door. Robert watched him as he walked away, his heart hurting more the further Aaron went.

 

Aaron and Ed had been in the pub with an hour and Aaron was hardly talking, he just smiled and nodded at whatever Ed was talking about. Every time Ed asked if everything was alright he'd just say he was fine and that he was tired, but really he couldn't take his mind of Robert and the things he said.

He shouldn't be confused, right? Him and Robert didn't work, Robert hurt him.. but he had hurt Robert too.. Aaron shook his head, ''You're happy with Ed now.'' he told himself over and over again, trying to persuade himself because he had never felt so doubtful.

Aaron had spent the morning at saying goodbye to everyone, as Charity made him promise he'd visit them soon and call everyday. He would miss them a lot, even though they peck his head most of the time. 

Victoria and Robert appeared from inside the café. Aaron didn't know he had been discharged, but all he knew is he wanted to say goodbye.

''C'mon Aaron, we'll miss our flight.'' Ed explained.

Ed kept the car running as Adam hugged his best mate, ''Best of luck bro, I'm gonna miss you, ya muppet.''

Aaron and Ed sat in to the car and began to drive, but Aaron couldn't help stare at everyone he loved in the mirror, fading into the distance.. he sighed deeply.

************

Robert frowned, he couldn't believe Aaron left without saying goodbye, but maybe it would be too hard for him too..

He sat at the bar with Vic thinking about what could of been. Robert was so sick of thinking and not doing anything about it. He had enough, so he got up and ran outside taking out his phone. He tried to dial Aaron's number at least 6 times, but he didn't pick up. He couldn't believe he was saying this over a voice mail, but here he was,

''Aaron- look, you deserve to be happy, you  do but I don't think Ed can give you what you deserve. He doesn't know you like I do, no one does, I know you don't like leaving everyone behind like this. It's not you.  I'm so so sorry about what happened but this past month has made me question everything, life without you isn't a life that I want and I think you feel the same.. I hoe you get this before it's too late.. I love you Aaron, just come home.''

************

When they got to the airport Ed kept going on about how buzzed he was to see the size of the new rugby pitch and reunite with his team mates. Aaron shook his head, he had no interest whatsoever. Aaron was just about to put his bag threw when he froze in his tacks, holding the bag in his hand.. Was this really it? Was this what he really wanted?

''I can't do this.'' Aaron muttered.

''What was that?" Ed asked furrowing his eyebrows.

'I can't go with you, I'm sorry. You're a great bloke really-'' Aaron started.

''But I'm not Robert.'' Ed smiled weakly, frowning too.

''Yeah..'' Aaron admitted. He was admitting it to Ed but also to himself, hearing it out loud made it feel real. He threw his bag over his shoulder, hugged Ed and took off, waving for a taxi once he got outside.

He wanted to get to the village as fast as he could, he needed to see Robert. In the taxi, he turned his phone back on..

'1 new voicemail' popped up and Aaron clicked on to it.

**************

Robert was walking home that evening, feeling sorry for himself, wondering if Aaron heard his voicemail or if he cared when he heard his name being called. He stopped walking and cautiously turned around. He could see someone was running toward him but couldn't exactly make out who it was.

Robert watched as they got closer and closer until he could see who it was..

''I love you too.'' Aaron said, holding up his phone, to show he had gotten Robert's message, ''When did you get so soft?" he joked.

Robert's face lit up and he pulled Aaron in by the waist and kissed him.

For the first time in what felt like forever, they were both really happy and now they knew in order for the happiness to stay, they had to stay together.

X