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Salvation

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"Addiction is the only prison, where the locks are on the inside." - Unknown


“Let me gowh… you fucking bastard…you-“

“Right, that’s enough Bane.” The man said angrily as he dragged Magnus towards his room.

He tried to kick, bite, scratch to do anything to get free from the man’s grasp until he felt the familiar pinch on his arm.

He felt the will to fight, slowly leaving his body, his movements became slower and less coordinated with each passing minute.

Fucking sedatives.

Fucking nurses.

Fucking world.

He wanted to spat at the man, but his drool only came out bubbling through his gritted teeth.

Like he was an animal. A rabid dog.

He was brought into his room where he was laid down on his bed.

“ALEC! ALEEEEC…FUCK..ALEC!” He screamed from the top of his lungs, throat scratching, lungs burning.

“Fucking hell Magnus.. I’m right here. Calm down.” The boy said with a tired sigh as he slowly got up from his bed, looking at his friend curled up into a ball of misery.

“Alec…” It was barely a whisper but held more than any screams or shouts.

“Hey…shhh…I’m here… I’m here.” He said quickly as he sat on his bed, moving his hand to gently touch the other’s shoulder.

Magnus trembled and snorted as he felt the gentle touch on his shoulder. It was comforting, it was familiar, it was soothing. In that moment.. it was everything.

He didn’t know if it was only for a minute or maybe for an hour, but once he woke up he found Alec sitting on the side of his bed with a small, sad smile on his lips.

“What happened?” He heard Alec asking, curious but careful. He was always so subtle, so understanding. Magnus felt lucky for having a roommate like him.

“Raphael. That little piece of shit.” He said and felt the anger coming back in waves as he remembered the incident from earlier.

“What did he do?” Alec’s voice was still calm and even, if he felt anything, he gave no sign of it.

“He kept bragging about this girl, saying how much he loved her and all. I told him it wasn’t love. They were both hooked on eccy. Who the fuck wouldn’t feel in love on that shit? Anyway, he argued, and I told him I will ask again when he is clean.” Magnus said feeling the slight guilt replacing the anger from earlier. Raphael didn’t deserve shit from him, but the boy’s obsession with that said girl was really boring him. He was like a damn cassette on repeat. He was tired of it.

“And then what?” Alec asked lying down behind Magnus, pressing his chest to his back as he moved his arm to tug the other man closer to himself gently.

“He told me I’m a hypocrite.. and that I, out of all people, shouldn’t judge.” He said with a sigh and closed his eyes. Now that he thought about it, maybe Raphael wasn’t full of shit, for once, and he might have crossed a line when tried to tell him that his feelings weren’t real.

“Give him some time Magnus. You know what it’s like when you get here. You need some time to see things clear. You need time to actually gain control over your own thoughts and emotions.” Alec said quietly and Magnus could hear the sadness in the other’s voice.

“I hate being here..” Magnus whispered before he could stop the words from coming out.

“It’s for our own sake Magnus. We need help. It sucks, I know.. but I rather be here than dead in a ditch with a needle in my arm and vomit all over my face thank you.” He said and Magnus tried to ignore how Alec almost managed to choke on those words. He knew what it meant.

“A friend?”

“Not really, just a guy. We had the same candyman.” Alec said with a shrug, Magnus could feel the way his body moved against his own.

“Candyman?” He tried but failed to supress his chuckle.

“What?” Alec asked and Magnus turned his head slightly to meet his gaze. This way he was lying flat on his back and Alec was lying next to him, propped on his elbow, his head slightly tilted as he looked at him.

“I guess it was just funny. Never heard anyone really using that term for a dealer.” Magnus said and he felt the smile still tugging on his lips as he spoke.

“What did you call yours?” Alec asked raising an eyebrow. He wasn’t mocking as much as Magnus could tell, he was just simply asking.

“Dad.” Magnus said after a moment.

He closed his eyes and leaned back on his pillow as he listened to Alec laughing loudly. He would have appreciated if it was a simple ha-ha, but no, it was loud and alive. It was genuine.

“Fuck me..” Alec sighed as he stopped laughing but the smile was still wide on his face.

“Tempting.” Magnus said with a smirk and was amused to listen the other clearing his throat.

“Sooo..” Alec dragged it out long and slow, clearly feeling uncomfortable and probably embarrassed by his response.

“I don’t have parents Alec. Calling him dad was.. handy. I guess.” Magnus said and he could feel zooming out.

It was partly true. He didn’t have a mother or a father. Not a biological one at least.

He was 7, when his mother died and then his father, step father, left him. He was growing up as a part of the system. An ugly and unkind system. One where you doomed to be a failure with no chance for a bright future.

He wished he could tell that he proved them wrong and showed them what he is capable of but lying in a rehab isn’t really an achievement.

He tried to get rid of the memories of the years he spent among other children, children like him, yearning for love and a family, something only a few of them would ever have.

He never actually called his dealer ‘dad’. Not loudly anyway and not when he was clean.

When he was out of this world, in one that had no pain or suffering, he did refer to him as dad in his thoughts.

He never had anyone as a parent figure growing up, so when he met the guy, who could have been his father, considering the age difference between them, he became attached.

A fragment of him knew how wrong and unhealthy it was, but he liked to shut down that part of him.

The man was the only person he could have rely on. He always picked up the phone to Magnus and gave him whatever he wanted.

Happiness, freedom, love.. all in the form of white powder of course.

Fuck he didn’t even know the guy’s real name.

“Are you sleeping?” He heard Alec’s voice and he opened his eyes lazily, looking in those hazel eyes.

“No, but I will be soon.” He said as he closed his eyes again. The anger from earlier was gone and it was replaced by emptiness once again.

Sleeping was easy. It was the best kind of drug.

He faintly heard Alec murmuring to him before he dozed off into the darkness.

“Good night Magnus.”

***

He woke up feeling like shit and he wasn’t surprised at all. He always woke up like that. He wondered if in a different life he would wake up feeling well rested, full of energy and ambition, ready to conquer the world. Maybe doing yoga or tai-chi in the morning before going to work.

He looked to his side. Alec’s bed was empty. He sighed as he closed his eyes and brought up his hands to rub his face.

Alec was always up early in the morning. Something Magnus never understood. Maybe he suffered from insomnia. It wasn’t rare with people like them to have trouble sleeping.

He walked out of his room after quickly dressing up. He headed to get his usual medications. A subscribed one for some change. He almost snorted out a laugh. He certainly had a wicked sense of humour. It helped.

He stuck his tongue out and moved it around to show that he was a good boy and swallowed the pills.

He rolled his eyes at the nurse after handing back the empty plastic cup then smirked at her with his usual carefree attitude. He was in a good mood today. It was a good day, there was no excessive craving.

He headed to join the rest of the guys for breakfast and he only hoped that Alec would be there, waiting for him at their usual spot by the window.

He stepped through the double doors and looked around. He saw Raphael sitting with a girl called Camille. He absolutely pitied her. She was a typical junkie. There was nothing human in her, eyes faded, skin pale, hands shaking, lips trembling.. she was only a shell, skin and bones.

He grimaced as he looked away.

He spotted a new face among the others. He frowned for a second thinking when he remembered. Sherwin. That’s his name. Raphael said he was a speed addict. Magnus rolled his eyes when he heard about it. He knew people hooked up on speed and he always avoided them. They were annoyingly hyperactive and way too eager to talk to everyone about everything and anything.

Magnus was the definition of a social butterfly, but he didn’t need drugs for that. He was just genuinely friendly, charismatic and approachable.

He checked his reflection in a spoon as he stood in the line. His hair was way too long at the front, the coloured stripes were faded, and it wasn’t styled as usual, it was almost in his eyes. He didn’t even recognise the man looking back at him.

He put down the spoon with a sigh as he watched the woman putting a plate on his tray and a glass of water. Bread with butter, ham and cheese. Some tomatoes on the side. No surprise, he wasn’t in the Hilton.

He turned around and looked towards the window. He felt a warm smile spreading across his cheek as he spotted Alec.

He walked over to him casually before throwing himself down onto the seat, opposite to the boy.

“Hey.”

“Hello.” The boy said, raising his cup to his lips and taking a sip. They were allowed to drink tea and coffee, decaf of course. Of course.

“Slept well?” He asked not looking at Alec as he popped a slice of tomato in his mouth.

“It was alright. What about you?” Alec asked as he kept looking at him, placing his mug on the table carefully.

“It was okay. I didn’t dream. So that’s a win already.” Magnus said with a nod as he proceeded to eat his food.

“Mmmpp..” He said between chews before stopping himself. He might didn’t look decent, but he didn’t lose his manners entirely. No talking with a full mouth. He quickly swallowed and drank some water before restarting his sentence.

“Are you not hungry?” He asked pointing towards Alec with his head. He only had coffee, no tray or plate.

“I ate already. Someone was playing sleeping beauty.” He said with a coy smile and Magnus licked his lips. He liked when Alec smiled. It was rare and he learnt to appreciate the odd occasions. It was like a breath of fresh air. Seeing his eyes light up with happiness.

“Saw the new guy?” He asked before taking an other bite.

“Simon? Mmh.” Alec hummed and looked towards said boy. He kept his gaze on him for a few seconds before turning back to Magnus. He mentally noted that he isn’t Sherwin, but Simon.

“Oh my fuck..” Magnus said as he lowered his gaze and stared at his plate stubbornly when he spotted the guy entering the canteen.

“Wha- oh.” Alec looked bored as he frowned and decided to look at of the windows instead.

Magnus couldn’t blame him.

Sebastian Verlac. Magnus bit into his lip as he tried to muffle his giggle. He remembered Alec referring to a dealer as a candy man and in that case the guy would be a fucking candy shop. Or one of those candy machines.

Magnus didn’t talk much to the guy, he did everything in his power to avoid him.

He didn’t know many people who were really into everything, but apparently the guy wasn’t choosy when it came to drugs. Coke, speed, eccy, LSD, H, meth.. you name it the guy took it. It didn’t even make sense to Magnus. They all gave different things, how could someone literally be okay with any state? If someone takes meth, they surely won’t enjoy fighting fucking dragons while high on LSD.

He shook his head more to himself than to anyone.

“He is looking at you.” Alec murmured under his breath and Magnus almost flinched.

“Fucktastic.” Magnus said with a grimace. It wasn’t his wittiest reaction of all times but considering that he didn’t even have his breakfast it was alright.

He looked up and groaned out a thank fuck through his teeth as he saw the guy taking a seat, away from them, near Raphael and Camille.

His day was going smooth so far and he didn’t need anyone to fuck it up.

“What are you doing today?” Magnus asked as he finished his food and wiped his mouth with a napkin.

“Same shit, different day.” Alec said, his face didn’t give away anything, so Magnus just nodded in understanding.

He didn’t even know why he asked. Every day is the same.

***

“Oi..Bane.” He heard a voice behind him, and he let out a deep breath before turning around.

“What is it Santiago?” He asked as he faced the boy. He hoped he looked as bored and careless as he felt right now. He wasn’t in the mood for a round two. He spotted Sean or whatever his name was standing next to Raphael, clearly talking to him.

The boy didn’t say anything he just grabbed his arm and pulled him away, walking down the corridor.

Magnus raised an eyebrow. He was about to snap at him to stop dragging him along when he suddenly pulled his hand back.

“Sorry. The new kid was in my ass the entire afternoon. I swear to god he talks so much I couldn’t even focus on my own thoughts.” He said with a sigh and Magnus saw his jaw tensing as he tilted his head back to the wall.

“I didn’t have the pleasure to meet him yet, but he sounds lovely.” Magnus said in the most unenthusiastic voice he could manage.

“What’s up in your ass recently?” Raphael asked and Magnus raised an eyebrow.

“Excuse me?”

“You are just being a dick constantly.” The other boy said, and Magnus supressed the slight sting of guilt as he looked into his eyes.

“Nothing. I’m just not in the mood to pretend that we are on some holiday in here.”

“Obviously.”

“Now that I saved your ass, do you want anything else?” He asked as he looked at the boy impatiently. He really wanted to go and be with Alec.

“I’ll see you around.” The boy said and he sounded slightly off, but Magnus didn’t care, he just nodded and turned on his heels, walking towards their room.

When he got there Alec was nowhere to be seen.

He wanted to hit his head repeatedly into the wall. He just really wanted some peaceful moments with him and now he needs to go and look for the boy.

His mood was constantly falling with each passing hour.

He was about to check the garden when it hit him.

He looked down at his hands and his eyes widened.

He was doing fine. More than fine and now he felt like he was back to square one. He watched as his hands shook as a bitter reminder that he was indeed deep in shit.

He groaned as he tightened his jaws. He tried to breath through his nose, slowly, taking his time with each inhale and exhale but it was pointless.

“Magnus.” He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and opened his eyes, facing one of the nurses, Catarina.

He swallowed despite feeling his throat and mouth being as dry as the Sahara.

“It’s okay. Come on. I’ll see what we can do.” She said and gave a small smile to Magnus.

He wanted to tell her to fuck off, or to leave him alone but he didn’t. Whatever he would get will help even if only temporary. His addiction was way bigger than his pride or dignity.

He followed her without a word.

Chapter Text

“Hey. Are you alright?” Alec asked as soon as he stepped into the room.

“Yeah.. where were you?” Magnus asked and he hated how demanding he sounded.

“I..” Alec said clearly surprised with Magnus’ tone. He sighed. He didn’t blame him. He had no reason to snap at him and he definitely didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of his frustration.

“I’m sorry.” He said quickly before changing his mind and looked at Alec with a sheepish look.

“It’s okay.” Alec said as he walked closer to him, arms circling around his body to pull him into a warm hug.

“My day started so, good..” Magnus mumbled, but mostly to himself.

He didn’t know what to expect. Withdrawal wasn’t an unknown state to him, or to any addict really, but he didn’t prepare himself for such an intense ups and downs.

He saw people suffering, on the verge of losing their sanity. He saw people shaking, crying from muscle pain, vomiting all over the place while crying and begging for more.

He thankfully never experienced the effects of going cold turkey from the drugs.

But watching others doing it was enough for a lifetime.

He saw how one would go just to get the next dose. The things they would willing to do just to feed their never satisfying hunger, just to scratch the constant itch under their skin..

Sometimes he felt sorry for all those people who sank so low that they could probably never manage to stand back onto two feet, but then he remembers how close he was to start kneeling and he pushed the bitter feeling aside, that it was only matter of time before he became one of those people he pitied.

“When is your group session?” Alec asked, his lips so close to Magnus’ ear, he could feel the hot breath on his skin.

“Four-ish.” He said, crunching his nose by the thought of having to sit down with others and share something from his past, something he doesn’t even want to remember or acknowledge that it happened, let alone confess it to everyone.

“Which means it starts at 3.50 and that means you have five minutes.” Alec said as he retrieved from the hug, but he didn’t step away. Their bodies were still close to each other.

“Five minutes is a long time.” Magnus breathed onto the boy’s lips.

He watched as Alec slightly trembled and for a second, he wondered if the effect was due to his close proximity and not-so-subtle suggestion or maybe he was craving for something entirely different, something Magnus couldn’t give to him even if he wanted to.

He felt as if someone poured a bucket of ice-cold water over him, his breath got caught in his throat, his heart skipped a beat before dropping, sinking to the pit of his stomach.

He would have never ever given anything to Alec. Not even a fucking paracetamol.

But what about all those people he didn’t feel responsible for?

All those girls and boys he willingly offered some. He never thought about the consequences.

He, not once, questioned if it was okay. What would their parents say, seeing their children willingly got into a ride leading to hell?

He never cared. He didn’t care if they got hooked, if they came back for more, if they got pushed off a path to another one, one they weren’t meant to be on, just because he never cared about them.

How many people have ended up in the same never-ending nightmare, that was his life because of him?

He never asked Alec why he was in. It was obvious that he was an addict. Everyone in here was addicted to one or more illegal substances. Some of them talked about their experiences while others kept quiet about it. Alec belonged to those who never talked about things regarding to his addiction. He never mentioned what he was using before he got in, he never confessed how the floor slipped from under his feet.

Did he try it out as a mere curiosity? Did he try to escape from reality? Was he looking for something so desperately he was willing to be satisfied with only a delusional image of that desire? Was he pressured into it by his friends? Did someone carelessly offered him something at a party trapping him into this ugly, unkind and ungrateful world of doomed failure and misery? Did he meet someone like Magnus, who had no concern to others because he was too sorry for himself to think about others for even a second?

“Hey..” Alec whispered, trying to pull Magnus out of his thoughts, gently touching his face.

If the previous thought came as a bucket of ice, Alec’s touch was burning like fire.

He felt his stomach twisting, he tasted the bitter bile at the back of his throat, the burning sensation as tears swelled in his eyes blurred his vision as he turned his head away abruptly.

One step forward, three steps back just to fall off that fucking cliff once again.

***

“Who would like to start today? To tell us about their day, their thoughts, their feelings?”

Magnus tilted his head to the side as he looked at the woman. As always, her hair was in a tight ponytail, which made Magnus wonder if she has a terrible sore scalp at the end of the day.

Her make-up, as every time, was light and natural. Her fair skin, blonde hair and genuine beauty made her stand out like a sore thumb.

“Magnus?” Magnus raised an eyebrow at the mention of his name. He admired her tenacity, but wasn’t amused for being constantly asked to talk when he clearly didn’t want to take an active part in their get-together.

“I’d pass.” He said with a sarcastic grin and a nod.

“You are the only one who didn’t share anything with the others yet, don’t you think it would be good to open up a bit? To have someone to talk to about.. anything?”

“I have someone to talk to, thanks.”

“You mean Alec?” She asked with genuine interest in her voice, she even leaned forward slightly as if she was trying to emphasize her concern.

“Oh, here we go..” Raphael murmured quietly, but in the silence, it was audible enough to reach Magnus.

He watched as the other boy leaned back in his chair tilting his head back with an exaggerated sigh, a clear sign of disinterest and boredom.

“Fuck off Santiago.” He bit out.

“Hey.. No need to launch at each others’ throat.” Lydia said quickly, trying to stop their argument to get ugly.

“Then he should keep his god damn opinion to himself.” Magnus said as he leaned back and crossed his arm in front of his chest.

“I thought we are here to talk about our thoughts and feelings.” Raphael said shooting a questioning look towards Lydia.

“We are. But I would appreciate if everyone do that in a way that doesn’t offend others.” She answered slowly in a diplomatic manner.

“Switzerland.” Someone said, trying to hide it behind a cough but it was a fruitless attempt. Everyone heard it.

“Simon, how do you adjust to the changes?” She asked, completely ignoring the previous remark as she smiled kindly towards the new guy.

“I think I’m doing alright. Everyone is welcoming. Obviously, it was strange that there are rules and that we have to follow a strict daily routine, something I wasn’t used to doing back at home. But learning to live in a system is.. good. It’s predictable. There is something comforting in the certainty of my day.” He said as he pushed his glasses up on his nose.

“Having a schedule helps to set up a pattern. It’s what life is about. Getting up, going to work, doing your chores, shopping, cooking. It’s all part of life, so learning to live in a system will help to adjust to that aspect of life once you are out clean and ready to live a life away from addiction. It also keeps you focused and busy, the more time you have the more chance you have to think, the more you can think, the more negative thoughts you expose yourself.” She said nodding as she let her gaze travel along the faces.

They were all young adults. Somewhere between teenagers and grown-ups. They didn’t have the carefree life of children anymore but had little to no experience on being on their own in the world of adults. Most of them never worked or if they did, it was either illegal or short-lived.

Magnus knew she was right. He was one of the few people who actually had his own place, even if he spent more time away than in his home.

“Let’s play a little game.” She said suddenly, clapping her hands. The sound of the skin slapping together jolted Magnus out of his thoughts and looked at the woman expectantly.

“I would like everyone to tell me what their dream is What would you like to become. It could be anything as long as it’s legal. It doesn’t matter how impossible it feels to achieve it; I would love everyone to be honest.”

Magnus hummed as he looked at his hands.

“Let’s start from here.” She said pointing to Simon on her left.

“Well, I studied accounting at university, it was something my mum wanted and I thought I wanted it too. But if I could be anything, I would love to be a famous singer. Having my own band, touring all across the world.. yeah. I would love that. I love music.” He said with a giddy smile, making him look like a child for a moment. Not an immature one, but a child full of hopes and dreams, full of ambitions and passion.

“That sounds brilliant. I can totally imagine you standing on a stage to conquer the world.” Lydia said with a smile and Magnus wondered if her words were true or it was a line out of a psychology book.

“Raphael?”

“I always wanted to have my own hotel.” He said briefly with a shrug. His face, as always, were expressionless, he didn’t look overly excited as Simon and Magnus wasn’t even entirely sure if the guy really meant it or just said some blatant lie for the sake of answering.

“That’s very interesting actually. Would it be somewhere abroad, or would it be a local one?” Lydia asked, her whole body turning towards Raphael while she talked.

“Manhattan. Nothing big, just something for people like me, for people who don’t want to be asked, don’t want to give ID, just want to spend a night somewhere safe, somewhere away from everything.” He said and Lydia’s smile slowly faded as she listened. She didn’t look disappointed, rather sad and maybe apologetic.

“Camille?” She asked after a few moments, clearing her throat as she moved on to the next person.

“Hats are pretty. I always wanted to design pretty, tailor-made hats in Paris.” She said with a dreamy look on her face. Magnus just blinked a few along with everyone else. It seemed as Lydia forgot her next line as well as she stared at Camille. He was expecting a lot from the woman, but not some random crap about hats.

“That’s a beautiful idea Camille.” She smiled at the end to move onto the next person.

Magnus zoomed out as he tried to think hard, who did he want to be? What would he do with his life really?

He never really played with the idea. Why would he? He was barely out of the grasp of the system, haven’t accomplished anything, has no one apart from his drug dealer, has no plans, no dreams, no hopes. Never did.

“Magnus? Care to share with us your own dream? What would you like to be?” Lydia’s voice came from somewhere far, slipped through his thoughts until it registered in his brain.

He lifted his eyes to meet hers and opened his mouth to answer, but the words died before leaving his lips. He slowly closed it, swallowing back whatever reply he had to that question. It didn’t matter. It would have been lie.

“Free.” Free of his own chains, free of the darkness of the world he lived in, free of his addiction, free of cold sweats and trembling hands, free of the voices that whispered to him, begged him from more, free of all the memories, all the choices he made and regret. He wanted nothing more than to be a free man one day.

He looked up at Lydia and for the first time ever, he saw something in her eyes that he knew wasn’t meant to be seen. Tears.

“Thank you, guys, everyone did brilliant today. I’ll see you all tomorrow.” She said, quickly standing up from her chair, a fake smile plastered across her face as she ushered everyone out.

***

He stood in the bathroom, splashing cold water on his face.

He watched his reflection in the mirror as tiny waterdrops fall from his hair into the white porcelain sink.

Being free isn’t the only thing he wanted. It was one of his biggest desires, but he also wanted something he never had. Something he always craved, no matter how high he was.

A family.

Sometimes he wondered if one day he will have his own family. When he closed his eyes, he could almost see someone standing in front of him. A tall, dark figure. He could feel the touch on his skin, the warmth of the other body and if the scent that engulfed him reminded him of Alec.. well that was his secret to keep.

He never talked to Alec about what happens if they get out. It was a topic none of them felt optimistic enough to bring up. It held more questions than answers. It was uncertain and that was something Magnus hated. His whole life was uncertain. Occasionally he wanted to let himself believe that the only certain point he had was Alec. He wanted to believe that no matter how badly he fucks things up every now and on, he will always be there for him. That even if he saw the ugly, terrible side of him.. he would still stay.