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that one night

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When Dan walks home from school that day, he knows he‘s gonna do it.

He thinks about it with every step he takes. One. Two. Three. Four. He‘s only going to take like a couple hundred more steps in this life, he might as well count them.

He‘s at two-hundred-fifty-six when Jake, that fucking dickhead that lives near him, walks up behind him and shoves him hard so that he falls down on all fours.

“Faggot”, he says and his voice is filled with hatred and disgust, and then he spits on Dan.

Dan waits for the stab of pain to come, in his chest, the one that tells him how fucking awful he is, but he doesn’t feel it. All he thinks about is that he’s gonna die today, it’s all gonna be over. It’s fucking relieving, is what it is. There’s a strange calmness over him that has him standing up, something he never did before, and yell after Jack, who hadn’t bothered sticking around.

“You’re gonna regret this!”

The words leaving him sound desperate, and he does hate that now. He wanted to sound sure of himself, calm and collected, not shaky and forlorn.

Jack doesn’t turn around, he just laughs, and maybe that hurts more than actually falling down.

It’s gonna be over, he tells himself, it’s all gonna be over. Just a couple more hours. Jack will hear about his death tomorrow, he’ll regret it then, maybe. Dan won’t have to be around for that anymore.

With the sleeve of his jumper he cleans his face of the spit. He breathes in deeply, once, another time. And then he keeps walking. Two-hundred-fifty-seven, two-hundred-fifty-eight. It’s all gonna be over.

**

He’s sat on his bed with everything he needs around him. The key is turned. It’s past midnight, Adrian is fast asleep, he heard his mum and dad go to bed around an hour ago.

It’s a good time to do it now.

Dan feels- tight. His whole body feels tight with something, rigid, buzzing. He feels fucking awful.

It’s a good time to do it now. To kill himself, a good time. Everything is ready.

Dan swallows. He wants his hands to move and do it, but they don’t.

His head his full of everything. All the thoughts, it’s like voices shouting over each other and he can’t even really grasp them.

He thinks of his parents, thinks of how awful they are to him, how they never see him. Thinks that he was never wanted in the first place and how miserable they are because of him, thinks of seeing them care for Adrian in a way he doesn’t remember being cared for. He thinks of dinner tonight, of his mum asking him if he was alright. He hates her for it, hates that she had to ask just today, when today he needed her being awful like always. He hates that she didn’t see that he was feeling like utter shit, hates that she had to ask. He thinks of his dad and everything he says about- faggots, like he is. He’s a faggot and he can’t change it and not even God changes it, although he’s not sure he believes in God. He should believe in God and he’ll probably go into hell now because he doesn’t believe in him, and because he wasn’t in church in a long time, and because he’s a faggot and he wanks to gay porn and because he is a bad son and just a fucking awful human being. He’s gay, fuck. He is a fucking faggot. He wishes he were like the rest of his school, then they wouldn’t have to bully him. It’s his own fault anyway. If he weren’t a cocksucker- he never even sucked cock. He wonders what that’s like, what the weight of it would be like, and then he almost gags because he feels so disgusting, thinking about that right before his own death. He deserves to die. He thinks of his family, thinks how easy it’d be for them, how grateful they’d be. He wants to think that anyway, but his mind shows him his mother crying. It shows him his grandma, and for a split second he sees devastation on her face. He is an awful human for wanting his family to suffer like that. He’s not sure they would, but maybe… they’re not all bad, and he knows his nana gave everything for him. He can picture her smell if he tries hard enough, can remember how she smelled when he was curled into her. He is an asshole for even thinking about doing this. Someone so fucking awful like him shouldn’t deserve to live, but his grandma doesn’t deserve he dies either. Maybe he’s just destined to live as the fucking cunt he is for all his life. Destined to make other people feel bad whatever he does, destined to be treated like dog shit because he deserves it.

Dan sobs and curls harder around the pillow in his arms. He hadn’t noticed it’d gotten there, hadn’t even noticed lying down onto his side. He hates living like this, it all just hurts so much. He just wants it to stop. He just wants it to be happy, fuck, shouldn’t he be allowed to be happy?

Another sob wracks his body and he just lies there and cries, and cries, and cries.

He thinks of school being almost over, just another year. He thinks of all the years he survived, how awful it’d be if he never experienced what it was like out of school. He’s scared suddenly, so scared that he almost did this, fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuck. He almost killed himself. It hurts his chest to think about it and he swipes everything off the bed in one big motion. Fuck, fuck. He almost died.

There’s a spark of a thought that he didn’t do anything to deserve this. That he didn’t hurt anyone on his own accord, that it’s not his fault he exists. That he doesn’t get why he’s the one having to suffer like this.

It’s just a spark and it’s overwhelmed by all the other thoughts, by the big voice in his head telling him that everyone would be better off without him, but- he’s just not sure. He’s just so confused and helpless and alone. He just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get why he suffers and others hate him and what he did to deserve this, and he doesn’t get that his whole existence has to hurt other people and that he has to be this awful sinful thing, and he doesn’t get why it has to be him, when he only ever tried to be right for others. He tried so hard.

Dan hasn’t felt so much in so long. He just cries and it hurts and he is so fucking sad, and it doesn’t stop. He can’t stop. He can’t stop crying, he can’t stop being gay, he can’t stop hurting his family, he can’t stop living. He wants to, but he can’t.

He falls asleep like this, eventually. Crying, face in his pillow to muffle the noises, curled up on his bed. He’s exhausted, fully exhausted from all of this. He falls asleep with tears slowly rolling down and a sadness so deep and profound in his chest that it feels like it’s all he’s ever known.

**

It’s not the next morning, and not the one after. He’s just empty at first. Empty of the hope that suicide always gave him, empty of the relief he felt when he knew he’d do it – empty now, that he knows he’s not gonna do it, however much he wants to. But eventually… eventually there starts to be something else to fill the void. It’s still awful. It still all hurts and his thoughts are no less forgiving. But where he had hoped for death for months, had always counted on it, he now thinks about college. About moving away from his family. About how short the time until then truly is, and how free he is going to be there. Sometimes, he thinks about a world where he has a boyfriend and where that is okay.

He doesn’t tell anyone about that one night. Not until over a decade later, until he’s living in a flat with his fiancé, frankly rich off his face. Not until he’d been in therapy for a long time. When his dad is cut out of his life, when he knows finally his mum truly loves him and he has forgiven her. When he talks about it, about that night, he still feels guilty. But he doesn’t feel guilty about his existence anymore, just about how much pain he’d almost given the others. He thinks about his family now, about Phil and mum and Nana and Adrian, about the Lesters. He thinks about the sadness that’s still inside of him, and about how profoundly different it is to that complete hopelessness and confusion he felt so long ago. He thinks about signing pride flags on tour, about wearing glittery nail polish and talking about men, and about that video he is making right now.

He knows he’s not gonna change how he felt such a long time ago. He’s never going to change that sad boy in his room, attempting to kill himself. And he’s not gonna save every queer teen there is from feeling like this. But if there’s just one person, if he can at least give a little spark of hope to someone – he’s sure as hell gonna try.