"I wanted to hear your voice because this is hard. Living life like a normal person is hard. And the AM has been absolutely no help and I don't know what to do because I have no bank account! No license, no identity without my ability!
But you're still here. And you came here today and that means something."
"Damien, I came here to-"
"I'm actually happy to see you. I'm happy to see you. You wanna know the last time I was happy to see someone? I think I was nineteen."
"Dear customers. Please be advised that smoking on our premises is prohibited at all times. This includes e-cigarettes. Thank you for your cooperation. ... Dear Customers. Please be advised.."
Damien took a long, final drag and, reluctantly, let his half smoked cigarette fall to the ground. He didn't bother stomping it out. Instead, he kept his gaze fixed on the glowing embers between his feet.
He liked fire, he always had. Once he had brought that up with Dr. B, just wanting to see what she'd make of it, but she had just thrown his own thoughts back at him. Pyromaniacs liked fire. Pyromaniacs were psychopaths. Maybe he was one, too. Of course, Dr. B had just said that because Damien had wanted her to. That had been back in the beginning, when he had still tried to find a normal explanation for what was up with him. Before he had known about atypicals. About the AM. About what he truly was.
"And all the while my head was so fucked up from you brainwashing me for months that I actually felt bad for you this whole time! I don't.. You honestly made me question, like, reality, and yea, I don't know what that says about me but I know that's not entirely my fault. The things you've done are unforgivable. What you did to Chloe - unforgivable. Sam and Adam, what you threatened to do to them - that is unforgivable. Do you understand that!?"
"I told you, I wouldn't have actually done anything."
"Why should I believe a goddamn word that comes out of your mouth, Damien? You made me doubt myself, my own thoughts. And I'm done compensating for that doubt by trusting in you. I'm sorry that your life has been hard, and I'm sorry that you got fucked around by Wadsworth. That's the last thing I wanted, trust me. And I'm honestly sorry I couldn't be what you needed. But this isn't good for either of us. And I'm done trying to make you better. It just makes me feel worse."
"Damien, maybe you can go somewhere else, move on, learn how to be someone who doesn't poison everyone they meet. I don't know. But you can't stay here."
When his train finally pulled into the station, Damien was still gazing at the now cold ashes of his cigarette. He felt an impulse rise up in his stomach, hot, boiling, burning, as if it was about to swallow him whole. It told him to run, to jump, to put every last bit of his remaining energy into his legs and throw himself in front of the incoming train. For a split second, he thought he would actually do it.
Then the moment was over. The train's brakes screeched in his ears. He swallowed. Damien shouldered his backpack and slowly walked towards the opening doors of the train, only half noticing the passengers spilling out and onto the platform. Damien didn't have a valid ticket, but he intended to cross that bridge when he came to it. After all, he'd never had a valid ticket for anything in his life so far, and that had never stopped him before.
Of course, until now he had always been able to convince the conductors to overlook that detail.
"You need to get out of here. Out of this apartment, out of this city. Out of our lives for good."
"What, this town isn't big enough for the two of us, are you serious right now?"
"It doesn't have to be like this."
"It absolutely does."
"No. No, I won't leave."
"Why not, what's left for you here?"
"It's my home!"
"Hey, if you don't want to be in my life, then you don't get a say in it!"
"If you don't leave I can't promise what will happen to you."
"Oohoh.. Look at who's making threats now."
"I'm not threatening you. I'm trying to.. Wadsworth will come after you. The AM will come after you, it's only a matter of time, I.. You should just get out while you can."
"And they won't come for you?"
"I have people who will protect me."
"..Okay, I get it. I'm not part of your little club, so I get exiled."
"This isn't about some dumb clique, Damien, this is about the fact that your presence here makes people I love feel unsafe. Makes me feel unsafe."
Damien found an unoccupied seat and barricaded himself between the window and his backpack, mostly blocking him from view to everyone passing by in the aisle. He wanted to get some sleep on the way, though he wasn't too optimistic. His sleep had been.. weird in the past days. Ever since Mark had come by, Damien hadn't slept for more than two hours straight. Dark shapes and feelings occupied his dreams and even his parents had made an appearance the other night, which hadn't happened in years.
Someone a few rows in front of him had a very strong mental presence. Damien could feel his thoughts, his consciousness, its hard edges and straight patterns. Out of habit, he tried reaching into it. Pushing his own mind into the stranger's and feeling around for a crack, some loose ends, bursting seems. A weak point, a flaw in the straight pattern, where he could settle down and occupy the space, spread out his own consciousness, his wants. He couldn't find any. He couldn't get in.
Anger burst in Damien's chest and when he realised the feeling, he wanted to curl up and cry. To bite his wrists and reach into his chest, to tear the anger out, to open up old wounds. He was tired of being so angry all the time, it was exhausting. It took everything he had not to let it out, and it left him empty and.. weak. Damien hated to feel weak more than anything.
"... I would never hurt you. I swear."
"You already have. That's the whole fucking point."
"... Come on, Mark. What can I do to make it right. There has to be something I can do!"
"There isn't. This is just who you are, Damien."
"No! No! It's not! I can change!"
"No you can't."
"Yes I can! You, you want me to stay powerless, fine, I can do that, you want me to, you want me to grovel to all your friends? I'll do it, I can change! Just, just tell me what to do Mark, please, look, I'm asking you. You get to decide."
"You think that's what I want? To be the one calling the shots, that's not.. Damien, it's not supposed to work like that."
"Then tell me how it's supposed to work. ... I don't know how to do this."
"I can't. I'm sorry. Hah. There I go again. The one apologising, when, with all that, it never occurred to you to just fucking say I'm sorry."
"No, no, don't. Maybe you can change, Damien, I really hope you can. But you can't do it with me. You scorched all the earth beneath us. And this is me, salting the ground."
"Dear passengers, we are happy to welcome you onboard the-"
"Uhm, sorry? Excuse me, you're sitting on my seat."
Damien looked up to the stranger beside him. They held a ticket up in front of them, the reserved seat stated in bold letters and numbers. "Oh." Slowly, hesitatingly, he picked up his backpack and let the other person sit.
Damien walked through the now moving train, looking for an empty seat. There weren't any. Finally he settled down on the floor in front of a restroom, half hoping to be able to flee into it should a conductor come down the aisle. He was too exhausted to come up with a better plan. The train shook mechanically, the floor vibrating and the walls emitting a low hum. After a few minutes, Damien had fallen into a light sleep, his mind filled with hard walls and metal cages with no weak spots to be found, no matter how long and desperately he searched for them.