song: "For the Nights I Can't Remember" by Hedley
When he threw his first punch, it was out of defence. He had done so in compliance with a promise he made years ago. Back then, he was young, he was an unknown trying to be more than just another face in the crowd. On his way back to the hostel, he had encountered some older kids. They spat vicious words and when they got close, he could smell the rank stench of alcohol on their breaths.
They began to taunt and he held his tongue. They began to push him around and he kept his fists still. When pushing became punches and he found his face rubbed into the cold dirt, he kept thinking to himself “I cannot cause trouble.”
When he returned to that hostel that night, he kept his head down, tried to blend in with the white walls as he crept down empty corridors, just trying to get back to his room unannounced. He almost made it, his hand wrapped around the doorknob when he heard his name. He didn’t want to look over his shoulder, but almost instinctively, he did so. Almost immediately, he regretted it, seeing the shock and pain on his friend’s face. His friend ran over, gently reaching up and cradling his bruised, throbbing face.
He shook his head.
“Why didn’t you fight back?”
“If I want to debut, I can’t cause problems.”
“Promise me next time, you’ll fight back.”
He shook his head again.
He had made it a few years without having to fulfill that promise. However, when he went out for drinks, there were older men who he encountered. They spat drunken slurs and when they got close, he could see their glassy eyes from overindulgence. He tried to leave with his companions, when the men followed them outside.
They began to taunt and he held his tongue. They began to push him around and he kept his fists still. When pushing became punches, the promise slipped back into his memory and he hesitated before his fist became airborne.
His managers asked him, “What happened?”
He shook his head.
“Why did you fight?”
“If I want to stop a heart from breaking, I can’t let myself fall so easily.”
“Promise us next time, you won’t cause problems.”
He shook his head again.
But that was awhile ago and, even though he had kept a promise, he had broken trust with his company and fans that supported him. He stepped back from the limelight which he worked so hard to attain and he was forced to reflect on something he did out of self-perseverance. He found all he worked for, all he had gained was slowly slipping from his grasp. He realized he smiled a lot less and his head was usually bowed towards the ground. He noticed that he ignored the phone, even when it was his twelve brothers calling. He found the darkness more welcoming than the flashbulbs of cameras that seemed to follow him everywhere.
One night, his weakened resolve was slipping and his heart seemed to forget to beat. He saw the news reports, saw the typed comments which seemed to slash at his confidence and he could imagine the looks, the dark eyes which expressed nothing but disappointment. He wanted to run away, wanted to slip away from the attention, the spotlight, wanted to escape into blissful oblivion to a place where there was no pain, where there was no darkness or sadness. He wanted to forget everything for one night.
The first glass calmed the raging storm in his head, where his thoughts were becoming more and more like those of the public eye. The second glass silenced the memories which ate away at him, bit by bit until he didn’t know if there was anything left. The third glass wiped away what the first two glasses couldn’t remove: clarity in thoughts that were too painful, too real, too devastating.
When he wanted to go home, he wanted to get there fast. He wish he could somehow spirit directly there and avoid the public, avoid anyone who might see him and recognize him. He grabbed his keys and slipped into his car because that was the only option. He started the engine and began to drive because he couldn’t stay there anymore – a place that reflected his weakness too well; a place that was his tainted soul incarnate.
He drove and the city lights lifted the darkness clouding over his memories. Images flashed in his mind and he could feel something stabbing in his chest, could feel it difficult to breathe as he swallowed the lump that had formed. He could feel the hot sting of tears in his blurry eyes and his vision was further disturbed by the veil liquefied memories.
When his car stopped, jarring to a halt, he felt as if the air had been stolen from his very soul.
Oh, God, not again.
He had made another promise, didn’t he? He had to keep this one too, didn’t he?
His mind was racing, his lungs were gasping for air. He put the car into gear and somehow managed to move the car away. When he stopped, he wasn’t sure where he was. The city lights seemed like a faint glow behind him and before him was nothing but darkness. It closed in again. It always closed in.
When he returned from the police station, he couldn’t go home because he didn’t trust himself to be alone.
Not yet. Maybe, not ever again.
He slipped his key into the dorm’s lock and quietly stepped into the darkness of the dorm. He was startled when he heard movement, and suddenly his friend was before him again. He had forgotten that he called him; that it was his friend’s number that was the first to come to his mind when he was at the police station.
His eyes adjusted to the darkness and he could practically see his friend’s expression so clearly. For the first time since the accident, he felt his heart begin to beat again; felt it tremble in the hollow cavity of his chest. He opened his mouth, hoping that something would come out, words, excuses, lies – anything but the truth. The truth was too painful, too dark and left him vulnerably raw. When silence came out of his mouth, they were accompanied by the swift flow of stinging tears.
His friend wrapped slender, firm arms around him, bringing his body into a circle of warmth; a feeling he hadn’t felt for weeks. He laid his head on his friend’s shoulder, suddenly feeling tired, oh, so tired. His world was falling apart, he couldn’t remember what it felt like to walk on solid ground and whenever he tried to talk, tried to ask for help, the words wouldn’t form, didn’t dare form.
“Idiot,” his friend whispered as he hugged him securely, protectively, affectionately.
That word broke through the darkness and the words finally formed.
A/N: This plot bunny was inspired by certain events. The only reason this is categorized as a songfic is because the song stated caused the plot bunny to take a sledge hammer and knock down my door. ^-^