Saints Ch. 5
High key abuse tw
They woke up to screaming. Achilles opened his eyes and shot up, noticing Hosea was already awake and wiping the sleep from his eyes. He looked in the direction of the sound, slowly, hesitant to confirm what he already knew was going on. That was the scream he heard when he first fell off of his bike at six. That was the scream he heard on the roller coaster at the fair. He knew that scream so well. He squeezed his eyes shut as he looked up, and once the screaming stopped, he opened them and stared at the person in front of them. Laura.
“F*****s! I thought it wasn’t true. I wanted to believe it wasn’t true, but here it is. You really did this! I can’t believe you!”
“Laura,” Achilles yelled. He glanced over at Hosea who was buttoning his jeans, still shirtless. He pulled on his jeans and rushed over to his sister, who was in tears. He brushed a hand against her shoulder, trying to comfort her. “Laura, I can explain.”
“You’re with a boy, what is there to explain? I saw you two together, last week. I got Diana to tell me where the three of you would go and I came to check on you. Mom and Dad may believe you’re with Alice, but I didn’t. So I come here, and you’re with him. He’s a monster, Achilles, and he’s corrupted you.” She sobbed. “I need to tell Mom and Dad. They need to know what you’ve done!” She ran out of the door and took the turn that started the journey to their house.
Achilles was frozen in the doorway. He felt like he was in a dream, or an alternate universe, and he wanted everything to return to the way it was. He closed his eyes and swayed on his feet. This can’t be happening, he thought. He felt Hosea behind him and the boy put his hands on Achilles’ hips. He didn’t speak until he felt the brush of Hosea’s stubble on his neck. “No.”
“It’s going to be okay,” Hosea whispered. “But you need to get out of here. Now.”
Achilles broke from his grip and turned around, pulling Hosea into a hug. “What am I going to do? What are you going to do? What about us?”
“I’m gonna be okay, but I need you to listen to me. You need to go to Adam and Diana’s house and you can’t leave. Tell them everything that happened. If your parents come for you, call the cops. I’m going to run again. I’ll call you when I get to some place safe, okay? It’s gonna be fine, I promise you. I need you to leave in case your sister called the cops here. If they see us together, they will arrest us. You gotta go, now.”
“I don’t want to leave you,” Achilles murmured into Hosea’s collarbone. “I want to come with you.”
Hosea sighed. “Achilles, you’ve never ran before. I have and I have connections everywhere. I’m going to be alright. It’s you I’m worried about.” He kissed Achilles on the forehead and pulled away. “Go, now.”
Achilles stared at him for a moment before leaning up and pulling Hosea into a deep kiss. He wrapped his arms around Hosea’s neck and he tried to memorise the features on his face, knowing he wouldn’t see him for a while. When they broke apart, Achilles felt tears pooling in his eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Achilles turned around and started running.
When he reached Alice’s house, he felt sick from running and from seeing his father’s car pulled up in the driveway. He cursed quietly and walked slowly up to the door. When he opened it, a hand reached out and grabbed the collar of his shirt, pulling him inside the house.
“How dare you!” His father roared, spit flying from his mouth into Achilles’ face. “How dare you ruin our family like this!”
“Dad, please,” Laura whimpered.
“Shut up Laura, this is your f*****g fault,” Achilles screamed. He squeezed his eyes shut and began to hyperventilate. He knew his father was still screaming but he couldn’t hear any of it. All he was focused on was his breathing and the thought of Hosea’s face.
Even when the boy wasn’t there, he was still in mind. Achilles could hear his voice in his head, telling him to keep calm. Telling him to be strong. Achilles felt his head snap to the side and it was enough to pull him from his thoughts. He raised a hand to his cheek and felt a welt forming where his dad had slapped him. He looked up, blood pooling in his mouth.
“F*** you,” he whispered. Achilles was on the ground before he could register that a fist had come to his face. His father was on top of him, rearing back to punch him again. He let it happen, let punch after punch come until his father was sobbing.
“Why the hell are you crying?”
“My only son....a f*g,” he spit.
Laura was screaming and it took Achilles a moment to realise she had been this entire time. Achilles looked around, his head swimming in a haze and already starting to pound. Alice stood in the corner, her hands covering her mouth. Diana had her arms wrapped around her mother, crying into her shoulder. Adam was in the corner, whispering into the phone. He could hear sirens in the distance.
“We can fix this. We’ll take you to the church, they can help you. We don’t need to get the police involved, nothing happened. Right? Son, I need to to tell me, what did you do with this boy? Oh god...it’s not that serious, right? It’s just a phase…” he got up and started pacing, holding his head in his hands.
“Dad, I love him,” Achilles replied softly. “His name is Hosea, and-”
“No! No, no, no! You don’t love him, you can’t love a man. This isn’t real, this is a dream. No, it’s not. You are not my son!”
That was all it took before Achilles couldn’t keep himself together, and he began to cry. Diana rushed over to him and wrapped him in a hug. “You abandon your child over this? He’s a homosexual, not a Satan worshipper! What kind of father are you to leave your son?” She pressed her head into Achilles’ shoulder.
“You love him so much, keep him! I don’t want him around my daughter. I have my family to protect, and I’m not going to allow this sickness, this twisted mind, into my house. Laura, come with me. We’re leaving.”
Laura broke into tears again and she rushed up to Achilles, trying to hug him, but Diana pushed her away. “Leave! You brought this onto him,” Diana snarled. Laura sniffled, paused, but got up and walked out the door with her father, who slammed the door shut behind him.
“What’s wrong with me,” Achilles whispered.
Adam approached the two and crouched so he was eye level with Achilles. He reached out and wiped at Achilles’ face. When he pulled his hand back, it was covered in blood. “Well, you’re definitely going to have a black eye.”
“Achilles, nothing is wrong with you,” Alice stepped in. “You were born like this, it’s not a choice. It may not be right, but that doesn’t mean you are not.”
“But...I never knew; I honestly thought I liked girls.”
“You might. This may have been a one time thing. I...I hope you know you are welcome with us. You are like a sibling to my children and I treat you as my own. That will not change. I may not approve of what you’ve done, but that doesn’t change my opinion of you.” She leaned down and touched Achilles’ face. “I love you.”
Adam reached out and mussed Achilles’ hair with his hand not covered in blood. “You my brother, like Ma said. You’ve always been there for us when we’ve made dumb decisions, to pick us back up, and when we’ve made good ones, there to congratulate us. You, Achilles, are a light in a world of utter darkness. So what you like men; there are worse things in the world to be. Don’t ever forget how amazing you are. We want you in our lives for you, not for what you’ve done.”
Achilles felt like sobbing, overwhelmed with how kind they were being towards him. He knew he needed to take time to process everything that was happening but his brain and heart were racing and he didn’t know how to handle everything going on inside his head. He wanted Hosea, who could always calm him down. He wanted to feel the boy’s hands around his waist and Hosea’s stubble on his face.
“I need to lie down.”
Diana stood up and Adam pulled him to his feet. They walked him slowly to the couch and he laid down, sighing deeply. Diana didn’t try to hide the look of concern on her face as she wrapped him in a blanket, tucking it in around his side. “I promise you, Achilles, you’re safe here. We won’t let him back near you.”
Achilles nodded and allowed his eyes to close. “Thank you,” he mumbled, and promptly fell asleep.
He dreamed that he was back at the Fortress, with Hosea. The two were laying together on the floor, fingers entwined and bodies so close Achilles felt like they may have melted into one being. Hosea’s curls were damp with sweat and his face glistened. He leaned forward and kissed Achilles, slow and easy movements that Achilles quickly responded to.
When he woke up from the dream and remembered everything that happened, he burst into tears. Adam, who had fallen asleep in the armchair next to the couch, was startled awake. He looked at Achilles for a moment and then got up out of the chair.
“Do you want me to get Diana?” Achilles shook his head ‘no.’ “Well...I’m not good at this comforting thing, to be honest.”
“That’s...okay…” Achilles sniffled. He buried his face in a blanket and allowed himself to let go. He felt Adam watching him but he couldn’t bring himself to care. After a moment, he looked up. “I love him, and…and now he’s gone!”
“What did he say when you left, Achilles?”
“He said he’d call me, but-”
“Then he’ll call. Hosea loves you and I don’t believe he’s one to take that lightly. You two had a connection from the beginning, and we all saw it. He will not leave what he has with you in the dust.”
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