Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall

—William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

A suit wouldn't mask anything, but it would at least deign him the veneer of respect. Maybe. If someone like him could conjure anything like respect anymore.

There was no sun out, not today. The hearing was scheduled for the afternoon, because of course those bastards would want to drag this out, want him to go not just a sleepless night but a sleepless day, all with anxiety crunching his skull. One last round of torture, of revenge, for them to subject him to. Rich pricks.

He combed his hair, bristles digging into his scalp. He pressed deeper, wanting to leave hidden bruises.

What am I doing?

He pulled the comb away, pressing it into his lips. He bit down on the plastic.

I… hate myself.

He was not used to such a thought, but the feeling was paradoxically familiar, and cold.

He shook his head, placing the comb down on the dresser in this strange room.

He walked to the security office on campus. They checked his ID, and his pockets, like he was some kind of criminal. Which, now, he was. Well, he'd been for a long time. But everyone knew now.

The march across campus was awkward, with people staring and whispering. He normally wouldn't care, but that cold still permeated him through the suit, and he hated himself for being unable to let go of the fact that he did, in fact, care.

He held his head high. A crow cawed in the distance. The buildings, brick and stone, were cast in shadows, and yet he still didn't want to leave.

How did I lose everything?

And he knew the answer. A quest to have everything, collecting it all, cradling everything he thought he wanted to his chest, and in the end, he found his arms exhausted and bruised and blistered, knuckles throbbing, and in his hands was—nothing.