Scars Never Fade

Summary: D-Tent has been back from Camp Green Lake for five months. Squid's
living with his mother. Things were fine for a while, now Squid's going
back to his old ways, skipping school, breaking the law, and D-tent needs
to help before it's too late, but they don't realize how much trouble
Squid's actually in, and it might be too late already. (Possible slash
later.)

A/N: I've just edited this, to get rid of some spelling mistakes, and hopefully to make it easier to read.

Dedication: To Coral-Ellen Burrows, 1997-2003, and to all other child abuse
victims. RIP Coral, New Zealand loves you.

Chapter One

D-Tent sat around the chipped high school cafeteria table, eating food only
slightly more appetizing than what they were served at Camp Green Lake.

"Man, it's so cold here," Zigzag complained.

"No, it's not," said Caveman, "You're just used to the heat in Texas. It's
warm here, it's burning there."

Zigzag looked confused but didn't press the issue.

"Hey, so where's Squid today?" Magnet asked.

"Maybe he's ditching," Armpit suggested.

"Man, Squid wouldn't ditch," X-Ray argued, "He knows he's on probation. If
he breaks the rules, he's out..."

He trailed off as Squid appeared and sat down, setting his tray in front of
him and keeping his gaze on it.

Armpit elbowed him, "Where were you?"

Squid shrugged, not looking up, "The lunch line was long."

Zigzag frowned, leaning over. Squid moved his hand slightly so that it was
shading his face.

"What are you hiding?"

"Nuttin'."

"Liar," Zigzag said. He pulled Squids hand away from his face.

"Hey!" Squid cried, looking up to glare at Zigzag. He quickly looked back down
but not before the rest of D-Tent saw what he was trying to hide.

"Wow, where'd you get that shiner?"

"Jesus, look at that thing!"

"Yeah well, you should have seen the other guy," Squid joked weakly.

"So, what happened?" X-Ray brought them back down to Earth.

Squid just shrugged, "Got in a fight."

X-Ray rolled his eyes and changed the subject.

"Are you gonna hang with us after school?"

Squid shook his head, "Can't."

"Why not?" asked Zigzag.

"Work," Squid mumbled.

"Work? You got a job? Doing what?"

"Stuff."

"What sort of stuff?"

"Just stuff, ok?!"

Squid stood, picking up his bag.

"See you guys tomorrow."

"Something's up," Zigzag said, after Squid had left, slamming the cafeteria
door behind him.

______________________________________________________________

Zigzag was on his way home from X-Rays. He was in no rush and was walking
slowly.

Squid, on the other hand, who was, although he didn't know it yet, about to
turn the corner onto the street Zigzag was traveling, was walking quickly,
his thin t-shirt and jeans offering no protection from the mid-Autumn cold.
He was pushing a trolley, less than half full of groceries.

"You know you're not supposed to take them home with you?"

Squid looked up at the familiar voice and saw Zigzag jogging up to him,
grinning.

"Well, they can't expect me to carry all this home," Squid said in his
defense, gesturing to the plastic shopping bags.

Zigzag looked at them too. There wasn't much in them: Two loaves of bread,
a carton of milk and a packet of cereal.

"You dug holes every day for two years, you're tough enough to carry
those."

Squid shrugged, "I didn't feel like it."

Zigzag frowned, but didn't comment.

"Give me a ride?"

Squid rolled his eyes, "Sure, get in."

Zigzag clambered into the trolley and settled himself down, curling his
legs up to avoid squashing the bread.

"How's your eye?" he asked, as Squid jerked the trolley into motion.

"Fine," Squid answered shortly.

"Who was the fight with?"
"Just someone. So where are you riding to?" Squid asked, hastily changing
the subject. Zigzag didn't seem to notice.

"No where in particular," he shrugged.

His voice vibrated slightly as the trolley bounced over stones.

"What about your place?"

Squid stopped pushing.

"My place?"

Zigzag twisted around to look at him, "Yeah. I've never seen your house
before."

"Oh... well..." Squid looked around, trying to think of some sort of
excuse. X-Ray, Armpit, Zigzag and Magnet lived in nice houses in nice
neighbourhoods. Caveman and Zero lived in mansions in nice neighbourhoods.
He lived in an old trailor in a bad neighbourhood. It wasn't really
something to show off about.

Squids eyes fell on a large white house. It had a neat garden, and, clich├ęd
as it was, a white picket fence.

"Well, you're looking at it," he lied, gesturing at the house.

"Wow!" Zigzag looked impressed, "Can I come in?"

"No!" Squid said, a little too quickly. "I mean... my mum's... ill..."

"Oh..."

There was an uncomfortable silence.

"Well, I guess I should head home then."

"Yeah..."

Zigzag climbed out of the trolley difficultly.

"See ya."

Squid watched Zigzag walk off, then sighed and turned the trolley around,
heading towards the trailer park.

He ditched the trolley behind the trailer, trying to ignore the man sitting
in the door way of his own trailer, unshaven, wearing an old muscle top and
smoking a cigarette.

"How's your mother?" the man asked, grinning, showing off his yellow teeth.

Squid scowled at him, "She's waiting for my father to get home."

The man laughed, then started choking on his cigarette, "Oh yeah?" he
asked, when he'd caught his breath, "Where is he, huh? I sure ain't seen
him round here in a while!"

"He's in the-"

"Army, I know. You still feeding people that lie? Where's he stationed now,
huh? Huh? Where's he-"

Squid slammed the trailer door behind him but the wheezing laughter of that
man hissed through the cracks.

He dropped the groceries on the round kitchen table no one ate at anymore,
and kicked a few empty beer cans out of his way.

His mother was laying on the couch, posed dramatically, one hand covering
eyes, the other gently brushing the floor, asleep or passed out. Like that,
looking so small, thin, delicate, it was hard to believe the wild,
unexplained fury that she reeked of when drunk. Hard to believe that those nail bitten hands could draw so much blood, cause so much pain.

"Hi Mum," Squid whispered, kneeling down in front of her, "It's me, Alan."

Squid's mother flicked her hand out, as if she were shooing a fly, mumbling
something incoherently.

Squid sighed, getting up and going to his room. He could feel a headache
coming on and wanted nothing more, at that moment, then to go to sleep.
Tossing his school bag aside, complete with unfinished - unstarted -
homework, kicking off his shoes, he fell back onto the lumpy mattrass,
covering his eyes.

He awoke a few hours later, not knowing what had woken him. It was dark,
there were the normal creaks of the trailer, the wind snaking through the
cracks under the window frames, and then there was a different noise, one,
he realized, that had settled on his subconscious while he slept and,
having woken, had only just realized that it wasn't part of his dream.

It was a moaning noise, soft yet shattering his whole silence, a whimper, a
hiccup. He stumbled out of bed, tripping over a lone shoe, and made his way
to the door.

His mother was sitting at the kitchen table, slumped over, her face hidden
in her arms, behind a curtain of hair. She was crying.

"Mum?" he asked tentatively.

Her head shot up, her mascara had run down her face and, in the lamps soft
light, she looked crazy. Eyes sunken, hair tangled, and Squid noticed the
wine bottle, half empty, not half full, in her hand. He recoiled slightly.

"What do you want?" she spat the words out between gulps.

"Nothing Ma..."

Squid turned, closed the door.

Not even the lethargic scent of the alcohol could send him back to sleep
again. He lay awake, the dark biting at his fingertips until he curled them
into fists.

He waited for morning.

__________________________________________________________________

The teacher, Miss Martins, strode down the lines of desks.

"-and the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in what year?"

She just happened to be passing Squids desk at this moment. Squid was
leaning his head on his hand, asleep.

"Alan?" she asked, slamming her hand down on his desk with a loud bang.

Squid sat up quickly, blinking and wondering where he was.

"Huh?"

Zigzag bit his lip to keep from laughing.

Miss Martins shook her head, "Not sleeping, were we?"

"No, I-"

"Perhaps you'd like to share with the class what kept you up sp late?"

It wasn't a question, it was an order. Squid thought about saying something
sarcastic like, 'I'm sorry Miss, but it's very difficult to sleep when
you're worried about your drunk mother choking to death on her own vomit.'

That would wipe that smug look off of Miss Martins face. Of course, he knew
he'd never say that.

"Um... studying?"

Miss Martins pursed her lips.

"If you did so much studying, why haven't you finished your homework?"

"I...um..."

Miss Martins snorted.

At this moment the bell rang and Squid breathed a sigh of relief. The
relief was short lived however, when Miss Martins handed him a detention
slip.

Squid glanced at the time written on it, "Miss Martins, I can't do
detention after school today, I have work."

"Well, you should have thought of that before disrespecting my classroom."

"Disrespecting your classroom?! I was only sleeping!"

"You're dismissed Alan."

Squid scowled, "This is bull-"

"Come on Squid!" Zigzag grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room.
Squid glanced back at Miss Martins from the doorway, sitting in her desk,
calmly marking some papers.

"She reminds me of the Warden," he muttered before Zigzag dragged him away.

"Me too," Zigzag agreed when they were out of earshot.

"Disrespecting her classroom, my ass! How 'bout you burn down her classroom
Zig?" Squid asked darkly, "With her in it."

Zigzag frowned. "I didn't mean to burn down that classroom... it was an
accident."

"Whatever. Hey, I'll meet you in the cafeteria."

"Where are you going?"

"My locker."

"Oh... ok, I'll see you there."

But he didn't. He didn't see Squid in his next class either, or the one
after, or the next day.

___________________________________________________________

Squid wandered around town, hands in pockets, not at all concerned about
what he had missed at school. After all, he'd missed two years worth while
he was at Green Lake and he hardly ever went to school before that.

He wandered into a video store and watched the demos for ten minutes before
he noticed that the clerk was glaring at him, implying that if he
wasn't going to buy anything he should leave.

It was getting pretty late anyway.

On the way home he met up with Zigzag. He'd forgotten that Zigzag walked
this way home from school.

"Squid!" he heard Zigzags voice calling, "Hey, Squid!"

He took a deep breath, knowing that he was about to play 20 questions.

Indeed, Zigzags first words to him were, "Why weren't you at school today?"

"Oh... uh, I was sick," he lied.

"Well, you look alright now," Zigzag pointed out.

"Yeah... I'm feeling better."

Zigzag smiled, "So you'll be back at school tomorrow."

"Uh, yeah..."

"Great! Well, I gotta go. See you tomorrow."

Squid sighed, watching Zigzag walk off. If Zigzag, and the rest of D-Tent,
knew that he'd been bunking they'd be so disappointed. They'd made a pact
the day they left Camp Green Lake. A pact that said they vowed not to get
into any more trouble. It had only been a few months and Squid had broken
it already. Of course, this wasn't the first time he'd broken the pact but
it was the first time he'd almost got caught.

Squid lived by the saying, 'It's only illegal if you get caught.'

The only thing wrong with it is that if you do get caught, it'll illegal,
and you're in big trouble.

Squid reached the big white house he'd told Zigzag was his own. He stopped
and stared up at it. He wondered who lived in it, what lives they lived, so
different from his.

The door opened and out stepped a middle-aged woman. She was plump with
curly brown hair and was wearing gardening gloves.

She waved at him. He waved back slightly, surprised at her unexpected show
of friendliness towards a piece of 'trailer trash' like him.

He sighed and carried on. It was probably just her way of telling him to go
away.

Michelle Donaldson watched the teenager as he walked away. She often saw
him walking past her house, staring at it intently. She wondered what he
was thinking. She felt sorry for him, she knew he lived in the nearby
trailer park, knew his clothes weren't suitable for the upcoming winter and
that he often walked alone, although he was sometimes joined by a tall boy
with wild hair who called him Squid. She wanted to help him, but what could
she do? What could anyone do? She turned away and went back to her
gardening, pushing the boy to the back of her mind. After all, there was
nothing she could do.