A bad little fic, if you don't like unpleasentries don't read- it's not the happiest thing I've ever written.
Set just after "Two Kids and a Grouch", focusing mainly on Steph.
Song is "Addicted to the Knife", by Vacationland. Great song.
Flames are not appreciated, reviews are requested.
Steph sat on the bathtub wall, her trench coat hanging off one shoulder because one arm lay out. She had abandoned the usual long-sleeved shirt and was wearing a tank top, staring at her exposed fore arm, the dark skin outlined by the white tile floor of the bathroom. In her opposite hand she held the knife she had claimed since she came to the mansion, its steel glinting in the bright light.
"Anna takes off all her clothes
Shines a light upon her soul
Anna's feeling kind of old
Anna's sick, so we're told.
Anna take your pill for me
Make me happy
Anna take you pill for me
What she said was
No, I don't know
Oh I don't know"
She hadn't done it for a while, the urge was irresistible now, like it always was when she had lasted a week or two without cutting herself. It was an old habit refusing to die. It helped with the stress still... though for all the wrong reasons.
The red lines were there, always there, always hidden, even when Steph came close as she often did to revealing them in the middle of a crowd and screaming for help. But she always lost her nerve to mention or show it, even though she wished with all her heart someone would find out- save her from the knife she depended on.
"She's addicted to the knife
Maybe she's crazy
With her back against the wall
And who is wrong and who is right?"
Steph barely blinked as she put the blade to her flesh and pressed, softly at first and then harder until a red line appeared, then blood started to flow. Steph held her arm over the bathtub so the blood wouldn't make a mess as she swiped quickly across her wrist and blood spilled out. For a moment she was captivated by the red liquid spilling out of her, watching it splatter on the white tub walls and run down the drain in intricate patterns- wickedly beautiful.
Then she put the now stained knife blade on another part of her arm and repeated the process, making four more cuts horizontal across the under arm before she sighed and watched the flow. It didn't sting, it wouldn't unless she put it under water or touched it.
Steph was still mesmerized when, not for the first time, the thought of how wrong this was hit her.
She hated it, she hated herself for doing it.
Sure, when she had started cutting herself her life had sucked, unable to talk, thrown out of her home, starving and on the run from the cops. No where to hide. Steph could remember the first time her tears had mingled with the red gold falling on the earth, how lonely and helpless she felt, the guilt. It hadn't even hurt, it just bothered her then, and it just bothered her now.
"Maybe I'm crazy
No, I don't know"
But now it was more brainless habit, a weekly ritual that she kept secret from everyone, even Hank.
She didn't even cry anymore.
A sudden knock startled her so much she dropped the knife, cursing as it hit the tub with a loud clatter.
"Steph?" Rogue called through the locked door. "Is every thang alraght in there?"
Steph cursed, completely panicked all of a sudden. She quickly grabbed the knife again and with her still-bleeding arm hit the tub water, trying to wash it out quickly.
"Steph?" said another voice. "Yeh alright? What smells like blood? Steph!" She couldn't reply, couldn't choke out the words to stop her family from sounding so panicked.
"What-" Rogue started, but was cut off by her father.
"Steph!" Logan beat on the door, and Steph froze when she heard her father's voice drop low into a growl, and to her horror saw a long adamantium claw slice through the doorknob, and Logan burst in a second later, claw still out, looking for trouble, looking for the reason he smelled blood and only heard his middle daughter's silence.
Then he saw Steph's arm, the blood covering the bath, and the knife in Steph's other hand.
He froze, his face showing his shock and disbelief. Rogue looked around his back and gasped.
"Steph?!" she shrieked, unable to help herself. "Oh mah gawd-"
Clang! The knife dropped again as Steph shot out of the bathroom, knocking her sister and father aside as she tore out of the room. She had kept the addiction to blood a secret for so long, now everyone was going to know. Half of her was relieved that someone had finally noticed, but the stronger half was completely terrified for no rational reason at all.
"Sarah lives her life in blue
To preach the word
We're all doomed
Sarah, life is not a dream,
She cuts her skin, peaches and cream."
Racing away from her family Steph tried to pull on her coat clumsily but gave up, tears suddenly leaking down her face as she just hid her arm. She never wanted to remember the feeling of being alone, she often cut herself in half hopes that by bleeding herself she'd get rid of the memories, but that wasn't going to happen. She knew it wasn't, but still she couldn't keep herself from grabbing the knife, always the same knife, and locking herself in a bathroom.
She couldn't explain it fully, the addiction, she knew she never could, but something about watching the blood slip down the drain captivated her in the worst way thinkable, it was like watching herself slip down a dark, forgotten path, with who knows what waiting for her, with nothing but a steel blade for company.
Again she hated and cursed herself.
Logan was completely immobile, staring after Steph, then over at the bloody tub, where the water was still running, and the knife now laying the floor, the blood on it spattered on the surrounding tile. He couldn't even rationalize it, what the hell was his middle daughter doing cutting herself, locked in a bathroom?
"Sarah take your pill for me
Make me happy
Sarah, take your pill for me
What she said was
No I don't know-
oh I don't know"
"Stephanie? What is the matter?" Steph looked around, terrified, finding her feet had lead her destinationless flight from facing the awful truth about herself to the medbay. Hank had seen her tears and immediately got up, and Steph, as terrified of him already knowing what she did as being alone again, flung herself into his arms, choking and crying into his white jacket, head buried in his chest.
Confused but worried Hank held her close, stroking her hair, utterly bewildered as to why his Stephanie had just run into the room as if chased by something too horrible to imagine, crying like her heart was breaking, and now was holding onto his jacket in a death grip.
"Stephanie, what happened?" he asked gently. Steph couldn't reply, crying too hard to say anything, and he suddenly noticed that near one hand on his doctor's coat there were red spots appearing. He stopped and with one hand gently took her wrist, the jacket falling just enough to expose a long, deep gash. Hank gasped and used his other hand to wipe away the smearing blood that was pouring out.
Steph suddenly got extremely quiet and numbly let go, moving back a step, her eyes glazing over.
"Stephanie, did Ruhko cut you?" Hank asked in a tight voice. Steph looked at him, her dark eyes looking desperate as she slowly shook her head. "Then what-" Hank stopped as the fabric beneath the exposed cut started to become damp to his touch, and he grabbed her hand with his own, swiftly pulled off the coat, revealing her arm. Hank's eyes widened when he saw all five cuts revealed, and soon he tore his eyes away from them to look at Steph's blank face and scared eyes.
Then Steph looked down, her hand clutching Hank's while he held her arm up, the freely flowing blood running smoothly down to her elbow and then falling on the floor.
"Stephanie..." Hank couldn't say any more, his dark eyes searching her for some explanation. Any explanation but the only one she could give.
"I-" she choked, then looked up at him, eyes filling with tears. "I can't help it...." she broke off, tears spilling down her disheveled face. Hank took off his coat, wrapped it around Steph's arm to stop the bleeding, then pulled her into a tighter embrace than before, a tear sliding down his own cheek as he softly rocked her.
"She's addicted to the knife
Maybe she's crazy
With her back against the wall.
And who is wrong and who is right?
Maybe I'm crazy.
Oh, I don't know"
Steph, as disgusted with herself as she was, suddenly felt safe in Hank's arms. She would get her help- the red lines would stop opening now, and if they ever returned- at least they would hurt more than just her heart.
"Oh I don't know."