Freak

by WSJ

WSJ: Well, this was supposed to be up on October 8, Pegasus's birthday, but I got a little behind. Sorry!!

Disclaimer: I don't own YGO or the song.

Notes: A different look at Pegasus Crawford's life and childhood. Not the only son of a millionaire businessman, but the oldest of a large family who promised himself he'd stand out from his siblings, and maybe succeeded a little too well. Based on my own life and feelings.

()()()()()

Quote of the Fic:

"The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground."
(Unknown)

For grampa,
who loved me no matter what I was.
I miss you.

He is down by the riverside
Late one night

16-year-old Pegasus Crawford slipped out of his room, his eyes on the floor as he headed for the front door. Even though his head was ducked and his bangs hid his eyes, he could feel their stares on him. They'd all be there, he knew. Father on the couch, Marie and Vanessa and Jamie sprawled out across the floor, the twins curled up together in the armchair. All except mother. She was probably in bed, again.

"I'm going out," Pegasus said softly, still looking at the floor. He shrugged his shoulders to settle the hang of his backpack, and then jammed his hands into his pockets. Trying not to wince, he waited for it.

"My god, he moves," Marie sat up, probably grinning.

"He pried himself away from the computer!" one of the twins giggled. "It's a miracle!"

"The hermit came out of his shell," Pegasus's father chuckled. "To what do we owe the honor?"

"I told you, I'm going out. I'll be back by midnight." Pegasus said, his voice still soft. He blinked, trying to hide the sudden tears in his eyes. Why wouldn't they understand...?

"Sure, sure," his father waved him off, turning back to the TV. Pegasus turned and almost fled the house, running for the river that ran through the nearby park. Whenever he was feeling down, he'd always go sit on the levee. It usually made him feel better, except on nights like these.

He's tryin' to count the stars
In each of the signs
All alone by the riverside

The park was deserted. It was beginning to get dark, and most everyone was inside by this time. Pegasus sat down on a bench and dropped his bag by his feet. He listened to the water gurgle and tried not to cry.

He was different, he knew that, but did they have to rub it in? Pegasus hated large crowds and people, and was naturally anti-social, unlike all five of his younger siblings. This led to almost constant teasing from them, and since Pegasus made sure to always keep up a smiling facade, it never occurred to them that they might be hurting his feelings like they were.

Maybe it would have been easier if Pegasus had just told them that it hurt when they teased, but he didn't like to cause trouble. In fact, he didn't like doing anything that might disrupt the normal flowing of things. It just wasn't his nature. He wanted to help people, cheer them up, and if his siblings had fun teasing him, then who was he to stand in their way?

Even if it led to miserable nights by the river for him.

And time passes by
Gathering thoughts of the past
And maybe he'll cry

"I'm such a freak..." he muttered softly, pulling his feet up onto the bench and hugging his knees to his chest. He was different then his siblings, and sometimes that hurt more than their teasing. They were all into sports and outdoors, had tons of friends, and loved the summer when they could run and play. Pegasus liked nothing better then holing up in his room with a good book or his easel, he loved winter when he had an excuse to stay indoors, and his few friends were all online. His parents were always yelling at him to get off the internet. They didn't understand. They'd let Vanessa talk to her friends on the phone for hours, and yet they didn't seem to get the idea that when Pegasus was online he was doing the exact same thing.

They called him a hermit, for all the time he spent in his room. None of them ever came out and said it, but Pegasus could tell they looked down on his writing and drawing as hobbies less than human. Ha! They'd never read any of his stories, or asked to see any of his drawings, so how would they know?

They wouldn't... They didn't know he was really good, and he didn't plan on telling them, either. After all, why open himself to more ridicule?

So they say he's a madman
And he don't understand
But I know that he's tryin' hard
To act like a man

Pegasus's only "real" hobby in his family's eyes was the theatre. But even then, he was a lone wolf. He loved acting, but was shy. Not around the audience, oh no. He could perform in front of a thousand people with no qualms. No, he didn't like socializing with other actors. He always saw them as better than himself, and tended to fade into the background instead of talking with them. So he was really into forensics, which was competitive solo acting, speech, and debate. He could show off his talent, and didn't have to put up with other people.

Of course, his family teased him about that, too, and when he timidly asked for rides to and from practices, his parents grumbled and scowled and reluctantly drove him where he needed to go. And yet... whenever one of his siblings needed to go to a sports practice, both parents would jump to comply.

"Freak..." Pegasus mumbled again, closing his eyes against the rising moon. "Theatre's a silly hobby, especially for a guy. You know they want you in a sport, Pegsy. Oh, why can't they just understand... How come they can't love me for who I am instead of subtly hinting at how they want me to change?!"

All those years he has suffered,
My friends,
All those years of pain

Opening his eyes, the tears made the stars seem to glow brighter. For an instant, Pegasus wished he could just fly away. Then he sighed and shook his head, his shoulders drooping a little in sadness and hurt. Digging around in the bag by his feet, Pegasus pulled out his sketchbook and a graphite pencil that was barely more than a stub. Sticking the pencil in his mouth, he carefully paged through the book until he came to a blank page. This particular sketchbook was a very, very nice hard bound one, a gift from his grandfather right before he died. The spine was beginning to crack now, so Pegasus had to be careful turning the pages.

Thinking of his grandfather, Pegasus smiled wistfully. As the gift of the sketchbook suggested, grandfather had been the only one of the family who really understood Pegasus. His death had hit Pegasus hard, and it still hurt. It hurt so much...

Sighing, Pegasus took the pencil from his mouth and began to sketch with quick, strong strokes. The only light he had was from the full moon and the stars, but that was more than enough. Pegasus was used to drawing in the dark, here by the river.

Within minutes, a kneeling figure had begun to take shape on the paper, its head bowed and arms crossed over its chest. It didn't have any clear gender, but the hair was long and the eyes were unmistakably sad, seeming to plea with the viewer to release it from its prison. Great white angel's wings emerged from its back, but they were torn and weighted down with chains. An angelic prisoner.

But I don't think he knows for sure
If those years were in vain

"Someday," Pegasus whispered softly to the picture, "Someday I'm going to show them all that art is worth it. I might be a freak, but someday I'm going to be the best damn freak there ever was. With you as my witness, I'm going to show them all."

He's a dreamer
And he's fightin' for his life
He's tryin' to understand

The alarm on Pegasus's watch went off suddenly, signaling that he'd better get a move on if he wanted to make it home before curfew. He jumped in surprise at the noise, his hand jerking so that it left a dark, jagged streak of lead across the picture. Pegasus sighed raggedly, gently closing the sketchbook over the forlorn angel. He could probably salvage it, but only after a few hours of work and a lot of erasing.

For a moment he debating staying here past curfew, but then sighed again and shouldered his bag. If he was late again his father would ground him from the internet, and then all his friends would be wondering if he'd died. Of course, father hadn't banned Vanessa from her precious phone even when she'd been caught smoking, which in the Crawford house was a capitol offense. Just another example of how much Pegasus was misunderstood by his parents.

He's a dreamer
But he wants to carry on

As he started to walk away, Pegasus turned to glance back at the bench beside the river one last time. He'd probably be back sometime later this week, maybe as soon as tomorrow night. He turned away, shaking his head and trying to fight off his despair.

"Someday..."

Yet I know he's a lonely man