Title: No title, it's a series of drabbles written for the "Secrets" challenge at

Author: CelticFaerie )

Ratings/Warnings: PG Abuse

Characters/Pairings: Shannon & Boone

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Notes: Please read and review.

They always said it would be their little secret. No one else ever needed to know.

He failed eighth grade on purpose.

The year he'd gone to middle school, with her still in elementary, was the hardest year of their lives. Not just because they couldn't see each other during the day, but he had to leave the house half an hour before her.

Thirty minutes that could seem like an eternity for him not knowing if she was all right, knowing there was a good chance Daddy would take advantage of that time, without him there to protect her.

She found him face down in the bathroom with a blood stained rag in his hand. His eyes were closed, mouth slack.

"Boone?" she leaned over and touched his arm. His sat up with a gasp, startling her and sending her sprawling against the wall. Her heart beat like bird wings against her throat.

He sat up, back to the wall, eyes closed. "How bad is it?"

"Can you walk? You should be in bed."

He used the toilet to pull himself up. Then the sink, the door frame. Then she reached for him, flung his arm over her shoulder.

He was still holding the rag when she pulled the blanket up to his chin. She uncurled his fingers and took it from him. His eyes closed as she raised her hand, and the rag, to his battered face.

"How bad is it? You didn't tell me."

"It's not so bad," she said softly. It was a lie, she knew he knew, even though he nodded.

He hissed in protest at her touch, the rough scrape of the towel. "Shhhh," she cooed and smoothed his hair off his forehead with her other hand. He reached up to steady her wrist.

She sat up, eyes wide, heart racing, at the sound of the car door slamming. Beside her, Boone lay sleeping, unaffected. She slid out of the bed, feeling as though her heart must be pounding loud enough for the world to hear.

She started for the door, didn't dare look back. She couldn't bear to see him, laying there with the blanket tucked under his chin, nothing but his swollen face showing and a shock of black hair.

"Been playing doctor, Shann?" a wicked voice curled around her head, thick and black and dangerous.

"I…" she started, but fell silent.

When he touched her, she closed her eyes and thought about other things. She thought about ice cream or the funky names they give nail polish. She wondered who came up with those crazy names, things like Prince George's Passion and Four Inch Heels.

When it was over and he left, she barely noticed. She still thought about nail polish and ice cream, or summer days at the beach, or bickering with her brother like normal kids.

Boone antagonized him so he'd leave her alone. It didn't always work, but he tried. Thank God for him. At least he tried.

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