Author: "Solus Nemo"
Summary: Jason Hogart had no one, he needed no one. He was nothing more than a painting no one knew the meaning to. One moment, a split second in time, had destroyed his entire life. He just needed someone to see past the colorful oils that made up his facade, see who he truly was, share the common rip cord of a black secret.
Author's Note: I'm touching this topic of which you don't know at the present because the show hasn't dared to yet, as far as I know at least. Most of us here are mature human beings and I'm going to do this story in a serious manner because things like this do happen in real life. The trick is to not get myself in trouble for breaking the Guidelines. Enough being cryptic.
is the way it is for language and adult themes.
Disclaimer: This story is completely and utterly fictitious. I do know own the rights, the characters, or anything else having to do with the television series "Degrassi: The Next Generation" nor any other part of the "Degrassi" family tree. I do own, however, any and all characters and plot lines I have created.
Pronunciation: Ilse equals ILL-sah
"Sweat seeps in your eyes at night, you realize that no one understands you at all."
Loneliness, he knew it a little too well. There were days in which he tried to run from it, pulled the blankets over his head and screamed, made his throat go raw with the effort of trying to deal with it, the loneliness, somehow, someway. They were inane efforts, he knew that, but sometimes he just needed to try them anyway.
He had never had anyone other than the loneliness eating at him, causing his soul to slowly decay. He liked it that way – or at least preferred it – because that loneliness was the only solid thing in his life; people always left him, hurt him so badly he needed to cut them first before they had the chance to do it to him, but that feeling of being lonely would always be there. Even in a crowded room he was so painfully lonely. He pitied himself, he was so goddamn lonely.
Sometimes he got lucky and had days in which he was able to breathe. Unfortunately today wasn't one of those days and he was already aware he'd have to do anything and everything to keep his attention off of the monster on his back. Nothing he had ever done had gotten that hideous thing away from him, but keeping his mind off of it seemed to help – not significantly, but just enough to get through the day alive.
He leaned back into the car seat and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. If he didn't have to go to school to try to graduate and leave the learning institution forever he wouldn't go. All he really wanted to do was go somewhere and get shit faced, pass out. He needed the time to not be deathly confused as to who the hell he was acting like.
Most people in the world never have to ask that question: "Hey, Fred, who am I acting like today?" but to Jay it was an hourly thing. There was a time in his life when he knew just who he was, where he was going in life, what he would die for. Now that moment on the time line of his life was a fading memory. His life had been destroyed in one brief encounter when he was ten and since then the old Jay, the nice kid with the bright smile who held good grades and had a healthy mind-set with healthy friends… well, that was a pile of stinking shit now to put it lightly.
This Jay, the new Jay, acted like he didn't give a crap about anyone or anything. His heart was calloused over with hate and he looked to drugs and booze and women to take away the black hole inside of him. Of course, the irony that went hand-in-hand with life was that the more he tried to fill himself up the more empty he became. That reality along with many others only managed to make him angrier, which brought him ever farther down his spiral. It was a ceaseless cycle: try to forget and fix himself, become more broken and slip a little further down, and then back to square one. It was a small circle, one not horribly complex at all, but it was effective.
He couldn't help his pathetic little cycle at all either. What could he do? Walk up to everyone he'd ever met and explain why he was the way he was? That sounds easy enough, but Jay knew the words would never come. There was no way he'd be able to tell anyone what had happened to him as a kid to cause him to give up everything, to be afraid of things at one time he was completely open to, to shatter people like he did just so he didn't have to be pain ridden – so that they might be able to understand his hurt.
The thing was that no one would be able to understand, not unless he did to them what had been done to him, but he had sworn to himself long ago that he would never do that. He might have been a depraved asshole, but he really did have limits – they might have been few and far between, but they were there all right.
With a deep sigh through his nose Jay opened his eyes and started out into the intersection, letting the car idle even though his was the only active car engine around. He was taking his time just as he always did, readying himself for the day ahead of him. It never really worked, steeling himself up for the possible events that took place between the sanctuary of bed or brain altering substances and the outside world, yet he always tried.
His head was throbbing slightly from the band coming through his sixteen speakers, some whiny emo band he didn't know the name of – not that he wanted one, they all sounded the same despite what different angsty words were in their names – but he didn't turn the volume down: it overrode the self-loathing thoughts in his mind.
Only because he didn't want to do any harm to his beloved car Jay pressed down on the accelerator, moved forward out of the intersection and toward Degrassi Community School. He hated that place, but he didn't have much of a choice because he wanted out of it so badly. Only a year to go, he would tell himself sometimes, only a year to go and then he could leave everyone choking on his dust.
Jay was getting a sadistic image of everyone who'd ever hurt him dying from the fumes from his car – granted he had shattered them first, but he had to, that's what he thought anyway in a mind consisting of a button and two pieces of string – when something off to his right caught his eye.
It was only a group of friends laughing, walking to school together, but it still filled Jay up with a sense of worthlessness. He didn't have anyone to do that with, he couldn't recall if he was even able to laugh sincerely anymore. Jay had screwed everything up just like he always did and because of that he had no one, no girlfriend, no friends, no nothing. He would have Sean had he not chosen to live with his parents, but even if the kid had stayed they weren't really that close to begin with.
Sean had only been there for a means of justification – to what Jay had forgotten – and a way to feel something. Jay had been proud, helping Sean go down the thug path, but it was pride for himself and not the kid he had used for self-gain. He didn't have that anymore. Karma, what a bitch.
Jay was never about to admit that he was a bad person because to say he was a bad person was to come clean to himself about how easily one moment in time can change every last thing about someone. He wasn't a good person either, that had been blown to Hell a long time ago, but he wasn't as bad as some other people. He used people, he hurt them badly, but only because if he didn't then they would drive the knife into his spine – kill or be killed. Jay had never done that, though, kill someone… okay, so he did, be he had no idea that it was going to go that far.
How was he suppose to know that Rick was going to come back into the school with a gun and shoot that Jimmy guy, then turn the gun on himself? Yes, he had inadvertently killed someone, but it's not like Rick didn't deserve it. That's what Jay told himself at night so that he could sleep as wrong as it was to say, at least it kept the guilt away.
Because he was speeding Jay reached the school with a great amount of time remaining before the bell rang. That was how he usually did things, but now he realized that he couldn't do the things he normally did, what was the point in doing them all alone? He cursed himself for ever deciding to come to the grounds in the first place, it wasn't like he had a chance of graduating no matter how often he showed up. He should have just stayed home and watched staged talk shows.
He went through the main doors of the school in spite of his wishes not to, there was no way he could evade humanity forever. Alex was a different story. Jay didn't want to run into her if he could help it, didn't want to risk getting his nose broken. The only way for that not to happen was to skip going anywhere near his locker and head right into his first hour class. He was going to look like a freak, one of those loser nerds who strive for good grades and a future that won't ever happen (he knew, he had been one of those people).
Ducking into the World Lit. classroom before Alex could get her hands on him, let alone find him, Jay sauntered coolly to the back of the room and to his seat. It truly was his seat, he had carved his name into the desktop and there was almost an imprint of his crossed arms and head from his many naps on the table surface. There were marks in the ceiling above his head from the pencils he had thrown into the tiles, pen marks on the back of the chair in from of him where he doodled from time to time. He couldn't recall actually learning anything in this class, but he managed to just squeak by on his tests and assignments.
The teacher wasn't yet in the room, it was only him and some other student in the chair across from him. It had to have been a new student because Jay didn't recognize her; even though he didn't take part in many school activities and on a normal day didn't spend much conscious time in the classrooms, he could match mostly every face with a name. He certainly would have recognized a looker like this new girl, of that Jay was sure.
She didn't seem to notice him or maybe she didn't want to. With her eyes focused down at the desk at a notebook in front of her, the new kid acted like she was the only person left on earth. She was chewing on the end of her pen, lightly so as not to cause the utensil to explode, and focusing hard on whatever it was she was trying to write.
This girl looked like she had come straight out of a "Twilight Zone" episode, like she had somehow fallen out of the television screen and turned to color. She was very attractive, to Jay anyway; he knew most guys didn't like elegant looking women, but he did. He could never get one to think of him as anything less than scum, and he never gave them a reason to, so he always settled. Among the many sexual thoughts that went through his head as he looked at the woman seated at the desk across from him, Jay wondered if could have a shot with her if he befriended her early enough before anyone else got to her. She looked enough like a loner, it might not be that hard.
Jay moved his gaze over to the notebook his mystery girl was writing in and laughed. For all her concentration the new kid had only one line written down, two words in the form of a letter. Her handwriting was in the form of small, regal cursive and even if it wasn't the paper was too far away for Jay to read.
He was almost overjoyed when the girl looked away from her task going nowhere and at him, her eyes, like liquid caramel, staying on his blue only momentarily before she looked away. She looked nauseous, terrified, but she hid it well enough. It was like the moment she looked at Jay her stomach went sour and wanted to heave up its contents. He had that effect on many people, he was used to it by now.
"What's so funny?" She was focusing on her letter again, visibly glad for the excuse not to look at Jay again.
"You look like you're trying so hard at that, but you only have one line down."
"I'm glad my inability to write a letter amuses you. Do you stick your nose into everyone's business or am I just a special exception?"
Jay smiled. "Only beautiful people's business so, yeah, you're the exception."
"You'll excuse me for not breaking down into a fit of giggles," the new girl replied, "that was really lame."
"Who're you writing to?"
She hesitated before responding and when she did her voice was strained, like it pained her to say "My brother".
"Why do you need to write a letter, couldn't you just call him?"
Jay wasn't much for feeling any kind of actual human emotion toward anyone. He felt bad for asking that question when he saw the way the stranger turned her head and looked at him, but that wasn't directed toward her – Jay didn't like feeling awkward, he couldn't care less about what she felt like. It was like she was trying to guilt trip him and they had just met. He didn't know her name for Christ's sake and already she was trying to suck the life blood from him!
"He's in jail. It's kind of hard to be personal through a sheet of bullet proof glass while there's guards and other inmates all around, threatening to shove Drano down each other's throats."
Smirking, Jay held out his hand. "I'm Jay."
"Ilse," she replied and didn't take his hand. She turned back to her notebook, tapped it with her pen.
"And I thought Apple and Moxie CrimeFighter were bad."
Ilse looked at him, unamused. "My parents were quite sane when they named me, thank you very much." She seemed annoyed with him now, moved her attention from him one last time.
Though he was insensitive human slime, Jay knew when to stop talking. He leaned back into his chair and, never being one for modesty, studied Ilse as she delved back into her failing task. She didn't say anything about his watching her, just propped the side of her jaw on her weakly formed left fist and started tapping her paper with her pen again.
Apart from the fact that her clothing was a few decades behind the curve Ilse could easily have been lost in the shuffle. Her hair wasn't an electric blue or fire engine red, just an ordinary shade of brown, and the little make-up she wore was equally as modest: simple earth tones, nothing a street walking hooker would wear. She was very simple, like Alex or Emma, but there was no mistaking the fact that she was a girl: heels she could have gotten from her grandmother and strapless sun dress type of thing that went a little below her knees. Ilse had great legs, nice and long.
Jay was quite aware that it was never going to happen. If word hadn't gotten around to her already it would rather quickly. Ilse would be told that Jay was a no good criminal, a liar, a serial cheater, and an infecter – every last one of which were true. It didn't matter that he wanted to change his ways or that he had been treated for that STD, he would always be those adjectives. Even if he was able to change and become the person he used to be – impossible – those words would always be there, waiting just inside the shadows.
What a depressing thought.
"You're destroying my concentration," Ilse stated flatly.
"Come off it, doll face, how hard can it be to write a fucking letter?"
Jay smirked, meeting Ilse's shining eyes. She was about to say something when a third voice joined the party.
"I don't condone that kind of language, Jason. What service are you doing to the English language by speaking like that? There are many other words you can use in replace of your usual expletives."
Both students moved away from their forming cat fight and looked at the teacher who'd just entered the room. Mr. Sterling, no relation to Rod. He was a middle-aged balding man who appeared at first glance to be a hell of a lot more like a football player than an English teacher. It was a miracle the man could fit shirt collars around that massive neck of his, probably because he never wore anything other than button ups and never fastened the first two.
"I'm only doing my job to help it grow," Jay replied smugly. "Remember all that crap about it being a living language or whatever?"
Mr. Sterling shook his head, unwilling to admit that the worst student in his entire teaching career had a point for once. "Has the world stopped turning or am I just imagining you sitting there at your desk a good fifteen minutes before the bell's to ring?" Without waiting for a reply, the teacher switched his attention over to Ilse. "You must be my new student. No one sits next to Jason if they can help it, not unless they're new."
"I can understand why," she said.
Jay didn't mind at all when people talked about him like he wasn't right there in the room, he'd much rather be an observer to a conversation than in one. He didn't like talking very much, there were too many chances to slip up and show emotions one never meant to show. The last thing Jay ever wanted to do was become vulnerable. Vulnerability was what had caused his life to dissolve into a pile of foul muck, there was no way he was going to risk it happening again.
"It's Ilse, right?"
She nodded. "Ilse Miller. I'm going to have to spell it for you, aren't I?"
"I think I can manage, you're just going to have to tell me if I pronounce it wrong." Mr. Sterling picked his ledger up off the desk and paged through to the seating chart, writing down Ilse's name down. "You're going to be stuck there, I'm afraid, the other seats are taken."
Ilse shrugged one shoulder. "That's fine."
"Can't resist a bad boy, huh?" Jay smiled broadly.
"Don't flatter yourself," Ilse responded and closed her notebook, put it in her backpack. "May I have my text book now, Mr. Sterling?" She rose to her feet and walked to the front of the classroom.
When she passed Jay he got a whiff of her perfume: roses, rain wet roses. He made no attempt to hide the fact that he was watching her as she walked. She carried herself well, Jay liked that, and she also had a damn fine ass. But he didn't like the way she stood, legs together and arms crossed over her chest like she was cold when she clearly wasn't. Jay had a knack for catching on to people, for seeing through the facades they tried to put up because he did that himself.
Ilse was haunted by something, Jay could see that easily, and it was probably something a lot worse than what happened to him. He tried not to shudder at the thought, but he twitched visibly despite his efforts and hoped no one had noticed. They couldn't have, their backs were to him and thank goodness for that – Jay would have thanked God, but he didn't believe in Him.
Jason Hogart experiencing an emotion other than self-righteousness or loathing, feeling terror and pity and empathy toward another human being for once? He'd never hear the end of it.