Disclaimer: I do not own anything except an extremely prized DVD, the soundtrack, rapid plot bunnies and a handful of original (albeit, generally unnamed and unruly) characters.
Please don't sue me; I couldn't stand the drama. Well, that and I'm broke…

Author's Note: Basically this is and will be a place for all those little snippets of fluff and angst and such the like that I don't really want to classify as one-shots. (Some will be longer than others.) Sometimes the main character will be named, sometimes they won't. A few might relate to others but for the most part they are separate and completely unto themselves. Hope you enjoy!


Fragments

patches

I never got used to it, my imperfection. I never could accept it. I didn't understand it that was for sure. How did one eye just… not work?

My other eye, the good one, matched exactly in color with my mother's -- possibly the only trait that linked me to her as her son. But the other…

Instead of a perfect china blue, the unmoving orb glared gray. Cloudy, empty, ugly, imperfect gray.

There were stares, jokes, jibs, and pricks but in the end I think it was because of my own embarrassment that I did what anyone would do with something painful: I hid it.

Beneath a simple dark cloth, I felt my imperfection was secure, safe from prying cruel eyes. If they didn't see it, they wouldn't question, I reasoned. They wouldn't stare.

Hiding the truth beneath "patches" became something I just did after that. I guess I somehow believed that if it worked for my dead eye then it would work for anything else that caused me pain.

And so many things caused pain back then…

I lived three whole years with my old man after my ma passed away.

Ma was good at hiding things too: the pain, the bruises, the cuts and later the alcohol on her breath and the drunkenness in her eyes. She never could hide it from me though; I guess it took one to know one.

I wasn't really surprised the day she died; I think I had known deep down that she really hadn't been truly living for quite a few years. I didn't cry when they lowered her into the ground. I didn't shed one tear. Friends and family hugged me and words of sympathy threaded from their tongues but I didn't respond. I couldn't respond. I had buried my pain; I couldn't dig it up again.

It was three years later when everything changed.

It hadn't been the first time he had hit me, and it definitely hadn't been the hardest. But there was something about the way and the force and his anger that made this time different. Something about what it did to me…

I remember that day clear; I don't think I can ever forget. It was the day I stopped hiding.

I don't remember exactly what I did to my old man that day but it was as if every hurt, every pain…everything I had ever buried away burst forth seeking justice. He was my outlet and I gave him back everything he and the world had ever given me; given ma.

I screamed. I cried. Everything I should have said before poured out amid my furious fists. I felt anger. Loss. Freedom.

I became her voice that day too. Little as she had ever done for me when she was alive, I cried out against him for my mother that day too… then I left and never looked back.

Pain is something everyone must deal with; it cannot be buried or hidden. Sure, "patches" can work for a time but sooner or later, what's beneath must surface. Many times we think facing or dealing with the pain is too hard but letting it amass and fester has a much more dangerous and destructive consequence. I was twelve the day I learned that.

I still know pain, despair and heartache these days. Heck, who doesn't? But I don't lock them up anymore, away from others -- others, I learned, who don't always cast a critical eye.

And my eye?

Oh, I still wear a patch but these days it's become more like a trademark than the covering of an embarrassment. It's like a souvenir keeping me connected with the past, both the highs and the lows; the miseries and my masteries over them…

Plus, it drives the girls crazy.


A / N: Ok, so what did you think? Good…? Bad… ? Rotten… ? Review and tell me… please! Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated… everyone can improve right?