Perchance to Dream

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.

Summary: After losing everything, one boy must decide what's worth having in life. Slash, Kyan.

-.-

Some days I don't want to get out of bed. Correct that. MOST days I don't want to get out of bed. Getting out of bed means leaving my dreams of at least a decent life, if not a perfect life, to wake up in a bed that I truthfully outgrew five years ago in a chilly room with posters covering up the shoddy wallpapering job, no TV, a five-year-old computer that barely runs, and a closet full of clothes whose sole purpose is to keep me warm and/or in uniform.

This particular morning is no different. A gray glow permeates my window blinds as my eyes crack open at six in the morning, which means that the few items I'm lucky enough to possess are blackish-gray blobs to my blurry vision. Tentatively, I lift up the covers and start to uncurl my body from the ball I roll into every night in order to fit into my bed. Almost immediately, I'm greeted by a rush of cold air that chills me through my sweatpants AND my pajama pants AND the longjohns I wear underneath them, the baseball socks, and the sweatshirt that I wear to bed every night. Those, combined with my heavy down comforter, are the only reason I haven't frozen to death long years ago. With a sigh, I throw the covers back and attempt to adjust to the cold air like water in a lake. Within five minutes, either I've adjusted to the cold or been numbed by it to the point where it no longer truly bothers me. I suspect the latter to be true. I amble over to my bureau to retrieve a fresh pair of underwear for after my shower, and lay out the clothes I plan to wear to school today, before grabbing a towel and heading for the bathroom.

Showers have become more of an annoyance to me over the years. It's because of the hair. It's at shoulder-length now, and probably going to keep going for the foreseeable future. As I squeeze the meager dollop of shampoo into my hand and try to spread it evenly into the stringy mass I call my hair, I wish more and more for a trip to the barber to get it cut off. Just to give you a clue about how bad it looks, the past three Halloweens I've gone as Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars. With a few weeks of work, I can pull off the goatee/mustache/beard thing. Everybody calls me a hippie at school, and I wear a permanent scowl on my face because of it. Just because I have long hair and work at a coffee shop and play guitar without any real purpose or aim doesn't make me a hippie. I don't wear a black beret and know the ins-and-outs of French Wine and Cheese Culture, or smoke weed and dazedly ask people to vote for Dennis Kucinich and World Peace. I'm not a goddamn hippie.

Shower complete, I hurriedly dry off and run back to my room, dressing as quickly as possible in the numbing cold. A quick glance at the useless thermostat tells me the temperature in my room is sixteen degrees. I fail to repress a shudder as I toss notebooks and pencils into my messenger bag haphazardly and look at the clock. It reads fifteen minutes before seven. I have to leave to make the bus at seven-thirty. I have forty-five minutes. Time for a quick run, or walk, I guess. Cable's out, Internet's out, and I eat breakfast at school, so there's nothing better to do. Pulling on a hat and pulling up the hood on my sweatshirt to fully cover my ears, I slip out my front door, wishing that I could be warm and where I want to be.

I also wish that I wasn't in the situation I was in, as I start my walk along the crusty, snow-covered sidewalks, listening to the sound of my steps and looking down to avoid the wind. The morning sun is still hidden behind the mountains, and everything outside is still gray, just like pretty much everything in my life. Everything started going downhill three years ago, not long after Dad managed to finally pay off the mortgage on the house with a big bonus from his work. After that, he started staying home a lot more, and then he was home everyday, and I didn't understand why. No one would tell me about it. It took me two weeks before I found out that his office had been shut down, and that he was unemployed. Mom's small secretary/receptionist job was now our only source of income, and it was barely enough to keep food on the table.

Dad's unemployment checks from the state managed to pay for a few things like electricity, water, and the phone bill, but Internet, Cable, and even heat had to go. He looked for work, and two years ago was hired as an assistant manager at Burger Palace. That, though, didn't pay any more than the unemployment wages, meaning we lived in a cold house without good TV or Internet. I then went out looking for a job, and was picked up at a coffee shop working after school and on weekends for minimum wage. It pays the Internet bill and the Cable bill, which still doesn't guarantee that they'll work, because the cold does funny things with the cables and wires. I make about $800 a month, but it costs that much to keep our house heated, and with Mom and Dad needing $200 a month for gas, I can only buy enough propane to keep the house heated for two weeks a month. It's about time for another fill-up, and I'll have cable and Internet for another two weeks, but it's still a far cry from what I had.

It's a far cry from what he has. My former best friend, who was all too happy to step up and take my place after I had to consign myself to indentured servitude in order to keep myself and my family in the land of the living. He's the star athlete, even though he's just a running back, he's still the best person on the team. When I had to break up with my girlfriend because I didn't have the time or cash for her anymore, he was right there to smoothly offer her a shoulder to cry on. When I saw them walking down the hall hand-in-hand a week later, I couldn't do anything more than scoff at his apologetic glance and punch my locker so hard I left a dent. When I couldn't hang out with my friends anymore, not only did he swoop in and assume my leadership spot over our group, he didn't even bother trying to schedule things I could do with them. A few days later I saw my old group of friends walking down the hall with Butters in tow.

I sit by myself everywhere in school, socially ostracized from the rest of the students. I'm in the back in every class, and I'm over in the darkest of the dark corners of the lunchroom at lunchtime, under a light fixture that hasn't worked since I was a Freshman. No one makes any attempts to speak with me, and I don't make any attempts to speak with anyone, at least, not anymore. I figured that one out a few years ago, when everyone started ignoring me because I didn't have any money. Teachers don't even call on me to answer questions, and then berate me when report cards come out for not participating in class. Bullshit. I just do my homework, turn it in, do my classwork, turn IT in, take my tests, and get whatever grades I have coming to me. Thankfully, they're usually As or Bs, so I'll still get into college. How I'm going to pay for it, I have no idea at all.

My watch beeps to tell me that it's now seven o'clock. That I've been walking for fifteen minutes and I should turn around and go home to start my ten minute walk to the bus stop. I don't particularly want to. I want to just keep walking until I either die or … well, do something that would take me away from this shit excuse for a life. Especially to take me away from the person I lost first and totally, the person I shouldn't have lost at all, much less first. I've come to terms since my sophomore year that Kyle's not my friend anymore. But just because I've come to terms with it doesn't mean I understand it. There's no rule that prevents a Jew and a spoiled fatass from being friends with TWO poor people. At least, there's no rule that I ever heard of that says that.

Scowling at the bad memories, I turn around and start walking home. It's really hard on a guy, not having any friends at all and having to go through the day, watching people you grew up with and know inside and out hang out, have fun, talk about what they're going to be doing that night or some other night when you know your evening is going to consist of serving some of them coffee and playing your guitar for others of them, and then they won't even tip you for it, because they're assholes who just wanted to laugh at you. Kyle's never brought his group around to the coffee shop. Kyle's never brought himself around to the coffee shop. Other members of the group have come in by themselves, none attempting to strike up a conversation with me as I morosely took down their orders and filled them. Not even the perpetually cheerful Butters had anything to say to me while I made him an extra-thick hot chocolate with whipped cream on top.

Is money really the only reason people hung out with me? I wasn't a bad person, I didn't hurt anyone on purpose, I wasn't overly conceited…why am I suddenly a social pariah? I want someone to hang out with. KENNY won't even talk to me, the only other person who's anywhere close to my situation and might be able to understand me. But no, he's part of Kyle's group, and Kyle doesn't want to have anything to do with the boy who's saved his life two or three times and helped him save the world. It can't be because of Cartman, the fatass would love nothing more than to rip on me for being poor. Kyle's even managed to shut him up about it. There has to be some sort of reason for it, but after two years, I STILL haven't been able to figure out what.

Sighing to myself, I trudge on, passing my house and heading for the bus stop. I'm the only one who still uses it, which pisses off the Mexican who drives the bus to no end. Everyone else either drives themselves to school or gets a ride from someone who does. I'm the only person who rides the bus anymore. Every morning, and this morning is no different, when the bus pulls up, he opens the door with a sigh and tells me to get on. When I do so, stepping into something warm and relatively safe makes me breathe a sigh of relief. Even the school bus makes me feel like there's hope. Like there's a chance that I can break free from this cesspool that is my life currently and be somebody.

Of course, that feeling pretty much evaporates the second I step off the bus and trudge up the sidewalk to school, where it's still warm, but it's cold at the same time. The temperature is a nice seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit, which is worlds better from the sixteen degrees in my room or the six degrees it is outside, but the climate is cold. The people are cold, emotionally, towards me, like I'm subhuman, or something else that they'd rather avoid or have a Mexican scrape off their shoes for five dollars. That kind of behavior disgusts me. It makes me wish Dad had taken a job in Denver or somewhere else, so that I wouldn't have to deal with these people.

I'm a talking mute. I can talk, I just … don't. There's no point in it, no one listens to me. I've told the counselor this, but he believed me about as much as he would have if I'd come into his office and given him the exact coordinates where Osama bin Laden was hiding. He just told me that I should try to be friendly to the other kids and they'll talk to me, and a bunch of other crap he keeps on the Post-it notes he has permanently affixed to his computer monitor. As I throw my bag into my locker and head to the cafeteria to soothe my growling stomach, the only thing running through my mind is the question of whether or not this will ever change.

-.-

Notes: This fic is not going to operate on any sort of schedule whatsoever. When I have sufficient spare time, I will work on it. I'm also going to try to work on a few things with my writing style in this story. If you liked it, please review.

Thanks,

Phoenix II