A/N: One of the few fics I have a clear idea where it came from. This was done due to one of the major complaints about season 2's main mystery - that the victims of the bus crash just weren't defined enough as characters, to interest us in the mystery. I still liked the mystery, but I see the basis of the complaint. So this fic will address the characters of the 6 students on the bus, hoping to flesh them out. So let us begin...
BE A MAN
"Kid? What are you doing?"
It's not like he expected his father to give a shit, so he didn't bother answering. Dad took another swig of his beer and Peter sighed. That would have disappointed him if he had still cared. He didn't care, however, given what caring had a history of doing. That had made him want to get out of the house as a kid, and of course, that plan had only gotten him shoved on his knees; Come on, be a good boy, be strong for me, open that pretty mouth of yours, take it like a man, be a man for me, Petey.
He shuddered and tried to suppress the bile rising in his throat, like he always did whenever It sneaked into his mind, just for a second. He shook the thought away – it wasn't important anymore.
- - -
The day he came out was somewhat chaotic. There were blinks and shrugs that pissed him off, like it didn't matter, but then there was a lot of confusion and I bunch of people who nodded and said they had kind of guessed. He liked that; the feeling that they were paying attention enough to guess.
Dad was livid, of course.
"No. No fucking way!" he was shouting, words slurred because this was his dad after all, but he suddenly was angry enough to smash the beer bottle into tiny pieces, despite it being only half-empty.
Shit? He'll waste alcohol? We are playing for real now.
Peter wasn't scared, of course. "Yeah? Well fuck you."
Dad shook his head. "Listen you little faggot – I said no way. No fucking way is a son of mine-"
"Yeah yeah, homophobic bullshit. I got it the first time, I said "fuck you.""
"God, tell me this crap isn't like, about your mother or some shit."
Peter bursts out laughing at the idea that his mother had something to do with anything. Bitch had run out when he was five, and he gave up on caring or even trying to remember her a long time ago. She could go fuck herself, for all he cared.
"What, you think this is just some sort of "no-mother-figure" thing? Please. Sorry Daddy, the "likes dick" gene got through somehow, deal – probably came from you, so..."
He barely felt the whack of his dad's hand. Drunk homophobic abusive asshole, that was daddy dearest. "Don't you fucking dare, you son of a bitch. You get your act together, be a fucking man, no son of mine's gonna be a weak queer pussy..."
Daddy Dearest probably wasn't expecting to get punched in the face. "I'm not weak," Peter told him through gritted teeth. He wasn't weak. He could afford to be – no, it wasn't about what was necessary. It was just fact. He wasn't fucking weak.
Dad shrugged and wiped some blood away from his nose. "Well, for a fag, you've got a hell of a left hook."
Under normal circumstances, Peter would respond to that with snark. At that moment, he could only manage to repeat himself: "I'm not weak."
- - -
The only person who was angrier than Dad was Marcos, and no, Peter didn't really seem that one coming. It wasn't any of his business and none of that really mattered anymore, he expected Marcos to know that. However Marcos looked at him like they were at all relevant to each other, Marcos looked angry, and Peter just hated that because god, he was pathetic, clinging to what had been and what had fucked him up so badly. Peter thought he was better than that.
Peter also didn't really see coming that Marcos's reaction to being fucked up and pissed off would be to slam him into the wall of the bathroom and jerk him off as quickly as he could, but hey, what the hell?
He went with it; he groaned in the right places, he acted like a good boy for Pathetic Angry Marcos, he laughed when he thought maybe, probably, he hadn't technically consented to this. Marcos finished him off getting come across his wrist, and Peter chose to find it funny instead of nauseating.
After a few seconds of awkward silence, Marcos asked a question. "Do you ever think about him?"
"No," Peter replied quickly, and he refused to believe it was a lie. He didn't think about It. He wouldn't acknowledge It. The few seconds when It occurred to him were mistakes, that was all.
"Bullshit," Marcos swore at him, and Peter rolled his eyes.
"You're pathetic, you know?"
Marcos just shrugged. "I know."
And they went their separate ways, and did not talk again for months. It was only idle curiosity that made Peter wonder about Cassidy, and when those puppy-dog eyes avoided his, he just smirked.
- - -
He was drunk and upset and the music was very loud, so he could be forgiven for the fact he was carrying this conversation without much thought to the words.
"I was here because of my cousin-"
"I am in a position of authority-"
He nodded, and he felt words that he couldn't quite decipher through booze and disappointment spill over his lips, and it was just too fucking confusing. Because he had understood this, he had understood the rules of that, of teasing smiles and help with questions he understood just fine, of jokes from his classmates and how to just be a good boy.
Except he hadn't.
He vaguely acknowledged he was swearing and Wu was looking so compassionate, Don't you dare, do you dare you bastard, his mind tried to warn and he was just too drunk to stop things bleeding into each other, to separate past and present and to block of all compassionate faces; It's okay, I can help you, I just need you to help me, we'll be friends, good friends, just help me with something, be a good strong man and help me, okay?
His head spun around with the beat of the music until he had spun into next week and Ms. James's office, until she was asking questions like any good counselor, and he just hated it because she was trying to peer inside his head, to get her fingers in him and he was too strong to let them get their hands on him again.
It didn't show at all to her; the moment when he realized he had let himself think about It again.
- - -
When Woody Goodman announced his intention to run for County Supervisor, everything shattered. Shattered like Peter wouldn't come out of his room for days, not that anyone was there to notice. Shattered like it left him puking into the toilet bowl for hours, far longer than should have been possible given how little he could eat with the thought of that bastard in charge of the county; and when he couldn't he'd dry-heave instead, trying to spit out the aftertaste of someone else's semen; seeing the shit-eating grin, the perfect persona; spreading out to all the folks across Neptune; Trust me, help me, let me love you. Stay still, be strong, be good for me.
He shivered and wondered; he had to stop it and he was no going to let himself cry because of what happened, whether it mattered or not, he didn't cry, he didn't break, he wasn't fucking weak.
He breathed deeply and okay, fine, he could let it matter, but he could be strong. He could fight, he could make the bastard pay, he could reclaim every little instruction Woody had given him with that grin, he could save the rest of them, he could through his own orders around; get up off your knees, kid. Get up and fight.
Peter was choosing how to be a good boy.
- - -
He wasn't hyperventilating, he wasn't panicking. He wasn't nauseous or clutching at the crinkly uncomfortable fake leather he was sitting on, as if he had to hold on to something or he would self-destruct.
Except, you know, he was, and that was just pathetic.
Marcos wouldn't look him in the eye, and that was just annoying because, well, fuck Marcos and how did he get this pathetic, this weak? How did he become broken and stressed like Marcos and Cassidy were, even as Marcos tried to help, to take revenge, Marcos who seemed so close to being like him except he wasn't, except he was.
Calm down, Peter told himself. Stop it, just be calm, be normal, be strong. Calm the fuck down. Help them all, be good for them, don't lose your nerve, be strong, speak out, open that pretty little mouth of yours, come on Peter Ferrer, just be a fucking man already!
Or not. Up to you, really.
Next: Cervando Luna.
"Look to the surface, raise yourself up, higher, stronger. Look toward the light; bettering yourself can wait until you're not dead."