A/N. First (and possibly only) story for this fandom. I think Ren had potential to be a pretty complex character but he was really only used to give Leslie a problem at home so I decided to give him a life. I don't own the Wicked Lovely series because if I did, I wouldn't have to buy them.

Ren didn't like being sober. In fact, he hated it. Sober meant he had to think and when he thought, it was only about the major fuck up called his life. He knew most of it was his own fault but he liked to think that other people had influenced those choices.

When his mother left, he started doing drugs. Drugs were his escape, his way of hiding. The departure of his mother has triggered something in him and he wanted to hide from that- the feeling of vulnerability. He felt anger at her, for leaving, but he also scared. What happened to a child without his mother? In truth, he used the drugs to protect himself, from himself.

"So, Ren, you got my money in your pocket?" a pause, "Why are you shaking your head? That a no? Guess I'll get my payment in a different way."

He was a dealer now but once he'd just been a customer. The first time he couldn't make a payment, his dealer made sure he got 'paid.' Him, his brother and his friends. The dealer had dragged Ren back to his place, into a living room that reeked of pot smoke. It was there that he was stripped of his clothes and those hands had been all over him, different mouths kissing his neck and shoulders, at least two people with their hands in his boxers. They took their time with him, shared him as though he was their property. He'd cried and shouted, begging them to stop, telling them he'd get them their money. They'd ignored him and he'd spent the rest of the night curled on the settee, shivering and naked.

Ren shook his head, telling himself not to think about it. He wanted to move past it and dwelling on memories didn't help.

"You don't just vanish like that, you idiot! And look at the state of you; were you holed up in a hotel with a whore or something? Well, where have you been?"

He had struggled home the next morning, the jeans his dealer had given him to wear hanging off his hips. His father, drunk already, had shouted at him, demanding to know where he's been. Ren had pushed past him and hid himself away in his room. Leslie had pounded on the door, concerned and trying to get him to tell her where he'd been. He'd ignored her, hunched over on his bed, facing the wall and hugging his knees.

He'd never told anyone about what happened that night.

"Piss off, all right? My brother can get you the 'merchandise' when he can so quit bugging him, 'kay?"

He hadn't meant Leslie to be hurt like he was. He'd been in trouble with some customers, threatening addicts, and she'd stepped in to help him out. The next day, said customers came to him, finding him while he was high and practically oblivious. When he sobered up and realised he'd bargained Leslie off to them, he'd started smoking his stash away like there was no tomorrow.

Ren used the cowards' way of running from his problems and, damn, did he know it. And he would use it again now, hiding from his memories. Flicking the lighter on, filling the room with that wonderful and calming smoke, was what seemed most important right now. Leslie was at work so he couldn't hurt her.

Ren hated being sober; it meant he was real.