For you are nothing but embers now, soon to be reduced to dust. You are the tragic decay of something beautiful.

There is a darkness about him. He knows that. Some days it feels like it infects everything he touches, taints it at the mere association. Most of all he knows that if he doesn't fight the darkness will ultimately swallow him whole.

He knows because he watched the darkness consume his parents.

He's not sure which of the two were worse if he's honest. His father was volatile and unpredictable. He doesn't know if it is the addiction that made him so depraved or if he was always that way. He remembers those terrifying moments when his father would ask him a question or give him a look that he knew he was supposed to have a response to. His brain would scream at him to do something and he would frantically try to figure out what that something was. It always ended badly though and it took him awhile to figure out why. Turns out it was because there was no right answer.

Then there was his mother, she would just collapse in on herself; a collection of parts that suddenly ceased to function. She too was unpredictable; sure sometimes there was a reason like their father lashing out at one of them, but sometimes there was no reason at all. The ups and the downs were terrifying. The highs could be as devastating as the lows, because she would do things like spend uncontrollably and then they would have to move again.

Sometimes she would turn up in the middle of school, laughing and dancing, and take him out somewhere completely inappropriate. By the end of the day she would have gone from euphoric, to screaming abuse at him before shutting down completely. When he returned to school everyone would give him looks and he would inevitably end up in a fight when someone laughed at him and called his mother crazy. Which of course she was, but he still defended her without hesitation because he was a good son no matter what anyone said.

He became the adult in his house when his parents couldn't be; which was most of the time as it turned out. He looked after his brother Aaron pretty much from the day he was born; he raised him really, and his little sister too when she was born. He hopes he didn't screw up too badly. He knows he tried his best though; he made sure his father never laid his hands on them no matter what the cost was to himself, and that cost could be pretty high.

He tried to protect his mother from him too once he was big enough because watching his father hurt her is the worst of it all. Trouble was even if he took the beatings his mother still fell apart anyway. His young mind struggled to understand. He did everything for her when he had to, for weeks sometimes. And it was exhausting. The more tired he got, the more the darkness grew.

The first time he remembers his mom trying to kill herself he was 9. She had been taken away to the hospital and he had been left alone with his father and a pool of blood that he couldn't seem to get rid of. Eventually he cut out a square of the crappy threadbare carpet just so it would be gone and he could sleep again. His father had been livid. It seemed ridiculous given the state of the hole they called home but his arguments had fallen on deaf ears. He had woken again a few hours later with dried blood on his face and a broken jaw to see his father nodding out on the couch.

His time in foster care could have saved him but instead the darkness only grew. No-one wanted a kid like him; a kid who had been in juvenile detention, a kid with an attitude problem, a kid who talked back and looked at them with hate in his eyes. He was in and out of one hellhole to the next. Some places were okay and other places were terror and violence and perversion. He protected people who needed it when he could but it was never enough. He was sure his darkness ruined them all in the end.

He made his father leave in the end. He wasn't successful the first few times he tried though. When he was fifteen he tried to run him down in a car after he tried to rent him out to one of his dealers in exchange for drugs. He should have been shocked that his father would sink that low as to do something that evil but he is not. The cravings at that moment had eaten away any humanity his father had it seemed. The knife the dealer had stuck him with when he fought back was still embedded in him when he got in that car. If he hadn't passed out from blood loss he wouldn't have missed either. A neighbour had saved his life in the end and at the time he couldn't even bring himself to be grateful. He wonders what his colleagues would think if they heard that story. And Meredith thinks she's dark and twisty; she has no idea.

Now as he sits alone looking at a picture of him and Izzie; he wonders of he is the cancer that ate away at her. Maybe it is good she is gone, because even though he is still angry with her, he still loves her and he wants her to be happy. Underneath it all he knows its better that she left him than be consumed by his darkness.

He hopes in the morning when he is less drunk he won't have to feel this way anymore. That he can just be happy with the life he has built for himself. Because some days, when he least expects it, for just a little while he is happy despite everything.

And maybe that's enough.