A/N: To all those who encouraged me to keep on going, you know who you are. I love and appreciate the words. (Trigger, Sapphire, MizzC, you know who you are!)
This one shot comes from The Boondocks Season 3 Episode 3 "The Red Ball".
Disclaimer: I do not own The Boondocks. I own "All The Rage" comic collection, but I do not own The Boondocks. Aaron McGruder does, and it is a better world because of it.
Not once in his ten years had he felt such a strong and overwhelming sense of pain.
Sensory cells inside his brain were able to decipher various types of pain. When he tested Luna's lotus kung fu abilities, his brain had registered pain. When Tom's body was possessed by an enraged Stinkmeaner, his brain had registered pain. When he battled Bushido Brown to prevent Riley from kidnapping Oprah, his brain had registered pain. In all those instances his brain told his body what to feel, and he felt it, he felt it terribly. Again, it was one of those times when his brain told his body what to feel, and again it was a direct and overwhelming sense of pain.
This time, it ran deeper than the cuts, the bruises, and the broken wrist.
A feeling, a nagging feeling inside was something that he couldn't wash away or shrug off. It lingered during the game, and it lingered to after the game. Now, in the infirmary, it lingered in the air-watching over him while he lied in the bed.
"Are they still bitching about it?"
"Well Mr. Wuncler your team captain has a broken wrist, and the others have bruises and cuts that we didn't even believe possible."
He shrugged off the details of his team with little care. "Do I pay you for this?"
"No you don't Mr. Wunclear. I'm a volunteer nurse. The doctor' is working on the others; if you want to scream at someone, scream at him."
His throat was dry, crackling dry. When his eyes finally did push open all he could see was the malicious smile creeping on his white, horribly wrinkled face. The triumphant glint in his eyes, and the first real thought after many hours was why he had participated in that stupid, ridiculous game again. He had hoped that they did not notice his half-open eyes; it made it easier for him to tell what they were truly thinking by their facial expressions.
The nurse seemed fine enough. She wore her standard nurse uniform, and Wuncler didn't appear any less rich with his fat suit off.
"How about the other team?" His eyes didn't lose that triumphant streak, "Are their players doing any worse?"
"No, more or less," she replied flatly to her employer's words, "they have the same amount, more or less, cuts and bruises as us."
He strained to listen, but the words began to become jumbled together. He knew that he had to be on some sort of medication, but his medication wasn't working. He still felt the pain in his bones, in his skin, and in his wrist. He forced his eyes to stay open, but they couldn't. His vision blurred and fuzzed up, and he watched with a defeated look in his eyes as he was swept into a soundless oblivion.
"What about the team captain…"
"Oh her, poor thing, she'll never play again."
She lied to him
It was a given, solid fact. A reasonable explanation to all that happened and he directed his anger towards her for her deception. It was sound and simple; direct and neat. However, Huey knew there was more to it than that; there had to be because he felt it.
Yes, she had lied.
But he had believed her.
Like he believed Ed Wuncler and Jennifer Herman.
All in all, it was his fault.
He allowed his emotions shroud his better judgment. Normally, he could sense when he was being deceived. This time, that day, he couldn't. He couldn't even get through her lie, her protective shield. He allowed himself to be thrown around like a rag dog; her ambitions had come into play (like they should have in a competition), but she had taken his emotions into play as well.
"Never play again…"
His brain had registered pain again, sharp and conflicting pain. It ran deeper than a cut of a blade, the target was harder than the hit of a punch or a kick, and the insane aftermath was worse than his broken wrist. He was falling into abyss. This abyss was full of feeling, and as he fell he didn't understand how to get out of it. If it was a dark abyss, then yes, he could have easily pulled himself out. There was difference between nothingness and being aware of a vague presence; it made it worse when you didn't know how to remove it.
"You're still alive."
Once the medication had worn off, he was still mildly dizzy, the sun had set and night was dawning. He could feel the shadows lying on him, and when his eyes fully opened he lazily rose from his bed. He winced at the soreness of his muscles; he tenderly reached out to his calves, but he cursed at the shot of pain from his wounded wrist. Then he swore again for being dumb enough to use his broken wrist.
"I made sure I would take you down with me."
Surprisingly, her voice held no trace of venom. He was sitting upright at last, and he took a look to the other side of his bed, where she was. Her body was lying into the bed where her broken leg was pulled upright in a large cast; she held the television remote in her hand, but her attention was not focused on the television.
"You didn't take me down with you. I won."
"May be so," she said slyly, "but did you win, really?"
His eyes turned sharply to her direction. In her bed she revealed no sign of emotion. Her thin lips were pushed into a straight line, and her dark hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. She wasn't looking at him first, her eyes were still focus on the wall, but then she turned to him.
"I will never play kickball again."
His eyebrows rose.
"My leg will heal, but I can never play." He knew that. He caught snippets of it before he fell into his slumber. Huey had long come the realization that words with the capability of impact varied with each person. The word "never" could be thrown out easily with anything kind of sentence; it can only be made useful when the right person is using it. Ming was using it well.
She sighed, "Might as well."
"What will happen to you now?" He shivered at how the sentence flew from his mouth. It sounded needy, urgent; the need to know was inside of him. He felt frightened by this; he couldn't permit for his fear to show, he displaced it somewhere in his head.
Ming continued to stare. Her dark orbs dug into him, silently searching for anything, but then her shoulders hung and she knew there was no point. "Most likely, I will return to my native China and…I do not know."
Huey didn't reply. He sat in his bed and watched; his feeling wouldn't go away.
"Do not worry; I will be gone when the sun rises." Her eyes gazed over to the window, "We cannot waste time here. There are more opportunities."
Her gaze remained on the window; she stared off into the starless sky. "Grandfather is most displeased with the outcome of the game. He has not addressed it, not yet."
They fell into an uncomfortable silence, although neither was willing to say it. The crickets were head in the distance, and the snoring of other patients echoed in the halls into their room. Tensions were rising, and the two children were incapable of handling them as responsible adults should. "I did what I had to do for my country, my team, and Grandfather."
"Bullshit." His brown eyes were hard and uncaring; his feelings were numbed and pushed aside. The pain of his wrist and bones were coming together, and his anger was steadily rising. "You did it for yourself; end of story."
"I have country pride. And I have team loyalty." She returned the hardness in her eyes, "I did it for them and myself. We all have the same goal, despite our different backgrounds."
"You used deceitful tactics to get into the game. You're just as bad as Mr. Wuncler and Mr. Long-duo."
"You would not have found out if it was not for my idiot teammates." He saw her face turn into an inquiring stare, "How did you learn to speak Chinese?"
He didn't answer her.
She sighed, "I did it for pride and glory. They did it for greed and pride. I want to be the best."
"And because of your leg you will never be the best."
"I have you to thank for that."
"No, you have yourself to thank for that."
There was poison in his words, and they had taken their unintentional effect. They seeped through her skin, sinking into her bloodstream, and soon enough his words were traveling throughout her body. Like venom should, it had a painfully aware aftermath. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened a little, and even Huey was surprised at the short agonizing look in her eyes that he was able to detect. Suddenly, her brain began to fight off the venom and she had processed how she was reacting to her words. He didn't hear her breath going in deeper and steadier; he didn't know she had to count backwards to get her nerves back together.
"It does not matter on who is responsible," she ignored his pointing look, "all that matters is that you won and I lost."
"Is that all there is?" He asked her again, "Is that all that matters to the game?"
She was looking upwards now. Her hair beginning to tangle from the pillow, "I do not know Huey Freeman. There is more to it than that, yes, but that is all I can see."
The spare energy in his body was wearing thin. His rest did not replenish his strength; his body fell softly back onto the mattress, and his eyes remained locked on her figure. "Are you sure it is all you want to see?"
She felt so tired, so weakened by the day's events. She almost didn't hear him because of her mind floating off. Fortunately for her, she was able to catch the meaning of it. "It does not matter if that is what I see or not. The conclusion is that I will return to China as a failure." She took a deep breath, and he vaguely saw her small body shake as she did so, "In spite of all of that I…I…"
Her voice got smaller and smaller before she had fully trailed off into a peaceful sleep. Huey desperately held onto her last words, keeping them safely inside his head; try as he might, her final sentences came out as fragments. He couldn't grasp and piece them together like he wanted.
"In spite of all that I…"
Had it not been for the medication, Huey would have been able to hear what her final words to him were. He would have heard her, and he would have understood her. The understanding would have been extremely limited, but he knew he would have been able to stretch it if given the chance. Rays of light shined brightly through the window, gently touching his face, tickling his eyelids. Slowly and surely his eyes opened a third time, his vision once again blurred and cloudy, and his mouth dry and tasteless; somehow, his brain was feeling better. It wasn't as heavy as it was before, and when his vision came in focus, he noticed a shattering fact.
The bed on the other side of his was empty. The sheets and blanket were dressed accordingly, the pillow was propped against the board, and the body imprint had long ago faded away. A strong scent, he could detect of lavender, traveled into his nostrils and filled his lungs. Last night the air was stale and chalky. He wondered where it came from.
" 'Bout damn time yo' got your ass up. We been waiting for a good minute."
In the doorway stood Riley and Granddad. They were bandaged and banged up; Riley had a black patch over his swollen eyes, and Granddad still had the bandage taped on his head. They looked considerably better compared to him.
"Drink some water boy," Granddad walked over to him with a glass of water, "we're gonna be leaving soon." Huey took the cool glass gingerly, feeling the wave of relief wash down his throat when he began to drink to refreshing liquid.
"Can you walk?"
"Yeah I can walk."
"Then get ya ass out of that bed. We're going home." It would have been better if Granddad had waited for Huey to stretch his stiff and sore muscles before walking around. The old man and ten year old were in no mood to argue about consideration of other's bodily injuries. He got of the bed and went to the bathroom where he changed out of the uncomfortable hospital clothing. The clothing was thrown to the floor in disregard, but he knew the stale odor remained on his skin. He could feel the chalk on his body; he scrunched his face in displeasure. Riley was complaining outside the door; he sighed, it was going to be a long ride.
"Eww, Huey you smell like shit."
"You smell the same."
"Yeah, but you smell way worse!" He covered his nose in disgust, "Nasty as hell nigga, I think I'm gonna throw up."
"Boy you betta not throw up in Dorothy! You going straight for a scarred ass, just like yo' face!"
"Then why Huey had to sit in the back wit me? I could've sat in the front this time, but no-gotta let a funky ass smelling nigga sit in the back wit me!"
"You betta shut yo' mouth boy!" Granddad growled, "Don't make me come at you, don't think I will!"
Granddad and Riley didn't end their fight there; the two continued to bicker like children. Huey crept deeper into the back seat; he was sure his father wasn't going to attack Riley this time, his old body was too sore for it. The rest of the drive, Huey was left listening to the violent and deranged words exchanged between his grandfather and younger brother.
"Does it hurt?"
Riley's eyes narrowed, "Your wrist. Does it hurt?"
Granddad had left as soon as they arrived home. He didn't say where he was going, and the boys didn't inquire. They grabbed what remained of their kickball uniforms and hurried out of Dorothy before he could start yelling at them. Slowly, they walked into the empty house, cold and clean, shutting the door loudly behind them. Now, their uniforms were disposed of, there wasn't much for them to do. Video games were out of the question, and so was training and basketball; they retreated to their bedroom, neither lying in their beds but wanting to.
"Not as bad as before."
Riley took a look at Huey's wrist. Although it was carefully preserved in clean and gracefully wrapped bandages the younger Freeman could see it was heavily swollen and the dark blues and purples of bruising surrounding it. He went closer to inspect it, making sure he didn't touch it too tenderly but enough not to make his brother smack him.
"Eww nigga, Chinese Bitch got you baaad."
He was no surprised in the least, "That's all you gotta say?"
"What else I gotta say nigga?" A grin spread across his lips, "Are do you wanna hear 'bout how the bitch got you wrapped around her little finger during the game?"
The once mildly peaceful atmosphere in the bedroom was crushed in a second; Riley didn't receive a heated retort nor did he get a smack on the head. Huey's eyes dangerously narrowed, and in a flash he used his good hand to grab his wrist tightly, pulling him down to him.
"Did I hit a soft spot?" He chuckled, "Dang Huey, we all know you were throwing the game for her." He continued to laugh with a comical look on his face, "At first, at first I didn't wanna believe it. Like naw, Huey ain't go down like that. But then I heard Mr. Wuncler and that Chinese nigga talking in the waiting room and he was all My granddaughter tried to use the rebhilitation center against Mr. Freeman. And I was like ah hellz naw cuz damn Huey I didn't think Whitecrest had made you THAT weak."
His fingers got tighter around the bone; his patience was unlimited, but there was always someone, he was always that someone, who could slice down his limit and make a quarter.
"Riley," he tried to gain his patience back.
"What? Damn nigga, I neva thought you would be the one!"
Laughter. The other team had laughed at him on the field. The audience and others had laughed at him before he allegedly gave Jennifer Herman a permanent, severe limp-which had still not been cleared up. Anger and hate, he could withstand. He could even handle their yells and swears, but their laughter. Their mockery of him; he couldn't and didn't stand it. Riley knew this better than anyone; he had been a subject of his brother's formidable anger numerous times. When Huey fully grasped Riley's wrist and swiftly pulled him off his feet, flipping a few feet in the air before letting go and letting him crash into the wall and sinking onto the floor on the other side of room, it should not have shocked him.
And it didn't.
"Ouch. Damn nigga. Ouch, hurt like a mothafucka. Damn it," he gasped between laughs, "She got you; she got you good."
Huey glared. Riley laughed. He glared again. Riley laughed again. Huey left.
"She got you; she got you good."
His wrist was throbbing again. Persevered expertly in the bandaged cast the nurses had wrapped for him, he could feel the pumping and the pain aiming all towards that area. He glared angrily at it; Riley's laughter was still heard upstairs and the wrist was a constant reminder of what he had done.
She did get him.
She got him good.
She lied to him
She laughed at him.
Pain shot up through his body. He stumbled down the hall, letting his free hand fall onto the wall. It shot up from his wrist, an explosion of indescribable pain ran only through that area.
"Damn it," he sunk onto the floor, "damn it."
She had laughed at him
His wrist continued to throb.
He could hear now. Her soft, evil laughter. No higher than a small chuckle, all forced back into her throat so no one would see, but he saw her, he heard her. She sounded like a child; he knew it was no child's laughter coming out of her mouth. He didn't hear a child's laughter; all he could hear was the loud crackling of the SheDemon of Wuzhong.
Yet, the demon had been defeated. He made sure of it.
Sweat beaded his forehead as he contemplated this; at the end of the game, they had both destroyed each other, but he was the sole victor. He tagged her out with the charred remains of the ball, thus winning the game. He couldn't fathom why he put his victory in question.
"Shit," he cursed as he banged his head (hair) against the wall, "shit, shit, shit."
The answer was there. He wasn't the one to ignore the obvious. Riley could see it, and possibly the rest of the team too. He had won the game, he tagged her out. She had won as well, unbeknownst to the others. She used only her skills and ambition to produce welcoming results; on the other hand, he allowed his emotions to come in. He gave her permission to take advantage of him.
Ming broke his wrist.
Huey broke her leg.
It didn't mean he had won because he didn't win. She didn't win either. As he calmly placed his thoughts together along with his feelings, he could see it now, he could see as clear as day-she had gotten more of it than him.
The pain in his wrist was lessening, and Riley had gone quiet upstairs. He didn't want to know what his brother was doing, and he didn't feel like seeing him at the moment. He just sat in the middle of the hallway heading to the kitchen, and stared blankly to the opposite wall. He envisioned her there, sitting in front him with smugness in her eyes, a red ball by her side, and her victorious lips playfully touching an awkward smile.
"I won," he said defiantly, "I defeated you."
"May be so," she said slyly, "but did you win, really?"
No, he had lost and so did she. They were losers in the game between Wuncler and Long-duo. He was the champion and she was the loser, but they had both lost. The two titans of kickball received only the bronze medals for their endless determination.
Closing his eyes and hearing only the soft pumping of his heart he whispered, "I felt for her."
The cells inside his skin and throughout his body sent messages into his brain which registered pain. This pain, this numbing, conflicting pain was of a sort he had never felt before. It throbbed in his wrist, it throbbed in his veins, and it throbbed in his head. His eyes peered at his broken wrist, and for some inexplicable reason all emotion was pulled away from him. He was drained, both physically and emotionally. He could feel no longer; his body was becoming numb, his sensory cells were failing him.
"I felt for her," the words barely touched his lips, "I felt for her."
Indeed he did feel for her. He felt for her like no other. He saw pain in her onyx eyes as she told her tale of woe, and he felt pain for her when she shed that single tear. His pain was like no other, no other he had experienced in his ten years, and with a small groan he submitted to the pain of the heart.
Huey Freeman was not the one to ignore the obvious.
Because of that solid, reasonable fact he sought no reason to fight on. He knew all too well that the pain of the heart was an eternal battle that could never be won by just or deceitful tactics.
Pain of the heart is the worst kind of pain known to man, and Huey knew this with a wise man's understanding. When his battered body stumbled towards her fallen one on the field, he saw the look in her eyes-the helpless look of desperation. The steel will of determination remained, but she had already lost everything she had gained. As he came near her, deep down inside, he had temporarily embraced it. Only a moment, Huey Freeman had once again felt for her.
Sitting on the wooden floor of the hallway, his body weakened and his brain dumbed down, Huey Freeman was feeling for her once more.
A/N: Ming is a heatedly debated character, mostly hated. Am I mad at that? No. Why? Because I understand why she is hated. What she did to Huey was wrong; she lied to him and took his kindness for weakness-wrong. Then she laughed at him-very wrong. But, she did receive a different reaction from Huey than I had expected. Plus, I love her attitude. Her voice annoyed me, her actions pissed me off, but I love her.
"I'll do it. I'm not interested in your ultimate contest. It's only a game."
That's bull Huey and you know it. Cuz we know it. Thus, this story was born. I do believe, and I have discussed it with others, that Huey would feel bad for breaking her leg. His guilt would be washed away by the fact that she lied and mocked him. A sequel is always possible, but I have something else planned. WoE.
I'm graduating today. This is my graduation gift from me to you. I hope you all had as much fun reading it as I did writing it! I wasn't gonna post it today, but someone persuaded me to. ^^ Have a great day folks!