A/N: Written for the glee_angst_meme; the prompt "Anyone OTHER than Kurt, Rachel, or Quinn self injures. Bonus points if it's Artie, Tina, or Mike. Double bonus points if you make me cry (which isn't that hard, considering I'm a wimp but still)." This moment occurred to me, and the damn plot bunny would not leave me alone. Title comes from Pink Floyd.
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL
His head makes a sickeningly satisfying hollow sound as it collides with the smooth plaster wall, drawing the attention of his team mates a little, but they're all so stressed out it's not going to matter. Well, at least he hopes so. Some part of him is pointing out that this is stupid; it's always been a moronic thing to do, and doing it while everyone's watching and the guidance counselor is five feet away is a bad idea, but he's mind won't stay still and he just wishes he could hit into place.
Thud, thud, thud goes the whack of skin against plaster; the sound of the metal spokes on his chair is an odd sort of quiet crash-like sound. He vaguely wonders if he might wind up making holes in the wall; it seems thin enough. He has to lean forward even to reach, because he's pathetically crippled even when it comes to hurting himself. No-one seems to have noticed that his gloves are discarded on the table, and he's gripping the wheels as hard as he can, digging the print as hard as he can into his palms with every spin. His hands are red and stinging; the impact of the wall is making his head throb, and it's not enough.
When he was thirteen, the chair got stolen from him and he was hoisted over the banister of the stairs, dangerously close to falling three stories. It would have killed him, and he didn't even do anything wrong. Always just a pathetic helpless victim; he had to crawl away and cry out, beg for help, all scraps of his pride gone.
When he got home, he just forced the chair outside and towards the rough brick wall that towered there, masquerading as part of the fence. So sick of being the victim, so sick of how he could barely even remember having control, he just threw himself and the chair against it like a lunatic. Again and again until the texture grazed off half his face, until he tasted blood, until that stupid sweater-vest of his was torn and stained. Metal crashed against brick until the damn thing couldn't take it anymore; collapsed underneath him, and roughly threw him to the ground. He just lay there, face red and covered in dirt and scratches.
His mother found him eventually, of course. She didn't buy it was an accident for a second, not that he tried all that hard to convince her, because hey; crippled for life over here, didn't that give him some kind of right to be not okay? She screamed at him and cried, told him to look what he was doing to himself, and she was such a hypocrite, because hadn't she been fucking driving that night anyway? Wasn't she the one who let his life get torn from him anyway; wasn't it all her fault?
Later, when he calmed down, he wondered if he was going crazy. The grazing all over his face – now puffy and purple – just made a nauseous pit form in his stomach. He knew what happened hadn't been his mother's fault, and he didn't like what he was thinking or doing. He took his mother's advice, and looked at what he was doing to himself – what he saw only made him feel ashamed.
But it wasn't really a big thing. His scratches and bruises faded – he took a week or so off school, just because he didn't want everyone figuring it out, or screwing up and arresting his parents for child abuse. Most people just dismissed that as him retreating to lick his wounds after being publicly humiliated and almost dying. Maybe, in a way, it was.
It was never a big thing. Occasionally, in moments of stress, he'd just punch the wall a few times, until his knuckles stung and turned red – that was safe, easy to cover up; turns out those gloves were multipurpose. Sure, sometimes the sting of sweat against his grazes made him feel crazy, but it wasn't really a thing. Years passed uneventfully.
Then there was Tina; the stutter-that-wasn't and she lied to him and he just saw red. Through himself against the rough, rotten wooden fencing around their home. He wound up with splinters riddled through him like darts or something; wood and sticks screwing with the chair's mechanics, and his mother looked so disappointed.
But she didn't make a thing of it then either. Nor did he. Life went on.
The hollow sound of the plaster is getting to him, because it's scary-smooth and it doesn't hurt all that much, when he thinks about it. He's half-expecting the performance-insanity to wear off any second, and everyone will realize he's beating himself to a pulp against the wall, so he'll have to stop. In a few seconds, his own performance-insanity has got to wear off, because somewhere he knows this can't be that serious and giving himself concussion will be somewhat counterproductive.
Thud thud thud echoes the room, while somewhere in the distance, Ms. Pilsbury is saying into a phone, "Artie keeps wheeling himself into the wall." So they're noticing. He feels something pull on the handles of his chair as he readies himself for another crash. Confused, he looks behind him.
Tina is pulling on the handles, looking sympathetic and smiling. He doesn't smile back. Rachel tries to call some order to the chaos, and Artie doesn't think it will work, but god bless her for trying. He catches the sight of himself in the mirror, and he really doesn't look any different – nothing for anyone to pay attention to.
He looks down at his hands, palms red and worn.