Lucas Quintin Fabray
Luke's eyes blinked lazily, long eyelashes faintly brushing against the cool glass of the window. A few drops of condensation collected on his blonde lashes, and he closed his eyes slowly, allowing the moisture to drip down his cheek like the first tear shed in a moment of weakness. Or the last.
The day had long ago faded into night. Barren stretches of road between Ohio and New York hadn't taken any time at all to become monotonous beyond belief.
Luke looked down at his watch. They should be arriving within the hour. Maybe two, tops.
He pulled the hood of his jacket up over his shaggy, blonde hair to ward off the slight chill that permeated the air in the bus's interior. Crossing his ankle over his knee, Luke began to fiddle with the laces on his left shoe.
Anything to avoid thinking about yesterday. Or the past week or month or year or... Or any of his life, really. All of it. What did it mean, when a person started avoiding thoughts of their entire existence?
He pressed his cheek against the cold glass and huffed a resigned breath of air out across his lips. Anything to avoid thinking about tomorrow.
His wandering thoughts brought him little comfort as the steady, rhythmic pulse of the road beat by underneath the carriage of the bus. He didn't want to think about what tomorrow would bring. He didn't want to think about his past. And above all else, he really didn't want to think about the past twenty-four hours - the Breaking Point and the Fallout, as he so lovingly referred to all of the happenings in his mind.
And since he wanted nothing more than to avoid those thoughts, they were exactly the thoughts that overwhelmed him in the darkness as the bus pressed on towards its final destination...
"What on earth is this?" Russell Fabray boomed out from behind the worn, leather sofa in his study.
Luke had just gotten home from his first cross country running practice of the summer. A headband was pushing his hair back from his face, and his tank top was sticking to his chest uncomfortably. He wanted nothing more than to bypass any interaction with his parents and head straight up to the shower that was calling his name.
If only he could be so lucky.
Jogging back down the hallway, Luke rested his hand on the study entrance. He steadied himself as he peaked around the corner, and his breath caught in his throat.
His dad was holding up a long, tan wrap. It could have been for anything, really. But this wrap was Luke's. And it held a very specific purpose.
"Oh," Luke started nervously, stepping into the room and crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm sorry, did I leave that out? I'll just take it and go put it away."
He moved forward to take the wrap from Russell's outstretched hand, but Russell moved his arm backwards. Luke's fingers grasped at air instead of the thin, stretchy material, and he faltered.
"I thought this was a phase." The words left Russell's lips in what could only be described as a deadly hiss. His voice was low, and Luke knew from experience that these were the moments when his father was to be feared above all others.
"Just let me have it, I'll go put it away and you won't see it again -"
"You think that's the answer, do you?" As his father seethed, Luke tried not to point out that hiding things away was exactly how this family dealt with all of its issues. Wisely, he kept his mouth shut. Russell continued. "I'm throwing this garbage away. You don't need it, you never have! Your mother is ignorant for feeding into your outrageous desires, and I won't have it any longer. Go up to your room and bring me everything like this." Luke opened his mouth, prepared to protest. "Now," Russell interrupted.
It was one of those moments...
It certainly wasn't the first time that Luke and Russell had squared off in this fashion over the past few months. Always, Luke would trudge despondently up to his room where he would pack all of the things Russell never wanted to see or hear about again, and he'd bring them back downstairs where his father would promptly throw them outside with the garbage. Always.
But not this time. This time, Luke wasn't going to let his father throw anything away. This time, Luke was going to be true to himself.
"No," he breathed out, trying to sound as strong and confident as he could under the given circumstances.
Russell's lip curled, and the mockery of a smile on his face caused Luke to shudder. "No?" he questioned.
Luke shook his head from side to side.
Taking slow steps forward, Russell crinkled the wrap into a wadded up ball in his white-knuckled fist. "Now listen to me right now - listen and hear these words, because I will not be saying them again." Luke swallowed thickly but held his ground when his father was suddenly standing in front of him. They were nose to nose, and Luke could see the blotchy skin of Russell's cheeks, the dilated pupils, the pulsing vein on the side of his neck. "This -" he shook the wrap in front of Luke's face "- is not how your mother and I raised you. We raised you and your sister to be wholesome, contributing members of society. We raised you as Christians. We raised you to always put your best foot forward - to impress with your talents to such a degree that your faults may never even be brought into question. We raised you a certain way, and that is not the way you have been living recently."
Russell took a deep breath to continue, and Luke interrupted. "I've only just started living, Dad. This is me. This is the real me. I've felt this way for as long as I can possibly remember! But I've always hidden it, pushed it away. I was afraid of what it meant, but I can't hide it anymore, Dad. That's just not the answer for me at this point in my life."
"At this point in your life?" Russell was practically whispering now. Luke was afraid, and he had to strain to hear his father's words. "You're seventeen years old. You don't know anything about the world or your future or what you want. To think otherwise is absurdly narcissistic. You will live by my rules as long as you live under my roof, and I am telling you to go up to your room and bring me every last thing in your possession that you know I do not want in my house."
Luke knew. Luke knew about the books under his bed and the articles on his laptop and the half dozen other wraps in his sock drawer and the notebook full of photos of masculine haircuts. Luke knew that none of these items would fall onto a list of things warranting Russell's approval.
But Luke also knew that he couldn't live this way anymore.
He stepped back out of Russell's personal space. Their eyes remained connected for a few seconds longer than was probably socially acceptable. Then Luke nodded his head once, turned, and walked out of the study.
His footsteps were heavy on the stairs, and the door clicking shut in its frame echoed in his eardrums. Moving forward, Luke sat on the edge of his bed, dropping his chin down into his hand.
Now or never, he thought to himself. With renewed fervor, he dove over the side of his bed. Hanging upside down, he pushed a shoebox aside and pulled out his notebook. Flipping through the pages, he skimmed over haircuts and names and fashionable eyeglass frames before stopping near the back of the filled pages...
...Where there was a list.
Luke jumped off the bed, throwing the notebook down on the comforter. He ran his finger across each line of the list, naming the things out loud as he went.
"Clothes - jeans, shorts, t's, long sleeves, wraps, socks, underwear, formal attire." Frantically running around his room, he gathered the biggest bag he could find - one he had hidden away for just this occasion - and began throwing the listed items into the bag. "Memories - photographs, albums, camera, laptop." He kept his movements as quiet as he possibly could, afraid of arousing suspicion. "Electronics - power cords, phone, iPod." He peeked his head out onto the second floor landing as he went to grab "Toiletries - shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, razor."
Within fifteen minutes, Luke was packed. His next move was to sneak down the hallway to his parents' bedroom. He knew his mom would be in there. His dad hadn't come up the stairs, so the coast should be relatively clear.
Sticking his head inside the master bedroom, Luke saw Judy Fabray sitting on a chair in the corner, a glass of finely aged scotch clutched in her palm.
"Mom?" Luke whispered as he walked inside, shutting the door softly behind him.
"Honey," Judy replied, dazedly looking up and over at her child. "Is something wrong?" she questioned, noting the tension across Luke's uncovered shoulders.
"No," Luke was quick to reassure. Then, thinking better of it, he corrected himself. "Yeah, something's wrong, Mom." Judy clutched more tightly at her drink and took a sip before nodding for Luke to continue. "I've had enough, it's that simple. I can't live under his roof anymore." A tear was already making its way down his mother's face. He reached out to wipe it away. "Please understand, this is for the best. I'll never be able to be myself here. I won't be able to live the life I have to live in order to be able to sleep with myself at night, Mom." He was crouched down in front of her now, on his knees. He was begging with his eyes, asking her to understand the words that were pouring across his lips from his very soul. "I'll never be who he wants me to be, and I can't live that life here - I won't live that untruth anymore."
Judy nodded. "But where will you go?"
It hadn't been a difficult decision. Luke had flipped to the very last page of the worn out notebook on his bed. There - printed in his small, neat writing - was his sister's address in Queens. He plugged it into his phone before stuffing the notebook into his backpack and tossing it over his shoulder. The duffel followed soon after, and Luke had walked down the stairs and out the front door.
Russell had yelled for him to turn back around only once, but Luke hadn't stopped walking until he got to the salon a few blocks away. After a shampoo and rinse, he had pulled out his notebook and shown his usual stylist the new haircut he wanted. Half an hour later, Luke felt more like himself than he had felt - maybe ever - in his entire life.
He had paid her with some of the money that he had been saving in a false book on his bookshelf for at least four years now. Money that he was prepared to use in case of an emergency. And while the Breaking Point and the Fallout had been intense and painful to deal with, the haircut had been therapeutic - and thus well worth the money spent.
The next stop was the Greyhound bus station on the other side of town. Even though it wasn't even July yet, the summer heat was stifling. Luke's cross country training outfit was drenched with perspiration and more than a little uncomfortable by the time he got to the station. So he went into a bathroom stall, changed into fresh clothes, and then approached the ticket counter.
But there were no more buses leaving Lima that day. So Luke had called his sister, explaining the situation and asking if he could come live with her. She had said yes, though she wanted far more answers than what he was willing to give over the phone. But she was his big sister, and Luke was always welcome to stay with her - for as long as he needed. Even if the stay was permanent.
They had always been relatively close. But relatively also made it difficult to say exactly how close they were. Did they tell each other a lot of things? Certainly. Did they tell each other everything? Luke wasn't sure. One thing they most definitely shared was a legitimate fear of Russell Fabray. And so when Luke had made it clear that he couldn't live under their father's roof anymore, Francine had understood.
Luke slept on a bench inside the station that night, and he was first in line for a bus ticket out of Ohio the next morning.
His eyes were uncomfortably dry as Luke blinked himself back into the present. Bright, city lights were shining in the distance, and he knew that he would be there soon.
Reaching down under the seat in front of him, he grabbed his bag and removed his notebook and a pen from inside. He managed to find a blank page, and he started writing.
- new name
- new haircut
- new city
- new school
- NEW LIFE
A smile found its way onto his lips, curling them up at the edges, as he realized that he could already cross most of the items on his list off. His eyes shifted from the notebook in his lap and back towards the ever-approaching city in the distance.
Yeah. For the first time in a long time, things were definitely starting to look up.
The bus pulled into the station at eleven o'clock at night. Having only gotten a couple of hours of sleep the night previous, Luke probably should have been tired. But he was excited, and he felt alive for the first time in a long time - maybe for the first time ever in his seventeen years of life.
He had called Francine when he was about half an hour out. She had the early morning shift, and she told Luke to take a cab and that she would pay him back for however much it cost him the next day. Of course, Luke would never accept her money - she was opening up her home, and he would probably end up being something of a financial burden over the next year as it was anyway.
The thought made Luke's stomach churn.
So he had grabbed a cab and taken the rather expensive ride across town happily, knowing that a familiar face would be waiting for him when he arrived.
Grabbing his duffel and selecting the bills to pay the tab, Luke tried not to be overly pleased when the older gentleman driving told him to "Have a good night, young man."
"You too," Luke replied, turning to stare up at the modest house his sister had moved into last year when she moved to the city. The shutters were dark blue, and the front door matched. The side of the house was white and clean and wholesome. Stepping onto the sidewalk that led up to the front door, Luke decided that it already felt a lot like home.
The front door was unlocked. It creaked slightly as Luke pushed it open, stepping inside and shutting it softly behind him. He dropped his bags to the side of the door and slipped out of his shoes, placing them next to some of his sister's shoes against the wall. A floorboard creaked, and Luke's head snapped up in the direction of the noise.
His sister stood at the top of the stairs in some very short sleep shorts and a tank top with her long, curly blonde hair up in a high ponytail on the back of her head. She looked like she had just stepped out of a high school yearbook photo, sans the cheerleading uniform.
"Hey," Luke said softly as she began to descend the stairs, her dainty steps carrying her ever closer.
And suddenly, her strong, slender arms were thrown around his neck and she was giggling against his cheek. "Oh, Lucy Q! I missed you so much!"
Luke sighed against her neck. "Come on, Frannie," he replied, purposefully using Francine's childhood nickname that she despised. "You know I'm not going by that name anymore."
Francine pulled back, an unrelenting smile on her face. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Yes! Lucas. Lucas Quintin, right? I'll get used to it sooner rather than later, I promise." She leaned forward and kissed Luke's smooth cheek before clasping her brother's hands in her own and saying, "Come on, I'll show you your room. We'll need to fix it up a little bit - maybe give it a fresh coat of paint or three - but it'll be completely yours before you know it."
He smiled and followed his sister upstairs.
Luke didn't know what tomorrow or the next day would bring. He didn't know what it would be like, transitioning into this new life. But he had his sister's support, and he had confidence in himself and who he was. Lucy Quinn Fabray was the name he had been given at birth, but he had never felt at home in his own body - nor did he fit into the mold of the typical good, young Christian woman as he got older. He had known for a long time that his body and his psyche did not mesh. And for the first time in his life, Lucas Quintin Fabray was finally stepping up and doing something about it. Sure, there would be difficulties - but he was ready to face them.
That night, Luke fell asleep with a smile on his face and hope for the future in his heart.
A/N: Thanks for giving this fic a shot! I realize that the big issue here - transgender identity - can be quite a touchy subject. I do not have any personal experience in this area, but I promise to handle it with as much reverence as I possibly can as the story unfolds.