For Troy :)

Twelve-year-old Tony stared out at his father and his friends in the living room from his room. They were laughing unnaturally loud and swigging nasty-smelling stuff from bottles, yelling and slurring their words. Tony knew what they were: they were drunk. Again. He dared not go out, for fear what happened last time he had.

"Let go of me!" Tony cried as the men threw him to the ground.

"Hey, look, he's crying!" One of the guys slurred, straddling him, raining down blow after blow on his face. Pain riddled him, and he felt something warm and sticky spread all over his face.

"GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!" Tony screamed, spitting blood, kicking him in the groin. Suddenly, the man's bloodshot eyes turned angry.

"Little bitch." And he kicked Tony in the side, hard, once, twice, three times.

Tony lay, barely conscious, on the now blood-stained carpet. He painfully steadied himself on his hands and knees, and crawled to his room, his vision coming in and out of focus. He reached for his old teddy bear, the one his mother had given him before she left. He sat on the ground, with the teddy bear, sobbing, wanting to disappear.

Or die.

So Tony stayed in his room. He gingerly touched the still-dark bruise on his cheek, and winced. He told his teachers he fell. They raised eyebrows, but asked no questions. They thought he was a troublemaker, anyways. He sat on his bed and pulled out his math homework, and started doing it, desperately hoping his father's friends would leave. But he knew they wouldn't. He knew they would crash on his couch, then wake up tomorrow, rubbing their heads and complaining loudly about major headaches. Tony swore to himself he would never touch a bottle, ever. Even if his life depended on it. He would never drink, because he saw what it did. It destroyed people from the inside out.

"Get up, lazy ass."

Tony was being shaken awake by his father.

He blinked groggily. "What?"

"Come on. We're going."

"Going where?"

"Why the hell do you need to know?" His father growled, grabbing his shoulder. Tony ripped his hand off.

"Don't touch me." Tony growled back.

His father backhanded him, making Tony double over in pain. He clutched his cheek, but gritted his teeth, determined not to show pain.

"Come on, let's go."

Tony checked the time on the stove: 7:00. He had crashed pretty early.

They drove in silence, Tony not saying anything. He didn't want two bashed-in cheeks.

They finally pulled up to a small house, after driving for about two hours. Tony could hear people. He suddenly got nervous.

"Get out."

Tony did as told, opening the door and making sure not to slam it.

"Come on."

Tony followed his father, not saying a word.

His father opened the screen door to a room full of people. They were all either smoking some gross-smelling stuff or swigging something. He tensed less up when he saw his cousins, in the corner of the room.

"Hey, Tony." His cousin Mickey clapped him on the back, showing a big grin at seeing his little cousin. "Long time, no see, Lil' Cuz."

"Hey, Mick. What's going on?"

Suddenly, Mickey got a little tense. "IDK, little man. We all were brought here." He gestured to the rest of his cousins, slightly trembling, behind him.

Suddenly, a man centered himself in the room. Tony recognized his father.

"Well, everyone, let's have a little fun. Kids?" He called.

So he wasn't drunk yet.

"Come on, get the hell out here!" He growled. The kids shuffled. The adults had formed a huge circle, and were cheering and whispering excitedly to each other.

"All right. Let's get this fight on?"


Tony suddenly felt sick.

"Alrighty, then. First, Mick and my boy, Tony. Y'all know the rules: crybaby's the loser!' He whooped.

"Oh no." Mick's face fell.


"They're gonna make us fight, little man."

"What? Why?"

"They made me do this, too. You fight. First one to cry loses."


"Come on." He lightly pushed me.

They went into the circle, taking off their shirts.


Tony looked his cousin in the eye.


Mickey met his.


In a split second, his cousin had a horrid look on his face. A face of grief, horror.

He mouthed the words "I'm sorry."

And then he lunged at him. He hit his jaw. Tony felt something snap. Tears came to his eyes. But he wouldn't cry.

He refused.

And so, he lunged back, socking him in the stomach repeatedly. One, two, one, two. One right after another. Mickey doubled over, clutching his stomach. He looked up. Unshed tears shone brightly in the dim fluorescent light of the house. The family cheered. I wanted to turn and run away. The life would be beaten out of me before I made it twelve steps.

Mickey came back sweeping Tony, knocking him to the ground. He straddled Tony, pinning his arms with his legs. He punched him, hitting his cheek. He kept hitting him, one fist after the other.

"Tony." He suddenly whispered. "Cry. It'll all be over if you do."

Tony let the words sink in. The, he made the slightest movement with his head.

He let the tears he had been holding back come to his eyes.

"Loser!" Mick suddenly cried. The audience cheered, clapping Mick on the back. The small crowd began to disperse. Mick gently seized Tony's arm.

"Come on, lil' cuz. Let's get you fixed up."

He led Tony to the bathroom, which was surrounded by my other cousins. Suddenly, a little, brown-haired figure came running out, throwing her arms him

"Delia." Tony smiled.

"Toe-neeeh." She looked up at him. He got on my knees. Delia ran her hand across his face. "Tony hurt." She said, bringing her hand back. To Tony's horror, it was covered in blood.

"Yeah, Delia. Tony got hurt." Tony sighed.

"Delia no like Tony hurt!" She cried out, hugging him tighter. She started crying.

"Hey, baby girl. It's okay."

"Tony no have get hurt again, right Mickey?" She asked, turning to his older cousin. He turned from the First Aid kit he had, a grave look on his face.

"No, sweetheart. Not tonight." He said, bending down to kiss her forehead. "Not tonight."

He took out a bottle of something, put some of it on a cotton ball, and began dabbing around Tony's forehead. Tony winced.

"Sorry." The older boy muttered.

He gently cleaned up Tony's wounds, bandaging and covering everything.

When he was finished, he gently hugged Tony.

"I'm so sorry, Tony." He had tears in his eyes. "I never wanted this life for you."

Tony hugged him back.

"TONY!" His father suddenly screamed. "WE'RE LEAVING!"

Tony jumped. "I'm sorry, Mickey."

"No, I'm sorry." He looked his little cousin in the eye. "Be safe, little bro."


"Coming, Dad!" He turned to his cousin and waved.

His father waited for him out in the car.

Suddenly, DiNozzo Senior gripped Tony's hair.

"You know how much you humiliated me, boy?" He threw him against the car. "You cost me a hundred bucks!"

"I'm-I'm sorry, Dad-" Tony began, but his father punched him in the face. For the second time that night, Tony felt his nose snap.

Blood trickled onto his lips and down his chin.

"You-little-ass." Each word was accentuated by a blow to his stomach, making Tony double over in pain.

"Stop. Please, Daddy." Tony begged.

"Don't you call me that. Now get your ass in that car. Now." Tony clambered into the car, his hands covering his face.

After all, his father would beat the crap out of him for getting blood all over the car.

At "home", Tony silently went into his room. He grabbed his belongings-his book, Romeo and Juliet, his teddy bear, his crappy MP3 player, and three hundred dollars he had made by doing odd jobs, like grooming dogs and mowing lawns. He threw his belongings in his backpack, and slung it over his shoulder. He climbed out the window, and ran into the street. He turned around, for a brief moment. To look at the only place he knew. But he hated it. He would leave, and never come back.

And with that, he set out into the dark night.


My plot bunnies are at it again.

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Love you all, R&R!