Alex's day started as early as four in the morning. He would wake up at the same time, his alarm clock blinking at him as if demanding that he'd reset it after last week's thunderstorm. The alarm clock read two thirty eight, but he knew that it was sometime around four. He grumbled, and pulled the cord out of its socket, which choked the clock of electricity. Alex was lying on his stomach in yesterday's clothes; he had been too tired last night to change out of them.

Alex grumbled again softly, and then rolled over to his back, the ancient mattress under him resisting any movement. It creaked so loudly that it hurt his ears when it was this early in the morning. His body was like his mattress, so sore and creaky. The aches and pains were almost too much to handle. Almost. Alex could ignore it. He would ignore it. If he couldn't then he wouldn't survive the new day.

A couple minutes passed, and Alex listened to the rain hit his window. The drops of water seemed to be in rhythm, like a clock, and Alex focused on each one. It was all he could do to keep him out of reality for as long as possible. The rain was like the last remnants of his dream world, where there were no troubles for him to worry about.

But of course, it didn't take long for her to get home. And when she came, the safety of the rain left.

Alex could always hear the old rusty Toyota pull into the driveway; his room was just over the small garage. The headlights brightened Alex's room, and he pulled his arm up to his face to shield his sensitive eyes. The engine roared down to a soft growl as the driver put the Toyota in park. Alex froze when he heard a door open and someone step out. He could hear his heartbeat clearly in his ears, and he had trouble concentrating on what was happening outside.

He heard a faint intoxicated giggle.

"Bye, see you tomorrow." She said, her words slurred as she tried to be flirtatious. Alex frowned at the woman's voice. Of course she would come back hammered, just like a couple days ago. He wasn't surprised about it, just agitated.

"Take care, Jodie." The driver said, his words also slurred, but not as much as the woman's. He seemed to have rolled up his window or something similar, because the lights dimmed in Alex's room. Alex frowned again; the man was taking the car. That was never a good sign.

The woman let out a stifled laugh and watched the man leave before she walked up to the house. Alex felt the front door being forced open, in reality it wasn't even locked, and then clumsily slammed back closed. She was in the house, and obviously intoxicated. She spent a good ten minutes downstairs, doing god knows what, and Alex was fine for that. But it wasn't long before he heard heavy, uncoordinated footsteps climb the narrow staircase. She walked passed his room, Alex holding his breath as she did so, and entered the small bathroom in the end of the hallway.

Alex remained still in his bed and listened to her mumblings. He had no idea what state she was in and he decided to wait and see if she needed his help. Sometimes she needed it, and sometimes she was too stubborn or hung over to ask for it.

God he hated her. He hated her with a passion.

Alex closed his eyes, hoping to get another hour or so of sleep. He was just about to fall back into his carefree dreams when the sound of someone gagging filled his room. He tried to cover his ears to block out the sound, but the noise of vomiting up alcohol was hard to ignore, despite how common it was in this house. It seemed to go on forever, and Alex cringed at the sound, subconsciously curling up into a protected ball.

"Alex?" Finally, her voice called out for him after a hitch of her vomiting. The once bubbly voice outside had turned both literally and metaphorically acidic. Alex couldn't breathe; she was in one of her bad moods. "Damn, where the hell are you, boy?"

Alex didn't hesitate to pick himself up. He resisted the urge to groan as his sore body tried to support itself. He rubbed his head, sending his greasy black curls waving, and picked up his thick rimmed glasses from an old nightstand by his small bed. Before leaving the safety of his room, he cleaned his glasses with his shirt and placed them on his nose.

The hall lights were on, but they had dimmed with age. That was fine with Alex; his eyesight was so bad that he preferred the dark over bright lights. He grumbled softly for a second before trudging to the bathroom. The door was barely open, but Alex could already see her weak state. She was bending down over the disgusting toilet, holding her dyed red hair in one hand while propping herself up on the toilet seat.

"Alex!" She screamed again, her voice even more volatile.

"I'm right here, mom. " Alex muttered, his voice low. He wouldn't look at her; he couldn't stand the sight of her. She owned him, but he was the one in charge of taking care of her. He was only fifteen years old, but he felt like the most mature person in his household. He was her slave, and he hated it. "What do you want?"

"Get me," Jodie paused to spit the rest of her stomach's contents out, "my god damn pills, boy."

Alex didn't respond as he left his mother in the bathroom, where she continued to groan in pain. He headed downstairs, almost losing his footing on the way, and stubbed his toe on the last step. He swore, but then decided to ignore the pain as he headed to the kitchen. He turned the lights on, and looked at the kitchen. Last night's dishes were still in the sink; Alex had been too tired to do them last night. Now the remains of the food were starting to stink up the place.

Alex ignored the growing pile of dirty dishes and headed to the medical cupboard. He opened it and quickly tried to find the container of Alka Seltzer tablets. He found it and took out two tablets and then filled a small glass with tap water. Alex sighed ruefully and headed back upstairs.

Jodie was still in the bathroom, but had gotten up off of the floor and was starting to take off the enormous amount of makeup that was on her face. She was still a bit woozy, and she was dangerously leaning to the right. Jodie didn't notice that Alex was back and she jumped when he appeared at the doorway.

"Shit, don't do that." Jodie mumbled as she eyed her son. Alex didn't respond and he just handed her the glass of water. Jodie studied the glass, and then warily eyed her son. "These aren't my pills, Alex."

"You need to take these first." Alex said hesitantly, his voice breaking from puberty halfway through the sentence. He took a half step back, expecting the worst, like when she snaps at him. "I'll go back down and get your medication when you're ready."

Jodie sniffed and pulled her dyed red hair behind her ears. Her face looked completely hideous with all of the makeup on in her intoxicated state. She didn't look at all like Alex, for he had taken after his father, whoever that was. The only similarity that they shared was their ice blue eyes, but she could actually see with hers. She didn't deserve that privilege, though.

"I don't fucking need those, Alex." Jodie said as she shoved him back the glass of dissolving Alka Seltzer tablets. Her temper was starting to flare up, which was another rare similarity that they had. "Just get me my god damn pills for my god damn head before you regret it."

Alex stubbornly stood in place, determined not to budge. If she didn't take the Alka Seltzer tablets now, she'd be in a worse mood later in the day when she'd be hung over. And Jodie was more temperamental hung over than drunk, and for a lot longer. No, he wouldn't move. It'd be safest for his sister this way, even if he took a small beating in the process.

"Well, why the fuck are you just standing there? Go get my pills." Jodie demanded, the smell of alcohol on her breath was unbearable, and Alex's nose wrinkled in detest. She raised an eyebrow as if to question his defiance. Her body tensed up as she noticed that neither one of them would cave in for the other.

"No, mom."

That answer resulted in a slap to the face. The sheer amount of force against it shocked Alex, and he stumbled back into the hallway's wall. His head started to ring, and his glasses fell down to the ground, and he hoped that they weren't broken. He couldn't see or hear, but he could tell that Jodie was advancing on him. He raised his arms up for protection, but he knew that nothing could protect him from the woman that gave birth to him.

Just to his left, the glass of water shattered against the wall. He gasped in surprise and tried to look around to see where the drunken woman was. She was right in front of him and she gave him another slap to the face. This time, one of Jodie's nails caught onto his skin and left a small gash just under his right eye. Already, he could feel it bleed slightly. It would stop soon, but cuts to the face were harder to hide from the outside world.

"What did you say, boy?" Jodie asked, her voice low and ominous.

Alex gritted his teeth, too determined for his own good. "I said no."

That gave him a short punch in the gut, and Alex lost his breath. He was weak and gangly, and he hadn't fully recovered from an earlier beating. Jodie's punch was enough to knock the wind out of Alex. The teenager bent over and clutched his sides, moaning in pain as he gasped for air. The world was still blurry for him, and if it wasn't for the pain in his sides, Alex would have thought that this was one of his disturbing nightmares.

Jodie wasn't finished with him. Even in her intoxicated state, she was able to grab and constrict one of Alex's wrists. It was his right wrist, and his dominant hand. She gripped at his wrist harder, crushing it almost to the point of breaking a couple important bones. Alex couldn't help it, and he wept out a cry of pain. Jodie seemed to gain confidence in his reaction and twisted his wrist under the pressure.

"Now, what are you going to do for Mommy?" Jodie growled. She kept her ice blue eyes on her son, and was content that she still remained in control over him, even if he towered over her. Jodie was a short woman, but what she lacked in height she made up for in temper. She was still the top of the food chain in this household.

" . . . I'm going to get your pills." Alex hitched as he tried to breath. He winced in pain, and he couldn't move from his spot; he was afraid that Jodie would snap his wrist.

Jodie let out a drunken chuckle. She finally loosened her grip on his wrist, and Alex quickly retracted it before she could do more damage. He started rubbing it, trying to soothe some of the pain, only to remember from past experience that it would hurt for a couple hours before declining to a dull throb. He bent down and searched for his glass. Alex found them and quickly placed them over his blue eyes. Now that Alex could see clearly, he looked up to see that Jodie was already retreating to her room.

"That's a good boy, Alex." Jodie muttered as she held her temples, already feeling the ill effects of the alcohol in her system. "I'll be in my room, waiting. You better come back with my fucking pills or you'll be covered in bruises for the rest of your life."

Alex didn't answer her, but rather just watched as she slammed the door behind her as she entered her bedroom. Alex remained where he was standing for a second before taking out his own anger at the wall behind him. With his good hand, he punched the wall, leaving a faint mark next to several others that were similar in appearance. He was left panting with anger, and he desperately tried to recollect himself.

"Fuck her! Fuck that bitch!" Alex thought, his anger continuing to boil up inside him. He started pulling at his greasy black hair, and that was only irritating him more. Alex had no idea how to control this anger, and could only think to let out a furious growl at the top of his lungs. He didn't care if Jodie heard it or not, let her hear it. Let her know how much he hated her.

Alex turned and stormed downstairs and back to the kitchen. Even now, the dirty kitchen didn't seem to calm his nerves. In his furious state, he saw the pill container, and he rashly cranked the top open and took four of the small blue pills out. He stared down at them, seeing if he had heat vision or something to destroy them. Instead, he came up with a different idea. "I could kill her right now. I should do it, give her an overdose. That'll teach her a fuckin' lesson!"

Alex got a new glass of water and stomped back upstairs, where his so called "mother" was waiting for him. He opened the door to her room, only to see that she had passed out on her unmade bed. The small, static filled TV was on, flickering on CNN. Alex was amazed that she had managed to turn it on before passing out, but he couldn't care for that now. He just stared at her vulnerable form. His hand clenched the glass hard, and he resisted the urge to smash it on the back of her head.

"I can do it, too. It'll all be over in a couple seconds, like a useless Band-Aid."

That one thought had been enough to make his decision. He threw the pills on the ground, listening to them roll over the dirty wooden floor. He walked over to the bed, positioning himself perfectly to get a good swing at Jodie. He chugged most of the water out of the glass and then tightened his grip on it. Alex raised the glass high and gave one last glare at the woman in control of his life.

Just as he started to bring the glass down, he heard the room's door squeak open. He froze in place, the glass just a foot above the woman's head. He closed his eyes, knowing who had opened the door.

"Alex?" A soft voice whispered as a small head peeked through the opening. Alex cringed, and loosened the grip of the glass slightly. She had caught him in the act; how would she respond to this? "Alex, what are you doing?"

Alex sighed and looked at his baby sister, Dana. She was still in the pink nightgown he had put her in earlier this night, reddish brown hair in loose pigtails. She clung onto her small stuffed teddy bear with one hand, and bit her nails on the other. It was one of her forming bad habits. Dana looked so young and innocent, and Alex had been working hard to keep it like that for almost seven years now. Almost seven years of pain for him.

Dana stepped further into their mother's room, but kept close to the light that was streaming in from the hallway. She looked at their mother's sleeping form, and then back to her brother, her eyes wide but hazy from tired curiosity.

"Nothing. I'm doing nothing, Dana." Alex said as he set the empty glass down on the closest nightstand. He crept closer to his sister as if not to scare her or anything. "Shit, she almost saw me kill her. I can't do that to poor Dana." Alex crouched down low to be at the same height as his sister, and he tried to put on a fake smile for her. "Let's get back to bed, kid."

Dana nodded, and yawned in approval. She reached out for Alex's hand, and he took her with his good one. Alex led her out, closing Jodie's door behind them, and took her into her own small room. He helped her climb back into bed and tucked her in. She yawned again and groggily gazed at her brother, smiling slightly.

"Did we wake you up, kiddo?" Alex whispered as he patted her on the head, smoothing out the top of her hair in the process. She nodded, her expression saddening a little bit. Dana had heard them fight before, as it was a normal occurrence, but it still terrified her. "Sorry, Dana. We'll try to be quieter next time for you."

Dana snuggled down into her bed and closed her eyes, sleep already trying to overtake her again. Alex stood over her, watching over her protectively. Once he thought that her breathing had evened out, signaling that she was asleep, he headed back to the hallway, where he would leave the young child in peace for the rest of the morning.

"Alex?" Dana's soft voice called out for her brother one last time. Alex paused and turned his head to see his sister watching him carefully with blue eyes that were identical to his and their mother's. "Please don't leave me."

Alex nodded. He closed the door and went back to her. He sat down at the edge of the bed, leaning against the wall for support. He looked at Dana one last time, giving her another fake smile. She looked content with his decision to stay with her for the rest of the night, and finally decided to slip back into unconsciousness. After a few minutes, Alex was positive that she was back in dreamland.

Alex decided that he should try to catch some last minute Zs too before the sun decided to rise. The lord knew he needed it, and Alex tried to make himself as comfortable as he could without waking Dana up a second time this night. Once in a semi-comfortable position, he took his glasses off and tucked them into his shirt. Alex heaved out a sigh and closed his eyes.

"No, I won't kill that bitch. Not with Dana around. As much as I hate her guts, she's the only thing keeping Dana and me together." Alex thought, his mind becoming less coherent by the second. "If I kill Jodie, then I can't protect Dana. She'll be taken away, like I was. I can't let that happen . . ."

Yeah, I'm just experimenting here. I feel like I don't know Alex's personality well enough to write about it, so this story is pretty much just an exercise to help me get in the flow. Don't worry, I think this'll turn out to be a fairly decent sized fanfic, I just probably won't update unless needed to. I'm not that serious about it.

That is, unless someone out there likes this. Then I'll try to put in a lot of effort in this.