Author's Note: Do I really feel like this is how Wes's life was? Nope. I think he's from a rich family who thought children should be seen and not heard, and he was only around to carry on the family name, not because they wanted kids. He already said he wished he had Travis's childhood and family connections because he has no one. But I felt like being particularly malicious. Bromance. Wes whump. My faves! Possibly a two parter….
In fairness, he should've expected it would eventually come to this. Their therapy group was a little too over informative for his tastes on the best of days, so why would today…or this particular subject…be any different?
They had to bring in their childhoods. Wes hated bringing his up. Ever. To anyone. Not to Alex. Not to his friends from grade school on. Not with his partner. And certainly not with a bunch of judgmental strangers he barely knew the first names of.
"Wes?" Doctor Ryan prompted, turning expecting eyes on him.
Wes kept his arms folded and leaned further back in his chair. He was in serious danger now of tipping ass over tea kettle backwards, but at least a concussion would get him out of the conversation they were trying to force on him.
"Tell us something about your childhood, please?" Dr. Ryan asked. She smiled in what was supposed to be an encouraging manner, but Wes had the sudden urge to slap her. No one else had to share their own personal nightmares. They all had good stories to tell - Christmases and birthdays and all manner of fun things. Even Travis's embarassing one was a nice one in hindsight. Besides, the man had no shame.
"I'd prefer not to," Wes replied coolly. He didn't smile, smirk, or otherwise change his facial expression to suggest he was just being contrary. This was a conversation he would not have.
"Come on, man, everyone has to share something about their childhood! I told them about getting my first bike as a hand-me-down from my older foster sister and it was bright pink with pompoms and flowers all over it," Travis said. "You gotta have something worth mentioning."
Wes resolutely shook his head. "Mentioning, yes. Sharing, no."
"I bet you grew up in a big fancy house," one of the other members said.
"Mom and dad gave you everything you ever wanted," the younger, newlywed man said.
"Got to go to all the best private schools…vacationing in the aspens," another said, smiling.
As they prattled off their imagined life for him, Wes could feel his face begin to flush, and he silently cursed being able to do it so easily. He wished he could wipe those smiles right off their faces, but he really didn't want to bring the memories back.
Travis watched his partner carefully – there was something off about his reluctance to share. He tried to head it off before Wes exploded. The man may be slow to anger, but when he actually got pissed off, he put Bruce Banner to shame. "Nah, man, it's cool. You can tell me about the snow bunnies in Aspen later at a stake out. I know how you like to bore me to death on them. This might be worth saving." He smiled briefly so that Wes would hopefully know he was trying to get the others to drop it.
Wes shot a disbelieving look at his partner, and his face came up enough that everyone could see the fading red from around his neck and ears. Travis didn't miss the gratefulness before one of the others spoke up.
"Look! He's blushing! It must be a good story!" one of the women said.
No, that's not embarrassment, that's anger, Travis thought to himself.
Wes glared at the woman, and she at least had the sense to look abashed. "Why would I be reluctant to share any of those stories, if they were true?" Wes finally asked. "You don't think if I got everything I ever wanted, if I went skiing in the Aspens and every private school on the West coast I wouldn't want to brag about it?"
The group was silent for a moment, and Dr. Ryan looked like she might regret pushing Wes to share.
"What, not curious anymore? Now I suddenly have a right to my privacy?" Wes asked in the same quiet, dangerous tone. "No, no. You don't get that privilege anymore. You want to know what my childhood was like?"
The group stayed quiet, including Dr. Ryan. There was a sort of nervous energy to the group now, like they were about to find out something that they really, really didn't actually want to know. And they were right. But now Wes was too angry to suddenly drop it. If he left it a mystery, they would come back to it eventually. Unless he told them something now, they were going to hound up for the rest of their time in therapy.
"Wes, man, you don't have to tell them anything," Travis tried to soothe, putting his hand up on his partner's arm.
Wes immediately shrugged it off. "Oh, I don't? Not them? But maybe I still owe you an explanation, huh? Partner?" Wes snapped, throwing the word partner as if it were a slur. "Fine." Wes picked up his chair and swiveled it around so he was facing Travis head on. "This is how a show and tell goes, right?"
"Wes, don't do this," Travis said quietly, trying to get his partner to calm down. "You don't owe any of us an explanation."
"No, I think I do. Or at least, you all seem to think I owe you some sort of explanation. A story about my childhood, huh? How about my tenth birthday? I spent it in police custody at the hospital. It was the fifth time my family was being investigated by Child Welfare Services. Want to see what my actual present was?" Wes yanked his sleeve up to his elbow, popping a button and not caring in his anger. Right next to his wrist and below his elbow were two small incisions, and Travis felt his stomach drop. He knew what those were from. He'd shattered his arm when he was eight skateboarding. He doubted that was Wes's story.
Wes flashed his arm to the rest of the group. "These are scars from the external fixator that I needed for the next six weeks. Know what those are? It's those big metal casts you have to get when the break is too severe for a normal cast. I was pushed down the stairs by my own father. Police report says I tripped. Want to see what I got for Christmas when I was eight?" Wes suddenly stood, and pulled the hem of his shirt out from the waistband of his suit slacks, hiking it up to just above the last couple of ribs. There was a long, jagged scar that went from his sternum to across the other side of his ribs. "Poker. Broke the skin, and when the bones snapped, a couple tore through, because at that point, I was so malnourished that my bones were like paper mache. Spent a month in the hospital. My parents got away with it, because they were rich and powerful. They could explain, or buy or weasel their way out of it with their lawyers. But that's okay – it wasn't always a beat down I got as a gift. Sometimes they got more passive in their neglect. See this?" Wes turned, and they saw another scar, lower down on his stomach. "Know what this is?"
Travis did, because he'd seem some pretty bad child abuse cases when he was still a beat cop. His hand never moved from his mouth, because he wasn't sure he wasn't going to throw up if he did.
"This is from a feeding tube. I wasn't given food for a month, and when they finally remembered me, I wasn't able to eat on my own. They didn't even bother to take me to a hospital, just had a doctor come and do it for them at the house. I couldn't leave my room. I suppose I should be happy I wasn't left in the basement, hmm? Want to know what the worst part is? They didn't even intend to do it. They simply forgot I was there. See, I'd already learned to stay away from them. If I asked for something or tried to talk to anyone about it, it just got worse. And worse, and worse. So I stopped talking. I stopped trying to tell people about what was going on. Because nothing ever, EVER changed. I even tried to emancipate myself when I was 16. The court denied it. Because despite the overwhelming evidence that said my parents were some of the worst monsters out there, they all thought like you – they were rich, and privileged, and I should be grateful for all they gave me. Like the cumulative eight months I spent in a hospital bed thanks to them. Four surgeries. Seven different therapists to try and cope with the nightmares."
Wes dropped his shirt, not bothering to tuck it back in, and suddenly leaned forwards so that he was less than a foot from Travis's face. "See, Travis? I really did want your life. Any part of it. Because maybe I could've had it, if my parents would have just let me go."
I'll probably upload more later, but for now…have to go to work! REVIEW!