AN: I do not own.
They sit against the side of the barn, dry grass scratching their skin. For Jonathan, this means his palms and the awkward bare patch around his ankles that his pants fail to reach. It looks ridiculous. He knows it looks ridiculous. But it's better than being totally exposed. He's avoided shorts since his growth spurt kicked in.
Sherry looks great in shorts. It's barely past summer and she sits sun-dark, head tilted back, absently brushing her thigh where the grass prickles her.
"My folks are getting divorced," she says absently, as if commenting on the heat or a mildly irritating commercial she saw.
Jonathan doesn't know how to react at first. A thousand questions he can't articulate buzz over his bones. In the end, he only says "I'm sorry."
This is not the right answer. She glances over, exhaling sharply with an air of what can only be scorn. "Why the fuck are you apologizing? It's not your fault."
He looks at his knees. Something inside him gradually clicks into place, and this time he meets her eye. "Do you hate them?"
Sherry frowns very slightly. He imagines her head is a storm full of words trapped inside her skull, and he might be able to hear them if he can only listen hard enough. Gradually, her expression smooths out. "Sometimes," she says. "I guess I'm not really surprised enough to hate them. Part of me is almost glad." She pauses. Glances down, then back again. "Is that terrible?"
"I don't think so," says Jonathan, although he does not understand.
Sherry chuckles. "Aren't you reassuring." She slides sideways so she's leaning against him, her head propped on his shoulder. "Do you hate your parents, Jon?"
He doesn't answer for a long time. Then, he tells her "Yes."
"Mm." Her hand snakes across his back before hooking on his hip. She leaves it there. He lets her. "At least you have your grandma though, right?"
"I wish she was dead." The words are out before he's thought about them, and once they're out there's no taking them back. It isn't a normal thing to say.
Sherry's eyes flit to his face, but she remains where she is otherwise. "You mean that?"
She might really think he's a freak for this. She might really think he's a freak anyway. "Yeah." And he means it with all his heart.
"Well." Sherry closes her eyes. "Isn't that a shame."
She doesn't ask him any more questions.