He could remember how he'd slapped him. It had been the first time, of many. His cheek had gone perfectwhite before it reddened. Profusely, like blood seeping into water.. Slowly flowing underneath before it bloomed like a flower and slowly died away. The sound was thin against his delicate skin. It snapped, died away. He remember crumpling against the wall. Knees, slowly submitting, holding in his chest, protecting him only flimsily. Dark hair, it sheathed his face. For a moment he was almost safe. The rampant thud of his heart against his rib cage, his rasping, trying to choke down sobs that refused to glide under the surface. It kept time to his tragedy, as Jeremy had grabbed him. Shaken him, hard. He'd begged him to stop. God, please, Jeremy, don't do it, please, please, please, I won't do it again, I promise, Jeremy, let me go.

And he had let go, after scouring him. The imprint of nails scraping downwards the course of his slender body ribboned over his torso. Fingerprint orchards decorated his arms, back. Bruises, under his ribs, on his neck.

But it had passed. It had passed, as all things have the habit of doing. And Jeremy was so sorry and everything was okay then. Jeremy apologized, and he kissed him and held him and made sure that nobody saw the marks, he made sure Adrian was warm and that nobody else touched him. He made sure that Adrian was okay. He put things in Adrian's drinks to make him happier, and that made everything so much better. The colors blurred just like he'd always wanted to see. He'd never been able to capture it with his paintbrush.. But to see them.. They were pretty, so pretty. He loved seeing them. And Jeremy, he let Adrian stay there, for hours, on his roof, counting the stars and seeing his colors mix. Jeremy took care of him, after all, and all those bad memories were okay, because there was always some bad in the good, right? His mother told him so, when he was very little, when there were people who came to his house, when his mother made him sit quiet in his room.

Some bad in the good, some bad in the good.. He tried to remember it now as nails dug into his thinly covered connection of veins blossoming at his wrists. He repeated it over and over and Jeremy walked, brisk, along the back ends of the park, among a thicket of trees. He tried, very hard, to convince himself, that Jeremy would get better. And for a while, he could be happy again, and everything would be fine. Adrian shivered. It was cold. Jeremy told him to leave his jacket in the car. He'd told Jeremy, but, I'm so cold. Leave it in the car, he'd responded, absently, controlling his authority over Adrian. Just because he could.

And Adrian had acquiesced, as he always did, jeans hanging off him, Chucks slapping on the pavement, a shirt concocted by himself thrown on, arm torn into by Jeremy. "Keep walking. I got something for you, kid." He was always kid to Jeremy. He was always inferior, submissive, underneath, subhuman, one step down from the lovely, golden haired perfection that was Jeremy. Always. But he didn't mind it, not at all.

Dark eyes flecked with gold peered out. It was a misty morning, wetness hanging in the air lazily. They continued to walk upwards a grassy knoll. The cold seeped down the open crevices of his shirt, caused by his collarbones protruding, the wind seeping into the space between them.

"Jeremy.." He began.

"Quiet, kid." His voice was terribly sharp. Adrian flinched.

And then he kept walking, trudging, aching up the hill, a perfect picture of silence.