Mar. 8th, 2007

power_absolute: (alone)
He had told Pogue, words halting, cheeks flushed with shame and horror and more than their share of pain, feeling the shattering of it all work through him again. He had told Pogue's father, words a monotone, more than he had told Pogue, more details at least, though not so many that they didn't still burn their way into his brain with things unsaid. He hadn't been able to force the words out for Reid and Tyler, but he'd curled into Pogue and let him say them, terse and short and laced with an anger that worried Caleb who knew that none of them could take Chase on by themselves.

And then the telling stopped, until now, when he was finally sitting in front of the crisis counselor, fingers plucking imaginary lint off his pants, shifting uncomfortably under a sympathetic gaze that told him to take his time.

The words came slowly at first, carefully picking and choosing, telling the one thing, covering the other. He had to lie through some of it, lies he didn't have to tell the others, but truths came out as well, that he felt they didn't need to know. Explicit ones, detailing the moments of horror and pleasure. Heartwrenching ones, with all his confusion for how Pogue had gotten mixed up in nightmares that were half terrifying, half erotic. Confusing ones, about needs and wants he didn't understand and the guilt that wracked through him, because he shouldn't use his best friend and he most certainly shouldn't cheat on his girlfriend, and when he let her touch him he had to stop from flinching away because she shouldn't be sullied, and when Pogue touched him, he prayed for some sort of absolution, like his best friend was a priest who could was the stains away.

It wasn't fair to any of them. Not Sarah. Not Pogue. Not Kate. Not Reid. Not Tyler. Not even him.

The counselor was gentle, non-judgmental of him, though there was a look in his eyes through the details of the rape that said Chase Collins deserved worse than he got. Of course, none of them knew what he really got. He encouraged Caleb to go to the police, but when Caleb freaked out at the mere idea, he dropped it immediately. Had he told his mother? No. This wasn't something she could handle having happened to her baby boy. He had to protect her. He wasn't the parent, the counselor reminded him. He'd had to be, he said quietly back. She hadn't been the same since his father died. Someone had to take care of them all, and that someone was him. His job as son; his job as the eldest.

He didn't encourage the relationship developing with Pogue. He worried about the effect it might have on them both, but he didn't judge it either. If it helped Caleb sleep, made him feel safe, he wasn't going to tell him to leave. He did ask about Sarah, brushing lightly on the sexual confusion raging inside Caleb. He agreed Caleb should talk to her, offered to have her come here, next time, to help him tell her what he wanted to tell her. Caleb said he'd think about it, eyeing the door longingly. The counselor encouraged him to come back later in the week, and Caleb agreed, making the appointment. They hadn't talked about the anger, the fights, but they were public record at the school. Caleb gave him permission to talk to the Provost. Not the details, per se, but enough to keep him from getting expelled, letting him know something was very wrong, that there had been a trauma, that Caleb was getting help.

He escaped as soon as the man gave him permission, hurrying back to the dorms through a rush of falling leaves. He should tell Sarah. It was the right thing to do. But she'd been through so much, knew so much more than he could tell the counselor. He didn't want to burden her with even more, but he knew his silence was stretching out, hurting them. She atttributed it to his father's death, to dealing with Ascension, to worry about Chase, but everything had changed and he saw the wariness in her eyes when they talked. The things she didn't understand.

He veered away from the stairs that led up to Pogue's room, and went instead toward the girls'. Kate was not pleased to see him, floucing out of the room in a huff, and then it was just them, her blue eyes filled with concern. Shivering he sat on the edge of her bed, there in the room where it had happened, where he'd barely been able to be before now. The words didn't come any easier on a fourth telling, and he left out some things, included others, telling her about the spell for the first time, how frightened he'd been for her, how much it had hurt. He left out the Power, the pleasure, too ashamed to confess to those things, but he sensed she heard them anyway. He didn't give her the details, but the horror, the confusion, how everything would fall apart. He didn't tell her about Pogue.

When the words gave out and there was nothing left, he couldn't meet her eyes. He knew she was crying, could feel the damp on his neck where she'd buried her face, clinging tightly to him. He was crying too, he discovered, almost surprised. But a knot was gone, and for the first time in a while, he could breathe a little easier, some of the guilt easing as the burden of lying and pretending to be fine dropped away.

He wasn't fine. But he didn't have to pretend anymore for the people he cared about.

And maybe he could work his way back to okay.
power_absolute: (Can't even save myself)
He'd washed his face in Sarah's room, slowly, washing away the tracks of tears, though not much could be done about the redness. They'd curled back up on her bed, her head pillowed on his chest as she tried to convince him she could be there for him, help him through this, be whatever he needed her to be.

The problem was, of course, he didn't know what he needed right now. There were tastes in his mouth and skin under his fingers that he didn't recognize, that compelled and repelled at the same time and it all was terribly twisted up in sense memory, if not in thought. She felt different. He felt different, and it wasn't right to sully her with his difference...she'd already suffered so much because of him.

In the end, they agreed to a break to try and figure things out. She'd been exposed to so much, things she'd never anticipated, when all she had wanted was to get ready for Harvard. They were caught up and tangled in the secrets, and his mother's warning that he shouldn't have ever involved her rang louder than it had before. He was still here, if she needed him. She was still here, if he needed her. But both of them were too shell-shocked for romance, and the necessary intimacy in attempting to put him back together was too much to ask. She wouldn't say that, of course, but he wouldn't let her, all the same. He touched her cheek, kissed her lightly, and then he left. Things had gone too fast, propelled by Chase's plans, and everyone just needed to breathe.

So he did, leaning against the wall at the turn of the stairs, just breathing. In. Out. It reminded him of the pool table, bringing the balls back down, everything back under control. He knew if he opened his eyes they'd be black, so he didn't, until he could feel the power shift back under control.

When it had, when he could breathe, he walked the rest of the stairs and the hall back to Pogue's room.

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Caleb Danvers

August 2009

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