Chapter: 25 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: “I don’t want to wait! I want to go home!” Taylor brushed off Daniel’s restraining arm, and continued storming down the corridor, ignoring the insistent nattering from behind him. CC’s office. Where was it? If he could find CC, he could go home. It never occurred to him to ask Danny where CC was. Exhaustion, confusion, the fear that this was all a trick to keep him here, the pounding head, from not eating, and the knowledge that if he ate he’d be sick, the people looking at him, the feeling of being judged, and too many memories of too many strangers, it all crowded in on him, distorting his ability to reason, and coherent thought fragmented. The small dark voice of irrationality, a constant untold whisper, had begun to shout, drowning out anything like sense. He felt trapped, hunted, and he had to get out.
“I don’t want to wait! I want to go home!” Taylor brushed off Daniel’s restraining arm, and continued storming down the corridor, ignoring the insistent nattering from behind him. CC’s office. Where was it? If he could find CC, he could go home. It never occurred to him to ask Danny where CC was. Exhaustion, confusion, the fear that this was all a trick to keep him here, the pounding head, from not eating, and the knowledge that if he ate he’d be sick, the people looking at him, the feeling of being judged, and too many memories of too many strangers, it all crowded in on him, distorting his ability to reason, and coherent thought fragmented. The small dark voice of irrationality, a constant untold whisper, had begun to shout, drowning out anything like sense. He felt trapped, hunted, and he had to get out. Repeatedly shoving Daniel’s hands away from him, he stalked, wild eyed, through the halls of an alien territory.
“Taylor, you can’t just go running around in here!! Will you wait please??” Daniel trotted after him, frustration and worry stamped across his fine features. He saw the frantic look in the other boy’s eyes, knew that all was far from alright with Taylor, and knew he had to help him, but first he had to catch him, and it looked doubtful. Sighing, he finally caught up to him, as Taylor hit the dead end that was the stairwell… “Taylor!! Will you stop?! You’re being ridiculous! CC’s office is right down there, but you have to stop this!” He reached for Taylor’s hand, softening his tone. “Tay, you have to calm down. It’s okay. I’m gonna take you to CC, and he’s gonna take you home. But you have to stop this.”
Taylor whirled on him, fury flashing from his eyes. “How?! How?! Why are you people doing this to me?!” He shook free of Dan’s grasp, eyes darting around the confined space at the end of the hall. “You can’t keep me here, you know you can’t!”
Daniel, seeing that reasoning would be impossible, reached for Taylor again, one hand gently taking his arm, the other slipping up to the back of his neck, his intent to sooth, and lead him the few steps up the hall to the haven of CC’s space. He was unprepared for the grip on his wrist, fingers digging into thin bones. He looked up, startled and in pain, into eyes lacking any shred of rationality. Before he could blink, he’d been pinned to the wall, hands immobile, Taylor’s weight, slight though it was, enough to trap him there.
Taylor struggled to keep some sort of control, to fight down the horrifying urge to bite the boys face, to overpower the blink of insanity on the edge of his mind. Daniel’s image was warping, mutating into someone else, someone he couldn’t think about and not lose what was left of his senses… He had to get out. He had to get away. That hand, under his hair… Too angry, too panicked, to notice the frozen fear on the other boy’s face, or the fact that he’d nearly stopped breathing, he shoved him, now unresisting, brutally hard into the wall, on hand gripping the fabric of the boy’s collar. “You don’t touch me!” His voice, a raw scream, rang throughout the halls. “You don’t ever touch me! Now let me go!!”
His words, and his breath, cut off suddenly, as strong arms seized him from behind, and he was spun around to stare into steady eyes. “That is enough. You calm down.” The voice was firm, devoid of any emotion, calm and cool. “It’s all okay, whatever you think is going on, you’re wrong.” The words flowed over him, a senseless babble, but the tone began to mediate the overwhelming need to run, and humming muscles began to relax. Then grip on him tightened, and he found himself suddenly surrounded by those arms, picked up off his feet. Panic increased a hundredfold, and he struggled, almost fighting free, a shriek of almost animal terror ripping out of him.
CC, knowing that whatever the boy was seeing, it wasn’t him, tightened his grip still more, and slipped into what he called his ‘Sooth and croon’. Mindless, meaningless reassurance, spoken barely on the edge of hearing. He let words flow out of him, over the young boy in his arms. He’d made it most of the way to his destination, when Taylor, who’s struggles had begun to taper off, suddenly flared into fury again, nails ripping across CC’s face, teeth sinking deep into his arm.
CC grit his teeth and held on, his words cut cleanly off, biting back a cry of pain. Six more steps had him through the door. He quickly let the boy down, moving to block the door in case he bolted, hand pressed over his bleeding arm. “You stay here.” His voice was strained. “You don’t move. I’ll be back, It’s all going to be okay, I’ll take you home. But you stay. Right. There.” He quickly stepped back into the hallway, resisting the urge to lock the door behind him. He knew that Taylor, senses hyperactive, keyed and sensitive, would hear the snick of the bolt turning, and panic all the more.
Keeping one eye on the door, he hurried to Daniel, who, had slid down the wall, to crouch on the floor, head hidden in arms. CC knelt by the boy, hands stroking gently at hair, arms, back, voice soft. He understood what was happening here, he’d never dreamed that Taylor had such violence left in him, never dreamed that he could do this to Daniel. He sat with the boy until help, in the form of Elaine, mother to the world and savior to many, called for at the first sound of Taylor’s screaming, arrived, wrapping her large arms around the boy, and signaling CC. “You go take care of the other one, I’ve got Danny boy, here.” She lifted him effortlessly, and CC was relieved to see the boy’s arms loop around her neck. Good. He was responding. Nodding grimly at her, he turned down the hall, wondering what kind of a mess he was going to find with Taylor.
CC stared at the shivering boy, crouched in the darkest corner of the infirmary. He didn’t approach, he wasn’t going to touch him. Not yet. He’d wait and let some of the panic fade, first.
Instinct screamed contact, yet years of experience spoke time. Let him be, let him calm down, physical touch, no matter how comfortingly intended, would only exacerbate the situation. He felt his voice would do much the same, and so he waited, fifteen minutes, half an hour, silently watching.
Something had triggered this, God alone knew what, and a solution had yet to present itself. Nobody had said anything about any kind of post traumatic syndrome, and as far as he knew, aside from the stress of a lifestyle change, and the accidental addiction he’d suffered, there was nothing in his past to indicate anything like this. Of course, what had happened between him and Zac was traumatic, but CC thought this went deeper. Taylor was experiencing some sort of flashback. Whatever it was, it was nasty, bringing out a violence clearly beyond the boy’s control.
Sighing, watching the child shiver, he glanced at the clock. An hour. If Taylor hadn’t come down any by now, he wasn’t going to. Knowing he couldn’t simply stand and watch any longer, he stepped lightly to the supply closet, pulling down a flannel blanket. Ruefully eying his bitten arm, a deep double gash that had only just stopped bleeding, he moved tentatively into the boy’s reach, and gently wrapped the blanket around the quaking form… He stepped away quickly, alert for reaction. The anticipated violence never came.
Taylor reached up, pulled the edge of the blanket to his chest, uncurled himself, and finally looked up into CC’s eyes. The wildness had gone, replaced with confusion, and a glazed, drifted focus.
CC nodded at him, and spoke softly. “Mind if I sit down?”
Taylor shook his head, and CC, ignoring his jittering nerves, slowly lowered himself to the floor, next to the boy. Careful not to make contact, he was surprised when Taylor reached out, pulling him in next to him. CC could feel the trembling, and knew immediately that this was not a typical situation. The boy was terrified. Trusting that touch was what Taylor was seeking, CC slipped an arm around his shoulders, tenseness fading as Taylor leaned into him.
“Want to tell me what happened, Tay?” His voice held no accusation, no anger, and Taylor knew he had nothing to fear from him.
Shaking his head, eyes wide, voice shaking, he looked up at CC, bewilderment filling his eyes. “I… I don’t know. I don’t even know what happened.”
“Do you remember?”
Taylor nodded. “I do, but not like it was me, more like I watched it. CC…” His voice stepped up a notch, panic beginning to infiltrate. “CC, I don’t know what happened! I don’t know why I did that!”
CC nodded, and climbed to his feet. “That…” He offered a hand up to the boy, and pulled him to his feet “is what we’re going to have to find out.” He let go of Taylor’s hand, watching as he swayed, trying to find balance. “You okay? What’s wrong?”
Taylor shook his head, holding the wall. “Dizzy. I don’t know.” He looked up with misery filled eyes. “Am I just crazy, CC? Is that all it is?”
CC shook his head, face serious. “No, Taylor. You are definitely not crazy. But something is going on, and we’re going to find out what it is, now come on. I’ll take you home.”