freakishlytallaustralian: (heartjewwario)
[personal profile] freakishlytallaustralian
Title: out there on your own
Characters: Todd in the Shadows, plus a few other mentions/cameos
Rating: PG
Summary: Todd keeps his face covered. There's a reason why
Disclaimer: The people in this story are not mine, the 'verse belongs to [ profile] emeriin and this is pure fiction.
A/N: Birthday fic for [ profile] rachelleneveu inspired by her latest story and a late night Pink Floyd spamathon between [ profile] insaneslasher  and myself. Title from Hey You by Pink Floyd, and a line from Smashmouth's All Star.

It’s funny, but no-one has ever asked him about the hoodie. The one time he’s been to the club (so far, he keeps telling himself, but belief doesn’t always follow as soon as he’d like) he briefly pulled it back to get past the bouncer and replaced it damn near straight away. Before he moved to Chicago he’d loved the feeling of sunlight on his face and nothing had cheered him up like listening to the local radio station on his little wireless while lying in his parents’ backyard, but the sunlight doesn’t feel right here. It struggles to move through the buildings and the people, and only finds him as a memory of what was. It doesn’t chase away the moods, and it sure as hell doesn’t do anything about the nitpicky voice that he holds constant conversations with.

The hoodie isn’t to protect him; it’s to protect those around him. He breaks off the best pieces of himself and shares them, hoping that none of those around have to hear the constant stream of abuse he gets from himself.

That’s why he flirts with Lupa, knowing, hoping she’ll never take that extra step and expect anything from him. So he listens to her talk about her half-sister and meeting biological fathers and how much she hates her job except for a rather sweet homeless man who wanders in and out and sometimes he lets the hood fall backwards so he can keep her talking and on those days he sings to her, songs that mean everything and nothing. He’s fairly certain that her boss has is paranoid about him, well, give the woman her due, the place has been held up more times than he can remember and the hoodie would certainly excite some bad feelings in her. So he lets her chase him out, lets her feel like she’s won at least one battle in her day.

That’s why he gave the bum so much change (and we could all use a little change) despite being as broke as he was. The bum had made him laugh, he’d seen into another mind that hadn’t been put together properly or had been broken or both. That’s another link he has to keep him still, another link he has that proves, proves that broken people can still be... loved?

When he’s home, he’ll listen to God-awful pop songs, the repetitive banality soothing the savage beast as it were. The sheer ridiculousness of Gaga screeching about men with impossible names or Kesha feeling dirty (like he doesn’t know how that feels, an apartment filled with the remains of your latest batch of bad days) are one of the few things he and the voice can agree on, and that feels better than the alternative, anyway.

That’s why he has to try and believe he’ll be back at the club one day. Because for just one night he was able to act and react like something approaching a normal person, like someone who didn’t have to work so damn hard just to survive. He was even able to let the hood back and let the voice fly out in to the night, the noise of the club drowning out the complaints. But money is tight, and his so-called friends have slipped quietly out of his life, onto new lives that don’t involve being a crutch for someone who keeps breaking their foot (have the balls man, admit it, you’re scared, you’re terrified that this will disappear or visiting the club just won’t work this time or worst of all she will see right through you)

If anyone does ever ask about it he has no idea how he’ll respond. For now, the hoodie is his salvation and his prison, and anyone that’s ever been as trapped as he is now will understand.
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