Joe Gibken ([personal profile] ajoeface) wrote2011-11-22 01:54 pm

(log; pre-canon: meeting Sid-Sempai)

[It's still a little while before school lets out, so Joe doesn't have to leave his spot by the river just yet. Once the other kids start passing by he will get up, sling his bag over his shoulder and trudge home like he was there all day, even though he's been skipping for three weeks now.

When he first started doing it he just stayed at home and refused to go. His stepfather didn't care, but said he'd have to help out with his half-siblings if he was going to be a good-for-nothing drop-out.

That wasn't even an option. The oldest one is only eight cycles, to Joe's thirteen, and so still practically a baby. The newest one is barely home from the medical centre his mother went into a few weeks ago, and there are four others in between.

They all think he's strange. They all look at him funny, with his dark hair and different features. Joe has started growing his hair out on purpose, wearing it with pride.

It doesn't always make him feel better.

Joe's too old to cry, but he can't help it. Sometimes he just wants his mother back, all to himself. Sometimes he just wants a hug, without a smelly baby in the way, or someone crying and demanding her attention instead. He's sick of being told to grow up and be a man, because they all just say it, but nobody will show him how.

He doesn't fit in at home. He doesn't fit in at school. He's pretty sure life is always going to be this way, and when tears track down his cheeks it's far too late to stop them.

He grabs a handful of grass and pulls it up by the roots, clenching it in his fist until it is crushed beneath his fingers. He'll be okay by the time he goes home. This is normal.]
handsomesempai: (Default)

[personal profile] handsomesempai 2011-11-23 12:50 pm (UTC)(link)
[Sid's never been one to take the same path home from school twice in the same week. When he was a kid he'd made an adventure out of it, tried to find something new every day. The habit is still with him, even now that he's seventeen, nearly out of school, a few shocks of white already appearing amidst his black hair. Growing up is no reason to lose your sense of adventure, after all. Today he's taking the long way home for the first time in a couple of weeks. When he gets to the bridge across the river, he spies a familiar sight on the opposite bank.

He's seen the kid there a few times before, always in the same spot on the grassy slope down to the eastern bank, always by himself. Nothing wrong with that, sometimes a guy needs a little time to himself, Sid can understand that. He's never talked to the kid before – didn't want to bother him if he was deep in thought or just, for whatever reason, didn't want to talk – but something about him looks different today. Maybe it's in his posture, something in the way he's sitting, but whatever it is, he looks not so much by himself as he does alone. Maybe even lonely, Sid thinks with a twinge in his heart.

Sid adjusts the heft of his bag and turns the corner once he's across the bridge, and makes his way down the bank toward where the kid is sitting. As he gets closer, he thinks – though he's not sure – he might be seeing the kid's shoulders trembling, just a little, like he might be crying. That stings Sid's heart even more. Good thing he'd decided to come check on him.

He approaches the kid slowly, and once he's close enough he gets down on one knee to put himself at the same eye level. When he speaks, he keeps his voice gentle.]

Hey, you alright?
handsomesempai: (Default)

[personal profile] handsomesempai 2011-12-04 10:28 am (UTC)(link)
[It’s nothing, the kid had said, but he hadn’t wiped his tears away fast enough for Sid not to see them, and the look on his face had pretty clearly indicated that it was definitely not nothing.

A few thoughts cross Sid's mind as to what kind of nothing it isn't – trouble at home, maybe; Sid doesn't see any bruises on his face, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have them somewhere else. Maybe it's trouble at school; the kid looks about the right age to be in the first or second year of secondary division, which is just a horrible time to be alive, in Sid's experience. Maybe it's both, or neither. All Sid can tell is that he's upset, and doesn't seem particularly inclined to talk about it. Everything in his posture screams defensiveness, and Sid can't really blame him for it. Maybe Sid should just leave him be, and not bother him any further, except.

Except when Sid thinks about leaving the kid alone, he has this brief but terrible mental image of reading morning headlines on his study tablet at school the next day, and one of them says "Student Found Dead On East Bank" and the story is about how this lonely kid jumped off the bridge because no one cared about him.

This is a pretty absurd conclusion to draw, and Sid is well aware of that. He doesn't know this kid at all, he could just be a kid with a comfortable life who only had a bit of a bad day. But all the same, he cannot bring himself to leave. He could never forgive himself if he allowed something terrible to happen when he had the power to help.

He does his best to make himself look unintimidating, to avoid any body language that could be perceived as malicious. He keeps his hands open, his muscles relaxed, and his gaze steady.]

It's okay to cry, you know. I wouldn't make fun of you.

[He gives the kid an easy smile.]

Mind if I sit with you for a minute?
handsomesempai: (pic#)

[personal profile] handsomesempai 2011-12-15 02:07 pm (UTC)(link)
[He wasn't crying. Right. Sid's heart aches a little at that – the tear tracks are still visible on the boy's cheeks, and he'd wiped his eyes right in front of him a second ago. Is he really that embarrassed to be caught crying? Sid had tried to reassure him, but it doesn't seem to have been enough. Sid wonders who taught this boy to be ashamed of his own feelings. He wants to ask, but he can tell that any further pressing on the subject of crying would only put the kid even more on the defensive than he already is. Might as well let it go and take the kid up on his non-refusal to let Sid sit with him. For all that "do what you want" is the sullen teenage apathy version of assent (Sid did his time in secondary division, he knows all about sullen teenage apathy), it's not "leave me alone" or "go away," so Sid concludes that staying had been the right choice, or at least not the wrong one.

He sets his bag down on the grass and sits beside the kid, keeping a comfortable space between them – not so close as to invade the kid's space, but not so far as to come off distant or cold. He leans back, resting his weight on his palms, and looks out at the river, watching the water flow steadily downstream. It's very relaxing.]

This is a nice spot, I can see why you like it. Do you come here a lot?

[The kid doesn't seem to want to talk about what's bothering him, and that's okay – Sid is a stranger, after all. But maybe Sid can get him to open up a little if he gets him talking about something else, something less raw.

And then he remembers something else that might help with getting the kid to open up.]

I'm Sid, by the way. Sid Bamick. What's your name?
handsomesempai: (sempai smile)

[personal profile] handsomesempai 2012-03-07 12:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Nice to meet you, Joe.

[Sid can’t remember ever meeting anyone else named Gibken before. He thinks Joe must not have any older siblings, or at least, none the right age for Sid to have met them in school. Maybe he’s the oldest in his family, or an only child (like Sid technically is even though he’s never felt like one). Maybe Sid will ask him about that later.

Oh, and there’s a mention of an interest. Sid doesn’t know much about fishing, though he used to go sometimes with one of the older boys from the house. That was ages ago, and Sid hasn’t seen the guy in years, but he thinks he can probably remember enough about fishing to talk about it a little.]

You’re right, a nice quiet spot like this would be great for fishing. It’s kinda rare to find someplace this peaceful in the middle of the city, you know?

[He smiles at Joe and then looks out at the river again, watching the patterns the sunlight makes on the rippling water, and spots a shimmer of movement beneath the surface. There’s a small school of fish swimming there, their scales gleaming in the sunlight.]

Oh, hey, there’s some now! Wow, they’re really beautiful, aren’t they. I wonder what kind they are, they look pretty big.