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dispadaferisce in into_the_future

Seri, Atti and Auggie; This could be awkward.; PG-13 mild language

Life was becoming complicated. Worse, it was happening so fast that Serafino wasn't sure what to do about it. He'd only known Augusten Dunlevy for a week, and already he was worrying about him as much as he would one of his longtime friends. Moreso, even, and it was an inner struggle to keep from acting like a complete fool and texting him as soon as he went home. He managed not to, and after skipping school again on Tuesday he'd finally gone to school today but had spent the day being anywhere Augusten wasn't by spending the day hidden amongst library shelves finishing up work he'd fallen behind in over his long absence.

And now he was on his way to Atti's, because he was restless and the drive offered him something to do. And because he had a feeling he was going to have to make very large bribes to keep one very large mouth shut. He was tempted, very tempted, to text Augusten during the drive and see what he was doing since he'd only be a few houses down. He managed not to, but it was a feat. Which was kind of pathetic. Finally he arrived, without making any phonecalls and without sending any text messages and without messing around on his PDA to see if Augs was on AIM. He kicked violently at a stone on the pavement to vent his mood, and leaned on the doorbell of the Webb house in his usual obnoxious fashion.

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"Shut up," Augusten whispered, clearly embarrassed, voice thick with unshed tears. "Just shut up, okay?"

He did, however, remove the hoodie, sniffling as he did so. There were bruises on his wrists where Eli had grabbed him, one cheek bruised purple, black and blue. His left eye was going black from round two they'd had earlier that evening when he'd finally gotten home, and his lip was busted, starting to swell.

Saying nothing, Augusten just stood there, limply holding the hoodie and staring at the floor. "There. You happy?"
"You look like you went three rounds with a bulldozer," Serafino answered impassively, stepping forward and tilting Augusten's face up with a hand on his chin. "And you're still standing even. Impressive."


He studied the bruises, with the air of one used to seeing such things, noting the severity of each. His dislike of Eli rose a notch with every mark his eyes came across, but it didn't show.

"Kitchen," he said finally. "Ice packs asap, it'll stop the swelling. I dunno if Atti's got any ibuprofin, but I keep some in the car. You wanna take a couple now before the pain really sets in."
Augusten jerked away on instinct when he was touched, taking a shaky step back like a skittish animal. He didn't say anything, he just nodded, clutching the jacket tighter.

Turning around, he started back downstairs to the kitchen, not knowing what to say, just keeping silent. It was easier, he'd found, to just keep quiet. He opened the fridge and got out ice with shaking hands, putting together an ice pack.
Serafino watched him from the doorway, grinding his teeth. The only thing stopping him from trying to go find Eli and beat his skull in--preferably with something lined with rusty nails--was that he knew it wasn't his place to intervene. If Augusten's family knew what was going on, it was best to just hope the adults would deal with the situation appropriately. Finally he got tired of watching Augusten shake like a leaf and stepped all the way into the room.

"Augs." When the other boy looked up he took the ice out of his hand. "Look, I know you're jumpy right now, but I'd never hurt you. All right? Let me take care of these for you, okay?"
Nodding, Augusten let Serafino put together the ice packs, sitting on one of the stools at the island. He stared down at his hands which were folded in his lap, still shaking and unable to stop.

"Why are you here?" He finally asked, voice soft and shaky like before, as though he were on the verge of tears. "Did Atticus make fun of you too? I told him not to. I'm sorry. If he did. I said for him to leave you alone. It was enough he made fun of me. I won't hang out with you anymore. Cause they'll just say things about you. They were already laughing at me at school today cause of my face. I don't want them to see you near me and laugh at you too."

Augusten finally started to cry, hot tears sliding down over his bruised cheeks. He started shaking harder, rocking back and force and gasping in deep breaths of air. "I'm sorry."
"Whoa, hey, what're you apologizing for?" Serafino asked softly, putting down the ice and crossing the kitchen to where Augusten was sitting. He never had any idea what the hell to do when people cried, and he was pretty sure he'd been absent from whatever class they taught that kind of crap in. He hesitated a minute, then wrapped Augusten in a light hug and pulled the other boy against him.

"Atti teases me all the time, he's got a fucking brain malfunction that only lets him communicate through teasing and mating calls. As for the rest of 'em...it's a fucking school full of low-class dickwads and talentless hacks, what the hell do I care what they got to say?

"Look, don't worry about it, all right?" He sighed, looking down at him. "I'm a big boy, you don't need to be stringing yourself out worse over what they'll think of me. And don't worry about your face...I've been fucked up before, there're ways to hide most of it."
"I should go home," Augusten whispered, resting his forehead against Serafino's shoulder, taking in a few deep breaths. "Papa will come back soon. I gotta...I gotta go home....I gotta make dinner and...and I can't..."

He let out a heavy sigh, whimpering and wrapping his arms around Serafino's middle, holding him tight. "I gotta go....thanks for trying to help...he'll be home. He'll be mad if I'm gone."
It was a very messy situation, and it was only going to get messier. The best course of action was to not get involved, and Serafino knew it. Getting involved only had the potential to make things worse.

He knew it, he just couldn't leave Augusten in his quickly deteriorating little Hell with no way out.

He sighed and rested his hands on Augusten's shoulders, pushing him away so that he could look him in the eye.

"Okay, look, I'm not going to stop you," he murmured, keeping his voice low in case Atti was eavesdropping nearby. "But you and I know that this isn't gonna be the last time he uses you as a punching bag. Once it starts, it doesn't stop and it doesn't get better. It's gonna keep happening, and it's only gonna get worse.

"So I want you to take a minute to think long and hard about whether or not you can stay there. Forget about going home just cause you think he'll be mad if you don't, I mean really think about whether you can go back and deal with it or not."
Augusten wanted to wipe his eyes but he knew that would hurt, so he held his hands tightly together to keep from touching his face at all. He stared up at Serafino with sad, wet eyes and his bottom lip was trembling.

He thought over what Serafino had just said to him, really considering it and mulling it over as quickly as he could. Slowly Augusten shook his head, looking flushed and ashamed.

"No," he whispered softly. "I'm...I'm fucking scared. He's....he's doing the drugs again, and he gets really mad. He only stopped today cause Adri came home. I can't...can't go back but can't leave neither. I don't know what to do. It's almost my birthday. I can leave them. I'll be 18. I can leave. I don't gotta go back. I can leave this whole place if I want."
"Yeah, you can leave," Serafino answered softly. "You're not trapped there, you can walk out that door and go with me if you want. Look, you turn 18 soon? Fine. You can stay at my parents' house until then, and then you can go back to school and everything and he won't be able to make you go home even if he shows up."
"It's...it's safe with your parent's? Will you be there too?" Augusten asked softly, wringing his hands nervously, breathing hard. "It's just four days. My birthday is December 2nd. You won't leave me?"
"Augs, the fucking military couldn't get to my parents' house through the security," Serafino assured him. "It's safe. And it's nice, you can just relax and heal up. I'll...make a call, get some doctor's notes, all right? We'll both stay there for a week. You don't even have to go back to your house to get anything, I'll take care of it."
Augusten nodded, getting up off the stool and pulling his jacket back on. "Can we go? Right now?" He asked softly. He knew he sound pitiful, but he couldn't help it. "I'm hungry and starting to ache. I just want to lay down. Please. Can we really go?" He looked at Serafino with wide, hopeful, eyes.
"Yeah, come on. We'll get you settled for the night and then tomorrow go and pick you up some stuff for the stay."

He pulled out his keys and led Augusten back through the house, taking the ice he'd put in a Ziplock bag along with them. He paused at the door.

"Hey, ATTI. We're goin', and we were never here."
"I got it," Atticus yelled from upstairs, silence following.

Augusten gladly climbed into Serafino's car, buckling up and sliding down in the seat. He knew running away was sort of a cowardly thing to do, but he didn't want to be hit anymore. "Where do they live? Your parent's?"