Chapter: Judges (3/5)
Characters: T-Bag, others (Gen)
Rating: PG-R (this part R, mainly for violence)
Summary: His future was written at the beginning; it came to him by blood.
Spoilers: Through end of Season 1.
Authors Notes: Written for the philosophy_20 prompt #17, "Lack Of God." This is a somewhat AU history of T-Bag. This was inspired by a long-ago "Stories I Never Wrote You" challenge, the prompt being "Five Ways T-Bag Didn't Almost Die." It took forever to finish all five of them, and these are instead a set of five times T-Bag came close to dying, and who that made him in the process.
Part I Part II
x-x-x Part III: Judges x-x-x
Macon, Georgia was a whole new world to a country boy from Alabama.
Teddy had been invited along on a trip with Aunt Beryl for the weekend. “He needs to get out in the world, after all,” she’d said. “He ought to get a feeling for what he’s missing, before he’s all grown up and has to decide where he wants to be.”
Aunt Beryl had no idea what-all young Teddy actually knew, but it was better that way. If she was willing to forget his stints in juvenile lockup, then he was happy to help her along.
Here in the city might be exactly the kind of place that suited Teddy. He felt a little conspicuous, with his best hand-me-down clothes and all, but a boy could get used to the energy of the city life. The streets were buzzing with people and cars, and he’d seen three movie theatres on the drive in from the outskirts alone. His own two-café main-street little town was rather puny in comparison to this. And heaven knew it was as boring as watching dust sift over pavement in the wind.
Aunt Beryl had left him to stroll around the city center while she went shopping. “Something fancy to wear to weddings,” she’d said. “My other dresses aren’t the least bit fashionable anymore.”
Teddy walked down sidewalks crowded by stores and coffee shops, people wandering every which way and hardly noticing him at all.
A boy could get lost in a town this size. Become anonymous, disappear if he had a mind to. There were times he'd have liked to drop right out of his own rundown miserable life. Escape the past, escape his record and reputation; become invisible and be free to do as he pleased.
This block featured jewelry shops and an art gallery, and an athletic store beckoned across the way. The display of so many clean, new baseball jerseys and basketballs drew him over. He marveled at the quantity of them, at the other things like skis that were hanging on the inside wall.
A boy came out of the doorway, stepping confidently onto the sidewalk. He was bigger than Teddy and a little older, perhaps 20 or so. He was handsome, blond-haired with startling green eyes. And the look he gave Teddy was something slow and familiar that crept on down inside of him and made it hard to breathe.
Teddy smiled back at him with calculated charm, already keyed-up by the interest revealed in that gaze. This was a little piece of something that didn’t come quite so easily in his preacher-and-purity hometown. The boy regarded him with increasing heat, and before Teddy knew it the two of them were headed off to the boy’s car.
Robert, his name was, though it didn’t matter. This was less about who than about what for both of them now. They drove about ten blocks to a park filled with fountains and bushes and trees. Robert’s hand would stroke up the inside of Teddy’s thigh, and Teddy’s breath would catch in his throat while he hoped and waited for that touch to become more.
Robert parked near a clump of bushes, and Teddy followed him onto a walkway where they ambled casually before disappearing out of sight.
Hidden from view, they came together roughly—mouths clashing in desperation and need. It was so much better than the embarrassed groping Teddy had gone through with other boys before. He and Robert clutched each other, hands reaching for hardness, softness, skin. There was no looking away, no pretending that it wasn’t happening the way the other boys had done. And no mama to go crying home to, like so many of the girls did after sweet-soft kisses turned to tears.
A crashing of leaves and bushes behind him startled Teddy, and he broke off to see what the commotion was. A bulky, angry-looking man plunged in toward him. When Teddy turned to run, he saw that Robert had already gone.
“Faggot kids!” the man said viciously. He punched Teddy in the face and in the gut, shoving him down and climbing on top of him. Quick fingers opened Teddy’s pants and yanked them off, and then the man flipped him over and spread his legs out wide while he muscled in from underneath.
The pain was torturous as he pushed his way in. Teddy yelled hoarsely, and found an arm hooked around the front of his throat while the man took him from behind.
Tighter, tighter, Teddy strained for air as the world blackened at the edges. Only the agony of brutalized sensation kept him from passing out.
“Gonna go out with a bang, you cocksucking trash.”
And then the anger rose up inside Teddy like a demon set free upon the earth. He was not about to die at the hands of this stranger, this monster raping him and pretending he was saving the world from the very thing he was himself
Teddy waited, straining against unconsciousness and listening for his chance.
“Oh…Ohhhhh,” the man groaned out weakly, and Teddy bucked and rolled the two of them over until he was free and the man lay bewildered on the ground beside him.
Teddy’s hands scrabbled across the ground, finding a rock that was the size of his palm.
“Take that, you sonofabitch!” He brought the rock down against the man’s eye, hearing the bones crunch underneath the force of the blow.
The man’s strangled screams echoed in Teddy’s ears as he struck the man again and again and the rock turned red.
The sounds stopped long before Teddy ceased his attack, unnoticed beneath the buzzing that swarmed inside his head. All he heard when the noise died down was his own ragged breathing against the background of distant traffic.
The man lay there, still and broken. His hair lifted lightly in the wind that alone moved in the deadly quiet there under the trees. Teddy’s surroundings crept back in hazily. He hardly noticed them, for the liquid flow of life seeping out to stain the dirt.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, looking at what he’d done. It would have been him lying there instead now, if the man had gotten his way.
He ought to have felt sickness or regret, but no such color of emotion touched him. His fear was gone, replaced by a steely resolve that twined through the deadness of his adolescent heart. The only tragedy here was to his own battered flesh, its testimony in the wetness that stained his fingers in a trail of crimson tears.
He examined this bright red essence of himself, glistening in the sunlight with the richness of pure vitality. He was empowered by its beauty, by its existence in the face of so narrow an escape.
His blood was the foundation of his own survival, superior in its strength and sustenance. It was the heart of what made him who he was and would become, a most astonishing and resilient young man.
But this man was nothing like him. Truth be told, this man deserved no mourning—he was nothing much at all.
The certainty came to Teddy then, as he looked upon the remnants of his desperate rage.
The blood of other people was purely ordinary.
And when he spilled it as he pleased, they would not miss it.