Oh my gosh, why did I write this? Just kill me, please.
The first things to go are the mirrors.
It doesn’t surprise them, in honesty, that he’s given up speaking; what were they supposed to expect? Even after the rawness in his throat fades, after the echoes of his own howls have ceased ringing in his ears, he remains enveloped in his symphonies of silence. He’s always been apart from the rest of them, a separate entity in and of himself— there’s no need for it to stop simply because part of him is gone. They tell themselves he’ll talk again, that he’ll sing and laugh and love again (Maybe tomorrow. We’ll talk to him tomorrow.), but that for now he just needs his space.
What does surprise them is that he seems so… calm. The same boy that shattered at his brother’s bedside, shrieking out pleads and wishes and curse, stepped from his dorm merely a week later, an air of absolute iron blanketing him to the point of suffocation. They watched him— they still watch them, even as spring decrescendos and summer looms ahead— but he seemed unruffled, not one broken thing behind perpetually wide eyes. Except, of course, his voice.
So they take every mirror in the house they can and hide it (in a fit of grief, Wes smashes his, glittering splinters of silver streaking across the floor; David’s at his side immediately). They make no mention of it thereafter, and there’s a silent agreement that, on the off chance that he notices, they’ll brush it off with an excuse in utmost nonchalance.
He can feel it, the way the air crystallizes when he walks into a room. While he’s certain he should feel offended, assure them that he’s fine, he feels a certain thrill when he sees the way they look at him; like he’s different, just one step away from the rest of them. When he was with his brother, he reasons, the two of them were one step away— why should that change? Why should anything change?
Of course, it has changed. Everything’s changed.
When it’s time for bed he sleeps facing the window, every light in the room diminished save for the black candle burning in the corner. It’s easy, in the dark— easy to pretend that the bundle of blankets beside him has someone cocooned inside it, that the morning will find their hands entwined as it always did before. If he tries hard enough, peering past the blue-white glare on the surface of the windows, he can make out his reflection, a fair doppelganger of himself staring straight back at him with his brother’s eyes. He falls asleep each night convincing himself that they’re breathing in perfect synchronization.
Under the eye of the sun, he tries. The smiles are forced, twisted shadows of the merriment that once resided there, but he tries. His grades are slipping with the entirety of his attentions, straying at every flicker of blond and blue in the corner of his eye (Please, tell me it was just a dream, please, just…), but he tries. He does little but mouth the words at Warblers practice. But he still tries.
The one thing he doesn’t try to do is talk. Because talking means conversing, and conversing leads to laughing. Laughing leads to singing, singing leads to music, and music leads to love.
Love… love would be cheating. Love would be disrespectful. Love would be finding happiness when all he should want to do is cry, settling for another person when they’re not the one he wants. Love would be saying goodbye to the vibrant rush of feelings, the triumph and warmth and pain, that his memories give him when he dares to revisit them.
And as Wonderland begins to fade away, those feelings are all he has left.
So, yes. I have no idea. I hate myself, too.