Part III: Internalised Homophobia
Allen turned as if he were about to leave then changed his mind, turning to step closer to me.
“Sage, my step-dad will give you hell, trust me, please-”
“I don’t care what your parents think Allen. Just like I’ve not cared what you think funnily enough. It’s cute that you think you’re suddenly accepting because you can keep your trap shut when we’re freely being ourselves, but you’re not a true ally. Or you would be telling your parents to deal with it, rather than asking me to change for their sake,” I cut him off, saying way more of a speech than I’d intended.
“Sage-” I cut him off by pulling off my jeans and shirt in front of him. I could feel my cheeks flushing but I wanted to prove a point. I yanked on my leggings and skirt and found the pinkest, girliest top I could and threw that on.
“Now, if you don’t mind, I need to go down and see my parents,” I said, brushing stray hairs from my face. Allen shook his head, his body blocking the door. “Are you seriously going to trap me in here?” I asked.
“Sage, I’m begging here -”
“No.” It went like for a couple more sentences, me cutting him off with a simple no.
“Goddammit Sage!” he yelled as I opened my lips for another objection. “Just take off the skirt and wear some jeans for christ sake!”
“I’ll wear whatever I want – I don’t care what you or your family think-” I begun, stepping into Allen’s space. It had been a long time since I felt this angry. Enough so that for a split second, I actually considering diving into his brain to rewire the damn bigotry out of it. Then he stepped closer and grabbed both my arms suddenly and yanked me forward, pressing his lips against mine with bruising, wiping all logical thought from my mind. I froze as suddenly his mind was there before, a mixture of confusion, pain, desire, disgust, hurt, anger, loss. It just kept coming, wave after wave of inner demons. I pulled back my body and shove his away from mine, feeling violated.
“What the actual fuck?!” I yelled, covering my body and wiping at my lips.
“I don’t know, you just do something and,” he began, mouthing wordlessly for a second. “Fuck,” he whispered.
“I do nothing Allen, that was all you,” I replied.
“I’m not some fucking queer like you!” Allen yelled back. It was the first time I really saw just how deeply rooted his homophobia was. So deep he couldn’t even recognise his own feelings. I tried to figure out the right words, how to calmly explain to him what was going on. Then Jaeger stormed into the room and yanked Allen away from me by the collar.
“Enough,” Jaeger said. Allen reacted on instinct, shoving Jaeger away – right into a wall. I heard the thud as Jaeger’s head collided with it.
“Jaeger!” I rushed over, ready to sooth his pain, my hand briefly touching his. I froze again, his mind was almost as bad as Allen. No, wait, it was worse. So much worse. Jaeger walked towards Allen, breaking the contact. I’d thought Allen was angry, but the menace I had felt in Jaeger was beastly in nature.
“Shit, sorry I didn’t mean to-” Allen began, hands held up in front of him in defence.
“You’re a fucking mess Allen. Get your shit together,” Jaeger muttered. Then he punched Allen. I gasped, covering my mouth as I saw blood erupt from Allen’s nose. I was mad at Allen but I did not want this. I reached to Jaeger to stop him but then realised Allen was having some kind of panic attack. Caroline rushed into the room, obviously they had heard something was up downstairs. She was at Allen’s side helping him calm down.
“I’m so out of here,” Jaeger muttered, turning and leaving the room. I saw Sanjay waiting outside but Jager brushed him off. I turned my gaze back to Allen and Caroline. Allen was curled in the foetal position on the floor by his bed.
“What can I do?” I asked, sitting down. Admittedly I had no strong desire to help Allen, but no one deserved whatever he was experiencing right now.
“Can you give us a few moments?” Caroline asked. As her gaze met mine I heard her thoughts loud and clear; Get us some Mutex so we don’t all die of radiation poisoning.
My eyes widened, I’d never known what Allen’s power was. I raced downstairs and collided into Allison. “Not right now,” I said, pushing past them and into the kitchen.
“Where’s the first aid kit?” I asked.
“Under the sink,” Allison said.
“Right, I knew that,” I said, pulling it out and zipping it open quickly. Mutex. Mutex. Where was it? I shoved aside the sterile packets of bandages and other solutions before I found the correct injector pen. I raced past Allison and upstairs. Caroline took it gratefully, stabbing Allen’s thigh efficiently. I saw the moment of surprise followed by tiredness. Mutex had that effect on parahumans. I helped Caroline lift his body onto the bed.
“So much for a straightforward parents evening,” I murmured, swiping sweat from my forehead.
“What happened?” Caroline asked. I hesitated, there was no way I could tell anyone Allen had kissed me. He needed to process his sexuality himself. He wasn’t mentally prepared for anyone else to know.
“Just an old argument that escalated. I didn’t help things. I think things were calming down until Jaeger came along,” I added, shuddering a little. Jaeger needed therapy. I didn’t know exactly what for, but he needed it.