Listening to Frank's heart made Gerard realize just how much the kid needed protection. It showed his vulnerability, his humanity. It wasn’t the same as anyone else’s heart on the planet, yet all too similar to the heartbeats of the population of non-understanding, prejudiced beings outside of the city. It wasn’t that Gerard didn’t like humans. They were just too different. They would look upon him with disgust, even fear. Gerard never did anything to harm them, it was just the way he lived, what he was, what he had to do to stay sane.
Frank was in so many ways like Gerard. They were both runts of the past century. Frank’s small form and weak mentality at birth caused the elders to reject him. They predicted he wouldn’t make it to the age of three, but there he was, age sixteen and curled up, warm and alive, into Gerard, the fluid and extra powerful endorphins rushing in him as much as anyone else in the city, maybe even stronger.
Gerard’s father had been the one to stand up in front of the small council and dispute against sacrificing Frank. His own son, who was Gerard, had been like Frank once and he too could have faced death at birth.
Gerard and Frank were different though, very different, even from their own kind. Not in the sense of fingerprints and brain patterns, but in ways no one expected from the two outcasts. They had an addiction; an uncontrollable addiction to pain. Not just the feeling of pain, the turmoil it caused in the brains of other. No one knew how or why they were born like that. Everyone among them had some strange “defect”, you could call it, but none as crippling as this. It was crippling because all their lives they would have to deal with the ongoing need to hurt themselves or someone else.
The others didn’t take the characteristic too badly, but they still wouldn’t qualify it as normal. Gerard’s social awkwardness made it hard for him to convince anyone otherwise. His younger brother was the only one to completely accept them; his early childhood hadn’t been too tolerant of his disabilities either.
Their bloody obsession wasn’t the only thing different about them. They didn’t know it themselves either, but they weren’t going to be the weakest forever. They were stronger than most of the ones calling them inadequate.
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