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The Rules

Title: The Rules

Author Eglantine_br

Rating G

Word Count 353

LOUK- Kidfic

The Rules

It was his own fault. He had failed to get out in time. Usually Matty could get out of the school quickly enough to be out in front, and to walk home without having to see anyone.

He had to be home before dad, and he could not speak to anyone on the way. Those were the rules. He had made the rules for himself years ago, when he first started walking home from school. He had told himself that if he could get home without speaking, without opening his mouth once, it would be one of the good days when he got there.

It was stupid. He was 12 now and he knew better. But some part of him wanted to think it mattered anyway. Some childish part of him wanted to believe that if he could just do everything right, maybe it would be one of the good days. He went on thinking it even as he realized that the good days were fewer now.

And today everything had gone wrong. He had been getting his things, looking down and he had been rushing. Somehow he had dropped his notebook, and all his papers came flying out. Everyone had looked at him. He had felt himself go shriveled and hot. By the time he had stuffed everything back in, all crumpled now, the rest of the class had been out the door ahead of him.

And there, up ahead, were Kevin and Bobby, and the new boy was with them, Horatio. They were telling him something, something that made them all laugh. Trickles of sound came back to Matty. They had not seen him. He lagged, scuffling his feet in the dust. Kevin and Bobby would turn at the next street. That was when they might notice him. The Horatio boy might look, might speak to him-- and what would Matty say?

The idea of speaking to him made Matty's insides lurch and prickle. Better to lag behind. Even if it made him late, it was better to stick to the rules.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
Poor Matty. Perhaps the new boy will be more help than the rules?
Jun. 1st, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about children and magical thinking. It takes a long time to fade, and I think children cling, in times of stress, to little things that help it make some kind of sense.

Poor Matty indeed. But he is going to make a friend.
Jun. 2nd, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
I think children cling, in times of stress, to little things that help it make some kind of sense.
Aye and adults too oftentimes.

I'm glad Matty will have a friend.
Jun. 4th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
How can something this short be this painful?
Jun. 4th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
Does it seem right to you? You have thought about his adult life. So far I have been non-specific about what is wrong in his home. I have jsut wanted to show the results on the kids.
Jun. 4th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, very plausible. Although, given that it's show canon that he has mates going back to primary-school days with whom he still plays five-a-side, I don't see him as quite so friendless. But the magical thinking, the desperate belief that he can do something by his own actions to avert the trouble? That's him all over.

Also, while I'm entirely charmed by new-boy Horatio, it throws me a little as in my headcanons, his Horatio is named Andrew and they didn't meet until they were about thirty. And now they're as devoted a couple as our Navyboys.
Jun. 4th, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
I love your headcannon.

I was quite surprised to find Horatio in my Mattie story at all. Still, there he is. The muse-mule was quite insistent.

There is still time for five-a-side. He does play with other kids sometimes. (And if you play sports you can justify bruises, and nobody expects to to talk about anything deep.)
Jun. 4th, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
The episode with the priest was pretty clear in that he was one of a close-knit group of four (five?) in his pre-teen years. And an earlier one that he hid bruises under sweatshirts even when the weather didn't call for it.

But the emotional center of this -- the boy with the secret he doesn't want to talk about? SO RIGHT.
Jun. 5th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
I don't think I ever saw the priest episode. I have not seen them all. There was a while there where I was trying to resist watching LOUK. I was afraid of getting swept away. But it happened anyway. And Matt and Archie are equally lovable and real.
Jun. 5th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
*nod* I was going through EVERY episode in season 1-4 plus the deleted scenes to be as canon-compliant as possible when I was writing Matt Devlin Lives, so I know ridiculous amounts of detailed trivia. The one with the priest is heartwrenching. I would also have re-watched season 5 but it wasn't out on DVD yet.

This is how I picked up on tiny things like Matt's ID bracelet. Ah, said the slasher in me. Stealth wedding ring! And so I made it be that.

I can get obsessive when I want to get it right.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )