A/N] Changed the title to 'The Numbers'.

And yes, everything is supposed to be lower-case.


i.
fairytales always had good endings. once upon a time, little red riding hood defeated the evil, big bad wolf with the help of a woodcutter and saved her grandma. once upon a time, cinderella went to the ball and got married to prince charming. once upon a time, snow white got saved by the man of her dreams.
once upon...
once upon a time, there was a boy with snow-white hair and ruby red eyes that could never, ever speak.

ii.
it was like sunshine when he saw the other. it was all a muted black and white, but the moment he stepped into view it was as if his vision flooded with colors and he could see the brilliant hues that made up the world around him. the boy he had accidentally bumped into had a bandage over his eyes, but he smiled and tilted his head to look at him.
but that was all he had before the boy was pulled away by one of his older friends, another boy named sky, and he could only stare after him until he couldn't see him anymore.
ethan lowered his head and turned back to his books.

iii.
something made him come back to the library, hoping to see the boy again. sky had lost interest fairly quickly, not wanting to talk to someone that could only talk back in a language that he didn't quite understand. they sit next to each other, silently reading, until the boy tapped him on the shoulder.
when he turned around, the boy happily mouthed 'hello'.

iv.
they spent years doing exactly that, talking to each other in their own secret language that only the two of them knew. they exchanged stories and names - his name was sub. subzeroextabyte, but sub was easier to say.
days after, sub had pulled him aside to show him something. he tugs the cloth off his eyes, and reveals nothing but a huge, gaping gash instead of a left eye. ethan stares, wondering what kind of difference it made. his other eye was a brilliant hue of forest green, and he found himself attracted.
ethan wonders how someone so beautiful could have such an ugly wound marking his body when he didn't even deserve it.

v.
sky came back, like he always did, and stole sub away.
and that was the moment that the light dimmed out of ethan's eyes.

vi.
red is the only other color that he can see in this monochrome self-hate other than black and white.
he sits in a corner of his room, his parents hammering on his doors pleading for him to come out as he sits there staring at his wrist. dark red, red, crimson, every shade of red color a tinted rainbow on his skin, created by nothing but the sharp silver that he used to draw on his arms.
sub doesn't seem to remember him anymore, caught up in stupid promises that sky had said, loving words that quickly turned bitter, the quiet breath and soothing hum in the night.
things that he himself couldn't give, and he hates himself for it.

vii.
he sees sky outside one day with another boy named ty.
he could see it, the unbound love that shone in sky's eyes for the other teen that sat in front of him, holding a similar hairstyle to his own. the two of them were laughing, and sub wasn't anywhere there. they had left the mute out.
just like they always did.
just like...
just like they did to him.

viii.
he couldn't tell sub, he could never, ever tell sub.
he couldn't hurt his best friend like that no matter how much more he felt for him. the boy with his handsome beauty even with his missing eye deserved so much better. so, so much better.
instead, he returns to the library, paging back through the stories that had built up their lives, and wonders how it had all turned from a fairytale to horror so quickly.

ix.
sub found out about sky and ty being together only when they announced it aloud.
he didn't object, not even with the language that they shared, not even a single sign of protest and no tears even forming in his eyes. sky turns his gold gaze on sub, triumph in his gaze, and ethan wants to punch him.
sub comes to his house in the dead of night with tears streaming down his face, and ethan lets him in.
he hardly feels guilty when seeing that made his gaze light up again.

x.
once upon a time, red riding hood got eaten by the wolf. once upon a time, cinderella was trapped in the tower and never got to go to the ball. once upon a time, snow white never met her prince.
once...
once upon a time, there was a monster with snow-white hair and ruby red eyes selfishly cradling a boy with a handsome beauty.
ethan wonders when he had become such a disaster, but when he's maintaining a possessive hold over the boy that he had loved for a few years straight, that didn't seem to matter as much.