A/N: Sorry for having you guys wait for the next chapter! Life has been super busy and crazy lately. Plus I of course had the usual writers block. I hope this chapter makes up for it. It's nothing major since it's still the beginning, but it's still something. Also, I hope everyone enjoyed True Colors! I played it all in one night and LOVED it. I plan to replay it soon. No spoilers please for others sakes. Thank you! :)

PS, the poem title is inspired by a slate in the boy's dorm in Before The Storm. Someone writes Brain Decay by Nathan Prescott and other people write about it on the slate too. ;)

Chapter Four


"Do you have a pencil?" I asked. I was in Ms. Grant's science class with Nathan, who was half asleep. He rubbed his eyes with the palm of his hands with a nod, handing me an extra mechanical pencil. I smiled gently at him before continuing to write the notes Ms. Grant had projected on the board for us. My pencil ran out of lead. I'm not one of those people who buy a shit ton of refills for them either. I just grab a package of pencils and go. When I run out, I run out. But the rest of my pencils are back at my dorm - I didn't have a backup.

"Want any gum?" I said and reached into my backpack, "It's icey mint. It wakes me up when-"

"I'm fine." Nathan muttered and put his head down on his hand. He seemed sad and exhausted. Yesterday was the first day I met the shy and lonely boy. This is the only class we share which is sad. He seems like a cool guy deep down. I nodded and pulled a stick out, popping it into my mouth, before chewing. The smell of mint filled the air around us, becoming almost hard to tolerate. What was keeping Nathan awake - besides the smell of my gum - was him writing. It wasn't the notes Ms. Grant had up though. It was something lengthy and his hand moved quickly across the paper, quickly getting his thoughts down.

"What are you writing?" I asked.

"A thing."

"What kinda thing?"

"Just... a thing." Nathan sighed. I got the hint he didn't want to share. But, I'm curious. Was it a short story? A diary? How to blow up the school? I was interested in all the possibilities. I gently leaned forward, peeking over Nathans shoulder ever-so-slightly, trying to figure out his hand writing. His hand writing was very... okay, it's horrible. It looks like a chicken who had a panic attack because their wings were clipped off, so their using their foot to write. I looked at the top of the paper and saw the title of whatever he was writing.

"Brain Decay." I muttered. Nathan overheard and quickly moved his notebook away, glaring at me.

"Thanks for snooping." He hissed.

"Sorry! What is it?" I asked.

"It's a fuckin' poem, okay?!" Nathan whisper yelled, glaring into my eyes. I didn't flinch. I shrugged and looked around. Nobody was paying attention to us. Almost everyone was asleep except Brooke.

"What's wrong with poetry?" I asked.

Nathan scoffed, "What's wrong- okay!" He shook his head and looked away from me, facing Ms. Grant who was too focused on teaching than our conversation. I have no idea what Nathan's deal was. I just wanted to read what he was writing. He's in this school for a reason. Not just photography, but probably for other reasons too. My reason is mainly for math and science. This school is for gifted people; so he must have some gift in something. I remained silent, wondering what was wrong with poetry, Nathan's annoyed and angered expression calmed as he looked back at me.

"My father doesn't like me writing poetry. He says it's too... feminine."

"What's wrong with femininity?"

"He barely supports me being in photography classes. He thinks so... stereotypical. Women should stay home and the men work."

"But... you can make money from your poetry and other passions." I informed but Nathan snorted with an eye roll. He leaned back on the stools we were sitting on, crossing his arms, and shook his head.

"Like he gives a flying fuck." Nathan muttered, "He wants me to run his company. He threw a huge fit when my sister joined the military - saying it's a mans job - and that I should take her place instead."

"It can be anybody's job. You can literally do any-"

"Anything I set my mind to. Yeah, I've heard that many times. But with my dad breathing down my neck, it's almost impossible." Nathan interrupted, cutting me off. I remained silent, not sure what else to say to help him. Nathan's tense shoulders relaxed a bit before he took a deep breath, slowly sliding me the piece of paper he was writing on. I looked down at the paper before back up at him, making sure it was okay to read. He slowly nodded before looking ahead at Ms. Grant, not wanting to see my reaction to his work.

Brain Decay by Nathan Prescott

Years have flown by without a warning,

Your gentle touch is one I've been yearning

for since the day I was born.

Take another pill,

Smoke another joint,

What's the point?

To silence the demons in my head that get worse?

Or to please your reputation?

My wrists stained red from the blood shed,

My teeth bashed into the drywall,

I'll never be enough for you.

The pressure is too much for a young boy,

Who just wants to be loved and accepted,

While the world watches his brain decay.