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Pretty Like Drugs

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Ed could imagine his father laughing at him if he saw the state his son had brought himself to. Then he would most likely proceed to beat him up until he was balancing on the edge of death. And Ed would be thankful, maybe he'd even ask him to go over that edge and kill him, just to get it over with, because it was too painful to be alive as Edward Nygma.

There was a constant emptiness, an ache that could never be filled. He had tried, countless times... He had tried to make friends, to sneak himself into the lives of other people, into their hearts to maybe get a glimpse of that attention, the affections he tried to bestow, back. But of course it never worked... He was an outlier, a weirdo, a nerd, a psychopath, a stalker, a creep... He had heard them all. He didn't understand why people thought of him that way, why they distanced themselves with a frown on their faces when he opened his mouth.

He never understood, but still that's how things had always been. The only person that ever seemed to accept him and love him unconditionally was his sister Elisa. But that contact had been lost, when he was in his late teens. His mother out off fear of her husband had fled, taking Eli with her. The only thing he had still left of his sister was her favorite plush toy that she had left for him on the night she was taken away from him.

His father was an angry drunk, full of insults and horribly degrading things to say. He beat him and his mother up on a daily basis, only staying away from Eli because Ed made sure to act as a shield at all times. She was precious to him, no one meant as much to him as her.

In his rage his father had dragged his wife back home and brutally killed her in front of Ed... Even to this date he was haunted by nightmares and flashbacks from that night. So much blood, the screams and all he did was just sit there, frozen, not able to move and save his mother. He was scared to admit that a side of him had felt satisfaction at her dying, over all these years he had wanted at least a bit of love and affection from her, a hug, protection... anything. But nothing ever came and his anger grew at seeing her lamenting in self pity and depression.

What kind of horrible person was he to wish death on his mother? He was a monster... His father did say that her death was his fault. Everything was his fault.

After that incident his father was thrown into prison and Ed was on his own. He was traumatized, obviously, but chose not to deal with what had happened, instead burying it all deep inside of him. He focused on his studies, wanting to go into forensics, he always loved science and his love for riddles and puzzles fit perfectly in this line of work. Because what else was setting together clues to figure out a murder, but solving a puzzle?

But the darkness of his past was always lurking and there was a darkness within him that he was scared of, a force that he tried so hard to keep at bay. Already since childhood it would whisper to him of horrible scenarios.

Edward was a nervous wreck throughout University. Though it was never officially diagnosed he was sure that he suffered from an anxiety disorder and depression. He managed to get his hands on psychopharmacological mediction, prescribed by a psychiatrist that had no idea what was going on with him. But he didn't ask as long as he was getting paid for the meds and a few minutes of being silent with each other. He made it through the first year of University numb on medication, he couldn't feel anything and it was sort of blissful, floaty. He still passed all of his courses, he was a genius after all.

His need for acceptance and attention had led him into a group of the wrong kind of people. But he didn't know, all he knew was that they wanted to be friends with him, they wanted him to be part of their group. That's how he got into drugs. False promises of friendship, companionship. First it started harmless, with some joints, until it came to harder drugs. Ed had wanted so badly to fit in...

Of course in the end they had shown their true colors when Ed had hit rock bottom. They laughed and mocked him, apparantely it had all been a sick joke to them, how far could they destroy the loser creep and he had fallen for it.

Now the drugs turned into his sole comfort, a coping mechansim that made him forget what an utter failure he was. He didn't care what drugs he took, everything was good, everything was good to build his fantasy world where there was no pain, no bad memories. He had to say even if they hurt him, he was grateful to those people for showing him the blissfulness of drugs. They were his only friends, his solace, sometimes even his joy.

"Edward?"

His head snapped up at the quiet, feminine voice. His vision was blurry, his head lolling to the side, without an ounce of control. He could recognize the red hair though, a dopey, tired smile formed on his dry lips. He hissed, it hurt to smile, it hurt to move.

"Kristen," he muttered, his voice rough with unuse, his throat was sore. He didn't know how long he'd been here in this alley, sitting on the ground in between some trash and rats, his clothes were soaked with rain. He lost his flat, he lost his job at the GCPD that he got immediately after graduating with flying colors, even with his drug addiction.

He didn't even remember how long ago that had been... Time didn't have any meaning to him anymore.

Ed had tried so hard when he started working at the GCPD to quit the drugs, wanting to be clean, hoping that with his dream job now he could finally live a respectable, good life. He was bound to make friends here, right? Surely they'd be at a higher intellectual level than those moronic college students?

Well, he had been wrong. And he also realized quickly that it was hard to work and concentrate when also trying to go through a drug withdrawal. It had been horrible. Sure he somehow managed to make it seem like he was just very nervous, but the trembling and sweating and the cramps... Sometimes he locked himself in the bathroom to curl up and weep from the pain. He was truly pathetic, wasn't he?

And then there was Kristen Kringle. He remembered meeting her for the first time, she appeared like a vision, like a savior to his sorrows. He was instantly smitten, the smile she gave him, for a moment he forgot about everything bad in his life.

"Hi, I'm Kristen Kringle, I'm the record keeper," she smiled politely, extending her hand in order to greet him properly. Her smile was blinding and he nervously fidgeted for a moment.

"Did you know that in Tibet people greet each other by sticking out their tongues? In order to prove that they aren't the black-tongued king of Tibet. Isn't that curious?" He grinned, excited to share a fact, but as always the reaction he got wasn't excited at all. The smile dropped from Kristen's lips and her hand was slowly moving away, before he swiftly grabbed it, maybe shaking it a tad too eagerly. "But we can just stick to this, yeah? Some good ol' handshaking," he chuckled awkwardly. He was such an idiot!

"And I'm Ed Nygma, the new forensics investigator. It's nice to meet you, Ms. Kringle."

Somehow over the weeks he worked there they formed a very tentative friendship. Or so it seemed to Ed, he thought of them as friends. He hoped maybe it could be more at some point, he was trying hard to win her affections. Often he felt that she was annoyed with him, but he wasn't sure why. Why was he never good enough?

Everything broke one day though... It didn't need much, more bullying from his co-workers, more name calling and somehow on that one faithful day that had driven him over the edge. He was shaking, pathetic tears streaming down his cheeks as he set the needle to his arm. Once the heroin was in his blood, he felt blissfully relaxed, god it felt so good. Why did he ever decide to stop doing this? Every bad thought was gone, he was happy now, even if for a moment, it was worth it.

He lost himself in the drugs, a heated affair, the only kind of romance he seemed to deserve.

And now here he was on the streets, barely any money left, all of it spent on his addiction.

"Oh Ed... what have you done?" He was woken from his musings by Kristen's voice again. He gazed up at her, she looked pretty with her pink umbrella, red hair arranged in a neat ponytail. Her features seemed marred with concern.

"I was worried... No one knows what happened. Come, this is no place for you to be."

Ed felt like it was the perfect place for him, here in the garbage. The voice in his head laughed at him. /You're pathetic, Ed. A coward, a loser! You can't get anything right. What did you ever accomplish in your life? Nothing, you moron./ It laughed and laughed. He couldn't hear Kristen's voice over it, didn't even realize that she had knelt down beside him, trying her best to soothe him awkwardly.

He covered his ears with his hands, shaking his head, he couldn't breathe. The last he remembered was the booming laughter and Kristen's face that in his eyes looked like it was smiling at him mockingly and then everything went black.