Timeline: Post s2 ep "Tall Tales".
Pairing: Curtis/Alien. Yes, you read that right.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the Supernatural cast/crew/characters/plotlines/etc. All hail Kripke. The title is from the song "Troubled Mind" by Catie Curtis. Please don't sue.
Warnings: Spoilers for the ep "Tall Tales".
Author's Notes: There's a Curtis/Alien music vid too, if you haven't seen it already. It's to the song "Haunted" by Poe and can be seen over at my vid site Greenhaired Goddess.
I know it's hard to believe,
to see a perfect forest through so many splintered trees.
~ "Haunted" by Poe
It's been a month since his "experience", and Curtis knows his grades are slipping. To be honest, he just can't bring himself to care. He can hear everyone whispering behind his back, Look at that freak. Did you hear? He told everyone he was abducted! Total loony, I'm telling you. He's going to have to live on ramen for a month, but it's a relief when he has enough money to pack his stuff and move out of the fraternity. It's the tiniest apartment he's ever seen, but it's his and his alone, and there's no longer constant gazes making the back of his neck itch.
The only class he looks forward to these days is art, but he's probably going to fail it too. He spends the entire class with his head down avoiding his peers' eyes, hand constantly moving over the paper. He starts carrying a CD player to class after the abduction and lets the earphones block out the world and his classmates' jeering and questions. He complies with using the mediums the teacher assigns each week, but that's the only nod he gives to the curriculum. Every day he draws the same thing. Each page in his portfolio is filled with Her.
Krenja. In his head he repeats her name, over and over again so he doesn't forget. He tries to write it down, but ends up filling pages with un-phonetic symbols to describe sounds that the human throat could never repeat. T^#jhq(kr'nj*_fia)~vuhwcnu. He'd called her Krenja after several failed attempts to pronounce her name, and she'd pushed amusement at him and called him K#v&^aTr's, her mouth equally unable to conform to his language.
He sketches her face with pencils, tries to capture the supple metallic sheen of her skin with graphite. Charcoal stains his fingers black for weeks as he fills in her eyes, finding himself not quite able to make the two-dimensional ovals reflect her kindness, intelligence, and curiosity. On a Thursday he smears black and red oil pastels onto black paper, making the darkness even darker and the white pastel of the examination room stand out in stark relief - he outlines the probe with a sickly orange-green mixture, not what it actually had been but rather the color that makes him think of violation and shame and vomit. Her figure can be seen in the corner haloed in silver - the only part of the picture he doesn't rip to shreds that night. He holes up and drinks heavily for the next few days, and then shows up clean and groomed when the bell rings on Monday. He uses watercolors to paint them slow-dancing together, drops of colored water forming the specks of light splashing from the disco ball. He cries as he paints that scene, his tears falling on their intertwined bodies and making the painting look almost impressionistic.
She was the first one he saw when he woke up inside the ship, and the easiest to talk with. English was useless; the aliens seemed to talk to each other with strings of noises and hand-gestures, but they managed to communicate with him by emoting feelings and he found that with practice he could respond in kind. The moment he laid eyes on her she transmitted calm relax soothe, and he automatically started calming down before he realized that the emotions hadn't come from him. He couldn't see very well after he woke up; the light the aliens used didn't process right to his eyes, making everything blurry and casting a halo of light around objects. He blinked, vision swimming for a moment as he saw two other aliens in the examination room. One was scrawny and had tools in his hand, intrigue fascination curiosity rolling off him in waves. A step behind him was a larger alien, bulging arms vaguely reminiscent of a pro wrestler, menace distain repulsion making Curtis reel and shrink back into the chair he was bound to. Though the majority of his mind was blindly panicking, he couldn't help but wonder what Miss-English-Major Hannah would have thought of naming the feelings that each alien radiated. He'd spent many hours of his life listening to her impromptu lectures about the subtle differences between thesaurically similar words, and he could almost imagine her debate about labeling that blood-curdling feeling that was currently icing his veins disgust or loathing. "Thesaurically" made him think of Jen, whose trademark was making up words and using nouns as verbs... just the other day she'd been flipping through Weekly World News and muttering about her most recent ex-boyfriend, "Oh yeah, he totally needs to be chainsawed." Then the probing started, and he thanked every deity that he'd heard of in Intro to Spirituality class that Jen and Hannah weren't here because he wouldn't even wish this on Will Cranos who shoved him into lockers every day of high school, much less on his two favorite girls in the whole world.
Each picture, once finished, was carefully slid into his portfolio until it could be taken home. He couldn't hide the drawings and paintings from his peers or art teacher during the class period, but he didn't go out of his way to show them off. Once he got back to his apartment, each picture of Her would be put on display. He doesn't try to hide them in his apartment - hardly anyone visits him anymore. Once the refrigerator door was full he started taping the pages to the walls and ceiling and propping them up on shelves and other furniture. He probably has a month or two before every available surface is covered with art of Krenja, and he doesn't know what he'll do then.
His watch, a high school graduation gift from his grandfather that keeps track of the month and day as well as the time, was nine days fast when he woke up in the center of a large circle of dead grass in front of Crawford Hall. It fits his memories - he remembers counting everything that happened to him. Eight probing sessions in the examination room. Seven empty spots in his memories while he slept. Twenty-five times he ate something that tasted like the worst energy bar ever made. Fifty-three times he drank something that tasted like extremely watered-down lemonade. Twice, he slow-danced. Five times Krenja kissed him. Once, they...
Curtis shakes his head and ignores the sudden tilt of the room and the trill of his cell phone announcing unchecked voicemail. Someone was pounding on his door earlier but it's stopped now, and he drains the last of the beer in his hand and drops the empty bottle to the floor where it clinks against its brethren scattered across the carpet. One more, he tells himself, one more and maybe it'll finally numb the feeling of her tongue wrapped around his. Not forget, he could never and would never want to forget, but every moment he spends back in his "normal" life without her is roughly equivalent to the pain of twenty probings and he needs something to dull his senses so he can rest.
Sections of time he spent abducted are still blurry, especially the times in the examination room that he purposefully tries to forget, but there are some moments that are as crystal clear as the alien-light allowed. His favorite memories are the ones of time spent "talking" to Krenja while sipping the water-lemonade out of vessels that looked like failed ceramics class projects, sitting on chairs shaped like Van Gieson sculptures. Well, scratch that. His favorite memory is of the last night they spent together, the handful of hours he spent learning as much about her as she did about him.
The last day he spent on her ship, there was no probing. Skinny and Bruno busied themselves elsewhere and he spent the entire time with Krenja relaxing and passing information and emotions back and forth as easily as the casual touches they also exchanged. She described the water on her planet, what it was like to swim in cool crimson lakes and to dive glide rise burst, and he told her about amusement parts and roller coasters, about the up fear over panic drop thrill, and somewhere along the way exchanging emotions turned into exchanging kisses too. Her tongue was the most alien thing about her - it divided into three parts with suctions on the ends, and it was beyond ecstasy when she wrapped her tongue around his, the overload of sensations making it the best French kiss in the history of kissing. He can't imagine kissing anyone else, blunt clumsy human tongues far inferior to what Krenja shared with him.
Yesterday he'd let Jen bring over pizza and a few movies and tried to pretend to be a normal human being for a few hours. He'd died a little more as he cleaned up before she arrived, carefully taking down each picture of Krenja and hiding the neat pile in his closet. He pasted on a smile when Jen arrived; she popped in Clerks II and he drank Coke, and for a while it had been like old times. Jen had been the one to get him hooked on the Jersey Saga and together they'd watched every movie and even spent an unspeakable amount to get a Kevin-Smith-signed hard-bound copy of Chasing Dogma from the internet. Everything was okay until one throwaway line from Jay - There he goes; homeboy fucked a Martian once - made him lock himself in the bathroom for the rest of the night. Jen tried to be there for him but he couldn't deal with her worry and apologies as the five slices of pineapple-and-bacon pizza he'd choked down forced their way back up. After hurling what felt like most of his internal organs along with the pizza and soda into the toilet, he sat on the cold tile with his back against the edge of the shower and just stared at the white paint of his bathroom door. His throat burned from the bile like it had back in the examination room as Skinny took plenty of time examining and making places in his body ache that he hadn't even known could be hurt. He puked more on the first day of his abduction than he had since his eighth birthday when he'd thought cake and roller coasters were the best combination ever.
It was ten-thirty in the morning when he left the bathroom, retrieved the stack of drawings and paintings and carefully put each one back in its place, dead-bolting the front door and grabbing two six-packs of beer from the fridge in the process. Jen must've left sometime during the night - there's a note taped to the fridge but he doesn't read it, just sticks a sketch of Krenja's face shaded with colored pencil over it and sinks into the living room chair to drink the meaningless hours away.