Lessons in Life
Before he was even sure what had happened, the young boy found himself sprawling on the ground, brown hair hanging loosely in his face and blood trickling from his nose. As a heavy kick to his side send sharp pains shooting through him, however, he merely kept his eyes focused on the cold ground. His tangled hair his the tears that slowly welled in his eyes as the scornful voice of another boy sounded above him.
"Are you just going to sit there like a baby? My dad was right, you are nothing but a bastard."
The child lay there for a few seconds, a silent fury suddenly surging through his body as the sound of cruel laughter echoed in his ears. As another well-aimed kick caught him in the ribs, however, he felt his anger rush through him like a torrent. His head shot up, the feral light in his eyes instantly stopping the laughter from the other boy. With a wild cry, he sprang towards the older boy.
"Don't call me that!"
The door to the apartment slowly creaked open, the dark-haired boy peering through the small crack before opening it far enough for him to slink into the room. His eyes moved furtively around the room, and he was just preparing to let out a sigh of relief when a firm hand laid itself on his shoulder. Flinching slightly, he turned his face around to meet that of an irate Naomi Sandburg.
"Blair, where were you!? I was worried sick that..."
Her voice trailed off as she finally noticed his face, a deep pain flickering in her young eyes as she gently touched her son's battered face. She started to say something, but the sight of his bleeding knuckles caused her to freeze for a moment, a slight frown making its way to her face as she quietly nodded and started towards a nearby cabinet.
When she returned a few minutes later, her arms loaded with bandages, Blair was sitting dejectedly on their shabby couch. The seven-year-old slowly looked up, a hint of fear shining in his eyes as he met her gaze.
"Am I in trouble?"
Naomi gently placed a wet cloth against his bruised eyes, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Were you in a fight?"
Blair flinched slightly as the cloth touched his skin, but he still managed to nod slowly.
"Did you start it?"
He pulled away, his eyes widening in innocent surprise.
Naomi let a relieved smile come to her face, her hand reaching out to gently ruffle his hair.
"What happened then?"
Blair shrugged slightly, his gaze moving away from her for a moment. When he looked back at her, a miserable expression that made him appear much older than his seven years shining in his eyes.
"Mom... Am I really a bastard?"
Naomi pulled the blanket up around her quietly sleeping son, her hand unconsciously stroking his silky hair for a moment. Even with the bruises that covered his face, she couldn't help but think that he appeared almost angelic. A brief pang of regret shot through her hear for a moment as his quiet words filled her memory. No child deserved that, especially not one as innocent and affectionate as Blair.
A thoughtful expression gradually made its way onto her face as she unhurriedly leaned down to place a loving kiss on her sleeping son's forehead. Maybe it was time for the two of them to move on. What with the Bicentennial and everything, one of the larger cities might be an interesting place for them to make a life for a while at least. Perhaps New York City...
Her eyes drifted down to where Blair gently lay sleeping, and she couldn't help but let a small smile appear on her face. A large city would not be nearly as judgmental as a small town such as where they were staying town. Maybe her son would have the chance to, at least temporarily, be nothing more than a little boy.
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