Title: A Rosen by any other name
Disclaimer: Belongs to Tim Kring and all other associated people.
Summary: The real reason why West doesn’t want anyone to know who his parents are
Word Count: 1,433
And you thought your family was crazy. Mine is, quite literally. I mean, there are giant holes in my life, pieces of the puzzle I can never quite put together. I know for as long as I can remember I’ve been terrified of the man with the horned-rim glasses. I know they took me. I know they were concerned about the past and my connection with it. I know they’re out there somewhere, just waiting to take me again if I even so much as place a foot in the wrong direction.
We’ve lived all over, my mom and I. Philadelphia, New York, California. No matter where we go it never feels safe. And you know what? I’m sick of this paranoia. I’m sick of thinking that someone is out there watching me, waiting for me to do something they disapprove of. So I’ve started pushing the boundaries. Let’s see how far they’ll let me go before they think I’m a threat to their very existence.
In a way, it’s like fate that I met Claire. At first she tried to deny it, but she feels the same way too. I know she does. I just wanted her to admit she was stronger than she pretended to be. She knows how to play smart. And through all the times we have to play adults to our parents, I know we can both still be kids. I’ve got a strip of photo booth pictures in my wallet to prove it – one where she’s sticking her tongue in my ear, one where we’re pulling the mot ridiculous faces, one where I’ve got my fingers sticking up behind her head like alien antennae, and the last… she looks so demure and innocent in that one, staring straight down the barrel as she sits on my lap. In that photo we just look like any other ordinary teen couple. At least nobody can tell through a photo that we’re people being hunted for our special abilities.
It was that very photo I was looking at when I walked through the door to my house that day – the one where my mother completely lost it. My room is the first on the left, and peeking in as I passed I saw that my computer and my blog was open for all the world to see. All I could think was that my mother had seen what I’d written about Claire.
The very thought of course propelled me much faster through the house, towards the now destroyed “junk room” as we termed it (because it stored all the stuff we didn’t unpack unless we needed to, just in case we needed to get out in a hurry) where my mother sat in the middle of a pile of chaos, rocking herself back and forth and mumbling something about “a Rosen by any other name”.
“Mom?” I’d asked, crouching before her. She looked right through me like an empty pane of glass. Taking her arm, I pulled her to her feet and steered her towards her own bedroom, seating her on the mattress and telling her to lie down.
As if she only now realized I was there, she began frantically clawing at my arms and repeating: “He’s mad. He’s mad.”
“Who’s mad?” I asked.
“Mad!” she cried again. I managed to catch her wrists between my hands and lowered her back onto the bed. She just stared at the roof and became so quiet that I began to wonder if she were counting the holes up there. Or something that was obviously not but seemed to be equally fascinating.
I went back to our spare room to clean up and pretty much groaned as soon as I saw it all. Boxes of stuff were haphazardly tipped over, books and albums here and there, a pile of old papers in the middle of the room. I kicked at one of the boxes, lifting it up with my foot and began cleaning up all mom’s old journals that had fallen out of it. All medical stuff, of course, cause she’s a nurse. That’s how she met my dad apparently – at a mental health facility in New York where she worked. They warned her he was dangerous, but she didn’t listen. He was smart, and charming. And he always told her of these great adventures he’d had which everyone just thought was in the delirium of his mind, because nothing like that could be true. Not in this world.
But I’m living proof that the extraordinary can be true. I’m your real life Peter Pan – a boy who can fly, a boy who doesn’t ever want to grow up. But without my father, I’ve had to be more grown up than I’ve wanted to be. Still doesn’t stop me abusing my freedom. And he’d always wanted that for me.
As I picked up one thing after another in a decided effort to make the room look more presentable, my eyes fell upon some very large lettering on the ground. RO. I stopped what I was doing and went over to the paper and settled on my knees beside it. A marker lay nearby so I could only presume my mother had written our last name over and over in her hysteria. I often do wonder why she chose to make my surname Rosen. She never married. She couldn’t exactly name me after my father who was frowned upon by so many, their relationship just as sinful in their eyes. It cost her that well-paying job. I don’t want to be the reason she can never have a successful or stable life anymore.
There was the N. And now an E. I put them in order of our surname, digging around for the S. Instead I uncovered another O. Sighing, I began to think there was a good sixty copies of our name buried underneath this junk. I threw papers to the left, to the right, and finally found my way to the floor. Peeking out to the right of my hand was another letter – a W.
“Great. She’s gone psychotic and she’s writing my name over and over.”
But for as many papers as I shifted, I couldn’t find an S. There was a photo though, one I didn’t remember seeing before. I was about six or seven, standing with my mother in front of walls that were of that thrilling grey colour. It looked like a workplace. Or a prison. Perhaps from that one time I visited my father. I remember he wanted my mother to do something. I remember him saying she didn’t have to worry about me, I’d be safe, and she’d be making this a better world for me to live in. I think I could even vaguely recall him saying we’d finally be able to be a family. But for all his delusions of grandeur, I don’t think my mother ever did what he wanted. She didn’t do much of anything after that day. They took her away from me, if only for a few minutes, and she never came back the same.
Picking up the photo, I noticed that there was something drawn over our faces. It looked vaguely like an S with little marks coming off its sides. Drawn in red, I could only presume it was my mother’s lipstick. I thought this might have been the missing letter I was looking for, but as I looked at the letters before me I still couldn’t place why there would be a secondary O. Or why the S would be on a photo when everything else was on paper. So I began shifting things around, the N and extra O I put before the ROE. It was only then I realized the W was not a W at all – but an M. What I had before me spelt out MONROE. I flipped over the photo and saw there was a message on the back.
“Freedom is mine, and everyone will pay. You’ll see me soon – Adam.”
They say Claire is only attracted to me because I remind her of her biological father… at least in the flying ability sense. Would it also be true then that I’m attracted to Claire for sharing the same invincibility as Adam Monroe? He was my father after all, and I looked up to him. But despite the chills running down my back at this short message, I could only agree in my mind that he was doing the right thing. I just didn’t want everyone else to know that.