The pattern looked like a flower, printed out on their shin. The center was dark and the petals faded out into their skin. There was another one on their shoulder, but its shape and coloring reminded him of nothing in particular. Then there was the most obvious one at the side of their face. All of these signs caused a burning anger inside of him that he could barely keep out of his voice. “Who did this?”

They didn’t answer, folding their arms across their chest. They refused to meet his eyes and that angered him more.

“Please. Who did this?”

Without a response, he reached out to the side of their face, turning it toward himself. They allowed it, though their eyes continued to focus at his shoulder instead of his face. He sighed, resting his forehead against theirs. Letting go of their face, he brought his hands up in front of their eyes. “Are you okay?” he signed.

They nodded. He did not believe it, but believed in how they needed him to believe that. He sighed, pulling them into an embrace. “Let me stand by you,” he plead.

Maybe they nodded, maybe they did not. All he knew was that he would do so, whether they wanted him to or not.

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