there's comfort in the silence of a living room (the tv is on for you)
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Teen And Up Audiences
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Legoland - Richmond
Jane Doe | Penny Lamb & Ezra Lamb
Jane Doe | Penny Lamb, Ezra Lamb
Additional Tags:
Post-Canon, Whump, Whumptober 2023, Hurt/Comfort, Childhood Trauma, Sibling Love, the unbreakable bond of being fucked up along your sibling, Bullying, Shock
Part 4 of whumptober 2023
Whumptober 2023
Published: 2023-10-04 Words: 1,831 Chapters: 1/1

there's comfort in the silence of a living room (the tv is on for you)


He just looked at her with wide, blue eyes while she cried and screamed her heart out. Never saying a word.


Day 4: Cattle Prod | Shock | "You in there?"


its oct 5 in my timezone as im posting this . do not speak

there's comfort in the silence of a living room (the tv is on for you)

Penny doesn’t know what to say when she comes into the principal’s office.

She’s been out of that school for two years now. Working in Target in the mall for a year and a half, taking occasional night shifts at Taco Bell, volunteering in the community center for afterschool care, in an online veterinary college for a semester. Has been renting a trailer for eleven months, after stumbling from one hotel to another for over a year. She now has two cats and a pet iguana, rescued by an animal rights organization. Life has been… Strangely good. As good as life in the shithole Uranium can get.

Most of the choir left. Constance is the one she’s been in contact with the most – she’s studying early child development in Edmonton, working in a little cat cafe and has started to create websites as a hobby and a means of additional income. They still e–mail each other regularly. Penny got a computer off Craigslist when she moved into the trailer and has been stealing her neighbor’s Internet for the entire ten months. Noel is studying French Philology in Montreal – he’s got longer hair now, Penny presumed after looking at his Facebook profile –, Ricky moved to Vancouver with some friends he met over online forums and Ocean is doing whatever full–ride scholarship she has in science, probably, at some fancy university in the US. Mischa fucked off back to Ukraine right after their graduation and she hasn’t heard from him since.

She’s still in Uranium. Still on the same old, potholes–filled roads and sad, sad people, dark and blank apartment buildings, trailers and one option for every shop.

Her heart is in her throat when she sees police cars outside school, sirens still blaring and blue and red lights like bonfires. She makes a mental bullet point to just get inside the school – baby steps, as her therapist says. Breakfast swoops around in her stomach uncomfortably as she enters the school through a back door, almost running to the principal’s office.

Father Goulet is the principal. Appointed the beginning of next school year after Penny’s graduation, from some small parish in central Saskatchewan, with tired, cattle–like eyes and dark circles around them, full, pale face, sweat beading constantly on his balding head, and the attitude of a particularly upset sheep. He looks at her like the second coming of Jesus Christ, and Penny realizes that maybe, just maybe with bright pink hair and Garfield pajamas, she doesn’t quite fit in with the ‘last–renovated–in–the–fifties’ look of St Cassian.

She sits down. Looks at Father Goulet shifting through some papers. There’s a PE lesson going down outside, kids in white t–shirts and dark shorts running like ants, despite the cold and clouds looking like it’s about to rain. Penny fiddles with the hem of her Garfield shirt.

“Your ward–” He starts, but Penny is quick to cut in.

“You can just say brother, Father Goulet.”

He looks up at her with sad, bloodshot eyes, face morphing into something a little shocked, but continues.

“Your brother, Ezra Lamb, has been in a fight today. It caused significant damage to school property.”

Heart jumps up to her throat again. Please, don't let him be hurt. Not majorly hurt, at least. That she can't deal with. “What happened?”

“We haven’t gathered all of the statements yet, but from what we know, Ezra and another boy fought in a classroom, stumbled back and crashed into a live–sized skeleton and a board. Both have been damaged, the skeleton fell apart completely and the board has caved in two separate places. It's unusable in its' current state.

If he’s talking about Skeleton Conrad, that fucker deserved a good retirement. Probably older than Father Goulet himself. He stood ominously in the back of Classroom 206 the entire time Penny was at St Cassian, held up with silver duct tape and sheer will of their teacher, Mrs Deli, who physically glued his head together during one class when it fell apart in her hands.

The door behind Penny slams open suddenly, rattling the cupboards filled with old trophies and tearing Penny out of her thoughts. A woman, maybe forty–something, with dark hair in a neat ponytail and tired eyes behind thick–framed glasses leans against the doorway, with hands crossed over her chest, fiddling with the cufflinks of her shirt.

“I heard my son was involved in an incident.” Her teeth almost grind on the last word. She looks like she just ran out of work, based on the slight pant in her breath and creased clothes.

“Yes, he and another boy, Ms. Lamb’s–” he gesticulates to her, and Penny can see how the woman looks at her scrutinizingly, analyzing her every breath. “Brother got into a fight in the Biology classroom, causing significant damage to a skeleton and a board.”

“I don’t care.” The woman says without pathos, and Penny’s eyebrows shoot up. She’s definitely more used to arguing or lying her way out of lawsuits and arrests, not being told it’s not a big deal. At least, not until the woman turns to her with eyebrows furrowed and a general facial expression of looking at a live snail in her salad. “Are you going to press charges?”

Penny blinks. Once, twice. “I’m a veterinary student, do I look like I will press charges?”

The woman looks her up and down, then again, and finally smiles. Still looking like she’s chewing on a lemon, but hey, it’s progress! Maybe Penny can escape the room alive and not torn apart by actual adults!

“Good. I’m not in the fucking mood to argue.”

He’s sitting on the cot, knees pulled up to his chest. He’s not moving at all, except for chest going up and down, uniform tugged awkwardly in some places, rolled up in others. There’s no trace of his backpack anywhere, nor Afenschwanz. His face is red and puffy, like he’s been crying for a good while, especially around his eyes.

His eyes are unfocused. That’s bad. They’re still bright, but not sharp or twinkling with some devilish ideas. Blurred, like a dark ocean in November. Or mud laying on the sides of the road when the snow starts to melt. She gently sits down next to him, sheets creasing, still being careful not to scare him when he inevitably goes out of that state, but he doesn’t look at her. “You in there?”

No reply. He doesn’t even move, doesn’t indicate anyhow that he even heard her. Penny gave him lessons on basic sign language, so they could still communicate when one of them was “out of it” (there’s a birthday present waiting for him too – communication cards, philosophers–themed. She hopes he will like it.) She presumes it’s bad enough now that he can’t even move, and her heart sinks deep into her gut, bathing in the juices there. Just thinking about how he must feel now.

He leans ever–so–slightly into her side, head flopping either subconsciously or completely out of his will. Penny knows that he doesn’t really like being touched when he’s in that state, so she doesn’t try to wrap her arm around him, but still allows Ezra to mold her to his liking.

He was like this after the police raid. Days and days, no end in sight, and Penny had to suddenly grow up so fast because Ezra couldn’t keep up with the constant changes, so she had to drag him behind her. She packed both of their bags while Ezra chewed his nails to the quick, clinging onto Afenschwanz and not talking at all. He was the silence to Penny’s simmering rage, like water and fire. Somewhere else the entire time.

They didn’t really talk about it. Neither of them likes even thinking about that period. Sometimes, one of them makes an off–hand mention about something that happened back then, but it’s usually passed without any further comment. It’s more comfortable this way.

Penny remembers being so fucking frustrated with him that she would cry into the pillows at group houses and foster homes before resorting to punching walls until they caved in or someone saw her. And then she screamed at Ezra until her voice went hoarse, asking him desperately why he won’t just be normal, why he won’t help her so they can bring their parents back from the prison.

He just looked at her with wide, blue eyes while she cried and screamed her heart out. Never saying a word.

“They pulled out the parents card.” Ezra whispers out, voice hoarse and shaky. It feels like it’s hurting him. Every word, every movement of vocal chords. Penny’s stomach churns painfully as she looks down at Ezra, laying limply against her shoulder, with an occasional tremor running through his frame.

“I’m sorry.” Penny says. An automated response. After so many things going wrong in their lives, apologizing seems to be the only thing that can be done. Even if she can’t do anything about it. No one ever apologized to them, she’s making up for it.

“I don’t like it here.”

Penny nods. She didn’t like St Cassian either. She still doesn’t like St Cassian. She would take her brother out of that school in the blink of an eye if she just could. (Sometimes, she wonders where they would be now if the raid never happened. If they never visited Legoland, never had that dumb seizures idea. Would they be somewhere else? Different commune? College? Or maybe still there? She knows that going over and over again about this in her head isn’t so good, but she can’t help. There are so many things that could go differently.)

She slowly strokes his head, rubbing little circles. Ezra shuffles closer, and she helps him move and put his head on her shoulder, where her neck meets the collarbone, smushing his nose into her hoodie. He’s told her before that she always smells like mint gum and ground during summer. She hopes that it smells good.

“We’re going to Regina, remember?”

Ezra nods slightly. Penny moves to put her face in his hair. It smells like watermelon shampoo, the cheapest kind their group home gets from the mall, and the very specific smell St Cassian’s gymnasium smells after rain.

“And while I do my internship, you will go off into the world like a wild thing. Finally join clubs you’re actually interested in, make friends, go on walks with a dog,” “yeah, I remembered. You want a cocker spaniel you’re going to name Nietzsche. And you’ll get blackout drunk and yelled at by me.”

He might even snort quietly, but that might be Penny’s mind playing tricks on her. She never liked quiet spaces, her mind always trying to make up for the silence.

“We are getting out of here. I promise you.”



“On Afenschwanz?”

“On Afenschwanz.”


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