At first it is just a mild inconvenience. 3 AM isn't an unknown hour, but she wakes with a start and everything feels wrong. The bed is her own. Thank God. The covers are pushed off quickly as she fights for breath. It is too hot and her head is pounding. This one is stronger than the last time. She strips down and paces by the bed. She wants to scream out, but thinks better of it. She steels herself, and her feet remember the way to her dresser without the light. Her hand closes over the little, orange bottle and shakes out the usual dose of the muscle relaxer. The room spins before she reaches the glass of water by her nightstand. She falls. She keeps falling. Falling down. Falling through.

She needs help. She knows it. But there is no point in reaching out and no point in asking for aid. A waste of precious energy, it does nothing to disturb the status quo. They don't care. They never really did. They pretend to, of course. They still pretend to, because it is polite, because it is expected, but she knows that it isn't real. And she knows why. She knows she exists somewhere separate; somewhere outside. She is Other. She does not fit. She is a threat. Dangerous. Because she doesn't give them what they want.

Adoration is a hefty drug. They eat it up, fat little fingers bringing it up to greedy mouths. It's a biological imperative, so they say. Survival of the fittest. Take. Take. Take. All they do is take. They hoard to satisfy themselves when there is plenty. They hide when the rest go without. They will never be what she needs. But it is a false need. A false display that she is drawn to. They cannot offer her what she truly wants, no matter how hard she tries, no matter how tightly she cleaves to hope that one day. One. Day.

They cannot be blamed. It is hardwired into them. It is their currency now. How much can they gain at another's expense? The answer is limitless. She has seen them try. Worse. She has seen them succeed. But she will not give them that satisfaction. She will do it on her own. There is no one else to trust to do it for her. There is no one else to lean on. And yet, she gets caught up in all the reasons why. She goes around and around in her head for hours. Around and around in her head for days. Why, damn it?! Why? Because she's stubborn. Angry. Volatile. Because she is hurt and her cup has run dry. She exists now, merely exists because there is nothing left to offer up. There is nothing left!

Perhaps she talks too much. Perhaps she feels too much. Perhaps she simply is too much. Is that why there is no one to trust? Is that why there is no one to confide in? It seems that way. It seems that there is no one to turn to when she is crying out. Begging. Screaming. When she needs to be heard, no one listens. No one answers. They are too caught up in their own selves to care. A dry heave in her belly. Out. It is never easy to admit her shame, but she wants it gone. Get it out. A purging. Get it the fuck out! An emancipation. Something. Fuck it. Anything! To feel whole again. To feel renewed. There's no aid from the outside. There is no cavalry charge. There is no knight on a white horse. There is only Katherine Pryde. The rancid taste, the burning of bile in the back of her throat reminds her that she's real.

I choke back the protestations. I tell you that I want it. I give you too much. I want you to be pleased with me. I want to be the person that you need. There are no physical walls with me. Hit me! I tell you to take what you want. Do it! Do it! I spur you on. I want it to be easy for you. I want it to be okay. I want it to be fine. I want to be agreeable to you. It hurts. I close my eyes to it. It doesn't matter. This is for you. I want everything to be fine so that you'll want to come back. I want you to remember feeling good so that you'll remember me. I want you to remember wanting me. I want you to remember needing me. I want you love me. I need you to love me. More than her. More than her. More than her.

More. Than. Her.

I'll never say it to you. I'll never let you in that far. There's a desperation that hides, deep inside that I'll never let you see. Because it's ugly. And so I'll be caustic instead. No. You don't want to see it. You don't ever want to see it. You wouldn't cope. I can't cope and I carry it inside me. That's why I'm deciding to push you away. I can't trust you like I thought I could. Not because of what you've done, but because of what you haven't done. You can't understand. You could never understand.

I want to let go. But I won't. I need to protect myself. There is no other way. I will close myself off. I need to shut myself up. Please. Please. It's easier if you just take. Just take. Yes, it hurts me, but it is so much easier. I can be angry that way. The anger ignites me. It isn't weak. It isn't foolish like this. It isn't futile like all these other feelings. The anger will be enough. And you will never know this. You will never see this far in. You can never go this deep with me. I can't let you. I'll protect you this way. I will smile at you instead. I've been told I have a pretty smile. And maybe that way, you'll want me. Maybe then, you will need me. Maybe then, you'll come to me on your own.

I feel too much. I want too much. I am too much.

Belonging. No, she does not understand the word.