Not What He Seems

Chad takes things too far in his efforts to torment Evie, Jay, Mal, Carlos, Doug, and even Ben, and they hatch a plan to get their revenge. But when something shocking and sad about Chad is revealed, they find themselves wanting to help him instead of hurt him. What will the VKs and their friends decide to do? Contains violence, depression, and talk of suicide throughout. (Entry for the "Battle of the Fandoms" competition in the OUAT/Disney category)

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9. Chatting

It was late and Chad had to fight to stay awake, his head occasionally bobbing to his chest before he swerved and snapped his head back up again. The other occupants of the limo were all asleep, so Chad had no one to take his place. He sighed and sat up straighter, rubbing his eyes to chase the sleep out of them before turning his attention back to the road. Doug stirred next to him and sat up suddenly, looking around groggily.

"What're you doing up?" Chad asked, shaking his head slightly as he started feeling drowsy. Doug shrugged silently and sat back against his seat, but Chad could tell he wasn't planning on going back to sleep anytime soon. His grip on the steering wheel tightened subconsciously and he tried not to make eye contact with the bespectacled boy beside him. He prayed that Doug wouldn't try to talk to him, to avoid any... unpleasantness the two boys had. But there was one question, one thing that had been nagging him ever since all of this started.

"Why are you guys helping me? Why are you helping me?" Chad asked, and Doug looked over at him in confusion. Chad felt his stomach twist as their eyes met and he looked away, suddenly feeling guilty. It was such a stupid question. They had been raised by heroes; they were taught ever since they were younger that you had to help someone even if you hated them. Doug was just doing this because of his parents.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Doug replied, shrugging his shoulders. Chad slumped over slightly. He knew it. "But, I also feel sorry for you. I've been telling myself for years that there's to be a reason why you're always so... so mean to everybody all the time. So when you told us about your brother, it all made sense. I'm doing this because want to help you," Doug added. Chad looked at him in surprise, but it quickly changed to a grief-ridden frown.

"I don't deserve it, though. I was horrible to you, and the VKs, and everybody else. So, tell me the real reason, Doug. Is it because of what our parents always taught us? That even if we hate somebody we still have to help them? Because that's what it seems like to me!" Chad snapped, and he saw Doug flinch out of the corner of his eye. Chad's expression softened and he sighed, staring out into the dark night.

"That's not it at all, so don't you accuse me of it," Doug said slowly. Chad hesitated before nodding slowly, although he honestly didn't know whether or not he should believe Doug. Said boy gave him a suddenly concerned look, putting a hand on his shoulder and looking him up and down silently.

"Have you slept at all?" Doug asked cautiously. Chad shook his head, and gently pushed Doug's hand off of his shoulder. "Nope. I've been driving this whole time. Don't need it though, I'll be fine." Doug rolled his eyes when Chad rapidly shook his head to wake himself back up, and even gave out a soft chuckle. After a few moments of silence and a nudge in the side from Doug, Chad groaned and pulled over to the side of the road. He got out and the two of them switched sides so that Doug was driving and Chad was in the passenger's seat.

"Thanks, Doug," Chad murmured, shifting slightly in his seat so he was in a more comfortable position. "For what?" came the reply. Chad smiled. "Everything." He let himself drift off to sleep.

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