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Cabin Pressure Fanfic: Arthur Shappey - It Gets Better - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
Cabin Pressure Fanfic: Arthur Shappey - It Gets Better
Title: Arthur Shappey - It Gets Better
Fandom: Cabin Pressure (Radio Plays)
Rating: Gen, PG13
Warning: Spoilers up to the end of Series 3 of Cabin Pressure. Angst. First person recollections of bullying, emotional abuse by a parent, suicidal thoughts. Likely OOC and off-canon by quite a lot. This depiction of Arthur's childhood may not fit all head-canons.
Word Count: 1800-ish
Disclaimer: Cabin Pressure belongs to John Finnemore. Arthur does especially.
A/N: This is not the first Cabin Pressure fic I've written, there are a few things I've written anonymously on the Cabin Pressure meme I might eventually repost here, but this is the first one I've put my name to, and, well. Yeah. I needed to have full editing control for this one, and the option of deleting it. I am literally shaking as I post this. I hope it's alright.

Prompt: Arthur, who was picked on as a kid, does an It Gets Better video.

Arthur Shappey - It Gets Better
by CaffieneKitty

Hi, my name's Arthur Shappey, and today I'll be doing one of these video things I've been seeing on YouTube. Not the kind with the cat that jumps in boxes, though those are brilliant, because I haven't got a cat, and the last time I tried putting Snoopadoop in a box she wasn't too keen on it.

This is the other kind of video. The "it gets better" kind.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not terribly bright. Well, the second to admit sometimes because sometimes I won't realise it until someone points it out. When I was a kid, the other kids at school, well, they were all brilliant kids, obviously, but the thing about being a kid is you don't have an off-switch sometimes. Or anything that makes you know when to stop because you're hurting someone. Or anything that says that hurting someone else to make yourself feel better is wrong.

Kids would tease me for getting things wrong in class, or for kicking the football in the wrong goal in sport, or for crying. I did a lot of crying as a kid, nearly every day, though I tried to do it when no one could see me.

They'd call me names and chase me 'round the school yard, into the alley between the groundskeeper's shed and the library, and I'd hide in there. There was a sort of bit that went wibble half-way along, and they couldn't throw the rocks the right way to hit me while I was in there. They even chased me into traffic once, but the car that was coming had really brilliant brakes, so that was okay.

They'd trick me all sorts of ways too. They'd say they would be my friend if I did something for them - and it was never something fun or pleasant, no matter what they said about it being fun - but then after they just laughed at me, and said no one would be stupid enough to be my friend, ever.

I did tell on them at first, when I was really little. I told the teachers, and they had a word with them, but they'd bring the other kids' parents in and my parents in and-

Well. Dad was never happy about that. He was never happy about much of anything. Mum just sighed and tried to make me feel better after, but Dad would tell me I was making a fuss for nothing, that I should just stop being so b- bloody thick if I didn't want them to tease me and trick me.

Dad said a lot of the things the kids at school did too, all the time, but it hurt more coming from him because, well. He's Dad.

But that's not the point of this video thing.

When I was thirteen, the kids at school tricked me into the groundskeeper's shed. Not the same shed I hid behind before, that was at the primary school. They told me there was a cat stuck in there and I should go rescue him. So I went in, looking for the cat and while I was looking, they put the padlock on the door and left.

That was Friday afternoon, after everyone else had gone. No one found me until Saturday afternoon.

It was dark in the shed. I shouted, but no one came. It got darker, and colder. I think it was around the end of January because it got really cold.

I laid down on the floor. I thought that if I disappeared completely, no one would even miss me, except as someone to shout at or laugh at and trick. It got so cold I thought I might die. I really thought right then that maybe that would be better than another day of kids being mean and Dad being angry and me being stupid. The cold didn't kill me though. I slept for a bit and woke up when it was a bit brighter and I could see inside the shed.

There were all sorts of things in there. Garden shears, hedge-trimmers, lawnmowers, petrol for the lawnmowers, and bags of stuff you put on the lawn to kill weeds. I thought maybe since I was such a weed, I should just eat some weed-killer and that would be it. And I really thought about it. Not "weed-killer might taste nice for breakfast" thinking, but "I really don't want to be alive anymore" thinking.

They found me before I could try it though, so that was brilliant.

Dad was angry then. Really really angry, at me, for being so stupid I'd let them trick me into the shed, and then really angry I hadn't figured out how to get out again. But I wasn't even upset that Dad was angry. I said sorry, and listened to him shouting, but I felt like, like I hadn't really come out of the shed, like I was locked in a shed inside myself. Mum was quiet, and sad. I thought she must be really disappointed in me for being so stupid.

Mum and Dad took me home. I went to my room. I really felt like nothing would ever change. I knew on Monday I'd go back to school and the kids would laugh at me because I was stupid enough to get stuck in the shed, and the teachers would make those disappointed faces, like I wasn't trying my very hardest, which I was, I really truly was, it was just never good enough. And then Dad would be... Dad.

I couldn't even think to write a note to say goodbye, I thought no one would miss me enough to want me to say goodbye, and that I'd just mess that up too.

I had a little clasp-knife. I don't remember where I got it. I laid on my bed with that clasp knife out, not crying, just like... you know when you sit the wrong way for a long time and your leg goes all funny, numb but prickly too? Like that, only in my head.

All I could think right then, was that, that, that everything was just- just rotten, starting with me, and it would just be more of the same, every day, for the rest of my life. That people would always be mean and hurting, and that I'd always be a worthless, useless clod that no one liked.

I had the knife out. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. It wasn't very big, but I thought if I stuck myself with it enough times, eventually I'd die.

Mum came into my room then. I hid the knife just in time. I don't think she ever saw it. I think she would have shouted about it if she had, so I don't think she did. I hope she didn't.

The first thing Mum said was that she was sorry. She was crying a little. That got through the numb-in-the-brain I had. I couldn't think why she'd be crying or apologising to me when I was the one stupid enough to still believe the kids when they had tricked me so often, and I said so.

She said a lot of things after that. She said that children (but not me) were vile creatures put on the earth to spread misery, and not to listen to what they said. I said that Dad said the same things too, so they must be true, and she said that Dad was a child too.

I got a bit confused then, but she kept talking and we sorted it out eventually. I threw the knife away the next morning.

I switched schools and in the older years, as we were all starting to grow up, things did get better at school. Later on, Mum and Dad had some big loud talks and then they split up, which wasn't entirely brilliant, but did sort out brilliantly in the end. Me and Mum, I mean, Mum and I, we're best friends and we live together now, and we hardly ever even hear from Dad anymore, particularly after we froze the skin off his hands.

I think about that time I got locked in the shed sometimes now though. I think about how much, right then, I wanted to not live anymore. When I think about it most is probably when I'm working.

Oh! I never told you about my job! I'm an airline steward on Mum's jet. We fly everywhere. I've been to more countries than probably exist! Well they do exist, really or we couldn't fly there. We haven't flown to Narnia yet, but Mum says that's fiction and not real, but I think that's just because she doesn't believe in it anymore, like most adults. Not me though! Something that brilliant has to be real somewhere, and one day maybe someone will fly there, and maybe the people that fly there might be us and that would be brilliant!

I'm still a bit thick about some things, well, quite a lot of things really, and Mum and Skip and Douglas, who are the pilots and my friends, sometimes they'll say things to me when I get stuff wrong that seems mean, but I know they aren't doing it to hurt me, they're just frustrated and venting. I learned about that in Ipswich. I know that no matter what they say sometimes, they really do like me all the time, and they show me that, a lot.

One time I thought we'd be missing Christmas because we were flying, and they made it be Christmas on the plane, and then made it actually be Christmas when we landed. That was brilliant! And they let me play in their word games sometimes, even though I don't quite understand the rules. They even got Dad to give me a jet engine once! They're all really really brilliant. They're the best friends anyone ever had and they're mine.

If I'd actually died when I was thirteen, I'd never have even met Skip and Douglas. If someone had said to me back then that one day I'd have friends who would make Dad give me a jet engine, I'd never have believed it. But it happened, and if I'd died, I would have missed out on that.

And then there's the things I've seen! Polar bears! Scottish cricketers carrying a fire truck! The Northern Lights! George's impression of a pineapple! I can't even begin to list all the brilliant things I've seen and done, and I'm still doing them! Well, not right now, though what I'm doing right now might be the most brilliant thing I've ever done, especially if it keeps even one person from going through with what I thought of doing when I was thirteen.

The world is so full of brilliant things, just amazing, wonderful things, everywhere you go. Even if you never go anywhere, there's brilliant things wherever you are. They're everywhere! Like a nice hot bath, and tossing an apple. Or sunrises! Dying would be horrible, because you'd miss all the brilliant things you haven't seen or done yet. And you won't know what you'll be missing until you do them, so you'd best stick around and see.

So, there you are! I'm Arthur Shappey, airline steward, and I'm saying it not only does get better, it gets brilliant!

- - -
(that's all)

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: anxious so very very anxious

24 comments or Leave a comment
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: May 27th, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really, really hate to think that Arthur would ever have been suicidal. I love him too dearly.

I'll just forget about that and give him a big hug instead, because Arthur is brilliant.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 27th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's something that won't fit everyone's head-canon for Arthur's childhood, certainly.

Hugs are brilliant!
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 27th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
From: loveflyfree Date: May 28th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
okay. so yeah. first of all, absolutely brilliant Arthur voice. just. amazing. second I held it together pretty good until I got to the best friends anyone ever had and they're mine and then I lost it. big ugly sobbing tears and just. wonderful work.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 28th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, and sorry about the gouts of tears?
drinkingcocoa From: drinkingcocoa Date: May 28th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Arthur, thank you so much for this video! I loved it, I really did! I can see why your friends Skip and Douglas would be so fond of you and want to make Christmas for you and make sure your Dad gave you all the jet engines you'd ever want. And I am certain that there are many thirteen-year-olds out there who will love this video more than anybody -- but you -- could ever imagine. Maybe because of you, they'll know that they can live to see the Northern Lights and polar bears, too.

Caffienekitty -- brilliant job. ;-) I mean, what other description could there be?
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 28th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Arthur and I thank you. XD
splix From: splix Date: May 28th, 2012 01:53 am (UTC) (Link)
That was so lovely. I'm all sniffles here. Your Arthur voice is wonderful.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 28th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
kiharukitty From: kiharukitty Date: May 28th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoo.. okay.. Lemme dry my face a second here.. Cause wow, that got me. I hate to think of Arthur going through that as a kid, but the thing is you never really know what's going on with someone behind the scenes, or the things they've had to deal with over the years. I've had my own, well, we'll call it "crisis moments", and like Arthur I found something to keep me going and I'm glad I did. Things aren't perfect, but it does get better, and I thank you for doing this. I guess Cabin Pressure and this fandom is one of those brilliant things I'm glad I got to see.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 28th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, thank you. *hands over tissues*
shadowfireflame From: shadowfireflame Date: May 28th, 2012 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhh, man, I also hate to think of these horrible things happening to Arthur. But I like the way that towards the end his sentences start getting happier and ending in exclamation points more (plus "brilliant!" is a perfect ending for him). Really lovely.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 28th, 2012 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
He did get through them in the end.
martinius From: martinius Date: May 28th, 2012 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not crying, I just got something in my eye.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 28th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hands over tissues*
sarahkbee From: sarahkbee Date: May 28th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, god, this is just...incredible. Brilliant, in fact.
I think I made it to the Polar bears and Scottish cricketers before I started to well up, because that was just - I don't know, all the stuff with Arthur's childhood was awful, but then despite all that he turns into this amazing happy person.

Hmm, not sure how coherent I'm being, but suffice it say I loved this story; thankyou so much for sharing.

Edited at 2012-05-28 06:58 pm (UTC)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 29th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
neurotictealeaf From: neurotictealeaf Date: May 28th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hold on, I think some smoke's gotten into my eyes.

Your Arthur voice is just lovely, and this fic has made me want to hug him and never let go. Thanks so much for sharing it!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 29th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Arthur would never turn down a hug I don't think.
amor_demi_alma From: amor_demi_alma Date: May 28th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is really beautiful and adorable and believable and pure Arthur. Lovely work!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 29th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 29th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I am so happy that this helped you. *hug*
albalark From: albalark Date: May 30th, 2012 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. To borrow from my favorite airdot steward, this is brilliant! Arthur's reaction to Gordon's imminent arrival in St. Petersburg made a lot of us wonder at the backstory there, and yours is entirely plausible. I can *hear* Arthur saying these words, and that's a good indication of how well you understand his character. Well done!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 31st, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm glad it works as a plausible backstory.
24 comments or Leave a comment