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Questionably Stable

The Patchwork

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In the beginning, there were only two. One a girl and the other a child that continued to change gender. While they both looked very similar, the girl seemed to be more mature than she really ought to be. The other was exceedingly violent and had a dark sense of humor. The two often worked together so that none of the adults in their household realized that they both inhabited the body they shared.

The girl held control most of the time and believed the other to be an imaginary friend. However, the "imaginary" one could manifest outside of the body to help the girl to climb higher and reach things she never could alone. But when they took over the body, they did things that scared their mother. Hanging dolls by their neck, drawing strange markings with sinister meanings, doing dangerous stunts, and using light bulbs to set things afire were a few of the most frequent and recurring actions. The girl worried tremendously about their mother taking away her limited freedoms and found herself hating to make her worry. So, after a warning that was deftly ignored, she locked her imaginary friend in their mental room. The girl, who has kept the form of a child within the mind even as the body grew, continued on for a few years on her own until the next one came along.

At the age of seven or eight, the child received a cat. Handed to her with it being barely more than a kitten; the cat was a stray that refused to stay indoors all of the time. The black cat was originally thought to be male and had been named Jack by the girl's parents. After finding out that it was, in fact, a female, the name was altered to Jackie, mostly so that they would not confuse her. The child at the time didn't have any friends, as she found the other children her age to simple-minded. And now that the "imaginary friend" had been locked away, the child was feeling very alone.

So she began to confide in Jackie. She would tell her stories, play games with her, and ask her opinion on things. While the cat didn't respond verbally, she did begin to adapt and display more human-like qualities. She often sat on the two stairs in the house that creaked the most and annoyed the adults in it relentlessly. She would sit on the top one and put her front paws on the second one and then proceed to rock. This often got a shoe tossed at her. She also liked to knock things from shelves onto the mother whenever she chastised the girl. Once or twice, she would put her paws on her mouth to stop her from talking whenever she was too tired to listen. 

But, as mentioned before, Jackie was an indoor/outdoor cat. She came home pregnant one day, though no one in the household realized. It wasn't until one evening when the child was doing her homework at her desk that they found out. While she focused, she heard a very faint mewing. She looked around before finally looking under her desk by her feet. To her surprise, and vast concern, there was a solitary kitten with its umbilical cord attached to the birthing sac and covered in a off white gritty substance. 

She called it to her parents attention, only to be informed that Jackie had most likely miscarried and that they would not take care of it unless Jackie took an interest in doing so. Much to the child's dismay, when Jackie was brought over to it, she refused to care for it. She even went as far as to run from it. The kitten died within the hour, leaving the now deeply troubled child to finish her homework.

Roughly two weeks later, the child faced tragedy. Jackie had been ill since the miscarriage and had apparently been napping under a truck outside. When it started above her, she was sent into a state of shock that proved to be too much for her. The child's parents wrapped Jackie in a towel and placed her in the tub. The child then sat with them in the restroom and together they waited for the inevitable to occur. When Jackie went cold, the child seemed unable to end her tears. She had just lost her only friend.

The grief was stifling for her and so it took the child a while to notice that she had a follower. A little girl would make an appearance in her room from time to time. She looked an awful lot like the child herself, with the exception of her black hair, amber eyes with slitted pupils, and the black ears and tail of a cat. She was always clad in a flowing white dress. The girl merely thought she had created a new imaginary friend out of loneliness and simply played with her.

Not long after that, one of her parent's roomates was walking her home from school when she asked the child a strange question. "Do you have an imaginary friend?" The child answered affirmative and more questions were asked on the friend's gender and whether or not the child had noticed anything strange. Confused by the line of questions, she asked why any of this mattered. The roommate then proceeded to tell a story that filled the little girl with hope.

"The other night when your dad and I were smoking, he looked over my shoulder and asked if you were awake. Unsure, I checked and found you in your bed, still asleep. Your dad was checking the bathroom and said that he saw a small child in a white dress walking into there, but no one was there. And today, while I was watching TV, I was almost late to come get you until I heard a creaking on the stairs. Of course, I was freaked out, as I was there alone. I looked up to see a small child in a white dress sitting on those two stairs that squeak. And I swear she had Jackie's eyes. She ran upstairs after that and I almost followed her, but it was time to pick you up." The child smiles to herself with realization of who her "new" friend is.

Upon the next meeting with her friend, she smiled gently and asked, "Are you Jackie?" A simple nod and a bright smile was all she received as confirmation. The child, ecstatic at her discovery, asked Jackie to accompany her to school. Again a nod, followed by an "I'd love to!" These trips to school brightened both of their outlooks.

After a few adventures, including the ghost of Jackie literally cartwheeling through a few of the child's classmates on the playground, the child held out her hand and asked her to stay. Jackie, without an ounce of hesitation, accepted by the hand. At that point, the two became one. Jackie's voice was now within the child's head.

For a few more years, it was just them. And then puberty hit. Now puberty can be a scary thing for a normal preteen, but for the child, now twelve, it was near akin to hell. The child came to learn that she suffered from juvenile arthritis, but because doctors at the time would not treat preexisting conditions without insurance her mother did not tell them. As such, she was not given medicine to help her. She had to make due with Ibuprofen that triggered her intense fear of pills, due to their size, and she quickly developed a tolerance to them. 

On top of the constant daily pain, the child's sexuality was making itself annoyingly present. She found that she thought of women just as appealing as men. Another point was that she had gone from a very muscular child to a rather curvy young woman. She was often mistaken for a very short high schooler. Added to those things, she had gone from an only child to having two younger siblings in as many years. Now, normally this would not be a problem, but the child's parents were not mentally ready for the responsibilities of raising three children. Thus, 3 more entered the child's mind.

The first was Yume. A true maternal figure, Yume was created to be a parent for the girl's new siblings. Representing himself as a tall black man with a black ponytail, he dressed himself in assassin's garb and labeled himself as a protector. The second was another man who went by the name Christopher. Chris was a cheerful man with short ginger hair with a penchant for layering his shirts and wearing worn-down jeans. His free-spirited nature was well represented by his ability to fly with ease. Chris also was a hopeless romantic with a short fuse. He and Yume would often argue over what the girl should do next. Should they be the responsible adult that their siblings so desperately needed or should they cut loose, fall in love, and be a child? The classic head versus heart argument. Jackie would act as mediator for most of these fights, if only to ensure that they didn't kill each other. 

The last of the three was a young woman that was not discovered for a few years. When the others finally found her, she was huddled in a corner, surrounded by boxes labeled "PAIN" and she was covered in wounds that reflected the body's aches and wounds. She introduced herself as Lilium. Lilium was a quiet woman with blonde hair kept in a braid and a long purple dress that accentuated her curvy figure. Lilium was created as a means for the child to deal with the pain she was feeling everyday. She would take it onto herself and box it off, and said pain would then be used to create the foundation for the mindspace, in which they all lived. Lilium was very good at her job and soon the pain became more of an annoyance than a crippling effect.

Between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, a terrible fight broke out between Jackie and Christopher. Jackie was fed up with Chris, constantly making them suffer love sickness and heartbreak by falling for the wrong people. Her anger pushed her to do something unspeakable. She stitched his mouth shut, created a well, and locked him within it for years. Now cut off from her ability for feel the butterflies that most teenagers feel when they fall for someone, they were even more confused in their relationships and they never truly meant anything. They would jump headfirst into relationships and stay long after the feelings of infatuation had died. 

When they turned seventeen, they thought they had finally found someone good. Someone right. They were wrong. Jackie was wrong. The girl, now with a counsel of four sitting around a table with six chairs, had entered a relationship with a boy that frequently made them feel ignorant, stupid, worthless, and difficult. He frequently would say things like, "Oh I need to get you a special helmet, so you don't hurt your head!" or "You're a little special, aren't you? It's okay 'cause you still have me." He made them feel as though he was the best that they were ever going to get. Even after he cheated on them, they could not bring themselves to leave him.

It wasn't until after he had left the city and was in a completely different town that they had the strength to leave the pain and mental abuse behind. They rebounded immediately into their friend with whom they felt they had to hide themselves. Yume's and Chris's gender had always had an effect of the child. The child had days when they hated being called a girl; days when they wish they could change their physical body to reflect the men within. Thanks to being exposed to the vast list of identities, they realized that this was more common than they had thought and they wanted to state their identity immediately. But the boy that they had rebound into stated how much that would upset him, because of a previous experience with a transgendered man he believed to be a cis girl. And so they kept quiet.

After several months of this and the return of the depression that has plagued the child since they were twelve, a friend of theirs came back into their life and a whole host of emotions came to play. Christopher had been let out of the well. Not by any of the current four, but by the "imaginary friend" who had changed vastly and had managed to escape on their own. Chris looked very different now. His ginger hair was more dull and so long he kept it in a ponytail that he draped over his shoulder. He was thin as a reed and his lips were chapped around their cruel stitching. His eyes were dull and blind and he had to send out waves of energy in a mockery of echolocation to get around. But the most noticeable changes were the wings. Where he had used to seemingly just be carried by the wind before, now he had the large dusky brown wings of a griffon. 

Chris had reviewed the memories of the time he had missed and, after seeing the unhealthy relationships that Jackie had gotten them into, unstitched his mouth to start a relationship with their friend, before the last unhappy one had ended. This obviously caused drama for the child, now a young woman of nineteen. But they tried to make this relationship work. Their friend was not the brightest nor the kindest but they tried. They should have realized that the pattern of silent suffering was simply continuing.

The "imaginary friend" rejoined the fold, greeted with open ams. They now went by Jayden, and their time in solitary seemed to have broken them slightly. The first noticeable difference to them was their appearance. Where they used to look like the body, they now looked like an androgynous person with shaggy, medium length, cherry red hair and eyes so bright green that they seemed to glow. And while they still changed genders, they seemed to have been split perfectly between the male and female sides. The female side was bubbly and maniac, clinging to obsessions with a violence that would scare any logical being away. The male side was subdued, yet bitter, and filled with such a vehemence towards life that it was a wonder he still existed. They both answered to Jayden and were aware of the other's existence, but did not share any memories.

As the friend they had hoped would be the one continued to devolve into a jerk that treated them like a possession and never listened to their words, they turned to another friend. A friend that they had met at the same moment they met their current lover. If cupid exists, then he had to have been there at that brief meeting...and he missed. He had to have hit the wrong freaking person. This other friend helped them see that they were not imaginary friends or figments. He helped them see that they were all different people all wrapped up in one. This caused another shift...another split. The child and a woman split from one another. The child, while still very similar in appearance, became more defined as a person and less contradictory. She took on the name Jazzie, as a tribute to the nickname given to them by their mother. She dressed like a Lolita, with lots of pink and other pastels and kept a bubbly persona, but she could mentally dissect you within minutes using her knowledge of psychology.

Once the relationship with her one 'friend' had fallen apart, the group worked to get the other, better friend into bed. All seven of them knew that he was at least interested in them physically, and they wanted anything they could have from him. They fully expected to be kicked out of the bed when it was all over, with maybe a, "Thanks! That was nice!" He surprised them by telling them that he doesn't do one night stands anymore. He stated that they were more. He caught all of them by surprise and they threw themselves at his mercy, knowing that the relationship would last only as long as he wanted it to. And surprisingly, they were all okay with that.

Through the course of a year, they were living with the man they loved. The picked up another wayward soul. An imitation of a familiar, handcrafted by someone else, he looked like a young kitsune. His hair was snowy white and his eyes a deep blue, and he reminded them instantly of Dreamworks' Jack Frost. As the kitsune had no name that he could remember, that is what they called him; Jack. He accepted and became a balancing point with his sharp wit and easily flustered nature. He was stitched in quickly, having fit in so well with the other seven. 

As the months went by, the first truly healthy relationship helped them to develop as people and Jayden split even further. While they still occupied the same space more often than not, they could communicate with each other and even separate if need be. They both still go by Jayden, but they are easier to differentiate now, giving us a total of nine. Who knows if anyone else will be added to the melting pot... For this story is still going...

We are still changing...

We are still evolving...

We are still living...

But don't worry! We're stable...we think.

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