❂ born to poor immigrant parents, bin moon was given up for adoption when both of them realized they could not support a family. hyojin started to get into tattoos and partying; yunho recoiled into himself. in the end, they both died in a car accident around the same time bin turned nine years old.
❂ the belvins try to foster the young homostia but their biological children, hunter and jenna, do not like bin; hunter makes up lies and jenna's fear begins to grow. the belvins, kind as they are, kick the orphan out.
❂ saint catherine's orphanage was full of kind volunteers and cute sheets you could ask for. sometimes, there were even toys. bin was still hated, a freak of the week. one touch and he knew your whole life. the second touch was never a nice one, not for bin.
❂ bean. trash bin. reset. they threw their insults and he tried to ignore them. but when someone looks for a reaction, they find their way to get it.
❂ neil and andrew were older. they didn't have more than a year left. future military guys. full commando types. and they made sure to give commands as they held him down and took. "be a good boy" and their vulgarity, their bodies and their stench as his blood stained thighs and mouth and sheets. then, an arm against his eyes, closing him to take him somewhere far away.
❂ the ritual began. two years of it. two boys sneaking into bin's bed at night. bin closing his eyes, body crying and aching as kano took the child through his own astral world. a whole universe. a place safe, and gentle, and just for him.
❂ it gets worse when andrew leaves. neil's temper grows and bin doesn't wake to the sticky pain of the night. he wakes to bruises, then. to slices against his body. to broken fingers and violence. this is the way life will have to be, the boy thinks. at least he has somewhere in his mind to go.
❂ but a girl on a horse tells her parents she wants a brother, because something in her heart feels the pain so close to home that she can taste the blood. they listen, mostly because gabrielle saint-bosse has never asked for anything and because a baby boy... well, there's always room for more children.
❂ she picks bin. it surprises everyone, the way she walks through the orphanage as if trying to find the hiss of a broken pipe. he finds him, instead, and she lets her heart speak and his mind replies only for her to turn to her fathers and say "him."
❂ the saint-bosse family is not fully legal. that is, they have no proper marriage, and all their paperwork is done only because edward is from a long line of wealth. no — edward is the most recent billinoaire in a long line of money so old and powerful it could have been called atlas. bin does not get this yet. to him, they are nice men who he has to be very careful around.
❂ it isn't even four months later and he is finding he likes the name miles. he tries it on. the way it bounces off his tongue is nice. the ghost that lives in his head, the one that died on the estate, agrees. he very much looks like he'd be a fine miles some day.
❂ the family is generous and kind. miles saint-bosse, too, sounds like a good name. he takes it, without fear. he does a lot without fear, in those days; when you aren't waking up to gashes and bruises and the stench of sex, even the personalities that flood his mind aren't so bad. some of them even teach him things.
❂ in 2007, the orphan who becomes miles saint-bosse is home with the stomach flu and only freshly 9 years old. his sister is with him, and benji is making them soup. the men who break into the house expect no one. they expect, far less, the brimstone fire gabi throws their way or the manner with which miles gets out of bed.
❂ their guns turn against their own throats and three shots later, the living room is painted in smoke, fire, and blood. benji gets his children to safety. miles apologizes for making a mess of the wall — only, when he speaks, his mouth twists like a worn down old man and they swear his hair looks salt and pepper aged.
❂ it is some time, then, before the bosse institute for neurosciences. miles lives. he makes friends. samantha is fun. even her punches feel fun, which is refreshing to miles. and ward, he means well, even if miles knows that late at night — the nights where they aren't trying to quietly make love one too many times — edward is a mess. miles tells him his brother would not blame him if he was alive. edward thinks this is something he learned from a movie, but miles gets it from the lion's mouth. no one listens.
❂ his mind grows every day. his universe expands. his power amplifies. and then, the broken pieces start to shine. miles is only 12 years old when the first personality takes over. a shell of the soul — an astral form. it lingers in him when alan morton dies. and it takes over: the shift is slow, gradual, but edward sees it and begins to understand. he does not show his fear, but his mind spins like a coyote tricked by a roadrunner for the hundredth time that day.
❂ a search for family finds pain. true pain. a hateful brother. dead parents. danger, risk. miles saint-bosse is alone in this world. this, too, is a gift. he is not meant to be. which means, he can make true meaning of every action he takes. he makes his choices.
❂ miles saint-bosse learns to help people. there is a trial, his own rapists, held accountable for actions against others. miles is there, the only boy. and he helps the others. they are all nearly his age and somehow feel safe against him; he is already broad by then, already strong, and he thinks there are reasons for watchtowers to be this way. he will learn to stay steady. he will learn to help.
❂ andrew gets 20 years in jail. out in 8, on good behavior, everyone says. it doesn't matter. niel kills himself, later. miles is flying from london to new york when he gets the news. a darkness in him laughs, but miles feels a tear well up before he returns to his happy self. the stress is a killer. he learns when the mirror turns into a beast of a reflection: the stress will eat him up.
❂ he copes. any stress makes things worse, pops his spirit open for just anyone to wander in. the personalities grow. sometimes, they win. mostly, he can keep them back, save for a few times a year. he wasn't normal, anyway; miles saint-bosse is in harvard by 15. he is in oxford by 17. he is in the garden academy, a doctor and therapist, by 19. along the way, he tries normal. girlfriends. company. and the personalities try their own normal, too.
❂ there comes a patient even miles cannot help absolutely. it is a strange feeling. it's stranger that this acceptance seems to move hugo hwang forward, somehow; like being validated is all he's ever needed. and the strangest thing: his best friend, the ballet dancer, kai kim.
❂ it is 2018 and miles is having his first real fight with a girlfriend. but she is not the one who has made his hand drift under sheets lately. for the first time in his life, the hard lines of a man seem inviting. and kai kim becomes it all.
❂ julian kim is dead. the blood and pain of the patient before him wakes troubles in miles' mind he hasn't thought to deal with for some time. but there is no time for kano, or stress, or worry. there is only fixing this. he does what he can which, really, is to hold hugo through the worst of it as he watches a young boy change the world. there is hope there. miracles are for everyone.
❂ miles chooses to fight. it is long, and difficult, and he thinks that every time he hits a new battle the number must be getting smaller but hundreds of fights remain. it takes days. or years. but when he is done, he does not feel aged, or worn, or as if any time has passed. he thanks daye, and hugo, and he feels the new essence of life that flows through him. he is renewed. he is absolute.
❂ so, he quits his practice. there are better things to do. there is hope to hold and make. there are people to urge onto better. it is 2019 and he is still in new york. he is home, somehow, even as a new god. kai kim is the largest reason why.
❂ it is christmas, 2019, and there are children dancing the nutcracker as lights twinkle overhead and the circus lays out against the garden grounds. everything that matters is here and miles is on one knee, looking at the man he will marry, with only one voice in his head: his own, asking kai to say yes.