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Kip Everett Pryor grew up in Leonia, New Jersey, a stone's throw from New York City. Despite being close to the city, the area he grew up in was farm area and his family lived more of a farm than a city life. For the first 15 years of his life, Kip was an average kid. He was one of two kids, with a sister four years older than him, and because his dad was one of eight kids, he has a ridiculous amount of aunts, uncles and cousins littered all over America and a couple in Canada. Kip was diagnosed as dyslexic when he was 10, so school was never his favourite thing to do. He preferred to be outdoors playing sports, getting into everything, and hanging out with friends. Most specifically, his best friend since they were in grade school, Shannon Webster.
They went right through school together, and Shannon never judged Kip for the issues he had with school. He would simple help Kip with his homework as much as he could, and after they got that done, would head outside to do whatever it was boys did when they were kids. They climbed trees, they rode horses, they played cowboys and indians. They had other friends, but they were the best of friends. Just like brothers. Despite the age gap, Kip got kept behind a year, so it put them in the same English and math classes. It was Shannon who had chased Kip when he ran out of class one day when an asshole teacher was rude and nasty to him about being an idiot and not being able to learn. It seemed she believed dyslexia should be fixable, and the fact he was still having issues was evidence he didn't work hard enough to fix it. Shannon called her a bitch and ran out after his best friend. They spent the rest of the day hanging out in the barn at Shannon's place. Shannon never cared when he got a month of detention for calling the teacher a bitch either. All of this was only weeks before everything took a horrible turn and Kip's world bottomed out from under him.
Shannon was 14 and Kip 15. They were at Kip's place, and his sister had gotten a new horse for her birthday. Kip wasn't sure he liked the animal, jokingly telling Shannon it was an asshole. Shannon, the sort of guy to love all animals, said it wasn't an asshole, he probably just didn't like Kip in return because Kip was giving him the wrong mojo. That was when Kip did the worst thing he had ever done in his life - he dared Shannon to ride the horse. He was a colt, in the process of being broken. Shannon wasn't bothered, he didn't see there would be an issue because he had seen the horse being ridden. The horse spooked and Shannon was horrifically thrown, breaking his back and leaving him disabled in a wheelchair.
Kip blamed himself for what happened to Shannon. He was never able to talk to anyone about it... not even Shannon. He was riddled with guilt, and in an effort to try to turn off the pain, he fell into the wrong crowd. Suddenly gone was Shannon's tried and true friendship. Shannon was unconscious in a coma in hospital for months, and Kip didn't have his best friend anymore. He never even knew how to deal with visiting Shannon in hospital, because he didn't want to see Shannon broken. He fell in with the wrong crowd, recklessly turning to bad things when he didn't have his friend there to talk sense into him. He started to smoke and drink, and then use drugs. He skipped school continuously, not seeing a point of going if the teachers thought he was a lazy loser. He didn't deal with Shannon's accident at all. He just kept trying to drown it out.
Soon, they grew apart. Kip knew that was his fault. Shannon underwent some serious surgeries and avoided being rendered paralysed for the rest of his life. However, he was never healed enough to regain the use of his legs. He would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He was released from hospital what felt to Kip like an eternity after he had watched Shannon be airlifted from the farm the afternoon of the horrible accident. Shannon didn't come back to school. His parents made the decision to homeschool him while he recuperated and tried to adjust to being disabled. Kip never went back either. He dropped out when he was almost 16. His parents tried to sort him out, but he didn't know how to cope with his ongoing guilt. He did eventually see Shannon, but he could never talk about the accident. He kept the visits short, making excuses to leave so the guilt didn't eat him alive over and over. Every time, he went out and got drunk and high, or got more ink because the tattoos hurt and he thought he deserved the pain.
Now, there's still a distance there. Kip is still a bad boy, he's still into the wrong things. He's lost, and he misses Shannon. He just doesn't think Shannon needs him as a friend. Not the person who hurt him. Shannon is quiet and distant with him in return, and Kip has wrongly assumed it it because he is judging him for the drinking and smoking. Despite the mess he was in, Kip managed to get a traineeship with a local signwriter, having an artistic streak in him that his big, burly biker dude saw potential in. His boss looks like a hardass on the outside, but is a big softie inside and has acted as a mentor to Kip in recent months. He is forever telling Kip to talk to Shannon about what happened, but Kip's scared. He just won't admit it. Kip has a true admiration for the work of Jace Hartley, wanting to get work done by him but knowing Jace won't touch him being underage. Instead, Kip's work is all by amateurs while he talks himself out of having any true artistic talent because, after everything, he has come to believe he really is a useless loser who is nothing but a waste of space to everyone... especially Shannon.