"Why the hell is he abandoning me now?" Read, review, rate and feel my love! :P
Five hours ago my baby brother’s world came crashing down around him like a playhouse in a hurricane. Again.
Once more his life has been wrecked and, once again, there is absolutely nothing I can do to make it better. The years of abuse that still stain his soul were just starting to consider fading away and now this, this horrific tragedy has lunged into my brother’s heart like a bloodthirsty lion upon an exhausted little kitten; a heart that barely has enough hope left within it to think that it’s worth the effort to keep beating. He was starting to get better, Bert even said so, and now he’s had everything snatched away from him. Because Ray Toro was his everything, was the one thing that could calm him down when even I couldn’t, and now he’s gone forever.
I think what hurts the most is that I know that I couldn’t have stopped it from happening; that I couldn’t and can’t protect my baby brother like I yearn to be able to, like he so desperately needs protecting. But no, some speeding bus driver decided that today was going to be the day that he ruined some poor kid’s life by killing another. Apart from Mikey’s life was already ruined by three years of heartless abuse and beatings from the two people who were meant to love him the most in this world, Ray and I were just managing to piece it back together; but now all of that’s gone. Everything that Mikes had managed to regain, a little bit of mouse-like courage and the ability to look me in the eye being but two of those things, has been wiped out by the torrents of tears that swamped his moonlike features.
The night that I rescued him and bought him home for the first time he’d cried a lot; had sobbed and convulsed and fucking screamed at every sudden movement, but what took place earlier makes that night look like a walk in the park and all of the nights since feel like a barn dance. Because this time around Mikes wouldn’t even talk. At least that horrendous night of cruelty and liberation he had actually mumbled various incomprehensible ramblings, yet today he wouldn’t even respond to me asking if he was alright; wouldn’t eat anything for dinner no matter how many times I actually held the sushi, his favourite food, up to his tear-mutilated face; wouldn’t let go of me despite the fact that I had to drive us home from the hospital. So Bert drove, with me sat in the back with my baby brother nestling fretfully into my side.
And now here we are, one a.m. in my bedroom; Mikes laid out on his back next to me, on mine and Bert’s bed, sweating his way through a frantic dream. A dream that even I have to admit is most likely a nightmare. Yet I can’t wake him up from it’s clutches because I know that he needs to rest, that if I do wake him up then he almost certainly won’t go back to sleep again; he barely sleeps as it is, so every second of rest is precious until that rest has him screaming in horror, at which point I will wake him up.
I despise it when my baby brother, my little mouse in need of someone to protect him from the vicious claws of life, is sad, but nightmares get to me the most. Why? Because nightmares are something that his own mind conjures, something that I should be able to prevent yet can’t protect him from; and most of the time they aren’t even nightmares, rather memories. Memories of the atrocities that our very own parents afflicted upon my poor, sweet, innocent, weak, meek, introverted little brother. Upon someone who only ever goes looking for affection and acceptance, two things that every kid shouldn’t ever be lacking.
I’m shot out of my thoughts by the harsh bullet of my baby brother’s whimpers, his face contorting like a storm-fraught cloud, and so I run my fingers lazily through his hair, knowing that it’s the best I can do for him right now because no words of mine can ever even start to make this better. He shifts a little closer to me, the two of us clinging onto each other as though release would mean an apocalypse of all hope; just like when we were little kids trying to comfort one another through thunder and lightning, back when the worst things on our mind was the fact that Mom hadn’t let us have custard after dinner. I miss those days, days when the thought of Mikes getting hurt was just a thought, back when bloody bruises weren’t what my baby brother expected to receive with every sudden movement, back when my baby brother was still capable of simply being a kid. But our parents snatched that away from him, tore away all of the adorable innocence and optimism that I loved Mikey for; now he’s just a shell of a person too war-torn to even try anymore.
Or rather, that’s what he was this morning. Now he’s the crushed shell of a person who doesn’t even want to exist because his reason for existence no longer dwells among us. I could kid myself into thinking that I’m all Mikey needs, could pretend that Mikes trusts me enough to know that I’ll never hurt him, but what good what that do anyone? No, Ray was the closest that anything has ever come to curing Mikey of the memories of endless cruelty, was the one person that Mikes ever came close to trusting completely since the abuse and now Ray is gone. Forever.
“Hey, um, do you think he’s gonna be alright?”
I look up from my baby brother’s restlessly restful face to the doorway of the bedroom at the sound of the croaky, sheepish question to see Bert stood; hair tousled and eyes a faint reddy-pink from the dregs of the tears that I know he’d never admit to shedding.
Bert really has been excellent this evening, he didn’t even grumble when I told Mikes that he can sleep in our bed tonight like he normally does; he’d actually nodded his consent at the idea of Mikey curling up in between us so that we, or rather I, can protect him from the all-consuming loneliness that I have a horrible feeling that he’ll be no stranger to now that Ray is gone. Normally, Bert makes no secret of his annoyance at my baby brother’s unfortunate needs, sometimes will even snarl things at Mikes when he thinks that I’m out of earshot, but tonight Bert’s barely spoken a word. He’s just done whatever I’ve asked of him, from driving us home to getting Mikes his pyjamas out of the airing cupboard, and he hasn’t moaned about it once; he’s just done it and done so whilst giving Mikes, what I think is his attempt at, a soft smile. And he’s been crying too, just like we have but I know that Bert’s too proud to share his tears with us. And that’s okay; it’s just how he is. He might act cold and like he doesn’t care, but I know for a fact that he does really, that he loves Mikes almost as much as I do no matter how hard he tries to hide it.
Which is what makes answering his question so goddamned difficult. I could lie and comfort my boyfriend, tell him that I think Mikes will be fine, that I know Mikey will be back to the happy self that he hasn’t been for over three fucking years in a matter of days. Or I could be honest with the one person that Fate has bound me to be honest with; tell him exactly what I know to be agonizingly true.
And, looking at his deeply concerned eyes as well as his nervously mashing knuckles, I know that there’s no way I can lie to him. I need his rare soothing embrace over this twice as much as he does mine.
“Honestly, Bert, I just don’t know.” I sigh desperately, letting my fingertips trail over my baby brother’s wincing face, and fix my boyfriend with the most help-screaming stare that I can muster; I hate to be such a burden to someone who quite clearly hates comfort, but he’s my boyfriend and I really fucking need him right now. “He’s completely wrecked, and I can’t make it better again!”
Before I can register it, Bert’s sat on my other side; arms tightly around me and forcing me into a bone-creaking snuggle. The kind that we’ve been lacking a lot lately.
It’s not that I’m making a conscious effort to avoid being alone with my boyfriend, it couldn’t be further from it, it’s just that whenever we get to be alone I either hear Mikes cry out in his sleep or remember something that I was supposed to say to Mikey to help him through the memories that still plague him daily. What with Mikey around, not that I could ever blame anything on the poor kid, we just haven’t been able to be alone. I can see that it kills Bert, every time we start getting somewhere me having to rush off because of what my parents did to my poor baby brother, but Mikey’s my responsibility now; I’m his big brother and I’m going to be here for him now that I can be. Besides, it’s not like it really bothers Bert. It can’t do because I know that, deep down, he really does care about the kid.
As tonight has proven; Bert never cries. Not in pain, not in happiness and certainly not in sympathy. So for him to have been crying over Mikes and wrapping his arms around us like we really are one loving family, must mean that he really cares, right? Of course it does. Who couldn’t care about the heartbroken bundle of naïvely benevolent cuteness that is my baby brother?
Other than our parents.
The level of pure, unbridled anger and hatred that I feel towards those two monsters of alcoholic spite is enough to make a star explode; they’ve broken my baby brother, made it so that he honestly won’t admit that what they did to him was abuse because they’ve manipulated him deeply enough to make him believe that he deserved it. Still does deserve it because of what the kids at school do to him, because of the memories of what our parents used to do and because of what he believe people will do to him. Myself included. He doesn’t say anything, he’s too excruciatingly sweet for that, but I can see it in his smashed-out eyes; he truly believes that I’m capable of hurting him because I let our parents wound his mind and body for the worst three years of his little life. Whenever I see that frightened look of uncertain terror grip his precious features I feel everything inside of me twinge with guilty sorrow; I unwillingly let the years of abuse happen and so I know that I fully deserve his rejection and lack of trust in me.
But that doesn’t stop it from hurting like an open bullet wound, if anything that makes it hurt an infinite number of times more. Almost as much as the way he just curled up and screamed in my arms at the hospital hurt me. Fuck, he just completely broke down; just dissolved into my t-shirt like I ache for his endless agonies to dissolve into the forgettable past.
“Babe?” Bert whispers against my ear, his hot breath trickling down my neck like warm summer rain. I nod slightly in response, too scared of making a noise loud enough to wake Mikes up for me to actually form words once more. “You know that I love you, with all of my heart, right?” I nod again, not wanting to dwell upon what this might be leading up to through fear of making myself cry again for the millionth time that night. “And that I only want what’s best for Mikes?”
I nod, his awkward sigh giving me enough time to let panic well up in my lungs so that breathing seems like a task. What if he’s going to kick us out? I know that I call this ‘our home’, but I also know that I have no rights when it comes to this beautiful haven of relaxation; that the second he wants us out is also the second that me and Mikes have to leave, the second that Mikey loses everything that he has come to associate with almost-safety. What if he doesn’t love me anymore? I know that having to care for my psychologically-damaged and traumatised brother has undoubtedly but a strain on us as a couple, but I thought that he understood; that he got how important Mikey is to me.
I take a deep breath, like a diver about to plunge into unknown waters, and force myself to swallow the sobs that are hammering harshly upon my breaking heart. There has to be a good reason for his questions, one that doesn’t mean that I’ll wind up as broken as Mikes is over losing his Ray.
“Well, have you ever thought that, well… That maybe you aren’t enough?”
I blink at him in confusion, the bullet of his words burying deep into my heart as I shrug off his traitorous arms in favour of caving protectively over the one that he’s questioning my ability to care for. I thought that he knew how hard I’m trying with kid, that he believed I was; no. That we were getting somewhere with him. Or at least, that we were before Ray got snatched from my love and defence dependent little brother. But apparently not. Apparently, if the hesitant tinge to his words is anything to go by, he thinks that we’re not enough; that I’m failing the one person who means the most to me in the horrible world.
The one person who means a lot more to me than any alcoholic idiot who seems to think that he can say whatever he wants about my broken baby brother.
Well, he fucking can’t and just the fact that he can even think about asking that kills me inside.
But only because I hate the answer; yes.
I do think that I’m not enough, I think it all of the times that I see him fitting in his sleep; whenever he just bursts into tears at an unexpected movement that life has taught him is a threat until proven otherwise; every time that I hear him whispering to himself about how much he wishes he was still with the abusive monsters who have left him thinking that he’s nothing, that he’ll never be better than some worthless punching bag that I unwittingly let him become.
“There’s no easy way for me to put this, Gee, but; have you ever considered putting him into Care?”
“What?” I squeak at him in complete and utter stunned disbelief; how could he even suggest that? “I know you don’t like the kid, but this? Wow, Bert, you actually had me thinking that you give a fuck about someone other than yourself!” I spit at him like a snake spitting venom into a wild animal, like I want Bert to hurt as much as he has hurt me with his fucked-up suggestion; as much as his suggestion would hurt my baby brother were he to hear it or even think that it’s a possibility.
I quite honestly thought that Bert was going to say something nice, something to make the hurt stop, but I guess I don’t really know him at all. The Bert McCracken that I know would never kick out a lost little kid like Mikey, would never ask me to even consider giving up my world. But that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? Mikey is my world now, as well as Bert, and Bert just can’t deal with that. Can’t cope with the fact that I care about someone other than him because, as far as Bert’s concerned, the universe revolves around him. Fucking selfish dickhead.
“No! Gee, I didn’t mean it like that, of course I didn’t.” I fix him with my best angry stare, something that I’ve never been all that good at but will be for my baby brother; I could easily kill for that kid if I had to. And I think that it works because he gulps in nervousness, making me feel more than a little guilty despite the fact that I think he deserved it. “I just meant that, what with the added stress and trauma of what happened today, that maybe we aren’t what’s best for the kid. You don’t know the first thing about looking after a disturbed and traumatised teenager, no matter how well you might have been doing this last few months it’s time to face the facts; Mikey needs someone who knows what they’re dealing with.”
‘What they’re dealing with.’
Who the hell is he to speak about my baby brother like that; like he’s some sort of disease in need of being eradicated from his system. And it really fucking hurts, to know that my own boyfriend can be so heartless towards my broken-hearted brother. Towards the one thing that makes my existence worthwhile because being with Bert sure as fuck doesn’t.
“If all you’re gonna do is be a selfish asshole, then you can fuck off, Bert; Mikes and I don’t need this right now.” I mumble, fighting off tears as I sweep some of Mikey’s hair out of his bruised face. A face that should never be anything less than glowing with happiness because that’s all the poor kid deserves. “We don’t need you.”
Well, that’s a lie. I need Bert more than I even know and Mikes needs more than one person to care about him, not to mention that Bert’s our only way of staying off of the streets. Bert’s helped me through the hardest and lowest points of my life, Mikey’s abuse included, so why the hell is he abandoning me now?
“I know you don’t, Babe. But I love you and I know that you love me t-“
“Not right now I don’t; how can you be so fucking selfish?” I’m shouting now, in a hushed sort of way, honestly not caring that he looks to be on the brink of tears once more.
“I’m not being selfish, Babe, of course I’m not.” He whispers, pulling me back into a hold that I don’t think I could get out of even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. Because he’s soft and comfy and everything else that I need right now, even if I am furious with him for saying such hurtful things about my Mikey. “I just want you to be sure that you’re doing what’s right for both you and Mikes, not just doing what you want to believe is right. I’m only saying it because I know that you won’t, because I know how much you care about him and that I’m the only one out of us who’ll stop to consider you.” I can tell that he’s fighting to keep the emotion out of his voice, that he’s trying to soak his anger with the kind of love that he can tell that I need desperately right now.
And that’s exactly why I love him so unbearably much; because he really does care. I know he does.
I gasp in surprise as his lips press hungrily onto mine, lingering there long enough to make me realise how much I’ve missed being this close to him over the past few months and ripping away from me with the right amount of swiftness to make me see just how much I really do need him; how much I am nothing without him.
“I’m sorry I upset you, Gee.”
I don’t quite know how he’s done it, but he’s made me feel like there’s nothing to forgive. Wait. I know exactly how he’s done it; he’s made me remember how much I love him, how much I need him. Two things that I should never forget, no matter how much is going on with my precious baby brother.
“I love you, Bert McCracken.” I whisper as I cuddle into his chest like Mikey is cuddled into mine; the three of us like one little, if slightly dysfunctional, family. My family.
“I love you too, Gee.”
But that doesn’t fix the fact that Mikey’s broken.
A/N: Thank you very much for reading; I hope that it was alright! I would just like to say a huge thank you to anyone who has been lovely enough to review/rate so far, it really does mean a hell of a lot to me! Frank will be appearing next chapter, if all goes to plan… Thanks for reading and please review! :)