Memories and Brother/SisterBonus?
PG-13 for a couple f-bombs.Original/Fandom:
)Pairings (if any)
NoneWarnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc):
Brendan and Kalen used to be closer than twins. Now, things are different.
"Ashlynn Farrell likes you," Brendan says.
I shrug without looking up from my half-assembled robot. People always like me now. Inside, I'm still the weird kid they beat up in Second Year. Outside, I'm one of them. I fit in - it's what I do. It's like breathing.
"No, I mean she likes
you," Brendan insists.
"So?" I'm much more concerned with making these lasers work than with some silly girl.
"Half the kids in tenth year want to date you. The rest want to be
you. And all you care about are your stupid robots and those weird insurgents you keep sneaking out to meet. What a fucking waste." Rage bakes off him in waves.
"How did you - " Taken aback, I put down my tools. "You're not going to tell anyone, are you?" The thought alone makes my mouth go dry. Even speaking against the War is treason. If anyone finds out I've been meeting people from the Splinternet, people who harbor the same doubts I do...
"Don't worry, little brother," Brendan sneers. "I won't tell anyone you're not who they think you are."
A wave of relief washes over me.
"Why the fuck would you do that, though, bro? You have everything a kid could want - perfect grades, popularity, a guaranteed spot on a fighting squad. Why would you risk it all?" Brendan turns on his heel and stomps toward the door.
"It's not what I
want," I call after him. "Haven't you ever wondered what we're fighting for?"
"No, and if you had any sense, you wouldn't either." His mouth is set in a thin line, lips white.
"It's just... the Other Side - they're people too," I tell him. "They're people just like us."
Brendan snorts and says nothing.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I demand.
"Who the hell are you
to talk about people, Kalen?"
I just stare at him. Brendan can go from calm to angry and back a hundred times in an hour. Sometimes it scares me. He says
he won't tell, but you never know. You never know what
"It's all just a fucking game to you," he continues.
"What else is it supposed to be?" I ask. "Why do girls and dances matter when there's a War out there? A War I'm forced to fight, whether I believe in it or not."
matter, Kalen." Brendan throws up his hands. "For a genius, you can be so fucking stupid
. I see the way you are - keeping everyone at arms' length, even me. Stop acting like you're better than me just because I want friends. You can't just go through life alone and have it be okay. No one can."
"Brendan, those people at school aren't my friends. They'd turn on me in a second, given the chance."
used to be your friend. Now you don't need me anymore," he says in a small voice.
"You're still my friend," I tell him. "You're my brother. Nothing can ever change that."
"Then why don't you talk
"It's better for everyone if you're not involved in what I'm doing. The last thing I want is to take you down with me if I'm caught." I sigh and rub my temples. Brendan wears me out with his anger and emotion, his constant need for reassurance.
"I'm involved now anyway," Brendan says softly. "Knowing what I know could get me blacklisted. Everyone would hate me and I'd never be allowed on a fighting team. And unlike you, I want
to fight. More than anything."
"I know, Brendan. Everyone here wants to fight."
"Yeah, but I'm not 'everyone'. I'm your brother." Brendan's eyes are clear. The storm seems to have passed for now. "And I wish you'd spend more time with me, even if we are
different. I'm not gonna be around forever, you know."
I nod, but my attention is already back on my workbench. Where's Brendan going to go, anyway?This story takes place in the "Cliffton" universe I've used in a few of my other stories. If you haven't read them already and want to, they are in the Cliffton section of this post. This scene takes place before any of the others, when Kalen and Brendan are 14 and 15 years old. In the weeks he spends alone during The Vacuum Of Time, he thinks back on it and sees Brendan's words in a different light.