“Mark?” a voice quivered from an indistinguishable corner of the room. The now dauntingly large, black hole of a room. The shy, pleading little call just barely sounded off his rapidly shortening breath, thin with trepidation. As if the darkness were a tangible entity that were too thick to be penetrated by his little voice. The only source of light was relatively useless. A block of dead light providing but a faint hint of what lay within a foot's radius of it. At least, during intervals, this was the only comfort Aaron were allowed. Useless, for the most part, but something. That dim, depressed black blue of the night time were but a cruel deception, Aaron knew. Thus the reasoning behind his choice in location: the corner opposing the one the window were nearest.Under the little wooden table. Wrapped in a generously stuffed down blanket. Reduced to trembling and occasionally bumping his twitchy wings into the legs with a pained hiss.
“Mark?!” he tried again, voice a little more solid in its franticness now, though still a strain for the ear of someone potentially in the room. Someone who better be in the room, or even in the house, Aaron hoped desperately.
“Ma- AAACK!” the tiny angel choked on his third attempt as the room exploded in a flash flood of light spilling in through that stupid window, the sudden switch from absolute darkness to blinding light ripping Aaron's eyes open so wide that it's a wonder his lids hadn't torn at the corners. His throat constricted, forcing out a little screech that held the most volume he'd managed since retreating under the nearest piece of furniture. Despite having been expecting it, it always managed to catch him off guard. By the time gravity pulled him back down to the floor after a brief jerk of separation, the room had faded back to a different kind of personal Hell for the boy. The lesser of two evils.
All Aaron could do was sit there and brace himself for the inevitable, now only capable of broken whimpers and sharp intakes of air as he silently prayed for it to just stop. His head spun around like a broken record with fierce pleads to who-knows-who for it to end. His heart throbbed painfully against his ribcage, wincing against the roar of thunder, louder than the last.
He only just began realizing the moisture on his cheeks when he heard the promising thump thump thump of hurried feet against the floorboards, growing louder as they came closer. He quickly wiped at his cheeks, shameful of his pathetic state of being at the moment, that of which he was now conscious of as he gratefully listened to the only sound to bring him something other than terror in the past ten minutes. The longest ten minutes of his six years of life thus far, he thought miserably.
Aaron tried the ability of his vocal chords again, the entirety of the house being hardly navigable in the dark having him worried in regards to Mark's clumsiness. Plus, he probably only has a general idea of where Aaron is, he thought, assuming his little screech had been what summoned him (finally).
All that made it past his tongue, however, barely even compared to the squeak of a mouse; a broken, scratchy rendition of “over here”. He could hear Mark calling his name, panic giving his bones another shake as he noticed his voice being swallowed into another room. The wrong room.
Eager to have Mark find him before the sky split open again, no matter how helplessly demeaned he felt by the need, Aaron relieved his white-knuckle hold on his blanket in favour of rapping them against the leg of the table.
The sound resounded loudly, both due to the size of the modestly furnished room and the fact that he practically punched the table in his growing desperation to be heard.
To his immense relief, Mark came stumbling into the room just a second later. Aaron balled his fist to knock again, but the chance to never came as Mark came barreling under the table next to him in a flurry of messy feathers and clumsy limbs; surprising Aaron in that he'd been able to guess where he was in the room so quickly. Then again, was it really so hard to figure out?
It was a tight squeeze, Mark's light brown, white, and black speckled wings held as close to his fragile-looking frame as he could manage. His arms immediately moved to encompass Aaron, unable to wrap all the way around due to the thick blanket cocoon the boy had buried himself in. The majority of Aaron's shaking was almost instantaneously quelled, heart calming so that it no longer pounded in his ears in the relief of having another body there. Half of his hysteria belonged to the isolation of the darkness alone.
Just as he'd convinced himself he would be okay while waiting for Mark, too. One step forward, two steps back, he figured absently. It always seemed to operate that way for him, this stupid phobia.
“You're okay, Ace. It's just a thunderstorm!” Mark spoke softly. Aaron could practically hear the reassuring smile spreading Mark's freckled cheeks. He was right beside him, yet all that could be distinguished was an outline of his best friend. He was there though, and that's all that mattered, just the sound of his voice aiding in helping Aaron relax.
“Sorry I came in late. I had to help sissy find her bear or she wouldn't stop cryin',” Mark said, rubbing Aaron's back to sooth the remains of his shivers. “I wonder where she got that thing. I think a friend gave it to her. It's giant! Waaaaay bigger than she is, she uses it as a bed! I think she named it Proxy. She heard mom talkin' to father and tells me she liked the word. Can't sleep without it, ya know?” he continued, the question rhetorical as he didn't expect an answer. Aaron didn't yet trust his vocal chords, sure he would just choke on his own words pathetically. Anyway, he was more than happy to let Mark ramble on one-sided-ly. He was just happy to have the company, and his talking distracted him. He had a feeling that Mark knew this, being more perceptive than people gave him credit for. They knew each other better than they knew themselves, Aaron thought amusedly.
He smiled in appreciation, despite knowing his best friend couldn't see it.
“Maybe I should get you somethin' like that? Mom says it's her... Uhm... I forgot the word... Uh...” Mark continued to muse aloud, pausing for a second in thought. “Oh! Security thing. It's her security thing that helps her calm down and stuff. I should get ya one. For when I can't come over. Whaddaya like? Blanket? Bear? I don't have much but I could make ya somethin'. Mom's been teachin' me how to sew-,”
“S' okay,” Aaron spoke, voice a little shaky and faded, though more solid than he had anticipated. With this, he tried again.
“I'm okay. You don't have t-,” his voice cracked, another blow to his already wounded pride. But it was just Mark though, he assured himself.
Mark wouldn't judge. Mark was always there for him.
“It's okay, ace. I want ya to have somethin'. You're always there for me and never yourself, so. Let me help, okay?” Aaron was a little taken aback by this, the serious tone Mark had suddenly adorned. Mark was easily beyond his single-digit years, Aaron knew, but still managed to catch him off guard with just how far every once in a while.
And he certainly wasn't wrong. Aaron would compromise his happiness to benefit an ant's. Mark scowled in the darkness to himself, being reminded of how disgusting this so called community of “Paradise” could be, how ungrateful and judgmental. Aaron's efforts to help others in any way he could were often met with colourful vocabulary and or a slow-to-heal bruise. At best, a side ways glance before distancing themselves as far away from the child as possible. As if diseased.
Whether it be finding a lost item, a peace offering of homemade pastries (that of which Mark lived for – Aaron were lucky to have any to spare if Mark happened upon a fresh batch of cookies on the counter), offering reassuring words to those in need of them, or even just a friendly remark. All just because of the boy's unfortunate date of birth.
He never confided in anyone, not even Mark. It was frustrating, knowing something is wrong and being unable to help.
“This,” Aaron shifts minimally in his cocoon in emphasis, effectively breaking Mark out of his thoughts, “is more than enough. Thank you.” Aaron smiled in the dark, eyes collecting moisture once more.
Mark opened his mouth to respond, but the words died in his throat as another bolt of light painted the room in a blinding white. Aaron's body jerked violently in response, having almost forgotten there was a thunderstorm at all (Mark was a blessing). Said blessing, having been draped over him, was carried along with the movement, head colliding with the underside of the table with a thud.
Aaron was oblivious, the sound swallowed by the thunder that shook the house not a second later. Aaron was thrown into another fit of shaking, ears ringing with blue dots obscuring his vision in the wake of the attack on his corneas. It took a solid minute for him to calm enough to notice the absence of arms around him, Mark rubbing his head, hissing and grunting.
“M-Mark! Wh-... what hap-p-pened?”Aaron tripped over his words, still trying to get a hold of himself. To his slight surprise, Mark laughed.
“Nothin' nothin'. Just hit my head on the table. S'okay, s'okay. Listen,” Mark dismissed, wincing as he took away a hand from his head, holding said hand close to his face to check for blood. When he found none, he returned his eyes to the black blob that was his friend, staring in the general area of his face, where he assumed his eyes to be. Aaron watched patiently, eyes big with a quizzical countenance, none of which visible, but it could be assumed Mark knew it was there.
“You know you can count on me, ya know? Uhm... my mom told me 'it's okay to count on other people sometimes', and, you're always helpin' me and...I don't want you to be sad all alone, okay?” He sounded nervous, Aaron noted, a little confused by it. He kept silent, letting Mark gather up his thoughts and figure the wording of what he said next. A handful of seconds later, Mark continued, his voice toned down to a notch uncharacteristic of him.
“Mom told me sometimes people don't say things that they're going through because they don't want to make ya upset. Like, they don't talk about what makes them sad because their friend is sad, too, or they think they have to be big for them. Uhm, strong. And, uhm, hide everything. And...” Mark's voice drifted off unsurely, the faint sound of shuffling and the absence of his arms around him suggesting he were twiddling his fingers nervously. Another foreign attribute to him. This must have been bothering him for a while now, that much wasn't hard to discern. Aaron remained patient, attentive.
“And... you don't have to do that for me, okay? I don't want you to be sad, even if I'm sad, we can be sad together. You know, help each other out. You don't have to just help me, okay? I wanna help ya, too, ace. I won't think bad of you. You're the best person I know, everyone is just bad to you...” Mark trailed off again, and after a moment of heavy silence, a pound per second, Aaron knew he'd not be saying anything further. It was his turn now.
“Mark--,” Aaron's voice came out in pieces, shaken and forced. He'd started crying for the third time in the past hour. But this time, the saltwater was complimented by a smile.
Having no faith left in his voice, Aaron took to slinging his arms around the boy, his makeshift cocoon falling around them, now having nothing to keep the corners up. Aaron buried his smile in the crook of Mark's neck, his tears dampening his shirt.
Mark laughed, the sound reverberating in his chest, Aaron being able to feel it. It was largely one of relief, having been unsure of how Aaron would respond to what he had to say. He returned the hug immediately, Aaron's smile so wide that Mark could feel it pressed into his shirt, happy that it's there.
“Promise me you'll tell me from now on, ace?” Mark asked hopefully, giggling when Aaron nodded against his shoulder.
Aaron didn't even notice the bolt of lightning that shown through that window then, the rumble of thunder that followed now quieter than the last
- - - - - -
Aaron awoke to the quickly fading light illuminating his room, a stark contrast to the should-be darkness of the night, that of which returning in not a second following. He'd only happened upon a restless sleep maybe ten minutes ago, the offensive glow of blocky numbers sat atop the table to his left letting him know it was well into the night. Or, very early in the morning, rather. Hopeless, the newly exiled angel pushed himself up slowly on two shaky arms, grunting, careful not to irritate his wounds any further and split any stitches. He swallowed the pained whimpers that clogged his throat, human medicine having no useful or lasting effect on him, and turned himself around to focus his attentions to the singular window perched just beside his bed. He was wide awake, thunderstorms no longer intolerable for him, but still did a thorough job of driving the drowsy fog out of his head, his hands gingerly wiping the sleep from his eyes. The eventual thunder struck him with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, the memories attempting to surface in the chaotic pool his mind had been reduced to proving difficult to suppress. Especially given... recent events.
It's not like they were bad memories – quite the opposite, they were some of his best – but they only offered pain for him now. Ugly reminders of why he were here, and what he'd left behind. What he had been forced to leave behind. Reasons for the consequential, hollowed gap in his chest that made breathing impossibly harder, promises he would never be allowed the chance to keep now leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.
Right now, he needed to focus on his physical wounds, and so attempted swallowing the Hell that were the thoughts relentlessly circling his head, but choked. What he tried to hold at bay only sank in the hollowed cavity that was his chest – a rock down a dried up well. He felt nauseous, bringing a bandaged hand to his mouth as moisture began to collect in his eyes like windows in a rainstorm, soon flooding out of the gutters in a rush.
It was the first time he'd cried since being exiled not three days ago. The first he'd allowed (or given up on fighting, really) himself to think. The first time he'd felt anything, thusly. And he wished nothing more than to fall back into that merciful numbness that had been holding him hostage since showing up on Sebastian's doorstep, half dead and torn to shreds. Now a burden once again.
He wasn't afraid of thunder storms anymore, too encompassed in what seemed to be every form pain came in to give the thunder any mind anyway, roaring to be acknowledged outside his window.
Aaron fought to get a hold of himself and patch up the cracks in the damn that kept such sore memories at bay, every labored breath just bringing an onslaught of agony from various parts of his being. He could no longer distinguish which pain came from where, only that his back stood the most prominent of them all. Like a constant fire licking at the the mouths of the two paralleled gashes that resided there – no more than an inch of flesh spared; unmapped.
Sebastian had been generous in bandaging, nearly wiping the nearest drug store's pharmaceutical aisle clean in his initial panic. They'd tried every pain medicine that didn't require written prescription under the sun, yet the most any of them had done was make the boy dizzy for an hour following consumption. It didn't help that Sebastian had but a basic understanding on how to treat the injuries of humans. Aaron hadn't been able to get the memory of Sebastian's face upon uncovering his back out of his head, one of the many things that plagued his head. The remnants of Aaron's wings came in the form of two bones just barely protruding from the bloodied, gaping slits running down Aaron's back. Jagged and cracked, the area like that straight out of a very generously funded horror movie.
Having no prior knowledge on angels and what the Hell their anatomy was even about, Sebastian had bandaged and sewn everything up save for where the bones were, unsure if they'd grow back. They just barely stuck out from the canyons of butchered flesh, ensuring that Sebastian could seal the immediate area around them without leaving anything... open.
This meant that Aaron would have to sleep on his stomach, if at all. Though injuries were heavy everywhere, irritation would be lesser on his front. This mean that the only leniency he were allowed in movement while in bed were the positioning of his arms at his sides and which direction his head faced. Which basically meant no movement at all, as even the most minimalistic of movements evoked a profound ache at best.
The only sleep he'd been able to capture were the ten or so minutes this rolling storm had just disturbed. But it's not like he particularly minded. Having always been particularly susceptible to nightmares, he wasn't really keen on finding out what unconsciousness had in store for him now. Angels technically didn't need to sleep at all, but having a good sum of his immortality stripped to enable him to suffer to the fullest extent as he died on Earth, as originally intended (angels are thoroughly brutal when the opportunity arises), sleep deprivation had a hideously human effect on him now.
Being reminded of Sebastian, the boy wiped at his eyes, roaming the room in search of his half-brother. His watery oculars landed on a solitary chair sat beside his bed, empty. Probably going to the bathroom or something, Aaron reasoned. Sebastian had been adamant to stay by Aaron, despite the child's weak protests, portrayed via gestures as he'd not spoken a single word other than a pathetic “help” since arrival. He was already proving to be enough of a burden, the boy thought. He at least wanted Sebastian to sleep, and in the comfort of his warm and awaiting bed.
He endlessly berated himself for the trouble he'd thus far caused the young man. The more he thought about it, the more he dared to think about it, the more he wished he'd just crawled as far away from Sebastian's doorstep (where he'd been purposefully dumped for Sebastian to find his corpse in the morning) as possible. Sebastian could have just gone about his life as he were supposed to, hopefully under the assumption Aaron took heed to him and stopped risking his life to come and visit him, while Aaron died in some alley somewhere. Where his brother didn't have to worry about him, sacrifice his time and part of his home for him. His hard earned money, his peace of mind, his freedom... Aaron should have died in an alleyway, alone, hidden away, and unbeknown to anyone who mattered to him. He wouldn't bother anyone ever again that way. He should have--
Aaron jumped, the sudden movement followed up immediately by an agonized hiss. His hands twitched in the air in front of him, not knowing where to hold. The sound had erupted from what he guessed to be the living room of the modest townhouse, bouncing off the walls, down the hall and landing on the boy's ears – effectively ripping him from his quickly darkening thoughts. His eyes darted to the open door, staring intently into the hallway as if Sebastian would appear if he concentrated hard enough. His mind barely registered the crackle of thunder that had poorly harmonized with the sudden and loud thud from within the flat, a knot forming in the pit of the child's stomach.
Aaron found himself experiencing the third emotion he'd felt since Sebastian had patched him up: fear. The sound had immediately set off a spiraling train of thought, threatening to finally crash and wreck. Where was Sebastian? Was that him? Was he okay? Was someone trying to break in? Did the wind blow something against the window? Was it a gun shot?
Had they come back to finish the job?
Aaron shook his head, trying to clear it. He hadn't been able to hold a clear thought in what seemed an eternity. Like there was gum stuck in the gears of his head, cogs jerking and scraping against one another. He was quickly growing into silent hysterics, like the flick of a switch.
With his stubborn mind continuing to spin into a tangled web of growing possibilities, festering into worst case scenarios, Aaron eased himself out of bed against Sebastian's strict orders not to leave it, “no matter what!”. His wobbly feet met the icy floor unsurely, reluctant to put any weight on them as his hands clung determinedly to the edge of the mattress ; his only source of stability. His bones rattled, unable to qualm his twitchy fingers and shaky legs. Taking an achy breath, Aaron eased his grip, ignoring the sirens going off in his head and gambling with his luck (that of which has already proven unreliable a thousand times over – Aaron was desperate to say the least), he took a step away from the bed.
In retrospect, that single step was farther than he'd really expected to get, being too panicked to listen to the voice of reason shouting at him from some dark corner of his mind not to attempt standing at all.
A shock of pain bolted up through his legs, like stepping on an electrified floor with bones made of metal.
He groped in the dark for something to catch his fall, only succeeding in grabbing the armrest of Sebastian's chair and taking it down with him.
The crash that sounded throughout the room and down the hall exceeded the one that had inspired him to get up in the first place, the pained cry ripping from Aaron's throat even rivaling the thunder that crashed outside the window then. Light illuminated Aaron's surroundings momentarily, bursting through the window and shining reddish-pink through his eyelids, squeezed shut. The boy took in a broken, sharp breath at the lava that seemed to replace his blood. Every centimeter of his being came alive in searing pain, as though every single wound had opened anew. He clenched his teeth, willing himself to be quiet, though it was futile as he could not hear his own cries over the erratic pounding in his head. If he could focus on anything other than the pain at the moment, he'd at least allowed his poor luck some credit for landing him on his stomach and not his back.
Sebastian came running down the hall not a moment later, freezing just before the threshold into the room at the site of Aaron sprawled on his stomach at his feet, entire body taught like the wire of a violin before it snaps. Any and all colour Sebastian had had left drained from his face in the blink of an eye, the lightning outside generously allowing him an alarmingly stark view of the awful sight before retreating back outside the window. Noticing the toppled chair and pinched area of the blanket hung over the bed, like someone had taken fist full-s, Sebastian had come to a quick conclusion of what had happened; hurriedly dropping to his knees beside the boy. His hands hovered over Aaron's body helplessly, wanting desperately to assist but unsure if touching him would make the situation worse than it already seemed.
Meanwhile, the ex-angel was too lost in the anguish that was squeezing the very remains of air out of his lungs to notice the presence of someone else in the room, the wind stolen from him upon impact with the hardwood.
“Aaron?!” Sebastian took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. It wouldn't help the situation if he started to freak out, he silently told himself.
“Where does it hurt?” He asked, voice a notch calmer, but Aaron had yet to even acknowledge his presence. The boy could hear him now, at least, but he couldn't speak if he tried. Even if he could, he wouldn't know how to answer.
No, scratch that. His answer would just be useless. It hurt, everywhere. And Sebastian didn't need to tell him that.
“I'm-, I'm gunna pick you up, okay?” Sebastian breathed, feeling dizzy. He could see dark patches beginning to leak through Aaron's bandages, slowly but surely. Everywhere.
Aaron jerked his head in an attempt of affirmation, though the movement only inspired another wave of pain. All he'd done was fall a short distance to the floor (being just over four feet tall). If he'd known such a little accident could cause so much physical trauma, he'd not have tried at all. He got out of bed with a simple plan of mobility: cling to furniture, lean against the wall, and take it slow. Not very well-thought out, but he'd been desperate. He'd been worried.
He'd been scared. Almost as scared as Sebastian were now.
And now his brother had to save him again.
Aaron ground his teeth with so much force it'd be a wonder if he'd have any left, trying to incarcerate the shouts and cries pounding against the ivories mercilessly as he felt himself leaving the floor.
The sensation of being suspended in the air went straight to the stubs in his back, moving instinctually and against his will.
Sebastian knew the second Aaron opened his mouth that he'd never forget the sound that escaped from it.
- - - - - -
Sebastian lifted his icy blue eyes in mild surprise, meeting the red rimmed and thoroughly dried out oculars of the lump of blankets curled beside the window.
Aaron wore a countenance that tore at Sebastian's heart painfully. If he'd not already drained his supply, there was no doubt Aaron would have been crying again.
The older of the two straightened up in his chair and gave Aaron his full attention, having been slouched over with his arms crossed, eyes concentrated on the patterns he could make out in the hardwood floor.
Sebastian had changed out nearly all of Aaron's bandaging, paying special attention to his back, having needed to be stitched up again. He'd taken enough pain medication to send an adult human into permanent comatose, if not a reservation at the morgue. For the time being, they seemed to be doing the job a regular dose would for a human child. Neither were sure how long it would last, but Aaron was determined to make use of the moments he had before he were rendered unable to speak more than a few words without cringing.
Or, he was trying.
“It's my fault, kid. I was... on edge. Thunder caught me off guard and I slammed the window sill shut. That's what had you crawling out of bed, yeah?” Sebastian asked, though he knew the answer already. Hearing it out loud, Aaron felt incredibly stupid for what he'd done – or tried to. He nodded slowly, ashamed, and Sebastian was quick to try and wipe that look off the kid's face.
“You're okay now, alright? You'll be okay. Everything's okay. I'm sorry I left the room. I went to shut the windows and close the blinds because the storm-,” Sebastian trailed off, like there were more to the statement than had been said. Sebastian's expression took on one of poorly hidden self reprimand, finally confirming Aaron's growing suspicion.
“The storm.” Sebastian reinstated the words with more finality, though he already knew he'd been caught.
“Sebby?” Aaron started shyly, pinching and un-pinching his thumb in between his fingers. A nervous little tick he'd adopted from... little fingers instinctively reached up around his neck for the necklace he realized wasn't there at the thought of Mark, remembering that Sebastian had stored it in the bathroom for safe keeping.
“What's up, kiddo?” Sebastian noticed the action of course, trying to draw Aaron back.
The boy shook his head lightly, bringing himself back to the present.
“Are you... Are you afraid of thunderstorms?”
Sebastian stared owlishly, dumbstruck. He inwardly kicked himself, having been convinced he'd done a well enough job of keeping calm every time another round of lightning rolled in. But, even in the state he was, Aaron had easily noticed the tell-tale twitches of the eye, jerk of the arms, tightly set jaw, and even full body jerks when he'd thought Aaron weren't looking or paying attention. He'd underestimated just how perceptive the boy really were, once again. Though he had made it kind of obvious, the more he thought about it.
And yet even though he knew he'd been caught, he tried to side step while Aaron tried to ignore the familiarity of the situation. The older of the brother's shitty phobia was not important right now, and he knew Aaron well enough to know he'd worry if he caught on to the extent of it. And that was the last thing the kid needed right now.
“Nah,” Sebastian tried to laugh it off, but instead managed only a huff through his teeth with a crooked, unconvincing grin. It sounded unintentionally condescending. As if to personally call him out on his lie, a crack of thunder ripped through the city to accompany a blinding flash of lightning. Sebastian choked on nothing, momentarily caving into himself in poorly concealed fear, folding his arms closer to his chest.
He knew Aaron noticed, obviously. He'd not been anticipating it and was thus caught off guard at the worst possible moment. When the light faded from the room as quickly as it'd come, Sebastian avoided looking directly at Aaron. And goddammit if he wasn't on the verge of bloody shaking now.
“I used to be,” Aaron spoke, dragging Sebastian's reluctant attention back to him. He was surprised to find him smiling. Small, but it was definitely there. This was the most Aaron had spoken since arriving, and he hadn't expected to see a smile for quite a while, to say the least. Even though it was there because Sebastian was being a little bitch, he thought, it was still nice to see it again.
Aaron patted the bed gingerly, a silent request for Sebastian to join him there, which he of course complied. The bed dipped under the nineteen year old, Aaron sinking against his arm. Aaron unwrapped the corner of the blanket that was closest to his brother, holding it up as far as the intense soreness in his arm would allow in a silent demand for Sebastian to join him in the cocoon.
Sebastian smiled warmly, though not without rolling his eyes, determined to make a joke out of his little phobia.
“It's okay, you dork. I'm fine.” He said not without fondness.
He took the blanket and wrapped it around them both anyway.
“You know,” Aaron began, his voice grainy and hoarse, “just because I'm... like this doesn't mean what scares you doesn't matter.”
Aaron ignored the stunned look on his older brother's face in favour of continuing before he lost the courage.
“I'd feel better knowing you were okay, if that's why you won't tell me,” - a cough to clear his throat, voice strained due to going so long without use - “I wanna help you, too, Sebby. You do so much for me and I...” Aaron trailed off at the threat of tears he'd thought he'd drained himself of, voice loosing it's already weak stability.
“Oi.” Aaron looked up at Sebastian, looking unexpectedly impressed. It was like talking to a forty year old inside an eight year olds body. He supposed it was to be expected. Aaron had gone through more hardships in a week than any other person would in one hundred years. That kind of shit, Sebastian mused, either makes an absolute nutter or a person wiser and stronger than the rest. Or both. Sebastian knew all about that one.
“You know you're smarter than you look, bro,” Sebastian teased, gently bumping his knuckles against Aaron's head playfully, followed up by lightly ruffling the sandy brown hair. Not enough to hurt, of course.
Aaron giggled with an indignant “hey!”, and Sebastian was beyond pleased to hear the sound again, and admittedly proud to be the one to inspire it.
Before Aaron could say anything, however, Sebastian was quick to speak again with a more serious air.
“But really, thanks, kid. If you must know, it's usually a lot shi-... worse when it's just me. You're a help without realizing it, ya barmy squirt.” In the first week of having met his brother, Aaron had learned quickly not to take any of Sebastian's weird diction seriously, as far as what traditionally qualified as insults go at least.
The boy beamed despite himself, the way Sebastian was looking at him ridding of any doubt Aaron may have had in his words. Aaron's face was lit up to the caliber close to what it always used to be, eyes big and, though wearing a smile that still held underlying traces of melancholy, it was a step closer to getting him back to himself. It reminded Sebastian of Aaron's actual age.
It was criminal, Sebastian thought; an eight year old wearing the run down and worn countenance of an eighty year old man who'd been to Hell and back. Well, in Aaron's case, he'd been to the human's so-fabled “Heaven” and back. How disgustingly ironic.
“You're not just saying that?” Aaron asked, skepticism creeping into his tone, though faint.
Sebastian leaned against the headboard with a sigh, not as ignorant to Aaron's inner turmoil over “being a bother to him” as the kid were aware.
We're both pretty shit at hiding what scares us, huh?
The older of the two huffed, blowing blue-dyed bangs out of his eyes as a means of diluting his exasperation. It wasn't for Aaron, rather them. The bastards that did this to him. He chalked Aaron's insecurities up to being treated as a nuisance the entirety of his short life, no matter what he did. He recalled the stories Aaron used to bring with him upon visiting: how he'd found some bird's book and she'd “only” spit on him. How he'd greeted a man with a smile and wish him a great day, how delighted he was that the man “only” frowned at him and walked away with a grunt.
Aaron had accepted the treatment. They'd nailed it into him that it was his fault and that he deserved it. The thought made Sebastian sick, having an increasingly difficult time suppressing his growing animosity every time he saw the internal damage they'd done to his little brother.
He leaned his head back against the headboard of the bed with a dull thud, aware of Aaron's attentive stare.
“You aren't a bother. Never have I wished I didn't have to 'deal' with you,” Sebastian emphasized with air quotes.
“I'm beyond happy you're here, where I can take care of you and know you're okay. They can't treat you like shite anymore, and you need to know that you absolutely did not deserve what they did to you-,” Sebastian shut his eyes, concentrating on his breathing when his voice began to rise. He wasn't about to have a fit in front of Aaron.
“You're a great kid, and you deserve to be bloody fussed over and loved and heard. You help me in ways you aren't aware of in the slightest, and I need you to believe that because I'm not bullsh-, lying to you,” Sebastian had more to say on the subject, but he knew he wouldn't “cure” Aaron with just one talk. It'd take time. Moreover, he didn't entirely trust his temper right now.
And anyway, any word poised on his tongue never left it as he felt two thin (very thin – Sebastian noted, he'd need to watch his weight) arms wrap around him. It was a weak hold, but by the look on Aaron's face (from what he could see) it were the tightest he could manage. Sebastian brought a hand around the kid and held it against his arm as gently as he could in the only form of a hug he could manage in Aaron's current condition. He couldn't stop the corners of his mouth curling up if he tried, smiling softly down at the only family he had.
He only realized Aaron were in tears again (it were a wonder the kid had any left to spill) when he began to feel moisture creep through his t-shirt, gingerly rubbing the ex-angel's arm soothingly.
Aaron didn't need to say anything, Sebastian got the message.
The two spent the next fifteen minutes like this, Sebastian talking about random little things to distract Aaron as the medication slowly wore off with what they should do when Aaron were better, people he wanted Aaron to meet, that little pet store not too far from here and all the animals it had, the cool looking people he'd passed by on the street the other day, what the city was like in the summer...
Aaron could manage but a nod in acknowledgment, to prove that he was indeed listening. Sometimes Sebastian could have sworn he felt Aaron smiling into his shirt.
However, right in the middle of the story about that time Sebastian got hit over the head with a cardboard “HUG ME” sign by some guy in Tompkins Square Park following rejection, Aaron spoke up.
“Sebby?” He called in a tiny voice, not wanting to interrupt but unable to keep it to himself anymore. Sebastian met the curiously warm smile on Aaron's countenance with a crooked smile of his own, quizzical.
“What's up, kid?”
“Did you notice the storm stopped five minutes ago?”
I had to write a short story for a writing class and thought I'd take the opportunity to fill in some details on Aaron and Sebastian
it's so inconsistent
ps ---> Aaron is monophic/developing Autophobia in this general time frame
I'm not a doctor nor a psychiatrist or any of that noise, I don't have either phobias, so forgive me if my portrayal of either phobias is off
Axis originally was supposed to have monophobia, but it didn't make sense to his character/story line. Aaron however...
Aaron/Sebastian/story (c) Kazocks
kinda prequel thing------>
Tongue Rot Gospel“If I had a penny,” a raven-clawed throat scratched the walls of the alley. A swirl of shadows slumped against a brick wall saturated in crime, sighing, smiling. Wings of bone and nothing in-between cast a broken shadow. Eyes like fire – staring through the breaks. His eyes. All his. Irises swimming in an almond of rot; black. Inhuman. Thinly affectionate.
“You'd have dirty hands.” She says.
“Atoned with copper.” He points, talon joking in accusation. Affection. She knows beyond it, sitting upon his shoulder and pawing at that head of red, black, and white. Absent, horn tilted magnetically towards. He would admit to the purr, like nails on wood. No need to inquire.
“Pretty glass hull coming to drop a 'hello' today.” He predicts, halo like soot drip drip dripping through his hair, puffs of deceased fire. Black, hard to breathe, untouchable. More than usual.
“The Pretty Thing who flies down every week?”