He’s…different. He used to be all surface, glossy and reflective like a newly painted car, covering up all the rust and dents and worn parts.
He used to be constant motion. Restless, driven, obsessively cheerful, I’ve seen it all…but never this stillness. This…turning inward, like I’m not even here. Like he’s lost inside himself.
He used to joke all the time, even when he was deadly serious. He could be rough and abrupt, given to sudden bursts of temper that never lasted long. He never held grudges. He never held onto any bad thoughts.
All that changed when dad died, for a while at least. He got quiet then, and I could see how much he was hurting, but he kept his game face on, kept up the pretense.
All his pretense is gone now. It’s like he’s had all his shiny surface worn away, and the inner core exposed. It’s odd that he can be exposed and hidden at the same time. No, not hidden…protective. Like a crab without its shell, knowing it’s vulnerable, curling in on itself to keep from being eaten. Staying away from everything and everyone, even friends. Even brothers.
I tried everything to get my brother back, and I failed.
This isn’t my brother.
I want my brother back.
He’s different. He used to have this freaking…sweetness, this look that seemed to believe...to WANT to believe…that the world made sense. That people were good—mostly, anyway. That anything could be fixed.
I screwed that up for him. I’m the one who made him lose his innocence, and now it’s gone. He’s gone.
I look in his eyes, and it scares the crap out of me. He’s gone dark, driven. Hell, he looks like dad used to on his worst days. And there’s something else, something I can’t quite figure out…
He’s keeping secrets. From me. He never used to do that. He used to come to me with all his problems, all his questions. Come to me to make things better.
Well, I can’t do that any more. I can’t fix anything, not him, not the world, not me.
Especially not me.
This is a crossover, but with such an old (ca. 1950-60s) show that most people won't recognize it, and don't need to in order to enjoy the story. Virtual chocolate to anyone who can identify it!
I know crossovers aren't too popular, so let me know if you want me to continue posting or if no one is interested.
Thanks to Gail and Badger for their wonderful beta skills and endless encouragement!
Disclaimer: They're not mine. *sigh*