"They love you. Not me."
It was cold, dark, and they could barely breath because of the ashes that fell upon them. And, that was the topic he decided to bring up?
The young boy who could be no older than seven stared over at his brother, his big golden eyes filled with confusion and hurt. The ash fell on his head like snowflakes, and he shook some out annoyed before turning back to the other.
Thaddeus Thawne repeated this phrase to Bart Allen.
"They love you, but not me. They do. I know they do…" Thad began once again, wiping some sweat from his brow. He then looked around, seemingly in a panic, to see if anybody had seen that he had stopped working, before plopping down on the ground, bringing his knees to his chest.
And, he looked at him with those golden eyes of his once again.
"Thad, what on earth are you even talking about?" Bart scowled, forcing himself to continue on digging. Because, if he stopped, than one of the Beetle's might come around. And then they were in trouble. Big trouble .
But, apparently, Thad didn't want to work today, as he sat defiantly on the ground, seemingly waiting for Bart to answer him. Which, he had, but Bart also got the feeling that that answer wouldn't be enough for him.
It was never enough for his brother. He always wanted more.
They were digging holes today. Holes to put the bodies of the dead in. Dead heroes. Dead civilians. Everybody nowadays was dead, weren't they? Bart and many others had been shovelling non-stop for the past twenty two hours. Honestly? Bart's hands were covered in blisters, and he felt like collapsing. But, he knew he couldn't. Because, then he would be punished.
It was the law.
Which led him to how unfair it was that Thad was simply sitting there on the unearthed dirt, doing sweet FA. Because, if Bart was going to work his ass off for his life, then so was Thad! And, it wasn't like Bart was going to do his work for him, either.
God knows how many times he had been tricked into doing that already…
But, Thad seemed slightly more serious today than he had been other days. A tad bit more depressed. He stared at the ground as though it had suddenly become the most important thing in the world. He began tracing symbols in the dirt, cramming grime and filth underneath his fingernails.
"You know exactly what i'm talking about." Now it was Thad's turn to scowl, as he suddenly halted tracing the symbols and gripped the dirt beneath him until his knuckles turned a ghastly white. He was shaking all over, and his bangs now hung over his eyes so that Bart could no longer see the expression in them.
Bart was beginning to worry for him.
"Max, Helen, Wally, Irey, Jay, Iris, Owen. Even mo-Meloni!"
He let out a shaky breath, but continued on staring at the muddy soil below.
"They all love you but not me…"
At this point, the shovel was completely forgotten. Bart dropped it instantly, and it fell to the floor with a 'thunk' . He walked slowly and somewhat hesitantly towards his brother, whom was still shaking. At this point, Bart figured it wasn't because of the cold. He also figured that he was stupid for thinking it was the cold in the first place.
He felt like kicking himself for not noticing Thad's peril sooner.
"They l-love you, b-but not-"
And then Thad burst into tears.
Now, unlike Bart, Thad wasn't a very physical person. He didn't "do" hugs, and did not give nor receive kisses from others. He was a very proud person, even at the ripe age he was. Which was, technically, a good thing, considering the situation they were currently in.
But, sometimes, you just really needed a hug.
Now was one of those times.
This time, Bart did not hesitate to run over to Thad and collapse beside him on the ground, hugging the sobbing boy close to him. He whispered false promises in his ear and ran his own dirty and sticky fingers through Thad's messy blonde hair. His brother continued on crying, hiccuping and sniffling his way through his sorrow.
And Bart just sat there, drinking it all in.
Thad thought nobody cared for him? Did he even know how wrong he was?
Back before he and Thad had been placed in this camp by the REACH, Max and Helen would always tell Bart about how much they loved Thad, and if he ever needed a place to stay, then he was welcome back at home. Wally always said "the more speedsters, the merrier!", meanwhile Grandma had seemed to take an instant liking to the clone. Irey and Jay? They enjoyed Bart's company, so why not Thad's?
Bart himself didn't know Owen very well, so he couldn't say for sure on that one.
But mom? If Thad thought that their mother didn't care for him, he had something else coming his way!
"Thad. Thad . Look at me."
His usually bright eyes were filled to the brim with tears. There was snot running down his chin, and he rubbed at his red eyes with the back of his hand. He stared into Bart's identical yet different gold eyes, and blinked back the remaining tears, sniffling all the while.
And Thad was silent.
They continued on like this for a while. Bart was aware of the looks they were receiving from onlookers, but couldn't really bring himself to care at this point. All that mattered in that moment was the fact that his brother needed him.
And Bart was going to be there for him.
He always would.
"Thad…" he began hesitantly, tilting his head to the side, "Y-you think they don't care?" Thad suddenly averted his gaze, as though embarrassed to even look Bart in the eyes. Though he didn't speak, Bart knew the answer.
He always did.
"Thad, you're so wrong. And, you probably don't even know it!" The boy looked up at him with a shocked look on his face, his entire expression morphing into one of that of awe and confusion. Bart wiped some of his twin's (twin's, not clone's) tears away with the back of his thumb before planting a kiss atop his brother's head.
"They love you, Thad. Love you just as much as me, if not, more! Max and Helen? They'd love to have you stay! They offered it, but you denied! And, they didn't want to push you, so they let you be. Wally, Jay, Irey, and grandma? They love you just the same! They'd gladly give themselves up to the REACH for you any day! And, mom and Owen? Well, Thad, you know them better than me…"
Bart's eyes narrowed fiercely as a look of pure and unwavering devotion settled in his eyes. Thad had since wiped his tears, and bristled as soon as this fiery look had taken over the usual soft complexion of Bart's face.
"Of course they love you Thad. You're an idiot for thinking anything else..."
And with that, Bart turned away from his brother, completely ready to start working again (they should really get on that, shouldn't they?) and forget that this entire predicament had even happened in the first place.
After all, that was what he did with most of his life.
But, what he hadn't been expecting was a tiny hand to grip his own tightly, preventing him from departing any further. Bart turned back, his neck on an awkward angle. Thad was standing up now, his eyes boring into Bart's own once again.
His bottom lip quivered as the following words tumbled from his lips;
"Tell me. We both matter, don't we?"
And Bart thought long and hard about that. And, during that period of time, he realized something.
Thad was right.
All the others that Thad had been accusing of not loving him? All those people that had hurt them? Hell! Even the Beetles didn't matter! In their eyes, nothing did. And, nothing ever could.
Because they had each other. Because they didn't need anybody else other than each other. Because, unlike most people, they trusted each other. They could depend on one another to help them when they were feeling down and have their back when they could no longer defend themselves.
Because, despite all the crap that they had gone through in their lives, they were still together.
And, really? That was all that mattered.
And so, Bart put both of his hands on Thad's shoulders and squeezed tightly. The boy looked up at him, a bit taken aback once again. But, after the soft smile that Bart gave him, he seemed to relax and his entire face just seemed to light up, as a smile overtook his usual bland and hollow features.
"It's you and me. You and me that won't be unhappy…" Bart answered confidently, and Thad's expression seemed to light up even more. Bart gave his brother's shoulder one final squeeze before removing his hands and motioning over to the shovel and half-dug hole nearby with his head.
"Come on now, partner! We've got a hole to finish digging."
Thad grinned and walked past Bart with ease, as though nothing had happened minutes before. He studied the hole almost thoughtfully, and Bart couldn't help but feel as though, from now on, everything was going to be okay.
That they were going to be alright.
"Yeah. Hey! Maybe we can throw Blue down it!"
And Bart couldn't help but laugh.
I was planning on leaving this a oneshot, but if people want more, than please tell me! R and R s'il vous plait!