Chapter 1: ...I won't Sleep till You're Safe Inside...


We were happy once.

When the world was as simple as making friends, listening to teachers and parents, going to school, and having fun with my brothers, we were happy. We didn't have much back then, but we always had enough to get by. Our parents both worked, but father always made time to play with us when they reached home and mother adored us like no mother ever could. We argued sometimes, we had friends who came and went, and we inevitably got hurt every now and again, but we had each other. At the end of the day, we knew that we had a home to return to, dinner to eat, a bed waiting for us, and a family that would share in our joys and pains; and that was enough.

We were happy.

But that was back then; Now...

Now everything is so much better, but so much worse.

My eldest brother was always a prodigy when it came to martial arts. He reached the highest rank in Karate a long time ago and was one of the youngest participants the first time he entered -and subsequently won- the World Championship. On top of being one of the most formidable competitors in the field of Kumite, he managed a small group of business and was well known in the area as being something like 'Legal Yakuza Boss' due to his imposing presence and thankfully, his ethics in doing business. He was always fair with his partners and always kind to his subordinates. He never let the possibility of earning more negatively affect how he treated others, and he was fiercely protective of those under him. He was always the one who took care of us while we were growing up after all, and that extended to everyone he dealt with, from his acquaintances to us, his younger siblings.

He's always been our rock, though sometimes he can be hard headed.

I, the second child and only daughter, was better suited to the academe than the corporate world, or the arena of sports. I was smart enough to earn a scholarship overseas and graduate with honors, but I came back and did research here, though out of familial love rather than fiery patriotism. I was athletic, and I've made it a habit to run at least three times a week, but it never really clicked with me. I was person one might call and Otaku growing up, but as much as I loved the world of games, anime, and idols, the world of science was infinitely more interesting. That didn't mean that I stopped indulging in the occasional tankoubon, or catching the latest series, but I know how to put my work first since that's what gets food on the table. I've never missed a single celebration before, whether it involves friends or family -I'm that good at compartmentalizing- but I'm still single.

I have very high standards, okay?

Our third brother is a literary genius as well as the best among us when it comes to romance. He always seems to know what to say and how to say it, to ensure the greatest effect, if that means convincing me to attend a book signing, or getting his wife to forgive him for forgetting to call her... again. He's a very successful author, managing to write light novels -corruption successful- to scripts for films, and everything he writes would sell very well at best or break even at the very least. He's managed to win some awards over the long years of writing, though as good as he is, he's someone who works for it and never overplays his role in the finished product. He's a team player, more so than I or our eldest brother, and to this day I think that's how he finally managed to win his wife.

It was always cute how he would scream at the mirror saying "You're being such a Protagonist; just grow some balls and just confess to her!"

Our youngest brother was... eccentric to say the least. He was something like a Yankee -I mean someone from America, not the delinquent- but I guess that's what would happen after we allowed him to study and later work there. He would always tell us how much he loves the culture there, the food, the sights, and how everything still feels fresh even if he's lived there for a few years. He said something about reaching the stars when he finally got into that NASA, but just whenever he travels he would always complain about how the plane made him sick. He said he met someone, and he was trying to take it slow before doing anything too drastic, and I approve of his choice: he was always the most patient of us. He tried to make it a habit to come home whenever he could, but we knew that he was an adult now, and he had a life there.

We were happy he did manage to come home, but we were all heartbroken that he had to go home to... the mess our family was.

My parents died just a few days ago, and this was the day of the funeral.

To make matters worse, our third brother still refused to come out of his room.

We were patient with him. We never tried to force him out of his room. We always made sure that there was food in front of his door when it was time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We made sure that he always had clothes to wear and washed them when he left them by his door. We did everything we could to make sure his life was comfortable, and tirelessly asked him if he felt like seeing any of us. Every. Single. Day. And of course every day, he would say no. Actually, we were lucky if we could hear him say no at all; most of the time he would remain silent.

I would ask him if he wanted to check out a new manga or doujin with me. My brothers would ask if he wanted to go out every once and a while. Our youngest would try and call him via his computer. But that never changed anything, because every time we try to close the distance, we're either ignored or pushed away.

That patience snapped when our youngest brother heard moans coming from his room. I can't speak for my brothers, but I lost all my patience when I realized that my parents were dead, my family was mourning, and all our third brother could do was watch adult videos without headphones.

We stormed his room, and the last thing I could remember was that he was watching loli hentai.

Everything was a blur after that.

We only managed to steady ourselves when we realized that we just stormed our brother's room, destroyed his computer, beat him to a pulp, and threw him out of the house.

We did that because we finally had enough, and the sight of him masturbating to some animated video about children during our parents funeral was enough to finally break us.

At the point we broke, and we hated the wreak our beloved brother had become.

Our third brother was broken too, but he wasn't always like that.

Once upon a time, we knew a boy who would struggle to keep up with me as I sprinted. No matter how hard our eldest brother trained, this boy would try to join in even if he would always quit halfway through. This boy would listen with innocent awe whenever our second brother made up a story. This boy took good care of our youngest brother when we were all still little children, and the little baby loved him for that.

We once knew a boy who was the master of the computer even as I mastered the games played there. We once knew a boy who could talk to machines in their language and tell it to do things that we never thought it could do. We once knew a boy who could amaze an entire classroom as he earnestly studied material well ahead of his classmates just for the fun of it. We once knew a boy who won the heart of our neighbor, a cute little girl who once captained their school's track team, just by being his amazing, confusing, and bright self.

We loved this boy, with everything we had, and we were happy.

We didn't care that he was a chunni, and that sometimes he would say strange things when I was the same and our brothers loved him anyway. We didn't care that he spent so much time with his machines when he spent just as much playing with us. We didn't care that his grades were average at best and barely passing at worst when he could easily earn a perfect score whenever he wanted.

And then... something happened.

He got into a fight with a senpai of his, and though he would train with our eldest brother, this boy was never a fighter despite his strange claims. The boy we once knew was beaten and humiliated, and the brightness he once had was smothered so thoroughly that he never left his room again. My brothers and my father tried to get him out, after making sure that the one who hurt the boy so badly could never walk again, but he remained in his room.

We don't think he ever heard what my eldest brother did to the senpai who caused all this, and if he did it looked like he didn't care.

He turned to the things we both loved, the 2D world but even if my second brother wrote for him, the boy returned his efforts with scorn. My second brother just started writing by then, and he was still in school, but for every good word said about work he published, the boy we once knew could only criticize and insult. Still tirelessly, we tried to reach him with words and images, and just as tirelessly did the boy ignore our efforts.

Our second brother always, and I mean always, dedicated his work to his family, to the boy we once knew, but that counted for nothing.

My youngest brother and I regaled him with tales of the world beyond the screen, and the places abroad, but they fell on deaf ears. We offered him gifts from the places that we reached, from the deserts of the middle east to the cities of the west, but even now they were unopened and collected dust. We tried our very best to pull him back into the real world without resorting to hostile or intrusive action, but he was firmly entrenched in the world of the Internet.

We tried to show him the world, but he had grown to love the world he created for himself even more than he loved any of us.

He loved it enough that he would do something so disgusting despite what was happening outside the four corners of his room.

For that moment in time, we stopped seeing the boy we once knew, and started seeing a broken man with no place in this world. We didn't see our brother, whose naked pictures were taken off of the internet, but a worthless pile of flesh simply waiting for death. We didn't see the bright, energetic boy we grew up with, but a stranger in our home.

In our grief, we acted accordingly but when our emotions subsided and our eyes cleared, we remembered who once was.

We just lost our parents, and now we lost our third brother.

The guilt I felt was absolutely soul crushing, but the desperation welling up from inside me was even more overwhelming. With speed I didn't know I still had, I was off the couch, out of the living room, and into the rain outside.

I didn't have to look very hard as the sight of a plump man in dirty clothing entered my vision. The relief I felt when I saw my younger brother standing out in the rain almost sent me flying to his figure.

I wanted to take everything back and apologize for the things we said. I wanted him to know that we knew how it felt to be broken, and that we could share in his pain. I wanted to tell him that we still loved him despite how he looked at himself, despite all the years he's wasted and all the things he did. I wanted to hug my brother for the first time in a decade, even if he hasn't bathed in weeks and we were standing in the middle of the street.

But he moved.

I realized that I was so focused on him that I couldn't see what was around him, and when I finally saw what forced him forward, my heart fell. Three children, a girl and two boys were having a quarrel, and all three unaware that there was a truck speeding towards them. I tried to yell, to scream at the top of my lungs but the children, the driver of the truck, and my brother couldn't hear my voice as it was being muffled by the rain. I could only force myself forward when I realized what my little brother was about to do, since his voice couldn't reach the children, or the driver either.

In slow motion, he hobbled over to try and save them.

Pride welled up from within me as I saw my little brother again, the boy we once knew and the one we thought had gone forever, but that feeling was quickly crushed in the face of his impending doom.

I was excellent at math, but it didn't take a genius to realize that he wouldn't make it.

He would manage to save the children, sure, but at the cost of his own life.

I couldn't let that happen.

I was a runner and was much lighter than he was so it wasn't a problem to cross the distance quickly. Despite the rain and the wet road, I flew towards them like my life depended on it, because four lives did. The boy quickly hugged the girl in an attempt to protect her from the truck, but I couldn't see if it would do any good. My brother managed to grasp the collar of the other boy, but if he was to throw him to the side, then he would doom himself.

It was physics after all, and be it theoretical or practical, I knew physics.

I sidestepped the boy my brother threw toward the curb, managing to place my palm on his chest, and I pushed with all my might. I couldn't see the surprise that must have been etched on his face as I closed my eyes and crashed into him. I could feel my momentum bleeding out, the force being transferred as we collided, but no matter how fast I managed to reach him, I could feel the impact as I embraced my brother one last time.

He was much too heavy, and though I was moving much faster than he was, I needed more speed if I wanted to move a mass triple mine a safe distance away.

I could only pray that he would forgive me for my failure as an older sister when I felt the truck finally reach us.


AN: Fuck Kaocakeman for making me write this...

Okay, I'm sorry, that was bad, and really this story is bad in terms of grammar and spelling since I'm dyslexic and crying right now... I just want to get all of is down; what I feel when writing this before it gets away and I return to my stoic or happy self.

The prologue really connected to me, I mean the canon prologue, but I always wondered how the siblings really felt when they did what they did. I thought about this since, well, I have a sibling that is dealing with problems, pretty badly if I do say so myself, and even if I try really, really, hard I just can't seem to reach her. I mean, I tried everything to make sure she's fine, to help her out however I can, but she doesn't get better, and one day... one day I was sick of it.

I snapped and it wasn't pretty.

Long story short, we had a shouting match, and I had to hold her for three hours just to stop her from ending it all. We were both crying, and thankfully alive, at the end of it.

I listen to music when I write, that's how I make titles in Silly Songbird and that's how I'm doing it here, and well everything just clicked that I ended up... emotional.

I would have posted this hours ago, but I really had to go a hug my sister as soon as I finished.

I'll edit and do the other usual things later.

I need a tissue, or a box.

EDIT: Alright, better now, I think I got all my earlier mistakes down so there's that.

To NakedFury, who reviewed early: It's really not supposed to. For a first chapter it's quite chaotic and it does nothing but propose to the readers that there are characters and the bare minimum of what they're feeling. To those who know the source material, it's something that would eventually explain the changes I would make, and for those who just stumble upon it, it doesn't really make much sense: and that's intentional. It's like watching a person break down from the inside; its not supposed to make you feel anything unless you've actually been there, and more often than not, it doesn't make sense. TLDR: I wrote this chapter for me so it's not a surprise if no one can relate to it =))

Anyway, I don't think I'll be updating this as often as Silly Songbird, and you all know how long it takes me to get on that, but I'll try to write it when the ideas come.

Read, if you really want to, Review, if you want to say something or have any questions, Follow and Favorite... up to you really.

I'll see anyone still here next update =))