Surprise! For those of you who read my Supernatural fics, let me first off assure you I still have many more SPN fics to come!
In April, I started reading the Cal Leandros book series. I was hooked! Another series about a couple of brothers who love each other more than life itself? How could I resist? Well, to put it mildly, I couldn't. :) I've on my fifth re-read of the series. If you've never read the series, I'd suggest you give it a try!
Whether you've read the series or not, hopefully you'll enjoy this little fic. No prior knowledge of the series is really needed for this story.
The first emotion I ever remember feeling was loneliness.
Four years old and hiding in a tiny coat closet, I didn't even know what the word meant, but - to this day - I can still feel the ache of emptiness that had tightened my chest and made it difficult to breathe. I can still smell the cigarette smoke. The mold growing on the walls. The cat urine staining the frayed carpet. I can still hear the sounds from beyond the closed closet door. Sounds I didn't understand at age four, but would become altogether too familiar with in years to come.
Sophia was "entertaining" company and I was hiding in a closet.
She'd never been mother of the year material and she was becoming less so every day. Memories are funny things; especially in young children. I don't remember her ever being affectionate to me. She took care of me in the most limited ways, but she did take care of me. I think perhaps she held me at times when I was very small. By the time I was four, though, any form of affection had long since ended.
Mostly, I was in her way.
So I tried with all my childish abilities to avoid being in her way. I did a lot of hiding. She never cared. Out of sight was out of mind, leaving her free to do the things she did.
I was four years old and sitting in a dark, smelly closet. So sad and empty and scared that I was crying without even realizing it. I hadn't started school yet so there were no spelling words to review. No math equations to practice. I didn't go to daycare; why pay someone to watch a child you didn't even care about? Sophia would never waste money except on things like booze and drugs.
None of that mattered right then, because I didn't know or understand any of it.
All I knew was my chest hurt, my throat was tight, and my face was wet with tears. I didn't have anything but a ratty winter coat - at least three times to big for me - to hold onto as I cried. It was the first time I remember knowing that I was alone in the world. I knew what alone meant and, despite Sophia being in the other room, I was alone.
I wanted her. Wanted my mother. Wanted her arms around me like had only happened on the rarest of occasions. It was a painful lesson to learn, but learn it I did.
I was alone.
I was alone and I had to deal with it as best I could, because this was what my life was and I would never be able to change it.
One year later, I was hiding in another closet. It wasn't much bigger than the first one had been. Didn't smell any better either. Sophia was in another room with yet another man I didn't recognize.
I was in a closet but this time the oversized coat that was still too big for me wasn't the only thing I was holding.
This time, nestled in the soft inside of the coat, was a three month old baby.
My little brother.
I smiled as he woke up, stretching and yawning, his breath formula-scented. He settled back into his cozy cocoon and looked up at me with tiny bright grey eyes.
"Hi," I whispered, studying him in the faint light of the flashlight I had propped up in the corner.
One little fist uncurled as if to wave hello. I touched the palm of his hand with one finger, and his curled around mine.
"Hi, Cal." Leaning down, I kissed his forehead. Dark hair tickled my nose and I sneezed into my sleeve.
Nervous that the unexpected sound might have scared my brother, I was surprised when he laughed. My smile widened. It felt odd and it felt good. There wasn't much in my life that was worth smiling about.
He laughed again, then pulled my finger into his mouth. I allowed him to suck on it. Was he hungry? I didn't know. He'd finished the entire bottle of formula I'd given him, but I didn't know what I was doing. Barely five years old and trying to take care of a baby.
It should have been impossible, but I was doing it anyway.
I should have been terrified, but I wasn't.
I was happy.
Happier than I'd ever been in my entire life.
I wasn't alone in the world anymore. I had someone. Someone who needed me as badly as I needed him. Someone who wouldn't survive without me.
The day he'd been born, the very moment Sophia had placed Cal into my arms, I knew I wouldn't survive without him. The moment before, I'd been alone, with no clue what it would really mean to have a little brother. Then he was in my arms and the world shifted on its axis.
He stopped nibbling my finger and stared up at me. He was quiet. A quiet baby. That was good. I'd learned to be a quiet child and he would need to as well if he was to survive Sophia and her moods. So solemn and so quiet, he seldom fussed, but when he did, he always calmed quickly when I held him.
"We'll be ok," I whispered, patting his head. "You and me, Cal. Right?"
Cal made a soft noise, then latched onto my finger again.
I didn't mind. I didn't mind anything he did. He was a baby and I'd heard people say babies were a lot of work. I didn't think he was work. Taking care of Cal gave me a purpose. Sophia hated him and she didn't really care about me either way. It had hurt before, but now I barely noticed. All I thought about - all I cared about - was my baby brother.
My throat was tight and my chest ached like it had a year ago when I'd been in the other closet.
This time, though it wasn't loneliness that I felt.
It was love.
He was mine and I loved him with everything I had.
Hope you enjoyed this little fic!
I'll be back with more Supernatural fics...and the occasional Leandros brothers fic. There just isn't enough fanfic out there for this great little series. Hope some of you will give the series a shot! Anyone has questions regarding what the stories are are about, feel free to drop a message.
Thank you for taking the time to read, especially if you haven't read the book series!