My Hero

Will remembered a school assignment he'd had when he was eight years old. He and his classmates had to write a paragraph about their hero. He hadn't wanted to do it, mostly because he didn't want to admit to anyone who his hero was. But over twenty years later his hero hadn't changed; his little brother was still the strongest person he knew.

Me: You know, I didn't even enter this fandom with intention of staying long but my god you people made me care about these brothers. So here's my contribution.

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Their mother used to refer to Jay as her 'spirited child'. He didn't learn to walk, he ran. He didn't learn to speak, he yelled. Everything he did was with purpose, no matter how small that purpose was. There was never a thing he couldn't do. There was never a tree too high to climb, or a challenge too hard to overcome. By the time he was five Jay had gotten more injuries in two years than eight year old Will had gotten in all his life. This was a statistic Jay held over his head, thinking of it as making him the 'winner'.

Will didn't see the joy in having gotten hurt so frequently, though when he was older he did admit his interest in medicine may have started in those early years of waiting in emergency rooms to see if Jay had broken anything again this time. But Jay reveled in the thrill of whatever task gave him an injury, no matter what it was. And if he got hurt before he completed his task, well, then he would just try again later.

No wonder their mother went grey so young.

As a child, those three years between them had made Will feel ever so much older and wiser than his wild little brother. They bickered as any siblings did, worse the larger the age gap. Jay would often taunt Will to do as he did and take part in his dangerous games;

''C'mon, let's just see if we can jump on the roof from the trampoline.''

''Race you on our bikes to the bottom of that steep hill!''

''You think dad would be mad if we jumped from the hood of the car into the pool? Y'know, like a diving board?''

''What if we climb out of our window and jump down onto the trampoline?''

Will honestly wondered at what went through his brother's head sometimes.

Despite Jay's insane ideas, Will secretly held his brother in high esteem. He remembered an assignment he'd been given at school once. They had been reading wonderful stories, and were talking about heroes. He was surprised to learn a hero was defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. And he was disappointed to realize the class' assignment was to write about their hero.

There was no way he was telling his entire class his hero was his crazy five year old brother.

Sure, Jay did stupid things. Sure, he made mom crazy and dad yell about the hospital bills and property damage. But Jay was fearless. What was more noble than that?

There was no lack of courage in Jay, not at five, and not as he grew older. And his achievements changed from getting from the roof to the trampoline to being praised in his military service and police work. But what had not changed was Will's admiration for how he pulled it all off with no more than a cocky grin.

The three year gap between them seemed to close as they got older, if that was possible. There were times Will sincerely doubted if he were the older brother because Jay seemed to mature past him. He knew part of the reason for that was that Jay was living in a far more dangerous world than Will, one Will only saw glimpses of in the brutally injured patients he treated. Jay had witnessed and lived through things left only to the imagination. It had somehow both changed him and made him more himself than Will ever could have thought possible.

Jay would never divulge his experience, especially not to Will, though admittedly Will never asked. He knew compared to Jay, he was not nearly as courageous. He couldn't bring himself to inquire about situations that may have tested even Jay's courage. He knew in comparison that he was automatically a coward. But in addition to simply not wanting to envision anything bad happening to him, there was another reason he refrained from prying.

Will truthfully didn't want to discover his brother's thought process. Just as he never asked as a child why his wild little brother was tossing aside his cast to scramble up the tree he'd fallen from that got him into the cast in the first place, he didn't want to know why he'd gone overseas, why he'd signed up for the most dangerous job he could, and, when left, went to the job that mostly closely resembled it; being an undercover cop in the city of Chicago.

Was it a sense of duty, his purpose? Or was it a challenge to himself, to prove to himself he was as strong as he declared? Will didn't know, and he didn't want to know. Jay may be his hero, but one should never know their heroes to well, for fear of shattering the illusion and making them into mere mortals again.

But unfortunately, Jay was mortal, as Will kept learning with his continued appearances in the Emergency Room. Most of the time it was minor things, things he managed to conceal from him until a coworker of Will's slipped they'd seen him; A black eye here, a minor fracture there, the occasional concussion. When confronted with these injuries, Jay would laugh;

''Nothing I haven't had before.''

Which again, was unfortunately true, given his mere track record as a child. The times Will could recall Jay not having stitches or a cast of some sort were outnumbered by the times he did. He was used to seeing him with such.

But he would never be used to the more serious injuries, the ones Jay couldn't laugh about and brush off, because he was brought in unconscious and fighting for his life.

The first time Jay had sustained such serious injuries since Will starting working at MED, he'd been shocked. He'd seen Jay covered in blood before. The time that came to his mind most clearly was when Jay had been about eleven, and gotten into a fight on the first day of school. He'd won, but not before taking a shot to the face. He'd caught up with Will on the way home. ''Chill out, it's fine,'' he'd scolded when Will freaked at the sight. ''You got a tissue?''

But being brought into MED was different. Jay didn't insist he was fine though Will stared as freaked out as he had been all those years ago. He didn't open his eyes and smile and ask for a little bit of help. No, he just laid there as Will's coworkers ran around him, acting as if he were any other patient.

And he was like any other patient, but not really. Not to Will. Until that point, though intellectually he knew Jay was just as breakable as any other human being, in reality, Will hadn't accepted that. He'd never seen his little brother look so fragile, so close to losing the game he always seemed to be playing, and he really never, ever wanted to see him like that again.

And yet he couldn't take his eyes off him and spent the night in his room, sending up wishes to whatever power in the universe was there to please, please not bring down his hero.

Whether his wish was granted or it was entirely Jay's doing, Will didn't know. But pull through Jay did, and when he first opened his eyes Will had a new appreciation for the sensation of relief and what it felt like.

Of course, the first thing Jay did was scoff at him. ''Don't tell me you are sitting there all worried or something?'' He muttered weakly.

''Nope,'' Will lied. ''I was actually hoping you'd give me a ride home.''

Jay laughed, which made him wince in pain. Will went to stand over him, forcing a smile on his face rather than a grimace at the mixture of bruises and blood. ''So…you had a full day at work?''

''More or less, if I remember correctly. Got the bad guy.''

''Sure, you can get the bad guy but you can't remember to pay your share of the tab at Molly's.''


His eyes were already starting to close again. Will made to go back to his perch, when Jay spoke again. ''Check my jacket pocket.''

Will spotted what was left of his gear folded on a dresser. He obeyed and reached into the jacket pocket. He pulled out an envelope marked MOLLY'S- WILL.

When he held it up, Jay smiled his cocky smile. ''My hero,'' Will retorted.

Me: I would love to hear your thoughts! Please review if you can, it means a lot!

Happy Writing!