Battered Cliche

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Well, something depressingly angsty (With a happy ending) is what Kory Asakura asked for. Steven x Brendan. Yep. I'm a happy sadist! (Wrinkle in Time is rather confusing [and I find it very bland], but the term 'happy sadist' just cracks me up. XD)

Warnings: Basic bishounen-angst, probably MAJOR OOCness in some circumstances, and... uh... guns? SHONEN-AI, and I'm not sure if this'll induce tears or any kind (Tears of horror, sadness, or "that was so crappy I'm crying!"), but be prepared for at least watery-eye-ness at some parts. (Wouldn't you cry if either Steven or Brendan was going to kill himself? ;- ;) Occasional variations of 'damn.'

Be aware of the semi-large paragraphs below. When I write angst, it tends to be somewhat on the philosophical/extraordinarily boring side. ^^;;

The whole thing (Or, at least, Steven's portion of the story) was inspired by this pic:

Purdy. And the dog is cute. ::Pats Steven::

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Battered Cliche

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The fact that life just wasn't fair was an overused, battered cliche... but he thought it fit his own life rather nicely. He had reached the peak of his journey a month ago, but when one reaches the top of the mountain, scaling back down its heights comes only shortly afterwards.

He'd hit rock bottom. He had climbed upwards, reached the top, and came plummeting down.

That's what he, himself, thought, anyways. The media didn't care - as long as he was the Champion, and younger than the previous one by several years, he was still news. Since they had something to stalk and gossip about, they were "happy," whatever that meant nowadays. But even reporters that snooped around the house twenty-four hours a day didn't know everything that went on behind the eyes of the person they sought after.

He knew he should be happy, if only for the sake of his friends. But those friends were dwindling, their relationships with him slowly fading away as his popularity only grew more and more apparent. He soon would only be a stand-alone personality, with nobody to back him up except for fans that only loved him because of his fame.

That fame was what was twisting him into something so abhorrent that his closest friends were driven away. Even May had severed her ties with him - romantically, at any rate. She had said that their relationship would go no where if the media kept on interfering. He understood her need to get away from them. And him. Everytime he talked with her, she was polite, although he knew it was forced.

There was a time when he had tried to do the unthinkable - suicide. He couldn't even try to imagine hurling himself off a high cliff into the roaring breakers of the ocean, much less hang himself. But when he had dared to pick up that razor, with its menacing, bloodthirsty edge, he had to fling it away from himself. He was too cowardly. His conscious had its own wars in his mind - he had *wanted* this death, so he didn't have any damn reason to be afraid - but he couldn't bear it. It was driving him insane.

Maybe there was someone out there that understood what he was going through. Someone that had hoped for fame once, had achieved that, but had grown to be weary of it. Maybe there... wait. No. He had only taken his throne from him - why in the seven hells would HE want to help him? He had a right to hate him. Or maybe that was just the way his mind, entrenched in the cruelties of the world, worked nowadays. Everyone had a right to hate him for one damned reason or another, and he let them. He deserved it, after all.

So maybe then, it was pure chance they happened to meet one day in Rustboro. Perhaps 'meet' wasn't the right word - he had seen Steven in the cemetery, and had decided to follow him. Following Steven hadn't been one of his better interests, but he had sunken so low into the bog of humanity that he needed someone that understood and maybe - just maybe - could help him out of it.

The cemetery was a large area, full of markers - the one Steven had been standing at was made of a glossy black stone that reflected the morning sun. He could only guess that it was his mother, by the dates listed, and the name -Gwyneth Stone - sounded vaguely familiar. But it was only a pinprick of a memory. He saw the white flowers left at the foot of the marker, arranged in a nice fashion. After a moment of thought (What would it have been like to know his mother?), he dragged himself away from the strangely alluring black gravestone and hurried to catch up to Steven.

Steven wasn't in sight when he got back onto the street. He panicked. Even though Steven wasn't a secure lifeline, he needed to speak with him now, if not today or someday very soon. When he reached an intersection of streets, he peered northward, towards the cliffs and the sea. That silver-blue hair wasn't ever to be missed. What would Steven accomplish at the cliffs, though? He followed, far enough behind to avoid been seen.

He didn't know Steven would only stand there, at the edge of the cliffs overlooking the sea, for ten minutes. As he lay tucked away in his hiding place behind a wide tree, the wind rushed through the former Champion's hair and his navy scarf flapped wildly. A few seagulls squawked petulantly overhead. It was with the ominous glint of metal that he surged uwpards to his feet to grip the gritty bark of the tree in his frozen hands.

Steven held it so casually in his hand, the barrel of the gun pointed downwards. He could feel his heart pounding. Would he see suicide happening? What he had wanted to do to himself? Suddenly, his hands felt lifeless. He couldn't let his only hope die on him now! He bursted out of his hiding place, hearing a small voice in his head murmuring to him that he didn't know Steven's feelings towards him, that he could be running towards his own death, that he was a damnable *idiot*...

"STOP!"

Steven turned to face him, and he tackled him, not managing to knock him over, but making him stumble back a few steps. He could feel the weapon knock against his ribs, and he felt a violent spasm of fear, but he fought it back. Just barely.

"Brendan?" He sounded faintly surprised.

"What are you doing?" It wasn't his right to question - he had removed any rights from himself long ago. He detached himself from Steven.

"Nothing." But he sounded hesitant.

"You have a gun. That doesn't sound normal, especially for a person like you."

Steven's face considerably darkened once had said that. He felt the flash of fear again, coursing through his body like his own blood.

"From what I've heard," said Steven, his voice edged, "you don't know what it is to be normal, either."

Damn. He wasn't expecting this. He curled his fingers over the cuff of his jacket, feeling a need to run like something particularly vicious was after him. Embarassment was creating a pink tinge on his cheeks.

"It looked like you were going to... shoot yourself." He mumbled sheepishly, looking downwards.

"Well, I wasn't." Steven snapped. He sighed, seeing the utterly defeated look on the boy's face. "Yet."

"Yet?" He repeated. Had he heard wrong? Maybe...

"I can't bring myself to..." his voice trailed off.

"What?" His eyes were focused on the barrel of the gun. Had that piece of metal killed anyone before? Had it come close to?

"...To pull the trigger."

His deep brown eyes darted upwards to search Steven's, but they were hiding behind his bangs. The gun was half raised in the direction of the sea, and he inconspicuously edged away from it.

"You shouldn't." He said. Maybe it would comfort him.

Steven snorted, allowing his arm to go limp. "I've heard about your own attempts."

He felt his breath catch in his throat, and his ears thrummed loudly with the blood pounding in his veins.

Without a word, Steven placed the gun in a pocket on his coat, then pulled back a sleeve with an aching slowness. He saw the thin, pale scar running across his wrist.

He could also see the blood that had come gushing out of it in his mind's eye. His chin trembled, and he covered his face with his hands. No... why had Steven done that? It just wrecked him more inside... Slashed at him, made him bleed...

They were silent as the waves crashed angrily against the cliff face and the seagulls continued their noisemaking. He shed a few tears into his hands, feeling his stomach and his head churn in unison. He slid to the ground, dizzy.

"Go home, Brendan." Steven's voice seeped into his mind. "You don't belong here."

"Who says I don't?" He shot back, his voice cracked and bitter. His shoulders trembled slightly.

"You still have a life to live."

"I don't need it."

He barely heard the sigh over the noises the ocean was making.

"You may think you don't, but you do have a purpose in life."

"Don't give me this!" He yelled, tearing his hands away from his face. "I came to you because I thought you could help me!"

Steven ran a hand through his hair. "Why?"

"Because you... were in my position once. You had to have gone through... through *this*!" He waved his hands around vaguely, his eyes flaring.

"And?"

"A-and?" He repeated. What else was there to his problem?

"I went through the same process you did. Not much else to it."

"But you're still alive." He muttered, wrapping his arms around his slender body.

"So are you." Steven said.

"But I..."

"I can't help you any more than you can help me." His voice was exhausted and frustrated.

He faltered. What now? He had no one else that really understood his predicament. May had left him and Steven claimed to be of no use. But he felt that Steven was lying, for whatever reason.

"What makes you think I can't help you?"

Steven gave him a glance. "You're emotionally unstable and suicidal."

He glowered at the sea below them. "So are you."

He knew he had hit a nerve, and he was proud of it. He continued to sit, chin on knuckles, when he heard a distinct click.

"Steven - " He whirled around.

"I've been emotionally unstable since I was your age, Brendan." So now he wanted to prove something. He listened, his body tense. "You wouldn't have an idea of everything I've ever gone through."

"I'm going through it right now. So don't you ever think I'm ignorant." He rose shakily to his feet, eyeing the gun that was now back in Steven's hands. "If anybody's ignorant here, I think it's you."

"Oh?"

Life had twisted both of them, he knew. He didn't know *how* twisted the world had made Steven, and he feared for both of them.

"You think that just because I'm younger than you are means that I can't be helped by someone that's gone through what *I* have!" His voice had been steadily increasing, word by word, and by the end, he was shouting. His reasoning wasn't clear even to himself.

"Brendan, you're young. You have years ahead of you to solve your problems."

"And who says you aren't?"

"My soul has withered away inside of me. I feel so old on the inside, and everything hurts. That's exactly why," Steven aimed the gun at his temple, "it all ends today."

Time froze. He lunged for Steven in a desperate attempt to stop him. Tears he hadn't known that had sprung up fogged his vision, and he heard a shot go off. It sounded like thunder. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping for the worst. Would death hurt? Heavens knew he deserved some sort of pain before the fires of Hell consumed him. Was it supposed to be numb?

Was he even dead?

Moreover, was Steven dead?

He was afraid to open his eyes, to face whatever had been thrown at him...

"Brendan..." So he was alive. "I... hate you..."

"You don't..." He was crying, tears runnig down his pale, cold cheeks, as he held Steven's wrist in one hand. The gun was behind him, having flown out of his hands with the kickback and Brendan lunging for him. "You don't..."

Steven didn't respond.

He crumpled against the older man, tears falling fast, millions of things running through his head that he couldn't decipher at all. He could feel, barely, through his numbness, arms embracing him tightly, fingers rushing through his hair, pressing his face to a surprisingly warm chest, and...

...he hadn't felt so safe in so damned long.

"Steven?" He whispered. Fear crept up to him again.

"Yes?"

"Will you help me?"

"I will."

Relief spread over him like sunshine on a summer day. There was a break in the dismal clouds now, he knew. "I'll help you."

"I'd appreciate it." He felt a lingering kiss pressed to his forehead, and then, he was tugged alongside Steven, scurrying to keep up with his long strides.

They came upon the gun laying on the ground.

Steven picked it up. He held his breath. With a sigh, the ex-Champion tossed the weapon into the ocean. God knew what would happen to it, but he felt reasonably safer now that it was gone from sight.

"Do you think life's unfair?" He asked, holding Steven's hand tightly with his own.

The blue eyes turned to him, and he stared back uncertainly. They sparkled. A slight smile appeared on Steven's face. "Not anymore."

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f . i . n

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...Blah, I don't think that came out the way I intended it to. x_x Not... teary enough, I think. I should study more under Dragon Empress and Dot- san. They write such beautiful angst that actually MAKES you cry. Eheh.

It ended too abruptly in my opinion, but hey, I've always been a critic with myself...

Despite my problems with it, I hope you enjoyed. . .

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Of everything I want and I want to find, one of these days

What you thought was real in life somehow steered you wrong

Now you just keep drivin' tryin' to find out where you belong

I know you feel helpless now and I know you feel alone

That's the same road, that same road that I am on

[ the road i'm on + 3 doors down ]

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