Brothers for Life



By RedKage

Johnny and his parents sat in the waiting room of the hospital. Mr. and Mrs. Kenning was holding each other's hands, their faces casted down in worry and grief. Johnny sat by himself in the corner, refusing to even look at them. In his hand was the torn up picture of Ben's birth parents.

Finally, the door opened, and the doctor entered. Immedietly, all three jumped up and hurried over to him.

"Is he-" Mrs. Kenning tried to speak out, but found herself lost for words.

"He's going to live." The doctor reassured them. Mr. and Mrs. Kenning breathed a sigh of relief. "However, he's been badly hurt." The doctor raised his clipboard and flipped through the pages. "A broken arm, internal bleeding, head trauma....considering he didn't have his seat belt on, I'm surprised he was even alive."

Mr. and Mrs. Kenning exchanged a worried ook, but said nothing.

"But what most puzzles me is the various bruises all over his body." The doctor continued. "The damages he had sustained in the past severely weakened him physically, despite being atlethically fit. Now, I know some boys can be troublesome, but to discipline him like this-"

"We don't discipline him." Mr. Kenning said quickly.

"He's a kind, sweet hearted boy." Mrs. Kenning added. "He's never given us any discipline problems."

"Then perhaps he was being bullied?" The doctor asked. "Though, a boy of his size and age shouldn't be...." He trailed off as his eyes landed on Johnny, who still refused to look at anyone in the eye. The puzzle piece clicked into place in the doctors mind as he finally had the full picture.

"I see." He said. "I guess I should've know this would happen. I can't help but feel somewhat responsable for this."

"Responsible?" The Kennings looked at the doctor, confused.

"I should have realized that Johnny's abnormal growth would cause some sort of sibling tension." The doctor sighed. "If a teenager was handed a body like his, he would let it go to his head. God can only imagine what a 9 ear old would do. Though, honestly, all of the other people who went through the same treatment never experience as much growth as Johnny did." Johnny looked away at this, still keeping silent.

"Doctor, when can we see our son?" Mrs. Kenning interupted.

"You can see him now if you wish, but...." The doctor trailed off.

"What's wrong?" Mr. Kenning asked.

"....Your son is in a coma. I'm not sure when he'll wake up, if he ever does."

* * *

The moment Johnny came home, he stomped up the stairs, entered Ben's old room, and slammed the door shut. He stood there, leaning against the wall, trying to take in all that has happened. After a moment of silence, he kicked one of his dumbells so hard that it flew across the room and breaking apart one of Ben's wooden drawers and knocking it's contents out.

Regretting destroying one of Ben's things, he walked over and picked up the the pieces. As he collected the pieces, however, his eye fell upon a small case, about the same size as a first aid kit. Curious, he placed the the things in his arms down and picked the case up. He walked over to Ben's bed and sat down, ignoring the creaking protest as it bent from his sheer weight.

There was a small lock on the case, but Johnny broke it using his strong fingers. Slowly, he opened the case to find two pill bottles, a tube of ointment and a thick journel. First, he picked up the tube of half used ointment. It was labled for use on bruises. Ben must've used it to treat the bruises Johnny gave him. As he placed it back into the case, Johnny took the two bottles and looked at their labels. They were painkillers and anti-depressents. Johnny never would've guessed that Ben had been taking anti-depressents.

"What have I done?" Johnny said shakingly, looking at the pills and ointment. "What....what have I done to him?" As if to answer his question, his eyes came to rest on the journel. He picked them up and began flipping through the pages.

Dear Journel, Last night Johnny had trouble breathing. It was during our wrestling match that he had trouble. I never meant for him to get hurt, honest! It's all my fault that he's in the hospital. I asked the doctor if there was anything to make him stronger, strong enough to not get sick anymore. The doctor told me there was, but it might change Johnny. I told him I didn't care. He was my brother. No matter what, I won't leave him.

Johnny felt his eyes moisten up as he read this. So Ben was the one responsible for him becoming like he was today. Shakingly, he flipped through the pages again until another entry caught his eye.

Dear Journel, Today, I noticed that Johnny was starting to grow bigger then me! He was just a little bit taller then I was, but his muscles by far outsized mine. He likes it so much, that I think it has gone to his head. Actually, lately he has been acting a little like a jerk, but I know that he's still the sweet little brother inside, and I love him all the same, no matter how big he gets.

Johnny felt a sharp stab in his heart. Despite all he did, he still loved him? Johnny was tempted to stop right then and there, but something told him to read one more page. He flipped through until he came to the last entry and began reading.

Dear Journel, Today I got my first car. It's not the best car, it doesn't even have airbags, but it was all we could afford, with all our other expenses gone to feed and clothe Johnny. Johnny has changed so much, and not just in size. It's getting more and more difficult to remember my happy little brother. The Johnny today.....he isn't anything like the brother I loved. Sometimes, I wish I knew where my Johnny had went...

Johnny stopped reading as a tear drop hit the page. He threw the book off to one side and buried his face in his hands. "Oh God, what have I become?" He sobbed. "Its all my fault! Oh Ben.....I'm so sorry....."

It was late at night when Mrs. Kenning knocked on the door and entered. Johnny was still sitting on the bed, weeping. "Honey...? Are you alright?"

"It's my's all my fault...." Johnny said between sobs.

"Honey, no it isn't...." She said, walking over and sitting down next to him. "It's not your fault." She gently tried to place her arm over his shoulder, but he was so tall and his shoulders were so wide that it was impossible.

"Yes it is!" Johnny yelled, jumping up from the bed and turned around to face her. "It's my fault he became messed up! It's my fault he has to take anti-depressents and painkillers! It's my fault he ran out and got into that car crash! And If I weren't such a damn pig he'd at least have airbags or something, anything that would've stopped him from getting hurt!"

"But Johnny-"

"You don't understand, Mom!" Johnny reached into his pocket and yanked out the torn photo. "When I threw out Ben's stuff nto the hall, I accidentally tore up his photo of his parents! That's why he ran out and got into that accident! The whole thing is my fault! EVERYTHING is my fault!"

Mrs. Kenning didn't say anything. She simply stood up, walked to Johnny, and hugged him.

Johnny broke down and hugged back, crying harder then ever. "Oh mom....I'm so sorry for everything I've done."

"There there, just let it all out." She said, patting him on the back. "When Ben wakes up, he'll be happy to have his brother back."

"I....I can't see him again." Johnny said, pushing himself away from her gently. "Not after what I've done...."

"You're a child." Mrs. Kenning pointed out. "Children makes mistakes. He'll understand and forgive you."

"Will he?" Johnny asked, his face lighting up slightly.

"I'm sure he will." She smiled, and they hugged once again. •

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