Shadows race through the woods.
Leaves rustle under the moonlight.
Fates unwind and intertwine.
‘Jake, come on! Get up and get moving, don’t sleep down there!’
‘You go on! Leave me behind, I can’t make it, I’ll only be a burden.’
‘You’re nobody’s burden, you’ve been great all this while, now get up!’
‘No, please leave me behind! I’m useless now.’
‘Shut up, no way we’re doing that!’
‘No Zack, really, please lea-‘
‘SHUT UP AND LISTEN!’
A rare moment of silence.
‘Look, nobody, nobody! Nobody can say they haven’t been proud of you so far. You have been nothing short of a revelation. You were the one that saved us. You were the one that got us through that shithole there. You were the one that came up with the plan! It worked, and we’re alive. Now don’t give up just like that! If you’re a real man, get back on your feet!’
‘But I really believe I'll only be a bur-‘
‘No buts! Just shut up and listen to me. Don't believe in yourself! Believe in me who believes in you! You’re not useless, no, not at all! Not even in this state! Now get going, we really don’t have much time.’
Jake takes Zack’s outstretched hand and together with Belle, they sprint through the woods as quickly as they could.
‘Any sign of them?’
‘Zack, I think we’ve lost those mercenaries.’
Forests are really cold at night. Cold like ice.
On that night, the insignificant, inglorious flame of the campfire was the only source of warmth in that muddy, unsightly marsh which was in no way mellow at all.
‘Feeling better yet?’
‘A lot better, thanks to Zack!’
‘Yeah, he’s really great isn’t he?’
Jake scans Belle’s (who was grimacing in pain) face and he notices that she wants to say something but is hesitant.
‘You like him, don’t you?’
‘I can tell!’
“Haha it’s alright, I won’t scream it out loud!’
‘I’ll tell you something about him!’
‘I’m all ears!’
‘Me and him, we’re brothers! Well we’re not blood related, but it’s as close as it gets. We’re both orphans, you know. Our parents died in an earthquake when we were little and we met soon after at the orphanage. He was the crazy loudmouth who never knew how to keep quiet and I admired him for his tenacity and willpower. The two of us and our friends always got bullied by the bigger boys but he always stood up for us. Even though we never won and got beaten up all the time, he still would stand up in front of them if they come, telling us, ‘Believe in yourselves!’ and ‘Don’t give in to them!’ And those soon became his signature phrase.
There was once when we got trapped under the debris during an earthquake. We thought we would be dead for sure, but Zack didn’t give up. He just kept smiling and laughing, yelling at us, ‘Come on guys, this is nothing, we can get out of this mess! Believe in yourselves!’, ‘It’s just rocks boys! You’re gonna let rocks beat you?’, ‘This is stupid, they thought this would stop us?’, ‘Ah, a new game from the Gods, I like it!’ He always laughed off all his problems. Honestly, if it weren’t for him, perhaps I would have given up and died in that pile of rubble. But thanks to him, I didn’t, I felt that I couldn’t complain if he put it that way, and I persisted. We persevered and we soon got out of the mess, alive and well.
I always needed to rely on him… And this time too. I’m really pathetic eh?’
‘No you’re not!’
‘He… Makes the impossible possible. He makes things happen.
He’s… The best big brother I’ll ever have…
‘Hey I think I’ll go get some rest now.’
Belle treads carefully on the muddy forest floor, trying to not wake Zack up. She finally gets to the tree that Zack was leaning against, but unfortunately, being the utter klutz that she is to increase her kawaii rating, she couldn't help but spoil the moment by stepping on a twig.
‘Oh, Belle, not resting yet?’
‘Sorry, I woke you up!’
‘It’s fine! Is something up?’
‘Oh no- No, nothing! Jake just told me about your childhood just now!’
‘Jake did? Hahaha, well what’d he tell you?’
‘About the orphanage. And the earthquake!’
‘Oh, he sure likes to boast!’
‘Hahaha, I’ve never people this, but the kids never really got along with me you know? They thought I was a noisy eyesore, that I’m cocky and that I’m arrogant. Well, maybe I am, but that’s not the point. The point is, they disliked me! And so I thought that if I stood up for them, and got beaten up for them, they might like me a little more. It didn’t work. They’d just leave me be and let the older boys beat me. But Jake, that popular kid, he would fight with me, and so I fought for him.
I wasn’t the only one though. He got along really well with the rest of the kids, and they couldn’t bear seeing him get beaten. And everything started from there. Even after being bruised and battered, we little boys could still find joy and laugh at what happened then, and all of us became close friends soon after.
And that’s the true story of the orphanage.’
‘The earthquake! It was terrifying. I have never been more afraid and death had never been more real. All I could do to prevent myself from breaking down was to laugh at the very source of the terror, hoping that it would suppress my fears.
I put on a brave front and pretended to not be intimidated. But that was all I could do. It was Jake again, who got me out of trouble. Silently, using some tools we found, he just kept pressing on without complaining, breaking away boulder and rock after boulder and rock. His silent determination inspired us, and we never gave up until the end. And, we got out of that mess, alive and well.
So you see, I’ve always relied on him when trouble came calling.
I was so glad that I could help him escape this time.
He’s… The best little brother I’ll ever have.’
‘Is something wrong?’
‘No, but he said he was the one that always relied on you!’
‘Gah, that liar! I was the one that always relied on his abilities. All I ever did was be a cheerleader and go ‘Believe in yourself!’ All I ever did was trust in him. He was the one that made the invisible visible and the unseen seen. He made things happen.’
‘Heh, you two really are brothers! You say the same things!’
‘Huh? I can’t imagine him saying ‘Believe in yourself!’ in a girly voice, Cheerleader style!’
‘Mmmmm, who knows! He could have!’
‘HE REALLY DID THAT?’
‘No I’m not telling you!’
‘I’m not letting you get away! Tell me!’
‘AHA! You’re cornered now!’
‘Oh nooooo, I’m so afraid! What are you gonna do to me!?!?’
‘I’m not letting you go!’
‘Oh pleaseeee don’t do that to me! Will you kindly let me go if I give you a kiss!?’
‘When the war ends, I’ll repay that to you ten times.’
I can’t wait for the war to end then!’
‘You know, I’m really surprised!’
‘I always thought you liked Jake!’
‘How about that time at the barn where you two were gazing at the stars on the roof!’
‘That was nothing! We were just chatting!’
‘AH, and the time where you made coffee for him but not for me!’
‘That was just to tease you!’
‘Ohhhh, is that so? I’m going to tell Jake about your adoration for him tomorrow morning!’
‘Boo booooo! You cannot catch me! You cannot- OWW THAT HURT!’
‘Serves you right! Don’t play with these things!’
‘Hey look, it’s sunrise!’
‘Wow, it’s beautiful, ain’t it?’
‘Yeah, let’s go wake Jake up! It’s too good to miss!’
Influences: Kamina, Simon, Yoko - TTGL.
I got carried away with the last part. Had to end somehow though.
Sorry the narrating was a bit quack. HAHAHAHAH!
Sometimes, when you lose a little faith in yourself, how about you believe those who believe in you a little more?
Tolerate my horrible attempt at romance writing, but I thought the rest were quite alright. HEHEHE.
Trivia! When you join Jake and Zack, you get Jack!