|Good Deed of the Decade
Author: Shinoda Senshi PM
If there were an award for Brother of the Year, Mark would not even warrant an honorable mention. He's as callous and cold-hearted as they come. His one saving grace is his drive to do right by his baby brother, Kane. *Contains implied m/m slash*Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Words: 3,320 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 4 - Published: 04-30-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8074598
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Good Deed of a Lifetime
Mark was a good man.
Every now and then.
Mark had the capacity of being a good man. He simply lacked the drive. Not that it went against his nature to be nice. He was kind to animals and little old ladies. He supported the Armed Forces. He recycled. It was just that maintaining a civil relationship with ninety percent of the people he came into contact with was a hard job. They didn't listen to him. They bitched about their problems like the world was fixing to end because they were inconvenienced. If being a whiny douchebag was a crime, Mark would've had a list two miles long of offenders needing swift and immediate punishment.
Seeing as Mark had problems dealing with mankind as a whole, he decided to focus on only one human being.
His brother Kane.
The way Mark figured, when his ticket finally got punched and an account of his life was taken, he had to have something major in the positive column. Helping grandmothers across the street wasn't going to cut it. If he could do good by his brother, then Mark considered himself square with the Lord.
In the good deeds department, Mark started small. Picked up the tab when they went out to eat. Let Kane be in charge of the remote control and watch whatever he wanted. Not complaining once during the bizarre British show about a time traveler in a bow tie that didn't even have the decency to own a proper weapon. There was an awful lot of running in that program.
Kane turned to the news once the show was over. "What the hell do you want from me?"
The question took Mark by surprise. "Nothing… I don't…" He scratched his head in confusion. He'd expended too many brain cells trying to understand the television program. A space ship disguised as a police box that was bigger on the inside. "What makes you think I want something?"
Kane sighed as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. "For the past two weeks, you've been nothing but nice to me. Paying for dinner. Washing the dishes without me having to badger you. Instigating conversations instead of confrontations. Now you sit through an entire Doctor Who episode and don't make a peep. I could ask if you've suddenly fallen in love with me but I'd much rather think you want to borrow money."
Maybe he'd laid it on too thick. Done too much, too soon. Mark had never expected Kane to question his motives. Then again, if the shoe was on the other foot and it was Kane going out of his way to be kind, then Mark would have definitely been suspicious.
"Can't a man just be nice to his brother?"
"No," said Kane. He fixed Mark with a steely-eyed glare. "Not when the man is you and the brother is me. Now, explain yourself."
Mark couldn't. He didn't have the words. Their relationship had been strained for most of their lives. They had years of blame and resentment between them. Yet, somehow, they managed to live an almost peaceful existence together. Did he really want to mess with the balance they had established?
"I'm in love with you," said Mark.
"I'm not interested." Kane switched off the television and stood up. "In fact, I'm not even flattered. You crackpot." Shaking his head, he stomped up the stairs.
Mark watched him go. "But you complete me, Kane."
"Go take a bath with a toaster!"
It did Mark's shriveled heart good to tease his brother. It was their way of showing their feelings. They joked and jabbed and threatened to make fake profiles for the other on dating websites.
Forget all that kind and considerate crap. As much as Kane ate, all those meals were going to put Mark in the poorhouse anyway. He was looking at the situation from the wrong angle. Instead of changing himself to make Kane's life better, Mark needed to focus on improving one aspect of his brother's life.
Kane's sex life.
The man was a fucking hermit. Not even. Hermits at least had a purpose for their isolation. They were dedicating themselves to some greater cause. Kane was uninteresting and had poor taste in friends. If he had to watch his baby brother and that Jericho jackass engage in one more Call of Duty marathon, Mark was going to suck on an exhaust pipe and put himself out of his misery.
The boy needed help. Specifically Mark's help. If he could somehow get Kane laid, that would wipe the slate clean.
Now that Mark had accepted the mission, he had to come up with a plan. The perfect bed buddy wasn't going to just fall into his lap. And Kane did deserve his best effort. Otherwise Mark could simply pay somebody to bang his brother. He wouldn't have to discriminate. Mark needed someone who might possibly make Kane happy. Take care of Kane's heart as well as other organs.
To start, Mark had to figure out what Kane liked. Dudes sprang immediately to mind. On the rare occasions Kane brought someone hoe, that someone had always been a man. Not that Mark minded. Left more ladies for him. Their dysfunctional relationship would never have survived competing over the same woman.
Find Kane a man.
No big deal. Thanks to the internet, a perfect mate was only a click away. It would take Mark two, three days at the most.
The internet was full of liars and perverts. Of that, Mark was certain.
After picking a site at random, he had set to work. It was only a matter of selecting the proper criteria. Age. Location. Type of relationship. Then Mark sat back and waited for the results.
Far too many results.
The longer he scrolled, the more amazed he became. Profile after profile.
Mark clicked on one, read a few lines, then dismissed it. Kane was not the outdoorsy type. No rock climbing. No hiking up trails. The boy relied on Mark to mow the damn lawn. That was not a match.
He tried another.
No good. From the brief paragraph he read, the submitter was borderline illiterate. At some point during human evolution, alternative spelling had become unexplainably popular. This poor soul abbreviated more than necessary and blatantly butchered the English language. Mark was no magna cum laude, but he knew how to work an apostrophe.
It was like sailing to England in a row boat.
Mark needed to implement stricter standards. Otherwise, Kane would be in the old folk's home by the time Mark found an adequate match. There were too many fish in that particular sea. Which meant Mark had to set up a serious profile for his brother. Let the eligible bachelors come to him. The site even had a thirty day free trial. Mark wouldn't have to spend a dime on communication.
How could he go wrong?
In more ways than he could count.
Apparently, Mark had to become a fiction writer. Find a way to make his brother sound appealing. A video game playing, comic book reading, sci-fi convention attending catch. He was better off hiring an escort. In their years together, Mark had spent a lot of time ignoring Kane's personality. Now he had to point out his brother's good qualities.
Which were what, exactly?
Kane was clean. Well-groomed. Had a rather understated sense of style. Kane could cook. Usually stuck to the stuff Mark liked but sometimes branched out. Kane was a safe driver, a good tipper, and could hold his liquor.
All in all, this made for a piss poor advertisement.
Loathe as he was to admit it, Mark needed help. Someone who did not associate with Kane out of familial obligation. A friend. Maybe even a best friend.
Mark needed Chris Jericho.
The problem was how to contact the man. Mark didn't have his phone number or email address. Asking Kane for the information would only cause more suspicion. Time for Underhanded Mark to come out of retirement.
A quick bit of recon. Mark waited for just after dawn. Made sure Kane was dead to the world so he could sneak into his bedroom and snatch his cell phone. The question was whether to copy down the information standing a mere foot from his slumbering brother or take the device with him and risk reentering the room. Best to get the dirty work over with.
Mark jotted down the number and slipped out like a thief in the night. He picked a more decent hour to place the call. A brief exchange.
"You know that weird ice cream place Kane likes?"
"Who is this?"
"The Queen of England," growled Mark. He did not have time for this. "Who do you think this is?"
"I'd think it was Mark but Mark doesn't have my number."
Sometimes he hated having to rely on others. "Well now I do. Meet me at that damn ice cream place…"
"In twenty minutes."
"Wait. I don't…"
Mark hung up.
As he was about to leave, he poked his head into Kane's room. "I'm going out for a bit."
"Whatever." Kane didn't lift his eyes from his book.
Ungrateful bastard. He had better come to appreciate the effort Mark was making.
One thing worked in his favor. Chris sat at a table in the ice cream shop.
"How can you eat a sundae at eleven o'clock in the morning?" Mark slid into the chair across from him.
Chris raised a loaded spoonful to his mouth. "Ice cream is good any time of the day. Now tell me what this is about."
Demanding little son of a bitch. Mark pulled a notepad from the inner pocket of his coat and managed to keep his temper in check. "I need your help to find Kane a man."
Startled stares flew in their direction as Chris proceeded to choke on chocolate sauce and chopped nuts. It took a long bout of coughing to clear his throat. "You… need… what?"
Mark liked taking Chris by surprise. It brightened his day. He flipped to a fresh page in his notebook and uncapped his pen. "From my understanding, it has been a long, long, long time since my brother has had any type of intimacy with anyone other than himself. We're talking a hairy-palmed situation. Being the caring individual that I am, I'm trying to set him up."
"How?" Chris pushed aside his sundae." And what makes you think he wants you to?"
This was not going to be easy. The man was supposed to be answering Mark's questions, not the other way around. "Kane's unhappy."
"He told you that?"
"He doesn't have to." It took a lot of deep, calming breaths to keep Mark from reaching across the table and shoving the spoon up Jericho's nose. "I know my brother."
"And I know him, too," Chris said in a superior tone. "Kane wouldn't want you meddling in his life. He's not some pet project you can work on during the weekends."
Tranquility floated farther and farther out of reach. Mark's jaws clenched. They were in a family establishment. As much as he enjoyed the fantasy of dumping that sundae on Chris' head, he showed restraint. Such a thing was in short supply. He would not give Jericho the satisfaction of letting his anger get the best of him. "My brother is my business. Always has been. Always will be. So don't you tell me what Kane would and would not want."
"Then why the hell did you call me?" Chris folded his arms across his chest, radiating impatience. "I could think of at least twenty things just off the top of my head that I would rather be doing right now."
It pained him – caused Mark actual physical pain – to be in Chris' presence. The man was so arrogant. So sure of himself and of his position that he sincerely looked bored sitting there. Like Mark was wasting his time. How had Kane gotten mixed up with such a character? When dropped into the outside world, his brother was shy. Introverted. Did everything in his power to blend into the background. Chris was loud and brash and seemed to enjoy being the center of attention. Perhaps opposites did attract.
In a calm, even voice, Mark said, "For reasons I cannot begin to understand, you are Kane's best friend. I thought you might want to help me. Seeing as you know him so damn well."
Chris considered him for several moments. Chose his words carefully. "I want to help," he finally said. "I want Kane happy."
He quickly continued, "I think you'll make a huge mess of it, but I'm at least willing to try."
Should Mark have considered himself blessed to have Jericho on his side? Felt more like a curse that was going to end up biting him in the ass. "Fine." His pen hovered over the notepad paper. "Tell me about Kane."
"What do you mean?"
It seemed a simple enough request. So Mark repeated it. "Tell me about Kane. What's he like? How would you describe him?"
Mark was met with stunned silence. It lasted at least a full minute.
"I don't understand." Chris tilted his head to the side. Just like Kane did when he was confused. "You live with Kane. You're his brother, for God's sake! Why do I have to tell you about him?"
"Because I'm his brother," Mark explained. "He and I aren't exactly the caring and sharing type. We lead very different lives and, at some point, we may have become… disconnected."
Chris smirked. "Disconnected?"
"I know Kane as a pain in the ass baby brother. I have a very limited point of view. You can give me a different perspective."
The smirk grew. "Perspective?"
Mark threw down his notepad. "Are you just going to repeat what I say or are you going to help me?"
Mark hated asking for help. Asking it of Chris Jericho made him want to swallow razor blades.
Suddenly the smirk vanished. In its place was a soft, almost thoughtful smile. "Kane is a good guy. Simple, but in a good way. Honest, but not cruel. Considerate. Caring."
"Great," growled Mark. "My brother is a fucking Boy Scout. That'll make a great online ad."
"Just shut up and listen." Chris toyed with his melting ice cream. "Kane sees good in people. Even you, though I can't believe it. He's a card carrying member of the Silver Lining Club. He loves to make people laugh. He has a wicked sense of humor and one of the sharpest minds on the planet. He smiles even when he's sad and smiles so others won't be sad. He writes really bad poetry and reads it to me over the phone and we both end up cracking up before the end." Chris chuckled softly. "He's so awful at it."
All fascinating information, but none Mark could put in a text box. Time for some more direct questions. "Favorite book?"
"Star Wars. Specifically Episode IV."
Mark jotted it all down. "Favorite song?"
"Don't Stop Believing."
"Oh, yeah." Chris' smile turned private, as if remembering something he could not share with Mark. "He has a real nice singing voice."
"I've heard him in the shower," said Mark. "I remain unimpressed."
"I've heard him in the car."
"Kane doesn't sing in the car."
"He does with me."
An unsettling sensation crept into Mark's stomach. Like he had swallowed a dozen live goldfish. "Besides the bad poetry and the sing-alongs, what else do you and my brother do together?"
Chris stirred the soupy remnants of his sundae. "Is this for the dating site?"
"Personal peace of mind," said Mark. Of which he had very little at the moment.
"Lots of things."
"You." Chris fixed him with a look that was less than pleasing.
Mark braced himself. "What about me?" That could take a while.
"About how you are and how you don't understand him and how sometimes you try anyway." The look in Chris' eyes softened. "He likes it when you try because it feels like you might actually love him."
Gripping the pen hard enough to almost snap it in half, Mark snarled, "I do love him."
Barely above a whisper, Chris said, "I do, too."
And there it was. Mark had set out to find his brother a match and he had done it. Kind of fitting that it was in the last place it would have expected. "How long have you and Kane…" He couldn't bring himself to finish the question.
"We aren't together," said Chris. "Kane doesn't know how I feel and I'm too chicken shit to tell him."
A surprising admission. "Why?"
Chris sighed like a man having given up all hope. "Because he's built up this wall around him and he doesn't let people in."
"He let you in," Mark pointed out. "The boy writes you shitty poetry and I can't even get him to wash my socks. Somehow you've weaseled under the barbed wire and have reached the promised land."
Chris swallowed hard, finally giving in to the possibility of Kane returning his feelings. He had hope. "Is this you giving me your blessing?"
It seemed that the direct downside of bringing his brother happiness was inviting Chris Jericho even further into their lives. This was not how Mark envisioned his day going. "This is me telling you that if you break my baby brother's heart, I will be your neverending nightmare." Mark stowed away his notepad. He obviously wouldn't be needing it. "Come on. Let's get this over with."
Chris dumped his bowl in the trash bin before heading back towards the line. "Gotta get something first."
Mark led the way back home. He bellowed for Kane as soon as he stepped through the door. Chris stayed close behind him.
"You sound like a bull that just got his nuts chopped off." Kane stopped short when he spotted Chris. A smile started to spread across his face, but the checked it quick after catching Mark looking at him. "Didn't know you were coming over."
Chris stepped forward. "Wanted to surprise you. Here." He handed the Styrofoam cup to Kane.
"Dessert before lunch?"
"Ice cream is good any time of the day."
Kane looked at Mark. "Is this okay?"
He was his brother's keeper, after all. "You have my blessing. Just be quiet and don't make a mess of things."
Head tilted to the side, Kane asked, "Where did you go, anyway?"
Mark shoved past them both as he stomped up the stairs. He pretended not to notice how close Kane and Chris stood together or the way they looked at each other. Mark didn't know which of them was the bigger idiot. Still, they were crazy about each other and Mark would have been a fool to stand in their way. "Went to find you an early birthday present. Don't ever say I never did anything for you."
The slate was clean. Now Mark could use the internet for a more practical purpose. YouTube. Those adorable animal videos weren't going to watch themselves.