A/N: Just a little sad oneshot I wrote, based loosely on my own undoubtedly far-off predictions of this week's episode, 'Back To School'. I hope it's not too bad. Enjoy, if that's the right word!
A horrendous screech of metal on the road caused everyone to turn in complete shock and horror.
Ethan's heart shattered. He knew that car. He knew it very well.
He ran. As fast as his weak, buckling and trembling legs could carry him, he ran over. The car was tipped onto its side, smoke hissing from the endgine and glass smashed on the ground beside it.
Inside the car was the bloodied face of his unconscious brother.
Earlier that day.
"We have to tell him," Alicia sighed.
"No, not yet..." Ethan paced back and forth the staff room, trying to keep his head from exploding. "It'll kill him."
"Probably, yeah." Alicia nodded sadly. "But... he needs to know."
Ethan stopped pacing for a second. She was right, of course. They'd made a mistake by sleeping together, and a catastrophic mistake at that. Alicia was with Cal, not Ethan. But after this, she would probably have nobody. Ethan would be too busy trying to make it better with Cal.
It was all such a mess.
"You're right. We need to," Ethan sighed. He felt his heart skip a beat as he continued. "Well, there's no time like the present."
"What?!" Alicia blurted. "No, not yet, we...we can tell him tomorrow."
"I thought you wanted to tell him as soon as possible?" Ethan responded. "Look, the longer we leave it...the more it's going to hurt him. trust me, I know."
"I know you do," Alicia sighed. She squeezed his hand a bit before letting go and nodding slightly. "Alright. Let's...let's do this then."
The two of them walked through the department, both filled with nerves. Ethan was getting ready for a giant punch in the face. If it was the other way round, Ethan was ashamed to admit that he would probably resort to punching his brother. It wouldn't surprise him if Cal did that.
But Cal was a better man than he was. He was growing, learning from his mistakes and becoming far more mature.
Alicia was shaking as they reached the department exit where they both knew Cal would be. She guessed she loved him, deep down, but more like a friend. Her feelings had died down a little while after they'd got together. Now, she loved Ethan. But it could never happen. She knew that. It hurt her but maybe she deserved to hurt. Especially after what she'd done.
"Ah, you two." Cal smiled at them, dropping his empty coffee cup into a bin. "Right. I have an idea-"
"Cal?" Ethan quickly spoke. Alicia could see him swallow. "A-as great as that sounds...Alicia and I have something to tell you."
"Yeah?" Cal put his hands in his pockets, sighing. "Alright. Spill, nibbles."
"Okay," Ethan breathed. He turned to Alicia, eyes filled with desperation. It was her turn to squirm.
"Guys, come on, I'm getting old here!" Cal laughed. "God, it can't be that bad, can it? Have you dropped a plate or something-"
"Alicia and I slept together,"
Alicia turned to Ethan with wide eyes, cursing mentally. He looked like he hadn't meant to say it, but it had just slipped out. That was probably what happened, she thought, as he looked immediately at the floor.
Cal stayed silent. His smile died and his eyes darkened, looking at both Alicia and Ethan in turn. Then he laughed.
"Very funny, Ethan." Cal slapped him on the back, bursting into laughter. "As if you'd do that."
"Cal..." Alicia looked at him with sad eyes. "He's tellin' the truth."
"No, no, he's not." Cal retorted. "He can't be! Neither of you would do that. Alicia...we're a couple. We're...meant to love each other. And Ethan, you're my little brother. I couldn't even imagine you wanting to hurt me in that way. No. You're both having a laugh."
Alicia felt her eyes filling with tears. But I don't love you, Alicia thought, I love your brother and I am really sorry that this had to happen. I truly am.
"But we did," Ethan said quietly. "And I am so, so sorry, Cal..."
"Shut up," Cal said suddenly. "Nope." He looked at the ground for a second, breathing heavy, before looking back at the two. "You're not messing with me, are you?" Cal's expression was laced with realisation.
"No, we're not...messing." Alicia admitted. "It happened."
"When?" Cal demanded, starting to get angry.
"The night you stole my proposal and went to London," Ethan said, upping the game on the eye contact even though his own were filled with tears. "I was angry with you. I...didn't want to hold back anymore and neither did Alicia."
"What do you mean, 'hold back'?" Cal questioned, his eyes slanting.
"The..t-truth is, Cal..." Alicia breathed shakily. "I...don't love you."
There was a heartbreaking silence as Cal scoffed, turning and walking a few steps away before storming back.
"How...how dare you?!" Cal screeched at Ethan.
Ethan was fully conscious of their colleagues edging over, watching their argument taking place only a few steps away from the department doors. "I-I'm sorry, Cal-"
"My girlfriend! Mine!" Cal shrieked. "And y-you slept with her!"
There were gasps. Alicia turned red, her bottom lip trembling and her eyes filling with tears. She looked at Cal with big blue eyes in desperation.
"I'm so, so sorry, Cal." Alicia whispered, a few of her tears slipping free. "I never wanted to hurt you."
"But you did!" Cal said furiously. "You...You're just a...little tart."
"Cal!" Ethan shouted angrily. It was his turn to get furious now. "Don't call her that, how dare you?"
"I...I didn't mean to, it just slipped- Alicia!" Cal called after her as Alicia ran, starting to sob as she rushed into the department. Nobody went after her. Ethan was about to, but his brother yanked his arm to stop him.
"Get off," Ethan hissed.
"That's not a very nice tone to use around someone you're trying to apologize to, is it?" Cal said, glaring suddenly. "God...and I thought you were the one person who wouldn't stoop so low. I suspected Jez, Max, even Dylan to sleep with her, if anyone!"
"But it was you," Cal began to laugh. it was ironic that he was laughing since Ethan could see how close they both were to tears. "My own flesh and blood. My...my little brother."
"I know it must hurt, I know, but I...what do you want me to say?" Ethan was in despair, trying to blink away the tears in his eyes. He was so ashamed. "Anything, I'll do anything, I'll say anything to make this better. Please. W-we can fix this!"
"We can't fix this," Cal shook his head and began to back away. "Some things just can't be mended."
"Yes they can, don't say that." Ethan grabbed his brother's arm, trying to pull him back but he was just shoved away. It wasn't a hard shove but it wasn't particularly light either. Ethan was knocked onto the floor. He quickly got back onto his feet. "Cal, please!"
"You're no brother of mine, Ethan Hardy!" Cal exclaimed furiously. "I...I hate you. There. I said it." Cal turned his back and walked away.
"Don't!" Ethan felt himself get held back by someone. It was Charlie, muttering, "let him cool off," in his ear. Ethan couldn't. "CALEB!"
Cal seemingly didn't hear. He got into his car, slamming the door viciously behind him. It was a wonder that the window didn't shatter. He revved up, dust flying around the tires of the car as he immediately began to drive off hastily.
"CAL!" Ethan half screamed, half sobbed after his brother. Charlie put his hand on his shoulder. "Please..."
"He'll be back, don't worry about it." Charlie said kindly.
"He won't," Ethan whispered. "He's never coming back..."
Back to the present
A horrendous screech of metal on the road caused everyone to turn in complete shock and horror.
Ethan's heart shattered onto the floor into a million pieces.
He ran. As fast as his weak, buckling and trembling legs could carry him, he ran. The car was tipped onto its side, smoke hissing from the engine and glass smashed on the ground beside it.
Inside the car was the bloodied face face of his unconscious brother.
"No no no no no no no..." Ethan wasn't sure how many times he'd said the same word, but he kep saying it, his voice getting louder and louder until he was screaming at the top of his lungs.
And then he was crying. He was crying so much as the paramedics and his distraught colleagues ran over, taking a few precious minutes to get Cal out of the vehicle. Ethan felt tears roll down his cheeks and a stabbing in his chest as he hovered over his brother protectively on the ground, immobilized on a spinal board, grabbing his hand and crying harder.
"I'm so sorry, Cal, I'm so sorry," Ethan choked, his chest heaving.
"He's making no respiratory effort." Said a voice.
"I didn't mean to!" Ethan cried out, ignoring the orders to stay away from him and wrapping his arms around his chest. "I didn't..."
"There's no pulse," The voice said.
"I love you so much," Ethan pushed Cal's bloody hair out of his forehead, pressing his lips to it and then hugging his brother harder than he ever had.
"There's no point in taking him inside, his neck..." The voice sounded more distant as the time grew.
"I should've listened to you!" Ethan sobbed into Cal's chest. "I...I don't know what I'd do without you..."
"We need to get Alicia out here, she needs to see him." The voice changed. It was Charlie this time.
Ethan wanted more than anything to see his brothers eyes flicker open. They stayed jammed closed. His sobs were too loud and blocked out the noises of Alicia running over, screaming in shock and demanding to know what had happened.
"I'm so sorry, everyone..." It was Charlie again. He sounded like he was crying.
Ethan grabbed Cal's hand tightly, whispering 'I love you' so many times he lost count. His eyesight was blurry and the tears were coming thick and fast.
Ethan waited and waited to hear the 'I love you too' from his brother. Ethan begged whoever was in charge of who lived and who died, God perhaps, would show mercy. They had to, they needed to.
Ethan felt the salty taste of tears in his mouth, waiting for those words to come.
But they never did.
Caleb Knight was dead.
And it was all Ethan's fault.
A/N: The end. Thanks for reading :)