Disclaimer: Nope, don't own it.
(AU) At the end of the Yeerk/Human war, Jake finally manages to save Tom from the Yeerks…but things are not always all they seem…
Wrong Side of the Wall
So proud. I look at you, at the pride and relief in evidence on your face as you watch my final moments. The host body writhes with my agony but I keep the blue eyes focused on your own, steady in spite of the Kadrona withdrawal that plagues my being, drawing me towards the darkness.
Little midget…little brother. When you look back on this memory later, you will probably believe that with these final moments I stare at you in hatred, or desperation, or defiance. But for just these few moments in time, allow yourself to see the reality behind these blue eyes.
Young warrior. I have watched you since that dapsen, Temrash, got himself killed in that ridiculous fiasco, so many years ago. How it was he never saw through your pathetic camouflage, I cannot begin to comprehend. Perhaps he did, and decided, like I, to protect you. Or perhaps he truly was a dapsen, and could not see the truth that lay just beyond the nose of his host. But for whatever the reason that you were spared, I am grateful.
From the moment I first infested Tom I had known of you; his fear for you was prominent in his mind. Not that he knew, at that time, that you were part of an underground resistance; no, that was not discovered until I began closely analyzing the situation. But he feared for you, his baby brother. In his mind's eye I saw you, at all stages of life, all of the precious memories held dear.
I suppose it could be considered amusing that the very reason I saw this all so clearly was because those were the very memories that Tom was trying to suppress. Certainly, at the time I found it highly entertaining. I often goaded Tom just to see his frantic mental activity increase. Sometimes I was rewarded as another, new memory came boiling to the surface.
At first, it was just a game I played. As long as Tom was focused on you, rather than on the Yeerk currently residing within his brain, he was much easier to control. I must have replayed each memory thousands of times, and Tom had thousands of memories of you. Millions, even.
There is no Yeerk word for 'family.' Our reproductive cycle is such that the word is irrelevant, as it is also to the Gedds and the Taxxons. I was a relatively low-level Yeerk; my only previous host a Gedd.
And so it was that I did not understand the strange emotions that you invoked within your brother. They were so rich, so deep, so full of pain; I began to revel in them, these new and exciting sensations, drawing them from Tom the way an aphid draws the lifeblood of a plant.
Every Yeerk is warned about the dangers of 'going native.' We are trained rigorously and painfully to avoid such a disgrace. But it takes a certain type of personality to share such an intimate relationship without being at least partially affected by the mind you subjugate. I do not have such a personality…and, young warrior, your brother has a very strong mind indeed.
The changes were at first so subtle that I did not recognize the danger. When I was torturing Tom I began referring to you by your given name, rather than the degrading pseudonyms such as "Twerp" or "Little Brother" that would have caused him even more pain. It was a small thing, and at the time seemed insignificant, but now I realize that it was just the thin edge of the wedge.
Then came the day when, hearing you reject the Sharing yet again, I felt the slightest sense of relief. I shrugged it off, assuming that it was simply a stray emotion of Tom's that had become entangled within my own mind, and went on with the process of conquering the world. It is a rare thing when a Yeerk cannot tell the difference between his own mind and that of his host, but not unheard of. That moment, however, would come back to haunt me, again and again.
As I began to settle into your family, I came to realize that something was not quite right. You are not a very good actor, little brother, and the barely disguised anger in your face as you looked at me was evident to everyone. To a Yeerk whose entire way of life was dependant on creating a convincing lie, the hatred that radiated off of you was as clear as day. Your parents assumed it was a phase you were going through, but as I sifted through Tom's more recent memories, the abrupt change became clear. Somehow, you had gone from loving and respecting your older brother to despising him, almost overnight. Even with the little I knew of the human hormone system, the change seemed extreme.
It is in a Yeerk's nature to be suspicious. We are a devious race, and expect to find the same deviousness in others. But I did not know what to make of this, yet; I did not have enough information. It seemed unlikely that you would have pierced the titanium veil that covered our Yeerk operations, but there was the undeniable fact that your inexplicable hatred stemmed from almost the same date as the massacre of the Andilite Task Force. It was an odd coincidence, and enough to arose my curiosity.
As I began to track your movements, my suspicions grew. The coincidences were extreme; it seemed whenever there was an attack on a Yeerk facility, you dropped out of sight, with a vacuous excuse that you were with either Cassie or Marco. But there were also attacks that I could not explain within the web of intrigue that I was weaving; attacks that occurred while you were sitting across the table from me, chewing with your mouth open, or hanging out on the porch with Marco, arguing about comic books. I nearly decided that I had imagined the whole thing.
Then, one day, I received a call from the human controller known as Chapman ordering me to drop whatever I was doing and get over to the Center; there was another Andilite attack, and they were calling in as many reinforcements as they could get. I stood and headed for the door.
You turned towards me in interest. "Hey, Tom, what's up?"
I nearly growled, but managed to turn it into condescending big-brother talk in the nick of time. "Nothing, brat. I just need to go get some fresh air. I'll be out for a while; tell Mom and Dad not to expect me for dinner."
"Oh, okay." The slightly forlorn quality in your voice made me pause in surprise and turn towards you. "Take care." I will never forget the quality of love and well-wishing that poured from your eyes that day; I will never forget how badly it scared me. For in that instant, I understood. That person was not you.
Whoever it was, and I still don't know who, was a consummate actor, as skilled as any Yeerk. In fact, that was the first thought that had crossed my mind; that you had somehow been infested without my knowledge, and that the Yeerk in your brain did not realize that I was also a controller. But my discreet inquiries came up with nothing. As far as the Yeerk Empire was concerned, you still did not exist.
But there was one thing I knew for sure, and that was this. You had never looked at me with anything other than disguised loathing for as long as I had inhabited Tom's body. That look of love and adoration, though perfectly appropriate from a young boy to his older brother, could not possibly have come from you.
My suspicious were confirmed with that one, brief slip. You knew of the Yeerk Empire. You knew that it was I and not Tom that spoke to you each morning, that teased you mercilessly during every meal. And you had powerful allies; allies that could shape-change to cover for you, allies that you had tried to keep hidden.
Allies, I was sure, that had to be Andilites. You must have somehow come in contact with them. At the time, I had no idea what the truth actually was.
I didn't know whether to be gleeful or appalled. True, I had discovered a link that would lead the Yeerk army directly to the Andilite bandits, but the fact that said link had lived beneath my host's nose for several months without discovery would look very badly on my report. And there was another, deeper problem. Deep with my mind, Tom was raging, crying…begging with me to leave you alone. And even deeper within, his pleas struck a resonating, shameful chord within me that I tried, desperately, to ignore.
((…please i'm begging you i'll never fight you again i promise Jake! please please don't hurt him/spare him…))
Silence! I snarled at the stream of consciousness, my temper torn to shreds. If you're so worried about him, you'll surely see that he'll be safer as a host than as an instrument of the Andilites. As long as he stays with them, he's in danger of being killed. The filth will continue to use him for their own end, whatever that might be, and when he is finally captured he will be either enslaved, tortured for information, or executed. I let my mind wander over the many varieties of executions at the Yeerk Empire's disposal. I could feel the entity that was Tom draw away in horror and ruthlessly I seized him, feeding the images directly into his mind. Don't you get it? I whispered harshly through the images overloading his battered brain. Don't you see?
A part of my mind wondered why in the name of the Vissers I was bothering to explain my actions to a host.
The Tom-identity writhed in pain but I swear I could feel a certain craftiness spring to life; I thought I had crushed that out of him several months ago. ((…power, think of power, information is power…as long as only you/i know you have power…think carefully…))
I stopped the flow of information in the middle of an image of Jake being eaten alive by Antorian fire ants, a highly imaginative execution first dreamed up by the great Innis 426 a century ago. What did you say?
((…you/i are the only ones who know…find more information i know…extenuating circumstances… information valuable…)) The babble was incoherent. Depressed, I tuned the irritating host out and made my way up the stairs towards Jake's room, trying to shrug off the feeling that I had almost wanted Tom talk me out of my duty.
My plan was simple; overpower the boy, knock him out, and then carry him past the parents with a shout that I was taking him to the clinic. Once we reached the clinic, it would be an easy matter to get Jake down to the Yeerk pool through the entrance there.
I reached the door and tried the knob; it was locked. I knocked softly. "Jake? Hey, midget, are you there?"
I listened carefully and heard several shuffling sounds from the other side of the door. I rattled the doorknob again. "Jake?"
The sounds were changing now, growing more violent. "Jake, are you okay in there?" Alarm made my voice come out several octaves higher than Tom's usually did. I needed the boy, alive. What if one of the Andilites had somehow realized he had become a security risk and had decided to off him? It was something scum like that would do, using a child and then throwing him behind like carrion.
At the sound of a breaking bone, I decided. I had no dracon beam and was certainly unequipped to fight in this weak body, but I had to stop whatever was happening in the next room. Otherwise, all knowledge of the Andilite bandits would die along with Jake.
I whipped out Tom's credit card, grateful that my host already possessed the skills necessary to pick a lock, and scrabbled at the door. A dreadful silence descended as I renewed my efforts.
The door swung silently open just as a peregrine falcon launched itself from the windowsill, its wings spread wide.
Jake was nowhere to be seen.
I looked from the neatly folded clothes on the bed to the open window and felt myself start to tremble as realization dawned. Oh, shit…
Somewhere, deep in the hidden recesses of our mind, I could feel Tom crowing triumphantly…
Fortunately for me you did not look behind you on that particular day, and so remained unaware that your cover was blown. But I was in a quandary.
For here was this wonderful opportunity, dropped literally into my lap. A chance to rise in power, maybe even become a Visser--a chance to help the Yeerk empire crush all resistance against their glorious rule.
And all I had to do to exploit it…was to destroy you, little brother.
While you were just an informant, just a pawn in an Andilites' game, there was every chance that all that would happen to you was infestation. You would have been safe. But now that I knew you morph-capable, all of that changed. At the very least, you would be tortured as an example of the might of the Yeerk Empire. At the very least.
Tom's memories of you bubbled up in droves, driving me to distraction. All of the neural pathways I had created when I was using the memories of you to torture him, he now directed against me with a surprising savagery.
And I found that I could not look away.
Now, as I writhe here, dying, the same memories flood through me, the same powerful emotions that first attracted me to their deadly touch.
I have done terrible things in my lifetime, to you and many others.
But in these last few moments, see it clearly…
See that I never revealed your secret…
See that I have allowed you to win…