A painful cry escaped his lips as fifteen-year-old Simon Seville hit the pavement before Oak Creek High School. He gasped for breath as pain shot through his knees and bloody, shredded palms. Simon, glasses askew across his pale and narrow features, wanted to cry out to his attacker, to pull out every curse word he knew from the recesses of his tortured memory.
Instead, he stayed silent, the verbal bashing that had already come about was much worse than the physical pain he was going through. That he could withstand like a brick wall. For the tall, awkward chipmunk had been beaten up habitually for the past four years. But the words, those still rang in the back of his head, like a thousand bells signaling his own funeral procession.
Fagot. Freak. Homo. Queer. Where did these miscreant boys have the right to make such assumptions?
Simon sighed as he heard footsteps dissipate off into the distance, but didn't even move, hardly breathed, for fear that the boy would come back. And both he and his attacker knew that there would be no resistance, for as his brother, Alvin, had told him so many times before; "They don't have the right to do it, Simon. You let them do it."
And, as much as the pale, awkward teenager had always denied something so ludicrous, deep in his heart he knew that Alvin was right. The loud, obnoxious, mischievous ladies man, as much of a troublemaker he was, usually held some truth in whatever he spoke of. Worldly wise was what Simon called it, while Alvin would always dismiss it as common sense.
God, how could this be happening to him? He shifted his sore body against the cold pavement, only mildly surprised that no one had stopped to offer even a hand. For he'd truly expected such: how could anyone care about a 'freak', such as himself?
The thought was utterly preposterous.
Simon knew he was smart, knew he could've left out the back door, a few minutes early, but also knew that the next day they'd still be waiting for him. They, he...he didn't even know who it was anymore. A faceless attacker that could strike down anyone with a weakness, his being the lack of strength needed to pull himself through such a situation. But, truly, what was the use anymore?
"Simon?" the boy jumped, blinking, and rolled over to see the blindingly red form of his brother, still dressed in his big yellow A, leaning over him and looking terribly concerned. "Are you okay?" The bespectacled boy was surprised his brother was able to approach without him noticing, but simply passed it off as another one of those moments where he was so lost inside his own self loathing that - "Simon!"
"What?" he barked, startled, before meeting his brother's now aggravated eyes and allowing the other boy to pull him up into a sitting position. Alvin knelt down beside him, his usually suave and debonair features lined with worry.
"What happened?" he asked gently, trying to coax his brother back to a reasonable state, but it was too late. Simon pushed him away, brushing himself off and making a few obviously-painful steps toward the front gate. Alvin bit his lip, knowing his brother always had his pride and this usually insurmountable shield around himself, but followed in quick steps.
Simon's steps were brisk, but still awkward and uneven as Alvin caught up. His dark blue shirt was torn and dark, crimson blood seeped through the fabric at his knees, not to mention his palms, which had taken the brunt of the fall, and hence had been cut to ribbons. "Simon, stop!" Alvin demanded, frustrated, as he reached his brother's side. When the taller boy did not, he took a step ahead and slid in front of him, causing the run-away train that was his sibling to come to a screeching halt.
"Please imove/i," Simon instructed through gritted teeth, seeming to forget that his younger brother was even more stubborn than he. For Alvin didn't budge, and side-stepped him each time the now-shaking boy tried to pass.
"Please stop?" the shorter boy then bit off in the same tone, raising his arms to grasp Simon's shoulder's tightly. When his older brother winced, he slacked his grip, but still restrained him as he ordered darkly: "Look at me, Simon."
"Why?" the brown eyed boy immediately exclaimed, swinging his arms upward to push Alvin away and reeling backwards with a flourish of motion. "We both know what happened, and we both know that it'll happen again. Why do you have to make everything so difficult, Alvin?"
"I'm just talented that way, I guess," he immediately snapped back, still blocking the sidewalk. Throwing up his arms in frustration, Simon turned on his heels and began walking briskly in the other direction. He really didn't know where he was going, but he knew that he needed to get away from this. Alvin watched desperately as his brother high-tailed it down the paved squares, then searched his mind for anything that would make it stop. "Why can't you stop being such a damned chicken and face these guys, Simon? How can someone as smart as you be so incredibly stupid?"
Although exhibiting a level of anger not needed, his words had done the trick, and Simon whirled about to come running back and face his brother. He stood dangerously close, still towering above him, and shouted with trembling conviction that was full of fear: "You don't know what it is to be me, Alvin. You could never even imagine! To be looked upon as a doormat your whole life. Even still, to be over-looked your entire life for someone who's ten times better than you in every single way. It wears on you after a while, and eventually you begin to believe what everyone's telling you." All the anger drained from his features as he backed away and let his sad, open eyes fall to the ground. His words became weak, the rush of momentary adrenaline long passed, and his voice was barely above a whisper when he questioned desperately, "How can so many people be wrong?"
Some missing pieces of the puzzle standing before him clicked into place, and, in an almost unnoticeable instant, Alvin seemed to really see his brother for who he was. And among all of his wonderful talents and razor sharp wit, it was plain to see that Simon had been trying desperately to live and thrive in Alvin's own shadow for so many years.
How could he have been so blind? They'd always stuck up for each other, Theodore as well, for all of their childhoods. But now, in high school, it was only the two boys, and they'd seemed to have gone their own separate ways with their own separate friends. However, it was clear to Alvin now, that he'd simply gone away, and sold the companionship they'd always had to pay the high price of popularity.
Silence hung heavy in the air as brother faced brother, neither able to look up for the shame and hurt they felt, hurt that they'd caused each other. Alvin took a deep breath, meeting his brother's downcast eyes, and pulling-forth each word he spoke from inside his mortal soul. "I'm so sorry, Simon. Sometimes I just kind of get caught up with all of my dreams and everything wonderful that I'm going to do, that I never realized that I was over-looking you and taking everything-" His voice broke, and after taking another deep breath, he continued shakily; "I never meant-"
"It's not your fault," Simon immediately interrupted, biting a bit at his bottom lip before continuing; "You were always right, Alvin. I had a hard time coping with the adjustment, I've never been able to fit in as well as you, but maybe if I'd even tried..."
Their voices both seemed to linger off in a gust of wind, each being stripped down to the simple fact that they were both eternally regretful for what they had done. And, in that moment, no words were needed, and they fell together as if they had never aged from their child-states, and maybe it was true.
Maybe, they were still the two young chipmunks that had gone on so many wild adventures together and survived so much, that something like a menial high school bully could never defeat them.