I have to give thanks to DigitalDreamer. Because of the comment left on my Psychonaut one-shot, I had enough confidence to start writing this fan fiction idea I've had for a while but never went through with. Thank you, Digitaldreamer!
NOTICE! VERY IMPORTANT! This chapter starts the same as the one that was posted before but it is not completely the same! Please read all the way through!
One: There Never Was a Spark
He stood there and listened; listened to the sounds of the roaring crowd and the Ringmaster's voice. And waited. He breathed in and out slowly, deeply, like he was asleep but those green eyes were open and starring at the curtain, waiting.
He'd done this countless times before so why was he so nervous? Ah, yes. That was why. They were here. Somewhere out in that audience, they were sitting there, waiting for him to appear. A little bit of him regretted ever inviting them but…oh well.
Oh, there was the cue! He pushed his way through the curtain after his father, swiveled around, and back-flipped to the center of the stage where he stood on his hands for a while before twisting himself onto his feet and raising his hands into the air with a grin. The audience roared and cheered. His eyes darted among the faces in the crowd, watching for them but he didn't see them.
And then he was dashing towards a ladder at the other end of the stage with the rest of the acrobats, waiting until they'd scrambled up it first before he climbed it to the platform as well. It was a simple, slightly childish act, one he'd done plenty of times and could do again no sweat but it was the routine his father had created and he wasn't the one who got to argue against it.
As the trapeze came swinging towards him, he gave a flying leap off the platform, soaring through the air for a few moments before his hands closed around the bar and he was swinging through the air, legs dangling as he went back and forth, back and forth. Someone grabbed his ankles; his little brother, no doubt; and he flung himself forward, towards the other acrobat, kicking his legs out as he did so. He saw the thin frame of his brother spin through the air before grabbing the ankles of a close cousin.
Then it was his turn to fly off the trapeze. He kicked his legs out again, let go of the bar, and curled himself into a ball, somersaulting across to another swinging bar. He caught it, and let go, spinning through the air again. He continued this all the way above the stage until he'd landed on the platform on the other side where he threw up his arms again with a fake grin plastered on his face. So easy.
With a sigh, he slid down the ladder and stepped up beside his father, who was holding a bunch of flaming sticks, ready to juggle them. His dad smiled at him and he gave a weak smirk in return. A stage hand bounced a large, neon green ball to him and he caught it with a snort of disgust; why was he always the one on the ball?
And then the music started playing again and he leapt onto it; no point in arguing about it now. He'd complain after the show as he usually did. He tried a few rounds of rolling the ball in circles while balancing on it to find his center of gravity and then flipped onto his hands, going around and around with his feet in the air. Feeling a little audacious, he took one hand off the ball and balanced on it with a cocky grin. His father shot him a warning look between the flaming sticks and he dropped onto his stomach on the green ball, losing his grin as he did so.
Fine, then he'd stand on one foot. No harm in that. He rotated himself back onto his feet and pulled up a leg until his knee was almost touching his chin. Then he put his arms out and started pin-wheeling them like he was going to fall. Another warning glare. Gosh darn it; this was a circus for pities sake! He was supposed to do daring things and make people go 'ooohhh' and 'aahhhh' and all that stuff…!
Now pouting, he jumped off the ball, stuck his foot under it, and kicked it into the air. This was the thing he was supposed to do after he'd balanced on it. Before it came down, he lay down on his back on the wooden stage and stuck his feet in the air again. The ball hit them and he started rotating his legs like he was pedaling an invisible bike, the neon orb spinning around and around and around on the soles of his feet. His little brother had been waiting most impatiently for this and jumped onto the spinning ball before judging the timing, almost flying off it to do a face plant into the floor. Lucky for him, he didn't and he proceeded to run atop it as his older brother spun it from below.
And then it was over and he was slamming the ball into the stage floor so that it bounced brutally fast and high towards the stage hand. He took his bow and dashed off stage towards the gypsy caravan that was his home. Once there, he jumped onto his bed, crossed his arms and legs, and glared at the door. It opened and he began to shout at his father but it wasn't his father who walked through the door.
"Lili…?" He muttered, a little embarrassed that she'd caught him fuming, pouting on his bed, still in his acrobat outfit, "You…really came…!"
"Of course!" She rolled her eyes like it was the most obvious thing in the world, "Sasha and Milla came too but they're out buying souvenirs. Actually, it's more like Milla dragged Sasha along to buy souvenirs."
"Heh, yeah…" He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling his cheeks get warm, "Look, sorry I didn't write back last time and I-."
"Shut up." She snapped, "I…I don't…care."
They looked anywhere but at one another.
It had been five years since Razputin saved her from the clutches of an insane Coach Oleander, five years since Raz had become the youngest Psychonaut ever, and two years since they'd last seen each other. Raz's family was the circus, so he traveled with them, and when he wasn't acting or traveling, he was probably on a mission. There had been those rare occasions when he'd gone back to Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp and acted as a counselor for a while; and that was when he'd been able to see Lili. But as his family got more popular, he had to travel and act more than ever. The past two summers, he'd been to busy to go to Whispering Rock and he'd even been hard pressed to find time to write back to Lili's letters. He'd been worried she'd be upset about it.
"Raz…" There was something in her voice that made him look up and her eyes locked with his, "Raz, there's something…I've been thinking about and I don't…really know how to say this but I-."
"You're breaking up with me." He said in monotone and she made a disgusted noise at him.
"Don't do that!" Her voice rose higher, "I hate that! I hate it when you read my mind like that! Can't you see it's hard enough without you taking the words out of my mouth before I can say them, you jerk!?" She was shouting now, "You never were really there! Never! Your head was always somewhere else! Even the last time we kissed it wasn't real! The first time wasn't real! And you led me on like a dog on leash, you idiot!" And she slapped him.
Raz's emerald eyes became rimmed with white as he stared at her pink blotched cheeks. His eyes burned but he bit his lip and held back the tears of rage. Anger flared inside him, bubbling like a pot of heated water. He was so angry with her but…it wasn't right…he just…couldn't let it out on her.
"Why don't you say anything!?" A single tear trickled down her cheek, her fists clenched, her frame shaking with emotion, "Why the heck don't you say anything, Raz!?"
"I…I…I…" Raz stuttered, lip quivering, and tried to swallow the lump in his throat but it seemed to be chocking off his words, "Lili…" A flare of red-orange in his mind's eye made his cheeks flush and his vision swim, "Why…why now? After five years…what the heck are you thinking…?"
"You can't tell!?" She snapped back and when he didn't answer, she stepped away from him, pulling her jacket tighter around her shoulders, "You're fading Raz…"
"Fading…what?" He rubbed his eyes furiously when he thought she wasn't looking.
"Geez Raz!" She looked back up at him and he saw the tears streaking her face, "You disappear and when you come back you've changed! You grew up and I know you can't help it but what you are now is…it's not who you could have been! You've changed, Raz…and it's not for the better…!"
Razputin didn't have anything to say to that. He could only stare at her as tears brimmed up again in his sight. What was happening? He was different? How was he different? He hadn't noticed any difference.
"But I-." He began.
"Just stop!" Lili whispered in a broken voice, "Just…don't say anything else! You're making it worse!" He felt stabbed as those brown eyes flicked their way towards him and he saw those tears falling again, "It's…over Raz…just…" She appeared to be unable to say anymore and she turned around, threw the door open, dashed outside, and slammed it shut. Raz stared at the wooden door, still processing what had happened.
"Lili…" He leaped forward and ran out into the night after her, "Lili! Lili, wait!" But she was gone.
The youth stood on the open field, brilliant lights sparkling in the background and the faint shouts of children and adults echoed around the area. A slight breeze ruffled his bangs and stung his burning eyes.
It's not fair… He thought savagely, fingers digging into his palms as his chest tightened, It's just not fair! After everything I did for her…! No! He squeezed his eyes shut, whirled about, and dashed off, back to the caravan, It's not because of her! It's because of me! I wasn't good enough! I wasn't…good enough!
The door banged shut behind him and he looked about, wild-eyed, for a moment or two before gritting his teeth, yanking off the faded friendship bracelet on his wrist and throwing it against the wall as hard as he could, screaming bloody murder.
I wasn't good enough for her!
He ripped off his performance outfit and tossed it to the floor, green eyes sparkling with tears and chest heaving with anger. The young Psychonaut fell back onto his bed with a muffled thump and rolled onto his side, facing the wall, shoulders shaking.
I wasn't good enough!
With a savage tug, Raz pulled the blankets over his wiry frame and curled up beneath them, sniffling slightly. His fingertips turned white as he clenched the covers with shaking hands.
Drawing in a shaky breath, he raised a fist and slammed it into the mattress with a stifled cry of despair. He punched it again and again and again, swearing at himself, and finally lapsed into silent, quiet, semi-sobs of sorrow and rage. The light bulb hanging from the ceiling exploded, plunging the caravan into darkness.
Something in Raz's head snapped.
Ah, first chapter done and over with. To any Psychonaut fans (and if you're reading this, I hope you are), I suggest you check out Digitaldreamer's stories; they're amazing! Anyway, thank you for checking this fan fiction out and I hope you'll stay tuned for other chapters to come. Also check me out on hosekidragon. Thanks again!
(p.s. I got the little brother thing from one of the memory reels from a vault in the Brain Tumbler. One of the shots shows Raz reading the pamphlet of Whispering Rock and there's a little boy looking over his shoulder; I sort of thought that was his brother. Shoot me if I'm wrong.)