A/N: Okay, this is the last Step Up 2 one-shot that I'm posting today, and guess who it features? Blake and Chase! This one is set right after Chase gets beat up by Tuck and the 410 and, once again, explores Blake and Chase's big-brother/little-brother relationship. Review if you'd like to let me know how I did!
Disclaimer: I hate disclaimers. They make me realize that I am actually nothing more than a college student playing around with other people's masterpieces.
In a kind of shuffling limp, one arm around his stomach, his hat pulled low over his face and his hood up, Chase Collins made the painful journey up the steps to his front door. He took deep breaths, trying not to wince, and fumbled in his pocket for his key. It took him a few tries to get the key into the door knob, but he finally did and the door swung open.
He limped into the house, closing the door quietly behind him. The house was dark and quiet and he made for the stairs.
"Where have you been?"
A lamp in the living room flared on and Chase ducked his head, avoiding his brother's gaze.
"Out." He rasped. He saw Blake rise and stalk towards him.
"Do you have any idea what time it is?"
His head was pounding and he really wanted nothing more than to go upstairs and go to bed. "No, I don't and I don't really care either."
Blake folded his arms across his chest. "Would you look at me, Chase? I want a straight answer as to where you have been and what the hell you have been doing."
"You're not gonna get it, Blake." He said, turning towards the stairs. Blake's hand shot out and caught his arm, spinning him back around. The dark-haired man missed his brother's wince.
"I am not kidding around."
Chase yanked his arm from his brother's grip. "I am not having the conversation with you right now, Blake. So drop it."
"You are not going anywhere until we do have this conversation. You haven't been concentrating in class, I've barely seen you here, and you're coming in at two-thirty in the morning. This is unacceptable, Chase. So I'll ask you again, where were you?"
"I was out." Chase snapped, his patience reaching its breaking point. "So just drop it!" He moved towards the stairs and stepped up the first one, wincing.
"Chase." His brother's voice shot through the darkness. "Why are you limping?"
He froze on the stair.
"Bullshit." Blake said, striding towards him. "You are limping and you just winced."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Chase, look at me."
He kept his head down.
"Look at me."
Slowly he raised his head.
"Take off your hood and the hat."
He stood completely still.
"Chase." Blake growled.
He pushed his hood back and took the hat off. Blake hissed when he saw his brother's face. Chase's lip was split open; a trail of dried blood leading down his chin, and one of his eyes was swollen, bruising.
"What the hell happened to you?"
He rolled his eyes. "Blake, you're an idiot."
Growling deep in his throat, Chase obeyed.
In the fluorescent light of the kitchen Chase growled and twitched and winced while Blake sat across from him, a bottle of peroxide in one hand, a cotton ball in the other, and a bag of ice sitting on the counter.
"Not a chance in hell."
"Shirt, Chase." Blake said, with a dark look. The blonde scowled and shrugged off his sweat-shirt, pulling his t-shirt over his head with a wince of pain. His stomach was a series of bruises, black and purple and puffy. His arms were bruised as well, and he had various scratches and cuts. Blake slid the bag of ice across the table, and doused the cotton ball with peroxide, holding it out to his brother. "Lip."
Chase took it with a scowl, dabbing his split lip tenderly. He tossed it into the trash can and held the bag of ice to his eye.
"What the hell happened?"
"You keep asking that."
"Because I want to know."
"And I want to know when the hell you turned into such an asshole," he shot back. "I guess we don't always get the answers we want, do we?"
Blake folded his arms.
"Who was it?"
"Who was what?"
"The person who kicked your ass."
"No one. I fell."
"That is the lamest excuse in history, Chase."
Chase pushed away from the table. "At least I have an excuse. You don't." He turned away. "I'm going to bed."
"Chase, wait." Chase stopped, against his own will. "Just talk to me."
For a long moment he stared at his brother. "I can't talk to you, Blake. No one can. You're too wrapped up in yourself and in your 'big plans' that you can't open your eyes and see anything. You're so focused on what you want that you can't see what anyone is trying to tell you."
"I'm listening right now."
Chase shook his head. "No, you're not."
Blake watched his brother limp out of the kitchen and let his head drop to the counter. He wondered, faintly, where he had gone wrong.