Slash. Nikko blames his brother for his obsession with singing...
"Later, Caspian, Tajid!" Nikko shouted as the two boys descended the stairs to the exit of he and his brother's small apartment. They were always the last ones to leave, Nikko having to strain each time how important his 'beauty sleep' was. They had the energy equivalent to that of a thousand stampeding horses, never quite ready to stop dancing.
"Bye!" and "Goodnight!" came the two simultaneous replies before the closing of a heavy door.
"You sure that's the last of them?" Stavros asked sarcastically. The first time they had come to visit—study—Stavros had counted at least 13 or 14 of them before loosing count. He was surprised—proud, really—that his little brother had finally joined the right crowd, the one that actually focused on their work. All the other times Nikko had brought friends home it had either been that noisy band of his of some other reckless, rebellious hooligan—upon their departure, Stavros would remind Nikko each time how important his studies were, but to his disappointment he always got the same sarcastic reaction: "What are you, my mother?" Nikko just didn't understand how hard the real world was...
"Should be..." Nikko breathed, wiping the sweat from his brow.
Stavros stepped closer to him, raising a hand to his forehead to check for temperature. It was surprisingly hot. "Studying to hardcore for you?"
Nikko rolled his eyes, circumventing that argument as he curved around his brother to reach the kitchen. All that work and he still hadn't even had dinner yet. "I'm starved," he said upon opening the fridge, "that's all."
Stavros crossed his arms. "You shouldn't be out studying in the cold all night, you know. You can study inside just as well—better, even."
Nikko shot him a look of annoyance. "There are a total of 19 of us without Courtney, isn't that against the fire safety code?" he asked, rather pleased with himself for the excuse. Examining the items in the refrigerator, Nikko decided he was in the mood for cereal.
Now it was Stavros' turn to roll his eyes, though it went unnoticed by Nikko. "Like anyone actually abides by those rules. And who's this Courtney of which you speak? A girlfriend perhaps?" he asked, though he did not truly wish to know the answer.
Fishing out the milk from within the fridge before grabbing a bowl, he uncommittedly responded, "She's just one of my coworkers."
He pondered this for a moment. It wasn't like Nikko to have lost interest in girls altogether, even if it was only for a couple of weeks he would often talk of them. And though he seemed to have recovered quite fast after Amy, he still hadn't gone after any of the other girls. Changes in Nikko's behavior like this often led to greater problems. Suddenly snapping out of it, however, Stavros growled in annoyance. "It's not breakfast time, Nikko, it's 11:30. You should be in bed, not eating coco puffs."
"Hey! I didn't get dinner, I'm starving. Plus I'm not even tired." And then the inevitable happened, he yawned.
"Was that just a cliché moment or are you planning on staying up all night studying alone?" Stavros asked impatiently.
"You could help me, I suppose," Nikko replied. Immediately regretting having asked that, after all it was increasing his risks of getting caught. He hadn't actually studied in ages!
Stavros was caught off guard by this, stunned immensely. He chuckled in disbelief. "You're not serious, are you?"
Nikko remained straight faced, staring his brother down. He knew he shouldn't be getting help from his brother but he probably needed it for the sake of his grades or else his lies were sure to slip up some time. And though Nikko would never admit it, he didn't exactly hate the idea of spending some quality time with his brother...
"...You're not joking?" Stavros asked as he calmed his laughter.
"Well, my math teacher has been recommending I get a tutor for some time now—I just thought it best to go with you, seeing as you're my cheapest option."
"Heh, who says I don't charge?" Stavros smirked.
"I do, because I'm your brother."
Stavros just rolled his eyes. "Whatever, do you want my help or not?"
Nikko nodded and set down his cereal for a moment to get his books. It wasn't long before Stavros had explained perfectly each of the algebraic processes which Nikko had had the most trouble with in such a way that he could actually comprehend, whereas from his teacher he only heard meaningless words and infinite numbers.
"Wow... you're actually really good with this stuff, Stav," Nikko acknowledged with evident shock.
"I see you are surprised," Stavros observed, slightly insulted.
"You should go to college, Stav," Nikko suggested sincerely. "Become a doctor like you've always dreamed."
Stavros gave a small laugh. "You remember that?"
"Of course I do—it wasn't that long ago that you portrayed your conviction so theatrically," Nikko said, pausing momentarily to clear his throat. "'Mom,'" he began in a high, mocking voice, "'guess what I wanna be when I grow up!"
"Hey! My voice wasn't that high!" Stavros complained in a joking manner. He was amazed that Nikko actually remembered that, really.
"You just didn't hear yourself when you talked," Nikko teased.
"Yeah, well I was only eleven then, making you about six—I didn't know you had such good memory."
"Eh, it comes and goes," Nikko replied before letting out a big yawn and leaning down to rest his head on the table tiredly.
"Alright, time for bed!" Stavros announced, trying his best to tug the boy from his slumped position.
Nikko groaned in annoyance at first before turning his head tiredly. "Carry me?" he asked hopelessly.
Stavros lifted a brow incredulously. "And how do you suppose I do that? You're far too heavy."
"Just as you used to, remember?"
"You were small back then, not full-grown as you are now."
Nikko let out a whine of protest before sitting up and leaning against his brother's chest, slinging his arms around his neck. Stavros' face turned a deep red.
"Nikko, wha-what are you doing?" he stammered.
"I'm not letting go until you take me to my bed."
After a few attempts to escape Nikko's foolproof grasp, Stavros gave up. "You are so dead come morning," he grumbled miserably.
"Whatever you say," Nikko said softly as he felt himself being lifted and carried by strong arms. A sudden feeling of security washed over him and Nikko found himself truly content and safe within his brother's hold.
"Oh, why don't you ever clean up your room?" Stavros asked before tripping over some sort of amp cord, alarming Nikko and himself as they fell upon Nikko's bed, Nikko in a curled, side-down position with Stavros lying flat on top of him, their faces merely centimeters apart.
Nikko's eyes were wide with excitement for a moment before silently beginning to relax and close once more. "Sorry," he said softly before re-opening one eye. "You aren't hurt, are you?"
"No, I'm quite alright," came Stavros' soft reply as he pulled himself into a standing position. "I didn't crush you, did I?"
Nikko smiled. "No," he answered, his voice nearing a whisper.
"Good, get some sleep." And with that, Stavros turned to leave. But before he could, a hand somehow made its way to his and tugged him backward. "What now?" he asked irritably, though he was glad for the excuse to stay.
"Sing me to sleep," Nikko ordered softly.
Stavros sighed. "Nikko, I have work in three hours and you have school, we both need some rest."
"Then stay here... please."
It was rare that Stavros saw his brother beg, let alone simply ask for something. Stavros sighed again. "My, my, you are sick, aren't you?" Helping Nikko into bed then crawling in after him himself, he realized just how small Nikko's bed made for two grown men—well, almost grown in Nikko's case.
"Will you be my cure?" Nikko asked as he snuggled up against his brother's firm chest.
"We have medicine if you need some," he replied weakly, knowing his self-control was fading. God, Nikko was so fucking cute.
"Be my medicine, Stavros. Sing me a lullaby. You know... like you used to."
"Is that what this is about, you miss the past?" Stavros asked concernedly.
"I miss you, Stav."
Again, Stavros felt he'd been taken off guard. He chuckled a little, feeling almost euphoric yet completely confused at the same time. "We see each other everyday, Nikko," he countered, his voice soft with care.
"Yeah, for, like, five minutes. I wanna hang out with you more often, I want... I want the old Stavros back."
Stavros looked away as he said this, as if the words caused pain for him to hear them. "I'm sorry... have I really changed that much?"
Nikko nodded. "After dad left when I was five, and then mom's death when you were barely eighteen. You've become so much more distant—I know we've been through a lot, but we've done it together, don't you realize?"
"I know," Stavros sighed. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that, you were so little..."
"But you helped, Stav. You did, you made it possible for us both to move on from that."
Stavros looked up into Nikko's caring eyes before realizing the forgiveness they held for all his faults and personality flaws. "Do you still want me to sing to you? You are a much greater singer than I, you know."
Nikko chuckled. "I like it when you sing," Nikko argued, poking his brother in the side. "So yes, if it's not too much to ask for, I would like that a lot."
"Nothing can ever be too much to ask for if it's for you," Stavros whispered. Nikko's eyes flickered with such emotion that Stavros felt overcome by the moment and began singing a lullaby he still remembered from long ago...
"Just like the rain sings a soft lullaby
I will comfort you, I will comfort you
Sure as the sun in the morning will rise
I won't falter you, I won't falter you
Maybe I am helpless, there is nothing I can do
But 'til the very end I can stand by you
I'm never gonna fix you now
But I will love you anyhow..."
And just like that, Stavros' words wove a magic world to which Nikko longed to escape to—and he did so in his dreams with Stavros as his consciousness slipped away.
Stavros stopped singing and chuckled a little, patting his brother's hair. "Sleep, baby... just sleep," he cooed before his eyelids drooped shut and he, too, was whisked away into a world with endless possibilities.
Your Voice is the light to my path upon which I tread to reach a better future with you...
So that's part one one of this story. Originally intended to be a oneshot, this story actually wormed it's way into my heart cuz I fell so hopelessly in love with this pairing. If it ain't your thing--the writing, the pairing, whatever!--your loss, not mine. Next update already in progress, coming up later tonite--4/19/09.