Note: Because I miss the old times when the rapid-fire Animorphs commander was the golden boy
Decent guy, your brother...he'll get by in this world.
-Jake watches them, and they look past him; they watch his older brother, and Jake understands because he's watching Tom too. And they all say-
You'd do well to be like Tom, you know. He does things just because he can.
-Jake sees them all, but they don't look back at him. Because he's good like that, because he's your brother, because he's just Tom.
But Tom looks past everyone else and tells him-
Jake. You're also just you.
It's nothing, Jake says every day of his life, every time he does what he thinks ought to be done. The right and true thing for its own sake, but it's nothing.
Tom never says anything like that, and he's the one everyone looks at first.
-It's just the way of things
That day at school, Jake breaks through the barricaded door and leads the new boy out, the boy who isn't so very different from him at all. Everyone needs to stop looking too closely at everyone else, Jake thinks in disgust, handing the boy his spare shirt, his clean towel.
And the boy, Tobias, watches him intently as he says, Jake, right?
Yeah. You're Tobias.
That's me. He's got a long way to go, Jake thinks. Tobias's eyes are strange and distant, a little discomforting; he's almost as tall as Jake, but seems to sink into himself when he speaks. Thanks for this, man, the other boy says quietly. Not- Not anybody'd do what you did.
Jake laughs and says what he's said before. Hey it's nothing. It's what anyone would have-
Things like this are never 'nothing', Tobias says with sudden sharpness; and Jake blinks, startled.
Listen- Tobias is still watching him. It's not 'nothing', not to me. Don't say it like that, okay? Thanks for what you did, Jake.
And Jake really thinks it's time he stopped looking too closely.
He finally understands, what his brother had meant.
( Jake raises his head, and he speaks, and all five of them watch and hear. )