Burned Again

A/N: Eh, just thought I'd do something a little different. This is just a one shot of what's going through Evan's mind as he makes his way out to see his dad.


God, how could I be so stupid?

Evan smacked the steering wheel of his convertible as he drove swiftly along the highway, the New York scenery flying past him in a blur. He felt his stomach protest in hunger, but he wasn't going to stop, not until he did what his brother asked of him.

"Fix this, Evan."

Oh, he was going to fix this, all right. He had to – it could very well be the only way he could get back on his brother's good side…if that was even possible.

"We can rebuild. I know we can."

"Yeah, HankMed? Maybe. My trust in you? Doubtful."

Then again, it seemed Evan never really had Hank's trust to begin with.

"In fact, the only shock here is that it took this long for you to let me down."

Hank had been waiting for him to screw up from the start. It was just a matter of time before idiot baby brother ruined the day, again. Well, not this time. This time he was going to set things right, he was going to show Hank that he could mend the tears all on his own. He didn't want to be seen as the ticking time-bomb of disappointment, anymore. No – he was going to be Batman this time.

All he had to do was sever what little relationship he had left with his father.

"How old are you today, son?"

"Um…this many." Little Evan holds up four fingers. His father laughs and scoops him up into his arms.

"That's right. You're a big boy, now, aren't you? And do you know what big boys get to do?"

Evan shakes his head.

"No? Well, big boys get to see big boy movies, that's what."

His father had taken him to see Star Wars that day at the theater pub. It had spawned a love of science fiction in Evan for the rest of his life.

"Evan, what happened?" his father asks as he rushes outside, responding to his little boy's cries.

"I fell off my bike," Evan cries, sitting beside the jumbled mess of his bicycle.

"Are you hurt?"

Evan points to his torn pants and the bloody knee hidden within.

"Okay, come on, son. We'll get you patched up and then how 'bout we get you some ice cream, okay?"

He wipes the tears off Evan's face and smiles, lifting the boy off the ground and cradling him against his side. Evan hides his face in his father's shoulder as he's carried into the house.

The smell of his father's after-shave came back to him, along with it the thought of Rocky Road ice cream. It was the first time he'd had that flavor, and it remained his favorite flavor through to the present.

"You look frustrated – what's eatin' ya kid?"

Evan stares down at his homework, head between his hands. "I can't get this stupid math problem."

"Can I see it?" His father picks up the sheet, looks at it, and smiles before setting it back down. "I used to have trouble with these things, too, ya know?"

"You? But you're good at math!"

"I am now, but it took some work. Here, let me show you a game I learned to make these problems easier."

Father and son laugh as they work through the problem together.

That one game had made numbers enjoyable for Evan. It was the catalyst that began a series of events that led Evan to become a CPA.

"Dad's gone, Evan! He's gone and he's never coming back!" Hank screams.

"That's not true! You're lying!" Evan screams back, tears streaming down his face. "You're just mad 'cause he likes me more than you. He'll come back for me, I know he will!"

Evan slams the door in his brother's face.

But his dad didn't come back for him. He didn't come back, and his mother died, and Hank was forced to deal with an unappreciative little brother; but Hank had taken care of him, anyway. Hank made sure they stuck together, had his back in every fight, patched him up when he was hurt, calmed him down when he was scared. Hank was Evan's world for a long time…until the phone calls came.

"Evan?"

"Who is this?"

"Evan, this is Eddie…your father. How are you, son?"

He had thought it was a prank at first, but his father had remembered Star Wars and Rocky Road ice cream and the number game. His father had also known about foster care, and the time Evan got beat up by a girl, and about the scar from falling off a ladder, and about the internship at the accounting office. All those years, his father had been keeping tabs on him, had not stopped caring about his son, and Evan had cried.

"So why'd you do it, dad? Why did you leave?" Evan asks as he sits beside his father on a bench sharing an ice cream cone.

"I got scared. I was still young, and stupid, and I panicked, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret it. I just want to make it up to you, son. Will you let me make it up to you?"

And Evan fell right into his trap. He had lunches with his father, shared stories with him, saw sci-fi movies with him, and bonded with him all over again. He felt like a kid all over again.

"Son…can ask a favor of you?" his dad asks nervously.

"Yeah, sure, shoot."

"I, uh, I need to borrow some money. Just something to get back on my feet a bit better. I'll pay it back, I promise."

"Okay, yeah, how much?"

"Two grand?"

Evan had given it to him. And he had never seen it again. And then his father disappeared for another six months. And when he reappeared, he began the bonding process all over again with proof of rehabilitation programs and a new job and a promise of a new life. And then he did it again. And now again, for a third time, only this time it was more money – so much more – and it wasn't just Evan's. It was Hank's money, too. Evan had given his father Hank's hard-earned money. He was going to get it back, and just to be sure he'd never do it again, he was going to push his father out of his life forever.

"You can't get rid of me son."

That was what his father had said last time Evan threatened never to speak to him again.

"Your brother – he takes after his mom. But you? All your material comes from my farm. You may not speak to me ever again, but you will never ever get rid of me. There's just too much of me inside of you."

Evan pulls over to the side of the road as his vision becomes blurred with salty moisture.

"Dammit!" he cries as he pounds his fist on the steering wheel, yet again.

He was his father's son, and he knew it. He would get Hank his money back, but when would he act like his father? When would he burn his brother all over again?

Never.

The answer was never. He was going to have to be the one to break the chain of lies and pain; but he couldn't do it as Batman. He had to do it as Evan. He would go to his father, get Hank's money back, tell his father to screw off, and then?...just drive. He would just drive until he ran out of road and then he'd figure it out from there, Evan style. His brother would understand that it would be in his best interest. Yes, that it would be best for all of them – father, older brother, and little brother - if Evan the screw-up just…disappeared…


A/N: Kind of depressing, I know. But, we all know Hank will go after him, anyway, and patch it up. :)