Secondhand Lions is one of my favorite movies of all time, and a while back I started writing short one-shots for it when I needed to take a break from my regular fandoms. They took all shapes and sizes, from vignette to just conversation, and they spanned the lives of the McCann brothers from their initial adventures in the French Foreign Legion to the fateful day at the end of the movie. I've decided to start posting them in chronological order as I can, just to get this stuff out there. The story is too awesome to not honor with fic.

I don't own the characters referenced here below, nor do I receive any profit from their use – I am solely paying my respects to a beautiful movie and some kick-ass adventures.


Oldest: The brothers take care of each other

It was a common mistake. After all, anyone who looked at the McCann brothers often saw exactly what they expected to see, things the brothers wanted them to see. Hub, strong and confident, every inch a man of honor, a warrior in any era, a defender of the helpless with a soul of fire. Garth, loyal, devoted, more thinker than doer, always one step behind his brother and yet evenly matched in courage and fortitude, if perhaps lacking in physical prowess or ambition. Hub, leader and fighter, with Garth as his second and side-kick. It was a well-crafted image indeed.

Very few saw through to Hub's near-constant worry for his brother, concern that he had gotten them into a scrape that, this time, would mean the end of them. For under the mantle of valor, Hub's heart ran deep and strong, and though strong as a mountain, his heart would have broken should any harm have ever come to Garth. He needed no one and nothing, and yet he needed Garth.

Very few saw through to Garth's own wisdom and honor, his serene acceptance of his place in life and the unfailing constancy of his heart, both in battle and simply at his brother's side. Garth knew he was not meant for the role of the hero, not like Hub was, and to be honest, he preferred it that way. Hub burned inside, an inferno of spirit, and nothing short of greatness would suit him; for Garth's part, he was just as happy to take Hub's fight on faith when called upon to do so, but not because of the fight itself. This he did for Hub.

Even fewer saw how they lived largely for each other. Hub would break the world to pieces for the sake of Garth, and Garth could draw upon reserves of strength that matched Hub's own if it ever came to that. They made it to each new, bloody dawn, endured it all, because they had to. Because Garth would not survive the battle without Hub, and Hub would not survive without Garth. But it was still Hub who came to the rescue in fine and dramatic fashion, blazing with glory before dozens of awed men. The rare times Garth was the rescuer were quiet, private, and never shared.

The McCann brothers took care of each other, both of them driven and ruled by Hub's honor and courage and sense of justice. Where Hub went, Garth would always be. When Garth was in trouble, Hub would be there to protect him. What Hub needed Garth would do, and when Garth was in need Hub would die to answer him. No one dared to doubt Hub's sincerity when he levied threats against any who would harm his brother. No one could forget that Garth would always be one step behind, ready for whatever Hub might need of him.

Hub and Garth – together, always, one soundly in front, the other subtly behind. So it was. The sky was blue, the wind was hot, and the brothers McCann were such.

And thus no one ever realized that Garth was actually two years older than Hub. It was a private joke, and a well-kept secret.