"Pathetic" he had heard Reid's voice shout.
"…weak, always have been always will be… Always tagging along, running after the rest of us just to try and catch up. But you never can, can you? Always just a couple of steps behind, never with us. How does it feel, huh? To be the youngest, the weakest, the baby? " Each word was another blow, another stab, paining Tyler more than most words could. Of course, that was exactly why Reid had chosen those particular words- because he knew exactly how to get to Tyler- hell he should, as Tyler's best friend he knew exactly what would and would not affect the usually calm sophomore.
Caleb had intervened at that point with Pouge right at his side. As always, Reid thought, Caleb's little lapdog, doing as he's told once again. He had told Reid to shut the fuck up- "You're crossing the line now Reid, just BACK OFF!"
"Why? So I don't hurt 'baby boy's' feelings?" Tyler felt sick as he heard Reid sneer the name that was used by all of his brothers; that normally reminded him that they were brothers- that they stood together with no one else. He hated the way that Reid was using it as a weapon. That was when Tyler had shouted back and the insults had started flying.
"Oh yeah?" Reid had crooned. Tyler knew he was done for then- Reid only ever stopped shouting and ranting if he knew he really had something- knew that he had the one he was fighting backed completely into a corner.
"What does that make you then?" Tyler felt his blood run cold as all other noise stopped. All those congregated, waiting for the fight (that by this point was pretty much inevitable) were silent- waiting, wanting to hear what Reid could possibly mean. But for Tyler, Pouge and Caleb, the silence was a different one. Their silence was one of disbelief; waiting but not to hear what he was going to say- they were waiting to see if he really would say what they knew he was going to. If he would really stoop so low against his best friend. Against his own brother.
"Reid," Caleb had cut in once again, his voice hoarse now, but had been completely ignored by the blonde who simply carried on in that same voice. Soft and slow and taunting- it chilled Tyler to the bone to hear the one he considered his best friend using that voice on him. He had heard Reid use that voice before. It was a voice reserved for people he really wanted to hurt. People he wanted to destroy. Tyler had always hated that voice- always hated this darker side of Reid, the bullying side. And now it was turned on him.
"Well? What does it make you, baby boy?" That same sneer over the name, like it was dirt in his mouth that he wanted nothing better than to spit out. "'Cause we both know you can't be a momma's boy, can you?" Tyler heard Sarah and Kate gasp softly behind him, now understanding why the other three brothers were looking so pale. Around them the crowd shifted uncomfortably. It was common knowledge that Tyler's mom was dead and apparently none of them had expected things to take this sort of turn. 'None of you have stopped filming though.' Tyler thought bitterly, as he saw the camera phones glinting in the sun out of the corner of his eye.
"So what does that leave us with, huh, Tyler? Come on kiddo, I know you can figure this one out." He could feel his skin crawling as his anger started bubbling even faster towards the surface. Not only was Reid bringing up this- this topic that was so strictly off limits he would only talk to his brothers about it in the dead of night at one of their houses: it was far too easy for people to over hear them at the school. But he was actually mocking him about it. He knew Reid was a condescending prick, but this…
"That, baby boy, makes you a daddy's boy. Aren't. You. Proud. I mean Jesus; your dad is such a great guy, isn't he? Always so nice, and caring, and such a great dad to you. I mean sure, he hit you occasionally, but so what right? I bet you were a right little shit to him!" Tyler was across the circle with his hands around Reid's throat in seconds. They tumbled to the ground landing with a slam with Reid unable to regain the breath that had just been knocked out of him due to the tight grip Tyler had on his neck. That didn't mean Reid was going down without a fight, and unfortunately for Tyler, Reid had always won these battles. Using the fact that Tyler was still pretty scrawny, Reid flipped them both over so that he was now pinning Tyler down. With his hands still wrapped around the older boy's throat, Tyler was unable to block himself as Reid landed hit after hit on his face. Reid, however, now looked about ready to pass out from the lack of air and Tyler took this opportunity to flip them once more so that he was again on top. He took his hands from around Reid's neck not even allowing him to gasp for breath before he punched the blonde hard in the jaw. Both boys dissolved into a blur of flying fists as they rolled on the ground.
Tyler could hear both Pouge and Caleb yelling at them but was unable to make out any particular words over the pounding in his ears. Reid had managed to flip it so that he was on top, and try as Tyler might, he was unable to move from underneath him. The older boy didn't waste time in hitting Tyler anywhere he could reach. Eventually, Tyler, unable to hit Reid back just settled for trying to block Reid's hits. He felt Reid grab him by the hair and he yelled out in the pain as Reid lifted his head off of the ground only to hit him in the nose, causing his head to smack back on the concrete with a sickening crunch.
There were gasps of horror around the two and Reid was abruptly pulled off of Tyler, Pouge and Caleb on either side of the blonde boy and both looking furious as they threw him to the ground behind them. Caleb crouched down, looking at Tyler with concern while Pouge stood over Reid, keeping him pinned in place with a foot on his chest. Tyler, too busy focusing on blinking the spots out of his vision, didn't hear what Caleb was saying beside him. He did however hear Reid's next little comment that was enough to send him leaping to his feet. "See! Such a fucking weakling. You would have thought by this point you could at least take a fucking punch Ty Ty!" Tyler lurched forwards until Caleb wrapped his arms around his younger brother and dragging him- spitting and swearing- backwards. All four brothers were yelling now: Tyler at Reid, Caleb at Tyler, Pouge at Reid and Reid at Tyler.
"NO!" Tyler's strangled voice cut across it all, letting the silence fall once again, even Reid not continuing to yell over him. "Fuck this! Fuck you, fuck all of you!" The tears had started brimming at that point but he blinked them back furiously, glaring at Reid through shining eyes. "You know what, Reid? I don't give a fuck. You know why? 'Cause you're not, and you never will be, my brother." His voice was breaking but he didn't care. The tears were going to fall soon, and he knew that. The silence was palpable as everyone, including Caleb, stared at him in shock. But he didn't care, not anymore. He turned on his heel and left, shoving his way through the students that had been watching the fight. A path was formed as the students pressed back giving him room to stride briskly through the crowd leaving a stunned group in his wake.
A knock on the window brought him out of his reverie.
Glancing up, Tyler noticed for the first time that it was raining outside. Caleb was peering through the driver's side window- hand over his eyes to shield them from the water. He gestured frantically to the lock that Tyler noticed was still down from where he had set it when he first entered the car. Sighing, he unlocked the door and slid over into the passenger side seat, not even bothering to go through the usual argument, already knowing he would lose. He settled back into his previous position resting his chin on his knees, not even caring that the tears were still rolling down his cheeks. Caleb exhaled sharply through his nose, silently cursing Reid. He hadn't seen Tyler this worked up in years. Reaching over he placed his hand on Tyler's head, ruffling his youngest brother's hair just like he normally did when Tyler was ill or upset.
Putting his arm around his shoulder, he pulled Tyler towards him, allowing the sophomore to bury his face in Caleb's shoulder. "Hey now baby boy," Caleb soothed. The name that had so recently been used as a weapon against the boy now worked to calm him a little further. Sure, Reid was the brother Tyler was closest to, but Caleb being the oldest had always been the best at taking care of each of his brothers. He always knew just how to calm them down. "Do you want to talk about it?" He could feel his brother shaking his head furiously against his shoulder, could hear as Tyler's breath hitched again, knew he had only moments until Tyler started sobbing again. "Okay, okay, okay…" Over and over he repeated the word until Tyler understood that he truly meant it. As his brother's breathing calmed again, he said, "Right then, let's go back to mine and we'll watch some movies like we all used to…" At the look Tyler sent him Caleb back tracked immediately. "Me, you, and Pouge'll be there too." He assured Tyler quickly. When he didn't respond Caleb nudged his shoulder and caught his chin, forcing his brother to look up at him. "Okay baby boy?"
"Yeah, sorry, sounds good." He gave Caleb a weak smile, but his older brother took that as enough motivation to grin at him and turn on the car. Backing out of the parking space and pulling from the school's parking lot, Caleb threw a glance at Tyler whose head was now pressed against the window with his eyes closed.
"Listen kid," Tyler tensed up beside him. Hadn't they just been over the fact that Tyler didn't want to discuss this? "I'm not going to ask you to speak baby boy; I just want you to listen." He added quickly, relaxing as Tyler nodded beside him. "Reid knows shit." Tyler looked up, raising an eyebrow at his older brother's bluntness. "You know what he knows? How to get to you best. Hell, he probably knows better than you how to get to you. But you know why that's good?" Caleb pulled the car into a layby, turning to face a now very confused looking Tyler. "Because it lets you know that he talks bullshit too." He saw Tyler's lips start to quirk into a smile. "Right? So forget what he said, 'cause it's all crap."
He turned the key in the ignition and pulled back out on to the highway.