Hi there. This is something I've had planned for a while now, had about a quarter of it written up for some time. Wrote the rest in the past two days. It's longer than I ever expected. No OC's in this. Just about a close relationship tragically ending. This is to prove I'm still kinda working on my stories for this archive...YOU GUYS ARE SOOOOO GOING TO HATE ME BY THE END, I AM SO NOT KIDDING! I almost hate myself for what I've done here...Enjoy, if you can...

Disclaimer: I don't own Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 or any of its characters. Even if I did, this would never happen.

The Cortez brothers couldn't be much closer if they were attached at the hip.

Even when they were little, neither of them really needed more than each other for friends. Though Spinner hadn't liked to share, so sometimes things got a little rough, but Spinner and Sherman had always patched things up.

Like when Spinner had needed a night light and Sherman hadn't. Spinner couldn't sleep without it and Sherman couldn't sleep with it. The two had shared a room, so it'd been difficult for a while. It wasn't until their parents had decided to separate the two that Spinner and Sherman could get around the night light issue: neither could sleep in their own rooms. So the next day, they were put back together in one room. Sometimes Sherman let Spinner have the night light on, and sometimes Spinner turned it off.

When they'd went into the third grade, they were supposed to be in different classes, but they told their parents they had to be in the same room or else they wouldn't do very well. For the first few weeks, both Spinner and Sherman refused to do anything; their parents were called and by the end, the two brothers ended up in the same class.

That was probably the last time anyone tried to separate them. The two Cortez boys saw everything in pairs; you couldn't have spring without fall, or summer without winter. Even every day; day was always followed by night and vice versa. So in their opinions, everything "took two". Even after they had a fight, it took a fight to make up after it. None of their friends had ever seen siblings so inseparable.

When they were about 13, they really got into cars and video games. While Sherman was tinkering with something or other, Spinner was constantly playing some video game or pulling pranks. Sherman's usual response was to get mad or roll his eyes, but Spinner was still the person he cared about the most. Spinner managed to get Sherman to play video games with him half the time, and he was usually ecstatic about it. When the tinkering or the video games were put aside, they were once again almost physically attached. Their friends swore they were really one being in two bodies, but Spinner and Sherman didn't complain.

The next big thing was joining the Battle Force 5. Handler Corners was a bit of an adjustment, but with new friends it was pretty simple. Besides, Sherman got the Buster Tank to work on, and Spinner still got video games to play, so they were alright. Though the risks of losing in a battlezone were high, the Cortez boys managed to put that out of mind somehow.

Well, Spinner managed, at least. Sherman worried sometimes, but he kept it to himself. He was always a little worried that something might go wrong, that someone might get hurt. The younger Cortez brother was always afraid it would be his big brother, though he wasn't quite sure why it usually brought a sick feeling to his stomach; he guessed it was because he couldn't bear the thoughts of Spinner getting injured. Sherman could tell Spinner didn't think about it at all unless danger was staring them in the face.

The younger Cortez brother constantly sort of pondered why it didn't seem like anyone else was overly concerned. Perhaps he was worrying too much; being too paranoid. He usually managed to shrug it off by checking the Buster Tank over, or busying himself. It nagged at him at night before he fell asleep though. Sherman never voiced his concerns; the team would just think of him as a worrywart, and Spinner would tell him not to worry so much. Sometimes Sherman was relieved when he could tell Agura was thinking about how dangerous it kind of was. When they were in a battlezone the adrenaline took over and the worries were easily forgotten.

'Why am I always so worried about Spinner? For one, we're in the Buster Tank, and two, he's behind me...If anyone's really safe, it's Spin,' Sherman tried to reassure himself.

"Hey Sherm, is something wrong?" Spinner piped up, interrupting Sherman's train of thought. The younger Cortez brother shook his head lightly.

"It's nothing, Spin...What game you playing now?" he asked, changing the subject quickly. Spinner grinned before rattling off some game title, and going back to playing. Sherman took up a controller as well, and they played a few rounds. "Spinner, are you ever worried someone's gonna get hurt in a battlezone?" the younger Cortez asked. Spinner looked at him with a bit of a smirk.

"I knew you were worrying about something, Sherm. Look, we always go in and everyone comes out pretty much unharmed. Relax," Spinner answered, hopping up. Sherman was about to say something in protest, but Spinner didn't give him the chance. "Now I don't know about you, but I'm starving! Last one to the kitchen is Stanford's socks!" he shouted, darting off. Sherman sighed and chased his brother, not feeling much like being Stanford's socks.

Later, Sherman was just sitting on the couch with a book, though he was barely paying attention to it.

"Sherman?" a voice asked, and Sherman looked up to see Agura. He slid over a bit and she sat down next to him.

"What's up?" he asked, setting his book down. He was relieved that he would have someone to talk to, and if he brought up how he was worrying...Well, Agura wouldn't try to make him shrug it off, like Spinner had.

"You seem a bit distracted. Is something bothering you?" she questioned. She'd noticed, over the past few days, that Sherman was almost constantly wearing a frown and didn't seem to focus on much. The younger Cortez brother sighed, rubbing his neck a bit.

"I'm fine, it's just...I'm kinda worried, you know? That someone is going to get hurt in a battlezone," he explained. Agura nodded.

"I've felt like that a few times myself. We just have to try our best and look out for each other, and we're usually fine," she answered. Sherman shrugged a bit.

"I can't shake it though, and I keep thinking Spinner might..." he trailed off, before looking Agura in the eyes.

"Well he's your brother so of course you'd be worried about him. I don't know what to tell you about worrying, just try to relax and enjoy the good times I guess," she said. Sherman thought for a moment before giving a nod, smiling.

"You're right. Thanks," he said. She smiled back.

"No problem," she said. Agura got to her feet. "I think I'm going to go beat Stanford at checkers," she said. "Wanna come watch?"

"I'll pass, but thanks anyway," he answered, picking up his book again. Agura just nodded before leaving the room. Sherman quickly found his page again, and this time he managed to really get into the book.

A few days later, the team drove into a battlezone. Zoom drove off to locate the battle key, and the rest of the team split up to help. Sherman found his throat dry and painfully tight. He wished it wasn't so quiet so he wouldn't have to think about it, but there was no sign of the Sark or the Vandals. The younger Cortez brother's hands shook a little and he felt like something was gnawing on a knot in his stomach.

"Spinner, I've...Got a bad feeling," Sherman barely managed to say.

"Sherm, it's quiet. No sign of the Vandals or the Sark, so what's bothering you now? I could see worrying if Kalus or Zemerik were around, they kinda freak me out...But we're alone here, bro! We're gonna be fine!" Spinner exclaimed, waving his arms around. Sherman forced a tiny smile.

"Yeah...Yeah...You're right bro..." he mumbled. Now if only he could really believe what Spinner said, but the sinking feeling that something awful was going to happen wouldn't leave him alone. He wanted to say that he nearly felt sick, but he didn't want to annoy his big brother with his constant worrying. Sherman took a few shaky breaths to try to calm himself, but it didn't help very much. 'Maybe I'm just coming down with the flu...Yeah, that's it,' the younger Cortez brother thought to himself in an attempt to calm down. He concentrated on driving.

"Guys," Zoom called through the com-link. "I found the battle key, but the Sark and Vandals are over here too!"

"The Sark and the Vandals are both here? Kinda weird if you ask me," Spinner said to Sherman. The younger nodded once, driving off to find Zoom and the battle key. The battle force 5 quickly arrived where Zoom was being pursued by a few Vandals and a few Sark. The Vandals and Sark that weren't chasing Zoom were fighting each other. Zoom had the battle key, but just then Zemerik snagged it from him. Everyone went after Zemerik, with the Sark trying to keep the battle force 5 and the Vandals away from their leader.

"Haha!" Zemerik cackled, believing to be in the clear. Krocomodo slammed into the robot's vehicle, stealing the battle key and driving off with it. The Sark leader threw up his robotic hands with a loud curse, before pursuing the crocodile Vandal.

"This is insane!" Spinner yelped as a few Sark smacked into the side of the Buster Tank. Stanford fired a few blasts into a small pack of Sark, sending them flying in different directions. Vert, Kalus and Zemerik were having a brawl of their own, Kalus trying to prevent to the other two from getting to Krocomodo. He wasn't doing the best job, as Vert got around him and then Zemerik faked him out. He growled loudly and went after them.

Zoom was darting around Sark and Hatch, trying to avoid being skewered. Agura quickly came to his rescue after slamming Sever into a large piece of metal. The huntress smacked Hatch around a bit before sending him over to where Sever was. The two Vandals collided harshly, groaning from the resulting dizziness. The Cortez brothers were handling a few Sark themselves, before snatching the battle key from Krocomodo. Something didn't feel right to Sherman, though, and it didn't take him long to figure out just what it was.

"Guys, where's Zug?" he shouted before a loud whirring noise kicked up. "A saw...? Wha...?" the younger Cortez questioned. Sherman came very close to vomiting when he the next two sounds.

The noise of metal tearing through metal ripped across the battlefield. Not too long after it had started, someone began screaming. The battle force 5 could barely register where the screams were coming from, and one wished he wasn't hearing what he was hearing.

Sherman turned to look over his shoulder painfully slowly, thinking maybe he was hallucinating. But when he laid eyes on his big brother, almost all thoughts went straight out of his head. Spinner whimpered, tears running down his face out of pain. Spinner had his arms were pressed hard into his side, and both brothers were horrified by the crimson stain bubbling out of the side of the older Cortez' torn body. The screaming started anew, but this time it was Sherman doing the screaming. He didn't notice the noise of the saw die, the only thing he could see was Spinner. Sherman floored it, speeding off to the portal knowing he absolutely had to get Spinner back to the Hub in record time.

They still had the battle key, but Sherman didn't care. The Buster Tank disappeared through the portal, followed by the rest of the team. Sherman cursed to himself, wishing the tank could go faster.

"Sherman, what's wrong?" Vert questioned, alarmed. Sherman clenched his teeth together; he didn't think he'd be able to tell them what was wrong, if he could even say a word at all. He just drove. Once he got back to the base, Sherman wrapped his arm around Spinner somewhat gently and climbed out of the Buster Tank hastily. Once he was on the floor, he booked it to the infirmary.

"Sage!" he screamed. "Sage!" he called out not more than a couple of seconds later. She appeared about a minute later, Sherman having screamed for her about five or six times already.

"Oh my...!" she gasped, taking Spinner from Sherman. She rushed around the room, moving as fast as she could. Sherman simply stood there, ignoring the blood covering his arms and his body where he had cradled his brother against him. "Perhaps..." Sage panted, out of breath. "Perhaps you should go wash up, and I'll let you know how he is later." He nodded once, and Sage zoomed off to help Spinner.

Sherman left the infirmary and headed for a washroom, only to run into Vert.

"Sherman, what's wrong?" he asked. Sherman wanted to shrug him off and almost did, but the concern on Vert's face along with the stress and the fear somehow made him stay.

"The saw...Spinner...Blood," the younger Cortez croaked, his throat so tight it felt like he was being strangled. The blonde's eyes widened, piecing together Sherman's broken statement.

"Oh god," Vert whispered. "Sherman, I'm..." he didn't know what to say. Sherman looked away, tears pricking the corner of his eyes.

"Tell me this isn't real, Vert. I've always had Spinner. He's always joked around about protecting his little bro, but..." Sherman shuddered, resisting the urge to break down. "I...I...I think...I'm a bad brother," he mumbled as a pair of tears burned their way down his face.

"Come on, Sherman. You're not a bad brother. That was just...Completely unexpected," Vert tried to comfort the taller boy.

"I...I think...I'm gonna spend some time by myself," Sherman said quietly, walking away from Vert. The blonde nodded, watching him go.

Sherman just sat outside. He couldn't bear to go into his and Spinner's room, and he didn't know anywhere else where he could be alone. He sat with this back against the garage, with his head resting on his knees.

"Oh god, I can't lose Spinner. I don't know what I'd do!" he said to himself. "If there's anything I can't live without it's gotta be Spinner. I need my big bro..." he let out a scream before he began to cry. "This can't be happening!" As much as he didn't want to, Sherman re-saw the worst moment of his life. Spinner hunched over, trying to put as much pressure on the wound as he could even though it didn't help much. The blood that had slid down his side and around his arms and between his fingers. It had slid down his leg and pooled around his toes, and the scent would forever be in the Buster Tank. That was another thing Sherman realized. If he lost Spinner, the Buster Tank would be as good as useless. 'Though I haven't much desire to ever drive it again,' the younger Cortez brother thought to himself bitterly. He disliked the vehicle that took two to operate now, though he didn't want to think of the saw cutting through any other vehicle.

Sherman sat out there for several hours, thinking about Spinner. He thought of the good times, the bad times, and he tried to repress the worst time. He didn't want to wonder about how Spinner was doing right now; he was scared shitless of the idea that he might very well die. It made him think of the tear again. Had it cut into his intestines? Or had it cut another vital organ? Sherman knew it cut something important, and he groaned. This was exactly what he didn't want to think about, but of course he found himself thinking about it all over again. 'Spinner won't die,' he thought to himself. 'I know he won't. He doesn't give up, and he won't start now.' Sherman took a few deep breaths, and forced himself to really believe that there was no way Spinner would die. He stood up slowly, walking stiffly back inside.

Sherman slept on the couch that night, afraid to face him and his brother's room. The younger Cortez brother could only see that moment when he closed his eyes, but he forced it out of his mind. He tossed and turned all night, having horrendous nightmares about losing Spinner and if he'd never had him in the first place. Blood managed to work itself into every nightmare, and in the morning he woke with a start and tears dripping down his face. He rubbed at his eyes, ignoring the overwhelming misery and the sadistic curiosity of whether or not Spinner was alright.

The next few days passed much the same way. Agura, Vert, Stanford, Zoom, Tezz and A.J stayed out of his way. They were worried about him, but figured they had to let him run his own course unless he began to harm himself. So they watched carefully. Sherman was growing more and more exhausted from sleepless nights and his mood only worsened with every passing hour, especially when he would accidentally wander past the infirmary. He was getting agitated with the lack of news about Spinner from Sage, and he wondered if something had happened and she had decided not to tell him. Regardless, he didn't have the nerve to go in there in case Spinner wasn't doing well. Sherman just prayed every night and morning that his brother would pull through alright, albeit with a very nasty scar.

Sherman gasped sharply when a light touch woke from his nightmares. He blinked up at the person, rubbing his eyes to make his sight less blurry. His mouth went dry when he saw it was Sage. Through the dark he couldn't see her face, but he didn't think it was anything happy.

"He wants to see you," she whispered, and Sherman jumped up. He went to the infirmary, not too fast but not too slow. He didn't want to see his brother if he was doing badly, but Spinner wanted to see him, and Sherman would always put Spinner first. He hesitated at the door of the infirmary, but he took a deep breath and walked inside.

Spinner was pale and hooked up to several IVs and machines. Sherman sat down in a chair next to his bed. He studied his brother; the usual spiky chestnut hair was flopped around his face. Dark circles were under his eyes which were closed, but Sherman didn't really think he was asleep. His cheeks seemed to be a bit sunken in, a few veins were visible and he looked really fragile, almost like a sickly doll. The younger Cortez brother tried not to cry, and he simply took hold of his big brother's hand. Spinner's brown eyes fluttered open, and when he saw Sherman he smiled.

"Sherm..." he said, his voice shaky. He raised a hand slowly to move some of his hair out of one of his eyes, a problem he usually never had.

"Spinner, save your energy," Sherman pleaded. He was fighting the tears but they won the battle, spilling down over his face for the umpteenth time since Spinner had gotten injured.

"Sherm, I know you care, but...Come on." Spinner's eyes shifted to look down at himself. "Sage did her best, you know. Don't be mad at her."

"Spinner...No..." the younger Cortez brother begged, horrified of what his brother was implying.

"I should have listened to you. Not just about your worries, but every time I didn't listen when you said something. I couldn't ask for a better brother. I hope you find someone who loves you more than anything some day. I hope you marry them and never let them go. If that person's a woman, I hope you have kids. Just remember to name one after me, okay?" tears were on Spinner's cheeks too.

"I'm sorry I couldn't protect you Spinner! That I couldn't get you here fast enough to save you! I swear if I ever have kids, the first one will be named after you! Even if it turns out it's a girl!" Sherman exclaimed. Spinner sat up, extending his arms out for a hug. Sherman hugged him gently.

"Little bro, don't blame anyone. Blame the Sark if you want to or have to, but don't blame the others. Don't blame Sage. Don't blame yourself...And don't blame me."

"I could never blame you, Spinner. Not in a million lifetimes," Sherman sobbed. "But I don't want you to go."

"I know you don't want me to go, Sherman. I don't want to leave you by yourself. We've always been a duo." Spinner suddenly pointed to a camera nearby. "One last picture of us?"

"Spinner, I don't want to see you like this," Sherman pleaded, not wanting the picture.

"That's what the others said, you know. Please Sherman? You'll never have to look at it, but it'd make me happy," Spinner whimpered. Despite not wanting the picture, Sherman got the camera. He'd do anything to make Spinner happy. Spinner sat back up, struggling a bit, and wrapped an arm around Sherman's neck while Sherman held the camera out to be able to get the both of them. Sherman faked a smile for the picture, but Spinner smiled his brightest. He laid back down when Sherman put the camera down. "I'm sorry I had the others in here before you, Sherm, but I wanted to say good-bye to you last."

"It's okay Spin I just wish...You didn't have to say good-bye at all..." Sherman whined.

"I know. Just remember...I'll always love you, little bro...Sherman..." Spinner said, smiling another big smile. Sherman watched his brother's eyes close, and felt his heart break as the heart monitor flat-lined. That was it. Spinner Cortez was gone.

"I...love...you...too...bro," Sherman choked out.

Waah! I hope the end broke your heart as much as it broke mine! I...might stick to my OC stuff...When I don't I do...terribly depressing stuff like this, I guess...This was ALMOST a Stanford/Agura thing where Stanford...You know...But it works so much better (and is so much more heart-breaking!) with the Cortez brothers! Wow, good thing they're my favourite characters! ...I have a habit of sometimes killing off my favourites...Anyway...Review!