Summary: On Bill's funeral, Tom tells everyone in attendance how his twin brother was "always there".
Warnings: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Major Character Death,
Word count: 2,757
The afternoon was beautiful. It was the epitome of perfection. The weather was neither too hot nor too cold, just warm enough to be comfortable with a light jacket. Everything looked beautiful. Autumn really was a special time. It was magical, how the leaves with their shades of reds, browns and golds fell to the ground covering the paths of the parks and streets.
It could have been perfect, yet it wasn't. Yes, the graveyard seemed as if it had been taken out from a movie set, with its shiny marble headstones and green grass, but the thick feeling of loss clung to the air.
Tom stood up from his seat, face unreadable, and walked straight to the podium. He looked at the audience and sighed. He didn't want to be there, but he had to. He had lost the person he held dearest to his heart and the only thing he was interested in doing was hurling in his room and be overpowered by grief.
He couldn't believe his beloved brother, his everything, was gone. Bill had always been there for him, even when he didn't need or wanted him to. But their friends had said that Bill would have wanted him to be there, and he knew they were right. Not being there would be an insult to his memory, but it still didn't make it any easier.
As he stood behind the podium and looked at the people gathered- friends, family, some people from the record label, even a couple of Bills ex-lovers- he remembered that dreadful day.
Tom had woken up late that day, at didn't recognize where he was at first. He sat on the edge of the bed and looked around. He was in a bedroom with light green walls and the bed's cover was a soft lilac. It was definitely a girl's room. Then he remembered the previous night.
They record label had given them some days off, and as always, they went back home. After a couple days rest, Tom decided it was time for him to go party, so he went out to his favourite club. He had gone alone. He didn't want Bill, Georg and Gustav chastising him for acting all crazy and a little slutty. He was a rockstar, and if he wanted to let go one night for a change he was bloody well going to do so.
He headed towards the bar and asked for a shot of patron. He sat there watching the chicks dance for a while, and after his third shot he thought he was tipsy enough to start dancing. He reached the dancefloor and soon a hot blonde wearing a denim mini-skirt, tight strapless red blouse and leather boots was dancing with him.
They danced for a couple songs before they started kissing passionately, and soon after they were out of the club. They took a cab and ended up at the girl's apartment. As soon as they were in, Tom had her pinned against the wall, and it didn't take them long to be having sex on every surface available.
He smiled a goofy smile at the memory of the night he had had. It had been a long time since the last time he enjoyed the pleasures of a sex marathon. It had been thirteen rounds; not his best at all but it wasn't that bad either. He got up and put his jeans on, walking out of the room and heading to the kitchen. The smell of fresh coffee was screaming to him.
He had barely taken a sip out of his cup when his cellphone rang. He picked up and each second that went by his eyes grew bigger. He tossed the full cup on the sink and went back to the bedroom and got his clothes on in a rush. It wasn't possible, it couldn't be!
It had been his mother who had called. She had gone that morning to his and Bill's flat to tell them something about a family reunion next weekend and then she found him. When she found Bill on his bed and not breathing she had panicked and called emergencies and told them his son was not breathing. Then she called Tom.
Tom got to his flat and the sight was horrible. Bill was lying on his bed, his clothes from the night before still on, makeup smudged, sheets twisted and his head was at an odd angle. He stood there watching for what seemed like ages. He couldn't move. He was shocked. When the people from the ambulance got into the room to take Bill he went mad.
He screamed and kicked and threw punches, no one was taking his baby brother anywhere. It was that moment when Georg and Gustav had taken hold of him, allowing the paramedics to take Bill. When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor had explained everything.
Bill had died of heart attack, which was in a fact a painful death. They had not found foreign substances which could have caused it, so at least Bill hadn't killed himself. Yet, the reason was still worrisome. Bill had suffered the heart attack because of extreme emotional pain and stress. And of course his smoking had also contributed.
Tom felt guilty. Bill and he had gotten into a row before Tom left that night. Bill had said Tom shouldn't be acting that way, and Tom had told Bill not to meddle in his life. The last words they had shared had been petty insults and harsh and harmful words. Ton felt it was his fault Bill had died. When he arrived at his flat that day, he had shut himself inside Bills bedroom and cried himself to sleep.
He hadn't gone out of that room for three days straight, until his mother, Georg and Gustav has forced him into a suit that morning and made him come to the service.
Now here he was, clad in a black standing in front of al those people. He took out the speech he had prepared that morning and stared at it. He took a deep breath and fold it again. Now he knew that whatever was written in that paper was not how he really felt about Bill or what he really wanted to say. He took another deep breath, lifted his head, and started talking.
"When we were small children, Bill and I were always together. Actually, we were together all the time. I could be here plenty of time telling you stories about Bill, but I'm telling you who he was for me instead. He indeed was a very special person for everyone, but he was like my other half. They say twins have special connections. I don't know about others, but Bill and I definitely had one. We knew everything about each other, sometimes I think he actually knew me better than I know myself.
"He was a great brother. Whenever we did mischief together, he was always there. When I was in trouble, he was always there. When I felt bad, or was down, or just needed someone to talk to or not, he was always there. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way. To his friends, family and everyone he cared about, I know he was always there.
"He was like a ray of light on a cloudy day, a piece of music in the uncomfortable silence, the laughter at a good joke. He was that tiny thing that makes the most common things special. It didn't matter if he just stood there or sat with you while you were dealing with something or you went together and had a good time, he was always there.
"A lot of people only knew the outside Bill, but I like to consider myself one of the few who knew the real Bill. Most people who knew the outside Bill, the public Bill, would think he was rather the attention seeker, but please believe me when I tell you he wasn't. He just happened to be a bit more outgoing than many.
"Perhaps to the world he may have appeared as this fearless icon that didn't care about what was being said of him, or how people perceived him. But us who knew the real Bill could tell you he was, after all, only human. Though it may have seemed different, he did care. Yes, perhaps he just waved away what the masses said and all the bad publicity, but he was a person who cared about what his loved ones thought. All those comments he received from friends that may have seemed harmless, they hit him.
"Perhaps I shouldn't be saying this, but I kind of deem it necessary. When someone close to him joked about his appearance or his attitude, it was not really a joke for him. Some of us learned it the bad way, but after something was said he used to dwell on it for days even.
"He was an open person. He taught me not to judge people on their looks, or our first impressions. He used to say we only knew a person's name, not their story. When he found out one of us was not up to face the day, he would always be there for us, and give us a reason to keep on going.
By this point, there was not one person who wasn't crying, or at least letting silent tears fall down their faces. Many of the women were openly sobbing even. Tom tried not to look at the teary faces, or he would brake down. He also had tears streaming down his cheeks, and the lump in his throat was growing with every word he said. He took a big deep breath and fixated his eyes on a far point on the back wall so he didn't see any of the faces.
"Bill didn't think of himself as the character he was set it. He thought of himself like a normal person, one whose only desire was to follow his dreams and spend as much time as he could with his loved ones. I also know he wouldn't want us to weep at his death.
"He would want us to celebrate his life, for us to be there for each other, as he was always there for us. He would want us to carry on with our lives, not stopping because of something as natural as death. I remember we were once talking, and he said 'I could die any day now, and I wouldn't mind. I've done what I wanted with my life. I've lived, loved and laughed. What else can I ask for?' He thought of death just as the next step to take, an adventure to ship, challenge to accept.
"So I ask of you, let's honor Bill's life as he would've wanted us to. Let's rejoice of the times we were lucky to spend with him, not whimper at the thought of loss. Bill, you were always there for me, and I know you still are watching over us. Bill, I love you.
Tom's voice broke on the last sentence, and as soon as he had said the last word he ran down the podium and sobbing uncontrollably. A few minutes later, he was found at his flat, curled on the floor of his bedroom by Gustav and Georg.
"What are you doing here?" asked Georg softly.
"I couldn't be in his room. It doesn't feel right," answered Tom in a quiet voice. His sobs had diminished and now he was only sitting there, tears coming down his face with an occasional hiccup.
"You were right, you know," said Gustav. "About him wanting us to move on, I mean. I'm not going to tell you to get over it any time soon, of that you shouldn't mourn, but you will have to go on with you life eventually."
"He's right Tom. We might have not been as close to him as you were, but I'm sure he would want you continue with your life as normal as possible," Georg could be a goof sometimes, but he always knew what to say in those situations.
"But it's hard. We were together always, and just thinking that he won't be there, it's so hard. And it's my entire fault," Tom started sobbing again.
"No it isn't Tom," said Georg.
"It is! I wasn't there. We had a fight before I left, and we both said things we shouldn't have. And I can't help but thinking, if I had listened to him and hadn't gone out and play the rockstar that night, I would have noticed him having the heart attack and I could have called an ambulance and he could be alive!"
"Tom, you are the one who believes things happen for a reason. Call it God, call it karma, call it fate, but things happen. That thing you mentioned, about him saying he could die a happy death, we all know it was not such a long time ago. I think he sensed something could happen. People tend to feel those things. And if he sensed something, I could bet he told you so you could go on," explained Gustav.
Tom nodded and buried his face in his hands. The three men sat there, on the floor of Tom's bedroom for what could have been hours. It was hard for all of them, and the only thing they could do for each other was being there. Sometimes words couldn't cover what silent comfort did.
After a while, Tom stood up, eyes red rimmed and face all puffy and said, "You guys are right. He wouldn't want us to weep. He would have wanted us to carry on."
With that, he extended his hands for his two friends to take. They did, and the three of them stood watching the sunset from the bedroom's window. They knew hard times were ahead, but together, they could face anything.
*One year later*
The autumn sunset created long shadows over the graveyard. A man knelt in front of a white marble headstone. It was still shiny and bright, which indicated a rather recent death. The kneeling man held a rose in his hand, and tears were streaming down his face.
It had been a year since his twin's death, but for Tom, the pain was still there. He had learned to live with his heart constricted with pain at the loss of his brother, but he had also learned to control it and deal with it. Although that didn't mean it had diminished.
"I miss you, you know. I can't help but imagine one day waking up to you screaming 'Gotcha!' and see that everything was a bad dream. I know in my heart that it won't happen, but it doesn't keep me from having an empty hope.
"I used to blame myself. They guys along with mum have helped me see through my guilt, but it hasn't been easy. I can't help but thinking on all the 'what ifs'. What if we hadn't had that petty fight before I left? What if I had behaved more my age? What if I had listened to you? Would you still be here?
"I know it isn't worth much now that you're gone, but I'm sorry. I'm sorry about going to the club that night. I'm sorry on saying all those hurtful things I said to you. I'm sorry for not being there to save you.
Time went by, and Tom kept talking to his brother's gravestone. He told him how that last year without him had been. How everyone had somehow learned to cope with his absence. He told him about their thoughts on ending the band, because it wouldn't be the same without him. He eventually sat on the ground, and just spent time meditating and contemplating the grave.
"It's late now; I should be heading back home. Don't want to upset my three mothers now. Mum said she's sorry she can't be here today, but she was caught up in work. Georg and Gustav were here earlier today, but you know that already."
With a sigh, he left the rose on the ground and turned around. Before walking away and with a tear sliding down his cheek, he said,
"I love you Billy, never forget that. And, I'll always be there, no matter what."