A/N: Chapter 12! Thank you all who have reviewed, alerted, or PM'd me. It's so great! YAY! Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day and a good President's Day! Sorry this is coming so late...school's been hectic and being sick sucks. Anyway, enjoy! :)
Warning: abuse, implied rape, some cursing
Disclaimer: I do not own Big Time Rush or the song 'You'll Be In My Heart' by Phil Collins
September, Monday 24th, 2012
Ethan woke up at 4 AM. He was used to it by now. Not because the boys now had to go to school, but because for as long as he could remember (so for 9 years...), he would wake up at 4 AM (if not stay up all night out of fear of more beatings or other...things he didn't want to think about...). At first it was to find a way to escape as fast as possible, but after months and many beatings, it then just became natural for him to wake up at (as his "mother" said) 'that ungodly hour.'
Now that he was safe (or at least safer...he still didn't fully trust the people), he liked waking up before everyone. It was quiet. But the quiet here, unlike the other places he was trapped in, was peaceful...tranquil almost...where in the other dwellings he lived, the silence was deafening. Like it was going to swallow him whole. It was some sort of monster...much like Thomas Creavy.
Most of the time in the mornings, Ethan would sit on the colorful couch or against the wall, anywhere really, and just watch the world turn outside the window. He liked seeing the dark blue dotted with white with the gold horizon of the city turn from the starry canvas and gradually get lighter and lighter with brilliant shades of purples, pinks, blues, yellows, and oranges that all meshed and blended together to form the symphony that was a sunrise.
Every morning, at 5:30, Carlos would join him too. At first it shocked him and he almost wanted the latino to leave so he again could be alone, but after a few days, he somewhat enjoyed the small boy's company. It surprised him how calm and quiet he was when he came out in the mornings; the tan boy was always so loud and energetic during the day. But in the small time he sat staring out the window with Ethan and til the other boys woke up, the two hardly talked, and yet there was still an unspoken appreciation and respect between the two brothers. It seemed that because they had the mornings together, they actually became closer. Ethan still didn't like talking a whole lot, but that didn't stop Carlos from babbling and rambling about nothing and everything to him at every chance he got (not including the mornings). Slowly, Carlos was helping Ethan forget the nightmare he lived by introducing him to everyone at the Palm Woods (including Ms. Piper Reynolds who he couldn't help but notice that Carlos was head over heels for), showing him around town, and showing him old photo albums and other childhood memrobilia that was yet to have him remember anything, though. But Carlos was patient and insanly anxious for him to remember something.
But today was different. Ethan woke at his usual time and sat at the counter waiting for the adopted boy, but for some reason, this time he didn't come. It wasn't until everyone else was awake and ready to go to school (this time he wasn't coming with them because Jennifer needed more room in her car for shopping) that Carlos, not so gracefully, slid from swirly with his helmet on backwards and looking fairly pale. But before Ethan could ask if he was feeling okay, he was already running out with the rest of the gang in tow.
Jennifer grabbed her purse and followed, but not before she showered her apologies and worries and all the emergency numbers on her oldest son who assured her he'd be okay, though he was mostly trying to make her feel better. And although she still was visibly nervous, she reluctantly left.
He was now alone. Alone and vulnerable. His chest began to tighten and he suddenly felt colder at the thought. As much as he thought about how much he disliked how loud and crazy his housemates were, it was still company. It was still other people that could protect him, help keep him safe...but now they weren't here. They all were gone and that meant that Creavy would be there any second and get him. He shook his head. He couldn't think like that. Even without talking to that stupid therapist (though he hardly ever talked at the sessions. He mostly just sat there, staring at his hands or at the wall until Ms. Anderson got annoyed with him enough where she sent him away), he knew that wouldn't happen, that he was just being paranoid. He decided he had to distract himself...keep his mind busy. He didn't really have anything in his room to occupy him - actually there were some books, but he got sick of having to look up every other word in the dictionary and eventually just left them on the shelf to gather dust. So, instead, he decided to see if there was anything worth while in the room the other boys shared.
When he went in, the blonde couldn't help but laugh a bit out loud. Half of the room was utterly spotless, while the other half looked like a bomb of clothes, books, notebooks, blankets, various hockey equipment, and empty food wrappers had exploded. Based off the hair care products and "male" make-up on one of the dressers on the clean side, he assumed that the clean side belonged to Logan and James, while the messy side belonged to his brothers...though the memory of them being his brothers was still missing from his banks. He looked around slightly, thinking it might be easier to find something to do and the good side of the room. He turned to the closet next to the neat bunkbeds and looked through the hanging clothes, encyclopedias, hats, shoes, bandanas, a globe, medical bag, puzzles...he stopped. Puzzles. Puzzles...he pulled out the several boxes, carried them back down to the living room, spread them all out so he could see each individual picture it was supposed to make. He wasn't sure why, though he had a sneaking suspicion it had to do with something of his former self, but looking at the intricate designs and small colorful peices, he felt...comfortable...a tad happier even. He went to the one the furthest on his left; a picture of a hospital. It seemed to be the simplest of them all. He dumped the cardboard pieces and began solving.
About halfway through his fifteenth puzzle (this time a piano...it was a good thing Logan had so many puzzles...he was solving them faster than he thought he would, only problem was he running out, with this being his third to last one), Ethan felt himself stop and looked around as his surroundings changed. Apartment 2J was now becoming an entirely different place; not one of the many basements or cellars he'd been at before, but a...warmer place. A place he somehow recognized and felt more at home than he had over the past 9 years and one month.
December, Saturday 18th, 2000
7 year old Ethan Knight was sitting at the dining room table helping his 3 year old brother Carlos with a puzzle of a puppy and kitten, that the younger Latino had gotten as a present from a nurse at the hospital. The younger boy frowned.
"Why aw thewe so many bwon and gween ones, Edan?" he asked, crossing his small bruised arms.
Ethan smiled at him. "Well the puppy's brown and the grass is green. Of course there's gonna be a lot of them. But hey. Think of how many puzzle peices there are in my puzzles. It would've been a lot more if it was mine."
Carlos was silent, mulling over the many puzzles his oldest brother had and how many bits he saw that they contained. He wasn't sure if he could even count that high. He nodded a little in agreement; he supposed this had to be easier...
"Why do you wike puzzles so much, Edan?" he asked.
Now Ethan was silent for a bit until he shrugged. "I dunno. I just like solving stuff I guess...Dad says my brain's more on the logical side than on the creative side...whatever that means."
Carlos pursed his lips. "But you also play pano," he argued. "Isn't that also cwative?"
Ethan shrugged again. "I dunno, Carlitos. Dad also said that means I'll like math a lot. I mean I do like math, but I like Social Studies and English better." He sighed a little. "Old people are just weird," he concluded.
The two boys then continued looking at the unsovled puzzle in silence for a couple minutes, until Ethan offered, "Why don't we take a break? I can show you a new song I learned at practice..."
The small tan boy instantly smiled. "Okay!" He always loved listening to Ethan play. He jumped off the chair and raced him to the black grand paino.
About 20 minutes later, the two brothers heard the door open then close.
Ethan stopped playing and spun around to the door. He smiled and waved. "Hi dad! Hi Kendall!"
Carlos waved, not being able to talk due to the lollipop that was in his mouth.
Alexander Knight and 4 year old Kendall also greeted the boys while taking off their heavy winter jackets, scarves, hats, and boots. Or, at least, Alex was able to get all of his blizzard sheilds off, and then helped his young boy with his.
"We went to the stores!" Kendall exclaimed.
Alex smiled and dusted the snow off the boxes and bags. "Ethan, where's your mother?" he asked.
"In her room. She threw up earlier. I dunno if she's taking a nap now, but she was earlier," he responded.
The father nodded and set the first two boxes down on the small table near the door. "Poor thing. Morning sickness was always hard for her."
Carlos pulled the lollipop from his lips, emitting a popping sound. "What's mowing sickness?:
Alex smiled and picked up his youngest son. "Morning sickness is one of the things mommy's go through when they're first pregnant."
"Ohh..."Carlos said in an understanding tone, though he was still a little confused.
"But, more importantly, why do you have candy?" he asked the young boy. "This is meant for Christmas. And it was at the top of the pantry."
Carlos giggled. "Cwimean [climbing] is fun!"
Alex chuckled. "Well, little one. We have a present for you too. You can thank your brother, the pee-wee hockey star." he said putting him back onto the piano bench.
Kendall smiled proudly and grabbed one of the bags. He then pulled out a brand new, shiny black hockey helmet and put it on his little brother's head. "There. Now you're an official almost pee-wee hockey player."
Carlos squeeled, jumping and clapping his little hands. His too big helmet falling and covering his eyes in the process. He pushed it back up and smiled.
"Tank 'oo!" He exclaimed excitedly, hugging the younger of the two blondes' neck.
Alex smiled. "Ethan, I believe this calls for some celebration music. Why don't you play that new song you learned?"
Ethan smiled back and began playing 'Ode to Joy.'
Ethan was now leaning against the kitchen cabinet in front of the piano puzzle. He was breathing slightly heavily and there were a couple beads of sweat on his forehead. That...that...what had just happened? Was that a memory? Whatever it was, it had taken a lot out of him. Completely forgetting about the puzzle now, Ethan quickly got to his feet, having to hold onto the counter for some support and, once he was balanced again, practically ran to the living room to the photo albums that Carlos had been showing him the night before. A bit shakliy, he flipped through the various pictures seeing images, images almost exactly or identical to the ones he just saw in the shocking...flashback, he supposed to call it. Black grand piano. Small tan boy with a helmet over his eyes, Carlos, with a smiling slightly older boy with shaggy blonde hair, wearing a hockey jersey, Kendall. He left the album on the coffee table slumped back into the couch in shock.
An hour later...
Jennifer somehow managed to balance the many bags she had from her shopping trip from the car to apartment 2J in one go. When she came in, trying to find a place to set down the groceries, she noticed the counters, tables, and floor were littered with at least 10 solved puzzles. Some fairly easy, being puzzles for younger children, while others were pretty difficult, having 1000 or more pieces. There were also two puzzles yet to be solved and a half-finished one sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.
She smiled. Her Ethan always did love puzzles.
"Ethan, sweety, is it alright if I put the groceries on a couple of your puzzles here? There isn't really any room to put these bags down..." She asked.
She inwardly sighed and muttered to herself, "Well if they get messed up, you can always solve them again..." And with that she put her bags down and restocked the fridge and shelves."
Afterwards, she would've gone upstairs to read her Fabio romance novel on the balcony, but instead she noticed that her son was just sitting on the couch staring at the wall. Normally, this would've been a normal occurance for him, but the troubled, confused expression on his face meant that this wasn't a normal thing; somthing had happened.
Concerned, she sat down next to him and rubbed his shoulder. "Hey, sweety, are you okay?"
Again, he didn't respond. But the look on his pale face was just making her more and more concerned by the minute.
"Ethan," Jennifer said in a slightly more commanding voice. "Tell me what happened."
He didn't immdiately respond, just bit the inside of his cheek as if contemplating whether or not to talk to her. Finally, after what felt like forever to the mother, he looked at her.
Quietly he said, "I had a flashback...I think I remembered something..."
Jennifer smiled. "Honey, that's great!" she exclaimed. "What about?"
He closed his eyes to remember better and retold the memory to her.
She nodded, smiling the whole time. When he was done she said,
"Yeah, that sounds about right...Carlos wouldn't stop running, climbing...jumping in excitement over his new helmet. We had just gotten him back from the hospital and because your dad and brother got him that helmet, we had to take him back sooner than we thought we'd have to." She laughed at the old memory. The corners of Ethan's lips tugged slightly upward.
She opened her mouth to reminisce another memory, all in hopes to help him remember something else, but before she could even say a word, the home phone rang. She walked over to the kitchen and looked at the caller ID. James Monroe High School. She groaned. School had only been in session for a month now and already she had received 43 calls- all about some stunt, prank, or something the four boys had pulled.
As soon as she answered, though, she could tell this call was different than ones she had received before.
"Y-yes...okay..." she numbly answered and hung up the phone, her hands shaking.
Ethan looked at her concerned.
"C'mon. We're going to the hospital," she said, grabbing her purse and rushing out the door with Ethan in tow.
When they arrived at the hospital, they were greeted by James, Kendall, Logan, and Katie sitting in the waiting room. They all sat together, eyes red and puffy from crying.
A few hours later a doctor finally came by, informing the group they could go see him. Everyone immediately rushed in, crowding around the unconscious boy. He looked so small in the large bed and the tons of tubes that were protruding from his arms and neck weren't helping.
Jennifer turned to the doctor. "What happened?" she asked.
The doctor looked to his clipboard. "It seems that the tumor has eroded through his lung, he has a slight concussion, and a few bruised ribs. We have him in a medically induced coma so he can rest and not do more damage to himself."
"W-what did you just say? Since when did he have a tumor!" she asked him with wide eyes. "He has to go to the doctor's every three months- how could this have gone unnoticed?"
"It's possible it could have been hidden or malignant at the time..."
"I can't beleive this. You're the doctor! You're supposed to take care of this!" she yelled at him. Katie and the boys, even Ethan, flinched; Jennifer never yelled, even when one of them really screwed up. If she was openly yelling and glaring at the doctor, it meant that the situation was a lot wore than they thought.
"I understand, Ms. Knight and, I say this for the hospital as a whole, we are very sorry...but now that we know this, we have him scheduled for surgery later this afternoon and a nurse will come by later to talk to you about radiation treatments and how to take care of this," the doctor said and left before she could argue or yell some more.
Jennifer sighed shakily and sat in the bedside chair, taking his limp hand in hers. Softly, she began humming a small song. Ethan looked at her; the tune was so familiar...
Ethan looked to Kendall and asked quietly, "What is she doing?"
Not looking up from his shoes, he answered, "She's singing 'You'll be in my Heart'...y'know...that song from Tarzan. Whenever we were sick or something, she would sing us that song..."
Ethan looked back to Jennifer and, as he had that morning, he was overcome by the sensation of another flashback...
April, Thursday 31st, 1998
A 5 year old Ethan lied in his Toy Story clad bed, frowning as another wave of nausea passed throughout his small body. He had the flu and so far hadn't been able to hold down any of the food his mom had made for him, which made him upset; he couldn't enjoy the chicken nuggets or the Spongebob shaped macaroni and cheese. Plus, if that weren't bad enough, he had to miss school- including the feild trip his kindergarten class took to the zoo all the way in Minneappolis. His dad had promised they could go when he was better, but they wouldn't get to go behind the scenes to where only the zookeepers were allowed if they went without the school...
He quickly sat up and ripped off his covers as nausea turned to bile, water, and chicken noodle soup building up in his throat. He quickly ran out of the room and down the hall towards the bathroom, but didn't quite make it and began throwing up in the long hall, near the door.
Immediately, his parents were by his side, comforting him. Ethan started cyring in embarrassment and pain.
"I'm s-sorry," he stuttered shakily.
"It's okay...I can clean that up easily..." Alexander reassured, running a hand through his young son's mess of blonde hair.
Jennifer nodded and scooped him up in her arms, carrying him back to his bed. She tucked him in and rubbed a hand across his warm, flushed cheek.
"Don't worry, sweety..." she said softly and began singing,
"Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand, Hold it tight
I will protect you
from all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry..."
The song ringing through his head, the scene changed...
October, Monday 17th, 1999
6 year old Ethan walked across the parking lot, to the hospital entrance, holding hands with his Aunt Mary and carrying a large card he made for his 3 year old brother in class.
"Do you think Kendall will like it?" He asked his favorite aunt.
She smiled down at at him and picked him up, carrying him the rest of the way. "Of course he'll like it...his older brother made it for him."
Ethan smiled back. "Well not really...my friend Misty helped me with the flowers and big letters."
"Either way, it was still very nice of you." She said, carrying him inside and to the many chairs, where Alexander was waiting, sitting in the chair closest to the chair, head in his hands.
"Daddy!" he called, jumping out of his aunt's arms and running to him.
The man looked up and put on a small smile, "Hey kiddo..." he said quietly. He stood up, picking up his oldest son.
"Look...I made Kenny a card..." he proudly showed the colorful card.
"That's nice. Good job," he said.
"How's he doing?" Mary asked.
Alexander shook his head. "Not much better...Jennifer's with him right now...trying to get him to at least sleep..."
"Don't worry, Alex." she said, putting a hand on her brother's shoulder. "Knight's are strong..."
Ethan giggled. "Aunt Mary, that's funny..."
Alex sighed a bit. "Ethan, why don't you go down and give your brother his card?"
Ethan nodded, hopping out of his dad's arms and going down the main hall of the small hospital, peeking his head into every room until he saw his mother, cradling his baby brother in her arms rubbing his small back to soothe him, staying close to the bed as to not pull out any wires from the wailing toddler. He stood in the doorway and listened as her gentle voice sang,
"For one so small,
you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry..."
July, Friday 20th, 2001
A now 8 and a half year old Ethan stood in the doorway of his mom's bedroom, watching sadly, helplessly as she cried, hugging a pillow to her chest. He had just put his newborn sister, Katie, in her crib to sleep. His dad had died 3 weeks ago and Katie was born a week after that.
His mom had been crying all day and staying in her room, getting up only every now and then to take care of Katie. That lead Ethan to take care of his younger brothers and help with his sister when his mom wouldn't. Eventually, he sent 5 year old Kendall and 4 year old Carlos to spend the night with their aunt. He would've liked to gone too, but he had to help his mom with Katie and anything else she might need.
There were two things he was sure of since his dad died; One. He had to be the man of the house now and help in any way possible, making him mature faster than he should have. And two. There was an inexplicable hole in chest that he wasn't sure would ever heal or fill again, now that he had no dad.
But, for the young blonde, there was no time to wallow. He had to be strong not just for his mom now, but for Kendall who, before he left, was in a similair state as his mother and for Carlos who was confused as to what was going on and sad that he couldn't understand and sad because he knew something wasn't right.
Pulling in a deep breath and mustering all the strength he could, he walked into the large room and climbed into his mom's bed, sitting in front of the sobbing woman. He tenderly took her hand in his own and, much like she had done for him several times before, began singing,
"'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart, always..."
Ethan opened his eyes, his vision blurry as he stared forward and though he couldn't see very well, he could tell everyone was staring at him. He felt something trickle down his cheek and put his hand to it, seeing tears. At some point he had started crying. He looked to Jennifer, who smiled at him sadly. She reached out a hand to him, but he moved away, fallin out of his chair and to the floor. He quickly stumbled to his feet and ran out down the hall.
He had to get away. He had to leave. Not just from them, but from everyone. Seeing the doors to the exit, he stopped and turned to the chairs nearby, collapsing in the first one he came to and buried his head in his hands.