Disclaimer: I do not own Kids Next Door
Warning: Rated T for swearing on Wally's part.
You Are Not Alone
She wasn't at all surprised to see him sat on the bleachers, a half empty bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand and an expression of absolute loss and pain on his face. When she'd first heard the news she knew exactly where to find him.
"Hey," she greeted quietly, sitting herself on the row of seats just behind him. He didn't turn to look at her but the slight nod of his head and the fact that he silently held the bottle out to her told her that he accepted her presence. "No, thank you." She declined the alcoholic beverage and Wally just shrugged and took another swing, gulping the liquid down like he was a man starved. She could see the tear-tracks and his red-rimmed eyes and she almost broke at the sight – Wally was supposed to be strong, a fighter, someone who always won and never let life get him down – Then something like this happened.
"How'd you know I was here?" He asked and his voice sounded hoarse and cracked and Kuki resisted the urge to just lean forward and hug him tightly, trying to take the pain away from him.
"I know you, Wally." She answered simply and Wally took another swing of the bottle. "Are-Are you okay?" she asked tentatively, not wanting him to get angry. She wasn't scared of him or anything, but she hated seeing him broken inside.
"No." He answered without looking at her, his green eyes staring out at the football pitch in front of them. Just last week Gallagher Titans had won the championship game for the first time in over thirteen years and it was Wally that had scored the winning touchdown. At least, she thought it was a touchdown – she couldn't say that she knew too much about the sport.
"I'm sorry, Wally." It was weak, she knew that, but what did you say to someone who had just lost a member of their family? She swallowed tightly as her own memories rose to the surface and she huddled closer to herself.
He didn't reply this time, but he put the bottle down on the floor, his long, tan fingers letting go of the neck as he reached behind him and let the very same fingers wrap around her ankle. It was a gesture of comfort and Kuki nearly laughed – she was here to comfort him, not the other way around. But that was Wally for you – he had a way of forgetting his own pain in order to get rid of someone else's. She remembered a few years ago when he was coming back home after a trip to his home country and his mother had warned them that he was in a bad mood and that they shouldn't make a big deal that he was back – Mushi and Kuki had made him a welcome back sign but Nigel had told them to leave it, that it would probably annoy Wally. Mushi had looked for the World like a kicked puppy and Wally was drawn to it and, in an effort to cheer her up, he'd spent nearly $15 trying to win her a stuffed unicorn from the claw machines, even though he hadn't slept for nearly 36 hours.
He had taken on the role of protector of their little group – he'd beaten up kids who picked on Hoagie because of his nerdy-ness ("That is so a word, Kooks!"), he slated guys who made fun of Nigel's English accent, he'd cut people down with vicious words for crossing Abby and he' happily hunt down and torture anyone who even dared hurt Kuki (Just aske Gregory Fish – he'd looked up her skirt in Freshman year and he still peed his pants whenever Wally's name was even mentioned) and he did all this without thinking what would happen to him if he'd ever be caught. Thankfully, he hadn't.
But now it was time for a role-reversal. Wally was hurting and Kuki wanted to fix it.
She leant down and carefully unwrapped his fingers from around her tiny ankle before slipping her own hand into his – she was amazed at how big his hands are compared to her tiny ones – and she interlaced their fingers before she quietly moved down into the seat next to him. He didn't look at her as she did this, but she felt his hand tighten in her grip.
She knew that Wally was fighting to keep it together, that he didn't want Kuki to see him like this, but she also knew that the storm inside him was fast approaching and the damn was about to break. With her free hand she reached up and gently, oh so gently, run her fingernails down the nape of his neck and he breathed out a sigh and hung his head, his hand gripping hers tightly now. It was an old gesture of comfort, one that had been around for years since Kuki was thirteen and had hormones that would cause her to burst into tears at any moment. She remembered the very first time that happened, how Wally had just stared at her in a complete I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-you're-crying-how-do-I-make-it-stop-without-looking-like-I've-lost-my-cool-in-this-stupid-high-school kinda way before it morphed into a who-the-hell-upset-you-tell-me-so-I-can-kick-their-ass expression. Over the weeks he'd accepted that it was just 'girly crud' and he figured out quite quickly that a hug just about did the trick and cheered her up. Of course, Wally's hugs needed to be different than anyone else's hugs, and he'd quickly and gently use his blunt nails on the nape of her neck, just a small caress that let her know he was there.
Of course, she had to return the favour. The action never failed to calm him down, whether he was upset or angry, he responded to it every time – just as he was now.
"I miss him." He said quietly, so quietly that Kuki wasn't even sure that she'd heard him in the first place. "I really fucking miss him, Kooks." His voice shook and he breathed out heavily before closing his eyes tightly and one, lone tear trailed down his face. Kuki felt her heart break a little at that one tear and she watched as it slowly made its way to his jaw before dripping off and landing on their clasped hand. "He was nine years old. Just a fucking kid."
Kuki remembered waking up to a phone call three days ago, Mrs Beatles on the other end of the line, sobbing, telling Kuki that her baby boy was in surgery because he got hit by a car. She had never felt such mind-stopping fear before.
"Why was he even fucking outside? I mean, it was 2am! He should have been in fucking bed, not roaming the streets! I've told him, over and over and fucking over to watch the roads!" He was breathing heavily now and his jaw was ticking under his tight web of skin. Kuki could actually feel his pain and it hurt.
"I fucking hate him." It was said with a conviction that Kuki knew wasn't there. She knew that he didn't really mean what he was saying – he'd said that about his 'cruddy little brother' thousands of times, but it was Wally who picked Joey up when he fell down, Wally who had put Joey to bed when their parents were working, Wally who read to him and played his guitar for him and played catch with him and helped him with his science homework (he still couldn't spell 'gone' properly) and held him when he had a nightmare. Wally had loved his brother and Kuki knew that he always would.
Wally's free hand was clenched in a fist as the anger coursed through him and Kuki was quick to run her fingernails down the nape of his neck, but she realised that it wouldn't be enough – not this time.
"I knew you were here because this was the last place that you were really happy." Kuki said softly, shuffling closer and laying her cheek on his shoulder, staring out at the pitch, "this is the seat that Joey sat in when you scored that last touchdown," she breathed, "where he last looked at you with pride in his eyes and you wanted to recapture that."
Wally was quiet for a long time and Kuki would be worried if she couldn't tell that he'd drastically calmed down, his breathing nice and even and she could see out of the corner of her eye that his fist had unclenched.
"Wally, he was proud of you every day and he never stopped loving you, even when you were shoving him out your room and yelling at him when he just a baby. I won't pretend to know how it feels to have someone taken from you that, if that ever happened to Mushi I don't –" she had to stop as that thought flittered through her mind and she took a shuddering breath – Wally let go of her hand and she panicked, thinking that he was going to walk away, but he wrapped his muscular arm around her shoulders tightly, pulling her into the warmth and comfort of his body, his letterman jacket cool to the touch. There was Wally, responding to her pain – if she really wanted to comfort him he had to stop doing that.
"I get it, Kooks. In truth I just jumped in my baby and before I knew it I was here." He shrugged, one hand rubbing the side of his neck awkwardly and Kuki resisted rolling her eyes as he referred to his truck as his 'baby'.
"I heard that you got accepted into college." She said gently, letting her now free hand settle on his thigh and she felt the muscle bunch beneath the denim of his jeans.
He snorted lightly and ran a hand absently through his shaggy blonde hair before his hand fell to rest on top of hers. "It doesn't matter, Kooks." He sighed, "I don't think that I can look that far ahead to be honest."
"He'd be proud of you Wally. He always looked up to his big brother."
"You think?" The tone of the question was sure unsure that Kuki felt her heart ache even more for the Australian boy sat beside her.
"It's all so screwed up." He sighed, hanging his head and squeezing his eyes shut as he tried to get rid of the image of his little brother, so full of life, empty and still.
Kuki nodded in agreement and rested her forehead against the curve of his neck, unconsciously breathing in deeply in order to inhale his scent – so comforting. She wondered briefly if her own scent had the same effect on him before she realised, quite painfully, that they were not in a relationship.
"He wouldn't want you to be upset." She said softly, stroking his fingernails in the usual place, pleased when she could feel his muscles, which were tense with pain and grief, loosen at the feel.
"No, I guess not." His accent was more noticeable due to the tightness in his throat and she watched as one tear rolled down his cheek, leaving a shiny trail in its path, marking its existence, proving that it once existed. She reacted on instinct and leaned up slowly, placing her lips gently to his cheek and she heard him inhale sharply at the contact. Kuki drew away after a few moments before Wally's hands moved to cup her face and bring her closer to him, pressing his own lips to hers harshly.
His lips were warm, probably from so much talking she mused before all thoughts left her mind and all she could think of was Wally and his hot, passionate kiss. She could feel it all the way through her body, from the roots of her hair to the tips of her perfectly painted toes; she knew that this was a long time coming. She'd fantasised about this for years, and now, here they were and while it wasn't the best circumstance for them to be like this, it had happened and it was perfect.
Wally was possessive and passionate in everything that he did and kissing was no different – this was easily the best kiss of her entire life (ignoring the fact that she'd only ever kissed Patton Drivolsky before when they dated last year) and she couldn't help her tiny moan from escaping.
The sound seemed to bring about Wally's sense of environment and the kiss turned down in heat until they were little nips against her parted lips before he pressed his forehead to hers and tangled his long, tanned fingers with her obsidian hair as his green eyes stared into her own violet ones.
"Let's get out of here." He said hoarsely and Kuki couldn't help but notice that his voice seemed more tired than it had done before and she was surprised to find that she couldn't vocalise her thoughts. He chuckled quietly and lifted her gently to her feet before interlacing his fingers with hers and directing her to the car park. He paused briefly when he got to his truck before seemingly making a decision and pulling her in front of him, backing her up until her thighs hit the bed of his light blue truck and he encircled his large hands around her waist, lifting her to sit on the edge as he stepped between her legs, running his hand gently down her arm.
"He loved you, you know." He said quietly and Kuki felt the sadness that had momentarily lifted descend on her once more.
"I was rather fond of him as well." She didn't care that her voice cracked and instead she was the one to cup his face her thumbs running over his cheekbones before she lifted her body slightly to press her lips to his in a chaste kiss. "He was…So energetic – He reminded me of what it felt like to be a child." She whispered the words against his lips and wasn't surprised when she felt his grip tighten on her body.
"I loved him." He whispered as he stepped back from her and let her hop down from the truck, "he was bratty and loud and always demand that I play the guitar for him but he was my little brother you know? My own flesh and blood and I need him in my life, Kooks. I don't know how to live without him."
"You'll learn. It'll be hard, so hard Wally, but you are not alone in this. I'll be with you every step of the way as well as Hoagie, Nigel and Abby and a bunch of other people who care."
"Like who? Who cares about me, Kooks –I'm just a loser. I'm surprised you've stuck around this long."
Kuki was about to rebuttal this, shout at him, shake him, so anything to make him see that he was worth being loved, but before she could even construct a sentence through the red glaze of anger that she felt at his words, he held up his hand and stopped her. "Don't. I don't need to hear it today, Kooks, my brother's dead and I need you right now, calm and happy – I need you to be you, not the scary demon you."
Kuki sighed in defeat, but made a mental note to yell at him for calling her a demon as she unlocked her car door and was pleased when Wally didn't even hesitate to climb into the passenger seat. She raised her eyebrows at him in slight surprise and Wally shifted uncomfortably as he reached for his seatbelt. "Not drinking and driving babe. That shit's dangerous."
Adding swearing to her list of things to scold him over, Kuki shook her head in amusement before starting her car and backing out of the school car par and heading back to her place – it seemed that Wally is need of some good food, a good movie and a cuddle – and she was more than willing to provide all of these things, and more as long as it helped to heal her best friend.