A/N: This doc is sort of old but I still really love it and if I'm going to post my big fic here, this needs to be posted because it came first! I have a lot of headcanon in here and I'm sort of dedicated to it. The Striders are actually my babies.
Also can we talk about how MAD I am that this website does not have a tag for Bro Strider it just has Dirk Strider lmao man I'm so irrationally mad especially since I don't think Beta Bro's name was Dirk ahahahahahahahahaha wow I'm so mad and I don't even know why it's 1:45 am and I'm screaming over bad tagging systems I'm actually still ten years old I'm a fetus.
Your name is Bro Strider and when you were seventeen, you found a baby in a pit.
To be fair, you knew said baby was coming, but it still weirded you out. You weren't even sure he was coming, honestly, so when he did come it seemed unreal. But you're a Strider so you sucked it up like a man and hauled ass out of there with baby and dead pony in tow.
You never tell Dave about the pony. There is no need to scar the tyke more than he is destined to be scarred by your abnormal lifestyle. You also never tell him where his name from, because he never asks. He seems to take everything important you tell him as the one truth in this life and rarely questions it. Instead, he asks questions like "Why is the sky blue?" and "Why do I have to go to bed?" and, once , "Can swords be microwaved?". The look of utter concentration on his face was as priceless as the question and you never gave him a real answer, just laughed and carefully directed him away from the kitchen. That kind of question was very typical of Dave, especially as he grew older and began realizing that the sharp objects around the house had a purpose beyond decoration and to scare the shit out of babysitters.
There is only been one exception to the "Bro knows all and Bro is always right and don't ask questions Dave just go to bed" rule. That is the exception you have feared most of Dave's life, and it has finally come. It comes today, a day when Dave is eight and it's the middle of July. To say it is hot would be like saying that Noah's Flood was a light rain storm. It isn't just "hot" or "humid" or "gross"- it's fucking hot, painfully humid, and grosser than the inside of your shoes. You have stripped down to boxers and Dave has joined you in proudly wearing his ironic Thomas the Tank Engine undies. You're both lying near the fan, and Dave gives a little sigh every time the rotation blows cold air into him. You, of course, are too cool to sigh over something as trivial as a fan but you don't chide him for doing so. It's completely okay, in your book, for an eight year old to be less cool than you, especially on a day like today. It's almost hot enough for you to lose your cool. But since it isn't motherfucking hot yet, you keep a tight leash on your awesome. No need to go crazy just yet.
It's silent except for the sighs, the general sounds of traffic, and the whir of the fan. You have to admit, it's kind of a nice change from Dave's constant energy, his need to poke at everything and speak faster than a mouse on performance-enhancing drugs. But of course, it's all just a set up for what will become the perfect awkward moment.
"Where are our parents?"
Not even a pre-sucker punch "Do we have parents?" question. No, Dave gets right to the heart of the matter and he does it as casually as he asked every other question. It was like he doesn't even understand the gravity of his question. You would think so, but a glance at him shows his little hands fisted tightly in the loops of the carpet, tilting his hand of cards towards you , showing his true anxiety about this question. Unlike the rest of Dave's questions, the answer isn't easy. It can't be shaken off with a "Because" or a laugh. This is a Motherfucking Serious Question and deserves a Motherfucking Serious Answer.
But you don't have one. You avoided thinking of one in the hopes that if you didn't think about it, neither would Dave. You prayed for some kind of reverse brain osmosis, where you not thinking about something would cause Dave not to think about it. Obviously, reverse brain osmosis did not exist because Dave is asking and you aren't ready. For once in his life, you don't have an answer.
You consider your options. You could make up a story, tell him some intense shit about dragons and explosions and Hummers. But you promised yourself that you wouldn't lie to Dave, especially not about something important. You could say that you don't know, which is a half-truth that you are willing to go with. You could tell him about your parents, the ones who adopted you. You don't know where they are, in this moment of time, exactly, but you have an idea. And you did tell your mom, when you saw her eight years ago, that she was Dave's mom because she was yours. That would be the full truth. You are Dave's brother, his guardian, his pseudo-parent, but in your mind your parents are his parents, no matter how unbelievably shitty they are.
This is going to be a long and painful story and you honestly don't want to tell it. So you attempt to hedge first.
"We don't really have parents, Dave."
"Everybody has parents!"
The aggression in his voice is unlike him, and startles you. You sit up and look at him. He won't meet your eyes, choosing instead to stare at the fan. His little fists (that are growing bigger every day, you think with a twist of your stomach) are still threaded into the carpet, and his knuckles are turning white while his fingers go red. You lick your lips.
"Do you really want to know? It's kind of a long story and a lot of it isn't very nice. You might not like it."
Dave finally, finally, looks at you. His lip wobbles for just a second before he pulls himself together. You can't believe how chill he's become and you can't help but feel a burst of pride at seeing your little dude keep it real in this almost unreal situation.
"Bro, everyone has parents. I want to know why we don't. I don't care if it sucks."
He's a trooper, that's for certain. You have no clue where he got it from, since you were nowhere near as cool when you were his age. At least you appear to have gotten one thing right.
You sigh, something you don't do often, but it feels kind of good to do it just this once. It's like you're letting out your past, all the silence, all the ghosts and shadows, breathing it all out and clearing the cobwebs in preparation of the Serious Emotional Crap you are about to lay down for your baby brother.
You tell him about how you were adopted as a baby and how your parents (who are basically his parents too, you add) gave you the dumbest first name ever but also gifted you with the last name Strider. They, as far as you know, are the only other Striders around. Dave asks what your first name is. You tell him that there are no questions during story time. He nods seriously and lets you continue. You tell him about how the 'rents just wanted to adopt a baby because it made them look good and helped them climb the social ladder, and really they treated you as a status symbol. You never had it too badly, and you make sure he gets that. They aren't bad people, you tell him, just bad parents. They didn't treat you like a child, but more like a statue or a car. Something to show off when the guests were around but otherwise to just shuffle from place to place. You have always been different, with your red eyes, but when you grew up the differences grew as well. You took an interest in fucking with the system and playing music at a loud volume. You were smart but got a steady stream of 88 percents in every class just to drive your parents up the wall. You went to the best private school but purposefully hung out with public school kids, who really shared more of your interests anyway. When you were fifteen, you knew that you needed to leave. Your parents had gifted you with a large allowance every month for much of your life, in hopes that not only would it get you out of their hair but also make them look like good parents. Besides the turn tables you bought at twelve and swords you bought whenever the mood struck you, most of that money had been kept away. You used it to nab an apartment in the shitty part of town and grabbed a part-time job at a teen club, dj-ing on weekends. It was a sweet gig and you were beyond grateful for your interest in music at a young age.
The parents in your life, however, were less pleased. They threw fits, screamed at you over the phone, tried to cut your cash flow, even threatened to call the police. You waited patiently until you turned 16 then obtained legal rights to live apart from your parents. They were even less happy about that. Things turned ugly, and you skip over that part when telling Dave about it. He doesn't need to know the things they called you or the fights that almost turned physical on their end. You basically say that eventually they just left you alone and he nods and doesn't ask questions.
You continue by saying that you got along fine and they never spoke to you until they heard that you had found a baby. "Me?" Dave asks, and you nod. He looks excited to be a part of the story and a small smile quirks over your lips. After that, your mom dropped by. There were arguments and she tried to convince you to either come home with Dave, leave Dave and come home, or give Dave to them. Dave's eyes grow wide at the last piece of information. "They wanted me?" "You bet. They wanted a kid still, and maybe they hoped you would be better than I was." Dave shakes his head. "Nuh-uh. I woulda been worse." You don't doubt it. "Don't worry, little man, I said no. I wouldn't let them take you from me, no matter what." Dave smiles, the pure way only kids can. "I woulda come back." "Heh. Maybe." "I woulda! I promise!" "Okay, okay, I'll take your word for it. Now, do you want me to finish or what?" "There's more?" "Not much more. I'm almost done." Dave watches you, eagerly awaiting the end and you oblige him.
You turned her down on all of her counts and politely told her that although she was Dave's mother, a fact she was enraged about, that you were Dave's guardian and you would not let her get her hands on your kid. She was understandably less than pleased and raged at you the entire time you led her out the door so you could get ready for the social worker who was visiting to insure that you would be a suitable parent. You later discovered that your mother had met said social worker on her way into the apartment building and had told her that her son was in no way able to take care of any child, let alone a baby. Thankfully, the social worker did not agree.
You finish the story by telling Dave that although you had not heard from your parents since then that you know that they are still living in Houston.
"Long story short, they're here but they are not very nice people and we're better off without 'em."
Dave is silent for a long time, and you hope you haven't overloaded his little brain with too much information. It would be just your luck if he exploded before Sburb happened.
You watch as he crawls over to your side, and plunks his little chubby self down against your chest.
"I don't need parents anyway. I have Bro."
It amazes you how Dave can say one sentence and invoke more emotion in you than your parents or any girl ever could. Those two almost kill you in their simplicity and truth. You don't need parents either, you think as you haul him up and drop him onto your sticky chest. He squirms a little and whines about how warm you are until he gives up and decides to take a snooze on you instead.
You have Dave, and although you don't much time left, you intend to enjoy every second of that time. You're going to be the best brother ever, which you figure is going to be easy, because in your eyes, Dave is the best kid ever. You'd like to see someone try to take him away now. Even your crazy parents couldn't break what you two have. They couldn't then, and, as you watch his little eyes slide shut, there is no fucking way they could now.