Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the movie Chronicle and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: Spoilers. After Andrew loses it, Steve and Matt meet up. Realising that something needs to be done, they team up to save Andrew... not only from his father, but also from himself
Warning(s): Spoilers for the whole film; AU; spanking; some violence
Author's Note: Partly for Jet, who worded the idea for this story far better than I managed to after the film. I don't think it's quite how you suggested, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
I've had to change the timeline slightly for this, but it's an AU anyway, so any mistakes in the timeline are probably deliberate
Matt frowned as he felt something warm and wet trickle out of his nose. He looked at himself in the mirror and paused when he realised he was getting a nosebleed. It made him think of the time when he, Steve and Andrew had gone inside that hole and gained these abilities in the first place. Casey was waiting for him, but he kept feeling something at the back of his mind... that something was wrong.
"Matt? Hey, Matt!"
It took Matt a moment or two to recognise the voice as Steve's and he opened the bathroom door to find Steve standing there, blood trickling from his own nose. Matt's frown grew as he met Steve's gaze. "What's going on?"
"I think it's Andrew," Steve replied. "Can't you feel it? It's like he's been near exploding point since the party."
"Damn." Matt realised Steve was right. Now that he stopped and thought about it, he'd known that something was wrong since Andrew had been sick at the party. The alcohol he'd consumed lay heavy in his stomach as he began to sober up completely. He glanced towards the door and then at Steve. "Can you tell where he is?"
"I think we can track him down through whatever connects us," Steve said. "But if we're gonna fly, we need to be careful. There's a heavy storm out there."
"You think Andrew's causing it?"
"Who knows how much he's evolved?" Steve replied.
Matt looked around and then grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil from the bedside table, quickly scribbling a note to Casey. "If Andrew's gone so far that he's manipulating the weather, we need to be really careful how we approach him," he said as he wrote. "With both of us, perhaps we can subdue him... but if it gets rough, we might need to back out." He folded the note and headed quickly to the window, then paused and glanced at Steve. "If you can find him, you'd better lead the way."
Even if Steve knew how to find Andrew better than Matt did, Matt figured he would have been able to find Andrew just from the storm clouds alone. He and Steve flew through the air. At least it wasn't raining – not yet – but Matt imagined it wouldn't be far off.
The normal exhilaration from flying was gone, mainly because Matt had a pretty good idea of what had probably gone down with Andrew. Although his cousin had never talked about it, Matt knew that Andrew's dad wasn't the best of parents, particularly after Andrew's mother had fallen sick. But without any proof other than his gut feeling, what could he do?
Matt was pulled out of his thoughts as Steve began to soar higher, as high as any of them had gone before. As Matt glimpsed Andrew, he could hear thunder rolling through the clouds. Andrew didn't even seem to see them as he floated through the air, carrying that blasted video camera, his face more angry than upset or scared.
"Andrew!" Matt soared higher so that he was directly opposite his cousin, trying to make Andrew look at him. "What's going on, man?"
"Stay away from me!" Andrew replied, flying back and away from them.
"No, listen to us!" Steve flew closer. "Whatever it is that's going on with you, tell us! We can help you. We're your friends."
"No, you're not! Just stay away from me!" Andrew yelled.
"Hey, watch out!" Matt barrelled into Steve, knocking him out of the way only a moment before lightning struck the place where Steve had been. Breathing hard, almost panting, Matt stared at the air. If he hadn't been here... if he'd been one second slower in reacting, Steve would be dead now. He swung round to face Andrew. "Do you have any idea what you could have done?"
Andrew was staring at Steve with a shocked look on his face, but when Matt spoke to him, he flinched and looked at his cousin. For a moment or two, Matt thought Andrew was going to respond to him. He reached out to his cousin, but Andrew soared backwards, looking panicked, the video camera falling from his hands.
"Andrew!" Matt went after him, but Andrew put on a burst of speed and was gone from visible view within moments. Matt let out a forceful curse and turned to Steve, frowning as he spotted his friend with Andrew's video camera in his hand. "I don't think we need to film this, do you?" He was getting sick and tired of watching everything through the camera... or being watched through it.
Steve shook his head without looking at Matt. "Andrew's been filming everything, right? So it stands to reason he'd have filmed whatever triggered this." He was silent for a moment or two and then spoke with a slight edge to his voice. "You need to come take a look at this."
Matt couldn't remember ever seeing Steve angry before, but he had no doubts that what he was seeing in his friend's face was anger. He flew to Steve's side and watched the events unfold, his hands slowly clenching into fists at his sides.
"Did you know about this?" Steve asked once the tape had finished playing.
"I suspected. My parents did, too." Matt looked at Steve. "But without proof, what could we do? I tried to talk to Andrew about it. So did my parents. But he wouldn't admit to anything."
Steve held up the video camera. "We've got proof now. What do you think about paying a little visit to the cops? We can get rid of the rest of the stuff on here. It's not like we need proof of what we can do – and if we showed anyone, we'd probably get all kinds of experiments done on us."
Matt nodded. "You're right. I'll talk to my parents. I know they can take care of Andrew's mother and Andrew. We're family, after all."
"What about Andrew?"
"Can you find him again?"
Steve shook his head. "I don't really know how I do it. But whatever it was, it's gone now."
Matt sighed lightly. "We'll just have to hope he goes back to the house. Maybe he'll have calmed down by then – and by that time, we should have got through to the police. And not a moment too soon," he added, staring at the image shown on the camera screen – of Andrew's father beating him up and telling him he had no friends.
After having seen this, Matt almost began to wish he'd never come up with the rules for them using their powers, so that he could go after Andrew's dad.
"All right." Steve closed the video camera. "You go talk to your parents. I'll see what I can do with this camera and we'll meet at the police station."
Matt nodded. "Sounds good to me." Unwilling to waste any more time, he began to fly down, towards the ground, aware of Steve following close behind him.
Everything had moved fairly quickly once Matt had spoken to his parents. They'd insisted on coming with him to the police station, of course, but he'd had very little difficulty in coming up with a reasonable excuse for why Steve had the video camera with the evidence on it. A school project had seemed the safest route and Matt had known Steve would back him on it.
With the video evidence, Andrew's dad had been arrested quickly and his mother was now in the care of Matt's parents and getting the medication she needed. Full custody of Andrew would take a while, but he could come and live with Matt and his family – provided they could actually find him.
It had been nearly two days since Matt and Steve had confronted Andrew and there'd been no sign of his cousin since then. Both he and Steve had been looking constantly, but by now, Matt was beginning to think that maybe Andrew had gone to Tibet. That would be much better than Matt's concerns that Andrew was wreaking some kind of havoc elsewhere, without him or Steve to pull him back out of trouble.
Now, Matt had little choice but to just get on with his homework. His parents were upstairs with Andrew's mother, who was showing some signs of stabilising – although she was still in a very bad way.
Matt stared blankly at the paper he had the notes written for his essay on. No matter how hard he tried to concentrate, he couldn't make the words make any sense.
It took Matt a few moments to realise that the phone was ringing. He was half-tempted to just let the answering machine cut in, but in the end he grabbed the phone and answered. "Yeah? Matt Garetty speaking."
"This is Doctor Stanley calling from the hospital," an unfamiliar voice said on the other end. "I'm calling about an Andrew Detmer."
Matt jerked to his feet, his papers sliding off his lap and onto the floor. "Andrew? What happened? Is he all right?"
"I'm afraid there was an accident," the doctor said on the other end of the line. "He was caught in an explosion at a gas station. He's been burned, although he seems to be healing fairly quickly. I'm afraid he is in a coma right now..."
"I'll let my parents know," Matt replied. "Thanks for calling." He disconnected the call without waiting for a reply and then dialled Steve's number.
Matt flew in through the window of Andrew's room in the hospital, closely followed by Steve, who went immediately to the door and peered through the crack. "There are police officers standing outside," he reported to Matt in a whisper.
"Damn." Matt moved to Andrew's bedside, shaking his head at the amount of wires he could see attached to his cousin's body. He reached out and placed his hand on Andrew's, careful not to dislodge the needle sticking in it. "Andrew?" He leaned in close to his cousin's ear. "Hey. I'm sure you can hear me. I need you to wake up for me, okay? Me and Steve are both here. Your dad's not gonna hurt you anymore. And your mom's safe with my parents. You can come live with me. Me and Steve? We're both your friends and that's not gonna change."
"Do you think we're strong enough to take Andrew out with us if he doesn't wake up?" Steve asked without taking his eyes from the door.
"I'd rather not find out... Why?"
"Because I can see doctors coming along the corridor. Pretty sure they're headed this way."
Matt turned back to Andrew and continued his attempts to wake him. "You don't want me and Steve to have to carry you out, do you? You'll never live it down. You can't stay here. You're already healing pretty fast and the doctors are going to suspect something's up."
Andrew's eyes slowly opened and he looked weakly at Matt. "Matt...?" It was barely a whisper.
"Yeah, I'm here." Matt carefully began unhooking the wires. "How are you feeling?"
"Matt, you need to hurry!" Steve whispered urgently.
"Nearly there." Matt finally removed the IV from Andrew's hand, using the tape that had been holding it in place to cover the wound. He then helped Andrew to stand up, clasping an arm around his cousin's shoulders. "Can you fly?"
"Okay, good. Let's get out of here before we have to explain some things that should really be kept to ourselves." Matt headed to the window as he spoke, guiding Andrew carefully, and then let go of him to fly out. He hovered just outside the window and turned to help Andrew out too, Steve following close behind him. Sticking close to Andrew's side, he and Steve began flying, supporting their still-hurt friend.
The flight to the hut Matt and Steve had found took about an hour, by which time Andrew was drooping and exhausted. He might have been healing fast, but clearly, the healing itself was taking a lot of energy. They landed, Matt and Steve supporting Andrew, who was breathing heavily – almost panting – but whose burn wounds were beginning to fade.
Steve exchanged a glance with Matt over Andrew's head. "Do you think he's evolving? Or can we all heal fast and have just never needed to test it until now?"
"Who knows?" Matt replied. "I'm definitely not going to be testing that theory." He looked at Andrew and resisted the urge to give him a good shake. "You realise you've been gone for nearly two days? Do you even have the slightest idea how worried we were?"
Andrew hung his head a little. "I just..." His voice trailed off.
"What did you do, Andrew?" Steve asked.
"I..." Andrew hesitated. "I tried to rob a gas station." He looked up at them, adding quickly, "I just needed money for my mom's medication."
"And why couldn't you talk to us, huh?" Matt demanded. "We're your friends, Andrew! If you can trust anyone, it should be us!" Noticing the way Andrew flinched when he yelled, he took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "We can stay here until you're healed – and then we'll head back to my place. Your dad's in jail. I already called my parents to tell them you were on a school trip that we were supposed to be joining you on, but forgot about with everything that had happened. So long as you stay out of that hospital – and out of the sight of the police – it should be fine. You've got an alibi, after all."
"They probably can't prove anything anyway," Steve cut in. "I overheard them talking. The guy in the gas station got blown to pieces in the explosion. And I'm guessing any security cameras probably suffered the same fate."
"...My fault," Andrew said weakly.
"We're not placing blame right now," Steve stated firmly. "At the rate you're healing, you should be as good as new after you get some rest." He looked at Matt. "Truce for now, all right?"
"Okay." Matt held his hands up in surrender. "No talking about it tonight. Do you want to sit down inside for a bit? I need to talk to Steve a moment. Can you walk?"
"I just flew," Andrew replied. "I think I can manage a few steps inside the hut. Don't worry. I'm not going to fly off or anything."
"We'll meet you inside." Matt let go of Andrew and watched his cousin stumble inside the hut, then – as soon as he was sure Andrew was out of earshot – he turned to Steve. "We need to figure out what to do with Andrew. After he's healed, I mean."
"You mean how we deal with what he's done?" Steve shook his head. "We can't let him go to prison. And we can't pass him off to anyone else to deal with – not even your parents. We can't explain what's going on to anyone. So I guess we need to figure out... does he need punishment for what he did? And how do we punish him?"
"He kept things from us when we could have helped him. He took off for two days. He tried to rob a gas station and got himself hurt and another guy blown up." Matt paused and looked at Steve. "I don't think there's any question about whether he needs to be punished." Not only was he pretty annoyed with Andrew anyway, but he had the feeling that, now the adrenaline had worn off, Andrew was going to be feeling pretty bad.
Steve nodded. "Okay, so what? Grounding's not going to work. We can't fine him... maybe we could make him do community service?"
"We can't do that very easily."
"Well..." Steve frowned in thought. "The only other suggestion I have is spanking."
"Spanking?" Matt repeated. "That's just going to be the same thing his dad did to him."
Steve shook his head. "If handled properly, it's not abusive. For one thing, the only place we'd be hitting would be his butt. For another thing, we'd be doing it with caring. I got spanked plenty of times when I was a kid. Believe me, I know the difference between punishment and beating."
Matt glanced towards the hut and then at Steve. "What if he won't let us?"
"If you or I had done that, we'd be crippled by guilt – and I can't believe Andrew would feel any differently," Steve said. "He's not evil. He just made some bad choices, fuelled by a whole variety of factors. It could have happened to any of us. We need to give him what his dad didn't – a caring family structure."
"All right." Matt headed towards the door of the hut and then paused, turning to look at Steve. "Let's wait to mention this to Andrew until he's feeling better, okay?"
"Works for me."
"You're both mad at me, aren't you?"
Matt glanced up from the eggs and bacon he was frying for breakfast. He exchanged glances with Steve and then looked at Andrew. "I wouldn't say we were mad," he said carefully. "More disappointed." He and Steve had had plenty of chances to talk about how to handle this, but had expected they would be the ones to bring it up.
It looked like that was being taken out of their hands, though.
Steve stepped out of the kitchen area and over to Andrew, stopping in front of him. "Do you want to have this conversation now?"
"Now's as good a time as any." Andrew's eyes moved between Steve and Matt. "I'm sorry," he offered. "Do you want to... shout at me? Punch me? Beat me up?"
Matt snorted softly. "What, you think we broke you out of the hospital just to put you straight back in there?" He began to put the eggs and bacon onto three plates. "Besides, you can just shield yourself from any harm." He could feel Steve's eyes on him, but he didn't look at his friend. He wanted to put out the feelers and see just how Andrew was going to react to that.
Andrew looked up at Matt and then down again. "If you wanted to... I wouldn't shield myself."
Matt put the plates on the table and sat down. Steve stepped over and sat down as well and, after a few moments' hesitation, Andrew walked over to join them. For the next few minutes, the only sound was that of the three of them eating.
At least it caused a temporary pause in the conversation.
Once they were all finished, Andrew stood and gathered up the plates and cutlery before putting them in the sink and beginning to run water to wash up.
Matt leaned in close to Steve. "Should we really do this now?"
"Seems as good a time as any." Steve shrugged.
Andrew walked back over to the table, but didn't sit down, instead just stood looking at them. "What are you going to do?"
"I think we all feel you should be punished," Steve said. "There are several ways we can do this. We could ground you..."
Andrew frowned. "It's not like I go out anyway unless it's with either of you."
Steve nodded. "We can't tell you to pay a fine or anything. None of us have that much money anyway. And we can't make you do community service, what with school and... well, where would you even do it with people who wouldn't ask questions?"
Andrew frowned. "So that leaves..."
"Not a beating," Matt cut in.
"But we're still thinking physical punishment," Steve said. "We thought we could use spanking."
Andrew looked a bit confused. "Spanking? Isn't that a child's punishment?"
"Adults use it as well."
Matt raised his eyebrows, looking at Steve. "So you've been doing research about this?" He shook his head in mock disapproval. "What would your parents say?"
"You want to do this?" Andrew asked.
"You hid things from us," Steve said, ticking the crimes off his fingers. "You disappeared for two days without a word. You tried to steal money and got yourself hurt and another person killed. Did I miss anything?"
"I nearly hit you with lightning," Andrew said quietly.
"That wasn't deliberate," Steve replied. "And Matt saved me – like you saved me when we went high up the first time, remember?" He looked steadily at Andrew. "We're your friends. But we're not going to force you into doing anything. We couldn't anyway, but you need to know that this is mainly your decision. You can take as long as you need to think about it."
"I don't need time to think about it," Andrew replied sincerely. "If you two think this is needed, I'll trust your judgement."
"All right." Steve stepped through to the sitting room and sat down on the couch, then glanced at Matt. "Want me to go first?"
Matt shrugged. "Sure, go ahead."
"What do you want me to do?" Andrew asked.
"Come over here," Steve replied.
Andrew slowly stepped over to Steve's side and Steve reached out to grasp his wrist, pulling him to stand in front of him. He undid the button and zip on Andrew's jeans, pulling them down before he used his grip on Andrew's wrist to bring him round to the side, tugging him across his lap. Andrew's hands shot out automatically to catch his balance and almost before he'd fully landed across his lap, Steve lifted his hand and brought it down hard.
The yelp that came from Andrew made Matt wonder if this was such a good idea after all. He started to head towards the other two, but Steve's gaze warned him not to interfere before he returned his attention to Andrew's backside, his hand bouncing off skin that was only protected by thin boxers.
Matt sat down slowly in the chair opposite the couch, his eyes focused on Andrew's face. His cousin stayed stoic for several more of the hard swats and then his mouth opened in a silent gasp of pain. The swats echoed loudly through the room, making Matt glad that the hut they were in was so far from civilisation.
After a few more moments, Steve's hand began to speed up, swatting almost at a blur, fast enough that Matt wondered if he was using his powers to make more of an impression. It certainly had an effect on Andrew. A slight groan escaped him and his legs began to kick – or at least as much as they could, given his jeans were tangled just below the thighs.
By the time Steve's hand slowed, the first tears were beginning to slip out of Andrew's eyes and Matt could see his backside pinkening through the boxers. Steve didn't stop spanking, instead keeping it an easy tempo as he spoke. "I think we're all going to have to keep a low profile after this. We'll be lucky if we get through this with us all intact."
Andrew sniffled a little and when he spoke, his voice sounded a little choked. "M'sorry..."
"When we're finished here, the slate's wiped clean," Steve said. "You'll be completely forgiven. None of this will be hanging over your head any longer." He paused and let his hand rest on Andrew's bottom. "Do you want that?"
"Y...yes..." Andrew was clearly struggling to keep himself in position.
"Good. And I don't want to catch you doing something stupid like thinking about turning yourself into the cops," Steve said, punctuating each word with a sharp slap.
"But..." Andrew winced and seemed to be fighting to get the words out through his tears. "I killed someone..."
"And if you start feeling guilty, Matt or I can have you right back in this position. So you come to one of us first, all right?" Steve asked.
"Good." Steve wrapped an arm around Andrew's waist and then resumed the fast spanking again, a good number of the swats landing on his upper thighs, uncovered by his boxers. Andrew's breath seemed to catch at those and then he was sobbing hard, burying his face in his arms as his tears soaked into his sleeves and into the couch cushions.
By the time Steve was done, Andrew was limp across his lap, shoulders shaking with his sobs. Steve rested his hand on Andrew's back and rubbed his back and shoulders soothingly, until Andrew's tears died down to hiccuping sobs. He then helped him to stand up and looked at Matt.
Matt realised immediately what Steve was suggesting and shook his head. "No. No way. He's been punished enough, Steve."
Matt looked at Andrew as he spoke. "Yeah?"
"It wasn't just Steve affected by this," Andrew said quietly. "You need to... I want you to do this too..." He stumbled over to Matt's side. "I don't want you to hate me."
"I don't hate you, Andrew." But as Matt looked into his cousin's eyes, he realised that it wasn't just for him he needed to do this. Andrew needed it, too. With a sigh, Matt patted his lap and moved back slightly as he felt his cousin's warm weight settle over his knees.
Matt shifted his position slightly, feeling a little awkward. Sure, he'd been pretty mad at Andrew before – but his cousin had been punished plenty, hard enough that he didn't even have to touch Andrew's backside to feel the heat radiating off it. He nearly refused then and there, but then Steve caught his eye and gave a sharp shake of his head.
They needed to do right by Andrew.
Matt wrapped his arm around Andrew's waist in the same way Steve had done and raised his hand, bringing it down hard on his cousin's backside.
Andrew jerked at the first smack, but didn't make any sound. Matt hesitated and then smacked again and a third time. He felt Andrew tense a little and then raised his hand to mid-height, accessing his power to get this over with as fast as possible.
Matt's hand blurred in hard swats, so hard he barely felt it when his palm connected with Andrew's backside. Andrew clearly felt it, though, because he began writhing and squirming, his legs kicking as his breath came in short, sharp pants.
Matt had no idea how long he spanked Andrew for, but eventually, his cousin went limp over his lap, crying hard. Matt stopped, breathing heavily, and then pulled Andrew tightly into his arms, holding him while he sobbed and shuddered.
After a few moments, Steve stood up and stepped over to the two of them, joining in the embrace. There were murmured apologies and reassurances of forgiveness that went on for quite a long time, until Andrew's tears died down completely and he curled, exhausted, into Matt's arms, Steve's hand on his back.
"I think we'd better wait another day before we head back," Matt said quietly to Steve.
Steve nodded agreement. "He's exhausted. We should put him to bed."
Matt looked down into his cousin's face, innocent and pain-free in sleep. He then looked up to find Steve looking at him with a faint smile, which he returned. "Why don't we leave him be for now?" he whispered.