The sky is dark, grey, rumbling can be heard in the distance. How is that the weather always seems to adapt itself to horrible days like these? A large group of people stands and sits in the rain, umbrellas in their hands. Everyone is dressed in dark clothing. Some people cry in the front, others console them, while some just stare.
One Hispanic teenager stares intently as they lower the casket into the ground. The minister's voice is very far away. Everyone's voice sounds far away. Somewhere in his fogged up mind he notices his mother breaking down in his father's arms. And him, the strong police officer with anger management issues cries right along with her.
Carlos Garcia watches them with a stoic face. It's not the first time he has seen them cry. In fact, for the last few years it's all they have been doing. He himself has cried a lot of times as well. But not today. Today he doesn't know what he's feeling. He feels betrayed, that's one thing. She never deserved any of this. She was just a child. The sweetest and most beautiful soul he had ever come across, yet she wasn't meant to stay in this world. It's just not fair…
He keeps his eyes trained on the dark hole which now holds his young sister. Beautiful and amazing Aubrey Garcia, only 9 years old. He had a special bond with her from the moment she was born. It never mattered that they were 7 years apart. And it didn't matter how no one understood. All that mattered was that they understood. She was his inspiration, the reason he was still so carefree and happy and innocent, even at 16 years old. He lit up the room with his infectious smile wherever he went and it was all because of her.
She was diagnosed with Leukemia early on in her life, at only 2 years old. It was hard to deal with, seeing her go through chemo for all these years, every time hearing she might not make it another week. But she did, for 7 more years. And she always went through the entire ordeal with a smile. Carlos doesn't really know why they had such a strong bond, but the moment her eyes closed one last time, was the moment it seemed like the air and all the fun just got sucked from the earth.
He is vaguely aware of a hand grasping his shoulder in a comforting way. He looks up from the grave and notices everyone has left already. Everyone except for his three best friends. Kendall throws him a sympathetic smile and squeezes his shoulder again in support. The others throw him worried glances. He ignores all of them and walks towards the grave. He ignores the rain which has already soaked him. Logan hurries after him with an umbrella, but he doesn't care. He looks down one last time and lets out a heavy sigh, before throwing in the white rose he has been crumbling in his clenched fist.
The world truly has gone darker. It has lost color ever since it lost Aubrey's captivating soul. It's been three weeks since her funeral and Carlos is in no way, shape or form getting over it. In fact, he feels more and more numb as it processes in his mind. He did make the decision in going back to LA with his best friends, where they are a band, Big Time Rush. Not that he wants to be a band right now, but it's better than watching his parents cry and fight and basically see his family falling apart.
Back at the Palm Woods he just sits on his bed and stares ahead. The guys have tried everything to cheer him up. They tried a puppet show, which he normally would have loved. But it reminded him so much of Aubrey, that he eventually grabbed the puppets from his friend's hands and ripped them to shreds.
Mrs. Knight made him corndogs and dinosaur shaped chicken. But he couldn't eat it. He hasn't had much of an appetite lately, which is saying a lot.
They have tried to get him to go outside. He did go once. But then everyone just became so loud and they were all laughing and having so much fun, he couldn't take and left. Life isn't fun anymore. Bad things happen to good people and then everything is screwed up.
He knows he is scaring his friends and family. He can tell they are worried about him and has even heard them discussing it a few times. Logan even mentioned a therapist. They can try, but he'll never agree to that. He doesn't want to talk about it or think about it. He just wants everyone to leave him the hell alone.
As soon as the apartment is empty, he heads into the living room and sits down on the orange couch and turns on the TV. He used to watch cartoons with her, especially during her worst times, just to cheer her up. It's that reason and haunting memory that has him switching to the Discovery channel. Not that he really watches whatever boring documentary they are showing, he just needs some noise, anything to feel remotely alive.
It's hours later when his laughing friends return and find him staring blankly at the screen. Their smiles fade right away as they head to sit with him.
Logan stares at him in concern, like he's some messed up mental patient and sighs deeply. Carlos resists the urge to roll his eyes.
"I'm fine." Is what he always replies with in the same monotone voice he has been using for weeks.
"Carlos, we're just worried about you. I mean, we know you're hurting, but…" Kendall carefully starts.
"You're scaring the crap out of us, dude." Kendall shoots James a glare. But he just sends a challenging look back. "Oh come on, it's what all of us have been thinking for weeks now. It's about time someone said it out loud."
Kendall does roll his eyes, when James moves in front of Carlos vision.
"Look, we get that you're still grieving about Aubrey. But dude, you are freaking us out. I mean, you're like a freaking zombie. You hardly eat, you just sit on your bed all day long, barely saying two words and worst of all, you don't even smile anymore. Heck, you don't show any emotions. Just talk to us, dude. We want to help…" James says in all honesty, sighing in relief to finally get this off his chest.
"I'm fine." Carlos replies once again. This is the last straw for Kendall. Had he wanted to be gentle with the Latino before, he has had enough of it now. He moves to sit in front of Carlos and grabs his shoulders roughly.
"You are not fine, Carlos. You're in pain, because your sister died. We all know you teo shared a special bond, but this is insane. You need to snap out of it. She wouldn't want you to be like this, 'Litos. She would want you to be happy." He tells his friend, who finally looks him straight in the eye.
"Happy?" He asks, narrowing his eyes. "You want me to be happy?" He asks louder as he stands up. "She was 9 years old, Kendall and she died from cancer. She was the most beautiful person I ever met and she died. She didn't deserve that. She didn't deserve any of the suffering she went through." He says, anger finally making its way to the surface. "You know, I used to think the world was beautiful and so full of life and joy. But now? You know what I see when I look out that window?" He asks as he points towards the huge windows to their right. "I see a world full of pain and anger and people suffering and dying, some doing horrible things. People treating each other like dirt and then I realize it is a good thing she is dead, because it would kill me to see her grow up some day and realize the same thing."
The guys stare at him in stunned silence.
"Carlos, there aren't just bad things in the world, there are so many good things, too." Logan offers.
"Oh yeah, like what?" He challenges back.
"Well, like watching a beautiful sunrise and kittens being born and the Palm Woods pool?" Logan offers with a small smile as he adds the last one as a joke. Carlos doesn't return his smile, in fact, he downright just stares his friend down until his smile vanishes and he shrinks into the couch a little.
"Did you know that some people hate newborn kittens or puppies so much, they just kill them? And not even fast or anything. No, they put them all in a bag and throw them into a lake, just for example." The guys look horrified that he even knows this information. "I used to think the world was all puppies and rainbows. But guess what? It isn't!" He snaps, before turning on his heels and storming to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
The guys remain seated on the couch another moment in bewilderment.
"Ok, this is worse than we thought, isn't it?" Kendall asks quietly. The other two just nod in agreement. "He's not just grieving, he's giving up…"
Needless to say, the guys try everything in their power to get their friend to talk to them, release his feelings, so he can get over this. But as time progresses, they can only watch helplessly as he sinks further and further into a shadow of the person he once was.
They watch as his side of the bedroom he shares with James becomes plain, grey looking. His posters are found in the trash, along with his toys. He doesn't even look at Swirly anymore and uses the staircase instead, which breaks their hearts. But the most heart wrenching moment is when Logan finds Carlos' precious helmet, one everyone vowed he couldn't live without, discarded in a dumpster outside.
Carlos tries so hard to get rid of everything that reminds him of her, hoping it will make the pain go away. He can feel himself ebbing away in the process, but he doesn't know how to cope with this broken feeling. He watched her die right in front of him and now slowly can feel himself doing the same. He wonders if his friends have noticed it's become that bad.
Like any other night, he doesn't get any sleep. And why should he, since he doesn't have the energy to do anything during the day? So he lies there and his mind is flooded with thoughts about how much this must be hurting his family. The family here with him at the Palm Woods though, not the actual one in Minnesota. The one where his other siblings have just moved on and think it's better this way. And the one where his parents have decided to get a divorce, because they don't love each other anymore. No, he has decided not to care about them, just like they don't care about Aubrey.
But the small family he has here, that's a whole different story. They mean the world to him and he can't stand to see them so upset. He knows they want to help and he wants nothing more than to reach out and grab hold of them and let them pull him back to the surface. But he is already too far gone now.
He slowly gets up and quietly makes his rounds past their bedrooms, something he has been doing a lot lately. He has become quite good at it, too, making sure no one hears him as he watches them all sleep.
But tonight it's different. Tonight he leaves them all an envelope containing personal letters, hopefully explaining why. He knows they probably won't understand and they'll be mad at him, disappointed. But he doesn't see a light at the end of this dark tunnel and he can't hold on any longer.
After making sure everyone is still sound asleep, he heads for the bathroom and locks the door behind him. He barricades the door, just in case. He sighs one more time, before sliding into the tub and turning on the faucet. He's glad they soundproofed this room because of Mrs. Knight's excessive off key singing habits. It'll buy him more time.
He lays his head on the edge as his clothes slowly start to become heavy and soaked and ponders about his past.
He can see flashes of himself. He was only 7 when she was born. He was curious to no end when they were allowed into his mother's hospital room. The moment his father showed her to him, he knew she was special. When she looked at him with her own big brown eyes, their special connection was made. He vowed to protect her and be the best big brother anyone has ever seen, despite having two other younger siblings, but they didn't really matter. Not like she did.
He was always a rambunctious child, who was made to wear a helmet so he wouldn't hurt himself. But he surprised everyone by being ever so gentle when he was around Aubrey, always doting on her and protecting her from her older siblings. It wasn't really a surprise that her first word was 'los'.
He was so happy and always proud to show his sister off to anyone, including his three best friends. But they weren't allowed to touch her, ever.
His whole world came crashing down when she was two. She became sick a lot and no one could figure out why. Until they did some tests at the hospital and found out that she had Leukemia, cancer. It was something he didn't understand, maybe didn't want to understand. He just wanted to kiss her to make it better, but his parents explained that wasn't how it worked. He tried nonetheless. He kept on trying for the whole 7 years.
He stayed by her side while she went through her treatments. He was always right there when she was in pain and needed someone to cheer her up. He would watch cartoons with her or sing to her or make her laugh. In return she smiled the whole way through and supported her big brother in everything he did.
When the moment came that he was allowed to go to LA with his friends to become a band, he absolutely refused. He couldn't just leave her. He even opted for her to come with him. But that was when she refused and told him to go for it. He deserved it and she knew he would be great.
He never cried harder than the moment he said goodbye and got on that plane. Sure, they talked every day on the phone and through FaceTime. But it wasn't the same. He did make sure to visit her with every birthday. Just seeing her face light up when he walked into their backyard unannounced just made him forget about anything else.
The doctors had told them countless of times that she wouldn't pull through another month. But she fought so hard and held on for seven years. He saw it coming though. He noticed how she looked more and more tired every time he talked to her. She looked paler, sicker. But the biggest sign of all was that the sparkle in her eyes was starting to fade. She was trying to fight back, but she no longer had the energy to keep it going.
When his parents told him she only had a few more days left at the most, he took the first flight back home. But the moment he rushed into the waiting room, he knew he was too late. His mother was already sobbing uncontrollably. His father looked a mess. He burst into her room and broke down as he saw her lying there, so pale and still. The life washed right out of her. He threw himself on the bed and clung to her for dear life, brushing his fingers through her curly black hair.
His family had to pry him off of her, as he wailed and completely fell to pieces. His own spark died right there in that hospital bed, after which everything looked different.
Her laughter fills his ears and he finds himself smiling along as the water starts to reach his chin. He smiles as he feels tears flowing freely down his cheeks and his body shakes from the cold and the sobs. Slowly he sinks further into the water, keeping his eyes open while memories of his friends and family flash before his eyes.
When Kendall wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, he is vaguely aware of an envelope with his name on it sitting on his nightstand. He moves to open it, when he remembers he really needs to go to the bathroom. He stumbles into the dark hallway sleepily, yawning and rubbing his face as he goes along.
Just then, he becomes aware of his feet being cold and… wet?
"What the…" He mumbles as he searches for the light switch. He is blinded for a moment as the lights come on, but after blinking heavily, he gets used to it and looks down. "What in the world?" He wonders as he stares at the growing pool of water seeping from underneath the bathroom door.
Then his eyes widen in realization and he rushes for the door. "Oh god, please no…" He pleads quietly to himself as he tries to jiggle the door handle. Locked. He can feel panic setting in as he slams into the door with his shoulder as hard as he can. It hurts like hell, but he doesn't care and tries again. It won't budge, which has him panicking even more.
"No, no, no, come on, open, just open!" He yells at the door frantically as he slams into it again and again.
"Dude, what is going on?" Logan suddenly croaks from the bedroom door.
"What's with all the noise?" James asks as well as he joins his smart friend.
"The door is locked…" Is all Kendall can utter as tears have started to run down his face already. Logan and James' eyes widen as they witness the water still seeping from underneath the bathroom door and Kendall's frantic attempts to open the door.
"Oh god…" Logan calls out as he heads for the kitchen to find anything to help them open the lock. James stands watching, frozen to the spot as he can feel it in his stomach.
"Do something!" Kendall calls out.
"I'm trying!" Logan calls back as he searches every drawer and cabinet for anything to help them. "Shit…" He squeaks as tears leak out. Finally he finds a pin and hurries towards the door, careful not to slip on the water.
"Hurry up, Logan…" Kendall pleads desperately as Logan tries to work on the lock as fast as he can.
When they finally hear the click of the lock, they let out breathes they didn't know they were holding and try to open the door. Kendall pushes and lets out a frustrating cry when he can't open it.
"What the fuck!" he cries out. "Why won't it open?" James watches as Logan tries to calm down the breaking version of Kendall, while trying not to fall apart himself.
"Stand aside…" Is all he says to make his friends move away from the door. He takes a small leap and then runs at the door in full speed, breaking whatever barricade that was holding the door shut.
The door swings open and for a moment they stare in shock and the world stands still. The bathtub is still overflowing as they see the shape of their best friend underneath the surface.
Then, Kendall springs into action and rushes forward to pull him out.
"Oh god, don't do this to us, no… why would you do this?" He cries as he pulls the limp and heavy body out of the water. Logan rushes forward to turn off the water, while James grabs a phone and starts to dial 911 with shaking fingers.
"Come on, Carlos, breathe…" Kendall pleads as he starts CPR. Logan can't do anything but sit on the floor and stare as the blond tries to revive their best friend. He can't find his voice to speak out that it's no use. His lips are already completely blue and his skin ashen. So he sits helplessly as Kendall tries again and again to get their friend back to life.
Never did they realize it was this bad. They thought he just needed time. It's what they all thought, until they watched as the paramedics placed the sheet over him. The whole of Palm Woods was ruptured that night as everyone stared as he was wheeled out. Five people didn't stay and watch. They all sat in quiet corners by themselves, some together and opened their personal goodbye letters.
He left more of them, for his family members, telling them that he's sorry, but he wants them to be happy. It's for the best, he's in a better place now.
It's strange, watching your own funeral taking place. And it's so hard to watch how everyone cries and looks so broken. He never realized he had that much of an impact on so many people. He listens and laughs at the stories his friends tell about him in their eulogies. He ponders for a moment whether he made the right decision. But then he realizes for the first time since Aubrey died, he feels alive again. And this is only increased when a small hand grabs his.
He looks down and smiles at his sister. She beams at him and after looking at everyone one last time, they turn around and walk away…
A/N Yeah my hands are numb from writing this all in one go, while being really tired. But I just couldn't stop. This one shot is dedicated to Artic-Fox 14 for the idea and the inspiration Thanks so much for that and I hope it came out the way you hoped
Let me know what you guys think and thanks so much for the reviews and alerts and such. I've been having some tough times lately trying to figure out what to do with my life. And stuff like this help me through it
So let me know what you think of this one and keep the ideas coming ;)