Author: Obi the Kid
Rating: PG-13 (Cal language)
Summary: Contemplations about the weight that Niko carries with him, as told from four different POV's.
Any errors/typos are my own, please forgive them.
Weight. Weight can stop a train.
In its many forms, it can arrest just about anyone and anything.
Anyone, it seems, except Niko Leandros.
But isn't it really just a matter of time?
When I first met this guy and his monster-dipped brother, I immediately chalked them up as trash and burn. The kid, Caliban, and his snarky mouth was enough to make me want to squeeze his head in a vise. Sell them a car; get them the hell away from me.
The last thing I wanted to do was team up with a couple of sheep, especially one who was half of the most evil creature ever put on a planet, even though I didn't find out that little fancy tidbit until later.
Yeah, well, see how well that all worked out. Now I've become necessary part of their lives. Dare I call them friends? And good friends, at that? As much as it pains me to admit it, it's true. In my thousands of years, they are some of the closest friends I've had. Not entirely sure why I give a crap about them though. The kid and his mommy/monster issues. The older brother, the super-ninja who houses this insistent need to defend and protect monster-boy. It's enough to know that I should wash my hands of them and move on.
I should. But I can't. There's a reason I've attached myself to these two.
I see the weight of the world on Niko's shoulders. It presses on him constantly. And it all centers on keeping his brother sane. It's amazing – beyond that really - that the kid is actually sane at this point in his life. The screwed childhood; the not-so Disney-esque vacation to Auphe Hell; and then the manifestation of his creature-feature side – of which he's been less than successful at always maintaining control over. Scary too, when he turns. And when I say scary, we're not talking ghost of the week. I mean evil reincarnate scary. The kind of awfulness that'll make you lock yourself in the house and hide under the bed for the rest of your life.
The flimsy excuse for control he maintains…it wears thinner with each passing day.
The only thing that keeps him from going total-Auphe and the only thing that brings him back is Niko. And each time Niko does it, another one hundred pounds of pressure gets added to those shoulders. The man lives his life so his brother can live his. And I know – as I live and breathe satin undergarments – that this guy could have been anything. Doctor. Wall Street Tycoon. President. Damn King of the World if he'd tried hard enough. Just spend an hour with him and you'll see that between the looks and the smarts and the strength and the cunning – there'd be no limits to what he could have done. To what he could still do.
But there are limits; limits that he instilled on himself. And all to protect his brother.
In all my lifetimes, I've never seen such a relationship - such utter codependency.
It's unnatural in a natural world.
But for how long can Niko withstand the weight of it all?
I guess that's why I stick around. To help him get back up when the weight finally puts him down.
Niko shared part of his burden with me today. A few pounds removed from those heavy shoulders of his. He shoveled away a few of the smaller things he'd been carrying. Simple things. He has to do this. Rid himself of the small things, that is. Otherwise he can't carry the one thing that drives who and what he is; his little brother, Caliban.
I've tried to take a bigger piece of that weight, but Niko is stubborn. As much as he cares for me, he only completely trusts himself to keep little brother sane; to protect him from himself. It's an unbearable load for one man to carry. But he'll have it no other way.
Over these few years as I've become more intimate with Niko, I've discovered just how far and deep the bond with his little brother runs. Deeper than anything I've ever seen in my myriad of years. Deeper than I shall ever see again.
It runs to the depths of death itself. One will not survive without the other.
And Niko's greatest fear? That his brother will turn completely into the Auphe that he tries so hard to keep down, and in the end, force him to murder his own brother, because the Caliban he'd raised and taught and loved had become nothing more than a flesh-eating creature of death.
That is a weight that no one should carry. Not even for family.
I'm heavy. Too damn heavy anymore for Nik to carry around by himself.
I do my best to carry my own weight, but I have enough trouble keeping my sanity in check. My plate stays plenty full with that one.
Robin and Promise, they want to help. They've flat out told him that he can't do this alone. Nik doesn't listen. Well, he listens, and he appreciates, but I've always been his responsibility. As a four year old, he was looking after me. Changing diapers and wiping snot. There wasn't a toddler in the world that had the strength of shoulder that my big brother had back then. And there's not a man in the world – human or not – that can hold up to him now.
I just wish he would take the help. I can see it gets too much at times. Outside, he's calm, cool and collected, but he stumbles more often now than he used to. My monster side is more evident these days. And it scares the hell out of me. It scares me that the side of me I can't control – will one day be too much for my brother to overcome. I've already tried to kill him once before – my brother. I wasn't myself at the time, but it was still me. Ever since then, pound upon pound of pressure has been forced onto shoulders that are already overloaded. It's too much.
It can't go on forever. Niko – God love him – he tries so damn hard to make me what he thinks I can be. One day, it won't be enough. Either he'll end it or I will. And so will end us both, as neither of us is going anywhere without the other.
Co-dependent, even in death.
I love my brother - more than anything in this world. But he's been lugging me around for over twenty years. At some point, even those super-humans among us need a break from that burden of weight.
No matter what Cal may think, he's never been and never will be a burden.
I carry him because I want to carry him. My family. My brother. The weight is there. It's there where it will remain and grow until the conclusion of our story. This will all end one day. I'm not certain how or when, but the probability of Cal and Niko Leandros living to the ripe old age of anything – not good. For now, we help those we can, and work our tails off to get through whatever life we've been given.
Promise and Robin, as dear as they are, will never completely infiltrate the bond that is
Cal and I. There's too much intertwined with us as brothers for them to accept and understand every detail of our lives thus far. The demands that I put on myself as a child to limit Cal's exposure to Sophia's hatred, were just that; self inflicted pressures. Pressures that no child should ever be forced to accept. But I did accept them. I took on the responsibility of being everything to Cal. I made the possible out of the impossible with the inadequate resources we had as kids. I gave my little brother the most normal upbringing I could manage, with what little we'd been given. We'd been given nothing, but I had made something out of that nothing. It was a weight I put on myself. It was a weight that I never regretted – still to this day.
It is a weight that I cannot walk away from. I have accepted it. I bear it.
And when this is all over –and the weight finally lifts, I'll know – Cal will know - without a doubt that I did right by my brother.