Well somehow the first part I wrote spiked a new story - this one is inspired by the interaction between a very good friend of mine and her 14 year younger sister. To my defense, I have to say that I have only seen the TV-show, I have not read the books, so if my story is way out of context, you know why. Don't think there's more to say…
A young Tristan experiences what it is like to be different – and how good it can be to have a big brother!
This piece is written for my own bigbrother, forever my superhero!
It had all started innocently enough. A new teacher had decided to get to know the class a little better by making the students individually explain what they wanted to be when they grew up. The boys had responded with enthusiasm and tales had been shared about what they each wanted to be. Policemen, firefighters and farmers were must often mentioned – Michael Hanson, Toby Hawk and Pierce Madison were all the oldest sons in their families and were somewhat bound to take up the same jobs as their fathers and inherit the farms. 11 year old Tristan Farnon description of what he wanted to be did not in itself create a big fuss. It was not until Mr. Tennant had asked him if he too, was following in the footsteps of his father that all hell broke loose.
The memory made Tristan sniffle while he made his way home through the light, spring rain. He was perfectly aware of exactly how different he was without the other boys reminding him of it. He was the only one in the class whom did not have a father. At this thought Tristan felt the familiar staph in his heart. He did not remember his father – he had died in the war when Tristan had been less than two years old and now only existed in photos and tales. The strange thing was that Tristan still missed him every day. Tears suddenly clouded his vision, and Tristan angrily wiped them away – he was a big boy now, 11 years old – he did not cry like a baby. Rounding the last corner and catching sight of the house Tristan froze. Parked outside was a Rover, and not just any Rover, but his older brother's. Tristan felt his shoulders drop, could his day get any worse?
Reaching the front door, Tristan opened it with the uttermost care and tried his best to slip in to the house unnoticed, but he had forgotten about the most faithful of guardians. Barely inside, Tristan was greeted by his brother's sandy colored whippet Cicero, and while he normally adored the clever dog he for once wished it was not nearly as observant. Tristan had only put his schoolbag down, when he heard footsteps approach and the voice of Siegfried,
"Hello Little Brother, Mother had to pop out, but Ci and I are…" Siegfried's tale came to an abrupt hold when he entered the hallway and caught sight of his younger brother. Tristan was standing with his head bowed, his normal blond hair darkened by rain and mussed, and a bruise decorating his left cheekbone.
"My good lord, what has happened to you Tristan?", he then demanded and took a step closer, "I thought we talked about fighting?"
At these words, Tristan raised his head and glared at his brother,
"Why do you always assume the worst about me?" he then declared. Somehow missing the underlying tone, Siegfried only smiled indulgent and replied,
"Because I happen to know you Little Brother and the story is always the same…"
Before Siegfried managed to fully understand what happened, Tristan angrily pushed past him and fled up the stairs but not before Siegfried caught sight of the tears in his eyes.
"Tristan?" he called with a newfound worry in his voice, but his only answer was the slamming of the door upstairs.
Alone in his room, Tristan flung himself on the bed, buried his face in the pillow and let his tears run free. He was so absorbed that he did not even notice the opening of the door and the soft footsteps on the carpet. Siegfried sat himself on the side of the bed and gently placed a hand on his brother's back. For a second, Tristan froze under his touch but then he relaxed and accepted Siegfried's act of comfort. For a long minute neither brother spoke, but then Tristan rolled over and with a hand wiped at his eyes before sitting up, head still hanging low. Siegfried gave him a second to collect himself and then gently asked,
"Ready to tell me what this is all about?"
For a moment he caught Tristan's blue eyes under the blond bangs, but just as quickly the gaze was shifted and Tristan was solely focused on Cicero who had jumped up on the bed.
"Tristan?", Siegfried tried again, unconsciously adding an edge to his voice. Tristan picked up on this immediately and with a small sign decided that he might as well tell.
"They say I'm weird, because I don't have a father" he then said.
Siegfried was not really sure what he had expected, but he was quite sure, that this was not it.
"The boys at school. They call me weird. You know, 'cause Father is dead", at the last piece his voice broke slightly and Siegfried unconsciously wrapped his arm around his brother and soothed him with a soft sound. At the mention of their father Siegfried felt the well-known pain in his heart, he still missed the man, but he had to admit that he often forgot that his younger brother missed him at well.
"What brought all this up?", he then asked, trying to make sense of the jumble of information he was being served.
For a second, Tristan just played with Cicero's ear.
"We talked about jobs in school and my teacher asked me if I too was following in my father's footsteps 'cause a lot of the other lads do. And then Martin Gibbs started saying that my father was dead and wanting to be like him was weird. And then I punched him", the last was said in a somewhat self-righteous tone, but Siegfried chose to ignore it. Normally, he would reprimand Tristan for fighting, but he somehow felt that today could make an exception.
"First of all, not having a father is not weird, I don't have father either you know" this brought the familiar curled up smile to Tristan's face and encouraged Siegfried continued, "Secondly, wanting to be like you father is very common and I cannot really see what you should differ from that rule"
"When all that is said, you know the rules, no fighting in school"
At this Tristan started to protest, but Siegfried silenced him with a hand and a small smile,
"But, the circumstances taking into consideration, I think we can make an exception"
This brought a smile to Tristan's lips and for a second he cuddled close to his brother. Then he looked up again,
"What about mother?" he then asked.
Siegfried just smiled,
"You leave that to me"
Tristan smiled in thanks and for a moment the brother's just sat in comfortable silence. It was Siegfried, whom finally broke the silence,
"I never knew you wanted to be a carpenter like Father", he then said.
At this Tristan looked up at him with a somewhat funny look on his face,
"I don't" he said.
Utterly confused Siegfried scratched his head,
"Didn't you just tell me that the root to all this trouble was you wanting to be like father?"
Tristan shook his head,
"No. Mr. Tennant is new – he just asked if my choice was based on what my father did and that's when all the trouble started"
"Oh, I see" Siegfried said and Tristan nodded.
"You mind me asking what you want to be then?", he asked, curiosity getting the better of him. At this Tristan looked up at him with his clear, blue gaze filled with brotherly admiration and simply said,
"I want to be a vet – just like you"