My first Drake and Josh story. Set after Blues Brothers.
In the furor following Helen's declaration that Drake has won the talent show the third year in a row, and in his happiness that he has finally overcome the dreaded twitch, Josh realizes he cannot see Drake anywhere. He wishes his brother was around so they can celebrate together, but gives up on that notion when Drake doesn't appear after five minutes. He tries to say something about it to Walter or Audrey, but they are too busy hugging and congratulating him.
When Drake is still nowhere to be seen after fifteen minutes, Josh begins to worry. It isn't like Drake to not be present at occasions like this, and Josh cannot help but feel a little hurt. This is their moment, they did this together, and now Drake isn't there like Josh wants him to be, like Josh always has been there for Drake's big moments. And just then Walter says, "Okay, let's go home," and Josh points out that they don't know where Drake is, and Audrey says, "It's all right, he's probably with his friends, he'll be home in a bit."
And that makes the hurt worse, because isn't Josh his friend too? His best friend, as a matter of fact. Hell, his brother.
Drake arrives home twenty minutes after they do, and he looks extremely tired. Josh wonders just how exuberantly he must have made out with random females in the half hour that they've been separated, to look this worn out. Or maybe there was a lot of traffic on the way home. What he doesn't initially notice is the way Drake is holding his left hand close to his chest, in an almost defensive stance.
Silently Drake makes his way past Walter and Audrey in the living-room, denies hunger and ignores Megan who is attempting to trip him. He enters the room he shares with Josh without a word and makes a beeline straight for his bed. It doesn't escape Josh's notice that Drake is having difficulty getting up the ladder, or that he's not gloating about how they totally kicked those plagiarizing idiots' butts tonight. In fact, all he does is struggle to get to his bed, and once he's there he lies down and doesn't move.
"You okay?" Josh ventures tentatively, talking a few steps in Drake's direction.
Drake seems to wake up from a dream, and takes a few seconds to focus on Josh. "Wha - yeah, I'm fine," he answers softly.
Josh is not convinced. "You're not drunk, are you?" he asks carefully.
"No, of course not," mumbles Drake. Just to make sure, Josh makes his way to Drake's bed, sits on the edge and leans close, examining his face.
"Whoa, personal space, dude," Drake says, but it sounds weak, and there is no grin accompanying it.
"You're not drunk," Josh announces, and Drake rolls his eyes.
"What's wrong?" Josh asks.
"Nothing," replies Drake. "I'm just sleepy, that's all."
Josh eyes him suspiciously. "You should be bouncing around the room now, singing at the peak of your lungs," he says. "So why aren't you?"
"I told you, Josh, I'm sleepy," Drake mutters. He pushes Josh off his bed with his right hand - Josh notes how his left is still cradled close to his body - and then pulls the covers over himself. "Go 'way."
"You've still got your shoes on," Josh reminds him. Drake kicks them off violently and then looks up at Josh with an expression that reads "Happy now?"
Josh smiles slightly. "Okay," he says. "Good night."
But Drake already has his eyes closed and is taking breaths too deep to be entirely convincing. Josh gets the feeling Drake doesn't want to talk to him right now. He wonders what happened in the half hour he was away from Drake. Right now Drake should still be on a high from the show he played with Josh, and he should be screaming and randomly hugging Josh. Instead he is pretending to sleep with his left hand curled protectively under his torso.
Josh doesn't get off the bed. With another smile, a fuller one this time, he says softly, "You always were bad at acting, Drake."
Drake's eyes fly open, and he looks up at Josh. "How'd you know?" he demands.
Josh laughs. "I've been sharing a room with you for years," he reminds Drake. "I can tell when you're asleep and when you're just faking."
Drake groans. "Why didn't I think of that?" he asks no one in particular. He shifts slightly, causing his sleeve to ride up on his arm, and Josh cannot help but gasp at what he sees.
Drake's wrist is bent at a strange angle, and seems to be swollen. It is also black and blue, and it looks like it lost a fight with a punching bag. "What happened to your wrist?" Josh asks.
His brother is suddenly on the defensive. He pulls his sleeve down and hides his hand under the covers, out of sight. "It's nothing," he says. "I, uh, I fell, and I threw my hand out so I wouldn't hurt my beautiful face, and -"
"And apparently you're a bad liar too," Josh interrupts, effectively putting a halt to Drake's rambling. He reaches out and extracts Drake's wrist from under the covers. He pretends not to notice Drake's wince. "What did you do to it? Tell me honestly," he adds in a warning tone.
"I got into a fight," mumbles Drake, looking away from Josh.
"What did you do, make out with his girlfriend?" asks Josh, gingerly holding Drake's wrist and looking it over.
"Why do you always assume I did that?" demands Drake, trying (and painfully failing) to pull his wrist away.
"Because you always do do that," Josh points out. "So, which guy was it?"
"I didn't make out with anyone's girlfriend," grumbles Drake, sounding almost disappointed that he didn't. "I started the fight."
"With who?" asks Josh, amazed. Drake is well aware of the disadvantage his physical size provides in fights, and so doesn't usually partake in one. Unless, of course, he made out with someone's girlfriend and the person wants revenge. Never mind that the girlfriend did it completely willingly.
Drake does not answer immediately. Josh gives him a pointed look and he acquiesces, saying, "It was Todd Marley."
Josh stares at his brother in astonishment. "You picked a fight with Todd Marley? Dude, he's like, huge."
"Ya think?" mutters Drake.
"What about?" questions Josh, still amazed.
This time Drake really doesn't answer, and instead opts to stare at various objects in their room. "Drake," Josh says sternly, "answer me."
Drake looks hesitant, and so Josh adds, "Please?"
His brother sighs. "Okay, I picked a fight with him because he, well, he - he said some stuff." His sentence ends rather lamely.
"What stuff?" questions Josh, still holding Drake's tender wrist.
"Just ... stuff," Drake answers lamely.
"Drake, if you can't tell me I can't help you," Josh tells him firmly.
"How are you going to help me?" questions Drake.
"Well, for starters, I can do something about your wrist."
Drake seems to consider. When he looks down at his wrist, still trapped in his brother's hold, Josh realizes it hurts a lot more than Drake is letting on. And then the words come out in a rush. "Hemadefunofyou."
It takes Josh a few seconds to interpret that, and then he feels something warm gush up somewhere near his heart. However, he maintains his nonchalant demeanor and says, "And you punched him for that?"
Drake nods, looking Josh defiantly in the eye.
"Drake, people make fun of me all the time," Josh attempts to explain. "You can't just go and punch all of them. Though I do appreciate the thought," he adds.
"Josh, he made fun of your twitch," Drake says softly, as if it justifies his actions. "And he called you fat."
"Well, I am fat," Josh points out.
"But he still has no right to say that!" Drake bursts out. "And he can't make fun of you for something that's not your fault!"
Josh regards Drake, who looks furious. It makes him feel wonderful that someone cares enough to hurt themselves for his sake. It's wonderful that Drake cares. But Josh feeling happy won't make Drake's wrist get better. "All the same," he begins, "I don't think punching him was the best way to deal with it."
"What else could I have done?" questions Drake rhetorically. "I can't exactly tell the Principal about it, can I?"
"And why not?" asks Josh, releasing Drake's wrist and standing.
"Because I'm not a snitch - hey, where are you going?"
"Getting the first-aid kit and an ice pack," Josh tells him. He makes sure he is back within five minutes, and returns to find Drake in exactly the same position that he left him - lying on his side with his injured wrist dangling off the edge of the bed. He gently takes Drake's wrist again, and applies the ice pack to it. Drake hisses in pain, but relaxes after a few seconds.
"That feels good," he admits.
"It should lessen the swelling," Josh says. "Just keep it there."
Drake nods, and uses his good hand to hold the ice pack in place. Josh uses the opportunity to ask, "So where exactly did you punch Todd Marley?"
"His stomach," Drake tells him. "He's too tall for me to punch his stupid face."
Josh almost grins at that. The fact that he's getting taller than Drake is still a sore point for his brother. Some other day he might have teased Drake, but right now he cannot bring himself to. Maybe it's Drake's injured state, or that look on his face, the one that gets to Josh every single time.
So instead he says, "Look, man, I really appreciate that. I mean, this is the first time anyone's stood up for me. Just - just don't get yourself hurt again, okay?"
Drake nods. "You don't need to tell me twice," he says with an exaggerated groan. "Next time I'll just kick him where it hurts and run away really fast."
"He'll hunt you down later," Josh points out.
Drake manages to shrug while lying down. "So what? I'll just kick him again."
Josh realizes it is pointless to argue. No matter how much they might argue at home, Drake will defend him at school no matter what. So he says, his voice soft, "Thank you, Drake."
Drake waves his bad hand casually, and then winces. "Don't mention it, Josh. I'd do it again."
They lapse into an easy silence, during which Drake fiddles with the ice pack and Josh debates doing something to lessen the bruising. Eventually he takes Drake's hand wordlessly and begins rubbing salve onto it. Drake watches, equally silent. When Josh is done he asks, "Are you hurt anywhere else?" and Drake shakes his head.
"Thanks." It's so quiet it's almost inaudible, but it makes Josh smile nevertheless.
Drake falls asleep soon afterwards, and Josh stays until he is quite sure Drake won't be waking up anytime soon. Then he returns to his own bed. Lying in semi-darkness, he wonders at the fact that Drake is willing to hurt himself for him. Drake is annoying, loud-mouthed, excitable, exuberant, can be selfish and lives completely in the moment, but Drake is also caring and sweet (though neither would ever admit it) and sometimes considerate and other times so incredibly selfless it never ceases to amaze Josh. And even though Drake spends more time getting under Josh's skin than doing anything else, he does it in such an oblivious and almost-innocent way that Josh just can't stay mad at him.
And that's how Josh knows that nothing, not even Todd Marley or random girls or twitching on national TV or anything else, can ever change who he and Drake are. What they share is far more important than how they differ, and what others say does not matter and never will.
Reviews are nice :3 It's my first Drake and Josh story, remember? :P
-Peace and Drake-and-Josh shaped cookies