March 31, 2014

In Which Sevvie Is So Small

January 16, 1185

"Come on, Addie." If it wasn't in both of their best interests, Sevvie didn't make a point of telling his little brother what to do. In certain situations, maybe he had rights as the eldest, but he didn't want to abuse them, and if he thought about it--though he'd never say it aloud--Adonis's happiness was more important to him than a seat at the top of some half-imagined ladder. Normally, he took no issue with Adonis doing as he pleased.

But today was different. It wasn't Adonis's fault that he got picked on, and while a firm fist to his tormenters' noses was a more appropriate solution... well, for the short-term, for what the adults called a 'bandage solution', there were a few things Adonis could do to make himself a less obvious target. That thinking put the responsibility with the wrong person, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred, Sevvie would have clocked anyone who suggested it.

But today was their mother's funeral. Today was the one day that nobody--nobody--was going to pick on his little brother, no matter what Sevvie had to do to make sure that happened. Today, like yesterday and the day before, was bad enough.

"Please just put something else on?"



"No. Mama would have wanted me to wear what I want."

Sevvie sighed. Mama wouldn't have wanted them in black. That would have meant she'd wanted to die. "Mama wouldn't have wanted you to get picked on at her funeral."

"Papa won't let any bullies come."

"He has to if their own parents make them come." As for the other thing... well, Adonis was only five. That was too young to deal with the sad truth that the parents of bullies weren't always much better than their children. "Papa can't protect you all day. He misses Mama too." And that went for Sevvie as well. Being the oldest also came with burdens; he'd had to take care of his little siblings, and he needed some quiet time.

He missed his mama too.

"But Mama wanted me to be myself."

So she had. But who could ever be themselves at a funeral? Would they ever get to be themselves again, now that their mama was gone?



It was their grandfather, apparently having left their papa to Aunt Raia and Yvanette's father, their sisters to their other grandfather and Aunt Nanalie. "Everything all right?"

"I'm trying to tell--"

"He won't let me--"

"Boys." Their grandfather shut the door and stepped forward, head bowed. He was so tall. He wasn't the tallest man Sevvie had ever seen--their papa was taller--but his grandfather never had to look up to meet someone in the eye. Maybe that was why he was so calm today. Tall people never had to look up to heaven, meeting the eyes of the dead. "One at a time. Addie?"

"Sevvie wants me to wear something else." Accusing. The poor kid didn't know that Sevvie was on his side. I'm always on your side, Addie. We have to stick together now. "But Mama would have wanted me to wear what I wanted."

"All right." Their grandfather nodded Sevvie's way. He took to rocking on the balls of his feet, nervous. Another problem with being the oldest was that you always took the blame. "Sevvie?"

"I..." He looked down to his grandfather's boots, to the gold trim of his brother's skirt. Death made the world so big. Or maybe it made him so small. "I just don't want him to get picked on today..."

"I see." His grandfather smiled, at least with his mouth--probably the most anyone would manage that day. "Thank you, Sevvie." But the smile didn't fade when he turned back to Adonis and bent over for a hug, with no intention of making anyone change.

"I'll tell you what; you just stick by me today. Nobody will pick on you while your scary old grandfather is around."



Van said...

It's April tomorrow. How the hell is it April tomorrow?

Also, the How I Met Your Mother finale. Woah.

Penelope said...

LOL Sounds like some major changes, Van!

And aww, I love Sevvie every time we see him.

Van said...

Sevvie is a sweetheart. Poor kid--pretty much everything I have in mind for him involves him being a pillar of support for someone else. :S