Written by Zeroodd
Drawings by BumblingB
"Eagleclaw!" The older brother blinked, sitting upright at his father’s voice, "We’re heading out! Keep an eye on your brother!"
He frowned, “Aw Dad c’mon, I wanted to head out today!”
”Then take your little brother with you at least!” The door shut, and he frowned, resting back on the couch with a huff before he shut his diary and set it in a drawer of the coffee table, getting up to grab his boots and shove them on.
Eaglebones glanced in at the commotion, then to his guitar on the table, picking it up, “Did you tune it bro?”
Eagleclaw nodded, grabbing his leather jacket and putting it on. “Listen, I’m heading out. And dad says you gotta come with me.”
Eaglebones brightened a little, “Really? You’re inviting me along?”
Eagleclaw rolled his eyes a little, “More like forced to take you along…” He grumbled momentarily.
That was a good enough answer for Eaglebones, who beamed, setting his guitar down and hurrying out with his big brother as Eagleclaw put on his special gloves and leather jacket, heading outside with Eaglebones following closely, chirping momentarily out of excitement. It was a rare opportunity to get to go anywhere with his brother, so he knew he would have to take full advantage of it today, since the chances of it coming again were slim.
They went out of the home, Eaglebones humming to himself as he practically skipped behind his brother out of excitement. They headed down the streets, to the small town that lay just a little bit from Eagle Flats, past the grounds where the county fair was being set up for that summer, and down to the nearby park by a small shopping center. Eagleclaw adjusted the collar on his jacket, glancing over to the playground where a few of the fine ladies from school were currently hanging out by. Eagleclaw smiled, “Alright, brother, go have some fun out there.”
Eaglebones blinked, but smiled, “Well, okay! You’ll come over too, right?” Eagleclaw waved a hand and nodded, already stepping over to the girls and smoothing back his feathery hair. Eaglebones couldn’t help but frown a little, a small part of him wondering if this was going to be like the last time he promised to hang out with him, then went off to go have a milkshake with that girl in his science class while Eaglebones was left with a burger and the bill. He shook those thoughts out of his head. No, he couldn’t be pessemistic like that-Eagleclaw would come hang with him soon enough.
Eaglebones climbed up the monkey bars, a few of the other kids in the park observing his dexterity on the play-structure as he hopped about it, occasionally glancing over towards his brother to see if he was coming over.
But each time he did, he just seemed further away. First, standing by the water fountain, chatting it up with the ladies and trying not to let his gloves tear open. Then they were over at a picnic bench all together, chatting it up, and Eaglebones watched his brother try to impress the ladies with some of his still-developing muscles. Later, they were all by an ice cream truck halfway across the park, Eagleclaw buying them the icy sweets to win their favor, which so far seemed to be working.
While he was a bit happy to see Eagleclaw enjoying himself, the younger brother couldn’t help but frown a little-were those girls more important then him? Or had Eagleclaw simply forgotten he was waiting for him. Maybe a reminder would get him coming over.
He hoped down, coming over as Eagleclaw started to tell one of his stories about their dad, “-so he’s coming down from the ramp and we all think he’s going to crash right into that tiger shark tank. But that’s when I, Eagleclaw, jumped out to save him from the fall and made his stunt look awesome!” He rubbed his knuckle on his shirt before smirking, “But everyday around our place is like that, no big deal.”
Eaglebones tugged on his shirt, “Big bro?”
Eagleclaw’s expression quickly changed, narrowing his eyes at his little brother, “Not now, Bones, I’m having a conversation here.”
Eaglebones looked back to the girls, giving a shy wave, a few giggling and looking to him, “Aww, we always forget you have such a cute little bro, Claw!”
Eagleclaw looked back, feathers ruffling as he blushed a little, “Yeah, with good reason.” He made a ‘shoo’ hand motion to Eaglebones, who frowned a little.
”But bro, you promised you’d come over to-“
”Yeah and then I got busy, now scram. Go climb a tree or something.” A few of the girls frowned, but they decided not to say anything, Eaglebones looking slightly hurt in the meantime.
One of the girls looked to Eagleclaw, “Hey, we’d be okay if your little bro hung out with us, it’d be fine.”
Eagleclaw turned, seeming to completely ignore that puppy dog-like expression Eaglebones had, “It’s fine. He likes climbing trees better,” He looked back to Eaglebones, “Don’t you kid?”
There was a look in his brothers eyes that told Eaglebones to just zip up and nod, putting on a half-hearted smile, “M-maybe you can come up in a little bit after me and you can show me that cool jumping thing you can do?”
Eagleclaw nodded partly, turning back as his attention was re-directed again, “Yeah, try practicing first, then maybe I’ll care. Just quit bugging us.” Eaglebones couldn’t see the way he rolled his eyes, and just heard the dull promise that Eagleclaw implied and smiled, heading over to one of the taller trees and starting to climb.
The girls looked back to Eagleclaw, “Jumping thing?”
Another one spoke up, “Did you just tell him to jump out of a tree?”
Eagleclaw waved a hand, “I just told him to leave us alone. You guys don’t think he’s actually going to try something do you?” At the worried glances the girls exchanged, he frowned, “C’mon, my brother’s smarter then to jump out of a freaking tree. Besides-” He said, as Eaglebones had climbed up to the top, “-pretty sure he knows I’m the only one with that jumping ability.”
He blinked as the ladies suddenly screamed, his eyes widening as he heard a yelp, a grunt, and a sickening crack from behind him, turning quickly to the sight as the girls and a few other park patrons gathered to the sound. He got up, feeling a sinking sense of dread in his stomach, body feeling numb as he rushed over, shoving his way through the crowd and looking down to the trembling body of his little brother, gripping a broken arm close and choking back tears.
The realization that his words made his brother do this sent ice through his blood, hands shaking as he picked Eaglebones up gently, swallowing thickly. He quickly turned back to the crowd and glared, feathers ruffling up as he stood, “Back off!!”
The crowd didn’t need to be told twice, quickly moving out of the way as Eagleclaw strode away, trying not to tear up, guilt stabbing him repeatedly in the chest as he rushed for the hospital, Eaglebones trembling in his grip.
”I’m sorry, I couldn’t do it…” he mumbled quietly, Eagleclaw shushing him.
”No no, hey, it’s okay. Just…just don’t be stupid like that next time.” Eaglebones nodded slowly, as Eagleclaw gripped him close, putting on that tough exterior again to prevent himself from crying in front of his little-now injured-brother.
”At the time, there were some ups and downs, but for the most part, me and my brother were tight. We looked out for each other. But, I was too young to realize that soon, something would change in my brother. Something that I wish I could have predicted.”
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