Continuation of 'Why do I Try?'
A/N: Okay, so there were people who really liked this chapter and since the main character didn't actually die and had just abandoned his life with his wife and his brother, I decided to continue it. I was unsure of whether to start it in his wife's perspective (Before she killed herself) or his brother's perspective, or even his perspective again though. So I decided to set it in his brother's perspective simply to switch it up and see where it goes.
"I told you I'm going to find that idiot brother of mine!" he yelled, his voice ringing through the whole house with an intense, furious tone. Alva had his hands clenched into fists and he was glaring at one of his close friends, who had attempted to talk him out of tracking down his brother. His brother, who had gone to war, gotten himself hurt, divorced his wife, and caused his wife to end her own life. That kind of person didn't deserve to just live peacefully wherever he wanted, not having to deal with the stress and pressure of the world. "If I find him, he'll wish he hadn't lived through the war." He cracked each of his fingers individually before grabbing a large duffel bag, sitting on the wooden chair in the left hand corner of the room. His hand reached up to meet his pale face before skimming over his light hazel eyes and then running through his ebony black hair that was cropped short. "Correction: If I find him, he'll wish he was just still suffering in the war even if only to avoid my revenge." His voice was icy and each word dripped with venom, feelings that were aimed towards his own brother. Why did he even try to hold back the feelings for so long when they'd just cause irrevocable actions?
"Just let him live however he wants. He's probably suffering anyways..." his friend protested as he was walking out the door, hoping to convince Alva not to fall that far. Leo had cut off all ties with everyone he held close to him, and Alva didn't understand the suffering that it could cause. Apparently not in the least bit, considering he turning on the 'selective hearing' mode like an automatic switch and slammed the door behind him. All that was clutched in his hand tightly were a picture of Leo right before he went to war, and a supposed address where the military reported he stayed at for a while. There was no telling if they were reliable, but it was a start, and Alva wasn't going to throw away a head start to dishing out the payback his brother deserved.
Leo looked down at his wheelchair, the contraption he'd be stuck in for the rest of his life. There was no meaning to his life anymore, not when his pride had been wiped out from the moment he allowed himself to be so fatally injured. Everyone had looked up to him, being so young and throwing himself into battle to defend others, but he had lost that respect. Now he was just a cripple. He dreaded the word, and loathed it with every fiber of his being. The word was whispered behind his back everywhere he went, meaning he stopped leaving the small little safe house he had enveloped himself in. Stuck there for eternity, maybe he could drift into an endless slumber. His emotions, his family, everything he had once kept separate had clumped together and completely shut him down into a numb mess.
A small knock came to the wooden door that was one of the many entrances to his small shack of a house at the edge of the city, almost invisible even on Google Earth. Leo ignored it, the sound simply muting itself. Until it came again and Leo put his shaking hands on the wheels of his chair, pushing it forward with wasted effort, barely making it to the door and opening it. There was a tall man there that he somewhat recognized, and he was dressed in camouflage. Leo looked him up and down with tired, lifeless eyes before starting to close the door. The door was held ajar with a hand from the figure in front of him and then he started talking.
"Leo, what happened to you? I promised I'd come see you as soon as I got leave, but you're...changed. It's like you're..." He couldn't even finish the sentence before the door was shut in his face and Leo yelled out the completion of it.
"It's like I'm dead to the world!" He didn't sound angry when he said it, or upset, or happy, or nervous, or anything. The tone he used was flat and his yell was on minimum volume. As soon as he heard more knocks for nearly five minutes, he was about to say something again before he heard the footsteps that indicated the unwanted presence was leaving. Finally, left in his personal solitary confinement again like he wished for.
Alva looked at the address, feeling slightly saddened by how far away his own flesh and blood had moved away from the world, from his family, from everything he had ever known. The sadness only lasted for a brief moment before the anger returned, memories of Kit and how depressed she had been flashed into his mind and he immediately started walking again, heading towards the bus stop. The address didn't make sense. It was a city address, and if Leo was really shutting out the world like it seemed, why would he live in a big city? The thought kept reappearing in Alva's mind but he just shook his head, also allowing the possibility that Leo was happy to float around in his head. He could have been surrounded by tons of new people and just had to move on, but Alva wouldn't know the truth until he got there.
The bus rides were long and he barely slept, just focused on talking to his brother after so long had passed. How was he coping with Kit's death? Was he regretful? Was he even alive anymore? It could've all been some twisted hallucination that was leading Alva to the very place he didn't want to be. As soon as he reached the city, he was asking around about the address, feeling worn down from all of the wandering and the confusion. Most people had no idea where the place was, while others just knew the general area. Alva moved swiftly and he came to a small house that looked like no one had lived there for months, slightly damaged with a splitting wooden door and fogged up windows. He swallowed hard, seeing the address carved into the wooden door and he knocked loudly, waiting.
Leo heard another knock, just having woken up from a rest that he wished would never end. It was nearly eight in the morning, and Leo felt sick and his vision was cloudy, his eyelids only partly open as he tried getting into his wheelchair, falling down the first time. Every time he fell, it made him feel even more miserable, as if he had no legs instead of having only one. All of his strength was gone, and he had allowed himself to get a five o'clock shadow, whereas he'd normally remain clean shaven. It was just apathy that was clearly expressed in every aspect of his life. The knocks were still coming loudly and Alva got into his wheelchair, moving over slowly and pulling the door open. As soon as he saw his brother, he felt his chest ache even though there was no emotion there, or at least as far as he knew. He had isolated himself, and everyone was finding him. They were breaking down his barrier, which he relied on to keep his heart and his mind guarded from others. His expression didn't change though, even as he watched his brother gasp until his face twisted into disgust, horror, sympathy, and hatred. It only took one second before Leo saw his brother's fist coming at him and his words were shot at him like arrows. The pain was dulled, but it was still faintly there, and the impact had knocked him onto the ground. Alva pulled him to his feet by the back of his shirt and he let out his rage, let out all of that emotion.
"Do you know what you did to Kit? Do you know? I stood up for you and told her you didn't mean it and that you'd come back! I told her that for months until she decided to end her pain! You were her soldier, her knight in shining armor, and she was the only one who knew you almost as much as me! Now you're pathetic!" His voice was rising with each moment and it was interrogative, full of rage, and at some points, sounded like he was on the verge of breaking down. Alva felt his own chest throb with the emotions he knew were there. It was still his brother, no matter how broken he was. Alva's expression dropped and he put his arms around his brother, who looked tired and had grown thin, probably neglecting his necessities. Originally, his plans were completely for revenge, until he saw just how much his brother had fallen to pieces.
Alva let go of his brother, helping him into his wheelchair and Leo told him "I know I hurt her...I'm useless though. I lost everything and life has no meaning anymore...I'm better off alone. I-" Alva interrupted his rant that had absolutely no feeling to it.
"You're just scared. You're scared of where you'll end up and you're scared of facing it all. If you really were strong and you really had that pride, you would've had the guts to talk to us face to face and work through things. You couldn't even do that though. You're just a coward, Leo, and you have to hide in this shack to keep from existing in reality again." His words were daggers and Leo soaked them in, knowing he was scared. He had known for a long time that he was scared to confront Kit again; scared he wouldn't be forgiven, scared that he'd be looked down on, and scared of becoming a useless cripple. Sometimes it still hurt, but the physical pain paled in comparison to the emotional pain. Leo reached up, rubbing the bruise that was forming on his face before he nodded. His words were trapped and he backed up in his wheelchair. "I want to help you, Leo. I'm your brother. I'm so frustrated and angry with you for just leaving behind everything good in your life, but you need help." Leo swallowed, physical and emotional pain rushing at him all at once as he stared at the forming tears in his brother's eyes.
Leo shook his head violently and closed his eyes tightly, his hands shaking as they covered his face. Apologizing wouldn't mean anything, and the only place he could find peace was if he met with Kit somewhere. "Alva, I'm so sorry...I can't stay with you... I need to make it up to Kit... I loved her so much, but it's painful...I can't be who I was before." He let out a breath and reached for a drawer beside his ripped up couch of a bed, grabbing a small needle attached to a syringe filled with a light blue liquid. "I need to see Kit... I think she can bring it back... She can bring back my happiness..." His voice was faint and it was almost as if he was begging for it to come back, begging to be himself again before the war, before his injuries, before the divorce, before he had made so many mistakes. He put the needle in his arm, slowly letting the poison drift through his veins. He had been slowly poisoning himself, saving the last of it for the day he could face Kit and face the old him, who had died.
The needle was salvation, and Alva watched Leo's eyes close and he let out a small breath before his whole body became the limp mass that only his leg had been before. The weapon was used for a chance of re-discovering his love, or any emotion at all. Maybe emotion acted as a weapon in itself, for it led him to push everything and everyone away. 'Ignorance is bliss', 'Lonely is the safest state of mind', and 'To love and to have lost is never to have loved at all' were the only rules he lived by, even without knowing it. When did they backfire? Why did he even try? Alva stood there, looking at his brother's body, and hoped he was at peace, hoped he could see Kit, and hoped that someday, forgiveness would be simple. The problem is... Life is never simple.