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We Were [Only] Kids

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We Were [Only] Kids

Post by ThaliaAnderson on 3rd August 2010, 6:43 am

Yellowcard one shot.
"Shadows and Regrets".

I'm deciding to give fancy names to my one shots, just like I do with my videos. ^^;; People ask me how I title some of my vids, and really you just pick the one line that means the most to you in the song. I feel like this line, even though it repeats in the chorus means so so much to this story.

And this song tends to make me cry, since I made a Kingdom Hearts video a while ago when I first got Vegas with it, and just thinking of it with the relationship and changes with Sora, Riku, and Kairi makes me want to sob. ;_;

Warning? Really crappy ending. I started following the lyrics a bit too closely, because the song phrased it so beautifully there at the end (And how tall did we stand with the world in our hands?), so... I couldn't replace it with anything original. XP Oh yeah, and Synn overload. Don't like don't read? XD Another thing, after Sid yells, "I have," really loudly, you can just... stop reading. From there on, it gets crappy. D;
OH. And Barney/Ashleigh! Yayz!
(This was written in my old, less mature style... uhm... yeeeeah.)
Re-posted because Star wanted me to..? XD

(Lyrics, because this song means so dang much to me, I just have to post them.) And uhm, it'd make more sense if I could just come out and say what goes on in Brynn's story. You might be able to figure it out, and if you think you do, PM me your inkling, so as not to spoil it for others? ;D

I'm back, back in town, and everything has changed.
I feel, feel let down, the faces stay the same.
I see, see shadows, of who we used to be.
When I drive, drive so slow, through this memory.

When we were only kids, and we were best of friends,
and we hoped for the best, and let go of the rest.

I heard, heard myself say things I take back.
If I could, could re-tell and make these stories last.
I see, see shadows of who we'll always be.
When I drive, drive these roads that made our memories.

When we were only kids, and we were best of friends,
and we hoped for the best, and let go of the rest.

The shadows and regrets, let go of the rest.

Everything has changed,
(everything has changed)
the faces stay the same
(faces stay the same)

Everything has changed,
(everything has changed)
the faces stay the same

When we were only kids, and our time couldn't end,
and how tall did we stand, with the world in our hands.

And we were only kids, and we were best of friends,
and we hoped for the best, and let go of the rest.

The shadows and regrets, let go of the rest.
The shadows and regrets, let go of the rest.

* * * * *

The streets were darker than I remembered them being.

Five and a half years. That’s how much time had gone by since I’d been in Chinatown. So many wasted years, waiting for the once chance to escape and make my way back home. Home – in Chinatown.

But this isn’t what I’d expected to see when I came back. Everything was damaged, broken, torn apart in some fashion or another. Debris rolled across the streets, littering everything in sight. Posters shouting about some new revolution cluttered across the walls.

I knew as soon as I stepped through the magic barrier that something was off. But I didn’t know how off until I came across the once all-too familiar street and saw something that broke my heart in two.

The door to Wu’s Garden had boards plastered over it, newspapers glued to over most of the windows, blocking any view from the outside in or vice versa. I kicked aside litter and jogged over to the store, frightened by what this could mean. A thousand thoughts flooded my mind at that moment.

Where is everyone?

What happened to Mr. Wu and Barney?

How come everything is so destroyed – even Wu’s?

Where’s Kong Li?

I ripped aside some of the newspapers and peered through the small opening I had made. At least it looked the same inside, save for a lot of dust and a strange sense of emptiness that hung over the interior like a blanket. Grime covered the windows and made it difficult to see.

Not thinking about who may or may not be watching me, I spun away from the window and groped at the boards across the door. Somehow, within five minutes, I had become frantic, desperate for this to not be real. Was I hallucinating?

I pulled aside the wood and pounded against the door. It broke easily against my weight, damaged and fragile from years of wear and tear. It pulled away from the frame, granting me access to the forgotten world inside the walls of that building.

A cloud of dust rose from the ground as I took a step inside, and it took me a minute to get my breath back. Practically holding my breath, I ventured farther inside the restaurant and explored. The old booths had been eaten away by moths or what looked like the much bigger teeth of something more menacing. The entire back had been demolished, making it impossible for me to access the stairwell or kitchen. There would be no going to see my hammock now, I knew.

I glanced around at the water-damaged walls. Something on the far left wall caught my eye and I quickly stepped over debris and made my way towards the object.
As I got closer, and muddy photograph came into view. When I finally reached the wall, I took it from the nail holding it, and stared intently at it.

It was the five of us, as far as I could tell. I smudged away a dirt spot with my thumb, bringing the edge of Tobey’s face into light. I looked across the broken frame and smiled softly. I remembered the picture well. But it hadn’t been on the wall when I’d been at Wu’s.

It was only then I noticed the faded circle around my head, and the smudged writing that read, “We miss you!” My eyes welled up at the sight. They’d placed the photo on the wall after I’d gone. A memorial of sorts.

“Drop it.”

I froze at the stern voice behind me. I recognized it instantly of course, but I doubted that she recognized me. It had been nearly six years. I was nineteen. Of course she wouldn’t know who I was.

“You heard me,” the voice snapped again. This time, the cold edge of a knife pressed into the back of my neck menacingly. “Put it down and get out of here.”

Reluctantly, I placed the photo back on its hook on the wall and let it swing into place.

“Would you really stab me, Sue?” I smiled at the wall, my hands at my sides.

I heard the person gasp and a second later, the dagger fell onto the floor, instantly lost in the clutter beneath layers of dust. Ever so slowly, I turned to face the girl I knew so well.

She hadn’t changed much. Her face wasn’t any different, anyway. She looked older, as did I probably. Her dark hair swung to her shoulders, half of it pulled away from her face. The bangs framed her face perfectly. Her black eyes colored in the same eyeliner as before.

In a second, her arms were around me and I heard her crying. Honestly, it shocked me. Feeling only a little awkward, I put my arms around her and hugged her back.

“Is it you?” she demanded, not pulling away. “Are you really here, Brynn?”

I smiled, despite the fact I knew she couldn’t see me. Then, I nodded. “It’s me, Sue,” I answered. “I’m back.”

She pulled away from me and looked me in the eyes. All I saw was shock and relief placed there. I would be surprised too, looking at me. I had changed a lot.

My hair had grown out a bit. It swung lower across my chest now. I had new bangs that fell across my forehead and layers, too. My eyes had actually lightened over the years, and they were now an inhuman shade of light green. I’d gotten thinner, which was probably a little unhealthy, but I hadn’t been able to stomach anything for some time after leaving. I was unable to eat for weeks out of depression or overall exhaustion of losing the fight.

I looked Sue directly in the eye and asked the inevitable question.

“What’s happened?”

She looked away and bit her lip, unable to bring herself to answer me. Instead, she shook her head and grabbed my arm, pulling me out of Wu’s. Once we were on the street, she glanced quickly back and forth and motioned for me to follow her and remain silent. I nodded, ready for anything.

She led me through tons of debris and ashes of burnt buildings. We darted between shops (or what was left of them) and past dark and empty streets. All the while I was wondering what could have brought Chinatown to such depths in the short period of time I had been gone. It seemed like everything was perfect when we were kids. We were the best of friends and nothing could have torn us down like this. So had did this precious city come to such a horrible demise?

After ten or so minutes of running, we came upon a run-down shack. Sue crept up to it and knocked twice on the door and whispered something to it. When the door opened, I discovered she’d been talking to Barney through the wood. A secret password? How terrible had things gotten?

Barney seemed confused when he saw me standing awkwardly behind Sue. But he smiled in recognition and gestured for me to come in quickly. I stepped inside and jolted as the heavy door bolted behind me. Barney clicked it lock and led me farther inside the shack.

We came into what looked like a living room. In it sat several faces that I knew and loved. Tobey sat on one couch in the far left of the room, Tyko beside him, fiddling with string coming out of the damaged sofa. Barney walked past me and sat on the floor in front of a recliner. Ashleigh sat in it, her legs crossed gracefully beneath her.

Ashleigh was the first to see me. A wide smile spread across her face and she leapt from her position (narrowly avoiding Barney’s head) and danced across the room and hugged me. I awkwardly reached back and returned the embrace. I hadn’t expected Ashleigh of all people to be there. In fact, I didn’t even think Barney would still be around. I figured he’d be somewhere useful. Like college.

When Ashleigh pulled away, I was immediately bombarded from the left. I jolted to the side, Tyko having tackled me nearly to the ground.

“Brynn!” she cried out. She pulled away for an instant to look at me. I smiled, realizing she didn’t look too different from what I remembered. In fact, nobody looked much different. No matter how much Chinatown had changed, the faces always remained the same.

In a second, Tyko was hugging me again. This time, I had enough sense to hug her, too. I don’t know how long the embrace lasted. But it felt good to be back with my best friend.

When we pulled away for the second time, I immediately turned to Sue. “Where’s Nana?” I asked, noticing she wasn’t there.

Barney bit his lip as Sue replied. “She… she died. A couple years ago. She was sick.”

My stomach lurched at the thought that Nana wasn’t around anymore. When I looked at Barney again, he looked about to cry. Ashleigh sat herself beside him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, almost like she was protecting him.

“And… Mr. Wu?” I was afraid to ask, fearing I’d reach the same traumatic response.

“We sent him away,” Barney said flatly. “He doesn’t need to be here. He’s safe, in Los Angeles.”

I nodded, breathing a sigh of relief. Taking one more look around at the small group, I realized someone else was missing.

“Where’s… where’s Sid?”

Please don’t let him be dead, I silently prayed, closing my eyes tightly.

“Out on watch,” Tyko answered, putting her hand on my arm. I opened my eyes and looked at her, a reassuring twinkle in her black eyes.

No, Tyko hadn’t changed at all.

“We’re the only ones left,” Sue said suddenly. I crossed the room and sat on a couch beside her and Tyko resumed herself on the opposite one beside Tobey, who nodded at me and smiled.

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean, Kong Li overran everything. When Nana died… our defenses died with her. Kong Li took advantage and destroyed everything. We were able to get most people out before he completely took control, but… some died, as well.”

“So… then I guess everyone… knows, don’t they?”

Ashleigh and Barney nodded sullenly.

“We still have the cookbook, at least,” Sue continued. “Kong Li hasn’t been able to get out of the barrier, either. We’re sticking around to finish him off. Or wait for him to die. Whichever happens to come first.”

“What about the shapeshifter?” I asked.

“There’s more,” the girl replied. “That’s why I was so careful bringing you here. They’re everywhere, and they’re Kong Li’s spies. They can hide as anything and everything. But they’re easier for us to spot now. Black spots mark a Shifter. If we ever see one, we’re to hide out at Wu’s until we feel it’s safe. Then, we come back and report. That’s what Sid’s doing. He’s looking for any that may be nearby.”

“What else is different?” I asked tentatively. I was almost scared to know.

“Well…” Tyko trailed off and giggled. “Ashleigh has something to tell you.”

I looked to the older girl, confused. She blushed and shot a glare at Tyko across the room. “Is this necessary?” she demanded, frowning. Tyko laughed and nodded. Ashleigh heaved a sigh and held her hand out to me. On her ring finger was just that – a ring. It was small, but it was something. I glanced at her and smiled. She finally laughed and slapped Barney on the arm. “The sap couldn’t wait,” she giggled.

Barney’s face turned pink. “As soon as we dispose of the rat and can get out of here,” he explained. “It’ll be a new start.”

I laughed. So much had changed. Though most was for the worst, this small revelation was enough to brighten my spirit.

Just then, I heard a quick knock on the door. Tyko leapt to her feet, and everyone suddenly moved into the defensive. I sat awkwardly on the couch, unsure of what to do. I’d never been in a situation where you had to be on guard every second.

“Nothing,” a voice muttered in the front hallway. I heard Tyko’s voice, muffled, say something playfully. A confused response that I couldn’t make out.

Tyko danced into the room and grabbed Tobey’s arm, forcing him from the couch. “Hey-ow! What are you doing?” he demanded, reluctantly getting up.

“Get up!” she snapped. “We’ve got to do stuff!”

“What kind of stuff?” he asked as she dragged him from the room.

“The kind that doesn’t involve being in this room.”

Tobey looked back at the others, shrugged, and followed the shorter girl out of the room.

A moment later, a rather confused-looking Sid entered the room. He stopped when he saw me. He dropped the paper he’d been reading, and it fluttered to the ground at his feet.

Sue nudged Barney and the three of them left also. It almost shocked me that even now, they were playing matchmaker with me.

Well, it almost surprised me.

I got up from the couch, feeling awkward just sitting there while he stood there, staring. I held up my hands and shrugged. “I… I’m back,” I said slowly.

He nodded, and took a step toward me, halting suddenly. Then, another step and another until finally, he was standing in front of me. He reached towards me with his hand and placed the palm on my shoulder. He squeezed my shoulder, like he was checking to see if it was real. Next, he took his other hand and placed it on my cheek, his palm fitting across my face perfectly.

Then suddenly, his arms were around me in a warm hug. I reached up and returned it, feeling just as uncomfortable as I had with everyone else. I suppose I was just surprised. I remembered the last conversation we’d had and I fought back tears, realizing he probably still hated me.

“I…I’m so happy to see you,” he said softly. Those words surprised me. I pulled away from him and looked into his dark eyes.

“You… you are?” I said in disbelief.

“Of course I did. Why wouldn’t I?” he said.

I shrugged uncomfortably. “Well, I… I mean… before, you’d said… you…didn’t want to see me again,” I answered, eyes to the floor.

He dropped his hands from my shoulders and took a step back. I glanced up to see his expression. He was in shock, it seemed. Finally, he reached over and pulled me into a hug again. This time, I couldn’t bring myself to hold him back.

“I am so sorry,” he said softly. “I… I should have told you as soon as I saw you. I just… I was surprised. I didn’t expect to see you again.” He pulled away and sat on the arm of the couch. I remained where I was, awaiting his answer.

He brushed his hair back with his hand before responding. “I… I don’t have words to tell you how much I didn’t mean those things,” he finally said. He looked at me with soft eyes. “I… I was just so scared,” he continued, pleading with me. “I was worried about you and that… thing… Kong Li gave you. I just… I didn’t want anything to happen. I… I was exasperated, I guess.”

I bit my lip and looked away from him. It was hard to me to believe that he cared about me that much. Somehow, when you love someone, it’s impossible to ever see them loving you back. It was something that was too good, and just couldn’t happen. That was only true in fairytales.

And my coming back to Chinatown had made me realize fairytales weren’t part of real life.

Sid was beside me again and his forced me to look at him.

“Brynn, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what else to say to you to make you believe me. I… I’d never want you to leave. I…I want you here.” I looked at him in surprise as he hung his head. “I… I want you to stay here. With us. And with me. What I said before was stupid. Those words were the biggest mistake of my life. Please. Forgive me?”

He pulled me into another hug, and this time, I didn’t resist. He held me close, his hand on the back of my head in a protecting fashion. His head rested on top of mine comfortably. The two of us were content in silence. Of course I felt weird sitting with him that way, but, at that moment, I was perfectly happy being there with him.

“It’s like nothing is different,” he murmured briefly, closing his eyes.

“How do you mean?”

“Nobody has changed much on the inside,” he explained. “I mean, this is where the five of us grew up together. We all got pretty close in those eight months.” I nodded in agreement. “But, inside, we’re all the same as we were five years ago. When we were kids. We’ll probably always be that way,” he laughed. “No matter what Kong Li does to break us.” I nodded in silent agreement.

For the first time in nearly six years, I was finally happy.

* * * * *

A year or so passed again. I stayed in Chinatown, helping the others fight against Kong Li. When he had the decency to show up, anyway. Often, we’d run around in the dark, taking out numerous Shifters, wondering if we’d ever catch sight of the real demon, which didn’t happen often.

However, things continued as Sid had predicted they would. Kong Li silently and secretly did everything he could to discourage. The last surviving dog in Chinatown passed away at the hand of a recipe, which left most of us broken inside. But we depended on each other for strength. The six of us would survive, no matter what happened now. Even if we had to abandon Chinatown and leave Kong Li trapped here, we’d do anything to save each other.

Most of that strength came from Ashleigh and Barney. There were times when things got especially rough that Ashleigh would simply look down at her hand and whisper to herself, “We promised forever,” and smile at everyone. They kept each other going, which, in turn, kept the rest of us fighting as well.

Tyko, Sue, and I rebuilt our friendship as if there had never been a gap. We continued right where we had left off, teasing each other about various things and goofily making fun of each other. Mostly, we’d forgotten our pasts. I hardly thought about my parents or foster parents, or any of my life back in Ohio that I’d left behind. Tyko didn’t cry on Ryo’s birthday anymore. Sue forgot about trying to find parts of her parents’ pasts as Chinese heroes. We hadn’t forgotten or anything – those memories were still very much alive – but the warmth and comfort of the family the six of us had created was enough to deaden the pain that any of our previous lives had forced on us.

Like with Tyko and Sue, Sid and I reconnected. I still definitely considered him one of my best friends, despite what had happened between us before my departure. We depended on each other for most of our strength. When I was hurting, he was usually the first one to make me feel better. He told me jokes and we laughed together, no matter how bleak things got. He was always there for me, and I did my best to return that favor to him. I felt silly to admit it, but there were times when I even dared to think that we could have the type of love that Barney and Ashleigh did. But I often shook the thought off as nonsense and wouldn’t think about it again for another period of time.

One day, I was feeling especially disheartened. I’d come back from my watch feeling down after watching a Shifter die in the street, obviously having been attacked by Kong Li or one of his own. None of us would have done so much damage, as to leave it to suffer in the streets with no help. We were more merciful than that. The scene had only enhanced my anger at Kong Li and what he stood for. But more than that, it broke me. I’d never seen so much suffering.

I snuck behind Wu’s after my watch, silently praying that nobody would notice I was gone longer than expected. I located the fire escape and carefully latched onto the ladder and hauled myself towards the roof. It was the place Sid had gone after he felt discouraged when we were younger. Sometimes, I’d find him there. And it was only now that I realized how comforting feeling the wind on your face when you’re up there felt.

I sat on the air vent, overlooking the entirety of Chinatown. I sat there for a long time, losing track of everything around me. Before I knew it, I felt tears on my face, staining my cheeks and ruining my perfect façade. But it didn’t matter, I suppose. I was alone.

Or so I thought I was.

Before I understood what was happening, someone was beside me, holding onto me. A didn’t have to look to know who it was – who was comforting me, the same way he always managed to.

“What are you thinking?” It was the same thing we asked each other almost every time we saw one another.

“How can one man cause so much suffering?” I replied, almost to myself. Sid pulled away and looked over Chinatown with me. He didn’t feel the need to ask what or whom I was talking about.

“He’s evil,” he answered flatly. “It’s his only goal. To destroy us and control the world according to his own will.”

“But… how does someone become that way?” I stressed. “He… he started out good. With Nana. Learning magic so he could protect the ones he cared about.”

Sid shrugged. “Sometimes, people will go to extreme lengths to protect the ones they love.” He squeezed my hand briefly. “Maybe even so far, they loose themselves in finding the power to do so. Finally, they drown in the need to be powerful, and forget why they ever pursued the path they did. To protect, not destroy.”

I shook my head. “I guess it just doesn’t make any sense. If you care about someone so much, wouldn’t you see what you were becoming before you ended up hurting them?”

Sid looked away, towards the floor of the roof. “Sometimes you don’t realize it.”


“I’m saying, when you care about someone that much, you don’t see it. You think you’re doing what’s best, when really, it’s breaking them. Sometimes… when you really love someone, you’ll do anything to protect them, even if it means that you hurt them.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” I argued. “If you love someone, you wouldn’t hurt them.”

Sid shook his head fiercely. “No, it’s not what you think. It isn’t intentional.”

“You’re talking as if you’ve done it before.”

“I have,” he said loudly. I sat back in surprise. “That night, before you left. I yelled and screamed at you. In reality, I was so worried I’d lose you, I was ready to say anything that would protect you.” He bit his lip. “And, for me, that meant saying I never wanted to see you again. Perhaps my saying that would have led to you leaving Chinatown. It’d protect you from Kong Li. But it wasn’t until you actually were gone that I realized that I needed you there, and I’d protect you no matter what. Hurting you… it killed me inside.”

“You… were trying to protect me?”

He nodded uncomfortably. It was like he was afraid to admit it.

I looked back towards the skyline, both of us willing to let that conversation die where it was. Sid didn’t look like he wanted to continue his explanation, and I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to hear it, anyway. So, the two of us stared ahead at the moon, comforted at the fact that we were near each other.

After a long period, Sid reached over and took my hand in his again. He gave it a small squeeze before speaking.

“Brynn, will you promise me something?”

I glanced at him. His black eyes were forward and he looked nervous.

“Of course, Sid.”

He gulped in a breath of air. “When this… when this is over, I… I want to know that you’ll still be here. Not here, as in Chinatown, but here… with me.”

“Sid, what are you asking me?”

He took another gulp and pulled something out of his pocket. He lifted my hand and dropped the object into it. I peered down into my palm and saw a small button eye. The last remains of my dear Pablo. I glanced back up at Sid, confused.

“I mean, it’s not as nice as Ashleigh’s, but… it’s all I can give to you.”

I nearly dropped the small button onto the floor. I stared at him in shock, almost unwilling to believe what I was hearing from him. He glanced over at me and held his breath.

“I mean, of course, if you don’t want-,”

I didn’t let him finish. I threw my arms around him and pulled him close. He seemed surprised at first, but slowly returned my embrace. We sat the way for the longest time. I was mostly trying to force back tears, and he… I didn’t know what he was doing. My head was spinning too quickly for me to comprehend anything else going on.

And suddenly, I was in the air and he was holding me up. He lifted me up so I was looking down on him. Honestly, it felt like a moment out of a storybook. I know it sounds totally cheesy, but it was like I was living a real life fairytale. This one little moment was my piece of proof that fairytales could come true.

I don’t know how long we stayed on that rooftop. It was a long time. Nobody came looking for us. I don’t think anyone needed to. It was a long time before either of us spoke.

It was Sid who broke the silence. Holding onto my hand, he said, “Look at the horizon,” he said, pointing with his free hand. “This world will be ours to explore.” It was a firm promise.

“As soon as we stop Kong Li,” I agreed. I paused before speaking again. “Things really have changed, haven’t they?”

Sid nodded in response. “I thought you’d figured that out before,” he teased.

“I mean, we’ve changed. I mean, do you remember when we were kids and we looked at this very same starry sky? We were thinking about other things then.”

Sid laughed. “I’m not so sure about that,” he smiled. “I think every time I was on this roof, I was thinking about you.”

I shoved him. “Please don’t ruin my epic monologue.”

He apologized, laughing.

“Anyway. Time was almost endless, during those eight months. It was like we had all the time in the world that we needed. Don’t you remember? But I guess… when we used to stand on this roof, we used to talk about how we could hold the stars in our hands. How the world was ours simply for the taking. Remember how tall we stood? How proud we were of who we were?”

“Who we are,” Sid corrected. “I think we’re the same deep down. We may be different on the outside, but our faces are the same. We are the same. We were just kids then. But I like to think that there’s still someone of that childhood left inside of us.”

I knew he was right. Because just then, I didn’t feel like my twenty-second birthday was rapidly approaching. I didn’t see Sid as the twenty-three-year-old he was. When I looked at him again, I saw the fifteen-year-old boy I remembered from so long ago.

The one I’d fallen in love with.
* * * * *

Fail ending is fail. *shot*

*shot again*
*several times*
*with a rocket launcher, courtesy of Halo*

...Now that I read through, there's indirect spoilers all over the second half. XD



I know I'm good for something; I just haven't figured it out yet.

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