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Ring The Bells Of The Circus Children

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"Jerome!" Jeremiah grabbed the bottle of whiskey from his brothers hand as Jerome chugged it, thinking no one was home. Sitting in his room drinking away everything he hated, his mother, uncle, their heavy hands. 

Jerome groaned as he gulped the concoction and wiped his lip sloppily with his hand, looking up at Jeremiah through thick lashes and salty tears.

"What do you think you're doing?!" Jeremiah screwed the cap back on, not ever loosing Jerome's eye contact as he set the bottle down on the floor, crossing his arms.

Jerome was quiet for a moment, fidgeting with his legs crossed, his face flushed red, he looked sick and tired and Jeremiah knew he had been drinking for hours now. He was completely wasted, and Jeremiah couldn't bare it. Jerome's eyes wandering around the room, he began to giggle and put a hand to his forehead.

"Is- jus.. Is jus- Miah..." Jeremiah stared at him and sighed, sitting down on the bed next to him

"I'll get you some water-"

"No- is.. is ok-" Jerome patted his shoulder weakly with a chuckle, rolling his head and looking down to the floor.

Jeremiah had never seen his brother so intoxicated before, he only ever saw Jerome tipsy. He was kind when he was drunk and that confused Jeremiah the most, he was never so... talkative when he was sober, and when he was it was mostly screaming and cussing. 

"You need some water and rest, Jerome.." Jeremiah got up to leave and get aspirin and water but Jerome grabbed his hand and tugged him back to lay on the bed with him.

Jeremiah let out a squeak as he slammed against the mattress, clutching Jerome's hand as hard as he could, hoping he didn't fall into an endless abyss. 

"In the mornin'" Jerome slurred and gave his brothers hand a light squeeze before letting go and crossing his hands on his stomach, gazing up at the ceiling.

Jeremiah wanted to protest and care for his drunken brother but it was pointless arguing with him, it may cause an argument or a fight and if Jerome could be a wild animal sober god only knows what would happen pissing him off when he's drunk.

"Why.." Was all Jeremiah could utter, he didn't even look at Jerome, he couldn't stand to.

Jerome was quiet, a sniff breaking his silence before whispered words.

"The Witch." Lila.

Jeremiah sighed and sat up, looking down at Jerome whose eyes followed his brother, his face was blank but he was still clearly wasted, not sobering up at all.

"Jerome.. you shouldn't do what she does, she's terrible at coping with things and you know it.. drinking isn't a constructive way to deal with your problems.." 

Jerome stared at him for a moment before bursting out into maniacal laughter, throwing his head back and clutching his stomach. Why was this amusing to him?

"Jerome-"

He wouldn't stop laughing.

"Jay-"

It was starting to worry him.

"J-Jerome-..

It was scaring him.

Jeremiah got up and ran out the room, he slammed the door behind him and locked it as fast as he could. He heard the pattering of footsteps, Jerome's laughter had stopped.

Then, there came banging, banging against hard metal.

"Lemme out!" Jerome screamed against the door, Jeremiah gulped and felt tears prickle at his eyes, the banging matching his heart beats which raced, thumping against his chest.

"JEREMIAH!" Maybe he wasn't drunk, Jerome was a pretty convincing actor when he wanted to be. But Jeremiah doubted it.

Jeremiah ran as fast as possible out of the trailer, without any shoes on, no coat in the frosty rain of the night, his feet damp against the grass. His arms came up to stop rain getting on his glasses as he bolted to the only mans trailer he trusted in this shithole circus. Mr Cicero.

Jeremiah could hear the slamming still, screaming, cussing, as usual.

Jeremiah got to the trailer and banged on the door, desperately trying to get in or get Cicero awake for fear he may be asleep. Jeremiahs hair was half damp, glasses foggy, his feet and arms freezing, he was breathing heavily, his lungs on fire with terror and tiredness. Jeremiahs eyes darted from Ciceros trailer to his own, making sure Jerome hadn't broken out. Jerome was known for his brute force, he was by far the strongest of the circus kids, forced to lift masses of crates and deal with misbehaving animals. A lot of the kids were afraid of Jerome, rightfully so, if Jeremiah, Jerome's twin brother was terrified of him, god only knows what little children would think of the manic ginger.

Jeremiah let out a sigh of relief when the blind fortune teller opened the door, Jeremiah squinting his eyes at the sudden bright light.

"Hello?"

"Mr Cicero, it's Jeremiah. May I come-"

"JEREMIAH!!" Bang, bang, bang. "I won't hurt cha.. MIAH!"

"Jerome again, isn't it. Come on in." Cicero moved aside, Jeremiah quickly coming in, relishing in the warmth of the trailer. This wasn't the first time Jeremiah had retreated to Ciceros trailer for safety, he had never needed it more than now though.

Paul locked the door and poked around with his walking stick to the table and chairs, Jeremiah sat across from him as he sat down. Jeremiah took off his glasses, wiping them on his damp shirt, sighing as they stayed wet, setting them down on the table.

Jeremiah sniffed and put his elbows on the table, putting his head in his hands as he began to sob. 

"I don't know what to do, Mr Cicero.." Jeremiah spoke between chocked back sobs.

Cicero reached out his hand and tapped for Jeremiahs until he found it, he gave his sons hand a light squeeze of reassurance. Jeremiah didn't know Cicero was his father, he only knew that this was the only man he trusted in the entire circus. It hurt that he was hiding from Jerome, he dreamed of the perfect family, him and his brother getting along, their mother sober and stable with a well paying job, a father that he knew and loved. He dreamed he didn't live in a tiny trailer, he wished for a warm comfortable house with privacy and separate rooms.  A home.

"It isn't your fault, Jeremiah. Jerome is ill, it isn't his fault either." Cicero spoke softly, Jeremiah sniffing as he wiped his eyes.

He was right, Jerome wasn't mentally stable and that was never his fault. It was their environment that struck many of Jerome's cords, the way their mother beat him, their uncle screaming at him, if this never happened, Jeremiah was sure Jerome would be at least a little more sane.

The only reason Jeremiah felt he was normal was because he was spared from their mothers wrath, she favoured him and made sure nobody touched him, she would scream and fight with Zach the times he mistook Jeremiah for Jerome,  hitting him instead. But she never knew of what Jerome did to him, beat him just as bad as their mother and uncle combined, it was brutal but Jeremiah explained away the bruises and cuts with sugar coated lies that their mother ate up.

The times Lila accidentally hit him she would always apologise profusely, hugging him and buying him as many things as she could with what little money she had. Jerome would see this from afar and every single time she would do this Jeremiah would suffer the consequences. Jerome would smack him, punch him, Jeremiah trying to scramble away while being pulled back by the ankles. When Jerome was done he'd leave the room, Jeremiah sobbing on the floor, nose bloody, arms bruised, his legs turned to jelly and all he could do was hope to drown in his own tears. The amount of glasses he had broken from doing this made it worse for him as it would be weeks before getting a new set, their mother and Zach mistaking him for Jerome again and again. It was an endless cycle.

Cicero felt how cold Jeremiah was, his skin damp with freezing rain. Paul stood up and located a fluffy blanket, draping it over his son, Jeremiah happily wrapping himself in the warmth with a gentle sigh. It was peaceful now, the reassurance, warmth and quiet made Jeremiah sleepy.

"Mr Cicero.. do you mind if I stay here tonight, I'm not too sure Jerome would want my company.." 

"Of course, Jeremiah. Please, make yourself comfortable." Cicero was heartbroken to hear his sons this unhappy with each other, though, he couldn't do anything about it. Lila never listened to him and he was too old to defend his boys now. 

"Thank you, sir.." Jeremiah was thankful for the kind man, getting up with shaky legs and walking over to the spare bed, plopping himself down and cuddling up under the covers.

Cicero went to his own bedroom and sighed before turning off the lamp for his son and drifting off to sleep.


Jerome was sat at the door, huffing as the rage tired him, as well as the alcohol wearing off, his head spinning. He debated on drinking more, the bottle of whiskey across the room but he knew if he stood up he'd collapse. He just sat against the door, thinking over what happened. He wanted to strangle Jeremiah, make him choke up blood, mutilate his brother to the point he was unrecognisable. And other times he needed Jeremiah, he would hug him and tell him he was all he had, which wasn't a lie, he would smother Jeremiah who just let it happen. Jeremiah never, not once, even tried to fight back or stop him, sometimes even leaning into the hugs and holding him back.

Jerome pushed his head back and forth to an imaginary rhythm, hitting it lightly against the trailer door as he thought to himself.

He wasn't sure what made him snap, all Jeremiah was doing was trying to help him, as well as he could at least. Jerome figured it may've been the booze messing with his head as usual, he usually drank secretively to make sure Jeremiah didn't see him so fucked up. Jerome tried as hard as he could to maintain the badass, take shit from no one persona in public. But as soon as he was alone he would become a train wreck, there was nothing in that trailer Jerome hadn't assaulted in a blind rage or fit of sadness. There were dents in the metal walls from when Jerome had punched them, the bed had snapped multiple times when Jerome hammered into pillows, he had destroyed multiple sets of plates and cutlery (Jeremiah coming back to the shattered mess) There were so many locks Jerome had fucked up on the doors that Jeremiah took upon himself to repair, windows broken and of course, Jeremiah was brutally subjected to sudden outbursts by his brother.

Jeremiah would keep his broken glasses, just to count them up. He had 36 in total, and that was in just 6 months. He cursed his vision.

Jerome hummed to himself, a familiar tune that would play in the circus, he had grown up with the jingle. He heard it so much it was embedded into his mind, he wouldn't even realise he was humming it until Lila smacked him around the back of the head and told him to knock it off, that it was too loud and was hurting her poor little hungover head. It had a sad yet happy vibe to it, Jeremiah hated it. It got under his skin, so much so that Jerome would intentionally hum it during punching and kicking rounds with his brother, just to make it even funnier. 

Jerome drifted in and out of consciousness. He wanted water, but the door was locked from the outside and without Jeremiah there to get him out there was no way he was going to muster up the drunken strength to break it down himself. He was strong, and on a regular basis he'd have no qualms doing it but his body was weak from the gallons of alcohol.

Lila would probably come home drunk too, not even realising Jerome was in his room, staggering to her own and fucking countless men all night. If she knew Jerome was in there she'd probably leave him to rot anyway, as long as she and Jeremiah were okay she gave no shits.

Jerome closed his eyes with a smug smile, resting his head against the door as he cuddled himself, passing out contently.


Jeremiah cracked his eyes open, sighing as he sat up and stretched. Rubbing his eyes and subconsciously reaching for his glasses, he realised he was in Ciceros trailer, the night before a blur. He spied his spectacles on the wooden table and stood up, picking them up and giving them a quick blow before pushing them up his nose bridge, his vision perfect again.

Jeremiah decided to leave, he didn't want to give Mr Cicero the hassle of making him breakfast, knowing the kind man that was what he'd do. The poor man couldn't even see, never mind cook breakfast.

Jeremiah sighed and prepared himself for having to run back to his own trailer, the grass would still be damp, the air would still be freezing and Jerome would still be locked in their room. There was no way Jeremiah could get out of this no matter how long he stayed at Ciceros, he had to go back eventually, may as well make it quick.

The ginger boy opened the door and ran, as fast as he could. The ground was slippery but he managed to keep himself up.

Jeremiah was stopped dead in his tracks though, when he almost bumped straight into a girl. He looked at her and instantly recognised who she was.

She was May, Jeremiah knew her father, Owen Lloyd, she was a familiar face to him. They had spoken once or twice, Jeremiah distinctly remembering her angelic voice, soothing and unlike anything he had ever heard. The last time Jeremiah had seen her she was so different, she hadn't hit puberty yet, she wore floral dresses and brown fluffy boots, her caramel brown hair pulled up into two neat pigtails. Now, she was budding breasts, her dresses tighter to flaunt the features she'd sprouted, she was taller but not as tall as Jeremiah, her caramel hair lighter with blonde tones to it, still pulled up in the same style however. She had a natural glow to her, no need for makeup or jewellery, a soft and gentle presence, she was everything Jeremiah dreamed of.

"Miah?" She was holding a basket of clothes. 

"May.." Jeremiahs face flushed a dark red as he felt he must've looked a sight, hair messy, no shoes or socks on, no coat.

"Your socks.." May looked down, her voice honey coated with a motherly tone "shoes.."

Jeremiah gulped and fumbled with his fingers.

"I- umm-" Before he could think of his stupid reason, May pushed her basket to his chest, beckoning for him to hold it, he did. She slipped off her boots, her socks being dampened by the wet grass.

"Here!" She smiled and handed Jeremiah her boots.

"M-May.. you don't need-"

"Don't be silly! I have plenty of pairs at home, besides, you must be freezing poor thing.." She cooed and took the basket back, Jeremiah taking the boots with hesitation.

May leaned forward and kissed Jeremiahs cheek, his face warming immediately as her soft lips grazed his skin, her breast rubbing against his arm as she leaned against him, her thigh rubbing against his.

"I'll see you soon, okay?" She spoke as she walked, Jeremiah looking back at her and nodding.

He watched as she disappeared into the fog, he looked down at the boots in his hands. He shook his head and bolted back to the trailer.

He pried the door open and rushed in, dropping the shoes at the entrance and running to the bedroom him and Jerome shared. He unlocked the door as fast as he could, pushing it open. Panting as his eyes bolted around, then going to the floor.

He stared down at Jerome who was laid motionless in the middle of the room, he was still breathing clearly but looked shaken up. He looked tired and sick, like he had been running for hours, a mess with tears stained down his cheeks. Jeremiah knew Jerome cried in his sleep, even if he denied it, Jeremiah could hear his sobs every time he closed his eyes. 

Jeremiah gulped and walked forward, leaning down and wrapping an arm under  Jerome's and around his waist. With all the strength he could manage, Jeremiah pulled his brother up off the floor, it was like carrying a living corpse, staggering over to the bed and putting Jerome down as gently as he could.

Jerome rolled over immediately and tugged his brother down with him, Jeremiah squeaked and gasped at the sudden impact.

Jerome groaned at Jeremiahs coldness, he was boiling while Jeremiah was freezing, it was quite pleasant. Even though Jerome was knocked out cold his body still knew in an instant to cuddle and hold this icy figure, keep it warm and make sure their temperatures were equal. 

Jeremiah wasn't at all tired, he had slept a peaceful night and it was bright and early anyway. Jerome, obviously, was completely tuckered out, the wearing down of substances made his body limp and eventually force itself into a coma like state. 

Jerome's hand gripped Jeremiahs waist, holding him close and in place, he breathed softly but Jeremiah couldn't stand the scent of whiskey that radiated off his deviant brother, it smelled of their mother. Jeremiah swore he could smell cigarettes too, an unpleasant burning.

Jeremiah tried to pull away but Jerome's arm came further down his waist and grabbed him, pressing their chests together, burying his face in the crook of Jeremiahs neck with a soft sigh.

Jeremiahs heart pounded, he didn't want to love Jerome, he couldn't, not with Jerome being so.. abusive. He would strike Jeremiah for the smallest things, ridicule him, beat him, insult him and then act like it never happened. It scared Jeremiah how easily Jerome switched from a loving and gentle soul to a complete monster. Jeremiahs mixed emotions on the whole ordeal caused his eyes to water, salty tears prickle down his cheeks as he began to sob, Jerome's soft hair brushing against his cheek as he held his hungover brother close. Jeremiah reached a hand around Jerome's head and pulled off his glasses, wiping his eyes as he gulped away the loudest of cries. He tossed his spectacles aside and pulled Jerome closer, it wasn't often he hugged his brother this much. Jerome's warm hands around him, soft breaths on his skin, his fluffy hair rubbing against his cheek. Jeremiah felt loved by his brother, even if Jerome didn't know it. 

Jeremiah knew that when Jerome woke up he was done for, at least until he regained enough strength to pummel him into oblivion for even daring to touch him without permission. He was like that, Jerome, put his hands on whoever he pleased but as soon as someone else did it to him they may as well plan their funeral.

There was once a boy the twins knew, they were 10 at the time, the boys name was Kian. He was no older than 12 or 13 when the incident happened, Kian was often unkind to Jeremiah, but this day, he decided to pick a fight with Jerome. He figured Jerome would be just like Jeremiah, quiet and too scared to stick up for himself, that he would just sit and take it. No fucking way, Jeremiah watched in horror as Kian intentionally threw a basket ball at his brother, knocking him point blank right in the middle of his face, Jerome's hand coming up immediately to grab his now bleeding nose. Jeremiah went to get up and help his brother but Jerome's hand came away from his face, crimson red blood trickling down to his mouth where a wide grimace spread from one ear to the other. Kian stepped back as Jerome stood, fists balled as he began to laugh, and Jeremiah closed his book, Kian began to run but Jerome grabbed his shirt, yanking him back so hard he fell to the floor. It was like watching a cop film but it was real, and Jeremiah didn't have the guts or strength to even move let alone help the bully. Kian was screaming and punching but Jerome kept on, coming down to the floor too, pressing a knee on the boys chest which blocked his airwave, wrapping his hands around his throat, Jeremiah didn't know what to do. Kian was chocking on his own saliva, grabbing at Jerome's shoulders, digging his nails into his skin, the boys face was going blue to purple as Jerome squeezed harder, grinning as he suffocated Kian to the point were uncle Zach ran over and tackled Jerome off him, Kian caught his breath and scurried away. Jeremiah watched again as Zach began kicking an punching his brother who just screamed for him to get off, crying out for anyone, someone. Jeremiah could hear a bone break, a harsh and sudden snap, followed by a blood curtailing scream which rippled through the air with an echo to follow. Come to find out, Zach had completely broken one of Jerome's collar bones, it took weeks to heal after that, Jeremiah took it upon himself to nurse Jerome back to health and got one simple but meaningful thank you, hug and a kiss before everything returned to normal again. That scream, it was all Jeremiah could hear when he closed his eyes for months after, and that was what made his blood run cold the most. The sound of a desperate, pained child who was ill, no one ever tried to help Jerome, and Jeremiah despised himself for not standing up for Jerome either. 

Jerome rolled over and opened his eyes, it was dark and he furrowed his brows in confusion, sitting up too fast, a sudden and hard splitting headache hit him like a train. Jerome groaned and put his head in his hands, he could taste the alcohol and began to regret all he drank as usual. He wanted to have a cold shower, that would be the best thing ever to him at that moment, but he heard a gentle sigh beside him, looking down at Jeremiah who was sleeping peacefully next to him.

Jerome raised a brow but didn't have time to pry his brother out of his bed before another wave of burning, aching, stinging pounded his head again. He just ignored this one, he didn't even remember how he got in bed anyway.

"Jerome.." 

Jerome looked back at Jeremiah whose eyes were half-lidded, watching him closely, as if trying to predict his next move, he watched Jeremiah as he sat up and looked down at his hands for a moment.

"What." Jerome stared at him.

...

"Would you like some water?" Jeremiah didn't want to make eye contact with Jerome, he had an intimidating, piercing gaze that made Jeremiah frightened. He was unpredictable.

Silence. That was a yes, Jerome never asked for stuff, Jeremiah learned this over the years.

He got up and realised he'd have to climb over Jerome to get out of bed, and Jerome just sat and crossed his arms with a smirk as he spread his legs comfortably. He was so cocky and it got right under Jeremiahs skin, just like that stupid jingle.

"Chop, chop, don't got all day do w- shit-" Jerome put a hand to his head as it throbbed again.

Jeremiah rolled his eyes, thankful Jerome didn't see, as he climbed over his brother and staggered to his feet. He looked down, a blur of his glasses on the floor beneath his feet. Jeremiah bent over to grab them but squeaked when he felt a hand smack his ass, followed by a laugh then a groan. Jeremiah was first annoyed as he grabbed his spectacles and looked back at Jerome, then he smirked as Jerome's head hurt again from the sudden laugh, karma. But Jeremiah felt his cheeks warm up with blush, turning away and putting on his glasses in a hurry, leaving to get Jerome's water. 

He grabbed a glass and filled it with some water, reaching into the medicine cabinet and retrieving some aspirin, popping a tablet and dropping it into the liquid, watching it fizz. He took a spoon and stirred the concoction. He sighed as he dropped the spoon in the sink, and headed back to their room. He opened the door and paused as he laid eyes on Jerome who was stood out of bed, pulling his shirt off. Jerome tossed it aside and Jeremiahs eyes ran down and admired his muscles, he was ripped. Years of circus work really paid off. Jerome watched in confusion as Jeremiah just stood there, then he realised what he was staring at. Jerome smirked and walked over to Jeremiah, whose eyes never left Jerome's chest. He got uncomfortably close.

"Like what ya see?" Jerome murmured with a cocky tone again, taking the glass out of Jeremiahs hand.

The younger twin snapped out of the trance and looked at Jerome properly, in his eyes for the first time that day. Jerome raised a brow as he sipped the water, his face contorting into disgust quickly after at the bitter taste of the aspirin. Pulling the glass away in an instant.

"The fuck?" He hissed as his eyes darted from the glass to Jeremiah who gulped and quickly replied.

"Aspirin! For the headache.." He murmured the last part, Jerome licking over his teeth before nodding and turning around. Jeremiah sighing in relief, it was actually easier to talk to Jerome when he was hungover. Strange but not unpleasant.


Jeremiah sat in his own bed while Jerome was in his own, he was watching T.V while Jeremiah was reading. He looked at his brother who flicked another page.

"I'm bored."

Jeremiah looked back at him, he was tempted to be an ass back to him and come back with 'Then go, have fun beating someone else.' He knew if he said that however he would get it so badly he probably wouldn't talk again. 

Jeremiah opted for a slight nod as he went back to reading. He felt his heart begin to pound as he heard Jerome stand up and begin to walk towards him. He didn't dare look up, but he felt the bed sink beneath him as Jerome hopped on in front of him with a smile. An actual smile.

"Whatcha readin'?" Jerome peered over at the book, it looked to be non-fiction.

Jeremiah was stunned, Jerome never cared for what he did. But, Jeremiah knew Jerome, he was either in one of his angelic moods.. or he was just pretending to care to occupy himself.

"It's- umm- Ti-Titanic.. THE.. The Titanic.." Jeremiah stammered as his hands trembled, Jerome's presence made him shake uncontrollably a lot.

"Ahhh.. int that the one with the two lovers who died, and the fat bitch let go when she coulda moved to let the guy on the piece a wood, thing, whatever?" Jerome sucked at phrasing, and his grammar was awful, but no one dared correct him. Besides, most of the circus kids had no education anyhow, and the ones that did barely spoke.

"Yea.." Jeremiah murmured, looking back down at the novel.

Jerome stared at it, he noticed Jeremiah was on the painting Rose naked scene.

"Oh, ho, ho, what do we have here~" Jerome grinned and snatched the book, holding it out of Jeremiahs reach as he began to grab for it.

"Give it back!" 

Jerome in an instant raised a hand and smacked his brother round the face.

"Don't. FUCKING YELL AT ME!" Jerome screamed and threw the book aside, he lunged at Jeremiah who began to kick and scream. Their mother wasn't home, she never was.. bitch.

Jeremiahs glasses got knocked off as Jerome smacked him.

"GET OFF! GET OFF I'M SORRY!" Jeremiah began to sob as Jerome dug his nails into his skin, raking down his arms and leaving hard red lines. They were throbbing, Jerome’s fingernails jagged and uneven, digging into his skin at different levels. 

Jeremiah whined in agony as Jerome pressed a knee to his stomach.

Kian.

One hand wrapping around his neck.

They're 10 again.

Jeremiah choking on his own saliva.

Uncle Zach.

Jeremiah expected to be suffocating now but the pressure suddenly stopped.

"Shit-" Jerome wrapped his arms around Jeremiah and pulled him onto his lap, Jeremiah holding him in an instant, sobbing on his shoulder inconsolably.

"Miah- Miah I'm sorry, I'm sorry Miah.. Sorry.." He repeated over and over again, "I didn't mean it, I love ya, I need ya, yer all I have.." Jerome stroked his hair, Jeremiah breathing heavily, holding back as many cries as he had, his throat burning, arms stinging, heart racing, mind blank. Every little lie gave Jeremiah butterflies.

"I love ya.. I'm sorry Miah.." 

That's it.

Jeremiah pulled away and shoved Jerome off.

"NO YOU’RE NOT!" He screamed, grabbing his glasses and putting them back on.

Jerome looked both shocked and pissed, he didn't move though, just stared at him.

"You're not sorry... You're insane!" Jeremiah yelled and jumped out of bed, running to the door.

"MIAH!" Jerome got up and chased him, Jeremiah ran out into the cold again. No shoes on, but luckily, he had sleeves this time.

Jerome was close behind as he sprinted past Ciceros trailer. Zach's was where he was heading this time.


Jeremiah was panting, sweating, breathless, his legs were trying to give in as he ran half way across the circus. Zach just had to he on the other side, didn’t he. Jerome was quick but Jeremiah was used to years of running from him. 

Jeremiahs feet were ice cold, he could’ve sworn they were numb.

”MIAH!” Jerome yelled as Jeremiah neared the trailer. “Jeremiah, please..” He stopped running, causing Jeremiah to slow down, turning back, breathing heavily.

Jerome stood with a look on his face, it was new, something Jeremiah never saw as an emotion on his brother. It made Jeremiah still, it was a soft and upset look. 

Puppy dog eyes.

”Please..” 

Jeremiah gulped, he began to sob as he ran back into Jerome's arms, throwing himself onto his brother and holding him tight. Jerome’s hands wrapped around his waist as he buried his face in the crook of Miahs neck. Jeremiah sobbed on Jerome’s shoulder, his glasses restricting this but he didn’t care. He cursed himself for falling right back into his brothers grasp, literally, every time.

Jerome slowly lifted his brother off the wet floor, Jeremiah wrapping his legs around Jerome's waist, breathing in the smell of cologne and fading alcohol. Jerome's gentle breath on his skin, his tight grip around him, it made Jeremiah feel safe.. and it shouldn’t. 

Jerome carried his sobbing brother the entire 5 minute walk back to their trailer, he was completely fine, his lung capacity was impeccable. Jeremiah was light to him, like lifting an empty cardboard box, that was what he loved about Jeremiah. Even if he hated to admit it, Jeremiah had features Jerome yearned for. He was small and shy, fragile and pale, he was slim and smart with a gentle voice that made Jerome weak. And that’s what he despised, his weak side was what made him lash out. He would be staring at Jeremiah, wanting to see every inch of him, what he could do, those thoughts building up until they manifested into a great deal of pent up aggression that he’d take out on the one person he needed to keep safe the most. Jerome was sick of it, his anger, his outbursts, he didn’t want to reduce Jeremiah to a whimpering, sobbing mess; something in his brain did though. Whatever that thing was, he wanted it gone. Obliterated. Wiped off the face of the earth. No. Off the universe.

Jeremiahs crying had stopped by the time they got back to the trailer, Jerome pulling open the door with one hand as the other supported Jeremiah. He stepped into the warmth, sighing at it’s sudden change in temperature. Then he looked to the floor, Lila.

She was just laying there, passed out, empty bottle in one hand, her purse in the other, she reeked of different mens cologne, alcohol, cigarettes, and of course.. sex.. It was a disgusting musk that seeped through the air, making Jerome sick to his stomach. He kicked his mothers arm, she groaned and slurred in her sleep, knocked out cold. Jerome rolling his eyes, he knew he was being completely hypocritical, Jeremiah was in his shoes yesterday, watching him a drunken, beaten down mess. But Lila was different, she was always like this, and Jerome just had enough of it. He wished she’d just get alcohol poisoning already, and OD would be good too. But no, he was stuck with the old hag.

He stepped over her, Jeremiah murmuring inaudible words into his ear, warm breath sending shivers down Jerome's spine. Something then hit him, he wasn’t as angry with his mother when Jeremiah was in his arms. It was comforting, he felt better. It was the same feeling alcohol gave him but, the looming awareness of the following hangover was gone. It was just warm, peaceful, intimate. He had hugged Jeremiah before, sure, but this time.. This time, it felt genuine, it felt like returned apologies and accepted pleas. The reassuring ‘It’s ok’ couldn’t even compare to this.

Jerome, lightly kicked the bedroom door open, as to not make too big a sound, creeping in and closing it begin him.

He walked to his own bed and slowly laid his brother down, Jeremiah sighing and wrapping himself in the covers. Jerome smiled, kneeling down beside him, caressing his cheek. He pulled Miahs glasses off and set them aside. Tucking a tuft of hair behind Jeremiahs ear. He leaned forward and kissed his forehead.

”Rome..” 

Jerome looked at Jeremiah who didn’t open his eyes, reaching his hand down and intertwining his fingers with Jerome's, squeezing tightly. Jerome knew this meant ‘come to bed.’

He did, climbing under the covers with Jeremiah, his body warm against his. Jeremiah snuggled up close to Jerome, nuzzling his nose to his chest, arms wrapped around him. Jerome sighed and held him tight, usually he wanted to squeeze him until he popped, but now, he just wanted to hold him and cuddle him, no squeezing, chocking, forced embrace, just a hug. Jerome never really got hugs, not from Lila, Zach, and usually not willingly from Jeremiah. Even when his brother just let it happen, Jerome knew he would rather run off and leave Jerome to sit and think about what he had done.

This was different though, he finally felt respected, to some degree. It was something quite special that feeling, and Jerome wanted more. He wanted to feel, taste, every single part of Jeremiah. His lips, his flesh, his soul, he wanted it all. He would make sure, that he had it all. No matter what, even if that meant being stern with Jeremiah, even if that meant a couple smacks.. no.. maybe... soon.