Disclaimer:Brothers of the Head belongs to Brian W. Aldiss. I am not profiting financially from this piece of fanfiction, nor do I intend to. Anything related to the film belongs to the filmmakers and Brian Aldiss respectfully - the idea for this piece of work, however, is my own.
Barry’s eyes snapped open abruptly, as though he had fallen, but he hadn’t. He wondered what had awoken him up so abruptly, and automatically listened for Eddie.
Tom made a noise beside him, and Barry’s eyes found his face, realising that it had been Tom that had startled him awake
He reached out and touched his brother’s jaw, trying to wake him up before he woke Laura.
“Hm, no!” Tom was mumbling. “Stopstopstopstop... burying me...” Barry froze, then whispered “Tom. Tom.”
The mattress shifted and Laura, on the other side of Tom, half sat up, her hair hanging over her shoulders. Barry lowered himself, his hand sliding away from his brother’s face, silently. He didn’t want her to know he was awake.
She didn’t appear to have acknowledged his voice trying to wake Tom, she was still half-asleep. Her hand smoothed over Tom’s collar bone as he mumbled something else. “Don’t... sand... unbury me.”
“Tom,” she whispered, stroking his cheek, leaning in close to him. “Tom, wake up.”
“Hm, Barry, where--”
Barry closed his eyes, pretending to be asleep, but he felt Laura’s gaze on him. There was a silence, but Barry could feel Tom’s heart speeding up. His brother jolted awake with a short cry and Barry jumped a little, but still kept his eyes closed, still feigning slumber.
Tom made a short gasping noise, sucking in a mouthful of air as though he hadn’t been able to breathe.
“Shh, Tom,” Laura was saying. “Calm down, it was just a dream.” Laura pulled Tom into her, his head against her chest. Barry wouldn’t let him get closer, but he knew that Tom wasn’t to. He couldn’t tell if Tom was crying or not, but eventually his rapid breathing was soothed by one of Laura’s hands in his hair. “Shh.”
Tom moved to get closer, to curl around her – usually in their sleep they would still subconsciously move together. Sometimes, not always. Barry refused to move now, feeling jealous – childish, he knew it, but he didn’t care. Tom never had these dreams before... before Laura.
He didn’t like the way Tom’s words in the dreams could be twisted. Un-Barry me... Tom had written it differently on their wall, but that didn’t mean fuck all, and Baz knew it.
“Barry,” Tom said softly, not even considering the fact that he was ‘asleep’. The join pulled uncomfortably between them and Tom heaved a frustrated sigh, already upset from whatever he’d been dreaming about. He never told Barry. He never told anyway. That was why Laura had take to recording them – to make some sense of them. Tom always said he didn’t remember but Barry knew he was lying. And Tom knew that Barry knew he was lying...
“Fuck!” Tom cried, his voice thick with emotion – anger, frustration, sadness, confusion.
“Tom, shh,” Laura moved closer, wrapping her arms around him, stroking his hair, his back. “It’s all right.”
“It’s not,” Tom said. “I’m sick of him being... here when—I’m... sick of... nothing. Never mind.”
Barry’s eyes opened and fixed on Tom’s back, and when Laura’s eyes moved to his he didn’t even bother to pretend that he was asleep. He held her gaze. He knew she saw the hatred there. And all the emotions Tom was feeling, but for different reasons. She saw the amount of hurt in Barry’s eyes that he couldn’t hide. Tom’s words had scarred him. Heavily.
Tom slowly, finally fell back into sleep. Laura reached over him carefully and ran her fingers through Barry’s hair. His face was buried in the pillow. He shook his head – shook her hand off violently and a breath escaped him. A sob. She realised he was crying.
“Oh, Barry...” she said, “Barry, he didn’t mean it,” she said.
“Fuck you.” This was her fault. He didn’t want her pity, whether it was false or not.
“I hate you.”
She drew away, her eyes on him. She knew what Tom meant. Barry was hard to deal with day in and day out. She knew that sometimes Barry was on the outside sometimes but... she was on the outside too. It was inevitable. Someone would always have to be. She tucked her head down close to Tom’s and closed her eyes.
Tom and Laura, the two of them curled around each other like kittens, and Barry, on the outside, forced close to his brother by necessity. His breaths were sharp for a long time before they finally settled into those shaky erratic inhales that come afterwards. Better and worse, all at once. She listened to him, torn between pity and anger. His words had hurt her, but she could understand them.
Laura was sick of being the bad guy. Her eyes fell on Barry who was almost turned onto his back, staring up at the ceiling. She watched his chest shudder every time he inhaled but he didn’t look at her again.
In the morning, Tom didn’t understand why Barry was being so cold to him. He was in one of his moods, apparently. Laura sat down next to Tom on the sofa, and he turned his attention to her and Barry stared out the window, willing himself not to care.
- Don't Care