“As long as you’re living with a baby, you’re a role model.”
Well, holy shit, what sort of a horrid role model had he been over the past few months? Somehow, the fact that even Gotenks saw Red as someone much younger than his exterior appearance suggested sort of clarified the fact within Vegito’s head–Red was only as old as he claimed to be, and that was… mere weeks. Not even a year beneath his weary belt yet and his older brothers, who should’ve been there for him every step of the way despite what route he took, were nothing but a hindrance. Slowly, as though uncertain of making any kind of movement whatsoever anymore, he pushed up and straightened himself, until he was sitting upright and gazing at the duo before him in bewilderingly hopeful wonder. “I-I promise I’ll try. I’ll be b-better.”
“That’s all we ask of you, Vegito,” Red affirmed softly, tilting his head down enough to nuzzle his face partially into lavender-black spikes. “You’ve already started to try, simply by talking to us.”
He nodded uncertainly and the fuzzy brown tail that had been limp prior flicked up and over, coming to curl around upon his own lap. “But–but what ‘bout Gojita–?”
“Before you consider helping anyone else, you need to help yourself. Gojita won’t be going anywhere… I’ll help care for him,” Red added as an afterthought, peering over at the perplexed-looking sibling of his sitting opposite. “He’s too unwell to tackle while you’re unwell.”
Mouth opening slightly to protest the claim of his, ahem, health (lack thereof), he paused at acknowledging Red would see right through any bluff or lie he manifested. Call it a gift or a curse, but the young fusion was very perceptive–he hardly missed a thing going on around him when able to concentrate to the fullest. Thus, he shut his mouth before any daft complaints emanated from him and he swore just before he lowered his gaze he witnessed Red smiling.
“There… that wasn’t so difficult, was it?” the fluffy one questioned, drawing forth an acceptable head-shake in response. “Now, just rest for the remainder of the day. Tomorrow brings fresh life and opportunity–all you need to do is wake up for it, brother.” Collecting up the little one in his arms, he edged carefully off of the bed and stood up beside it. On his way out he faltered at the door and glanced back over his shoulder, welcoming eyes meeting another fleeting, yet daring to hold the gaze, pair, and he did indeed smile. Bigger, as it had been there before, too. “Oh, thank you for tending to Gotenks. That’s already earned respect enough for me to trust him near you.”
And out they went. He closed the door behind, bypassed the sleeping Gojita and exited the room that he felt achingly at home in with someone he could call a proper home. “Now, about that soup… did you have any before this intervention?”
Because of his perch on Red’s lap, he found himself peering down at Vegito. He decided the placement was rather apt. Vegito really was a mess. Stammering, endless uncertainty, the whole nine yards. He surprised himself with the amount of patience he had with it, but still, something about it was troubling him. Something he couldn’t put his finger on. For this reason he remained silent while Red forged ahead, warming to taking charge and taking action and, as usual, getting carried away with the notion of helping. Like…
Offering to babysit Gojita. That idea wasn’t one Gotenks was fond of. Rationally, he knew Gojita wasn’t in any position to try anything, but he had no idea what the guy would be like when and if he snapped out of his current funk. The thought of Red spending endless hours alone with him changing his nappy and spoonfeeding him made him uneasy. It was Vegito he was giving a chance, not Gojita. He might have to put his foot down on that one. Yet another thing for them to discuss.
That was what was preoccupying his mind when he heard Red call Vegito brother. More alarm bells. Because seriously, brother? Since when had that privilege been reinstated? He crossed his arms, sulking immediately. It was a petulant, selfish reaction, but he didn’t think Vegito had earned any part of his baby back. Red was his, damnit, he wanted him all to himself–! He sighed, loosening the tightly folded arms. The fact was, Red didn’t want to be only Gotenks’s. He wanted to be Vegito’s and Gojita’s as well. Gotenks had always known that, even if he was in denial. He knew that sooner or later, for Red to be happy, he would have to share him. But that didn’t stop twinges of envy or possessiveness, that didn’t mean he had to like it. He was certain in Red’s mind that this didn’t make Gotenks any less special and important, but that didn’t stop it from feeling that way. This feeling of suffocation was getting too familiar; it seemed like there was always room for either Gotenks or the others, never all three.
He couldn’t resist one squinted glance at Vegito as Red started to rise. This was still his baby, and he could at least decide whether he was going to honour any claim Vegito tried to make. In his opinion Red was baring his heart to potential hurt all too eagerly. Even under a truce, Gotenks wouldn’t hesitate to defend Red. He clung to him as they exited the room, breathing a sigh of relief when he could put sorting through confused feelings on hold. Was he enough? Was Red so eager to get them back because Gotenks had in fact been inadequate? He kicked the questions away, banishing them to the dustiest corners of his mind. What he wouldn’t give to be a mind reader sometimes…
“Huh?” Oh, right. The soup. The same soup that had decorated Vegito’s toilet bowl. “Eh. Yeah, a little. Then Vegito freaked, so–” He shrugged in a ‘you know the rest’ kind of way. Then, unable to stop himself, he launched right into it. “I don’t want you to be alone with Gojita. Who knows what he’ll be like when he regains consciousness? I don’t–I’m sorry, I can’t trust him…” He played with his fingers and valiantly tried to keep it inside, he really did. He chastised himself for his insecurity, but it won out all the same when he blurted out, “Do you love them more than me?”