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By the end of the day, Spike finally made his way home after working for 12 hours straight at the docks. All the lights were out so he guessed Robbie and Ethan were asleep by now. When he came in though, he thought differently. The stench of alcohol and smokes was almost sickening and the noise from the TV in the living room told Spike his step dad was still awake. He decided it was best just to slip into his room unnoticed to get some piece and quiet. But just as he was about to sneak up the stars, someone tapped on his shoulder. “Not trying to sneak by me, now, are you… son!” The last word he said through clenched teeth and Spike winced as Ethan clasped his shoulder hard enough to cause bruises.
“No, just goin to m’room.” He tried to move away but Ethan held him too tight. “What, you don’t wanna have a conversation with your father, your old man?” He grinned at Spike and released his hold on his shoulder. Spike narrowed his eyes at him, “You’re not my father. You never were an’ you never will be my father. You’re too incompetent.” The grin on Ethan’s face quickly disappeared. “Watch your tongue, boy. In this house, I’M in charge, not you. I’m the one who provides food on your table.” Spike chuckled, “Yeah, ‘s why Robbie ‘s starving most of the time.”
Before he knew what hit him, he was lying on the stairs, his head throbbing and blood trickling down from a cut below his left eye. “Not so tough now, are you boy. Pfft, you’re pathetic. If your mother were here, she’d be ashamed to acknowledge you as her son.” Spike quickly stood up and raised his fist. But he hesitated as he saw the look on Ethan’s face. He was laughing at him. “Go ahead, hit me. Gives me an excuse not to go to work tomorrow, and then there will be nothing to eat for Robbie.” Spike slowly lowered his arm but as soon as he did, Ethan’s fist came crashing into his stomach, causing him to stumble over. “Don’t EVER raise your fists at me, boy, or I’ll make Robbie’s life a living hell. You know I can. Got it?” Spike just fell down on his knees and Ethan walked back into the living room to finish his beer.
Spike wasn’t sure how he got into his room but he suddenly found himself in front of his mirror in his bedroom, studying the swelling on his eye and the bruising on his chest. “‘s gonna hurt in the morning.” He said to himself. Just then, the doors to his bedroom opened, reviewing his younger brother standing there with sleep mussed hair and tired eyes.
“What’you doin out of bed.” His brother just sat down on Spikes bed and stared at the floor. “Woke up with Ethan’s yelling. ‘S it bad?” He nodded towards the black eye Spike was sporting. “Nah, ‘ll live! You should go back to sleep. ‘S a school night.” Robbie just scowled at him, “You can’t tell me what to do!” “No, but I can throw you out of m’room.” He sat down next to him and punched him lightly in the shoulder.
“You hungry?” Robbie nodded his head, “sorta. Got something!” “Yeah,” Spike replied as he got up and opened his schoolbag. He pulled out a tuna sandwich and threw it at him. “Here, bought it on the way home. Figured you’d be hungry.” “Thanks.” He took a big bite of the sandwich and growled. “I luv tuna sandwich.” “Which proves you’re only my half brother.” Spike replied and chuckled at his brother. “Finish up an’ then go to bed.” They just sat there together in silence, just enjoying each others company.
Apart from Robbie’s father, they only had each other. Spikes’ real dad had run off only two months after Spike was born. Two years later his mother Anne, met Ethan Rayne and they married only a year later. By that time Anne was already pregnant with Robbie and 6 years after he was born, the small family moved out of England to the states. Ethan was always drinking a lot and refused to go to AA meetings, no matter how much Anne had begged him. Ethan never really liked Spike and never paid him any attention, except when he was yelling at him or hitting him when Anne didn’t see and would then come up with excuses about how he had tripped or gotten into a fight at school. And then he threatened Spike he would pay dearly if he ever told anyone the truth. The only one that knew about it, except Spike and Rayne was Robbie. But Spike made him promise not to tell anyone or else Ethan was likely to do something horrible to either Spike or Robbie. And Spike would never EVER let Ethan come close to hurting his only brother.
By the time Spike was 14, Anne had become ill and after a trip to the hospital, she revealed to the brothers that she had cancer in her lungs. It was pretty bad and she had to have numerous surgeries, but a year after her diagnose, she passed away, leaving Ethan in charge of the boys. Of course then did the beatings start getting worse and there wasn’t much Spike could do. If he told anyone, he and Robbie would probably be put in a foster home and no one would want to adopt a 15 year old boy, and he and Robbie would be separated. Spike didn’t want that. He promised his mom before she died he would take care of Robbie. And Spike never broke a promise. So he kept his mouth shut.
Robbie finally finished his sandwich and threw the wrapper in the trash can. “Right then, off to bed, you. It’s way passed your bed time.” He ruffled his hair and Robbie swatted his hand away. “Do you want me to tuck you in?” Spike asked grinning. “Oh sod off.” Robbie quickly got up and went to his room, but before he left, he turned to Spike and sighed. “You can’t let him do this to you anymore. You’re not a kid anymore.” Spike’s face turned pensive. “Just stay out of it, ok. Don’t want you getting involved.” Robbie turned around and left, but stopped in the doorway.
“I’m already involved, Spike. I became involved the day it started. Heck, I’m probably the cause of it.”
“All I’m saying… this has to stop.” And with that, he was gone.