Forgetting the Ones Who Remember
After the giant war Nico liked to think that he had gotten better, that he had somehow overcome his past horrors. And in a way he had, but there was one thing that no amount of days in the infirmary with Will could fix... Bianca.
It was March 24 and Nico had found himself surrounded in the cold, spring afternoon air of Bar Harbor, Maine. He sat on a park bench where he had sat as a young boy many, many years ago, which showed in the rusted metal and splintered wood of the bench. Bianca had played with him at this park, pushing him down the slide and hoisting him into the just to high swings. The memories flowed back to him in a river that brought water to his now glassy eyes.
The thing was Nico needed to be sad, he needed to grieve, because for most of his life he shrouded Bianca’s death in anger and grudges. Nico had put in some research after he found out that Bianca has chose reincarnation to make sure her next life would be better than her previous, and discovered that she now lived in another girl somewhere and was pretty much fine, he'd even seen a picture of her once. She was fine without him but was he fine without her, even now at the age of 16? The idea of his sister having no idea who he was scared him more than her being dead. So thats why he came here, to think and grieve by himself. Although he wasn’t exactly by himself. A few children played on the park and one or two people ran the roughly paved track around its field, but for the most part Nico was alone.
“GO, PETEY, GO” a small girl’s voice cheered in the near distance. The sound was just enough to raise Nico’s head and he tried to calm himself as he took in his surroundings. One of the few kids on the park, who Nico could barely see, stood on the top of the slide and cheered on a teenage boy as he ran down the track toward them, clearly finishing a long run. She cheered more as the boy faked a dramatic collapse near a water bottle and bag Nico assumed to be his. The two were clearly siblings and their banter only brought back more bittersweet memorizes to Nico.
“Can I play for little longer? pleeeaseee?” the girl asked her brother who smiled and nodded returning back to stuff and now facing Nico. Nico was considering leaving, the others proximity to much for his current mental state, when the boy waved to him with a friendly smile. Nico was caught by surprise by this action and almost failed at his attempt to give an awkward waive back. People in public tended to avoid Nico, either accidentally or deliberately, so Nico was ever more surprised and panicked when the stranger approached him and even sat on the other side of the bench.
“Hey I’m Peter” he said casually, “I’ve never seen you before, you must not be from around here.” Nico tried to form a sentence but barely pushed out the words
“Yeah... Nico...” Peter seemed to sense his nervous tone and quickly said, ”sorry that must sound weird from a stranger, its just a small town and...”
Nico felt bad for making the boy feel awkward and quietly added,
“it's okay, I actually used to live here a very long time ago” Peter looked intrigued and started to ask,
“thats cool, do you still know anyone around...”
“LOOK AT ME PETEY!!!” the girls voice interrupted him as she showed of her skills on the monkey bars. Peter laughed and gave two thumbs up before turning back to nico,
“haha sorry, sisters, what are you gonna do?”
The line hit Nico harder that he expected and before he could stop himself he mutter nostalgically,
“she reminds me of my sister...” registering what he had just said Nico immediately tried to take it back, but a part of him didn’t want to dismiss her so quickly.
“So you have a sister too, how old is she?” he said casually making conversation.
Why am I talking to him, Nico though, how do I even answer that.
Nico realized how much relief he found in talking to someone who didn’t know his story, and after a long pause finally responded,
“18 as of today” he tried to sound happy but the sadness was evident underneath. The look of shock was clear on Peter’s face probably due partly to the much higher age than expected for the comparison and partly to the birthday aspect.
“Shouldn’t you be with her then if her birthday’s today?” he asked genuinely confused.
Why does he care, Nico wondered, why do I keep answering.
“it’s... complicated” Nico breathed trying to control the emotions inside him.
“oh... sorry that must be tough I can’t imagine...”
“Petey?” a small voice said at an alarmingly close distance “why is your friend sad?” Nico shot his head up and meet eyes with the girl who had walked up to them while Nico was distracted in conversation.
He saw her face for the first time and froze.
“This is just a sad day for him” Peter tried to quiet his sister
... I’ve seen her before Nico though
“but it’s not good to be sad?” she replied confused
... I know her, he thought
“I know, c’mon I think its time to go home Ellie” Peter said softly.
... the picture
... Bianca ... was ... Ellie ...
Everything clicked in Nico’s mind and waves of emotions flooded through him; panic, fear, joy, relief, happiness.
“I'll see you around?” Peter’s words sounded more like a question. Nico snapped out of his trance and watched the two stand with bags packed.
“maybe..” Nico’s voice cracked and his eyes glazed over. One last time Peter smiled and said with a quiet understanding,
“bye, Nico” Peter waived. Nico caught a last glance at the two when Ellie copied her brother... her brother Peter.
“BYE, NICO!” she yelled cheerily as they turned to walk away. Peter holding her hand and they walked. Tears that had been held back fell down Nico’s face, a small smile forming as the tears trailed down. All his caged emotions poured out as he whispered two words to himself as the two siblings faded from sight.