The two of us stayed there for a while, eventually coming out with Cayden clinging onto my hand. I spotted Maxxie on the couch, hugging his knees with his forehead against them. He didn’t really look up as we walked in, nor as we sat on the couch with him. I couldn’t hug him due to the Cayden that was clinging to me so I settled for holding his hand instead. He squeezed my hand and I smiled a little. He put his chin on his knees and glanced at me and Cayden. Cayden was still kind of crying and Maxxie looked... I don’t know, he looked kind of useless. Like he wanted to do something but didn’t know what. I squeezed his hand, not really minding that his grip was a little tight.
He sniffled a little. "M'sorry"
I let go of his hand and pulled him over for a one-armed hug, frowning a little when he only sort of hugged back. He didn’t even react and my face pulled into a worried expression. Still nothing.
"Can you let go for a sec?" I said to Cayden, who let go with a sniffle. I turned to Maxxie and made him look at me. "C'mon, dude, don't you go all quiet on me as well"
"I can't think of a way to help" he mumbled.
I kissed his forehead. "That doesn't matter"
He groaned slightly. "It does. This is my mess, I should be able to fix it, but I don't know how"
I looked him straight in the eye. "This isn't your fault"
He looked straight back. "I don't know how you can say that"
"Because it's the truth"
He shook his head ever so slightly.
"I know you know it's true. Maxxie, there's no way you could've caused any of this"
"Of course there is"
He was silent, no doubt mentally disagreeing.
"Maxxie, I swear on my life this isn't your fault"
He sighed. "Whatever. Why are we arguing about this when Cay's still crying?"
I frowned a little again but he just looked at Cayden, who was hugging his knees and looking at the floor.
"He needs you more than I do. I should go" Maxxie mumbled quietly and I gave him a sad look. He hesitated. "What?"
"He might need me but I need you" And that wasn’t just some lame excuse to keep him there so I wasn’t on my own with Cayden. Remember how all my life I’ve had to be the crutch for my family? Well even if Maxxie needs a support, it’s nice having someone to fall back on for once.
He bit his lip and stayed put. I rested my head on his shoulder, feeling Cayden sip his arms around my waist with a sniffle. Maxxie kissed the top of my head and I smiled a little, putting an arm around his waist. He put an arm round my shoulders and I smiled again.
"See, you're helping. You just didn't know it" I could tell he wasn’t entirely convinced. "I wouldn't still be here if you weren't"
"That's just being stupid" he whispered.
"No it's not"
"Why would you abandon your brother just because of me?"
"Because I'm still tired of having to support my family all the time. The second he started crying I would've gone if it was just me"
He nodded slightly and glanced at Cayden. "But what now?"
I thought about it for a moment. "We give him time to get over everything properly"
"He needs to go clubbing" Maxxie chuckled weakly and I smiled a little.
"He needs to go visit someone first"
Maxxie gave me a questioning look and I felt a kind of sad expression creep onto my face. "Gage"
He nodded slightly and Cayden sort of sniffled a bit, hugging me tighter.
"Are we gonna go too?" Maxxie asked.
"If he wants us there"
Cayden sniffled again. "I don't know his last name"
"I can find out for you... if you want me to"
He nodded slightly and hugged me a bit more. Maxxie watched kind of sadly as I played with Cayden’s hair. He rested his head on my shoulder and I turned, kissing the top of his head. He stayed like that and I honestly didn’t mind that my attention was being demanded in two places. Or the fact that I needed to go and let off my own steam. Getting back into the whole “people depend on you” thing is stressful.