They only had a five and a half hour drive. Five and a half hours of open road, no one to see anything if Silas decided to get rid of them. 

Louis played with a loose string on his seat, watching out the window at the passing scenery, occasionally glancing at Silas. His foot tapped on the floor in a steady rhythm, betraying his nervousness. They were already two hours into the trip and nothing had happened. Nico was asleep in the seat beside him, his head resting against the window. Louis marveled that he could be so calm, then remembered that he didn't believe anything was wrong. He ran a trembling hand through his dark hair and took a deep breath, trying to steady his nerves. 

When Silas started moving off of the main road, Louis panicked for a moment, but relaxed when he saw that they were pulling into a rest stop. 

"Alright, boys," Silas called to the back, "here's your chance to get out and stretch your legs, use the restroom, freshen up, whatever."

Nico opened his eyes and yawned loudly. Louis didn't want to get out of the car, but Nico did, forcing Louis to since he'd promised not to leave his brother alone. Sophia didn't look at him when he asked if she was coming, but simply shook her head. 

Nico bolted for the bathrooms and Louis had to jog to keep up with him. To his chagrin, they were on the other side of the building, out of sight of the car. 

"Be quick," Louis told his brother who simply rolled his eyes and went into the restroom. Louis didn't follow him but decided to stay outside. He'd watched a movie once where the villain killed his victim in a public restroom. If that was what Silas was planning, he'd have to get through Louis first. 

Nico giggled behind the door, knowing his brother was waiting impatiently for him. He'd already finished his business, but he thought it might be funny to tease his older brother a little bit. Why not make him wait for a while? Nothing was going to happen anyway, and it might teach him a lesson.

Within a few minutes, Louis was knocking on the door. "Nico, come on, we've gotta go!" His voice definitely betrayed nervousness. 

Nico snickered and pressed himself against the door, blocking it when his brother tried to open it. 

"Nicolas! Stop, this isn't funny! Open the door!"

"Not until you apologize for what you said about Silas!"

Louis stared incredulously at the door. "What?"

"You heard me," Nico chided. 

"Nico... I– I can't do that. Please just open the door," Louis said with all the sincerity he could muster.

Nico sighed and mumbled something under his breath, but opened the door. "Happy now?" He grumbled. "Come on, let's go." He pushed past Louis and trudged toward the car. Louis followed close behind. 

When they rounded the corner of the building, Louis's heart dropped into his stomach. 

Nico looked wide-eyed at his brother. "Louis...?"

"Oh my gosh," Louis whispered, putting a trembling hand over his mouth. As much as he'd been expecting something to happen, he had harbored a hope that he'd be wrong. But the parking lot was nearly empty. Their car, along with their mother and step-father, was gone. 

"No, no, no, no," Nico mumbled, staring at the empty spot where the car had been mere moments before. "This... this can't be real. They just forgot about us. They'll be back any minute!" His breathing turned to panicked gasps as the reality of it sunk in. Hot tears rose in his eyes and he didn't even bother to wipe them away.

Louis put a hand on his brother's shoulder. He was scared, but he knew he had to be strong for his brother. "Nico, you have to calm dow–"

"Calm down?!" Nico shrieked. "We have been left behind, Louis! And you know what? It's all your fault!"

Louis gaped, "My fault?! How is this my fault?! If there's anyone to blame here, it's you! I told you from the beginning that I didn't trust Silas, but did you listen? No!"

"If you hadn't distrusted Silas so much, maybe we wouldn't be here right now! He knew you didn't like him, and that's why he left us!"

"He would've done this no matter what I thought about him!" Louis yelled, the blood rising in his face. They were drawing looks from a few people around them, but they didn't care. Their entire world was crashing down around their ears. "You're not willing to accept it because you're just a dumb little kid!" Louis regretted the words as soon as they came out of his mouth, but it was too late then, there was no taking them back. And they hit their mark. The hurt was evident on Nico's face as he turned away, shoulder's slumped. "Nico, I didn't mean..." Louis stopped, choosing his words carefully. He had to take into consideration that they'd both been abandoned and that Nico was probably scared out of his wits. In all honesty, so was Louis. "I'm sorry," he finally said quietly. "I know you're scared and confused, I am too. But if we're going to get through this, we're going to have to work together. I'm sorry for what I said. I don't really think you're a dumb little kid." He put a gentle hand on Nico's shoulder.

"You were right." Nico spoke without turning around, but his voice trembled, evidence of his crying.


Nico turned, his eyes red and puffy. "You were right all along, about Silas." His voice quavered. "I'm s-sorry I didn't listen to you." He broke down sobbing and all Louis could do was wrap him in an embrace, holding him close as he cried. Only one thought pervaded his mind: What on earth are we going to do now?

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