Barry wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box, he knew that. He wasn’t smart like his dad or clever like his mom. It was why his father never knew how to talk to him, why his mother had doted on him to the point of smothering. Neither of them trusted him to be able to take care of himself.
So when his mother had gone on and on about the Roh-hatz, talked about him becoming a man just like his ancestors, about following tradition, Barry had been all for it. He had long given up on ever making his father proud (who would look at him sometimes, like he didn’t know how Barry could be his son) but his mom? Who loved him to death despite the fact that he hadn’t lived up to their expectations?
He would do anything to make her happy.
The boy falling into his lap seemed like a gift from above, made it easy because this wasn’t some innocent person taken off the street (which was what his mother suggested and left Barry’s stomach in knots). This was some guy who broke into his parents house, ate their food, ruined his mother’s bed. The girl got away, but who cared? Barry had someone to take to his mother for the Roh-hatz.
Barry was that one step closer to making his mother proud.
He put him in the cave, just like his mother talked about, Jason and T.B. whooping and laughing all around him. That made it easy too, that he wasn’t doing this alone. His mom said it was okay, Jason and T.B. said it was okay. So that made it okay, no matter what that tiny voice inside his head was saying.
And it felt good, tying the boy up, his fear a wild scent in the air. Made Barry feel smart and powerful. That made it easy too, to pretend it was all okay.
When that cop first showed up, Barry was too stupid to realize he was a Grimm, too panicked at the pictures they were shown. Jason had covered for him, answered the cops’ questions and Barry had never been so relieved to see his mother as she came out of the house. And then his dad was there, getting asked the same questions and Barry’s heart had gone triple time. The cop talking to him made him slip, bear coming forward because Barry was terrified his father would find out.
His father had been smart enough to know a Grimm when he saw one.
Later, he and his friends had gone to dig the pit and Barry was relieved because it kept him from thinking, kept him busy. His mother had showed him pictures of it, told him exactly what to do, had drawn a little diagram. Making sure he knew what to do.
Maybe the girl showing up would have made him rethink things, made him really think it through. But she threatened his mother. Held a gun in her face and the sheer animal rage Barry had felt when he saw that… it made all his other concerns moot.
And he saved his mom, made her proud of him and when she hugged him and told him two was better than one, the feeling that had flooded through him was amazing. The first time he felt smart was when he captured the boy, the second time when he tackled the girl. Hunting them would finally make him into the son his parents wanted.
In the cave, getting the boy and girl ready, it was easy to think of them as mere animals. Just scrabbling beasts, stinking of fear. Barry was better than them; his mother said so. That made it all okay.
As the sun went down, Barry’s blood began to roil, the bear inside him stirring in its dark depths. The hunt was beginning, singing in his veins, roaring in his ears, calling to his very soul. He would hunt them down and make his mother proud.
Running had been a freedom all its own, chasing the scent of fear, whooping and roaring along with Jason and T.B. It was a game, the best game in the world, hemming their prey in, tunneling them towards the pit. And then Jason and T.B. were on the ground and a gunshot split the air.
It made Barry slow, but not stop, instinct screaming at him to keep going, to finish the hunt.
His dad running at him through the trees was what made him stop, not the cop from before with a gun trained on him. His father was shouting, jumping in front of him, protecting him from the barrel of a gun. His father who he never made proud, willing to die for him.
And then, Mom. Mom..
And for the first time Barry actually saw it coming, saw what was going to happen next. He screamed at her to stop but she was too far gone, too enraged to hear him. When she disappeared into the pit, Barry’s heart was in his throat and he had shoved past his father’s restraining arm. He had to see her, had to get to her.
The fact that she was alive made Barry want to weep.
Later, when he was handcuffed and trailing after his mother, he begged for forgiveness, his mother a pained face, his father nothing more than an angry back. And when he was put into the back of the police cruiser, Jason and T.B. beside him, he could only press his head against the bars and wonder how it came to this.
All he had wanted to do was make his mother proud.