A Death in the Family



Davy sat in his office staring at the reports on his desk. It had been a week since they'd laid Geoff to rest and there had still been no leads on Brighton's location.

They'd gotten the names of those responsible for the paperwork that had allowed his men to take Rabbit and Joey to the sniper's spot– but they were another matter. The Secret Service was dealing with them.

He closed his eyes as images came unbidden. Geoff– laying there in Witashnah's arms as she cried the tears he refused to let himself shed. He couldn't afford to shed them then, he refused to shed them now– not with Brighton still on the loose.

Even as he tried to block those images others took their place– Duck in dress uniform along with Tracker and Bear, he'd seen her smile exactly once that day, and it never reached her eyes; all of them– Geoff's honor guard, Duck, Tracker, Bear, Whisper, Black Cat, Gypsy and Gadje, taking comfort in the military rituals that accompanied the services; the way that Joey jumped as they fired the twenty-one gun salute; Gadje handing his mother the folded flag; Rabbit's complete absence from the proceedings.

It was all so unreal. He was still breathing– but there was a cost. Each morning brought some new reminder of the loss– he wondered how any of them had done anything without Geoff, and how they were going to manage without him.

He was lost in his memories when he heard a soft knock on the door. It was Gina.

He let her into the room, but he refused to let her any closer to him. He'd made that mistake with Geoff, and he knew he couldn't take another loss. She tried to talk to him, but he carefully avoided talking about anything personal. The wounds were still too fresh.

He was actually relieved when she left.

Joey watched Gina as she left Davy's office. He could see the tears in her eyes, and the understanding. Davy wasn't ready or willing to deal with anything right now, especially not something like a wedding.

It wasn't fair-- none of it was, but this was just too much. Davy had all but called off the wedding-- saying that it wasn't right, not right now.

But if not now then when!? Geoff was practically walking on air when they'd set the date. Joey had never seen his brother so at peace with the world. It was as if all the pieces had finally fallen into place and everything was as it should be.

But it wasn't. Joey doubted it ever would be again.

Everywhere he went he saw reminders of his brother, every room, every hallway held memories. He could only imagine what it was like for the others, especially Davy.

Davy and Geoff had been brothers longer than Joey had been alive-- he was the new kid in the family. Even though Geoff was his half brother all the Wilsons had known Geoff longer. Five years didn't compare to twenty, or twenty five. It didn't really matter.

All he knew was he missed Geoff, and that his brother would never approve of what Davy was doing. Now was not the time to track people down-- to overextend the family looking for revenge or answers. Now as the time to bring the family together-- a time to regroup to unite in something other than grief.

He'd had enough of grief.

He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and waited for Davy to acknowledged his knock.

When he finally entered, Joey was shocked by the way the room looked. A three way lamp, set to its lowest setting was the only source of light. Davy sat slouched at his desk. The darkness gave the illusion of frailty– as if the sun was not allowed to shine now that Geoff was gone. Or worse– if the sun were allowed to enter the room, the memory of Geoff would fade like the receding shadows.

If the room was shocking-- there was no word for Davy. His usually curly hair was flat and in need of washing. Worst was the the look in his eyes. It was like looking into the heart of sorrow and you ran the risk of drowning in it if you dared to look too long.

Joey screwed up his courage as he closed the door behind him. This had to stop.

He turned and then froze as Davy half stood, staring at him and then sat back down with a dejected sigh. That was the other thing Joey was having trouble with-- the way nobody could look at him.

Davy seemed to realize Joey's problem and looked into his eyes. "Joey."

His voice was soft-- gentle as always, but there was a raspiness to it that Joey had never heard. It was as if a part of Davy had died with Geoff.

Joey nodded. It was probably true.

"So--are you going to tell me how the family needs me right now-- how Geoff would want me to rally everybody together and turn this into something positive-- 'cause if it is, I'm not in the mood for it right now."

Joey was startled by the anger and vehemence in Davy's voice. He had never heard him sound so-- bitter. "Davy..."

Davy looked at him and quickly turned away focusing on the lamp in the corner.

"I didn't know Geoff..."

Joey backed away from the desk as Davy turned on him. "No, you didn't!... So don't come in here and try and tell me what he'd want!"

Joey stared at him, trying to stop the tears as anger, shock and sorrow raced through his mind. "I don't know what he'd want..." Joey answered softy. "I just..."

"No.. you just want to tell me how I should react.... I've just lost my best friend... my brother.... my twin!"

Joey's jaw went slack at the rage in Davy's voice. And then his own anger and hurt took over. "Do you think this is easy for me? I've just lost my last living relative... my only brother. And the people I thought were family... they can't even look at me..." He tried to fight the tears, but they were winning.

He didn't know what he had expected coming in here like he had-- but this was not it. Once started though the dam overflowed and there was no stopping it.

Joey didn't even realize that Davy had moved until he felt Davy's hand on his shoulder.


The sympathy in Davy's voice made it even worse. "No," he sobbed, pulling away from Davy.

"Don't you get it?... Geoff's dead... " For the third time that day Joey felt the world closing in on him. "He's dead because of me."

"Joey, no..." Davy's tone was firmer now. There was a hint of concern as the younger man's outburst finally sunk in.

Joey looked at him, met his eyes. "If it weren't for me... Derrick would never... Dammit Davy... Geoff is dead because those bastards would have killed me if Derrick hadn't... hadn't... and now he's... "

He stopped, unable to say more as the reality set it.

"Joey... we all miss him-- nobody blames you or Derrick for what happened..."

There was sadness in Davy's tone as he led Joey to the couch. "He's gone– and there's nothing we can do."

Joey nodded, lost in the emptiness in Davy's voice. Then he shook his head. "No. He's gone... and we have to accept that... we can't... stop living because he's gone..."

Davy's eyes narrowed. "Maybe you can dismiss him that easily...."

Joey gasped. It was like he was dealing with two different Davy's and neither of them was very well hinged at the moment.

Geoff and Davy had been one person for most of their adult lives. One purpose-- one goal with Geoff providing the support Davy needed and now Geoff was gone.

Joey looked at him. "Do you think... how could this possibly be easy for me? I gave up everything... I thought I had family... I did have family. You got twenty five years with my brother-- MY brother. I had five.... Five years... I may not have known him like you did, but I do know this-- you were his life. He loved you more than anybody else... even me... MY brother Davy... MY brother. He loved you more, and you knew him better than I ever could Do you know how that feels? I am completely alone... and the one man... the one person I thought could understand... even slightly.... You can't even look at me without seeing him... and I have to look in the mirror every day... Everyday Davy... Everyday... I see his face staring back at me... MY brother.... my brother...."

Joey didn't even notice as Davy wrapped his arms around him as he sobbed "my brother."

Davy swallowed hard as Joey finally broke down. 'So much like Geoff... so much....' He felt his throat tighten and finally let go.

After a long time, Davy finally spoke. His tone was far away– barely audible.

"When Geoff first came to live with us... he'd have these nightmares. It would take us what seemed like hours to wake him up, and every time– his eyes would be wide with fear... he wouldn't let anyone near him. He was so scared– so... vulnerable."

Joey nodded slightly. "How... did you finally get through to him?"

Davy smiled slightly and closed his eyes as he remembered.

Joey listened to him– it was a start.

Their break came a week later when they got their first lead on Brighton. Duck had contacted him with some limited information, but Rico had been able to extrapolate more based on her leads. He knew who he wanted on his team, but when he called Rabbit into his office– his brother's response took him by surprise.

"I ain't going Davy."

Rabbit's answer was short and strong.

Of all his brothers, he never thought that Rabbit wouldn't want to be in on this. He waited, and when Rabbit explained he understood. It was just too much.

"Davy... I've killed too many people in my lifetime... I just can't do it anymore."

The look in Derrick's eyes almost broke through the wall he'd built– almost.

"You sure about this?"

Derrick nodded. "Davy– I've done some screwed up shit in my life, and this ... I can't take any of it back. I can just make sure it doesn't happen again."

Davy bowed his head. This had cost them all, probably Derrick most of all. "What you going to do?"

"I'm going to see the Boneshaker. Bear's waiting for me at the farm."

Davy nodded. If anybody could help Derrick through this it would be Bear. "You take care of yourself."

Derrick nodded. "You too Davy...."

Just like that another brother was gone. Geoff, then Derrick... then Joey.

Joey's good-byes weren't completely unexpected. Everything here reminded him of Geoff. Davy understood– if he could have gotten away from all the reminders he would have– but they were the story of his life. Every moment since he was ten, Geoff had been there. At least he'd known who he was– Joey didn't, not Geoff and definitely not himself.

Joey had gone from being Edward Mays' son to Geoff's brother. It was like Joey said– this was Geoff's home.

He wondered how much more they could take.

Once he'd dealt with Brighton– then he'd move on, but he couldn't risk Brighton hurting another member of the family. He had to protect them.

"Tell yourself another one, brother of mine. This won't change a thing..."

Copyright 2001 - M.T. Decker

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