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[ in the face of death ]
by kHo

He walks up to them and he has the urge to flee, to just walk away right now and never come back.  Instead he takes a deep breath and steps in front of them.  “How is he?’

Kenny was the only one that would look him in the eye, but that wasn´t much of a surprise really.  It still hurt.  “He´s bad, but he´ll live.’

“Thank God,’ Tommy says, sitting down next to Sean and sighing, stretching his feet out.  

“Don´t sit there.’

Tommy frowns, looking over at Sean.  “What?’

Sean glares at the floor, his head bent forward, his fingers laced together.  “Don´t. Fucking. Sit. There.’

Tommy´s eyebrows raise and he looks over Sean´s head to catch Kenny´s eyes.  “Sean,’ he said, resting a hand on Sean´s back.

“Don´t fucking sit there,’ Sean yells, looking up at him, his eyes flashing angrily.  “And don´t fucking touch me, Tommy, I swear to God!’

“What the fuck, Sean,’ Tommy asks, feeling the guilt seeping right down into his bones.  The hatred and betrayal in Sean´s eyes almost breaks him in half.

Sean shakes his head, laughing and rolling his eyes up towards the ceiling as tears came to them again.  “Tommy, I need you to not sit next to me.  Please.  Please just… don´t.’

Tommy breathes in slowly through his nose.  “Sean, listen, I don´t--’

“If he dies, I swear to God I will kill you,’ Sean says, still looking up at the ceiling.  He doesn´t flinch when Kenny´s arm snakes around him, but when Tommy moves to touch him he stands up angrily.  “You were up there!  You were up there and you´ve been really fuckin´ weird lately, Tommy!  You´ve been really weird, and talkin´ to dead girls and shit, and I don´t know what´s going on with you, and I care, okay?  I do.  I care Tommy.  I want you to be okay!’ He shakes his head, stepping back as Kenny tries to reach for him.  “But if he dies?  If he dies, Tommy--’

“Come on, kid,’ Kenny says, his voice soft and sympathetic.  A rare feat for him, but then again, Kenny always did come through when you needed him to.  “Franco´s gonna be fine.’

Tommy feels the room crashing in on him, the world spinning below his feet and dropping out from under him.  He sees Franco´s face, twisted in anger, and confusion, and pain.  He feels his throat close up and he looks up at Sean and he wants to say he´s sorry.  He wants to say he´d take it all back.  He wants to just fucking take it all back.  Instead all he can do is look at him and blink.

“You want Tommy and me to wait somewhere else,’ Kenny asks, reaching forward and taking Sean´s hand.  “You want us to go to another waiting room?’

“No,’ Sean says, shaking his head and looking down at the floor.  “No.  I don´t know.  I just can´t.  I have to--’

“We know, kid,’ Kenny sayesd, tugging on Sean´s hand until Sean is sitting back down.  “We know, right?  We´ve been through this before.  It´s real fuckin´ hard when it´s one of our guys.  But we can´t start blamin´ people alright?’

“I don´t want to,’ Sean hisses, squeezing his eyes shut, hanging his head forward as Kenny reaches up to lay a comforting hand on his shoulder.  “I didn´t mean to blame you Tommy,’ Sean says, reaching over and grasping onto his shirt tightly.  “I didn´t.  I don´t.’

“Forget it,’ Tommy sayes, and he´s not sure why he sounds angry.  He´s not angry, not with Sean anyway.  He´s angry with himself though, furious.  He really kind of hates himself right now, but that´s not a change either.  He´s hated himself for God knows how long.  He´s never been good at directing his anger in the proper place though.  “I don´t need this shit.’

Sean looks up at him, his eyes full of tears, as he stands and Tommy almost falls apart right there.  “I´m sorry,’ Sean says, trying so hard to pull himself together.  Trying so hard to look brave in the face of death.  To Tommy he looks about 15 years old, and he probably always would.  “Tommy, seriously, I´m just… I don´t know what´s wrong with me.’

“Forget it,’ Tommy says again, and this time it´s more like he meant for it to be.  Like he actually means for Sean to forget it, like it didn´t feel like a knife twisting in his already mangled heart.  “I know.’

“I´m fuckin´ sorry, Tommy,’ Sean says again, standing and wrapping his arms around him.  He hugs Tommy tightly against him and Tommy doesn´t want this.  Tommy can´t handle this.  “I didn´t mean it.’

“Forget it, kid,’ Tommy says, smiling as best as he can and trying not to push him away, trying to do it at a gentle nudge.  “I got it.’

Sean stands there, looking lost, staring at Tommy like he´s supposed to have all of the answers, and Tommy wants to hit him.  He wants to just knock him unconscious, because he can´t help but think that Sean´s too old for this shit.  He´s too old to idolize people like that.  He keeps that shit up, he´s gonna be crushed even worse than he is now when the truth really comes out.

“You guys want some coffee,’ Tommy says, already backing away, digging in his pocket.  “Donuts?  Somethin´ to eat?’

“I´m good,’ Sean says, sounding exhausted and drained as he sits back down.  “But… like, maybe a Milky Way?  If you can find one?’

“You got it, kid,’ Tommy says.  “You?’

“Coffee,’ Kenny says, nodding, watching Sean like he´s waiting for him to break.

“Okay, so…’  Tommy nods and he can already taste the whiskey in the back of his throat.  “I´ll be back.’

He looks at Kenny as he´s stepping into the elevator and it stops him cold.  Kenny´s looking at him with such calmness, such acceptance, and he knows.  Tommy just knows.  

Kenny´s got him cold.

All feedback much appreciated!
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