Running on the edge of sanity (MadRabbit)

I don't know how much more of this I can take. They've been in there with Geoff for hours, and we still don't know if he's going to be alright, and its all my fault. Dammit Geoff, you shoulda let me take the hit. It was m'own damn fault. Why do you always have to do this?

Davy's sitting next to me, and its like the worlds fallin' in on him. They're all there, and I can feel their eyes on me. They're worried, worried about Geoff and worried about me.

Stop it, please, its my fault... all my fault. I should be the one on the table, not Geoff, not him.

"He'll be okay," I hear Davy urge. "Everything'll be fine."

I want to turn and tell him he's wrong. He didn't see the arch that hit Geoff after they shot him. Took the hit in his suit, it would have been fine, but he had the transport pack. Bullet ripped through the pack and set the whole thing off. Then he got hit with the power surge as it shorted out. Removing it, was like defusing a bomb, a bomb? My brother, and when I slipped, the pack would send another jolt of electricity through him. I knew exactly what each jolt felt like, I could see it in his eyes.

I start to tremble, I can feel it coming, the insanity, and I look over at the others. Not now, I managed to groan, but then, I'm gone. I'm screamin again, and cryin' like a fool. This is so wrong. So wrong, we were ripped.

Davy takes me aside, tries to calm me down, but all I see are the flashes of blue from battery. I can see the pain in Geoff's eyes as he tries to protect me. Tells me to check the perimeter. I know he's right, but I don't care. The only thing I do care about is him.

I try to roll him over, but he's twitchin' like nobody's nevermind. He tries to keep himself from screamin', but it comes anyway. Low and primal. I've been there myself, and I know how it feels That only makes it worse.

Davy tries to understand, and I know I'm not making sense. I force myself to take even breaths, calm myself, but all I see are flashes of blue.

"Tell me about it," he urges, pulling my mind from the images. I can hear it in his voice. The worry, the fear, he's afraid he's lost both of us, I'm begining to think he's right.

"We took the call," I managed to tell him then groan. "It was my fault," I finally yell. "I wasn't payin' attention."

Davy puts a hand on my shoulder. "I've seen the vids," he urges.

"Then why ask?" I all but scream... "Davy, he's in there 'cause of me. That bastard had me dead to rights, and Geoff, he comes chargin' in, pushes me out of da way. I turned, Davy, I saw his face... I could see it in his eyes, Davy, Geoff knew it was coming, he knew!"

I'm cryin' again, I can feel myself rocking back and forth, but I know I'm not really there. I try, for all the good it does me. Davy's holdin on to me now, trying to keep me together, but I'm bustin' up inside.

I barely feel the needle as Gina slips me a sedative. I try to object, but I know its probably for the best. I can feel Davy rockin' me gentle-like, like when we was kids. My last thoughts are of Geoff and how I let him down.

I don't know how long I'm out, but Gina's shot did its job. I'm calmer, detatched. I don't want to be detatched any more. I want Geoff. I have to talk to 'im make sure he's alright.

Gina's waiting for me when I wake up. I start to ask her about Geoff and stop. She's been cryin' and I know that ain't good.

"No," I whisper to myself, then I scream. She's there then, holdin' me.

"Easy," she whispers. "We don't know anything for sure."

"What," I hear myself choke out. "How bad?"

"The bullet hit the Transport unit before it clipped his suit. It punctured a lung." She answers almost reflexively, and I know its hard on her, she's forcing herself to think of the case, not Geoff, not our brother. "That was bad enough, but the bullet was a ripper, it did some serious tissue damage, would have been worse if it hadn't hit the unit first. But then there's the damage the unit caused. He took some pretty heavy jolts from the battery, and if that weren't bad enough, the power unit leaked some of its chemicals.

I want to scream again, but I look in her eyes, suddenly I'm holding her, apologizing, trying to tell her he'll be okay, but we both know better.

"Kenny's been working on him," she adds quietly.

Now Gina and Kenny only agree on one thing and that's that the sick gotta be healed. She's a Doctor, he's strictly a mojo man and they don't get along. Now that ain't fair, cause they do get along, just not when they're workin' on somebody. I know its bad now, cause she's given up on her medicine and is willing to try his.

I can feel another scream wellin' up inside of me, but it only comes out as a groan.

"I'm going to put you out again," she whispers softly.

I try to fight her this time, but I can see Kenny in the other room. I can tell, its not going well. One thing 'bout Gina, she's got a soft touch with a needle.

The meds are wearing off, and I don't want to wake up anymore. I can feel their pain and I can't get them out of my head. I can feel Gina and Kenny in the next room, and I know they're holding each other. Davy's with me, watchin' me. He's trying to put on a front, but I can feel his pain. It can't be good.

Its not good at all. I can see it in Davy's eyes. "Davy," I call out, and it sounds weak, even t'me.

"He's in a coma," Davy answers bleakly, before I can ask anything. He's tryin' to make it easier on me, but this ain't easy, not on any of us. I try to object, but he's there, lookin' me in the eyes.

"Derrick, I saw the vids. "The guy's suit, it wasn't' like anything we've seen before. There was no way either'a you coulda known he was still kickin'. Geoff didn't, he just caught the movement. "

"And the bullet," I reminded him grimly.

Davy just sat there, lookin so dejected. "Derrick," he finally answered. "Geoff did what comes natural, he protected you. You can't go blamin' yerself."

"I wish he hadn't," I growled angrily. "I ain't worth it!"

Davy's angry, I can see it in his eyes. My words hurt him to the core. Davy thinks the world a'Geoff, an' me, I ain't nowhere near their league.

"You're the only one that thinks that," Davy counters, and I could feel the hurt and anger in his voice. He didn't say it, but I heard it in his voice, 'don't you say that 'bout my brother.'

We're both quiet for a while, and finally I give voice to the question that's been haunting me. "Why? Why Geoff?"

Davy nods and smiles at me. "Cause he's Geoff," he answers softly. I think I finally began to understand. That 'just the way he is.

"You want to talk about it?" Davy urges.

"You saw the vids," I answer a half question. "I saw the gun come up as he shoved me away, I couldn't do a damn thing, just watch as the guy cut him down."

I'm seeing it again, the blue flashes, the look in Geoff's eyes. I tried to push the image away, but Davy's right, I'm not doin' any of us good.

"He knew," I managed to say. "He knew it was comin', and the look in his eyes, Davy he was afraid. Geoff, he ain't never been afraid."

I'm still shocked by the image. Geoff, and the look of terror in his eyes. I don't know if its fear of the hit, or that he won't get to me in time. But his expression, he was afraid. I turn to look at Davy, and he just nods. I can see from his expression, he knew the look, and he's seen it on Geoff's face before.

I want to ask him when, but this ain't the time.

"When the pack went off," I add, forcing myself to get it out. "It was, was..." I couldn't go on. Blue flashes are all I see. I don't even feel the needle this time.

When I wake up, Gina was checkin' my pulse. "Jean?" I slur and wonder what was happenin' to me. I'm way too groggy.

"Easy," she urges gently as she sets my hand down. Then I notice the other one is tied down.

"What?" I ask as I feel a panic start to rise.

"You had a bad reaction to the last batch of meds," she answers gently. "You feelin' any better?"

"You tell me what I did, I tell you if I'm better," I counter, cause I'm getting really tired of this. I can't trust myself half the time as it is...

"You started screaming, swore you'd never tell us and that you'd make us pay for what we did to your brother."

"Blue flashes," I answer, cause I really don't want to say more. "Seein' Geoff and the blue flashes. I couldn't do nothin'," I swear, hopin' she'd understand.

"I thought so," she answers, and I think she understands. I watch Gina as she checks my eyes and tries to make small talk.

"Who'd I clobber?" I finally ask, cause I could feel the swelling in my knuckles.

"Davy," she answers softly, and even as I'm wincing, she adds "and Wayne, and Kenny."

Me, I'm feeling even more like shit, cause none of 'em deserved it. And Gina, she just starts chucking softly. "You stop that this instant," she orders as I started to wallow in self pity.

Now, mosta the time, I can ignore Gina, but when she gets that attitude, I can't help myself. "Yes'm." I grunt, and she just starts laughin' again.

But I can see the stress in her eyes, and I know Geoff hasn't gotten any better. I try and tell myself it'd be different if it were me, but I can tell from Gina's voice, it'd be different, but the worry and the sorrow, that'd be the same.

"This 'as gotta stop." I swear. "I gotta get a hold a m'self."

Gina just nods. "I thought you might say that," she counters as she turns and nods towards TwoBears.

Now how a man like TwoBears can manage to hide behind Gina is beyond me, but it sure as hell is good to see him. He knows what I've been through, and he knows how this'll effect me.

"I heard what happened," he states before I can say a thing. "Figured you could use somebody to talk to about it." He unties me and gives me a hand up so I'm sitting on the edge of the bed. "You ready to talk?"

He doesn't say it, but I know what he means, somebody who ain't family, although if ya ask any of us, both he and the Duck are family. But he didn't grow up with Geoff 'n me, so he's still kninda an outsider, neutral.

"Have you looked in on Geoff?" I ask hopefully.

"Briefly," TwoBears answers. "He's still fighting, but he's afraid."

"'Fraid of what?" I ask, and I keep seeing that look in Geoff's eyes as he's hit.

"Failure, self-worth..." Bear answers distractedly.

"Worth?" I all but yell. Geoff must be more of an idjit than I though, cause ever'body knows Geoff's gotta be one of the nicest, most dependable people I know.

"And he's afraid he's let you down," Bear adds as his eyes lock on mine.

"Let me down?" I yell in disbelief. They musta dropped him on his head as a baby's all I can say. "Let me down??"

"That's the impression I got," Bear answers. "That's hurt him worse that anything."

"How could he even think?" I ask but then I know. Geoff, he's always looked out for us, like we were his responsibility. It really tore him up the time Tommy got hurt. Then I think about the time our ever lovin' C.O's boys worked me over. He didn't care what they did to him, he hadn't been there to protect me. I know he blamed himself for that, knowin' Geoff he probably still does.

Bear sees it in my face and just nods. "Damn idjit," I growl, but there's affection in my voice.

"You have to let go too," Bear tells me. "Its gonna haunt you," he adds. "But you have to learn to deal with it."

I look at him now and I see the dark circles under his eyes. He's tired, and I can see the sadness there too. I realize, Duck's been needin' his help too.

Geoff tried to protect me from that too, and knowing Geoff, he probably blames himself for what happened to her. She knew the risks, I know cause she and I kinda helped each other out after everything went down. Another friend, another risk taker. 'Course that's why she and Bear are family.

I think about what happened back then, and I realize I didn't mind what they did to me half as much as I did knowing what they'd done to her. Wasn't anything I could have done, but I still feel responsible. Now I got Geoff with those damn blue flashes.

"I'll leave you two," Gina says, but she stays long enough to give my arm a squeeze. First bit of hope I've felt in a long time.

Now TwoBears, he can twist things around somehow, so you can look at them head on. That's how he got through to me the last time, but this one, this one is harder, cause it isn't me getting hurt. It's Geoff, my brother. The last person in the world I want to see hurt, I can't do a damn thing for him, and its all my fault.

Bear forces me to face it, again and again. Finally I can face the memory without screamin', but I still can't keep from cryin'.

Bear, he's exhausted by the time we're done. I am too, but I'm in control again. Bear, he just smiles at me before he passes out. I take my blanket and cover him up. I've been in bed too long, long past time for me to talk to Geoff.

Gina 'n Davy are waiting for me. I can tell they haven't gotten much sleep. Not much at all. Davy moves a chair over for me and I sit down, my legs are shaking from the effort. Guess I'm not as strong as I thought.

"You okay?" he asks me softly and I shake my head when I see his broken nose. He's got that worried look again, and I know I better say something.

"I'm getting better," I add and he smiles at me.

Gina gets up and checks on Geoff again, but there hasn't been any change. If what TwoBears said is right, its no wonder. I ease my chair next to him and I lean over.

I call to him, but he's still as can be. "Damn it Geoff," I state quietly. "If you think I'm going to let you check outa here after what you've done, you're more of an idjit than I am. "

I think Gina's a bit surprised, but Davy, he sees something, his eyes are wide and alert.

"Geoff, you're gonna listen to me, cause ya haven't been listenin' to anybody else. We need you, plain and simple, but you gotta stop takin' this all on yourself. I can take the risks, we all can, but you gotta stop tryin' to save us from ourselves. You ain't responsible for what happens to us. And let me tell you, you check out on me, I'm gonna follow you and what ever you come back as, I'll be there and I'm gonna kick you in the ass for leavin' us."

I hear Davy's gasp and I follow his eyes. Geoff's eye's are open and he's trying to say something. He's weak and I see that fear again.

"Geoff," I call desperately, then I'm trying to reassure him. "You just take it easy, you been through a lot."

He tries to speak again, but he just don't have any strength.

"Never you mind," I say softly. "We'll have time later, you just rest." I can see the pain in his eyes, but there' s relief there too. Its gonna be a while, but he's gonna make it.

He closes his eyes and nods, just slightly, but its enough for now. Exhaustion takes over. When I wake up, its just me, Geoff and Davy. Geoff's still really weak, but he smiles at me.

"Davy told me what happened," he manages to whisper. "I'm sorry."

I loose it then, "Sorry??? That's what I'm talking 'bout Geoff. I loose it and you act like its your fault." I see it in his eyes now, Bear's right, he just don't get it. "Geoff, you pull more'n your weight, and you take everyt'in on y're self. Ya take care a ever'un but y'reself" I can hear my English slippin' away, and I don't care, I gotta make him understand. "Ah unnerstan you like dat... but you ain't responsible. Shit, it gonna happen, you dere 'r not... ''taint your fault. You save m'ass more'n' I care 'ta think about. And ya still 'tink it ain't enough. You don't ever take a break, 'cause you're 'fraid you not there when we need you."

I'm loosin' steam, cause I just can't find the right words, but then I see Geoff, and there's hurt and confusion in his eyes. I put a hand on his shoulder and he starts shakin' his head and laughin, real low, and bitter.

Davy looks at me, and I think maybe I've gone too far, cause like I said, Geoff', he real quiet 'bout his past. But Davy, he looks at me and nods.

"You don't have to talk to me," I tell him gently, cause the last thing I ever want to do is hurt Geoff. "But TwoBears' here, and he's a really good listener."

"Afterwards," he tells me and then he looks at Davy and then back to me. "Its just hard," he admitted. I look over at Davy and notice as his hand goes protectively to Geoff's shoulder in support.

"My father," he says softly. "he always said I was a selfish ungrateful wretch." He closes his eyes and I can see him breechin' all the walls he tried to keep up 'bout his past. "He felt that I was an insult to the family, and that I was ..." He's searchin' for the words, but I'm beginin' to see what Bear was talkin' about.

"It wasn't too bad at first." He stated, forcing himself to start over. "He would just talk about me like I wasn't there. He never talked to me, except to tell me to cover my ears."

Davy's getting stiffer, cause he know's what's comin', and I've seen the scars. I don't want to hear it, I don't what to know what he went through, but more than anything, I wish it hadn't happened. Like I said, Geoff's the last person in the world I want to see hurt. Him and Davy, and this effected them both.

"We were happy for a while. My mom was expecting again, and he was happy. Forgot about what a freak I was, at least for a while. The baby, he was still born and from then on..." his voice drops off and Davy's wound tighter than I've ever seen him

"My mom died a year later and let's just say, things got a lot worse," he adds softly, cause he can see what its doing to us. He forces himself to continue, like if he doesn't now, he never will, and maybe its true. I can see the pain in his eyes, and I begin to understand how important belonging is to him. Geoff, the listener, the comforter, he's good at it, cause he's been there. I see it now, I don't know how I coulda missed it.

I listen in disbelief. How could anybody hate Geoff like that. Geoff? And if the man hated him so, why'd he keep him around? But then I realize, it was a matter of pride for his daddy. Geoff may have been a 'disappointment' to him, but he was all he had. I listen to him, like Bear listened to me. He needs this, and for Geoff's sake I listen.

"Then on my tenth birthday he takes me to the doctor's for my birthday present. I get there and they start showing me how 'normal' I can look." The walls are closing in now and I can hear the fear and disbelief in his voice.

"They talked about cutting off my ears!" he adds with that bitter laugh. "And how they'd go in through my nose to fix my cheekbones and eye sockets; how that way it wouldn't leave any scars. Through my nose! They were so convinced that it was the 'right' thing to do. Like I wanted them to change me." Geoff takes a deep breath and laughs that bitter laugh again. My hand tightens on his shoulder as I take his hand in mine. He takes a deep breath and continues.

"I ran out of the office screaming." Davy shifts his hand so that its resting in Geoffs, but I can see his other hand is clenched in a fist. He knows what's coming. Me, I can guess, but Davy he knows.

"He took me home," Geoff adds slowly, and I can hear the fear and pain in his voice. "I thought we'd talk, but he, just... lost it." Geoff is starin' at the wall now, like he can't meet our eyes. "Over and over, he was telling me how selfish I was, how I never thought about anybody but myself."

His breath is harsher now, he's forcing himself to get through it. Davy squeezes his hand to let him know we're there, but I'm lost in his pain. I can hear and feel it in Geoff's voice as he tries to get his story out.

"This time, it didn't stop," His voice drifts off and he looks so lost. "Anything I did seemed to infuriate him more... I,"

Geoff's facing his ghosts, and for a minute it looks like they're winning. He's lost, so lost and afraid. Finally he focuses on us again. I understand, and I think he finally does to. He's been trying to prove his dad wrong, and he was so wrong.

"I was never good enough," he added. "And then Davy's folks took me in." he stops again and he can't say anymore.

"And you were afraid your daddy was right," Davy adds softly. Geoff just nods.

"I hated him for a long time," Geoff finally adds, his voice crackin. "But I was always afraid I'd prove him right."

We sit there for a while, and I finally get up the gumption to tell Geoff what's been botherin' me. "Well he ain't, so stop acting like its true."

Geoff looks at me in disbelief, and then he starts laughing, gently at first. Then he's gasping for breath cause he's laughing so hard he's coughing.

Gina rushes in and she's swearin' and callin' us idiots. And that only makes Geoff laugh more, till he's gasping. Gina's pissed now, cause Geoff's hurting himself, but none of us can stop.

Next thing I know Kenny's there yellin' at us. By then we're trying to stop, but we just can't.

When we finally calm down, I look over at Geoff and I ask him, "so you still gonna protect me in spite of myself?"

Geoff chuckles and looks at me. "Yeah, but next time, you carry the pack."

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

Mad, MadRabit... (Some MadRabitisms)

"Ask the Mc if he's got any overdue library books"
<Find out if our client's done anything that would warrant a hitman coming after him>

"This is my last run, then me and MaryBeth are going to get married and never be parted again."
<We're about to be bombed out of existence so you may want to make sure you've taken care of all your personal business>

"Insurance paid up?"
<We're about to be bombed out of existence so you may want to make sure you've taken care of all your personal business>

"Can I be your beneficiary?"
<You're your own worst enemy, and if you're going to insist on self destruction, the least you can do is let me profit from it.>

"That's gotta hurt."
<I really hope it does>

"You're one sick, demented little monkey."
<A term of adulation.>

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