He looked out the window and decided to surprise his brothers with a fresh caught breakfast.
Getting out of his bunk he gathered up his fishing gear and went outside to change. As he finished dressing he heard the screen door open. He turned, expecting to see Davy, but instead saw Joey– still in his pajamas.
Geoff smiled back at his brother. "Why don't you go back to sleep," he urged. Wayne and Derrick had kept him up late regaling him with stories of Geoff and Davy's youth.
Joey looked at him for a minute and the tilted his head. "You want company... or... would your rather be alone?"
Geoff smiled. "I'd love the company."
Joey smiled and disappeared back into the cabin.
Geoff had to smile. Joey was a good kid. ‘Kid,' he thought to himself. His brother was in his mid-twenties. ‘When did I get so old?' he asked himself.
He was amazed at the energy that Joey showed– and the respect he showed towards others. He never asked about his brother's relationship with their father– it was always a touchy subject with him and Joey seemed to understand. Still– he wished sometimes he'd been able to spend more time with his brother.
"You all right?" Joey asked as he plopped down next to Geoff and started pulling on his shoes.
Geoff laughed. "Yeah," he answered. "Just suddenly feeling very old."
Geoff nodded towards the lake. "Shall we?"
Joey answered by standing and grabbing a pole. "Lead on!"
Davy woke to the smell of broiling fish. He smiled– this was something he could get used to. He looked over to the kitchen area to see Geoff tending to the fish and Joey setting the table. Again he was amazed at the resemblance between the two.
His eyes narrowed slightly as he thought about how different Geoff's life would have been if he hadn't been born an elf. In Joey he saw a ghost of what could have been. After a moment he shook himself out of his darker brooding thoughts. Geoff was happy now and Joey was part of their lives.
As he joined them Geoff smiled. "Morning!"
"Morning yourself," Davy said as he took a seat at the table. "Got any coffee?"
"You have your choice– I can make coffee, COFFEE! Or... Coffee."
Davy laughed. "Anything but Turkish."
"What's wrong with Turkish coffee," Wayne asked from his bunk.
"Nothing," Davy answered. "Until its three o'clock in the morning and you want to sleep."
Wayne got up and headed towards the stove. "I got the coffee," he told Geoff as he started fixing a normal pot of coffee.
Geoff nodded and concentrated on the fish.
One by one the brothers woke up and ate the feast Geoff and Joey had prepared. As Joey cleared the table, Kenny and Derrick intercepted him.
"You and Geoff cooked– we clean," Derrick told him gently.
Joey smiled and turned over his dish cloth.
"That took a lot of arguing," Kenny commented as he headed over to the sink.
"Kid's not stupid," Derrick answered giving Joey a wink.
Joey gave them a shy smile and then looked around the cabin for something to do. As he picked up the broom Geoff sighed.
"Joey– you don't have to do things all the time. This is your vacation too."
Joey paused for a moment and then set the broom down. "Old habits die hard I guess."
Geoff gave him a knowing nod. He understood better than most. "He's gone." The words were so soft Joey barely could hear them.
He understood, there was no need to please the specter of Edward Mays– he was gone. Joey paused and then closed his eyes, a peaceful smile finally crossing his face.
Davy watched as his brothers relaxed and fell into the day's routine. He made sure to give Geoff and Joey some time together-- they needed it. When Joey started playing horseshoes with the others, he joined Geoff on the porch.
Geoff looked at him and a smiled crossed his face. "So– what's on your mind?"
Davy looked around. "Why does something have to be on my mind?"
Geoff bowed his head for a moment like he was dealing with a very slow student. "Davy– you've got your ‘something's bothering me' expression on."
Davy shook his head. "I don't have a ‘something's bothering me' expression."
The look Geoff gave him was priceless.
"Okay– maybe I do– but it's nothing serious."
Geoff smiled and moved over on the bench. "Take a load off."
Davy sat and watched as Tommy threw a ringer and then looked over at Geoff. Maybe that was what he needed– to let go of the burdens he carried around from day to day.
Geoff watched the game for a few minutes then focused on his brother. "So– what's on your mind?"
"Does something have to be on my mind?"
Geoff smiled. "No– but it usually is."
Davy studied Geoff for a few minutes, then sighed. "I see Joey– and I see the future of the family. Geoff– I'm not going to live forever..."
Geoff chuckled. "Ah yes– the realization of mortality."
"I'm serious here."
"I know," Geoff told him. "We were figuring you'd hit that point soon– especially now that you and Gina have set the date."
"I really am that transparent aren't I?"
"Not completely– Derrick bet on you hitting that stage after you and Gina started having kids of your own."
"I was figuring some time this weekend, but to be honest– I was leaning more towards later on in the week."
Davy sighed. "You know– you make getting all maudlin really difficult."
Geoff smiled. "Good. I hate it when you get that way."
"Well, brother of mine– just remember... if anything happens to me– I'm counting on you to keep the family together."
Geoff shook his head. A peaceful smile crossed his face. "Nothing's going to happen to you Davy. You're going to get married, raise yourself a good family. You're the patriarch and you're going to stay that way ‘till you're old and gray."
"You've got it all figured out then do you?"
Geoff nodded. "Yep!"
He thought about that and sighed. "You know– I like your version better."
"No but's about it," Geoff interrupted. "Davy– don't borrow trouble. We're here– we're laughing and breathing. If that changes– we'll adjust."
Davy thought about it for a long while and finally settled back on the bench. "So... about this bachelor party..."
Geoff was the first to wake again. Looking at his brothers he realized that none of them were really up to catching breakfast– especially after last night's celebration.
Davy was snoring, but no-one else seemed to care-- or notice for that matter.
As he slipped out of the cabin, he noticed Joey was dead to the world. He smiled to himself. As he recalled, Derrick and Wayne had introduced him to Long Island Iced Teas last night.
When the sunlight hit his eyes he remembered why they didn't celebrate this way all that often. The only solace he felt against the sun's glare was the knowledge that the others would soon be suffering the same fate.
Davy awoke with a start as something cold was shoved into his face. His eyes widened as he found himself staring at a gun barrel. Its wielder was towering over him, dressed in full tactical gear.
"Really soldier," the man sneered. "No perimeter guard-- you should be ashamed."
Davy felt a cold sweat at the base of his spine. He knew that voice. "Colonel Brighton..."
The man laughed when he saw the recognition and surprise in Davy's eyes, then he turned towards his men. "Only its General now. Corporal?"
"All accounted for except the other ‘freak'," someone answered from the far side of the cabin.
Davy's pulse rate quickened. ‘The other freak'... Geoff.
‘General' Brighton prodded him to a sitting position with the rifle barrel. As he sat up, Davy verified the condition of his brothers.
"You are now prisoners of war," Brighton stated as he addressed the brothers. "Your survival will depend on your co-operation."
Davy watched the others as the man started pacing around the cabin. Two men stood over Tommy and ordered him to his knees.
"Any resistance will be met with force," the man added as he drew attention back to him.
Davy half stood as he heard a muffled grunt from Tommy. "NO!" he yelled as one of the men moved to strike the orc with is riffle butt.
"He resisted," the man told him with a shrug.
"Remember this," Brighton told the others as his men knocked Tommy to the ground. "The next man or... thing to resist will be shot. This is your only warning."
Davy scanned the room as he tried to figure out what to do. They were in Lakota lands– supposedly safe from lunatics like Colonel Brighton and his band of racist killers.
As he watched they started handcuffing his brothers-- First Tommy, then Wayne. He could see the rebellion in Derrick's eyes when the men turned to him.
‘Stay calm... stay cool...' Davy pleaded silently as he watched them. ‘Think Rabbit– we're alive... they want us for something. This isn't the time.... stay calm... stay cool."
He saw a slight flicker in Derrick's eyes and tensed. These were the people who'd tortured his brother... Rabbit was starting to take over, and if he didn't do something soon, MadRabbit would be there and there'd be no controlling him.
As Davy tried to make up his mind– one of the soldiers raised his hand. "Incoming," the man warned as he took up position.
‘Geoff!' Davy felt his breath catch at the though. As the man took up position, he realized that they weren't planning on capturing Geoff, but killing him.
As the man took his shot, Joey plowed into him– throwing his aim off. A second guard reacted immediately taking aim at Joey. Derrick moved.
He slammed into the guard who'd been trying to cuff him and then threw himself on top of Joey– protecting him with his own body.
Davy realized it was now or never and attacked Colonel Brighton. He could see Geoff trying to get to the cover of the trees as a mage started to cast a spell.
"Mage!" he growled, hoping Kenny would understand as the struggle continued.
Kenny reached out astrally and identified the caster in a matter of moments. "Toxic Shaman!" he growled as he tackled the caster. He could feel the energy dissipate as they went down. He looked up to see Geoff stagger away from the blast. It was obvious from the way he moved– he'd been hit.
"No!" Kenny yelled as he rolled to the left, hoping to get off a spell of his own– instead he caught a rifle butt to the head.
Davy moved without thinking-- Kenny was down and vulnerable.
"That will be far enough!" Brighton ordered as he cocked his gun.
Davy looked around and realized it was over. Three men had their guns trained on Tommy, two on Wayne.
Davy's shoulders sagged as he raised his hands. They'd failed.
"You were warned!"
Davy tensed and the sound of a single shot echoed through the cabin.
Wayne was struggling at his cuffs, blinded by rage as he saw Tommy lay crumped on the floor.
Davy turned, abject hatred shining in his eyes.
"He'll live," Brighton sneered. "Which is more than I can say for the next one of you that doesn't do exactly as I say."
He shoved Davy towards his brothers. "Tend his wound– if you want to keep him from bleeding to death."
Davy shook with rage, but did as he was told. Now was not the time and he knew it. At least Geoff had gotten away.
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