Collateral Damage

By Wendy K. 

Warning:  Death Fic


I shouldn't have to sit here, helpless, useless, as my big brother drifts further and further away from me. The doc says itís a coma, sorta like a really deep sleep, the kind that people donít always come out of.

I shouldn't have to sit here and hold his hand and pray to God that he pulls through this and wakes up, because this shouldn't have happened.

Scott and I have always disagreed on how to handle anyone who called me out. I felt that he shouldn't meddle, that he should stay back and let me handle things. Having someone step in that way, well, itís just not done.  Thereís an etiquette to these types of things, a code to be followed. Murdoch donít exactly agree with me but he at least understands how things are. But once Scottís got his mind set on something... forget about it. He can be so damn stubborn.

He says that heís been deprived of his brother for far too many years and heís not going to let some stupid ďcode of the westĒ deprive him of any more. At first that kinda hurt my pride. Didnít he think I could take Ďem? Didnít he trust me to be the one standing at the end? But then I realized it wasnít me he didnít trust, it was them, the other gunhawks. He felt the need to protect his little brother even if that little brother didnít need any protectiní.

The point is, though, that I shouldn't be here, stroking my brotherís cheek with my thumb, willing him to open his eyes again, hoping against hope that he'll wake up. I shouldn't have to blink back tears as I look Teresa in the eye, and smile and lie, and say 'he'll be okay'.

No one should have to do that.

I used to think I'd accepted it, death. I've been facing it down the barrel of my opponentsí guns for as long as I can remember. I've had my fair share of injuries, some serious, some not so serious. But Iím not immortal and thereís always someone faster. I knew my time would come eventually. I thought Iíd accepted this early on in life, when I first took up the gun and started down the path I now walk.

But this time it wasnít me who paid the price and Iíve prayed every single day that I'd never actually have to face this. The day that someone IÖloveÖ.would be cut down like a dog in the street because of who I was, because of my reputation. The fancy term for it is collateral damage. Itís kind of ironic that it was Scott, with his military background, that taught me that phrase.

I shouldn't have had to pull him off the street and into an alley, out of the way of all that flying lead.

I shouldn't have had to half-drag, half-carry him to the docís office, him as limp and lifeless as a doll the whole way.

I shouldn't have to know what my own brotherís blood smells like - tastes like.

I shouldn't have to watch the Doc pull the sheet up over his head and tell me he did all he could.

I shouldnít have to listen as Teresa sobs and screams her denial of our loss.

I shouldn't have to see the heart-broken look in my father's eyes when I tell him.

This shouldn't have happened.

Not to him.

- end -



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