Kinda AU? nothing directly canon contradicting for first season

Mostly D'avin and Johnny, with some Dutch because she's amazing


Now hold on to whatever's left/ (With eyes cold enough to freeze me where I stand)/ 'Cause between us it's just a mess/ (I put it off too long and now I'm drowning in it)/ It's not that you're scared/ It's just that your everything is fading out of sight/ It's not that you're weak/ It's just that you haven't found your light in all this...

-Between Us by Lions Lions

"D'avin, I can't sleep," comes the whisper from his doorway, and the older Jacobis opens his bleary eyes and pushes his blanket off to look. In the light from the window, D'av sees his younger brother, hands clenched at his sides, eyes glistening with fear and shame—shame, because Johnny knows if he'd said the same to either of his parents, he'd be met with a cold shoulder and a demand to "grow up." But D'avin can't do the same, not to those wavering blue eyes seeking comfort that no one else in their lives will provide.

D'avin forces his limbs to move, and makes room on the creaky cot. Johnny all but sprints over and lands next to him, curling up immediately like a little pet, hogging all the blankets with him until only his fuzzy head and bright eyes are visible. D'avin sighs.

When his brother only watches him unblinkingly as the minutes tick by and says nothing, D'av tries to make himself wake up enough to ask, "You all right?" Johnny shakes his head. D'avin had taken hours to fall asleep earlier and his brain barely functions after the nine-hour shift yesterday, but he sighs again and pulls his brother closer with one arm. "Yeah?"

Johnny needs no further encouragement. "I had a bad dream," he whispers quietly, shrinking in on himself.

"About?" D'avin asks, trying to keep his eyes open. He has another day of work in the morning. But it's his little brother. He can't just ignore him, can't brush him aside like their parents do daily.

"You didn't come back up," Johnny admits in a small voice. D'avin's heart freezes and he snaps into full wakefulness. He knows exactly what Johnny's talking about. The lake, last winter when that jerk kid, Randy, stole their ice skates and promptly broke the ice under himself. D'avin had gone after him. Johnny had waited five minutes on the shore for them to come up, scared out of his mind. The kid had stopped bugging them since, but D'av had been confined to bed for a week afterwards for fear of pneumonia, since they couldn't afford antibiotics anymore and no doctor lived within six miles of them.

"Johnny," D'avin tightens his grip on him, trying to think of a way to calm him down. There's been a moment, thrashing under the water with his limbs going numb, when he'd thought himself done for, but that fear must pale in comparison to Johnny's, who hadn't left his side during D'avin's week of bedrest except to get more soup.

He wants to say, "I'll never leave you," but he thinks of the Nova Cadets posters under his cot, and instead whispers, "I'll always come back, Johnny."

His little brother doesn't say anything else, just nods in the semi-darkness, and after a minute, closes his eyes. John falls asleep there, and though D'avin knows the nightmare doesn't go away, Johnny never comes back into his room for comfort—D'avin's words had been enough to dispel the lingering fear.

What D'avin doesn't know is that on the night he shoulders his few possessions and walks away from his family and the only home he knows, Johnny watches him from the upstairs bedroom, having discovered the recruitment posters months before, heart heavy and the seeds of bitterness growing in the back of his mind. Johnny remembers D'avin's words, and tries to tell himself that his brother will come back.

Nine years, a dad who walked out, a bad case of quinsy, an abandoned dream, and a sum total of zero letters convinces Johnny that D'avin had lied.

The aspiring engineer becomes a bright-eyed, snarky thief, the little brother becomes an exile from the only home he's known, and the hopeful boy becomes a RAC agent. The deadbeat dad and sickly mother are replaced by a fearless, crazy-talented partner, and the falling-apart apartment is exchanged for the prettiest ship Johnny's ever seen.

The only thing that hasn't changed is that every once in a while, Johnny still wakes up, heart in his throat, covered in a cold sweat after another nightmare of his brother disappearing beneath iced waters.

D'avin doesn't quite get how everything went so horribly askew.

It had been his decision to leave. His decision to leave behind the abusive, dead-end life he'd grown up in, to find a purpose and a home in the military. His decision to abandon his brother. He acknowledges this. This, he understands. The basic training, the first missions—those were also his choice.

But then… blank space. A mission in the desert. Screams. Blood. Gunfire.

And his squad's dead bodies.

That's where things started to go a little wonky.

He's fairly certain that hadn't been his choice—there had been something there, something inherently wrong about that mission and something before that, but the details slip from his grasp—the only thing he knows is it's his fault.

His guilt kind of makes the decision for him to track down Jaegar, though D'av guesses that it hadn't been a bad thing at first. The chase takes him to the indentured slaver ship, and sometimes, head ringing from one too many hits and blood in his mouth from yet another tooth knocked out, D'avin reflects. He tries to pin down exactly where he'd lost control. Exactly where his life had gone completely crazy.

D'avin hadn't wanted to end up on what felt like an endless chase for a doctor he could barely remember, hadn't wanted to adopt an alias to avoid media attention as the only member of his squad to survive a classified mission, hadn't wanted to find himself on a slaver ship, fighting for the crowd's entertainment in the hope of paying his debt and being dropped off in the Quad. But here he is, the applause muting everything, bruises on his ribs and blood on his knuckles, the end goal fuzzy and indistinct.

The only thing that hasn't changed is the nightmares. Most are of his squad, dead in the sand full of bullet holes, and blood on his hands. But every once in a while, there's an even older dream, which always ends with him gasping awake in the slaves' quarters, unable to sleep the rest of the night, where D'avin falls underneath the ice with his limbs freezing and his brother screaming his name in the background.

The thing is, Johnny hadn't been looking for D'avin.

Sure, back when he'd first made level 3, he'd set up a system to alert him to any report of his brother—at his mother's insistence. Mrs. Jacobis had been rather unstable in the latter years of her quinsy, sentimental. She'd wanted to see her eldest son again. John had agreed to try and find him, to make her feel better. But since his mom had died, Johnny had paid little to no attention to it.

His life was comfortable, fun. Never easy enough to let down his guard but fast-paced enough that he didn't have to think about his past or his failures. Dutch was awesome, and their job beats thieving by a lot. John is happy, and doesn't pay much attention to the reminders of his past.

And then his phone buzzes, and there's an alert from that system he'd set up so long ago.

The face staring up at him from under the label of LEVEL FIVE WARRANT is almost unfamiliar, with the dead eyes and scruff, but it's his brother, despite the alias.

Johnny pretty much stops thinking. Okay, so he thinks well enough to bluff his way through Bellus and onto the slaver ship, makes an exit plan, and tries to convince himself that he has a somewhat viable plan to get D'av out of the kill warrant. But other than that, he doesn't really think. Johnny just does, goes and recklessly endangers himself and Dutch, goes and tries to fix things, fix things between him and the brother he hasn't seen in nine years.

Needless to say, it doesn't go well.

The man in the ring on Arcturus is buffer, older, and harder than the brother Johnny knew. His fighting style's gotten better, but there's a certain swagger in his walk that hasn't changed. John analyzes his working of the crowd, sees the darkness in his eyes.

He doesn't feel bitterness, in that second, or anger, or betrayal. Confusion, yes. A bit of anticipation, sure. But mostly, Johnny just feels that deep-seated, inexplicable feeling of being a kid and watching his brother walk away and being unable to do anything about it.

Johnny hasn't changed much. That's the first thing he thinks.

D'avin is stunned, completely, totally, by his brother's appearance, but the second he can think beyond confusion, that's the first thing that comes to mind. Taller, sure, with a more experienced eye and less baby fat, stride confident and easy, like he knows what he's doing.

But his face is the same. That look of a quick mind and a ready smile. His eyes haven't changed at all, still crystal blue and completely incapable of hiding emotion.

It throws him for a loop. D'avin is not used to control, not in this life anymore; but he'd thought he had the slaver's fighting ring figured out. He thought he was good at the fighting, experienced, thought it was one place he could count on never being surprised. And then he turns around from egging on the crowd, ready for the next opponent, blood pounding in his ears, shaking off the adrenaline so he can keep his head clear, and meets the one thing that could shock him into motionlessness.

The unmistakable blue eyes of his little brother. "Johnny?"

"D'avin." John doesn't smile. He seems almost as stunned as D'avin feels. He swears, and there's the tiniest hint of a smile on the corner of his mouth. It's not really a welcoming one, more of a satisfied tilt to his lips. "I guess I didn't really think it was you until now." His voice is raised slightly to be heard over the crowd's roar. "How you been, bro?"

D'avin hears the forced lightness to his tone, sees the too-casual shrugs and way his hands linger at his sides, not threatening but ready to fight. "Okay," he replies, not really thinking beyond brother, my brother, Johnny, stuck in this endless cycle of violence and debt how could this have happened, Johnny. Some part of him is still an older brother, beneath the confusion and soldier and guilt, and that part of him is screaming that Johnny needs to not be here, that this is not a place for teenagers—because the Johnny D'avin had left behind had been an idealistic, gullible teen, and a slaver ship will eat someone like that up and spit them back out with permanent brain damage and broken ribs to boot. His mind is on autopilot as he gestures at the crowd, the electric mesh, and the bloody situation in general. "Indentured fighter, you know. Yeah."

"Right," Johnny says, glancing behind him where he'd entered. But you couldn't get out that way unless the medic dragged you off.

"What are you doing here?" His mouth has finally caught up to his brain.

"Look, I'm busting you out!" John yells back, apparently unconcerned about the crowd's rumblings and the guards and the fact that they're in the middle of an enclosed ring with no ability to get out.

"You paid my debt?" All D'avin can think is that John used to be a bit of a thief when he wanted to be, and that tended to be lucrative when one didn't get caught and sentenced to prison. "Ah, hells no, you know how much you owe?" John sounds personally offended, and there's something in his face that looks more like the brother D'avin remembers. "By the way, that is incredibly irresponsible."

D'avin looks around. The fans are getting antsy. They're used to prompt take-downs from him. "Listen, you fake an injury, get to the infirmary, and I've handled the rest, okay?" Johnny continues. D'avin glances at the audience one more time, then back at his brother, who winks at him. "So you fake a hard dive in three, two…"

He doesn't wait for the countdown. D'avin pounces straight into movement, as John looks behind him one last time, and takes a leap straight at him, fist landing hard on his brother's jaw.

Johnny goes down as D'avin lands, and he tries not to feel sorry for the grunt of pain it elicits. The crowd screams their approval. John takes a second to wipe the blood out of the corner of his mouth before he stands back up. "Are you kidding me?" He says, and D'avin waits for him to turn back around. "Ow." John's holding his nose, completely unconcerned with D'avin's fighting stance. "What the hell?"

"Seriously?" John has barely finished the words when D'avin steps into a series of quick jabs, aiming for knockouts. The quicker John goes down, the less pain he'll feel. Johnny ducks back from the jabs, but in order to dodge the hook to his head, the younger Jacobis bends straight back to land on the mat, leaving D'avin to lunge forward with a kick at his head.

Johnny rolls out of the way, and gets to his feet much faster than D'avin expected. "Okay," he says, before D'av has got his hands back up, "Let's go." There's a different tone in his voice, though, something D'avin hasn't heard before. Johnny would get serious, sure, but with his voice deeper than his brother remembers it and his dodges a little more experienced, there's an edge to him that D'av just never really saw before. Nine years can change a lot. This Johnny isn't some chattermouth who likes tinkering in his spare time. His fighting stance is better, more relaxed and natural, and the first jab he throws is a lot faster than D'av remembers.

But then again, this isn't the wrestling matches they used to get into over petty arguments. D'avin ducks and blocks the punches, watching for his opening. They trade blows, some blocked but some making contact, and the strikes his brother gets in are hard, born of more fighting experience than John had ever had back on their homeworld. D'avin gets more hits in, he thinks, landing an especially good knee when John drops his guard. One more hit, and he's flat on the mat, the audience roaring. D'avin feels himself grin, more out of habit than true pleasure. But his brother stands up, eyes darker but otherwise unfazed by strikes that had knocked out lesser opponents.

D'avin sees the first hook coming from a mile away, and blocks it with his arm, and the second and third are similarly redirected, but out of nowhere, Johnny's elbow rams into his jaw, and D'avin reels back. No one's gotten a good hit on him in a while. He turns back in time to meet a hook to the same spot.

The second he takes to rearrange himself is more for the purpose of distracting his brother than giving himself time to recover. He notices that even Johnny looks surprised that he made contact. "Not bad." Johnny's better than before, but…

"You're still dropping your right," D'av remarks, and then throws himself into an immediate takedown kick.

John doesn't have time to stand back up before D'av has him by the back of the neck. One strike to the face, and one to the solar plexus, and he's stunned long enough for D'avin to get him in a chokehold.

"You're still fighting dirty," John shoots back through gritted teeth, his hands straining at D'avin's arm.

"What're you going to do, cry to Mom about it?" D'avin can pretend this is just like it used to be, wrestling matches on the beat-up living room rug in the house that smells of jakk and alcohol.

But John's voice is surprisingly full of venom when he responds, low and quick and furious. "Mom died three years ago."

D'avin loses his concentration with those five words. His arms lose their strength and he stops to look at John, the words striking him dumb. It gives Johnny time to elbow him in the gut and flip him into a roll, but D'avin's head is ringing from his words, not his blows. It disorients him enough that he forgets where he is and slams into the net, electricity immediately shooting through his shoulders and back.

D'avin stumbles away from the net, but his mind is still trying to grasp what his brother said. "Mom died?"

John looks truly angry for the first time since he stepped in the ring. It draws him up short. "I'm sorry, I didn't know," D'av extends his hands to his sides, an apology, aware that she'd always hated it when they fought—whenever she was aware enough to notice them fighting, that was. "How?" She's gotten better by the time D'av had left, no longer drinking every hour of the night, trying to find work to pay their father's debts.

"She had quinsy pretty bad the last couple years," Johnny shoves him, and he doesn't resist. "Couldn't find you to tell you."

The words feel like knives, and they're aimed like them too. "But I guess that's what you wanted, huh? Cut ties with everyone, even me?"

It occurs to D'avin, not for the first time, but certainly the most potently, that Johnny probably didn't understand why he left. He doesn't have an answer for the accusation.

"Huh?" Johnny repeats, shoving him again, eyes fiery in their anger. "Why?!"

John launches himself at D'avin, a punch and a kick too fast to anticipate, and D'av doesn't bother blocking, even when his brother winds up and turns into a spin kick that hits D'av's jaw the exact same spot he had before, and the crowd fades to a blur, his heartbeat and the blood on his lips the only tangible things. Muted, warped words meander into his ears: "Where have you been, huh? Where have you been?!"

The voice is familiar and a part of him knows who it is but the rest has fallen into the instinctual soldier mindset, and D'avin stops thinking. Stops thinking about who exactly is in the ring with him, what Johnny just said, and just fights instead. He doesn't think about slowing down his block so it doesn't bruise, doesn't hesitate. His movements are sharp, natural, and brutal. Two punches, a third, then a smashing kick and a backhand to get his opponent on the ground.

D'avin blinks, then, met with the figure of his little brother, panting on the mat, blood streaming from his nostrils and the corner of his mouth, a pained grimace on his face.

"Leave it alone." D'avin all but growls at him, any qualms about fighting Johnny squashed, all regrets gone in the haze of adrenaline and defensiveness.

Johnny, of course, doesn't.

It's not until the fight gets brutal and they stop holding back that Johnny turns his comlink back on. It's not because he needs Dutch's help, but he kind of does, and though he currently has D'av in an armbar, that doesn't mean he's down, not by a longshot.

"Thank the trees. John?" Her voice comes over the line, more stressed than usual, and Johnny thinks that might be his fault. "You hear me? Out of the pit, we've got another agent on your target. Playtime's over."

Grappling to keep his grip on his brother's sweaty arm, Johnny forces out, "Working on it!"

D'avin takes the moment to reenter the land of the cognition-beyond-battle. "Stay down," he rumbles, teeth clenched.

"You stay down," Johnny shoots back, his temper worn thin from pain and the shock of seeing his brother again for the first time in years.

But D'avin plays dirty, again, and the shock is enough to get John to release his hold on his brother. "You bite now?" He pants out as D'av quickly clambers up and over him, moving into yet another headlock. "Why won't you let me help you?" It's hard to get the words out when he already feels the pressure of D'av's forearm against his throat, but John manages.

"I am helping you." D'avin says in his ear. "This place is rigged. They don't let good fighters go; they just invent more and more debts until you can't get out!" John breaks free on the last word, but he knows it's just a temporary relief. D'avin stalks after him, breathing heavily but still composed. "So remember, I'm doing this for your own good."

John can't make himself stand up, and he knows he's going to regret it in a moment. "Doing what?"

The answer is a back kick straight to his face and a burst of stars. Next thing he knows, John is flat on the mat, a bad taste in his mouth, and Dutch is speaking again. "—Leave the mark!"

Dragging himself up, Johnny replies, eyes going back to the face he still recognizes in spite of the years and the differences. "He's not a mark." He knows Dutch isn't going to like this, and he doesn't particularly enjoy it either. "He's my brother.

It is that statement that gives him the strength to not give up when D'avin wrangles him into a choke, to fight back and force him away long enough to stun D'av with a few more hits to the ribs and one to the jaw, his fists aching and bloody.

He feels the exact moment that D'avin konks out, and though he knows it's not because of his punch, he turns and gather's the crowd's praise anyway, feeling his partner's eyes on his back. Dutch has always been able to get him out of tight spots.

She's not happy when she enters, but she doesn't punch him, so that's a good sign. "Give me a hand, I hit him with a neuro block." That means he'll be out for a while, no matter how tough he's gotten.

"Can we at least tell him that I knocked him out?"

Dutch looks at him for half a second with eyes blank and an expression that says she's done with him.

"Yeah, okay," he gives up, and pulls D'avin's arm over his shoulders. He's in for one of the biggest reprimands ever, and that dulls the victory of getting his brother out just a little bit. Okay, a lot.

He doesn't know it for sure, but he hopes that finding D'avin this time will mean his brother will never walk away from him again.

Johnny hadn't been looking for D'avin, D'avin hadn't been looking for another job, and Dutch hadn't been looking for another partner.

Yet here they are.

Dutch is not the type to question the insanity that is her life—whether you called it destiny or fate or providence or dumb chance—and she doesn't spend much time questioning why D'avin would show up to completely change everything (and he does, no matter that none of them had intended this).

Dutch adapts, and adds Figuring out Johnny's brother's problem to her growing list of concerns, along with Khlyen and the red box and level sixes.

Thankfully, he becomes the least of her worries; thankfully, he inserts his way into their dynamic like they'd been missing him; thankfully, D'avin proves himself to be more than a hassle and a reminder of the past Johnny avoids.

They are a team.

They are Dutch's team.

Finding D'avin in that slaver ring became not a setback but a step forward—

—Until it isn't.

They are a team—

—Until they aren't.

Dutch hadn't been looking for another person to let into her confidence only to betray her, D'avin hadn't been looking for a recurrence of his nightmare, and Johnny hadn't been looking for his brother to abandon him once again.

Yet here they are.

The next time D'avin walks away from Johnny, he's left behind not with a hole in his heart but one in his stomach, leaking blood, and though this time, John actually does ask him to stay with a breathless whisper of his name, D'avin doesn't stop.

The fact that D'avin isn't himself doesn't make the empty hangar feel any more like a betrayal.

There is blood on his hands.

There is blood on his hands, on his knuckles, and his head hurts worse than he can ever remember it feeling before. There's a voice, a familiar one, crackling through what must be a comm nearby. "You alright?" It's Dutch, D'avin thinks blearily. Clutching his head in the vain hope it'll make the pain stop, make something stop, he realizes he's on a plain white linoleum floor, surrounded by white walls and in front of a white door with recent scuff marks around the lock. The ringing in his ears abates just a little, and he still doesn't know what's going on besides the fact that there's blood on his hands and his head hurts. "What's happening?

"Dutch?" It's a bare whisper. He remembers… something. Not entirely sure what. Something… with her. With Dutch, hurt. Her voice, slightly scared, for the first time since he'd met her. He tries to catch his breath. It doesn't work well. There are memories there, just out of his reach, held back by the pain in his skull.

Her only response is, "Show me your eyes."

D'avin complies, forcing his head up until he finds, not her figure, but the camera she must be watching him through. Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. It's not just the fact that he can't remember or the fact that he feels like someone smashed him over the head with a truck.

There's a tense moment where nothing comes over the intercom, then Dutch replies, terse and holding back emotion. "Just finishing something. Hang tight."

D'avin's body hurts from bruises he doesn't remember receiving and his heart pounds from fear and anxiety (and anger, why was he angry?) he can't remember the source of. But it stems from the blood on his hands, and D'avin is trying to get his brain to move past the throbbing and remember, because it's important that he remember… remember something. It had to do with… Jaegar? Had they found her?

Yes. They'd found her. It returns to him, just one piece. That's where he is. Jaegar's facility. They'd come here, the three of them. D'avin, and Dutch—god, Dutch. The thought of her makes his heart go faster, because another piece hits him with the force of a train: he'd hit her. He'd fought her. He doesn't remember why but he does remember the meaty sound of his fist on her flesh, remembers her voice shaking slightly, how her eyes were so betrayed and confused and scared. Of him.

He goes back to what he knows. He, Dutch, and Johnny had come to Jaegar's. They'd confronted her. Gone back to Lucy in stalemate. John had left. Dutch had stayed. He remembers that, rather vividly. But more poignant and stunning than their time was what came after. D'avin remembers bolting upright with pain like this one gripping his skull in an iron fist, and blood leaking from his nose.

Then, absence. An absence of all emotion, all confusion. The soldier part of him removed the killjoy and the friend and the lover and the brother and though they didn't have a source, D'avin had had orders.

Kill your team.

It was simple. It was easy. He didn't question. D'avin remembers not questioning. D'avin remembers attacking Dutch, and his insides contract. The fight comes back to him in a rush of pictures and sensations: cold logic, the smell of oil from the cargo bay, the impact of his blows landing, one after the other.

He crumples slightly with the memories. Exactly what he'd feared, this whole time…

Then, there was a blank space. The darkness of unconsciousness. And then…


D'avin flinches, swallows, and tries to sort out what happened next.

His hands… they have blood on them.

"You remember our last winter at Gibsy? That fat kid, Randy? Huh? The one who always stole our skates? Oh, boy, we hated him. But you still risked your life for his when he fell through the ice. You just went in right after him.

"…That was the scariest five minutes of my life, waiting for you to come back. That, is who you are. You do the right thing better than anyone I know.

"And you always come back.

"…Okay, so we're gonna fix you, Dutch is with Jaegar right now, she's working on it."

Then, there was a moment where his blank, consumed brain had focused. A kick to the stool, a clatter as it fell, and a pressure as Johnny toppled onto him. A swift hand to the knife strapped to his side.

And a snkt as the blade went into his brother's body.

D'avin flinches with the memory, lurching to his wobbly feet, and finds himself on the wall, panting for breath, his mind whirling with fear and guilt and horror because he'd stabbed his own brother and left him there to die. If his brain would stop pounding and his limbs decide to work, D'avin would have been already gone, back to Lucy though he had no idea where she was now. Back to save his brother.

"Whoa, whoa, D'avin, calm down," comes Dutch's voice, and he realizes she's standing in the doorway he'd been crouched by. She doesn't seem to want to come closer, even though he's barely standing under his own power. He doesn't blame her. He's a killer. A traitor. She shouldn't trust him. He doesn't trust him.

"Johnny," D'avin gasps out, trying to take a step and failing, because he still doesn't seem able to communicate with his limbs.

"What about him?" Dutch demands, her voice suddenly sharp. "How'd you escape?"

"I—" he can't say the words. There's no words to describe it, anyway. The snkt as the blade went into his brother's body. The pleading whisper of "D'avin" as he strode away from his bleeding younger brother.

Dutch's phone buzzes suddenly, and she takes it out.

"Pawter, can I call you ba—" Her voice trails off. D'avin makes himself look at her, makes himself face the bruise on her cheek and the way her face loses all composure and shatters into unadulterated fear.

Johnny's dead.

He doesn't have to hear Pawter to know it. It's written on Dutch's face, plain as day.

"I'm coming," she says, voice ragged from being strangled and from fear, and she snaps into movement.

"I—" D'avin tries again, but it doesn't work, and she just grabs him by the arm and pulls him behind her.

"John's on the med ship Avignon. Pree is going to take us there."

D'avin flinches at the words, and he starts to be able to feel his legs again. "He's still alive?" the words sound incredulous, stretched thin, horrified, even to his own ears.

"Come on," she drags him faster, voice tight and grip tighter. He pretends not to feel her shaking.

Johnny wakes up with the beeping and humming of medical machines pressing in on his ears. It's not this, or the floaty feeling of painkillers, or the strange pressure on his abdomen that makes him open his eyes, though; it's the hand covering his, warm where he feels cold everywhere else.

He opens his blurry eyes to greet the worried face of his partner, and it's a testament to just how much painkiller they've given him that he doesn't have the energy to think of a quip. When he tries to move, there's a jolt of pain that further removes any desire to try to make light of the situation, and as his eyes pass over Pawter and Pree, both slumping with relief, trying to smile at him, the memories return to him.

D'avin. That's the face that's missing at his bedside, but Johnny's too tired to do more than close his eyes and squeeze Dutch's fingers back when her grip tightens on him. John opens his eyes and sees her gaze drawn away from his for just a moment—the look in her eyes tells him she's watching D'av, but when he looks, there's nothing there but an empty doorway.

Johnny wants to feel betrayed, but that would take too much effort. He does blearily think, though, that this makes three times that D'avin's walked away from him.

Dutch recovers from D'avin's episode and her partner's near-miss like she does most things: she goes to Lucy, beats up a punching bag, practices some weapons, and exits pretending everything's fine. (Spoiler: she can't bluff trust like the one that holds their team together.)

Johnny recovers from D'avin's episode and Dutch's betrayed confidence like he does most things: he gripes and moans about bedrest, drinks, and tries to convince himself he'll pick up the pieces and fix things again. (Spoiler: he's done fixing things.)

D'avin recovers from—okay, scratch that, D'avin doesn't recover from losing control and nearly killing his brother and his partner, he takes his guilt and forces it into a box and stumbles over himself trying to make up for it until he realizes he can't and ends up running to escape the inescapable shame that tears at his insides. (Spoiler: it never stops.)

But the Quad keeps turning, the bandits keep getting warrants, the revolution continues to stir, the corporations continue to plot, and the secrets hanging over Dutch's team keep dangling there, teasing and taunting and getting closer with their promises of answers. Days pass and Johnny is sent to Lucy to finish recovery, Dutch manages to convince everyone else that she is over everything that happened, and D'avin's hands shake whenever he remembers that they'd been covered with the blood of the only two people who accepted him after the military.

Dutch throws herself back into her work and keeps denying that she isn't back to normal. (Spoiler: she doesn't know that it takes far less time than she thought to move past this episode.)

Johnny counts down the seconds until he can be back in the field and tries to figure out if he even wants to fix things anymore. (Spoiler: he doesn't have to fix this by himself.)

D'avin wrestles with himself over whether he can bring himself to leave Johnny again, even though it might be for his safety, this time. (Spoiler: he finds that leaving is harder to do than receiving forgiveness.)

Lucy's walls are not soundproof, D'avin discovers.

Dutch is gone for the night, with little explanation; Johnny says that means she's off seeking more pleasurable company, but D'avin doesn't smile at the joke and it's just the Jacobis in the ship tonight. They're in between warrants, and D'av is nursing a hangover from one too many at the Royale yesterday, when a wordless yell pierces the gentle whirring of the Lucy's background systems.

D'avin jackknifes to his feet, grabs his nearest gun, and sprints into the cargo bay, heart instead of head pounding like crazy.

"John?" He nearly flings himself into the room, eyes scanning for threats, gun up, but finds nothing amiss but the figure of his brother, sitting painfully upright and panting, at the table where he'd been working, face pale and eyes staring sightlessly ahead. His gaze moves to D'avin, though, as he appears, and Johnny swallows.

"I'm fine, D'av," Johnny says after a second, putting one hand on the table to push himself upright. "Fell asleep on the wrench, though, that's gonna leave a mark." The joke doesn't have much energy behind it.

D'avin lowers his gun but doesn't retreat. "Didn't sound fine," he replies, now worriedly scanning his brother for injury.

Johnny puts a hand over his eyes and sighs, but it's not a defeat. "Just a bad dream. Sorry to disturb you."

Putting his gun to the side, D'avin slowly approaches Johnny, breathing finally slowing, but still wary. "Looks like a bad one, though." His brother doesn't reply, doesn't even look at him, just goes back to sorting the gears and wires on the table like he's got a time limit. "A psychiatrist friend of mine says talking about them can help," D'avin offers, thinking belatedly that Johnny has had bags under his eyes for a while now. He wonders for a second if he can ask Lucy if she's noticed him being insomniac recently—or at least more than usual. Johnny always stays up to all hours, tinkering and fixing and "science-ing" as D'avin thinks of it, but that has never stopped him sleeping in all morning until Dutch gets tired of it and makes him wake up—but Johnny's been up and awake every day before D'avin, and has been for at least the past week.

Johnny removes his hand and stares at the wall for a long second before answering. "It was Dutch," he says eventually, still not looking at D'avin. "She was hurt, and I couldn't do anything to save her. I was too late."

D'avin opens his mouth to say something, but he notices suddenly that Johnny's other hand is hovering over his stomach. Over the place D'av had stabbed him.

D'avin draws himself up short with a barely-repressed flinch. The silence stretches as he tries to ignore the guilt, stronger than the one after his squad's deaths, turning his insides into knots.

"It was because of me, wasn't it?" D'av makes himself say, eventually, and now it's Johnny who flinches as he turns to look at his brother.

Maybe he's too tired to think of a good excuse, or maybe he just doesn't have the energy to lie, but Johnny doesn't deny it. He clenches his jaw and turns away for a second. "Yeah," is his short answer, and D'avin can't hide the shudder this time.

"The memory procedure was permanent," Johnny continues, and D'avin doesn't need him to explain that without the flip being switched off, D'av had finished what he'd started on Dutch while brainwashed.

The insufficient, oft-repeated apology is on the tip of his tongue, but Johnny turns back to him and finishes his nightmare aloud.

"You didn't come back," Johnny says, and D'avin stops, heart skipping a beat, and words fail him.

His brother's eyes are wide and vulnerable, a look D'av hasn't seen him wear in years. "Johnny," he finds himself saying, mouth dry and heart sinking. "I…"

But John shakes his head, suddenly back to avoiding the question. "It's fine, D'av. I'm fine, it was just a dream." His short, clipped tone suggests otherwise, and he turns his gaze away. Before this, D'avin might have let him get away with that.

But this time, D'avin finds himself unable to let it be. "No it's not," he shoots back, and moves around the table to look his brother in the eye. "Johnny, I hurt you, and Dutch. That's not okay."

John looks fierce all of a sudden. "That wasn't you," he fires back.

"But it was you," D'av thinks of Dutch saying the same thing to him. "And that's not okay. You guys have to deal with the fallout, the bruises, and that's not okay," he finishes, and it's enough to make John shut up.

"So stop, please," D'avin asks, his headache making itself known again. "You're not fooling any of us, not even yourself, and it's not good for you to keep it bottled up inside."

Johnny holds his gaze for a second, then sighs and drops back into his chair. It's not an agreement, or a surrender, but D'avin sits across from him on the table anyways, both brothers letting the silence stretch again. He is haunted by that night too, and what might have happened if Dutch hadn't been able to subdue him, what might have happened if Pawter had taken an extra minute getting to Lucy, what might have happened if the memory procedure had worn off even ten minutes later. Parts of him want to run away again in the vain hopes of getting the guilt to stop, but it's been dawning on him the longer he thinks about his brother's face across from him in that slaver ring, those weeks ago, exactly what he'd done to Johnny in leaving back then. There's a fallout that has to be dealt with—D'avin avoided the first by not talking to his family after he joined, the second by adopting an alias and going after the doctor, but now he's face to face with the third, and though it would be easier to flee this one too, D'av doesn't think John deserves that, after everything.

Johnny is no longer the overactive kid from their childhood who D'avin has to take care of for lack of anyone else able, but he's still D'av's brother. And that means he has to face the consequences for his mistakes. Leaving hadn't helped Johnny the first time. It probably won't help him this time either.

But Johnny won't have to pick himself up alone again after he's been betrayed, D'avin decides, and D'avin won't get to ignore his actions again after he's stumbled. They're going to have to fix it together.

D'avin gets his muscles to relax into the chair. This isn't what he'd wanted. This isn't what he'd hoped for. But this is what he got, and this is Johnny, who accepted him again after the slaver ring, and now D'avin could be the one to pick Johnny up after his own wound.

So when John readjusts himself for the fifth time on the seat and stares at the ceiling with eyes more tired than D'av's ever seen them, he can't stop himself from asking, "You really okay, man?"

Johnny doesn't reply, but Lucy's voice pipes up helpfully, "Actually, scans indicate that John popped several of his stitches earlier and neglected to tell Dr. Pawter."

Shooting a betrayed glance at the computer screen, John whines "Lucy!" at the same time D'avin swears and traps his brother from moving with one arm.

"D'av, get off," he protests, but D'avin ignores him and pulls up his shirt to reveal the fresh blood on the bandage on his abdomen.

"Johnny!" He refrains from punching him, barely, and instead turns to Lucy. "Call Pawter for me, Luce, and tell her her favorite patient is being a bad listener again."

"D'avin!" John swats him away, but Lucy has already sent the transmission, and he settles for glaring.

The elder Jacobis just shrugs the glare off, and then shakes his head in exasperation. "Can't you stay still for five minutes?"

"Once I can do so at a bar!" Johnny quips back, and D'avin groans.

Johnny keeps sulking as they wait for Pawter, and D'avin thinks back to that day that'll haunt his nightmares, as well as Johnny's. Their conversation before D'av had… before D'av had stabbed him, rings bells in his memory. Their childhood isn't something that generally brings back happy feelings, but certain parts of it were good. That being said, it wasn't until D'avin had faced his brother in that slaver ring months before that he'd truly regretted leaving behind that dingy life for the soldier's uniform. It wasn't until then that he truly understood what being a brother was about.

"I'm not leaving you," D'avin says, and Johnny's head snaps up, his face betraying his surprise. "Dutch wiped the program, and as long as you and her can stand me, I'm going to stick around, bugging you."

Johnny blinks at him for a second, but as the cargo doors open and Pawter yells something about "irresponsible, no-good Jacobis" into the plane, Johnny nods, once, in acceptance and almost trust.



A/N: So I actually am not caught up in Killjoys, so I cannot say if this stays canon or not-I don't have access to season 2 so all I know is I need the second season yesterday because D'AVIN NO

But I really love the Jacobis brothers so much, and I loved everything about the first season.


Also, a lot of the dialogue is taken directly from the Killjoys episodes in question, mainly s1ep1 and s1ep7, so please don't sue me, I do not claim to have written those pieces of dialogue.


Thank you so much for reading!