AN: I've never tried Danny before. I'm oddly terrified.
Red Pen/Blue Pen is an amazing story belonging to the equally amazing mercury (aka merccy). I borrowed some ideas from it with her permission.
Spoilers: Clare de Lune, Risen, American Goddess
Summary: He couldn't help but wonder....
As Sam turned her back on him and walked away, the biting comment sank in. He stood in the middle of their 'office', staring listlessly at his desk and wondering if this was really who he had become. "Where's your compassion?" she'd asked. He didn't know. And as he packed it in for the evening he couldn't help but wonder what questions would be asked, what would come to light if he were to disappear into the New York darkness tonight.
He would be missed officially at 9:00am when his co-workers would notice that his desk was unoccupied. They would call his house and leave a message. They would call his cell and get his voice mail. It would be at least 11:00am before Jack could cut through all of the red tape and dispatch some combination of Martin, Vivian and Samantha to his apartment. There, they would piece together his day of disappearance.
The first thing to have missed him would have been the blue pen. He'd bought that pen almost four years ago from a stationary shop down the street. It had come in a package of two. The other was red and he used it to cross off the days when he'd had a drink. He hadn't used it in over 800 days. Vivian knew what the pens were for and that all he ever used them for was to cross the days off. She'd left Reggie at his house once, unable to find anyone else to mind him and completely out of choices. She'd been planning to write down a list of emergency numbers, and when she'd reached for the red pen, he'd stopped her, handed her an unassuming black alternative, and explained that the pen was special. Then he had shown her the calendar, and asked her if she really wanted to leave her son with him. It had not been desperation that made her say yes.
She also knew he still went to meetings. But just to be absolutely sure, she would check the darkest corner of his highest shelf for the bottle of whiskey. She would find it untouched. When she realized that yesterday had not been crossed off, she would know that he had not been home.
Samantha would report then that she must have been close to the last to see him, and the time of his disappearance would be moved back accordingly. She would remember another case that had left him particularly upset and take Martin down to the spot by the bridge where he went to cry. "Danny, hey how are you? Jack said you were pretty on edge." "I'm OK, Samantha. It was just weird. She had a knife and I didn't know what to do, so I kept talking." "You did the right thing Danny....was that a boat?" "Yeah." "Where are you?"
She also knew that the last time he had been down there was after the incident with his brother. She knew because she had called him and heard a boat go past, just like the first time, when he had answered her simple question by unexpectedly telling her the whole story for the second time in one evening. When she saw that the garbage had not been cleared away, she would know he had not been there, and Martin would surreptitiously glance over the railing, just to be sure, and then feel guilty that he had even thought to think like that.
To cover it, Martin would remember that Danny was Catholic, and wonder if they should maybe try a church. He and Jack would go to the one closest to Danny's house. It was a stately old building, kept up by the donations of the wealthier parish with a sense of history. Danny's fellow parishioners, however, were themselves far from affluent. The current priests worked hard to reach the children in the community and keep them away from the gangs that ran the streets. Martin knew that this was where Danny went to pray. "Danny helped out where ever he could." the priest would tell them. "Everyone liked this quiet, gentle, man who went so far out of his way to be a good role model and a positive influence."
He also knew that this was where Danny went to confess. The priest would tell him that Danny had not confessed this evening and ask if there was any way he could help. Jack would ask him to pray. When Martin stepped out from the front central doors of the basilica, once of the pigeons that roosted on the lintel would be startled and leave a present on his long black coat. Martin would say instinctively "That's disgusting!" and the pieces would fall into place in Jack's head.
Jack would take Vivian with him. He would explain on the way, as they drove through what was by now a fine fall New York afternoon. Once, when Danny had received a commendation from the Bureau for some case or other, Jack had called him into his office, poured two celebratory glasses of brandy, and shut the blinds when the younger agent threw up after the toast. Jack had apologized for almost ten minutes, hiding away the bottle and glasses, spilling so of the liquid on the papers in the drawer he hurriedly shoved it into, and Danny had begun to talk. Jack did not interrupt as Danny outlined his painful descent into alcoholism and his excruciating climb out of it. He had hit rock bottom one April afternoon, all alone in his apartment when he realized that the only thing keeping him from being his father was that he didn't have anyone around him to abuse. He put the cap on the whiskey bottle, put it up in the darkest corner of the highest shelf of his apartment and bought a set of red and blue pens from the stationary shop down the street.
Jack knew where the accident had happened. He knew that the steel guard-rail Danny had sat on while the paramedic wrapped him in a blanket and told him he would be all right had been replaced last year when the road was repaired. He knew that Danny's life had changed for better, for worse and forever that day, and that, for a very long time, Danny had blamed himself for their deaths.
"You stupid, ugly, worthless whore! You disgust me!"
"Oooh, Fit and Thin girl. Must be high maintenance."
"Where's your compassion?"
They both looked back at him, startled, and then little Danny Taylor's world exploded.
"Guess you'll be nicer to those fit and thin girls now."
As Sam turned her back on him and walked away, the biting comment sank in. He stood in the middle of the 'office', staring listlessly at his desk and wondering if this was really who he had become.
"Danny?" Vivian asked in the tone of a woman who has repeated herself at least three times.
"I was just saying good-night. You all right?"
"Yeah," he said still a little distracted. "Yeah, I'll be fine."
He grabbed up his coat and headed for the elevator. He would go to confess, to cry and to cross off another box on the calendar with a blue pen bought the day he discovered conviction. He had found himself that day, and for that very simple reason, he could never disappear.
AN: OK, I'm confused and I wrote it. That's what happens when I write on trains, I guess. But the flashbacks were fun!
This became a series by accident, and will be updated accordingly. If you want to write Jack, Martin or Vivian, drop me a line and we'll chat about it.