Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.

A/N: Character thoughts are in italics.

The Decision by 3rdgal

The assailant comes from nowhere. As the attack begins, memories of the argument with his brother flash before him.

As the knife stabs, he remembers his brother's words, "Get out of my house!"

The blade twists. "…I never want to see you again!"

He tries to recover. "I'm sorry, Charlie."

Another twist. "I don't care if you're sorry!"

He tries to stop the damage. "Please…"

The final twist. "I'll never forgive you!"

Sagging to his knees, hands clutched to his stomach. Feeling white hot pain everywhere; cold creeping through his body. Looking down at the knife buried in his gut, at his blood pouring from the wound.

It hurts so bad. Oh God, it hurts.

He hadn't seen the fugitive. He'd been upset, careless. Should have seen him, heard him. Should have reacted sooner.

Make it stop hurting. Please, make it stop.

Crumpling to the floor now, hands still clenched to his stomach. Curling into a ball. Trying to breathe, but there's no air. Hands grabbing him. Rolling him to his back. Straightening his body.

Ahh! That hurts! Oh God, please stop!

Voices all around him. A stinging in his arm. Bright light shining in his eyes. More droning voices. Hands prying his own away from his stomach. Pressure on his wound. White hot agony flaring in his gut.

Stop! Someone please help me!

Darkness rushing toward him. Silence falling over him.

Am I dying? Alone?

Sadness washing over him. Defeat filling his rapidly slowing heart.

At least I'll have peace.

A new voice in his ear. Yelling, demanding, angry.

"Don't you dare die! Do you hear me, Don? Open your eyes and listen to me, dammit!"

A new pair of hands on his body. A warm, gentle touch on his forehead; a warm hand gripping his. Love and strength flowing into him. Breathing becoming easier. Darkness receding.


"I forgive you." A muffled sob. "Just don't die."

The darkness is gone. The pain is back. He opens his eyes and sees his brother's tear stained face. Another wave of pain courses through his body. There was no pain in the darkness, but his brother is here. He makes his decision.

"Not dying..." The whisper barely audible, but loud enough.

His brother smiles down at him.

I'll be okay now.

He lets his eyes drift closed. He knows Charlie will be there, waiting for him, when he wakes up.

The End