Not a Day Goes By

The guys aren't mind - Though if they were, I would share

It's too early in the morning to be busting anything but a few zzzz's, but what Billie wants, Billie gets. I don't really want to do this, not today. Today my plan was to stay home, in bed.

And then she goes and makes us put on vests – like she thinks something bad is going to happen. She never makes us wear vests. Besides, nobody knows better than me that vests don't stop every bullet …again that's why I don't want to be out here, not today.

I don't know if Deaq and Billie even know what today is…they certainly don't seem to. Of course, I was the only one with a front row seat.

And where the hell are those buyers anyway? At least if they want such an early morning business deal they could have the courtesy to show up on time. Deaq seems to be very relaxed about the whole thing. Looking at him slumped in the seat beside me, I'm not even sure he's awake. Well, I guess he doesn't really need to be until they get here. And to be honest I'm not sure I'd be good company right now. But being alone with my thoughts isn't doing much for my composure.

Oops – there they are, okay come on Deaqon, wakey wakey, we got a job to do. He smiles at me like it is the most natural thing in the world – waking up in a car with me in the driver's seat. Sometimes I really think we spend far too much time together. But his relaxed attitude tells me that he hasn't figured out what today is, or he wouldn't be looking at me at all…

Wait, they have two extra guys – that was definitely not part of the plan. I tell Billie it's time to abort, but from the comfy safety of her car – 50 yards back – she says go with it. And Deaq's nodding like its no big deal. Damn I knew I should have come down with some fatal disease last night, got to remember to get one of those medical dictionaries so I can come up with a credible list of symptoms. Of course the way my gut is screaming right now, I might not have to worry about making up something fatal.

Okay just take it easy now. Keep it calm and even and smile, never let 'em see you sweat. That's what Dre always used to say when we were headed for trouble. Not a good thing to be thinking about right now. Look at Deaq, you'd think he was at his high school reunion or something they ways he's hanging with these guys. He always makes it look so easy, but then again he is Dre's brother…no, not now. We can't afford me to freak out now, later when I'm alone…but not now.

Just show us the drugs, come on. I'm tired of waiting. First you're late, then you show up with extra guys who were definitely not on the invite list and now you want to have some kind of Hands Across America moment. The goods please, it's just too early in the morning for any more games. Oh God, I think I said that out loud. I must have from the weird look I'm getting from my partner.

Good, the merchandise. Deaq does his thing like the gang banger he was, and at his nod I hand over the money, but…no. God, no. It can't be. There's a glint of the rising sun off a gun barrel off to the left. Deaq get down! No! No! No! It can't be happening, no please not again.

My hand is shaking so hard, I'm not sure I can hit the building, let alone the shooter…don't think just aim and squeeze, that's right you can do this in your sleep. Aim and squeeze. There seems to be a lot of shooting, but I can't see anything but that gun barrel. It's not going to happen again, I can't let it - I won't. Aim and squeeze, boy, aim and squeeze.

Thank god, the SWAT team. They sure as hell took their sweet time getting here. Can't pay attention though, aim and squeeze, grab the backup piece, not time to change clips. Aim and squeeze.

I watch the rifle barrel fall – finally got the son of a bitch. Okay now if I could just remember how to breathe. I can't breathe. Come on man, get yourself up off the pavement. That's it, up you go. Wait…Deaq, where the hell is Deaq? Oh, there he is, and he's laughing and moving. Easy, just one step at a time. Make it to the car and sit down. Yeah that's a good plan. Made it. Head between the knees, damn why is it so hard to take a breath.

Okay here comes Billie. Bet she doesn't know her heels give her away, even when she's trying to be quiet. Better buck up. Just lean back against the seat like you're catching up on your beauty sleep. She thinks you're a classic screw up anyway. Why ruin the image?

It is official. I just entered an alternate universe cause Billie told us to head back to the Store and start on the paperwork. She's going to deal with the cleanup. Okay, I know I should be concerned, call Parrish, maybe the department psychiatrist, but who am I to argue. Not going to the Store though. Deaq's on the other side of the parking lot, so it'll take him a few minutes to figure out I'm gone.

I meant to go home…well the hotel. How did I end up here? Shouldn't be surprised, after all it's an anniversary…365 days…I wonder if I can even find the place. Who do I think I'm kidding? I could find it blindfolded.

Hey Dre, long time I know. I wish…yeah, I remember. Wish in one hand, spit in the other and see which one gets filled first. You always had a line didn't ya? But did you have to give them all to Deaq? There are days he sounds so much like you, that I think…

Damn Dre, I didn't mean to get all sensitive on you…my dad always said that that was my problem. He got out on parole, you know. I helped him. Got him a legit job, he didn't take it of course -- decided to stay on the other side. Ran off with some blonde younger then me…Deaq, though, he stuck with me through all that. Even after I shot him …it was justified, honest. A mark was going to put him on the front of a bike and use him as a shield to get by a SWAT team. Oh, by the way, I shot him in the ass…He thinks I ruined his best feature…he has an even bigger ego then you -- wasn't sure that was possible.

He had a run in with a memory. Didn't trust me enough to tell me the whole story and then got all out of joint when I called him on it…don't know why you Hayes boys always insist on being right even when you're not. It's damned annoying if you ask me. I almost bailed on him Dre – for lying to me. You know how much I hate being lied to.

Funny thing, I trust him with everything, which only seems to annoy him. He doesn't trust me with anything. But I guess I shouldn't blame him. Why would I expect him to trust me, after what happened to you?

I miss ya partner, think of you every single day. I really…I miss your steadiness, your guidance. Although if you knew some of the stuff I'd been up to, you would so kick my ass. And your brother – he takes that whole Hayes, don't cross the double line stuff, real serious, at least as it applies to me. He doesn't take his own advice, but he tries hard to keep me in line. You should tell him it isn't worth the effort.

I just wonder…and I'm sorry for getting your dad into a case. But Deaq was so sad, so alone. I didn't know what else to do. He wouldn't talk to me…seemed to think I had no idea what it was like to miss you…anyway it turned out alright in the end, and Deaq does spend some time with your folks. Doesn't want me around though, and you know how much I loved hanging with your family. But I do understand, really. I'm not family.

But the lack of trust Dre, that I don't get. I've tried everything. But it doesn't seem to matter. After getting you killed, maybe I'm just kidding myself that he would ever want to be a friend, let along trust me, but damn, I've tried…

Oh man, I can't believe I fell asleep. Sorry, it's been a few days since I got to sleep in a real bed. But you understand that. So many days we ran on empty…God Dre, I wish I understood it all. Kane went down, but to my dying day, I'll never know why he took you out. It hurts, as much today as it did back then…

What, I…Dre…no it's Deaq and he doesn't look too happy, but then again what's new? Guess he's mad that I wanted to spend today with you. But …wait…he's taking off my shirt and the…I forgot I had the vest on, explains why it's so hot. But why's he so interested in the vest. Stop it! Damn, it hurts when you press there.

Who does he think he is, picking me up like I'm a load of laundry? It does make it easier than trying to walk to the car, which appears to have moved from where I parked it earlier. Why is he…he looks worried. It's a little more comfortable here in the car…

Wait, the hospital? Who does he think he is? I wasn't hurting anybody at the cemetery. What does he want? Not the doctor, I don't need one of those. Yeah, I'm hot and my chest hurts, so what. I hurt a lot of the time. Not always physical…but Deaq doesn't know that. Why does he still look so upset?

What…where the hell…not the hotel, not the office…oh yeah, the hospital. And there's someone in the chair. Deaq? I don't understand. God my chest hurts; guess sitting up isn't such a good idea. Oh no, he's awake. This must be the part where he tells me he wants a new partner. No yelling…hmm…that's a new approach. Not even his "what's up with Van" face. He looks, sad, I think. What's he doing? Holding my hand? Guess he's going to let me down gently.

No, he looks…worried? I think I must be a little loopy, because I would swear he just said I'd been shot and am suffering from heat stroke. Now I'm pretty sure I would have remembered being shot at least. Not shot, just took a bullet in the vest. That's why I had the vest on. Come on, he can't seriously be mad at me about that!

Why should he remember what today is? He wasn't the one who got his brother killed…okay something is seriously off here. He just called me baby. I can count the number of times he's done that on one hand. It's one of his tells – one he uses only when he's really upset.

Maybe I have a concussion, because I swear he just apologized to me, and my experience with the Hayes men is that they do not apologize-ever- for anything. Damn, I hate it when he has that look…smile, that's what I should do. Smile, there, that seems to be working. He's smiling back. Maybe he won't mind if I just close my eyes for a few minutes. I'm so tired.

He's settling back in the chair. Looks like he's going to stay with me. Now that I think of it, ever since we became partners, I've never woken up alone in the hospital. And when I was poisoned – he wouldn't leave my side. Maybe I've misjudged some things along the way.

Dre…don't know quite what to think. I wouldn't have Deaq without…maybe he's just your way of making sure someone is looking out for me…wouldn't put it past you. You always were a bit of a control freak…