Months have gone by as the FBI and the US Attorney have built a solid racketeering case against four members of the Mara 13th. Over the course of the investigation, Don has grown quite attached to a certain AUSA. When the court date finally arrives, Charlie follows though on his promise to Marcus. But things don't always go as planned. During a botched escape attempt, the Los Angeles County Federal Courthouse becomes a war zone for the gangs of L.A. and Don, tormented by an unspeakable loss, finds himself on a quest for revenge that could tear his family apart. (Warning: Character Death)
Part Three of the 'No Common Allegiance' series.I recommend reading parts one and two first. But I don't think you'd be totally lost if you didn't.
Rated T or PG-13
For graphic descriptions of injury , death and violence and strong language
Sections might warrant an M or an R rating in some of your eyes.I'll post a warning at the top of those chapters. If you happen to be into linguistics……If you speak or understand Caliche, Salvadoreño, or are fluent in Spanish, there are terms used in this story that you could potentially find offensive. I just wanted to warn you. Just in case. I'm also killing a character.I had this outlined before I saw the 'Guns and Roses' episode (rerun, but a first for me). Now I feel bad. But never-the-less, here is my warning and I intend to follow through with my original plan.Character death will occur. I don't want to risk anyone getting angry later.
So here we go!
No Common Allegiance: Elegy for Justice
Prologue: A Gathering of Crows
Alan Eppes groaned with displeasure as he stepped off the gravel roadway. The grass had been cut too short and the heat of the California sun had turned the turf a grotesque shade of brown. Silently, he cursed the caretaker for not taking better care of the grounds. Somehow the color of the grass made the entire landscape appear dull, painted in neutral shades. This place needed color. Especially today.
A well worn groove wove it's way up the hill and with a sigh Alan resolved himself to the climb. Halfway up the path, he stopped to remove his jacket. He had expected it to be cooler, but the sun had almost set and the heat of the day was still lingering.
Right in the middle of the dull, lifeless scenery a single dandelion caught his eye. It didn't seem right for something to be living all alone in this vast sea of death. It almost looked as if the flower had sucked the life out of everything around it, thriving on that which had destroyed it's counterparts.
As Alan rounded the top of the hill, a flock of birds erupted from the nearby trees. As he spotted the familiar knoll just over the rise, a single bird returned and reamed him out for disturbing their perch. Shaking his head with a chuckle, Alan made his way around the scattered markers that covered the hillside and stopped in front of a familiar inscription.
Any trace of a smile disappeared as he stared at it, and he felt the customary sensation of grief and loss rising in his chest. Every time he came up here, it felt as it had the first time. Even with the years gone by, it was still so hard to look at those words written in stone.
Beloved Wife and Mother
You will always be in our hearts
He let his eyes rest on the symbol carved in the top of the stone. A broken sword. A life cut short….taken before it's time.
Even though he knew the words by heart, Alan stepped around to the back of the gravestone and read the memorable script.
You really never leave someone you love. Part of them you take
with you, leaving a part of yourself behind.
…May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.- Genesis 31:49
Circling around the stone, Alan stopped again at the front.
Beloved Wife and Mother
Somehow those words had never seemed strong enough. Looking out over the gravestone and across the hillside Alan was still impressed with the view. The panorama from this site had always been awe inspiring and he turned to take in every angle. The sun was setting and the sky was streaked with beautiful shades of red and orange. Margaret had always loved the colors of the California sunset.
Alan blew out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
"I'm sorry. It has been awhile, hasn't it?"
He paused, glancing around again to make sure he was alone before he continued.
"I almost lost them, Magpie. I almost lost them both."
Alan found himself choking on the words and he had to stop and clear his throat.
"I can't stop thinking about how close it was. Less than a quarter of an inch. That would have done it. And Charlie. My God…."
He had to stop, his voice cracking with unresolved emotions.
"It's been almost six months and still, I can barely bring myself to talk about it. "
Alan reached up and rubbed the back of his head.
"They've talked about it…..the boys…..they still make jokes about it. Charlie! Joking about almost being killed. This I don't understand."
He shook his head to emphasize his bafflement.
"We accepted Don's risks……….But now Charlie? He won't give up on making a difference with these kids. Quitting was never something he was good at."
A smile crept over his lips.
"He gets that from you."
With a sigh, Alan continued his soliloquy.
"He's started volunteering at a community center over on the west side. Our baby boy, as smart as he is, is spending every Wednesday night on the west side of Los Angeles. He's been doing it for almost eight weeks now and I'm just finding out about it. Donnie let it slip. They still keep secrets from their old man. I guess he didn't want me to worry…….."
He shrugged his shoulders.
"…..but what else am I supposed to do?"
With a deep sigh, he tried to shake off the oppressive feelings.
"Well, I usually tell you how the boys are, and here I am carrying on about how hard this has been for me."
He walked closer to the tombstone. Stopping just short of it, he crossed his arms.
"Don's been dating….an attorney, actually. It's a bird…her name. Raven……no…..Robin. I, um…. I haven't met her. He's bringing her to the house for dinner tonight. Don says it's nothing serious…….strictly professional………….they've just been working closely together since his team is still gathering evidence for the case she's prosecuting."
With a smirk, he continued.
"But………according to Charlie, Don's been seeing her pretty regularly outside of work for the better part of four months. And he would know, he certainly sees more of Don than I do. I'd like to think this means there's still hope for grandchildren."
He stopped again and uttered a small laugh, then furrowed his brow.
"They both faced death……Don almost….he could have died…..Charlie was moments away from…………"
He shuddered involuntarily, unable to say it out loud.
"And they're just moving on with their lives as if nothing ever happened. I don't know where they get their strength. If it came from you……..I'm grateful for that. We didn't always get everything perfect, you and I. But our boys……they've turned into outstanding men. So I guess we did something right."
The sound of crickets began to permeate the air and Alan whispered his next words.
"You'd be so proud of them.……"
Alan lowered his head……..when he lifted it again tears shown in the corner of his eyes. The light from the setting sun had all but disappeared, and he knew it was time to head back towards his car.
"I won't wait so long between visits this time. I promise."
He kissed his hand and placed it gently on top of the stone.
"Happy Anniversary, Margaret. I miss you everyday."
As he turned and headed back towards the car, a strong breeze began to blow out of the west. The Santa Ana winds were urging autumn to move on and despite the warmth in their gusts, Alan could feel a chill to the air.
He donned his jacket and dug his keys out of his pocket. The sound of beating wings stopped him as he climbed into the car. He watched as the flock of birds returned to their tree at the top of the hill.
Somewhere in the distance, there a low roll of thunder.
The winds were blowing a storm in and more likely than not, it was going to be a big one.
Authors Notes: I will not be able to update daily as I usually do.SO please stay with me!
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