A/N: Another oneshot. Let me apologize right away for any type-o's. I am very sleepy and probably didn't read over this as good as I could have. Once again, if you stumble across a type-o, I apologize.
Mercer's Don't Cry
"The nine o'clock AM flight to the Detroit Metro airport will be delayed two hours due to hazardous winds and blizzard-like conditions."
Angel Mercer sighed. Just what he needed. A late flight.
He glanced around the terminal. It wasn't that full. There was a young Hispanic couple seated next to each other, holding hands. A family was seated across from the couple - a mother, father, and young girl with a head of messy red curls. A man in a suit with a briefcase at his feet was busy text-messaging away on his cell phone. And two seats to the right of Angel was a beautiful, young girl with straight black hair, absorbed in a novel.
Angel could have - would have - flew back to Detroit a day or two earlier and stayed with his brother Jeremiah and his family, but Angel wasn't around. He had stayed overnight at a girl's house the night his mother was shot. The next night he was out all night with friends at a bar. That left him with one day to get to the funeral.
He glanced at his watch. It was about eight-fifty. It was roughly a four hour flight from Las Vegas to Detroit - six hours now because of the delay. His mother's funeral was at two o'clock.
Angel stumbled into his apartment late that night, not bothering to flip the light switch. His head was swirling. How many drinks had he consumed that night? He had no idea. He could only remember his friends cheering him on as he downed a final shot of whiskey.
As he walked into the kitchen to splash his face with cold water, a blinking orange light caught his attention. It was his answering machine. Angel sometimes wondered why he kept a home phone. No one at all called his home phone. All his friends had his cell phone number. In fact, he recalled, only his mother and brothers had his home phone number. Of course, they had his cell phone number as well, but Angel did not have his cell phone at the moment. A few days earlier he had jumped into a swimming pool in his clothes, forgetting to take his phone out of his jeans pocket.
He nearly tripped on his own feet as he made his way to the machine. He pressed a square button. Six missed calls and two messages.
"Huh?" he muttered aloud.
He pressed the same button again. Jeremiah's voice greeted him. "Uh, hey, Ang. How's it goin'?" There was a short pause. "Listen man, I need you to call me as soon as possible. There's… there's been an accident."
The first thing that came to Angel's mind was Jeremiah's daughters. Did something happen to Amelia or Daniela?
He pressed the button again. "Angel," Jeremiah's voice said again. "Where the hell are you? Call me back the second you get this message."
So he did. And he received the news his mother had been shot in a convenience store robbery. And so far, he hadn't cried. Not yet, anyway. He wasn't quite sure why. Maybe it hadn't sunk in that his mother was gone. Dead. Never coming back. Or maybe it was Bobby.
Angel, sitting alone with folded arms in the Las Vegas airport, smiled. Bobby and his silly antics. He could never think about Bobby Mercer without smiling.
"Fuck off, Bobby!" fourteen-year-old Angel screamed, slamming his bedroom door.
"Don't you fuckin' say that to me, you little shit!" Bobby shouted back, slamming his fist into the closed door. "I was trying to fucking help you! Thanks to me that little bastard who gave you that black eye now has one of his own, along with a busted arm!"
"I don't need your help!" Angel shouted from his bedroom, feeling the back of his eyes sting. "I could have taken care of him myself!"
From the other side of the door, Bobby snorted. "Yeah-fucking-right, Angel. Obviously you can take him. That's why you have a goddamned shiner."
Angel leaned against his bedroom door. "Why can't you just leave it alone?"
Bobby sighed, his tone finally softening. "Because you're my brother. Man, if someone hurts you, you know I ain't letting them get the fuck away with it."
"Well maybe you should," Angel snapped, a tear escaping his eye. "I don't need my older brother coming around and -"
"Hey!" Bobby barked. "I was doing you a fucking favor, Angel! If you don't like it, that's too bad. You know if Jerry was in trouble I'd help him out too. Trust me, you'll thank me some day."
Angel yanked the door open with such force it bounced off the wall. Tears streamed down his face. "Why can't you just mind your own business?"
"Wipe them tears off your face, you pussy. Us Mercer's don't cry."
Yes, he would never forget that day. That was the day he got into a fight with a boy from school. Bobby was waiting in the parking lot to pick Angel up, when he saw what was going on. Bobby slugged the boy a good one in the face, then pushed him into a tree so hard it broke his right arm.
That was also the day Bobby made sure Angel knew Mercer's didn't cry.
But wasn't there exceptions? For instance, when their mother passed away. Could Mercer's cry then?
Angel sighed and leaned forward. He rested his elbows on his knees and covered his face with his hands.
"Um, excuse me?"
Angel looked up. The young girl who was sitting a few seats away from him was now right next to him, poking his shoulder.
"Sorry," she said, "but I was so caught up in this book I wasn't really listening to the intercom. Do you know if they said anything about the flight to Detroit?"
Angel shook his head. "Nothin' except for it's two hours late."
The girl's mouth formed a small O of surprise. "Oh no!" she exclaimed. "I'll be late to the funeral I was going to…"
Angel sat up. "Really?" he said. "I'm heading to a funeral, too. My ma's."
The girl cocked her head to the side. "That's weird. Me too."
"We have the same mom or something?" he joked.
The girl smiled. "I doubt it. I'm, uh… sorry to hear about your mother."
"Yeah. Sorry 'bout yours."
She nodded. "My mother had a heart attack. She lived in Lansing, so I was going to take a flight to Detroit and then rent a car and drive the rest of the way. I'm from Alaska, so I've been taking flights around all day."
Angel raised his eyebrows. "Alaska? Are the winters as cold as Detroit's up there?"
She laughed. "You better believe it."
"I'm Angel, by the way."
"Libby. Nice to meet you."
There was an awkward silence. Normally Angel would be flirting up a storm with the girl, but right now he just didn't feel like it.
"Angel? Could I ask you a question?"
"I know this is going to sound weird," Libby started, "considering we've known each other for about sixty seconds, but when you found out about your mother's death, did you cry?"
Was this girl a mind-reader?
Angel cleared his throat. "Um… not really, no."
Libby nodded. "I haven't either. Do you think that makes me a bad person?"
Angel shook his head. "Nah, I don't think so."
She stared at him for a moment, as if wanting a better answer. Then she said, "Okay," and settled back into her seat.
Angel's eyes scanned the terminal. The family with the red-headed girl was still in the same spot, the toddler now asleep. The man in the suit looked the exact same as Angel had last seen him. The Hispanic couple were talking quietly to each other.
"Will you watch my luggage?" Angel asked Libby. "I need to go to the restroom."
Libby nodded, getting back to her book, and Angel rose to his feet. He pushed his way past several crowds of people and maneuvered around security guards, when suddenly he felt the back of his eyelids start to sting.
Mercer's don't cry, he reminded himself. Even when their mothers pass away and they are going to miss her funeral.
Did Bobby even remember what he said to him that day? Probably not. Did he remember he told Angel not to cry? Probably not. Did he know that Angel had remembered that line all his life and practically lived by it? Did he know that every time Angel felt like breaking down he thought of his older brother, smiled, and remembered the day they fought? Probably not.
Angel opened the door to the men's room right as a tear slipped from his eye. He wiped it away with the back of his hand, cursing to himself.