Goodnight & Go

Author: Sakura123 (weber_dubois22)

Category: Medium

Genre: Family/Drama

Rating: T

Summary: Wrinkles in time; moments in time for the Dubois family. A Series of short stories (ONE SHOTS) based on the challenge prompts from the Medium Lj, "what_she_saw", created by memorysdaughter. Kinda Joe-Centric

Characters: Dubois Family; Det. Scanlon, Manuel Devalos, Cynthia Keener, Sonny Troyer; etc.

Chapters: 28

Word Count: Undetermined.

Written: 3/31/09

Completed: NYD (Not Yet Determined)

Disclaimer: Medium and all things related are property of Glenn Gordon Caron, NBC, CBS Paramount Television, Picturemaker Productions, and Grammnet Productions. Original storyline and characters are property of me, the author.

Remains of the Day

Title: Remains of the Day

Summary: Joe can't sleep and watches the rain, trying to ignore the ghost sitting next to him. Post "Joe Day Afternoon".

Prompt: 1: "Pouring"

Author: Sakura123 (weber_dubois22)

Rating: K

Characters: Joe Dubois; Allison Dubois

Chapters: 1/28

Word Count: 3,351+

Written: 5/11/09

Completed: 5/15/09

Disclaimer: Medium and all things related are property of Glenn Gordon Caron, NBC, CBS Paramount Television, Picturemaker Productions, and Grammnet Productions. Original storyline and characters are property of me, the author.

In the dead of night the mind was left vulnerable to a number of things, Joe noticed. Be it the sounds one never noticed until all was silent, or the cold that made itself more prominent during a rainstorm, the mind was left with nothing to distract itself. One thing Joe actually found himself anticipating and dreading at the same time, was waiting for his significant other to wake up from her daily nightmare, ghoulish visions of the future and past. The other was looping one significant moment in his life that should've never happened.

Once upon a time, Joe would've believed that moment was accepting the idea that his wife could speak to the dead and was, perhaps, privy to his most private thoughts, but now he was sure that was nothing compared to watching someone being gunned down right in front of you.

Or beside you, if you wanted to get technical. Joe mused to himself. Lying in the bed next to his wife, Joe listened to the rain pound against the windows of his bedroom, the chill of the air seeping through the bedroom door from the hallway caused him to curl further inward on himself. For the first time in fourteen years, his bed felt like a prison, he wanted to do nothing more than spring out of it and run as far as his legs could take him.

Which was undoubtedly out the door of his own house, which also was beginning to feel a might small for him. Stepping out of Aerodytech into the afternoon sunlight, Joe remembered feeling like he'd been thrown into the spotlight in his boxers; All eyes were on him (and Melinda), reporters were primed to ask questions, policemen were keeping them back, rushing past him back into the building, but all he saw he glowing head of blonde hair pushing through security barriers toward him. Joe stood erect in a mixture of grief and regret, he didn't even feel Allison barreling into him, just the initial contact of her arms wrapped around his waist, squeezing what little feeling he had left out of him.

The urge to cry threatened to overwhelm him right then and there, but he kept it together. The police lead them and Melinda away from the entrance of Aerodytech, Allison showered him with hungry kisses, teeth almost biting into his skin when her lips reached his own. Joe reeled from the strength of her affection, confusion growing deeper in his mind. When he finally managed to get away from her kisses, he bent down and hugged her, hiding his face into her shoulder. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I should've listened to you, I should've listened. Joe swore he was saying this to her, but there was no response from Allison to indicate so.

Pulling back, Allison looked him over with her eyes, her hands cupped his face as though if to keep him from looking away. "Your not hurt?" She said finally. There was stretch of silence between them, as much as Joe wanted to reassure his wife that he was "fine", he didn't have it in him to lie to her right now. "No, I'm not hurt," He replied. Not physically, anyway.

After a long transition of dealing with the authorities, giving a statement on the events that occurred inside the building, they were finally allowed to go home. Joe was on auto-pilot, nothing Allison was saying registered to him, regardless, he found himself nodding to the sound of her voice. Ariel, Bridgette, and Marie greeted them upon their entrance, Joe felt momentary joy flood his senses when they embraced.

He wasn't sure how much the girls knew about the situation, he almost wished he could keep it to himself, but that night after a rather awkward dinner, Allison made it a point to convince him otherwise after telling him what Ariel had seen. Reluctantly, Joe explained everything to them, leaving out the more gruesome parts of his harrowing day. Marie looked confused, Ariel was crying and hugging her father, Bridgette just looked confused, as if she didn't quite understand the situation at all. It was one time Joe appreciated her slow uptake.

However, afterward, Joe felt like a mannequin on display. For the first couple of weeks, he found himself meeting the scrutinizing gaze of his eldest daughters eyes, coupled the uncertainty in Marie's. They were jumpy around him, treated him like glass, though they denied doing so. Even Allison seemed to tip-toe around him, throwing the occasional "poor Joe" look in is direction. "You poor man," Joe imagined her saying, "If only you could see what I could see. You should've listened to me." It was maddening to say the least and Joe struggled to control his emotions, least he snap right then and there.

Then there was the sleepless nights, Joe sat up in bed long after his family was asleep and watching the tone of the natural light shining through his window change until the sun came up. The second he felt Allison stirring, he feigned sleep sometimes. Other times he left the bed to sit out on the patio, beer in hand. What Allison thought of his behavior didn't factor in anymore. The nightmares of gunshots and blood kept him awake, he didn't want to close his eyes, he would see it.

Every corner of his bedroom reminded him of the stuffy area he spent the an unknown measure of hours in, perspiring more than he ever thought humanly possible, counting the seconds to when the gun would finally be turned on him. At the time, all he could think about was reacting to possibility of his co-worker, Melinda, being hurt. Her and baby; he was literally thinking outside of himself, creating the number of possibilities that could've occurred when Bruce Rossiter aimed the gun in their direction, and how he could keep harm from coming to the mother-to-be.

Then he thought of his own children and immediately his mind screamed, "Don't do anything stupid!" And he didn't, until he picked up the phone. Calmly as he could, he answered the questions of the man over the phone, wondering if Allison had heard about any of this yet. Somewhere down the line he said something that earned a look of disapproval from the disgruntled Aerodytech employee.

In spite of his level-headedness, the relay of the question "They're asking if you've hurt anyone," Ended up being his undoing. Bruce seemed to consider the question, then leveled his gun and fired. For the tiniest second, Joe thought he'd been the one shot. Reacting to the sickening pop of the gun, Joe dropped the phone and pushed away from the table, watching as Aaron fell to the ground, three bullets lodged in his mid section.

Over and over again, Joe's mind looped the exact moment Aaron was hit, watching him drop to the floor like a boneless fish, arms out stretched like he could halt the destination of the bullets. It haunted him in his sleep and whenever he was awake. It got worse when he attended his friend's funeral. Joe couldn't stand watching Aaron's wife bawling over the coffin of her husband while her sister held her child and her friend attempted to lift the woman off the ground. It was, he decided, worse the gun that ended Aaron's life.

Allison allowed him to drive back home, knowing it would distract him momentarily from the "Why me?" of it all. She didn't try to make small talk, she kept his eyes firmly focused on his stony expression until he flinched and said, "Don't do that."

"Do what?" Allison inquired, bewildered.

"Don't look at me like that. Don't pity me," Joe finally said.

"I'm not pitying you, Joe. I'm worried about you. For you," Allison corrected, her tone sharpening.

"Yeah, well don't," He mumbled, turning on the radio.

When they got back to the house, Joe breezed past his children and shut himself in the bathroom. Slowly, he started to undress himself. The ashen face staring back at him in the mirror was not his own, Joe didn't know this man anymore, he wanted him gone. He wanted his old life back. Halfway out of his shirt, it hit him, knocking the air right of his lungs. Joe's shaken resolve crumbled into nothing. He sank to the floor, laying down on his side he failed to hide his sobs with his hand.

Why me? Why did I live?

Why did Aaron have to die?

Why Mr. Kravitz?

Why Bruce?

Why, why, why, why?

It was senseless, it made no sense and for the first time, Joe could find no reasonable logic behind the actions of that day. At some point, Allison found her way into the bathroom. He remembered vividly the absolute look of hurt on her face, even she started to cry; The reason though, eluded him. Finally giving in to the need to be comforted, Joe buried his face into her suit jacket and cried to his heart's content.

Pulling himself out of his thoughts, Joe regarded his slumbering wife with forlorn eyes. Sighing, he climbed out of the bed and headed down the hall. His footfalls echoed softly on the hardwood floor, causing him to cast a wary glance toward his children's bedroom doors. There was not a peep from them, he continued into the living room.

The ripples of the rain pouring down the patio doors and windows reflected on the walls, creating a sort of dreamy atmosphere inside the living room/kitchen, Joe moved a bit quicker across the cold surface of the tile floor, grabbing hold of the refrigerator handle he opened the door and leaned inside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the light inside the fridge, his focus came in and out like a camera until he spotted the beer on the bottom shelf. Reaching over Joe snagged two bottles, wincing when they clanked together as he pulled his arm out the refrigerator.

There was a part of him that expected his wife to be standing across from him when he stood up and closed the door, but what he wasn't expecting was the grey old man who would forever maintain a look of mild interest, even in death. "Jeez!" Instinctively, Joe stepped back a few feet, genuinely surprised to find his father observing him with the same judgmental eyes he'd seen just two months before he expired. Mr. Dubois, rolled the cigar in his mouth as he watched his son, amused by his reaction. "Christ, you scared me," Joe breathed, careful to keep his voice down.

"Eh, wouldn't be the first time," Mr. Dubois mumbled, removing the cigar from his mouth. Joe forced a polite smile on his face at the nonchalant response from his father, he hadn't changed at all. He walked past his father over to the couch, Mr. Dubois followed at his own steady pace taking note of his son's shoulder blades sticking out against his undershirt.

Joe flopped down on the couch, raising his legs up off the ground he settled down sideways on the couch, placing the second bottle of beer on the coffee table. He ignored the ever-watchful gaze of his father, focusing all his attention on uncapping his beverage. With a harsh twist, the cap was freed from the grips of the bottle, Joe tossed it aside, he'd pick it up later. Pressing his back up against the cushions behind him, Joe finally met his father's gaze. "So, what brings you here, Dad?" He inquired.

"Jus checking on my boy," Mr. Dubois said. "No law against that is there?"

Joe chuckled against the rim of his beer bottle. "Why so interested now? I wasn't exactly a top priority---"

"Oh, please, are you really going to play that card?" Mr. Dubois interrupted, annoyed. Joe didn't answer, instead he focused on not looking annoyed for being interrupted. Mr. Dubois moved over to the couch, sitting on the edge of the arm. "Between your mother, and God, I don't need a reminder of my less than stellar record as father---"

"Oh, don't worry, dad," Joe mused, grinning sourly. "You are not the defining factor of my life. I was just making a point." Albeit a fruitless one.

"Well, you made it," Mr. Dubois huffed. Joe nodded curtly in satisfaction, finally lowering his beer to his lap. If he could, if his father were still alive, Joe probably wouldn't be too bothered by the fact that dad wasn't around for half of his childhood, now he wasn't so sure. As a child, he assumed to understand the circumstances perfectly and made it a point not to complain about it. He had three sisters and a mother to look after now, he was the man of the house and it was his then-duty to pick up the slack his father created.

As he grew older, the absence of his father became a insignificant memory until he found himself starting into a pair of green-blue eyes at a sports bar & grill. Then suddenly he was worried about how his taste in women would be judged by both his mother and his father, or if dad would make up for lost time between them by visiting his grandchildren. When he failed to meet either expectations, Joe relearned to ignore his absence again. Scratching his head, Joe downed the last of his Budweiser and sat the empty bottle on the table. The issue of mortality faced him again in the form of his father, Joe could vaguely remember crying over that as well (then questioning why). God, he was a mess. "Well, I'm still baffled, pops," Joe grunted. "Why are you here?"

"To be perfectly honest, I don't know myself," Mr. Dubois sighed casually. Joe rolled his eyes and fell back against the couch again. The rain caught his attention for the umpteenth time, despite the memories it dredged up the natural occurrence maintained its calming affect on his body, he could feel his eyes growing heavier the longer he stared at it.

"You oughta get some sleep, my boy," Mr. Dubois' voice broke the serenity of the moment, recalling Joe back to his nightmarish reality. Just how long was he going to hang around? Joe frowned at the idea of sleep, closing his eyes would just leave him more vulnerable than he already was to unpleasant memories. He was scared to sleep, scared to dream. "I'm not tired," Joe mumbled.

"Your no good to those girls, exhausted," Mr. Dubois pressed.

"I'm not talking about this with you--"

"You ought to talk to that wife of yours."

Joe tossed his father an annoyed look, his self-control teetering on the edge now. "I can't talk to Allison. Not about this," Joe said. Sufficed to say, Mr. Dubois actually reacted like the finality in his offspring's voice bothered him, or maybe his faced itched. Joe was more willing to bet on the latter than the first. His father wasn't an uncaring man, but he wasn't exactly known for his affection either.

After a moment of silence, Mr. Dubois rose from the arm of the chair and situated himself next to his son on the couch, cigar clamped firmly between his teeth. "Why the hell not, Joe?" He inquired. Joe shrugged his shoulders, uncomfortable by the sudden proximity between them; Moving away from his father, Joe grabbed the second beer off the table. "She just wouldn't understand," Joe snapped. "She just --- she dismisses this kind of stuff all the time, I doubt she'd--" He trailed off.

"Do you hear yourself, Joe?"

"Yes, dad, I can hear myself perfectly. And while you may think me silly, I just don't. Want. To. Talk. About it," Joe empathized on every word, staring his father down with the iciest glare he could muster. And that was how they remained for the longest time, eyes focused on each other, neither one willing to back down from the other. Mr. Dubois sighed inwardly, for the first time he was wishing his son hadn't inherited his stubborn streak. Mr. Dubois was always willing to admit he had a problem to himself, but was extremely hesitant to say so aloud to someone else, and it would seem that Joe suffered from the same quirk. Damn genes.

Leaning back, Mr. Dubois removed the cigar from his mouth and rose from the couch. "Alright, I'm leaving, I won't bother you anymore," He sighed, strolling toward patio door. Joe relaxed visibly, the tension that built up inside of him rolling off him like stream out of an exhaust pipe. He watched as his father gripped the patio's handle then paused, Joe bit down on the inside of his mouth in irritation. "I still stand by what I said--"


"Just, ask yourself why Allison can dismiss what she sees, what she knows, so easily. The answer's right in front of you," And with that, Mr. Dubois pulled the patio door open and stepped out into the rain.

When Joe opened his eyes, they were sore and wet, the sensation of calloused finger tips running across his face made him aware of reality again. It was morning, the birds were singing, the sun was shining and in the background he could hear the argument of the day between his two eldest daughters.

Hovering above him was Allison, blonde hair cascading over her shoulders, framing her face beautifully. Blinking away the moisture in his eyes, Joe's vision of his wife adjusted again, her hair considerably shorter, now framing her jaw line. "Hey, handsome," She whispered, smiling. "Good morning."

Joe observed the illuminated room with wary eyes. "Is it?" He asked, disbelieving. Allison's eyes smiled sadly at his question, caressing his face she nodded. "It is. It really is," Allison affirmed. The ghost of a smile graced Joe's features for the tiniest second, the sound of multiple footfalls approaching alerted him to one of many things he'd grapple with today. Raising up from his position on the couch, he pressed chaste kiss on Allison's lips, Allison caught him before he could pull away any further and deepened the kiss. It was her way of confirming her statement, Joe realized, a statement he wanted to believe so badly.

They parted, Allison leaned down and hugged him, keeping him from falling back. "I mean it," She said, her tone stronger than before.

"From your lips," Was all Joe could say. The toppled bottle of beer went unnoticed by the couple, its contents spreading across the hardwood floor.

I'll be fine. I'll be fine. I'm fine.

[END: Drabble 1]