A/N: The last two chapters, I completely forgot to acknowledge that this story is based on the 2002 film Road To Perdition with Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Stanley Tucci, and Jude Law. Please, please, please, as soon as you have the chance, rent it, watch it, and marvel at the miracles of modern cinematography. Also, thanks to salparadise for bringing the absence of the acknowledgement to my attention :)
Burt had felt particularly uneasy all through Monday, more so than the previous few days. He tried to brush it off as nothing more than the worry that he'd been consumed with since Todd had found Finn in the back lot of the warehouse, but couldn't help sensing that there was now something else that was an even larger cause for concern.
"You okay, Burt?" his assistant at the tire shop had asked around five o'clock when he absentmindedly poured antifreeze into a car's compartment for windshield wiper fluid.
"Yeah, I'm okay," he answered as he corrected his mistake. "I think I'm gonna take off a little early, though. Can you hold down the fort?" A half hour later, Burt was driving across town, his fingers drumming anxiously on the steering wheel.
Harry Ferguson lived in a fairly nice house on the far outskirts of Lima, almost far enough for the location to be considered in the next town over. He was about ten years older than Burt, with more creases in his face and a lot more hair. When Burt guided his truck to a stop in front of the house, Harry was sitting on the bend on the front porch, halfway through a pack of Marlboros.
"We need to talk," said Burt.
Harry nodded and flicked his cigarette butt onto the lawn. "Yeah, I guess we do." He stood up, blowing out his last inhalation of smoke and shaking his head. "Doesn't matter that Marcie's been dead for two years - I still can't smoke in the house without hearing her nagging." He chuckled and opened the front door, holding it open for Burt to come in after him.
"Listen," Harry said once they were inside. "What happened on Friday is being taken care of. You have my word on that."
Burt shook his head. "He's unstable, Harry. You can't keep him mixed up in this."
"What, you want me to kick my own brother to the curb?"
"Todd's made it pretty clear that he's not happy just doing grunt work," Burt said, crossing his arms. "In a few months, that cancer is gonna kill you, and then there'll be only two options - either Todd takes your place, which we all know would be suicidal, or someone - maybe even me - is going to kill him. I know it, you know it, and so does every single guy working for you. You have to take him off the payroll, now."
During Burt's speech, Harry said nothing and listened with a calmly reserved expression. A few moments passed after Burt was finished speaking, and then Harry sighed and responded with, "Burt, I respect you. You've been working for me for a long time, and I appreciate you staying on after what happened with your wife."
Burt winced at that, but remained quiet.
"But you're underestimating me. I am not an idiot. My brother, on the other hand, is a first-class moron, and if we weren't related I'd have had him taken out ten years ago. Still, he is my brother, and since I'm not an idiot I know that I'm the only thing standing between him and a nine-millimeter cartridge to the brain. Even if I take him off the payroll now, he's botched too many jobs in the past to be able to keep himself out of a body bag."
"If he ends up dead no matter what you do, then what does it matter if it's now or later?"
Harry placed his hands against the kitchen table and looked Burt in the eye. "I will not attend my brother's funeral." A muscle in his jaw twitched, and then he straightened up again. "Look, I'm dealing with Todd, okay? You just worry about Finn."
"I'm not worried about Finn," Burt said. "Well, I am, but Finn I can handle."
"I'll say it again - I'm dealing with Todd. He won't do anything out of line."
Burt quirked an eyebrow. "I really don't think that's something you can promise."
After rehearsal had let out that Monday, Finn, searching for any excuse to not go home, asked Mike to stay back and help him learn the choreography that the rest of the group had already absorbed. Mike had looked a little confused by the request, but considering the fact that Finn had only accepted dance lessons in the past after ridiculous amounts of nagging from Rachel and/or Kurt, Finn supposed that Mike's surprise wasn't all that unwarranted. Still, Mike said sure, and they stayed in the choir room for nearly two hours, but Mike could tell that Finn's head was elsewhere and eventually tried to put him out of his misery by saying, "Okay, I think you got enough down for today." This was a blatant lie in the fact that Finn really hadn't gotten anything down whatsoever, and what Mike thought was a favor only served to make Finn blanch and hesitantly ask if they could work a little longer.
Mike's eyebrows quirked. "It's like six o'clock and we're still at school," he said. "I've got to go home at some point, dude."
Finn nodded, shuffling nervously and digging his hands into his pockets. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess I do too."
"Is everything okay?"
"Do, uh... do you mind giving me a lift home?"
Mike dropped Finn off just as it was closing in on six thirty, and Finn's stomach was beginning to rumble. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and hurried into the house, hoping his mom was close to putting dinner on the table. As the front door shut behind him, Finn found the kitchen heavy with the smell of a meatloaf in the oven and he set his bag on the counter, his stomach growling loudly. "Mom, I'm home," he called.
Rather than his mother's voice, he was answered with the sound of the screen door at the back of the house creaking shut.
Movement at the corner of his eye made him glance out the front window just in time to see a man, his shoulders hunched against a nonexistent wind, stepping off of the lawn and rushing down the sidewalk and out of sight.
As Burt walked through his front door, the hairs on his arms and neck immediately stood on end. The kitchen was clogged with the pungent smell of a burning meatloaf, and despite the fact that it was well into May, the house somehow felt colder than it ever did during the winter. His brows knitted together in confusion, Burt turned off the stove and called out for Carole. "Honey, you home?" When there was no reply, he called her name again and walked down the corridor towards the living room.
He stopped short when he found Finn sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, his knees pulled up to his chest and his eyes staring blankly at the carpeting under his feet. Burt was about to ask Finn what was wrong, but his gaze fell on a dark stain seeping into the rug from the next to the couch, and his heart clenched, sending an excruciating shock of pain down his spine and into his stomach. He could see Carole's hand hanging limply off the side of the couch, and he spun on his heel and took the stairs two at a time, bursting into the first room on the right.
Kurt was slumped over his vanity table, a pool of blood turning his history textbook dark red. The bullet had passed straight through his skull from behind and pierced the mirror, leaving nothing but a cracked reflection of Kurt's wide eyes and sticky hair.
A/N: Reviews make for excellent birthday presents, just so you know.