Trading Memories (Flail)

Abby hummed softly to herself as she absentmindedly twirled a marshmallow over the fire.

She was contemplating whether she should call Brody. She hadn't seen him in a while, and considering how nice he'd always been not only to her but to her whole family, she felt really guilty about everything that had happened.

She really should give him a call she decided. Or at least send him a message. The problem was that she had no idea what to say. The problem was that whatever she said, she didn't want to lead him on and give him false hopes. The problem was that –

"Your marshmallow's on fire."

Abby jumped up in surprise at the voice and tripped over an invisible obstacle when she tried to turn towards the speaker.

As Abby flailed in a vain attempt to regain her balance, strong arms reached out to grab her before she fell over backwards into the fire where her ill-fated and helpless marshmallow was now melting into a pool of sugar.

"Abby, watch out!" Donnie exclaimed, pulling her back into an upright position. He held Abby by her shoulders and made sure that she had her two feet firmly planted on the ground, before he went crazy on her. "Abby, you need to be more careful! You could have hurt yourself. You could have set the place on fire. You could have – "

"Donnie!" Abby interrupted her brother with a pleasantly surprised smile, "What are you doing here?"

Donnie abruptly released her and switched to defensive mode, "What? I can't visit my own sister?"

He pondered his last statement for a moment before he continued uncertainly. "Unless you don' know...don't think that..."

Abby knew what Donnie was thinking and immediately sought to reassure him, "Of course you can visit me, your baby sister! Anytime! It's just that you don't. Well, not often anyway. So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this rare and precious visit?"

He couldn't help smiling at her blatant attempt to make him not feel awkward, which actually only really reminded him of how things had changed and made him feel just that; awkward, especially since he'd been giving Abby a hard time lately.

Shoving those thoughts to the back of his mind, Donnie decided to just jump in feet first and get on with it. He sat down and Abby followed suit, sitting down next to him. She had a silly confused look on her face which did help make things easier for him.

"Abby, I'm really sorry for the hard time I've been giving you," he began as he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out an envelope. "And I realized that I never congratulated you for making detective. So, congratulations and well, I want you to have this," he continued, handing her the envelope.

"Thanks, Donnie," Abby said, giving him a quick hug before she took the envelope and opened it. She gasped in surprise when she pulled out its content: it was the picture of little Donnie with his beloved toy BB gun.

"I'm sorry I didn't frame it," he apologized, then added hastily, "but that would have been kind of weird."

"No, I love it," Abby assured him. "Wow, what a coincidence. We were actually looking for this picture when...," Abby caught herself and changed the direction of the conversation in the nick of time, "But you had it all along. How did you – "

This time it was Donnie's turn to cut Abby off, "Abby. Abby! You're babbling."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes, you were." They couldn't keep skirting around the topic, so he finally brought it up into the open.

"Listen, it's not a coincidence; Mom mentioned it to me the other day. And she said a whole lot of other stuff too that made me realize just how lucky I am. I mean, it could have been just Mom and me, but instead of being an only child, I have an amazing family with two great brothers..."

"And...," Abby prompted Donnie expectantly when he started to trail off.

"And then there's you," Donnie continued without missing a beat.

"Hey!" Abby protested swatting him in the arm. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that I don't know why we tend to end up arguing most of the time, but I don't take it for granted for even a second that you're my only sister," he confessed. "And no matter how much we fight, I want you to know that you can always come to me for anything. I'll always look out for you."

"Are you trying to tell me that you love me?" Abby paraphrased for him as soon as Donnie uttered his last word.

"Yeah, okay. That too, I guess," he replied.

"I'll take it," Abby said, giving Donnie another hug. "So, now are you okay with me being in I.A.?"

"Nope, not by a long shot."

"What? Why?" Abby demanded, breaking the hug and glaring at him. "Just what is your problem with I.A.? Are you involved with something unauthorized that could get you in trouble?"

"What? No! How could you even think to suggest that?" Donnie snapped back, drawing them into yet another argument.

Steve and Richie watched from the entrance to the roof as another fight unfolded between their eldest and youngest siblings.

"There they go again. I guess this is the part where we come in," Steve stated, making a move to play mediator.

"Wait," Richie said extending an arm across the doorway to block his brother. Steve looked at him questioningly as Abby and Donnie's bickering escalated.

"Those two need to realize how much alike they really are and just try to get along," Richie explained. "I mean, seriously, remember how Donnie used to beat us up whenever we picked on Abby as kids? And now he's the one always arguing with her? What's the deal with that?"

"Yes, he was very protective of her," Steve reflected. "In fact, that's probably why Donnie always loses it over her now: he can't accept that she's all independent and can take care of herself, so he's unconsciously trying to control her actions so that she'll do what he thinks is safe for her by lecturing her all the time.

"That's somewhat chauvinistic of him," Steve commented in conclusion to his analysis of the conflictive relationship between his siblings.

Richie gave Steve a weird look, "Bro, you have got to stop watching 'Dr. Phil'."

"I know," Steve agreed.

They watched Donnie and Abby go at it for a moment longer before losing interest.

"Beer?" Steve suggested.

"Read my mind," Richie concurred following Steve back into Abby's apartment to raid her fridge and pantry, after locking the door behind him.

Standard disclaimers apply


First of all, this is dedicated to all the people who reviewed my first 'ATW' fic – THANK YOU so so much for your kind words! I honestly wanted to leave it at that, but all the encouragement changed my mind. I tried to do something based on the suggestions but couldn't come up with anything, so I apologize for any disappointment. Anyways, I hope y'all enjoyed this one. Thanks again!

Secondly, I also apologize if anyone thought it was Brody at first and got disappointed. I realize it was rather misleading :P

Lastly, there's a pun somewhere in this fic that surprised me too, haha ;)