A day passed and David was finally out of critical condition. He was still recuperating but was expected to make a full recovery in the upcoming months. He groggily and painfully woke up for the day and was greeted by a nurse asking him if was all right for a visit from his brother. Expecting D.J. he said it was fine, but he was shocked to see Mark Healy walking into his room.
"Hey, little bro-"
"What do you want, Mark?" David growled through gritted teeth.
"I heard what happened and I wanted to see you, make sure you were all right."
"Why now? Did you ever make sure I was all right after I was beaten by our parents? Did you ever make sure I was alright after you beat the tar out of me? I'm not stupid, Mark. What do you want?" he said getting louder with each word he spoke.
"David, look, I'm sorry. I know I never should have treated you like that. I just...I wasn't really emotionally stable. I don't think any of us were. But-"
"No! You think that's any excuse?! For almost as long as I've been alive, you people have done everything under the sun to me. Made me feel like I was worthless and deserved it. Some of your torture still affects me to this day, and I'm supposed to be all right with an 'I'm sorry'?! I'm supposed to understand because you weren't emotionally stable?! F %K YOU, Mark!" He was yelling now and hoping that a nurse or someone would come in.
"Look David, I just-"
"Get out of my room. Get out of my sight. Most importantly, GET OUT OF MY LIFE! I meant what I said before, you're no family of mine."
Mark stood there and stared at the man before him. Even in his weakened state he was still stronger than he'd ever seen David. He was finally standing up for himself, but he knew that he couldn't take any credit for that. So with a sigh, he hung his head and turned and reached for the doorknob. Before he left he said just one more thing,
"All right. I won't bother you again. Just...be good to yourself and your sons. Don't fall down the same path our parents did. For what it's worth...I really am sorry. You may not be a Healy and I may not deserve you, but you'll always be MY brother."
He then turned and walked out of the room as quietly as he came in. David began to sob. Not really out of sadness. He was letting out years of hurt and frustration. He was letting out so many years of anger and hurt. He was letting his emotional wounds bleed out. David was beginning to heal.
Later that day, he was introduced to his sons for the first time since their birth. He held each of them for a few hours, but to David it would never be long enough. He already loved his little boys with everything he had and despite everything she put him through, this was the one thing Darlene gave him that he'd cherish forever.
"Boys," he whispered to his now sleeping infant sons. "I can't tell you in words just how much I love you, so I'm going to make sure I show you every single day. We're going to be so happy together, just you wait and see. You guys are my world." He then drifted off to a very peaceful sleep.
When he awoke the next morning, he was greeted by the relieved faces of his family who had been called and notified that he was able to leave the hospital any time he wanted. Once they saw he was fully awake, they each took turns carefully hugging and congratulating him on becoming a father. Becky approached slowly unsure of where she stood with David after their falling out. He wrapped her in a hug and let her know that she was forgiven, but nothing like that was to occur again. She agreed and clung tighter to her brother.
The door opened once more and a woman with curly black hair slowly made her way inside. Tension suddenly filled the room and it was felt by everyone.
"David..." Darlene softly called out, but David didn't respond. He just stared at her with as much malice as he could muster. "Look, I know...I know I've messed up in the past. I hurt you in every way possible and nothing I say is going to make up for that." She paused, thinking she was going to be interrupted, but David just kept staring, not even blinking. He was going to make sure she got everything out now. "I'm not going to ask to get back together, or even to be back in your life. I don't deserve that. But...I want to get better and I want to do better for my sons. I want to be a part of their lives." she said, almost pleading.
Sensing that she was done, David took over. "You have a lot to change before you can ever THINK about being in the same room as MY sons. I don't trust you, Darlene. I don't trust you not to lose your temper at them or me and fall back into your old ways. I don't trust you not to make good decisions with yourself, much less anyone else. As of right now, you have no stake in this. You can try to take me to any court you please, but no judge in their right mind will see your side." He then paused and took a deep breath, calming himself down again. "But, what I will do...is give you a chance. I want you to get some sort of therapy and I want to be made aware of your progress. Until you can prove to me that you're no longer a threat, you are forbidden from being around them at all. Once I see some improvement, we'll go from there. You've got one shot at this, Darlene. If this means as much as you say it does, don't waste it."
Darlene seemed to accept everything that was said and wasn't really expecting any sort of concessions in her favor. He softly nodded and made eye contact with her parents, giving her best attempt at an apologetic look. Then she turned and walked out.
"David, that was magnificent," Roseanne praised her adopted son. He was so strong, so sure of himself, so much different from how he was when they'd first met.
"Did I do the right thing?" he softly asked. "I mean, no matter what, she is their mother, but I can't really trust her and I'd kill before I let any harm come to them."
"Sometimes the people we have to guard ourselves against are the people who are the closest to us. I think you made the right decision. I'm really surprised you gave her a chance at all." Dan said. Both Dan and Roseanne knew what it was like to have a strong hatred for one or both of your parents and how hard it was to keep them in their lives, despite not really wanting them there.
"If I keep her from them, they may grow to resent me for it later in life. I want them to have the opportunity to get to know her for themselves and make their decision. Until they're old enough to do so, I'll be keeping them apart. Who knows? She may just turn things around." David said. He may not love Darlene any more, but she was now a permanent part of his life. He was going to do his best to do right by everyone.
Three years later
Everyone gathered at David's house to celebrate the twins' third birthday. When the boys had turned one, Dan and Roseanne bought David a house outright. It was just a few streets down from them so David could drop them off while he and D.J. went to school. D.J. moved in with David after he graduated high school and they both applied to the local university. D.J. decided to become a Film major and wanted to one day be a director. David chose a double major of Accounting and Business. However, still an artist at heart, he has a room dedicated to his paintings and sketches and has even managed to sell a few of them.
Becky graduated with a degree in International Relations with a minor in German and was working as a translator for the U.S. Government. She began dating again and was now in a relationship with a young man she met while studying abroad in Germany during college named Frederick.
Jackie and the Prince of Moldova were finally married and she became the princess of the small European nation. She and her son Andy would visit from time to time, but most of their time was spent over there as she was preparing for her coronation.
Dan and Roseanne remained the same people they'd always been. Having an enormous amount of wealth hadn't changed them too much. They had just recently renewed their vows and finally had their first official honeymoon in New York City. They loved being grandparents. They could spoil the kids rotten or get them hopped up on sugar and then send them back to their father when they were tired. It was amazing.
Darlene started therapy soon after her and David's talk. She discovered a lot of her issues and the causes of her misappropriation of anger. She and David never rekindled any romance, but they were now civil with each other and she visited the boys pretty often.
David brought Ross and Danny down from their nap and surprised them with their whole family yelling "SURPRISE!" They quickly hopped down from their Dad's hips and ran to hug everybody. They were quite the affectionate duo. They both had David's curly light brown hair and looked like little clones of him. Sometimes it was pretty hard to tell them apart, unless you watched them closely. Ross was louder than his brother, has been ever since they were born. Danny is a bit more shy than Ross and quicker to cry as well.
David watched as his sons interacted with his family and they began celebrating their birthday. It was in that moment David realized that he'd made it through everything he'd ever been through. He'd fought for his happiness and won. He's learned to trust and even love other people. David Conner (formerly Healy) had finally learned the meaning of family.