Secondary Posting; Published On: June 27, 2013
Disclaimer: I do not own the television show Scrubs or the plots and characters therein.
I could always tell when Dad was really mad. He never really yelled, except for these two times-once when I was little and I dropped a plate and I was barefoot in the kitchen and it shattered and he thought I was gonna get hurt, and one other time when Dan was gonna jump into the shallow end of the pool at a barbeque at Uncle Bernie's-but even then I could tell he wasn't really mad, just scared.
"Barbara, why does everything always have to turn into a battle with you—"
The sound of a scoff filtered into the kitchen. "Don't make me laugh, Sam, I damn well didn't start this and you know it."
"I never said that you did!"
See when Mom got mad, she'd start making a lot of noises. She'd sigh and tsk and huff and puff like the big bad wolf. And then if she got really, really mad, she'd start to, well, not really scream, but she'd start shrieking, I think's the word. It always made my ears itch.
"Oi," Dan grunted from next to me, shoving a wet plate into my tummy. "Pay the fuck attention, Johnny, I got things to do." I gripped onto the dish before it fell, scowling at my brother. Just 'cause he's older doesn't mean he gets to boss me around all of the time!
"Dan! It's still got soap on it!"
"Shut it, crybaby. The last thing I wanna hear is your nerdy, needy whining."
Ouch. "I'm not a crybaby!" Dan scoffed, just like Mom did a minute ago. "I'm not! You're—you're just a big meanie, Dan! And you shouldn't use bad words, you know Dad doesn't like 'em."
"Oh? Is that right?" Dan grinned down at me, after-dinner dishes forgotten as he dropped the cup he'd been scrubbing back into the soapy water with a forlorn gluging. "Fuck," he said conversationally. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck—"
"Dan!" I whispered fiercely, glancing in the direction of the living room in panic.
"—fuck, shit, damn, ass, jackass, asshole, dick, bitch, oh don't worry little brother, I'm just getting started."
A sudden silence followed his words. Mom and Dad's arguing had paused somewhere in the middle of Dan's rant. Maybe they hadn't hear him—
"Daniel James, so help me if those were curse words I just heard you will be washing your mouth out for dessert." I wasn't the only Dorian who flinched. See, when Dad gets really mad, when he's just so angry you think he's about to explode, he'll just...calm down, really suddenly. Except he's not actually calm, he just looks like he is. And then when he talks, his voice is just so flat and cold... I shivered just thinking about it.
"N-no, Dad," Dan weakly called back, quickly turning back to the dishes.
After several more moments of silence, Mom and Dad's arguing picked up again, Mom sounding even more heated than before and Dad still that cold and flat tone. My parents are a lot like fire and ice when it comes to their tempers. Mom's more explosive, like the volcanoes we made in class last month, but Dad's more like hot apple cider, looking innocent and not mad on the surface but just as capable of burning you.
I'd wandered into a daydream involving volcanoes spewing hot cider into carolers' mugs when they sang Christmas songs, just drying the cups and forks Dan sent my way on autopilot, when suddenly the arguing from the living room got louder. I jumped on my stool as Mom came marching in, Dad right behind her.
"Barbara, stop it."
"No you stop it, Sam. I've had it up to here with this absolute, utter bull—" She slammed open a cupboard, one of the ones I can't reach, searching for something. She finally yanked a bottle down and slammed the door back closed. She didn't even glance at Dan and me as she stormed out of the kitchen and in the direction of their bedroom.
Dad sighed, quickly reaching over and plucking me off my stool to stand on the cool kitchen tile.
He smiled, but it looked strained. "Hey, kiddo." He turned to my brother. "Dan, take Johnny and go to your room," he continued quietly.
Dan growled in frustration but grabbed my hand all the same and yanked me along. When we got there, he ripped the door open and pushed me inside, slamming it shut with enough force to shake the entire house. I watched on in apprehension from the relative safety of my bed as he grunted in frustration again.
"Fuck!" Dan's foot lashed out and violently kicked his bed frame. I curled my lips over my teeth, watching wide-eyed and trying to stay quiet lest he decide to take it out on me instead. "Fuck," he repeated, this time sounding lost more than anything. Dan sat down on his bed only to spring back up, suddenly angry again. I watched on in silence as he grabbed his backpack off the floor, started shoving stuff inside—wallet, keys, some socks—muttering all the while. He sat back down to yank on first one shoe, then the other. Wait. No. He's...leaving? Mom's screaming floats up from downstairs, raising in volume by the second. Dan just snorts, violently tugs his shoes into some semblance of tied, and grabs his black hoodie. I bite my lip, watching his angry movements with a new fear as he shoves our window open.
"D-dan, where are you going?"
"Where?" He whirls back around, backpack swinging. His expression is such a twisted mask of fury that I can't help recoiling. Still, it doesn't keep Dan from darting forward and grabbing my shirt in the vice of his fist. He drags me closer, up onto my feet and then into the air. "I'm getting out of here, you got that Johnny?" His mouth curls with some emotion I can't name and suddenly he shoves me down. I blink dazedly at him from the ground, my eyes watering as I try hard to resist the urge to cry at the pain in my rear and hands from smacking onto the hardwood.
"But, but Dad said—"
"I don't give a flying fuck what Dad said, Johnny." He turns, loosens the screen, tosses it to the ground. "I'm fucking done with their shit. It doesn't matter where I'm goin'. Dad never said I had to stay and I'm sure as fuck not gonna either way." My brother shot a glare down at me where I was still sprawled on the ground. "And so help me, crybaby-boy, if you go running to Mom and Dad about this, I will beat your ass when I get home."
And with nothing more than a last glare and a cool breeze, he hopped out and was gone.
Sudden fear gripped me—you can't just jump out of second-story windows! You'll go splat like you do in cartoons an! I stumbled over to the window, sure I'd see brains and guts splattered on our yellowing front lawn—oh. Dan was just getting to the bottom of the trellis that ran up the side of the house, the one Mom and her friend Miss Kimberly had put up when he was only five. I guess...it's kinda like a ladder. Huh.
I watched Dan's dark form as he ran off into the evening's lengthening shadows. A new feeling filled me. I couldn't really tell what it was though. It felt sorta...empty.
Not a nice feeling, for sure.
"Well maybe if you were here, Sam, or had a real FUCKING JOB we wouldn't be in this mess!"
I jumped at Mom's shriek, boinking my head on the still-open window. The crash of something fragile breaking followed. I gulped. Hopefully it wasn't Dad's head. I could hear Dad's flat voice answering her, even if I couldn't make out the words.
"We have children, damn it. Two of them. Two! You think it's not hard to keep them fed while you're gone?! To keep them clothed, healthy, and—God forbid—happy all while trying to pay the bills, trying to take care of them alone?! Well it's not!" The stomping of footsteps coming up the stairs warred with Mom's shouts, like they were trying to see what could be louder. Panic gripped my chest.
What if they came in here?
What if they saw that Dan's gone?
What if they yelled at me for not making him stay?
I grabbed Floofy off my bed and dove for the first hiding place I saw: the closet.
As I burrowed myself in between cool, shadowy darkness of coats and extra blankets and, rather painfully, amongst the shoes littering the bottom, the sounds of Mom and Dad's argument was muffled almost to silence. I blinked slowly, trying to calm my erratic heartbeat. Panting, I gripped Floofy to my chest—glad that Dan wasn't around for once to mock me and my rabbit. I mean, he can't help it that he's so fluffy and adorable and innocent! I mean, if I was scared, I mean freaked out about my parents' fight, what about him?
"Shhhhh..." I shakily hushed him, rubbing one of his silky ears in comfort. "It'll be okay Floofy. They're...they're not angry at you." A doorslam shook the house. I hunched further in on Floofy, burying my nose in his fur. "H-how about I sing you a l-lullaby so you can sleep, okay?" I glanced at the darkening slice of light coming from under the closet door. "It's almost your bedtime anyway. I guess...I guess no bath tonight again, huh? That's okay. You're probably not too dirty anyway."
I pressed my cheek against the coat to my left as I settled against the closet wall.
"Okay. Sing with me if you want to but—but just be quiet, kay?" Floofy didn't respond. Probably too sleepy.
"A-anyway... Ahem. Twinkle, twinkle, little star..." My eyes fluttered shut. It was just so nice and dark and comfy in here. Like one big hug. "How I wonder...what you are..."
Another voice, even though it sounded real far away, started humming along with me. I guess that maybe...maybe Floofy wasn't too tired to sing along after all.
Notes: Hey, everyone. :) I just finished all of Scrubs last week and ever since I've been itching to put some of my story ideas down on screen. This story is technically Part 2 of its collection, but it just so happens to be the first one I wrote and finished, and I wanted to go ahead and post this. And here we are. I guess it's Part 1 now. Thanks for reading! Any bookmarks, favourites, follows, and reviews are appreciated.
P.S.: As stated above, this is a secondary posting; the original may be found on Archive, just check the Scrubs tag.