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Epiphany

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Nick whistled as he strolled down the corridor. He winked at a pretty candy striper and grinned to himself when she blushed. He made a mental note to get her phone number later.

Later, after....

He pushed away the guilt that nagged at him in his ma's voice, "He almost died, Nicholas! He's going to make it, thank God, but he needs his family, and you know I can't go to him, so far away. What are you waiting for? Bring him home!"

Ma didn't know what she was asking. She didn't know what happened when he'd gone to California, how he'd been the one who almost died. It had scared the shit outta him, and since he'd been back in New York, he'd kept his nose clean. Well, mostly.

But Ma didn't know, and short of telling her, he couldn't come up with a good reason not to go. So here he was.

Maybe now, Davey would hang up his badge for good. After all, it wasn't so long ago that he and Hutch had given up on the whole cop thing. Ma had tried to get him to come back home then, but no dice. Why his stubborn-ass brother had gone back to the force after that, Nick could not figure, but look at what it got him. Riddled full of bullets, that's what.

No, for once, Ma was right. Davey needed to see reason before it was too late.

Nick found the room, pushed the door open, breezed in—and froze in his tracks.

After a long moment, he backed out quietly and looked for a phone.

"Ma? It's me, I'm at the hospital.... He's gonna be fine... Hutch is taking care of him.... Yeah, I'm sure.... Nah, he don't need to hear that—he is home."