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Should've Could've Would've

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"I should've shot him."

Steve knew it was coming but couldn't help the surprised, "what?" that slipped out of his mouth.

"I should've shot him when I had the chance, he'd still be alive today. In jail, hating me, but alive. He paid the price for me being a coward and not shooting him." Danny's head went down into his hands and stayed there.

"Bullshit!" Steve couldn't help that outburst, but Danny blaming himself was something he couldn't have. "If you'd shot him, where would you have shot him?"

Danny frowned, "What do you mean, where would I have shot him?"

"What body part, Danny. Where would you have aimed?" Steve was clearly exasperated.

"His leg of course, to stop him climbing those damn steps and running away from us, from me." Danny was starting to get pissed off with this conversation.

"Could you guarantee you wouldn't have hit the artery and had him bleed out on you on the Tarmac?"

Danny's head came up and he scowled at Steve, "No, but that would've been a small chance."

Steve sighed, "Okay, but you admit that could've happened. Could you guarantee that while driving him to hospital to get the gunshot patched up you wouldn't have crashed the car? Or that he wouldn't have gotten himself killed in some stupid prison fight?"

Danny's mouth dropped open before anger flashed through his eyes, "Now you're just being argumentative and difficult. You're supposed to have my back, you're supposed to tell me things are going to be okay, not point out the many varied ways I could've gotten my brother killed!" He slammed down his beer bottle on the table and started pacing.

Steve didn't like angry agitated Danny, but at least this was better than the many hours of silence he had endured on their trip home. "I'm not being difficult, Danny, I'm trying to make a point."

"That I'm a crappy brother? Yeah, thanks I got that one."

"No, that you can't control what happens. Maybe if you'd shot him, he'd still be alive. Maybe not. You weren't a coward when you didn't shoot him, you made a conscious choice. You chose to let him control his own fate. He's the one who climbed on that plane, he's the one who stole the money. You didn't kill him, Reyes did!" Steve looked over at his friend and saw a tear roll down his cheek. "You don't get to blame yourself, Danny, not this time. Playing the should've, could've, would've game will drive you insane. You did everything you could and more."

Danny sat back down and took the fresh beer Steve was holding out for him, "I know, deep down I know, I just..."

"It's okay, I get it, honest I do. Give it some time, grieve, spend some time with your family. I'm here, we're all here for you and love you." Steve put his hand on the back of Danny's neck and pulled him across the couch in an awkward hug. "But I have got to tell you buddy, you really should shower before we put you on that plane to Jersey."

Danny huffed out a small laugh combined with a sniffle but made no effort to move, "You don't smell like a bed of roses either my friend."