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Abandoned in the Night

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No... No, this isn't happening. Not again. Never again. It can't happen, they can't do this to me, I'm the one who made it possible for them to be here.

I woke up... I don't know if I was drunk or high, but I had passed out on the couch, and I couldn't remember what happened before, all I know is I'm waking up now. The clock says it's about 7:00 in the morning, and I have no idea why I'm waking up this early.

The house is empty. It's empty, void of any noise or warm bodies besides myself, and all the lights are out.

There are a few bottles on the floor still, but the old, beat up, alcohol-stained coffee table has been cleared. Cleared, except for one piece of yellow lined paper ripped from a legal pad, with a light scrawl written on it.

My heart pounds. It really pounds. What *is* that? Who wrote it, and why is it there?

Running to the bathroom, I splash water onto my face, trying to clear my hazy vision upon waking up, and I race back, sitting down, cautiously picking up that piece of legal paper. I reach out for it slowly, picking it up with the tips of my fingers as if it's a snake that could bite me at any minute, or as if the paper were coated in deadly poison.

It might as well have been. That would have been less painful.

Laying the sheet across my lap, as my hands were beginning to shake too much for me to make out the content when I held it, I began to read the words that cut into me like a knife right between my lungs.

{"Dave, things aren't working out now. We've had far too many setbacks because of your issues, and something has to be done. As of now, it is best that we as Megadeth stop making plans for the upcoming tour and cancel it. We all have our flaws, but yours cost us Budokan, and your multiple, half hearted attempts to control them have always failed. As of now, you either leave Megadeth, or all three of us, Junior, Nick, and myself, Marty, will have to leave and do something on our own. We have talked this out extensively, and have all come to the consensus that this is the way it must be. You have failed as a leader, and if you're going to continue to be a disappointment or not admit that you have failed, then we must take charge for ourselves and leave."}

I can't believe it, I just can't believe it. They've been plotting against me. They're going to kick me out of my own band like Metallica did, or they're all going to leave me behind if I refuse to go. They've given me an ultimatum. An *ultimatum*. And it's one that has no good ending for me.

I trusted them... God knows, I trusted them. I know it was Marty who wrote the note, but the others wouldn't have let him. The others would be here. If they hadn't agreed and been in with it, with Marty, Nick would be here, he would, and Junior, Junior would be here -

Oh, God, Junior... How -why aren't you here? Where are you? You're my brother, Junior. You were the only family I had after James, and Lars, and... You were my brother after James stopped being my brother, and now you're leaving me too? What did I do, Junior -what did I do, what *can* I do? If there's anything I could do to fix this, please -I don't know what I did wrong that was the last straw, but I'd do anything to make up for it. If I could take it back, I'd do it in a heartbeat...

I'm flopped back on the couch, clenching my fist because the pain going through my chest is so excruciating I just want to curl up and die. That yellow legal paper is crumpled up in my hand with my heart that's been ripped cruelly out of my chest by it, and my eyes are open, but my vision is blanked out, dark, with bright, flashing stars, pain shooting through my whole body, shaking like an abused animal...

I trusted you guys, you're my only family... Please don't abandon me... Please. Nick, Marty ...Junior... Please, come back.

Tears are flash-flooding down my face, and wiping them away is futile, because more just replace them as soon as I do. A forced gasp rips through my chest as I try to overcome the force that seems to be squeezing my lungs together. Sucking the life out of me.

"WHY?!" I scream. "PLEASE, COME BACK! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE! I'LL DO *ANYTHING*!"

I cough, my voice raspy and torn to shreds already. "Please... You're the only family I have..."

The door comes open, and I look up, scrambling into the fetal position, huddling back against the couch, my mind flashing back to the day I was in this position in the back of James' truck with all my crap thrown in around me. Except nobody was crying about it but me this time.

Junior is at the door. He looks at me.

"Junior... Please?" I whisper.

"Dave, it just can't carry on like this. The guys have planned out stuff, we have plenty of things to do. I know we all have our demons, but ours never hold you back, while yours always continue to hold us back. It's not working, so this is goodbye."

He comes and taps me on the shoulder, I guess as a gesture of our brotherhood ending and a goodbye, but it's like electrocution to me. I fall back as he leaves through the door again, leaving the house silent and dark. Thunder booms outside and it throws down raining, as I clutch at my chest, gasping, feeling like death is inevitable, and at this point, I just want it to happen and make this go away.

For some reason, it feels like somebody is still tapping me on the shoulder, but I know it's just the ghost of my abandoned self. Overtaken by pain, I suck in air and give the loudest, tormented scream I can force from my body. It's not enough to push out what I feel, so I scream again, and again, and...

 

"DAVE! DAVE! OH MY GOD, DAVE! WAKE UP, SNAP OUT OF IT, IT'S NOT REAL!"

The next thing I know, the tapping on my shoulder has turned into forceful shaking, and screaming in my ear.

With a yelp, I spring forward, gasping, my throat burning and lungs aching like all get out. I cover my eyes that burn with tears, body wracked, unable to look. No, no, they can't do this...

"Dave?"

Hands shaking -forget just my hands, my whole body is like an earthquake right now -I slowly pull them away from my eyes, huddling into a ball on the couch as I do, and right there in front of me is Junior.

The lights are on, the table has the remote, and a few bottles on it, no piece of yellow legal paper to be seen. And Junior isn't looking like he's about to leave. In fact, he's kneeling on the floor next to the couch, lifting my bangs out of my eyes, wild panic in his eyes, face contorted with worry.

"J-Junior?" I stutter. "Where's the note? When did the bottles get on the table -and when did you guys decide to come back?" I'm completely delusional.

"Dave?" Marty is leaning over the back of the couch, also concerned as he looks at me. "Are you alright?"

"We never left the house, man," Nick cuts in. "We've all been here since we got back last night -we went out to the bar together, and you passed out on the couch when we got back."

"Dave?" asks Junior, who was starting to put two and two together. He puts his hand up to rest on my shoulder, as if trying to pull me back into reality. "A nightmare? What happened?"

All of a sudden, the tension goes out of me like I've been zapped, and I don't even have the energy to stay in the fetal position. I slump forward, nearly collapsing on the couch, and sobs wrack me again, this time sobs of relief, still mixed with those of fear and trauma.

"Oh God, Junior... It was too real!" My hands clutch at my sides as if my chest might explode from the pain still going through me.

The guys are all right in front of me, with no intention to leave, but half my mind is still in the nightmare, and I can't convince myself it's not real, that it's not going to happen.

It's a brutal five minutes before I can pull myself back down to earth enough to explain the images running through my head -what I'd seen in my dream.

The guys look as horrified as I am.

"Dave," starts Marty. "Listen to me. At this moment, I do not plan to leave Megadeth, but even if something comes up where I can no longer work it into my life, I would never, ever write an ultimatum like that, and I would never pull the guys into leaving with me. Their position in the band is their's to decide, and I want nothing to do with their decisions."

"And I would never write an ultimatum either." adds Nick firmly.

Junior simply sits on the couch and pulls me in a loose hug against his side.

My mind flashes back to that day in the back of the truck, and the image of Cliff pulling James off the window as he sobbed heavily, and doing the same thing.

"I'm sorry you had that nightmare, Dave... But we're not Metallica. We may have some troubles to come, as there have been troubles in the past, but we're not going to just pack up and leave in the night like that. Right now, leaving isn't going to fix anything, and we're not here for that. We're here to be the best metal band we can be for our fans, and have fun doing it."

"I'm the reason why Budokan couldn't happen." My sobs have slowed and reduced, but tears keep coming, my body is still trembling, and my voice won't stop breaking. I know that my eyes are swollen and bloodshot and I probably look like something real special right now.

"And that was a disappointment, but it's not worth breaking a band up over." Marty states flatly.

"No band is perfect, and nobody in this band is perfect. We've all got flaws, and if it hadn't been you, it could have just as well been one of us. Or, it could have even been a storm canceling a flight, and that would have been completely out of our control." reminds Nick.

I have the most patient, caring family of a band I could possibly ask for. I don't always think about it, but I know I do. And right now, I have never been so grateful that they're here.

"S-so you guys aren't going to abandon me?" I ask, swinging my legs over the edge of the couch, attempting to stand up shakily. I need to get off this couch, walk around, see the whole house as it's supposed to be to get the images out of my head. Junior helps me up, supporting me as I struggle to get my balance and bearings.

"No, Dave, no." Junior says. "Don't even think about that nightmare anymore. It's not real." He paused, then looked up with his puppy-eyed idea look that I can always swear that I see the lightbulb over his head.

"Why don't you get showered like the rest of us, and we can finish planning the upcoming tour? We'll make it even better than Budokan!"

I look around.

The house is lit. It's sunny outside. Everyone is there, and Marty and Nick are already going off, goofing with instruments. Marty is totally going to break a string again if he keeps going at that guitar like that...

...everything as it should be, and the most wonderful sight I have ever seen.