“You little shit,” Ross said.
Steve said nothing, only curled up against the edge of the bed, not looking at Ross, not looking at anyone. Days. It had been only 2 days ago, and too much had happened, too much he didn’t want to see, to know. It had been him. He couldn’t deny it, couldn’t…
“It was you,” Ross said. “Your damn fault. They’re after us because of your fuckin’ shit. Because of that kid –”
“No,” Neal said quietly, heavily, and startled, Steve raised his head to stare. Neal was standing center of the room, arms crossed, trembling so hard he could barely stand.
“No what?” Ross said.
“It wasn’t him,” Neal said. “Me. It was me.”
“Neal,” Steve whispered, “no.”
“Fuck!” Neal fell to his knees in front of Steve, and his eyes mirrored the hell Steve had rolling inside. “What the fuck do you call it? I knew it. I knew. I fucked up, and you –”
“No,” Steve said. “Not you. Both of us.”
Neal bowed his head.
“Both of you,” Ross said flatly.
“Feds are after him,” Gregg said then, his voice harsh, and Steve flinched. “I say we throw the little bastard to them and forget him.”
But Ross was still staring at Steve. Steve couldn’t meet the gaze.
“And Aynsley?” Ross said.
That did it, two quiet words that narrowed the entire world and dropped into the rolling hell of his mind, forcing it up and out. Staring at the floor, Steve felt his eyes burn, and, to his horror, felt hot dampness leak from his eyes, trickle down his cheeks, and he couldn’t stop it, couldn’t control it.
“Dead,” Neal whispered.
It pulled Steve’s gaze up, blurry and damp, to see the same expression on Neal’s face, lost, despairing, wanting to curl up somewhere and hide and never come out again…
“Fuck,” Ross said, still flat, resigned.
“That’s it?” Gregg snapped. “That’s all? ‘Fuck’?”
Ross thrust himself up from the chair, his arms wide, taking in Steve, Neal, the room, the world. “What the hell do you want me to say?”
“You throw him,” Neal said quietly, “and I go.”
“You’re just a kid,” Gregg said. “Running off your goddamn mouth. You’re not going to do shit –”
Neal stood up, stood there, fists bunched, staring Gregg down. And somehow, Steve got his feet under him, pushed himself up, staggered to stand just behind Neal.
“Go on,” Steve said, feeling his throat tighten, hearing his voice shake, not caring. “Throw me to the Feds. Do it. Get it over with.”
Gregg was glaring, his mouth closed tight.
“It won’t — it won’t bring Aynsley back,” Steve said. “He’s dead. God-fuckin’-dammit, Gregg, he needed to die. He — he –” Steve stopped, swallowed, still seeing it, still seeing Aynes on that table, pleading and staring and sliced wide open….
“Needed,” Gregg said.
Steve forced calm back into his voice. “It won’t do jack. The Feds’ll still come after you. Day after day, they’ll be watching. They won’t stop. Complicity. You were harboring. Whatever the fuck they call it. They’ll find out about Neal.”
“And about you,” Neal said, quietly, to Gregg. “And Ross.”
“What the fuck are you –” Ross said, and then fell silent.
“You’re crazy,” Gregg said.
Neal said nothing.