A/N: I've seen several authors on various FanFic sites try this out so I thought I'd give it shot: I've reached that point where I can no longer deny the pull that is Billy Darley, so in an effort to understand him & his world (look, you'd think he was a real person) I have a series of one-shots in mind in order to flush out some characters. The focus for the one-shots will likely be the relationship between Billy & Bodie, which starts with this story here, and expand to include an OC of mine that I'm excited to bring to life on the internet. But I also want to hear what you guys have to say as well because I thrive for feedback (constructive & complimentary are always welcome, but please no flames).
I do not own the characters of Death Sentence, but I do follow Billy on Instagram & Heco on Twitter, in case you're interested.
"Billy, I'm hungry."
"Shut. Up. Joe."
"I said shut it," Billy snapped with a low hiss, looking over his shoulder at his six-year-old brother who was fidgeting nervously. He glanced down the hall to make sure no one had heard and woke up to investigate. "Just do what I said and go back into the room and shut the door behind you."
Billy watched his brother walk silently back down the hall to make sure Joe did exactly as he was told. Only when he heard the gentle click of the bedroom door lock did Billy turn back around. From his hiding spot at the top of the stairs he had a somewhat good view of the living room. He gripped the rail, planting his bare feet into the worn hardwood as he leaned over, trying to get a clearer view of the fat fuck in the recliner without falling down the stairs. Billy had picked up on the man's daily routine and—right on schedule—he had grabbed himself another beer before turning to a blurred-out ESPN and promptly falling asleep. The old broad hadn't shown her face today except when leaving for BINGO an hour ago. Billy hoped to be in and out of the kitchen before she got back.
Billy was no stranger to foster parents or to the foster care system. Shit happens, and when your father deals drugs and illegal firearms for a living, one tends to have several run-ins with the cops. Oh, there was a shit ton of reasons Billy had been picked up by Child Social Services: Bones had gotten picked up for questioning, Bones had gotten arrested, or, Billy's favorite, a teacher pretending to give a flying fuck had alerted the authorities because Billy showed up to school with a black eye. The shit was endless. This time though, Billy didn't know the details. But the streets were whispering that a deal had gone south and Bones had gone into hiding to nurse his injuries.
Billy honestly couldn't say for sure. The fact that Bones had even gotten off his lazy, fat ass for the sole purpose of doing a business transaction told Billy that the people had been important. Potential partners, if had to guess. What went wrong he didn't know and at this point he didn't care. Bones hadn't come home one day, and some snitch calls the social worker about two little boys living on their own. Billy took care of his little brother better than Bones took care of either of them. Billy got Joe up and made sure he went to school and Billy was the one getting chased down the streets when the convenience store clerk busted him snatching microwavable ravioli that tasted just fine even when it was cold. He didn't need no fucking social worker telling him how to raise his brother and he sure as hell didn't need a these sorry excuses for foster "parents".
The emergency foster home where Billy and Joe had resided for the past week packed nearly twelve kids on a single night into a two-story, three-bedroom house. The kids ranged in age, with some as young as a few months old to sixteen-year-olds. Kids whose parents had been arrested or killed and were in need of some immediate place to stay when they had nowhere else to go. They were ripped from their homes in the middle of the night or their schools in the middle of the day, under the pretense that they would be taken "someplace safer".
The only upside was that Joe and Billy had been kept together. Billy had heard stories from other kids in his past stints, older siblings who hadn't seen their brothers or sisters in months, years even. Had no way to contact them. Didn't even know if they were alive anymore. It was a fucking shitfest, adults thinking they knew what was best. Billy learned the hard way not to trust them for the sake of his brother. He didn't need anyone else anyway.
Billy treaded as quietly as possible down the steps, pausing when the old wood whined in protest at his sudden weight. As he reached the first floor landing, he could make out the sounds of the man snoring in his chair, the beer hanging loosely in his fingers having tipped, spilling onto the already stained carpet. The man wore only a pair of striped boxers and a stained, muscle shirt, his stomach large enough to hold a plate. Billy sneered in disgust. He looked no better than his old man. Must be nice to have enough food to look like a fucking pig. At nine-years-old and 4'2", Billy guessed he probably weighed forty pounds, and Joe was no better.
Billy gritted his teeth as he tip-toed past the entryway to the living room, down the hallway. He pushed his unkempt blond locks from his eyes as he entered the kitchen.
Someone was already there.
The kid was probably Billy's size so he put him around his age too. He was grumbling under his breath, his back to Billy and pausing every so often as if to check and make sure the man was still snoring before reaching for more food. To a normal person, the kid was carrying an armful of snacks: crackers and bags of cookies and chips. (All the food the fat man hoarded from the foster kids, leaving for them scraps of whatever meal he had finished for himself if they ate at all.) But to Billy, and to a lot of fucking kids in Rockside, the boy had entire meals in his arms. The kind of food that could sedate one's hunger, even if it was just for a little while and even though it wasn't necessarily good for you.
Billy's nostrils flared in anger. Even though he had been planning on doing the exact same thing before, Billy realized that this fucker was taking all of the food and leaving nothing. It was just him. Billy, however, had a little brother to take care of, and he'll be damned if this kid stood in his way.
Billy stormed around the kitchen island and grabbed the kid by his shoulder, yanking him around so that they were standing face to face. The kid was black, and now that Billy was closer, he could make out the slight afro growing on his head. The style seemed almost too big for his sunken cheeks and wide, brown eyes. All of the food clattered to the floor but neither boy seemed to notice as shoulders squared and fingers clenched into fists.
"The fuck you think you doin' white boy?"
"If you think I'm letting you walk outta here with all that food, you've lost your mother-fucking mind."
"It's not yours." The Black kid scoffed, his eyes growing cold as he gave Billy a once-over. Billy assumed it was to size him up and calculate how much of a threat he posed should a fight ensue. In retrospect, neither of them looked intimidating in loose-fitted clothes that hung off their narrow limbs and torso. And although Billy tried to appear taller, they were too close in height for it to look as intimidating as he wanted. "And I'm guessing yo white ass was about to come down here and take a piece for yo'self anyway."
"I need it." Billy growled.
"Fuck. We all need it, don't we?" he snorted, his tone laced with a dry humor and the cruel truth.
The kid bent down to pick up some of the fallen items when a creek of the floor—out of place with the usual moans of a still-settling foundation—caught their attention just before the light overhead blinded them. Instinct took over for both boys as they attempted to make a dash for safety. Billy, stumbling as his pupils adjusted to the glaring light, wasn't as lucky as the black kid, having been within arm's reach and therefore the easier target.
"Let go of me, asshole," Billy spat, wincing as the man's grubby little fingers squeezed on his bony wrist.
"The hell we got here?" the man taunted with a drunken slur. "A little thief, eh?"
Billy might as well have been trying to budge a boulder for all the effort his yanking and pushing and kicking and pulling did. "Steal from me, huh? I'ma teach you a valuable fucking lesson you little punk," the man continued to mutter.
Dragging Billy back into the living room, he searched around the room with his beady eyes until he found what he was looking for. Fuck. That. Billy swore as the man gripped the belt in his hand, a leer on his face. "And that's that thieves. Never. Prosper."
With each word that man swung his arm back as far as he could before raining down blows on Billy's back. Billy gritted his teeth to keep from crying out, but it couldn't stop the blur of tears as the leather hide tore into his back. He could actually feel the welts form, his skin growing red and enflamed. But he would not give this fat fuck the satisfaction of seeing him cry.
Billy grew tired trying to fight the assault (his arms in just as much pain as his backside from trying to block the blows) just as the man suddenly gave a shout of surprise and crashed to his knees. He knocked Billy over as he did so and they both went sprawling to the floor. Billy grunted as he fell on his back, the material of his shirt aggravating his new wounds. He heard a painful crack but the lack of pain made him question if it had all been in his head.
Wincing as he rolled to his side, he flinched when something blurred in front of his face. Blinking he recognized the face of the black kid standing over him, holding his hand out. Billy ignored it, standing on his feet and trying to blink away the tears in his eyes. He didn't need some random foster kid thinking he was a pussy. But the black kid didn't seem bothered by the snide rejection. He just shrugged and dropped his hand.
Billy realized what happened the second he took in the wooden rolling pin in the kid's hand. He looked at the unconscious man on the floor and with a look of disgust spat on the back of his head. The black kid dropped the rolling pin on the ground and by some unspoken agreement, both boys made their way back into the kitchen. Billy didn't know what this kid had planned, but he sure as fuck was getting him and Joe out of there tonight. He didn't need the broad coming home and calling the cops or some shit.
"That's your kid brother up there, right?"
"What's it to ya?" Billy snapped. He had to admit, he was bitter that the guy had up and left Billy to take the fall for his crime. So much for honor amongst thieves. The fact that he had just saved his ass was moot; it was the least he could've done.
"Nothing, just asking." They began to gather the food, dividing it up as equally as possible to satisfy the needs of the other.
"His name's Joe," Billy mumbled.
The guy nodded. "And you?"
Billy looked at the kid with a raised brow of suspicion. "Billy."
The kid grinned. "Don't freak, white boy, I'm just askin'. I'm Bodie."
"What kinda fucking name is that?"
"My name," he snapped defensively. He seemed to think about it for a moment. "My real name's Elijah, but everyone just calls me Bodie."
Billy had half a mind to ask why, but it was going on eleven and the wife should be home soon. As Billy turned to head upstairs and gather his brother to leave, the kid—Bodie—stopped him. Billy turned, immediately expecting a blitz attack for the food in his arms. Instead Bodie walked up to him, his eyes hard and serious. "You take care of yo' brother like your fucking life depends on it, alright?"
He walked past Billy without waiting for a response and without a single look back, with his portion of the food now in a brown paper bag. Billy watched him struggle to open the front door, and then he took off at a quick jog, glancing around briefly to make sure he was alone. This guy and Billy thought scarily alike. With a shrug, Billy trudged up the stairs. He shoved the food into Joe's worn out Spiderman backpack, ignoring his pestering questions, before he and his brother vanished into the night.
Billy rubbed his eyes, exhausted as he stumbled half-sleep to the elementary school to pick up Joe. If for some reason Billy skipped, he always made sure to drop whatever he was doing in order to arrive at the school on time. He never wanted Joe to have to wait on him or walk. Streets like this were no place for a kid like Joe, who walked around with his head in the fucking clouds and without a clue. Kid looked stoned sometimes.
Billy kept to the shadows of the trees on the lawn. He couldn't afford to get busted by one of the pansy-assed administrators for truancy again. Last night Bones had decided a field trip was in order for his oldest. With Joe asleep in the backseat, Billy watched his old man sweat under the old bridge and hustle junkies for their cash in exchange for meth. "Watch closely, Billy-boy," he would grunt as if teaching his son some kind of life lesson. "You'll be running the streets in my place soon."
Billy didn't know what Bones meant by 'soon' and although he loathed the idea of working for the man, Billy knew he didn't have a choice. The second Billy could walk and talk and think for himself, Bones was dragging him out, teaching him the ropes and rules and practices of the drug and weapons trade. Billy was being prepped for this. However long—or short—'soon' was, Billy knew that when it came time, the business and how to run it would be all he knew. But if wanted to continue to put food on the table and clothes on their backs, Billy would take the inheritance without question.
Billy paused as a figure caught his attention on the other side of the street, leaning against the chain-linked fence that separated the baseball field from the sidewalk. Billy squinted as familiarity reigned in. Bodie. It had been nearly a month since the incident at the foster house. Billy hadn't seen him since and had promptly forgotten about him. What was he doing hanging out in front of the school?
Of course, as the bell rang and Bodie stood straight, as if alert and waiting, it all fell into place. The reason he was taking so much extra food. The reason he had come back for Billy and then asked about Joe, of all things. His advice.
Billy turned as hoards of children poured out of the front doors. The few parents that were out to meet their kids ushered them in the cars, pulling out of the carpool lane carefully to avoid those who had to walk home.
Even Billy heard the enthusiastic cry over the loud buzz of laughter and shouts. He watched as a little black girl, apparently no older than Joe, pushed through the crowd with a blinding white smile, her hair in a sloppy attempt at braided pigtails. Billy had the suspicion that those braids had been done by a boy. Billy noticed how she struggled to keep her pants up as she ran, her toes poking through the holes on her shoes. She was so small, practically Joe's size too. But she spotted Bodie and her face just fucking lit up like the Fourth.
Bodie had crossed the street, probably so the girl wouldn't have to. He crouched down and Billy saw how the sight of the girl transformed his features: his brown eyes that had stared down Billy a month ago were warm, his smile sincere as he held out his arms. She ran into them and he lifted her up, kissing her cheek and speaking something in her ear Billy couldn't make out.
Bodie turned and that's when he spotted Billy. Their eyes met for a moment, the same recognition and surprise at seeing Billy so suddenly registered across his face for a moment.
"Hey, Billy, you ready to go?"
Billy looked down as Joe looked up at him with a smile. Billy suddenly couldn't help but grin, tousling the hair of his younger brother before steering him in the opposite direction of Bodie and his sister with a firm grip on his shoulder. Billy took one last look over his shoulder and Bodie gave him a curt nod.
Billy nodded back before turning back as Joe asked, "Who was that, Billy?"
"No one, Joe," he sighed. "Just some kid."