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After about two hours, Kevin was starting to reconsider the whole wiping his hands clean of the whole situaiton thing. He was sure that by now, Nick would have stomped back into the apartment making sure to be loud enough so that everyone's attention would be drawn to him. Kevin closed his eyes just picturing the scenerio.

Nick walking in arms crossed, of course uncrossing them long enough to slam the door. Everyone running to him making sure he was okay and looking over at mean Kevin. How could he be so mean to you? Afterall you are just little Nicky. The young innocent victim all the time. Poor Nick. Kevin you are such a horrible horrible person.

"Are you falling asleep or something Kev?" He opened his eyes at the sound of AJ's voice.

"No, just thinking"

"Is there an unwritten rule that you can only think with your eyes closed?" Kevin looked over at AJ. "Why are you still even here?"

"I really was afriad i'd miss something. I want to see what happens when Kaos comes back. If he'll tackle you again"

"Home...now! Goodnight J" AJ stood up and shook his head, "Are you going to drive me home? Because it's too far to walk"

"Nevermind you can stay, I would rather be here just in case he comes home you know?" Kevin didn't want to admit he was getting uneasy that Nick hadn't come back yet. He was sure it was just going to be one of his typical little tantrums. But two whole hours had gone by. Howie and Brian decided to drive around and look for him about an hour after he left, which was the reason AJ was still at the apartment with Kevin.

"You know if Jane found out he was MIA she would have your ass!"

"It's Jane's damn fault" Kevin stood up and stretched. "She didn't want to talk to him"

"Why?" Kevin shrugged. "I don't think she meant any harm in it, but he got really defensive there"

"Uh...you think?"

"You sure you don't want to walk home?"

"Okay i'll shut up, but I am getting a little worried about the little shit" That made Kevin smile. He loved AJ's personality although he would NEVER openly admit that to anyone. He wished that sometimes he could act as forthcoming as AJ was.

"You worried Kevin?"

Kevin refused to look up at him, "A little but i'm sure he's okay"

"I think you're just worried that he'll come back and kick your ass!"

Kevin shot him another look to which AJ put his hands up in defense, "Oh right the shut up thing...sorry" He sat down at the table and started humming as Kevin roamed around the living room, looking out the big window hoping to see Nick in view.

Biting his bottom lip he couldn't help but be disappointed in himself somehow. He should have run right after Nick as soon as he went screeching out the door but his anger got the best of him. It always did.

He found himself often complaining to his mom about Nick and nine out of ten times his mom would come back with "He sounds like someone I know!" That would make him so mad but she had a point.

The two of them had SO much in common when it came to how they dealt with things. Both hotheads who seldom thought before they spoke or acted. Kevin had finally gotten his under control but Nick and the word control did not go together at all. He was never as bad as Nick with the physical fighting thing. He had seen that kid get down right ugly about the stupidest thing. Usually hitting a wall or throwing a piece of furniture clear across the room. Usually it was AJ he would attack, probably because he felt he had the best chance of hurting AJ. Even though he would only be further enraged when AJ would laugh at him.

He was surprised that Nick attacked him. He really almost took a swing at the kid but luckily stopped himself when he heard his mother yelling at him in his ear. "He's just a small boy Kevin" She said that all the time which made Kevin feel guilty about complaining in the first place.

AJ stood up and ran to the door at the sound of footsteps. "I think he's back Kev....you gonna go apeshit on his ass?"

Kevin stood up not exactly sure what he was going to do. He wanted to yell at him but he also wanted to act like he could have cared less. Why give Nick the satisfaction of knowing how worried they were. Afterall that is what the kid wanted wasn't it? Maybe he would let his brian decide between the two once Nick walked in the door.

Unfortnuately it wasn't Nick, only Brian and Howie who both looked more concerned than Kevin wanted.

"Kevin we can't find him anywhere. We looked all over the damn place. Even went to the park about five miles up the road. He's nowhere"

Kevin bit at his bottom lip, he was positive that the guys were going to bring Nick home. So certain he refused to completely worry about it. Now he was forced to that point and he didn't like it at all.

"Should we call the police?" Howie squeaked out almost sounding like he had no voice left.

"Maybe we can call my Mom. She'll know what to do" AJ said walking towards the phone.

"What if somebody..." Kevin wouldn't let Brian finish, "Stop he's fine. You know Nick. He's hiding somewhere. He'll come out when he's ready"

Kevin wished he believed himself, but truthfully he was having his doubts, here was this cute little blonde haired blue eyed kid, roaming around in the middle of the night all by his lonesome in not the absolute greatest part of town.

"Kevin I really think we should call somebody...he's just a child" Kevin looked up at his cousin but breifly saw his own mother standing there.

"I am SO sick of hearing that all the time Mom"

"But that's what he is honey! You were 12 once too and you acted just like him"

"But mom the constant fooling aorund and the temper and oh my God he whines like no one's business"

"Kevin...you need patience honey. Sometimes I think you are just looking for a reason to leave that group. Are you? Is that what you're looking for... permission? Because sweetheart no one is forcing you to stay"

"I know mom" Was that what he was looking for? Maybe he was? He did not like what Johnnie had said to him at all. About him being the responsible one. Always the one cornered for every little mistake or every time they walked in late to a meeting. It was seldom his fault but he ALWAYS got the blame. He would be called into the room long after the others got to break only to be lectured about responsibility. When he would return to the rest of the guys, they would all be lounging around. The youngest one in the corner whining about something.

"Kevin you know I love you no matter what you chose. If you're that unhappy with them..." He was interrupted by the sound of an all too familiar whine. "Kevin! I need you"

Nick again, he ignored his band mate and turned to face the wall, "Mom, i'm not sure..."

"Kevin!" Again this time a little bit louder.

"Sweetheart is someone calling you?" Kevin rolled his eyes.

"Yes, it's Nick AGAIN!"

She laughed, "It seems to me that that little boy adores you"

"I think he just likes to annoy me mom" His mother laughed which brought a smile to his face. Nothing made him happier then making his mom laugh.

"Well, better go see what he wants and remember honey if you want to come home just say the word and i'll have Gerald fetch you, okay?"

"I love you mom"

"I love you more Kevin"

"Kevin!!" He hung up the phone with his mother, "What!!" He screamed back to the pip squeak.

"Help me please" Kevin walked into the other room where Nick was just standing there not in mortal danger at all, "I was thinking with all the screaming you were being eaten by an alligator"

"One could always hope" AJ said darting through.

I can't reach that jar of cookies" He said pathetically pointing up to the huge jar that was placed on top of a locker.

"That is why you were screaming at me like a maniac? I was on the phone with my mother! God Nick you are SO selfish sometimes I can't even stand you!"

Nick looked hurt which made Kevin roll his eyes and grab the jar off the top of the lockers, "you know they were probably there for a reason"

"Yeah because there are people in this world who are prejudice against short people"

"Amen to that" Brian said giving Nick a high five.

Kevin began to walk out of the room disgusted when he was once again stopped. "Kev..." He turned around very quickly almost ready to snap the young blondes head off, "WHAT!"

"Um...I just wanted to say thanks...and i'm sorry" Kevin smiled at Nick who at that moment and time looked like a five year old after getting caught with...well his hand in a cookie jar.


"Kevin...should I call my mom?" AJ asked once again, al eyes on the room staring him down waiting for an answer.

"NO, i'm going to call Jane"

"Kevin not a good choice there. She's going to go nuts"

"She'll tell me what she wants us to do"

Kevin didn't want to call Jane but he didn't see he had much of a choice. It would be her call. If she wanted him to call the police so be it. If she wanted to scream her head off at him same thing. Afterall maybe he deserved it for letting a thirteen year old run out of his care late at night.

He stepped out of the others ear shot and dialed up Jane hanging up about three times before actually gaining the nerve to let the call go through. He was a little relieved when he got a message. He wasn't sure if he should leave one or not, so he decided to leave kind of a generic one stating that there was a situation and maybe she could give a call back.

Just as he hung up there was a light knock at the door. Everyone looked at each other before AJ was the one to run over and open it.

There he was, standing there with head down and hands in pockets.

"Kaos...where the hell were you?" AJ surprisingly asked sounding a mix of concerned and annoyed.

"Nick we were worried sick!" Brian now surrounded the still quiet Nick as he stood with his head hanging in shame. He knew he was wrong. Which made Kevin feel a little better but now the question was what to do? Howie didn't say anything just kind of backed up and looked over Kevin's way as if to say 'okay buddy all yours'

Nick looked up at Kevin before he even had a chance to move, "Um...Kevin...I...um..."

"Nick where were you?" Now the other three kind of moved aside to let the lecturing begin.

"Do you have any idea what time it is?"

Nick shrugged, that always bugged Kevin as well... the shrugging.

Kevin had to look at his watch to make his point and then got even madder when he actually did see the time, "Jesus Nick! It's midnight!!"

"Wow dude I need to get home. I'm surprised my mom didn't call"

"J, why don't you just stay the night? Go in and call her so she won't worry" Howie said pointing to the bedroom. "I kind of don't want to miss anything"

Kevin glared at the fifteen year old which got him to move. Howie decided to go in there with him avoiding the possible battle that he felt coming. That left Brian hovering around Nick like some protective mother hen. Just standing there uneasy yet feeling like he had to be there for his friend. Damn Brian.

"Brian can you leave us alone for a minute?" Brian looked at Nick for approval which again drove the eldest band member crazy, then Nick nodded very hesitantly which led Brian to walk into the living room finally leaving the two of them alone.

"So...you never answered me...where were you?"

"Out"

"Yes I know that much...out where?" Now Nick made his way fully into the kitchen area and took a seat on the chair farthest away from where Kevin was standing.

"Just out"

"No Nick...there is no just OUT! When I am in charge of you and you come waltzing back in after MIDNIGHT!"

"You make it sound like you are the boss of me or something when you say that whole 'in charge' thing"

"Stop avoiding the question!"

"Stop yelling at me!!!" He said with his voice cracking just a tinge. Of course that made Brian look over from his position on the couch. Kevin placed his hands up almost making a peace sign and slowly walked over to sit across from Nick, "Okay sorry...just we were worried Nick. You can't just go roaming aorund the streets late at night. Do you have any idea what could have happened to you?"

"I can take care of myself Kev i'm not some dumb little kid who follows someone holding up a piece of candy saying come here little boy" Brian laughed from the couch.

"It takes only a second for a guy to grab a hold of you and drag you away. Hell look at how easy it was for me to get a hold of you after you attacked me.

"You know this is stupid i'm going to bed" Nick said standing up all defensive once again.

"Nick wait...I didn't mean to make you feel bad. We need to talk"

"Okay Kevin you want to know where I was?" He said walking towards a Kevin who was sure he was once again going to get popped by the mini one. "I was sitting in your car"

"What?"

"I went outside and since I didn't know where to go and was afriad i'd get lost I went and sat in your car... the backseat if you want to get technical. You know if you are SO afriad of the people who live around here you shouldn't leave your door unlocked"

"You were here the whole time?"

"Yes"

"So you saw Howie and Brian go looking for you?"

"NO, I kind of laid down and fell asleep"

"Nick that's possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard!"

"What? Would you rather me say I was abducted and ran for my life away from a big hairy guy before he could screw me up the ass?"

"Frankly...yes!"

"Kevin!" Brian yelled from the living room.

"I called your mother you know! She is probably worried sick about you right now and there you were sitting in my friggin car the entire time?" Nick rolled his eyes at Kevin and placed his arms across his chest. Kevin stood up to walk away before he laid into the kid yet again. He stopped in his tracks when he heard Nick mumble "I wanted you to call her"

"What did you say?" He was shocked.

"Nothing"

"No I heard you. You said you wanted me to call her. Was that why you did this? So I would call your mother?"

Kevin walked slowly back towards Nick again this time getting down eye level to him, "Nick answer me"

"Yes... okay? You happy? The only time I get to ever talk to her anymore is when I do something stupid so there ya go! Now maybe she'll call and talk to me. Even if it's her screaming her ass off at me! I don't care. These days i'll take her however I can get her!"

Kevin stood quietly next to Nick not sure what to say or do. He noticed his cousin looking over just as speechless as he was. The phone rang as if on cue and after the second ring there was a long pause before Howie called out, "Nick...your mom wants to talk to you"

Okay i'm coming. I'll take it in the bathroom" He said getting up refusing to look at Kevin or Brian. Just before he closed the bathroom door he turned and made eye contact, "Kevin I was trying to say I was sorry before" Then he turned and shut the door. When he was gone Kevin just stood there saddened by the whole situation and suddenly feeling lucky he was blessed with such a wonderful family of his own.
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