The Story of Tom Brennan

by

J. C. Burke

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Daniel Brennan Character Analysis

Daniel, Tom's older brother by a year and a half, is the drunk driver behind the car crash that kills two and leaves his cousin Fin paralyzed. Throughout his childhood, Daniel could seemingly do no wrong. A gifted rugby player, he and Tom spent hours practicing, and Daniel won a number of awards and titles in his youth. When Tom began high school, the two played on the St. John's team together, beginning a winning partnership that the local paper followed as “the legend of the Brennan brothers.” Yet Daniel also had a cruel streak and was quick to punish others when he felt they'd done him wrong, and as a young adult, he was known for his aggression, unwillingness to listen to anyone, and volatile anger. This, combined with excessive alcohol use and crushing insecurity about his relationship with Claire, led to Daniel's fateful decision to drive drunk after a party one night. Though Daniel appears remorseful following the accident, he also wallows in grief and self-pity almost until the end of the novel. He spends his time before going to jail crying and vomiting, and once in jail, becomes increasingly depressed. Daniel finally begins to turn his life around when he's transferred to the jail's crisis center and is enrolled in a mentoring program. As Daniel begins to improve through his work with his mentor, Jerry, he's given some of the responsibility of mentoring Theo, another teen in jail for a drunk driving charge similar to Daniel's. This helps Daniel to see that he can have a purpose in life and will be able to move forward by giving back.

Daniel Brennan Quotes in The Story of Tom Brennan

The The Story of Tom Brennan quotes below are all either spoken by Daniel Brennan or refer to Daniel Brennan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Story of Tom Brennan published in 2005.
Chapter Four Quotes

Suddenly I was sucked deeper into that long black tunnel, the memories of Fin and Daniel and how we once were, and the worst thing, the knowing. Knowing more than anything I'd ever know that things would never be the same.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Fin
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Six Quotes

Somewhere in the bush, hard to say how far away, I could hear the painful sound of groaning, retching sobs. It was Daniel but I couldn't go to him. Part of me wanted to, the other part didn't. I knew I had to stay with Fin, stay with the mess Daniel had made. Yet a voice inside of me was screaming, "He's alive, he's alive. Daniel's alive."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Fin, Matt, Luke, Nicole, Snorter
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

Brendan didn't want to say how bad Fin really was because it'd upset Dad and it wasn't his fault. But then Dad couldn't tell Brendan, or probably anyone for that matter, what state Daniel was in because the general consensus was that Daniel deserved what he got.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Brendan
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seven Quotes

The thought of Dad hurting and the possibility that he could drop his bundle at any moment was too much for me to swallow.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Mum, Kylie Brennan
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

Wasn't his life worth more? But that's exactly why he was here, because a life was worth something, and Daniel took two away. Whichever way I turned, my questions only found another one, always worse than the last.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Fin, Luke, Nicole
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Nine Quotes

There were so many times when I just couldn't believe this'd happened, happened to me, to my family. This sort of thing happened to other people, not the Brennans.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Matt, Snorter
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

"But remember your fellow man, Daniel, because life is more than just a one-man show. Everything we do in this life affects others. Did you think of that the night you got behind the wheel, your trusting passengers the loved ones of others? We think probably not."

Related Characters: Gran (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan, Dad, Mum, Kylie Brennan, Nicole
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:

"Being a team player, you should have known better."

Related Characters: Judge Williams (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Luke, Nicole
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Ten Quotes

"It gets him out of the mainstream for a while, gives him a bit of breathing space," explained Brendan. "He finds the visiting hard. I mean, it's his lifeline, but the guilt resurfaces every time. That's what strangles him."

Related Characters: Brendan (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eleven Quotes

I mean, it was bad—it was all bad—but even after the worst visits, there was still hope when you left him, some hope in the realization that one day Daniel'd be getting out of there, a free man.

But Fin would never be free, and that was too enormous to swallow.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Fin, Aunty Kath
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twelve Quotes

Once, probably not that long ago, I'm not sure I could've gone back at all. But here I was sliding the drawer open.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Gran
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fourteen Quotes

"But we can't undo what's done. Bennie's is giving you a chance and, as pathetic as it may seem to you, it's still a chance." Again I heard his swallow, loud and dry. "No one's above anyone, surely you know that by now."

Related Characters: Dad (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fifteen Quotes

Since Dad's rave I'd been giving it all a fair bit of thought, but I couldn't exactly put my finger on it.

"You know, Dan, they really enjoy playing. It's not just about winning."

"Can't see the point," Dan frowned. "I mean, it's all about winning. Isn't it?"

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan (speaker), Dad
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:

"The best thing about playing in the firsts at St. John's was playing with you, Dan." As I said it I realized that towards the end it had become the worst thing too—trying to carry him as his game slipped and he stopped caring about us, the Brennan brothers.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixteen Quotes

"We were fighting all the time. The new young players were shit-scared. If you had a bad game you were dead meat. It wasn't about us, it was all about the Wattle Shield. We stopped looking out for each other."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Fin, Kylie Brennan
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

"They couldn't control Dan. They were scared of him. Well, scared of the consequences if they tried to pull him into line [...] Maybe Daniel was always going to do something like this. Maybe he had to fall this far."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Fin, Mum, Kylie Brennan, Claire
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

Before, Brendan had been someone who was just always around. Someone I never really thought about. Mum's little brother. My uncle, that was about as far as it went. But that's when life was simpler.

Now Brendan wanted me to see him. See who he really was. This was probably the way Daniel saw him and now I did too.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Mum, Gran, Brendan, Jonny Tulake
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seventeen Quotes

I hadn't enjoyed the last season at St. John's, that I knew now. It hadn't mattered how good my game was, the pressure, the disgruntlement, the unpredictability of Daniel just didn't add up to good footy. It added up to frustration and division.

Now I knew differently. Bennie's first fifteen had taught me plenty. When I'd needed it most, Bennie's had reminded me that the game was better when a team was united and loving it.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Michael Harvey
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eighteen Quotes

We were. The three of us, like brothers.

Now it was hard to believe that. Blood's thicker than water, so what's the difference between your brother and your cousin? I didn't know. I'd never know.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Fin
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Story of Tom Brennan LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Story of Tom Brennan PDF

Daniel Brennan Character Timeline in The Story of Tom Brennan

The timeline below shows where the character Daniel Brennan appears in The Story of Tom Brennan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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...we were no longer wanted." When they reach the top of the hill they call "Daniel's Whine," after Tom's brother Daniel, Tom jumps in the car. They glide down the hill... (full context)
Chapter One
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...Kylie looks as though Gran is crazy, as Mum hasn't eaten at the table since Daniel left. Gran calls for Mum and Mum, too tired to fight, shuffles to the table.... (full context)
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...Day used to go down at his parents' place. They'd have a barbeque and Tom, Daniel, Kylie, and their cousin Fin would start a game of cricket while Dad grilled. In... (full context)
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...to stick to his seat. Tom thinks that despite the horror of this Australia Day, Daniel would still give anything to be here. (full context)
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...a meal and to stare at them, as he's sure Gran has told everyone about Daniel. Father Vincent introduces himself to Mum, who refuses to look at him, and then Gran... (full context)
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...if he wants to play rugby this year, as it won't be the same without Daniel. (full context)
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...to Saint Jude every day to make Mum's life more tolerable and then rants about Daniel. Finally, she gets up and begins snatching plates off the table. Kylie and Dad rush... (full context)
Chapter Two
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...about how awful lunch was and doesn't want to hear it when Tom suggests that Daniel might feel more stuck than they do. Kylie huffs out of the room and Tom... (full context)
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...paced, and Dad gave a surprisingly calm pep talk. He gave special instructions to Luke, Daniel, and Fin. St. John's won narrowly thanks to Fin. They were somewhat surprised to win,... (full context)
Chapter Three
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...ire by cursing. Dad has a thing about girls swearing, which is why he liked Daniel's girlfriend Claire so much—she never swore. (full context)
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...Michael Harvey for homeroom. Tom is somewhat uncomfortable that Harvey apparently knows what happened with Daniel. Fortunately, Harvey introduces Tom quickly to the class and then tells him to sit next... (full context)
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...a seat and check out girls. He notices several sexy girls and thinks that before, Daniel would've been able to get whichever girl he wanted. The only girl Daniel ever messed... (full context)
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Tom also knew that Daniel liked Claire more than he'd liked any other girls, which made him extremely possessive. This... (full context)
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...Specifically, he wonders if things started to change before the party or during the party. Daniel had gotten too drunk and aggressive and in the days that followed, Mumbilli had started... (full context)
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...got Harvey, Kylie begins to cry and shouts that rugby has always saved him and Daniel. Tom explodes in anger, yelling that he's stuck in Coghill just like she is, and... (full context)
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...he had to convince Matt and Snorter that they should actually go. When they arrived, Daniel and Luke were already drunk, though Daniel was still happy. Tom went outside, where Snorter... (full context)
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Tom watched Fin walk into the hall and Claire said that when Daniel doesn't get his way, he snaps. Tom assured Claire he wasn't mad at her, and... (full context)
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Tom followed Daniel outside, yelling that Daniel did this to himself by treating Claire horribly. Daniel slammed Tom... (full context)
Chapter Four
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...Pa's property is called "Saint Marguerite Bourgeoy's" after Saint Marguerite, one of Gran's favorite saints. Daniel used to call it "Saint Marge's Boogie." Pa left his onsite tractor repair business to... (full context)
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...he walked home. He heard a car coming, blaring the horn. He figured it was Daniel, but it was Snorter and Matt. Matt was yelling for Tom to come; Daniel crashed... (full context)
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Tom thinks Daniel truly knew Brendan; the two spent a lot of time together. He notices a photo... (full context)
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...in accidents. Fin wasn't a daredevil; he just made the one bad decision to trust Daniel. (full context)
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Gran asks Dad about his plans to take Mum and see Daniel the next day. She suggests that Tom go with Brendan to see Fin and Aunty... (full context)
Chapter Five
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On Saturday, Mum and Dad drive to see Daniel while Brendan and Tom visit Fin. As Tom and Brendan head out of Coghill, Brendan... (full context)
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After a few minutes of silence, Brendan says that Daniel isn't doing well. Tom grouses that nobody tells him anything, and Brendan says that they... (full context)
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...actually knows or remembers; he suffered a lot of memory loss. Fin says he remembers Daniel swaying and yelling and being very angry, looking for Claire. He remembers Daniel shoving Tom... (full context)
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...felt like himself until Snorter steered the car around the last bend. When Tom saw Daniel's car on its side against a tree, he felt like everything changed forever. Tom jumped... (full context)
Chapter Six
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The night of the accident, Tom yelled for Daniel as Daniel ran away from the car. Matt redirected Tom to the others in the... (full context)
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...thankful that Fin didn't see Nicole and Luke's bodies taken away. Dad and policemen coaxed Daniel out of the woods and they left, and someone came to take Matt and Snorter... (full context)
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...just doesn't want to upset Dad. He also knows that Dad won't tell anyone how Daniel's doing, because most everyone believes Daniel got what he deserved. Tom heads down the hallway... (full context)
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...next to Mum and thinks that she smells like an old person. Mum says that Daniel is feeling very down and that they're thinking of moving him to a different wing... (full context)
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...he's around. He mentions that Rory plays five-eight, and Tom's mind starts to spin—that was Daniel's position. Tom checks out until Harvey finally says that he's glad Tom is meeting "them."... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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...the conversation to rugby tryouts. Matt lists who at St. Johns are taking Tom and Daniel's positions, and says that Luke's dad is going to coach. Tom flashes on him sobbing... (full context)
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...brought home steaks, but Tom excuses himself to go to bed. He thinks of how Daniel used to hate just Sunday nights, as it meant the end of the weekend. Now,... (full context)
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...had to stay until the coroner could finish his report, and Luke's dad said that Daniel should be locked up for good. (full context)
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Daniel was allowed to go home, but he had a curfew. The police advised him to... (full context)
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...to be with Aunty Kath and Fin. Tom and Kylie didn't go to school, and Daniel's solicitor, Dennis Talbot, came to visit for the first time. Late in the afternoon, Mum... (full context)
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For the next week, the Brennan house was chaotic. Mum was angry with everyone, while Daniel cried and threw up. They only ate because Matt's mother kept bringing over casseroles. Dad... (full context)
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Talbot told Tom that the guilty plea was good because it showed that Daniel accepted responsibility. This might mean his sentence would be shorter. Mum asked about the judges;... (full context)
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The appearance at court took 20 minutes. Daniel pled guilty to one charge of driving dangerously and causing bodily harm and two charges... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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...truck for picnics as kids, and the truck would inevitably die before reaching the top. Daniel, who hated hills, would whine the entire way. This is also why the hill in... (full context)
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...for Tom (their positions rely on each other). Tom says that he'd like to see Daniel this weekend, and Dad agrees. (full context)
Chapter Nine
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...a quiet corner, and pretends to read. In actuality, he thinks about how he and Daniel used to drill ball-handling skills every day after school at home. That led to the... (full context)
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...to happen to his family. Tom saw counselor after counselor but felt checked out as Daniel's court date for sentencing, November 19, got closer. Though Mum and Dad did what they... (full context)
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Daniel wrote letters to Luke and Nicole's families and seemed truly sorry: he barely ate and... (full context)
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...was still struggling to process the accident. Owen came around once or twice to see Daniel, and Claire visited as well. Mum and Kylie couldn't stand her visiting, but her visits... (full context)
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One night, Tom overheard Mum and Daniel talking. Mum was angrily insisting that Claire's visits weren't good for Daniel and insinuating that... (full context)
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The morning of Daniel's hearing, Tom woke to the sound of Daniel vomiting. Later, Mum and Dad nearly turned... (full context)
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...as Matt and his mother. They all sat and listened to Judge Williams talk about Daniel's depressed mental state, the letters he wrote, the counseling he received, and his excellent character... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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...on Saturday morning and cooks a big breakfast. Tom is excited and nervous to see Daniel; it'll be the first time in six weeks. Mum shuffles into the kitchen, sits down... (full context)
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After a while, Brendan comments that Tom hasn't seen Daniel in a while. He says that Daniel seems to look forward to Tom's visits the... (full context)
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...that he and Brendan aren't like everyone else here—they wouldn't try to smuggle anything to Daniel. Tom watches an old lady make a fuss about a male guard attempting to roughly... (full context)
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...the prisoners file in in white overalls and Brendan waves his arms when he sees Daniel. Tom barely recognizes him and a lump rises in his throat. He realizes that Daniel... (full context)
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After a few minutes of silence, Daniel starts to tremble and tells Tom that he's sorry he had to leave Mumbilli. Daniel... (full context)
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Daniel is quiet for a few minutes and then abruptly asks Tom who at Bennie's is... (full context)
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A week after the visit, Daniel moves to the peer support facility and Tom starts running in the mornings with Brendan.... (full context)
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...admits that there are times when he can't wrap his head around the idea of Daniel in jail. He reminisces that he never liked cars much, but Pa loved cars and... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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...a getting a wheelchair and having a birthday party this year. Tom thinks that seeing Daniel is easier than seeing Fin; Daniel will improve, while Fin will never actually recover. (full context)
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...impressive birthday cakes, which he reasons she did because Fin's birthday was always overshadowed by Daniel's a week before. (full context)
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...Kath paces, and Gran and Kylie stand against the wall. Kath and Gran explain that Daniel called, hoping to speak to Mum, and was caught off guard when Kath picked up.... (full context)
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The first match that Bennie's plays is at the end of April. Daniel's birthday is days later, and Tom has grand plans for a birthday gift. One weekend... (full context)
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...He opens to the first page and comes face to face with a photo of Daniel's car against the tree and an article about the accident. (full context)
Chapter Twelve
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On Wednesday night, Tom sits in his bedroom trying to work on Daniel's scrapbook. He only has Friday night to work on it, given the match on Thursday.... (full context)
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...Tom cuts him off. He runs away towards Gran's house. Tom remembers the morning after Daniel's sentencing, when someone spray painted "SHAME ON YOU BRENNANS, SHAME" on their house. (full context)
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...Tom thinks that people will look at him differently if they know what happened to Daniel. Tom buries his face in his knees and reminds Brendan of what happened in Mumbilli.... (full context)
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The next morning as Dad and Tom drive through Coghill on their way to see Daniel, Tom sees that Brendan was right: there's no graffiti or signs in windows telling the... (full context)
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The guards let the scrapbook through at the crisis center and Daniel's face brightens as he flips through it. Tom points out several pictures and he and... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
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...talk about jail; Jimmy's cousin is also in jail, but for a year more than Daniel will be. Tom feels secretly relieved. He's no longer hiding a secret and there are... (full context)
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...feels bad mostly because her speech negatively affected Tom. She explains that she's angry at Daniel because he ruined everything and never considered anyone else, and she admits she did the... (full context)
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...says that even if Rory is good, it's probably not the same as playing with Daniel. (full context)
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...point anymore in looking backwards. The next morning, Mum and Dad get a call that Daniel's mental state went downhill with Fin's birthday. They leave for Westleigh and get a hotel... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
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For the weeks that Mum and Dad are with Daniel, Tom throws himself into running with Brendan. Tom either zones out or they talk about... (full context)
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...at dinner. He makes Chrissy laugh with all his jokes, which is a first since Daniel usually hogged the limelight and was an awful joke-teller. Chrissy suggests that they go out... (full context)
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...says the only thing he's sure of is that Tom has more natural ability than Daniel ever had, and Daniel and Tom's endless drilling made them unstoppable. He says that Daniel's... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
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...the boys off on the bus and then head for Westleigh. Tom gets to see Daniel by himself the next morning while Mum and Dad meet with Daniel's social worker. Daniel... (full context)
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Daniel asks about Harvey, and Tom explains that Harvey makes the team feel like they're better... (full context)
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Daniel sighs that things are different because he messed things up and refuses to let Tom... (full context)
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...her out of the bathroom. He notices that he's getting fitter and flashes on how Daniel used to make him look at his muscly arms every morning. Now, Daniel's arms are... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
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...talk about Claire; Fin couldn't believe that Claire liked him, since all the girls wanted Daniel. (full context)
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Kylie asks Tom if he remembers the fight that Fin and Daniel had the week before the sudden death match. It started because Fin talked to Claire,... (full context)
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Kylie continues that when Fin told her about the fight with Daniel, she reminded him of the Year Nine dance debacle and insisted that Daniel shouldn't get... (full context)
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Tom admits that on the night of the accident, he told Daniel he was a jerk and walked away. He says he knew Daniel was upset and... (full context)
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Slowly, Tom says that Daniel is different now. Then, he drank a lot and was hung over all the time,... (full context)
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...says that Dad was under intense pressure, and Mum and Dad knew they couldn't control Daniel. Tom wonders if Daniel just needed to fall this far. Tom suggests that Kylie go... (full context)
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...about Brendan's sexuality, not Jonny being violently possessive. Brendan remarks that they always talk about Daniel when they run instead of themselves, but Tom tells him to forget it. Brendan says... (full context)
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...Margalette the Butcher's." Finally, Tom says that his family members are either visiting Fin or Daniel. They discuss Kylie's haircut and then play a video game. In a break, Rory brings... (full context)
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...doesn't see Tom. He's sitting on the couch, drinking gin and looking at pictures of Daniel. Brendan staggers to the stereo and restarts his music: the song "Daniel" by Elton John.... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
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...clearing by the water, Tom tugs on an old rope on which Brendan says that Daniel used to swing. Brendan explains that he brought Daniel and Fin here when they were... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
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...laugh that Fin's wheelchair reminds them of the soapbox races they used to have with Daniel on Daniel's Whine. Daniel would always make Tom push the cart back up. Tom points... (full context)
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...it's too late now for that and says that soon, maybe, he's going to see Daniel, since Daniel was like a brother. Tom wonders what the real difference is between brothers... (full context)
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...now and talks about the months when she only got out of bed to visit Daniel. He says that that time was weird, but it's almost weirder that he barely remembers... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
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...knows a party at Gran's house would be boring and he also wants to see Daniel. Brendan says that Daniel is doing better one morning as they run one of Brendan's... (full context)
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...remembers how seeing Chrissy there last year sent him into a tailspin. Brendan notes that Daniel is taking the mentoring thing very seriously and getting him into the crisis center was... (full context)
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The day before Tom's birthday, he drives to see Daniel with Mum and Brendan. It's a week after the anniversary of the accident, and Tom... (full context)
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Brendan and Tom visit with Daniel while Mum talks to the social worker. Daniel wants to know about Chrissy and jokes... (full context)
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Mum arrives and says that the social worker told her that Daniel is doing a great job with Theo. Daniel says that it's going well; he and... (full context)