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That's why I worry about Eden, because even though he's easily the smartest of us three boys, he thinks a lot like I do. (1.1.34)
Even though Day hasn't actually talked to Eden in five years, he still worries about his little brother constantly. He keeps watch over his family because he feels like it's his responsibility.
"Metias is doing a better job than our dead parents," I reply, maybe more sharply than I intended. (1.2.15)
All that June has left in the world is her brother. If she were to lose Metias, what would she even do? Unfortunately, she's going to have to learn the answer to that question…
"You're not going to leave me too, are you? You'll stay with me longer than Mom and Dad did?"
Metias kissed me on the forehead. "Forever and ever, kid, until you're sick and tired of seeing me." (1.4.15-16)
Because their parents are dead, Metias has taken on the role of both big brother and surrogate parent. He raises June as though she's his own child, even though they aren't that far apart in age.
Sometimes I wish I could find her a good home, some kid family willing to take her in. But every time I have this thought, I push it away—because Tess would be back on the Republic's grid if she ever joined a real family. (1.5.37)
In a way, both Tess and Day are barred from having real families. It's simply too dangerous for them, even though they're both young kids who long for a normal family life.
"Tess. Is she your younger sister?"
I hesitate. "Yeah, close enough. It was really Tess I wanted to keep safe with my dust bomb, you know." (1.13.28-29)
After having lived on the streets together for so long, Day and Tess have become family. They're fiercely loyal to each other and would see each other through anything, which is a good reminder that family doesn't just mean blood relations.
He hits me again, then one of his knees slams into my stomach. I gasp for air. I picture Eden and John and force myself to calm down, force away the pain. Stay strong. Don't let him get to you. (2.7.41)
Day has a quick temper and he usually loses it, but he can keep it in check for his brothers. He'd rather take the abuse than cause any harm to them.
"I really miss him," she whispers. "I thought he would be around for a long time, you know, someone I could always lean on. He was all I had left. And now he's gone, and I wish I knew why." (2.9.23)
All of June's actions were driven by the fact that she just really misses and mourns the loss of her brother. How could Day stay angry with her for that?
It's a good day. John had recently been assigned to work at our local steam plant. To celebrate, Mom sold one of her two dresses and an assortment of old pots, and spent all last week taking over shifts from her coworkers. The extra money was enough to buy a whole chicken. (2.13.8)
Even in the direst of circumstances, Day's family manages to make special occasions count. They'll obviously sacrifice anything to make each other happy—and this is an attitude that Day carries with him even when he has to run away from home.
Some of the anger fades from his eyes. "I would rather die than see them hurt you. Understand?" (2.13.27)
Young Day may have gotten their whole family in trouble, but John just wants him to be okay. He wants his little brother to be safe—and he'd rather give up his life than see him hurt. Little does he know that he's going to live up to those words…
I can't stop thinking about John. What will they do with him? June promised to help me—she must've planned something for John, too. I hope. (2.15.4)
It's Day's execution date and he's not even necessarily thinking about death or how scared he is—nope, he's wondering about his brother and hoping that they'll all be able to escape together.
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