William Goren didn't even last until midnight. Bobby was at his side, not really sure what he should be doing. He saw the man take his last breath, and a sort of sadness passed over him, combined with a sense of relief. He didn't cry; they had never had that kind of relationship. He let the staff know and got some instructions from them about next steps. Then he left the hospital and headed to his mother's.

Lewis was asleep in his bed, so Bobby looked in on his sleeping mother and then settled in to sleep on the couch. He awoke to the sound of Lewis cooking breakfast.

Bobby loomed in the doorway for a moment. "You can head home, now Lewis. I'm here."

Lewis turned and looked at him, taking in the weariness in his features. "After breakfast," Lewis said. "Your Mom likes my cooking."

Bobby grinned and nodded, then headed down the hall.


They took his mother for a private viewing at the funeral home, and Lewis stayed with her at her house during the funeral. Fin had rounded up Frank a day or so before, and so Bobby wasn't surprised to see his brother at the service.

Afterwards, the two brothers spoke. "He left everything to you, Frank, but he had a lot of debt, too." Bobby gave Frank a business card. "Here's the number for the lawyers, so you can, you know, settle everything."

"Everything? You're pulling my leg, Bobby."

Bobby shook his head. "He gave me that picture of him and Mom last Christmas. That's all I really wanted of his, anyway."

"Bobby, I didn't mean for this to happen," Frank said. "I just… I can't stay in one place too long, you know?"

Bobby shook his head. He wasn't in the mood to hear Frank make excuses for himself. "You know, it's… it's… well it's done now. We gotta… move on."

"Right. How's Ma?"

Bobby shuffled his feet uncomfortably and chewed his cheek. "She's, uh… okay."

"She wasn't here."

"We brought her in… alone… earlier. I thought that would be, you know, better."

"Yeah, you're probably right about that." Frank held out his hand to his brother. When Bobby gave it a shake, Frank gave him an awkward hug. "I'll see you around, kid."

"See ya, Frank."


Bobby showed his Mom the picture and listened while she told him all about it. His parents were young and happy in the picture. He had always been drawn to it as a boy because he had always wished they had stayed that way.

His mother had cried at first, but seemed to be coming to terms with the loss. He supposed she, too, mourned over what could have been.


Before he headed to bed that night, he called Lewis. "I can't thank you enough for all you've done," he said. "I'm… I've got some bereavement leave, so, you know, I won't need to ask you any favors for a while."

"Bobby, it's okay, really. I didn't mind."

"Lewis… " He was going to say it, but then he changed his mind.

"Yeah, Bobby?"

Bobby chewed his bottom lip for a moment. "Y-you're a good brother," he said simply.

"Hey, take it easy, Bobby, okay? I call you next week sometime."

"All right. Bye."

As he climbed into bed, his thoughts were swirling again. He knew his life would be different now, and again, he felt that sense of relief. He was glad Frank was left to deal with the financial aspects of his father's death, though he doubted Frank would actually get anything out of their father's gesture. Again, he felt relieved. For once, the responsibilities didn't all fall on him.

And just before he fell asleep, he felt a sense of gratitude for his lifelong friend, his brother by choice. He hoped he could find a way to repay Lewis' kindness.

THE END