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A Song for Fred

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“Hey there, champ.” Lorne’s cheery greeting didn’t match his somber expression as he approached the foot of Gunn’s hospital bed, his hands clasped in front of him.

Gunn pushed himself up to sitting, grimacing as the change in angle hit the wound in his stomach. “Hey yourself,” he said. “You really here to see me? Not feeling like the most popular guy.”

“What Wes did was unconscionable,” Lorne said. He took a step forward and set his hand on Gunn’s ankle, smiling sadly, “You know what they say, still waters run deep. Our research boy has a depth of passion and anger in him.”

“Yeah,” Gunn shrugged. “My best friend.” He shook his head. “You probably won’t believe this, but I like him more than me, right now.” His hand wandered to his wound. “I deserved this.”

“Rubbish,” Lorne said, and slapped Gunn’s hand lightly. “You made a mistake.”

“I was greedy.” Gunn straightened, eyebrows crinkled. “Don’t you get it? I… this is not what I’m about. I’ve always looked out for my family, my people. Fred…” He stopped, covering his eyes with one hand a moment.

Lorne’s hand squeezed his shoulder. “We all miss her.”

“Yeah, but I’m so fucking self-centered I’m not thinking of her. I’m thinking of me. And how I’ve fucked up the best friendship of my adult life.” He looked at the ceiling, as though searching for his lost thoughts. “Wes and me… we were so different, you know? I never knew my dad; he wanted to kill his. I was too cool for school; he was head boy.” He snorted. Even in emotional duress, “head boy” deserved a little snicker.

The bed sagged as Lorne sat on the edge. “Do you want to sing for me? It’s not a guaranteed thing, but I could see your reconciliation.”

“Nah, thanks man.”

“Are you sure? I won’t judge you if you pick Rogers and Hammerstein.”

“That’s not it. Just… it’s not important. My life, having friends, it’s not important. Not like saving the world.”

“Or the girl?” Lorne smiled sadly.

Gunn looked away.

“He might never forgive,” Lorne said, leaning forward to place his hand over Gunn’s, “but he will forget. And you don’t need special seeing powers to know that. All the pain you feel now – that you both feel – there will come a time when it just isn’t at the top of the agenda.”

“I don’t want that.”

“I know. No one does. We grieve, and we want the grief never to end, because as long as we’re crying over her, Fred is still affecting our lives.”

Slowly, Gunn nodded. “I ever tell you about my sister?”

Lorne smiled. “Why don’t you? You need your grief; Wes needs his rage. It’s helping others that heals my big old broken heart.”

Instead, Gunn started to sing, a soft, gentle song about the love of a brother for his sister, and tears started to flow freely down Lorne’s face. When Gunn finished, Lorne kissed his forehead. “Thank you,” he said.