Goodnight my Friend


AUTHOR: Jen
EMAIL: dreamaway18@hotmail.com
CATEGORY: Cast
RATING: PG-13
SPOILERS: Some, early season 7.
ARCHIVE: Sure, just ask first.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Song: "Goodbye My Friend" by Vertical Horizon

I am experimenting with a new style, so if it's horrible, it's all in the name of science (and fanfiction!).
SUMMARY: County weeps as they say goodbye to one of their own.



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The hush in the cold room is interrupted only by the occasional sudden, pained sob from any member of the group. A sudden memory, a quick mental photograph of his face, anything at all, stirs new, uncomfortable feelings of pain and emptiness. The mourners provide the only element of black; they starkly contrast with the rest of the room, which is draped in bright colors. Bright, beautiful flowers surround the stuffy area, including giant displays of fresh flowers on the walls, curtains, and the coffin itself.

He would have wanted it that way.

"When is it starting?"

"I think it starts in about 15 minutes."

Silence. Weeping.

"It just . . . it doesn't seem real to me."

"Me neither. He should be sitting here with us. He shouldn't be up there . . ."

"He always hated funerals. He'd be a mess." Soft chuckling.

Silence.

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Goodnight my sun
Goodnight my friend
Rest your soul at this
Long day's end
--------------------------------------------------

A short, red-haired woman dressed in a long black dress walks over to the elegant white casket. Her face is wrenched with pain, and for a moment the soft "tap tap" of her crutch touching the ground is the loudest sound in the room. She approaches the front of the room and is silent in watching the inanimate face of her former co-worker. She struggles with her impending tears; her entire staff is watching her, and tears will only betray her stern authority.

"This shouldn't have happened," she whispers. "You were such a good, kind person . . . things like this shouldn't happen -" her emotions take over and her slight shoulders are racked with sobs. Everyone looks at her sympathetically, but they are helpless, as they are feeling what she feels and crying her same tears. Slowly she wipes her eyes before she turns around, and slowly she hobbles back down the aisle, sinking into her chair and absorbed in her own, sad thoughts.

A cluster of women, all of which have just recovered from weeping, gather the courage to stand up and see his face one more time. The leader, a large, confident black woman, bravely leads the other women to the casket - but is crushed to see his angelic face not smiling back at her. She bursts into tears and must take her seat to console herself. The second woman stiffens her shoulders as she approaches the casket, and very quietly she murmurs a prayer in Spanish over the man. She finishes the prayer with a silent Sign of the Cross, and as she slowly turns away she kisses her finger and touches his forehead gently.

The third woman's face is almost sour as she tries not to cry. "We'll miss you," she manages to whisper. Shakily she turns around, but is seized by emotion and cannot move.

"It's all right, Lydia," a fourth woman coos, and helps her back to her seat.

"He can't be gone, Conni," the woman sobs. "He just can't be gone!"

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The fire inside
Will warm our night
And Daddy's arms will
Hold you tight
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"Mama! Wanna go home!"

"Shhh, Carlos. Sit down next to Daddy."

"NooooOOO! Suit's ITCHY! Wanna go HOOOOOOOMMMMME!"

Sighs. Irritated glares. "Reggie, can you take Carlos outside for a second?"

"Sure, babe. Come on buddy, let's go take a walk."

Wails echo down the aisle, then slowly fade away. The woman watches her husband carrying her crying son down the aisle. His cries, while too loud for the solemn occasion, express the screaming tears that everyone in the room feels deep inside.

She stands up and slowly makes her way to the front of the room. Her black veil scratches at her cheeks but she concentrates only on the still body in the coffin.

"Hi," she says softly. "I . . . know you and I weren't really the best of friends . . . I was rude to you most of the time . . . but you were always so nice to me. I never thanked you for that. And I'm . . . I'm sorry." She has nothing left to say. "Goodbye." Slowly she sits down; not one to show emotion, her cheeks are dry but her soul is aching.

"Excuse me . . . you're Jeanie Boulet, right?"

"Yes." Turns around. "Do I know you?"

"No. I'm a nurse in OB, well, actually, the ER . . . my name's Abby Lockhart."

"Nice to meet you, Abby. How did you know my name?"

"Oh, I'd seen you around County before you left. I heard about what you did for that HIV baby."

"You mean my son. I adopted him."

"Yes . . . I think it was very noble. Oh, do you remember Luka Kovac?"

"Yeah, I think so. Nice to see you again, Luka."

"Yes."

Silence.

"I'm . . . going to say goodbye." The OB nurse in the short haircut and the short black skirt hurries away. The tension with the tall, dark Croatian man is too much for her to bear.

She approaches the coffin, feeling guilty that she has nothing of importance to say to the man inside. "Um, hi," she murmurs. "I should have a lot to say to you. I . . . I never appreciated you. You were always there with more comfort than I deserved, or with more patience than I ever had for anyone. I always blew you off. I'm . . ." Lowers head. "I'm sorry." She steps away, disturbed that emotions are absent.

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Dream of summer skies
Sunset is bound to each sunrise
Rest is your first right
My friend goodnight
--------------------------------

A slim, black woman saunters up to the casket. Her brown curls bounce lightly against her back, and her long black dress brushes the floor as she walks down the aisle.

"Check out Cleo. This is just another excuse for her to buy another skanky dress."

"Tell me about it."

The woman pretends not to hear the people behind her; this is not the occasion for her to lose her temper. Quietly she stands over the coffin and doesn't say a word. She doesn't know how to handle this kind of loss - the emotions surging through her are new and unfamiliar. Her tiger-like eyes, usually flashing, are wrought with sorrow. Her face is contorted with pain as she looks at his sweet face one more time, then shuts her eyes in anguish and returns to her seat.

"Are you ok, Cleo?"

"Yes Peter, I'm fine."

"You don't look fine, that's all."

"Just drop it Peter."

"Cleo, you wanted more support and now I'm supporting you."

"No, actually you're bugging the hell out of me."


Silence.


"Aren't you going to go up there, Luka?"

"No."

"You should at least say goodbye. You knew him too."

"I told you, Abby - I didn't even want to be here. I hate funerals."

"I understand that-"

"If you understand that then leave me alone. I came to the funeral and that's all I'm doing."

"Fine."

Silence.

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This world spinning
Time always winning
The silver chains keep thinning and
This is just your beginning
----------------------------------------------

"Malucci!"

Whips around from the aisle. "Oh, hey Deb."

"Here, come sit next to me." Pats seat.

"Thanks. Excuse me sir, excuse me . . . hey Deb. How are you holding up?"

"As well as can be expected. How's your arm?"

Chuckles. "As well as can be expected."

Slight smile. "Romano let you out for the afternoon, I'm guessing?"

"Yeah. I didn't have to do much convincing."

Silence. "Dave, you know this isn't your fault."

Silence.

"Dave."

"Yeah."

"This isn't your fault."

"Mm hm."

"Bad things happen to good people all the time."

"Then why the hell -" takes voice down - "then why the hell was I spared? The woman was shooting at ME, not him. That second bullet would have hit me in the heart if he hadn't jumped in front of me. If he hadn't taken the bullet for me . . ."

Silence. "You know that's just how he was, Dave. He was always willing to sacrifice himself for anyone. You can't blame yourself."

"I was supposed to be hit. The woman came into the ER looking for ME. I got her pregnant, Deb. I got her pregnant and I left her alone. She wanted me to die. Instead -" Chokes a sob. "Instead he died. He died right there, in my arms. He died before we could even get him a gurney . . . he never did anything as bad as I've done. It's my goddamn fault." Stands up quickly; storms away. "Excuse me . . . excuse me, sir."

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Sleep my friend
At last be free
No we won't forget
Our merriest melody
------------------------------------------------

"Mark, we're late!"

"No we're not. See, there's still people outside."

"Then they're even later than we are! Honestly, if you'd only let me drive -"

"I can do it, Elizabeth. I got us here didn't I?"

"After getting us pulled over! The officer thought you were drunk!"

Silence. "I'd just had fairly intrusive brain surgery, Elizabeth. Of course my sight's going to be off a little at first."

"Which is why you should have let me drive!"

"Fine. You can drive to the next funeral we go to. I won't care, anyway - I'll be arriving in a hearse."

Silence. "That was a horrible thing for you to say, Mark."

Silence. "I - I'm sorry. This whole thing has just . . . I was there, Elizabeth. I saw the whole thing happen. I saw that woman come in, I saw her take out the gun, I saw her -" he swallows hard - "I saw her pull the trigger . . . I saw him jump in front of Malucci . . . I saw him killed . . . and I saw her run from the hospital. And I didn't do anything." He chokes. "I couldn't move. I . . . I just . . ."

She looks at him with concern in her eyes and takes his hand, stroking it gently. She wipes the tears from his eyes and touches his cheek as he pulls into a parking space and weeps. There is silence. There is too much to say and no breath to say it.

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Gone to another place
Of carousel rides round an angel's face
I'm sure we'd both laugh at the sight
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"Carter. I . . . I just wanted to say . . . I just wanted to tell you . . ."

A handsome, brown-haired man looks up; his eyes are sore from emotion and his face is weary with mourn. "What is it, Malucci?"

Silence. "I wanted to ask about how you felt . . . when Lucy died."

Carter looks down. "Hell of a time to bring that up, Malucci."

"Yeah, I know . . . I'm just having a hard time with . . . this . . ."

Carter's fierce expression melts. "Yeah, I'd imagine. I heard about how he took the bullet for you."

"Yeah."

Silence. "How's your arm?"

"Besides having to wear this goddamn sling? Fine."

"Way to curse in church, Malucci."

"Yeah, well."

Silence. "Did you know the woman?"

Silence. "Yeah."

"Was she a psych case?"

"Nah. To tell you the truth I don't even remember her name. She was a one-night fling a few months ago. I was so drunk . . ."

"So she came after you." The dark brown eyes are wrought with suspicion and accusation, yet a hint of concern shines in golden flecks.

"Yeah. She's pregnant, from the few seconds I saw her. And apparently she hates me. I don't have too many friends, I guess."

Silence. "*He* sure considered himself to be your friend, to jump in front of you like that."

"Yeah, I guess. That's the worst part, though - I sure as hell wouldn't have done that for him. Or anyone."

A grin. "That's just because you're chicken shit, Malucci. Not because you're a bad guy or anything."

Another grin. "Way to curse in church, Carter."

An old man steps up to the podium. "Excuse me!" he announces. "The services will now begin."

The two young men cease their conversation and look to the front of the room.

"My friends," the man says eloquently, "We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a dear friend . . ."

The man with his arm in a sling bows his head reverently.

" . . . his kindness was universally known to all the lives he touched . . ."

The man with the sling cannot pray - his mind is going too fast to grasp onto a single thought.

" . . . there will never be another like him . . ."

A tear rolls down the man's cheek as he whispers the only two words he can think of: "Goodbye, Yosh."

" . . . never be another like Yosh Takata. Our Yosh."

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My friend, goodnight
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