A Brother's Farewell.

Disclaimer: I don't own The Wonder Years. It belongs to The Black/Marlens Company and New World Entertainment. This is a purely fanmade story. It was written just for FUN, NOT PROFIT. No copyright infringment intended.

June, 1968.

All across America, people were enjoying Summer. In one particular suburb, things were no different. But unbeknownst to the people who lived there, things were about to change in a big way.

As is the nature of change, the change that came to that small suburban town began in a pretty small way. In this case, it began with a party held by the Cooper family. It was the second party they'd held that summer. The first party wasn't so unsual. They alway had a party on the first day of Summer vacation, which was the day after the last day of school. It was a huge neighborhood affair, and everybody in the neighborhood came.

This second party was held at the end of June. It was pretty much the same as the first party. What set this party apart, however, was that it severed as a going away party for the oldest of the Cooper's two children, their nineteen-year-old son, Brian.

Brian Cooper was recently drafted into the Marines, and was due to be shipped off to fight in Vietnam any day now. When Brian told his family the news, his parents, Jim and Evelyn, were very proud of him. Brian's younger sister, twelve-year-old Gwendolyn, called Winnie for short, was also proud of her brother, but she was a little nervous as well.

"I don't know exactly where Vietnam is," Winnie told her brother on the day of the party. "But I know it's really far away from here. You've never been that far from home before. And you know what they say on the news. The fighting over there is really bad, and it just seems to get worse everyday. I'm scared that you'll injured, or captured, or worse." Winnie gulped when she thought of what or worse could mean. Brian only smiled and mussed Winnie's pigtails.

"Don't worry about that, Winnie," said Brian. "When I get over there, I'll have to go through Basic Training first. After that, who knows? I might be sent to thw front lines, or I might not even see any action at all."

"But I just want you to be carefull, Brian," said Winnie.

"I will," said Brian. "Now, help me get ready for the party."

The party was held later that evening. Like the first party, this one was attended by many of the Cooper's friends and neighbors, including their next-door neighbors, the Arnolds. The Arnold family was comprised of Jack Arnold, his wife, Norma, and their three kids, Karen, Wayne and Kevin. Karen was sixteen. Wanye was fifteen. Kevin was twelve, the same age as Winnie.

Karen was involved in the Hippy movement, and was stongly opposed to the war in Vietnam. She was only at the party because her parents insisted she come. Wayne was a bully who delighted in tormenting the younger kids in the neighborhood, especially his younger brother Kevin. It often fell to Brian to keep Wayne in line. Kevin liked to hang out with his best friend, Paul Pfeiffer, and play pick-up games of football and baseball. He often braged about his atlethic prowess, but most of the time, he fumbled a football or couldn't catch a baseball. This usually led to Wayne beating him up.

The relationship between the Arnold and Cooper kids was interesting, to say the least. Dispite their three-year age difference, Brian Cooper and Karen Arnold had been quite close when they were younger. It was even said that Karen might have had a crush on Brian. But as of late, they'd had a falling-out because they dissagreed about Karen being a Hippy. Winnie didn't know much about Karen, but the older girl was always nice to her, and Winnie appriciated her for that.

Wayne may have had the repuation of a bully, but he didn't dare mess with Brian Cooper. However, Wayne didn't fear Brian either. In fact, he actually had a deep respect for him. Winnie was often witness to Wayne's bullying. It was hard for her not to feel sorry for the younger boys in the neighborhood, especially Wayne's own brother Kevin. Winnie had heard of sibling rivraly, but some of the things Wayne did to Kevin were downright cruel. Luckily, Brian stepped in before things got too out of hand.

Kevin Arnold flat-out worshipped the ground Brian Cooper walked on. Durring that particular summer, it was a common sight to see Kevin and the other boys gawking at Brian with awe as he worked on his white '58 El Camino. To them, Brian was the very deffinition of the word "cool."

Kevin and Winnie's relationship, on the other hand, was a bit more complicated. When they were very little, they would go down to Harper's Woods and catch firefiles, but they really hadn't hung out at all together since they were like nine. Lately, however, Wayne liked to taunt Kevin by saying that Winnie was his girlfriend. Kevin would constantly deny this. Still, Winnie couldn't help but wonder if things were about to change between her and Kevin.

As the night went on, the Summer air was filled with the sounds of children's laughter, and the smell of burgers and hot dogs on the grill. The mood of the party was casual and relaxed. Winnie played Ping-Pong with Kevin and Paul. She also helped her parents serve their guests. Brian politely thanked people who congratulated him of his impending military service. As people were finishing up their dinner, but dessert was served, Jim Cooper tapped on a glass to get everyone's attention. He cleared his throat before speaking.

"I would like to thank you all for coming tonight," he begain. "You've all known Brian his entire life. You've watched as he grew from a rambunctious boy, into the fine young man he is today. Brian, Evelyn, Winnie and I are so glad you all could be here as Brian begins the begins the next chapter of his life. When we learned that Brian was drafted, Evelyn and I were understandibly nervous, but we are very proud of him for doing his duty to his country."

"I don't see why this is something to be proud of," piped up Karen Arnold. "Brian may be three years older than me, but he's still little more than a child. He had no say in this matter. He was drafted by a corrupt government to fight in a war that is cruel, barbaric, imperialistic and completely unnecrsarry. I mean at his age, Brian sould be going off to college, not going off to kill innocent Vietnamese peasants."

"Karen, if you're going to start this, you can just go the hell home," said her father, Jack.

"Fine. I will go home." said Karen. "But don't come crying to me when Brian ends up dead for NO GOOD REASON!" Then she left the party. The fact that Karen had used the word "when" instead of "if" when refering to the possiblity of Brian dying in Vietnam frightened Winnie, but she was determined not to let her fear show.

"Sorry about that," Jack Arnold said after Karen had gone. "I don't know what got into her."

"No problem, Jack," said Jim Cooper. "Now, where's was I? Oh, yes, Brian. We are very proud of him for serving his country, but we also hope he comes home safely. To Brian!" he said, raising his glass.

"To Brian!" everyone echoed, also raising their glasses.

"Now who's ready for dessert?" asked Jim. The dessert was Brian's favorite dessert, red velvet cake. On it were written the words "Good Luck, Brian," in blue icing. The cake was delicious, and was quickly devoured by the guests. After the cake was eaten, the guests went home, and it was time to clean up. When everything was cleaned up, Brian was in his room, when he heard a knock at his bedroom door.

"Who is it?" asked Brian.

"It's me, Winnie," said Winnine. "May I come in?"

"Sure, Winnie," said Brian. Winnie opened the door, and slowly walked into Brian's room.

"Did you enjoy the party?" Brian asked his sister.

"I did," said Winnie. "But the things Karen Arnold said have been bothering me."

"Don't let what she said scare you," said Brian. "She has no idea what she's talking about anyway."

"She did have one valid point," said Winnie. "You're nineteen, Brian. I know that in the eyes of the law, you're not a little kid anymore, but you're still very young. You've got your whole life ahead of you. Don't you want to go to college? I mean you've always talked about becoming a mechanic or an engineer. And what about finding a girl, settling down and having kids. Don't you want that?"

"I do want those things," said Brian. "But they can wait until I come home."

"IF you come home," Winnie said nervously.

"Don't be silly, Winnie. OF COURSE I'll come home," said Brian.

"Suppose you do come home," said Winnie, "and you're just not the same as when you went over there? I mean, I've heard stories of soliders coming back from Vietnam with horrifying injuries. Not to mention bad cases of Shell Shock."

"Look, Winnie," said Brian, "whatever happens over there, I'll still be the same Brian. But I will be the first to admit that when I first got my Draft notice, I was scared. In fact, I thought about going to Canada, to avoid the Draft."

"Then why didn't you?" asked Winnie. "If you did, I wouldn't think any less of you. You'd still be my big brother, and I'll always love you."

"I know you'd still love me, Winnie," said Brian. "But Mom and Dad, not so much. I knew I couldn't risk dissapointing them, and also being branded a tratior to my country. Plus, you know me. I've never been one to shirk my responsibilites. And this is a huge responsibility. That's why I didn't desert. You understand, Winnie?"

"I guess so," said Winnie. "But I'm really going to miss you, Brian."

"I'll miss you, too," said Brian. "You know, it's funny. I spent my whole life wondering what it would be like to leave this place, and now that I'm about to, I just can't believe it. But enough about me. I want to know what you think about the changes in your life, Winnie."

"Changes in my life? What do you mean?" asked Winnie.

"Well, you'll be starting Seventh Grade in the fall," said Brian. "That's Junior High School. The Big Leauges. So, how does that make you feel?"

"I'm exited," said Winnie. "But I'm also a bit nervous."

"That's understandable," said Brian. "I had the same feelings when I started Hilcrest Junior High."

"Actually, Brian," said Winnie, "there's talk that they'll be changing the name of the school from Hillcrest Junior High School, to Robert F Kennedy Junior High School, to honor the senator who was killed eariler this month."

"Oh," said Brian. "Well, whatever. No matter what the school's name is, Junior High is still a very big deal. It's the begining of the rest of your life. You should think about reinventing yourself this year. That's what I did when I entered the Seventh Grade."

"How should I go about reinventing myself?" asked Winnie.

"You should start by letting your hair down, litterally", said Brian. "You're twelve. Next year, you'll be thirteen, a teenager. I think you're getting too old to still be having pigtails. Wouldn't you agree?" he asked. Winnie fingered her pigtails. She'd had them for as long as she could remember. But she was starting to get tired of them. Maybe it was finally time for her to get rid of her pigtails.

"I guess you're right, Brian," said Winnie. "I'll ask Mom to undo my pigtails before the school year starts. I just hope she can refrain from braiding thiem up again after they're gone," Winnie said with a smile. "What else should I do?" she asked her brother.

"Get rid of your glasses," said Brian.

"But I need my glasses to see," Winnie said defensivly.

"I know," said Brian. "But what do you think contact lenses are for?"

"Do you think Mom and Dad will let me get contacts?" asked Winnie.

"I'm sure they will," said Brian. "So besides no pigtails and new contacts, do you have any idea of what you'll wear on the first day of school?" Brian asked his sister.

"Not yet, but Mom said she'd take me clothes shopping closer to the fist day of school. I hope find a lot of cool outfits then," said Winnie.

"Good," said Brian. "I think this year, you should start moving away from the tomboy look, and start dressing more maturely, but still appropriate for Junior High, that is."

"Ok," said Winnie.

"Gwendolyn Rose Cooper," Brian said suddenly.

"Why are you using my full name?" asked Winnie "You sound like Mom does when she's reprimanding me for misbehaving."

"I'm just testing it out," said Brian. "Your full name is really pretty. You should start usuing it more often."

"Gwendolyn Rose?" asked Winnie.

"Or just Gwendolyn, if you want," said Brian. "I mean, you don't want to be known as Winnie forever, do you?" he asked.

"I guess not," said Winnie.

"But don't worry. You'll always be Winnie to me," said Brian, with a smile.

"Why do you want me to start going by Gwendolyn, anyway?" asked Winnie. "I mean, I don't remember you insting on being called Brian William Cooper when you started Junior High."

"True," said Brian. "But I reinvented myself in other ways. Seventh Grade was the time when I really started to get interested in cars. Not to mention girls."

"I'm not really into boys yet," said Winnie. "But I do hope to make some new friends in Junior High."

"What about Kevin and Paul?" asked Brian. "Aren't they your friends? And won't they be going to the same school as you?"

"Yeah," said Winnie. "It would be nice to have them as familiar faces. But things between me and Kevin have gotten weird this Summer."

"Oh, you mean the way Kevin says you're NOT his girlfriend when Wayne teases him about it?" asked Brian.

"Exactly," said Winnie. "The way he constantly denies it can come off as way too indignat sometimes. I know Kevin is truly a nice boy, and I guess I do like him, but I don't know how to tell him, because I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel the same way about me."

"Oh, I think he does like you," said Brian. "He just don't know how to say it. But you needn't worry about that now. I'm sure Kevin will come around soon enough. The most important thing to remember is to just have fun. Can you do that?" asked Brian.

"Yeah, I can do that," said Winnie. "But can you do me a favor?" she asked.

"Sure, Winnie," said Brian. "What do you want me to do?"

"When you're over in Vietnam, I want you to write home every week," said Winnie. "And then I'll right back to you. Deal?"

"Deal," said Brian, shaking Winnie's hand. "And Winnie, whatever happens to me, I want you to promise me that you'll be ok. And remember, I'll alway be with you." Winnie was stunned. Did Brian really just subtly allude to his own mortality? But she didn't say anything. She only nodded. "Come here," Brian said, embracing his sister in a hug. "I love you," he wispered in her ear.

"I love you, too," Winnie wispered back. It was at that moment that their mom, Evelyn, appeared at the door.

"Brian, Winnie, it's time for bed", she said.

"Ok, Mom", Winnie and Brian answered in unison.

"Goodnight, Winnie", said Brian.

"Goodnight, Brian", Winnie replied. Then Winnie went into her own room, and went to bed.

The next day, Winnie was up bright and early to go with her parents to drop Brian off at the bus stop. When they got there, they were surrounded by other soldiers and their familes.

"Are you Brian Cooper?" asked a recruiter.

"I am," said Brian.

"This way, please", said the recruiter. Brian gave his last hugs to his family before following the recruiter to his bus. When he got on the bus, he found a seat near the back, and started waving at his parents and Winnie. The waving continued until the bus started moving, and eventually disapeared over the horizon.

Then Brian was gone.

September, 1968.

Winnie Cooper, now using her real name, Gwendolyn, steped off the school bus. She had just completed her first day of Junior High School, and couldn't wait to get home to tell her parents all about it. Her first day had been unforgettable, to but it mildly. In all her excitement, it was a wonder she'd gotten any sleep at all the night before.

When Winnie got up that morning, she quickly got dressed in some of her new clothes. For her first day, Winnie wore a pink and yellow fish net shirt, a skirt and white go-go boots. She also put in her new contact lenses. She'd gotten them a month before. While the contacts were intended to replace her glasses, for the remainder of that Summer, Winnie still wore her glasses when she hung out with the other neighborhood kids. She'd wanted to save the public debut of her contacts until today. But Winnie had practiced wearing them around the house over the Summer. They'd felt strange at first, but now she was used to them.

When Winnie got to the bus stop that morning, she saw Kevin and Paul. She could tell they didn't recognize her with her new look from the way they stared at her. Paul had even asked "Winnie Cooper?!" in disbelief when he saw her after she'd said hi to them.

"Gwendolyn," she corrected. "I don't want to be called Winnie anymore. My real name's Gewndolyn." After a short bus ride, Winnie finally arrived at the school.

"Welcome to the fist day of the rest of your life," Winnie told herself as she got off the bus. She didn't know quite what to expect, but from where she stood, one clear thing already stood out to her. Two matinence workrs were putting the finishing touches on sign that clearly said Robert F. Kennedy Junior High School.

Hmm. I guess I was right about something, Winnie mused to herself. I'll have to tell Brian that in my next letter to him.

Winnie was so happy that Brian had kept his promise to write home every week during his deployment. They'd exchanged may letters during the Summer. The subjects of these letters varied from week to week. Brian talked about his life in Vietnam. His first letter had included a picture of him in his uniform a crew cut. It was odd to see Brian without his trademark long hair, but Winnie had to admit that her brother looked very handsome. In return, she had sent him a picture of herself with unbraided hair and comtacts. Brian had said she looked beautiful. Winnie also filled Brian in on all the stuff that was happening at home. She'd said that Wayne continued to bully Kevin.

"Some things just never change," she'd written.

Brian had said that he'd hope to be home in time for Christmas. Winnie hoped that would happen. too. She really wanted to see Brian again. Winnie had wanted to get a letter from Brian to start off the school year, but none came. This saddened her. But she tried not to dwell on it too much.

"Brian's probably very busy," Winnie reasoned. "He'll start writing again soon. I know he will."

Winnie's thoughts drifted from Brian back to her first day of school. When she entered the building, she found her locker. Looking around, Winnie noticed other students haveing trouble opening their locker. Luckily, she didn't have any problems. As she opend her locker, Winnie felt real mature. Then she went to Home Room. After Home Room, Winnie's first class was English. The English teacher was a pretty young woman named Miss White. She was very nice, and Winnie had alreadt decided that Miss White was already her favorite teacher.

After English, Winnie's next class was Math. That was follwed by History. Then came Science. After Science, it was time for Lunch. Winnie was looking for a place to sit in the cafeteria after getting her food, when she spotted Kevin and Paul sitting at a table alone together. She walked over to them. "Hi," she siad. "Do you guys mind if I sit with you?" she asked.

"Sure, Winnie," said Kevin. For some reason, she didn't correct him by telling him to call her "Gwendolyn" instead of "Winnie" this time. She sat down. Kevin and Paul smiled at her. She smiled back at them. Things were going great. And then, just like that, Winnie's perfect day went downhill.

"Hey, Steve!" came the unmistakibly obnoxious voice of Wayne Arnold. He walked over to their table, with his friend, Steve, in tow.

Oh, no, Winnie groand inwardly. What does HE want? Unfortunatly, Waye had decided to stand right next to her.

"It looks like my baby brother and his girlfriend have found each other," said Wayne.

"She's NOT my girlfriend," Kevin pointedly told his brother.

"He thinks you are SO CUTE!" Wayne said to Winnie.

"I DON'T think she's cute!" Kevin said through gritted teeth.

"He wants to give you a big, wet kiss," Wayne told Winnie in a baby voice. He then made a smooching sound. He laughed and snidely added "He told me."

"You liar!" Kevin said accusingly. "I never said that! I don't wanna kiss her! I don't even like her!" Then Kevin stood up and walked away, taking the apple from his tray with him.

Winnie was hurt by what Kevin had just said, but she said nothing She was sure he'd only said that because Wayne was embarrisng him. He couldn't have really meant it, right. Winnie watched as Kevin tried to leave the cafeteria, only to stopped by Mr. Diperna, the Vice Principal.

"Young man," said Mr. Diperna. "What does that sign say?" He pointed to a sign that read Positivly no food outside the cafeteria. "You take that apple thorugh that door, and you're asking for detention." Kevin wrenched free of Mr. Diperna's grip, and walked through the cafeteria door, apple still in hand. "Young man!" the Vice Principal yelled, following Kevin out of the cafeteria.

Winnie couldn't hear the rest of the conversation, but suddenly, someone screamed as Kevin threw the apple into the cafeteria. He was then dragged off by Mr. Diperna. Winnie didn't see Kevin after that, but it was speculated that he got sent home early.

Winnie tried to forget about what had happened at lunch as she went to her last few classes. They were Gym, Art, Music, French and Home Economics. Then it was back to Home Room for last period. Finally, the bell rang and at last it was time to go home. Winnie stayed silent on the bus ride back to the bust stop. She was brought out of her thoughts when she arrived at her house.

"Mom! Dad! I'm home!" Winnie yelled as she walked in the front door. She found her parents sitting on the couch in the living room.

"Oh, hello, Gwendolyn," said her mom. "How was your first day of school?:

"Pretty interesting," said Winnie. "But I'll tell you all about it at dinner." For the first time, she noticed the forlorn expressions on her parent's faces. She frowned. Could the school have called her parents to tell them about the lunch incident? "Look," she said, "something happened at lunch, but it wasn't my fault. I swear."

"We'll talk about that later," said her dad, Jim. "Earlier today, we got some news about Brian that we think you should know."

"What about Brian?" Winnie asked nervously. From the knot that was forming in the pit of her stomach, she knew she wouldn't like the answer.

"Winnie," her mother began. "This isn't easy to say, but Brian is dead."

With those words, Winnie Cooper's world shattered. For a second, she hardly dared to breathe. She felt tears forming in her eyes, but he fought to keep them from falling.

"You're lying!" Winnie said with a shaky voice. "You're just saying that to scare me. Brian can't be dead. He promised me he'd be ok. HE PROMISED!"

"Unfortunatly, it is true" said her dad. "We got the news shortly after you left this morning. A man from the Marines came by to tell us. We would have called the school to tell you, but we didn't want to scare you."

"So, how did Brian die, exactly?" asked Winnie. It hurt to ask the question, but she felt she had to know.

"A helicopter crash," said her mom. "But the exact details are unknown."

"What's going to happen now?" asked Winnie.

"The'll be shipping Brian's body back within the next few day, and then we'll start planning the funeral," said her dad.

"Okay," said Winnie. "I need to be alone now." With that, she stood up and went into her room. She was careful to avoid looking at the door of Brian's room. It was only when she had gotten into her own room that Winnie finally allowed herself to cry. The reality of Brian's death was starting to set in, as was the reality of the harshness of war.

"How could you do this to me, Brian?!" Winnie yelled at the Heavens. "How could you just go and leave me like that, especially when I needed you the most? It's just so unfair. I started the next chapter of my life, and you just lost yours."

Winnie knew all about the soldiers who had lost their lives fighting in Vietnam. They mentioned it on the news every night. She'd also heard about the pain that a solider's death caused his family. But she's dared to hope that it wouldn't happen to her family. That they'd be spared that pain. And that Brian would come home a hero, safe and sound. But life had other, crueler plans. Winnie changed out of the clothes she'd worn to school, and into a pink checked shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Then her mother called her for dinner.

Dinner consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and avocado. This was one of Winnie's favorite meals. She tried to eat, but tonight, she just didn't have much of an appitite. She kept glancing over at the fourth seat at the table, which was normally occupied by Brian. She just couldn't believe that he would never sit there ever again. Winnie and her parents usually watched the evening news while they ate, but they didn't do so tonight, for fear that Brian's name would be mentioned. And Winnie had forgotten all about telling her parents about her first day of school. In fact, nobody said anything at all.

"I'm going for a walk," Winnie said after a time.

"Alright," said her mom. "Just don't stay out too late, Gwendolyn."

"I won't," Winnie. Then she left the house. As she walked through her neighborhood, she thought about the other families. She couldn't help but feel a pang of jealousy for them. Other families were still whole, complete and happy, and her family had just been torn apart.

Winnie glanced at her watch. It was almost 7:00, but she wasn't worried. It was only early September, and the days were still long as of yet. Plus, the year was 1968. At that time, a kid could go for a walk a dusk without the fear of ending up on a milk carton.

Before she knew it, Winnie had reached her destination: Harper's Woods. She sat on a rock underneath the big climbing tree. She'd picked this place because it had always been a place of great comfort to her. She looked up to see the spot in the tree where she, Kevin and Paul had carved their initials when they were younger. Seeing that made her feel nostalgic. It was at that moment when Winnie noticed the slight chill in the air. She mentally kicked herself for forgetting to bring a sweater. She folded her legs up under her arms, so it looked like she was hugging herself. She rocked slowly back and forth, crying as she did so. Then Winnie looked up to see Kevin Arnold standing there. She wondered how long he'd been there, because she hadn't heard him come up the path.

Kevin had changed clothes since Winnie had last seen him. Instead of the blue shirt, brown pants and brown shoes he'd worn at school, he was now wearing his New York Jets Varsity jacket, with a green t-shirt underneath, a pair of blue jeans, and sneakers. Kevin just stood there for a moment, as if he were afraid to approach Winnie. But then he did come over, and sat down next to her on the rock.

"I'm sorry," Kevin said finally. Winnie turned to face him when he spoke. "About Brian," he elaborated. "And I'm sorry...about what I said today. It wasn't true."

"I know," Winnie answered quietly. And it was true. After thinking about it all day, Winnie knew Kevin hadn't meant what he'd said.

They sat in silence until Kevin started taking off his jacket. Winnie now saw that the shirt underneath had the number 22 printed on it. Kevin laid the jacket over Winnie's shoulder, and she took a corner of it in her hand. Then Kevin put his arm around Winnie's shoulder. What happened next was something totally unexpected.

Kevin kissed Winne. And she kissed him back. It was the first kiss for either of them. Winnie couldn't think of anyone else she'd rather share this moment with. It was a simple kiss that only lasted about a minute, but Winnie knew she would never forget it. And she knew that Kevin would never forget it either. When the kiss ended, Winnie and Kevin hugged each other, and Winnie allowed herself to cry on Kevin's shoulder.

"It's ok, Winnie," Kevin said gently. It's ok. I'm here. I'm here."

"Thanks," Winnie said, wiping her tears on the sleeve of Kevin jacket. Then she looked up at the setting sun. "Oh, it's getting late," she said. "I should be getting home."

"Me too", said Kevin. "Do you want me to walk you home?" he asked.

"Sure," said Winnie. "Here's your jacket back," she said, handing Kevin's jacket back to him.

On the way home, the two kids reminisced about all the good memories of Brian over the years. The more Winnie talked, the better she felt. Now, more than ever, she was determined to celebrate Brian's life, rather than dwell on thw way he died. Then she and Kevin arrived in front of her house.

"I guess I'll see you around," said Kevin.

"Yeah," said Winnie. "Brian's funeral will be held sometime soon. I just don't know when yet. But you and your family are more than welcome to attend."

"Alright," said Kevin. "I'll be sure to tell my parents about it. "Bye", he said as he began to walk across the street to his house.

"Bye," Winnie called after him. Then she went inside her own house. "I'm home," she said.

"Where did go?" asked her mom.

"I just went down to Harper's Woods to do some thinking," said Winnie. "Kevin Arnold showed up there too. He walked me home." She decided not to say anything about the kiss.

"Alright," said Evelyn "Go get ready for bed."

"Yes, Mom," said Winnie.

Later that night, Winnie said a prayer for all the soldiers still fighting in Vietnam. Then she looked at the picture of her and Brian on her nightstand. It was taken shortly before Brian left. That seemed like such a long time ago now. Winnie looked up.

"I don't know if you can hear me, Brian," she began, "but I miss you terribly. I know I'll never stop missing you. But I remember my promise. I hope you do too, where ever you are. Don't worry about me. I'll be ok. "I'll be ok."

Winnie kissed Brian's picture. Then she got under the covers. She turned off the light, and went to bed.

The End.

Author's Notes:

1.) This is my first fanfic for The Wonder Years.

2.) It is also the first fanfic I've written since August 2011! That's a very lomg time, I know. But don't worry. I'm alive and well.

3.) When Winnie mentions "Shell Shock", she is refering to the former name of the condition that is now known Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (PTSD.)

4.) I hope I did Brian's character justice. We don't know much about him, since he was only in the Pilot, and episode 2, "Swingers." I know he had a cameo during a flashback scene in the season 2 finale, "How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation," but he didn't have any speaking lines in that episode.

5.) In the Pilot, Older Kevin's narration says that the Junior High School was only named Robert F. Kennedy Junior High at the begining of the 1968 school year. That means the school had another name before that, but it's never speficied. I picked the name Hillcrest Junior high, because Kevin also says in the Pilot that he graduated from Hillcrest Elementary school before entering Junior High. So I'm assuming the Junior High also had the name Hilcrest, before being changed to RFK.

6.) I did not make up the names of Winnie and Brian's parents. In the Pilot, after it's revealed that Brian has been killed, Norma Arnold says "I'm goning to go call Evelyn." And as she goes into the house, she mutters "Poor Evelyn, poor Jim."