Disclaimer- Not mine.

Author Notes-As if you'd expect anything else, don't get to excited over this. Its not a happy endeavor (as if they ever are) so consider yourself warned. Its also very short, its not suppose to be a long drawn out piece, just something I felt I had to write.

For Liv.

Empty Condolences

"She hasn't said anything other than leave me alone." Val Lanier said with a sigh.

"I know. I tried to tell her how sorry I was, and she got really angry about it." Tyler Connell replied as he shuffled the papers in front of him around.

"We can't seem to make her see that there was nothing she could have done, Ashley committed suicide, and unfortunately, there isn't anything we can say or do to make that sting go away." Hank Beecham agreed. Jamie Waite quietly got up and slid out of the room. The other three were so busy being concerned for Val's little sister Brooke, that he had gone completely unnoticed. He slipped through, and found Brooke standing facing him with a few files in her hands.

"Let me guess, its your turn to come in and tell me how sorry you are." Brooke said as she spotted him slinking through the door.

"No, I won't waste your time with empty condolences." He replied. "They mean well, but they don't understand. I'm not going to say, she's in a better place, or she's at peace, or she's resting, or it was her time, or my personal favorite, it was meant to be. It's all said in good intentions, but they can't understand how you feel." He had her attention now, she set the files down, and crossed her arms, watching him closely.

"Are you going to say you know how I feel?"

"No. I can't know how you feel. I can only know the pain you feel. How you react to it, is yours, and yours alone. No one else can understand it but you."

"What do you mean the pain I feel?" Jamie visibly stiffened.

"You feel hurt, betrayed, and angry. And at the same time, you know you shouldn't feel that way. You also feel helpless, and confused."

"How did you know?" Brooke asked, tears falling freely down her cheeks.

"Been there." Jamie replied standing and finding a few napkins to bring to her. He could feel her tear filled eyes on his back, and steeled himself. This was the tough part, but he felt he had to do this to help her. "You want to know what I mean."

"Please." Brooke sniffled, and he walked back to her and handed her the napkins.

"When I was seven, my dad shot himself in our bathroom." Brooke gasped and brought her hand up to her mouth. "For a long time I was angry. I'd never felt so betrayed, or confused, or helpless. I wondered if it was something I did, or didn't do. Could I have stopped him? And most of all, I wondered why he had to die and leave me behind. My reaction to his death, was very different than yours, just like my feelings towards his death, are different than those towards your friend."

"He shot himself?" She sniffled

"Yeah, in the head."

"Who found him?" The question was really morbid and she was horrified she'd even asked it. Before she could apologize however, Jamie answered.

"My mom did. My brother and I were sent to the neighbors, I was to young to really realize anything was wrong. It wasn't until I saw the bathroom I think I understood." There was a long silence.

"She hung herself." Brooke said quietly. "In her room. I don't understand why she did it."

"I know that feeling. She was your friend, you'll miss her, just like I'll miss my dad."

"But he was your family." Brooke sniffled.

"Yeah, but anyone can be family Brooke. Yeah, we were related by blood, but your friends can be your family too. She was your friend, and she's gone now. It hurts. All you can really do though, it work through the pain."

"I don't know if I can." Her voice broke as the tears began to fall again.

"You can. You'll begin to feel normal again, whether it be by accident, or for trying. And eventually you'll slip back into doing every day activates. The pain will never fully fade, because that will mean you've forgotten, but it'll dull. You'll be able to live, and function, and Ashley will always hold a place in you, but you will be okay again." Brooke gave a choked sob and buried her face in Jamie's shoulder. He didn't pull her away or tell her it was okay, because it wasn't. He just let her cry. She cried for a long time, and when she was done, she pulled away, sniffling.

"Thanks Jamie. Everyone tried, but, you know."

"Yeah I do. Don't worry Brooke, it'll get easier. And if you need someone to talk to, come find me, okay?" She smiled tearily, and gave a brief nod. He nodded in reply and walked back into the other room, passing Val as he went. As Val saw the tear streaks on her sisters face, she drew nearer.

"Is everything all right in here?" She asked in concern.

"Yeah, I just found someone who I could talk to." Brooke replied, watching as the door swung shut. Val thought over the fact that it was Jamie, and mentally shrugged, noting to ask him about it later. Deciding the last thing she wanted to do was push it by asking Brooke, Val sat down and wrapped her arms around her sister.

"I'm glad." She whispered, and she was. Even if it wasn't her, at least Brooke had found someone she could talk too.

Author Notes- Suicide affects many people, and they can react in different ways. The emotions described breifly above are just some of the more common ones, I do realize not everyone reacts to it that way, so please do not leave me a nasty letter telling me not to write about it.