It's been two months, seven days, five hours, thirty-six minutes, and twelve seconds since he's had to adjust to being alone. Two months, six days, four hours, thirty-six minutes, and twelve seconds since he was woken up by knocking on his door, head still pounding from a headache, and the police told him that Jax hadn't made it. He almost doesn't want to go to the funeral because that makes it official, makes it real, but he does it anyway even though watching the coffin get lowered into the ground feels like the end of something. He's not sure what, apart from the obvious, but whatever it is doesn't seem like it's good. It's been two months and eight days since he let himself into an empty house to go through what's left inside, which maybe shouldn't be done right then, but he has to distract himself somehow, and this feels like the kind of closure people like them never get. He keeps the laptop and the stacks of books, the notebooks and the small photo albums he finds hidden behind the kitchen cabinet, because they're reminders. Sometimes, when he's really drunk, which happens a lot, he can see him. It's never solid, more like an picture playing over an old movie projector, flickering, transparent, but it's still him. He'll see him stretched out on the couch, on the bed bed, or coming through the door, or lounging out on the fire escape with a cigarette. Every now and then, they'll even talk. Usually he'll just tell him that he's an asshole, throws all the old affectionate insults at him, typical stuff. When that happens, he's never sure if the noise he ends up making is laughter or something else, but he's very sure of the noise he makes on the rare occasions when he looks straight at him and says, "Love you, brother." He goes into church for the first time in years. He has to admit, he's not sure why. He's not sure he can believe in a Lord that would let all this shit happen. It doesn't really matter, because when he goes, he doesn't pray to any God. He prays to Jax, asks for him to give him the strength to get through another day. He tells him how much he misses him, how much he loves him. Apologizes for letting him die, begs him to come back. He spends a lot of time thinking about the grave with his body in it, and of who put him there, what put him there. When he finally finds the man, there's no debate, no vote, and it's been three years, eight months, twenty one days, fifty-two minutes and nineteen seconds since they lost him. It's in the man's own home and there are footsteps coming down the hall, he can hear them but he doesn't care. He just shoves the barrel of his gun against the bastard's temple, hands steadier than they've been in months, and pulls the trigger. A second later there are more shots, strangely muted as he turns to meet them, and there's a pain in his chest as he falls. The room starts to spin, he can't seem to get enough air into his lungs and he's cold all of a sudden, but he can't bring himself to mind. All the anger and hate and misery that have been building in his heart for so long have suddenly been replaced by a tense calm. The room's starting to go dark at the edges, but at the same time he swears he can see a light coming from somewhere above him. He feels like he's floating, drifting towards something and just before his eyes close, he hears a beloved, familiar voice murmuring, "Come home, I've been waiting for you." He's been refusing to say goodbye up until now, and now he doesn't have to.