It had been three months since they had gotten Frank back. Three months since Joe and he had sat huddled in Frank's room while Frank spoke for the first time. Most of the hype of the case had died down; most of the suspects had been sent to trial and convicted. Most of the victims were beginning to move on.
For Frank the last three months had been a whirlwind of emotions. He had spent most of his time on a roller coaster, going from happy to depressed to scared to angry to thankful over and over again. But each time he started to lose control he knew that he would be alright because Joe was there.
The brothers had had several long talks since that first one. They had grown closer since that day; even their friends had grown closer. As well as having long talks with Joe, Frank had had long talks with his friends, booth individually and as whole. Biff and he had managed to come to terms with each other and even forgive.
Life was starting to resemble normal again, something that all involved were grateful for. The only problem was that Frank was still having trouble coming to terms with what happened. No one was angry with him or blamed him for anything, but rank was still feeling like they should.
It was on one of these days that resembled normal where Frank found himself alone for the first time in months.
It was raining slightly and Frank was seated at the living room's bay window watching. He was in a wired mood, one that he had found himself in a lot lately. Everyone had been so good to him lately, so understanding and forgiving, and he didn't understand why. He knew that it wasn't his fault, that he had been manipulated and used against his family. But he couldn't understand how he could have let himself be so manipulated.
He played the day he met Winchester over and over again in his mind, and still there were no answers.
He had been angry; Joe and he had had a fight. He had gone to the library angry and there had been a man there willing to listen to him. A man there who had been willing to give him advice. But still, how could that have drawn Frank so deeply in that he found himself helpless.
"Penny for your thoughts?" a soft voice called from behind him.
Frank startled and turned to find his father standing the entranceway.
"I've been calling for awhile, guess you were caught up in something," Fenton said with a smile as he eyed his son.
Frank smiled at his father and turned to face him. "Just thinking," he said softly.
"You've done that a lot lately, anything you want to share?" Fenton said crossing the room to settle himself in his favorite chair.
Frank sighed and looked at his father. There was no escaping this talk; it had been coming for awhile now. Oh there had been no demands made, no real decision, more of just an understanding that eventually they would have to talk.
"I…I feel like I have to apologies," Frank said, not looking at his father.
Fenton was quite for a minuet, not really surprised at Frank's statement. Marshal had told him that some of the feelings he could expect Frank to feel was sorrow, shame, anger, and guilt.
"The trick is knowing how to respond to theses feelings," She had told him. "Do write them off by treating them like they're wrong, that he shouldn't be having these feelings. That only makes him feel worse. He needs to know that what he's feeling isn't wrong, it's normal. Confirm these feelings, make him confront them, it's the only way for him to move on."
"Apology accepted," Fenton said, "But I would like to know what you're apologizing for."
Frank looked up at his father, a little confused. When it came down to it, he had no idea why he was apologizing. "I don't know. I just feel like I have to."
"What else do you feel Frank?"
Frank sighed and rubbed a hand through his hair. An action that mirrored Fenton to a t. "I feel like I'm the one that's to blame. Like…like I got punished for something."
Fenton held his breath, just because he had advice didn't mean that it would be easy. He wanted nothing more then to pull his son into his arms and tell him that it was all ok. That everything he was feeling wasn't true, but he knew that it wouldn't help anything. Still, it didn't stop his hart from breaking.
"What do you think you're being punished for Frank?"
"For hurting Joe…for hurting you and mom. For being stupid and letting some stranger get into my head…" Frank drifted off, he could feel the tears burning his eyes and shame and embarrassment clutching at him.
"Why Frank? Why did he get into your head?" Fenton pushed. "You're strong, smart, well adjusted so what did he do to get into your head?"
Frank thought hard, changing his focus from his father to the rain outside. The questions his father was asking were the same questions he had asked himself over and over again for a long time now. And every time he came close to an answer it seemed that it all fell apart on him. Truth was he really didn't know why, he only had an idea.
"I don't know why…" Frank said after awhile. "I only have an idea."
"What's your idea?" Fenton asked gently, leaning forward slightly.
"Everyone I know Joe knows as well. There isn't a single person in our circle of friends who is just our friend. Even Callie, Iola, Paul, and Biff are our friends. And I'm not complaining. It's great most of the time, it means that nether of us get left out. But sometimes…" Frank sighed.
"Sometimes you wished you had someone outside the group to talk to. Someone who would lean in your favor and not just take both sides," Fenton offered.
Frank nodded, but didn't continue so Fenton spoke for him.
"And when you meet Winchester you thought maybe you had that. Someone who listened to you and didn't point out your brother's virtues or feel the need to defend him."
"Is that why you're so angry at yourself? For letting a desire cloud your judgment?"
"Yeah partly," Frank chocked out. The tears were beginning to fall and he had buried his face in his knees to hid them from his father. "And partly because I'm a detective…at least I want to be. You taught Joe and me since we were old enough to walk what to look for, to follow our instincts, how to read clues…why didn't I see it? Why didn't warning bells go off?"
"Why didn't I know that you were in trouble? How could I miss the signs that my son was hurting, was being hurt? Frank you're not the only one who's been checking yourself. Since the day you went missing I've been tarring my mind apart analyzing everything, every moment. To this day I still can't understand how I missed everything. You blame yourself for bringing him into your life; I blame myself for ignoring a growing problem."
Frank looked up at his dad his eyes red and was surprised to find his dad's eyes equally as red.
Fenton matched Frank's gaze and continued, "The truth is son the blame lies with everyone. You should have told us about Winchester and you should have shown better judgment. But I should have been more aware of what was going on. I should have seen what was happening and I should have kept him away from you. But none of that justifies what was done to you, what you had to go through. Just because we made some foolish decisions doesn't mean he had the right to abduct you or rape you. There was nothing done that could even remotely justifies what he did. And you can be as angry at yourself all you like, but that doesn't change the fact that he was the bad guy and not you. That it was his fault and not yours."
The two Hardys fell silent Frank thinking about what his father had said and Fenton watching his son. Frank's body was huddled in on itself and he was shuddering, silent sobs racking his body. This wasn't the first time he had seen Frank cry since his return and he knew it wouldn't be the last.
Soundlessly Fenton did the only thing he knew to do and pulled his son into his arms. Fenton knew that today was only baby-steps and there were meaning more talks to come. But at least it was a start and at least they could finally start to move.
Well that's all folks, this story is finally done. I think it's been about a year since i started it...anyway now it's over and this means that you have to read my other stories now. P But thanks to all the reviwes and for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this fic as much as i did writing it.