Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.

A/N: This isn't a very happy fic. You have been warned.

A is for Alan

Alan sipped his coffee as he watched the sunrise through the window. He stifled a yawn and wearily stretched, quietly grunting as his joints popped. He hadn't slept very well the previous night, but he'd slept just enough so that he was feeling a little more rested than before. He rose from the chair by the window and made his way across the room to sink into the sofa. He peered over at his two boys, lying close to each other, each one's eyes closed as he rested.

He thought back to the night of the LAPD's charity fund raising three on three basketball tournament. Don, Colby, and David had been on a team and Alan and Charlie had gone to cheer them on. His son's team had breezed through their first three games, easily crushing their opponents. Don's nature as a leader showed through on the court as he moved the ball around and called plays. He had never played in high school because his true love had been baseball, but Alan watched with pride as Don had proved himself to be an all-around gifted athlete. It was during the fourth game when things had started to go wrong...

Don's team was again winning very easily, and the opposing team had called a timeout to discuss their strategy. Don briefly nodded at his family in the stands as he drank from a bottle of Gatorade, trying to stay hydrated on the hot asphalt court. The referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the timeout and the two teams headed back onto the court.

A screaming engine cut through the crowd noise and everyone – players and spectators – looked up to see a dark sports car barreling toward the court. Thankfully, most of the people present for the games were in some branch of law enforcement, and were able to quickly recognize the muzzles of two automatic weapons. Dozens of voices started yelling out, "Gun!" and "Get down!"

Alan heard the yelling, saw the car, and saw Charlie frozen, staring in open mouthed shock. He grabbed for Charlie's arm as he went to duck under the metal stands, but his grip slipped from his youngest son's t-shirt, throwing him off balance. As he fell behind the bleachers, he saw Don's terrified face sprinting towards them. The next thing that Alan heard, he knew he would never forget – the sound of automatic gunfire ripping through the air.

He saw Charlie knocked from the bleachers and falling onto the ground next to him and realized Don was the force propelling him to safety. They crashed to the ground, their bodies making bone-jarring thudding noises as they landed hard on the pavement. Alan desperately kept his eyes locked on his two boys as more gunshots screamed through the air. After an eternity the shots stopped and were replaced by the sound of squealing tires as the assailants sped away.

Gradually Alan heard the law enforcement officers speaking – heard David's and Colby's voices calling for help and advising people where to go and what to do. He continued to lie there, waiting for Don to get up and join his team in taking control of the situation, but neither Don or Charlie stirred. Alan's heart stopped as he noticed a pool of blood slowly stretching toward him...

"Mr. Eppes?"

Alan's mind returned to the present and he looked up at the nurse who had spoken. What was her name – Gloria?

"Mr. Eppes?" she repeated very gently.

Gloria, he thought to himself. Yes, that was it.

"Alan," she called softly, placing a light hand on his shoulder.

"Yes, Gloria?"

"Visiting hours are over." Her heart broke at the look of despair on his face. "You can come back tomorrow."

"But what if..."

"I have your home and your cell, remember? I promise to call you if anything changes."

He nodded and rose from the couch. He walked to stand between the two hospital beds and stared down at his sons with a sad smile on his face. He first leaned to Charlie, carefully brushing his unruly curls from his face and trailing his hand down his cheek. He forced himself not to think about the heavily bandaged chest underneath the covers, about the injured heart that was so valiantly trying to keep blood pumping through the body. He leaned over and kissed him gently on the forehead. "I love you, Charlie. Maybe you'll wake up for me tomorrow? Might cheer your big brother up some." He kissed him again before moving to the other bed.

He cupped Don's cheek and lightly stroked it with his thumb. He wanted to run his fingers through Don's hair to soothe him as he had Charlie, but the gunshot wound to the head had necessitated shaving most of his hair. What was left was short and spiking, jutting out in a million different directions around the heavy layer of gauze. Alan leaned over to kiss Don's cheek, lingering by his son's ear to whisper. "I'm proud of you, Donny. You were there for Charlie when he needed you. You've always been my brave boy." Alan waited to see if Don responded, but he was only greeted with the sound of his respirator, forcing tired lungs to breathe.

Alan stood and didn't even notice as his joints groaned in protest. "I'll see you tomorrow, boys. Breakfast is at eight." He felt tears forming in his eyes. "My treat," he whispered pleadingly.

Gloria tapped Alan on the shoulder and gently guided him to the door. "You'll call," he repeated as he peered over his shoulder.

"I promise," she agreed as she gently ushered him down the hall. As he disappeared into the hospital elevator, Gloria returned to the Eppes' room. She stood between the two beds and studied their occupants. So sad, she thought silently. Such handsome men. And wonderful people from all the stories she'd heard about them. She could see the grief slowly consuming their father – after all, she had gotten to know Alan quite well over the past three months.

The End