A/N: The Hardy's ages are different in this one. Frank is almost nineteen while Joe is just sixteen. There's a reason for this.
I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. Winston Churchill
The summer was too hot. Frank swept his hair out of his face and screwed up his eyes to look at the oncoming ball. He leaned forward, ready to go after it, his hands held out in perfect form. Just as he was about to hit the ball it was knocked away from him and sent flying back over the net.
Frank glared down at his little brother who lay sprawled in the sand spitting clumps of dirt out of his mouth. "Hey, bro, leave one for me, 'kay?" Frank flew out to the side, hitting the ball that had just been volleyed back to their court.
Frank hurriedly helped his sixteen-year-old brother up, moving away from him to cover the most area. He watched as Joe hit the ball into the air, and, knowing it wouldn't make it over the net, jumped straight up to spike it, giving the brothers another point. The winning point.
"Yes!" Joe punched his fist into the air smiling triumphantly. Frank smiled and relaxed his body, deciding it was way to hot to play another game and looking longingly at the surf.
He grinned across the net at their opponents. "Great game guys!" he shouted, and meant it. Large, muscular Biff was more than capable at beating the Hardy boys but slim, quiet Tony had been a surprising match as well.
"Man it's hot!" Biff yelled, walking off the court towards the surf. "Anybody want to join me for a swim?"
Joe sprinted after him, diving perfectly into the waves. Frank looked at Tony, who didn't seem affected by the heat, his toned olive skin reflecting the sun. They shrugged, and then raced into the water.
Frank lifted his head up, splashing Biff with droplets of water. He looked around for his brother, not worried when he couldn't find him. Joe could stay underwater longer then anyone he knew. If Frank didn't know better, he'd swear his younger brother had gills.
A lazy afternoon of catch tapered off as the sky started to turn dark. Frank waded out of the water, his limbs feeling heavy after the weightlessness of the ocean. The other boys followed him. For a moment, they looked out over the ocean, then turned and watched the sunset. When the last bands of red faded into blues, the boys said their goodbyes, heading for the cars.
Frank clamored into the driver's seat of the van while Joe hopped shotgun. "You sure I can't drive?" Joe whined, looking eagerly at his brother, who laughed at his enthusiasm. The half-hour drive was pleasant, with the boys recounting their day to each other and laughing.
They stayed away, by unspoken agreement, from the topic of Frank leaving. He would be going to college in a little less then two months while Joe would only be going into Junior year. Frank felt a pang, knowing he'd miss his little brother more than anything else.
Both boys were startled to find a police cruiser sitting in front of their house. Chief Collig sat on their front steps, his face grave. It was only when they got closer that the boys realized there were tears running down his cheeks.
"What's wrong?" Frank asked, looking anxiously at the Chief of Police. "What's happened?"
The man looked at them solemnly, and Joe felt as if his stomach had dropped into his shoes. The air seemed to become more oppressing, more unbearable as Chief Collig said the words that had been said so many times before.
"Boys, there's been an accident."