A/N I never thought I'd do this to them. But I did it. I blame Jason. HE made me do it...okay so he actually bribed me...with ten updates...so, it was kind of worth it. Yes, I'm easily bought.

Thanks in advance to all those who review, and thanks to TSR for betaing.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

It was far more then just stone; the slab of marble was a symbol of everything that was wrong in his life. As he sat there kneeling with his head against the surface of the marble Joe Hardy cursed everyone and everything in his life. Tears coursed down his cheeks but he took no notice of them, nothing mattered anymore. It had been a year since that fateful night but the details were seared into his mind's eyes as though it had been only yesterday but for all Joe knew it could have been yesterday, he had long since lost track of what day it was. A sob racked his body as he traced over the writing on the tombstone:

Franklin Matthew Hardy

December 18th 1984- January 10th 2006

Beloved Son, Brother, and Friend

His brother was dead and the world seemed less bright for it. Joe Hardy had been used to pain he had experienced it worse then he ever thought possible when his girlfriend Iola died but he had gotten through it because his brother had been at his side, but then it had been Frank who was dead; Frank who was lying there in front of them cold and motionless. And Joe couldn't get past that; there was no way to get past it. Frank had been his support system and without his older brother it was as though the bottom had dropped out from his safe little world.

Frank Hardy had just turned twenty-one when he died, it was his last year in college and his whole life had been ahead of him. Joe took a swig from the bottle of scotch he held in his hand. The words on the headstone blurred slightly and he wasn't sure if it was the fact that he was half-drunk or if it was his tears that had caused it. Sometimes for the briefest of blissful moments he forgot his brother was dead and the world seemed bright again, but then it all came crashing back with painful clarity. Frank Matthew Hardy was dead and it was all his fault. Joe took a larger gulp of the scotch and coughed slightly. "Here's to you big brother." He said raising the bottle as if in a toast. The words ended in a sob.

If someone had walked up to Joe a year ago and told him that his brother was going to do something stupid and get himself killed he would have laughed in the person's face. That just didn't happen to logical clear thinking people like Frank. Joe wiped the snow off the top of the grave marker and let his hand rest there. "I'm sorry, so sorry, I failed you." The blond pushed himself up from the snow covered ground and stood for a moment blinking down at the marble slab before he turned and walked albeit somewhat unsteadily out of the cemetery.

As Joe slammed the door of his apartment shut behind him he wondered dimly how this had happened. A year ago he had been a junior in college, a year ago he had been planning to open a detective agency, and a year ago he had a brother. Now he had no one, now he worked the night shift at a rundown diner, and now he had given up on life, and on his dreams.

Most days he wanted to die, the guilt threatened to choke him and the only reason he stayed alive was to fulfill the promise he made his brother. Back when Iola died he had been a wreck, and had wanted nothing more then for the pain to end. But Frank had made him promise to keep living.

Sometimes Joe wondered whether or not he was actually keeping the promise; as he was pretty sure the existence he had at the moment was not the one his brother would have wanted for him. The blond couldn't bring himself to care much though; it had hurt too much to go on living as he had before his brother's death. Joe sighed and climbed out the window onto his fire escape; he needed air. He finally passed out from a combination of alcohol and exhaustion at three in the morning.

A/N (hides from readers angry about her killing Frank.) Review. The next five chapters are prewritten so updates will come fairly quick. Well...once they get edited...anyway.