"This is pitiful, you know that right?"

Tommy Gavin, his best friend and cousin, didn't answer. Hell, he didn't even move. Though, Jimmy supposed, it would be hard for a man who'd been sober for over a year and was now passed out, face down on the couch with a bottle of whiskey in his hand to hear the voice of a man who'd been dead for…

Damn, he'd been dead a while.

"I hope you do know that." Jimmy informed his passed-out cousin, sitting on the table adjacent to the couch, prodding the drunk with his bottle of beer. "'Cause that's exactly what this is. Completely pitiful. You're pitiful."

Tommy's response was a snore that sounded suspiciously like Fuck off.

"Oh, you have no idea how much I'd like to fuck off." Jimmy informed his best friend, standing up and beginning to pace around the tiny room, disregarding the fact that it was probably paranoia or insanity on his part to hear Fuck off in a snore. But it wasn't like anyone could hear him right now. "I can easily think of a thousand, no two thousand places I'd rather be right now than watching your drunk ass sleep."

Tommy grunted something in his sleep, sounding enough like a dare to Jimmy Keefe that he began listing everything he'd rather be doing right now.

"I could be having hot steamy sex with Shelia, with my wife, right now." He said, taking a swig of the beer. "But no, I gotta haunt your dumb ass."

Okay, truthfully, Jimmy knew Tommy wasn't real happy about the setup either.

"I could be watching an old movie with Shelia, if I couldn't have sex." Jimmy said, smiling at the thought. "I could be stroking her hair, could be cooking for her. Well, trying to, anyway." Shelia used to say it took a special kind of firefighter to burn water. "Or I could be laying in my marital bed, watching her chest rise and fall as she slept, as she dreamt. I could be reading a magazine in my bed, or watching some crappy late night television program while she lay beside me."

Jimmy plopped down in the chair by the sofa, taking another swig of the beer, simultaneously scratching at his face with the blackened thing that used to be his finger. "I could be helping my kid with his homework, I could be counseling him about girls, drugs, anything that was bothering him. I could be buying him a graduation present, could be convincing him that he really should go to college." Jimmy couldn't help but give a small half chuckle. "Hell, creepy as it sounds, I could be watching him sleep instead of your lazy ass."

Tommy Gavin didn't answer.

"I could be at a bar." Jimmy said, taking another swig of his beer. "I could be hanging with the you and the guys from the house. Hell, I could be on call, jumping into a burning building or playing poker and taking the probie's money. I could be checking out the eye candy, or listen to Franco talk about his latest one night stand." Jimmy smirked. "I could be staring in disbelief at Garrity as… Well, as his retardedness bordered on a serious mental condition." Well, it kind of already did. Jimmy laughed audibly at that thought. "I could be betting the opposite way of the Chief, or mocking Perolli behind his back. I could be smoking a nice Cuban with Lou. Or I could be kicking your sorry ass for nearly getting yourself killed on a grab." He nudged his unconscious friend with his foot. "Again."

Tommy still didn't move.

"I could be talking to Johnny about his cop life, or making fun of you behind your back or to your face with him." Jimmy informed Tommy. "Or I could be prepping for the next hockey game, or kicking your ass in the batting cages. I could be asleep my own damn self."

Jimmy paused, trying to think. Sure, he could think of several other things he could be doing, but none he'd rather be doing than watching his cousin sleep. Such things included calling his folks and getting yelled at by Perolli. "I could be robbing a convenience store." He said, as the thought came to him. And… that was it. Sielently, Jimmy watched Tommy sleep in his drunken stupor for a moment, his chest rising and falling steadily, proof that he was still alive.

"Gah." Jimmy grunted, leaning over and plucking the whiskey from the drunks limp hand, setting it on the table. "You suck, you know that?" Jimmy informed his silent companion, grabbing the blanket from the back of the couch, standing up so he could drape it over his cousin. Jimmy watched the man for a moment, pointing a finger at him. "But I guess it's my own damn fault your drinking again, huh? Me, your wife, the kids."

Even though there was no answer, Jimmy knew that Tommy had probably agreed. Jimmy ran a hand through his hair, watching his cousin sleep. "Guess I'm here 'cause I could only think of thirty other places I'd rather be. Thirty out of two thousand. Don't even want to know that percentage."

Jimmy plopped back down into his chair, finishing off his beer, watching his friend sleep. "You're still a pitiful excuse for a human being." Jimmy informed his cousin. "You know that, right?"

Tommy's silence was affirmative enough.