It was another hour later that the Lawson's were finally satisfied with the amount of suffering that they'd inflected upon Patrick. He'd been dead for most of it, but that didn't deter James and Mark from their enjoyment.

Glenn was waiting in the car, one eye zoned in on Cooper and the other waiting for the others.

"That mother fucker won't bother anyone any more." James and Mark looked like victims of one of the Brood's blood baths.

Thankful that this wasn't his Jeep (although it wasn't in much better shape), Glenn waited for them to get into the back seat.

"Hospital?" he asked.

"Fuck that, Critter," James muttered. "We walk in lookin' like this and we ain't walkin' out."

"Home, then?"

"No! I wanna go see Snoopy!" Connor screamed "Daddy, make Glenn take me to see Snoopy!"

"Connor, we'll take you to get your damn dog once Mark and I have a shower and fuck," James stated.

"No! I want Snoopy now!" Connor screamed, beginning to pound the head rest of the front seat in front of him... the one Cooper was leaning against, asleep. He'd passed out completely almost to the second Glenn had got him into the car.

"Fine." Trying to reason with Connor when he was in one of his moods was something James didn't want to do when he was wide awake and he was anything but at that particular moment. "Where is he?"

"He's... Cooper, where's Snoopy!" Connor pounded on the head rest to wake up his brother.

Cooper mumbled something completely unintelligible.

"Leave your brother alone!" James barked. "Ask Jeff or..." Tom's name was like pure poison on his tongue and he couldn't even spit it out. "I'm sure he knows where Snoopy is."

"Where is he?" Connor looked around as if the youngest Hardy could magically appear at his command.

"Car was gone when I got out here. They musta took off," Glenn said "Can we get goin'?"

"Yeah. Sooner we blow the sooner we can forget about this whole shit storm."

Not one of the five of them noticed Tom. If they had, they might have wondered why he hadn't left with his brothers and Randy or better still, why was he walking into the club they had just come out of?

In his life, Tom had always been one to think everything through from start to finish. Yet he had no idea why he was going to do what his mind was telling him he needed to.

He walked through the front doors and quickly looked around. The stench of fresh blood assailed his nostrils. He exhaled loudly, heading for the source of it. It wasn't hard to find. James had thrown Patrick, or what was left of him, against a wall once the skinning was done.

Sliding a little on the trail of gore that led to the body, Tom crouched in front of him, staring into his naked eyeballs, shockingly white against the crimson that was all around.

"You know, it's a good thing they took care of you." Tom didn't care that he was lecturing a dead body in the middle of a deserted bar. Nor did he care that his hands were shaking, his chest was tightening, and tears were starting to flow. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here, wondering how I'm going to explain to my husband that I violated our vows..."

"I was able to justify my little affair with Mark, but you... you brought out a side of me that I never knew existed. I knowingly fucked another man and I didn't even stop to think about what I was doing. " Tom unholstered his gun and checked the clip. Jeff had left three bullets in it.

Tom stared at it then smiled.

"I wish you were alive to feel the pain I am going through, but since you're not..." Tom fired twice, obliterating what was left of Patrick's skull.

An elderly couple walking their dog past the club, heard the first two shots, then after a minute or two of silence, heard one more.

"What was that?" The matron asked her husband. "It sounded like gunshots."

"Dear, we've been living in this area for almost thirty years. Everything sounds like gunshots to you. It was probably just a car backfiring. Come on, it's getting cold out." He scuttled his wife back toward their home. I'll be glad when we get into that retirement village. He stared right at the club when he spoke. This whole area has gone to the dogs.


When Cooper finally woke up, it was not because he wanted to, or because the booze had worn off. It was when Connor and Snoopy decided to jump on him.

"What the fuck... Connor?"

"I got Snoopy back." Connor proclaimed happily, nuzzling his cherished dog.

"So?" Cooper demanded.

"So?" In his naivete, Connor couldn't understand why everyone wasn't as happy to have Snoopy back as he was.

"Connor, just leave me the fuck alone unless you're coming in here to let me plow your ass." Cooper covered his face with a pillow.

"Connor, go play with your dog somewhere else!" Mark barked.


"Connor." Mark's used his 'don't-make-me-get-James-up-here' tone.

"Fine," Connor sulked. "Come on Snoopy. Cooper's being a fuckhead."

Snoopy barked once to indicate that yes Cooper was being a fuckhead, then trotted out behind Connor.

"And what do you want?" Cooper demanded, correctly sensing that Mark hadn't left.

"Just stopped in to check on you, kid." Mark leaned against the door frame. "You've been asleep for two days straight."

'Two days... how the hell..." Cooper squinted "Musta been tired or some shit."

"Yeah well we figured you hadn't slept that much during all the chaos," Mark said. "James was in here a lot of the time sitting with you. He told me about confronting Tom and you overhearing it. He thinks you're still mad at him."

"Well tell him I'm over it,"Cooper grumbled. He wasn't even sure if that was really the case, but he really wanted to get Mark to leave so he was willing to say just about anything.

Mark rolled his eyes. "You're not over it you liar. You're hurting and--"

"The only thing that's hurting me is my leg," Cooper snapped. He moved his blankets and saw that the leg that had gotten shot was all wrapped up. "Please tell me the bullet is out of there."

"It is," Mark said with a nod. "James knew a doctor that would keep his mouth shut so he came here and took care of so we didn't have to go to a hospital." He chuckled bitterly. "Of course, I won't be able to avoid the trip forever."

Cooper looked down at Mark's heavily bandaged knee and finally realized the Deadman was on crutches. "Damn Marky, how much more damage can that knee take? If you still weren't fired I would say you should just retire already."

Mark rolled his eyes. "Would you quit focusing on me already? I'm perfectly fine. It's you that we need to be concerned with."

"Why? Because I got drunk and passed out?" Cooper snorted. "Hell, after the past few days, I deserved to be able to do that! Fuck, do you know how hard it was being worried sick about Dad and Connor?" He shook his head and swung his legs around so that he could try to stand up in a couple of minutes. "Hell, I almost missed you too."

"I'm not saying you didn't deserve to get drunk off your ass," Mark said, shutting the door in case this turned into a yelling match (which was how the majority of their private conversations ended). "But I know you Cooper. I know that—"

"What you know comes from watching James raise me from the sidelines," Cooper said irritably. He slowly got up, hardly able to put any weight on his injured leg. Fuck, I've really got to take a piss right now.

Mark glared at him. "Don't throw that in my face again. That shit is so fucking old that it's not funny."

"I'm not throwing it in your face!" Cooper said defensively. "I'm merely pointing out a fact you seemed to have forgotten."

Mark continued with his glaring. He really had that stare perfected. It was scary to everyone else, but Cooper was so used to it that he shrugged it off. "Look Cooper, I do know you damn it," Mark insisted. "I know how you get when you're rejected. I mean fuck, I've done that shit to you before."

"On more than one occasion," Cooper muttered. He limped over to his closet so he could change his shirt. "So yeah, I guess you're right. You're the one who would know." He put on his Hollywood Undead t-shirt. "Look, this conversation is going to have to wait. I really gotta piss right now."

Mark sighed and opened the door. Cooper left the room as fast as he could and headed to the bathroom, hoping that Mark would just realize that he didn't want to talk and that he should just be left alone. But he had no such luck. As soon as he was done in the bathroom, he found Mark waiting for him. "Okay, you are getting annoying," he said. "I'm gonna tell Dad."

"James is asleep," Mark told him. "And since it's the first time he's slept since the kidnapping thing, you're going to leave him alone."

"Well why can't you just leave me alone too then?" Cooper asked. "God, is that too much to fucking ask?" He tried to just walk away but Mark grabbed his arm and wouldn't let go. "If you think I won't kick you in your knee, you better think again," he growled.

"Boy, would you just listen to me for a second?" Mark growled back. "Let me say what I have to say and then you can tell me to go to hell after I'm done, okay?"

Cooper groaned. Mark wasn't going to stop until he had his way. "Fine," he finally said. "But make it fast."

Mark nodded. "You and Tom—"

"Fucked," Cooper interrupted. "That's all we did was fuck. There was sexual tension, we released it and now we can move on."

"And that's all that was to you? A fuck?"

"Well what else could it be? Tom's married for fuck's sake."

"The way you reacted back when James—"

"Dad should stay out of my business," Cooper snapped. "I'm twenty seven fucking years old. I can fuck whomever I want to fuck. And as for Tom, he should have just told me himself that nothing more was going to happen between us. That wasn't something he even needed to discuss with Dad."

Mark raised his eyebrows. "If all you guys did was fuck, why would Tom have needed to tell you that was it."

Cooper froze, realizing he had been caught in his own words. "I'm going back to bed," he announced.

"No you are not," Mark said. He refused to let Cooper go. "You are not running away from this. You need to just deal with this shit right now."

"There's nothing to deal with."

"Would you stop being so fucking difficult for two fucking seconds and just let it out? You can't bullshit me! You actually started developing feelings for Tom, didn't you?"

"Mark leave me—"


"I felt something, alright?" Cooper finally yelled. He was ready to punch Mark in the face and shove him down the fucking stairs. The only reason he wasn't actually doing so yet was because his hands were shaking. "I don't know what the fuck it was but something got stirred that should have been fucking left alone! There? Are you fucking happy now?" He was practically screaming by the end of his rant.

Mark took a step back and sighed. "Feel any better?"

Cooper shook his head and leaned back against the wall. "No. Saying it doesn't change anything. He's still got Jeff." He chuckled. "Fuck, this shit is a mess." He looked at Mark. "What should I do? Should I call him?"

"Normally I would say yes but you won't be able to," Mark replied. "Tom's disappeared. Nobody's seen him since the night Patrick died."

Cooper stared at Mark in disbelief. "You're not serious."

"I am serious," Mark insisted. "Jeff's freaking out really badly. Tom's not answering his phone, he hasn't called, he hasn't come home—"

"Mark this isn't fucking funny," Cooper said as he went back into his room. He grabbed his cell phone and began dialing Tom and Jeff's number.

"Damn it boy, I ain't fucking joking!" Mark exclaimed. "I've called his cell phone a thousand times since Jeff called and told me and I haven't gotten through to him."

Cooper ignored him and waited for his call to be answered. The first ring was barely done before someone picked up. "Tommy?" Jeff said, his voice giving away the fact that he had been crying. "Tommy is that you?"

"Jeff?" Cooper said, a sick feeling creeping into his stomach. Okay, this was really not good.

Jeff burst into tears. "Cooper? Where's Tommy? Where did he go? Did Patrick get him?"

"Patrick's dead. He couldn't have gotten Tom." Cooper's words fell on deaf ears though because Jeff became a complete and total wreck. He just kept sobbing and sobbing and Cooper had to hand the phone to Mark because he couldn't handle it.

Laying back down on his bed, he buried his face into his pillow. His chest was getting really tight and breathing was becoming an issue. Tom was missing and that bothered Cooper in a way that he wished it didn't. And hearing Jeff cry like that got to him too. Fuck, it just never ends, he thought to himself. This fucked up drama is never going to fucking end.

THE END (Or is it just the beginning?)