Hey, here's a new oneshot inspired by the episode "Every Picture Tells a Story" from Season 1 of "8 Simple Rules". I liked the part where Carter Tibbits tells Rory he has something he looks for in all the kids who are in his at-risk youth program – character. (Plus, John Ritter was great in that episode, as he was in all the 8 Simple Rules episodes with him in them. He made that show what it was, and he did a fantastic job portraying Paul Hennessy in that show (as well as being a great dad to his children in real life, especially his son Jason). He will be missed.) And the part where Rory mentions the contest the family held when they wanted to pick a place to go for their two-week family vacation, on the condition that they give up a bad habit (Rory's was tattling) references the Season 1 episode "Give it Up".

So I decided to cook up a oneshot about Carter's thoughts on Rory. It takes place after the two-part "Goodbye" episode in Season 2. Hope you like it!

Disclaimer: The geniuses at ABC own 8 Simple Rules. I own the oneshots, stories and poems. The lyrics to Point of Light by Randy Travis belong with their respective owners.

A Great Man and a Great Writer

Carter Tibbits' POV

Rory Joseph Hennessy. That kid's a great young man.

He has something special in him too. And that something is character. It's what I look for in all the kids in my at-risk program.

I wish they all had it.

After all, Rory does. He sure is a fine young man.

Plus, his father Paul was a writer – and a great one too.

I often read the "Slice of Life" column, and it sure gives me a good laugh. After all, I'm all about humor.

And I sure could use a good laugh right now, as I'm feeling very sad. Paul is gone. When I got the news, I was devastated. I will miss him a lot. But at least I will have all those columns he wrote to remember him by.

And I sure do see a little of myself as a kid whenever I look at his son, Rory. After all, Paul knew I was right when I remarked that Rory was a "nice polite boy". I just knew he was – I could sense Rory had something special in him.

Rory and I were sitting on the couch in the living room. It had been the first time I got to see what the inside of the Hennessy house looked like, and I had to say that I was very impressed. After Paul showed me his laptop and all of the "Slice of Life" columns he had written, I remarked that he did a great job writing all those columns.

"You see, Mr. Tibbits," Rory began, "my dad is a great writer. He sure knows how to type his thoughts too."

I noticed Rory's grin as he finished.

"I see. I've read his column, and it's great that your father's a writer. I've said this before, Rory – you sure got something I look for in all the kids I work with in my at-risk youth program, and that's character. You got it somewhere deep inside your heart. You just need to find it and unearth it, like it's a buried treasure, and you're the treasure hunter."

"Really?" replied Rory, an intrigued look on his face. "Huh, now there's something new." He grinned.

I smiled. "Yeah. I was once your age, and you remember me saying that I grew up the eighth of nine children." Rory nodded. "Well, I always wanted to write a column myself. Like a gossip column, or an advice column."

"Wow," said Rory after I finished. "Well, get this, Mr. Tibbits. It was summertime, and one day, Dad, Mom, Bridget, Kerry and I, we had this contest to see where we would go on vacation. We all had our own ideas for where we wanted to go. Bridget wanted to go to Mall of America. Dad preferred the cabin at the lake. Kerry wanted to stay home. And Mom liked the idea of visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Sarasota, Florida."

"Really?" I remarked, fascinated as I listened. "Well, where did you want to go, Rory?"

"Space camp. They had zero-gravity chambers, and you get to sleep in real astronaut bunk beds."

"Ah, space camp," I nodded. "Cool."

That kid of yours, Paul – he sure is something special, and he's a cool kid. I'm sure that, even though you're gone physically, you'll always be with him spiritually, and he will always have your voice in his ear.

I will miss you, Paul. You raised one heck of a son. I'm sure he misses you too. After all, he sure does have a sense of humor, he laughs a lot, and he has a cool grin.

Like father, like son.

I look at Rory, and I remember those words.

And as I look at Paul's picture, I just want to say one thing.

"Thanks, Paul. You were, and always will be, a great man and a great writer."

"All it takes is a point of light,

a ray of hope in the darkest night.

If you see what's wrong

and you try to make it right,

you will be a point of light

-Randy Travis, Point of Light


Well, I hope you liked reading this.

This is dedicated to John Ritter, who, as Paul Hennessy, inspired me to write. After all, he was a force of nature. He swept through people's lives, leaving nothing but laughter in his wake. Nothing made him happier than making others laugh.

RIP

Johnathan Southworth "John" Ritter

(September 17, 1948 – September 11, 2003).

You will be missed.