To be honest, Michael had no idea how to react. He felt rather awkward, almost exposed, here in this somber chapel. For someone who wore expensive suits so often, this new black one was itchy and uncomfortable to the point of making Michael want to go insane. He fidgeted in his seat, gaining a raised eyebrow from Fi. Sam noticed the exchange and glanced over as well. Luckily, Maddy didn't notice. Well. Maybe luckily wasn't the best word choice.

While it was true Michael had never found any defense against Maddy's tears, he found it was worse when there was no need for defense. These tears weren't directed towards him. These tears weren't forced to manipulate someone. These were genuine.

Perhaps Michael should be joining her in tears. He supposed he might later, away from public, but right now he was still too shocked. Even days after receiving the news, it hadn't quite sunk in. He just couldn't wrap his mind around the idea that he'd never argue with his brother ever again. He'd never have to bail his brother out of a tight spot. Never lend him money, never have to warn him against a stupidly bad decision.

It was something less to worry about. One less family member to have to take care of. But Michael missed him. It was strange: he hadn't been to Miami in a while: his visits were getting less and less frequent, especially after getting married. Michael had never thought twice about the long periods of time without him there, but now that he was completely gone, gone forever...

He'd never get to banter with his brother again. He'd never have him to rely on to protect Maddy. He'd never have someone to understand the childhood he'd lived through. He'd never have the strange friendship and trust he'd come to form with his brother.

Nate Westen was gone.

A/N: I love reviewers and live for constructive criticism!