Description: It's three years into the future.
Disclaimer: I only own AJ and Claire in this chapter. Nothing else is mine.
It is a beautiful spring day. A thirty two year old man with dark brown hair and brown eyes is watching his five year old son play on a slide at the park. The little boy has blonde hair, but his eyes are the same as his father's. This may seem like a regular day to the child, but to the man, this day is the third year anniversary of a tragedy. As the man watches his son play, his mind keeps going back to that day.
Flashback to three years ago….
"Okay I'm ready. Let's go." Potsie said.
"You're making the right choice. Fonzie said as he was about to walk out the door, but before he could open the door, two shots rang out. A few moments later, Detectives Mason and Greer rush into the building along with Richie. They cautiously enter Professor Thomas' room and see Fonzie kneeling down beside Potsie, who is lying on the floor, motionless. There is a blood stain on Potsie's shirt and a pool of blood around the back of his head. Fonzie is talking to him, but he doesn't realize that Mason, Greer, and Richie are there.
"You lied to me. I told you that I would get you help if you walked out of here with me. You said that you were ready to leave and to get help, but instead you do this. You take your own damn life. How could you do that? You knew that I would have gotten you help. I will never forgive you for doing this." Fonzie angrily said to Potsie.
"Are you okay, Fonzie?" Richie asked as he placed his hand on Fonzie's shoulder.
"Get away from me!" Fonzie angrily said as he pushed Richie away and stormed out of the room. Richie followed after him. Mason and Greer stayed and determined what happened to Potsie.
"Gunshot to the lower left abdomen and one to the left temple." Mason said.
"This is the strangest suicide I have ever come across." Greer said.
"Not every suicide will be the same."
Meanwhile with Fonzie and Richie….
Fonzie is pacing the floor while Richie is trying to talk to him.
"You want to tell me what happened in there?" Richie asked.
"I told Potsie that I would help him if he would walk out of that damn room with me. He agreed to do that, but as soon as I turn my back on him, I hear two gunshots. At first, I thought I had been shot, but then I realized that there was no blood on me. So I turn around and see Potsie lying on the floor. There was a bullet hole in his stomach and one in his head. That's when I realized that he had committed suicide." Fonzie said as his eyes began to fill with tears.
"This isn't your fault." You couldn't have known it was going to end this way." Richie explained.
"I know this isn't my fault! Don't you think I know that! I'm upset because I failed! I have never failed before in my life!" Fonzie angrily shouted.
"What do you mean?" Richie asked.
"I couldn't save everyone in that room. That is why I failed!"
"You think just because you couldn't save everyone, you failed? Because of you; Loribeth, Ralph and I walked out of here with our lives. Ralph did get shot, but he'll live. We all thought we were going to die in that room. We thought we would never see our families again. I mean yeah sure, four people lost their lives because of this and I feel sorry for them. But none of this will bring any of them back. We just have to accept it and move on with our lives. And if what you did today doesn't make you a hero, then I don't know what you are." Richie explained.
End of flashback.
As the man watches his son play, a young man with brown hair and brown eyes approaches him.
"Hey Fonzie, how are you?" The man asked.
"Hey Chachi. I'm fine. I'm just watching AJ play. How have you been?" Fonzie asked.
"I've been great. Can I ask you a question?" Chachi asked.
"Sure." Fonzie said.
"Why don't you ever call AJ by his real name?' Chachi asked.
"I hate his name. I love him, but his name is terrible." Fonzie said.
"But Claire named him after you. Well his first name is after you. I'm not exactly sure how she came up with Jasper for his middle name." Chachi said.
"I couldn't tell you where his middle name came from either, but if Claire hadn't have kept him a secret from me for the first two years of his life, I would have chosen his name. Don't get me wrong here, I love my son more than anything in the world, but there is no way that I'm calling him Arthur Jasper. I prefer to call him AJ."
"Are you still angry with Claire for not telling you that you had a son?"
"I am angry with her about that, but the thing that really bothers me is that she kept him for two years and then she just decides that he's too much for her to handle. What kind of mother does that to her own child?" Fonzie angrily asked.
"It's kind of like what your mother did to you." Chachi stated.
"It's exactly what my mother did. She walked out on me, just like Claire did to AJ." Fonzie said.
"Does Claire ever try to contact AJ?"
"No, the last time she saw him was when she dropped him off on my doorstep. I hope she never see's him again. I don't want AJ to think that he wasn't wanted."
"AJ was two years old when that happened, I really don't think he knew what was going on."
AJ runs up to the two men, holding something in his hand.
"Daddy, look what I found." AJ said as he revealed a grasshopper in his hand.
"Wow a grasshopper. That's very neat. Can you say hi to your cousin Chachi?" Fonzie asked his son.
"Hi Chachi, do you want to play?" AJ asked.
"Hey kid. Sorry, but I can't play today. I have to go to work in twenty minutes. I just stopped by to say hi. I'll see you two later." Chachi said as he walked away.
A few minutes later….
Fonzie is watching his son play with the grasshopper, when Richie, Loribeth and Ralph walk up. Loribeth is holding her and Richie's two year old son, Richard Jr. or as many people call him, RJ.
"Hey Fonzie, what are you doing here?" Richie asked.
"Oh hi. AJ and I decided that since its nice day, we'd go to the park. AJ can you say hi to everyone?" Fonzie asked.
"Hi everyone. Hey RJ, want to see what I found?" AJ asked as he held out his hand and revealed the grasshopper.
RJ grabs the bug and attempts to eat it, but Loribeth stops him.
"No sweetie, we don't eat the bug." Loribeth said.
"Gee, don't you guys ever feed the poor kid?" Ralph jokingly asked.
"I'm surprised he isn't hyper yet. You kept giving him candy in the car." Richie said to Ralph.
"Well you should have seen the look on his face. He looked like he was about to cry. I couldn't say no to him." Ralph said about RJ.
"Ralph, the world won't end if you tell him no. Here, why don't you take him and AJ over to the playground equipment?" Loribeth asked as she handed RJ to Ralph.
Ralph takes the two children and leaves.
"Fonzie, do you remember what today is?" Richie asked.
"Yeah I remember. I've been thinking about it all day. I can't believe it's been three years." Fonzie said.
"Before we came here, we stopped at the cemetery and put some flowers on Potsie's and Jennifer's graves. I don't see how I could have missed the signs of Potsie being troubled. I sometimes feel like it was my fault that he was being abused by his dad. He was my best friend and I didn't see anything wrong." Richie said.
"Even though I know it wasn't my fault, I sometimes blame myself for his death. I felt like there was something more that I could do to help him." Fonzie said.
"You two have got to stop blaming yourselves for what happened to Potsie. No one is to blame. Potsie wanted to be a psychologist so he could help people, but in the end, he was the one who needed help. He hid his pain from everyone and it was too late to save him." Loribeth explained.
"I guess you're right, Loribeth." Richie said.
"She is right." Fonzie said.
The three of them are silent for the next few minutes as they watch Ralph and the kids play. Richie finally speaks.
"Hey Fonzie, we're all going to have a barbeque at the house later today, and we was wondering if you and AJ would like join us." Richie said.
"AJ and I would love to join you." Fonzie said.
"RJ is going to be happy about this. He loves spending time with AJ." Loribeth said.
"The same goes for AJ. I think he and RJ are going to be best friends. What time should AJ and I be there tonight?" Fonzie asked.
"Around 5:30." Loribeth said.
"Alright, we'll be there. Thanks for inviting us."
"You're welcome. We're going to leave now, but we'll see you at the house." Richie said.
"Alright then. AJ and I will probably leave soon too, but we need to make a quick stop first."
"It was nice talking to you, Fonzie. We'll see you later." Loribeth said.
"You too." Fonzie said.
Thirty minutes later…
Fonzie is in his car driving somewhere and AJ is sitting in the backseat of the car. He is looking out the window.
"Daddy, are we going home now?" AJ asked.
"No not yet. We need to go see someone first." Fonzie said.
"Who are we going to see?"
"An old friend of mine." Fonzie simply stated.
A few minutes later, Fonzie pulled into a cemetery. He took AJ out the car and they both walked through the cemetery.
"I thought we were going to visit someone." AJ said.
"We are. He lives here in the cemetery." Fonzie said.
"He does? I don't see him." AJ said, confused.
Fonzie stops at a certain gravesite.
"AJ this is Potsie. He was the friend I was telling you about." Fonzie said while pointing at the headstone.
"What happened to him, daddy?" AJ asked.
"He got really sad and he died." Fonzie said.
"Why was he sad?"
"Because he didn't think that anyone cared about him."
"There are lots of flowers here. Maybe people do care about him and maybe he just didn't know it." AJ said.
"I think you're right." Fonzie said. He then kneeled down to the headstone and began to speak to Potsie. "Hey Potsie, it's me, Fonzie. I'm here with my son AJ. He's a really cool kid. I wish you could have met him, but by the time he came into my life, you were already gone. I'm sorry I haven't been here lately. And I'm sorry that I couldn't save you three years ago. I always thought that I would die before you because of all the dangerous situations I put myself in. But I guess life can be a bit strange sometimes. I hope I'll see you again someday. Goodbye Potsie."
Fonzie then stood up and picked up his son.
"Daddy, what do you mean you couldn't save him three years ago?" AJ asked confused.
"You're a little too young to hear that story. When you get older, I'll tell you about it, okay?" Fonzie asked.
"How about we go get some ice cream?" Fonzie asked.
"Yeah! Can I get chocolate with sprinkles? It's my favorite." An excited AJ said.
"Sure you can. It's my favorite too." Fonzie said.
"No it isn't, daddy." You favorite is chocolate chip cookie dough." AJ said with a laugh.
"You're right. That is my favorite kind. Thanks for helping me remember that." Fonzie jokingly said.
"You're welcome, daddy."
Although this wasn't the greatest story, I would like to thank you all for reading it. So thank you all. I hope you enjoyed the story.