A/N: Rick and A.J. Simon do not belong to me. I am just borrowing them for this story, and promise to put them back, unharmed.
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Rick was on the bed, slowly rocking her lifeless body. He rested his chin on top of her head, inhaling her lingering scent; he closed his eyes, forcing himself to remember every small detail. Tears flowed from his eyes as he kissed the top of her head. A low wail escaped his lips. He looked over at his brother, who was sitting on the foot of the bed, still holding the book he had chosen from the house's small library.
Andrew felt a growing lump in his throat as he watched his older brother gently hold her. He was numb, unable to formulate the words that would give Rick any comfort. Andrew quietly cleared his throat. Opening to the beginning of the book, he quietly began reading.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…." His voice cracked and he stopped.
Maggie watched the scene from the doorway. Putting her hand to mouth she silenced a sob. Crossing the room to the bed, she took her place behind A.J. Feeling her rub his shoulders, he leaned back gently against her. She wrapped her arms around his shoulder giving him a quiet squeeze. A.J. reached up, clasping one of Maggie's hands, glancing over at his brother. How did we get to this place?
About twelve months earlier.
"I'm fine." Rick pushed himself up from his stool; he paused, as he wobbled a little. "Yeah, just fine." His voice slurred. Looking around the room, Rick straightened his shirt. The bartender made another offer to get the tall detective a cab. Rick Simon shook his head. "Nope. I am just fine, Mack." He moved towards the door, failing to notice that three young patrons were also making their way towards the door.
The bartender swiped the counter where Rick had been resting his drink. Name's Bert, asshole.
The parking lot had a single light, making long dark shadows on short objects. Rick reached for the door handle just as the three youth came up on him. "Hey old man."
Simon whipped around, nearly losing his balance. "Hey, what?" He grabbed hold of the side of his pickup bed, reaching behind him, where his gun should have been. "What do you want?" He glared at them, through the haze of booze and the bad lighting.
"Don't want much." The lanky tall one replied. Another young man had hidden in the dark, suddenly appeared with a wooden tire thumper. The crack that Rick felt against his head came from no where and brought him to his knees. The second one laid him flat out on the ground.
The three boys circled the unconscious form. "Did you kill him?" The smallest of the boys had a hint of concern in his voice.
"Nah. He's just going to wake up with one hell of a headache. Come on, help load him in back." The other two balked at the suggestion. "You guys wanted the truck, right?"
The heavier boy responded. "Yeah, but I didn't think we were going to take him with us."
The oldest of the three became inpatient. "If we leave him here, it won't take the cops no time to figure out that his truck was stolen." He reached down and pulled the wallet from Rick's pocket. "He's a detective." The boy snickered. "No money, so he can't be very good."
Dumping him in the back, the older boy jumped in the driver's seat and started the motor. "Let's go!"
Before heading out of town they stopped and picked up a few bottles of R&R whiskey. It wasn't long before they came to the foothills just outside of San Diego.