A/N - sorry for the delay in getting this posted. Was away with the family on a short break. This is un-betaed so all mistakes are my own. Thanks to everyone who read this story and got in touch. You're the best.

Epilogue

Frank sat nervously outside Court Room 3, waiting to be called as the main witness in the city's case against Wade Cook and Leshawn Fox. They had been indicted on counts of murder, kidnapping and attempted murder as well as several lesser offences. As he waited, Frank unconsciously ran his right hand over his healing thigh and stared at the ground. It had been six weeks since the kidnapping, six weeks since he had been wounded.

It had been a long six weeks for Frank. He had remained in hospital for a little over a week before being allowed home. He had been left with many scars; not all of which were visible. The physical pain slowly diminished though he still felt twinges of discomfort and now walked with a slight limp. The emotional scars were another story.

His family was his strength during that time. He had been housebound for a few weeks which gave him ample time to think; not always a good thing he discovered. He found himself sinking into the depths of despair. His family buzzed around him like bees, pandering to his every need and dealing with his often grouchy and swinging moods. It drove him mad most of the time. He hated depending on anyone. He hated putting people out, but more than anything, he hated that he survived and young Detective Cooper didn't.

His guilt over the death of Detective Cooper was a cloud hanging over him. He deeply regretted that he hadn't been able to attend his funeral because it had taken place while he was still in hospital. Garrett had represented him, but it wasn't the same. Frank felt responsible. He felt that he should have been there. The young detective had died protecting him after all. He questioned why, in some people's eyes, one life was more valuable than another; why it was acceptable for one person to die protecting another.

As he battled his demons, he sought comfort and spiritual guidance from his close friend, Monsignor Walter Donahue. They had talked several times throughout his recovery. Frank opened up to Walter and told him things that he could never tell anyone else. He shared his anger with God, his feelings of abandonment, his sense of loss. But Walter was able to make him see the positives that came from tragedy. He made him see that reasons were not always apparent at first, but that there was always a reason. Slowly, he was able to deal with what had happened and realised that he was not the one to blame. Ricky Salucci and his crew were to blame. So he concentrated his energy on getting justice for Cooper and those injured, and ensuring that those responsible would go away for a long time.

His police force and the D.A. worked tirelessly to ensure that they compiled enough evidence to bring those responsible to justice.

Now the moment of truth was upon him and memories of that fateful day had been resurrected. His nerves were jangling. His stomach felt a little giddy. He sucked in a deep, nerve-settling breath. Erin, who sat beside him, placed her hand on his when she sensed his unease. It had been a long time since Frank had been on the inside of a courtroom as a witness. It was a high profile case and outside the court building was a media circus. He hated that cameras were stuck in the faces of the victim's family when they entered and left court. He was well used to the intrusion of the media, but Detective Cooper's parents and his fiancée weren't. It was difficult enough for them as it was, without having to deal with the media also. He had left instructions with Garrett to do his best to act as a buffer between the family and the media, but it wasn't always possible to protect them.

The door of the courtroom swung open and his name was called. Frank stood up stiffly. Erin gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. Danny and Jamie, who had been standing chatting nearby, approached Frank to wish him good luck.

The usher opened the door and Frank threw back his shoulders, stood up straight and marched confidently up the courtroom and into the witness box. He cast a glance at the two men sitting in the defendant's chairs and then looked briefly into the gallery where he saw Detective Cooper's family and some members of his family. He placed his hand on the bible and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The case was heard over a period of a week. Frank's evidence took almost an entire day of that week. Danny and Erin also gave evidence for the prosecution. At the end of the week, by the time the verdict came, Frank didn't have any doubt that the defendants would be found guilty and he was right; guilty on all counts.

There was an outpouring of relief in the courtroom once the verdict was read. It marked the conclusion of a traumatic and emotional experience for many people. Frank's heart went out to the Cooper family. He knew exactly how they must be feeling, having suffered a similar tragic loss when his own son, Joe, was killed in the line of duty. He hugged Cooper's father and mother but refrained from offering empty words. Words were of no comfort at such a time. Their loss was eternal.

After the verdict, they left the courthouse and battled through the throngs of reporters. Frank declined making any comment. Again, Garrett was tasked with making a statement on behalf of the Police Commissioner and the Cooper family. Frank and his family just wanted to get home. They drove in relative silence; Frank in a pensive mood.

When they entered the house, an enticing aroma met them at the door. Henry appeared in the hallway, wearing an apron, with oven mitts on his hands.

"I hope you're hungry," he said with a smile, returning to the kitchen.

He deliberately didn't ask about the verdict. In his mind, it wasn't important. All that was important had just walked through the front door. Linda then appeared from the dining room and greeted Danny with a kiss.

"The boys are setting the table," she said, the clinking of glassware could be heard in the background. "Nicky's helping Pops in the kitchen," she said to Erin.

The family removed their outer wear and entered the dining room. Henry and Linda had prepared a wonderful meal. Everyone took up their place at the table. From the head of the table, Frank watched in silence as his family relaxed, laughed and joked. There was a time, only weeks ago, that Frank thought he would never experience this again. He allowed himself a smile. Normality had returned. There was only one thing left to say;

"Pass the potatoes."

The End

A/N - that's it folks. Struggled to find a good way to end this. Also, apologies for my ignorance of the US justice system. Have no idea how long a murder case would go on for so forgive my inaccuracies.

Roll on Season 3 of BB!