Bridging the Gaps

Rating: PG/K+

Genre: Friendship/Hurt/Comfort/Drama

Summary: For hc_bingo, prompt "Depression", and 12_stories, prompt "Anniversary". Pre-Pilot. It's been a year, and maybe it's time to move on.

Author's Note: This is another one of those ones that just kind of wrote itself.

Disclaimer: I don't own Longmire. It belongs to Craig Johnson and A&E.

()()

"Walt."

"What?"

Henry leaned on the bar and fixed Walt with That Look. "That Look" was the look that Henry always wore when Walt was about to get a mildly-toned and reasonable-sounding lecture. Walt shut his eyes. "Cady is going to be at your house tonight when you go home. She is going to cook you dinner. You are going to pretend to be surprised, and you are going to spend a lovely evening with your daughter."

Walt took a sip of his beer, opened his eyes, and then fixed his old friend with a flat stare. "If it's supposed to be a surprise, then why are you telling me?"

"Because it would be nice to know that Cady will be greeted with the appropriate reaction for all of her hard work."

"You implying I don't show my daughter the proper appreciation?" Walt grunted with an edge to his voice. Oldest friend or not, Henry was treading towards some very dangerous grounds, especially given that Walt was not exactly in the best frame of mind on this particular evening.

"I am implying that your behavior over the past year has been distant at best, even towards Cady." Henry's expression softened just a bit; to anyone other than Walt, it probably would not have been apparent. "I understand that you are depressed, I understand that you are downright miserable, but you are not the only one who has lost someone."

Walt would never admit it out loud- Henry didn't have to say "I told you so" out loud for Walt to hear it in his head- but he would, privately, concede that he perhaps hadn't been as close to Cady since Martha's death as perhaps he should have been. Walt had shut himself off from most of the world, and given the circumstances, he hadn't gotten as much grief for it as perhaps he should have.

He and Cady had been particularly close immediately following Martha's passing, but after that Walt's general sense of not wanting human contact had kicked in, and he had spent more time in the house, or in his office, or driving around. He had accepted lunches and dinners and brunches with his daughter, but they had been relatively quiet affairs with far too much needing to be said- things that, of course, never ended up being said at all.

Maybe he was afraid that he'd open his mouth and tell her the absolute last thing he wanted to.

Henry was watching Walt's expression carefully. It was a game they liked to play with each other on better days: See who had the best poker-face, who was capable of keeping their thoughts locked up nice and tight, and then surprise the other with the truth. Nothing gave Walt more pleasure than surprising the immovable sonuvabitch.

"What are you asking me to do, Henry?"

"I am asking you to- at least for tonight- try to enjoy your daughter's presence, and perhaps consider- simply giving some consideration to- ending the mourning period and begin celebrating Martha's life. She would want that for the both of you." Henry must have sensed that he was stepping over a bound or two- he wasn't wrong, because eventually Walt would have to confront Martha's death more directly, start to cope. But that would come when Walt was ready, and Henry had to know that suggesting it would not elicit a good reaction.

He meant well, and Walt could appreciate that.

Besides: As guilt-ridden as he was over their secret, Walt knew he needed to make more of an effort with Cady. Even if that meant putting on a good show of moving on for her on the anniversary of her mother's death.

Or possibly, actually making an effort to move on.

Walt drained the rest of his glass and set it down on the bar, before standing up and adjusting his hat. And then, without a word, he started for the door- he knew Henry would ask, because in situations like this Henry always asked.

True to form: "Where are you going?"

"To spend the evening with my daughter." Walt said, flashing an ironic look at his friend.

"Thank you." Henry called, and the slight flatness to his tone made it come off as 'Well finally.'

"Oh shut up."

-End