Coda to Anger: Coda to Love

Coda to Anger: In the mists of bombings in Harris, New York. Love blossoms for several in the Harris PD... Coda to Love: In the wake of the death of a Marshal, a deadly shooter set up shop in Harris. Tempers are high,friendships are tested and love saves.


19. The Death Toll

Chapter Nineteen: The Death Toll


After a few tense minutes of silence they heard the unmistakable sound of debris being shifted on the other side, and Reggy grabbed Brad in a fierce hug; overjoyed at finally having some hope, however small. Brad patted his back bracingly; praying that it wouldn't take them too long to get through. He knew that Kriss didn't have much time.

As Brad shouted the news to Greg, Reggy made his way back to Kriss's unmoving form and caressed his cheek gently. "Hold on a little longer, Kriss. Help's on the way."

It seemed to take an age for the rescue team to break through the wall of rubble but, finally, a large piece of concrete moved and a flashlight shone into the cramped space.

"What's the situation in here?" a man asked in a no-nonsense voice, as he clambered through to them. He was followed by several others.

"We've got a man pinned by rubble," Brad said urgently, from beside Kriss and Reggy. "He has internal bleeding, fractured ribs which have caused a pneumothorax, and possible spinal injuries. He needs to get to a hospital right away."

"Brad?" the man asked in surprise, shining the torch in Brad's direction. "I didn't think that I'd find you in here."

Brad recognized the man as a fellow paramedic as he moved closer. "Not just me, Dave," Brad replied sadly, looking down. "Kriss, too."

"Shit," Dave muttered, squatting to check Kriss over quickly before squaring up and shouting over his shoulder. "Okay guys, we need to move this piece of concrete and get a stretcher in here; now. Steve; tell command that we're gonna need an emergency air-lift immediately."

Steve, a fairly new paramedic, was staring at Kriss with a shocked expression, and Dave grabbed his arm forcefully. "Come on, Steve. He's one of our own."

As Steve scrambled to do what he was told, Brad and Dave started trying to stabilize Kriss's vitals with the proper medical equipment. Reggy sat quietly beside them as they worked; keeping a tight hold on Kriss's hand and his gaze fixed on Kriss's deathly pale face, almost as if he was trying to infuse Kriss with some of his own strength. "Keep fighting, Kriss. I'm not letting you go."

Reggy kept talking to Kriss while the paramedics and rescue teams managed to free his legs and strap him to a stretcher; willing him to hold on for just a little longer. He reluctantly had to release his hold on Kriss's hand as they maneuvered the stretcher out, but followed right behind; impatiently dismissing offers of medical attention for his hands and head. Both Brad and Greg went with him. The latter had just been freed from his confinement , and his arm was now in a proper sling until it could be put in plaster.

The absolute devastation that met Reggy's eyes when they emerged into the cold, night, air, brought home to him the magnitude of the rescue operation. Practically the whole building had been destroyed by the explosion. It was a miracle that anyone had survived.

A medical helicopter was waiting for them a little way off, and they carried the stretcher carefully towards it; mindful of aggravating Kriss's injuries. He was stable at the moment, but would need emergency surgery the moment he arrived at UCLA; his condition was still critical. As they loaded the stretcher into the chopper, there was a loud shout from behind them.

"Hey, Reggy! Greg!" A filthy, sweaty, Kenney was hurrying towards them, looking both relieved and worried. "I came down here to help as soon as I heard what happened. Are you guys okay?" His eyes flicked to Kriss, who was being strapped in securely, and widened slightly. "Fuck. Is he...?"

"We don't know yet," Brad shouted, as the helicopter loudly powered up.

When Reggy clambered aboard, one of the crew looked like he was going to refuse the extra passenger but one look at Reggy's face silenced him on the matter.

Brad turned away from Kriss to look anxiously at Kenney. "Have you seen Kip?"

Kenney nodded grimly, wiping his arm across his forehead. "Yeah, they brought him out a little while ago and loaded him straight into an ambulance. He's got pretty bad head injuries, but he's alive."

Brad dropped his head in relief, and Reggy reached out to squeeze his shoulder supportively. "I'll see you guys at the hospital, okay?"

Everyone shouted their support and stepped back as the helicopter lifted off smoothly and headed off into the night sky, carrying with it all of their hopes and prayers.

There was a medical team waiting next to the helipad when they landed on the hospital roof; the group immediately running in to unload the stretcher as soon as it touched down. The paramedics had battled to keep Kriss stable during the short flight, his vitals falling to dangerous levels, but he was still hanging on to life, just. Reggy had refused point blank to let go of his hand, firmly believing that it was making a difference, but was forced to when the medics rushed the gurney into the elevator. He kept his eyes fixed on Kriss as the doors closed; praying that it wouldn't be the last time that he'd see him alive.

After being checked over and bandaged by a pretty, if somewhat patronizing, nurse, Reggy was told to go the waiting area; where any updates would be delivered. He had to navigate through a maze of identical, sterile, corridors before he eventually reached it.

The large room was filled with anxious relatives of those caught in the blast; awaiting news on the fate of their loved ones. Reggy walked amongst them, catching snatches of worried conversations, and made his way to the few remaining empty chairs at the back.


He turned at the sound of his name, and saw Piper making her way towards him; her face tired and drawn.

“Piper? You should be at home in bed. The baby?”

She waved his concern away impatiently and gave him a quick hug. “I couldn't stay there, not knowing. Is he?”

Reggy was quick to reassure her. “Greg's fine; just a broken arm, and a few bumps and scratches.”

She sank into a nearby chair in relief, holding a shaking hand to her bowed head. “Thank God. I saw the pictures on the news, but they wouldn't let me anywhere near the scene; they just told me that all casualties were being brought here.” She looked up as Reggy sat down beside her, and studied his face for a moment. “Okay, big guy, what aren't you telling me here?” Her eyes widened slightly when he didn't answer straight away. “Shit; it's Kip, isn't it?”

Reggy met her gaze steadily. “He's injured, yes, but I don't know how badly yet.” She nodded grimly but sensed that there was more, so waited silently for him to continue. She didn't have to wait long.

“Brad and Kriss were in there with us when the bomber detonated.”

Piper raised a hand to her mouth in shock. “Oh my God. Are they okay?”

“Brad is. He was trapped with Greg and looked after him.” Reggy paused and swallowed, making Piper fear the worst. She laid a hand on his arm and squeezed it; her voice little above a whisper.


Reggy swallowed again and took a moment, not trusting himself to speak right away. When he answered, his voice was broken. “He's critical.”

“Oh God,” she gasped, pulling Reggy into her arms and blinking back tears, “I'm so sorry.”

Reggy sank into the embrace and closed his eyes; the memory of Kriss's lifeless face swimming to the surface. He wasn't sure how long they stayed like that, silently comforting each other, but Reggy sensed a sudden alertness in her posture, and lifted his head questioningly.

Greg had just entered the waiting area; his arm now in plaster and supported by a sling around his shoulder. Just behind him were Kenney and Brad, and the three of them scanned the room for familiar faces. Piper raised her hand and got to her feet unsteadily; forcing Reggy to grab hold of her as she wobbled alarmingly. Her eyes were locked upon the face of her husband as he drew nearer; drinking in the sight of him and lingering a moment on his cast. Reggy watched them wordlessly embrace each other and felt a lump come to his throat; they were two of the lucky ones here.

“Any news?” Kenney asked anxiously, and Reggy shook his head.

“It'll be a while yet,” Brad sighed, as he pulled up one of the few remaining free chairs. “Apparently Kip's in surgery too, but they wouldn't give me any details.” He let out a mirthless laugh. “So much for professional courtesy, huh?”

“They're gonna be okay,” Kenney said quietly, sounding as if he was trying to convince himself as much as the others, “both of them.”

“Piper, this is Brad,” Greg said, gesturing to him as they both sat down.

Piper nodded and held out a hand, trying to smile. “Kriss partner; right? I'm sorry we had to meet under these circumstances.”

Brad returned the smile and grasped her hand warmly. “Me too.”

“I hear that you've taken the heart of our Kip, too. It looks like all of my boys are settling down.” She glanced over at Kenney and smiled knowingly.

Reggy, who had remained silent up until that point, cleared his throat and looked at Greg. “You know, you two should go home. You both need to rest.”

Piper's gaze met Greg's briefly, and then she put an arm around Reggy's shoulders in a sideways hug. “Not a chance. We're staying.”

It was now a waiting game, for all those who had congregated at the hospital. Over the following few hours, doctors came and went; bringing news to a select few of the desperately worried relatives. Sometimes there would be shouts of joy and relief, lifting the mood of the entire room, but other times there would only be the achingly sorrowful cry of grief. When bad news came, everyone else huddled together a little closer.

In the early hours of the morning Reggy, who hadn't been able to sleep a wink, saw Agents Reeves and Jackson making their way towards him. They both looked exhausted and Reggy felt a brief stab of savage pleasure at their discomfort. Agent Reeves, always the more dominant of the two, was the first to speak.

“It's good to see you escaped relatively unscathed, officer Kistoff. Unfortunately the same can't be said for many of your colleagues.”

Reggy gritted his teeth, and glanced at the sleeping form of Kenney before answering. “Maybe if you lot had listened to me instead of chasing the wrong man we wouldn't be in this mess.”

“Now's not the time for recriminations, officer,” Reeves said patiently. “We've already picked up Miss Evans for her part in all of this, and she's freely confessed her guilt. Her father can do no further harm to the people in this city. All that's left to do now is take statements from all those who survived, including yourselves.”

“I don't understand how anyone survived,” Greg piped up from beside Reggy, lifting his head from where it was resting on top of Piper's. “That amount of C4 should have killed everyone in that building.”

Agent Reeves' gaze flicked from Reggy's face to Greg”s, and back again. “From what we've been told so far, it looks like that's down to your chief. He threw himself onto the bomber as he detonated, and took the full force of the blast.”

Reggy let out a deep breath and shook his head sadly. “That's so typical of Taliesin. A hero right up to the last. How many confirmed dead so far?”

“Twenty nine,” Jackson's deep voice rumbled from beside Reeves. “Eighteen officers and eleven civilians. We expect more in the coming hours, though.”

Not Kriss or Kip, Reggy chanted in his head. Almost as if someone up there heard him, a doctor in scrubs entered the waiting room and called, “Anyone here for Kriss Brekheart?”

Reggy nudged Brad awake and stood up shakily. “Over here.”

“We'll be back to take your statements later,” Agent Reeves said, and both he and Jackson nodded courteously to the doctor as they passed him on their way out. Greg woke the others up and got to his feet too.

“Are you family?” the doctor asked, consulting his chart briefly.

“Yes,” Reggy replied without hesitation. It was true; they were the only family Kriss had now. “Please is he okay?”

“I'm doctor Roberts,” the man said; his manner calm and reassuring. He looked a little younger than Greg and Reggy, but there was a quality about him which inspired confidence. His blue eyes projected sympathy and warmth as he gestured to the chairs they'd risen from. “Let's sit down for a moment.”

Reggy immediately feared the worst. “Oh God, he didn't make it,” he choked; his legs threatening to buckle.

Doctor Roberts held out a hand to steady him. “It's alright; he's still with us. There's just a lot to go through.”

“Okay,” Reggy nodded; his heart still gripped with fear as he slumped back down into his seat. The others lent forward to listen closely as the doctor sat down.

“As I'm sure you're aware, Mr. Brekheart was severely injured as a result of the explosion. We managed to stop the internal bleeding, but he needed several transfusions to replace the blood lost and we had to remove part of his spleen. We've also put in a proper chest tube to deal with the added complication of his punctured lung.” He paused for a moment, and Reggy held his breath; waiting for the final blow. “What we're very concerned about at this point is his legs. There is a lot of swelling around the lower half of his spinal cord, and we can't be sure of how much nerve damage there is until that subsides.”

“Shit,” Brad muttered, and Reggy turned to him fearfully.

“Does that mean what I think it means?”

Brad nodded grimly, and the doctor clarified the situation for the few who were still looking confused. “If the damage is very severe, he may not walk again.”

“Can I see him?” Reggy asked quietly, breaking the tense silence which had descended.

The doctor nodded and got to his feet. “Of course; I'll take you up to ICU. I should warn you that, while he's stable at the moment, he's still very weak and will remain unconscious for some time yet.”

“I understand,” Reggy replied solemnly. “I just need to be with him.”

“Okay. Only two of you will be allowed into his room at any one time, but the rest of you can come up to a special waiting area on that floor if you wish.”

“Do you have any news about Kip Carey?” Brad asked anxiously, as everyone got ready to move.

Doctor Roberts glanced through his charts quickly, then shook his head. “There's nothing here, but I can find out for you. Is he family, too?”

“He's my partner,? Kenney and Brad both said together. Brad glanced at Kenney and smiled slightly before looking back to the confused face of the doctor. “Different sorts,” he explained quickly. “We're not a threesome or anything.”

Greg let out a snort of amusement, which broke the tension a little. The doctor stood looking a little nonplussed, and shook his head. “Okay; follow me.”

They made their way through the crowded room towards the exit, trying not to wake those who were trying to get some sleep. Reggy spotted a few people who he recognized as family of fellow officers, and sent up a prayer for them.

The main desk outside was a hive of activity, even though it was the middle of the night, and the group had to wait patiently for a few minutes while Doctor Roberts found out what he could about Kip. Reggy jiggled his leg impatiently and repeatedly glanced towards the elevators; seriously considering leaving the rest of them there and finding his own way. He needed to see Kriss; now.

After what seemed like an age, the doctor finished his conversation and walked back to the tense group.

“Okay; it looks like Mr. Carey has just come out of surgery too. He's also in ICU. Let's go up and I'll explain his condition on the way.”

Once they were all inside the lift and it was making its way up through the many floors, its cheerful pings mocking their sombre mood, Doctor Roberts outlined the situation.

“Mr. Carey also received substantial injuries from the blast; mainly to his head. There was some bleeding into the brain which has been successfully stopped, but there is still a lot of swelling around that area. Consequently, to give him the best chance of a full recovery, he has been put into what we call an induced coma. In other words, we're going to keep him asleep to allow his brain to rest and the swelling to subside.”

Brad swallowed loudly, uncharacteristically lost for words, so Kenney asked the obvious question. “Is he gonna be okay, though?”

The doctor let out a sigh and glanced at Reggy before answering; folding his arms and clutching the charts to his chest. “Much like Mr. Brekheart, I'm afraid we won't know the extent of the damage until the swelling has gone and he wakes up. Even with the wonders of modern medicine, we can make no guarantees. The best I can tell you is that the surgery went well. The rest is out of our hands.”

It was a very subdued group that stepped out of the elevator a minute later, and followed the Doctor down several pristine corridors. Reggy glanced into a few rooms as they passed, catching glimpses of other people keeping a vigil at the bedsides of those they loved, and wondered how many of them were casualties of the bombing. If only he'd uncovered the truth sooner; maybe all this could have been prevented.

A sudden commotion in front of them, and urgent shouts, drew his attention, as several doctors and nurses rushed into one of the rooms where an alarm had sounded. Reggy's heart sped up in fear as they approached, but it was a stranger who the doctors were fighting to resuscitate. He felt slightly guilty when he saw a young woman sobbing in the background, her eyes shining with an agonizing sorrow, but he couldn't help the rush of relief that swept through him. It wasn't Kriss.

“This is Mr. Brekheart's room.” Doctor Roberts announced a moment later, stopping outside a closed door and turning to the group. “As I said, only two of you can be in there at any time. The rest of you can wait in the relative's room, across the hall.”

“Brad,” Reggy murmured, his eyes fixed on the figure just visible through the partially open blinds on the window to one side. “You're his partner, too.”

The doctor appeared even more confused by this statement, so Greg decided to take pity on him.

“Look, man; Kriss is his life partner,” he explained, pointing at Reggy, “and his paramedic partner,” he pointed at Brad. “Kip is his life partner,” he continued to point at Brad, “and his partner in the Harris PD,” his finger moved to Kenney. “Whereas he,” he pointed back at Reggy, “is my partner in the Harris PD, and this is my wife; Piper.” Piper smiled sympathetically. “Got it?”

“I think so,” Doctor Roberts nodded, with a small smile. He looked at Reggy and Brad. “So, you two are coming in first?”

Brad looked torn, and the doctor was quick to understand why. “I'll take you to see Mr. Carey in a few minutes,” he said reassuringly, and Brad nodded. He turned the handle, and they both followed him inside solemnly; the door softly clicking shut behind them.

Kriss was lying, pale and unmoving, in a bed in the center of the room; surrounded by, and attached to, various medical devices which were beeping and whirring noisily. There was such fragility about him; as if his life could drift away on the next breath of wind. Reggy hated to see him like this; he was normally so strong, so full of life.

“Don't be alarmed by all the tubes and machines,” Doctor Roberts said softly, noticing Reggy's anxious expression. “They are just supporting his vital signs while his body recovers.”

Reggy barely heard him as he moved slowly forward to sit down beside the bed, his hand reaching to once again enclose Kriss's. He was relieved to find it warm under his touch, and his fingers slid down to rest on the comforting pulse in Kriss wrist. Brad picked up the medical chart at the foot of the bed, and scanned it quickly; his brow furrowed.

“He's a fighter,” the doctor murmured. “We almost lost him twice during surgery, but something kept pulling him back.” His eyes flicked to Reggy, who was leaning forward to gaze at Kriss's face intently.

“Can he hear me?” Reggy asked softly, without looking up.

“I'm sure he can.”

Reggy nodded slightly, and leaned in further; squeezing Kriss's hand gently. “I'm right here, Kriss. Keep fighting. Stay with me.”

Brad moved to the other side of the bed and took Kriss's other hand, his expression devoid of his usual cheeky amusement.

“Hang in there, buddy. We're all here for you.” His eyes rested for a moment on Kriss face, before shifting to Reggy. “Please let me know the moment there's any change. I need to go and see Kip.”

Reggy met his gaze briefly, and nodded. He knew that Brad had it worse than any of them, with two partners in a critical condition, and Reggy certainly didn't envy his position. He didn't know what he'd do if it was Greg lying in Kip's place. Brad seemed satisfied with his answer, and turned to go.

“Brad,” Reggy called as he was almost at the door, and Brad looked back questioningly. “Tell Kip that I'm thinking of him; okay?”

Brad smiled slightly. “I will.” He paused. “They're both gonna make it, Reggy. We have to keep believing that.”

Reggy turned back to Kriss as he was left alone, with only the steady beep of the machines breaking the silence. He brought Kriss's hand up to his mouth and kissed it tenderly; his intense gaze fixed on the pale face below him as he spoke in a fierce whisper.

“You're gonna be okay.”

Reggy resolutely stayed by Kriss's side as the hours passed, refusing to rest or take a break in case something happened. He was convinced that his presence was making a difference, and he wasn't going to risk leaving while Kriss was still so weak. The others came and went, taking it in turns to sit with Reggy and murmur their love to Kriss, but Reggy was barely aware of them as he focused on his lover. He'd found the beeps and whirs of the machines a comforting reassurance at first, but now he was constantly terrified that they'd suddenly stop; that Kriss would slip away from him right before his eyes, and he'd be powerless to stop it. Once or twice he found himself drifting off, and had to shake himself awake. Kriss needed him, and he wasn't going to let him down.

“Reggy? Reggy!” Greg shouted, finally getting his attention after a few minutes of trying. “You can't go on like this, man. You;ve been up for over twenty four hours straight, and you've probably got concussion to boot.”

Reggy blinked, then ran a hand across his face. “He needs me, Greg. Nothing else matters.” Greg looked set to argue, but Reggy quickly cut across him. “How's Kip doing?”

Greg sighed, letting the subject go for now at least. “It looks like they're gonna keep him unconscious for some time, but he's stable at least. Small mercies.” He paused, then added, “Brad's being just as stubborn as you.”

Reggy fixed him with a look. “Would you be any different if it was Piper?”

“No, probably not,” Greg conceded, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand. “We're just worried about you, man.”

“Well, all I'm worried about is him,” Reggy replied softly, looking back at Kriss's emotionless face, and ran a bandaged hand down his cheek.

Realizing that he was fighting a losing battle, Greg clasped Reggy's shoulder for a moment before leaving the room quietly. Time to bring in the big guns.

Reggy only looked up briefly as Piper entered the room a few hours later and sat down opposite him. Her gaze lingered worriedly on Kriss for a few moments, before determinedly resting on Reggy.

“Just say what you have to say, Piper,” Reggy murmured; feeling her gaze on him without having to look.

“Do you know what was going through my mind when I thought I was losing the baby, Reggy?” she asked quietly.

Reggy had been prepared for the same lecture he'd received from everyone else, so he lifted his head in surprise at her words; shaking it ever so slightly in response.

Piper looked down at her modest bump and rubbed it lovingly. “I kept thinking that it was my fault; that if I'd done something different, it wouldn't have happened.” She raised her head and met Reggy's sympathetic gaze resolutely. “But that night I realized something. All of our lives are merely a brief flash of light in the darkness, and, no matter how much we wish differently, we have no control in these sorts of situations. There's no rhyme or reason in life; only the inevitability of its end.”

Reggy numbly watched as she leans forward to place her hand over his; the fragile dam on his emotions beginning to crack. “Even your sheer force of willpower can't change Kriss's fate, Reggy, and destroying yourself is only going to make things worse.”

Reggy looked back at Kriss; barely able to see him through the blur of tears, as Piper continued gently.

“If he finds his way back to us, he's going to need your strength more than ever. Are you gonna let him down when he needs you most? Because, if you carry on like this, you'll end up in a hospital bed of your own.”

“I just don't want to leave him, Piper,” Reggy whispered miserably.

She squeezed his hand supportively. “I know, honey, but one of us will always stay with him. He'll never be alone, and we'll let you know the moment that there's any change; I promise.”

Reggy expelled a shaky breath; the exhaustion he'd been fighting for hours now threatening to overwhelm him. “Okay, I'll try to get some sleep.”

Piper smiled and sat back more comfortably. “Good.”

There were a few beds set up in the relative's room, for anyone who wanted to stay close by. Reggy headed to the one nearest the door, and sank down onto it heavily. Despite the amount of worry and fear plaguing his mind, he was asleep within moments of his head hitting the pillow.

When he awoke, Reggy was a little disorientated before he remembered where he was. He sat up quickly; glancing at his watch. 3.30. Of course, he had no idea if that was AM. or PM. Hell, he didn't even know what day it was anymore. Not that it mattered particularly.

He found Greg sitting with Kriss; reading select parts of the paper out to him.

“You're reading him the sports scores?” he asked incredulously.

Greg jumped and looked up indignantly, as Reggy came alongside to check on his lover. “Hey, man; it's better than the weather or, heaven forbid, the fucking horoscopes section. I'm pretty sure that,” he consulted a page further on in the paper, “Mystic Mike didn't see any of this coming. Oh look; apparently I'm gonna have a good week. Isn't that nice?”

Reggy snorted in amusement, and Greg was relieved to see how much better he looked than a few hours before.

“Any news on Kip?”

“Not yet,” Greg sighed, tossing the paper aside wearily. “It's one big waiting game, man.”

Reggy's hand found Kriss's and he squeezed it gently, ever hopeful of some kind of response, but Kriss remained silent and still. Nevertheless, it was comforting to know that nothing terrible had happened in his absence. “I should go see him, and check in with Brad. Do you mind staying here a little longer?”

“Course not,” Greg replied easily. “We've got to go through the other half of the sports yet, haven't we Kriss?”

Reggy smiled and shook his head. Right there was a powerful incentive to wake up. He glanced at Kriss's face; almost expecting him to open his eyes and plead for mercy.

“Here,” Greg called; holding out a paper bag as Reggy turned to go. “It's from the cafeteria, so it probably tastes like it came out of a camel's ass, but it's food at least.”

Reggy grimaced slightly, but took the bag anyway. “Thanks. I'll be back soon.”

On his way to find Kip's room, he passed a large window through which rays of sunshine were streaming through onto the wall and floor. So, it was mid-afternoon then. He paused for a moment and looked out at the world; allowing the sun to warm his face. After everything that had happened in the last twenty four hours, it felt like he hadn't seen daylight for weeks.

Brad was very glad to see Reggy, once he was assured that he didn't bring bad news about Kriss. They were, after all, in very much the same boat. Much like Kriss, Kip was hooked up to various machines but his head was also bandaged heavily from the operation.

“They're gonna do another MRI in a couple of days, to see if the swelling has gone down any,” Brad explained; his hand grasping Kip's firmly. “Then they can re-assess his treatment.”

“He'll be okay, Brad,” Reggy said confidently. “He's too damn stubborn not to be.”

He returned to Kriss's side a little while later, relieving a yawning Greg from his duties.

“You know; this fucking thing is gonna take some getting used to,” Greg grumbled; looking down at his cast in disgust as he tried, and failed to get his jacket on one-handed.

Reggy came to his aid and patted his back consolingly. “Go get some rest, and give my love to Piper; okay?”

“Sure thing,” Greg replied; heading for the door. He paused before he reached it, however, and turned back; deciding to take the plunge and ask about something which had been bothering him.

“Shouldn't you at least try to contact Kriss's family?”

Reggy's head whipped around. “Why?” he asked incredulously. “They turned their backs on him, Greg; just because he told them the truth about his sexuality. They obviously don't give a damn about him.”

Greg lifted his hand placating. “Hey, I'm not defending their actions in any way, shape, or form, but that was a long time ago, man. Things might have changed since then. It's possible that they regret what happened, and are waiting for the opportunity to make amends.”

Reggy didn't answer; settling for making a disbelieving sound at the back of his throat. As far as he was concerned, Kiss's family had lost any right to be involved in his life.

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