Sydney walked into the living room, determined to do what she had put off all summer. Her brother was there, watching TV. This was his third time visiting their dad's house. He stayed for a few days at a time. Sydney was happy to see his relationship with their father grow. She felt a lot closer to her dad now as well, and they were getting along great. But it was different with her and her brother. They hadn't had a real conversation since Sydney had come back from Ledger.

"Hey," Sydney said as she took a seat on the couch next to him.

Her brother mumbled an inaudible greeting.

"Drew…can I talk to you for a sec?"

Drew didn't say anything, but he picked up the remote and turned off the TV.

Sydney took a breath and began. "I feel really ba-"

"I'm sorry!" Drew interrupted, suddenly heated. "I should've known! I should have protected your or something! I feel like such an idiot! I looked up to him. I loved him. And all that time that was the kind of man he was. How could I have been so fooled?"

"Drew, Drew, calm down! Geez, if you had this much to say, you should have come and talked to me."

Drew shrugged and leaned back into the couch. "I was embarrassed, and I felt guilty. I didn't know how to bring it up with you."

"You have nothing to feel sorry for." Sydney had never expected that that was what her brother was feeling. She thought he would be angry with her, or upset that she had ruined the family.

"I should have known. You're my sister, I should have protected you."

"Drew, there was no way you could have known."

"I mean, I was actually jealous of you! When I was a kid, I'd get mad because Bruce was always showing you more attention. Gosh, how sick is that?"

Sydney sighed, and tried to think of the right words to say. "Drew, you were just a kid when Bruce came into our lives. You were like, what, eight, when he moved in? You had never had a dad really. Its only natural that you would have looked up to him, loved him like a father. He was really good to you, and mom. And he was good to me, on the surface. And that's all you ever saw. He had everyone fooled, not just you. He had me fooled, too, at first. I was excited and happy when he came into our lives."

"But all that time he was doing those things, and I had no clue. And you were running away, and I was angry with you."

"You had no way of knowing. And you had every right to be mad at me. Of course you wouldn't have assumed what was really going on."

Drew looked over at Sydney and asked, in a softer voice, "Why didn't you tell me?"

This was the part that Sydney had been thinking about for a long time, how to explain it to Drew in a way he could understand. "I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. And I honestly thought that everything would just be okay for you and mom if I were just gone from your lives. I thought then, that you guys could be a happy family without me. I wanted you guys to have that. I thought I didn't deserve it. I thought I was being punished. I was so confused back then."

"You were looking out for us?"

Sydney nodded. "Yeah, that was definitely a part of it."

"But look how that turned out."

"I realize now that it wasn't the way I should've handled things. Because now, the truth came out anyway, and our whole family fell apart. Maybe, if I had been honest from the beginning, things could have been salvaged. Its my fault."

"No!" Drew yelled, suddenly adamant again. "Fuck this! None of this is your fault! Or even mine! Its his! What are we even talking about? That's the bottom line, right? He ruined this family, not us. And he can rot in hell for all I care."

"Yeah, you're right," said Sydney with a nod, oddly happy to hear her brother say that. She supposed, on some level, she was afraid that he would have reacted like her mother had and taken Bruce's side. "We can talk this through until we're blue in the face but its not going to change what happened, the way things went down. What's done is done. Maybe, all we can do is move forward."

Drew gave a nod. "I'd like that. You should come and visit mom's once and a while."

Sydney gave a sigh. She didn't want to tell Drew about her suspicions about her Gwen, about how she was sure that Gwen had known, about how Gwen had acted when the accusations had first come out. She didn't want to take anything more from him than he had already lost. And also, she knew now that Drew would probably take her side, and although she didn't want to admit it, she didn't want her mother to be alone. Maybe, by not telling him, she was repeated the same mistakes. Sydney recognized this, but it didn't change the fact that she wanted to save him from as much pain as she could.

"I need to be away from her for a while," said Sydney. "Away from everything. That's why this was the perfect solution, staying here at dad's. Plus, it's given us time to reconnect."

Their conversation was interrupted by a loud thud from upstairs. "What was that?" Drew asked, looking up at the ceiling.

"Dad?" Sydney called.

Drew got up from the couch and Sydney followed suit. They went upstairs to their father's room to see what the noise was.

"Dad!" Drew rushed into the room with a shout.

Sydney's heart plummeted into her stomach. She didn't know what was happening, but she knew it couldn't be good. She went into the room after Drew and saw him kneeling beside their father, who was on the ground, clutching a hand at his chest.

"Call 9-1-1!" Drew shouted. Sydney didn't need to be told. She was already pulling the cell from her pocket.

Sydney nervously paced the floor of the waiting room. She was trying hard not to flip out. She wanted to be strong for her brother, who was also on the verge of freaking out. Sydney thought that if she could keep it together, than so could he. All they knew was that their father had had a heart attack. He was in critical condition, and his heart had stopped twice already in the ambulance. He had just gone into surgery. Sydney and Drew were waiting for news.

Brooke had called earlier. They had a weekly time set to talk on the phone, since Brooke couldn't just call whenever she wanted. She was still at Ledger, and so didn't have a phone of her own. So Sydney had answered and told Brooke what was going on. Brooke reassured her that everything would be okay, and it had helped for the time. Now Sydney had lost that resolve, and she wished she could talk to Brooke again.

"What if he dies?" Drew said suddenly, piercing the tense silence. They were the only two in the waiting room.

"He's not gonna die," Sydney said, in as firm of a voice as she could muster. "He'll be fine. He's gonna come out of surgery and he'll probably be better than before even."

Drew gave a nod.

Four hours later they finally got some news. Their father had made it out of surgery, and was in recovery now. They said he wasn't completely out of the woods yet, but the worst was over. The two of them went to visit her father right away. He wasn't conscious yet. He was hooked up to all of the machines and he looked so weak and pale. Sydney didn't like to see him like that. Apparently, Drew didn't either, because after a short while he left to get some fresh air.

A nurse came in and Sydney left so she could do whatever it was she needed to do. She went back into the waiting room and slumped into the nearest chair. She rested her head in her hands and tried to take deep breaths.

Sydney heard someone approaching. Sydney quickly sat up and composed herself, expecting some stranger. But it wasn't a stranger who had entered, and it wasn't Drew. It was Fin. Sydney stared at him, mouth agape, for several seconds.

"Brooke called me," Fin explained. He sounded a little out of breath, as if he had been rushing from somewhere. "Sorry. Maybe I shouldn't have come."

Sydney couldn't contain her emotions anymore. She stood up and went to Fin. She was in tears by the time she reached him and threw her arms around him. Fin wrapped an arm around her and stroked her head consolingly. "Its alright," he said soothingly. "Everything's gonna be just fine now."

hixy: Yeah, I realized that later. I changed it in my copy of the story. Thanks though!

MintCcIceCream: Pain is a universal truth. Everyone feels it. Everyone's been through something. I just try to tap into all the different kinds of it. That's about all I'll say about that. Thanks for reading!