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Left Behind

Guest Eli

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Story Title: Left Behind

Type of story: Oneshot

Main Characters: Tony Holden

BTTB rating: G/A

Genre: Angst / Romance

Does story include spoilers: I don't think so. Unless you haven't watched the first week or so of the 2009 season.

Any warnings: (V/D) kind of.

Summary: Tony has always been the one left behind.

Left Behind

It has been far too long since I have allowed myself to accept the truth. For the longest time I have tried to make sense of it all, without really believing that I have once again ended up as the one left behind.

I watched my wife to no fault of her own become the victim of a horrible accident. I sat by her side and prayed for her to come back to me and our two beautiful sons, while I tried not to let myself accept that she was fading away, leaving me behind to deal with a world I was unfamiliar with. That was the last time I prayed in 18 years, and I never thought I'd be praying again, because accepting her fate took away all the strength to believe I ever had.

Don't get me wrong, I have been happy for a big part of those 18 years. Lucas, Jack, and all the other people who have been there for me, have always brought good days into my life, and after grieving for a while I realized what Kate would have told me if she could see me.

"Life is for the living, Tony."

I didn't find love again for a long time, but when I finally did, it was with someone who knew what I was going through; someone who wanted what I wanted. My new life partner offered me a big noise family under one big roof with room for everybody. Beth never asked me to forget or accept that Kate was no longer a part of my life. She had lost a husband, and even a husband who didn't treat his family very well. If anyone could understand the power of love, it was Beth.

I watched her children try to find room for their endless despair when they realized they, like me, had been left behind again. But there is never enough room for a sorrow like that. No roof is big enough to contain that kind of deep, dark despair.

It was after Beth's death I really realized how unfair life can be. What had I ever done to be left behind, other than try to stay positive for the people I had left in my life?

Meaningless relationships with nameless women after Beth was like an escape from reality. Because with her death it suddenly became a lot harder not to allow myself to touch that dark, definite and painfully final feeling called acceptance. A feeling so scary it feels better to hold on to selfish grief and bitterness instead.

Rachel turned my life around again. I could not believe I had been so lucky, and so unlucky at the same time. To find love again, even after I had lost so many loved ones, over death, regrets and terrified choices. For a while I thought maybe there was a plan in all of this. Maybe everything happens for a reason? But, after a while I saw how dangerously close I was coming to accept the loss of those I had had to let go of. Sometimes floating around and bumping into coincidences sounds a lot safer.

Rachel's sometimes tough love and honest ways made me believe in the future again. The way she got so excited over little things; how she always would go further than anyone else for the things she believed in.

I think it was about 5.30 PM on a Tuesday I realized what acceptance really is.

I found my son on the ground with a bullet hole in his chest. I desperately clinged to him, and prayed for the first time in 18 years, while I waited for the paramedics. In a way it was like I watched him die too, because when I sat there, I really believed he was going to be fine, even if his heart wasn't beating at that moment.

And it was about a week later, on that Tuesday, that I realized why it's so important to accept the truth. A loss is always painful, but it becomes even more so if you're never accepting what has happened, even when it is a fact. It's still happening, and you can only really deal with the unfairness that is life when you accept it. You accept it, you deal with it, and you move on. But you never forget, so it's not really that scary.

Sometimes I think Jack can see us, and I think he's telling me that I did the right thing by accepting the truth in order to be able to live with myself, truly happily.

"The journey is the destination, dad."

Yes, the journey is the destination. I have realized I can not wait for the return of those I have lost, just because I refuse to believe that they are lost.

The harsh reality check I received sent me into a long row of thoughts. I cried many tears, and I dived deep into the grief over my own losses. But when I finally emerged to the surface again, it was with acceptance for what tragic losses I had suffered, and with a realization that maybe sometimes, people aren't as lost as they may seem. Sometimes acceptance can also be about daring to follow your heart to something good, even if it means taking a risk.

As I walk up to her house, I can hear music from the other side of it. She's probably on the balcony, enjoying her life; bathing in sun rays and listening to songs she discovered in her youth.

I know I have everything to gain here, even though I have let go of a lot of things to get here as well. This is a risk, and I don't know if it will work out.

"There is never enough time, Tony," I can almost hear Jazz' voice say to me, "So let's not waste any more time. Let's take some chances! Do something crazy!"

So that's what I'm doing. I'm taking a chance on her.


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