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“Jesus Kev, why do you always come at six thirty in the morning?” Howie asked with a tired look, opening the door just slightly to keep the cold wind from coming into his house. “Everyone is asleep.”

Kevin didn’t answer his question, instead looked at him with a serious expression, “He knows.”

Howie sighed, opening the door a little wider, “You might as well come in.”

“Did you not hear me? He knows. He knows about his leg.”

“He was gonna find out pretty soon anyway, you know, it being his leg and all,” Howie muttered as he turned away from the door and walked into the house. “I had no delusions that we were gonna keep it from him, did you?”

Kevin let out a frustrated sigh as he followed Howie into the kitchen. The younger man planted a cup under the espresso machine and sat down at the dining table, propping his hand under his chin. “How did he take it?” He asked after a minute.

“Not well,” Kevin rushed in a hushed tone, “He freaked the hell out. It required a nurse and an oxygen mask to calm him down. That’s how he took it.”

Howie nodded before turning and grabbing the cup of coffee from under the machine, “He’ll be fine,” he said softly, “You know he will.”

“Oh yeah?” Kevin scoffed incredulously, “Cause you weren’t there, Howard. He was like… this completely different person.”

“Did you tell him you were the one that let them cut it off in the first place?” A voice resounded from the hallway and Howie closed his eyes in resignation. Just what he needed on this early morning. An angry AJ. Sure enough, AJ marched into the kitchen and planted himself on the other side of the table. “Well, did you?”

“I might have… insinuated it,” Kevin admitted quietly and Howie shook his head.

“Good job,” he muttered, taking another sip from his coffee. He felt like he could fall asleep then and there. So what if Brian knew now? He was going to find out anyway. What was the big deal?

“This is such a shitty situation,” Kevin stated the obvious.

“Oh come on, he’ll get over it,” Howie replied and he set his cup down.

“Are we talking about the same guy here?” AJ grumbled grimly, “Did you not see him bouncing off the walls for the past twenty years? This is going to crush him.”

Howie sighed and got up, tired of the negativity brought to his house, “Okay, I know AJ likes to be a downer sometimes, but you,” he said, pointing at Kevin, “You used to be a positive thinker, right? There are millions of people that have gone through what Brian is going through, and a lot of them turned out just fine. He’ll just have to get used to it. You’ll just have to get used to it.”

“Yeah, but-,” Kevin started.

“No. I do not want you guys to bring this air of negativity into the situation. Not at all if Brian is there to see it. If we are going to be supportive, which is what I intend, we are going to be an obnoxiously force of positivity, got it?”

AJ’s mouth hung open and Kevin looked at him with a stunned expression. It wasn’t often that Howie took charge like this and gave them a number. He was right; of course he was right. AJ sighed and Kevin nodded reluctantly. “Right, okay,” Kevin mumbled.

“Right,” Howie confirmed, “So we’ll just have to drag him through this, he’ll be fine. And then maybe he will eventually appreciate the fact that you saved his life with that decision you made. Maybe, eventually, we will all appreciate it,” he said, looking pointedly at AJ.

“Fine,” the younger man grumbled.

“Good,” Howie muttered and sank back into his chair.

“So where is everybody?” he asked. The past week, he’d gotten used to everybody hanging around his house, as his was closest to the hospital. It had become a bit crowded with all the families staying there. It seemed awfully quiet now with just AJ and Kevin there.

“At this hour, I’d say they’re asleep,” AJ grumbled, throwing Kevin a pissed off look, “though I saw Leighanne and Baylee leave for the hospital ten minutes ago. Said they were gonna meet up with Nick.”

Howie and Kevin stared at him in silence and he threw up his hands in defense, “Hey, don’t look at me, I was just as surprised as you are. You know, considering he hasn’t been in touch for six days and now all of a sudden, he is.”

Kevin shrugged, not knowing what to make out of it, “Well, let’s just hope they don’t get yelled at.”