Mason stood there, frozen in shock. When he finally found his voice, he spoke nothing but hysterics. "What?! No! He can't be! I just left him. . . oh God, why did I have to fight with him? Why?! He probably died with a broken heart. And it's all my fault." Mason's hysterics turned to cries.
Trying to comfort his nephew, Jed grabbed his 5 foot 10 inch nephew in a hug. "It's not your fault, Mase. It's not your fault. He had a bad heart."
Mason shook away from Jed's arms, and shouted, "But it is my fault, Jed. If I didn't fight with him. . . if I didn't get his heart all worked up, he'd still be here."
"Mase, listen to me. Listen to me. It's not your fault. My brother is. . . was a very stubborn man. He would have insisted you get in an argument. That's what he loved to do. It isn't your fault, kid." Jed tried to take his nephew back into his arms, but Mason managed to escape and run out of the Oval Office.
When Mason took off running, he had no real direction. Just in the opposite way of where he was. Turning a corner, he came to a sudden stop as papers started to fly everywhere.
"I'm sorry." Mason said before looking up to see who it was that he ran into.
"Mase! Is that you?" Josh exclaimed, excited to see this young Bartlet.
"Yeah, it's me." Mason said quietly.
"I thought you were graduating from Duke today, what are you doing here?" Clearly seeing that Mason was upset, Josh patiently awaited an answer.
"I got in a fight. . . with Dad." Mason closed his eyes as he let his emotions over take him, a tear fell down his left cheek.
"It couldn't have been that bad, Mase. Wanna come in my office and talk about it?"
"He died." Mason said quietly, but firmly as he stayed right where he was.
"Come on. Let's go to my office." Josh said in a quiet and tender tone.
Mason followed, not knowing what else to do. When they entered the office, Josh pointed to one of the chairs sitting in front of his desk, as he sat down on the other, and turned it to be face to face with Mase.
"We got in a fight. I told him I didn't want to be a lawyer. He always tried to get me to be a lawyer. Always wanted me to follow his footsteps." Mase stared down at the ground. "That's not me, Josh. It wa. . . it was him." Mason surprisingly enough, had adopted a very calm tone. ~~~ "Oh Jed, I'm so sorry." Abbey embraced her husband after finding out about her brother-in-law. "Does Mason know?"
"He does now." Jed said softly.
Abbey gazed at him with tear filled eyes, "You talked with him?"
"He showed up here, an hour after. . . he didn't know. . ." Jed said with a heavy heart.
"How'd he take it?"
"He took off running." Jed paused. "Said the last time they saw each other, they were arguing. . . He thinks it's his fault, Abbey."
Abbey thought for a moment before speaking quietly, "Jed, Mason is a sensitive kid. We'll help him through this. We will."
TBC. . .