"Are you going straight to the lawyers?" Allie asked.

June nodded.

"Is anyone going with you? I have a shift at the firehouse in an hour, but Sam's free if you need someone," Ezekiel offered.

Over by the car, Sam chuckled.

"I'd be honoured but useless. Legal stuff is not my area of expertise," Sam  laughed.

"Thanks for the offer, but I'll be fine," June shrugged.

"Well. In which case, I guess we're off. Let us know how things go," Allie told June and began to move towards the car.

"Thank you for coming. We really appreciate it. not just the guys being pallbearers, but with a week old baby I really hadn't thought you'd want to be here," June said and shook her hand.

"Nonsense! You're practically family. and young Hunter doesn't care where we are as long as he's fed," Allie chuckled.

A few seconds later, Dixon found himself enclosed in a hug.

"Take care, Dixon," Allie told him before she gave Emily some sound advice about studying while Dixon stood there, wondering if stuffing his hands into his pockets was still out of the question.

Soon, the cemetary was empty apart from the three of them.

June sighed, and dug out her car keys. 

"I'm proud of you two today. It wasn't easy living with him, and its not easy letting go, but you made me proud and behaved like true mourners," June said and headed off to their old, but reliable car.

A short while later, Emily was dropped off at the train station for her return to what she called the real world at university, and Dixon was at home, enjoying a rare day off. June had gone straight to the solicitor's office to finish whatever last wishes his father had.

Dixon's mind was drifting when the door to their modest flat opened and his mother burst in swearing under her breath.

Dixon sat up and wanted to ask questions but was silenced by a hand motioning him to be quiet. He rarely saw his mum this agitated and turned the TV off to better grasp whatever the situation was.

June slapped a thick envelope on the kitchen counter before she picked up her phone and dialled a  number.  

"Philip... This is June. You said to phone you once I knew...  It's debt free... " June said into the phone as she paced the floor.

Dixon got up the courage to look at the evelope.  He pulled a few papers out, among them his own birth certificate and the deeds to the house they lived in until Dixon turned 13.

"According to this paper, Ricky never owned shit! the house was always mine!" June  said into the phone.

She grabbed a piece of paper from Dixon and shook it.

"... yes, but according to this, I owe the council 15 years worth of property taxes," she continued.

Dixon could hear a voice on the other end.

"No! I'm not keeping it!" June huffed.

For a few minutes she listened to the voice on the phone.

"They've given me a two week deadline," June replied after studying another piece of paper.

Dixon looked over her shoulder to see the words "final invoice", on a piece of paper. The sum at the end was higher than any he had ever seen.

June shook it and focused back on the conversation.

"They can repossess..." she said.

The other person cut her off.

"Sell? It's a shithole, Philip. I won't get half," June replied, sounding defeated.

Eventually she nodded.

"Okay. We'll gather the troops. Thanks Philip. Give Fiona my best," June sighed into the phone and hung up.

It looked as if the air went out of a June shaped balloon as she sunk into a kitchen chair. Her worried eyes lifted to look at Dixon who was focused on the invoice.

"That's a lot of money,  he eventually said.

His mum chuckled softly.

"Turns out that Ricky transferred the house to me when he couldn't pay the taxes and still didn't pay them..." she grinned grimly.

Dixon sat and leafed absentmindedly through the rest of the papers.
There were a lot of stuff he had no idea what meant, but mostly he was trying to keep his hands busy while looking for a solution.

"I could get a job. Another one that pays better than Maddox," Dixon offered.

June sighed and stilled his hand.

"No, Dixon. You're going to focus on school. You're not going to be bogged down by this," she smiled.

"But this is a lot of money, mum!" Dixon said and pointed to the final sum of the invoice.

"Well. Philip Shaw is going to phone the council, but our best bet is probably to fix the house up and sell it," June sighed.

Dixon nodded.

"The mortgage is, for some weird reason, paid. So if we break even on the sale, we're free," June said and stood up to start cooking.

Dixon stood and started turning to his room before he thought of something.

"Mum..." he said.

"Hmmm?" June replied from the inside of the fridge.

"We're not going to actually live there, are we?" He asked.

June straightened up and looked at him.

"Goodness, no!" She finally smiled.

Dixon finally, for the first time in hours as if he could breathe properly.

"We're going there this weekend. Early, kiddo. So no sleeping in! To see if there's a lot of stuff that needs fixing before we sell," she smiled reassuringly.

Dixon nodded.

"Maybe you can see if any of your friends, Luke, Kevin... want to do something? I probably won't need you at the house all weekend," June told him.

Dixon frowned. He didn't want to see the house he grew up in. He hadn't been there for more than three years, but just the thought of it brought up memories he'd rather forget.
His hand moved to the scar on his scalp. And then he looked at his mum. Her voice was stronger now, but he still remembered the sobs, the sickly sounds of flesh pounding flesh. And he saw his mother's hair, how tufts had turned grey.

"Nah. I'll help you," Dixon said quietly.

June looked at him again with a knowing smile.

"All right. But perhaps you want to phone Kevin anyway. It's been a while since the two of you hung out," June replied.

Dixon nodded. He did miss his old friends. Their lives had never followed the same path as his, but somehow it hadn't ever mattered.

"I'll go finish some homework," he said and left for his room where he fell into his desk chair with his hands over his face.

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