Hannah, Philip and Julie say goodbye to Jim and head off home.
As they enter No. 32, Philip smells smoke and Julie realises something's on fire. Philip shoos her and Hannah out and then dashes into the kitchen. The bin by the kitchen is well and truly alight, but Philip grabs an extinguisher and manages to put it out.
Sitting with Gaby at the table, Bert picks up a skimpy piece of underwear that she's working on and asks how it's supposed to keep you warm! He winces suddenly and Pam and Gaby both ask in concern what's wrong. Bert says it's just a bit of heartburn, but Pam tells him that not down there it isn't; she wouldn't be surprised if it's his liver. Bert gets up and goes to lie down. Doug arrives home and says he's got some work to do, and he asks Gaby if he can use the table. Gaby says she'll just be ten minutes. Doug says tersely that he thought they had a table set aside for her, but Gaby tells him that his father's resting in there. Doug mutters that he'd forgotten His Majesty was staying with them. He goes on that his father expects them to rearrange their lives for him; he's the most selfish man he's ever met. At that moment, Bert emerges from his room and overhears the end of what Doug was saying. He says to his son:
BERT: I thought after all the time that's passed, we might at least be able to talk to each other – maybe not as father and son, but...
DOUG: It's too late. You weren't there for me when I was a kid, and I don't expect you to start acting like my father *now*.
BERT: Douglas, that's not what I meant.
DOUG: I've said all I'm gonna say. We've got nothing to talk about.
With that, Doug heads off to his room. Pam tells Bert that she's sorry. Bert says he needs to talk to Doug; there are things he's got to say to him while he's still got the chance.
Wayne is at No. 22, where Benito tells him that he knows nothing about the rules for the paintball game. Wayne explains that it's pretty simple: *he'll* have one team and Jim will have the other. Benito asks Wayne if he can be on *his* team, as Wayne has had Army Reserve training. Wayne nods that he *has*, but that's no substitute for real combat experience like Jim's. Benito frowns:
BENITO: Combat experience?
WAYNE: Yeah – in Vietnam.
BENITO: Vietnam...? Well, that was a long time ago. I'd still prefer to be on your side.
With that, he thanks Wayne and heads out. When he's gone, Benito joins Rick in the kitchen. Rick tells his father that he's been thinking about this trip to Italy: he's a bit worried about taking three weeks off school; he'll be missing a lot of classes and there's the swimming carnival too. Benito stares at him and remarks that he never fails to amaze him!
Standing at the front door, Jim asks Philip if he has any idea where Michael has gone. Philip shrugs that his bag's gone and most of his clothes; he's on the run, all right. Jim comments that it's hard to believe a kid so young could be so disturbed. Julie joins them and tells them that Hannah's asleep: she was really upset – she was so happy to be coming home. Jim tells her and Philip gently to try and get some sleep.
The next morning, Wayne is out for a run when he bumps into Bert and comments that he's out early this morning. Bert replies that he thought he'd better get out of the house for a while. Wayne asks him if he hasn't cleared things up with Doug. Bert says he tried to clear a few things up with him but it's like talking to the wind. Wayne presses:
WAYNE: How's he going to feel if you die tomorrow? Your pride's one thing, but do you really want to lay that guilt on him?
BERT: No, of course not, but it's not up to me, mate. I've done all I can. See you later.
With that, he walks off.
A while later, Bert is in the kitchen at No. 28 when Doug emerges from his room. Bert tells him that he's been thinking about what Doug said last night, and Doug was right: it *was* selfish of him to leave the kids and his mum the way he did; Doug's got every right to be angry with him and he's sorry. Doug, however, says coolly:
DOUG: And what difference does that make now? It can't bring mum back. It can't bring back that part of my childhood I lost when you went away.
BERT: Doug, that was years ago. Now, I am here now, asking you to forgive me.
DOUG: I never *asked* you to come here.
BERT: I see. It's too late for me to say I'm sorry, but it's not too late for you to be angry. Look, I just hope you don't look back on all this one day and feel as sorry as I do. I suppose I might just as well pack up and go, then... Is that what you reckon?
DOUG (nods): I think it might be best for both of us.
Julie is scrubbing the kitchen floor. Philip is trying to clean the burnt counter, but he exclaims that it's a real mess; it's going to cost a packet to fix it. Julie suggests that maybe they should renovate. Philip smiles that she can get things fixed up the way she wants then! Julie murmurs that she wishes *everything* could be easily fixed. Philip tells her that there's no way Michael's coming back – and even if he did, there's no way he'd let his son poison their relationship again. Julie says sadly:
JULIE: Philip, when you moved out to Lassiter's, I felt so alone... as if I'd been abandoned. I felt you really couldn't love me if you could do that.
PHILIP: Julie... I *do* love you. It's just that Michael had me convinced that... well, you know... it's like Loretta all over again.
JULIE: He nearly had *me* convinced, too.
PHILIP: I'll never leave you again, Jules. I swear.
Doug is ranting at Pam and Gaby that they don't know what's between him and Bert; they *couldn't*. Pam insists that she *does* understand – but she can see Bert is trying to heal things between them so why does he keep pushing him away? There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Doug opens it to Benito, who invites him to join his and Wayne's paintball team. Doug says uncertainly that he thinks Jim wants him on *his* team. Benito points out that Jim can be dominating and overbearing. Doug shrugs that he guesses Jim *does* take things too seriously at times. Benito welcomes him to the team!
Wayne and Bert down a drink and Wayne tells Bert that he'll be sorry to see him go. Bert says he's going to miss their games of chequers. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Wayne opens it to Gaby – who spots Bert and tells him that she *thought* she'd find him there. She turns to Wayne and asks pointedly what kind of friend would sit there and let Bert drink. Wayne retorts:
WAYNE: The kind of friend that lets a bloke make his own decisions. I reckon Bert's old enough to look after himself, don't you?
Bert says he'll take his leave. He shakes Wayne's hand and goes to pick up his bag and coat. As he does so, a bottle of pills fall out and Gaby picks them up and asks what they're for. Bert quickly grabs them and says they're nothing. He heads out. When he's gone, Gaby asks Wayne suspiciously what the pills are for. Wayne tells her to ask Bert. Gaby shrugs that she read the label; she'll ask her mum. Wayne says quickly that he doesn't think she should do that. Gaby looks at him sharply. Wayne sighs and tells her:
WAYNE: The pills are painkillers. Your grandfather's got cancer of the liver. He hasn't got long to live.
Rick is serving behind the counter and Philip asks him if he's looking forward to his trip. Rick shrugs that he guesses so. Philip says he's surprised Debbie hasn't mentioned it. Rick explains that he hasn't told her; chances are he won't be going anyway. At that moment, Benito comes in and asks Philip how he'd like to join an unbeatable paintball dream- team! Philip grins that if he was on Benito's team, it wouldn't be unbeatable! Benito then spots Brad sitting at a table and goes to try and coerce *him*. Brad, however, says war games really aren't his thing. Benito presses that if they can't get enough people they'll have to cancel the whole thing. Brad gives in and says he'll do it to make up numbers.
Hannah is playing with Cracker on a pile of washing on the kitchen floor as Julie suggests to Philip that Michael's friend Jordan might know where he is. Philip, however, tells her that Michael wouldn't risk getting in touch with his friends; it's up to the police to find him, and the courts to decide what to do with him. Julie says she's going to ring Jordan anyway – it's worth a try. She tells Hannah to go and get changed and Hannah places a dirty towel gently over Cracker and leaves the room. Julie then asks Philip to put the washing on for her. Philip picks up the pile of clothes from the floor and heads out into the laundry. He puts the clothes in the machine and pours powder into the drawer. He then sets the machine going. He never notices that Cracker was lying amongst the pile of washing when he picked it up...
Gaby murmurs to Wayne that she still can't believe it; Bert never said a word to *any* of them. Wayne hands her a box of tissues. As she takes one, Gaby tells him that she owes him an apology for what she said before: she thought this was a family thing and that he was interfering. Wayne comments that Bert should never have kept it a secret from them. Gaby laughs through her tears:
GABY: He's just too stubborn to tell dad how much he needs him... and dad's too stubborn to forgive him. They're as bad as each other!
WAYNE: That's true!
Wayne smiles suddenly that they just agreed on something: that's the first time that's ever happened!
Julie is still cleaning in the kitchen when Philip comes in and asks if Jordan told her anything. Julie retorts that he was no help at all; she'd swear he even sounded *pleased* when she told him Michael was missing. Hannah comes in and asks where Cracker's gone. Julie shrugs that she doesn't know, and she asks her where she saw her last. Hannah points:
HANNAH: Right there, on that pile of washing.
Philip looks at Julie and cries in horror:
PHILIP: Oh no...
Pam and Brad are saying their goodbyes to Bert, Pam telling him that she'll miss him round there. Bert asks her to say goodbye to Gaby for him. Pam tells him to write. Bert then tells Doug that he's got something for him: his sextant. He goes on:
BERT: If you've got one of these, no matter where you are in the world, you'll always know the way home, and I want you to have it.
DOUG: I can't. I know it means a lot to you, but I'm not a sailor; I'm just a builder – like my grandfather – and I've never had trouble knowing where my home was.
BERT: Yeah, well, I suppose you wouldn't get much use out of it. Goodbye, then.
Doug shakes his hand. Pam tells Bert quietly to leave the sextant with her and she'll give it to Doug when he's calmed down. With that, Bert heads to the door and walks out. Pam and Brad stand there looking upset.
Hannah is playing with Cracker as she sits on the couch with Philip and Julie, who tells her that he'll be fine. Philip grins that he must have jumped out when he got the detergent. Hannah sighs:
HANNAH: Why are things always going wrong round here?
Julie tells her gently that she knows the last few days have been upsetting for everyone, but everything's going to be fine now – she promises. Hannah asks Philip:
HANNAH: What if you and mum split up forever?
JULIE: We *didn't* sweetheart.
PHILIP (gently): Everybody has problems – and we all make mistakes. The trick is not to make the same mistake twice.
Benito is playing with toy soldiers on the coffee table when Rick comes in. He quickly slips back onto the couch! Rick asks him if he's discussed the trip with Mr. Duncan yet. Benito nods that they discussed it and they agreed – that Rick's definitely coming with them. Rick exclaims in shock:
BENITO: Mr. Duncan and I were so impressed that you were so concerned about taking time off from school... we thought it was such a responsible attitude, we didn't want you to feel you were being punished for it. So, we're going to make sure you take some work with you! So don't worry: it's settled – you're coming with us!
Gaby is crying angrily:
GABY: How could you let granddad go without even saying goodbye to me?
Pam tells her that he wanted to see her, but he was a bit upset and he wanted to get away – but she'll be able to see him when he gets back from his trip. Gaby sobs:
GABY: You don't understand. We might never see him again. Mum... granddad's *dying*.
PAM (taken aback): Dying?
GABY: He's got cancer of the liver.
DOUG (from across the room): Are you sure?
GABY: He didn't want anybody to know. He came here to make his peace with you. He thought it would be the last chance he ever had – and now he's gone.
Doug sits there looking shocked.