Joan's babysitting and working on her homework. Rocky's up reading a comic. Joan warns him he'd better start to get sleepy, because his mom is due home soon. Rocky: "It's all right. She won't yell at me. She's too guilty about going to night school." Eight going on nineteen. Joan asks what he's reading; it's Modern Vampires. She wonders if the modern ones are any different: "I mean, do they improve substantially?" Rocky says they don't. Joan puts her homework aside and gets down on the floor next to him, asking, "Seriously, Rocky...do you know why you're so interested in this stuff?" He doesn't look up at her, and his face just kind of twitches. She asks if there's something bothering him: "Maybe something you'd like to tell me? Maybe something you tried to tell me before, but I wasn't listening to you, so..." He looks up and says that something is bothering him. Joan's all ears. Rocky: "The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918? It killed more than twice the amount of people who died in World War I. So why is it still an obscure point in history?" Indeed, kid. ["If I recall correctly, and I may not, the armistice was signed while that epidemic was peaking in the U.S. So that news cycle might have something to do with it." -- Sars]
Just then Sylvia comes home, and Rocky scampers off to his bedroom. She walks in and asks Joan, "He was up, wasn't he?" Joan admits he was, and says she's not much of a disciplinarian. Sylvia doesn't care, because she's in a good mood, having just passed her latest exam and found out that her babysitter's coming back. Apparently she found Hawaii's humidity too much for her hair. Sylvia says, "Yeah, so tomorrow will be your last day with Rocky." Joan's disappointment is obvious, and Sylvia asks, "You went and got attached to him, didn't you? He has that way with people." Joan admits she did, and then adds that she's concerned about him, because he seems to think he's dying. Sylvia tells her, "He is dying." Joan: "You mean like...dying dying?" Sylvia: "There's another kind?" She explains, as Joan's eyes fill with tears, that Rocky has cystic fibrosis, for which there's no cure. I knew that had to be it, but I've known a couple of people with CF. Sylvia: "He's going through a good spell right now. They call it a grace period." Joan: "But he could grow up and stuff?" Sylvia explains in a matter-of-fact way, "It's an unpredictable disease. He has an aggressive form. He's had a lot of episodes. There's scar tissue in his lungs. It's...pretty unlikely he'll survive another infection." Yeah, and I'll bet it's a picnic trying to pay for his health care on a waiter's salary, too. Joan wipes her eye a bit and thinks. Sylvia says softly, "You don't have to come tomorrow. This stuff freaks people out." Joan says she wants to come: "I'm just...I'm sorry." Sylvia: "Me, too." Rocky comes out, pretending to have just woken up. He says he wanted to say goodnight. Sylvia tries to straighten her face up before replying, "Yeah, like I'm buying that." She says she'll tuck him in, and tells him to say goodnight to Joan. Joan sadly watches them go into the bedroom.