New Arrivals
Author-Alicia
Titles

Blood and Friendship, Part One
by Alicia

Summary: A death in the family of one of the MC detectives could forever change Blair’s life. Rated PG for language.

Notes: This is an AU universe that delves into the endless possibilities of a certain long-haired anthropologist's parentage (not the Reconciliation universe).

Disclaimer: I do not own the charcters of TS. If I did I'd take much better care of them! They are owned by Pet Fly and Paramount.

(Day1: Evening, the Loft)

Sir Jonathan Bartlett, Esquire
1423 D Street Complex, Suite 14202
Cascade, Washington

The large manila envelope was turned over and over, its recipient staring at the return address curiously.

"Chief, are you gonna open it or worry it to death?" Jim asked from the kitchen.

"Huh, oh…open it, I guess. Just don't understand why an 'esquire' would be sending me anything in the mail." Blair said absently, turning the envelope over in his hands again.

"There's a real easy way to find out." Jim said knowingly.

"How?"

"Open it." Jim said with a chuckle as he spooned spaghetti onto their plates and carried them to the table.

Blair gave his roommate a smirk and carefully opened the envelope and pulled out several neatly typed documents, his _expression growing to one of absolute confusion.

"Blair, what is it? Is something wrong?" Jim asked with concern.

"It's a letter requesting my presence at a will reading…"

"Some rich eccentric from your many travels…"

"Jim," Blair said earnestly, meeting Jim's gaze, "it's a request to hear the last will and testament of one-- Douglas Adam… Rafe!"

"Douglas Rafe? You mean Douglas Rafe, as in Brian's father?" Jim said in surprise. "How do you know him?"

"That's just it, man, I don't." Blair said in confusion.

"Maybe Naomi knew him?" Jim offered.

"I really don't know, Jim." Blair shrugged.

"Maybe Brian knows something…he's due back in tomorrow afternoon from Seattle, the memorial service was today." Jim said.

With another shrug Blair put the papers back in the envelope. "Until tomorrow then."

*********************

(Day 2: Afternoon, Brian's apartment)

"It's open," a tired voice called from inside the apartment.

Letting themselves in, Jim and Blair found Brian sitting in near darkness, his head resting on the back of the couch, one arm covering his face, the other loosely holding a beer.

"How ya' doing Brian?" Blair asked in concern.

Removing his arm from his face he looked at the other two men in surprise. "Huh, what are you guys doing here?"

"We thought we'd come by a see how you were doing." Jim said.

"Wonderful." He remarked sarcastically, adding apologetically, "Sorry, guys. It hasn't been the best few days.

"Its okay man… bet it was rough."

"I'll live." He said dejectedly.

Everyone was silent for a moment before Brian suddenly came up off the couch and headed for the kitchen. "Want a beer? I need one."

"No, we're okay." Jim responded; taking in the four empties all ready on the coffee table and giving Blair a look. "You sure you need another one?"

"I'm a big boy, man, don't pull that father routine here." Brian snapped out loudly, slamming the refrigerator door. Sentinel ears picked up on the quiet comment that followed. "Got on just fine without one the last eight years…"

"We're just concerned is all…"Blair started.

"Duly noted." Brian said sullenly as he came back into the living room and plopped down on the couch. "Goodbye."

When neither man made a move to leave Brian glared at them. "Doors that way."

The shaman looked silently to his sentinel, raising an eyebrow and giving a worried nod toward their friend. The silent question was answered by an almost indiscernible nod from the sentinel.

Blair approached Brian and gently pulled the now empty bottle from his hand and gathered up the other empties from the table. "How about some coffee? When was the last time you ate, Brian?"

Brian's bleary eyes followed Blair as he made his way into the kitchen. "Don't need a nurse maid Sandburg…just bring me another beer."

The sentinel smiled slightly and gave a shake of his head as he made himself comfortable in the recliner. He watched his guide and friend do what he did best; comfort and guide another, who was, at the moment, lost, alone and hurting.

Brian flopped back on the couch and said quietly. "You'd think they'd be happy with one less hand in the mix…less they have to fight over and share. They act like a bunch of damn jackals circling a carcass."

Having nothing to offer but trite platitudes, Jim stayed silent and Brian didn't seem to notice the lack of response. Several moments later Blair came back into the living room carrying a tray of sandwiches and coffee. "Here you go."

Glaring at the tray Blair sat on the table Brian snapped. "I said beer Sandburg not coffee and sandwiches, I don't need a nurse maid and this isn't a damn tea party!"

Unperturbed by his friends outburst Blair sat down on the couch and calmly picked up a cup of coffee and held it out to his friend. "You're right, you don't need a nurse maid but you do need a friend… and I am gonna stay right here and see to it you're taken care of until you feel well enough to take care of yourself…"

"God, you make it sound like I'm recuperating from some damn disease or something."

Brian groused, finally taking the coffee.

"No, not a disease but definitely something. Grief, man, it's a powerful emotion and it can leave you as exhausted and hurting as any physical wound." Blair stated as he handed Jim a cup of coffee.

And so for the next hour they talked about the current cases at work, the next poker game, anything to get Brian's mind off the last three days. Between Blair's quiet coaxing and Jim's 'quiet' bullying they managed to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee into Brian.

"Brian, I also came by to ask you something…actually show you something." Blair said hesitantly, holding out the envelope he had retrieved from his backpack.

"What's this?" Brian said with a tired sigh.

"We were hoping you could tell us." Jim stated.

Brian leaned forward, putting his coffee on the table, before taking the envelope. He opened it slowly and scanned the documents with tired eyes, his brow furrowing in confusion. "What the hell is this?"

"I don't know, it came in the mail yesterday."

"How do you know my father? Why in the hell would you be 'requested' to the will reading?" confusion and hurt evident in his voice.

"I don't, man. As far as I know I've nev…I never met him."

Silent for a moment, Brian sighed and rubbed a hand over his face as he slumped back into the couch, the documents hanging loosely in his lap. "You going to go?"

"Do you want me too?" Blair asked.

"Can't say that it wouldn't be nice to have a friendly face in the crowd." Brian's voice held quiet defeat.

Sitting down beside his friend Blair asked. " Are things that bad?"

"I was about as welcome as a leper at the memorial service yesterday." Brian said. Almost as if he were talking to himself he continued, "Nothing at all has changed, eight years and it’s still as fresh as the day I left; the same disapproval. Old money, old family, old business…guess who broke that mold and decided to think for themselves."

"Don't approve of you being a cop, huh?" Jim sympathized quietly.

"I could have gone off and traveled the world…played the spoiled playboy, got a girl pregnant in every port; could have took my dutiful little place in the company, lost the company millions and not receive nearly the disdain from them as I do for having the audacity to embarrass them by getting a mere job." Rafe explained with a flourish of one who is slightly inebriated. "But, hey, not just any job, no…hell, I had to go and get a job as a 'public servant' for god's sake."

Brian just shook his head sadly before resting it wearily on the back of the couch. A few moments later the sounds of even breathing told the Sentinel that his friend had finally succumb to the stress of the past several days. 'Not to mention the six beers on an empty stomach.' He thought.

"Come on chief, let's get him into his bed, he doesn't need stiff muscles on top of everything else he's feeling." Jim said.

Coming back out of Brian's bedroom several moments later Jim asked, "You're planning on staying aren't you?"

"Yeah, thought I'd be here for him when he gets up in the morning." Blair said, gathering up the tray and taking it back into the kitchen. "I'm afraid if we leave him alone he'll just sit here and let his pain overwhelm him. I just don't understand it Jim, could they really hate him that much just because he's a cop? How could a father, a family do that to each other?"

"Some people just don't know what's really important, chief." Jim said. " I think I should call Simon and fill him in…don't know if Brian should be back to work in the state he's in?" Jim said.

"Maybe just call and say he's gonna be a little late, but I don't think you should be calling off for him…he's only going to stand for so much hovering, and he's definitely not used to the blessed protector routine." Blair said with a smirk. "Besides, it might do him good to be surrounded by friends…and ya' gotta' admit the chaos of the bullpen will certainly take his mind off things."

********************

(Day 3: Morning, Brian's apartment)

The smell of brewing coffee pulled Rafe from his restless sleep. He rolled over with a loud groan, pulling a pillow over his face to block out the offending daylight streaming through his window. "Just shoot me now."

"Good morning!" Blair said coming into the bedroom and holding the steaming mug out to his friend." Bet you could use a shot of caffeine right about now."

Brian threw the pillow aside and scooted up into a sitting position eying Blair suspiciously. "What are you doing here? What time is it?"

"Coffee first, questions second."

Brian took the offered coffee and inhaled the strong aroma, taking a careful sip of the steaming brew. "So what time is it?"

"It's about nine thirty."

"Damn, I'm late for work! Why didn't you wake me?" Brian exclaimed slamming his mug down on the nightstand and jumping up from the bed only to be overwhelmed by a wave of dizziness that sent him reeling back onto his bed.

"Guess that answers that question." Blair said with a smirk. "You needed a chance to rest."

Brian just sighed loudly resting his spinning head in his hands.

"Now, why don't you take it a little slower this time?" Blair said with a grin. "Jim called Simon and let him know we'd be a little late today."

Without raising his head Brian said sheepishly. "I seem to get the impression I was a real ass last night…I'm sorry."

Blair rested a hand on his friends shoulder. "No, you were hurting; a lot by the sounds of it. I'm just glad we could be here for you. And you may just need more than a friendly ear when a certain someone's partner gets a hold of him today. Henri called late last night, wondering why said partner didn't call him when he got back to town."

"Oh, boy. I am in a lot of trouble now aren't I?" Brian groaned, looking up at Blair who just grinned a knowing grin.

"Breakfast in fifteen." Blair chuckled, leaving the room and returning to the kitchen.

"Uhg…breakfast." Brian grimaced, holding his stomach and falling over into his bed.

They swung by the loft so Blair could shower and change and made it to the bullpen by eleven that morning. Blair made his way over to Jim's desk, giving the detective a thumbs up to indicate Brian was feeling better this morning.

Brain endured the platitudes from his co-workers with more grace than he had shown the night before, but after two hours of his partners endless hovering he had had enough. "Henri, if you ask me how I am one more time I'm going to shoot you!"

"Geesh, see if I try to be nice to my partner…who didn't even call me and let me know he was back in town last night…" Henri said, not able to keep all the hurt out of his voice.

"Henri, I really just wanted to be alone…wallow in some self pity for awhile…" Brian said apologetically.

"Then 'hair boy' struck!" Henri chuckled. " Jim said Sandburg stayed with you last night."

"Yeah, he let me rant and rave for awhile then poured my sorry ass into bed." Brain said with a snort.

"Hey, if hair boy can tame the savage beast known as Ellison image what he can do for the average man on the street." Henri joked, then added seriously. "I hope he helped you out…and you do know that I'm here for you too."

Smiling, Brain said. "I do H., I do."

******************

(Day 5: Afternoon, Esquire's office)

Two days later Brain picked Blair up at school. They had chose to ride to the esquire's office together; taking a measure of comfort from each other's presence.

"Probably just wants to cut me out of the will in front of everyone," Brian mused as they rode the elevator to the fourteenth floor. "Not like I've had a hand in the business anyway…"

Blair eyes swept quickly over the other four people as he and Brian were led into the inner office; a balding, heavy set, nondescript man sat in a far chair beside a woman whose dark, upswept hair made her angular features look hard, sitting beside her was an older, distinguished looking, gray haired man. By the window stood another impeccably dressed man, taller, with strawberry blonde hair and handsome features not unlike Brian's. 'Guess that would be brother Todd.' Blair mused.

The three people seated remained so; merely giving curt nods of acknowledgment as the two men entered the office, while the man standing by the window turned and strode purposefully towards them. Blair noticed the man was at least three inches taller than Brian and his gray-green eyes were cold and calculating.

Without even greeting his brother, Todd Rafe looked Blair up and down. "So, you must be the mystery guest. Why exactly are you here?" The tone was snide and arrogant.

Blair held up his hands in a placating manner and said lightly, "Wish I knew man."

"Don't start Todd." Brian ground out, taking a step forward. "Let's just get on with what we came here to do and go our separate ways."

"Fine by me. Don't understand what possible reason you have for being here either." Todd threw out snidely.

Blair raised an eyebrow and caught Brian's eye. "That would be?" he whispered.

"My brother…Todd." Brain answered, finding a seat.

Sitting next to Brian, Blair whispered. "And those three happy people over there?"

"Cousins." Rafe whispered, pointing first to the gray haired man, the woman, and then to the balding man on her other side. "Gerald, Harriet and Randolph Jr., Uncle Randolph's spawn."

"Brian!" Blair snorted at Brian's comment about his cousins.

Brian just shrugged and gave Blair a weak grin just as the door behind the heavy mahogany desk was opened and a distinguished looking gentleman came out to stand behind the desk. He eyed the assembled group, put on his glasses, and without any preamble got right to the point. " I am Jonathan Bartlett, I have been Mr. Rafe's esquire for the last ten years and I thank you all on behalf of Douglas Rafe for attending this reading of his last will and testament. It is actually a video tape made approximately two months prior to his rather 'untimely' death."

"Just get on with it." Harriett said impatiently.

"Why is he here?" Todd demanded, glaring at Blair.

"All your questions will be answered as you view the video tape." The esquire said.

The esquire slid the tape into the VCR and turned on the TV then moved quietly to the back of the room and dimmed the lights.

Blair studied the man in the video. Douglas was sitting in a high backed Victorian style chair in front of a glowing fireplace in what Blair could only assume was a study or den of some sort. Instead of a business suit and briefcase one would expect from this sort of proceeding the man was in a smoking jacket and held a closed photo album on his lap.

Blair felt Brian fidget next to him and realized that the man in the video had yet to say anything. He looked around the room and noticed the other occupants were equally uncomfortable and impatient.

Finally the man in the video spoke. "Getting antsy are we…afraid you might not get what you think you deserve. Well, you definitely won't be getting what you really deserve…but I've got to leave the business and assets to someone, and since this lot is all I have to choose from…."

It took a minute for the insult to sink in and there were some quiet grumbles that Blair couldn't make out.

"Let me put your greedy little minds at ease. Your current status and positions within the company are safely locked into place, no one is taking your 'toys' away from you…but there are quiet a few assets that need to be reallocated."

The group fidgeted impatiently.

"Now before I can pass out the rest of the 'goodies' I have a story to tell you…"

"God, does the old man have to be so damn melodramatic all the time." Todd groused quietly.

"This story is about lust, deceit and betrayal; concepts not foreign to anyone in this room, I'm sure. In retrospect, I can say that Randolph and I shouldn't be too disappointed in how the lot of you turned out…after all, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree…."

The image of Douglas Rafe looked out at the assemble crowd with a clear look of condescension. After another uncomfortable moment of silence the man in the video opened the photo album on his lap and pulled out a five by seven photo and held it up to the camera. The picture showed a much younger Douglas Rafe sitting on a beach--his arms wrapped around a smiling redhead.

Blair gasped and sat up straighter. "Naomi!"

"Beautiful isn't she; and so loving and vivacious, so very passionate about life…and love. Damn, but this woman could make you feel alive. Met her on a business trip in sixty-eight, where isn't important." Douglas Rafe continued. "For those of you slow on the uptake, this is where the lust comes in. Figured it out yet?"

"He didn't." Todd intoned quietly.

As if answering his son, Douglas continued, "Yes--I had and affair. If the times had only been different, the circumstances…" the man shook his head, a wistful look appeared in his eyes for the briefest of moments before disappearing and he continued somewhat gruffly, "but they weren't. So lust leads to lies and deceit…it didn't take her long to question the clandestine atmosphere of our relationship and soon put two and two together."

The impatient fidgeting had all but stopped. All eyes remained riveted to the TV screen as the story continued to unfold. "When she found out I was married…and moneyed…she was furious, walked out on me then and there. Damn if her temper didn't equal her passion. So it should have ended then and there…a brief fling to be forgotten? Ah, but you see, my deceit was answered with deceit. When she walked out on me she took more than my heart she took my child…she was pregnant."

Douglas Rafe looked at the photo for a moment before setting it aside to continue. "The thing is, I could have taken this to my grave with me. No one ever need have known…she never once contacted me to tell me of the child--our child, never once asked for money or assistance, never begged me to leave my wife and family to be with her. I might have gone to my grave without even knowing it myself except for an accident of fate some seven years ago…seems a child genius was being given a rather large, prestigious scholarship by one of our then subsidiary companies…."

The man in the video pulled out a large, yellowed newspaper clipping. The attached photo clearly showed a young Blair Sandburg, accompanied by his mother, accepting the oversized scholarship check. "I did the math, did some checking, and even had blood samples compared…showing a ninety-three percent probability that this young man is my son."

Douglas Rafe put the clipping aside with the photo and crossed his arms over his chest. "Still not convinced? How about a DNA test, would that do it for you? Mr. Bartlett has the name of the lab and doctor who has my sample DNA swab…all Mr. Sandburg need do is have his DNA compared to mine."

All eyes, including Brian's, turned to face the stunned young man, as the voice of Douglas Rafe continued. "Now, with that story told I bequeath the shares, and position as CEO of the west coast offices to my son--Blair Sandburg…." As if expecting outbursts from those in attendance, the image of Douglas Rafe raised an eyebrow and stopped speaking. He wasn't wrong.

"What!"

"This is ludicrous."

"He can't be serious…"

Clearing his throat, Douglas continued. "Are you through? Now, I have followed Mr. Sandburg's academic career at Rainer and while impressive falls miserably short in skills needed to properly run a multi-million dollar corporation and so I shall make one last attempt to make another son see the folly of his ways and offer him a similar position in the west coast office…it is my solemn hope that my son does not again turn his back on his family or his responsibilities…can I count on you now Brian?"

Brian lowered his head, shaking it sadly: his father's disappointment still painful to him after all these years.

"The division of all remaining assets and properties are clearly spelled out in the printed copy of the will." Douglas reached for a wine glass and raised it in toast. "Cheers."

The video ended the lights immediately came back up.

"He can't possibly expect us to believe this…this, fairy tale he's concocted." Harriett said angrily.

"Does seem strange that he would wait seven years to make this--revelation." Gerald mused. "Why wait until his death and spring it on us; he's known of this alleged love child for seven years now and has obviously never shown any interest in communicating with the boy before now. Of course, his intent could be to tie up everything in probate…"

"He was always a vindictive, spiteful bastard." Harriett cursed, pacing in agitation. "Couldn't leave well enough alone, he just had to go and tie the noose around everyone's neck…"

"Well, this whole thing is absolutely preposterous. He's in his grave and he's still making my life miserable. I'll be dammed if I'll let his… indiscretions, or this…person, ruin me, or this company." Todd ranted.

Brian had had enough of his brother's insensitivity and jumped up from his seat angrily. "Excuse me? What in the hell was that supposed to mean? I think you better be a little more careful about throwing around threats."

Todd stared down at his brother. "And you! What in the hell was that all about? Father practically forbade your name to even be mentioned in his presence for the last eight years and now he welcomes you back with open arms and hands over a multi-million dollar company, and expects us to stand by and let it happen."

"Douglas Rafe was of sound mind when he saw to the division of the company assets and properties…and it will stand up to any challenge to Brian Rafe's right to an equitable share of the assets." The esquire interjected. "And as for the validity of Mr. Sandburg's claims, the DNA test will determine that."

Blair had sat quietly through the angry exchange going on around him, his eyes staring blankly at the now dark TV screen. He did not acknowledge the statement of the esquire.

"The tests should be done as soon as possible so as to cause as little disruption in the course of business as is necessary. When would you like to schedule the test Mr. Sandburg?" the esquire prodded.

Growing worried by the continued stillness of his friend, Brian placed a hand on his shoulder. "Blair?"

Startled by the touch, Blair jumped up and stumbled to the door. "I gotta get outa' here. I need some air."

"Blair, wait…" Brian called after him.

"It's quite a lot for someone to take in at one time, perhaps you should give him a few moments." Bartlett told Brian.

"Oh, let the little bastard go. DNA test be dammed, I am not about to hand over that company to that…ruffian." Todd spat out.

"Does that include this 'ruffian' too?" Brain asked icily.

"Now, Brian, I think we all need to calm down-- that's not what your brother meant…"Gerald started to say.

"No, Gerald, I don't know…but I'm listening." Brian said evenly, never taking his eyes off of his brother.

"Of course it wasn't." Harriett said. "But surely you don't believe any of this…and you, you have your…life, here in Cascade and surely after all these years wouldn't want to tie yourself down to a company you walked away from…"

"I did not walk away." Brain interrupted angrily, turning to face the woman. "It was never my choice to abandon my family or my obligations. I became who I needed to be, and it wasn't to hurt dad or anyone else…"

"Enough." The esquire said. "Everyone needs a chance to step back and review the options in front of them…no decisions need be made today. You will each be given a copy of the will and the video tape to review with your own lawyers, but I assure you it is in perfect, legal order…every 'I' dotted and 'T' crossed, as they say. Now if you will excuse me I have another client in twenty minutes."

*******************

Brian found Blair slumped down against the car. "Blair, are you all right?"

"Huh. Yeah. Sure. Just great! It’s every day one meets their dead father, inherits an entire company and a bunch of hateful relatives…man, it's like something out of an Agatha Christie novel or something."

Brian unlocked the passenger door and helped Blair up. "We're not all hateful."

"Oh, man, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that." Blair said slumping into his seat.

"It’s all right. They aren't any happier with me right now either. This just really took everyone by surprise. I'm sure it will all settle down in a while." Brian said, walking to his side of the car and getting in.

They rode in silence for several minutes before Brian asked. "So have you decided on anything…what you're going to do? It’s your call. You can pursue this or you can walk away from the whole mess."

"Thanks Brian, that really means a lot." Blair said, adding with a tired sigh. "What I really need is to talk to my mom, but I have no idea where she is right now."

"So, the DNA tests then? That would certainly clear up any doubt or mystery." Brian said.

"I guess it would."

"When?"

"When what?"

"When do you want to go to the lab?" Brian asked.

Blair eyed Brian. "You seem to be in an awful big hurry about this?"

"Aren't you? I'd think you'd want it cleared up as soon as possible." Brain answered.

"And just which way do you want it cleared up?" Blair asked suspiciously.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Brain snapped.

"It's clear how the others feel about all this, how about you? The bone closet really got rattled hard today." Blair said.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't in as much shock over all this as anyone else, but I don't see any reason to get so worked up over it, or go making rash decisions, without more facts." Brian explained. "I just want you to know, whatever you decide to do, I'll support your decision."

"Thanks."

"You have the tests done and we find out whether its true or not and go from there."

"And if it does turn out to be true?" Blair asked hesitantly.

Brian pursed his lips and furrowed his brow as though in deep thought before saying, "At least it was a younger sibling that fell out of the closet."

Blair looked at his friend, unsure for a moment, until he saw Brian's lips curl into a grin. "So you're gonna be okay with this, however it turns out?"

"It's a shock, that's for sure; but what's not to be okay with? We didn't do anything wrong Blair--our parents made choices and now we have to choose how we are going to live with those choices." Brian said seriously. "You did not do anything wrong--remember that."

****************

As they pulled up to the loft Blair asked, "Come up for awhile?"

Looking over where Jim's truck was parked Brian hesitated. "Uh, I don't know Blair…"

"He's gonna find out sooner or later."

"You just don't want to tell him by yourself." Brian grumbled climbing from the car.

"Well, now that you mention it…" Blair trailed off.

"So, chief, find out what the esquire wanted?" Jim asked from the kitchen. "Hey, Rafe."

"Hi, Jim."

"Yeah…well, it was quite an--informative afternoon." Blair stuttered.

"And…" Jim prodded.

Brian and Blair just looked at each other, like children who had been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

"Well? What did you find out?" Jim questioned, eyebrows raised.

"Well, how to begin…"

Growing exasperated and a little concerned Jim turned to Rafe. "Just what exactly happened this afternoon that has Sandburg so speechless?"

"Short version or long?" Blair asked.

"Lets start with the facts, why don't we, and expand our horizons from there." Jim said impatiently.

Giving Brian another look and taking a deep breath the words tumbled out of Blair like a waterfall. "RafeandIinheritedacompany'cause DouglassRafeclaimsI'mhisson…."

"What was that?" The sentinel asked, waving his hands towards the couch. "I think it's time to expand those horizons, gentlemen."

*****************

"So, one, Douglas Rafe--Brian's father, claims to be your father." Jim reiterated, and both men nodded.

"Two, now that he's deceased he's naming you in his will." Jim continued to verbally sort out the story he'd just been told.

"'Bout sums it up." Blair said.

"And you believe this?" Jim asked both men.

"Don't know what to believe." Blair answered. "Naomi never gave me any clue who my father might have been."

"Anything's possible when my father is involved." Brian commented.

"And he offered you proof of this claim?" Jim questioned.

"At the moment it's somewhat circumstantial and could easily have been manipulated…I just can't figure what possible reason he'd have for doing this." Brian answered. "My father never did anything without a reason."

"So, what’s the next step?"

"A DNA test." Blair said.

"When?"

"Whenever," Blair sighed. "I guess the sooner the better."

"Is it what you want to do? Do you want to find out?" Jim asked with concern.

Looking over at Brian, Blair nodded. "Yes, I do."

"And you can't you think of any reason your father would have for lying, Brian?" Jim asked.

"To be honest I just don't know." Brian said, shaking his head. "Even if that were the case, and it is a lie; why? DNA only takes three or four weeks. And besides, my father would have no idea how soon Blair would be able to contact your mother to confirm or deny the claim. I just don't understand what he hoped to gain?"

"Unless what Gerald said was true and he's doing it to be, well, vindictive… and tie up the whole thing in probate." Blair mused.

"Gerald?" Jim asked

"Cousin." Brian said absently.

"Yeah, Jim, I'll have to introduce you to my 'maybe' relatives some time." Blair said sarcastically. "I think I'd rather swim in a tank of sharks."

"Did they threaten you chief?"

"No, not in so many words. But to say they were very unimpressed with me would be an understatement." Blair said with a shake of his head.

"Brian, you know your family. How ugly could this situation get?" Jim's hard gaze fell on Brain and Blair recognized the blessed protector mode start to kick in.

"I'm not sure I like what your implying here, Jim." Brain said defensively.

"I'm not implying anything. We are talking about assets in the millions here." Jim pushed. "I need to know if you think Blair is in any danger."

"They may be a whole lot arrogant…and right now they are definitely extremely angry--but, that doesn't make them criminals…if that was what you were implying." Brian said angrily.

"No, Brian, that's not it." Blair tried to pacify the angry man. "Look Jim, they didn't treat Brian any better than they treated me."

"So maybe you both could be in danger." Jim commented, looking at Brain he continued. "You know the scenario, you've worked enough cases. You've seen people, families; kill for a whole lot less. You said yourself you haven't seen these people for eight years."

Brain shook his head, waving his hands. "No, you're wrong about this. Sure, I'll admit they're angry as hell and they'll damn well fight this in court…"

Brain jumped up from the couch and headed to the door, grabbing his coat off the rack. "Look, I can't talk about this anymore. I've got to get out of here…" With that he was out the door, slamming it behind him.

"That went well." Blair said sarcastically. "Did you have to go and attack his family like that?"

"I did not attack his family." Jim said defensively. "I just asked some questions."

"Yeah, like you were interrogating a perp, you did." Blair pointed out. "Jim, Brian is our friend, remember--and, he just may be… my brother. You didn't see how they acted, how they treated him. He certainly can't expect any support from them…he needs it from us."

With a tired sigh Jim said. "All right, chief, I'm sorry."

"It's not me you need to be apologizing too."

******************

(Day 6: Morning, CPD)

Jim found Brian in the break room the next morning.

Brian merely nodded his head in acknowledgment as Jim poured himself a cup of coffee. When he turned to leave Jim stopped him. "Can we talk a minute?"

Brian stopped and turned to face his co-worker. "Talk? Did you forget to accuse one of us of something last night?"

"Look, Brian, I'm sorry about that. That wasn't my intention…Blair gave me an earful about it all ready." Jim said, offering lamely, "You know the kind of trouble that boy can get himself into without even trying."

"Yeah, I know." Brian said with a dry chuckle, shaking his head. "Not sure if the Rafe family is ready for the Sandburg zone."

"So, we square here?" Jim prodded.

"Yeah, we're okay."

"Sandburg said he was going to have one of his business professors read over the will this morning then call Bartlett about scheduling the test." Jim said.

"Has he tried to get a hold of Naomi yet?"

"Started leaving messages last night." Jim said. "I swear, we need to slap a GPS transponder on that woman so we can find her when we need her."

"Even if we did, there's no guarantee that she would tell Blair the truth." Brian commented. "Naomi had every right to be angry at my father…when she walked out."

"Yeah." Jim agreed, looking intently at Brian for a moment. "So how about you? How are you dealing with all of this?"

"I don't know…I don't know what to think about any of this, or what I'm going to do about the whole thing with the inheritance. I've got to deal with that with or without Blair's involvement, and I can't say it's anything I'm looking forward to either." Brain answered, adding. "But, this business with Blair and the DNA tests, he knows I support him all the way on this. No matter what he decides, or what we find out--he's still my friend."

****************

(Rainer University)

Blair was staring blankly at the blue book in front of him, having read the same sentence over and over. Finally he just closed the exam booklet and tossed it on the stack, it was no use, he just couldn't concentrate today.

Professor Blankenship, from the business law department, had scanned the will for him that morning and agreed the will was valid providing the information was accurate and would most likely stand up in any court.

So now, all he had to do was take a simple DNA test, a simple swab of tissue could drastically alter his entire life. Did he want it to be true? Did he want to have an instant family, access to millions of dollars…it was hard for him to imagine such things, especially in light of the fact that Douglas Rafe apparently knew about him for the past seven years and never made any gesture to acknowledge him before now. He certainly didn't like the idea of being used just to make five other people's lives miserable.

But then there was Brian, his friend, maybe even his brother; and he did like the sound of that. He wondered for a moment, who would dog him more--his blessed protector or a big brother; or maybe that blessed protector streak of his Sentinel would extend to said guide's brother and old Brian would have an over protective sentinel on his tail all the time. 'I could share.' He mused.

"Ha, they'd probably turn it into a tag team sport and I'll never be allowed out of the loft." He muttered darkly.

A knock at his door startled him out of his thoughts. "It's open."

"Todd! Harriett!" Blair exclaimed, jumping up from his seat and coming around his desk. "What are you two doing here?"

They were both looking around the room, distaste clearly written on their faces, but Blair was determined to make an effort to get along with the man and woman who just might prove to be his sibling and cousin. He cleared off two chairs for them.

Harriett took the seat offered, while Todd remained standing. "So, quite the academic…since sixteen. Just how long does it take to get a degree?"

"I'm working on a PhD, in Anthropology, and I also teach here." Blair supplied, his patience all ready feeling very tested.

Taking her eyes off the clutter of the room she looked at Blair. "I'm sure you can appreciate how this whole affair has been quite a shock to all of us…"

"Definitely not something I ever expected, that's for sure." Blair commented.

"Yes, I just bet." Todd muttered.

Throwing her cousin a dark look, Harriett cleared her throat lightly before continuing. "I'm sure this is as unsettling to you as it is to all of us. So we are prepared to offer you two hundred and fifty thousand dollars right here and now, to end this whole affair, get it put behind all of us."

"What, two hundred and fifty grand!" Blair exclaimed. " Why?"

"Why?" Harriett questioned.

"Yeah, why? Why not wait? This could all be some kind of elaborate hoax or something. Why are you so willing to give a total stranger a quarter of a million dollars?" Blair asked suspiciously.

"The mere implications of this allegation could have serious ramifications…unsettling stock holders…" Harriett started to explain.

"Ah, so it's an embarrassment?" Blair said knowingly.

"I think you'd know we'd be lying if we said otherwise." Harriet countered.

"Well, I can at least appreciate your honesty."

"We just want to put an end to this charade here and now. No DNA tests, no lawyers, no courts."

Blair looked at them for a moment, taking a deep breath and letting it out. "But if it isn't just a charade…if it is true; the money is what then, a payoff? For companies worth millions of dollars and I'm just supposed to what… walk away from all that?"

Harriett and Todd exchanged looks before Harriett continued. "I'm sure if push came to shove we could offer you a small yearly allowance…make sure all your student loans are paid off…maybe even finance some expeditions."

Blair nodded his head as though giving the offer consideration. "And this would be in exchange for what exactly? For making no claims now or in the future against the estate?"

"What is the problem here? You stand to make a fortune either way here." Todd exploded. "Just take the damn offer and save us all a lot of future difficulties on this."

"I don't understand why the hesitation Mr. Sandburg? Why does it truly make any difference to you? Douglas never made any attempt to reconcile with you in all those seven years." Harriett put forth. "You're an academic for god's sake not a businessman. Now I think our offer is more than fair…you get something for your troubles and we maintain the status quo."

"You're right about one thing, I don't know a damn thing about your business. Hell, I don't even know exactly what business it is, but I am a quick learner." Blair said raising an eyebrow.

"You would really go through with all of this…despite the problems it would cause?" Todd asked angrily.

"To be honest with you, I don't know yet what I'm going to do; or what I would do if this all turned out to be true." Blair said, adding earnestly. "But there is one thing we need to get straight here and now. For me this isn't about money, never will be. You can have your precious company. What it is about is family. I work with a man I consider a very good friend; and now I may be able to call that man my brother. I don't have the luxury of so much family that I can so easily discard that chance. That, ladies and gentlemen is what I am not willing to give up."

"Oh, such sentimentality." Todd scoffed. "So, it's all about family is it? How very touching."

Getting up in Todd's face Blair said evenly. "I don't care what you believe. There is only one person's opinion I care about. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a class to prepare for."

Harriett got up from the chair and laid a hand on Todd's arm, looking to Blair before they left. "We will be in touch."

"I'm sure you will." Blair shot back, closing the door in their faces.

*******************

"Hey Jim, seen Rafe around anywhere?" Blair asked coming into the bullpen later that afternoon.

"He and Brown are meeting a snitch, should be back anytime." Jim answered. "So how you doing today? Find out anything?"

Dumping his pack beside the desk, Blair plopped down in the chair. "Professor Blankenship said the will is solid and legal…as long as the content is accurate."

"So, decided what you're going to do?"

"Yes, I have. I called Mr. Bartlett, the test is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon."

"And you're sure about this?"

"Yeah, I am." Blair said.

"Need some company?"

"Uh…well, I was hopin' to ask Brian. See if he wanted to go with me." Blair said guiltily looking at his sentinel. "You're not mad are you?"

Jim smiled. "No, chief, I'm not mad. I think Brian would appreciate the gesture."

*******************

(Day 7)

"Ready to go?" Brain asked, popping into Blair's office the next afternoon.

"Ready as I'll ever be." Blair replied.

They rode in silence until the Ashford Medical Building came into view. "Brian, you're okay with this aren't you? You know I'm not doing this because of the money, right? I'm not doing this to embarrass you or your family or upset stockholders or anything. I mean, for twenty years I've had this hole in my life. I just want to know the truth, need to know."

Brain spared Blair a confused glance. "I know that Blair. I thought we'd all ready been through this, where is all this doubt suddenly coming from?"

"And I don't expect you to take sides either." Blair piped in.

"Take sides? Blair what is this all about?" Brain asked as he pulled into the parking lot.

When Blair didn't answer him he asked again. "Blair, did something happen?"

"It was…well, it was Todd and Harriett. They sort of showed up at my office yesterday--offered me money to drop the whole thing." Blair said sheepishly.

"They did what?" Brain exploded, slamming his hands on the steering wheel. "I can not believe this…"

"I will Brian. I'll drop this right now if you think I should." Blair quietly.

Brian looked at Blair thoughtfully. "I know you would. That's why I can't ask, wouldn't ask or even consider it. You have a right to know, no matter what anyone else thinks or says."

"Thanks Brian."

"You ready for this?"

"Lets do it."

******************

"Hey partner, Blair do all right this morning?" Brown asked coming from the break room as Brian came off the elevator that afternoon.

"He's fine, a quick swab or two and it was done. Now for the hard part--waiting." Brian said with a sigh. "Dropped him off at the University."

"What's this stuff?" Brian asked seeing two file boxes on his desk.

"You tell me…came about an hour ago, I signed for it." Brown said with a shrug, plopping down at his desk.

Brian noted the return address was the Seattle office and opened the nearest box, pulling out a file. "Business cases, quarterly reports, stock reports… from the last two years by the looks of it. God, I hate this stuff. You think police reports suck--try this stuff."

"Why are you getting it? You thinking of jumping ship here partner?" Brown asked.

"No. Absolutely not! This stuff was boxed up at my dad's place." Brian said, reading over a letter from the lawyers. "Apparently if I decide to turn down dad's offer I have to audit the records and make a decision in the next thirty days whether I'm keeping my stock."

"Maybe your dad was trying to spark an interest."

"More like trying to dictate from the grave." Brain said angrily, tossing the file back in the box. "He's dead and he's still trying to run my life."

******************

(Day 8)

The bullpen was its usual flurry of organized chaos when Todd Rafe stepped off the elevator of the CPD, his eyes swiftly perusing the activity on the floor.

"Can I help you, sir?" a uniformed officer asked.

"Yes. I'm looking for… Brian Rafe."

"The detectives desk is through those doors, fifth desk back on the right." The officer directed.

"Thank you." Todd said, making his way to his brother's desk.

Brian's back was to the door when Todd found the detective's desk and he stood impatiently waiting for his younger brother to finish the phone call and turn to acknowledge him. When it didn't happen immediately, Todd cleared his throat loudly, causing Brian to whirl around, startled.

Not taking his eyes off his brother, Brian ended the phone call. "Look, TJ, you keep your ears open and get me that information before the weeks out and there will be an extra fifty in it for you. Yeah, usual place, see you then."

"Todd?" Brain questioned hanging up his phone and indicating a chair.

"Oo, the exciting world of police work in action, no doubt." Todd said sarcastically, taking the offered seat.

"You clean up in the boardroom and I'll clean up on the streets." Brian shot back. "I assume this isn't a social call?"

"I've tried calling you three times in the last two days, we need to talk." Todd said, adding disdainfully, "Maybe if I called for a clandestine meeting in an abandoned warehouse I could possible get your attention focused on more important issues…"

"I've been working on catching the bad guys. And right now I have three open cases that need my immediate attention." Brain shot back. "Now what is it you want?"

"We need to discuss this matter… with the will." Todd said, looking around the busy bullpen.

"Todd, what is there to talk about?" Brian asked. "Until we get the test results back, all we can do is wait."

"That's just it. This person…"

"His name is Blair." Brian interrupted.

"My lawyer called, Blair went through with it and had the DNA test done." Todd said, adding accusingly, "And you, you are not only encouraging him in this, but you actually went with him."

"He has a right to know, Todd."

"What right does he have to come in after twenty years and do this to our family. Or have you forgotten--you are a Rafe?"

"I know exactly who I am and what my responsibilities are." Brian said angrily. "Look, the kid isn't doing anything to you or anyone else. Hell, it should be him who feels put upon, having all of this dumped in his lap. He didn't ask for any of this."

"Why don't you prove you feel some responsibility to this family for a change and do something about this…situation." Todd ground out.

"And what exactly would you have me do?" Brian asked curiously, despite his anger.

"This person…Blair," Todd amended at the glare he received from Brian. "He's all ready your… friend, and he values your opinion. So just convince him to drop this whole thing and take the deal that Harriett and I proposed to him the other day."

Brian shook his head and leaned forward on his chair. "What is it going to take to get you to understand that for Blair this isn't about the money; the kid just wants to know who his family is."

"Well it's not this one! I've had about enough of this maudlin sentimentality about family. If father was so interested in family why didn't he let us know about this little bastard of his seven years ago?" Todd's voice rising in his agitation.

Jumping from his seat, Brian came around his desk to face his brother. "That's enough Todd. You happen to be talking about a friend of mine."

"Yes. All about your little friend…can't wait to call that bastard your little brother, can you?" Todd said snidely. "You couldn't take the responsibilities of your real family so you'll turn to the little bastard…maybe you should be the one to have a DNA test done. At least the bastard shows some interest in the Rafe name."

"Get out of here, now. " Brian yelled furiously, grabbing Todd's jacket. "And any further discussion can be made through our lawyers."

The escalating argument had gotten most of the bullpen's attention and brought the Captain from his office; surprised to see it was Brian accosting a well-dressed man in the middle of his bullpen.

"Stand down, now, detective." Simon ordered. After a few tense seconds Brian complied with his captains order. "Is there a problem here, gentlemen?"

"No captain, there is not. This…gentleman was just leaving." Brian ground out, his eyes meeting Todd's glare.

Todd was first to break their eye contact, turning the captain. "Yes…captain, was it? The detective and I are quite through…for now."

Simon watched as the man turned and strode purposefully out of the bullpen and enter the elevator, all the while being watched by the obviously furious detective. "Care to explain that display?"

Without looking at his captain, Brian snapped. "No, I would not. It's a family matter."

Stunned by the young man's attitude, Simon could merely watch as Brian stalked out of the bullpen towards the break room. He couldn't remember ever seeing the man so angry or upset before.

The bullpen slowly got back to work, with Simon was still standing by Rafe's desk trying to understand what had set off his normally even-tempered detective, when the elevator doors opened and deposited Ellison and Sandburg at Major Crimes.

"You okay Simon." Jim asked. "Is something wrong?"

"Do either of you know what's up with Rafe?"

"Why would you think anything is 'up'?" Blair asked, bobbing on his heels.

"Because our normally even-tempered detective just had a major blow up, in the middle of the bullpen, I might add, with someone who claimed to be his brother; then bit my head off for asking about it." Simon explained.

"His brother! Todd came here?" Blair exclaimed. "Man, he must have found out about the tests…"

"Tests? What kind of tests?" Simon questioned worriedly. "Is he ill?"

"Oh, no Simon, nothing like that. It was just a DNA test." Blair was quick to assure him. "Let's just say his father was full of surprises at the will reading the other day."

"What? Is his paternity being called into question?" Simon asked, adding suspiciously, "And just why is it you seem to know so much about all of this?

"Captain, I really don't thing the middle of the bullpen is a good place for this discussion." Jim said.

"This should really come from Brian, sir. It's his family after all." Blair said.

"It's all right Blair. Everyone will find out sooner or later, especially if it's true. That is unless you want to keep it a secret." Said a tired voice from behind them.

Brain approached the men at his desk, giving his captain an apologetic look. "I'm really sorry about all that captain. I never expected Todd to come here, make a scene…"

"I'm sure that conversation wasn't a pleasant one." Blair sympathized. " Are you okay?"

With a heavy sigh and a glare only a captain could give Simon directed the three men to his office. "That's it, gentlemen. When it disrupts my bullpen and upsets my detective to the point of assault it suddenly becomes my business."

*******************

"Brothers!" Simon exclaimed, looking back and forth between the two young men. "What does your mother say about all of this Blair?"

"Wish I knew. I haven't been able to reach her yet." Blair said glumly.

"So the DNA test was for you, not Brian?" Simon questioned, asking, "Did Douglas Rafe provide you with any other evidence of his claim?"

"Circumstantial things, sir; like photographs and news clippings, and supposedly, a blood paternity test." Jim offered. "Until we can get a hold of Naomi, the only thing that will clear this up is the DNA test."

"So you two could have this hanging over your heads for the next month at least?" Simon asked.

"Looks that way." Brian said.

"Is this going to interfere with your work detective? Am I going to see any more outbursts in my bullpen?"

"No, sir. It will not happen again." Brain answered definitively.

*********************

"Damn that boy." Todd yelled, stalking into his hotel suite. He went straight to the bar and poured himself a drink.

"Problems?" Harriet said, coming from her adjoining suite.

"Brian is 'supporting' that little bastards search for his family. We do not need these problems right now." Todd said.

"Mr. Sandburg and his 'alleged' claims are the least of our worries…" Harriet began.

"How so? Did you get him to agree to the payoff?" Todd interrupted hopefully.

"No. But there are other ways to make sure he has no claim to the money." She said coyly.

"And those would be?" Todd asked curiously, raising a questioning eyebrow.

"While the doctor was less that cooperative about helping us out of our little predicament, I did obtain a copy of the labs employees. I'm sure there is someone in need of a little extra in their paycheck." She said triumphantly.

"So, a little bait and switch with the records and that takes care of our Sandburg problem." Todd said raising his glass in a toast. "Good thinking."

"Don't celebrate just yet. We still have Brian to contend with, and that will prove a little bit more difficult." She said with a frown.

"How so? Once Sandburg is out of the picture Brian will be too. He has no reason other than that kid to hand around." Todd questioned, refilling his drink and pouring one for his cousin.

"Not that easy…according to the will Brian has to decide in the next thirty days whether he's going to take Douglas up on the offer…"

"Which we know he won't do, so what's the problem?" Todd queried.

"We know he won't come back…but it's clearly spelled out in the will that he has to maintain a place as the alternate on the board to keep his stock options; even Brian's not foolish enough to give up his shares of stock. Which means he has to do a yearly audit of the books, and attend at least two board meetings a year."

"Damn, if little brother--the cop--starts asking the wrong questions…" Todd growled, downing his drink in one gulp.

"Precisely." Harriet agreed. "And we don't have much time either. Apparently, he got a box of files from the Seattle office just yesterday."

******************

(Day 10)

"Hey, Jim, what's up? Thought Brian was picking me up." Blair said climbing into the truck. "He wanted me to help him look through all that business stuff."

"He and Brown got a call from a snitch." Jim said, pulling out into the evening traffic. "This might be the break they need on their case.

"So, what's for dinner?" Blair said after a moment.

"Well, since I was planning on eating alone tonight…" Jim hedged.

"Oh, no, Jim. Geesh, I turn my back for one minute and you try to sneak off to Wonderburger." Blair scolded. "I'm sure we have the fixings at home for stir fry."

Jim grumbled about pushy guides, but was pleased he was getting a good home cooked meal and he didn't have to be the one to cook it. He wondered how often he could use the ploy of Wonderburger to trick his friend into doing the cooking when his musings were interrupted by the radio crackling to life.

"All units, officer down, repeat, we have an officer--warehouse district four on the pier--all available units respond." Said the voice of the dispatcher. "Repeat, use caution upon approaching, shots fired."

Jim and Blair looked at one and other. Blair's voice tight with worry, "Jim, that's where Brian and Henri meet TJ."

Jim nodded grimly, as he flipped the siren and picked up his mic. "This is unit ten, responding."

Six minutes later Jim pulled the truck to a screeching halt behind Brown's car, followed moments later by three squad cars and an ambulance.

Looking around wildly, Blair said worriedly. "Where are they? Jim, find them, where are they?"

The sentinel extended his hearing and soon located the two detectives at one side of the nearby warehouse, hiding behind several old oil drums. "Over there, chief, behind the drums."

Jim saw Henri pop up from behind the drums and wave to them, calling out to the officers. "We've got a sniper, over in that direction. No shots fired for the last two or three minutes."

Taking charge, Jim directed the uniforms to secure the perimeter and search the building Henri had indicated, before allowing the EMT's to go to the injured detective. Jim and Blair followed.

"Brian!" Blair gasped. He started to go to his friend, only to be stopped by Henri.

"Let the paramedics work, Sandburg."

Seeing that the paramedics were assessing the condition of the downed officer, Jim turned to Henri. "You okay H.?"

"Fine man, they weren't shootin' at me."

"What do you mean, 'they weren't shooting at you'" Jim questioned. "What exactly went down here?"

"We got a message that TJ had something for us on the Mercer case…came down here to meet him, when 'bam', no sooner did we get out of the car and the fireworks started." Brown reported. "We split for cover, trying to figure where the shots were coming from--realized it was the second story of that warehouse over there…" Brown turned to indicate a building cattycorner to where they were standing.

"Realized my cover was for shit, so Brian laid some cover for me while I went to a better spot." Brown sighed and looked over at his partner. "That's when he took one, when he popped up to give me cover fire. I was out there, if this guy was any good, really wanted to take us down he had a clear shot…but he never took it… went for Brian's position the whole time."

Furrowing his brow and looking around Jim commented. "What about your snitch?"

"Never turned up."

"We're ready to transport." One of the paramedics reported, standing to face the detectives.

"I want to go with him." Blair said, looking back and forth between Jim and Henri.

Jim looked to Henri; he knew the detective was torn between being with his partner and investigating the scene. "Sounds good, chief. Henri you can walk me through what happened here…look for TJ…let's find out who did this."

Henri sighed heavily, seeing the pleading look in Blair's eyes and finally relented. "Go with him hair boy, you call me when you find out anything, you hear me?"

"I will, I promise. Thanks H." Blair said before following after paramedics.

As the ambulance pulled away, Simon's car pulled up. "What happened here?"

Henri quickly filled in the captain on the events of the afternoon while Jim began searching the area, meeting up with the uniforms coming out of the building.

"What have we got?" Simon asked when Jim returned.

"Seven casings on the second floor of the warehouse, that's about it. No sign of TJ, or anyone else around." Jim reported, holding up the evidence bag. "Henri, where was Rafe during the fire fight?"

"Pretty much right here."

Jim scanned the area, finding six bullets lodged in the wall, knowing that bullet seven was lodged in his friends shoulder. "Found the bullets. CSI needs to dig them out of the wall and compare them to the casings. Henri, where were you?"

Henri led him to the spot where he dove for cover when the shooting had started. Jim noticed that from the vantage point of the warehouses second story window, the shooter had definitely had a clear shot of the detective.

"So we've got one cop in good cover over there, and another exposed, right in the shooter's line of sight… but the shooter doesn't take the shot." Jim mused aloud. "Why?"

"Someone set them up." Simon said tightly.

*******************

Simon and Henri found Blair sitting in the ER waiting room.

"Simon. Henri." Blair said, jumping up to meet the men. "They're getting ready to take him to surgery to remove the bullet. They also found a big gash on his back, he must have fell on some glass or something, probably need stitches."

"So he's going to be okay?" Henri asked.

"Doctor seemed confident." Blair said, looking around. "Where's Jim?"

"Back at the station, he and Joel are going through Brian's old cases and see if anyone is out." Simon reported.

"Why?"

"Whoever our shooter was, he was gunning for Brian." Henri said grimly.

Three hours later, the surgeon came into the waiting room. "He lost quite a bit of blood but he's stable now. We removed the bullet and stitched up the gash on his back. We're going to keep him for several days, give him full spectrum round of antibiotics to stave off any infection from the wounds."

"Can I see him now." Two voices asked simultaneously.

The doctor raised an eyebrow at the two men.

Simon grinned, turning to the doctor. "Detective Brown is Rafe's partner and Blair is his…brother."

"I’ll give you both ten minutes then your both out of here so my patient can rest." The doctor conceded. "He's been moved to four west."

Blair and Henri looked at one and other and headed quickly towards the elevator.

"Doctor, I'll try to keep the 'boys' visiting to a minimum so Brian can rest but he won't be alone. I'm going to have to arrange for a guard to be posted at his door while he's here." Simon informed the doctor.

"A guard? Whatever for?"

"Because his injury was not related to police work, someone tried to kill him."

****************

Later that evening, and despite the fact that Simon had all ready posted a guard outside his detectives hospital room; Blair and Henri were standing outside Brian's door, arguing quietly about who would stay the night, when a commotion at the nurse's station drew their attention.

"I'm not asking you woman, I'm telling you--no, I'm demanding to be allowed to see my brother immediately." A loud voice demanded arrogantly.

"Todd, what are you doing here?" Blair asked in surprise, coming down the hall, followed closely by Henri.

"I heard Brian had been injured. Is it serious? Is he going to die?"

Brown frowned at the callous and almost, it seemed, expectant way the man asked questions about his partner's health. "Let's not go puttin' my partner in the ground just yet, shall we?"

"And you would be?" Todd asked snidely.

"Uh, Todd, this is Detective Henri Brown. Brian's partner at the station." Blair said. "Detective, this is Todd Rafe, Brian's older brother."

The two men eyed one and other suspiciously, neither extending a hand to shake.

"Well, Todd…Brian was shot this afternoon. It hit him in the shoulder. The doctor's operated and removed the bullet…he's stable now." Blair reported.

"Just in the shoulder?" Todd raised an eyebrow.

Brown and Sandburg exchanged glances at the tone of, what seemed to be, disappointment in Todd's voice.

"He was shot, isn’t that enough for you?" Henri exclaimed angrily.

"He also sustained a large gash on his back and had to have stitches. The doctor's want to keep him for several days to make sure he doesn't develop any infection from the wounds."

"Well, can I see him?"

"No." Henri said with finality. "The doctor is allowing only minimum visitation right now. And right now he's resting."

Todd glared at the detective a moment longer before abruptly turning and heading down the hall to the elevator. When the doors closed on the man, Brown let out a sigh. "That, was Brian's brother? What a prick."

"Yeah, real charming family. Got three cousins just like him, too." Blair commented.

*******************

(Day 12)

"Hey, how ya' feeling today?" Blair asked coming into Brian's room. "You're supposed to be resting, are you sure you really want to go over this stuff? Where's Johnson?"

It had been almost two days since the shooting and Brian was feeling well enough to be antsy about being stuck in the hospital, and with having a guard outside his door. "Since you were going to be here, I called Simon and convinced him I didn't need two babysitters."

As Blair pulled files from his backpack and pulled up a chair, Brian continued. "Besides, doc says I'm doing fine and can get out of here as soon as I'm off the antibiotics; which should be tomorrow." Brian said, waving his arm with the IV line. "Besides, I'm bored out of my mind here and the sooner I look over all this stuff and signoff on it the sooner I can get on with my life."

"So is that what your going to do…get on with your life?" Blair asked quietly.

"Blair, I'm a cop, not a businessman." Brian said looking at his young friend intently. "If you need to pursue this…family issue, I'll support you, just don't count on any of them caring past how it affects their bottom line."

"What about you…your bottom line?" Blair asked, not looking up.

"Blair you’re my friend…if it turns out you’re my brother, I guess…I guess I'll have to speak to Ellison about your curfew." Brian's serious tone was belied by grin on his face at Blair's shocked sputtering.

"What…my curfew? Now just a minute here…I knew it, you're in cahoots with Jim all ready, aren't you?" Blair whined. "I'll never get out of the loft."

They spent the next few hours going over company documents and ledger accounts.

"I'm not having much luck here Brian…I really don't understand half of what I'm looking at here." Blair complained, standing and stretching.

"Well, I do, and I don't like what I'm seeing. Some of this stuff just isn't adding up, not falling together neatly…" Brian said, chewing on his lower lip.

"Something illegal?" Blair asked.

"Don't know yet." Brian said. "There are a lot of things that go on in the business world that aren't exactly illegal but walk that ragged edge of highly questionable and unethical."

"Well, I think we've had enough for one day. I'm getting hungry, and, it's about time for them to be serving you what passes for the evening meal around here."

As if on cue the door opened to reveal food services and a smiling candy stripper who set the dinner tray on Brian's cart. When she left, Brian opened the lid and made a face. "If you love me you'll bring me something from the cafeteria."

Blair laughed. "I'll see what I can do. Brown's due up in a bit, want me to hang out till then?"

"No. I want something to eat; preferably before the walking stomach gets here." Brian groused.

"Okay, okay. Find food. Gotcha." Blair laughed, leaving the room.

*****************

Half and hour later, Blair ran into Henri on his way out of the cafeteria. Blair filled Henri in on their afternoon as they rode up the elevator together.

"We may have got lucky. Forensics pulled a partial of one of the bullets they dug out of the wall…belongs to one Carl Stover, a know hit man." Henri reported on the status of the investigation.

"Hit man!" Blair exclaimed. "Someone really paid to have Brian killed?"

"Looks that way." Henri said with a sigh. "And so far none of his old collars are out and most of them would be the type to do the job themselves."

Coming off the elevator Blair gasped at the sight they saw at the end of the hall. Several doctors and nurses were scrambling into Brian's room, an orderly right behind them with a crash cart. The two men scrambled down the hall.

"What the hell is going on here?" Henri demanded of no one in particular.

"Stand aside sir." A nurse ordered, moving past the two startled men and closing the door in their faces.

An eternity later: that was in actuality closer to fifteen minutes, the door to Brian's room opened and the staff filed out, followed lastly by the doctor.

"What happened?" Blair demanded. "He was fine when I left to go to the cafeteria a half and hour ago."

"He was given the wrong antibiotic in his IV line. I don't know how it happened; it's clearly marked on his chart that he is allergic to penicillin. Anyway, we caught it in time and were able to reverse the reaction." The doctor reported. "Don't worry, we will get to the bottom of this. I just don't understand this, wrong meds aside, this patient wasn't even due for any medications for another two hours."

"So he's going to be all right, then?" Brown asked.

"Yes. He'll be fine. He's resting now. Now if you'll excuse me I need to track this error down."

Blair and Henri went into Brian's room to see for themselves that the young man was fine. "He's been here for two days and he was always given the right medication before, why the sudden mix up now?" Brown commented.

"Maybe, it wasn't a mix up. Doc said he wasn't even due for his meds for two more hours…think about it." Blair said looking around the room.

"You think someone did this on purpose?"

"I know so." Blair said, walking around the room. "I told you Brian and I had been going over some of the company files all afternoon…he said something didn't seem quite right but couldn't put a finger on it. Now the files aren't here."

"Maybe one of the staff took them?" Henri said with a shrug.

"Why? They might have moved them out of the way, but there would be no reason to take them from the room." Blair said. "Henri, I think we better call Simon.

*******************

(Day 15)

Three days after the mix up with the medications, the doctor declared Brain well enough to be released from the hospital, and he was waiting impatiently for his ride.

"Ready to go partner?" Brown said, wheeling in the wheel chair.

"Am I ever!" Brian said with a grin. "Where's Blair, thought he was picking me up?"

"He had something that had to be taken care of. He'll meet up with us at your place." Henri said, helping his friend in the chair and picking up his bag. "Let's roll."

"So, how are you really feeling?" Brown asked, as he pulled the car out into the Saturday afternoon traffic.

"Okay." Brian answered absently.

Brown spared a look over at his partner, the man was still pale from his ordeal, and he knew the business with his father's will was also weighing heavily on his friend's mind; but he also knew when it was time to act like a friend and act like a detective, and now was the time for the latter.

The detective sighed heavily. The investigation had taken a different turn while Brian had been in the hospital and it was now time to ask some hard, unpleasant questions. "You know, we didn't find anything when we went back over your old case files…"

Brian didn't respond, and Brown wasn't even sure the other man was listening to him. "I also found out it wasn't TJ who left us that message that day--he was in the tank that night drying out."

"So…maybe it was random."

"No it wasn't random." Brown commented impatiently. "It was a paid hit and they were aiming at you, partner; cause if they weren't I wouldn't still be breathin'. That shooter had a clear shot of me the whole time--you had cover?"

"So it wasn't random!" Brian snapped, going back to staring out the window. "You got a point to make?"

"Blair told me you've found inconsistencies in the company files…" Brown began, only to be interrupted by his suddenly animate partner.

"Wait a minute! Are you insinuating that this has something to do with the mess with the will…maybe my family?" Brian snapped angrily. "God, what don't you and Ellison just get off it all ready! My family had nothing to do with this, all right!"

"Whoa, hold up now partner." Brown placated. "I am not accusing anybody of anything…that company has hundreds of employees. All I'm saying is that it isn't looking to be a 'work' related shooting is all. And we're still not so sure the mix up with your medication was an accident, either."

Brian sighed heavily, resting his head on the window. "I'm sorry Henri. I'm just on edge, to much going on right now…"

"I understand partner. We'll get you through it."

The rest of the ride was made in silence.

*******************

"Welcome home." Called a voice from the kitchen, as the two men entered the apartment.

"Blair…hey…"

"Bet you could use some real food about now." Blair said coming from the kitchen, and setting a basket of bread on the dinning room table.

"Man, I'd just settle for the hot food being hot and the cold food being cold." Brian commented.

"Well have a seat and we'll see what we can do." Blair said, going back into the kitchen.

He came out a moment later with a steaming plate of lasagna. Setting the plate in front of Brian, "How about hot lasagna, warm rolls and iced tea."

"Your wonderful." Brian said. "This is great, thanks."

"Hope there's enough of that to go around." Henri said sniffing the air.

"No, I was going to let you starve." Blair said with a laugh, seeing Brown's pout. "It's on the stove, you're a big boy, fend for yourself."

"You better save some for Jim, he's heading this way and I won't be responsible if he finds all the lasagna gone." Blair called into the kitchen.

Jim showed up in time to wrestle his portion of dinner from his fellow detective. Soon dinner was done and cleaned up and the four men were in the living room.

"There's a Jag's game on tonight, you up to it?" Blair asked.

"I'm tired but it's early yet." Brian said settling onto the couch.

Brian made it to the fourth quarter before everything caught up with him. Soon he couldn't keep his eyes open and his head drooped every few minutes.

"Time for bed. Past time for your meds too." Blair said, getting up to go to the kitchen.

"Yes mom." Brian quipped.

"Guess we're calling it a night." Brown said, going to get his coat off the hook. "You're taking tonight, right; and Joel's got tomorrow and I'll take tomorrow night?"

"That's the plan." Jim concurred, following Brown to the door.

"What' up guys? We get a new case while I was in the hospital?" Brian asked.

Jim and Henri exchanged looks before Henri said. "Yeah, we've got a safe house job; protecting an assault victim…"

"What's the case?" Brain asked, interested despite being tired.

The two detectives again traded glances. "The case? The case is you, partner."

"Me? Why?"

Jim and Henri both rolled their eyes. "Don't know Brian, might have something to do with the fact that someone has tried to kill you-- twice, this week."

"Guys, really, that isn't necessary…" Brian started to protest.

Coming into the living room with Brian's meds, Blair said. "Hey, consider yourself lucky. I talked them into at least letting you stay in your own apartment. If they had there way you'd be cooped up who knows where. Now, here, take your pills."

Brian looked at his friends, finally taking the offered glass and pills Blair held out. "Pushy, pushy, pushy. I don't need a babysitter."

Henri laughed. "Night guys, have fun. And you, you behave partner."

"Night H." Jim said securing the door after the departing detective.

Brian watched the two men for a moment. "You're both staying? Fine. Whatever. I'm going to bed."

As the door to the bedroom closed Blair said quietly. "There goes one very confused and unhappy man."

*****************

(Day 16; Brian's apt.)

The night passed without incident and Joel showed up around eight the next morning to relieve Jim.

"Listen, chief, I'm heading to the loft to change then I'm going into the station for awhile. You call if you need anything." Jim ordered.

"Jim, we'll be fine, Joel's here. I'm gonna see if I can get Brian to go through some more of these files…I think whatever is going on is tied to this whole business with the will and the company."

Joel was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, Blair was on the couch with the two boxes of files when Brian finally woke up and came out of his room.

"Hey, Brian, how are you feeling this morning?" Joel asked. "Want some coffee?"

"Hey, Joel. Yeah, coffee sounds good." Brian replied, heading for the couch. "I see the next shift of babysitter's has arrived."

Blair chose to ignore his friend's petulant attitude and instead handed him a file from one of the boxes. "I know you don't want to hear this, but we really believe the two attempts on your life are some how related to all this stuff going on with the will…"

Brian was about to interrupt when Blair put up a staying hand. "You said yourself, you found inconsistencies, things that didn't quite add up. We need to keep digging…see what

else we find…who might be behind it…"

They eyed each other for a tense moment before Brian nodded. He opened the file Blair had handed him and went to work.

******************

(Day 18; Midmorning, CPD)

"We haven't located Stover yet. The APB is covering a three hundred mile radius." Simon reported to the group of detectives assembled in his office. "And so far no work related leads on who might have contracted the hit."

"What do you mean work related leads? You have other leads?" Brian asked.

The three detectives exchanged guilty glances before Simon said. "We started looking into other avenues of investigation…"

Raising an eyebrow Brian queried suspiciously. "Other avenues? And what might those be…as if I didn't all ready know. So go ahead, tell me, what have you found out?"

"We found out there was no official investigation into your father's crash. And with no eyewitnesses and no…body…" Jim started to explain.

"What? You think someone killed my father? Brought his plane down on purpose?" Brian questioned. "Why?"

"When Blair first mentioned the inconsistencies you found in the company records we started wondering about the possibility that your father's crash wasn't an accident." Jim said, adding. "We contacted the airfield where your father's plane was hangered. By all accounts he was meticulous in his maintenance of his plane. There was no distress call, no SOS, nothing to account why his plane might have gone down; which suggests a sudden problem."

"Now you want to accuse them of murder!" Brain exploded, coming out of his chair to stand over Jim. "You're not going to be satisfied on this, it seems, unless you have a Rafe to put behind bars…you want to just go ahead and arrest me since I'm all ready here."

"Brian…" Simon interjected, only to be interrupted by an angry Ellison.

Jim had come out of his chair to face his co-worker. "Brian, think about it…who stood to gain from your father's sudden death? And we can't discount the fact that there have been two attempts on your life since this whole thing began; or maybe you'd like to just wait until whoever this is comes after Sandburg next. Then maybe you'll start acting like a detective again."

"Jim…" Blair gasped

"Ellison…" Brown warned.

"Jim, that's enough. Both of you." Simon ordered, coming around his desk to stand between the two men. Turning first to Jim then Brian he continued in a tone that brooked no argument. "That was out of line detective; and you Brian, you know all avenues of investigation have to be followed."

"Brian I know it's hard. But with what you've all ready found…how can you not see that something is going on." Blair pleaded.

"Blair, you're talking about my brother for god's sakes…" Brian said.

"Whether it's Todd or someone else in that company with enough skill to pull it off--it is someone and somehow tied to the company." Jim said, exchanging a glance with Henri.

"There's something else isn't there?" Brian said, seeing the look that passed between Henri and Jim.

"Brian, some things have happened that just do not add up." Henri said. "Thinking back on it I began wondering how Todd even knew you were in the hospital. Blair was very surprised to see him there and it didn't make the news until the eleven o'clock report--but Todd was there at nine thirty."

"Is anyone in your family listed on your emergency forms?" Simon asked pointedly.

Brian sighed heavily and shook his head. "I've been… estranged, from them for eight years captain. Henri is listed first and the department in general is listed second, my lawyer is listed third. And since Blair was with me, they had no reason to contact my lawyer."

"Besides that fact he showed up at the hospital that night…we pulled his phone and bank records…"

"I assume you had a warrant." Brian snapped.

"I know how to conduct an investigation, detective. I know this isn't easy for you, and I'm trying to cut you some slack; but, I won't have you accusing this department of conducting anything but an above board investigation." Simon said in a clipped tone. "You know full well we had probable cause."

"So what did you find in your…investigation…partner?" Brian said snidely, turning to face Henri.

"A day before the shooting, Todd withdrew thirty-five thousand in cash with no indication where the money went or that it was re-deposited elsewhere."

"He runs a multi-million dollar company…of course he would be moving money around. That proves nothing." Brian said.

"No, by itself, it proves nothing. But in conjunction with all the other evidence we've obtained…" Simon began, only to be interrupted by Brian.

"Evidence. You call what you've found evidence?" Brian shouted.

"Brian, it was a contract hit--which means money…" Blair stared to point out.

"We've brought down plenty of perps that have the money to put out for a contract hit." Brian interrupted. "What about them?"

"Don't you think we looked into that? We've spent days looking everywhere and anywhere for answers, we've been all over your old cases, and all our open ones!" Brown explained, pleading with Brian to understand he continued. "Do you think it was easy for us to decide to investigate your brother for this…there just isn't anyplace else to turn, man?"

"I'm sure it wasn't hard for some of you." Brian shot out, looking at Jim.

"And what we've found is enough to get us a warrant." Simon cut in before Jim had time to react to the accusation.

"A warrant? You're going to arrest him?" Brian said shocked.

"We're going to bring him in for questioning and search his premises and offices." Simon answered.

Brian stood, shaking a hand at his co-workers. "This is to much…my father is dead and you want to accuse my brother of murder…of trying to kill me. I need some air…"

Brian stalked out of the office, slamming the door as he went and leaving the men in the room momentarily stunned.

Blair jumped up, following Brian out the door. "He shouldn't be alone like this…"

Jim turned to Simon with a lost look. "Simon, I'm sorry, but you know I'm right on this."

Leaning back in his seat Simon said wearily. "I know Jim…it has to be investigated. I just wish there were an easier way. The man has lost his father and now we're practically accusing what family he has left of murder and theft."

"I know Simon." Jim said tiredly.

******************

Brian ignored Blair's repeated calls to stop and slow down as the angry man stalked out onto the sidewalk. He was so angry, he paced back and forth in front of the building, unsure where to go.

Breathless, Blair finally caught up to him. "Brian, slow down, man."

"Go away Sandburg." Brian growled.

"No. You're to upset to be alone right now."

Brian scowled at the younger man who laughed aloud. "You gotta do better than that, man. I get that look from Simon on a good day. Now come on, let's take a walk."

"Damn, your pushy." He snapped.

After several minutes of quiet walking, Blair spared a glance over at the quiet man. "You know…nobody said those things to hurt you…they just wants to solve this case before anyone else gets hurt."

"I know, and I know procedure…that doesn't make it any easier." Brian said, adding quietly. "I know Todd has been a real jerk, and dad was not the easiest man to deal with but…"

"But--they are still your family. I know man, I know." Blair sympathized.

"I'll admit, the evidence is damming, but it’s a big company, Blair. You know that, you've seen the records…all kinds of people could benefit from dad's death." Brian said in a pleading voice.

"Brian, it's been eight years. All lot can go on, happen, in eight years." Blair said.

They walked for several more moments in silence before Brian stopped and turned back towards the station. "I need to get back."

"Are you sure that's a good idea." Blair asked; knowing Brian wanted to be there when Todd was brought in.

"He's my brother… I owe him that much." Brian said.

When the two came off the elevator Brian said. "Listen, you go ahead, I need a few minutes, you know…before I have to face everyone, okay."

"You sure."

"Yeah, go ahead. Tell them I'll be there in a few minutes."

Brian watched for a moment as Blair made his way to Simon's office before he turned and went to the stairs.

********************

"Uh, hey guys." Blair said coming into Simon's office. "Brian's feeling a little better…we went for a walk."

"So, he's coming back in?" Henri asked.

"Yeah, he is. He went to pull himself together, he feels really bad about blowing up like that…"

"We know, Sandburg." Simon sighed. "We don't like this any better. Maybe you should just take him home."

"Uh, Simon, he wants to be here…when you bring Todd in." Blair said hesitantly.

"I don't think that's such a good idea, chief." Jim said.

"Jim. Simon. It's his brother." Blair pleaded. "Hell, it might even be mine. I think we both have a right to hear anything Todd has to say."

After a moment Simon relented reluctantly. "Fine. But you both stay in the observation room. I saw what happened last time those two tried to have a conversation."

"How soon before the warrant gets here?" Blair asked.

"We're going to pick it up on the way. Judge Parker is signing off on it now." Simon said, standing and reaching for his jacket. "You find Brian, stay with him until after this goes down."

"Yeah, Simon. Sure." Blair said. "You guys be careful."

Blair followed the men to the elevator and watched the doors close before turning and heading down the hall in search of Brian.

***************

"Ellison." Jim said opening his cell phone. "Sandburg? What? Have you looked everywhere, checked the garage? Damn, all right. No, you stay there! Simon's picking up the warrant now and we're heading right over there. Won't be more than fifteen minutes."

"I don't like the sound of that; what's up?" Henri asked.

"It's Brian. He's not at the station." Jim sighed in exasperation. "One guess where he went."

"Damn." Henri cursed.

"We need to get Simon and get out of here." Jim said.

****************

Brian pulled up outside the hotel, sitting there and staring, his mind racing. 'There's an explanation. There has to be. Todd's a hot head not a murderer.'

He slowly made his way out of the car and into the hotel; finding himself at the door to his brother's suite before he knew what he was going to say.

"Brian?" Todd said in surprise when he opened the door. "What are you doing here?"

"We need to talk." Brian said stepping past his brother and into the room.

"About what? You made it quite clear with our last conversation that you didn't want to talk." The older man said sarcastically. "You chose your side of the fence on this matter."

"Yeah, I did. I chose to be a cop…a detective. And I chose to uphold the law no matter how much it might hurt." Brian said.

"What are you going on about?" Todd asked impatiently.

Brian faced his brother stonily and said. "Todd Michael Rafe you are under arrest for…"

"Arrest? You're arresting me? For what?" Todd interrupted incredulously, going to the bar and pouring himself a drink.

"Murder. Attempted murder. Embezzling. Fraud. Take your pick." Brian said. "Is that why father is dead, because he found out what was going on?"

"You think I murdered our father? He died in a plane crash." Todd said defensively.

"Oh, his plane went down all right…it's the reasons, or rather a lack of reason. There was no SOS, no report of any kind that he was in trouble…and no investigation." Brian said. "But that will change, I'm requesting a full investigation."

"God, you've been playing cops and robbers so long you see a crime around every corner." Todd snapped harshly. "It was an accident…they happen."

"Maybe, but the evidence says otherwise."

"What's that supposed to mean? What evidence?"

Brian looked at his brother thoughtfully for a moment, raising his injured arm slightly, he asked. "The night I was shot. How did you find out?"

"What? I don't know…someone must have called me. What difference does it make?"

"A lot. Now. Who. Called. You." Brian ground out slowly.

"Maybe, Blair…or Bartlett. Yes, it was Bartlett." Todd fumbled.

"Wrong on both counts. Blair never called you…he was surprised when you showed up at the hospital and Bartlett wasn’t told until the next day." Brian supplied. "Try again."

"The news then…it must have been on the news."

"Strike three and your out. You showed up at nine thirty. The report didn't make the news until eleven."

"Where are you going with all this?"

Brian took several steps towards his brother. "There's only one other way you could have known I was in the hospital that night; if you all ready knew about the shooting, if you were the one to set it up."

"That's ludicrous." Todd snapped, turning his back on his brother and leaning against the bar.

"You didn't expect father to include me in the will did you? So you panicked, didn’t you?" Brian pressed. "You should get your money back, your hit man was sloppy, left a partial print; it's only a matter of time before the APB picks him up."

"Bravo cousin--guess that's why you’re a cop and not a businessman." Said a new voice.

Todd and Brian both turned and saw Harriet, gun in hand, come into the suite from her own room. "Should have been so easily really…an unfortunate accident, the formalities of a will reading; what a surprise when Uncle Douglas decided to dredge up your sorry memory…then there was that story of his 'love child'."

She waved the gun at Brian's injured arm. "I guess the old saying is true if you want something done right you have to do it yourself…damn expensive lesson."

Todd poured himself another drink. "Now that you've stuck the final nail in our coffin…coming in here with that gun…what in the hell are we going to do now?"

"Third times a charm."

"You think you can get away with killing me…after everything that's all ready happened?" Brain shot out.

"No. I think I'll stick with, what is the phrase…an MO, that has served me in the past--accidents." Harriet answered. "So much stress…a little to much to drink…a terrible car accident…"

"Like anyone would believe that?"

"It's not what they believe, cousin, it's what they can prove." Harriett returned pointedly.

Suddenly startled, Brian turned quickly to face his brother when he felt cold liquid hit his back. "What the hell!"

"Oops, spilled some. Care for another shot?" Todd asked, advancing on Brian with an open bottle of whiskey.

"That's far enough Todd." Brian commanded, reaching for his gun. It never cleared his holster before a blinding pain radiated from the back of his head and he collapsed in a heap to the floor, Harriet standing over him.

"Now, make sure he swallows some of it then we need to get him to his car. Drive it out of town. I'm sure there's a convenient cliff around here somewhere." Harriet ordered.

"Come on Brian, party time."

As Todd stooped down to pour the liquor down Brian's throat the door crashed open and

Simon, Henri and Jim burst into the room, weapons drawn.

"Cascade PD. Freeze." Simon bellowed.

"Don't even think about it lady." Jim growled when Harriet started to raise the gun in her hand. "Drop it, now."

Moving into the room Henri leveled his gun at Todd. "Move away from my partner… now."

Todd raised his hands in surrender, standing to move several steps away from the unconscious detective. Weapon still on Todd, Henri stooped to check on his partner. "What did you do to him?"

"It was Harriet, she hit him with the gun." Todd said.

As Jim cuffed Harriet, Simon moved to cuff Todd, while Henri called the paramedics.

******************

(Day 19)

"Hey, Brian, how are you feeling?" Blair said, popping his head around the door.

"Like a fool." He answered quietly, not meeting Blair's eyes.

"Good news, doc says we can spring you this afternoon."

"Yeah, that's great." Brian responded without much enthusiasm

"Hey, cut yourself some slack here…he was your brother, of course you didn't want to think he was capable of something like this." Blair comforted.

"That's just it Sandburg…I didn't see it because I didn't want to see it." Brian said angrily. "I'm a cop damn it."

"You think that makes you any less human?" Blair shot back. "No one thinks any less of you or blames you for how you felt."

"Well I blame me."

The ringing of the telephone pulled Brian from his self-recriminations. "Rafe here. Gerald? What? Who's there? Wait, slow down…but…yes, I believe it's someone. Stop a minute. Is he doing anything? Okay, listen to me, call the local authority and have him taken into custody…tell them the charges are fraud and identity theft for now. Tell them to contact Captain Simon Banks at Cascade PD's Major Crimes division to get the details of the case. I'll call you back soon. Yes, I promise. Bye."

"That was Gerald? What's going on?" Blair asked, watching as Brian threw back his blankets. "What are you doing?"

"Find me a doctor, now." Brian ordered, moving slowly to the closet to get his clothes. "I'm getting out of here now."

"Brian, talk to me. What's going on?" Blair pleaded, grabbing his arm.

"Sandburg, just find me a doctor…I'll explain everything after we're out of here. Now find the damn doctor."

An hour later Brian and Blair were on their way to the station, when Blair's cell phone rang. "Blair. Yeah, Simon, he's right here."

Blair handed over the phone to the detective. "Yeah captain. Did SPD contact you…okay, it’s ours right…we're not going to have a jurisdiction problem here are we? Okay, we're on our way."

"Now are you going to tell me what this is all about…jurisdiction problems over what?" Blair asked taking back his phone.

"Gerald called…" Brian sighed and shook his head. "Gerald called because someone claiming to be Douglas Rafe come into the office this afternoon…"

"Your father!"

"Someone claiming to be my father." Brian corrected. "Anyway, SPD picked him up. They are going to run his prints and see who it is and then escort this person to Cascade."

"So does this tie into…Todd's case or is this something different all together?" Blair asked.

"I don't know…we'll know something when the prints come back."

*******************

It was nearly seven p.m. that evening before officers of the Seattle Police Department delivered their prisoner to Cascade's Major Crimes division. When the prisoner saw Brian he shook out of the officer's grasp and went to face the young detective. "It was you wasn't it? You had me arrested, cuffed…I was fingerprinted like a common criminal."

Both the SPD officers and Jim and Henri immediately moved forward to flank the prisoner only to be waved off by the detective.

"It's okay." Brian assured his fellow officers, taking the offered file from one of the officer's. "I assume the fingerprints verified his identity."

"Yes, sir. He is who he claims to be." The officer confirmed.

"Of course I am who I claim to be. This treatment is outrageous, I demand to be released now." Douglas said angrily, raising his cuffed hands.

"Thank you officers." Brian said. He handed the file to Henri then turned and grabbed his father's cuffed hands, undoing the cuffs and handing them back to the officer.

"What would you have had me do? My…father, is…was dead?" Brian said, his voice lacking all emotion as he met the man's hard gaze. "Suddenly, someone shows up claiming to be Douglas Rafe, claiming this whole nightmare was just a big misunderstanding and it's back to business as usual? We need to talk…alone." The last being directed at his fellow detectives.

Brian Rafe led his father into an interrogation room, closing the door with deliberate ease, before turning to face his father.

Douglas Rafe looked around the room with open contempt. "You want to talk in here? Isn't this where you 'interrogate' common criminals?"

"It’s quiet, and it’s private." Brian answered tightly.

Father and son glared at one and other a moment longer before the elder Rafe sighed with put upon exaggeration and took one of the empty seats in the room. The room filled with strained silence.

Not moving from his place near the door, Brian stared pointedly at his father. "I’m waiting…" he said expectantly.

"I don’t appreciate that tone your using…" Douglas warned his son.

"You don’t appreciate my tone…well guess what, *father*, I don’t appreciate being used." Rafe snapped out angrily, moving to lean over the table into his father’s personal space. "And I sure as hell don’t *appreciate* my friends being used."

"Oh for god’s sake, stop being so melodramatic…"

"Melodramatic…melodramatic!" Brian interrupted angrily. He straightened his stance over the table and paced the small room, giving an exasperated snort. "You set me up…set Blair up. Damn it, someone tried to kill me, twice! Does that even register with you? If you just would have come to me to begin with…"

Douglas’s tone was condescending. "Come to you? You, who has never shown any respect or responsibility to this family in the past, and I was just supposed to trust my business…hell, my life to you? How could I have been sure you wouldn't have turned your back on it again?"

"I never turned my back on you or my family…"

"Didn't you? I did not have time for you to play your game of cops and robbers…"

"Didn't have time?" Brain exploded angrily. "You didn't have the time or the trust to come to me--but you had a hell of a lot of time to concoct this…scheme to fake your own death. And guess what dad, we don't play games we solve crimes, and we do a better job of it when we have all the facts. And, damn you, it wasn't enough to draw me into this, make me a target to my own damn brother; you had to pull in a complete stranger."

"I needed answers and I needed them fast." Douglas shot back. "And I needed them without a bunch of stranger traipsing through our private family matters."

"Those 'strangers' happen to be my friends, and it happens to be there job. Guess what dad…murder and fraud aren't private little family matters, they're crimes."

"Yes. It's your job. And would it have been just another job to you…detective?" Douglas sneered. "Investigating your uncles murder."

Hurt warred with anger as Brian confronted his father’s cutting remarks. "You’re never going to let it go, are you? I not only made it as a cop but I succeeded at it…got a gold shield to prove it. It’s been eight years, why can’t you just accept the fact this is what I want to do and be proud that I can do a good job."

"Accept the fact that you turned your back on your family…on me."

"No, you are the one who gave that ultimatum; forced me to make an all or nothing decision. I didn’t want to walk away from my family to be a cop; be who I am. It was you who decided I couldn’t have both." Brian said angrily. "You are the one who put it in Todd's head that I had betrayed the family by making my own choices."

The two men locked eyes angrily for a moment before Rafe sighed heavily and turned away, rubbing his hand over his face. "Look, we are never going to agree; probably can’t even agree to disagree, so just drop it. I am not going to fight with you on this anymore. I am where I want to be; accept it… or don’t."

Nodding curtly Douglas replied. "Fine. Are we through here, *officer*?"

Ignoring the barb Brian straightened and faced his father. Keeping his voice even he answered. "No, we are not. You still have a hell of a lot of explaining to do. Would you feel more comfortable talking to someone else?"

"A cop is a cop; makes no difference to me *which* public servant takes my statement." Douglass said flippantly.

**Unseen and unheard by the two men in the interrogation room, a black panther growled angrily and the child within the sentinel winced at a father's cutting words.**

"Give me a few moments to gather some equipment and then we can get started." Brian said tightly.

Brian exited the room quickly, walking into the adjoining observation room. Using his good arm to support himself, he leaned heavily against the wall as he fought to bring his emotions under control. When a hand came down gently on his shoulder he turned expecting to see his partner or even Blair. He was surprised to find Jim standing there wearing a concerned look.

"Are you all right, Brian? Your old man was kind of rough with you in there."

Rafe took in a deep breath and gave a weak chuckle. "Don’t know why I let it get to me. We haven’t spoken in eight years; I shouldn’t be surprised that he would actually turn his back on me completely. He was furious when I made detective, realized I was really into this 'cop' thing for the long haul. I guess up until that point he believed I would come around, accept my place in the family business." Turning back to lean on his hands against the wall, the young man choked out, " God, I can’t believe it could hurt this much."

Jim laid a hand on either shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze.

"He’s your father… of course it hurts. But we can’t live for them we have to live for ourselves…" Jim comforted with the conviction of someone who understood first hand the pain a father could inflict on his son. "Do you want someone else to take his statement? Maybe you should distance yourself--there is a chance the DA may press conspiracy charges against your father."

"Thanks, but no." Brian said turning to face Jim. "This is how he wants to play it, so be it. I’m a cop and I have a job to do."

"Then how about some backup in there?" Jim offered, adding with a smile, "I’ve got a two for one special today on the Blessed protector package…"

With a nod Brian agreed. "Thanks Jim." Then somewhat hesitantly he continued, "I'm really sorry that I got Blair pulled into this mess…should have listened to you in the beginning…"

"Stop right there. Blair doesn't blame you for any of this…and neither do I." Jim said pointedly, grabbing the young man's shoulders in a gentle squeeze.

Brian only met Jim's eyes for a second before he shrugged out of his friend's grasp to pace in agitation. "It just makes me so damn angry. I knew he was a cold, calculating son of a bitch but this is just too much. Setting me up just wasn't enough for him…"

"Brian, don't tear your self up over this. We're going to listen to what your father has to say and we are going to get to the bottom of all this." Jim said pointedly to his friend.

Stopping his pacing but not turning to face the older detective Brian said wistfully, "I can't help…I wish…"

Turning his friend to face him Jim said with a knowing smile, "We don't know if he lied about it or not, but remember this--you don't need blood to make a family Brian, Blair showed me that a long time ago. We are your friends, and in many ways we are a family…it's who you can depend on, not what runs through your veins."

Brian smiled weakly and nodded as Jim put an arm over his friends shoulder. "Let’s get to work."

** Unseen by any who walked passed the observation room a large black panther growled approvingly before stretching out and eying, through the one way glass, the interloper in the next room. **

Coming into the interrogation room with the recording equipment, Jim set things up without so much as a sideways glance at the rooms other occupant.

"It's about time." The man snapped impatiently.

“Is there anything you need before we get started Mr. Rafe?” Jim asked crisply.

“Who are you?” Douglas demanded. "Where's Brian?"

Pinning the man with his icy blue eyes Jim answered pointedly. “I am the senior detective to major crimes…Lt. James Ellison.”

Douglas eyed him curiously for a moment. “That name is familiar to me?”

“It should be, the name Ellison is synonymous with the name Sandburg, you remember, the kid you set up…this is his partner.” Rafe supplied as he came into the room and closed the door.

“So, someone needs to do your job for you, detective?"

“Detective Rafe is too personally involved in this case to be the primary investigator. Out of professional courteously, because you are his father, I am allowing him to sit in and observe the interview.” Jim stated, asking, “Would you like your lawyer present?”

“My lawyer? Why in the world would I need a lawyer just to answer a few questions?”

Douglas queried somewhat impatiently.

“Because there is still the possibility that charges for fraud, extortion, conspiracy, interfering in a police investigation…and anything else the DA can come up with…will be filed.” Jim said with quiet smugness.

“Excuse me! Are you threatening me, Detective?” Douglas said indignantly.

“No, sir, I do not threaten. I am stating a fact.” Jim said evenly. “The outcome of those charges depends heavily on what you have to say.”

“Is this some kind of joke…some perverse way to get back at me?” Douglas asked looking over at his son.

“My job deals with cold, hard facts, sir, not with getting back at anyone.” Brian answered emotionlessly. “I just catch the criminals…the DA decides whether to prosecute them.”

“Catch the criminals, are you calling me a criminal? How dare you." Douglas spat out, shaking his head. "You are a sorry excuse for a son."

Brian showed no indication that his father’s words had any effect, but Jim heard the sharp intake of breath, the spike in heart-rate…saw the minute tremors start to shake the young man.

“Detective. Brian. Go and have Brown come back to help me finish up this interview.” Jim commanded quietly. Brian nodded mutely and slipped from the room.

**As the door slowly closed the guttural growl of the panther became a constant in the Sentinels mind as the rational nature of the man was replaced with a primal, angry guardian. Cold, blue eyes regarded the man across from him and marked him as an enemy… an intruder to his domain. An intruder that had dared to cause such chaos and pain to his tribe…not only to his beloved guide but also to a fellow warrior that he held in high regards and counted as friend. **

“I will personally see to it that you get hit with the charge of harassing a police officer if I hear one more remark out of you about Detective Rafe. He's a damn good detective 'and' a very good friend of mine and to a lot of other people in this department.” The sentinel’s tone was low and threatening, his eyes gleaming with ill suppressed anger. “Am. I. Clear?”

Douglas opened his mouth to protest but stopped short and gave a brief nod seeing the cold rage behind the detectives' eyes

“Good. Now, shall we begin?” Jim said.

“Yo, Jim, Brian said you needed me back here." Brown said popping his head around the door.

“Yeah. I’m about to take Mr. Rafe’s statement." Jim said, a feral smile on his face. "Thought I ought to have a witness.”

“Ookaayy! Gotcha!” Brown said with a nod, pulling up a chair. “Now you ain't gonna go all black ops on me now are you man? Damn, but that ranger training makes you one dangerous sob."

Jim was amused and satisfied with the disquieting effect the words were having on his friend’s father. “Oh, before we get started, I should introduce you to Detective Henri Brown…'Detective' Rafe’s partner.”

"Yeah, my partner wasn't looking none to good when he came out to the bullpen and I take it real personal when my partner is hurtin' you know." Brown said, looking pointedly at Douglas. "Makes me real edgy."

Clearing his throat to hide his a chuckle at the look that came over Douglas Rafe's face,

Jim reached over to turn on the tape recorder. “Now why did you feel the need to perpetrate this elaborate hoax: endangering the lives of a police detective and an observer to this said same department, instead of going straight to the police with your theories?”

Douglas Rafe eyed the two men for a moment, taking a deep breath to regain his composure. He was realizing just how seriously he had underestimated the ramifications of how his actions would affect him personally; and as a father, he was realizing how much he had underestimated his son. Brian didn’t need him, his business or his money. His son had grown and matured into a level headed, strong young man who knew his own mind and knew how to go after and get what he wanted. Douglas Rafe also saw that his son had friend’s…good friends who seemed willing to protect him not only from the dangers of the street but of the heart, also.

“It started about eight months ago, when my brother Randolph died. It was eventually ruled natural causes but there were just too many in congruencies…to many questions. The more I probed the more convinced I was that it was murder *and* that it was someone close…”

“What exactly happened to your brother?” Jim interrupted.

“He had taken ill about ten months ago, right after he returned from on overseas business trip to Europe. We at first thought he’d caught something from over there…however, he became steadily and gradually worse. The doctors could not find what was causing it.”

“Why do you think it was murder and not a natural illness?” Jim asked.

“Because when he became ill his daughter moved in with him and for lack of better term seemed to guard him like a mother bear…never letting us alone for more than a few moments together…never letting me help take care of him. When I offered a full time nurse to help her so she could go back to work she flat out refused.”

”What’s so odd about a daughter wanting to take care of her father?” Brown asked.

“Harriet is not known for her nurturing skills…she wouldn’t know a band aide from an aspirin. Besides, Harriet and her father were not on the best of terms. If you want the truth she hated him. Business always came first…she is CEO to the international affiliates office in New York.”

“People change.” Jim shrugged.

“Not Harriet. Anyway, I suspected he was being poisoned, so I arranged for a little crisis at the office to pull her away for a few days. In the four days she was gone, I nursed Randolph, disregarding all of her directions. He made steps in the direction of recovery…by the third day he was able to keep down food and sit up again.”

“So why not get him out of the house?”

“I tried…turned out Harriet has somehow gotten Randolph to sigh over his power of attorney to her. Legally my hands were tied and before I could come up with another way, he died. It was ruled heart failure.”

“Why didn’t you request an autopsy?”

“Based on what? His doctor ruled it natural causes and I didn’t have any direct proof of an crime having been committed.”

“If all this happened ten months ago why the hoax now” Brown questioned. "Why not tell Brian if you suspected foul play?"

“Without the proof that Randolph’s death was murder I had to wait them out…find out there next move…”

“And that was?”

“For the longest time it was nothing. I was even beginning to doubt my suspicions, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. I started to do some digging; found some inconsistencies in some ledgers, a chain of holding companies I didn't recognize, things that just weren't adding up. Then, about four months after Randolph’s death, I started having difficulties of my own; several of my business ventures were suddenly being questioned by the Board of Directors for supposed improprieties…then the brakes failed on my car…some medications were mixed up at the pharmacy…”

“So someone was now coming after you?”

"It was adding up to that."

"You had enough circumstantial evidence for the DA at that point…"

"I needed hard evidence, not guesses and hearsay. They were to good at playing hardball and this was for keeps, they had all ready killed Randolph, I was 'not' going to be next. I needed to find out how deep into the company it went, who was involved, and how high they were willing to push the stakes."

"And how high were you willing to push those stakes Mr. Rafe? Would Blair's life have been a high enough gamble or were you waiting to see if a cop's life, you're sons' life, was worth the risk." Jim ground out: thoughts of his own father's callousness fuelling his anger. "Do you realize there were two, sir, two very nearly successful attempts made on your son's life!"

Equally angry Brown shot out. "Killing a cop gets you the chair in this state."

"To the other's Brian was nothing but an errant little boy who ran away from home to play his game of cops and robbers. I figured putting Brian into the will would just be a distraction to them. There was a good chance he would either sell his share back to the company or just turn his back on it completely. Hell, they might have even drawn him back into the fold, and I definitely couldn't allow that. I needed to give him a reason to stay…to investigate fresh…. to see how ruthless his cousins had become." Douglas explained impatiently, his tone indicating he wasn't used to being questioned about his actions.

"So that's where Sandburg came into your little plan?" Jim ground out. "Set up some kid and hope your son stumbles on the truth of it all before they killed Blair. That's it isn't it…you expected them to go after Blair and not Brian?"

"Why didn't you just tell Brian your suspicions?" Henri asked.

"Brian never wanted anything to do with the business. If he just showed up one day it would have raised their suspicions. They all ready knew I was suspicious…and Brian being a…cop." Douglas snapped.

"Why would you even involve Brian, want his help? He only played cops and robbers after all." Jim asked with some sarcasm.

"He is still a Rafe…he still has responsibilities to that name whether he wants them or not. His little 'excursion' into the sordid world of crime and punishment was an added edge to help him uncover who murdered his uncle." Douglas said angrily.

"So you assumed they would see an outsider as a threat to their power within the company…and you knew, even if Brian turned down his inheritance and the stock, that he would investigate--if a stranger was threatened…" Jim summarized looking over at Ellison.

"Or murdered." Henri finished grimly.

"So, why Blair Sandburg?" Jim asked.

"Because I really knew his mother, Naomi…and we did…have a brief…relationship. That was easy enough for them to verify; and as for the rest of it…with the DNA testing only taking a month, they would get nervous, get sloppy…make a mistake." Douglas answered. "I sure as hell wasn't planning on hiding out forever. I knew they would have to make a move in that month or risk being exposed."

Jim leaned back in his chair, eying Douglas intently for a moment. "Is it true?"

"What? Is what true?"

"Is Blair Sandburg your son?"

"The situation with young Mr. Sandburg was nothing more than a diversion…"

"So, then, that's a what…a no?" Jim pressed.

"Naomi was with many men…"

"But not at just the right time…if we count back from when Blair was born will we find another man, or will we find you?" Jim asked expectantly.

Clearly uncomfortable, Douglas would not meet the detective's gaze. "You don't know for certain do you?"

****************

(Day 22; Midmorning, Simon's office)

"Chief? Are you going to open it or worry it to death?" Jim asked, watching Blair turn a small envelope over and over in his hands.

"God, Jim, don't you realize that's the statement that started this whole thing?"

"What?"

"That's what you said the night I got the letter from Bartlett."

"Sandburg, will you just open the letter all ready…we need it for evidence anyway." Simon growled out.

"Simon, this piece of paper could change my life forever…" Blair said, shaking the envelope at the captain.

"Do you want me to open it?" Brain asked quietly.

Blair looked at Brain, and then looked down at the envelope; taking a deep breath he thrust the envelope out toward Brian. "Here."

The room held its collective breath as Brian carefully opened the envelope and unfolded the printout inside to scan the page.

"Well?" Blair asked impatiently.

Brian looked up at Blair and gave a nod of his head before saying. "About that curfew!"

**********THE END************

**Sequel in progress!!!!