Blood and Friendship, Part Two
Summary: He had to arrest his brother...his father still isn't any more receptive to his career choice and an argument with Blair send an all ready uncertain Brian down a path of self destruction.
Notes: Second story in the Blood and Friendship Universe. Takes place about two weeks after B and F, part 1. This story won't make much sense unless you've read part one. I have no clue, only educated guesses; how search and rescue does their job so I left that part purposefully vague. Anything left that's not procedurally correct give it over to creative license!
Thanx to my Beta reader, Elli McGrath, for giving my stories a read through and helping me with my terrible grammer!
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.
Seattle, Washington -- Saturday Afternoon
"Why did you do this?" Blair demanded angrily, throwing a large envelope on the desk.
"Excuse me?" Douglas Rafe asked, staring incredulously at the young man. "I pay off a twenty-five thousand dollar student loan and this is the kind of gratitude I get."
"I don't recall asking *you* for anything." Blair shot back. "Hell, I don't even recall talking to you at all in the last two weeks!"
"I'm trying to settle things up before I leave for New York…" Douglas explained impatiently.
"Settle things up? How can we settle up anything, we haven't done anything that needs settling…*especially* not like this?" Blair said in exasperation.
Douglas sat back and stared at the agitated pacing of the young man. "I don't understand you at all young man. Most people would be quite pleased to see a twenty-five thousand dollar debt disappear."
"Well, I'm not most people…and maybe you'd understand that if you had ever bothered to try…" Blair said angrily, adding with sarcasm. "You only had seven years."
"You all ready had a fulfilling life…I didn't feel like complicating it at the time." Douglas replied, as if that explained everything.
"Didn't want to complicate *my* life?" Blair practically yelled. "That thought didn't seem to cross your mind when you decided to include me in your will. Why don't you just admit you didn't want to complicate your life?"
"That is in the past. What's done is done. Now how about we concentrate on *your* future." Douglas said in a tone that expected obedience. "I know you are nearly finished with your PhD…so, I figure with your experience and background you would do well working in our international division…"
"What?" Blair said in surprise. "You want me to come to work for you?"
"What else are you going to do? Stay in that third rate college and teach?" Douglas mocked. "I think not."
"You think I'm going to come to work for you?" Blair repeated. "Why?"
"You're *my* son…I'm your father." Douglas said.
"Just like that…I'm your son, for the world to see and know; me, *Blair Sandburg*?" the young man questioned defensively. "You don't know anything about me?"
"What is there to *know*? You are a bright, energetic--albeit, somewhat unorthodox--PhD. All academics are seen as somewhat quirky anyway." Douglas said dismissively. "Besides, in this day and age what does paternity really matter? What is important is that your are *my* son."
"Your son? I am *not* some possession to be claimed or owned." Blair stated emphatically. "Is that why Brian left, because he didn't want to be treated like a possession?"
Douglas looked at Blair in confusion for a moment. "Brian? How did this conversation get turned around to Brian?"
"Because he is my friend, damn it!" Blair shot back. "And I'm proud to call him my brother, make him part of my family. It's the only positive thing that's come out of this whole mess *you* created."
"You will not speak to me that way, young man." Douglas warned. "I provided well for my family and all I've been given in return is disrespect and insolence."
Blair looked at the man in surprise. "And that surprises you? Is it Blair *Sandburg* you want or the letters behind my name that you really care about?"
"You are letting emotions cloud your thinking." Douglas said evenly.
"You're damn right I am! It's emotions that make up a family; it's not something you own. You think that's what I want… money? Is that all you want; a dutiful little son to parade around…do you're bidding?" Blair railed angrily, pointing to the envelope on the desk. "I can't be bought and I *won't* be dictated to by you-- now or in the future. You didn't want me seven years ago, what makes you think I'd want you now? So you might want to reconsider your generous offer because I'm not for sale. And, like my *big brother*, I plan on staying right where I am, working right along side those lowly public servants."
"I think you need time to think about all this before you make any rash decisions…" his tone was stern but dismissive.
"Time to think about it? What is there to think about? Let me tell you what I see." Blair expounded. "I see a cold, uncaring human being who cheated on his wife, produced a child he never knew or wanted to until it suddenly suited his purposes. A man so caught up in his own self-image that he disowns a son who chose a noble profession and puts his life on the line everyday or selfish people such as you; someone who is so cold and ruthless his first- born son tries to kill him. I don't think it could get any clearer than that, *Mr.* Rafe."
Energy spent, Blair grabbed up the envelope, turned and stalked out of the office, slamming the door behind him.
Blair's cell rang on his way out of Seattle. "Oh, hey, Jim."
"Where in the hell have you been?" Jim snapped. "I've been looking all over for you. When I called the school they said you had torn out of there like a bat out of hell."
"Ah… well, I was just a little angry." Blair answered sheepishly. "Listen, don't worry, I'm on my way home now."
"That's all well and good, but it doesn't tell me where you've been for the last four hours."
Jim pressed. "Or what got you so angry in the first place."
"Can we talk later, Jim?" Blair sighed tiredly.
"Why not now?" Jim asked, reminding his friend. "Everyone will be here soon for the poker game."
"The game… I totally forgot it was our night to host the game." Blair said, seeing it as an opportunity to change the subject. " Do you need for me to pick up anything on the way home?"
"No, and stop changing the subject." Jim answered knowingly.
"Okay, fine." Blair sighed. "I went to see Douglas…"
"Douglas? Isn't he in Seattle?" Jim interrupted.
"Yes, he is. Now do you want to hear this or not?" Blair snapped back impatiently.
"Fine. You went to Seattle…without telling anyone!" Jim said in a tone that indicated that conversation *would* be had later. "Now tell me why?"
"Because, I received a statement today from the accounting office of Rainer indicating my student loans…had been paid…in full!" Blair explained, growing agitated. "Can you believe it, man? He paid off my student loans just like that!"
Jim answered slowly. "And…this is…a…bad…thing?"
"Of course it is Jim!" Blair exploded. "It's my debt, it's my responsibility."
"Okay, chief, just calm down." Jim placated the young man. "I assume your driving instead of pulled off the side of the road, so just calm down before you have an accident."
When the sentinel heard his guides breathing and heart rate return to near normal he continued. "I take it, it didn't go as planned with Douglas."
"No. He's ready to play father and son, like the last twenty years haven't happened; like money makes up for everything!" Blair exclaimed. "Can you believe that?"
"Well, it's Saturday. Nothing can really be done about it tonight, if anything." Jim said.
"What…'if anything'? What's that supposed to mean?"
With a sigh Jim answered. "Look, it doesn't sound like Douglas is going to be willing to take the money back even if the school would approve the refund."
"Damn." Blair cursed quietly.
"Listen, we'll look into it on Monday, okay chief?"
"Okay. Monday. See ya Jim." Blair said, ending the conversation.
The Loft -- Saturday Evening
The poker game was all ready in full swing when Blair came through the door of the loft.
"Damn, and I thought I'd have a chance to win tonight." Brown groused good naturedly, as Blair dumped his pack and hung up his coat. "You shouldn't get our hopes up like that, hair boy; where ya' been, anyway?"
Giving Jim a brief look Blair answered. "Just had an errand that had to be run. But now I'm here and I'm ready to take your money, man, so move it over."
After several hours Joel sighed and tossed his cards. "I'm out. I think I need to call it a night anyway, I'm on call this weekend."
"Another one falls to the mighty card player." Blair crowed.
"Not sot fast there little brother." Rafe shot out. "Let's see what you've got."
Blair looked around the table expectantly. "No one else going to fold?"
"Lay them out there, chief." Jim said expectantly.
With a sheepish frown, Blair laid out his two pair, causing an excited whoop from Henri. "I beat him…hah, I got you hair boy…I knew you were bluffing."
"So you're up for another one then?" Jim asked, gathering up the cards.
Pulling in his winnings, Henri shook his head. "Hell no! I actually just broke even with that little save. I got a baby in diapers, man…"
"How about your Simon, you in?" Jim asked.
"Maybe another hand or two…I got a kid to put through collage--and it *isn't* Sandburg." Simon growled.
"Brian?" Jim asked, shuffling the cards
"I'm still in. His luck's got to run out sometime." Rafe answered.
"It's not luck, my man, it is *all* skill." Blair said, adding sheepishly, "Besides, Naomi spent some time with a Vegas dealer."
Jim raised an eyebrow at his friend, before passing out the cards. "Ante up gentlemen. Seven card stud, joker's wild."
Four hands later, Jim threw in his cards with a disgusted huff. "You do some voodoo on these cards Sandburg…these hands have been crap."
"It's not my fault you're a lousy card player." Blair smirked, turning to Brian. "What's it gonna be there, bro, ante up or fold."
"Damn, you're a shark. I think I'll take the lesser of two evils and fold before I owe you the *entire* family fortune." Brain said, tossing his cards on the table.
Jim looked over at Blair with concern when he caught the sudden hitch in his breathing and heard the acceleration of his heart rate. "You all right, chief?"
"Oh, yeah, fine. Hey, I'm gonna call it a night, okay." Blair said suddenly, his good mood deflated. He got up and threw his cards on the table before moving out onto the balcony, his gaze falling out onto the harbor.
When Brian met Jim's eyes in concern, Jim merely nodded towards Blair. As Brian made his way out the open balcony doors he heard Jim call it a night and the guys get up and start cleaning up the table.
"What's up Blair?" Brian asked quietly, standing just behind Blair. "That crack about the money…it was a joke, you know that don't you?"
Blair sighed heavily before he turned to face his brother and pull the crumpled envelope out of his pocket and hand it to Brian. "*This* is what's up."
Brian took the envelope and pulled out the contents: he raised his eyebrows and gave a little whistle at the numbers he saw. "Damn, you've got a lot of student loans!"
"Yeah, that's just it; they *were my* student loans…"
"What do you mean 'were'?"
"They're paid off…in full."
"Hey, sounds good to me." Brian said happily, but noticed Blair did not share the enthusiasm. "What's the problem?"
"The problem is I wasn't the one to pay them off," Blair said with a wave of his hands. "Douglas did it. He paid off my loans."
"Oh." Brian said, unsure what to say.
Blair faced his brother, waiting for him to say something, when he didn't, Blair asked impatiently. "Oh! Is that all you can say is oh? I need your help…"
"My help?" Brian said in confusion "What do you want me to do?"
"How do I fix this?" Blair asked in exasperation, waving a hand towards the statement in Brian's hand.
"Why?" Brian shrugged, looking at Blair in confusion. "What's to fix?"
"This…this money…I can't accept this." Blair said in exasperation.
"Again I'll ask, why not?" Brian asked slowly.
"Why not?" Blair looked at Brian as though he had sprouted a second head. "You're serious?"
"And why not? That money belongs to you as much as it does anyone else." Brian said emphatically. "Maybe more. I mean…he is…your father, too."
"I don't want *his* money." Blair exploded.
Realizing the others in the room had stopped what they were doing and were watching them; Brian quickly closed the balcony doors.
"Can I ask you something?" Brain hissed angrily. "Is it Rafe money or just money in general?"
"What's that got to do with it?" Blair said, rubbing his arm where Brian had grabbed him.
"A whole hell of a lot if you ask me." Brian shot back. "Technically…biologically, he is your father--right?"
"Biologically." Blair agreed slowly. "So? It takes *more* than sperm to be a father."
Taking a deep breath to reign in his emotions, Brian asked evenly. "What if that money, for whatever reason, came from your mother?"
"My mom doesn't have that kind of money." Blair interrupted.
"No. The point is, if Naomi were in the position to pay for your studies would you have given it a second thought?" Brian asked expectantly, continuing before Blair could form a reply. "So, why is money from your father any different?"
Blair just shook his head. "But twenty-five thousand dollars…it doesn’t seem right to accept it…I don't even know him, and doesn't seem to inclined to get to know me except where it might benefit him and his company; besides, it just make's me out to be what Todd and Harriet already thought I was."
Brian folded his arms and looked at Blair sternly. "So, if I were to accept my trust fund that my father reinstated in his will, keep my stock options, I'm what, a gold digging, free loader. I mean, after all, my dad threw me out, had nothing to do with me for eight years…"
"No, it's great that your dad is coming around…" Blair said in a placating tone.
"Coming around? Coming around to what? You think he's actually talked to me?" Brian questioned sarcastically. "I'm still a cop…I arrested my own brother…"
"But he left you in the will, it's a start…right." Blair said. "He's your father, it's your money…"
"It's yours too!" Brian exclaimed. "Don't you understand that? The dust has settled and it's true. You've got Rafe blood running through your veins."
"So, just like that; without even a 'hi, how are you son, sorry I wasn't there all those years', I'm supposed to just accept his money?" Blair said impatiently. "Is that all you're willing to accept?"
"I can't believe I'm hearing this out of you." Brian shot back with equal frustration. "You, Mr. Free Love and 'let everything go'; you of all people should be able to see and accept people for who and what they are. He's damn well not perfect, I'll grant you that, but at least he's trying…"
"Trying?" Blair interrupted. "All he's doing is throwing money at me, at you, even. He thinks money is going to make up for all those years, for everything he put *us* through; that just because he's ready to move on so should we. What, we're just supposed to fall into place like obedient little sons? You didn't, why should I?"
Throwing his hands up, Brian exclaimed. "Don't try to turn this around on me. The relationship my father and I have has nothing to do with what you can have with him."
"And what exactly would that be…here son here's your bank account--see ya' in another twenty-five years." Blair shot back. "I need more than that, don't you?"
"Fine, Blair, money's evil, and Rafe money seems especially tainted; so, you do what ever you want all right." Brain said angrily.
"Whoa, man, where is this coming from?" Blair said taking a step backwards.
"Just drop it." Rafe said turning to go back inside.
Blair reached out and grabbed his arm. "No, I won't just drop it. I needed a little advice from you here and all I'm getting is this attitude. What's up with that?"
Brian turned slowly to face Blair. "How did you feel when you found out it was true; that you were a Rafe?"
Taken back by the sudden change in the conversation, Blair stuttered. "Well…I…I guess I was shocked. After over twenty years of not knowing it was a shock."
Brian broke eye contact, shaking his head sadly. "Is being a Rafe really that bad? I thought we were…friends?"
"We are." Blair said.
"So it’s okay to be my friend, just not a Rafe…not my brother."
"God, Brian, where is this all coming from?"
Snapping his head up to face Blair, his tone snide. "Well, maybe, it’s the other way around. Maybe I don't want a hippie freak bastard for a brother."
"What?" Blair stepped back in shock. "Hey, man, that was uncalled for…I thought we were…"
"Thought we were what…friends…brothers?" Brian interrupted. "Hurts like hell doesn't it. I'm a Rafe too, remember, *money* and all…I am so sorry *we* don't meet *your* lofty ideals of a perfect family."
As the voices on the balcony escalated so did the urge of a sentinel to protect his guide from hurt. A hand on his shoulder stopped him from going to the men outside.
"No, Jim." Simon ordered. "This is between Blair and Brian. They have to work this out for themselves."
Jim looked at Simon, and then exchanged a worried look with Henri before nodding and heading into the kitchen.
Back out on the balcony Blair looked at Brian in dismay. "Is this what this is all about? You think by rejecting your…our…Douglas's *money*, that I'm somehow rejecting you?"
"Aren't you? You can't even entertain the thought of calling him your father, can you?" Brian shot back. "You seem to think everything about being a Rafe is somehow corrupt…
"That's *not* what I said." Blair defended. "But, to me there is a little more to being a family than money. I thought this was going to be about more than the 'bottom line'?"
"I've had about all of this… *mess* I can take. You just do whatever you want, *Sandburg*." Brian said angrily as he turned and stormed back through the apartment and out the front door, to the stunned surprise of all his friends.
Blair entered the loft more slowly, his _expression clearly reflecting his confusion and hurt. "I guess that didn't go well. I…I didn't mean to hurt him. I didn't mean it like that, he has to know that…why doesn't he understand?"
"He's confused. He's hurt by everything that's happened…he'll come around when he calms down." Simon said.
"Will he?" Blair asked sadly. "All I wanted was to *know* my family…my big brother, not an inheritance…not Douglas's money."
"His father is making an effort, albeit a token one that you may not like or agree with, to include his son in his life again. Then you come along, the one person in his family that has stood by him and accepted him, and you reject out of hand, the effort that Douglas is making, not just to yourself, but to him as well." Simon explained. "Have you ever thought that Brian accepts his father's gesture because that's all he's ever known?"
"I've really messed this up haven't I?" Blair groaned. "I better go after him, try to explain."
"No, hair boy." Henri cautioned. "You better let him cool off a little. He probably wouldn't listen to you right now, anyway. To much has gone down today."
"What? Did something else happen today?" Blair turned to Henri.
Henri exchanged a worried look with Jim that didn't go unnoticed by Blair. "What is it? What aren't you telling me?"
"He got the official subpoena from the DA today-- to testify at Todd's hearing…" Henri said. "Kind of made everything real for him. When he tried to call Douglas, his father wouldn't take his calls."
"Is this ever going to end?" Blair groaned unhappily. "I need to go. He shouldn't be alone."
"Don't worry hair boy…I'm ready to take off, I'll go by his place." Henri said placing a hand on Blair's shoulder. "We'll get him through this."
Blair looked up at the big detective, a sad smile on his face. "Thanks H."
The Loft -- Sunday morning
As though to match Blair's mood, the early morning dawned gray and dismal, the distant thunder echoing the approach of a winter storm.
"I got it." Blair called as he scooped up the ringing phone. "Blair."
"Hey, Sandburg." Came Henri's voice. "Thought I'd call and tell you that Brian wasn't at his place last night when I drove by…he must have stayed out driving for awhile."
"Thanks, H." Blair said. "I was going to give him a call this morning."
"All ready tried. He's either not home or just not answering."
"Maybe, I'd better drive over there and talk to him." Blair said. "I've got to set things right between us."
"Call if you need anything." Henri said.
"I will. See ya later." Blair hung up from Henri and then redialed his brother's number; after ten rings he hung up and tried his cell only to get an out of service message.
"Hey, Jim, I'm heading over to Brian's." Blair called, grabbing his jacket off the hook.
"Wait, I'll go with you." Jim said coming down from his room.
"No, thanks, Jim. I really think this is something Brian and I need to do. He doesn't need to feel like he's being ganged up on."
Jim reluctantly agreed.
Two hours later, a cold, wet and dejected Sandburg trudged into the apartment. The storm that had threatened earlier was now reaching its peak and just the quick dash from his car to the building left him soaked to the skin and shivering.
"Back so soon?" Jim asked in concern. "I take it the talk didn't go well?"
"We didn't talk, because I didn't find him." Blair said unhappily. "Jim, I'm starting to get worried here. It's like he never went home last night. I drove through the park where he runs, I stopped by the PD and the gym, and no one has seen him."
"Like he's going to run in this weather." Jim commented.
"I was desperate." He shrugged.
"Maybe he drove to Seattle to talk to Douglas?" Jim suggested, handing Blair a towel.
"I hope not." Blair said. "But I don't think he'd do that. Maybe Brown's heard something?"
When a call to his brother's partner shed no clues on the young detectives whereabouts, Blair became frantic. "What if he had an accident or something?"
The ringing telephone stopped Blair's pacing as he grabbed for the phone. "Brian? Brian is that you?"
"Sandburg." Came Simon's deep voice. Blair took immediate note of the worried tone in the captain's voice.
"Simon? Simon, what is it? What's wrong?"
"You haven't heard from Brian have you?" It was more a statement than a question.
"No, I haven't. I've called; I've gone to his apartment and checked out some other places. I can't find him anywhere." Blair said in a near panic as he paced the kitchen.
Blair heard Simon sigh tiredly, heard what sounded like the rustling of paper before the captain spoke. "I can tell you where he's not going to be…"
"Not going to be?" Blair interrupted.
Another sigh sounded over the phone. "Blair, I'm at the office…I found a letter on my desk; its from Brian…it's a resignation letter."
"A what! Resignation…he resigned?" Blair exclaimed. "Wait! If he was at the PD today maybe someone saw him, talked to him. Someone's bound to have heard something…we'll be right down."
"Wait, Blair…stop." Simon's voice called over the line. "I all ready asked around, no one saw him…he probably came in and out during the seven thirty a.m. shift change. I'm sorry."
Blair slumped against the counter in defeat, the phone held limply in his hand. "Damn."
Jim took the phone from Blair's hand. "Simon. Jim. We're going to head back over to his place and see if anyone knows or saw anything. Think we could swing an APB on his car?"
"I'll get it out. I'm going to pull Brown in and have him check the airports."
"Okay. Talk to you in awhile." Jim said, hanging up the phone. "Come on chief, let's go."
The twenty-minute drive was made in tense silence. Blair barely let the truck come to a stop in the parking lot of Brian's building before jumping from his seat.
"Whoa. Slow down Sandburg." Jim cautioned. "You won't do anyone any good getting yourself killed."
Blair ignored Jim as he hurriedly made his way into the building and to the manager's apartment. Becoming soaked to the skin for the second time that day.
"What's all this commotion? Hold your horses…" Came a voice from inside the apartment, in answer to Blair's frantic knocking.
"What is it?" The old man asked opening the door. "Blair? Didn't expect to see you…did Brian forget something?"
"Forget something?" Blair said in confusion, adding hopefully. "Does that mean you've seen him today?"
"Six thirty in the a.m. I saw that boy." The old man snorted. "You'd think he could have planned a little better and not waited 'til the last minute to arrange all those details…get an old man out of bed…"
"Details? What details? What exactly did he do?" Blair prodded impatiently.
The old man raised an eyebrow. "For his trip."
"His trip?" Jim questioned. "Did Brian tell you *where* he was going?"
The old man peered at the two men over his spectacles. "No, didn't tell me where, just that he could be gone awhile; gave me two months rent and asked me to take in his mail and cancel his paper."
"Two months rent!" Blair exclaimed. "Jim, we have to find him!"
"Is there something going on here I should know about?" the old man asked. "Brian in some sort of trouble?"
"He's been having… family problems." Blair said as way of explanation.
Jim meanwhile pulled out his badge and showed it to the man. "Sir, we need you to let us into Brian's apartment. We may be able to find something that can tell us where he is going."
The building manager peered at the badge then back at Jim. "Don't like the idea of someone going through my tenant's apartments…"
"Come on, you know me Mr. Marshall, this is important…" Blair started to say, only to be interrupted by Jim.
"Sir, we could get a warrant, but that would waste a lot of time Brian might not have."
"Fine. I was a bit worried about the boy myself." The old man said, shuffling back into his apartment. "Let me get the keys."
Once inside Brian's apartment, Jim and Blair split up to search. Blair went into the bedroom while Jim checked out his desk. After ten minutes Blair came back out to report.
"The closet is open…quite a few empty hangers, plus personal items from the bathroom are gone. Did you find anything?"
Jim was flipping through Brian's phone directory when he came across the number for a private, charter airfield on the outskirts of Cascade. "Does Douglas have more than one plane…maybe one hangered at Johnson's Airfield and Charter service?"
"Don't know? Why?"
"Because Brian's got the number for the airfield…" Jim said as he picked up the phone and dialed the number.
"This is Detective Ellison from the Cascade PD. I was wondering if you had a Brian Rafe scheduled on one of your charter flights today?" Jim asked, raising an eyebrow at what he was told. "Is that so? He has, what time was that? Okay, thank you."
"Well?" Blair asked impatiently, bobbing on his heels.
"He didn't *charter* a plane…he owns one! And he came in about eight thirty this morning and did his pre-flight…and against warnings from the tower about the worsening weather, took off anyway…at about noon." Jim reported, hanging up the phone.
"He's flying in this weather?" Blair exclaimed, looking over at the clock on the wall. "If he took off at noon that was just a half an hour ago."
"Let's go chief." Jim said.
A call to Simon had him and Henri also heading to the airfield, pulling in just a few minutes behind Jim and Blair.
"I am gonna strangle that boy when I get my hands on him." Henri muttered as they all hurried to the control tower. Three flashed badges stopping any protests.
The tower was a flurry of controlled panic when the four men entered. "Tango-Seven-Charlie…please respond. Tango-seven-Charlie, do you copy?"
"What’s going on?" Blair called out to no one in particular.
"What? Who are you people? What are you doing in the tower, this is a restricted area." One of the three men in the tower demanded, turning to the four new arrivals.
Simon flashed his badge. "Captain Simon Banks, Cascade PD. I believe someone let one of my detectives take off and try to fly in this weather."
"Hey, it’s not a crime to fly in bad weather--just stupid." The man replied indignantly. "We can warn them but not stop them…we don't shut down unless the airlines do."
The sentinel was getting a very bad feeling about whose plane the tower was trying to contact. In the background another controller was still trying to raise Tango-seven.
"Has anyone *else* taken off lately?"
"No, not since before the storm hit. Most everyone else was smart enough to try to wait it out."
"And who wasn't?" Simon asked with a raised eyebrow and a nod toward the controller who was still trying to raise the missing plane.
With a sigh the controller answered. "I suppose Brian Rafe is your detective?"
"Damn." Henri cursed
"Call him back." Blair demanded.
"We can't call him back, because we can't raise him." The controller reported grimly. "He dropped off the radar about three minutes before you all came bursting in here."
"No…" Blair whispered.
"What was his last radar position?" Jim asked.
"His last coordinates would have put him about two miles from the Canadian border." The controller reported, moving over to a large grid map and the wall and pointing to the spot. "Right about here."
"So what now?" Blair asked.
Turning to face the four men the controller said grim faced. "If we can't raise the pilot in the next ten minutes we'll assume she went down… we call out Search and Rescue."
It took Search and Rescue nearly forty minutes to assemble at the airfield and another thirty on top of that for the storm to abate enough for them to put planes in the air safely.
"Jim, why is this taking so long?" Blair complained. "It's been almost two hours since they lost contact…if he's hurt…"
"I know it's hard chief, but it wouldn't do any good to put planes in the air to look for him and have them crash, too." Jim said.
"He's strong Blair, don't be putting him in the ground yet. We will find him." Henri said placing a reassuring hand on Blair's shoulder.
Finally Captain Mallory of Search and Rescue felt it safe to put his teams in the air. Jim and Blair rode with one team, Henri and Simon the other. For another forty minutes the two planes searched a thirty-mile radius around Brian's last know radar position.
"There. Down there…four o'clock, I caught sight of something." Jim said to the pilot, pointing out the window. "Circle around."
"There. Do you see it? Those trees are clipped and I thought I caught a glimpse of something below." Jim continued.
"I don't see anything." The pilot said.
"I do and I say circle around for a closer look." Jim ground out.
Blair peered out into the gloom of the abating storm and had to admit to himself he didn't see anything either, but he had faith his Sentinel saw something. And if it meant telling their pilot or the world about Sentinel's he would to save his brother.
The pilot shook his head but circled around for another low-level pass over the area that Jim had pointed out. This time they all could make out a faint shape through the broken trees.
"Rescue two to rescue one, we have visual on what looks to be a downed craft; grid marker seven dash eight. We're going to need a chopper on this one." The pilot reported.
"Wait. Why are you turning around?" Blair asked as the plane banked.
"We can't get down there…the chopper can land about four hundred yards in that clearing and get to the plane." The pilot said.
"But we can't leave him." Blair was growing frantic. "Jim! Jim, we can't leave him down there."
"Listen chief, this plane can't land down there, it's just a search plane. We have to go back to the airport, we get on the chopper…we can be back here in ten minutes…Simon has the police chopper standing ready too. We can follow the medi-vac straight to the hospital." Jim explained.
Jim tossed Henri his truck keys before boarding the medi-vac copter. "We'll see you at the hospital."
The chopper had barely touched down when Blair was out of his seat and running towards the plane, slipping and falling over the rain slicked, muddy terrain. Jim caught up with him just yards from the downed plane.
"Whoa. Hold up chief. We don’t need both of you in the medi-vac."
Stooped over and breathing heavily Blair asked. "Do..you…hear…anything? Jim, is…he alive?"
"I hear a heartbeat. It's faint…erratic, but it's there." Jim answered after a moment.
As they neared the plane they saw the plane was cracked open like an eggshell, its right wing only a tangle of blackened, twisted metal. "God, Jim what happened?"
"Looks like lightning…must have hit the wing; tore it off." Jim answered grimly.
The two men scrambled up onto the left wing and lowered themselves into the opening at the top, rear of the plane. Jim immediately dialed up his senses to quickly assess the situation, the coppery tang of blood, and a lot of it, were the first things to assail the sentinel.
Quickly moving forward, Jim dropped down in front of his unconscious friend; finding him still strapped into his chair. Blood covered Brian's face and soaked his shirt. A large angry looking gash told the sentinel where the majority of the blood was coming from.
It didn't take sentinel senses to hear the man's raspy, hitched breathing. "Probably has some broken ribs…possibly a punctured lung."
"His arm." Blair gasped out as he got his first look at his brother's injuries.
Jim checked Brian's arm and shoulder that had not quite healed from the shooting a few short weeks before, reporting succinctly. "Dislocated."
"Jim!" Blair whispered in a terrified panic. "What are we going to do?"
Jim got up and grabbed his guide's shoulders and gently walked him backwards the few feet to the back of the plane, obstructing Blair's view of Brian and his injuries. "We're going to let the paramedics do their jobs, chief; so we can get Brian to the hospital where he can get help…"
As if on cue, sans sentinel hearing, the paramedics dropped down into the plane and immediately went to work to assess and stabilize the critically injured man for transport.
Blair dropped his head on his sentinel's chest, unable to fight back his tears of fear. "I can't lose him…not like this…not now. Jim, I can't lose him."
Holding Blair, Jim tried his best to comfort his distraught friend. "I know, Blair. I know."
Cascade General -- Sunday, 9:30 p.m.
"The gash on his head took thirteen stitches to close. The MRI detected a mild skull fracture resulting in a severe concussion. He sustained four broken ribs and a small puncture to his right lung. He also has deep bruising across his entire torso from the seat harness, and a cracked pelvis. His recently injured shoulder incurred a dislocation, which was easily corrected. We are also treating him for dehydration; and severe shock due to the blood loss he sustained." The doctor reported. "Because of the punctured lung and the severe shock he is on a respirator to help him breath while the lung heals."
"Is he gonna make it doc?" Brown voice cracked in concern.
"He's critical but stable at the moment…"
"At the moment?" Blair said in agitation. "What does that mean…'at the moment'?"
"It means the next thirty-six to forty-eight hours are critical. Right now the patient is in a coma."
"Coma!" the shocked sentiment was echoed around the assembled group.
"I'm sorry the news isn't more encouraging at this point…" the doctor offered. "If you have any more questions they know how to reach me at the desk."
"Thank you doctor." Simon said numbly.
"He is in the critical care ICU on the sixth floor. They allow visitors once every four hours for fifteen minutes." The doctor offered.
Blair stood in shock, staring blankly at the doctor, as the man slowly turned and went back through the doors that led to the surgical area. The gently tap as the doors closed broke Blair from his stupor and he stumbled blindly to a nearby chair, collapsing boneless into it. He was starting to shake as the fear and fatigue of the day caught up with him.
"If he dies, I killed him…I killed my brother…" Blair began mumbling as he pulled himself into a tight ball and began rocking back and forth in his seat. "He's gonna die…and it will be my fault. I killed him…"
Concerned, Jim dropped down in front of Blair and gently grabbed his arms trying to halt his rocking. "Blair. Blair, listen to me. You need to pull it together buddy…you need to stay strong. Brian needs you."
Blair looked up at Jim dazedly. "I killed him."
"Simon, I think we need that doctor back here. His skin is ice cold…shock." Jim said as he balanced himself to catch his partner as Blair's eyes rolled up in his head and he fell forward, unconscious.
And so it went that night, two men sat vigil at their partner's bedsides--praying that two brother's would have a chance to make things right.
Cascade General -- Monday morning
"I called Douglas this morning and he's flying in from Seattle. I also made the rounds again calling all those numbers trying to reach Naomi." Simon quickly briefed Jim the next morning as he handed the detective a coffee. "How is he?"
Taking the offered coffee Jim straightened in his seat. "Better. They gave him some fluids and a mild sedative so he could sleep. The stress and being out in the weather yesterday has probably given him a bad cold, but he had a quiet night. Brian?"
"Henri said there was no change last night…no worse, thank god, but no better either." Simon said. "He's still in a coma."
There was a light tap on the door as Henri popped around the door. The detective looked haggard as he sank heavily into another chair that was in the room. "They kicked me out upstairs. Thought I'd come, see how Blair was doing."
"They'll probably discharge him when he wakes up. He had a quiet night." Jim reported, giving Henri a worried look. "You, my friend, look totally wasted…go home, get some rest…"
Henri shook his head. "Can't do that man."
"Yes you can and you will." Simon ordered. "I came to sit with Brian for awhile and you can bet when Sandburg wakes up he won't leave without a fight: so you go home, eat, rest for awhile. Come back in a few hours."
"But…"Henri started to protest, only to be stopped by his captains glare. "Okay! But just for a few hours, then I'm right back here."
"Fair enough." Simon agreed.
As Henri shuffled tiredly from the room, Simon turned his gaze to his other detective.
"Hey, what'd I do?" Jim protested.
"Nothing yet. But I know you two." Simon said. "When that boy wakes up he can get an update on Brian's condition and then you are going to take him home and make sure he eats…gets cleaned up…"
Jim smiled at all Simon's smothering. "Aye, aye Captain. It's not me you have to convince."
"I wasn't asking detective."
Blair woke an hour later and soon after was deemed fit to leave the hospital and as expected put up a monumental fight to be allowed to stay.
"Go. See him. But then go home, eat, clean up…this isn't going to get better overnight, this is going to be a long haul. You need to take care of yourself so you can be here for Brian."
"Simon, with all due respect, this *isn't* *your* call." Blair snapped out.
"Like hell its not. That is my detective…*and* my friend, lying up there in that bed and I will do anything and everything in my power to see to it he gets better; and one of the things he needs in order to do that is for his stubborn little brother to be functioning and in one piece to be there for him when he wakes up." Simon asserted.
Blair looked at Simon, eyes wide and mouth agape. Even Jim was a little surprised at the vehemence and emotion behind Simon's words. Finally Blair nodded. "Thanks Simon."
Clearing his throat and straightening his shoulders Simon replied. "Well, I'm glad we understand each other here. Now go home now."
The ringing telephone had Blair scurrying across the room when they reached the loft.
"Blair." He said, scooping up the phone.
"Blair, sweetie. I just got your message." Came Naomi's voice. "I've been on a retreat, they didn't have phones. Your message said it was urgent…are you all right?"
"Uhm… yeah, Naomi, I'm all right. I mean I'm not hurt or sick or anything." Blair said a little to quickly.
"You don't sound all right. What’s wrong?" Naomi's voice sounded worried.
"I've…I've been at the hospital mom…" Blair said with a sigh. He knew the telephone was not the way to have the conversation he knew was forthcoming.
"Hospital!" Naomi interrupted in concern. "I thought you said you were all right…or is it Jim? Is Jim all right? Did something happen?"
"It wasn't Jim or me. It was another… detective, in Major Crimes mom, he was in a plane crash…"
"That's terrible." She gasped. "Is he a good friend?"
"He's not *just* a friend mom, he's…his name is… Brian. Brian… *Rafe*."
The line was silent, Blair thought for a moment that his mom might have hung up. "Rafe, you said…"
"Yes, Naomi, Rafe. His father's name is… Douglas."
"What is it you're trying to say?" Naomi was suddenly defensive." What do you think you know?"
"Mom…don't!" Blair quietly commanded. "I know, okay. I've had the tests done, and I know. And I really don't want to fight about it or talk about it right now. I just can't do it right now, not with Brian so…"
"So what, Blair?" Naomi prodded when Blair trailed off. "So what…oh, gods, he's not dead is he?"
Blair's voice cracked as he continued. "A coma mom, he's in a coma and it's my fault. I put him there…"
Jim quickly but gently pried the phone from Blair's grasp. "Naomi."
"Jim? What's Blair saying…he put Brian in a coma? What exactly has happened?" Naomi asked worriedly.
Jim watched Blair sink into the couch and fold in on himself. "He and Brian had an argument…look Naomi, it's really complicated. It would be better if you came here."
"I'll be there as soon as I can Jim. I don't know how soon I can get a flight." Naomi agreed. "I'll call when I get in."
"If we're not at the loft try Cascade General, CC-ICU." Jim informed her.
"Take care of him for me Jim, until I can get there."
"I will Naomi. I will."
The conversation ended, Jim turned his attentions to taking care of his friend.
When Jim and Blair arrived back at the hospital several hours later, they found Henri all ready there. He was standing in waiting room looking pensive and unsure, staring at the doors that lead to the ICU.
"Henri, what's wrong?" Blair asked frantically. "Did something happen?"
"No, no, nothing like that. Brian's still holding his own. Matter of fact the doctor said there's been a slight improvement in his vitals." Henri reported quickly, his eyes still on the ICU doors.
"Well that's good news." Jim said.
"Yeah, good news." Blair said carefully. "If it's such good news why do you look so worried, Henri?"
"Douglas showed up about half an hour ago…he's been in there ever since…" Henri trailed off.
"Oh." Blair said. "Did he speak with the doctor's?"
"Yeah, he spoke with the doctor's."
"Maybe I better go in there." Blair said slowly.
Blair found Douglas standing outside Brian's cubicle. Gone was the aloof, arrogant and demanding countenance Blair had begun to associate with his 'father'; replaced as it was by a very haggard, tired and lost looking man who appeared twenty years older than his fifty-nine years.
"Douglas." Blair said quietly as he came to stand by the window.
"They said he's critical…that he's been in a coma since they brought him in yesterday."
"They said the first forty-eight hours are the most critical…if he can pull through that he might just come out of the coma." Blair answered quietly, staring into the room.
"How? How did this happen?" Douglas asked quietly. "They said it was a plane crash?"
"He went up yesterday…during the storm. The tower tried to warn him but he wouldn't listen." Blair explained.
"God, why would he do something so foolish?"
"Because…because he was angry… and hurt." Blair said after a moment. "Because, I hurt him."
"You? What could you have possibly done to cause…this, to happen; For Brian to do something this foolish?" Douglas asked somewhat incredulous, waving his hand towards Brian.
"We…we, had an…argument." Blair said ashamed.
"An argument? An argument caused this?" Douglas questioned in surprise.
"We argued about…about, the money…"
"The money? You mean your student loan payment? Why?"
"I thought he would agree with me…tell me I shouldn't take it. But you know what, he didn't…he wanted me to take it…he defended you, and your*attempts* at 'fatherhood'!"
"This is not the time or place to get into *this* discussion." Douglas intoned with tired vehemenous.
"When *would* be a good time? And just maybe I *want* to get into it…here and now." Blair spat. The terror and anger that had been riding just under the surface for the last day came spilling out in a hissed whisper. "He defended you, gods only know why. You abandoned him eight years ago, then you turn around and use him the way you did. Then you turn around and do it *again*, after he saves your sorry ass and that damn precious company of yours…why didn't you take his calls Saturday, when he got the subpoena from the DA? Do you know how much it's tearing him up inside to know he has to walk into that courtroom and give testimony that's going to put his big brother in prison for life?"
"What was I supposed to say to him…Todd is my son…?"
"So isn't Brian. Todd is history, man, he dug his own grave when he tried to kill a cop--his own brother; but you've still got Brian and he needs you; he needs to know you don't hate him, hold him responsible…"
"Hate him?" Douglas said quietly. "I don't hate my son."
"Then you have a hell of a way of showing your affection there…*dad*." Blair said sarcastically. "Have you told him that? Have you ever been proud of him? Hell, have you ever done anything for anybody that didn't somehow benefit you?"
"Fine, Blair. I was…am, a lousy father…but that is in the past and I'm here now; and I don't want another son to be lost to me…I don't want my son to die." Douglas said tiredly, his head resting on the window of the ICU bay. "To much has all ready been lost to pride and hate, to misunderstanding…"
The anger drained from Blair as he witnessed this change in the demeanor of the man that had up until now saw and treated his life as a game and his family as nothing but a possession to be controlled and manipulated.
Blair rested a hand on Douglas's shoulder. "He'll make it. He has too. Let's go down to the cafeteria, get some coffee…"
"I need to stay here… he shouldn't, he shouldn't be alone right now." Douglas said.
"He won't be." Blair answered. "His partner, Henri Brown, you meet him before. He's out in the waiting room. And my partner…they are all here for him."
Douglas looked at Blair with haunted eyes. "Thank you. Thank you for being here for him when…"
"It's all right, we're all here for him now and *that's* what's important." Blair said when Douglas trailed off.
Blair led Douglas to a far booth before going through the line and getting them some soup and sandwiches. Both men, lost in their own thoughts, did little more than pick and nibble at the food in front of them.
"So, can we start over?" Blair asked quietly, finally breaking the silence.
"Start over?" Douglas said looking at Blair in confusion.
"Us. Can *we* start over?" Blair asked again a little more forcefully.
Douglas couldn't help but give Blair a weak smile. "That all depends, are you going to yell at me again?"
"No more yelling, providing you listen."
"I'm listening." Douglas said sitting back and giving Blair his full attention.
"Brian is going to need all of us if he's going to beat this, get better. I think we need to come to some sort of understanding…about us, our…relationship…" Blair began.
"And what is our relationship, exactly? I know you and Brian seemed to have accepted each other as brothers…can you accept me as your father?"
"I really don’t know." Blair said, shaking his head sadly. "You are so very different than everything I was brought up to believe…to consider important in life. I freely admit I just don't understand your priorities, man, but Brian seems to…and I trust him."
"Naomi was the consummate free spirit. How is she, your mother?"
"Fine. As a matter of fact that is another reason we need to clear the air between us, decide where we stand. She's on her way here, to Cascade…and she is not happy."
"Ah…we are all no doubt going to catch a lot of 'bad' karma on this one. A united front then?" he said with a tired chuckle.
"Maybe? The question is can we do that? Can you accept me as your son? I'm not a businessman, I have no interest and no aptitude for such things…money has never been important to me in the way it is to you…I don't want your money…I want, I want to have a father, if that's possible. Money doesn't equal love in my book, can you understand that?"
Douglas raised an eyebrow. "Can you understand that I may not know how to give to my family, show them affection, in any other way?"
Blair shook his head. "We are a sorry pair aren't we? It seems we're both after the same thing…but our paths run parallel to one and other."
"They have to merge somewhere…and I would really prefer it not be a 'hostile' takeover on either of our parts." He said with mock sarcasm, a small smile on his face.
"Funny…not. Hostile takeover." Blair snorted. "Actually, this, right here, right now…this is good. I mean, not Brian being in the hospital but this, us talking."
"So how about you accept that money is my way of expressing myself and I accept that you need a more hands on approach to this family business." Douglas offered. "And, when I do something parent-like and crazy, like say, pay off my sons college education he accepts it graciously and when my son feels a need to talk, I make time to listen."
"You catch on quick. But about the money…"
"Gracious now, remember?" Douglas held up a staying finger.
"Gracious, right! Uhm, thanks…Dou…uh, dad."
"Your welcome son."
They went back to picking at the food in front of them in an attempt to fill the sudden awkward silence that fell between them. After several moments Douglas said. "I loved her you know…I really did. If things had only been different, circumstances not what they were…I could have made a life, a happy life, with your mother. And it is true, when she left me, I had no idea she was pregnant…only after the article came out in the paper about your scholarship did I even begin to suspect…"
"Why?" Blair asked quietly, fixing his gaze on Douglas.
The man knew what his son was asking and he honestly didn't know if he had an answer this young man in front of him could understand. "You know the relationship I had with Brian…and even seven years ago things were not going smoothly with Todd or his cousins…you were just something untouched by it all and I took some comfort that there was part of my life, the part I spent with Naomi, brief as it was, when I was actually happy. I didn't want to ruin that illusion, have you find out and turn your back on me like I felt Brain had done. Guess that sounds extremely selfish."
Blair was stunned by Douglas's confession. Not just surprised the man would so easily open up with something that seemed so close to his heart, but that Blair truly felt the man was sincere in his words. "I don't think that's selfish at all. I think in your own way you were somehow trying to protect me just as much as yourself."
"Yes, well, that all changed didn't it."
"I won't lie to you. What you did was wrong, bordering on illegal, if you had only come to Brian to begin with. But I am beginning to understand why you did what you did, even if I don't agree with it. Your brother was murdered and you feared for your own life…no one can ever be certain what they will do when faced with such things."
"Hindsight is always 20/20."
"So about that hands on approach…can we start now?" Blair asked hesitantly. "If…when, Brian wakes up…will you be there…will you tell him that you're proud of him…"
"I do love my son…both my son's. And I am willing to tell the world."
Blair smiled shyly. "Let's go check on my big brother."
Jim was sitting in the ICU waiting area when Blair and Douglas came off the elevator. He immediately noticed both men seemed much less tense with one and other than they had just an hour before.
"Everything okay?" Jim asked.
"Things are getting better, Jim." Blair answered, looking around the waiting room.
"Henri is sitting with Brian now." Jim answered Blair's silent question.
"Any change?" Douglas asked.
"No." Jim said grimly.
The forty-eight hours came and went; Brian remained in his coma.
Naomi arrived at the hospital towards the end of the forty-eight hour vigil. Her call to the loft had Jim giving her the details of the plane crash and a sketchy overview of the circumstances that lead up to it.
"Blair, sweetie. Are you all right? You look so tired?" Naomi said worriedly, taking her son in her arms for a hug. "Is your…friend, any better?"
"No, he's still in a coma." Blair said worriedly. "They said if he could make through the first forty-eight hours he had a chance, but he hasn't woke up yet…nothing's changed."
"Let's go, honey, let's get you something to eat. You really need to get some rest." Naomi said.
"No. I can't leave, I get to see him…sit with him in another two hours." Blair said.
"We don't have to go far, just downstairs, to the cafeteria." Naomi cajoled. "Let them know at the nurse's station where you will be."
When Blair refused to leave Naomi looked at him. "Is it helping that young man…Brian…for you to be going without food and sleep? Is that going to help him when he wakes up and you're so emotionally depleted from not taking care of yourself, that you can't be of any help to him?"
Blair gave a tired sight and trudged to the nurse's station, coming back to stand in front of his mother. "Thirty minutes, then I'm right back here."
"Fair enough." Naomi said, taking her son's arm in hers and leading him to the elevator.
In a repeat of days before, it was Naomi leading Blair to a far booth before going to get them some hot tea and sandwiches.
"Thank, mom." Blair said absently, taking a sip of his tea, but leaving the sandwich untouched.
They sat in silence several long minutes before Blair finally asked. "Did you know?"
"Know? You mean know it was Douglas that was your father?"
"How could you let me go on like that…working side by side with my own brother and not telling me?" Blair exploded quietly. "I've talked to you many times, emailed you, written you letters over these past two years, telling you about my thesis work, my work with the police department; telling you about the guys I work with."
"I thought it was for the best…"
"For the best! God, mom, that sounds exactly like Douglas." Blair said angrily, through gritted teeth. "Who exactly was it best for, you or me? Because I can tell you it sure as hell wasn't better for me!"
"And just exactly *how* would you have liked for me to bring it up?" Naomi defended. "'Gee, son, there's a good chance that that detective you work with might be your brother because I slept with a man from Seattle that has the same last name!'"
"I don't know. But you could have said something. Could have told me you at least knew a man named Rafe…" Blair snapped out tiredly.
"This negative energy isn't helping…"
"I've accepted it you know." Blair said quietly, staring into his mug. "That I am a Rafe as well as a Sandburg; and that I have a brother…a family."
"And them, your new family…have they accepted Blair Sandburg?" Naomi asked somewhat defensively.
"Yes, yes they have. Brian never had a problem with it and neither do I. Even Douglas and I have come to an…understanding."
"Douglas," Naomi all but spat out the name. "Jim told me you found out about…your other family because Douglas had died and left you in his will? But you talk like you and he have spoken; is he dead?"
"It’s a long complicated story. One I am not up to getting into right now, but suffice it to say Douglas is not dead and yes, he and I have spoken."
"Fine. I can wait and hear the story when you feel up to it." Naomi conceded, continuing. "I do want to know why you feel you are the one responsible for Brain's crash?"
"Because we had an argument, what about is not important. But it hurt him, mom, a lot. He's been through so much and he felt I had turned on him too. He felt he had to get away from me, from Cascade, everything…he even put in a resignation at work!"
"I'm so sorry, honey, that you had to go through all of that."
"No, mom. What I have went through the past several weeks is nothing compared to what Brian has been going through his whole life." Blair said quietly, looking into his mother's eyes. "I have never doubted for a minute that you loved me…that no matter what I did in my life you would always be there for me and support me in my decisions. Brian wasn't that lucky."
"My precious son, so loving and caring." Naomi gave her son a sad smile, putting her hand on his. "He has you now, sweetie, and…and me, if he'll have me. We'll show him what love and family can be."
"You'd do that?" Blair asked quietly, unshed tears burning his eyes.
"I do love you sweetie, and you love him…I can see that. I've told you before that blood is not what makes a family…love is."
"Thanks mom." Blair choked out, resting his forehead on her hands that still clasped his on the table.
It wasn't until the afternoon of the next day that Naomi and Douglas appeared at the hospital at the same time. Blair was terrified that there would be harsh words that no one needed or could bear at the moment.
"Please, Naomi, for me. Don't fight." Blair whispered to his mother.
"Don't worry, Blair, I won't let it turn into an argument; but Douglas and I do have to talk." Naomi assured her son.
For his part Douglas was mildly surprised to see Naomi at the hospital. "Naomi."
"Douglas." She returned the greeting with a nod. "I'm sorry about your son. I lit a candle for him."
"Thank you. I appreciate that." He replied, turning to Blair. "Any change?"
"Slight improvement in his vitals and they are staying stable…but he's still in the coma." Blair reported.
"I thought I'd sit with him this evening…" Douglas said with some uncertainty.
"That's fine. Everyone figured you'd want to tonight anyway. It's still two hours before you can go back."
"Good." Naomi said. "That gives us a chance to talk."
"Talk?" Douglas said in surprise.
"Just talk Douglas." Naomi said.
The older man raised an eyebrow and looked over at his youngest son.
"Don't worry, I'll stay up here until you get back." He answered the unspoken question. He then looked back and forth between the both of them before adding. "Just talk, no arguing. No one needs it or is up for it right now."
His parents just nodded.
"Shall we." Douglas said making a sweeping motion with his hands toward the elevator.
"We'll be back soon sweetie, then you and I are going to go back to the loft for a little while."
"Okay. But just for a little while." Blair said, warning again. "Just talk!"
Exactly two hours later Naomi and Douglas came of the elevator. Neither giving any indication of what they had discussed or how they were feeling.
"Come on honey. Time to go." Naomi ordered gently.
"I'll call if there is any change." Douglas said, not stopping as he headed through the ICU doors for his visit with his son, calling back after them. "Goodnight."
Blair watched after his father for a moment before turning towards his mother. "Well, that's a good sign, I guess. You're both still in one piece and I didn't hear sirens. So, you two…talked?"
"Yes, we did. Not as much as we need too. But we did talk." Naomi said, looping her arm around Blair's and leading him to the elevator.
"And it was between Douglas and myself." Naomi said. "Understand this, sweetie, what Douglas and I had was wonderful when we had it, but it is long over. And, although I am having some very mixed feelings about all of this, I will not stand in the way of any decision you make."
Blair stopped walking and faced his mother, giving her a tight hug. "Thank you. That really means a lot to me."
The phone ringing at Jim's desk at the beginning of Brian's second week in ICU was greeted with a happy sounding guide.
"Jim. Jim, it's me. He's awake…well, not awake-awake, but he came out of the coma and just sleeping heavily now. The doctor checked him over less than a half an hour ago…the doctor's are going to run another MRI this afternoon…"
"Hey, that's great news Blair." Jim interrupted his breathless friend, looking up to get Henri's attention as he reiterated aloud what Blair was telling him. "He's no longer in a coma and the doctor's are upgrading his condition from critical to serious but stable."
An excited whoop from Henri drew the attention of everybody in the bullpen, including the captain.
Now that Brian was slowly coming around and improving steadily the doctor lifted the visitation restrictions. Over the next several days there was always someone with him in his room during the brief, infrequent periods he would regain consciousness.
The beginning of the third week saw the Sentinel standing his watch over the injured member of his tribe. Brian was now regaining consciousness more frequently and the doctor was urging them all to try to encourage Brian to stay awake for at least several minutes each time he awoke.
Sensitive ears picked up on the sudden change in heart rate and respiration that indicated Brian was again trying to wake. Standing over his friend, Jim smiled when Brian slowly opened his eyes. "Welcome back Brian."
Brain blinked his eyes slowly, his eyes roaming the room, his _expression settling on one of confusion, before coming back to meet Jim's gaze.
"You’re in the hospital. There was an accident." Jim said. "Do you remember?"
Brian's confused _expression never changed, indicating to Jim that his friend did not remember.
"It's all right. It will come back to you soon. Do you think you can stay awake for a little while?" Jim asked, pulling his chair over to sit by Brian's bed. "Blair will be here in about an hour…"
"Blair?" the hoarse whisper was immediately followed by a bout of coughing brought on by the dryness of unused vocal cords.
"Whoa, there Brian. Sit up, here I'll help you." Jim reached to support Brian while at the same time pouring a cup of water. "Here, take a little sip. Your throat is dry."
"How long?" Brian asked after several small sips of water.
"You've been in the hospital for over two weeks now." Jim answered, settling his friend back into his bed.
Jim noticed Brian was looking around the room, almost as though he was studying his surroundings. "Everything all right Brian?"
"Brian?" the injured man frowned deeply. "So, my name is…Brian?"
"Yes." Jim answered slowly, growing alarmed. "Do you know my name? Do you know who I am?"
Brian looked at him, his face wrinkling up in thought before finally saying. "No."
"Damn." Jim cursed quietly, reaching for the call button.
"What do you mean he can't remember?" Blair exclaimed an hour later when he arrived at the hospital.
He, along with the Jim and the doctor, were standing outside Brian's room. "Are you trying to tell me he has amnesia?"
"Your brother has continued to improve physically, but psychologically…that's a different matter." The doctor explained. "With such a severe blow to the head, amnesia would not be that unusual…it could be just a matter of days, while he reacclimatizes to being conscious…"
"I hear an 'or' in there." Blair interjected.
With a sigh the doctor continued. "As I said it could be just a matter of days… maybe even weeks or months, for him to recover his memories."
Meeting Blair's gaze the doctor dropped the bombshell. "Or it could be…never."
"Never!" Blair exclaimed.
"From what you've told me of the stress he's been under the last two months it may be that he just doesn't want to remember." The doctor continued. "The important thing is not to pressure him, let him take it at his own pace and don't push the issue. Offer up memories that are neutral and non threatening…let him decide when he's ready for more."
"When can he come home?" Blair asked after a moment.
"Physically he is stable, his injuries are healing as they should be. Let's give him a few more days to keep an eye on his current condition…run another MRI. Let's shoot for Friday as a discharge date." The doctor said.
"Thanks, doc." Jim said extending his hand to the doctor when he noticed Blair was all ready lost in thought. "We're going to go ahead and go in, sit with him for awhile, okay?"
"That would be fine. The more encouragement he gets, and the more comfortable he feels with his environment the better his chances are of regaining his memory." The doctor said, warning. "Just remember, don't push him. He is in a very fragile psychological state."
When the doctor left Jim turned to Blair. "Look, I think I better call the station, let Simon and Henri know what's going on. They need to be prepared when they come to see him. You going to be all right going in there?"
"Yeah, fine. I'll be fine, Jim. Go. Call Simon. I'll be all right." Blair said taking a deep breathe and reaching to open the door to his brother's room.
Brain was sitting propped up on several pillows when Blair entered the room, and he looked up at Blair expectantly.
"Are you a doctor?"
"Uh, no. I'm your…I'm, my name is Blair." Blair stammered.
"Blair? I remember that name."
"You do!" Blair answered excitedly.
"Yeah, the other man…Jim wasn't it. He said the name Blair. Said he…you would be coming to see me." The injured man answered.
"Do you know me…recognize me at all?" Blair asked hopefully.
Brain's face scrunched up in thought. "I feel like I should know you, but I just can't remember. Are we friends?"
"Friends and then some."
"And then some?" Brian questioned slowly, his eyes widening in surprise. "We aren't, I mean…you and I…we aren't…"
Giving an amused snort, Blair answered quickly. "No, no. We're not lovers. I'm so not into incest, man. We're brothers."
Blair saw Brian sigh in relief and sink back into his pillows. "You're tired. Maybe you need to get some rest."
"Rest! How can I rest?" Brian exclaimed. "I wake up and find out I don't remember anything about myself…my life, and you expect me to be able to sleep?"
"Hey, hold up. It’s not going to come back all at once, man." Blair said. "And being tired is only going to add to your confusion not help it. I promise, I'll help you any way I can. But right now you need to rest."
Brian looked petulantly at the young man who called himself his brother, his tone pouting when he asked. "Am I going to remember that you were always this pushy when my memory returns?"
Blair laughed. "Yep, you are."
Brian had slept most of the afternoon and was now sitting propped up in his bed peevishly picking at the *food* on his tray that the hospital was trying to pass off as the evening meal.
"If you ever want to convince the doctor you're well enough to be released you're going to have to eat something." Blair said in exasperation.
"This… *stuff* isn't food. It's poison on a plate." Brain groused. "Can't you slip down the cafeteria and find something that might remotely come close to resembling food?"
"How 'bout this--you choke down dinner tonight and I'll see what the doctor says about deli sandwiches for lunch tomorrow?" Blair cajoled.
Brian poked at the food on the tray a few more times before taking a small bite. "Promise?"
"Promise." Blair said holding up a hand.
A light tap on the door gave Brain a momentary reprieve from dinner.
Henri popped his head in the door. "Yo, everybody decent?"
"Hey, Henri, come on in." Blair said.
"Hey, there part…uh, Brain. How you doing man?" Henri stammered, suddenly unsure what to say to his friend.
"Ah…hi…Henri?" Brian said hesitantly, asking curiously. "What was it you started to say?"
"Ah…well…" Henri looked over to Blair, who nodded. "I was going to say partner."
"Yeah, partner. You're my partner at the PD…"
"The police department. You and me, we work at the Cascade Police Department."
"I'm a cop?" Brian said in surprise, looking over at Blair.
"You're a detective, in Major Crimes. So is the other man, Jim, that's been sitting with you…"
"Are you a cop too?"
"Me! No. I'm a grad student at the University, Rainer. I study Anthropology." Blair informed him.
"And, I seem to remember two other men who have been here, one of them chews on those awful cigars?" Brian interrupted
"Ah, that'd be your Captain, Simon Banks." Henri chuckled. "The other man, Joel Taggart, he works with us too."
Brain sat back in bed, a frown crossing his face.
"Everything all right?" Henri asked in concern.
"It's just…everyone that's been here while I've been in and out of la-la land…they've all been from work. Do I, I mean besides you, Blair; do I have any other family? I seem to remember a woman being here, red hair I think…"
Blair grinned. "That was my mom. We have different mother's, same father. Your…our, father is in Seattle. The family business is located there. There have been a few minor problems that need his attention, he calls everyday and he comes in on the weekends."
Blair and Henri exchanged looks that didn't go unnoticed by the injured man. "What? Is there something your not telling me, something about the crash maybe? Was someone with me? Was someone else hurt…or…"
"No. No, nothing like that. You were alone on the plane. It's just…well; your mother is dead, died when you were a child. You've got a few cousins, but you're not particularly close to them."
Brain's brow furrowed in concentration as he tried to remember faces or names of his family, all he came up with was a blank. "Damn, this is frustrating."
"Hey, don't push yourself." Blair warned. "You heard the doctor, it will come back in time. The harder you try the harder it will be to remember."
"Easy for you to say." Brian grumbled. "You're not the one playing 'stranger in a strange land', here."
"I want out of here. You said Friday and it's Friday. Now just sign the papers."
Sentinel ears picked up the petulant tirade of his friend as he stepped out of the elevator with Blair. "Uh, think we better pick up the pace there partner. Brain is being a real bear with the doctor."
"Blair. Jim." Brian exclaimed when they came into his room. "It's Friday and I want to go home. The doctor won't sign the papers."
"As I tried to explain to Mr. Rafe, It's not that I won't sign the papers…I just need to know he is being released into someone's care. I need a responsible party to sign his discharge papers." The doctor explained.
"I'm the one being discharged, I can sign them." Brian snapped. "I don't need a keeper."
"Fine, Brian. Sign them. What's your full name…your social security number? Do you even know where home is once you leave here?" Blair said, taking the papers from the doctor and putting them on the rolling tray in front of his brother.
Brian snatched up the pen and signed his name. "There, damn it, I at least know that much…stop treating me like an invalid."
Blair turned the paper around and signed his name under Brian's and gave the forms back to the doctor. "I'd like to take my brother home now."
"You've been given the instructions…as has your brother. We want to see him in a week and he has an appointment with a psychologist on Tuesday." The doctor instructed. "He shouldn't be left alone and he should stay off his feet as much as possible…"
Blair noticed Brain's angry frown and interrupted the doctor. "Doctor Patterson, my brother is neither deaf nor stupid…please address you instructions to him. I am standing right here and can hear everything he does."
The doctor gave a slight nod and turned to Brian. "I'm sorry. Mr. Rafe, just by the nature of your injuries, it is not safe for you to be alone. You will need some assistance getting around for awhile…"
"I understand that, Blair will be staying with me for awhile. I need to pick his brain anyway!" Brain nodded his understanding.
"That's another thing, Mr. Rafe, and we've discussed this before. Don't push it…" the doctor warned. "Your discharge papers have all these instructions, medications, and appointment times listed. If you have any further questions my office number is on the last page."
"Thank you, doctor." Brian said taking the offered papers.
"I'll call for the nurse to take you to your car. Take care and take it easy." The doctor said, leaving the room.
"Thanks Blair. I'm beginning to feel invisible."
"I know man, doctors seem to think just because you're sick or hurt your stupid or something. We need to keep those brain cells active…"
"He can always come back to work and write up those reports. I think Rhonda has sent every one of them back to Henri." Jim mused with a smile.
"Reports? Reports, I have no knowledge of reports!" Brian teased putting a hand on his head.
Blair laughed. "Let your partner see you do that and he may just crack you over the head himself. He hates to write reports about as much as Jim does."
"Hey!" Jim protested. "At least I use the spell check."
The nurse came in with the wheelchair. "Freedom at last!"
"If you're up to it I thought we'd drive around town a little bit…see if anything clicks." Blair said, helping Brian into the back seat while Jim stowed his suitcase in the trunk.
"Blair, I don' think that's a good idea." Jim said, tossing Brian's bag in the trunk.
"Jim, he's been cooped up in that hospital for weeks and next he's going to be cooped up in his apartment…he needs to see things, breathe some fresh air…" Blair explained, turning to Brian. "If you're up for it?"
"Lead on." Brian said.
After only twenty minutes of driving it was obvious that Brian was in a lot of discomfort and his face wore a constant frown of concentration and confusion.
"Time to head to your place…" Blair started to say.
"But, I haven't remembered or recognized anything yet." Brian interrupted.
"Hey, man, Rome wasn't built in a day. Besides, there's a lasagna in the fridge with your name on it." Blair said.
"Real food…not that poison the hospital tries to pass off." Brain said. "I can do that."
"Henri and Simon want to stop by this evening if you feel up to it." Jim said.
"Fine by me…the more I hear and see the better chance I'll remember." Brian said. "What about…my father, or my cousins, am I going to see them soon?"
Jim and Blair exchanged glances before Blair answered. "Our…father will be in first thing in the morning to be with you over the weekend."
"And the rest of them?" Brian pressed.
"Uh, well, you…we, really don't get along with them very well…" Blair was at a loss how to explain the 'family' situation without causing his brother un-due stress. "How about we call them tomorrow."
"Why don't we get along? Did we have a fight or something?"
"Or something. Listen Brian, talking about the family difficulties is not the way to get your memory back." Blair warned, adding almost pleadingly. "Please, just trust me on this for now. We will try everything else first."
"I do trust you. It's just hard…not knowing." Brian said earnestly.
"I know. But I'm here for you every step of the way."
Simon and Henri showed up shortly after the trio arrived at the apartment.
"Hey, partner, how ya' doing?" Henri said coming into the apartment. "There better be some lasagna left in there!"
Brian looked up from the table with a timid smile. "Somehow, even without a memory, I some how don't think you and food are ever far parted."
"Got you pegged, detective." Simon chuckled as he removed his coat. "All those trips to the donut cart are starting to show."
"Hey, I'm a growing boy." Henri protested. "Just for that I'm going to eat your share!"
"You wanna be back walkin' a beat?" Simon growled.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen. If you don't stop squabbling and get in here it will be cold and congealed and not fit for any one to consume." Blair said.
They entertained Brian though out dinner with the more amusing anecdotes of their work at the PD and the poker games, steering clear of any talk of cases and 'family' issues.
"Then there was your first fishing trip last year." Henri's chuckle was cut short by an abrupt look from Blair, who was shaking his head. "Uh, well, that's a story for another time…"
"Why, did I catch more fish than the rest of you?" Brian chuckled, but stopped after a moment when he noticed the sudden tense looks around the table. "What?"
"Nothing, anyone want seconds." Blair said quickly.
"Hold it little brother…stop it right now!" Brian demanded.
"Stop what?" Blair asked innocently.
"Protecting me. You said I was a cop…I'm sure everything in my life isn't an amusing story. I get the feeling there is some real ugliness you're trying to spare me from."
"We just don't want to overwhelm you. The doctor said it wasn't a good idea to try to hard or to fast, suggested we just ease into it." Blair defended.
"I may not have access to them right now, but they are *my* memories and I want them back; good, bad or indifferent." Brain said. "So just stop tap dancing around my life and give it to me straight."
"Fine, I'm sorry." Blair apologized. "We'll tell you all the sorted details of that disastrous trip."
"Well, first you fell in the river, damn near drowned…" Jim started the tale.
"Then you fell over the cliff and sprained your ankle…" Simon continued.
"Oh, and the rattlesnakes, don't forget the rattlesnake den he fell on." Henri said with a raise of his eyebrow.
"Rattlesnakes? I got bit by a snake?" Brian exclaimed.
"No. But then, when your first camping experience couldn't get any worse we came across some bank robbers who thought having a cop as a hostage would give them safe passage to Canada." Blair finished.
"And…I was that cop?"
"Got it in one." Henri said, getting up from the table and going to retrieve a picture from the mantle. "But you did catch the first fish."
Brian stared at the picture for a moment, his brow furrowing. "Beginners luck…I remember someone saying it was beginners luck."
"Yeah, partner, that was me!" Henri exclaimed. "You getting any more flashes?"
After a moment more Brian finally shook his head no.
"But that's good…a good start." Blair encouraged. "They're there, just below the surface."
"I have something that might help." Simon said, getting up from the table and retrieving something from his coat.
Standing over Brian, Simon handed the man his gun and his badge. "These are yours detective, thought you might want them back."
Brian laid the gun on the table and opened the black wallet to reveal his badge and police ID. "Major crimes? Major crimes--we get the tough cases, right?"
"You could say that." Jim snorted.
"I remember…I remember, money; something about money falling out of the sky…"
"That was one of our cases; an armor car heist that turned out to be an inside job. The tire blew and the money rained down onto Southtown…you manned one of the retrieval stations." Jim explained.
"Explosions? Why do I have such a strong association with explosions?"
"Well, it could be the time the terrorists took over the station and blew up the office across the street…"
"Or when Blair's warehouse blew up because of the drug dealers…"
"Or the time that supremist group was blowing up churches…"
"Or the time an arsonist was burning up warehouses for the insurance money…"
"Whoa, whoa! Hold up guys!" Brian exclaimed. "Major crimes, right, not the bomb squad?"
"Well, they were major crimes." Henri said sheepishly. "Besides, the former captain of the bomb squad, Joel Taggart, works in our unit."
"Never a dull moment!" Brian said.
"You could say that." Blair chuckled. "Now, there is a Jag's game on in less than an hour, let's adjourn to the living room."
"Jag's…basketball…Wallace…" Brian said slowly. "I remember that!"
Later that evening, after everyone had left and, and as Blair was securing the apartment for the night Brian asked. "Do I have any photo albums?"
"I, uh, really don't know. I guess you have pictures around here somewhere." Blair said.
"You don't know? Well, what about you, do you have any family albums that might help jar my memory?" Brian pressed.
Blair took in a deep breath and let it out noisily. "Okay, this is where it gets tricky…"
"We are brother's but…well, we only found out about it…us being brother's and all, about two months ago…" Blair answered sheepishly.
"But…how, I mean, I get the feeling I've known you for longer than a few months; and the fishing trip Henri mentioned…he said it was last year?"
"We've been friends for over two years…but it has only been recently that we found out we were related…that we were brother's." Blair said. "Listen, it's late. We can talk about this tomorrow."
"Why not now?" Brian questioned. "Does this have to do with those 'family difficulties' you were mentioning earlier?"
"Well, yes and no…" Blair hedged.
"Look, Brian, we *will* talk about it. Just not tonight, okay!" Blair said. "It's to late and I don't know about you but I'm just to tired to go into it tonight."
"Fine." Brian pouted. "Tomorrow then, and I'm holding you to that!"
A knock at the door mid morning caused Brian to come off the couch startled.
"It’s all right Brian, it's either Jim or father." Blair said, coming from the kitchen and seeing Brain staring nervously at the door.
"Just feels weird, you know, 'meeting' my father." Brian said.
"It will be all right. I'm right here, no one is going to push you."
"Well, you're not meeting him yet." Called a voice from the other side of the door. "Could someone let me in?"
Blair chuckled as he went and unlocked the door to reveal a frowning sentinel. "See, you got a reprieve, it's only Jim."
"Gee, thanks, Sandburg. I love you too!" Jim groused as he slid out of his coat, giving Brian a concerned look. "So, how was your first night out of the hospital? Everything go all right last night?"
"All right, I guess." Brian shrugged.
"So, what time are you expecting Douglas?" Jim asked.
"Anytime now." Blair answered, heading back into the kitchen. "Coffee?"
An hour later there was another knock at the door.
"Must be him." Brian said nervously, rubbing his hands on his pants.
"Well, go ahead, answer the door." Blair said, making no move to get up from the couch where he was reading.
"Uh, it's your apartment and it's your father." Blair prodded.
Brian stared expectantly at the man standing in the hallway, finally saying. "Dad?"
Douglas reached out and grabbed Brian's shoulders gently, looking his son up and down. "It's great to see you out of that hospital. How are you feeling son?"
"Uhm, fine. Come on in."
"Blair. Jim." Douglas acknowledged as he came into the apartment. "Things going all right?"
"Pretty good. Brian is getting some flashes of memory. We're taking things slow and easy like the doctor ordered." Blair answered, giving Douglas a knowing look. "We're not pushing."
Blair had spent hours on the phone with his father over the last several days since Brain came out of his coma, discussing the young man's memory loss and what the doctor thought were neutral topics he felt safe for Brian to hear about. No discussion of the recent family problems or Todd's incarceration was to be brought up unless Brain brought it up himself.
"I brought some pictures…simple things like school pictures, birthdays and a few holidays we took when you were a child." Douglas said, holding out a large manila envelope.
"Thanks!" Brain exclaimed happily, taking the envelope and going to the couch. "Finally, something that might kick my brain in gear."
"Hey, what am I chopped liver!" Blair retorted with a pout, causing everyone to chuckle.
"Come on chief, let's go." Jim said.
Brain's head snapped up, uncertainty in his eyes, as he asked. "Go? Where are you going?"
"Just a quick trip to the university. I need to pick up some papers and a few books for class next week…we'll be back in a couple of hours." Blair assured his brother. "You and dad can sit here and visit for awhile, look at the pictures…"
"But why do you have to leave now? You can look with us?" Brain asked.
"Look, Brian, I know your nervous, but it will be okay, I promise." Blair said. "You're safe here. Douglas can help you with things I can't."
"Okay. But later, you'll look through this pictures with me?" Brain asked.
"Sure, maybe you'll have all kinds of embarrassing stories to tell me by the time I get back." Blair smiled. "See you in a few hours."
As the elevator doors closed Blair slumped against the wall. "Damn, that was hard. Maybe I shouldn't leave?"
"Blair, you can't hover forever. If he is ever going to get his memories back you can't keep protecting him, shielding him from his life." Jim said. "If he gets to dependent on you he may never remember."
"I know. It's just hard. He's so fragile right now."
"Don't sell him short. He'll remember and he'll survive."
Blair lasted exactly two hours before he insisted they head back to Brian's apartment. "I know Douglas wouldn't do anything intentionally to hurt Brian…"
"But, you're idea of helping and Douglas's are two different things." Jim finished.
"Yeah. We discussed what Brian should be subject too this early, I just don't know if Douglas can accept the slow pace of Brian's recovery."
As they came off the elevator Blair gave his sentinel a knowing look and nodded toward the end of the hall. "So, how's it going?"
"What?" Jim said with exaggerated surprise. "You want me to eavesdrop? Wasn't that guide lecture number eight on things a sentinel *isn't* supposed to do?"
"Jim!" Blair pleaded. "If things are going good maybe we shouldn't disturb them, ya know…"
Jim just smiled and shook his head before extending his hearing to Brain's apartment. His amusement quickly turned to anger and he growled and quickened his pace to the apartment, throwing open the door. "That's enough Douglas. I think you need to leave now."
The two men in the apartment looked up at Jim in startled surprise while Blair asked breathlessly. "Jim? What is up with you man?"
"You were right chief, we shouldn't have left them alone." Jim answered without looking at Blair, as he headed into the apartment to stand over Douglas. "Thought you'd take advantage of him again? Did you think we wouldn't catch on…now get out."
"Jim?" Brain questioned. "Why are you talking to my father that way?"
"Because he's lying to you. Because he is taking advantage of the fact that you have no memories…"
"What are you telling him?" Blair asked accusingly.
"I am telling my son about his family, about his place in his family…" Douglas shot back coming off the couch.
"What place is that? Did you think we'd let him forget about his life here… the fact that he's a cop and loves his job?" Blair accused.
"He has a chance for a fresh start…" Douglas said.
"A fresh start? He doesn't need your fresh start, he needs his memories back, intact, so he can make up his own mind. He so doesn't need your version of what you want his life to be." Blair shot back. "Should have known, at the hospital, that was all talk wasn’t it?"
"No, damn it, it wasn't. I told you I'd all ready lost one son. I have no intention of losing another."
"Lose another son? What is he talking about?" Brian interrupted. "Will someone tell me what's going on here? Why are you two fighting like this?"
"If you do this…if you lie and take him away from his life do you think that will keep him at your side. He has a life all ready." Blair continued without acknowledging Brian's question.
"He has a choice now." Douglas said.
"He had a choice before and he chose to be a cop not a businessman." Blair said in exasperation.
"Damn it!" Brain exclaimed, trying to pull himself up from the couch. "What in the hell is going on here? Someone talk to me!"
Shamefaced, Blair went quickly to sit by his brother. "I'm sorry Brian. I don't know what Douglas is telling you but your memories, your life, they are here--in Cascade. You’re a detective in major crimes. You're partnered with Henri Brown. We've worked together for two years…and…and, you haven't actually had contact with your family--your father, for the last eight years."
Brian looked at Blair in surprise, before his gaze met Douglas's. "Is it true…is Blair telling the truth? Why? Eight years? What happened eight years ago? Is that when Todd died, is that the reason?"
"Died? You told him Todd was dead?" Blair exclaimed. "Is there no end to your selfishness?"
"You said the doctor said we shouldn't bring up the case…what would you have me tell him then? Todd is in his family pictures after all." Douglas defended.
"Whoa, hold up. Todd, my brother…Todd, he's not dead?" Brain questioned. "What case?"
"It's nothing we need to discuss right now." Blair answered Brian absently, as though speaking to a child.
"Like hell it's not!" Brian had finally managed to pull himself off the couch and was pacing awkwardly with his cane. "I am sick and tired of you deciding what I need to discuss and what I don't need to discuss! Douglas seems willing to discuss anything I ask and then you tell me it's all lies, but you wont tell me anything else. How in the hell I'm I supposed to know what's real and what's not?"
"Whoa, Brian. I promise, no one is trying to keep anything from you." Jim said. "We're just following doctors orders not to push is all, until your strong enough to handle it."
"Handle *it*? What in the hell is *it*" Brain exclaimed. "What the hell happened? What'd I do, arrest him or something?"
Brain had tossed the comment out randomly but stopped short when he saw the other three men exchange uncomfortable looks. "Oh my god! That's it isn't it…Todd, did something didn't he, and I had to..."
Blair rushed to his brother's side as Brian stumbled backwards until he hit the wall, holding him as he slid down the wall.
"Arrested him…and…and a woman. They tried…he tried…" Brain grabbed his shoulder. "He tried to shoot me…kill me…why?"
Brain looked up dazedly to meet Blair's worried eyes. "He was my brother? Why did he want me…dead?"
Turning to his father, Brain said in a pleading, child like voice. "Why? Why didn't you…why didn't you want me…love me?"
"Son, it wasn't like that." Douglas said taking a step towards them.
"Wasn't it?" Blair snapped. "See what you've done. Just get out now, before you cause any more damage today."
Douglas started to protest when he felt a hand come down firmly on his shoulder and he looked into the eyes of one very angry detective. "Leave. Now."
Sparing one more glance at his son's on the floor, Douglas picked up his coat and quickly left the apartment. Once gone, the sentinel could again return his attention to the needs of his tribe.
Blair was holding Brian on the floor, rocking him back and forth, while his brother sobbed as the memories came flooding over him in a torrent of painful emotions. He looked up at his sentinel, lost and hurting.
"It's okay, Blair. You're giving him exactly what he needs right now." Jim said quietly, moving to sit next to Blair.
Twenty minutes later, emotions spent, Jim carried the exhausted man to his room and laid him on his bed. Coming back into the living room to help his guide off the floor.
"God, Jim that was awful. To have everything come back at him like that." Blair said tiredly, plopping down on the couch.
"I know chief. All we can do is be here for him."
Brain slept through the night and into the late morning hours. When he finally arose, he found Blair sitting on the couch surrounded by textbooks and notes.
"Good morning. Or should I say afternoon." Blair said jumping off the couch. "You want some juice…coffee?"
"Ah, juice would be fine." Brian answered tiredly, easing himself into a chair.
Brain looked up and met Blair's eyes as he handed him the juice glass. "I remember. I remember it all now…the case, the shooting…the, the accident…I'm sorry."
Blair bent down in front of his brother. "You have nothing to be sorry for…"
"But…" Brain tried to interrupt.
"No. You were betrayed by your father…by your brother; and I didn't make things any easier for you. I'm the one who should be sorry."
"It's not over is it?" Brain asked quietly. "The trial? There is still the trial."
"There is still the trial." Blair agreed. "But you won't be going through it alone. You've got your friends, your partner and…your little brother. And I don't plan on going anywhere."
Sorry if that seems an abrupt ending, but I thought the story had plodded on long enough. The next story (Bloodsport) skips all the 'brotherly' angst of part one and two and gets right into a regular case story (but don't think I'm done picking on poor Rafe just yet!!!)