Sins of the Father
Blair stared aghast at the distraught boy seated beside him. "What do you mean, he took you? Was he a friend of your family? Your uncle?"
Brett shook his head then shrugged his shoulders. "He told me he was. He said my mom had a bad accident and my folks wanted him to look after me for a while. He said we were going on an adventure." He reached up and rubbed at the square of gauze on his head. "I don't remember much about that. Seemed I was always tired, always sleeping. I think he drugged me. Later, he said my mom had died and my dad couldn't look after me anymore. He said my dad didn't want me."
Blair couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Do you remember anything from before... Your name? Did he change your name?"
Brett nodded but before he could reply, the door swung open and Blair looked over his shoulder to see Detective Joe Chase standing in the doorway. The portly, grey-haired cop had his arms crossed over his expansive chest and a disgruntled look on his face. "What are you up to, Sandburg?"
Blair stood and faced the detective. "Interviewing the witness."
Chase gave Brett a quick glance. "This is a homicide case, Detective, you should know that. Besides, kid's not a witness, he's a suspect."
Blair shot Chase a glare of equal contempt. "Captain Banks assigned the case to my partner and me, Chase. Up to now, we've done all the work on it. If you have a problem with that, take it up with my captain."
For a moment, it looked like Chase was going to blow his stack, then with a muttered curse, he turned on his heel and left the room, slamming the door behind him. Blair pushed his discomfort of the moment aside for now. Chase was a creep who hadn't been shy in letting it be known that he thought frauds like Blair shouldn't be working in law enforcement. He turned back to Brett. "A name?" he asked again. "An address. Your folks' names."
"I think my name is Russell..." His forehead creased as he thought a moment. "I found a lunchbox one day with Spiderman on it. It had the name Russell Marshall on it. I think that's me."
"I'll need to check all of this out," Blair said carefully. He still had no idea if the boy was telling him the truth or not. "Did you ever try to get away?"
Brett averted his eyes. "I did once," he said in a small voice. "He beat me so bad." A tear escaped one eye and dribbled down his cheek. "The next day, we went to a Walmart. There was a little boy playing in the toy aisle all alone. My dad... Harry pointed him out, said if I ever tried again, he'd find another little boy to take. I didn't want him to do that."
"Did he ever touch you, Brett?"
"When I was younger." Brett's voice was very soft now. "When I got to be fourteen or so, he stopped. Said he didn't like the hair I was getting, the way I was growing up."
"Okay." Blair reached out and squeezed the boy's hand. "I need to go check some things out. Officer Reed is going to stay with you. He can get you a soda, maybe something to eat."
Brett nodded then turned his head to look at Blair. "I'm sorry - about those girls. If I'd known..."
Blair nodded. "We'll work it out."
Jim hung up the phone then looked over at Blair. "A six year old boy, Russell Marshall was kidnapped on his way home from school eleven years ago, from a suburb of Seattle. The boy was never found. The parents are on their way here with a police escort."
"So, it's him?"
Jim shrugged. "Too early to tell. There's a lot to get through. Tests, identification, not to mention, the boy's still being held as an accessory in the murders." He pushed back his chair and stood, not liking the pallor of Blair's face or the fine lines of tension around his eyes that indicated Blair's headache was still in full force. "Let's go home. There's nothing more we can do tonight."
The moment they arrived home, Blair headed out to the balcony. Jim watched him for a moment as he stood leaning against the wall, staring out at the darkened skyline. This one had been tough on everyone. Four young girls, lost to their families forever. A small, bright spark of hope was that Marissa Collins would recover from her ordeal and that Russell Marshall, if that was who he was, would return to the arms of his parents, who'd long since thought him dead.
Jim headed into the kitchen and put water on for tea then grabbed himself two beers from the fridge. Walking out to the balcony, he held one out to Blair then set it aside when his lover waved it away. "Tea's brewing," he said.
"Thanks," Blair whispered.
Placing his beer on the small table beside him, Jim wrapped his arms around Blair and drew him back against his chest. "Talk to me," he said.
Sighing, Blair brought his hands up and gripped Jim's. "The usual. Those poor girls, their families..."
Jim pressed a kiss to the nape of Blair's neck. "I wish I could say it'll get better. The only good thing to come out of it is that we caught the bastard. He won't do it again."
"Anything from Idaho?"
"They're looking into a couple of disappearances."
"And Brett," Blair continued, "or Russell, if that's who he is. God, how hard can it be for his parents to think he was dead, only to be told he's alive."
"At least they have him back," Jim added.
"Only to go visit him in a jail cell, not to mention the guilt he has to live with. I believe him," Blair said, turning within Jim's embrace. "I don't think he knew what was going on."
"Word is the DA is going to offer him a deal. He won't do any time." He pressed a soft kiss to Blair's lips. "It's getting cold. Come inside and let me warm you up."
His father was on the phone when Daryl walked into the house. He'd just returned from visiting Marissa, relieved to find she was recovering well from her ordeal. Her parents had treated Daryl like some kind of hero and while he'd been a little embarrassed by the attention, he had to admit, it had been kind of nice. He'd shyly asked Marissa out on a date the following weekend and she had, almost as shyly, accepted. Life was looking pretty good.
He stopped in the doorway of the living room and watched his dad pace in front of the windows. He didn't want to interrupt or eavesdrop but he wanted to speak to his dad now, to explain and apologize for his behavior in recent weeks.
He was about to head into his bedroom when his father spoke into the phone.
"Naomi, please reconsider. Why don't you come back and we'll talk things over... I can't leave right now. I have a job to do and we're short-staffed as it is." He paused a moment and listened then sighed. "Sounds like your mind's made up. Look, if you come back to Cascade, any time, give me a call. We can still have dinner as friends, right?" He hung up the phone and turned to stare out the window.
"Not now, Daryl, all right?" his father said.
Crushed, Daryl turned to go then firmed his resolve and stopped. "Dad, I'm sorry."
His father turned to look at him. He looked tired, Daryl thought. Older. "What for, son?"
Daryl walked over to his father and, surprising himself, wrapped his arms around his dad's waist. "For being such a jerk, sometimes. Sorry that Naomi's not coming back."
After a moment, his dad's arms wrapped around him tightly. "Thank you, Daryl." His voice sounded rough. "I'm proud of you, son. You handled yourself well. If you hadn't gotten that license number, we may not have found Marissa in time." He released Daryl then and grasped his shoulders instead, leaning down a little to look Daryl in the eyes. "We've got each other, right? I know you're finding university tough and I think that's partly because your heart isn't in it. Give it till the end of the year, put everything you've got into it and if you still want to join the force, we'll talk about it again."
"I've been thinking about specializing," Daryl said. "Maybe profiling, like Blair."
His dad smiled at him. "I think Blair would be very proud to know that. Now, how about pizza for dinner? My treat."
Daryl smiled back. "You got a deal."
They stood by the bed, wrapped in an embrace. Blair's arms were wrapped around Jim's waist, one hand ghosted over Jim's bare chest, while the other cupped his boxer covered erection and stroked gently.
"Jesus, Blair!" Jim gasped and threw his head back against Blair's shoulder, arching up in an attempt to get more contact with Blair's hand. His own hand reached back and tugged at Blair's boxers, succeeding in only exposing his ass cheeks. Cupping one in his hand, he pulled his lover forward against him, feeling Blair's erection press against his ass.
"Love you," Blair whispered against his neck.
Jim turned in Blair's embrace and shifted them so Blair stood with his back to the bed. Jim gave him a gentle push and he sprawled inelegantly on the mattress, laughing.
Jim followed Blair down, blanketing his body with his own. He yanked at his boxers, leaving them dangling around one ankle in his haste then knelt up and tugged Blair's down as well before stretching out over his lover.
Blair thrust up as their cocks came into contact and Jim began a maddeningly slow glide against him, building the friction, urging Blair to completion, hoping that, at least for tonight, he could banish the despair and sorrow they both felt.
He couldn't change the way things were, couldn't protect Blair from the ugly realities of their jobs. This had been Blair's choice and one he'd made gladly but as long as at the end of the day they had this, had each other, they'd make it.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Many thanks to the entire crew at Thin Blue Line for their support, hard work and encouragement. What a talented, wonderful group of people you are. Thanks especially to Annie for her stellar beta.