Act II

Blair was barely aware of Jim guiding him back to the truck while the coroner loaded Roy into his wagon. He didn’t even get a chance to reconnect with Roy. Thinking about the family left behind, he said, "We need to tell Jamie, Jim. He's going to be devastated."

"We'll get there, Blair. How are you handling this?" Jim blocked Blair from any outside view. Blair was a strong individual normally, but this was a private moment.

Blair sank down into the truck's passenger seat. "I don't know, Jim. I don't want to even think about this. It seems like so many people have been lost. Janet, a couple of my professors, and you lost Incacha. It feels like there’s no hope. ”

Jim put his hand on Blair's shoulder and squeezed lightly. "I know it feels that way, Blair. I can understand it. Let's go talk to Jamie. Keeping him together is the important thing. After that, we can go home."

Arriving at Jamie's house, he answered the door in his workout clothes. "We need to talk Jamie," Jim said as they were let in.

Blair looked around the living room. The white walls were tastefully decorated with framed paintings. Family photographs were scattered on tables and on the walls. It was a simple design, and he could picture Jamie here. Even as a child, Jamie had never liked clutter. That was one of the reasons Blair and Roy had gotten along, they both loved collecting things.

Jamie showed his guests into his living room and sat down on the couch. They had serious looks on their faces. Jamie had a sinking feeling that Roy had gotten himself into trouble after their talk last night. Roy’s temper had a way of getting the best of him, and Jamie just hoped that he wouldn’t have to face murder charges. “What is there to talk about?”

Jim let Blair take the lead. Blair had a history with the brothers and might come across better. Blair was always better at breaking news of this caliber.

“I’m afraid I have bad news, Jamie,” Blair said, while sitting down on the arm of the couch. “We were called out earlier today on a case. It’s Roy. Someone killed him.”

Jamie blinked. “Killed him? I don’t understand what you mean. He isn’t dead.”

Blair quietly spoke. "Roy was murdered, Jamie, but I promise that we're going to find out who did this.”

Jim stepped closer to Jamie. "I'm sorry to have to ask you questions at a time like this, but we're going to need your help if we're going to find your brother's killer. Is there anyone you can think of that your brother squared off with outside of the ring lately?"

Jamie couldn't believe the news. Roy was dead. His big brother was dead. He had told Roy about working for Rock last night, and Roy had been pissed at what he had been doing. Now, Roy was gone. Jamie swallowed heavily and looked up at the police detective. "They all wanted a piece of him, man -- damn bloodsuckers -- every last one of them."

Jim questioned, "Anybody in particular?"

Jamie stood up and started pacing. "Yeah, Billy Atlas. You saw him at the party last night. My brother wouldn't play his game. He's the only one I can think of. My brother was an easygoing guy. Everyone liked him."

"That's a good start. If you think of anything else," Jim handed Jamie his card, "Call me."

Blair followed Jim to the door. Turning around, "If there's anything you need, you know..."

Jamie cut into the offer, "Look, the only thing I need is my brother, man, and he ain't ever coming back." The two men left, and Jamie climbed the stairs to his bedroom to get dressed.

Jim and Blair returned to Major Crimes, Jim knocked on Simon's door, and Simon called out, "Come in."

At Simon's invitation, Jim entered the office with Blair coming in behind him. Jim shut the door. "Captain?"

Simon stood and greeted his men, "Yeah." He then offered his condolences, "Blair, I heard about your friend. I'm sorry. If there's anything I can do to help..."

Blair worked up a weak smile. "Thanks but getting the killer is all that I need."

Simon straightened up, "Right. What do we have so far, Jim?"

Jim played with the file in his hands. "We've established Williams was killed somewhere and placed in that culvert where we found him. He died from a single blunt-force trauma to the head. Skull tissue scrapings revealed a fragment of ivory."

Simon responded, "Any conclusions?"

Blair’s head shot up at the question. "It means Billy Atlas. I mean, everybody knows that he has an ivory-handled cane. We saw it ourselves."

Jim glanced at Blair, "It's somewhat circumstantial though, Captain. Atlas and Roy got into it at the party. Atlas wanted to get his hooks into Roy..."

Blair interrupted Jim, his voice shaking a little, "Roy said, ‘over my dead body...’ And guess what?"

Simon addressed Blair, "Slow down, Sandburg. We need to go about this the right way. Any other leads?"

Blair interrupted Simon, "What do you mean ‘slow down’? Why don't we pick this guy up?"

Simon turned again to Blair and suppressed his anger. He knew Blair had lost an old friend. "We are going to talk to him, okay? We just need to cover all of out bases. Now I seem to remember Roy had some run-ins with the law."

Jim broke in before Blair could, “That's correct, sir, mostly juvenile offenses -- street fights -- that sort of thing. Nothing serious."

Blair replied, "That was a long time ago. That shouldn't even be an issue."

Simon and Jim exchanged looks. Simon directed his next statement to Jim; "Perhaps his past is catching up.”

Blair couldn't believe they were still on the subject. "Or perhaps you both are blaming the victim here."

Jim kept his sigh to himself. "We're just trying to cover all the angles here, Chief."

Blair cut Jim off, "Well, those angles suck, Jim."

Simon stood up from his chair. "Sandburg, would you wait outside, please?"

Blair glared at his two friends. He couldn't believe the day he was having. He threw up his hands and stalked from the office.

Simon walked around his desk and stood in front of Jim. "What's wrong with the kid? I've never seen him so cranked up. I know he just lost his friend but..."

Jim sighed, "I'm sorry, Captain. I'll talk to him and tell him to keep his calm." Jim moved towards the office door.

Simon sighed. "If you can't, I may pull his credentials on this one." Simon knew Blair could help with then case, but he was going to self-explode if he couldn't contain his emotions.

"Yes, sir. Understood." Jim exited the office, and he couldn't see Blair anywhere. He stretched his hearing out and couldn't find the familiar heartbeat. Blair had left.

Jim spent a very restless night in the loft waiting for Blair to return home. When eight in the morning rolled around, he gave up waiting and headed into the station. He had to prepare for his interview with Billy Atlas.

Jim examined the autopsy results on Williams when he got to his desk. He looked up when he heard someone clear their throat.

“Hey, Jim. I brought you some coffee.” Blair held out the steaming cup waiting for his friend to accept the offering. He felt bad about storming off the night before, but he needed some space.

Jim took the cup from Blair’s hand. “Thanks. I needed this.” Jim sipped the brew. “I really want to help with this, Chief. If Atlas did this, I need you ready to help me nail him.”

“I’ll try and keep my cool. I’m just having a hard time believing that this is happening. Just be patient with me.”

Before Jim could reply, the desk sergeant escorted in Atlas. Jim stood up and greeted the promoter. "I appreciate you coming down here, Mr. Atlas." Jim heard Blair muttering about medieval punishments for murderers under his breath and ignored it as best he could. It wouldn’t be helpful if he broke up laughing over the out-dated methods.

Atlas puffed up his chest. "So let's not waste any time, all right? Things got a little testy between me and Sweet, but I had no reason to kill him. I wanted to make money off the boy. I mean, a lot of money." Atlas chuckled, "Besides, I have an alibi for Tuesday night, and I do mean all night.

Jim leaned forward in his chair. "You seem defensive Atlas, but are you sure it's Tuesday night you need an alibi for? How do you know the time he died?"

Atlas sank back in his chair. "Hell, no, but I figure if a star athlete gets beat to death and thrown in the aqueduct, it's not going to happen in the light of day, now is it?" Atlas pointed to the phone, "Why don't you just give my girlfriend a call? Kamiko Watanabe. She's in the phone book, and she can vouch for me."

Jim changed his mode of questioning, "I noticed you're not using your cane."

Atlas shrugged, "I lost it at the party. I have plenty more."

Blair had tried to stay quiet but just couldn’t. "That's a strange coincidence, huh? Could afford to lose one then, huh?"

Jim cut in, " I suggest that you make an effort to find it. I'm sure it would be in your best interest to have it available to be submitted for tests."

Atlas smiled smugly, "With absolute assuredness, my brother, but I think you ought to be looking at someone a little closer to home."

Jim asked, "Such as...?"

Atlas leaned forward in his chair. "Such as the brother, Jamie."

Blair jumped up. "Jamie, my ass! What are you talking about? I mean, after their parents died, Roy practically raised him, gave him a job. He gave him a life!"

Atlas scrutinized the longhaired young man. "And Jamie resented the hell out of him. He was tired of living in his older brother's shadow. And then, of course, there's the lovely Sharita."

Jim remembered the interchange between Roy and Sharita at the party. "Meaning what?"

Atlas smiled. He had the detective in the palm of his hand. "Meaning...the way I hear it, the Williams brothers shared a lot more than their name -- know what I mean?"

Blair was majorly pissed. Not only was Atlas blaming Jamie, he was trying to pin something on Sharita. She seemed like such a sweet girl. Blair jumped from his seat and shouted, "Oh, come on!" Not being able to take anymore, Blair practically ran from the room.

Jim rose from his seat. "Excuse me." Jim moved from the bullpen into the hallway and raced after Blair.

Atlas stood and called after the retreating pair, "Yeah, sure, man. Take your time. I got all day!"

Jim ignored Atlas and continued towards his partner. Blair had reached the elevators and the door had just opened. "Chief..."

"There is no way anything was going on between Roy and Sharita, Jim. Roy wouldn't do that to Jamie. That was his brother! There was no way..."

Jim put his hands on Blair's shoulders and guided him backward into the elevator. "I don't know about that. I caught a little eye play between them at the party the other night."

Blair sobbed out, "I'm telling you, Jim. He would never do that to his brother, ever! Trust me on this. Please?"

The elevator doors closed and Jim turned, freezing the elevator with the flick of a switch. He wanted to trust Blair and the memory of his friend, but he also had a case to run. "I know how you feel about Roy, but you’ve got to remain objective here."

Blair faced Jim with tears in his eyes. "I'm trying to, Jim. I'm trying. It's just that I'm so... " Blair hit the elevator wall with his fist to release some of his pain. "I'm just so damn mad, you know? I mean, he got in all those fights and no one has believed in him. Things were starting to happen for him and then this.”

“I know you believe in him and Jamie too. I want to as well, but you have to keep your emotions in check. You let your anger run away with you, and you’ll have no business being on the case. Do you hear what I'm saying? We have to do this by the book. That's the only thing that will help Jamie.”

Jim meant what he was saying. Bowing to his friend's wishes for the moment, Blair raised his hands in the air, and nodded stiffly. Jim unlocked the elevator doors and they went back to Jim's desk and Atlas.

Jim and Blair had discussed their options after Atlas had left, and they decided they would go to the boxing gym. Jim dialed down his sense of smell as soon as he entered the building; the reek of old sweat was strong. The rhythmic pounding of fists on canvas created a white noise that hid anything below it. Rock, Roy’s manager, was hanging on the ropes around a boxing ring. He was calling directions to two boxers who were sparring.

"Follow it in. Follow it in. Don't go flat on that. Just stay up. Stay up on your toes, now. He's going to get you. Stay on your toes. Come on, jab! Jab! Come on, Tiger! Get it right. Come on. Get off of there; get off of there." A whistle blew, and the boxers stopped. Rock called the boxers in to take a break

Jim and Blair went over to Rock. "Hey, Rock. I'm Detective Ellison. This is Blair Sandburg. We were at Roy's last fight." Blair was aware of two men following Rock at a discreet distance. He wondered why the manager would have muscle guarding him.

Rock replied, "Yeah, I remember you guys. I already gave a statement. What do you need me for?"

Jim replied, "We're actually looking for Jamie Williams. Is he around?"

Rock took a deep breath. "Yeah, over there." Rock pointed out Jamie's position.

Jim followed Rock's motion and saw that Jamie was one of the people sparring. He went over and spoke to Jamie, "Can I have a word with you?"

Jamie took off his practice gloves. "Right here is cool, but make it quick 'cause I told Rock I'd help him work out this guy."

Blair moved closer to Jamie. "Uh... Jamie, I don't really know how to go about this, so, here it goes." To prove to Jim that he was holding his emotions at bay, Blair asked, "How close were Roy and Sharita?"

Jamie was floored. The last thing he wanted was to be reminded that Roy had been involved with Sharita. The one positive thing out of Roy’s death was that Sharita was now all his. "Roy was the man, all right. Whatever he wanted, he got...including my woman and there was nothing me or anybody else could do about it.”

Jim quickly responded to the statement. "Are you saying they were involved?

Jamie ground out, "You want me to draw you a picture?"

Blair tried to keep the peace. "You know that for a fact? They were seeing each other?"

Jamie replied, "Are you kidding me? I saw the way they acted around each other. The looks, the whispers... I'm not stupid. You guy done? I have things I have to do."

Jim stepped in front of Jamie as he tried to leave. "Just one more thing. Could I look at your car?"

Jamie stopped. "Like I have a choice."

Jamie led the two men out into the back alley to his car. He then went back inside. Jim checked out the front and worked his way to the back. "I don't get it, Jim," Blair said as he watched Jim work. "What are we looking for?"

Jim responded, "Well, think about it. Roy's body was moved after he was killed, right? Cain and Abel ring a bell?" Jim asked as he headed towards the trunk. "Roy was seeing Sharita behind Jamie's back. We have to disprove that motive."

Blair shook his head, "I don't care what Jamie says. I don't buy it. Roy would never stab him in the back. He loved him."

"The important thing here is that Jamie believes he was doing it. That's enough, " Jim replied opening the trunk. Looking in, Jim caught a copper scent with his nose. Investigating further, Jim found a red flake and removed it with his knife.

Blair looked closer at the flake. "What have you found?"

Jim took a deep breath through his nose. "It smells like blood."

Blair looked back at the closed door of the club. He didn't want to believe Jamie had anything to with this.

Later that night while Jim was at the station going over some cases, Blair decided to go home and meditate. He had a lot of things going on in his brain. He lit his vanilla scented candles and placed them on the floor in a semicircle. Drumbeats circulated the air around him through the CD player. Blair cleared his mind. Images of Roy and Jamie floated in his memory.

"Come on, Blair. If we don't hurry up, Jamie will eat our whole dinner."

"Isn't he your little brother, Roy? How could he eat that much," Blair laughed as they jogged to Roy's apartment.

"He may be my little brother Blair, but he desperately wants to be my 'big' brother! He's going to eat me out of house and home."

"Man we better get there then, man. Since it's Mrs. Hyatt cooking, I definitely don't want to give it up to your brother. I’ve had a taste of her cookies, I don’t want to miss a meal."

The two friends arrived at Roy's apartment and slammed the door. Two startled faces turned to them, Mrs. Hyatt and Jamie. "You're home, Roy!" Jamie shouted. The fourteen-year-old boy ran and embraced his big brother. "Mrs. Hyatt wouldn't let me eat until you got here." Jamie looked around Roy's body. "Who's this?"

Roy turned to Blair. "This, Mrs. Hyatt. Jamie. This is Blair Sandburg. He's that guy who helped me out when I went car shopping. Blair, this is Mrs. Hyatt and my brother, Jamie."

Blair stepped forward and offered his hand. Mrs. Hyatt shook his hand then left the boys to eat. Jamie wasn't talking much. Blair thought Jamie wasn't comfortable with his presence. Roy had told him the boy was shy, and now Blair could believe that.

Blair was jerked from his memories when the loft door clicked shut. He realized that the only light in the loft was from his candles. Night was stealing into the loft through the balcony doors. Jim was home, so he turned off the stereo with the remote.

Jim hung up his coat. "Hey there." He moved to the couch and sat down just above Blair, who was sitting on the floor. "I've been trying to get a hold of you all afternoon."

Blair leaned his head back. "Yeah, well...I turned my phone off. I needed to clear my head, you know?"

Jim looked down into the blue eyes of his friend. "We got the preliminary tests back from the blood we found in the back of Jamie's car."

Blair was afraid to ask. He waited for Jim to continue.

Jim quietly spoke, "It was Roy's."

Blair stood up quickly and nearly knocked over a candle. "Damn it. I got to get out of here, Jim. I have to think"

Jim watched Blair walk into the dining area, "Hey, why don't we grab a bite to eat, huh? My treat." Jim wanted to give Blair room to talk.

Blair shook his head and stalked to the door. "I appreciate that, Jim, but, I have to be alone, you know? Will you get the candles for me?" Blair didn't wait for an answer. He left the loft, closed the door, and trusted Jim to take care of everything.

Jim watched his friend leave the loft and hoped he could pull it together. He decided that he would stay awake until Blair returned. Maybe then, Blair would be able to talk about it.

Jim turned on the TV and found an old gangster movie playing. Despite everything happening, he laughed. Larry the ape came to mind instantly. Blair’s determination to fill the ape’s mind with the television violence and the resulting mess in the loft brought back old memories. . Blair would get a kick out of it that Jim still remembered. It was much later when Jim was pulled from sleep by the ringing of the phone.

Jim answered the ringing tone in a sleep filled voice, "Yeah?"

"Hey, Jim. It's me, Blair."

Jim woke completely at Blair’s voice. "Chief, it's 2:00 in the morning. What's going on?"

"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry, but, uh...I hate to do this; you mind coming to pick me up?

Jim got to his feet and started putting his shoes on. "Where are you?"

Blair looked up from the phone and observed the two men hovering over him. "Well, actually I'm being detained at the Federal Building."

"What the hell happened?"

Blair was tired. He just wanted to go home and go to sleep. "They said something about counterfeit bills."

Act I