Title: Thicker Than Water

Chapter 1 – The Mistake

Disclaimer - The Guardian and its characters belong to David Hollander and CBS Broadcasting Company. The characters of Nicholas and Burton Fallin belong to the above, all other characters are mine. This piece is written for pleasure and not for profit in any way. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.

NOTE: This is my first attempt at a Guardian FanFic. Hope you all like it. Also this story is completely made up and takes place during the present season but does not encompass any current storylines. It's from my own twisted mind. Lol Enjoy!

"What do we do with him?" One of the large thugs yelled to the other.

"We are supposed to kill him if the old man doesn't go for the deal. Has he?"

"I doubt it. The call is way past due. Don't think he cares about his son afterall," the man laughed as he looked down at a bound and gagged Nicholas Fallin.

"So let's kill him and get the hell out of this mess!" The other nervous thug said.

"Ready to meet your maker rich boy?" The man laughed as he cocked the trigger and pointed it at Nick.

********

A FEW DAYS EARLIER

"Nicholas Fallin," came the tired voice of corporate lawyer Nick Fallin.

"It's me," replied the even more tired sounding voice of Burton Fallin.

"What's up dad?" Nick replied, trying not to sound so curt.

"You remember Reno Carlson?" Burton asked.

"He's the big shipping magnate?" Nick asked trying to steer his car into the legal services spot he managed to find.

"Yeah that's him," Burton sighed. "Well it seems his son has gotten himself into a bit of trouble and now wants some help out."

"What kind of trouble?" Nick asked, dreading the answer.

"Murder," Burton said trying to picture the look on his son's face.

"Why are you calling me? I'm not a criminal lawyer?" Nick said quickly.

"I know but Reno wants us well uh wants you to talk to his son and see if you can well…"

"What? Why me?" Nick asked in an annoyed tone.

"Well I thought that perhaps you might be better than me because…"

"I can't relate to a man who has committed murder," Nick said angrily. "Where is his son now?"

"He's gone into hiding and won't give himself up without a fight. Reno wants us to talk to him to see if we can…"

"Talk him into giving himself up without a fight?" Nick asked in disbelief. "I don't do that kind of stuff, so the answer is no to any of it," Nick said firmly. "Besides that's a job for a professional negotiator."

Burton stared at the phone long after his son had hung up and sighed. His answer was 'no' to Reno too. Was Nick that much like him? He had tried to think of Nick as different so that there might be a chance that he might have at least somewhat of a happier life. But as he observed Nick each passing day he finally got to see that Nick was just like him more and more. And the more he thought about it the more he knew that wasn't such a bad thing. Or was it?

"Better get this over with," Burton sighed as he dialled Reno's number. "He's not going to be happy," he said as the line connected.

"Reno Carlson."

"Burton calling, Reno," Burton started, unaware that an extra line had been picked up and an extra pair of ears was listening.

********

Why did he call me, Nick asked himself as the rickety old elevator slowly climbed to the floor in legal services he know knew so well? What was dad thinking? I'm not a negotiator. And Franco his son committed murder! That's a job for the criminal guys, not me, Nick insisted in his mind. The elevator doors opened and he spied Lulu at one of the office and Alvin at the other. Nice way to start the day, he sighed as he pushed his way through the middle, towards his office in the backroom. He felt Lulu's gaze on his back but didn't turn around to meet her stare.

He closed the door behind him and leaned against it. I have to forget her, he told himself. But how? She captured my soul. Will I ever find another that will have that effect on me? That quickly? He heard a soft knock at the door and took a deep breath. This is just torture for me. But to his surprise Alvin was the one knocking, not Lulu.

"Nick?" Alvin said more than asked.

"Yes I'll get right on that Samuels case," Nick said quickly as he took his coat off and abruptly turned away.

"It's been taken care of," Alvin said slowly.

"By who?"

"Lulu was able to reach an agreement with the grandparents and the state," he said with a warm smile. "Little William has been placed with his grandparents."

"That's good then," Nick said with a bit of a frown. "Why didn't anyone tell me before today?"

"Well Nick with all that's been happening…" Alvin started. "And with your father's swearing in ceremony coming up, I thought that you might be a bit…"

"Distracted?" Nick finished for him in a huff. "I can still do my job."

"I never said you couldn't," Alvin said quickly in defence. "But William needed to be placed before the state sent him to a home. We couldn't wait."

"I understand," Nick replied as he went for his in box. "Never ends," he sighed as he looked at his next case. He quickly scanned the notes and smirked. "This one should be easy."

"How's James?" Alvin asked as he turned to leave.

"He's doing fine," Nick said watching him leave. He caught Lulu's eye in the background and stared for a few seconds before turning his back to her. He could feel her heavy sigh rest upon him but in reality there was nothing he could do. She was married and he knew he had to move on. How the hell am I going to do that?

"Uh Rick Smith?" Nick called out to the small group of people waiting.

********

Franco Carlson waited until his father hung up his phone before slamming down his own. He turned to the other man in the secret room and glared meanly. "So no one want's to help me! He was the last one!"

"There must be some way of making this guy help us? He's rich right? Can't we blackmail him or something? All these rich guys have secrets of some kind."

"Burton Fallin is going to be sworn in as Judge Fallin very soon," Franco said walking over to his window. "Surely all that has been overlooked."

"I'll see what else I can find on him," the man name Sam said as he left the room.

Franco continued to stare out the window as another door opened. "I can hear you thinking father," Franco said with some disdain.

"I tried son," Reno said with a heavy sigh. "Burton Fallin is the most connected man I know. But he's right; he's not a criminal lawyer. He recommended a good one and I think we should meet with him to see what he might offer."

"Life in prison is the offer!" Franco spat as he turned to his father in anger.

"Son you did take a life," Reno said, toning down his voice. "Now with my connections I can try to get a lighter sentence."

"Why did you call Fallin? You wanted him to talk to me to give myself up right? You wanted a complete stranger to come into our family arrangement and talk me into spending the rest of my life in prison!"

"The other alternative is the death sentence," Reno said with a frown. "Would you rather have that?"

"I want you to make this all go away!" Franco said stubbornly.

"I can't and you know that. This is not like the other times," Reno said taking a step closer. "Now I can try to get a lighter sentence. Why did you have to go and see Rico by yourself? You know he just provokes your temper."

"Yeah well he might have succeeded in that that night but I won the battle," Franco said proudly. "He can't do it anymore."

Reno looked at his son and sighed. Did I just hear him say that? "Won the battle?" Reno asked his son weakly as he stepped in even closer. "Son if you die you lose the ultimate battle," he said in a whispered tone. "Now I am going to do everything in my power to make sure you don't have to face the death sentence. But you have to help me out. You have to talk to the police."

"What good will that do?" Franco said turning away and looking out the window into the cold morning.

"The sooner you turn yourself in the sooner this stupid manhunt will stop. Now the police don't have any solid leads right now but I can't keep telling them you are out of the country and I'm not sure where! The longer I keep lying for you son the more risk I put the rest of the family in. Your life isn't the only one at stake here," Reno tried to reason.

"I don't give a damn about Cassandra!" Franco spat.

"She's your sister and she cares about you so you better," Reno said harshly. "Now I'm going to call Detective Baker and talk about a meeting."

"Just hold off another day okay?" Franco asked in a pleading voice. "I just need to think this through carefully."

"24 hours Franco," Reno said firmly. "That's all the time I can afford."

Reno watched his father leave the secret room and pounded his fist on the desk. "Damn!" He cursed loudly in anger and rage. "There has to be a way out of this." He pressed the speaker button on his phone and his father's weary voice came to life. "Dad tell me everything you know about Burton Fallin."

********

"Nick wait!" Lulu called as Nick tried to hastily make his way out of the crowded courthouse. He heard her voice but kept walking. I have nothing more to say to her, he told himself. Nick reached the exit doors and hurried to his car. He had the engine started and was away as she reached the bottom of the steps. You're the best at running from things Nick, he firmly told himself. The best.

"Hey dad it's me," Nick said into his phone. "Want to have a drink tonight?"

********

"So how was the case today?" Burton asked as he and Nick sat in the small bar and finished their drinks a few hours later.

"Open and shut case," Nick said looking into the swirling liquid.

"How's the firm coming?" Burton asked with a small smile.

"Slowly but surely," Nick said looking back up. "Jake is doing good and James is surprising both of us," Nick said with a smile.

After a brief period of awkward silence Nick spoke up. "So did you talk to Reno Carlson?"

"Yeah I did," Burton said with a sigh. "He uh was disappointed but said he understood that we didn't want to get involved."

"Where is his son right now?" Nick asked.

"He says he's in hiding but I think he knows where," Burton said directly.

"Why did he want you to talk to him?" Nick asked.

"I guess he thought maybe someone with uh…" Burton said looking down.

"A troubled son could relate?" Nick asked crossly.

"That's not what I was going to say," Burton said sharply.

"But that's what you meant," Nick said, crossing his brow. "You still hold that against me don't you?"

"Nicholas," Burton said as Nick stood up and put his coat on.

"Will there ever come a time dad, that you put me before everything else? Ever?" Nick asked angrily as he stormed out of the bar. "Even more than your own life?"

"Everyday son," Burton whispered, as the bar doors slammed shut, taking his son from view. "Everyday."

********

"So what did you find out?" Franco asked Sam as he ate his dinner later that night.

"This guy Fallin has a few spots but nothing major enough to warrant blackmail. Covered his tracks pretty good I guess," Sam said in a heavy voice. "But I found out his son just got out of jail. Seems his old man pulled a few strings with a minor witness."

"A son?" Franco asked in interest. "Yes that's right Nick," he said as if suddenly remembering. "Father told me a bit about Nick. He also told me what kind of man Burton Fallin really is. He said that Burton cares a lot for his reputation and the firm he worked so hard to build, to the detriment of his family. But he also said that as of late he and Nick have been trying to draw closer together and that he would do anything for his son."

"Enough to trade his son's life for your sentence?" Sam asked with interest.

"Let's find out," Franco said evilly. "Let's find out how much Burton Fallin really cares for his son."

Franco was just about to tell Sam his plan when a female walked into the room and stood in the doorway with her arms crossed against her chest. She pushed her long dark hair out of her face and glared at the two men before her.

"Still expecting father to bail you out of this one, brother dear?" Cassandra said with disdain.

"Nice to see you to sis," Franco said rolling his eyes and looking back at Sam.

"I hear that Detective Baker is going to meet with him in a few days," she said with a mocking tone.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Franco boomed in anger as he pushed his chair back and rushed up to her.

"Can't run from this one," Cassandra mocked. "Time to pay the piper."

"If you weren't my sister I would kick your ass right now," Franco said meanly.

"And if you weren't my brother I actually wouldn't be ashamed to go out in public!" Cassandra retorted. Franco raised his hand to strike his sister but it was caught in mid air by his father.

"I need to have a word with you son," Reno said firmly.

"Likewise," he said yanking his hand away and storming after his father.

Cassandra turned and glared at Sam. "Why can't you talk some sense into him? He actually listens to you!"

"Look his father tried to get an outside guy to ta…" Sam started.

"What outside guy?" Cassandra asked quickly.

"Some guy named Fallin," Sam said quickly. "But the guy didn't go for it. Said he didn't care and didn't want to get involved."

"Oh really?" Cassandra said icily.

"Want to go out Friday night?" Sam asked abruptly.

"What?" Cassandra asked in shock. "No I will not go out with you. And don't change the subject. Look Franco is in deep water this time and unless he talks to the police right away he's going to get the chair. Do you want that? Especially as an accessory?"

"What? I am not!" Sam insisted.

"Yeah? My brother doesn't even take a piss without you to watch his back!" Cassandra snapped. "I bet you were there that night. What part did you play?" She taunted.

"Don't you have another date to stand up or something?" Sam asked angrily.

"Yeah I guess I do," Cassandra said as she turned to leave. "A date with disaster," she said stonily. She headed back to her room in the large mansion and shut the door. "If Franco gets the death sentence it will destroy father," she mused as she paced back and forth in anger. "If he is destroyed so am I," she continued her one-person conversation.

She picked up her phone and quickly dialled a person she knew she could get information from. "It's me," she said quickly. "Do you know a guy by the name of Fallin?"

"Nick Fallin?" The male voice asked.

"Yeah," she said not caring about the first name.

"Sure. What do you want to know?"

********

"Damn it," Nick cursed as he slowly drove home. He hit the Stirling wheel again in frustration but realized that it did no good. "Why can't we have a normal father son evening?" He wondered out loud. "Why does it always have to end in an argument?"

Nick stopped his car in front of his house and turned off the engine. He stared out the window before him into the cold Pittsburgh night and sighed heavily. "I wonder if he would put me before everything else? If my life were on the line, would he give everything up for me? I mean really on the line?" Nick finished his personal questions and slowly got out of his car.

"Thankfully I'll never have to find out," Nick uttered fatefully.

********

"So what did he want?" Sam asked when Franco returned some time later.

"He's meeting with Detective Baker in two days to discuss the latest developments," Franco said sitting back down across from Sam. "So much for 24 hours. Damn it!"

"Think he'll turn you in?" Sam asked quickly.

"I think we have to work hard to make sure he doesn't," Franco said firmly.

"How do we do that?" Sam asked.

"We get ourselves some leverage," he said holding up a picture of Nick. "And what better leverage than the rich son of a soon to be Judge? What would he trade for his son? Perhaps my freedom?" Franco laughed.

"He's a Judge," Sam said quickly. "Won't he just turn you in?"

"Not if his son's life is at stake."