True Identity

Response to a challenge posted by Little Wing:

Gabe gets disturbing news. He's adopted, but it's how he was adopted that's the problem. This story has to have Sen. Will Patterson willing to do anything to keep how Gabe was adopted a secret, and as many twists and turns a possible. Of course he can the rest of the team help him too, your choice. Not good with handing out challenges

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own the guys from Adventure Inc. This story is just for fun and I don't make any money of it.

August 5, 1978

It had been a busy night for the staff at Boston Memorial Hospital. All departments had been hit by what seemed to be a rush of patients but the Obstetric unit had been especially hit hard. Now that morning had replaced the dark of night, two men were in the waiting area of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. One of them was nervously pacing the room, his hair in disarray and his cloth didn't look much better. The other one sat quietly on a chair. He was holding the newest edition of the 'New York Times' in his hands and was engrossed in reading the stock section. His three piece suit was meticulous and so was his slightly wavy dark hair.  Both of them were waiting for news about their new babies that had developed problems after birth.

It was shortly after 9 AM when a young nurse stuck her head into the room.

"Mr. Patterson?" She looked at the young man still wandering the room.

"No, I am Mr. Patterson!" The other man looked up from his reading.

"Sorry, Mr. Patterson, I am supposed to take you to Dr. Jones' office. He would like to speak to you!"

The man folded his paper and put it in the attaché case sitting beside him before he got up and followed the nurse out of the room.

She led him down the hall, where she stopped in front of a door marked with

                                  Dr. Peter Jones, Chief of Neonatal Medicine,

She knocked, and then carefully opened the door.

"Dr. Jones, Mr. Patterson is here!" She opened the door further and stepped to the side to let the man step through. Then she closed it, leaving him alone with the doctor.

The doctor pointed at a chair and watched the other man sit down before he started to talk, "Mr. Patterson, I am afraid I have bad news for you. Your son is not doing well and it is just a matter of time before his organs will give out. I am sorry, but he is too premature. At 27 weeks gestation there is just nothing we can do!"

"I understand I know you have done everything you could."

Dr. Jones looked at him for a moment, then he continue, "The good news is that your wife's gynecologist Dr. Newman and I are fairly certain that the other baby you wife is still carrying will be okay. There is a very good chance she will be able to carry her to full term!"

"You say 'her'? So you determined it is a girl?"

"Yes, indeed we did!"

"Well, this is disappointing but I guess there is nothing to be done!" He took a deep breath before he continued, "I don't want anyone to know about this. This has never happened. To the world my wife is still expecting twins."

"I don't understand?"

"You don't have to, one word gets out and I make sure that your career here is over and you won't find a job anywhere in this country!"

The doctor looked at the man in disbelief, yet the ice tone of his voice and the coldness in his eyes told him that he would make his threat come true. After all the man in front of him belonged to one of Boston's oldest and most influential families, he himself was just starting a very promising political career.

Will Patterson was a man that knew what he wanted. At thirty three he had started his first campaign for the Senate and the polls looked very promising so far. No body and nothing were going to stand in his way.

Dr. Jones swallowed, "Certainly Mr. Patterson, I will make sure nothing leaks out!"

+++++

November 10, 1978

Senator-elect and proud new father Will Patterson pushed the wheel chair with his wife and their newborn twins out the front door of Boston Memorial Hospital. They were accompanied by their two older sons 10 year old Isaiah and 8 year old Thaddeus. For the first time they faced the cameras and questions of the press. The babies had been conveniently born two days prior to the election. While the girl had been healthy, the boy had developed some complications and had spent several days in the neonatal unit. This was the reason why there had been no pictures until now.

Katherine Patterson held her babies tight while she smiled into the lenses of the photographers. She looked tired but her make up and hair were perfect, Will Patterson had made sure a beautician had taken care of his wife's appearance before facing the crowd. He had now stepped beside her and picked up one of the babies.

He held her up to the cameras, "I want you to meet my daughter, Constance Louise Patterson!"

The baby had fuzzy blond hair and blue eyes that were wide open and if she wouldn't have been to young, one would have thought she had a smile on her face.

"See, she already flirts with the cameras!" her father proudly exclaimed before he returned her into her mother's arms.

He then picked up the other baby, who was slightly smaller and already had a full head of dark hair and dark eyes, "Gabriel Jonathan Patterson, my youngest son! I promise you he is a real Patterson!"

As he completed the last word, the baby started to cry loudly and would not quite. He cringed, then returned him to his mother who immediately was able to sooth him down.

"Already a man of the ladies!" he smiled.

He answered a few more questions, then said, "This is enough for today, my wife is exhausted and the babies need rest also!"

 With this he waved at the limo that had been waiting not to far away. After the driver had pulled up and a nanny had taken over the babies, he assisted his wife in the car and waited until the rest of his family had also disappeared into it. While he himself climbed in, he turned one last time and waved at the press before he disappeared.

+++++

Present Day

The heat of the summer day was would have been intolerable if it wouldn't have been for the light breeze coming from the ocean. With nothing urgent to do on deck, the crew of the Vast Explorer had decided to spend the noon and early afternoon ours in the coolness of the living area. Judson Cross, their leader, was sitting on the couch. He was checking out some maps, while he was trying to decide which job to take on next. Once again the team had run out of money and now was in desperate need for some easy work to replenish their resources.

Mackenzie Previn was sitting not to far from him on a chair. Her hair was pulled up into a pony tail to keep it out of her face.  She had taken her gun apart and was cleaning it. She was very thorough and made sure everything was in perfect working order. Too many times had their life's depended on her gun working right. She was so engulfed in her work that she didn't realize when Gabe stepped behind her.

Gabriel Patterson, the youngest member of the team, was also their electronic expert. He had been in law school when he met Mac and Judson, just waiting for an excuse to drop out. For a long time he had known he wouldn't make a good lawyer and the only reason he had followed his fathers wishes was that he wasn't really sure what to do with his life. He had jumped on Judson's offer to become a member of the Adventure Inc. team and had never looked back.

Now, as he was standing behind Mac, he had a big grin on his face, "Mac, you treat this gun better than you treat us. Look at her Judson, how gentle she handles every part; you would think she is in love with the thing!"

Mac threw him a burning look, "Watch it buddy or I might not use this 'thing' the next time your butt needs saving!"

"Ooh, be careful Gabe, she used the 'b' word. I wouldn't get her any more wound up or she might start using you for target practice!" Judson laughed; he enjoyed the playful banter between his team mates and liked to join in himself whenever he could.

"Hey, be quiet or I use you for target practice!" Mac now also was laughing and threw a pillow in Judson's direction.

 He ducked and it ended up hitting the table beside him. Bending down to pick it up, he saw the letter that had also fallen of the table. He looked at it for a moment.

"This is for you Gabe, how did this get here!"

"Oops, sorry I forgot, it came earlier. I wanted to give it to you but you were in the shower and than I forgot!" Mac apologized.

Gabe looked at the letter. His name and address were handwritten but there was no sender on it. For a moment was undecided but then he opened it and began to read,

                           Dear Mr. Patterson;

                           I know this comes unexpected but I really need to talk to you. You don't know me; I am a nurse and have been working at

                           Boston Memorial Hospital for the past 27 years. I was working on the maternity unit when you were born. This has been

                           lying heavy on my mind for so long, that I really need to talk to you in Person.

                           I will be in Beau Harbor on the 23rd of July. I know there is a small restaurant named Harvey's on the south side. I would like

                           to meet you there at 4 PM. I will leave word in the front to guide you to me if you decide to come.

                           I realize this all sounds very strange but you will understand if you give me a chance to explain.

                           Sincerely,

                           Mary Sue Steward

He handed the letter to Judson, "What do you make of this?"

"It does sound strange but also somehow sincere. It is handwritten. I think if someone had a prank on their mind they would have probably typed it." Judson mused.

"The 23rd, this is today, do you think I should go?" Gabe gave both his friends a questioning look.

For a moment there was silence before Mac took over, "I think you should at least check it out. It is a public place and still in the afternoon. And you won't be alone, we go with you!"

"Okay, so this is settled. But I just can't imagine what this woman wants from me. I mean, what in the world could be so important that she would need to tell me in Person?"

+++++

For a while they had argued how to go about the meeting. Mac and Judson had insisted they wanted to accompany Gabe into the restaurant. . Gabe had insisted he needed to go by himself. After some back and forth, they had met in the middle.

They got to Harvey's short after 4 PM. While Mac and Judson had the hostess seat them at a small table in the middle of the room, Gabe told her he was here for a meeting with Mrs. Steward. She led him to a table in the corner that was already inhabited by a woman very likely in her late forties. She had short brown hair that showed traces of grey. Her eyes were also brown and light up when she saw Gabe approach. She stood up and he could see that she was of petite stature, he guessed her at about 5'1".

"Mr. Patterson, I am so glad you decided to come!" her voice had a warm timbre to it, which made Gabe instantly like her.

"Mrs. Steward, please call me Gabe, Mr. Patterson is my father."

For a moment she had a look in her eyes that Gabe was unable to read, then she said, "Certainly but please you must call me Mary Sue than!"

She sat down again and Gabe joined her. When the waitress approached he ordered a Coke, and then looked expectantly at the woman across from him.

Seeing the anticipation in his eyes, she started to speak, "Gabe, this is not going to be easy but I have to finally get off my chest what I know!"

She took a deep breath before she continued, "Katherine Patterson was pregnant with twins and went into premature labor on August 5th, 1978.

The doctors tried to stop the labor but couldn't prevent her to give birth to one of the babies. They were able to stop labor after this and she continued to carry the second baby to full term!"

She stopped for a moment, watching the disbelieving expression on Gabe's face.

"I know this sounds unbelievable but I was one of the neonatal nurses in the delivery room that day. The baby that was born prematurely at 28 weeks was a little boy. We tried everything to save him but he died about 6 hours after birth. The baby that was born at full term on November 3rd, 1978 was a little girl."

There was a pregnant silence at the table. The thoughts in Gabe's mind swirled around in wild disarray. Finally he was able to hold on to one thought.

"You must be mistaken! My sister Constance and I were born on the same day and I am very much alive. I don't know how you come up with this, but you have to be wrong!"

It was a plea, an attempt to deny what he had just heard. Somehow he was hoping she was going to break out in laughter and tell him it had been all a bad joke, set up by one of his brothers. Yet no such thing happened. He actually could see tears glisten in her eyes now.

"Gabe I am so sorry, I wish it wasn't true! I was there, I saw it all and I was there again when Constance was born. There was no second baby, well at least not until 5 days later. When I came on duty on November 8th, there was another bed beside Constance's bed and it was marked with Gabriel Patterson! I don't know who you are but you are not Senator Patterson's natural born son!"

Gabe swallowed hard, looking in the eyes of the woman across from him; he realized that she was telling the truth. Suddenly there was a heavy feeling in his chest that made it difficult to breathe. The room seemed to close in on him and unable to clear his mind he jumped up and stormed out of the room.

+++++

 Mac and Judson had observed the scene unfolding on the other table with increasing worry. From the expression on their friends face they had been able to tell that something was wrong.

Now when Gabe stormed out of the restaurant, Judson wandered over to Mary Sue Steward, while Mac followed Gabe outside.

Realizing that he wasn't going to stop, she called out, "Gabe, wait!" but got no reaction. He continued to run. So she decided to follow him, making sure he would be okay.

After a while he started to slow down but continued to walk the streets seemingly without destination. Finally he stopped and even though his back was to her Mac could see he was throwing up. She gave him a moment before she approached.

Putting her hand on his shoulder she asked, "You're okay?"

As he slowly turned to her, the look in his eyes spoke of loss and desperation. He didn't seem like the same person that had joked around with her just hours ago.

"What happened Gabe, what did she tell you?"

"Don't ever call me this again!"

The outburst came without warning, Mac wasn't prepared for it. She let go of his shoulder and took a step back.

"There is no Gabe, Gabe died before I was born. I am nobody, nothing, not worth knowing where I came from!" Tears were running down his face now, his shoulders shaking uncontrollable as sobs escaped his throat.

Mac didn't understand but knew what needed to be done. Gently she pulled him into her embrace and comforted him like a little child. After he finally calmed down, she guided him back to the Vast Explorer, knowing that Judson would already be there, waiting for them, ready to help.

+++++

May 2, 1978

It was a glorious spring day, the sky was almost cloudless and of an intense blue color. The sun was smiling down on blooming trees and flowers and the juicy green of new grass. Everything seemed perfect, yet the young woman standing in the middle of all this glory didn't seem to notice any of it. Her eyes were filled with tears as she looked at the fresh grave in front of her. The marker had yet to be set but she knew by heart what it would say

                                                                          Brenton James Flaherty, 1953 to 1978, Beloved Husband.

Not just anybodies husband, her husband, torn away from her by a senseless accident only 5 month after they had married.

She thought back on the day when she had changed her name to Susan Elizabeth Flaherty. It had filled her with pride and excitement to sign her new name for the first time on the marriage certificate. She had known her new husband for only 6 month but it had been a whirl wind courtship. Even her parents had to agree that they were made for each other. Brent had been a teacher at the elementary school where she was a student teacher for a few weeks. He loved to work with kids and so did she and there had been so many other interests they shared. When he asked her to marry him, there hadn't been a single doubt in her mind about her answer.

The wedding had been small. None of them had much money and didn't want to burden her parents with the costs. Brent had no family to speak of. His parents had died while he was still little and he had been raised by an aunt that had died 4 years prior. His other relatives were so distant that they never had shown any interest in him. She had no siblings so it had been only her parents. A friend from college had been her maid of honor and her younger cousin, who was also her best friend, had stepped in as best man. Susan had to smile at the memory of the ceremony in the tiny country church. It had been just perfect. They had promised each other to always stick together and grow old together.

She took a deep breath, remembering that this never was going to happen, before her thoughts once again wandered back. She had moved into Brent's small one bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of an old building without an elevator. No conveniences but they didn't need any to happy. She had just graduated and was still looking for a job. Their happiness had been complete when they found out they were going to be parents.

In a protective gesture, Susan instinctively laid her hands on her still flat belly. Another tear escaped her eyes and trickled down her cheek. Her baby was never going to meet his father. All their plans had been destroyed by a driver that decided he was still able to drive even after emptying almost a bottle of whiskey. Brent had gone to pick up some bread from the convenience store across the street. He never had a chance to avoid the car that came racing down the street. He had died instantly.

And now she was standing here at the fresh grave of her husband. She had come to say good bye. Not just to him but to the life she had dreamed of, to the city she had grown up in. There was nothing here to hold her, at least not for now. She needed to get away, needed to find distraction. Everything here reminded her of Brent. She needed to find strength to go on and she wouldn't find it here. Maybe after the baby was born, she would come back, show him or her the places they had been happy at.

Slowly she dried her eyes and turned around. With a last look back over her shoulder she whispered, "I promise, I will come back!", then she walked away.

+++++

Present Day

Mac had been right, when they returned to the Vast Explorer Judson was already waiting. From the look he gave her, she could tell that he knew more than she did. She could also tell that Gabe was in no shape to talk. He hadn't said a single word all the way back to the ship. Even now he seemed absent, his head hanging down and his body language more the one of an old tired man than of the young man he was. Without resistance he let her guide him into his cabin. She took his shoes off and got really worried when he didn't even resist as she started to unbutton his pants.

After she as finished, she helped him lie down and covered him with the blanket. Throughout the whole process he hadn't looked at her once. She stroked some stray hair out of his face and gave him one last reassuring look to let him know she was there if he needed her before she left the room.

After she had closed the door behind her, she leaned against the door and sighed, then she gave Judson a questioning look.

"What in the world is going on, this isn't Gabe in there! I never have seen him this distraught!"

"Lets sit down, I tell you what I know!"

In as few words as possible he recounted what he had found out. From the look on Mac's face he was able to tell how upset she was. There was a short silence in the room when he finally finished.

"Do you believe her?" Mac looked at him with a hopeful expression.

"I have no reason not to; she seems to be very sincere!"

"But why in the world would she wait so long and now suddenly come forward?"

"I asked her the same question!" Judson admitted. "She explained that she had wanted to do this for a long time but didn't because of her husband. He was chief on Neonatal Medicine at Boston Memorial and repeatedly had been told they would destroy his career if any of this would get out. After he died last month she no longer needed to protect him and decided to finally follow her heart. But even now she rather used her maiden name Steward than her married name Jones!"

Mac stayed quiet, she felt overwhelmed by the emotions that started to creep up in her. She was a woman of action, always in control, trying to handle things but this time she felt helpless. It seemed almost impossible to imagine how Gabe had to feel right now.

She had a serious look on her face when she turned to Judson, hoping that once again had the answer, "So what are we going to do now!"

Judson's face was just as serious when he answered, "It all depends on Gabe! We have to wait for his reaction and what he wants to do. All I know right now is that we have to let him know we are his family no matter what happens! For now I talked Mary Sue into staying at a motel in town, if Gabe is up to it, we will meet her tomorrow!"

There hearts ached for their friend. The betrayal that had happened to him seemed unbearable. Both realized that it was not so much that he wasn't a Patterson but more the fact that it had been kept a secret that made it so tragic. It was no question that Gabe would have a tough time ahead of him but no matter what he was going to decide, they would be right there by his side.

+++++

August 5, 1978

James Thaddeus Patterson was a strong man. At 6'2" many men his age, he had just turned 70, were bend forward from the weight they had carried on there shoulders throughout there lives. But not him, his stature was as straight as it always had been. He was proud of being able to still beat players 40 years his junior in tennis on a daily basis. Matter of fact he was a proud man that had accomplished everything in life he ever wanted. His grandfather had come to this country from England around 1870. He had brought nothing. His father had owned a small business that by the time he had died had grown to employ 50 people. He had been the first Patterson ever to go to College but instead of taking over his fathers business, he had become a lawyer. And from there is way up had continued. Only few people knew how he had done it and he would make sure it would stay this way.

Today he owned one of the finest Mansions in Boston. His family name was heard in the best circles. The only thing that had ever left him wanting was the fact that his wife had died shortly before she was supposed to give birth to their second child, leaving him and at that time 8 year old William without a companion and mother. He had never remarried, although a hard and many times ruthless man he had loved his wife and couldn't see to ever replace her. So little Will had been left in the hands of a Nanny and later been send to the best boarding schools in the country.

James Patterson smiled when he thought about his son. He had turned out exactly the way he had hoped. Already he had made himself a name as a junior partner in his father's law firm and now he was standing before his first election as US Senator. There was no doubt in the older man's mind that his son would be elected, he would make sure of it.

Now he looked up from his desk, disturbed by the knock at the door. It was opened before he could call out. Instinctively he knew there was only one person in the house that would come in without waiting.

"Ah, William, how is your wife doing? Jonah told me you had to take her to the hospital shortly after midnight!"

"Katherine is fine but she lost one of the babies!" Will Patterson's voice sounded upset.

"I am sorry to hear this, I know you were hoping to use the fact that she was carrying twins to your advantage during the election!"

"I was, and I still will but I need your help!" he looked at his father with determination.

"So what do you want me to do?"

"I already made sure that no one will find out that Katherine lost the baby. Now I just need to find a baby that will be born at the right time and will be able to pass as ours!"

James Patterson was intrigued, this was something he had not expected, "I will do whatever I can to help. I have some connections but I want you to stay out of it. If anybody ever finds out, it would not be good for your political career! Now leave, I have work to do!"

The older man waited until his son had left the room. He smiled and picked up the phone. Once again he was in his element, doing what he thought best for his family.

+++++

Present Day

The next morning found the crew of the Vast Explorer up very early. Mac was pouring coffee for Judson when Gabe appeared in the galley. By the dark circles around his eyes both of them could tell that he hadn't gotten a whole lot of sleep. He sat down and for a moment he buried his face in his hands. When he looked up again he found Mac's worried face right in front of him. He could tell that she knew what had happened.

"How are you doing Gabe?"

"How am I? Maybe you should rather ask – who am I – because this is the real question here!"

The expression in his eyes reflected more pain than Mac thought she could stand, yet at least it no longer carried the empty lifelessness from the night before.

"You are still you, no matter what your name is or where you came from!" she tried to assure him.

"Am I?" he took a long breath before he continued; "I guess it doesn't matter right now, first I need to find some answers. I decided to go to Boston today and have a talk with my fa…, the Senator!"

"Gabe, I think you should wait and talk to Mary Sue again first!" Judson tried to persuade him.

"Why?"

"Because she will be here in about an hour and she might be able to give you some more details before you go running off to your father!"

"Don't call him that!" Gabe gave him a troubled look.

"Okay, the Senator! Anyway, you need try and calm down before you are ready to face him! And, I really think we should go with you!" Judson continued, while Mac nodded in agreement.

"No way!" Gabe protested, "This is something I need to do by myself, if you come with me he will eat me alive. I know him well enough; I can't show any weakness now!"

The slight quiver in his voice seemed to belie the content of his word, yet Mac and Judson knew he was right. There was a pregnant pause in the room while both of them tried to come up with an idea how to best support their friend.

It was Mac who finally came up with the answer, "Okay, let's compromise, we all talk to Mary Sue, then we go to Boston together!"

Gabe tried to interrupt her but she gave him one of her famous looks that instantly quieted him down.

"You can see the Senator alone, while we wait for you!" the tone of voice she used let no room for protest.

Although Gabe tried to hide it, the relief in his face was clearly visible. His friends had made it clear once again that he could count on them, no matter what.