Title: Brass Tact

Author: LosingInTranslation (aka Jennifer, losingntrnslatn)

Disclaimer: Don't own it, don't have any money either… I just like to play with the characters now and then. Dance Monkeys! Dance!

Rating: T for Teen

Pairings: GSR (Part of the Busted! Series)

Spoilers: Season 6

Summary: Recovery leads to recollecting his life and getting a clearer look at his present. Brass Fic (like the title didn't give it away).

A/N: Insomnia leads to some pretty interesting places, but inside Brass' head was the last place I expected to find myself. Hope it works for you, too.


Lying in a hospital bed, with tubes and wires coming and going without any pattern he could recognize, Jim Brass had been left to his thoughts once his friends and colleagues finally trickled away, one by one. But it was that one absent face that immediately popped into his mind's eye. Well, at least she came… I didn't even think she'd pull that off.

It bothered him that he had placed so little faith in his only child. And that was the cruelest joke of all, since she was never really his to begin with. Out of a sense of guilt he had never shared that information with her, but he knew it was one of the things that made it easier for him when he left New Jersey all those years ago. Selfish bastard that I am. Just one more failure to add to the list.

Failure had long been a big part of his life. He was a misguided youth that had to be scared straight by a forward thinking judge. He was a cocky young man, convinced being a cop would give him the chance to serve with respect, only to be met with the most despicable forms of corruption. He married his high school sweetheart, because that was the thing to do back then, but his disillusionment with his job and his insane hours led the breakdown of his marriage. His resolve disappeared when he started to drink, culminating in his and his wife's infidelities, his later divorce, being made for a rat by those same corrupt officers when he tried to do the right thing, and finally abandoning his daughter to make a new life in Las Vegas when he finally got clean.

Unfortunately, failure was not the exclusive province of his life in New Jersey. Though he was well-received and respected in Vegas, after the accidental shooting of a suspect, Brass was forced into the political appointment of being the Night Shift supervisor of the Las Vegas Crime Lab. One of those out of sight, out of mind kinda things, I guess. But failure continued to haunt him when a rookie to the lab was killed on her first shift with his crew. While another was made responsible due to his own negligence, he knew that it was also his fault, because he never should have sent her out like that on her first day. He was almost relieved when they took the position away from him and sent him back to Homicide. He had been growing weary of the politics and the showboating that had begun to consume the position. Leave the grandstanding and self-promoting to that weasel Ecklie.

And then, just when he thought the failures were finally behind him, along came a couple of cars filled with blasting drug runners and a rookie cop jumping up from cover. It had been such a chaotic scene that he was completely unaware that he had shot the young officer. When the ballistics report came back, his old friend took it on himself to break the news. Gil actually looked like someone had stomped on his cockroaches when he showed up at my house that morning. But it was better coming from him than anyone else. And I will never be able to get the image of Bell's wife out of my head, as she came towards me at that funeral.

His concentration was pulled away as one of the alarms started to sound off on the machine at his left. The shrill sound was killing his ears and just when he was about to knock the thing over, a nurse came in and hit the alarm.

"I'm sorry, Capt. Brass… I'll shut off the audible alarm now. I still get the message at my desk and it won't wake you that way." She smiled warmly down at him and made a few notes into his chart before she turned back to him as she asked, "The doctor has something on here to help you relax… Would you like to take it, now that you seem a little agitated?"

Brass just shook his head slightly, "If ya don't mind, I'd kinda like to stay conscious for a little while longer."

She left him with a tender smile as she patted his hand before she turned out of the room. And he was once again alone with his thoughts.

What was I thinking about? Oh right! What a fucking horrible cop I am. He had far too many major mistakes on his record for his own comfort. If he had been looking at his own personnel file, he would have put himself on psych leave. Classic burnout case.

That led him to remembering what had gotten him into that hospital bed in the first place. Biggest mistake of my entire career. He had walked into that room wearing a vest that was not his, because he had forgotten his in the car. He had walked into that room without a plan, beyond a kill word. He had walked into the room and been suckered by a less than cunning suspect. And he had nearly paid for it with his life. The suspect paid the higher price for his ineptitude, he was dead.

Before he was able to get any further into his self-loathing assessment of his life, he was interrupted by the appearance of a tall, skinny brunette standing in his doorway.

"Hey, Jim." Sara waited to make sure he was indeed awake before she spoke and stepped into the room.

He smiled softly at the younger woman and used the only familiar term he had ever thought of around her. "Hey, Cookie…" He noticed that she was carrying something behind her back and tried to crane his neck around to see what it was. "What brings you out here?"

She slipped in to the side of his bed. "I don't think I've ever seen you looking quite so scruffy, so I stopped by and picked you up a few things." And then she leaned in to whisper, "I also brought you a little something for when they get you unhooked."

From the way she had spoken, he was certain she was up to no good, but he could only see the gym bag from his office. "Yeah, well, I guess a guy needs to look his best."

His confused statement brought a smirk to the side of her mouth. That was one of the many things about Sara Sidle that Brass had always found endearing; her innumerable smiles, with each one a blessing. "Yeah, but I bet the contents will help a little more than that."

Brass regarded her with a suspicious glare. However, when she opened up the side pocket and he caught sight of the light glinting off of the silver flask inside he rewarded her with one of his best sideways grins. "How'd you know where to find it?"

Sara smirked again and shrugged, "A fly on the wall, maybe."

"More like a bug man at home." Sara worked to stifle the laugh that was about to erupt from her chest, and then looked around to make sure no one had heard her slip.

"Yeah, well, I might have swiped a little of his special stash to top it off for you."

Jim had his first good chuckle at the impish expression on her face. "Oh, that makes it even better, because that's what I usually fill it with." The two shared a very quiet laugh. Jim may not have had a watch, but between his instincts and Sara's behavior, he knew it had to be after visiting hours and he wanted to make sure Sara had a clean getaway.

"Hey, I won't tell if you won't."

Jim titled his head to the side as much as he could and said, "Yeah, but eventually I'll have to get him another bottle… Since you two finally wised up, he hasn't had much cause to share a drink with me anymore." Brass leaned back against his pillow to try and jog out the memory of their last after hours nip. "I think it was sometime before Christmas, actually. Nope, I know it for a fact, because it was the first Christmas since I've known the guy he didn't work the holiday shift." He gave Sara a knowing look and she blushed ever so slightly at his insinuation.

"I keep asking him when you found out, and he won't say." Sara looked around again, as though she expected someone to come jumping out and yell "BUSTED!" at her at any moment. "When did you know?"

Her question sent his mind soaring back in time. He tried to pin point the exact moment that he knew that they were going to be together.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

They were sitting Jim's office, sharing a friendly drink after Gil had returned from his seminar. He had noticed that his friend had been more at ease in recent months: almost like he had finally gotten comfortable in his own skin again.

Ever since he had been made supervisor, Gil had been a troubled man, but it was more than that. Some of the answers came in the guise of a strawberry blonde with a need to share some information. He knew that Gil had been having trouble, be he never expected something as traumatic as possibly losing all of his hearing until Catherine spilled the beans. However, even that dilemma could not explain all of his friend's unease. No, the rest of it lay squarely on the shoulders of that gorgeous, caring and special creature known as Sara Sidle.

Jim knew from the beginning that she meant a whole lot more to Gil than just another colleague, but the circumstances surrounding her arrival in Vegas had cast a shadow over what he assumed were his friend's plans. And the next few years were nothing short of torture, for the both of them.

He had done his best to offer his support to them both, but as much as he treasured his friendship with Gil, he had to admit his heart always went out to Sara. She was everything he had always hoped for his daughter, except for the deep seated sadness that he would occasionally find behind those impossibly soft brown eyes. Against his better judgment, after a particularly disturbing case, he had done the unthinkable; he looked her up in the system. What he had found there made his heart break. After that, he did his best to be there for her, but in the end he knew there was only one person who could heal those wounds, and that was Sara herself. That was what had made him so happy by that point, because he truly felt like Sara had turned that corner.

She was smiling again, and she was offering her support to the others.

When she had gotten back that morning from that case in Lincoln County, he learned that she had some concerns for Nick because of the effect the case had over him. As she explained it to him, he saw that she had finally worked past her own demons, and it warmed his heart.

His thoughts were interrupted by Gil asking him a question. "Sorry, what?

"What her name, Jim?" Gil gave him a curious stare with his eyebrow raised in suggestion.

"Ah, Sara, actually." He watched as his friend's expression immediately changed at the mention of the young woman. Try and shake that one off, buddy. "She ah, stopped by here when she got back from Lincoln County. I think she's a little worried about Nicky, because of the case."

He watched as Gil worked to drop his professional distance back over his face. "Is that so? I suppose I should discuss that with her then." His face took on another quality that Jim was all too aware of; suspicion. "Was that all?"

"Nah, she was dropping off her request for that conference in San Diego the end of next month. I guess she had a message that they wanted her to present her findings from that report at the conference and serve on some discussion panel, too." Jim saw the intrigue in his friend's eyes, and decided to put the nail in his coffin with, "Sounds like the kid is making a pretty good name for herself, huh?"

He watched as Gil had to force himself back into the present in order to answer him. "What? Oh yes, I-I believe she has."

Jim knew the conversation was over at that point, because he could actually hear the gears grinding in his friend's head as he processed the new information. But his suspicions were confirmed when Gil stood up from his seat. "Well, I have a few things to do before I go home… So, I should ah, be going." Gil was halfway out the door when he called back over his shoulder, "Thanks, Jim."

When he was sure the man was well out of ear shot he rocked back in his chair and laughed. "Anytime, old buddy."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"You want an honest answer?"

"Of course." Her answer came quick, and Jim knew that he had her right where he wanted her.

"When he told me he was bringing you in from San Francisco to investigate the Holly Gribbs' incident." Jim watched as all the blood drained from Sara's face. "I'd been working with him for about six years at that point, and I had never seen that look in his eyes before. What I didn't count on was him being first class jackass after he got you out here."

Sara continued to stand stock still after his admission. "Now, if you want to know when I think you two were actually together…" He waited and she slightly nodded her head, so he continued, "When he called those conference people in San Diego to get put on their lecture schedule…after I told him you'd been invited to present your published report."

That seemed to be a little much for her and she scrunched her eyebrows together when she stated, "But that was like a couple of weeks before we ever even da-…" Hearing the words come out of her mouth made them click in her head. "You knew before I DID?!"

"What? You would've rather I spoiled the surprise for the both of you?" He asked her with a mocking tone and a wink. If there was one thing he was never a failure at, it was getting the better of his friends. There would never be a snarky comment left unsaid in his presence, as it should always be.