A/N: Well, updates will be pretty slow for this, but I'm writing it with pencil and paper first then typing later so it should be completed by the time I get back to more time for writing. Just have patience and remember that this is set in the middle of season five, probably right after Slither.
The shrill ringing of his barely used (read: why the hell was it still hooked up?) land line woke Detective Bobby Goren at precisely 4:07 A.M. He had finally succombed to the evasive sleep seven minutes earlier.
"Goren?" he answered the phone after the second ring, burrying his face into his pillow as he listened to the unfamiliar voice on the other end say a few words that jolted him awake and caused him to sit up sharply.
"Please repeat that," he said calmly.
"Your brother, Frank Goren, was killed in a car crash a few hours ago, Mr. Goren," the man repeated.
"Where?" Bobby asked, feeling his heart race at the news. He wasn't yet sure if it was due to relief or shock.
"Las Vegas, sir. We need you to come and fill out the necessary forms for his body and the other arrangements that need to be made."
Bobby glanced at his clock and mentally calculated the likelihood of finding Eames awake. "I'll be there tomorrow," he finally said: it wouldn't be too hard to find an open flight to Vegas leaving in a few hours. "Tomorrow afternoon I'll stop by the station to fill out the forms."
After the rest of the necessary information was exchanged Bobby placed the phone back in its cradle and started packing, deciding to give Deakins and Eames a little more sleep before he called and woke them up.
"This better be good, Goren," he heard his partner grumble sleepily on the other end about half an hour later. Bobby was at a momentary loss about how she knew it was him before reasoning that he was probably the only one foolish enough to call at four-thirty in the morning on a Sunday.
"I just got a call that my brother died, Eames. I have to fly out tomorrow to sign everything."
Alex Eames knew the unsettled history between the two brothers better than most, and it was this knowledge that weighed heavily on her mind as she answered, "Where?"
"What time tomorrow?"
His response was sheepish at best, "I haven't exactly gotten that far yet."
She sighed on the other end, "Did you call Deakins at least?"
"Right before I called you. He gave us the week off." Alex filed away the thought in her mind for future pondering, that Deakins had automatically assumed the two of them would take the time off together.
"Good. I'll call the airlines and get us a flight out. Are you packed yet?"
Bobby rolled his eyes but his voice didn't betray his exasperation, "Yes, Eames, I'm all packed. You really don't have to come with me."
A snort answered him, "Just keep tellin' yourself that, big guy. I'll see you in twenty."
He smiled when he heard teh click signaling that his petite partner had hung up on him: she sure was a pistol and he was glad she had opted to go with him on this specific trip. It was one he would have dreaded making alone.
The pair arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada at noon that day. As Bobby treated Alex to lunch in one of the many airport restaurants, he told her some of the happier memories he had of his brother, Frank. It wasn't until one-thirty that they made their way to the morgue to claim the body.
After all the forms were signed at the morgue, the New York City detectives made their way to the police station for Bobby to sign the rest of the necessary paperwork. A junior officer met them at the door to the bullpen.
"Mr. Goren?" he asked, offering his hand to the older man, "I'm Officer Daniels - I spoke with you on the phone this morning."
Bobby looked at the young man's hand as if it were contagious with something before he finally nodded once and shook it with his own hand, "I know. Where are the papers I need to sign?"
Daniels nodded once, taking the man's behavior in as just another side-effect of living in Manhattan. He motioned to the back of the room, "Right this way."
"I thought his death was declared an accident," Alex questioned the rookie as the NYPD detectives were led through the unfamiliar squad room.
"Ah, not exactly. We got the tox screens back on both drivers and it looks like both had rather large amounts of alcohol in their systems at the time of the crash."
"Where's the other driver?" Alex questioned further as Bobby started reading and signing the necessary forms.
"She's at Mercy General being treated for a concussion and a few broken ribs. The third victim is also at Mercy General - she only sustained minor injuries."
Bobby looked up sharply, "Third victim?"
"The young woman in the car with your brother, Mr. Goren: Trishna Francise Goren? Your niece, sir."
Alex studied her partner with a worried expression as he processed the news. "He never told you?" she asked softly as she clearly read the shock in his eyes.
Bobby shook his head. Turning again to Daniels he asked, "How old is she?"
Daniels furrowed his brow, not exactly expecting this reaction. "Fifteen, Mr. Goren. It's all in his will, but apparently your brother left you sole custody in case he died before she turned eighteen."
"He never told me," Bobby repeated to Alex, the shock still blatantly evident on his features.
She nodded, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. The pair's actions and reactions were such that Officer Daniels had a very strong feeling that they were married ... or at least sleeping together.
The door stood in front of him; silently laughing and taunting him with the knowledge that he had only to reach out a hand, turn the doornob, push it open and walk a few feet into the room beyond to meet his niece. The door had seen too many men and women faced with similar tasks to feel sympathy for this one imparticular. The door knew the turmoil boiling beneath the surface of this man's skin and the terror that seized his body; the door knew, and still continued to silently mock his pain.
Bobby thought the door was very evil to torment him like this. Of course, he had to admit, it wasn't the door itself that had caused his body to seize with terror. It was what was on the door: Room 407 - the same number that adorned his mother's door at Carmel Ridge.
"Do you want me to go in with you?" Alex leaned up and asked her troubled partner. She saw the determined glare he have the door and could only wonder at what nasty thoughts it was sending to his mind.
Silently he shook his head; her words giving him the strength he lacked to reach out his hand, push the door open and walk inside the hospital room to meet his niece.
A/N: So? What do you think so far? We meet his niece in the next chapter! Please review.