A/N: This is the first story in my little Hardy AU series. I actually wrote it several years ago so it's already completed. No need to wonder if there'll be months between chapter updates or the story will be abandoned halfway through. :)

However this was also written early in my 'writing career' before a very helpful soul pointed out that you should stick with one character's POV per scene. I'll be honest, if I waited until I had time to 'rewrite' it, the story would never get posted here. So I apologize in advance and hope the multiple POV's aren't too distracting.

This is an AU story (as is my whole series). The boys have graduated from college and joined Fenton's practice. Frank is 24 and he and Callie are newlyweds. Joe is 23 and he and Vanessa are living together. Hope you enjoy it.

Oh yeah… as my buddy Phoenix says, this is a Nancy Drew Free Zone. No offense to the girl detective but if you're looking for Nancy, you won't find her here.


Under The Influence

Chapter 1

Detective Con Riley stared out the passenger side window of the patrol car. The brown haired, hazel-eyed police veteran couldn't believe his awful luck.

'Out of all the people on the force, I get stuck with him.' He sighed, sinking lower in the seat. 'Why couldn't I have been one of the lucky ones to get the flu…'

Within the last week, the flu had quickly swept through the Bayport Police Department, decimating the number of officers available for street patrol. It had gotten so bad that everyone from Police Chief Ezra Collig on down had been assigned to patrol the streets of Bayport.

Riley was lamenting the unseen forces of the universe that had paired him with Ezra Collig that night. Although he was in his mid-fifties with iron-gray hair, Chief Collig could still outdo most of the rookies in the department's annual physical aptitude and agility tests.

"Something wrong, Riley?" His boss asked gruffly.

"No, sir. Nothing." 'The least he could have done was let me drive,' Riley thought, sourly.

"Been a long time since I've been on street patrol."

'He almost sounds like he's enjoying this!' Riley was saved from further conversation by the crackle of the radio.

"Available units, please check the domestic violence call at 128 Orchard Lane, Apartment 2B," the disembodied voice requested.

Writing down the address, Con frowned. Picking up the microphone, he asked the dispatcher to recheck the address.

"Confirming address. 128 Orchard Lane, Apartment 2B."

"Are you sure it's a domestic violence call?" he asked with concern.

"Confirming call. Domestic violence disturbance," the dispatcher replied, obviously getting a little annoyed.

"What?" Collig asked, noting the look on Con's face.

"This can't be right. There has to be a mistake. In the address…the type of call…something."

"Why? Do you know who lives there?"

"Yes. And so do you."

Collig raised his eyebrows in a silent question.

"Joe Hardy and Vanessa Bender," Riley replied staring out the window.


Arriving at the apartment complex, Collig and Riley were met outside by the manager of the complex, a stout, balding, middle-aged man.

"Arthur Doyle," he said extending his hand and leading them into the building. "I just couldn't believe it. I happen to live right below them, ya know? I'm sitting here watching Jeopardy and all of sudden I hear yelling. Pounding on the floor, like someone was running. Then I hear a scream." He shivered at the memory.

"It was her. Don't know what he did to her but she screamed like she was afraid for her life. I could hear him yelling, but I couldn't make out what he was saying. Then she screams one more time and then…nothing." While he was talking he had been leading the two officers up the stairs. "I called his father, too. He's a good man, Fenton Hardy. Can't believe one of his boys would do something like this." He shook his head, referring to the world-renowned private investigator and his two sons, Frank and Joe, who were partners in his practice. "I know they were raised better than that," he mumbled.

Upon reaching the second floor, they were met by two other officers who had also answered the call. Collig directed them to wait at the top of the stairs as he, Riley and Doyle approached the door to Apartment 2B.

"You have a master key?" Collig asked the manager, who nodded in reply.

Stopping in front of the door, Con knocked and stepped aside, waiting for some kind of response. Getting none, he knocked again.

"Joe?" he called out. "Vanessa? You in there?"

He leaned closer to the door, but still heard nothing. He knocked one more time, much harder.

"Come on, Joe! Open up!" he yelled.

He looked worriedly at Chief Collig who turned and gave a slight nod to Mr. Doyle. The man used his master key to unlock the door to Joe and Vanessa's apartment and then stepped back. Collig motioned for him to retreat down the hall, behind the safety of the two officers stationed at the top of the stairs.

Guns drawn, Riley and Collig were about to open the door when they heard a commotion. Looking up, they saw Fenton and Frank Hardy arguing with the two other officers. Both tall and lean, with matching brown hair and dark brown eyes, twenty-four year old Frank was a mirror image of his father. His brother Joe, one year younger, was the complete physical opposite of them, with his muscular build, blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.

"They're okay," Collig called out.

Rushing down the hall, Fenton asked, "What's going on?" every inch the concerned father.

"We don't know yet. We got a request from dispatch to check out a domestic violence call here. We've knocked a few times but neither one of them is answering. Mr. Doyle just unlocked the door. It was dead bolted - from the inside I assume."

Frank stepped forward, reaching for the doorknob. He knew Joe would have answered the door immediately if he had been able to. Collig grabbed his hand preventing him from touching the handle.

"We go in first, Frank. We have no idea what's going on in there."

Frank was about to protest when he felt a hand on his shoulder, gently pulling him back.

"They go first," his father said softly. Frank obediently took a few steps back and stood next to his father.

Gently pushing the door open, Con Riley and Ezra Collig cautiously entered the apartment. Looking around they saw nothing out of the ordinary. The television was on, the volume turned down low. That day's newspaper lay on the couch opened to the Sports section. A plate with two slices of pizza sat on the coffee table, one half-eaten, along with a napkin and a glass of soda.

Collig walked towards the kitchen at the same time silently pointing down the hall towards the bedroom. He nodded at the two other officers who had now joined them, and they started down the hall.

Approaching the kitchen, Collig and Riley heard a slight movement and ragged, heavy breathing. Getting closer, they saw pieces of broken glass on the floor and a dark brown liquid that looked like soda. Walking further into the kitchen, they noticed the brown liquid started to mingle with a familiar looking red liquid…blood.

Taking a few more steps, they saw a pair of long legs, obviously female, unmoving on the floor. Con felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, knowing he was not going to like what he saw.

Inching ever closer, he turned into the kitchen and stopped, all the color draining from his face. Turning to his boss, he was sure Ezra Collig's expression matched his own.

Hearing footsteps, he turned to see Frank and Fenton rapidly approaching.

"No!" Riley put his hands out to stop them before they got to the kitchen.

Collig also moved towards the pair, trying to impede their progress.

Alarmed, Frank tried to force his way past Con, rushing towards the kitchen, succeeding in dragging Con along with him. He got as far as the entrance of the kitchen when he felt himself being grabbed by more hands and dragged backwards.

"Let me see!" he struggled to get free. "JOE!" he called out.

The only response was a loud wail from the kitchen, stopping Frank immediately. Although it sounded like a cornered, wounded animal, Frank knew it was his brother.

Frank saw a flash of movement. Collig, Riley and the two officers had been so distracted by him they had paid no attention to Fenton, who rushed past Frank and the four men holding him back and swiftly made his way to the kitchen.

He inhaled sharply, one hand covering his mouth. White as a sheet, he leaned against the counter for support. Eyes wide, unable to process what he was seeing, he tried to speak but no sound came out.

"Dad, what is it?" Frank cried out, now terrified. "Tell me, please!" he yelled, once again struggling to break free. With a strength he didn't know he possessed he pulled away and ran to his father's side, Riley and Collig right behind him.

Coming to a stop next to his father, Frank stared in disbelief. He felt his father grab his arm. He was vaguely aware of his father clutching his arm so tightly that it started to hurt. He had to be dreaming; this was not possible. He blinked a few times but the scene before his eyes did not change.

Lying, unmoving, in the middle of the kitchen floor, surrounded by broken glass, soda and an ever increasing pool of blood was Joe's girlfriend, Vanessa Bender. Her ash blonde hair partially covered her face. One arm rested across her body, the other fell at an awkward angle near her head. From this distance it was impossible to tell whether or not she was actually breathing.

A few feet past her, crouched on the floor leaning against the cabinets, was Joe. His blue eyes were wide with fear, seemingly unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. His gaze shifted wildly from Vanessa to the four men now staring at him and back again, and then quickly scanned the room as if looking for something or someone he obviously did not want to see. To Frank, Fenton, Con, and Ezra it was not the look on his face, or Joe's bizarre behavior that concerned them most. What was truly terrifying was the large kitchen knife clutched in his hands, steadily dripping blood into a small puddle at his feet.