Chapter 25

Ryan stood in front of the apartment building, looking up and counting the windows. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Standing there, it felt like walking through the memories of his childhood. In the summer, he would stand there at that exact spot and look up, counting the windows. And then he would walk up to the front doors, use elevator and walk into the apartment. He opened his eyes and walked up to the front doors.

The ride up to the right floor was shorter then Ryan remembered, but that might have been his own sense of time being warped by his anxiousness. The hallway was familiar, as were all the different doors. He stopped in front of the one he needed and took another deep breath. He raised his hand and knocked. It didn't take too long for the door to be opened and when Ron Sanderson opened the door he looked worried.

"Ryan, come on in. I got your message, you said it was urgent?" His voice was worried too.

Ryan nodded and shrugged at the same time. "Yeah, I …. I suppose it is urgent." The file in his hand felt heavy.

Ron let him in and offered him coffee and Ryan took it thankfully. The older man was looking at him carefully. "How are you doing?"

Ryan shrugged and laid down the file on the kitchen table while he sat down in the chair. He thought about it for a moment. "I'm doing alright, considering everything that's happened."

Ryan could see Ron nodding as if he knew what Ryan was talking about, but the truth was that he didn't know, not really. As far as Ron knew, 'everything' meant Rachel flying to Miami and dying, 'everything' meant going to Boston and burying her. He didn't know that 'everything' was discovering that he'd been kidnapped as a child and the chain reaction of events that discovery had instigated.

"How are you doing?" Ryan asked.

Ron sighed. "I'm doing fine."

Ron poured two cups of coffee and put them down on the kitchen table. He sat down on the seat across from Ryan and curled his fingers around the handle. There was silence for a while and Ryan silently pushed the file he'd carried with him across the table to Ron. The older man gave him a confused look.

Ryan sighed.

"Twenty-three years ago Rachel and Tom Wolfe went on a holiday to Miami. One day, near the end of their vacation, they were walking towards the beach when they were mugged. Tom Wolfe was shot and died immediately. Ryan Wolfe was hit with the getaway car and cracked his head on the pavement. He was picked up by an ambulance and died on the operating table seven hours later."

There was a moment of silence while Ron looked utterly, completely baffled and confused. Ryan nudged the file in his direction again.

"A couple of days after Tom and Ryan Wolfe had died, Rachel Wolfe walked to the beach and came across a young boy about the same age as her late son. They had the same looks too and oddly enough, they had the same name. A couple of days after that, Rachel Wolfe and Ryan Caine showed up at your doorstep in New York. Ryan Caine was introduced to you as Ryan Wolfe."

Ryan could see the disbelief flitting across Ron's face and he sighed. He knew that it was difficult to believe. Ryan had been so confused when the realization that his entire life had been a lie had crept up on him. And for Ron to hear it so bluntly, so ... as a matter of fact, couldn't be easy. But Ryan couldn't think of another way of telling him, Ron deserved to know all the facts.

"When her DNA didn't match mine, I investigated further. All the evidence I discovered is in that file. She kidnapped me, Ron, she took me away from my real family. I don't know if she knew what she was doing or if she'd simply confused me with her dead son, but the truth is that I'm not her son. And you have no idea how much of a relief it is to know that."

There was a long, long moment of silence while Ron thumbed through the files and then he sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. Ryan emptied his cup of coffee in the mean time, anxious for something, anything to do. He loved Ron, the man had been his refuge, his saviour in escaping from the cold prison in Boston where Rachel Wolfe had been the warden. He just hoped that this wouldn't cause Ron to turn away from him somehow. After all, Ryan still considered him as family, because Ron had always had Ryan's best interest at heart.

"I suppose I should have known." Ron said, softly.

Ryan frowned. "What?"

"There were some things she said that didn't make a lot of sense. Back then I just dismissed them, thought that she was just upset and confused over Tom's death. But looking back now, suddenly it makes a lot of sense. When she talked about the mugging she sometimes said "they're dead now" or "he fought for seven hours, he was very strong". But she'd told me that Tom had died almost instantly. And every time I called her on it, she looked surprised, confused and upset, so I decided to let it go and ignore it."

The older man looked positively guilt-ridden and Ryan could only stare at him in shock.

"I'm sorry Ryan. I should have looked into it more, I should have…"

"No! Uncle… You couldn't have known what had really happened. You couldn't have known that she'd kidnapped me. And how could you suspect your own sister of kidnapping someone's child? It wasn't your fault at all. It wasn't anybody's fault, except for Rachel's maybe."

Ron looked sad and still confused. Ryan didn't know what to say. That seemed to happen a lot lately, Ryan not knowing what to say.

"Your name is Ryan Caine?"

Ryan nodded. "I'm the son of Horatio Caine and Laura Haigh."

Ron frowned thoughtfully. "Isn't Horatio Caine your boss at the lab?"

Ryan nodded again. "Yes."

Ron looked baffled again. "What a coincidence."

Sometimes, Ryan liked to think that it had been something more then mere coincidence. Sometimes, Ryan liked to think that it had been Fate that had brought him to the Miami Dade Crime Lab, that it had been Fate that had driven him to become a criminalist. Sometimes, Ryan liked to imagine that it had been Fate that had made Ron Sanderson move to Miami after his retirement, allowing Ryan to come home every year for at least a couple of months.

"So, does he know?"

Ryan blinked, unsure of what Ron meant. His thoughts had taken him far away from the current situation. "What?"

"Does Horatio Caine know you're his son?"

Ryan nodded. "Yes, he figured it out through the records of the DNA tests in the lab. He told Laura Haigh, my mother, and … I've met them… a couple of days ago."

Ron frowned at him. "That doesn't sound too good. He better be proud of you or he'll have me to deal with."

Ryan released a chuckle. "He's…. He's proud of me… He's…. He's just glad to have me back."

Ron nodded. "That's good. Now, it doesn't matter one bit to me if you're Rachel's or not, because to me you'll always be my nephew Ryan, the only nephew I've ever known. And I'll always love you as my nephew, I'll always be here for you and you can always count on me. You just remember that."

Ryan smiled. "Thanks uncle. The same goes for me too."

The End

St: I can hear you thinking already, The End? What the hell? How can you possibly end it here? There are so many things you haven't addressed yet, Horatio finding out Ryan is gay, Horatio finding out that Ryan and Eric have a thing going on, Horatio and Eric having The Talk, just to name a few. And yes, I am well aware that I still have to address all these things. But don't worry, everything will be covered in the sequel Family Tales.

Unfortunately, do to RL (getting ready for my exams in June, getting a lot of assignments, papers, tests to prepare for, writing my thesis, preparing for my trip to London, working on Stress Factor, which is the school festival, the 100-days show, the screaming choir and so on and so forth) I will be unable to spend the proper amount of time in writing Family Tales.

I want to do as much of a good job (if not a better one) on Family Tales as I did on Family Ties and in order to do that I need the time, the inspiration and the energy to do it. I'm severely lacking in the time department and because so much of my energy is being flung in different directions, I am also seriously lacking the energy. The inspiration, unfortunately, has also wilted away over the last couple of weeks, meaning that I've been struggling to write anything halfway decent.

In short: there will be a sequel, but it'll probably take some time.