Second Chances: Unfinished Business

After a jury convicts the head of a black market baby ring brought to justice by Rick and A.J., threats are made to the Simon brothers and their families. Rick and A.J. are forced to come out of retirement again to find those responsible, while coming to terms with the serious illness of an old friend.

(This is a work of fiction. No money is being made on it, and the characters are owned by Universal Studios and are only being borrowed for a little while. .)

A/N: For any new readers, "Second Chances" is my "what if?" for Rick and A.J. Simon...What if they didn't end the partnership or A.J. didn't marry Janet or Liz... What if Rick had a long-lost sweetheart who needed protection from a crazed stalker? And...what if Rick and his girl fell in love, adopted her niece and nephew, and made a home first in San Diego, then in Arizona? These "what if''s" are the basis for my continuing "Simon & Simon" as if they never went off the air. This series also includes crossovers from Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman and Dark Shadows...so feel free to read my other stories for the whys and wherefores of these three worlds meeting.

"Has the jury reached a verdict?"

The somber-faced foreman rose to her feet.

"Yes, your Honor"

Judge Lopez studied the emotionless defendant for a moment, then said, "Will the defendant, Richardson Adams rise"

Stiffly the former doctor stood, then leveled an icy glance at the jury. Behind the prosecutor's table, Rick and A.J. Simon tensed, fearing the would-be murderer would cause a scene. With several months of delays, Adams had grown more and more disruptive in his behavior.

"We the jury find the defendant, Richardson Adams, guilty of attempted murder in the first degree." The foreman recited, then also tendered a guilty verdict on the other 10 counts of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, assault, etc.. When she was finished, a buzz of approval erupted in the courtroom, immediately silenced by the old jurist's gavel.

"Silence!" he ordered, then continued, "Richardson Adams, it is the finding of a jury of your peers that you are guilty of all counts. Sentencing for you and your co-defendants will take place on October 10th. In the meantime, you are remanded to the custody of the County Jail." The Judge explained, then adjourned the court. Just as Lopez started towards the exit, the former doctor turned and stared at the two Simons.

"This isn't over, gentlemen…payment is long overdue for your actions…when you least expect it…" he threatened, then the bailiff grabbed him by his manacled arm.

"That's enough, Adams…open your mouth one more time and you'll be placed in solitary!" the prosecutor warned, and at once the bailiff yanked Adams out of the courtroom.

"I'm deeply sorry, Mr. Simon…." Judge Lopez turned at the rear door, and Rick shook his head.

"Not your fault, your Honor. This snake is full of hot air…we've had to go through this before."

"Well, I thank you, Mr. Simon. The prosecutor's office will notify you with the time and date of the sentencing hearing…." Both brothers thanked him, then went out a side door to avoid the small crowd of media waiting for statements.

"Over here, guys.."

Rick grinned with relief to see their friend Chief Ron Johnson, who was waiting at the doorway to the parking garage. A.J. shook his hand as Rick said, "You're a sight for sore eyes…thought we'd have to brave some of those reporters to get out of here."

"Nope-I arranged to have your truck brought to the rear entrance, see." Ron explained, leading them down another corridor then opening the exit door to show Rick's truck in a reserved spot.

"Thanks, pal….can we give you a lift?" Rick asked, and Ron nodded.

"Sure, I'm glad you remembered Abby's got the car….seems our son forgot to tell us he needed a ride to baseball practice. Another year and he'll be driving." He sighed.

"Oh, boy…are you going to have fun." A.J. observed gleefully, as their friend groaned.

"Don't remind me…I remember Ricky's driving lessons…yeesh!"

"Oh, come on…he wasn't that bad…" Rick started, then his brother shook his head.

"Oh yes he was, seems like he took after his namesake.." A.J. smirked. At that Rick puffed up his chest.

"Can I help it Ricky has good taste?"

Just then Ron's radio beeped, and he took the time to answer it as Rick turned onto Ron's street. As he pulled in front of his house , Ron sternly warned someone to be on the alert, then clicked off his transmitter.

"I wish you two hadn't been in court today….I just heard about Adams outburst…what a loser."

"Well, we aren't going to let this jerk scare us off, Ron…" Rick started, then A.J. asked,

"When does Adams get sent to prison?"

"Next week-no more delays and so this means he's behind bars for good." Ron explained, then smiled as Abby and Joey pulled into the driveway. As he climbed out of the cab, Rick laughed as Abby started across the lawn.

"Well, there's your wife, time to get home to ours.." Rick laughed, seeing Abby's grin at her husband's eagerness to meet her.

"Well, give me a call in the morning, I might have some work for the firm.." Ron began, then sighed when A.J. shook his head.

"We'll call, but Rick and I decided to hold off on any more assignments, Ron. It's been one thing after another and I promised Linny we'd hold off on any work for a few months."

"And I don't blame her, A.J…." Ron admitted reluctantly. "What did Laurie say about it, Rick?"

"She wants me to be happy, but…well, she's glad I'm going to stay closer to home for a while." Rick told him, just as Abby reached her husband.

"Well, I understand, just give me a call so we can tie up some loose ends." Ron explained, putting an arm around his wife.

"Will do….Abby's he's all yours." Rick teased, then he and A.J. said goodbye and drove back towards the highway.

As they neared the ranch, Rick broke the silence, saying, "Listen, A.J….thanks for resisting temptation.. I like helping out Ron, but after that trial…"

"I hear you…it's not worth Linny being so nervous or the kids worrying." The younger Simon finished. He gave a relieved smile as Rick added, "Or Laurie having nightmares. That monster really got to her with his threats…. Finally I can reassure her Adams is not coming after Ramona or Robbie…"

Just then Rick "heard" his name, "Rick", and knew his wife sensed he was near.

"Almost there, sweetheart." He "replied", then caught A.J.'s grin from the corner of his eye.

"All right, little brother, you aren't too big to swat!" he mock-threatened, then laughed when A.J. pretended to look puzzled.

"What did I do now?"

As if in reply, thunderheads started to build overhead, and a faint burst of thunder caught the brothers attention as they made the last turn for the ranch.

"Oh, oh…better step on it, Rick Is anyone home with Sis?" A.J. asked, then paled as a somber Rick answered, "No….Robbie had to go to Phoenix for a meeting, and with everyone else out of town, Laurie said she'd be all right."

Just as the truck entered the ranch driveway, a loud crackle of thunder erupted, then hail rained down from the skies.

Peering through the sheets of rain, Rick saw his wife, followed by Linda, standing at the front door. Pulling his aging truck under the covered porch, he and A.J. raced into the house, then shed their jackets. Laurie helped Rick pull off his wet jacket, then clung to him as another burst of lightening went off nearby.

"It's all right, darlin'….just someone making a lot of noise so I'll have an excuse to hug you." He joked. At that she smiled, saying, "Not that you need one, love….my poor wet Rick. I'm going to heat some chili for you guys…and Linny made some cornbread to go with it."

"Cornbread? Oh, Linny….I think I need to marry you!" A.J. exclaimed, getting an extra kiss for his words.

"That's my romantic husband… you and Rick get comfortable, and I'll bring you some coffee to warm you up!" she told him. As she went into the kitchen, Laurie started to follow her, then stopped and came back to Rick. Giving him a long kiss, she said, almost sadly, "I love you, darling….I can handle any storm as long as I know you're there."

As she turned and went into the kitchen, Rick stared after her, troubled.

"Is something bothering Sis, Rick?" A.J. asked, and Rick shook his head.

"Not that I know of, little brother. I think it's just the storm…but still."