Don't shoot me for starting yet another story. It simply couldn't be helped. I mainlined the first ten or so episodes of Dirty Sexy Money this last month and it gave me an idea that simply would not go away. So here it is, inspired in part by aforementioned show. This is mostly set up, as the next few chapters will probably be.

Oh yeah, it's obviously AU, so not everyone will fit into the neat little SON boxes they usually do.

Rating will vary from PG to (gasp!) NC-17.

I don't own the show, yadda, yadda, yadda, please don't sue, yadda, yadda, yadda! You know the drill by now;)

The Prodigal daughter.

Chapter 1: The Return.

At twenty eight, Spencer supposed her life should have amounted to more than paper work. Well, paper work and making sure that Raife Davies, though if you looked at his birth certificate it clearly stated Reginald Davies, didn't end up knocking out the smug looking German business man in front of them.

"Mr Braun, we both know you don't have the capital to follow through on this."

Karl Braun, tall and thin with dark, hawkish eyes, looked at Spencer with a smile that made the hair at the back of her neck stand up. She knew his type, he was probably born into money and thought he could buy or bully anyone to concede to his will, probably never even heard the word no in his life before.

Thing is that Spencer had done her homework, and she'd done it thoroughly. It was what she was paid for after all. So Spencer was pretty intent on introducing the young German to the word no.

"I think you're forgetting that I have my father as an investor in this enterprise, Miss...Coleman?"

The man knew her surname, had been verbally introduced to her on more than three occasions and she knew he was just doing it to piss her off. Raife apparently knew that too.

"Cut the crap, Karl my boy, we know your daddy put his foot down and closed his wallet to you. Why was it again, Spence? Something about his gambling problem? Or was it those nasty rumors about young Karl's taste for underage prostitutes?"

Spencer shared a grin with Raife, both knowing that they were going in for the kill. No one pulled a fast one on Raife Davies and Spencer, loyal as she was to the man, had made sure in the last year that she worked for him that if someone tried, they regretted it. So it was with some satisfaction that she noticed her employer give her a small nod, encouraging her to take the lead.

"Hmm, I believe that last one was what made Daddy tighten the purse strings, yes. You thought we hadn't heard about that little tidbit? The company's called Davies International, Karl, which implies that we have offices, people, internationally. People means ears and eyes, means information. It's not that difficult a concept to understand, you know? Then again, seeing as you had to bribe one of your professors to barely graduate University, it might actually be for you."

Okay, so maybe Spencer Carlin was a bit more than just your average paper pusher. She was right hand man, woman if you will, to Raife Davies and that meant at any given day she could either broker a multi-million dollar deal, baby sit his youngest daughter or play private investigator for him. Though yes, at the end of the day, there really was still a crap loud of paper work waiting for her.

Karl Braun blushed deeply, but not with shame, Spencer was almost sure of it. The man was livid, angry beyond comprehension, and that emotion bled across his face. He was an arrogant bastard, a man that was too lazy to work hard for what he wanted and probably got to where he was by using his charming smile, his family name and less than honorable business ethic.

Spencer enjoyed nailing assholes like that to the wall.

"You're making some wild accusations there, Miss Carlin. I'm sure my lawyer would agree with me that claims like that without any proof could easily lead to you getting sued for defamation of character."

Spencer rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue, her face showing nothing but cool scorn as she finally lay her gaze levelly on Braun.

"I am a lawyer, Mr Braun, I know the law. Besides, I think we both know that if I went digging, I'd quiet easily find more than enough evidence to back me up. Actually, you sitting here is at least confirming one of my suspicions so far."

Braun's eyebrows shot up and Spencer gave him a small smile.

"We know why you came to us. We know you don't have the money to actually close the deal on the Waterman Tower. What where you going to do, make Mr Davies an offer well above what you 'payed' for it?" Spencer shook her head and gave him what Raife referred to as her piss-off-and-die look. She'd apparently inherited it from her mother. "Now I'm pretty sure you can get up out of your seat and leave, but we both know that we could make a phone call or two and this little stunt of yours could land you in a world of trouble. And I'm not sure daddy would bail you out if it came down to it, Karl. So how about we give you an offer you can't refuse and we all walk away from this happy?"

He was well and truly nailed, he knew it, she knew it and from the shit eating grin on Raife's face, her boss knew it too. Karl Braun had been handed the deed to Waterman Towers with money borrowed from a less than savory source with the intent to basically immediately run to Raife Davies and sell the property to him at an inflated price. The borrowed money would be returned and he'd make a nice cut out of the whole deal. He had no capital to back his venture, not in the long term at least and it hadn't taken Spencer very long to uncover that fact.

So three hours later it was a done deal, papers were signed and Raife being Raife, money had already been transferred to the proper accounts. Davies International owned Waterman Tower and Karl Braun would never in his wasted life fuck with them again. Spencer had made sure of that.

"You did good today, Kid. Your old man would have been proud."

Spencer grimaced slightly at that, because something told her that her father, her predecessor, would probably not have approved. Arthur Carlin had been a good man, a simple man. Yes, he'd been the Davies family lawyer for more than twenty years, but Spencer knew that in that time he had never done a single thing that had gone against his beliefs. He'd left the cut throat side of things to Raife, making sure to reign the man in when it needed to be done and simply always standing by him.

Spencer had found in the last year or so that she enjoyed going in for the kill as much as Raife did. A day like today, when they'd faced off with someone and walked away on top, Spencer felt exhilaration rush through her. It had been unexpected for her in the beginning, because as long as she could remember people had been telling her how much like her father she was. No one had expected Spencer to adapt so quickly, to find her feet in a world that was dominated by mostly soulless bastards masquerading as businessmen.

Well, everyone except for Raife of course. She'd asked him, right in the beginning when he'd hired her, why he chose her, why he thought her capable of stepping into her father's shoes. He'd looked at her, long and hard and given her his wide, boyish smile.

"Because you're not the meek little lam everyone thinks you are. I've seen it in you, Spencer, I've seen your fire. You're perfectly capable of doing what your father did, actually, you're capable of doing better than he ever did, because I think you can trust me in a way your father never could."

She'd wanted to ask him, back then, what he meant, but she'd been confused and sad and just a little lost. Her father had been buried less than twenty four hours previously and there was Raife Davies offering her his old job. So she'd let it slide, had excepted the job on a whim really, but today she understood what Raife had meant that day.

She trusted Raife implicitly, knew that he was one of the few men that had built an empire and retained his humanity, his heart, while doing it. Her father had doubted Raife, had doubted his ability to get where he was without stepping on someone to get there. So he'd never let himself be put in a position where he could somehow be involved in something that didn't sit well with his conscious. He did his job, but he never truly participated like Spencer did.

Arthur had instead got more non-profit organizations off the ground than anyone else could manage, and he'd done it successfully. He'd drafted up water tight contracts and made sure that every rule and every regulation was followed, but he never had a more vocal part of any deal brokered than that.

Spencer for her part had realized almost from the get go that Raife Davies didn't need to do underhanded deals, didn't need to own a senator or two or bribe any councilmen. Raife Davies was ruthless, sure, but he was honest to a fault sometimes. He had a determination to reach his goal, but he never left any innocent casualties in his wake when he reached it.

What happened with Karl Braun had not been his doing. Davies International had made a legitimate offer on the Waterman Tower like a few other companies did, but Braun was the one that crossed the line and made the gloves come off. Spencer could understand, and definitely appreciate, that though one didn't start a dirty fight, it didn't mean one couldn't end it with a swift blow to the gut.

So Spencer wouldn't loose sleep over Karl Braun and the threats they'd made to eventually procure the high rise office building, because she knew that if things could have been played out in a more honest, fair way, then Raife would have taken that route.

Why her father never had the insight to see this about Raife, his best friend, Spencer didn't know, but she suspected that there was a story there to explain it. She was still building her courage to ask what that story might be though.

"Well, Spencer, that was nicely played."

Spencer was pulled from her thoughts by Raife's voice and met his gaze, giving him a tired, yet happy, smile.

"Braun had it coming, the man's a slime ball of epic proportion. It didn't have to be this way, but in the end it was his own doing."

Raife nodded his head and angled his head to the side, quickly glancing at the bronzed clock on his desk.

"It's past nine, kiddo, you should head out. It's been a long day for you."

Spencer smiled at the quick change in Raife. One minute he would treat her as his right hand, as his lawyer and associate, then in a blink of an eye he would become her father's best friend and treat her like a doting uncle would. His eyes were soft and caring as he took in Spencer's unbuttoned pants suit jacket, her dark rimmed glasses and the obvious signs of exhaustion around her eyes and mouth.

Spencer looked down at herself and realized that she did look a bit rumpled after the day they had. She'd been at the Davies mansion since six that morning, had more meetings in the last four days because of the Waterman Tower and it's subsequent sale than she'd had in the last month and she was well and truly spent.

She found herself smiling and standing, stretching her back out a bit and almost groaning when it popped most satisfyingly. As much as she loved her job, she was looking forward to a proper nights sleep.

"I think I'll do that, Mr Davies."

Raife rolled his eyes as he always did.

"My name's Raife, Spencer, for the millionth time. So call me that."

Spencer gave another smile as she picked up her leather briefcase and walked to the heavy oak door of Raife's study.

"Of course, Mr Davies."

She stepped into the hallway with the sound of her boss's soft laughter ringing in her ears and a smile on her face. As always the sight of the opulent house distracted Spencer on her way to the entry hall. She'd spent more time in it than she had her own home growing up, yet it always astounded her. Growing up they weren't poor, Arthur's job meaning that they lived quite comfortably actually, but it could never compare to the lavishness of the Davies mansion.

Everything was in abundance, the ceilings high and the rooms large, the interior fashionably furnished every year by a different designer and most everything cost a fortune. It looked exactly like what it was: a house that belonged to a man that wouldn't be able to spend all the money he'd acquired even if he lived to be two hundred years old.

Yet Spencer had never been swayed by any of the wealth that had surrounded her, because that wealth had in a way stolen her father. She'd loved her dad, and he had definitely loved her, but growing up she never really had much of a relationship with him. There had simply not been enough time for it. Arthur had worked and he'd worked hard. It had cost him his marriage in the end and was the reason that Spencer had spent so many of her childhood days in a house that wasn't even her own.

Sometimes she felt she hadn't been more than a beloved after thought to her father. There was nothing she could do about it now though, so she shook her head and made her way downstairs. She passed a bedroom on her way and smiled as she heard music loudly playing, accompanied by a slightly shrilly voice.

Kyla Davies had not inherited her father's voice, but it never stopped her from trying to emulate the man. She at least had enough common sense to not do it in public view. No amount of editing and tweaking would make her sound like her father after all. That gift had been given to another Davies though, but it was a fact that Spencer never let herself think about.

By the time Spencer came down the steps, she had her car keys pinched between her lips and her hand in her handbag, distractedly searching for her BlackBerry. Reaching the bottom step she finally pulled her phone out of her bag, only to slightly trip and send it sprawling away from her. She closed her eyes for a second as she steadied herself with a hand against the wall, praying briefly that she didn't just kill her phone on top of possibly spraining an ankle.

When she opened her eyes, she abruptly let her keys drop as her jaw sagged open. No more than a few feet in front of her, standing hesitantly in the doorway between the front room and the entrance hall, Spencer's phone practically by her feet, stood Ashley Davies.

Ashley Davies, the girl who'd given up her father's money at nineteen and never looked back. Ashley Davies, who'd broken Spencer's heart that very same night by warming her bed for a few hours and then disappearing wordlessly in the morning, not to be seen again.

Until now, after all those years of silence, there she stood: The prodigal daughter returned.

- - -

So mostly this was set up, but I hope you like it. I don't know if you'd like me to continue? Yes, no? You tell me. Also would you maybe want a back flash or two then, or should I just keep it in the now and leave the explaining to narration?