Author's Note: This is my first fanfic - I love Blue Bloods and the Danny/Jamie dynamic! This is more of a backstory for Jamie and takes place when he's 16. Tell me what you think! I own the plot not the characters!
Chapter 1 – Sibling Concern
June 6th 2000
Jamie dumped his school bag on the floor and slammed his room door shut. He stared at himself in the mirror. The dark circles under his bloodshot eyes had become even darker and his skin was much paler. He slapped his cheeks trying to stop his heavy lids from drooping.
"Must stay awake," he murmured. He couldn't go down to dinner. It was Joe's birthday, meaning the whole family would be there and he knew they wouldn't lay off him, especially Danny… God if they ever found out…
Jamie decided to keep busy in order to stay awake so he spread his books out among his desk and tried to study his Spanish verbs for the test tomorrow.
"Seria, serias, seriamos, seriais, serian – conditional present tense – and…" he broke off in a yawn and rubbed his eyes. "present subjunctive is – is – uh, sea, seas – seamos, seais, sean," he agitatedly tapped his pencil on his face to try and stay awake. "And the imperfect subjunctive is – is – is – fuera, fueras, fuera, fueramos, fuerais – fueran," Jamie's eyelids were closing, "and the imperative….is…um…"
He was wondering down a dark alleyway, now he broke into a run, faster and faster unable to get away. He heard the evil laughter in the background, the laughter that haunted his dreams every night since the event. Jamie tripped and fell face first into a wall, hearing a crack and feeling the blood flow freely through his nose. He kept on running, the fog quickly starting to surround him.
"Kid! Hey kid!" Danny! He heard his brother! If anyone would help him get out of this Danny would! Vaguely he could make out a figure behind the wire mesh fence, it was Danny, and he was frantically trying to get to him but he couldn't. Jamie reached the fence and tried to grab onto Danny's hand.
"Danny! Danny! Danny you have to help me," Jamie screamed, "he's going to kill me!" Jamie glanced over his shoulder and to his horror saw the silhouette of his murderer spread over the wall. He screamed and tried to shake the fence. Danny, his face twisted with determination, climbed over the fence. Jamie tried to grab onto Danny's hand but he felt like a ghost. A hand was creeping up behind him.
"Jamie!" Danny's face was contorted with worry, "Look out!"
The hand grabbed his shoulder, "Jamie," he shouted, he had Joe's voice… huh… Jamie jerked awake. It took him a few seconds to realize that he had fallen asleep on his desk and Joe had been yelling at him from the landing.
"Jamie, dinner's ready!" Joe knocked his special knock on Jamie's room and entered, "Jamie, Ma wants you to come downstairs." Jamie nodded but didn't say anything, expecting Joe to just turn around and go back downstairs. Instead he cautiously walked towards Jamie and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?" he asked his little brother, voice filled with concern.
"Yeah," Jamie lied, "I'm just studying for a Spanish test tomorrow. So, how does it feel to be twenty-three?"
Joe laughed, "The same as being twenty-two! Either way I'm so glad I'm not in high school anymore!"
"Being a rookie cop must be so much better," Jamie said sarcastically.
"You know it! Instead of being shut up in my room studying verbs, I get to cruise the streets every day and night arresting drunks and giving directions to tourists in Times Square!" Jamie smiled weakly. Joe's smile faded as he looked at his brother's pale, tired face. "Look man, if there's anything wrong that you don't wanna tell Ma and Dad about, you know you can always come talk to us about it. Me, Erin, Danny are always here and we're not going anywhere!"
Don't count on it, Jamie thought bitterly remembering Danny in his nightmare. "Joe! Jamie! What's up there a black hole? Get down here so we can eat!" Danny chimed.
Joe laughed, "We'll be right there!" he hollered back and the two of them went downstairs. As soon as Jamie entered the dining room, just as he expected, all eyes were on him. His mother rushed over to feel his forehead.
"Honey," she said fussing over him, "have you got a fever?"
"No, Ma stop," he muttered, pushing her hand away and glancing at Danny, "I'm fine."
"You sure as hell don't look fine kid," said Danny worriedly walking towards him and rubbing his thumb under Jamie's eye. "You have pander eyes now how much sleep have you had?"
"I've just been really busy studying for a Spanish test tomorrow," Jamie mumbled, sitting down at the table. Everybody else quietly took their places and after Joe said grace they all began eating.
"Jamie, you didn't answer your brother's question." His father's quiet yet booming voice acknowledged his presence at the head of the table.
"About what?" Jamie asked innocently watching Danny roll his eyes in impatience.
"About what? You know what, your sleep, how much are you getting?"
"Well… I dunno, here and there."
"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" Danny asked angrily.
"Daniel!" Mary scolded, "please refrain from using such words at the table if you can help it!"
"Sorry Ma, but I'm worried about Jamie, I mean look at him!" Everyone turned to stare at Jamie again. He felt his cheeks flush and wished everybody would just stop.
"Danny's right Jamie," Linda said softly, "you need your sleep, especially if you're studying."
"After my exams are over I'll sleep for a week I promise. Look I'm not the only one okay, Dean and I both stay up and -"
"I don't give a damn about Dean it's you I'm worried about!"
"Well don't be! Look I'm just really busy with school and basketball practice, we have a game coming up, nothing's wrong," Jamie caught Joe's eye and looked away quickly.
"Son maybe you should cut down on some of your extra-curricular activities, you're doing too much." Frank suggested gently.
"No way!" Jamie yelped, "I need to do all that stuff!"
"You're on the basketball team, debate team, glee club, Spanish club, National Honours Society as well as being Yearbook editor and President of the Government, Law and Human Services and you still find the time to volunteer down at the animal shelter three days a week and maintain your decent grade average!" Erin said exasperatedly, "maybe you should cut back just a tad!"
"Yeah just a tad," Joe repeated with a laugh.
"I told you I can't," Jamie sighed, "I have to do all this extra stuff to even think about getting into a decent college. I bring food to the homeless shelter on weekends as well."
"Be careful kid, you're in danger of overdosing on virtue!" Danny said laughing and shaking his head.
"What's an o – oerdose?" piped a three year old Nikki from the corner of the table.
"Thanks," said Erin sarcastically to her brother before shovelling more food onto her daughter's plate to shut her up, "never you mind honey, eat some veggies now, good girl."
"In my day we didn't need to do all that extra nonsense! You were accepted into a college based solely on your performance at school and who you are as an individual," Henry interjected sharply.
"I know Pops, but sadly these days that's just not enough," Mary said passing the salad round.
"He's not even graduating until two years from now!" Danny said incredulously.
"He? You know I am right here!" Jamie said waving his fork at Danny who just grinned mockingly.
"I highly doubt any decent college is gonna care about whether you sang in glee club or not," Johnny said curtly. Erin shot her husband a sharp look for saying something so tactless to her brother.
"Brown cares! Columbia cares! Princeton cares, they all care!" Jamie whined.
"My baby brother, the over-achiever!" Danny announced to the table.
"Don't bust my balls Danny!" Jamie said in annoyance and in doing so arousing an "EH!" from nearly every adult around the table save for Danny who had collapsed into a silent fit of laughter. Jamie tried to be mad at him but couldn't, he smiled sheepishly at his older brother who winked at him. He couldn't hold a grudge against his big brother whom he held as a hero just because of a stupid dream. Besides Danny did try to help him in the dream but he couldn't grab hold of his hand. Nevertheless that same feeling of unease settled within him and even though he was grateful for the talk about college, Danny's latest case and Joe's usual round of rookie anecdotes, he still felt scared. He didn't want to go sleep in case he had those nightmares again. Those nightmares which have haunted him for the past week now, these dreams he can't seem shake no matter how much he tried.
He prayed every night to God for forgiveness in order to stop this punishment. He even tried talking to a priest after school yesterday and confessed what had happened but it still ate him up inside. Jamie hastily gulped down his whole glass of water to stop himself from throwing up. Jamie knew he shouldn't be keeping this secret to himself but he didn't have a choice. If he told anyone, he'd be dead. He had survived an awful massacre last month, one casual Saturday at the mall with his friends turned into an afternoon of hell. He'd only just recovered from that… or so he thought.
Danny watched his baby brother occasionally throughout dinner, his brotherly and cop instincts telling him that Jamie was not all right and the whole studying excuse for his sleeping patterns was all bullshit. Danny knew Jamie his whole entire life and always knew when there was a problem or when he was lying. What bothered Danny the most was that his brother was in obvious trouble and couldn't tell him what was wrong. He had made it very clear to Joe and Jamie while they were growing up that their big brother was always going to be there for them whether they needed him or not. There was only a year age gap between him and his sister which is why she stubbornly claimed to not need him back in high school. However he knew that was a lie and he was always there for her anyway. But Joe was three years younger than him and Jamie was practically decade younger than Danny which meant that he'd always shouldered a responsibility when it came to the youngest Reagans. Deep down Danny had a feeling that it had something to do with the Kings Plaza shooting. Nobody brought the subject up around Jamie because they knew how badly affected he was by it.
Jamie willed himself to stay awake. He felt so tired yet he couldn't go to sleep. He knew these nightmares would always be there.
After dinner, when everybody had sung Joe a happy birthday, Jamie and Danny were commanded on dishes duty. Danny was grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with Jamie, just the two of them, so they could talk and hopefully Jamie would open up to him.
"Listen kid," Danny whispered as they filled the sink, "they're all in the other room so you can drop the golden boy bullshit."
"I don't know what you're talking about!" Jamie said defiantly.
"Oh come on Jamie, it's just us!" Danny said with annoyance, "I know when you're lying, something's definitely going on." He lowered his voice, "is it bullies?"
"What?" Jamie laughed, "no way! How old do you think I am? Ten?"
"Okay," Danny continued irritably, "then… is it some other kind of school thing?" Jamie didn't say anything. Danny felt the knot in his stomach tighten as he prepared himself for his next question. "Jamie is it – have you – are you… oh Jesus I never thought it would be this hard…"
"No." Jamie said shortly, dipping a plate into the sink and scrubbing it. Danny turned to him in surprise.
"No, I'm not doing drugs and I don't have an STD."
"Right. Thank god. Well look, you're sixteen I have to ask these things!" Danny said impatiently, catching the amused look on Jamie's face.
"You sound like Dad," Jamie muttered, "no correction you're worse than Dad!"
"Yeah, well, someone's gotta be! Who else is gonna keep you in line huh?" Danny blew a handful of bubbles into Jamie face just he used to when they were younger. Jamie laughed and flicked a few foam bubbles his way. Jamie had to admire him. At twenty-six, Danny Reagan sometimes had the mind of a fourteen year old. That's why it was so much fun when they were younger, at nineteen, twenty, when most guys would rather be seen dead than with their ten year old brother tagging along, Danny would always make time to hang out with his, playing cops and robbers, games of one on one, football…
"You'll make a great Dad in five months," Jamie said proudly.
"You think so?" Danny asked nervously.
"I know so," Jamie answered firmly.
"Thanks kid," Danny said with a warm smile, "that really means a lot to me, to hear you say that. But to tell you the truth… and don't tell anyone this cause I'll only deny it and flush your head in a toilet… I'm actually kinda terrified."
"Terrified? You? Why?" Jamie asked in surprise, "I mean you looked after Joe and me a lot, when Ma and Dad were always working or too busy."
"Yeah," said Danny nostalgically, "I remember. We used have fun together didn't we?"
"Yeah we did, until Erin pitched in." Danny laughed.
"She sure was set to be a lawyer back then huh?"
"Yeah. And what about me?" asked Jamie hopefully. Danny dried his hands and surveyed his baby brother.
"You… you'll make an awesome cop," he pulled his brother into a hug and ruffled his hair, "Detective Reagan!"
"Danny get off! Stop!" he pulled out of his brother's embrace and smoothed his hair. "But seriously, do you think I'll make a good cop like you guys?"
"You're a Reagan. It's in your blood."
"Well Ma doesn't seem to think so," Jamie murmured, "she preferred it if I went into law like Erin." Jamie sighed, "That's why I've been working so hard to get into an ivy league school Danny. If I study pre-law at somewhere like Brown or Columbia then I could go to Harvard or Yale law school!"
"Do you feel pressured to become a lawyer Jamie?" Danny asked with concern. Jamie looked at the floor.
"Hey," Danny tilted his face upwards to look him in the eye. "Have you told anyone how you feel?"
"Well, I talked to Erin," Jamie said nodding, "and she was really enthusiastic about it at first, but then she could tell how unenthusiastic I was. So she just laughed and said that she just wanted me to be happy."
"That's what we all want for you kid. Who knows, maybe you will be happy being a lawyer. But I know you'll be even happier being a cop!" Danny added with a wink.
"Yeah but Ma -?"
"It's not up to Ma!" Danny said abruptly, "It's not her life it's yours. Our lives aren't written in stone kid. We make it up as we go along. You can change your path at any time, just you remember that."
Joe and Erin walked into the kitchen laughing, a plate of cake and ice-cream in each hand.
"For you both," Erin said handing a plate to Danny and Jamie, "for doing such a good job on the dishes."
"Aah, thanks sis!" Danny said with a laugh. The four siblings sat down around the kitchen table like they used to when they were younger, all of them munching on cake, laughing about old times.
"When was the last time we did this?" Erin asked, shaking sprinkles on her ice-cream.
"Before you got married?" Danny said, casting a sly glance at his sister.
"Hey! I always made sure I had time for you guys!" Erin said indignantly, "I even dragged Johnny with us on our annual Fourth of July camping trip back in 96 remember?"
The boys all looked at each other, hands covering their suppressed giggles. Erin frowned at them. Danny saw her reaction and snorted. Once he had broken the seal, Joe and Jamie burst out laughing.
"God that trip was so funny!" Jamie chuckled, pinching the bridge of his nose to stop himself from laughing. "Danny stole his bucket of fish and then when Johnny was chasing him, he tripped on that tree root and fell into a bush of poison ivy!" They all laughed harder except for Erin.
"Stop it you guys!" she moaned sternly.
"He was itching like crazy!" Joe snickered, ignoring his sister. "And he kept threatening to kill you Danny but – but he was so itchy, we couldn't take his threats seriously!"
"Shut up you guys he can hear you!" Erin hissed.
"I couldn't stop laughing myself!" Danny guffawed, "And that just pissed him off even more!"
Erin rolled her eyes at them disapprovingly and absently tucked a strand of hair behind her ears. Jamie suddenly stopped laughing. He noticed a small purple bruise on the right side of Erin's head.
"What happened to your head?" Jamie asked his sister.
"There's a bruise on your head!"
Joe and Danny calmed down fast, turning to their sister.
"Oh that!" It was Erin's turn to laugh, she quickly covered it with her hair, "That's just Nikki's handiwork. Never fall asleep and leave a three year old alone with a marker! Remember that Danny for future reference!"
"Got it!" Danny said dismissively waving his fork at her.
"So," Joe started giving Danny a pointed look, "are you guys okay?"
"Yeah," Danny glanced at Jamie, "we talked about careers and stuff, didn't we Jamie?"
"You know," Jamie started without looking up, "if you wanna ask me about the mall shooting you could just ask me. You don't have to keep stammering around the subject all the time."
Danny and Joe exchanged a stupefied glance, "How did you -?"
"Please. I grew up in this family, need I say more."
"Well you're not exactly open about it and we're not one to force," Danny said spraying whipped cream on his dessert.
"Er correction you're the one to force and we just let Jamie come to us," Erin said smugly, leaning towards Joe.
"Exactly, which is why the poor kid is terrified out of his mind!"
"Do you think you he'd be more resilient if he hadn't been involved in a massacre?" Joe asked Danny in frustration.
"Why do you even have to ask me that? Of course he'd be more resilient; he rode the Screamonater six times!" Danny said aggravated, "and he was only ten!"
"Oh my God," Erin eyed Danny in revulsion, "you're unbelievable you know that Danny? How can you even compare the two?"
"You know how Erin," Danny pointed his fork at her, his voice on even keel, "I don't want to keep surrounding our baby brother with intense negativity all the time. Ever since the damn shooting, all he's ever had is people tiptoeing around him, asking about what happened and what he did that day. They don't give him enough credit for it!"
"Yeah, maybe because he's so young!" Joe stated emphatically.
"Exactly! So he should be admired for surviving something like that! I'm sick of walking around egg shells! He's a Reagan and he should be treated with the same respect as we do when we come home from a job -"
"Danny have you ever listened yourself talking?" Erin asked heatedly, "Maybe for Christmas we could buy you a tape recorder so you can record yourself and play it back. Hopefully then you'll realize what a complete asshole you sound like twenty-four seven!"
"Stop, guys stop! Enough!" Jamie yelled as Danny was about hurl a tirade of abuse towards their sister, Just, please stop fighting." Jamie begged, "It's Joe's birthday and… well after everything, the last thing I want is to have my brother and sister fight, over me. Especially when I say there's no problem."
Danny and Erin exchanged an apologetic glance. "Always the words of wisdom aren't you baby bro," Danny said playfully slapping his brother on the cheek.
"Yeah, so what d'ya say you two call a chocolate truce shot?" Joe said leaning back on his chair and grinning.
"Done!" Danny quickly found two shot glasses and filled it with chocolate sauce. "I haven't done a truce shot since I accidently deflated Jamie's basketball back in 95. Remember those continuous games of one on one we used to play every Sunday after dinner."
"We should really do that again you know," Joe said nonchalantly, "it'd be interesting to see what would happen now."
"Hold on, accidental?" Jamie asked Danny suddenly, frowning, "there's never an accident whenever you're involved! Admit it, you were just a sore loser and didn't want to continue getting crushed!"
"Oh, please!" Danny scoffed, "I could've easily gone ten more rounds with you… I was just…"
"Tired of letting me win," Jamie said mockingly. Danny raised his brow and pointed at him threateningly.
"Aah, lay off him Jamie, it must've been hard for a twenty-two year old to get his ass kicked by his eleven year old kid brother!" Joe said smirking at Danny, who stuck his middle finger up at him.
"What is this nostalgia avenue?" Erin asked in amusement as Danny gave her a glass.
"Yeah I think it's right next to uh, what was the name of that place? Oh yeah, memory lane," Danny said heartily raising his shot glass. "I'm sorry sis, truce?"
"What the hell, truce!" They both downed their shots and Joe and Jamie applauded.
"So, Jamie how's everything going between you and Zoe?" Joe asked, all of them turning back to their dessert.
"Okay," Jamie said blandly.
"You don't sound too enthusiastic," Erin said with a small smile.
"Well, she said that she'd like me to be more committed."
"Chicks," Danny muttered, adding more chocolate sauce. "They can never be happy unless they have something to complain about."
"Committed how?" Erin asked ignoring Danny.
"Please don't tell me you're thinking of getting married?" Danny asked suddenly.
"No, no! God no! She says I'm…distracted a lot." Jamie said absently running his hands through his hair. His siblings all exchanged looks.
"You know Jamie," Erin said softly, "it's natural to have problems. Especially after what happened."
"But it happened to her too. And she seems to be dealing with it fine!" Jamie didn't mean to whine but it just came out like that.
"We never know what goes on behind closed doors though." Erin reached across the table and squeezed her brother's hand, "what you've been through, I can't imagine, but different people deal with their problems different ways."
"Yeah, for example, if you were Danny you would probably be punching a wall every second until it makes you feel better!" Joe stated with a serious face.
"Or if you were Erin you would be cleaning everything until it was spotless!" Danny said with a smirk. Erin stuck her tongue out at him.
The four siblings enjoyed spending some time together then as soon as the clock struck ten, they decided to go their separate ways.
"Hey," Joe pulled Erin to one side, "okay the bruise, no way is that a pen mark." Joe suddenly turned angry, "Did Johnny do that to you?"
"No! What kind of a person do you think he -"
"Then who's done it?" Joe demanded. Erin didn't say anything, just continued to stare guiltily at her brother. The realisation dawned on Joe. "Erin… please tell me you never…?"
"I had to Joe!" Erin said desperately, "He seemed so… helpless. I went over there yesterday to try and talk to him and… he flung a vodka bottle at my head and told me to get out or else."
"He did what?" Joe asked sharply.
"It's okay," Erin added hastily, "Joe it's okay, the bottle narrowly missed me -!"
"No it's not okay! It's nowhere near okay! Erin, we've tried to help Ronnie as much as we can but he refuses to listen!" Joe whispered in frustration, "I mean God only knows how much we've tried!"
"I still think we should give him the benefit of the doubt." Erin said, determined not to give up.
"Give who the benefit of the doubt," Danny asked, appearing round the corner, putting his jacket on.
"Ronnie Clary," Joe said with distaste.
"What's he done now?" Danny sighed.
"That bruise on Erin's head isn't felt tip!" Joe said abruptly, "It's not Nikki's handiwork it's Ronnie's!"
"I'll kill him!" Danny growled.
"Shut up both of you!" Erin hissed with a glance towards the hallway where everyone was gathered. "Now is not the time to turn our back on an old friend."
"No, but now is also not the time to turn our back on our own brother either," Joe said with resolution.
"What are you talking about?" Erin asked, confused, "I thought he was just shaken up."
"Nah," Danny dismissed, "It's more than that."
"Sweetheart," Johnny's impatient voice called from the hallway, "Nikki's falling asleep."
"Okay be right there honey!" Erin called back to her husband and then turned back to her brothers. "I'll talk to you tomorrow." She kissed them goodbye and left with her husband.
"So what do we do?" Joe whispered to his brother as soon as they were out of earshot.
"About Ronnie Clary?"
"No, no! Jamie! Danny, I'm worried about him, he's not sleeping well… he's got that haunted look in his eyes…It's been one month since the mall shooting. He spent like what? Half-an hour lying in his friend's blood? I don't expect him to have recovered from that after such a short amount of time, but damn it he can at least talk to us! We're his brothers, his family! He shouldn't have to put on a brave face, not after everything he's been through!"
"It's just who he is," Danny said with a sigh, "we can't fault him for that."
"So what do we do? Just sit back and watch him self- destruct!"
"No I said we'll just do what we've been doing his whole life! We'll keep an eye out for him and see what happens over the next couple of days." Danny said trying to calm his brother down.
"Are you off now or are you hanging around for a while?"
"Didn't you hear? There's a leak in my apartment and it's going to take at least two weeks to get fixed," Joe said dejectedly.
"Damn, so I guess that means your crashing here?"
"Yeah looks like it."
"Well in that case, uh," Danny dropped his voice to a whisper, Joe leaned in closer, "maybe you can keep an eye on our baby brother? See what's really going on?"
"Well, I was planning on doing that anyway!"
"I know, just checking bro," Danny said with a laugh before he bid his brother a farewell and then left.
Jamie who had heard everything from the kitchen and dreading the night to come hastily made himself a cup of coffee. It was going to be a long night.
To be continued...