Summary: Wrong place at the wrong time Danny? How do you even protect against that? You can't Jamie. Post ep 2.04 'Innocence' (contains some spoilers)
Disclaimer: Um you know by now write? Lol
A/N: Back to my boys :D oh and YAY! So nice to see Jamie back with Renzulli again! Missed them! Thought it was a great overall eppy with lots of everyone. Hope they keep that up!
"Words in italics and double quotes – directly from the eppy."
"Why didn't Cinderella make the basketball team…she ran away from the ball…the ball…"
Jamie brings his car to a stop outside the basketball court where the three teens where shot a few days earlier and watches Danny muttering angry words to himself as he grabbed the ball and put it up into the net and then snatched it before it could hit the ground.
He watches his oldest brother's fist clench and unclench as he pumps the ball to the hard ground and then back up into the air, before it's once again swooshed toward the basket and makes another first contact. Jamie turns off the car and slowly slips out of the driver's seat and heads toward the court entrance but leans against the fence a few feet away without approaching his brother until he was invited.
"I don't wanna talk right now," Danny growls at his brother, catching Jamie's frame against the fence out of the corner of his eyes.
"Course not," Jamie retorts forcing Danny to grab the ball and turn to his brother with an angry glare.
"What the hell does that mean?"
"Um nothing," Jamie shrugs as he remains fixed in place, not backing down but not willing to move either. "But I think it's kinda ironic."
"You getting after me for shooting hoops alone and then you doing the same thing you told me not to do."
"Yeah well…" Danny huffs as he turns around and starts dribbling the ball again, stopping a few seconds later with his back still to Jamie. "Was this case."
"What about it?" Jamie asks with a small frown as he finally leaves his place and slowly heads toward his brother. But when Danny doesn't answer this time Jamie takes the ball from his hands and steps back, making Danny's head instantly swivel in his direction and his eyes narrow. Jamie feels a small chill of anxiety run up his spine the longer his brother glares at him and wonders if this was such a good idea.
"Or not," Jamie frowns, still hesitating to give back the ball.
"You get after me for lying."
"That's because I'm able to make you do somethin' about it. You on the other hand," Danny gently teases, his mood lifting.
"You sayin' I can't beat you?"
"Not at a direct physical fight."
"How about hoops?"
"I let you win last time buttercup," Danny winks and Jamie smirks.
"Oh really?" Jamie looks at Danny in amusement.
But before Danny can react, Jamie rushes him, slaps the ball from his hands, dribbles it a little and then sends it up into the netting just as Danny's strong arms wrap around Jamie's chest and pull him back.
Jamie tries to get the ball, laughing as Danny's fingers dig into his sides. "Hey…let go I won that fair and square," Jamie protests when Danny's captive grasp on him remains. Danny finally releases his brother and then lightly jogs after the ball, Jamie waiting in place trying to get his heart rate to calm down.
"Come on Danny…what's up?" Jamie asks directly.
Danny turns to his brother with a heavy frown as his eyes slightly glaze over. "When I first got the call it was like…three kids shot in the park…on the basketball court. Jackie and I got here just as they were takin' them away but um…well I saw the pictures…saw the girl being loaded and um…damn it Jamie I saw Nikki, Jack and Sean. The three of them…you know just out havin' a good time and then…BANG!" Danny shouts as he throws the ball at the net and then lets it slam back down to the ground, Jamie hurrying after it.
"She didn't run after the ball."
"What?" Jamie clutches the ball to his chest and looks at his brother in wonder. "You callin' me a she?" Jamie wonders.
"No…no it was…it was what the kids were shot over. A damn joke. You know…the three of them…just chillin' one kid tellin' another one a bad joke and…"
"And the other kid shot them for a bad joke?" Jamie asks in shock.
"He thought they were laughin' at him," Danny winces.
"Wrong place at the wrong time," Jamie ponders. "How could they have been protected against that?"
"They couldn't," Danny confesses. "Just three kids hangin'…could be ours…just…it's hard to explain what I was feelin'. Jackie…she doesn't have kids, it's different but um…I can't watch them all the time you know? Erin…we can't be with our kids all the time. As much as we want to…"
"You gotta let them grow up and do their own thing," Jamie huffs as he sends the ball upwards into the basketball net and allows his brother to catch it. "I wonder if that's how dad felt…"
"Feels," Jamie corrects.
"Well even now I know when dad gets a call about an officer involved shooting…especially after Joe's death he um…course he worries. Danny…he does."
"Yeah I know he does. But this one…just hit me harder."
Jamie looks at Danny and frowns. Without having children of his very own, it was hard to put himself into the initial mindset that his brother would have been thinking when he arrived on scene. Sure after Danny had mentioned it to Jamie, did his mind put his niece and nephew's on those of the kids who were shot and he felt his stomach tighten. But it was residual and not as raw.
Danny looks over at Jamie and knows he's trying to process what Danny had just told him. "You can't really understand unless you are lookin' at your own kids faces."
"No I know," Jamie gently shrugs. "Sorry."
"Not your fault."
"But um…you okay with all this? I mean I know they got the guy and it seems like it was a very petty and stupid excuse to want to kill someone but are you gonna be okay?"
"Yeah…I always bounce back. Just felt like blowin' off a little extra steam before I go home. I told Linda that I didn't want to bring work home with me as much anymore. I mean she's great in her love and support and I could never ask for a better woman to have at my side…but um…well it's not fair to always bring it home you know?"
"Sure," Jamie agrees softly. "You two okay?"
"We are. I know things seemed a bit strained but what can I say? I got too much of dad in me to become that monster and Linda knows and trusts that. I guess those kids…it just hit me harder this time."
"I wish I knew what to say."
"That's always been your thing," Danny smiles as he tosses Jamie the ball and then rushes him. Jamie's lips utter a small laugh as he tries to dodge his big brother, ducking under his arm and then rushing for the basket, tossing the ball into the air and laughing as Danny arrives too late.
"And is that um bad?" Jamie asks with a frown, his warm blue eyes asking Danny's for some reassurance.
"Not at all…just you," Danny shrugs. "We all got our own thing right? Just thing one is gonna sting a bit more than the others," Danny huffs as he looks at Jamie directly. "But…" he starts only stop as they hear a car door close and then look up to see Erin heading toward them. Jamie and Danny exchange surprised looks as their sister approaches, each wondering what is going on.
"Everything okay?" Danny asks in haste.
"I guess I'm not the only one that needs to blow off steam after these past few days."
"You too?" Jamie wonders in shock.
"I always come here."
"What?" Jamie looks from his sister to his older brother.
"Actually you're the stranger here little brother," Danny turns to Jamie and nods. "Erin and I meet here sometimes to just…well blow off steam."
"Yeah really," Erin smiles in reply as she takes off her coat and walks up to Danny and takes the ball. "I have a teenage daughter that is driving me to drink."
"And I got two that wanna be in University already."
"I guess I am the odd man out here," Jamie frowns.
"Well…if it makes you feel any better we both worry about you," Erin lightly laughs as she puts the ball into the net and then catches it again before her two brothers join her.
"How do you protect your kids? You can't be with them 24/7," Jamie mentions.
"We are both finding that out more and more each day," Danny groans. "Mine look up to Nikki and Nikki…"
"Looks up to Uncle Jamie…" Erin continues.
"Who looks up to big brother Danny…" Jamie smiles.
"All trying to please our amazing father," Danny concludes the conversation.
"Yeah he has the most to worry about," Erin sighs. "Poor guy."
"Well grampa worries about him."
"Yeah he's got the most to worry about with everyone," Danny nods in acknowledgment.
"I guess we just hope we've trained them well enough and then…"
"Pray very hard each night they'll be with us the next day," Danny sighs.
"There is only so much we can do," Erin confesses. "I hate to admit that but I have to."
"Yeah me too," Danny resigns.
"Maybe we all shoulda become accountants," Jamie teases.
"You should talk Harvard, I actually didn't mind construction."
"Oh really? Does Linda know?" Erin arches her brows as Danny rushes her for the ball.
"Nope and she's not gonna," Danny grins. "It woulda been okay."
"Until some guy either pisses you off enough or steals a 99 cents soup from the vending cart without paying and you'd be reading him his rights so fast both your heads would spin."
"And what about you? Think you'd be happy doing anything other than sending soup stealers to jail?"
"Hardly," Erin retorts as Danny steals the ball from her only to lose it and fumble it so that Jamie is able to gather it up in his hands. "I like that I get paid to clean up the messes you bring me."
"Hey mine are already open and shut cases blame the rookie here for the last one."
"I'm not a rookie anymore," Jamie insists as he tries to grab the ball. "And it was a viable arrest."
"Your last one was entrapment," Erin chides.
"No way," Jamie shakes his head. "The guy trying to get his computer back was a bookie…"
"And here it comes," Danny teases his brother by poking him in the side. "You and Renzulli stalkin' some computer goons. I get gang bangers with guns and he gets geeks with skateboards."
"At least he could run fast," Erin winks at Danny.
"That's because he watches his diet."
"I'm right here," Jamie huffs, making his older brother and sister to rush toward him, each taking an arm and then taking the ball. "Hey. Two against one," Jamie pouts as he runs after his two older siblings.
The three of them laugh and continue to blow off steam on the court, talking about their kids and fears about not being able to offer them the proper protection, Jamie lending his opinion when able. But while the three of them were involved in their friendly game, they were unaware of the set of eyes watching them with affection.
Frank watches from his vantage point as his three beloved children, laugh and talk and just spend time together, looking like the close, loving family he takes pride in calling his legacy. But much like his children worrying about protecting their children, there isn't a moment that goes by in his day that he's not worrying about protecting them. He hears his phone ring and looks down to see his father's number and smiles.
"Francis…you coming home for dinner?"
"Hey pop…yeah I'm on my way home now."
Frank allows his children's laughter to fill his head as he pulls away from the park and heads for home. It doesn't matter how old a parent is…as long as a mother or father was alive the same time as their children they would always worry. But no matter what he can offer his children or grandchildren, Frank knows in the end the greatest protection a parent could offer his child was his heartfelt love and affection.
A/N: I hope you are still liking these and you liked this one also. Wanted to have a bit of a role reversal this time with Jamie doing the comforting and then the inclusion with Erin in this one and hope it worked and you all liked it and please review before you go and let me know. Thanks!