Frank looked around the table. Danny and Erin were arguing about a case, something about Danny using false information to get a confession, that was nothing new, and neither was everyone putting in their two cents. Frank's gaze fell on his youngest, well almost everyone.
Jamie was absent mindedly toying with his fork as he sat, oblivious to the commotion his siblings were creating. Frank could tell something was bothering the boy and wanted to ask but felt it was the wrong time to do so. Jamie had always been a private person and asking him what was bothering him in the middle of Sunday dinner would push him farther into himself.
Frank had just decided to wait till everyone else had left when Jamie said, "Erin's right. I understand it got you a confession but it was borderline entrapment and a good lawyer could get the guy off in no time."
"You're thinking like a lawyer Jamie. Sometimes you need to get your hands a little dirty to put the right guy away." Henry said, pointing his fork at the young cop.
"Yeah Harvard, not everything is cut and dry." Danny commented.
Frank watched as Jamie's hand tightened around his fork for a moment and wondered what had caused the reaction.
Dinner finished quickly and everyone was waiting around for dessert when Jamie stood. "I have an early tour tomorrow so I'm going to go ahead and leave." Before anyone could say anything, Jamie was already out the door.
Danny turned to his dad and asked, "What's wrong with him?"
"I don't know," Frank said shaking his head, "But I know his tour tomorrow doesn't start till two."
Frank was about to go after his son when Danny stood. "I'll go."
Frank watched as his oldest went after his little brother. Frank sighed and hoped Danny could get through to him.
Danny ran and caught Jamie just as he was getting in his car. "Hey kid what's up? You got a hot date or something? Cause I know your tour tomorrow isn't that early."
"No Danny, now can I leave?" Jamie said indicating the hand Danny had put in the way of the door.
Danny grabbed on harder to the door frame and said, "Not until you tell me what's wrong."
"Nothing is wrong Danny. Now can I please just go?" Jamie asked in frustration.
"Come on you can tell me. Something happen on your last tour? You obviously didn't get hurt and I would have heard about it if you shot someone, so what is it?" Danny leaned forward hoping Jamie would answer him. "Did you get a bad DB call or did some kid you were chasing get hit by a car? Come on you can tell me."
"Nothing happened Danny." Jamie said, clenching his jaw. He didn't want to yell at his brother because then he would know something was wrong.
"Whatever happened, you don't have to be afraid to tell me. You are a Reagan and all of us are with you no matter what." Danny said placing his hand on Jamie's arm.
Jamie ran a hand over his face and softly mumbled into his hand, "Am I?"
Danny almost didn't hear him and hoped that what he had heard was wrong. "What did you say?" Danny tightened his grip on Jamie's arm.
Jamie wrenched his arm out of Danny's grip and said, "Nothing Danny," before he managed to close the door. Danny pulled it back open before Jamie could lock it.
"Don't give me that. I heard you say something and I want to know if what I heard was right. If you don't tell me, I can get Pops out here and he will make you tell him." Danny said his voice low and threatening.
"Dammit Danny, just drop it and let me go home!" Jamie growled back at his brother. Danny was momentarily shocked at his kid brother's tone of voice.
"I'm not letting you go. There is something bothering you and I can't help unless you tell me what it is. I'm your brother Jamie; I'm only here to help." Danny shot back.
"Then why don't you ever act like it!" Jamie almost shouted. As soon as he realized what he said he closed his eyes and put his head in his hands.
"Wha… What are you talking about Jamie?" Danny asked his eyes going wide.
Jamie shook his head, "I didn't mean to say that. Danny, it's nothing, it's just… it's childish. Something someone said at the station, it doesn't matter. Look I just want to go home and clear my head ok. It's nothing." Jamie's voice cracked on the last sentence and he knew Danny wouldn't believe him, Danny didn't miss anything.
"Kid come on. No way was that nothing." Danny's eyes softened as he heard the brokenness in Jamie's voice.
Jamie leaned back in his front seat. "Do you remember what you said to Joe when he graduated the academy?" Danny shook his head so Jamie continued, "You said that you had never been more proud of him. You said that he was meant to be a cop and he would be one of the best."
Danny looked confused, "What about it?"
Jamie chuckled dryly, "You know what I got? A snide comment about not sticking with law and a promise for a beer that never came. I get that none of you were happy I became a cop but couldn't you see me as one of you, as a Reagan for once in my life. If you don't see me as a cop then who will. I feel like the only one I got telling me that I'm any good as a cop is Renzulli, and he's my TO. All I here at the station is how I should have done something different or you wouldn't have done it that way. The guys see when you come in that you don't treat me like a cop so they don't either."
Danny was shocked, he hadn't known that that' how Jamie thought they saw him. "I don't know what to say. You never said anything before."
"Yeah, cause you would have listened. Ever since I said I wanted to be a lawyer you always seemed disappointed in me then after Joe died and I told you I was going into the academy nothing changed. You all thought I was doing it because I was grieving for my brother and didn't know what I was doing." Jamie let his head drop back.
It was quiet for a moment before Jamie continued. "Did you ever think that maybe I was doing it for me? That for once I was being selfish? The call to the force is as much mine as it is yours, always has been. No one seems to get that though."
"But what about law school." Danny asked, although he already knew what the answer was.
"You ever try to do something Ma didn't want you to do? She heard me saying what Erin did was cool and automatically decided I was going to be a lawyer. Don't get me wrong, I loved it but it was never the right fit, I wasn't really happy. Joe saw that I guess and convinced me to apply to the academy a few weeks before he died, bet you didn't know that. And now all I hear at dinner is how much I think like a lawyer or how I need to think more like a cop. And I got you always calling me Harvard. It makes me feel like a bad cop." Jamie turned to face Danny to see what his reaction would be.
"I'm sorry." Jamie looked confused so Danny explained. "We pushed you to do something your heart wasn't in and then we alienated you for it. Then when you decided to do what you really wanted to do, what we all secretly thought you should do, we made you feel like it wasn't the right thing. We made you feel like you weren't part of the family. I guess Joe really was the only one who really knew you."
"It wasn't that he was the only one who knew me, it was that he understood me. He was my best friend and when he died it was like being a cop was all that mattered anymore because it was the only thing left in the world that made sense." Jamie smiled sadly.
Danny reached in the car and pulled Jamie out into a hug. Danny wrapped one arm around Jamie's head and pulled it to his shoulder. "Oh Jamie, I didn't mean to make everything so hard on you. You are a great cop, never doubt that. Never let me make you doubt that. I was so caught up in being afraid to lose you that I didn't realize I already was. I can't lose you Jamie, I can't."
Jamie leaned into his brother, "I'm right here Danny."
Danny leaned back and grabbed Jamie's face with both hands. A tear ran down his face as he said, "Are you? I know if I were you I wouldn't be. I would be out the door faster than you can imagine."
"I'm not you Danny." Jamie said with a small smile.
Danny pulled him back in, "Thank God for that." Danny smiled as he heard Jamie laugh. He hadn't realized how little he had heard that sound in the past couple years. "Kid I know you probably won't believe me, but I think you are a better Regan than the rest of us."
Jamie scoffed, "Yeah right."
"I'm serious Jamie. You did what none of the rest of us could, you made a choice. You could have been a lawyer and have money and Sydney, but you chose this life. You chose to be a cop, even when it cost you your fiancée, a ridiculous amount of school loans and it almost cost you your family. That takes a stronger person than any of the rest of us Reagans are. I never thought about how hard everything must be on you. You have always dealt with things so well that I never stopped to think how you must actually be feeling. You handle things on your own but I want you to know that you don't have to. I want you to know that I'm here for you, no matter what." Jamie could hear the serious tone in his brother's voice as he spoke.
"I'm proud of you Jamie and I know Joe is too." Danny whispered into Jamie's ear and felt the younger man smile into his shoulder.
"Thanks Danny." Jamie replied softly.
Danny pulled away from the hug and threw an arm over Jamie's shoulder. "So how about that beer I owe ya?" Jamie laughed.
Frank watched from the window and smiled as he watched his boys. He was glad that Danny had gotten through to Jamie about whatever was bugging him. Erin walked up beside him, "You know they actually look like they aren't going to kill each other for once." Frank laughed and watched as the two brothers seemed to laugh with him.