Chapter 1- A New Life

Summary: Snapshots of life with Brandilyn Finch before 9/11.

Harold Wren made his way into the hospital and to the receptionist's desk. "Hi, I'm looking for my brother. Detective Peter Finch. His wife has just gone into labor," Harold said to the robust-looking black woman with dark hair.

"Down the hall, Mr. Finch," she said in a soft rollicking voice. Harold and Peter didn't bother correcting people when they called him Mr. Finch. Neither brother had been going by their real names since the 1960's. Even Alicia, his brother's wife, had no idea that her husband's name wasn't really his name.

Harold stopped just as Peter came out, wearing scrubs. "Harold, you made it!" Peter said, giving his brother a hug.

"Of course I did. I promised, didn't I? Has she come yet?" Harold asked. In her fifth month of pregnancy Alicia had a test run which determined the sex of the baby and the test said it was a little girl.

"Not yet. I was just getting dressed. Harold, have you picked a name yet? You know me and Al want you to name the baby," Peter said.

"I still think you two can pick a better name than I could, Peter, but I like the name Brandilyn Jane," Harold said. Peter made a face.

"Brandilyn? Harold, she's going to be teased. Or have you forgotten how cruel kids can be? I had to get you out of enough fights when we were kids because of your glasses and they would call you a nerd," Peter said.

"Let's try it, Peter. You did say I could name her," Harold reminded his brother.

"That's true enough," Peter said as a nurse came out.

"Detective Finch, you better get in here. Your wife needs you," the nurse said.

"Good luck, Peter," Harold said, patting his brother on the shoulder.

"Thanks, little brother," Peter said with a smile as he walked into the room.

Harold removed his suitcoat and sat down on a padded chair in the waiting room. He and Peter had been waiting for this for 7 months and now the baby was coming. Harold wondered what this baby would be like. Would she have Alicia's blonde hair and brown eyes or would she have dark hair and dark blue eyes like her father and uncle? Over the course of the next hour Harold drank two cups of tea, read a science magazine, and looked at his gold watch so many times he lost count.

The door to the room came open and Peter walked out, his face flushed, a grin on his face, and tears rolling down his eyes. It took Harold a moment to realize that Peter held a small, pink bundle in his arms. "It's a girl," Peter said breathlessly.

Before Harold could blink, Peter had put the small child in his arms. Harold looked down at the red, wrinkled face and the gaze that looked at him with unfocused blue eyes. "Peter, she's...she's..." Harold said, words failing him as he held his niece tightly. All fears of dropping the baby fled as he held her in his arms.

"I know. She looks like you, me, and Dad," Peter said, looking at the baby over Harold's shoulder.

"How's Alicia?" Harold asked.

"Tired. She said that you would want to see the baby. Harold, do you think all fathers feel something when they see their baby for the first time?" Peter asked as he took the baby back into his arms. Harold's arms felt empty without the baby. It made Harold long for a wife and daughter of his own.

"Judging from the look on your face I don't doubt it, Peter," Harold said, looking wistfully at his niece.

"Hey, what's with that face, little brother?" Peter asked, always the first to notice when Harold looked glum.

"I guess Brandilyn makes me wish I had gotten married as well. I could be holding my son or daughter right now," Harold said as Brandilyn made soft baby noises.

"It'll happen, Harold. I'm in my fifties and I just became a father. It's not too late, but until then we have this little girl," Peter said with a smile. Harold smiled back.

"I guess your right. And until I do, you, Alicia, and Brandilyn are all the family I'm going to have," Harold said as Peter walked down the hallway and back to his wife, the baby in his arms. Harold still felt down. As much as he was Brandilyn's uncle, she still wasn't his daughter.