This is my first attempt at fan fiction. I do not profess to be a writer, but I had this idea for a story and it wouldn't go away. It nagged at me every night and I knew if I was ever to get some sleep, I had to write it (and I certainly do need my beauty sleep). This story is rated R for language and some violence. The characters (except for Steve) belong to Alliance. (But I heard a long time ago that if you wish for something long enough, you may just get it). I'd like to thank Maria J. for her beta reading, as well as her support and encouragement. This story is dedicated to her, as well as to my DS pals, Chris and Gretchen.
All comments welcomed. BiermannR@home.com
My Brother's Keeper
by Ruthie Biermann
There had been a report of a robbery in progress at the Jewelry store on 4th and Jackson Avenues. The report mentioned that shots were fired and that the suspects were probably still on the premises. Fraser and Kowalski were literally around the corner when the call came in, so they decided to respond. Ray gunned the GTO and took off for the store. When they arrived, they saw that the front window had been broken and a man who looked shaken was sitting on the sidewalk. They ran up to him and found out that he was the manager. He told them that two men wearing ski masks had held him up at gunpoint. He was forced to give them all the money in the safe, which was in upwards of $10,000.
"Are you alright, sir?" Fraser asked concerned.
"Yes, yes. Just shaken up. One of them shot his gun at me when they ran out the back. I don't know why he shot at me, I did what he asked!" the manager spat out angrily. "They're probably still in the area."
"OK, just stay put," Kowalski told the manager. "An ambulance and more police are on their way. Just keep your head down." Kowalski turned to Fraser. "Fraser, you go around that side of the building, I'll take this side. And be careful. If you see anything, make sure you come and get me first. It's times like this that I wish you carried a gun."
"Understood," Fraser replied.
Ray pulled his gun from his shoulder holster and ran down the side of the building which was actually an alley between 2 buildings. It was dusk now and the day was rapidly turning into night. Ray came towards the end of the alley, and slowed down. Staying close to the side of the building, gun held out in front of him, he slowly turned the corner. He could see that the side of the building from which Fraser would be approaching was blocked by a tall stockade fence. The fence was surrounded by tall bushes, garbage cans and two large dumpsters. Ray slowly made his way towards the fence when he heard a noise to his left. He immediately ran behind one of the dumpsters for cover, his gun pointing towards the noise. "Chicago PD, throw out any weapons and come out now with your hands in the air," he yelled. A few seconds passed which seemed like an eternity. "I swear I'll come and drag you out by your hair! Come out now! Hands up!" And out from the shadows stepped a tall figure. It was a man walking tentatively, his hands at his sides. Ray screamed "I said hands in the air!" The figure came in Ray's direction slowly. After a moment, the light from the pole in the alley slightly illuminated the suspect's face. Ray couldn't believe what he thought he was seeing. He came out from behind the dumpster and stood, about 6 feet from the other man, his gun raised. At that point, the man stopped walking and spoke, surprisingly calm, "Hello Ray." Ray stopped abruptly when he realized he definitely recognized the face in the dim light. "Steve?", he asked, disbelieving.
"It's been a long time, Brother," the other man said. Ray let his arm that was holding the gun drop to his side. "Steve, I.......".
"I know," his brother replied. I guess I'm the last person you expected to find."
Ray's eyes fell to one of Steve's pants pockets. He saw a black ski mask sticking out of it. Steve saw Ray looking and stuffed the mask deeper into his pocket. "What are you doing here?" Ray asked. Although Ray already knew the answer to his own question.
"What does it look like I'm doing? I just robbed a jewelry store. And I'm running away." he replied sarcastically.
Ray couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Steve........"
"Look, Ray, I can explain all this to you, I can. But all I ask from you now is to please, please just let me walk away!"
Ray looked at his brother, stunned. Steve was his older brother, he hadn't seen him in 17 years. In fact the last time he had seen him, Ray was only 16 and Steve was 25. They were never really close. Steve had always regarded Ray as a nuisance, his younger brother who always got in the way. Ray learned at a young age to stay away from Steve. He could be so cruel. Like the time he burned him with the cigarette lighter in the car. Ray was only 5 and Steve was 14 when that happened. And Steve never told him he was sorry. He let Ray think it was his fault for pestering his older brother. Ray couldn't keep the burn on his arm hidden from his Mother, so when she saw it, he told her some bullies at school whom he didn't know had done it. When Steve was a teenager, he was always getting into trouble for something or other. He had even been arrested when he was 16 for stealing some cigarettes from the local luncheonette. But the owner of the restaurant dropped the charges as a favor to Damian, Ray and Steve's Father. Damian had really let Steve have it that night. Ray, who was 7 at the time, was in his bed, and he could hear his father hitting Steve and screaming at him. Steve just laughed. He threatened his Father. And as much as Ray hated to admit it, he knew his Father was afraid of Steve. So, Ray was 16 the last time he saw Steve. Steve had been living with 2 other friends on the other side of town. As far as Ray could tell, he didn't have a job, and he had no idea how his brother was getting money to pay for all his cigarettes, liquor, gas and rent. The last time he saw Steve, Ray had just come home from school. His parents were away on a much needed vacation. When Ray walked into the house, he heard a noise in his parents bedroom. He found Steve there, going through their parents' drawers, taking anything of value he could find. Ray was scared at first, but then he tried to stop him. Steve responded by punching Ray in the stomach so hard, he couldn't breathe, in fact, he couldn't get a breath for so long, he thought he was going to die. Then he retreated to his room and waited until Steve left the house. He never saw his brother again, not until this moment. His brother was standing in front of him, asking Ray to let him go, after he admitted to robbing a jewelry store.
"Did you shoot at the manager?" Ray asked.
"No, that was the other guy."
"What other guy?"
"The truth is, I don't know his name. He has all the money, too."
"Look, Ray", his brother said exasperated, "please just let me go. Meet me tonight at the abandoned warehouse on the corner of 3rd and Hoover street. I'll explain everything to you."
Ray hesitated. He knew letting Steve go went against everything he stood for as a cop. But Steve was his brother.
"Do you have a gun?" he asked Steve.
"No, my partner in crime had the only gun and he took off."
There was a noise down the alley behind Ray. Ray knew Fraser was coming. He had probably reached the tall fence that blocked his entrance on the other side of the building, and had turned around and come down this side. Steve heard it also.
"Look, Ray, please. I'm your brother, for God's sake!" he pleaded.
Ray made a split second decision. "OK, he said, but you had better be at that warehouse!"
"I will, tonight at 9:00. I promise. Thanks, Bro!"
Steve turned and took off back into the darkness. Ray stood there for a minute, hung his head. He literally didn't know what he was going to do. He put his gun back into his shoulder holster and turned around. Fraser was standing directly behind him.
"Frase, I didn't hear you." he stammered. "How long have you been there?"
Fraser looked at him with a sideways glance, his eyes in a questioning squint. "Well, I just arrived, Ray. Perhaps that's why you didn't hear me." He continued to stare at Ray, like he was waiting for him to say something.
"What?" Ray asked nervously.
"Did you see anything, Ray?"
Ray hesitated. He hated lying to Fraser. Really hated it. Fraser was his partner, his best friend. He couldn't believe what he was about to do. "No, Fraser, nothing."
Fraser just stood there, looking at him. Ray began to shift his feet uncomfortably.
"What is it Fraser?"
"Well, Ray, I thought I saw someone over in the bushes. I'm surprised you didn't see him, your vantage point was so much better than mine."
Ray froze. He felt like a deer caught in headlights. I HATE THIS! "Well, Frase, I did see something, but I thought it was just a cat." Immediately after he said that, Ray knew how stupid it had sounded.
"A cat, Ray?"
"Well, it's pretty dark you know," he couldn't look Fraser in the eye.
After a long moment, Fraser said, "Back up has arrived. Why don't you go talk to them. I'm going to look around here for a few more minutes."
Ray was in a state of panic. "Why, Fraser, what do you expect to find?"
"A cat perhaps." Fraser looked Ray directly in the eye.
Ray quickly dropped his glance to the ground. "OK Fraser, I'll see you up front." He turned away from Fraser. For a moment Ray just stood there, frozen in place. He wanted to turn around and tell Fraser the truth. He hated himself for lying to him. And worse, it almost looked like Fraser didn't believe him. No, that was just his guilty conscience. There was no reason he wouldn't believe him.
Ray squared his shoulders, and quickly started walking up the alley to the street. "I suck", he said quietly to himself.
Fraser watched as Ray walked away. He stood there staring as Ray's image disappeared into the shadows. He didn't know why he would lie to him. For what possible reason would his partner and best friend lie to him? Fraser told Ray the truth when he told him that he had just arrived. But what he didn't tell his partner was that he saw Ray talking to a man, and he saw that man turn and leave. When Fraser had approached the scene, he could quickly ascertain that Ray wasn't in any danger. His gun at his side, Ray was conversing quietly with the other person, whom he couldn't see too well from his vantage point. What he did see was that the person was a tall man with a medium build. And then he was gone. He fully expected Ray to tell him what had transpired. But to his shock (which he had managed to hide from Ray, he hoped), Ray chose to lie to him. Told him he didn't see anything. Oh yes, a cat. He had seen a cat.
Fraser proceeded to check the area. He looked at the bushes. He could see that some of the branches from the bushes the mystery man had disappeared into were broken. He could smell the faint odor of cigarettes. He looked down and saw a cigarette butt on the ground and picked it up. It was brown with no filter. And still warm. He wrapped the cigarette butt in a tissue. As he investigated further, Fraser went over in his head what had just occurred with Ray. How should he proceed? He was at a loss. His partner blatantly lied to him. Fraser couldn't find any other significant evidence, so he turned up the alley to the street. He kept thinking about Ray. He decided to wait. Ray was his partner and his best friend. There was a reason he lied to Fraser, there had to be. Maybe he was protecting Fraser from something? He made his decision. He would wait.
When Fraser reached the street, the ambulance and manager were gone. The police were cording off the crime scene with yellow tape. Ray was sitting in the GTO, his head resting against his hands on the steering wheel. Fraser regarded his partner for a moment, and then proceeded to get into the car.
Ray was startled. He quickly snapped his head up. "So, Fraser, did you find anything?"
Fraser decided to be completely honest with Ray as to the evidence he uncovered. He told him about the broken branches and showed him the cigarette butt. He watched Ray's face as he handed him the tissue with the butt wrapped inside. Ray immediately recognized the cigarette as the brand his brother always used to smoke when he was a teenager. He felt the panic start to rise, he just stared at the cigarette butt, his eyes wide, his breathing becoming labored. Fraser took all this in. Finally, Fraser spoke.
"Do you recognize something, Ray?"
Ray flinched. "No, no Fraser. Good work. I'll just bring this to the evidence lab." He pocketed the tissue with the cigarette butt in it.
"Look, Fraser," Ray said, "Why don't I drop you at the Consulate? I can go back to the precinct and do the paperwork on this. There's no reason you have to be involved with writing the report." As he spoke, Ray continued to keep his eyes averted from Fraser's.
"That'll be fine, Ray. Turnbull has probably left for the day, and Dief needs to be taken out and fed." Fraser was sorry Diefenbaker wasn't with them now, but Dief had been under the weather, so Fraser left him at the Consulate under Turnbull's watchful eye.
Ray started the GTO without looking at Fraser. The ride to the Consulate was silent, each man contemplating the events of the early evening. Ray pulled up to the curb, "OK Frase, I'll see you tomorrow." Fraser looked over to Ray, who kept his eyes straight ahead.
"Fine, Ray. Have a good evening."
"Thanks, Fraser." Fraser opened the door and got out of the car.
"Nothing, never mind. See you tomorrow."
"Good night, Ray."
Fraser closed the door and the GTO was off in a flash. Fraser stood and stared as Ray drove out of view. He hoped he had made the right decision by waiting.
It was now 7:30 PM. Ray had to meet his brother at the warehouse at 9:00. He was too upset to eat anything, even though he hadn't eaten since breakfast, if you can call a stale donut and cold coffee breakfast. He decided to drive back to the precinct and wait there. He could write his report......his false report......in the meantime. Ray felt sick with regret and shame. Regardless of what his brother had to say to him, he decided he would tell Fraser the truth that night. He couldn't stand deceiving Fraser, the man he trusted with his life.
At 9:00pm, Ray walked into the abandoned warehouse on Hoover and 3rd. It was dark, but he saw a light in a room towards the rear of the building. He tentatively walked over towards the room and stopped in the doorway. His brother was sitting at a desk, his feet up. He was looking at an old girlie magazine. "Hey Bro, glad you could make it. Come in and make yerself comfortable."
Ray walked into the room, never taking his eyes from Steve. He remained standing. He was a bundle of mixed emotions. Hate, love, anger, regret, fear.
"So, Ray, how 'ya been?"
"Look, Steve. Just tell me what's going on. You obviously have no idea what I did for you tonight."
"Yeah, Ray, I do. And I want you to know that I really do appreciate it. And I'm gonna make it up to you." Steve actually sounded sincere.
Ray's tone softened. "Just tell me," he said quietly.
"Look, Ray, first I want to tell you that I'm proud of you. You really did good with your life. But I'm sure Pop wasn't too happy about your career decision."
Steve could see that Ray was getting impatient.
"OK, here's the deal. I know I wasn't much of a brother to you or even a decent person for that matter. But after I took off, I turned myself around and tried to make something of myself. I got a construction job in St. Louis. I was doing real good. I even met a woman and got married. Things were going great until she walked out on me for some younger shit. Anyway, things started getting really bad after that. I lost my job. I started drinking. Didn't have any money. I was sleeping in them homeless shelters. You have any idea what those are like? They're fucking piss holes!"
Steve was raising his voice. "Steve, just get to the point." Ray wished he could take back the entire evening, starting with his lying to Fraser.
"OK, OK. So anyway, I decided a few weeks ago to come back to Chicago. I wanted to look you and the folks up. Try to make amends. But I knew you wouldn't believe me the way I was then. I was broke. Hadn't had a hot bath or clean clothes in a long time. I had to get some money and clean up before I saw you. So, I met this guy at a homeless shelter one night. He was talkin' about some sort of a job. He was gonna make a shitload of money, but he didn't want to do it alone. Said it was too risky. So I figured, what the hell. I couldn't be no worse off than I was already. If I got caught, at least I'd get a decent meal in jail. Never thought it would be you who caught me though," Steve snickered.
He took a long drink from a cheap bottle of gin that was sitting on the desk. He held the bottle out to Ray. Ray shook his head. All he could think about was lying to Fraser. Steve continued.
"Anyway, I never even asked this guy his name. He had a gun. We both picked the place. He said we'd share. I'm such a stupid fuck, I believed him." Steve let out a short bitter laugh. I guess there ain't no such thing as honor among thieves. But I guess you coulda told me that, couldn't you, Brother Detective?"
Ray didn't respond. The only thing he wanted to do now was arrest his brother. He should've done that before. He never should've lied to Fraser.
Steve went on. "So, the guy's a nut case. He shoots at the manager. Did he hit him?"
"And then he points the gun at me and tells me to fuck off and he runs off with the money. And then there YOU are screaming at me to come out with my hands up. I thought I was in a fucking movie or somethin'."
Ray had heard just about enough. "So this is your explanation?" he asked angrily. "I let you go for this?"
"NO!", Steve screamed. "You let me go 'cause I'm your fucking brother!" he yelled.
Ray tried to calm down. "So what now, Steve?"
"Well, Bro, I guess that's up to you." Steve looked up at Ray, his eyes questioning.
"What do you expect me to do?" Ray asked exasperated.
"Give me some money. I'll go away and I won't bother you again. Just let me have some money so I can start over." Steve was almost pleading.
Ray stood silent. He thought about all the events that had taken place that day. He thought about his brother and their relationship, or lack thereof. He thought about Fraser. His eyes fell to the floor, "Sorry Steve, I want you to turn yourself in."
After a long moment, Steve started to laugh. Tentatively at first, and then he became hysterical. "Are you nuts? Are you some fucking nut case?"
"Look Steve," Ray said loudly. If you turn yourself in, they'll take that into consideration. And I'll do everything I can to help you. I know people in the District Attorney's office. I swear I'll help you." Ray was sincere.
Steve sat quietly, contemplating Ray's proposition. He took another drink from the bottle of gin. He looked at Ray. Ray kept his eyes on his brother. "You telling me the truth, Ray? You'll do everything you can? I won't be put away for 50 years?"
Ray took a deep breath. "Steve, I swear to you I'll do everything possible. No one was hurt in the robbery. You can give us a description of the other guy. If we catch him you can testify against him. If you turn state's evidence, they'll have to make a deal."
After a few minutes, Steve spoke. "OK, Ray. I'll do it. I'll turn myself in tomorrow before 2:00PM. I just need some time to get my head together."
Ray looked at his brother. He really wanted everything to work out. "You promise me, Steve, you'll show up tomorrow?"
"Hey, you're my brother. You let me go tonight. I told you I'd make it up to you."
Ray decided to give Steve the extra time. "OK, Steve. It's the 27th precinct. I'll be waiting for you." Ray took out his wallet and handed Steve all the money he had with him, which was $60. "Get yourself some clothes and a good meal." Steve just looked at him for a moment before he accepted the cash. "Thanks, Ray. I guess blood is thicker than water."
Ray gave Steve a slight smile. "See you tomorrow". He turned and walked out of the warehouse to his GTO, which he had parked on the side of the building. Ray got into the car and rested his head against his hands on the steering wheel. He remembered that he had promised himself to tell Fraser the truth tonight. But now he was having second thoughts. Maybe it would be better if he told him after Steve turned himself in. That way, it would all be over, and he could concentrate on getting Fraser to forgive him. But he was talking about Fraser here. Of course he would forgive him. That was Fraser. Ray started to feel a little better. He couldn't wait to clear the air with Fraser. He sat up to leave. It was then that he noticed Steve walking out of the warehouse. He watched as Steve crossed the street and went into a run down hotel. A few minutes later he saw a light switch on in a room on the second floor. OK, so he knew where his brother was staying. This was good, just in case...... No, he didn't want to think that way. Steve had said he would be there to turn himself in. And Ray had decided that he would trust him. He started the GTO and drove home. It was going to be a long night.
The next day, Ray arrived at the precinct early. He had called Fraser and told him he had a lot of paperwork to do, and that he would pick him up at the Consulate around 4:00PM. He figured by then, his brother would be in custody and he could explain everything to Fraser. Fortunately, Lieutenant Welsh was at a police conference out of town, so Ray didn't have to explain anything to him about the robbery.
He grabbed a cup of coffee from the break room and started working on his case files, one by one, checking the clock every hour. Francesca came over to his desk. "Hey Ray, you're in early. Are you sick or something?" Ray had no patience for Francesca today. "Look Frannie, why don't you just do some work for a change and let me do my job."
"Aren't we touchy. Where's Frase?" she asked, looking around the squad room.
"He's at the Consulate, where's he's ALSO doing HIS job!" Ray bellowed.
"Sheesh, you don't have to bite my head off!" Francesca countered. She dropped some files into Ray's inbox and sauntered back to her desk.
Ray looked up at the clock. It was now 1:00PM. He was getting nervous. He went over the conversation he had had with Steve in his head. He remembered feeling confident that Steve would show up. But now he wasn't so sure. He started to feel sick inside. I'm such a screw up, he thought to himself. I can't do anything right. But he still held out hope that his brother would show.
Now it was 2:00 PM. No Steve. Ray was furious, he was angry with Steve, but he was more angry with himself. At least he knew where Steve was staying. He put on his jacket and ran out of the squad room. As he passed Frannie's desk, he heard, "Oh, no wonder you came in early. It's so you can sneak out early!" Ray ignored her. He sprinted out to the parking lot, jumped into the GTO and took off to the sleazy hotel where his brother was staying.
Fraser sat at his desk at the consulate, but he wasn't getting much work done. He was still thinking about Ray and trying to figure out why he had lied to him. He was hoping to go the precinct early with Ray, but then Ray had called and told him he would pick him up at 4:00. When Fraser tried to press, Ray had become short with him and said he was too busy to talk. Fraser looked up at the clock. It was almost 4:00 PM. He had changed his mind about his course of action. He would confront Ray about lying to him when he picked Fraser up. He had to know the truth.
Ray arrived at his brother's hotel. He parked on the side street and walked around the corner into the front door. No one was at the reception area, but he already knew where Steve's room was. He walked up to the 2nd floor and to Steve's door. He heard movement inside. He tried the door knob. It was locked. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his credit card. It took all of 5 seconds to get into the room. Ray's stomach was in knots. He was so angry with Steve, but he still felt the fear he had had of his brother as a child. He was determined to take Steve with him. Ray entered the room just as Steve was coming out of the bathroom. Steve stopped short when he saw Ray. He obviously used the money Ray had given him. He was wearing a clean white shirt and jeans. Ray noticed a more expensive bottle of gin on the night stand. Both men looked at each other before Ray finally spoke. "I waited for you. What happened?"
Steve smiled, "Oh, sorry, Bro, something came up and I couldn't make it."
Ray was furious. He contemplated pulling out his boot gun and arresting him. Ray hadn't brought his shoulder holster and gun with him. He had felt he still had to show his brother that he had good faith, so he left the gun and holster in his desk drawer at the precinct. He decided to follow his brother's lead, at least for now. "What came up?"
Steve started laughing. "You're a real piece of work, you stupid ass hole. I'm ashamed to call you my brother. Did you really think I was going to turn myself in? And you're a detective?"
Ray's face was red with anger. He tried to sound calm, "You're under arrest, Steve, for robbery and attempted murder."
"Attempted murder? Whaddya talking about? I didn't shoot that gun!"
"It doesn't matter", Ray shot back. "The law says you're just as guilty. Now turn around and put your hands behind your back."
"Yeah, sure, Bro. Whaddya gonna do, shoot me?"
Ray was almost shaking with rage. His brother knew he would never shoot him. He watched Steve for a few seconds. Steve was laughing at him. He quickly lunged at Steve. This may not have been such a good idea. Steve had three inches and 40 pounds on him. But he was determined to take him. He owed it to himself and he owed it to Fraser. Fortunately, Ray caught Steve off guard and managed to knock him to the floor. They were wrestling on the floor and Ray managed to get Steve onto his stomach. He was attempting to get Steve's hands behind his back when Steve threw him off. Ray landed on his back and bumped his head on the side of the night stand. He was stunned from the blow. He rolled onto his stomach attempting to get up. Steve came at him screaming. "You actually believed all that 'I'm gonna make it up to you, brother dear' shit? At least maybe I can teach you a lesson!" he raged. With those words, he began kicking Ray's left side, over and over. Ray tried to get away from him. He rolled over on his back, but Steve was on him. He continued to kick Ray, this time on his right side. Ray could feel himself slipping into unconsciousness. He stopped fighting. Steve knelt down beside him, and grabbed him by his hair, and roughly pulled his head up. "It was great seeing you, Bro. Maybe we can do this again some time." Then he pushed Ray's head down to the floor. Ray was having trouble breathing now, and every movement brought pain. He knew he had lost, so he resigned himself to just lie there. Steve quickly moved about the room, gathering things together. He knelt down, went through Ray's pockets and took out his wallet. He emptied it of any cash Ray had and then threw the wallet on the floor. Steve went to the door, opened it and paused, "It's been real," he hissed. And slammed the door behind him.
Ray lay on the floor for quite some time trying to get his breathing under control. He figured Steve had broken some ribs. The only thing he wanted to do now was get home. After that, he would figure out what to do. He should report him. But even after all Steve had done to him, lied to him, beat him up, stole his money, he still couldn't bring himself to call the police. He started this whole thing, and he had to finish it. He knew he'd have to be the one to bring him in. But this time, he would tell Fraser everything. That's what he would do. He would tell Fraser and they would both go after Steve. But, now, he just needed to get home.
It was difficult, but Ray managed to drag himself up from the floor. He picked up his wallet and looked around the room to see if there was anything that might help in his quest to bring Steve back. He saw a phone number written on a piece of paper by the phone. He took the paper, put it in his pocket and walked slowly down to his GTO and drove home.
When Ray got home, he went into the bedroom to survey the damage. He took his shirt off, fortunately, it was a button down. It would've been very painful if he had to lift it over his head. Both sides of his body were mottled with black and blue bruises. He touched his side and couldn't control the wail that came from his mouth. Oh man, this doesn't look good. He wondered if he could hide it from Fraser and everyone else. Maybe everyone else, but Fraser? That would be hard. He looked at his face in the mirror. Not too bad. There was a bump on the left side of his forehead and his cheek was scratched. But nothing he couldn't explain.
He slowly removed the rest of his clothes and turned on the shower. He felt like an old man as he stepped under the hot spray. At first, the feel of the spray hitting his body was painful, but as his body became used to it, the pain subsided somewhat. He stayed in the shower for quite some time, at least 20 minutes. When he came out, he felt a little better. He put on a t-shirt and sweat pants, a pair of socks and went out to the living room to rest and think.
The doorbell rang. He didn't move. It rang again, and a few seconds later, he heard knocking. And then a voice. "Ray, Ray, it's Fraser." Ray still didn't move. "Ray, I know you're home, I saw your car." Ray looked at the clock. It was 6pm. He was supposed to pick Fraser up at the Consulate at 4. Shit! He didn't want Fraser to see him like this. He wanted to rest overnight and then face Fraser in the morning. He would try to get Fraser out of the apartment as quickly as possible so he wouldn't notice Ray's condition.
Ray opened the door and leaned against it. "Ray, are you alright?" Fraser asked concerned.
"Yeah Frase. Sorry I didn't pick you up, but I got a case and had to run out. Sorry I didn't call."
"Is that how you obtained those bruises on your face?"
"Uh, yeah. Drunk and disorderly. It's nothing."
"May I come in?"
Oh shit! He wants to come in. I can do this. I just won't move around too much. Ray opened the door fully so Fraser could come in. Fraser had changed out of his uniform and was wearing jeans with a flannel shirt and his leather jacket.
"Where's Dief?" Ray tried to sound nonchalant.
"He's still under the weather, so I left him at the Consulate."
Fraser came into the apartment and walked over to the couch but didn't sit down. His back was to Ray. He glanced over his shoulder briefly to see Ray walk over to the breakfast bar and lean against it. He noted that Ray was moving slowly, but just assumed he was tired. He had something to say to Ray. It had been on his mind since the day before. He wanted to ask Ray why he had lied to him.
"Ray, I need to ask you something."
"Frase, do you think this can wait until tomorrow? I'm really tired."
"I'm sorry you're tired, Ray. But, no, it can't wait."
Ray sighed heavily. "OK, Fraser, what is it?"
Fraser kept his back turned to Ray. "I know you lied to me yesterday."
Ray was stunned, "What?" His whole body tense, the pain returned with a vengeance.
"I saw that man you were talking to after the robbery. I saw him turn and leave. And then you lied to me. Why, Ray? Who was he?"
"Oh geez, Frase. I.... You.... Well......". He knew he wanted to tell Fraser, but at this point he was in so much pain, the words wouldn't come out. Plus he had wanted to plan exactly what he was going to say to Fraser. He decided to try and stall again. He managed to say, "Fraser, please, can't we talk about this tomorrow?"
"No, Ray. I thought we were friends. Obviously, you don't feel the same way. If you don't want to be honest with me, maybe we shouldn't be partners anymore."
Ray panicked. His entire body tensed up which made the pain in his sides and ribs even worse. He tried to talk. "No....Fraser.......I do want.......please........" But the pain started to overwhelm him. He turned towards the breakfast bar and grabbed the edge to hold himself up. Fraser's back was still to Ray. Ray's head fell to the top of the bar, his knees started to buckle. At that point Fraser turned around. He saw Ray struggling to stay up. "Ray!" He bounded over to where Ray stood and grabbed him at the waist. Ray screamed out in pain. "Ray, my God, what happened to you?" Ray couldn't talk. He was in considerable pain now. Fraser put his arms around Ray's shoulders and practically lifted him off the floor as he helped him get to the couch. Ray was again having trouble breathing which caused him to panic even more. He slouched down on the couch and laid his head back. Fraser tried to calm Ray down so he could catch his breath. He went into the kitchen to get him a glass of water. He gave it to Ray, who drank a few sips and handed the glass back to Fraser.
"Ray, what happened to you?" Fraser was trying to remain calm.
"Fraser, I....." The words wouldn't come.
"OK, Ray. Just relax. I need to see the extent of your injuries."
"Fraser please, no."
Fraser ignored Ray's pleas and lifted his t-shirt. He was shocked at the mottled bruises on both sides of Ray's body. He touched his left side lightly. Ray let out a wail.
"Ray, I have take you to the hospital."
"NO! No hospital. Please, Fraser. No. I'll be......."
Fraser knew that Ray hated hospitals. But his injuries looked serious. "Ray, I'm pretty sure you have broken ribs. And your breathing is labored. You have to go to the hospital."
"No, Fraser. Please." He didn't take his eyes off Fraser, pleading with him.
"Okay, Ray. Just calm down. Try to relax and breath." Fraser knew he'd have to take Ray to the hospital eventually, but Ray was too upset now. He would let him calm down first.
"Th.... thanks, Fraser." Fraser picked up Ray's feet and placed them on the couch. He carefully laid Ray on his back and placed a pillow under his head.
"Just rest for a while. And then we'll see how you're doing." Fraser wanted to know what was going on, but he knew now wasn't the time to ask.
Ray closed his eyes and slowly got his breathing under control. Every now and then he winced with pain. Fraser was both angry and worried about him at the same time. Ray was the most infuriating man. But Fraser cared deeply for him and despite Ray's lying to him, he knew that Ray cared for him also.
Ray continued to lie on the couch with his eyes closed, but he didn't sleep. Finally, after about 20 minutes, he spoke. "Frase, can you help me sit up, please?"
"Are you sure, Ray?"
Fraser carefully helped Ray sit up on the couch. Fraser could see that he was in pain, but was trying to cover it up. He wasn't doing a very good job.
"Can I get you anything, Ray?"
"No....... thanks...... Frase." Ray spoke haltingly.
A few more minutes passed. Then Ray spoke again. "He was my brother."
Fraser wasn't sure what Ray meant. "I'm sorry, Ray. Who was your brother?"
"You asked who the man was that I was talking to after the robbery. He was trying to run away."
Fraser couldn't believe what he was hearing. Ray's brother? Ray hadn't told Fraser much about Steve, but he knew Ray hadn't seen him in more than 15 years.
"Ray, the man who robbed the jewelry store is your brother, Steve?" Fraser asked incredulously.
Ray just nodded slowly.
"And that's why you lied to me? You didn't want to arrest him and you didn't want me to know that he was involved." It was more a statement than a question.
Ray again nodded. But then he spoke, "I'm sorry, Fraser. I should've told you. I wanted to tell you. I screwed up."
Fraser could see how torn up Ray was. "It's alright Ray. I understand. How did you get hurt?"
Slowly, Ray told Fraser what had happened. That Steve had told him he would turn himself in, and the events that followed when he hadn't. Fraser listened and became increasingly incensed at Steve for what happened to Ray over the past 2 days.
"I protected him because he's my brother and I lied to you about it. But you've been more of a brother to me than Steve ever has. I'm so sorry, Fraser. Can you ever trust me again?" Ray was crying now.
Fraser went over and sat next to him on the couch. "Ray, I trust you with my life and I always will." He put his arm around Ray, and Ray rested his head on Fraser's shoulder.
"We have to get him, Fraser. You and me." Ray's breathing was again becoming labored.
"We will, Ray.'
Ray began coughing. He tried to stop, but he couldn't. Fraser tried to help, but there wasn't much he could do. Finally, the coughing subsided and Ray was hunched over in pain. Fraser knew they couldn't wait any longer.
"Ray, please, let me take you to the hospital. They'll treat your injuries and may release you tonight. I'll stay with you the entire time."
Ray hesitated before answering. The pain was just too intense. "OK, Fraser. I'll go."
Fraser got Ray's sneakers and put them on. He helped him to his feet and put his jacket on. Then he grabbed the keys for the GTO and helped Ray to the parking lot.
The wait at the hospital wasn't too long, about 30 minutes. The nurse had asked Fraser to stay in the waiting room, but Ray wouldn't have any part of that. "He's coming with me." Ray could face a man twice his size without fear, but when it came to hospitals, he was a scared child. The nurse saw the look of determination in Ray's eyes and relented.
Fraser helped Ray remove his t-shirt and sweat pants and helped him into the hospital gown. They had to wait another 10 minutes until the doctor arrived. After the doctor examined Ray thoroughly and x-rays had been taken, it was determined that he had 3 broken ribs, 2 on the left side and one on the right. He had internal bruising, which would cause pain and discomfort for a while, but no permanent damage. The doctor wanted him to spend the night at the hospital for observation, but again, Ray would have no part of it. After Fraser assured the doctor that he would take responsibility for Ray's care, the doctor allowed him to be released from the ER. He warned Ray to take it easy for the next 2 weeks. Then he wrote out a prescription for painkillers and handed it to Fraser. "We've given him something for the pain which should last for the next 6 hours. You should fill this tonight."
Fraser took the piece of paper. "Thank you kindly, Doctor."
The nurse returned and wrapped Ray's ribs. Even with the painkillers, it hurt. But he remained quiet and allowed the nurse to do her job.
As Fraser drove away from the hospital with Ray in the passenger seat, he turned to Ray, "I'm just going to stop at the Consulate for a few minutes to get some clothes and pick up Dief."
"Sure Fraser." As they were driving, Ray remembered the phone number on the piece of paper he had taken from Steve's hotel room. He told Fraser about it.
"I'll check it out first thing tomorrow. Right now we have to get you home."
When they reached the apartment, it was around 9:00PM. Fraser helped Ray get comfortable on the couch. Dief jumped up and curled up next to Ray. Fraser looked over towards his partner. His eyes were closed, his head resting on the back of the couch as he scratched Dief behind his ears. "Ray, when have you eaten last?"
Ray kept his eyes closed. "Uh, I guess that would be this morning. That's OK, Frase. I'm not really hungry."
"Ray, you have to eat." He looked in the kitchen pantry and saw a can of soup. "I'll just heat up some soup for you and then I'll go to the all night pharmacy to fill this prescription."
As Fraser left to go to the pharmacy, Ray sat down at the kitchen table to eat the soup. As he tasted the hot food, he realized how hungry he actually was. After he finished, he placed the bowl in the sink and deposited himself on the couch again. He resumed his previous position with Dief at his side and promptly fell asleep.
He heard the apartment door open and footsteps entering. Then he heard drawers being opened in the kitchen. The next thing he heard was his name. "Ray." Ray was in a twilight sleep, he could hear, but he was just too tired to open his eyes. Then he heard, "HEY RAY!"
"Frase, what's wr..........? He opened his eyes to see his brother sitting in the chair next to the couch.
"Hey Bro, did you miss me?" Steve asked with a leer on his face.
Fear and anger began to take over Ray. He tried to remain calm. "What are you doing here, Steve?"
"Well, would you believe me if I said I missed you?" his brother snickered.
Ray didn't say anything. He didn't want his fear to show. He just kept looking at his brother.
"OK, OK. I have some unfinished business." Steve finally said.
Ray kept staring.
Steve glanced over to Dief, who regarded this strange human suspiciously. "I didn't know you had a dog."
"I need you to give me some money. Those measly few dollars I got from you before won't get me nowhere."
"You mean the money you stole from me?" Ray still stared into his brother's eyes.
"Just shut the fuck up and get your ATM card. We're going to the bank."
Ray started to panic. He had to keep Steve here until Fraser returned. Ray knew that if he went with him, Steve might eventually kill him. He didn't have the strength to fight back. He also had to get Steve out of that chair. It faced the apartment door, so Steve would see Fraser as he walked in the door.
"If we use the ATM, the most I can take out of the bank is $250. If you wait until tomorrow, I can go to the bank and close out my account." Ray prayed his brother would agree.
Steve contemplated what Ray had just said. "Why?"
"Why would you give me all your money?"
"So you'd get the hell out of here and never come back."
Steve accepted that. "OK, sounds like a plan. How much you got anyway?"
Steve's eyes lit up. "Family, ain't it wonderful? Let's say we celebrate. You got something to drink around here?"
This was Ray's chance to get Steve's eyes off the front door. "In the cabinet over the sink".
Ray wanted to stay where he was. That way he could signal Fraser when he entered the apartment. "I'll stay here."
Steve grew agitated and raised his voice. "I SAID, SHOW ME!"
Dief's head snapped up and he started to growl at Steve, his teeth bared. Steve drew back slightly and then presented a large knife he had taken from Ray's kitchen when he first arrived. "You call him off or I'll slice him in half."
"Dief." Ray put his hand on Diefenbaker's head and the dog relented. Dief had learned to obey Ray when Fraser wasn't around.
Ray got off the couch and walked over to the kitchen. Steve followed. Dief stayed where he was. Ray opened the cupboard and took out a bottle of vodka. "This'll do," Steve said and proceeded to unscrew the cap and drink directly from the bottle. Ray walked around the breakfast bar and sat on one of the counter stools. Steve eyed him carefully. "You got anything to eat?"
"There's some bread and cheese in the refrigerator."
Steve opened the refrigerator door with the knife still in his hand. He didn't turn his back on Ray. He took out the bread, cheese and some mayonnaise and brought them over to the breakfast bar. Ray heard Dief quietly whine behind him. He knew Fraser was back. He had to warn him, so he started talking to Steve, raising his voice a bit so Fraser would hear. "There's plates in that cupboard over there." He pointed to the left of the refrigerator.
"My, my, aren't we Mr. Domestic?"
As Fraser entered the apartment, he heard Ray talking to someone. He saw Dief on the couch raise his head towards the kitchen. That was all he needed. He immediately crouched down out of sight from the kitchen. He carefully peered around the wall separating the small front hall from the kitchen and saw Steve. At that moment, Steve looked away toward the cupboard Ray had pointed to. Fraser took that opportunity to move behind the breakfast bar where Ray could see him. Ray noticed him out of the corner of his eye and motioned for Fraser to stay down.
"You got any pickles?
Ray was trying to keep his voice from showing his fear. "In the door of the refrigerator."
This was it. This was Fraser's opportunity. As Steve opened the refrigerator door and crouched down, Ray flashed his eyes towards Fraser. Fraser was in the kitchen in a second. He slammed the refrigerator door against Steve's head. "Whaaa......? Stunned, Steve dropped the knife and fell to his knees. Just as quickly as before, Fraser was on top of him, pushed him roughly to the floor onto his stomach, and yanked his hands behind his back. Dief had bounded to the kitchen, and hovered over Steve, growling fiercely. Ray went to the bedroom to get his cuffs and handed them to Fraser. As Fraser cuffed Steve's hands behind his back, he resisted the urge to pound Steve's face into the floor. He knew Ray's brother would pay for his crimes in prison.
Five days later, Ray sat across from his brother at the criminal detention center. They were separated by a thick glass panel. He hadn't planned on coming to see Steve. But Steve wasn't cooperating with the authorities, and the District Attorney had asked Ray to talk to him. The other suspect was still at large with the $10,000 from the robbery. Steve could help them by cooperating.
Both men picked up the phone receivers.
"Hey Bro, I guess you just can't stay away."
Ray stared into Steve's eyes, his stoic expression belying his emotions. "Why aren't you cooperating with the District Attorney?"
"Fuck you, Ray. They're charging me with attempted murder. You think talking to them will get me anywhere?"
Ray kept staring at his brother. "Think about it, Steve. You agree to help them catch your partner and recover the $10,000, that's worth more to them than letting you rot in prison."
Steve stared back. They were silent for a long moment. Then Steve spoke up. "You said you would help me. You swore you would."
Ray couldn't believe what he was hearing. He wanted to smash through that glass panel and.......
No. He wasn't going to let Steve get to him again. He had written him off. As far as Ray was concerned, Steve didn't exist anymore. "Just think about what I said," Ray said coolly. Then he hung up the receiver, got up and turned to leave.
"You fucking son of a bitch!" Steve screamed after him. "You promised to help me. We're brothers, for God's sake!"
Ray kept walking. He reached the gate, signed the register and collected his gun and holster. As he walked to the front door of the detention center, he recalled what his brother had said to him in the sleazy hotel room the other night, "Maybe I can teach you a lesson." And Steve had. Ray opened the door and put on his sunglasses against the bright sunlight. Steve had taught Ray that true brothers are not always born of the same family. Ray looked over to where the GTO was parked and saw Fraser and Dief waiting for him. He smiled and quickly walked over the the car. "Hey Frase, you and Dief wanna get some Chinese?"
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