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His father was making on of his visits to the twelfth when a fellow cop pulled him aside. “Hey Reagan.” He looked up from his coffee to see Officer Jill Carpenter standing in the doorway. “Hey Carpenter.” The whole precinct had come together for this particular officer in the last month. She had moved to New York from Boston, but policing was in her blood to. Her father had been killed in the line of duty almost a month ago.

“I heard your old man was coming for a visit.” Jamie nodded, wondering where this was going. He had learned a long time ago to be wary. “Yeah, later this afternoon.”

“Think I could ask him for a favor?” Jamie’s forehead wrinkled. “Favor?” Carpenter nodded. “Yeah. My dad’s shield number, I uh, want to wear it. Honor him you know?” Jamie nodded. “But it’s retired in the NYPD.” Therein lies the favor. “It’s 46808, and my dad, being a cop was his life, you know?”

The numbers had sent his heart reeling. He had nearly missed the rest of her words, and at her question he could barely manage a nod. “I want to honor his dedication to the job. So you think I could ask him for a favor?”

“I’ll uh, run it past him. Let you know.” That earned him a bright smile and a cheerful thanks, he didn’t even manage a farewell himself, he was frozen to the spot. It was Eddie who found him, still frozen there, coffee forgotten in his hands, a few minutes later. “There you are!” She frowned, noting the look on his face. “Jamie?”

He finally woke up. “Hey Ed. Sorry, lost in thought.” She stared at him long and hard, but he pleaded with his eyes for her to let this one go for now, and she was nice enough to comply. “Sarge was lookin for ya.” He gave her a small smile in thanks and squeezed her arm as he passed her to find Renzulli.

He rapped on the door to his boss’ office, and heard a come in. “Hey Sarge. You were looking for me?” Renzulli nodded. “Yeah, I got something I wanted to run past you.” Renzulli gestured for the chair in front of his desk, so Jamie sat.

“I know I dropped Janko in your lap without warning last time, figured I’d give you a head’s up this time. Mandalo’s gettin’ promoted kid.” Jamie stared at him in shock. He hadn’t heard anything about it. “It’s a pretty recent thing, but he’s gettin’ his gold shield. Gonna transfer him to a veteran detective next week once it’s official.” Jamie waited, getting the sense that there was more to this. “So, you’re going to need someone to ride with, and well, we got a slate of rookies coming in and I wanted to know if you wanted to take one.”

Jamie stared at him. “You asking or telling boss?” Tony chuckled. “Off the record Harvard? I like you, respect your work. You want a boot I’ll give you one. You don’t, I won’t.” Jamie smirked at his old partner. “This the privilege of being your boot sarge?” His TO rolled his eyes. “You want one or not Reagan?”

“Uh, sure boss. I’ll take one.” Renzulli’s smile told him that was the right answer. “Good. I’ll get it all sorted. Let Mandalo tell him the news yourself though huh? I suspect he will after roll call and your old man.” Jamie nodded.

“Alright then.” Sensing he was dismissed Jamie stood. “Hey Reagan?” He turned back to his boss. “You thinking about the exam at all? Getting yourself a pair of these?” He gestured at his own stripes and Jamie chuckled. “Yeah boss, thinking about it.”

“Well kid, you want advice, the doors always open. Now scram, I suspect you got paperwork to do.” Jamie laughed and thanked him before making his way out of the office. His mind was reeling. Between the shock of hearing his brother’s shield number and his partner’s promotion, Jamie was already having a hell of a day and he had only been at work for an hour. Eddie, smack in the middle of a twelve, had far more energy than him.

He caught sight of her bouncing around the desks, Welch chucking paper at her and laughing at her antics. He caught sight of Jamie before his girlfriend did. “Hey Reagan, this one got an off switch? If so, I can’t find it.” He chuckled at Eddie’s fake affront.

“Sorry Welch, I haven’t found it if she does. My advice is don’t let her have more caffeine after this.” He gestured to his girlfriend, who really couldn’t stand still. She stuck her tongue out at him after checking around them. Both he and Welch laughed, but he left them to it and made for his own desk on the other side of the squad room. Sarge had been right, he had paperwork to do.

But first, he had an email to send.

He shot an email off to Garrett about getting a second with his father after his visit later, and twenty minutes later had conformation. Maybe his dad would know what to do.

**

After his dad’s talk at roll call, he waited around the corner for Garrett. Eddie passed him by and gave him a funny look but he shrugged and gifted her a small smile that promised to tell her everything later. She kept walking, and he knew that she would be waiting to hear it all after her tour ended.

When he was flagged down by Garrett he followed him into the file room, his father was perched in the windowsill. He smiled at him, “How’d I do?” Jamie knew his return smile was weak, his anxiety showing. “Best one yet.” His dad saw right through it, of course.

“What’s up?”

Jamie took a deep breath, one hand on his hip, the other holding his cap. “It’s about officer Carpenter. Her dad was Boston PD…” His dad finished his sentence. “And was killed in the line of duty last month, I know.”

“Oh.” Again his response was weak, but his father didn’t cotton on, not yet. “That’s part of the reason for the Atta boy in there.”

Jamie moved forward, and as he started talking he started gesturing with his hat. A bad habit. “She uh, wants to ask you for a favor. She came to me about it first.” His father’s face was confused. “A favor she needs vetted?”

He shrugged. “No. Not that she knows.” It slipped out in a whoosh, his exhale deep. This was hard to think about, let alone put into words. “Well what is it?”

“She wants her late dad’s shield number. It’s retired in the NYPD.” His father thought it over. “That’s not impossible.” Jamie nodded, knowing he needed to tell him. He sighed, took a deep breath and blurted out, “It’s 46808.” He swallowed hard afterwards, and his father’s face crumpled in understanding. His father, for once looking like his father not the Commissioner, looked up at him from his seat. The silence tense for a moment.

“I see.” His father’s voice was shaky, a feat enough, but it was his expression that Jamie knew he must be mirroring. After another beat he asked, “what do you wanna do?” He needed someone else to make the decision. Even thinking about it hurt.

“I don’t know.” He and his dad, as always when it came to the subject of his brother, were on the same page. He bit the bullet. “I can handle it. Hold it off for a while.” His dad nodded, his shoulders sagging slightly. “Thank you.” He gave his dad a nod and then escaped, trying to leave the feelings of sadness in that file room.

As soon as he re-entered the squad room his partner sought him out, and apparently it was time for another hard conversation. “Hey Reagan. Can we, uh, get beers after tour?” Maybe not quite time, thankfully. “Sure thing. The usual spot?” Mandalo nodded and Jamie gave him a grin. “Alright then, where we assigned today?”

“Hell’s Kitchen.” Just like that, they got back into the groove of work, and at least for the time being, Jamie could leave hard feelings, and tough emotions in their usual locked box. He had had quite enough for the day as it was.

“Sarge told you, huh.” They were parked along the bar of a favorite among the officers of the twelfth, six hours later at the end of their shift. Jamie nodded at his partner’s ask. “Oh.” Jamie chuckled, resigning himself to yet another new partner.

“Getting your shield that much of a funeral Jimmy?” His partner looked him dead in the eye. “I knew you wanted this to Reagan. We’ve been in the 1-2 since the start.” That was true, they had both been assigned here after the Academy, only a few months apart. “I didn’t know you were working for it.”

“I, uh, didn’t want you to feel bad. Most of it was overtime anyway. Gina, she uh, she’s pregnant. We found out two months ago and that’s when I really started pushing. She said we can finally tell people now, so, uh you’re the first to know.”

Jamie’s grin was surprised, but his congratulations easy to give. “Wow man, that’s awesome.” Jimmy nodded. “Yeah, it was pretty surprising. She uh, told me after I gave my statement for your jam up actually. That was a day I’ll never forget.” Jamie chuckled. “You and me both Mandalo.”

“Anyway, I uh, started requesting overtime, on the DL and Sarge and some of the detectives started giving me more work in that regard and I guess I did well. Sarge told me yesterday I’m getting promoted. Ceremony is at 1PP, as usual, Monday. I, uh, was wondering if you would come?”

Jamie nodded. “Hell yeah I’ll come. And Jimmy? No hard feelings, really. I’m happy on the beat. Besides, with my old man in 1PP, well it’s just not in the cards for me and I made my peace with that.” Jimmy relaxed at Jamie’s words. “I was hoping you wouldn’t be to put out. I know both your brothers have the shield.” Jamie swallowed at the inadvertent mention of Joe. “Uh, yeah, they do. Listen, like I said no biggie. I’ll buy the next round though, because we are celebrating tonight.”

His partner grinned. “Hell yeah! Thanks Reagan.”

***

Eddie kicked the door shut at Jamie’s apartment late that night. She and Welch had gotten into it with Renzuilli after he cut one of their collars loose. Some guy matching the description of a string of robberies at knife point and a shady past. She had no idea why the Sergeant had let the guy walk.

Needless to say it had been a long day and she had left the precinct even later than planned. To her surprise, Jamie seemed to not be home yet, so she flopped onto his couch, kicking off her shoes and letting her hair out of her service bun.

As she was yanking the last of the pins from her hair with a sigh of relief, Jamie’s door opened and he walked in. His smile was a touch sloppy when he saw her and she realized he must have gone out with Mandalo. “Hey you.” The affection in his voice warmed her up, dispelled some of her anger. “Hey, you look like you had a good night.”

Her boyfriend shrugged, dropping into the seat next to her. “Jimmy’s gettin promoted. We were celebrating.” Eddie stared at him in shock. “Promoted? You mean he’s getting his shield?” Jamie nodded. “Yup. And havin a baby. It’s been a bang up few months for him.”

Eddie giggled. “He asked me to go the ceremony on Monday, Tony okayed it, so I won’t be around the house. Gina invited me back to their place to celebrate with his family after.” Eddie felt her face sour at the mention of Renzulli, but in his slightly less than sober state Jamie misconstrued it. “Don’t worry. Gina’s not my type.”

Eddie laughed despite herself. “Oh yeah? What’s your type Eagle Scout?” The grin he gave her was a touch dopey. “Kick ass, smart mouthed little blonde cops.” Eddie’s laugh was quiet, affection tinting it. “Is that so Officer Reagan.”

“Fraid so Officer Eddie.” He smirked at her and she remembered who had given her that nickname. His friend Spencer, when he had been in town a few years ago and asked her on a date. “Spence may be comin for a visit soon by the way. He says hello.”

She smiled at him, knowing Spencer was one of the people from his law school days that respected Jamie’s decision to be a cop. That he had been there for Jamie through a lot. They talked often, even if it was just by phone, but she knew he was always up for a chance to see his friend. “Oh, well pass on my own hello. Now come on, off to bed with you.”

Jamie shook his head. His expression sobered up a little, and she sat back down at the expression. “You know officer Carpenter?” She nodded. “It was nice of your dad to give her that accolade in front of everyone earlier.” He nodded, distracted. “She wants to ask him to bring a shield number out of retirement, for her dad.” Jamie paused, sucking in a deep breath. “46808. That was…”

“That was your brother’s shield number. Wow. What did your dad say?” Jamie shook his head, moving to lay his head in her lap. She smoothed her hand through his hair, knowing how hard it was for him when reminders of Joe came out of the blue, and how much harder they were when it was something about work. “He was as shocked as I was. That’s what you walked in on this morning, by the way. Dad’s thinkin it over, but I don’t know what he’s gonna do.”

Eddie leaned down to place a kiss on his forehead. “I’m sorry Jamie. Does she know? That she’s asking for his number?” He shook his head. “I don’t think so. I didn’t tell her anyway. I think dad’s going to feel duty bound to look into it, and maybe she will to. I don’t know. All I know it was outta left field.”

She hummed in sympathy. He looked up at her. “Sarge, he uh, I think he’s gonna give me another rookie. Now that Mandalo’s moving up.” She smiled softly at him. “That’s good right?” He shrugged. “I mean I had warning this time, rather than a sassy little fire-cracker telling me to be gentle with her.” He smirked up at her and she laughed. “God your face that night. Not only was I some young blonde, I was a young rookie blonde. I really threw you for a loop huh?” He chuckled.

“Still do sometimes Janko.” She swatted his shoulder and they both laughed. The hard feelings from the day bleeding out of them in the face of the comfort the other provided. She knew she was going to ask him for advice, but that could wait until the morning. For now, she leaned back and relaxed into the couch as Jamie made himself comfortable to.

It wasn’t often that he was the one laying on her, he was too good a pillow, but she was alright with being his for the night, knowing he needed comfort. This, at least, was something she knew how to handle.

**

The next morning, however, she needed his advice. So, she perched on a stool while he made them some breakfast, trying to decide how to ask him. Finally, she decided to just bite the bullet.

“Hey Jamie?” He turned his attention to her and tilted his head in silent askance. “Has Renzulli ever butted in on one of your collars before?” Jamie thought the question over. “No, not even as my TO. Why?”

So Eddie spilled the whole story. Her and Welch’s arrest, the weird interaction with the Sargent, Tony letting their collar walk without explanation, the desk ticket, all of it. As she spoke, his confusion increased. “Huh, that’s pretty unusual for him. Especially with no explanation.” Eddie nodded. “That’s what I thought! I mean, we had the guy who fit the description, assaulted someone trying to run from us, and we caught him with a knife!”

“Did you talk to Renzulli?” She shook her head. “Not since he questioned the collar. We dug into him like he asked and it only made the guy look more likely, and then we went to find our guy and he was gone. Renzulli let him walk at the end of his tour with no explanation left for us. Strange right?”

Jamie nodded. “Really strange. I can ask him about it if I see him today.” Eddie sighed. “I don’t want him to think I complained to you about it. I just don’t know what to do.” Jamie shrugged. “Start by talking to him, or I can if you want. I know him pretty well, maybe he will tell me what’s up.”

“Could you? I don’t really want to get busted for questioning a superior and I know he likes you.” Jamie chuckled. “He was my TO Eddie, we spent a lot of hours locked in a car together, I’d hope he liked me. But really, I’ll see what’s up.” She stood and crossed the small space to press a kiss to his cheek. “Thanks lambchop.” He smirked.

“What do you think your dad’s going to do about Joe’s shield number.” Jamie gestured at his phone. “Take a look.” She quirked an eyebrow but opened it. It was open to a message chain with his dad. “He’s going to ask for everyone’s input?” He nodded. “I’m gonna guess that Pop’s is a hard no. Danny to. But I’m not sure about Erin. Or the kids.”

“What’s your vote.” Jamie took a deep breath. “I don’t know Ed. I mean, she’s in my house. I’d have to hear her shield number on the air, read it in reports, and god forbid something happened to her, I would know what it was like to hear his number the way it was reported on air that night. My dad is already haunted by that, I don’t want to add it to the list of my own.” She tilted her head, “but?”

He sighed. “But she wants to honor her dad and that’s something I know Joe would be all over. He would want to do the right thing, the honorable thing.”

“So your torn.” He nodded. “Well, see what the others say, see what your dad says and keep thinking on it. Whatever you decide, I’m here for you.” He pressed his own kiss to her cheek in thanks. Then she tactically shifted gears, knowing he didn’t want to think about Joe anymore right now. “Now, where is my bacon mister?”

He chuckled and turned back to the oven, finishing their breakfast while she set his table for two. It had become very normal for them to spend days on end at one of their apartments, so she knew where everything was in his place, just like he knew where everything was in hers. They were becoming incredibly domestic, and while that once would have turned her stomach, lately it was making her giddy.

**

J: Okay, you were right. Something’s up with Sarge.

E: Oh?

J: He blew me off. I don’t think he’s ever done that before.

E: So, now what?

J: Now, we figure out what the hell’s going on.

E: We?

J: Yeah, we.

Eddie stared at her phone. Her mind was going in circles. What if the Sarge was dirty? That would break Jamie’s heart, and she wanted no part in that. Hell, this whole thing was partly on her anyway.

E: Maybe we should just alert IAB

J: We don’t need the rat squad involved Eddie.

E: We should at least file a complaint with the union.

J: Can’t we just figure it out?

E: How?

J: We find the guy who walked and ask him what’s going on?

Eddie sighed. She wanted to be a part of this, she wanted to know, but she didn’t want to the be the reason Jamie lost a mentor. Even worse, lost a friend. She had seen him and Renzulli together. They were friends first, TO and officer, or CO and officer second. Then again, that is what was probably weirding Jamie out about this whole thing.

E: I don’t know J.

J: Then leave it to me Ed. I got an idea.

E: That is?

Jamie never answered. She was left staring at her phone, pacing her apartment and wondering what the hell kind of idea had gotten into his head. By the time he answered her, it was a few hours later, way past dark and she was stressed beyond belief.

J: I know what’s going on. It’s a long story.

E: CALL ME REAGAN!

A few moments later her phone rang and she picked up on the first ring. “What the hell Jamie?” He sighed. “Just, hear me out okay?” Eddie sighed. “Okay.”

“So, Tony and Derek grew up together. Guess they made some pact to be cops together but it only worked out for Tony. Derek fell into drugs and booze and Tony’s been trying to pull him out of the fire.”

Eddie scoffed. “Why the hell could he not just tell you that?” Jamie sighed. “I don’t know Ed, but now Derek’s out there about to play cop himself with the guy who’s really been robbing people at the projects. Sarge and I are gonna look for him.”

“You be careful Jameson Reagan or I will bring you back myself to off you, got it?” He gave a tired chuckle. “Got it.” He paused for a second. “Hey Ed?”

“Yeah?” She heard him take a deep breath on the other end of the line and then he spoke in sort of a rush. “Dad’s asking for everyone’s opinion about the Joe thing tomorrow. Will you come?”

Eddie smiled, happy he wanted her to go with him to dinner, even for a subject so touchy. “You sure?” He chuckled, “wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t.” She laughed with him. “What a line. Alright Reagan, you have yourself a dinner date tomorrow so don’t do anything dumb tonight.”

“Alright. Love you Ed.” Her smile widened. “Love you to Jamie.” She heard the line click and she sighed. At least now she had reason to hope he wouldn’t try to play hero for one of their CO’s charity cases tonight.

**

Sat around the Reagan family table the next day, she watched the faces around it as Frank began putting the issue at hand to a vote. Jamie was tense in his seat, and his siblings were looking surprised. “She want’s Joe’s shield number?” Erin sounded like she couldn’t understand who would ask that or why.

Eddie put her fork down, unable to stand the tension radiating off of Jamie any longer. She took his hand in both of hers and he gave her a grateful smile as the Commissioner laid out the bare bones in a rushed voice, ending with a smile. “Her father was killed in the line of duty in Boston. He had the same shield number as Joe. She wants to wear it out of respect.”

“She’s a solid cop.” Jamie spoke up and Eddie nodded her agreement. Carpenter had been nothing but good to her when they crossed paths and like the Commissioner pointed out at roll call earlier in the week, she was damn good at her job and humble to boot.

“She doesn’t know it was Joe’s.” Danny looked to both Eddie and Jamie for clarification, but Jamie had locked back down so Eddie quietly answered his question. “She’s a sweetheart Danny, a good person. She wouldn’t ask if she knew it was Joe’s.” The older cop sighed, but couldn’t find protest.

Nicky spoke up, needing her own clarification. “So what’s the question?” It was her great-grandfather who answered. “It’s customary when a number is retired, for the family to rule on any request to return that number to active duty.”

Linda added her own thoughts. “Well, what we should ask ourselves is what would Joe do.” Frank nodded in agreement. “That to.”

Erin was the first to give it a go. “First he’d ask why you didn’t want it.” She looked down the table at Jamie who tensed in Eddie’s hold. She squeezed his hand in silent solidarity, but was curious of the answer herself. She would never ask it, but she had wondered the same thing after he first mentioned Carpenter’s ask.

“I thought long and hard about that.” Diplomatic answer form the family diplomat. Danny wasn’t having it today though. “And you never really said.” Jamie shook his head, shifting in his seat. “No I didn’t.”

“You ever plannin on really sayin?” Danny didn’t hesitate to ask it, and Eddie mentally sighed. Reagan boys were so bullheaded sometimes. She shared a knowing glance with Linda who seemed to be thinking to same thing, putting a hand on Danny’s leg under the table.

“What happened to Joe is part of why I became a cop. But when I was thinking about taking his shield number, I was watching tv and Saving Private Ryan came on and in my head I was going Ryan, Reagan, Ryan, Reagan.”

“So you got superstitious.” The commissioner shot a look at his own father as he summed up Jamie’s answer. Jamie chuckled a bit. “I don’t know. I guess it seemed like a sign, coming on at that time. So I decided to honor Joe by a) being the best cop I could be and b) driving his cherry 71 Chevelle SS.”

“Didn’t you crash that?” Sean’s words were news to Eddie. She turned to stare at him as he answered. “Yeah, after someone cut the break line.”

“So there’s no curse in that.” Henry’s words surprised the people out of the loop around the table. Everyone but Frank it seemed. Dany said what they were all thinking. “Who said anything about a curse?”

“Nobody.” Frank’s answer was succinct, and repeated, with a look down the table at Henry. Who shrugged and held up his hands, “figure of speech.”

Nicky brought them back to the matter at hand. “So if Joe were here and we could ask him, is it okay if this officer takes your shield number?” Frank nodded at her. “That’s the question.” He leaned back. “Okay,” he sighed deeply, “all in favor of releasing NYPD shield number 46808 for officer Jill Carpenter in the twelfth precinct?”

Silence reigned for a moment and Eddie squeezed Jamie’s hand, knowing he now had to make a choice he had been grappling with since Jill first asked the question. Linda took the first stab at an answer, raising her hand. “He would be for it.” Frank looked at her, “you think?”

“I do.” Linda nodded, sure of her answer. “Me to.” The youngest Reagan agreed with his mother, prompting his father’s answer. “I guess if it was for a cop to honor their father, “Danny shrugged, “he’d say yeah.” His own joined the others. That prompted her boyfriend to finally make a choice. “It’d be no question.” His hand joined the others.

“Is she cute?” Eddie giggled in surprise at Erin’s question. Jamie shrugged but Eddie gave her a real answer. “Yeah.” Erin smirked. “Then he’d say yes.” Her hand joined the others, and everyone chuckled at her reason. Frank looked to her daughter. “Nicky?”

The girl thought about for a moment before her hand joined the others as well. Frank then looked to his other quiet grandchild. “Jack?” The boy bobbed his head and raised his hand too. “Sure.” Frank leaned back, asking after the last holdout, the one at the other end of the table. “Pop?” Henry turned it around on his son. “Francis?” The Commissioner sighed, but after a moment, his hand went up in favor. As it did, the Reagan family patriarch raised his own hand.

A moment of silence reigned, with everyone’s hand in the air, before Frank stated, “It’s unanimous. That’s a good thing…I think.” He lowered his hand and raised his cup of tea, leaving his ominous words to settle over the others.

**

Later that night, they were lying next to one another in the dark, but Eddie could feel Jamie’s mind racing. “Did the decision at dinner bother you?” He rolled over to look at her, propping himself up on his elbow. “No. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what Joe would want.”

She nodded in acceptance, propping herself, up, mirroring him. “So then what’s on your mind Jamie?” He chuckled. “Tony. This thing with your perp.”

“No luck that night?” He shook his head. “Nope, so I’m riding with him tomorrow. After Jimmy’s ceremony. I told him I could do the ceremony but something came up at work and he was fine with it.”

“So you and Renzulli are getting the band back together huh?” She couldn’t hide the slight acqusation in her tone. His forehead wrinkled. “Why’d you say it like that?”

“Jamie, do you really believe him, his story?” He nodded emphatically. “I do.” She sighed. “I hope your right, that’s all.” He sighed to, reaching for her. She snuggled into his side, her hand finding its place over his heart. “I don’t want to see you get hurt in all this Jamie.” He chuckled. “I’ll be alright.”

“I hope so.” She started tracing mindless shapes on his chest, the silence taking over again before something that was said at dinner floated into her mind again. “So, you want to tell me the full story behind you crashing your brother’s car? Cause that was news to me.”

She worried she had hit a sensitive spot when Jamie immediately tensed. “Or not, it’s…” He cut her off, his arms coming up around her, holding her against him. “No, it’s okay, you just surprised me, that’s all.”

“Well Sean surprised me.” That earned a dry chuckle before her boyfriend took a deep breath. “My brother was killed in the line of duty.” Eddie nodded against his chest, “I know.”

“What you don’t know is that he was working with the FBI, investigating the NYPD.” Jamie sighed. “He didn’t tell anyone. Not grandpa, or dad. Not Danny or me. We didn’t know.” She continued her soothing pattern on his chest, trying to ease the tension building in his muscles as he told her the one story he hadn’t yet. “He was investigating a fraternal group, the Blue Templar. It started in Pop’s day. He, dad, and Danny were all members. It was a group that was supposed to police the police, and I guess for a while it worked. And then it wasn’t really needed any more and it became just another fraternity.” Jamie sighed, needing a minute.

“Except it wasn’t was it?”

“No Ed, it wasn’t. Joe was tapped for it. After he joined, the FBI approached him about it. They told him the cops in it were dirty. He agreed to work for them and started digging. Some of the guys on the warrant squad were also members. They found out Joe was working with the FBI, and when they were executing a warrant, one of them shot Joe.”

Eddie sighed, but Jamie wasn’t done. “Joe’s partner committed suicide not long after I joined. She was pressured, because she knew something about what Joe was up to. I spoke to her about it once when she shocked the hell out of me. The FBI had approached me before, but I didn’t want to believe them. We all thought Joe died in the line of duty, not that he was murdered. And then his partner talked to me and the FBI played me a recording of Joe from a wire and I knew they were telling the truth.”

“And agreed to help them.” It wasn’t a question. She knew her boyfriend, hell, she knew the Reagans. Jamie nodded. “Yeah, and I didn’t say anything either at first. I thought it was like, I don’t know, something Joe left for me to finish for him you know?” She nodded. “And then they cut the breaks on the Chevelle and I knew I had to come clean.” He sighed. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad so upset. At me, at the Templar.”

Eddie rolled onto her stomach, propping herself up on his chest, meeting his eyes. He gave her a soft, sad smile. “We got them, all of them. They killed a fed in what was made to look like a drug bust gone wrong. They took a lot of cash, a lot of weight in drugs from the crime scene. We caught up to them because of it. Danny caught the case because it smelled like Joe’s death.”

Jamie took a deep breath. “Dad, Danny, his detail, his partner at the time, we all went to arrest them. We got them all, with the drugs and the money. They were celebrating in some bar, crowing about what they were going to do with the money. Dad’s detail killed the music, and we walked in.” Jamie looked a million miles away as he talked. “Danny was quivering, needing to hit someone. Dad was livid. I was shaking, fear and anger fighting hard.” He gulped, and Eddie wanted to ask him to stop but he seemed to need to say.

His voice was barely a whisper when he finished the story. “Dad asked them who did it. I’ve never heard him like that. The detective that admitted to doing it, he tried to feed dad some line, but before we could arrest him he…he shot himself in the head.” Eddie hugged him as best she could from that position and he returned it, returned to her in the here and now.

“So that’s why you were so on edge with the whole detective thing?” He nodded. “And why I’m not really a joiner.” Eddie chuckled softly before leaning up so she could be level with him. Hovering over him she looked him dead in the eye. “Thank you for telling me.” He nodded, but she wasn’t done. “From all the stories I’ve heard Jamie. I think Joe would be so proud of you. Of the man and the cop you’ve become and I’m so sorry I’ll never get the chance to meet him.”

Jamie smiled sadly and pulled her down to kiss him. She let him, knowing he needed the physical response. She sank into the kiss and poured her emotion into it, wanting him to feel that she meant what she said.

When he pulled back, he whispered, “he would have loved you.” She grinned. “Oh yeah?” He laughed. “My brother had a thing for blondes, for one. For two, he would have thought you were a riot. He would have smacked me around the head so hard after our first kiss for letting you walk away. I can almost hear it, him. “Little brother, you just let the best thing to ever happen to you walk out the proverbial door!”’ He laughed quietly, before meeting her eyes again. “He would have been right.”

Eddie felt an uncharacteristic blush flood her cheeks at his quiet admission. Jamie reached up to push her hair back behind her ear. “You put me back together again Ed. I never really got over Joe, and then I lost my fiancé and my partner and I was a mess. You walking down those steps woke me up. You put me back together again, without even knowing you were doing it.”

She couldn’t do anything besides lean down and kiss him. It was so rare for Jamie to open up like that, and it was rare for him to display that much emotion so willingly, so she thanked him the best way she knew how.

He rolled them over, hovering over her, and pulled away to whisper, “I love you Edit.” Her answering smile was soft but bright. Her whispered reply full of affection. “I love you to Jameson.”

***

The next morning, regrettably slid out from under Eddie, who grumbled and flipped over. Jamie had a partner to watch get promoted this morning, and that afternoon, he and Renzulli were going to get to the bottom of the whole Derek mess.

So Jamie got dressed in his dress blues and headed for 1PP. Before he left he wrote a quick note for Eddie and placed it next to her phone for when she woke up and left her sleeping in his bed with a kiss to her forehead.

At 1PP, he found Jimmy and his wife standing with a few of the other people getting promotions that day. He made his way to them, clapping Jimmy on the back and greeting Gina with a kiss to her cheek. Jimmy hauled him in for a bro hug, enthusiasm pouring off of him in waves. “This is all he’s been able to talk about all weekend.”

Jamie chuckled at Gina’s words. “Well he’s good for it.” He swept his eyes over her and he gave her a soft smile. “Congratulations, by the way.” He gestured to her barely noticeable bump and she cradled it with a grin. “Thank you Jamie.”

Just then, Lieutenant Gormley called them all into the 1PP press room, where his father always held promotions. Jamie found his seat next to Jimmy and his wife, sharing a nod with his father across the room.

There were a few higher-ups getting the bump, so Jamie and Jimmy sat back watching some brass move up and some people join the ranks of brass. Jamie, as always, was impressed with how well his father seemed to know the people he interacted with, how personable he tried to be. He was a far cry from a typical boss in that way and Jamie knew the rank and file appreciated it.

His staff was just as impressive. Garett and Gormley stood shoulder to shoulder behind his father, one in his dress blues for the occasion, the other his best suit. Detective Baker was the one helping her father actually award the promotions, and she had a warm smile and a firm handshake for every single person she encountered at his father’s side.

When he finally got to the detectives, Jamie watched smirking as Jimmy sat straighter in his seat. There was a few third and second class detective’s moving up the ranks ahead of Jimmy, but after about an hour of watching other people move forward with their career’s, it was Jimmy’s turn.

“For excellent service, and dedication to his job, the department promotes Officer Jimmy Mandalo of the twelfth precinct to the rank of detective third class.” Jimmy stood, kissed his wife, shook Jamie’s hand and then headed for the Commissioner and detective Baker. Jamie had offered Gina his arm to hold onto as she hoisted herself out of her seat, and they stood together applauding as baker shook his partner’s hand and then gestured to the Commissioner who personally took the felt box from his assistant and held out a hand.

“Congratulations Officer Mandalo.” He then opened the box, had Jimmy remove his old shield, and replaced it with his new golden detective shield. The rest of the room broke into applause and Jamie felt nothing but happiness for his friend as he applauded along with them.

After the ceremony he and Jimmy were standing around joking and laughing with his wife when his father made his way over to them after exchanging formalities with a few of the other recipients. He once again held out a hand to Jimmy and offered his congratulations.

“Thank you sir!” His father’s eyes landed on Gina’s stomach and his mustache twitched, hiding the grin. “It seems double congratulations are in order.” Jimmy led his wife forward and introduced her, his father pressed a kiss to her cheek and was thanked profusely by Gina. “Now I gotta wonder who's taking your six.”

His father and Jimmy turned their attention to Jamie who shrugged. “This afternoon that would be Sargent Renzulli. Tomorrow, there’s rumor it will be a rookie.”

“You have no need to worry about this one Commissioner, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and an even better lookout.” His father’s head tipped sideways while Jamie rolled his eyes. “The 1-2 knows whose got Reagan’s back boss, and it aint ever really been me. That honor belongs to officer Janko, and boy does she wear it well!”

“Alright, alright. Your hilarious really.” His dad chuckled and shook Jimmy’s hand again before moving off. Gina elbowed her husband jokingly. “In front of your boss? Really Jimmy.” Jamie smirked over her shoulder at him earning an eye roll, but his, now former, partner couldn’t stop the grin for long.

Eventually Jamie noted the time and made his rounds for goodbyes. Starting with his partner. He hugged it out with him, whispering his words of good luck into his ear before pulling back. “Either of you ever need anything, you just give me a call yeah? That shield doesn’t change anything.” Jimmy chuckled. “Ditto to you my friend. We will have to get beers and swap tales every now and again. You bring your girl and I’ll bring mine.”

“Of course!” He then placed a kiss to Gina’s cheek, whispering, “good luck with this one, Mrs. Mandalo,” earning him a light laugh. He left them basking in the moment and crossed the room. His father saw him coming and left the conversation he had been having.

“I gotta go if I wanna make roll call. Thanks, for doing it personally.” His dad chuckled. “That’s a good partner your losing. I read his file.” Jamie rolled his eyes. “Yeah, he’s a good guy. I’m looking forward to a rookie though. It’s a fun challenge.” His dad chuckled again. “Indeed it is.”

He parted with his father a moment later, waving to his team and receiving a wave from Baker and head nods from Gormley and Garett as they approached his dad. As soon as Jamie was out of 1PP he unbuttoned the top button on his nicest shirt and headed for his car.

**

When Jamie slid into the patrol car beside Renzulli that afternoon he found himself flashing back to his days as a rookie. He had done this same thing a million times that year. Driving around with Renzulli, learning from him, was something Jamie remembered fondly in a year that was anything other than fond to him in return. His rookie year had been chalk full of high’s and lows. Graduating from the academy, walking the beat, the Sarge, had all been the good. Finding out his brother had been murdered by fellow boys in blue, nearly dying, and Sydney leaving him had been chief amongst the bad.

When they pulled up in front of the projects, Jamie and Tony slid out of the car and Jamie asked, “so you spent all weekend trying to track down Derek huh?” Tony slammed the passenger side door shut. “Yeah I looked in every gutter I ever fished him outta.”

“No luck?” Tony huffed. “Not till I found some of his crack pals last night. Derek told him that the guy we’re looking for is named Alfonso. Who’ll keep hittin these projects as long as the pickins are good.” Jamie nodded, it made sense.

A moment later he smirked, bringing up what he’d been thinking about in the car. “Hey boss, how about us? Back out on the street huh? Just like old times.” That earned him a grin a la Tony. “Yeah. Reagan I really do appreciate you helpin me out with this. It means a lot to me.” Jamie nodded at his bosses words. He knew what the bond of partners meant, he’d seen it in action his whole life, once a partner, always a partner. He’d stick his neck out for Tony because he knew Tony’d do the same for him.

He glanced sideways and then did a double take. Picking through the trash ahead of them was a guy who fit the description. He nudged his boss. “Boss, look at this guy. He could be the real perp.”

“Yeah, he does kinda fit the description huh?” They both glanced back and then out of nowhere Derek appeared, running toward the guy digging through the trash, brandishing a weapon. “You! Stop!”

Jamie and Tony immediately jumped into action. “Hey!” Renzulli took off running, “Derek drop the gun!” Derek screamed, “stay the hell away from me man!” Then the guy took off and he took off running after him with Jamie and Renzulli on his heels. “Drop the gun!”

“I’ll get you Alfonso!” Derek and the guy were running down an alley, Jamie had his service weapon in his hand as he followed, not knowing how this one was going to turn out. He followed Tony who continued yelling at his friend to drop the gun.

They followed them down an alley, up some stairs, over a roof, and trailed them to another alley. From their vantage point as they rounded a corner, they saw the guy, Alfonso, pull a dripping red knife back from Derek. Jamie’s reaction was immediate.

“Drop the knife!” Tony immediately went for his friend, Jamie kept his weapon aimed at the perp. The perp dropped the knife and raised his hands, yelling about thinking Derek was going to kill him. Derek, meanwhile, had fallen to the ground.

Tony yelled for his friend and was at his side in an instant while Jamie went to collar their guy. Derek was bleeding pretty bad, Tony’s hands were soon covered in his friends blood as he tried to stop the bleeding. Jamie gave Tony space to talk to his friend, he heard Derek responding, which could be a good sign.

The perp tried to claim self-defense, but Jamie ignored him, calling into central. “12- central this is 12-Sargent. We need a bus at the Parkesdale projects central courtyard.” Tony sounded distressed so Jamie turned his attention back to him and the guy on the ground. His heart sank for his friend. Derek looked to be fading fast. When Tony grabbed for the gun and stood, Jamie knew it was too late.

He fiddled with the gun for a second, and then the chamber popped open. “It’s a toy.”

“What?”

“It’s a toy. He was playing cops, with a cop gun.” Renzulli’s hands were shaking, he shook his head, looking back down at his friend. He left the real bad guy handcuffed and went over to his first partner.

Jamie clapped a hand on his shoulder, and then gently took the toy out of his hands. The toy, and Tony’s hands were covered in Derek’s blood, but Jamie didn’t notice. He guided Renzulli back to the wall, the guy was wavering enough Jamie wanted it there to catch him if he felt like falling. Then he stood there, on his six, until other officers and the bus arrived at the scene.

**

He found Eddie clocking in for her shift as he was doing paper work on Alfonso. “That’s the real guy?” They stood outside the holding cell and Jamie nodded. “Confessed to the robberies. Trying to get him for Derek to.”

Eddie sighed. “I thought my day was exciting, yours takes the cake. How’s Renzulli doing?”

“I’m okay.” Eddie’s face was full of sadness when she faced his TO. “Sarge I’m really sorry about your friend.” Tony nodded, accepting her condolences before bestowing his own apology. “I need to say I’m sorry to you to. For causing problems between you and Jamie.”

“No Sarge, it doesn’t matter.” Tony waved her off. “It matters. And first thing tomorrow I’m going to the CO to tell him how I screwed up, and Janko I want you with me to corroborate it.”

Eddie stared at him in surprise. “Me?” Tony nodded. “Yeah. To many friends covering for each other lately. I need an impartial voice. At least that’s the way he put it.” Tony gestured in his direction and Jamie protested. “Hey, all I said is you got a talent for keeping people in line. Something that was reported to my father this morning in fact.”

“And that you’re the best partner he’s ever had.” With that little parting shot, Renzulli left for the night, leaving a flustered Jamie and a smirking Eddie behind. Over his shoulder he called out, “bright and early Janko!”

As their sergeant retreated Eddie turned her smirk to him. Jamie joking huffed, “get outta here.” He led them back to the squad room, listening to Eddie’s pleased laugh and smiled to himself. Not a great week, but not a terrible one either. In the end, he knew his TO was going to be okay, and Joe’s shield number was going to be worn by a cop who would do nothing but honor it.