* HOMECOMING *
*A week later
by Naomi Tilley
Jason sighed contentedly as he settled down in the double bed in the spare room of his parents home. Despite his protests, they had ordered him to bed almost as soon as he'd gotten in the door. Although he wouldn't have admitted it, he was relieved. He was taking longer to recover from his wounds than he'd anticipated and, after the long flight from Chicago, he needed a rest.
Jason looked around, then smiled as his son peeked into the room.
"Hey, tiger. What's up?"
William Jared Scott ducked into the room and climbed up onto the bed next to his father. "Are you still hurting?"
"A little," Jason confessed. "How come you aren't playing outside?"
"Didn't want to," William replied firmly. "Can I stay in here with you? I'll be real quiet, I promise."
Jason couldn't resist the puppy eyes look that William gave him, and reluctantly conceded. "Okay, but if your mother catches you, I'm not bailing you out."
William smiled and snuggled down next to Jason in the bed.
"I love you, Dad."
Jason smiled faintly as he slid his arm protectively around his only child.
"I love you, too, William."
Trini came out of the study after finishing fixing up the family's finances, and found Donavon and Sarah Scott in the kitchen.
"Where's William?" she asked, looking around in concern.
Donavon couldn't resist a grin as he pointed through to the spare room. Trini made a sound of frustration.
"I told him he wasn't to bother Jason."
"Well, Jason hasn't sent him out," Sarah said, "so I wouldn't be too worried."
Trini hesitated, then went down the hall and opened the door a crack. Jason was fast asleep, as so was William, who was curled up next to his beloved dad. She paused, then smiled to herself and backed out of the room, deciding not to disturb them. She had enough difficulty getting William to take naps, so if that worked, then who was she to argue?
She went back into the kitchen, and poured herself a cup of coffee.
"I have to thank you both again for letting us stay here," she murmured gratefully. Donavon waved his hand dismissively.
"It's all right, Trini. We're pleased you asked to stay here."
"Well, after the third and fourth degrees that my father put Jason through, I didn't think he could handle it again."
Sarah smiled a little. "He still wants Jason to go into business with him?"
Trini nodded gloomily. "Yes. Jason doesn't want anything to do with it, and I don't blame him. I wish Daddy would leave Jason alone."
Trini had barely finished speaking when the doorbell rang. She raised her eyes skyward, and spoke pleadingly.
"Please, don't let that be him...."
"Hello?" called a familiar voice from the front porch, and Trini moaned loudly. As Donavon went to answer it, Sarah touched Trini's hand lightly.
"Don't worry, dear. We're in damage control, now. If you want to hide, we'll cover you."
Trini had to laugh. "No, it's okay. If I don't see them now, they'll only come back when Jason is probably up and around. At least now I can stop him from having a go at Jason face-to-face."
Donavon came back in, followed by Edward and Jade Kwan. Trini got up and embraced both her parents, then moved back, notably, to sit beside Sarah. Edward looked around the room determinedly.
"Where are they, then?"
"Jason's resting," Trini said firmly, "William's having a nap, and I don't want either of them disturbed."
Edward blinked in surprise at her short reply. Jade Kwan reached across to pat her daughter's hand.
"Now, Trini, your father just wants to have a little chat with Jason, that's all. You wouldn't begrudge him that?"
Trini frowned. "I certainly would, because I know what it's about.
I don't want Daddy hassling Jason about working in the car yard, because Jason does not want to do that. And if Jason doesn't want it, then I certainly don't."
"You're hardly being reasonable, Trini," Edward argued. "I haven't even had the chance to talk to Jason yet"
"And you're not going to get the chance," Trini finished pointedly. "Mum, Dad, I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but why do you think we arranged to stay with Donavon and Sarah? Jason's still recovering, and he doesn't need the sort of stress that you'll both cause him."
A long, tense silence followed, until Sarah practically leapt to her feet, offering to make coffee. Finally, Edward spoke in an annoyed voice.
"I don't see what's so wrong with offering my son-in-law a chance at a better, more productive career!"
"Daddy," Trini growled, "Jason would have a more productive career as a garbage collector!"
"Trini!" Jade gasped in shock at the blatant insult. Trini glowered at her parents.
"I'm sick of you both putting Jason down. He's done a lot of good in the police force, and I'm not going to tell him he has to quit that just to make you two feel better. Now, I don't want to keep arguing, but I will as long as you insist on badgering us over this. And if you wont leave Jason alone, then I'll have to ask you not to come and see us at all."
Jade pursed her lips, trying not to be insulted. "Edward, I think we'd better go."
"No," Edward said quietly. "Trini's right."
Jade stared at her husband in shock. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me, Jade. Trini's right. Jason made it crystal clear the last time that he didn't want to change careers. It's time we stopped trying to bully him into it. Trini, we're sorry, all right?"
Trini glanced at the Scotts, then back to her parents. "Do you mean that, Dad?"
"Yes, honey. If Jason's happy where he is, and you're happy with that, then so are we."
Trini got up and hugged her father tightly. "Thankyou, Daddy."
Donavon and Sarah exchanged relieved looks.
"I think," Donavon said with a grin, "that this calls for...."
He was interrupted when William suddenly ran into the room, fear and confusion in his eyes. He went straight to his mother, clambering into her lap in panic.
"Honey?" Trini asked, looking down at her little boy in concern. "What's wrong?"
"It's Daddy," William said in fright. "I.... I think he's having a nightmare, or something...."
Trini set William down and hurried from the room, followed closely by Scotts.
Jason was twisting sharply in bed, moaning in both pain and fear. He was lathered with a thin layer of sweat, and his hands were curled into tight fists.
"What on earth?" Donavon muttered. Trini signaled them back, then went around and lay down on the bed beside her husband. Moving slowly, carefully, she placed her arms around Jason and drew him to her, holding him in a loving embrace. Gradually, as she murmured soothingly into his ear, he began to settle down, eventually falling back into a dreamless sleep.
She stayed with him like that for another minute or so before sliding off the bed, and silently slipping out of the room.
"That was a neat trick," Sarah commented as they went back into the kitchen. Trini smiled tiredly.
"It's something I was told by the wife of another cop. The best thing to do, when they have nightmares like that, is to just hold them. It works with Jason, at any rate."
"He has nightmares a lot?" Donavon asked in concern. Trini nodded as she gently picked up William and cradled him to her.
"A lot more often than he'll admit. He's seen some pretty awful things."
"Like what?" William asked eagerly. Trini hugged him tightly.
"Never you mind." She put him down again. "Now, go and play in the backyard, and let Daddy sleep."
William nodded and darted out of the room. A moment later, they heard the back door open, then swing shut as the six year-old went outside.
"He's just like his father," Sarah murmured with a wistful smile. Trini had to agree.
"Yes, he's stubborn as a goat."
Sarah hit Donavon lightly on the arm. "That's your side of the family."
Laughter rippled through the room, and then Edward spoke, genuine concern in his voice.
"Can I ask what happened this time around? Last time it was that serial rapist that tried to..."
"Edward, shut up," Jade snapped, knowing full well that neither Trini nor the Scotts cared to relive that incident. Trini sighed softly. "It was the Chicago Angel of Death. Jason went after him with Sid.
Bennett was waiting for them, though, and he managed to corner Jason."
"Did Jason tell you that?" Sarah asked.
"Some of it," Trini replied. "I got some of it from Sid in the hospital. Jason was lucky, that time."
She trailed off, clearly not wanting to talk about it. The Kwans and the Scotts all respected that, and backed off the topic.
"Chief Oliver called earlier," Donavon said. "He suggested that he might be coming by today or tomorrow."
Trini sighed audibly. "I hope he's not going to badger Jason about getting back to work."
"I don't think so," Donavon mused. "He asked me how you all were... Didn't ask anything about whether Jason was fit to work."
"That's a relief," Trini murmured. A moment of silence fell, and then Edward stood up.
"We'd better get going."
Trini nodded. "I'll tell Jason you were here."
Donavon showed the couple out, while Trini stayed in the kitchen with her mother-in-law.
"I think," Trini said with a sigh, "that my mother is adding truth to all the horror stories about mother-in-laws."
Sarah smiled a little. "That's nonsense, Trini. She's just protective of her only child, just as we've always been with Jason."
Trini stared into the cooling cup of coffee. "It must be so hard for you, hearing about all the times that Jason's been hurt."
"No harder than it is for you," Sarah told her with a sad smile. "We were thrilled to hear you were coming back."
"And then this happened," Trini whispered, tears filling her eyes as the delayed shock finally started to set in. "Oh god... He could have been killed!"
"But he wasn't," Donavon said firmly as he came back into the kitchen.
"Don't focus on what might have happened, Trini. You'll never sleep again if you do."
Trini got unsteadily to her feet. "I think I might go and lie down with Jason for a while."
"You do that," Sarah said warmly. "We'll keep an eye on William."
"Thankyou," Trini mumbled, heading slowly from the room. Neither Sarah nor Donavon said a word to each other, but both were thinking exactly the same thing.
Sarah and Trini took William out to see a movie, leaving Jason at home with his father. With the women gone, Donavon went into the bedroom to have a heart-to-heart with his son.
"How are you feeling?"
Jason looked around as Donavon walked into the room, then offered him a crooked smile.
"Okay. I'm still a little tired, but I guess that'll pass when I get back on my feet."
Donavon didn't smile. He went over and sat down carefully on the edge of the bed.
"Maybe it's just me.... But you seem like you're doing your damned best to get yourself killed before you turn thirty. Why did you go into that building alone?"
Jason sank back into the pillows. He hated it when his father turned the psychiatry on him.
"I wasn't alone, Dad. Sid was with me."
"On the other side of the building. Unless there's a different set of rules for every PD, you should have waited for backup."
Jason looked away, trying to hide his irritation. "Save it, Dad. I already got this lecture from Lieutenant Harrison."
"Well, you're going to get it again. Look at me, Jason."
Jason growled frustration as he looked back to his father. "Look, Dad..."
"No, you just stop and listen. You know I've tried to stay detached from your career, and you know I wasn't thrilled when you decided to join the Police Academy in LA. I've tried to keep it to myself all these years..."
He trailed off, taking in Jason's confused and wounded look.
Jason swallowed hard, something that was made difficult by the lump in his throat.
"You never said you didn't agree with me joining the police force."
Donavon frowned deeply. "I thought I made that clear."
"You never said anything," Jason argued, tears filling his eyes in light of the startling revelation. Donavon withheld a sigh.
"Well, I guess you know now. That's not the point. I'm trying to say that its time to start thinking about Trini and William. You can't put them through that sort of crap anymore, Jason."
"Why do you think I applied for the transfer?" Jason exploded. "I've always put them first, but I had a job to do! You can't say those sorts of things! You don't have any right!"
"Someday," Donavon said quietly as he stood up, "you'll have to make a choice between your family and your career. I hope you'll make the right choice."
He started for the door, but stopped when Jason called to him in a trembling voice.
"What is it, Jason?"
"Weren't you ever proud....? Of anything I did? Not at all?"
Donavon stared at Jason for a long moment before turning and walking out of the room without saying another word.
Trini got ready for bed in the dark, not wanting to disturb Jason. It was as she went around to the window side of the bed that she realised he was awake. A moment later, she saw the tears trickling down his cheeks.
"Jason?" She sat down on the bed, and quickly caught up his hand in her own. "Honey, what's wrong?"
"Do you want me to quit the Force?"
He spoke so softly that for a moment, she wasn't sure he'd spoken at all. Finally, she shook her head.
"No, of course I don't! Why would you ask that?"
"I talked to Dad," Jason whispered, "while you and Mum and William were out. Trini, he never wanted me to go to the Police Academy in the first place! He never wanted me to be a cop."
"What?" Trini asked incredulously. "Jason, that can't be true."
Jason looked around at her as she reached out to gently brush away the tears with her delicate fingers.
"I asked him if he'd ever been proud of anything I'd done...."
"He couldn't even answer," Jason said, finally breaking down. Trini slid down in the bed, and hugged Jason to her as tightly as she dared.
"It's all right, baby," she whispered, cradling him to her as he cried. "Don't worry about that, Jason. I'm proud of you, even if your father isn't. I'm very proud of you."
Jason didn't speak again, but continued to cry softly into his wife's shoulder.
*Two weeks later
Jason marched up the steps of Angel Grove's Police Headquarters, back in uniform for the first time in five weeks. His convalescence had taken longer than he'd expected, but he'd gotten numerous reassurances from Police Chief Michael Oliver that there was no rush for him to get back to work. He stepped inside the main door, pausing to adjust his already immaculate uniform before heading across the tiled floor.
He and Trini had finally found a house, and had moved in as soon as possible. Ever since the exchange between Jason and his father, things had been tense in the Scott family home. Jason and Donavon had hardly spoken a word to each other, and Trini and Sarah had found themselves caught up in the middle. Moving into a house of their own had been a blessing, for all parties.
The sergeant on the duty desk looked up in vague surprise as the young man in a captain's uniform strode up. A moment passed, then he finally recognised him.
"Jason? Jason Scott...? I don't believe it!"
A grin broke out across Jason's face. "Hey, Jack. Still on the front desk after all these years?"
Jack Sikorsky grinned back. "What can I say? It's a nice, cushy job, and I never get shot at."
"Shot at?" Jason echoed incredulously. "In Angel Grove? Please..."
"Oh, so you've turned into a real hot-shot now have you?" Jack asked teasingly. "The big hero cop from Chicago who's seen more action than the rest of us put together? Give it a rest, Jason. You're still just a kid here."
Jason's grin widened. "Maybe... But I outrank you now, Jack. Better watch yourself."
Jack laughed and handed a security card to Jason. "Don't lose that. You won't get past this desk without it. And the Chief wants to see you as soon as you get in."
Jason plucked the card out of Jack's hand, and started towards the security door. "Thanks, Jack. I'll see you later."
Jack nodded. "For sure." He paused, the smile fading from his face as Jason disappeared through the door. "Good luck, kid. You're definitely gonna need it."
Jason had been expecting a bit of tension when he walked in. After all, he knew most of the officers through his father's psychiatric practise. Most had been through the wringer at some point after exceptionally hard cases. He knew they might not have reacted too well to his being of a higher rank than the rest of them.
What Jason was not prepared for was the outright hostility that the men all radiated. Few looked him in the eye as he passed their desks, and those who did favoured him with almost malicious glares. Swallowing back the sudden nervousness, Jason held his head high and strode through the maze of desks to Police Chief Michael Oliver's office. He knocked once on the door, waited for a reply, then quickly went in.
Michael Oliver looked up, and grinned when he saw the young man.
"Jason, come in, please. Sit down."
"Thankyou, sir," Jason murmured, sitting down in one of the empty chairs. Michael offered him a crooked smile.
"You certainly look a hell of a lot different in that uniform. You look..."
Jason had to smile. "Grown up?" he suggested lightly. Michael laughed.
"Yes, I guess so. I was so used to seeing you sparring with Tommy in the Youth Centre, that it's a bit difficult to think of you as an adult."
Jason glanced towards the door. "I don't think you're the only one, sir."
"You mean that lot out there?" Michael shook his head. "As far as they're concerned, its mostly just jealousy. Any one of them could have made captain if they'd really tried."
Jason shifted uncomfortably in the chair. "I don't know, sir..."
Michael plucked a paper clip off the desk and began to bend it. "Look at yourself, Jason. Just turned twenty-seven, and you're already a captain. You don't make a position like that on favouritism and luck. Especially not in Chicago. From what I've read in your files, it won't be long before you're ready to be promoted to lieutenant."
Jason grimaced. "If my old lieutenant had gotten his way, I would've been demoted about three ranks."
Michael looked thoughtfully at the young man. "Over that Angel of Death business? Yes, well, I have to agree that it was a pretty foolish thing to do, Jason. I hope you learned a lesson from that. Never go into a situation like that without backup."
"Don't worry, sir," Jason said ruefully. "I definitely learned my lesson there."
"I should hope so. Now, how are you feeling?"
"Fine, sir. Ready to work."
Michael grinned. "Obviously. C'mon, I'll take you to your office."