Simon Banks stretched and heard his shoulders crack in protest. It had been a long day.
It was days like this one that made him doubt his choice of career and he always heard his mother's voice in his head 'Simon Banks, why don't you get yourself a good education and become a lawyer like your cousin Ralph?'
"Because he's an idiot, Mom," Simon sighed to himself, "And I want to be a cop."
Of course at the time he still had the idealistic version of what it was to be a cop in Cascade in mind.
Helping people, enforcing the law, protecting the innocent. No one told him about the 'good citizens' who would spit at him, pull a gun on him or try to kick the shit out of him for breaking up their domestic dispute.
Then there was the whole thing about being a black rookie cop in a 'white' police force who resented your presence.
But, that was one of the reasons Simon kept at it. This was his city too, he deserved the right be a cop here and protect its citizens and damn it, he'd prove to the bigoted bastards that he could do the job as well and better than them.
Shit, one day... they'd call him 'Sir'.
As he pulled away from the lights and into the 'nicer' area of Cascade, Simon checked out the houses; elegant and expensive, but still inside, they held the same old problems... people.
Suddenly, Simon spotted a youth hammering seven shades of shit out of a very expensive car. The young man was tall and well built, but not as big as Simon and still lean with youth.
Pulling the car to a halt, he climbed out.
"Hey kid! What you doing?" he grabbed the young man and wheeled him around.
Tearful blue eyes looked up at him and the strong jaw set.
"What's your name?" Simon demanded.
The boy was silent, his jaw jumping as he ground his teeth to stop the tears returning.
"You don't tell me kid, I arrest you, you understand that?"
Still nothing, just a blazing defiance in the young man's eyes.
"Okay, you give me no choice. You're under arrest for criminal damage, you have the right to remain silent..."
All the way back to the station, the kid had stayed silent. Simon could almost feel the tension rolling off him as he sat stock still in the back of the car.
Somehow, he didn't look like a typical juvenile delinquent who went around trashing cars, for one thing, he hadn't run when the squad car rolled up.
"Who you pissed at, kid?" Simon glanced at him in the mirror, noting that there was no real sign of having even heard the question. "Did that vehicle belong to you? Or your dad maybe?"
Suddenly a twitch.
"Ah, you got pissed at your dad and trashed his pride and joy?"
Suddenly those blue eyes blazed again, meeting Simon's gaze through the mirror.
"Why don't you just tell me your name and address and we can go see your dad get this sorted, save you sitting at the PD for hours and dragging his ass down there too?"
The youth looked away, "I don't give a fuck about him," he snarled suddenly.
"Oh so you do have the power of speech?"
That angry gaze returned to almost cut through Simon. "I have nothing to say, not to you or anyone, officer."
So few words, yet they served to only confuse Simon even more. The kid was obviously wealthy, educated and damn it, 'polite', but something was so very wrong. He'd rarely seen anger so deep and wounding before, it was like someone had torn out this kids heart and stamped it into the dust.
"That's okay kid. Hey, don't you even want to give me a name? Something I can call you besides 'kid'?"
The youth sighed, "Jim."
"Jim, that's better. I hate how damned condescending it sounds when I have to call someone not that much younger than me 'kid'," Simon smiled.
For the briefest moment, Jim's face softened into a smile, "Yeah, it is kind of annoying."
"Say, Jim. How about I buy you a soda and give you time to calm down before I take you into the station?"
Jim's face creased into a confused frown, "Okay, I guess."
Simon smiled and pulled the car up to the curb.
A few moments later Simon and Jim sat tucking into a Wonderburger and soda and the younger man was looking noticeably calmer.
"So," Simon mumbled between mouthfuls, "You want to tell me why you were freaking out on that car?"
Jim shook his head and continued to devour his meal.
"How old are you, Jim?"
"Hell, I remember sixteen, I seem to remember I went to bed one night and woke up twenty three."
"I hate it, I want to be eighteen so I can get out of here."
"Why?" Simon dabbed his mouth with the napkin and waited.
"I want to get away from my father. He... he wants me to go into the family business, to be like him" Jim spat the last word angrily, "I'll never be like him. I'm going to join the army as soon as they'll take me."
"What does your father do that's so bad?"
"'Ellison Industries'." Jim stated flatly.
"What does he do there?"
The young man laughed coldly, "No, that is him, he's William Ellison."
Simon stopped chewing and let his jaw drop, "No shit? I just arrested William Ellison's son?"
Suddenly Jim shot him a glare, "Go on, say it... so long kid. Story of my fucking life!" he pushed himself off the seat and began to walk away."
"Stop right there, Ellison. You happen to be under arrest, so get your ass back down here right now!"
Slightly shocked, Jim obeyed.
"Don't you get putting words into my mouth," Simon demanded, "Yeah I was surprised at who you are, but you still trashed that car and until it gets thrown out higher up the chain of command than me, you're still my prisoner. Now keep your little punk ass on that bench until I finish my burger!"
Jim blinked and looked down at his hands, which fumbled nervously in his lap, "Sorry officer."
"Banks. Officer Banks."
"Sorry Officer Banks."
Simon felt his resolve crumble as he looked over the dejected boy in front of him. He couldn't remember ever seeing such a sad young man. This kid had everything, yet he seemed so...empty.
"Jim, is your dad going to go crazy over this? You being arrested?"
"Yeah, but that's nothing new. He's pretty much decided that I'm worthless anyway, so this will just add to the overall image he has of me."
"Why would he say that? You seem like a really smart kid."
"Oh, I am. Straight A's, I wouldn't dare come home with anything less. Captain of the football team. Gold medal winner in the under 18's junior squad for running."
"So what's his beef?"
Suddenly Jim looked up, "I told him I was gay."
"And suddenly I became 'tainted'. 'No son of William Ellison is a goddamned fairy'," Jim mocked in his fathers 'voice', "What kind of a man lets another man stick his dick up his ass?" Angry tears began to form in the younger mans eyes, "He's right, I'm worthless and better off away from the family where I can't bring any more shame on them."
"Jim, that's bullshit and you know it," Simon clapped his hand on the boys shoulder, "Your father has no right to treat you that way. Your sexuality is your business and no one else's, not even William Ellison's."
"It doesn't matter," Jim whispered, hiding his face from the kindly cop, remaining 'in control'. "Officer Banks, can we go now? Can I get this out of the way?"
Simon felt his heart sink, "Sure, come on Jim. I'm really sorry about this, truly I am."
Simon tossed and turned in bed. It had been a hell of a long day and the only thoughts in his mind were of the intense sadness in young Jim Ellison's eyes. Every time he closed his eyes that was all he saw.
That and the face of the housekeeper that William Ellison had sent to pick up his son and pay the fine.
That son-of-a-bitch hadn't even had the decency to come and collect his own son. Hell, if that had been a kid of his, he'd have been down there bellowing like a big old ox that his son was innocent.
Jim Ellison was such a great kid too, that was the really hard part to understand. It's not like he was dealing drugs or beating up old ladies for their purse, yet still it wasn't enough for his father to appreciate what a fine boy he had.
Suddenly there was a hammering at the door. Simon sat up sharply, instinctively he reached for his gun before moving slowly to the door. "Who is it?" he called.
"Me." A small voice retorted.
"Who the fuck is 'me'?"
Peering through the viewer in the door, Simon saw that it was indeed the young man, soaking wet and shivering.
Unlocking the door, he swung it open, "Jeezus, kid! What the hell happened to you? Get in here."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Jim was mumbling almost incoherently.
Simon safely put his gun away and moved over to turn up the fire, "Hell, you're soaked to the skin."
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come here."
For the first time it dawned on Simon, "How did you know where I lived?"
"I heard you give your address when you ordered your takeout meal," Jim's teeth were chattering.
"That's not possible kid, I was the other side of the room! Anyway, you're here now. You have to get out of those wet clothes. I'll grab you some sweats, you go in the bathroom and get changed, dry yourself off properly first."
Meekly Jim took the sweats and wandered into the bathroom.
Simon rubbed his hand across his face wearily as he walked into the kitchen. It was two am and he was baby-sitting some kid! Clicking on the kettle, he decided the best thing to do was get Jim warm and settled then try to find out what the hell had happened.
A few moments later, Jim closed the bathroom door behind him and shyly glanced up at Simon. "I'm really sorry I came here, Officer Banks."
"Gimme your wet clothes I'll hang them here to dry on the radiator," Simon took the sopping jeans and shirt and laid them over the heater. "Sit down by the heater. You want some hot chocolate?"
While he waited for the water to boil, Simon sliced some ham and threw it on some granary bread.
"Here, eat something and drink this while it's hot." He handed the boy a mug of now steaming chocolate and a sandwich.
"Thank you. I don't deserve this..."
"No kid, you don't. Not unless you tell me what the hell brings you here."
"My dad threw me out." Jim whispered the words so quietly Simon almost missed them.
"Because of the car?"
"No, because I told him that I'm going in the army as soon as they'll take me. He told me that it was the perfect place for a little fairy boy, among all those men who haven't had access to women for months."
Simon winced at the pain in the boy's voice.
"I told him that it was none of his business, that I wasn't going to hang around in Cascade and 'embarrass' him in front of his friends, but that's not enough, he still thinks I'll bring shame to the 'Ellison name'." Jim nibbled at the sandwich, the emotion almost choking him. Angrily he wiped away a tear that began to leak from the corner of his eye.
Simon stood up and moved over to the chair, sitting down on the arm. He placed his arm around Jim's shoulders and hugged him slightly, "It's okay, Jim. Let it out, I won't tell anyone."
"He's not worth it!" the younger man spat as huge tears rolled down his cheeks.
"No, he's not. But if you go bottling it all up, you'll just make yourself sick, so you just take it easy and don't worry about needing to cry. Hell, we all need to do that sometimes."
"I hate him."
"Yeah well, he gives you good reason I guess. Look, you can stay here on the couch if you want to on one condition."
Jim suddenly looked up, puzzlement, fear and anger in his eyes, "What?"
"You let your family know that you're safe and where you are."
"Jim, I'm a police officer. If I allow you to stay here without informing someone as to where you are, I'm breaking the law. You're still a 'minor' and I have a duty to report your whereabouts."
Rubbing at his eyes, Jim nodded, "I'll ring Sally, our housekeeper. The old man won't care anyway, he won't come looking for me. He'd be better off if I was dead, then his precious Steven could be 'the Ellison son'."
"Jim, I know it feels that way at the moment, but maybe your dad's just going to take time to adjust? So, when you finish your sandwich, go call Sally and tell her that you're safe and where you are, if you want, I'll speak to her too. I'm just going to speak to my Captain, let him know what's rolling just in case your dad gets antsy and calls the station."
"Well, it doesn't hurt to be sure." Simon picked up the phone and called in. He explained what had happened and after a few minutes of lectures about how he was breaking every rule in the book, his superior officer calmed slightly. "Look Captain, I know this isn't the best situation, but the kid is very upset and I don't want to have to make him go in case he does something stupid. At least while he's here with me he's safe. Now I've told him that he can use my sofa for the night and I'll take him home tomorrow if he'll go."
"Okay, Banks. But shit, be careful. Have you any idea how dangerous a man like William Ellison could be if you got on the wrong side of him?"
"Yes, sir... I'm looking at the state of his sixteen year old son right now, I'd say that's a pretty good indicator what kind of an man he is!"
"For Christ's sake Banks, the guy owns this town, don't go shitting on his doorstep with this? The kid will calm down tomorrow and they'll be all pally again, so just cool it, okay?"
"Okay, let me know what's happening tomorrow."
Simon replaced the receiver and sighed; that could have gone better.
He wandered back into the living room where Jim was leaning back against the chair, looking old beyond his tender years.
"I'm sorry," the young man whispered so sadly.
"Getting you into trouble with your Captain."
"How...?" Simon glanced back at the kitchen where the phone hung on the wall. No way could the kid have heard anything from here?
"Maybe I should go?" Jim climbed to his feet, "I don't want to get you into any more trouble. You're running a terrible risk just having me here, especially with me being gay. You have a reputation, your job..."
Noticing that the boy was close to tears again, Simon moved in and gathered him into his arms, "Hey, let's not get into that. You came here because you needed help and I'm offering it. Gay or straight, makes no difference. Jim Ellison, you're a fine boy, one that your father should be proud of. If the only thing he's bothered about is his 'image' then he doesn't deserve you."
"I just don't know what else to do. I've tried everything, I do well at school. I'm in every sports team, captain of most. I've never been in trouble before today, yet he still hates me."
"You go call Sally, tell her you're okay and then you can sit down and tell me exactly what happened."
"I've known for a couple of years that I was gay. People think that you get a revelation one day, but you don't, it kind of creeps up on you until you start to test yourself, see if looking at girls can get you as buzzed as looking at guys. Then, piece at a time, you put them all together and come to the truth.
I was so scared when I realized what it meant, Officer Banks,"
"The name's Simon."
Jim smiled slightly, "Thanks, Simon. Thanks for listening to me complain."
"You're not complaining and I'm here to listen, so you just go on."
"I was really scared because I found out that I was attracted to my best friend Josh. I caught myself watching him in the showers one day. One of the other guys saw me looking at him and made some remark, but I covered it up with some smart-ass comment about him being shorter than us and how Latino guys obviously had smaller equipment. Trouble was, what I said really hurt him and made the other guys laugh at him. I never meant that to happen, I was just so scared that they'd all realize the truth and I'd be 'out'. Fear can make you do some cruel things."
"What happened? Did you ever explain it to him?"
"No, he got so upset at the way the guys were picking on him after a while, that he tried to run away from home. It didn't work, but his family moved him from the school. That was my fault, Simon. I started all of that because I was a coward."
Simon sighed, "You're not a coward, Jim. You're just a kid who got scared. I'm not sure that anyone else would have done anything differently. It's not easy being 'different' in any way. Whether you're gay, short, tall, black or whatever. Everyone wants to 'fit in'."
"I just wish I could go back and change everything, do the right thing, be the person my dad deserves..." Jim trailed off.
"You are the son your dad deserves, you're a fine young man and I'd be proud to call you my son," Simon explained with a tenderness he didn't think he possessed. "Now how about you get some rest? I'll go get you a blanket and a pillow."
A gentle shake of the shoulder roused Simon from his sleep. With a start he sat up, "Wha..."
"Sorry to disturb you, but do you have any painkillers? My head is going crazy," Jim asked in a small voice.
As Simon turned on the light, Jim reeled, covering his eyes and crying out in pain. "Hell, kid," he reached out and grabbed the youngster before he crashed to the floor, lowering him gently onto the side of the bed.
"The light," Jim sobbed, "Please... turn out the light..."
Clicking the lamp off, Simon stumbled from the bed and raced to the bathroom, frantically grabbing a couple of the strongest painkillers he had before racing into the kitchen for further supplies. As he re-entered his bedroom, he saw the boy rocking back and forth in agony, holding his head.
"You get migraine often?"
"Yes... they can't find out why... no drugs help... just pain relief."
Simon held out the pills and helped Jim to take a sip of water. "It's okay, take it easy. Just lay back and relax. My mom gets really bad migraine headaches and I usually find that this helps."
Taking the washcloth, Simon dipped it into a bowl of ice water that he'd gotten from the kitchen and wrung it out before laying it on the young man's head. At the same time, he slipped behind Jim on the bed and began to slowly work his fingers into the tightened muscles of Jim's shoulders. Slowly, Jim relaxed, the pain etched on his young features began to diminish and his body slumped in relief, leaning back into Simon as sleep over took him.
Looking down at the sleeping boy now lying in his arms, Simon wondered how bad this looked. A confused gay boy asleep with him in his bed, hell, the Captain would shit bricks if he ever found out.
But at this moment, all he saw was a lonely and desperate child in need of comfort and care, and who was he to turn him away?
Settling down, Simon laid his head back on the pillow. He'd deal with the consequences of this if they ever became a problem and not until then.
Opening his eyes, Simon looked right into the face of Jim Ellison, still asleep in his arms. Such a damned fine looking kid, Simon thought, immediately brushing the thought away.
At that moment, clear blue eyes flickered open and Jim smiled, "Hi," he yawned and stretched, "Sorry about last night, Simon."
"That's okay. You feeling all right now?"
"Yeah. I just get really sensitive to light and sound and stuff. My dad says that I'm some kind of a freak."
"It's okay Simon, there's only so much that anyone can hurt you before you stop caring and my dad passed that point a long time ago."
"You're a good kid, Jim."
Smiling, Jim reached over and softly kissed the big cop squarely on the mouth. Simon drew in a breath and almost groaned as those soft sweet lips embraced his and an enquiring tongue pushed into his mouth. For a moment he let himself be swept up in the sensation. He felt the blood pound in his veins and his groin tighten. It was only when Jim pressed himself against Simon's body and he was already aroused, his cock pressing hard into Simon's thigh that the older man pulled back sharply.
Needy eyes gazed up at him and Simon realized that it would be so very easy to give into this boy. But, it would be so very wrong.
"Jim, I can't do this. You're underage and you came to me for help," Simon tried to put his doubts into words, but he couldn't truly explain how desperately he felt he was failing the youngster if he let this go on.
"I know, I'm sorry," Jim pushed himself up and leaped from the bed.
"Jim, I'm not offended and if things were different, if you were older..."
With a wry smile, the younger man turned, "I might just keep you to that," he decided. "I'll go see if my clothes are dry, I guess I'd better go home before I get you into trouble. Thanks Simon, for everything."
Captain Simon Banks sat at his new desk. He allowed himself a smug smile as he leaned back in the chair and viewed the bullpen. The new Captain of Major Crimes was surveying his territory and boy did it feel good.
He knew that he'd earned it, he'd worked damned hard to get where he was and there was no feeling in the world quite like this.
A knock at the door alerted him that the daydream was over and there was work to be done. "Come in!"
"Captain Banks, welcome to Major Crime," Jack Pendergrast said with an easy smile.
"Thanks, Detective. What can I do for you?"
"I just met my new 'partner', he just strutted off the elevator straight into some trouble," Jack grinned, "I thought maybe you'd like for him to come report in?"
"Yes I would, thank you."
A few moments later a figure pushed his way through the Captains door. Tall, muscular and unbearably arrogant the man stood before the desk, idly chewing on gum. He had a baseball cap pulled down low on his head, and an earring threaded through his left ear.
"And you are?" Simon asked, already feeling irritated by the man's attitude.
"Ellison," the guy drawled, "Jim Ellison."