Warnings: PG13, just to be safe.
In a church, somewhere forgotten by most people in New York, kneels a man. Incense hangs in the air as dimming light filters through the stained-glass windows. Several candles are lit by different saint statues. The broad shoulders of the solitary supplicant are hunched inward. His hands are folded, white-knuckled, in prayers.
A few hot tears escape through the clenched eyelids.
The knuckles get whiter.
"I haven't asked for much," the man whispers, conscious of his guard detail in the back of the church. "But please….please give him back to us."
More tears spill down. It's been two months. Months of waiting, doing everything they can medically, and still nothing has changed in Jamie's condition. Frank's chest gets tighter. He can't lose his youngest. Not like this. Not like Joe.
He's just out the door of his office when Baker steps in front of him. It's not anything she says, but rather what she doesn't do. Look him in the eye. She first focuses on his shoulder, then his face.
"Which one?" he asks, his heart dropping like a stone to his feet. His throat tightens while the grip on his coat goes slack.
"It's Jamie," Sid says from his other side.
Jamie. Who's on an op for the Sanfino family. Who is…missing? Dead? Have there been pictures sent? Frank's knees go weak at that thought. He won't be able to go through something like that. Watching hour after hour as his boy is ripped apart.
"When did we find out?" he hears himself say calmly.
Baker and Sid glance at each other.
"About half an hour ago," Sid says. "He didn't call in."
Frank's heart loosens just a little. A missed call is bad, but not necessarily a prerequisite to torture or death. Jamie could just be tied up at a party. "Do we know where he is?"
"No one's quite sure, sir," Baker says. "He was supposed to meet Noble Sanfino at a bar, but the officers stationed there say he never showed."
"They reported it. And then…" Sid trails off, shoulders slumping.
"And then he never called in," Frank finishes for him. His heart clenches again. This is that bad, then. It could be nothing, of course, but the series of events suggest otherwise. Jamie's in trouble.
'Not again' Frank thinks. 'I can't go through this again.'
"Let us have him again," he whispers.
A door opens and closes in the sanctuary. Footsteps, soft and measured, stride across the wood floorboards. They pause – genuflecting, noticing him? – and then walk towards him. Seeing as no one has stopped this, Frank makes an educated guess.
"Father," he says as someone sits in the pew beside him.
"Are you closing for the evening, Father?" Frank asks. In the past, the churches were open at all hours. Now, it's a more dangerous world, a greedy world. No one can afford to be so generous.
Frank discreetly wipes his eyes as he leans over to pick up his hat. Thankfully, it's in the opposite direction of the priest.
"Sometimes, people come in here, begging God to save someone," the priest says in a low tone. "They scream and rail that He's not answering them."
"But 'no' is still an answer." The priest leans forward in his seat until his elbows are resting against the pew in front. "I'm not saying that this is the answer you're going to get. Or that it's the answer you've gotten. I'm just saying to be prepared for that."
Frank stands, before he can do something he might regret. "Thank you, Father."
"I hope it's not the answer, Commissioner." Frank sees him out of the corner of his eye, gazing up at the large crucifix above the altar. "I say Masses for him to wake up."
Something loosens in Frank's heart. This time, his answer is more sincere. "Thank you, Father."
"Just…" the priest hesitates. "Be ready for whatever He says. Even if it's not what you want."
Frank finally looks the man in the eyes, and sees the loss of a loved one in them. "Who?"
A bitter smile flashes. "My older brother. Cancer."
"So am I." The priest gets to his feet. "I wish you safe travels, Commissioner."
And she's back! I know, it's been FOREVER since I promised this sequel. I just couldn't get my muse to work with me. But, thanks to Ploy_Is_My_OTP, on AO3, she's finally come around. Thus, this first chapter!
Okay, so the plan is to have a chapter out a week, until Easter and than it should be everyday (I gave up internet for Lent).
It hope this holds up to the 'Family First'. Please, let me know if you want anything in other chapters. Wishes, prompts, guesses, etc. They ALL help me write better chapters (because they spark things).