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Big spoiler alert. Don't read if you haven't read the previous parts!
Un-beta-ed. Suespur pointed out some unAmerican things, which I changed. Not mine, no money,etc.
Family Reunion 8/?
Chris and Elliot walked back to Elliot's Ford in silence. Both were thinking many thoughts and neither felt like talking. Back at the car Elliot slammed his palm onto the vehicle's roof.
"They've still got my goddamned gun! My police issue weapon!"
"No, they don't," said Chris.
A small twist that looked almost like a smile nagged at the corner of his mouth. He pointed at the passenger seat. Elliot's handgun lay head to handle with Chris', mirror images of each other. Elliot's knife lay across them.
Elliot gave a harsh bark of a laugh.
"They got an artistic touch."
He yanked open the car door and picked up his and Chris' weapons.
"If you're thinking of checking them for prints to run through the database, don't bother," said Chris. "They've been wiped down."
He took his gun and put it into the back of his jeans again. He was watching Elliot surreptitiously.
"Merry Christmas," he said casually.
"What?" said Elliot.
"Merry Christmas. You got what you've always wanted since you were a kid."
"Yeah," said Elliot. "Let's go back to Queens."
"You okay, Elliot?" asked Chris, as they got into Elliot's car.
Elliot almost didn't hear the hidden question, "Are we okay?" He caught it just as he was closing his door. He looked up at his brother.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just trying to get my head around this. How about you?"
Chris fiddled with something on the dashboard.
"I don't know, Elliot. You think you know who you are and then your whole world is turned upside down. First when you found me last year and I discovered I had an identical twin. It took me a long time to get to grips with that. I'm still trying. Now finding out our real father is someone I worked for, for years. I don't know. You gotta appreciate the irony..."
He stared out the window as his voice trailed off.
"Yeah? Well, we got each other, so we can get through this together," said Elliot.
He and Chris studied each other, reading each other's faces, and then Elliot turned the key in the ignition.
Elliot was up early on Christmas morning, wrapping presents for the children to take to his mother-in-law. Truth be told he hadn't slept well, up every hour, trying to remember every moment of his conversation with the Spook yesterday and the only other occasion he'd ever met him when he'd helped him to find Chris. He'd been so caught up in getting to Chris on time that he hadn't given a second thought to a Mob boss coming personally to rescue an ex-employee. Now he couldn't get that episode out of his mind. The Spook had got to Chris' apartment so quickly and had extracted the information from Andrei with such ruthless efficiency. He'd driven with Elliot through the city to the warehouse. It was so bizarre in hindsight that Elliot wondered why he hadn't seen the oddness before. Even Gambodge's personal attention to Chris went beyond any professional courtesy. Elliot remembered now that Chris had said something about Gambodge helping him find his apartment in the first place.
Russian. He and Chris were half Russian at least. Maybe all Russian. Elliot had never imagined being Russian. He'd never dreamed his real family might be in organized crime either. How the hell had Chris hooked up with them? He meant to ask him when he woke up. He never had asked before.
He wanted to ask Chris all sorts of things, but Chris was fast asleep. He'd gone to bed early, straight after a TV dinner during which he'd watched with hypnotic interest a recording of some ice-show. Elliot didn't understand what fascinated him. It bothered him when their tastes weren't alike. He found figure-skating pretty boring on the whole.
Now he was making himself coffee and waffles and bacon. He hoped the smell of frying food would lure Chris downstairs. When Elliot had last looked in on him Chris was still flat on his back in bed, with his arm over his eyes. Maybe he should wake him - they had to go out to Kathy's mom soon. He took the pan off the stove and tramped back upstairs.
Chris was lying in exactly the same position as he had been an hour ago. His mouth was slightly open. Just then Chris' phone lit up. Elliot bet he knew who it was from. Yes. Very quietly he took Chris's phone and walked back downstairs.
"Hey, Elliot," Toby sounded apprehensive. "Is Chris okay? Why are you answering his phone?"
"He's fine. He's sleeping. You and me - we gotta talk."
"Okay," Toby sounded wary.
Years of police interrogations taught Elliot how to be brutal.
"I want to know why you didn't want him at your Christmas getaway."
"Oh," said Toby.
Didn't seem to have much more to say.
"Are you ashamed of him?"
"It's not like that, Elliot," Toby said at last.
"You guys not together anymore?" inquired Elliot. "Chris seems to think you are."
"We're staying with old family friends who knew Gen...my wife. We just thought it better to keep things simple this year..."
"So you can play the upstanding citizen and screw my brother behind everyone's back?" asked Elliot. "Like leading a double life, Beecher?"
"Am I under arrest, officer?" said Toby.
He was starting to sound angry. Let him, thought Elliot.
"Do you love Chris?" Elliot asked. "Because you need to get one thing straight, Beecher, I love him and I don't like seeing him hurt."
"I want to speak to Chris," snapped Toby. "Now."
A slight noise above him made Elliot glance up. Chris was sitting at the top of the stairs, looking down at him. He was wearing those old pajama bottoms Elliot had given him in hospital.
"You answering my phone these days, El?"
"Yeah, I wanted a bit of time alone with Beecher."
"'S'okay, we're cool, Beech and me, but I'm touched that you thought you needed to protect me," Chris grinned an infuriating grin at him. "Did he call first?"
"Yeah, why?" said Elliot, scowling more.
Chris got off his stair and swaggered downstairs.
"Fabulous," he said, waving his hand for his phone. "Then I won."
"Won what?" asked Elliot, handing over the phone to him.
"We had a competition, Toby and me, about who could go the longest without phoning the other. I knew I'd win."
Chris purred the last bit into his phone. Elliot was scowling so much that he practically had one eyebrow by this stage.
"I knew because old Toby can't stop talking, can he?" Chris continued into his phone. "So how're you doing? Is it cold there?...Yeah, it's pretty chilly here too..."
"Yeah, the weather's pretty frosty too...I miss you too...mmm, me too..."
Elliot left the room at that point to go and do some laundry in the basement. Chris followed him there after finishing speaking to Toby for what seemed like forever.
"Beecher loves me," he said.
"If he loves you so much why'd he go to Martha's Vineyard without you for Christmas? Why'd he only call you once the entire week? Why'd he wait until ten thirty in the morning before calling to wish you Merry Christmas?"
"Because I told him to. Toby worries too much. He needed to get away, spend some time with his kids. Besides, he didn't need me there complicating things. It's difficult enough for him this being his first Christmas out of prison, with his wife and his dad dead."
Elliot looked up at him, towels in hand.
"You told him to stay away?" he sounded disbelieving.
"Matter of fact I did."
Chris leaned against the door frame, folded his arms, stared back at Elliot.
"I thought you said he didn't invite you to join him?"
"I said his parents' friends didn't invite me. He wanted to stay here with me, but I told him to go and be with his kids. Christmas is for children and he's missed so many of their Christmases."
Elliot shoved the towels into the washing machine.
"Very magnanimous of you, his first Christmas out and all."
"He's leaving a few days early and coming back for New Year."
Elliot straightened up, frowned a concerned frown, slightly puzzled.
"So his family gets him for Christmas, you get him for New Year. Doesn't seem much of a trade."
"I want him to be happy. Besides, New Year's our anniversary. The family will be away, he'll be all mine for the first time. Look at the time. I got to go and get ready."
Chris started padding up the basement stairs again. Half way up he turned and looked down at his brother.
"Merry Christmas, Elliot," he said.
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