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Jamie Ross/"Home Again, part 1/?"

Title: Home Again, part 1/?
Fandom:Law & Order
Characters: Jamie Ross
Prompt: Table 3, 066.Choice
Word Count: 1,393
Rating: PG-13 for language
Summary: Jamie goes back home, not under the best circumstances.
Author's notes: I keep finding out things about Jamie! While in SIU, most of you know she has two sisters, it turns out that in canon, she has five brothers! I've been wanting to explore that, as well as her relationship with her mother for some time now...the result is this ongoing story...I do have the last part of Quid pro Quo, as well as the second part of Disorder in the Court, the crossover with Night Court, however they are still being edited/typed up, as most of my writing starts out in longhand. Those will be up soon--don't worry, I won't keep starting these multiple-parters and not finishing!

The first time her father called, Jamie Ross didn’t hear the phone ring. She was in the middle of a screaming match with her ex-husband and both of their voices, plus the television in the next room, drowned out the ringing.

“Mommy…” Ten-year old Katelyn Gorton stood tentatively in the kitchen doorway.
“Katie, Mommy told you to stay upstairs…”
“But the phone keeps ringing…”
“Well, that’s what we have an answering machine for, honey…”
“Why are you guys fighting?” Katie eyed her parents worriedly.

Neil Gorton forced a smile at his daughter. “We’re not arguing, baby, we’re just having a discussion.”

Jamie gave him a look. Their daughter wasn’t stupid. She’d been listening to them fight since she was five. Still, Katie was only ten years old and even Jamie tried to pretend that her and Neil’s custody battles and feuding were ‘minor.’

“Katie, why don’t you go see if Roxana will play with you…” Her daughter nodded, knowingly, and ran off.

She hated shuffling babysitting duties onto the housekeeper/occasional nanny, but sometimes she didn’t know what else to do. Her own mother had done the same thing with her and her brothers.

Neil looked at her with contempt. “Sending her off with the nanny again. Exactly my point.”

“Would you rather she stay in the room and listen to you be an asshole, Neil? I can arrange that too,” she glared.

He narrowed his eyes right back at her as the house phone rang again. She reached for it.
“We’re going to settle this here and now, Jamie,” Neil’s voice was relentless.
“And first, I’m going to answer my phone…”
“Don’t think you can just get out of this…”
Neil leaned back against the counter and watched his ex-wife answer the telephone.

“Jamie, it’s Charlie, where the hell have you been?” Her youngest brother’s voice was frantic. “Dad’s been trying to reach you…and Hank…”
“Charlie, what’s going on?” Her voice was still calm but she knew by her brother’s tone that something was wrong.
“It’s Mom, she’s—well, she’s okay, but she fell and hit her head…we’re all here at the hospital…well, Richard’s on his way from Jersey and you’n Tom are in the city…”
“But she’s okay? How serious is it?”
“It’s not life-threatening.”
“Then I’ll send her flowers.”
“Are you fucking serious?” Young Charlie’s voice was incredulous.
“Yes, perfectly serious.” Jamie realized how callous she sounded. “I doubt that she’d want me in her damn hospital room after our last blow-out.”

“You’re being a bitch.”
At 24, Charlie still lived in the Connecticut town they’d all grown up in. He still hadn’t finished college, acted like the fraternity boy he was and spent his money on women and beer. Jamie was 15 when he was born, and couldn’t help but find him useless. The fact that he was their mother’s favorite only further aggravated her.
“So I’ve been told,” she snapped.
“You can at least call Tom and let him know,” Charlie said. “I’m sure you both will just sit around with your cosmopolitan drinks and act like nothing…”
“Yes, because I’m Carrie Bradshaw and Tom and I lead very glamorous lives here in the Big Apple.” Her voice was punctuated with sarcasm.

In truth, she rarely saw Tom, the only other Ross sibling to live in Manhattan. Avoided was a good word. They could barely hold a conversation without it ending in an argument, usually about politics—they were on opposite ends of every issue it seemed.

“Whatever, Jamie.” Charlie’s voice had the typical cadence of an indignant slacker. “Gosh!”
She hadn’t the time for this.
“Tell Dad to call me,” she said, then hung up.

Neil raised his brows. “Family crisis?”
“Mother is in the hospital.” Jamie pursed her lips.
“And, she’ll live…Charlie’s an idiot, but you knew that.”
Jamie rubbed her head a little tiredly. Family matters usually were exhausting. “Look, I’ll drop Katie by on Thursday, alright?”
“Yes, early.”
At that point, she just wanted him gone. She needed to call Tom and she also had a deposition to go over.

Tom’s reaction had been almost identical to hers. Though they never agreed on politics or mostly anything, they both had similar relationships with their mother and the same biting sarcasm.

“I’m sure if we were there, she’d only yell at us for coming,” Tom said.
In truth, Tom had tickets to a sold-out Broadway show and he was not about to give them up.

Though she kept telling herself that she was justified in not going, Jamie still did not feel 100% guilt-free when she finally went to bed.

The clock blinked 11:47pm when she closed her eyes. When the phone jolted her awake, it was only 12:15am.
“Jamie…” It was her father, who had never called her back earlier.
She sat up in bed. “Dad?”
“Jamie, you and Tommy need to come…your mother’s taken a turn for the worse…” Harold Ross’s voice was calm. He was a doctor himself, but by nature was not easily rattled.
“Dad, what’s…what’s going on?” Jamie ran a hand through her hair, still not quite comprehending what her father was saying.
“She developed a blood clot…just…” Hal’s voice broke a little. “Just hurry up, get your brother and get out here…”

The next few minutes were a blur. Calling Tom, trying to pack, calling Neil to come get Katie…In the end she was certain that nothing she packed went together and that she’d forgotten her toothbrush. It was odd to be thinking of such menial things as she drove but it was the only way she could get herself to focus.

“She’s going to be fine,” Jamie said aloud as she drove.
“Of course she is,” Tom said from the passenger seat. “It’s Mom…she’s made of steel…or was it stone?”
Jamie laughed a little shakily. “Like you said, she’ll probably be pissed that we showed up…”

Neither of the two knew the extent of the damage. They hadn’t discussed the reality before them…The tension was palpable—usually with Jamie and Tom it was because of an argument about Social Security or abortion—this time, it was because of what they didn’t know.

“We’re the only ones not there?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, think so. I mean, Hank and Mattie don’t live that far…Charlie was already there…”
Tom nodded.

Their oldest brother, Hank, or Harold, Jr., was a doctor, like their father. He’d married his high school sweetheart and stayed in the area where all six Ross children had grown up, raising his own kids there. Jamie was the second child, only two years younger than Hank. They’d gone through school together, both played sports, but were not necessarily under the ‘jock’ label. They were in the same academic clubs, as well, and competed for better grades early on. They had a lot of the same friends. Of all her brothers, Jamie was closest to Hank.

Next in age after Jamie was Matthew, or Mattie, who was five years younger than her and an accountant in Stamford. He was quiet and kind of a loner. Jamie, busy being a team leader, never really had time for him growing up. She got along with him fine, but they didn’t have too much in common and when they did talk, the conversation was usually filled with awkward pauses.

Then there was Tom, and after him—

“What about Richard?” Tom asked.
“Charlie said he was already on his way when he called me.”
Richard-don’t-call-me-Rick was the black sheep of the family. He rarely went to family functions, lived in Jersey and had a chiropractor practice that he advertised for on bus stop benches. He was seeing his assistant.

“Charlie was his regular teenage self…even though he’s what, 24 now?” Jamie shook her head. Her youngest brother, fifteen years her junior, still seemed foreign to her. Richard, she could at least have a conversation about the stock market with.

Tom laughed. “Give him a break…he can’t help it, living there in that house…”
“You know, not all problems are related to our mother.”
“Most of them are.”
Jamie snorted. “Freud would have a field day with you.”
“There you go with your psychobabble…”

By the time they reached the hospital, they were so engrossed in an argument that they almost forgot why they were there in the first place.