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Originally posted to [livejournal.com profile] serenity_summer

Title: The First Interview
Author: [livejournal.com profile] jebbypal
Character: Regan Tam, Gabriel Tam, Hands of Blue
Rating: E
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Joss.
Summary: The Tam parents are questioned about their son.
Spoilers: Safe
920 Words. Thanks to poisontaster for the beta.

Regan felt equal parts worry, nervousness, and fear. Her daughter was missing, her son thought to be responsible, and she had to sit here and be questioned by these people. Quite frankly, it was all just too much to take. Gabriel wasn't being much help either. As soon as the news arrived, he'd retreated to his study until the authorities came to ask questions.

Clipped tones from her husband drew her back to the conversation at hand. "I'm sorry, what was the question?" She ignored the annoyance that filtered through Gabriel's polite mask. She was used to that from him. What she wasn't used to were the suited people in front of her.

They were curiously blank, even for police investigators. When she greeted them after being summoned by the butler, Regan had detected no amount of feigned or real sympathy over her daughter's plight. Nor any patience from any of the other individuals in the room, she thought bitterly.

"He asked what you had made of your son's behavior in the past months," Gabriel enunciated for her. She tried to remember that he was hurting too. She wasn't the only one here to lose two children in the space of a day. Still, she found herself trying to remember the last time Gabe had shown any emotion other than pride for either of the children.

"Simon missed his sister. We all missed River. She was…I mean, is such a brightness in all of our lives. It took some adjustment for all of us to get used to her absence," Regan answered. Even with his back turned as he fixed drinks at the wet bar, Regan could well imagine Gabe's practiced eye roll when she saw his shoulders tense.

"And more recently, what did you make of his…theories?" the blonde one asked. Regan realized that she had missed their names during the introductions. Surely, that was it; what kind of investigator didn't introduce themselves to the worried parents?

Dismissive sounds came from Gabe as he returned with two glasses of scotch. Regan took hers politely when all she wanted to do was toss it in his face. "Flights of fancy. Those two were always playing the strangest games even after they outgrew imaginary friends and all that rubbish."

Regan spoke up when the pair's questioning eyes pinned her. "He had been upset that it took River so long to write. He started to worry about his little sister although I reminded him how caught up he'd been with his own friends and studies when he went away to college." Regan resisted the urge to fidget. She hadn't fidgeted since she'd been caught smoking by the headmaster at the age of sixteen. "Then the first couple of letters arrived. I agreed that there was something odd about them, but I assumed it was just River's way of teasing him. I never thought it would go this far."

The black haired one spoke with a frightening intensity when he asked her, "And now? What do you think of the letters now, Mrs. Tam?"

Gabe's grip on her shoulder tightened when she turned to look at him, causing her to abort the gesture. Suddenly, she was caught by the thought that maybe her son hadn't been so wrong after all. "A childhood prank, obviously. One misinterpreted by Simon due to the stress of his long hours at the Capitol City hospital, but a prank nonetheless. River should have known better, but she always was free-spirited," Regan answered. Her husband's hand relaxed and began to move in patterns that might be interpreted as soothing to an outsider.

"Is there anything else, gentlemen?" Gabe asked. "This has been a very trying day for us and my wife really needs her rest."

The pair stood and folded their blue-gloved hands simultaneously. "Just one more question, Mrs. Tam. Can you think of any destination that your son may have in mind as a safe haven? Perhaps somewhere on the Rim?"

On the Rim? Why would Simon ever go to the Rim? Regan shook her head. "There's no one…Wait. I remember that one of his prep school friends has a cousin that lived there. A black sheep of the family; he even fought for the Independents. Boros, I think it was."

"Thank you. You've been most helpful," the blonde said with a smile that didn't reach his eyes.

Regan remained seated as Gabe saw them both out. "Obviously, contact us immediately if you hear anything," she heard one say before the oak door shut.

Expectedly, Gabe's footsteps carried him to his study where the door slammed shut. Obviously, some of her answers hadn't pleased him entirely.

Downing her drink in one large swallow, Regan found that she didn't really care. Gabe had been impossible to please since well before River left for the Academy. Simon's actions and her own private suspicions were merely fuel for the tinderbox that their marriage had become.

Regan found herself praying that Simon and River were gone on no more than an extended lark over which they would all laugh when it was over. What if in choosing to support Gabriel when he insisted that Simon's suspicions were unfounded, she had failed both of her children? Regan wasn't sure if she could handle it, if that turned out to be the truth.

"Goddess, where ever they are, keep them safe," Regan prayed. She might be helpless now, but all she wanted for her children was for them to be safe. Safe and happy.

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