"C'mon, Sandburg. Quit dragging your butt. You're the one that asked to come along."
The unsympathetic voice came from Henri Brown, who was walking alongside his partner, Rafe. The two men were ahead of their friend and walking fast.
Blair sped up, making an annoyed sound. "What's the rush, guys? Can't we take time to look around, watch the fun?"
"This isn't fun, it's work." Rafe grinned over his shoulder at the Observer. "And H is right. You asked for it."
Blair didn't have a response to that. He had asked to come along with H and Rafe when they pulled a security detail for the visiting politician. But he hadn't done it for love of the job. He'd done it because he wanted to see Melvin Jacobs III in person, making one of his stirring speeches. Blair would be voting for this guy, and he was thrilled at the idea of getting so close to him at the rally.
"Look, guys, you know and I know, and Simon knew when he said I could come, that I have no intention of standing there looking like a security guard. I'm here to see Jacobs, to catch the fun."
Rafe nudged his partner, and the two men stopped and turned face the student squarely. "Look, Blair. That's all well and good. Really. Good to know someone actually cares about these things. But we're here on duty, so try and at least pretend to care about the job."
"Hey." Blair grinned at them. "I've got a great idea! Why don't I pull crowd duty? I'll scope out the nearby people, check 'em for mad assassins."
Brown laughed. "If you were anyone else I'd say yes. If me or Rafe went, everything would be good, quiet and happy. If you go, mad assassins will be falling over themselves trying to get to Jacobs."
"Oh, come oooon." Blair was dangerously close to whining.
Rafe rolled his eyes and faced his partner. "H. I respect the need for every available man to be here, but if I have to listen to this all afternoon I'll shoot Jacobs myself just to get out of here sooner."
Henri chuckled. "Yeah, all right. Go on and play, Blair. Just don't talk to strangers, and be back before dark."
Blair jumper into the air happily. "Yes! Thanks, Rafe! I'll be back at the end of the rally, kay? Great." He ran off before they could answer.
Brown glanced over at Rafe as the two men started walking again. "You do realize that if something happens to him, you're the one that has to answer to Jim."
Rafe spun immediately. "Blair? Blair, get back here!"
Brown laughed and swung his partner back around, not stopping his steps. "Too late, Rafe."
The younger man gave a melodramatic groan. "Great. My last day on earth is gonna be spent listening to some guy give a speech."
Blair didn't return after the speech. He didn't meet Rafe and Brown where he knew they would be, by the leaving senator's limosuine. And he was nowhere in sight as the crowds pushed their way out the doors.
Rafe couldn't hide his apprehension as the minutes ticked by. "Great. Great great great. Jim's gonna kill me. Simon's gonna kill me. Jim's gonna kill me. Great."
"You said Jim twice." Brown pointed out absently, scanning the sea of faces.
"Yeah? He'll kill me twice. He'll just come strolling up, say something calm and cool like, 'Let the kid go off by himself in that crowd, huh, Rafe?' And then he'll rear back and kill me. He'll stand over my corpse and glare until my spririt is scared back into my body, and then he'll kill me again. Just for the fun of it. He's gonna kill me, H. This is just great."
Brown sighed. "He's not gonna kill you, man. He'd have to go through me."
"Jim? Brown, you know I love you, man. You know I've got the ultimate faith in your abilities, and I'd put my life in your hands. But you want me to believe Jim would let you stop him? And consider that he's going to be in someone-hurt-and-or-looked-crossways-at-and-or-thought-bad-thoughts-about-my-par tner mode."
Brown grimaced. "I see your point. Maybe I can drop you off at your pad before I go back to the station and have to tell Jim we lost Blair."
Rafe shook his head. "Won't help. He'll be standing in front of you one second, then he'll vanish in a puff of outrage, and reappear in my apartment with gun in hand."
They walked slowly around to the other side of the double doors as they talked, and Brown's eyes caught on a gathered crowd hovering around one small area. "Hey, Rafe?"
"-then he'll grab whatever potted plant he happens to materialize next to and he'll very calmly and very rationally pound it into my skull. You do hear me, right, H? You do know tomorrow you're gonna have a partner with a fern for a head?"
"Rafe? Stop babbling for a minute."
"What is it?"
"What's the first thing you think about when there's a crowd gathered somewhere and Sandburg isn't in sight?"
Rafe answered easily. "That Blair's in the middle of the crowd, of course. Probably fighting or hurt or passed out or bleeding or-"
"Crowd, ten o clock." Brown gestured.
Rafe glanced over, and stopped mid-rant. Without another word he and Brown took off, making their way quickly through the dwelling people, and bursting into the center of the crowd.
"Hey, guys. Oh, was I supposed to meet you? I kinda got held up."
The two detectives looked at the man in silence.
Blair stopped handing the papers to the nearby people, his eyes growing confused. "What's wrong? Hey, are you two okay?"
"Blair. What are you doing?" Henri spoke very deliberatly.
Blair brightened. "Oh, man! It was the coolest! Melvin Jacobs himself asked for volunteers to give these flyers out, and he was looking right at me. So I got these from teh campaign manager. Just let me get rid of the stack, and we can book."
Blair passed out the rest of the brightly-colored political statements, and brought the last two to his waiting, silent friends. "Here, you guys. You can read some of what you missed playing bodyguard."
Henri took the offered paper, and Rafe was frozen, blinking at the observer.
Blair's smile cracked. "Rafe? You okay? C'mon, what's the matter?"
Rafe reached out slowly and took the pastel sheet of paper. He blinked at it for only a second before ripping it in two even pieces and throwing them over his head, wheeling and stalking away, muttering something about how people who were accidents waiting to happen shouldn't try so hard to tick off the friends they had.
Blair looked after him in surprise. "What's up with that?" he asked Henri, a slightly hurt look in his eyes.
Henri shrugged easily. "He's pissed off because he has a fern for a head."
"Wha?" For once, Blair Sandburg was last for a response.
Henri grinned and clapped the young man on the arm, marching him firmly away from the other people in the crowd. "Nevermind, Sandburg."
Okay, so I've gone back and reread the group theme, about Blair passing out in front of two guys from the office, and it occurs to me that maybe passing out didn't mean passing out, you know, flyers. To people. In front of the guys. But hey, after all the fainting Blair's been put through cuz of you, Jules, I figured we owed him a misinterpretation of the sentence.
Hope you liked it, anyway, Jules. And yes, sibs, it DID have to be Rafe and Brown. The guys are hanging around my place so much these days, they get hurt if I don't write about em.
I actually wrote a short one! Hope you feel better soon, Julie!
Poison Kisses by CarolROI
Blair Sandburg slid his arm around Diandra Pallas' waist as they entered the municipal arena. Usually the venue was home to Cascade's pro basketball team, the Jags, but this weekend it was filled with mobile homes, landscape contractors and local businesses for the annual Home and Garden show. Hundreds of booths filled the arena floor, all of them handing out samples, or brochures, or free balloons with the company slogan.
Many local charities were holding raffles, and a local dealership was giving away a brand new SUV to support the United Way. Cascade PD was holding their own fundraiser in their booth for the Police Athletic League. Jim had volunteered Blair to help out, but had avoided telling him exactly what was involved. Gazing at the banner draped across the top of the stand, the anthropologist could see why.
"Kiss a Cop and Help a Kid" was painted in big bold letters. He groaned. A warm voice in his ear whispered, "I happen to think you are verrrrry kissable." Dee nipped lightly at his earlobe.
Flushing, Blair growled under his breath, "Jim is dead. He is so dead."
"Sandy! Dee! Glad to see you made it," Megan Connor greeted them. "I've got the schedule right here. You're not up till after lunch, Sandy. Rafe has the first shift in the booth, along with Lois Wilson from traffic. You and I start at 1:00." A grin split her face as she spotted Ellison coming up behind the couple. "Hi, Jim. You're up from 4 to 6."
Blair turned around and punched his partner lightly in the arm. "What did you do to me? I can't kiss a bunch of strange women! I'm taken, remember?" His gaze shifted to Dee, the amused expression on the Immortal's face filling him with dread.
"I don't mind, Lobo. After all, it's for a good cause." She shifted her attention to Megan. "How much, Pajara?"
"Dollar a kiss," her companion replied.
Digging in her pocket, Dee came up with a ten, and tossed it into the jar on top of the booth. "I know it's a little early for your shift, but think you can pucker up for PAL?"
Jim shook his head. "That was very bad, Dee."
She shrugged, her blue eyes still on her lover. "You know I'm a bad girl."
Blair took a step towards her, figuring he might as well get to enjoy this kiss. If he knew what was good for him, he wouldn't enjoy any of the others. Pulling Dee into an embrace, he whispered, "And I'm your bad boy," before pressing his mouth to hers. Losing himself in the warmth, the love, they shared, he didn't break the kiss until the sound of applause and wolf whistles penetrated his brain. Releasing her, he took a look around, finding a small crowd of show goers smiling at them. A long line was now forming at the booth, and money was changing hands.
"Great demonstration, Chief," Jim laughed, "just what we needed to draw customers. Look, I've got security detail until my turn in the booth. I'll check back with you later." Giving them a wave, the tall detective disappeared into the crowd.
Dee ruffled Blair's hair affectionately. "What do you say we go get something to eat, and you can drop me off at Rainier's display?" Nodding his agreement, they headed for the food court.
One o'clock found Blair taking his place in the booth alongside Megan. A group of giggling high school girls came through first, and Blair found himself suddenly very busy. There was a small lull after they strolled off, still laughing and peeking back at the longhaired grad student.
Megan, who'd had nothing to do but watch Blair squirm, handed him a tissue. "What? Is my nose running?" he asked.
"No, but you have about five shades of lipstick on you."
"Oh, thanks." He wiped his mouth, then glanced across the large display floor to Rainier's booth. Dee looked up from explaining a brochure to a young woman, as if she felt his attention. Giving him a smile, she turned back to her customer.
Connor stifled a laugh, and Blair frowned at her. "Now what's so funny?"
"You, mate, and her. I never thought I'd see the day you couldn't even look at a beautiful woman, let alone not enjoy kissing her."
"Megan! Those were high school girls, jail bait! Besides, I--" His gaze traveled back to Dee. "As far as I'm concerned, there is no one else."
The Aussie patted his shoulder. "Well, I'm happy for you." A young man walked up to the stand and shyly held out a dollar bill. Taking it from him, Megan dispensed a kiss, then watched him go on his way.
An hour later, Blair was about ready to pack it in. Who knew kissing could take so much out of a guy? He ran a tissue over his lips, giving the colors smeared on it a curious look. He'd never really thought about lipstick before. It did seem to come in a lot of different shades. Tossing the tissue in the trash, he planted his elbow on top of the table and rested his head on his hand, running his fingertips lightly over his mouth. It might have been his imagination, but his lips felt a little swollen. He was just about to ask Megan for her opinion when a couple of his students from Rainier approached.
"Hi, Amy, Michelle," he said.
"Oh hi, Mr. Sandburg. What are you doing over here in the--" Amy looked up at the sign. "Kiss a cop?" She began rummaging through her purse. "Michelle, you got a dollar?"
Fifteen minutes, several dollars and kisses later, the co-eds wandered off. Blair took a step back from the counter, groping blindly for a chair. He really didn't feel good now. His mouth tingled and burned, and he was finding it hard to catch his breath.
"Sandy? You all right?" Megan peered at him intently.
Blair opened his mouth to speak, but nothing except a wheeze came out. He clutched at the detective's arms, struggling to draw air into his lungs. Spots danced in front of his eyes, and he felt himself falling, crashing into the table as he went down, the jar of receipts tipping, dollar bills raining over him.
"Sandy! Someone get a doctor! " The words were barely out of her mouth before two Sentinels were leaping over the front of the booth.
"What happened?" Jim barked, bending over the guide.
"He looked kind of pale, like he couldn't breathe, then he just passed out." Megan moved out of the way, as Dee's hand went to Blair's throat.
"His air passage is swollen, and his lips are too." She bent a little closer, sniffing. "Do you smell that?" she asked Jim. "Smells like--lotion--hand lotion--"
"Lanolin! We need a medic over here!" Jim yelled. He placed a hand under the unconscious man's neck, tilting his head back, trying to open his airway as far as possible. Two paramedics from the booth on the opposite side of the aisle rushed to help out. "Hang on, Chief, help is here."
The soft weight of something warm against his forehead and a light pressure on his hand woke Blair. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking a couple times to clear the blurriness. Jim's face came into focus, his cool blue eyes gazing at him worriedly. The grip on his hand tightened, and Blair glanced down to see the Sentinel's fingers wrapped around his own.
A light touch on the top of his head caused him to turn his attention to the side. Dee stood next to him, her hand in his hair. Bending slightly, she kissed his forehead. "How are you feeling, Lobo?" she asked.
"Mmmm," he managed, looking around the room curiously. He recognized it as an ER treatment area from his previous trips to the hospital. That was a good sign; he wasn't in a regular room. Maybe they'd let him go home. "What happened to me?"
"You had an allergic reaction, Chief."
The guide frowned, his brow creasing in puzzlement. "Allergic reaction? There's only one thing I'm allergic to and that's wool--"
"And its byproducts, like lanolin," Dee said. "Turns out one of the companies at the show was a cosmetic manufacturer, and they were giving out samples of moisturizing lipstick, containing--"
"Oh, no, don't tell me--"
"You guessed it, Chief, lanolin. Every time you planted a kiss on a woman wearing some of the sample lipstick, a little got absorbed into your system. Finally it was enough to cause you to go into anaphylactic shock. Good thing the EMT booth was right there. They were able to treat you before it got too serious." Jim gave his partner a smile.
Blair shook his head, his free hand reaching for Dee's. "Man, I am never going to live this down. Felled by a kiss."
Dee raised an eyebrow at him. "And that's a bad thing?"
He grinned up at her. "Not when it's your kiss. And I think yours are definitely going to be the ones I'm sticking to from now on, angel."
Jim gave him a gentle tap on the head. "Bout time you realized that. Takes a load off my mind to know you've finally decided to settle down."
"Hey! What business is it of yours?" Blair protested.
"I'm your 'Blessed Protector', remember? It's a lot easier to look out for you when I know where you'll be."
The guide rolled his eyes. "Can I go home?"
"Yes, the doctor said you should be fine, just to take it easy for awhile." Both Sentinels offered him a hand up from the gurney.
Blair stood up a little unsteadily, one hand going around Dee's waist, and the other gripping Jim's shoulder. "Thanks, guys. When was the last time I told you how lucky I am to have the two of you in my life?"
"Oh, I don't know," Jim replied as the trio headed for the door, "but I think Dee and I are the lucky ones. Don't you agree?" His eyes met the Immortal's over the top of Blair's head.
"Completely, Jim." She gave Blair a squeeze. "My life would very empty without you in it."
"So would mine, " Jim echoed. "So no matter how much the guys beg, don't let them talk you into kissing any strange women again. Though your shift in the booth did bring in the most donations--"
"It did! Wow." This time it was Dee's turn to rap him on the head. "Okay, okay, I promise!"
Laughing, the three friends headed home.
This is my gift fic for Julie. So glad to hear you're doing better! I haven't read any of the other stories yet (wanted to get mine done first) so I hope there aren't too many Hallowe'en ones!
Tricked no Treat
Major Crime was hosting the station's Hallowe'en party this year. Blair had promised Jim he would be on time to help with the Hallowe'en party and was running late, again. He had posted the grades for his classes today and several students wanted to speak to him about their marks. Even though he had skipped lunch, he was still a half hour late getting to the station.
Blair hardly gave the elevator doors a chance to open before he was through them and on his way to Jim's desk. Dropping his backpack under the chair, Blair headed to the break room to see how the decorating was coming along.
Jim was standing on a chair, hanging spider webbing in the corners while Megan and Simon decorated tables. Brown and Rafe were busy hanging streamers from the doorframe to look like a curtain.
"Well, well, well. Look who finally got here." Jim said with a grin. "What kept you, Sandburg?"
"Some of the worst excuses you've ever heard for bad marks on a test, man. I actually had one student tell me he couldn't study because there was a Godzilla marathon on cable and he bet a guy he could stay awake through the whole thing. Can you believe it?"
"You have to admit, it's at least an original excuse for not studying."
"Great. Instead of anthropology, he should go into the theater; then he'd have an audience who'd appreciate good story-telling." Blair replied. "Anyway, I'm here now. What still needs to be done?"
"As usual, Sandburg your timing was perfect." Simon said. "You're just in time for the work to be done. The first wave of people should be arriving soon. I'm assigning you lookout duty."
"Sure, Si- I mean Captain." Then with a cheeky grin on his face, Blair added, "What's the secret code word to get back in?" He ducked through the crepe paper curtain to check the elevator.
The first wave of partygoers was getting off the elevator as Blair came around the corner. Blair caught a glimpse of blonde hair and told himself he was imagining things. Lack of sleep and food had been known to do that. He was feeling a little light headed, but decided it was nothing he hadn't dealt with in the past and ignored it. Low blood sugar was a constant of student life.
//There's plenty of food in the break room; some of it's reasonably healthy. Not a problem. Get something to eat, hang around for a while and make sure Jim can handle the party. Then head home to finish that essay for class tomorrow. No problem. //
Blair headed back to let everyone know the party was about to start and saw the tall, blonde woman heading in the same direction wearing some kind of silver outfit.
"Here they come." Blair announced.
To say the least, the party was a success. People came and went and everyone had a good time. Blair tried several times to get close enough to the food tables to snag something, but invariably, a conversation would get involved and he was having too good a time to break away and get something to eat.
Jim, however, noticed that Blair was acting strange. His words were slurring every so often and he couldn't seem to hold to the conversation. As he came closer to his Guide, he noticed minute muscle spasms and just how pale Blair was getting. // Damn, the kid's been working both ends of the candle again and is about to get burned. //
"Hey, Chief. Why don't we head on out." When Blair turned to see who was speaking to him, Jim noted the glassy looking eyes and reached for Blair's closest arm to steady him.
Blair turned to Jim and saw the blonde woman again. This time he saw her face and couldn't believe his eyes.
"No, it's not possible." The words were barely a whisper, and if Jim hadn't heard them, He wouldn't have been prepared. One second Blair was standing, albeit with a helping hand from Jim, and the next, his eyes had rolled back and he was heading for the floor.
Catching Blair with one hand, Jim turned to see what had caused Blair to faint. Standing behind Jim was Karen from the Payroll office looking like a cross between a woman and a machine. A blonde wig covered her normal brown hair, and a mask covered her face. Jim knew it was Karen was by seeing the missing tip of one of her fingers on her left hand; something Blair had obviously missed. The mask bore more than a passing resemblance to Alex Barnes. The resemblance along with a probable lack of food, easily explained his friend fainting. Jim turned back to his partner in time to hear him come around.
"Do you think he needs to go to the hospital, Jim?" Simon asked kneeling beside his best team.
"No hospital, I'm fine." Blair said opening his eyes.
"You and I have different definitions of fine here, Chief. You just passed out in the middle of the party. I really think you need to see a doctor."
"No doctor." Blair glanced toward Jim and saw the blonde woman reaching over Jim's shoulder with a wet towel. Jim heard the man's heartbeat accelerate as he reached out for the cloth.
"Whoa, Chief, calm down, its just Karen. "
Blair looked at the woman again and this time he could see the mask and wig. Slumping back down on the floor, Blair closed his eyes with a groan. "You guys must think I'm pathetic."
"Nah. You're just tired and you haven't been eating. I swear, Sandburg, you have got to slow down some. For someone who's so health conscience, I'd think you of all people would know the importance of eating and sleeping occasionally." Jim said helping his partner to unsteady feet. "Simon, if you don't mind, I think Sandburg needs to go home."
"Go already. Things are pretty quiet today for a change. Sandburg, I don't want to see you in here for the next two days. I'm sure I can find some paperwork for Jim to occupy his time. Get some rest." Simon said as he made shooing motions towards the door.
Simon turned back to see Karen taking off her mask looking bewildered. "Captain? Is there something wrong? I didn't think this was that scary a costume to make someone faint."
"It's a long story." //And one I hope never to re-live. //
This is for you Julie, keep fighting girl!
Also, I don't know if any of Julie's family is with her, but I know they must going through positive Hell right now. Just wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Simon Banks smiled, looking up as one part of his best detective team opened the door to his office walked in.
"Jim, nice to see this morning. Here, have a cup of this new blend I just picked up." Turning and reaching for the pot of coffee behind his desk, he poured a cup. Handing it to him, Simon looked around. "Where's your partner?"
Jim Ellison was somewhat taken aback. It wasn't often that his captain offered to share his private stock of coffee with anyone. "Sandburg went up to see Carol Smith in record keeping. Her son is taking a course at Rainier and he's lending him some of his books. I must say sir, you're certainly in a good mood this morning. What's up?"
"You're right about the good mood. I got in this morning and found out that they finally caught Earl Badger."
"Badger? You're kidding, we've been after him for months. How?"
"Dumb luck really. Bunch of patrol cars had a routine roadblock set up. You know, checking for expired registrations and inspections. Who should drive through but Badger. Luckily, Edwards and Kinslow recognized him. He went down without a fight, too."
"Good, we must have at least a dozen robberies to charge him with."
Simon nodded. "Not to mention attempted murder for the jewelry store owner that he shot. I think it's safe to say that he'll be a guest of the state for quite a while."
The ringing of the captain's telephone interrupted any reply Jim might have had.
"Banks... What! When? How the hell that happen? Okay, I'll alert my people and we'll start searching."
Already standing as he hung up the phone, Simon answered Jim's questioning gaze. "That was booking. Badger just grabbed someone's gun and escaped!"
Rushing past Jim, he moved into the bullpen, the Sentinel right behind him.
Blair Sandburg glanced at his watch as he got onto the elevator and pushed the button. He had only planned on dropping off his old textbooks to Carol and then meet Jim, but they had started talking and both lost track of time.
'Oh well, it's not like anything is really going on today. Just a bunch of reports to be completed and filed. So much for that rollercoaster ride.' It wasn't until Blair had joined the Cascade Police Department as a full-fledged detective that he had realized just how much paper-work was involved.
The elevator had moved two floors and was now stopping to pick up another passenger. The man started at the sight of Blair and quickly moved onto the car, hitting each button as he entered.
"Hey, man, what's up. I gotta get to work here." Blair protested.
As the man turned to look at him, Sandburg saw the wild look in his eyes, but more importantly, the gun the man was holding in his hands.
Backing away, Blair held his hands up. "Okay, just calm down here. Let's not get excited. You just go ahead and ride to whatever floor you want."
As the elevator came to a stop at the next floor, the man said, "Sorry, this is my floor."
Stepping off the elevator, he turned and fired the gun.
Jim, Simon and the rest of Major Crimes stood impatiently in front of the elevators, waiting for one of the cars to arrive. Earl Badger had last been seen hopping onto the one of the elevators on the tenth floor. But that car had stopped at every floor in between. All entrances had been sealed off, but no one knew the whereabouts of the escaped felon.
The elevator finally stopped and the doors slowly opened to reveal only Blair Sandburg leaning against one of the walls.
As Blair slowly made his way out of the elevator, a collective sigh of exasperation went up from the group standing there. It had been too much to hope that Badger would have stayed on the elevator, but it would have made everyone's job so much easier.
Jim addressed his partner. "Chief, I'm glad you're here. We have a crisis. A robbery suspect brought in early this morning has escaped. They need our help in finding him."
"Tall guy, curly hair?" Blair asked weakly.
"Yes!" Simon answered, "That's him! Earl Badger."
"He's on the ninth floor, or at least he was a couple of minutes ago."
"How in the hell do you know that? Never mind, come on, Sandburg, let's go." Jim said, moving toward the open elevator.
Blair reached out a hand to stop him. Grabbing onto the Sentinel's sleeve, he said feebly, "Jim, no, wait, please."
The touch grounded Jim, and brought his attention from the missing criminal to his partner. He noted sickly pallor on Blair's face, and the staccato beat of the young man's heart. His sense of smell latched onto the sudden overwhelming odor of blood, and his gaze traveled down his arm to where his friend clutched at his shirt, leaving a bloody hand print.
"God, Blair, what happened?"
Reaching down, Sandburg pulled back his flannel shirt to reveal a bloody stain that was steadily spreading across his blue T-shirt. Looking up at the group of people standing around him, now staring at him in horror as the situation hit them, he gave them a weak smile. "I guess I already had a run in with our fugitive."
With that, he swayed slightly and collapsed, losing consciousness as he began to fall. His last sensation before he passed out were strong arms grabbing him and slowing his descent, and Jim's panicked voice yelling his name.
Jim could tell by the loosening grip on his arm that Blair would soon pass out, so he was ready when the young man started to fall. Easing him down to the floor, he moved the fabric out of the way to get a look at the wound.
The group behind him sprang into action. Megan moved toward the bullpen, yelling to Rhonda to call an ambulance. Joel ran to another telephone to alert the rest of the officers in the building as to where Badger had last been seen. Rafe and Brown ran to the break room, looking for something that Jim could use to stop the bleeding.
Simon knelt down next the his detective, placing his hand on Jim's shoulder. "How bad is it?"
Grabbing one of the cloths that Brown had found, Jim applied it to the wound. Anxiously, he answered. "I don't know Simon, it doesn't look like he's lost a lot of blood yet. But, it's hard to tell, the bullet could have hit any number of organs."
Megan appeared behind him, standing next to Rafe, "Ambulance is on the way."
Jim looked at his fallen partner, still trying to stem the flow of blood. "You hear that Chief, help's on the way. Just hold on!"
A change in the beeping of the heart monitor woke Jim from his fitful sleep. Peering at the machine, he smiled. Blair would soon be regaining consciousness. Reaching toward the bed, he grabbed his friend's hand and gave it a squeeze. The young man had been unconscious since the surgery he had undergone to remove the bullet. Luckily there had been no damage to any internal organs, and the surgery had gone smoothly. They had moved Blair from recovery to a regular room.
The rest of Major Crime had stayed until they had received word that their newest member would be okay, then returned to the station. Jim had insisted on staying with Blair until he woke up. He had received word from Simon later that afternoon that Badger had been recaptured. He had been found hiding in a storage room on the ninth floor.
Jim sighed. Talk about dumb luck. If it wasn't for Blair, there was a good chance that they might never have found the escaped man. But he'd much rather that the man had escaped than his partner getting hurt. God how many times had Blair been in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Shaking off the depressing thoughts, he sighed again. None of that mattered. What mattered is that Blair was going to be all right. They had survived another crisis, or as Blair would put it, another ride on the rollercoaster that had become their lives.
Leaning over the bed, Jim took Blair's hand in both of his. "Well, I don't know about you kid," he whispered, "but I'm getting a little sick of these thrill rides. What do you say we try out the merry-go-round for a change, huh?"
SO good to hear your good news! Keep fighting, pal! We love you!
I Did WHAT?
by Enola Jones
"He's in here!"
The cry had no sooner ripped from Jim's lips than he and Rafe were barrelling through the door. They found Blair in the corner, bound and gagged, fighting to get free.
Rafe freed him while Jim looked around. When he had the gag off, Blair was able to articulate the warning he'd been trying to shout. "It's a TRAP, Jim! A BOMB!"
Jim nodded. "Come on!" With Rafe supporting Blair, they ran outside. The building went up seconds after their feet hit the threshold.
A voice boomed from around them. "Smart! You got him! Now you face me though....find me if you can!"
Jim looked around. "I've got him pinpointed," he hissed, heading for another building and beginning to climb the fire escape.
"Careful, Jim..." came Blair's whispered admonition.
Minutes later, over the radio came a maniacal laugh. "Your officer is mine!" the madman laughed.
"NO!" Blair yelled. He raced for the building, Rafe right behind him, Simon thundering behind them both.
Fifteen minutes later, Brown was showing the coroner where the madman's body lay. Blair was finishing pulling Jim from a Zoneout while Rafe, Megan and Simon guarded them from prying eyes.
"What...what happened?" Jim asked softly.
"You missed all the fun," Rafe said with a grin. "Idiot called that he'd got you ---"
"That's when we figured you'd Zoned --" Megan put in.
"And Blair shot up the ladder like a guided missile," Rafe went on.
"He found you and the perp threatened him with a gun," Brown said, walking up.
"And he picked up a piece of rebar and hit him upside the head!" Rafe chuckled. "Gun went flying!"
"And it went off when it landed," Megan said. "Shot the perp right in the heart!"
Blair and Jim had both been listening with jaws slowly heading South. At long last, Blair said, "I...did...WHAT?"
"You did it all yourself!" Simon grinned, clapping Blair's shoulder. "Good work, Cadet Sandburg!"
Jim looked wide-eyed at Blair, who looked wide-eyed at Jim.
Then the adrenaline rush letdown happened. Blair's eyes rolled back and he sank bonelessly at Simon's feet.
Julie: If I can suck it up and force myself to write my dues story early for you, the least you can do is get better!! Hmmm. Too harsh? Okay, how about this.? As much as you aggravate me with your stories in pieces, leaving me at the perfect cliff hanger spots, the least you can do is get well enough to finish the last one you started. Hmmmm. Still not right.
How about this: Please get better, Julie. While we have never met nor even corresponded much (other than my begging you for more parts), you have occupied a lot of my thoughts this last week. Please fight. We're all waiting for your return. Know that you are in our constant thoughts and prayers and are missed.
Warning: Not beta'd. All mistakes are my own. But I knew if I didn't send this out tonight, I wouldn't.
by K (Kathleen)
"Why do criminals always go up instead of down?" Detective Blair Sandburg muttered under his breath as he began climbing the scaffolding before him.
Ernesto Rodriguez, right-hand man to Diego Menundo Salvarez, had been spotted shopping in Oak Park Mall in downtown Cascade. A rookie cop shopping for his wife's birthday over his lunch break had spotted and recognized Rodriguez from his morning roll call rap sheets and called it in to his superiors. Whereupon, he was ordered to follow, but not to attempt to detain Rodriguez until backup arrived. As there were numerous warrants for his arrest and knowing if he could be made to talk chances were they could bring down Cascade's main pipeline of drugs from South America, the Chief of Police had ordered every spare officer pulled off their current assignment for the manhunt.
Ernesto had quickly felt the net closing around him and realizing that all exits from the mall were blocked had, for reasons unknown, headed for the roof with the detectives from Major Crimes hot on his heels.
While grateful the whole incident hadn't turned into a hostage situation or a blood bath, Blair couldn't help but wonder if there was a genetic reason for fleeing upward in panicked criminals.
The scaffolding ran like a huge metal spider web over a glass window which steeped like a child's drawing of a roof top over the mall's common area. Because of leakage problems during Cascade's numerous rainstorms, the mall owners had decided to put a more dome like structure over the opening. While the scaffolding was up, the project had not yet gotten underway.
Blair permitted himself the briefest of looks down and had not been surprised to see a crowd gathering beneath the window watching the pursuit. At least that was a psychology he understood.
"C'mon, Ernesto. You have no where else to go," Jim boomed out as Blair took several steps onto the metal mesh of bars. Joel, Rafe and Henry had the other possible exits off the scaffolding covered. Slowly, as by some unspoken command, they all began moving slowly towards Rodriguez.
Rodriguez swirled around, desperate to find an escape route, but finding nothing. Realizing there was no where else to flee, he withdrew his pistol from his jacket. Chaos reigned as the officers began shouting for him to drop his weapon as they pulled their own out of their holsters.
"Muerte antes deshonora," Rodriguez shouted and pointed the gun at his temple.
"Jim!" Blair shouted as he realized that their prey was not going to fire at them.
Being the closest, the Sentinel jumped forward, struggling for the gun, desperately trying to keep his suspect from committing suicide or from killing him.
The gun went off and for a split second Blair's heart stopped, terrified that Jim had been struck. However, surprise was the only thought he had as the bullet entered his shoulder, spinning him with great force. He grabbed desperately for the railing, but realized he had missed before oblivion swallowed him whole.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Ellison," Joel whispered in near panic as Jim finished cuffing Rodriguez and pulled him to his feet.
Jim looked up at his friend and when he realized Joel wasn't looking at him, followed his gaze to his partner's inert form on the crackling glass beneath them.
"SANDBURG!" he bellowed as he raced to Taggert's position, but the form beneath them did not respond. "Blair, buddy, answer me." But silence was his only answer.
It didn't take sentinel sight or hearing to see the cracks in the glass spread out from his friend's fallen form like water spreading from a new found spring. He could see the horror stricken faces of the civilians beneath them looking up at the unfolding drama.
"Henry, give Rodriguez to the nearest uniform you can find and have the area beneath us cleared immediately," Joel shouted, taking charge, but then staring down at Blair's back trying to find any evidence of life.
"Is he alive?" Rafe asked no one in particular, trying to ignore Ellison as he paced back and forth in front of them like a caged panther, his eyes never leaving his partner.
"Jim. JIM," Joel yelled as he placed a hand on his friend's back. "Close your eyes and concentrate on Blair's heartbeat. Can you hear it?"
Jim started to comply then looked at his friend is disbelief.
"You don't really think we thought Blair was a fraud, did you?" Rafe asked with a scoffing smile, but returned his gaze down at the man in question.
Jim closed his eyes and focused on finding the precious sound. There. "Yes, he's alive," he whispered, "but unconscious."
"We'll deal with one thing at a time," Joel said quietly. "Rafe, any possibility you can maneuver that crane arm over here so that Jim can hang off it and reach Blair?"
"On it," the young detective shouted as he turned and ran for the vehicle.
"Jim. Jim. Stay with me," Joel said, putting his hand on Jim's arm.
"He's bleeding," the detective said quietly. "I can smell it, but I don't see any evidence of it."
"We'll get him to the hospital as soon as we get him up. Can you handle this, Jim? JIM!"
"I can do it."
"Good, because we're both going to get on the crane's arm when it comes. You concentrate on getting Blair. I'll concentrate on you," Joel said with a calmness that belied his pounding heart.
Jim looked up at his friend and nodded and watched as the arm swung towards them. The glass beneath them screaming its protest at the undue pressure on it. "We're almost out of time," Jim whispered as he climbed quickly onto the metal support of the crane. Joel climbed on slightly behind him, wrapping his arms around Jim's legs and the metal frame of the arm.
Jim motioned downward and the crane moved with tiny jerks towards the glass beneath them.
"He's coming to," Jim shouted as Blair's faint moans reached his ears above the cacophony of machine rumblings and crackling glass.
"Hold still, Chief. Don't move," Jim shouted again, his fingers barely grazing the back of his friend's jacket.
"'im?" Blair moaned, opening his eyes and seeing the scene beneath him. "Jim," he huffed out as he pushed himself off the glass in a panic, his natural survival instincts kicking in.
The glass cracked like the sound of Willie Mayes hitting a home run as it gave out the last of its support and began to crumble to the ground 30 feet beneath them.
Lunging forward, Jim wrapped his arms around his partner's chest, roaring his defiance at death as the other side of the glass roof followed its mate downward.
Rafe began moving the crane's arm as soon as he saw Ellison's arms clench around his partner. The sooner they were over solid ground the better.
"Jim, let me have him. Let me have him," Henry yelled when they were finally over the gravel covered roof.
Reluctantly, Jim released his partner and was impressed by how gently Brown cradled and lowered Blair to the ground. Joel released Jim's legs and watched his friend roll off the crane and kneel beside his partner. In an instant, the rest surrounded their fallen colleague.
"Bullet entered his shoulder, but went out the other side. It's a clean exit," Jim said quietly as pulled off his shirt and applied it firmly to both sides of the injured area.
Blair moaned again and looked up at his friends who stood and kneeled beside him. "I bet the next time I say I feel like a bug on the windshield of life you'll believe me," he smiled wanly and closed his eyes again.
"Next time, Hairboy? There better not be a next time. I'm getting too old for this shit," Henry exclaimed quietly.
"Bet you're starting to appreciate me. Huh, H?" Rafe laughed as he punched his friend in the shoulder.
Joel smiled as he gently gathered Blair in his arms and handed him to his partner. "What say you take your partner to the hospital and we'll head to the loft and start dinner. I'm tired of pretending not to know what we all know is true. I think it's time you two came clean."
"Did Joel say he was cooking?" Blair asked quietly, drifting back into consciousness briefly.
"That's what I heard," Jim said quietly as he headed for the door leading down, surprisingly not dreading the coming explanation.
"Count me in," Blair murmured quietly.
"How come you never carry me like that?" Rafe asked in a falsetto voice as he tried to jump into his partners arms.
"Cause you're heavier than crap. Get off me, man," Henry laughed as he pushed his friend.
Joel closed his eyes briefly and gave thanks. They had
made it through another day and Lord willing they would continue to make it
through the days. But with a sentinel and guide in the department, how could
they go wrong?