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Earlier | Later

Warnings, etc in Part 1



The rumpled old man saw the curly haired young man walking along the sidewalk. He looked like he was headed somewhere. He knew this was who the Malone family was looking for. He followed the young man at as discreet distance. He saw him go inside the abandoned liquor store on Chester Ave. He left the area and went to find someone to tell about what he knew. He could use the reward money.

Joey Richards smiled when one of the foot soldiers called in that a homeless man had spotted Sandburg and could take them to the building where he was hiding out in. Joey called in a few favors and soon had the means to eliminate Sandburg. They drove to the address where they could reward the old man.

Joey approached the man. He was just like every other homeless man in the city. No one would miss him. As a couple of his associates kept watch, Joey walked up to the man, pulled his gun and shot the man, leaving him dead just inside the alley about two blocks from the liquor store.

>>>>>>>>>>

Jim came out of his doze and immediately got to his feet. He had his gun out. The movement brought Blair awake and to his feet also.

"What's going on?" Blair could feel the tension in Jim's body when he touched his arm.

"I heard a noise. It sounded like a gunshot. I am going to check it out. You stay here."

"Consider the neighborhood, man. Gunshots are a common sound. It's probably nothing." Blair was trying to convince Jim to stay. There was no way Jim was buying it.

"I'll be careful. And you'll be safe as long as you stay here."

Blair bit his lower lip and held back replying. He nodded his head and went to get breakfast ready for them.

"I'll have something to eat when you get back."

"I'll look forward to it." Jim smiled at Blair before he left the building.

Blair tried not to let his imagination get the better of him. It was probably just a couple of rival gang members vying for control of the block. Jim would be back in no time.

>>>>>>>>>>

Joey Richards saw Detective Jim Ellison leave the abandoned liquor store. It was perfect and this was going to be too easy. He indicated for two of his companions to take care of Ellison while he and another buddy set the bombs. It wouldn't take too much to level the building and no one trapped inside would survive.

Jim had kept his hearing on Blair. It was a mistake as two men jumped him. One of them held him while the other beat him. After getting in several blows to his abdomen and stomach, one man pulled the knife. But it wasn't plunged into his body. The stronger of the two men held him.

"Before we kill you, we want you to see your witness die."

The color left Jim's face as he realized what was happening. While he was out here, someone else was getting to Sandburg. He struggled, trying to get away from the hold the man had on him. But it was next to impossible. About three minutes later, he watched in horror as the abandoned liquor store building blew up. Jim wanted to cry out, but he controlled himself. He knew Blair would not hear him. His only hope was that Blair had disobeyed him and left the building. Jim had the sickening feeling that hadn't happened.

Then, Jim saw Joey Richards approaching from the direction of the building. Instinctively, he knew the hit man had been responsible for the bombing. Joey nodded to the man holding the knife.

"No witnesses."

It was the last thing Jim heard as the knife was plunged into his stomach and he dropped to the ground. He knew it was a serious injury and he had no way of getting help. He was going to die here on the street, his last mission a failure.

>>>>>>>>>>

Simon Banks hung up the phone and went to the bullpen, seeing Henri Brown and Brian Rafe sitting at their desks. He had to bring them up to speed with the latest information. He tried to keep the emotion out of his voice.

"Brown! Rafe! I need both of you with me right now! There's been an explosion at an abandoned building on Chester Ave."

Brown looked up at that time. "Chester Ave? I know that for some reason. Yeah, that witness, Sandburg. Jim had us go there to get his things before he went into protective custody."

"Also, Ellison has been found nearby with a knife wound in his stomach. There was no indication that Sandburg was nearby."

"You don't think Sandburg…"

"No, Rafe. I do not think Sandburg did it. However, he may be in the downed building. I need the two of you at the scene with the bomb squad. If Sandburg is inside that building, I need to know what happened and whether or not he is still alive. I'll alert the District Attorney's office as to the initial report. Then I'm going to the hospital to see how Jim is."

"Right, Captain. What if Sandburg is inside that building? Do you…"

"Contact me right away. If he's dead, then I'll have to tell the District Attorney's office."

"Right, sir." Both Brown and Rafe got to their feet and left the bullpen. Neither man wanted to think that Sandburg was dead and that possibly Jim was seriously injured.

Simon went back into his office and called the District Attorney's office. He had to endure condemnation about risky practices and going outside established rules and regulations regarding potential witnesses and protective custody. Simon endured the lecture and then politely hung up the phone so he could get to the hospital to find out about his detective. He knew Jim wouldn't have exposed Sandburg to danger if it were at all possible. The syndicate must have found them, and the hit this time had been costly.

>>>>>>>>>>

Blair had heard the first explosion and knew that whatever Jim Ellison had said, he had to disobey the man. If he did not try to escape, he would die. He was sure Jim would forgive him. He ran towards the back exit. Before he could get out the opening, the second blast knocked him backwards and he hit his head as he hit the floor. He was dazed and was unable to move before the debris from the second blast fell on top of him. Buried alive, nothing he could do would change things. The pain radiated throughout his body. Minutes later, he lost consciousness; he was sure he would die. He was sorry he would never be able to help Detective Jim Ellison ever again.

Fire crews and rescue personnel showed up not long after the blasts. No one knew if anyone was inside the building. The report advised them that Detective Ellison from the Cascade PD was nearby with a knife wound in his gut. In addition, the report advised them that Ellison had a protective witness with him, a Blair Sandburg, who was missing. There would have to be a thorough search of the crumbled building.

Henri and Brian arrived shortly after the others. The search was just beginning through the rubble of the building. Both men joined in the search, hoping Sandburg wasn't at the bottom of the debris. It was slow going and still dangerous as some parts of the building was still standing, but precariously.

>>>>>>>>>>

Simon was sitting in the waiting room down the hall from the operating rooms, where the surgeons had taken Jim over an hour ago. The doctors had listed Jim as serious and had commented that he had lost a lot of blood. The wound had gone deep and cut through muscle. They weren't sure how much more damage there had been.

Simon had called Jim's father and brother, explaining about what had happened. Both were coming to the hospital as soon as possible. For the moment, Simon waited alone. He always knew this could happen, but had always hoped it wouldn't. So far, he hadn't heard any news about Sandburg. He wondered if the young man had been inside the building that was bombed. He may already be dead. Simon was hoping not, but the chances weren't good.

Simon knew who was responsible for this. However, he wanted irrefutable evidence before anything official happened. After all, this was the attempted murder of a police officer and the attempted murder of a state's witness. Maybe this was the straw that would break the camel's back and finally bring down the Malone crime family. After all, this was more than what they had done before. This had been open warfare against a witness and his protector, a police officer. Simon was sure it would be a major hit to the image of the syndicate once the truth came out. Hopefully a hit that would damage them.

>>>>>>>>>>

It took several hours, but finally several firefighters uncovered the body of Blair Sandburg. At first, they thought he was dead, until a faint pulse registered. Quickly, the paramedics administered what aid they could. They completely immobilized the body, citing several broken bones and trouble breathing. It took them about an hour before they were ready to transport to the hospital. Henri and Brian offered an official escort to the hospital. Just to make sure he made it.

En route to the hospital, Henri called Simon and relayed the information that they had found Sandburg and for the moment, he was alive. No one could guarantee the young man would survive. Henri didn't even understand how he had survived the blasts. He told Simon that Captain Taggart and the bomb squad were combing through the remains for any clues as to responsibility and identification of the ones responsible. He told Simon they were on their way to the hospital with Sandburg.

>>>>>>>>>>

A couple of officers found the rumpled old man dead in the alleyway two blocks from the building explosion. With the close proximity to the other activity, Homicide got the case, along with the Bomb Squad and Major Crime. No one knew if it was all related or not, but it was best to investigate it all together, just in case.

Detectives Dills and Crawford helped with the investigation after finding the old man. They represented Major Crime, since Ellison was incapacitated and Brown and Rafe were with Sandburg at the hospital. This was their chance to prove themselves to Captain Banks if they found the connection and real evidence.

>>>>>>>>>>

Henri and Brian sat in the waiting room after the paramedics rushed Blair into the Emergency Room when they arrived at the hospital. They had told the nurses and the doctor that they wanted to know about the young man when they knew. The nurse asked them if there was any family present for the young man. They said they didn't know, but would find out. Henri had found a phone and called into the station, asking Rhonda to find the folder about Sandburg that was probably on Ellison's desk. She had checked, had found the file. He asked about any listing for any relatives for Blair Sandburg. She looked and said there wasn't anything listed. Henri thanked her and hung up the phone. He told the nurse there was no family that he knew of. He explained that Sandburg was a protective witness in a murder case and that they needed to know his status as soon as the hospital personnel knew. The nurse assured him they would know.

It had been some time and still no word had come. They started to worry that Sandburg may not survive the blast and having the building fall on top of him. What Rafe and Brown knew of the young man, they had liked. It would be devastating if he died because of trying to do the right thing. Henri had told Brian about what he had learned about Sandburg, that he had been a college student before suffering a beating from a group of young men about his own age, and the fact that he was unable to continue his studies, finally ending up on the streets like so many other nameless, faceless people in the city.

>>>>>>>>>>

William Ellison and his youngest son, Steven, arrived at the hospital at about the same time. They walked into the waiting room at the same time.

"Mr. Ellison?" Simon got to his feet, walking over to the two men. "I'm Captain Simon Banks. Jim is under my command."

"William Ellison." He shook hands with Simon. "This is my other son, my younger son, Steven." Steven and Simon shook hands also. "What exactly happened to Jimmy?"

"He was on a detail with keeping a witness under protective custody. It was in conjunction with the Malone crime family and a shooting that took place a couple of weeks ago." Simon indicated for them to sit down, which they did. William and Steven sat by each other on the couch and Simon sat down in the chair opposite them.

"Why wasn't the witness held at the police department?" William was confused.

"It was a special circumstance, sir. We were keeping the witness safe. Everything was going just fine until the location of the safe house was leaked."

"You have a leak in the police department?" Steven Ellison raised his voice, incredulous that such a thing would happen.

"We're not sure. There is an internal investigation going on. Jim was trying to keep the witness safe, figuring he could outrun whoever was looking for them. But their luck ran out."

"What about the witness? Where is he?" William Ellison queried.

"From what I understand from two of my other detectives, he was found in the rubble of a building that was exploded near where Jim was found stabbed. I'm not sure about his chances of survival. I've been here waiting for word about your son."

"Jim takes his job seriously, Captain. I'm sure he did all that he could."

"I have to agree with you, Mr. Ellison." Simon got to his feet. "I should go check on the witness. See if he survived to the hospital. If you'll excuse me?"

"Of course, Captain Banks. We'll stay here to wait for word about Jimmy."

Simon left the waiting room. He went down to the Emergency Room, hoping to find out some word about Sandburg. He spotted Brown and Rafe there and walked over to them.

"Is there any word about Sandburg?"

Henri spoke up. "Not yet. They thought he was dead at the site. The debris buried him under. They finally got him stabilized and transferred here. We haven't heard anything yet. How's Jim doing?"

"He's still in surgery. His father and brother showed up and were in the waiting room. I thought I would come down here and find out about Sandburg. I best talk to the hospital personnel to make sure they don't release any information about Ellison or Sandburg. No use letting the Malone crime family in on the fact that they're both still alive."

Simon was able to talk to an administrator who assured him there would be no release of information about either patient except to family and to him. Simon went back to wait with Henri and Brian. He saw several hospital personnel go towards a certain examination room and wondered if that was where Sandburg was.

>>>>>>>>>>

"There's no way either Ellison or Sandburg survived, sir." Joey Richards stood in front of Donovan Malone's desk. Joey looked from Donovan to his sons -- Christopher, Sr., Matthew, Andrew and Nicholas. "I made sure Sandburg was inside the building when it was destroyed and Ellison was left bleeding on the sidewalk nearby after witnessing the explosion."

"Good job, Joey. You've earned yourself a vacation."

"Thank you, Mr. Malone. Without a witness, the case should be dismissed."

"I think you're right, Joey. Do you mind leaving? I need to speak to my sons."

"Sure, Mr. Malone." Joey left the office.

Once Joey was gone, Donovan Malone turned to his sons. "That should put an end to the cops interfering in our business."

"Are you sure about that, dad?" Andrew Malone spoke up.

"We run this town and no one, not even the cops, or the DA, is going to tell us otherwise." Donovan Malone was adamant.

"Yeah, c'mon, Andy! You know we run the city and the sooner they all realize that, the sooner we'll have everyone bowing to us." Nicholas was very much his father's son, echoing his father's sentiments.

"Yeah, but there's always going to be more cops like Ellison out there, wanting to go after us."

"Maybe not so many after this incident."

>>>>>>>>>>

The doctor came out of the examination room and walked over towards Simon, Henri and Brian. They got to their feet as the doctor approached.

"Are you here for Blair Sandburg?"

"Yes. I am Captain Simon Banks of the Cascade Police Department. These are two of my detectives, Henri Brown and Brian Rafe. How is Sandburg?"

"How is he connected to the police?" The doctor was reluctant to say any more.

"He is a protective witness. He was slated to testify in a trial starting next week."

"I can assure you he won't be testifying anywhere next week. He suffered major trauma to his body and as a result, he has several broken bones and a serious head injury. We are going to try to take him up to surgery and repair as much as we can. He'll be placed in Intensive Care afterwards."

"We're going to have to place him under an assumed name, doctor. We don't want him to attract attention here in the hospital."

"I told you, captain, he won't be testifying anytime soon."

"I know, doctor, but he may still be a target if certain people find out he's still alive."

"Okay, Captain Banks. I understand what you have to do. As long the hospital personnel know who he is."

Simon turned to Rafe and Brown. "I want the two of you to stay with Sandburg until I can arrange reliable protection for him. He's going to need it; especially if the word gets out that he's still alive."

"What about Jim, sir?" Rafe asked.

"I don't know how much Jim saw, so I think he'll be fine for a while. When he comes to, I'll find out what he saw and what he knows. Then we'll go from there. I'm going back to the station to find out the status of the investigation and see where we stand. I hope that we have something to link the Malone crime syndicate to all of this. I don't believe in coincidences."

>>>>>>>>>>

Detectives Dills and Crawford discovered that both the rumpled old man and Manny Torelli had died from shots from similar weapons. Both detectives noted that point and started to write out their preliminary reports. Captain Banks would find this very interesting and probably not a coincidence.

They had canvassed the area in all directions, but no one had seen anything useful. Several people they talked to had seen the old man around, usually begging for money, food, anything he could get from people. No one knew his name for sure, but the people told the detectives to ask around at the homeless shelters in the area. The detectives came up with a name -- Paul Jorgenson.

When Simon arrived at the station, Dills and Crawford gave their report to Simon. Simon listened to his men and shook his head afterwards.

"I want the two of you to stay on this and get everything relevant. Hopefully, the DA will issue warrants for us to arrest Joey Richards, again."

"Was Richards responsible for Ellison's injuries?" Dills queried.

"I haven't been able to talk to Jim yet. He's still unconscious. And I have Rafe and Brown sticking with Sandburg."

>>>>>>>>>>

His return to consciousness was not an easy one. Before he even tried opening his eyes, he could tell it was too bright in the room. He remembered something about control and dials, but the thoughts weren't clear in his mind. His head hurt and the pounding that was present seemed in accord with his heartbeat. He scrunched his eyes, closing them tighter, but the pain increased. He finally decided to take the chance and open his eyes. He did it slowly, discovering his sight blurry until he blinked a couple of times. A soft moan escaped.

After a few minutes, he heard movement off to the side. A hand touched his shoulder, gently squeezing.

"Jimmy? Are you waking up?"

It took great effort, but Jim moved his head to look at his visitor, his father.

"Hey…dad." Jim croaked the words out. Soon, a straw was in his mouth and Jim sucked in the cool water, coating his parched throat. Then, it was gone.

"Not too much, son. The nurse said a little. I have to let the staff know you've awoken."

"Wha… hap'en'd?" The fog was slow to clear from Jim's brain. He knew there was something he was forgetting.

William patted Jim's arm. "Take it easy, Jimmy. They need to check you. I'll talk to you afterwards."

Jim tried to relax and nodded his head. Several hospital personnel came in, asking him questions and poking and prodding him. He answered the questions the best he could. The pain throughout his body dominated his thoughts. The nurses promised him a pain shot after they finished with the exam. Jim could only moan and nod in agreement. Soon, relief arrived and Jim sank into oblivion.

William Ellison accepted the news from the nurse. His son was in a lot of pain and he needed the rest. It saved him from telling Jim an incomplete account of what happened to him. He decided to call Captain Banks and give him the news Jim had come to, at least marginally. He would leave it to Captain Banks to explain about what happened. He left Jim's room to contact Captain Banks.

>>>>>>>>>>

Rafe looked through the window into Blair Sandburg's ICU room. Blair just came from surgery. The doctor gave him and Brown the rundown of what Sandburg had endured in surgery. It was a wonder the guy was still alive. Rafe stared at the bandages surrounding Blair's head. He remembered the doctor mentioning the pressure build-up in Blair's head. There were no guarantees about recovery. Not even any mention of when he would regain consciousness.

Brown had gone to call Captain Banks to give him the news. Rafe was standing here, keeping watch, making sure no unauthorized personnel went into Sandburg's room. As he stood there, he hoped whoever was responsible, was caught and brought to justice. Sandburg came forward to do his duty. No way did he deserve attacks because of what he done.

Henri Brown came to stand beside his partner. He placed a comforting hand on Brian's shoulder. "You okay, Brian?" He gently squeezed the shoulder.

Brian didn't turn around. "No, I mean, look at him. He looks a little better than death warmed over. He didn't deserve the attacks on him. Did you contact the captain?"

"Yeah, he was coming back anyway. It seems Jim came to this morning. He said he would stop by after he talks with Jim."

"I hope the kid survives, Henri. He's been through so much in such a short time, not to mention his being homeless besides."

Henri patted Rafe's shoulder. "We'll be here to make sure he survives, partner."

>>>>>>>>>>

Simon Banks returned to the hospital, hoping to talk to Jim, to get his account of what happened. He greeted William Ellison when he arrived. Jim was a little agitated from what happened. Simon walked into the room and over to the bed. He was hoping Jim could give him the proof that Joey Richards and other members of the Malone crime syndicate were involved in the stabbing and the explosion.

Simon stood by the bed and he could see the pain lines across Jim's face. Simon patted Jim's arm. "Hey, Jim, are you awake?"

Two pain-filled, pale blue eyes opened to look at Simon. "Hey, Si -- mon. My dad said he called you."

"Yeah, he did, Jim. How are you doing?"

"Well, I remember what happened. Joey Richards and some of his buddies grabbed me and knifed me. It was after an explosion…" Jim paused, closing his eyes, taking a deep breath. "Is Sandburg alive?"

Simon heard the worry in Jim's voice. "Brown just called me and said Sandburg survived through surgery. I'm keeping Brown and Rafe on his room, just in case."

"I couldn't do anything…they took me by surprise." Jim stared straight ahead.

"We had another dead body nearby, an older homeless man by the name of Paul Jorgenson. Someone shot him with the same type of weapon as Torelli. If we find that weapon, then we have a chance to put Richards away for a long time." Simon noticed Jim staring straight ahead. "You okay, Jim?"

"He was my responsibility, Simon. If he dies, then I’ve not done my job. It told him we'd make it to him testifying."

"Jim, don't do this. It's not your fault. It's the Malone family. They are the ones to blame for this. They killed two people, and hurt both you and Sandburg. Place the blame where it belongs."

"You're right, Simon, but I'm just afraid Sandburg is going to blame me. Just an excuse for him to leave and go back out onto the streets."

"What do you mean, Jim?" The confusion was in Simon's voice.

"We were talking about things. There wasn't much else to do other than find out about each other. Anyway, I told him he might want to get help and try to return to the university. He was at least thinking about it. I just hate seeing such a young man wasting his life."

"You know, Jim, it is his life and his choice as to what he does and where he goes. Now that there probably won't be any trial, the DA's office will free him. You can't keep a hold on him."

"I'll see what he wants to do after he recovers. It will probably be a long time since most of the building buried him. He'll have to have somewhere to go in the meantime. He won't be able to live on the streets."

Simon smiled at Jim. "You really do care about him, don't you, Jim?" He saw the blank stare Jim gave him. "It's okay, Jim. I'm going to see if they will let me in to see him. I'll have Rafe or Brown come by to give you a rundown on Sandburg's injuries."

"Thank you, Simon. You're right, I do care."

>>>>>>>>>>

Simon sent both Rafe and Brown to talk to Jim about Sandburg's injuries while he got permission to go inside the room. He stood by the bed, watching as the respirator pumped air evenly into the still, pale body. It was the only movement. Bandages seemed to cover the young man completely, making him appear like a mummy. Simon knew about the pressure build-up inside Sandburg's head and the fact that now he was in a coma. There was guarded optimism amongst the staff of the ICU and Sandburg's doctors that he would recover. However, no one would say how long recovery would take, months, maybe even close to a year.

As he stood there, Simon remembered the young man in his office, adamant about not having Jim as his protector. Simon smiled with the bittersweet memory. It was surprising when Jim reported they were getting along. A pang of regret hit Simon when he realized Jim developed a real liking to the kid. Simon had to get all the facts together to put away the Malone crime syndicate.

He patted Sandburg on the arm. "You hang in there, kid."

>>>>>>>>>>

There were several surprises when Simon got back to the station. It was confirmed that the same gun killed both Paul Jorgenson and Manny Torelli. The bomb squad found traces of the explosive used to blow up the building. Tracking was ongoing to determine where the explosive came from. Captain Joel Taggart of the Bomb Squad assured Simon an answer was forthcoming.

However, the most shocking news was from the DA's office. A short time ago, Andrew and Christopher Malone turned themselves over to the DA's office, offering to give up evidence of the Malone crime syndicate in the nefarious dealings in Cascade, complete with documents and affidavits. In exchange, they wanted witness protection and new identities.

Simon knew the DA didn't need Blair Sandburg's positive ID of Joey Richards to put him away. Also, the DA didn't need Jim's account of what he remembered, although it would help put the nail in the coffin of the Malone crime syndicate and Simon was sure Jim wanted to do it, just to avenge the shooting death of his partner. Simon was pleased that neither man would have to endure a court trial and added scrutiny by anyone associated with the crime syndicate.

>>>>>>>>>>

Despite warnings from the doctors, Jim went to go see Blair. He had to be in a wheelchair and accompanied by a nurse at all times, but he conceded that to the doctors. He felt a genuine need to look in on Blair himself. It wasn't that he didn't trust everyone else who told him Blair was holding his own, but Jim had a need to see the young man.

Jim's shock at Sandburg's appearance was obvious when the nurse wheeled the detective into the room. Jim turned in his chair.

"Can I have a few minutes alone with him?" Jim practically pleaded with the nurse.

"For a few minutes. I'll be right outside the room."

"Thank you." Jim maneuvered the wheelchair a little closer to the bed. "Damn, Chief! You don't look much better than death warmed over. You need to survive here, Sandburg. I seem to remember you practically promised to help me with my senses. And to return to the university. I'm holding you to that."

Of course, there was no movement from the young man in the bed. Jim looked over the injuries and knew if Sandburg survived, it would probably classify as some type of miracle. Jim was starting to believe in miracles. After all, something had brought Blair to his attention and Jim felt safe enough with Blair to share his abilities, pleased Blair didn't think he was going crazy and there was really an explanation for it all.

Jim only remained a short time before he could feel the tiredness seeping away his strength. Surprisingly, the nurse was right there to wheel him back to his room.

"I'll be back again, Blair. You hang in there."

>>>>>>>>>>

The DA's office was having no trouble making the case against numerous members of the Malone crime syndicate, including Donovan Malone and his sons, Nicholas and Matthew. They weren't going to turn on their father. No amount of pressure from the other sons would make them do it. They would be loyal to their old man forever.

The warrants and arrests kept the Cascade police department busy for most of the rest of the week. Simon was unable to go by the hospital to check up on either Jim or Blair. He was able to make a stop when he found out William Ellison was going to take Jim home from the hospital. Jim was still waiting for his father and Simon was surprised Jim wasn't in his room. He asked one of the nurses there.

"Oh, he's probably up with that poor, unfortunate, young man in Intensive Care. He's been spending as much time up there as we allow him. From what I hear, he talks to the guy constantly. I suppose it doesn't do any harm."

"I suppose it doesn't. Thank you for the information."

Simon went up to Intensive Care and saw Jim standing outside one of the rooms. He was peering intently inside. Simon walked over to him. He saw all of the activity going on inside the room with doctors and nurses surrounding the bed.

"Something happen?" Simon inquired.

Jim turned to face his captain. "He started having convulsions, and then he stopped breathing. I don't know if they'll be able to bring him back." Jim turned back to look inside the room.

"I understand you're being released from here today?"

"Yeah, my dad is supposed to be here. The doctor won't let me drive." Jim didn't take his eyes off the room.

After a few minutes, a small smile crossed his face. "They got him back."

"How do you know that, Jim?" Simon was curious as to how Jim could possibly know something like that.

"I heard him come back." Jim didn't explain himself further and Simon didn't press him for a more thorough explanation. Jim didn't even realize he had said it that way. It was as if it was the most logical explanation and it needed no additions to it.

As the doctor left the room, Jim asked permission to go back inside the room to sit by Sandburg's side. The doctor said yes, so Jim walked inside, leaving Simon outside the room alone.

Simon observed how much Jim seemed to care about the young man. He knew over their time together, there had been a shaky friendship developing between the two men. It was the last person Simon thought Jim Ellison would become friends with. It just wasn't like Ellison to chum around with very many people at all, let alone an almost stranger he hadn't even known a month ago.

"What room is he in?" Simon turned at the voice behind him. It was William Ellison, Jim's father. "He just enjoys making me run all over this hospital."

William walked towards Blair's room, spotting Simon standing outside the room. "Captain Banks. They told me downstairs that my son is up here with that protected witness. Why don't you have officers on him?"

"It appears as if the DA won't need Mr. Sandburg to testify after all. Two of Donovan Malone's sons are providing enough evidence to nail the crime syndicate and most of their dealings in the area. We felt it was safe to remove the protection. Your son is also free from the DA's protection, although he'll probably still testify against Joey Richards, the one who set the bomb, had him knifed and probably killed Jack Pendergrast. I know Jim wants to see Richards put away for a long time."

"I should get him home. I'm sure the doctor doesn't want him to hang around the hospital all of the time."

William walked into the Intensive Care room, looking at the young man lying in the bed. There was no movement from the figure, even though Jim was talking constantly, softly to the unconscious man. William couldn't make out the words Jim was uttering to the man, but it sounded like a plea. William gently placed his hand on Jim's shoulder so as not to startle him.

"Jim? I've come to take you home. The nurses told me you were up here talking to Mr. Sandburg. I'm sure you'd like to stay, but you need your rest as much as he needs his."

Jim turned to look at his father. "I almost lost him, dad. He started having convulsions and he stopped breathing. They think he might have brain damage. The doctors won't know anything until he comes to. I should stay…"

"No, Jim. You need to go home. You can return tomorrow. I'm sure the personnel will take good care of him."

Jim patted Blair's arm one more time. "Yeah, you're right. You hang in there, Chief. I'll be back tomorrow."

Jim got to his feet, holding onto his father when he swayed slightly. "I must have sat there too long."

"Probably, son. Let's go." William gently led Jim out of the Intensive Care room and towards the elevator. Jim turned around one more time, looking at Blair's room.

>>>>>>>>>>

William had convinced Jim to come home with him instead of staying alone at the loft. That way, both William and Sally could look after Jim for any potential problems or setbacks.

Jim settled into his old room after Sally had changed the bed and dusted a little. He told his father that he was tired and needed a rest. Jim was surprised with how little stamina he had and wondered how he had been able to sit by Blair's bedside for several hours at a stretch. Of course, thinking about that as he lay on the bed, he knew the answer. It was because he was worried about Blair, about whether he was going to be okay, if he was even going to survive the blast from Malone's men. Blair sacrificed so much during this whole ordeal. Jim was still thinking about this as he drifted off to sleep.

Jim felt better after several hours of sleep. He came downstairs, finding Sally in the kitchen. She immediately fixed him a couple of ham sandwiches with Swiss cheese and had Jim sit down at the table. She poured him a glass of milk and sat it down by the plate of sandwiches.

"Thank you, Sally. You've always taken care of Steven and me. I've never thanked you for that."

"There's no need to thank me, Jim. I'm just happy that I was here for both of you."

"Yeah," mumbled Jim as he ate his sandwich. "I wonder if Blair ever had anyone to be there for him."

>>>>>>>>>>

The next day, Jim had his father drive him to the hospital to see Blair. William tried to dissuade his son, but Jim was adamant about seeing Blair.

"He's in a coma, Jim. The doctors aren't even sure when he's going to come to or if he'll regain consciousness."

"But he needs someone beside him when he does. He won't know where he is or why he's in the hospital."

"The nurses and the doctors can explain it to him, Jim."

"I just need to be there, dad. We developed a friendship when we were together. I need to find out what happens to him."

"Okay, Jim. But if you start getting tired, we're coming home."

Jim walked into the Intensive Care Unit room and over to the bed. William stayed outside, but observed his son in the presence of the young man. He had never seen Jim so friendly with anyone. Well, not since back when Jim was partners with Jack Pendergrast. The partners had been very close and Jack's murder had hit Jim hard. William had been witness to Jim's retreat into himself and then his devotion to his job, all work and hardly any down time.

Jim stood by the bed, looking down at Blair, looking for some difference in the young man. Blair's heartbeat came to Jim's ears, soft and erratic. Soon, the sound of the respirator pushing air into Blair's lungs drowned out the heartbeat. Jim shook himself and pulled back, not wanting to lose himself without his Guide to help him come back. Jim smiled at the thought. He had practically talked Blair into giving it a go, to go back to the university, to help Jim with his senses, to make something of his life, something more than living on the streets.

Jim reached out and placed his hand on Blair's arm. "You've got to come to, Chief. I need you. And I suspect that you need me as much. It's a two-way road, Blair. We can help each other. We can't have come this far just to lose everything."
Jim rubbed slightly up and down Blair's arm, not wanting to break contact with the man.

Jim wanted to know for sure that Blair was going to survive the explosion. He had read the initial reports from the officers on the scene, of how they found Blair under the rubble of the exploded building. Jim talked to the doctors, explaining that Blair had no one in Cascade to worry about his recovery. The doctors promised to keep Jim updated as to Blair's condition and gave him permission to stop in to see the young man.

Jim was silent on the ride back to his dad's house. William knew Jim cared about the young man. There had been the responsibility of keeping the young man safe from the Malone syndicate. In the end, injuries felled both men. William knew how seriously Jim took his duty and obligation as a police officer.

"You can't blame yourself, Jim," started William, as he pulled the car into the driveway. "There were more of them than you. Maybe the witness should have been in lockup or even under a unit of protectors."

"He asked specifically for me. Captain Banks and I thought it was a good idea. Not to bring attention to Blair. I should have known. I'm a trained detective. I promised Blair I'd get him to court to testify. I broke my promise. I even had him convinced to return to the university to continue his studies. It seemed as though he was some kind of young genius, starting at Rainier when he was sixteen. He received his B.A. in Anthropology and was planning on continuing with his master's and possibly his doctorate." Jim looked over at his father. "I thought I could help him, dad."

"Jim, you are only one person. You did everything you could to help that young man. I'm sure he doesn't blame you for what happened."

Jim got out of the car and walked slowly towards the house, followed by his father. William knew Jim wouldn't give up his guilt quite so easily. It would take time and the recovery of Blair Sandburg.

>>>>>>>>>>

Jim was on medical leave from the police department. He felt well enough to attend the initial hearing for Joey Richards and Donovan, Nicholas and Matthew Malone, along with many lower minions involved in the crime syndicate. He sat in the courtroom, watching as each person involved entered not guilty pleas. However, Jim knew that the DA had enough evidence to put them all away for the rest of their natural lives.

He left the courthouse, returning to his father's house. He was bushed from the day and decided to forego the hospital visit, especially since there didn't seem to be any immediate changes in Blair. He did call into the station and asked Brown if he and Rafe could contact Rainier University to see if they had any more information about how to find any relatives of Blair Sandburg. Jim couldn't imagine being in the hospital and not having anyone who cared knowing he was there.

Jim went into his father's study. He grabbed a book off the shelf and sat down in the oversized armchair. He started reading, but his concentration wasn't on the book. His thoughts kept returning to Blair. Jim had convinced him to return to the university and to try to resume his studies. Jim had successfully gotten Blair off the streets. He at least had him going in the right direction.

Jim closed the book and sat back in the chair, closing his eyes. He was tired and he just wanted to rest.

>>>>>>>>>>

It was two days later when Henri Brown called Jim back about his inquiries into Blair Sandburg's family. The university no longer had any older applications that would have stated addresses or contact information about Blair Sandburg. Henri wasn't one to be deterred, however. He and Rafe had gone to Rainier to talk to the professors there, seeing if any of them knew where they could find Naomi Sandburg, Blair's mother. No one seemed to want to talk to them, until they came across Dr. Eli Stoddard, the head of the Anthropology department.

Dr. Stoddard had tried keeping in contact with Blair after he left the university and had even offered him a place to stay after he was kicked out of his apartment. But he explained that Blair was independent and assured his professor that he would have a place to live within a short amount of time. Dr. Stoddard admitted losing track of Blair for a while, but he did know he was on the streets. He had the information to get hold of Naomi Sandburg. He had tracked her about half way around the world and lost her trail. He had given Henri all the information he had on Ms. Sandburg, hoping maybe the police would be successful where a university professor hadn't been.

"Have you started checking out what he gave you, H?" It would be a good thing if someone in Blair's family could be located.

"I'm having Brian start the tracking. Also, this Dr. Stoddard mentioned he was close to Sandburg and was wondering if he could go and see him in the hospital."

"I'm not Sandburg's doctor, H. If he were close to the kid, I'd say he'd be more than welcome to go see him. It might be best if someone other than me hang around waiting for the kid to come to."

"So, how much longer are you on medical leave, Jim?"

"I'm scheduled for a doctor's appointment this week and we'll see what he says then. I think that even after I come back, I will still probably be on restricted duty. Keep me updated on what you find out about Sandburg's mother."

"Will do, Jim. Take it easy."

"That's all I have been doing, Henri."

>>>>>>>>>>

Dr. Eli Stoddard walked into the small hospital room. He looked down at Blair there, so still and peaceful in the medical bed.

"Ah, Blair, my boy. How in the world did things get this far? I should have insisted you stay with me and maybe I could have kept you at the university with your studies. Now look at you."

Eli reached out and placed a hand on Blair's forehead, hoping for some type of response from the younger man. However, there was nothing. Blair remained still and silent.

"The doctors told me they are worried about brain damage. It wouldn't be the first time, though. I thought you had suffered brain damage after that attack on the streets four years ago. You were in the same predicament as you are now. When you come to, I'm going to insist you come to my place and live with me. You are destined to become an anthropologist and I'm going to do all I can to insure you get the opportunity." Eli looked around at what Blair's life was right now and remembered what Detective Brown said about Blair living on the streets of Cascade. Eli had suspected it, but could never confirm it.

"I think they will allow me to visit you from time to time, Blair. So, I will be back to see you. I expect you to make a full recovery, son." Eli had always thought of Blair as the son he never had. He had been a mentor to the young man throughout his undergraduate studies and had pushed slightly to get Blair to excel in his classes, even though he had been younger than the other students. Blair was there for a reason and it was to succeed. Eli would allow Blair to succeed again.

>>>>>>>>>>

Jim stopped by the hospital after his doctor's appointment. The doctor had cleared him for desk duty until the wound healed in his side. He walked into the Intensive Care room, hoping to see some improvement in Blair. But he was about the same.

"I was hoping there was some change, Chief. The doctors are concerned about a complete recovery. I've heard 'brain damage' and 'diminished capacity' being bantered about. Yeah, I've been eavesdropping on the conversations between the doctors and the nurses. I can't help it. I've got to know that you are going to make a full recovery." Jim paused, looking Blair over for some sign of response.

"I have to admit, this is for selfish reasons, Blair. You intrigued me with the mention of Sentinels and enhanced senses and I want more of an explanation. But I do want you to lead a healthy life."

Jim stayed for some time, updating Blair on the status of the trials of Joey Richards and the Malone family. Jim had followed the testimony, but hadn't been in court for all the proceedings. He knew there had been continuances in all of the trials, but that everyone was still in jail, so there was no threat of retaliation. And the syndicate seemed to have dissolved over the weeks since the Malone family was arrested. The Cascade police made more arrests each day and praise was coming their way for dismantling the Malone syndicate's hold on the city.

As Jim left Blair's hospital room, he passed a distinguished looking man.

"Excuse me, sir," started Jim as he faced the man. "Are you by any chance Dr. Stoddard?"

Eli looked at the man. He had no idea who he was. "Yes, but you seem to have me at a disadvantage."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Detective Jim Ellison from the Cascade Police Department. I was the one with Blair when he was hurt. I understood that one of my associates, Detective Brown, contacted you about Blair and that you asked if you could see him."

"Yes, that's right. Blair was my brightest student when he started out at Rainier. I thought he would go off to great heights and abilities." Eli shook his head. "He would have had he not been attacked and he would have stayed with me."

"He was staying with you?" Jim was puzzled.

"No, unfortunately, he wasn't staying with me. I asked him to consider it after he started to remember and they released him from the hospital, but he told me he could handle things on his own. I knew not to push Blair. He's always been independent and it is hard for him to accept help from others. But I've decided to be more forceful this time and insist he stay with me so I can help him back to the university and his studies."

Jim let a smile cross his face. "You would really do that for him?"

"Of course I would. He means a lot to me. I was his advisor when he started out at Rainier and I was sort of a surrogate father to Blair. His mother wasn't a presence in his life during his college days."

"We're trying to track her down to let her know about her son. I felt it was the least we could do since there wasn't any other family involved."

"Good luck in your search, detective."

Jim nodded his head. "Blair and I spent quite a bit of time together and he told me that he suffers from headaches and a lack of concentration and that's why he had to drop out of the university. He sounds like he would like to return if possible. He and I were discussing the possibilities. I'd be willing to help in any way I can."

Eli looked at Jim, wondering what his angle was. "And why are you so interested in Blair, detective?"

Jim heard the tone Eli used. "It's nothing sinister, Dr. Stoddard. I told Blair about something and he got excited and told me it was something that he had studied while he was at the university."

Eli studied Jim and somehow he knew what Jim told Blair. "It was about heightened senses." It was a statement, not a question.

"How…?" Jim was flabbergasted.

Eli only smiled. "Blair has been what you could say as obsessed about finding a Sentinel for years. He did tell you about Sentinels, didn't he?"

"Uh… yeah he did. I tried to convince him that he's my Guide, but he dismissed that." Jim didn’t think anything about explaining everything to Dr. Stoddard.

Eli laughed. "That doesn't surprise me, detective. Blair isn't one to think of himself as important, which is why he makes such a good student. He'll do the research and not worry about any credit he deserves."

"He is an interesting person."

"That he is detective. It would be wise for you to stay in Blair's life. He will be able to help you once he starts back to the university."

"I was trying to convince him of that before he was injured. He was sure he couldn't function enough to be successful."

"Well, it was nice talking to you, detective. I best go in and see Blair and try to convince him to come to. He has a lot of work he needs to do and time is a-wasting."

Jim smiled and walked away from Dr. Stoddard. He liked the man. A lot. He could understand why Dr. Stoddard thought of Blair as a son and wanted him to return to Rainier to complete his studies. Jim knew Dr. Stoddard would notify him when Blair woke. Jim had to return to work and would have less time to stop by the hospital to check up on Blair. The kid was in good hands.

>>>>>>>>>>

Jim was on desk duty, mostly doing computer checks for the other detectives and helping out with the reports that needed to be completed. He was bored and was itching to do something more, but the doctor wasn't letting him back to full duty for at least another week.

Jim talked to Dr. Stoddard several times over the past week, getting updates on Blair's condition. It was the consensus that Blair was close to consciousness. His vital signs were improving every day and the doctors seemed to think it was only a matter of time, possibly days, before he'd be aware.

Jim was happy with that news. He told Dr. Stoddard that they had hit a brick wall with their efforts of finding Naomi Sandburg or any other possible relatives to Blair. Eli said he wasn't surprised. Blair had spoke of his mother, but not to any great extent. Eli suspected there was a riff between mother and son, possibly over his decision to start college at the age of sixteen. Rainier actively recruited Blair and gave him several scholarships to attend the university. In the end, it had been Blair's decision to attend the school and pursue his academic future.

>>>>>>>>>>

Both Jim and Eli stood outside Blair's room. The hospital notified both men that Blair was showing signs of awakening. Both showed up and now were waiting for the doctor to come out to talk to them.

Jim had tried to focus his hearing on the doctor as he was talking with Blair, but the distractions were too much. He looked through the window and could see that Blair was upset. Jim felt an urge to barge into the room and demand what was going on, but he controlled himself from doing that. He didn't want Blair upset even more.

Finally, the doctor walked out of the room, looking at both men. Jim was about to say something, but the doctor held up his hand. "I'll explain everything, detective. But not here. Down the hall, where we can talk in private."

Both Eli and Jim followed the doctor down the hall to a small office with a table and four chairs. The doctor indicated for Jim and Eli to sit down. They all sat down. Jim looked at the doctor, wondering what was happening.

"How is Blair, Dr. Stevens?" Eli asked the question first.

"He's come to, which is a good thing."

Both Eli and Jim could hear the 'but' left unsaid by the doctor.

"He is suffering from memory loss. He thinks he's twenty years old and was attacked by some young men."

"That happened four years ago. Why would he not remember anything after that?"

"I'm not sure, Dr. Stoddard. He was asking about his status with the university and I thought that maybe you could talk to him. He was upset when I told him he wasn't in the hospital as a result of a mugging by some young men."

"If you think I can help, of course I'll talk to him." Eli got up to go see Blair.

Jim got up also, but didn't follow Eli down the hall to Blair's room. Sandburg wouldn't remember him. He could offer no help or support. He stepped outside the Intensive Care Unit, sitting down on a bench's there.

>>>>>>>>>>

Eli walked into the room, looking at pain evident on Blair's face. He walked over to the bed and gently patted his protégé on the shoulder. Blair's eyes opened slowly.

"Dr. Stoddard?" There was surprise in Blair's voice.

"Yes, Blair. It's I. It's good to see you awake finally. The doctor was worried about you."

"He said it wasn't a mugging, but that's all I remember." The agitation was growing.

"Just calm down, Blair. You're remembering something that happened four years ago."

Blair's eyes got wide. "Four years? I… don't remember anything else."

"Just give it a little time, Blair. Don't try to force yourself into remembering."

"They said I'm going to be moved to a regular room in a couple of days."

"Well, that is good news. Maybe you'll get out of here soon, then. And when you do, I want you to stay with me. I mean it this time."

Blair looked up at Eli and smiled. "Sure. I'd love to live with you, Dr. Stoddard. You'll take care of me."

Blair yawned and Eli noticed it. "It seems you're still a little tired. Get some sleep and I'll be back tomorrow, okay?"

"Sure, Dr. Stoddard. Thanks for being here."

Eli patted Blair on the shoulder. "Anytime, son."

Eli left the room and found Jim outside the unit. Jim looked up when Eli came out.

"How is he?"

"A very confused young man at this point. I told him not to force himself into trying to remember right now. You should go in and see him, detective."

"Not right now, professor. Maybe if he starts to remember things. I don't want to confuse him even more."

"Just don't abandon him, detective." Eli walked over to the elevators, leaving Jim alone.

>>>>>>>>>>

Jim pulled into the driveway of his father's house. William invited him, along with his brother, Steven, for Sunday brunch. Sally let him into the house, taking his coat. Jim pinpointed that Steven and his dad were in the study. Jim walked down the hall to join them. When he walked in, both men looked up at him.

"Jimmy! I'm glad to see you got here. How are you doing?"

"I'm doing okay, dad. I'm back to desk duty at the station. I should be able to resume my full duties next week." Jim turned to Steven. "How's the business going, brother?"

"Not too bad. I have a business trip set up for England next week. Too bad you have to go back to work."

"Well, maybe I could claim I need a couple more weeks of R&R." Both Jim and Steven laughed.

"Okay, boys, let's go eat. Sally said it was almost ready when Jimmy arrived."

As they walked towards the dining room, William spoke. "By the way, Jimmy, how is that young man that was your eye witness?"

"He came to the other day, but he's suffering from amnesia. He seems to think that what happened to him was what happened four years ago when those young men mugged him. I haven't been by to see him yet, knowing he won't remember me."

"He doesn't remember what the two of you went through avoiding that crime family?"

"Apparently not yet. Dr. Stoddard, a professor from the university, has been with Blair, though. He's going to make sure Blair returns to the university and finishes his education." Jim tried not to let his disappointment show, but it was hard.

The three Ellison men sat down for brunch, discussing different topics, not once returning to the subject of Blair Sandburg. Jim let Sandburg drift to the back of his mind.

>>>>>>>>>>

It was several days later when Jim went to the hospital to see Blair. He found out from Dr. Stoddard that Blair was in a regular room and was being released from the hospital by the end of the week. Dr. Stoddard had talked to Jim for some time, telling him that Blair was anxious to start again at the university. He still didn't remember much from his adventures with Jim, but Dr. Stoddard encouraged Jim to go see Blair.

Jim walked into the hospital room to see Blair sitting up in a chair, watching television. He looked over at Jim when he walked in.

"Something I can do for you?"

"My name is Jim Ellison. Detective Jim Ellison with the Cascade Police Department. Dr. Stoddard told me you were recovering."

"Yeah. I do remember bits and pieces about you and me together… somewhere. Were you in the same explosion as I was?"

"No, we weren't together when the explosion happened. I was responsible for it happening, though. I want to apologize for that."

"There's no need for you to do that, Detective. At least not until I start remembering more of what happened - if I ever remember it. The doctors don't think I'll remember it all."

"Well, maybe that's for the best, then. Not all of it was a pleasant memory."

"But I do wonder about it. It's as if a chunk of my life is just gone. Dr. Stoddard told me I lived on the streets, but I don't even remember that."

Jim looked at the young man, who seemed a little lost. "Dr. Stoddard also mentioned that you will be returning to Rainier once you're released from the hospital."

"Yeah, he's offered to give me a place to live and help me with returning to the university. I do remember when I went to the university before. I enjoyed the studies and was hoping to earn my master's degree within a few years after my bachelor's degree, but circumstances didn't work out that way. Dr. Stoddard is arranging that I have medical coverage so I can get any medication that I may need to help with my recovery. He's really the father I've never had. I'm lucky that he is willing to help me with what I need."

"It sounds as if you are about ready to get your life back on track, Blair. I just wanted to come and make sure Dr. Stoddard's claims were correct when he told me you were going to make a full recovery."

"Oh, Dr. Stoddard would never lie to you, Detective. He's one of the most honest people I've met."

"Yeah, in all the years you've been around, which is what? Twenty-four?"

"Hey, what can I say? I've been around people when I was growing up that weren't exactly on the up and up, people, mostly men, that my mom took up with that didn't want to have anything to do with a kid like me."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I should be going. I just wanted to stop by to see how you were doing. If you have any questions, or you remember something you need help with, I'll give you my card." Jim pulled a business card out of his coat pocket and handed it to Blair. "You can call me any time."

"Thank you, Detective. I may call if I remember the circumstances of that explosion."

"Take it easy, Blair and good luck on your studies."

Jim turned to leave the room, not knowing what else to say to the young man.

>>>>>>>>>>

Blair sat in the living room of Dr. Stoddard's house, working on a paper for one of his classes. He had been back at the university for over a month now and things seemed to be going well. He remembered small bits and pieces of his lost years, including the fact that he had witnessed a killing by a reputed member of the Malone crime syndicate. He had called Detective Ellison several times to discuss different aspects of what he remembered. The detective was always patient with him, allowing him to take up hours of his time just to discuss his past.

Blair had the television on, but he wasn't really paying attention to it until there was a mention of Joey Richards being found guilty. Blair's attention was riveted to the screen, watching as a news reporter interviewed Richards's lawyer. Then, the news reporter interviewed Detective Ellison.

"Was justice served today, Detective Ellison?"

"Yes, Joey Richards was responsible for at least two deaths, which was proven, along with the attempted murder of a police officer and a protected witness. One of the deaths was my partner, Jack Pendergrast."

"And what about the protected witness? Where is he now?"

"He's safe and no longer considered a protected witness, since members of the Malone crime syndicate came forward to testify."

More memories came to Blair. He remembered - he had been the protected witness. Detective Ellison, Jim, was assigned to him. No, that wasn't it. Blair had requested Jim specifically at the police department. Blair got up to grab the phone. There was something else he had to talk to Jim about.

>>>>>>>>>>

"Great interview, Jim," commented Henri as Jim walked into the Major Crime bullpen.

"I wasn't there to give an interview, H. I was there to make sure the jury found Richards guilty. Which they did."

Rhonda interrupted the conversation. “You have a call on line one, Jim.”

"Thanks, Rhonda." Jim walked over to his desk and answered the phone. "Ellison."

"I didn't know if I'd find you there, Detective." After a pause, he continued. "This is Blair Sandburg, you remember, right?"

"Yeah, I remember you, Blair. Is something wrong?"

"No… well, not really. I was wondering if we could talk. I happened to see your interview after the Richards' verdict."

"Sure, we can talk. Where are you?"

"I'm at Dr. Stoddard's house. It's about three blocks from the campus, on Oak."

"Yeah, I remember where it is. How about I stop by in about an hour and we can go somewhere for lunch and talk?"

"That sounds good to me. See ya soon, Detective."

>>>>>>>>>>

Jim smiled when he saw Blair sitting on the front steps in front of Dr. Stoddard's house. The kid must really be anxious to talk to him. Jim pulled into the driveway and Blair was soon in the front passenger seat of Jim's truck.

"Thanks for coming. I didn't take you from your work, did I?"

"It's no problem, Blair. You sounded a little anxious on the phone."

"It's just that I remembered more about us together and seeing Joey Richards kill that man in the alley."

"I'm sorry you had to remember that, Blair. It's not a pleasant thing to remember. How about Italian for lunch?"

"That's fine."

Jim backed out of the driveway and headed in the direction of the restaurant.

"I also remember a discussion we had about Sentinels," said Blair softly.

Jim smile as he looked over at Blair. "I was hoping at some point you would remember. Now that you're back at the university, you can be the one to help me."

"Yeah, I've been thinking about that ever since I saw you on television. I'll have to think about it some more, but I'll start by getting some preliminary information. I'm hoping that my studies I did as an undergraduate are archived somewhere. I had hundreds of documented cases of people with one or two hyperactive senses and several dozen with three. I'll have to find out if they were kept somewhere."

"See, I said you could help me." Jim was pleased with Blair's enthusiasm.

"Of course, I'll have to fit it in with my studies and classes. And Dr. Stoddard wants me to teach some. He sees me accomplishing big things and I don't want to disappoint him."

"I totally understand, Chief. I don't want to be the one to derail your return to academia, but I do think this would fit in with your studies."

"Yeah, I can see that with a little creative thinking and juggling. I could use it as a past and present study, showing the differences between ancient Sentinels and a living, breathing Sentinel of today."

"Whoa, there, Chief! I don't want… this to become common knowledge. It can't. I'd be perceived as a 'freak' and being a cop, that wouldn't be a good thing."

"No, no. It wouldn't become common knowledge. You're identity would be kept confidential."

"Dr. Stoddard already knows. He deduced it when we talked. He said you have an obsession about Sentinels."

Blair laughed. "Yeah, I guess I do. I've only told Dr. Stoddard that, though. No one else suspects my involvement and interest with hyperactive senses. We both would keep your identity confidential."

"As long as you can help me deal with the spikes and keeping my identity confidential, you can write whatever you want."

"Cool, man! I can't wait to start! How about this weekend?"

"Sure, this weekend works for me. We can return to that cabin in the forest for some quiet and solitude." Jim liked Blair's enthusiasm.

They reached the restaurant and Jim swore he could see Blair bouncing as they went inside. It was indeed going to be an interesting future for both of them. The beginning of a friendship.

Comments

( 3 speakers — Speak )
pattrose
Nov. 8th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)
Debbie, this was just wonderful. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. You and Natalie are bad girls. LOL Very good writing. I couldn't stop once I started. And the art is just great. I really liked how you had them meet in this story and had their friendship grow from beginning to end, twice. I had areally good time reading it. Thank you. :) Hugs, Patt
magician113
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Debbie;

I finally got a chance to sit down and read this. The one thing about BB stories is you *have* to set aside a chunk of time to enjoy them. And I did enjoy this very much. It kept my interest the whole way through and had some nice twists.

Good job and very nice illustrations too. They were a good match for your story.
laurie_ky
Nov. 21st, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
I liked the way that you set things up for this story - Blair sidelined by a Traumatic Brain Injury from his education, and becoming homeless from a lack of support system and falling between the cracks of the health care system. Then witnessing a murder -- that was very dramatic and a good way to have him cross paths with Jim.

Jim jumped to conclusions about Blair and thought he was playing him, and his shoving Blair in the wall was all too realistic.

I liked how from this prickly start their friendship grew, even with rocky places.

Thanks for spending your time and energy to write this story. I did enjoy it.

Laurie
( 3 speakers — Speak )

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These are my stories chronicling the continuing adventures of Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg, Sentinel and Guide, partners and friends.

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