Permission to archive: Yes
Fandom: The Sentinel
Characters: Jim Ellison, Blair Sandburg, Simon Banks
Warnings: Violence, explosions, hurts and death (no major characters)
Summary: It's Blair's birthday and Jim & Major Crime have a
surprise birthday party planned. But the plans go terribly awry.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters from The Sentinel. They are
owned by Pet Fly and Paramount and I only use them for entertainment
and fanfiction. No money is being made from this endeavor.
A/N: This is not beta'd and all mistakes are mine. Any
feedback would be greatly appreciated. This was written to
celebrate Garett Maggart's birthday (May 24th), which by
coincidence, is Blair Sandburg's birthday. Of course, what better
birthday present than Blair being hurt :)
A Not So Happy Birthday
It had been a long week. Blair was at the university, trying to
work on a proposal for an expedition to northern Washington State to
study Indian tribes there. Blair felt passionate about preserving
the ancient ways of original tribes in the region. He was also
hoping to lead the expedition. The work on the proposal took all
his free time, so he had no time to spend at the police department,
helping his friend, and sentinel, Jim. Luckily, Jim hadn't
complained too much about Blair not being available. In fact, Jim
was being extra nice for some reason.
Jim was secretly pleased Blair hadn't been available to help at the
police department. It gave him free reign to set up the surprise
party for Blair's birthday. Jim planned on it being a big blowout
to rival anything else happening in the city that day. He had
enlisted the help and expertise of other members of the police
department to attend to various details. Jim's sole duty on the day
in question was to make sure Blair arrived at the right place at the
right time. A piece of cake.
On the morning of Blair's birthday, Blair got up before Jim, a rare
occurrence. Jim came downstairs a few minutes later, shooing Blair
away from the kitchen.
"Go take your shower, birthday boy! I'll make breakfast for both of
us. What would you like?"
"Gee, thanks, Jim. How about French toast?"
"French toast it is. Now, go take your shower."
"Yes, master." Blair laughed as he went towards the bathroom.
As soon as the bathroom door closed, Jim grabbed the cordless phone
and started making calls, making sure everything was still on
track. He was relieved everything was still moving forward. He
settled down and started making the French toast. He got the
brightly wrapped gift from underneath the counter in the kitchen and
placed it beside Blair's place at the kitchen table.
It was just a little something Jim had spotted the other day when he
and Blair had gone to an open-air market near Rainier. Jim actually
had pulled Blair from his office, getting him to relax and take a
breather from the grueling pace he had set. Jim noticed Blair had
visibly relaxed and they had a great time together. Jim had spotted
the wolf figurine in one of the booths and immediately bought it,
hiding it from Blair in the shopping bag. When Blair had asked
about it, Jim obfuscated and told Blair it was a gift for Sally.
Blair came out of the shower, dressed and ready for breakfast.
"It smells good, Jim." Blair stopped short of the table, noticing
the brightly wrapped package there. "Is that for me?"
"Well, it is your birthday, Blair. Sit down; you don't want the
French toast to get cold."
"I didn't expect a gift." Blair picked up the package and turned it
around in his hands.
"Why not, Chief? I've gotten you a gift every year since we've
known each other."
"It's always a surprise, Jim. A nice surprise, but a surprise
nonetheless. Thank you." Blair turned the gift around in his hands.
"You just going to play with the wrapping, or are you going to open
"Now?" Blair looked up at Jim when he put the plates of French
toast down on the table.
"Why not now? You were waiting for a party?"
Blair tore into the package, letting out a gasp of surprise when he
opened the box. He looked across the table at Jim. "I love it,
Jim! Thank you!"
Jim smiled. "Glad you love it, Chief. When I saw it, I knew I had
to get it for you."
"You know, this will look great on my desk at the university! Thank
you again, Jim."
"You're welcome. Eat your breakfast."
Blair kept going on and on about the figurine and wrapped it
carefully, putting it back into the box and taking it with him to
the university. Jim could only stand there and smile as he watched
the young man gush and rave about the birthday gift. That's when
Jim realized the surprise party would be an overwhelming success.
Jim washed and dried the dishes before leaving the loft to go into
the station. About halfway there, his cell phone rang. He was
thinking it was Blair, thanking him again for the wolf figurine.
But the number displayed was Simon's at the station.
"Jim, where are you?"
"On my way to the station. I'm running a little late because I made
a birthday breakfast for Blair. Did something come up?"
"A report just came into the station about several explosions on the
Rainier campus. Do you know where Sandburg is?"
"On campus? I'm heading there, Simon! Blair left the loft before I
did. He was going to finish up his presentation for a series of
expeditions he is trying to organize."
"Don't do anything foolish, Jim! The rest of us are going to the
university to see if they need any help."
"I'll see you there, Simon." Jim disconnected the phone and threw
it down on the passenger seat of the truck. He flipped on his
lights and the siren, making a u-turn in the middle of the street to
head towards the university. He thought about trying to contact
Blair, but figured the young man was probably helping other people.
Jim refused to think about Blair being involved in any of the
explosions. It couldn't happen on his birthday. Especially since
everyone was going to throw the young man a birthday bash. Jim
arrived at Rainier, parking as near as he could to the action. He
saw rescue personnel, firefighters, police officers, campus
security, paramedics, reporters and camera operators, onlookers
trying to see what exactly was going on, dazed, and injured people
who had been on campus during the attack. Jim tried to filter out
the extra stimulus and to concentrate on trying to find a trace of
Blair. However, the task was impossible without Blair by Jim's side
to help keep him grounded.
Jim started moving around the destruction, using his eyesight and
hearing to try to narrow his search. He decided to try to get over
to Hargrove Hall and continue his search for his friend. Along the
way, Jim helped numerous people get to medical care and helped other
people trapped in the rubble of the explosions.
By the time he reached Hargrove Hall, Jim's hope lessened. There
had been destruction here too. Jim thought about yelling for his
guide to answer him, knowing Blair would be expecting the rescue to
arrive. However, Jim controlled his anxiety and fear, knowing it
would do no one any good if he weren't able to control his
Simon Banks, Henri Brown, Brian Rafe and Joel Taggart stood looking
at the destruction of the once pristine campus that had been Rainier
University. All of them had been at the university at various times
over the years in conjunction with Blair and the institution. Most
of the interaction was when Blair needed assistance with the police
department, either for himself or for someone else. All of them
knew how well respected Blair was in the academic circles of the
There was an immediate jump in to help the hurt and the injured.
Joel met with the bomb squad members to try to get a handle on how
many explosions there had been and when they had gone off. They
were also hoping to find out the ones responsible.
Simon found out there were several deaths already. There had been
three bombs in the Administration building, two in most of the other
buildings. He knew exactly where he would find Ellison -- Hargrove
Hall, searching for Blair. As Simon headed towards Hargrove Hall,
he hoped Blair had somehow evaded the bombs and the destruction and
he was unharmed somewhere on the campus, helping with the rescue
effort. Or, even better yet would be if Sandburg wasn't even on
campus and was somewhere else in the city, safe and secure.
Blair came to, groggy and with an intense weight on his back. He
couldn't move and he couldn't remember why. He kept trying to move
and moaned; surprised he had no voice either. He reached as far as
he could, to find his backpack. His cell phone was in his
backpack. He could call Jim and Jim would help him. Jim always
helped him. Jim was always there to explain things when Blair
didn't understand. Blair couldn't find his backpack. He tried to
stay awake. Jim would want him to stay awake until a rescue could
He remembered it was his birthday. What a birthday present! Not
anything like the wolf figurine Jim gave him. Blair tried reaching
for his backpack again. The figurine was in the backpack. With all
the debris that had fallen, Blair worried that the figurine was
broken. Jim would be mad at him for the broken birthday gift.
Without warning, the tears fell from Blair's eyes, over the loss of
his birthday gift. He tried to move again, without success. After
a short time, he passed out from the pain and exhaustion.
Simon found Jim standing near Hargrove Hall, staring at the rubble
most of the building was reduced to at present. One look at his
detective and Simon knew Jim had zoned, no doubt trying to find a
trace of his partner. Simon approached Jim, grabbing his arm,
giving a slight pinch to the fleshy upper arm. That particular
tactic worked a previous time when Blair was unavailable to assist
Jim. This time, however, Jim remained oblivious to his
Simon knew he'd have to get more physical with his friend to bring
him back to the here and now. Simon grasped Jim's shoulder, giving
it a strong shake, leaning in close and saying Jim's name directly
in his ear, hoping that did the trick.
"C'mon, Ellison! I don't need you off in your own little world when
there are people to rescue and an investigation to do." Simon shook
Jim more forcibly, hoping the manhandling would get through to Jim.
After several minutes, Jim blinked, shook his head and looked over
at Simon. "Shit! I told myself I couldn't zone! I thought I could
find Blair, at least pinpoint an area to look for him."
"We'll do it together, Jim. I have the others helping in other
areas, but I figured you might have zoned so I came looking for you."
"Blair will give me hell. He praised me here while back for the
fact I hadn't zoned for over six months. I was getting better at
not doing it."
"This was an exception, Jim. I'm sure Sandburg will cut you some
"You don't know Sandburg, sir. He'll say it was all the more reason
I shouldn't have zoned. I can't zone on searching for him when I
can't find a trace of him. I see test after test in my future.
That is if we find him."
Simon heard the hesitation in Jim's voice. "Are you sure he's here
at the university? Did you try to call him?"
"He was coming to the university when he left the loft. I can't
imagine that he would have gone anywhere else."
"Did you find out how long until we can start searching the
"The firefighters and rescue personnel are waiting for experts to
arrive to assess the risk factors and determine when search and
rescue can begin."
Simon heard the frustration in Jim's voice. He patted his best
detective on the shoulder, squeezing slightly. "Not a very happy
birthday, is it?"
Jim snorted and looked over at Simon. "How in the world did
something like this happen at a university, Simon? Blair thinks of
the university as his sanctuary, a safe place he can retreat to, to
forget about death, villains, criminals and the seamier side of the
city. I hate to think the university has that reputation now also."
"Were you able to indicate any trace of Sandburg at all inside the
"Not really. There was so much distraction that I couldn't filter
things out. I should know how to do this stuff, Simon! It's
"Maybe it's because of your worry about Sandburg." Simon offered
Jim looked at Simon as if he had grown another head. "What? Have
you been talking to Blair?"
Simon just smiled and patted Jim on the arm again. "He's given me a
few lessons in the care and maintenance of Sentinels. After all, he
was cognizant of the fact that he wouldn't be able to be by your
side 24/7 since he returned to the university. He wanted me to have
the basics to be able to help you until such time as he'd be able to
come to your aid."
"He never told me about that." Jim seemed genuinely pleased with
"He did make it important that when you worry about him and his well-
being, your senses tend to go on the fritz and your more vulnerable
and in need of someone to help you in a pinch."
"Yeah, that sounds pure Sandburg. I'm going to have to thank him
when I see him. I don't what I would do without you here to help,
"That's what friends are for, Jim. I'll wait with you until we get
the go-ahead to search."
Jim smiled even though the tears were threatening to fall from his
eyes. He realized again just how many friends he had.
It was over an hour before the rescue personnel, the firefighters,
the police officers and the volunteers who showed up to search the
downed and bombed buildings on the campus of Rainier University
could look for live and deceased victims. It was a slow process,
painstakingly heartbreaking, and demandingly difficult. It tried
the patience and the tolerance of even the most experienced of
At the beginning, the dead bodies outweighed the live ones
uncovered. However, the odds soon evened and the paramedics tended
to the live bodies. Soon, the ambulances were coming and going from
the university, given police escort and an open route to all area
hospitals, both inside and outside the city.
With Simon's help in keeping him grounded, Jim was able to pinpoint
where bodies were, both by heartbeats and breathing when they were
alive and by smell and touch when they weren't alive. They were
working exclusively at Hargrove Hall. Jim was sure Blair had come
to his office and not gone anywhere else on the campus. He hoped
his hunch was right.
Simon made Jim take breaks every hour, despite Jim's resounding
denial that he didn't need a break. Simon had listened to every
item Blair had detailed about what Jim would need. Simon never
thought he would have to use what Blair had told him, but here it
was, right now. It had only been a little more than six months
earlier when Blair had devised the hints and helps for Simon to aid
Jim. Simon remembered the conversation well.
SIX MONTHS EARLIER
Blair walked into Simon's office in Major Crime. Simon was
surprised to see the young man there, especially considering Jim and
most of the other detectives were off at a seminar at Rainier
University of all places.
"Something I can do for you, Sandburg?"
"Uh…yeah, Captain. I need to discuss something with you. It has to
do with Jim."
"Jim's not here right now. He and the others are at…"
"Yeah, I know. The seminar at Rainier. That's why I picked today
to come to talk to you. You know that I'm devoting more time and
energy at Rainier, what with classes I'm teaching and the
expeditions I'm hoping to conduct in the future. As far as that
goes, I'm concerned that Jim needs someone who can help him if he
has problems with his senses. He especially develops problems when
I'm not around to help ground him."
Simon held up his hand to halt Blair's speech. "I'm not comfortable
with this stuff, Sandburg. You know I don't like all that talk
about sentinels and guides, mystical planes, spirit animals and such
"I know you don't like it, Simon. But I need someone I can trust,
who knows about Jim's abilities. You know as much as Jim and I
know. And with a little training and practical tips, you'll be able
to help Jim if he develops problems with his senses. You're the
only one I can totally trust and I'm comfortable asking to do this.
Please, Simon?" Blair gave Simon his best puppy-dog eye look,
instinctively knowing Simon would fall for it.
"Can the look, Sandburg! I'll do it, only because I don't want Jim
to have problems when you're not around to help. I just hope I
never have to use it."
"Jim is a lot better with control and ability than in the
beginning. I've taught him well and he's competent under the ideal
circumstances. Unfortunately, Jim doesn't always have the ideal
circumstances. I just want to make sure all contingencies are
covered. Jim improves every day, but I would be amiss as a guide if
I didn't think of everything. We've both grown into the roles we've
accepted as our destiny. I want to keep things going."
Over the next several hours, Blair went through various scenarios,
walking Simon through what to do to help Jim. He also told Simon
when to leave Jim alone and let him do his thing on his own. But to
be nearby in case he needed assistance with something. And in the
event Blair was in trouble, missing, held, or any other scenario
that could occur (and had in the past), Simon was to stick like glue
to Jim's side to aid him even if Jim insisted he needed no help at
all. This was the most likely scenario in which Jim was likely to
zone out -- trying to find his guide when he wasn't easily available.
Blair covered everything twice, making sure Simon understood
everything and even had a guidebook for Simon to read over covering
everything they had gone over. And Blair told Simon he'd be back in
two weeks for a follow-up session, again when Jim would be out of
the station. Simon did appreciate all the work Blair had gone to
and the seriousness he took everything. Simon knew this was a very
serious subject with Blair and he was passionate about what he
discussed with Simon.
The follow-up session went even better, as Blair gave Simon a pop
quiz and Simon passed with flying colors. Blair was pleased with
Simon as his emergency backup, should the need arise. Of course,
both of them hoped it never went into action.
Now, they were here, Simon guiding Jim with using his abilities to
the fullest to help those in need. Jim impressed Simon with what he
was able to do. Simon could still see the worried look on Jim's
face with the fact they hadn't even come across Blair Sandburg yet.
Simon was as sure as Jim was that under the rubble of Hargrove Hall,
Blair, injured and broken, was buried. On his birthday of all
days. Simon cursed the fates that had conspired together to cause
such devastation on the kid's birthday. Even though Sandburg was
well into his 30's, Simon, and many of the others in Major Crime,
and most of the PD, still referred to Blair as 'kid'. Blair didn't
mind the designation.
Joel, Henri, Brian and several others from the police department
came over to Hargrove Hall to get an update on Blair's status. Jim
looked at the group, almost ready to break down again. It wouldn't
be the first time, and when Sandburg was found, it wouldn't be the
last time. Everyone who came over helped to search the rubble of
what had been a grand building, housing the future of the country.
Close to nine hours later, Jim found Blair's backpack, letting out a
gasp of surprise. Soon, the others were by his side, ready to
uncover the body they all knew was underneath the pile of rubble.
But Jim halted them all, taking time to focus all his senses on the
area, trying to find some indication of Blair being alive below it
all there. Simon kept a hand on Jim's arm, grounding him in order
to help him focus even more. Simon knew he wasn't Blair by any
stretch of the imagination, but Blair had given Simon his blessing
for this job and Simon wasn't about to disappoint Blair's trust in
Jim moved over about two feet and started moving bricks, glass and
dirt. The others paused only moment before joining Jim in his quest
to find his friend, the birthday boy. They all sent up prayers,
hope that Blair was alive, and would live to celebrate many more
birthdays in the future.
Jim knelt by the body, gently removing dirt and glass fragments from
Blair's face. He didn't trust his ears, which told him the beloved
heart was beating strong. He pressed his fingers against Blair's
neck, finding the pulse, beating strong. Jim let out the breath he
"Damn, Blair! You had me worried there for a while!" Jim mumbled
and whispered the words. He turned to the assembled group and
announced, "He's alive! He has a strong pulse! But I need
paramedics and rescue personnel in here to immobilize him. I don't
know how injured he is, but his arm is broken at least."
Jim stood up, wavered where he stood and Simon steadied him, right
beside him. Jim looked over at Simon, saw the tears in his
captain's eyes, and knew Simon was as grateful as he was that Blair
It took some time for the rescue personnel and the paramedics to
immobilize Blair and to get him completely out of the rubble of
Hargrove Hall. Everyone stood by, waiting for more word. Jim was
pleased to note that there didn't seem to be any real distress with
Blair during the time treated at the scene. There were broken bones
and a possible concussion. There would be a complete evaluation and
diagnosis at the hospital, including numerous tests and possibly
Jim wanted to go with Blair in the ambulance, but Simon kept him
back, telling him the paramedics needed space to work.
"I'll take you to the hospital, Jim."
"What about the rest of the rescue?" Jim was unsure as to what he
wanted to do.
"You've done enough, Jim. You have gone above and beyond and you've
been on location for over eight hours, uncovering both live and dead
bodies. You've earned yourself a break and we are going to the
hospital to wait until you can see Blair. There needs to be someone
there who can authorize treatment. You still have Power of Attorney
medical care on Sandburg, right?"
"Yeah, I do. But how did you know that?"
"Blair mentioned it to me before. We do talk to each other when
you're not around, you know?"
"Oh, I know, Simon. You probably talk about me."
"Not necessarily all the time, Ellison. Let's get going. Blair
will wonder where you are."
It was another four hours later when, mostly as a precaution and to
keep an eye out for any potential problems to arise, they placed
Blair in Intensive Care. Jim walked into the room, pleased to note
there was no respirator, although there was an oxygen cannula around
his head, leading into his nose. Jim got the rundown of injuries
from the surgical doctor -- a concussion, a broken left clavicle, a
broken left arm, a broken left wrist, broken right hip, and breaks
in both legs. There was also a gash in Blair's right side, from
some of the debris that had hit him straight on and some of it had
embedded itself there.
Jim looked at his watch. Technically, it was still Blair's
birthday, even though Blair was unconscious.
"Hey, Chief. You missed the surprise party, but you didn't hear
that from me. Everyone agreed that we should have it when you
recover. Of course, you're going to think it's odd when we have a
surprise birthday party for you in another year. Well, maybe it
won't be that long, but you'll be in pain for the near future. It's
not what I planned for your birthday, buddy. Had I know there was
going to be an attack at Rainier, I never would have let you go this
morning. I know, I know, Blair. I'm not psychic, but sometimes I
wish that were a Sentinel ability. It would come in so handy,
especially with you as my Guide."
Jim sat by the bed, taking Blair's hand within his. Blair was warm,
running a slight fever. Jim expected that so he tried not to
worry. But it was hard not to worry. Jim always worried when Blair
was hurt, injured, in pain or feeling bad. Blair explained it as
the Sentinel/Guide bond the two of them shared. Truth was Blair
felt the same way about Jim when the opposite was true.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear
Blair, happy birthday to you." Jim squeezed Blair's fingers,
surprised when there was a squeeze back. Jim looked up at Blair's
face, seeing the eyes opening slightly.
"Sh-h, Chief. It's not the birthday I wanted you to have."
"me…neither…" Blair squeezed Jim's fingers again. "…sta'…"
"Sure, Chief. I can stay. They've given me unlimited access."
Blair drifted off to sleep again. Jim would be by Blair's side
through all his recovery, no matter how long or how difficult.
Blair would expect no less and would do the same, were the roles
"Happy birthday, partner."