Black Cat For Cosmid, the thorn in my side :-)

My cat, Cosmid, has to stay inside today, and she's NOT happy. I tried to explain to her that some unscrupulous persons might find it fun to do mean things to black cats on Halloween, but she just sharpened her claws and looked at me as though I had gone mad. After all, she figures, they're *only* human - no match for her feline ferocity. Besides, she complains, Fitz gets to go outside. With a sigh, I explain to her that, although she is truly more ferocious than Fitz, we mere humans tend to be more apprehensive about messing with pit bulls than black cats. And another thing, I tell her, consider this pay-back for that little sneak attack in the night while I was writing Whispers. *grin* At any rate, she has stolen my chair and refuses to give it up, so I have decided to write one more little Halloween story in honor of my own little Spirit Guide :-)

Blair opened the driver-side door to his Volvo and tossed his backpack on the passenger seat.


Huh? He looked down and, in the darkness, could make out a pair of green-tinged golden eyes. "Hey, there," he said. "You lost?"

He reached down to pet the small feline and was surprised to find his hand encounter empty air. "Hey!" He blinked, but it seemed the black cat had disappeared. With a smile and a shake of his head, he hoped the black feline would make it through Halloween okay. He had heard warnings on the radio urging people to keep their black cats off the streets during the holiday.

Sliding into his car, he closed the door and turned the ignition. There were several Halloween parties he had been invited to that night, but he had to catch up on some university work. Jim had mentioned something about a department Halloween party, but he wasn't sure if the Sentinel had decided to attend.

He drove down the back roads behind the university, wanting to avoid the main street because he knew it would be particularly crowded with people on their way to various parties and get-togethers. Reaching over, he turned on the radio, flipping through the stations until he found something he could enjoy. He smiled as he listened to "Monster Mash" and leaned back into his seat as he maneuvered the Volvo lazily down the dark road.

"Yeeeoooowww!" A black figure flew from the back seat, landing with a skid onto Blair's lap.

"Aaah!" Blair jumped, and the car swerved sharply to the right. He slammed on the breaks, and his seat belt caught, preventing his upper body from slamming into the steering wheel. "Jesus!" He looked down, surprised to see the cat staring calmly up at him from his lap. Apparently inertia didn't affect mysterious black felines with a penchant for launching surprise attacks. Giving his heart a few minutes to slow its fierce pounding, he gazed silently at the cat. Finally, his breathing steady, he addressed his stow-away. "You are NOT a nice cat. Very very bad."

The cat simply gazed at him silently for a few seconds, then lifted one paw and batted at the door. "Meooow!"

"Oh so now you want to leave," he said, opening the car door.

The cat, however, simply stared at him.

"Well you wanted to leave, so shhooosh!" He made a motion to push her, but she didn't budge, so he nudged her hard. She remained seated. "Move! Go on! Go home!"

The cat gazed at him quizzically. With a sigh, Blair picked her up. The cat hissed angrily and swatted him.

"Ouch!" He pulled his hand back, and the cat darted quickly onto his backpack. Blair looked at her angrily. "No need to get violent. Geez!"

The cat seemed to study him. Then, in an instant, her demeanor changed. She rose on all fours and arched her back, her hair standing on end. She hissed and sputtered angrily, clawing at the air in front of Blair as though ready to attack him.

Okay, like I don't encounter enough psychos working with Jim, Blair thought. Now I'm moving onto psychos from the animal kingdom.  Deciding it was best to put some distance between himself and the potentially dangerous cat, he unbuckled his seat belt and slid out of the car. The cat leapt out, hurling itself toward his legs.

"Hey! Hey!" Blair backed up quickly. "Shoo!" He tried to kick the cat gently out of his way, but she deftly avoided his foot.

It was then that Blair heard the soft crying, and, simultaneously, the cat ceased her attack. She sat on her rear and gazed up at him with ethereal eyes that seemed to glow in the darkness. Blair turned, following the sound.


The crying became softer, but did not cease.

"Excuse me? Is everything okay here?" Blair yelled, walking toward the sound.

About 40 feet up ahead, he saw a small head peak out from behind a large tree trunk. A white face and large fangs greeted him, and he smiled, kneeling in front of the little boy.

"Hey, are you okay?"

The boy shook his tear-streaked face.

Blair raised his eyebrows. "Are you lost?"

The boy nodded.

"How did you get lost?"

The boy shrugged, punctuating the gesture with a small sniffle.

"What's your name?" Blair asked.

"Mommy says I shouldn't talk to strangers," the boy said, his voice small.

Blair nodded. "That's very good, and she's right. You shouldn't talk to strangers, but if you need help, then sometimes you have to talk to strangers. Right?"

The boy shrugged.

"What did she tell you about police officers?"

"That I should listen to them."

Blair nodded. "Your mom is a very smart lady. I'm not a police officer, but I work with the police," Blair said. "I can help you find your mommy. It's not very safe for you to be out here alone."

The boy moved out from behind the tree trunk, standing in full view in front of Blair. He clutched his partially-filled candy bag in front of him as though it were a shield.

Blair eyed the bag and offered a mischievous smile. "Hey, did you get a lot of candy?"

The boy managed a small smile. "I did okay."

Blair chuckled. "I guess someone would have to be pretty stupid to NOT give candy to a vampire."

The boy's smile widened, but he lowered his head bashfully.

"Do you live around here?"

The boy shrugged. "I was out with some friends. I found a GI Joe toy on the ground and stopped to pick it up. I kind of played with it, and I then my friends were gone." He reached into his bag and pulled out the plastic figure.

Blair leaned forward to look at the small toy. "Oh wow. That's pretty cool. You know, I actually know GI Joe."

The boy narrowed his gaze. "No you don't."

Blair nodded. "A real-life GI joe... well, kind of. He's just like GI Joe, and he was in the army. He's the police officer I work with. I'm sure he'll find your mommy."

The boy's smile faded as he seemed to remember his plight. "My mommy said I shouldn't go with strangers."

Blair pursed his lips. "You shouldn't, but how 'bout if I show you my police ID? Would that be okay?"

Slowly, the boy nodded.

"Okay," Blair said. "It's in my car. You wanna come with me?"

The boy shook his head.

"You'll stay here?"

The boy nodded.

"I'll be right back," Blair said, then turned around and jogged the few feet to his car. Quickly, he unzipped his backpack and pulled out his police ID. Then he turned around and jogged back to the boy. "See, here it is," he said, kneeling down in front of the boy.

Hesitantly, the little boy reached out and took his police observer ID, bringing it close to his face as though studying it carefully. Finally, he looked up and handed it back to Blair.

"Okay," the boy said. "I guess it's okay if I go with someone who works for the police."

Blair smiled. "You made the right decision," he said. "Come on, let's go meet GI Joe." He held his hand out and the little boy reached up and wrapped his small fingers around Blair's hand.

Blair walked into Major Crimes with his young charge. His eyes immediately fell onto Jim's desk, and he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Jim sitting in the chair. Blair hadn't been absolutely sure Jim would still be working, but he was sure glad the detective had stayed late tonight.

Sandburg led the young boy over to the detective's desk. "Jim?"

Ellison looked up from the papers on his desk. His mouth hung open, the words caught in his throat, as he stared at the small vampire. Finally, he pulled his gaze away from the obviously frightened young boy and looked up at Blair. "Something I should know about, Sandburg?"

Blair smiled. "Jim, this is... uh...." He looked down at the small boy. "You never did tell me your name."

"Timmy," the boy said, his voice barely audible.

"This is Timmy," Blair echoed. "I found him walking alone a few blocks from the University. He got lost while out trick-or-treating." Then he looked back down at Timmy. "And this," he said, gesturing to Ellison, "is GI Joe."

The boy's eyes widened, and he seemed to gaze at Ellison with something close to awe. Jim simply raised his eyebrows and waited for an explanation. Blair, however, did not seem obliged to provide such an explanation.

"Were you really in the army?" Timmy asked.

Jim looked back down at the little boy. "Yes." He glanced back up at Sandburg before returning his gaze to the young boy. "You?"

The boy smiled, then shook his head.

"Well, you could have fooled me," Jim said. "A tough guy like you - I thought for sure you were army."

The boy's smile widened, and he lowered his gaze.

Jim rose from his desk. "Why don't we see if we can find your parents," he said.

Jim and Blair walked into the loft. Jim tossed the keys in the basket as Blair hung up his jacket on the coat rack.

"Man, I'm beat," Sandburg muttered.

Jim smiled, heading into the kitchen. "Yeah, long night," he said, grabbing two beers.

He handed one of the bottles to his partner and followed the younger man into the living room.

"I'm glad things worked okay with Timmy," Blair said, a large grin on his face.

Jim chuckled. "You still have some lipstick on your cheek."

Blair blushed. "Hey, she was grateful, okay?"

Jim shook his head, smiling. "Yes, that she was."

"She was a bit too old for me, man," Blair said. "More like your age."

Jim threw Blair a wicked look. "Watch it, Junior, or I'll make sure she gets your office number."

Blair chuckled raising his hands defensively, the beer bottle clutched in his right hand. "Okay, Okay. I take it back."

Jim sank onto the couch and grabbed the remote. He looked at Blair before turning on the television. "So what was with the GI Joe comment, anyway?"

Blair's eyes sparkled. "I plead the fifth," he replied.