Thanks to Jael Lyn for her themefic ideas from May 2001
Rating: FRT- Gen
Disclaimer: As usual, I don't own any rights to these characters, darn it! They belong to PetFly.
Notes: Have had a busy RL lately, plus some writer's block, put those together, after resorting to the files for themefic ideas, here is the result. The errors are ALL mine. Not beta'd. Barely spelled checked.
"Damn it Simon. What were they thinking when they went to court with that tainted evidence? We had it all set up and then the Assistant DA allows the knife used at the scene to become tainted in some 'dog and pony show' he was doing to impress the Mayor," Jim ranted as the two sat in the last booth at the coffee shop. "Now, Peters walks and we have to start all over again!" The coffee in the mug lapped over the edge of the cup as the enraged sentinel vented.
"I know Jim, I know," Simon agreed. "He will probably wait a few months before he hangs up his "open" for business sign," he continued as he made quote marks in the air.
"This argument for cops only, or can anyone join?" Blair asked with a smirk on his face. "I heard about the results of the trial on campus this morning. Tough break Jim. What are we going to do to shut him down now?"
Ellison smiled at his partner's enthusiasm to catch Peters selling drugs to young schoolchildren again. The man was slime in the detective's book. Dealing drugs was bad enough, but to elementary kids? No, the man had to be stopped....
"Blair, Simon, I just thought of something I have to do...now. Can't wait. Um.. Blair, I ..I'll see you later. Don't wait dinner for me. Not sure when I will finish this job, I mean, errand." Jim Ellison abruptly pushed away from the table, stood up, looked at his partner's face, gently placed his hand on his shoulder and smiled. "Thanks for being here for me all the time. I mean it. Couldn't have survived these senses without you." He then turned for the door and left the building leaving behind his confused and worried friends.
"What was that all about, Sandburg?" Simon asked cautiously. "Where is Jim going that he needed to leave so fast and so, hell, I don't know, dramatically? Like we won't ever see him again."
Blair sat down across from the concerned police captain. He recalled Jim's last words to them as well as the earlier conversation between the two policemen before he announced his arrival. Jim was angry that Peters' case had been dismissed due to a technicality. They had the case sown shut tight, but the ADA screwed up the evidence, so the case had been dismissed.
"That's it, Simon!" Blair stood up as he practically shouted his conclusion. "We have to find Jim. I think he is planning on bringing in Peters on his own...dead. Simon, don't you get it? He plans to protect his tribe by removing the bad element. I always wondered if this would occur. Kind of a primal drive for the sentinel..."
"Sandburg! Stop with the lesson plan and lets plan to find Jim, okay?" Simon interrupted the grad student.
"Yeah, right. Find Jim. He'll need an untraceable weapon. He probably has a lot of old covert ops people that will help him out there. Then he needs to decide how and where to do it. I don't think he cares if it is discovered he actually did kill Peters. Hell, he may turn himself in!" Blair concluded sadly. He looked to Simon for strength. They needed to stop Jim before it was too late.
"Courthouse. There will be an interview in..." Simon looked at his watch before he continued, "...45 minutes. The defense attorney and Peters will be having a press conference to talk about this case. Jim knows that. I can send..."
Blair interrupted. "No man. You tell ANYONE and they will put Jim away for a psych evaluation. No, it has to be you and me." Blair took a breath while standing up from the table and headed to the door with a worried police captain in his wake. "I will go and see if I can postpone the interview somehow and you start thinking like a, oh god, a sniper." Immediately Blair ran to his parked car, opened the door, slid behind the wheel and prayed the car would start. When it did, he smiled, put the car in drive to travel the short distance to the courthouse.
"I sure hope you're right about this Sandburg," Simon mumbled as he put his car in gear to begin his search for a sniper's nest. "Sure hope you are right and we can stop him. This sentinel stuff just keeps getting weirder and weirder."
Blair entered the courthouse and merely followed the gaggle of reporters headed for the press conference. It was almost surreal as Blair looked around the marble hallways for his friend that lived and breathed justice, but was now running on instinct only. Blair thought about running tests on this aspect but now was not the time to even begin to consider such thoughts. 'Jim,' he whispered under his breath, 'Jim, I know you want this bastard taken out of society's collective misery, but you cannot be jailer, judge AND jury, man. Let him hang himself, metaphorically speaking. C'mon Jim. I feel you here."
"I couldn't do it, Blair."
Blair turned around at the subdued voice.
"I couldn't take a life like that. Justice...justice does not work that way. Only revenge works like that. The sentinel in me was pushing to protect the tribe. The feeling was not specific on HOW to do that. My own training infused the idea of simply 'taking out' Peters. I couldn't do that though. Sorry to have worried you," Ellison paused, tilted his head, "You figured this all out, didn't you, partner?"
"Um..yeah, I did. You had Simon and I really worried back there at the coffee house. Wanted to stop you in case, well, in case the 'sentinel' in you had taken over, so to speak. Glad to see you stopped on your own," Blair grinned proudly as he put his hand on his friend's back.
The two friends entered the room where the press conference had already commenced. Jim suddenly started looking around the room frantically.
"What's up Jim? What are you sensing?" Blair asked anxiously.
"Gun oil," Jim responded as he continued looking over the room. He saw a man slowly walking through the throng of reporters. Jim paralleled the man's movements until both were in the front of the reporters on opposite sides of the podium. The man reached into his pocket, withdrew the weapon and pointed it at Peters.
"Gun...everyone down!" Jim yelled. The entire room squatted down as one body except for the shooter and Jim Ellison. The shooter would not be deterred. He stepped closer to the podium to obtain a better angle at the now cowering drug dealer. Ellison moved closer to the shooter, watching the man closely. "Stop, Cascade Police," Ellison announced startling the gunman.
"No!" he shouted as he pulled the trigger. Jim jumped in front of the podium, then felt the bullet enter his chest. Some of the reporters nearby that witnessed the event managed to knock the gun out of the distraught man's hand. "I am so sorry. Not you. Didn't mean to ..." The shooter collapsed to the ground as the reporters insured he did not move until the police arrived.
"Jim!" Blair pushed through the crowd until he was next to his friend. Ellison was lying on his side. Blair gently rolled him to his back. He removed his jacket to press against the rapidly bleeding wound. "Someone call 911, please!" Blair shouted out to the crowd.
An unknown voice confirmed that the police and an ambulance had already been requested. As he knelt there, another voice spoke up. "Why'd he do that?" Blair turned to see who owned that voice. Peters.
"Because he is a good man. Because all life is precious." Blair's eyes darted between the two men then returned to only gazing at his partner before he practically spit out, "Even yours."
Peters grunted an unintelligible reply, stood up and left the room. The police entered the room and took control of the repentant gunman. After they read the man his rights and cuffed him, they took him out to a waiting patrol car. Blair looked up and finally saw the paramedics enter the room. The reporters that remained cleared an aisle for the gurney and the medical staff to walk through.
Blair was in a daze. His jacket was soaked with Jim's blood but he never stopped the pressure on the wound. Someone was telling him to move, they need to help Jim. No, he was helping Jim. He would always be there to help Jim.
Blair knew that voice. Simon. "Simon, Jim has been shot."
"Sandburg, let the medic help Jim. You have to step away now, son," Simon coaxed. He reached down and gently encouraged the younger man to stand up and move away from his stricken friend. "There you go, Blair. You did a good job. Now, let them do theirs," he said patiently.
"He...he saved Peters, Simon. Jim saved the very man he wanted to kill. He told me, man, he told me that he could not do it. It was not justice, only revenge, and he did not work that way," Blair told the police captain. Blair gazed at the injured man as the paramedics worked over the man he was proud to call friend.
Ellison was quickly loaded onto the waiting gurney and pushed through the crowd. All talked ceased as the seriously injured man passed by them. Blair followed the gurney out to the waiting ambulance and followed it into the vehicle. The attendants were about to say something but decided it was not a battle worth fighting. One medic stayed with the injured man as the other went to the cab to drive. Blair moved out of the way of the paramedic but continued to monitor his friend as well.
The ambulance rumbled through the streets of Cascade until it reached the emergency room entrance of Cascade General. The attendants from the ambulance as well orderlies from the hospital removed the gurney from the ambulance and rapidly guided it to an available examination room. Blair tried to follow, but a nurse stopped him. A voice shouted from inside the room. "Crash cart, STAT!"
Blair moved away slowly and made his way to the waiting room. 'Jim,' he thought pleadingly, 'I'm not ready to lose you. Please, please, don't leave me.' He rested his head in his hands and allowed the tears to flow. At this point, Simon entered the room to notice the distraught guide.
"Blair, is he.."Simon asked hesitantly.
"No," Blair replied softly, wiping the tears away with his sleeve. "They had to bring in the crash cart though. His heart stopped and they made me leave the room and I don't know what I'll do if ...if...he...dies." Blair wept. Simon wrapped his arms around the distressed man.
"I don't know what will happen, Blair. I know what I want to happen, but ...Anyway, whatever happens, just know you have friends that will help you with...with whatever you need, for as long as you need it, okay?" Simon assured while still hugging the young man.
"Thanks, man. But..." Blair stopped as he saw the nurse that had asked him to leave approach.
"You came in with Detective Ellison, right?"
"Yes, I'm his partner, Blair Sandburg," he replied softly moving out of Simon's hug. "How is he, what's..."
The nurse held her hand up to interrupt. "I just want to let you know that he is on his way to surgery. The doctor asked that, well, any relatives be notified. He lost a lot of blood. We replaced what we could, but he needs to be operated on to remove the bullet and stop the bleeding. Your friend is very weak, but he did wake up once while we were trying to stabilize him. He said, 'Chief, thanks.' That's all. I have to go now. Just wait here and someone from the operating team will advise you when they are done and he is in recovery." She turned and went back down the hall to the examining rooms.
"I'll call Stephen," Blair remarked flatly. "He and Jim...he and Jim have really come together lately. This'll kill Stephen. He just found his big brother again. Oh, ah, I'm sure Stephen will call their Dad." Blair reached into his pocket to withdraw his cell phone. He pushed a few buttons, put the phone to his ear and waited. "Hi Stephen, it's Blair Sandburg.... Thanks, I'm, well actually I'm not so good....No, wait Stephen, it's about Jim. He's been shot. It's bad, man. The doctor thinks it would be a good idea to have his family nearby...Stephen...I...yeah....ok...You will?...Thanks. See you soon."
Simon stared at the police observer. "Blair, so Stephen will call their Dad?"
"Yeah, he will and then he is coming down here. Then we can all wait together and be together when the doctor tells us how the surgery went." Blair sat despondently on the chair to wait. He wanted justice for his friend. He wanted the shooter to be punished. He wanted...no...not revenge. Jim said justice was not gained through revenge. So, no revenge, but he wanted LOTS of justice to come down on the man that grievously injured the only man that Blair ever felt truly 'at home' and comfortable with.
Three hours later, the 'Ellison waiting party' observed a green clad doctor approaching them. The doctor's face did not tell Blair anything.
"You all must be here for Detective Ellison, is that correct?" the doctor inquired.
"Yes, we are. Please, just tell us. The waiting is so difficult," William Ellison blurted out.
"It was touch and go in there but that man is a fighter. He is still not out of the woods, but with all this support I see here, and his own stubbornness, I think he will make it," the doctor concluded. He was happy to tell this solemn group that their loved one had a good opportunity at a full recovery. "He will be out of recovery soon. He will be in ICU for a while. So, since only one of you will be allowed entry to that room and then for only 5 minutes at a time, I suggest one of you stay, the rest of you go home to eat and rest." Satisfied he delivered his message, the doctor shook the happily outstretched hand of William Ellison then walked away.
"Blair, you stay, that is if you want to," remarked William Ellison. "He needs to see you, I imagine."
Stephen and Simon nodded in agreement. Blair stayed behind while the others went to rejuvenate themselves. Blair went up to ICU to wait for Jim's arrival. He felt an insistent tap on his shoulder.
"Mr. Sandburg, Mr. Sandburg," the droning voice persisted.
Blair slowly came to consciousness and remembered where he was resting. "Jim," he said softly.
"...is resting comfortably. The doctor asked me to let you know you can go in anytime. He also said, that as long as you stay out of the staff's way, you can stay as long as you want. Seems the staff here remembers you two from previous 'visits'. You both seem to heal faster when the other one is around. So...do your magic, Mr. Sandburg. Go in and see your friend. Just talk to him. I think he will hear you on some level. Give him the strength he needs to mend his body mentally, and science will cure the rest."
Blair thanked the nurse for being so understanding. It was true. They did seem to heal faster when the other was around, even if all he did was hold the other's hand. Blair walked into his friend's room, and drove out all the other sounds and lights until all he saw was Jim Ellison, friend, partner, sentinel. He carefully weaved their fingers together.
He recalled the book Peter Pan and remembered the line about thinking positive thoughts and then the children could fly. Using that idea, he began talking positively to Jim hoping that soon his body and mind will come together and fly out of the void they currently were in and return him.
The men alternated visiting times, the doctor only allowing Blair unlimited lengths for his visits. The others were given 10 minutes each to visit and implore Jim to return to them. Finally, on the fourth day, Jim squeezed Blair's hand. Blair reached up and hit the call button on Jim's bed.
"Yes, Blair?" asked the nurse at the desk.
"He squeezed my hand, he squeezed it!"
"I'll notify the doctor. Good job, Blair!"
Blair looked down at the reclined man only to see blue eyes stare back at him. "Jim," Blair whispered, unsure what level the sentinel's senses were resting. "You hear me, man? Squeeze once for yes, twice for no."
He felt a single squeeze.
"Oh man, this is so great, so great. The doctor will be here soon to look you over. You did it man, beat the odds again!" Blair uttered, his voice reflecting the joy he was experiencing.
"Wha...h'pnd?" Jim rasped.
"What happened? Oh, well, you saved Peters life from a distraught father of one of the victims of his drug dealing. The man, George Liframe, was so sorry he shot you. He didn't expect anyone to protect Peters. Then, of course, he doesn't know my sentinel, does he?" Blair replied, happy to be talking with his best friend again. "Oh, and ah, Jim, before they took you to surgery, they told me you said, 'Chief, thanks'. I've been waiting for you to wake up so I can tell you, 'You're welcome'. "