Title: Miracle
  Author: Pohlinda
  Rating: FRG
  Archive: No, but thanks
  Feedback: Yeah, sure, you betcha!
  Notes: Just a short story for this period's dues. The muse struck  
this afternoon and it pretty much wrote itself. This has not been 
beta'd. I do want to thank "The Sentinel Transcripts" 
(http://www.kelesa.net/transcripts/index.htm) for the quote used in 
this story as well as other reference points. This story happens 
about 8 months after TSBS but his dissertation was NEVER sent to Sid 
Graham!! Oh yeah between the '**' means thought/memory.   

It had been a long two months for newly titled Dr. Blair Sandburg. 
His dissertation on Police Methodologies was a complete success. He 
remembered the first time he proposed the idea to Simon Banks as the 
cover story to receive 'ride along' status with Jim Ellison. To this 
day, he remembered the 'thin blue line' idea about a study on the 
quality of evidence gathering at a crime scene, which then could 
affect the capture of the perpetrator and ultimately the outcome of 
the trial. Jim had disagreed with him about using that line of 
reasoning and in the end, Jim had resolved the problem by simply 
implying that Blair was his cousin's kid. Even then, Blair 
reflected, Jim was helping him.

Now, the dissertation had been turned into a best selling book. Law 
enforcement agencies across the nation made it 'must read' material 
for all new recruits. The book was the best positive endorsement for 
all police departments. The general public loved the stories that 
accompanied the research. The insight, deductive abilities and 
bravery described in the book created a general public gratitude to 
their men and women in blue not seen since 9/11. Blair had traveled 
across the country on a publicity tour with interviews on talk 
shows. He had started in New York on the Today Show, Jay Leno's 
Tonight Show, and The Daily Show. He traveled over to Chicago for 
Oprah and then on to many other smaller markets. Today was his last 
interview. Today he was home, in Cascade. 

He was waiting in the Green Room at the studios of KPOV. He had 
agreed to allow Wendy Hawthorne to be the last interviewer on his 
publicity tour. She was very pleased to have Blair on her show; to 
have the 'local boy does good' story would raise the viewer ship on 
this day. Blair was tired. He wanted to go home, but at the same 
time, did not want to go there. He wanted....

"Dr. Sandburg, they're ready for you on stage," the page announced 
as she opened the door to the Green Room.

"Thanks," Blair replied softly as he stood up and displayed one of 
his trademark smiles. "Just lead the way and I'll follow."

The page held the door open as he exited the room. She led them to 
the stage where Wendy waited for him. Blair had asked for his 
segment to be a live segment, so there was also an audience waiting 
to see him. When he was visible to the audience, the crowd stood as 
one and applauded the young man as he made his way to the chair 
opposite Wendy.  He waved to the audience, his smile gracing his 
face, as he sat down.

Quietly, Wendy remarked, "You've quite a following out there Dr. 
Sandburg."

"Blair, ok? Once you do the initial introduction, please, just call 
me Blair," he responded softly.

"Certainly," she agreed. Looking to the stage manager, she saw the 
countdown to going back on camera. "Get ready, Blair, here we 
go...Thanks for staying with us this morning, Cascade. We are so 
happy to introduce our final guest today. He is the nationally known 
author of Heroes in Blue-A Look Beyond. He did both his 
undergraduate work and doctorial thesis here at Rainier University. 
He worked with the Cascade Police Department for over 3 years doing 
the research for this fine book. Please help me welcome to 'Cascade 
Today', Dr. Blair Sandburg." Wendy extended her arm towards Blair as 
she concluded her introduction. The audience applauded loudly when 
the introduction was concluded.

"Well, Dr..ah.. Blair, how has all this media attention affected 
you?" Wendy queried.

"The media has been quite kind to me actually, Wendy. I can't 
believe the attention my book has received, but I am grateful. I was 
not used to being in the limelight. I had been an observer at the 
police department and had always assumed a supportive role to those 
officers I worked with. I learned so much during my time there, and 
not just about solving crimes." Blair shifted uncomfortably in his 
chair. He recalled a moment that would always stay with him. **You 
might have been just an observer, but you were the best cop I've 
ever met and the best partner I could have ever asked for. You've 
been a great friend and you've pulled me through some pretty weird 
stuff.** 

"Blair, I remember you worked mostly with Major Crimes' detective 
James Ellison. Was he difficult to work with or ..."

"Jim," he interrupted, "was the best friend I ever had.  I was 
allowed to follow him and learned a lot about police work, but the 
biggest lesson I learned was about me. I learned who and what I was 
and my place in this world. He showed me what being a friend was all 
about. He..." Blair felt a tear escape the corner of his eye. He 
turned his head away from the audience to look upstage.

"I must tell you all viewing this, that Dr. Sandburg worked for over 
three years here in the Cascade Police Department as I said in the 
introduction. What I did not say was that he and Detective Ellison 
worked as partners all during that time. I had the privilege to do a 
documentary on them a couple of years ago. I had never seen two 
people so outwardly mismatched as these two. You have to understand, 
Mr. Ellison was an ex-Army Ranger. Blair was a much freer spirit. To 
look at them then, you would think oil and water. However, for some 
reason, they worked together so well, it was like destiny or fate. 
One always seemed to know what the other was thinking or doing and 
could react to that, especially in tense situations. Truly, these 
two were the best of partners on the force," Wendy concluded. 

Blair had recovered and looked at Wendy. His eyes pleaded for the 
interview to finish...soon. She noted the plea and mentally picked 
her last question, hoping to cheer the sullen man.

"So, now that you are back in Cascade after touring the country for 
the past two months, what are your plans? Is teaching at Rainier a 
possibility or perhaps working on the police force with Detective 
Ellison..."

"I .. ah.. I have no immediate plans. I'm sorry. I just wanted to 
make it through this tour before I started to think about mapping 
out the rest of my life. I plan to visit friends here and then take 
it from there." Blair leaned back in his chair. 

Wendy was stunned at the usually ebullient man become so subdued. 
Still, he was a celebrity and perhaps, prone to mood swings. "Thank 
you so much for coming to our show today. Let's thank Dr. Sandburg 
again, everyone." The audience took the cue and applauded as the 
segment concluded, the spotlights dimmed and the cameras' red lights 
extinguished. 

As the audience started to leave, one stayed behind. Blair looked 
out at him and then rose to walk towards the lone figure. 

"Blair, or should I say, Dr. Sandburg?" Henry Brown asked as he 
grabbed the younger man's hand and pumped it in a handshake.

"Blair is fine, as usual, H," Blair replied with a grin. "How is 
everyone? I, ah, I was going to the station after the interview. 
Think that will be okay with Simon and everyone?"

"Hairboy, everyone would be totally disappointed if you didn't, 
man!" Brown exclaimed.

"Great, great. I just have to, you know, go to one place first, then 
I'll come by, ok?" Blair waited for a response.

"Yeah, that will be fine. When you're there, ah, say 'hi' for me 
too, will ya?" The detective looked at unease. "Take your time, 
Hairboy. We'll wait for you at the station." Brown patted Blair on 
the shoulder and then took his leave of him.

Wendy waited upstage for Blair to return to say her 
farewell. "Blair," she blurted as he came towards her, "I didn't 
mean to upset you today, but clearly I did. Whatever I said, I'm 
sorry. If there's something I can do..."

"You didn't do anything Wendy. I should be the one to apologize for 
my reactions today. I hope it didn't ruin your ratings or anything. 
Its just that.." Blair swallowed deeply, "I remember stuff today 
that had not surfaced in my mind for over half a year." Blair looked 
at Wendy's still inquisitive face; the reporter in her needed 
answers. "It's just that you mentioned Jim, Detective Ellison and, 
well, I thought you knew."

"Know what, Blair? About Detective Ellison?  I know that the last 
case you both worked on was when Klaus Zeller injured Jim. After 
that...you know...after that," she paused, "we didn't hear about him 
at all. Blair, what happened after that?" she persisted.

"Jim was shot in the leg. It wasn't real bad. Jim being, well, Jim, 
wouldn't rest like the doctor told him. So, he went into the office 
and did paperwork. I was working on the end of my dissertation, so 
was at home.  A call came into the office. Only he and Henry Brown 
were there so they went out to cover the call. Henry drove because 
of Jim's injured leg." Blair sat back down on the chair that he used 
during the interview. He rubbed his eyes to force back the wells of 
tears that had formed.

"They never arrived at the call. Henry was sideswiped on the 
passenger side. Henry had hit his head on the glass of the door, 
broke his left arm and a few ribs. Jim was injured more severely. It 
took a couple of hours just to cut him out of the car. They didn't 
think he would survive to the hospital. But Jim fooled them all. He 
survived the trip to the hospital and the first of many surgeries 
that followed for the next few days. Still, he was so severely hurt, 
they used so many drugs...."

The tears in Blair's eyes escaped, freely dripping over his cheeks 
then dropping to his shoulders. "I didn't get to the hospital right 
away. I ... I had turned off all the phones so I could work 
undisturbed on my dissertation. Eventually, they sent Rafe to the 
loft to find me and bring me to the hospital.  By the time I 
arrived, they had already started him on drugs that were on his 
allergy list, but the attending doctor in the ER didn't see the list 
until after the surgery." Blair inhaled, held the breath then 
exhaled slowly. "Jim is in a coma. I think it is from the drugs they 
first used that day. It's been over eight months. The doctors don't 
think he, oh god, think he will ever wake up."

Blair stood abruptly. "I have to go. I have to see him. His Dad put 
him over at the long-term care facility at Cascade General. I have 
to see him. Let him know I am around. Sorry." With that, the former 
police observer rose, walked off the stage and left the building.

"Sorry Blair, I didn't know," Wendy said to the vacant chair. "I 
just didn't know. That never made the news..."

                                                        
*****************

Blair entered the subdued green colored room. His friend looked 
frailer than the last time he had been able to squeeze in a visit. A 
nurse entered the room. "Dr. Sandburg, good to see you. I think Mr. 
Ellison is happy too."

Blair looked at the young nurse. "What do you mean, he's happy. He's 
just..."

"Oh I can tell. His heartbeat seems to quicken ever so slightly. 
Don't tell the doctors, but I feel his spirit in this room. When you 
are here, well, it's just more at peace," the pigtailed nurse 
explained.

"Well, I'm here for a while today. In fact, I'll stay until someone 
here kicks me out," Blair assured the concerned nurse.

"Good, good. Keep a prayer in your heart. Miracles happen, you know. 
I'll leave you to your visit then." She softly left the room, a 
knowing smile on her face.

"Hi Jim. Don't remember seeing that nurse here before, but she 
remembers me being here before. Oh well, it's good to see you again, 
buddy. Missed you. Would have been more fun doing this long road 
trip with you around, even if only by phone contact." Blair looked 
at the wires and tubes inserted or hooked up to the prone 
detective. "I asked the doctor about you on the way in today. You 
are off all drugs man, have been for a couple of weeks. They are 
just feeding you through these tubes now and monitoring your vitals. 
So, let's do it, huh? Let's surprise the hell out of these 
professional healers and show them the miracle that is you, my 
sentinel." Blair grasped with both of his hands the free hand of his 
friend. Using his thumbs, he slowly rubbed circles on the back of 
the hand. He then bent over the still figure, his hair draped in 
Ellison's face. "Ok Jim, come back to me. The drugs are out of your 
system, the body is healed. We need to bring the spirit back to your 
body. Listen to my voice, feel me touching you, smell the hair 
dangling in your face. Open your eyes Jim, see me. I'm here for as 
long as you want me to be. We're partners, friends. I need my friend 
back with me. I finished the diss man, toured the country, but 
still, no brass ring. You, my friend, are the brass ring. Come back, 
Jim. Please come back." Blair looked at the still figure. "Come back 
when you're ready, man. I'll be here."

Blair continued to sit by his friend. The day turned to night, and 
the young man was there, now slumped over the bed asleep. He still 
held the hand of his friend that lay unmoving in the bed. The 
pigtailed nurse stood in the doorway and looked at the still figures 
in the room. She looked up at the ceiling. "Gabe, now would be a 
good time." She turned and left the room.

Blair stirred at the voice. "Nurse, nurse? I must be hearing 
things." He gazed at Jim. If it was possible to see the difference, 
it seemed to Blair that Jim's coloring seemed vastly improved from 
when he had first arrived that day.  "Jim, you are looking good man. 
Maybe that nurse was right. Maybe I should have stayed longer on the 
other trips, maybe..."

"B'air," Jim's lips barely moved as the sound escaped. The injured 
man's hand flexed slightly as he repeated as softly as the first 
time, "B'air."

"Jim?" Blair asked incredulously. "Oh god, Jim? Yeah, man, come on, 
follow the voice. Feel me touch your hand. Listen to me, come back. 
It's safe here. I'm here and I'm not leaving." Blair felt Jim's hand 
flex again. He looked up at his friend's face only to see two blue 
orbs staring back at him.

"B'air...'ome?"

"Yeah Jim, I'm home to stay, with you, if you'll let me." Blair's 
grin practically burst off his face.

A short, stocky nurse entered the room. "Mr. Ellison, you're awake! 
This is so wonderful. I will advise the doctors." She turned to 
leave as Blair began to speak.

"Wait, can you let the other nurse know Jim is awake. She was so 
sure Jim was doing better. I can't wait to let her know she was 
right!" Blair blurted.

The short nurse looked puzzled. "We were short staffed today. I was 
here earlier this morning and then now to check up on Mr. Ellison. 
There were no other nurses scheduled for this room. I'm sorry. I 
need to advise the doctors about your friend now. So if you'll 
excuse me..."

"Ah, yeah, sorry. Thanks for everything," Blair replied, confused. 
Blair returned his gaze back to his friend's eyes. "Well Jim, I 
don't know who that other nurse was, but she sure knows about 
miracles...you don't think...naw. I think Gabe was the only angel 
we've ever met. Still..."

Jim smiled at his friend. He only saw Blair. That was all he needed. 
That was his miracle.