A Return to Madness

by Shadde

EMAIL: Shadde

 

Summary: Trying to follow the guidelines of the Themefic I've decided to bring back two nemesis of Jim's who want revenge. Originally posted to SentinelAngst. Spoilers for Switchman and Sentinel Too.

Disclaimer: They don't belong to me but Petfly. I'm just borrowing them for awhile. I'll surely give them back, maybe. Hmm... I'll see. Well any way someday I've just got so much for them to do.

 

Jim knew he was in trouble as soon as he saw the two women standing beside his truck as he exited it in front of the Loft. All day he had been feeling unsettled and down right irritable, but in the last hour he had felt as if his skin was going to crawl off his body. The reason, had been unclear until now.

He exited the truck cautiously glaring at the two women showing no fear despite the two guns shoved in his face. The taller woman reached out and grabbed his shoulder yanking him around and shoving him up against the truck bed. He gave a grunt of pain as his stomach his the edge and he was slightly off balance being pushed to lean slightly over the open back. Long, delicate fingers patted him down and he felt his gun, badge and wallet being removed. The wallet and badge was thrown through the door into the cab of his truck. The gun from what he could hear was being pushed into a narrow waistline.He tried to struggle but soon stopped when the barrel of gun was shoved almost into his mouth. He could taste it's metallic tint on his lips and knew by the restrained quivering how much the hand wanted to pull the trigger. The thought of his brains spread untidily over his truck and the ground was an unattractive vision, especially at the thought of Blair having to view the mess. This made him forcibly still his movements.

He felt his handcuffs removed and his right hand grabbed and twisted up behind his back and cuffed. His other hand soon followed. Out of the corner of his eye he watched his nemesis look around, unkempt, curly black hair framing a face that could be pretty if the eyes weren't glittering with madness and the lips weren't twisted in a snarl. She was also to thin, like her cohort and her clothes hung on her underweight form.

Strong hands on his arms dragged him up and pushed him toward the nondescript white van parked two spaces from his truck. Fearing his continued existence if he allowed himself to be taken he dropped and pivoted knocking his taller, stronger assailant down. Continuing with the motion he rolled, coming up to his knees and attempting to scramble to his feet.

He wasn't even half way up when the base of the gun crashed into the back of his head dropping him like a rock. His body was so shocked by the sudden violence for a moment he couldn't move and as he lay on the hard, cold ground barely able to breath, his stomach rebelled heaving with sickness. A roaring in his ears almost blocked out the sound of his attacker growling at Danielle Conner his next door neighbor in apartment 305. He felt a moment of fear that the vivacious school teacher would be killed by his violent, insane assailants but was relieved to hear her move away, after a moment.

When she was gone he felt hands grasp the back of his shirt using it to drag him face first across the hard, ground which scrapped up his cheek. He was then lifted almost completely and thrown roughly into the back of the van. how could two fine boned women lift his heavy over two hundred pound body? He wondered idly.

The van dipped with the weight of the two women leaping in after him and for a moment his hearing kicked in over the roaring in his ears and he heard the distant sound of police sirens. Good for you Danielle, he thought with pride. She had called for help, but he knew they would arrive to late.

"Hurry, close the door. The cops are coming.!"

The door slammed shut and the van started up taking off with a squeal of tires, proving that his nemesis was at least partially in control of her abilities. Strong, pale, white hands pulled him up and tore at his soiled shirt.

"You stink!" The woman gagged as she stripped him and tossed the long-sleeved blue shirt, along with his black t-shirt into the back corner of the van, near the doors, as far from them as possible.

The other woman handled the van like a pro. She flew down the street fleeing the scene of his kidnapping and merging almost seamlessly into the going home traffic on the Washington freeway. And as Jim slipped into the blackness that had gathered at the corners of his eyes, dancing ever nearer, he knew he was in the hands of madness and he didn't know if he would survive intact. For Alex Barnes and Victoria Sarris were free and out for revenge.

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

Blair stood beside Jim's truck and watched with an _expression that would have done Jim proud as forensics' techs scoured his truck and Serena's new assistant, a transfer from San Francisco scooped up the regurgitated contents of Jim's stomach.

Although Blair looked as if he was carved from stone his own stomach gurgled at the disgusting sight. He turned away but was only confronted with Danny Leidermer another forensics tech taking a sampling of blood from the small droplets near the smelly mess of Jim's stomach contents. Blair's hands clenched and he felt his heart speeding up, his breathing becoming audible in the muted roar of the police canvassing the scene and the techs gathering evidence.

He closed his eyes taking deep breaths but he felt as if he couldn't draw enough air into his lungs. He didn't realize he had swayed until he felt Simon's strong hands on his shoulder's, smelt the strong but not totally unpleasant scent of favorite Cuban cigars and heard the distant but clear, deep voice.

"Sandburg are you alright?"

"Alright? Alright!" Blair almost laughed aloud but feared the sound of his hysterical cackling would earn him a one way ticket to the funny farm. Blair wondered how he was supposed to be alright when his best friend and sentinel had been stolen from in front of their home?

Blair now understood what Jim went through when it was Blair who had been removed from his side. Jim had just been about twenty minuets ahead of him. He just had to stop at the Health Annex for that blasted chamomile tea. If he'd come straight to the Loft behind Jim he would have been here to help and perchance turn the tide so neither of them would have had to face this all to familiar scenario; One of them taken and the other left behind to wonder, wait and pray.

Simon shook Blair again. "Speak to me Sandburg! Blair!"

"I'm alright. I'll be okay" Blair finally got out clasping Simon's strong hands that were squeezing the circulation off in his arms were they had slid down from his hunched shoulders.

Simon released him with an embarrassed "Sorry, Sandburg. I thought you were zoning on me." Simon shook his head. "When did I began to think zoning was a normal reaction to stress?" He mumbled.

"When you became guardian to a sentinel and his unorthodox anthropologist partner?"

"Watch it, Sandburg" Simon growled. "Jim's not here to protect you ."

"Like I'm afraid." Blair grinned and Simon felt a smidgen of relief. If the younger man could joke and smile then maybe he wouldn't slip away into a morass of guilt and fear like his partner was wont to do in his stead.

When Simon turned away the smile slipped from Blair's face and he leaned weakly up against Jim's truck. He turned his eyes away from the busy work of the gathered cops and looked away up into the darkening blue sky, the sun sinking inexorably toward the horizon.

He closed his eyes and sighed. It had been such a beautiful day today. He and Jim had eaten in the park like they hadn't done in a long time and for the first time in a long time Blair had felt a touch of the old camaraderie. He had hopes that they would talk later that night. He had hoped to resolve some of the many issues facing them since Alex had made her staring debut into their lives and Jim had read the first draft of his diss, not to mention that whole thing with Ventriss.

Blair had been feeling out of sorts and so angry lately. Meditation had not worked to center him. Teaching had left him feeling disillusioned by the lazy, pampered students and spending time at the station with Jim had left him feeling even more left out and a third wheel than usual. Something had to be done before their friendship went the way of the dinosaur and tonight was the night that Blair had hoped to confront the issues but it was not to be.

Alex was back, if the description given by their neighbor Danielle was correct and she had another partner. A woman this time. The description sounded familiar but neither he nor Simon could place her. Simon had sent Rafe and Henri back to the precinct with the photo's to get composites out and to identify the other woman. He would follow after the scene was secure and demand why he hadn't been notified that Alex Barnes aka Alicia Bannister was free.

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

When Jim opened his eyes the darkness creeping away from his mind slowly, he found himself in what appeared to be a dimly light, basement. He slowly lifted his pounding head and looked around squinting in the light which came from a dusty, covered window set high in the wall and from around the door at the top of a curving, set of wooden stairs.

Realizing his senses were off kilter he closed his eyes and taking several deep breaths imagined the dials in his head. He tried to hear Blair's voice in his mind as he used to but was surprised when the voice remained quiet. He hadn't realized how out of sorts he and Blair's relationship and bond were. Alex had destroyed something special in their interaction with each other and partly due to Jim's fear of facing Blair's murder and his part in it and Blair's overwhelming anger and despondency, they hadn't dealt with it or healed the breach. Jim was on his own.

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

"Blair maybe you should remain here. What if they call with demands for Jim? I'll leave a police car outside the Loft and another to watch at the door."

"Simon you know there's no way Alex is going to call with a ransom notice. The only retribution she's going to want is to make Jim suffer and maybe me!" Blair felt his nails digging into the palms of his hands. "Simon I've got to be involved in finding Jim. The last time Alex showed up I was to busy trying to be a scientist and getting info for my diss to realize what she was and what her presence was doing to Jim. I didn't listen. I betrayed his trust in me and helped that woman. Now she's taken Jim. He looked for me Simon. He came after me even with the feeling I betrayed him and the irritation she was causing him. I can't do less Simon. I have to help find him!"

"Sandburg I..."

"And you know he's going to need me Simon. His sense's will probably be out of whack with her vicinity and whatever she does to him. I have to be there Simon!"

"Alright, alright Sandburg, enough already. You're in" Simon said over Blair's increasingly desperate pleading.

"But Si... What did you say?"

"I said alright. Come on I need to get down to the station and find out what H and Rafe have found out. I'm also going to pin somebody's ears back for not informing me that Alex was free. Common courtesy, should have had me being informed the minuet she walked free."

"I'm with you there!" Blair said heartily.

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

Jim wasn't sure how long he was left in the basement before Alex and Veronica returned. He had fought his senses under control finally and worked at his tightly bound arms and legs to get free.

All he had managed to do was cut up his bare arms and tighten the rope painfully about his jeans clad legs.

Finally giving up the futile effort he had attempted to find something in the almost empty room to slice the ropes but was unsuccessful. The only thing in the basement besides himself was a large, smooth, metal tank.

His efforts to move nearer it was hampered by the tightness of the ropes cutting into his trussed body. He hadn't made it halfway before he heard the women returning. Before he could react Alex was leaning over him, a smile in her blue eyes and on her lips.

"Hey Jimmy." She said softly. "Just hanging around'?"

"What do you want Alex?" Jim growled. His eyes tracked over to Veronica standing a little bit back. "Are you still trying to punish me for living when your father died, Veronica?"

Veronica looked at him out of glittering, black eyes "You killed my father. You are a traitor to your country. You put me back in that place. You and that little partner of yours. I'm not crazy and I would love to make him suffer too, but I think your pain will be his pain. Alex told me of the link you two share. I know of the bond that allows you to live and work together." She moved closer.

"Alex has told me what you did to her and now she is the one with a guide and you are without. I will lead her on to greatness while you and your little friend will sink into the pits of insanity you have tried to force us both into. Your pain will be his and your insanity will lead to his loss of sanity. Guide and Sentinel will be together but not in life, but death."

Her words echoed like a death knell in the cold, empty room. Jim shuddered.

He found himself struggling again unable to stop himself, fear tight in his bosom for what she had planned for him and Blair. He couldn't abide his friend being hurt anymore than he had already by both Jim and Alex.

He felt Alex's warm, slender hands on his biceps. She pulled him up to his feet and then tipped him over her shoulder and he marveled once again at her strength.

She had lost weight and muscle since the last time he had seen her but it didn't seem to hinder her strength. He found his efforts to kick her with his feet and legs bound together impossible and so had to bear the indignity of being carried across the floor to the smooth metal tank.

Veronica joined them at this point and turned the wheel atop the tank. Jim could hear the squeak though he could only catch glimpses of the action bent unceremoniously over Alex's shoulder.

Knowing that the tank was his destination he began his deep breathing as Blair had taught him trying to go to his quiet place, the center of his being.

He failed miserably unable to reach the required state without Blair's voice or the sense of his presence. He found himself falling back on his ranger training. By the time Alex swung him down, laying him in the warm water he was calm and prepared to endure as he'd been taught so long ago in the army and as he had learned from Incacha in the jungles of Peru.

He stared defiantly back at the two women unwilling to show fear or unease.

Alex smiled. "So brave, my courageous sentinel warrior but we will not allow you to go through this with your strength. The last time you were in a pool of water I lay beside you but I was alone and did not rise. Now you are alone and you will not rise. You will not come out of this unscathed Ellison. It is time for you to face what I faced."

Even as she spoke Veronica was holding him down her strength equal to his bucking, terror. Alex pried his lips apart and though he grit his teeth to keep the noxious potion out he could feel it dripping between his teeth.

Then one of them was holding his nose and he couldn't breath. He had to open his mouth and the foul taste ran across his tongue and down his throat. He tried to cough to spit but the women held him just long enough until he began to feel the dizzying effects and found himself drifting away from his body.

Almost immediately visions of power, blood and violence began to assail him. He opened his mouth to scream as the darkness enfolded him but already the women had closed the top.

"Blair!" He cried out "Incacha!" But all he heard was his own voice echoing back at him. He was alone. He could not feel the bond with Blair at all. He was lost.

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

At the moment Jim cried his name Blair shuddered and looked around.

"What's wrong?" Simon walking beside him into the station asked, seeing Blair's reaction.

"I don't know?" Blair shuddered again. "It felt like someone walked over my grave." He looked up with haunted eyes. "You don't suppose Jim is..."

"Don't even think it Sandburg. Jim is alive. To just kill him wouldn't be enough to give Alex revenge."

Blair breath trembled out of him. "I guess you're right but I don't know if makes me feel better to know they'll torture him."

"Don't think about it. We're going to find him, Blair. We're going to get him back and he's going to be okay." Simon didn't know if his words were for Blair or himself.

Blair nodded, accepting Simon's encouraging words, trying hard to believe they were true, but unfortunately he felt they weren't.

Joel met them at the door of the bullpen. "We've found out who the other woman is. It's Veronica Sarris. We just got the report of their joint escape from Conover a week ago. They killed two guards and took their uniforms, walking right out of the hospital pass the other guards, camera's and security measures."

The look of horror on Blair's face matched Simon's. "A week ago! A week! And they're just now getting around to telling us?"

"I know." Joel said shaking his head. "We should have been warned as soon as they knew they were gone. I mean all the damage Veronica caused last time... and all her animosity aimed at Jim."

"Well now we know why they took Jim. Veronica must hate him even more for putting her back in the hospital."

"She probably convinced Alex to go after Jim. I mean the last time Alex came after me. She killed me. I think she would have come back after me to finish what she started." He shuddered. "Jim...She would want Jim for... You remember what they were like Simon, In Sierra Verde."

"Yes I remember" Simon said gruffly.

"What did happen in Sierra Verde?" Joel asked curiously.

"Alex thought Jim would be an ideal mate for her" Megan said matter of factually joining the group.

Blair, Simon and Joel looked at her with dismay. Simon and Blair expressions showing their fear that she would reveal the events of that horrible journey into the Peruvian jungle. Joel was shocked that the woman who thought nothing of taking a life if it suited her plans of thievery and greed would fathom that a man like Jim who believed in things of law being black and white would ever join her in a relationship? He shook his head. It was incomprehensible.

Megan looked with exasperation at Simon and Blair and turned from them in a huff a look of hurt anger on her face. Simon and Blair flushed with shame and Simon had to admit he was glad his _expression didn't lend itself to show obviously showing his embarrassment.

Blair without this advantage quickly moved to apologize but Megan waved it away, gratified at the quick apologies of both men.

She turned to Simon "We've begun to look up any known family or acquaintances of both women to hopefully get a lead on where they would take Ellison."

Henri brown walked up with a folder in his hand. "Rafe and I are checking any properties that might be in either of their names or names of families, friends or acquaintances.

Rafe strolled over "But first we're going out to the hospital. Before Veronica and Alex were put together as roommates they were each in with someone else. Hopefully they'll have said something to them and they'll be willing to share with us."

Blair began to bounce on his toes unable to keep still at Rafe's information. "Let me go with you. I helped Jim out with that case with Chapel and I worked nights there as undergrad. You remember Simon."

"I don't think..."

"Look I know how these people think. I can get them to talk!" Blair said desperately. There is no way they're going to talk to a bunch of cops. This is a prison institution guys. Cops put them there."

"Sandy's got a point there."

"Yeah Sandburg has more than proven he can get people to talk when we can't" Simon gave his endorsement rubbing his aching head with the fingers of his right hand. "If nothing else than by talking them to death."

Blair gave Simon a dirty look and the others laughed, the humor dispelling some of the the tension and gloom a bit.

"Okay Blair you're in" Henri said. "Let's get this show on the road pardners."

"Go on get out of here."

As the three men left the bullpen Simon turned to his remaining detectives only to discover it wasn't just Joel and Megan standing before him eager and ready to help. He couldn't help but smile at his dedicated men and a woman. They took care of their own.

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

Jim floated in a dark and cold, scary place. He searched for a way out. He searched and called out for his guide. Tears ran unheeded down his face. "Please someone? Chief? Blair?" He sobbed into the terrible, violent darkness, but no one answered. He was alone. He was lost. And no one came.

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

At Conover Blair, Rafe and Henri were taken into the meeting room. The nurse's aide showed them to large, plastic chairs with rubber feet.

"Can I get you anything?"

Blair shook his head his stomach roiling knowing that if he tried to eat or drink something he wouldn't be able to hold it down. His thoughts kept going out as if he were searching for something, as if he had lost something valuable. His mind was brought back to the present again by Henri's and Rafe's answer to the young, pretty nurse's aide.

"No nothing for me."

"Me neither. We'd just like to talk to these two women. We have a man missing and hope they can give us lead."

"I understand. I'll be right back." She left the room.

The men sat quietly waiting. Rafe smoothed his suit with manicured, neat, hands that just managed not to be to soft. Henri tapped his foot on the floor and his hand on the table, humming incessantly under his breath. Blair felt himself drifting again. He thought he heard Jim calling him but he couldn't reach him. The jaguar howled in the distance and the sound of a wolf called out after it.

Blair sat up quickly looking around, his heart pounding in his chest. "What's wrong? You okay" Henri asked concern evident in his chocolate, brown eyes.

"Yeah I'm okay" Blair stuttered wrapping his arms around himself as if he was cold.

Rafe studied him, a calculating look in dark eyes. Henri also continued to study him. Blair was glad when the door opened emitting two guards and two nurses, neither the young woman who had brought them here leading to blue hospital gowned women. The taller woman look around with an alert look in her hazel, green eyes. Stringy blond hair framed a face that had probably once been attractive but was now ravaged by madness and time. She was slightly to plumb. She leered at the three men and arrogantly took the chair she pushed toward, facing the three men. The other woman was small and dark. She couldn't be more than 4'9, 5'0. Her dark, curly hair framed a face as pale as a glass of milk. She refused to look at anyone, gazing fixedly at the floor. She perched like a frightened bird on the edge of the orange seat.

Blair sat forward adopting a pleasant, you and me against the world _expression. The blond woman, Janice Fantail, Blair remembered sneered at him. "Hey little boy what you want to know? Who be the man Veronica and Alex want to take to you? Yo daddy?" She laughed uproariously causing the other woman Elizabeth Janes to flinch.

Elizabeth glanced up but when Blair caught her she quickly dropped her gaze back to the floor, her hands fisting in the folds of her thin hospital robe. "No, no partner. You're his partner." Her voice trembled. "Veronica said, she said that the little punk partner would suffer. Suffer when, when he had to visit his friend here."

Blair jolted forward "What do you mean?" He demanded his heart in his throat.

Elizabeth cowered back in her chair and wouldn't speak again but arrogant, laughing Janice spoke up easily, mocking "The bitch said she was going to give 'im a taste o' the cocktail that brought 'er here. She was real sure as long as you, little buddy wasn't around he would he'd lose his mind."

Blair heard a roaring in his ears and felt himself fall into a blackness that was complete. He reached out and out screaming silently for his friend. He didn't come back to himself until he felt hands on his arms and felt the hot breath of Henri on his face. His eyes cleared and he looked around realizing that the women were gone. It was just him, Henri Rafe and the doctor that had treated both women.

"What's going on Blair? Do you know what she was talking about?"

Blair shook, his body trembling. "Yes I know H. We need to get back to the station. We've got to find Jim. We've got to find him before it's too late."

Henri looked like he wanted to ask more but seeing the misery on Blair's face he decided to hold his peace. "Come on Hair-boy."

Blair stumbled to his feet and with Henri's hand on his elbow and Rafe walking beside him he followed him out.

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

Jim was dimly aware that he had been removed from the tank. He was forced fed another cup of the Temple of the Sentinels concoction. His bonds were removed but he couldn't coordinate his limbs to fight back, much less get away.

He knew he was sick, he vomited.

His clothes were gone. The water was warm on his chilled skin.

Pain. Sharp, stinging pain. He was being whipped. Lashes on his naked skin.

Words. Hard, cruel mocking words. Called him useless. Told him of his betrayals. Told him he was alone because of those betrayals. His guide had abandoned such an unworthy sentinel.

Jim put his hands up to his ears to block the words but he could hear them still. Sobbing tiredly like a small child that had been crying for a long time he curled into a ball. He drowned in his guilt. He had betrayed his guide.

Lights were to bright. They cut him until they drew blood with their brightness. Sounds deafened him with their roar. He couldn't breath for the smell and his stomach kept rebelling. Everything hurt. The floor, the water, the touch of a hand, the touch of his own hand. Taste was off.

But why was he alone. Where was..was? He sobbed even harder. He was alone. He would always be alone. He had thought someone should have been by his side but no one was there and he was alone.

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

When Blair, Rafe, and Henri returned to the station they found out the others hadn't been idle. They had a list of seventeen properties which the women could have taken up residence in. Nine of these were commercial buildings, already in use. The rest were residences and one clinic, all also in use. They would have to check out each property individually.

Blair's news left Simon and Megan looking as sick as he felt, while the others looked at them in incomprehension.

Rafe also reported to Blair's surprise that Janice had said the two women were going to destroy their nemesis then send him back into the world unequipped to live in it. He must have missed her saying this when he'd almost blacked out realizing that Alex was going to give Jim the same cocktail that had sent her to Conover rather than prison and almost stole Jim's mind too the first time.

Blair's heart beat painfully in his chest, his stomach so tight and fluttery with fear he didn't know if he could stand it for another minuet. Dear God, Jim had barely made it out the first time and now without Blair, without Incacha? Would he spiral down into the same madness as Alex?

Blair walked away from the group. He walked over to Jim's desk and sank into the chair he usually occupied when he was at the station. He lowered his head burying his face in his hands. He shook as he imagined Jim crying out for him. He could almost imagine he heard him. He shivered at the lost sound of his voice. He heard the exhausted sobs and tears pricked at his own eyes. "Why, oh God why did this have to happen now? Just when they were reaching out to each other. Just when they were reigniting the lifeline of their bond.

Blair knew Jim couldn't make it out of this without him. He had told Blair that he had been his light out of the darkness of the visions he had seen in the temple. But Blair's light had been so dim of late. He'd been so despondent. His shoulders shook as he realized once again he had failed Jim. He had failed his sentinel. Why had Incacha made him Jim's shaman when the best he could do was never be prepared when Jim needed that service from him. He was an eternal screw-up Jim deserved, needed better.

Blair's sigh was cut off when the hand touched his shoulder, then moved to gently card through his unruly locks of curls. For a moment he froze but then he shook himself and looked up into Megan's clear, brown eyes soft with empathy and compassion. Of course it wasn't Jim. Jim wasn't here.

"Sandy it's okay we'll find him. He'll be okay. He made it last time. He's strong. He'll beat it this time too."

Blair shook his head. "He had me last time Megan. He wasn't alone. I've failed him Megan," he said in utter despair. "He told me I was his light but I haven't been his light since Alex made her debut the first time. I've been so angry and disillusioned. He's alone out there because of me! This is all my fault!"

"Sandy!" Megan said in a fierce whisper, grasping his shoulders hard in her hands. "Stop it! You haven't failed him. You weren't with him the first time. Remember? Alex had forced you to apart and her presence was playing with his mind but still you were his light even though he left you and went on without you. Your bond wasn't working then but still the memory of your presence brought him back. It will this time too but you have to be ready. He's going to need you Blair." She said gravely. "He's going to need his guide to be able to reach through whatever has been done to him, to lead him back. Don't fail him Blair. Pull yourself together and seek your center."

Blair stared open mouth at the Inspector. Her eyes seemed to glow for a moment and though the voice were hers the words were not. For a moment he thought he saw Incacha impressed upon her fine features. The voice echoed in the chambers of his mind. "Save your sentinel, Shaman! Complete the connection."

Megan released him and swayed. Blair jumped up to steady her. "Whoa, what was that?" she asked in a confused, dazed voice. "What did I say?"

"It's okay, Megan. You said what I needed to hear. Thanks for the encouragement."

Megan nodded and wandered back over to her desk with a dazed _expression still evident on her face.

Blair watched to make sure she was alright then strode with purpose to Simon's office. A quick knock on the door and he entered. Simon looked up with a frown. "Don't you know that when you knock, you're supposed to wait for an invite!" Simon snapped.

"Sorry,Simon but I need to use your office."

"Use my office for what!"

"I just got a message from Incacha, Simon. He spoke through Megan and he told me I've got to prepare myself because when we find Jim he's going to need the touch of a shaman to get back. I'm going to have to complete the soul bond that we started..."

"Enough!" Simon almost roared. "I don't want to hear all about that mystic mumbo jumbo, Sandburg. What do you have to do?'

Blair grinned at Simon's discomfiture at the more mystical aspects of sentinel and guides. "I need to meditate. I've got to reach my center and reach out to Jim's lost, tortured spirit." He took a deep breath. "This is important Simon because without me doing this finding Jim won't be any good. He'll be lost to us."

"Then what are you standing around babbling for." Simon said gruffly. "Go on do what you have to do."

Blair nodded and turned to the couch in Simon's office. He lowered himself on it's firm, leather cushions and sat back pulling his feet up and positioning them in the lotus position. He placed his hands on his knees, leaving them open and closed his eyes taking several deep breaths as he let his mind open and his thoughts flee outward.

As he sank deeper into a meditative state he became aware of a crying jaguar and a howling wolf. He turned toward the sound and began to run through a blue tinged jungle heading toward the Temple of the Sentinels and his hurting sentinel.

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

Working around the clock, only going home when Simon ordered and then himself being bullied by Rhonda and Blair to go home also it took the Major Crime gang only three days to find out where the women had holed up.

They were a rough group. The men unshaven except haphazardly, the women with their hair mussed. Wrinkled clothes were the fashion for the day even for Rafe which spoke a lot of the dedication of this group. They moved about robotically, their energy sapped by to many hours on duty and the lack of good news.

Simon ordered food in to feed his loyal men and women, along with those volunteers from other departments who had given up their free time to assist.

The detective's abandoned their meals at Henri's yell of triumph. He held up a paper calling out "We've got them! We know where they are!" In less time than it would take to empty a school on the Friday before summer vacation the detectives and uniforms were suited up with extra guns and clips, bulletproof vests, Cpd caps and crowded around the door to Simon's office which had swallowed Henri waiting impatiently for the directions of where to go and the word to move out. SWAT had even been contacted.

By the time Simon stepped out of his office, Henri in front of him, pulling his jacket on the whole room was charged with anticipation. Simon nodded at his men and women both a little surprised-he hadn't realized Jim was that well liked-and pleased by his people's preparedness. He nodded his head at them, then glanced down at the paper he carried reading out the address.

He quickly outlined the game plan fearing if he was to slow they would just storm the residence, damn the law and the warrant. "Okay I need the marked units to block off the street an evacuate any residents from around the house. The rest of you surround the house but take radio's and give me your position when you're set up so I know where everybody is. Remember these women have both proven themselves to be dangerous, so don't let your guard down. The bomb unit will be standing by, assisted by our own Joel Taggert who used to be their captain." He nodded at the older man. "Veronica Sarris is an explosive experts and has proven she has no qualms about blowing up people and buildings. Alex Barnes stole nerve gas the last time she was in Cascade and tried to sell it to the highest bidder. She kills without remorse so watch your back and your partner's back. This is no time to get overzealous or sloppy. Okay get out of here. Sandburg you're with me."

At Simon's words the crowd thinned out and Blair moved to Simon's side a undecipherable look on his face. Simon glanced at him. "What Sandburg?"

Blair shook his head. "I don't know Simon." he said worriedly. "I just feel we're not going to find Jim here."

"What are you talking about?" Simon almost shouted as he grabbed the grad students arm pulling him along. "Come on you can tell me in the car. I've got to get out there."

Blair nodded and followed the captain into the crowded elevator, the last two to squeeze in. He stood pressed up against the door a feeling of emptiness yawning wide in his breast. Jim wasn't at the house. He knew it. He could feel it. He closed his eyes searching out with his spirit for the illusive spirit of his friend. Jim wasn't dead. He'd know if he were. But he was out there frightened and alone.

The doors opened and Blair was almost mowed down by the swiftly moving cops. Simon reached out and grabbed his arm dragging him upright and along to his car. Pulling open the passenger side door Simon pushed the grad student down onto the seat and moved around to the driver's side. He worked his key in the lock getting the door open and quickly slid into the car, slipped the key in the ignition and tore out of the garage behind the other cops.

Glancing over at the silent young man he demanded that Blair explain his earlier statement.

"I can feel he's not there Simon. I don't know how" he quickly clarified. "I just know he's not there with Alex and Veronica."

"But they're there aren't they? You don't feel like they're not there do you" Simon asked worriedly.

"Know I don't have any feelings about except maybe anger and the desire to make them suffer the way they made Jim suffer."

"Sandburg, Blair we don't know they did anything to him."

"Yes we do Simon. If they gave him that same stuff he had in Peru we don't know what state his mind is in."

Simon sighed and turned his eyes back to the road. Why could never be easy with these two.

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

He wandered the street stumbling. He shivered away from shadows and the strange loud voices that roared in his ears. His body ached, everything sensitive to his bare skin. He hid in dark corners from the piercing, bright light. Tears dripped down his pale, beard, painted face. His hands shook as he wiped the stinging moisture from his cheeks.

Smells assaulted him and he bent double to gag up the stomach bile, all that was in his empty stomach.

He didn't speak, the only sounds he made whimpering cries. He fell into a dark alley hunching in a small ball away from the excruciatingly, loud sirens screaming into the night; Bright, swirling, red lights ripping at his eyeballs.

He curled up tight covering his head with his arms crying out as loud as the sirens until the sound faded into the distance. Then he rose and stumbled onward. Heading home.

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

Simon arrived on the street the house was located on gliding silently into position having turned off his siren two blocks over. Grabbing at the handle of his sedan he turned to tell Blair to stay in car and back from the action but suddenly a vision rose up in his mind of Alex or Veronica slipping past them and finding Blair alone in the car and taking him hostage. He shook his head. "Stay behind me Sandburg" He said gruffly.

Blair looked at him in surprise. He had expected to be told to stay in the car. Nodding to show Simon he understood he followed Simon out of the car and down the street until they were hidden by an unmarked police car two doors down from the house.

Blair looked around as Simon adjusted his radio and began to check in with the other detectives. Blair saw the uniforms ushering the neighbors out of their homes, some dressed only in housecoats and pajama's. He knew other uniforms were blocking off the street keeping people from driving down the street and residents out.

He glanced back to the house. An unassuming small, white house with a shingle roof and a small red concrete porch. The grass was a little to long and lights lit up the windows set in the front and on the side. Blair could see shadowed shapes moving behind yellow lit curtains. Because he was looking he saw Alex peer.

It almost took his breath away as she looked right at him. Blair stayed still but he realized to late that Alex could probably see him as clear as day. The hospital had said that she seemed to have returned fully to normal sense-wise and if that was true my God they were all in danger because there was going to be no element of surprise. Alex already knew they were there.

"Simon" Blair hissed turning to the other man but before he could get a word out there was the sound of breaking glass then a tremendous explosion. Smoke billowed up from the yard and had the cops scrambling to pull back and drag back their comrades who had been to close to the house.

"Shit. What happened?" Simon called into the radio. "Pull back, regroup but keep your eyes out. Don't let them get away."

Blair grabbed Simon's shoulder "Simon" he urgently tried to get the other man's attention.

"Not now Sandburg we've got to find out how they figured out we were out here. Someone..."

"It was Alex" Blair said. "The hospital said her sense's were back to normal. That means she has the same abilities as Jim, probably extra enhanced like him too since the Temple."

Simon stared at him for a moment in anger. "Why didn't you warn us before?"

"I didn't think about it until I saw her looking out. That's what I was going to tell you. She's going to be one step ahead of us with her senses. You know what Jim can do."

Simon cursed under his breath knowing very well what his best detective could do. He went back to coordinating the other cops and the SWAT team that had joined them. Finally he turned back to Blair. "How do we stop her?"

For a moment Blair froze unable to imagine helping someone to hurt a sentinel. It went against all his instincts but then he realized while Alex might have enhanced senses she was no sentinel and she had hurt the only true sentinel Blair had ever found; His sentinel.

"You've got to overload her senses. Bright lights, loud noises and noxious smells should make it hard for her to concentrate, maybe even send her into a zone. I doubt Veronica would know how to help her then."

Simon nodded his understanding and within moments had all the lights on the police cars along with their revolving lights turned on high. Then he had them put their sirens on and added bull horns to mix calling out continuously " This is the police you are surrounded. Come out with you hands up."

A SWAT member made a daring, dash across the front of the house and tossed a tear gas bomb through the living-room window shattering it on impact.

It didn't take long before Veronica staggered from the house dragging a limp Alex. She fell to the grass heaving, her eyes running.

Police swarmed up the lawn wearing gas masks to pull the two away from the house, while others wearing the masks entered to open door and windows and to check the house for their fellow brother in blue.

Veronica was pushed to her stomach, her hands yanked behind her back and cuffed as her rights were being read to her.

Alex was cuffed then handed over to the just arriving paramedics. A quick check showed her unconscious and she was loaded onto a stretcher and transported to the hospital with two cops going with her. An oxygen mask was placed over her face and the paramedics tore off her clothes working to wash off the caustic tear gas which had already turned her skin a bright red and was spreading a virulent rash across her body.

Blair stood back watching expressionlessly as Alex was rushed to the hospital. He knew she was deeply zoned rather than unconscious and that the gas could very well kill her if she didn't have the help of a guide to control her out of control senses. But he didn't feel very much like helping her especially as he watched the cops who had entered the house shaking their head at the captain's loud question about Jim.

Still as Alex was loaded up Blair couldn't allow her to be taken away to the hospital where they wouldn't know what to do for her. He couldn't leave a sentinel or an enhanced person in a state he had given information on how to cause.

Moving over to the ambulance he stopped them from putting her in. Leaning down he spoke softly and compellingly into her ear. At first she remained stubbornly unresponsive and just as the paramedics were about to shove him away and load her she took a deep, gasping breath and began to thrash and struggle, keening with the pain of overloaded senses.

Blair grabbed the bed to keep from being shoved away and continued to talk until Alex calmed down and finally slipped into a more natural unconsciousness. Then he let go and stepped back feeling sick for helping the woman that had killed him and kidnapped his partner but knowing he wouldn't have been able to live with himself if he hadn't acted to save Alex's life. It was the job of a guide to protect an enhanced person even a flawed one.

Simon grasped his arm. "What was that Sandburg?"

Blair turned away from Simon and moved wearily to lean against the car they had hid behind. "I had to help her Simon. I showed you how to put her in that state and I couldn't leave her or anyone to suffer like that."

Simon studied him for a moment then turned away accepting that Blair couldn't and wouldn't allow someone to suffer if he could alleviate it.

"You can ride back to the station with Megan. I'll be along after I secure the scene and make sure forensics is set up. You did good. We've got two dangerous individuals off the street."

"But we didn't find Jim." Blair said softly.

"No we didn't" Simon said but you didn't think we would. "Don't worry Blair. He's out there and we will find him. We will get him back." Simon said forcefully trying to convince not just Blair but himself.

"I know Simon. I have to find him. That's what Incacha told me. He's looking for me and I just have to find him."

Simon nodded and moved away. Megan came to join Blair and to lead him to her car. They drove away from the controlled chaos heading back to town and the police station.

Simon watched them drive away and sighed. Why couldn't things ever be easy with these two?

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

This place he knew it. Here, in this place he smelled the scent of the one who should have been at his side, the missing one. He wiped the wetness from his cheeks cringing from the lights and sounds coming from the building. The one he sought wasn't here. He turned away with another hopeless sob.

Alone, so alone. Why was he alone?

He stumbled away from the building heading back into the darkness, seeking to escape the piercing lights, noxious smells of gas and oil and gunpowder. He sought the quiet to escape the noise. He sought peace from the violence. This was a place of violence he couldn't go in here.

He cried out as hands grasped his bare arms. He expected pain. He threw out his hands to push away the shadow before his eyes but the hands held on and they weren't painful.

A quiet compelling voice thrummed in his ear and he leaned forward finding comfort in a familiar warmth. A known scent flooded his senses completely and he almost zoned on the comforting odor. He could finally stop gagging. He could finally stop running. His search was over. He wasn't lost anymore. He was found.

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

Blair was looking morosely out the window of Megan's car as they drove along the dark street heading through, the small amount of traffic to the station. He was unaware of where they were until Megan made a turn that would take them toward the loft rather the station.

He turned to the Inspector. "Where are we going?"

"I'm taking you to the loft Sandy. You're exhausted. You need to rest."

"No Megan. I can't." Blair shook his head urgently. "I've got to go to the station. I can't rest until we find Jim. Please Megan. I need to go to the station."

Blair felt desperation rising in his chest. He needed to go to the station. He needed to go there now.

"Okay, okay Sandy, calm down. We'll go to the station."

Blair sat back in relief. Megan turned on the next street heading back toward the station. Blair found the closer they got to the station, the more tense he grew. He sat forward staring intently out the windshield, his eyes scanning the street.

It wasn't until they were in front of the station that Blair knew the reason for his feelings. There he was. Jim wavering before the doors of the station, shirtless, shoeless and covered in welts, cuts and bruises.

Before Megan could pull to a stop he was out of the car and running. He stumbled over the sidewalk but he just got up and kept going ignoring the torn pants leg and the stinging, bleeding scrape on his torn knee.

"Jim" he huffed out in a shouted whisper, his hands closing on the trembling, bruised arms of his lost, sentinel.

Jim cringed away from him crying out, trying to push him away, trying to slink back into the darkness of the alley but Blair refused to let him go. He pulled him forward, clutching, and the dirty, cold skin, not caring about the smell of unwashed body.

He kept his voice low talking in the guide tone, stroking his hand over Jim's head and hair, down his face and cheeks, brushing the tears away.

"Shh" He crooned as Jim lay his head on his shoulder burying his face in Blair's neck. Blair tightened his arms as Jim's body lost strength and he followed his limp body down to the sidewalk cradling him against his own body.

He ignored the shouts and movements around him; the gasps and exclamations. The calls for an ambulance. Nothing mattered but that Jim was home. He had found his lost sentinel and he would never let him go again. He reached out with his thoughts and felt the bond sing in his mind. Found and lost no more.

The End

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