BROTHERS IN ARMS

By: Lyn

FEEDBACK TO: townsend297@gmail.com

AUTHOR'S WEBSITE: http://brothersinarmsfiction.com

DISCLAIMER: The characters of The Sentinel are not mine, but any additional characters are, as is the story. No money has been made from this, it was written purely for enjoyment.

Author’s notes: A story for Sarah, on the SA List, who asked for Blair and Rafe h/c fic and a Themefic for Wolfshy, sorry it’s late.

Blair owies and a few Rafe ones as well.

Detective Brian Rafe sat back and rubbed his stomach contentedly. "That was great, Sandburg. The guys have been telling me you’re a good cook, but that was better than good."

Blair grinned as he stood and began to gather the dishes from the table. "Glad you liked it, Rafe. I’ll just put these dishes in the sink to soak, why don’t you grab us a beer.".

"You want a hand with the dishes first?" Rafe asked. "I don’t mind."

"Nah, man, it’s cool," Blair answered, running hot water into the sink. "Jim doesn’t get home until tomorrow afternoon, it’s nice to relax house rule number twenty five for a while."

Rafe grinned. "I’ve heard he’s pretty finicky, how do you put up with it?"

Blair shrugged and accepted a beer from the detective, then waited until both were comfortably settled on the couch, remote in Rafe’s hand before he spoke. "Half of it’s just bluff with Jim, man, but don’t tell him I told you that. First time I met him he threw me up against a wall, but even then I could see his bark was worse than his bite."

Blair laughed at the skeptical expression on his friend’s face. "I’m an observer, Rafe, it’s what I do. Anyway, he gave me somewhere to live when I didn’t have anywhere else to go.It’s his place, if he wants house rules, so be it."

Rafe laughed then. "I’m sorry man, I’m just seeing you in your retirement. You’re going to make a lovely couple."

Blair wrestled the remote from the other man and punched him lightly on the arm. "Enough about Jim, Rafe. Are we watching this game or what."

As he spoke, there was a knock at the door and Blair groaned. "Find the game, I’ll get the door. It’s probably Simon."

The door was kicked in violently just as Blair’s hand touched the door handle, sending the police observer crashing hard into the wall. The wind knocked from him and with blood streaming already from a gash on his head, Blair slid to the floor.

Rafe had no time to react as he jumped up at the first sound of splintering wood and stared in astonishment at the three men now standing in the apartment, all armed and all three guns aimed at him. He wisely dropped the remote and put up his hands.

"Where’s Ellison?" one of the armed men asked.

Rafe swallowed nervously, then looking at Blair who was beginning to stir, answered loudly. "Don’t know who you mean, man. You must have the wrong place."

The young detective felt his heart stop as he heard the ominous click of a safety catch and noted the silencer screwed to the end of the weapon. Rafe’s heart skipped a beat as the man who had spoken spun quickly and shot Blair.

Blair crashed back against the wall with a scream, clutching at his shoulder, his face already ashen and his eyes as wide as saucers.

"Oh God, no! You bastard!" Rafe shouted, not even aware that he had moved until he was launching himself at the shooter. The second man however, had seen the attack and stepped in quickly to chop the butt of his gun down hard on Rafe’s head. Rafe collapsed instantly, stretched face down, unconscious at the first man’s feet.

The third man spoke then. "Well done, Riley and Franks. Keep this up and we won’t have any hostages to bargain with."

He motioned at Blair, who sat groaning in pain as he pressed his hand against a bloody shoulder. "Bring him over here."

Riley nodded and reached for Blair, ignoring his cry of pain as he manhandled him up by his injured shoulder and dragged him upright to face the leader.

"Now I’ll ask you again," the man said, smiling grimly, tracing a finger through the blood dribbling down Blair’s cheek. "Where’s Ellison?"

"Out – out of town," Blair whispered.

"When’s he due back?"

Blair hesitated a moment, and Franks moved forward then, pushing the barely conscious Rafe onto his back and pressing his gun to his forehead.

Blair swallowed and sent a silent apology to his Sentinel. "Tomorrow afternoon."

"Well then," the leader said. "Guess we’d better get comfortable then. We’ve got a bit of time on our hands."

~o0o~

"Blair? Blair can you hear me?" The words were whispered and seemed to come from very far away as Blair moaned softly and then came awake with a start as pain hammered at him from all sides.

Blair moaned again and licked dry lips. "Jim? Zat you?"

"Easy buddy, just try to lie still. It’s Rafe, Blair, just lie still."

Blair’s eyes opened wide then as the memories assailed him, a blow to his head as the door was flung open, men with guns asking for Jim and then a shock of agony as something powerful had slammed into his shoulder.

Slowly Blair’s eyes focused and he realized that he was lying on the floor in his bedroom. The room was in semi darkness and he could just make out Rafe’s worried face above him. "Rafe? Oh God, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I’m fine Blair. How about you? You doing okay?"

"I don’t feel too good, Rafe. My shoulder hurts real bad and my head."

Rafe nodded. "I don’t know who these guys are, but they’re after Jim. You’ve been shot in the shoulder, you’ve lost a bit of blood but I think the bleeding’s stopped. Looks like you took a piece out of your head on the door too."

Blair strained to push himself up, biting back a groan of pain as he did so. He discovered that he and Rafe were both tied up, their hands behind their backs and their ankles shackled with belts. Blair managed to get himself leaning back against his bed and sighed. "What do we do now?"

Rafe shrugged, his head felt as though it was stuffed with cotton wool and it pounded in time with his heart. "Guess we wait."

"But what about Jim?" Blair whispered furiously.

Rafe shook his head. "Until they make a move, there’s nothing we can do, Blair. You’re hurt, we’re both tied up and there are three of them. Jim would never forgive me if I let something happen to you."

Blair nodded and closed his eyes, trying to relieve the pounding in his skull. He heard muffled voices approaching and then the door opened. One of the men motioned at Rafe with his gun.

"You, move away from him," Rafe began to hesitate but the man, Riley, Rafe remembered, swung the weapon toward Blair. "Want me to put another hole in him?"

Rafe felt Blair tense beside him and shook his head, scrambling back on his rear toward the far wall.

Riley approached Blair and squatting down, unbuckled the belt around the grad student’s ankles. He hauled Blair to his feet, ignoring the moan that came from between Blair’s gritted teeth.

Rafe saw now that Franks had followed Riley into the room and he bent to undo the belt around the detective’s feet. "Get up," Franks said. "We’ve got a phone call to make."

Both men were dragged into the living room where the leader sat, holding the phone in his hand. "My name is Randall Davis. One of you is going to convince Detective Ellison to come home early."

Davis swung the phone between Rafe and Blair for a moment, then shoved it into Rafe’s hand. "You. Call him."

Rafe swallowed nervously and looked at Blair. The young man was almost out on his feet, his face ashen and sweating. A trail of dried blood covered one side of his face and his left shoulder.

Rafe nodded at Davis and began dialing. Suddenly Davis reached out and pressed the off button. He motioned for Riley to bring Blair closer and forced Blair to kneel in front of him. "No tricks, you call anyone other than Ellison and your friend here will suffer the consequences."

Rafe nodded again and dialed Jim’s cell phone, praying that the detective would pick up.

"Ellison."

Rafe breathed a sigh of relief at the familiar voice. "Jim, it’s Rafe."

Before he could say anymore, the phone was snatched away by Davis, who put it up to his ear, waving Rafe away.

"Detective Ellison, I believe?"

"Who the hell is this?" Jim asked gruffly.

"My name is Randall Davis, Detective and I’m calling to make you an offer I think you’ll find difficult to refuse."

"What do you want, Davis. Where’s Rafe?"

"Your friend is fine and will stay that way providing you cooperate. You are going to get my brother, Michael Davis out of prison and bring him here to your apartment no later than 10am tomorrow morning. Then we will affect a swap," Davis said.

"You know I can’t do that, Davis," Jim answered, then his heart sank as he realized from where Davis was calling.

"Oh, I think you can, Detective. I have someone else here who is most eager to see you. Delightful photo of the two of you fishing at the lake, by the way. Very chummy. Now, let me see if I can convince you to change your mind."

Davis nodded at Riley who stepped over to Blair with a malicious grin on his acne-scarred face. He grabbed Blair’s injured shoulder and dug his fingers cruelly into the wound. Blair screamed hoarsely and tried to arch away from the agonizing grip, but Davis held him firmly in place.

Rafe struggled to get away from Franks and earned himself another fist in the side of the head, which left him stunned.

Riley suddenly let Blair go and the young man collapsed bonelessly to the floor, his breath coming in shuddering gasps, fresh blood from the newly opened wound seeping through his shirt.

"Sandburg? Sandburg? Are you okay?" Jim shouted over the phone in panic. "Davis! Talk to me."

"I’m right here, Detective. Have I convinced you?"

"I’ll be there by ten am," Jim said, then added dangerously. "You touch either of them again, Davis and I’ll take you apart with my bare hands."

"It won’t be necessary to touch them again, Ellison, provided you uphold your end of the bargain. Come alone."

Davis thumbed the phone off and threw it onto the coffee table. He motioned to Rafe and a now unconscious Blair. "Put them back in the other room. Tie them up again."

Rafe looked at the blood covering the front of Blair’s shirt and spoke up. "I don’t know how bad he’s hurt, but if you don’t let me try to stop the bleeding he could die. I don’t think you want Ellison coming after you, if you kill his partner."

Davis merely shrugged. "Then we’re lucky you came to visit, aren’t we? One bargaining chip or two, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m sure Detective Ellison will live up to his reputation as an honorable man and not want your death on his conscience, either, Detective…" Franks flipped open Rafe’s wallet and showed it to Davis. "Ah, Detective Rafe."

He gestured again at Blair’s bedroom. "Put them both in the room, make sure it’s secure and tie them both up. Now we wait."

~o0o~

"Jim?" Blair whispered again, as his body shivered in the throes of blood loss and shock.

Rafe leant down toward Blair’s face, glad that the shafts of daylight gave him the opportunity to check his friend out more carefully. The two men had spent an uncomfortable night bound and locked in Blair’s room. Rafe had spent the time working to loosen the ropes around his wrists, with little success, and listening to Blair’s fevered pleas for his partner.

He’d wracked his brain to come up with an ID on the three men now sitting in the next room and had finally remembered a drug ring that Ellison had taken down a week before. One of the men the police had arrested had been a Michael Davis. His lawyer had been dangling a carrot in front of Major Crime’s and the D.A.’s noses, a lighter sentence for Davis and he would name the main man in the operation and supply other information guaranteed to take the man and his operation down.

Blair shifted again restlessly, muttering, then shuddered and cried out as his movements jarred the still oozing shoulder wound. "Easy, Blair, try to stay still, okay?" Rafe said quietly, hoping that Blair’s moans would not summon the armed men.

Rafe hissed in pain as he shifted closer to the observer, his bruised ribs testimony to Davis’s impatience when he could not quiet Blair’s cries during the night. Blair’s face was ashen and sweat soaked and he grunted with each breath, leaving Rafe to fear that the bullet had perhaps nicked his lung. The detective suddenly became aware of pain filled blue eyes fixed unwaveringly on him.

"Hey Rafe, you okay?"

Rafe smiled. "Yeah, Blair, I’m okay? How are you doing?"

"Hurts a bit. No, hurts a lot," Blair said softly. "Is Jim coming?"

"Yeah, I guess he is."

Blair struggled to sit up, then fell back, biting back a cry of pain. "We have to get help, Rafe, get to a phone."

Rafe tried to placate the wounded man but a thought came to mind all the same. "Take it easy Blair. I don’t want to alert them that you’re awake. I’m going to turn around and I want you to see if you can get the knots untied in these ropes, all right?"

Blair nodded, but his eyes were beginning to close again and he fought to stay conscious. Rafe shimmied around until his back was as close to Blair’s hands as he could get. Blair felt blindly with his fingers until he came into contact with the knots tied tightly around Rafe’s wrists. The detective hissed in pain as Sandburg’s efforts to free him pulled at the already chafed skin, but he encouraged the young man to keep trying.

"Shit!" Blair swore in frustration as his blood slicked fingers slipped again on the ropes. He shook his head as he tried to hold back the graying edges of his consciousness and his head dropped back to the floor. "Sorry man, can’t. Feel like I’m going to pass out, sorry." Blair’s voice faded and Rafe whispered to him urgently.

"Blair? Shit." Rafe moved himself around again to face the young man and saw that Blair’s features were lax, his breathing rapid and strained. The detective could now feel the fever rolling off Blair’s body and cursed. He had to find a way to get Blair out of this soon.

The door creaked open and Rafe looked into the grinning features of Riley. "Your friend’s here," he said. "Let’s go."

Rafe struggled to his feet with difficulty and stumbled as he was pushed out into the living room.

Franks entered the bedroom and half-carried Blair’s slowly awakening body over to the couch. Davis positioned Rafe facing the door by the kitchen counter, a gun pressed hard into his temple, then pushed him toward the balcony. Rafe panicked as the armed man leaned him over the wall and called to the two men below.

"That’s far enough Ellison. Put the gun down and send him up on his own."

"You send my men down." The voice floated up from below muted by the weekday traffic. Rafe could just see the two men now, standing close to the entrance door of the apartment block, Davis’ hands still cuffed behind his back. The policeman was holding his prisoner by the arm, his gun clutched firmly in the other fist.

"When my brother gets up here, I’ll send them down. That’s the only way I’ll do it, or shall I send a body over the wall?" Davis nodded to Franks who tipped Rafe part way over, holding tightly to the struggling man’s belt.

"All right, he’s on his way."

Rafe breathed a sigh of relief but felt a shiver of unease tease at him. Something wasn’t right but he couldn’t put a finger on it. He saw the detective unlock the cuffs and then Davis was pushed toward the front door.

Rafe felt Franks pulling him back to the sanctuary of the balcony. He shakily regained his footing in time to be shoved back into the living room toward a weak and disoriented Sandburg.

"Rafe? What’s happening?" Blair asked, his eyes barely focusing on his friend. Rafe saw the wetness on Blair’s shirt and surmised that Frank’s rough treatment had again reopened the wound.

"It’s almost over, Blair. Just relax." Rafe assured the confused young man, praying he was right.

"Over? Where’s Jim, Rafe?" Blair whispered, his gaze sliding from his friend to the two men standing in the living room. Franks remained outside, crouched low enough to take cover but still keep an eye on the detective below.

All eyes swung over to the front door as it opened and a thin, lank-haired young man stepped into the room.

"Randy? Oh man, am I glad to see you," he said, holding his arms out to his brother.

Randall Davis swung his gun toward his smiling brother and pulled the trigger twice. The bullets hit Michael in the center of his chest, slamming him back into the wall. He looked down in surprise at the blood spreading over the front of his shirt and staggered forward toward Randall. Davis pulled the trigger once more then turned toward Rafe and Blair before the man’s body had hit the ground, the gun coming up again.

"I told him not to call me Randy," he said coldly. "Franks, get the cop downstairs, Riley, bring the detective, he’s our ticket out of here."

Rafe moved to cover Blair’s body with his own as the room erupted in an explosion of noise and flashes of light. He managed to push Blair to the floor and huddled over him as he saw Franks drop to the ground, screaming noiselessly as he clutched a hand to his bloody throat.

A split second later, Davis lay dead on the living room floor, staring up through sightless eyes, a bullet having torn away half his head.

Riley ran in a panic for the front door, only to back up rapidly as he was followed into the apartment by a very pissed off Captain Simon Banks. Two armed police officers followed Simon in and proceeded to search and cuff the criminal.

Rafe pushed himself off Blair’s body and sighed with relief as Simon cut the rope from his wrists. The captain reached for the belt shackling his ankles, but Rafe shook his head and motioned toward the unconscious anthropologist. "I’m all right, sir. Help Blair, he needs an ambulance. Where’s Jim?"

His last question was answered as a large form burst through the door and headed toward them. "Sandburg? Rafe?"

Jim knelt next to his captain and looked down at his partner. "Sandburg? Can you hear me, Chief?"

"He’s lost a lot of blood, Jim," Rafe said. "Sorry, I couldn’t protect him."

The young detective’s voice trailed away and he looked up as he felt a large hand on his shoulder.

"You did fine, Rafe. You all right?" Jim asked.

Rafe nodded, then wished he hadn’t as the events of the past night caught up with him and he began to slump slowly down toward the floor. He heard someone call for paramedics and wished they would stop shouting so loudly. It made his head ache.

"Jim." The word was a breath, sentinel soft. Jim left Rafe in Simon’s capable hands and bent over his partner.

"Hey there, Chief, just keep breathing. You’re going to be fine."

"Rafe okay?" Blair whispered, grimacing as the paramedic kneeling beside Jim secured a bandage over the bullet wound.

Jim nodded and brushed the matted curls away from Blair’s forehead, exposing the gash hidden there. "He’s fine, too, buddy."

Blair locked his fingers around Jim’s, refusing to let go, even when the paramedics lifted him onto the gurney. An icy stare from Ellison was enough for them to usher the detective into the back of the ambulance with his partner.

~o0o~

Jim shifted restlessly on the plastic chair and scrubbed at his tired eyes. Blair’s head wound had been sutured and his shoulder wound debrided and repaired. He was suffering from a nasty infection within the wound, caused most probably by Riley tearing it open to make the young man scream. Jim’s jaw had clenched tight at that piece of information from Rafe and he’d wished the criminal had tried harder to escape.

The sentinel detected the minute changes in his guide’s breathing and heart rate and scooted closer to the bed, encircling Blair’s fingers with his own.

"You going to wake up for me, Chief?" Jim said softly, rubbing the back of his partner’s hand with a gentle thumb.

Glazed blue eyes opened to half-mast, then shuttered closed again.

"Chief, are you with me?" Jim tried again.

A soft sigh escaped Blair’s parched lips and weary eyes opened again, focusing finally on his friend. "Jim?"

"How are you feeling, buddy? Stupid question, huh? Pretty rough, I guess."

Blair nodded and then raised his IV laden hand to his head. "Yeah, rough is right. Is Rafe okay?" he asked.

Jim nodded and pulled Blair’s hand back down to his side. "Rafe is fine. He’s in the room next door. Just get some rest."

"’Kay." The blue eyes slowly closed, then opened again a short time later. "Jim! Where’s Rafe? He was with me at the loft."

"He’s fine Blair, he’s sleeping next door. He took a few nasty blows to the head looking out for you."

"Tell Rafe…" Blair’s voice trailed off.

"I know, I’ll tell him." Jim smiled and sat back, then hunched forward again as Blair struggled to open his eyes once more.

"Jim? Can we talk later? ’m tired."

Jim suppressed a snort of laughter. "Sure, Chief, get some sleep. We’ll talk later."

~o0o~

Three days later

"So Randall Davis was the man behind the drug running operation?" Blair asked.

"That’s right, Chief."

He helped his partner to shift into a more comfortable position, wincing in sympathy as Blair hissed in pain at the movement. "Randall Davis, however was clean up until now, no priors, nothing. He obviously didn’t trust his brother not to give him up though."

"I still can’t believe he did all of that just to kill his own brother. The man must have had ice in his veins. What about Riley and Franks? Where do they fit in?" Blair asked.

"Paid muscle," Jim replied. "According to Riley, they thought the idea was to get Michael Davis released, kill me and use you as a shield against the expected backup I brought with me. Then they’d all escape over the border through Canada to God knows where."

Blair shivered a little at that and Jim automatically reached over to pull the blankets further up. He brushed his hand lightly over Blair’s bandaged shoulder and smiled. "Not as hot as it was, looks like the infection’s subsiding."

Blair nodded. "It feels better. So whose idea was it to have Dave Roberts take your place downstairs and have you over in the other building with a sniper sight?"

"Actually, it was Simon’s," Jim admitted "I was all for rushing the place, but Simon had a lot more confidence in my senses than I did. He was convinced that I could take them out."

Blair looked up at the soft tap at the door and broke into a wide grin as Rafe poked his head in. ""Hey man, come on in. It's good to see you."

Rafe smiled back and entered the room, sinking gratefully into the chair offered by Ellison. "How are you, Blair? I hear they’re talking about cutting you loose in a few more days."

"Yeah, not soon enough man," Blair answered.

Rafe looked at Jim. "That was awesome shooting, Jim. I knew you were a good shot, but that was amazing."

Jim shrugged and smiled back at the young man. "Let’s just say I had a vested interest in making sure I didn’t miss. By the way, thanks."

Rafe looked puzzled. "Thanks for what?"

"For looking after the trouble magnet while I was gone," Jim said, cocking his head at Blair, who sighed theatrically and raised his eyes heavenward. "Finally somebody else knows how impossible it is to keep Sandburg out of trouble."

He grinned and stood up. "I’ve got some work to do at the station, Chief. I’ll come back tonight. You get some rest, give that shoulder a chance to heal."

"Yes, mom."

"You need a ride, Rafe?" Jim turned to the other detective.

"Yeah, thanks, Jim. I’d appreciate it, H dropped me off and headed back to the office." Rafe stood and made for the door, then turned back to Blair. "Take care, and go easy on the nurses, okay, Sandburg?"

"You’ve got it, Rafe. Thanks, man," Blair answered, already settling back on his pillows, his eyes drifting closed.

Jim closed the door softly on the slumbering man and turned to Rafe. "I meant what I said, buddy. Thanks for watching out for Sandburg. You both could have ended up dead if you hadn’t kept your wits about you. You did good."

"Thanks, Jim" Rafe felt inordinately pleased at the praise from the older man and smiled again as Jim slapped him on the shoulder and ushered him down the hallway.

Fin

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