I Cant Believe Im Doing This
SUMMARY: A bridge between Switchman and Siege.
I cant believe Im doing this.
I stand in front of the tiny, cracked, peeling mirror in my shoebox-sized bathroom and study my reflection critically. I run a hand over my unruly hair, brushing it behind my ears, wondering if I should tie it back, make it look a little neater. Whoops! Wonder what Jim thinks of guys with earrings? Okay, the hair stays down. The earrings probably wouldnt make a great first impression. Oh, wait a minute, I already did that, didnt I? Yep, great first impression.
I got all excited and put my mouth into gear before engaging my brain. I just really didnt expect him to show up. Who am I kidding? I never expected to find him at all.
A sentinel. A real, live, honest to God sentinel. I wince at the memory of calling him my Holy Grail, then add a shudder for good measure when I remember him grabbing me and throwing me up against the wall of my office. He could kill a man at fifty feet with that icy glare. I should know. I saw it eyeball to eyeball and Im still amazed that I didnt embarrass myself and wet my pants there and then.
I wander out into my living room and stare at my keys. What the hell am I doing? Im about to go and convince Jim Ellisons boss to let me ride along with Cascades best detective.
Still, I convinced Jim, didnt I? See, Im calling him Jim already and he only gave me the death-laser stare once, the first time I did it. I mean, he told the other cop at the bridge that I was his new partner, didnt he? Of course, he took the shine right off it by ordering me not to tell anyone about the partner thing or his senses.
I need to keep a secret or two myself. My mom can never know. If she knew I was hooking up with a cop and riding around in police cars, shed disown me on the spot. If she ever finds out, I punched a woman, whether she was a crazed bomber or not, it would unbalance her karma so much, shed be bathing in sage for a month.
I have got to get a grip! Im already running late and I get the feeling Jim Ellison doesnt appreciate tardiness in his partners. I take a deep, cleansing breath, like Naomi taught me. I can do this! Jauntily, my hand barely shaking, I pick up my car keys and check the address on the slip of paper Jim gave me when he dropped me back at Rainier after the Switchman case was tied up. He wants me to go over to his apartment tonight and discuss what were gonna tell Captain Banks about me.
"No mention of the senses, Chief," he warned me.
Chief. Okay, it sounds a little doggy-like, but he says it in a kind of friendly way, so Im not gonna ask him not to call me that. Besides, the death glare, remember.
I walk out of the warehouse and climb into my car, belatedly looking down at my worse for wear jeans and only noticing now that theres a large hole in my sneaker. The wet sock was a big clue. Not for the first time, I wish for one of those full-length mirrors in my bathroom. I dont have time to change and I doubt I have anything much better in what passes for my closet anyway. Turning on the radio in a vain attempt at keeping my mind occupied, I back out onto the street and head in the direction of Prospect Avenue.
Im halfway to his front door when I wonder if I should have brought something. Beer, maybe. I jingle the few coins in my pocket and immediately reject the thought. Besides, I dont want to come on too strong. I mean, he said we were partners but I didnt get the idea that we were going to be bosom buddies anytime soon.
Im feeling pretty good with myself by the time I stand in front of his door and raise my hand to knock. Jims already got some control over his senses, with my help, though I still have no idea how I came up with the Dont look, listen thing when he asked me to help him find the bomb, and Ive got at least a starting point for my thesis. All in all, I think weve got the basis for a pretty good quid pro quo. I just have to convince Jims captain of that, and having seen the guy this afternoon, I think I have my work cut out for me. I wonder if a jaw that stiff makes it hard to smile.
Nah. Itll be a piece of cake. As soon as I start in with my Thin Blue Line spiel, the guy will be putty in my hands.
I cant believe Im doing this. I step out of the shower and gingerly towel myself dry, taking note of a couple of spectacular bruises on my chest and stomach caused by landing on the top of the bus. I cant remember a hot shower ever feeling so good and make up my mind there and then not to mention to Sandburg that I almost zoned when I dialed up my sense of touch just a little to better appreciate the warm water. I already see far too many tests in my future and Im not about to encourage the Professor any more than I need to.
Wrapping a towel around my waist, I head upstairs and dress in jeans and a t-shirt and sweater, shaking my head at the memory of seeing Sandburg in his office for the first time. I have to admit he was not what I expected. When hed barged into the hospital room earlier that day, my first thought was that he was an escapee from the psychiatric ward. I still dont really know what made me go to the university and seek him out. Desperation, maybe. The thought that my career as a cop could well be over and that it might be me lining up for measurements for a straitjacket had me willing to try just about anything.
I head back downstairs and pull my last beer from the fridge, wondering briefly if I have time to head out to the store and pick up another six pack. I shelve the notion. Dont want the guy drink/driving and besides, Im not planning on getting that friendly. Its just an equal exchange of information. He helps me get my senses under control and in return, he can use the information for his thesis. That thought gives me pause and I make a mental reminder to get his absolute assurance that my names not gonna pop up on some university paper some time down the track for all the world to see.
Im going have to impress on him tonight that he has to let me handle Simon. One wrong word out of the kid and Simons going to have both of us admitted to Conover and throw away the key. It only took a couple of minutes at that second meeting for Sandburg to get me riled up with all that caveman talk. Simon will make mincemeat of the kid if he tries that sentinel stuff on him.
The kids way too excitable. Gave me a headache just watching him bounce around that storeroom he calls an office. If he doesnt keep it together and calm down some, hes likely to get himself killed or some other poor schmuck. Guess theres a thing or two I need to teach him.
I have to admit he handled himself pretty well today. I have no idea what he was thinking sneaking aboard that bus. I finish off my beer while I ponder that one. Im going to have to keep a tight leash on the kid, thats for sure. Could have gotten himself killed.
Still, he kept his cool when I asked him to help me look for the bomb. Dont look, listen. It made perfect sense and yet I would have never thought of it. He wrestled Veronica for the gun and subdued her. Maybe I should give him a few boxing lessons too before he breaks his hand on someones jaw.
What am I talking about? The kids only gonna be around for a few weeks, providing I can convince Simon to take him on board. Hell teach me how to control my senses, get a few notes for his dissertation and we can shake hands and go back to our own lives.
I hear footsteps in the hallway and toss my empty bottle into the trash. I walk out of the kitchen and over to the front door, yanking it open just as hes about to knock.
His eyes bug out a little. "How did you ?" Then he grins. "Man, you are good! You know, I think with some work, we can really fine tune your hearing to the point where youll be able to recognize individual footsteps, maybe heartbeats "
I school my face into bored disinterest as he moves past me into the apartment and drops his ever-present backpack on the floor, still yammering on.
Oh, yeah, Ive got my work cut out for me with this guy.