FEEDBACK TO : email@example.com
SUMMARY: Blair finds trouble, Jim has to find Blair.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my first Sentinel fanfic. I have written quite a few Stargate stories. The idea for this story came from listening to a song by a great Australian band - Little River Band, the song - "Help is on its way"
DISCLAIMER: All characters and property of The Sentinel belong to Di Meo and Bilson and Petfly. This story has been written purely for the enjoyment of fans and no profit has been made.
Blair Sandburg left the Cascade Library in a buoyant mood. The sun peeked through fluffy clouds and Blair felt warm and more positive about life than he had in a very long time. He'd promised his partner, Jim Ellison that, despite his car being in the shop, he'd be home in time to cook dinner.
Stopping by the Asian market to pick up vegetables for the chicken stir fry he planned, he stood chatting for several minutes to the owner of the store, grinning good-naturedly as Mr. Woo tried to matchmake Blair and their very pretty, very shy daughter. He bid goodbye to the family, smiling again as Mrs. Woo pressed a bottle of her home made stir fry marinade - very secret recipe - into his hands.
He walked on toward the bus stop, passing by the bank, then suddenly stopped, smacking a hand against his forehead. "You must be getting old, Sandburg," he muttered to himself.
Pulling a tattered piece of paper from the pocket of his jeans, he consulted his "To Do " list. Yes, there it was, top of the list, rent money. He did an abrupt about turn and stopped in front of the ATM just as the closed sign went up. Sighing, he fished in his pocket for his card and pushed open the door to the bank.
The eerie pervading quiet set off alarm bells in his head even before his eyes took in the gun being trained on the security guard, who sat hunched in a corner clutching a bloody shoulder. Still holding his backpack to his chest, Blair began to back slowly, and he hoped, silently toward the doors. He froze as he felt a hard gun muzzle press into the side of his head.
"Going somewhere, pretty boy? Come on in and join the party."
Detective Jim Ellison pushed his chair back from his desk and stretched. He glanced up at the clock and sighed.
He hoped Blair was going to hold to his promise of cooking dinner. Jim had spoken to him via his cell phone briefly at lunchtime and Blair had assured him that the meal was a done deal. Jim, however, remembered too many nights spent on the sofa with a Chinese take away when the grad student had gotten caught up at the library or the University. Blair had to cut his call short as his battery was running low and Jim hoped he'd remembered to recharge it.
He still marveled at how the anthropologist could fit so much into 24 hours and still remain full of energy. Jim, on the other hand, had a hard time coping with just being a cop, albeit with five heightened senses. Sometimes just watching Sandburg wore him out. He stretched again and headed for the breakroom, another hour of paperwork and he could hit the door and head home to the loft.
Blair stumbled as he was roughly pushed further into the bank. As he steadied himself, he took a surreptitious look around. Standing in front of two terrified tellers was a large heavyset man with a balaclava over his face. To his right, another masked thug pushed a well-dressed man toward the back rooms. "Get the safe open or one of your pretty assistants buys it," he threatened.
The armed man behind Blair pushed again with the gun, then pointed it at the two women customers. "Out the back, all of you."
Blair helped up a shocked elderly lady and led her by the arm behind the counter, whispering soft assurances. The tellers filled the bags with money and then they and the other women and the guard were pushed inside a small room. One of the men secured the door by shoving a chair underneath the handle.
"What about these two?" one of the men asked, indicating Blair and the manager.
"Insurance," said the leader. "We'll dump them later"
Blair swallowed convulsively, he suspected the men didn't plan on dumping live bodies. "Come on, man, you don't need us. We'll just slow you down."
"Shut up, hippie," the large man said, lashing out with his gun.
Pain exploded through Blair's head and he was driven to his knees. "Oh God." Blair groaned. He clutched his head in his hands and rocked to and fro as the world faded in and out. "Jim, please, man, get me out of this."
Two of the men bent down to drag the anthropologist to his feet and the manager took the opportunity to run for the door. The man who had hit Blair coolly raised his gun and shot the fleeing man in the back.
"No," Blair yelled as he struggled in the grip of the two men. He was rewarded with another vicious blow to his head. Then the thief cocked his head, hearing the faint sounds of sirens in the distance. "Bring him. Let's go. Joey's waiting," he ordered.
The men made for the emergency exit, backing onto an alley, dragging a half-conscious Sandburg between them.
Jim Ellison debated whether to call his partner and confirm he was home, then thought better of it. Sandburg was always complaining about the big detective's mother hen instincts and despite Blair's reputation as a trouble magnet, Jim figured there wasn't a whole heap of trouble the kid could get into at the library.
He strolled through the bullpen and stopped to knock at the captain's office door, before poking his head in the doorway. The tall police captain looked up from his paperwork and motioned Jim in. "Come on in, Jim. Coffee?" he offered.
"No thanks, sir," Jim said, massaging the kinks from his back. "I'm about to head home if there's nothing else. Sandburg's cooking."
Simon smiled "Sounds promising. How are things between you two these days? From where I stand, it looks pretty good."
Jim smiled back. "It is good. What happened with Alex and after, that's in the past, though I'll admit to seeing Blair in a whole new light after the way he dealt with it all. He still suffers the odd nightmare, but in this job, don't we all."
Simon nodded agreement.
"There's the thing with the job, too," Jim continued "Since he's joined the force, he seems to have a better handle on where I'm coming from, why I react the way I do to certain situations." Jim shrugged. "Maybe he's just matured, become less na´ve."
"Yeah," Simon said "There's something about dying that'll do that to you. I just hope he doesn't become cynical, hardened to it all, like the rest of us."
"That'll never happen," Jim said confidently. "That sense of fair play, the knack of seeing something good in everyone is innate in Blair. Let's face it, he's the ultimate optimist. I've gotta go." Jim waved a farewell and turned to leave.
He'd just hit the button for the elevator when he heard footsteps behind him. He turned to see Simon approaching, shrugging into his coat.
"Sorry, Jim, you can ring Sandburg later and tell him you'll be late. Robbery at the First Cascade Bank. I'll drive."
Blair came to his senses slowly and painfully as he was roughly pushed into the back of an old station wagon. His heart hammered in time with his head and he felt warm blood trickling down the side of his face.
As the men rushed around to clamber into the vehicle, Blair felt frantically in his backpack, thrown in next to him. He quickly drew his cell phone out and pushed it into the pocket of his jacket. He was thrown into the side of the car as the driver accelerated out of the alleyway.
"So, what are we going to do with him?" one of the men asked.
"I told you," the leader answered. "We keep him as insurance until we get past the city limits, then we waste him and dump him."
Blair shuddered at the words and looked around for a means of escape. Raising his head, he noted the door was the type that swung out sideways. The handle had been removed but the catch mechanism was still intact. Blair reached his hand out and began to work at the latch.
Simon and Jim rolled to a stop at the front of the bank, switching off lights and siren. A small crowd had gathered and a police officer stood guard outside the yellow ribbon securing the crime scene. Jim and Simon flashed their badges and ducked under the tape. Jim saw Henri Brown straighten from crouching beside a body as they entered.
"Hey, Captain, Jim, how's it going?"
"Good, H. What have we got?" Jim answered.
"We got three perps, all masked, a driver, a dead bank manager, shot up guard and a hostage."
"Great," Jim sighed. "How long since they left?"
Henri motioned toward an obviously distraught elderly woman being comforted by Megan Conner. "Lady here thinks they got a 10 to 15 minute start. Nobody got a look at the car."
"Who's the hostage?" Simon asked.
Henri shrugged. "Not known to anyone here. Young guy "
"Guys, I think you'd better take a look at this," Rafe interrupted. He directed them into a small back room. "We were taking a look at the security footage." He pressed the play button on the video machine.
"Oh God, Blair," Jim murmured. He watched as the thief with the gun accosted Blair, then marched him toward the back of the bank. Sentinel eyes tried to track his further progress but he was out of range of the camera.
"Shit!" Simon swore. "Get an APB out on Sandburg. Let's get out there, people. I want these men stopped now."
Blair bit back a curse of frustration and pain as his blood-slicked fingers slipped again on the rusty lock. They had been travelling now for about two hours and night was beginning to close in.
The men had largely ignored him since bundling him into the car, but suddenly one of them gestured over his shoulder, as though just reminded he was there. "So when do we lose the hippie?" he asked.
Blair hid his stinging bloodied fingers under his body and lay perfectly still, hoping they would think he was still unconscious.
The leader looked back at Blair, considering. He tapped the driver on the shoulder. "Any quiet little spots around here, Joey?"
"Yeah, about a mile up, there's a dirt road turnoff," Joey replied. "We finish him off and dump him there. There's no telling if he's seen our faces since we took our masks off."
Blair took a deep breath; it was now or never. He sent a final prayer to his Blessed Protector and reached once more for the door latch. To his enormous relief and surprise, it clicked back on the first push and he launched himself out of the swinging door. He fought to tuck his body into a small ball to protect himself but he hit the ground hard nonetheless.
He felt a massive pain along his entire left side and white light exploded through his already damaged head sending him headlong into darkness. Small rocks and pieces of gravel shredded his clothes and bit into his skin as he rolled end over end, finally sliding down a small embankment to crash against a clump of bushes. He wasn't conscious to hear the squealing of tires as the thieves accelerated up the road in a shower of gravel.
Jim paced the bullpen. "They can't have just disappeared into thin air. Somebody's got to have seen something," he muttered.
"Come on, Jim, settle down. Rafe and Brown are still tracking down witnesses. Until we know what car we're looking for, we can only wait. All we've got is that they headed east. The road blocks were up pretty fast."
"Not fast enough," Ellison interrupted. He scrubbed tiredly at his bloodshot eyes. "I'm going back to the bank, maybe we missed something."
"I'll come with you," Simon said. "Sandburg would never forgive me if I let you zone."
Back at the bank, Simon watched as Jim prowled the room. He sighed heavily. They had almost lost Sandburg in the fountain at Rainier University, when Alex Barnes had drowned him. Simon remembered how Jim had spiraled into total despair when they had tried to convince him that his young friend was dead.
He also remembered that Jim had refused to give up, continuing CPR and begging Sandburg to breathe even after the EMT's had walked away. Blair had responded to Jim's ministrations and survived. Simon knew that Jim would not give up on his guide this time either. The captain hoped that the detective's instincts were right again.
Suddenly Simon noticed Jim falter, then stop near the safe. "Jim," he called. "Found something?" There was no reply, Jim stood as still as a statue. "Shit," Simon cursed. "If you've zoned on me, Ellison "
He hurried over to the detective and lightly shook his shoulder. "Ellison? Jim? You with me? Come on Jim, snap out of it." Simon shook Jim's shoulder harder. "Come on, Jim. Help me out here. I'm no Sandburg."
Jim suddenly shuddered and blinked. "Simon? Did I zone?"
The captain nodded. "Sure did. Didn't think I'd pull you out of it. Do you know what you zoned on?"
The detective nodded, his face grim. Kneeling, he brushed at the carpet with his fingertips. "Sandburg's blood."
Blair awoke in agony as violent shivering assailed his body. He moaned as he attempted to roll onto his back and the action sent hot shock waves of pain splintering through his left arm and leg. Trying to pull air into his aching chest, he collapsed again face down, panting with the effort. He could feel blood tracking down his face and the sting of gravel rash over his body. He lay still for a moment trying to gather enough strength and fortitude to roll over. Finally, he took a breath and pushed himself up and over, yelling in pain as he did so.
He lay flat for a moment, his breath coming in rapid grunts, his body shuddering from the agony crashing upon it. His eyes drifted closed as exhaustion wrapped its cloak around him and tears squeezed from the corners of his eyes, mixing with the blood on his face. A heaving sob slipped past the pain in his chest. "Jim."
A wave of nausea overwhelmed him and he rolled to the side, retching violently. As the heaving gave way to dry retching, Blair became aware of a sharp pain in his chest. Gasping, he clutched at his chest, then gave a cry that was midway between a sob and a laugh.
His cell phone was wedged in his pocket, one sharp edge digging into his ribs. With trembling hands, he pulled the phone out and then pushed himself back to haul himself up against the support of a boulder. Exhausted and shaking from the effort, he tried to force his tired brain to recall the number he needed to call.
Jim Ellison resumed pacing the bullpen. As Henri and Rafe arrived, he stopped and looked expectantly at them. "Anything, guys?"
Rafe shrugged. "Sorry, Jim. Don't give up yet though. Something will turn up."
"It's been five hours since Sandburg disappeared and there's been nothing. Where the hell are they?" Jim snapped.
"Jim, news," Simon barked. "The thieves have been caught near the mountains."
"Sandburg?" Jim ground out.
"Sorry, Jim. He wasn't with them and the men aren't talking."
"Where are they? Let me talk to them, I'll get them to talk," the detective roared.
Simon walked out of his office and laid a placating hand on Jim's shoulder. "Look, Jim, I think we have to prepare for the possibility "
Ellison swept the hand from his shoulder with a snarl. He growled deep in his throat as the four thieves were brought past the bullpen and into the interrogation rooms. The largest man turned to grin at him, bringing his handcuffed hands up in a show of defiance. "Lost something, officer?"
The big detective's eyes flashed as he barreled across the room, collecting the prisoner under his chin with a muscled forearm and pinning him to the wall, his feet dangling mere inches from the floor. "Where is he, you evil bastard?" Jim roared. "Where's Sandburg?"
The man gasped, his face already bright red as he fought for air, his hands coming up to grip the arm crushing his larynx. "Don't know what you're talking about," he managed.
Jim growled again, pressing harder against the man's throat, ignoring the protests of his captain and the hands that attempted to pull him away from his quarry.
"Okay, near turnoff on the main road east about thirty miles out of town. He jumped out of the car," the man wheezed.
Jim pushed even harder on the man's throat, causing his legs to scrabble in panic.
"You left him out there?" he grated. With a disgusted snort, he dropped the man to the ground and turned away. "I'm going to look for him, Simon."
"Jim, if he jumped from a moving car " Simon began.
"He's still alive, sir," Jim insisted. Answering his captain's questioning look, he shrugged. "I can feel him, he's alive and he's waiting for me."
Blair closed his eyes as another wave of pain radiated up from his leg and through his arm and chest. He attempted to swallow but his throat was parched and it felt like he'd swallowed sandpaper.
The night was cold and damp now and he shivered incessantly. He heard a snap of twig and tried to see through the inky blackness. He heard a scrabbling and then a chattering noise and tried to calm his wildly beating heart.
"Just a squirrel or something," he whispered.
He held up the cell phone and turned it on. He let go of the breath he realized he'd been holding as a soft glow lit up the phone. Blair stabbed at the buttons with trembling fingers.
"Please answer, Jim. I wanna go home."
Jim hung up the phone after talking to Search and Rescue and snagged his jacket off the back of his chair, just as his cell phone rang.
"Ellison," he barked.
"Jim?" the voice was whisper soft, breathless.
"Oh God, Blair! Are you okay? Where are you?"
"Jim, can you hear me?"
"I hear you, Chief. Do you know where you are?"
"Jim, please answer me." The voice was breaking up now. "Hurt, Jim, I need you."
"Blair! Don't hang up. I can hear you. Hang on, Chief, I'm coming," Jim shouted. "Blair? Blair?" The detective looked anxiously at Simon. "He can't hear me, Simon. I can hear him. He's hurt."
"All right, Jim, take it easy. At least we know he's alive. Keep talking to him, maybe the signal will come back up," Simon said.
Jim shook the phone in frustration and then spoke into it again. "Blair? Come on Chief, talk to me."
"Jim, I need your help. Please, Jim, are you there?" Blair sobbed in frustration and his arm and leg set up a shock wave of pain as he threw the cell phone away.
He slumped down against the rock and watched the blood trickle from his shattered arm to drip onto the dirt. The night had brought bone chilling cold and he shivered uncontrollably, biting down a cry of pain as the movement rattled his injured arm and leg.
He closed his eyes as exhaustion overtook him and he drifted off to sleep on a cloud of half-remembered memories and snatches of dreams. He twisted restlessly in pain calling the name of his sentinel.
Simon drove slowly along the winding road. He and Jim had met up with several police officers and rescue personnel at the dirt road turnoff, where a base camp had been set up. Jim was champing at the bit to move out, but the more experienced Search and Rescue people had insisted that nothing could be done until first light.
Jim had shouted them down, suggesting some unique places that they could put their grid maps and stormed off. Simon radioed in their location, then headed off after him.
He could see Jim now, captured in the eerie glow of the headlights, as he slowly walked ahead of the car. He stopped now and then, his head cocked to one side as he listened and tried to filter out the noises of the night and find the one elusive sound he longed to hear; the heartbeat of his guide. Jim stopped again and pushed his hearing through the dark cloak of night. He shook his head in frustration as a cacophony of sounds assailed him.
"Filter them out, Jim." He heard his guide's calm, reassuring words. "Filter them out until you find the one you are looking for."
Jim took a deep breath and extended his hearing, filtering and discarding the sounds one by one and suddenly, there it was. It was weak and rapid but it was definitely Sandburg's heartbeat.
The sentinel turned excitedly toward the car. "I can hear him, Simon. He's nearby."
Simon got out of the car and reached into the back seat for blankets, first aid supplies and a torch. Switching on the torch, he rushed to Jim's side. "Can you see him, Jim?" he asked, shining the torch from side to side.
Ellison shook his head. "I'm going to try piggybacking my sight onto my hearing. I'm going to need you to ground me."
"Don't you zone on me now, Ellison," Simon replied.
Jim sent his hearing out again into the night, and finally homed in the rapidly beating heartbeat. He pushed his sight forward on the coat tails of his hearing, squinting at the effort it took for him to push through, to force it through night's black curtain.
He missed it at first, his tired eyes flickering on it, dismissing it and moving on. Suddenly he gasped and focused again. "We've found him Simon. About fifty yards ahead, left side of the road, over the embankment."
Jim began to run, his heart hammering in his chest. "Be okay, Chief, please be okay," he whispered.
Simon repeated the location over the radio to Search and Rescue, then took off after his detective.
Blair, lying on his side, was clearly unconscious. Jim knelt beside him and felt for his hand.
"God, Chief, you're so cold," he said, rubbing the icy fingers, trying to stimulate the circulation. He turned as he heard Simon running up behind him.
"He's cold, Simon, we need blankets." Simon passed over the bundle he'd brought from the car, and then knelt, letting the torch's glow play over the anthropologist's face and body.
"Jesus Christ!" he swore. Blair's face was ashen, save for the myriad of black bruises and the vivid scarlet blood covering the left side of his face.
"Blair? It's me, Jim. Can you wake up for me, buddy?" Jim called softly, a tremor evident in his voice. "Come on, don't quit on me now. You have to wake up for me." Jim's voice caught in his throat. "I really need to hear your voice, Blair."
Blair shivered violently and regained consciousness with a cry of pain.
"Okay, Blair, it's okay. I'm here." Jim steadied the young man and gently stroked the matted curls.
"Jim?" the voice was rough, weak, disbelieving. "I couldn't hear you, couldn't find you."
"I know, Chief, but I found you. Help is on the way, buddy. Let me take a quick look at you, all right?"
The blue eyes closed again in exhaustion and Jim heard Sandburg's breathing slow down and even out. "He's out again, Simon. I'm going to check his injuries while he's unconscious."
Simon nodded and kept the torch steady on the young man's body. Jim began to run his hypersensitive fingers over Blair's body, cataloguing each injury.
"He's got a couple of bad gashes on his head, one's still bleeding a bit. I can't feel any breaks in his collarbones or ribs, but his chest is badly bruised and grazed from hitting the road."
Jim moved his hands over Blair's arms. "Oh, no, shine the torch over here, Simon."
Simon did as Jim asked and drew in a breath as the light shone on Blair's left arm. The sleeve had been torn from the jacket and in the harsh glare of the torch, both men could see the shattered edge of bone protruding through the bloodied skin near the elbow.
"Chopper's here," Jim said.
A moment later, Simon saw the Medivac light up the sky as it landed on the roadway behind them. Jim gently stroked Blair's cheek, reassuring him that he was safe. The young man didn't stir as a doctor and two EMT'S surrounded them and stabilized him before strapping him into a stretcher for the flight to the hospital.
Simon clapped Jim on the shoulder. "Go with them. I'll meet you there."
Jim was still pacing the Emergency Room waiting area as Simon burst through the door. "Any news?"
Ellison shrugged. "Just what I picked up during the chopper flight. He has a compound fracture of the radius and ulna in his left arm and a fracture of the left tibia in his leg, some pretty nasty head wounds and abrasions all over his body. On top of that, he's dehydrated and running a fever. They're concerned about his state of consciousness, so they're doing a CAT scan before they set his arm and leg. God, Simon, do you realize what it must have taken for Sandburg to jump from that car, to think that it was his only hope?"
"I know, Jim, I get the shakes just thinking about it," Simon said. "Why don't I find us some coffee and a sandwich?"
"Coffee's good, thanks, sir."
Two hours of watching Jim pace and have mini zoneouts as he searched for his partner's heartbeat, were making the captain dizzy. "For God's sake, Ellison, sit down before you fall down," he growled.
"Detective Ellison?" a voice interrupted.
Jim spun and hurriedly approached a small, balding man.
"I'm Doctor Yeo. Let's all have a seat in the room over here." The doctor ushered the way to a side room and gestured for both men to sit. "Your friend, Blair has had quite a time of it, Detective. He's got some serious wounds to his head. They've been stitched, the compound fracture to his arm and the break in his leg have both been reduced and set and the CAT scan revealed a fracture in his skull."
"What!" Jim jumped up.
"Sit down, Detective and let me finish," the doctor said, placing a gentle hand on Jim's arm. "There's a skull fracture but no evidence of hemorrhage in the brain. He's got some nasty abrasions; probably our major concern now is the infection he's got in his arm. If we can't halt it soon it may compromise his recuperation, so we have him on some potent antibiotics."
Jim looked at the doctor, a hopeful expression on his face. "Could I ?"
The doctor nodded. "I'm sure Blair will rest easier knowing you're there, Detective. Go on in. He's in Room 304 in the Critical Care Unit."
Jim crept quietly into the ward and followed the nurse to Blair's bedside. The light bathed the young man's body in a soft glow and Jim had to dial down his sight a little in order to see his partner clearly.
Dark bruises stood out sharply on a pale sweat sheened face. Blair's eyes moved restlessly beneath the lids. He shifted in the bed mumbling incoherently and occasionally moaning in pain. His left arm was held in a traction device and Jim could see the outline of a heavy cast on his leg beneath the sheet. Jim sat down hard in the chair offered to him and rubbed his hands over weary eyes.
"Why don't I get you a cup of coffee, sir?" the nurse offered.
"Thanks, I'd like that," Jim answered numbly.
"Talk to him," she said. "He's been fading in and out, but he needs to know you're here."
Jim nodded and as she moved off, he reached for Blair's uninjured hand. "Hey there, Chief, I've got to tell you, you had me worried for a while. You're safe now and the sooner you wake up the better I'll feel," he whispered, squeezing the hand he held.
Blair trembled slightly and his eyes opened slowly halfway, then shut again.
"That's it, buddy. Come back to me." Jim looked up as the nurse leaned over him with a cup of coffee.
She gestured at the bowl of water on the bedside locker. "I've got to sponge him to keep his fever down," she said.
"I could do it," Jim offered.
The nurse hesitated, then nodded, smiling. "Thanks, we're pretty busy tonight."
Jim soaked the cloth in the tepid water and then squeezed it out. He pulled the sheet down to Blair's waist and gently began to dab at the fevered skin, trying to avoid the worst abrasions. Blair twisted under his care and Jim used his other hand to stroke his partner's cheek. "Sorry, Chief, I'll try not to hurt you."
Jim continued to gently bathe his friend, repeating his reassurances, finding himself getting lost in the motions.
He jumped a little as a hand locked around his wrist and he found himself staring into weary blue eyes that gazed back unwaveringly at him. "Hey, Sandburg, you back with me, Chief?" he asked quietly.
The eyes began to close again and Jim leaned forward, lightly tapping Blair's cheek. "Come on, Blair. You've got to wake up now."
Slowly Blair stirred and looked around blearily at his surroundings, finally fixing on his partner's concerned face. "Jim, you found me," he whispered.
"Yeah, buddy, I found you. Don't I always?" Jim answered.
Tears began to track down Blair's pale face.
"Hey, Chief, it's okay. You're safe now," Jim said, wiping the moisture away with his thumbs.
"I was so scared, Jim. It was so cold and dark. I couldn't hear you on the phone."
"I know, but I could hear you and I could feel you. I knew I'd find you," Jim assured him.
"You did?" Blair asked, his eyes closing once more. "Wanna go home," he said before yawning widely.
Jim grinned and patted his partner's hand "Soon, Chief, soon."
Back to story archive