***Thanks very much to Sandra and Claudia for giving me a place on your wonderful Web- Site. (Sorry, the off switch still hasn't been found, but the people searching for it is growing each day ;-) If you don't now what I mean, just think of the Sentinel Meeting. ;-)

***Thanks to Cynara for doing such a perfect Beta-reading job, She took the Disaster that this story was and turned it into something readable. THANKS!!!!!!!! She also helps me a lot with explaining me my mistakes and helping me prevent them the next time (Something that many teacher of mine before her weren't so luck. ;]) All remaining mistakes are mine and mind alone.

***And thanks to everyone who wrote me. You helped me a great deal over that damn Writer's block, that Real Live installed. Thanks for your nice words.

This story is for all of you. I really hope you like it.

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Sorry about this story taking so long, but somewhere at 33 Page into the story I lost the clue how to continue. You see. In this time I saw all the 3 Season and the Episode 'Vow of Silence'. And from that moment on I had a problem with the fact that in this story, Jim is straight. Maybe Blair, but not Jim. I have asked a few men, they would rather drop dead than calling another man 'Baby' or 'Babe'.

The second one came at 35. (Should have been 3.7 ; or even better 4.5)

//Life is - what happens while you are making other plans.//

Day and Night

by Strange Music-;

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Disclaimer : I don't own any of the afterwards mentioned Characters. It's very sad. But I have learned to cope with it. Very well as a matter of fact. Don't have any problems. Not one.........not even a little one..........WAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!(sniff!!!!)

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Eyes of Blue, that looked at him.

Those piercing blue eyes, that not even on a picture lost their brilliance. Reminding him of what he would lose, but also reminding him why he had to go. He put the picture back on the desk and lay the tape he had prepared beside the answering machine. For a second he contemplated about taking his keys with him but then a surge of sanity told him, that there was no chance that he would ever need them again.

He might stay and for a brief sweet moment, he enjoyed the possibility of considering it. Only he knew that this part of his live had been closed. Forever.

Something broke in him the moment he put them in the basket, nothing in clearer letters, that he would not be coming back.

In three hours he would be sending his final message from some roadside pay phone telephone. That left him another 4 hours before it would be found. He would be in some other country by then.

DAMN...How could this have happened so fast? Only 3 month ago, his life had seemed so perfect, and now it was shattered to pieces. Everything was gone.

He silently moved to close the door behind him.

"Bye Jim" he whispered sadly.

Then he closed the door to his old life.


3 months earlier

Policework was fun and its Paperwork wasn't so bad either. Blair could clearly remember far more boring things that he had done in his life. Filling out inquiries forms for research grants was only one of them. They only gave you the money after you have *proven* to them that you would *not* need it. Today they had made a trade, Blair would be filling out the forms, while Jim would be hitting the keys. Even when at that moment the only thing that Jim was hitting was the computer

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN *UNAUTHORIZED FUNCTION* I WAS USING GRAMMATIC."

Blair didn't have to look up to see the picture that was displayed in front of him. Better said he couldn't look up. If he would have, Jim would have seen the very bright grin that was just spreading across his face.

"Just calm down Jim. Hitting it is doing no good. Trust me I've been there."

"Calm DOWN? This thing just threatened to trash a 20 Page Report."

"Did you save it?" he asked calmly, he knew Jim wasn't exactly fond of not being in charge of a situation. And when it came to computers, you never were *really* in charge.

"Of course I saved it, but that's not the point. The point is that it is not supposed to shut down because I was using a normal function of the Computer. Especially not if it is 1:00 am" Another hollow clanking sound.

"I don't think you should do this Jim. It could take it personal."

"Well, it is supposed to take this personal Chief."

Once more the hollow clanking sound but this time it was compared with a faint noise as the Computer finally decided to commit suicide.

"Told you." "Okay if you are so clever, then can you tell me how I am going to get to my file." The harsh tone made obvious that Jim wouldn't be reacting well to jokes at the moment.

UPS, he was in a bad mood. Better walk softly. Then again I guess I would also be cranky If my Computer would just be threatening to kill a 20 page report of mine, which is suppose to be ready in 2 hours

"Sorry Blair. I am just tired." His hands came up to cover his face.

"Your Computer still not the intern Network?"

Jim just shook his head, "Next week, they said a month ago." His voice sounded muffled.

Quietly Blair started to go through his private telephone-book. Computer.......nope........Breakdown.....nope........Emergency.........hope. ....Ah there it was under ARRRRRRGGGG. I suppose I should reorganize my book again

Dianna Alisander........555 89 69 / 24 hours a day.

Handing the book over to Jim he left his finger to point at the name. It earned him a mildly amused look from the older man. "It's not what you think. She is a ComputerExpert who is sometimes working for the University. The last time I had to call her, there had been a slight computer problem at 3o'clock in the morning, she came immediately. In her job, she is one of the best I know and she is also the only one who comes at the wee night hours without charging you with your firstborn."

"Knowing you, I wouldn't want to charge you firstborn as well." Jim reached out to take the book. "You sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Now call her."


Hardly half an hour later Dianna appeared at the Station. She was about in her early 30's and as 75% of the women in Cascade, she had red hair. There was no way to call her unattractive. Which left Jim puzzling why, 5 Minutes ago, Blair had excused himself, mumbling something about having to double-check one of the reports with Vera, and then had left the bullpen faster than a lightning bolt

(But he assumed that it was, because waiting hadn't exactly helped his Rainy Day mood to brighten up.)

It certainly couldn't be because of Dianna, could it? The woman who had just sat down in front of the Computer seemed to be rather nice. In a Way Jim presumed, that she might even be Blair's type, but then again, what woman wasn't. Dianna was now starting to survey the damaged he had done.

"Come Baby. Tell Mommy what the big bad brute Detective did to ya."

But then again, maybe she was too weird, even for Blair . Well that would be the day.

"Did the awful man hit you? OHH Poor Baby."

"What the....." he closed his mouth as she shot an angry glance in his direction. Better to just smile at moment and reconsider telling her that you are already seeing her in a nice white jacket, as long as she is still sitting at your computer."Nothing, absolutely nothing." Just keep smiling.

Half an hour later she was still there, but making considerable progress. Jim smiled when he heard Blair return from his hideaway. "Hi Jim, so how is it going man. Is she still......Oh....hi Dianna." Even without enhanced hearing Jim could hear him swallow uncomfortable. Dianna looked up with a stare that would have been able to kill. "Blair Sandburg" her gaze shifted to Jim

"Tell me he didn't touch the Computer."

"I didn't" he heard Blair protest. He glance stayed linked to him. "No he didn't" he declared which calmed her enough to look down again. Throwing an amused look back to Blair, he just caught him before he could take off again. Not even his puppy-eyes would have helped him here. "You stay with me till she is gone." A begging smile flashed across his face. "No that smile won't help you either." Boy, I am looking forward to hear *this* story


Another 10 Minutes later Dianna had finally left the Bull-Pen. Blair couldn't remember another time where he had been that happy about a leaving woman.

Jim, who had settled back in front of his Computer, was still wearing this broad grin. Sooner or later he would have to tell him the story behind all this. Definitely better later than sooner, maybe in the year 2258, or WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER. No....that would still be to soon.

Was it his fault that it had taken him 25 Minutes to remember why he had filed Dianna Alisander under ARRRRGGGG instead of under ComputerService. And the incident back then had also not been his fault, well maybe a little-bit, but not entirely. The mainpart had been Larry's fault. Damn ape....only trouble....only on the other hand without him......okay, okay, so maybe judgment was balanced when it came to Larry. Jim voice shook him out of his thoughts "So Chief, willing to tell me the story."

"Maybe later" In another lifetime shaking his head Jim turned back to the computer laughing. "Take it easy. At least now we will be home soon"

[Maybe if he would have known what would be coming only a small time later he would have enjoyed all this much more.]


Persistent ringing woke him out of his dreams at 4o'clock in the morning. He turned around, but the ringing wouldn't stop. Why didn't the answering machine pick it up. They had only been home for 1 hour.

God, he was so damn tired. This was definitely one of the times where he envied Blair about his sleep, the kid would have been able to sleep through an earthquake. Now he remembered, he had forgotten to turn the machine on again after listening to the messages. He had to get up. This better is important Reluctantly he raised himself out of the bed and made his way down to the answering machine. Soft breathing coming from Blair's room told him that he was still resting peacefully and the telephone still rang. Whoever it was, he or she were quit persistent. Picking up the telephone, he growled his name into the receiver. His voice softened only a bit when the person on the other end turned out to be Simon.

"Sorry to wake you up. But I didn't think that this could wait till tomorrow."

"What? Is it about this case? " His attention at the moment was as high as the peak of a EKG-flat line.

"Veronica Sarris will be released out of prison today."

The next thing that got to his mind was the fact that he was sitting on the floor.

"WHAT!!!!!!Tell me you are kidding me Simon." He raised his voice without consciously realizing it.

"God Jim. Believe me I wish I were."

"But how that possible." He now nearly screamed into the receiver

"Looks like she helped the FBI catch some bomber who had been on the loose in New York. Quiet a loony as the Report says, responsible for 20 Dead. As there hadn't been any victims in her case, they decided if she passed the mental test, she would be free to go."

TICK, TICK, TICK........Where is the bomb....Tell me where the bomb is......TICK TICK..... Find it Detective........TICK TICK TICK TICK

He still remembered her voice that had made had found it's way into his nightmares for many weeks after....TICK TICK TICK TICK

"JIM.....are you still with me?" Simon's voice held worry.

"I am fine, guess I just had a small memory zone-out." He declared softly.

"Didn't knew that they existed as well. Then I guess we have to work on those." a sleepy voice came from the door compared with a huge yawn. "You know what time it is Jim." Another yawn.

Jim held up his hand to stop him. "Sorry Blair. Didn't mean to wake you up. I will talk to you in a second, okay." Blair nodded slowly and moved himself to the couch

"Sorry Simon, please continue."

"Well she passed the test in flying colours. According to her psychiatric she is holding no hostility against either you or Sandburg. But she still wasn't so sure. So the first thing she did when she came home 20 Minutes ago was to call me to tell me to warn you. Which is exactly what I am doing now. Veronica is under close observation by two FBI agents, but there is no way telling how she is going to react once she is out. I will feel much safer knowing that you and Sandburg are going to watch your back and I want to see you both in my office first thing in the morning."

"Yes Simon. See you then" He hung up and let himself fall back against the table behind him. The tiredness was gone leaving him weary of what might await them tomorrow.

"That bad" Blair's soft voice asked.

Jim only nodded.

"Who?"

"Veronica Sarris. She is out."

"WHAT?!?......You think......"

"I don't know Chief. I don't know."

For a few moments they sat in silence, then Jim stood up and walked over to Blair. Smilingly he laid a soft hand on his Guide, who starred at him with big eyes.

"Let's go to bed."

Jim watched till Blair had returned to his room before getting to his own bed. They would still have 4 hours sleep till they would have to show up in Simon's Office.

But he was awake now and his mind was racing. Damn he needed the sleep, there was no use in staring at the ceiling for the rest of the night and yet it seemed to be the only thing that he could do. Unconsciously he started to tuned his hearing to listen to Blair. Apparently his Guide didn't have such problems, he was sound asleep. In his mind he could picture him laying there, so peaceful. A smile appeared on his lips, while he continued to listen to his Partner. And not before long, the tranquil sound had guided him into sleep as well.


Dianna Alisander was sitting in front of her steaming coffee cup, starring at it, as if it were some kind of complex picture. Sure, she knew that in order to function, caffeine had to be taken internally first. This meant that she had to raise the cup and drink it. But that was too much work for her at the moment. Maybe smelling would help in the meantime.

A much too cheerful voice shook her out of her trance. Being happy at a time like this was bad enough, but singing was cruel, Amnesty International should really make a law against it. The voice came closer

"We had wine, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, but the wine and the songs, like the seasons were all gone."

Her splitting headache was sending her greetings with every tone.

"You are having your fun back there, aren't you"

"Ahh I see, we are still Pre-Caffeine, aren't we? Well, it was your decision to go for 5 glasses of champagne and then take off to work in a PoliceStation"

"Well Dus, it was also my decision to marry you"

Gently arms embraced her. "We aren't married yet."

"Thank god, it was just a horrible nightmare."

"I love you too Sunshine. See you in about three days. Bye"

She smiled briefly and then mumbled a quick good-bye as he left.

Hello Day she though grimly I just should go back to bed

Maybe the Coffee will help, but there was still the problem that she first had to drink it.

Somehow.


Blair sat at the table starring fascinated at the strange thing that was moving in front of his eyes. When it suddenly stopped he started to realize that it had been Jim's hand.

"You are really still sleeping, aren't you Chief?"

"Well sometimes 4 hours just ain't enough."

He saw the amusement flash through the other man's eyes "Yeah sure, just keep enjoying this." The ringing of the phone stopped any answer Jim might have had. Still smiling he went to pick up the receiver. "Ellison here....Hmm........Uh Hm.....Aha......Yes that's okay...Okay Simon, we'll see you there......YES, we'll take care.....God Simon stop worrying. You are worse than my mother, hell, you are even worse than Sandburg." Blair looked up, shooting a dirty look in Jim's direction, but this had only the effect that the other man's grin widened even more. "See you then. Bye." He turned back to face Blair. "Hey Chief, tell you what. We are lucky, hit the Jackpot right away." On his roommates puzzled glance he simply answered. "The department decided to ship us off into one of the safe-houses. You know what that means. At least three days of complete peace. Sleeping long, eating fine and doing nothing beside relaxing. What more could you wish for?" That question rose Blair from his semiconscious state of mind. How about stripping you naked and then all night long. Well that would be an idea for me. he felt the smile spread across his face.

"I see that you have an idea, Chief. Something tells me it's good one. Care to explain it me?"

Unwilling, but unable to prevent it, Blair felt a blush crawl up his face.

"Oh, I understand, that kind of idea." Jim noted "Someone special?"

From the feeling, Blair supposed that his cheeks had just turned into an even darker shade of red.

"Aha.....Someone I know?"

"Well of course, I mean it's yo..........Yolanda." He shot his mouth faster than ever before in his life. What am I doing here? Am I going crazy? Must be the lack of sleep. However luck turned to his favor when Jim asked "Who? Sorry Chief. I hate to disappoint you, but I never heard that name." ahhhh....Pheww.....Think!!! Your fast mouth got you into these trouble...now it should get you out again as well......ah-ha

"She's Prof. Smiths Assistant, a real Lady."

"Well you are a lucky guy Chief."

Not as lucky as I'd like to be

"Yes I guess I am, Jim"

But not for the reasons you might think.

"Now come one, let's get going, before Simon puts out an APB on both of us."

"Well, at least this time he would have to sign the both of us out."

*-*-*-*

They spent the way to the safe house deep in silence. Blair too tired to do much talking, had finally gone back to sleep, one hour ago. The silence that dominated the car since then, did little to keep Jim's thoughts from drifting. He was pretty tired himself, having spent most of the night being chased by nightmares. Sure he had contemplated about waking Blair up, but he just didn't find the heart to do so. And so the hours, as the miles continued to pass, till they finally were only a few miles from the Safehouse away. Reaching over he gently shook Blair's shoulder "Come on sleeping beauty. Rise and shine, a brand new day is here to greet you." Blair didn't even make the effort of opening one of his eyes, he only stretched his arms to stretch the sleep out of his body.

"Are we there yet?"

"Not yet, but we will be, in a few minutes.....Trust me you will really like it there. We are 40 miles from the nearest town. Think of it as luxury camping. Only you, me and Nature....and of course the two baby-sitters who will be watching very step we make. Blair reaction was as anticipated "Damn, I knew it was too good to be true. Baby-sitter? What do we need baby-sitter for? I mean we've both been out of the drooling age for some time."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that. I watched you sleeping."

Jim turned his attention back to the road. Which had turned from a highway to an old dried-out riverbed by now. This old mud-road serving as the mainroad to the refuge was almost perfect. It was the only street that led to the house and it could be easily controlled. One less problem. Blair's voice shook him out of his thoughts.

"There is power in there, isn't there."

I need to finish these papers before Thursday." "Don't worry Chief. There's plenty. Believe me, everything has been taken care off. I even thought to bring along that family package of butterfly-Band-Aids, that Simon gave you for your last birthday."

"Ha, ha very funny."

In the distance Jim watched the safehouse coming closer at fast range. "Get yourself ready, we're almost there." His brow narrowed for a moment as he concentrated to identify the familiar scent that reached his nose. "Ah, looks like Simon has beaten us." This caught Blair's attention.

"How do you know?"

"I smell those horrible cigars of his."

"You do?"

"Yes."

"Wow, that's pretty amazing."

"Na, that's nothing. All I do is filter out a scent that is special for a person or I just identify it if it pops up. He emphasized his statement with simple shrug of his shoulders.

"Nothing?!?" Blair gasped, practically beaming with excitement, it was easy to see that he was wide awake now. "I mean THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES!!!" A smile appeared on the older man's face, the amusement about his partners reaction was evident.

"Okay, okay. I calm down.....Just for the research.......*!?!How do you find me!?!*

Silence

"Okay other question. How do you find Taggart?"

"He has this strange ointment he is always wearing."

"Brown."

"'Distant Horizon' he has been using that brand of After-Shave ever since he started working for the Department."

"Stevens"

"Nicotine-bandages"

Blair cocked his head slightly "Makes sense. Okay and now tell me how you'd find me"

Jim shrugged once more. "Sorry, I can't say."

"Gee, great, thanks a lot, Jim. Nice to know where I stand" Sarcasm dripping from his voice.

"Don't get me wrong Blair. I don't mean that there is nothing special about you. By god *that* wouldn't be true. What I mean is, that I don't need to *concentrate* to find you. If I want to find you....I just....well find you." He didn't want to tell Blair that this was mostly because he had already memorized everything surrounding the younger man. His scent, his voice, his breathing-pattern, his heartbeat....everything. This ego boost he could deliver another time.

"There *must* be more behind this. Come on...TELL ME!!!"

"Maybe I'll tell you later."

"What!!!" his voice got three notes higher.

Time for Payback "I would say, about the same time that you decide to tell me what exactly happened between you and Dianna Alisander."

"It was no big deal man, I swear."

"Well, same with this." When he stopped the car, it was apparent that the rest of the conversation would have to wait for another time. They would have enough time, for the next few days.

Simon arrived almost the same moment that they opened their doors. "It's about time, that you two finally decide to show up. I was starting to worry." Reaching into the back-seat, Jim grabbed Blair's and his own Bag. He waited till he saw that Blair held his hands up, then he tossed it over the truck.

"Sorry sir. We just made a quick stop for breakfast. Unless you want us to starve and save the Bad Guys the trouble." He stopped to throw a short look over his shoulder, towards Blair who just looked at him "Hey, no argument from me."

"Thought so." His gaze wandered back to Simon "Sorry sir, but we are one mind on this one."

Sighing, Simon shook his head "Some day, the two of you will be responsible for my ulcer. Let's get inside Boys."

He turned around and headed for the house. Behind his back Jim threw a smile over to Blair, who answered with a short snicker of his own. Sometimes the two of them were just too much for Simon

Simon opened the door for them to enter. The sight of the house reminded him of the true reason they were here. As much as he wished, it was not fun and games. "Any news?" he asked.

"No," Simon answered quietly "She is still accounted for. So far, everything has confirmed that she holds no revenge against you. She is quite friendly and everybody around her likes her. I should be happy, that the program has worked. Then why...."

"Then why are you still not convinced" Jim finished the sentence for him. "I know what you mean. Maybe it's your instinct which tells you, better safe than sorry.......How is the Sword Case doing." He asked to change the theme.

"No victim yet, but we expect one to show up any day."

"Any clues yet."

"Not a single one."

Reaching the living room Simon extended his hand towards the two officers sitting there, obviously ignoring Blair's happy face. "Officer Dusty Hays and Officer Paul Garvin." They nodded in unison.

"Gentlemen" Jim greeted politely. Blair just raised his hand for a brief wave and flashed them a very forced smile. Silence cast a pall veil over the room. Simon took the chance to make his exit. He laid a hand on Jim's shoulder "Take care of the both of you, I expect you back in one piece." Jim only nodded, it was answer enough "Okay, I have to go now...And don't forget officially I have never been here."

"No problem Sir, we've never seen you."

Simon handed him the file he was holding in his hand and left the room.

The silence returned into the room as the four men looked at each other. None of them willing to make the first move. Then Jim heard a faint whisper coming from shortly behind him, spoken so softly that his only his Sentinel abilities enabled him to hear. (((Oh Boy.)))Blair spoke silently knowing only Jim could hear him.(((This is going to be *fun*.))) A sigh escaped Jim's lips. Maybe the next few days would be relaxing, but they will certainly be difficult as well. Silence once more.....which was only broken by Blair's suppressed yawn. At least there was something he could do to get out of the room. "I'll go and get some coffee. Who wants some?" Three hands raised at almost lightspeed. Ah I see. "I'll be back in a few." He threw over his shoulder before he turned to the direction where he remembered the kitchen. "Is that a promise or a threat?" He heard Blair whisper amused. "Which one is more fun" He smiled brightly as he watched Blair acted surprised, sending his brow up to almost meet his hairline.


Moments later Simon wouldn't remember what train of thought had brought him to call the two agents which were assigned to guarding Veronica Sarris. He didn't know why he suddenly picked up the phone and he certainly didn't know why he lied to Agent Railer about his reasons, why he needed the number. He just knew that the feeling in his stomach that had been bothering him since today morning, still hadn't stopped. So he made the call.

"Agent Heel" a pleasant voice answered.

"This is Captain Banks of the Cascade Police department. I'd like to ask you a few question a about the suspect you are just taking care of."

"Oh, you mean Veronica. She's a nice lady, what do you want to know about her."

"This *nice* Lady you are talking about almost killed some good friends of mine including a busload of other innocent victims" Simon tried to let his voice sound unaffected by the anger he was feeling, but he knew that he didn't succeed. "I want to know if she said anything about revenge at the people who were responsible."

"You mean Officer Jim Ellison and someone named Blair Sandburg." He sounded thoughtfully.

"Yes, exactly" he almost screamed into the receiver. Well, so much for regaining his composure

"She told me, that if I ever meet them I was to give them the two following messages. For Blair 'For a boy who looks like a peaceful Hippie, he's got one hell of a punch and if he ever tries something like

that again he won't be so lucky.' And to Jim 'I understand that it wasn't your fault what happened in Peru and if we ever meet again, I will tell you that I no longer mean any harm to you."

Yeah sure Simon thought angry I hear the text just fine. It's only the message I can't believe. "And you are sure that's all she said. No hidden treats, No nothing."

"No" the agent answered with laughter in his voice "She is just perfect, if others would be like her, my job would be a lot easier. You know right now she is in the garden with Agent Lawrence and she...." suddenly he heard a hollow sound and a muffled cry of pain. There was a clicking sound as the receiver connected with the earth and then nothing.

"Agent Heel!!!" Simon screamed into the receiver.

The silence continued.

His stomach didn't seem to have been wrong. Dammit, he should have listened to it earlier

As always, every time when you thought that it couldn't happen, things went from bad to worse.


Standing in the kitchen he started to let his mind run through the possibilities that a vacation could bring. There were so many things that he had been planning to do for a rather long time. Maybe he could now finally read Jack's book, after all he partly owned this man his life. Or he could write Caroline that long letter that he had promised her for so long. Or he could throw away all those plans and just do nothing, maybe watch a bit TV. He didn't have to worry about Blair. Watching his bag, the kid seemed to have packed enough stuff to survive a long and cold winter in here. Not to forget the paper he still had to write. All that would certainly keep him occupied long enough, and before his mind would be able to wander they would be back in the Loft, back to their *normal* life. Well, as normal as the life of Sentinel and Guide was. There was always the possibility that Blair's computer would have a breakdown and he would use the next days sending Jim through every little experiment that his mind could make up. For a moment he stood still, then his eyes started to dart around in the room. Wood, damit, where is wood....No......Damnit where's wood...Ah there After knocking at it three time, he released a very relieved breath. No, he wasn't superstitious, but it was never wrong to make sure...*Very sure*

He stayed a few moments, listened to the coffee running was not exactly the most interesting thing he could think of, but is was still better than returning into the silence that at the moment ruled the living room.

Watching the drops as they made their way down, listening for the sound as it connected itself with the rest of the coffee. Sending waves which broke at the sides of the glass, their movement supplying his nose with soft aroma.

A huge yawn broke his concentration, reminded him to better get inside again, before someone found him zoning out on a coffee-machine. Which would certainly make him the butt of every running joke in the next few weeks.

Reaching the door, he was surprised to be greeted by blissful conversation.

You left Sandburg in there. What did you expect...Silence.....Duhhh....Get serious.

Okay, so he should have known better. Blair could get almost everybody into talking. Even he himself had not been able to protect his secrets from the probing questions of Blair Sandburg. How Blair had survived his stays at the monastery, he could only guess. Maybe that's where his fear of heights came from. Silence......a word that almost didn't exist in Blair's vocabulary, it only existed as a enemy which had to be fought against. The moment he entered the room, Blair threw his gaze for a split second into Jim direction, acknowledging his presence and then went on with whatever story he had just been telling the two officers. With his hands underlining every word he said and his eyes sparkling with the memory of one another of his journeys.

"....not that we hadn't warned him about the consequences of shaking hand with the Manbora, we told him that their etiquette was slightly different from our own. He decided not to listen...well....his will....we are a free country. Okay so maybe we *should* have included that shaking hands for them meant, asking for somebody's hand."

Jim saw both officers laughing out loud.

"....I guess if he would have known he would never have shaken the chieftain's hand. You should have seen the guys face as the old guy starred at him in disbelieve, jumping up and down like some cartoon character and then held his spear under his nose....Secretly we had all hoped that he would accept....It took us three hours of talking to both sides 'til the situation was resolved again and he still got away with only a black eye....Literally. However I swear to you, this guy has so far never shaken another hand in his life."

He chuckled while he finished with the story and the others joined him.

"By the way, talking about getting away with a black eye...I got to tell you about this Trip to Bischu three years ago...."

Blair was already so deep into the story, that he didn't see Jim passing him to sit at the couch. He took a moment to regard a small glance at the two officers who sat beside him. First there was Dusty Hays and Officer Paul Garvin. Officers Hays seemed to be about thirty years old with black short hair. Officer Garving on the other hand was a man whose face showed that he wasn't in his youth anymore, even without knowing that he had just turned 40 the few grey hairs that show on his head would have been a dead giveaway. And both of them were completely enchanted by his partners words. A smile was on Jim's face. So many possibilities he had thought of to relax.....but he would have never listed watching his guide as one of them. Yet watching him standing there managed to drive all worries away from him.

"I tell you this small river they had told us about turned out to be a river a mile wide.....Taking a look at those little crafts lying before us and we knew we were in trouble."


An eternity passed or at least so it seemed for Simon. However the clock told him that only 5 minutes had passed since the conversation had ended so abruptly. Then shortly before he would have laid down the receiver, a female voice answered him.

"Hello? Who am I talking to?"

Simon recognized the voice, would have in any time or place. It had been too good to be true, fairytales don't happen in real life. By not trusting the bad feeling in his stomach, he had made a mistake, but by not trusting Jim, he had made this mistake even worse. He should have done more and he should have done it a *lot* sooner.

"What do you want Veronica?"

"Sir, I am sorry if I repeat myself, but who are you? Should I know you?"

"I am Captain Banks."

"Oh, Jim's Boss, I remember you."

For a moment her statement and the lightness in her voice as she delivered them left him speechless. When he finally found his voice again, there was even more anger in his voce then before.

"*I* repeat myself. Why are you doing this and why have you attacked Agent Heel?"

"Oh!!! That's what upsets you?!?" she released another round of laughter "I haven't attack the Agent, he ran into an open cupboard-door and knocked himself out. I wasn't even close when this happened, I was outside in the garden with Agent Lawrence the whole time.....We just came back......" there was a break during her her voice got softer and a littlebit scared "You think I did this on purpose." Slowly she began to stutter, as her former steadiness moved almost completely out of her talking/voice. "You do, don't you ......you think.....that I would......but I have changed........I really have....why should I?"

"Revenge" Simon simply stated, his voice cold as ice.

"On Jim?"

"Not that it would be the first time." Sure Lady, just try and convince me that you decided to went the straight and narrow. You might convince those two fools that the Government assigned to guard you, but you will never convince me.

"But I wasn't in my right mind at that time. I had had a lot of problems at that time and most of them had not been my doing. In my mind I just gave blame to the only person that I could put blame on, who in my mind was responsible for the beginning of my trouble. Know I was wrong, I now know that he was right, that it wasn't his fault."

"Come on Lady, don't try to lie to me."

"But I don't...." her voice stopped and was replaced by a male one only few moment later.

"Captain Banks?"

"Yes?"

"This is Agent Lawrence. Veronica is telling the truth. She was with me the whole time and it is not her fault if Mark is stupid enough to knock himself out. I can assure you, she is one of the few cases where the system worked and now I would really appreciate it if you would take care of your own business, and let us do what is *our* job." The connection was broken without anther word." For the next few second Simon found himself starring at the telephone, his nagging feeling in his stomach was slowly starting to give him stomach ache. Before he wasted a conscious thought, he had stood up and went to the door of his office.

"Officer Avert and Officer McNeil. In my Office, and I mean now!!!"


Three hours later, men in the Safehouse were still talking. "You should try." Blair encouraged, but Officer Hays only shook his head. "Traveling alone?" he laughed disbelieving "No way in hell, that I could do that."

"Why?" Blair jested "Are you afraid?"

"Afraid? I am terrified, but not of what you think. I am terrified of my fiancé, she would kill me in an instant."

"No way, you've got to be kidding."

"Of course I am. Because she would first use her computer to erase my poor existence, then she would take all my money and *then* she would kill me." Disbelieving faces surrounded him. "Believe me Annie is like that....problem is......I love her." Officer Garvin released a small chuckle "Thank god I don't have that problem. I have everything I need right at home. No need to see faraway places or a sunrise in some strange country when it makes me much happier if I can watch my children grow up. To be there when they are happy or sad, to tend little injuries or praise their achievements and to tuck them in at night."

"How many children do you have?"

"Three, two girls and a boy. Sarah is already ten, Lucy is eight. Jeremy is only 4 years old but the two girls have already managed to spoil him for good. Next month we are going to go fishing. The girls are already Pro's, but for Jeremy it's going to be his first trip. Since weeks he is running around in the house, spreading his little arms as far as he can, to show everybody how big a fish he is going to catch. It is everything that he talks about. A few days ago, the girls used this to their advantage and played a little trick on him. They convinced him to stand 4 hours straight under the shower because "This is a ritual every fisherman has to make, before he would be allowed to catch his own fish. Kathryn, my wife, hadn't known how to scold them without breaking up in laughter. After all the two had managed what she couldn't - Get the boy into the shower, on his own free will.-"

"I wish I had had such a father like you." Dusty stated, smiling sadly "I hardly knew him. In all those 20 years I lived at home, he was present for only 10 of them. And when he was at home I always had to share him, with his friends, with his colleagues, with the Television or with whatever book he was reading. Sometimes I think I could have told him that I had just won the nobelprize, he reaction would have been the same....NONE...

Hell one time I even tried it. He was sitting in front of the TV watching the News as if it was the only important thing in his life, even thou they had already reached the weather forecast. I asked him if I could tell him about my day. He said "Sure, I am listening." It had been the day that I had been accepted into the Baseball team and I had been very eager to tell him about it. To see him being proud of me, to see him smile because I had done something right. I started to tell him. Maybe he had listened at the beginning, I hadn't been able to tell and my anger also made me furious enough not to care.

Like I said, I didn't exactly know when his attention had shifted back to the screen, I only know, that he didn't even blink or act surprise when I told him. "And so God the almighty decided to come down to Earth. Yet his angels and all the Saints stopped him. "Because the Humans," as they said, "were not quite ready for the task." "Why?" God replied amused. "It seemed to me they're ready now?" "No they're not, not even close. I mean it's obvious, can't you see? They still have "Baywatch" running on the Tube and Billy Gates.....is still *free*!!!"

He just nodded and went on.

I don't want to say that he was a bad father, I am sure he loved me with all his heart, as much as I loved him but....he just.....well....he just wasn't there. And for all the love, it didn't stop our separation to slowly, over the years, make us strangers to each other."

Blair barley looked up from his folded fingers as he quietly began to talk "Yes, I know how that feels. Thanks to my mother, I always had a father." he snickered nervously. "They would take care of me, tell me stories when I was little and take me to the Football-Games when I grew older. But none of then stayed long enough, for become more than a passing face. I am sure they won't even recognize me today when they would pass me on the street, I can't blame them, because neither would I."

'I never hated them,' he thought sadly 'but after a while I just gave up trying to love them. Not that I want to be ungrateful, I certainly learned a lot from them, Stephen taught me to drive, Marcus taught me to swim, Michael taught me to fish and John taught me to run. They taught me Poker, how to make a boat in a bottle, they advised me on my first date, studied with me when I got bad grades. They taught me many things, but most importantly they taught me to never get to attached to someone. Because they all left sooner or later. Letting them get closer, would only result in making the inevitable more painful.'

He looked up into Jim's eyes, as if searching something there, but the older man misunderstood his intentions. Shrugging he smiled briefly "Sorry, I was happy."

No you weren't, I know that and I know you well enough to see why you would never admit that in front of strangers, even as friendly as those two. Hell, it took *me* more than a year before you told me anything. But that's not the question I had in mind Jim openly he said "So was I, after I got used to it at the age of 7 and then there was always the fact that had my mother." The question I wanted to know was, "Are you going to leave me as well Jim or are you going to stay. You mean so much to me and I love you so much that I can't think of a life without you....Will I have to..... Will you make me leave as soon as you get tired of me being your sidekick. One more gaze at Jim, the glance he saw there made his worries bleed away. It was the ultimate expression of closeness that he saw in the older man's eyes and the sparkle when Jim finally stated. "And I still am happy." Blair knew that he wasn't talking about fathers anymore, but rather about family, about their family which they had built.

A highly unlikely one, or at the least, very unusual scenario had brought them together. Yet, it had worked out. Sure, they were much more different than they ever cared to find out, but they were also much closer then they might ever be able to see.


Officer Jonathan Avert made no attempt of hiding his gratefulness about his recent assignment. His Partner Chris McNeil did all he could do, threw his eyes heavenwards and hoped that his mood would pass and that he would survive it, just like all the other assignments they had worked on together. Avert.....never having been a cheerful person, McNeil was used to his partner's behavior and after one year of working with him, he also didn't expect anything else.

Their partnership had always been tensions, at it's best times and downright hostile at it's worst. They were partners, yes, but they barely knew each other. None of them had been willing to bring up the required interest in the other person to ask for any information. Avert still believed that "Pat", the Name that Chris had engraved on his ring stood for Patricia, he had not yet found the courage to inform him that it stood for Patrick. Only 6 more months, and then they would both be free, Avert to retire and Chris to get another Partner. In their kitchen he had a calendar where he crossed of a line for ever day that he had managed to live through and a green one for every week. Why green? Why not, he liked that color.

Avert was a Police officer like he stood in the book, as he was living the book, reading the book and eating the book. Nothing wrong with that, sure it was a bit strange and normally it was even good but in Averts case it was dangerous. This man's assumption of Justice was not from yesterday, it was right out of the "Dark Age" of mankind. Compared to him, even Sergeant Joe Friday seemed to be liberal. Chris would have not been exactly surprised if it would turn out that was still hunting witches in his sparetime, dressed up in a red robe, while mumbling "We are the Spanish Inquisitors. Our strongest Weapons are.........and nice red uniforms" Maybe this was one of the reasons that they weren't able to work together. They were just *too* different, not that difference had to be bad, as you could see with the two they were going to guard. With him and Avert it was just too different.

Only 4 more hours, then they would reach the Safe-house. There were already two officers assigned, but somehow, Captain Banks was worried that they wouldn't be enough. Under his breath he had mumbled something like, to blind to see the danger or they would even pat an angry lion and call him cute. Under the line that had meant for them that they would be the second Team of a constant 24 hour observation.

Detective Ellison and his tagalong...no that wasn't fair, the kid had a name Sandburg....were not going to be happy about this, but then again, what officer was?

He had informed Patrick that he wouldn't be home for at least 3 days. Calling him over the Office Phone, he was once more thanking god that Avert had no second thoughts at the Nickname. They had been able to exchange their "I love you" 's with no second thoughts from Avert. In ten Minutes they would stop for a driverswitch, then he could spent the last of the two hours reading the book he had just started, pretend they weren't partners. Which would be the case, in 6, ohh, so long months. Then he hoped he would get a better partner, maybe even one that he could talk too, or laugh with. Well, after another thought, he would even be happy with just talking.


The living room was wrapped in silence, a rather pleasant silence, as Blair noticed. Half an hour ago, their little group had finally split up. Jim and Paul were standing in the kitchen cooking dinner, Dusty had started making a few rounds around the house, surveying the surroundings and he was slumped down on the couch reading. Blair knew that this was the time, where he was supposed to get his papers and his computer and start typing, yet somehow he couldn't find the inspiration or the determination to do so. Instead his mind had instead let his hands wander to the book he had started 5 days ago, while he had been on that stakeout at the Lascope house. During the time he had finished almost half of the book and he really liked the style in which it was written, but somehow with all the work he hadn't found the time yet to resume his reading, till today. One of his students had given it to him on his birthday, how she had known that he had this thing for fantasy books he would never find out.

Movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention.

"Not at your computer Chief?" the question came rather amused, Jim's good mood, to Blair's relief, seemed to hold on.

"No, the Muse didn't strike me yet."

"Be glad, with your luck you might end up with a shiner. But that doesn't divert from the fact that it seems that we are skipping homework here, aren't we. Don't worry. I won't tell Naomi"

"It's not homework......" Blair smiling as he finally got the joke, playing along he lowered his voice to a conspirators tone "I would appreciate it if you would."

He was rewarded with a soft snicker from Jim, while the other man sat on the chair next to Blair's head. "May I?" he asked, while he held his hand out.

"Of course" Blair answered while he handed him the book.

"The Black Eye? Sounds interesting, though the name reminds me a bit of a book I read when I was younger"

"When you were young?" Blair asked more than just surprised.

"Yes Sandburg, because against all other options, I was young...once" he turned the book still in his hand "I guess it was about that time."

"That's Medieval time." Blair corrected him, smiling widely, at the knowledge that he had found another common interest with Jim, which certainly wasn't an easy task to do. "Like I said." he playfully ruffled Blair's Hair "Problem is, since I started Police, I somehow lost the time to really read a book." After turning it a few more times, Jim placed it back in Blair's waiting hand.

"What is it about?"

"Well as I said before, it is set in the Medieval Age of a fictional Country named 'Aventurien'. It is about a group of heroes and the adventures they experience......you really want to know?...."

Throwing at him a relaxed look, Jim just smiled and nodded " After knowing you for so long, I have gotten to know the danger this question can hold...Yes, I'm sure."

"Okay, so first of all there are those Elf-sisters, well actually they are not really sisters, but they grew up together, since one off them, 'Vakalla' was adopted by the other one's, 'Lyrie's, family. Lyrie is just searching for her husband, that she had seen in the last adventures they had. It was in a flash that she had into the future. The guy looks remarkable like you. Here I show you the Szene." Pointing at a page he showed the book to Jim

".....Lyrie knew that something was wrong. It wasn't hard to find out. First they were told that the final fight would now be their's to win, and then suddenly, she was standing in the middle of a bath, in a little town that obviously belonged to her and her sister. At least she knew now that apparently some time had passed since the final battle. Her sister hadn't been much help so far.

Well, maybe she should have knocked first before barging into the room. As neither her sister nor the women with her had been highly amused. They had simply brought her into her room, and told her to wait for her husband. Husband, she wasn't even married, how could she wait for her husband? While she was still contemplating the door opened and a goodlooking Elf entered.

He was obviously glad to see her, she was just confused. Sure, he was good-looking, short brown hair, brilliant blue eyes but if he was her husband, shouldn't she at least know the basics. With her hand she stopped the elf, who was just balancing on his left leg while he was undressing. "Stop........How long have we been married?".........

Blair took the book back. "After that she contemplates about spending 20 minutes with him, but it takes her 'till almost the end of the adventure, before she realizes that it might have been if she asked him for his name first.

Then there is Tarakus Bendor, a warrior, who has been bitten by a werewolf some years ago and now the group has bound him every time that they have full moon. He is having a great time playing around with love potions. One time the other warrior Jame Sie was trying to ravish a whole town and then was blaming the wizards. Although he didn't need the love potion for the Rascalla.

Rascalla the best friend of Jostell is heavily in love with a God's Massager named Sense. He even gave her a bracelet that enables her to grow wings, although she has learned not to use it while travelling by ship. She is a Novadi, something like dessert people.

Then there is Jame Sie, first an ordinary Warrior, he made the mistake of dying at the worst time and in the worst place. Because he didn't die, but was rather reborn, as a Holberka, a mixture between Elf and Ork. In the last chapter he wanted to visit a Radja Temple, a Aventurian Brothel. Unfortunally when he went to his room with one of the girls, he found out that that she wasn't quite a she. Wasn't quiet happy about it. Sounded a lot like those stories that Simon told us about his undercover work as 'Jackie'

Two Wizards, one of them very powerful, but he doesn't trust French cooks, not since one of them served him a meal that he afterward found out to be named 'Menù le Wuff', yes, and he also made a very obvious pass on him. And last and also least, the Dwarf Garak. It is interesting to see how so far, half way through the book the others hope that finally the Garak is going to 'pass away' and the other half they actually are making plans.

"And? Do they?" Jim asked curious.

"What?" Blair asked back.

"Kill him?"

"I don't know, I haven't finished the book yet and I always read them in order. Call me suspicious, but every time you read the ending of a book before the middle, the book turns out to be boring or bad. But if you want you can have a look." Jim took the book and started to leave through the pages till a few pages

before the end, where he found what he was looking for. "Ah there it is."

".....So far after surviving so many adventures Garak had started to completely rely on his god the "Spielemeister" when it came to his survival. Slowly he had thought of himself to be invincible, fighting even against his "friends", because *nothing could happen to him*. It was that night that he found out that he was wrong. Hidden by the Shadows of the night one of the other heroes slowly made the way leading to the tent. The Dwarf, unknown to the danger still sound asleep and......"

Jim stopped reading and read the rest of the page in silence. Then he laughed out loud "Well that sure is creative." And with these words he handed the book back to Blair.

"What? Who is it, and what happens?" Blair inquired, but was only met with Jim silence and a smile which curved his lips. "Read it for yourself, I only tell you one thing 'Dum Dum' but remember, no cheating."

"I hate you."

"It's a burden I have to life with." Blair could see on his face how much he was enjoying this game. "But continue, it sounds good, so far, what else is happening?"


Blair had noticed that Jim had heard the other two officers arrival awful ten minutes before they announced they arrival with a honk. Which could mean two things, that the air up here carried sound *MUCH* better than in the city, which was not that far off. Or that Jim had his senses on full alert; if that was so, Blair figured that if he continued to do so, somewhere in the next few hours he would have to scrap his friend of the ceiling. Because all those wilderness sounds would be sending him up there, sooner or later. Now they were standing outside in the cold night, exchanging their greetings.

To Chris McNeil, the younger one of the two officers, Blair took an almost instant liking. It was the open smile the younger man wore, which reached up into his eyes, making them almost glow with laughter.

Somehow Blair was sure that he could trust the young man.

It was another thing when it came to his partner, Jonathan Avert, a guy who gave Blair the creeps running up and down his back. Normally a man of Avert's age would have a certain amount of respect from Blair, but this guy didn't. Whenever he smiled it was like a shark showing of his teeth, a predatory smile without mercy. Blair tried to explain his uncertain feeling with the fact that he was standing in the darkness, far away from home as the possible prey of a woman, who had sworn to kill him, the last time he had seen her. However there was also the small possibility that he had these feelings because he had seen the look that the older man had given him when they had shook hands. A look that had spelled the words 'I don't like you' quite clear. Maybe it also might have been the fact that the other man's reaction after their handshake had been to wipe his hand on his trousers and Blair had had to withhold the real strong urge to go over and give the man the hug of his life time or at least clap a hand over his shoulder, just for the kick of it. When the others were finished, he clapped his hands together and made a shivering sound "Guys, I don't know about you, but I am freezing here, how about taking this party to the inside, my teeth are going to make my dentist very unhappy if I continue to try and shatter them." He heard Dusty laugh trying to answer something, but Officer Avert was faster "Yes, let's go inside before the Baby-Hippie over there gets any more afraid that he already is." Blair opened his mouth to answer a witty reply, closed it however after a few second without having made a reply, some people were not worth any comment.

They turned to get into the house. Completely absorbed in watching the stars above him, he didn't hear the other man's approach till he felt a hand on his shoulder. The sudden movement combined with the shadows all around him made him jump almost 5 feet. "Sorry" he heard a soft voice answer embarrassed, it was Officer McNeil. Letting out the breath he had been holding, Blair looked at the man standing behind him with a mixture of amusement and relief in his eyes. "Thanks a lot for showing me that 3 cups of coffee *are* enough to keep you awake. Well, that and someone to scare you into your next 15 incarnation."

"Sorry.....I really didn't want to scare you, I just wanted to talk with you and I couldn't wait till we were in the house." This time the man sounded even more embarrassed.

"No problem pal.....I was just joking. You remember joking? I guess not with Mr. Statue as Partner." The result was what Blair had hoped for, the smile reappeared on the other man face and his exterior relaxed. "Mr. Sandburg" when Blair drew a face at the name, he started his sentence new "Blair, I wanted to apologize for my partner's behaviour."

"No problem, I am used to creating such reactions in some of the cops and besides, I've heard worse. When I chose to follow Jim into the Station I knew what I was getting myself into. Hey, even Jim called me a Neo-hippy witch-doctor punk, when he met me the first time. It hurt at first and this wasn't just coming from the fact that I had the corner of the window-sill sticking into my back when he threw me against the wall. However I soon realized that Jim hadn't really meant it as bad as a insult as it sounded. For him, his point of view at that time, I was a neo-hippy. It's probably the same for your partner or even worse as he is coming from a few generations of Police earlier than Jim is, so I guess he probably just needs time."

Sadly Chris shook his head "Don't place your bets on it, I have been working with this guy for the last year and every time I didn't think that it could get worse, it did. I tell you, I have never met a guy in my life who is more narrow-minded than he is. There is only one way to get along with him, stay out of his way.....as far as possible." Blair nodded, taking the advice the other man had just given him to the heart. Taking deep breath they finally continued their way to the house. At the door he found Jim waiting for them, his face showing that he had heard the entire conversation, which Blair could see at the first signs of guilt that were tacking place in his partner's face. No way that he would let this happen, he'd had enough guilt trips for one day, so he just gripped his shoulders and whispered into his ear. "Don't go there man. First of all you didn't know me and second, you should have heard the names that *I* was giving you." On the confused expression he simply stated "I tell you about this another time, when we are not trapped together in a house 40 miles of all civilization and I at least I have a *chance* to get away before you do any bodily harm to me." Now it was Jim turn to smile and they finally entered the house.


Dinner went by almost in complete silence, mostly because Officer Avert would shoot everybody who dared to open his mouth a look that would have done more than just kill an man. Somehow the fun they'd had over lunch didn't come up. That way it took till Dessert that the mood started to rise again.

"You are really eating raw liver." Chris asked disbelieving

"Why not?" Blair answered as he shrugged his shoulder and took another bite from his cake "Have you ever tried it, it tasted like egg and it has a lot of Vitamin A and D." Chris shook his head, "I don't care how healthy it is, I wouldn't eat it if I were starving. How can you even think......"

As Blair was still having his mouth full Jim answered for his friend. "Oh Blair is open to everything"

Blair snorted amused to conceal the picture that this sentence was bringing up in his mind. He had however not counted on the sugar that was only lying loose on the cake. So that his snorting let the white Powder-sugar fell on the table in front of him. Jim looked at him with amusement on his face "Blair, has nobody ever told you are supposed to swallow it and not to blow it." This time Blair almost choked and he wasn't the only one; Officer McNeil also had a very hard time of not suffocating on his piece of cake. A knowing glance was exchanged between them, then they broke out in laughter, ignoring the strange looks that this action got them from the other men in the room. "What?" Jim asked completely confused. It took him a few moments to think about the comments he had just made and then realization of what it could mean sent his face into the darkest shades of red a face could accomplish, but sending him into chuckling as well. Only one wasn't laughing, his face was showing no signs of amusement but rather complete disgust over the scene in front of his eyes. I knew it he though I had suspected it the whole time


Another two hours were spent in talking, however after only two hours Blair grew unusually quiet and Jim could almost watch the other man's eyes drop down. He himself was beginning to feel the effects of little sleep. And it was only a few minutes later that he realized that he had almost nipped in' as well. Feeling something like embarrassment rise in him, he was rather relieved to find his partner sound asleep at his side. Maybe it *was* time to go to bed.

Leaning over to his partner, he grasped the other man's shoulder slightly and shook it gently. "Come on Chief, wake up. We have to go to bed" the younger man's eyes snapped open as if they were spring-loaded and he found himself looking into wide-open eyes. "Not together, everybody has his own room, don't worry". As he turned around to get his book he missed the expression that crossed the other man's face, was displaying disappointment rather then relief. When he looked back, however these feelings had been concealed again.

After saying goodnight to the others, they made it upstairs into their respective rooms.

The younger man's room was only at the other end of the corridor, not more than a minutes away if something happened but as strange as it sounded, even to Jim, the moment Blair closed his door behind himself Jim started to worry again. Only a minute, yet it was 45 seconds more than it would take him to reach his partner if they were in the Loft. You could kill a man in half that time.

He undressed, still keeping his hearing tuned to his guide's heartbeat. Is wasn't as easy as in the Loft and all the surrounding sounds made it only harder to track, still he had to keep an ear on them as well, as danger was coming from the outside.

When he was lying down, his tired bones were almost jumping from relief at the thought of sleep, only his mind didn't want to slow down. Today's nightmare had left his mind too many possibilities to choose from. Too many ways that his friend and partner could get hurt or worse killed. He had woken up at shortly before dawn, drenched in sweat and still so caught up in his nightmare, that it took him two full minutes before he was able to move as much as his finger. Somehow he was paralyzed with fear....fear for his Guide. 30 minutes passed, and sleep was still nowhere in sight. Blair's heartbeat had long changed to sleeping mode but outside noises were keeping him from finding peace.

A squeaking door, a knocking window and a restless fly were only a few things that keep him awake and slowly driving him insane. If he continue to stay on edge he would be no good in a emergency. He knew that, yet he couldn't turn down, couldn't relax. 3 hours later he was running on the edge. Officer Hays and Officer Garvin had gone to bed an hour ago, leaving Avert and McNeil to guard the house making their little rounds every half an hour.

The tired part of his mind reminded him that Blair had promised to help him, if he should have trouble sleeping....how the kid had known, he would never find out. He was on his way before his conscious mind had the time to work over his reasons. There were none of the other officers on the floor or he would have had a real hard time explaining why he was slipping into his partner's room at such a time of the night. The door was opened and closed softly enough to not wake his Guide earlier than necessary, but also to spend a few minutes watching the soft features of his partner. Curled up into the blanket, with his hair spread over the pillow, he looked so innocent and the moonlight that highlighted his features almost made Jim gather him up in his arms and hold and protect him from everything that might harm him. He is a full grown man he reminded himself, he is able to take care of himself Yes.....but he is also the only man that I knew who had been kidnapped by more psychopath than most people can recognize, had been shot, or almost by killed poisonous animals. Hell Sandburg, was the only, the *only* person I know who almost would have been killed by the girl next door. Normally a synonym for innocence. No wonder his protective instincts were working overtime when it came to the young man. Lost in all these thoughts he missed the fact that the object of his attention was slowly waking up.....only the frightened scream caught his attention and the fist that connected with his stomach. However it was a soft hit, not intended to hurt.

"Jim, what the *HELL* are you doing here. You just took 5 years of my life. If I get my first grey hair at 40 it will be *your* fault......You should count yourself lucky that I saw you face in the moonlight, if not I would have used my foot to hit you and I would have done this a lot lower, where it *really* hurts."

"Sorry."

"So what are you doing here, you certainly didn't come by to watch me sleep....you do *NOT* want to watch me drool all over my pillow." Jim knew that he was blushing and he was glad that the moonlight was not enough for the other man to see it. "I need you to help me sleep."

"Need someone to snuggle?" the voice was light with humour, which only added to Jim's embarrassment.

"I need you to help me with my senses." As soon as the words left Jim mouth his Guide became all business.

"Trouble shutting them down?"

"Yes? How did you know?" Jim asked amazed.

"I was watching you all day long. I assumed that if you kept on tuning your senses to the outside you would get to the edge sooner or later.....and I knew for certain that you would be having trouble sleeping as long as you did so." Throwing his blanket aside he moved his feet out of the bed in one swift motion. "Come on Jim. Lead the way." Jim was about to turn around when he saw that Blair was picking up his pillow and his blanket.

"What are you doing now?"

"If I know you right, I can assume that part of your problems are coming from the fact that you are worried that if something happens to me you won't be here fast enough. So in order shorten that time, you turn your senses up even more than usually, when I am only sleeping downstairs. Isn't that so."

Once more, to his even bigger embarrassment Jim had to admit that his guide was right.

"So....the easiest solution would be, if I would be in the same room with you, which would finally send the Blessed Protector into sleep. I can sleep on the floor, that's no problem.

"But it's the floor."

"Believe me, I have slept on worse things........Well there was this time in India. I mean nothing against cultural exchange....but the nail-bed there was really a bit *too* much of experience for me......"

Jim smiled as he heard his guide bubble on and after they had reached the room the young man still didn't stop talking about his trip. However as he was finally able to tune down, his eyes closed almost as soon as he hit the pillow, never hearing the end of the story Maybe another time I will hear the end was his last thought.

Then sleep surrounded him like a blanket.


Blair never remembered waking up faster than on this morning. When he found himself waking up covered in a blanket lying at the side of Jim's bed, with the older man snoring softly. For a second he had thought that all his wishes had come true, but if they had, why was he lying by the bed and not in it. There were a few ideas that were coming into his head.....but the true reason offered itself rather quickly, much *too* quickly for Blair taste.

His heart had been beating up to his throat when he had found Jim standing beside him beside his bed. God I wish he would have come to watch me sleep....it would have been so romantic....

Knocking on the door caught him out of his thoughts and he answered almost automatically.

"Yes?"

"Detective Ellison asked me to wake him up when Breakfast is ready?"

Blair recognized the voice of Officer Avert.

"We will be down soon."

He knew better than to try and shake Jim awake, as he had tried and failed before. Explaining the black eyes to Simon had been one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. Beside, there was no way that Jim was still sleeping after their little conversation anyway.

"You are up?" he asked. Smiling brightly as the person on the bed only nodded without making any conscious effort into opening his eyes. It was good to know that he was not the only one who could use a few more hours of sleep. Closing his eyes for a few more seconds of sleep he lay back into the pillow, yet the danger of sleeping in made him open them again.

A deep yawn cracked his mouth and he started stretching his arms and legs. When he finally stood up he was glad to see that at least his body seemed to be awake, even though his brain was still sound asleep.

Another thing that he noticed was that Jim had gotten up as well, greeting him with a sight that could have made him hate the other man, as he was completely dressed and from the look, fully awake. "Come on Chief, let's go."

"Have I ever told you that I hate you?" Blair asked while yawning. „Only about a 100 times"

"That's not nearly enough"

One more stretch and they left the room.

His eyes still mostly closed, he relied on his partners shadow when it came to finding his way to the kitchen. Yet there was something that he could see perfectly, something that screamed for his attention like a neon sign.

The coffee-cups standing on the counter. There was one word on his lips that he chanted like a spell "Coffee.....Coffee.....Coffee.....Coffee Coffee" He was totally lost in his thoughts, so completely lost that he didn't even heard that Paul was talking to him. There was a dreamy smile on his lips as picked up the cup, to take a deep swallow. The next thing he knew was that his lips drew together and he felt like he had just bitten into a citron. His chanting changed "Sugar.....Sugar..... Sugar Sugar" he continued as he was searching through the cupboards, till finally Paul found pity with him and place the sugar in his hands. Blair knew that he couldn't have smiled more brightly if the other man would have given him a diamond.

With his newfound treasure in hand he followed the other men into the dining room.

2 more days of peace, two more days.

There was no need for him to worry, there was no way that Veronica Sarris would ever find out where they were. He was completely safe here and might as well enjoy it. There was no way that they could be in danger.

So how come he was still worried, jumping out of his skin at every loud noise. Just my mood I guess

Nothing serious was going to happen, was it?


It was almost noon when Jim's attention was pulled from his book by loud cursing from the living room. "*%!#* I HATE YOU......WHY TODAY DAMNIT......WHY NOT NEXT WEEK....NEXT MONTH.......OR BEST NEXT CENTURY"

Even without his Sentinel abilities he would have been able to understand the words that were coming from his Guide. He stood up to have a look into the trouble. Entering the room he saw a expression of rage on his friends face that he had not seen since the TV Station had skipped an episode of National Geography for the last rounds of a Tennis Match.

"What's going on." He asked trying to sound jovial.

"Nothing.......and that's the problem. I was trying to start up this damn machine, when suddenly out of the blue everything started going crazy. Rebooting it with a startup disk doesn't work because it doesn't know that it has a Drive A. I know a bit about computers....but this is way out of my league."

"You think it might be a virus?" Jim heard Officer Hays voice inquire, apparently he wasn't the only one who had been drawn by his Guide's voice.

"I am sure that it is" Blair answered reluctantly "which means, that if I am really lucky, I could loose everything I have saved on this computer. And what makes things worse, I *really* need to finish this work." He threw a pleading look at Jim "You think we could take it to a computer Specialist in town?"

"NO, this is too dangerous, why do you think we are in this safehouse in the first place?"

"PLEASE JIM" Blair begged his lost puppy-dog glance turned up so far that Jim was tempted to pet his head and give him a dog-biscuit. "Hey guys" Officer Hays broke into their conversation "Maybe I could help. Anny, my fiancé is quite good at working with those things."

"Quite good? How good is quite good?"

"Well, it's her job." "And you think she would come here.....I mean it is rather a long way."

"I am sure, if I ask her to come she will...........after I pledge to do *all* the housework for the next month. Believe me she will be here faster than a speeding bullet."

Jim chuckled at the statement and Blair smiled genuinely "Thanks Dusty, I own you big time for this."

"No problem, actually I like housework, but if you tell Anny about this I am doomed for the rest of my days......you see.....I actually plan on marrying this woman and if I do.......that's number 1 on the list of things that I don't want her to find out."

Then he left to make the call.


It was only a few minutes later, that unknown to the other residents of the house a second phonecall was made. Identifying himself as Captain Richard Arnold, the man asked to speak to Veronica Sarris. A wish that was fulfilled. It was a short conversation, actually only few moments, but when the receiver was put down again, the person at the other end knew the exact location of the safe-house and intended to use it.


Blair was quite amazed as Dusty's statement proved itself to be more than true and his fiancée, arrived at the Safehouse in record time. He did not follow Dusty to the outside, as he knew that the pair probably would appreciate a few moments on their own.

"Sorry that I couldn't tell you anything beside the address......but you know how this is with police business......." he heard Dusty's voice in the other room.

"Don't I." his heart stopped beating for a second as he recognized the voice "Come on Dus, don't you think I know that by now."

Blair felt a cold shower run down his back, he would have recognized this voice anywhere, although he prayed that he would never have to, somehow his prayers were never heard.

Why am I still surprised, after all that time of getting used to it

Turning around with the best faked smile that he could manage, he greeted their guest, with a wave.

The effect was.....well......interesting and he was sure that they had heard the disbelieving question till China. "*YOU?!?"

When his ears stopped ringing he answered "Yes it's me, Blair Sandburg, the one and only. I am glad you still remember me."

"Remember you? I only saw you two days ago and before that you and your damn ape showed up frequently in my worst nightmares..........Do you actually plan on making my life a living hell or does this come as the day goes by."

"What shall I say? I am a natural in those things?"

"I assumed something like this" with these words she forward and sat down in front of the computer, while Blair went for the discrete retreat to Dusty's side who had been watching the whole scene with amusement in his eyes. "Without making a *too* wild guess, I would say that the two of you know each other?"

"You could say *that*."

"Don't tell me *you* were the who shortened out the Uni net?" Dusty asked snickering.

"It wasn't me. It was....Larry."

"Yes...she told me that you were trying to put blame on an ape."

"I don't *blame* him. It *was* his fault. It was like that....I was having problems at getting my computer on the net, so I accessed it and tried to connect it again. However while I had the Window opened someone knocked at my door and I had to get up and answer it. While I was gone Larry jumped at the keyboard and played on the keys like he has seen me doing the whole time. By doing so he somehow managed to crash the whole net at the University.......You see, it really wasn't my fault." Nevertheless he felt himself blushing an action which only increased Dusty's mirth.

"It took Anny 5 days to get everything working again?"

"Believe me, I remember......every one of those days has imprinted itself into my memory.....she has made sure of this....whether I liked it or not.......Dianna Alisander......Why the *hell* do you call her Anna and not one of the normal nicknames that are common for that that name."

"She is not a common person."

"You can say *THAT*" 3 hours, maybe 4, but certainly not much longer. Then she would be on her way home again. he took delight from the thought.

He couldn't have been more wrong, because life had other plans and so it came that shortly before her work was finished a huge thunderstorm engulfed the whole region, delaying every kind of traveling, to the next day.

And then disaster took it's turn and started to play.


Simon had finally been able to call it a night. Home...finally As everytime when he had spent most of his time at the Station his mind confused the word home.Nope not the one at the Station, that's my office........Then why do you spent more time there than here......good point.....Since when do I have a keychain....Either I am *really* tired or I should drastically cut back on junkfood and coffee......'NEVER'......Bed what are you waiting for, I am yours.....I guess I should open the door first

He stopped for a moment "and second I should stop talking to myself"

After yesterdays and today's trouble it had only taken a few hours of darkness, to sent his lids to clamp down. However, as always, life had other plans.

So it came that it had only just entered the apartment when the telephone started to ring. NO.....Tell me that this isn't happening...tell me I am hallucinating "Shut up" Great, Now I am talking to machines

"I am not at home." He mumbled as he started to undress. I am not at home....I am not at home....Let the damn answering machine take it. It took another ring till it finally dawned on him that he had taken the machine back to the store only yesterday because it had broken down.I am not at home through his tried mind another thought surfacedBut what if it were Jim or Blair....or the guys at the station.....no they wouldn't, they knew that they are only supposed to call in a emergency.....and if this was a emergency

He picked up the phone "Yes?!?" he barked inside the receiver.

"Captain Banks?" an unsure voice inquired which Simon recognized as Agent Lawrence's.

"Yes what do you want, Agent?"

"How?...well that's not important right now. Veronica is gone."

Simon took a deep breath, both for processing the message he had just received and for calming his voice enough to not shout into the other man's ear, even if in his opinion he *did* deserve it. The calming part worked, it let however something else surface, his sarcasm. "Are you sure...are you sure that it really is Ms. Veronica 'I won't hurt a fly' Sarris that has displayed you both as the idiots you are."

"Now wait"

"NOO you wait, both of you and the incompetent fool that you call a partner. I want all the information that you can find, all the things she told you and I want it yesterday.

"But....."

Simon never heard the end of the sentence as he slammed down the receiver. He should have known and he had known, but he had waited too long. Much too long. The next thing he had to do was inform Jim about the new circumstances and get back into the station, to make a long day even longer.

And to make thing worse, he was only greeted with a all circuits are busy message when he tried to reach the safe-house. He had heard about the thunderstorm that was currently raging in that area but he hadn't assumed that it would be that bad.

In about 5 hours he would be able to get a connection

5 long hours in which everything could happen.


Blair looked fearfully around the dark room, where both he and Jim had sat down to watch one of the movies, which was playing. They were alone in the room. Dianna and Dusty had gone upstairs Chris was playing chess with Paul and Officer Avert was standing guard.

Still he was worried.

This was supposed to be a safehouse....he was supposed to feel *safe* in here. Then why would he, at the moment, give everything to be back in the Loft.

Maybe it was the fact that it had become a home to him in more than one way, there every shadow only meant a place where the light didn't reach, here every shadow meant "unknown danger". Loud laughter from Jim caught his attention for a few moments. The older man seemed to have no problem relaxing, but then again he was probably used to these kind of situations, even when then he was usually on the other side. Another laugh. He hadn't seen the film before, but Jim had said that it was good and when he did, it usually true. Problem was, he wouldn't have been able to tell, because so far he had seen nothing of the film. His attention from the film had long ago skipped to the outside. Every breaking branch caught his attention, every crack of thunder stopped his breath and every flash of lightening had his heart skip a beat. Calm down Blair. It is only a thunderstorm. There is no maniac on the outside who's read your description in the "Psychotic Tribune" of last month. There isn't even such a paper. "Sure" a small voice answered "then tell me, how else all those psychopaths always manage to find you." Don't listen. Everything's okay. Just calm *DOWN*. Take a deep and cleansing breath. Good, Now, everything is...... The next thing he heard was lightening striking much closer than any of the others before, followed by a loud bursting sound as it hit its target. Loud enough to catch him off guard and lift him about 10 feet off the couch. His heartbeat was now thundering in his throat and his blood was rushing in his ears.

" What's the matter?" Jim's worried voice came from the side.

"Nothing" he answered lightly, while he looked at the older man and tried to manage a smile. But even as he tried, he knew that he wouldn't be able to fool him. If he could mange to calm down long enough, he would be able to fool the Detective / Lie Detector / Human Crime Lab, but he knew that he would never be able to fool the friend. The friend would take one look into his expressive blue eyes and they would tell him about his state of mind. Traitors A understanding smile appeared on Jim's face "I see.....I promise you that you are safe. Have you forgotten that I am supposed to be your Blessed Protector, I have a reputation to live up to. Now come on.....Yesterday it was you who helped me sleep, now let me repay the debt." He said this while he laid his hand across Blair's shoulders, leading Blair's head to rest on his .

A soft sigh escaped his lips as his head came to rest on the broad shoulders of his friend. For the first time in two days he felt safe. Completely safe. Protected in those arms he was led into a peaceful sleep only moments later.

Jim's smile widened, and he looked at his Guide, now sleeping peacefully in his arms. He had kept monitoring his breathing pattern as he had slowly slipped into sleep......and this time unlike last night, it was a peaceful one. It was a good sight to see his friend finally calm, he knew that he had about seen as much from the movie as Jim had. Almost nothing. Evertime his Guide's breathing pattern had changed his attention had shifted from the TV. A yawn opened his mouth, he had to admit that the last few days had taken their toll out him as well. He tuned his hearing onto his guide's breathing pattern once more. Just one night without fear was his last thought before he went into sleep himself.


Neither of them saw the eyes that watched them hatefully, nor did they hear the words that the Shadow spoke "This is not right. This is not the right way. I'll make sure you pay for this because those who falter and those who fall must pay the price, pay it in blood."


Waking up in snuggled up in Jim's arms was a sure thing to boost his energy for the day. Yesterday beside the bed, today in his arms......if I keep that rate up I could be a *very* happy man by this time tomorrow morning.

"Your awake Chief?"

Blair wanted to deny it, wanted to make Jim believe that he was still sleeping, just for a few more minutes of being this close to the other man. Yet he knew, coming from the Sentinel this was just a rhetorical question, because Jim already knew from his heartbeat that he wasn't sleeping anymore. "Yes, I am awake." He admitted without opening his eyes.

Opening one eyes, to cast a glance to the outside, he was rewarded with silence, apparently the thunderstorm had stopped. However he also noticed that it was still dark outside. He close his eyes again "Why did you wake me up?"

"Simon just called" Blair noticed the worries that clung in the other man's voice, enough to get his attention.

"What happened?" he asked, feeling suddenly very awake.

"Veronica has gotten away." Jim admitted, sounding embarrassed as if it had been his fault. "Apparently the two Agents guarding her didn't think she might be dangerous and weren't careful enough. In a blind moment, had she slipped away."

"Are we in danger?"

Jim shook his head "No, there is no way that she will be able to get this address, which is the reason why we moved into this safe house in the first place."

"You sure," the young man asked sounding a bit unsure.

"Believe me....you are safe here.....I will personally make sure of that. Nothings gonna harm you, as long as I am around."

He looked into his Guide's eyes, waiting for an answer and he got one.

"I believe you......and I trust you."

"Good, then go back to sleep, it is only 5 o'clock in the morning"

"What about you?"

"I'll stay awake."

"But I thought there was no danger coming from her?"

"There won't....Now go back to sleep...I'll take care of everything."

Seconds later Blair was leaning back on the couch. He was missing Jim's closeness and the danger was coming much closer than he hoped.

But Jim had said that he would take care of it, and Jim always kept his word.

Always.


One hour later he had given up any chance of finding sleep under the current circumstances. It was clear that the only sleep he would find would be filled with nightmares anyway and you could hardly call that *rest*.

Using the time rather for continuing his writing on his now, thanks to Dianna, working computer. Now 4 hours later he saw a shadow fall over his shoulder, and as he turned wround he found himself looking into the slightly troubled face of Jim.

He could see that something was bothering the other man, so his first question was simple.

"What's the matter Jim?"

"Chief, listen......I know I promised that everything would be fine........but I would find it much easier if I knew that you had a weapon with you, for.....you know." He draw the weapon out from behind his back.

"NO WAY!!! GO TO HELL WITH THAT THING!!!" he knew he was being harsh but he had had this argument far too often. He also knew that he was making a mistake the moment he stood up and tried to leave the room. Damn after all this peace, the message of Veronica's flight had put them both on the nervous side.

"STOP!" the tone in Jim voice stopped him short in his tracks. "You will listen to me and you will listen NOW. If I tell you something, it is for your own good. I don't give you those lectures on self-defence just for the kick of it. I do it because I want you to be able to defend yourself. Now turn around, and let me finish what I have to say to you. And I do NOT like it when you walk out on a conversation, I have a right that you listen to me as much as I listen to you when you are talking so, one more time like this Sandburg and your ass is mine. " Jim threatened. This stopped him cold in his tracks. Okay before you turn around now, start to breath again, Slowly, deeply and most important consistently. Remember that Jim did *not* mean that as you just thought he meant it, so get you mind out of the gutter and up to the same level as Jim's. Now that that is done, there should be no more reason for your eyes to shine like fog- lights, turn them down to normal standard. After this is done, last but not least. Put the pictures that this sentences brings up in your mind in a file marked XXX and change that dopey grin on you face into a normal smile.

"The danger is real now. This woman is on the lam and she is out to get us. So in case she get's me first. I want to be sure that you can protect yourself

"Jim, this is final, I am not packing a gun. No way in hell. There are other ways to protect yourself than holding a gun at somebody's head." The older man had been on the edge ever since the telephone call this morning.

"But all those times......"

"I did it because it was really necessary and I had no other choice."

"Okay then just in case it get's *really necessary*" he stopped Blair's resistance before he could do more than open his mouth. "No arguments.....*I* talk and *you* listen." Banned to silence Blair nodded as a sign that he had understood. "Good....Well as it seems that I won't get very far with convincing you that you should carry a gun, there, like you just mentioned, are still times where it becomes essential for you to use one. May it be for your own protected and survival or those around you, which in this case doesn't exclude me. For those occurrences, I would like you to take notice of a few things. First of all, I have observed, that every time you have shot a gun, the weapon leaves your hand like hot potato .........That's *not* the wisest thing to do, but if you really have to do something stupid like that, at least clear the chamber of bullets. That should make the gun useless for anyone picking it up after you. Understood?"

Blair once more, only nodded.

"Okay second...."


Chris watched the two of them, smiling knowingly. Still remembering the little heart to heart talk that he and Sandburg had had the other day. It was so obvious that the younger man was in love with the detective, that it was really strange that in a house full of policeman, he was the only one to notice.

Sure, telling someone, that you were in love with him was never easy, especially if it held the danger of losing him. Or as Sandburg had expressed when he had asked him 'Do I have *idiot* stamped in red letters on my head'. No you don't, but you have the words *I love you* written in your eyes. He turned around, and left for the other room. Somehow he suddenly felt the strong need to make a phone-call.

A very strong urge.


Half an hour later, Jim could see that Blair was about to sleep with his eyes open. He had actually gotten used to the thought that sooner or later his lesson would have to be stopped because of sleep, when Blair's hand shot up.

"No more, okay" Blair interrupted him smiling "Listen to me for just one second. *I* can defend myself, "he looked challenging up into the other man's eyes "So? Do you believe me or do I have to prove it?.

Glaring back with and almost similar expression, Jim put his hand on his hips "Prove it. I bet....." he didn't any further. The next thing he knew was the floor connecting with his head and his Guide sitting on top of him, using body, arms and legs to make it impossible for him to move.

The smiling face of his Partner was now only inches from own. "Gotcha."

"How did you?"

"When I was 12 I attended some Judo-Classes. Remember what I told you, I was a 'Nerd', you don't have an easy life that way. Anyway, I had almost forgotten everything, till last month, when I asked one of my students, to help me polish up my knowledge."

"I can see that it worked.....uhm Blair...I have a question." His partner was still only inches away.

"Yes...this is a actual hold."

"I know that.....I have been in Judo....I just wanted to ask you if I can get up."

The ringing of the phone stopped his lecture.

Jim went to pick it up "Ellison....Ah Simon. How are things going" a break "Ohh, why does it always have to be good *and* bad news......Okay good news first.....Have they?" a sincere smile appeared on his face "Boy, I can't believe it....I have to admit that I didn't really think that they would. Okay I am ready for the bad news now." The next thing that Blair saw was that Jim's face turned to stone and he sat down on the chair beside the phone "I understand.....we will keep our eyes open and thanks."

"What's the matter Jim." Blair asked worried.

"Well the good news is, they have caught Veronica Sarris and the bad news........she was on the way to the Safehouse."

"So what else is new?"

"Well, Chief, she had directions and she told the police that she was informed by someone from the Safehouse."

Blair shock his head vehemently, "No, Jim, she must be lying, I don't know anyone in this house that would have done such a thing. I trust them all, well almost all of them."

"Face it Blair, you know this people for no longer than 2 days, that's a little to short to entrust them with your life.......almost?"

Before answering this question Blair threw a gaze over his shoulder as if checking for the person he would be talking about. "Well there is Officer Avert. He's throwing those hostile gazes my direction all the time. It makes me shiver just to think of them, they are so incredibly cold."

"I know what you mean, I've seen them.......maybe we should ask him a few question and if we are wrong you apologize."

"ME?!?"

"Just kidding. We will apologize. Which reminds me. Can I use your computer for a quick check of his personal record."

"Sure all that you see here is yours."


As even someone with Sentinel senses can be almost blind and deaf to his surroundings when his mind is properly distracted, Jim did not hear that their little training had had two spectators. One of them approving, the other one looking on in hate. Officer Avert had not heard the part of the conversation that included him; what he had seen in that room had been enough. He had just watched the two of them for far too long now. Now it was time to intervene. Ellison was a good cop, or at least had been, till he got in league with that kid. He didn't know what kind of spell that brat had put on the cop but he found no normal way to explain the cop's sick behaviour. Because that's what it was, sick, and it was up to him to explain this to Ellison. Sure, right at the moment he probably assumed that his behaviour was natural, but it wasn't and Avert was going to set him straight.

He was very sure, later, when Jim Ellison looked back, he would be grateful to Avert for helping him.

Now, he just had to get rid of any eyewitnesses.

Sometimes, there had to be a price.

He cocked his gun and made his way.


Even after a search through his personal record, Officer Jonathan Avert still seemed to be a model officer.

For a second Blair though that he saw something like movement in the corner of his eye, but he dismissed it as misinterpretation of a fleeting curtain, when he turned his whole attention back to the man standing in front of him. Okay, so maybe he was as naive as Jim considered him. What was wrong with seeing the good side in mankind once in a while. There was a chance that even Officer Avert had a good reason. He watched as the man opposite from him checked his gun before putting it in his pants. 'Just to be sure'

But he knew, that if Jim had only half the bad feeling that he had about the next few hours, that gun would certainly be used today.


It happened so fast, that none of the occupants in the room had time to react as the first one died. Paul Garvin, father of three children, later they would be glad to find out that he had died fast enough to never feel the pain of the bullet that entered his heart.

The next one who was hit was Dusty Hays, the bullet hit him in the shoulder letting him slide down to the floor like a puppet without strings. Followed by Chris McNeil who was hit in the leg.

Then just as the Officer Avert held the gun at Dianna he hear something coming and fled.

He was not followed.


Jim had followed the first gunshots when he heard them.

Still, as soon as he entered the room, he knew that was too late, for at least one occupant of the room. Officer Garvin's empty gaze was something that he had seen many times in his life.....too many times.

But there were survivors, the three remaining heartbeat in the room told him so.

Telling Blair to take care of Chris, he himself went over to Dusty.

It wasn't easy to move Dianna away from her fiancé, the shock ran too deep.

Some soft words and a gentle touch were necessary to finally make her move.

The wound didn't look good, however turned out to be not life threading, at least at the moment. Jim knew that if it continued to lose blood at that rate he would be dead in less than 5 hours. Applying a tourniquet he looked over at Blair.

Chris however was clear enough to answer for himself, apparently, the bullet had only grazed him.

However, what Jim saw from Blair, was the sad shaking of his head when he picked up the phone.

*Disconnected*

He had feared something like this.

They were in deep trouble now.


Officer Avert moved further through the house.

With the phonelines now disconnected he had the chance get to the second part of his plan.

Picking up the little bottle that he had planted in the kitchen he went back.


Blair watched as Dianna and Chris slowly made their way to the car. They would get Dusty to a hospital and send help for them. He and Jim had volunteered to remain behind. For diversion. He could see that Jim wasn't happy with the decision, and only the fact that there simply wasn't any place left in the car, prevented Jim from making him leave.

He wouldn't have gone anyway.

If there ever had been a situation were Jim had needed his Guide, it was at that moment.

They had to cover their tracks, provide enough distraction so that the car could get away.

Looking into Jim's eyes, he could see the Sentinel inside him clear. The protector of the trip. Now the tribe had been wounded and the Hunter was out for revenge.


He opened the bottle in his hands, the strong smell catching his breath for a few seconds.

However, he caught himself soon enough to see his prey only a few yards in front of him.

One of them obviously distracted.


Everything had gone so fast. First Jim had started to shake his head, as if something was bothering him, and then the next second he had felt the cold steel of a gun under his chin.

Officer Avert held his arms steady

"I would advise." He said in a voice that suggested no other option, "That you lay your weapons on the table, Detective Ellison, if you want your little friend here to survive to see tomorrow.

There wasn't any pause as Jim reached into his pocket and put his gun on the table.

Then his whole world descended into darkness as the gun connected with the back of his head.


Everything was going according to plan.

Soon the Officer Avert would be given his choice.

After all, it not like he was a monster.


When Blair awoke, he felt like his head had just made acquaintance with a stone wall.

And for a short second, he let himself believe that this might be the result of one hell of a party, and that everything that had happened just had been the result of an alcohol-induced nightmare.

However the fantasy turned out to be rather short-lived, as his vision cleared and that taste of old rag in his mouth turned out to be a old rag. And his hands were bound in a heavy cord.

In a panic he went searching for Jim, praying that he would still be alive, almost laughing out loud in relief when he *did* find Jim sitting at the opposite wall. His hands were bound to a pipe, with a pair of handcuffs.

Apparently unhurt, or at least he seemed to be, his only concern for Blair.

"Are you okay, Blair?" he asked worried.

"Yes" Blair softly breathed, his soft answer not loud enough for the normal human ear, yet enough loud to calm the concerned Sentinel.

Blair knew that there where more questions that his friends wanted to ask, but there just wasn't the time, when Avert's voice boomed across the room.

"Now that our little friend here is awake, why don't we go over to the next part, Detective Ellison. Because there is an important decision I want you to make. A decision that might seem harsh to you at the moment, nevertheless I am sure that in a few weeks, when you had enough time to think about it, certainly will make you grateful."

"Go to hell, Avert"

"Now, now Detective. I know how this might seem to you, but it is really only in you own interest."

Standing up from the chair that he was sitting in, he started walking toward the two man. "I have been watching you detective, over the last month. And in that month there where two things that I found out about you. First, that you are the best Detective they have at the precinct at the moment. Of all the cops, you are exactly the one that would make me turn into my retirement without any second thoughts. However there is still a little problem."

Waving his gun at the chair that Blair was sitting in. This is a fragment, and we can discuss ways to fix it.

"Your *partner*. Now I don't know how he did it, but from my view, it seems like that little fairy turned a straight detective into a queer. It's not your fault, I know how sneaky those guys can be. Maybe you haven't even realized it yet, what he's done to you. But I am sure that I can help you, *see* things the right way."

"You are sick Avert."

"No, Detective Ellison you are." And with those words he took the knife in his hands "But I can cure you."


When he had stared into Avers face, the moment that he had taken Blair as a hostage, he had hoped that he had only assumed that madness that he had seen in his eyes. I'm confused at what you're driving at here. Again, we can discuss this.

Only to be proven wrong, seconds later. Being forced to bind and gag his friend and partner. The ties weren't that strong, and he hoped that if necessary Blair would figure out that he was able to free himself. Because at the moment it didn't look like Jim would be able to come to his rescue this time.

It was hard, not being able to do anything.

Blair seemed to be so close, if he could stretch his arms out, he would be able to touch him, send him comfort, tell him that everything would be okay, but his arms were bound.

He looked at his Guide's Face......there was so much pain displayed in those expressive features. The tears were running freely now. His ever moving mouth silent for the first time, since Jim had met him. Silenced at the point of a gun, yet his eyes spoke volumes. In his mind, Jim compared this face to the one that he had seen only 2 years ago. So innocent and full of life.*What have I done to you?*

Leaning against the table behind him, Avert continued with his little speech.

"As I said before, Detective, I am not a monster. I will give you a choice. Now, I can almost see, why you feel yourself drawn to your partner. That almost makes me resistant enough see behind his facade.

It's his looks, so close to a girl, that he is playing with you senses."

Jim almost laughed at the expression, mostly because Avert didn't know how close to the truth he was, and at the same time how far away.

"So the choice is yours. Either I kill him, to free you, or I wipe your eyes clean of every spell that he has woven over them. I know that you might be not comfortable with murder.

Jim knew even before Blair had realized it, what Avert meant. He also knew that this cleaning procedure, would certainly involve the little bottle, now standing on the table. It was the same bottle whose smell had disturbed his senses when Avert had entered the room.

Not being a Chemist he didn't know what exactly was in that brew, still he knew enough for one thing. That it would have consequences for him and his further life, because whatever it was, it appeared potent enough to take his sight.

"My eyes" he decided in a definite voice, ignoring the protesting screams that came from Blair. Not looking at him, it made the decision easier.

Didn't he know that there was only one decision?

Many people around the world were blind, living their daily lives. With a lot practice he might be able toas well.

Without Blair....

No, it was the right decision.

"Too bad Detective. I was hoping that you would choose the easier way."

He saw Avert coming closer, bottle in his hands.

Turning his head he threw one last glance at Blair, memorizing everything he saw, knowing it might be the last thing he would ever see.

Then the fire took his sight, burning with a rage that took away all his thoughts. Leaving him only with the naked pain.

There was a short moment huh? At his side, then merciful darkness blessed him with the absence of that pain, taking him to a place a bit further away.


It all happened in seconds.

It took only seconds to free himself from the ropes.

Only seconds to grasp the gun lying on the table.

And it took only seconds for Avert to splash the liquid of the bottle into Jim face.

And those were the seconds that Blair had been too late.

Too late to stop him, too late to save Jim from whatever fate there was.

He wasn't thinking when he made his decision, as it wasn't really something to decide as he curled his finger.

Actually pressing the trigger had been a lot easier than he had thought, but to his relief a bit harder than Jack had promised it to be. It wasn't that his mind didn't register the he had maybe just killed a person, it just didn't matter, as it was his heart that told him to pull the trigger.

There wasn't the time to wait till Avert body would connect with the floor, there was also no need for that. Not many people survived having their face blown away.

And for the first time ever, Blair had felt nothing.

Grasping the waterbottle that was standing at the table, a leftover from last night's dinner, thanking all the gods he knew that it was still almost full.

Jim was still unconscious and Blair was grateful for that, knowing the pain that his friend would suffer were he awake right now.

The water should help, washing away whatever had been in that bottle, but there was no way of knowing just how much damage had already been done.

He opened the handcuffs still around Jim's wrist and then pulled his friend's head into his lap. Sometimes pouring the clear water into his eyes, and sometimes simply comforting him. Showing him that he wasn't alone, showing him that there was someone there for him.

Time passed strangely while he sat there on the floor, for what seemed to be hours, and still felt it had been only minutes when he felt the first movement coming from Jim. Felt him waking up.

Then with a gasp that almost hurt Blair physically, he opened his eyes.


Blackness and Pain.

Even after he had opened his eyes, both remained. Soft hands sending soothing comfort for his head, a soft voice whispering encouragement.

Blair.

Still alive.

Avert had kept his word.

A smile appeared on his lips, as he slowly slipped back into unconsciousness.


Blair didn't notice when the others arrived at the house. He didn't even acknowledge their presence till one of the medics took Jim out of his hands and the other man started moaning. Softly enough to be thought the moans of a man in pain and only Blair knew that this wasn't the reason.

The Sentinel had just reacted to, what his senses told him. That his Guide had left his side.

"I'll be with you shortly," he whispered as caressed the older man's face "just a bit, and I'll be with you again."

His words seemed to relax Jim, letting him drift back into darkness.


The next thing he knew was, that he found himself sitting in Simons's car, without any knowledge of getting there.

From where he sat he could watch the while the medics were taking care of Jim.

He wanted to be there, with him, but he knew that he would only be in their way, they had made that quite clear to him. Someone, who he couldn't remember, had placed a blanket over his shoulder and a hot cup of coffee in his hands, mumbling something about 'possibly in shock' and 'should be kept warm' before handling him over to Simon. Yet neither the blanket nor the coffee did much to warm the chill that had built inside him, making him feel as if his inside was just ice. Frozen in the nick of a moment.

It was Simon's voice that brought him out of his thoughts "Rafe told me that it was pretty good shooting you did in there."

Blair just shrugged "Why bother?"

"You saved Jim. It takes a lot not to kill someone, especially under those circumstances" "And what good did it do? Look Simon, why are you telling this to me now? Right now I don't care about anything beside Jim" Throwing a gaze at Simon that clearly spelled 'and neither should you.'

"I am as worried as you are, he's my friend. However at the moment, I can do as much about his condition as you can. Stay out of the medics way and try not to get crazy with worries. I was trying to distract you and myself and I was wondering, for someone who never had a gun..."

"Don't bother finishing this.....I know how to use a gun." He answered softy almost embarrassed."

"*WHAT*?" Simon asked more than surprised.

"I said I know how to use a gun."

"But how?"

"Jack, one of my 'fathers' taught me how to use it, when I was 8 years old."

"But you never.."too confused, Simon was searching for words to finish his question. Blair helped him by answering anyway.

"*Knowing* how to use a weapon, doesn't amply that I *want* to use one, frankly, I haven't fired a gun since that time. I did this because Jim needed me."

With those words he sat inside the car and closed the door, Simon's questioning gaze he only answered with a nod to the Ambulance that had just packed up. Ready to leave.

*And I would do it again, in a second* he spoke very softly and what frightened him most was, he didn't feel anything about it.


Four hours into the operation, and there was still no news, he had stalked the floor so many times that he really expected to either see the marks or end up breaking through into the next level down.

The first hour had gone by fast, as he had been to occupied with reporting to Simon about everything that had happened. Yet when he had finished, the silence had been even stronger.

"Why is this taking so long?"

He hadn't realized that he had spoken the words out loud, until he felt two strong arms, guiding him to one of the chairs. Coming to rest at his shoulders, trying to spend at least a little bit of comfort.

"What shall I do Simon, if he loses his sight it will be my fault."

The grip tightened for a second, getting Blair to look up. There was only truth in the eyes that looked at him, and it remained when Simon opened his mouth.

"If he *doesn't* lose his sight, it will be your fault. If he does, it *won't*. It is the fault of that maniac, who thinks that he is justice. You did everything you were able to under the circumstances. Flushing his eyes, keeping them cold. Whatever will happen, let me assure you, there was no way that you could have prevented it."

Blair saw that there was more that he wanted to tell him, however the sudden appearance of the doctor stopped every conversation, and suddenly even Simon, didn't seem to be quite so calm.

"Mr. Sandburg?"

Blair stood up, "I am Mr. Sandburg."

"You might want to sit down." The doctor announced with such a calm voice that Blair felt the anger rise in him.

"No I don't *want* to sit down, I want *answers* and I want them *now*."

It was Simon's dark voice that calmed him down again, not because of the composure, but because of the not so small amount of fear that he could hear hidden underneath.

"Sandburg!"

Taking a deep breath he started his question again, "Will he be able to see?"

"No. I am sorry."

He didn't hear the words that the doctor spoke to him, neither the technical nor the oh so sterile sounding ones. There was only one word that he heard *blind*. Jim was blind and it was his fault.

"I should have done more," he whispered silently.

"You did all you could," the doctor assured him "There wasn't anything else that you could have done. If it hadn't been for you, Mr. Ellison would have lost his eyes."

"He *is* already blind, how much worse could it have been." "It could have been a lot worse. If the acid had been at the eyes a second longer, the blood circulation to the eyes could have been stopped, damaged beyond repair. This would have result in the possible lost of both eyeballs. His eyes could have been two bloody bulbs of meat. That is what you saved him from, you didn't save his sight, Mr. Sandburg, yes, but at least you were able to save his eyes."

"Now at the moment this might not seemed like much to you, but medicine is advancing so fast, so that maybe in a few years we might be able to help your friend. If his eyes would have been destroyed, there would have been no chance at all. Do you understand me, Mr. Sandburg"

Blair nodded, and said that he had heard.

But in truth he hadn't heard at all.

Jim was blind, and as much as the others wanted to convince him otherwise, he still knew that it was his fault.

"You can see him now, if you want to. He should wake up soon."

There was a voice, almost too flat to be his, that answered the doctor and then he felt legs that were almost too heavy to walk, move him to Jim's room.

Only to stop right in front of the door, failing in the strength they needed to enter, because he couldn't offer it.

What he could see was enough to make him feel like an empty hole had just appeared, where seconds before his stomach had been.

Those eyes, those beautiful blue eyes, where now hidden underneath a white stripe of cloth.

The same eyes that had smiled so beautifully at him when their owner had relaxed for a second.....the same ones that he had fallen in love with so madly.

"Blair?!?" The voice that asked, sounded sleepy, as if he had just woken up. However, there was the pain that he could hear that destroyed any illusion.

Getting closer to the bed, he took Jim's hand in his own. Something that he would have never done outside this room was now providing him with more comfort than he would have thought.

"Yes, I am here Jim."

He heard the relieved sigh. "Wasn't sure....senses keep acting up."

With his thump he caressed softly over Jim's hand "Don't worry, that's from the operation. God knows what kind of chemicals they gave to you."

"Calm down tiger....only trying to help."

"Yeah sure, whatever good they did" the words were out before he had a chance to stop them. Brain before mouth, he had never been good with that. Now it was too late to tell it to him gently. Taking a deep breath "Jim...there is something that I need to tell you....."

"I'm blind I know"

"How?!?"

"....felt it the moment tha substance hit my eyes....could feel it burning my sight away....nothing I could have done....beside pray that he would leave you alone" for a second his tired voice rose, getting very worried. "...didn't harm you, did he?....you are okay?" the movement that followed was too fast for Blair to stop him from sitting up.

"I'm fine." He assured, maybe a little too late for the inquiring hand that searched his face. Only when the examination had been finished to the complete satisfaction of the Sentinel, Jim let himself lay down again. Still too weak from the operation, sitting up had taken a lot of his strength.

"I am fine Jim" he repeated, a little softer this time. "He didn't harm me....didn't have the time. I explain it to you later. Right now, you need rest more than an explanation."

Letting a soft hand caress his friend's cheek, he almost smiled as Jim's features relaxed into sleep. "Everything will be fine", he whispered not knowing for whom they were to reassure.

It wouldn't be easy, he knew that, there was a lot of trouble coming their way, he knew this for certain. Yet he also knew that they would make it.

Somehow.

He knew it and it showed in his smile as his clasped Jim's hand tightly.

And the answering smile from Jim convinced that it was possible.


The next few weeks went by in a haze for Jim. It was a hard time for both of them, as their had to fully learn and accept fate as it had been presented.

However the road they travelled wasn't a smooth one and certainly not easy to walk.

Sometimes it was more like a nightmare, with the disadvantage that he wasn't to wake up.

Despite his initial calm acceptance of his fate, there had still been days where he would simply hate the whole world, for nothing more than being able to see.

Mostly those days where after his more vivid dreams, or nightmares, he was never sure how to refer to them.

In those dreams he could still see. And that was what made things worse. He would walk around and tell the people that they had been wrong, however they would not believe him.

And then he would wake up. Expecting for a few seconds the reality of his dreams to be the real one. Reminded only to painfully that it wasn't so, that he was still blind.

And sometimes that made the pain even worse.

But as weeks passed, those days got fewer and fewer. Sure, he still felt that pain, when something trivial as a soft breeze would remind him, of all the things that were lost to him. The days, where he would listen to the rain outside his window and know, that he would never be able to see the fresh clear air that covered the land before it.

However the survivor in him, told him to go on, to learn to live. Sure he would never see the sight again, but there was still the smell, of a fresh day, when the rain had stopped and the air was clear, that had not been lost to him. Showing him that there was still so much that he could live for.

Only one thing still made his heart ache, the knowledge that he would never see Blair again. Never see his face when he smiled, his eyes when they glimmered with laughter and what hurt him even more was, that he knew that *this* pain would never go away.

The days had come, when he simply stopped having the time for self pity.

Too much to learn, too much to remember.

He started to feel things with the nailside of his finger and once more learned to read and write, he learned to move and he learned to change his way of facing the world out there.

The hardest thing however that he had to learn was *Patience*. He had to learn to stay calm when he hit his feet for the seventh time at the same chair. He had to stay calm when once again he'd missed his way with a quarter left turn. If he hit his head, if he stumbled over a stone, if his shins felt like they were black from the number of times he hit them.

It didn't matter, because losing his patience wouldn't help. Only patience would help him not to repeat the mistake that had brought him to losing his patience in the first place.

And so he continued his practice with the stick.

Left foot, right side.

Right foot, left side.

Till he got it right, till he got it perfect and then he trained some more.


Blair visited him everyday, occupying him, reading him the newspaper, telling him rumors going 'round the station. Laughing with him when he was happy and holding him when he cried.

Jim could feel that his friend was still deeply troubled by the situation as it was, but he also knew that as soon as he was better, they would find a way through all this.

Together.


Weeks passed.

Weeks of getting stronger, making his way, finding his new goals, thinking about his new life.

A lot had changed, a lot had stayed the same.

He was the same person, yet he had changed.

However he wasn't only one, he realized, and sometimes that wasn't a good thing.

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

I listened to the door as it closed behind you.

I guess I realized it in the first day that you only stayed an hour. Now I knew that after spending almost 2 month in the hospital left you with a lot of work at the University. But you might have stayed a bit longer, or better yet, might have been here while you stayed. Not just physically, but also with your thoughts. I could practically hear you already running back to your life before you even took your seat.

You told me about you day at the University, about all those friends that were so happy to see you more often.

And I understood, I understood that I was losing you.

However what bothered me most was, that it didn't come as a surprise to me. From the moment that we first met, I knew that someday you'd leave me and ever since than I kept expecting it every day as the months passed.

I treasured the moments, because I knew that in the end there would be loneliness.

Nobody stayed with me, I had realized that a long time ago. I was just a too screwed up person to be around. So why bother, if there were enough people out there who were easy.

My mother, my father, my brother, my wife, they all left me in one way or the other.

It was just a matter of time before you would follow them.

The only problem is, knowing that, didn't make the pain in my heart better, or the agony that I felt when I saw you keep up the pretence.

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

More and more he was putting on his perfect smile only to cover that fact that underneath he was breaking apart.

So it was 3 months later to the day that he found himself packing, unknowingly at first, like an old habit that he had never quite forgotten.

Too weak, he was.

He could almost feel it, his whole world as it was slipping through his fingers. One small piece a day....till it all would be gone, till he was only left by himself, with himself. All those people that he had come to know and some of them come to love, they would still be there, but from his life they would be gone. And he would be going back to his life of loneliness that he had led for so long? He couldn't, without someone to talk to beside the walls he would go stir crazy.

But he didn't have another choice and it hurt him when he realized that he never really had.

For a moment he stood still.

I'm sorry Jim, for being weak.

For running away like this, but I just don't know any other way.

I know you will hate me, if not for losing your sight, then for my weakness. For not being as strong as you are. So many times I tried, and so many times I failed. You are the one with the unknown future, and I am the one going to pieces from the guilt. You are the one smiling and laughing and I am the one who is barely able to grin. You would see the truth in my eyes, even when you can't really see it, that facade that I am so barely able to keep up.

Right now, you need all the strength that you can get. Too bad that I have none to offer. If I were able, I would give you all the strength you need, but I've already used it up, in the last few months. There's no strength left in me.

If I were tostay, I would end up taking your strength.

It would be easy to say that it is the stress, that I just couldn't take anymore. It would be easy to lie, it is always easy to lie, but it wouldn't be easy to lie to your face. Knowing you would know.

Please forgive me, forgive me for being weak.

Then something caught his eyes, something he hadn't remembered seeing in a long time. Sure it had been there all along, still he hadn't taken the time to see, like a lot of things.

Picking up a stone from the shelf in front of him. An amethyst.

It was Jim's.

Jim.

He would be coming home from the hospital tomorrow, by then he had to be gone. Not that he wanted to, but Jim definitely had enough trouble returning to a normal life on his own without adding a roommate, who was eerily close to losing it.

It hadn't been obvious at first. But Blair knew he had to leave, when the thought of swallowing a bottle of sleeping-pills, to escape the misery that his life had become, was getting more and more tempting. When he was eyeing the bottle a bit longer each day. The day, that he finally opened it, was the day that he started to pack, for leaving on the next one. For so long he had prayed that, even with his Sentinel's sight, the older man would be blind to his Guides feelings, be blind to his love. And now he was. 'Be careful what you wish for'.....he had never thought that sentence to be quite that dangerous, or quite that true.

He had visited him at the hospital today to say good-bye.

A mixed up wreck who was talking to a calm and composed man - it had you wondering, who was the patient here.

Jim had noticed, sure, but he had though that it had been his normal anxiety, and his, after 3 months, still too present guilt. He had done a great job of hiding the rest.

As always, they had talked about everything and nothing, only this time Blair had treasured every word, every touch, every smile, knowing he might never see it, never feel it again. When they had finally parted, all that he had wanted to say was "Live well" but he had said "Good bye" as always, just to keep up a facade that he was barely able to.

I guess that's what we are all searching for, someone who knows you better than you know yourself. Someone who knows how you feel, even before you've realized it. Someone who knows who you are, and still chooses to be with you. Someone to accept you for who you are, without having to pretend. I think I found that one in you.

And that has made leaving even harder.

Yes, and knowing that I loved you didn't help either.

Love.

Do you know how I knew that I was in love with you? It was the jealousy. Simple friends don't start putting needles in their favorite Voodoo Doll just because the other was going out with a girl.

So far Jim had done a great job in piecing his life back together, it would still take a long time until it was finished, and the day that he would set the final stone would certainly reveal a much different pattern.

Blair looked around in the Loft, so many memories. A place that had been and always would be the only home he'd known. And he still felt a deep pain in his heart every time he thought about leaving it. But he had to...if not for his own sake, then for those around him.


He knew that Blair was gone the minute that he stepped through the door. Not that there was anything obvious missing, only the big chunk that he had just felt being taken out of his heart. Blair's behavior had been so obvious, and still he had missed the clues, the sadness in his voice, more obvious than usual. When he had said good-bye, it had been so final.

Now he knew why.

His Guide was gone.

Shaking at his shoulder caught his attention and Simon's voice burnt through his thoughts.

"Are you okay, Jim?"

Not able to bring up the smile that would convince his friend, he simply stuck to the truth.

"Blair's gone."

"Yes, maybe he is at the Uni."

"No, you don't understand. He is gone."

It took some time until Simon completely understood what Jim was talking about, but when he did, he simply stayed silent.

Leaving Jim to his thoughts, yet staying near in case he was needed.

Jim felt as he was led to the couch and sat down there, only there were no feelings beyond that.

*I knew why you left. Knew that you thought I would blame you. What I don't understand is why? It wasn't you who threw that acid into my eyes, trying to burn away the bad laying over them. It wasn't you who killed Paul Garvin and wounded Dusty so bad that it took 4 weeks before we were sure that he would survive. However, it was you who sat at my bedside, when I though that I was going crazy with the pain. It was you who held my hand when the doctor told me that I might never see again. And it was you who held me when for the first time in years, I didn't feel enough strength to hold back the tears.

That was you and I wouldn't blame you for any of this. I know that you think you are weak, your aren't, you are stronger than a lot of people that I know. Only you can't convince yourself , that you are worth something and because of that you are your greatest enemy.

Why didn't you stay, I know that you mean to spare me the pain, didn't you know that exactly the opposite happened? Couldn't you have simply struck a knife in my heart, at least then the pain would have been quicker.

And then everything would have been over, the pain, the loss.

How shall I go on without you*

The next 3 hours Simon stayed at his side. Never moving, only giving the simple comfort of showing him that he wasn't alone. Then as the night slowly dawn, he finally had to leave. Daryl was waiting for him, and knowing that, Jim sent him home.

It still took another hour till he was finally gone. Not willing to leave before he had gotten the promise out of Jim that he would eat and that he would call if he felt the need to.

Only then had he managed to push him through the door and close it behind him.

Going over to the answering machine he started to play the massages. The fifth finally was the one he had anticipated, feared and hoped for.

At least he hadn't left without a good-bye.

He took the tape that Blair had prepared for him however it took him ten minutes till he finally had the courage to play it.

A few times he came very close to zoning on the voice, but then every time it said something that would catch his attention.

And than, just when he thought that the pain in his heart couldn't possibly get worse, Blair told him that he was in love with him.

Making the pain even worse.

And when it was over he simply stared.

Love.

The damn idiot was in love with him, and too damn scared to tell.

Stupid fool.

The past is gone, and no matter how much you wish it back, you can't.

The times were everything had still seemed to be roses and when worries never hadn't been so bad. Easily being healed with a soft word and a touch.

Today a soft word and a touch still could help a lot, but they would never make the problem go away. He knew that now as he was once more listening to the tape running knowing that the voice he could hear soon would be his past.

What would be his future?

At the moment he couldn't see any future for himself and when he tried he came up blank.

Somehow he felt that there wasn't a future for him, and for a second he considered if it wouldn't just be the best to simply end it, his life. There wasn't much that would await him. At the moment he didn't even have a job to come back to. Only the loneliness that waited for him.

But when the second was gone, the warrior inside himself couldn't be held still any longer.

The warrior that had survived the guilt when the rest of his team had died, the warrior that had gotten him over the first months after he had left home.

The warrior that now told him that he would not give up.

In the dark world that he now inhabited, the voice of the warrior was louder than ever and he decided that he would go on, even if right now he had no clue what for.

He walked to the door leading to the balcony.

There was soft rain to be heard and for a moment he just stood there, listening, able to pretend that everything was all right.

But then the memories came back.

*I love you James Ellison*

"I love you too Blair Sandburg." He whispered as he sank down to the floor. "I just wish you were here so that I could tell you to your face."

And with that he laid his hands in front of his face and finally, finally found the strength to cry.

"You lasted long for a dream.But in the end it wasn't long enough. Not nearly long enough."

The End

I hope you liked it. Really.

I don't know I when I will be able to write the last part(s) of this series. But I can assure you. That after 'Walk the night' it should *mostly* be all peaches and cream.

Hey, if everything would be Roses, where would be the challenge.

Like "What if Jim's senses would make up for the lost one?!?"

You can follow my thoughts.

Good ;-)

BTW, for those who know 'Les Miserable' Officer Jonathan Avert was named after a certain Policeofficer, named Javert. ;-)

I just liked the role too much. Well at least in the 50 year Celebration, where he was sung from a singer that had a voice. WOOOWWW!!!!

I also liked that line in the song "Stars"

Stars with your multitude

Filling the Darkness

With order and right

You are the Sentinels

Silent and sure

Keeping watching the night

Keeping watching the night

I know which one I mean, don't you ;-)