DARK SORROW: BLOOD VENGEANCE

by Jade Stiger

Fandom: The Sentinel

Pairing: None

Rating: NC-17 for violence and language

WARNING: character death, language.

Thoughts are in italics

Archive: Yes, please, just let me know where.

E-mail addy for feedback: jadestiger2die4@yahoo.com

Disclaimers: Jim, Blair, Simon and Carolyn belong to Pet Fly Productions and are used without permission. No copy write infringement intended.

'Wynn Taylor' is my deranged creation and may be used by other authors in accordance with Asprin's Laws of Shared Universe.

Special Kudos to:

"More than just a beta": Jinx

My Muse, Theresa

Special Editor/Beta/and much more: Jennifer aka MK Surprise

***

Wynn had watched the young man for several weeks. She had learned his habits, knew where he would go and when he would be alone in the apartment he shared with the other police officer. She smiled, her thin lips stretching over her small, sharp teeth. "Soon you will be mine." She whispered, following him, as he left the small grocery and walked home.

***

Blair whistled happily as he unloaded the groceries, his mouth was watering, just thinking about the delicious meal he was going to prepare for his partner, Jim. He was just putting the oregano into the bubbling tomato sauce when the doorbell rang.

"Just a minute!" He called, dipping a breadstick into the sauce and quickly tasting it. "Who is it?" He asked, pausing in front of the heavy steel door.

"Delivery for Blair Sandburg from Simon's House of Books." A woman's voice replied.

"All right! My books!" He cheered, threw open the door and grabbed the package from the delivery woman's hands.

"Wait, you'll have to sign for those." She scolded, following him into the apartment.

"Oh, yeah, sorry." Blair grinned sheepishly, setting the package on the couch. "I'm just a little excited." He explained.

"I can see that." She smiled in return, revealing small, sharp teeth. She handed him a clipboard.

"Got a pen?" Blair asked.

"Sure." She handed him a pen, pricking his palm with the tip.

"Ouch!" Blair exclaimed, staring at the ruby drop of blood that appeared.

"Sorry." She said, not sounding in the least apologetic.

The fast acting drug took effect and Blair slowly slid to the floor.

Wynn stepped over to him. She reached out, curling her fingers in his long, soft hair. She lifted a handful to her face, breathing in the scent of him. She released his hair and danced around Blair's unmoving body, giggling. "Perfect." She said, clapping her hands, delighted with her work.

Blair lay on the carpet, he could feel the floor under him, hear the woman's manic laughter but he could not move anything except his eyes, the rest of his muscles were completely out of his ability to command. He watched her as she danced out of his line of sight into the kitchen. In moments she was back, crouching before him.

"I didn't want your dinner to burn, so I turned it off ." She said, licking her fingers, "it's very good."

Blair found her action very disturbing. It made him think of a wild animal that had just finished a juicy meal.

She stood up and slipped out the door, then returned several minutes later with a large canvas bag. Seeing him watching her, she grinned again. "So," she said playfully, "you want to watch, huh?" Setting the bag on the floor she pulled Blair's unresisting body into a sitting position, leaning him against the couch. "There," she said, patting him on the head. "I think you'll have a perfect view."

She began to remove items from the bag, placing them on the floor. One article was a compact digital video camera. Wynn installed the camera on a tripod, turned it on and angled it so that it would record everything, every perfect moment, every gesture, every bit of Blair's fear and her victory.

Wynn posed in front of the camera, smiling a broad smile. "Remember me, Jim? I still remember how you tried to kill me." Her voice was cold and serious.

She turned and sat on the floor, facing Blair. Wynn reached out and stroked her fingers down Blair's face. "I'm going to kill you pretty, pretty. Do you want to know why? Because you belong to a man I hate. Ellison tried to cage me, cage me like an animal, tried to keep me from ascending to my destiny. With your blood and the Khishima, the spell of immortality, I will be everlasting and I will rule over all humans." Wynn stood up, smiling down at the helpless man. "They think I'm crazy, but they will see that I am not."

After kicking aside the rug, Wynn began to chant in a guttural language as she arranged the rest of the items from the bag in a circle. She took a piece of chalk and drew a pentagram on the hardwood floor. Stacking Blair's largest books in the center of the circle, she then dragged the young scholar over to the makeshift altar. She laughed as she redrew the symbols smudged by Sandberg's rough entrance into the mystical circle. She propped Blair face down, across the volumes, his head hanging over the edge of the books. Wynn placed a silver bowl below Blair's dangling curls.

Blair stared at the empty bowl below him, reflecting the fear in his wide, blue eyes. He tried to move, to speak but whatever the woman had injected him with kept him from doing either one. Blair tried to see what the woman was doing but all he could see through the curtain of his hair were some of the chalk symbols she had drawn on the floor. He studied them, recognizing several as symbols used in satanic rituals. His heart began to pound as his eyes focused on one symbol in particular. It was the symbol for human sacrifice.

Wynn stepped behind him, a foot on either side of his body. She caught Blair's hair in one hand, pulling the young man's head back and exposing his pale, slender neck. With her other hand, she withdrew a silver dagger from a small bag. She held the dagger in front of Blair's wide eyes, turning it so that light flashed off the razor sharp edge.

Blair wanted to scream, to escape, to get away but he could only watch as the mad woman held the knife before his eyes, taunting him with the sharp steel.

'Where are you Jim?' His panicked mind demanded silently. 'You gotta help me; I don't want to die, not like this!' Tears filled his eyes and flowed down his cheeks to fall into the bowl with a soft sound. 'Not like this!' Blair's mind screamed.

His panic rose all the more as the dagger drew closer to him. Wynn was playing with him, drawing out the agony of the moment for all she could, allowing his anguished filled eyes to follow her knife's movements until they couldn't anymore. Her blade disappeared out of his sight, giving him only a momentary breath of relief. Then, still chanting, she drew the dagger slowly back across Blair's neck, severing first one jugular vein and then the other. The blood jetted out from him, into the bowl on the floor.

When the tide of his blood slowed, she released Blair's body. She stepped gracefully around him to pick up the bowl. Her chanting raised to a fevered pitch. The silver bowl with its arcane power was raised carefully above her head, and then slowly she tilted it, allowing the warm, sticky liquid to flow down over her face, traveling progressively down her body. She parted her lips a little, allowing some of the fluid to enter her mouth. Wynn liked the salty warmth, imagining it was Blair's fear that she was consuming.

When the bowl was empty, Wynn stripped out of her bloody clothing and folded it intricately, placing it in the silver bowl that had held Blair's blood. Using the dagger, she cut off a lock of her hair and then his. Twisting the hairs together, she added this to the bowl, then poured scented oil over the items. Still chanting, she struck a match on the floor and lit the saturated clothes. Wynn drew close to the rapidly burning cloth, fanning the smoke curling from it toward her face and drawing the smoke deep into her lungs.

"Your life force is mine; your life force is mine." She chanted, breathing in the smoke. "I will live forever now that I have the blood of the last Sentinel Guide."

Wynn turned to face the camera. "His death is your fault Jim." She pointed at the camera, baring her teeth in accusation, "You didn't protect the one person who would gladly give up his own life for you and you never even noticed his devotion." She rubbed her hands across her face then slid her hands slowly through the blood that covered her naked body. "I feel ever so much better now." Wynn laughed. "How about you, Detective Ellison?"

Wynn kicked the camera and it fell to the floor, ending the recording.

"I wish I could see the look on your face when you find your dead friend sacrificed on my altar. It would be almost as good as when you watch the video I made for you." She crowed.

Wynn quickly changed into clean clothes and washed her face. She knew that she would have to keep Blair's blood on the rest of her body for a while longer in order to complete the spell. She didn't bother to take any of the things she'd brought with her, Wynn knew that leaving the items in the apartment covered with her fingerprints would serve to enrage the detective further. Wynn left the apartment, making sure to lock the door behind her.

***

Jim unlocked the door and stepped inside calling, "What's that smell Blair?" He dropped his keys on the table and flipped through the mail. "It smells like something burning and perfume and ..." "Blair?" Ellison looked up; the mail dropped from his hands as he saw his partner's motionless body still propped on the stack of books. "Blair!" He stumbled over the discarded bowl and pulled Blair's lifeless body close, howling "No! Blair, no!" He knew without checking for a pulse that his Guide was dead, although Blair's body was still warm. Moaning, he buried his face in Blair's curly, long hair. "It's not supposed to be this way ..."

After a while, Jim allowed one of his arms to come loose from their hold on Blair, reluctantly fumbling in his jacket pocket for his cell phone. Jim flipped it open and without looking, dialed the precinct. Tonelessly he asked for the captain and when he was connected with Simon simply said, "Blair is dead, he was murdered in our apartment." Jim allowed the phone to drop to the floor as he took Blair's body back into a fierce hug.

He heard from far away Simon pleading with him to let go of Blair but Jim couldn't do it. He couldn't let go of his Guide. To let go of Blair would mean to acknowledge his dearest friend was never going to wake up. To acknowledge that he was alone in this world with no one else to understand his gifts, those burdens he carried.

He didn't know how much time had passed when he became vaguely aware of the medic that injected him with a sedative. He didn't care that they saw the tears on his face as they took his partner's body, prying it from his nerveless fingers. It didn't matter to him anymore. Blair was dead and He, Detective James William Ellison, The Sentinel, had been too late to stop it. That he had been too thick headed not to sense it. Not to sense his Guide's tortured passing. His world had crumbled around him. He didn't care that they could see his tears and pain. Mister-Tough-Guy, Cold- Stone-Hearted-Cop Guy wasn't there. The pain was too new, too raw, and couldn't be pushed away or ignored. His world had been destroyed and Jim felt sucked down in a black void of emptiness.
"Jim, we'll find out who did this." He heard the captain say.

"I know who it was." Jim replied, his voice sounding faint and far away to his own ears.

"What?" Simon demanded, incredulous.

"It was Wynn Taylor." Jim said this with such deep conviction, his tone holding complete hatred and rage.
"How do you know?"

"I know." Jim replied softly, letting himself slip into the silky darkness of unconsciousness.

***

The next morning Jim awoke in an unfamiliar bed. His first thoughts were for Blair. Hoping against the knowledge in his heart and soul, that his partner was still alive and that last night had all been some whacked out bad dream, or someone's idea of a very sick joke. And if it had been Blair's idea then he'd pound the little anthropologist into the dirt for scaring him like that.

"Blair, this joke's not funny." He grumbled. However, smelling the very familiar scents of a hospital, Jim knew that this was not a dream. That last night had really happened.
'Blair?' He thought. 'Christ, I can still feel your presence, still smell you. I should have been there, I should have protected you.' He put his hands over his face, trying unsuccessfully to make the image of the young man's dead body fade from his memory. The sound of movement, soft fabric on fabric alerted him to someone else's presence in the room with him. The scent of her perfume alerted him to the fact that the person sitting in the chair across from his bed was his ex-wife.

"How do you feel?" Carolyn asked.

Jim dropped his hands and scooted up to lean against the headboard, "Like crap."

"It's the sedatives." she explained.

"What time is it?" Jim asked.

"I brought you some lunch." She set a tray across his hips.

"I'm not hungry."

"I know, eat it anyway."

Jim picked up the sandwich, took a bite and slowly chewed. He swallowed and put the sandwich back on the plate. "I can't."

"You have to." Carolyn sat on the edge of the bed, taking his face in her hands. "If you are going to catch Blair's murderer, you have to keep up your strength."

Jim looked at Carolyn, the grief still fresh in his eyes.

"You have to, Jim" Her voice cracked, and tears began to fall from her eyes. "You just have to." Carolyn wiped her hands across her eyes, "Damn, I told myself I wouldn't cry, that I would be strong for you and look at me ..."

Jim pulled his ex-wife close, "You don't have to ..."

The phone rang, interrupting them. Carolyn pulled away, stood up and answered the phone.

"Yes. I think so. Yes, I will. Thank you." Carolyn put the phone down. "That was Captain Banks, they'd like you to come down to the station and answer some questions."

Jim slid out of the bed, making a face when he realized he was only wearing his under shorts.

"Here's your clean clothes." Carolyn handed him a stack of clothes.

"Thanks." Jim said, taking the shirt and jeans from her.

Jim was quiet, almost sullen as Carolyn tended to all the necessities of his discharge from the hospital. His mood did not improve as she drove him to the station.

Jim tried to avoid meeting the eyes of the other officers who suddenly became silent as they walked into the precinct. Carolyn squeezed his hand encouragingly as he tried not to hurry into the captain's office.

"Jim." Simon greeted him somberly.

"Simon." Ellison replied.

"I'm sorry." The captain's face reflected his unspoken anguish.

"It's my fault." Jim said angrily.

"No, it's not." Said Banks, a little sharply, making eye contact with Jim and hoping his rebuke would get through. He hoped to convey his own sense of loss through their locked eyes. Blair had been annoying at times but he had been a good friend to Simon. Blair had been a good friend to them all.

"Listen Jim; we need you to watch the video that was found in your apartment. I'm sorry, it won't be easy for you. I've seen it and it's ... it ... God, I'm sorry." Banks quickly switched on the monitor afraid that if he didn't do it right then he'd never have the courage to turn it on again, not ever. That was how shaken he was by it, how truly awful the footage was.

The tape began abruptly, a close-up of a smiling woman the first thing it showed them. She was madly grinning into the face of the camera. Then her voice washed over them. "Remember me, Jim?" The woman asked, grinning. "I remember you tried to kill me."

Jim growled low, eyes narrowed with all the hate he had in his body. He paid close and total attention to the tape, senses never wavering from it. The tape continued, as the woman sat down in front of Blair and began to speak to him. After a few moments she got up and began arranging objects in a circle and chanting.

"It's Gwynneth Taylor." Jim said, jaw clenched tightly.

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive." Jim said, still watching the tape.

"Oh my God!" Carolyn cried, "Blair was conscious when she ..." Carolyn hid her face against Jim's chest. "Sweet Jesus!"

Jim wrapped his arms around Carolyn, "Please ... stop it, please ..." she sobbed.

Simon reached over and shut off the tape. "I'm sorry. Jim, how does this woman know you?"

"I was a beat cop at the 309 when we caught the Harper Street killer. She almost got away but I caught her as she was going to jump out a fourth story window."

"Fourth story? She would have died falling that far."

"Wynn Taylor is insane. She thinks she's a witch and that drinking the blood of her innocent victims has made her immune to injury or death."

"You sound like you know her pretty well."

"I guarded her every day for three weeks during her trail for killing that family. When they found her guilty and sentenced her to death she just laughed. She laughed all the way back to the jail. It made me want to kill her right then and there."

"If she was sentenced to death, why is she back out on the street?" Carolyn asked.

"She stabbed me with a piece of metal she broke off the bunk and managed to sharpen it somehow. She killed two officers with it, escaping from the jail. I fired six shots into her back and it didn't even slow her down. We lost her. She disappeared, underground."

"Was she wearing a vest?"

"I don't know, she must have been. The bullets never even staggered her. She just looked back at me and laughed."

"You don't believe all this witch hocus-pocus do you?"

"Of course not, she's just a crazy, malicious bitch and I'm going to make her pay."

"She'll get her day in court."

"Not if I get to her first."

"Jim ..."

"Don't say it Simon! This is personal now; she killed my partner, my friend." Jim stood up pacing in the narrow confines of the office. Then surprisingly he announced, "I want to go back to my apartment."

"The techs are still processing it; I can't let you in for a couple of days at least. You know how it all works and you know that I can't let you back in your home, not any time soon. Not for the next couple of days, at the very least, Jim. I'm sorry"

Jim wasn't having it. He needed to go to the apartment and do his own processing. To find his own clues and hunt down the witch who'd killed his partner. "Tonight." He demanded.

"Jim ..."

"I want to go home, Simon. I need to go home, damn it!"

Carolyn got up and put her arms around her ex-husband and lay her head on his back. "I'll take you home."

"My home. My apartment." Wanting it to be made clear and knowing that she had meant to take him to her home rather than to his.
After a long pause of silence Simon offered, "Maybe this evening, Jim. The techs are going over everything right now."

"Fine, this evening." Jim said evenly.

"Go back to Carolyn's; try to get some rest." Simon ordered.

"I'll rest after I get that bitch." Hissed Jim.

Simon sighed, resigned. He knew the signs, and without Blair there to help calm Jim down, there was nothing, not even orders, that would change Jim's mind.

Carolyn guided Jim out of Simon's office, through the hushed station and out to her car. "Simon is right, Jim. You need to rest and you need to eat. How about the little restaurant that serves that really good rigatoni we both like?"

Jim tried to smile. "You think they'll still let me in after I threatened the chef the last time we were there?"

"I'll sic the health inspector on them if they won't." She teased.

Jim and Carolyn talked and laughed, enjoying a candlelight dinner of Italian food. For the span of an evening, Jim almost forgot the pain and sorrow of loosing his friend.

As they walked back to the car, the loss crashed over him and he began to cry. Carolyn hugged him close to her, hurrying to open the car door. Jim collapsed on the seat, burying his face in his hands; his shoulders heaving as great sobs tore through his body.

Carolyn tried to hold him as he wept, but the car really wasn't that accommodating to such actions as comfort, it was too small. Tears also streaming down her face, they settled down for a long and much needed cry.

After several long minutes, Jim pulled away from her, turning away and wiping his face. "I miss Blair so much." He said softly.

"I wish I knew what to do to make it easier for you Jim."

"You being here helps." He said.

"I'll take you home now."

"My home." Jim insisted.

"Yes" she said, starting the car. "Your home."

Yellow tape with the words CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS printed in black was stretched across the door. Jim ripped it down, dropping it on the doorstep. He unlocked the door and stepped inside, tossing his keys on the table, just like always.

Jim could still smell the scent that had confused him when he had come home the night Blair was murdered. The living room had been cleaned up, the books put away and the floor cleaned and the rug back in it's place. Jim walked to the kitchen and stopped in front of the sink. The pan Blair had been cooking in had been emptied and washed, and left in the drain rack. Jim picked the pan up and sniffed it, his enhanced senses still picking up the scent of tomatoes and garlic.

"Jim?" Carolyn asked, startling him.

Jim had forgotten about her. "He wanted to surprise me with a special dinner."

Carolyn took the pan from him and put it away in a cabinet. Jim noted with mild annoyance that it wasn't the cabinet Blair kept the pans in.

"Why don't you pack a bag and come and stay with me for a while?" Carolyn asked gently.

"No."

"Jim it's too soon ..."

"No," Jim interrupted, "I have to find her and here is where I can concentrate the best." He walked out of the kitchen leaving her to stare after him as he went back to the front door. "Thanks for everything, Carolyn. It's been a long day and I'd like to take your advice and get some rest."

"Do you want me to stay?" She asked half-heartedly.

"No, thank you. I'll be all right."

Carolyn stepped out onto the porch, trying to avoid stepping on the discarded tape. "Call me if you need anything."

"I will. Good night Carolyn." Jim shut the door before she could say anything more. After locking the door, he wandered back to the living room and stood staring down at the floor. Jim walked to Blair's room and stood in the open door. He could almost see Blair lying on the bed, hair flowing across the pillow. Jim went over and lay down, pulling Blair's pillow close and hugging it to his chest. It still smelled like Blair. Jim began to cry silently. He fell asleep clutching the pillow.

***

Jim awoke the next morning. "Blair?" He called. Then he remembered and harsh sobs began to rack his body. He lay on the bed weeping for what seemed like hours. Exhausted, he finally got up and went up to his room in the loft and changed out of his wrinkled slept-in-clothes and into clean clothes.

Jim went back downstairs and sat on the couch, staring at the wall and wondering where he should start. He got up and went to the bookcase; there was a package on one of the shelves that Jim had never seen. Jim picked up the package. It was addressed to Blair from the bookstore on the square. Jim caressed the wrapper, knowing that Blair would have been excited to receive the books. Blair had talked incessantly about the books he had ordered. Jim held the package close, smelling Blair on the wrapper. The paper also smelled faintly of some sort of spicy cinnamon that was vaguely familiar.

He opened the package, being careful not to tear the wrapper. The books that Blair had ordered slid free, one falling to the floor. Jim reached down and picked it up. The book was small and thin. It smelled like the paper all the books had been wrapped in. He opened the book, the words were in a language Jim did not recognize but Blair probably would have. Another pang stung his heart. It was another reminder of Blair's permanent absence.

The phone rang and he tucked the book into his pocket and slowly crossed to the desk and picked the phone up.

"Ellison."

"I was beginning to think you might not be home, Jim."

"What is it, Simon?" Jim asked gruffly, annoyed by the interruption.

"Blair's mother has made the arrangements for his funeral; it's late this afternoon."

"All right. I'll be there. However, I need to see the video again, Simon. I've been thinking, there might just be some kind of clue on it that none of us have noticed before. Maybe it will let us know where she might have gone."

"I have a meeting with the mayor in a half-hour, but if you don't mind Jim, I'll get it set up for you in my office."

"Thanks Simon. That will be fine."

***
Jim drove to the station, trying to remember where he had smelled the cinnamon scent before. His mind was so focused on that thought that he was unaware of the hush that fell as he entered the precinct once more and went into Simon's office.

Jim sat at Simon's desk and turned the video player on. The tape began where Simon had shut it off after Jim's first viewing of it. On the small screen Wynn was just releasing Blair's limp body and was now picking up the blood filled bowl.

Jim tried to focus only on Wynn, tried to forget that it was his friend that she had just murdered. His heart began to pound and his vision narrowed, focusing on Wynn's bare feet.

In his sub-conscious, Jim could hear Blair's voice, soft and insistent, 'Concentrate, focus.' It said. Like a rushing wind, Jim remembered where the cinnamon scent came from. It was Wynn Taylor. Wynn rubbed ground cinnamon and a spice called ryo over her heart. Ryo could be bought in only one place, Chinatown.

"His death is your fault Jim." Wynn's words brought Jim's attention back to the video. He stared at the recording, rage building to an undeniable force; Jim punched his fist into the monitor, sending it flying to the ground, shattering it with the force of its impact on the marble floor. Jim stalked through the precinct, slamming the doors behind him, venting his rage for all to see.

Moments later, he sat in the truck for several minutes trying to calm his anger by using some of the breathing exercises his Guide had once taught him a few years ago but it helped little. Jim took a deep breath and let it out slowly then started the truck and drove to Chinatown.

It took Jim ten minutes to find the store where Wynn Taylor had bought, just four days before, a packet of Ryo. After thoroughly questioning the proprietor Jim realized the clerk didn't have any idea where Wynn might be.

Jim drove back to the loft, his thoughts were on the funeral just an hour away. He let himself in and tossed his keys on the table. The smell of cinnamon and ryo was strong. The feeling in the loft had turned from empty to hair-raisingly scary. There was no gentle feeling. No left over traces of his dead partner. Just that mocking and awful smell, which told him, danger was near. Jim drew his gun and stood still, focusing on sounds. He could hear breathing and a rapid heartbeat from upstairs. Quietly he crept up the stairs; ready to shoot Wynn Taylor the moment she came into his sight. Jim stopped at the top of the stairs; Wynn stood at the end of the hall, silhouetted against the window.

"You'll never catch me." She sang, taunting him then turned and crashed through the window.

Ellison dashed to the window rapidly firing at her. He heard a crash as she landed on the Ford parked below. By the time he got tot he window all he could see were shards of glass and the dented hood of his truck, Taylor had escaped him again. "Dammit!" He raged, punching at the cracked windowpane. "You got away this time bitch; I'll get you yet." He howled out the window after her.

"Jim?" A woman's voice gently inquired.

Ellison spun around, gun up and ready to fire. It was the captain and Blair's mother, Naomi.

"Take it easy, Ellison." Said Simon, hand out gesturing soothingly in mid air.

"Jim?" Naomi asked again, nervously. "What's going on? Your apartment is a wreck."

"What?" Jim asked, holstering his weapon.

"Someone trashed the downstairs." Simon explained.

"It was that bitch." Jim snarled.

"Taylor was here?" Asked Simon. "When?"

"Just now. She jumped out the window and escaped." Jim leaned out the window, staring down the street.

"We need to go, Jim." Naomi said gently, plucking at Jim's sleeve. "It's time."

"Naomi, I'm sorry." Jim looked down at Blair's mother, pain filling his eyes and heart, this time not just for himself but for Naomi's loss. She looked old and tired. "It'll take me just a minute to change clothes, okay?"

Naomi smiled tiredly; "We'll wait downstairs."

Jim changed into a dark suit, tucking Blair's little book into his breast pocket. For some reason he couldn't keep himself from carrying it everywhere with him. It was like his security blanket or something. Somehow the book made him feel still connected to Blair.

Simon drove them to the cemetery; Jim rode with his arm around Naomi, not speaking.

***

Jim stood next to the open grave, remembering the years that had passed since he had met Blair.

He was lost in memories until Naomi took his hand and gave him a white rose. Jim stepped up to the closed casket and placed the flower on top. Ellison turned quickly and walked away, evading the condolences of the other mourners. Numbly, Jim walked back to the car. He put his arms on the roof of the car and buried his face under them, tears sliding down his face. Naomi came up behind him, wrapping her arms around the detective. For a moment, they stood like that, taking comfort from the presence of each other.

Jim turned and hugged Naomi then pulled back. He took the book from his pocket and handed it to her.

"It was Blair's. I think he'd want you to have it." Jim said softly.

Naomi took the book, turning it over in her hands. Her eyes shone with tears. "Thank you." She whispered. Naomi opened the book then frowned. "This isn't something Blair would have."

"What do you mean? What is it?" Jim asked.

"It's a book of black magic. Someone's personal spells." She quickly handed it back to Jim. "I don't want it, it's evil." Naomi scrubbed her hands on her skirt as if trying to wipe away the contamination of touching the malevolent tome. Shuddering, she wrapped herself tighter in her black shawl of mourning. She wanted to go home and light some sage sticks. She wanted to thoroughly cleanse herself, body and soul. To eradicate any traces left from the book's touch.

Jim took the book, holding it to his nose. He concentrated on the odor of it, smelling the cinnamon and ryo. "Taylor." He growled. The Jaguar in his soul rumbled in fury, pacing, it swiped it's tail and extended it's clawed-paw. Jaw snapping, teeth bared, it's own shriek of rage and challenge, made Jim shiver. Aching for the hunt, hungering for the kill of his enemy.

"She'll want that book back. Maybe that's what she why she tore up your apartment, she was looking for it." Naomi suggested.

"Why?"

Naomi tentatively took the book back and opened it to the last page. "She has to perform one more ceremony and she has to have this spell to do it."

"She'll come to me." He said, triumph gleaming in his eyes. The Jaguar purred it's approval. Vengeance would be his.
"And then?" Naomi asked, frightened, as she handed the book back.

"Then," Jim replied frostily, "I will finally and absolutely kill her."

Naomi put her hand on his arm, sadly she shook her head. "That's not the way Jim. Blair wouldn't want you to murder in his name. Blair would want justice. What you want to do isn't justice, it's revenge."
"Sometimes vengeance is better than justice."