The Other Four Senses

The Other Four Senses

Written by Yum@
Comments? Write to me at YuMaDesign@aol.com

"Don't you see it, Jim?" Sandburg turned to me with shining eyes- almost as if he had just uncovered some old book or temple. I would have smiled if the situation weren't so precarious.

If he weren't standing on the rail of the Cascade Dam.

"I can't see it from here, Chief." I said to him in low, soft tones. I tried to take another step closer. I extended out my hand in hopes he would take it. He just stood there, almost glowing with golden light.

"It's beautiful." Sandburg breathed, his hands clasped in front of his chest. I could hear his heartbeat, beating serenely despite the killer drop before him. Any other day, he would have been panicking at the sheer height. Any other day, he would have been far away from the rail and the view of that drop.

But today wasn't like any other day.

"Come with me, Jim." He turned back to me and extended one hand towards me. He smiled, like as if he was offering me a gift. This was my chance. I could save him. Just reach out and-

Strong arms grabbed my forearms, jerking me back.

I twisted my head around and found Simon and Brown holding me back. No! What are they doing? No! Let me go!

Chief looked at me with sad disappointment, then back towards what only he could see. I couldn't get my throat to loosen up. Couldn't get myself to speak to him. To plead with him.

Don't go.

"Jim."

Don't go, Chief. For God's sake, step off the rail towards me. I'm not coming with you so you have to stay.

Stay.

Stay.

"Goodbye, Jim." He smiled a sad farewell, his hair covering his face a bit when the sudden wind went by. I didn't want to see this. But I couldn't turn my eyes away.

Chief.

"Bye-bye." And he...jumped.

"No!"

I shot up in my seat. It took me a few seconds before the beeping of the machines and the faint smell of ammonia reminded me where I was- the hospital.

Hell of a dream, Ellison.

Rubbing my eyes, I opened them in hopes that the golden curtain that had blocked my view before would have been drawn back.

No...still there.

Damn.

I need to see here. I need to see him and know that he's okay. The doctors tell me it's going to be a while, but what does that mean in numbers? Give me a time frame. Days. Hours. Minutes. Anything. But no, they just repeated what they said before; that it would take a while for it to work out of his system and that all anyone could do was wait.

So...I'm waiting. Sitting here besides him, with a magazine the nurses gave me that was as useful as a pair of eyeglasses would be for me right now. So it sits there on my lap, curled from the many times my restless hands mutilate it.

I hadn't realized how much I relied on my sight here. Whoever it was that said you don't appreciate something until you have lost it was right. Suddenly blind, seeing nothing but that damned bright light, I became very aware of many things.

Back at the garage was when I had started praying for my sight to return right then and there. It was so frustrating to let Simon guide me through the elevators, down the hallways, into the garage where Sandburg was, standing on top of a police car with a gun.

Maybe it was for the best that I didn't see that after all.

I heard the many police officers shouting in the garage, their guns clicking as they readied to fire. I heard Simon telling me the situation. Carpenter asking if he was dusted or something. I heard my gun in Sandburg's hand, thundering as it spit out bullet for bullet. I heard the gasoline spurting out of a torn hose.

And...I heard Blair.

He sounded so scared. I never really heard him like that before. Well...I heard him scared before, but I also saw that determination in his eyes as he fought that fear. The guy had more bravery than most soldiers did I had known. I wonder if Sandburg even knows that. I have to tell him when he wakes up.

So wake up already, Chief.

Without my sight, I was left with my hearing and despite the chaotic noises, I opened my hearing up wide. So I heard my partner. I heard his heart racing so fast I thought it was going to explode. His voice trembled and I think he was trying hard not to cry. I heard the teeth rattle even from behind the car. His shoes kept sliding off the hood of the car. He was barely standing firm.

That was when I decided that I wasn't going to wait behind some car. Chief was out there and he needed his Sentinel now.

Sandburg suddenly shifted in position, the crisp sheets crinkling. I had opened my hearing to its fullest so I could hear him and it made the sheets sound like drums instead.

I leaned forward; extending my hands out until I felt the stiff blankets that covered him. The sheets rustled and plastic IV tubing struck the metal rail of the hospital bed.

Blair was dreaming.

"I'm right here, Chief." Didn't I say back in the garage that everything was going to be okay? "I'm right here, buddy."

He made no sound as the ventilator tube helping him breathe prevented him from making any words of any kind. But unaware of this, his throat constricted over and over again, struggling to speak or cry out from whatever horrors that damn drug was materializing up for him. I could hear his heartbeat fluttering, his breathing quickening, and his head thrashing on top of the pillow.

I couldn't see his face. God, when is my sight going to come back?

Frantic, limp hands gained strength and lashed out, nearly banged into the hard metal rail in the progress.

I grabbed one of his wrists to somehow relay my presence to him and it struck me how thin it was compared to mine. I always knew he was smaller than I was, but it didn't occur to me how...fragile he was until I actually had to 'touch' him. I wanted to pull away because I didn't want to know this. I didn't want to be reminded of how many times I had dragged him through my police world, my private hell. This fragile wrist under my palm, the pulse beating weakly under my sensitive fingertips, was accusing me of neglect- of failing my job.

What was it that he had called me once?

His wrist in my hand fidgeted as his hands bunched into fists. Small fists that were in no way capable of freeing themselves from my grasp. I feel like a monster here. Yet I can't bring myself to let go.

Blessed Protector. He had called me a Blessed Protector.

Some protector.

I oughta kick myself down seven flights to the lobby.

My bust. My case. Yet it is he who lies here, caught in some drug induced nightmare that I can't wake him up from.

All I could do back in that garage was hold him and tell him to hang on. I couldn't see anything around me. Just a bunch of Golden ghosts shifting in front of me, flickering back and forth. He was so still, so limp in my grasp and I almost thought that maybe I wasn't holding him after all; telling him that it was going to be okay. Maybe, it was just one of those bright light ghosts who were hollering behind me for a medic. Couldn't even see if Sandburg was awake. But then his breathing faltered and I knew that he wasn't going to make it. So I panicked when those ghosts came over and took him from my protection. Simon was telling me to let go, but I couldn't. I couldn't, because I suddenly heard Blair stop breathing. He was dying and they were taking him away to a place where I couldn't do anything about it.

No.

He is going to make it.

He has to.

Suddenly the wrist I was holding before slipped out of my grasp and it took me a few fumbles before I caught it again.

He was having a nightmare.

When the Lash case was over, I had experienced the first Sandburg nightmare in full digital surround sound. His scream had pierced through the night like a knife, came through even with the earplugs I had on when I go to sleep. It made me jump up out of my bed, and down the stairs before I even realized that I still had my covers twisted around my ankles. How I managed to get down the stairs without falling on my face, I'll never know.

He tried to tell me it was okay, but my eyes saw the circles under his own eyes and the slight tremor he was trying so hard to cover even under the cover of darkness. I saw how his hands twisted the blankets that covered him and I knew that it was not okay.

So I stayed, by his bedside, until he slept. Then I made myself a place to sleep with a chair and a pillow, feet up on one corner of the bed. And every night for that week, I saw the same dark circles and the same tremors.

But I can't see that right now. So all I could do was rely on what I had. What could I do?

"It's okay, Chief." I murmured as I rubbed the inside of his wrist with my thumb. I could feel the pulse under my fingertip. If I tried hard enough, I could probably feel the blood rushing through his veins.

Blair shifted again. I could hear the pillow under his head crushing the down material inside. The bed creaked. He must still be fidgeting.

I reached out my other hand and caught his head, keeping it still. Blair trembled when he must have realized that he couldn't move any more.

"Calm down, Chief. Deep breath. Come on." How ironic that it would be me telling him this now. "Just relax. Just relax." Sandburg would have a hoot if he could hear me right now.

I smell something salty. Tears. He was crying. Ah hell, Chief.

I moved my hand, stroking the clammy forehead. "It's okay. Shh..."

He cried silently. My hand froze. My mind drifts back to the garage to where Blair was saying about the Golden Fire people.

"You don't see them?" Sandburg stood above me on top of the car hood. I looked up slightly towards his voice, but all I see is light. Golden light. Like a sun blinding my eyes when I look directly at it.

"They're coming through...through the walls and the floor, man." Blair's voice stuttered. I could hear him holding back tears. He swallowed hard and I could hear it from here.

What in God's name does he see?

I smiled, trying to sound casual. It gave me the unsettling feeling of being a hostage negotiator. Except the hostage here was my partner and the captor was some hideous poison running through his blood.

"Who are?" I stood my ground, though, ignoring the smells of leaking gasoline, gunpowder and oddly enough- pizza.

Blair's voice sounded incredulous. "The Golden fire people." His feet stopped skidding on the surface. He must have stood still now. Maybe looking at me. "You...don't see them, man?" I hear a pause and then gulping as he tried to take a deep breath to calm himself, to stop himself from crying. "They're made of f...fire and they're b...burnt." I can hear the tears falling. One tear hitting the hood with a loud plunk, then another plunk on the hood. "You think they're ashes, but they're...alive, man."

Chief.

Suddenly, he sounded very determined, like when I get testy about some test he's giving me and he tries to convince me of the importance. It usually works.

"And we gotta send them back!" A shot rang out from his gun and I could hear the officers behind me ducking for cover. I couldn't tell where it went, but judging by the alarmed voices to my left, it was pretty close. In fact, my ears began to ring.

We.

He wanted me to help him exorcise his demons.

I wish I could, Chief. God, I wish I could.

He finally stilled. I could feel the wrist dropping back down on the bed. The head stopped its movement and Blair went back into dreamless sleep; or at least I hoped it was dreamless sleep.

I still can't see anything.

Damn it all to hell.

"Jim."

Simon. I could smell the smoky scent of his cigars on him. It was stronger than usual. A two cigar day, huh, Simon? He must be worried.

"How's he doing?"

I sighed. Wish I had some good news. "He's fading in and out, sir. Doctor says it's gonna take some time for the drug to work its way through his system."

I could hear Simon sigh audibly as he went around the bed. His footsteps stopped for a moment and I knew without seeing that he was studying Blair.

"I got the reports back on those chemicals contained in Golden. They're pretty rare. There's no record of significant shipments of those chemicals to any company here in Cascade."

Damn. I was hoping for an easy one. Something that wouldn't need me to leave here. "Well...what about controlled substances?"

"The same."

Damn it. "They're legal transactions, Simon. What about theft?"

"I checked into that, too. There's nothing." Simon's voice turned now. It sounded tight, echoing the same frustration that's coursing through me right now. His long coat rustled as he made his way around the bed towards me. "How are you doing, man? You don't look so good."

I don't feel good, Simon. I feel like the world had shrunk down to this room, but I can't even see it at this point. Can't say that though. Simon would pull me off this case. And I got to be there when we finally get those bastards. So the only thing that betrayed how I felt was the sigh that refused to be swallowed up. "Oh...I'm all right, man. I was hoping..." Actually, I was praying. "Hoping he'd come to, you know? This Golden crap. This is insidious stuff, man. I mean, there must have been ten to twenty times the amount that would kill a person on that pizza."

And Blair had it.

Simon's voice deepened. I could hear the teeth grinding in his mouth. "They were sending a message...Don't screw with us or we'll hit you right where it hurts."

Oh...I got the message all right. Now I want to send a reply.

"I got a feeling these creeps haven't left town. They've got a hundred kilos of unfinished business."

"I just wanna know how the hell they found out who you were so fast."

Me too. Then I could show them hell. They must have pulled my name out from somewhere. Wait a minute...I would have a file with the military still.

"Well obviously, sir...They've got some kind of access, right? Now we're talking about controlled substances here...what about government contracts?"

Simon mulled over this. "Good idea, Jim. Worth looking into." He started to turn to leave. He paused and I heard him turn back. He must have seen me leaning forward anxiously. "Jim? You want to come with me to check it out?" He didn't tell me. He asked. He knew that part of me wanted to stay and wait for him to wake up. But the other part of me wanted to get the son of bitches for what they did.

I was torn.

Chief suddenly moved and I jumped. I heard Simon suck in a breath and I knew it startled him just as much. I leaned forward again and found the same wrist I was holding before.

Blair twisted away at the touch and I suddenly found my hands empty. I hear him begin to choke- the tube in his throat irritating the airways as he tried to scream. Getting up from my chair, I lurched forward and then bumped into his bed, still unable to reach him.

"Dammit!" I exploded; unable to stop myself from the helpless fury I was feeling the whole time since I had accidentally rubbed that damned Golden shit on my eyes. I could hear his heartbeat skyrocket. I don't know if it's from my voice or from his nightmare. Everything began to sound loud, the monitors all around the room beginning to scream for Blair because he wasn't able to. It just made me want to scream too. "God dammit!"

"Jim!" Simon grabbed me by the arm and it was like that dream again. Reined in, unable to stop my friend from jumping into destruction below.

"Calm down, Ellison! You're not doing him any good like this!"

No, I'm not. I wasn't doing him any good back in the garage and I'm not doing him any God damn good over here now.

I wrestled my arm away and grabbed the metal rail that surrounded my friend's bed like some barrier. I could hear Simon running for the door, hollering for a nurse, a doctor, even God if that would help. But I didn't add to the noise any more. I was too busy trying to reach Blair and 'see' him in the only way I can.

Touch guided my hands around the cold bars to where Blair was facing now.

The smell of sweat told me he was dreaming again.

Hearing made me aware of his soft distress noises of a body too weak to fight the nightmares, probably trying to call out to me, wondering why I wasn't there to help. He was choking on the very thing that was helping him right now.

And taste. The taste of the bile in my throat that told me my decision.

I can't stay here. I'm going after them.

Kneeling down by the bed, I reached out and gripped one shoulder firmly. "Chief...Blair. Listen to me. I'm right here."

Blair flinched under my touch.

"It's okay, buddy. Everything's going to be okay. Just let that stuff leave you and you'll be okay." I paused. "I'm going to reach out and turn the dial down for you. Okay, Chief?"

He calmed down at my voice. I tried to keep it steady and hushed, like the way he has it whenever my senses start to drown me. I tried to imitate that lilt, the lifeline that he had always thrown to me to pull me out of the chaos. I was trying desperately to do the same.

"Hear my voice, Chief. Just listen to it. I'm right here. They can't come near you. I won't let them."

I stroked the shoulder underneath the hospital gown. God, I hate that smell of antiseptic on him. It reeked of stillness, of weakness. The herbal shampoo he used often was gone from the usual group of scents I associated as Sandburg.

He's calming down. I could feel the shoulder muscles stretch and relax- no longer stiff under my palm.

Simon coughed and then I realized that I didn't hear or smell him come back in again. But before Simon could say anything, an unfamiliar voice of the floor nurse entered the room. I stood up at the intrusion and she paused.

"Jim." Simon tugged at my sleeve and pulled me away from Blair. "Let her do her job."

I numbly nodded. My head feels like its barely attached to my neck. And I stood by the doorway, listening to the scratching of her pen on the clipboard, the soft mutterings under her breath, then the pop and hiss of air bubbles escaping a syringe needle before she applied whatever it was to his IV. Simon spoke with her but I didn't try to understand what she was saying. I was concentrating on Blair's breathing.

It was slow, almost calm, and too mechanical. But I heard the triple hammer of his heartbeat. It made my hands bunched into fists again.

"He's okay, Jim." Simon murmured as the nurse leave.

"That's," I managed through clenched teeth. "okay?"

Simon sighed and I could hear him rummaging around for a cigar, patting his pockets down for the wrapped tobacco.

"No smoking here, sir," I found myself saying.

He cursed softly. "You can see?"

"No, but I don't need to, in order to know." I turned towards the direction of his voice. "Let's get back to the precinct, sir."

"Are you sure?"

I turned back to Blair again. "I don't want these bastards out there, sir. I don't want them doing this to anyone else. I don't want to go to some dam again."

There was silence as Simon thought it over. Then finally, he gripped my shoulder. "Let's go, Jim."

"Wait." I walked back over to the bed, stopping when my knees banged against the front board. I walked around, one hand on the rail and leaned over to Blair. I could hear the soft catches of his breath as oxygen flowed through tubes. But that wasn't right. Neither was the fast beating of his heart nor gulping of breath when he suffered through his delusions.

The only way to make it right was to leave.

But I'll be back.

"Stay, Blair." I whispered close to his ear. "Don't you dare go anywhere. Just stay."

He didn't respond but I hope to God that he heard me somehow.

I stood up and walked out of the room with Simon beside me. Behind me, I heard the monitors still chirping out his vitals and I quickened my pace. I have to finish this and come back.

Just stay, Blair.

For God's sake, don't jump.


©June 8,1999 The Sentinel and their characters are the ownership of PetFly Productions and Paramount Pictures. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.


This is for WendyOwl who pointed out all my boo boos over and over again. This fic is also for her and DawnC (hello out there!). These two writers wrote such fics that got to me and made me really wanna run to my computer and crank a fic out on this series. =)Also many thanks to Stargazer, who saw the grammer mistakes and still liked my story anyway. =)


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