This is a Sentinel fan fiction story, one of my first completed. Blair Sandburg, Detective Rafe, Jim Ellison and Simon Banks do not belong to me but to Pet Fly. Any other characters are mine, but are so minor as to not matter at all ::grin::.

The inspiration for the story came for the song "True Colors" by Cindi Lauper.

You with the sad eyes

Don't be discouraged

Oh, I realize

It's hard to take courage

In a world full of people

You can lose sight of it all

And the darkness inside you

Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors

Shining through

I see your true colors

And that's why I love you

So don't be afraid to let them show

Your true colors

True colors are beautiful

Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then

Don't be unhappy

Can't remember when

I last saw you laughing

If this world makes you crazy

And you've taken all you can bear

You call me up

Because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors

Shining through

I see your true colors

And that's why I love you

So don't be afraid to let them show

Your true colors

True colors are beautiful

Like a rainbow.

One of Those Weeks

The squad room of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cascade PD was quiet. Most of the detectives were either out on leads or completing another round of the seemingly endless paper work. Detective Brian Rafe leaned back in his chair, twisting in his seat, working the kinks out of his neck and lower back. Fiddling with his pencil he scanned the room, taking in the other occupants. A frown formed between his eyes as his gaze landed on a forlorn looking figure hunched over a desk across from him.

Blair Sandburg, Police Observer, Anthropologist, Teaching Assistant and resident computer expert sat staring at the pile of papers on the desk in front of him, one hand absently toying with a pencil, the other plunged knuckle-deep in his hair. The young man looked like a refugee from a third world thrift store in his layers of flannel over a long sleeved T-shirt, blue jeans so old they'd faded to white with holes beginning to unravel the knees and ragged tennis shoes. Long curly hair hung in his face, a pair of beat up spectacles perched incongruously upon his nose and the occasional glint of the double earrings in the left ear all helped, when compared with the almost business-like dress of others in the Station, to complete the picture of one highly unconventional individual.

Rafe wasn't really looking at all that; although it was hard to miss, he'd long ago stopped paying any particular attention to how the police observer dressed, he knew that appearances could be deceiving. Instead, he was focused on the telltale signs of a soul in despair. Rafe shook his head at the melodramatic phrasing, but couldn't help thinking that he was right, he just wasn't sure what he was going to do about it.

Sandburg was adept when it came to hiding his true feelings. He was an expert at compartmentalizing all the hurts and agonies he suffered for being who he was, showing the world a happy-go-lucky, "no-worries" front. Most people bought into the image, either not caring to see past the façade, or not knowing how to get past it. Usually, only the younger man's partner, Jim Ellison, could see through the smoke screens Blair put up and could get to the heart of what was troubling him. When Jim couldn't, or didn't, their Captain, Simon Banks, would sometimes step in. But both of those worthies had been called to Chicago for a conference, one that Sandburg had not been able to attend due to classes and other University obligations. 'Which might be the problem, in and of itself,' the detective thought to himself.

Usually a whirlwind of activity – motion and sound – Sandburg had practically dragged himself into the Station earlier that morning, dropping his backpack beside Ellison's desk with a dull thud. Waving half-hearted hellos to the other detectives, he sat at the desk without his usual exuberance, wading through the case files that needed to be completed. Rafe noticed that not a lot had been accomplished in the five hours the young man had been sitting there. 'Heck, he hasn't even looked up from that page in the past fifteen minutes. Nothing can be that fascinating.' As Sandburg tossed his glasses to the desktop and began massaging the bridge of his nose, Rafe stood, determined to find out what was wrong, or at least jar the younger man from his present funk.

Strolling over to Sandburg's side, Rafe quietly asked, "Everything okay, Blair?"

At the sound of his name, Blair looked up, startled, his expression quickly sliding into one of pleasant neutrality, but not fast enough. Rafe saw the sorrow and soul weariness shine out of dark blue eyes, as well as the lines of exhaustion and faint pain that creased the face. "Oh, hi Rafe," the observer's voice was soft. "Yeah. Everything's fine. Why do you ask?"

Not sure how to handle the blatant lie, Rafe settled for honesty. "I was getting worried. You've been awfully quiet today. Tired. I just wanted to know if anything was wrong and if I could help." He stared into the ocean blue eyes, willing the anthropologist to come clean, to not keep what was troubling him to himself. "You're always listening to my problems, I thought maybe you could use a friendly ear yourself."

Blair looked about to spout off a long and complicated yarn about how things weren't so bad and how he'd hate to be a bother when he froze, a strange expression crossing his face. "You really mean that, don't you?" The question was asked with a hint of awe, as if Sandburg was finally realizing what most in Major Crimes had already considered a foregone conclusion.

"We're friends, aren't we?" Rafe waited for a nod before continuing. "That's what friends do, be there for you when you need help." He waited, hoping he hadn't scared the younger man off.

Blair ran a hand through his chestnut hair, a crack in the mask beginning to show.

Taking a quick glance around the bullpen, Rafe came to a decision. "Come on, I'll take you to lunch."

Blair raised an eyebrow. "But it's almost three. A bit late for lunch, don't you think?"

Rafe shrugged. "Maybe. But I was busy pushing paper all day and I know you haven't even had any of the Station's excuse for coffee. So how about it?"

Rafe was gladdened to see a flicker of a smile. "Okay. You've sold me. Wasn't getting much done here anyway." He caught up his ever-present backpack, stuffed his papers and books back into it and the two left the police department.

They made their selections at the corner deli, and by mutual consent continued down to the park. Situated beneath a willow tree, they sprawled in the grass, watching the other park-goers while they ate. Rafe remained quiet, allowing the younger man to begin at his own pace. They had almost competed their late lunch when Blair gave a huge sigh. "Ever have one of those days where it just doesn't pay to get out of bed?" Rafe nodded, not wanting to interrupt. "Well, I've been having one of those weeks."

The younger man rubbed at his eyes, the mask peeling away a bit more. The slightly glazed look in his dark blue eyes and the lines that reappeared in his face gave mute testimony to his exhaustion. "Monday morning, I'm late for my class because my car decides to blow not one, but two tires simultaneously. I was lucky not to get into an accident. Unfortunately, my cell phone was dead and I couldn't call the University to let them know what had happened. Came in half an hour late. I lucked out in that my classes are so popular that none of the students had left, even though there is that unwritten ten minute rule." At Rafe's puzzled look, Blair explained. "If the teacher hasn't shown up after ten minutes, class is automatically cancelled. I managed to condense the lesson enough for the shortened class, but my tardiness didn't go unnoticed. So, I got called in for a conference with the Dean of Curriculum. Seems they're really cracking down lately on those who 'don't try to conform to the ideal and professionalism at Rainier.'"

Rafe had never heard such bitterness from his young friend, though he understood where the sentiment stemmed from. Blair loved teaching. He was an enthusiastic and gifted teacher. Anyone who would question his dedication and professionalism didn't know the man and such an accusation would hurt the young man deeply.

A bit more of the mask dropped away, sadness clearly showing on his expressive face. "Then, because of that conference, I missed a meeting with my department head." Blair looked down at his hands, his hair falling around his face, hiding it from view. "My apparent disinterest in the meeting lost me funding for the department, specifically for the few of the projects I have running. No funding, no projects, and six of my most promising students now have no way of completing their degrees in time for graduation, not without a miracle anyway."

Rafe listened, stunned. Blair drew inward into himself, his knees up against his chest, arms wrapped around his knees. His voice had practically dropped to a whisper and the detective had to lean in to hear. "Went to the loft and the electricity and heat were out. Took me until the following day before I was able to reach someone with a pulse. Stupid automated services." The mutter didn't go unheard. Rafe was in total agreement. "After being volleyed from one operator to another for over an hour, I finally spoke to someone in charge. Seems they never received our last payment. Even though I argued that the bill had been mailed in plenty of time to reach them, they basically said there wasn't anything they could do until they got the money. Considering I'm broke, I'll have to wait till Jim gets back. He's not going to be happy."

Another sigh emanated from the young man and his voice became muffled as he rested his forehead against his arms, effectively shutting out the rest of the world. "Had two sets of parents call me during office hours threatening to sue me if their kids don't graduate. Only way to do that I to send them on the dig. But there's no money for it in the department budget and I certainly don't have the means to send them, no matter how much I might want them to go." Blair rolled his head, letting the vertebrae pop, but he didn't make eye contact with Rafe as he continued his litany, chin on his knees. "Wednesday, the phones went out. But that at least can't be blamed on me. The construction crew across the street from the loft had an accident and knocked down the phone lines. But that meant I couldn't get any work done at the loft. My laptop has a battery, but without Internet access, my research didn't go very far. The Dean of Curriculum took to popping up in my classes all day long, I guess he was hoping I'd screw up again so he could find another excuse to yell at me. My department head left for a dig and won't be back till next week, so I wasn't able to explain myself. He hadn't been in the listening mood earlier."

He stopped, but Rafe remained silent, somehow aware that the younger man wasn't finished "Thursday, two perps Jim and I caught made bail, even though they almost killed a kid during their last heist. And to top it all off, today I found out I'm failing a class I wasn't even aware I was taking!"

Rafe was roused from his stupor of incredulity at Blair's litany of woes. "Excuse me?"

Blair gave a snort of laughter. "That's what I said. Apparently, there was a computer glitch. Instead of Psychology 203, I had been enrolled in Psychiatry 203. Since I never showed to class, or took any of the exams, it's being entered into my transcripts as a zero, which will royally screw up my GPA."

"But," Rafe stammered, trying to understand the logic. "You weren't supposed to be in that class, how can they penalize you for that?"

"Welcome to the wonderful age of computers." Blair sighed and waved a hand in dismissal. "I'll just go down to the Admissions office on Monday. Hopefully, it won't be too much of a problem to get straightened out." He sighed again, his forehead dropping once more to his knees. "This sucks!" came the heartfelt curse.

Rafe nodded in agreement, resting a comforting hand on Blair's shoulder. His mind grasped hold of an idea and he smiled slightly, hoping the younger man would go for the offer. "Jim won't be back from the conference until Tuesday night. Why don't you crash at my place?" He felt Blair still under his hand and Rafe had the impression that the younger man was listening to everything he was and was not saying. "You can get your research done using my phone line. Anyone real important always contacts me on my cell phone anyway, so you don't have to worry about tying up the line. It's been cold lately, and the weather service says we're in for another cold front, so the loft's going to be freezing. I've got a cousin who works for the Electric Company. I can call him up and see if the error was due to late mail or because of some other mix-up." He let his confidence shine through in his voice. "That'll give you some time and breathing space to come up with a brilliant argument to regain your lost funding or at least figure a way to come up with the money elsewhere and finish your research papers."

Blair raised his head and Rafe resisted the impulse to brush his hair out of the way. Dark blue eyes glinted out from behind the mahogany curtain as Blair studied the young detective. "Why?" There was a wealth of information begged for in that one word question.

Rafe shrugged. "We're friends and I'd like to help." He waited. Contrary to popular belief, although Sandburg had an almost uncanny ability to make even the most reticent person open up to him, the young man had difficulty letting others see beyond the façade he had built up around himself. It was a legacy from a lifetime of transit living and friendships. Blair had once said, in an off-hand, joking way, why show what you really feel if you won't be around long enough for anyone to make a difference? But the mask was gone now. Blair shoved the hair out of his eyes and looked at Rafe without any barriers. Rafe could clearly read the sorrow, exhaustion and even anger that the anthropologist was feeling.

A measure of the wariness faded from this expression and a faint smile graced his features, erasing some of the lines. "Thanks."

"My pleasure." Rafe smiled back; glad Sandburg was going to let him help.

Rafe gave Sandburg directions to the house, assuring the observer that it wasn't an imposition. While Blair collected the things he'd need for the weekend, Rafe readied the spare room for his guest. An hour passed and Rafe wondered if Blair had decided against taking up his offer. Thirty more minutes went by and Rafe had officially begun to worry when the doorbell rang. It was with some relief that Rafe ushered Blair in. "Sorry it took so long. I had some purchases to make and then I got turned around trying to get here."

The shorter man was almost hidden by the large box he carried. Taking it, Rafe grunted at the weight, surprised that Blair had managed to lift it, let alone carry it up the walkway. "What's in here? Bricks?" He flashed a grin to show he was teasing.

Blair nodded his thanks as he readjusted his other bags. "Books for my research paper." A mischievous glint entered his eyes. "You're lucky I limited myself, otherwise I'd have brought most of my library."

"Guestroom's this way. There's a desk in there if you want to use it, otherwise I've got the kitchen table and the coffee table you can work from." Passing through the living room and past the den, the guestroom was at the corner of an L section. "Bathroom's on the right and the kitchen's a bit further along. My room's on the other side."

Blair trailed behind Rafe, juggling his backpack, small duffel bag and a grocery sack in his arms. "I really appreciate this, Rafe."

"It's Brian, and like I said, it's not a problem. Seriously, you're always helping out so much at the Station, I'm just glad to return the favor." He placed the box beside the bed. He nodded to the sack, detecting a faint scent of spices. "Did you bring incense?"

"Um…I figured, since you're putting up with me, I'd make dinner." The blue eyes were uncertain. Apparently, Rafe looked confused because Blair rushed on. "It's a Chinese stir-fry. Chicken, peas, carrots, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, the works."

"I'd heard you cooked. Hey, anything you would make would be better than any of my attempts. I just hope I've got the right equipment in my kitchen," Rafe joked, putting Sandburg at ease. He led the way to the kitchen. "My last girlfriend loved to cook, but I'm not sure if she left anything behind."

The two explored the kitchen cupboards and Rafe was pleasantly surprised to see an entire set of cooking pots and pans, including a wok. When Blair commented on his reaction, Rafe murmured, "I'm not much of a cook," and left it at that.

Setting up, Blair grinned. "Give me twenty minutes and I'll have dinner ready."

"You're the chef. I place my kitchen into your capable hands" He patted Blair's shoulder and moved out of the kitchen, not noticing the surprised glance Sandburg tossed him.

Twenty minutes later, Rafe, showered and dressed in a pair of comfortable slacks and a blue polo shirt, followed his nose towards the dinner table. "That smells terrific."

"Perfect timing, man. Dinner is served." Blair served with a flourish and the two tucked into the food.

Rafe insisted on cleaning up, urging the protesting young man towards his room. "You cooked. It's only fair that I clean. Besides, you came here to get some work done, right? So, go do it."

Blair nodded and ducked out of the kitchen with a grin. "Thanks, man."

It was Monday night. Rafe paid the pizza delivery boy, entered the living room and shook his head in wonder. Blair sat on the couch, laptop powered up on the coffee table, surrounded by piles of papers to be graded, books for his own research paper, and even some police files. The man was a whirlwind of motion, the piles diminishing even as the detective watched. "How do you do that?"

Blair jerked his head upright, startled from his train of thought. "Do what?" With a grimace of apology, he slid over a pile of papers to make room for the pizza.

Rafe grabbed a slice, handed another to Blair, and took a large bite before answering. "All this. You're a student, a teacher, and a police observer. You're running around all day with classes or business for the Station. You get home and spend the rest of the night doing class work or paper work. Not to mention the meetings you attend, tutorials you give, projects you volunteer for AND a social life on top of it all. How do you manage?"

The younger man blinked owlishly from behind his glasses then flashed a grin. "I always said sleep was overrated." He shrugged, becoming only marginally more serious. "I've often been told that I have the uncanny ability to fit 48 hours of activity into a 24 hour period of time."

"Try 72," was Rafe's response.

Blair grinned. Polishing off his pizza slice he endeavored to explain. "I'd like to say I have a special formula or magic spell for getting everything done on time, but the fact is, I don't. I work on whatever is top priority first, and those priorities can sometimes shift drastically in only a few moments." Rafe nodded; aware of the observer's habit of dropping whatever he was doing in order to be by Jim's side. "My professors are pretty cool about allowing me extensions on my papers, projects and reports. Especially since the reason I'm spending so much time away from school obligations is due to my dissertation. I try not to abuse that privilege too much. I extend the same courtesy to my own students." A flash of some emotion crossed his features too quickly for the detective to identify. "When things get too difficult and I'm getting overwhelmed, I've got good friends who are always willing to lend a hand." He shot a significant look at Rafe that read, 'Message received and highly appreciated.'

"Speaking of. I contacted that cousin I mentioned. Seems there was a mix-up in their filing procedures. They found your payment. Electricity will be back on tomorrow. Heat, too. And you should be receiving a written apology later in the week."

"Great! Thank, man. Phones should be up and running by tomorrow as well. I spoke to the Dean of Curriculum and he apologized for biting my head off earlier as well as promising to talk to my department head about the funding." He grabbed another pizza slice. "Even got that class registration cleared up."

"Sounds like things are looking up."

Blair nodded happily. The rest of the evening was spent watching a Jags game while Blair finished his work. "Done!" came the satisfied crow. Blair dropped his pen and arched his back, popping vertebrae. Shaking his hand to free it from cramps and rolling shoulders to relieve tension, he powered down his computer, organized his work into three distinct piles and shoved the whole lot into his backpack.

Rafe watched, an amused smile playing on his lips. Though, while working, it looked like the room had been hit by a paper storm, Blair tidied up the area with a thoroughness Rafe knew he'd perfected under Ellison's watchful eye. 'House Rules strike again.' He handed Blair a beer. "Congratulations, you've tamed the savage beast."

Blue eyes twinkled merrily. "Well, for the night at least. Maybe I'll actually get more than three hours of sleep tonight."

"From your mouth to God's ears." The Yiddish proverb slipped easily from the detective's mouth.

Blair blinked, pausing mid-sip. "I didn't know you were Jewish."

Rafe shook his head. "I'm not. But there's this nice old lady in my old neighborhood that is. She kind of got adopted as the street's grandmother. All the kids love her. She makes the best cookies and her stories are fantastic."

Blair leaned back, sipping his beer, a small smile upon his lips. "Must be nice."

"It is. She doesn't have any grandkids of her own, so the adoption's mutual. I visit her about once a month. You should come along."

Blair shrugged. "I wouldn't want to intrude."

"No intrusion at all. She loves meeting people. Besides, um…" he cleared his throat, feeling a bit uncomfortable. "I kind of mentioned you to her one day. She's been asking to meet you."

Blair stared at him, one brow raised in surprise. Then he smiled. "I'd like that."

Rafe relaxed, glad he hadn't offended the younger man. Finishing their beers in companionable silence, both retired at an early hour, hoping to catch up on some missing sleep.

A muffled curse brought Rafe to full awareness, one hand groping for his gun on his bedside table. Over the past few days, he'd gotten used to Blair's moving around late at night; even managed to ignore the infrequent rambling and mutterings that emanated from the other side of the house. But this was different, the tones were deeper, harsher, not the tones Rafe recognized as Sandburg's. Rafe rose from his bed as another voice answered the first. 'Great. Burglars. Well, they picked the wrong house.' Easing out into the hall, weapon primed and ready, he could hear the two intruders make their way through the house, bypassing the living room and den – both of which housed the only items of real worth in the dwelling.

Rafe frowned, 'What are they after?'

A snatch of conversation widened his eyes in sudden understanding. "…damned longhaired freak…"

Mouth tightened into a thin line, Rafe picked up the pace, hoping to take care of the problem before they reached Sandburg.

Two dark-clothed men stood at the guest bedroom door, the taller of the two with his hand on the doorknob, a pistol in the other. Using a turn in the corridor for cover, the detective shouted, "Freeze! Cascade, PD"

The second man whirled about firing a shot that had Rafe ducking for cover. The first quickly shoved open the door, blindly fired three times into the room, then ducked inside to use the doorframe for cover to return fire down the hallway.

'Shit! Shit! Shit!' He didn't know if Blair was okay or not and his stomach clenched in a tight fist at the thought of the younger man lying injured or possibly dead. 'Man, Ellison's gonna kill me.' The irreverent thought came to mind. "Put down your weapons and get your hands up!"

Another bullet whizzed by as a response.

Taking a deep breath, he edged backwards briefly to grab hold of the cordless. Dialing 9-1-1 he swore vehemently. The line was dead. "I said, put down your weapons!"

A meaty thunk and a cry of pain were quickly followed by the sound of a body collapsing. Another shot rang out, not aimed at him, but down the side hall. Rafe ducked down, rounded the corner, and was able to catch the second man unaware; shooting the man in the arm while the gunman's concentration was diverted. With a cry, the man dropped to his knees, clutching his wounded arm, but the gun was still firmly in hand. The gunman raised the weapon in Rafe's direction, but before the detective could do anything, the man collapsed as a flying projectile struck the side of the man's head.

Rafe stared in shock for a moment, then shook himself. "Blair?"

He felt part of him relax as Sandburg's voice floated down the hall. "I'm fine. Are you okay?"

"Yeah. Call for backup, okay? My phone's recharging on the kitchen counter."

"You got it, man."

Rafe listened as the footsteps retreated. Approaching the downed men, he kicked both weapons away from the recumbent forms. Looking closer, he noticed the heavy ceramic bar dish and matching tumbler that had been a gift from a young lady admirer lying on the floor beside the men. Both intruders were unconscious, bruises already beginning to purple around the impact points. Blair walked up beside him, handing the detective a set of handcuffs, plastic ties and a towel for the wounded man. "Backup's on the way." Blair was subdued, staring at the men with an unreadable look. "I can't believe how stupid these guys are. I mean, why would anyone in their right minds try to attack someone in a cop's home? Guess their previous stint in lockup didn't make them any smarter."

Rafe looked up sharply from securing the two prisoners. "You sound like you know them."

"Remember those two perps I mentioned getting out on bail last week?" He jerked his head indicating the two cuffed men.

Rafe felt his jaw drop and struggled to regain his composure. "How'd they know you were here?"

Blair shrugged, brushing a mahogany curl away from his face. "They probably followed me from the Station. Wouldn't be too hard. I wasn't exactly trying to elude anyone."

Rafe nodded and continued patting down the prisoners for any other weapons, relieved when he found none. His gaze drifted down at the tumbler and bar dish. He looked up at Blair, one eyebrow raised in curiosity.

Blair shrugged, a smile beginning to blossom on his face. "Only things I could find. If I'd still been in my room I'd have thrown the alarm clock. Guess I should thank that last bottle of beer, huh?"

Shaking his head, Rafe gestured at their state of undress. "I think we should grab some clothes before the squad car gets here. Wouldn't want anyone making Marvin the Martian jokes at your expense down at the Station." He grinned at his friend's choice in boxers.

Sandburg raised a brow, lips curling in another smile. "Or Garfield."

Rafe felt his face heat in a blush and mumbled, "They were a gift."

Blair packed the rest of gear into the trunk of his Volvo. "No offense, man, but I'll be happy to get back to the loft." He closed the trunk and grinned at the detective. "Thanks, Brian. I really appreciate all the help."

Rafe smiled back. "Anytime, Blair. I know you'd do the same for me."

"I'll be at the station after classes. See you there."

"You got it." Rafe waited until Blair had started his car and made it to the end of the street before heading for his own vehicle.

Several hours later, with the onset of a headache, Rafe analyzed what had happened. Two armed criminals had broken into his house in order to kill or severely injure his guest. If Blair hadn't been awake. If his aim with the tumbler and bar dish had been off. If the detective's own shot had missed. If the gunman had been quicker. If…if…if… Rubbing his forehead wearily, Rafe took a deep breath. Thinking about what could have happened wouldn't do any good. It was over. What was done was done. Everything had worked out in the end, for which he was extremely grateful. 'I'm just tired. Coming down from an adrenaline high can put lots of strange ideas in your head.' He wondered how Blair was coping at the moment.

It had been nearing four in the morning when the last of the police had left. It had been around that time that Sandburg was finally allowed back into the guestroom. When he'd found the bullet hole through his backpack, Rafe thought Blair was going to blow, he looked so angry. Luckily for the gunmen, the bullet had only passed through the cloth, leaving the books and papers untouched. 'I think Sandburg would have torn into them if any of his work had been damaged.'

Blair had insisted on helping to repair the damages after forensics had been through the place. "I won't be able to get back to sleep tonight, anyway. Might as well get something constructive done."

Rafe had ruefully agreed to that assessment. A quick run down to the all-night convenience store had taken care of their supply needs. Blair had talked nonstop, obviously wired from the incident, and more animated than he'd been all weekend, amusing his friend with tales of past exploits in far away lands. 'He's a natural storyteller. I could practically see the places he was describing.' Rafe had let him ramble, occasionally making comments whenever the younger man paused long enough to get a word in edgewise. 'I think Ellison mentioned something about how Blair talks even more when hyped over something. I just never thought it was possible.' The detective admired how the anthropologist had kept his head while under fire and respected his way of dealing with the after effects of the shooting. 'He's a bit shaken up, but I think he'll be just fine. Especially once he talks to Ellison about it.'

As the immediacy of the incident receded, Rafe had watched as Blair slowly relaxed. The younger man chuckled, "Funny how everything wrapped up so neatly. Almost as if it were orchestrated." At the raised brow Rafe shot him, the anthropologist explained. "I was just remembering how freaked out I was on Friday about what had been going on. Now it's like a huge weight's been lifted from my shoulders. Everything last week threw at me has been resolved. It's like the balance is being restored."

Rafe hadn't thought much about the comment at the time, but now, he realized it had a certain frightening train of logic concerning almost all aspects of the anthropologist's life. To the detective, Blair seemed to move under a divine umbrella. 'Yeah, the kid gets into trouble and sometimes he gets hurt, but none of those incidents have left any permanent damage. So far, he's managed to bounce back with something gained from the incident, either in how he deals with life himself, or in how others perceive him.' His headache easing, Rafe returned to work, looking forward to the observer's arrival later that day.

Completed 5/15/2000

-Maven Alysse - Balancer of scales, conductor extraordinare.