"Come on guys, you two are my only hope," Simon begged, "If you don't do it for me then do it for the kids."
"Fine," Detective Jim Ellison agreed reluctantly. Jim and Blair has been assigned to talk to the local orphanage about police work.
Two men walked up the old steps to the door of the orphanage and knocked. The door squeaked open and an old chubby woman with a kind face, long gray hair, and sparkly green eyes was revealed behind the old wooden door. "May I help you gentlemen?" the woman asked politely.
"I'm Detective Jim Ellison and this is my partner Blair Sandburg," Jim introduced.
"Oh, you're the speakers from Cascade Police Department," the woman practically squealed as she opened the door wider to allow the men to enter the old brick orphanage, "I'm Ms. Sanders. We've been waiting for you. If you'll follow me I'll show you to the room you'll be meeting the children. Do you have anything to get set up before I bring in the kids?"
"We have booklets still out in the truck to give to the kids," Jim explained.
"I'll go get them," Blair piped up. Jim handed him the keys and he took off toward the truck. A few minutes later he was back with the booklets in hand. They followed Ms. Sanders down the hall and into a large empty room with chairs set up in rows.
Blair placed the large box full of booklets on the floor next to a thin wooden podium that rested in front of the room.
"I'll go get the children," Ms. Sanders smiled.
A few minutes later kids of all ages, colors, sex, sizes, and lineage filed into the room and sat down in the chairs. Once the room was quiet Jim stared to speak, "I'm Detective Jim Ellison and this is my partner Blair Sandburg."
"We are here to talk to you about police work," Blair explained noticing a small 10 year old girl with long black hair and blue eyes that were so pail they seemed white sitting in the back away from everyone else.
An hour into the presentation Jim decided to show them how to arrest the "bad guys".
"I need a volunteer," Jim stated.
"The one that's the quietist will be chosen," Blair indicated pulling Jim over to the side of a minute.
"What is it?" Jim asked in a whisper.
"May I choose the kid?" Blair asked in a whisper hopefully.
"Why, you have your eye on someone?"
"You'll see." They turned back to the kids and Blair looked around, "Hmmm…this is going to be a tough choice. Everyone is so quiet. It's a pity I can only choose one." He walked slowly around the room and stopped in front of the lone girl. Blair looked over his shoulder and called, "Jim, I think we have a winner!" He looked down at the young girl that was looking up at him and held out his hand. The young girl just merely looked at it for a moment and placed her small hand in his larger one. He helped her up and led her to the front. Jim knelt in front of the girl and asked, "What's your name?"
"Her name is Xiang Winter," replied a boy with blond hair and hazel eyes stood up, "She don't talk none."
"Thank you…"Jim smiled.
"Salvador…Salvador Sean Saul," smiled Salvador, "and I'm 12-years-old."
"Thank you, Mr. Saul," Jim stated as Salvador took his seat.
"Xiang, who would you like to cuff?" Blair smiled warmly at the young girl. She thought for a minute and then pointed at Jim.
"Me?" Jim asked in mock shock.
Xiang nodded her head, pointed at Jim again, and smiled. Looking at that smile something just burst in his chest. He turned to the box that rested on the floor and pulled out a shoulder holster, a light blue water gun, a Cascade PD cap, a Cascade PD shirt, a small plastic badge, and his cuffs. He turned back to Xiang and dressed her up to look somewhat like a cop. The last thing he put on her was the badge.
"There, now you're a member of the Cascade Police Department, Congratulations," Jim stated shaking Xiang's hand. Jim then gave Blair a wallet to put in his back pocket. "Okay, I'm going to take the wallet out of Blair's pocket and Blair will yell for help. Then you track me down and arrest me, okay?" Xiang nodded her head in understanding.
Blair placed the wallet in his back pocket and started talking to one of the kids. Jim snuck up behind Blair and lifted the wallet out of his pocket and walked away. Blair reached for his wallet, but found it gone. "My wallet is gone!" Blair gasped, "Help police, I've been robbed."
Xiang rushed to his side and whispered, "Can you describe this man?"
"Nope, I didn't get a glance of him or her," Blair stated, "Man, I need that wallet."
"Just calm down, sir," Xiang whispered, "I'll do my best to find your wallet." Xiang slid over to Jim and tugged on his shirt. Jim looked down at the young girl.
"Yes?" Jim smiled.
"Excuse me sir, but can I see your wallet, please?" Xiang whispered to the big man in front of her.
"Well, you see, uh…no," Jim replied taking a step away from the girl.
"Is it your wallet or someone else's?" Xiang asked.
"It's mine, of course."
"Then you couldn't have a problem with me glancing at it."
Jim made a show of whipping his forehead and took out the wallet for the girl to examine. Xiang took it and opened it. After a few minutes she looked up at Jim, "Sir, can you give me your name please?"
"Sure it's James Ellison, but my friends call me Jim."
"I'm sorry Mr. Ellison, but you're under arrest."
"Why…what did I do?"
"You violated code 1 dash 643 or in other words robbery." Xiang placed the wallet in her back pocket and took out the cuffs. She took one of his arms and cuffed it behind his back then she took the other and did the same thing, "You have the right to remain silent…" She read him his rights word for word from the top of her head. She then led him away and gave Blair back the wallet.
"Thank you Detective," Blair took the wallet back.
Xiang smiled shyly and Blair gave her a booklet and Xiang sat back down. Jim walked over to Blair, "Chief, get these cuffs off me."
"Oh, I don't know, Jim, "Blair hesitated, "I kind of like you like that."
"Sandburg," Jim growled.
"Okay, okay," Blair smiled as he whipped out the keys and released Jim from the bonds.
Jim turned to the kids and said, "I need some helpers."
Hands shot up and Blair walked around once again and looked at all the small hands. "Hmmm…how about this young man," Blair pointed at a boy with short brown hair and green eyes, "and that young lady." Blair pointed to a girl with blond hair up in pig tails and glacier blue eyes. They stood up and walked to the front of the room. Jim knelt in front of them and asked, "What's your name?"
"My name is Alistair," the boy stated and I'm 10-years-old."
"I'm Fallon," whispered the girl shyly, "and I'm 8-years-old."
Blair smiled fondly at the children and took the booklets. Jim handed him, "I need your help in passing these booklets out. Do you think you two can do this very important job?"
Alistair and Fallon smiled brilliantly and nodded their heads enthusiastically. Jim handed them stacks of booklets, "Will you hand these coloring books out to everyone?"
Jim and Blair entered the loft; they were extremely existed. They collapsed on the couch with a sigh.
"Jim, I was thinking," Blair said turning his head to his roommate.
"Darwin, every time you begin to think it's very dangerous," Jim stated with a smile in a teasing tone.
"Oh, come on, Jim," Blair whined.
"Okay, tell me what you were thinking."
"Do you remember the little girl named Xiang?"
"What about her?"
"I want to adopt her, Jim."
"Jim, I've always wanted to be a father and I believe this is the perfect opportunity to do so."
"Blair, you're not even married yet."
"That doesn't mean I can't have a kid. After all Naomi raised me all by herself."
"The child deserves two parents not just one. I should know."
"And we both grew up just fine. Just think about it. We could give a shy little girl a home." Blair gave Jim the puppy-dog look that he was so famous for.
"Fine!" Jim growled out.
Blair smiled, "Great, we can go down there tomorrow after work."
Jim and Blair were in the company of Ms. Sanders. It was 6:30 P.M. They were seated in front of the big oak desk with Ms. Sanders behind it.
"Are you two sure you want to do this?" Ms. Sanders asked.
Jim and Blair looked at each other and then back at the woman in front of them. Jim was the one that spoke up, "Yes, we talked it over last night and agreed."
"Okay, I'll go get her so you can talk it over with her."
Ms. Sanders left the two men alone to go look for Xiang. Jim and Blair looked at each other. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Jim asked his friend.
"Of course," Blair smiled, "unless you don't want to. It's just when I first met Xiang something just clicked.
Ms. Sanders entered the room with Xiang. Jim and Blair and stood as the two walked in. Ms. Sanders led Xiang by the hand around her desk. She sat down so she can be at the young girl's eye level.
"Xiang, this is your decision," Ms. Sanders stated, "Detective Ellison and Mr. Sandburg would like to ask you something." Xiang turned toward the two men.
"Xiang, sweetie," Blair began, "I…we were wondering if you would like to…spend the weekend with us." Xiang thought about it and then nodded her head in agreement. "Great, we'll pick you up Friday."
Mr. Sandburg reminds me a lot of my father, Xiang thought sadly as she left the office.
Blair had to work late, so Jim has been entrusted with a job of picking up Xiang by himself. He was waiting once again in Ms. Sanders's office. He was not waiting long before Ms. Sanders returned with Xiang. She put her small tattered suit case down and looked around. I wonder where Mr. Sandburg is, Xiang thought, they were both suppose to pick me up.
Jim stood up from the chair and smiled at the young girl. Ms. Sanders walked over to her desk and snacked up some paper.
"Before you take her I need you to sign these," she handed Jim the forms. Quickly reading over them Jim signed the documents and handed them back to Ms. Sanders. "I want her back on Sunday by 8:25 P.M.," Ms. Sanders stated with a smile.
"You got it," Jim smiled as they stood up.
"Good, we'll see you Sunday," Blair smiled taking Xiang's hand and speaking to her he asked, "Ready to go munchkin?"
Xiang smiled up at the older man and nodded her head yes. Blair lightly squeezed the smaller hand that was in his hand.
"I'll walk you three to the door," Ms. Sanders smiled as she walked around her desk toward the door.
Blair opened the door and allowed Xiang to enter first. Xiang shyly entered the loft and looked around like a new puppy. Jim placed Xiang's suitcase by the door. "Well, here we are. Go ahead and have a seat." Xiang sat down on the couch nervously as Jim sat on her left and Blair at her right.
"Okay, what do you want from me?" Xiang asked in a whisper that only Sentinel ears could hear.
"What was that sweety?" Blair asked.
Before Xiang could repeat the question Jim answered her question, "We don't want anything from you, baby, just to get to know you and for you to get to know Blair and myself in return."
Xiang smiled a small smile, "Really?"
Jim smiled and with softness that Blair had never heard come from him before, "Really." Xiang's small smile turned into a full blown smile as she hugged the two men.
Jim and Blair had Xiang over every weekend for 2 years since that first day that they had Xiang in their home. They sat in the living room watching the Jags game on TV. Once the commercial came on Jim turned to Blair, "Blair, I was thinking…"
"Oh man, did it hurt?" Blair smiled.
"Funny, Sandburg, will you let me finish! As I was saying I was thinking. We had Xiang over every weekend for two years. Maybe it's time to ask Xiang to be a part of our little family."
"Really?" Blair smiled, "Wait till I tell Megan!"
"Still going out with her?"
"Yup. Are you still with what's her face?"
"Ivy, her name's Ivy, and yes we're still together."
"Who's going to be the father? Me or you?"
"Why not both of us? She can have 2 fathers and…2 mothers."
"Are you trying to tell me that you're going to pop the question to Ivy?"
"Got the ring yesterday." Jim looked at his watch, "It's almost time to pick up our girl. Are you happy with Megan?"
"Yeah, yeah, I am. We better get going if we're going to pick her up on time." Jim nodded and they left the loft.
Xiang was waiting on a bench in the hall by Ms. Sanders's office when they entered. She looked pretty stricken, tears running down her face. Spotting the tears trailing down her cheeks Jim and Blair rushed over and knelt down before her.
"Xiang, baby, what's wrong?" Blair asked as he wiped the tears from her cheeks and Jim rubbing her back soothingly.
In answer Xiang turned away from them, Ms. Sanders emerged from her office. "Xiang, wait for me in my office please," Ms. Sanders ordered softly. With her head bowed she did as she was told. As soon Xiang was in the room with the door closed Ms. Sanders turned to the two men, "We had a little trouble on the playground. I'm not sure of the whole story, but the gist of it is that one of the older boys called her something and told her that she would never get adopted because she was too quiet. That you two only come to take her for the weekend out of pity. The next thing anyone knew they were on the ground fighting. I suspect that Xiang has a few bruised ribs and I know for sure that she has bruises all over her torso and scrapes on her knees."
"Maybe we should talk to her," Blair stated, "to reassure her that we spend time with her not out of pity but because we want to."
"I will agree with this under one condition," Ms. Sanders stated, "and that would be you talk to her about fighting."
Jim and Blair looked at one another and back at Ms. Sanders. Jim was the one that spoke, "Agreed."
"Alright," Ms. Sanders said, "Go ahead."
The two men entered Ms. Sanders's office and spotted little Xiang sitting in one of the leather chairs that was placed at the desk. Jim and Blair knelt before the young girl. "Xi, do you want to tell me what's wrong?" Blair asked in a hushed tone.
Xiang shook her head in a negative fashion and her gaze dropped to the bright pastel orange carpeting.
"Xi, are you sure you don't want to tell us what's wrong?" Jim asked from behind Blair.
Xiang took a deep breath and blurted out, "Do you only spend time with me every weekend out of pity."
Jim and Blair both saw tears in her eyes. "Oh, sweety, of course not," Blair pulled the young girl into an embrace.
"Baby, we spend time with you because we want to," Jim smiled. Xiang smiled then tears broke loose and she cried onto Blair's shoulder.
Blair rocked her trying to calm her down a bit. "If you stop you're crying Jim and I would like to ask you a very important question." Xiang sniffled and wiped her eyes with a closed fist. "Are you ready for the important question?" She nodded her head in the affirmative way. Blair nodded his head for Jim to ask a question.
"Xiang, we just wanted to know how you feel about having us for fathers?" Jim asked.
"You mean, you want to adopt me?" Xiang asked in a whisper.
"Yes," Jim and Blair answered in unison. Xiang gave the two men a brilliant smile and hugged and kissed them each on the cheek.
"Is that a yes or an I'll think about it?" Blair asked already knowing the answered.
"That was a yes," Xiang giggled.
Jim and Blair smiled at one another. They turned back to their "soon to be" little girl. "Ready to go tell Ms. Sanders the good news?" Jim asked.
"Yes!" Xiang exclaimed jumping up and down.
Jim and Blair laughed and walked out of the office with Xiang. Ms. Sanders turned to them and saw a look of pure joy on all three faces.
"Well, you three look overly happy," Ms. Sanders smiled.
Xiang ran up to her and gave her a great big hug, "I have two daddies!"
Ms. Sanders looked up at the two men questioningly. In response Jim and Blair gave her a huge grin. "Let's go back in my office and get some paperwork set up as well as getting a court date," Ms. Sanders ushered them back into the office.