Property Rights - Chapter 24

The first thing Blair became aware of upon waking up the second time in Andrew's company was the cool sensation of air brushing against the back of his neck. That in itself set off alarms in his mind. Usually when he woke up the thickness of his hair more than adequately insulated his neck from the cold.

Dry gritty eyes opened and Blair grimaced at the parched swollen feeling in his mouth and throat. Waking up with most of his limbs feeling heavy and his chest aching as though an elephant was standing on it was worrisome. He wondered what was going on. The image of calculating green eyes glaring at him as a syringe was pulled from his upper arm flashed before him clarifying his predicament. 'Oh man I hate drugs...'

Once more he was lying on the suite's king size bed, only this time he was resting on his side with his head pillowed on one of his arms. The air stirred again at the nape of his neck and his blue eyes shot open in alarm as his muddled mind finally realized what that sensation could only mean. 'my hair...' He pulled his hand down to feel for the familiar long curls and was prevented from doing so as his hand stopped short a few inches away. He looked up to find his wrist fastened to the bed's headpost with a makeshift chain of industrial strength zip ties. 'Guess Andrew learned from the first attempt...'

A quick search around the room to see if the British physician was nearby came up negative so Blair drew up his cast encased arm grateful that it at least was free. He knew just because he couldn't see or hear the Sentinel didn't necessarily mean the man was out of earshot, because of this his heartrate refused to calm down. Slowly he brought his fingers up to the back of his head to feel for the chestnut curls. For a moment it didn't seem real, it felt more like a twisted joke than anything else really. It was just as he feared, his hair had been cut. 'Gone...its gone...' His eyes clenched shut as he inhaled a shaky breath. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He'd only been missing a day and a half and yet in that time he'd been drugged, managed to escape, was recaptured, escaped again, was captured a second time and drugged again and now he'd had his hair cut. Suddenly it felt like Sandburg's entire body was an overly taut guitar string and this one action was the force that made him snap under pressure. He swallowed thickly, angrily trying to push past the lump of emotion lodged in his throat as his fingertips gauged the remaining length on his head. It felt like there was only about five inches left. 'How dare that son of a -'

The sudden sound of the bathroom door opening made Blair's eyes fly open, his already racing heart skipped a beat and he jumped along with it. With narrowed eyes Sandburg recognized this for what it was: Cooper's retribution. The Sentinel's way of showing he was in control and that he was still the one calling the shots. The psycho was lashing back at him for having thrown the pail full of vomit on him earlier and daring to attempt an escape. "What do you think this'll do Andrew? Break me? It won't and you know that; it'll grow back. This changes nothing..."

"Quite the opposite in fact..." Andrew announced with a imperious air as he strolled out of the bathroom and into the main room. "Our schedule has altered somewhat and as a result I've changed your appearance to make our escape and disappearance easier." He grabbed a large black duffel from off the foot of the bed and walked it over to the front door where he dropped it next to another piece of luggage. When he spoke again he was looking straight at Blair while heading to the small safe where he'd stashed his medical equipment and drugs. "I took the liberty of purchasing some clothes for you. While the style is different from what you're accustomed to, the sizes should be correct." The Brit jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "They're in the bag in the bathroom. I'm afraid before we leave for our flight I'm going to need you to bathe and change into-"

Blair sat up with a burst of speed, "I'm not leaving here with you Andrew." He tested the strength of his bonds, tugging firmly a few times. "Jim is on his way and when he finds us he's gonna beat the trash out of you then lock your sorry butt up just like he did the last Sentinel that messed with 'His' Guide." He bent his head down to try biting through the plastic tie. It was too thick. Frustrated he let his hand drop back to the bed, "Besides I thought you had business to do here over the next couple of days. The place you went to while I was escaping, what about that, the virus?" He needed the man to stay here long enough for Jim to get the message about where he was.

"First off, my young friend, you are and secondly Ellison won't have the chance. As for my business, its been handled already. By the time your detective friend finds us we'll be deep in the Peruvian jungles and I'll have bonded with you already. By then separating us will mean your death. If he's truly a friend to you I very much doubt he'll be willing to harm you." The Physician's attention turned to keying in the safe's code.

Blair's blue eyes frowned, "Handled? What do you mean? What have you done with the virus?"

Andrew tried not to let his anger get the better of him, but it was difficult with the growing migraine he had. "What I always intended to do with it, sell it." The small thick safe door swung open a little harder than he intended and smacked loudly into the wall encasing it. A small piece of plaster crumbled to the floor. "It was necessary in order to acquire the funds we'd need to leave this country. Interpol has frozen my assets along with all my accounts."

"You sold it! Who to?! What if they release it in a populated area..."

"That worry did cross my mind, but it's of no concern to me now. The buyers tried to cheat me." Andrew said with a sneer, "They've learned you don't cheat a man with a gun. I left them and took the money. The police will find their bodies along with the canister containing the pathogen and then everything will be right as rain."

Blair watched as Cooper filled the hated syringe with liquid from the same bottle he'd used on him earlier at lunch. It was the dreaded stuff that made him feel like he'd contracted some horrific intestinal flu. He really didn't want a repeat of that. Even now his stomach was still sore from all the vomiting, "Unless you want a violently sick traveling companion you'd better not give me another dose of that stuff." A derisive snort was his response.

"Not possible I'm afraid. Perhaps this time you'll accept my offer to help alleviate that problem and take the medicine I provide you with." With practiced ease Andrew located one of his own veins and quickly depressed the plunger, injecting its contents into his bloodstream. "Besides, you ought to be grateful-" he added with a feigned positive note, "other than altering our chemistry, this 'stuff' as you put it is the only thing keeping me from having bonded with you already. And I know how eager you are for that to happen..."

Sandburg shuddered but the information made his head spin with possibilities, "That drug suppresses the urge to bond?... How can it do that?"

"Wouldn't you like me to share that secret with you..." He muttered sarcastically.

The desire to ask more questions ate at Blair but doing so would mean putting his attempt at another escape on the backburner for the time being. He wasn't sure he could do that. A sad thought struck the anthropologist and before he could engage the filter between his mouth and thoughts he heard himself speaking, "You've completely lost it haven't you? You were such a brilliant surgeon and doctor just a little while ago, Andrew. What's happened to you?"

A bottle went sailing through the air inches past Blair's head and exploded on contact with the wall behind him, showering a clear liquid across the bed sheets and walls. He flinched in response.

"These so called gifts happened! That's what...Who wants a surgeon to operate on them when he's hearing things; Or for that surgeon to operate in almost complete darkness because the lights are blinding him?! I was accused of being a bloody bedlamite! Everything I worked so hard to achieve, decades of sacrafice up in smoke and why? Because of these senses." Cooper fisted his hands and smashed them against the wall in frustration and anger, "And what gets me most is you knew! You both knew freaks like myself existed today in the real world but you and the Professor denied it. Oh I knew enough to see past the lie, but then you still had the gall to turn down my request for help!"

Without drawing too much attention to himself, Blair discreetly snatched the alarm clock from off the nightstand, gently tugging at the cord till the device popped free from the wall.

"Well no, I refuse to accept that. I may have destroyed my life's work but I've been offered an opportunity to get some of what I lost back, as long as I can 'function properly'. A chance to start over, using these gifts even. A new line of research with unlimited resources at my disposal."

Blair didn't like what he was hearing. He fingered the alarm concealed behind his back nervously. What Andrew was saying, along with the phrase 'function properly', had a distinctly unpleasant and clinical sound to it. A sick cold feeling of dread settled over him as he listened to Cooper continue.

"Only problem is in order to function properly I need you." A humorless chuckle spilled from Andrew as he continued to fiddle with his medical supplies. "But don't worry, because your sacrifice won't be in vain. With my medical expertise I can discover what makes you so unique. With research and time others out there like me and Ellison might have a chance to keep their lives from shattering and falling to pieces or being forced to rely on some 'person'-" The word was spat out derogatorily, " function in the everyday world." Silence reigned throughout the suite as Cooper gazed at a bottle in his hand that was only a third full. "Now look what you've made me do. That was the last bottle of inhibitor I threw at you. Better hope this-" He shook the dark brown glass bottle in Blair's direction, "-lasts until we get to Peru, because from what I've read it can become quite uncomfortable for a bonding guide who doesn't make it to the Companion's temple soon enough..."

Andrew inserted the needle into the small glass bottle and refilled the syringe barrel halfway. "After the initial dose all you need are booster shots to keep it in your system...I on the other hand require full injections in order for the chemicals to work. I'll assume you know more about why I react differently. Seeing how we don't have the time to get into it though, I'll have to suffice myself with remembering to ask you later to explain it. Now," He withdrew the last of his supplies from the safe, "I am going to hold off on giving you this booster until after you've bathed and dressed." He added the medical equipment to his luggage at the door, placed the waiting needle on the table as he walked past, then started making his way over toward the bed Sandburg was tethered to.

Blair felt quite at odds about what he'd discovered. The need to separate himself from this man had just increased hundredfold. If there were agencies willing to harbor and employ Cooper: a psychotic, criminal physician just to get their hands on a working Sentinel/Guide pair then there was no doubt in his mind that these same people were either already aware of Jim and his abilities or they would soon be. On the one hand he had no desire to remain with Cooper to live his life out in servitude as a lab rat, but on the other hand Jim might not be a target if he didn't have a guide to keep his senses online. He shook his head clear of the foreboding thoughts and focused on the here and now and the agitation he felt as Cooper approached him.

Most times because he was shorter in stature than the average male people tended to easily overlook his desire or ability to fight when cornered. This was something he'd used to his advantage on more than one occasion to the dismay and concern of his partner who always encouraged him not to antagonize the bad guys. He could imagine Jim warning him, "Fight smart Chief and you fight safe." He would use that advice now and wait until he saw what Cooper was going to use to cut his bonds. When the Sentinel produced a large nail clipper rather than an intimidating knife he let out a pent up breath in relief; it was one less thing to worry about. He hadn't relished the idea of grappling for a knife with the larger man.

The instant the plastic tie was cut and Blair was free he proceeded with his attack plans. With a swift powerful swing Sandburg brought the hard electronic device around, up, and then smashing down onto the physician's head. He watched with satisfaction as the stunned Sentinel's slower reflexes allowed the man to receive the full force of the blow to his temple. "Sorry, but I think your plans have changed again."

"Bloody Hell!" Andrew doubled over cradling his throbbing head. He'd known his actions would elicit a response from the academic but he hadn't counted on full blown hysteria. He could feel warm blood running down his face and wrist as his hand clutched protectively at the wound.

Blair didn't stop with striking him once though, he pulled back to drive the appliance down again a second time. He tried for a third but was stopped when the alarm was yanked out of his hand and thrown out of reach. The injured Sentinel surged toward him unsteadily but with enough speed to catch Blair before he could counter. The man's shoulder connected with the anthropologist's solar plexus and together the two of them crashed to the floor in a tangled mess of striking fists and kicking feet. A world of pain erupted across Blair's back as he fell heavily onto his bruised shoulder blades. He'd forgotten the injuries he'd sustained at Jim's hands but now he cursed his rotten luck. He was at even more of a disadvantage than he'd realized. With his hardened cast Sandburg clubbed the man straddling him, he sent the plastic zip tie Cooper produced during their fight flying across the floor. The man responded by driving a large heavy knee into Blair's midsection. The academic couldn't help but curl up in the fetal position around the offending organ as white hot pain exploded in his gut.

It was all the distraction the Sentinel needed, Cooper finally managed to grab hold of one of Blair's wrists, he twisted it behind the kid's back to subdue him and then used his other arm to press firmly against his captive's neck keeping him effectively trapped beneath him. Andrew was panting hard as he leaned down invading Blair's personal space to carefully hiss out through clenched teeth, "Don't believe for one instant that your concussion will keep me from panning your head in if you ever try something like this again."

"Give it up, man! I'm never gonna stop fighting you. Heck, Jim's my best friend plus the only Sentinel I willingly choose to stay with yet I still can't help but fight with him. You so don't want me for your guide." Blair was trying his best to wriggle free from the steely grip holding him down.

"If you know what's best for you, you'll quit fighting me!"

"I've been reliably informed I'm incapable of doing what's best for myself..." He blindly gropped for the closest item to bash against Cooper's head. His fingertips brushed against a black standard issue hotel Bible that they'd knocked off the table during their fight. The cast made grabbing the bulky book difficult but the moment his fingers had a firm hold he smacked it flat against the Sentinel's exposed vulnerable ear with all his force.

"Argh..." Cooper staggered back crying out in pain then fell over onto the floor and his side whimpering from the assault his sensitive ear withstood. It rang as if a cannon had been shot off beside it.

Blair watched as Cooper clutched at his bruised head and used the time to roll over with great effort and begin crawling towards the discarded zip tie. He needed to tie the Sentinel up while he was still incapacitated. His vision swam as he finally reached the long white piece of plastic. Just as his hand wrapped around the tie he felt two large hands bear down on either side of his hospital gown. He was roughly yanked away from the ground and lifted off his feet. "I swear I'm gonna make your life a living nightmare if you don't let me go! I'm sick of you Andrew!" He was thrashing about so madly he felt Cooper struggling to keep a firm hold on him. He managed to crack his elbow back into a part of Andrew's head that elicited a grunt of pain and as a result he was thrown down onto the bed. It bowed under the force of the assault and Blair's head cracked loudly against the wooden headboard. Instantly his field of vision greyed out. He laid stunned on the bed waiting for the world to reorient itself.

"I like to think I'm a considerate person." Andrew growled wiping off the blood from the corner of his mouth. "I certainly know I've tried to be patient and civil with you, but you've rebuff my efforts at every chance." The physician leant over and tore the zip tie out of Blair's grasp. Supporting his weight on bent knee beside the guide's motionless form he attached the tie to another one he had in his pocket so it'd be long enough to bind Blair's hands together over the cast. When he was done he sat back on the edge of the bed beside Blair's prone form and took a moment to catch his breath and rein in his temper. He could still feel blood coursing down his face from the gash he'd received courtesy of the anthropologist's novel use of the hotel alarm clock. He wiped his face on his sleeve not caring that he was probably ruining the shirt. He turned to glare down at the young man next to him, "I'll forgive you this slip up since you clearly haven't yet had an opportunity to read the old man's Journal but make no mistake you are a tool, nothing more... nothing less. Merely a tool for 'Us' to make use of when the need arises. I hope you realize that is how Ellison views you as well." He looked up to see Sandburg attempting to roll away from him. Even severely stunned and defeated the kid still fought him tooth and nail. He shook his head and grabbing hold of the young man's closest shoulder rolled him back onto his back beside him. "If you think things were rough before you're in for a surprise. I think it's time you realized your place Guide." In the blink of an eye the Sentinel straddled his captive and placed both his hands on either side of the young man's face. He ignored the confused blue orbs that widened at his actions. "As an Anthropologist I'm certain you'll appreciate this next bit. It's something I learned while reading that interesting Journal..." Cooper leaned down until his forehead touched Blair's and then closed his eyes focusing on bringing into his mind's eye the symbols he had seen in the research he'd stolen. A language he shouldn't have understood had mysteriously been translated by some deeply buried part of his mind and with it the knowledge of a ritual from long ago had been described to him. He remembered it now.

Blair had no idea what Cooper was doing above him but he was certain he didn't like it. A while back he'd been told by Megan that when he'd died at the fountain Jim had held him in the exact same fashion right before he'd been brought back to life. Knowing this caused a rising apprehension and panic to grip him. He pushed with his bound hands at the body holding him down, but he was still too weakened. He tried thrashing his head to dislodge his grip, "Don't, please. Stop th-" Blair gasped, without warning he felt his entire body begin humming, as though he were attached to a Van de Graaff generator. For a brief moment he felt energized, all his aches and pains simply vanished. A comforting feeling of security settled over him as if Jim were right beside him. With his mind's eye he pictured the man; he could see him through a reflection in a window sitting in what appeared to be an aircraft of some type with a deep frown marring his face as he stared out into the passing night. Blair wondered at the odd way he envisioned his best friend but quickly dismissed the peculiarity of it. Stress and duress did crazy things to people. He watched his best friend through the reflection, his entire being aching to be with him rather than where he currently was. Blair pictured himself reaching out and touching his friend's tense face to ease some of the worry the older man was broadcasting. He was shocked when the instant he did so his friend stiffened in his seat appearing to look straight at him, 'Jim?!' Then a wave of vertigo crashed over Blair and the oddly comforting image was torn from him and along with it the feeling of contentment.

He felt himself being dragged back into the nightmare that was playing out around him. There was a loud buzzing in Sandburg's ear followed by the disturbing sensation of having something drawn out of him. A feeling of ice cold wrapped itself like a blanket around his body. He began shivering in response to the foreign sensation. His forehead started to sting as if it was being sliced open and the unexpected sharpness of the pain elicited a cry of pain and alarm from him. Quickly the sensation of warm wetness began to trickle down his temple and back into his hairline. The next thing he knew there was blood in his mouth and when he brushed his tongue against his lip he found it swollen with a large gaping cut in it. Other various aches began to manifest all over his body. His large panicked blue eyes gaped up at the man looming over him. Andrew's cuts and bruises had disappeared entirely and he was staring down at him with a look of amazement and clinical curiosity. Blair's mind raced as he tried to force his disjointed thoughts to focus on the immensity of what had happened, what he could still feel happening. An instinct told him whatever Andrew was doing he was doing too much of. Blair could feel himself getting weaker by the moment. "Stop."

"How amazing. I never would've believed it had I not witnessed it myself. It's worked! Blimey this feels fantastic! Everything, all the pain, it's gone. Even the migraine..." He was breathing heavily as his hands clutched either side of Sandburg's face still.

Blair felt himself approaching a dangerous limit. Breathing was getting difficult and not just because he had a two hundred pound weight bearing down on his chest. "...need to...stop..."

Cooper's senses zeroed in on the body beneath him and with a malicious sneer he doubled his efforts. "What's that my good man? Feeling weak? Rethinking the wisdom of your rebellious attitude? Make no mistake I own you, everything about you...your power and energy too. We might not be bonded yet but I know what you're capable of more than you do yourself. Try your best to remember this the next time you feel compelled to lash out at your Sentinel."

"You'll never be my Sentinel," Blair hissed, before his head snapped to the side as he was back handed in response to the comment. As he felt himself approaching the precipice of what his physical form could handle he was comforted by two things; Firstly, if he died Cooper would fail, most likely driven mad before he succeeded in searching out another guide. Secondly, Jim would go offline like he'd always wanted to in the past and he'd finally achieve the piece he'd been missing for the last several years of his life; simultaneously dropping off the radar for other crazies interested in discovering the inner workings of Sentinels and their Guides. Blair smiled in the face of Cooper's rage. Closing his eyes he anticipated his end with almost a serene sense of welcome. Barely registering the sharp muttered curse from the man above him followed by the quick removal of his weight pinning him down.

'Sandburg? Blair answer me! Don't you dare give up on me. You don't get to give the old man a heart attack and then check out.' The voice was Jim's and was as loud as if it had been shouted in his face at point blank range. Blair blinked in surprise to find himself alone on the bed with Cooper in a state of panic rushing about the room. His brain felt disconnected from all sensation like he was barely clinging to consciousness. He couldn't move but still he wanted to answer his friend's voice. "-im?" His roommate's name was breathed out softly as his head lolled to the side but the detective was nowhere to be seen, at least not within his line of vision. 'I'm losing it. Just under two days and I'm losing it...' "No buddy you're not, but Simon might be if we subject him to anymore of this mystical mumbo jumbo." Blair heard the dumbfounded chuckle of his best friend reverberating in his head and worried his latest injuries were perhaps more than his body could bare. He couldn't lose it he thought stubbornly, "...g'way," he ordered the disembodied voice.

Mustering all his strength Blair dragged his bound hands up to his face to rub over his numb face. He hated how time seemed to drag on when he was with Andrew. When he pulled the hands away there was blood smeared across them. 'Jesus, Sandburg! Your bleeding! What's going on? How bad has Cooper hurt you?' The worry in the voice perfectly mimicked Jim's normal concern when confronted with him being injured. His heart clenched at the cruelty of his unconscious mind. Blair wanted so badly to believe the hallucination he was conjuring to help him deal with what was happening. "I can't take this much longer...God Jim, why haven't you found me yet?...please..." He'd barely muttered the words before Andrew was barreling across the room towards him. His heart began to sound off a staccato beat in response to Andrew's close proximity. He flinched when the Brit roughly reached out for him. "No!" 'Blair?! What's going on?'

"Relax, I believe you've learned your lesson for now. Time to leave. We've company heading our way and I'd rather we were far away before they arrived. Quickly now!"

Cooper loomed into view dragging him up from the bed as though he were handling a ragdoll. 'Just hold on buddy. The cavalry is on their way.' Blair's legs gave out beneath him but he was stopped from collapsing to the floor when he felt himself caught up in the British Sentinel's arms. He was steadied and then led to the bathroom stumbling several more times along the way as his body refused to cooperate.

"We're out of time, so the bath is out of the question." Andrew coughed dramatically sneering at the filthy hospital gown he'd been forced to touch, "We'll just have to tidy you up another way."

Blair was quickly deposited onto the lowered toilet seat cover and then left to sit there as the Sentinel rushed off to moisten a wash cloth and gather some supplies for his task. Abandoned for a second Blair looked up into the bathroom mirror to see the damage wrought on him. He gasped at who stared back at him. Instead of his own reflection the anthropologist saw his roommate gazing back at him a look of calculating anger etched across his stern face. 'Good lord, kid, you look like hell. What happened to your hair!' The image and statement shocked Sandburg so much he reeled back falling off the toilet seat. A moment later two strong hands pulled him up from off the floor and placed him roughly on the seat again.

"Can't leave you alone for a bleedin' second. I'm going to release you, but this time no shenanigans. We have an understanding? I'd rather not have to drug you again. You're already concussed enough as it is." Cooper informed the dazed guide.

Blair stared up into the grave green eyes of his captor with a stupefied expression plastered across his face. Hearing Jim had been one thing but seeing him too...well, he was truly frightened now. He debated whether or not he should mention this to the psychotic physician. The idea of permanent brain damage was not a particularly pleasant one to the graduate student. Honestly he'd prefer death than stupidity or insanity any day. "I - I..." Despite his attempts he couldn't bring himself to reveal what he'd seen. He felt his hands released from their bonds, falling to swing listlessly on either side of his body. A cool rag was wiped across his face and his eyes fell closed in response to the soothing sensation. He let his mind simply drift off as the physician worked quickly to clean up the signs of their altercation. He felt the soiled hospital gown removed but even the embarrassment of being so exposed in front of the madman wasn't enough for him to attempt anything. He just clenched his eyes shut tighter as he was re-dressed like some mannequin. He took little comfort in the feeling of security actual clothes covering his body gave him. 'Blair? Come on Chief, open your eyes. I need to see what's going on.' Blair shuddered as his friend's voice returned again. 'Go away, you're not real.' He heard a sad sigh in response to that statement, 'Oh buddy, you couldn't be more wrong. Don't ask me how but I felt you. You reached me kiddo, across hundreds of miles you reached out to me. You did good partner.' Blair allowed himself to hope for the first time since his Sentinel's voice manifested inside his head that maybe he wasn't losing it and that Jim was really communicating with him somehow. 'You have no idea how bad I want to believe you man. But I'm tempted to believe it's the makes me so sick.' He felt his head fill with an emotion of righteous anger that he knew wasn't coming from himself, he was too tired to feel much more than exhaustion. 'Believe what you want sport, but I'm telling you I felt you in my head and this is real. I gotta say as uncomfortable as that makes me feel I'm damn glad to be able to talk to you and see you, Chief.' A startled laugh escaped Blair at his friend's revelation. His eyes opened to see Cooper studying him carefully with narrowed eyes. 'Oh God Jim if you are real then I think Cooper suspects what we've accomplished...' 'Calm down, Blair. Don't freak out. Whatever happens we can reestablish the connection again. I'm coming buddy. Hang tight, Simon and I are on our way.' Blair glanced past Andrew's kneeling form to the image of his best friend in the mirror. He looked sadly into his best friend's hard blue eyes and sent a wave of affection and love through his mind to the detective wherever he was. He heard Jim gasp in surprise at the onslaught of emotions.

Cooper followed Sandburg's gaze to the mirror and back, measuring the suddenly calm expression and steadying heartbeat of the student seated before him. He was reminded of the journal's other title for the warrior's companion and quick as lightning he cupped his hands around the fledgling shaman's face forcing him to break contact with whatever he was looking at in the mirror.

Blair's whole body was shaken violently.

"What are you doing?!" Cooper demanded. Blair just stared dumbly at him, but the rebellious air had clearly returned to the weary young man.

"What do you mean? I'm just sitting here like you told me."

"Don't lie to me, Shaman." Cooper shook the head in his hands roughly. "You're trying to contact him aren't you!"

"You're getting paranoid Andrew..." Blair could literally feel Jim tensing in his mind. 'Don't Sandburg-' Bolstered by the presence of his friend and Sentinel in his mind, Blair leaned forward into Cooper's space ignoring the warning growl of his best friend, "I think maybe your drug might be adversely affecting you now. I bet you didn't have a whole lot of time to test its side-effects did you?" Now the anger he felt whirling around in his mind was directed at him. 'Damn it, Sandburg, don't piss him off. You're in no shape to take another beating!' The hands on either side of his face moved to grip firmly around his throat.

"I warn you Guide don't trifle with me. You forget I still have your mother and the old professor as leverage."

Blair's eyes closed quickly in regret as he thought of the two other people he cared most for aside from Jim. The act of thinking about them caused a rush of images of them to swarm forth into his mind. He felt and heard Jim gasping as he turned the fragmented images over in his mind analyzing them carefully. Jim's alarmed voice sounded out, 'Blair, stop!' The anthropologist didn't know how but he was accessing memories from Ellison's mind. With this newly acquired knowledge his eye's opened and he confidently glared into Cooper's green eyes with his own steely blue ones, "You're lying." He wasn't asking but rather stating a fact. He smiled at the budding sentinel who was vibrating with anger across from him, a hard knowing look settling across his face. "They're both fine. You don't have them and you can't touch them. You're leverage is gone Andrew..."

Andrew's face showed a look of panicked rage. An animalistic growl started rumbling up from deep within him. He stared into Blair's eyes looking past the young man sitting with him and addressed the other he knew was linked somehow to the Guide. "He's mine! MINE! Do you hear me!?" Cooper snatched up the syringe he'd retrieved from the table and uncapped the needle with his teeth. "Say goodbye gentleman..."

"Wait! Not that!" Blair shouted as he realized the physician's train of thought. He kicked desperately at the larger man in an effort to keep distance between him and the syringe full of inhibitor. Sensing his partner's rising panic and despair Jim tried to calm his guide. 'Chief? Calm down Sandburg, you'll only injure yourself worse if you fight him. I'll be with with you when you wake up, I promise!' 'Not with this! It'll block our connection Jim... I don't want to lose you again...' He lunged himself at Cooper in an attempt to get away from the toilet and being cornered but was easily overpowered. 'Blair I promise I'm on my way. I'll find you!'

Pinning the thrashing anthropologist against the porcelain tank Cooper plunged the needle deep into Blair's arm injecting the contents into his system and massaging the injection site to speed up dispersion into the blood, effectively severing the connection between Sentinel and Guide.

Blair felt Jim's presence in his mind fade away leaving in its place a weighty gaping void which threatened to swallow him whole. He saw the fist flying at his face a little too late and was left sprawling on the bathroom floor as a result.

"I hope that was worth it." Andrew stood towering over Blair as he addressed him. He produced a small white pill bottle and shook two pills out into his open palm as he glared down at him. "I had planned on allowing you to remain conscious for the duration of this trip Blair, so long as you promised to behave yourself. Now, though, I can see I have little choice but to keep you down and out for the count. Too clever for your own good you blighter." He knelt down over the angry and dazed graduate student and pried open his mouth with one hand while forcing the two pills inside with his other. He clamped his hand over Blair's mouth ignoring the panicking wide eyes and the tongue trying to push the pills out of his mouth. He pinched Blair's nose closed with his other hand.

Blair's hands fought to pry Cooper's away from his mouth. In a morbid sort of way he was reminded of Alex as he lay on the bathroom floor his body writhing for a breath of air. The struggle didn't last long as Blair finally reflexively swallowed the pills, betrayed by his body's automatic response and need to inhale air.

Andrew removed his hand from the student's nose watching Blair's chest heave as he inhaled greedy lungfuls of air through his nose. He hovered over his charge to ensure Sandburg wouldn't induce vomiting to evacuate the medicine from his system and wait for the drugs to kick in. He cradled the guide's head with one hand while the other remained fixed firmly over his mouth. Soon the seething blue eyes began to flutter closed and the hands gripping his forearm and wrist lost their strength and fell to the tile floor beside the limp body. Cooper carefully set Blair's head down on the cool bathroom floor and fished out his cell phone. He spoke quickly and quietly into the small device, "I need a distraction so I can get us out of here. I don't know how but they found us. I can hear police sirens getting closer and I'm out of time." Cooper's eyes darted down to the body beneath him, "Yes he was a bit more troublesome than I originally anticipated." After a few moments of silence spent listening to the speaker on the other end of the line his gaze hardened, "No I won't be making that mistake again, sir."


Hope everyone liked it. Sorry it took so long. I was having serious writer's block. But things seem to be flowing once more. Yay.