Difficult Choices

By Guenwyvar

Disclaimer: Don't own them. Not making any money. I'm just having some fun.

Author's Notes: I didn't write Sam's song. I got it from a movie called Dead Wood. The movie itself wasn't all that great, but I really like the song. If anyone wants to hear what the song sounds like, you can listen to it on youtube. Just type in "Jess's Song" and it should be the first one in the list.

Blair entered the dark and quit loft and tossed his keys into the basket by the door like Jim had drilled into him for so long. He then dropped his full backpack on the floor followed by his jacket and trudged slowly across the room. He fell backward over the arm of the couch into an exhausted heap onto the cushions with an explosive sigh. He normally wouldn't leave his stuff lying on the floor of the loft because Jim would have a hissy fit, but at the moment, it didn't matter since Jim wouldn't be home for a while anyway.

Jim was currently undercover as security for a drug smuggling operation, which was expected to last long term. He had already been on the case for the past five days, but they didn't want to bust anyone until they had the main guy in charge of the operation within their grasp. Since he did most of his business over the phone, there was no telling when that was going to happen. And unfortunately, these people were so paranoid that they kept a close eye on the people they have working for them, so Jim couldn't risk coming home to the loft and blowing his cover. So Jim was staying at a hotel for the duration of the case under the assumed name of Jim Curtis.

Blair was upset that he couldn't be with Jim during his undercover assignment. He enjoyed having the loft to himself and not have to worry about the millions of those crazy rules of Jim's, but he was worried about Jim being undercover for so long and using his senses so much without him. But Jim and Simon wouldn't let him on this case, and even if they would allow it, Simon had said that they just couldn't arrange it this time. Besides, Blair wouldn't have been able to go undercover for an unknown amount of time. This was his busiest time of the year at Rainier. He was taking three classes, and he was teaching another two. He had a stack of papers to grade, a paper due in three days, and another due next week, and he had a tone of research to go through. Which was why he was so exhausted at the moment.

Blair shifted into a more comfortable position. He knew he should probably eat something first since he hadn't eaten since this morning, but he was too tired to move, and he found himself falling into a restless sleep. In just a few short minutes, his mind was filled with disturbing images.

Jim exited the truck and checked his watch before entering the large, once abandoned warehouse. It was 11:00pm on the dot. Perfect timing. He quickly made his way past several rows of long, rectangular tables covered with bags of white powder. There were a couple of guys each standing at a different table getting the bags of drugs ready for shipment. They each acknowledged Ellison with slight nods as he walked by. Jim walked to the back of the building where the boss's office was.

The door was open. An older man with graying hair was sitting behind the large mahogany desk writing something down on a piece of paper. Jim knocked on the doorframe to get his attention.

"You wanted to see me, Mr. Lazzlo?" he said.

Lazzlo lifted dark green eyes and beckoned him further into the office with one hand. "Yes, Curtis, come in."Folding his hands in his lap, he leaned back in the chair and surveyed the man before him. "I can't tell you how impressed I am with your work. You've done a great service to my operation these few days."

"Thank you, sir."

"That's why it pains me to hear that you're actually a cop."

Jim stiffened ever so slightly but tried to look surprised. "What are you, nuts? I'm not a cop."

"My sources say otherwise. They say that Jim Curtis doesn't exist and that your name is actually Detective Jim Ellison of the Major Crimes division." Quick as lightening, Lazzlo pulled a gun out of an open drawer of his desk and shot Jim in the chest.

Jim's eyes widened in pain and shock as he collapsed to the ground. Lazzlo got up and walked around the desk to stand over the detective watching as he struggled for breath.

"I hate when cops try to infiltrate my operation," Lazzlo said coldly. He pointed the gun at Jim's head and fired twice.

Blair gasped but didn't wake. His head moved from side to side sporadically as a new scene unfolded in his mind's eye.

Simon made sure his computer was shut down before grabbing his coat and shutting off the lights in his office. He walked out into the bullpen as he put on his jacket.

"Heading home, Cap?" Brown asked.

"Yes, finally," Simon replied with a long-suffering sigh.

"You sound exhausted."

"I was just in a meeting for the last three hours with the Chief of Police and the mayor. That would make anyone tired."

Brown chuckled. "Yeah, I guess so. See ya tomorrow, Captain."

Simon gave a backwards wave as he headed toward the elevator and rode the conveyance down to the garage. A couple of minutes later, he was pulling out of the PD garage onto the darkened, almost empty street. Driving down 67th Street, he reached for the radio to change the station, noticing that it was 11:10pm. With a deep sigh, he returned his eyes to the road just as he was coming upon the intersection at 67th and Odell Avenue to see that he had the green light. Unfortunately, just as he entered the intersection a semi truck heading the other way ran the red light and t-boned Simon's car on the driver's side. There was the horrible sound of crunching metal, breaking glass, and squealing tires, and then there was an ominous silence.

When the semi finally came to a complete stop about twenty some odd feet past the intersection, there was nothing left of the car but a twisted hunk of metal that was barely recognizable as a car.

"NO!" Blair cried, sitting straight up on the couch. He was breathing heavily and sweat beaded on his forehead as pushed his hair back from his face. He swung his legs off the couch and cupped his face in his hands. "Not again," he whispered.

He knew this was no normal dream. He couldn't explain it. It just felt different than any other dream or nightmare he'd ever had. It felt just like the dream he'd had a few months ago about the bullpen being shot up, and then a few days later it actually happened exactly as it did in his dream.

He had always believed that the dream or vision had been shamanistic in some way. He had tried to induce another one since then but never could. And now another one had come out of nowhere just like the first one, and this time Jim and Simon were going to get killed ten minutes apart in different parts of the city. Not to mention that he had this sense of urgency welling within him. He felt that this was going to happen very soon, like tonight.

So what was he going to do? He couldn't save them both. They were too far away from each other. There was no way he could get from one to the other in ten minutes time. Which meant that he could only save one, that he had to pick one.

He rubbed his face with both hands. How could he choose one over the other? They were both his friends. Jim was his roommate, his sentinel, and his friend, the best friend he's ever had. He couldn't imagine his life without him. And Simon, though he grunted and groaned at his antics, Blair knew that he cared, that he considered Blair a friend, and Blair felt the same way about the big captain.

Frustrated, he got up, grabbed his jacket and keys, and walked out the door. He still had a couple of hours before his "dream" came to pass. He needed to get out of the loft. Maybe the cool night air will help clear his mind.

Unfortunately, he was still no closer to making a decision when he reached the park almost an hour later. His mind was in turmoil as he walked through the park. Why was this happening? What was the point of having these visions, or whatever they were called, if he couldn't do anything to save both of his friends? Why was he forced to make this agonizing decision? He sighed. His head was beginning to hurt.

He was brought out of his tumultuous thoughts when he heard soft music playing nearby. Following his ears, he came upon a woman in her early to late twenties sitting on the back of a park bench with her feet resting on the seat and playing an acoustic guitar. The song she was playing was soft and soothing, and then she started to sing.

"Farewell my love, farewell. I'll see you come tomorrow. Don't cry my love, don't cry. I'll see you come tomorrow. Sleep baby sleep. Dream can the moonlight. Dream baby dream. Lie to the stars. And beyond."

"Wow," Blair said, garnering the girl's attention. "That was pretty."

"Oh!" the girl exclaimed in surprise. "I didn't know anyone was here."

"That's okay. I didn't know anyone was here either. Do you mind if I sit down?"

"Not at all," she replied, putting her guitar on the ground so that it was leaning against the end of the bench.

Blair sat down next to the woman with a long-suffering sigh. "My name's Blair by the way."

"Samantha, but you can call me Sam. So, uh, what are you doing wandering around the park this late at night?"

"I, uh, had a lot to think about. I just started walking and somehow ended up here. What about you? What are you doing here all alone?"

"I needed a quiet place to work on my song. Sometimes it gets pretty hectic at my place. And I can take care of myself, if that's what you're thinking." Sam glanced at Blair with a smirk.

"Hey, I didn't say anything," Blair said, raising his hands.

Sam chuckled and then sobered as she looked at her new companion with a critical eye. "If you don't mind my saying, you look like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders."

You have no idea, Blair thought. He considered the idea of telling her of his predicament, not about the dream/vision of course, but a general explanation. He didn't really know her, but he wasn't getting any closer to a decision. He could use some advice.

Taking a deep breath, he turned to the woman sitting next to him. "Let me ask you something. What would you do if you knew something bad was going to happen to two of your friends, but you could only save one?"

Sam's eyebrows rose minimally, but she seemed to give the question some serious thought. "Wow. That's quite a predicament you have there."

"Yeah," Blair said, lowering his eyes.

"Well, I don't know what I'd necessarily do, but I do know someone who had that very same problem."

"Yeah?" Blair said hopefully, turning his body sideways so he was fully facing Sam. "What did he do?"

"Well, initially, he tried to do both, but he ended up choosing one and staying with her all day making sure she got the best of care."

"So what happened?"

"Funny thing is, something he did actually prevented the second disaster too."

"So, in saving one he actually saved them both?" Blair clarified.

"Yep," Sam replied.

Blair sighed and leaned back. "Great story, but I don't think it helps me much. I doubt I'll be that lucky."

"You never know. Stranger things have happened," Sam said with a shrug.

Blair shook his head and stood up. "Even so, how can I choose between two of my friends?"

"Well, you said yourself. You can only save one, and if you don't make a decision, then they'll both die. And I don't think you can live with that either. I can't tell you what to do," Sam said as she picked up her guitar and rested it in her lap once again. "All I can say is, follow your heart, and you'll never go wrong."

Blair turned around and a small smile quirked his lips. "Thanks."

She smiled back. "No problem. I hope everything works out." She turned her attention to her guitar and started playing the same tune she had been playing before. Her words followed suit. "Farewell my friends, farewell. I'll see you on tomorrow. Be strong my friends, be strong. We'll sing again tomorrow. Free from the world. Free from the struggle. We ride the sky. Soaring so high. Forever."

Blair listened to Sam's soft voice as he walked away thinking about what Sam said. She was right. If he didn't make a decision, then both Simon and Jim were going to die, and he would never forgive himself for letting that happen. And if there was a remote chance that he could save both of them by choosing one, then he would have to go with Jim. Jim was the one who was going to die first, so he would have try for him.

Mind made up, he looked at his watch and then started running. If he hurried, he would have just enough time to get back to the loft, grab a few things, and then head over to the warehouse. Running at full speed, he reached 852 Prospect in half the time, and foregoing the elevator, he ran up the three flights to the third floor. Entering the loft, he headed straight to his room and starting digging in his closet. After a few minutes, he finally found what he was looking for, a bat and baseball from when he and Jim had played on the Major Crimes baseball team during the PD picnic a couple of months ago. He put the ball in his jacket pocket and hefted the bat in his right hand as he hurried out of the loft and down to his car.

He probably broke every speed limit there was on the way to the warehouse, and by the time the large warehouse came into view, Jim was just entering the building. He sighed as he parked his car next to Jim's truck. So much for warning Jim ahead of time. He had hoped he would get there before Jim walked inside, but obviously that wasn't meant to be. Looks like he had to go inside himself, which meant he had to take care of the two other guys that Blair had seen in his vision.

Grabbing his bat, he walked around the side of the building hoping to find a back or side entrance so he could sneak up on the two guys inside. He walked down the darkened alleyway and silently cheered when he came upon a metal door in the side of the warehouse. He carefully pulled open the door, wincing slightly when the door creaked a little. God, I hope they didn't hear that, he thought as he slipped inside.

He walked down a short hallway and peeked into the large open area. There was a group of ten long rectangular tables arranged neatly in two columns of five. Some were empty while others had plastic packages of white powder. Two guys were each standing at a different table packing drugs into plastic bags just like in his vision. One was standing at the table closest to him while the other was standing at the one farthest away near the front door, and both had their backs to him.

Reaching into his pocket, Blair pulled out the baseball and stepped quietly away from the wall. Taking a careful breath, he pitched the ball at the guy farthest away, nailing him square in the back of the head. The guy collapsed to the ground while the second guy spun around to face the new threat. Blair lifted the baseball bat and hit in the guy in the side of the head before he could do anything more than gasp. The guy hit the ground with a thud, and Blair spun around to face the office. The door was slightly ajar, and there seemed to be no movement from inside, which meant that his presence was still unnoticed.

Blair let out the breath he'd been unconsciously holding. He walked toward the office until he could see through the crack in the door. He could see the back of Jim's green jacket, and he could hear the muffled voices from inside.

Blair licked his lips nervously and began to speak in a low tone, "Jim. Oh man, I hope your listening. Your cover's been blown. They know you're a cop. He's about to kill you."


Jim tilted his head ever so slightly as he heard Blair's voice coming from out in the warehouse behind him. He resisted the urge to spin around and yell, "Sandburg, what the hell are you doing here?"

He couldn't believe Blair came to the warehouse. He should know better. Damn fool kid is going to get himself killed, he thought until he heard what Sandburg was saying to him. With wide eyes, he returned his attention to Lazzlo and caught the slight movement in the man's right arm as he reached into an open desk drawer and pulled out a handgun.

Jim dove the left as Lazzlo aimed and fired. Jim felt a sharp pain burn through his right shoulder as he hit the ground with a thud, but he quickly turned down the pain as he pulled out his own gun and fired three times before Lazzlo could readjust his aim. The crime boss jerked with each shot as the bullets pierced his chest, and he was dead before he hit the ground. Jim sighed and lowered his weapon to the ground.

"Jim!" Blair yelled, followed by heavy footsteps as he ran into the office, pausing to look at the body before turning his attention to Jim. "Jim, oh god. Are you ok?" he asked worriedly as he knelt down next to his friend.

"Yeah, it's just a flesh wound," Jim replied, putting his hand over the bullet wound.

Blair rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right." He quickly shed his outer flannel shirt, crumpled it into a ball, and pressed it against the wound to staunch the flow of blood, and lot of blood it was. God, he hoped the bullet didn't sever an artery or something. "Okay, hold that there for a minute," he said as he guided Jim's left hand to the wound.

Then he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and took a few steps away from Jim. He quickly dialed 911 and told the operator that he had an officer down and then gave him the address. After hanging up, he looked toward the door. He thought briefly about leaving and seeing if he could possibly save Simon, but he knew he'd never make it in time. He just had to believe that everything would work out. Besides, he couldn't leave Jim alone and bleeding on the floor. Taking a deep breath, he returned to Jim's side.


Simon made sure his computer was shut down before grabbing his coat and shutting off the lights in his office. He walked out into the bullpen as he put on his jacket. He was incredibly tired, and he couldn't wait to get home, climb into his nice comfortable bed, and sleep for a week.

"Heading home, Cap?" Brown asked.

"Yes, finally," Simon replied with a long-suffering sigh.

"You sound exhausted."

"I was just in a meeting for the last three hours with the Chief of Police and the mayor. That would make anyone tired."

Brown chuckled. "Yeah, I guess so. See ya tomorrow, Captain."

Simon gave a backwards wave as he headed toward the elevator and rode the conveyance down to the garage. A couple of minutes later, he was pulling out of the PD garage onto the darkened, almost empty street. Driving down 67th Street, he was just reaching to change the station when a call came over the radio.

"Attention all units, we have an officer down at 2452 Edgewood Avenue. Ambulance and backup requested. I repeat, we have an officer down at 2452 Edgewood Avenue."

Simon's brow furrowed. He recognized that address. That was the address of the warehouse where Jim was working undercover. His eyes widened. Jim! He flipped on the sirens and lights and did a quick U-turn. He never noticed the large semi truck run the red light in the intersection behind him.


"How are you doing, Jim?" Blair asked as he pressed the shirt over the gunshot wound.

"I'm good," Jim replied.

Yeah right, Blair thought. He could tell that Jim wasn't okay. He was breathing heavily. Beads of sweat covered his forward, and his brow was pinched in pain. He hoped the ambulance arrived soon.

"Sandburg?" Jim said.

"Yeah?"

"What are you doing here?"

"Saving your life?" Blair replied.

"You know damn well what I mean. How did you know that my cover was blown?"

Blair looked uncomfortable. "That's a long story, and I promise I'll explain later."

Before Jim could say anything else, they heard the sound of sirens coming closer.

"Looks like the cavalry's here. I'm going to flag them down. Will you be okay while I'm gone?"

Jim nodded, and Blair stood up and ran outside. It wasn't until he got outside that he realized that he had neglected to tell the 911 dispatcher that the threat had been neutralized. The minute he opened the door and stepped outside, he had about a dozen guns pointed at him and about as many voices yelling, "Police! Freeze!"

Blair put up his hands. "Whoa! Don't shoot!"

"Hairboy? What are you doing here?" Brown asked as he and Rafe lowered their weapons.

"Never mind about that. Jim's been shot. He's inside. He needs help right now," Blair said in a rush.

"All right. Everyone lower your weapons, and let's get the paramedics over here," Brown called.

While police officers and paramedics headed inside, Blair grabbed a hold of Brown's arm. "Hey Henri, have you seen Simon?"

"Last I saw him, he was heading home. Don't worry. He probably heard the call over the radio and is on his way here," Brown assured as he walked inside.

Blair sighed. God, I hope so, he thought as he followed the police inside. He saw a couple of uniformed officers arresting the guys he had knocked out earlier and the rest of the officers were canvassing the area to make sure there were no other suspects lurking around. He ignored the other officers however and headed straight for the office in the back where the paramedics were assessing Jim's condition.

The whole scene seemed so surreal to Blair. The two paramedics were bandaging up Jim's wound, getting him ready for transport to the hospital, and there were also two police officers in the room preparing Lazzlo's body for the coroner. And Blair couldn't stop thinking about the way things could have gone, the way things would have gone if he hadn't gotten there in time. It may not have actually happened, but Blair could still see it in his head. The bullet striking Jim's chest. Jim falling to the ground. Jim's vacant stare.

Blair shook his head, blinking away the horrible images. That didn't happen. He had stopped that from happening. Jim was going to be fine.

Blair shook his head, blinking away the horrible images. That didn't happen, Blair kept telling himself. He had stopped it, and Jim was going to be fine. However, there was still Simon. He hadn't stopped that truck from ramming into his car, and he didn't know if he was ok. He could be trapped in his smashed car, dead or dying. He could be…

"Sandburg!"

Blair's head whipped around at the authoritative, booming voice. Simon was walking across the warehouse toward him.

"What are you doing here?" Simon asked as he entered the office. "And what the hell happened?"

Blair's mouth widened into a huge smile. He couldn't even begin to describe the feeling of joy he felt when he saw the captain standing there unharmed. The next thing he knew he had his arms wrapped around the taller man's waist.

Simon grunted, and his body stiffened. He looked down at the top of the curly brown head. "Sandburg, why are you hugging me?"

Blair's eyes popped open. He quickly let go of Simon and took a step back, his cheeks red with embarrassment. "Sorry Simon. I'm just glad you're here."

Simon looked at him with a mixture of confusion and concern. "Are you ok?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm alright. Just a little shaky I guess," Blair replied as he ran his hand through his hair.

Before Simon could say anymore, the paramedics were going by with Jim on a stretcher. Jim smiled when he caught sight of Simon.

"Hey Simon," he said.

"Jim, what happened? Are you ok?" Simon asked.

"Yeah, I'll live. Just a flesh wound."

"Sir, we really have to go," one of the paramedics said.

"Alright. We'll see you at the hospital, Jim."

Jim nodded as the paramedics were wheeling him away. Simon turned to Blair and placed his hand on the young man's shoulder.

"C'mon, Sandburg. I'll drive you to the hospital, and on the way, you can explain to me what happened here."

Blair grimaced as he followed Simon out to the car. Oh great. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to tell Simon, he thought.


Jim's eyelids fluttered, and his eyes were met with a blurry image of his curly-haired partner sitting in the chair next to his bed. When Blair noticed that Jim was awake he leaned forward and put down the book he'd been reading on the bedside table.

"Hey Jim. How are you feeling?" Blair asked.

"Fuzzy," Jim replied, as he shifted position a little. He was surprisingly feeling no pain, but he supposed that was because of the pain killers he assumed he was on. "How long have I been out?"

"Several hours. They removed the bullet from your shoulder, and the doctors say that you should be fine as long as you don't overwork yourself. You'll probably be in a sling for a couple weeks."

Jim nodded and was about ready to go back to sleep when he remembered something. He turned his head toward Blair. "You never answered my question."

"And what question would that be?" Blair asked innocently, but Jim could his heart rate increase.

Jim rolled his eyes. "What were you doing there? Not that I'm not ungrateful, but…"

Blair took a deep breath. He'd been expecting this. "Well, Jim, you remember that dream I had a few months ago about the bullpen getting shot up, and then a few days later it actually happened?"

Jim nodded. He had a sinking feeling where this was going.

"Well, I had another dream just like that. I saw you get shot in the chest. I saw you die." Blair's voice was soft as he stared down at the floor.

"Aw Chief," Jim said softly, knowing how hard that must have been for the young man.

"That's not all though," Blair continued with a sniffle. "I saw Simon die too."

"What?"

"It was like…a scene change in a movie. Suddenly, I saw Simon leaving the station, and he was driving down the street when this semi truck slammed into his car. They happened ten minutes apart, Jim. I knew there was no way I could get to you both."

"Oh Blair. I'm sorry you had to go through that. That must have been so hard for you."

"You have no idea," Blair said softly. "I knew one of you was going to die tonight, and there was nothing I could do to change that."

Jim put his hand on Blair's arm comfortingly. "It's ok, Blair. I'm fine. Simon's fine. Everything turned out alright."

"Yeah, by sheer luck. Simon happened to have heard the call over the radio, figured it was you, and turned right around. But what if it happens again? I can't go through that again, Jim. I just can't." Blair's voice rose in agitation.

"Whoa Chief, Chief. There's no guarantee that something like this is going to happen again, and even if it does, we'll get through it together. Alright?"

Blair took a deep breath and nodded. "Right." He ran his hand through his hair. "Man, I thought I would be happy to experience what it was like to be a shaman. Now I just want it to go away."

"Blair," Jim said in understanding. "I know how you feel. You know that when I first got these senses, all I wanted was to make them go away. You taught me that I have to accept them as a part of who I am and learn how to use them. Ok, and you have to learn that now. Because I don't think these are going to go away, no matter how much you want them to."

"I know you're right. It's just that I wish these visions showed me something other than death. I mean I can't get those images out of my head. Every time I close my eyes, all I see are you and Simon getting killed."

"Chief, you can't concentrate on what the visions showed you. You have to concentrate on what they helped you change. If it wasn't for you, I would be dead. Simon would be dead. Hell, the whole damn bullpen would have been dead months ago. You have to look at the positive side of things."

Blair looked at Jim with a slight smile. "When did you become Mr. Words of Wisdom?"

Jim almost shrugged but then remembered the hole in his shoulder and stopped himself. "I don't know. You've been giving me words of wisdom for so long I figured I owed you one."

Blair chuckled and nodded.

"You'll get through this, and I'll be right there with you every step of the way," Jim said seriously.

"Thanks Jim."

"By the way, what did you say to Simon?" Jim asked curiously.

Blair smirked. "Oh, I just told him that I got a really bad feeling that something was going to happen to you and that it was a sentinel thing. I didn't tell him what could have happened to him, and he didn't ask anymore questions. But he did give me a lecture on how I should have called him instead of rushing headlong into a dangerous situation by myself."

"Yeah, about that, Chief," Jim began. He just realized the danger Blair had put himself in when he walked into that warehouse.

"Oh Jim, please don't start. I already got an earful from Simon," Blair begged.

"Alright. Alright. But you know you're going to have to tell Simon about these visions sooner or later."

Blair grimaced. "I know. I'm just worried about how he's going to take it. I mean he can barely handle the whole sentinel thing."

"Sandburg, he's your friend. It may take him a while, but he'll accept it eventually."

Blair nodded. "I know you're right, but I'm just not ready yet, okay?"

Jim nodded. He could understand where Blair was coming from. He hadn't wanted anyone to know about his senses, including Simon. He had only told Simon when the captain had seen him use them when the Sunrise Patriots had taken over the police station and had demanded an explanation. He supposed they wouldn't have to tell right now since these visions only seem to happen when Blair was asleep, so there was virtually no chance of it happening in the bullpen or out on the street. They would have to tell Simon eventually, but for right now, he would respect Blair's wishes.


Several Days Later

Blair stood in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Jim had been home from the hospital for a few days now. The doctors had said he was lucky. There was no permanent damage to the shoulder. He would just have to wear a sling for a couple of weeks. Blair was grateful it hadn't been worse.

Jim came down the stairs, the sling a sharp contrast to the dark green T-shirt he wore.

"Hey, Jim. How's the shoulder?" Blair asked.

"It's doing better," Jim replied as he made his way past the couch to the kitchen. "That smells good."

"It's almost ready. Have a seat."

Jim walked over to the table to sit down and noticed a small rectangular package wrapped in brown paper. "What's this?" he asked, picking up the box.

"Oh, that came in the mail today, but I haven't had the chance to open it yet."

Looking at the box, he saw that it was addressed to Blair, but it didn't say who it was from. There was just a return address, which he recognized as the Cascade Hotel. "Who do you know who's staying at the Cascade Hotel?"

"I don't know," Blair said as he turned off the stove and walked around the kitchen island. "Only one way to find out." He took the package from Jim and ripped off the paper. He opened the box to find a folded piece of paper sitting on some bubble wrap. He picked up the paper, unfolded it, and started to read.

Dear Blair,

I read about what happened to your friend in the paper. I'm glad that you got to him in time. How is he? I hope he's recovering nicely. I just wanted to know if you managed to save your other friend too. Let me know when you can, but don't bother writing back. We're leaving in a few minutes. We're heading to Chicago for our next gig. You can send me an email though. My email address is dahlia14 . I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Sam Tyler

P.S. In case you haven't figured it out already, there's a little hint as to my identity in the box.

Jim looked questioningly at Blair who shrugged. He'd figured out that the letter was from the girl he had met in the park, but he didn't know what that p.s. had meant, although he thought he had recognized her name. He pulled the bubble wrap out of the box. Nestled in the bottom of the box was a CD case.

Blair gasped when he saw it. "Oh my god," he said as he picked up the CD case. "I knew I recognized her name."

Jim took the case from him to take a closer look at it. The word "Dahlia" was scrawled across the top in bold script, and under that was a picture of four people, two men and two women, who Jim assumed were members of the band. "Never heard of them," he said.

"Well, they're still pretty new, but they got a really good sound. I think they're well on their way to the top. Here, have a listen. I'm going to email Sam. I really owe her."

After handing Jim the CD, Blair headed into his room, letter in hand. He sat at his desk and quickly powered up his laptop. He couldn't believe he had met the lead singer of Dahlia in some random park in the middle of Cascade and didn't even know it. He had heard a few of their songs. He should have recognized her voice the minute he heard her sing, but then again, he had had other more important things on his mind at the time.

He quickly typed up the email to Sam, letting her know that Jim was okay and that her advice had worked. He had managed to save Simon by saving Jim. He couldn't wait to hear back from her. He really did owe her one, and he really hoped they could meet up again someday.

The End