This story is dedicated to two people, Alyjude and Bine. Thanks to my betas DarkCherry, Bine, Monica and Sherri for the excellent work.
Love without anxiety and without fear
Is fire without flames and without warmth,
Day without sunlight, hive without honey,
Summer without flower, winter without frost
~French, late 12th Century, Chretien de Troyes~
William Ellison looked out the window of his room and shook his head. This couldn't be happening. That's what he'd been telling himself for a long time now.
Months ago, when Jim asked him to arrange a family dinner at the old house because he needed to have a word with them, William's world as he knew it ceased to exist. Jim wanted to tell the family about his senses and that was just fine. Even if William wouldn't confess it to anyone, he knew about his son's Sentinel abilities before. But the other news shook him to the core.
Jim and Sandburg were living as a couple. A couple! That Jewish boy had somehow seduced his son and turned him into a faggot, into something unnatural in God's eyes. He waited patiently to see the end of it, for Jim to see the mistake he was making, but the disgusting affair seemed to be lasting. So it was now up to him to help his son, to rescue him from that little opportunist.
I bet all he really wants is my money, William thought. I won't stand for this. I won't allow the world to ridicule me or my son. I will end this now!
He looked at the manuscript in his hands, 'The Sentinel' by Blair Sandburg. Yes, it's time to end this, and I know just the right way. Tomorrow that boy and I will have a little talk. I'm sure he'll see things my way, William thought with a smile.
When Steven Ellison left the family company it was already night time. He didn't understand why his father had asked him to take his place for a few days, but that meant staying until later hours at the office, which he wasn't too happy about.
He was worried about his father. Ever since Jim had told them he and Blair were lovers, the old man had been acting weird. Steven had been happy for his brother, he honestly liked Blair and knew the young man had a serious part in bringing the family back together, but their father didn't exactly see it that way. He blamed Blair for turning Jim into a 'faggot' and called him an opportunist after his fortune.
Steven had grown up hearing how loving someone of the same sex was wrong, how it was a sin against God, but when he looked at how happy Jim was and how good he and Blair looked together, he couldn't really believe that. Unfortunately, his father had always been a bigot and a narrow-minded man and this situation had sent him over the edge. Having come close to patching things up with his older son before, now he wouldn't even think of it until Jim got rid of the 'little whore' as he called Blair, and was furious knowing that all his friends would know his son was an homosexual.
Steven's car was in front of the building so be began crossing the street. It all happened in a few seconds. A black Cadillac came barrelling down the road, ignoring the stop sign, going straight for the young man. The car slammed into him, throwing him into the air. His battered body hit the Cadillac's windshield leaving a huge crack, then slid heavily to the ground unconscious.
A witness watched the whole thing and called 911. Mere minutes later, Steven was on his way to the hospital.
Blair looked up at the clear blue eyes of the man pinning him to the couch with a mix of love and lust. His hands caressed Jim's chest tenderly, travelling to his lover's waist and resting there for a moment. When Jim closed his eyes and leaned down to kiss him passionately, the young man undid the belt from the Sentinel's jeans, opening the button and zipper, and slipped his hand inside. He pumped the erect cock slowly, enjoying touching the heated skin, feeling it grow even harder under his ministrations.
Jim's lips left his and began to nip at his neck, laving at his skin, making him shiver and moan loudly. Blair's moan turned into a groan when his lover found a nipple through his open shirt front. Jim breathed over the little nub, licked it, finally biting softly until it was peeking over the chest hair. He was travelling to the other rosy nipple when the phone began ringing.
"Jim," Blair breathed after a few seconds.
"Uh...?" Jim was still lost in the feel of his lover's chest, enjoying the smoothness of the tanned skin, the soft little hairs, the wonderful scent that identified his mate in a crowd of thousands.
"Uh, let it ring," the Sentinel breathed against Blair's ribcage, making him squirm deliciously.
"Could be important. Or Bodie or Ray, you know they're arriving tomorrow."
"Oh, okay! But this sucks!" he stated grinning, imitating one of his lover's favorite expressions. He straightened up and answered the phone. "Yes? I'm Jim Ellison. What? Which hospital? Okay, thank you. I'm on my way."
"Jim? What's wrong?" Blair asked, afraid of the shell-shocked expression on his lover's face.
"There's been an accident. Steven's been hurt. He's in the hospital."
"Oh, man! How is he? What happened?"
"They didn't give me any details. Just that it was a hit and run and that the doctors are with him now."
"Okay. Let's go to the hospital then." Blair took charge of the situation when it seemed his lover was too numb to do it.
They straightened their clothes and were out the door in less than five minutes.
Blair broke all speed records on the way to the hospital. There was no way he was going to let Jim drive in the state of agitation his lover was in at the moment. The cop was out of the truck before Blair actually stopped and ran inside. After finding which floor Steven was in, they found the elevator and were in the waiting room in just a few minutes.
"Are you here for Mr. Ellison?" a voice asked and they turned to watch a young doctor looking kindly at them.
Jim held out his hand, the doctor shook it. "I'm Detective Ellison, this is my partner Blair Sandburg. Steven's my brother.... Can you.... How is he?"
"I'm Doctor Ridgewood. Your brother is a very lucky man, Detective. He has a concussion, several broken ribs, and a broken arm. Not to mention plenty of scrapes and bruises."
The doctor smiled. "Sounds worse than it is, actually. We want to keep him here a day for observation. He hit his head hard against the windshield of the car, so it's wise to keep an eye out for that. You can never be too careful when we're dealing with the brain. If not for that, he'd be out today, providing he had someone to stay with him. As it is, by tomorrow at this time, or Thursday at the latest, we can release him."
The two lovers let out the breath they didn't notice they had been holding.
"Can I see him?" Jim asked.
"He's asleep now. If you don't stay long and don't disturb him, I don't see why not." He gave them the room number and left to tend to his other patients.
Jim and Blair walked silently into the room. The Sentinel felt his heart contract at the sight of his younger brother laying in that impersonal hospital bed. He looked pale and small, and so very vulnerable. The injured arm was sporting a cast, his head wrapped in a thick bandage. The cop stepped beside the bed and gently took one of his brother's hands in his own. Feeling the loving touch, Steven's eyes fluttered open.
"Hey little bro," Jim whispered, squeezing the hand he was still holding.
"How are you feeling?" Blair asked.
Something like a smile appeared on Steven's face. "Lousy. Feels.... Feels like...I've been...hit by a car...."
The other two chuckled and watched as Steven closed his eyes and fell back into sleep. They left the room and went in search of the witness to the accident. While asking about Steven's condition before going into the waiting room, they'd been told she was still there. It was a sweet old lady that greeted Jim with misty eyes. The sight of the accident had been a bit too much for her and a doctor was checking her over. She told them what happened, what kind of car it was, but was sorry to say she hadn't noticed the license or the driver. It was too dark.
As they left the hospital they didn't notice William Ellison sitting in his car watching them go. He'd received a call from the hospital as well about Steven's accident, and was about to go in when he saw Jim's truck parked outside. If he had any doubts before about what he was going to do, they were gone after seeing the couple together. His jaw set, he left his car and went to see his younger son.
"Ray, haven't you finished packing yet?" Bodie queried impatiently for the tenth time.
Doyle smiled knowingly at his lover. "Anxious, are you?"
"Hell, yes! This is our last night in London and I want to enjoy it. Don't know when we will have the time again. After all, we're going to be spending the next two weeks with Blair and that copper of his. Petal is planning on showing us so much stuff that I think we won't have the time or energy for anything else!"
The two CI5 agents chuckled at the thought of the young American man. He had a love of life that was absolutely contagious and they just knew they were going to have a great, if exhausting, time in Cascade.
They'd met Blair a few months before when the young man had settled in London, thinking of making a clean start after telling the world his dissertation was a fraud. They ended up getting involved with a professional assassin, including Jim that had gone after Blair, and who became the sniper's primary target. They managed to catch the killer and found they had a lot in common. Both Bodie and Jim were Sentinels, both Ray and Blair were Guides. Friendship had come easily for the two couples, especially for Bodie and Blair. The Englishman was absolutely fond of his 'Petal', his pet name for Blair.
After Jim finally convinced Blair his place was with him back in Cascade, Bodie had promised they would visit the Americans in the summer. The young man had been so delighted, he'd spent hours talking with them on the phone, telling them where he was going to take them, and what he was going to show them.
They were finally leaving for Cascade the next day.
Ray looked at their reflections in the bedroom mirror and smiled. They were both CI5 agents, something like the American CIA, but both were as different as Blair and Jim themselves. Ray had been to art school, then decided to be a cop and finally joined the CI5. Bodie had joined the Merchant Navy at fourteen, had been a mercenary in Angola, and a bouncer among other odd jobs, before becoming an agent as well. Despite the opposite backgrounds and personalities though, they were lovers, best friends and the Sentinel/Guide bond was amazingly strong. And they loved each other with the same fire as when they'd first met.
"I'm finished," Ray said. "I was just teasing you a bit, Bodielove."
Ray Doyle felt his lover place his fingers under his chin and gently trace the curve of his cheekbone with one thumb. Green eyes locked on blue as he looked into Bodie's face. Bodie leaned down and lightly brushed his lips against his, slowly, seductively. Ray reached up, placed a hand behind Bodie's head pulling him down, capturing his mouth in a deeper, passionate kiss.
Instinctively, Bodie's arms surrounded Ray's waist and pulled him tight against his body. Doyle's hands caressed his lover's back tenderly as Bodie's tongue plunged into his mouth, exploring the moist warmth. One of the ex-merc's hands slid down from his lover's waist and onto his ass, squeezing gently, pulling him ever closer.
Ray moaned appreciatively against Bodie's mouth as his own hands moved from behind his lover to between them, where he began to unfasten the buttons from Bodie's shirt. When the shirt was open, he began running his fingers over the taut, sculptured chest, enjoying the shivers he was causing. Ray leaned down to tenderly tease the sensitive nipples, causing Bodie to jump slightly at the first nibble.
They kissed again, and Ray pulled his lover towards the bed, never breaking their passionate contact. He pushed Bodie playfully backward onto the mattress. Their eyes locked on each other again while both removed their shirts, allowing them to lay in a pile on the floor.
Bodie reached for Ray, pulling him down unexpectedly. Knocked off balance, his lover fell forward landing on the bed next to Bodie, who took advantage of the situation by rolling over, pinning Ray, and pressing his eager body against that of his lover.
"I've got you now, Beauty! You're mine to do with as I wish," he stated in his best pirate voice.
"Good," Ray purred, smiling.
"Doyle! What kind of answer is that?! You're suppose to tremble in fear!"
Ray snorted. "Yeah, right! Shut up and kiss me!"
Always one to obey orders, Bodie sealed his lover's mouth with his own, suckling and nibbling on Ray's irresistible lower lip, until the only thing Doyle could do was to shudder and moan weakly.
"That's better," Bodie goaded.
Bodie began kissing Ray's chest, feeling the muscles quivering under his feather-like touch. Reaching down, he quickly unfastened the top of Ray's pants, sliding the zipper down with one hand. He slid his hand inside both pants and underwear, causing Doyle to gasp and then moan as his lover caressed his hard cock.
Ray thrust his hips up, pressing himself closer to Bodie's hand, his own hand reaching for his lover's waistband, but Bodie grabbed his wrist stilling his movement.
"No, Goldilocks," Bodie whispered, looking down into cat-like green eyes and caressing his lover's reddish curls. "This is for you, Love."
He claimed Ray's pouty mouth in an almost brutal kiss. Bodie's hand stopped stroking his lover's erection, instead was working to remove both underwear and pants from Ray, who lifted his hips to help speed the process. Leaving Ray laying gloriously naked in their bed, Bodie stood up and removed the last of his clothing.
Pushing himself up on his elbows, Ray looked over the nude body of his lover. Even after so many years together, it was still a pleasure to see the perfect form, the muscled beauty that was Bodie. He let his eyes wander from the short, silky black hair, to the dazzling blue eyes, down over the smooth chest and broad shoulders, down over his flat belly, his gaze settling on his long, powerful shaft, standing proudly erect.
"Like what you see?" Bodie purred, as he straddled Ray's thighs, rubbing his hips against his lover's as he leaned forward for another passionate kiss.
"Definitely," came the whispered reply.
Bodie began to trail light kisses down Ray's neck and across his chest again, stopping to nip at the sensitive nipples. He ran his tongue teasingly over each until they stood firm before continuing his travel down his lover's body. His hands were busy as well, as they caressed skin touched before by his lips. Ray's hairy chest, then his taut stomach, and finally the soft skin on his inner thighs.
Doyle couldn't surpress a loud moan as Bodie caressed his balls and then in one swift move took almost Ray's entire throbbing cock into his warm, moist mouth.
Bringing his right hand to the base of Ray's hard cock, Bodie began to pump up and down on his lover's shaft, working up a steady rhythm that he matched with his lips. He changed between sucking and licking, then pulled the whole shaft in his mouth, increasing his rhythm. Ray was completely lost in the pleasure. He could only raise his hips to meet Bodie's mouth in time with the now maddening cadence, moaning loudly.
Bodie's hands grasped his lover's ass cheeks and squeezed firmly. Suddenly, he pushed two fingers through the ring of muscle into the tight channel that led deep inside Ray's body. The double assault proved to be too much and Ray came explosively, emptying himself down his lover's throat, shouting Bodie's name.
When Ray came back to earth, he moved his hand to his lover's groin, only to find a soft organ, covered with Bodie's own seed.
The ex-merc chuckled at his lover's questioning look. "What can I say? Even after all this time I still get off watching you get off. You're beautiful, my Guide."
Ray kissed him tenderly. "So are you, my Sentinel."
They snuggled together and fell into a sated sleep. The next day they would travel to the States to meet up with the only other Sentinel/Guide couple they knew and hopefully have a relaxing vacation.
Blair looked out the window of his office at the Lange Museum and sighed happily. Just mere months after its opening, the museum was a huge success, its exhibitions having already been seen by thousands of visitors.
After telling the world his dissertation was a fraud, Blair thought his life in the scientific community was over but William Lange had proved him wrong. Having been a Guide himself and knowing the only reason Blair would have done such a sacrifice was because Jim Ellison really was a Sentinel, Lange, one of the richest men in America had invited the young man to be the curator to the museum he wanted to found.
Months of sleepless nights later, with dozens of interviews to find the right people to work at the museum, and several trips to gather the right pieces for the exhibitions, the Lange Museum was finally ready for its opening night. All the effort had paid off and Blair was proud of his work, of what he'd accomplished, of what he'd managed to show the world. Blair Sandburg was not a fraud.
Throughout all the good and bad times Jim had been a constant. Offering support when it was needed, praising when he thought he should do it, helping in every way he could to make Blair's job easier. The young man doubted he could've made it without his lover.
Blair shook his head smiling to himself. And to think I went to London to run away from what I felt for Jim! he thought.
A few hours after the press conference where he called himself a fraud, Blair had boarded a plane and left for England, unable to face Jim or his friends. With things the way they were, he was sure Jim wouldn't need him anymore and thinking he was a liar and a cheat, his friends would surely hate him, so he'd left. Jim had gone after him and after an amazing adventure in London, both Jim and Blair had confessed their love for each other and became a couple.
He couldn't wait for Bodie and Ray, their two British friends, to arrive that afternoon for a two week vacation in Cascade. Bodie and Ray were going to stay at the loft with them. Blair's old room had been repainted and refurnished and was now a guest room with a nice double bed. There wasn't much room, but it was comfortable and saved them the hotel money.
A knock on the door stopped Blair's musings, and he smiled when he noticed he'd been sitting at his desk lost in thought for over an hour. "Come in."
The door opened and William Ellison, Jim's father, walked in. "Mr. Ellison!" Blair exclaimed, rising from his chair. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay with Steven?"
Blair was beyond surprised to see the man in his office. Things between Jim and his father had been strained lately, to say the least. After knowing they were a couple, William had refused to acknowledge their relationship, both having practically been thrown out of the man's house, and only Blair had stopped Jim from hitting his own father.
"Steven's fine. As far as I know, Jim's taking him home this afternoon. I came to talk," William Ellison replied with a disgusted frown, sitting down in front of Blair's desk.
"What do you want to talk about?" the young man asked cautiously.
Blair paled. "M-my dissertation?" he stammered. "Look, Mr. Ellison...."
"I finally got a copy," the older man interrupted him. "I must say it made interesting reading. I knew about my son's senses and of course you mentioned it when you came to the house to tell me about your...relationship, but I had no idea of just how enhanced Jim's senses really were."
"Where are you going with this, Mr. Ellison?"
"I'll get to the point," William said with a tight smile and a nod. "I don't enjoy this, but I see no other way. I want you to leave Jim alone."
"I want you to leave him," he repeated. "If you don't, I'll tell the whole world that he is a Sentinel and that the reason why you lied at the press conference was because you two are lovers."
Blair looked at William Ellison stunned. "You'd do that to your own son? Destroy him, his whole life?" Blair demanded incredulous. "We told you what he went through when the dissertation got out. How can you even think of doing such a thing?!"
The older man gave him a hard look. "I'm trying to protect him from himself. No matter what you think, I do love him. What do you think will happen when the whole PD finds out the detective of the year several years running is a faggot? That he's living with a little boy-toy like you? What will you feel when he starts getting the veiled threats on his life, when he's passed over for promotions for his sexual choices, when his so-called friends stop talking to him? You're the one destroying his life, not me. I don't want this for my son. What he needs is to get away from you, get a wife, have a child. You're just a passing fling, and once he settles down, he'll forget about you," William got up and walked to the door. "You have a week to think about it and say goodbye. If you don't...I'll give my own press conference. Oh.... And I wouldn't tell Jim about this little talk of ours or the truth comes out just the same. Goodbye, boy."
He left and Blair sunk back into his chair. This couldn't be happening, not now that he was so happy, that everything was so perfect. What was he going to do? Tell Jim about this? Leave?
What do I do? Blair thought to himself. Give up? Go away? I can't, I love him too much. Let William tell the truth? Can't do that either, couldn't stand to see Jim go through all that again, and all I did before would've been in vain. I'll have to tell Jim tonight and pray for the best....
Blair looked out the window again, but there was no happy sigh now. After months of utter bliss his life was on the verge of being ruined again. This sucks!
"Bodie!" Blair shouted happily as he saw his two friends walking through the crowd of people at the airport.
He ran towards the Englishmen and was immediately wrapped in a bone crashing hug by a grinning Bodie. He surrendered to the other man's warmth, feeling safe and protected like he always did around Bodie. He felt himself relax for the first time since William Ellison left his office, and melted into Bodie's arms.
Having felt the tense body in his arms and the almost desperate way in which Blair came into his embrace, Bodie stepped back and looked into Blair's deep sapphire eyes.
"What's wrong, Petal?"
Blair gave him a weak smile. "It's a long story."
When the ex-merc let him go, Blair was embraced tightly again, this time by Ray.
"How was the trip?" he asked the two men.
"Boring. I hate flying," Bodie replied with a nasty face. "Drives me crazy staying in the same place for long."
"So to make it up, you drive me crazy as well by moving every five seconds!" Ray joked, smiling to take the sting out of the words. "Where's Jim?"
"Jim went to pick up his brother at the hospital. Steven was a victim of a hit and run yesterday."
"What? That's terrible! Is he okay? Did they catch who did it?"
"Steven's bruised but okay. The driver wasn't caught so far. The car was found this morning abandoned in an alley, no fingerprints on it. It was reported stolen a few days ago, so there's more than a slim chance this was a premeditated hit, not an accident. Jim is leaving his brother with some friends and then is going directly to the station to start the investigation. We'll see him tonight."
Bodie grinned cheekily. "Come on then, Petal. We have our baggage already, let's go see that loft of yours. I hope the bed is big enough though. Ray and I like to have plenty of room to do the wild thing!"
"Bodie!" Ray scowled, blushing deeply.
The British Sentinel just chuckled and started walking towards the airport exit.
Simon stepped out of the elevator and walked across the bullpen directly into his office. It was lunch time and most of his detectives were still out.
He was in a very good mood. It was summer break and Daryl was arriving today to spend some vacation time with him. His son was to come to get him at the station mid-afternoon, and then they would spend the rest of the day just enjoying each other's company, doing the usual father-son stuff. He was looking forward to it. To the next two weeks as well. He had taken the time off, today was his last day. He would be able to spend the whole time with Daryl.
Simon closed his office door and sat on his chair. The unusual click he heard as he sat made his heart beat faster and changed his mood completely. Damn! he thought. What a way to start the afternoon!
He watched Jim walk into the bullpen and when their eyes locked, he waved the detective over.
"You called, Simon?" Jim asked, frowning as he noticed his friend's heartbeat was a bit too fast.
Simon opened his mouth to answer when Jim frowned again and walked over to his Captain's desk. His hearing had picked up a low ticking sound that shouldn't have been there. The detective knelt beside the chair and glanced underneath.
"Simon," he whispered. "There's a bomb attached to your chair."
"Shit! I was praying I was wrong. Does it have a timer?"
"Yeah. It's set to explode in ten minutes."
"Shit! Find me Taggart. Fast!"
"Okay, take it easy, Simon," Jim soothed, squeezing his friend's shoulder lightly.
Jim practically ran out of the office and Simon shook his head, considering the situation. His mind started searching for a list of people who might want him dead. He sighed wearily as he noticed it was a long one. Being on the force for as long as he had usually amounted to a considerable number of enemies. Very deadly enemies.
Taggart and Jim walked into the office, the first man with a small tool box. "Hey, Simon!" the bomb expert greeted. "I knew you missed me, but you didn't have to go to this extreme to get me here!" he joked.
"Yeah, well.... So, what's the situation?" Simon replied, unable to answer in kind. He was too nervous for that at the moment.
He watched Taggart duck under his chair to examine the bomb.
"Well?" Simon queried, impatiently.
"It's a fairly simple device, your usual right wire, wrong wire. I can defuse it in a second, Simon."
Simon rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Fine. Just...don't cut the wrong wire, okay Joel?"
"So Simon, I hear Daryl is coming for a visit?" Jim small-talked to distract the Captain. "How is that boy of yours?"
"Fine, just fine. He should be here in a couple of hours. If you stick around long enough you may actually see him."
"I'll try then," Jim said with a smile. "He must be a man by now. Last time I saw him he was nearly as big as me."
"Yeah. He keeps growing out of clothes faster than we can buy them!"
Joel got up sudden. "Done," he stated and showed them the small bomb. "Very well made, but simple. Whoever went to this much trouble was counting on the surprise element, not the 'bang' element."
"Thank God for small favors!" Simon exclaimed, getting up from the chair. He didn't think he would look at it quite the same way again. "Jim, get the security tapes. I haven't been here all day, I spent the whole morning at a meeting with the Commissioner. It's possible the bomb was placed here during the night, when the station was nearly deserted. The cameras must have caught it. Also, check who had clearance to this floor."
Jim looked at Simon. "Are you okay?" he asked, worried.
Simon smiled slightly. "Yeah, thanks. Go on."
"On my way," Jim stated with a grin, rushing out of the office.
Not long after they had their answer. The surveillance equipment had caught a man entering the bullpen around three in the morning and planting the bomb. He was wearing the uniform of the cleaning crew with access to the floor. A call to the cleaning company, and they found out that the two employees they usually sent to the Major Crimes floor had been mugged the day before and were in the hospital. The company hadn't had the time to find replacements on such short notice, and hadn't sent anyone else.
Using the film from the security cameras to enlarge the man's face, they soon had the information they needed. The man's name was Frank Johnson and had a very long record sheet. He was a bomb expert, was a suspect in several murders, and had been in jail more than once for armed robbery, assault, and a few more offenses. He'd been released from prison the month before, having done time for nearly beating a man to death with his fists.
"I don't get it," Simon said. "I never even met the man. Why does he want me dead?"
"Maybe he's working for someone else," Jim suggested.
"Yeah, it's the only idea that makes sense. Put out an APB on him. We won't get an answer unless we catch him."
"Consider it done, Simon."
After making sure the APB was out on Johnson, Jim returned to Simon's office. "Simon, don't you think it's too much of a coincidence that Steven was run over by a car yesterday and you nearly get blown up today?"
The Captain eyed him wearily. "You think the two are connected? That Johnson tried to kill your brother too?"
"It's possible. I mean, I know Steven is a businessman and probably has enemies of his own, but two incidents like this in such a short period of time are more than a little suspicious to me. I never crossed paths with Johnson either, but like we said, he could be working for someone else, someone out to get us both."
"Hum.... Good point. Just to keep it on the safe side, let's put your brother in a safe house, Daryl will join him when he gets here. And let's keep our eyes open from now on."
Jim nodded. "I'm going to call Blair and tell him what's going on as well. Bodie and Ray can keep an eye out for him just in case."
"And I'm going to cancel my vacation time. No way can I relax with this nut on our backs," Simon stated roughly. "As Sandburg would say, this really sucks, man!"
Hours later, when Daryl arrived, father and son hugged each other affectionately.
"I missed you, Dad. How's everything around here?"
"I missed you too, son. Oh, you know.... Just your normal day-to-day stuff!" Simon replied, ignoring Jim's snort.
"Jim!" Daryl smiled and hugged the detective as well.
"Hey, Junior! Man, you're getting big! A few more years and I'll be looking up on you!" Jim joked.
Jim looked at Simon, questioning again with his eyes if his Captain and friend was alright and got an understanding nod in reply. He knew Simon wouldn't tell his son what happened, he didn't want to worry the kid. Daryl missed the exchange, but looked wisely at the detective.
"Dad told me about Blair's dissertation and why he did what he did. I hope you don't mind."
Jim smiled. "No, I don't mind. I was the one who said he should tell you. We know we can trust you."
Daryl beamed back proudly. "I always knew there was more to you than met the eye. How's Blair taking all of this?"
Jim chuckled. "He's on cloud nine. The museum keeps him pretty busy and he loves it. Sometimes I think he's going to drop from exhaustion, but the next day he's up early and ready to go again."
"I can imagine that," Daryl said with a smile. "Dad and I are going out for a snack, want to join us? I want to hear more about those senses of yours."
Jim chuckled again. "Okay, Tiger. I can keep an eye on your father that way. All police captains require a bodyguard these days," he pretended to joke. In reality he was afraid that Johnson might try to kill Simon again and with him around, the odds were at least even, if not higher, for their side.
Simon rolled his eyes, catching his meaning, but smiled. "Let's go, then. I need a coffee."
The three left the station with Jim always alert for someone or something unusual, but the rest of the afternoon was mercifully uneventful. Simon spent some time with his son, then took him to the safe house promising to come back as much and as soon as possible. One way or another, father and son would be together.
Maybe Johnson had given up for now. Or maybe not.
In spite of the Johnson threat, that night there was a small, if somewhat loud, relaxing party at the loft to welcome the two Englishmen, and everyone was having a great time. There was music playing and Bodie was currently showing off his dance moves with Blair, spinning the young man around, making him squeal with glee.
"Aren't you guys jealous?" Rafe asked Jim and Ray as they watched their partners antics. "They seem to be in a world of their own."
Ray chuckled. He and Bodie had insisted on telling everyone right from the start they were lovers, not wanting to have to pretend after so long of being a couple.
"They are. Those two understand each other very well. And no, I'm not jealous," he answered grinning. "Blair is the son that Bodie and I never had. He loves Blair, but not the way you were imagining."
Jim nodded. "Yeah. Blair told me the same thing just last night. He loves Bodie like the father he never had. I'm not jealous either, I'm just glad he found someone capable of giving him that, even this late in life. I actually enjoy seeing them together."
It was past midnight when everyone finally left. Blair knew it was late but didn't think his conversation with Jim could wait, so he turned to his lover.
"Uh, Jim, we need to have a word," he started nervously, tucking his curls behind an ear.
Hearing the young man's heart beat faster, and understanding it was serious, Bodie got up. "Come on, Ray. It's time we go to bed."
"Stay, please." Blair begged them softly. "Sit down everyone, please."
The two Englishmen nodded and sat on the couch again. It was to them that the young man spoke first. "After we got back from London, we decided to tell our families and friends about Jim being a Sentinel and about us being together. Most people took it really well, but Jim's father went crazy on us. He did a hell of a scene at his home and has refused to see either of us ever since," Blair said in a subdued voice.
"I'm sorry to hear about that," Ray frowned sadly. His family hadn't been too happy about his relationship with Bodie either.
Jim turned to his lover, his jaw clenching angrily. "What happened?" he asked in a tight voice.
"Your father came to see me this morning at the office," Blair replied in a quivering voice, his hands twisting nervously in his lap. "He...he told me I had to leave you or he would tell everyone that my dissertation was the real thing and that I'd lied at the press conference because we were lovers."
"What? I don't believe this!" Jim exclaimed angrily, jumping from his seat and going for his coat. "I think it's time Father and I had a little talk!"
Jim turned to the door, but Blair stopped him by stepping in front of him. He placed his open hands against Jim's chest as if to physically restrain him. "No! Jim, he said that if I told you about his threat that he would tell the truth anyway. You can't go to him!" Blair begged, grabbing his lover's arms frantically.
"The hell I can't, Blair!" Jim nearly shouted. "I'd rather have the whole fucking world know I'm a Sentinel than lose you. It's time I faced the old man, this has gone on long enough!"
Jim broke free from Blair's grip roughly and left.
Blair moaned, his eyes filled with unshed tears. "Not again!"
Bodie thought fast. "Ray, follow Jim. Try to stop him from talking with his father. I'll stay with Petal."
Ray grabbed Blair's car keys and chased after Jim while Bodie hugged Blair tightly to him, the young man clinging desperately to the British Sentinel.
When Jim parked the truck in front of his father's house it was nearly one in the morning. He started walking towards his childhood home when he heard Blair's distinctive car motor nearby. He turned and saw Doyle parking the Volvo and joining him. "Ray, what are you doing here?"
"I followed you. You were so furious you didn't even notice, did you?" the Englishman sighed softly. "Jim, don't do this. You'll only end up hurting everyone involved. Yourself, Blair, and even your father."
"I have to, Ray. What my father's doing is not right. He called Blair a whore, threw us out of his house, and now is threatening to destroy both our lives. It can't go on! I have to do something!"
"I can't talk you out of it, can I?"
"No," Jim replied, his jaw set stubbornly.
"Fine. At least cool down for a minute. Think about what you want to say before barging in on your father. After your anger is gone, we'll both go to see him. I want to make sure you two don't end up at each other's throats."
Jim looked up at Ray and smiled slightly. "You're using the 'Guide' voice, you know? The one Blair uses when he's trying to bring me out of a zone-out or wants to calm me down."
Ray shrugged and gave him a crooked smile. "I'm a Guide, it comes naturally. Besides, Bodie's not an easy person, he's a bit hot tempered himself. I do it all the time," he watched Jim, his cat-eyes twinkling with merriment. "So, is it working?"
The Sentinel took a deep breath. Truth was, he was calmer, the fury was gone. Apparently a Sentinel was pre-destinated to respond to a Guide, even if it wasn't his own.
"Yeah, it's working." Clear blue eyes locked on jade green and Jim nodded. "Thanks, Ray. Seems you and Bodie are always getting involved in our problems."
Doyle chuckled. "It's okay. Maybe one day you can return the favor. Now, let's take a walk around the block to cool off some more, then let's go have a word with your father. I have a thing or two to say to him myself."
Jim and Ray had been gone for an hour and Blair was on the verge of having a heart attack. He was pacing nervously in the living room, making himself sick, so Bodie decided to make him a cup of tea to help him relax.
"Bodie, why can't we just go after Jim? Maybe I could--"
"Petal, Jim needs to have a talk with his father. The situation can't continue this way, and you know it. It was not right for him to try and blackmail you like that. Ray will calm your copper down enough and keep the conversation as civilized as possible. If you were there, things would be worse. Jim's father would make you his target, and Jim would lose his temper and strike back."
"I know you're right, but the wait is driving me crazy!"
"I know, Petal, I know. But there's nothing we can do for now."
There was a knock on the door and the young man went to check who it was. Bodie saw him open the door and a uniformed cop walked in. "Good evening. Sorry about the late hour," the cop said.
"No problem. Is there something wrong?" Blair asked, his heart beating faster at the thought something might have happened with Jim.
"No, not exactly," the cop replied and smirked suddenly.
The look tipped Bodie off, but it was too late. Before either he or Blair could've even moved, the cop took out a gun and shot them both. Moments before slidding into darkness the Englishman had the comforting thought that it was just a tranquilizer gun, and they might still escape whatever fate was sending their way.
William Ellison was roused from his sleep by a persistant knock on the door. Sally had a few days off and he was alone, so muttering to himself about the noise, he went to see whoever had the nerve to pay him a call at that time of night. He wasn't prepared to see his older son and a complete stranger at the entrance.
Without even asking to come in, Jim passed swiftly by him and walked into the living room with the stranger at his toes.
"Jimmy, what's the meaning of this? What are you doing here at this hour?"
"We need to have a talk, Dad, once and for all."
William's narrowed eyes watched his son pacing the floor like a big feline. "I see. The boy told you about my visit."
Jaw clenching painfully, Jim forced himself not to explode and say something stupid. "His name is Blair, and yes, he did tell me about your...visit. I'm here now. What are you going to do? Call the press? Be my guest. If you want to destroy everyone's lives, go right ahead. I remember you got your share of harassement when Blair's dissertation first came out. You want to go through that again? The reporters? Your friends' endless questions? I'm sure more than one or two business deals you had fell through because of all that circus. You really want to do that all over again?"
William didn't answer, instead he turned his attention to Ray. "Who are you?"
"And did you know that your friends are faggots?" the older man spat at him.
Ray smiled, completely composed. "You mean, if I know they are homosexuals? Of course. I'm gay as well, so you're wasting your poison on me. Think about the questions your son asked you, Mr. Ellison. He loves Blair and won't leave him. The only thing you'll end up doing if you tell the world he really is a Sentinel is destroying everyone's lives, possible yours as well. Is your pride worth it?"
"My pride has nothing to do with this!" Ellison senior spattered.
"No? You mean you're not doing this because Jim being an homosexual will tarnish your 'normal' family man image? Because it will ruin your perfect father image in front of your country club friends? Be honest with yourself, Mr. Ellison. This is all about you and your pride. If Jim was screwing a whore, you probably wouldn't mind so much, but being lovers with a man! My God, it's unthinkable! Am I right?"
"I...." William seemed lost for words.
"Look, Ray is right. I won't leave Blair, no matter what you do. I'll go away to a different country and start all over again if I have to. I love him. Are you really sure you want to destroy all our lives? Is the pain we'll all go through worth it?" Jim asked softly. "We still have a chance here, but if you do this I'll never forgive you. What you just tried to do will take a long time to heal. But I'm willing to give it a try in the future... if you at least leave Blair alone and accept our love. You don't have to like him, you don't even have to see him, but leave us in peace." He and Ray walked to the door. "Think about it."
They closed the door behind them and left a perplexed William Ellison alone with his thoughts. It was up to him now, there was nothing more they could say or do.
Outside Jim turned to Ray. "How did you know the right thing to say?"
"I went through the same thing with my family when Bodie and I got together."
"Did it turn out okay?"
Ray sighed. "No. After all this time they still won't talk to me. My mother died a few years ago and no one even bothered to tell me."
The Englishman shook his head and smiled. "It's okay. Let's just hope this little talk makes your father see what he was about to do. Maybe he'll do the right thing now."
"God, I hope so! I think I'll go insane if I have to go through all that craziness again!" Jim nearly moaned.
Ray patted Jim on the back. "Come on, let's go home. Blair must be climbing the walls by now."
As they were climbing the stairs back to the loft, Jim frowned. He couldn't hear Blair's heartbeat upstairs, or Bodie's for that matter, which meant they weren't at the apartment. Could they have gone out to look for him and Ray?
As they reached the loft Jim's heart began to beat faster. The door was wide open, no signs of forced entry, but a dead giveaway that something wasn't right. Ray seemed to think so too. Instinctively he touched Jim's back in full Guide mode.
"Can you hear anyone?" he whispered.
Jim shook his head and walked into the apartment. "No, there's no one here. Blair and Bodie are gone. Blair's cell phone is on the kitchen table, their coats are still here. They wouldn't have gone out without them," the Sentinel remarked flatly, his fear for his lover's safety increasing.
"Kidnapped?" Ray guessed, trying to keep his voice from quivering.
No way a CI5 agent and someone working with the police for years would go out and leave the door open.
Jim nodded and called Simon, telling him what had happened. It was more than likely that Frank Johnson had captured Blair and Bodie. But why in the hell did they open the door?! he thought angrily to himself.
It was after six in the morning when they left the loft, Jim having done a complete sweep for clues with Ray's help to keep him grounded. The sweep had produced no results, so they were going to the station where Simon was waiting for them to begin a full manhunt for Johnson.
On the way down, they met a neighbor, Mrs. Bryant. The woman smiled when she saw Jim. "Hello, Jim! Everything okay with you and Blair?"
Something about her tone and the way she asked caught the Sentinel's attention. "Why do you ask, Tina?"
"Well, Bernard and I were arriving from a late party when we saw a cop knocking on your apartment door. We know you're a cop as well, so we thought maybe there was something wrong."
Ray and Jim looked at each other. Now they knew why their lovers had opened the door. Johnson must have gotten a uniform somewhere and judging him a cop they let him in the loft.
Heart beating painfully in fear for his lover, Jim made himself smile. "Everything's okay, Tina, don't worry about it. We have to go. Bye."
They left the building and jumped into the truck. Jim drove mindlessly through the morning traffic. All he could think about was Blair, and what he might be going through. If Johnson hurt one hair on his lover's head he was going to kill the bastard...slowly and very painfully.
By his side, Ray's thoughts were along the same line. He was worried sick about Bodie. His lover usually acted before he thought about the consequences and to protect Blair he'd do just about anything. That could mean getting himself hurt or killed. He watched Cascade's streets rolling by, and sent a silent prayer to any God that might hear him. Keep Bodie and Blair safe...please!
Slowly, Blair crept back into consciousness. The first thing his tired brain registered was the extreme cold where he was, the second was that he wasn't alone.
Sighing wearily, he opened his eyes and looked around. They were in a room, wooden walls, probably a cabin of some sort. There wasn't much in the small space, only the slim bed where they were laying and a couple of chairs. The floor was covered with dirt and there was a moldy scent in the air.
Seeing his companion was still out of it, Blair sat up, feeling slightly dizzy. He rubbed his hands up and down his arms to get the circulation going and keep the cold at bay a little.
The young man got up gingerly and checked the door. Like he was expecting it was locked, but at least they weren't tied up and could move around.
Their watches were missing, but by the scarce light coming into the room through the boards covering the only existing window, he could tell it was morning already. He frowned as he remembered what had happened.
So where are we now? Who's the guy that grabbed us? Can it be related with what's been going on? he asked himself.
He walked up to the bed and shook Bodie awake. After a few good shakes, the CI5 agent came to with a start. He blinked and sat up slowly.
"What happened, Petal?"
"We were kidnapped," Blair answered with a calm he wasn't really feeling. "Are you okay? The drug isn't acting out on your senses, is it?"
Bodie shook his head. "No. Everything seems to be okay. I'm just a little dizzy," he stated, his dark blue eyes watching the young man closely. "Ray and Jim must be going out of their minds right about now."
"Can you hear anything?" Blair asked.
"Two heartbeats," Bodie answered, his head tilted to the side. "Two men, they're talking. One is complaining that his attempts to kill Simon and Steven failed, and he isn't too happy about it. Must be that Johnson guy that Jim told us to watch out for."
"Shit! We--" A movement from Bodie's hand stopped Blair's remark immediately.
"Someone's coming," Bodie informed the young man.
A few seconds later they heard the sound of jingling keys, and they got up to meet their jailers. The door opened and an amused voice greeted them. "I see you're finally awake! It's about damn time too!"
Recognizing the voice and the man standing in front of him, Blair took a step back and whispered, "Oh God...."
The man laughed and Bodie watched him closely. Their captor had short blond hair and brown eyes, he was tall and slim, but had an air of strength about him. "What's the matter, Sandburg? Don't tell me you didn't miss me!" the man chortled.
"You're suppose to be in prison." Blair said, still refusing to believe his eyes.
"I escaped last night. A new haircut and a new life, know what I mean?" He chortled again. "After I get the five million dollars Ellison, Banks and you made me lose. And I get my revenge on all of you, of course!"
Blair shook his head. "You're crazy, Quinn! Jim will catch you!"
Dawson Quinn, now sporting a very short hairstyle, smirked. "Maybe. Or maybe not. I have his partner, there's not much he can do to stop me now, is there? If he tries...you die!"
"So it was you that Frank Johnson was working for." Blair finally understood what was going on.
"You could say that, yes. He's not actually working for me, he's repaying a debt. See, we were cellmates for a while. I saved his ass once and now Frank's...'thanking' me." Quinn smiled as the other man joined him, still wearing the police uniform. "He did a hell of a job kidnapping you too! All he had to do was wait until Ellison left and grab you. I guess you shouldn't trust every cop you see, huh?"
"Well, he's not doing a very good job otherwise, is he? Steven and Simon are still alive," the young man spiked the two criminals.
"Just a few miscalculations. They will be...corrected, before we leave Cascade," Johnson said angrily.
Frank Johnson was tall, muscled and definitely scary. He had brown eyes, short black hair, and a big scar crossed his left cheek from the brow nearly to the jaw. It gave him a gruesome look.
"Where are we?" Bodie asked.
"In a place the cops will never remember to look for you. Wade Rooker's cabin. Remember Wade, Blair?" Quinn spoke, laughing. "Nice guy. Too bad he was so greedy! We have to leave you for now," Quinn stated, a mock-sad expression on his face. "I have a phone call to make to a certain Major Crimes Detective. Have a nice day gentlemen."
After the two criminals left, Bodie turned to Blair. "Who's Wade Rooker and what does Quinn have against you guys?"
Blair told him the whole story, about how Quinn had taken Simon hostage and he and Jim had chased after him and his girlfriend Lisa throughout the Cascade forest.
"So this Wade Rooker decided he wanted to be rich and joined the hunt to get the five million that Quinn had stolen from a federal reserve?"
"Right. He almost killed me, but his friend stopped him and got shot instead. It was not a happy week, I can tell you. Anyway, Quinn ended up killing Wade at the mine where the money was hidden. I guess his cabin has been empty ever since."
"Jesus, what a story!"
"Yeah," Blair looked at his friend. "Bodie, we need to find a way out of here. I very much doubt that those two will let us live."
Bodie nodded. One way or another they would have to escape from the cabin. Maybe it wouldn't be too hard. After the two men had left he'd checked for heartbeats in the cabin and found none. For now they were alone. Now all they needed was a way to free themselves from their wooden cage.
Eight hours after Blair and Bodie had been kidnapped, still with no clues, Jim looked out the window of Simon's office and sighed wearily. Ray was seated at the conference table looking grim, while every cop in the Major Crimes team was searching for a lead to help them find the two missing men.
William Ellison had been the latest acquisition to the safe house, joining Steven and Daryl. Jim was furious with his father's actions but wasn't about to let him be kidnapped or killed.
Rafe barged into the office out of breath. "Guys, I have bad news."
Simon rubbed his nose tiredly. "More? What is it, Rafe?"
"We just got word that Dawson Quinn escaped from prison last night. He was helped by a couple of prison guards. They waited until it was dark to do it. Once he was in the clear, he killed the two men."
"Shit!" Jim growled.
"There's more. Frank Johnson was his cellmate until he was released a month ago. I think we can safely say that Quinn is responsible for all that's been going on."
The Sentinel fell on a chair. "Oh God...."
Simon nodded to his detective. "Thanks, Rafe. Try to find out what happened to Quinn's girlfriend, Lisa Hartman. And check Johnson's background again. Maybe he has family, a wife, a girlfriend, anyone we can use."
"On my way."
"Who's Dawson Quinn?" Ray queried, after Rafe left.
Simon and Jim told him and Ray felt his heart beat faster. The man was obviously dangerous and both Blair and Bodie were at his mercy. A hand on his forearm made him look up directly into Jim's beautiful blue eyes. The Sentinel's fingers curled around Ray's, their hands joining, taking strength from each other.
"We'll find them, Ray. I promise."
Ray nodded, incapable of speaking due to the lump in his throat. He was too scared for his lover and for the young man he loved as a son. They had to be okay, they just had to.
The phone rang and Simon picked it up. After listening for a moment he put the call on speaker. "It's for you, Jim."
"Ellison? You there?" a voice on the other side queried.
Jim felt his jaw clenching, but controlled himself. "Yes. What do you want, Quinn?"
The criminal laughed. "Simple. I want the five million you made me lose or your partner and his friend die."
"How the hell do you expect us to come up with that kind of money?" Jim snapped.
"I don't care. Just get it or the hippie dies. I'll call again tomorrow. Have a good day, gentlemen."
As soon as Quinn started talking Simon had left his office to get the call traced, but as he came back all knew it was no use. Not enough time to do it. They were back to square one.
Bodie grinned. "I think I got it! I think I know how to get us out of here."
Blair looked at him expectantly. "Well? Don't keep me guessing, man! How?"
"The boards covering the window. The wood looks pretty rotten. If we kick it enough...."
"Yes! It will break! Great idea, Bodie! Let's do it!" For the next half-hour they kicked the boards as hard as they possibly could. The wood really was starting to rot, but it was also thick and it was tougher than they thought. Their effort eventually paid off and the boards broke, leaving a wide window for them to escape.
Bodie was helping Blair out when he heard noise outside. "Shit! One of them is coming back! Hurry!"
They jumped and started to run deep into the forest. Blair heard Quinn's roar as he saw them getting away, and heard the criminal shooting at them, but they kept running. There was no stopping now.
A little after lunch Jim went to check the safe house. He talked a bit with Daryl, cheering the kid up, and then went to his brother's room. Steven was laying down, mindful of his injuries, but looked up as he saw Jim enter quietly.
"Hey, Jim. We heard about Blair. Are you okay?" he asked, noticing the pale face and the dark smudges around his brother's eyes.
"Honestly? I feel like shit," Jim stated as he practically dropped on the bed. "I love him, Steven. If something happened to him, I don't know...."
"Hey, shhh.... It's okay. Blair's going to be okay, you'll find him, you'll see. You have to keep the faith, Jim. In you and him. From some of the stories you guys told me, he's a pretty resourceful guy. Besides, Brown told me he has some kind of secret agent with him, right?"
"You'll get him back soon enough, you'll see."
Jim smiled sadly, touched by his brother's faith. "Thanks, Stevie."
"Don't mention it. Now, come here. You need a brotherly hug."
The two brothers hugged tightly, if somewhat awkwardly, due to Steven's broken arm. Jim was grateful for the support and love he felt coming from his brother. It was good to know that Steven didn't care that he was in love with a man and was ready to be there for him if need be.
As he left the house, Jim didn't notice his father watching him go. He didn't notice the frown on the older man's face as he saw how haggard, exhausted, and desperate, his son looked.
They'd been running for hours when they were forced to stop. Blair and Bodie found themselves standing by a cliff above a waterfall, and the young man cursed loudly. "I can't believe I'm here again! I hate this damn river!" he snarled. They were by the same cliff, over the same river, Jim and him had to jump into when they were trying to rescue Simon. "Talk about history repeating itself," he muttered.
Noticing Bodie was too quiet, he turned to his friend. "Bodie, are you okay?"
The Sentinel grimaced, but nodded. "Yeah. I hate to tell you this, but we have to jump, Petal. I can't hear Quinn right now, but he wasn't too far away an hour ago. We can't risk trying to find an easier way to cross the river."
"I know. You're afraid of heights. But you jumped it the first time, you'll jump it now. Come on, give me your hand, we'll jump together."
They linked their hands and both took a deep breath. Their eyes locked in silent communication and without further hesitation the two men jumped over the edge of the cliff into the river.
Swimming as they could, fighting the current, they both managed to get to the other side. Bodie went down on his knees and Blair stumbled up to him.
"Bodie? Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?"
The young man put his hand on his friend's shoulder to steady himself and heard Bodie moan. Taking his hand off and looking at it, Blair felt his heart beat painfully. There was blood on it. Going to his knees in front of his friend, Blair checked the wound.
"Shit, Bodie! This is a bullet wound. Quinn shot you when we were running away from the cabin, didn't he?" Bodie nodded. "Why didn't you tell me?"
The Sentinel raised his head slowly. "We couldn't stop. Had to keep going. Still do."
"You read my dissertation, right? Did you read the part where I showed Jim how to picture a pain dial and turn it down?"
"Yeah. Been doing that for hours, Petal. It's not working very well anymore."
Blair grimaced, sympathetic. "Sorry."
He tore a piece of his t-shirt and wrapped it around Bodie's shoulder to stop the bleeding.
"This will have to do for now. Come on, let's go."
He put an arm around Bodie's waist while the agent put his good arm around Blair's shoulders, and they continued their walk throughout Cascade's forest.
It was nearly dark when Blair spotted a clearing ahead. Maybe we're reaching the end of the forest, he thought and half-dragged, half-carried Bodie to the clearing.
His heart nearly stopped when he recognized the mine where Quinn had hidden the money and he'd been shot. "Oh, man. This sucks!"
Looking up at the darkening sky, Blair made his decision. They were wet, hungry, thirsty, exhausted and Bodie was close to unconscious, so they might as well rest there for the night. Quinn would have to stop as well, it was getting too dark to chase anyone through the woods, so they were safe for a few hours.
Getting Bodie inside the mine to give him some protection against the fresh night air, he went in search of something to eat and drink.
He returned half an hour later without food, but with a little water. Not far from the mine was a small stream and after making an improvised cup out of a hollow piece of wood with his swiss knife, he gave Bodie some to drink. Thank God they didn't search me! he thought with a smirk. I guess they didn't think a museum curator would carry a gun. He snorted at the use of the word 'gun' for his swiss knife. Hardly a gun, are you?
Blair's smirk desappeared as he watched his friend laying on the mine's cold floor. Bodie was extremely pale, and even though the bleeding had stopped, he was weak and the wound was probably infected. By the young man's calculations, they'd escaped from the cabin over twelve hours ago. That, combined with the blood loss, the cold, the lack of water and nourishment, their wet state, and the harsh conditions they were in, and it wouldn't take long for infection to set in.
But Bodie had drifted off, into sleep or unconsciousness, and didn't answer his call. Only his body seemed alive, shifting occasionally back and forth between chills. Blair used the rest of the water to clean the wound as best as he could and wrapped another piece of his t-shirt around Bodie's shoulder carefully.
Deciding he needed to do something to get them both warmer, Blair took all their clothes off and left them at the mine's entrance to dry during the night. Noticing his friend's shivers increase, he laid down carefully, spooning behind Bodie's body, mindful of his injury, wrapping himself around him and protecting him from the cold.
Soon enough Bodie's shivering stopped, his body becoming warmer, the young man's own body getting hotter as well. He sighed contentedly and drifted off to sleep. He didn't sleep much, though. Worried about his sick friend and their dangerous situation, Blair kept waking repeatedly, feeling more tired each time. It was close to dawn when he finally surrendered to his exhaustion.
The loft was deadly quiet as Jim and Ray walked in. Without a word to his companion Jim slipped quietly out into the balcony, ignorant to the cool night breeze. He looked at the starry sky and sighed.
Lisa Hartman had been located and was being watched at this moment by Rafe and Brown. Jim wanted to be the one on that stakeout, wanted to be the one there if Quinn showed up, and so did Ray, but Simon had refused categorically. Neither had slept the night before and it would've been too dangerous if the criminal showed up and they were off their guard.
The cops had talked about questioning Lisa, but had decided against it, it would only tip them off and Quinn might slip through their fingers. Sooner or later, he'd visit his girlfriend and they'd catch him. He couldn't possibly have had time to meet her after escaping from jail. Not two hours after he was free, Blair and Bodie had been kidnapped by Johnson, so Quinn must have joined him immediately.
It was now twenty-four hours since Blair and Bodie had been kidnapped. Both the cop and the Englishman were dead on their feet, but neither thought about sleeping. Somehow being awake made them closer to their missing loved ones.
Ray joined the Sentinel on the balcony and handed him a beer. They stayed there quietly, both drinking and wondering what might be happening with their lovers.
"They're out there," Jim said suddenly. "Why the hell can't we find them?"
Ray put a comforting hand on his back. "We will, Jim, we have to. I have to believe that, to survive this thing. We will find them."
Jim watched a falling star lighting up the sky and whispered brokenly, "Hang in there, Chief, hang in there."
Blair woke up feeling the weight of a body pinning him down to the mine's floor. Still half-asleep and not completely aware of his surroundings, he smiled and whispered, "Jim...."
"Not really, but if it makes you feel better, you can pretend I'm him."
Hearing Quinn's voice, Blair's eyes flew open and he became painfully aware of his situation. The young man was completely naked, with Quinn on top of him holding his wrists captive in one of his bigger hands.
"Good morning, Sandburg!" Quinn greeted cheerfully. "Imagine my surprise when I walk in the mine and see you and your friend there all naked and cozy with each other."
The mention of Bodie made Blair turn to look for his friend.
"He's still out of it," Quinn informed him. "It's just you and me, kid."
For the first time Blair realized one thing. Quinn wasn't naked, but his pants were half way down his legs and his erection was poking him in the thigh. The criminal laughed as he watched the young man's eyes grow wider in understanding.
"You know Sandburg, one of the good things about prison is that it broadens your horizons. I never knew how great it felt to have my dick deep inside someone's ass until I tried it in jail. I know I've only been out of prison about a day and a half, but I miss it already. Maybe you can help me with that."
Blair started to struggle, but Quinn was stronger and forced his legs apart with one knee. His lips brushed the young man's neck, his teeth biting into him, marking him, and Blair whimpered fearfully. The criminal ran his free hand along his chest, his thumb roughly caressing Blair's nipples, and the young man struggled harder.
"Get away from me!"
Blair felt something akin to despair as he felt the tip of Quinn's hard erection nudge against his balls, slipping under to touch his opening and knew he was helpless to stop the rape.
"No," he begged, and the other man laughed heartlessly.
A noise to their left caught their attention, but it was too late for Quinn to act. Waking up and seeing what was happening, Bodie picked up a piece of wood from the mine's floor and hit the man's head with it, knocking him out cold.
"Bodie!" the young man called, relieved to have been saved, and scared as he saw his friend fall to his knees panting. "Bodie, are you okay?"
"We have to get...out of here," Bodie said with a slight nod.
The young man watched his friend, noticing the pale face, the sweat covered forehead, and the angry red wound on his shoulder. Bodie needed medical help, the sooner the better.
Blair wished he had something to tie Quinn down, but he had no rope or even a belt he could use. At least the criminal should be out of it for a while, and that would give them a few hours advantage.
The young man got dressed and helped Bodie do the same. He picked up Quinn's gun and decided to keep it for the moment. He hoped he wouldn't have to use it, but if it came to that, to protect Bodie and himself, he would use it.
Helping Bodie to stand, they resumed their march under the early morning sun, keeping the pace as fast as they could make it.
The call came around mid-morning, catching both Jim and Ray sleeping on the couch. Both men had talked about their loved ones throughout the night, sharing funny and sad stories alike, until finally exhaustion trapped them and they fell asleep.
The phone call was from Henri, saying that they had Frank Johnson in custody. Both Jim and Ray flew to the station and not twenty minutes later were talking with the two detectives.
"What happened?" Jim asked.
"We caught him near Lisa Hartman's house this morning," Rafe replied. "My guess is that Quinn sent him to get her, but Johnson isn't talking. Anyway, she met him downstairs, he must have warned her that he was arriving. All we saw was Lisa jump into the car, and they took off. We chased them for a while, and H managed to shoot one of their tires. Johnson lost control and hit a brick wall."
"She died instantly. He only has a bump on the head, can you believe it?" Brown queried, shaking his head at the irony.
"Where is he?" Ray wanted to see the man responsible for his lover's kidnapping.
"Simon is in the interrogation room with him now, but the bastard just smirks and won't say a word."
The four men walked into a small room that contained a one-way window. From there they could see Simon talking with a tough looking man on the other side, both ignorant of their audience.
"Look Johnson, you're being an idiot trying to protect Quinn, he doesn't deserve that kind of loyalty. I saw him nearly throw one of his own men out of a chopper because he was hurt and would slow him down. The two guards that helped him escape are dead. What do you think will happen to you when he finds out Lisa's dead, when he doesn't need you any more? He won't leave any loose ends and you're a big one. Think, man!" Simon snapped.
Jim noticed the increased beating in Johnson's heart and knew Simon was hitting the target. But it would take more to make the man talk. He left the small room with Ray right behind him, and both entered the interrogation room.
Johnson smirked when he saw them. "Well, if it isn't Detective James J. Ellison! Who's the Curlytop?"
Ray whispered Sentinel-soft, "We don't have time to waste, Jim. Can you hold Simon back while I take care of Johnson?"
Jim's stare told him the cop knew exactly what he meant by 'taking care', but nodded anyway. Doyle approached the table where the criminal was seated slowly, with a blank, stone set expression. Jim felt a deep satisfaction when he saw Johnson's smirk disappear, and the man swallowed nervously. Ray sat on the table and bent over, his face inches away from Johnson's. "One of the men you kidnapped is my lover. Did you know that?"
The man stayed mute, but Jim could smell his sudden fear.
"I'm not a cop, I'm from a foreign secret agency and no one can touch me. I can do whatever I want with you," Ray continued to speak, his voice soft, almost 'Guide' soft. "These cops wouldn't do a thing, they'll just look the other way because Blair is one of them. Quinn won't have a chance to kill you...because I'll do it first."
The Englishman rose and grabbed Johnson by the lapels, his movements slow and non-threatening. He smiled sweetly in the criminal's face, and then punched him brutally in the stomach. Johnson grunted and doubled over in pain, gasping for breath. A powerful kick to his knee sent him down with a yell. Another kick to his ribs and Ray hoisted him up, only to punch him in the face and let him fall to the floor again.
He hovered over the criminal. "Where are they?" Johnson didn't answer and his already injured knee received another vicious kick. Simon moved forward, but Jim stopped him. "It's the only way," he whispered.
Johnson, seeing he would get no help from the cops, and after being showered with a few more punches and kicks that left him bleeding, gasped, "Okay, okay! Just get this maniac away from me!"
Ray grabbed him and placed him gently in the chair he'd been seated in earlier. "We're all ears, Sunshine."
The man cleaned the blood out of his mouth with his hand and glared at the Englishman. "They're in the Cascade forest. Quinn and I met after he escaped from prison and I kidnapped your friends, and we took them to a cabin there. Quinn called it the Wade Rooker cabin."
"Jesus!" Simon exclaimed, remembering the small hut very well, too well in fact.
"But they aren't there any more," Johnson continued.
"What do you mean?" Jim asked.
"Your friends escaped yesterday morning. After we made sure they were okay, we left for Cascade. Quinn wanted to make a phone call and then was to return to the cabin without me. When I returned in the afternoon Quinn had left me a note saying they'd escaped, and that he was going after them. I waited for him until early dawn today and he wasn't back."
"Why did you go pick Lisa up?" Jim queried.
Johnson shrugged. "Quin asked me to in the note. She was supposed to watch over them once they were caught. Seems that something went wrong or your friends are proving harder to catch."
"Why couldn't you watch over them?" It was Simon's turn to question.
"Quinn wanted us both in Cascade. We were supposed to keep an eye on you and try to find out in which safe house your families were hidden."
"Then what?" Jim asked, feeling his jaw clenching again.
The criminal shrugged again. "Then I was supposed to kill them."
Johnson was booked and a small army of pissed off cops and a pissed off Ray, went full speed ahead to the Cascade forest. Besides Simon, Jim, Ray, Rafe, and Henri, two others had joined the quest for the missing men, Megan and Taggart.
And they were all ready to do what it took to rescue the young man that had come to mean so much to all of them over the years and the dark, mysterious, grinning British Sentinel, that had them all charmed as soon as they'd laid eyes on him.
Blair looked up at the sunny summer sky and acknowledged to himself that they were lost. He'd lost all sense of time and place. He had no idea whether they were going in the right direction. He thought they were, but at that pace they were going to take forever to leave the forest, and from the sun's position it was probably mid-afternoon already.
They'd been walking for hours, going slower each passing hour due to Bodie's weakened condition. Blair was practically dragging him across the forest, willpower the only thing keeping the Sentinel going, both stumbling their way through the trees. The heat, exhaustion, and lack of food and water, were starting to take their toll on both of them. They were rapidly becoming dehydrated, especially Bodie, from the fevered sweating and blood loss.
They'd been forced to cross the river again, this time thankfully finding a shallow path to do so, managing to escape only half wet.
Blair was beginning to panic, Bodie was close to passing out and there was no way he could carry the heavier man. All he knew was that he was not going to stop until he got them both to safety.
The young man nearly sobbed with relief when around half an hour later, he spotted a stream running close by. He laid Bodie carefully on the earthy floor and drank greedily from the fresh water, paying no attention to his complaining stomach. After he quenched his thirst, he gave some to Bodie, spooning his hands to retain the water.
Both their needs taken care of, Blair dropped to the floor with a sigh. He didn't care if Quinn caught them now, there was no way he was going to move. His whole body was sore, he had dozens of scrapes and bruises, and he desperately needed to rest.
He watched his companion, noticing the body shaking with fever, the soft whimpers that escaped Bodie's tight sealed lips. It pained the young man to see his friend suffering so much, he felt useless, powerless to help.
Blair didn't mean to, but he dozed off for a while. When he woke up Bodie was worse, burning up. His skin felt so hot that it was as if the fever was consuming him. The Sentinel was tossing restlessly, groaning and whimpering. The young man couldn't even imagine what that must feel like with his heightened senses.
"So hot," he heard Bodie whisper then.
Blair's eyes filled with unshed tears. I have to do something to help him!
Looking at the stream again, an idea came to him. He undressed Bodie tenderly and taking out what was left of his own t-shirt and wetting it, he sponged his friend's body repeatedly, trying to bring his temperature down. He also kept whispering nonsense words in his 'Guide' voice, trying to soothe, to calm Bodie restlessness. His voice seemed to penetrate the Sentinel's fevered brain because he quieted down while Blair was tending to him. Finally, the fever broke and Bodie's breathing became deeper and steadier as well. His face was extremely pale, his normally sparkling eyes were dulled from pain and tiredness, and he had black circles beneath them. His hair was tangled, and dirty with sweat.
"Thank you," he whispered to Blair.
The young man tried to smile, but all he really wanted to do was to cry, to shout. To say this wasn't right, that Bodie could die because of some lowlife bastard out for revenge, and that it just wasn't fair! He must've sobbed, because Bodie grabbed his hand weakly. "Petal, my Petal...."
"Oh, Bodie," he surrendered to the tears, feeling them running down his cheeks.
"You have to go...get help...."
"Bodie, no! I can't leave you! Quinn--"
"Petal! I'm slowing us down.... We'll never make it if we keep...at this pace...you have to go...." He brushed Blair's tears away and tried to smile. "It's okay...."
"I love you, Bodie," Blair sobbed.
"I love you too, Blair. Now go...."
"Can...can I at least try and find some place to hide you? Please Bodie! Maybe if you're hidden somewhere and Quinn comes near, he won't see you. Please...."
"Look around, but...don't go far...."
"I won't, I promise." He kissed Bodie's forehead tenderly and placed Quinn's gun in the Sentinel's hand. "You might need this. I'll be right back."
Blair got up, ignoring the tired pull of his body. He walked away, looking around for some place, any place, where he could hide Bodie from plain view.
Simon watched Jim and Ray. "Anything?" he asked.
The Sentinel shook his head grimly. They'd been in the woods for hours, searching for the two kidnapped men and their kidnapper, but with no luck so far. They'd searched Wade Rooker's cabin, but as they were expecting, there was no one there.
Now they were doubling back, having crossed the river already and having spread out to widen their range of search. Jim had been using his senses since they'd arrived, and was beginning to have a headache. Not to mention he nearly zoned twice trying to hear Blair's heart, only Ray's constant presence preventing it, but the Sentinel wasn't about to give up yet.
"Let's go on," he said flatly.
His lover was out there somewhere, he wasn't about to stop until he found him. I promise Blair. I'll find you. Just hang in there.
Blair returned to Bodie's side not long after he'd left to find him a hiding place. He'd found one, a small cave higher up, and after sponging his companion again to keep the fever under control and getting him dressed, he started the difficult task of dragging him as gently as possible to the natural hideout.
Finally panting and aching all over, he placed Bodie carefully on the cave floor and sat to rest. Bodie was shaking again, this time shivering hard with cold, and the young man moved closer. "Don't you dare die on me, Bodie. Please...."
Blair caressed his friend's cheek tenderly and laid down for a while, spooning behind him to provide warmth. It'd worked the first time, maybe now it would work again. Soon enough, Bodie's shivers subsided and he calmed down.
The young man knew he should get up, go get help, but his tired body wouldn't obey his mind. Maybe I can rest for just a few hours, then I'll go get help.
Feeling guilty about prolonging Bodie's suffering, but utterly incapable of doing anything at the moment, he fell asleep.
He woke up a couple of hours later hearing a moan. Somehow in their sleep Bodie had moved, he was laying on his back now, and Blair was resting on top of him, curly head under the Sentinel's chin. Thinking Bodie might be worse, he rose his head to look down on his friend. When Bodie moaned again, this time it was a name.
"Ray," the moan was definitely a pleasured one, but Blair realized something wasn't right.
"Shhh...Bodie, it's okay. I'm here, it's okay...."
He suddenly felt a hand gently caressing his cock.
"Ray, I need you," Bodie whispered, still caught up in his dream.
Bodie had somehow managed to open Blair's pants and had his hand inside, pumping the young man's cock slowly.
"Oh, shit. Bodie, it's not Ray. Bodie!" Blair called out through gritted teeth, trying to ignore the tingle in his groin as Bodie continued to fondle his shaft.
Bodie, however, seemed oblivious to the tense body on top of him and continued to caress Blair's already semi-erect cock, stopping occasionally to play with the young man's balls.
"Oh, man!" the young man breathed.
Blair grabbed Bodie's hand and kept a litany of soothing words, soon having Bodie quiet down. Blair realized he was probably half delirious, the fever making him think Blair was his lover.
He sighed and let his forehead drop to Bodie's chest. "What else can go wrong?" he groaned to himself.
Looking out the cave and seeing it was getting dark, he got up. He went outside and grabbed a few big, leaf covered tree branches, and returning to the hideout, he covered Bodie's body with them. If someone would happen to look inside, they wouldn't be able to see the Sentinel. At least for now, the Englishman was safe.
The cops had decided to camp out for the night. They'd brought food and water in the eventuality that they would have to stay in the forest overnight. They'd searched the whole afternoon, having gone from the forest's outskirts to Wade Rooker's cabin and back again, being nearly back to their starting point.
While Rafe kept an eye out for Quinn, Taggart and Brown were building a fire. They all sat around it, soaking in the warmth, all too tired to talk, and afraid to voice their thoughts. Each passing hour the chances of finding Blair and Bodie alive got slimmer. Both Ray and Jim looked terrible, nearly collapsing with exhaustion, but pushing themselves to go further.
Megan and Simon had warmed some canned food but both Sentinel and Guide had refused to eat anything.
Simon sighed. "Guys, come on! You have to eat! How are you going to continue the search if you collapse?"
"I don't want anything," Ray stated. "My stomach wouldn't be able to keep it down."
Jim was about to say the same, when he suddenly tilted his head and listened. Ray placed a hand on his shoulder. "Jim, what is it? Do you hear anything?"
The Sentinel raised tear filled eyes and smiled brightly. "Yeah. I hear Blair talking...and his heartbeat. He's close by."
Jim stood up and and started to run towards the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard in his life.
Blair cursed as he stumbled yet again in the dark forest. "This is so fucking unfair! Naomi Sandburg's son couldn't possibly be fucking lost in the fucking woods on a fucking full moon night, nooooo! He had to be fucking lost in the fucking forest on a fucking moonless night! This is so typical! I hate my life!" he muttered to himself, trying to ignore the pain running through his leg.
An earlier fall had ripped his jeans and his knee was badly hurt, maybe even sprained. It was throbbing painfully, and in spite of having stopped bleeding, the wound made it even harder to walk. To make everything worse, it was so dark he had to use his hands as a blind person would use a cane to be able to tell where he was going.
Limping, exhausted, starving and thirsty, he made his way slowly through the woods, Bodie's health the only thing keeping him going. He stopped suddenly. He'd swear he'd seen a shadow moving in front of him. His heart beating wildly in his chest, he kept very still hoping that if it was Quinn, the criminal would miss him.
He swallowed hard as the shadow came closer. "It's okay Blair. It's me," he heard the shadow say, and he thought he'd die from happiness.
He was crushed in a bear hug, feeling love, and warmth, and safety, for the first time in two days. "Jim!" he sniffed, the strain and fatigue of the past few days flowing out with his tears.
"God, I missed you so much, Chief. I love you!"
They kissed passionately, lost in each other, savoring the feel of being back together, of finally being reunited, friends, lovers, Sentinel and Guide back as one.
"I love you too." Blair whispered brokenly.
They stayed locked in the tender embrace for a long time, Blair taking up strength from his lover, Jim smoothing his lover's wild curls, rocking back and forth making soothing noises. But Bodie was still in danger and regretfully the young man stepped back.
"Jim, Bodie is hurt. We need to take him to the hospital. And Quinn is still out there."
"Okay. The others are close by. I'll take you to camp and go get Bodie. Come on."
Blair tried to walk, but moaned in pain as his injured knee made itself known again.
"You're hurt too. I knew I smelled blood! How bad is it?" Jim asked, as he checked the knee to see for himself.
"It's not too bad, Bodie's much worse."
Jim nodded and in a swift movement, scooped Blair into his arms and carried him back to the camp. The others all got up as they saw them arrive.
Jim put his lover carefully back on his feet, and the young man managed to give them all a weak smile. "Hey, guys." Seeing Ray's worried face, he said, "He's alive, Ray. I left him hidden in a cave not too far from here."
"But?" Ray knew there was something wrong.
"Quinn shot him when we were escaping. The bullet is still in his shoulder and the wound is infected. He's burning up and when I left, he was unconscious."
Jim placed a soothing hand on Doyle's shoulder. "I'll get him back. Meanwhile, Simon, call for an ambulance. I'll be right back."
"Wait! I want to go with you," Ray nearly begged.
The Sentinel caressed the British Guide's cheek gently, the same protective instinct he felt towards his lover directed now at Ray. "I know you do, Ray," he said, gently. "But it's dark and I'll move faster alone. You know that. I'll bring him back for you, I promised before, didn't I?"
Ray nodded, heartbroken. He should be with his Sentinel, where he belonged, but he understood why Jim wanted to go alone. He would only slow the cop down, or get in the way. It was just that he was so anxious to see Bodie again. "Okay," he relented in a flat voice.
The Sentinel smiled slightly and disappeared back into the woods while Simon called an ambulance via radio. Blair sat by the fire and leaned back against Joel.
"Are you okay, Sandy?" Megan asked.
"Just peachy," he answered without opening his eyes.
"Blair, maybe I should call for another ambulance to take you to the hospital as well. You don't look so good," Simon suggested.
"Gee, I wonder why! I haven't eaten in two days, had hardly anything to drink in that same time, and have been chased around the fucking forest for nearly two days by a dangerous nut case! Give me a break, Simon!" Then understanding he was venting his anger on the wrong person, he opened his eyes and looked at the surprised cops, especially Simon. "I'm sorry, Simon. That wasn't fair. I just had two of the worst days of my life, and I'm worried sick about Bodie."
"You like him that much?" Brown asked.
Blair was leaning back against Joel, his eyes closed again, feeling the tiredness creeping up. He smiled slightly. "I don't care if he lives on the other side of the ocean, I need him in my life. He's the father Naomi never allowed me to have. I love him," he petted Taggart's hand softly. "...just like I love all of you as well."
He fell asleep and the cops watched him for a long time. It was true, along the way, Blair had become more than just an observer, even more than a friend, he was family. All of them felt it. And they would make damn sure Quinn paid for what he'd done.
It didn't take long for Jim to find Bodie. Starting off from where he'd found Blair, he headed in the direction he'd seen the young man coming from and after a while heard the other Sentinel's heartbeat. It was too slow, so he rushed to get him back to the camp.
It's times like this my senses truly feel like a blessing, Jim thought, carrying Bodie's limp body in his arms back to the camp, his eyesight cutting through the darkness.
When he got back to the others, the ambulance was already there. Bodie was immediately settled on a stretcher, Ray hovering nervously nearby. Once the British Sentinel and his partner were in the ambulance, Jim turned to his lover.
"I want you to go to the hospital as well. You have to get that knee checked, could be serious."
"Awww, come on, man! There's nothing wrong with me that a hot bath, some rest, and a cuddling session wouldn't cure."
Jim chuckled. "Maybe. But you're going anyway."
"Bossy!" Blair huffed. "Ray won't leave Bodie's side, so there's no room in the ambulance anyway."
"And who's fault is that?" Simon queried. "I wanted to call for another ambulance, remember?"
"I'll drive you," Jim stated. "There's no point in us staying here. We checked the woods twice and I haven't seen any sign of Quinn. I think he gave up and is waiting for a better opportunity to get his revenge. As soon as we get you checked out, you're going to the safe house as well."
"Oh, goody!" Blair grimaced.
The ambulance left full speed ahead for the hospital, the cops following in their cars. During the whole trip Simon was chewing his unlit cigar and wondering what they could do to catch Quinn. An idea came to his mind, and he smiled. It's time to set a trap, he thought. Let's just hope the mouse goes for the cheese!
As soon as they arrived at the hospital, both Bodie and Blair were ushered to the emergency room. They others went to the waiting room, Jim and Ray filling out the paperwork on their lovers. Simon turned to his men.
"I have an idea to catch Quinn. Since the news about Lisa Hartman's death isn't out yet, Quinn can't possibly know his girlfriend is dead. Rafe, contact the press and feed them the story. Our version of it. That Lisa Hartman and Frank Johnson had an accident as they were being chased by the police. Unfortunately, Johnson died, but Lisa's alive and currently a guest at Cascade General Hospital."
"On my way, sir."
"Brown, you're responsible for the setting. Get a room and make sure everyone knows the patient staying there is Lisa Hartman."
Joel looked at the police Captain. "Think it will work?"
"I don't know. But it's worth a shot anyway. He seems to like her very much. While they were both in prison they called each other frequently and after she got out, she went to visit him every week. Maybe he can't resist the call to 'rescue' her from us. And the bastard loves to try and outsmart us."
Megan watched Jim pace the waiting room. "He's going to make a hole in the floor!"
"And it's only a knee wound. Imagine if Blair was as badly hurt as Bodie!"
At the mention of the Englishman, all heads turned to Ray. He was seated on a chair, seemingly calm, but his beautiful jade eyes were swamped with unshed tears and his full lips were sealed tight, as if in pain.
"He'll be okay, Ray," Megan said gently, squeezing his shoulder.
Ray was about to answer when Blair walked in, standing on crutches, still limping slightly. Jim rushed to his side and carried the young man to a chair.
"Hey, guys," he sat down with a sigh.
"How are you? Do you need anything?" Jim asked, worried about the paleness he saw in the handsome face of his lover.
"I'm fine, mother-hen," the young man forced a smile. "Besides the knee sprain and the cuts and bruises there's nothing wrong, so I'm free to go home." Blair looked up at Ray. "I talked with Bodie's doctor before I left the ER. He's going to be fine, Ray. He'll probably have to stay here a couple of days, but other than that.... They're taking care of him as we speak. The doctor said you guys found us just in time."
Doyle took a deep breath and smiled. "Thanks, Sunshine."
"No problem. I asked the doctor if you could stay with him and he said yes. As soon as they move him into a room, a nurse is coming to get you," the young man sighed tiredly. "Ray, could you do me a favor? I need to go home and rest. I'm about to pass out. If he wakes up, tell him I wish I was here, but...."
Ray smiled gently. "It's okay, Blair. He'll understand. Go home and get your rest. You've been through hell, you deserve it."
Blair nodded and after all goodbyes were said, allowed Jim to carry him into the truck and to the loft. They stopped there long enough to gather a few personal items and clothes they might need, and then went to the safe house. All the others were still asleep, for which Blair was very grateful. The last thing he needed now was to see Jim's father.
After nibbling on something to kill his hunger, and drinking water that tasted like ambrosia to his dehydrated body, Blair decided to take a long, hot bath to wash away the two days spent in the woods. The room Jim had picked for them had a private bathroom so he could indulge himself at will.
After he washed the grime away, Blair stood up and was reaching for a towel when a hand held his wrist gently. Blair opened his eyes and saw Jim smiling tenderly at him, a towel in his free hand.
"Let me," the Sentinel whispered.
Jim wrapped the towel around his lover's sturdy body and toweled him lovingly. Then he scooped Blair into his arms and carried him to the bedroom, placing him on the bed. Under Blair's watchful eye, Jim took off all of his clothes, uncovering the magnificently muscled body, smiling as he heard the young man moan in appreciation.
The Sentinel knelt between Blair's legs, then covered the lithe body with his own. He began to rain feather-light kisses onto the young man's forehead, cheeks and jawline, his tongue tracing a trail of fire down Blair's neck and onto his chest.
Jim's lips moved teasingly to one nipple, his tongue gently circling the sensitive skin, until the little nub hardened under such tender ministrations. He nibbled on the rosy nub, and Blair gasped and arched towards him, increasing the heated contact between both their bodies.
Jim chuckled and traced kisses across his lover's hairy chest, until he reached the other nipple. He repeated the sweet torture leaving Blair panting desperately.
More light kisses led the Sentinel down the taut abdomen, to the nest of curls between his lover's thighs. His tongue teased, gently circling the tip of the hard cock, his lips closing around the head. Blair bucked, trying to push upwards into the welcoming heat surrounding him, but Jim restrained him by placing strong hands on his hips, forcefully holding him to the bed.
His mouth finally swallowed Blair's weeping shaft while his left hand reached out, fingers gently caressing his lover's balls. He stroked around the scrotum gently, trailing his fingers from scrotum to anus and back again. His fingers previously coated with massage oil, Jim let one finger rest against his lover's opening for a moment, before gradually slipping it inside, his lips and tongue still teasing Blair's cock.
He eased a second finger in and moved them around inside Blair gently, feeling the ring of muscles relax. He felt, more than heard, his lover's moan as his teasing fingers found that special point of pleasure. His self control about gone as well, Jim removed his fingers. His body covered Blair's once more, their erections brushing together, a moan escaping both lovers lips.
Jim looked down at the beloved face of his lover with tears in his eyes, his hand caressing a soft cheek tenderly.
"I was so afraid.... I need to feel you're really here with me," he whispered. "I love you, Blair."
The young man nodded, understanding the need to be close, to be together again. "I love you too, my Sentinel. Make love to me."
Jim moved down the bed a little, so that his cock could push against Blair's opening. He held still for a moment feeling his lover trembling wantonly beneath him, and then slowly pushed his throbbing cock into the young man's pliant body. As his cock finally slid fully into that desirable warmth, his lips captured his Guide's in the kiss which he had withheld until now. His tongue plundered that sweet mouth, just as his cock possessed Blair thoroughly.
As their tongues battled together lazily, Jim began to move, long, slow thrusts in and out of his lover's body. He grasped Blair's erection, his fingers pumping slowly, prolonging the pleasure for both of them. Blair whimpered into his Sentinel's mouth and matched his thrusts to those of his lover, lifting his hips to allow Jim to move deeper, pushing himself harder into the hand holding him.
Jim threw his senses wide open on his lover, setting them free to confirm Blair was really there with him, that they were really making love, that they were one now. His movements became quicker, more frantic, more demanding, pushing them both onwards.
He heard the young man shout his name aloud, felt the spasm in the cock he held, as Blair spilled his seed over his hand and their bodies. The tightening of the sweet body under his left Jim no option, and with a groan he exploded deep within his lover. Finally spent he collapsed over the smaller man, trying to support his weight on his forearms so as not to crush Blair.
"Oh, God," Blair whispered, when he could talk. "That was intense! Keeps getting better every time, doesn't it?"
Jim snorted. "I certainly hope so!"
Both laughed and then Blair yawned widenly. Jim caressed the long, silken tresses and smiled. "Go to sleep, Love. I'll watch over you."
Blair snuggled trustingly into the warm body half on top of him. Knowing his Sentinel would keep him safe from harm, he prompty fell asleep.
Blair slept for nearly twenty-four hours, his body recuperating from the abuse suffered the last two days. He was alone in the room, but on the pillow next to him was a red rose and a small note. The young man smelled the flower, smiling as he remembered Jim and their passionate lovemaking.
He read the note. Jim was telling him he had to go to the station but wouldn't be long. And that he'd called the hospital and Bodie was fine. He was already conscious. "Thank God!"
Looking at his watch, which Jim had found in Wade Rooker's cabin during their search, Blair saw it was nearly lunch time. He took a quick shower, got dressed and went to get something to eat. He planned on ravishing his lover as soon as Jim returned so he needed to keep his strength. With a smile on his lips he walked to the kitchen to carry out his plan.
Detective John Richardson was a happy man. Usually he hated to do security detail in safe houses, either because his charges were a pain in the ass or the job was boring as hell, but this time he was enjoying himself. His charges were quiet and didn't give much trouble. William Ellison was in his room reading, Daryl and Steven were in the living room playing cards, and the new kid, Sandburg, was also in his room munching happily on two huge sandwiches he'd made five minutes before with the detective's help.
Richardson poured the coffee he'd just made into a cup and drank slowly, enjoying the hot beverage in spite of the warm day. He heard a noise outside the house and placed the cup on the kitchen table. Pulling out his gun, he opened the backdoor and stepped into the backyard.
When he heard the noise behind him, it was too late. He whirled around, the last thing he saw before he died was Quinn holding a gun with a silencer to his heart and shoot.
Jim parked the truck in front of the safe house and instinctively checked the heartbeats inside. He immediately detected Blair's in the upstairs floor, probably in their room. There was another heartbeat on that floor, and by the slower beat, he could tell it was his father's. The other three had to be Daryl's, his brother's and Richardson's.
Satisfied that everything was as it should be, Jim walked into the house and smiled as he saw Daryl and Steven playing poker in the living room. "Who's winning?"
"Daryl. I already owe him my car, my house, and the clothes I'm wearing! The kid's dangerous!" Steven chortled, as Daryl grinned proudly.
"Where's Richardson?" Jim asked.
"In the kitchen," Daryl replied. "He must be eating or something, because he's been in there for a long time now."
Jim frowned. It wasn't like the other detective to be away from his charges like that. "Hey, Richardson! I'm back!" Jim called out. He heard the other man approaching and turned around. "Oh shit," the Sentinel muttered as he stood face to face with Dawson Quinn, his gun watching Jim's every move.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen!" Quinn saluted the three men with a smirk. "For those of you that don't know me, my name's Dawson Quinn."
"How did you find us? And where's Richardson?" Jim queried, although he thought he already knew the answer to the last question.
"Well, Richardson's dead. What is the saying? Killing him was as easy as taking candy from a baby. And finding you was just as easy. All I had to do was follow Captain Banks last night after he left the station to visit his dear son. He didn't even notice he was being followed! Tsk, tsk! I expected better from Cascade's finest!" Quinn scowled dramatically.
"What do you want?" Steven asked, trying to be as calm as his older brother, even if his heart was beating wildly in his chest.
"What do I want? Let's see, I want your brother dead, and Banks Junior there in exchange for Lisa. I know she's in the hospital, but I'm sure there's a trap there waiting for me the minute I step into her room. Didn't think I'd fall that easily, did you Ellison? Captain Banks will gladly exchange his little boy for her. Or else...."
There was some noise on the stairs and Blair walked in. "Hey guys, where did--" he froze as he spotted Quinn, his ocean blue eyes widening in terror.
"Well, well, well! If it isn't Hippieboy! I see you're still in one piece, Sandburg. Too bad we couldn't consummate our love in the mine," Quinn leered. "But maybe I can take you with Banks Junior, and we can finish what we started."
"What's he talking about?" Jim queried, angrily.
"What? You mean little Blair didn't tell you, Ellison?" Quinn wondered in a mock-perplexed voice, his hand going to his chest as if hurt. "Well, I wonder why? Maybe.... Did you like it, Blair? Feeling my hands all over your body? My lips on your neck? Did you like it rough?" the criminal finished, looking straight into Jim's eyes, challenging him to do something to stop his crude words.
Blair turned to Jim desperately. "Nothing happened, Jim! He's trying to provoke you, don't listen to him!"
"Nothing happened because your friend stopped it, or it would have," Quinn was enjoying himself imensely.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Jim growled to his lover.
Blair opened his mouth and closed it again without saying a word. What could he say? That he didn't want Jim to go crazy, and he knew it would happen if he found out Quinn had tried to rape him? That it would be too dangerous since the criminal was still on the loose, and he was scared of the consequences? He should've known better. The consequences were right in front of him. Jim was opening and closing his hands into fists, his jaw was clenching so hard it must hurt, and he looked like a bull about to charge on the bullfighter. Only the bullfighter had a gun.
"Jim, please..." he begged. "It's not worth it. I'm not worth it."
It took all his willpower, but Jim managed to control his anger. He took a deep breath and stood still. He wouldn't have minded trying something, but if it failed, Blair would've been at Quinn's mercy and that was unthinkable. It would be better to wait for the right opportunity to attack.
But Quinn had other ideas. He shook his head and smiled ruefully. "Very romantic, but it won't work."
"W-what are you talking about?" Blair stammered.
"Before I leave this house, Ellison dies. You better say your goodbyes now."
"Please, no," the young man begged.
Quinn turned his gun on Jim and squeezed the trigger, but Blair was faster. A second before the bullet could hit his lover, he jumped in front of Jim, taking the projectile into himself, saving the Sentinel from certain death. He moaned as he felt the painful heat in his arm, the impact making him collide with Jim, both men falling to the floor.
Before either could move another shot was heard, and they turned. William Ellison was standing at the bottom step, a gun in his hand. Quinn was on the floor, dead.
"Christ!" Steven hissed, while Jim helped Blair to stand. "Where did you get the gun, Dad?"
"I bought it some years ago after I was mugged. I never used it before," the older man answered, looking shook up from what he'd been forced to do. Killing a man was never easy, no matter the circunstances.
"Stevie, call Simon and tell him what happened. I have to take care of Blair," Jim spoke softly, relieved after seeing his lover's wound was just a scratch.
"Okay," his brother agreed and ran to the phone.
Jim helped Blair walk towards the stairs, and as he was passing his father, he smiled. "Thanks, Dad."
The older man returned the smile and nodded.
Jim took Blair to the bathroom and snatched the first-aid kit from the medicine cabinet. While taking care of his lover, he looked down at him.
"That was pretty stupid, Blair," he chided. "You could've died."
"I don't care," Blair answered softly. "All I could think was what my life would be like without you. I love you, Jim, and I can't lose you. If it meant saving you, I'd do it all over again."
They looked into each other's eyes, seeing the love and committement there. Jim's lips brushed lightly over his lover's, soothing, comforting. "I love you too, Chief," he held his lover's face between his hands, his thumbs caressing the smooth cheeks. "And you are worth it! I can't imagine life without you in it either," the Sentinel smiled. "I guess we're stuck together."
Blair smiled back. "I guess so."
A clearing of a throat made them aware they weren't alone. William Ellison stood at the bathroom door looking slightly uncomfortable. "Um. Jimmy, when you're finished here, you think we can have a word in private?"
"Sure. I'll be out in a minute."
The old man nodded. "I'll be in my room then."
He left the two lovers looking at each other and wondering what Jim's father had in store for them now.
"What was it that you wanted to talk to me about?" Jim asked his father.
He'd left Blair resting in their room and came directly to see what his father wanted. He wasn't looking forward to a confrontation, but it made no sense in prolonging the agony either. It was better to just get it over with.
"Jimmy, I've been doing a lot of thinking since your visit the other night. Your...your friend was right. A lot of this was about me and what other people would think. I won't pretend that I understand your relationship, and I'll probably do and say a lot of wrong things, but I'm willing to try too."
Jim looked at his father suspiciously. "Just like that? You're going to give up that easily? What's the catch, Dad?"
"No catch," his father replied sadly. "I've made a lot of mistakes regarding you and Stevie, but I do love you both. It hurt when you said you'd go to another country if you had to. I don't want you to go. People change, and having your son nearly killed in front of you is a real eye opener. I.... You have to understand, I was raised believing that love between two people of the same sex was wrong and a sin. My mother was very religious, and my father was a hard man that never allowed his emotions to show because it was a sign of weakness. That's how I was brought up as well. It's not easy to break free from something you heard all your life. Or to start believing in something considered to be against everything society feeds us since birth. I'm from a different generation and have a different view of life, of the world," William sat down on his bed and sighed wearily.
"But you are right. My pride, or what other people might think of me and our family isn't worth your pain, Stevie's pain, or even mine. I will try to be the best father I can, even this late in your lives. And if that means accepting your sexual choices, and your heart's choices as well, so be it."
Jim remembered saying that he was happy Blair had found someone close to a father in Bodie, even this late in his life. Maybe it was time he took a risk with his own father. If they were both willing to try.... "Why the change of heart? Really?"
"The truth?" his father asked. "Blair. His fear for you downstairs was real, was equal to mine. There was no distinction between us at that time, he was no different from me, no better, no worse. And it hit me hard that he did love you and was willing to die for you. I...I loved your mother, but I'm not sure I would've made that kind of sacrifice. He would've, he did! To love somebody like that..." he shrugged, no words to express what he'd felt, what he'd seen in Blair's eyes as the young man stepped in front of his older son to stop the bullet.
Jim nodded his understanding. "Okay," he accepted with a smile. "Let's do this a day at a time. What do you say we have a long talk after this is all over? The talk we should've had a long time ago?"
His father nodded. "Yes, we do need to talk. Come by the house when you have the time. And Jimmy, bring Blair."
Jim left his father's room and closed his eyes suddenly feeling exhausted. "One less battle to fight. Thank you, Ray," he whispered.
Things wouldn't be easy by any means, they had a lot of healing to do. And certainly both would feel the urge to just give up sometimes, but they were making some progress and maybe in time their family would be as never before. United and happy.
"Jimmy!" came Steven's voice from downstairs. "Simon's here!"
Jim chuckled. "I know," he whispered to himself. "I can smell the cigars. Always those damn cigars!"
The next day Jim and Blair went to visit Bodie at the hospital. The British Sentinel was reclined on the bed, Ray in a chair next to him, the two holding hands and looking very happy.
"Hey, you guys!" Blair greeted with a smile.
"Petal!" Bodie grinned widely.
"Brought you grapes," the young man said with a smile, showing Bodie a bag full with one of his favorite treats.
"Oh, God! I love you, I love you both! Give 'em over!" Bodie nearly pleaded.
He popped some juicy grapes in his mouth and sighed happily, making the others chuckle.
"How are you feeling, Bodie?" Jim queried with a grin of his own.
"Bored out of my mind! I want to get out of here!" he answered, mouth full of the tasty morsels.
Ray chuckled. "He's sick of being in bed and has been driving the doctor crazy to get him to release him."
"And when will that be?" Jim asked, amused at Bodie's annoyed face.
"Tomorrow, thank God!" came the immediate response from the patient.
"Cool! That still leaves a week to show you all of Cascade's best sights!" Blair chortled gleefully.
"Petal, come here. We have to talk."
"Sounds serious," the young man noticed, as he climbed on top of the bed and laid down with his head on Bodie's good shoulder.
"It is," Bodie stated. "Ray and I've been talking. We're getting too old for the spy business and we want out. We have some money put aside, so we thought maybe we could use it to settle down some place, open a business of our own, maybe as private detectives or something. We'll have to spend some time in London to take care of everything, but we figured that in about three, four months at the most, we can be back."
Blair looked up at his friend, his hand softly caressing Bodie's chest. "Be back? What do you mean?"
"We're thinking of settling down in Cascade."
The young man raised his head and smiled a thousand mega-watt smile at them. "Really?! Oh, wow!"
Bodie nodded grinning happily as well. "Yep, really. We love you, Petal and we want to be near you. And since you need constant watching, I'm sure Jim will be thankful for the extra help. I've never seen anyone that attracted so much trouble before!"
"Hey!" Blair cuffed him gently on the head, in a mock-annoyed gesture. "I'm not that bad! I'm not!" he assured them, ignoring Jim's snort.
Jim turned to Ray and looked deep into the beautiful green eyes. "Are you okay with this?" he asked.
Ray smiled. "Yes. We both love Blair, and we really are sick of the secret agent circus. And we're not getting any younger either! I guess we're too old to raise a family of our own, but being around you and Blair will be enough. I'll miss London, but we can always go there on vacation or something," he said. "It's the right thing to do, and the right time to do it."
Jim nodded his understanding. In spite of what he'd said before, on some instinctive level he did feel somewhat threatened by the love and attention Blair seemed to bestow on Bodie, but he would never deny his lover anything, and he knew Blair needed Bodie. Maybe it was some Sentinel thing, because he honestly liked Bodie, so for the sake of everyone involved, he would just put those feelings in the back of his mind and welcome both Englishmen into their family. Because it was what they were now, family.
He turned to the bed and chuckled amused. Bodie and Blair were asleep in each other's arms as if they didn't have a care in the world. And I guess they don't now. Not after all they went through, Jim thought.
He looked at Ray and both smiled sappily at each other. Their mates were back, safe and sound, Quinn was dead and as the saying went, tomorrow was another day.
-- THE END --