Blair awoke to total darkness. It took him a few moments for his mental processes to realize what had happened and to register that his hands were cuffed behind his back and that he had some kind of hood over his head. He laid absolutely still and listened. He could hear and feel that he was in a moving vehicle. //Oh great, I wonder which nutcase has decided to kidnap me this time.// Unable to hear anyone talking near him, he took the chance and started to test his bonds. Quickly realizing that he would not be able to get free, he laid still and tried to listen for clues. Keeping track of time was difficult; after what seemed like an hour he felt movement behind him. He froze. //What the hell?// He heard a whimpering sound. He shifted a bit and the sound grew slightly louder. //Okay, sounds like a kid.//
"Hey, it's going to be okay." He whispered. The young person stilled.
"Blair?" She whispered back.
Blair recognized her voice immediately and sagged back. "You okay, Tiffany?" She curled closer to his back, her body trembling with fear. "Hang in there, kid, we'll make it through this." He tried to reassure her.
"Shut up back there or I'll duct tape your mouth shut." Said a rough voice from the front of the vehicle.
The pair went silent not wanting to provoke their unknown captor.
//Jim, I hope you can tell that I'm in Major trouble here.// Blair thought as the distance between him and his Sentinel increased.
Simon walked into the bullpen after a very long and tedious meeting with the Chief of Police. He wouldn't ever admit it but the sight of the young observer at Ellison's desk could brighten his day.
"Hey, Jim, where's the kid?" Simon asked as he approached the detective's desk. He looked around, "I thought the University was on break?"
Jim looked up at his Captain trying not to smile. He had noticed that every time Simon had a meeting with the Chief of Police or the Commissioner he made a point of stopping by to see Blair. Jim had checked with his senses on one of Simon's little visits and noted that a few minutes of exposure to Sandburg actually lowered the big Captain's blood pressure and relaxed him even when he was hassling the younger man.
"All of the TA's have tours of high school students to show around Rainier," Jim answered. Simon shuddered in sympathy. "He should be in this afternoon." The detective motioned at the stack of paper on his desk.
Simon shook his head. "You are going to give your paperwork to a man who has been forced to spend time with a crowd of teenagers?"
Jim laughed. "Like I could really force Sandburg to do..." The big man fell silent, a feeling of unease settled over him.
"What is it, Jim?" Simon grew worried
Jim heard the growl of a big cat and caught a glimpse of a wolf out of the corner of his eye.
"JIM!" Simon shook his motionless detective. Ellison suddenly stood in a fluid motion and turned to his captain.
"I need to go. Something has happened to Sandburg." The detective said grabbing his coat as he headed for the elevator.
"Damn, just when things seemed to be calming down." Simon snagged his coat and followed Jim out. "Jim, do you have any idea what's happened?"
The detective looked up from the cell phone he was dialing. "No, I just know that something has happened. I only hope I'm not too late."
Jim raced to the university with lights and sirens. Simon was buckled in, his fingers holding onto he dashboard for dear life. "Slow down, Jim. You're going to get us killed."
"Sorry, Simon." Jim said not decreasing speed one iota. Simon held on tighter, praying they would get there in one piece.
Jim pulled up in front of the main building and ignoring the startled looks from students and faculty scurrying away from in front of the two-toned truck. He had barely pulled to a stop, when the big detective jumped out and raced up the steps leading to his young partner's office. By the time Simon caught up with the detective, Jim had started scanning the office with his senses, and was starring at a spot on the floor.
"What is it, Jim?" Simon asked.
"Sandburg put up a struggle." Jim pointed out the scattered books in the floor and desk. "He was wounded here." He bent and touched the still damp spot on the floor raising his hand for Simon to see the trace of blood clinging to his fingers. Simon closed his eyes, saying a small prayer for the kid's safety.
Simon dialed the precinct to have them send a forensics team to the university. "Rafe, I want you to have Serena bring her team and for you and Brown to get here to help canvass the campus.
"Already on our way, sir." Rafe answered with a puzzled tone to his voice. "How did you know about the kidnapping already? The info hasn't even gone out over the radio."
"You know how it is when something happens to Sandburg." Simon answered distractedly.
"Oh shit. Sir, we have a situation."
"No kidding, Rafe, Sandburg's been kidnapped." Simon said impatiently watching his detective search the office.
"No sir, that's not what I meant. There was another person kidnapped from Rainier." Rafe took a deep breath. "It was Tiffany Taggert."
"Oh my god." Simon breathed. He covered his eyes with one big hand for a moment. "Has Joel been notified yet?"
"No, we haven't been able to contact him yet. He's out interviewing a witness in the O'Neal case." Rafe answered.
"We'll go and get Taggert. Keep the details off the air and get guards on the other kids."
"Already done, sir."
Jim had tuned in on the conversation when he heard Simon say Blair's name. When the Captain looked at him he had gone still. The muscles in his jaw working over time.
"Simon, tell them to check on Lisky and find out if he is still in prison and who his visitors have been." The big man said through clenched teeth.
Blair grew more nervous with each passing mile. The pain in his head from making contact with the floor was rapidly increasing. He wished he had dials for the pain like his Sentinel partner. He could hear two men talking in the front of the vehicle. He couldn't make out the words but something about one of the voices was familiar. "Tiffany?" Blair whispered.
"Was anyone else taken when you were?"
"No, just me and you." He could hear the start of tears in her voice, and her body began to shake.
"Sh-h-h-h, it's going to be okay. They will find us." She pushed closer to his back. It felt as if she were trying to burrow close enough to hide beneath him. He hoped the practice sessions to strengthen their bond, he had put his partner through were working. He knew the moment Jim had felt something happen. The growl had started in his head letting him know that his Sentinel was on his way.
The van slowed to a stop. "Okay, Tiffany, looks like it's show time. Try to stay calm."
"Okay." She whispered. They heard the side door slide open. Blair heard her take a deep breath just before he was hauled out. The sudden change in position threatened to push him into unconsciousness. Only the thought of his young friend kept him on his feet. The hand on his arm roughly pulled him along.
"Come on, punk, get moving." The rough voice ordered.
"I'm moving, I'm moving." Blair said as he stumbled. He heard a door being unlocked and door opened just before he was thrown into a room. With his hands cuffed he was unable to break his fall and hit the ground hard. There was a muffled shriek as his young companion was also forced into the room.
"When you hear the door close, you can remove the hood." Blair turned his head toward the new voice.
//Okay, that makes three different voices.// Blair thought. He listened for the door to close. When the key turned in the lock he started wriggling in order to get his bound hands in front of him. As soon as his hands were in front he pulled the hood off of his head blinking rapidly trying to adjust to the light. He turned toward Tiffany and helped her to remove the hood over her head.
"Keep your eyes closed." He warned her as he slipped it off. She let her eyes adjust and looked around.
"Where are we?" She asked.
"Don't know." He shrugged and started untying her hands. She looked at his hands and frowned when she spotted the handcuffs.
"Doesn't look like it's going to be as easy to get out as it was last time." She looked up at him.
He smiled ruefully, "You wouldn't happen to have a lock pick on you."
She shook her head. "Nope, left it in my other jacket." She looked around the room; suddenly she turned and looked at Blair. "You don't think...?" Her voice trailed off.
Blair closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I hope not." He looked at her. "We can't be that unlucky."
She grinned. "Well, we have been kidnapped again."
"You have a point." He chuckled.
"But what are the odds that the same guy would come after us again? They must be astronomical." She said hopefully.
"I don't think you want to know." Blair said, remembering Kincaid. He started checking the walls and testing the bars on the small window. "Damn," he muttered to himself when they wouldn't budge. It had been a slim hope. "Looks we are stuck and all we can do now is wait and see."
"I don't know if my dad can handle this again." She whispered. Blair put his cuffed hands around her and held her close.
"Your dad is a really strong person." He reassured her. "Remember he won't be alone; he will have Jim and Simon with him." He gently rubbed her narrow back.
"They will find us, right?" She pulled back and looked up at him. A puzzled look appeared on her face. "How? We don't even know where we are."
"They're detectives. They will get here in time." Blair said avoiding her eyes. He knew that she was a very perceptive young woman, and he didn't want to say anything by accident about Jim's abilities.
She raised an eyebrow. "I sure hope you're right."
//Me too.// Blair thought to himself. The young Shaman took a deep breath and tried to center himself enough to be able to reach out and test the link between himself and his Sentinel.
Jim pulled up in front of Ace Dry Cleaners, where Joel was interviewing the owner about a string of robberies in the neighborhood. The detective listened for a moment. "He's in there." Jim said looking at his stressed Captain.
Simon took a deep breath. "No use putting it off. The sooner we tell him the sooner..." The big captain stopped mid sentence when he saw Jim stiffen and turn. "...what is it?"
Jim stood still for a moment looking off into the distance. "We need to get Joel now! We're running out of time." The two men rushed in to the business interrupting the interview.
"Detective Taggert." Simon said as they entered. Joel felt a shaft of fear seeing both the Captain of Major Crimes and the unit's best detective burst in on a routine interview.
"What's wrong?" Joel asked, the tension evident in his voice.
Simon looked at Jim and back to Joel. "There's been a kidnapping at the University. They took Tiffany and Blair." Jim moved quickly to support the big detective. When it appeared his knees where about to buckle.
Joel waved him off. "I'm okay." They watched as he pulled himself together. He closed his eyes for a second. "Do we know who?"
"Not yet." Jim paused.
Joel looked at him knowingly. "You think you know, don't you?"
Jim looked at his fellow detective and sighed. "Yeah, Joel, I have a pretty good idea who's behind it. I think its Lisky."
Joel rubbed his hands over his face. "Damn, I was afraid that." The trio headed out to the truck. As soon as they climbed inside Simon's cell phone rang. Both detectives listened in on the conversation.
"Banks, here." There was a pause. "Oh, shit." Jim tuned in to the other side of the conversation.
"...he had a new pen pal." Jim could hear Rafe on the other end of the line. "...Veronica Serris. She escaped two days ago from Conover." Jim stared at Simon in disbelief.
"Get on the phone and find out why we weren't notified about her escape. Get a copy of all correspondence between the two." Simon disconnected abruptly. He focused on Joel knowing that Jim had probably heard everything. "Charles Lisky escaped an hour ago, he killed a guard. He has been in contact with Veronica Serris."
Joel whispered, "The Switchman."
Simon nodded and continued. "Yeah, she escaped a few days ago."
"How the hell are we going to find them?" Joel asked with despair.
"We'll find them." Simon patted Joel on the shoulder. "Jim..." He turned and saw that the detective was standing absolutely still looking off into the distance. "...man not now." He muttered under his breath. Simon reached out and shook the big detective. "Snap out of it Jim. We need you to find the kids."
Jim whipped around. "Follow me, I think I know where they might be." Jim had been trying to access memories from the last run-in they had had with the Switchman. Trying to figure out where Blair and Tiffany had been taken. He turned and rushed to his truck.
Joel just looked a Simon. "How does he do that?"
Simon shrugged. "Let's go or he will leave without us." They climbed into the truck and headed out. Taggert was confused but he knew that Jim was his best bet for finding his little girl, he didn't care how he did it.
Jim was following his instincts. He knew there were numerous places the kidnappers could be holed up but he had gotten a glimpse of the panther taking off in one direction and could feel the sense of unease increasing rapidly. Simon watched as the needle on the speedometer increased.
"Jim, slow down. We can't find them if we crash." He put his hand on the detective's shoulder. "The kid is going to be okay." Jim nodded with out taking his eyes off of the road.
"I know Simon. I just have the feeling that we are running out of time."
Blair and Tiffany heard the voices arguing in the hallway outside the door.
"I'm sorry, I can't let you in there. The boss said that he wanted them alive and well when he got here."
"Come on, Bobby, I only want to play with one of them."
The two prisoners were surprised to hear a woman's voice.
"But the boss said no visitors."
"Trust me, he won't care if I play for a little while with one of his toys." She wheedled.
"What are you going to do to him?" The man asked. Blair tensed knowing he would soon be a target. But he was grateful that for the moment Tiffany would be safe. The door started to open.
"I'm going to try out one of my new toys." They watched the woman walk into the room. Both captives' eyes were drawn to the weapon in her hand. Blair pulled his eyes away and looked at her face. His eyes widened as he recognized the woman. Her face was more drawn and there were more lines on her face, but he would never forget the face of the Switchman.
"Veronica Serris." Blair blurted out.
"Well, well, the little hippie remembers me. I feel so honored." She laughed.
"Don't be. I make it a point to remember the psychos in my life." Blair sneered. The woman's eyes narrowed as she walked closer to him. The big man in the doorway kept his gun trained on the prisoners.
"Move over to the other side of the room, little girl." She gestured at Tiffany. The young woman's five foot two narrow frame stiffened in protest.
Blair motioned for her to do as she was told. He was worried that the feisty teenager would draw the ire of the other woman if she refused. "I'll be all right, I promise." He whispered, gently pushing her to the other side of the room. Watching as the guard at the door tracked her with the gun. //Like I would do anything to risk her life.// Blair thought. "So, are you just going to stand there or are we going to get this over with." His calm delivery seemed to enrage his captor, her face flushed with anger just before she backhanded him. His head slammed back into the wall. He raised his bound hands to the side of his mouth and wiped away the blood from the split in his lip. "Looks like you've been working out in the loony bin." He knew he was taking a big chance but he knew that as long as she was fixated on him, his young friend would be safe. He hoped the guard would be able to stop her before she went too far.
Serris pulled out a taser. Blair paled but held still. Tiffany saw the woman rest the weapon against Blair's arm. She started to move towards them. "No, stay over there, Tiffany." He ordered. She stopped in her tracks. The young woman watched helplessly as the woman pushed the button. His body jumped as the jolt of electricity went through him. Conducted from wrist to wrist through the metal of the handcuffs.
Blair fell to his knees barely conscious. The pain in his wrists and arms was intense. As he tried to catch his breath, he now understood why tasers worked so well. Every muscle felt as if it were trying to move independently of the others. Serris moved to zap him again but stopped when she heard the voice of her new partner.
"I thought I said no playing with the prisoners." An angry voice said from the doorway.
"Aw, sweetheart, I didn't think you meant me." She stood and moved to the familiar voice. It was Blair and Tiffany's nightmares come true. Lisky had escaped. When she reached her partner she pulled him into a passionate kiss, wrapping her arms around him.
Blair shook his head. //Great, just what we needed, the couple from hell. // Tiffany took advantage of the distraction and moved back to her friend.
"You okay?" She whispered when she drew close.
"Yeah." Blair said, still taking shallow breaths. She put her arms around him, and felt the spasms still running through his body. They watched the pair at the door. Lisky roughly pushed Veronica away.
"You messed up, Baby." He smiled at her. "Now I'm going to have to punish you."
Blair shuddered at the look of fear and anticipation clearly visible on her face. Lisky pulled her out of the room and the door was slammed shut. They could both hear the lock engage.
"Damn, I was hoping they would forget to lock the door." Blair sighed and looked at Tiffany. "Yeah, I know it was a real long shot."
"Do you think my dad and Jim will get here before those two come back?" Blair responded to the fear he could hear in the young woman's voice.
"They'll get here as soon as they can. I know they are already looking." Blair said settling back against the wall. "Come here." He raised his arms enough for her to slip in between to rest against his chest. She slowly relaxed. They quietly talked about school, family and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Anything but the predicament they were in.
Simon was closely watching his detective, praying Jim wouldn't zone out as he drove. He became very concerned when Jim turned pale and his hands tightened on the steering wheel.
"What is it, Jim?" Simon asked quietly. At first there was no response. "Jim, answer me." The detective turned to look at his Captain. Simon almost flinched back from the haunted look in his friend's eyes. Jim took a deep breath.
"I'm okay, just stressed."
"Try to stay with us okay?" Simon wasn't appeased but knew that this was not the time.
"Yes, sir." Jim answered not prepared to explain about the increasing sense of fear he felt. He didn't want to worry his companions any more than they already were. He knew he was on the right track. He had caught glimpses of the panther with a comforting frequency. Jim almost slammed on the brakes when he spotted the panther race down a side road. The big cat didn't surprise him but the gray wolf running with him did. He pulled onto the side road. Using his enhanced sight he could see the barely discernible tracks in the dirt road. Simon shook his head, he knew that when this was all over, Joel would have a million questions. Simon had noted how careless the pair had become around the former bomb squad captain. In a way he was looking forward to it, having someone to talk to about the Sentinel and Guide. He needed someone to confide in.
Joel sat looking out the side window, silently praying his little girl would be all right. He had the utmost faith that Jim Ellison would do his best.
The truck suddenly swerved. Joel turned to see Ellison staring straight ahead, and Simon frantically trying to get his foot to the brake. Joel held on as Simon brought them to a halt.
"Jim, come on, wake up!" Simon said loudly, shaking the zoned man with no response. "Dammit, Jim this is not the time or place for this little out of mind excursion." He had forgotten about Joel sitting beside him. "How does Sandburg do this?" He muttered to himself.
Joel had been watching and a few of the puzzle pieces fell into place. They had all wondered at first when the longhaired anthropologist began tagging along with Ellison. Over time they still wondered but had ceased to care. There were very few people who didn't like the younger man. Joel remembered all of the times he had seen his friend seem to space out, and how with a touch and a few words from the young observer return to focus.
"Come on Jim, Sandburg and Tiffany need you. It's time to wake up." Simon ordered in a quiet voice.
Jim had been following the faint trail, with only glimpses of his Spirit guide to let him know he was still on the right track. He was pushing his abilities to the limit; the trail at times fading out to a thin trace. Suddenly the trail disappeared completely. Jim knew he was pushing too hard but was unable to keep himself from zoning. He could feel himself begin to gray out. He felt a tug on the link between himself and his guide and tried to follow it. He could hear a voice telling him to wake up but it wasn't his guide. He tried to ignore it. The voice became insistent; he started to focus on it when he heard his guide's name. He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his face. Jim reached up to find the cause of the pain and turned to Simon with a surprised look.
"Dammit, Jim, what the hell happened?" Simon demanded.
"Got lost for a moment, Simon, sorry about that.'
Simon shook his head. "Just let me drive, you can navigate." He ordered and muttered under his breath. "Then maybe we won't wind up wrapped around a tree."
Jim glared at him as he got out of the truck and switched places with the Captain. Simon turned to him. "Okay, which way?"
"To the left." Jim pointed out a barely visible dirt road. He had managed to spot the remnants of tire tracks the wind hadn't managed to blow away. The Sentinel kept his eyes on the trail only speaking if they needed to change direction.
Joel watched in awe. He had never seen anyone track the way Jim could. It was one more piece of the puzzle.
"Stop the truck." Jim said abruptly.
Simon instantly complied. "What is it?"
There's a building ahead of us. I don't think we want to warn them that we're coming." Jim explained.
Joel looked around in confusion. There wasn't a building anywhere in his line of sight. He started to ask what Jim was talking about but he stopped himself. //I don't need to know. // He thought to himself. The three men climbed out of the truck and headed for the building.
Blair had managed to recover from the attack with the taser. He and Tiffany resumed their search of the room looking for anything that might possibly help.
"Looks like they learned from the last time." Blair said disgustedly.
"I know what you mean. No bed to break apart or use as a barricade." Tiffany looked up at the ceiling. "Wait a minute."
She pointed to the ceiling. They looked at each other and grinned.
"Here let me boost you up." Blair told Tiffany. He lifted her to the pipe. She grabbed hold and started to pull.
"Let go for a minute and let me see if my body weight will pull it down." He let go and she started to swing back and forth. "It's starting to loosen." She whispered.
"Okay, I'm going to pull down on your legs, so hang on tight." He wrapped his arms around her legs and gave a gentle tug, making sure he would be able to catch her if she fell. The pipe began to bend under her weight. Suddenly it pulled loose from its bracket and the other ends of the pipe. Tiffany dropped into Blair's arms still holding their new weapon. She handed him the pipe, and stood checking her hands.
"Well, there goes the manicure." She said laughing as she turned her hands so he could see. He laughed when he saw the short practical nails. He sat the pipe on the floor.
"You poor thing, I can see the toll this ordeal has taken on your poor hands." He took her hands in his and kissed her fingers. Tiffany started to giggle. Both were enjoying the moment, forgetting their precarious situation. Neither heard the door open.
"Well, well, well don't you two look like you're having fun." Said a sarcastic voice from the doorway.
Blair moved quickly to put Tiffany behind him. Keeping the pipe out of sight. He could feel his heartbeat increase as Lisky and Serris watched from the entryway.
"Can I play with him now?" Serris begged. "I owe him one."
"Yes, you can play, but I want him to stay conscious." Lisky warned. "I want him to be able to tell his buddy Ellison what I want." Lisky warned.
Veronica walked into the room, with an evil smile on her face, the taser in her hand. Lisky leaned against the wall getting ready to enjoy the show. Tiffany moved back, inching her way to the metal pipe laying along the wall.
Blair felt his muscles with the memory of the pain from their last session. As Serris advanced, he moved away from her until he found himself with his back to the wall. He glanced towards Tiffany noting that she had reached the pipe on the floor. He quickly looked away to keep their captors attention away from the young woman.
Veronica reached over and started to caress Blair's face. When he flinched away from her she pulled her hand back and swung hard catching him across the face. Blair felt the pain as she hit him and was unable to stop his head from rebounding off of the wall behind him. He was trying to bring his eyes back into focus when he felt the taser press against his chest. Serris laughed at the uncontrollable flinch from the younger man.
Tiffany watched in horror as the woman hit Blair. She reacted quickly when she saw the taser touch her friend. The young woman reached down and grabbed the pipe and with a blood-curdling scream, rushed at Serris using the pipe like a baseball bat. She hit the older woman upside her head knocking her to her knees stunned.
Lisky watched in disbelief. His accomplice was out for the count...taken out by a young woman that he had dismissed as a threat. Blair took the pipe from Tiffany's hand and advanced on Lisky while the kidnapper was distracted. The young Guide could feel that his Sentinel was close.
"I don't think so." Lisky stated as he raised his gun aiming at the young man.
Simon put his head on Jim's shoulder as they crouched behind a section of shrubbery a short distance from the building. The Sentinel's head was at a familiar tilt, listening for the locations of the building occupants. Jim could hear the plans of the kidnappers. He suddenly pulled back and looked at Simon and Joel.
"Damn, we have to hurry." Jim said as he started to stand.
"What's going on?" Simon asked forgetting about Joel's presence again.
Jim distractedly answered as he started to move. "Lisky is in the room with them as well as Serris."
Joel knew that the detective worry meter would be on overload, since his young partner was one of the reasons the Switchman had been caught. "Okay, Jim, we can do this." Joel reassured him. "We just need to be careful going in. We don't know if she's had time to booby trap the building." Both Simon and Joel could see the sudden tension in the big detective. Jim turned to look at his companions.
"If we don't get in there now it won't matter." Jim had heard Veronica's plea to play with her victim. The three men carefully but quickly entered the building. Jim took out one guard before the two men behind him even realized he was there. Simon looked at Joel and shrugged. Jim pointed out a tripwire to Joel who quickly defused the trap.
They were starting down the hall when they heard a loud female scream. They could all hear the rage behind it. Joel barely recognized his daughter's voice. The three men broke into a run. Jim kept his hearing focused on the room trying to map out were the heartbeats were in relation to the door. He heard metal strike flesh and someone collapse. He heard his partner whisper, "Good work, Tif." Two heartbeats remained in the same place. The one he was most familiar with was drawing closer to the door.
"I don't think so." Jim heard through the door.
Blair halted. "Shooting you will be a pleasure." Lisky said with a sneer. "I have the girl to use for my demands. You are going to be my example." He started to pull the trigger when he heard a growl behind him. Lisky turned, finger tightening reflexively on the trigger. The bullet grazed the younger man's arm.
Jim grabbed Lisky's arm and with out realizing it broke the kidnapper's forearm. He swung Lisky around and punched the felon directly in the face. The combination of extreme pain from his arm and the fist plowing into his face drove Lisky to the ground. Jim continued pounding the man, his mind over taken with rage.
"Jim!" Blair stated as he watched his partner trying to turn Lisky into a puddle of broken pieces. "Jim, I need your help." The big man turned, dropping Lisky to the ground. He moved to his partner and started checking his partner's injuries.
Joel and Simon had pushed past while Ellison was occupied. Joel gathered his daughter in his arms while Simon cuffed the kidnappers. The Captain then sat back and watched the reunions. Jim was fussing like a mother hen. //No, what was it the Kid called him. Oh, yeah, like a Blessed Protector.// Simon listened in.
"You okay, Chief?" Jim asked running his hands lightly over the younger man's bruises, checking for any breaks. "How many fingers do you see?" He asked holding up three fingers.
"Six." A worried look flashed across Jim's face. Blair chuckled. "No, man, it's okay. I only see three, kind of fuzzy. But I swear I'm going to be fine."
"I know you'll be fine. I asked how you feel now?" Jim asked starting to lose the overwhelming worry.
"Honestly, I feel like crap, but I don't need a hospital."
"Come on Chief, you're going to need stitches for the arm."
"My what?" Blair looked at his arm and blanched at the sight of his own blood. "You know you'd think I would be used to this by now." He gave weak laugh. "Okay, we can go to the hospital, but there's no way I'm staying over night."
"Deal." Jim said knowing that unless his partner was half dead he would fight being hospitalized. They looked over to Joel and Tiffany. Tears of relief covered Joel's face, all of the worry and stress that had been held in for the past hours spilling over at the sight of his daughter. Jim looked back at Blair. "Chief, we're going to have to fill Joel in, on everything."
Blair gave his partner a startled look. "What?"
Jim shrugged. "I used my senses openly in front of him while we were looking for you guys. He saw more than we can logically explain."
"You okay with this?" Blair asked.
Jim nodded. "We knew it would only be a matter of time before someone put things together. I have a feeling that Simon won't mind having someone to back him up concerning the two of us."
Joel, Tiffany and Simon joined them. "You okay, Blair?" Joel asked crouching down beside his young friend.
"Yeah, thanks to Tiffany." He smiled at the young woman. Jim distracted the young woman when Blair nodded. The younger man looked at Joel seeing the questions in the big man's eyes. "Have we got a story for you when we get home." Blair said patting Joel on the arm as he was pulled to his feet.
They all walked out of the building after the back-up arrived. All five turning their faces to the setting sun, grateful to be able to see the end of the day together.