Disclaimer: Still don't belong to me (Oh, darn). This was written for challenge #10 on Suzie's Challenge Page. This story takes place several months after "Guiding Silence"

WARNING: Contains spoilers for Reunion. As always, comments are welcome.

By Trish

"You are going to lose big time." Blair laughed.

"I don't think so, Chief." Jim shook his head, fighting his own laughter. "Remember you said I could use my Sentinel abilities. You don't have a chance."

"Doesn't matter. I'm going to beat you and Simon together." Blair boasted.

"No, you won't."

"Yes, I will," came a swift retort.

There was a long-suffering sigh from the driver's side of the truck. "Do I have to sit between the two of you in order to get some peace and quiet?"

The two men looked at each other and started to chuckle.

"Sorry, Simon."

"Yeah, sorry, Simon." Blair laughingly apologized. He leaned toward the Captain and whispered. "He started it, and you know how he gets."

"Did not." Came a loud whisper from the other side of the truck cab.

"Did, too." Blair retorted, gently elbowing his partner's ribs. Simon fought the rising tide of laughter. It was going to be a long weekend with the comedy team of Ellison and Sandburg.

Blair was glad to see the smile creeping across the big man's face. He turned and looked at his partner with a smile. //Told you we could do it.// He mentally told his partner, using the link that had developed between them. Jim nodded. They had been working diligently for the past hour to make Simon smile, trying to break through the wall of depression that had been building since he found out that Daryl wouldn't be able to join them on their camping trip. They could both feel the lightening of the atmosphere inside the truck.

As they took the turn off, Jim held the map up in front of Blair's face. "See, Chief, this is the turn off. See how it's marked?" Jim said helpfully as his partner glared.

"One little mistake, a little creative navigating, and you'll never let me hear the end of it."

"Nope." Jim said smugly. "Forty miles of creative navigating. How could I possibly forget?"

"Just you wait, one of these days when you least expect it..." Blair warned, laughter in his voice. He settled back against the seat. Silence reigned for a short while, but before long Blair was expounding on Native American hunting rituals.

They arrived at the campsite by the river without incident. The three showed their expertise with camping by how quickly the campsite was set up. Within an hour they had their lines in the water hoping for fresh trout for dinner.

Simon walked to the ice-chest to grab a beer before returning to his line. He stood watching the pair sitting on the riverbank. It was a partnership that had brought out the best in both men. He didn't know when they had become such a big part of his life. This unlikely duo, the hippie and the lone wolf cop, had snuck in and become part of the big captain's family.

Before the sun had begun to set, the three men had caught enough fish for a sizable dinner. Blair volunteered to cook while the other two foraged for firewood for the rest of the weekend. While they searched for wood, Blair efficiently cleaned the fish, preparing it for the pan. The younger man had been looking forward to this camping trip for weeks. He knew a little rest and relaxation was in order. The past couple of months had been stressful. He had dinner in the pan and halfway cooked when the other two returned dragging a load of wood in Jim's shirt.

"The mighty hunters have returned." Blair said laughingly as they entered the camp area.

"Very funny, Sandburg." Simon retorted. "Next time you get to go get the wood."

"But then you'd have to eat Jim's cooking." Blair laughed at the look of horror that crossed the two men's faces. The big detective walked over to the fire and took an appreciative sniff.

"Smells good, Chief. Is it about done?" Jim asked hopefully, mouth watering from the wonderful smells.

"You've got enough time to get cleaned up." Blair said pointedly. Motioning in the direction of the river. The two men quickly washed up and returned to the campsite appetites ready.

Blair dished up the pan-fried trout along with the biscuits and corn he had baked in the coals. The two big men ate as if they hadn't eaten for days. Blair thought as he ate, realizing that this was the first meal the three of them had sat down for in days. The past week had been so hectic a quick bite to eat on the run had been the order of the day.

"Good cooking, Sandburg." Simon said swallowing a mouth full. He looked over at Jim. "Does he always cook like this?" He asked gesturing towards his plate.

Jim nodded. "Yeah, why else do you think I eat some of the weird foods he brings home."

"You only think its weird if it isn't meat and potatoes and swimming in grease."

"Very funny, Chief, at least I don't eat bugs."

"One lousy comment about grubs." Blair muttered under his breath, before elbowing his partner's ribs. Jim pushed back. Blair pushed harder. Simon watched the shoving match with amusement. They reminded him of a pair of big kids. The shoving match escalated until Blair fell off the log and landed on his butt in the dirt.

"When you least expect it..." The warning might have been more effective if the younger man hadn't been laughing so hard.

They cleaned up the site and decided to hit the sack in order to be ready for a full day of competition fishing. Simon fell asleep listening to their continuing banter.


Simon was awakened by the increased light within his tent. The big man stretched as he lay in his sleeping bag, reaching his arms over his head. He was surprised when he caught a glimpse of the time. {I can't believe they let me sleep this late.} As the big man dressed he tried to listen for his two companions. He wasn't too concerned when he didn't hear anything, deciding they were probably already fishing. {Hope they left me something to eat.}

He stepped out of the tent he looked over to the fire ring. As far as he could tell the last fire had been last nights. The charred pieces of wood were still wet. Simon was beginning to feel uneasy. He searched the campsite, checking their tent and the immediate area. Nothing had been disturbed. It was as if they had disappeared into thin air.


Blair fought to open his eyes trying to get past the extreme pain pounding through his skull. The dim light in the room was almost too bright. He shifted his body slightly, and cried out in pain. It felt as if he had been beaten with a club. He lay still trying to adjust to the pain. {Man, I wish I had dials, like Jim.} The younger man turned his head carefully looking for his partner. What he saw completely distracted him from his own pain.

Jim was curled into a tight fetal position, eyes tightly closed, hands over his ears. Blair pushed himself off of his cot. He knelt beside Jim's cot and gently began stroking his partner's head trying to avoid the many bruises. He tried to contact the big detective through their mental link but ran against a wall. He began to whisper.

"Jim, it's going to be okay. Just listen to my voice, tune everything else out. Dial down the pain." He watched the tension begin to ease. "That's it, big guy, just focus on my voice."


//Yeah, buddy, I'm here.// Blair responded. Jim started to open his eyes. //Keep your eyes closed for a little while longer.//

//What the hell happened?//

//Let me take a wild guess. Drugged, kidnapped, beaten, sound familiar?//

Jim gave an involuntary snort of laughter, and immediately reacted to the pain.

//Sorry, Jim, dial it down.// He felt the big detective begin to relax again. //I want you to try opening your eyes, but keep them dialed down until I tell you to turn it up.//

Jim struggled to open his eyes. He almost panicked when he couldn't see anything in the room until he remembered that his sight had been dialed down to zero. Blair felt the momentary spurt of fear and sent mental reassurances. //Okay, start turning it up gradually.// Jim slowly increased the level until he could clearly see his worried guide.


"I don't know, he's not here with us." Blair answered as Jim looked around the small room. The Sentinel opened up his hearing trying to locate their missing captain. He heard the unmistakable sound of a camera, piggybacking sight to hearing he quickly located the hidden camera.

"You look as bad as I feel, Chief." //Be careful, we are being watched and I can't tell if they're listening.//

"I'll live."

"You have any idea where we are?" Jim asked as he glanced around the small concrete room.

"Not a clue, I just woke up a little before you did." Blair continued to monitor his partner. "As far as I know everyone we've pissed off lately in still in jail or public office."

//I can't sense him anywhere. Can you?//

//I don' know, I've never tried to mind talk with any one but you. I'm not sure if I can.//

//I know you can.// Jim reassured his partner as he struggled to sit up. He pulled the younger man up onto the cot. He held his guide in front of him leaning against his chest. With the connection set between them they were ready to cast out searching for Simon when Jim heard footsteps outside the door. He focused his hearing on the kidnappers.

"What do you intend to do with them?" the voice asked angrily.

"I'm going to use them to make Simon Banks regret what he did to me. I'm going to make him pay." The second voice answered. Jim knew he had heard the voice before but he couldn't place it.

"How do you know he'll do what you want?"

"Trust me, Dwight. I know what I'm doing. I've been studying Simon Banks' weaknesses for a while. The best would have been his kid. But these two will do, they are almost as close. All we have to do is wait for Banks to find the clues I left for him."

"I hope you're right, Becker." Dwight said as the two walked away.

"I'm always right."

//Oh, shit.// Jim thought.

//What is it?// Blair sat up.

//Remember the last time we were in this area?// Blair nodded. //Well it looks like our neighborhood dirty sheriff has escaped from jail.// Blair closed his eyes.

//You know, I honestly wish we could go on a trip without something dramatic and life-threatening happening.// The younger man took a deep breath centering himself. He leaned back against his partner and started searching for Simon.

As Blair was about to give up, fearing the worst he brushed against the Captain's mind.



//What if he can't hear me?//

//Don't worry, Chief, he will, might think he's nuts, but he will hear us.//

Blair took a deep breath and mentally shouted at Simon.


Simon had been searching in an ever-widening circular pattern. Looking for any sign of foul play. For a second he felt as if Sandburg were standing behind him. The feeling was so strong he turned around to look. {You're starting to lose it, Banks.} He thought to himself. As he grew more and more worried.

"Where are you guys!" He shouted in frustration.

//Right here, Simon.// He whirled around but saw nothing. {I'm going nuts.}

//You were right, Jim, He can hear me.//

Simon stood stock-still trying to come to terms with what was going on. "Don't tell me...ESP, right?"

//Okay, I won't tell you.//

"Wonderful. Just once I'd like to learn about any new abilities you have before we're in the middle of a crisis." He paused in the middle of his rant. "This is a crisis, isn't it?"

//But, of course, what kind of a camping trip would it be without it?//

"What happened? Where are you?" Simon asked.

//We don't know where we are.// Blair sent. //Remember your old friend Becker?//

"Oh, shit."

//That's an understatement.// Simon could feel the mental laughter from the young observer. //It looks like we are safe for now. Becker left clues for you to find.//

"As soon as you get an idea where you are..."

//You got it, Captain. I will let you know. By the way, you don't need to speak out loud for me to hear you. Talk to you later.//

Simon had never felt so alone as he did when his young friend's presence left his mind. {Okay, Banks, start looking for the clues the kid was talking about.} While he searched, he reflected on what had taken place. {They must be able to talk like that all the time.} He shook his head, slightly envious of the closeness between the pair. He continued walking in a circular pattern until he found a plastic bag with a scrap of bloody cloth and a note. Simon recognized the cloth as being part of the shirt Sandburg had worn the night before. The note read:

If you want them back, you will have to play the game. Keep
searching for the rules.

Simon threw the note to the ground. He forced himself to stay still until he had himself under control. Reminding himself that he had the advantage, he knew who his adversary was. He pulled out his cell phone and tried to call for assistance. "Damn." He exclaimed when he realized he would have to climb out of the valley for the signal reach anything. Simon searched the area looking for further clues before leaving the area. Twenty yards away he found another plastic bag. This one contained a piece from Ellison's shirt and a list of numbers. It took a few minutes for Simon to see the pattern. "Great! Now I need to find the map these coordinates go to." He muttered under his breath.

As he searched, he flashed back on the last time he had seen Sheriff Dave Becker. It had been at Becker's trial for the murder of Peggy Anderson and the attempted murder of one Simon Banks. The hatred had been evident on the dirty cop's face. The rage had grown as The Major Crimes captain had testified against him. Simon remembered what Becker shouted as he was dragged out of the courtroom after the verdict of guilty had been read.

"Banks, you will pay." The convicted man shouted. "I will find a way to destroy you!" Becker's face was twisted with rage.

Simon shook off the memory and concentrated on the task at hand. He knew Becker was playing a game and had no intention of letting him find his friends no matter how many clues he found. His best bet was to continue to search while waiting for Blair to contact him again.


"You okay, buddy?" Jim asked as the younger man shifted in his arms. Blair looked up at his partner.

"Yeah, I'm okay." Blair answered. //I just wish it didn't wear me out so much reaching out to others.//

//I know, Chief, but it does look like the time it takes for you to recharge is getting shorter. It only took ten minutes this time. //

Jim tilted his head as he heard the sound of footsteps outside the door. His arm tightened around his partner as the door swung open.

"My, my, isn't this cozy." Becker said from the doorway.

"What do you want?" Jim asked angrily.

"Just wanted to let you know that you have eight hours before the first one dies, unless good ole Captain Banks shows up to save the day." He leaned into the light and grinned. "But I wouldn't count on it, he's going to be chasing his tail for days." Becker looked closely at the two men sitting on the cot. "I was going to tell you to make the most of the few hours you have left. But it looks like you've gotten a headstart."

Blair could feel the tension building in his partner. //Stay calm, don't give him an excuse.// Jim took a deep breath, slowly releasing it as Becker left the room laughing.

"That was close." Blair looked closely at his partner, seeing the jaw muscles clenching, he placed his hand on Jim's arm and asked. "What is it?"

" They're laughing about what they are going to do to Simon after he finds our bodies." He focused on his injured partner. //I think it's time to contact Simon again." Blair took a deep breath and nodded. He settled back against his partner, drawing on the big man's strength as he began to cast out for their friend.


Simon had widened his search when he felt the first tendrils of thought Blair cast out. He breathed a sigh of relief with the proof that they were still alive.

//Hey, Simon, how's it going?// Blair asked when he made full contact.

//Frustrating. The clues he left don't make any sense. They are random map coordinates.// He pictured a mental image of the notes he had found.

//Don't worry about it, Simon. The notes are just hoops for you to jump through. They won't lead you anywhere.//

//What are you talking about?//

//Becker doesn't have any intention of letting us go. He's already planning the next stage of his perverse game. We just won't play.//

//So, now what?//

//We need to do a little test.//

//What kind of test?//

//I need you to do another search circle. I'm going to stay in contact with you. I want to see if you can tell if you are moving closer or further away.//

//You got it, kid.// Simon started pacing his search pattern happy to be doing something to help his friends. He listened to the stream of mental chatter the younger man was sending. He came to a halt when the volume began to dim; he turned back the way he came. He worked his way to the strongest point in the circle. //Looks like this is it.//

//Great, just follow in a straight line. But be careful, Jim says they will be watching for you. I'll contact you as soon as possible.// He withdrew from the Captain's mind. Simon thought he heard Jim telling Blair it was time to come back.


Blair opened his eyes and looked up at his partner. "He's on his way."

"Okay, Chief, now rest." Jim quietly ordered, The younger man slipped into unconsciousness knowing that Jim would protect him. The older man listened in on their kidnappers.

"Becker, you sure about this? I mean killing cops is pretty drastic." Jim heard the sound of a fist hitting soft flesh.

"You questioning me, Bobby?"

"No, man." Bobby gasped obviously winded by the blow. "When you gonna do 'em?"

Becker laughed. " I think and hour before the deadline would be good that way the bodies will still be warm. What do you think, Bobby?"

"Anything you say, Becker." Jim heard Bobby mutter under his breath. "It's always whatever you say." There was an angry bitterness to the muttering.

Jim hoped he would be able to use what he had overheard. He concentrated his energy on his young partner.

Blair always felt as if he were swimming up from the depths when he tried to awaken after using his abilities. He knew he would be called on to use them again soon. The younger man was just grateful it didn't drain him like this to communicate with his partner. Their mental communication had become second nature and having the ability was his greatest source of comfort. Entire conversations could take place before either man remembered they weren't speaking aloud. They tried to be careful around others. Until the kidnapping they hadn't even told Simon about Blair's ability to contact people other than Jim. They had reasoned that their friend had enough weird stuff going on concerning the two to them that Blair didn't want the big man to feel uncomfortable around him.

Jim had felt Blair's return to consciousness and the swirl of thoughts going through his head. //Don't worry, Chief. He will accept this, too.// Jim reassured his young guide.

//I'm going to check and see if Simon is on the right track.//

//Don't you think you should wait a little while?// Jim thought worriedly.

//It's okay, big guy. I'm just going to reach out to see if he has gotten closer. I'll only stick around if he is going the wrong way.// With that he sent his thoughts out. He could feel his partner's supporting him with his thoughts and energy. In a fraction of the time it had taken before, Blair contacted Simon. //Hey, Simon. It feels like you're a lot closer. Can you see any buildings yet?//

//Not yet.//

//I want to try something new.// Simon could hear Jim growl, //Sandburg.// in his mind.

//I take it Jim doesn't think this is a very good idea?// Simon asked.

There was a sheepish feel to the younger mans next words. //Nope, but I think it's worth a shot.//

//Okay, Sandburg, but if Jim tells you to pull back, you pull back, is that understood?//

//Yes sir.// Came the quick response.

//Smart ass.// Simon thought to himself.

//I heard that.// There was a hint of laughter in his thoughts. He sent the mental image of a rope. //Follow the rope, Simon, I will hold it out as long as I can.//

//Okay kid, I'm on my way.// Simon moved faster using the image to guide him. The closer he came the thicker the rope appeared. He soon could see a building in the distance. The image of the rope began to shake.

//Sorry, Simon, I have to let go now. Be careful.// Blair said exhaustion coloring his thoughts.

//It's okay kid, you rest I have the building in sight.// The link suddenly broke. Simon was worried about the young observer, but knew that as long as Ellison was at the young man's side, Blair would be fine.


Jim could feel the toll holding the link with Simon was taking on his partner. He pushed as much of his own energy as was possible to help hold the link open.

//Come on, Chief, you need to let go.// He warned the younger man.

//Just a little while linger, he's almost here.//

Jim did a quick check of the younger man's vital signs. Everything was growing weaker. //Sorry, but you have to end it now!// Blair nodded and said a quick farewell to the Captain, seconds before collapsing against his partner. Ignoring the camera in the ceiling, Jim held his partner close.


Simon crept closer to the building as he waited to be contacted again. His former military and police training were being pushed to their limits as he detected the traps between himself and the building. {Man, you'd think they were protecting Fort Knox.} He stilled, laying as flat to the ground as possible when the door at the front of the building opened and the man he had hoped would be locked away for many years stepped into the light. "You will pay for this, Becker." Simon said under his breath. "If it's the last thing I do, you will pay." He had felt the pain the young observer had unknowingly sent along their link. The gruff Captain had grown very fond of the pair over the past few years and considered them part of his family. And no one messed with Simon Banks' family.

He watched as Becker lit a cigarette, taking note of the path the escaped felon walked. Becker looked toward the building as someone from the inside yelled out his name. He dropped the cigarette butt in the dirt and ground it out with his heel before reentering the building. Simon looked at his watch; he had three hours before Becker's deadline.

The big Captain carefully crawled staying out of sight of the one window overlooking the approach. This was one of the many times during this day that he wished he had Ellison's abilities. He would have liked to be able to hear what was going on inside the building. Simon watched for any signs of movement within. "Jim, if you can hear me, please give me a sign."

//Hey Simon, You there?// the big man almost jumped when the question shouted in his mind.

//Yeah, kid, I'm here. Turn down the volume.// Simon sent with a mental wince.

//Sorry, Captain, didn't mean to shout.//

//I need you guys to provide a distraction. I'm only twenty yards from the east side of the building. You need to get Becker and his goons focused on you rather that the outside.//

//Okay Captain, give us ten...// there was a brief pause. //...make that fifteen minutes before you start moving in. We will be ready.//

//Okay, fifteen minutes.// Simon got as close as he could and made himself comfortable as he waited for their signal.


Jim and Blair put the next stage of the plan in motion. The younger man collapsed on the cot and his body began to spasm. Jim tried to hold his partner still, when it didn't seem to work he moved to the door and started pounding and shouting for help.

"Damn it, I know you can hear me. We need help in here!" Jim continued to pound on the door listening for a response. He was rewarded when he heard the sound of footsteps in the hallway.

"Shut up in there." A voice shouted from the other side of the door.

"If he doesn't get some help, he's going to die!" Desperation clear in his voice.

"Becker!" The voice Jim recognized as Bobby yelled. "Damn, I bet he can't hear me. Slick, you go and get Becker. I'm gonna let him decide whether the little hippie lives or dies." The second set of footprints hurried away. Jim worried about the toll the muscle spasms were having on his partner. A couple of minutes before he heard the sound of returning footsteps. He focused his hearing, making sure all of the people involved were outside the door. He gave Blair the signal.

//Now, Simon.// Blair sent.

"What's your problem, Ellison?"

"My partner's dying. He needs medical attention."

"Oh, I'm sorry, didn't you get the memo? The two of you won't ever see the outside of that room." Becker laughed.

Jim started slamming his body against the door, enraged by the laughter on the other side.


Simon crawled toward the building keeping low just in case someone suddenly looked out. He followed the trail to the door. He stood and leaned against the building taking a deep breath before carefully opening the door. He stayed close to the wall as he moved down the hallway. As he reached the corner, he could hear laughter and a repetitive thudding sound.

"Jim, I'm inside and getting closer to your position."

The detective heard the whisper through the noise, the mental link between himself and his guide keeping him from zoning.

//Simon is almost here, Chief.// Jim told his partner. //Relax now, rest.//

Blair stopped forcing the tremors, and began to relax his muscles as Jim renewed his slamming of the door.

"You are going to pay, Becker. You killed him. You killed my partner." Jim could hear the nervous laughter on the other side of the door. Just the thought that if this didn't work Blair would definitely be killed pushed the Sentinel to even greater heights. He slammed harder and harder into the door dialing down the pain. The men on the other side of the door watched in disbelief at the door. It had begun to bow out with every blow.

Simon rounded the corner as Jim burst through the door. The big detective's momentum threw him into the shorter of Becker's henchmen. The force tossed the stocky man into the wall on the other side of the hallway with Ellison close behind. Both men landed dazed on the floor. The second of the Becker's helper's turned to run. He found himself face to face with the biggest, angriest black man he had ever seen. Before he could stop, he ran into the Captain's waiting fist. He crumpled to the ground unconscious with a fractured jaw.

During the short altercation, Becker pulled his gun and with his back to the now shattered door he waited until he had the two police officers full attention. He motioned to Simon to move over to where his detective was struggling to stand.

"Move it, Banks, I don't have all day." Becker ordered.

"Why did you do this, Becker?" Simon asked. "If you wanted revenge, why didn't you just come after me?"

"That would have been too easy. I wanted to make you suffer first. To take away your friends before killing you." Becker explained. "You ruined my life and it was my turn to ruin yours." He aimed the gun at Jim. "This is even better. You get to watch him die." Jim could see the tension in Becker's trigger finger and both men could see the resolve in the former sheriff's eyes. They braced themselves for the inevitable.

Simon looked on in shock a Becker crumpled to the ground. Blair stood behind the felled convict with a wooden bed slat. The men outside the room had been so focused on the confrontation in the hallway they hadn't heard the younger man moving around.

Simon moved quickly to handcuff the escaped criminal. Jim rushed past Becker and his Captain just in time to prevent his guide from hitting the floor. Blair looked up at his partner.

"I don't feel so good, Jim." The younger man said before collapsing unconscious in his partner's arms.

Simon looked up. "Is the kid okay?" he asked with concern.

Jim looked down worried look on his face. "He was beaten pretty bad and keeping contact open with you took a lot more strength than he had to spare."

Simon watched as the big detective held his partner close, selflessly transferring energy that he himself didn't have to give. In the Captain's opinion his detective looked as bad as the observer. The bruises were visible on both. He didn't envy them when they finally got to a hospital. He knew they would give him a hard time about it, but luckily he could make it an order.

Simon hauled Becker and his cronies into the cell where Jim and Blair had been held. He then began searching for a phone. When he found it, he dialed 911.

"911, state the nature of your emergency."

"This is Captain Simon Banks from Cascade PD. I have injured officers and three escaped prisoners. Please dispatch ambulances and officers to the warehouse at the end of old Miller Road."

"Yes, sir." Was the stunned response from the dispatcher. Before he hung up Simon could hear the dispatcher send. "Units in the vicinity of Old Miller Road please respond to officers down."

Simon disconnected and returned to his injured friends ready to help in any way he could. He looked down at the pair as he tried to make them comfortable. //Never a dull moment with the two of you.// He thought. //I can't wait to hear all about this ESP stuff.//

//Whenever you're ready, Captain.// Blair sent.

Simon pulled out a cigar and clamped it between his teeth, and shook his head. "Just what I always wanted...the Sentinel Detective and his partner, the Psychic Observer." He muttered under his breath. He took a deep breath and started asking questions.