Summary: A weird story.
Disclaimer: Not mine...blah blah blah, you know the drill.
Okay, this definitely goes in the category short and silly. It popped into my mind one evening back from the U and I couldn't seem to get rid of it. Claudia! As usual, it's your fault! I'd like to dedicate this story to a great lady: Stormwolf who was kind enough to adopt my stories and give them a home. Thank you! Many thanks to my beta reader Connie… without her precious help, this story wouldn't be here. Warnings: 1- if you're looking for a real plot, go back now…this isn't the right place! 2- it's a rather weird story. 3- Don't get mad at me when you finish reading… I couldn't explain anything because I really didn't know how to explain it. Sorry. Now, you've been warned…enter at your own risk!
The noise of a china cup shattering on the floor made all the people in the office turn. In the middle of the room, a hand dangerously adrift among the white splinters, Blair Sandburg lay, eyes closed and head gently reclined on one side. For at least ten seconds no one reacted, then in an almost comical way, all those present in the bullpen ran to help the young observer. "Call an ambulance!" Joel Taggart cried out after all attempts to bring Blair back to consciousness failed miserably.
"What's happening?!" a voice echoed from the entrance.
Back from a very boring morning in court, Simon Banks and Jim Ellison hadn't even stepped out the elevator when the sentinel realized that something was wrong.
"Blair!" he gasped as he finally realized what the sensation was about.
He quickly ran toward the small group of people blocking his view, pushing aside a couple of detectives fool enough to get in his way. He saw Joel Taggart crouched beside his unconscious partner, checking his pulse. "Joel? What happened?"
The big man raised his eyes on him and shrugged: "I don't know Jim…he was carrying Connor a cup of coffee and all of a sudden he collapsed"
"How much time had passed?"
"A couple of minutes at the most. When I saw he wasn't waking up, I sent Rafe to call for an ambulance"
The detective was only partially listening to the explanation, using Joel's voice as an anchor to stretch out his senses to check on the young man lying beside him. Carefully monitoring heartbeat and breathing, Jim frowned: there was nothing wrong, the values were perfectly regular. Resting a hand on his guide's forehead, the cop was satisfied to discover that the temperature was normal and the skin didn't feel clammy. Yeah, but then, if everything was all right, why didn't Blair wake up? Two paramedics with a gurney entered the crowded bullpen. "What's the problem?" the older of them asked.
"He collapsed on the floor, all of a sudden"
"How much time has passed?"
"More less five minutes" Joel answered, unable to divert his attention from the young observer's slack features.
"Has he regained consciousness?"
"Okay" The two paramedics looked puzzled. And their embarrassment increased when they checked the young man pulse and breathing, finding them perfectly good.
"If I didn't know it's impossible, I'd swear he's simply sleeping." Brown whispered to Rafe.
"Has he ever suffered of narcolepsy?"
"No, I don't think so" Jim said, interrupting Rafe's question "I'm sure that since I know him something like this had never happened"
"Narcolepsy could be a plausible explanation. It's a chronic disease that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep"
"Like this? In the middle of whatever activity?" Brown asked, astonished.
"Yes, it may happen when you less expect it…usually a seizure lasts a few minutes, rarely more than half an hour"
"Anyway" the other paramedic intervened "There's nothing sure, so far. Everything should be clearer after a couple of tests at the hospital"
"I'm coming with you" Jim stated, looking at Simon, daring him to contradict his words.
"I'll see you there" was the only answer he got from his captain.
The muffled noises of the city traffic and the humming of the engine slowly filtered through Blair's mind.
(Oh great! I once again fell asleep in the truck! Jim will never quit teasing me)
But when he opened his eyes he discovered he was, yes, on something moving, but lying and with an aseptic blanket screaming hospital wrapping him. There were two people near his feet, fussing around, and he could feel a gentle pressure on his forehead. Slightly shifting his gaze on one side, the young man saw that the touch came from Jim's hand. "Hey" he croaked
"Chief! You're awake! How are you feeling?"
"Wh-what happened?" Blair asked while he absently scratched a temple and turned on one side to face the detective.
"You suddenly passed out…"
"Uh? Really? I don't remember…"
"Taggart told me you were carrying Megan a cup of coffee" he stopped when he noticed the spark of understanding in Blair's eyes.
"Oh yeah…the cup broke. I mean, I remember I saw it fall and then…" he let the sentence trail in silence.
"You gave us quite a scare, you know chief? Since we couldn't manage to wake you up, Taggart called an ambulance "
"How long have I been out?"
"Almost fifteen minutes"
"But now I feel fine…"
"Mr. Sandburg" one of the paramedics said "I'm sure you're feeling better, but we need to take you to the hospital for a quick check up…just to be sure that what happened today won't happen again in the future."
"I see…well, if there's no other solution…"
"Don't worry Chief…it's not going to take too much time. We'll make it for the Jags' game tonight "
They kept chatting until Blair was admitted to the ER and, as foreseen, he re-emerged an hour later with a huge smile. "Nothing to worry about…"
"Do they know what was wrong?"
"Not exactly…Doctor Ramirez seems to think that it was only a bit of fatigue along with the fact I haven't eaten anything since yesterday afternoon…oops"
"Chief!" Jim growled, "How many times did I tell you that breakfast is important?!"
"I know, I know, but this morning I really couldn't make it. I woke up so late that I just had the time to take a shower and run to the U to post my grades. When I arrived to the station there was so much to do that I guess I forgot I was hungry. That's all. Don't worry daddy, it won't happen again"
"I hope so." the detective muttered, lightening the grumpy tone with a smile and a swat on Blair's head.
"Ow…Jim, I'm sick"
"Yeah…yeah, sick! Come on Junior, I'll buy you lunch"
The month had passed quickly, lost in a thousand different things. Two particularly nasty cases were solved by major crime team after more than a fifteen days of non-stop work: a string of rapes and murders and a serial killer who picked his victims among the kids who lived in a suburban quarter. But finally both murderers had been brought to justice and peace seemed to be back in town. Although only for a very short time, because after a couple of days the umpteenth crazy psycho had started his killings, this time basically at random. He chose his victim, sometimes even two during the same night, and cut them into pieces. In less than five days, eight maimed corpses had been recovered in different areas of Cascade. And without a single print or an eye witness who could give a rough description it was hard to find a valid lead. "The faceless midnight killer", so the press had immediately dubbed him, hit in the shadow and disappeared undisturbed, soon becoming the city worst nightmare.
Already put to test by the previous investigations, all major crime detectives undertook to catch their man, they didn't leave out any possibility, interrogating a range of possible suspects with no results, but they didn't surrender.
And the solution of the case arrived unexpected late one night.
While Jim and Blair were heading back to the loft, both dead on their feet, longing for a few hours' sleep, all of a sudden, the sentinel perceived a sharp woman's scream coming from an alley. Slamming down the brake pedal, he stopped the car in the middle of the road and listened. Blair knew it was useless to joke or protest for the bruise already forming on his knee because of the impact against the dashboard. Only from the sentinel's posture he knew that Jim had heard something. Something important. Without even notice, he gently placed a hand on the detective's shoulder and whispered: "What did you hear?"
"I'm not sure…it looked like there was a woman screaming"
"Okay. Focus on the noises around us…don't consider the cars and ourselves…what can you hear now?"
"There are two heartbeats, on the left…one's faster…" then he heard the words.
"I'm sorry darling, I really have to do it…I wouldn't want to, but you didn't give me any choice"
Then a piercing scream, so loud this time, that Blair heard it as well. The young man hastened to tap Jim's shoulder, muttering: "Lower your dial, I know that had to hurt a lot"
But the sentinel was already out of the truck, in full hunter mode, shouting: "Call for back-up and stay in the truck. Got it? Stay. In. The. Truck."
(Yeah…sure!) The young man thought with a smile.
When Jim had turned round the corner, he saw two people desperately fighting and one of them held a gun in his hands. "Cascade Police…freeze! Drop your gun!"
But the killer quickly reacted and flung his intended victim in the detective's arms, almost making him lose his balance and topple. The sobbing woman clung to his jacket and Jim understood that he'd lost a moment too much and he was giving that psycho the chance to kill them both. Dashing the woman to the ground, he pointed his gun, but it was too late because the other man was already pulling the trigger. When the shot was fired and Jim was sure he'd soon feel the bullet piercing his chest, something heavy threw him to the ground crushing the detective under his weight. Even before the sentinel re-opened his eyes, he knew what it was… but right there he didn't have the material time to kill that crazy partner of his. Without any other warning he exploded two shots and the psycho fell drop-dead to the ground. There, now he could kill Sandburg!
Only that Blair was still laying face down where the detective had sent him rolling when he'd taken aim.
"Chief…hey come on, enough kidding"
But the young man didn't move.
"Sandburg, what's wrong? You're fine, aren't you?"
It was then he saw the puddle of blood under his partner's still form. "Blair!" he yelled as he gently turned the kid on his back, confirming what he already knew: the bullet had entered the chest and there had lodged. Turning to look for his cell phone, he noticed the woman'd had the same idea and that in spite of her tears and the breaking voice, she was relating the first information about the shooting.
"Come on chief…you can't die this way! Not before I kill you for the stunt you pulled tonight!"
The hospital was quiet at that late hour of the night, even the ER was almost empty and Jim couldn't but be happy. The last thing he needed was to be forced to listen to the chaos of voices and sounds places like this always carried with them. Simon sat beside him, head bowed, and on the other side Joel sipped a cold cup of coffee. A doctor suddenly appeared in front of them, holding a chart in his plump hands. "Are you here for Blair Sandburg?"
The three men nodded, jumping to their feet. "Good. Who of you gentlemen is Jim?"
"Then he's waiting for you…please don't tire him too much. He's still very weak but he refuses to sleep before he tells you he's fine"
Blair awoke, critically contemplating the head resting on the bed near his right hand. Squinting his eyes because of the annoying light, he looked around: yeah, most definitely a hospital room. Again?! Okay, what had happened this time? Let's see, he told himself, oh yeah, someone shot me! Delicately shifting his right hand, he placed it on Jim's head, smiling when his soft touch startled the detective. Two puzzled light blue eyes focused on him, then Jim shouted: "Blair!" The young man winced at the loud sound and blinked twice.
(Why such a big surprise? I recall we talked yesterday…)
"Blair…Chief. How are you?"
"Fine" but the sound that left his mouth was some kind of incomprehensible croaking.
(My God, what the Hell happened to my voice?)
"I'm going to call the doctor!"
"No…" this time it went slightly better "it's all right…"
"Can you remember what happened?"
"He shot me…" Blair said matter-of-factly.
"What? Uh, no Chief…not this time. You fainted at the police station"
"This…happened…one month ago Jim"
But from the puzzled expression on his face, it was rather clear that Blair didn't understand. "Sandburg, what do you think you remember?"
"Yesterday night…the alley…he shot you"
That was right. Everything had actually happened, only that Blair couldn't know it because he was sleeping since almost a month.
"Chief…I don't know how to tell you, but…well, you've been here, in this same room, for almost four weeks"
"When you passed out…you never woke up and the doctors couldn't find a reason why. Physically, there was nothing wrong with you, they tried all the possible tests, but didn't find anything. Yet you've never re-opened your eyes, not even once"
"You're joking, right?"
"No, I'm not…not at all"
"Okay, then why do I remember exactly every single thing that happened during this last weeks?"
"What do you think you remember?"
"One week after I "awoke" in the ambulance there has been a series of rapes and murders, 5 women in ten days. The murderer's name was Robert Blanchard and we caught him when he was going to kill a girl, down at the docks. Tanya St.Jaques. At the same time there's been Tom Gordon…the bastard who killed the little boys. Four corpses the first week, two the second. We arrested him at his place when Rafe got that information from the feds. We hoped it was all over, but the umpteenth psycho appeared…the faceless man, I mean. Eight corpses in five days. We've found the last one dumped in the alley right behind the mall, near the employee's entrance. And yesterday…you suddenly stopped in the middle of the road because you heard a woman screaming. You told me to call for back-up and wait in the truck. But, of course, I didn't listen to you and I save your sorry ass…as usual"
As Blair kept talking, Jim grew paler and paler as the details superimposed with the last month's events. But it wasn't possible, his guide had remained in this same bed for twenty-nine days and he'd spent basically all his free time in this room.
"What happened?" the young man asked, clearly ill at ease "I mean, yesterday evening…you got him, didn't you ? He shot you…"
"Yes I got him and yes he shot me, but when he pulled the trigger I fell to the ground and…oh my God!"
"What?! What?!" Blair shouted, gazing in wonder at Jim's dismayed expression.
"What's with the woman, Jim?!"
"Yesterday evening, while we were waiting for an ambulance, the woman told me she must have bumped her head somewhere, because she believed she'd seen a big wolf leaping at me and knocking me down in time to avoid the bullet"
"Jim…the wolf is my…"
"Spirit guide…I know" the detective concluded the sentence. "That's not possible, isn't that?"
"No, I don't think it is, but...you say I've always been in this room, and I'm sure I've been right by your side all this time, that I awoke from this sleep ten minutes after I passed out…the knee!" An inspiration struck him.
"Look at my right knee, please…"
Shifting the blanket, Jim winced at the bluish bruise. "There's something…isn't there?"
"It had happened yesterday evening, when you braked and I bumped against the dashboard. I remember I was thinking to tell you something, but there were other problems right there…" He paused for a second, rubbing his chin, then blurted "What the Hell happened here?! Do you think it is some sentinel/guide thing?"
"There I really don't know what to say, Chief…"
"Maybe it was some kind of test. Maybe the fact I awoke means that we passed it and now it's all over"
"Or maybe that we're both crazy…"
"This is another possibility…concerning you it could be exact"
"Hey, what do you mean "concerning me"?" Jim growled while he tousled the young man's unruly curls.
"Nothing. Nothing, just thinking…"
"I missed you, you know?"
"Thanks…I can't really say the same because I've been near you all the time. But I'm happy I awoke. Look, why don't you go call the doctor so he can check on me and send me home?"
The young man was smiling as he sat up. "But maybe you'd better not mention our little conversation…I wouldn't want to be accidentally transferred to the psych ward"
"Okay" Jim walked out, but on the door he stopped and whispered: "Welcome back Blair and thanks for saving my life"
"Anytime, big guy. Anytime"
Well, yes…I suppose it ends like this. I told you it was silly! I'm sorry but I don't seem to be able to write normal canon stories… I leave them for more talented writers. I'd really be glad to hear from you, so let me know what do you think about this monster (whatever you think!).