New Arrivals
Author-Kim Jackson
Titles

Past Memories, Present Danger
by Kim Jackson

Summary: Blair's adopted father shows up in Cascade. At the same time, a strange murder takes place involving a decapitated body, and Jim believes there might be a connection. Crossover with Highlander.

Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters don’t belong to me, unfortunately. I’m just borrowing them.

A sharp report of a gun rocked the derelict building down by the harbor as a black T-Bird pulled up outside. A man got out and ran into the building. There was silence followed by bright flashes of light and loud crashes from inside the warehouse.

A man who had been walking by paused to watch the strange phenomenon. He ducked instinctively when all the windows in the whole building shattered at once, and he could have sworn he saw flashes of lightning inside. Then all was quiet. The man witnessed a man exit the warehouse, get into the T-Bird and drive away. The man watched the car drive away. Then he went into the warehouse to check things out.

A few minutes later, he came running out, pulling out his cell phone. Pale-faced and shaken, he dialed 911 to report the headless body inside.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim Ellison, detective in the Major Crimes unit and Sentinel of the Great City, finished washing the dinner dishes and dried his hands on a dish towel. His partner had offered to wash them, but since Blair had cooked, Jim figured he’d at least do the dishes.

Throwing the towel on the counter, he headed toward the living area to watch a little TV. As he passed by Blair’s room, he saw the kid sitting on the floor in front of an open box staring down at a picture in his hands. Curious, he knocked on the doorframe to Blair’s room before entering.

“Hey Chief. What are you doing?”

Blair looked up at Jim’s sudden appearance. “Huh? Oh. Just going through some stuff. You know sort of walking down memory lane.”

Jim bent down to look at the photo in Blair’s hands. It was of a curly-haired kid of about 4 or 5 years old, and he was in the arms of a man with long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. Both were smiling happily at the camera.

“Is that you?” Jim asked. Blair nodded. “Aw, you were a cute kid. Who’s that with you?”

Blair smiled wistfully. “Oh, he was just another one of Naomi’s boyfriends.”

“Looks to me like he was more than that,” Jim observed.

“Yeah, I guess he was. He was one of the only ones that I really liked. He was the only one I ever called Dad.” He looked down at the picture again. “You know I was the one that got them to together.”

“What, were you playing match-maker when you four?” Jim teased.

“Five actually, and it wasn’t intentional. We were in Paris at the time. Mom took me to this park, and we got separated. I was getting so frantic and scared, and I was crying when Duncan shows up out of the blue. He comforted me and calmed down, and then he helped me find my mom. He really took care of me. He even bought me ice cream.

“He and mom hit it off right away, which I never really understood because they really didn’t have all that in common. But he was the best. He treated me like his own son, a whole hell of a lot better than some of the other boyfriends Naomi had. We moved in with him not too long after that. I think we were with him the longest. We were there for about a year.

“It was the best year of my life. He lived on this barge right in the river, and I thought it was so cool to be living on it. I slept on the couch, but I had no complaints. We did everything together, which was a first at the time because all of Mom’s boyfriends before never wanted me around. All they wanted was to be alone with Naomi. But he was different. He really liked me, and I really liked him.”

“So what happened?” Jim asked.

“What always happened. Naomi got restless. Her wanderlust kicked in and she had to leave.”

“Did you ever see him again?”

“I didn’t really see him when I was growing up. I talked to him a few times on the phone. He gave me his number and I called him a few times whenever I needed to talk to someone. I didn’t see him again until I started at Rainier and was on my own. I haven’t seen him in years though.”

Blair stared at the picture for a more minutes. Then he put it down and rubbed his eyes. He pasted on a smile as he looked up at his partner.

“Well, I think I’ve had enough of memory lane. What do you say we watch some TV?”

Jim saw right through Blair’s act. He could see the moisture in the kid’s eyes. He wished he could help the kid in some way. He was contemplating a way to cheer Blair up when the phone rang.

“Hold that thought,” Jim said as he stood up straight. He exited Blair’s room, grabbed the cordless off the kitchen counter, and answered, “Ellison.”

“Jim, Simon. There’s been a murder over in the warehouse district down by the harbor. Get your ass over there now.”

“Alright, Simon. We’re on our way.” Jim turned off the phone just as Blair was exiting his room.

“Something wrong?” he asked.

“Get your coat, Chief. We got a body down by the harbor. Simon wants us there ASAP.”

Blair quickly put the picture on his bedside table and threw on some shoes. They both grabbed their jackets and keys and left.

Twenty minutes later, Jim was parking the truck alongside Simon’s car. They got out as Simon was approaching.

“Jim, glad you’re here. This is a strange one,” the captain said.

Jim and Blair looked at each other.

“Strange how?” Jim asked.

“You’ll see. Come on.”

Simon led them into the warehouse. Jim immediately noticed the devastation of the place. The building wasn’t maintained to begin with. It was obvious that this warehouse hadn’t been used in years, but the destruction was definitely much more than wear and tear. All the windows were broken and glass was everywhere. It looked like they had been blown out. There was debris everywhere, some of it charred, and the walls and floor were scorched in some spots.

“Whoa, what happened here?” Blair asked.

“We haven’t quite figured that out yet. The body’s over here.” He started to lead the way but stopped and turned back toward the partners. “I have to warn you. This isn’t pretty.” He looked pointedly at Blair.

Worried but also curious, Blair nodded and Simon continued on. Blair followed but stopped when he saw the head lying five feet away from the body. He felt his stomach churn.

“Oh my god.”

Jim looked at his partner in concern. This was not something he wanted his guide to see.

“Hey, Chief. Why don’t you go wait outside?” Jim suggested.

Blair swallowed and took a deep breath. “No, Jim. I’m fine,” he said although his trembling voice betrayed the truth of that statement.

“Are you sure?”

Blair nodded. He took a determined stance next to his sentinel and tried to avoid looking at the body. Jim didn’t believe him for a minute. The kid looked too pale to be fine, but Jim didn’t argue. They moved closer and knelt down next to the body.

“So what have we got?” Jim asked.

“The victim’s name is Thomas Menard according to his ID. The ME put the time of death to around 10pm earlier tonight,” Simon replied.

“So the question is, what was he doing in an abandoned warehouse at 10:00 at night?” Jim asked.

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

Jim dialed up his senses and scanned the body for any clues. He found a few hairs that didn’t belong to the victim. He also noticed it was a clean cut to the neck that severed the head as if it had been by something extremely sharp. After placing the hairs into an evidence bag, he stood up.

“Any witnesses?” he asked.

“Yeah, one, Frank Perelli,” Simon replied. “He’s the one who discovered the body. He’s over there.” He pointed to a short, rotund man in his early forties talking with one of the officers.

“Let’s go have a talk with him, shall we?”

Jim and Blair approached the little man, who was rubbing his hands nervously and shifting from foot to foot. He looked as white as a sheet. He looked at the pair as they approached.

“Excuse me, Mr. Perelli? I’m Detective Jim Ellison. This is my associate, Blair Sandburg. Do you mind if we have a word with you?”

“No, not at all.”

“You were the one who called 911?” Jim asked.

“Yes. I was walking by when I saw these bright flashes of light coming from inside the building here. And then all of sudden, all the windows just shattered at once. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Then I saw this guy leave, get into a black T-Bird and drive away. I went inside to investigate and that’s when I…well, you know.”

“Did you see the license plate?”

Perelli shook his head. “No, it was too dark to see.”

“What about this guy? Did you get a look at him?”

“Um, well, I didn’t get a look at his face really. But he was wearing a long trench coat. He was kind of tall with medium build and he had long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. I’m sorry. That’s really all I can remember.”

“That’s ok. One more question. What were you doing walking around the warehouse district at 10:00 at night?”

Perelli’s head snapped up. “What are you saying? You don’t think that I did this, do you? Because that’s crazy. I didn’t do this. I couldn’t have. I didn’t even know the guy.” He was starting to get upset.

“Mr. Perelli, calm down,” Jim placated the agitated man. “I’m not saying you did do this, but I had to ask.”

Perelli took a deep breath to calm himself down. “Right, sorry. I was just out for a walk. I was just looking for a quiet place to be alone. Dangerous part of town, I know, but it’s the closet place to my apartment.”

Jim listened to the man’s heartbeat as he spoke and was satisfied that he was telling the truth. “Ok. Why don’t you go talk to that officer over there? He’s going to take care of you.”

The man nodded and walked away, still a little shaky. Blair turned to his partner questioningly.

“So what do you think?” he asked.

“He was telling the truth. He’s not responsible.”

“Great. But that still leaves the question of who is.”

“I know,” Jim said distractedly.

Blair noticed Jim’s attention was elsewhere. “What is it?”

“There’s something weird here.”

“What?”

“There’s some sort of electrical charge in the air. I can feel it. It’s making the hairs on my arms stand on end.”

“Well,” Blair said thoughtfully, “didn’t that guy say that he saw bright flashes of light coming from inside the building? Maybe there was a power surge.”

“I don’t think so. I doubt this building had any power to begin with. Besides, it would have had to have been one hell of a power surge to cause this.”

“So what then?”

“I don’t know.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair entered his office and sat down at his desk. He wanted to get this grading done fast so that he and Jim could go get some lunch. They both needed the break. He could tell the detective was getting very frustrated. Over the next few days, Jim and Blair had investigated every clue, followed every lead, which were few and far between, and still found nothing.. The hairs Jim had found on the body were useless until they had a suspect to compare them to. The description Perelli gave of the man he saw leaving the warehouse was vague and definitely not enough for a sketch artist, and without a license plate, they couldn’t put out an APB on the car the man was driving considering how many black T-Birds were out there. So they were at a dead end.

They couldn’t even find out a lot about the victim. Thomas Menard had no criminal record, not even a parking ticket. He had no family, and he had apparently just arrived in Cascade a few days ago. He had been staying at some cheap motel. They had talked to the motel manager, but he could offer no information about Menard other than he paid in cash, and he was paid up for the rest of the week. But the weirdest thing was that there was no record of Thomas Menard before 1994, like he never existed until then. It was as if he just appeared out of thin air.

Blair sighed as he pulled the papers to grade. This case had every one baffled. There were almost no clues, no leads, no evidence. Not even Jim could find anything useful. Blair wished there was something he could do. He shook his head and pushed everything to the back of his mind so he could concentrate on grading these papers.

An hour later, there was a knock on his door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A black T-Bird pulled into the parking lot of Rainier University and parked outside Hargrove Hall. The driver, Duncan MacLeod, stared at the building. He knew he should be out looking for Calhoun before he killed someone else, but he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the man whom he considered a son. Besides, right now he had no way of finding the immortal until Joe got back to him on his whereabouts.

Jacob Calhoun was an immortal headhunter. He traveled around taking the head of every and any immortal he came across, and he wasn’t exactly fair in his fighting. He would do anything to make sure he won. He didn’t care who he went after either. It could be an older immortal or a younger one, although he’d been going after the younger ones lately.

Duncan had followed Calhoun from Seacuver. Normally, Duncan wasn’t one to hunt other immortals, but this one needed to be stopped. He didn’t just kill other immortals unfairly, but he also killed mortals. The man was ruthless, and he didn’t care who he hurt, and after he killed a very good friend of Duncan’s, MacLeod felt it was his duty to stop this guy.

Duncan got out of the car and started walking across campus. He was actually excited about seeing Blair again. He hadn’t seen the kid since Tessa died. They talked on the phone a few times since then, but not recently. Duncan hadn’t really had the time to call, and he figured that it was the same with Blair considering when last they talked the kid was up to his elbows in papers that needed to be graded. Plus he was getting a little discouraged that he hadn’t found a real sentinel with all five senses enhanced. Sure he had found some with one or two and some with three, but he said that it wasn’t enough. They weren’t full sentinels. Duncan hoped he found what he was looking for soon. He hated to see his son upset.

Duncan entered Hargrove Hall and looked around. He had never visited Blair at the university before, and he felt a bit lost. So he grabbed the first person who walked by.

“Excuse me. Could you tell me where I might find Blair Sandburg?” he asked a passing student, a young blonde girl.

The girl smiled. “Oh Mr. Sandburg? Yeah, sure. He should be in his office. You go down the hall and make a right. Go down the stairs and it should be the first door on your right.”

“Thanks.”

He found Blair’s office with little trouble and was surprised to find that it wasn’t an office at all but a storage room. It actually said storage room on the door with a little piece of paper taped below that that said “Blair Sandburg.” Shaking his head, he knocked on the door and entered at the shouted, “Come in.”

He raised his eyebrows at the very small, very cluttered “office”. This was the best this university could give him? Duncan wondered. Duncan’s eyes strayed to the curly-haired man seated at his desk in the far corner of the room grading papers and smiled. He hadn’t even looked up to see who his visitor was.

He walked into the office and stood before Blair’s desk. “Hi Blair,” he said.

Blair looked up and a brilliant smile spread across his face. “Dad!” he yelled excitedly. He jumped up from his chair, hurried around his desk, and gave the man a big hug, slapping him on the back. “It’s so good to see you! What are you doing here?”

“Well, I had some business to take care of here in Cascade and thought I’d stop by and say hello.”

“Oh, well, welcome. Here sit down,” Blair said, quickly clearing some files off one of the chairs in front of his desk.

Duncan sat down, looking around the room. “Nice office.”

“Yeah. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.”

“It’s a little cramped, don’t you think?”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“How can you find anything in here,” Duncan asked, picking up a tribal mask that was leaning against the desk.

Blair snatched the mask from his hands. “Well, you know, I have a system,” he said, placing the mask out of MacLeod’s reach.

“Uh huh, and what system would that be?”

“Well…hey, did you come here to make fun of my office or did you actually want something?” Blair said, feigning annoyance.

Duncan laughed and stood up, slapping Blair on the back. “I’m just messing with you. So, you want to go get some lunch?”

“Oh, um…”

“If you’re busy, I can come back.”

“No, no,” Blair said quickly. “It’s just that I was going to have lunch with a friend of mine.”

At that moment, there was a knock at the door, and Blair knew who it would be.

“Speaking of which. Excuse me.” Blair walked around Duncan and opened the door.

“Hey Chief, you almost ready to do?” Jim asked.

“Hey Jim. Actually, there’s someone I want you to meet.” He stepped aside to let Jim in. “Jim Ellison, this is Duncan MacLeod. He’s the one I told you about.”

“Oh yeah. Nice to meet you,” Jim said, offering his hand. The minute Duncan’s came into contact with his, Jim seemed to stiffen and pulled his hand back rather quickly, a move that didn’t escape either man’s attention.

“Is something wrong?” Duncan asked.

“No, nothing’s wrong,” Jim said, flexing his hand a couple times.

Blair frowned. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I’m fine,” he replied, his face expressionless.

Blair wanted to question Jim, but he couldn’t do it with his dad present so he let it slide for now.

“Well, Duncan invited me to go to lunch with him,” Blair said.

“Oh, uh, that’s fine. I’ll just pick up something and head back to the station.”

“You’re welcome to join us,” Duncan said.

“No, that’s ok. You guys need time to catch up.” He turned to Blair. “I’ll see you later.”

He walked out of the office, leaving a confused Blair and Duncan staring after him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim walked to his Expedition, unconsciously rubbing his hand as if it hurt. That was the weirdest sensation he had ever felt. The minute his hand touched MacLeod’s, he had felt this shock like from an electrical outlet. And it had come from MacLeod himself. Jim was sure of it, but how could that be? It was almost as if his body was electrically charged.

Jim got into his Expedition and was about to start the engine when he noticed the black T-Bird parked next to Blair’s Volvo. As he sat there and watched, he saw Blair and MacLeod exit Hargrove Hall, get into the T-Bird, and drive away. It was then that he realized that MacLeod fit the description that Perelli, his witness, had provided about the guy he saw leaving the warehouse the night of the murder. The fact that he also drove a black T-Bird was too big of a coincidence. Although he hated to think that Blair’s adoptive father could be their murderer, he had to check it out. Looks like he had a little digging to do on one Duncan MacLeod.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duncan and Blair went to the deli that was just down the street. After getting their food, they sat down at one of the booths.

“So, Mac, how have you been?” Blair asked as he unwrapped his deli sandwich. “I mean I haven’t seen you since…well, since Tessa.” Blair lowered his eyes. He still felt bad about what happened to the beautiful blonde. He had really liked her, and she had been good for Duncan.

“Yeah, I know,” Duncan said quietly. “I just needed some time. Then all these things kept coming up. Sorry about that.”

“It’s ok. I’ve been busy too. So what’s new with you?”

“Well, I bought a new place.”

Blair looked at him. “What happened to the antique store?”

Duncan looked uncomfortable. He remembered the sparkle in Blair’s eyes when he had shown him around the place. The kid really liked the place. He cleared his throat and spoke. “I sold it.”

Blair frowned. “You sold it? Why?”

“After Tessa died, I just didn’t care anymore. It was too many memories.”

Blair looked sympathetic. “I understand.” He brightened up immediately. “So where are you living now,” he asked, wanting to get away from the upsetting subject.

Duncan smiled, pleased to see that Blair’s enthusiasm hadn’t changed. After taking a bite of his sandwich, he replied, “I bought a dojo in Seacuver. I live in the loft above it.”

“Wow, so you run a dojo now?” Blair asked, intrigued.

“Well, the previous owner, Charlie DeSalvo, runs it more than I do, but yeah, more or less.”

“Cool. So do you still have the barge?”

“Yes, that I still have. I go back and forth from Paris to Seacuver every once in a while.”

“Awesome! I loved that barge. Hey, whenever you move back to Paris, let me know. I’d like to see it again.”

“Count on it. So what have you been up to?” Duncan asked.

Blair took a bite of his sandwich and tried to figure out where he should start. “Well, let’s see. I’m working on my doctorate, but you already know that. I finally started my dissertation, the police and closed societies being my subject. So obviously I work with the police now as an observer. I’m partnered with Jim. He’s a detective with the Major Crime unit. So I help him with his cases sometimes, lending my expertise wherever possible.”

Duncan listened to Blair’s longwinded explanation with mild amusement. He’d missed the kid’s chatter. He could never understand how he could say so much without taking a breath. He waited for a break in the monologue before he asked his question.

“So you’re not studying sentinels anymore?” Duncan asked.

“Oh, uh, no. I realized that I wasn’t going to find a sentinel. It was an unrealistic dream, and I had to start my dissertation soon so I had to find a different topic.” Seeing the frown on Mac’s face, Blair hastened to add, “It’s ok though. I really like my new topic, and I really enjoy working with the police.”

Duncan didn’t really believe Blair was telling him everything, but he decided to go on to a different topic.

“Are you still living in that warehouse?” he asked. When Blair had told him that he was living in a warehouse while he attended Rainier, he had disapproved. He had tried to get the kid to move someplace else, but Blair had refused, saying that he liked the space and where else was he going to get 10,000 square feet for $850 a month?

Blair looked uncomfortable. “Um, well, no. Actually, it kind of…um…blew up.”

“Excuse me?” Duncan asked, not sure he heard right.

“It blew up. You see there was this drug lab in another part of the building that I didn’t know about. And it exploded.”

“My god. Were you hurt?”

“No, no. Jim was there, and he pushed me down just in time.” Blair tried to look anywhere but at the older man.

Duncan shook his head. “Didn’t I tell you to move out of that place?”

Blair looked sheepish. “Well, yeah, but I couldn’t afford another place.”

“So then where are you living now?”

“Oh, I moved with Jim. Everything’s good now.”

Duncan nodded, satisfied that his son had a place to live and wasn’t homeless. But that brought things to this Jim. Who was he and what was he to Blair? And what had happened when they had shaken hands? Duncan had looked him straight in the eyes and saw surprise and confusion, and he could have sworn he saw a flicker of fear before it was all pushed back to be replaced by a hard, distrustful visage.

He looked at the young man as he enjoyed the last remnants of his sandwich. He had to approach this delicately. He didn’t want Blair getting the wrong impression.

“So, Blair, who is this Jim? What’s he like?” he asked.

Blair swallowed his last bite and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “Jim? Well, he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. I mean, yeah, he can be cold and hard-headed and stubborn as hell, but beneath that rough exterior, he’s a sensitive and caring man. He had a good heart, and he’s very protective. We laugh. We joke around. We share things. Of course, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth trying to get things out of him, but that’s just the way he is. He doesn’t like to share his feelings much. But I wouldn’t change him for the world.”

“Do you trust him?”

“Completely,” Blair replied without hesitation.

“Are you happy?”

Blair smiled. “Yes, very.”

“That’s all I ask.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Across the street from the deli where Duncan and Blair were having their lunch, a dark-haired man sat secretly taking pictures of the pair as they ate. He smiled as he took more and more pictures, making sure to get a close-up of the curly-haired man’s face. He had been hired by a man named Jacob Calhoun to follow this MacLeod around and see what he could find out and to keep an eye on his movements. He didn’t know why and he didn’t ask. All he cared about was the hefty sum that he was being paid for his services.

His phone rang. He reached into his bag and pulled out his cell phone. “Yeah?”

“What have you got for me?” his boss’s voice asked.

“Nothing much is going on. MacLeod’s just having lunch with some guy,” he answered.

“A guy? Who?”

“I don’t know, but they seem awfully close from what I’ve seen.”

“Keep following them. Find out who this mystery guy is and get back to me once you do.”

“Yes sir.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After stopping at Wonderburger, Jim went back to the station and immediately went to his desk. Just as he was sitting down, Simon came out of his office.

“Hey Jim. Where’s your shadow? I thought you and the kid were going to have lunch together.”

“Change of plans. He went with someone else,” Jim replied as he fired up his computer.

“He ditched you to go with someone else? What’s her name?”

Jim smiled and shook his head. They both knew of the tenacity his partner possessed for the opposite sex. “Nothing like that, sir. His father showed up.”

“His father? Wait a minute. I thought he didn’t know who his father was.”

“He’s not his real father. He dated Blair’s mother, and Blair always thought of him as a father.”

Simon watched as Jim typed in a few commands on his keyboard. “You wouldn’t happen to be running a background check on this father, would you?” he asked knowingly.

Jim looked sheepish and kept his eyes on the computer screen.

“Uh huh. Thought so. You know the kid’s going to be pissed when he finds out.”

Jim finally looked up at his captain. “Well, he doesn’t need to know. Besides, better pissed than dead,” he muttered as he returned hid attention to his computer.

Simon frowned at that last statement. He opened his mouth to ask about it when Jim spoke again.

“Look, Simon, I’m just trying to look out for the kid. I want him to be safe.”

Simon sighed. “Yeah, I know. Carry on, but don’t waste all your time on this. You do have other responsibilities. Are we clear, detective?”

“Yes sir,” Jim replied with a small smile.

Nodding, the captain went back into his office.

Jim spent the better part of an hour researching Duncan MacLeod. The background check had offered little. He had no criminal record, not even a parking ticket, so Jim started seeing what else he could find about the man. He found a few things of interest. Despite the fact that MacLeod had no criminal record, he seemed to be involved in an awful lot of police investigations in Paris and Seacuver. He was never convicted of anything, but he was questioned on several occasions. The officers questioning him thought he always knew something more that he was telling, which set off alarm bells in Jim’s head.

Jim also found references to an incident in which MacLeod’s fiancé, Tessa Noel, was shot and killed during a mugging. It was never clear what they were doing on that street that late at night, and MacLeod refused to offer any explanation.

What Jim also found puzzling was that MacLeod had no medical records whatsoever. No shots, no childhood diseases, the man didn’t even go to the dentist. Either this guy was the healthiest man on the planet, or there was something different about him. And after what happened when they shook hands, Jim was leaning more toward the latter. He needed to talk to Sandburg. He picked up the phone and dialed his partner’s cell phone number. He tapped his fingers on the desktop anxiously as he listened to it ring. When he didn’t get answer, he hung up and dialed the loft number, thinking maybe he might be home by now. When there was no answer there either, he practically slammed the phone back in its cradle. He grabbed his coat from the rack and went to Simon’s office.

“Simon, do you mind if I take off for a little while?”

Simon looked up from what he was doing. “What for?”

“I’m going to look for Sandburg.” At Simon’s pointed look, he explained. “Look, Simon, I don’t trust this Duncan MacLeod. I found out some strange things about him. I tried calling his cell phone. There was no answer. There’s no answer at the loft. I just…I just want to make sure he’s all right.”

Simon removed his glasses with a resounding sigh and rubbed his hand over his eyes. These two were going to give him grey hair. “You know it’s probably nothing.”

“Yeah.” He didn’t sound convinced.

Simon looked up. “But you’re not going to let this go.” It was a statement not a question.

“No.”

Simon put his glasses back on. “Fine. Get out of here. You’re probably not going to get any work done anyway. But I want you back here real fast, you got me?”

Jim gave a wide smile. “Yes sir. Thanks.”

Simon watched his best detective as he rushed out of the bullpen. Shaking his head, he returned to what he was doing. Jim was lucky he was his best detective and his best friend, or he might not be so inclined to put up with this shit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duncan parked in front of 852 Prospect Avenue, and he and Blair got out. They stopped at the door. Duncan looked up at the building. It was very nice. The building looked to be in pretty good condition in a nice neighborhood. Much better than that warehouse.

“So this is where you’re living now, huh?”

“Yep. Third floor, Apartment 307. You want to come up and see it?”

“Uh, no. Actually, I’ve got things I need to attend to. Maybe some other time.”

“Oh, ok. Well, thanks for lunch. It was great,” Blair said with a smile.

Duncan smiled back. “Well, I couldn’t come to town without visiting my son, now could I?”

Blair smiled appreciatively. He was practically glowing with pleasure. “So how long will you be in town for?”

“I don’t know. A few days, maybe a week. We’ll see. Listen, I gotta get going. I’ll see you later.”

Blair waved good-bye as Duncan got into his car and left. He felt good. No, he felt great, excellent, better than he had in a while. He enjoyed having his dad around. It always made him feel whole, like a piece that he hadn’t even known was missing was suddenly put into place. He wished that MacLeod was his real Dad and that he could have been there when he was growing up. But at least he saw him every once in a while, and they tried to keep in touch over the phone.

After Duncan’s car was out of sight, Blair turned and, with a bounce in his step, entered the building. Unbeknownst to him, a man stood in an alleyway nearby. He had heard the whole conversation. After watching Blair enter the building, the man walked out onto the street and head toward his car. So, the young man was MacLeod’s son, he thought. His boss would pay handsomely for that information, he hoped. He got into his car and drove away.

Blair entered the loft and ran into a veritable wall of muscle. Jumping back, he looked up at Jim who was standing just inside the door with his arms crossed.

“Jesus Jim! You scared the crap out of me. What are you doing here anyway? Shouldn’t you be at work?” he asked as he made his way into the kitchen.

“Blair, we need to talk.”

Blair paused at the serious tone in his partner’s voice. He turned around. “What about?”

“MacLeod.”

Puzzled, Blair asked, “Ok, what do you want to know?”

“How well do you know him?”

“I told you. He dated my mom for a while and we lived with him when I was a kid.”

“What about now?”

“Well, he used to be an antiques dealer. He and his girlfriend Tessa used to own an antique store, but he sold it after Tessa died. Now he runs a dojo. Why are you asking?”

Jim ran his hand through his hair. He hated what he was about to say, but he couldn’t help what he was feeling and he couldn’t keep it from his guide. “I don’t trust him.”

“What? Why?”

“I just have a bad feeling about him. I think he might be a danger to you.”

“What!” Blair exclaimed, outraged. “That’s ridiculous! He’s my dad. Maybe not by blood but by every other way possible, and he would never hurt me.”

“Sandburg, did you happen to notice that he fits the description of the man seen leaving the crime scene minutes after the murder took place? And he also drives a black T-Bird. I’m sorry, Blair, but I have to follow the evidence and right he’s our prime suspect.”

Blair backed up a step. No, couldn’t be, could it? But then, it did make sense. The beheading, the blown out windows, the burn marks at the scene, all evidence of a quickening. Why didn’t he see it before? Maybe he didn’t want to. Could that have been the business that Mac was talking about? If he did kill that guy, then he couldn’t let Jim know that. He wouldn’t understand. He’d just arrest him. He quickly put on an angry expression.

“No!” he yelled. “He didn’t kill him! I’ve known him since I was five years old. He’s not a murderer! He couldn’t do something like that!”

“Blair, listen to me,” Jim said gently, putting his hands on Blair’s shoulders. “I did a background check on him.”

“You did what?” he almost growled.

“He’s been involved in several police investigations in both Paris and Seacuver, some involving murders.”

“I can’t believe you did that!” Blair yelled, pushing Jim’s hands away roughly. He was truly angry now. How dare he do something like that?

“Chief, listen…”

“No, you listen! Duncan MacLeod is the kindest, gentlest, most honorable man I’ve ever met. He would never kill in cold blood, and you had no right to do a background check on him!”

He pushed past Jim and left, slamming the door hard on Jim’s plea for him to come back. But he couldn’t. He was afraid if he stayed he might say something that he’d regret later.

He was still furious as he drove toward the hotel where Duncan was staying. He couldn’t believe Jim would do that. Didn’t he trust him at all? As he continued to drive, he began to cool down and think rationally again. And he realized that Jim was probably just trying to look out for him, to protect him. After all, Jim was his Blessed Protector. That was his job. It still made him mad though that he would go behind his back like that.

Blair pushed thoughts of Jim to back of his mind. He’d deal with the sentinel later. Right now he had to concentrate on Mac. It was conceivably possible that Duncan did kill Thomas Menard. It was all part of the Game that all immortals participated in. Well, most of them anyway. He understood that Mac was just doing what he had to do to survive. It was kill or be killed in the world of immortals. It took him a while to understand the concept of Mac killing people, but he finally did. Of course, that didn’t mean he had to like it. He tried not to talk about it or even think about it.

He had to find out for sure if Mac was responsible for Menard’s death, and if he was, then he had to figure out a way to steer Jim’s attention away from his father. Jim would never understand. He’d just try to arrest him, and Blair couldn’t let that happen. He hated keeping secrets from his best friend, but this secret wasn’t his to tell.

Blair sighed. Why did things have to get so complicated? He could remember when things were so simple. He could remember when he was just a carefree kid once upon a time. Then he found out his adopted father’s secret. He still remembered the day he found out. He was just a kid at the time, but he would never forget that day.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Paris 1974

Blair sat up on his makeshift bed that was made up on Duncan’s couch. He rubbed his tired eyes with chubby little hands and looked around owlishly. He had awoken to the sound of footsteps. He saw his daddy leaving the barge. He knew it was still very late, and Daddy never went out this late. He looked back toward the big bed where his mommy and daddy slept. Mommy was still asleep so where was Daddy going?

Blair pushed his blankets off and grabbed his teddy bear. It was the one his daddy had given him. He never went anywhere without it. He crawled off the couch and, in his blue footy pajamas, ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the door. When he got outside he saw his daddy walking toward the tunnel beneath the bridge. That tunnel always scared Blair at night because it was so dark, but he couldn’t let his daddy go off at night by himself. What if he got hurt? Clutching his big, brown teddy bear tight, he walked carefully down the ramp.

Blair tried to keep up with his dad’s longer strides, but he soon lost sight of him. He paused and looked around. The shadows seemed to reach out for him. He shivered in fright. All he wanted was his daddy. Then he heard a strange sound, like metal clanging. Holding his teddy bear in front of him like a shield, he followed the sound further down the embankment.

He stopped abruptly when he saw Daddy kneeling on the ground in front of another man who was holding a sword. He could see blood on his daddy’s clothes. Frightened, the boy stood frozen in place.

“Daddy?” he called out.

Both men looked toward the boy.

“Blair, go back to the barge,” Duncan said.

“No Daddy,” Blair said, shaking his head vigorously.

“Blair, do as I say.”

“Please don’t hurt my daddy,” Blair pleaded, tears running down his face.

Duncan looked up at his opponent. “Please. You can have my head. Just don’t do it in front of my son.”

The man looked at the frightened child and then back at Duncan. “I had a son myself once.” He lowered his sword. “Another time, MacLeod.” And with that, he turned and walked away.

After he was gone, Duncan finally succumbed to his injuries and collapsed to the ground dead. With a loud cry, Blair ran to the fallen man.

“Daddy? Daddy, come back! Don’t leave me! Daddy!” Blair cried. He collapsed onto his father’s unmoving chest and began sobbing uncontrollably.

There was a sudden gasp from the man beneath him, and Blair jumped back with a cry. Duncan slowly sat up and looked at his frightened son.

“It’s ok, Blair. Don’t be afraid.”

“Daddy?” Blair said carefully.

“Yeah, it’s me. It’s ok.”

“But…but you were dead, weren’t you?”

“Yes, but I’m not anymore. Come here.” He held out his arms, and Blair eagerly climbed into them. Duncan pulled Blair into his lap and hugged him tightly. “I’m all right. See?” He lifted his shirt to show the unmarred skin. “Not even a scratch left.”

Blair’s small fingers touched the smooth skin. “How’d you do that?”

“It’s hard to explain. You see I’m not like most people. I can heal really fast, and I don’t die so easily.”

“Like magic?” Blair asked, his eyes practically lighting at the thought.

Duncan smiled. “Yeah, kind of.”

“What about that man? The one who hurt you?”

“He’s like me, but you don’t have to worry about him, ok? You won’t ever see him again, I promise. Now, Blair, you can’t tell anyone what you saw here, ok? This will just be between you and me, our little secret. Don’t even tell your mom. Ok?”

Blair nodded. “I promise.”

“There’s a good boy. Now come on.” He pulled Blair into his arms and stood up. “Let’s get back before your mom wakes up.”

Blair laid his head on his daddy’s shoulder trustingly, suddenly very tired. “Daddy?” he said sleepily.

“Hm?”

“I’m glad you’re magic.”

The little boy slowly fell asleep to the soft caress of his father’s hand on his back.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Blair pulled into the parking lot of the hotel. He would never forget how scared he was when he saw some guy about to cut off his father’s head. It was his first exposure to the immortal world, and when Mac first explained it, he thought it was kind of cool. How many kids could say that their dad was magical?

But when he got older and Duncan explained to him a little bit more about immortals and the Game, he realized it wasn’t cool. It was horrible and cruel and barbaric. He hadn’t liked the thought of people going around chopping each other’s heads off, and he especially didn’t like the idea that his dad was one of them.

He drove around the parking lot looking for a place to park. He found one not too far from the entrance. He went inside and asked the desk clerk which room Duncan MacLeod was in. He was told that he was in room 202 but was not in at the moment. Sighing, he decided to wait for him in the lobby.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duncan turned onto 101st street. Shortly after he had gotten back from dropping Blair off, he had gotten a phone call from Joe. The watcher had told him that Jacob Calhoun had been spotted heading down 101st headed toward the beach and that there was reportedly another immortal in the beach area. The immortal was fairly young by immortal standards, only about 50 or so. Figuring that Calhoun was after this immortal, Duncan had gotten back into his car.

Arriving at the beach, he got out of the car. Because of the cool weather, the beach was mostly deserted. Duncan only took a few steps when he felt the buzz in the back of his head indicating another immortal presence. Looking around, he saw Calhoun getting out a van not too far away.

“You’re beginning to get on my nerves, MacLeod,” Calhoun said as Duncan approached him.

“Well, you could put a stop to that. All you got to do is fight me.”

Calhoun smiled. “I don’t think so. I’ve got other things to do. Maybe another time.”

“I know why you’re here.”

“Good for you. I’m happy you figured it out,” Calhoun said sarcastically.

Duncan was beginning to get annoyed with this guy’s attitude. “This ends here, Calhoun.”

“Oh, I don’t think so. Boys.” The van doors opened and three guys stepped out, all of them with guns. “Would you be so kind as to take care of Mr. MacLeod here?”

They surrounded Duncan, one on each side and one behind him. Duncan didn’t react. He just kept his eyes on Calhoun.

“What’s the matter, Calhoun? Need other people to do your dirty work for you?” MacLeod said.

“Well, if these guys are willing to do what I tell them for a small price, who am I to argue? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a head to take.” With a smile, he turned and walked down to the beach, leaving Duncan alone with the three goons.

Duncan watched him go until one of the men jabbed him in the ribs with his gun. “Move,” he ordered.

MacLeod turned and started walking in the opposite direction. Without warning, he elbowed the guy to his left in the gut and then grabbed the guy on his right by the arm and flung him into the first guy, knocking them to the ground. He quickly moved out of the way before the third guy could shoot him. After the first shot, he kicked the gun out of his hand and performed a roundhouse kick to the guys head, rendering him unconscious.

He spun around to the face the other two men as they were getting to their feet. He kicked one in the chest and then grabbed the other one’s gun arm and punched him in the face. That guy dropped like a stone, leaving only one guy standing. Unfortunately, this guy managed to get his gun up and fired. The bullet caught Duncan in the shoulder, but it didn’t slow him down. He kicked the guy in the stomach, wrestled the gun from his hand, ad knocked him out with it.

Ignoring the pain in his shoulder, he tossed the gun aside and ran in the direction Calhoun had gone. Maybe he’d be able to make it before he killed another immortal. He ran as fast he could down through the sand. He stopped when he saw the beginnings of a quickening. Damn it! He was too late, and it was too far away. There was no way he could make there before Calhoun disappeared. The guy was an expert at disappearing without a trace. He turned and headed back to his car.

Arriving back at his hotel, he grabbed his jacket from the seat. He had discarded it earlier when it got too warm. He put it on to cover the blood on his shirt from his already healed wound and got out of the car. He didn’t even notice Blair waiting for him in the lobby until he heard his name called.

“Blair, what are you doing here?” he asked.

“We need to talk.”

The serious tone in his son’s voice had alarm bells going off in Duncan’s head. “Sure. Let’s go up to my room.”

“So what’s on your mind?” MacLeod asked once they were in the room.

“That business you told me about. That wouldn’t happen to be immortal business, would it?” Blair asked.

Duncan looked into Blair’s eyes. He looked troubled. Something was bothering him. “Why do you ask?”

“Because my partner is investigating a murder. A man was decapitated. Thomas Menard, did you kill him?”

Duncan sighed. He knew that Blair had trouble accepting what he was and what he did. “No, I didn’t,” he replied.

Blair looked at him for a moment. “But you were there.” He wasn’t accusing. He was simply stating a fact.

“Yes, I was.”

“You know who did it.”

Duncan sat down on the bed, trying to decide how much he should tell him. “The guy’s name is Jacob Calhoun. He’s been around for about 300 years, and he’s been a headhunter for just about as long.”

“Headhunter?”

“He travels around killing any immortal he comes across no matter who they are, and he doesn’t exactly fight fair. He’ll use every trick he can think of to win.”

“Is that why you’re after him?”

“Yes. I followed him here from Seacuver. He had already killed a lot of people, and some of them weren’t immortals. He also killed a very good friend of mine.”

Blair nodded and took a deep breath. He ran his hand through his hair as he started to pace around the room. “Ok. I’ve got to think of something,” he started mumbling.

“Blair.” When Blair continued to babble and pace, Duncan got up from the bed and stepped in front of him. “Blair, what are you talking about?”

“You’re the prime suspect in Thomas Menard’s murder.”

“What?”

“There was a witness who saw you leaving the warehouse that night. Jim noticed that you fit the description. He’s going to start investigating you. He’s already done a background check on you. He found out about the other police investigations that you’ve been involved in.”

“Damn it.” He hadn’t thought there would be anyone there to see him leaving.

“I’m sorry.”

Duncan looked into Blair blue eyes and saw the anguish and guilt there. He gripped the young man’s shoulders gently.

“Hey, this is not your fault, and you don’t have to worry about it. This is my problem.”

Blair shook his head. “No, it’s my problem too. You’re my dad, the only one I’ve ever known. I can’t just let you get arrested for something you didn’t do. It’s just that I don’t know what to do. Jim’s my best friend. I don’t like to lie to him, but I can’t tell him the truth.”

Blair turned away, running a hand through his curls. He had to think of a way to get Jim to focus on someone else rather than Mac, but he couldn’t just point the finger at some innocent person. He could tell Jim about Jacob Calhoun, but then he’d have to explain where he got the name and why he thought he was the one who killed Menard. Those were questions he didn’t want to answer.

Duncan watched Blair’s agitated movements. His son was in turmoil, and he couldn’t stand it anymore. He placed his hand on Blair’s shoulder. The young man paused immediately at the comforting touch.

“Blair, do you trust him?”

Blair looked puzzled. “Huh?”

“Jim. Do you trust him?”

“Of course,” Blair said without hesitation.

“Then that’s good enough for me. Come on. Let’s go.” MacLeod headed for the door.

Blair was still confused. “Where are we going?”

Duncan opened the door and stood waiting. “Your place,” he replied. “We’re going to tell him. Everything.”

“Wait, what? Are you sure?”

“If you trust him, then I trust him. It’s the only way to get us out of this situation.”

Blair stared transfixed. He couldn’t believe it. Mac was willing to tell his most deepest secret to someone he didn’t even know just help Blair. The young anthropologist was grateful for this man. It was times like this that he wished Mac really was his father. Blair smiled.

“Thanks. I gotta warn you though,” he said as he followed Duncan out the door. “This isn’t going to be easy.”

“It never is.”

“Yeah, but you don’t know Jim. He’s about the most closed-minded person I’ve every met. This will take some convincing.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jacob Calhoun paced the confines of an office in a large Victorian house in front of his three hires. Each one was covered with bruises and blood. He shook his head.

“I asked for only one thing. To take care of MacLeod, and you couldn’t even do that.”

“The guy was good,” one of them said, holding a Kleenex to his bloody nose.

“I know he’s good!” Calhoun shouted. “There are three of you and only one of him. You all had guns. He was unarmed. I fail to see the problem.”

“He was just too fast,” one of the others said.

Calhoun opened his mouth to shout an angry retort when there was a knock on the door. “Come in!” he yelled.

The door opened slowly and a dark-haired man entered carrying what looked like photographs in his hand. Calhoun recognized him as David Harvey, the man he had hired to follow MacLeod around.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Harvey said.

“It’s fine. Come in. What do you have for me?”

Harvey walked into the room and handed Calhoun the pictures. Calhoun looked through the pictures rather quickly until he came to the ones containing MacLeod and another young man.

“This is the man you told me about?” Calhoun asked.

“Yes. His name’s Blair. He’s MacLeod’s son.”

Calhoun was intrigued. “Really. That’s interesting. You got a last name?”

“No, but I know where he lives.”

Calhoun looked up when no further information was given. “So where?”

“Uh uh. Not until I see some money.”

Calhoun went around the mahogany desk, opened the top drawer and pulled around a thick envelope. He tossed it to Harvey. Harvey opened it with eager fingers and started counting the wad of cash inside.

“Where?” Calhoun asked again.

“852 Prospect Avenue Apartment 307.”

“Good. Now get out.”

Once Harvey was gone, Calhoun looked at one of the pictures of the two men eating lunch and laughing.

“What do you plan to do?” one of his men asked.

“I need to get MacLeod off my back, and I think I know just how to do it.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair parked next to Jim’s Expedition. He had called Jim on the way and asked the detective to meet him back at the loft. Duncan got out of the Volvo first. Blair took a few minutes to gather his thoughts and prepare himself for what was to come. It wasn’t going to be easy convincing Jim that immortals existed. Finally ready, he got out of the car and they both entered the building.

Jim had heard them the minute they had pulled up and was ready to open the door when he heard them walking down the hall.

“Chief, why did you want to meet here?” Jim asked, stepping aside the let the pair in. His gaze immediately locked onto MacLeod. “And why is he here?”

“Jim, we need to talk,” Blair said.

“About what?”

“About Mac and the victim. Um…” He looked to Duncan for help. “You want to start?”

Duncan nodded. They all took a seat at the kitchen table, and MacLeod began his tale. He told about immortals and the game. He told about how he was born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1592 and how he became immortal. Jim sat and listened without a word, without expression. When Mac was done explaining, he didn’t say anything at first, and Duncan and Blair exchanged looks.

“You’re joking, right? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve every heard. It’s a nice story MacLeod, but if you did kill Thomas Menard, it won’t save you.”

“Jim, come on,” Blair pleaded. “He’s telling the truth.”

“And you actually believe this, Chief? Are you really that gullible?”

“Of course I believe it. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I witnessed Mac come back to life when I was kid. I’ve seen him fight. This isn’t a joke.”

“You were five years old, Sandburg. How the hell can you be sure what you saw?”

“I didn’t just see it when I was five. I actually saw Mac take a head and a quickening when I was sixteen. That’s when he explained to me about immortals and the game.”

Jim just shook his head and walked over to the balcony windows. Glancing at Mac, Blair got up and followed him.

“Come on, Jim. Is this any weirder than heightened senses and spirit animals?” he asked in a low voice.

“Well, at least heightened senses can be explained. It’s science not science fiction.”

“And spirit animals?”

Jim continued to stare out the window. He had nothing to say to that. Spirit animals weren’t exactly science either. They were more mystical than anything else, and as much as he hated to admit it, they were real. He could feel it. He looked into Blair’s pleading blue eyes.

“You really believe in this, don’t you?” he asked.

“Yes,” Blair replied.

“I don’t know, Chief. People living forever, going around cutting each other’s heads off. It sounds a little far-fetched.”

Blair glanced back at Mac who was still seated at the table. “Well,” he said, “we can prove it to you.”

Blair led Jim back to the kitchen table. He pulled his Swiss army knife from his pocket and held it up in front of Duncan. MacLeod accepted the knife and proceeded to cut a large, deep gash into his palm. Jim watched as tendrils of electricity formed. They pulled the wound closed. Jim was lost in those tendrils as they slowly mended the skin back together until there was nothing left but some excess blood. Jim felt himself entering a zone out, but he was too stunned to stop himself.

MacLeod wiped the blood away to show the unbroken skin. Blair looked at his friend carefully trying to gauge his reaction.

“Well, Jim? Now do you believe us?”

Blair frowned when Jim gave no indication that he had heard. He realized that Jim was zoned and swore silently to himself. With a quick glance at Mac, he moved to his sentinel’s side and gripped his arm.

“Jim? Come on, Jim. This is not a good time. Come on back, big guy. Follow my voice.”

“Is he alright?” Duncan asked.

Blair ignored him in favor of concentrating on getting his sentinel back. He continued to rub Jim’s arm and talk in low tones. Awareness returned within a few minutes, and Jim took a few steps back, trying to clear his head.

“Are you back with us, man?” Blair asked.

Jim nodded as he sat down on the couch. He looked a little stunned. “Oh my god,” he whispered. He looked up at Mac. “What was that?”

“The quickening. It’s our power, our knowledge, our life force. It’s what brings us back to life. It’s what heals us. It’s what makes us immortal.”

Jim stared down at the floor, thinking. “That’s what that was,” he muttered.

“What?” Blair asked.

“When I shook his hand, I felt something. It was kind of like an electric shock but different.”

“Oh my god,” Blair said awe. “You felt his quickening? That is so cool! Hey, I wonder if you could tap into the immortal buzz. That could come handy.”

Jim held up his hands. “Whoa, hold on there, Darwin. Immortal buzz?”

“It’s a feeling we get whenever another one of us is around. Kind of like an early warning system. Did you just say that you felt my quickening?” Duncan asked. “How?”

Jim and Blair glanced at each other, but before they could come up with an answer, Duncan figured it out first. He smiled warmly.

“You found him. You found your sentinel.”

“You told him about sentinels,” Jim said, his eyes filled with accusation.

“Well, yeah, but that was way before I even met you. I had just started studying sentinels. I was excited. I told everyone I knew. But I didn’t tell him about you.”

“Jim, don’t worry. I’m not going to tell anyone. Believe me. I know the value of keeping something like this a secret. Being experimented on is not exactly fun, and for someone like you, I’m sure it would be worse. You’re secret is safe with me.”

Jim surveyed the man in front of him. He saw the sincerity on his face and could hear it in his voice. It was almost as if he was speaking from experience. Then he realized that he was and suddenly the mistrust he’d had for this man was gone. Jim nodded.

“Thank you.”

There was silence between the three men. Each man was lost in his owns thoughts. Finally, Blair couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Well, is anyone hungry?” he asked.

Jim looked at his watch, startled to find that it was almost dinner time. They’d been talking for hours.

“I could eat,” Duncan said.

Duncan and Blair both looked to Jim. He really didn’t feel much like eating. MacLeod’s astonishing tale had just chased the thought of food right out of his head.

“I’m not really hungry,” Jim replied.

Blair threw a concerned looked his partner’s way, but he didn’t notice as he turned to walk back toward the balcony windows again.

“Well, how about I take a walk to the supermarket just down the street and pick up a few things,” Blair said, grabbing his coat and keys. “I’ll whip up something when I get back. You guys just stay here and get to know each other better.”

Before either man could object, Blair was already out the door and down the hall. The older men stared after him. Then they looked at each other.

“Was he this energetic as a kid?” Jim asked.

“More so.”

Jim nodded and turned back to the window. He wasn’t surprised.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair headed down the stairs (the elevator was broken again). He really hoped that Jim and Mac could become friends. He cared about both men deeply, and he didn’t want to see them fighting. He thought that they could be really good friends if Jim could get passed the immortal thing. It could be difficult though for a man like Jim to accept something like that. It might take some time.

He reached the ground floor and walked out onto the street. He was walking past an alley when strong arms suddenly wrapped around his midsection and pulled into the alley.

“Hey! What are you doing? Let go of me!” he yelled.

He bucked and kicked, trying to the get the stranger to release his grip. He was suddenly thrown into the side of the brick building. He slid limply to the ground dazed. Black spots filled his vision as he felt more hands grab his arms and haul him to his feet. He was vaguely aware of being thrown into the back of a van and then he knew nothing more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim sat down at the table next to Duncan. “Let me ask you something, MacLeod. Thomas Menard, he was immortal, wasn’t he?”

“Yes, and before you ask, I was there but I didn’t kill him.”

“But you know who did,” Jim stated.

“Yes, and when I find him, he’s dead.”

“Why do you want him so bad?”

“He killed a good friend of mine. He doesn’t fight fair, and he doesn’t just kill immortals.”

Jim nodded in understanding. He was about to say something when his hearing automatically latched onto his partner’s suddenly frantic heartbeat. Tilting his head, he listened closely.

“Hey! What are you doing? Let go of me!” he heard Blair yell followed by the sound of flesh impacting something hard and unforgiving.

“Shit,” he swore as he got to his feet and grabbed his keys, heading out the door.

“What’s wrong?” Duncan asked, following him.

“Blair’s in trouble.”

Jim raced down the stairs closely followed by MacLeod. They made it outside in time to see Blair being thrown into a black nondescript van. Tires squealed as the van took off from the curb. Swearing under his breath, Jim ran to his Expedition and got into the driver’s side. Duncan was barely able to get into the passenger side before Jim pulled out of the parking space and chased after the retreating van.

Jim kept his hearing on his partner’s heartbeat, which was slower now, indicating that he was most likely unconscious. He could barely keep up with the careening van. It had already had a considerable head start. But he was able to follow the rhythmic thumping of Blair’s heart.

He was just catching up with the van when a loud car horn pierced his eardrums and went straight into his brain. He clamped his hands over his ears, losing control of the car. The car started to wander into oncoming traffic. Duncan quickly grabbed the steering wheel and jerked it to the right to avoid crashing headlong into a semi. He steered the car to the side of the road and was able to get his foot on the brake. Putting the car in park, he grabbed Jim’s arm.

“Jim? Are you ok?”

Jim was able to get his hearing back under control. He lowered his hands and looked at MacLeod’s concerned face. Then he realized that they were stopped, that they had lost them.

“Damn it!” he yelled, angrily hitting the steering wheel.

“This is his doing, isn’t it?” Jim asked as the two entered the loft. “The one you’re after.”

“Calhoun. He didn’t come himself. I would have felt him, but those were probably his hired help,” Duncan replied.

“Why would he want Blair?”

“He probably kidnapped him to force my hand or yours.”

“Are you sure he won’t just kill him?” Jim asked, afraid of the answer.

“No,” Duncan replied, shaking his head. “If Calhoun wanted him dead, they would have killed him in that alley.”

Jim took comfort in that. Now he had to figure out how to find this guy and get his partner back.

Both men nearly jumped out of their skin when Jim’s cell phone rang. Jim pulled out the device and looked the caller ID.

“That’s Blair’s cell phone number,” he said, looking up at MacLeod.

Duncan took the phone from Jim and answered it. “Calhoun.”

“MacLeod. How are you?”

“If you touch one hair on his head, I swear I’ll…”

“You’re in no position to be making threats. I have your son. If you ever want to see him alive again, you’ll stay away from me. Give up this little vendetta of yours and go back to Seacuver. Once you’ve done that, I’ll let him go.”

Duncan glanced at Jim whom he knew as listening. Jim shook his head.

“No way. How do I know you’ll let him go?”

“I’ll call you. Let you know where he is.”

“How do I know he’s not dead already?”

“I guess you’ll just have to trust me.”

“Let me talk to him.”

“I’m sorry. He can’t talk right now. He’s unconscious at the moment. Think about it. I’ll call back in an hour.”

The line went dead. MacLeod snapped the phone shut. He looked at Jim. “So what do we do now?”

Jim sat down at the table and rubbed his face. “We have to figure out where he’d take Blair. Do you have any idea?”

“No, but I know someone who could help.”

He flipped open the cell phone again and dialed a familiar number. “Hey Joe, I need to know where Calhoun is right now.”

“Sure thing, Mac. Just give me some time.”

“No, we don’t have time. The son of a bitch kidnapped my son. We need to find him now,” MacLeod said forcefully.

There was a minute of silence and then Joe replied, “All right, Mac. Let me check with my people. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

“Thanks Joe.” He closed the phone and handed it back to Jim.

“Who was that?”

“Joe Dawson. He’s a friend of mine. He’s got people on the trail of Calhoun. They’ll find him.”

Jim nodded. He wasn’t even going to ask. The less he knew about immortals and their connections the better. Besides, he was too worried about his partner to think about anything else. He knew Blair was injured, but he didn’t how bad. And he didn’t know how long he could stay alive. He highly doubted Calhoun was just going to let him go if MacLeod went back to Seacuver. He didn’t strike Jim as being honorable. He hoped this Joe Dawson got back to them soon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair awoke with a splitting headache and the sensation of lying on cold concrete. He warily sat up and waited for the dizziness to pass. Looking around, he saw that he was in a dimly lit basement. He hadn’t the slightest idea how he got there. The last thing he remembered was heading to the supermarket and then being attacked.

He could feel something warm dripping down the side of his face and realized that it was blood. He tried to put his hand to his aching head and discovered that his left hand was handcuffed to a pipe on the wall. He tugged on the pipe, trying to see if maybe he could pull it from the wall, but it wouldn’t budge.

The door to the basement opened and light flooded into the room temporarily blinding the captive. A man walked down the wooden steps and stood in front of his prisoner.

“Ah, you’re awake.”

“Who are you? What do you want?” Blair asked.

“I want MacLeod out of my way, and you’re my insurance that he’ll cooperate.”

Blair’s eyes widened. “You’re Calhoun, aren’t you?”

“I see you’ve heard of me,” he said proudly.

“Yeah, you’re a murderer.”

Calhoun smiled. “If you think about it, all immortals are murderers, including your father.”

“Yeah, but not all immortals kill normal people too. Not all immortals go around looking for a fight. They only kill to survive not for pleasure.”

“Oh you’re a boy scout just like your dad,” Calhoun sneered. “Well, you know I don’t really like boy scouts. They’re too good, and they get on my nerves. Enjoy your stay. You’ll be here a while.” He walked back up the stairs and slammed the door closed behind him, and Blair was left alone in the dim basement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a half hour before Jim’s cell phone. Jim handed MacLeod the phone after taking a look at the caller ID.

“Joe, what do you have for me?” Duncan answered.

“Ok, one of my watchers reported seeing Calhoun heading down a dirt road off of I-90 that apparently leads to a house in the forest. I looked at Calhoun’s records. It seems that he worked for a contracting company in the mid-1800s. As payment he was given the deed to one of the houses he helped build. Looks like this house is it.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s great,” Duncan said impatiently. “Look, I don’t need the history lesson, Dawson. Just tell me where it is.”

“All right. The address is 4700 Pathfinder Road. It’s just past Route 59.”

“Great. Thanks Joe.” He hung up and turned to Jim. “Did you get that?”

“Yeah. Let’s go.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair sighed and slumped against the wall. He had tried to pull the cuff over his hand, but it was too tight. He finally had to stop trying as his wrist was getting raw. He sighed. Too bad there wasn’t any oil dripping from the ceiling, he thought, remembering the time when he and Jim were on the oil rig and Blair was able to slip the handcuffs off after rubbing oil on his wrists.

As he tried to think of another option, he remembered his Swiss army knife. He reached into his jeans pocket, surprised to find that it was still there. Looked like this guy was a little too cocky. Smiling, he used the knife to pick the lock on the cuffs. After he was free, he stood up, rubbing his sore wrist. He silently made his way up the steps, hoping that they didn’t creak.

He opened the door to a very impressive dining room. It was well furnished and fancy. Either this guy was really wealthy or he killed the previous owners and took over the house for his purposes. Considering who this guy was, Blair was leaning more toward the latter.

He closed the door carefully and tip-toed his way to the front door which was luckily right next to the dining room. Unfortunately, the door was locked, and Blair noticed that a key was needed to unlock it from the inside. Calhoun probably anticipated that he’d try to escape. He tried to see if he could pick it but was interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs behind him. Swearing, he hid in a closet under the stairs.

He left the door open a crack so he could see what Calhoun was doing. He saw the man come down the stairs and enter the living room. Blair watched as he poured himself some scotch and knocked it back in one gulp. Calhoun turned toward him, and he quickly and quietly closed the door, hoping that he didn’t see him.

Calhoun stared at the closet door. He could have sworn he saw it move. Putting his glass down on the table, he walked across the room to the door. He grasped the doorknob and wrenched the door open to find…nothing. Shaking his head, he closed the door and walked away.

Blair peered down from a trapdoor in the ceiling of the closet. He had climbed up there as soon as he heard the footsteps coming closer. It was a good thing he noticed it when he did. It seemed to be some extra storage space. It didn’t go anywhere, but it was a good hiding place.

Blair sighed when the door closed and the footsteps walked away. He waited a minute to make sure he was gone before he climbed back down. Opening the door slowly, he peered around the room and found it to be empty. Well, he’d had no luck with the front door, so maybe he’d try the back. He walked through the living room to the kitchen. He sighed in dismay. The back door was nailed shut. There was a square piece of plywood nailed to the door and the doorframe, effectively sealing it shut. He looked around for something he could use to pry the door open but there was nothing.

He walked back into the living room and tried one of the windows, but it was nailed shut also. A quick check of all the windows in the room revealed the same thing. He was willing to bet that all the windows were nailed shut.

“Damn, what’s with this guy?” Blair muttered. “Is this a house or a prison?”

Ok, he had to think. Maybe he could find a way out upstairs or at least something that could help pry the nails off the back door. But the problem was he didn’t know where Calhoun had gone. The last thing he needed was to run into that guy. But he couldn’t just stand there. What other choice did he have?

He took a deep breath and slowly made his way up the stairs. At the top was a hallway. He looked both ways. All the doors were closed, and there was no one around. He was just going to have to start opening doors.

The first door he came to was a bathroom. The next three were bedrooms. Reaching the end of the hall, he turned around to the go the other way. He was just passing the stairs when he heard a key in the lock in the front door. He quickly ducked back behind the wall just as the front door opened. Then he saw one of the doors at the other end of hall open, and he quickly hid in one of the bedrooms. Leaving it open a crack, he watched Calhoun walk down the stairs. He opened the door a little more so he could hear what the men were saying downstairs.

“So?” Calhoun asked.

“MacLeod’s still in Cascade. He’s with that cop right now,” another voice reported.

“Damn. So MacLeod won’t take me seriously, we’ll just have to show him we mean business. Go grab the kid. It’s time to make another phone call.”

Blair closed the door quietly as his heart started to pound faster. Great, now they were going to discover that he was missing. He had to find a way out of here now, but there was no way out of the room he was in. The windows were nailed shut up here too, and even if he could open them, it was a two story drop. He’d most likely injure himself or worse.

“Jake!”

Blair jumped at the shout and hurried back to the door.

“What is it?” Calhoun asked.

“The kid’s gone! He must have been able to pick the handcuffs!”

“Damn it! He has to still be in the house somewhere. You two look upstairs. We’ll check down here.”

Blair saw two men come up the stairs. One went to the right and the other went to the left right toward Blair. He closed the door as quietly as he could and looked around for a place to hide. His gaze settled on the bed. It was an obvious choice, but it was also the only choice. He quickly crawled under the bed just as the door was opening.

Blair held his breath as he watched the man enter. He walked around for a bit and then left. Blair let out the breath he’d been holding. Thank god these guys weren’t very thorough. He crawled out from underneath the bed and opened the door very slowly. He peered out and saw the man enter another room. He looked the other way but didn’t see the second guy. He must be searching another room, Blair thought.

Taking a deep breath, he left the room, hurried down the hall past the stairs, and entered the first door he came across, which happened to be a study or an office of some sort. He went to the desk and searched the drawers for a weapon, a gun perhaps. He growled in frustration as he his searched yielded nothing. He paused as he heard voices out in the hall.

“Did you find him?”

“No. Let’s go back downstairs. Wait…this door wasn’t open before.”

Blair gasped. He’d forgotten to close the door when he left.

“He had to have been here. Search again. He must have gone into one of the other rooms.”

His heart hammering in his chest, he looked around for a way out of this mess. He heard footsteps outside the door. His breathing rapid, he backed away from the door. His brain was frozen. He couldn’t think. He continued to back away, his eyes fixed on the door. He suddenly tripped over a fold in the rug and fell backwards. As he hit the wall, it opened up, and Blair ended sprawled in a secret passage.

Blair sat up slowly, holding the back of his head where it had made contact with the opposite wall. As he heard the door being opening, he scrambled to close the secret door. He leaned against it as he listened to the footsteps on the other side walk around and then leave. He sighed and tried to calm his racing heart. Once he felt remotely calm, he looked around. He seemed to be in a narrow passage behind the wall. It was dark, but Blair could still see some.

He stood up and tried to think what he should do. This passage seemed to be the safest place. He could move throughout the house without anyone seeing him, and hopefully, it could maybe lead to a way out. He picked a way and started walking, keeping one hand on the wall.

He followed the passage for about a half hour. He found several other secret doors that led to the other rooms, but he still hadn’t found the way out. He was starting to get discouraged. How was he going to get out of here? This place was like a maze. He wished Jim would hurry up and get here because he knew that the sentinel was searching diligently for his lost guide and Mac was searching for his lost son. Together they could find him, he hoped. But he couldn’t just wait for them to show up. He had to continue to search for a way out.

He eventually came to a wooden ladder. Dismayed that it led up instead of down, he climbed it anyway. When he reached the top, he found himself in what looked to be an attic. He took a deep breath. He felt relieved to be out of that dark passageway. He felt a cool breeze on his face and basked in it. It felt so good. Wait a minute, he thought. Where was that breeze coming from? He turned and saw an open window.

“Yes!” he crowed with delight. “Finally a window that isn’t nailed shut.”

He hurried over to it and breathed in the crisp, cool night air. It was a large picture window that opened outwards and overlooked the very large backyard. And there was nothing but trees as far he could see so there was no yelling for help. Now the question was how was he going to get down from here?

He started searching around the attic for a rope or a wire, something that he could use to reach the ground. He didn’t find any rope, but he did find a trunk full of old bed sheets. He smiled. This would work. He set to work tying the bed sheets together end to end to form a crude but effective rope. He made sure the knots were tied nice and tight before he tossed it out the window. He looked down and saw that it didn’t quite the reach the ground, but it was close enough to where he wouldn’t hurt himself.

He gave it a couple of hard tugs to make sure it was secure, then he cautiously climbed out the window. Looking down, he tried to push back his fear. Man, he hated heights, but there was no other choice. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, he started to climb down. It seemed to take forever but finally he reached the end of the line. He knew he had to let go. He forced himself not to look down and just let go. The impact with the ground gave his ankles and legs a nice jolt but nothing too damaging.

He got to his feet and ran around to the side of the house. He was heading toward the front when something tripped him. He felt a sharp pain in his left leg as he went sailing forwards and hit the ground hard. He turned over and looked down at his injured leg. There was a deep cut in his shin that was bleeding profusely. Rustling leaves brought his attention up to Calhoun as he walked out of the bushes nearby holding a bloody sword.

He smiled. “Did you really think it would be that easy? I know every inch of this house. I helped build this house, you little asshole. I know all of its secrets. So when I was told that you couldn’t be found anywhere in the house, I knew where you’d ended up, the secret passages. And I knew that it would eventually lead you to the attic where, silly me, I just happen to leave a window open.”

“So you planned this?” Blair asked.

“Of course. Got to plan for every contingency. You don’t get to be alive this long without being prepared.”

“So what now?”

“You’re not worth all this trouble, kid. I think I’ll just kill you. And then I’ll go kill your father.”

Blair saw him raise the sword above his head and closed his eyes waiting for the blow. Oh god. He didn’t want to die. He didn’t want to leave Jim. He knew the sentinel would be devastated by his death. Jim, I’m sorry.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim pulled up in front of the large Victorian house. It had taken hours to reach this isolated location, but finally they had reached the address that Dawson had given them up in the Cascade National Forest. The house was set way back amongst trees away from any prying eyes, perfect for any kind of criminal activity.

Jim and Duncan got out of the truck and looked up at the house. The lights were on so someone was home. Jim looked at MacLeod.

“Go around to the back. I’ll take the front,” he ordered.

Duncan nodded and ran toward the right side of the house while Jim headed toward the front door with his gun out. He walked up the porch steps quietly. He focused his hearing inside the house and found there to be three heartbeats inside, but only one was near the front door.

He kicked the front door open and aimed his gun straight at the man in the living room, who shot up from the couch and reached for his gun that was sitting on the coffee table.

“Police! Freeze! Don’t even think about it.”

The man left the gun where it was and slowly stood up straight with his hands raised. Jim kept his gun aimed at the man. His sharp ears picked up a loud click behind him, and he spun around and shot the guy in the dining room who had been ready to shoot him in the back. Then he turned sharply and shot the guy at the top of the stairs just as he was coming around the corner with a gun. He turned back around to train his gun on the first man before he’d even had the chance to pick up his gun. He had his hand on it but stopped when he saw Jim’s gun aimed at him again.

“Don’t,” Jim said menacingly.

The man wisely left the gun alone. Jim walked toward him and grabbed him by the collar.

“Where’s my partner?” Jim asked.

“I ain’t telling you shit,” the man spat back.

“Where is he!”

Jim’s head cocked as his partner’s voice reached his ears.

“So you planned this?”

“Of course.” Jim recognized the second voice as belonging to Calhoun. “Got to plan for every contingency. You don’t get to be alive this long without being prepared.”

Jim brought his hearing back and hit the man in front of him over the head with his gun, knocking him unconscious. Then he turned and ran out the front door and around to the left side of the house where the voices were coming from. He came upon a scene from his worst nightmares. A man Jim assumed to be Jacob Calhoun was standing over his fallen partner, holding a sword above his head. He raised his gun.

“Cascade PD! Freeze, Calhoun!” he yelled.

Calhoun paused and looked up at the detective. Blair looked back at Jim and then collapsed to the ground in relief.

“Thank god,” Blair sighed.

“Put down the weapon and back away,” Jim ordered.

Calhoun stared at Jim with sword still raised. Then he smiled maliciously and continued his downward thrust. Jim fired and hit the man in the shoulder, knocking him back. But he remained standing and he kept his hold on his sword. When he continued to move forward, Jim fired again and again and again until he was lying on the ground bleeding. He could hear no heartbeat from the man and lowered his gun.

Blair sat up with a wince. He watched as Jim went by and knelt next the body. After a few minutes, he came and knelt beside Blair.

“Chief, are you alright?” he asked worriedly.

“Yeah, I’ll be ok. Let’s just get out of here,” Blair said anxiously. He knew Calhoun wouldn’t stay dead for long. He tried to get up, but a strong hand pushed him back down.

“Hold on there a minute, Sandburg. Let me check out that leg,” Jim said.

“Jim, there’s no time. He’s immortal. He’s gonna come back.”

“Chief, I just put six slugs in the man’s chest. It’s going to take him a while. I’m not going to have you bleeding to death.”

Blair sighed and lay back on the grass. He was exhausted from his daring escape. He just wanted to go home. Jim examined the wound through the torn fabric of Blair’s jeans. It was a deep gash that was bleeding heavily. It was definitely going to need stitches. He quickly took off his jacket and then his outer shirt. Spinning the shirt around by the arms, he wrapped it around Blair’s leg and tied it tightly to help stop the bleeding.

“Ok, let’s go,” Jim said.

There was a loud gasp. Jim spun around, bringing his gun up, and Blair sat up so fast he made himself dizzy. Both watched as Calhoun slowly sat up and looked at them cold grey eyes.

“I really don’t like being shot,” he said. He grabbed his sword and got to his feet.

Jim stood up too, still aiming his gun at the man. “Don’t move.”

Calhoun laughed. “Didn’t you learn the first time? That gun won’t do anything.”

He started toward the two men but stopped suddenly. His eyes going wide, he turned around as MacLeod was walking around the side of the house from the backyard. Duncan looked at Calhoun coolly. He held his Katana in his hands diagonally so that the blade rested alone his left arm.

“No, but this might,” Duncan said.

“Mac!” Blair called.

“MacLeod,” Calhoun sneered.

“This ends here, Calhoun. Now.”

Calhoun slowly reached into his coat and felt around but found nothing.

“Looking for this?” Jim said. He held up the handgun that he had taken from Calhoun when he was ‘dead.’

Calhoun’s face darkened with anger. He started to turn toward the detective.

“Ah, one step and I’ll shoot you in the head,” Jim growled. “It may not kill you, but I’m sure it still hurts a whole hell of a lot. Then you won’t even have a chance to defend yourself.”

Calhoun looked into the cold blue eyes. Then he looked back at MacLeod. Mac kept his face hard. He wasn’t one to take someone’s head while they were down, but Calhoun didn’t need to know that.

Calhoun weighed his options and then turned back to Jim. “I’ll deal with you when I’m done.”

“You’ll have to get by Mac, first,” Blair said confidently. He knew his father’s skills. The man didn’t have a chance.

“No more running, Calhoun,” Duncan called. “No more tricks.” He brought sword up in front of him. He glanced at Jim. “Get him out of here.”

Jim nodded. He put his gun back in its holster at the small of his back and tucked the second into his waistband. Then he bent down and helped Blair to his feet. Blair hissed and bounced a minute on his good leg to get his balance.

“C’mon. Let’s go,” Jim said.

“But Mac…” Blair said, looking back at the two immortals who just circling each other right now.

“You can’t help him now. You trust have trust in him.”

Blair lowered his eyes. He knew Mac was good and that he’d most likely win, but he couldn’t help worrying. Who knew what other tricks this psycho had up his sleeve? He sighed and nodded. He let Jim guide him back to the Expedition that was parked out front.

They both heard the metal clanging of swords before they reached the Expedition. Blair wanted to turn back, his worry for his adopted father showing on his face, but Jim kept them going. He opened the back door of the Expedition and helped Blair onto the back seat, careful not to aggravate Blair’s injury. He then opened the driver’s side door, reached in, and pulled the first aid kit from underneath the seat.

He knelt down in front of his partner and unwrapped the shirt. The wound was still bleeding but not as bad as it had been. He cleaned and disinfected the wound and then bandaged it up. It would have to do until they could get him to a hospital.

Blair didn’t pay attention to Jim’s ministrations. He hissed when Jim started to clean the gash but otherwise his attention was elsewhere. He kept staring toward the sounds of the sword fight taking place just around the side of the house.

“There. That should be good for now,” Jim said. When Blair didn’t respond, he looked up from his handiwork. He saw the worry reflected in Blair’s blue eyes. He stood up and griped Blair’s shoulders. “He’s going to be ok. He’s probably done this a million times.”

“I know,” Blair said, meeting Jim’s eyes. “I just can’t help worrying.”

“Hey,” Jim said, trying to lighten the mood. “What’s to worry about? The guy’s a bumbling fool who needs to cheat to win. I’d say there’s no contest.”

Blair smiled. “Yeah, maybe you’re right. So you finally believe in all this immortal stuff?”

“Hard to deny what your own eyes show you.”

“Well, there is an old saying, ‘seeing is believing.’”

“Yeah, I know the saying.”

“So how do you feel about all this?”

Jim sighed. “I don’t know. I guess it’ll just take some time.”

“I get that. It was the same with me too.”

Jim tilted his head suddenly. He heard one last stroke of a sword followed by the sound of a body thudding to the ground.

“What is it?” Blair asked.

“I think it’s over.”

Blair, knowing what was coming next, urged, “Jim, dial it down. Dial it down now.” He knew the quickening was going to be loud, and he didn’t want his sentinel to spike or zone out.

Jim nodded, indicating that he had heard and had complied. The quickening started with bright flashes of light and bolts of electricity that danced along the house, short-circuiting the lights and blowing out a few windows. Jim had never seen anything light it, and even though he had his senses dialed down, the light was still blinding and the electrical charge in the air almost painful. When it was over, the silence was deafening.

“Jim,” Blair said quietly. The sentinel turned toward his guide. “Can you tell who won?”

Jim dialed up his senses again. He shook his head. “No, but whoever did is heading this way.”

Jim stood between his partner and the man approaching. He had his gun out, ready to defend Blair at all costs. He watched the shadow of a man appear from around the side of the house and head towards him. Jim’s eyes penetrated the darkness until he was finally able to make out the man’s face. He relaxed.

“MacLeod,” he called.

MacLeod looked at him and nodded in acknowledgement before walking past Jim to where Blair still sat. Blair sat up straight and smiled.

“Dad!” he exclaimed.

Mac pulled his son in for a hug, relief flooding his very soul. He would have never forgiven himself if something had happened to the young man who was for all intents and purposes his son. Pulling back, he looked into his son’s eyes.

“Are you alright?”

Blair nodded. “Yeah, I’m ok.”

Mac frowned when he noticed the bandaged leg. He bent to examine it. “What happened?”

“I was trying to get away. He tripped me with his sword.” Blair saw the concern in his Mac’s eyes and rushed to reassure him. “It’s not that bad. Really.”

Mac looked up at Jim questioningly.

“He’ll be ok, but we still need to get him to a hospital.”

“Then let’s go,” Mac said. He patted his son’s cheek once before he stood up and went around to the other side of the Expedition.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of days later, Blair and Jim were walking Mac to his car as the immortal was getting ready to leave. Blair had only had to stay at the hospital for a few hours so that the doctor could stitch up the gash in his leg. Luckily, there hadn’t been any permanent damage, and after filling the prescription for pain meds and antibiotics, he was allowed to go home. He would have a bad limp for a few days, but he didn’t need crutches, much to the young man’s relief.

Duncan had stayed for a couple of days to spend some time with his son and get to know Jim a little better. They couldn’t really go anywhere since Blair was supposed to rest his leg for a few days, but Mac wasn’t complaining. He was just enjoying the time he had with the young man, and he had really started to like Jim as well.

“Are you sure you can’t stay longer?” Blair asked.

Mac stopped next to his car and smiled down at the curly-haired man. “No, I should be heading back. Richie is probably wondering what happened to me.”

“Richie?” Blair asked.

“A friend of mine. Hey, maybe next time you can come visit me. Then you can meet him. Both of you.”

“Really! Cool!” Blair said excitedly, bouncing on his feet. Both older men smiled.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Mac said with a laugh as he pulled his son in for a tight embrace. “It was good seeing you again, Blair.”

“It was good seeing you too.”

“Stay in touch.”

“Oh no doubt.”

Mac turned to Jim and offered his hand. “Jim, it was good meeting you.”

“Yeah, you too, Mac,” Jim said, shaking the immortal’s hand. “Maybe next time it won’t be so adventurous.”

Mac smiled. “No guarantees.”

“I know,” Jim sighed. “But a guy can hope.”

Mac laughed as he got into his car. The partners watched as the black T-Bird drove away.

“See? I told you you guys would get along,” Blair said as he turned to go back into their building.

“When did you say that?” Jim asked, following.

“You mean you don’t remember? Aw Jim, I think you’re getting old. Your memory’s going.”

“Very funny. I’ll give you old.”

Blair laughed as he dodged Jim’s advance as much as his injured leg would allow. Jim managed to get an arm around him and ruffled the young man’s hair. It was good to have the kid back safe.

The End