Summary: Jim and Blair learn a lesson about the dangers of being a cop. Rated PG for some language.
Blair owwies/smarm/hc/angst. Post-TSbyBS, spoilers for same.
Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters are the property of Pet Fly Productions.
Jim Ellison rubbed the back of his neck as he hit the save button on his computer, then proceeded to sign it off.
Standing, he moved toward Simon Bank's office and poked his head in. "Goodnight Simon, see you in the morning."
"Jim, didn't know you were still here. Where's your partner?" Was the response from the captain.
"Sandburg took off a little early tonight, he wanted to visit one of his old professors in the hospital. The guy had a heart attack earlier this week, and they moved him out of CCU today, so this was Blair's first chance to see him."
"That's right, I remember him saying something about that earlier this week. Glad to hear that his friend is doing better."
"Yeah, me too. Well, have a good night. Try not to spend all of it here."
Closing the manila folder in front of him, Simon answered. "You too. And don't worry, I won't be too far behind you."
Blair Sandburg checked his watch as he left Cascade General Hospital. Six o'clock, good, he should be getting home just about the same time as his partner. Pulling his coat around him, he ducked out into the dark night. It was weather as usual in Cascade, rainy and cold, like just about any other night in early April. As much as he hated the rain, even more so he hated the darkness. He kept telling himself that the days were getting longer, but it just didn't seem that way with the ever present dark clouds above.
Making his way toward his car, he reflected on his visit with Professor Lamb. He had been one of the first teachers the young anthropology student had had, and had made a significant impression on a young smart-ass sixteen year old who had thought he ruled the world. The man was in his late sixties now, and had retired from Rainier University three years ago. Unlike many others still employed at the University, the Professor had never changed the way he treated Blair after he had denounced his dissertation, declaring it a fraud. He and Blair had never really spoken about it, except for Lamb telling him that he knew that Blair had to have done it for a reason, and he hoped that the sacrifices he had made were worth it. Blair had assured him they were, and the matter was dropped.
As the young detective reached his car, he was brought out of reverie by a movement in the shadows to his left. Straining to see, he wished he had his best friend's heightened sense of sight. He could just make out the outline of a person standing near the bushes.
As he continued to watch, the individual, a man, moved out into the parking lot, intently watching something. Turning to see what held the man's attention, Blair noticed a nurse walking several yards ahead of him, towards her car.
Just then, the man passed under a light, and the detective was able to get a better look at his face. His heart caught in his throat when he realized that he'd seen the face before, having come across his desk at the station in the form of a wanted notice. The face belonged to Denny Perry, wanted in California and Oregon for the rapes and murders of at least five young women. All police in Washington state had been put on alert for the felon, as it was thought that he had been heading their way.
'Well, this time, you are not going to get away with it!' Blair thought to himself. Quietly opening the door to his car, he slid in and grabbed his radio. "Dispatch, this is Detective Sandburg. I'm in parking lot 10B at Cascade General, and I've sighted Denny Perry. Repeat, I've sighted wanted felon Denny Perry at Cascade General. Please respond units."
A tinny voice crackled a response over his radio. "Copy that, Sandburg. All units, in the vicinity of Cascade Hospital, please respond. Felon Denny Perry had been sighted at the hospital."
Jim Ellison had just pulled out of the parking garage of the police station when he heard the call. The hospital was several blocks away, and there was a good chance that several patrol units could respond quicker, but there was no way the he wasn't going to be there for is partner.
"Dispatch, this is Ellison, please be advised that I am responding to Detective Sandburg's incident"
"10-4" As she responded to him, the dispatcher smiled. She has expected nothing less.
Flipping down his visor and switching on his flashing lights, Jim grabbed his radio again. "Sandburg, this is Jim, we're on our way. Don't move in until I get there. Hear me? Wait for back up."
Blair heard his partner's plea, and had every intention of doing just that. After all, that was one of the things you were taught in the police academy. Never enter into a dangerous situation without back up.
Unfortunately, Perry had never attended the police academy, and was already upon his victim. Blair moved to intercept him.
Drawing his gun, he moved toward the man, who now had a hold on the woman, one hand over her mouth and the other one struggling to open the car door.
"Police, release her and move away from the car!" Blair commanded.
Surprised, Perry's head shot up looked around, finally seeing the detective. "Where the hell did you come from?" He asked.
"I said release her, and move away from the car!" Blair answered.
In response, the criminal pushed the woman roughly to the ground and drew a pistol from his waistband. Firing wildly, he turned and ran.
Blair ducked behind a car when he saw Perry draw his gun, still watching the criminal through a windshield. He sighed in relief when the man made no move to grab his hostage again, but instead make a run for it.
Standing, the young man moved toward the victim, stopping to make sure she was okay. Helping her to her feet, he determined that she was shaken but unharmed. Looking toward the street, he caught sight of Perry. Hesitating only a moment, he took of after him.
Jim brought his truck to an abrupt halt at the edge of parking lot 10B. Jumping out, he ran toward the young woman, now surrounded by two uniformed officers.
Looking up, one of the uniforms said to him. "Her name's Nancy Andrews. She seems okay. Just upset."
Jim gave him a curt nod, his attention focused on the fact that neither the perp or his partner were anywhere to be found. Looking at the officer, he said. "Where's Sandburg?"
The other patrolman spoke up. "Don't know sir, we just go here ourselves. The victim was the only one around when we got here."
Jim looked at the victim, now crying hysterically. Placing what he hoped to be a comforting arm on her shoulder, he said, "Ma'am, I'm Detective Ellison with the Cascade Police. Can you tell me what happened? Do you have any idea where your assailant went?"
Sobbing, she responded, "H..he pushed me down and pulled out a gun. I...I was sure he was going to shoot me, but he shot at the other police officer instead. Then he ran off." Pointing to the street running parallel to the parking lot, she continued. "Down there."
Jim's stomach had done a flip flop when the nurse mentioned the shooting. Swallowing hard he asked, "You said he shot at an officer. Where was this officer, do you know if he was hit?"
Shaking her head, Nancy said, "No, I don't think so, he ran off after the man who grabbed me."
'Thank God,' Jim thought, the fear that his partner may have been gunned down in the parking lot alleviated. But just as that fear diminished, it was replaced by another as reality hit. Blair had taken off after the suspect, by himself, without Jim or anyone else there to watch his back.
Thanking the victim, he turned away, and caught sight of his captain making his way toward him. Spying the officers first on the scene, he said. "You two stay with her."
Jogging over to Simon, he said. "The victim's fine. Perry's taken off on foot, Sandburg's gone after him. They went south on Hillsdale. I'm going after them."
Throwing him a two way mic, Simon said, "Okay, but take this, and keep in contact. I'll have the cruisers set up a net to try to catch him."
Jim gave him a grateful smile and took off down Hillsdale Boulevard.
As Blair pursued Perry, he couldn't help but think how grateful he was for the endurance trials he had been subjected to during his training at the academy, or the five mile runs he and Jim had begun taking several times a week. The criminal had had a pretty good lead on Blair, and had taken several turns to try to loose him, but the young detective was closing the gap quickly when he saw Perry turn off the main street and into an alley.
Approaching the side street, Blair took a defensive stance and peered around the corner of the building, taking care keep under cover as much as possible. When he didn't see anyone in the open, he moved carefully into the alley, his gun drawn. Studying the area, he realized that Perry had made a major mistake choosing this route, the street was really no more that a driveway, running behind an office building. More importantly, it was a dead end.
There were very few places a grown man could hide, and seeing a large dumpster, Blair reasoned that this was most probably where Perry was hidden. Moving cautiously toward it, Blair was just about to announce is presence when his prey popped up out of the dumpster, and started shooting.
Diving behind a garbage can, Blair managed to avoid getting hit with the first shots. Then, the unthinkable happened, one of the shots ricocheted off the fire escape behind him and caught him in the upper chest.
Blair felt the sharp, searing pain immediately, but continued to exchange gunfire with Perry. Blood loss finally began to take it's toll however, and he could feel himself loosing consciousness. The last thing he was aware of was seeing two feet run past him and onto the main street.
Jim had tried in vain to follow his partner and the suspect. By the time he had started after them, the two were out of sight, even with his heightened vision. Realizing that looking for them would do no good, he concentrated on trying to hear them instead. Again, he was unsuccessful, unable to block out all the other noises around him.
Frustrated, Jim tried again, trying to focus on the familiar sound of his partner's heartbeat, his voice, anything. The sound he finally heard made his blood run cold. Several blocks away, he heard a the sounds of gunfire.
His hearing told him that the fire fight was taking place a couple of blocks off the street where he now stood. He quickly radioed to Simon what he had heard and took off toward the sound.
All was quiet by the time had reached the alley. At first, Jim wasn't even sure if this had been the scene, until his eyesight identified a body lying near the entrance to the back street. A feeling of dread hit him. The rest of the area was deserted. If the body lying there had been Perry's, his partner would still be there, waiting for back up to arrive.
As he moved toward the injured person, Jim's fears were realized. He recognized Blair's heartbeat, now slow and erratic. The strong stench of blood filled his nostrils.
Grabbing the two way mic, he radioed Simon. "Sir, I found Blair, he's been shot. We're in the alley behind One Park Place. I need an ambulance here, ASAP.
Simon's voice boomed through the mic, "Tell him to hang in there Jim, help's on the way."
Kneeling down, he rolled Blair onto his back, eliciting a moan from the young man.
"Shh, it's okay Blair. It's me, everything's going to be fine."
Pain filled blue eyes looked up at him. "Jim, you gotta go after Perry, he got away from me."
Jim tried to calm the young man. "Don't worry about that right now. We have cruisers all over the neighborhood. We'll get him."
Blair moaned again. "Oh, man, it hurts."
"I know it does. Just keep breathing, there's an ambulance is on the way."
"I'm trying to, but it feel like there's a ton of bricks on my chest." came the weak reply.
Frustrated, Jim ran his hand through his hair. Where the hell was the ambulance? They were only a few blocks away from the hospital. What was taking so long? He could tell by Blair's breathing that the bullet had done some damage to one of his lungs.
Jim's prayers were answered as he caught the sound of sirens in the distance. A couple of minutes later, an ambulance came to a screeching halt at the end of the alley.
Reaching down, Jim placed a reassuring hand on Blair's shoulder. "Just hang in there Chief, the cavalry's here. You're going to be fine."
Three and a half hours later, Jim was finally sure those words were the truth. Blair had been rushed into surgery to remove the bullet and repair the damage done. He'd been lucky, the bullet had torn the right lung, but hadn't caused it to collapse. The surgeon had assured Jim that Blair would recover fully from the ordeal.
Jim walked silently into the hospital room, taking in the sight of his partner. A large bandage covered his chest and right shoulder, and there were what seemed like a dozen machines hooked up to him.
Sitting down in the chair next to the bed, Jim took Blair's hand. "Partner, when you get out of here, you and I are going to have a little talk about this stunt you pulled today."
One week after the shooting, Blair was released from the hospital. Simon had performed some beauracratic magic and had arranged a couple of days personal leave for Jim to make sure that Blair got settled in.
After making sure Blair was comfortable on one of the couches, Jim moved into the kitchen. "Are you hungry? Want some soup or something?" he asked.
"No, I'm good, thanks." Watching his friend, Blair sighed. Something was up with the Sentinel, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Jim had been unusually quiet since the shooting. As usual, he'd been at the younger man's bedside when he awoke from surgery, and had visited often throughout the hospital stay. But the relieved jesting that normally took place after Jim was assured that Blair would again survive, was missing. Even when Blair made several comments about the pretty nurse taking care of him, Jim had refused to take the bait.
Blair's musings were cut short by the ringing of the telephone. Grabbing the cordless from the coffee table, Blair sighed again. 'Oh well, whatever's bothering him will eventually come out."
Jim busied himself with lunch. Even if Sandburg said he wasn't hungry, he had a feeling once the food was placed in front him, he'd eat. Listening to Blair's side of the conversation, he determined that it was Simon on the phone, making sure they got home okay.
"Thanks Simon, I appreciate that. Yeah stop by anytime, and bring Daryl too." Setting down the telephone Blair looked toward Jim, still in the kitchen.
"As you probably already figured out, that was Simon. He wanted to make sure everything's okay. He said he might stop by tonight."
When all Jim did was nod, Blair went on. "He also said that the mayor wants to give me some kind of award for bravery or something. I guess the administrator of the hospital is a good friend of his, and he very thankful for everything I did for Nurse Andrews."
Turning toward the refrigerator to get a glass of milk, Jim just shrugged. "That's great, Chief," he said, tonelessly.
Blair had had just about enough of his best friend's grunted responses and one word answers.
"Okay Jim, enough's enough. What is wrong with you?
Jim remained facing the fridge. "Nothing's wrong Sandburg."
"Come on, don't give me that. All you've done for the past four days is mope. What is up with you?"
Slamming the refrigerator door, Jim turned to look at his friend.. "All right, you want to know what's wrong, I'll tell you what's wrong. Just what the hell did you think you were doing out there?"
Stunned, Blair responded, "Out where?" He hadn't expected Jim's wrath to be directed at him.
"Don't play games with me Chief, you know what I mean. In the hospital parking lot. What did you think you were doing? Didn't you hear me tell you that I was on my way, to wait for backup?"
"Yeah, I heard you, but Perry was already making his move. I had no choice but to move in then. Otherwise Nancy wouldn't have stood a chance."
Jim moved into the living, room. "Okay, I'll buy that. But when Perry released her, why didn't you stay with her, at least until I got there. Why did you take off after him?"
Blair gave Jim an incredulous look. "Man, you forget. I'm not blessed with your sense of hearing. I had no idea how far away you guys were, and if I waited, Perry would have gotten away. Jim, I did it because it's my job. And you can't tell me that you wouldn't have done the exact same thing."
Jim shook his head. "No, not without backup."
"Bull Ellison, you and I both know that you'd have taken off after him. I've seen you do it a hundred times before."
"Okay, maybe, but that's different." Jim said quietly.
Blair looked up at the man, now standing in front of him. "Why because you're a Sentinel? Jim, even before your heightened senses came back, you'd have done the same thing, because that's who you are. And truth be told, your senses wouldn't have done you much good here."
When Jim began to protest, Blair held up a hand. "No, think about it, what would they have told you? That he was in the alley? I already knew that, or was pretty sure about it. That he had a gun, and wasn't afraid to use it? Knew that too. I also had a pretty good idea he was hiding in the dumpster. There weren't a lot of other places to hide. What I didn't know was that one of the bullets he fired was going to ricochet off the fire escape and hit me in the chest. And no heightened sense in the world would have told me that."
Jim sank down on the couch across from Blair. "It's not just that Sandburg. It's just, I don't know. I'm just not sure that you're ready to handle this cop thing on your own."
"Whoa, wait a minute, you mean me being a cop? Well, I have a news flash for you, buddy. I am a cop. Graduated top of the academy, gold shield and everything. I know when you and Simon first offered it to me, you figured I'd just do enough to get the badge, and things would go back to the way they were before. But they can't Jim. I'm a full fledged police officer now, just like you." Placing a hand on Jim's knee, he continued. "And just like you, I've been sworn to protect and serve the city of Cascade, in whatever way I can. If that means chasing after criminals by myself if I have to, I will."
Placing his hand over Blair's Jim sighed. "It's just that the thought of you out there, all alone without me, well it scares the hell out of me. At least when I'm with you, I know that I can do whatever I have to keep you safe."
Blair smiled. "I know Jim, I feel the exact same way when something goes down and I'm not with you. But we have to remember, we're partners. Partners who spend a lot more time together than most, but partners nonetheless. We can not be with each other twenty four-seven man. I mean that would put a serious cramp in my love life you know?"
Jim smiled back. "I don't know, you do a pretty good job sabotaging your own love life Chief." Sobering, he said, "Still, I don't like the idea of you out there all by yourself."
"Believe me man, I don't like the idea of no one there to watch my back either. But it's gonna happen sometimes. And we have to face the fact that there's nothing we can do about it."
"Even if that's true, I don't have to like it."
Blair rolled his eyes. "Okay, what if we make a pact. From now on, both of us will take every precaution we can to ensure we've got backup before we walk into a dangerous situation. And we will think twice before we race off into the lion's den."
Jim nodded. It wasn't a one hundred percent solution, but it was better than nothing. "Agreed." Standing up he said, "Well, I'm glad we got that out in the open. How about lunch? I'm starved."
Now that things were better with Jim, Blair realized that he, too was hungry. "Now that you mention it, I could go for something."
As he moved slowly toward the table, Jim looked up from the pan he was serving soup from. "Oh, and Sandburg, speaking of your love life, I hope you didn't plan on asking Nurse Da niels out."
Blair had to think a minute. Nurse Daniels, oh yeah, the pretty blond nurse he had teased Jim about. "Actually I already tried, but she said she was busy."
"You know? How did you know?"
Jim looked up, a twinkle in his eye. "Because she and I are going to that new restaurant on Midler Avenue on Saturday. Sorry Chief, you snooze you loose."
Blair smiled back. "Well, just remember what we talked about, you need backup man, I'm there for you."
Chuckling, Jim responded, "Thanks Chief, thanks a lot."