Disclaimer: The Sentinel and all related characters are the property of Pet Fly Productions.
"Foul, man, that was a blatant foul!" Blair Sandburg yelled as his taller roommate blocked his shot.
"Sorry, Sandburg, all's fair in love and basketball," Jim Ellison shot back, grabbing the ball.
Their respective partners, Daryl and Simon Banks smiled at the exchange, "Come on, Blair give it to him, they're behind as it is," laughed Daryl.
"It's a good thing that this is just a pick up game. No way you'd get away with that if you were playing with the Jags," Blair muttered, as he prepared to guard Jim.
Blair and Daryl held on to their lead and won the first game, but the older men won the second game easily.
"Well, what do you say, one more, for a tie-breaker?" Jim asked, as he dribbled the ball.
Simon looked at his son, and they both nodded in agreement, "Sounds good to us." he answered for both of them.
"How about you Chief, you game?"
Blair stood resting his hands on his legs, huffing a little. "Yeah, sure, just let me catch my breath."
"What's the matter kid, out of shape?" Jim teased.
Blair straightened and grabbed the ball out of his hands, "I may not be in as good as shape as you, but don't forget, I'll always be younger than you!"
The third game progressed nicely, with both teams tied going into the final shot. Blair grabbed the rebound of Simon's missed shot and smiled. "Sorry guys, but I think this is it."
"Afraid not." Jim retorted as he slammed into Blair, blocking his shot and knocking him to the ground.
"Now even I have to admit that was a foul." Simon said.
"Okay, I'll give you that." Jim agreed. Turning back to Blair, he said, "Sorry about that, Sandburg, guess you get a free shot."
He stopped when he realized that Blair was still lying on the ground. "Oh come on now Chief, I didn't hit you that hard."
When the younger man still remained motionless, Jim moved over to him. "Blair, come on stop kidding around." Suddenly he realized that there was something missing. Kneeling down next to Blair, he rolled him on his back.
"What the hell? Simon, call 911, he's not breathing! And I can't find a pulse either!"
"What?" came the stunned response.
Simon quickly instructed him son to grab his cellphone from his duffel bag and call the emergency in, and then moved to kneel beside Jim, working with him in administering CPR.
After one cycle, Jim stopped him. "Wait, I hear something." Letting out a sigh of relief he said. "He's breathing again, and I can hear his heartbeat."
"Jim, what the hell is going on?"
"God, Simon, I don't know. I mean I didn't hit him that hard."
Blair began to regain consciousness, moaning.
Jim placed a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, hold on buddy. Just lie still. We've called an ambulance, it's on the way.
"Jim, what happened?" he asked.
Squeezing his shoulder, Jim responded, "I don't know Chief, but we're gonna find out."
"Simon, what's taking so long?" Jim sighed as he stood and started pacing around the small waiting room of the emergency department of Cascade General. "It's been over five hours since they brought him in, and we haven't heard a word!"
"I wish I knew Jim. Just be patient, I'm sure they had a lot of tests to run on him." the captain tried to soothe his anxious friend. "He's going to be fine, it's probably an allergic reaction to some of that weird food he eats." he added, trying to lighten the mood...
"Yeah," Jim smiled wanly and sat down next to Banks. "You're probably right." To himself he thought, 'please, let that be all it is.'
The two men had been waiting for word on Blair since they had arrived just behind the ambulance. Simon had left only long enough to take Daryl home and then returned immediately, not wanting Jim to wait alone. His son had protested, stating he wanted to wait at the hospital too, but Simon had insisted, telling him that he would take him to visit Blair as soon as he could.
Two women in appeared in the doorway of the waiting room. "Excuse me, are either of you Jim Ellison?" One of them asked, looking at the chart in her hand.
Jim jumped to his feet. "Yes, that's me, do you have word on Blair?"
The woman looked up and gave him a small smile. "Yes, I'm Dr. Gardner, and this is Dr. Cornwall. Come on, why don't we talk in my office."
Simon moved forward and introduced himself, then said. "Sandburg is okay, isn't he?"
"He's doing fine right now, but there are some matters we need to discuss. And I could go for a cup of coffee, this way gentlemen."
Jim and Simon looked at each other, an uneasy feeling forming in the pits of each of their stomachs as they followed the two doctors out of the room.
"Why don't you two take a seat." Dr. Gardner motioned to the two chairs in front of her desk. Moving around to a small table she asked, "Would either of you like a cup of coffee or anything?"
"Actually, we'd really just like to know how Blair is doing." Jim answered, frustration evident in his voice.
"Of course, I'm sorry," Dr. Gardner leaned on the front of her desk. "Well, as I said, I'm Dr. Gardner, an endocrinologist on staff here at the hospital. Dr. Cornwall and I were called in to consult on Mr. Sandburg's, Blair's, case tonight by the attending doctor for the emergency room. To be honest, at first, we really couldn't understand what caused his collapse, the emergency room department ran the usual lab tests, took x-rays, and found nothing. The information you gave us, Detective Ellison, didn't indicate any history of chronic illness, nor allergies. We were stumped. The only thing peculiar in all his tests was an abnormally high adrenaline level." Motioning to the other woman in the room, she continued. "That's when I asked Dr. Cornwall to take a look at the results. She's one of the best toxicologists on staff here, and I thought maybe she might see something out of the ordinary."
Dr. Cornwall stepped forward. "Our initial thought was that Blair may have been exposed to something that caused this episode. Perhaps ingested something strange that normal blood tests didn't reveal, so I had the lab run a series of toxicology screens. Again, the results were normal, or close to it. But then, I noticed something odd. There is was some sort of unknown toxin showing up in several of the blood levels, one that could not be identified."
"Unknown toxin, you mean like a poison?" Jim asked, tight lipped.
"Yes detective, that's exactly what I'd call it." the doctor confirmed. "As I said, we haven't been able to identify it yet. Judging from it's make up though, we have been able to determine that it isn't organic in nature. It seems to be man made."
"You mean like a designer drug?" Simon asked, glancing at Jim, who sat gripping the arms of his chair so tightly that his knuckles were white. He knew what Ellison was thinking, this was like the Golden incident all over again.
Grimly, Dr. Gardner continued. "Both of us have read Blair's medical history, and we are aware of his exposure to the drug Golden. Gentlemen, I'm afraid this is much more serious that that."
Jim's heart sank. More serious than the Golden, God he had almost lost Blair that time, how much worse could it be.
Dr. Cornwall must have read the unspoken question in his eyes, because she continued on where Dr. Gardner had stopped. "She's right I'm afraid. Blair's condition is very serious. From what we've been able to determine, this drug affects the adrenal gland. Now, normally when a person becomes excited, or exerts himself, this gland secretes adrenaline into the blood stream as needed. This speeds up the heart and helps it to pump blood faster in times of stress. It appears that this toxin is increasing the amount of adrenaline being secreted. This is causing the heart to speed up more that it should. I think that's exactly what happened today. The added exertion of playing basketball caused Blair's heart to beat too fast. Eventually, the heart can't handle the stress put on it, and stops. As soon as he collapsed, everything slowed down, and his heart began beating again."
"So as long as he stays calm and quiet, he'll be okay, right?" Simon asked.
Dr. Cornwall sighed. "I'm afraid not. Most drugs, like Golden, work their way through a person's system, and eventually are gone. That not what's happening here. This one is more prevalent in the last batch of tests we ran than the first. Today it took a strenuous ball game to cause the collapse. But remember, all activity, even getting out of bed in the morning, or breathing, takes some type of exertion. The adrenaline will continue to take a toll on Blair's heart, until eventually, it will just give up altogether."
"You mean, he's going to die?" Jim said incredulously. "No, I don't buy it. Come on, this is the twentieth century, that has to be something you can do for him!"
"I understand your frustration, Detective. I assure you, we're going to do everything we can. But until we can determine exactly what this drug is, we won't have an antidote. I've already started to put a team together to work on it." Dr. Cornwall tried to placate him.
"And I'll also be contacting the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, as well as putting out inquiries to other hospitals across to country to see if any of them have had any cases like this."
Looking at both the policemen she continued. "There is something you can do as well. Blair did not just ingest this drug accidentally. He was poisoned. It's quite possible whoever did this already has an antidote."
Simon placed a comforting hand on Jim's shoulder. "I'll get Brown and Rafe on it immediately. Megan will probably want to help as well. We'll start searching the files for anyone with this type of background who has a grudge against either of you. Don't worry, we'll get him Jim."
Jim gave the black man a small smile. "Thanks Simon, I appreciate it. And I know Sandburg will to. But I want to be in on this one also. It's too important to me not to be."
Rubbing his temples, he looked back at the two doctors standing in front of him. "Does Blair know yet?" he asked them.
"Yes, we spoke to him before we came and got you. He took it pretty well. Although we'd like to admit him, mostly to keep an eye on him, he is insistent on going home." Looking at Jim, Dr. Cornwall continued. "In his condition, he really shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time, just in case something happens. He say's he's your roommate, would you be able to keep and eye on him if we released him?"
Jim smiled, "Yeah, I think I can do that."
After spending another fifteen minutes discussing Blair's condition and what precautions needed to be taken, Jim was shown to the small examining room occupied by his best friend.
"Hey Chief, ready to go home?" he asked quietly.
Blair had been lying on the bed, one arm raised to cover his eyes. Putting his arm down, he turned to look at Jim. Sitting up, he said, "You mean they're going to let me out of here? "
"As long as you promise to take it easy, and do what the doctors say, both Dr. Gardner and Dr. Cornwall agree that there is no reason to keep you here."
Seeing the look of dismay on Blair's face, the older man sat down on the bed. Placing a hand on his partner's shoulder he continued. "Sandburg, they explained to Simon and me what's going on. I just want you to know it's going to be okay, you're going to be okay. Dr. Cornwall has already put together a team to try to find an antidote. And Simon's gone back to the station to file a report so we can start working it from our end, to try to find the bastard who's done this to you."
Blair looked up into the eyes of his friend and gave a small smile. "Thanks, Jim, I appreciate that. You're right. It is going to be okay. I mean I've got my Blessed Protector on my side don't I?"
Giving Blair a quick hug, Jim answered, "You sure do buddy, and don't ever forget it."
A frustrated sigh escaped Jim's lips as he sat back and stretched. It had been three days since Blair's collapse and despite Simon assigning four detectives to the case, no one had had any luck in finding out who had poisoned him.
Blair had insisted on coming into the station the first two days. Stating that all he'd be doing would be sitting around the loft anyway, he may as well as do the same thing at the precinct. They had all spent most of that time reviewing the previous cases worked by the two men since Blair had joined the department as an official observer. When no lead could be found there, they had expanded their search to cases prior to Blair's arrival in Jim's life. Again, none of the criminals involved fit the profile.
Today, Blair had informed Jim that he wanted to go to his office at Rainier University, instead of going into the station. At first, Jim had tried to argue with him. While his partner seemed to be holding up pretty well, he wanted to make sure that the young man did not tire himself out. The detective could see no reason for the trip, since the semester had ended over a month ago. He did not want to leave Blair alone but also did not wanted to loose any precious time by spending it sitting around Blair's office.
A solution was found in the guise of Daryl Banks. He had spoken to Blair a couple of times since Blair had collapsed at the park, and had asked his father to keep him updated on the situation. When Blair had complained to the youth that Jim would not let him go the Rainier, he had suggested he go with Blair to his office. Jim had agreed only after both Blair and Daryl had promised him that they would only spend a few hours there. Then, Blair was to take a cab back to the Cascade PD, while Daryl met his mother for lunch.
Looking at his watch, Jim resisted the urge to pick up the telephone and call the two, just to check on them Blair was not expected for another two hours. 'Come on Ellison, don't be stupid, he's fine. They'd call if something happened.'
He practically jumped out of his seat when the phone he was staring at rang.
Grabbing it quickly, he said, "Ellison."
"Detective Ellison, this is Dr. Cornwall."
Hope blossomed in Jim's heart. Maybe this whole thing would be over with. "Dr. Cornwall. I hope you're calling with good news."
"Well, my team hasn't had any luck finding an antidote, by we are still working on it. I did have a couple of interesting responses from the requests I sent out regarding other patients with the same symptoms. It appears that at least two people have died from what seems to be a similar problem. One in Baltimore, and another in Dallas. Originally, both were ruled death by natural causes attributed to heart attacks, although neither victim, a fifty-four year old woman and a thirty-one year old male, had any history of heart problems. When I sent out my inquiries, the hospitals involved reviewed their records and determined that in both cases there was an high level of adrenaline in the blood, as well as an unknown toxin." Jim could hear her rustling pages. "I'm afraid there's not much more here, I don't know if this is going to be of any help, but I do have their names and addresses." she continued hopefully.
"Right now doctor, we'll take whatever information we can get." Jim answered. He, too didn't see how this connected to Blair's case, but they couldn't afford to turn down anything. "Can you do me a favor and fax the files over to me?"
A couple of hours later, Blair ambled through the doors of the Major Crimes Division, immediately looking for Jim. He and Daryl had lost track of time and he was a half hour late. He was surprised when his roommate was no where to be found.
His arrival was noted by the captain however, and Simon stuck his head out of his office and motioned to Blair to join him in his office.
"How are you doing Sandburg?" the black man asked.
"Other than a little tired, I'm doing okay, Simon" Blair answered, the added, "Jim around? I figured he'd be chomping at the bit 'cause I'm a little late."
"He'll be back in a few minutes. He's running down a couple of leads with records."
"Leads? You mean on this thing? You actually have a lead?" Simon could hear the hint of hopefulness in the observer's voice.
"Jim can tell you more about it when he gets here, but Dr. Cornwall got a couple of responses back from the inquiries she sent out. It looks like this guy has struck before. Speak of the devil, here comes that partner of yours now."
Jim moved immediately into Simon's office, a sheaf of papers in his hands.
"Well?" Blair asked expectantly. "What you'd find out? Simon told me Dr. Cornwall called."
Jim dropped into the seat next to Blair and give both men a rueful smile. "She faxed me the information that she had, which wasn't much. I don't think that it's going to be of any help at all, but I made inquiries to both hospitals, as well as background checks on both victims. You know, to see if they had anything in common with each other or you, Chief." He sighed in frustration. "I gotta admit, I can't find anything. The first one was a college professor in Baltimore, the second one was a construction worker in Dallas.
The only connection I could find was that Ted Housler, the construction worker, spent one year of college at Ocean State University, the same college where the professor, Elizabeth Watkins taught. But that was twelve years ago. Other than that, nothing."
Suddenly aware of an increase in Blair's heart rate he looked up at him, noticing that he had became white as a sheet. "Hey, Chief, you okay?"
Simon had noticed the stricken look on the young man's face as well. "Blair, you want me to call a doctor or something?"
Blair waved them both off. "No, no it's okay, I'm fine." Looking at Jim, he asked, "Who did you say the victims were again?"
"Professor Elizabeth Watkins and Ted Housler, why?"
Blair stood up and started to walk back and forth in front of Simon's desk. Obviously agitated, he said, "God, I can't believe that Professor Watkins is dead, and Ted, too." Running a hand through his hair he gave a small laugh. "You know, it kind of ironic, here we've all spent the last two days trying to find out who out of Jim's life, or Jim's and my life together could have done this, and all along, it had nothing to do with Jim. The entire time, this whole thing has been about me."
Simon and Jim exchanged confused looks. "Chief, you have completely lost us here. Are you saying you know the other victims?"
Another small laugh, "Yeah, a long time ago."
Jim grabbed the smaller man's arm as he walked by him on yet another pass in front of the desk. Pushing him back into the chair next to him he said. "First off, sit down and try to calm down, getting yourself all worked up isn't going to do any good. Now take a deep breath and tell us what the hell is going on here."
Blair breathed in deeply and then let out a long sigh. "Sorry about that. Okay let's see where to start here. When I was sixteen, Naomi and I were living in Baltimore, and I took some AP courses in school, you know college preparatory classes. Professor Watkins was in charge of the program. I really enjoyed them, and did well in them, so she suggested that I spend the summer working as a kind of research assistant for another professor, Bradley Morris, who was working on a special project at the college where she taught, Ocean State. I had already decided I wanted to major in anthropology, and even though Professor Morris was a chemist, she figured it would be a good way for me to get some experience in the research end of it. I really didn't have much else going on that summer, so I agreed. At first all I really did was just help catalog his findings. Writing down numbers and things, transcribing his notes. I just figured that he was doing analytical research. As I became more familiar with his notes, I realized he was doing what appeared to be lab trials with experimental drugs, using live test subjects. Now I don't really like to idea of scientists using mice and rats to test new drugs, but it's not out of the ordinary. Then, the professor started having me do other things, like schedule appointments with students. It was then that I realized that something weird was going on. One of the students I kept scheduling appointments for was Ted. Even though we didn't have anything in common, we hit it off immediately. I could tell something was wrong though. Some days, Ted would act like he was totally out of it, other days he would be completely lucid. I knew he wasn't using drugs, so I couldn't figure out what was up. I'd confront him about it, but he just told me to mind my own business. Finally one day, he was leaving the lab and almost stepped out in front of a car. Luckily, I had followed him and was able to stop him, but it scared him and he decided that it was time to tell me what was going on."
Blair stopped to take a breath and then continued. "I was right, Professor Morris was using live subjects to test his drug on. But it wasn't mice or rats, it was the students I was scheduling. Most of them were in need of the extra money for tuition, and of course Morris hadn't explained the exact nature of the drug. At first I wasn't sure what to do, I mean, hell, I wasn't even a student at the college. But I decided that I had to do something, before someone got killed. I convinced Ted to come with me and talk to Professor Watkins. Well to make a long story short, she went to the Board of Regents of the school, and with Ted's testimony along with the information I had obtained from the Professor's notes, they got rid of him. He lost his tenured position at the college, a very sizable grant as well as being pretty much black listed in the collegiate community He was pretty pissed off, and blamed the three of us for his downfall. He actually tried to attack me a couple of weeks later, but luckily, Ted was right behind me and ran him off."
Simon looked at Jim, "What do you think?"
"I don't know, I mean, it's worth a try, but this whole thing happened years ago, why wait so long to come after them?"
Blair spoke up. "I've been thinking about that. Dr. Gardner said that they couldn't identify this drug in my system. Professor Morris is a chemist. Maybe he's spent the last twelve years developing this drug. Now it's done, so he's coming after us."
Simon nodded as he picked up the telephone, "Sounds good enough to me. Right now I'll take any lead we can get." Into the phone he said, "Conner, we've got a lead in Blair's case. I need you to find out anything you can on a Professor Bradley Morris."
Blair stepped through the french doors from his room and looked at his roommate as the older man finished drying the few dishes they had used for supper. Neither man had felt up to cooking supper, so they had opted to picking up takeout Chinese before coming back to the loft. Looking at the keyring in his hand, he sighed. This wasn't going to be easy, but it had to be done.
"Hey, Jim, can we talk for a minute?" he asked.
Jim hung up the dishtowel he had been using and moved to sit on one of the couches. "Sure, what's up Chief?"
Blair sat down opposite him. "Well, I've been doing some thinking."
"About what? Did you remember something more about Bradley Morris?"
"No, nothing about that. It's something else." he sighed. "It's about your senses, and what'll happen if, well, if we don't catch Morris."
He held out the keychain to Jim and then continued. "The reason I went to the University today is because I wanted to make sure that all my notes were in order. I've been pretty busy lately and haven't been real good on keeping them filed or anything. I spent the day cataloging everything."
Indicating the keys that hung on the chain now in Jim's hands, he said. "I made sure that everything was locked away in the file cabinet in my office. There are a few notebooks here, in my room, but the rest of them and all my computer disks are locked away at Rainier."
Jim could tell where this was heading, and he was determined not to follow. Standing up he said, "Sandburg, we are not going to have this conversation."
The anthropologist continued as if he hadn't even heard the older man. "We have to decide what we want to do about this, Jim. I mean, who'll kind of take over for me if something happens. I've given it some thought. I guess Simon's the obvious choice, since he already knows about the Sentinel thing. But the problem is him being your captain and everything, there would probably be questions why he's going out in the field with you all the time. I don't know, maybe it's time we told someone else. I was thinking maybe Megan. I mean she already suspects something's up. And I don't know how much longer the psychic story is going to work with her. She seems pretty cool and I don't think she'll have any problems with it. I could start working with her now, so when... well you know, she'd be ready."
Jim held up his hand, stopping Blair's speech. "Just stop it, Chief, stop it! You are not going anywhere, so this is a moot point. I know you're scared, but come on, you have to hang in here. Look, we have our first real lead since this whole thing happened. We are going to catch this guy, and even if he doesn't have the antidote, we'll be able to find out what's in the drug so Dr. Cornwall can find one."
"But Jim, I have to know that if something happens, if I die, that you'll be okay."
Jim sat down next to Blair on the couch. "God kid, you just don't get it do you?" Putting his arm around his partner, he continued. "Blair, senses or not, if something happened, if I ever lost you, I would never be okay."
"No, you started this thing, so now let me have my say. When you first showed up in that examining room, I thought you were completely gone. But you made sense, so I thought, what the hell, I'd try it your way for awhile, at least until I could figure out what was going on with me. Then all of a sudden, you became more that just a stranger who could maybe help me get my life back on track. Blair, you've become my best friend, I love you like a brother. I don't know what I'd do if anything ever happened to you."
"Jim, you know I feel the same way but..."
"Yeah, I know you do, and that's why I don't want to hear anymore talk about Simon or Megan replacing you. It's not gonna happen. I won't let it happen. You're not going anywhere. Just hang in there, okay?"
"Okay," Blair answered, then to himself thought, 'I'll try Jim, God knows I'll try.'
Five days later, Jim's determination was beginning to weaken. Blair's condition had begun to deteriorate. He was becoming fatigued much more easily and a simple thing like climbing the stairs to the loft would leave him breathless.
To add to the frustration was the fact that they were no closer to catching Morris, in spite of obtaining quite a bit of information about the man. Their investigation into his background had lead to the fact that, after losing his job at Ocean State, the professor had moved to Mexico, where he had resided until two years ago. At that time, the man had moved to Dallas. He had been living there when Ted Housler had passed away. Soon after, Morris had moved back to Baltimore, and had stayed there until three months ago, leaving that city soon after Professor Watkins had died. The trail ran cold after that, but everyone in Major Crimes knew exactly where he had moved on to, and why.
It seemed pretty obvious to everyone that Morris not only felt the need to murder those he felt responsible for his failure in Maryland, but that he needed to be there to see it happen. The best chance they had of catching this maniac was to keep a close eye on Blair, since Morris would probably not be far away. It was also obvious that Blair's spending time around a squad room full of cops would probably discourage Morris.
The decision was made for the young police observer to stay away from the station as much as possible. Jim would stick close to Blair, with two other officers nearby, remaining as inconspicuous as possible. At the same time, the other members of Major Crimes would be on the streets, looking for any lead on Morris they could find.
"Eventually, he's going to make a mistake Chief, he'll get too close, and we'll grab him." Jim had said, when explaining the plan to Blair.
"But what if he doesn't?" Blair remained unconvinced.
"Look, we've got a recent photo of the guy from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Department. With these eyes, if he comes within a hundred yards of you, I'll see him. Then all we have to do is call in the cavalry and he's ours."
So far, the plan had been a bust. Either Morris wasn't interested in the day to day life of his latest victim, or he had found a way to watch Blair at a safe distance.
Blair was determined to remain optimistic, for Jim's sake as well as his own. he could see the feeling of disappointment in the older man every time Simon would call to check on them and advise them that the rest of the team were only turning up dead ends.
This morning had been another example. On top of the fact that five days had gone by without Morris' capture, Simon had called to let Jim know that the Commissioner wanted to meet with both of them that afternoon on a matter involving a previous case. Initially, Jim had protested, but Simon had insisted, stating that the Commissioner had been supportive of their current investigation so far, and had not questioned Jim's involvement, even given his very personal stake in the matter.
"But Simon, I don't think it's a good idea to leave Blair alone, and I don't want to pull anyone else in to stay with him. I think they can do more good out on the street trying to find this guy."
"I know how you feel, but Jim, it'll only be for a few hours. Hey how about this, I'll stop by and pick you up and bring Daryl with me. He can stay with the kid and then we'll come back and get them both for an early dinner?"
"I don't know," Jim hesitated.
"It's either that, or pull someone else in." was the captain's response.
"Okay, I'll let Sandburg know." Jim finally consented.
True to his word, Simon arrived at one o'clock with his son in tow. The younger Banks had not seen Blair since they had spent the morning at Rainier and was glad to help out.
As the two older men were leaving the loft, Jim turned back to Blair. "Okay Chief, we'll be back in a couple of hours. I want you to stay here, or if you do decide to go out, stay nearby. And don't forget to let Carlson and Johnson know you're going outside. They're parked in the blue Chevy Cavalier on the side street."
Blair rolled his eyes. "Yes mom." Ushering his partner out the door, he said, "Jim, we'll be fine. Don't worry."
Close to two hours later, both Blair and Daryl were going stir crazy. It was a sunny and warm day, an unusual occurrence for Cascade, even in late June.
Standing up from the couch, where he and Daryl been sitting watching another hilarious edition of The Jerry Springer Show, Blair said, "Well, that's about all I can take of that today. Let's take a walk."
"Do you think that's a good idea Blair? I mean, Dad and Jim are gonna be back soon to get us."
"Come on Daryl, I just can't sit here any longer. We'll just walk down the street to the park and sit and wait for them."
"You feel up to it?" Daryl still sounded worried.
"Jim's wearing off on you kid." Blair smiled, "Yeah, I'll be fine, as long as I don't run a marathon."
The two left the loft and outside. Once there, Blair motioned to the two officers sitting in the unmarked car that the pair were going to the park, still within their view.
They walked in companionable silence, Daryl keeping a watchful eye on Blair making sure he was not tiring. Reaching the park, the sat down on a bench near the sidewalk.
Lifting his head up toward the bright sunshine, Blair sighed. "God, that feels so good. I just hate being cooped up in that loft all the time."
Daryl smiled at him, "Yeah, it must be hard, but I'm sure that Jim is only insisting on it to keep you safe."
"Oh, I know that. I think that this whole thing has affected him almost as much as it has me. It's just that I'm so used to trying to split my time between the University and the Police Department. I'm just not used to being stuck in one place for so long. I mean..." his voice trailed off.
"Blair man, you okay?"
"Yeah," the anthropologist was looking at something over Daryl's head. "Shit, that's him!" he hissed. "Over there, near the fountain, it's Morris."
The man in question began moving away from the fountain, and away from the pair on the park bench.
"Damn, I think he realizes he's been spotted." Blair stood up. "Daryl, go get Officers Carlson and Johnson, tell them that Morris is here, and he's heading west, up Prospect."
They younger man had also jumped to his feet. "Okay, but what are you going to do?"
"Make sure he doesn't get away."
"Well that was a complete waste of time," Jim growled as he dropped into the passenger side seat of Simon's car.
The police captain sighed. "I know it seems that way to us, but we have to remember that there's always a lot at stake for the city anytime someone threatens to bring a lawsuit for wrongful arrest. I think the Commissioner feels better though after talking to us."
"Well he should. Brown and I caught this guy red handed with the stolen goods, we have an airtight case against this guy." Jim retorted.
"Oh, well, it's over and done with." Looking at his watch, Simon smiled. "And just in time too, we should be right on time getting back to the loft to pick up the 'kids'"
"Good, I don't like leaving Blair alone."
"He's not alone Jim, Daryl's with him." Simon reminded him.
"I know, it's just, well I feel better when I can keep an eye on him myself." Jim sighed. "This whole thing, it's starting to get to me. I was so sure that we would be able to catch this guy, but every day that goes by without him in custody, I just get more frustrated."
"We will catch him Jim, you and Blair just have to hang in there."
"That's what I keep telling myself, and Blair too. You know, this whole thing doesn't seem to be getting to him as much, even though it's his life on the line. Actually I think that's the hardest thing for me, seeing the kid get weaker."
"It's been hard for all of us Jim." Simon responded quietly. "You know, I guess this is as a good as time as any to bring up this subject. Blair asked me to talk to you about something. He said he tried to himself, but you didn't want to hear it."
'Oh, God, here we go again' Jim thought. Out loud he said. "I know exactly what you're going to say, Simon, and no, I don't want to talk about it. Not to you or him."
"Jim, the kid's right. Someone has to keep and eye on you. If it can't be Blair, then we have to find someone else."
"Don't you see, there is no one else. Blair is not only the only 'expert' we have on Sentinels, he's also the only 'expert' I know on Jim Ellison. I don't know how he does it, but he just seems to know exactly what it is that makes me tick. It's scary sometimes."
Sighing, Jim continued, "The truth is, I don't know if I can do this whole Sentinel thing without him. I don't know if I want to do it without him."
Making his turn onto Prospect, Simon said to him, "I just hope you have that choice."
Jim was about to respond when he saw Daryl running toward them. "Simon, watch it!" he yelled.
The black man slammed on the brakes and stopped the car. Rolling down the window, he asked. "Daryl, what's wrong?"
The youth ran up to his father, "It's Morris, Dad. Blair and I just saw him in the park."
Jim quickly jumped out of the car. "Where's Blair?"
Daryl pointed in the direction both men had gone. "He took off after Morris that way, down Prospect."
Simon looked at Jim, "Go after them on foot, I'll let Carlson and Johnson know and we'll follow you in our cars."
Jim nodded grimly and took off. Using his enhanced sense of sight, he was quickly able to pick out his guide and quarry as they moved down the busy street.
Blair had begun to follow the professor as the man moved slowly away from the park. It became obvious that Morris had realized that he had been spotted as he quickened his pace to a jog then an all out run.
Determined not to let the man get away, Blair tried his best to keep up with Morris. At first, he had no problem, but as the pace rapidly increased, his body began to protest. Too much adrenaline, caused by the toxin in his system, accelerated his heart rate to the point that he could feel it pounding in his brain. His lungs felt as if they were on fire as they struggled to fill with air. As he rounded a corner, still intent on his prey, he could feel his body start to shut down, as black spots swam in front of his eyes. He stumbled several times, finally crashing into the tables set up for a sidewalk cafe. Still struggling for breath, he collapsed into them, loosing consciousness.
Jim had been running at full speed, trying to catch up to both Blair and Morris. They had had enough of a lead on him though, and the afternoon crowds had slowed him down. Keeping them both in sight, his hearing had picked up the sound of his friend's accelerated heart beat, and then the gasping sound as Blair tried to get oxygen to his lungs.
"Come on Chief, slow down, you're overdoing it." Jim said, knowing full well that Blair could not hear him.
He had almost caught up to the anthropologist when Blair turned the corner and stumbled.
"Sandburg, slow down!" Jim called to him. He then watched in horror as Blair fell into a group of tables.
Sandburg!" he yelled. Kneeling down next to him, Jim spoke urgently, "Blair, Chief, can you hear me?" Listening intently, he was rewarded with the sound of Blair's heartbeat, and the Sentinel was also pleased to see that the younger man appeared to be breathing normally.
Hearing a car come to a screeching halt near to him, Jim looked up to see Simon running toward him. "Jim, is he okay?"
"I think so, he's breathing okay, and his heart's beating normally." Jim's attention came back to the man lying on the ground as he began to rouse. "He's coming around now."
Standing up, Simon said, "Thank God, I think I stopped breathing myself for a minute. I sent Carlson and Johnson after Morris, you stay with the kid and I'll call for an ambulance. Then, I'll take off after them to see if they need any assistance.
Concluded in Part Two...