New Arrivals
Author-Maj
Titles

Greater Love 5 - Get Me to the Church on Time
by Maj

Summary: A little bit of spirit guidance.

Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters belong to Pet Fly, UPN and Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.

The room was dim, the blinds pulled down to block out most of the afternoon sun. The sole occupant of the room was seated on the couch, head resting on the back cushion. He took a deep breath and released it slowly, trying to relax as his partner had taught him. It didn't work.

Jim Ellison, Sentinel of the great city of Cascade, was twitchy. Not that he'd ever admit that to anyone. On the outside he gave the appearance of calm, but beneath that outward facade his stomach was rolling, his heart was beating way too fast and his anxiety level was fast approaching critical. He had been experiencing short sensory spikes all morning, hence the vain attempts at relaxation.

Tomorrow was the big day. He felt his heart start to race again. He couldn't understand it. He hadn't felt this nervous when he married Carolyn so why was he so stressed out this time? He stood and started to prowl around the room.

"Where are you Sandburg?" He glanced at his watch for what seemed the thousandth time.

A soft knock at the door disturbed his troubled thoughts. He'd had his hearing dialled down and had not heard anyone approach. Heaving a sigh of relief he opened the door.

"It's about time..." His voice trailed off, confused, when there was nobody there. He looked along the landing to the lift, which stood with its doors open. There was no one around.

He felt something brush past his legs and he spun round and looked down at a miniature replica of his partner. From the top of his curly head to the soles of his little sneakers Connor James Sandburg was the living image of his father, right down to the plaid shirt and slightly worn jeans. Megan often jokingly complained that you'd never know she had any part in producing him.

"Dim!" Connor beamed up at his favourite uncle and proceeded to bounce around the loft chattering away in baby gibberish and waving his hands around in a miniature Sandburg rant.

Jim suddenly realised he was still standing in the open doorway. He stuck his head out and looked again expecting to see his friend hiding round the corner laughing but there was definitely no one there. The lift doors closed silently.

He closed the door, moved to the phone and dialled his friend's number. It rang several times before a breathless Blair answered.

"Yo! Jim, I was in the shower man! We'll be up in a while. I just have to pack our clothes for tomorrow. Try the breathing exercises again you'll be fine."

"Slow down Chief, that's not why I phoned." Jim smiled as he realised that Blair had known about his anxiety without being told.

"Then why am I dripping all over the bedroom with soap in my eyes?" Blair was puzzled.

There was the sound of a chair being dragged across the loft floor and he looked over in time to see Connor climb up onto the kitchen worktop and reach for Jim's stash of double chocolate cookies.

"Mmmmmmm." Connor's little eyes closed in bliss as he shoved almost a whole cookie in his mouth while reaching for another.

"Well, Mini-Me has escaped and is currently decimating my cookie stash."

"What!" Jim heard Blair's heart rate soar. "He was asleep on the sofa and the door was locked. How did he get out and up to the loft?"

"I don't know how he got out Chief, but I'm pretty sure he came up in the lift."

"But he can't reach the buttons in the lift. Oh man, what if he came up the stairs, he could have fallen... Megan's gonna kill me."

"We'll figure it out. I'll keep him here while you finish getting everything together."

"Thanks Jim. Oh and don't let Megan catch you calling him Mini-Me, you know she hates it."

Jim grinned. "Ok, I'll be careful. See you in a few." He hung up the phone and turned to face his invader.

His grin became a grimace as he viewed the devastation before him. Connor was happily chomping down on his fourth cookie and it looked as if a good portion of the previous three had missed his mouth and ended up on his face, hands and the kitchen worktop.

"Come on kid, let's get you cleaned up before your dad gets here." Jim removed the half chewed treat from Connor's hand and picked him up, carefully trying to keep him at arms length.

Connor was having none of it. He launched himself into Jim's arms, placed a sticky hand on either side of Jim's face and planted a big chocolaty kiss on Jim's cheek. He turned and pointed down with a hopeful expression on his face.

"Ookies Dim?"

Jim shook his head. "No more cookies little guy. Your dad will have my hide if I give you any more sugar."

He turned towards the bathroom intending to clean up both himself and the wiggling bundle of energy in his arms. He looked down and was met with a full-blown Sandburg pout.

"Don't try that with me kid, it didn't work for your father and it won't work now. Besides you need to save some room. We're having something special for dinner."

The stormy expression cleared and Connor beamed with pleasure. "Wonner burger?"

Jim couldn't help smiling. Although Connor was quite happy to eat whatever healthy foods his parents placed in front of him, he had 'inherited' Jim's passion for junk food. Top of his list was Jim's own favourite Wonder Burger. As he cleaned them both up he remembered the moment Connor had been hooked...

*******************

Blair had brought him to meet Jim for lunch and as they sat in the break room, Blair had placed a bowl of mashed vegetables in front of Connor and gone to find Megan. Jim pulled a Wonder Burger special out of it's wrapping and began to eat.

Connor had taken one look at the juicy fresh burger and completely lost interest in his own food. He sat open mouthed and drooling as Jim had taken his first bite. From that moment his eyes had not left the burger. Sensing he was being watched Jim looked over at Connor and smiled. Connor held his bowl of vegetables out and pointed at Jim's food, clearly offering a trade.

Smiling, Jim had shaken his head. The look of disappointment on the small face in front of him made him feel bad.

"Sorry kid, your dad wouldn't approve."

There was a crash and a splat and Connor's bowl hit the ground. They both peered down at the mess on the floor as if wondering where it came from. Jim sighed and put his burger down on the table. Gathering some napkins he set about clearing it up.

"Mmmmm." A contented sound came from the chair next to him.

Jim scrambled to his feet in time to see Connor happily munching on his burger. Before he could grab it back the door opened and the doting parents returned.

"Jim! What are you doing giving him Wonder Burger? Do you know how unhealthy that stuff is?" Blair shot across the room to remove the offending food from his son's hand.

Realising that he was about to lose his hard earned prize, Connor stuffed as much of it as he could into his mouth and chewed for all he was worth.

"I didn't give it to him, he took it. Distracted me by dropping his mush on the floor. Soon as my back was turned he made his move." Jim defended himself.

Megan burst out laughing, pointing at her son who sat with his cheeks bulging like a chipmunk, chewing blissfully on the food in his mouth.

"Oh Jim, I'm sorry man." Blair apologised. "I should have warned you about that. He did the same thing with my pizza the other night. Here, I don't think he ate too much." He handed the half chewed, mangled remains of the burger to Jim.

Jim grimaced with distaste at the soggy mess and glared over at Megan, who had gone into fresh hysterics at Jim's expression.

"I'm sorry Jim, but your face... here let him finish it this once and I'll go get you a fresh one." She took the burger out of his hands and placed it in front of her son.

"And you young man," Blair crouched down to look Connor in the eye, "will learn not to take other people's food. It's very naughty."

Connor tried to look penitent, but ruined the effect by cramming another piece of burger into his mouth.

*******************

Jim was pulled from his daydream by a sharp knock on the door. Opening it he found Blair, weighed down with garment bags, an overnight bag and a travelling cot for Connor.

"Great timing Chief, your little food terrorist is all clean and presentable but you're just in time to clean the kitchen."

Blair shot him a dirty look. "Nice welcome, just like old times. Do ALL the house rules still apply?"

Jim just grinned and nodded. He took the garment bags and hung them up. "I've made up the bed in your old room. There should be enough room for both of you."

"If he keeps escaping like that I may need your handcuffs to keep track of him. Where is he? Connor, come here squirt, daddy wants to talk to you." Blair looked around for the little miscreant.

Connor giggled and peeped out from behind Jim's legs and waved at his father. "I here."

Blair laughed and scooped up his little imp. "Ok, we need to have a serious talk young man. You know not to go off on your own. You could have got lost or hurt. You really scared daddy when he couldn't find you."

Connor looked contrite. "Sorry. Kitty fetch."

Jim and Blair exchanged puzzled glances. "Kitty?"

Connor pointed up to Jim's bedroom. Looking down through the rails was a pair of weary blue eyes. The large black cat was sprawled out on Jim's bed with a rather sheepish expression on its face. It almost seemed to say "Give me a break he was driving me nuts!"

"Bad kitty." Blair called out. "Next time tell me what you're up to."

The big cat heaved a sigh and disappeared.

"Bye kitty." Connor called out waving at the now empty bedroom.

Blair looked at his equally stunned partner. "Jim, how much were you stressing out much this afternoon? Did you need me and not phone?"

It was Jim's turn to look sheepish. "I was having some sensory spikes and a little zone out. It didn't last long."

Blair looked exasperated. "Jim, I'm your guide. You are supposed to call me if things like this happen."

"I know, I'm sorry. I thought I could handle it using those breathing exercises, but I ended up almost zoning on the candle."

"How is it now? Are you still having problems with your control?"

Jim shook his head. "No, it's fine. Actually it settled down when Connor arrived." He could almost see the cogs working in Blair's brain. He looked thoughtfully at his son.

"He could see your spirit guide. Hmmm...we'll have to look into this. It could be a genetic thing. Ok, we'll work some more on this and the relaxation thing when you get back from Hawaii. Now we'd better get a move on if we're gonna eat before Simon and the guys get here. What's for dinner? Pizza, Chinese, Mexican?" He grabbed a stack of take away menus out of the kitchen.

Jim and Connor looked at each other.

"Wonner burger!" Connor beamed at his father. "And fies."

"Sounds good to me kid." Jim agreed

Blair groaned. "Look what you've done man! You've corrupted my son's dietary habits. Not that he needed much persuading. Ok let's go get Wonder burger. Just this once as it's a special occasion. But we'd better make it quick the others will be here soon."

Jim looked nervous. "They are going to behave themselves aren't they? No booze tonight with Connor around, and please tell me Brown hasn't hired a stripper."

Blair smiled mysteriously and opened the door.

"Blair? ... Chief? Come on tell me what they've got planned." Jim whined.

Blair's grin widened, and for a second, he thought about tormenting his friend further. But he took pity on him when he saw how tired Jim looked.

"Nothing big. A few hands of poker and some male bonding. I suspect we'll have a quieter night than Megan and Serena. They're going to that Thai restaurant near the precinct with Rhonda and some of the women from forensics. I hear they're a pretty wild bunch. Some of them are planning to go to a club afterwards."

Blair regretted his words when he saw the anxious expression cross Jim's face.

"Not Serena of course." He added quickly. "Megan and Rhonda are taking her back to the hotel after the meal. She said she wants to be alert for tomorrow. She remembers the last Major Crimes wedding and wants to be prepared for anything. I don't know why people only seem to remember my wedding for that one little hiccup. "

Jim relaxed and smiled. "Three escaped convicts crashing your wedding is not a little hiccup. It's more of an enormous belch, and people tend to remember those things."

Blair playfully punched Jim in the arm. "Funny guy. Don't give up the day job." Opening the door he called. "Come on Connor let's go eat."

Connor whooped with delight and shot past them both and out the door before either one could catch him. They hurried after him and watched as he approached the lift. He stopped in front and clapped his hands.

"Opie Otie" He called, and the doors opened smoothly as if it had been waiting for him.

Blair looked at Jim. "That's odd, when I tried to call it earlier, to fetch our gear up, it wouldn't work. I thought it was stuck on this floor. I had to carry our stuff up the stairs."

Jim shrugged. "It's working now. Let's go before it stops again."

They entered the lift but before Jim could press the button Connor patted the wall. The doors closed and the lift moved down.

As they got off the elevator Connor waved. "Bye Otie." And the doors closed smoothly behind them.

"Now that IS weird." Jim said as they exited the building. "I think we've solved the mystery of how he got up to the loft. The lift doors were open when I let him in. They didn't close until he was inside the loft. Almost as if it was waiting to see he arrived safely."

Blair looked thoughtful. "Do you think it remembers him, you know, 'cause he was born there?"

Jim snorted. "It's an elevator Chief, not a person."

"Well, stranger things have happened. We have spirit guides, why can't it have a soul?" Blair looked down at his son who was bouncing along next to Jim. "You know, if Connor is a guide and it is genetic, any children you have could have sentinel abilities."

"Whoa, slow down! I'm not married yet." Jim smiled at his friend

"You will be tomorrow. And you shouldn't hang around you know, you're not getting any younger man." Blair teased.

Jim swatted him round the head. "Don't push it kid."

*******************

Later that evening, having settled Connor for the night, the poker game was in full swing. By mutual agreement no alcohol was being served, but the atmosphere was still high-spirited. They had been telling stories, each one getting more outrageous. It ended with Jim telling them about the strange behaviour of the lift and Blairâs latest theory about it.

Simon, Rafe and Henri stared at each other for a moment and burst into noisy laughter.

"An elevator with a soul! Most kids get a guardian angel or fairy godmother! Yours gets a possessed elevator. Trust you to be different!" Henri choked out between giggles.

They burst into another bout of noisy laughter. Blair crossed his arms and pouted.

"Hey guys, keep it down, you'll wake Connor and he's like his mother if you disturb his sleep. He can be quite a handful."

"Ooh what's he gonna do ... set the elevator on us?" Henri chuckled quietly.

At that moment he door to Blair's room creaked open and a heavy eyed, tousled haired Connor stomped into the room. He scowled at the assembled company and putting a finger to his lips said. "Shhhhh. Me seep."

Jim looked at his watch. "Hey I think it's time to call it a night. Got an early start tomorrow. Leave this, I'll clear it up later."

They gathered their coats and, apologising to a sleepy Connor, said goodnight. Jim and Blair watched them go up the hallway and get into the lift.

Unable to resist one last joke at Blair's expense, Henri lent forward. "Hey Blair, better get the lift whisperer back to bed."

The other two occupants of the lift snorted in amusement until the doors suddenly slammed shut, almost catching Henri's nose. The car dropped very quickly for one floor then stopped. It shot up again to the third floor and dropped again stopping just before it hit bottom. The three men inside were terrified as it shot back up for a second time.

Jim and Blair were stunned when the elevator seemed to take on a life of it's own. They could hear the cries of alarm as the lift rose for the second time. Connor seemed to sense what was going on and took his thumb out of his mouth.

"Otie! No! Bad." He shouted.

The lift stopped and the doors opened with a mournful creak and spat out the three shaken men.

"Night, night Otie." Connor called before putting his thumb back in his mouth and settling down on his father's shoulder. The lift doors closed silently and it moved at a sedate pace back to the ground floor as Simon, Rafe and Henri watched open mouthed.

"Man that was too weird, even for you guys. I am never getting in that thing again. In fact I'm not sure I'll ever get in any elevator again." Henri's voice was still shaky.

Now they were sure their friends were alright Blair began to see the funny side of it. He couldn't help smirking at Henri.

"I think you may have upset it. You should be careful what you say about its friends, it's obviously sensitive." That seemed to break the tension and they all laughed quietly.

"Well we'd better be going. Come on gentlemen I think we'll use the stairs this time." Simon herded the other two down the hallway. As they were about to enter the stairwell Rafe turned back.

"Hey Blair, do you think that he can do that with any other machines?"

Blair shrugged his shoulder. "I don't know, why?"

"Well I was wondering if he could have a word with my car..." Simon's arm appeared out of nowhere and Rafe was yanked out of view.

They wandered back into the loft and Blair resettled Connor back in his cot. Coming out of his room he started to help with the clean up. Looking up he found Jim watching him.

"What?" He asked

Jim smiled and shook his head. "A lift with a soul? Now I've seen it all. Next you'll be giving it a name and talking to it."

"Well you call your truck Sweetheart and you talk to it all the time." Blair replied with mock indignation.

"That's different, that's my truck. There's a special bond between a man and his truck."

Blair snorted. "Yeah, huge difference. Does Serena understand this ... special bond?"

"She knows about Sweetheart and she understands." Jim defended himself.

"And you say I'm strange." Blair smiled. "So, are you all set for tomorrow? What made you wig out so much? Its not like you."

"I guess it's just last minute nerves. I mean I've done this before and it all went wrong. I don't think I could stand it if that happened again with Serena." Jim started picking up the debris of the card game.

"Jim, you're a different person now, and Serena isn't Carolyn. You both know what you're getting into. Things have been ok, haven't they?"

Jim smiled. "Yeah, you're right. Hey it's almost like old times. Me getting wound up and you calming me down."

"Go to bed Jim. Try to get some sleep. I'll clear this up." Blair shooed his anxious Sentinel up the stairs. The loft was soon tidied up and everyone settled down for a quiet night.

*******************

The next morning Jim woke refreshed. Dialling up his hearing, he could hear Blair moving around quietly, getting himself and Connor dressed. He got out of bed and padded down the stairs and went into the kitchen to put the coffee on.

He knocked at Blair's door. "Blair, I've put the coffee on. I'm going for a shower."

Blair opened the door showing that both he and Connor were dressed.

"Great. I'll get some breakfast ready. You look like you slept well."

"I did. You have a calming influence Chief." Jim patted him on the shoulder and moved off to the bathroom.

By the time he came out, Blair had a hearty breakfast set up and Connor was happily munching on a piece of toast. Jim joined them at the table and the meal was consumed quickly and quietly.

Jim went back to his room and started dressing while Blair cleaned up the breakfast dishes. As he was buttoning his shirt he heard someone approach the loft. There was a loud knock. Without thinking, Blair crossed the room and opened it.

"Hey!" Blair barely had time to shout before the door was pushed open violently, sending him flying backwards onto the floor. For a moment he was winded and unable to move. He looked up into the furious face of Harrison J Sutherland, would-be bank robber, who should have been on his way to Starkville prison following his trial two days ago. A trial at which Jim had been a key witness. It looked like he planned to make good on his threats to get Jim if he testified.

"Where's Ellison! Ellison, I know you're here. Come out or your little friend here is a dead man." Sutherland bent down and grabbed Blair by the hair.

Before he could do anything more a curly headed missile shot out from behind the couch and, running up to the big man, kicked him hard in the shins.

"Connor, no!" Blair shouted as he tried to pull his son back to safety.

Harrison stepped back in surprise and found himself looking down into a pair of stormy eyes.

"Why you little..." Sutherland made a grab for Connor, who was pulled back behind a now kneeling Blair.

"Bad man!" Connor shouted. "Kitty, Woof!"

Jim, who was by this time on his way downstairs, looked up in time to see a familiar black panther and grey wolf come running from Blair's room. They lunged for Sutherland, fangs bared and growling.

Sutherland screamed and backed away. The two spirit guides continued to herd him out of the loft and along the hallway. Jim followed while Blair grabbed Connor and put him safely in their room, telling him sternly to stay put. After calling for backup he quickly followed Jim along the hallway.

The two spirit animals continued to play with their victim, finally backing him up against the lift. The doors opened and he fell back into the car. They closed with a snap and the car dropped so that it was stuck between floors. From their position outside the doors Jim and Blair could here the man gibbering hysterically. The two spirit animals sat on either side of the door looking very pleased with themselves, the wolf almost looked as though it were grinning.

"Thanks guys." Blair acknowledged them with a little wave.

The panther made a huffing sound and disappeared through the wall and the wolf, wagging its tail, followed.

The building was soon crawling with cops. Jim filled them in on the situation as quickly as he could and, promising to leave a statement with Simon, beat a hasty retreat. Blair and Connor waiting downstairs in the van. They were cutting it fine. Blair had phoned Simon to tell him what had happened in case they were late and Serena thought she had been stood up.

They made it with only minutes to spare. With a promise to fill everyone in later Jim and Blair headed for the front of the room. They had just taken up their positions when the music announcing the arrival of the bride started and Serena appeared in the doorway.

The rest of the day flew by in a blur. Before they knew it they were all at the reception toasting the happy couple. Blair had filled everyone in on what had occurred and Simon had taken Jim's statement on a napkin. As they sat at the table Simon updated Jim on how things had progressed at the loft after they left.

"Apparently they've taken him to Conover for psych review. He kept saying he was attacked by a midget and you'd set wild animals on him, that a panther and a wolf had chased him into the lift, which held him hostage until the patrol car arrived. Apparently, just after you and Blair left, the lift went crazy again. Kept whizzing up and down. Finally stopped on the third floor and practically spat the man out at their feet. Now that part I believe, but wild animals? What really happened Jim?"

Jim fiddled with his collar. "Ummm.... it's one of those Sentinel things you don't like to hear about. Let's just say he's not as mad as he sounds."

Simon pretended to cover his ears. "Don't want to hear it Jim." Getting serious for a moment he asked. "How's Connor been? Has it upset him much?"

Jim grinned. "Apparently not. Look for yourself." He indicated the dance floor.

There in all his two-year-old glory was Connor, grooving away to the loud music, surrounded by a group of besotted women. Megan and Blair were dancing a short way off and it was impossible not to compare father and son.

Simon choked on his drink. "Oh my... He gets more like his father every day. Blair's gonna have his hands full with that one."

Simon and Jim couldn't help but smile an evil smile at the thought. "Ahhhh payback..."

The End.