She was just one of a visiting pair of detectives. They would only be there long enough to get an extradition. Unfortunately, the perp in question was fighting it. He did not want to return to England to face trial for blowing up a few buildings. Especially since he wasn't even a member of the IRA. He just liked to blow things up.
They were going to have to go to court to be able to take him back with them. Hopefully, they would be able to be finished within a week or two. At least the weather was enough like home to be comfortable
"Ellison, Sandburg. My office."
They had just walked through the door. Without even removing their coats, they walked across the room and entered the office.
"Yes, Sir?" Ellison asked, looking politely at the two visitors.
"These are Detectives Wills and Hamilton. They're here to take Miller back to England to stand trial. This is Detective Jim Ellison and his partner, Blair Sandburg. They're the ones responsible for his capture."
"It's a pleasure, gentlemen." Wills said. He was a square, bluff man, with sandy hair and a handlebar moustache. He stood to shake hands. Hamilton stood as well. She was a petite woman with long, dark, auburn curls and the biggest, greenest eyes Jim Ellison had ever seen. He felt like he was drowning in them.
He nearly zoned, until the woman took his hand, at which point, he abruptly snapped back to the present. He mumbled the appropriate responses.
Blair noticed. He wondered if it was a pheromone thing, or something. He determined to keep a close eye on these two, especially her.
They escorted the visitors down to the interrogation room to talk to the prisoner. Miller was completely uncooperative. He attempted to grab Hamilton, only to find himself on the floor, his arm twisted in her grasp and her foot in his armpit, threatening to dislocate his shoulder. He wouldn't be trying that again.
After the interview, they agreed to take the visitors sight seeing. Not normally the sort of thing they would do, but it was a slow day, and they had gotten all the paperwork caught up the day before.
They were walking down the street near the art museum, when Jim suddenly froze, his awareness drawn to an unusual movement inside one of the stores.
"Damn it, Blair, call for backup. There's a robbery going down in the drug store." He headed for the door, but stopped and watched from the corner of the window. "They're after drugs, Chief." He slipped quietly into the store, counting on his partner to follow instructions. He was aware of someone having followed him. From the scent, he realised that it was Hamilton. He motioned her to stay behind him. She stepped up and placed a hand on his back, just like Blair would. He instantly settled, responding to her touch. He listened to the robbers, shifting to get closer. Waiting until they were distracted, then moving around the corner and drawing down on them.
"Freeze! Cascade Police!" The men froze. "Put down your weapons and put your hands in the air." And when they hesitated, added, "Now!" Seeing that the big cop wasn't alone and not knowing that the other person wasn't armed, they gave up.
"It was like you were with me, Chief. She even put her hand on the same place on my back that you do. It felt...I don't know. Right, somehow."
Blair was feeling nervous and threatened. "I have a feeling that she might be another guide." Right. And beautiful. And female. If she wanted his Sentinel, it wouldn't be very hard for her to take him away.
"What's wrong, Chief?" Hearing the trip-hammer heartbeat of his friend and reaching out to touch his shoulder.
"She's probably a guide, Jim." He lifted his worried gaze to his best friend. "And I can't see how I can keep her from taking you away from me." He admitted in the faintest of whispers.
"Chief...Blair. I'm not looking for another Guide. I have one. The only one I want, or need. I was just making an observation. I'm sorry if I scared you." He paused for a moment. "But maybe now you can understand how I've felt every time we've come across another Sentinel."
Blair's head shot up. This was how Jim felt? Oh, man. That was awful. "Oh, man. I'm sorry. Look, I feel pretty awful, but I promise, I will never leave you. Unless one of us is...dead." The last word came out as a horrified whisper. He had the abrupt realisation that if anything happened to Jim, that he would die, as well. From the look on Jim's face, he knew it as well.
"Jim? It's Steven. I have a little dilemma here, that I was hoping you'd be willing to help me with."
"Sure. What is it?" Curious.
"Well, I have a meeting with a man who just took over a corporation with which I do a lot of business. He's going to be here tomorrow for a series of meetings. I was hoping you might be available to help me."
Brows furrowed in confusion, he asked, "Help you what?"
"Well..." Steven wasn't sure how to put it. "His name is Wainright." He waited for the reaction he was sure was about to come.
"Peter Mark Wainright?" Blair perked up from the other side of Jim's desk.
"Yeah. I've never met him, but I thought that you and Blair might at least want to check him out. Considering...well, you know."
Oh, yeah. Considering that the man under discussion was Blair's half-brother, and his and Steven's cousin. "What did you have in mind?"
"Well, I understand that he likes to meet the families of people he does business with. I was hoping you and Blair could join us for lunch tomorrow?"
"Well, normally that wouldn't be a problem, but we're playing tour guide to a couple of detectives from England, who are here waiting for an extradition. I wish..."
"Bring them." Steven sounded desperate. "By all means. I really need you on this. Please?"
"Hold on." Quickly explaining the problem to Blair, who immediately went to explain things to the visitors, who readily agreed, he returned with the go-ahead. "OK. Where and When?"
They met at one of the city's swankiest restaurants. Jim and Blair had given in for the occasion and dressed in suits. They were exactly on time. Steven had been watching for them. Seeing them arrive, he stood, waiting for them to approach. Making the introductions. Jim and the stranger stared at one another. There was a resemblance, but not too obvious. Jim smiled, listening to his cousin's heartbeat. Hearing the stress that caused it to increase in tempo. After Steven had introduced his brother and cousin, Jim, in turn, introduced his guests. Blair held Ms. Hamilton's chair for her before sitting himself. They were all exchanging pleasantries, when Jim and Wainright both suddenly froze, heads turning and cocking in unison, obviously, to Blair at least, the actions of two Sentinels seeking an out of kilter sound.
"What was that?" The Englishman asked, softly.
"Guns. Chief, get everybody down and call for backup. We've got a problem on our hands." He handed his cell phone to his partner, as he slipped from his chair, heading for the kitchen and the office. Knowing that Wainright and Hamilton had followed him, as well.
As soon as Blair called in Jim's request, he stood up to follow his partner and their other two guests. Steven standing up to follow Wills and Blair.
Jim managed to make it all the way to the office without being detected. The other two right behind him. The remaining three catching up at the office door. They could now all hear the yelling coming from within the office. Unfortunately, it wasn't English.
"It's Arabic." Wainright announced softly. "Something about drugs?" He listened a bit longer. "Yes, drugs, and not being paid. He's going to take his share of the drugs...NO!" He suddenly leapt for the door, as the sound of a gunshot ripped across their hearing. Both Wainright and Jim wincing from the pain of being so close to the sound. Jim had his gun drawn, aimed and ready when the door flew open at Wainright's abrupt movement. He had the man with the gun covered before he could do more than look up at them.
"Call the paramedics, Chief. This guy's in deep trouble." He was trying to hold the gunman at bay at the same time he was trying to ascertain the condition of the injured man. Wainright knelt beside the injured man, his hands gently probing the area of the wound.
"He's got some broken ribs, the bullet appears to have struck at an angle and skimmed across his ribs, not making it through the ribcage and into any vital organs." He looked up at the others. "It doesn't appear life threatening, just a great deal of blood."
Blair grabbed some clean towels from the kitchen, the staff trying to see what had happened. Wainright took them and applied pressure to the man's wounds. Jim, in the meantime, had secured the shooter, with the aid of Ms Hamilton.
Wainright was crouched beside the injured man, staring at the blood seeping through the white kitchen towels. He was barely breathing, eyes dilated, and fixed. Blair cast a glance at him and realised that the man had zoned. Mr. Wills helped Jim take their prisoner out to the arriving police, through the back so as to not frighten the patrons. Steven stood, watching in confusion, the way his erstwhile business associate seemed to have suddenly become catatonic.
Blair, realising the problem, got Steven's attention. "Oh, man. Steven? Would you be so kind as to get my backpack from the table? I don't think we'll be able to stay for lunch after all." Standing and blocking Steven's view of the injured man and the zoned Sentinel. Steven nodded and turned to go.
Looking up at Hamilton as he crouched beside Wainright, he asked: "Do you know what this is?"
She shook her head. "No. But I feel as though I should be doing something. Talking to him, touching him," She blushed. "Not in that way, I..."
"Don't worry about it. It's a Guide thing."
"A what? You mean like in Girl Guides?" Puzzled.
"No. Like in Guide, one who helps another. As in Sentinel." He was glad the victim was unconscious. "I'm really doing my doctoral thesis on Sentinels. Only it turns out that there is always a guide to go with the Sentinel. Obviously, Mr. Wainright here, is a Sentinel. Since he travels alone, I have to conclude that he doesn't have a guide." He gave her a searching look.
"How do you know he's a Sentinel?" Accepting for the moment his veracity.
"Because..." He gave her a searching look "I'm a guide. I have a Sentinel."
She frowned, puzzled. "Ellison." She concluded. "They both suddenly got that odd look on their faces. Then they jumped up and ran in here. I could hear the voices through the door, but I couldn't even tell what language they were speaking. Obviously, Mr. Wainright here, could." She looked down at the catatonic man. "So, Mr. Guide, what do we do now?"
"What do you think you should do?" Bouncing like a spring, crouched down beside the zoned Wainright.
"I think..." She crouched beside them. Tentatively, she reached out a hand and lightly grasped Wainright's shoulder. "Sir? Mr. Wainright? Sir?" Her other hand reaching to rub his back.
He abruptly gasped, blinked and looked around at them. Blushing, he glanced back at the injured man, seeing that the bleeding had stopped, he stood, still embarrassed.
"Forgive me. I have a rare condition in which I will occasionally become momentarily catatonic. It doesn't happen very often, but I do apologise if I frightened you."
"You zoned, man." Blair agreed, standing and helping the young woman up as well. "Do you really have it under control for the most part, or do you do this often?" The scientist excited with his new subject.
"I'm sorry? I don't understand?" He'd never had anyone react so blasé before to his little episodes. He'd seen numerous doctors, but no one had been able to help him. If he hadn't had the support and care of his mother and sister, he would probably have had to be institutionalised. Fortunately, they had discovered that the 'attacks' only occurred when he focused too tightly on something.
"I do. Look. I know who you are. What do you know about your father?"
He was shocked. The only person who had ever spoken about his father in a good way was his mother. His father's family had only negative things to say about him. But his mother had confided a secret to him when she turned the corporation over to him to run. He wondered if, by some miracle, this man might also know that secret. He might have believed it, if Mr. Sandburg weren't so young.
His response was interrupted by the simultaneous arrival of Steven and the paramedics. As they moved out of the way, Blair whispered, knowing that Wainright could hear him. "Look, ask Steven to give you our numbers. We need to talk. I can explain some things to you. Like how you heard a gun cocking across a crowded restaurant. And why you zoned on the blood seeping through the towels." He saw the surprise and speculation in the larger man's eyes.
None of them were interested in lunch after the events at the restaurant. With apologies all around, they went their separate ways. When Jim and Blair dropped off their visitors at their hotel, Ms Hamilton stayed behind, telling her partner that she'd catch up in a few minutes.
"You need to tell me what's going on, here. Why is all this happening?" Jim could hear her heart pounding, partially in fear, partly in excitement.
Blair looked at his partner. Turning back to her, he explained. "A Sentinel is genetically predisposed to protect the tribe. They have enhanced senses. All five of them. What happened today was the result of two men with enhanced senses reacting to a sound. Probably the cocking of the gun. It attracted their attention, then they reacted. Running to the rescue."
"What is the purpose of the 'Guide' you were talking about?"
Jim squirmed a little, uncomfortable.
"Our job is to help the Sentinel. When they focus too tightly on one sense, they 'zone out'. They get trapped in that one sense and can't escape on their own. By touching them and talking to them, we can get them to come back, literally to their senses."
"Can't anybody do that?"
"No." Jim answered. "It's very hard to get the attention of a zoned Sentinel. When Blair's not around, I've been known to lose an entire hour to a zone. When there are others around, it will take them several minutes to get my attention." His clear blue eyes daring her to challenge him. "Blair can usually bring me back within a minute or two, if it's a really bad zone. Sometimes, he has to shake me. But he still gets through."
"So, what I'm hearing is that you need him, to keep you from losing focus."
Jim laughed. "Not exactly. I need him to keep me unfocused. By keeping me from focusing on only one sense to the exclusion of everything else."
"Like the blood seeping through the towel." She murmured.
"Right." Blair agreed. "He was caught up by the bright red soaking into the bright white. Mesmerised, almost."
She nodded. "I see." She looked at them both, "When you say that I'm a Guide, what did you mean? How do you know?"
Jim and Blair exchanged looks. Jim shrugged, indicating that it was 'the professor's' show.
"Well. When you first met, Jim almost zoned on you. I thought, at first, that it might be pheromones. But when you followed him into the drug store, your hand on his back, well, you did everything that I usually do. I have to say that I was a little worried. You know, afraid you'd want to take my place as his guide."
"Oh." She smiled slightly. "I don't think I could do that. I'm English, after all, and, well, I never even knew anything about Sentinels and Guides until you told me about them. You said that Mr. Wainright was a Sentinel, as well."
"Yes. And he doesn't have a guide. I've invited him to call us to discuss it. Maybe you'd like to come, too?" Kill a number of birds with one shot. He'd get to know his brother; tell his brother about their relationship (maybe); tell him about their Dad (maybe); explain his senses; connect the unattached Guide to the unattached Sentinel (thus removing any threat, real or imagined to either he or his own Sentinel).
"All right. You know my number here. Give me a call."
"You've got it." Blair promised, bouncing in the seat in his excitement.
Returning to the station, they turned in the department vehicle and went upstairs to fill out the reports. Joel met them at the door.
"Some guy named Wainright has been waiting for you. He said something about you were going to explain 'zoning' to him?" Worried. Simon was watching from his office, as well, mirroring Joel's worried expression.
"It's OK, man." Blair soothed, "He doesn't know it yet, but he's my brother." Grinning.
At Joel's startled expression, Jim chuckled softly. "He's right. Half right, anyway."
Joel blinked, then his understanding lit up his face. "Poor guy. Are you really going to tell him he's related to both of you?"
"Don't know, yet. We'll have to see how it goes." Jim answered with a grin.
"Mr. Wainright. We need to do some paperwork, but if you'd like to wait, we can answer probably most of your questions when we're through." Blair said to the man sitting in Simon's office.
"No, I don't mind. Your Captain was telling me a bit about the two of you. He said that you are cousins?"
"Uh, yeah. We only found out recently, ourselves. My Dad and Jim's Mom are twins."
"Ah," He replied, thinking. "So, Mr. Ellison, your mother was a Sandburg?"
"No. She was a Savage."
Blair, picking up on the unasked question added: "My Dad used to go by the name Peter Murphy..." He was rewarded with a startled look from the Englishman. Followed by faint tremors.
Jim, picking up on the man's agitation, interrupted, "Look. Let us get this paperwork out of the way and we can go somewhere and talk, if you like."
"Yes. Please." Was the visitor's weak reply.
Simon had been watching, worried that the man was going to faint, or something. Grateful that he didn't. He offered his visitor some coffee as his best team exited the office to write their report.
They finished their report in record time. They were anxious to talk to their cousin, compare notes, etc. Less than an hour later, they were handing Simon their reports and asking Mr. Wainright to join them.
Walking out of the station five minutes later, he stopped to ask a question. "You know about me; who my real father is, don't you?" Almost an accusation.
"Yes." Jim answered. "Look, why don't you follow us home? We can talk there."
They looked at each other. Wondering, curious, afraid.
"All right. I'm parked down here somewhere." He looked around and spotted his rental car not far from Jim's truck.
Once at the loft, they took the elevator upstairs in silence. Inside the loft, Jim headed for the refrigerator, asking over his shoulder, "You guys want a beer?"
Receiving answers in the affirmative, he brought the drinks to the living room. They sat on opposite sides of the coffee table.
"Please. What do you know of Peter Murphy? You said that he 'used' that name. I know that it was the name used by my father when he met my mother. She told me the truth a few years ago. Is he still alive? Why did he leave us? What..."
"Hold on a second." Blair interrupted. "Yes, he's still alive. Let me tell you about our story, first, OK?" At Peter's nod, Blair continued. "I was raised by my Mom. I never knew who my father was. A few months ago, I found out. I also learned that he had two other children, but when he left, he promised their Mom that he would never attempt to contact any of them again. He's kept his word. He did see you graduate, and he said he used to stop and try and catch sight of you any time he was in Europe, but always made sure that you never knew about it. The reason for all of that, was that he worked covert Ops for the US Government, and that your Mom got scared of the kinds of things they had to do." He stopped and waited for the questions.
"Do you suppose he'd ever want to meet me?"
Jim noticed the identical tone of voice that Blair got when he desperately wanted something, but expected to be rejected. He smiled at the thought.
"My turn. My mother left when I was seven. Couldn't take any more abuse from my father. She returned home to her parent's, although her Dad was the only one left. When he died, he had provided for all of his grandchildren in his will. My mother and her brother had to track us down to tell us about it."
"I was notified of a legacy, recently. I wondered who it could have come from."
"Yeah, well, it seems that we all had the same grandfather. One we never met."
"Excuse me?" Confused.
"Uh, our Dad and Jim's Mom are twins. You're my half-brother and Jim is our cousin."
"That was why you weren't surprised by my catatonia!" Understanding at last.
"It's not catatonia. It's not a disease or a 'rare condition' or anything like that. You just happen to help prove my theory that Sentinels run in families and that the older tend to be Sentinels and the younger tend to be guides."
"I'm actually doing my thesis on Sentinels. People with five enhanced senses. You and Jim are Sentinels. I'm a Guide. So is Ms Hamilton, by the way. What happens, is that you can see farther, hear better, taste more, ultra sensitive touch, smell things that no one else can. Do you hear people's heartbeats?" Seeing the scepticism.
"No, of course not."
Blair waited patiently, eyebrows raised in polite disbelief.
"Well, not usually...Oh, all right. Yes. But not all the time." Defensively.
"Of course not. You've learned to turn your hearing down. You can also adjust your light sensitivity. Jim imagines dials. He can dial his senses up and down as the need arises."
He nodded, understanding. "What about the catatonia?"
"A zone. That's what happens when you focus in so hard on a single sense, that you become oblivious to everything happening around you. That's where having a Guide comes in handy. My job is to keep Jim from over focusing on anything."
Jim joined in, "He keeps me grounded, anchored to the rest of the world when using one sense predominately. Mostly, it's just having him with me, knowing he's backing me up, that will keep me from a zone. It helps me with my job."
"I..." He was interrupted by a knock at the door. Jim looked up, startled. "It's Ms Hamilton." He announced, going over and opening the door.
She was hesitant. "I wasn't sure about coming, but your theory was so intriguing, that I had to find out more. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all. Please, come in. We were just examining our family ties." He escorted her to the others. She chose to sit on the couch next to their other visitor.
"Family ties?" Puzzled.
"Yes. It would appear that Mr. Sandburg and myself share a rather unique relationship, in fact, all three of us have an unusual familial connection." Not going into detail.
"Really?" She looked at all three men. "Well, I can see what could definitely be called a family resemblance. Although, Mr. Wainright's eyes are green, they are certainly as intense as either of yours."
"Uh, can I make a suggestion here?" Blair asked. When he had their attention, he continued. "Look, can we just be friends? I'm so not into being called 'mister'. I'm Blair. He's Jim. You're Peter?" A bit unsure, but reassured with a nod, "And you are..?"
"Jane. Just plain Jane." She replied with a soft smile.
"You may be Jane, but you are certainly not plain." Peter assured her, gallantly.
She blushed, and he moved closer to her, taking one of her hands in his.
Blair could see the almost electric reaction between them. He glanced at his partner, and smiled conspiratorially. This might just work out all around.
Jim ordered in Pizza. They were all too wrapped up in their discussions and explanations to be willing to stop for anything else. It was obvious to the two Americans, that there was a serious attraction between the Brits. Blair was positively incandescent over learning about his brother and his family, not to mention having another Sentinel and Guide to study. They talked through the night. It was daylight before any of them were ready to slow down.
Jim had just put on another pot of coffee, when he noticed the lightening skies.
"I hate to tell you guys, but don't we have a court date this morning, Jane?"
"Wha..?" Looking up and seeing that it was nearly daylight. "Oh, dear. What time is it?"
"Five thirty-seven." Jim replied, looking at his watch. "I'm going to be in a world of hurt by this afternoon. Extra strong coffee for me." Wincing, because he knew what it would do to his stomach.
"Light meals, heavy on carbs, man." Blair advised.
"Right. Jim agreed, pulling cereal down from the cupboard. Holding it up in offer to the rest of them, who nodded their agreement.
"Look, Peter, we've got your Dad's phone number here, if you want to call and talk to him. I know he'd love to hear from you." Blair told his brother. "When he found out about me, he had to wait a month before he could tell me, because he thought he needed to talk to my Mom, first. When I found out, well, I found out about all my paternal relatives. It was great. I thought maybe...maybe he didn't really want me, but...he does, you know? He's even retired, now. Please. Call him. You'll see."
"Well, perhaps. I do understand why things happened as they did, I'm sure that Penelope would like to meet him, as well." He paused, gazing on his new-found relatives. "My mother and sister are the only reason I'm not institutionalised, you know. It's nice to know that I'm not crazy. Only enhanced." He laughed. The laugh of a man released from prison. He glanced down at Jane, who was still almost clinging to his side. "Tell me something, little brother?"
Blair beamed at the appellation. "Sure. What do you want to know?"
"I was wondering about Guides and Sentinels. What sort of relationship do you have?"
"The closest one you can imagine, We're best friends, brothers in everything but blood. Partners, well, not 'life partners', of course, but we are practically joined at the hip." He grinned, seeing where his brother was going with his questions.
"I see. And if one of you had been a woman?"
"I think you're already figuring out the answer to that one."
"Yes, I think perhaps I am." He turned, helped Jane on with her coat and walked her out the door. His entire being focused on his new guide, who was in complete reciprocation.
When the door closed behind the couple, Jim smiled and said: "Well, Chief. You make a pretty good, what is it called? A Yenta?" Chuckling.
"Hey, man. I was just doing my job. And protecting my territory." He added with a smirk. He turned toward his friend just in time to be struck in the face with one of the accent pillows from the couch.
"Dibs on the shower, Chief." Jim laughed and ran for the bathroom.