"What? You mean I can come with you this time?" Blair reached out and accepted the cup Jim was handing him, pushing his hair from his face with the other.
"Yep. Simon got that search warrant. He's over there now with a team, going through Kathy Fisher's apartment. They're bringing her, and her boyfriend, in for questioning. You can come down to the station, sit outside the room with the DA." He sipped his coffee. "She's agreed now that there's enough doubt about you. All the charges have been dropped."
Blair looked up, surprised. "You mean, I'm not a suspect anymore?"
"Nope. The crime lab hasn't finished with the tapes yet, but from what they've heard, they can tell the voices are dubbed, and of a different quality than Kathy's, who was supposedly in the same room at the same time." He set down his cup and began to clean the pot. "I'm betting this boyfriend of hers had no idea what her intentions were. And she may have planned this out for some time, but she's not exactly a hardened criminal." He paused, shaking his head. "And, she's not too bright. Unless it was never her intention to commit the perfect crime."
Blair put his own cup into the sink and walked, still somewhat slowly, over to get his coat. "She might have been hoping to get to South America before anyone figured it out. But, she couldn't leave until the investigation was over. I don't get it."
"Neither do most of them Chief." Jim put his own coat on and picked up his keys. "That's why we catch them." They both walked through the door and down to the truck. Jim opened the passenger door and offered a helping hand to Blair.
"I'm okay, thanks Jim."
He shut the door, then walked around the truck and got inside. "Listen, about Nelson..."
"No, Jim, you didn't." Blair looked over at him then, a look of regret on his face.
"No, Simon did. And Internal Affairs. He's on suspension, pending an investigation." Jim started the truck and pulled away from the curb. "This isn't the first time he's looked the other way down there. Apparently, he's had some chip on his shoulder about being taken off the beat and put downstairs. I suppose anyone would, but that's no excuse for what he's done." Jim glanced at Blair who was looking at the floorboards. "Sandburg, don't judge them all by the actions of one or two, okay?"
Blair looked up, raising his eyebrows a little when he nodded.
"I'm serious." Jim said, noting the look on his friend's expressive face. "Maybe they don't all understand you, hell, sometimes I don't understand you. But most of them think you're ok." Jim smiled at the look of disbelief Blair tried to hide. "Just don't let it go to your head."
Blair nodded, "Thanks Jim."
Satisfied, Jim drove on in silence. His face was sore from Blair's punch, and he was still surprised that his friend had hit him. Not only hit him, but hit him hard. He didn't think Blair would ever do that, but then, he was sure Blair never expected him to handcuff him to a bed. He glanced at his reflection in the rear-view mirror, hoping Blair didn't notice his action. The skin below his eye was purple and slightly puffy, despite the ice he had held there last night. How was he going to explain this to Simon?
Once back at the Precinct Jim took Blair back to the interrogation room he had been in just a few short days ago, only this time Blair stayed outside, standing behind the two way mirror in the observation area, next to Assistant DA Walters.
"Mr Sandburg, I just wanted to apologize for what happened. In light of this new evidence, you never should have been put in that situation." Walters offered him a seat next to her, where they could listen to the interrogation Jim and Simon were going to conduct.
Blair smiled, nodding as he sat down. "Hey, no problem. Just doing your job, right?"
"Still, what happened to you downstairs, I..."
"Forget it. It's okay." Blair waved a hand, trying to stop her from continuing.
"Okay, you two comfy?" Jim asked. "We're going to start with this guy, Peter Main. He's Kathy's boyfriend, the Communications Major. He's not under arrest yet, so he waved a lawyer." Jim glanced through the mirror at the young man sitting down at the table in the small interrogation room. "Have you ever seen him around?"
Blair looked, but shook his head. "No, I haven't. But I never knew Kathy had a boyfriend. We didn't see much of each other when she was researching for Wilson."
"Okay. Here goes." Jim left their little observation area and went around the outside of the room, entering from the far door.
Jim first approached Simon, handing him a file. They stood at the far corner of the room, conferring quietly. Soon after, Jim approached Peter Main, who sat at the table, fingering the tie to his sweat-jacket hood.
"So, Mr. Main. What can you tell us about Professor Wilson's murder?" Jim asked.
Peter fidgeted in his seat, looking from Jim to Simon, and back again. "Professor Wilson? Nothing, man. I don't know anything about the murder. I just know what I read in the paper. Oh, and Kathy told me that Blair Sandburg had been arrested."
Jim shook his head as he walked around behind Main. "He was, but there wasn't enough evidence. In fact, we've found evidence now that completely clears him of any crime. I take it your girlfriend didn't tell you that?"
"No. I mean, why would she?"
"Because it would concern you directly, that's why. I'm surprised she didn't let you know."
Peter Main turned, watching Jim as he paced behind him. "What do you mean, concerns me? Why would it concern me?"
Simon stepped forward. "Do you know that conspiracy can get you 10 to 15? Then we add aiding and abetting, tapping phone lines. By the time we're through, you'll be a little too old to go back to college and finish that degree."
"No, man...I don't know what you're talking about. All I did was--" He stopped suddenly, glancing from Simon to the floor and around the room. "I mean, I didn't do anything."
"We've got you there, at the scene. You cut your finger, on Wilson's phone. Did you know that they can extract DNA from even the smallest drop of blood?" Jim walked back around to the front of the table. "You had access to the equipment necessary for a sophisticated phone tap. Your girlfriend used you. If we can't place her in that room when Wilson was killed, then we'll settle for you."
"Wait a minute. I didn't kill him. I couldn't kill anyone. There's no way you could--I mean--I want a lawyer." He stopped again, looking at his hands. "I don't want to say any more until I get a lawyer."
Jim looked at Simon. "He sounds to me like a man who has a lot to worry about."
Simon nodded. "Indeed. I wonder if he'd be interested in cutting a deal?"
"I don't know. But if he wants his lawyer first, I guess we'll never find out. We'll just have to go ahead and charge him. I'm sure he can afford a good lawyer." Jim turned back to Peter then. "You have some rich parents or something, don't you? I mean, I'd hate to see you get the Public Defender of the week, when so much is at stake."
Peter looked at both men, squirming in his seat. He had begun to sweat, and Jim could hear his heartbeat increasing. He was ready to roll over, and Jim knew it.
"Okay, have it your way. It doesn't matter to me who goes down for the murder. As long as it's someone who had a part in it. This way, the case can be closed, and Ms Fisher will get her files and maps and take off for South America."
"No way, I'm not taking the fall for her." Peter sat up then, looking at Jim. "All I did was tap the phones, and make some tapes. She said it was a joke. She said it wouldn't hurt anyone. I never asked her what they were for. Maybe I should have, but I was too interested in whether or not I could do it. I'd never tried something so elaborate before. It was, sort of research, for me. Just tap the lines, make some tapes, and make sure some of the phones wouldn't work at certain times. Nothing more. I didn't kill anyone. And I didn't think she had, either. Until last night."
"What happened last night.?" Jim asked.
"Well, she said she was getting nervous, about some of the things you were asking her. She said she was afraid you were going to start thinking she had done it. We talked for a few hours, and suddenly she tells me that she did kill him. And that since I was a part of it, I had to go along, give her any alibi she'd need, whatever." He looked away for a moment. "She was going to take Wilson's place. Do his research and become famous. I swear, it was all her. She did it. And she wanted it to look like Blair Sandburg was guilty. I don't think she wanted him to go to jail, but she never thought they'd suspect her." He looked at Simon. "I guess neither one of us was very bright about this."
"That, you can be sure of." Simon replied. He opened the door and motioned for a uniformed officer to come inside. "Read him his rights. You'll get that lawyer soon enough."
"But, I told you, I didn't do it. I didn't kill Wilson." Peter stood as the officer grabbed his arm.
"You didn't throw the spear, but you were a larger part of this than you know. You'll get your day in court."
Jim watched Peter being handcuffed and nodded his relief that it was no longer Blair in that position. He waited until the officer led Peter out of the room, then he and Simon left, returning to the observation room.
"Well, it's my turn with him now." Ms Walters stood, looking back at Blair. "Again, Mr Sandburg, I'm sorry."
Blair stood, smiling slightly. "Thanks."
Simon watched her leave the room, then turned to Jim. "Okay, now are you going to tell me what happened to your face?"
Jim glanced at Blair, noting the mockingly curious look on his face. The 'I dare you' he saw there made him flush. "I ah..."
"Yeah Jim, tell us what happened."
Jim didn't want Blair to know he had told Simon about handcuffing him, but he couldn't make Blair upset by lying about the punch.
"What about Kathy Fisher, Simon? Has she been brought in?" Jim decided a change of subject was in order. Blair snorted behind Simon and Jim's saw him rolling his eyes.
Before Simon could answer a female officer entered the room. "Captain, I'm sorry, she gave me the slip in the ladies room."
"What? Who did?" Simon asked, glancing at Jim.
"Ms Fisher. I took her to the ladies room, and...well somehow she got away from me."
"When? Which way did she go?" Jim asked, moving toward the door.
"Just a couple of minutes ago. She headed up to the roof, I think."
Jim reached out and grabbed Blair, "Come on Chief." As they hurried down the hall, they could hear Simon calling out orders for a building search. Jim reached the door marked roof access and opened it.
"Wait a minute Jim, are you sure she went up? There's no way down from up there."
"I'm sure Chief, I can smell her perfume." Jim held the door open as Blair went through, then they both started climbing the one flight that would take them to the roof of the seven story building. "There's one way down from up here. And it's quick."
"Oh my God." Blair followed as quickly as he could, understanding now what Jim meant.
They burst through the door and Jim scanned the area quickly, looking for Kathy. "There." He pointed to the far corner of the building, where she stood, perched on the edge of the roof. They both ran to the corner, slowing as they got closer. Jim put out a hand to stop Blair as they approached.
"Don't. I'll jump. I swear, I'll jump." Kathy saw them approach and held out a hand. "I'm sorry Blair. I never really meant for this to happen. All the time, when I was making the tapes, splicing them together, I never really thought about what I was doing. But then, when it was over I just...I'm sorry." She turned and looked down.
"No! Kathy, don't. It isn't worth it." Blair stepped forward and Jim put out a cautionary hand, following behind him. "Don't do this, please. Come on, don't do this."
Kathy shook her head and looked up, beyond them both. Jim turned to see Simon and three other officers coming towards them. He held out a warning hand and turned back to Kathy. "Listen, Ms Fisher, Blair's right. It's not worth it. Just come on down, and we'll get you a lawyer. Nothing's worth dying for."
"No, you're wrong. If it's worth killing for, shouldn't it be worth dying for?" She had barely finished her question when she turned and leaned forward, letting gravity take her over the edge.
"NO!!" Blair lunged forward, grabbing for her. Jim was right behind him, reaching the edge just as she fell below it. Blair hit the rail, but couldn't reach her arm, and wouldn't have had the strength to hold her. Jim's arms were just that much longer, and he snagged her sleeve just in time. Her momentum had pulled Jim halfway over the side, and Blair was now holding on to his back, trying to keep him from falling with her.
"No! Please, let me go!" Kathy began to struggle and Jim's hand was slipping. "I want to!"
Jim reached down with his other hand and strengthened his hold. He could feel more hands on him now, pulling him back. He held on as best he could to the struggling woman, pulling her up as the other hands and arms pulled him back to the roof. Then he saw more arms reach out and take her, pulling at her arm and shoulder. As they neared the roof, her weight was taken from him and she was lifted by two officers back onto the roof. Blair then helped pull Jim back up.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Yeah Chief, I'm fine."
"Ms Fisher, you are under arrest for the murder of Professor Wilson. You have the right to remain silent..." Simon was reading Kathy her rights as he and the officers led her back to the stairwell.
"You okay?" Jim looked at Blair, who was holding his stomach, watching them disappear into the stairwell.
He looked up at Jim for a moment, then off in the distance. "Yeah, I'm okay. Thanks, Jim."
He slapped him on the back and pushed him towards the stairs. "Come on Chief. We've got paperwork to do."
"Wait a minute. What do you mean we? I thought being a part of this case, I had to stay out of it?"
"Not a chance, Sandburg. You've been cleared, remember?" They were in the stairway now, halfway down. "That means for the last 12 hours, you've been my partner again, working the case with me. That means..."
"That means you get to make me do the paperwork again?"
"Yep." Jim smiled, patting his friend on the back. As they exited the stairway Simon was standing in the hall, waiting for them. "Hey Simon. Nice to get that one squared away."
Simon nodded, then looked at Blair. "Listen, Sandburg...I'm sorry if it seemed like I doubted you for a while. It's just that as a Captain, I can't let my feelings get in the way of the evidence." He paused and Jim looked at Blair who was nodding in his 'I guess I have to buy that' way. "I hope you understand?"
"Yeah, sure Captain. Just doing your job. Everybody was just doing their job."
Simon nodded and Jim couldn't help but smile. He never really understood when Blair was mocking him, and Jim wasn't about to clue him in.
"So, about Jim's little imprisonment offense. You want to press charges?"
Blair and Jim exchanged looks. "You told him?" Blair asked, looking like he was going to punch Jim again.
"Simon, I told you that in confidence." Jim said at the same time.
Simon was laughing at them both. "Listen, Sandburg, I'm serious. You can have Jim arrested and charged. I'd be happy to process that paperwork myself."
Jim shook his head, looking from Simon, to Blair. "Wait a minute Chief, we discussed that, remember? You said you were all right with it."
Blair smiled a little, thoughtfully. "No, Jim. Actually I never said I was all right with it."
"Oh, now wait just a minute, you can't be serious." Jim looked at Simon. "Come on Simon, whose side are you on?"
"Evidence, Jim. And I still haven't heard what happened to your face."
"True confession time Jim."
Jim rolled his eyes in embarrassed defeat. "Blair got the drop on me, decked me when I uncuffed him."
"Sandburg? Decked you?" Simon began to laugh, patting Blair on the shoulder in an uncharacteristic moment of shared respect. "All right. You know, I was thinking with all this added action you've been seeing, that maybe Jim should teach you a few moves. But I can see you do just find on your own."
Jim sighed, looking from Simon to Blair. "Okay, all right. I'll do the paperwork. Will that take care of it?"
Blair looked at him for a moment before replying. "That, and we do the cold medicine experiment, in the lab, next week."
"The cold? Oh brother." Jim held up both hands in defeat. Considering what his friend had been through in the last few days, he had to agree that a simple experiment, in a controlled environment, was the least he could do. But Jim hated to write reports. "Okay, how about I give you the experiment, and you do the report?"
Blair shook his head. "No. No way Jim, it's all or nothing. Simon, how much time does a person get for something like that?"
Before Simon could reply, Jim gave in. "Okay, okay. I give. I'll do the report." Suddenly he brightened up, remembering. "Hey, maybe I could just dictate the report, and borrow Mr. Kinyon's software?"
"Sure Jim." Blair was grinning. "Just go over to the University, tell Professor Kinyon that you want to borrow the program her husband uses so he doesn't have to listen to her tapes."
Jim's hopes sank. He looked at Simon, then Blair, both of them were smiling. They had him. They both did. "Great, just great." Jim could hear their laughter as he walked down the hall. Once at his desk he pulled out the keyboard and stared at the screen. "This really sucks, Sandburg."
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