And The Cat Came Back
by & Stargazer
Blair stared at the window. He tried the latch but it didnt want to give.
So close, yet so far away. He looked for another tool on his knife and tried that.
It gave a little and he kept working at it. Finally, he managed to turn the latch.
Maneuvering his right hand under one of the boards, he started to raise the window.
it screeched! He stopped and rested a moment, and listened for any noise from
the other room. It was obvious that the window hadn't been opened in ages. Blair
continued to open the window, slowly trying to make the least noise possible.
He held his breath, hoping the window wouldn't make anymore noise.
window eased up and he managed to get it up as far as it would go. Then he tried
to push out the boards on the outside. They weren't hammered in any better than
the ones on the inside. Putting his hands on either end of the boards, he was
able to ease them out of the frame of the window. Age and weather had worked to
make them easier to remove than the inside ones. Finally there was enough room
for him to squeeze through.
"Okay, Jim, now would be a great
time for the cavalry to arrive! Come on, Jim. I know youre out there, somewhere!"
thought Blair. He continued his silent pleas for his Blessed Protector to show
He climbed out the window, carefully, and dropped to the
ground with a small thud. He crouched there, listening, making sure that the others
hadn't woken. He kept to the shadows as he tried to move away from the cabin.
Dawn was just breaking. It had taken him longer to get out than he realized. He
moved off through the woods, trying to keep enough foliage and brush between him
and the house so he wouldn't be seen. He made his way around the cabin, back towards
the road, and into the woods on the other side, trying to make his way back to
the camp. He ran as fast as he dared in the shadows made by the overhead trees.
He stopped to listen, to make sure they weren't aware he'd managed
to get away. As he caught his breath he heard a sound in the brush. It came from
the direction the deer had come from. Not wasting anytime to find out if it was
a bear or not, Blair sprinted off again. He just hoped it wasn't the robbers out
looking for him, but he doubted it. He didnt really care which direction
he ran in, just as long as it was away from the bank robbers! He was sure he would
have heard shouts from the men if they were looking for him. He ran about a half
an hour before he became totally winded and had to stop and rest for a few minutes.
at this point, well leave the cars and carry on by
foot," Jim advised, as he pointed out the location on a map provided by one
of the deputy sheriffs. Cat stood quietly at Jims side as he outlined the
raid on the cabin. The others were listening intently as they leaned against the
hood of the car where the map was laid out.
"The cabin is further
up this dirt road, the cars will be out of sight, and should be out of their hearing
range. They wont know were coming. The cabin has only one door, but
in the back is a partially boarded up window. Sandburg is in that room, where
the boarded up window is. We should be able to get him out safely and surprise
them if we can get inside, by going in through both the door and the window of
that backroom. Theres enough cover from trees at the side and back of the
cabin, we should be able to get around it without being seen. Only approaching
it from the front will be a problem. With any luck, its still early enough,
they may be sleeping and we can catch them unaware. They will more than likely
be expecting us, because of Sandburg, believing the police are onto them."
idea how many we should be expecting?" asked Simon.
Simon clapped his hands once. "Okay, people,
let's move out. Time's wasting and I want to use the low sun to our advantage.
Ellison, you take point," he ordered.
Jim and Cat got in their
car and lead the way down the road. The sheriff's department and Major Crimes
followed after. They drove for about 15 minutes until Jim stopped and pulled off
to the side.
He got out as did the other officers and they regrouped.
Simon gave assignments to everyone. Rafe and one of the deputies were assigned
to the back, while the rest were arranged to attack from the front. Henri was
to be in the middle between the back and front to let the others know when the
window was opened up to get in.
Rafe reported back to Henri that the
window was open, then ran back to help get the rest of the boards off the window.
Henri relayed the message and went to the back of the house to make sure both
men got in safely. After they were inside the room, he ran around the front and
reported in. They crept up to the cabin, and Ellison quietly approached the porch,
climbing up on it stealthily like his spirit guide. He bobbed forward to look
in a window and saw the men inside sleeping on various pieces of furniture. He
signaled how many were in the room and waved the others forward
others crept up onto the porch and stationed themselves in front of the open window
and beside the doors. Ellison motioned that he was going in.
and the sheriff's deputy found the ropes that had held their friend captive, but
no Blair. Rafe smiled when he realized Blair must have gotten away. Why else would
the window have been open, with boards on the ground?
He tried the door
and found that it opened easily, but a little noisily. He motioned for the sheriff's
deputy to follow him out into the room. Rafe saw Jim enter the room. Rafe quickly
strode in front of Tony who was snoring. Rafe visually checked the robber over
for a gun and gave a thumbs up sign that there was no gun.
The police and
sheriff's men quietly arranged themselves around the room, each training a gun
on a robber. Jim tapped Lester's shoulder and the man groggily moved his head
and swatted at the offending arm poking him.
"Nice and easy, fella,"
ordered Jim as Lester jerked awake and saw a gun in his face. He mumbled a "Wha?"
and put his hands up when Jim motioned with his gun. The officers, under Simons
watchful eye were rousting the others at the same time.
All the bank robbers
were rudely awakened. All were startled that they were under arrest.
How'd you get in here?" asked Brad.
"Where's that little guy?"
demanded Skeeter, looking around at the various officers.
guy?" asked Simon.
"That Sandburg runt!" growled Scott.
up you moron," ordered Lester.
Rafe spoke up, "Jim, he's not in
the room. Blair's gone."
Skeeter sat up straighter. "He's gone?
How'd he get away? He was asleep the last time I checked on him! I knew I shoulda
taken care of him when I had the chance!"
Jim turned and glared at
Skeeter who went pale. Jim's jaw tensed when he heard Skeeters comment.
He looked over at Simon and the captain shook his head. "Joel, read them
their rights and let's get these scum bags outta here!"
Joel did as
he was bid and the officers made the robbers stand and handcuffed them. They were
then marched out of the house, one at a time and kept separated from each other.
Cat had only been left behind ten minutes earlier, but already she was starting
to get restless. She got out of the car and started to pace. Why had
Jim insisted that she come along? Something wasnt quite right. But what?
She felt she wasnt supposed to stay at the car. She was needed elsewhere.
Finally she slowed her step and stopped pacing. She started the process
of centering herself, slowing her breathing and trying to clear her mind. She
turned toward the forest, closing her eyes and waited. She felt a slight pull
into the forest, and followed it.
Cat followed the feeling she found herself
guided by through the woods and stopped as she heard someone running towards her.
Spying Blair, she called out "Hey Sandburg, did you take a wrong turn
on the way to the corner store? Isnt this a bit out of the way for a litre
of milk and some eggs?"
Blair stopped dead. The confusion in his face
was so evident, Cat nearly started to laugh. The confusion gave way to concern.
"Cat? Are you a figment of my imagination or real?" he asked
as he reached out to touch her. "I dont know what youre doing
here," he replied shaking his head in bewilderment, but glad to see a friendly
face, never the less. "But weve got to get out of here. You dont
know whats going on, its dangerous to stay here
" he said
as he started to take her arm to guide her away from the danger.
no Blair. The cavalry has arrived
." she said with a cheshire grin,
putting her hand on his shoulder in reassurance.
"What?" he said
still trying to reconcile the fact that Cat was here, out in the woods with him.
"Jim, Simon, and a few others from the Major Crimes Unit, and the
local County Sheriffs office are at the cabin now, cleaning up and looking
for you. I was, uh, left behind for safetys sake, but sorta realized youd
already gotten away and were heading away from the cabin. I just decided to make
sure you made it to the cars so when Jim and the others return, youd be
there to greet them, instead of them having to start a manhunt to find you."
Cat paused, watching the news sink in. "Cmon. Lets head
back to the cars. Oh, by the way, would you care for these?" Cat said as
she pulled a small bottle of water and a granola bar from her purse. Blair grinned
and accepted both.
"Are you sure youre heading in the right
direction? Isnt the road this way?" suggested Blair, pointing in a
direction away from the road.
"Oh, yeah, Im sure. This is the
way back to the cars. See this mark here?" Cat pointed out a fresh mark in
the bark of a tree as she spoke, holding up a metal nail file which had seen better
days. "I made sure to leave marks so I could find my way back."
Cat reached into the backseat of the car, and pulled out the first aid kit
Jim had brought along. Blair had a few bruises, scrapes and cuts from his experiences
over the past 24 hours. Nothing that required hospitalization, but the sooner
some of them were looked at, the better the chance of fighting off infection.
"Man, I still cant believe youre here. The timing is way
strange," commented Blair.
He was sitting on the passenger side of
the car, with the door open, facing her. Cat set the kit on the roof of the car,
and quickly picked out a couple of cotton balls and some antiseptic.
can I say? Im here on business as of Monday, and I decided to come into
town on Friday instead of Sunday so I could relax a bit. Little did I know that
this would be how Id start off my weekend," said Cat with a wry smile.
much do you know about what happened? I mean, when did you find out I needed help?"
"Its complicated, Blair, and I think that
explanation will have to wait until later," Cat stalled. There was no way
she was going to try to explain this without Jim being present. It was his call
as to how this was going to be handled.
"Ow! Take it easy!" Blair
cried out as Cat started to clean the scrape on Blairs left cheek.
you can do it yourself if you prefer." Cat offered him the cotton balls and
antiseptic, and Blair started to clean his scrapes and cuts himself, using the
rearview mirror. While the lighting wasnt the best, it would have to do
until they got back to Cascade. He hissed often as the antiseptic let him know
about each cut and scrape.
Cat stood by the car, listening to voices coming
from down the road. They were getting closer, so she knew that theyd have
company in a few minutes.
"It sounds like Jim and the others are returning.
Im sure theyll be happy to see you waiting here for them, if not surprised."
of the others, do they know * who * you are?" asked Blair.
yeah." Cat sighed. "We were introduced earlier, the whole tone of things
changed very quickly after that. I think they were as uncomfortable as I was."
"I can imagine that.... the guys of Major Crimes are not all that
open to alternative stuff. They'd have called it "voodoo" or some such
name," commiserated Blair.
"I can well believe it. You're not
exactly the run of the mill for the department. How did they take to you when
you arrived on the scene?" Cat asked with a smirk.
"Not very well.
They were always kidding me about all my herbal/natural remedies I learned from
the different cultures I've studied!" Blair gave a short laugh, remembering
some of the kidding/hassling he got over stuff.
Cat backed away from the
car a bit, to allow Blair room to get up. She could see the others coming up the
road. Jim had been right. There were five of them, not four.
out to Cat as he saw her standing there, casually leaning against the open door
of the car. "Hey, Cat. We got the bad guys, but Sandburgs managed to
Simon guffawed. "I'll help you search for him, Jim,
if you promise I get to have a few minutes with him...."
from the Major Crimes detectives chimed in as they wanted to have a few words
with Blair as well.
As they got closer, Jim winked at Cat, to let her know
he knew Blair was already there. Then she understood why he had insisted on her
being allowed to stay. Hed known that shed have Blair waiting for
them when they got back, and hadnt told her. "Why you dirty little...."
she started to mutter under her breath.
With that, Jim started to chuckle.
"Cmon out Sandburg, I know youre there."
peeked his head around Cat's shoulder giving a casual wave as he said, "Um...Hi!
Guys! Thanks for coming to the rescue." He muttered more quietly so only
Jim and Cat could hear him. "Again."
"Sandburg! How the heck
did you get here?" yelled Rafe as he brought up one of the criminals.
did a double-take as he looked at Sandburg, then back at the way they had come
"Hairboy! What? How?" asked H. bewildered as he gestured
at Blair and Cat. Both were standing now beside the car.
"Um, Hi guys.
See ya got the guys responsible for the bank heist...." started Blair indicating
the five culprits that the officers had between them. "Did you manage to
get the loot they had stashed there, too?"
"Joel and deputies
are bringing up the rear with the goods." said Rafe.
Simon handed off
his perp to one of the county deputies and strode over to Sandburg. He pulled
the Observer by the arm out from behind Cat. "Now I've seen everything, Sandburg.
You disappear and leave Jim worried, you involve a civilian in this mess, and
then you hide behind her for protection!"
"Aw, come on, Simon...."
whined Blair as the captain clamped down on his arm harder. "Hey! Watch the
arm! It hurts, Man! It hurts!"
"At least she knows how to stay
put when she's told. Jim, maybe you should consider another partner," scolded
Simon. Cat struggled to keep herself from laughing at Simon's comment, knowing
full well she didn't stay put. But then, Jim and Blair also knew that....
officers of Major Crimes surrounded Blair as Simon still held on to his arm. Cat
looked to Jim, wondering if she should be worried about what was about to happen.
Simon, can we talk about this?....Uh, guys? Can we talk?" Rafe, Joel, and
H took a giant step forward. "Jim? Hey! Jim! Help me out here, man!"
shook his head at his partner's pleas. "Uh, uh."
one heck of a scare into us, Blair," said Joel.
started Brown, "we are so glad to see you're alright!" he continued
after slapping Blair soundly on the back.
Rafe seconded his friends. "Yeah,
Blair... I'm glad you're safe! Now I can go back to my date that I left back home..."
one of these days you're going to do something crazy," said Simon, "like
go away for a weekend and nothing happens. I'm just not sure my heart would take
Cat sighed in relief at that comment and added her own, "You
guys make it sound like Blair is always in trouble!"
Five male heads
nodded emphatically back at her and each man tried to tell her about an escapade
that Blair had gotten involved in. "Fishing..."Peru.... Elevators....
Blair shook his head and looked over at Cat. "It's
not as bad as it sounds, Cat! Really, it isn't!"
"Who are you
trying to convince, Cat or yourself?" joked Jim.
it Jim, maybe he's making a play for your new girlfriend...." joked Brown.
on, Jim," beseeched Blair, as Brown slapped him on the back again and he
winced. "Watch it, H.! That hurt! My back is bruised!"
we should get you to a hospital to get you checked out?" Brown offered as
a way of an apology.
"No way," Blair brushed off the suggestion.
"I'm fine. No hospitals...."
"I think we had better
go tell the rest of my camping group that I'm okay," suggested Blair. Rafe,
Joel, Henri, and Simon headed back to their respective vehicles, leaving Blair,
Jim and Cat behind. The county sheriffs had already departed a few minutes earlier
with their arrested suspects.
As Simon climbed into his car, he called
back to the trio, "I want your report on my desk first thing Monday morning,
Blair! And make sure you stop and give your statement to the sheriff's office!"
make sure of it, Cap!" returned Jim as he waved once to the cars as the doors
Cat slid into the backseat of the Neon, leaving the front
for Jim and Blair.
Blair let out a sigh of relief as he relaxed in the passenger
side seat. Cat watched the two men as Jim drove the vehicle out of the area, back
to the access road. He asked Blair which campground he had been at originally.
was relieved when he found out the campsite wasn't that far away. At least he
hadn't gone too far off course.
"I can stay in camp tonight, I don't
mind," amended Blair, "if you could bring me back here after my statement
to the County Sheriff's Department?"
"Blair, we can do that if
you want, but I think we need to talk sometime this weekend," responded Jim.
man. What's there to talk about? I walked away from the campgrounds, got lost,
and got kidnapped by those guys...."
Jim leaned close to Blair, "I
zoned not once, but twice."
Blair quickly looked at his friend and
partner. He shot back, "What? How? Where? How long?" He quickly looked
from Jim to Cat and swallowed audibly. "Um, does Cat know about, you know..."
asked Blair as he casually pointing to his ear.
"I told you, we need
to talk. We can go to the sheriff's so you can give your statement. Then we can
find somewhere to talk. We can do it out here, or back at the loft. It doesn't
matter to me." The detective pushed his friend toward the car. Jim slammed
the door on Sandburg, who could hardly contain his questions until they were under
way. Jim ambled over to the drivers side of the car, got in, started the
engine, backed the car up and started for the campground. "I asked Cat for
help to find you and zoned last night. Cat brought me out of it."
nodded his head slowly. "Okay.... and the other time was when...?" he
punctuated his question with hand motions as the car hit a bump in the rough road,
making Blair grab onto the dash board.
"That is what we have to talk
about. Yesterday morning, after you left," Jim admitted. "Joel and Simon
brought me out of that one."
Blair repeated what Jim had said, trying
to figure out the implications of the admission. "What time did you go into
that zone, and more importantly, what were you doing when you zoned?"
don't remember the time, but I zoned listening to your heartbeat."
frowned, confused. "Why were you listening to my heartbeat, Jim?"
shot a quick glance at his Guide, not sure he really wanted to admit the real
"Blair, maybe this should wait. It really is a lot more involved,"
Blair sighed heavily, knowing somehow that this was way more
involved than it should be and that Jim probably would not answer until they were
back at the loft.
The group that Blair had camped with looked up warily
as the strange car approached their campsite. When Blair emerged from the car,
all six people who had been sitting around the campfire visibly relaxed. Jim climbed
out of the driver's side, then helped Cat out. Blair's friends gathered around
him all talking at once. His friends were glad to see him alive and in one piece.
"Guys! Guys!" said Blair loudly and held up his hands, trying
to get the others' attention. "I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm just tired. Thanks...."
His friends stopped talking and Blair introduced Jim and Cat. Jim recognized a
couple of the campers as his college friends.
Blair quickly explained what
happened, then gathered up his stuff. Jim put it in the trunk of the car, slammed
the lid, and motioned to Blair to hurry it up. Blair waved back to Jim, acknowledging
the request, and begged off for the rest of the weekend.
wearily into the passenger seat again and sighed. "Thanks, Jim, for getting
me out of there. Those guys and gals love to talk and I could have been there
for hours answering their questions...."
Cat chuckled in the back seat
at Blair's obvious relief about the second "rescue". Jim shot Blair
a quick look and asked, "And you wanted to spend a whole weekend camping
with them? You are a glutton for punishment, Chief."
started Blair, sitting up straighter in his seat, "they're a great bunch
to hang out with, but I'm not up to any detailed explanations. I just want to
give my statement about this whole mess and be done with it! I am *never* going
camping again, mark my word...." At Jim's chuckle, Blair amended, "unless
my Blessed Protector is with me of course!"
Blair mumbled a soft, "Oops!"
"Well, go a
head a tell her, Chief, how I got that title!" commanded Jim with a chuckle.
right, sure thing..." started the Observer. Blair was nervous that he had
given too much away. "Jim saved my life once and there's an ancient Chinese
proverb that says...."
"Wait, let me guess, if you save someone's
life you're responsible for it right?" said Cat. "I've heard that before
- but I don't remember who it was attributed to."
Blair's mouth dropped
open as Cat finished his sentence. "How did you know that's what I was going
to say?" Jim laughed softly to himself and checked in the rear view mirror,
making eye contact with Cat. She just smiled back at him.
I say, I just remembered it." as she smiled back...
Blair looked at
her, opened his mouth to say something, thought better of it, then waved one hand
in the air, "Nah, you wouldn't would you?"
"Um, be able to read minds? You made it sound like you knew
*exactly* what I was going to say...." explained the curious Observer.
that I know of," replied Cat.
Jim laughed as Blair made a face that
said, yeah, right, then asked, "But, then, how did you find me in the woods
back there, Cat?"
"It goes back to what I said earlier, I just
*knew*. I had to follow something that was leading me into the woods," she
said as she glared in Jim's direction. 'I'm not going to forget you didn't
tell me that's why I was along....' she thought.
"Like what did
you know, Cat? I'm really curious how you knew you had to follow something?"
Cat scrunched her nose up and shot Jim a look in the mirror
as well as goosing him under the seat to get his attention. He shot her a quick
look back in the mirror and gave a slight shrug in return.
you really know how to ask the hard questions don't you? I have no way of explaining
it. I just know."
"Well, I *am* still a scientist, first and foremost,
and am always curious about the metaphysical world... kinda got into that through
Jim snorted at his partner's comment and Blair stuck his tongue
out at the older man.
"Then ask your mom...." suggested Cat, starting
to feel a little exasperated.
"Hold on there, Chief. Let's leave Naomi
out of this for now, shall we? We don't need to drag your mom into the middle
of this...it will only complicate things."
Blair opened his mouth to
ask another question, but Jim beat him to the punch, since the detective was watching
his partner out of the corner of his eye. "Sandburg, lets drop it for now.
We'll talk about it later, okay? We're all tired and I take it Cat doesn't want
to talk about it right now."
She mouthed a silent "Thank you"
to Jim and sighed.
Blair threw his hands up, "Okay! It's not like *you*
were awake all night, being held a captive, in pain, cold, wet, tired, hungry...."
Blair, he was awake most of the night trying to figure out how to help you,"
said Cat quietly.
"Um, I would like to ask what you meant by that,"
started Blair, looking at Cat hopefully.
"Later?" she pleaded
hoping he'd understand.
"Okay, okay. I get the picture. Turn around
and shut up, Sandburg... I'm turning around," and suited action to his words,
"I'm shutting up, at least until we get to the Sheriff's office."
grinned in triumph and relief to have gotten Sandburg to drop the subject, but
He shot Blair a quick glance, then caught Cat's eye in the
mirror. He smiled at her and said, "Sandburg never shuts up unless he's asleep
or sick, Cat, so this should be good! Care to take bets as to how long he remains
She smiled in return and shrugged, looked at her watch and
replied, "Five minutes, tops...."
"You think he could really
hold out *that* long?" Jim kidded "Three," countered Jim. Blair
started to open his mouth to say something, shut it, folded his arms across his
chest, and "hmmpf'd" at them, hoping that the sound wouldn't count.
As they pulled into the Sheriff's, Blair still hadn't said a word. He was too
tired to be very talkative, he was struggling just trying to stay awake.
nudged Blair to alert him that they had reached their destination. "C'mon
Chief, time to go inside so we can get this over with."
yeah!" said Sandburg, finally becoming aware of his surroundings. He fumbled
with his seatbelt, then slowly climbed out of the car and grimaced from the stiffness
he was suffering.
Blair hobbled around the car as Jim watched him. Blair
looked up to see a small smile on Jim's face. "What? Can't a man hobble a
little?" He took a few more steps as the stiffness worked its way out. "Man,
if I feel this stiff, what's it like to feel old?" Jim clapped his partner
on the shoulder and Blair pulled back, mumbling an "Ow!"
Junior, but with the way you keep getting into trouble, I'm surprised you're not
used to it!"
Blair gave Jim a dirty look and mumbled back, "Too
bad I can't dial down the pain, like someone I know can!"
a mental note as she silently followed them into the Sheriff's office, once they
got seated she would do a little more energy work....
Jim led the trio into
the Sheriff's office and was directed to his office. They passed the booking area
and saw that the 5 criminals were being processed. He heard the perps grumble
amongst themselves as Jim and Blair were recognized. He made out one particular
comment that made him clench his jaw.
"Too bad we didn't off that hippie
freak when we had the chance. His cop friend wouldn't have found us then.... Still
trying to figure that one out.... Do you really think he's a super cop?"
glared at the bank robbers and they stopped talking and stared back at the Sentinel.
Jim caught up with Blair and Cat as they took seats in the Sheriff's office.
gave his statement to the officer, answered questions to shed some further light
on the case, and was asked to wait to sign the statement papers. The Sheriff treated
the trio to coffee and snacks as they waited in the break room.
on the coffee, opting for water instead. She sat quietly, closing her eyes and
concentrated. "This should have them feeling a little better shortly,"
"Tired, Cat?" Jim asked.
Cat, shook her head,
and smiled. When she was finished she opened her eyes, and said, "Remember
last night? When I was trying to use energy? I just did a little more energy work.
Hopefully enough to make us all feel a bit better for the drive back to Cascade."
want to learn more about this, but I guess this isn't the time or place, huh,
Cat?" Blair asked tentatively.
"No, not really. You mentioned
that your mom knows about this kind of thing. Why haven't you explored it with
"My mom's never in town very long to sit down and have a
really good talk with her, and frankly, the subject has never come up before,"
explained Blair. "I know she got into it after she dated an energy healer
about 10 years ago. But I never met the guy...."
"I'm only here
for another two weeks, so I doubt I can tell you much in that time. Especially
since I'm working this week and have plans to head to Seattle next week for a
couple of days," explained Cat. "We'll have to see about getting you
set up with someone around here who can answer your questions".
I'd like to learn whatever you have to offer," replied Blair, thinking that
whatever he could learn would be helpful since he was still trying to get a handle
on the shamans responsibilities.
"Have you ever done a web search
for energy healing?" asked Cat. "You can learn quite a bit about it,
different philosophies, and maybe find some practitioners in the Cascade area."
few minutes later, a sheriff's deputy brought the statement for Blair to read
over and sign. He quickly scanned the document and signed his name with a flourish,
then got up to leave. The sheriff thanked them for coming in and showed them the
At the outskirts of Cascade, Jim asked if anyone was hungry.
Blair made a snide comment about no Wonder Burgers that garnered him a sharp look
from Jim and a small chuckle from the back seat at Blair's comment.
suggested pizza for lunch. Jim wanted to know if they wanted Pizza Hut pizza.
spoke up. "Do you think they'd make a cheese-less pizza? If so, I'm for it."
looked in the mirror at Cat. "A cheese-less pizza? How can you possibly eat
pizza without cheese? Gotta have cheese!"
"No, you don't. It's
actually quite nice without. I've even made a few converts... A summer of working
for a catering firm, doing cheese trays day in and day out sorta made me lose
any thoughts of liking it."
They continued their debate as they arrived
at the pizza place with Jim insisting that he wanted cheese on his pizza.
looked at the restaurant, and just shook her head with a grin. No matter where
you went some things were constant. The red roof and the sign, they were just
like back home. Maybe Canada really was the 51st state.
recognized Jim and Blair as they entered the restaurant. Cat noticed that they
were more at ease here, so the recognition didnt stem from the publicity.
Obviously they were at least semi-regulars here. The hostess quickly escorted
them to a booth in the darkest part of the restaurant.
They finally compromised
with a cheese-less pizza that Blair and Cat would eat and a medium pizza with
all the trimmings, extra sausage and pepperoni, for Jim, just in case he didn't
like the cheese-less pizza.
"So Cat, what's life like back in Toronto,
or do you even spend much time there?" asked Jim with a smile, subtly digging
for information on her.
"Busy, normally. I don't live in hotels all
the time. I actually have a three bedroom apartment with a good size kitchen and
"Hey, Jim! The woman has a THREE bedroom apartment...how
come you only have a bedroom and a loft!" Blair gestured to Jim with his
pizza and Jim just shrugged.
"To keep wayward Anthro
, er, Police
Observers from taking over the *whole* place!" Jim answered and smiled to
soften the remark.
"I have an office and a spare bedroom which doubles
as a library. I do work from home sometimes. I didn't want the office in either
the living room or my bedroom. I do need to get away from the computer occasionally."
do you do," asked Blair, "live with your computer? You work with it
at work AND at home? When do you have fun?"
"I dont work
all the time. It just seems like it sometimes. I do actually have a social life
at home. Now my turn to ask a question or two. How did you two meet, end up become
partners in the department and end up sharing a place to stay?" Cat asked,
curiosity finally getting the better of her.
Blair looked at Jim and nodded
to the older man to give the answer. Jim nodded back to Blair.
*YOU* answer it, man," chuckled Blair.
"Uh, uh. Not touching that
one with a ten foot pole!" the detective returned, putting his hands up defensively,
trying to ward off Blair.
Cat looked on in bewilderment, wondering what
"Well, *someone* had better tell me, or I'll think the worst
of you both!"
"Ummmmm...." stalled Blair.
to know, huh?" Cat questioned.
"Yes," stated Jim.
volleyed Blair with a smirk, daring Jim to be the one to enlighten Cat.
started to chuckle with that exchange. "Forget I asked. It's not worth it."
on, man, you can tell her. Cat's trustworthy." The younger man quickly turned
to Cat with a smile, "You *are* trustworthy, aren't you?"
warned Ellison, holding his glass of water up to his partner and threatening to
dump it on him.
"Jim!" cried Blair, quickly sitting back as far
as he could and making ready to jump out of the booth if Jim followed through
on his threat.
Cat rolled her eyes at their antics then kidded. "I
haven't revealed any company secrets lately...."
Jim sighed and relented,
knowing Sandburg wouldn't leave it alone. Not for a minute. "Alright, Sandburg.
I'd better tell her before you embellish the story, and we're here until after
Sandburg put on a hurt face , raised his eyebrows as far
as they would go, and pointed to himself. "Me? Embellish a story? I'm hurt,
Jim, really, really hurt by that!"
"That could be an interesting
embellishment - 12 hours worth. Might be worth the hearing," said Cat checking
"Ah, here comes the pizza now, folks. Saved by the pizza!"
declared Jim, dramatically rubbing his hands together as he watched the waiter
bring the pizzas.
"You'll use any excuse to get out of telling me something,
won't you?" Cat said to Jim.
Me?" asked Jim. He copied Blairs
hurt expression, which made both Cat and Blair laugh. They dished up the pizza
and both men tasted the cheese-less one.
"Okay, how about some more
information about you?" asked Jim. "Ever been married?"
me? Care to warn a person before you make a left turn like that again in a conversation?
Since you're the one who had to run a background check on me the last time I was
in Cascade, I think you already know that answer. Maybe you should be answering
that question for me," Cat shot back.
Blair laughed. "Sounds like
a touchy subject, there, Jim! Be careful, or the claws are gonna come out!"
raised an eyebrow in Cat's direction, daring her to answer him.
can play the avoid answering the questions game," she answered with a defiant
gleam in her eyes.
"Quick, Jim! She's quick! Razor sharp tongue, too!"
smirked Blair at his roommate.
Jim shook his head at Blair. "Very funny,
Chief, very funny...." Jim sighed. "Okay, I was married, once, to a
wonderful lady, but it just didn't work out. In fact she was the forensics chief
"Me? I've never been married. Not even close to it!"
declared Blair with a rueful smile. "Now, your turn!" he said as he
pointed to Cat.
"Never been married, came close but escaped in the
nick of time."
"Okay..." started Blair, attempting to be
the facilitator. "Now, see, that wasn't so hard, was it? Why do I get the
feeling that I'm a lawyer here, and you're talking divorce already?"
talking like that, and I'll run in the opposite direction," replied Cat.
lady doth protest too much?" asked Jim quietly, as he bit into his piece
of pizza and concentrated on Cats response. Her heart rate had risen, as
well as the color in her face.
"Considering my last relationship, I
don't think so," she said quietly as she stared at her hands, trying to figure
out someway to change the topic.
"Want to talk about it?" offered
"What's to say? He found out about the Kalan case, my
part in it and walked. I haven't heard from him since," Cat offered, trying
to sound more blasť than she felt.
"Oh, geez, Cat," replied Blair
quickly, feeling bad for her. "I'm really sorry to hear that."
wasn't exactly the high point in my life," she commented. "But to be
honest, it wasn't the lowest either. Just the most recent."
their pizza on safer topics - mostly about Blair's teaching and some of his expeditions
with school before he had met Jim. The two men had silently agreed to avoid that
subject until later, without unwelcomed ears around. They could never be too sure
who was in the restaurant with them and they didn't want anyone overhearing anything
that could bring more publicity down on them.
Jim was glad to see that Cat
had relaxed again and noted that her heart rate and color had gone back to normal.
He wondered about her reaction to his personal questions.
Blair had Cat
and Jim laughing at some of his funnier exploits on a couple of trips as they
made their way out to the car and headed back to Cascade.
A short time
later, Jim pulled up next to his truck at the loft. He turned the engine off,
got out of the car and helped Cat out. Blair stopped behind the trunk, waiting
for Jim to open it up so he could get his gear out. Cat stood observing the neighborhood
while waiting for the others. Jim had to call her name a second time and touch
her arm to get her attention. She startled and focused on Jim.
I must be more tired than I realized." she offered.
then, Cat. Let's go in and you can take a rest, if you'd like," offered Jim
as he pointed the way to the entrance to the building.
Jim stacked another
piece of gear on top of Blair's stuff and his roommate grumbled. "I thought
you were going to help here, Jim?"
"Sandburg, when you left yesterday
morning, you handled everything yourself. How come you can't do it now?"
asked Jim, a little exasperated. "If you ask me, it looks like you have more
stuff coming back than you went with."
"Is there something I can
"No, no," came the muffled reply as Blair tried
to stop some of his gear from tumbling off the top by holding it with his chin.
He was unsuccessful and tried to grab it, losing everything he had in his arms.
He mumbled an expletive and Jim told him to watch his language.
and stooped to help pick up the fallen objects. "Now tell me again you don't
Blair sighed and chuckled. "Okay, you win, Cat. Sorry
"Blair, trust me, I've heard much worse."
Then thinking to herself ,"Ive even said it..."
you two... can we go inside now?" asked Jim, holding the door open.
led them into the loft and Blair started to drop his gear by the door. He immediately
stopped when he saw the stern look from Jim.
As she followed them into the
loft, Cat asked, "Where would you like these things put?"
pointed to towards Blair's room. "In Sandburg's room. Just dump them on his
bed, cause I know he will anyway."
Cat looked inquiringly at Blair,
who shrugged his shoulders and led the way.
She looked around with interest
as she entered Blair's room. "Hmm, eclectic, like the rest of the apartment."
mostly it's anthropology stuff I've collected during my study travels," explained
Blair with a grin. He forgot what a mess his room was when he had left the day
'I know you've got to be just as tired as Jim and I are, did you
want this put somewhere other than on the bed? Like in the corner or something,"
"Um, yeah," Blair replied, as he was bending over
to drop his stuff on the bed, stood straight, then moved the few steps it took
him to reach the corner where he proceeded to dump his stuff with a satisfied
Cat followed suit, and turned to leave the room.
his voice a little, for effect, and said, "Thanks a lot for your help, Cat.
I really appreciate it." Jim walked in on the last sentence and scowled at
Blair as the older man shoved a few items into Blair's hands and turned around
"Don't thank me, thank Jim. Though, I'm sure you'll understand
better, why I say that, later..."
"Um, thanks, Jim, I think?"
Blair grinned at Cat and winked as he hurried after his roommate.
in the kitchen where Blair and Cat joined him. He was putting the leftover pizza
in the fridge and grabbed three beers. He offered one to Blair who took the bottle
with a smile and a sigh. Jim offered one to Cat. She declined the offer of beer.
"Wine?" asked Jim. She shook her head no.
"I think I could
go for just a mug of hot water. Sounds weird I know..."
his head and filled the teakettle with water. He put it on the stove to boil.
Blair turned around and reached into the cabinet and named off the kinds of herbal
teas he had.
"Chamomile, black raspberry, valerian, ginger...."
Blair, but no. Not really in the mood for herbal teas."
"Suit yourself, but why just hot water?"
"It just feels good
going down. I find it relaxing," said Cat.
"Cool, I can deal with
that." Jim just rolled his eyes at his roommate and smiled at Cat. He motioned
for her to have a seat in the living room.
Cat curled up in a corner of
the couch and tried to hide a huge yawn.
Blair followed her while Jim waited
for the water to heat. He brought her mug as soon as it was ready and joined them.
Jim handed her the hot mug and cautioned her about the temperature.
she responded and gratefully took it, then cradled the hot mug in her hands as
Jim sat next to her on the couch. Blair had taken the love seat opposite them.
"No problem. I've got friends that kid me that I have asbestos hands,"
she replied with a grin.
Blair raised his eyebrows at her comment and looked
at Jim with a question in his eyes. Jim shook his head imperceptibly in response.
comes from the time I worked at the caterer's, you have no idea how many times
I had to handle hot plates or had hot coffee spill over my hands. After a while,
I could take it without much trouble."
Blair in sympathy.
Jim grinned evilly back at Blair and quipped, "Some
of us don't have such tender hands as you, Junior!"
I can't stand the cold, Jim..."
Cat closed her eyes, and sighed.
she didn't move after a few minutes, Jim took her half-full mug and set it down
on the table.
"Maybe you should get some rest. We were up early this
morning," he said softly as he helped her to stand up.
here. Just let me have the corner of the couch and..."
can have my bed. It's more comfortable. I can manage on the couch," he said
as he gently put his arm around her shoulder to steer her to the stairway and
to keep her upright.
Blair watched his roommate help Cat and was curious
as to the deference he was showing towards her. He stifled a yawn while watching
the two ascend the stairs. "I think I could go for a nap myself. I'll see
you two later," Blair called out.
Cat sat down on the side of the bed,
slipped her shoes off. She lay down on the bed and didn't even realize when her
head hit the pillow since she was already fast asleep.
Blair stood up to
go to his room and saw Jim covering Cat with the comforter. He was intrigued by
the look of tenderness on Jim's face.
'Something's up,' Blair thought
to himself. He was still staring at Jim when Jim looked up and noticed his roommate
watching him. Blair ducked down the hall to his room, as he heard Jim come down
the stairs to the living room.
Jim lay on the couch, curled on his side,
one arm under his head, watching the sky outside. He listened to the even breathing
of the woman upstairs and enjoyed knowing that she was in his apartment, so near.
keyed in on her heartbeat, feeling strange to be listening for hers and not for
Blair's familiar heartbeat. It had a different beat to it from Blair's he noticed,
distinctive in it's own right.
He caught himself as he started to zone,
and jerked back to the present. He made a mental effort not to zone on the sound,
and put it into a compartment of his mind to listen to on a subconscious level,
similar to how he listened to Blair's when he slept. He drifted off to sleep with
twin heartbeats pounding a cadence in his subconscious. He slept deeply which
he didn't normally do during the day.
Later that day, Jim was just
stirring when he became aware of the sound of two heartbeats in the loft. At first
he was a little confused, trying to identify the second heartbeat. He breathed
deeply, trying to place the other heartbeat, and was rewarded with the slight
scent of Cat's perfume, which jogged his memory that she was upstairs, sleeping
in his bed. He stretched and wished he was up there with her. He frowned at the
unbidden thought and pushed it aside. He didn't know where that had come from.
sat up, and quietly picked up the newspaper to read. He was just getting to the
last page of the sports section when Blair stumbled out of his room.
called Jim's name and was immediately "shushed". Blair frowned, then
his face brightened as his mind made the connection of Jim pointing up to his
room. "Oh, yeah! Right!" whispered the sleepy Observer. "I take
it Cat's still asleep?"
The younger man grabbed the sports section
from Jim's hands and went to sit on the love seat to read. They read companionably
for about a half an hour before Blair put the sports section down and quietly
asked Jim if he wanted coffee. Jim nodded his agreement and continued to read
the newspaper. Blair mumbled something and Jim glared back at the younger man.
Blair pushed himself off the couch with a sigh and headed for the kitchen. He
quietly got the coffee maker going, took out two cups, then went back out to the
living room to grab another section of the paper. He took the paper back to the
kitchen table and sat. When the coffee was done he poured two cups and called
Jim to the table.
Blair and Jim sat at the table and talked quietly over
their coffee. Both felt better for their rest. Jim looked up, and grinned. "I
think Cat's about to join us."
Jim got up and took another mug out
of the cupboard and readied for the coffee he knew she'd want.
of minutes later, Cat joined Blair at the table, as Jim offered her a cup of coffee
which she accepted.
"So, how long have you two been awake?" Cat
asked as she cradled the mug and inhaled the aroma deeply.
said Blair, "We've been talking about what happened yesterday, though Jim
hasn't said much about what happened last night."
Cat looked at Jim
over the mug with raised eyebrows. "Why? There wasn't much that went on."
were just some things I figured we should wait until you were awake to discuss,"
"Oh. Like what, the exercises?" Cat started.
exercises?" asked Blair.
Cat briefly explained the exercises she had
talked to Jim about last night. Explaining that they had tried the puzzle variation.
sound simple enough. And you say that now, when a situation like this comes up,
you can 'run it in the background'?"
Cat nodded, "It's like working
around the house with the radio or television on as a background noise. You're
aware it's there, but you dont have to pay attention to it, until the dream
or vision comes into focus. As I've already told Jim, I'd offer to help you both
learn how to do it. With enough practice, you can do it too."
I don't have visions," countered Blair.
"You don't have to have
visions to use these exercises. Try to remember your dreams in the morning. If
you can't, try one of the exercises. If it helps, keep a journal of your progress."
spoke up then, "But it didn't work right away for me."
that's because you were fighting it. That's why I insisted you stay over last
night after we tried using the puzzle a second time. Your conscious mind was fighting
it. But in sleep, you'd remember. And you did."
"How did you know
that would happen?" asked Blair.
"Something I learned in my teens.
I was at odds with this little gift," she said sarcastically,
making a face at the memory. "I'd had a couple of nasty lessons about respecting
it and using it wisely. That coupled with the attitude of others around me, with
the exception of my family.... Well, I tried to fight it myself. It wouldn't stop,
and kept coming to me through my dreams."
Blair gave Jim a knowing
look that said, "I told you so."
Jim ignored the look and said,
"When everything fell into place for me, Cat helped me figure out what I
hadn't already." Jim laughed. "Chief, she reminded me an awful lot of
you with all the questions.
Sandburg smiled at that and gave Cat a brief
salute. "See, I I'm not the only one to have so many questions
lady knows something... listen to her... since you won't listen to me!"
good news, at least in some respects is, he received confirmation twice of what
was going on. The first confirmation was a call from your friends alerting him
to your disappearance. The second..." Cat started to giggle "I wish
you could have seen the look on his face."
curiosity had been peaked.
"Cat!" warned Jim.
made Cat laugh harder. "It was priceless, the perplexed look. That particular
type of confirmation is like a tingle," she explained. "We were talking
and I noticed a little shiver followed by *that* look. And I knew that he'd hit
paydirt. It was just a matter of figuring out what part of the sentence he'd just
spoken was the confirmation. In a minute or so, we knew that the reason you were
being held was because they recognized you for your recent publicity."
started Blair motioning with his hands for Jim to contribute. "You are finally
keying into you're visions, eh, man? About time!"
"Jim, why don't
you describe what you saw, how you found the way to the cabin?"
can't wait to hear the Great Ellison finally telling me about his visions, *willingly*."
gave Cat a dirty look. "I'm not so sure willing is the word I'd use. The
word duress comes to mind."
"C'mon Jim. Fess up. Tell Blair about
what you actually saw in the vision...." Cat cajoled. Then to Blair, "Don't
mind me, the other nickname my family has for me is 'shit disturber'..."
me?" asked Blair of Cat, with a chuckle. He couldn't believe this was coming
from Cat. She just started to laugh again. Her laugh was infectious and made the
two friends laugh. They laughed, pointing at each other, then at Cat. They slowly
wound down from their laughter, holding their sides from the ache caused by the
overuse of their abdominal muscles.
"Oh, God, I needed that,"
gasped Blair with a huge smile.
"Glad I could be of service,"
replied Cat with a grin, wiping tears from her eyes.
"Where were we?"
asked Blair. "Oh, yeah! Hey, Jim, you were going to tell me what you actually
saw in the vision...?"
Jim let out a long-suffering sigh as he nodded
his head. "All right. I'll tell you about it."
Blair rubbed his
hands briskly and jumped up from the couch. "Hold on a minute, Jim, I need
more coffee. Cat? Jim? And a notebook!" He bounded to the kitchen and grabbed
the pot, bringing it back to give the other two more coffee. He returned the pot,
grabbed a notebook out of his room, then sat back on the couch and brought his
legs up to sit cross-legged, pen poised meaningfully, ready for Jim's tale.
went on to explain about the vision, from Blair being lost in the woods to seeing
himself walk down the dirt road to the main road in the area. Cat smiled as she
listened. The detail and clarity of the vision surprised Blair. The guide made
copious notes for studying later.
When Jim was done, Blair turned to Cat,
"Is this what it's like for you? Can you do this, too?"
but not exactly the same."
Blair looked from Jim to Cat amazed that
Jim finally opened up to recognizing his visions for what they were and for calling
on Cat for her help. At least Blair was alive to hear the tale, and not in some
morgue wearing a toe tag.
"Cat, I can't thank you enough for helping
Jim with this. I don't even want to think about the alternative, if you two hadn't
found me." He shivered at the prospect he had imagined.
not think about that prospect," said Cat
Blair. "So, Jim, you said you zoned on Cat last night. When was that?"
looked at Cat, exchanged worried glances, not sure if he wanted to answer Blair's
question, but knew that if he didn't, Blair would badger him until he did.
it was during the first try on the puzzle exercise," Cat started. "I'd
seen something similar before and used the same method to help Jim out of it.
It was a little alarming at first, but I managed."
"Not many people
have been exposed to Jim in a zone out, or managed to get him out of it. You were
lucky, Cat. How long did you work at getting him out of the zone?" inquired
"I don't know, maybe about 15, possibly 20 minutes...."
she guessed as she allowed adequate time for her little discussion with her guides
and then the time used to compose the suggestions she made.
You were zoned but good, Jim," replied Blair, shaking his head.
think the problem was, I had him focusing on the image that was clearest, and
from what Jim has explained about zoning, he took me a little too literally...."
What was that image that caused him to zone? Usually he zones on something else..."
got up to pace the room, stopping to beseech his friend to reveal his secret.
exactly how much do you know, about my talents, as you put it?" asked Jim.
thought for a moment. "Well, so far, I know your hearing is above normal.
You're having visions. And I suspect your eyesight is better than normal too,
especially night vision...."
Jim nodded his head slowly, "Yes...."
looked at Jim, considering the unspoken message. "There's more I take it?"
she asked. He nodded. "I suppose this has to do with being a, what was it
my guides called it? A sentinel?"
Blair looked shocked that her guides
had given that particular name. He was even more surprised that there was no reaction
from Jim at this information.
"Guides? You have guides? What kind of
guides?" Blair said rapidly as he came to sit on the couch next to here.
Guides," she tossed out facetiously, rolling her eyes.
Blair did a
double take, then chuckled. "You had me going there for a minute, Cat. Girl
Guides! That's a good one! So, Cat, are you going to answer me?" asked Blair
as he leaned towards her a little.
"She's got a mountain lion..."
Cat's eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. "When
did you see her?"
"A mountain lion?" his partner asked incredulously.
"You saw her?"
"I think it's appropriate someone who's nickname
is Cat has a cat spirit guide," chuckled Jim.
"Just be thankful
she didn't bring the black bear, too," quipped Cat.
that doesn't explain how or when you saw Cat's spirit guide!" countered Blair,
as he tried to draw out Jim. This was getting interesting with Jim admitting to
his visions, and now being able to see others spirit guides.
they're part of an animal council, not my spirit guides per se."
started Blair, watching Cat intently, "you have a council of animals? Just
how many animals are we talking here?" He gestured with his hands as he spoke,
trying to convey more meaning into his question.
"Each animal represents
an aspect of yourself or something you need to learn. There are as many as you
may need. They just wait on the sidelines to be called into action."
just what aspects are you talking about here? The earth, wind, and fire aspects,
or the parent and child aspects...."
Jim just sat back in his chair,
sipping at his coffee, watching Blair and Cat.
"None of those. They
can range from the sublime to the ridiculous. An ant has the strength to carry
10 times it's weight, if you had an ant as a "spirit" animal, it could
symbolize strength or determination. A black bear represents intuition in native
mythology, but could also represent power of sorts. A fox is known for its
"So, are you trying to say that you have an ant, a black
bear, fox, and the cougar as part of your animal council? Why do I get the feeling
there are more on your council?"
"Not necessarily, those are examples.
Do you really want to crowd the room? There are about seven or eight of them total.
But most of them only show up when necessary."
"Does your animal
council show up as you name them?" asked Blair, looking around the room,
trying to see if the animal council was visible to him. He looked over at Jim
who was looking over toward the balcony doors.
Jim saw his jaguar was laying
next to the cougar.
"No, I'd have to do more than that. It's more like
I call on them and tell them what I need them to do. Its not something to
do lightly. So I'm not about to ask them to come for a visit. Sometimes though,
they just show up to let me know theyre there waiting for me to call on
Cat followed Blairs gaze, and saw Jim looking towards
the balcony. There she saw the two cats lying next to one another enjoying the
"Uh, how long has *she* been there?"
much since you arrived. Shes behaved herself," replied Jim with grin.
Blair strained to see the big cat, but couldnt, while Cat just shook her
head in disbelief.
"Blair," said Cat, turning back to him, "your
spirit animal is a wolf, isnt it?"
The surprised look on his
face told her he hadnt been expecting this turn of events. "I think
you should do some research on the name Shawnodese. I think youll find it
very appropriate for your part in all of this. It comes from native legends to
do with the South West portion of the medicine wheel. Look up the name with relation
to wolves, and dont get sidetracked by the trickster or coyote myths. Look
especially for the term pathfinder."
Blair looked at Cat, a little
perplexed with the mention of Southwestern Native American mythology. She kept
surprising him with her knowledge. He was beginning to wonder if she was an anthropologist
in disguise. He had heard of Shawnodese, but hadnt ever really done much
research on it. He told her as much and tried to draw her out on the subject.
"Blair, I've lived my entire life with this little gift and basically,
I've had to do a lot of research about it to get the understanding I have. This
kind of thing is a personal journey and no one can give you a definitive answer.
I can tell you how I do it, but that doesn't by any stretch of the imagination
mean it will work for either of you, but it is a starting point. That's one of
the reasons you have to do the research yourself. I can't give you all the answers.
How can I, when I don't even have them all? I know what I know, but even then,
it doesn't always work on cue."
He shook his head and gave her lopsided
grin, having been caught, just like one of his students.
Jim and Cat laughed
at Blair's expression and he grinned in response. "Okay, okay. I get the
He turned toward his Sentinel. "And you be quiet,
Big Guy! I don't need your input on this one, either! I guess I'd better do some
research tonight, then, huh? It might help me finish my little meditative jaunt
that got interrupted so rudely yesterday."
"Speaking of research,"
started Cat. "You never did finish your answer about your abilities Jim."
looked at Cat and gave her a little smile. He had let Blair take them off topic
on purpose, "I didnt?" he asked, teasing.
She shook her
head and wagged her finger at him. "No, you didnt. You started to tell
me when we got back here. Then this one," she hooked her thumb in Blairs
direction, "went off on a tangent about guides."
man ducked his head and looked at her through his hair hanging down, a sheepish
grin on his face.
"I know enough, that unless I remind
you, youll conveniently forget. Now, what did my guides mean by saying you're
a sentinel?" She looked directly at Jim, her gaze never wavering from his
as he stared back at her.
He heaved a sigh, licked his lips, took a sip
of coffee, set his cup down, and sighed again. He realized that he wasnt
going to be able to put her off track again since she was beginning to drum her
fingers on the table. He finally gave up stalling and plunged right in.
know I have heightened eyesight and hearing. Well, I have all five senses heightened."
heightened?" she asked, interested.
Blair jumped in and explained.
"Jims like a walking crime lab. He can smell individual ingredients
in a recipe and taste them too. Sense of touch is way out there. He can feel things
you and I cant even imagine to feel."
She raised her left eyebrow
at Jim who just shrugged. "Is this something that just happened or have you
always had heightened senses?"
"Ive always had them,"
he admitted. It was clear to Cat that Jim was still having a hard time with accepting
his difference. "Blair says its a genetic trait. Sentinels were his
doctoral thesis and he found me when my senses became active about 4 years ago.
I was sure something was wrong with me because Id just suddenly lost control
of them. He helped me regain control of my senses, and even fine tune my control.
Thats why hes an
was an official police observer. It was the
only way that Captain Banks could figure out how to get him partnered with me."
I had guessed that Blair helps you with this. But how?" she asked. For once
Blair remained silent and let Jim do the explaining.
"Blair had the
knowledge of Sentinels. Hell, I didnt even know there were such things until
he told me," continued Jim, scrubbing his face in remembered frustration
when his senses had first come back on line. "Blair is usually the only who
can get me out of a zone out, when I focus too much on one sense. He wanted to
study my senses, and me, for his dissertation, and in the process became more
than a tag-along. He became my best friend and partner at the PD. His cover story
for the PD was a dissertation on the Thin Blue Line of Closed Police Societies."
jumped up and started pacing as he took the story over. "Nine years ago,
Jim was stranded in Peru when his military helicopter crashed. He was the only
survivor of his team. The Chopec Indians, a local Peruvian Tribe, befriended Jim
and he lived with them for eighteen months. The head shaman, Incacha, took Jim
under his wing since he, I mean, Incacha, recognized Jim for what he was. A sentinel.
Sentinels always have someone to watch their back, in case they zone out. Their
watcher is called a guide. Incacha was Jims guide when he was in Peru then
I became his guide when I met him four years ago."
Cat drank her coffee
as she listened to Blair, fascinated by the whole thing. "So, you knew about
sentinels and guides from your research? And from having studied ancient cultures,
you understood the role of a guide?
"More of a guide in training.
And when Incacha died, he passed the way of the shaman on to me." Cat saw
a pained expression flit over Jims face at the mention of Incacha being
"Jim also has a heightened sixth sense which has come into play
several times. Its just been difficult to get him to accept his other gift
along with the heightened senses." Blair shot an accusatory look at Jim who
raised an eyebrow back at his friend.
"Um, Cat?" asked Jim. She
looked at him expectantly. "Only a few people know about my abilities. Simon,
Captain Banks is aware, of course, and my father. I guess I repressed my senses
when I was younger because my father always said Id be considered a freak
if people knew what I could do."
With a grin, "Thats okay.
I dont know nuthin, no how, no way," she reassured them both. Jim and
Blair sighed in relief.
Jim checked the time on the clock and realized that
it was after 5 o'clock. No wonder his stomach was beginning to growl. He looked
over toward the patio and saw his jaguar lift its head and growl in response to
the Sentinel's stomach noise. "Well, gang, I don't know about you, but I'm
getting a little hungry here. How about some dinner?"
Cat looked at
Jim with a slight smile. "I am, a little," she replied. "Blair?"
she asked of the Observer.
He was already up off the couch and grabbing
out his laptop and strarting it up. "Huh?" he asked.
are you hungry?" repeated Cat.
"Uh, no, not really. You two going
out for supper?"
Cat looked at Jim for confirmation and he shrugged
"Maybe we should vacate the premises to let him do some
research in peace?" suggested Cat.
Jim got up and clapped his partner
on the shoulder as he headed toward the door. "Have fun with your research,
Sandburg. Don't stay up too late. I don't know what time I'll be back."
looked up at Jim quickly. He nodded his head and said quietly, "Uh, right.
Gotcha, Jim." He raised his voice and hand to Cat. "Have a good dinner,
you two. Night Cat! And thanks for your help this morning and this afternoon."
problem. Night Blair," Cat replied with a grin as they strolled out the door
End of Part 3
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