Buses and Trains
by VampyrAlex


Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Jim/Blair
Category: First Time, Drama/Romance

Note: This story came to me because of Halloween. When I was in college some years ago, one of our teachers divided us into teams and threw us a challenge. We had to come up with the scariest story possible to tell in class. One of the girls in my team suggested we surf the net for information on serial killers. Needless to say we found more than enough scary stories out there, unfortunately not fictional like this one. We ended up picking something else to tell in class, but that day always stayed in my memory. So when Halloween came this year... err... last year, I decided to do something inspired by what I'd learn all those years ago.

Thanks to my betas Helen, DarkCherry, Monica and Sherri for the excellent work.

Warning: There's reference of sexual abuse in this story, although it's off-screen and not related with the "The Sentinel" characters. The songs "Blue Eyes" by Elton John and "Buses and Trains" by Bachelor Girl are used without permission.

Summary: A not so typical case for the Major Crime team.


From childhood's hour
I have not been as others were
I have not seen as others saw
I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

Edgar Allan Poe "Alone"


"Hello?" the young voice asked, answering the phone.

"Blue eyes baby's got blue eyes, like a clear blue sky, watching over me, blue eyes I love blue eyes, when I'm by her side, where I long to be..." a voice sung on the other side.

"Who is this?! What do you want? This isn't funny!" The only answer was a deep, throaty chuckle, and the line went dead.



Saturday, October 4th, 1997. 8:10 p.m. Somewhere in Cascade.

Jason Bell looked impatiently at his watch. Damn that woman! Couldn't she ever be on time? Not that ten minutes was terribly late, but Ann always made him wait for her. A smile brightened his handsome face. If only he didn't love her so much!

Coming to Rainier had been a good move after all. The University was excellent, in spite of his first reaction, and he was enjoying living in a big place like Cascade. Then, on top of everything, he had met the most beautiful woman on earth. God, life was good!

He looked up and smiled again. It was a lovely night. Clear sky, shining stars, full moon... A perfect night for romance, he thought. The only thing missing was that insanely gorgeous woman, and they could start enjoying all that nature so kindly had provided for them.

Jason heard soft footsteps behind him and chuckled. So, she was trying to catch him off guard, was she? Well, two could play at that game. He was going to pretend he hadn't heard her, and when she was close, he'd scare the living daylights out of her. Plan worked out, he stood still waiting.

He never got to put his thoughts into action. The footsteps got closer, but before he could do anything, a strong arm closed around his neck, effectively binding him, and preventing him from calling for help, and the last thing he saw was a knife coming straight for his heart.



Saturday, October 11th 1997. 9:26 p.m.

Darlene Bryan looked at the motor of her car with annoyance. She was definitely not having a good day. It started with the usual fight with her parents for making her go to Rainier, then she got dumped by Michael, that no good lazy bum. Now this. She was already late for the party her friend Pam was organizing and to make it worse, the lousy car had died on her. And in the middle of nowhere.

"God, I hate my life!"

A car pulled up next to her. "Need any help, miss?"

Darlene hesitated. It was dangerous to trust strangers these days, but she was stranded in that damned dirt road, and the guy seemed nice enough. "Well, you know anything about cars?" she asked.

The man smiled and came closer. "A little. What happened?"

"Don't know for sure, it made a strange noise and just stopped."

"Let me take a look."

She turned to walk back to her car, but froze when the voice behind her whispered.

"Sorry, Dove."

Before she could turn and ask what he meant, Darlene was grabbed by the waist, and pulled against the man's body. She started to scream when she saw the knife, but there was no one around to hear her.



Saturday, October 18th 1997. 8:38 p.m.

Heather Dahmer sat on her couch with a sad sigh, her thoughts centered on her relationship with her boyfriend. After a rocky start, things between her and Daniel were great, but this new development could ruin everything. She had been asked to join an expedition by one of her teachers at Rainier. It was an honor, and one of her dreams, but the truth was, she was in love with Daniel. How could she go? The expedition was to Egypt, and could take from three months to a year. Where would that leave the two of them?

A knock on the door disturbed her thoughts. "Who is it?"

"Pizza delivery."

Right on time, she was starving! After checking if it was really the delivery guy, Heather opened the door and smiled.

"Here's the money."

The man gave her the pizza and then in a sudden, fast move, pushed her inside and closed the door behind him. Before she could even scream, a knife buried itself in Heather's chest, and she fell dead on the floor.



11:40 p.m.

Jim Ellison walked tiredly along with his partner, Blair Sandburg, into Simon's office. He nodded at the two other detectives already there, Henri Brown and Rafe.

"Well?" Simon asked.

"Same as the others, knife wound. Caught her straight in the heart, died instantly," Jim replied.

"You guys checked the other victims?" Simon looked at Rafe.

"Yes, sir. First victim was Jason Bell, twenty two, born and raised in Sayreville, New Jersey. Came to Cascade to study at Rainier, was dating another student there, Ann McGhee. She was the one that found the body. They were going on a date, seems he was waiting for her when the killer caught him. No known enemies, no witnesses, nothing. Single knife wound, straight through the heart, instant death," the young detective stated.

"The second victim was Darlene Bryan, age twenty, born in Cascade, also studying in Rainier. Same MO, was killed in a deserted road while going to a party, her car broke down. Obnoxious little girl, by what we were told, drove a lot of people crazy including her parents and teachers. Nothing serious enough to get her killed, though. Also no witnesses to the murder," Brown finished.

"This one was called Heather Dahmer," Jim said. "I talked with the neighbor that found her, said she was twenty five, and was from New York. Lived alone, had a boyfriend, seemed to be a nice person, and was also studying at Rainier. Again no known enemies or witnesses. She was murdered at her place. We found a delivery boy from the pizza parlor she used to order from unconscious in an alley near the building. The killer grabbed his jacket and hat, she saw the logo and just let him in. Same MO as the other two."

Simon started pacing. "Connection between the victims?" he asked.

"All students at Rainier, all in their early twenties," Jim answered grimly.

"He only kills on Saturday nights and the MO is the same for all the victims so far. It's possible we're facing a serial killer and he seems to be just beginning," Rafe interjected.

Simon turned to the police observer. "You know any of the victims, Sandburg?" he asked.

"Just Darlene, from view. She was famous for her 'charming' personality," Blair replied sarcastically. "Are you going to put extra security on campus?"

"Yes, not that I think it will do anything, he never kills there. But maybe it will make people feel better. The Mayor called me this afternoon, seems that some influential parents have been making noise about this."

"Can't really blame them. They're trying to protect their kids," Rafe said.

"Yeah, and the press isn't exactly being kind to us either. When news of Heather Dahmer's murder comes out tomorrow, it will be even worse. I want this bastard out of the streets, detectives! We don't even have a clue who this guy is! I need results, and fast!" Simon grumbled, looking at Jim with a look that seemed to ask if his senses had picked up anything out of the ordinary.

Jim just shook his head. For all his craziness, the bastard was clever and was careful not to leave a clue. There was nothing he could detect in the crime scenes, not a scent, not a fingerprint, nothing. It was starting to get to him.



Friday, October 24th 1997. 2:28 p.m.

Blair walked out of the campus library with a sigh. It had been a tough morning, with classes to prepare, and office hours that brought a neverending line of students to his office. A few hours of research he needed to get done for a paper, and he was finally on his way to lunch and then to the station.

He walked over to his car with the strange feeling he was being watched, but when he looked around, he couldn't see anyone suspicious. Blair shook his head and chuckled nervously. "Man, I must be losing my mind. All these murders are getting to me."

He frowned. And what about those strange phone calls he'd been getting all week? When he answered no one talked, but he could hear someone, a man's voice, singing on the other side. It was an old song, Elton John's 'Blue eyes'. He wondered if it was just someone's idea of a joke or if it could be more than that. It was common knowledge on campus that he was bi, maybe it was some bigot jerk trying to scare him.

Or maybe it was because of his partner. The student murders had been all over the news and papers, as had Jim's name because he was the detective in charge of the investigation. Too many people knew he worked with Jim and about half weren't too happy about it. Maybe this was someone's idea of how to annoy him for hanging around the 'pigs'. After all, Jim had those beautiful, clear blue eyes... Blair sighed. Maybe it was a little stupid, but not unthinkable in the sometimes petty academic world.

Maybe he should tell Jim, but the detective had been too preoccupied lately with the murders and he didn't want to make it worse. It would have to wait a few days. It was probably just a joke, and he was over-reacting like he usually did when he was freaked out. Whoever it was, when they noticed he wasn't taking the bait, they'd stop for sure.



Saturday, October 25th, 1997. 5:05 p.m.

Blair surfed the TV channels for about the tenth time in half an hour. For once he didn't have any papers due, no tests to grade, no books to catch up on, and he was bored out of his mind. To make everything worse, Jim was on a stakeout and wouldn't be home until close to midnight.

The young man sighed wearily and decided to just take a shower. He was about to get up from the couch when the phone rang. Thinking it might be Jim, he picked it up. "Hello?"

"Blue eyes baby's got blue eyes, like a deep blue sea, on a blue blue day, blue eyes baby's got blue eyes, when the morning comes, I'll be far away..."

"You again? This is getting really old, really fast, man! Who is this? Is this some kind of a joke? Don't you have anything better to do?"

The deep throaty chuckle he was coming to know was his only answer. Then he heard the whisper, "Soon, Blair. Soon," and the line went dead.

Blair stayed motionless for a long while, feeling as if cool fingers were squeezing his heart painfully. A sense of dread seized him as Blair started to realize that maybe the calls weren't a joke after all. He dialed Jim's cell phone number, but got the message he was out of reach.


He was about to head out the door when the phone started ringing again. He stared at it for a few seconds uncertainly. It could be that guy again, but it could also be Jim, or something important. Finally steeling himself, he grabbed the receiver.

"Hello?" he asked, hesitantly.

"Blair? It's Donnie. Everything okay? You sound strange!"

Releasing a breath Blair hadn't noticed he was holding, he answered, "Yeah, I'm okay. What's up?"

"Well, Tommy and I were thinking about going out for a drink or something, and thought you might want to join us. What do you say?"

"Yes!" he blurted out, "I mean, I need to get out of here and get some fresh air."

"Great! Meet us at Tommy's house then. We'll decide where to go from there. See ya!"

"Yeah, see ya."

Blair hung up, grabbed his coat and practically ran out of the loft. Suddenly, he just didn't want to be alone there.



11:16 p.m.

Blair looked at his two friends and smiled. He was feeling much better now, and had even managed to convince himself he was over-reacting. He was falling right into the kind of mood that the person harassing him wanted him into.

"Thanks for bringing me home, guys. You didn't actually have to bring me all the way up to the apartment!"

"Hey, we do a complete escort service, mate," his friend Donnie said, grinning.

"Yeah, don't mention it, buddy. But try to buy a car that actually works next time, okay?" the other one, Tommy, teased. "Thank God I had my car, or we would have been stranded outside 'Club Doom'."

"Well, you guys are nice company, but I have to go," Donnie stated with a yawn. "I have a major paper to do for Monday, and haven't even started it, so I'm going. It's going to be an all-nighter for me."

"Serves you right for being a lazy bum!" Blair said with a smile.

"That's gratitude for ya! Geez! We cheer you up, then bring you home, and that's the pay we get!"

"So, is that gorgeous hunk of a partner of yours home?" Tommy asked with a wink.

"Nope, out on a stakeout."

"Too bad, he's really easy on the eyes!" Then, seeing the mean look he was getting from Blair, he amended, "Not that I noticed, or planned to do anything about it, of course!"

"Of course. Get out of here, you horny bastard!" Blair laughed.

"Look who's talking! When are you planning on telling him that you're bi?"

Blair cleared his throat. "Uh, soon."

"Soon," Tommy echoed. "I've been hearing that for years now, Blair. You're hopeless, you know that?" He sighed, and shook his head. "See ya Monday morning, Teach."

"Thanks again, guys. Goodnight."

"G'night, Blair."

Blair watched them going down the stairs and entered the loft, closing the door with a sigh. He stretched his arm to turn on the light, but his hand touched something that wasn't supposed to be there, a man's chest. The man grabbed him, but was a second too slow and lost the advantage of surprise. The young man kicked the intruder several times and turned to escape. A knife grazed his arm, but he managed to open the door and shout Tommy and Donnie's names.

The man still tried one last time to hold Blair by the waist, but the young man turned and punched him in the head.

"You little prick!" the man growled and slapped him so hard, Blair lost his balance, and his skull hit the wall behind him. The last thing he remembered was Tommy calling his name, and the world turned black.



Sunday, October 26th 1997. 3:20 a.m.

"Mr. Sandburg? Can you hear me?" a woman's voice asked through the fog in his mind.

'Of course I can hear you,' Blair thought. 'There's nothing wrong with my ears, it's my head that's killing me!' He opened one eye cautiously and looked at the nurse standing over his hospital bed. Behind her stood Jim and Simon.

"Hey there," he managed to croak.

Jim got closer to the bed and caressed his cheek in a surprisingly loving gesture. "Hey, Chief. How are you doing?" he asked softly, his clear blue eyes filled with worry, and something else Blair couldn't quite understand.

"I have an African tribe playing jungle music inside my head, besides that, I'm fine. My arm hurts a little," he answered, while the nurse examined him.

After the woman left, Simon asked, "You remember what happened last night?"

"Yeah. The son of a bitch was waiting in the loft, tried to kill me. I kicked and punched him, he called me a prick, hit me, my head connected with the wall and I passed out. That about covers it, I think."

"You heard his voice then? Think you could identify it if you heard it again?"

"Probably. Why? You caught him?"

"No. He left by the fire escape, according to your friends. Can you tell us anything about the man? Anything you might have noticed?"

"Well, he was big, probably as big as you, Simon. Really strong too, lots of muscles. When I punched him in the head, I felt his hair, seemed curly, but very short. The voice was perfectly normal for a man, no accent. I think that's all I can recall."

"That may be of some help. There's a guard at the door with orders to not let anyone in besides us and the medical staff, and after you're released I'll arrange for around the clock protection."

"Okay. You think it might be him? The guy killing the students?"

The two cops exchanged a look and finally Jim nodded.

"We think so, yeah. But it can also be someone with a grudge against me, so we're going to check that as well. Don't worry, I won't let anything happen to you, Chief. He won't get near you again," he promised, meeting Blair's eyes with a gentle smile.

The younger man nodded and yawned.

"We'll let you rest now," Simon said.

"The doctor say when I'll be able get out of here?"

"Tomorrow. The knife wound isn't serious, but you have a bad concussion, and they want to keep you in for observation."

"I'll come to pick you up. And don't flirt with the nurses too much," Jim said with a wink. "Rest now."

"Okay. See you tomorrow, then."

He watched the two cops leave and yawned again. He suddenly realized that maybe he should have mentioned the strange phone calls to the cops, that his attacker's voice had sounded like the singer in the calls, but his head was starting to hurt like hell, and he wasn't about to call them back. It could wait until tomorrow.

His thoughts somehow turned to his partner. Jim would probably kill him if he knew where his thoughts had been leading him lately. He had no intention of flirting with the nurses. His only hobby of late was the man himself, James J. Ellison, Supercop, Blessed Protector, Sentinel of Cascade. He could spend hours, hell, days, just watching him. Noticing the perfect body, so full of strength, but capable of such gentleness, the beautiful face, the clear eyes that could make a hard criminal shiver with their ice stare, but had only warmth when smiling at him. God, Naomi would have to burn a lot of sage if she knew he was falling in love with a 'pig'. Chuckling, he snuggled into the covers and fell asleep almost immediately.



Monday, October 27th 1997. 10:48 a.m.

Jim watched Blair wince as he took off his coat. "Are you okay?"

"Uh... yeah. My arm hurts a bit and my head is still throbbing. Nothing I can't handle though."

He sat on the couch with a sigh.

"Want some tea?" Jim asked, worried about the fact that the young man hardly said a word since their trip from the hospital.


Jim made the tea and sat next to his Guide, giving him a cup of warm, fragrant tea. The young man seemed lost in thought, but when he felt Jim close to him, raised his head.

"Jim, you think he'll come after me again?"

"I don't know, Chief. I doubt it, but criminals are hard to figure out." He seized Blair's hands in his bigger ones and caressed them soothingly with his thumbs. "But even if he tries, he won't get near you, I won't let him. He won't get past me, I promise. I... You're my best friend," Jim amended what he was about to say, calling himself a coward. "I won't let anything happen to you."

What he really wanted to say was that he loved the young man, that along the way the friendship had changed into something else. Something deeper, something beautiful, something he was scared to death of, but wanted to take a chance on. But he always lacked the courage to make the confession and the words were always left unsaid. But not for long. As he wrapped his arms around Blair in a comforting gesture, and felt the young man snuggle against him, he promised himself. As soon as the killer was caught and the case was over, he'd tell Blair how he felt.



1:34 p.m.

Blair woke up feeling warm and safe, a feeling that seemed to have been eluding him for some time now. He opened his eyes, blinking against the afternoon sun, and found himself wrapped in Jim's arms. He remembered sitting on the couch after arriving from the hospital, talking with his partner for a little while. And then that meant-to-be feeling of being surrounded lovingly by Jim's arms, in what was surely a friendly hug to Jim, but so much more for him. For just one moment he could pretend that there was more to that embrace, that Jim loved him as much as he loved the Sentinel, and he surrendered and snuggled into his friend's warmth.

'I guess I must've dozed off!' he thought.

He looked up and saw that Jim was also asleep. 'Tough night for everyone,' Blair chortled to himself.

The young man raised his hand and caressed Jim's strong jaw tenderly, taking in the chiseled features he loved so. 'What am I going to do? Can I keep pretending I only love you as a friend? Will I be able to keep my love hidden from you indefinitely? Do I want to?'

He sighed and rested his head against Jim's chest, comforted by the calm rhythm of the Sentinel's heart. Not long after, he was asleep again.



Tuesday, October 28th 1997. 3:35 p.m.

Blair knocked on Simon's door and walked in, followed by Rafe, his bodyguard for the day.

"Hey, Hairboy!" H grinned, glad to see him. "How are you?"

"Just fine, thanks. We need to talk, guys."

"About?" Simon asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, this last week I'd been feeling a little on edge. I had this constant feeling someone was watching me, following me, and I got some weird calls. Anyway, I thought I was being paranoid until Saturday. Then I started thinking that maybe the two things might be related, but I wanted to be sure before I talked with you, so I went to Rainier this morning and checked a few things out."

"Like?" Jim asked, enjoying the idea of his partner doing detective work. 'God knows the kid's got the brains for it!' he thought.

"I found a few friends of the other victims and spoke with them. All of them complained about the same, the feeling of being watched and all got strange calls, but all thought it was just a friend's joke."

"What does the man say in the calls?"

"Nothing. No one talks on the other side, but you can tell there's someone on the line because you can hear this guy singing Elton John's song 'Blue Eyes'. Anyway, at the time, I thought it was stupid, that it was just someone's joke too. It's a natural reaction."

"We talked with a lot of people that knew the victims and no one mentioned any of this," H stated.

Blair smiled. "No offense man, but the academic society isn't too fond of talking with cops. I'm one of them, so it was easy to get this information."

"You have a point there. So, the son of a bitch follows the victims a few days before actually killing them, and makes contact by phone. He doesn't say anything, just sings. This just gets weirder and weirder."

"Well, at least now we can add another connection between the victims. The first three victims all had blue eyes," Rafe said. "It could've been a coincidence before, only three people wasn't enough to confirm it was part of his MO. But that, the song, and the fact that Blair himself has blue eyes, and the murder attempt was on a Saturday is too much."

"I still wish we had something more to go on. It's driving me crazy waiting for the man to make a mistake!" Jim nearly growled.

Simon rubbed his eyes. "Unfortunately, at this point it's all we can do."



Saturday, November 1st, 1997. 8:05 p.m.

Blair and H were playing a game of cards when the phone rang.

"Shit, now what?" Blair grumbled, getting up. "Hello?"

"Hello, my little prick. Remember me?"

The young man's heart started to beat faster. That voice... "Who is this?"

The man laughed. Not the throaty chuckle he used so often before, but a cold, steely laughter. "You know who I am, Blair."

"What do you want?" Blair asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

"Right now, I want you to write down the address I'm going to give you." He waited until Blair finished writing it. "Got it?"


"Good. Now, I want you and that nice cop you have there with you, to go to the police station. Give the address to Captain Banks, and tell him to send someone there. I'll call later. To his office," he laughed again, and the cold sound made the young man shiver. "Be there, Blair."

He hung up and Blair looked at H. "It was him. The killer."

"Come on, let's get you to the station. If something happens to you, Ellison will kill me. Repeatedly."



9:10 p.m.

As soon as H and Blair arrived at the bullpen, they went straight to Simon's office, explained about the call and Blair gave the Captain the paper with the address. He sent a team to investigate and ordered any calls made to his phone to be traced. Once again, all they could do was wait.

The wait didn't last long. Around 10:00 p.m. they got the news that there had been another murder. It was a girl, Elizabeth Hurley, twenty-five years old, and like the others, a student at Rainier, blue eyes, same MO.

Now, over an hour later, they were waiting again. This time for the killer to call.

Blair sat down with a hot cup of coffee, trying to erase the cold feeling that had settled within his heart since the man had called. Try as he might, he couldn't shake the fear. All he could think about was David Lash, and how he was facing another man just like him. Someone obviously very intelligent and also very deadly. It was the return of all his worst nightmares.

He couldn't understand his reaction. The man had called before, singing that damn song he was growing to hate. But for some reason, hearing him talk made things worse, made the fear stronger, the situation more real. It seemed stupid, but he couldn't help himself. All he wanted was to run into Jim's arms and stay there. He shook his head, chiding himself. He had to face his fears, couldn't always run for cover, couldn't always count on Jim to protect him, even though he knew the cop would die for him if need be. He had to be the one to fight his battles, and in this case he had the weapons, he knew how. He knew all about serial killers, as much as one could ever know, he could use it to his advantage.

When the call finally came, Simon put it on speaker so everyone could hear.

"Blair, are you there?" the man asked.


"Good. Then I'm setting a few ground rules. I know there are others there with you listening, but I will only talk with you. If the police want answers that might mean my capture, they will have to come through you. You will be sort of the middle man between me and them," the throaty chuckle was back.

Blair got up and started to pace. "Fine. Then perhaps we should start with introductions, don't you think? You have the advantage, you know my name. I know you won't give me your real name, but what shall I call you?"

"Uh, good question. What about Sam? Always liked that name."

"Okay, Sam. Why did you kill those students?"

Sam laughed. "Right to the point, I like that. Well, I killed them because I wanted to, because I needed to, because I can't control myself. I wish I could, but I can't. I can't go against my nature, Blair. It's like asking a bird to stop flying, it's impossible."

The young man frowned. "Okay. Why the phone calls? Why call the victims and then say nothing? Why only sing?"

They could almost see the man shrug. "It's all in the game. Makes it more exciting. It's also the reason why I follow them around for a few days. It's the thrill of the hunt. Your cop friends should know what I'm talking about, I'm sure they feel the same when chasing a criminal. It's the adrenaline rush," he finished, chuckling.

"I see. So, you're going to continue?"

"Until your cop friends catch me, yes."

"What about me, where do I fit in?"

"You were supposed to be just another victim."


"I kinda fell for you along the way. You know that you were the only one that fought me? All the others just surrendered without so much as a fight. Not you, though. Feisty little thing, aren't you?" Sam chuckled again. "I actually like you, you are so full of life. I envy you. The thought that comes to me when I see you is man-child. You have the sensuality of a man and the innocence of a child. It's a rare thing these days."

Blair shook his head. The man was completely insane. "But you will still try to kill me, right?"

"Of course. But I'll save you for last now. And I promise, it will be as painless as I can make it."

"Oh geez! Thank you so much!" Blair replied, with as much sarcasm as he could master.

"Don't mention it, kid," Sam answered, amusement in his voice."Now, tell that Captain of yours it's no use trying to trace this call. The same way I managed to break into the police computer and find out this, and also Detective Ellison's phone numbers, I can also scramble the signal and make it impossible to see where I'm calling from."

"You don't mind us trying anyway, do you?"

"Of course not. It's your time to waste. I'll leave you for now, I'll call again next Saturday. I really enjoyed our little talk, Blair. Goodnight, gentlemen."

Not a minute after that, another phone call told them he was telling the truth. Sam really scrambled the signal making it impossible to trace the call.

"Dammit!" Simon roared. "The bastard is making fun of us!"

Rafe looked at Blair. "You behaved really well, man. I'm impressed!"

"Well, you can't show fear when dealing with serial killers. They are like dogs, they can feel it and feed on it."

"You seem to know what you're talking about." H stated.

"I do. In my first year at Rainier one of the classes I took was Psychology. I did a paper for it called 'What makes them tick', about serial killers."

"Jesus!" Jim hissed.

"I checked everyone and everything. Ted Bundy, the Zodiac killer, Son of Sam, Ed Kemper, Charles Manson. You name it. One of the things I took special notice was how most of them would pick up someone, usually a cop or a reporter and play with them, giving little clues, taunting them, that kind of thing."

"And he chose you for it."

"Seems like it. It's perfect really. I was a failed victim, work in his hunting ground, Rainier, and also with you guys, the people that are trying to catch him. He thought of everything."

"Maybe not," Rafe remarked. "Maybe keeping him talking will make him tell us something we can use."

"Let's hope you're right, man!"



Sunday, November 2nd, 1997. 3:17 a.m.

Jim woke up with the sense that something wasn't right. He dialed his senses up to find out what caused him to wake up. 'There! Blair is awake, on the balcony. His heartbeat's a little irregular. Poor kid, this mess can't be easy on him.'

Jim got up and pulled his robe around his muscled form. He descended the stairs silently and joined his partner on the balcony, standing a little behind the young man.

"Are you okay?" he whispered, concerned.

"Yeah. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you. I just --" Blair breathed deeply, smelling the earthy air, caused by the rain that had been falling hours before. "I feel cold. I have an extra sweater, I put another blanket on the bed, but I'm still cold. It doesn't go away. The cold I feel... it's inside."

Although Blair couldn't see him, Jim nodded. He knew the feeling well. It was fear, anxiety, restlessness, adrenaline, exhaustion, and a bunch of other emotions, all rolled into one. Being a cop, he was familiar with it. Feeling he had to do something to comfort his partner, his friend, the person he loved most in the world, he said, "It's okay. It's going to be okay, Blair. You'll see," he promised, his hands caressing Blair's tense shoulders.

Then making a decision, he turned the young man around and gently pushed him inside. "Come on."

"Jim, what --?"

"Come on. You're going to sleep with me upstairs."


"You need company tonight. You'll sleep better. Come on, move it."

They climbed the stairs and Jim laid down, leaving a space for the young man. He raised the covers. "Get in. It's cold."

Hesitantly, Blair joined him, his body not quite touching Jim, but not quite apart either. Thinking he was never going to sleep now, feeling Jim's body and presence so close to him, he nevertheless closed his eyes and surprised himself by falling asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Jim, on the other hand, spent most of the night watching the young man sleep, using his senses to further enjoy the feel of having Blair in his bed, even if only to sleep. Maybe the day would come when Blair would be in his bed because he loved Jim, not because he needed someone to be there for him. But even if that moment never came, Jim would at least have the memory of having him there, sleeping soundly beside him and that would be enough. It would have to be.



Saturday, November 8th, 1997. 10:27 p.m.

H and Rafe closed the door behind them.

"Well?" Simon looked at the two detectives.

H nodded. "We have a new victim, Captain. It was a guy this time, twenty eight years old, local boy. Was found in an alley near a gay bar, seems to have been picked up there by the killer. We tried to get a description from the people that saw them together. All we got was that the man was very tall, muscled, had short curly hair, and possibly dark eyes. It was hard to see with the dim lights in the place and no one was paying too much attention. Same MO, of course."

"Okay. What's the victim's name?" Simon asked.

"Thomas Freeman." Rafe replied, and his answer was followed by a shattering noise.

All heads turned to Blair. The police observer was watching his cup of coffee scattered all over the floor.

"Sorry," he whispered brokenly.

"You knew the victim?" Simon asked, gently.

Blair let out a deep breath and nodded tersely. "Yeah. He was one of the guys that was with me when Sam tried to kill me, Tommy," he answered softly, his tear swamped eyes still fixed on the floor. "The bastard must have done it on purpose."

"I'm sorry, Blair."

The young man nodded again, "It's okay," he stated, but his voice quivered slightly.

Not caring what the others thought about it, Jim wrapped his partner in a comforting embrace, hugging him tightly.

"Are you okay? Think you can handle it when he calls?" Jim asked, concerned.

"Yes. Just gave me another reason to want to catch him, that's all," Blair responded, sniffing a little. "And like Rafe said, maybe keeping him talking will give us something to work on."

Half an hour later, Sam was on the phone. "Hello, Blair."

"Hello, Sam. And how are you this fine evening?" the young man asked, sarcastically.

"Why, Blair! Do I detect a note of anger in your voice?!"

"Anger? Why should I be angry, Sam?"

"Maybe because you found out who my last victim was."

"Why Tommy?"

"He wasn't on my victim list, if that's what you're asking. I chose him because of you, because I know you were good friends."

"Why?" Blair asked again.

"I want to make you mad at me. You see, I have a clear notion of what I am, of what I'm doing, but I can't stop. It's going to be you, not those cops next to you, that will catch me. And to make that happen, I have to provoke you."

"I see. Think that will work?"

"Yes, of course."

Blair looked at the phone for a while, like it was possible to see the face on the other side. "Tell me something, Sam. Why do you only kill on Saturdays? Something bad happened to you on a Saturday, right? Maybe it wasn't just one Saturday, maybe it was more. Tell me, Sam. Did your daddy visit your room on Saturdays? Did he do something to you? Is that what this is about?" The aggressive tone in his voice seemed to shock the killer into silence."Well, Sam? Still there?"

"Yes, kid, I'm still here." He chuckled again, but this time it sounded nervous. "You're fishing, Blair, and it's not working."

"Really?" There was a strange smile on Blair's lips, and the cops knew he had something.

"Really. And as a punishment, this talk is over. I'll call again next Saturday and you better behave. This is my game."

"The old cat and mouse game, hey Sam? But who's the cat and who's the mouse?"

"You're spoiling my fun, Blair. Be careful or I might change my mind about you. Goodnight, gentlemen."

After the call ended, there was a strange silence in the room. Finally Rafe shook his head. "Maybe you were a bit too aggressive with him, Blair. We might have been able to keep him talking a little more."

"Maybe. Or maybe I just got an idea that might be right on the money." Blair turned to the police Captain. "If I asked you to check something out, would you do it?"

"If you sell it to me right, yes. What do you have in mind?"

The young man seemed to hesitate for a moment, then said, "Look, this is just an idea, okay? The thing is he called me kid. He also did it in the first call, but I only registered it now. Just hear me out, okay? Most of you here call me kid, because you're older than me. Rafe, on the other hand, doesn't call me that because our age difference isn't that big. Sam called me kid at least twice, and even his voice seems to point out that he is quite older than me."

"So?" H asked, not following his line of thought.

"So, serial killers start to kill really early. Most of them start before they're even allowed to drive. There's no reason for him to start to kill this late, unless..."

"Unless?" Rafe echoed.

"Unless, he couldn't for some reason. Maybe he was in some institution and was released a few weeks or so ago. Go with me on this, okay? Ninety five percent of serial killers were sexually abused by someone in their families, usually a parent. What if that's the case here and he killed his abuser? If he was declared insane at the time, he could have been committed in a mental institution until recently."

"So, you're saying that he could have been released and started feeling the urge to kill again. He kills people that look like his abuser and only does it on Saturdays because that was the day when he was abused," Jim finished.

"Could be, like I said, it's only an idea." He turned to Simon. "You have nothing to lose by trying this. Check out all mental facilities, clinics and whatever that might have released a patient in the last three months, that might have killed one of his parents."

"Why only three months?" H asked.

"He said he can't control himself. If he was out longer, he would have started sooner."

"And if there's someone that fits this profile?" Simon wanted to know.

Blair smiled. "All you have to do is find out if the dead parent had blue eyes and you have your man. Look, I'm not saying this is accurate. For all we know, the man could have been an angel so far, and never even killed a bug before. But I could also be right. I know a lot about serial killers, more than I want to actually, and the truth is they do have a pattern when killing, even if it's a pattern only they understand."

Rafe nodded. "We could try it, Captain," he suggested.

Simon took a deep breath. "Okay," he finally relented. "Let's try this then. I want every mental clinic, hospital, institution, and anything else you can think of, checked out, detectives. Find out what patients were released in the last three months and why. If any happened to have killed a parent, treat him as a suspect. I want to know everything about that person, especially the whereabouts."

"Yes, sir. It will take a while, but consider it done."

"There's one more thing," Blair said.


"There has to be a connection between the parent and Rainier. Maybe it would be a good idea to check if there were any murders a few years ago of any students or teachers there. The MO was probably the same as it is now, that might make it easier to find out."

"Good idea."

The Captain looked at his watch. "It's after midnight, so let's end this for now. Let's all go home and rest. I want you all here first thing Monday morning to start digging on this thing."

"Yes, sir."

"Let's go then. Goodnight guys."

They all left the building feeling that even if they weren't on the right track, at least now they had something to work on.



Sunday, November 9th, 1997. 1:15 a.m.

Jim dropped his keys in the basket and went to sit on the couch near his partner.

"Hey, Chief. How are you feeling?"

"Exhausted. Numb. I can't believe he killed Tommy, man. He was a good person, you know."

Jim put a comforting hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently. "I know, Blair, I know. It's okay, we're going to catch this bastard, you'll see."

"You think I might be right?"

"Yes, I do. You have good instincts, Chief, and I trust you. It's the best lead we've had so far, so why not try it? Like you said, we won't lose anything by following it."

Blair turned and smiled slightly. "Thanks man, that means a lot to me."

They looked at each other for what seemed an eternity and then Blair closed his eyes. God, what was he doing? He wanted to kiss Jim and touch him so bad it hurt.


A hand on his chin made him look up and into the beautiful eyes of his partner. What he saw there startled him. "Jim?"

"When I found out you were in the hospital, that the bastard had tried to kill you, all I could think was how much I loved you and didn't want to lose you, how I should have told you before. I know you're hurting, Chief. Let me help ease the pain. Let me love you, Blair," Jim finished with a whisper.

The detective's face started to come closer to Blair's until only a hair's breadth separated them, close enough for the young man to feel Jim's breath caress his cheek.

"Oh God, I love you, Jim," he whispered huskily, sapphire eyes blazing with a mix of lust and love.

Blair finally closed the distance between them as his lips moved onto Jim's. The Sentinel's lips were firm and moist under his own, but softened under the pressure of the young man's mouth. The kiss was tentative, but it still sent electric sparks down Blair's body.

Jim caressed Blair's lips softly, and when the young man let out the softest of moans, the cop let his tongue dart out to trace Blair's full bottom lip. The young man's mouth opened under his and Jim deepened the kiss, his tongue finding it's way inside to taste the sweetness that he had dreamt of many times before. It was so much more than he thought it would be. Blair tasted of coffee and another flavor that Jim identified exclusively as being Blair.

The young man's fingers opened the buttons of his shirt slowly. His hands slipped inside, roaming over hot skin, touching the taut, sculptured stomach that was hard and firm from years of workouts, the powerful back, the hard biceps.

Both their shirts ended up on the floor without either remembering taking them off. Gently, Jim urged Blair to lay back on the couch and the young man went willingly with a smile, pulling the Sentinel down with him. The young man's fingers continued to travel over the planes and muscles now revealed to him, over the defined pectoral muscles, sweeping over the flat stomach and back up again.

Jim brushed his fingers lightly against Blair's nipples, and the young man sucked in a sharp breath. The older man repeated the movement until both rosy nubs were peaked and then covered one with his lips. Taking the nub to his mouth, Jim suckled tenderly and was rewarded with a breathy moan. Satisfied that the nipple had had enough of his attention, Jim turned to the other one and continued his sweet torture, making Blair's back arch up in an effort to meet his mouth.

"I've loved you for so long," Jim whispered against the silky curls, nuzzling against them with his nose, taking in Blair's musky scent.

"Why didn't you say anything?" Blair asked breathlessly.

"I was afraid. Afraid you weren't interested, that our relationship might change, and not for the better. But when I saw you laying in that hospital bed, I knew I had to take a chance and tell you. I was going to wait until this case was over."

"I'm glad you didn't. I need you tonight. Need your love. Make love to me, Jim." Blair whispered, tenderly pulling the Sentinel down until their lips met, brushing his mouth over Jim's.

Jim was firmly on top of the younger man now, their bodies pressed tightly against each other, feeling the heat between them. He smiled gently. "I'll make love with you, but not here. Come upstairs with me."

Blair stopped breathing for a moment, realizing for the first time that it was really going to happen, he was going to make love with Jim. He finally nodded and they both stood. Jim caught his hand, lacing their fingers together, and they climbed the stairs to the bedroom.

Standing beside the bed, Blair unbuckled his belt and released the zipper of his jeans, letting them fall down his hips and pool around his ankles. He kicked his shoes off and stepped out of the pants. During the entire time his eyes were on Jim's body, watching as the older man removed his own jeans, moaning softly in appreciation. Once more Blair's eyes were able to travel over the masculine, erotic, lines of his soon-to-be lover's body and he shivered in anticipation.

Both men moved into the other's arms, Jim holding Blair close, breathing in his scent, memorizing the feel of him against his body as their lips joined again for a chaste kiss. The Sentinel's hands slid the length of Blair's back, squeezing the rounded cheeks of his buttocks gently. He pushed Blair's underwear down the slim hips, releasing the young man's cock from its silken imprisonment. The hardened shaft sprang free from its nest of curls, leaking from arousal at the tip.

Blair ran his fingertips up Jim's thighs, rubbing the crease where the thighs met his hips. A moan escaped the bigger man's lips as Blair's touch grew bolder and cupped the heavy sac of Jim's scrotum, lovingly caressing his balls, Jim's hips instinctively starting to grind against the younger man's hand.

Jim took Blair to the bed, laying the young man tenderly on the covers, and straddling his newfound lover's body. His lips kissed the tip of Blair's cock, his tongue laving the hard member, making the younger man moan and writhe in ecstasy. Jim closed his lips around the length and drew it into his mouth as far as he could, letting his senses run free, enjoying the smell, taste, the feel of Blair.

Blair's fingers caressed his lover's short silky hair, feeling closer to the brink, not wanting the pleasure to end this soon, not without Jim. His hands found the older man's shoulders and pushed back.

"Wait," he panted. "I want us to come together."

They looked each other in the eyes, sharing their love, strengthening their bond. Finally, Jim nodded. "Okay, love. We'll do it together," he whispered huskily. "Have you ever...?"

"Been with a man?" Blair shrugged. "Yeah. You?"

Jim smiled. "I'm bi, Chief."


"Really," he answered, the smile growing bigger.

Jim gave him a long, hungry kiss before untangling himself from Blair's arms to find the tube of KY he kept in his nightstand. Blair took the tube, opened it and squeezed a healthy amount on his fingers. Jim closed his eyes, trying to control his breathing, as he felt his lover's hand stroking him, coating his member tenderly, taking the time to make sure he was covered thickly.

Then, taking the tube from his young love's hands, Jim poured some on his own fingers and gently brought them between the soft cheeks as Blair spread his legs.

"Love you so much," he whispered.

Blair moaned. "I love you too."

Jim took the time to prepare his lover, increasing the number of fingers slowly, arousing, caressing Blair, pleasuring the younger man. One finger brushed against a small spot inside Blair that made his whole body arch.

"Oh god!" Blair cried out, when Jim repeated the touch. "Jim..."

"Ready, love?" Jim asked, breathing hard in an effort to control himself.


Jim knelt between his lover's legs, then lifted and rested them around his waist. The tip of the older man's cock pressed against Blair's opening, his hips going forward slowly, feeling the muscular ring give. Jim moved until his chest covered the other man's, and kissed him passionately, pressing further.

"So tight," Jim whispered. "So hot, so good..."

He started moving, slowly thrusting his hips, Blair rising up to meet him, strong legs holding Jim's waist, taking him deeper. The young man encouraged him to go faster and deeper, thrusting his own hips up, grinding into him.

Their sweat mingled, making their heated skin slide easier as their bodies came together, and the thrusting became faster, making them lose each other in the delicious friction. Reaching between their bodies, Jim's hand found Blair's erection and began stroking it in time to his deep thrusts. The young man moaned loudly, his body tightening in response to the double assault on his body.

Suddenly Blair's muscles grew strained. The curly head arched back, a hoarse, strangled cry escaped his throat as his entire body trembled, and Jim felt moisture flowing over his hand. The feeling of the writhing body under his, and the tightening of the passage caressing him was all it took for Jim to reach his own completion, shouting his lover's name.

When he came back to earth again, after the powerful orgasm, his cock had softened and slipped from Blair's opening. His head was resting in the young man's chest, his arms around Jim, slowly caressing his scalp, running his fingers lovingly through his short hair.

Jim looked up and they smiled at each other, feeling the love between them, the happiness of having found what most people spend their whole lives searching for. Their lips met yet again, a slow, chaste, loving kiss this time.

The rest of the night was spent talking about the future, and how they were going to spend it together. They made love once more, Blair taking Jim, this time slowing the pace, touching and discovering each other anew.

Near dawn, when they finally fell asleep in each other's arms, both knew they would never be alone again.



Saturday, November 15th, 1997. 9:55 p.m.

The week had flown by quickly for everyone. Following Blair's idea the investigation had hit full force. The detectives had checked all the mental facilities they could think of in the city and outskirts, refusing to even consider the thought that "Sam" might not be from Cascade.

A short list of suspects had been investigated, slowly reducing it to a couple of individuals. These two were being particularly hard to check, since no one knew their whereabouts. The Major Crimes team was still trying to find if any of the students or teachers at Rainier had died the victim of a knife wound to the heart, and what the relationship with these murders would be. Without having a year or a name, however, it was proving difficult.

A new victim had been found an hour before, and as usual the characteristics of the murder were the same as the others. And in the vicious circle they found themselves in now, once again they were waiting for the killer to call.

Simon looked at Blair. "These are the files of our two last suspects. We haven't been able to find any of them, both fit the description of the killer and also fit in with your idea of what might have happened. Both have been locked up for the murder of a parent and were considered unstable at the time of the murders."

"Can I see the files?" the young man asked.

"Here. The first one is Carl Ludwig, thirty five years old. Killed his father when he was seventeen, same MO as our killer, said his father sexually abused him for years. The other one is Jonathan Barnes, forty years old. Killed his mother at sixteen, for the same reason, also same MO. Both were released from Conover, a maximum-security institution. Ludwig was released a week before the murders started, Barnes about a month before. The files we got from Conover don't have their parents' names, we're still trying to find that out. After we get their names we'll be able to check if they were connected with Rainier in any way."

Blair checked both files, taking a good look at both pictures and all the particular details Simon hadn't mentioned. Ludwig looked like a bouncer. The picture clearly showed the hard muscles, the black sweater he wore at the time the picture had been taken, doing nothing to conceal them. He had blond curly hair and blue eyes, a small scar on the nose. Barnes looked the opposite, he was also very muscled, but had a slimmer body, dark curly hair, brown eyes, your normal John Doe. The young man turned to the cops.

"Which one do you think might be the killer?" he asked.

Rafe shrugged. "Either one, they match in everything. We're still trying to find out more about their families, should have the information soon. But as a personal guess, I'd say Ludwig."

Blair nodded, not agreeing, but considering the opinion. He gave the files a second glance, while the cops looked at him, concerned. Ever since Tommy's death, Blair had been very subdued and after the funeral he hardly spoke at all, unless it was about the case. Although his relationship with Jim was going fine, the detective missed the way his lover used to be, and could only hope everything would return to normal after the killer got caught.

The phone rang and Simon picked it up. After checking it was Sam, he put it on speaker.

"Blair?" Sam called.

"Yeah, I'm here."

"How are you, kid?"

"Fine. What's with the small talk?"

"Just being polite. Found my latest victim yet?"

"Yes. How many more will it take before you quit?"

The man laughed. "I won't quit, Blair. I'll keep killing until your friends catch me, I already told you that. Doesn't seem anytime soon, though."

"Think so? What if I say we know who you are?"

"I'd say you're bluffing or trying to make me say the wrong thing," Sam replied, chuckling. "But it was a nice try."

"And if I say I'm not bluffing?"

"Prove it."

Blair looked at the two files for a moment and made a choice. He was almost sure he knew which man was the killer. But what if he was wrong? Sam might never call again, and they would lose the only link with him. He got up, took a deep breath and decided to go ahead anyway. 'No pain, no gain, right?' He thought to himself.

The cops saw him close his eyes tightly shut and say in a perfectly normal voice. "Your name is... Jonathan Barnes."

The surprised gasp on the other side told them Blair had made the right choice.

"How... How did you find out?" Jonathan finally asked.

"Wild guess. You called me a kid, so I figured you had to be older than me. Serial killers start to kill at an early age, so I asked my cop friends, as you call them, to check mental institutions for someone that had killed a parent with a knife wound to the heart. After the elimination process..."

"I was the only one left," Jonathan finished.

"Yeah," Blair lied. "So, can you tell me why now? Why all this?"

"My... father died when I was thirteen. Not soon after that, my mother told me I had to replace him in her bed. Most of the times we didn't do anything, she just rubbed her body on me, got her kicks that way I guess. She would make me lay there on the bed and climb on top of me. The bitch would do what she wanted, and I'd just take it or she'd beat me up until I passed out. She deserved what she got."

"What's the meaning of the Saturdays, the blue eyes?"

"She worked during the week, usually until late, and arrived home tired, so we only did it on Saturdays. She never let me close my eyes, made me look up at hers. It's all I can see when I go to sleep at night, her blue eyes, you know? Even after I killed her, they still haunt me. Everytime I see anyone with blue eyes I go back in time."

"That's why you killed those students then?"


"And the connection with Rainier?"

"She was the Dean at the time I killed her. All she could talk about were the brilliant students she had at Rainier. I hated them so much at times... She hated me, her own son, but was proud of complete strangers. She kept saying I was a sorry excuse for a human being, that if I was a dog, she would've drowned me at birth."

"What an awful thing to say," Blair whispered.

Jonathan took a deep breath. "Yeah, well. Blair, the game is over. I won't call again, you know that, don't you?"


"Good. Goodbye."


When the call was over, Henri shook his head, confused. "That's it? No more calls?"

"No more calls. Like he said, the game is over. Next Saturday, he'll try to kill his last victim," Blair said.

"You." Simon understood.

Blair nodded. "Yeah. He was only waiting for us to find out who he was, now he'll come after me. He knows you'll be there to catch him."

"Yes, we will, and he won't escape," Jim promised his lover.

Rafe looked at the young man curiously. "What made you pick Barnes and not Ludwig?"

The young man took a sip of his cup of coffee. "When I started at Rainier, I wasn't exactly swimming in money, and I didn't get any grants right away, so I decided to get a part-time job. A friend of mine got me a job on one of those phone lines where you listen to people with personal problems. You know the kind, right?"

"Right," H answered.

"Anyway, this particular line was for rape or sexual abuse victims. I worked there for about six months and then I had to quit, because I couldn't stand it anymore. You wouldn't believe the stories I heard!" He looked at the detectives. "Well, actually, being cops, I guess you know what I'm talking about, right?" He sipped again, and continued. "Rape and sexual abuse are about power. The power of a person over another. To my surprise, about half the calls we got were from men, I wasn't expecting that."

"Yeah. Everyone talks about woman going through that, but men get raped or abused too. We've investigated our fair share of cases over the years," H stated. "It wasn't pretty."

Blair nodded. "No, it wasn't. Anyway, while I was reading the files on the two suspects, I remembered some of the cases of the men I listened to on that phone line, and as far as I remember, when they were abused or raped, or whatever by another man, mostly it was done --" he seemed to hesitate, so Jim finished for him.

"From behind," he was finally understanding what his lover was getting at.

"Yes. Besides obviously being easier, the humiliation is even bigger that way, if such a thing is possible. So that got me thinking. The blue eyes had to have a special connotation in all of this. If the killer had been Ludwig, who was being abused by his father, he would've been taken from behind, back to chest, and Ludwig wouldn't have been able to see his father's face, thus no obsession with the eyes. Barnes, on the other hand, being abused by his mother, would have been in direct eye contact. They would have to be facing each other and their bodies would be at eye level, he would have to see his abuser's eyes really close. If I was right, it had to be Barnes," he paused for a moment, and shook his head. "I just realised that this whole case has been a case of 'what ifs'. We never got any real leads to help us."

"No, but now we know who the killer is, and that's thanks to you. You did an amazing job, Blair," Simon stated, somewhat roughly, to a surprised police observer. "What? Can't I compliment you when I feel like it?"

"Well, yeah! But you never did it before!"

"That's because I never had a reason before, Sandburg."

"What's our next step, Captain?"

"You guys go home, we'll finish this Monday morning. I'll put an APB out on Barnes, maybe we'll get lucky soon."

"Now it will be easier, he lost his advantage. We know who he is and what he looks like, and every cop in the city will be looking for him."

"Amen to that, man!"



11.38 p.m.

"I can't believe we're actually home!" Jim sighed, sitting on the couch.

"Yeah. You want a beer?"


Blair sat in Jim's lap and handed him a bottle. The detective looked at his lover, smelling the wonderful scent of the silky curls, drowning in those sapphire eyes and smiled. "I love you, you know?"

The young man smiled back. "Do you?"

"You doubt it?"

"Not really, but it's kinda hard to understand why. I mean, you're this amazing person, honest, caring, and with a Greek God body to match and me... Well, I'm plain, old Blair Sandburg. What do you see in me anyway?"

Jim shook his head and smiled. "When I look at you, I see a beautiful man, Blair. Outside and inside. You have the bluest eyes I've ever seen, hair that feels like silk, and a hell of a body. But you know what I love most about you?"

"No, what?" Blair asked, almost shyly.

"Your soul. It shines off you and touches people. Ever since you walked in my life, I'm a better person, and so is Simon, even if he'd never admit to it, and so are the other cops you hang around with. You bring out the best in people, Blair, and that's a gift."


"Get up!" Jim ordered suddenly. He knew just the way to cheer his lover up.

"W-what?" Blair stammered.

"Get up and I'll tell you how much I love you."


"Come on, Junior, get up!"

Sighing dramatically, Blair got up and watched as Jim took both their beers and put them on the coffee table. Then, he knelt on one knee in front of a speechless Blair, grabbed the young man's hands, cleared his throat for effect, grinned, and finally started,

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee...."

"Okay, okay!" Blair interrupted, laughing. "I get the picture! You're such an asshole, Ellison," he sighed with a smile, his voice full of affection.

"Yeah, but you love me anyway. Right?"

"Yeah, I do. Let's go to bed, I want to make love to you."

They climbed the stairs together and, lost in each other's arms, forgot the cruel world outside for a few hours.



Saturday, November 22nd, 1997. 5:10 p.m.

Everyone was a nervous wreck. The APB was out, but Jonathan Barnes was still on the loose, and today was the day he would try to kill Blair. The young man was in the loft with Rafe as his guard, while the others were in the streets trying to get a solid lead that brought them closer to finding the killer.

Barnes' profile was composed now, all they really needed was to capture the man himself. The abuse he endured from his mother had turned him into an angry, obsessed young man. He was considered strange at school, by both teachers and students. The only thing he seemed to care about were computers. He was the best student in that area and was always looking for the latest software for his own pc. His teacher called him a cybergenius. He was quiet, but violent when pushed, and everyone stayed away from him, and basically disliked him.

At sixteen, in a fit of sudden rage he killed his mother, using a kitchen knife, stabbing her in the heart. Being underage, he was found unstable and sent to Conover, where he stayed for nearly twenty-five years, and from where he tried to escape seven times. A new psychiatrist had been admitted at Conover and been fooled by Barnes' quiet demeanor, signing his release to the outside world.

A month of being around people that probably reminded him of his mother had revived the anger, and the killings started. Knowing that what he was doing was wrong, but being unable to stop, he taunted the police through Blair to force them into action and capture him. Today he would play his last card, going after his link with the cops, Blair himself.

The phone rang and Blair picked it up. "Hello?"

"It's Jonathan Barnes."

"What do you want?" Blair asked, softly.

"I have your friend Donnie here with me."

Blair went to the kitchen, so Rafe wouldn't be able to listen to the conversation. "What do you want?"

"I want you to meet with me. If you don't, I'll kill your friend."

"How do I know you're not bluffing?"

"I'll put Donnie on the line."

A new voice asked fearfully, "Blair?"

"Yeah, it's me buddy. Are you okay?"

"Yes, I --"

He couldn't finish, Jonathan was back on the line. "Now you know I was speaking the truth. Meet me at your office at Rainier. Alone."

Blair listened to the disconnected sound for a while, and tried to calm the wild beating of his heart. Good thing Jim wasn't there, or he'd know what was going on. He looked at the couch and saw Rafe. How was he going to pass by him or the squad car downstairs? The car was easy, he could get out by the fire escape, but he wouldn't be able to fool Rafe. He'd just have to wait for the right opportunity.

The right opportunity presented itself half an hour later when the detective went to the bathroom. Blair put on his coat, and in a fast move locked Rafe in.

"Blair! Blair! What the hell are you doing?!" the detective shouted, trying to open the door.

"I'm sorry, Rafe. I have to do this," the young man stated, and took off by the fire escape.

By the time Rafe managed to break down the bathroom door and call the others, Blair was long gone.



6:05 p.m.

"Honest Jim!" Rafe nearly whined, as H and Simon restrained the Sentinel from pouncing the young detective. "There was nothing I could've done to stop him, man! He locked me in the damn bathroom!"

"The reason is why," Simon wondered. "Why would he go out there alone, knowing Barnes is after him?"

Rafe hit his forehead with his hand. "Of course! The phone call!" he exclaimed.

"Phone call?" H echoed.

"Yeah. He got a call about half an hour before that stupid stunt. He went to the kitchen for privacy, so I stopped paying attention. But you know, when he came back he looked a little pale. Think maybe Barnes called him?"

"It's a possibility. But why would Blair willingly go meet the man that wants him dead?" Simon asked.

"Maybe he didn't go that willingly. Maybe Barnes is forcing him somehow. What we need to figure out is where they're meeting," Jim stated roughly, albeit more calmly.

They all looked at each other and got to the same conclusion.




6:32 p.m.

Blair walked silently across the corridor that led to his office. The building was deserted and dark, but he couldn't risk going for the lights and warn Barnes of his presence. Stopping at the door to his office, he listened. There was no unusual sounds, nothing that led him to believe that Barnes or Donnie were inside.

Making an effort to calm his breathing and his heartbeat, he turn the knob and walked in. Nobody. It was deserted. Blair started to leave when Barnes showed up at the entrance with Donnie by the arm.

"Hello, Blair! Didn't think I would actually be here waiting, did you?" He chuckled. "Had to be sure you came alone."

"Let Donnie go, it's me you want."

Barnes seemed to think about the demand. Finally he shrugged. "And why not? It will be too late by the time he finds some way to bring the cops here. Go away, boy. I don't need you anymore."

He let go of Donnie's arm, but the young man looked at his friend uncertain. "Blair...?"

Blair nodded. "It's okay, Donnie. Go."

Donnie was scared and it showed. He took a last look at Blair and ran away. He was going to get help as fast as possible. No way was he going to leave Blair alone too long with that nut. With that thought in mind, he started to run faster, praying all the way it wouldn't be too late.



Blair watched the killer investigating his surroundings.

"Nice office, small, but nice. It suits you, really." He turned to the young man. "Scared? You should be, you know."

He came closer and Blair forced himself to stay still. When the man was only a breath away, he suddenly raised his right leg and hit the man in the groin with his knee. Caught by surprise, Barnes fell to his knees in pain, and the young man took the advantage and ran away. He lost himself in the building corridors, trying to find an open room without much success.

When he thought he was far enough, he stopped and listened, wishing he had at least one Sentinel sense at the moment, sound. At first he didn't hear anything, then Barnes' voice became clearer.

"You can run, but you can't hide, Blair! Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

The steps were getting closer, so Blair kept moving. He had to keep away from the killer until Donnie brought help.


7:01 p.m.

The cops arrived at the University and entered the building.

"Spread out, people," Simon ordered. "You know the drill, suspect armed and dangerous, possible hostage situation. Go!"

Henri turned the lights on in the whole building, and the hunt began. He couldn't help remembering what Barnes had said in one of the calls about the thrill of the hunt, the adrenaline rush. It was too true. Rafe was close to him and when they reached a corridor that went two different ways, he pointed to a direction and Rafe nodded, going the other way.

Rafe was about to turn into another corridor, when someone hit his arm, making him drop his gun. The young detective was slammed against the wall, and in an effort to break free from his attacker, he tried to punch him, but only managed to make them both fall to the floor.

"Henri! Henri!" he shouted for his partner, hoping the other cop would arrive before the knife dancing in his vision could do any real damage.

Barnes, for it was him, was bigger and stronger and Rafe was rapidly losing the battle, when a voice growled, "Get off him or I'll shoot!"

Both men stopped fighting and turned their heads to see Blair holding Rafe's gun at the killer.

"I said, get off him!"

Barnes obeyed and Rafe got up. "Thanks, Blair."

The young man didn't answer, he was still watching the killer. Barnes was seated on the floor, leaning against a wall, and was smirking. "You're not actually going to shoot, are you, Blair?"

"Why not? You deserve it."

"Probably. But you haven't got the guts, you haven't got what it takes to shoot me."

Blair was going to say something, but a new voice stopped him. "Blair, drop the gun," Jim asked, softly.

Out of the corner of his eye, the young man saw Banks, Jim and Henri watching the scene.

"Don't listen to him, Blair," Barnes said. "Think about Tommy, think about all the young people I killed. Do it!"

The young man stood still for a moment, just looking at the killer. He seemed so intent that Barnes fidgeted.

"What?" he asked.

"Just wondering," Blair answered flatly.

"About what? What it will be like to kill me?"

Blair chuckled. "No. How your prison life will be like. You're not worth the trouble, man," he turned to Rafe and gave him back the gun. "Here."


Jim hugged him tightly, relieved that he was okay, heart still going wild inside his chest. He could have lost the young man tonight and that thought scared him to death. They stayed that way for what seemed a long time, but were really mere seconds. After a while though, Blair stepped back.

"I'll go get a bit of fresh air while you arrest this animal."

Ten minutes later he was outside when Donnie arrived in a squad car.

"Right on time," the young man whispered, when he saw his friends bringing Barnes out.

Barnes was sent to the station in the squad car, and Jim turned to Blair. "What the hell were you thinking, coming here all alone?!" he demanded, furious now that the terror of thinking Blair might die was gone.

"Had to. He had Donnie. Couldn't let the bastard kill him, could I? Relax, Ellison," the young man said with a gentle smile. "We got him. No more 'Blue eyes' killer on the loose."

Simon nodded. "That's right. Good job everyone. And yes, that includes you Sandburg. Now, Jim, take this troublemaker home with you, we'll take care of the rest."

"I am *not* a troublemaker!" Blair stated, offended.

"Yeah, right!" Jim snorted.

"What about me?" Donnie whined.

"We'll give you a ride." H said. "Come on, kid."

The cops left Donnie at his house and went back to the station to make sure everything went smoothly, and Jonathan Barnes stayed in prison for the rest of his life.

Jim and Blair got in the truck. On the way to the loft the young man turned on the radio. There was a song playing that caught his attention. He listened to the words.

Hey Mom
Why didn't you tell me
Why didn't you teach me a thing or two
You just let me go
Out into the world
You never thought to share what you knew

So I walked under a bus
I got hit by a train
Keep falling in love
Which is kinda the same
I've sunk out at sea
Crashed my car, gone insane
And it felt so good
I wanna do it again

Hey Mom
Why didn't you warn me
Cause about boys is something I should have known
They're like chocolate cake
Like cigarettes
I know they're bad for me
But I just can't leave 'em alone

So I walked under a bus
I got hit by a train
Keep falling in love
Which is kinda the same
I've sunk out at sea
Crashed my car, gone insane
And it felt so good
I wanna do it again
I wanna do it again
Oh, felt so good

Hey Mom
Since we're talking
What was it like when you were young
Has the world changed
Or is it still the same
A man can kill and still be the sweetest fun

So I walked under a bus
I got hit by a train
Keep falling in love
Which is kinda the same
I've sunk out at sea
Crashed my car, gone insane
And it felt so good
I wanna do it again
I wanna do it again
Oh, felt so good

Blair turned to Jim. "I want to, you know?"

"What?" Jim asked, confused.

"Do it all again. Live life to the maximum, enjoy what I can, do it all again. As long as I have you with me."

The detective chuckled happily and squeezed his lover's knee lightly. "Me too, Chief, me too."

They smiled at each other for a moment. Finally, Blair settled down. Everything was right with the world again, no more Jonathan Barnes, and he was with the man he loved. And if need be, he'd walk under buses and trains, sink out at sea, crash his car, go insane, or whatever, because Jim would always be there by his side.

"Let's go home, Sentinel. Let's go home."



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