Dark Knights
by VampyrAlex


Disclaimer: This story is an episode of The Sentinel Slash Virtual Season (SVS), produced by FiveSenses, Inc. SVS is based on characters and concepts developed by, and belonging to, Pet Fly Productions. This story is intended for private, personal enjoyment only. No money is being made, or will be allowed to be made, by the author of this story or by FiveSenses, Inc. from the writing and distribution of this story. Any original characters introduced in an SVS episode belongs to the episode author and to FiveSenses, Inc. and should not be used without their permission.

Author's Notes: A huge thank you to Terri for her overwhelming patience and to Patt for being the amazing person that she is.

Jim and Blair join forces with Earl Gaines to investigate a possible gang-related murder.
m/m, NC-17



You see the full moon float
You watch the red sun rise
We take these things for granted
But somewhere someone's dying
     Childhood's End by Iron Maiden


It was the witching hour and the world was eerily quiet. Two silent figures moved stealthily through the deserted streets. Both Caucasian teens, one was tall, well built, with spiky, brown hair and sporting a goatee, and the other was short and slim, with long, blond hair. They approached a dark house in the Bayside area, one of them knocking on a window behind the garage. There was no answer.

"Must be sleeping," Goatee whispered. "Let's go in."

The blond nodded and they walked around to the front of the house, silently lifting the garage door and going inside. In the back was a storeroom. Goatee opened the door, peeking inside. With a nod to himself, he walked in, followed by his companion.

Lying on a bed in what appeared to be an improvised room was a young man, sleeping soundly. Goatee pulled a gun with a silencer from his pants and handed it over to the blond. "Do it," he ordered quietly.

The young man took the gun, hand trembling slightly, and aimed it at the sleeping form. Several seconds went by before Goatee turned to him, an exasperated expression on his face. "Well?" he whispered.

"I can't," his companion whispered, licking his lips nervously.

"You have to. You want to be a Knight, don't you, Damian? This is your ticket in. Do it."

Damian turned the gun on their target again, his hold on the weapon firmer this time. Knowing the shot wouldn't be heard due to the silencer, he took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger, hitting the sleeping man in the head. He felt nauseous as the body jerked spasmodically, blood beginning to flow freely from the wound.

"Yes!" Goatee hissed with a smirk. "You did it, kid. Now, let's get out of here."

They hurried out of the house, careful not to leave any traces of their visit, melting into the shadows as soon as they reached the moonlit street. They kept walking for about ten minutes, until they reached an old abandoned warehouse; once inside, they hid the gun behind a pile of rubble and left. Their mission had been a success.



Staring at the alarm clock, Jim saw that it was just a few minutes past midnight. Blair had fallen asleep as soon as they'd gone to bed; he hadn't slept well in days. A series of minor but trying cases had left them weary and exhausted, especially Blair; the frantic pace had worn the younger man down. It had worn Jim down as well, but he'd been drawing on an unexpected reserve of energy. He would crash soon too.

Looking at the sleeping body next to him, Jim wondered anew at how much his life had changed since Blair had stormed into it. It was hard to believe it had been more than four years since that day at the hospital. It had taken some time to admit, even to himself, how much Blair meant to him.

It was true that sometimes the best things in life are right in front of you; he'd just taken his time looking. Until Blair had made the ultimate sacrifice, giving everything up to save Jim, to keep him safe. Giving him back his life. And he'd finally figured it out -- Blair loved him. Was in love with him. Bang. Holy Grail time.

Reaching over, he caressed the curly head tenderly, fingers carding softly through the silky hair. The deep blue eyes he so loved to watch darken in the throes of passion opened up to look at him.

"Can't sleep?" Blair asked, his voice husky.

"Just indulging in a little soul-searching. Thinking," Jim confessed with an awkward shrug. "Life, the cosmos, the importance of a great cup of coffee. The usual," he said, repeating the same words he'd said to Blair days after the press conference. The day their lives had forever changed.

"Ah." Always wise to his moods, Blair didn't question him. "Maybe I should do something to help you sleep," he suggested instead, moving to cover Jim with his body, pinning him down to the softness of the bed.

For a moment Blair hovered above him, and Jim stared up at the flushed features and wildly tousled curls of his life. "Love you," he whispered.

"Love you more," Blair grinned at him, but his eyes reflected the love back at him.

They lay chest to chest, gazing into each other's eyes, until Blair pushed his growing erection against Jim's already throbbing organ. As hot flesh met both men cried out with pleasure. Jim felt his heart speeding as Blair reached for his cock, fingers stroking him teasingly.

He whimpered and arched into the intoxicating caress, surrendering to his lover's touch. Blair kept pumping his shaft as his tongue played with Jim's nipples, nibbling and licking at them until they were erect. Jim moaned as the hand abruptly left his eager cock, then groaned as he watched the young man snatch a tube of lubricant from the nightstand.

"I want you, Jim," Blair whispered, nibbling on an earlobe.

"You've got me, Blair," he replied huskily, turning onto his stomach and offering himself to his lover.

"God, you're beautiful!" he heard Blair breathe into his back before biting him softly on the neck.

He felt Blair's touch at his entrance, sliding first one, then two lubricated fingers inside his body, loosening the tight ring of muscle. He pushed back wantonly against the digits, gasping and writhing as Blair brushed repeatedly against his prostate. The fingers were removed suddenly, and he groaned desperately, but quieted as he felt Blair grasp his hips and position his cock against his anus.

Both men groaned as Blair began to push into Jim, hands caressing his flanks soothingly as he slid inside in one long thrust. They remained still for a long moment, Blair's face pressed against his back, lips brushing over his shoulder blades and making him shiver deliciously.

"Do it," Jim finally pleaded, wanting to feel his lover move inside him.

"Bossy, aren't you?" Blair panted from behind him, then started to thrust into his heated passage.

Jim groaned as a hand wrapped around his cock, pumping it in time with their lovemaking, a wave of pleasure starting to spread all over his body as they moved as one. He murmured broken words of appreciation and need, bucking helplessly against Blair as his lover's cock hit his prostate. They rocked together in perfect sync, wanting it to last forever but wanting completion just as much, their flesh growing sweaty and slick as they rubbed and slid against each other.

He was unable to prevent his orgasm from taking over, his engorged cock spurting his seed into Blair's hand and onto the sheets. He came with a wordless shout, his muscles squeezing Blair to completion. The young man collapsed heavily onto his back, panting hard against his neck as he tried to control his breathing.

When their bodies were finally under control, Jim rolled them onto their sides, enjoying the feel of Blair's form spooned behind him, arms wrapped possessively around his waist. He laced their fingers together, smiling as he felt the brush of lips against his back, before his partner settled down to sleep again. He was starting to drift off to sleep himself, when the phone suddenly rang.

"Figures," he muttered, ignoring Blair's amused snort.



Jim parked the truck in front of the house, which was currently surrounded by police, then turned his head to look at his lover, catching him in a full-fledged yawn. "Okay, Chief?"

"Yeah. Just need my beauty sleep, man. Let's move. The sooner we finish here, the sooner we can go back to bed."

"Woof," Jim quipped with a grin, watching as Blair turned to him with an amused expression.

"Stealing my lines now, Ellison?"

Jim didn't reply, choosing instead to squeeze his lover's hand gently. "Coming?"

He got out of the car, and waited for Blair to follow. They went inside through the garage, reaching the back room just as Simon was walking out. The captain looked almost as tired as Jim felt as he waved them in.

"Ellison, Sandburg. I'm sorry for calling you, but I don't have anyone else to handle this one at the moment."

"What do we have here?" Jim asked, eyes focusing on the bloodstained pillow.

"Scott Grisham, aka Grisha, Caucasian, eighteen years old. Gunshot, one bullet to the head. Nothing was taken, the room wasn't even searched. This was obviously meant to be an execution. Apparently the killer's aim was a little off -- the kid was still alive when the ambulance arrived."

"How bad?" Blair asked.

"They don't expect him to pull through," Simon replied wearily. "Would've probably bled to death if a friend hadn't decided to pay him a late-night visit. He's in the kitchen. The victim's mother, Samantha Grisham, accompanied her son to the hospital. You'll have to talk to her there. She's in bad shape, Jim."

Jim nodded in understanding. "I'll handle it, Simon."

"Thanks. I hate to do this, but I'm going to leave you to it. I have a meeting with the Commissioner in the morning, and I want to get a few hours sleep. Keep me posted on what you find. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Simon."

Jim waited until the captain was gone to turn his full attention to the crime scene. Knowing his guide was right beside him if he needed him, he used his senses to do his own personal search of the room.

"Anything?" Blair asked.

"No," he finally replied with a sigh. "Let's go talk to the friend."

The kid was sitting dejectedly by the kitchen table. He was probably around sixteen years old, with short blond hair and blue eyes. He looked pale and shaken, as would be expected under the circumstances.

"I'm Detective James Ellison, this is my partner Blair Sandburg. We need to ask you a few questions," Jim told him softly.

The young man nodded warily. "Jemal Atkins, I'm the one who called the police."

"You're the one that found Scott?"


"You remember what time it was?" he asked gently. "How did you get in?"

"About fifteen past midnight. The garage door is easy to lift. Grisha and I have been friends forever; I've done that all my life."

"What were you doing here this late?"

"I scored some good-looking pussy tonight and wanted to brag about it, man," Jemal replied. "I wasn't expecting to see him like that..." he said hoarsely. "You have to find out who did this, man. Grisha's one of the good guys, he didn't deserve a bullet in the head."

"You know of anyone who might want your friend dead?"

"Not a name, no. But --"

"But what?" Jim prompted when the kid hesitated.

"Two weeks ago Grisha watched some kid stab another during a fight. All I know is the kid's first name is Daniel. I know he was arrested at the time and that Grisha's supposed to testify against him. He was told not to talk about what happened, so I don't know any more than that."

"That's okay, we can check it out ourselves. Anything else you can think of?"

"Well, Grisha's involved with an anti-gang organization and has been raising a lot of hell lately. There's a gang in this area, the Bayside Knights. Maybe they have something to do with this. Grisha's been going to schools, warning the kids and their parents about the Knights. They're bound to be pissed off at him, ya know? I told him to watch his back, maybe carry a piece, but he wouldn't hear of it. Said he'd be no better than the gangs he was trying to stop. It's not right, man," he finished, shaking his head miserably.

"We'll find out who did this," Blair promised, speaking for the first time. "You've been a big help; at least we have an idea of where to start looking. Do you know any of the gang members by name?"

"No, I'm sorry. I stayed clear of them. Those guys are bad news. Besides, Grisha would've beaten the crap out of me if I even looked at one of them. His father died before he was even born, got caught in the middle of a gang shooting. Grisha hates them, man."

"It's okay. You've given us enough to start the investigation," Jim assured him, giving him a card. "My cell phone and PD number. You think of anything, anything at all, you call me, okay?"

"I will," Jemal said, taking the card before leaving.

Jim watched a uniformed cop escort Jemal out, then turned to his partner. "Come on, Chief. Let's get to the hospital. We can check on the kid and talk to the mother," he added as they started out of the house.



They found Samantha Grisham in the hospital's ER waiting room, arms folded tightly across her chest as she paced nervously. When she heard them approaching, she turned around and Jim could see she was a beautiful, forty-something woman, with short, dark hair and emerald eyes. Seeing the pain so clearly etched upon her face, Jim couldn't help remembering something he had read once. 'What greater pain could mortals have than this: To see their children dead before their eyes?'+

"Mrs. Grisham, I'm Detective James Ellison, this is Blair Sandburg. I apologize for having to disturb you," Jim began softly. "I won't ask too many questions right now, I know you're anxious to hear about your son, but I need any help you can give us with the investigation."

She sniffed slightly. "It's all right, detective, I understand. If it helps catch whoever did this to my son, I'll do it. What do you want to know?"

"Did you hear any strange noises, or see anyone suspicious around your house tonight?"

"No, nobody. It's a peaceful neighborhood, nothing much ever happens there."

"Do you know of anyone who wanted to see Scott dead?"

"No," she replied, holding back a sob. "Unless this has something to do with that murder he witnessed. He was coming home from a party when he saw two kids arguing. One of them pulled out a knife and stabbed the other. I know the kid they arrested is called Daniel and that Grisha knew him, but other than that, there's not much I can tell you."

"His friend Jemal told us Grisha's involved with an anti-gang organization, that he's been speaking against a particular gang, the Bayside Knights. You don't think this could be related somehow?"

She frowned. "I don't think so. He doesn't talk about it much, you know how kids are nowadays. He's only been doing it for a month or so, but I don't think there's been any problems with the Knights, or any other gangs, for that matter."

"Do you know any of the gang members by name?"

"No, I'm sorry. My sister..." she hiccuped. "She has breast cancer and I have been going out of my mind lately, trying to be there for her and take care of Grisha at the same time. I haven't been home much lately. Maybe if I'd been there more --" she couldn't finish, weeping silently into her hands.

Blair touched her arm gently. "Mrs. Grisham, what happened to Grisha wasn't your fault. There was nothing you could have done to prevent it."

She nodded, taking a deep breath in an obvious effort to control her emotions. "I know. I just can't seem to stop thinking about it. I lost my husband years ago, my sister's dying... and now I might lose my child as well." She shook her head, the dismay and the despair clear in her tone.

"One last question, Mrs. Grisham. Can you tell us the name of the anti-gang organization?"

"I heard Grisha mentioning it several times. He called it MAG."

Jim nodded. "That will be all for now, Mrs. Grisham. If I have any more questions, I'll get in touch with you again," Jim told her gently, handing her his card. "If you think of anything else, please, don't hesitate to call."

She accepted with card with a curt nod. "I will. Just -- Please, find whoever did this. Whoever hurt my boy."

"We will, ma'am. We will."

They left the grieving woman waiting for news of her son's condition, and moved tiredly towards the exit.

"What now?" Blair asked. "What's the next step?"

"We need to head in to the station. I want to run a check on Grisham, find out who this kid Daniel is and where to find him. Then we catch a few hours sleep, and in the morning I want to have a word with Earl Gaines in the anti-gang unit. Maybe he can help us dig something up on the Bayside Knights and the MAG organization."

"I hope this isn't the beginning of a gang war."

"I don't think so, Chief." Jim shook his head as they got into the truck. "I agree with Jemal, this might be about payback. Or to stop him from testifying. Grisha probably stepped on the wrong toes and paid for it."

"That's so unfair, man! He was just doing the right thing."

Jim gunned the motor as he looked at his partner. "I know, Blair," he stated seriously. "And we're going to do the right thing -- by catching whoever did this."



"What have you got?" Blair asked, returning from the break room with two cups of coffee and handing one to his partner.

Jim rubbed his eyes tiredly. "Grisham's clean. Graduated from high school last year, doesn't have a record. I called Homicide and was told he's the only witness in a murder case. The alleged perp is a sixteen-year-old boy named Daniel Stubbs, who recently moved here from Seattle with his mother. He got in a fight with another sixteen year old and stabbed him to death."

"Checked his file?"

"Yep. He was involved with a white street gang a few years back, the Seattle Killers, became a member at eleven. He was arrested several times on gang-related incidents, nothing serious." Jim looked back at the computer screen. "Until about two years ago."

"What happened?"

Jim scrolled down the page. "Stubbs was arrested during a gang shootout and spent a year in Juvey. He was released about six months ago."

"And now he's living in Cascade. Could he be the one who shot Grisha?"

"No. Homicide told me no bail was set, not with his record. The kid's staying in jail until the trial."

"What about the mother?"

"Siohban Stubbs, single, never married. Apparently she was an informant. Was also arrested due to her involvement with the Seattle Killers, but the charges were dropped. My guess is that the PD probably preferred to have her supplying them with information rather than locked up in jail. When Daniel was arrested she testified against other gang members. I need to call Seattle in the morning to find out exactly what happened."

"With her son in jail for murder and that kind of background, she's definitely a suspect. So, we lost one and gained another. And let's not forget the mysterious Bayside Knights."

Jim nodded. "We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow," he confirmed. "Ready to go home?"

"And willing!" Blair exclaimed, already reaching for their coats.

There was no more talk of the case as they made their way to the elevator, then out of the station. Exhausted from the long day, they headed straight to bed after a brief but fulfilling goodnight kiss.



The first thing Jim did after he arrived at the PD the next morning was call Seattle and ask to speak with someone in their anti-gang unit. After being put on hold for the nth time, he finally heard someone answering on the other side. "Detective Henderson."

"Hi, this is Detective Jim Ellison from the Cascade PD, Major Crime Department. I'm calling for any information you have on Daniel and Siohban Stubbs. They're involved in a case we're investigating at the moment."

The man chuckled. "Daniel's back to his old tricks, huh? What do you need?"

"I'm particularly interested in the details of his last his arrest and his mother's role in all of it."

"Well, Daniel was involved with the Seattle Killers, one of our largest gangs. He was one of their most active members. About two years ago, he got involved in a fight with a member from a rival gang and all hell broke loose. It turned into a gang war. The anti-gang unit was forced to intervene to stop the blood bath and Daniel was arrested during a gang shootout. Spent a year in Juvey."

"And Siohban?"

"Now that woman is an enigma. I was told that she tried to get her son out of the gang but when it didn't work, she allowed them to use her house for meetings and occasionally as a hideout. The policy around here was basically to let her be because she was one of the best informants the unit had; gave good tips on other gang-related crimes and sometimes even drug or arms dealers."

"So she used what she heard at home to get rid of other gangs?"

"Pretty much, yeah. Truth is, she gave us precious information. We made a lot of busts because of her, a lot of scum are now behind bars because of what she did."

"So there was never any proof she was directly involved in the gang's affairs?"

"No. But I think she wasn't. She was just trying to keep her son alive in her own way. She made it up by being an informant. Like I said, an enigma. Anyway, when Daniel was arrested, she testified against the rest of the Killers, told us about other stuff they'd done, gave us the names of all their dealers. She practically destroyed the gang single-handedly. She was allowed to go free, but most of the Killers were arrested, including Daniel. He did his time and was released six months ago. That was the last I heard of them until recently."

"Recently? What did you hear?"

"That Siohban changed her ways and has been talking against gangs. Even helped found some kind of anti-gang organization there in Cascade. Makes sense; she probably wouldn't have gotten involved in all of this if not for her son."

"I'll have to check that out. You wouldn't happen to know the name of the anti-gang organization?"

"No, sorry. All I know is that it's pretty recent."

"Okay. I may need to call you again, Henderson. But thanks for your help."

"No problem, man. Maybe one day you can return the favor, we never know."

"Count on it," Jim replied, before hanging up.

"Well?" Blair asked.

"Let's say that Siohban makes one hell of a good suspect, Chief. Apparently, she helped found an anti-gang organization here in Cascade."

Blair raised an eyebrow. "MAG?" he asked, surprised.

"That's my guess. Henderson couldn't tell me, said it was brand new. Come on, let's go talk to Gaines. He should know."

Blair nodded and they made their way to the fifth floor, home of the anti-gang unit. Jim wondered briefly if Earl Gaines still sported the same badass attitude, or if he'd mellowed out since the last time they'd seen him. Gaines had done a good job stopping the Deuces and the 357s from going on a warpath, but he still had a hard time liking the man.

Gaines was sitting behind a desk, typing on his computer, and didn't even look up until Jim cleared his throat. "Gaines."

"Ellison! It's been a while, man! How are you?" he asked as they shook hands.

"Fine. Remember my partner, Blair Sandburg?"

"I remember. I don't think I ever thanked you for looking out for my grandmother that time."

Blair smiled. "No problem. How is she? She's a pretty amazing lady, man."

"Yes, she is. She's completely blind now, but can still beat the crap out me if I get out of line," he grinned. "Sit down. What can I do for you?"

"Well, we were hoping you could tell us about a gang called Bayside Knights," Jim replied. "We think they may be responsible for a shooting last night. We also need information on an anti-gang organization called MAG."

"I can't tell you much. They're a white street gang; black people aren't exactly high on their friendly list, so I don't mix with them. I can tell you they're a relatively recent gang, maybe about three, four months old. Vicious, but stick to their turf and don't mess with the other gangs. Other than that..." He finished with a shrug.

"Any names you can help us with?" Blair asked from his perch on Gaines' desk.

"Nope, sorry. But Siohban might be able to help you. If there's something to know, she's your woman."

"Siohban Stubbs?" Jim asked, exchanging a knowing glance with his partner.

"Yes. You know her?"

"Not exactly. What can you tell us about her?"

"Her kid, Daniel, did some time in Juvey for messing with a gang in Seattle. She was also involved with the gang, but the charges were dropped in exchange for her testimony against other gang members. They moved here after Daniel was released. I guess having her son locked away must have made quite an impact on her, because she's started campaigning against gangs. She has decided to warn other parents about the dangers of street gangs. The general public isn't really aware of the issue, so people have started to notice and listen when she speaks."

"What do you mean?" Blair asked curiously.

"She started speaking in schools, gathered quite a few supporters, and helped found MAG about four months ago. They've been advertising on radio and TV, and there was even a story about her in a magazine. She became the MAG coordinator last month. I've spoken to her a few times. She does a great job, knows a lot of people. The right kind of people. People with money, people who know other people, that kind of stuff." He scribbled something on a piece of paper. "Here. She'll be at the MAG Center this time of day. Here's the address."

"What does MAG stand for?" Blair asked.

"Mothers Against Gangs."

Jim rose from his chair and shook the other detective's hand. "Thank you for your help."

"I owed you, still do. I might be rotting in jail if it wasn't for you, Ellison. Anything else you need, call me."

"I will. Come on, Chief. Let's pay Siohban Stubbs a visit."



"A penny for 'em," Blair smiled at his partner.

"What makes you think I was thinking about anything in particular?" Jim teased, his eyes never leaving the road as he drove through the busy Cascade streets.

"I can hear the rusty wheels turning. 'Fess up, Ellison."

Jim sighed. "Just wondering what makes these kids join a gang, live by their codes --"

"There are lots of reasons, Jim," Blair interjected softly. "For most of them it's the need for peer respect and approval, security and protection, group support and acceptance, age and sex role identification... You name it. These are very important things when you're growing up. Most of them don't get any of these things at home, so they form a kind of pack with others they can relate to. The problem is that once a kid is in, it's very difficult to get him away from the gang. There should be more awareness about gangs in our country. Parents should be warned about the danger, especially in lower-income neighborhoods like Bayside."

"So you're saying it starts with the parents?"

"In a way. Like everything else, this is about prevention. If you give your kid a safe and loving environment, it'll definitely help. Generally, you have two opposite cases with gang members. The kids either get too little attention or they get too much of the wrong kind. In the first case, you have mothers who decide they made a mistake and leave their children with grandma, or some other relative who doesn't really want them. An aunt, a cousin, whatever." He forged on, ignoring Jim's groan at the lecture-mode. "In the second case, you have the 'mama's little darling' category. These kids have mothers whose 'darling boy,' or girl for that matter, can do no wrong. They view their sons as being picked on or victimized by others. But the parents are not the only important factors. There are others -- the neighborhood where they live, the friendships they keep. Then there's the gun prevention thing, those new laws on youth crimes --"

"So what do you propose we do?"

"Oh, hey, I don't know, Jim. I don't have all the answers. One possible solution could be to try a Kibbutz type of school, where they teach kids some basic values. A school that cared for them, taught them, and tried to make up for any lack they may be experiencing at home. That showed them right from wrong."

"It might be a good start," Jim agreed, parking the truck in front of the MAG center building. "We're here. Let's go speak to Siohban Stubbs."



Siobhan Stubbs was a petite brunette in her early thirties, with chocolate-brown eyes and a tired but friendly smile. She shook their hands and took them into her private office, away from prying eyes and the kids milling around in the center.

"I'm Detective James Ellison, and this is Blair Sandburg," Jim introduced as they sat facing her. "We're investigating the attempted murder on Scott Grisham. We would like to ask you a few questions regarding the case."

She nodded solemnly. "I understand, detective, believe me. I still can't believe someone would do such a thing. Grisha is such a good kid, easy-going and fun to be around... I assume you would like to know where I was last night?" she asked suddenly.

"You don't seem surprised by our visit."

She shook her head sadly. "I'm not. As soon as I heard about Grisha, I knew the police would be coming. He is the only witness on Daniel's murder trial, and much as it costs me, I know both my son and I are suspects. And since Daniel is in jail..." she took a shuddering breath. "I was attending a party. It was a fundraiser. MAG is a new organization and we need money desperately. The media was there, and I was the last speaker, so I had to remain until the very end. It was nearly 2:00 a.m. when I left."

Jim nodded. He would have to check her alibi, but everything about the woman made him think she was telling the truth. "Can you tell us exactly what happened two weeks ago with your son? It still might have some connection with Grisham's shooting," he explained.

She sighed. "Daniel told me he got in a fight with another kid over a girl. I don't know exactly what happened, but he pulled up a knife and stabbed the other boy." She looked down at her hands. "I wanted us to start over, to put our past mistakes behind us -- that's why we moved here. I was going to warn people of the danger gangs represent, Danny was going back to school, we were going to have a normal life... I thought I could do a good job raising him alone, but I'm not so sure now. I was quite young and foolish in my teen years. Believed a lot of bull from the wrong guy and ended up pregnant. Never heard from the creep again, and after all these years, all I can say is good riddance to bad rubbish. But maybe if I'd given him a father Daniel wouldn't have done these things, he wouldn't have been this way..." She frowned abruptly. "I'm sorry for rambling. What do you want to know? How can I help?"

"We were told Grisha was working for you," Blair ventured gently, working to draw more information out of her.

"Not so much working for me, as with me. After I was nominated MAG's coordinator last month, I decided I needed to find a couple of kids who had the right image and attitude to be heard and respected by other kids. The kind that could speak against gangs to a full auditorium and make a positive impact. I scanned around the neighborhood and heard about the 'friendly giant,' Grisha's nickname around here. He was tall and built like a horse, walked carelessly through every gang's turf and nobody touched him or dared to face him. He was just what I'd prayed for. He'd graduated from high school, was the right age, had the free time to help out... Plus, he hated gangs."

"So you recruited him," Jim guessed.

"Yes," she admitted. "I spoke with him, explained what I was about and what I intended to do. He joined MAG, and very quickly became my main speaker."

"So it's possible that this could be gang-related? We were told he had been speaking against the Bayside Knights rather loudly lately."

She seemed to hesitate for a moment. "I can't tell you for certain whether this is a Knights' hit, Detective. We did get an unexpected visitor yesterday, though, a teenager who said his name was Keanu. He said he was from Seattle and that it was urgent for him to speak with Grisha. I don't know why he came here instead of going to his house, or why he came at all. None of the kids seemed to know him. I wasn't here at the time, but the kids told me about it as soon as I arrived. They didn't give him Grisha's address, but I guess he could have found it some other way. I'll ask one of the kids to give you a description before you leave."

"Thank you, that would be very helpful. Can you think of anyone else who might have wanted to kill Grisha?" Jim asked.

"Actually, yes. I know this will only make things harder for you, but there is someone else you should talk to. Grisha had been dating a girl named Valentina Sanchez for the past couple of weeks. Her brother belongs to the Latin Lords gang. I heard he was looking for Grisha a few days ago. Word is that his sister was raped and that he thought Grisha had done it. I spoke to Grisha and he told me not to worry, that he would handle it. This was two days ago. I don't know if he actually took care of it, or if Jose Sanchez decided to kill him for his sister's rape. Nobody who knew Grisha believed him capable of doing such a thing, myself included."

"Okay. I think we have enough for now," Jim decided. "Here's my card. If you remember anything else, please call me. By the way, you wouldn't happen to know Sanchez' address, would you?"

She scratched her nose pensively. "I think so, let me check the archives," she opened one of the desk drawers, rummaging inside. "I keep as much information on the gangs as possible, and since Jose is one of the Latin Lords... Ah, here it is!" she exclaimed, handing him a small card. "This is their address; they live with their father. Their mother died a few months ago from breast cancer. Come on, I'll walk you out and get one of the kids to give you Keanu's description."

They followed her out of the office and into a small rec room where several kids were hanging around, playing pool or cards, or just listening to music. Siohban gestured towards a young girl, who approached them slowly.

"This is Sunna. Sunna, this is Detective Ellison. I need you to give him a description of yesterday's visitor, Keanu, okay?"

The young girl nodded, her wide brown eyes turning towards Jim. "He was tall and thin-looking. He had a shaved head, dark eyes, and a small scar above his left eyebrow."

"That's a pretty good description," Jim commented, surprised at the thorough details.

Sunna shrugged. "I like to draw, so I notice stuff. It's no big deal."

"Thank you for your help. And yours, Ms. Stubbs."

She smiled. "You're welcome. Well, I have work to do. If there's anything else you need, don't hesitate to call... or visit," she added. With a parting smile, she moved off to speak with a group of kids.



Jim had just finished talking to the Seattle PD again when the door to Simon's office opened wide. "Ellison, Sandburg, my office please." After the partners were seated before him, he asked, "How's the Grisham case coming along?"

"Slowly," Blair replied. "The first suspects are cleared. Daniel Stubbs is in jail awaiting trial and his mother's alibi checked out. She was at a party and was seen by several people at the time of the shooting. There are three main possibles right now. First, anyone from the Bayside Knights, as Grisha had been campaigning against them lately. Then there's the member of the Hispanic gang Latin Lords who may have done it because there was a rumor Grisha had raped his sister, and finally a kid named Keanu who is supposedly from Seattle and was looking for Grisha yesterday."

"I called Seattle and the only Keanu that fits the description we were given is a Keanu Davis, ex-member of the Loop Crew gang," Jim stated. "He did some time in Juvey, got out about four months ago. Detective Henderson said the kid is keeping clean and has even helped the cops a time or two on gang-related crimes. He's going to meet up with Keanu and tell him to call us."

"Think he'll do it?" Simon asked doubtfully.

"Yes. From what I was told, I don't think he was the one who shot Grisha. It was probably just a coincidence that he was looking for him yesterday. But I'm curious about what could've made him come all the way from Seattle just to speak to him."

"How's Grisha?" Blair asked softly.

"Surprisingly, still fighting for his life. The doctors are amazed he's still alive, but that doesn't change things. Even if he does pull through, he was shot in the head. There's bound to be some serious damage," Simon replied with a grimace. "What's your next move?"

"We're going to talk to the Sanchez family after lunch," Jim replied grimly.

"I want this case wrapped up as soon as possible, Jim. Grisham was beginning to gather attention to the gang scene and to himself. The media is turning the heat on us and so is the Mayor."

"We'll do our best, Simon."

"Then that will be all, gentlemen. Get me some results -- fast."

They left Simon's office and went straight to the elevator. "Where are we going for lunch?" Blair asked. "There are some cool places in Little Havana. And it's close to the Sanchez' address."

Taking advantage of the fact they were alone in the elevator, Jim pushed the button to stop its descent. Ignoring the blare of the alarm, he embraced his partner gently. "You've been quiet today," he whispered into a pierced ear.

"Just thinking," Blair breathed against him. "This is all such a waste, you know? Some of these kids are so bright, could accomplish so much in their lives. Instead they join gangs, most of them abandon school, leave their homes. Those lucky enough to stay out of jail end up dead in some dark alley, killed by some other kid." He sighed deeply. "And I need a good night's sleep."

"I know, Chief. How about we go someplace away from Cascade when this case is over? We can go camping or fishing somewhere. What do you think?"

Blair gave him a wide smile. "I'd like that, Jim."

"Good," Jim purred, capturing his lover's lips and ravishing the sweet mouth until they were both out of breath. "Oh, yeah," he grinned, enjoying the sight of bruised lips and darkened blue eyes.

"You're evil, Ellison," Blair stated with a grin of his own, watching Jim push the button that would take them down.

"Yep. But you love me anyway," he leered, leaving the elevator just in time to avoid Blair's mock-punch.



Sanchez Senior was not at home, but his two children were. A young man opened the door for them, eyes narrowing suspiciously as he stared at the partners.

"Jose Sanchez?" Jim asked.

"Yeah, so? What do you want, pig?" he snarled as soon as Jim showed him his badge.

"To talk to you about Scott Grisham's attempted murder," Jim replied as he eased his way into the living room. "We heard you were looking for him."

"You bet I was! That bastardo raped my sister, man! Look at her!" He gestured towards the couch where Valentina sat quietly. No more than sixteen years old, she had a beautiful face, framed by long, brown hair, and sad, almond-shaped eyes. Her brother, Jose, was very much like her, but could've easily been twenty years old if you went by his build. "She hasn't said a word since it happened! She doesn't go out, she doesn't move unless we make her. She just sits there and stares at nothing! He destroyed her!"

"Has she been seen by a doctor? Do you have any evidence --" Jim began.

"No way, man," Jose interjected with a shake of his head. "Our viejo, our old man, wouldn't let me. Said no stranger had the right to meddle in our affairs."

"If she hasn't spoken since the rape, how do you know it was Grisha?" Blair asked.

"They went to the movies that night. I saw them leaving together, then went out myself. When I came home a few hours later she was laying in her bed, crying. She'd been beaten; there was blood all over the place... I wanted to kill that motherfucker with my bare hands for what he did."

"So did you?" Jim asked, focusing his senses on Jose's vital signs to determine if he was telling the truth.

"No. He was never alone during the day and I didn't want to kill him at home. His mother is a nice woman -- I've met her in the 'hood a few times and she was always very good to us. She didn't deserve to find her son's body. So I was waiting for the right moment to do it."

"That's very thoughtful of you." Jim couldn't help the sarcasm. Only gangs could have such a twisted sense of honor regarding murder. "I assume you have an alibi for last night?"

"I was with my homies. I can give you some names, if you want."

"I want. Have you ever heard the name Keanu Davis?"


"All right. Give me the names."

While Jim scribbled down the Latin Lords' names, Blair moved closer to Valentina. His heart broke at the desolation surrounding the girl. Such a young one to have been through such a terrible thing. He knelt down beside her.

"Hi, Valentina, I'm Blair. I'm so sorry this happened to you, sweetheart. But you know, this is not your fault. No matter what anyone might have told you, no one had the right to do such a thing to you. I know it hurts right now, sweetie, but you need to start talking again," he told her softly, his voice as gentle as he could make it. "You don't have to talk to the police if you don't want to, nobody's going to make you. But you need someone to help you deal with all the emotions inside you. Jose will help you, he's worried about you." He thought he saw something flash in her eyes, so he pressed on. "He loves you very much, Valentina, and he needs you back again."

A tear fell down her cheek and he wondered if he should keep speaking to her. He didn't know exactly what he was doing; he could end up causing her further pain. But she seemed to be in shock and the longer she remained that way, the harder it would be to bring her back.

"Valentina, there are people who can help you, who you can talk to, who can help make things better. Your family can help as well, they'll --" she suddenly looked into his eyes and he stopped talking. He held his breath as she slowly knelt down beside him and wrapped her arms around his waist, her head falling into his shoulder. He felt her tears soaking into his shirt, but let her cry, hands caressing her hair gently, soothing words surrounding them both. "It's okay, honey. That's it, let it out. It's going to be okay."

He was totally unaware of the startled stares from Jose and Jim. Jose shook his head in confusion. "I don't believe this, man. I've been trying to get a response out of her since it happened. Your partner tells her three words and she starts crying?"

"This isn't just simple depression, Jose. She's hurting and in shock. And she won't be okay for a long time," Jim snapped angrily. "I'd guess that the reason she hasn't said a word was because she was afraid of your reaction. I bet you've been storming through the house threatening to kill Grisha loud enough for the neighbors to hear."

"I just -- She's my baby sister, man. I love her. All I ever wanted was to protect her from the fucked up world outside."


Jim turned to see his lover still on the floor with Valentina, looking pale and haggard. "What's wrong, Chief?"

"They can't stay here anymore. We have to find them somewhere they can stay for a while."

"Why?" Jose asked with a frown.

"Your sister just told me who raped her. It wasn't Grisha, Jose. It was your father."

"What?!" Jose exclaimed, then ran up to Valentina, taking her into his arms. "Why? Por que? Dios mio, por que?"

Hugging her brother tightly, she whispered, "Said it was my duty now that mama was dead. That he needed someone to take care of his needs. I said no, but..."

"Jesus!" Jim whispered, knowing he was as white as his partner. He snatched his cell phone from his pocket, calling Simon and telling him what was going on. A few minutes later, they had a temporary house to harbor the two Sanchez kids and a squad car was on the way to pick up their father at work.

"Valentina, we're going to arrest your father, but the only way to keep him in jail is if you testify against him. Will you do that?" Blair asked, gently.

She looked up at her brother, who nodded. "Nothing will happen to you, Val. I won't let him hurt you anymore. If I have to, I'll have the Lords kill the bastard. Or I'll do it myself."

"No, you won't. Your sister needs you to be with her, not behind bars for your father's murder," Jim reminded. "Go pack some clothes and anything else you feel you need to take with you. We're taking you to the place where you'll be staying."



That night, they were warming some leftovers for dinner, talking quietly and enjoying the solitude and comfort of home, when Jim felt the familiar smell of cigars that always meant Simon to him. He opened the door before the captain even had the chance to knock.

"Have I told you before how much I hate it when you do that?" Simon groused as he walked in and followed Jim to the living room.

"Several times," Jim replied with a grin. "Want a beer?"

"Don't mind if I do," Simon said, watching as Blair brought them all beers from the kitchen.

"How's your friend handling having the Sanchez kids with her? Jose is liable to be a handful," Jim remarked.

"She's fine with it. Besides being from Puerto Rico, which means they won't be able to talk behind her back, she has a degree in psychology, so she might be able to talk to the girl."

"What's going to happen to their father?" Blair asked grimly.

"I talked with a few people and managed to get a few things done. He'll stay in jail until the trial, no bail was set. There's no way the scumbag will get near that girl again. If she's willing to testify, he'll rot in jail, which is where he belongs."

Blair shook his head. "I know I should be getting used to this stuff by now, but somehow I can't."

"Nobody gets used to something like this, kid. We're trained officers, and I still felt sick when Jim called. All I could think about was Daryl. I don't understand how any parent could do such a thing to their own child. It's beyond my comprehension. Anyway, that's not why I came. The Grisham kid died about two hours ago. The stakes have gone up; we're talking murder now."

"How's Mrs. Grisham?" Jim asked.

"Devastated. Any news on the case?"

"Well, we're pretty sure that Sanchez didn't kill him, but I'm still going to talk to a few of his 'home boys' tomorrow morning. Without him, we're down to two main possibilities -- Keanu Davis or the Knights. There's no word from Keanu Davis, but my instincts are telling me he didn't have anything to do with the murder. And we still don't have any names on the Bayside Knights. I'm going to talk to Siohban Stubbs again tomorrow. I already called Gaines and asked him to join us. They know each other, so it might go better with him there."

"Okay. I'll be off then."

"Want to join us for dinner? We're having some leftover pizza and salad. There's enough for three."

Simon smiled tightly. "No, thank you, Sandburg. Wouldn't want to feel like a third wheel."

"Oh, come on, man, would we do that to you?" Blair asked, then relented under Simon's mock glare. "Okay. Point taken."

"Goodnight, guys."

"'Night, Simon."

After the captain left, Blair checked on their dinner and Jim set the table, moving two of the chairs as close together as possible. He placed the pizza and the salad on the table while Blair grabbed a couple more beers from the fridge, then sat down.

Realizing Jim was staring intensively at him, Blar grinned. "Will you quit doing that? I'm fine!"

Jim grinned back. "Yeah?"

"Yeah. I wish Grisha hadn't died, and I wish Valentina had never been raped by that bastard. But there's nothing we can do to change that, no matter how much I wish it were possible. All we can do is try to make things better. Catch whoever killed Grisha and make sure Valentina's father stays in jail for a long time."

"I just wonder sometimes."

Blair nodded. "I know. But nothing will change. For each evil thing that I face by your side, you show me the other side, the good that can be done. Each time you catch a bad guy and get enough on him to lock him up for good, each time you help a victim, each time you care. It's enough. I know you won't always win, I've witnessed that often enough, but you do it enough to make a difference. And so does Simon, and H, and all the other good cops that you work with. As long as you keep showing me that, I'll never give up. I might get knocked down occasionally, but I'll be back on my feet again. By your side."

"That was -- quite a speech, Sandburg," Jim choked out hoarsely.

Blair gave him a lopsided grin. "Yeah, well... I have to keep you on your toes, man. You never know when another neo-hippie witchdoctor punk might fall into your path and try to steal you away from me."

"Never going to happen, Chief," Jim assured, brushing his lips against Blair's. "You're the only punk I'm interested in." He chuckled as the young man mock-punched him. "Just make sure you don't go falling for another Joe Friday."

"Oh, I don't know... Joel is looking mighty fine these days, man. And he asked me out last week. You better watch out, Ellison. He outranks you, too."


They finished dinner, then cleared everything away in time to catch a Jags game on TV. Jim grabbed them both a third beer, and they sat on the couch, watching the game and making out during the commercials. When the game was finally over, Blair leaned into Jim's body, burying his face in the curve of his neck and shoulder.

"Take me to bed," he whispered softly.

They made their way to the room upstairs, removing each other's clothes and lying down on the soft sheets. They rolled back and forth on the big bed, clinging to one another in growing desperation. They didn't speak as their bodies moved to a world-ancient rhythm. Finally, sated and exhausted, they just snuggled up together and fell asleep.



"Any leads on the case?" Gaines asked when they met after lunch the next day.

"A few. The Latin Lords were surprisingly helpful, probably because they know we're helping one of their own. They confirmed Jose's alibi, and gave us two names," Jim told him. "Jason 'Mad Dog' Cooper and Damian Travis. We were told that if the Knights want to 'ice' someone, Cooper's the one to do it. Travis is a new member and has been seen hanging around Cooper lately. One of the Lords said that they are both seen frequently at the MAG Center."

Gaines nodded. "It's possible. Siohban's way of knowing what's going on is to allow actual gang members to visit the center. As long as they're just there to have fun and hang out with the other kids, and don't make trouble..."

"And if they happen to join the center later even better," Blair nodded.

"It wouldn't be the first time. Some kids actually realize they're better off at the center than in a gang. Come on, let's go talk to her."

Siohban greeted them with the same ease as before, but she looked a bit strained. "Earl, it's always good to see you. Detectives. I just heard that Grisha died; what can I do to help?" she asked, as once again she led them to her office, gesturing for them to sit down.

"What can you tell us about Mad Dog Cooper and Damian Travis?" Jim asked, getting right to the point.

She winced, then sighed wearily. "They come here frequently, I'm afraid. Jason has been coming since the beginning, Damian only for a couple of months. He's new in the neighborhood."

"Can you describe them for us?" Gaines interjected.

"Well, Jason is tall and muscled, has brown hair and eyes, and a goatee. I'm guessing he's about seventeen. Damian looks about thirteen, although I believe he's two or three years older. He has long blond hair and brown eyes."

"Anything else you can tell us about them?" Jim asked, and noticed the slight grimace.

"Unfortunately, they've become good friends with Daniel. I tried to warn him about them, but Danny refused to listen. I can't help the feeling that maybe if my son hadn't befriended those two, he might not be in jail now. Jason's a bad influence."

"Why don't you stop him from coming to the center?"

She sighed. "I can't do that, Earl. Most of the other kids hang around with him. If he stopped coming, so would the others. Then they would have no one to help them, no place to come to. Better to keep a rotten apple, than to lose the whole flock. Anyway, Damian doesn't bother me, but Jason..." She shuddered. "That boy is evil incarnate. I --" she seemed to hesitate. "There's something else you need to know. I -- God, this is hard!"

"What is it, Ms. Stubbs?" Blair asked gently.

"The night Grisha was shot..." she took a deep breath. "Jason and Damian came knocking on my door, said they had a message for Daniel. That when I went to visit him, I was to tell him 'the goose is cooked.' I didn't understand what it meant at the time, and they wouldn't answer my questions. But after the shooting... I'm afraid they might have shot Grisha to stop him from testifying against my son." She looked down at her hands. "I know I should've told you before, but I was afraid of what they'd do. There's no telling what Jason might do if he knows I'm talking to you. Like I said, he scares me. I've heard about some of the things he's done. I know he has friends locked up and my son's up there. I don't want him coming after me or turning on Daniel."

"That's not going to happen, Ms. Stubbs," Jim promised. "We can move you to a safe house if we have to. I'm going to call for a squad car to keep an eye on things here while we search for the two boys. If you notice anything suspicious, please let us know immediately."

"I will, and once again, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. Fear can make you do stupid things, things you wouldn't normally do. I let it cloud my judgment and that was a mistake."

"We understand, Siohban, but you know we're going to have to mention this in our reports. Withholding testimony is considered obstruction of justice. I'll have a word with the DA for you, though. Once they hear your reasons for remaining silent, I doubt they'll bring charges," Gaines assured her. "You did the right thing today."

"Did I?" she asked softly as they were leaving.

Once outside the building, the ring of Earl's cell phone broke through the quiet and he fumbled for it. "Excuse me," he said.

Blair watched him walk away for some privacy, then turned to his partner. "Think she told us the truth this time? The whole truth?"

"I checked her vitals, but you know that doesn't always work." He shrugged. "Her pulse was a little fast, but that could be from being afraid of Cooper. There was no other sign that she might be lying."

"Yeah. Here comes Earl."

The three men climbed into Jim's truck and drove back to the station to check if either of the kids had a record. They were getting closer.



Jim was typing Cooper's name into his computer when his phone rang. "Ellison," he answered, fingers still working the keyboard.

"Hey, Ellison. It's Henderson."

He went instantly alert as he recognized the Seattle detective's voice. "Henderson. What's up?"

"Things don't look good for you. Keanu's missing, nobody knows where he is," Henderson said. "I talked with a few of his friends and no one's seen him since the day before Grisham was killed."

"Any of them know why he was looking for Grisham?"

"Not exactly. But one of the kids told me he and Keanu were watching a TV special on gangs three days ago. Grisham was featured on that special. There was an interview with him at the MAG Center in Cascade, then speaking in some school. Apparently Keanu was watching the show when he suddenly began to say something like 'I don't believe it, the snake's in Cascade. The little viper's in Cascade. I've got to warn Grisham,' or words to that effect. Keanu's friend had no idea who the 'little viper' was, though. Oh, and remember how I told you Keanu used to belong to the Loop Crew gang? The Crew were the rival gang involved in the shootout with the Killers when Daniel was arrested. Keanu was also arrested at the time. They did time in the same institution; they had to know each other."

"Shit," Jim muttered, then blinked at the computer screen. "This just keeps getting worse."

"What?" Henderson asked.

"I was checking the database for a new suspect, Jason 'Mad Dog' Cooper --"

Henderson interjected with a bark of laughter. "He's there too? That's a vicious one! Born killer if I ever saw one. He was one of the Killers, but managed to escape arrest. Disappeared from Seattle after the shootout."

"And turned up here. This is beginning to look like a Killers convention. Thanks for the help, Henderson."

"I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help."

"You've been more than helpful. Thanks for calling and for taking the time to do this, I appreciate it. If you're ever in the neighborhood..."

Henderson laughed. "No, thank you! I've heard about your city, Ellison. What goes on there is not normal!"

Jim chuckled. "Well, thanks anyway."

"No problem. Good luck on the case."

"Thanks. I'll need it," Jim stated, just before hanging up.

"Who was that?" Blair asked from his perch on the desk.

"Henderson," Jim replied, telling his partner what the Seattle detective had found out.

"What are you thinking?" Blair asked.

"That either Keanu's still in Cascade, or..."

"Or he's dead," Blair finished for him.

"Yeah. Keanu came to Cascade to warn Grisha about someone he saw on that TV special. He didn't know where Grisha lived, or where to find him, so he probably spent the day searching for him. My guess is that he didn't find Grisha and that night Grisha was shot. He would have heard about it, it was all over the news. What would he still be doing here after Grisha was dead?"

"Doing something about that viper he mentioned?" Blair wondered.

"Exactly. Or maybe the viper got to him first. If he'd returned to Seattle, his friends would've met with him by now. Grisha was shot nearly forty-eight hours ago -- plenty of time to get back," Jim said as he printed a photo of Keanu that Henderson had emailed him the day before. "Rafe!" he called.

The other detective approached their desk. "What's up, Jim?"

"I need a favor. Put out an APB on this guy, Keanu Davis. And..." he hesitated for a moment, then nodded to himself. "Check with the morgue for a John Doe with that description as well, okay?"

"Think this guy might be dead?" Rafe asked as he looked at the photo.

"It's a possibility, yeah."

"Okay, I'll take care of it now," Rafe said, already on the way to his desk.

Jim turned to the anti-gang unit detective, talking quietly with Megan. "Hey, Earl! Want to help us with Cooper and Travis?"

"Wouldn't miss it for the world," Gaines told him with a grin.

"Let's go, then."

The three men left the station and drove to the Bayside area to search for their suspects. They were finally getting somewhere.



The next day their confidence was gone. Cooper and Travis were no where to be found. There were units searching for them throughout Cascade, but nothing had come up yet. They were probably hiding safely within the 'hood, protected by the Bayside Knights.

Jim was busy looking through the statements they had so far when Rafe approached his desk. "Jim, Keanu Davis' body is down at the morgue. A couple of kids playing soccer found him. He was shot in the back, three days ago. I asked Forensics to check the bullet against the one the doctors removed from Grisha's skull, and they matched."

"That means that Cooper and Travis may have killed him as well," Blair stated with a frown.

"Yep. Rafe, you have the address where they found the body?"

Rafe grinned. "Knew you'd ask for it. It's a deserted field in the Bayside area. I spoke to the guys who answered the call and asked for directions. Here."

Jim reached for the piece of paper. "Thanks, Rafe. Come on, Chief, let's check out the crime scene."


"I won't even bother to answer that, Sandburg!"

"Whatever," Blair replied with a grin, following his partner to the elevator.



"You want me to do what?" Simon asked, so startled he nearly swallowed his cigar. "You're out of your mind, Jim! No judge is going to give us a warrant based on a hunch."

"It's more than a hunch, Simon, and you know it. Come on, are you really telling me that you believe all this stuff is just one big coincidence? Daniel Stubbs is up to his neck in this gang business and his mother probably is too. We need to find out what's going on. And the only way we're going to get anywhere is by tapping her phone lines and bugging the center and their place. I didn't find anything in the field where Keanu was killed, and Cooper and Travis have gone underground. We're stuck, Simon!"

"Yeah. I mean, we know Keanu and Daniel knew each other. And Keanu had to know Siohban or at least know of her, since she testified at the gang members' trial." Blair piped in.

"Simon, I'm almost a hundred percent certain that Daniel had Keanu and Grisham killed. Think about it. He's in jail, but he can still pull the strings from the inside. He, Cooper and Travis are friends. Cooper is supposed to be the triggerman for the Knights. It would be easy for him to kill both Grisham and Keanu. And being old rivals, Cooper and Keanu probably knew each other. He'd probably jump at the chance to do it."

"The Grisham kid I get, it would stop him from testifying. But why would Stubbs want Keanu dead?"

"They belonged to rival gangs. If Keanu saw Daniel on that TV show and decided to get even for his time spent in Juvey..." Blair shrugged. "Daniel's in jail now, but with Grisham dead, he may walk. And it wouldn't do to have Keanu waiting for him."

Simon sighed wearily. "I'm sorry. That's not nearly enough and you know it. It's still just a hunch, nothing concrete. You said it yourself -- being from rival gangs, Cooper and Keanu probably knew each other. There's nothing to say Daniel Stubbs ordered his death. Or Grisham's for that matter. However, I'm sure you'll be able to think of something else," he remarked dryly, and Jim knew his friend was referring to his senses. "You're supposed to be out looking for Cooper and Travis. I believe you told me they used to hang out at the MAG center. Why not start there? Maybe you'll... catch something?" he raised an eyebrow in question.

The partners grinned. "Gotcha, Simon."

"On our way, sir."

"I'll have Brown and Rafe relieve you later. They might not have your... dedication, but they might still find something."

"Yes, sir."

A few hours later they were in truck, parked close to the MAG center, Jim's senses on full alert.



Jim yawned as he glanced at his watch. Rafe and Henri would be there in another hour. He was bored out of his mind. Both he and Blair had spent most of the stakeout talking, but after a while both were too bored to even try engaging in conversation. Blair was doing a crossword puzzle, he was watching the center.

The sound of a phone ringing inside the building had him sitting up straighter, listening carefully to every word. He smiled slightly as Blair's hand touched his shoulder gently, grounding him.

"MAG Center, Sunna speaking."

"Hey, babe. It's yo' man," A male voice purred lazily from the other end of the line.

"Hey, Mad Dog. What's up?"

"I'm bored, bitch, let's score us some cash. Let's go out tonight. We can hit a couple of stores."

"Sounds good. Just the two of us?" the girl asked.

Cooper chuckled. "Damian's coming too. How's the Queen?"

"She's fine. A little upset with everything's that been going on, but what can you do?"

"Whatever. Meet me at 8:00 pm in front of Jefferson High. And pack a piece."

"Hey, man, I don't want to kill anyone!" Sunna whined.

"You don't have to. But how else are we going to talk those scrooges at the stores into give us their money?" Cooper laughed. "Don't worry, bitch, it'll be okay. Just show them the gun and they'll give you everything, no hassle."

"Okay. See ya tonight."

"Bye, Sunna."

"We got them," Jim murmured once the call was over. He related the conversation to his partner. "All we have to do is wait for tonight and catch them in the act. On top of everything else, they'll be charged with attempted robbery."

"Isn't Sunna the girl that gave us Keanu's description?" Blair asked.

"Yeah. Should've known she was too good to be true."

"I wonder who the 'Queen' is?"

Jim shrugged. "Probably a nickname for Siohban. She does run the center." He glanced up. "There's Rafe and Henri, finally."

"Hey, guys!" Henri greeted. "Anything exciting happen?"

"We have work tonight. Cooper, Travis, and a girl named Sunna are planning to rob some stores."

Henri nodded. "Okay, how do you want to handle it?"

"We still have two hours to go. For now, keep an eye out here until we get back. I'll think of something then. Sandburg and I are just going to grab a bite to eat. Let's move, Chief, I'm starving. See you guys."

"Bye Jim, Hairboy."

"You know H, one of these days I'm going to get you for the 'Hairboy' thing," Blair mock-growled, making the others laugh.

"And I'll pay to see it!" Rafe grinned broadly.

"Well, I'll believe it when I see it," H chuckled.

"I'll make you a believer yet, H," Blair promised as he walked away with his partner. "I know just the thing to use," he whispered with glee.

"What's on your mind, Chief?" Jim grinned, having heard the soft-spoken words.

"You'll see. It's going to be a beaut," Blair chuckled as he planned his revenge. Henri Brown was going to turn blue -- literally.



Fifteen minutes before 8:00 pm, Jim and Blair climbed into the old Ford truck while Rafe and Brown walked over to their car, and the four men drove to Jefferson High School to wait for their prey.

At 8:00 sharp, Sunna climbed out of a bus and walked over to the school. She remained outside, leaning quietly against a wall, probably waiting for Cooper and Travis to show up.

"Allah Akbar," Blair whispered, reading the writing on the wall beside the teenager.

"Know what it means?" Jim asked.

"'God is great.' Not the sort of thing I was expecting to find in this neighborhood. This place is more the 'God is dead' type."

"That must be them," Jim alerted suddenly, watching a blue Chevrolet stop by the girl. Sure enough, she got in and the car drove away. "We're on," Jim said into the radio.

"We saw it," Brown replied. "What's the plan? Let them rob a store?"

"Too dangerous, these kids are wildcards. There's no way of guessing what might go down. Let's follow them and wait until they reach the first target. We move in before they do anything."

"Copy that."

They followed the Chevy at a safe distance, watching it roll all over Cascade in search of a convenient target. The three teenagers finally parked in front of an isolated gas station and began to pile out of the car.

"Damn! It had to be a gas station! Blair, call for back-up!" Jim growled, getting out of the truck. "Cascade PD! Freeze!"

Unfortunately, the gang members decided to resist. Bullets started to rain down all around them, causing them to crouch down behind their vehicles and return fire. Rafe ran towards the back exit, to prevent the kids from escaping, Jim and Henri supplying cover fire.

Two more squad cars arrived, tires screeching loudly and adding to the cacophony of sound. More bullets flew, breaking windows and windshields, creating a cascade of shattered glass that fell over them.

The next few minutes were a twisted version of a Mexican standoff, with both sides shooting and failing to do any damage. Jim and Henri kept firing, trying to keep the shooters pinned down, waiting for the three teenagers to run out of ammunition.

They lasted a surprisingly long time, but finally Jim heard the familiar 'click' of an empty gun.

"I'm out of ammo," he heard Sunna pant.

"Me too, MD," a new voice replied. Travis, Jim guessed. "What now?"

"I still have a couple of bullets. Let's go out with a bang. I'll go first and cover you."

"They'll kill you!" Sunna started.

"Well, I'm not going back to jail without a fight. Let's go!"

The three teenagers left the gas station at a run, Cooper leading the way, but Jim was prepared. "Drop your gun!" he yelled, his gun aimed directly at Cooper.

Cooper froze, looking at the officers who had them surrounded, then at Jim. Their eyes met, staying locked for a long moment. Then suddenly Cooper dropped his gun and raised his hands.

"Drop your guns, guys," Brown instructed to Sunna and Travis, who obeyed immediately.

The gas station was suddenly filled with police, Henri and Rafe keeping their guns trained on the suspects until they were cuffed. Jim shared a grin with his partner. They finally had Cooper and Travis in custody.



Half an hour later Damian Travis was sitting alone in an interrogation room sweating it out, while Rafe took Cooper to the one next door. Jim had a feeling it would be impossible to get anything out of Mad Dog Cooper, but Travis was another thing altogether. The kid was scared and it showed.

"H is with Sunna now. Come on, Chief. Let's see if we can spend a minute with those two before their lawyers show up."



Jim's guess turned out to be right. Cooper didn't utter a word during the whole time he was questioned. He just sat there and smirked, making Jim want to beat the smile off of his face. Only Blair's soothing presence prevented him from pouncing on the kid and doing some serious damage.

Finally tired of talking to what felt like a brick wall, Jim gestured to his partner and they left the interrogation room. "It's no use," Jim growled. "The little bastard won't say a word. It's time to try Travis."

They stepped into the next room and Jim was forced to agree with Siohban -- Damian Travis didn't look a day over thirteen. He was sitting quietly by the table, looking calm and at ease, but Sentinel senses picked up the scent of fear and the hammering heart.

"Damian, I'm Detective Ellison. We've already told you why you're here."

"We didn't kill anyone!" Damian snapped, suddenly angry.

"Really? That's not what Cooper told us," Jim bluffed.

"W-what?" Travis stuttered, his eyes widening. He frowned. "You're trying to trick me. Mad Dog wouldn't --"

"Wouldn't he, Damian?" Jim grinned broadly. "He's spent some time in Juvey before, did you know that? A couple of times in fact. He's eighteen now. Charged with murder, he'll be tried and sent to prison to rot for the rest of his days. Not to mention we caught you red-handed, trying to rob a gas station. You really think he cares what happens to you, kid? He's out to save his own skin."

"No, no!" Damian whispered, sweat pouring from his brow. "That's not -- He's not --"

"Maybe you want to think about it?" Jim asked, gently. "He's going to cut a deal and throw you to the wolves, Damian."

"No! No!" Damian shouted, rising from his seat. "He was there too! He made me do it! I just wanted to join the Knights, was sick of getting beat up by the older kids in the 'hood. He said they would take care of me, that no one would bother me again! I-I didn't -- I didn't want to kill him!" he wailed, angry tears falling from his eyes.

Jim shared a startled look with Blair. He'd been expecting Cooper to have shot Grisham, not Travis. "Do you know a kid by the name of Keanu Davis?" he asked, and narrowed his eyes when Damian gasped. "Well?"


"You better tell us everything, Damian. We'll go easy on you if you confess."

Damian gulped noisily. "Mad Dog killed him."


"Same day we did Grisha."


"I don't know!"

"Why? Tell me why, Damian, or I won't help you!"

"I don't know!" Travis shouted back at him. "I think they knew each other or something like that, but I'm not sure. He wouldn't tell me, said it was his business."

"What happened?"

"We were hanging around the center when Keanu showed up looking for Grisha."

"Didn't Keanu see Cooper?"

"No. We were all sitting on the floor, next to some big couches. He never even looked our way."

"Then what?"

"I wasn't paying much attention, there was this good looking chick there, I was trying to get her to go out with me. All I know is that Mad Dog suddenly came up to me and said we had to go. We left the center right after Keanu and followed him around Bayside as he went looking for Grisha. When he was moving through a deserted field, Mad Dog suddenly drew this gun from his jacket and shot him in the back."

"What did you do then?"

"He made sure Keanu was dead, then hid the body behind some tall bushes. The field was abandoned and not that many people go there, so he figured it would be a while before the body was found."

"What happened to the gun? Cooper didn't have it with him."

"We hid it in an old warehouse after I shot Grisha."

"Why did you kill Grisha?"

"He was going to testify against Daniel for stabbing that other kid two weeks ago."

"You know what that fight was about?"

"About some girl, I think."

Jim nodded, satisfied with the answers for the time being. "You did good, Damian. I promise we'll go easy on you. Now, I need you to tell us the address of the warehouse."

"It'll be easier if I show you. I know how to get there, but not the address."

"Okay," Jim agreed. "Wait here."

When he exited the room with Blair, Rafe was waiting outside. "H is still with Sunna. She's not talking."

"Thanks. Can you go with Travis to check an address? Cooper killed Keanu and Travis killed Grisham. He's going to take you to the place where they hid the gun. Take a couple of lab boys with you. I don't want anything slipping past us."

"On my way," Rafe assured him. He opened the door to the interrogation room and gestured to Damian. "Come on kid, you're coming with me. We're going for a ride."

"Think Cooper was the viper Keanu was talking about?" Blair asked once Rafe had left with Travis.

"Looks that way. If the TV special showed Grisham at the MAG center, it's possible the footage showed Cooper there as well. I still think it was Daniel he saw, though."

"And?" Blair prompted, knowing by Jim's frown that there was more.

"I don't know. I'm missing something here. Something vital to the case, some piece of the puzzle," he sighed in exasperation.

"Let it go for a while, Jim. If you try to force it, it'll never come to you. Just let it happen."

"Yeah, you're right, Chief. Let's go wrap this up and talk to Simon. At least we now know who killed Grisham and found out what happened to Keanu Davis. It's more than we had a few hours ago."



"Keanu Davis saw Cooper on TV, had some kind of bad thing going with him and decided to warn Grisham against him. Cooper spotted him first, killed him, and made Travis kill Grisham because he was going to testify against Daniel Stubbs. Am I getting this right?" Simon asked as he looked at his best detective team.

"Yes, sir. As for Sanchez, he had nothing to do with the killing, probably because he couldn't get Grisham alone," Jim replied.

"So, Cooper and Travis did it. Case closed?" Simon asked hopefully.

"I think so."

"You think so, Jim? Why aren't you certain?"

"I don't know, Simon. There's something nagging at the back of my mind, but I haven't been able to figure out what. Give me a day or two, okay? The report is done, all the evidence is logged in and locked in the evidence room, we got every statement written down and printed. All it needs is our signatures. If I can figure out what I'm missing, great. If not, I'll sign the report and hand it over to you."

"Fine. But you've only got twenty-four hours, Jim. I can't give you any more time."

Jim nodded. "Fair enough. Thanks, Simon."

"Just be sure of what you're doing, Jim. Don't screw this one up when we already have the criminals behind bars. Go on, get out of here. Maybe once you've had a good night's sleep you'll be able to get your head straight."

"Right. See you tomorrow, Simon." Jim rose from his chair, his partner right beside him as they left Simon's office. "Still up for Chinese tonight, Chief?"

"Yeah, man. Why?"

"Just making sure," Jim said with a grin.

An hour later they were back at the loft, snuggled up together as they munched happily on their dinner. Blair closed his eyes as he leaned against his lover's chest with a contented sigh.

"Man, this is the life!"

"Yes, it is, Chief. Yes, it is," the older man answered, the smile clear in his voice.

Jim stroked his cheek tenderly, and Blair nuzzled into the big palm with a smile. He looked up at his lover, and Jim leaned down to kiss him, tongue laving his lower lip gently, asking permission to enter. Blair found himself responding to the kiss whole-heartedly, their tongues meeting and battling lazily for a while, letting the passion slowly build.

Halfway through the kiss, Blair suddenly realized that Jim was no longer an active participant. He broke the kiss and looked at his lover's unfocused expression. "You know, Ellison, it's a good thing I'm such an easy-going kind of guy. I could take offense to the fact that while I'm trying to dive for your tonsils, your mind is somewhere else."

Jim had the good grace to blush. "I'm sorry. It's not you, Blair. I can't seem to stop thinking about this damn case."

"Thinking what exactly?"

"Remember the 357 case with Gaines?"


"Behind everything they did, was someone else -- Williams. These kids, they're small time -- they're 'doers,' not 'thinkers.'"

"So you think there's someone behind Grisha's murder? Who? Daniel?"

"I thought it might be Daniel, yes. He, Cooper, and Travis become good friends. He knows that Cooper has no problems killing people. He gets involved in a fight, stabs a kid, gets arrested. Grisha's going to testify against him and he doesn't feel safe. He's been in Juvey before -- with this new conviction, he's sure to be locked up for some time. And with Grisha out of the way..."

"But you don't think it was him?"


"So, who do you think is behind it? And what about Keanu?"

"I think Keanu was just a coincidence. He showed up at the wrong time, at the wrong place. Whether he saw Daniel or Cooper, or even Siohban in that TV show, the fact is it sealed his fate. I do believe that murder is all Cooper's doing. And as for who is behind Grisham's and why... This might sound crazy, but I'm thinking Siohban Stubbs."


"I'm almost certain Siohban knows what Cooper and Travis have been up to. Her son's locked up, but for all her visible sorrow, she doesn't sound too upset about it. That's been bugging me. She seems to love him very much, and yet she doesn't seem upset that he might be going to jail? That doesn't add up. Plus, she gave us too much information; she was just too willing to put the blame on someone else. And of course there's her background. We know she was involved with the Killers, even if just to house their meetings or as a hideout. But what if she was in deeper and the Seattle PD just never found anything?" He rubbed his eyes tiredly. "I'm going to speak with Simon in the morning. I want to keep the stakeout at the center going, for a few more days at least. I know I'm right, Blair. I just know it."

"Then we'll figure it out. It'll work out, Jim. You'll see."

They remained nestled together on the couch, watching TV and caressing each other's bodies occasionally, until their awareness of each other was at its highest. Then they climbed the stairs to the bedroom hand in hand, stopping only to undo a button or lower a zipper, before lying naked on the soft bed.

Their mouths met in a slow but thorough kiss. Blair ran his hands down Jim's back, fingers caressing his burning flesh, arousing him further. They rolled about in the bed leisurely, until Jim finally pinned the younger man down. He leaned down, nibbling on Blair's full lower lip, licking it sensually, feeling Blair shiver in anticipation.

He released Blair's mouth to nip his neck, growling deep in his throat as Blair arched beneath him. He sank his teeth lightly into the sensitive juncture of his neck and shoulder, then licked the spot he'd just bitten to sooth the hurt, inhaling deeply at the same time.

"Oh God," Blair whimpered. "I love it when you do that, focus your senses on me... Drives me so crazy..."

Jim chuckled wickedly. "I know," he purred, lapping a bead of sweat as it pooled in the hollow of Blair's throat. "Your heart speeds up, your scent gets sharper, your voice drops... And you let out this throaty whimper that drives me crazy."

He felt his lover reach down to grasp his buttocks while thrusting his hips up, frantic, begging Jim to take him over the edge. Obeying the silent request, Jim moved his body against Blair's, stroking the furry chest with greedy hands, tongue playing with the twin pebbled nipples until Blair whimpered helplessly.

Blair pushed up against him again, trembling when he thrust back and forced him back down on the bed. Control was lost; they couldn't get enough of each other. Hands and mouths reached out, sucking, nibbling, caressing relentlessly, taking them closer and closer to the edge. Finally it was too much, and Blair broke away from his kiss, head thrown back, body rocking as he came, Jim's name on his lips.

Jim froze, awed at the unleashed passion beneath him, knowing he was the one that made Blair look that way, moan that way. He watched as Blair opened his eyes, arousal still shining from within, and smiled. His hand closed around Jim's aching erection, pumping it slowly.

"Come for me, Jim," the whisper demanded, and he was unable to refuse that husky voice. A few powerful strokes was all it took for him to climax, shuddering into ecstasy in Blair's arms. He fell asleep on top of his lover, limbs draped over him, their legs still entwined, his head resting safely on Blair's shoulder.



"Call coming through to the center," Jim announced suddenly, dialing his hearing up, carefully piggybacking it with sight so he wouldn't zone. He could clearly hear Siohban's voice as she answered the phone.

"Siohban Stubbs."

"It's Tyree," a male voice announced.

"What do you want?"

"Did you know that Sunna, Mad Dog and Damian were arrested yesterday?"

"Yes," Siohban replied. "So?"

"So what if they spill to the badges? We don't need more pressure, Queen."

"They won't talk. They confessed, which is true, after all. They won't say any more."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I think the cops suspect I know more than I'm saying, but they can't prove anything. Nothing more will happen, everything is back as it should be. They will do their time and return to the fold. Everything will be fine."

"If you say so. I just wanted to make sure." He paused. "What about Daniel?"

"Hopefully without Grisha to testify against him, he'll go free," Siohban replied. "If not... he'll do his time same as the others. It'll do him good. He should've thought before getting involved in a fight over a piece of ass. He put us all at risk."

"Coming back tonight?"

"No. But I might need you. I'm waiting for an important call. Depending on how it goes, I'll need the Knights as back-up."

"A new dealer?"


"Cool. Bye.

"Goodbye, Tyree."

Once the call was finished, Jim related the conversation to his partner. "Sounds like the reason Cooper and Tyree caller her 'Queen' is because she's their leader. She's probably just using the MAG center as a smoke screen. She fooled everyone, even the police. I bet she uses the center to recruit new members like Damian."

"That's twisted, man. No wonder Daniel's the way he is, with a mother like that! Anyone would be a little screwed up. Hey, there's Rafe and H!" Blair grinned as he watched Rafe park next to them. "Cool," he whispered, taking a small package from his pocket and placing it on the dashboard.

"What's that?"

"My revenge."

"Afternoon, guys!" Rafe greeted, leaning against the truck and resting his arms on Blair's open window. "How's everything?"

"What are you doing here?" Jim asked.

"We're on our lunch break and thought we'd stop by." Rafe replied. "We know Simon only gave you twenty-four hours to get something on Siohban. Anything?"

"Not yet, but it looks good," Jim said, remembering the phone call.

"Hey, what's that?" Henri asked, gesturing towards Blair's little package.

"Caramels," Blair replied. "My mother sent them from France. They're pretty good."

"Can I have one?" asked Brown, licking his lips in anticipation.

"Sure," Blair replied innocently. He watched as Henri stuffed one of the caramels into his mouth, chewing the small treat delightedly, and making appreciative 'mmmm' noises. "Well?" he asked when Brown was finished.

"Oh, man!" Brown sighed, licking his lips. "They're great! Want one?" he asked his partner.

Rafe took one look at Henri and began to laugh, followed closely by Blair and Jim. "Oh, man! H, you should see your mouth!" he chuckled.

"What about it?" H asked, his confused expression making the others laugh harder.

"It's all blue! Your lips, tongue, your teeth -- everything's blue!"

"What?" Brown used the truck's mirror to look at himself. "Oh, man! You little shit!" he growled at Blair, but his eyes were shining with amusement. "How did you do that?"

"The caramels are rigged. Something Naomi found in Paris. Once you stick them in your mouth and they begin to melt, they turn blue. Gotcha!" he grinned.


Rafe pushed his partner away from the truck. "We better be going. If you need any back-up, call us. I'm going to take 'Smurf' here to the closest bathroom for a wash," he finished with a chortle.

Jim chuckled. "Will do. Thanks, guys."

Grinning at each other, Jim and Blair settled down for the afternoon. With a little luck they'd still be able to catch Siohban and the Knights.



Three hours later, Jim heard the phone ringing again. The coordinator answered before it could ring twice, showing how anxious she was about the upcoming call.

"Siohban Stubbs."

"Johnson. I have the stuff. There's a burned-down building on the outskirts of Cascade, the Hammer Brewery. Meet me there at midnight. Bring the money and we'll do business."

"I'll be there," Siohban replied, and the call ended.

"Chief?" Jim said softly.

"Yeah, Jim?"

"We got her," Jim grinned, and they high-fived.

"Cool. What did you hear?"

"Siohban is going to meet the dealer at the Hammer Brewery tonight at midnight. Let's go back to the station and find Simon. But first..." Jim sank his fingers into his lover's curly hair, angling the other man's head so he could taste his mouth, tongue exploring the moist heat he was so addicted to. When they finally parted, he nodded with a grin. "That's better."



Jim looked at his watch: 11:00 pm. One hour until the meeting. Everything was in place. Blair was by his side, both hidden behind a few large crates. Simon and Megan were to his left, Henri and Rafe to his right, and there were other officers concealed throughout the building and grounds. All they needed was for the dealer and the 'Queen' and her Knights to arrive.

They didn't have long to wait. Half an hour before the meeting was scheduled to occur, Jim heard the sound of an approaching car, and minutes later, three men entered the building. One of them was walking ahead of the others, probably Johnson. Cold gray eyes checked the area, failing to see the trap set up for them. He wore an expensive-looking suit which, along with the graying hair, gave him the look of a businessman. The other two men were clearly his bodyguards -- their impressive bulk and the way they stood behind the front man easily gave them away.

The three men moved to the middle of the burned-down area and remained there, silent, waiting, no words exchanged between them.

Fifteen minutes later a second car stopped in front of the brewery. Jim felt Blair touch his shoulder as Siohban crossed over to Johnson, four teenagers standing close behind.

"You have the stuff?" she asked.

"You have the money?" Johnson retorted.

Siohban nodded. "Tyree," she called, looking over her shoulder, and one of the kids walked towards her. He held an open briefcase full of money. "As you can see..." she told Johnson. "The drugs?"

One of Johnson's men stepped forward, also holding a briefcase. When he snapped it open, Jim could see it was full of cocaine. He watched Tyree sampling the stuff to check its quality, then grin to Siohban.

"It's good, Queen."

Jim glanced towards Simon, who nodded. They had enough. "Cascade PD! Freeze!" Simon shouted, and all hell broke lose.

Gunfire erupted all around them, with Johnson and his men trying to make a break for it. They were easily subdued, and so were the two Knights who tried to fight back. Tyree and Siohban surrendered their weapons.

Jim handcuffed Siohban. "It's over, Queen," he told her.

"Why?" Blair asked her.

She shrugged. "Oldest reason in the world, kid; money."

"So you formed the Knights to do your bididng and used the MAG as a cover and to recruit new members?"

"Of course. You have to admit it was brilliant. I sell drugs and guns. What better way to do it, than to recruit kids and use them to sell the product in their own schools?"

"And the Seattle Killers? Were you doing the same then?"

"No. I guess you can say I was learning the trade there. They taught me everything I needed to know."

"Rafe, get this trash out of here," Jim said, disgusted.

"With pleasure," Rafe replied, grabbing Siohban by the arm and leading her to a squad car while he read her her rights.

"It's over," Blair said.

"It's over," Jim confirmed.

"We're done." Blair said.

"We're done," Jim confirmed.

"We should celebrate."

Jim grinned. "What do you have in mind?"

"Oh, I'll tell you when we get home," Blair replied in a sultry voice.

Jim narrowed his eyes. "In that case, let's get back to the station and see to the paperwork," he said, walking back to the truck to the sound of his lover's laughter.



Samantha Grisham buried her only son, and was still grieving for the child that had been taken away from her. But in a show of amazing generosity, she agreed to provide a permanent roof for Valentina and Jose Sanchez, a place where they would be able to live in peace and be loved unconditionally. Things were still being set up with Social Services, but with Simon's intervention and even a good word from the Mayor, there wasn't any cause for worry.

Samantha also took over as the Coordinator of MAG. She wanted to make sure that what happened to her son wouldn't be happening again. That kids from every gang in Cascade would have a safe haven to go to, a place where parents could learn how to keep their children away from gangs. A place where no gang colors were allowed, a neutral ground for everyone involved. Blair spoke with the woman a few times, and she agreed with a few of his ideas. Maybe he would even help out when he had some free time.

Keanu Davis' body was sent to Seattle, and from what they heard from Henderson, the Seattle Killers paid for his funeral and made it a big shindig, a sort of Irish wake to celebrate life, not death.

Blair sighed contentedly as he signed his name on the case report. It was finally over. Siohban and Daniel Stubbs were behind bars, held without bail until it was time for their trials, as were Mad Dog Cooper and Damian Travis. They were still looking for the remaining Knights, but the major players were all accounted for.

Blair raised his head and gazed around the bullpen. Two things happened at once: first, he spotted his missing package of rigged caramels resting on top of Megan's desk. He'd left it in Jim's truck and never thought of it again. Second, he watched in slow motion as Simon Banks -- Captain Simon Banks of the Major Crime Department of Cascade, Washington -- reached for that same package, and before he could utter a single word, stuffed a caramel in his mouth.

"Oh, God! I'm dead," he muttered, watching Simon chew with dreaded fascination.

An eerie silence settled over the bullpen as he watched the captain finish the caramel and return to his office. He was just about to take a deep breath, thinking that maybe that hadn't been his package after all, when a growl was heard throughout the floor, coming from Banks' office. "Who did this? Who's the little joker? I'll have them writing tickets for the rest of their life!"

The door to the office burst open and an apparition of hell in Simon Banks' guise walked out. "I'm waiting!"

"Well, you see, Simon --" Blair began, but closed his mouth at the calculating look in Simon's eyes.

"Sandburg," the big man purred softly, the effect completely ruined by his blue mouth. "Have I mentioned how long it has been since my car's been washed? And how I prefer to have it hand washed? Every week?"

Blair noticed Brown wiggling his eyebrows gleefully and suddenly realized how the package had ended up on Megan's desk. His revenge had backfired. He banged his head on top of the desk a few times, ignoring the amused snickering around him. It was going to be a long day.


+Quote by Euripides

Final note: This story contained original artwork. If you want to see the artwork done for story or if you want to read any of the other stories in the SVS, click on the link below.


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