The Longest Of Days
by VampyrAlex


Rating: PG-13
Summary: A crossover between the movie Speed and The Sentinel "Switchman" episode. 
Author's notes: A huge thank you to Patt, Mary, Amy, Lisa and the MME crew for all the wonderful moments shared. Thanks to DarkCherry, Sherri and Sue for beta'ing this story.



"Want to tell me what we're doing here?" Joel Taggert asked as they rushed through the office building's main entrance.

"Got another email from the Switchman," Jim replied with a grimace. "An elevator is wired and there are thirteen people inside, below floor thirty. The first explosion blew the cables; they're stuck between floors. The second will blow the emergency breaks. I still can't believe I let this creep escape at the lumber mill!" he growled angrily.

He was still having a hard time dealing with the bomber's escape, knowing that it was his fault. There was something wrong with him, and other people were going to pay the price, maybe with their lives. If he had caught the bastard, those people would never be in that situation.

And what was worse, he was no closer to finding out what was wrong; the test results he'd done days earlier with Doctor McCoy had turned out negative. As far as medicine was concerned, he was one hundred percent healthy and sane, although he was starting to doubt it.

"It wasn't your fault, Jim. This one's dangerous. Cunning too. You were not the only cop on that stakeout."

"I guess," Jim grunted. "Got everything?"


"Then let's go."

"There's no way of unloading the passengers without setting off the second bomb?" Joel asked as they began climbing the stairs.

"No. It's an express elevator; the only way in is through the access panels. The bastard rigged the elevator doors and the hatch as well. He's crazy, not stupid," Jim said, never slowing down.

"God, why can't these things ever happen on the lower floors?" Joel bemoaned as they finally reached the thirtieth floor. "I hate stairs."

"You chose the wrong profession then, Joel," Jim grinned. "Come on, let's get the panels off and check the shaft for booby traps." A few minutes later they were down the elevator shaft looking down at a homemade bomb. "Can you deactivate it?"

"This one, yeah," Joel replied. "But the one wired to the breaks... It'll be impossible to reach it."

"Don't worry about it. Simon's taking care of the building's evacuation. Taking these people out of here will get us ahead of this nutcase for the first time in seven months. Too many people have died already."

"Right," Joel began to inspect the bomb, ignoring the sheen of sweat suddenly covering his body. "Remind me again why I took this job?"

Jim chuckled, "Are you kidding? Another fifteen years of this and you'll get a lousy pension and a gold watch. It's every cop's dream."

"Oh, yeah," Joel breathed. "I'd forgotten about the watch. Always wanted one. Got it! Let's get these people out of here before the second bomb goes off."

Jim opened the hatch on the elevator's ceiling, smiling down at the frightened people inside. "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Cascade PD, I'm Detective James Ellison. The elevator had a... uh, small mechanical problem, so we have to get you out of here. Ladies first," he said, reaching for the closest woman. "Give me your hand."

One by one, they got the passengers out and rushed them to the stairs. They had reached the lobby when the second bomb exploded. Seconds later everyone held their breaths as they heard a loud bang and the terrifying sound of twisting metal. The elevator had reached its final destination.



"...In a daring rescue, Detective James Ellison, the lead investigator in the Switchman case, and bomb expert Joel Taggert, were able to save the lives of the thirteen passengers trapped in the Rayburn Tower's elevator. This is the Switchman's eighth target in seven months. Among others, he's responsible for the Snohomish Bridge and the Puget Sound ferry bombings, causing eight dead and twenty-one injured..."

She muted the TV, her eyes following Ellison on the screen as the man spoke to a few of the passengers rescued from the elevator. "You may have won this time, Ellison," she whispered, "but you haven't won the war. Vengeance is mine."



Jim sipped his coffee leisurely, allowing his brain to slowly come awake. He had spent half of the night with Joel, going through the bomb's debris in hopes of finding something that would lead them to the Switchman. They had gotten nowhere, although they now knew more about the bomber's work.

He was just thankful that whatever had been ailing him was apparently gone. He hadn't had any strange visions or smelled any weird scents in days. Maybe it was finally over.

"Hey, Jim! Saw you on TV yesterday. About time you guys pulled the rug from under that creep!" a voice said cheerfully from beside him.

Jim grinned at the man. Bob Kowalski was a bus driver who every morning before going to work, had his cup of 'caffeine' at the coffee shop on Prospect. Ever since joining the Cascade PD, and whenever he had the time, Jim would join him and make small talk before going to the station.

"Yeah. Can't say we're any closer to catching him, though."

"You will," Bob assured. "You're a good cop. Well, gotta go. People to see, places to drive," he grinned, patting Jim's back before leaving the counter.

"Have a good day, Bob."

"You too, Jim. You too."

Glancing at his watch and seeing he was already late, Jim downed the rest of his coffee and rushed out. He watched Bob hop into his bus and take off, then walked over to his truck. He was opening the driver's door when a loud explosion from behind him nearly knocked him off his feet. 

He turned, seeing the bus carcass burning, the twisted metal and flaming plastic making a terrifying picture. For a long moment, he was unable to hear the car alarms wailing all around him, or the people running and screaming. All he could see was the burning bus still moving on the road.

"No!" He ran towards the bus, knowing it was useless, but unable to stop himself. He couldn't get close enough due to the flames and the intense heat, but he already knew the truth; there was nothing to do, nobody to save.

His cell phone rang, bringing him out of his stupor. "Yeah?" he answered, half dazed still.

"Isn't it beautiful?" a female voice purred from the other end. "The flames, the bright colors... There's nothing quite like fire in the world. Wild, dangerous, irresistible. You really think you could walk away after ruining my plans, Ellison?"

"Switchman?" he whispered, his shock fading as he realized who he was speaking to. "Why are you doing this? Why me?"

The woman laughed. "You destroyed my life; took away the only precious thing in it. I won't rest until I've destroyed you as well, until the whole world knows who James Ellison really is. You owe me and I will collect what is my due. Let's play a game for starters, shall we?"

Jim felt his blood run cold. "Game?" he echoed, heart contracting painfully in his chest.

"There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus hits fifty miles an hour the bomb is armed. If the bus drops below fifty, it blows up."

"What bus?" he nearly yelled into the phone.

She laughed again at the urgency in his voice. "You really think I'd tell you that?"

"Yes. That's why you called," he gritted out, knowing she was taunting him and willing to take the challenge issued.

"Very good, Ellison, you're learning. Let's make this harder for you. There are a few rules to follow; no one gets off the bus. If you try to take any of the passengers off, I will detonate it. Let's see how good you really are at saving people now."

"Don't do this, please!" he pleaded with her. "If it's me you want --"

"Focus, Ellison! The clock is ticking for those people. Now, are you still listening? If you try to call the bus, you'll find the radio is down. It's bus 2525, running downtown on the way to Rainier. It's at the corner of Chelsea and Waverly. Should be heading onto the freeway right about... Now!" she said, hanging up.

Jim didn't waste any more time. He jumped into his truck and drove away with a squeal of tires. The lives of the passengers on that bus depended on him. He was not going to fail them.



Blair rushed towards the bus stop knowing he was already late. His Corvair was in the shop again, so the bus was the only way of getting to Rainier on time. He reached the stop just as the bus was pulling away.

"No! Sam! Sam! Stop! Hey, Sam!" he shouted as he ran alongside it. "Sam! Wait up, man!"

His efforts paid off because the bus finally stopped and the doors opened to allow him in. "Does this look like a bus stop to you?" the black man behind the wheel teased.

"Come on, Sam, I've been shouting my head off since the stop! You're way cool, man. Thanks for stopping."

"Well, just thank your stars. I wouldn't stop for just anyone. The classic's in the shop again?" Sam grinned.

"Hey, man, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. You just don't know your way around cars."

The other chuckled, "Right. That's why I have to put up with you about three times a week."

"It's not that bad, man. It isn't!" Blair insisted when a few of the regular passengers rolled their eyes.

He sat down by the window, ignoring the boring chat of the tourist behind him as he watched the busy freeway. An accident had blocked the three right lanes, forcing most of the vehicles to stop and the drivers didn't look happy. He saw a truck suddenly stop in the middle of the mess, and a man getting out. He gasped as the man ran beside the slowly moving bus shouting, "Stop! Stop the bus!" and banging on the doors hard enough to crack the glass. The man seemed to be saying something else, but with all the horns blasting around them it was impossible to hear.

"This isn't a bus stop, mister!" Sam shouted, refusing to stop. 

The traffic cleared out suddenly and Sam drove away, leaving the man waving frantically behind. Blair stood watching him for the longest time, feeling something strange settling over him. Somehow he had the premonition he was going to see the blue-eyed man again. 



"Fuck!" Jim shouted as the bus drove off.

He had tried to get the driver to stop, but the man had obviously thought he was a nut. Not that he could blame him, that definitely hadn't been the best approach. He looked towards his truck, which was still caught between a few cars. 

Grabbing his shield, he stepped in front of the first vehicle driving by, "Stop! Cascade PD, get out of the car!"

"Hey, man! This is my car, I just bought it. I am *not* going to give it to just anyone who asks for it!"

"I don't have time for this!" Jim growled, aiming his gun at the annoying man. "Move over!"

"Shit!" the man shouted, crawling into the passenger seat. "Are you nuts?! You scratch this puppy, and me and you are gonna have words, you hear?"

"Whatever," Jim retorted, getting behind the wheel and chasing after the bus. 

He sped through the traffic, weaving through as fast as he dared, ignoring the frightened mutters of the man beside him. He couldn't stop, he couldn't slow down, he had to save those people. It was a race against time. 

Jim finally managed to reach the bus, driving side by side with the larger vehicle, pressing the horn a few times to get the driver's attention. His desperation skyrocketed as he realized they were going over fifty miles an hour. There was no way out now, the bomb was armed.

"Hey! I'm a cop!" he shouted to the driver.

"What?" the driver shouted back.

"I'm a cop. Cascade PD," he repeated, flashing his badge. "There's a bomb on your bus!"

"What? I can't hear you!"

"Damn, this isn't working!" he shouted, frustrated. "You have a pen and paper I can use?" he asked the car's owner.

"Yeah, give me a sec. Here. What do you want me to write?" 

"'Bomb on bus'. Hurry!"

"Geez, I can't believe this is happening!" the man moaned as he wrote the words as large as he could make them. "Done. Now what?"

"Show him the paper," Jim ordered, watching as the man rose in his seat and held the paper high in the air. He only hoped the driver understood this time.




Blair blinked as he read the words over and over again, only the frightened gasps from the passengers around him convincing him he wasn't dreaming. So that was what the man had been trying to tell them before, they had a bomb on the bus. A bomb.

"Oh, God!" he whispered, his heart hammering in his chest at the idea. Before he even knew what he was doing, he rose from his seat and joined Sam. "What now?" he asked, trying to control his fear.

"I'm going to stop the bus. He's a cop, he can do something to disarm it," Sam replied, his foot already easing from the gas pedal. 

A blast from the horn made Blair look back at the car beside them, "No! Don't slow down!" he heard the man shouting as he waved frantically. "Keep it up! Speed up!" He watched as the cop drove the car effortlessly to pass in front of them, then back alongside them, only now on their right side. "Open the doors!"

"Open the doors, Sam," he repeated, rushing to the bus's entrance when he was obeyed. "What's up, officer?"

"Tell him to stay above fifty."

"Do it, Sam," Blair said, turning to the driver. 

He saw the cop hand a cell phone to the man beside him. "Press four and ask for Captain Banks."




"Simon, it's Jim."

"Ellison, where the hell have you been? I'm up to my neck --"

"Simon, we have a problem," Jim interjected. "The Switchman blew a bus on Prospect this morning."

"Yes, I know. That's why I've been looking everywhere for you. I've --"

"That's not all, sir. There's another bus wired to blow. And the Switchman is a woman. She called right after the bus exploded. Said she wants to destroy me. Have someone look into my old files. She said I took something precious from her; I'm guessing she meant someone. Someone close, if she's this set on revenge."

"Okay, I'll call Joel. We'll be here waiting for news. If you need anything, call."

"As soon as I can, Simon. I have to go now."

"Jim... Be careful."



"I've got to get on that bus," Jim said, more to himself than to his unwilling companion.

"You're going to get yourself killed, man."

"I have no choice," he replied. Then to the young man by the doors, "Tell him to drive straight. Keep in this lane."

"Got it!"

Jim stepped on the gas, getting ahead of the bus. "What's your name?" he asked the man beside him.

"Williams. Tom Williams."

"Well, Tom, are you insured?"

"Yeah. Why? What are you doing?" Tom asked as Jim opened the driver's door, swinging it wide. "No!" he yelled as Jim suddenly slammed on the breaks. The bus rushed by them, smashing into the door and ripping it off. "My puppy!" he moaned.

"Grab the wheel," Jim ordered the distressed man.


"Take the wheel," he repeated as he drove the car alongside the bus's doors again. He moved to the edge of the seat as Tom scrambled to get into it. He stretched his body to jump, just as the bus hit a lump on the road and moved away. "Shit!" His hands grabbed the bottom of the handrail at the front of the bus, feet dragging over the pavement as he held on for dear life. He heard Tom press the horn as he moved away, then pulled himself onto the bus steps with the young man's help.

"Are you okay?" his rescuer asked, smoky blue eyes regarding him with concern.

"Yeah," he replied as he rose stiffly. "You have to stay above fifty," he said to the driver.

"Excuse me, but are you out of your mind?" the young man asked, confusion clear in his voice.

Jim turned to the passengers, figuring he had to say something to explain his actions. "Everybody, I'm Detective Jim Ellison, Cascade PD," he began, flashing his badge again. "We have a... uh, slight situation here. Please sit down," he said to the kid.

He was completely ignored. "Slight situation? We all saw the note. A bomb is *so* not a slight situation, man. What's going on?"

"Sit down! Please," he added, lowering his voice. "Everyone, just stay in your seats and remain calm. We should be able to defuse the problem."

The young man snorted, "You mean the bomb."

Before Jim could utter another word, a passenger in the back rose abruptly, gun aimed at him. "Stay away from me, pig!" he shouted, sweat running over his face.

Jim pulled out his gun and aimed it at the scared man in front of him. "I don't know you, I'm not here for you. Let's not do this," he half-begged. "Put the gun down."

The other man looked past him to the driver. "Stop the bus!"

"He can't," Jim told him softly.

"Shut up! Stop the bus! Stop it!"

"Look! Listen! I'm putting my gun away, okay?" Jim said soothingly, raising his hands in an armless gesture. He put his gun back in the holster, eyes never leaving the other man. "Now listen. I don't care what you did, that's not why I'm here. I'm not here as a cop, I just want... No!" he growled as one of the passengers suddenly jumped the armed man.

He rushed forward as the two men fought for the gun's possession, but before he could reach them a shot went off. He watched helplessly as the driver's partition shattered. The driver lurched to one side, hit in the back, the bus swerving sickeningly as the man slumped over. 

Not wanting to waste any more time, Jim punched the man twice, disarming him. When he looked back to the driver's seat, the young man was frantically trying to control the wheel, while another female passenger was unsuccessfully wrestling the injured driver out of the seat. 

"Get your foot off the pedal, Sam!" he heard the young man beg as he was cuffing the man to the seat. "I have to stop this thing!"

"No! Stay above fifty!"

"Sam's hurt! We have to get him out of here!" the kid shouted at him. 

"Slow down and this bus will explode!" he shouted back, receiving only tense silence. Two of the passengers had taken the driver off the seat and the kid was now driving the bus. Jim approached slowly, speaking loud enough for everyone to hear, "You saw the note. There's a bomb on this bus. If we slow down, it'll blow. If someone tries to get off, it'll blow."

"He's b-bleeding so much," a woman stammered as he went to look at the injured man. "I don't know what to do."

Jim took off his jacket. "Put pressure on his back and keep his legs up. Put this under his head," he told her, giving her the jacket. "Can you handle this bus?" he asked when he reached the driver's seat.

"Yeah, I guess. What are we going to do? You have a plan?"

"Just keep us above fifty. We're doing okay for now."

"That's your plan?" the young man asked, startled. "Great! We're screwed!"

Jim ignored him and grabbed his phone, dialing for Simon. "Simon, I'm on the bus," he said as soon as the captain answered.

"Jim, I have Joel here with me, he's getting ready to join you there. What do you need?"

"I don't know the first thing about bombs, I need him to tell me what to do."

"Do you know where the bomb is located?"

Jim remained silent for a moment. In all the confusion following his unorthodox arrival in the bus, he'd forgotten to search for the device. His hearing suddenly picked up the kind of ticking he associated with a bomb, along with the strong smell of the products the Switchman used to make her bombs. He tilted his head instinctively, searching for their source. He was beginning to feel disconnected with the world around him, when a hand touched his shoulder lightly. 

"Are you okay?" he heard.

His skin tingled at the contact, even through the layers of clothes he was wearing, and he was brought back from his daze. He looked into the blue eyes taking a peak at him, and smiled slightly, "Yeah, I'm okay, Chief. Simon, the bomb is under the bus."

"Joel says you have to check the bomb so he'll know how to deactivate it."

"I hate to state the obvious here, but I can't. The bus is kind of in motion."

"Excuse me!" a female voice called from behind him.

"Yes?" he turned to the woman tending to Sam, Helen; he'd heard someone calling her.

"Sam says there's an access panel on the floor, there, at the center of the bus. You can go through there."

Jim nodded, smiling his thanks at the injured man. "Thank you, Sam. Hold on, Simon," he said into the phone.

He moved over to the panel, unscrewing it and moving it aside. He held his breath as the pavement rushed beneath him as they sped along the freeway. He gave his cell phone to the guy who had jumped the armed man earlier.

"What's your name, sir?"


"Okay, Ortiz. I need you to hold my phone for me, and repeat what I tell you." He waited until the man nodded before sticking his head through the opening. 

For the next few minutes he gave Ortiz a description of the bomb, listening as he spoke into the phone and then giving him Joel's instructions. Basically, with all the triggers, traps and C4, it would be impossible for him to defuse the bomb without setting it off. It didn't look good.

"Oh, my God!" he heard the kid whisper, panic clear in his voice. "Detective!"

Jim rushed to the front of the bus, gasping as he saw a domino tide of red lights in front of them. Traffic was jamming again, and they had little place left to go before stopping themselves. 

"No!" he muttered, refusing to give up. "Get on the shoulder," he ordered.

The young man nodded, veering onto the right shoulder, blasting past the slowing traffic. About a half mile ahead they saw an exit sign. "Stay on or get off?" the kid asked. "On or off?" he shouted when Jim didn't answer immediately.

"Off! Hurry!" Jim watched as the kid steered off the freeway at the last second, onto the single lane ramp. "Hold on!" he shouted to the passengers, realizing it was a tight curb. The bus jumped the curb, taking out roadway signs, reflectors and mirrors from the cars waiting on the lane. "Keep going!"

"The light's red! We're talking cross traffic here, man!" the kid panted as he fought with the wheel, hesitating over the brake.

"Don't!" Jim moved closer, stepping on the gas pedal, causing them to rocket through the intersection. He held his breath as cars fishtailed around them, nearly colliding with the bus. A collective sigh was heard from inside the bus and Jim couldn't help grinning at the young man beside him. They had done it. They were safe, at least for the moment. "Good job, kid."

"Thanks. You realize what we've done, don't you? We left the freeway; we're back in the city. It'll be harder to stay on fifty here."

Jim squeezed a tense shoulder. "One thing at a time, Chief. We're okay for now," he said softly. "That was some impressive driving."

"Yeah, well, I spent a summer driving a rig with an uncle. It's not the same, but it helps," the young man grinned. 

"Detective?" Jim turned to see Ortiz still holding his cell phone. "Your captain wants to speak with you."

"Thanks. Simon?"

"Jim, what's going on?"

"We were forced to leave the freeway, we're in the city. There was a traffic jam, there was no other way."

"Okay. Listen, Joel is on a chopper on the way to you. We'll try to clear the roads for you and get you out of this mess. In the meantime, I have every available cop looking through your files. It's going to take some time, Jim. We're talking all the cases from your time in Vice and Major Crime."

"I know, but keep trying. At least now we know it's a woman. We have to get this nut before more people die, Simon."

"I'll keep you posted. As soon as I can, I'll join Taggert."

"Thanks, Simon." 

"Everything okay?" the kid asked once he hung up.

"Yes." He smiled gently at the concerned blue eyes looking up at him. "It's going to be okay, Chief," he promised, glad when the kid nodded.



Blair shook his head at his reaction to the man beside him. He didn't care if the man was a cop; they had a bomb on the bus, they had to keep going on fifty, they were in the middle of Cascade in rush hour, and there seemed to be no hope for their situation. And yet... he truly believed they were going to be okay. All because the blue-eyed man standing with his hand on his shoulder said so. He had to be out of his mind.

He tried to concentrate on driving instead of focusing on the cop. Something about Ellison made him pay attention in a way he had never done before. He was a ladies man, always had been. But it was impossible not to notice the man's powerful body and handsome face. It was upsetting, the way he found himself gazing at the man at the oddest of times. 

He saw a few black and whites trying to clear their way, ordering the cars away from their path, and felt himself relax for the first time since reading the note about the bomb. Maybe it *was* going to be okay.

He barely had enough time to finish that thought when he saw a school bus full of kids back out in front of the bus. "No!" he pulled the wheel hard left, swerving the bus onto the oncoming traffic. "Oh, God! I'm sorry, Jim!" 

"It's okay, you're doing fine," Jim told him, as Blair dodged the vehicles coming their way, escaping with bumping just a few.

A red light forced Blair to turn right, changing directions again to avoid stopping. His heart stopped beating for a painful moment as he suddenly saw a woman stepping out from behind a parked van with a baby carriage. He felt a sob catch in his throat as he realized there was nothing he could do; the bus smashed right into the baby carriage, sending it flying through the air as the woman jumped back.

"No... please..." he whispered brokenly, shock settling over him at the thought of killing an innocent baby. 

He didn't see Jim look back and grin happily as he watched the carriage hit the road and a hundred cans exploding out of it. But he felt the hand squeeze his shoulder, and the gentle voice in his ear, "Look in the side view mirror, Chief."

Heart hammering in his chest he obeyed, his breath rushing out of him as he saw the cans rolling all over the pavement. "Thank God!"

"There was no baby, Chief. It's okay. I --" The phone rang abruptly, cutting off whatever Jim was going to say to him, and Blair listened to the one-sided conversation as best as he could. "Simon, give me good news. Okay, that's good. You sure there's no traffic? That's great. Right, thanks." Jim closed the phone and turned to him, "We have a couple of patrol cars waiting on the next block. They're going to take us to a freeway. It's under construction, so there will be no traffic to slow us down."

"Oh, God... Yes!" Blair breathed, nearly slumping over the wheel in relief. After the scare with the baby carriage, he was ready for a little break. They made it to the freeway entrance. It was a tight fit, and the bus leaned to one side, wheels lifting off the ground for a few seconds, but they made it. "Shit! I'm never going to take the bus again. I don't care if I have to walk to Rainier."

"You're a student?" Jim asked, and Blair smiled as he realized the man was trying to calm him down a little.

"Yeah. And a TA. Anthropology. Actually, our two professions have a lot in common. Really!" he assured, when Jim gave him a doubtful look. "Part of your job is walking into a place and trying to figure out what happened there, right? Well, so is mine. It's just that mine are usually a few thousand years vacant," he grinned, pleased when Ellison smiled back.

"What's your field of study?" Jim asked him as he watched the road ahead.


"What's a sentinel?"

"Oh, man, don't get me started! Let's just say that a sentinel was someone that patrolled the borders in the old tribes, like a watchman, you know? The sentinel would watch for approaching enemies, change in the weather, movement of game. Tribe survival depended on it. They were chosen because of a genetic advantage. A sensory awareness that could be developed beyond normal humans, usually by spending time alone in the wild." 

"And you think these people really exist?" Jim asked, giving him a look Blair couldn't quite understand.

"I've been trying to find the real thing for years, someone with five heightened senses. I haven't had any luck so far, but I know that someone's out there. And to answer your question, yes, I do believe sentinels are real. I mean, there are certain manifestations today of maybe one or two hyperactive senses, like taste and smell, people who work for coffee and perfume companies. Oh, and in Vietnam, the Army long-range recon units that had to --"

"Change their diet to fish and rice because a Cong scout could smell a Westerner by his waste," Jim finished for him, his voice sounding a little off.

"Right. I've got hundreds and hundreds of documented cases of one or two hyperactive senses but not one single subject with all five. But he's out there somewhere, I just know it. Hey, man, you okay?" he asked, not liking how pale Ellison looked at the moment.

"I'm fine. What's your name?"

"Blair. Blair Sandburg."

"Nice to meet you, Blair," Jim grinned, and Blair couldn't help but chuckle.

"Well, man, don't take this the wrong way, but I wish we could've met under different circumstances. This isn't like a typical day for you, is it?" he asked, but Jim just grinned at him. "Never mind. I don't think I want to know," he mumbled, feeling like sticking his tongue out at Jim's overly amused gaze. 

They smiled at each other for a moment, then Blair looked back to the road with an embarrassed flush. Obvious much? He thought ruefully to himself. "So, why is this all happening, Jim? Did we bomb this guy's country or something?"

"It's a woman, and it's my fault."

"Man, what did you do? Stand her up? Hell hath no fury and all that?"

"Ever heard of the Switchman?"

Blair sucked in a startled breath. "This was done by the Switchman? Oh, man! Now I remember where I've seen you before; you're the cop in charge of the investigation. But why is she doing this?"

"Revenge. We still don't know who she is, so I can't tell you much. But she's definitely out to get me. My captain is trying to search through my files, trying to find a link between this woman and my old cases. This is all a game to her; a cat and mouse play to see which one of us will win. If this bus blows, she'll win."

"And if you win?"

Jim sighed. "Unfortunately, the way things are going now, tomorrow we'll play another game. Until we know who she is and where she is, we can't win. Not completely anyway."



"What's that?" Blair asked suddenly.

Jim turned, seeing what looked like a flatbed truck, several SWAT men on top. "Joel Taggert. He's our bomb expert," Jim replied, before moving to the bus's steps. "Hey, Joel. What's up?"

"Let's start unloading the passengers."

Jim shook his head. "Can't. She told me if we tried, the bus would blow." He pointed to the news choppers hovering above them. "And I bet she's watching. Crazy, not stupid, remember?" His cell phone rang again. "Simon?"

"No. It's me," the female voice he identified as the Switchman drawled. "You're not going to be a bad boy and try to get the passengers out like it looks on TV, are you? I warned you what would happen, Ellison."

Jim gritted his teeth, trying to control his anger. "No, I'm not. But you have to let me get one out."

"I don't have to do anything!" she snapped.

"Please... The driver's been shot; he's in bad shape. You wouldn't want to spoil the game just yet, would you? Let him go, the others stay, I promise."


"Please?" he pleaded.

"Ellison, are you begging?" she asked in mock surprise.

"Yes, damnit! I'm begging! You'll still have a bus full of people to kill, one less won't make the least bit difference. Please --"

She sighed happily. "Never thought I'd hear the great, stoic Jim Ellison beg. Oh, all right, you can try to unload the driver. Tell the little wolf behind the wheel not to slow down, or else..." she purred before hanging up.

"Okay," Jim rushed to the passengers. "We're going to get Sam out. Just him for now, but it looks good. Ortiz, I'm going to need your help."

"What about the rest of us?" Helen asked, nervously.

"We're trying everything we can, Helen. Don't give up on me now, okay?" He moved to the steps. "Joel, she's letting us unload the driver. Pull up alongside us."


"Ortiz, grab his arms. Carefully, so it doesn't hurt him more." He grabbed Sam's legs. "A few more minutes and you'll be in a cozy hospital bed, Sam."

"Thank you," the man nodded weakly. 

They lifted him up gently, walking him slowly to the opened door. Joel had the truck right beside them; two men ready to grab the injured man as soon as he was within reach. Jim stood on the bottom step, inching as close as he could, allowing the SWAT men to hold Sam and push him over to them.

Once the exchange was made, Jim sighed in relief and moved back inside the bus. "I think he's going to be --"

"Wait!" Helen shouted, leaping out of her seat and rushing to the door, panic etched on her face. 

"No!" Jim tried to reach for her, but he was too late.

As Helen extended her hand to one of the SWAT guys, Jim heard a soft click and the bus's front steps exploded, knocking him back into Blair, and causing the bus to swerve dangerously. He watched in sickening fascination as Helen fell onto the pavement, already dead from the blast.

A desperate silence settled over the bus as Jim sat on the floor at Blair's feet, staring at the hole where the steps had been. Failure fell heavily upon his shoulders. He had lost another precious life. Each single one weighed upon him, making him responsible even if it wasn't his fault. He had to catch that woman. He just had to. 

He dialed Simon's number. "Simon, get the choppers out of here," he demanded flatly.

"Joel told me what happened. Are you okay?"

"No. This is... this can't be happening, Simon. I can't take responsibility for all of these lives, it's not fair. What if... What if I can't save them?" he whispered brokenly before hanging up.

He felt a hand rubbing his shoulder gently. "I trust you," he heard, raising his head to look into Blair's too-bright eyes.

"Are you okay, Chief?"

Blair sniffed slightly. "No," echoing Jim's own answer.

Jim knelt beside him, hand unconsciously carding through the long, curly locks. "What's wrong?"

The young man took a deep breath, "When the bomb went off..." he shook his head, a lost look crossing over the expressive face. "When it blew, I thought that was it, we were all going to die. And when I saw Helen fall..."

"You were glad you were still alive," Jim understood.

Blair nodded shakily. "Yes. God, I'm sorry! I don't --"

"Shhh, it's okay. You are allowed to feel glad, Chief. We all are, I know I am. It doesn't mean you didn't care about Helen, or that you won't hurt for her. It just makes you human."

Blair smiled at him, a weak but genuine smile. "So, did you take psych 101 or what?"

Jim grinned. "Nah, just used to handling hysterical people," he chuckled at Blair's mock punch.

"You're an asshole, Ellison." Jim noticed he looked better, calmer. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. We should be okay for a while, so take it easy. We haven't lost yet." He rose to his feet, then looked at the bruised, dazed passengers. "Everybody okay?" he asked, receiving a weak chorus of 'yeahs'. "Good." 

His sight seemed to reach out on its own volition and he thought back to his conversation with Blair about sentinels. Amazing how after days of agonizing about what was wrong with him, a chance meeting would allow him to learn the truth. He was a God-damn sentinel. Could life get any weirder?

He looked down at the young man driving the bus. He took his time gazing at the handsome face, the smoky blue eyes, the chestnut hair. His lips twitched upwards as he noticed the flush on Blair's cheeks; apparently the kid had noticed his thorough observation. Once they were out of this mess he was going to ask him out. To talk about sentinels... among other things.

He turned his attention back to the road. An idea suddenly sprung to mind as he recognized the large building rising on the horizon. "Get off! Get off the freeway! Go there!" he nearly shouted.

Blair obeyed and turned to the right exit ramp. "This will take us to the International Airport, Jim."

"I know. We can't keep going forever, Blair. Sooner or later there would be traffic again. This way we're covered. Just keep going."

Blair drove the bus through the airport gate, shredding the tires on the entrance spikes, and forcing the helicopters above them to veer off, away from the air traffic. 

"Keep going," Jim ordered.

"We have no tires."

"Keep going, Blair!"

The young man drove them onto a taxiway just as a 747 thundered overhead. "This sucks, man! There's no way I can stay clear of any landing planes."

"I know, but tower can direct the planes to other airports. Keep us circling around the runways while I think of something." He watched a small van following them, Joel waving from the side. He waved back, relieved. It helped to know that backup was close by. Just in case.

He moved back to Blair's side just as his phone rang. "Hello."

"Very nice, Ellison," the 'Switchman' complimented. "Some close calls, but you've made it. I have to confess I never believed you'd make it this far. And some nice thinking there, using the airport runways to stay clear of traffic. Now I know why you made detective," she laughed. "And you may think you've gotten ahead now that I can't follow what's going on in the news, but don't start partying yet. I'm not through with you. You, the little wolf and every innocent soul on that bus, belong to me," she told him, hanging up.

Jim leaned against the window, seething. He was going to strangle that bitch with his bare hands when they caught her. In a fit of rage, he threw his phone on the floor. "Fuck!"

"Jim? Jim, come on, don't fold on me now! We can't let her win, remember? Jim!" He turned to look at Blair, who gave him a weak smile, "We need you, man. Keep your cool, okay? We're still here, still giving her a run for her money. Don't go all crazy on me now."

Jim watched the expressive face for a long time, seeing the fear, but also the courage shining there. He nodded, his gaze settling on Blair's neck. "I'll be damned!" he whispered, feeling like laughing suddenly. Maybe they could make it after all.

"What?" Blair asked with a frown.

"The two times she mentioned you, she called you 'little wolf'. I didn't understood until now." Blair was wearing an Indian necklace, with a wolf's head in the middle. "She was talking about your necklace. She can see you."

Blair began to speak, but Jim stopped him. "Wait." He leaned against the windshield, looking around the front of the bus slowly until he saw a small camera. He knelt beside the young man again. "There's a small camera behind the big convex mirror. That's how she's been keeping track of us. It's right in your face, she can probably see the whole bus."

"Can't she hear us as well?" Blair asked worriedly.

"Don't think so."

"What now?"

"Pray the cell phone is as resistant as they publicized it," Jim quipped, grabbing the small piece of equipment, and sighing as he realized it was still working. Making sure he was out of camera range, he called Simon. "Simon, I think I know a way of getting us out of here. Where are you?"

"In the van with Joel. What can we do?"

"Are any of the news crews still around?"

"Yes, there's one just to our left."

"Good. Time to turn the tables on our bomber. Here's what I need -- the Switchman has been using a camera to check on us. Get them to pick up the signal and record the inside of the bus for a while. When I tell you to, have them play back the tape. Hopefully, that will give us enough time to get everyone out of the bus."

"We're on it. Joel is already speaking to a crew guy. Okay, we have you on the screen now."

"Wait a second," Jim reached for his keys, uncuffing the guy who had shot Sam from the seat. "Behave. Like I've said before, I'm not here for you." When the man nodded meekly, he turned to the other passengers. "People, I'm sure you've heard my plan. Now, I need you to remain as still as possible. No big movements, try to remain frozen. Okay? Good. Simon, give me a few seconds then tell them to start recording."

"Got it. Joel's on the way with an airport truck."

Jim moved closer to Blair, then stood as still as the moving bus allowed. Figuring about three minutes was enough; he got back to the phone call. "Simon, it should be enough. Tell the guy to loop the tape."

"Just say when, Jim."

"Do it!" he shouted into the phone when he saw the airport truck pulling alongside them. "Everyone to the back doors. Blair open the doors."


Joel tossed him a length of two by four and a piece of rope. "Use it to rig the gas pedal and steering wheel, Jim. And start sending those nice people out," he finished with a smile as he set a wooden panel between the two vehicles. 

"Okay, people. Let's move, one by one, slowly. Don't look down, just keep going. Blair, how you doing?" Jim asked, approaching. He knew Joel would take good care of the passengers. He just needed to make sure Blair was okay.

"I'm doing okay."

"Good. Let's rig this thing," he said, beginning to tie the rope to the wheel. "Got it. Come on, everyone's already on the truck but us." They were moving to the back of the bus when it suddenly swerved to the right, causing them to stumble to the floor. "What the --"

"It's the tires, they're peeling off, Jim."

"Shit! Come on," he helped Blair up, pulling him towards the door. He walked through the panel, reaching the truck safely, then turned to Blair. "Come on, Chief. Give me your hand."

Blair moved to the panel, his hand reaching towards Jim just as the left tire peeled completely, making the bus swerve again. The wooden panel slipped away, causing Blair to fall with a shout. Jim was able to grab his hand, saving him from being run over by the bus. He pulled until Blair's upper body was resting on the truck's steps, feet skidding on the pavement, dangerously close to the rear wheels.

"Jim!" Blair whispered, frightened eyes locking with his.

"I won't let you go!" he vowed, grabbing for Blair's other hand and pulling with all his might. He felt Ortiz and Joel beside him, helping him, and soon he had his arms full of Blair. "I've got you," he whispered tenderly. "I've got you," he repeated, wrapping his arms around the sturdy frame and holding on tightly. 

He felt Blair sigh, then relax completely against him. He missed the warmth of the younger man's body as Blair finally moved back to look at him. "Thanks, man. I was *so* not ready to die today!"

"You're welcome," Jim smiled gently, fingers running through the wild locks. "Joel, get us out of here."

"Your wish is my command," Joel quipped, waving to the SWAT man driving. 

Everyone in the truck held their breaths as they watched the bus rolling under the wings of a parked 747, then between two jumbos before plowing head first into a DC10, exploding into a huge ball of fire and shower of metal. 

"Okay?" Jim asked, turning to Blair, both still sitting on the truck's floor.

He got a beautiful, wide smile in return for his question. "Oh, yeah! There's never a dull moment around you, is there?"

"Nope," Jim grinned.

"Thought so," Blair sighed contentedly. 

The truck stopped beside the police van and a couple of ambulances, and Jim made sure that every passenger was checked over by the paramedics before being taken to the hospital. 

"Jim!" He turned to watch Simon running up to him. "How are you doing?"

"Fine. We beat her again, Simon, we're finally getting somewhere. This is Blair Sandburg, by the way. Blair, Captain Simon Banks, my boss."

The two men shook hands. "That was some impressive driving, Sandburg," the big man praised.

"Thank you," Blair replied, swaying tiredly towards Jim.

Jim turned to the young man. "Think you can go back to the station with us, Chief? We could get your statement, then I'll take you home."

"Sure, why not? As long as you promise to take me home afterwards. Otherwise, I might be forced to sleep on your desk," Blair remarked with a smile as Jim steered him towards the van, hand resting at the small of his back. 



There was something wrong. They had been still for way too long, she decided suddenly, her eyes locking on Ellison's frame standing beside the hippie. Funny, how he was right in the kid's personal space; she had never expected that from tough-guy Ellison. It didn't matter; it was time to finish the game.

She pressed the button, detonating the bomb, but instead of witnessing an explosion, everything remained just as before. She was still looking at the people inside the bus; they were still circling the runways. "It's impossible... What the hell is going on?"

She began paying attention to what she was seeing. On the screen one of the passengers dropped a bag. There was a glitch and the bag was back in her hands. Over and over again, always the same. 

It was then that she finally realized it -- she was watching a recording. She stood facing the TV for a long time, eyes wide, rage simmering. A scream rose in her throat and she let it out until she couldn't hold it any longer. Ellison had cheated. She was going to make him pay for that, dearly. And she knew just the way.



Blair leaned against the building's wall with a tired sigh. Hard to imagine it was only lunchtime. The morning had been longer than most of his days. 

He watched the cars driving by and the people walking past him while he waited for Jim to exit the station. His statement was signed, now all he wanted was to go home and sleep for a week. He had even managed to call one of his TA friends and get her to cover all his classes for the next three days. He was scot-free.

He had left Jim having a last minute talk with his captain and gone down to get some fresh air. Having been trapped in that bus for so long, he was feeling decisively claustrophobic.

A uniformed cop approached him. "Excuse me?"

"Yes, officer?"

"I'm supposed to take you home."

Blair frowned at the woman. "I'm sorry, there has to be some mistake, I'm waiting for Detective James Ellison."

She smiled gently. "I know. He got a call from his brother. Their father had some kind of accident and was taken to the hospital, so he can't take you home. I'm the designated driver."

"I didn't see him leaving," Blair insisted, knowing it was silly to feel so disappointed, but unable to stop himself.

"He caught a ride with one of the patrols. They left through the garage," she replied, impatience coloring her voice, and making him feel like a dork for not having thought of that.

"Oh. Sure, let's go then."

"Come on, follow me to the garage. We can take one of the patrol cars."

Blair followed the woman feeling a kind of dread he couldn't quite understand. There was nothing he could point his finger at, but something wasn't right. 

They were taking possession of one of the black and whites, when he saw a man parking a truck to the side, which looked just like Jim's. "Hey, isn't that Ellison's truck?" he asked aloud, and the man locking the door turned and smiled.

"Yeah. The nut left it in the middle of the fucking freeway. It's a miracle it survived without even a scratch, especially considering how many vehicles the man goes through a year," he waved and moved to the elevator, soon disappearing from view.

Suddenly the dread turned into full-fledged panic and he knew he wasn't going anywhere. He would wait for Jim back at the station if he had to. "I'm sorry," he said, trying to control his voice. "I think I'm having delayed shock or something. I just can't... I'll go back upstairs and wait --"

"No, you won't." He started to turn, but something in her voice made him look back at her. She was aiming her gun at him, eyes cold as she smiled evilly. "You're not going anywhere, little wolf."

He gasped. "You're the Switchman? Wha --? What do you want?"

"At the moment? You. Hands in the air. And don't move or I'll shoot you where you stand, understand?"

He nodded, helpless to do anything as she strapped what looked like C4 plastic to his chest. "What are you doing?"

"Making sure Ellison doesn't cheat this time. I just wrapped ten pounds of C4 to your chest. That should keep him in line."

"Why are you doing this?"

"You mean blowing the hell out of Cascade?" she grinned, before her eyes turned cold again. "Ellison's responsible for my father's death. And yet, he's still working for the 'good guys', playing the hero. I wanted to make him look bad, make the world see what he was really like." 

"But why are you doing this to me? I have nothing to do with you or your father."

"Because it'll hurt Ellison. He seems to like you a lot. Let's see if he likes you enough to try and save you."



"Hey, Ellison! Your truck's in the garage!"

Jim turned and smiled at his fellow officer. "Thanks, Rafe. God bless you."

The other snorted, "Yeah, right. Who's the kid downstairs?"

"Kid?" Jim frowned.

"Yeah. Blue eyes, long, curly hair, looks like a neo-hippie. Was by the garage with one of the uniform rookies. Knew it was your truck, so I figured it was a friend. He didn't look too good, though."

"He's one of the bus passengers," Simon replied. "How did you know he was with one of the rookies? They aren't supposed to be here until tomorrow."

"Well, I've never seen her before, sir. They were by a patrol car so --"

"There's something wrong, Simon," Jim interjected, urgency clear in his tone. "Blair was supposed to be alone waiting for me. And by the main entrance, not the garage. It's got to be the Switchman," he snarled, bolting for the stairs.

"Damn! Rafe, get some backup, tell them to meet us at the garage, I'm going with Jim!"

"Yes, sir!"

They rushed down the stairs, but the garage was already empty. The hatch leading to the sewer system was opened, and both men exchanged a glance before jumping down, guns ready. Jim heard a heart beating frantically ahead of them and ran towards the sound. His sight caught a shadow in the corner and he aimed his gun at it. "Freeze! Turn around!"

The shadow stopped, turning slowly, face coming into the light and both cops gasped. It was Blair, chest wrapped in C4 and looking half scared out of his wits.

"I'm sorry," the young man whispered, voice quivering slightly. "I didn't know who she was." 

"Jesus!" Simon breathed heavily. "That bitch!"

"It's okay, Chief. Everything's going to --"

An emergency door on the side of the tunnel opened suddenly, and a young woman dressed as a beat cop stepped out. She was holding what Jim knew was called a deadman's stick, the bomb's detonator, in her hand. "Gentlemen," she smiled widely. "We finally meet face to face, Ellison."

"Who are you? Why are you doing this?" Jim growled, murderous rage ready to be set free.

"You let him die, you let my father die," she said softly, eyes bright with unshed tears. "You let them all die."

Jim frowned in confusion. "What?"

"You want to know who I am? Does the name Sarris mean anything to you?"

"Sarris?" His eyes widened as he understood what she was saying. "He was your father? God... I --"

"You left me alone," she accused, voice strangely flat.

"No! Your father was my friend; I'd never hurt him. I tried to save his life, you've got to believe that." He took a deep breath. "Please stop this. Get the C4 off him and let him go."

"No," she said, shaking her head slowly. "Time's up, Ellison."

Jim aimed his gun high again, feeling Simon do the same. "Let. Him. Go!" 

Sarris looked at him, an almost fond expression on her face. "I don't think so, Jim. The game's not over yet." Then she bolted through the emergency door, pulling Blair with her, and slamming it shut behind them. 

Jim snarled as he reached for the door and found it locked. "Simon, go back up and find out whatever you can about her. Her father served with me in my Special Forces unit. He died in Peru. Shouldn't be too hard."

"What about you? What are you going to do?"

"I'm going after them. This is it, I'm not letting her get away again."

"Okay, but be careful."

Jim was oblivious to Simon's departure. He aimed the gun at the door and blew the handle to pieces with a couple of shots. Tugging it open, he groaned as he suddenly found himself in the subway station that ran under the PD. There were people running and screaming everywhere as Sarris shot a few rounds into the air to scare them away, and tried to pull a resisting Blair into the train at the same time. 

"Stop fighting me!" he heard her yell, finally tugging Blair inside the deserted subway train. "Want me to push the button and blow us both to Kingdom Come?" she threatened angrily.

"No," was the whispered reply, and Jim felt like killing her again. Blair had been through enough; he didn't need to be dragged throughout Cascade with a bomb strapped to his chest and a madwoman by his side.

Just as the train began to pull out of the station, Jim sprinted through the platform, jumping and grabbing the end of the fourth car. He opened the connecting doors, stepping inside the train, and after retrieving his gun from the holster began to make his way to the front, passing the other cars one by one. It was time to end the game.



Blair took a deep breath, trying to slow his heart rate as Sarris cuffed him to a vertical hand pole. He kept hoping that it was all a nightmare; that he was going to wake up any minute and find himself in his bed, grinning at the incredibly weird dream he had been having. But it wasn't happening; he wasn't waking up because it wasn't a nightmare, it was reality.

"Grab this," she ordered, handing him the deadman's stick. "And don't drop it."

He took the detonator into his hand, watching as Sarris moved to the front of the car. The driver suddenly walked out of the compartment, blinking as he took in the scene before him. "What the --"

Before he could utter another word, Sarris shot him four times at point-blank range, sending the man flying back into the compartment. Two more shots and she had destroyed the control panel. 

"Are you nuts?" Blair shouted, trying to control his growing hysteria. "Now there's no way of stopping the train!" He leaned his forehead against the pole. "God, this is insane..."

She approached him slowly, brushing the hair out of his face, "Shhh, little wolf, it's okay. I know you're scared. But it's not going to hurt, I promise."

"Please let me go," he begged softly.

"I'm sorry, I can't."

"Let him go," a voice growled from behind them.

Blair felt like crying when he recognized the voice. "Jim!"

"Hey, Chief. You okay?"

Blair never got a chance to answer. Sarris swung around, firing her gun at Jim, barely giving him enough time to jump out of the flying bullets way. They spent a few minutes trading shots, the young man watching helplessly as Jim suddenly ran out of ammo, his gun clicking repeatedly. 

Sarris laughed delightedly, "Well, well, well... Seems like luck is on my side! I thought every boy scout's motto was 'Be prepared'. Should've brought more clips, Ellison. Why don't you join us?" 

Blair saw Jim leave the safety of his hideout and approach the woman wearily. Before the cop could move any closer she fired a single shot, hitting him in the arm. Jim took a step back, clutching at his arm, face etched with agony.

"I guess you're not Superman, after all," she remarked. "Too bad. I'm almost disappointed with how easy this is going to be." She aimed her gun at Jim's head. "Good-bye, Ellison."

"No!" Blair raised his leg, pushing Sarris with all his strength and propelling her towards Jim, who didn't waste any time. He punched her twice, knocking her unconscious and letting her fall to the floor.

"Good move, Chief."

"Thanks," Blair huffed. "How's the arm?"

"I'll live," Jim replied dryly, tying a handkerchief to the injury. "Let's get that bomb off of you," he said with a soft smile. Blair remained still as Jim took off the vest and defused the C4, neutralizing the deadman's stick. "There. Let me go stop this damn train and we're home free."

"You can't. She shot the control panel to pieces."

"Damn! We've got to jump, Chief," Jim told him, using his key to open the cuffs holding him captive.

"That won't work, not at this speed. I didn't make it this far to die with a broken neck, man. Not to mention the rails are electrified. There's got to be another way, man!" he whispered desperately, turning to look out the window. He felt Jim wrapping his arms around his waist from behind and leaned against the other man. "I don't want to die, Jim," he breathed. "There's so much I still want to do. It's not fair."

"We're not done yet, Blair. There's got to be --"

Blair felt the body behind him tense and turned his head. Jim was looking intently at a map on the wall. It showed the subway line they were on. Ahead of them there was a big curve, then the end of the line, which was still under construction.

Their eyes locked. "Jim, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" he quipped weakly.

Jim nodded. "We can make it go faster, speed it up. Maybe it'll jump the tracks."

"You have any idea how insane that sounds, Ellison?" Blair asked, hearing the desperate humor in his own voice.

"It's our only chance, Blair."

Blair nodded. "I know. Do it."

He watched Jim rush to the driver's compartment and turn a knob all the way down, nearly falling to the ground as the speed doubled. The cop came back then, giving him a curt nod. "It's done. No backing down now."

Their eyes locked anew, a different fire burning inside them now. Jim reached for him, hand caressing his stubbled cheek tenderly, and Blair nuzzled into the calloused hand, closing his eyes with a soft sigh. Lips ghosted over his in a feathery kiss, then deepened the contact as he opened his mouth to allow invasion. His mouth was ravaged, plundered and explored thoroughly, before he was permitted to breathe again.

"Wow," he sighed, blinking at the man standing in front of him.

"I had to do it," Jim confessed. "Just in case."

Nothing more was said as they laid down on the floor, Jim covering him protectively, as they waited for the tunnel to reach its end. They braced themselves against the impact, holding tightly to each other as the lights flicked on and off around them. 

Blair felt the train hit the curve, wheels screeching loudly as it suddenly left the rails and continued to speed through the unfinished ramp, steel pillars breaking the front car in half. Relieved of the extra weight their car kept skidding through the ramp, rolling through the dusty path until it finally crashed through the tunnel's wall and fell down in the middle of the street.

It took Blair a moment to realize they had stopped and that they were still alive. He looked up at the man blanketing him and grinned. "You never did answer my question."

"What question?" Jim asked, still looking half dazed.

"This wasn't like a typical day for you, was it?"

A moan to their left caught their attention and they turned towards the sound, seeing a barely conscious Sarris clutching at her head and blinking owlishly at them. "What hit me?" she asked, causing them to laugh, their mirth bordering on hysteria.

When their laughter had finally died down, Blair looked at the cop again, a wide grin crossing his face. "Well, was it?"

Jim ran his fingers through his hair, and Blair felt his heart hurt at the tenderness shining in his eyes, "You'll just have to stick around and find out."

"I can do that," he breathed, arching against the body holding him down.


"Yeah," Blair managed before his lips were captured for another hungry kiss.



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