Dan said he'd try to work something out," Simon reported as he drove them to the station in his car.

"Thank you Simon," Blair breathed a sigh of relief from the backseat, Peking's cage cradled protectively in his arms.

"No promises Blair but we'll try to save the duck," Jim comforted.


Cascade PD Central Precinct

"Once they arrived at the station, they all headed down to the morgue.

"Thanks Dan," Jim smiled.

"No problem Jim. Thomas, this is Simon Banks, Jim Ellison, Blair Sandberg, and a matching set of small friends that I assume are the escape artists Beau and Dev. I told you about them. Everyone my brother Thomas," Dan Wolfe waved to the speaker. I called Tom for some help on this, he's a veterinarian."

"I owe you dinner then," Jim promised.

"Just get Blair to make up a batch of his Ostrich chili for me when Tom comes to town," Dan laughed.

Dan peeled Blair's hands off the cage and moved it over to a table. "This is our patient I assume," Dan looked in at the beady eyed duck glaring out at him. "What's the problem?"

"We think the duck is being used to pass a message," Simon explained.

"So you're saying the duck is a carrier pigeon?" Dan chuckled.

"Peking," Blair said.

"Huh?" Dan looked up in puzzlement.

"Peking, it's his name." Blair smiled ruefully

"Oh, Peking . . . the duck." Dan looked at the uncomfortable Ellison. "Peking is not dinner but a pet?"

"Iffen he wath dinner I'd a jutht wrung hith neck but Unca Bear cain't eat thomething he'th met," Beau explained.

"Alright then let's see if we can fix Blair's duck," Dan smiled warmly.

"You work on dead people," Beau looked confused.

"Yes, I try to find out how and why they died, but I am a real doctor," Dan explained.

"And yer brother Thomath ith a critter doctor." Beau nodded in satisfaction.

"I think I'm going to have that put on my sign," Thomas warm voice filled the room. "It has more pazzaz then animal doctor."

"Dev thhow Doc Wolfe where that thing ith," Beau said moving back.

Dev opened the cage and urged Peking out. He touched the bulge on Peking's breast and looked up at the Coroner.

"Hmm," Dan ran gentle fingers over the spot. Peking tilted his head down as if trying to see what had everyone so curious. "Thomas, there is definitely something hard in his crop. It's approximately the size of my little finger."

"Whatever it is, that's big enough to cause a blockage," Thomas got down to business.

"You're going to kill him?" Blair asked shakily.

"I think he'th talkin' thurgery, Unca Bear," Dev soothed.


Peking lay on a scrubbed table while Dan worked following the verbal directions of his brother while Beau handed him implements.

"Here's the culprit. It's a metal capsule of some kind." Dan dropped the capsule into a pan, then began to close his patient.

"Peking is doing fine. He'll wake up in just a little while." Jim knelt down by the distressed Devin.

Dev's sad eyes lingered on the doors to the coolers. "Dead people." Dev signed.

"I shouldn't have brought you two in here," Jim groaned, wrapping the little boy in his powerful arms. "How did you know? That there are bodies in here."

"Momma." Dev signed shakily.

"You saw your momma in a place like this?" Jim hissed in horror.

"Uncle showed me she was dead," Dev signed in agitation.

Ellison growled and cuddled the boy closer. "One of your uncle's took both of you to the morgue." Jim whispered hoarsely.

"No Daddy Blue's brother," Dev signed quickly.

"Ashburn," Jim hissed, his low opinion of Ashburn Dumont slipping even lower.

"Beau was still asleep," Dev signed and snuggled closer.

"Beau was asleep when Ashburn brought you to the place like this?" Jim asked softly.

Dev nodded.

Ellison looked over to where the other twin watched curiously while Dan sutured Peking.

"Dev do you remember the accident?" Jim asked gently.

Dev nodded shakily and began to sign.

"It took a long time before they found you?" Jim asked, making sure he understood Dev's signs.

Dev nodded looking up he moved his hands shakily.

"Your mother's head was laying in your lap?" Jim translated faintly. That's enough to screw you up big time.

Tears ran down Dev's face as he signed more.

"You screamed for a long time?" Jim asked.

"Beau was asleep. He didn't see," Dev 'said'.

"You haven't told anyone? Not even your Tad?" Jim questioned shakily.

Dev shook his head no before laying it on Ellison's shoulder. The small body shook with silent sobs.

Blair's troubled eyes met Jim's over the boy's head.

Jim mouthed 'later' as he rubbed Dev's trembling back.


The Loft

Peking was carefully positioned head tucked under his wing, lying on one of Jim's old sweatshirts in a caged off area by the balcony doors, sleeping off the anesthesia.

"He's going to be fine Blair. Eat your dinner," Simon ordered.

"Shouldn't he be awake by now?" Blair asked.

"He's fine, Chief. Let him sleep it off," Jim responded.

"What about the capthule?" Beau asked quietly.

"We're trying to figure out what to do with it now," Simon answered after considerable thought. "I guess we'll call Treasury in the morning."

"Li Pong thaid ta give it ta Unca Ez," Beau said determinedly.

Dev nodded in agreement.

"It probably has something to do with the case she's working boys," Simon began.

"Thhe'd have a contact or a dead drop ta uthe fer paththing on information. Givin' it ta uth indicateth that fer thome reathon it ain't thafe ta uthe them," Beau huffed impatiently.

Jim, Blair and Simon exchanged startled looks.

"He's got a point," Blair said thoughtfully.

"A real good point. She could be compromised or for some reason the pick-up is unavailable," Jim muttered remembering several of his own cases.

"Or there'th a leak in her department," Beau said.

"Now don't get worked up over . . . ," Simon soothed.

"Won't be tha firtht time it'th happened," Beau scowled. "It'th why Unca Chrith will only let Unca Ez work for another unit if one of the uncleth ith there for back up."

"So we have to decide if it's safer to wait and give this to Ezra or work on it ourselves?" Simon huffed.

"Have you reported this?" Jim looked over at Simon.

"Not yet," Simon sighed. "Alright, I'll wait 'til Monday before I act on this. Hopefully I can hand this off to Larabee before then."

"Thank you, Unca Thimon," Beau said. "I think it'th important thith getth ta Unca Ez."


"They went to sleep easier than I'd have thought," Blair sighed as he sank down on to the couch.

"They're worn out," Jim fidgeted with his beer bottle.

"You figure Beau will have a nightmare?" Blair asked.

"No telling," Jim groaned. "We better try to sleep while we can."

"Hey, Peking's moving around." Blair hopped up and hurried over to the wobbly quacker. "You think I should get him some water?"

"I don't think he's coordinated enough to drink it," Jim grinned, watching Blair support the tilting duck. "I have a feeling if you turn off the lights he'll lay down and go back to sleep."

"Here, get back on your nest. That's a good boy, now lay down." Blair urged. "Here let me straighten you out. You'll get a stiff neck laying on your back like that."

"Kids and their pets," Ellison huffed.

"I never had a pet," Blair muttered.

Oh no! Not the puppy eyes. Peking will be much happier with room to run around. Dev and Beau will take good care of him. Besides he'll have a girlfriend.

"Yeah, I know. I don't think you can litter train a duck." Blair stepped over the boxes being used to pen the duck.

Jim sighed, watching as Blair looked back at the drunken duck. What kind of pet is quiet, doesn't smell and can handle our weird hours? Fish and snakes aren't very cuddly. Wouldn't be fair to a dog, locked up in the loft all day. Cat? It would get on the counters. There's the dreaded litter box but maybe Blair could figure something out. Ferret? They stink. No birds., rabbits chew, hamsters run on those little wheels all night. I'm not having a rat in my house. Maybe I'll check out those Sugar Glider things that we saw at the zoo. They were cute. "Good Night, Blair," Jim called as he headed up the stairs after checking on the twins in Blair's room one last time.

"Night, Jim." Blair settled in his nest on the couch as the lights went out.


3:35 am

Blair and Jim sat in the living room, each of them holding a sleeping boy.

"Poor little guys," Blair carefully settled Beau onto the nest they had created on the rug. "You figure it was being in the morgue tonight. I never even thought about it until I saw you with Dev. I guess he could have seen one on TV or something."

"Dev's been in one before but he's not talking about it," Jim sighed. He rubbed the little sentinel's back as a soft sob came from the sleeping child.

"I missed most of Dev's 'talk' down in the morgue. What did he say?" Blair questioned.

"Beau was unconscious. Dev was 'alone' in the car for a long time." Jim whispered.

He remembers the wreck?" Sandberg asked softly.

"He screamed for a long time," Jim said flatly.

"I can't help if you don't talk to me Jim," Blair reminded. Those damn protective shields. He's hiding behind the blank face. Dev said something that's making Jim hurt bad.

"Dev said his mom's head was in his lap."

"And?" Blair questioned, trying to understand.

"Blair, where's the safest place to put a carseat?" Jim asked calmly.

"In the back . . . seat. You're saying she was . . . That her head was . . . OH GOD!" Sandberg gagged.

"Yes," Jim said emotionlessly.

Blair leapt up and rushed to the bathroom where he vomited violently.

Jim sat silently on the couch comforting Dev in the only way he knew how. He's a sentinel. He can never forget. It's going to be there all his life, in glorious Technicolor, complete with smell and touch. How in hell can we fix that? Ellison sighed. If I take out the defendant and his lawyer, Milton . . . Vin and his team will be free to come and get them. It's damn tempting.

A very pale Blair returned and sat down. "Does Vin know?"

"I'm not sure but I'm going to tell him about this," Jim sighed.

"I need to get on line. I seem to remember a lecturer that came to Rainer. He dealt with PTSD in children." Blair frowned.

Jim smiled faintly. That's my Guppy, already trying to figure out how to help.

Blair's eyes widened and he gulped loudly as a solid thump was heard. Jim stared silently at the shoe laying on the rug.

"Blair isn't that one of the dress shoes that goes with your PD uniform?" Jim asked softly.

"Yeah, it is," Blair leaned foreword for a closer look and nodded.

"Why is a dragon chewing on your shoe?" Jim demanded quietly.

"Because he's teething?" Blair muttered.

"Why did you give the dragon your left dress shoe?" Jim looked over.

"The wolf pup has the right one," Blair smiled sweetly.

"Okay, just keep them away from my sneakers, alright?" Jim shifted around until he could rest his head on the back of the couch. Still holding Dev against his chest he closed his eyes.

"Hey . . . asleep, just like that he fell asleep. Well it gives me a chance to try and find that lecturer. . . Maybe later, man this is a comfortable couch," Blair mumbled snuggling into the cushions and slipping into a healing slumber.