A New Start
The club was pounding as she danced to the beat with her friends at her side. Her head began to pound as bad as the loud music and all the smoke was irritating her nose. Making her way through the gathering crowd, she decided to go outside to get some fresh, clean air. She went into the alley and leaned against the wall taking slow, deep, shallow breaths, hoping that the pounding would cease just a little bit. Closing her eyes to stop the pain, she heard a noise and focused her hearing to hear what was going on.
"Bitch your coming with me!"
"No Renee. I've had enough!"
"Please, Renee! No! Please!"
She heard the hammer click back and a shot rang out. Running, she went to the body and found a man standing over it putting the gun away. He looked at her and smiled. He reached into his jacket and pulled it out again. She froze for a solid moment as she looked into a face from her past long ago. A face she hadn't seen since she was a young girl. Standing up, she ran as fast as she could as another shot rang out nicking the wall behind her.
The man snickered. "Next time it won't be easy, little one. You will be mine once again, young one. I've finally found you at last."
Putting the gun away, he walked away as sirens were heard in the distance.
She went to the fountain and looked upon the building she needed. She smiled knowing that he could lead her to the person she was looking for after so many years apart. A person she hadn't seen for a long time and the one she could rely on if she needed help in anyway. Looking at the name on the paper a memory flashed in her mind's eye from a past long ago.
"I'm going to miss you, Jim," she said hugging him tight as tears streamed down her face.
Returning the embrace, his tears matched hers. "I'm going to miss you too and I promise I'll keep in touch."
Looking up, she smiled. "You better or I will come back and hurt you." She kissed him on the cheek. "I'll keep your secret safe, too."
He hugged her tight. "And yours too. I love you."
"I love you, too, my daddy bear."
With one final squeeze, she walked towards the boarding gate and vanished out of his life.
Until now. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she walked towards the building and followed the directions on the paper. Stopping in the middle of the hallway she focused her sight down the long corridor. Smiling, she found her destination. She stopped in front of the office door labeled that was labeled Blair Sandburg. I hope your right about this. Knocking on the door she waited for the answer.
"Come in," came the loud reply.
She entered seeing a man sitting at his desk pounding to some beat coming from his stereo. She smiled just watching him and then suddenly her ears and head began to throb. Man, not now.
Blair looked up turning down the music. "Oh, man, I'm so sorry."
She waved him off. "No harm. I just have sensitive ears, that's all. They tend to get a little out of whack at times, besides I liked the beat. I love the jungle vibe since at times it's soothing." She held out her hand. "My name is Jessie and I need your help."
Blair shook the offer hand, looking at her curiously. "Nice to meet you. What can I help you with?"
Swallowing hard, she answered, "I'm looking for a Detective James Ellison. I heard you work with him as an observer. I need his help and yours too."
He arched an eyebrow. "My… my help?" He gave her a curious glare. "How do you know Detective Ellison?"
"I...I can't explain it here." She looked around nervously. "It's not safe. Walls have ears. Please can you take me to him? I can explain everything once I see him."
He saw the desperation in her eyes and knew she was telling the truth. "I'll help you. Come with me." Grabbing his coat and keys, he opened the door. "Let's go."
She stopped for a second and focused on a sound down the hall. She heard a familiar footfall. Oh no. He's here. Her head began to pound. She took her hands, covering her ears mumbling, "Not now."
Blair's eyes lit up. She's a Sentinel. Wow! Another one, how can this be possible? It must be my lucky day. Grabbing her arm, he went into guide mode. "Take a deep breath and focus on my voice. Come back to my voice, it will be the only one you can hear."
She took deep breaths focusing on his voice. After a few moments the pounding stopped. She looked in to his eyes, smiling. "You know. How is that possible? Only one other person knows my secret."
Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he helped her up. "I'll take you to him. Come on."
They walked fast down the hallway towards the old Volvo. Blair started the engine speeding away from the university.
A tall man stopped just beyond the parking lot. "Damn, you will be mine, bitch. Just wait and see, your life will be short and so will your friends." He flicked his cigarette and walked towards the car.
Major Crimes was in chaos as usual with everyone working around the clock solving cases after cases. One detective was having trouble with his current one with all his leads ending up either dead or at a dead end. The witness fled the scene leaving no trail as to where to find her. One of his informants told him it was a young woman but couldn't get an exact description. The killer was still on the loose and he knew she was a target. Pounding his fist on his desk he didn't notice the young woman standing there in front of him. Looking up slowly, a smile crossed his face.
He looked at her curiously and had to blink twice just to make sure she was real. "Jessie?"
Smiling at her name, she swallowed hard. "Hi, Jim. It's been awhile."
"Yeah ten years is a while." He ran up and hugged her. "What brings you here? Are you okay? Are you in trouble? Are you all right?"
She put up her hand stopping him. "Okay daddy bear slow down."
He laughed at his nickname. "Sorry."
"It's okay." She kissed him on the cheek. "I found Blair from some of the letters you wrote me and came looking for you. I need your help."
A red flag went up. "You found Blair?" I told her to find him if it was an emergency. Something is wrong, very wrong. "What's going on?"
She looked around nervously. "He brought me here. I don't want to explain it here. Is there somewhere safe to go? Even though this is a police station walls tend to have ears."
He knew what she was saying. She had a hard time trusting things around her and other people. "Come on, I'll take you to my home." He looked around looking for his partner, lover, and guide. "Where's Blair?"
She focused her eyes looking for the guide. Smiling, she pointed towards the hallway. "He's in the break room waiting for us." Looking at him curiously she added, "How does he know about my gifts? You're the only one that knows."
Shaking his head, he smiled, "Come on, we'll go the loft and I'll explain everything."
He held out his arm and she grabbed it feeling the safety in it. He signaled Blair to follow and they drove to the loft.
Jim opened the door to the loft and Jessie stared in awe of the surroundings. "This is nice." She ran up to the window looking out to see the view. "You can see the ocean from here." Standing behind her, Jim smiled. "Yeah you can. That's why I love this place." She looked around spotting the different masks and artifacts that decorated the loft. Taking a look at a silver and gold one she touched the smooth surface carefully. Closing her eyes, she turned up her sense of touch to feel the smooth finish. "This is beautiful."
Blair smiled. He liked her already. "Thanks, it's one of my favorites."
Jim pointed to the downstairs room. "You can set your stuff in Blair's old room, that way you take a shower and relax. I'll have dinner ready in a few."
She smiled brightly. She really missed his take charge attitude. "Always the daddy bear. I do think a shower might help. My head still hurts from all this stress." Winking at Jim, she decided to relieve one tiny bombshell. "And try to keep it down you two until I come back."
Blair spit out his tea. "Excuse me?"
Jim laughed. "I should've never told you."
Smiling, she walked away shutting the door behind her.
Blair put his hands on his hips, glaring at his lover. "Explain to me how does she know about us?"
Jim shook his head. "I told her, Chief." He kissed Blair soundly on the lips. "I trust her with everything, including my life just like I do you."
Blair hugged his lover. "Well since you put it that way, dinner is on you big guy. Thank God I don't have to sleep on the couch and I can stay in our bed tonight."
He nuzzled his neck. "Yes, I would've been very lonely tonight. Very lonely."
Blair rolled his eyes. "My big pile of mush," He kissed him. "I'll set the table, you go get dinner started."
She got out the shower and sat on the bed. Putting her head in her hands she finally began to cry. "Why is this happening all over again? I thought I've put everything behind me. Why is my past coming back to haunt me once again? Now, I've put Jim and his partner in danger." She laid on the bed hugging her self tightly.
Jim heard the crying from the room and turned down the stove. "Hey, Chief, take care of this. I'm going to check on Jess."
Blair kissed him on the check. "Ok, I'll handle this daddy bear."
He glared at him. "You're going to pay for that dearly once I'm finished."
Blair wiggled his eyebrows. "Looking forward to it, daddy bear."
Rolling his eyes, he walked to the room softly opening the door. Gently he sat down on the bed and took her in his strong arms. She hugged him tight finally letting her control slip away in his embrace. She gripped his shirt as if it was a lifeline giving a feeling of safety and hope. After a few minutes she sat up looking at the wet spot on his shirt. "Sorry. I don't like losing control like that."
He brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Daddy bear remember. That's what I'm here for. Are you going to tell me what's going on? I haven't seen you like this in a very long time."
She stood up looking out towards the window, scrubbing her face. She focused on the stars. "Maybe later." Taking a deep breath, she sniffed the air. "Dinner's ready."
He walked over to her kissing the top of her head. "You know having another Sentinel in the house might and will drive Sandburg absolutely crazy and I'll never hear the end of it. Maybe I won't get to be the lab rat anymore."
She giggled and then looked at him. "How does he know about our gifts? You never told me in your letters except in a dire emergency to seek his help. I thought it was supposed to be a secret."
He nodded. "I'll have him explain that to you. He's the expert and he's very trustworthy."
She saw the love and trust for the young man in his eyes. "No wonder you love him. He's a good man."
"Yeah he's a keeper." He walked to the door, looking at her, he smiled. "And so are you. Get ready so your dinner won't get cold."
She shook her head. "Always the daddy bear."
"That's my job." He walked out the bedroom smiling.
Blair looked up from the table, grinning. "Everything okay?"
Jim returned the smile. "She's says you're a keeper."
Blair blushed. "Hmm, I have to thank her for that."
She walked in a few minutes later. Blair got up and pulled out her chair. "Dinner is served my lady."
Smiling, she sat down winking at Jim. "Thank you kind sir."
They ate their dinner enjoying each other's company.
"Well, Senor Salvador, do we have a deal?"
The dark-haired Mexican smiled. "Yes, Senor Campos. We have a deal." The two men shook hands.
"You should get your shipment within the next week, Senor Salvador."
The man nodded. "Gracias, Senor." Salvador left.
Renee Campos was in his mid-forties, with dark brown hair and hawk-like eyes. He would cut his mother's throat just to move up in the ranks. If you wanted special types of weapons only found on the black market, he was the man to ask. He adored the power it brought and his competitors knew he wasn't a man to mess with.
He rubbed his hands together, laughing. "The fool. He doesn't know what he's getting into and why he shouldn't cross me. Who does he think he is anyway? Didn't he know I would find out that he is working with the cops to get me! He should be realizing that right about now."
An explosion reverberated throughout the warehouse.
He grinned evilly. "Now, to eliminate another thorn in my side." He looked at the picture in his hand. "You my dear will soon share the same fate as your mother but without making you mine again."
Carlos Perez walked up to his boss. "I found her, boss." He looked down at a small piece of paper. "She went with a Blair Sandburg and a Detective James Ellison."
Renee's head shot up. "What name did you say?"
Carlos swallowed hard, looking at the paper again. "James Ellison."
His boss laughed. "How did I get so lucky? Not only will I get the girl, I get a bonus and my revenge." He waved to his employee. "Come my friend, we have work to do."
They walked away from the fiery wreckage.
Jess walked over to the balcony and looked at the stars. Taking a few deep breaths, she calmed her racing heartbeat since she knew that Jim would pick up her distress and would begin to worry all over again. She began to go over and over in her mind on how to explain everything to him. She knew he could tell him anything after what he did after her mother was murdered by her boss. That day would forever live in her mind until she died.
She came bounding home from school. Twirling in a circle, she held her paper she worked so hard on with pride. Smiling, she knew Jim would be happy to since he helped her on it. She could still remember the day Jim Ellison came into their lives so long ago. It was right after his mission from Peru. Her dad was one his friends killed in the mission. After he returned, she was the only one that discovered Jim had a special gift too. Jim took her under his wing as a father figure in her life. He was her daddy bear as she would always call him.
She went in to the house and froze. She sniffed the air, smelling something that wasn't right. She threw her backpack down, focusing on finding her mother by listening to her heartbeat. She began to worry when she didn't hear it.
"Mommy, are you here?"
She followed the smell. Freezing, she spotted her mother face down on the kitchen floor, blood streaming from her head. Running to the nearest bathroom, she vomited in the toilet. She slid down on the floor and cried until help arrived.
She wiped away her tears as she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Thinking of your mother again?"
Wiping her eyes, she nodded. "Yes."
Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he guided her into the loft. "Come on, let's go sit down. I don't want you zoning out here and then falling over the edge."
Leaning in to his embrace, she sat on the couch. Blair handed her a cup of tea. "Here drink this. It'll calm your nerves."
Sipping the tea, she smiled. "Yep he's defiantly a keeper. I like him already."
Jim sat down next to Blair pulling him closer, kissing the top of his head. "Yeah his all mine. I'm just glad you're comfortable with this given the situation."
She looked at the two sitting on the couch and smiled fondly. "Given that he knows about our biggest secret and he knows about how to deal with us, then it's all good." Her head started to pound again. She set the cup on the table gently. "Damn another headache. They seem to coming more and more lately. Ever since…" She stopped not wanting to reveal any more than she should.
Blair chimed in. "Probably because you are under a lot of stress. Let's try what we did at the university. Focus on my voice and only my voice."
Jess took a deep breath and focused on Blair's soothing voice. After a while the headache stopped. "Thanks, that does help. I'm just still new at this. I haven't had one in a while. Not since I was a little girl."
The anthropologist side kicked into overdrive. Curiously Blair asked, "How long have you been experienced with your senses?"
She paused thinking the last time she really used her gifts. Bowing her head, she looked at the floor. "Since, I was a little girl and since I found my mother dead on the kitchen floor. That was about ten years ago." She started picking at an imaginary piece of lint on her pants. She hated talking about her mother's death. It tended to bring bad memories to the surface.
Blair gasped. That had to be traumatic. "You found your mother dead. I'm sorry I didn't know." He paused and then continued, "How do you know Jim?"
She looked up and straight into his eyes. "My father was killed in the mission in Peru where Jim only survived. They were best friends and well so you can say Jim knew me since the day I was born." She smiled with pride. "He's my godfather. When my dad died he took the role of being a father figure and sort of guided me until he moved here to Cascade. I also made another discovery about my self and him."
Blair took her hands. "You found out he was a Sentinel and were you too."
Nodding, she continued, "Yes, I kept it a secret since I didn't want to be called a freak or even him for that matter. That is until he found you. I've been keeping in touch with him through letters and emails. That's how I knew how to find you. He told me when I was ready to come out, so to speak, he told me to find you. He told me you would tell me everything when I was ready, but I just wish it was under better circumstances."
Blair breathed a sigh of relief. "Well at least you're not a psycho killer, like the last female sentinel we dealt with." He shuddered at the thought of Alex Barnes and the fountain. It still gave him vivid nightmares.
She smiled a little. "Jim wrote me about that. But I guess that's another story to tell."
He patted her hands and went to sit next to Jim. "Yeah it is." The anthropologist side went away and the cop side kicked in. "But that's not why you are here now, is it?"
She stiffened at the conversation change. "No, we are not." She took a deep shuddering breath, saying a name from her past. "Renee Campos."
Jim froze. That was defiantly a name from the past.
"Oh my God." Jess nodded and shuddered.
Blair looked at his lover curiously. "Who is he?"
Jim took a deep breath and spoke for Jessie. "He murdered Jessie's mother, but I could never prove it. His high priced lawyer got him off." He paled suddenly realizing why she was here. "You're the witness from the club that I'm looking for."
Her head shot to the floor. Getting up, Jessie ran to the bedroom slamming the door. Seconds later, Jim heard the heart wrenching sobs coming from the bedroom.
Blair looked from the bedroom and then to his lover. "What the hell are you talking about? How do you know this guy?"
Taking a deep breath to control his anger, Jim answered him. "Jessie's mom worked for him on both a personal and professional level."
Blair gasped. "Did Jess know him?"
Jim nodded. "Yeah she did and she didn't like him very much. When she would come to visit me, she would have bruises either on her face or anywhere that wasn't visible."
Blair gasped. "Did she tell her mom?"
Jim shook his head. "She didn't believe her. She was too in love with him to care. She would make excuses that she fell at school or she was playing with her friends."
"But why did he kill her?"
Jim shrugged. "I don't know, Chief. That case is still unsolved, but I bet with the current one that I'm on and the ongoing investigation into Jessie's mom murder there's now got to be a connection."
Blair looked at the bedroom again. "Maybe you should go check up on her."
Jim focused his hearing on the bedroom. "No, she just fell asleep. She's been through too much already. Knowing me I'll push her too far and drive her away. We need to find somewhere safe for her to stay so Campos doesn't find her."
Blair leaned closer to him. "Always the Blessed Protector, aren't you?"
"That's my job." He grabbed Blair and pulled him up. "Come on let's go to bed."
They went upstairs and got ready.
He lay down on his side of the bed. "Just keep your senses on high alert she might need you."
"You know me too well." He kissed him and pulled back the covers covering them both.
He snuggled closer to him. "Love you too. Goodnight."
Jessie tossed and turned trying to get the nightmare from claiming her. "No!" She sat up with a start and scrubbed her face. She focused her hearing to see if Jim and Blair heard her. She breathed a sigh of relief. Thankfully they were still asleep. She got up and used her sight to walk in the darkness. She discovered that was something new she could do with her senses. Grabbing the blanket from the couch, she sat down and stared at the fire place. The fire was dying out but she seemed not to care. Her life right now seems to have gotten to be hell in a hand basket yet again. Jim was now involved and she didn't want to lose him either. She looked up at the bedroom, smiling. When Jim wrote to her about his feelings for Blair, she encouraged him. It was rare sometimes to find a love like that even though some people thought it was wrong. She zoned out on the dying fire and didn't hear someone come behind her.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
She gasped, shaking her head. "God, you scare me." She looked up at the voice. "Did I zone out as Jim called it?"
Blair smiled sheepishly. "Sorry and yeah you were. I didn't mean to scare you." He sat down by her. "Couldn't sleep?
She turned back towards the dying fire. "No. I had a nightmare, but I haven't this one for a very long time, not since my mom was murdered. It started up all over again when I saw his face at the club."
He placed a hand on her knee. "Jim told me what happened."
She stood up and paced the living room. Her anger took control of her rising emotions. "Great let's just post it everywhere that Renee Campos slept with my mother and he beat and raped me." She suddenly covered her mouth.
Blair gasped. "He did what?"
"Oh, god. Why did I say that? Not even Jim knows. I've never told anyone that." She suddenly sank to the floor gasping for air. Blair rushed to her side in an instant.
Placing a gentle hand on her back, he tried to calm her down. "Take deep calming breaths. Listen to my voice." Putting a hand on her shoulder, he went into guide mode. She flinched at the touch. "I'm not going to hurt you, Jessie. I'm going to help you. You don't have to fear me."
Jim ran down the stairs hearing the thud on the floor. Looking around, he saw Jessie on the floor.
"He beat and raped me." He rushed to her side. "Blair what is going on?"
He held up his hand to keep Jim back. "Come on Jess; listen to my voice come back to me." When Jess's breathing began to slow down, he continued, "Good girl. Come to me. Focus on me and my voice."
She lifted her head looking into his eyes. After a few minutes, her breathing slowed. "Thanks." She looked up, seeing Jim bending down to help her up. She froze. "Oh, God! You heard. You…you know."
She tried to run from him but he held firm pulling her into his embrace. "I'm sorry. So sorry."
He held her tighter. "I'm here let it out."
She did just that. After a while she fainted in his arms.
Lifting her, he went back to Blair's room, placing her on the bed. Kneeling down beside her he finally let his firm control slip. After a few minutes, he felt strong gentle arms circling his waist.
Leaning into the embrace, he said, "He's going to pay for what he has done to her!"
"You don't know what your saying, Jim?"
"I don't huh? Look what he did to her! Look what it's doing to her all over again!"
He held Jim tighter. "We'll get him Jim, but her safety comes first."
He kissed her forehead, standing up; he took Blair by the hand. "We're leaving in the morning. We'll take her up north. I'll clear it with Simon."
Blair nodded. "Okay, let's get some sleep since we have a big day tomorrow."
They headed upstairs, but it took them a while before sleep claimed them once again.
Morning didn't come soon enough. Jessie woke up first letting her hearing drift upstairs. Satisfied that both of them were asleep, she put on a robe from Blair's closet. She climbed out the window quietly as she could and went to the roof.
Closing her eyes, she took deep calming breaths focusing all her energy on replaying on what happened last night. Jim heard her while Blair was helping her and now she felt dirtier than before. But she knew that Jim wouldn't look at her that way. In his embrace she was safe and secure. His touch didn't frighten her not like Renee Campos's did. Sitting down in one of the chairs, she took a deep shuddering breath remembering her very last encounter with him.
She got ready for bed as was her nighttime ritual. Making sure her teeth were brushed, everything was military perfect. She smiled at herself in the mirror. Her dad would be proud of young woman she had become. She knew Jim was.
Looking up to the ceiling she whispered, "I love you, dad. I miss you. Thank you for letting Jim come into our lives, I know he misses you too."
Even though he died when she was very young, Jim and her mother would tell her stories of the man that was her father, but that was after her mother stopped talking about her father and starting dating her boss. At first she did like him. He was kind and gentle and it seemed that he accepted her even though they weren't related, but that soon changed. When her mother would leave, he touched her in places that were forbidden. She resisted him and he would hit her, then the abuse started to get a little bit more rough and dangerous. She withdrew into herself not wanting to allow this man to possess her. She told her mother but she didn't believe her. She would tell her she was making it up and that she didn't want her to be happy.
Walking to the bed, she pulled back the covers. She got into bed making sure her hearing was on full alert just in case he showed up. Resting her head on the pillow she fell asleep.
Moments later she heard footsteps by her bedroom door. Hoping it was her mother telling her goodnight, she sat up. When the door opened she froze. She opened her mouth to scream, but a strong hand covered it, stopping the protest. Forcefully, he laid her down, falling on top of her.
Smiling evilly at her, he sneered. "You scream I will kill you. You are so going to enjoy this. I will own you, young one."
Tears were streaming down her face as a tongue licked at the salty trail. Hands were touching forbidden places. She shut her eyes hoping it was a dream and she would wake and he would be gone. Her ears perked up as she heard a wrapper tear. Oh God. No not like this. Please make him stop. Daddy bear help me. Then she felt pain. Tears trailed faster and faster down her face and then it was over.
Smiling he licked again at the salty trail and covered her up. As the door closed, she stumbled to the bathroom and vomited. She let the tears overtake her.
She lifted her head, tears trailing down her face unchecked. She walked over to the edge, looking down at the ground below. Gathering her courage, she stood up on the edge. The one other person in my life knows. This has to end. She closed her eyes, taking a step forward. Strong hands grabbed her, pulling her to the ground.
"What the hell are you doing?"
She held onto the shirt. The last of her strength left her. "I want to die. You know my secret. I don't want to be here anymore. It hurts too much."
He felt the tears on his shirt and finally he let his go holding her tight against his chest. "I want you here. He will pay for what he did to you and your mother."
Looking up at him, she stood up. "He's coming for me and he won't stop until everyone I love is dead. It started with my mother and now you and Blair are involved." She ran to the edge. "If I'm dead he will stop. He won't own me. He'll stop." She ran to the edge again.
Grabbing her hands he pulled her away from the edge, sitting her down in a chair. "No, he won't. If you do this, he'll win. I won't allow that to happen." Embracing her, he rocked her. "If you think you are dirty in my eyes you are wrong. You are special and it would kill me if anything happened to you. Besides Blair, you're everything I have left."
Looking up, she saw truth behind his blue eyes. "I love you, daddy bear. I'm so sorry. I never meant anything like this to happen. It seems fate has a funny way of putting things together."
He kissed the top of her head. "You have nothing to be sorry for. I will make damn sure you are safe. That's why I'm taking you and Blair to Simon's cabin up north."
She looked at him curiously. "You're taking me away from here."
Jim nodded slowly. "Yes. I will handle Mr. Campos on my terms. Him and I have some unfinished business."
Placing a hand on his cheek, she kissed it. "Thank you." She got up, scrubbing her face. He grabbed her hand leading her downstairs to the loft. Kissing him again, she walked to the bedroom and shut the door. He stood there for a few minutes listening, making sure she didn't make a run for it again. Hearing the shower turn on, he walked to the kitchen. He heard Blair come down the stairs.
"Is everything alright?"
Looking up, he turned his attention back to the breakfast. "Yeah, it is for now."
Blair placed a hand on his shoulder. "Want to tell me about?"
"Some other time, Chief." Kissing him, he said, "Why don't get our stuff ready to leave. I think this would be a good time to help her with her senses and for you two to get to know each. It will hopefully get her mind off things and make her feel useful again."
Shaking his head, Blair smiled. "Okay, I know when to shut up. Yeah, it would be a perfect opportunity to hone her senses. Your right, you know, it could give her peace of mind. I can teach her so many things."
He kissed him passionately. "That's why I love you. She can be a lab rat and thankfully not me this trip. She might thank me later."
Jessie rolled her eyes. "Thanks a lot, Jim I feel so much better."
He looked up and saw Jessie standing there a little more relaxed than before. "Hey, I had my turn. Trust me it will be so much fun."
"Sure it will be." She sat down, staring down at the table cloth.
Blair sat down beside her, lifting her chin. "It will be. I would love to get to know you a little more."
She smiled a little. "I would like to get to know you better, too. I only know you from my letters, emails, and from the news report about your fraudulent dissertation that Jim sent me."
Blair gulped. "I completely forgot about that."
She placed a hand on his cheek. "I understand why you did it. I'm proud of you for what you did. You kept Jim's secret safe. Now mine can be safe too."
He looked at his lover. "She's defiantly a keeper."
Jim smiled. "Glad you agree." Placing breakfast on the table, he said, "Eat up kids. We have a long trip ahead."
Jess stared at her plate, her hunger gone. She shoved the plate away. "I'm not hungry."
Blair patted her hand. "I understand what you are going through, in a way. I felt the same way after I drowned in the fountain."
She glared at him, but then her gazed softened. He wasn't the enemy. She knew he understood in a way. She did die a little that night as he did in the fountain. "You do, don't you?"
Nodding, Blair continued, "Yeah I do. I can tell you sometime if you are ready to talk."
Taking back the plate, her hunger returned. She took a bite. "I would like that."
Jim looked at his lover and smiled. Blair did the same thing. They ate their breakfast and then headed to the cabin.
Carlos watched as the three of them got into Jim's truck driving away from the loft. He dialed a number and the line picked up.
"They're on the move boss. Want me to follow?"
"Yes, but be careful. I don't want them to get suspicious. Understand?"
He nodded. "Yes, boss, I do."
"Oh, and Carlos, you fail me you know what happens."
Carlos gulped. "I understand."
Renee hung up.
Carlos put the car into gear and followed the trio.
Renee Campos looked at the picture and smiled. "You'll be mine again my dear. Your mother was a fool when she finally discovered what I did. Now I'll finally get what I really want." Bringing the picture to his lips, he kissed it. He savored the moment and then buzzed his secretary.
"Grace, can you book me a flight to Cascade please? I have some unfinished business there."
"Yes, senor, it will be done."
He smiled. "Thanks honey."
He leaned back in his chair and then looked out the window.
"Soon my dear very soon you will be mine again."
The cabin was set in the farthest part of the forest. Jessie took a deep breath allowing her sense of smell to take control.
Smelling the pine trees, she closed her eyes. "It's beautiful here." Her sense of hearing perked up as she heard a flock birds fly overhead. She staggered as Blair grabbed her arm.
"Whoa, we really need to work on that."
Leaning forward, she regained her footing. "Sorry. It's just really overwhelming. I'm not used to all this."
He patted her shoulder. "No worries. It's perfectly alright. It's just something we can work on. It took Jim awhile to learn, too. He wasn't much of an eager student though."
Smiling, she gazed at Jim putting stuff away in the cabin. "It seems that he's mastering it well."
"Yeah he is and so will you with practice."
She looked out towards the woods allowing her senses to take control once again. Hearing the river in the distance, she smiled. "I'm going to like it here."
"Good, I'm glad. We're going to have a good time."
Jim cleared his throat. "This isn't a vacation just to let you know."
They looked at Jim and laughed. "Yes daddy bear, I know. I'm just saying it would do me some good to perfect my gifts."
Jim rolled his eyes and smiled. "Oh thank God, it won't be me doing his tests anymore."
Blair looked stunned. He put his hand over his heart to empathize his point. "Hey, that hurts, man, and they weren't that bad. It wasn't my fault you drank the sour milk."
Walking into the cabin, Jessie took the opportunity to give them some privacy.
Noticing that she left, Blair smiled. "I think she couldn't take it anymore." Wrapping his arms around Jim, he kissed him. "I wish you could stay."
Jim kissed him passionately. "I know, but I want her safe, but if anything happens use this." He handed Blair a satellite phone. "This can cut through the mountains to get to me." He also handed him a gun. "I know you don't want to have this but it's just in case."
He kissed him again. "I'll keep her safe. That I promise."
Standing in the doorway, Jessie hugged him. "Be careful, Jim."
Jim squeezed her tight. "Always."
He walked down the steps and got into the truck. Driving away he focused his sight one last time. Be safe you two. He drove back to Cascade.
Carlos pretended to change a tire as he saw Jim turn onto the main highway. Sneering, he got his cell phone and dialed his boss.
"I got them, boss."
Renee chuckled. "Good boy, Carlos. Come back to Cascade. I will be there in forty eight hours."
The connection terminated.
Renee looked out his window, smiling. "Soon my love we will be one again."
Simon Banks walked up to Jim's desk, clearing his throat, "Did they make it okay?"
Looking up, Jim replied, "Yeah. I just hope they don't drive each other crazy."
Simon chuckled. "Well, if she's anything like you, they should be all right."
Jim laughed. "Don't remind me." Looking at his report, he added, "Have we heard anything from our source?"
Simon shook his head. "No. But we are on Campos twenty four seven with some help from the FEDS."
Jim took a deep breath. "That's doesn't keep me from worrying."
"I know Jim, but this is the only way right now. With Jessie's testimony and her eye witness account of what happened at the club it's all we got."
Jim took another deep breath, letting it out. "She shouldn't be going through this again."
"No one should be going through this Jim. She seems to be a strong person from what you've told me about her."
"She is, Simon. She is. I just hope this will end soon and she can start fresh without having fate entered her life all over again."
Simon patted him on the shoulder, heading towards his office. "Hopefully this will be all over and everyone can get on with their lives."
Looking at the report on his desk, Jim went on with his work.
Grace Peterson worked for Renee Campos for ten years. She knew when to look away from things that she shouldn't know, but when she walked in on her boss one day kissing a picture of a young girl and having his pants down, she had enough. Renee didn't know that she was secretly working with the police in Cascade and the FEDS to put him behind bars. She was always careful not to make her boss suspicious.
Picking up the phone, she dialed a number to Cascade.
"He'll be there in two days. My part is done."
She hung up the phone, taking deep shallow breaths. She never heard the bullet pierced through her head, splattering blood on the computer screen.
Jessie woke up the next morning and decided to explore the grounds. She put on her running suit, and walked slowly through the cabin grabbing a water bottle from the fridge. She opened the door and walked out the door and into the forest. Closing her eyes she let her senses envelop her. She could hear the river from far away, birds chirping in the early morning, and the squirrels getting their breakfast. The pine trees smelled wonderful to her. Opening her eyes, she tried to focus on finding the river. Dizziness overtook her as she felt strong hands grab her as she fell to the ground.
Blair shook his head. Just like Jim. Like father like daughter. "Going without a guide I see?"
Opening up her eyes, she waited for the dizziness to stop. She looked down at the dirt covered ground. "Sorry, I was just curious. This is all new to me."
He helped her up slowly. "That's okay. But next time let me know okay." He shook his head. "You are so much like Jim. He would always try to ditch me or tell me to wait in the car. But then he realized he needed my help."
She grinned. "Well, since I'm new at this I won't leave you." Her head began to pound. "I wish I could get rid of these headaches."
He turned her to face him. "Let's work on that." He paused. "Now close your eyes and imagine something that you turn on and off."
She closed her eyes listening to him. She imagined a light switch. "Okay I found something, now what?"
Defiantly like Jim. "Now, imagine your self going towards that object and turning it off."
Shaking her head, she did it. She opened her eyes and smiled. "Wow that worked." She hugged him.
He hugged her back. "Now that we found your pain dial you can focus on turning it on and off when another headache comes."
She jumped up excitedly. "What next?"
He laughed. "Well, it's nice to have an eager student." He scratched his chin. "Okay, let's focus on using your sight and hearing together. Try to find the river using only those two senses. Doing worry if you zone out, I'll be here to guide you."
Turning, she faced the forest. Taking a deep breath, she used her sight and sound to find the river. It never looked so beautiful. She even saw a trout jump from the water. She turned back to Blair. "That was awesome and I didn't even zone. That's what I'm talking about!"
They continued her exercises for a few hours enjoying each others company. It was getting dark and chilly when they finally went into the cabin. Jessie went into her room and Blair made dinner and set up the candles for the next exercise. It was nice to have an eager student for a change. Jim, even though he finally accepted his gifts, wasn't much an eager student as Jessie was.
She walked out of her room admiring the candlelight. She couldn't help but to chuckle. "Trying to seduce me, Mr. Sandburg? You know Jim would kill you."
Blair laughed. "No I'm not and I value my life thank you very much. It's for our next exercise."
Pulling out a chair for her, she sat down. She took his hand, squeezing it. "Thank you for everything."
He squeezed back. "You're welcome. It's good to be a teacher in a way again."
"You make an excellent teacher, Blair. Don't sell yourself short."
He blushed. "Thanks."
They ate their dinner.
Simon Banks slammed down the phone. "Dammit. This isn't what I need." Opening the door he barked. "Jim, get in here now!"
Jim walked into the office, closing the door behind him. "What's up Simon?"
Pointing to a chair, he said, "We have a problem."
Jim gulped. "What kind of problem, sir?"
"That was my contact in Florida. Our informant was found dead at her desk. One bullet wound to the head and Campos no where to be found."
Jim started to get up. "Well at least we can catch him before he gets to Jessie. He doesn't know where she is. I want to keep it that way."
Simon nodded. "Yes I agree for the time being."
"Did we find out where he fled to?"
Simon shook his head. "No, but we've got people on it. We'll catch him."
Jim went to the door. "I hope so Simon. I want this nightmare to end." He shut the door going to his desk.
"Me too, Jim. Me too."
He picked up the phone and made a phone call.
Jessie and Blair sat in the middle of the floor in a lotus position.
"Another thing about being a Sentinel is that you need to control your senses and also rest your mind. So, meditation is a good way to do that; to help calm the body as well as the mind."
He held out his hands for her to take. "Now, close your eyes and take deep breaths."
Jessie closed her eyes, taking deep calming breaths. When she opened them after a few short moments, she saw a blue jungle with huge trees and heard animals in the distance. Turning she heard a wolf howl in the distance. She started to run but her feet wouldn't move. The wolf came closer and closer and then suddenly it morphed into Blair.
Looking at him curiously, she went to touch his face. "What's going on? What is this place?"
Blair smiled. "This is part of who you are. This is how you'll find your animal spirit. As you saw, mine is a wolf."
She shook her head. "I…I don't understand."
"You will in time. Each Sentinel as an animal spirit within them if you listen long enough yours will reveal itself to you."
She looked at him curiously. "How do you know all this?"
He smiled with pride. "It's part of being a shaman and also a guide. Why not give it a try."
Closing her eyes she allowed her hearing to take control. Hearing a loud roar she opened her eyes. She ran to Blair seeking his comfort.
He stroked her hair. "It's okay. Nothing will hurt you here. Trust me."
She turned seeing a beautiful white tiger coming towards her. She stood there in awe.
Blair smiled. "Well I see we've found your spirit and she's beautiful just like you."
Jessie took a step forward hoping she could touch the beautiful creature. It licked her hand as she stepped closer. She started to scratch its beautiful head. The tiger purred loudly and started rubbing against her. Turning to Blair, she smiled. "She likes me." All of a sudden she fainted.
The connection broke as Jessie fell back on the floor. Blair set a pillow under her head and grabbed a blanket from the bedroom. "I think we have enough for one night." He gently rubbed her head and headed off to bed.
Hours later she woke up with a pounding headache. Closing her eyes, she found the switch and turned it off. Opening her eyes she tried to stand up but her legs were wobbly like jelly. She did the only thing she could do.
"Blair, help please."
Blair came from his room and saw that she was awake. "How are you feeling?"
Looking up at him sheepishly, she tried to stand up. "I can't get up."
He leaned down and helped her up. Walking to her room slowly and steady, he set her down on the bed.
Taking a deep breath, she looked at him. "Thanks. That was intense."
Blair nodded. "Well, I didn't mean to overload you. It's a lot to learn."
"It's going to take some practice." She yawned. "But it can wait until morning. My body is screaming sleep."
Pulling back the covers, Blair covered her. "Yeah, we'll do some more in the morning, if you feel up to it." He kissed her forehead. "Goodnight my beautiful white tiger."
She snuggled into the pillow, closing her eyes. "Goodnight my handsome wolf."
Sleep claimed them both.
Jim tossed and turned. He was in the blue jungle again running for his life as if something was chasing him. He was running towards the noise his hearing picked up. Usually he would hear the wolf howl in the distance, but this time he didn't. He heard a loud roar instead. He stopped dead in his tracks as he saw the white tiger standing behind the wolf.
He smiled. This must be Jessie's spirit. He walked towards the tiger and petted her. It purred loudly and rubbed against him as the wolf looked on. He heard a noise and turned away. When he turned back, the tiger was laying motionless on the ground as the wolf howled in despair.
Jim sat up, panting heavily. "Jessie! Oh god not again!" He lay back down after a few moments letting sleep claim him once again.
Carlos met up with his boss. He was eager to end this and get his share of whatever his boss was offering him at the time. An exotic island was calling his name and a pretty island girl was calling him too. Renee hugged his long time employee.
"You've done well my friend."
He smiled. "Thanks boss. When do we get her?"
"Patience my friend. Soon your loyalty will be rewarded." He looked at the old warehouse. "Is everything ready?"
He nodded. "Yes, boss. Just like you wanted."
He sneered. "Good. In two days Jessie Ramirez will be mine forever."
The two walked into the warehouse and waited for the perfect time to strike.
After breakfast Blair and Jessie were sitting in the circle from last night. Jessie took his hands and closed her eyes once again. She was eager to see her white tiger again. When she entered the blue jungle she saw a black jaguar this time. Jim. The wolf came beside it and turned into Blair again.
He smiled brightly. "I see you've met Jim's animal spirit."
She stepped closer and scratched its head. It purred loudly. "You're beautiful."
The big cat rubbed against her. Blair went to stand beside her. "Ready to go?"
She was enjoying the feeling of the big cat beside her. "I guess we have to, so I don't overload again." She kissed the jaguars head. "Bye, Jim. See you soon." She opened her eyes, wiping the tears from her eyes. She pulled her knees to her chest. "I miss him a lot. I wish he was here. It just scares me that Renee is out there and Jim has to be the one to get him."
Pulling her close, he embraced her. "I do too. He'll come back when everything is safe. Jim is very good at his job and knows how to use his senses without limitations. He'll take care of himself, I promise, because he knows if he doesn't I would hurt him."
They stood up and went outside to get some fresh air.
After awhile, she asked, "So how was it meeting Jim for the first time?"
Blair laughed. "Let's just say getting slammed against a wall and being called a neo-hippie witch doctor punk was the highlight of my day and then shoving him under a garbage truck was even better."
She smiled. "He told me about that. That's where he learned about the zone out factor right?"
He nodded. "Yep and I became his guide in a way after that."
She squeezed his hand. "I'm glad he has you in his life Blair and me too. I'm sure no one else out there will ever understand us."
A tear leaked from his face. "Thank you Jessie, that means a lot."
She smiled giving him a kiss on the cheek. "You're most welcome, Blair. At least I didn't slam you against a wall." That seemed to lighten the mood.
They sat down on the porch swing enjoying their day.
Jim walked into the station rubbing his tired eyes. He couldn't shake the dream he had last night. He hadn't had one like that since Blair and the fountain. That will never happen again. He sat at his desk opening up the file that was placed on his desk. This is going to be a long day. He drank his coffee and continued working.
Renee and Carlos parked a mile from the cabin.
"Tonight, my friend, we will make our move."
Carlos nodded in agreement. "Alright, boss."
Renee took a pair of binoculars and watched the pair swinging on the porch.
He snickered. "Soon, my love, you'll be mine forever and no one will stop me."
Nightfall came sooner than expected. Jessie lay exhausted in her bed after a long day of Sentinel training. Being a Sentinel is hard work. She kept her senses on high alert just as Blair taught her. She closed her eyes letting sleep finally claim her. After a few minutes, her hearing heard a twig snap in the distance and she sat up. She ran to Blair's room, gently shaking his shoulder.
"There's someone out there."
He wiped the sleep from his eyes. "Are you sure?"
She tilted her head and nodded. "Yes, he's coming closer." She lifted her nose in the air. "I can now smell him." Walking into the living room, she focused her hearing just as Blair taught her.
She heard Blair's yelp of pain but it was too late. Darkness claimed her.
Carlos lifted her on his shoulders, carrying her out of the house. Renee patted Blair's face.
"The drug should wear off in the morning, but then we'll be long gone." He laughed stepping over Blair's body.
Walking towards the car he got in. He looked over at his prize, stroking the beautiful face.
"Welcome back, my love. I've missed you." He turned to Carlos. "Let's go my friend."
The car drove off into the night.
A few hours later, Blair woke up with a pounding headache. Rubbing his neck, he shouted. "Jessie, Jessie. Are you okay?" The silence startled him.
He went into her room and found her gone. "Oh no, she's gone. Dammit!" He walked slowly into his room and grabbed the satellite phone. After two rings the other end picked up. "Jim, she's gone."
Jim heard the phone ring and he ran to get it. "Hello."
"Jim, she's gone."
The phone almost slipped from his grasp. "What happened? Are you alright?"
Taking a shaky breath, Blair replied, "Yeah, whoever it was drugged me and took her. I'm sorry man. She's gone and it's my fault."
Jim swallowed hard. "It's not your fault. Hang tight I'll be there in an hour to get you." The line went dead.
Grabbing his gun and keys, Jim ran out the door.
Jessie opened her eyes and then suddenly shut them again. Finding the pain dial, the headache went away. She opened her eyes once again. She sat up slowly looking at her surroundings. Thankfully she wasn't tied up, but that didn't make her feel any better. Taking a deep breath, she allowed her sense of hearing to take control. She froze when she heard his voice. Oh no. This can't be happening again. I have to get out of here fast. She didn't hear the door open and strong arms turn her around forcefully. She felt the stinging slap across her face bring her out of the zone.
The man snickered. "It's nice to see you again my dear."
She tried to break free of the strong grip, but it held her in place.
"Going somewhere my dear?" He kissed her hard. "It's good to have you back."
She spat in his face. "I was never yours in the first place. You won't take me again without a fight you asshole!"
Another stinging slap went across her face. "You will be mine again." He threw her on the bed. "I'll be back later, to have you again. I've missed you so very much, my dear." He blew her a kiss and slammed the door.
The tears slipped from her face as she closed her eyes. Jim, help me please.
Blair looked straight ahead towards the bullpen of Major Crimes. "Jim, I screwed up didn't I?"
He turned to Blair, looking straight into his eyes. "You didn't screw up. You hear me. Somehow Campos slipped through the cracks and now we have to find him again. We have to save Jessie. I need my guide to help me find her."
They walked to Simon's office and shut the door.
"We have a problem."
Simon tossed a file at Jim. "Yep, we sure do."
Jim opened the file as Simon continued, "Meet Carlos Perez. Campos's long time associate and hit man."
Jim's fist pounded the desk. "That son of a bitch! I saw this guy just down the road from the cabin changing a tire when I first dropped them off. I think he grabbed Jessie and that's how Campos slipped through the cracks."
Simon rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Great, we don't even know where they took her."
The phone rang.
"Banks." Simon paused and the handed the phone to Jim. "It's for you."
Grabbing the phone, Jim answered it.
The voice snickered. "It's nice to hear your voice, senor. I believe I have something that belongs to you."
Jim gripped the phone tighter. "You hurt her in anyway you son of a bitch and I'll personally kill you myself."
Campos snickered again taunting the detective. "Temper, temper Detective. It wasn't wise to hide her from me all these years, but now I have her back. She will be mine again, but if you want her back, come and get her. But not after I have her first. See you soon senor, only if you can find me." The line went dead.
Jim slammed the phone down. He looked at his captain hoping that trace worked. Seeing the look on his face, he knew it didn't.
"I'm sorry Jim. He cut off too soon."
Jim yelled in frustration. "Dammit!"
He opened the door, storming out of the bullpen, his emotions running on high with his temper in control. Blair was right on his heels as he knew that Jim's emotions tend to sometimes lead to stupid mistakes. Punching the button for the garage, Jim tried hard to control his anger. When the door chimed he stormed out and slammed the truck door hard. His hands started to shake from the rising emotions. Blair put a hand on his shaking shoulders, hoping his lover would calm down and not do anything rash.
He suddenly had an idea. "I might have a way to find her."
Looking at his lover, he couldn't stop the snide remark. "How genius?"
It didn't affect him. "Meditation. She's a quick study. It's worth a shot. She knows our animal spirits. That can be an advantage. She can help us find her."
He looked at his lover skeptically. "I know hers. She's the white tiger."
"And she knows yours. It's the only chance we got. Hopefully were not too late."
Taking a deep breath, he started the engine. "Let's give it a shot. I want her back."
"So do I, Jim, so do I."
They headed towards the loft.
Jessie took deep calming breaths hoping it would calm her rising nerves. Campos's touch repulsed her and she didn't want him for any reason touch her again. Finding nothing else to do she sat down in a lotus position in the middle of the floor. Taking deep breaths, she closed her eyes. When she opened them, she found her spirit waiting for her by a small watering hole. The big white cat licked her hand and rubbed against her. She snuggled in its embrace feeling safe. The cat turned its head as a wolf howled in the distance. The tiger went underneath her and lifted her on its back taking her to the wolf.
Blair lit candles around the loft creating a calming atmosphere. He took Jim's hands as they sat in the middle of the circle.
His lover squeezed his hands. "Yeah. Let's do this."
Taking deep breaths, they closed their eyes. When they opened them the blue jungle was before them. Jim turned as he heard a tiger roar in the distance. He saw his jaguar run in the distance of the roar as did the wolf. They followed their spirits into the jungle.
"Hold on Jessie, daddy bear is coming."
The tiger ran faster and faster. It took all she had to hold on to the beautiful creature. The tiger stopped as it spotted the black jaguar and wolf. Jessie got off and headed towards the animals. She stepped back as she heard a noise few yards away. Smiling, she ran towards the figure coming out of the jungle.
She nearly knocked him down. "Jim!"
He held her tight. "Are you alright?"
She nodded. "I am for now, but I don't know how much time I have here."
Jim understood. "Can you tell us where you are?"
She took a deep breath. "I think I'm by the water. The smell really stinks. I don't think I can handle it anymore."
He kissed her head. "Good girl. I'll find you, I swear."
"I know you will, just hurry." She faded away. The tiger growled loudly.
Jessie opened her eyes and wiped the tears away. She stood up to stretch her muscles as the door opened.
Renee smiled. "Oh, now my pretty girl, don't cry. I'm here." He took a step towards her as she stepped back.
She was ready this time with a slap of her own. "Don't touch me you bastard! Not now or ever. You make me sick."
He shoved her on the bed, falling on top of her. He kissed her hard bruising her lips. She slapped him again. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath. "That felt good baby. I like it rough." When he went to kiss her again the door opened.
"Boss we need to talk."
Taking a deep breath to calm his anger, he licked the salty trial down her face. "Wait for me my love." He walked out slamming the door hard. Jessie ran to the small toilet and vomited. Splashing cold water on her face, she looked in the mirror. Please hurry Jim. I don't know how much longer I can hold on.
Sleep didn't come easy for Jim. Tossing and turning, he finally gave up. He pulled back the covers in frustration and stormed down the stairs. He went to the fridge and grabbed a beer, sitting on the couch. He took deep claming breaths trying to shake the nightmare that was plaguing him. A few moments later, he felt gentle arms pull him close.
He mumbled, "No. I can't shake the nightmare. I haven't had one since the fountain. Only this time I didn't kill you." He took a swig of beer. "The white tiger was dead, but I didn't kill it. It was Campos hunting her."
Blair squeezed tighter. "We'll find her. I know she'll help us. She is a very eager student and besides she had a good teacher."
He patted his hand. "I know she did. She mentioned something about water and the smell was bad. We'll go to the station in the morning and find out if Campos has any property here."
"I agree. Come on let's try get some sleep. You need your strength." He kissed him. "We'll find her Jim. We'll find her."
Taking his lover by the hand, they walked upstairs. Lying down, Jim said a silent prayer. I'm coming Jessie. Just hold on.
Punching the button on the computer, the screen blinked. The Detective smiled.
"Got you!" He hit the print button and walked to Simon's office. He put the papers on his desk. The captain looked at them with great interest. Putting down his rolled cigar, he started reading the packet of papers. "What do we have here, Jim?"
Sitting down in the chair, Jim folded his hands. "We have Campos. I had a friend of mine from the CIA help me on this. It seems that Mr. Campos does regular business at this particular warehouse. That's where I think he has Jessie." He smiled with pride. "It's by the waterfront just like she told me."
Simon looked at him curiously. "I thought the Fed's raided that warehouse a few months ago after Jorge Salvador was killed."
"They did. He was their informant at the time. He made a deal to help them put Campos away for his immunity from the arms deal charges he had against him. He had certain evidence that would've helped Jessie's mother's case, too."
Simon put the packet down and rubbed his tired eyes. "But it all went up in smoke."
Jim stood up and leaned over Simon's desk. "Yeah it did and now we know Jessie was his prize all along."
Simon picked up the phone and called in a favor. After a few minutes, he hung up. "We'll move on him in twenty four hours. The Fed's are giving was some back up on this one since it's also their case and I don't want to step on any toes what so ever. Can you wait that long?"
Jim went to the door, opening it, he turned towards Simon. "I just hope we're in time."
Carlos set the suitcase down on the old wooden table. "Everything is here like you wanted. In twenty four hours, we'll be long gone, boss."
He patted his shoulder. "Good work, my friend." He looked towards the door and sneered. "Take the night off, Carlos. I'm going to have some fun."
Carlos shut the suitcase. Grabbing it he walked away. He went to his post, even though his boss told him to take the night off, he still stood watch.
Campos opened the door and saw his prey sleeping on the small bed. Walking towards the bed he slid his zipper down and the pants fell onto the floor silently. He quietly lay on top of her. Bending his head to kiss her he felt sudden pain. Rolling off the bed, he collapsed on the floor.
She stood over him. "I told you to never touch me again."
He stood up slowly. After a few minutes, he lunged for her. He pinned her arms with one hand as the other one rained down on her violently.
"Don't ever to do that to me! Your mother learned why not and soon you will too."
Her head snapped to look at him as he mentioned her mother. "You will pay for what you did to her. Justice will be served. Just wait and see. Jim will save me and then he will kill you!"
He stopped and snickered evilly. "You mean your friend the Detective. He doesn't know where I am. But then that doesn't matter for now since in the morning we will be gone and you will learn your place again which is in my bed with me forever."
He stood up putting his pants on and walked towards the door. Opening it, he turned to her. "Pleasant dreams my dear. Soon you will be mine again." He slammed it shut.
Burying her face in the pillow, she cried.
Morning couldn't come soon enough for Jim. As the Fed's took there position on the backside of the warehouse, he took his at the front. Checking his gun, he made sure the bullets were ready to do there job. Using his sight he found Carlos asleep just a few feet behind the door. Jim crept slowly towards the front, standing beside the door. He lifted his radio giving his command. "Let's do this."
Simon's voice boomed on the other end. "Let's go."
Simon and his team quietly entered through the back as Jim entered the front. He went behind Carlos and knocked him out. He approached the steps quietly focusing his hearing for anything unusual.
A gun fired.
"Hold it right there, senor."
Jim looked up as he saw Campos holding a gun to Jessie's head. He pressed it hard against her temple. He looked at Jim's raised gun. "Put it down, Detective, unless you want to see her dead."
Jim held it firmly. "No way, Campos. Give me the girl and then we will talk."
Jessie screamed as the cold hard gun was pressed against her. "Help me, Jim! Please."
Campos cocked the hammer. "I would do as she says, senor, unless you want her to share the same fate as he mother."
Jim relunctly dropped his gun.
Campos sneered. "Very good Detective." He started down the stairs, holding Jessie firmly to him. "Now if you excuse me you are blocking my way."
Jim stood firm. "You are not going anywhere with her."
Jim looked at her and Jessie nodded. She took her foot stomping it hard against her capture. He howled in pain and loosened his grip. She ran to Jim.
"Run, Jessie. Hurry."
She ran to the front, but a few seconds later, she was stopped by Carlos. He grabbed her, pulling her back towards his boss. "Not so fast my dear. I wouldn't want you to leave this party early." Carlos held his gun to her temple.
Jim looked at Campos and then at Carlos. He knew if he tried anything Jessie's life would be cut short and that was something he wanted to avoid all together.
A commotion in the back entrance caused Campos to turn his head. "Freeze, Campos! We have you surrounded. Drop your guns and get down on the ground." Simon bellowed.
He pointed his gun at Jim. "No chance senor. Since I want her you're going to have to kill me first, but I think you don't want to do that."
Simon pointed his gun at him. "Don't give me an excuse."
Jessie's hearing and sight kicked in as she looked up hearing a hammer click. She looked down seeing the red light pointed at Jim's chest.
"Jim, look out!" She slipped from Carlos's grip jumping in front of the bullet just as it pierced her chest.
Jim looked down in horror. "Jessie, no!"
Shots rang out as all three men were shot dead. Jim rushed to her side, holding her close. He focused his hearing as her heartbeat was fading away fast. "Jessie please, stay with me, please."
Jessie gripped his shirt, blood dripping from her mouth. "I…is he dead?"
Jim put pressure to the wound. "Yes, he is. Hold on help is coming."
Her eyes rolled back into her head as her world went black.
Blair ran down the hallway at Cascade General looking for Jim. Finding him sitting in one of the hard plastic chairs, he sat down beside him. Jim didn't move his head to acknowledge his presence.
Blair put his hand on his shoulder. "Jim, look at me."
His head turned at the sound of the voice. He looked at his blood stained hands. "She flat lined twice, Chief. There was so much blood I had to dial down my smell to keep from gagging. She…she was dying in my arms."
Blair pulled him close. "I know I was ordered to stay at the station so I want to know what happened?"
Jim took a deep, shuddering breath. "Campos and Carlos had a backup plan. There was a sniper on the third level. I…I didn't pick him up. I was too focused on Campos, but Jessie did. She jumped in front of the bullet that was meant for me. Then all hell broke loose."
The doctor came through the double doors, wiping his hands on a towel. His gown was covered in blood making it look more red than blue. He paused for a few moments and made his way to the waiting room. The visitors looked at him as he entered.
"I'm Dr. Richardson. I've been treating Ms. Ramirez."
Jim stood up. "How is she?"
The doctor nodded. "I think you should sit down."
He put his foot down. "Tell me now."
The doctor's expression turned grim. "All right, Ms. Ramirez is in serious condition. The bullet punctured her right lung and exited through the back. I've put her on a respirator for that injury, but before it exited it punctured a major artery near her heart."
Jim's knees began to shake as Blair helped him to sit down.
The doctor continued. "We almost lost her three times in the ER, but were able to repair the damage for now. But, due to extent damage of her injuries, she fell into a coma, and I don't know if she's ever going to wake up. It's a slim chance to none."
A stray tear fell down Jim's face. This is my fault. "When can I see her?"
"I'm moving her into ICU right now. You can follow me and wait upstairs."
Blair stood beside him. He looked up at him answering his unspoken question. "I'll wait for Simon, I'll tell him. Go be with her. She needs you."
"Follow me, Detective."
He walked down the hall disappearing from site as Blair looked on.
Jim paced up and down the ICU waiting room. He stopped, looking out the window, letting his tears break through the surface. I have to get out of here. He turned towards the hallway, heading straight for the chapel. He stood at the door only a moment. He never considered himself to be religious, but he was lost. He entered, heading towards the altar; he sank to his knees.
"Father, I know it's been a while since I've asked for your help. I know I've done wrong in the past, but please don't make my…my daughter pay for my sins. She is a light that shines ever so brightly and you know she's been through a lot. I'm asking you, no, I'm begging don't take her from this world. I couldn't bear to lose her. I love her so much. She's a gift from you and she doesn't deserve to go this way." He put his head in his hands and sniffed loudly.
He felt a gentle tapping on his shoulder. "Detective, can you come with me please? I'll take you to see your daughter now."
He got up, crossed himself, and followed the nurse.
The nurse escorted Jim to room 216 on the ICU ward. "I'll be back in a while." She left to do her other rounds.
His hand trembled on the doorknob as he pushed the door open. Entering the room, he stood there in horror. Oh god. I'm so sorry. He looked around and saw the machines helping his daughter stay alive. The respirator tube down her throat was scary. It was allowing the lung to heal, but the thing that frighten him the most, was the heart monitor. He watched it skip a beat or two, which caused him to jump. He reached out his hearing and heard the slowing heartbeat that was fighting to keep her alive.
He walked slowly towards the chair beside the bed. He sat down, taking one of her pale hands into his own, giving it a very gentle squeeze.
"Hey, little one. I know you can hear me. I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I should've never gotten you involved in all this. I know it's not your fault." He felt the tears brim the surface of his eyes. He finally let them fall freely down his face. "I can't believe this is happening all over again. You've been through so much all ready. You don't need this."
He heard her heart stop as the heart monitor went flat.
Jim's head shot up. "Jessie! No!"
Nurses and doctors ran into the room. "Get the crash cart, stat! Code Blue! Sir, you're going to have to leave."
One of the nurses escorted him out. "You have to wait out here."
Standing there frozen in place, he watched them pull back the curtain.
The head nurse grabbed the cart, reaching for the paddles. "Charge! Clear!"
She looked at the monitor. "Nothing. Charge! Clear!"
Jim leaned against the wall, closing his eyes as he prayed. Please God, no, please. Don't take her. He felt gentle hands on his shoulders. Looking up, he stood up and embraced Blair. "I'm here, Jim. I'm here."
"Okay, one more time. Charge! Clear!"
She looked at the monitor, breathing a sigh of relief. "She's back with us. Good job people. That was close."
Jim let go of him, watching them examine Jessie.
"Can I see her now?"
The nurse shook her head. "In a few minutes. We want to monitor her progress, just in case."
Blair put his arms around his shoulders. "Come on, Jim. Let's go get some coffee. We'll come back in a few minutes."
Looking at her room one last time, he reached out his hearing to hear the heartbeat once again. It was beating slowly but strong for the moment. Putting his head down, he followed him down the hallway.
He stopped short of the elevator. "Hold on, Blair. I need to get some air. Can you wait here? I just need to get out of here. It's too painful and too many memories."
Placing a hand on his cheek, Blair nodded. "Go, I'll stay with her."
He walked down the hallway and disappeared.
After a few moments, Blair entered the room, sitting in the chair. Grabbing a hand, he watched his friend and his lover's daughter slowly fade away from this world.
The blue jungle was calm and peaceful. The white tiger was lapping up the water as Jessie stood near it, watching the scene before her.
She was a little girl walking into the house finding her mother dead on the kitchen floor. Jessie turned away not wanting to relive that painful memory.
"Not again." She knelt beside the body. "I'm so sorry."
A voce answered behind her. "Sorry for what, my dear?"
She turned to meet the eyes of her mother. She had blink twice to make sure she was real. "M-mom?"
She smiled. "Yes, it's me. I have someone who wants to see you." With a wave of her hand, another figure appeared.
"Daddy!" She ran, embracing him.
He held her tight against him. "Oh, sweetie, you're all grown up. I see Jim has taken very good care of you."
She held onto him with fierce strength hoping he wouldn't disappear all over again. "I miss you guys so much. There's so much I have to tell you."
The adults nodded. "We know dear, but you can explain when your ready to come home."
She looked at them curiously. "Come home? I don't understand."
They faded away.
She reached for them frantically. "Wait! No, come back!" She looked at the water as it shimmered in the moonlight.
She continued to look at the pool. "What's going on?"
The tiger faded away.
"Wait! No!" She sank to her knees, weeping.
The heart monitor going flat woke Blair with a start. "Oh god, not again."
He was shoved aside by one the nurse's. Blair was escorted out of the room watching in horror as once again they tried to revive his friend.
"Nothing. Charge! Clear!"
Jim ran down the hallway from the elevator hearing the alarm with his hearing and stood beside Blair. He looked into room, frantically wanting to be with his daughter. "Jessie! No!" Jim tried to rush into the room, but Blair held him back.
The nurse tried again. "Charge! Clear!"
They looked at the monitor as her heart started to beat again. They all breathed a sigh of relief. Jim started to walk into the room, but was held fast.
"No more visitors at this time. We're going to get an eye on her. I'll let you know if anything changes in her condition."
He looked one more time at his daughter and reluctantly complied.
The head nurse looked at Blair. "Will you make sure he gets home? We'll call if anything changes."
Blair nodded at the order. "Yes, I'll make sure we go home. Thank you."
The nurse left.
He steered his lover towards the elevator. "Come on, Jim, let's get you home."
Blair pulled into the driveway, shutting the engine off. Jim sat in the seat, staring out the window, zoning out on the black scene in front of him.
Blair opened the passenger door, gently helping Jim to his feet. "Jim, come on, I'll get you settled in. I don't want you zoning out here."
Jim got of the car, heading towards the loft inserting the key into the door. He entered the loft and stared at the emptiness. Just like the rest of my life. He walked towards the couch. He sat down, rubbing his tired eyes.
Blair sat down beside him. "When was the last time you've gotten some sleep?"
Jim closed his eyes for a moment. "It's been a while."
Blair tried a positive approach. "Well, go freshen up and I'll help get you to bed. I need some sleep too."
He kissed her forehead. "Thanks for everything." He headed to the bathroom.
Blair heard the water running as he walked up the stairs to the bedroom. He walked to the bed a pulled back the covers. After a few minutes, he heard the water stopped and saw his lover walk out the bathroom wearing only a towel around his waist. Blair's eyes widened, but he knew they weren't going to do anything tonight. Jim smiled a little as he went to the dresser, putting on a pair of sweats. Blair continued turning up the bed so they could get some sleep.
Jim shut the dresser drawer and walked towards his lover. "It's safe now."
He turned, smiling. "Okay, let's get you to bed."
He lay down on the bed pulling the covers over his tired body. He fluffed his pillows a little as he felt his hand on his arm and then it circled around his waist. "I love you, Chief. I just wanted to let you know that. I would be lost without you in my life to keep me sane."
Blair placed a kiss on his lips. "I love you, too. I'm never going to leave you and either is Jessie. She'll keep fighting."
Swallowing the lump in his throat, he held Blair tighter. "Goodnight, Chief."
Blair snuggled closer to him, making sure Jim felt his presence. "Goodnight, Jim."
They drifted off to sleep.
Jessie felt gentle hands on her shoulders, pulling her up. She turned, looking once again at her parents. "Why did you leave me?"
Her dad shook his head. "We had to. It was our time."
She pounded a fist against her dad's chest. "No, it wasn't! I didn't want you to go!" she screamed, slamming her fists into his chest over and over again.
He pulled her into a gentle embrace stroking her red hair. "Yes it was, sweetheart. There will be time for us soon, but you have to go back to your friends that love you. Jim needs you."
She pulled away. "But I love you and I also love them. Why do the people I love leave me? Maybe I should leave them to save them the pain."
He shook his head and then rubbed her cheek. "I can't answer that question and I wish I could. You need to go back. You need to fight."
She hugged him again. "I want to be with you."
He let go of her. "I know you do, but you must go back. It's not your time, yet. You have Blair and Jim to look after you."
She kissed him. "I will always love you."
He kissed her cheek. "And I will always love you. I'll be watching over you, my daughter." He faded away.
She stood by the pond, looking at the water. She saw scenes from her life pass her by as if she was reliving them over and over again. After a few moments, the wolf howled in the distance as it approached her. She turned as she was looking into the face of Blair.
He walked over to the pond and it started to shimmer. "I have something to show you, Jessie. It's something that happened to me a long time ago." He placed a finger into the water causing it to ripple. The fountain from Rainer appeared before her. She watched in horror of the scene before her.
Jim rushed to Blair's side. He pulled him out the fountain laying him flat on his back.
Simon looked to him. "I don't hear a heart beat. Jim, Jim, do you hear a heart beat?"
Jim just stared at Blair lying on the ground. Simon and Jim began pumping Blair's chest and Jim was breathing air into him.
"Come on, Chief. Come on. Don't you go!"
A few minutes later, the EMT's rushed to the scene at the fountain with their equipment. "Let us through guys."
Jim stepped back and let them do their job.
"This can't be happening. This can't be happening! Come on Sandburg, breathe dammit!"
After a few minutes, the EMT shook his head. "I'm sorry guys."
Jim looked at him. "What do you mean sorry? It's not over. Don't give up."
He went down again trying to breathe life into his friend. Simon grabbed him pulling him up.
"Jim let him go he's gone."
He struggled against his hold. "No, no! He's alive! No!"
He broke free from the hold, as he was kneeling down he saw Blair's animal spirit run away. Inchanca appeared and told Jim what to do.
Jessie saw the merging of the jaguar and the wolf and watched as Blair began to spit up water and come back to life.
She turned back to Blair. "He brought you back?"
Blair nodded. "Yes he did and now you must make a choice to come back too." Blair morphed back into the wolf. Jessie looked back into the water figuring out what to do.
Jim took her pale hand into his own. "Oh, Jessie. This isn't what I had in mind for you as rescue. I planned something more than this. That bullet should have been meant for me. It's feels like I'm reliving Blair dying in the fountain all over again." He focused on the heartbeat despite what the machine was telling him. He learned long ago that his gifts were sometimes a great asset to him. He kept squeezing her hand. "Come back to me, Jessie. Come back to me." He closed his eyes hoping maybe the blue jungle would appear to him just as it did when Blair died. But it didn't.
Jessie's ears pricked up as she heard a familiar voice talking to her. She looked around the vast blue jungle hoping he would jump out of the trees. "Jim? It couldn't be, could it?" The wolf, jaguar, and the tiger roared as she stepped towards the water. She continued to listen.
"When I found out I was a Sentinel, I couldn't believe it. I thought I was a freak and no one would understand me. That's when Blair came into my life and I finally after a very long time I accepted who I was. Now, you have the same gift and you never had the problem of feeling like a freak. You are the total opposite of me. You are very open minded just like Blair."
Jessie walked into the water, going towards the voice. "Jim, I'm coming." She turned to see her parents encouraging her to follow the voice. She dove into the water and disappeared.
Jim wiped away his tears falling freely down his face. "Come back to me Jessie." He gave her hand a gentle squeeze again and this time he felt it squeeze back. He looked down curiously hoping his senses weren't playing tricks on him. "Jessie?"
He looked at the heart monitor and it started to beat faster and faster. He focused his hearing hoping the monitor was telling the truth. He glanced back at her. "Come on, honey. We need you."
Her eyes began to twitch and then flutter.
He continued to encourage her. "Open your eyes, Jessie. Look at me."
Her green eyes opened and he smiled. "Hey, welcome back."
She looked around the room, hazily. She tried to smile letting him know she could see him.
He stood up gently, planting a kiss on her forehead. "Rest now." He reached for the panel, pushing the intercom button. "Get Dr. Richardson in here now." Few seconds later, he heard the doctor's name over the hospital intercom.
Five minutes later, the doctor, Simon, and Blair stood in the doorway.
Jim was bouncing excitedly. "She opened her eyes."
They let out a sigh of relief. The doctor entered the room and looked at the heart monitor, scribbling something on his clipboard. "This is very good news. She's a strong, determined, young lady. She just up her chances."
"Is she out of danger?" Jim asked.
The doctor shook his head. "Yes and no. I'll still keep a close eye on her just in case, but I do believe she'll pull through."
Jessie's eyes began to flutter open once again. The doctor turned. "Well, Ms. Ramirez. It's nice to see you awake." He turned to the group. "Now, will you all please excuse me while I examine her in private."
Jim stood up slowly allowing Blair to help him out of the room.
The doctor looked at the group leaving. "I'll come get you when I'm finished."
They nodded and then left.
Dr. Richardson walked towards her, sitting down on the chair. "You don't look like a woman who almost died on me twice just twenty four hours ago."
Jessie tried to smile, but the ventilator was in the way.
He gave her an encouraging pat on the hand. "I'll remove that in due time, if all goes well. I want to give the lung a little more time to heal. For the time being, I want you to regain your strength, okay?"
She nodded slowly.
"Good. You are one lucky woman, Ms. Ramirez. I'm glad God was on your side." He stood, checking the heart monitor one more time writing down the results on his clipboard. "I want to keep a close eye on this until I'm certain it's okay to take you off."
She reached over slowly and squeezed his hand as to say thank you.
He smiled. "Your welcome. I want you to rest. I'm going to let your family know of your progress."
She eyes her eyes and drifted off to sleep. The doctor breathed a sigh of relief and left.
Two days later, Jessie was moved into a private room. Jim filled her on the details of what happened after she was shot.
She breathed a huge sigh of relief. "He deserved whatever is coming to him. I can now rest easy without having to look over my shoulder ever again."
Jim squeezed her hand. "Well, honey, I believe that you're right. I'm just glad you're safe." Jim got up and gave her a gentle hug.
She looked up and beamed. "Blair." She held out her arms, pulling him close.
Blair was careful not to squeeze her too tight. "I'm glad you're alive. I was worried I would lose my eager student."
Blushing, Jessie smiled. "The doctor says that I'll be released in a couple of days. I have to take it easy for a while. So no hard sentinel training for a while."
Blair snapped his fingers. "Darn, well I still have a temporary lab rat anyway until your better."
Jim shook his head. "Jess, get better fast! I feel sour milk in my future."
The group laughed.
"So, this is Jessie." Simon walked into the room. Jim turned, seeing his captain enter the room.
"Who is this?" Jessie asked.
"Jessie, I like you to meet my Captain, Simon Banks," Jim replied.
She smiled, extending her hand out for the captain to shake. "Nice to finally meet you, Simon. Jim told me some interesting things about you."
He looked at his best detective. "He has, has he. Well I think some things are not true. No, wait, everything is not true, so don't believe anything that these two tell you about me."
Jessie laughed and then yawned just as the doctor entered the room. "Look's like I'm in time. Ms. Ramirez needs her rest. It's time for you folks to go." Jim and Blair hugged her.
"I love you. Thank you for everything." Jessie hugged them back.
"It's my job to rescue damsels in distress. I love you too."
She closed her eyes and fell asleep. They left the room knowing that she was going to be making a brand new start.