Sense of Pretend

Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters are the creative property
of Pet Fly productions and Paramount. The Pretender and its characters
are the property of its creators and NBC. The characters have only been
borrowed and will be returned. As always, comments are desired, so
please email me! 

Sense of Pretend
by Trish

The tall dark-haired man stood in the elevator that was rising to the
seventh floor, his attention captured by the information contained in
the red notebook he was holding. He was determined to find out what had
happened. He was about to take his first step into this new life. As
soon as the elevator doors opened he exited and stopped the first
person he saw. 

"Excuse me could you direct me to Captain Banks' office?" He asked

"Straight through there, that's his door over there." The uniformed
officer pointed the way.

"Thank you for your help." As he walked through Major Crimes, he
noticed the frantic level of activity. It was to be expected; one of
their own was missing. The only person he could see sitting quietly was
a longhaired young man sitting staring at a blank computer screen.

The dark-haired man knocked on the door to the Captain's office.

"Come in," growled the occupant.

"Captain Banks, my name is Jarod Maxwell. I'm a transfer to help with
the Ellison investigation."

Simon looked closely at his new detective. "Do you have any experience
dealing with kidnapping cases," he asked.

"Yes, Captain, I do. Just tell me where you want me to start."

Simon handed him a stack of files. "These are some of Ellison's cases.
We are trying to find out if any one of these people are out of prison
or have a relative bent on revenge."

"I'll get right on it sir." As Jarod moved to the door, a small tornado
in the shape of the young man he had seen in the bullpen burst in.

"Simon, we have to find him now!" Blair exclaimed. "He's running out of

"Sandburg, pull yourself together." Simon tried to draw the young
observer's attention to the quiet man standing by the door listening.
Blair was oblivious to the threat of a stranger hearing something

"Simon, you don't understand." Blair brushed his hair back from his
face. "Jim has zoned, I can feel it." He began to pace the office.
"They must have given him something. He's shutting down."

Jarod watched as the young man paced. He could see the big captain try
to stay calm. Suddenly, Blair fell to his knees, clutching his head.
Jarod was the first to reach him. He knelt down and put his hands on
Blair's shoulders to steady him. Simon gasped when Sandburg looked up,
blood pouring from his nose. Simon grabbed napkins from his coffee bar
and handed them to Jarod. Jarod held the napkins in place to stanch the
flow of blood. Blair looked at him with a blank look in his eyes. Jarod
watched as awareness took hold. Chills ran down his spine as the young
man began to speak

"Alone, so alone. Need other half." He grabbed Jarod's arm with both
hands. "Help him, so afraid, it's dark here, so dark." A tear traced a
path down Blair's face. He continued to say the same thing over and
over. His body rocking back and forth, holding tight to Jarod. Jarod
turned pale as he recognized the patterns of speech the young man was

"Angelo, is that you?" He asked softly. Simon made a protesting sound.
Jarod waved him back. "Look at me, Angelo." The other man met his eyes.
"Are you with Jim, Angelo?" Blair/Angelo nodded. "Where are you now?"

Blair/Angelo tried to pull away in fear. "Bad place. Scary place."

"Is the bad place at the Centre?" Jarod asked gently. The young man
nodded. "Where in the Centre?" He prompted.

"Down below." He started rocking harder, crying in fear.

"Listen to me closely, Angelo. I know Jim is in SL-27." Jarod felt the
young man flinch. "We will be there as soon as we can. I need for you
to pull back. Jim's other half is in pain. Only come back if the danger
to Jim is worse. Do you understand?"

"Angelo understands, will protect the protector." Blair collapsed into
Jarod's arms.

Simon had watched the drama unfold in disbelief. He wanted to help but
did not want to interfere. He opened his door and motioned for Brown. 

"Henri, go get me a wet towel." The Captain ordered. "And hurry."

Henri raced back with a wet towel. He stopped in the doorway, shocked
at the sight of Sandburg passed out and covered with blood. He didn't
even notice the man holding Blair.

"Holy shit, what happened, Captain?"

Simon went for the easiest explanation. "Sandburg passed out and hit
his nose. You know as well as I do, he hasn't been taking care of
himself since Ellison was kidnapped," the big man said as he gently
cleaned the young man's face. 

The detective nodded and noticed Jarod for the first time. "Hi, I'm
Henri Brown, and you are...?"

"Jarod Maxwell, sorry if I don't get up." He gestured to the
unconscious man in his arms. Brown knelt down beside his young friend.
He brushed the hair away from his face.

"Come on 'Hairboy,' time to wake-up. We have a lot of work to do."
Henri urged. "We need your help to find Jim."

Jarod felt a tremor pass through the young man. He opened his eyes, and
struggled to sit up. He looked around at the worried faces. It looked
like half of Major Crimes had managed to squeeze into Simon's office.

"I'm okay, guys, really." Blair tried to smile, wincing when he moved
his head. He looked at Jarod. "I know you. You're Jarod, right?" 

Simon cleared the office of everyone except for Blair and Jarod.

OK, Sandburg, what happened?" Simon demanded.

"What about him?" Blair gestured at Jarod.

"It's a little late to worry about it. He saw the whole show," Simon
answered. "I think he knows something." 

Blair looked at Jarod and back to Simon. He took a deep breath. "You
know I've been getting feelings from Jim since he was taken." 

Simon nodded. "I don't understand how it works, but I believe you."

"All I was getting were feelings, nothing concrete, no 'visions'."
Blair smiled. This morning I knew Jim had zoned big time. I came to
tell you and the next thing I knew, I could see Jim. He was lying on
what looked like a hospital bed. Simon, it didn't look like any
hospital room I've ever seen. I've never been so scared in my life.
They had all kinds of equipment hooked up to him." Through the tears
pouring down the younger man's face, Simon could see the building
anger. "They are killing him, and I don't even know where he is."

"I do." Jarod stated. Both men turned to him in shock. 

"WHAT!" Simon bellowed, "What do you mean, you know where Jim is?" He
jerked Jarod to his feet. "I should arrest you as an accessory."

Blair held up a hand urging his Captain to calm down. "Simon, hold up a
minute." Blair lowered his voice to what Jim called, Guide mode. Simon
stopped and stared at the young Guide. "Now take a deep breath and pull
back. Jarod is going to tell us where Jim is." Blair turned his head
and looked at Jarod. "Right?" Jarod nodded in agreement. "Now sit down,
Simon, and let him tell us what's going on."

In spite of feeling as if he was about to be pounded into oblivion,
Jarod was fascinated. He could see the anger leaving the big man as
Blair spoke. Simon released his grip on the front of Jarod's shirt.

"Sorry." Simon apologized gruffly.

"Don't worry about it, Sir. I know this has been difficult for
everyone." He turned to Blair, "You are right. Your friend, Detective
Ellison, is in grave danger." Jarod paused to gather his thoughts. "The
person who contacted Blair is Angelo. He is an empath. To my knowledge,
he has never directly communicated like that before. He is usually used
to find things, sensing patterns and feelings."

"Where is he, and where is Jim?" Blair demanded. He knew Angelo had
followed the link between Sentinel and Guide to find him.

"Jim is being held at the Centre. They must have found something
special about him. They rarely take adults." Jarod was visibly puzzled.
Blair and Simon looked at each other.

"How do you know so much about this place that has Jim?" Simon asked.

Jarod was staring at Blair trying to put all of the pieces into place.
He glanced at Simon, "They kidnapped me when I was a child," Jarod
answered absently. "I escaped from there two years ago." He didn't
notice their reactions. He was remembering what Sandburg said when he
burst into the office. 'Jim had zoned'. He also remembered what Angelo
had said about Jim's 'other half'. Jarod's eyes rounded when he put it
all together. He remembered an argument he had witnessed between Sidney
and Mr. Raynes.

He focused on Blair. "You are a guide and Ellison is your Sentinel,

Blair and Simon flinched. "Yes," Blair whispered.

"That's how Angelo found you. He used the bond between the two of you
to forge a link." He put his hand on the smaller man's shoulder. "Don't
worry. I'm not going to tell anyone. I'm going to try and get some help
from the inside."

"You mean Angelo?" Blair asked.

"Yes, amongst others."

* * * 

The Centre

The gray-haired man picked up the phone on the first ring. "Sidney."

"Sidney, I need your help."

"Why do you need my help, Jarod?"

"The Centre is up to it's old tricks. The have a new occupant in SL-

Sidney's head jerked up. "What! How do you know this?"

"Let's just say a little bird told me. The new resident is Detective
James Ellison. I'm counting on you to keep him safe. He is unconscious
now. He has 'zoned'." Jarod heard Sidney's gasp. "That's right, he is
one. But they screwed up in typical Centre fashion. They don't know the
whole story and they are killing him. If they put him on life support,
don't let them turn it off." 

Ms. Parker and Broots walked in as Jarod was talking. Sidney held up
his hand to keep the others quiet.

"I will do what I can."

"Not good enough. You will do everything you can. If you don't, you
will be killing two people. I'll call you soon."

"Was that Jarod?" Ms. Parker asked. Sydney nodded. "And why didn't you
start a trace?"

"Parker, you know as well as I do, Jarod is not going to let us catch
him with a phone trace." Ms. Parker glared at him.

"What did he want?" Broots asked nervously.

"It seems we have a new guest in SL-27."

"Well, that explains why Brigitte is walking around looking smug." She
lit a cigarette. "Who is it? And why does it concern us?"

"He is James Ellison, a police detective. Jarod seems very concerned."

"I wonder how this guy got the attention of the Centre." Ms Parker
mused. "Broots, I want you to find out everything you can about
Detective James Ellison, and I want it in one hour." Broots nodded and
started out the door. It was going to be a long night. "And I want the
security updates for SL-27."

* * *


Blair looked around the loft, making sure he had packed everything he
would need to rescue Jim. Overcoming Simon's objections had been easy
once he told him he would do it on his own if necessary. He knew Jim
would be returning with him or they would both be dead.

"You ready, Sandburg?" Simon asked. He noted the resolve on the young
man's face.

"Yeah, Simon, let's make tracks." Blair smiled up at Simon. "We have a
Sentinel to rescue."

Jarod was waiting in the car. He hoped they had everything they would
need for the rescue. But they did have a slight edge. He watched the
young man who would be the key to their success. Between Blair and
Angelo, they would have a 60-40 chance of getting out of this in one

Simon was unhappy with not being able to go along, but he knew he was
their back up just in case something went very wrong.

* * *

The Centre

Sidney sat with his head in his hands. Broots had furtively handed him
the file he had found on James Ellison. The page Sidney was reading
concerned Ellison at age twelve. The Centre had been watching him for a
long time . Raynes had wanted to take him when he was a boy, but it had
seemed that he had lost his abilities after his mentor was murdered by
a serial killer. After that point, the file was very thin until Ellison
returned from Peru. The resulting publicity had triggered a flag in his
file and reopened Centre interest. 

He read that Raynes had people watching Ellison off and on for over two
years. The man's arrest record went off the charts. Raynes stepped up
surveillance for the next three years. He wanted to be sure his
abilities didn't disappear again. Sidney looked at the most recent
pictures. They showed a tall no nonsense looking man with short hair
and piercing blue eyes. He looked to be in good shape. In the majority
of pictures he was with other people, but the psychologist side of
Sidney spotted the one that made the difference. Any picture with
Ellison and a shorter, longhaired young man showed a more relaxed

Sidney looked at the report accompanying the pictures.

Subject: Ellison, James

Date: 21 May 19--


Evidence continues to support the theory that Ellison's abilities have
returned. Said abilities continue to increase with use. See attached
case files.

Colleague's subject works with on a daily basis: Captain Simon Banks,
Detective Henri Brown, Detective Brian Rafe, Detective Joel Taggart,
Observer Blair Sandburg. None of the previously mentioned people seem
to know or have any effect on Ellison's abilities.

Sidney stopped reading and picked up the picture of Ellison with the
members of the Major Crimes. One face was like a beacon. In all of the
pictures, the young man was always within arms reach of Ellison. The
observer, Sandburg, was the key to Ellison's abilities. Sidney
remembered what he had read about Sentinels. To control their senses
they needed a guide. Blair Sandburg must be Ellison's Guide. Sidney
once theorized that there was a psychic connection between Sentinel and
Guide. Raynes had disagreed, Sidney had backed down, and over the years
had forgotten, until now.

Broots entered Sidney's office wit Ms. Parker directly behind him. "I
want details, gentlemen, and I want them, now." She demanded. Sidney
closed the report on his desk.

"It seems that Detective Ellison is suspected to have psychic
abilities." He looked up at Ms. Parker. "The Centre decided to acquire

"You said Jarod was concerned about him. Why?" She asked impatiently.

"Because, he believes Ellison is dying."

"He's right." Broots interjected, ducking away from Ms. Parker. "I got
into the Medical database."


"They are talking about the possibility of needing life support soon."
He furtively looked around. "I have copies of the SL-27 surveillance

Ms. Parker held out her hand. "Give." 

Together they watched the tapes. Broots kept an eye out for unwelcome
visitors. They saw the unconscious man lying on a bed in an all too
familiar place. Watching the Doctors poking and prodding the
unresponsive man. Brigitte entered the room and tried speaking to him.
When there was no response, she ran her hands up his arms and across
his chest. She stroked his face and talked to him. She quickly lost
patience and slapped him across the face with no result. She stormed
out of the room.

"They are blaming her for his condition. When they first brought him in
he was conscious, angry and aware, he just refused to speak to anyone.
Then she went in and she said something, they don't know what because
the microphones are out, but when she left he was like this." Broots
gestured at the screen.

"Good, maybe this will be the last straw." Ms Parker said under her
breath. "Does my father know about this?"

"No, he hasn't been in since Ellison's kidnapping." Sidney answered,
"This is Raynes work all the way."

Ms. Parker breathed a sigh of relief. "So, what are we supposed to do
about this mess?"

"For right now, just make sure Ellison stays alive." He looked into her
eyes. "I have a feeling that if he dies, the Centre may be destroyed by
it. This man is not alone, he has a connection outside the Centre, and
they know he is here."

* * * An Airplane Flying Above the U.S.

"What can you tell me about the Centre?" Blair asked Jarod.

"It might give you a better idea if I show you." He pulled out the
silver case he had stored under the seat in front of him. He selected a
disc and inserted it into the reader. Blair watched the scene on the
viewer, a look of horror crossed his face when he realized the child,
the two men, identified as Sidney and Mr. Raynes, were arguing about
was Jim. 

"What kind of people are they? How do they get away with this?" Blair
gestured at the screen.

"They are very good at what they do, and I think they have protection
from pretty high up. I don't know who or what but one day I will find
out." Jarod vowed.

Blair patted the upset man's arm. "Don't worry, we'll get Jim out of
there, I know it." He smiled at Jarod. "They don't have a clue about
what they are dealing with, if they did I would be there too. They
don't know it but they have made a major mistake." Blair settled back
into his seat. "Keep an eye on me, I'm going to try something." Jarod

Blair calmed his thoughts using the drone of the airplane's engines to
help him center his thoughts. He visualized a thin rope reaching
between himself and Jim. He mentally followed the rope. It seemed to
take forever. He ran into an uneven space and realized it was the
splice Angelo had created connecting them to each other. He finally
found his Sentinel. He was in a very dark place, with a total absence
of sensation. Blair could barely make out the dark shape that was his
partner, curled up in a fetal position on the ground. He reached out
his hand and touched the other man's back.

//Jim, it's me, time to wake up.// There was no response. Blair tried
another approach. //Sentinel, your Guide needs you.//

Almost in audibly Jim spoke. //Blair is gone. They killed him.//

//Jim, I'm not dead, but you will be if you don't wake up. Come on, big
guy, open your eyes.// Blair picked up Jim's hand and held it to his
chest over his heart. //You can feel my heart beating. I know you can
hear it.//

The big man uncurled, and looked around in confusion. //Blair?//

//Yeah, buddy, it's me.//

Jim looked around. //Where are we, Chief?//

Blair laughed, //In your zone, big guy. I can't stay for long.// Blair
looked around. //You need to start coming out of it so when I get there
we can leave. Do you remember what happened?//

Jim sent him images of being hit over the head and the next thing he
was aware of was being handcuffed to an airplane seat. Then being
drugged and moved to the room he was currently in. //A blond woman told
me you were dead; that they had killed you because I had refused to
cooperate. I think that is when I zoned.// 

//I'm going to try and get someone to you to help you out of there.// 

Jim shook his head. //It's too dangerous, Chief.//

//No, this time you listen to me. We will get you out of there. You
just need to concentrate and wake up.//

//Okay, Chief, I'll do it your way. Now go before you get stuck in

//All right, big guy, just be listening for me.//

//Always do, Chief.//

Blair felt the connection stretch, but the link was holding. He tried
to contact Angelo, but was too tired.

"Blair, come out of it." Jarod had watched the young man get paler,
respiration and heartrate slowing and becoming erratic. "Come on,
Sandburg, snap out of it." Blair opened his eyes. Jarod could feel the
pulse in the wrist he was holding even out and become stronger.

"It worked, I talked to Jim. That was so cool. Talk about a psychic
hotline!" Blair was bouncing with excitement. Exhaustion began to war
with the excitement on the young man's face. The mental conversation
had taken a lot of his remaining strength.

"Try to get some sleep, we have a while before we land. You need to
preserve your strength. Once we get there, I don't know how much rest
we will be able to get. You can fill me in on the results of you
conversation after we land." Blair nodded and quickly drifted off to

* * *

The Centre

Ms. Parker watched the monitors. Broots had patched her into the SL-27
security cameras. The doctors seemed to be impressed with the
improvement in their patient's condition. They had no way of knowing
Ellison's improvement coincided with his contact with his Guide.

Angelo watched from the air duct grill. He could feel the difference in
the man on the hospital bed. He was no longer alone. Angelo's body was
still but his eyes went back and forth between the occupants of the
room. He could feel the anger from Mr. Raynes and Bridgette and started
to get agitated. He froze in place as he felt another consciousness in
his mind.

//Angelo, don't worry. It's me Blair, you were with me before.//

//Yes, Angelo remembers.//

//Is the room empty of other people?//

//Yes, people gone, still watching.//

Blair was confused for a moment. //You mean cameras?//


//Wait where you are, Angelo, I'll be back with you soon.//

Angelo pressed closer to the duct grating, watching the occupant of the

* * * Outside Centre grounds

"Jarod, can the surveillance cameras be turned off in Jim's room?"

"Yes, they can. Let me check and see if it will." 

Blair nodded then scanned the grounds with binoculars. Jarod dialed the
memorized number.

"Sidney, is Broots with you?"

"Yes, he's right here, why?"

"Just put him on the phone." 

Sidney handed the phone to Broots. "Broots here." the balding man
answered the phone nervously.

"I need for you to put a glitch in the surveillance cameras in SL-27.
Try to make it look like a programming failure."

"For how long?"

Jarod looked at Blair. "How long will the cameras need to be down?"

"At least thirty minutes, maybe less." Blair was guessing and hoping he
would be able to get Jim the rest of the way out of his zone out long

"Thirty minutes." Jarod informed Broots.

"What if I get caught?" Broots whined.

Jarod turned away from Blair and spoke quietly into the phone. "If you
don't, two people are going to die. Do you want their deaths on your

"I'll do my best." Broots answered.

I'll call you back in fifteen minutes, be ready." Jarod disconnected
the call. He turned back to Blair. "You ready, Sandburg?"

Blair smiled. "Let's do it."

They retraced Jarod's escape route, back into the Centre. As they
entered the building using the underground ventilation system. Blair
reopened the link with Jim.

//Jim, can you hear me, big guy?//

//Yeah, Chief, I hear you. Where have you been?//

//Here and there. Are you ready to get out of there?//

//Just say the word.//

//I'm sending Angelo to you. He will bring you to me. Are you all the
way out of the zone?// //Yeah, I can see the guy in the vent. Is that

//Yes, I will send him down as soon as the cameras go off-line.//

//It's all clear in here, I can't hear the cameras any more. What ever
you have planned now is the time//

Blair reached out to Angelo. //Now, Angelo. It's time to save Jim.//
Blair could feel the excitement from the empath.

Angelo loosened the duct grating and climbed down into the room with
Jim. The Sentinel opened his eyes, when the other man's feet hit the
floor. Angelo stood over Jim and released the restraints holding the
big man down. He helped to remove the monitor attached to Jim. The
strange looking man gave a quirky smile and said, "We go now." He
helped Jim stand and gestured for Jim to climb into the air duct. When
they were both in, Angelo reattached the grate from the inside.

As they climbed through the vent system, Jim extended his hearing out
ahead of him. A sense of peace flowed through him when he heard his
Guide's heart beating. Angelo looked over his shoulder and grinned.
"Not alone."

He turned his eyes to the front and began to scurry faster through the
duct. Jim followed as quietly as possible.

Angelo ran full tilt into Blair. He started rocking and chanting,
"Other half, other half...."

Blair's face lit up when he saw the big detective close on Angelo's
heels. Jim squeezed past Angelo and grabbed hold of his partner,
pulling him into his arms reassuring himself that he wasn't dreaming.

"It's okay, big guy, everything is all right now." Blair said holding
on just as tight.

"I hate to interrupt your reunion, but we haven't escaped yet." Jarod
reminded them.

Jim looked over Blair's shoulder at the stranger. The younger man felt
Jim's muscles tense. He patted him on the back to get his attention.

"Jim, he's a friend." Blair told him. "I will explain everything when
we get out of here, okay?"

The four men quietly made their way through the vent system. Jim could
see where motion sensors had been installed. He guessed due to Angelo's
familiarity with the vent system the detectors had been disconnected
long ago.

It took an hour for them to make their way to the exit. Angelo stopped
before they came to the opening. Jarod turned to him and reached out
his hand.

"Come with us." Angelo shook his head and said, "Must 

stay." He gave Jarod a sad smile and went back the way they had just
traveled. Blair put his hand on Jarod's arm, "It's really okay. He
wants to go back. He can't deal with the outside yet. Give him time. He
knows the way out."

Jarod gave the two men a sad smile. "I know, I just don't like to leave
anyone in there." He shook his head. "Let's go."

Jim followed Jarod out with Blair close behind. Blair was so focused on
getting out he didn't see the two men stop abruptly in front of him. He
plowed into Jim's back.

"Why'd you stop?" He peered around the big detective. "Oh, shit!" Blair
exclaimed, when he saw the beautiful dark-haired woman with a gun
currently pointed at Jarod. Jim reached back to keep Blair behind him.
Jim had gone into protect mode. Even in his weakened condition, his
first concern was his guide. Blair understanding moved closer to his

"Ms. Parker," Jarod acknowledged her.

"Long time no see. I always had a feeling you would come home. Turn
around. You're coming with me."

"No." Jarod said quietly. He starred directly into her eyes. "I will
not let the Centre kill them the way it killed my brother."

Her brow furrowed in confusion. "No one is going to kill them."

"Come on, Parker, don't play dumb. It doesn't suit you. Just look at
them and tell me the Centre wasn't doing just that."

She finally took a good look at the other two men. She was shocked by
the toll that had been taken on both men. They were both pale, faces
drawn, dark circles under their eyes. The larger man, Ellison, was
visibly weakened due to drugs and confinement. She watched as Ellison
kept himself in the position of protector for the smaller man standing
close behind.

"We are not going back," the big man stated, speaking aloud for the
first time. "And neither is Jarod." He became alarmed as two men came
running up behind the woman.

"Parker, let them go." the older man ordered.

"You have got to be kidding, Sidney."

"If you do this, you will never be able to forgive yourself."

"I can forgive myself quite a lot."

He leaned toward her and whispered, knowing full well Ellison would be
able to hear. "He is one of the children your mother was responsible
for saving."

She looked at Sidney stunned. "What do you mean, my mother saved
him...he was never at the Centre." 

"She was aware that Raynes was making plans to kidnap him. She managed
to contact his father and convince him that his son's abilities had
come to the attention of some very dangerous people. I don't know how
his father convinced him not to use abilities, but it worked and he
stayed safe until now." He looked directly in the eyes. "Don't throw
away her legacy."

Jim's knees gave way as the import of what had just been said sank in.

"Jim, what's wrong? What happened?" Blair asked trying to keep calm. He
knelt down beside his friend. "Come on, man, talk to me."

Jim lifted his head and looked at his partner. "He was trying to save
me. My dad did it to save keep me away from them."

Blair looked at him with understanding. "When we get out of here we'll
deal with this, okay?"

Jim nodded unwilling to trust his voice. He reached out and patted the
younger man on the cheek. "Yeah, when we get home."

"There's something I need to do now. It's going to be okay." Blair
stood and walked over to Ms. Parker. "You will let us go, and that
includes Jarod." She started to shake her head no. Then she looked into
the blue eyes staring at her that were growing progressively colder.
"We don't belong here and we never will. All this place can do is kill
us both. It wouldn't happen over night but it would happen. Before we
died, we would destroy as much of the Centre as possible."

Ms. Parker knew he was telling the truth. She was torn, but in the end
lowered the gun. "Go, Raynes can clean up his own mess. I'll see you
another time, Jarod. That's a promise." She turned and walked away. A
single tear ran down her cheek. "For you, Momma." She whispered.

The men watched her walk away. "Go with her, Broots." Sidney ordered.
With a last look at Jarod, Broots turned and followed the retreating

"I just wanted to say good bye, Jarod. Let me know if you find your

"Good bye Sydney. You'll be hearing from me."

The three men walked away, leaving Sidney alone. "Keep safe, Jarod."

* * *

At the airport, Jim and Blair said good bye to Jarod. 

"Where are you going from here?" Blair asked Jarod.

Jarod shrugged, "I don't know yet but I will find a place. I always

"If you ever need anything, you know how to reach us, anytime." Jim
assured the other man.

They parted. Jim and Blair headed for the first flight to Cascade, and
Jarod for the first flight anywhere.

Once they were seated on the plane, Jim turned to his young friend.
"When we get home, I want to know everything that happened. Okay,

"You got it big guy, anything you want to know." Blair yawned, "When we
get home." Blair settled back in the seat, relaxing for the first time
since Jim had disappeared. He fell asleep leaning against his Sentinel.
The rest of the flight was completed in silence, as the two men slept
taking comfort in the knowledge the other was near.

* * *


The Centre was in an uproar over the disappearance of Ellison. The
blame was pinned on the guard outside the room in SL-27. There was no
one else to pin the blame on. All of the surveillance tapes leading up
to and including two hours after the camera glitch, had been wiped
clean. They were amazed at the report that Ellison had returned to his
job as if nothing happened. Two days after the escape, the Centre had
received an anonymous email:

Any attempt to kidnap or injure Detective Ellison, or his partner, will
result in swift retaliation. This is the only warning you will receive.

at the end of the message was a short-lived virus that activated when
the message was accessed. It scrambled every Computer in the Centre for
sixty seconds. A panther's face was on every monitor.

There wouldn't be another attempt to take the detective.