Tricked or Treated by Kerensa

Tricked or Treated - Kerensa

Jim stood by the loft door, with his hands crossed behind him at parade rest, waiting for Blair. He had been standing there for a good 10 minutes, trying to hurry his lover along. So far, his strategy had worked about as well as it always did; namely not at all.

"Hurry up, Chief, or we're going to be late," Jim groused, as he pulled back the sleeve of his jacket and checked his watch.

"I'm hurrying," Blair's muffled voice floated down from their bedroom.

Ellison wasn't very hopeful. That's what Blair's been saying for the last five minutes. Two more minutes ticked by, according to Jim's watch.

Shaking his head, Jim thought to himself. I didn't have to wait this much for Carolyn. Of course, she didn't have as much hair as Blair, either.

Ducking his head at the thought that felt somehow unfaithful to Blair and Carolyn too, Jim went back to waiting. He extended his hearing. He could hear the crinkling of paper, that didn't help, and the rustle of clothing. There was the slight whisper of something slick.

What in the world? Ellison wondered.

Jim was intensely curious about Blair's costume. He decided to up the ante in his guessing game, so he extended his sense of hearing, just a touch. His nose twitched when the faint smell of makeup hit it. Jim's eyebrows shot up. I wonder what that could possibly be. He grinned in anticipation.

Blair hurried down from the bedroom and Ellison hastily dialed his senses back. Jim watched anxiously until he reached the bottom of the stairs. The Sentinel always worried about how fast Blair ran down the stairs. He could just see the younger man tripping, thudding down every step, and breaking something vital.

But he didn't fall and Jim was treated to the wondrous sight of Blair's russet colored hair, shining in the overhead lights. It had recently been washed and happily, to Jim anyway, not gelled down or slicked back into a ponytail, so it floated in a curly cloud around his beloved's head. Jim, who hadn't zoned in a very long time, found himself getting lost in the myriad of colors and curls.

"Chill out, Jim. We have plenty of time." Blair shook his head. Long, brown curls swooshed against the black of his coat. Jim gasped as he came back from the near zone out. Blair didn't notice, because he was tightening the belt on his coat.

Jim was disappointed that Blair had a coat on already and he let that disappointment show in his face. Blair had managed to keep his Halloween costume a secret, even from Jim, and the detective had been hoping for a glimpse before they left. No such luck, Blair was covered from his neck to the floor. Even beyond the floor.

Ellison took a closer look at Blair's ensemble and laughed out loud. "You're wearing one of my coats, Chief?"

The sleeves of the oversized coat hung to the tips of Blair's fingers and the hem of the garment trailed the ground. It was hardly surprising that it was so big on the anthropologist. He was, after all, several inches shorter than Ellison. Plus, the coat was almost floor length on Jim.

Blair smacked Jim on the arm in retaliation for the laughter. "Hey man, how else am I supposed to hide my costume?"

"Tell me why you need to hide it anyway." Ellison caught hold of one of Blair's hands and rolled the cuff up a couple of times. Blair laughed at the paternal attention Jim was giving him, but held the other hand up to receive the same attention.

Jim finished his ministrations and ran a questing hand down Blair's back, until he squeezed the hidden butt. The touch wasn't nearly as satisfying as usual, because the thick coat and whatever else Blair was wearing, covered the other man in too many heavy layers.

"Hey, hey." Blair reached back and took hold of Jim's wandering hand. "No fair, trying to use your senses." Despite his protests, Blair pushed back against the hand and closed his eyes happily at the stimulation. When Blair spoke again, his voice was husky, giving it more of a smoky sound than before. "I just want you to be surprised, that's all."

"Uhmmm."

Jim wound his free hand in his mate's silky curls and pulled Blair into a kiss. He forgot all about the mysterious costume when Blair's tongue mated with his, dueling and sliding slickly across one another. Blair gasped and clutched Jim tighter, both of them holding each other as tightly as they could. The love and passion that the two men had for each other was insatiable.

Jim finally pulled back long enough to pull his lover's luscious bottom lip into his mouth and suck on it. He and Blair were panting for breath when Jim pushed the hair away from Blair's neck and licked it. Blair shivered in response and his cerulean blue eyes darkened to almost black.

"Jim." Blair's voice was husky. He groaned and clutched Jim closer, arching his back without conscious thought. "Oh man, don't do this to me. We have to go."

Reluctantly, Jim released his lover. "I know. Damn." He shook his head regretfully. Blair was looking up at him. His face was nicely flushed and Blair's lips were swollen from the heated kiss. "I know." Jim sighed and stepped back, in order to give them some breathing room.

Blair echoed his sigh and ran his hands over his face, clearing his head. Shaking his head ruefully at the Sentinel, Blair then walked over to the kitchen countertop, where he picked up a couple of heavy plastic grocery sacks out of a large pile of similarly bulging ones. Jim grabbed up the last several sacks and followed Blair out of the loft to the elevator.

Jim grinned to himself when Blair tripped over the hem of the coat. Blair swore quietly under his breath. He stopped for a moment, transferred all of the bags into one hand and then gathered up a handful of coat in the other, to keep it out of his way when he walked.

Ellison watched the maneuvers in amusement. He couldn't decide if Blair looked about twelve years old in his oversized clothes or like an old fashioned maiden, holding her petticoats up to keep them out of the dirt. With a hidden smirk, Jim decided that Blair was both; a twelve year-old maiden with a long dress.

"Keep that up Jim and you won't get any tricks or treats tonight," Blair's voice drifted back. He hadn't even looked at Jim, so Ellison wondered how Blair knew that he was amused. Blair paused and glared over his shoulder.

Ooops. Maybe my smirk wasn't as hidden as I thought.

Going for a bluff, because, what the hell, he didn't have anything to lose, Jim arched his eyebrows innocently. "I don't know what you're talking about, Chief. Shall we go?" Jim gestured towards the elevator doors with one laden hand.

Blair snorted as he followed the detective inside the elevator. "You know, you've got a lot of nerve, oh Sentinel of mine." After they stepped inside, Blair pushed the down elevator button. It took a few seconds for the button to light up, but it finally did. Both men tensed until the ancient device started moving. "I don't exactly know what your costume is either."

Jim kept a neutral look on his face. It was the same one that he used on the criminals he tried to sweat a confession out of. "Oh?" He arched an eyebrow at his companion.

"Innocence, yeah, that's a good look for you." Blair snorted. Jim gave him a mock glare.

Sandburg smiled mysteriously and moved closer. He's slinking closer, really, Jim thought. Blair took advantage of Jim's laden hands and reached out to tug on the edge of Jim's own, long and concealing coat.

"I wonder what's hidden under here," Blair purred, as his questing hand trailed down the front of Jim's body, stopping just at the top of his hip. "I mean, the possibilities are just endless." Blair rubbed at the jutting hip bone that was concealed under the dark fabric.

The elevator came to a stop with a slight jar. Blair stepped back and gathered up his coat again. "Ready to go?" Blair smiled angelically, as he walked in front of the lustful Sentinel.

Jim snorted. "I have to tell you, Chief, the innocent look doesn't work for you either."

Blair smirked over his shoulder and walked away. "Why Jim," he purred, "who says I'm trying to look innocent?"

********

They arrived at the haunted house in plenty of time. Naturally, the Sentinel had allowed for traffic and the ebb and flow of children already out trick or treating, so there really wasn't any doubt they'd be early.

Watching the imposing house that became visible as they rounded the bend in the road, Blair spoke up, "Jim, did you know that this is supposed to be an actual haunted house?"

"Yeah, I've heard that, Chief."

Blair nodded and continued, the opportunity to lecture too much for the newly christened doctor of anthropology. "Blackmoor Manor is over 200 years old and said to be haunted by the ghost of Thomas Blackmoor who had died in a fall out of one of the 3rd story windows almost 200 years ago." Blair's eyes sparkled in scientific excitement. "Maybe we'll see his ghost tonight."

"Maybe, Chief. Maybe."

Blair laughed suddenly and pointed at a hand made sign that someone had stuck up on the post at the top of the driveway. Lonely Street it read. Jim pulled to a stop by the front door and they both laughed. Another sign was stuck to the heavy wooden door. It read Heartbreak Hotel.

Jim shook his head at the joke. "Most of the kids coming tonight probably won't even know who Elvis Presley was, let alone get the reference."

"No, probably not. The parents will though."

Jim watched as Blair climbed out of Sweetheart, Ellison's blue and white, 1969 truck. Blair hopped out of the seat with his usual enthusiasm, picking up several of the plastic bags on the way. Ellison smiled at the energy Blair had. The energy and love of life that even several years of seeing the darker side of mankind hadn't managed to dim.

Blair pulled an old fashioned, brass key ring out of his pocket and peered at it in the half light from the moon. There weren't any street lights around this isolated neighborhood and there wouldn't be any outside lights, until after Blair went inside and turned them on. One of the large and equally old time keys opened the front door. It screeched with the appropriate amount of nail biting noise.

Jim brought in the rest of the supplies and then moved the truck around to the side of the mansion where it wouldn't be in anyone's way. Coming back in, he stood for a little while and watched as Blair walked around the front room, turning on lights, both inside and out, and turning up the heat.

Jim was proud of Blair and pleased for his lover. This project was Blair's baby. He had thought it up, planned it, wheedled volunteers from all over town and brought everything together.

Blair had been the one to suggest that Major Crime's sponsor a haunted house for this Halloween's Keep The Children Safe program that had been instituted by the Mayor's office. The haunted house would be fun, and more importantly, safe for the children.

The detectives were thrilled with the idea. They had been racking their brains all day long, trying to think of what their contribution to the celebration could be. In walked Sandburg and in two minutes flat, he came up with the perfect idea. Blair even volunteered to organize it, so all that was left for the other members of Major Crimes to do was the grunt work.

The candy and treats were all donated by local businesses. That was part of the wheedling. The money to pay for cleaning supplies, decorations and the electricity for the place had been donated by William Ellison, Jim's father. No money was charged to come in, but there was a donation box by the door and everything donated would be pure profit. The kids would receive a night full of entertainment and safe candy. The proceeds would go to one of the local homeless shelters, Bayview Mission.

The main donation box was really a big doll house that was made to resemble Blackmoor Manor. A little, tiny ghost, dressed in old fashioned clothes, was standing on the upper balcony, just where Blackmoor was supposed to have fallen to his death from.

Henri Brown and his nieces and nephews had made the doll house, along with the poster hanging over it that proudly proclaimed, Frightmare of Halloween! In slightly smaller writing underneath it said, "Scare up a lot of fun and help scare away the cold while you're at it."

The campaign had been a rousing success and copies of the original poster had been plastered all over town. The shelter had already received several large cash donations from businesses in town.

"I can't wait to see what the guys have done." Blair was bouncing in anticipation. "Especially your room."

That had also been Blair's idea. Each Major Crime detective had decorated one room in the mansion. Simon had tried to wriggle out of that responsibility by saying that he wasn't a detective, he was the captain, and therefore didn't have to "play". Blair hadn't said a word. He'd just held up a picture showing some little kids in their costumes, playing outside a homeless shelter. Simon had taken one look and melted, albeit with pretend gruffness.

Jim and Blair walked around the lobby. There were fake, black cauldrons sitting on various tables and stands along the wall. The two men dumped some of their candy in them, where the confections then waited for the children to grab them.

The chandelier was covered with cobwebs. Fake cobwebs. They wanted atmosphere, but a dirty house is just a dirty house. More cobwebs hung down the walls. A plastic skeleton was caught up in one large spider web. In its hands was a sign that read, "Boo!"

Blair shot a curious look down the hallway and Jim smiled. The one thing that their friends had insisted on was that the rooms they decorated had to remain a secret from each other until opening night. Blair knew what the general idea was for each room, but he hadn't seen them yet and the suspense was killing the curious man.

"Go, go," Jim said indulgently, intending to finish the setting up while Blair was gone. "Go explore. I know you're dying to do it."

"Come with me. That can wait a few more minutes." Blair grabbed Jim's hand and pulled the Sentinel down the hall. To Ellison, Blair seemed like a kid himself.

Especially in that outfit. Blair was still wearing Jim's oversized coat and did indeed look like a child playing dress up.

Blair and Jim walked from room to room, turning on lights and putting out candy where there was a container for it. The two men were impressed by the displays that their friends had created.

Megan's room was done in a witch theme. All different kinds of witches were on display, from Glenda the Good Witch of the North, from the Wizard of Oz, to a scary Goth looking witch, complete with black clothes, black nails and black eyes.

H had done a Friday the 13th meets Nightmare on Elm Street display. Freddy and Jason were fighting it out with claws and hockey masks. Blair turned on a CD player and the scary music from the Friday the 13th movies began to play. Jim and Blair exchanged uneasy glances.

"I hope that's not too gruesome for the kids." Jim looked around at the various bodies and body parts lying on the ground.

Blair snorted and moved a severed finger over so that it could be seen easier. "Have you seen some of the cartoons nowadays?" He waved a hand around indicating the gruesome tableau. "This is nothing."

Jim shrugged, black leather shoulders rippling. "I guess you would know better than me, being such a kid yourself."

Blair turned and glared at his lover. The look would have been more impressive in different clothes, but Jim didn't tell Blair that.

"Oh yes, because you are just sooooooo old."

"Come here." Jim pulled Blair into an embrace. "I'll show you old."

"Helllllo! Is anybody here?" Simon's booming voice echoed through the rooms. Blair jumped in Jim's arm and Ellison sighed, resigned to missing another kissfest with Blair.

"Yeah, hang on a minute, Simon. We'll be right there."

With one last squeeze, Jim let go of Blair. Blair didn't let go at the same time though. He slid his hands down and pulled up on Jim's butt. "Yep, real old. No rise in interest at all."

"I'm going to look around a little, before we get started." Jim gasped at the sensations and then glared when Blair let go with a kiss. "Tease."

Another grind that had Jim groaning. Grinning unrepentantly, Blair hollered, "we're coming, Simon."

"I'll show you coming," Jim growled.

Blair licked his lips slowly, outlining them with the tip of his tongue, sensuously. "Promises, promises."

Briiiing.

Ellison jumped when his cell phone went off. Concentrating on that and not his waning erection, as he watched Blair race out of the room, throwing an impish smile over his shoulder, Jim pulled the phone out of his coat pocket.

"Ellison."

"Hey, JimCop."

Jim rolled his eyes. He could not abide that nickname, but the young man on the other end of the line was a good informant. SB, short for Skin and Bones, was just that a very skinny, bony person. He was also a recovering drug addict and self professed "helper of humanity".

"What's up, SB?"

"Well, JimCop, I've heard a rumor I think you should know about. It's just started goin' around town, but it's a doozy."

"Okay," he prompted when there was only static over the line. "So, what's the rumor?"

"The talk around town is that a major hit is going down." SB's spoke quietly. "And the major hit is on Major Crimes."

"What?!" Jim semi-shouted into the phone.

"That's what I've heard. Mind you, that's a rumor of a rumor, from somebody's second cousin, so I don't know how truthful it is, but everybody's taking it seriously."

Jim ran a hand over his short hair. "Thanks for the head's up, SB. How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing, JimCop. This one's on the house. You've always been good to me, never treated me like an ex-junkie, and I don't want anything to happen to you." The man cleared his throat, obviously embarrassed at his admission. "You just take care of you and yours, you hear."

Ellison snapped his cell phone closed after giving his heartfelt thanks. He quickly dialed up his senses, making sure that only Blair and Simon were in the building. They were. But there was an unusual smell, something that Jim couldn't place right off. It wasn't anything threatening, like fire or chemicals or such. It was sweet, sort of. Jim decided to keep his sense of smell tuned to the odor until he knew if it was a threat or not.

The Sentinel took off down the hall, going out to protect his mate and his tribe.

********

Unaware of the danger that now threatened them all, Blair went into one of the rooms to look around. The formerly empty sitting room contained Rafe's display of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Blair looked it over carefully, trying to decide which rooms would be appropriate for the little kids and which they should probably be steered clear of.

"Looks scary enough for the older kids, but not bad enough to upset the little ones." He eyed the Headless Horseman, sitting astride his black horse. One arm was extended straight up, holding a severed head.

Blair was eyeing the scene, trying to decide if the amount of artificial blood on the floor was too much, when the fake cauldron with candy in it suddenly tilted over and Blair bent down to pick up the spilled candy. He heard a whoosh and felt something on the back of his neck, just as he leaned over.

"Ji-im!" Blair smiled, thinking that his lover had followed him for another quick grope. He straightened and turned around, laughing, but no one was there. He put a hand to the back of his neck.

"I know I felt something,but what?"

The anthropologist listened. He could hear Jim in the next room, talking on his cell phone. So, Blair knew that it wasn't Jim. He could hear Simon, very faintly, at the front of the house, so it wasn't him either.

"Okay, that's weird."

Blair turned in a tight circle, the large coat fanning out around him, looking for any danger. He didn't know about the threats yet, but after all these years of riding with Jim, Blair wasn't a stranger to being attacked.

He frowned at something he hadn't noticed in the display earlier. One of the frightened townspeople had a sword imbedded in her throat and the plastic head was almost severed.

"That might be a little too realistic."

Headless, literary beings were one thing, but decapitated mother figures were another. Especially where five, six and seven year old children were concerned. Blair straightened the head a little bit, fanning her fake blond hair over the neck so that the injury wasn't quite as obvious.

Blair shrugged. "I guess that's not any worse than H's, Nightmare on Elm Street meets Friday the 13th set up."

The young man left to go to the next display, not noticing that the sword, which was supposed to be plastic, wasn't any more. If Blair had looked closer, he might have seen a couple of wires where the sword had originally been, but since he hadn't seen the display before, Blair didn't know to look up.

********

"How reliable is your informant?" Simon asked tensely, as he chewed on his ever present, but unlit, cigar.

"Very. But even SB admitted that this isn't a very trustworthy rumor."

Blair looked around the room speculatively, taking in the decorations. "I hate to say this, but should we cancel the haunted house?"

"It's too late for that, Chief. The kids will be here any time."

"I agree." Blair looked over as Simon spoke. "We'll go ahead, as planned, and just keep a close eye out for anyone suspicious."

Blair blinked and looked around the room. Henri Brown and Brian Rafe had just walked in, in time to hear the newest threat. Megan arrived only moments before them. H was dressed as a slasher victim, complete with trailing intestines. Megan was dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West and Simon was Frankenstein's monster.

Rafe had on probably the most incongruous costume of all. The normally dapper young detective was dressed as a bunny. A big, pink bunny. With a floppy ears, one that drooped down fetchingly and a white cotton tail, the size of a dessert plate.

"How will we tell if anyone looks suspicious?"

Jim laughed and clapped Blair on the back. "It won't be easy Chief, but I think we can manage."

"Speaking of telling what people look like." Megan eyed Jim and Blair, who were still in their heavy coats, "how about showing us what you've got on, mates."

Ellison smiled and finally took off his jacket. Jim had on skin tight, black leather pants, a sleeveless leather vest, also black and boots, again black. Several people tried to guess what he was. A biker was the general consensus. Until Jim pulled out a sword from a bag he had brought in; it gleamed in the light from the chandelier and looked more realistic than it should have.

Blair, who hadn't made his guess, stared Jim up and down. Ellison could hear his Guide's pounding heartbeat and smell the pheromones pouring off the other man. "Ares," he gasped out.

"Who?" Simon asked with a frown.

"Ares, the God of War." Blair swallowed hard and looked over at Banks. "From the Xena and Hercules series'."

"Is he right?" H asked.

"Yes." Jim smiled at Blair. He had watched Blair, watching that actor and knew how attracted the anthropologist was to him. That's why he deliberately chose the outfit.

"Come on, Sandy. It's your turn now." Megan coaxed.

"Yeah, let's see what's under that coat. Or is that your costume?" Rafe teased with a smile.

"That must be it." Henri joked. "You are playing daddy's little boy."

"Ha ha." Blair smiled and then stuck out his tongue in a very little boy manner. "Hang on a minute. I'll be right back."

Jim winced, remembering the Scream movies, where one of the characters said that I'll be right back was one of the worst things to say in a horror movie, because that person invariably was killed immediately afterwards. The Sentinel surreptitiously tilted his head to one side and listened. Nope, no one else was in the room Blair had just gone into, so he figured his trouble magnet love was safe; for the time being anyway.

Blair came out of the side room and Jim forgot about would be killers, he forgot to breathe. Blair was dressed like a Chopec Shaman, complete with war paint. The anthropologist's furry chest was uncovered, as were his sturdy, muscled legs. Blair wore a long loincloth and moccasins. For once, the perpetually cold observer was mostly unclothed. His curly brown hair was even braided with a feather in the end of it. Blair's wide, blue eyes were the only incongruous part of the picture.

"Incacha." Jim barely spoke the name of his old friend. Blair heard it though and looked over worriedly, anxiously waiting to see what Ellison's reaction was going to be. "That's wonderful, Chief. You are wonderful."

The Guide smiled at his Sentinel and for a moment, nothing else existed. They didn't notice the appreciative looks that Megan was giving the two men.

Blair walked towards Ellison and Jim heard a soft swooshing sound. He frowned and looked Blair up and down. Then he smiled. Blair was wearing either pantyhose or tights. The undergarments were in a pale brown shade that matched the color of Blair's legs.

Jim smiled and watched as Blair blushed when he realized that Jim knew. Ellison was glad that his cold natured lover wouldn't be suffering for the affect of his costume. And privately, he was intrigued at the thought of Blair in silky hose; hmmm, Jim wondered if he had found a new kink.

The door opened and a stream of screaming children came pouring in. They all stopped and stared in awe at the 6'4" Frankenstein blocking the way. Simon tucked his cigar in one hand, out of sight for the moment, and cocked an eyebrow at the impressed children.

"Wow!" Was the only thing they said, for about two seconds, then they began chattering and laughing. Some children wanted to run to the first scary room, others wanted their candy right now!.

One tiny boy stepped forward and with his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth in concentration, he gave the first donation to the homeless shelter. That reminded the other children, all of whom came up and gave their own money. Some gave a handful of coins, others gave several dollars, but everyone contributed.

Rafe bravely offered to take the first group of children on a tour through the fright rooms. The children scurried over to the less frightening bunny and away from the very scary, big man. They set off with giggles and wide eyes. Blair turned on the sound system and before long, screams, real and recorded, started to echo around the house.

********

During a momentary lull in the excitement, Blair was straightening up. The collection boxes were already looking squashed. Little hands were very enthusiastic as they put their money in. Bigger hands were just as generous, but a little easier on the boxes. Blair figured that after the smaller boxes filled up, he would dump some of the money into the bigger, haunted house box.

Blair picked up one of the boxes experimentally and was surprised at how heavy it was. "Wow," he whispered. "The homeless shelter is really going to get a boost this year." Blair grinned when he remembered one little girl trying to give them some of her candy.

Standing up straight, Blair twisted a little, popping his back. "Only 30 minutes and I'm already tired." Blair shook his head and sighed. "I'm getting old."

He turned around and walked into something squishy and very large. Blair's face pressed into the soft material and he yelped and took a surprised step back, almost knocking over the table behind him and gasped in fear. The creature laughed gravelly.

Blair could hear Jim, who was probably reacting to his elevated heartbeat. The detective was hurrying towards Blair, as were most of their friends, who were responding to Jim's race through the rooms.

The person confronting Blair was wearing a lumpy, runny looking, yellow and red suit. It was nauseating even as it was slightly familiar. Blair looked up into the eyes, the only visible part of the person inside.

"Joel?"

Blair would recognize those sexy, bedroom eyes anywhere. Not that he was going to let Jim know that he found Joel's warm, brown eyes sexy.

"Joel?"

"Taggart?"

"You're bloody kidding me."

"How did you know it was me?" The creature laughed gently. Now that sounded like the Joel Taggart they all knew and loved.

"Your eyes looked the same."

"Oh. Okay. So, how do you like my costume?" Joel turned in a circle, giving them the full treatment.

"Uh;" Simon grimaced.

"Well," Megan reached up to adjust her pointed hat. "It's definitely interesting."

Nobody wanted to upset their friend, but they weren't interested in lying to him either. Everyone exchanged uneasy glances, hoping one of the others would think of something nice to say.

"Guess who I am." Joel challenged with a twinkle in his eyes. He hadn't missed the looks or the side stepping that the detectives were doing.

Blair back up a little and looked closer at the nasty costume. It was red with large yellow splotches, some of which had a burned look to them. Ares of the yellow were in long, goopy strings, like they had run. He frowned, still trying to remember where he'd seen that before.

Rafe laughed and clapped his hands in an uncharacteristically childlike gesture. "Pizza, the Hut."

"Who?" Jim's eyebrows shot up. "Pizza who?"

"That's it!" Blair clapped Rafe on the shoulder. "You remember Jim, from the movie Spaceballs."

"Oh yeah." Jim shook his head. "I remember that movie. I'm kind of surprised you've seen it though, Brian."

Rafe just smiled enigmatically. Blair put a hand over his mouth to hide his own grin. He knew that underneath that buttoned down, GQ exterior, lurked the heart of a true Mel Brooks fan.

"So, Joel's a," Megan tried to figure out what they were saying.

"A big slice of cheese pizza," Rafe explained. "In the movie, Pizza, the Hut, is a creature that is a pizza."

Megan, who had never seen the movie, eyed the costume uneasily. She jumped when a stream of something yellow squirted out of a hole in the costume. In fact, all of them were startled.

Rafe laughed. "You even have the bubbling cheese. How did you manage that?"

"Cheese in a can."

Blair and Rafe leaned against each other as they laughed. Joel was thrilled that his costume was such a big hit.

The front door opened and a tall, fluffy, thing, in beige overalls walked in backwards. The uniform was stuffed, in order to make the wearer look bigger than he was. The person had a long tail and from the back you could see little hairy ears standing up from the top of his head. He turned around and there were tufts of hair all over the face and the backs of his hands. His nose was large, round and jet black.

"Ah, here's the reason I was so late." Joel shook his head at the newcomer.

"Barf!" Rafe held his pink bunny stomach, he was laughing so hard.

"What?" Megan looked even more confused and rightly so with that kind of greeting.

Blair grinned at the Aussie woman. "He's the character Barf, also from the Spaceballs movie. He's half man, half dog."

"Yep, I'm my own best friend."

"Daryl!?" Simon gaped at his son. "I didn't recognize you."

"Good." Daryl/Barf grinned. He scooted to one side just as another couple of people came in. "You remember Karyn, my girlfriend."

Simon blinked at the silver woman on roller skates. "Uh, yes." He sounded tentative, as if he were unsure that Karyn was under there.

"And this is my good friend, Edward."

Daryl patted a much smaller man in an all-black outfit. The helmet that Edward wore was huge, two to three times the size of a normal helmet. Through the open face plate you could see his open, smiling face and black rimmed glasses.

Rafe was howling by now and hanging on to Joel for dear life. Blair was watching the new people with an amused smile. Blair pointed. "You're Dot Matrix," he said to the young woman who was dressed like a robot. "and you're Dark Helmet. Right?" They both nodded yes.

"Right." Jim snapped his fingers. "I remember your characters. Dark Helmet is a parody of Darth Vader from the Star Wars series and Dot Matrix is a take off of the gold robot in the movies."

That taken care of, Daryl, Karyn and Edward split up and started guiding the younger children around. The three friends had volunteered to help out at the haunted house.

********

As the night wore on, the detectives tried to relax and enjoy themselves. The rumor seemed to be just that, a rumor. No one forgot about the warning, but they weren't overly concerned either. They were too busy following the children around, making sure they had fun and played safe.

Of course, none of them realized that an attempt had already been made on Blair's life. They and the children went on, blissfully unaware of the danger hidden in every corner.

The men and women of Major Crimes took turns manning and womaning the candy offerings out front. The donation box wasn't guarded quite as much. Like Blair said at one point, "if somebody is desperate enough to steal while a bunch of cops are running around, then they must really need the money."

********

Blair pushed his hair out of his face with an impatient hand. No matter how I tie it back, my hair still ends up all over the place, he groused to himself. Blair debated about rebraiding his hair, but decided against it.

"Calm down everyone." Blair spoke up to be heard over the noise that the enthusiastic group of pre-teenagers was making. "You'll all get to go through. We just need to wait for a few more minutes, until some of the little kids finish."

Blair smiled winningly at the younger people and watched in amusement as some of the girls blushed shyly at the attention. A few of the boys noticed the girls' admiration of the anthropologist and eyed Blair's hairy torso speculatively. They tugged at their costumes, baring their own skinnier and hairless chests in a fruitless attempt to compete with the older man.

There was one young man, a little older than the rest, who was watching the anthropologist intently. Blair noticed him and gave a friendly smile; the younger man didn't smile back. Instead, he stared harder, hardly seeming to blink.

Shifting uncomfortably under the single minded attention, Blair eyed the young man's costume. Hoping to distract him, Blair tilted his head from side to side a couple of times, in a considering way.

"So, what's your costume?"

The teen's gray eyes focused on Blair's blue ones. "A RoboGeek," he stated flatly. Blair was trying to puzzle that one out when he continued. "I'm half robot, half computer geek."

Electronic gadgets hung off some metallic looking armor. A plastic bow and arrow set was hanging on his back and a pair of frighteningly realistic looking guns was slung on his hips. Contrasted sharply with all the fake weaponry were an innocent looking pocket protector and calculator sticking out of one pocket. What could be seen of the calculator was covered with enough buttons and symbols to intimidate even Blair.

"Wow, that's," Blair thought quickly, "certainly unique."

The teenager smiled tightly and Blair glanced away uneasily, not sure why he was bothered by the boy. He reminded Blair of David Lash with his pale blond hair and at the same time Alex Barnes, because of his same intense gaze. Slightly nauseated with that comparison, Blair tried to ease away from the teenager.

The sound of shrieks and laughter came closer to the front lobby, before veering off sharply to one side. Rafe's group must be finished, Blair thought in relief. Good, now that strange person will leave.

"Okay." Blair rubbed his palms together and then motioned through the archway. "Off you go."

Most of the kids forgot about their teenage, or almost teenage, coolness and raced down the hallway. The older kids didn't have to have a guide, not as long as they didn't get too rowdy. So far, none of them had.

Blair angled a look into the "play room" where the younger children could eat candy and play after they finished with the scary part of the fun. That's where Rafe had just taken his group of little ones. Blair drew back, startled, when he realized that RoboGeek was still watching him from the end of the hall.

The teenager paused at the door to Jim's jungle room and eyed Blair. His eyes raked up and down the Guide. Blair crossed his arms over his chest, feeling completely naked under the intense stare. The younger man smirked and went into the room.

The anthropologist let out a gust of pent up air. "Well, that was creepy."

He shuddered and decided to put it out of his mind. "He's nothing but a really odd guy," Blair stated decisively. "Freaky, but nothing to worry about."

Ten minutes later, Blair looked up and saw the teenager racing down the hall, laughing with some of his friends. Nodding, Blair decided he'd imagined the whole staring business. He chalked it up to nervousness about the haunted house and worry about the assassination threat.

"It's just because of who he reminded me of, nothing else."

Blair smiled when the door opened and admitted a new group of eager young trick or treaters. The teenager and his unusual behavior were forgotten in the excitement.

********

Blair looked up at the young couple who had just walked in. they were dressed in matching outfits: casual, but expensive tan dress pants, Polo shirts with the little alligator symbol proudly on display, and loafers. They also had matching dark circles under their eyes.

Exhausted yuppie. Blair catalogued them to himself. He almost laughed out loud at the thought.

Glancing down, Blair saw the reason they were so tired. There were twin boys, probably four or five years old, that had accompanied their parents. Blair was enthralled when he saw how the children were dressed.

"Jim. Jim, come here. You've got to see this." Blair didn't speak very loudly, but not too quietly either, and Jim was soon by his side.

"What is it, Chief?" Jim placed a hand on Blair's shoulder.

"Look." Blair bit his lip as he smiled. Jim looked and smiled as well.

One small boy was dressed as a black jaguar. The other twin was in a gray wolf's costume. Blair laughed delightedly.

The two men exchanged amused glances. What were the odds that two children would dress just exactly like their spirit guides?

"Grrr, grrr."

Blair saw the amused frown on Jim's face and leaned around to see what was happening. The twins were crawling around on the floor, just like the animals in their costumes would. The tiny wolf was biting on Jim's pant leg and the panther. Blair felt something rubbing against his leg and glanced down to see the panther rubbing its tiny head against his knee.

"Oh, that's the cutest thing I've ever seen." Simon's eyes widened dramatically when he realized what he'd said and the large captain hurried off into another room.

"Joey, Jacob, stop that this instant." The horribly embarrassed mother scooped up one child, while the equally mortified father grabbed up the other.

"I'm really sorry, they've taken their costumes a little too much to heart," the young father tried to explain.

"It's alright. They're just having fun," Jim said indulgently.

"Yeah, this is probably the first Halloween that they've known what was going on." Blair waved at the little jaguar, who growled the waved back with a little clawed paw.

Blair waited until the distracted parents led their precocious children away before he turned to Jim and grabbed his arm. "Did you hear?"

"Hear what, Chief?" Jim asked.

"Their names." Blair pointed at the retreating family. "The little wolf is Jacob and the jaguar is Joey."

Jim blinked and thought for a moment. "They have our middle names."

"Exactly." Blair nodded emphatically. "Wow, what a coincidence."

The Sentinel looked around, puzzled. "Did you hear somebody laughing?"

"No." Blair answered, distracted by the arrival of more people.

********

Simon pulled a bottle of water out of the red, insulated cooler that Blair had thought to bring along. Drinks of all kinds lined the bottom of the container, as did a few sandwiches and pieces of fruit. More snacks were stacked up on the long dining room table.

The big man decided against a soda pop; he didn't want anything sweet right now. Instead, he took a long chug of the cool liquid.

"Damn, this costume is hot."

Belatedly, the captain remembered all the curious little ears running around the halls and checked to make sure he hadn't been overheard. Sighing, he placed the now empty, plastic bottle in the bag for recyclables that was also provided by Blair, and started back to the front.

He didn't see the small puddle of water or the carefully exposed wire lying right next to it. Just as he was about to step into the puddle and emulate his namesake by being fatally electrocuted, a speaker started to tilt over. Simon lunged to the side and caught it just before it could hit the ground, thus missing the concealed booby trap.

********

"Nice catch, sir."

Jim picked up and straightened the table while Simon replaced the speaker. The Halloween CD chose that moment to restart and Jim winced at the noises thundering in his ear. He grabbed his head in pain; luckily he had backed up in shock at the first blast and didn't knock over the already unstable table.

Blair appeared at Jim's side. He seemed to know that his Sentinel was hurting, as if by instinct. "Dial it down, man." Blair's hand on the top of Jim's was as soothing as the Guide's mellow voice.

Blair looked around the noisy, crowded room and decided this wasn't the best place for his Sentinel to calm down in. He noticed the puddle on the floor and dropped a cloth onto it, just before he took hold of Jim's arm.

"Come here a minute, Jim."

Over his shoulder, Blair addressed Simon. "Hey Simon, some water has spilled." He indicated the spot with an angle of his head. "Be careful, man."

Blair pulled Ellison into one of the unused rooms and shut the door behind them, blocking out the noise outside. The library was soothing. A hush seemed to be coming from the dusty volumes that lined the walls. As if the quiet relaxation of so many generations of readers had imbued the room with a sense of silence.

Jim relaxed into Blair's warm embrace, as the other man pulled him into his arms. The Sentinel's senses, that had begun to spiral out of control, settled back down to a more normal level.

"Are you okay?" Jim leaned back and looked down into Blair's worried blue eyes.

Instead of answering in the traditional way, Ellison gave in to his Sentinel instincts and pulled Blair into a kiss. Tongues dueled and hands roamed. The Sentinel was in a sensory feast. There usually wasn't this much Blair on display, unless they were in bed together, and he was taking advantage of the unexpected treat while he could.

His tongue catalogued the taste of Blair's skin and settled that sense down. The sweet smell of his hair calmed Jim's nose. Hands, face and chest rubbed against his squirming Guide and touch fell into line. Jim heard Blair whimper and leaned back to look into his lover's incredible blue eyes. The Sentinel's last two senses leveled out.

"You're cold." Jim rubbed a hand over Blair's back again and this time he noticed the goose bumps dotting the skin, instead of feeling each and every skin cell.

"Yeah, a little." Blair shivered and snuggled in closer to Jim's chest. "But you're warming me up."

"I'm glad to oblige." Jim smiled as Blair shamelessly stole some of this warmth. He groaned as the soft mat of chest hair on his lover crinkled as it rubbed against his arms. "Why don't you wear my jacket." Ellison reached over to the pile of clothing on the table and extracted his leather jacket. "It might not go with your costume exactly."

"It is leather, anyway," Blair said with a grin as he let Jim settle the garment on his shoulders. "That sort of goes with my Indian costume."

"Ri-ght. Besides, black leather looks better on you than blue skin does."

Blair snorted. "I'm not that cold."

"Sure you're not, Chief. That's why your teeth are chattering."

"I wanted to be authentic," Blair said quietly.

"You are." Jim answered just as quietly.

"You don't mind me dressing this way?"

Jim frowned at Blair in puzzlement. "Of course not. Why should I?"

"Because I'm not a Shaman."

"You are to me." Jim reassured the smaller man.

"But I'm not, not really. Incacha passed the way of the Shaman on to me, but I've never known what that meant."

Jim tried to think what to say. He didn't want to give a blanket reassurance. "Maybe that's something we can look in to."

Blair tilted back and looked into Jim's blue eyes. His own darker blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears. "You mean that?"

"Yes, I do."

********

Joel leaned against the wall and sighed. His costume had been sufficiently gross and yet totally neat, so the former bomb captain had been in constant demand all night long. He and Rafe had taken more children through the haunted house than all the rest of the detectives combined.

"If that darn monkey screeches at me one more time, I'm going to throttle it."

Taggart was talking about the room that Jim had decorated. The room was a jungle, literally. There were trees and vines and an animated monkey that dropped out of a tree and screeched at you. It was almost as bad as the Indian zombie that would swing by on a vine.

The kids loved the display. It was scary enough to make them scream, but not so scary that they couldn't laugh about it afterwards.

"I need a drink," the big man intoned.

Unfortunately for Joel, the drink would have to be a soft one. No alcohol was allowed on the premises and Taggart wouldn't have drunk anything anyway, not with small children around.

"Let me get that for you." Megan smiled at Joel and fished a drink out of the ice chest. She opened the cap and poured his pop into a glass.

"Thanks, Megan."

"No problems. It looked like you were having a hard time there."

"That's an understatement. I can't sit down or even bend over very easily in this getup."

"I can imagine." Megan commiserated.

Before Joel could take a drink, several children ran into the front hall. They were unsupervised and heading for the main door. Joel sat his drink down on the table and he and Megan quickly gathered the children up and returned them to their guide. H was glad to see the children who had run off before he could stop them.

After the mini diversion, Joel came back, thirstier than ever, and started to take a sip of his drink. The side door began to rattle, as if there was a strong wind pushing it. Joel walked over curiously and frowned. There was no wind tonight, the trees outside were still and quiet.

Suddenly the door popped open and a small dirt devil whirled into the room. It twisted around and up into Joel's face before dissipating in the breeze. Joel sneezed and hurriedly shut the door again.

Picking his drink back up, Joel was disgusted to see a film of dust over the top of his pop. Sighing, the detective sat the drink back down and went over to the cooler and to get another pop. Again, Megan had to help him. However, this one he left in its bottle as he drank it.

The other drink stayed on the table, forgotten.

********

"What's that?" Jim straightened up and sniffed at the air, unable to figure out what the new smell was.

"What?" Simon asked tiredly. The haunted house was officially closed and the worn out men and woman were cleaning up the debris. All they wanted to do now was go home.

"Don't you smell that?" Jim frowned. "It smells like after a lightening storm."

"You mean like ozone?" H asked.

"Yeah, that's it." Jim nodded, happy that the mystery had been solved. "Actually, I smelled that early on in the evening as well."

"I don't smell anything, Jim." Blair began to look around. "Do you think there's a short somewhere?" Before anyone could say anything, Blair stood back up and glared at them. "Don't go there."

H snapped his fingers and Rafe grinned. "Darn," H said. "Another good joke, shot to hell."

Jim ignored the antics and concentrated. Something wasn't right here, he just knew it. He spun the dial up on his sense of hearing. Ellison counted the heartbeats. Six, seven, eight, eight? There were only supposed to be seven of them left. Someone else was there!

The sound of a gun barrel being slid back sent Jim into overdrive. He dialed his sense of hearing down as he yelled, "GUN!"

Luckily, training and years of reactions took over and everyone, including Blair, immediately dropped to the ground, just as bullets began to fly.

"Freeze, Cascade PD."

The phrase rang out from several different directions. More bullets were fired. Amazingly, no one was injured. In fact, the bullets didn't seem to hit anything. There were no ricochets and no bits of splintered wood. Just nothing.

Jim raced around the edge of the wall and dove, tackling low. The thudding sound of a body hitting the ground could be heard from behind the door.

"Get off me, you stinking cop!"

By the time Jim drug the perp out into the light, all of the detectives had their guns pointed at him. They were prepared for any kind of low-life criminal. What they got was a skinny young man.

"What the hell?" Simon sounded horrified. The young man was barely a teenager.

"Yeah, go to hell." The youth spat at Banks. "All of you," he snarled at the rest of them.

"Who the Hell are you, young man?" Simon bellowed in his best authority voice. It didn't impress the man-boy that was sputtering at them.

"I'm Barry Carlson."

"Oh." Megan looked the enraged man up and down.

"Yes, oh."

The Carlson family had been arrested several months earlier and sent to prison. They were a lovely, close knit group of father and sons who ran a white slavery ring. The mother died in prison, a month before the trial.

"You ruined my life."

"Son." Simon sighed sadly. "Your life was already ruined. And it sure is now." Simon used a napkin to pick up the gun that had been fired at them.

"You are under arrest for the attempted murder of the 7 of us. You have the right to…" Simon read Barry his rights, but the young man didn't exercise his right to remain silent. No, he bragged about what he had been doing all night long.

"Some great detectives you all are. I almost killed you people several times tonight."

Barry went on to list all the near misses that the friends had unknowingly experienced. Thinking the young man was exaggerating, the detectives spread out to look for the evidence. It didn't take long to find it.

Megan found a dart in her witch hat. It turned out to be tipped with curare. Joel's drink was tested and found to be laced with nicotine which in that pure of a form was deadly in seconds. Rafe and H found an arrow in one room and a machete in another.

All in all, Jim was the only one of them to not have been threatened while the haunted house was going on. The Sentinel was sick inside to realize that he could easily have been the only one left of his family if this sick young man had succeeded with his plan.

"How could you do this, man?" Blair asked furiously. He was rubbing the back of his lover's neck. Blair could see how upset Jim was. "You could have killed these children. They didn't ruin your life the way you say we have."

Barry drew himself up indignantly and tugged on the handcuffs that kept his arms pinned behind his back. "Don't be ridiculous. The accidents were all planned very carefully. I only had them set up where you people would be killed. I was in control the whole time."

Seeing the doubtful looks on the Major Crime's detective's faces, Barry continued, "I wouldn't hurt a little kid. What kind of person do you think I am?"

Simon looked around at the gathered detectives, all of whom the teenager had tried to murder that night and snorted. "I think that's kind of obvious."

Rafe and H drug the young man away. Barry could still be heard confessing as he was led out the door.

********

Jim and Blair were back at the loft, safe and sound. Once again, Jim was waiting for Blair.

Blair came downstairs, dressed warmly in dark blue sweats. In Jim's opinion, he looked even better than he did in a Shaman's costume. This was real, his Blair.

"You want a beer, Jim?"

"Yeah, please." Jim frowned at how tired and dispirited Blair sounded. He dropped onto the couch beside Ellison and handed him the beer. Both men took a drink before either one spoke.

"Tonight turned out pretty well."

Jim turned to look at Blair in surprise. That was the last thing Jim expected his lover to say.

"I meant the haunted house, not the psycho killer part." The corners of Blair's mouth tilted up in an almost smile.

"Yes, the little kids had a really good time and how much money was made for the shelter?"

"The grand total was $478.29. That was just in the collection boxes tonight." Blair grinned. "And I don't think it was only the little kids that had a good time."

"Cool." Blair laughed at Jim using one of Blair's own catch phrases.

"Yeah." Blair leaned his head on Jim's shoulder. "Fifteen years old and already an attempted murderer."

"It looks like he's more than that, Chief."

"Oh?" Blair leaned back to look at Ellison better. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we knew there was another Carlson brother out there, we just didn't know how young he was." Jim sighed. "His M.O. at the haunted house matches ones from several other crime scenes."

"Several?" Blair's dark eyebrows shot up.

"Yep. Several. As in four or five, at least."

"Geez." Blair blinked slowly. "How far back?"

"Maybe three years."

"Woah. A killer at 12 years old. He's a pro then. I wonder why none of us are dead."

"I don't know, Chief. I don't know."

Both men held each other close, as they thought about what could have happened. Jim tucked Blair's curly head under his chin. Blair snuggled closer, rubbing his face into Jim's chest.

"Sooooo, are you disappointed that we didn't see any ghosts at your haunted house?"

Blair smiled at Jim's attempt to lighten the mood. "A little. You?"

"Uhm, no, not really." Jim pulled Blair in for a kiss. "No ghosties or ghoulies."

"And the only things going bump in the night, better be us."

They both laughed and dove back into the kiss and grope.

********

Across town, at the Blackmoor House.

A soft breeze floated through the rooms, fluttering the now fake cobwebs that the cleanup crew had missed. The air crackled with ozone, like lightening had just struck.

"Unbelievable!"

The voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once. After a few seconds, the dark room brightened and a youngish man appeared. He was dressed in a long waistcoat and knee breeches. There was lace at his collar and cuffs and his long, curly black hair was clubbed at the back of his neck.

"That was the hardest Halloween I've ever lived through. And that is saying a lot." He ghost slapped the back of one of the chairs. A small puff of dust wafted up in a cloud. "I have spent the last 189 years frightening over eager people, but trying to keep that group safe, has got to be the most exasperating and exhausting assignment I have ever had." The ghost of Thomas Blackmoor flopped down in the dusty chair and frowned.

"No kidding." One corner of the room lit up. "I've been looking after them for a couple of years now," Zeller said in his lilting accent.

"My sympathies," the older ghost said.

In another corner, a light flashed. David Lash was leaning against the wall, his long, blonde hair pulled back into a neat ponytail.

"Personally, I think this penance is a lot better than the alternative."

"Yes, but you only have to take care of them for this lifetime. I have to be here for two more incarnations after this." Zeller frowned.

Lash shrugged. "True. But I was driven insane by my mother, you were just evil."

Zeller nodded, silently admitting the truth.

"I don't want to hear it from any of you." The foyer lit up and Incacha was standing in the doorway. "I've watched this pair from the beginning and will have to keep doing so until the end."

"When will that be?" Blackmoor questioned.

"Until the world no longer needs protectors."

Everyone winced in sympathy.

There was one more flash.

"Damn. That's a long time."

The new spirit stood out among the others. He wore a pirate outfit, complete with knee length boots. Only this was no costume. Black Jack Savage, former pirate and now ghost, was sitting on top of the desk.

"Hey guys, thanks for letting me help out."

"Sure." Zeller leaned his head back against the chair. A sticky, ectoplasmic smear appeared.

"No problem." Lash waved his hand negligently. A few sparks flew off at the movement.

"I am always glad to help a fellow spirit." Blackmoor said pompously and then he grinned. "So, what's the number up to now?"

"98." Jack slapped his knee happily. "Only two more to go."

As a pirate, Jack had killed 100 people in his lifetime. In order to stay out of hell, he had to save 100 lives after he was dead.

"That is wonderful." Incacha smiled. "This group certainly added to your total."

A slight wind blew into the room; on it was a very small dust devil. It whirled around in the center of the room for a moment, before settling itself on a chair.

"Damn." A small, reedy voice came out of the swirling cloud. "I shouldn't have been cremated."

Blackmoor snorted. "No, you shouldn't have set fires for fun."

No one really knew who the little dust pile was. It refused to say and well, you just didn't pry into things like that. It wasn't polite ghostly etiquette.

"Uhmmmm," Lash hummed, ignoring the new entrant and concentrating on the former conversation. "Speaking of which, shouldn't we be keeping an eye on the guys. Jim and Blair are at the loft and we all know it's not very secure." Lash ducked his head at the memory of attacking Blair there.

"Don't worry. Panther and Wolf are on duty."

They all relaxed at Incacha's news. Now they could take the rest of the night off.

********

Jim unconsciously pulled Blair closer in his sleep.

Lying at the head of the staircase, the panther opened his green eyes. Seeing that all was safe, he took hold of the wolf by the scruff of the neck and pulled him closer. Wolf kept his eyes closed and grinned.

On the bed, Blair burrowed down next to Jim and sighed contentedly.

The end.

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Author's Notes: The character Black Jack Savage was from a Disney series by the same name and Disney owns him. Mel Brooks owns the Spaceball characters. Thanks to my mother, Vivian for her wonderful beta job and all the suggestions she made. Thanks to the others who pointed out my errors.