Sense And Psychicability - gena

What you are about to see is real. No information is given to Blair Sandburg about the people he reads.

That little disclaimer duly read by the two men gathered around the screen, the program began.

"Welcome to Guiding Lives. I'm Blair Sandburg and tonight you're going to see some pretty amazing things." The camera pulled in close, catching Sandburg's winsome smile and deep blue eyes then swiftly cut to the crowd of people ringing him on rising seating. "I'm being pulled over in this area." He moved to the left, key lights adding lustrous red highlights to his curly brown hair as the camera zeroed in on an older woman. Sandburg launched into a remarkable demonstration of his psychic talents; telling her the name of her deceased husband, what he died of and where she secretly went to read his love letters aloud. The crowd gasped, the psychic beamed and the woman cried.

"This is the guy?" Detective James Ellison stared at the television screen a moment longer then shook his head. "Simon, you can't honestly want me to investigate a - a - what the hell is he? A psychic?"

"Dr. Sandburg prefers the term spiritualist," Simon said with a grin. "He's one of those New Age phenomena, a maverick psychic making a fortune on cable TV."

"And you don't believe the whole "talking to the dead" spiel," Ellison guessed.

Instead of answering right away, Banks opened the file folder lying on his desk and dug through it. "I have a complaint from the mayor's office. Seems an influential citizen is claiming a distraught family member is being bilked out of monthly sums by Sandburg's organization." He regarded Jim with a sheepish expression, "I can't spare anyone else right now, so it's got to be you."

"Why not FBI? They could assign that 'Spooky' guy," Ellison snapped, "more up his alley than mine."

"Jim, this is our problem. Sandburg might have a national audience but he's a Cascade resident."

"Oh, yeah, so give it to me, right?" Ellison picked up the Sandburg file and used his cane to push to his feet. He stood breathing a bit heavily as he steadied himself on the corner of the captain's desk.

"Come on, Jim," Banks soothed, "you aren't on active duty yet, and you really stink at paperwork. This will give you something constructive to do." Ellison continued to glare. "Jim, you were clinically dead less than two months ago," Banks reminded him. He dropped his gaze, and said casually, "How's the, uh, other problem?"

Ellison stared down at Banks, "Why do you ask, Simon? I thought two aspirin and a good night's sleep were all I needed." Banks froze, then lifted his head slowly to meet his detective's gaze.

"I'm sorry, Jim, but you know I needed you on the Switchman case."

"Yeah, Simon I know." Ellison sighed, running his hand over his forehead, looking a little shaky. "I'm just tired, guess my temper's on a short fuse."

Banks raked him with a hard look, "not sleeping again?"

"Yeah, can't get comfortable," Ellison said with a shrug. The constant ache from his lower back and left leg wore him down, sleep came only after hours of shifting around and then - then the dreams came.

"Can't the doctor give you painkillers?"

"No, can't take 'em," Jim said. "They tried in the hospital, even the most mild made me sick."

"Is that the only reason you can't sleep?" Simon asked gently.

"Why wouldn't it be, Sir? I mean everyone says I did my best, no one could have done more."

"Jim -"

"No! It wasn't my fault I didn't find the bomb in time, was it?" Ellison closed his eyes, refusing to see the images which never went away. "I couldn't find it," he whispered. "If they'd helped me look. If someone had just - helped me."

"It wasn't your fault."

Ellison nodded. "Tell me that in the middle of the night when it happens again and again, Simon. A whole bus load of people and I'm the only one alive. That seems to happen to me a lot."

"You almost died, Jim." Simon got to his feet, walking around the desk to place a hand on his detective's shoulder. Jim leaned into the touch, needing it.

"Maybe I should have," Jim whispered. Silence filled the space between them before Jim forced himself back a step. "Look, I'll take this home," he waved the thick file, "see what I can find out about Sandburg and let you know what I come up with." He could feel another headache gathering behind his eyes. They'd become a daily occurrence, and were taking their toll on his temper as well as his health. "Sorry about before, Sir. I just can't get a handle on what's happening to me." Banks, his dark face lined with concern, followed him to the door.

"Just check out this Sandburg character, Jim, then you can take some time off."

"I'm going to hold you to that, Sir," Jim said and turned away, unable to bear the brunt of his old friend's fearful gaze a second longer. He made his way out of the office, limping more as exhaustion caught up with him. Around him, other detective's smiled, or nodded, acknowledging one of their own, but they kept their distance. Cops were a superstitious lot, an injured man broke the illusion of invincibility, and no one wanted to be reminded that they, too, were only flesh and blood. Rather than invite misfortune to their own door by associating with him, Jim found himself on the outside of the circle his brother and sister officers drew around themselves.

Ellison got the cabbie to run in for his order at Carol's Café and tipped the guy a fiver when the taxi dropped him at 852 Prospect. He automatically shot a look across the street to where his beloved pickup sat parked to make sure it hadn't received any random abuse. A 1969 blue and white Ford he'd bought on impulse a few months before, just the sight of it comforted him with its normalcy. But that feeling of the familiar died, becoming an alien landscape as he noted the tiny imperfections of the paint, the granule-like surface which meant rust over the left wheel. He sank into this strange world like a man falling asleep, not really sure when it happened but knowing it had.

"Mr. Ellison? You okay, Mr. Ellison?"

The tug on his sleeve acted to reconnect his mind to his body. Horror flooded through Ellison, he'd drifted again. "I'm - I'm okay, Ben," he rasped and pulled his arm out of the boy's grip.

"You look kinda sick," Ben said.

"Just tired. Thanks," he said and accepted the now grease soaked sack Ben picked up for him. His leg felt stiff, as it did when he stood too long and when he moved he couldn't stifle the small hiss of pain. Ben started forward, his thin face looking worried beneath its fringe of lanky hair, but Jim waved him away with an impatient gesture. "I got it." Thankfully the elevator was working and he took it up to the third floor. Sheer strength of will got him to his door and through it to the sparse loft he owned. Ellison looked at the sack he carried, the smell of congealed fat made his stomach knot, so he tossed the whole thing in the trash. "Way to go, Ellison," he whispered, "you are so fucked up." With nothing else to do he shoved the video from Sandburg's file into his VCR and collapsed on the couch. His leg throbbed and his back took up the beat the moment he stretched out along the cushions. "Shit, shit, shit," he murmured and reached for the remote.

They'd only watched the opening moments of Guiding Lives there in Simon's office so Jim really had only the faintest idea of what to expect. It wasn't even close to what he saw. Sandburg moved around the audience like the electronic blip on the ancient video game, Pong; back and forth, up and back, side to side. His eyes, amazingly blue in close-up, would become unfocused as he paused, head tilted like he was listening to some distant communiqué from the dead. He never said anything big, no sweeping proclamations about murderers or lost treasure, nothing any self-respecting Hollywood movie could manufacture. Sandburg's messages relayed the minutia of everyday life, the 1001 details of just being a human being in the 21st century entailed. And because of that, made a startling impact.

"She says to ask if you still have the cracked cup?" Sandburg asked on screen.

"Oh my god! Yes, I do!"

"And I'm to remind you of the time you," Sandburg paused, his eyes crinkling behind his glasses, "I hope Sandy is a dog, because I'm suppose to remind you of the time you gave Sandy a bath at the carwash."

Jim Ellison stared at the screen, at the young man who might be a complete fraud, a con man making a fast buck. He picked up the remote, freezing the image on the screen. Sandburg stared at him, his gaze open and compelling and something inside of Ellison, something he didn't even know existed within him, believed.

~~~~

"I don't know what the hell you're trying to tell me, mom," Blair Sandburg snapped. His voice echoed around the room and one of the electricians, the newest, looked up with a bewildered expression. The others, all old hands, went on with their work, ignoring the star's outburst. "Mom," Blair tried again, "please."

Megan Conner bustled into the room. Five years experience as a personal assistant and all around dogsbody to a psychic had left her unfazed by her boss arguing with his dead mother. "Naomi being cryptic again?" she guessed.

Blair sighed, tossed his wire-rimmed glasses on his desk and rubbed his face with both hands. "Understatement. Why is it I can connect with thousands of spirits and my own mom is the one I can't figure out?"

"Could you when she was alive?" Megan asked. Her dark eyes raked him and Blair shrugged.

"No," he sighed.

"Is it - a bad one?" Megan asked with a hesitant glance. The "bad ones" were visions of pain and death. Spirits used such things as warnings and they left Sandburg in a fragile emotional state. Half an hour before the taping of their multi-million dollar TV show was not the time for the star to be feeling vulnerable.

"No," Blair shook his head, "not bad at all. It's been the same for a month now. She shows me a wolf in the jungle and it’s running towards something. At first I couldn't make it out and then I saw this black shape. It was a jaguar, a beautiful black jaguar with the most incredible blue eyes."

"Maybe you're getting a new car," Megan suggested.

"No, I get the feeling of importance, of Destiny," Blair said, "She just keeps showing me how they come together. They - they race towards each other and then," he paused, eyes closed as the vision replayed inside his head. "They leap into each other - It's like a blinding light, so bright and pure when they meet." He wrapped his arms around himself, a dreamy smile on his face. He'd never felt anything like what surged through him at the moment the two animals merged. Warm, and fulfilling, it surrounded him in the vision, embracing him so solidly Blair felt as if he could touch it. The feeling stayed with him when he opened his eyes.

"Well, mate," Megan said with a grin, "it's going to have to wait. You have thirty minutes before show time and four private sessions afterwards."

"Meg, I'm tired. Can't you cancel the private - " Blair stopped in mid-sentence, eyes automatically seeking the strange in-between world where he communicated with the dead. But this time his usual symbols deserted him, no pink roses, no parallel lines, no big red numbers, all he saw was Naomi Sandburg shaking her head emphatically. "Never mind, Megan, I'll do them all."

~~~~

"Mr. Ellison?"

Jim turned, knocking his cane against a desk so that it clattered to the floor. The dark haired woman bent and when she handed it back, Jim felt the heat off her skin as her face warmed with embarrassment. He hated that, he hated people being embarrassed for and by him. Most people acted as if acknowledging his injury committed some great sin, and anything which broke the illusion and reminded him that he wasn't just like everyone else was a heinous act. Jim could have told them he needed no extra reminders right now, the constant pain took care of that. He took the cane, careful not to brush her hand, and waited a moment.

"I'm Megan Conner, Mr. Sandburg's assistant. Would you like to sit down?" She asked. "It'll be awhile before Mr. Sandburg gets to you."

"Yeah, thank you." He followed her to what appeared to be a waiting room and sank down onto the couch.

"You can see the taping on this monitor," Megan explained. "Have you ever seen a television show taped before?"

"Yeah," Jim said, relaxing, "Vince Deal is a - friend of mine. I've watched him film a few things here in Cascade."

Conner looked impressed. "Vince Deal! You'll have to introduce me sometime." She got him settled then disappeared into the choreographed chaos taping a television show required. .

It went fairly quickly. Sandburg came out, chatting a little and explaining his system of symbols. "If I say above you I mean an older family member; father, mother, grandfather, grandmother. Below is younger, to the side is more like sibling, cousin, contemporary. The spirits use my experience to get me to say things, so I can be wrong. My interpretations can be off, just stick with me and we'll figure it out." Jim listened as the young man connected with an amazing array of spirits, validating his connection with intimate details and eerie insights. Without being aware of it, Jim began to focus solely on the psychic. His hearing honed in on the strong beat of Sandburg's heart and the rhythm of his breathing. There were small breaks in the pattern, times when Sandburg grew excited or frustrated but by and large his vitals remained steady.

Attention on the kinetic figure, it took Jim a few moments to realize that he could see something besides Sandburg, not a shape or a recognizable form, but wavering shadows just at the edge of the screen. He tried to pinpoint the cause, but each time he consciously sought them out, the shapes seemed to fade away. He struggled, staring closely at the area around Sandburg and it took a hand on his shoulder to rouse him from his scrutiny.

"Mr. Ellison?" Megan Conner drew her hand away. "We're ready for you."

"Oh, sorry, I was - thinking." She nodded, expression still bordering on concerned and led him to another stage set. It presented what must have passed as atmosphere on the small screen; smoked glass panels at an angle, two modern chrome chairs between them. Megan waited as Jim negotiated the steps and sat down before hurrying off again. He got the impression the woman never quit going.

Jim looked around, wondering just what it was he hoped to prove. If Sandburg really communicated with the dead how would that make him innocent of the charges? "You're a fool, Jimmy," he told himself but didn't care. He had to know if what he felt was true.

"Hello." Deep but with a ringing quality that made Jim want to smile, Sandburg took the chair opposite him. Ellison heard his sharp intake of breath and behind his glasses, Sandburg's deep eyes widened in surprise. But the spiritualist quickly recovered and he reached out to shake hands. "I'm Blair and you are," again his gaze became unfocused but an instant later he said, "James."

"Yes." Jim knew enough not to give away anything. He'd read how some psychics merely read body language and built on it with leading questions until he'd convinced some gullible schmuck to fork over the deed to the ranch.

"I'm sure you know my spiel so let's get started." Sandburg pressed his palms together and took a deep breath. "I'm getting a male figure above; father figure or grandfather. There are parallel lines between you and him so either he had the same name or something is the same. Was your grandfather named James?"

Ellison sighed, "No."

"There's something the same, he's insisting." Sandburg frowned, looking just passed Jim's right shoulder. "He says you see the same. Does this make sense?"

Jim froze. "We see the same?"

Sandburg nodded. "He says your," the psychic stumbled over his words, "tall, no, high - heightened senses. Your heightened senses are his legacy." Blair shrugged. "This is the parallel. I'm also getting.....is your father still here?"

"Yes."

Blair stilled, then gave a little shake of his head, "someone you thought of as a father then. Who is In-Incacha?"

"What? Is this a fucking joke, Chief?" Ellison levered himself to his feet, panting for breath as his heart hammered his ribs. "What the hell is this?" he asked, grabbing the smaller man's shirt front and jerking him to his feet. Oozing every ounce of menace he possessed, Jim practically snarled in the other man's face.

"Hey, whoa, man," Sandburg sputtered. He raised his hands, pressing hard against Ellison's chest. "Look, I just relay the message."

"Yeah, well who told you?" Jim stepped closer, satisfied by the widening of those deep blue eyes.

"He did!" Gesturing to a spot over Jim's shoulder, Sandburg went on, "I'm telling you, it's not a trick."

From a great distance Ellison heard the voices of Sandburg's people babbling and getting closer, he knew in a moment someone would appear and he'd have to explain his actions. But right then nothing mattered but obey the compulsion Sandburg's conviction instilled within him. Jim turned to look where the psychic pointed and the world seemed to die away. Dense silence settled around them like a fog, obscuring the hustle of the cheesy set, and Jim found himself standing once again on the edge of a cliff in a jungle where he had stood a lifetime ago. Agony, both of the body and the spirit, had sent him to that edge and only the peaceful eyes of Incacha had kept Jim from ending it all right then. For almost two years Jim had learned from the shaman, striving to understand his destiny and why he alone had lived when his men were buried beneath the trees. Wise and patient, Incacha had taught him true friendship, not the beer commercial version, but a soul deep connection he'd never even seen before. When death had come to the Indian, swift and unforgiving, Jim would have willingly followed save for the dream, a vision really, of that noble face twisted with sorrow. As it was Jim knew if the Army hadn't found him when they did, his will to live would have slowly slipped away. And now Incacha stood just as he had in life, his black hair and tan skin made more luminous by the glow which surrounded him. "You do not believe, Enquiri? What good are eyes which see a thousand miles if you do not look?" Ellison lifted his hand, needing, in a way he couldn't explain, for it to be real. He reached out, fingers stretched and for just a second he felt living flesh and then, like a soap bubble on a blade of grass, Incacha blinked out of existence.

"Boss?"

"Mr. Sandburg?"

"Blair!"

Their voices burst through the curtain of silence which had been drawn around them, demanding an explanation. Jim knew he couldn't talk, not now, not when he had seen see the Chopec Shaman who had saved his life and sanity five years earlier standing in the middle of a sound stage in Cascade, Washington. He didn't have to try, Sandburg stopped them all with both hands raised like a man hoping to avoid being shot.

"'s okay. I'm fine, no problem." He flashed a wide grin, one which seemed to work to create another circle around them and the intruders backed away, still mumbling with sullen defiance, but doing as told. Ellison fixed his gaze on Sandburg and saw a kind of relief suffuse the indigo eyes as he studied Jim in return. "You saw him," he said slowly and then nodded to himself. "You saw him, too," he repeated and they stood staring at each other for a long moment. Finally Blair held out his hand just as Jim had done a moment earlier but Jim knew he wouldn't disappear, he couldn't, not now. "Come on."

Sandburg kept up a steady stream of chatter as he pulled Jim through the backstage area, out a huge set of sliding doors and across an open expanse of concrete. He ended their impromptu daisy chain at an old convertible, a Corvair and once Blair had helped him into it Jim remembered Ralph Nader's claim that this particular automobile was unsafe at any speed. He laid his head back, wondering if old Ralph had foreseen this moment when he'd made the claim, because right now he felt more unsafe than he ever had in his life. With his eyes closed, sunlight played over Jim's eyelids and those changing patterns of light and shadow wiped away the flutter in the pit of his stomach. He listened as city sounds faded, replaced by birds and wind and trees. Sandburg drove well, turning in smooth semi-circles as they left Cascade behind. The alternating patches of shadow and light on his eyelids finally gave way to total shadow and the car pulled to a gentle stop. Jim could hear the breeze stirring leaves and birds singing in all directions.

Blair didn't speak but Jim knew he was being watched, studied by that penetrating gaze. He opened his eyes but couldn't bring himself to break the silence for a long time. Finally, unable to prevent the conversation, he sighed and asked, "How do you stand it?" Ellison barely recognized his own voice, it sounded frail, like the wheeze of an old, worn out man or a paper cutout fluttering in the breeze, certainly not the voice of the best detective in Cascade.

"Jim." Sandburg's hand closed over his, warm and solid and anchoring him, "It's a gift." Jim turned his head to look at the younger man. There was no smile now, only a look of frank belief that shown in the set of Blair's mouth and solemn, unblinking gaze. Ellison shivered. Soldiers and civilians, clothes shredded, eyes black with hate and condemnation, mouths open in eternal screams, flashed through his brain until he gasped for breath. He started to say something, anything which would tell Sandburg how foolish he was but the sound which came from his throat was somewhere between a sob and a howl of pain and he could do nothing but cling to the arms which took him in.

~~~~

"They don't blame you," Blair whispered in his ear a million years later. Jim stiffened, his skin suddenly felt icy despite the warm day, and would have pulled away right then if Sandburg hadn't tightened his grip. "I see them, Jim. They stand behind you and I can see them." Jim did pull away, staring at Blair with a kind of horror. "No, no, Jim," Blair soothed. He ran his hand down the side of Ellison's face as if his touch could wipe that horror away. It worked. Jim calmed, though his eyes darted from side to side as if only constant vigilance kept them from looking over his shoulder. "Jim," Blair drew his attention again, scooting across the seat and raising his free hand to the other side of Jim's face. Held like that, his gaze pinned to Sandburg's, Jim couldn't escape. "They are crying for you. They're begging you to let them go."

"But-"

"No," Blair cut him off, shaking his head and little residual movements made Jim do the same. "I can see them and hear them," he insisted, "and you could do the same if you tried. You have a gift, Jim, use it."

"No, it's - it's too much," Jim rasped. He was breathing hard again, trapped against the door with the handle digging into his back. It felt as if a fire had been kindled in his shoes and the flames were licking their way up his legs and back. Flames, too, seemed to be burning in Sandburg's eyes and these licked through his brain and seared his heart until Ellison felt like little more than a charred husk.

"It's part of you, Jim," Blair went on as if he'd never uttered one word, "and nothing's ever going to be right unless you admit that." And as his words, almost lost among the rustling of leaves, washed over Jim he could feel the cooling power they possessed and a hissing sigh escaped his lips. He felt almost boneless with relief, the pain which he'd carried since the day his helicopter crashed in Peru, pain which had grown more agonizing with each failure to protect those weaker than himself, pain which had nearly destroyed his soul when Veronica Sarris blew apart a loaded city bus, began to ebb. Like a sieve, guilt trickled away drop by drop. His heart felt lighter and even his body no longer burned with unrelenting agony just the normal discomfort of healing muscles and tissue. He closed his eyes again, Blair's hands were still on his face, still there to guide him. He let himself hear the leaves, the wind sighing as it raced through them and beneath that, animals in the woods, and farther still a plane overhead. Jim sank through the levels, searching inside for that place which had only come to him in nightmares, the place where the unintelligible screams waited and at first he couldn't understand the howling noise which assailed his ears and then, slowly, it came clear.

The gentle rustling of leaves separated into sounds, into words. "You tried to help us," a wavering voice said. "You risked your life for us. We don't blame you and you mustn't blame yourself." Jim looked then, opened his eyes and saw them moving among the trees; the passengers on that bus filed past him, "Let us go." Jim gulped for air, nodding with a short jerk of his head and they began to fade. But a new rank of figures emerged from the woods; his team, the men he'd lost in Peru. "We died with honor, Sir. Our duty is done." En mass, they snapped a salute and disappeared. Jim didn't even try to wipe away the tears on his cheeks, he just turned to Sandburg and Blair did it for him.

~~~~

Blair used his thumbs, wiping away Ellison's tears unaware that his own eyes were streaming. He offered a weak smile and cleared his throat, "You - you saw them pull back?" Jim nodded. "I told you they didn't blame you." Again Ellison nodded and this time he, too, offered a faint smile.

"I - I don't know what to say, Sandburg" Jim whispered, staring into Blair's eyes. Blair slipped his hands into Jim's hair, and as he did so the vision Naomi had shown him burst into his mind. Sandburg saw the wolf, felt its powerful stride as it raced forward. In Jim's eyes he saw the image of the jaguar, its hunger reflected in the pale blue gaze. He moved forward, met by Ellison and the kiss which bound them was a bright explosion of desire and need. It went on and on, feeding upon itself until oxygen depravation guttered the flame to embers.

"Uh, well, let's count that as a thank you," Blair murmured and saw amusement in Ellison's eyes. "Want to talk about it here," he looked around the deserted spot where he'd pulled off, "or someplace more comfortable."

"I'm all for comfort," Jim said. Blair laughed and Jim did too and the heavy weight which he'd sensed around Ellison seemed to fall away.

"Comfort it is." They drove back to Cascade, Ellison directing him to a small neighborhood just north of the bay. They parked on a quiet, shop lined street and Jim indicated a door near a store called Colette's. When they went inside, Blair discovered it was an old warehouse converted into half a dozen loft apartments. They rode the elevator up to the third floor and Jim let him into apartment 307. It had a huge living room with tall windows overlooking the sparkling bay waters, a cozy kitchen with vintage appliances and, once he climbed the stairs, one of the biggest beds Blair had ever seen. "Yeah, this looks way comfortable." He sank down onto the yellow duvet and looked up at Ellison. All the rapport suddenly evaporated and both men glanced away. "Uh, so, nice place."

"Thanks." Ellison shifted his weight to his right leg, looking at the cane he'd been carrying instead of using. His mouth thinned to a slash and his brows drew together in a frown. "Look, Sandburg....."

"Okay, yeah," Blair bounced off the bed, both hands raised, "bad idea, right? I'll go." He started to move away but as he edged passed Ellison, Jim took his arm.

"No. No, it's just," Jim shrugged, "I don't know what to do - what's going on." He let go and sat down in the place Blair had vacated. "I like you," he said softly, voice filled with something Blair thought was wonder, "but what is going on?"

Sandburg sighed and sat beside him. "I've been thinking about that. Naomi, that's my mom," he told Jim, "showed my something I didn't understand but now I think I do."

"Why didn't you just ask her?"

Blair felt himself grow warm. For the first time since he'd become a nationally known psychic he found himself slightly embarrassed by what, to him, was an everyday occurrence. "It's not that easy. Naomi died about five years ago."

"Oh, sorry," Jim said. "That's when you became a - a -"

"Psychic? No, that's something I've always had. I just didn't do anything about it until after," he smiled when Jim's hand settled on his knee. "I was studying anthropology until mom got sick, then I quit to be with her and afterwards I just didn't go back."

"Anthropology, Chief?"

"Yeah," Blair grinned, warmed by how gentle the nickname could sound when Ellison wasn't spitting it at him. "My field was legends and folklore and one of the most fascinating dealt with something called Sentinels." He eyed Jim a moment, "sentinels were individuals who, because of their genetic makeup, protected the tribe, Jim. I think this would explain your ability to see the spirits."

"How do you know I'm not psychic like you?" Ellison challenged.

Blair mustered his most scathing look, "I would know. Just like I know you're a cop and you're trying to find out if I'm running a scam."

"Impressive," Jim admitted.

"Not really, Mr. Cop-Of-the-Year. Come on, Ellison," he chided, "you're the most high profile cop in Cascade why would you suddenly believe in spirits?"

"Maybe I was looking for an explanation?"

"Well, you've got one." Blair turned, studying the older man with open admiration. "You're a great guy, Jim, and I want to get to know you - "

"But first I need to know something, Chief," Jim cut in, "are you scamming anyone?"

"No. I'm not, Jim, and I'm going to do everything in my power to help you find out what's going on," he dropped his gaze from the crystal blue eyes to the thin lips, "but first let's see if we can find that incredible light again."

"You saw that, too?"

Blair leaned in to take Jim's mouth in a searing kiss. White light spilled through his brain and within it the wolf and jaguar playfully circled each other. He barely felt Ellison pressing him back across the mattress and was surprised when hot fingers slid down his zipper and reached inside to touch him. "Yessss," he hissed, writhing as Jim freed his cock to the cool air and then speech deserted him when Ellison's mouth closed over it. He rode a wave of ecstasy and felt himself flung far, far away when it crested over him. It could have been hours later when he woke to find Ellison arranged beside him on the bed, staring at him with a dazzling smile. "Whoa, that was something else. I think I blew a fuse."

"Yeah, I think you did too," Jim murmured.

"What about you?" Blair rolled over, leaning on Jim's chest and smiling down into his face. His hand was taken in a strong grip and pressed against the damp front of Ellison's khaki trousers.

"Watching you was quite exciting."

"So I feel," Blair said and grinned again. They kissed, slow wet kisses full of affection. "Mom's been showing me these images for a month," Blair confessed. "It was driving me crazy. And then you came along and almost the first moment I saw you I thought 'he has the jaguar's eyes!' . I think this is Fate," he stopped, pulling back. "Sorry, man, guess I'm moving a little fast." He sat up but was pulled back down an instant later.

"You're not moving too fast," Jim assured him, "don't ask me why or how but I feel like I've known you for a long time, Chief. Whatever this is between us is special." He placed a hand on Blair's chest, over his heart. "I want us to be friends, to be more than friends."

Unable to hide the pleasure those few words kindled in his soul, Blair kissed his lover again and whispered, "I knew that."

~~~~

"Ellison!" Simon Banks almost dropped his coffee mug when his detective walked through the door. Three days earlier Jim Ellison had been a wreck; he'd shuffled along with the aid of a cane, pain etched visibly in lines on his too pale face, there had been an air of defeat about him, something Simon never would have thought to see associated with him. Now, Jim moved with his old grace, the cane no longer a fixture in his grip and only a slight limp to remind anyone of his accident. The biggest change, though, was his eyes. Gone were the circles of exhaustion beneath them and the dull glaze of a man who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. His blue gaze sparkled with a purity Simon found took his breath away. "You look great, Jim! What the hell's going on?"

"Reporting, Sir," Jim said with a grin. Simon gaped. Ellison hadn't so much as smiled in months. "I closed the Sandburg case," he dropped a file on Banks' desk. "Seems his manager was tacking on a little fee when he found individuals with more money than he figured they needed."

"Sandburg wasn't involved?" Banks asked as he perused the report.

"Nope. He's 100%," Jim grinned again, "innocent, Sir."

Banks left him standing there a moment as he read and then asked, "You speak of this psychic in glowing terms, Jim. Is he for real?"

"He's for real, Simon," Jim assured him. "He's definitely for real."

Banks nodded and closed the file, his sharp eyes raked Ellison again. "You really look better, Jim. Is everything okay now?"

Ellison tilted his head as if listening to something then smiled. "Yes, Simon, everything is okay now." He shot a look out towards the bullpen, smiling. Simon followed his gaze and saw the television psychic getting off the elevator. Sandburg made his way into the bullpen like he'd been there a hundred times, gaze swinging around as if looking for something - or someone. The other detectives gradually swamped him, clustering around him like geese and a moment later the psychic stood among them talking and joking one of the gang. "I have to go, Simon."

"Go? You can't go anywhere, detective! We're trying to keep the city safe, you know? There are cases stacked up and now that you're doing so well, I can't spare you."

"You gave me time off, remember, Sir?" Jim said. "I'm taking it now." He gave another blinding smile then waded out into the chattering group of officers. Simon watched him gather Sandburg to his side with one long arm and a few low words. The younger man grinned, and turned his gaze towards Simon's office, his eyes beamed with a strange, pure light.

The End.

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