Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

Crash

by Leesa Perrie and Jayne

********************

It was a dark and stormy night….well; actually it was sunny in Cascade for once, quite warm in fact, and certainly not night, seeing as it was midday, but still….

It felt like it should be a dark and stormy night, then it would explain why Blair was feeling so glum, fed up, downright down in the dumps and feeling like a blues singer who was having a really bad day.

Things had started off so well…………………..

Jim had left yesterday with Megan, to attend a week long Police conference in Florida and Blair was looking forward to having the loft to himself for a week. As much as he loved Jim's company, he occasionally missed his independence and not living by anyone else's rules, especially Jim's rules. One week of not labelling items in the fridge had a definite appeal.

Last night he had met up with an old acquaintance. Rodney McKay. They had reminisced about Blair's last year of High school, when he had been staying with Rodney's family (one of the few times Naomi had decided that Blair had needed some stability, in order to get through his exams) and just generally catching up.

Rodney had explained that he was just passing through on his way to a 'hush, hush project' and would be in town for a couple of days. Blair couldn't help feeling as though he wouldn't be seeing Rodney again for a very long time.

As a result, Blair hadn't got to bed until the early hours of the morning. But with no room mate and no classes until the afternoon, he went to bed with not a care in the world.

Unfortunately, he hadn't anticipated the phone ringing at 8am. It was Simon.

"Sandburg….Blair…" Simon began, giving Blair a sinking feeling as Simon rarely used his first name, "I'm sorry, but your Volvo was found an hour ago….it looks like the car was going too fast on a wet road and slid off the road, down an embankment, and into a river…"

"Oh no, Naomi!" Blair blurted, he had lent his mom the car just yesterday for a trip up to a mountain retreat, as he had Jim's truck to borrow. Naomi's car was in the garage for repairs, having broken down during a flying visit on her way to a retreat.

"Blair…son…they haven't found Naomi…but it looks like she must have been swept downstream by the river…I'm sorry Blair, it doesn't look hopeful…"

"No, no, no, no! She has to be alive! She has to be…" Blair couldn't believe it, he couldn't.

"I'm on my way to you now, Blair. Just hold on, I'll be with you in a few minutes, and then we'll head up to the area and see what, if anything, we can do."

"Okay. See you soon," Blair put the phone down in a daze. Naomi dead? It couldn't be true; she was so alive. He felt like he was in a dream, a nightmare, and pinched himself to try and wake up. It didn't work.

…..and now, here he was, in Simon's car, just leaving Cascade and heading into the mountains to try and find his mom, preferably alive and well, though that seemed unlikely, after listening to the details from Simon again.

A truck had been following the Volvo and had seen the car go too fast round the corner. Rain had made the road slippery and as a result the car didn't make it, but had plummeted off the road into the river below, where it had landed and submerged.

Simon looked over at Blair, who was pale and staring quietly out of the window at the passing scenery. Both felt as though they were being mocked by the sun and beauty surrounding them.

The journey passed in silence, until up ahead Simon could see the flashing lights on the Forest Rangers' vehicles.

‘We're here.'

Simon and Blair left the car and approached the Forest Rangers. Blair really didn't want to talk to them, thinking that if he buried his head in the sand, so to speak, then Naomi wouldn't have crashed and everything would be okay. But even while this was going through his head, he knew it was no good. No matter how much reality might suck right now, he was going to have to deal with it.

"Captain Simon Banks, Cascade PD," said Simon, pulling out his badge, "and this is Blair Sandburg, an observer in my department and owner of the car that crashed. Have you found the driver, Naomi Sandburg, his mother?"

The Forest Ranger looked at Blair briefly with a look of sorrow and understanding and then turned his attention back to Simon.

"We haven't found a body or a survivor as of yet. The river is flowing extremely fast at the moment, due to melting ice higher up the slopes. It looks like the driver managed to get out of the car, but she must have been injured - it's quite a drop here - and most likely drowned in the river. We have rescue teams searching further downstream, but nothing so far. I'm sorry, but it really doesn't look very hopeful."

"But she could be alive?" Blair asked, desperately. "I mean - it's a possibility?"

"Yes, it's possible. But I wouldn't get your hopes up too high. We're doing everything we can to locate her." The Ranger said.

"Thanks. I appreciate it. Can I help with the search?" Blair asked.

"Sandburg, let the rangers deal with it. They're trained for this. Last thing I need is to lose you in the woods somewhere. Jim would kill me!" Simon spoke, before the Ranger could answer.

"But, she's my mom," Blair almost cringed, as he heard himself whine.

"Come on Sandburg, let's go up to the Rangers' station and wait for some news."

Blair turned away from Simon and started walking towards the edge of the road, intending to look at the remains of his car, and then to start downstream. Simon sighed deeply, and followed Blair to the edge of the road.

Blair tentatively looked down the embankment, but then immediately turned away.

"Oh, man. That's so not good for my fear of heights." He moaned. "I can't just stand here and wait. I'm going to see if I can find an easier way down."

With that, Blair started to follow along the edge of the road down.

Simon looked at the lonely figure. Sighing he grabbed the nearest Ranger and gave him his cell phone number and then proceeded after his friend, soon catching him up.

They walked slowly and with frequent stops only to find the terrain still inhospitable.

Though neither said it, they both wished that Jim were there. Both men sorely missed his eyesight and support.

Eventually Blair spotted a thin path leaving the road. Without a word Blair headed towards it and followed the muddy, slippery path as it wound its way slowly towards the river.

By the time they reached the river, both men were covered in mud and Blair was shivering slightly.

"Which way do you want to go, up river or down?" Simon said loudly to be heard above the noise.

Blair stood staring at the water, unable to come to a decision.

"Okay we'll head up river until we reach the car and then work our way down"

Blair looked at Simon.

"If you head up stream and I head down, we'll cover more distance. Her time could be running out. I need to find her, I need to find my mom."

With that he turned and started to move away.

"Sandburg, keep your cell phone on, OKAY!"

Blair waved his hand to indicate he had heard and continued to move away, his thoughts churning. Trying to keep the fear at bay.

"She's gonna be fine. She's gonna be fine. She's gonna be fine" he kept repeating to himself. But he knew the longer it took to find her the more likely that she wasn't going to be fine.

He paused for a minute to drink from his water bottle. But all the while, his eyes were scanning the river, looking for something, anything that would tell him that his mom was still alive, or had passed by this way.

********************

Simon arrived at the car after what seemed like ages, but was in fact only 20 minutes. There was no sign of Naomi. He hadn't really expected there to be, but he'd had to check upstream in case she hadn't got far from the car and had been missed by the Rangers somehow. Turning around, he was about to start downstream to try and catch up with Blair when he thought he heard a moan from above him.

Looking up, he couldn't see anyone on the embankment or in the trees. Surely the Rangers would have checked to see if Naomi had been thrown from the car before it entered the river? Maybe he was just imagining things. There were a couple of Rangers further up the stream, awaiting the arrival of a crane to lift the car back onto the road, prior to it being towed away. He walked towards them.

********************

Meanwhile, Blair was having no luck in locating his mother, and was getting increasingly worried about her. He was checking all the bushes, nooks and crannies as he moved along the river's edge, and so it was taking a long time to travel even a short distance. Part of him told him that he was wasting time, as the Rangers had most likely already looked here and were looking further downstream, but another part needed to look for himself and check in case the Rangers had missed Naomi somehow.

All the time, he kept wishing that Jim were here. He'd find Naomi with no problem, of that he was sure. With his heightened senses he could hear, see or even smell her far more easily than anyone else. But Jim wasn't here, he kept reminding himself, and there was nothing to be done about that.

Blair paused briefly on a small bank that ran just above the river's edge. The river on any other day would look beautiful, with the sunny reflections of trees and bushes on it. But today, it looked cold and deadly. With a sigh, Blair turned to move further along when suddenly the bank he was standing on gave way and he was plunged into the river.

The current pulled him under, but he managed to reach the surface and slowly made his way over to the embankment, a little further down than where he'd fallen in.

Large boulders scattered the shore's edge. One of which the river slammed him into. He tried to grab hold of it, but could feel his fingers slipping.

"Come Blair, you can do this." He muttered to himself.

Momentarily, his foot touched the bottom. Enough for him to be able to push himself on to the top of the boulder. He lay on top of it, breathing heavily from his exertions. Once he had calmed down he started shaking from the cold.

He put his hand in his coat pocket to take out his cell phone, only to find that it no longer worked.

"Great! Just Great! That is all I need." He was sorely tempted to throw it into the river, but put it back into his pocket instead.

Go on or go back? Blair was trying to decide, when he noticed an indent in the rock wall behind him. It looked like the entrance to a small cave.

Knowing his priority was to get warm and dry, he made his way over to it, collecting driftwood as he went. He was just about to crawl into the small entrance when he saw a flash of bright orange out of the corner of his eye. Looking round, he spotted it a few yards to his right. Putting the wood down he went over and picked it up. It was his mom's favourite scarf. But the sight of blood on it made his heart lurch. His legs felt like jelly and he found himself sitting, with tears slowly rolling down his cheeks.

After about five minutes Blair stood up and scanned the surrounding rocks hoping for more clues as to his mother's whereabouts. But nothing was forthcoming.

********************

Simon asked the two Rangers if the bushes and trees had been checked, in case Naomi could have been thrown from the car, or maybe had even decided to jump.

They had told him that it was highly unlikely anyone could have been thrown from the car, and that the driver's door hadn't been opened. The passenger's door was open, but they assumed that had happened after the car had landed in the river and Naomi's body had obviously been washed out at the same time. But he was sure he'd heard someone moan, and asked the Rangers to help him to check out the possibility just the same, feeling annoyed that it hadn't already been done.

One of the Rangers scrambled to the top of the embankment and sorted to work his way down slowly, whilst the other started from the bottom of worked her way up, both checking the bushes thoroughly. Simon, meanwhile, started to check the trees as best he could from the ground, awaiting climbing gear and a couple more Rangers, who had been contacted and were on their way to help in the search.

********************

"Naomi? Mom?" Blair called softly, as he entered the cave. He thought he heard something move further inside. Hoping that it wasn't an unfriendly critter, but his mother, he slowly worked his way towards the sound. The cave narrowed even more after about 5 yards and became a tunnel, just big enough for Blair to climb through. The tunnel soon turned a corner, and what little light that had made its way into the back of the cave, was swallowed up in darkness. Blair wished he had thought to bring a torch with him, but continued onwards, feeling his way with his hands carefully.

"Oh crap, this is so NOT my idea of fun!" Blair was beginning to feel decidedly claustrophobic, as the darkness and the narrowness of the tunnel started to get to him. He could feel himself starting to hyperventilate. "Okay, just keep calm. Take a nice deep breath… and out. In…..and out. In ….and out. That's it. I am calm, I am calm, I am calm…."

Suddenly something licked his face.

"Aargh," he screamed, moving backwards as rapidly as he could. Only to hear a bark, followed by said critter licking his retreating hands. He stopped.

"Good doggie, nice doggie," he crooned, still moving backwards, though more slowly. As he exited the tunnel into the cave, the dog followed him out. He could just make it out in the dim light. It was black and white, a border collie possibly.

The dog barked again, louder this time, and pushed up against Blair's body.

"Okay, so you're a friendly dog, then? I wonder what your name is and what you are doing down here?" He leaned forward to see if there was a nametag on the collar, but then realised he couldn't read it in the dim light, and might not be able to anyway without his glasses. He reached into the pocket where he kept them, to find broken lenses.

"Great, just great! New cell phone AND new glasses. Lovely!" He moaned.

Blair headed back towards the entrance of the cave and using his best guide voice, persuaded the dog to go with him (after all if it worked on Panther Jim why not a dog?)

Once he had enough light he was just able to read the details on the collar. The dog's name was Star and on the other side it had the owner's details. Blair was surprised to see that the owner's address was Boston.

"You've come a long way."

At his voice the dog wagged her tail.

Blair looked longingly at his small pile of wood, which meant warmth, a way of letting Simon know that he was stuck further down the river and would also let his Mom know that there were other people in the vicinity. Then he looked back at the dog.

"Okay Star, here goes… Now we can do this one of two ways. We can either both meditate and I get my spirit guide to talk to you. Or I can hope that your Mom was Lassie or a Lassie fan." At the sound of his voice Star cocked her head on one side, which reminded Blair of the way Jim also tipped his head when he was listening. Blair took Naomi's scarf out of his pocket and held it under Star's nose. "Find girl. Find Naomi. Find my Mom."

At the word Mom, Star started to run up river.

"Hey slow down!!!!!!!!!!" Blair shouted as he started to follow Star.

After he had slipped on his third rock, Blair took his eyes off of the dog so that he could take more care of where he was going and soon lost sight of Star.

"Star! Star! Where have you gone? Come back"

********************

Simon could swear he could see the under growth moving of its own accord. He was starting to get worried when a border collie ran past him.

"What the ………..?"

Simon started running after the dog.

"Wait! Stop! Sit!" he shouted after it.

The dog heard the commands and skidded to a halt. Watching Simon approach, Star whimpered.

"There's a nice dog," Simon held out his hand carefully, and was rewarded with a lick. Star then pushed up against his legs. Simon stroked her, "where did you come from, then? What's your name, I wonder?" He looked at the nametag on her collar, "Star, eh? Where's you owner?"

Star ran towards a tree about 10 yards from Simon, and started to bark, looking upwards and jumping up at the tree. Simon rushed forward, craning to look up into the dense foliage. He could just make out a piece of orange cloth about 5 yards or more up. He quickly alerted the Rangers to his find and to the presence of Star.

"Hello, can you hear me?" He shouted up to the person, while waiting for the Rangers to come over with their equipment. He heard a short moan in reply.

"He or she is alive, I can hear him moan," Simon told the head Ranger.

"Okay, sir, we'll get someone up to assess his condition."

Simon moved out of the way, grabbing Star's collar and moving her with him.

********************

Blair had lost sight of Star, but followed upstream, hoping she was heading that way and would take him to Naomi. He had to climb onto the embankment in places, as the riverbank was unstable and he really didn't want another trip down the river - he was cold and wet enough, thank you very much. Of course, this meant pushing his way through bushes, and getting covered in lots of tiny (and some not so tiny) scratches from the branches and thorns.

As he approached the place where he fell into the river, though he didn't realize that this was that place, he had to move even further away from the river and into dense thickets to avoid the encroaching river. As he did, he spotted what looked like a bundle of rags to his right, under a bush he was trying to manoeuvre past. Stopping, he turned towards it; his heart felt like it had jumped into his throat. Could this be his Mom? If so, was she still alive?

He reached over to touch the bundle tentatively. It moved, and he heard a groan.

********************

Simon stood with one hand on Star's collar, watching the rescue team's medic climb up the tree with his kit. Time seemed to slow as he waited for the medic to assess the person's condition. Even though he was looking up, the tree was so thick he couldn't see much of anything. If the person hadn't been wearing orange, then he doubted anyone would have spotted him or her, at least, not from the ground.

Another man climbed the tree with ropes and pulleys and a makeshift stretcher.

Whilst he was watching his cell phone rang. Whilst he answered it his eyes never left the tree.

"Banks."

"Hi Simon." Oh, no, he thought, it was Jim. "You wouldn't happen to know where Sandburg is? Only I've tried the loft, and his cell phone isn't responding."

"Sorry Jim. I don't know where he is," After all, he didn't know exactly where Blair was, "but there is a good chance I may be seeing him in the near future. Can I pass a message on?"

Jim could hear the sounds of water in the background and wondered precisely where his Captain was, just as he was about to try and hear the other sounds going on Megan knocked on his door.

"No, I'll try and catch him later, we're just going out to get something to eat. Is there anything going on I should know about?"

"No, no. Everything is fine, just fine. You go out and enjoy yourself."

Jim sat staring at the phone as Megan rapped on his door again, this time more impatiently. As he got up, he knew something wasn't quiet right, but if there were a major problem his captain would have told him about it, wouldn't he?

Simon looked at his phone. He remembered checking that Blair had his phone, but Jim hadn't been able to get through!

"Oh crap!"

Just then, the rescue team started to lower the casualty. Simon moved closer, hoping that the person wasn't badly hurt.

He was surprised to see a young girl of about 10 looking up at him, obviously scared.

"Where's Star? Where's Naomi?" She croaked, as a tear slid down her scratched cheek.

At that, Star, who had been pulling against Simon, gave a final yank and bounded over to his mistress and started to lick her face. The girl giggled.

********************

"Mom," Blair whispered.

He tried moving the branches of the bushes out of his way, but they soon sprang back into his face, causing him to yelp as one hit him across the bridge of his nose.

Taking out his trusty Swiss army penknife, he hacked away the offending branches, until he could get a clearer view of the 'bundle of rags'.

There, lying under it, was Naomi. She was bruised, and blood seemed to be all over her, though Blair was glad to note that the blood was dry. He felt along her body, trying to feel if anything was broken and once again wishing that Jim and his sensitive touch was here.

"Blair?" Naomi's voice was no more than a croaked whisper.

"Hi Mom."

"Rainbow, must get help for Rainbow."

"We'll find her, but first we have to get you out of here."

Blair checked his phone, but it was still not working. Looking at his Mom, Blair noted that she had passed out again. Knowing this was not good; he knew he had to wake her up again. But first he needed a fire a) to warm her up and b) to act as a smoke signal so that Simon and the rescue team would know where he was.

He looked around, spotting a clearing in the bushes a few feet in front of him. He crawled from under the bush and gathered some nearby stones to make a rough fire circle - after all, he wanted to start a small fire and not burn down the forest - his mom and himself included.

After that, he collected some wood and kindling. Finding appropriate wood to rub together, he managed after a few tries to light a fire.

"I guess all that time with native tribes has come in useful again - they didn't have any matches or lighters to start their fires with either."

After getting the fire started, he crawled back to Naomi.

"Hey, Mom, can you move at all?"

"Hmmm. What?" Came the fuzzy reply.

"Can you move?" Blair repeated.

"Sure, sweetie. I moved up here from the river."

With some help from Blair, Naomi was able to move herself closer to the fire.

"Mmmm. Warmth." She said, closing her eyes and drifting off again.

Blair placed her into the recovery position with her front to the fire, and laid down next to her back to try and share some of his warmth, such as it was, with her. He knew he had to stay awake, so that he could wake Naomi every few minutes.

"I hope Simon realises I need help soon," he muttered, shivering miserably.

********************

Simon followed the rescue team and Rainbow as she was carried up the slope to the waiting emergency vehicles.

"What's gonna happen to Star?" she cried

"Don't worry, I'll take good care of her." Simon was surprised to find himself saying.

He watched as the ambulance doors shut and the vehicle drove off down the road.

Turning round he looked over the treetops and down towards the river below, hoping for a sign, anything that would tell him where Blair, or even Naomi, was. Then he saw it, the thin whisper of smoke rising through the trees.

Quickly he found the Rescue Teams' Captain and showed him what he could see. Both Captains smiled.

Orders were given, and the vehicles were relocated down the road, to be nearer to the signal fire. Once there, men grabbed ropes and tied them to strong trees and used them to control their descent until it was no more than a slope.

Simon had wanted to go with them, but it had been pointed out to him that he would only get in the way. Also, he had to keep and eye on Star. So he was left with the support vehicles and backup team, with nothing to do but pace and keep looking over the edge hoping to either see or hear anything that would put his mind at ease.

He heard footsteps behind him as a member of the support team came up to him.

"They've found them, both of them."

********************

Blair watched anxiously as the paramedic checked over his Mom.

Carefully the paramedic put a neck brace on her, and he and his colleague slid her on to a body board and then proceeded to strap her on securely.

"We can't find anything broken, but we'll know more on her condition once we get her to the hospital and checked out."

Using the ropes, they controlled her ascent up to the waiting ambulance. Blair following close behind her with words of encouragement and letting her know that all would be okay.

Once they reached the top, Simon was there waiting for him and grabbed a blanket to wrap around him. Even through the blanket he could feel him shivering.

"Get in the wagon with your Mom, I'll follow behind and meet you at the hospital. You gonna be okay?"

"Yeh, I'm fine Simon. Thanks." With that, he climbed in.

Simon watched the ambulance disappear round the corner before he moved over to his car with Star and got in. Concern for the two people etched on his face.

He headed to the hospital, taking a short detour to drop Star off at a vets that was not far from the hospital.

********************

Once he reached the hospital Simon went over to the ER and located Blair.

"How ya doin Kid?"

Blair looked pale and Simon could see he was still shivering, despite being wrapped in several layers of blanket. He could also see that Blair was worried about his Mom.

The energiser bunny had definitely lost some of his bounce.

"Fine, the doc wants to keep me in over night as a precaution. Something about exposure. They'll keep Mom and Rainbow in so I may as well stay and keep an eye on them."

"Blair Sandburg wanting to stay in a hospital? You really must be sick!" Blair managed a tired smile at Simon's words.

"Can you go and check how they are for me?"

"Sure, be back soon." With that Simon left him and went in search of the doctor.

********************

About half an hour later, Simon returned and found Blair gone. Asking a nurse, he was directed to a nearby room. Entering, he saw Blair in bed, looking distinctly unhappy.

"Hey Blair. Your mom's going to be fine. She has a minor concussion, a twisted ankle and wrist, plus lots of cuts and bruises. They want to keep her in for a couple of days just to be safe, as she appears to have the beginnings of a nasty chest infection. But she should recover okay. Rainbow has a dislocated shoulder and knee, which have been dealt with, a badly sprained ankle, concussion and several bruises. I've got someone trying to get in touch with her mom, who apparently is at the retreat Naomi was heading for. They'll be keeping Rainbow in, at least until her mom gets here, possibly a bit longer."

Blair looked mightily relieved that they were both going to be okay.

"I didn't know Mom was taking Rainbow and Star with her, but I'm glad they're gonna be okay. I assume Star wasn't hurt too badly? She seemed okay to me."

"I'll ring and check with the vet later, but she did seem alright, just a little cold and wet."

"That's good. Can you believe it Simon? They've admitted me! I thought I was going to be able to sit with Mom, but no, I got bullied into this room! I'm thinking of signing myself out against medical advice…"

"Uh, uh, no way Sandburg." Simon interrupted Blair's complaint. "You're already going to be in enough trouble with Jim for wandering off down the river on your own and falling in, without signing out AMA." Simon threw in a glare for good measure.

"Me? It's you who should be worried man. You let me wander off down the river on my own in the first place! Oh crap, talking of Jim, he's gonna be frantic by now! I should have been at home for his call ages ago!"

"Oh, well, actually…" Simon looked somewhat guilty. "Jim rang me on my mobile a while ago, while I was looking for Naomi. I kind of gave him the impression that there was nothing going on for him to be worried about…"

"Oh boy, Simon. You are soooo dead, man!!"

"Yes, well, I'll be even deader if I let you sign out of here AMA. So stay put. Rainbow and Naomi are gonna be fine, just stuck in hospital for a couple of days or so. If you behave yourself, I imagine the doctors will let you out tomorrow and you can sit with them then."

"But, Simon…." Blair whined, giving him the patented lost puppy dog eyes.

"No! And quit it with the eyes. You're worse than Daryl when he was a little boy! I'll see you tomorrow morning. Now stay here and get some rest. And yes, that is an order!"

"Sir, yes, sir!" Blair said sarcastically, and pouted.

Simon merely shook his head, hiding a grin, and left to go home and get some well deserved rest, after ringing Jim to let him know what was going on. Hmm, he thought, maybe I can tell Conner, and she can tell Jim…..

********************

Blair shuffled over to the door of the loft, wincing at the stiffness of bruised muscles and the soreness of a myriad of cuts and scratches. There was a second, more annoyed sounding, knock on the door as he approached it.

"Hold on, I'm coming!" He said loudly, muttering about impatient visitors.

He opened the door and received an enthusiastic greeting from Star and a gruff, "about time," from Simon.

"Hey there, girl," Blair said, bending slowly to pat Star on the head, and remove the leash from her collar. Star immediately made herself comfortable on one of the couches, "and hello to you too," he said to Simon. "Thanks for picking Star up from the vets for me."

Simon eyed Star on the couch uneasily. "Are you sure this is a good idea? I really don't mind if she stays at my house until Rainbow's mom is able to collect her. And I really don't think Jim is going to be happy about dog hairs all over the loft, especially on the couches," indicating the contented dog.

"Hey, it's no problem. I'll be home for a couple of days anyway, and you'll be at work. It's better for Star not to be left on her own for a long time, and you don't need the hassle of having to look after her. As for the dog hair, well, it'll make a change from Jim complaining about me shedding all over the place!"

"It's your funeral," Simon muttered. "Maybe you should at least give her a bath? She's still a little muddy from yesterday, even though the vet cleaned her up a bit."

"Oh, well, I don't think I can manage that right now, what with the cuts and bruises."

"I think it would help with Jim if Star is at least clean when he gets home later tonight." Simon pointed out.

"Yeah, well, I really don't think I could manage right now. At least, not on my own," he looked at Simon expectantly.

Simon gave a deep sigh and shook his head. "Okay, I'll help."

"Man, that's great! Could you nip out and get some doggy shampoo from somewhere, and then we can get started?"

Simon removed a small bottle from his coat. "The vet gave me a sample of doggy shampoo, so we may as well get started right now." Simon removed his coat and jacket, and headed for the bathroom, with Blair coaxing Star to follow.

********************

Jim sighed in relief as he pulled into a parking space outside the loft. He'd been able to get an earlier connecting flight than expected and was glad to be home. He'd booked the first flight home after Simon had told him about Naomi and Blair. Well, after he had finished shouting at Simon for originally keeping the accident from him.

He spotted Simon's car in the parking area, and smiled evilly. He had actually forgiven Simon, but he was looking forward to seeing him squirm, or at least look uncomfortable, for a while before letting him know that.

Jim headed up to the loft, not using his senses to see what was going on up there, as he didn't want to risk zoning while he was so tired from the flights back.

He opened the loft door to be immediately ambushed by a strong smell.

"What on earth is that?" Jim frowned in thought. "Wet fur?"

Just then he heard Blair and Simon's voices from the bathroom.

"I'll just get an old towel from my bedroom…"

"Sandburg! Don't open the door…!"

Jim saw a very friendly and very wet dog hurtling towards him.

"SANDBURG!!!!"

The End

Comments, criticism, suggestions? Please e-mail Leesa.

Back to Leesa's page.