Author's note: Here it is. The second installment of the First Meeting series. I would suggest that you read the First Chapter before you read this one; otherwise you'll be lost. Sorry it took so long. Major thanks to Liz, who fixed my typos and made sure that the grammar worked and that story was actually readable. Love ya girl. ;)

Disclaimer: The characters in the story are not mine. I promise, no money was changed in the creating of this story. I also promise to return them with as little damage as possible. Little being the operative word. So, that about covers my tail.

ON WITH THE STORY!!!

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First Meetings

by Wolf Guide

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Part Two

Jim sat back, his hand still on Blair's neck. Damn! I hate these senses. I thought I had everything under control. How in hell am I going to explain this to Blair? That's when he realized he still had his hand on Blair's pulse. Cursing under his breath, he pulled his hand back. The second he broke contact, the loft seemed to get brighter, and the sound of Blair's heartbeat was all he could hear. No! No, I will not lose control. I refuse to let this happen. But his senses decided that this was a good moment to prove they were the ones with all the power. Sight and hearing spiked. As he lost himself in the sound of his partner's heartbeat, he wished he had never heard of enhanced senses seconds before he gave up and slipped into the blackness of no hurt.

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

It took Blair a moment to realize something was wrong. Actually, it took Jim nearly landing on his lap to tell him something was wrong.

"What the hell? Jim? You ok man? What's wrong?" Blair asked, placing his hand on the larger man's shoulder. Receiving no response, he tried to shake him. "This isn't funny anymore. What's wrong?"

He's acting like the sentinel I met while on a field expedition in Guatemala. He had been focusing too much on one thing and had blacked out. What was it that his companion did to bring him back? Oh yeah, now I remember. Here goes nothing.

"Jim, follow the sound of my voice. Let it lead you out of the...out of the...what the hell was it called? Oh, a zone. Let my voice be the way out of the zone. Follow it back. That's it, nice and easy."

A moment later, he was rewarded with a slight stirring from the still form. Blinking, Jim groaned and slammed his hands over his ears, closed his eyes as tight as he could, and curled up into himself. All right, he's out of the zone, now what's wrong with him? It's been far too long since I've looked at my research. That's it, I don't care how much it hurts to look at, after I figure out what's wrong, and what's right, I'm going over every note, every scrap of info I have on sentinels. He was jolted out of his thoughts as Jim started speaking.

"Too bright. Too loud. Hurts! Make it stop. Please!"

Blair could feel the pain that the larger man was in in those few words. Acting on instinct, Blair started to move to close the drapes. He only got about two steps before a hand reached out and grabbed his arm.

"No! Stay. Don't...don't go. Please? Doesn't...doesn't hurt when...when you're here. Please?" The last word came out more as a moan than an actual word.

"Alright." The hurt in Jim's voice was enough to convince him that he wasn't going to move off the couch anytime soon. "I'm not going anywhere. Alright?"

Sitting next to Jim, he tried not to jostle the older man too much. The next thing he knew, there were two arms wrapped around his waist, and Jim's face was hidden in his hair. Blair could hear the older man trying to control his breathing. He waited a moment, and then tried to get up to close the drapes and shut off the lights. The arms just tightened, and a small cry of protest reached his ears. Now what do I do? I can't turn off the lights, he won't let me go, but they're hurting him. Come on Sandburg, think of something. You're the great expert on sentinels. Prove it.

"Jim, I want you to picture five dials in your head, like on a radio. They're labeled, one for each of your senses. I want you to find the one for sight. It should be high. Probably around seven or eight. Am I right?" Blair could feel Jim nodding against his hair. Ok, let's try something. "Ready? When it's comfortable, nod, and we'll stop. Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two…" When they hit two, Jim nodded, letting him know that it was a good level.

"Alright, now find the dial for hearing. It's high as well, right?" He got a nod in reply. "Alright, now get a good grip, and slowly bring that one down to two as well. In fact, do it to all of your senses. Put each one on two, and leave them there. If they start to creep up, let me know, and I'll help you again." A moment later, the man in his arms began to relax. A few minutes later, he took one last deep breath, and pulled back, a blush sprouting on his cheeks.

"Um...well...about the...it was…"

"Don't worry. I know you don't swing that way. Besides, it worked, didn't it?" The relief on Jim's face was evident to anyone who looked.

"Don't freak out. I think I know what happened, but you have to trust me. Alright? Tell me, have your senses been bothering you before?" Nod "All of them?" Nod. "Ok, I think I know what's wrong with you. When I was still at Rainier, I was studying something called sentinels. They were people who had heightened senses. Now most of the people I found had only one, two or even three. But you, you're the real thing. You have all five senses heightened. I only met one other like you, but he wasn't able to talk to me at the time. I was staying at a dig and his tribe was moving to better hunting grounds he had discovered. He told me all that he could in the hours that we had, and I learned a lot, but I wish I could have gone with him, to study how his senses worked, find ways to help him improve them. What were you focusing on so much that it sent you into a zone?"

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

Jim blinked. One moment Blair had been telling him that his disease had a name, and that there were others like him. The next, Blair was asking him what he zoned on. Zone? What the hell kind of word is that?! And you want to know what I zoned on?! I mean give me a minute. I just found out this thing that was been driving me crazy for the last couple of months has a name, never mind the fact that it was you I was zoning on. Yeah, that'll go over real well with you.

"Jim, you zoning again?"

"No just thinking."

"Oh. Well, what was it? Maybe I can help you find a way to get rid of what ever caused it."

"No! You stay!" Jim all but shouted, grabbing Blair's arm. He didn't know why, but he had a terrible, sick feeling in his stomach at the thought of his curly-haired partner leaving.

"Whoa! I'm not going anywhere. I was talking about...what...made...you..." Blair stopped, and blinked at Jim, understanding suddenly dawning on is face. "It was me, wasn't it? You were focusing on my heartbeat and you zoned on that?"

"Yeah, but what happens if I do it again? I could hurt you if you stay here." Jim was way beyond nervous. This was the most control he had over his out-of-control senses in a while. But, if it meant that he was going to flatten the kid every night, then he wasn't willing to take that chance.

"Don't worry, I don't think it'll happen again. And if it does, we'll find a way to work it out."

"How do you know?" Jim all but pleaded. "How can you be so sure? I mean, if you stay here, there could be a chance that it could happen again."

"Don't worry. Trust me. I think the fact that you've been alone for so long and then, all of a sudden, I'm here, it threw your senses for a moment. The loft's been empty for so long that when you picked up on my heartbeat; it was a sound you hadn't heard before. Now that you know I'm here, it shouldn't happen again."

"You sure?"

"Yup. What do you say we try to get a little more sleep? Something tells me it's going to be a long day tomorrow. You and me, on the roof, testing your senses. Don't give me that face; you're going. I need to see how much work needs to be done to be able to help you."

"You really think you can help? With my senses, I mean?" Jim asked, trying not to sound too hopeful, and failing miserably.

"Relax, I said I was studying sentinels while I was still at Rainier. I still have my notes. We'll go over them tomorrow and find a way to help you."

"You never did tell me Blair, why were you asked to leave? If you don't want to tell me then I'll understand... "

There was a pause. For a moment, Jim thought that Blair wasn't going to tell him. He probably doesn't want to talk about it with you just yet. The memories surrounding that particular incident can't be too good and he doesn't know you all that well yet. Perhaps, when they got to know one another better. He was just about to change the subject when Blair spoke.

"Perhaps another time Jim. It is a very long story and we'll need sleep if we're going to help you with your senses tomorrow."

Point taken, Chief. Perhaps another time, after we get a handle on this sense thing and get to know one another better. For now, we'll both have things about us that we're going to keep hidden. Until there is a little more trust between us.

"Night Blair."

"Night Jim."

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

Blair awakened to the sounds of the phone ringing and one pissed off sentinel answering it.

"Hello?" <Pause> "Simon. What is it?" <Pause> A few seconds later, Jim's head poked over the railing. "Yeah, he is, what is it?" <Pause> "You sure?" <Pause> "Can't it wait? Neither of us got much sleep last night." So not my fault he jumped on me and tried to kill me. Blair thought, watching the sentinel continue to talk into the phone. He was just about to roll back over when Jim's voice came through the air.

"Chief, you'd better put some coffee on. The can's in the fridge; filters are in the cabinet next to the sink, left side. We need to go in. There's been a sudden break in a case I've been working on." Sighing, Jim looked at the small room under the stairs, and then back at Blair. "Looks like your room's gonna have to wait. Go ahead, take a shower. Don't use all the hot water. What do you want for breakfast?"

"I won't. Anything you're making will be fine. Be out in a few minutes. Where did you put my bag?"

"You put it at the door, right under your coat."

"Oh, thanks. Be right out."

Twelve minutes later, Blair came out of the bathroom, dressed and trying to towel dry his hair. He reached inside his bag and pulled out a hair tie. Pulling his hair back, he sat down to eat the eggs that Jim had made. Waving his fork in thanks, he smiled as he sat down to eat, pausing only long enough to watch his partner head to take his own shower. Ten minutes later Jim, dressed and ready to go, joined him.

The two of them ate in silence, but it wasn't an uncomfortable silence; rather one that two friends share when they don't feel like talking. For some reason, he had felt a kind of bond with the sentinel. It reminded him of what he thought a big brother or father would be like. True, he wasn't lacking the latter, Naomi's boyfriends were more than willing to step in, or at least, most were. But, being an only child, he had never done all the things that brother and sisters did. He never got to play catch with an older brother, never got to harass his younger sister's boyfriends, none of that was available to him. Sighing, he continued to eat.

"You alright? You seem a little sad?" Jim asked. He had noticed the way Blair's face has slowly saddened. Maybe he changed his mind. Maybe he decided that he wants a normal partner and not with me.

"Just thinking. Don't worry; it's not about you," Blair reassured. He wasn't sure who had caused his partner to fear that everyone was going to abandon him. But when he met that particular person, there was going to be hell to pay. Motioning to the now empty dishes, he raised an eyebrow in question. "Where do you want these?"

"The sink would be nice."

"Funny. Guess I walked into that one. Wash them now or when we get back?"

Glancing at the clock, Jim sighed.

"Going to have to do it when we get back. No time now. Grab your gun, badge, and whatever you're going to need. We might be gone for a while. If the info Simon got last night is true, we're in for a long night. Probably a stake out. But, if it isn't tonight, then we've got an even longer time ahead of us. Which may last all week..."

"I get the point, I get the point. Let me get my bag." Grabbing the battered leather bag off the floor by the door, he pulled his shoulder holster on, slung his bag over his shoulder, and followed Jim down to his truck.

"So, what's the case you're working on?" Blair asked as he and Jim made their way toward the station.

"There's this little store, down by the older side of town. It looks like any normal mom and pop store, with one difference. When the store closes, the real goods are sold. Stolen TV's, VCR's, radios, the like. We haven't been able to catch them in the act. But tonight we're going to camp out in front of the store and sit there until they do something illegal."

"And if they don't?

"This is going to be the longest weekend of your life."

"I was afraid you were going to say that."

When they got to the station, it was around seven in the morning. Walking into the bullpen they were met by Joel Taggert and Megan Conner. At first, the two did a double take, then, smiling, Conner walked over.

"Guess what they said is true, you must be Blair Sandburg. Welcome to Major Crimes. I'm Inspector Megan Conner and that is Captain Joel Taggert," the Aussie said, pointing to the large black man next to her. "He's captain of the bomb squad. In one of the stolen goods we recovered, there were traces of explosives, so he and his department have been included in the operation.

Joel smiled at Blair. He reminded the younger man of a big teddy bear. "Welcome to the crew Blair. I see you got Ellison as a partner. Have fun." Smiling one last bright smile at the newest detective in his friend's crew, he turned to Jim. "Captains Evans and Tray from SWAT and Narcotics will be sitting in on the meeting also. We recovered six TVs and three stereos last night with some new type of designer drug in them. Lab's calling it Golden, due to its color. As far as we can tell, none of it has hit the street yet. They're either shipping it in, or out. Cascade seemed to be a transitory spot on the pipeline, Thank God. Don't know how long that's going to last though. This is no small time operation."

Blair let off a low whistle. "Damn, guess I picked a perfect time to come back here, didn't I?"

"You used to live around here then?" Megan asked.

"Went to college at Rainier. Started at sixteen, left when I was twenty-four. But, that was another lifetime ago. So Captain. I noticed that there were a few pictures of you in Simon's office. You two must be good friends." The change in conversation, and the look that crossed the newest detective's face moments before it happened didn't go unnoticed by the trio. The fact that they let it happen showed that they had registered that this was a touchy subject for the young man and that this wasn't the place to bring it up.

Locking eyes with Jim, Megan nodded to the unspoken plea that she saw there. She continued on with her introductions as if nothing had happened. "He and Captain Banks are good friends. Also, don't tell him I said so," she said leaning in to whisper in Blair's ear, "but the real reason he's here it that he is madly in love with me, but is afraid to tell me. He's too worried that I don't return the feelings."

"Well do you or don't you?" Blair asked, playing along, seeing the color beginning to creep its way up the captain's neck.

"If I told, it would ruin the game," she said, winking at Blair and, taking the now totally red Joel by the arm and headed into the conference room. Several cat calls could be heard when they opened the door and, if at all possible, Joel's face got ever redder. Laughing, Blair and Jim headed in after the couple and grabbed a seat. Nodding, Simon brought the room to order.

"Now that we're all here, I'd like to introduce the newest member of Major Crimes, and Ellison's new partner, Detective Blair Sandburg." Smiling, Blair inclined his head at the room.

There was a moment of silence, and then the room started talking.

"Watch out kid, he'll eat you alive" "Holy shit!" "I don't believe this." "When the hell did this happen?" "YES! No longer the rookie. Do your own damn reports from now on Henri. I'm free!" "Whatever you do, don't get in a chase with him. Or any other car, truck, or thing with wheels for that matter." "Don't kill the kid, Ellison." "Can I have your number?" This last comment was by Megan, of course.

Simon cleared his throat a few times to get everyone's attention, and, when that didn't work, he resorted to slamming his hand on the desk. Blushing furiously by now, Blair tried to hide behind his larger partner.

"Can we get back to the matter at hand? Good. Jim, look, the information pans out. Looks like there's going to be a drop tonight, but it very well could be sometime later this week. Or as late as early next week; our info isn't too clear. The one thing that is clear: it's going to be around one in the morning." This caused several groans. Glairing at the cops, Simon continued. "Major Crimes will have surveillance tonight. Captain Trey and Narcotics will take tomorrow. We'll trade off every other night. Taggert, if you don't mind, could you work with us? With Evans in Canada for a family reunion and McDuncan out on maternity, we're still a man short, even with Sandburg being here." Seeing the large black captain nod, he smiled a thanks. "Good, alright then. Conner, you and Taggert will be in the van, watching the alley. Brown, you and Rafe will be parked in front; watching to make sure that any one we miss doesn't get too far. And that leaves Ellison and me." Seeing the glare the detective was giving him, he continued, "Don't give me that look, I didn't forget your partner. You and I are going to be in the building next to the shop, second floor, back room, so we can have a good view of the alley. Your partner gets the most important job," he said.

It started with a chuckle. Probably from Rafe, since he was hiding his lower face behind his hand. Then, a giggle or two filled the small conference room. Soon, laughter began to ring in the small room. Nodding, Jim soon joined in a smile on his face. The only one not smiling or laughing was Sandburg, totally confused and not liking it in the least. Finally as the laughter died down, Jim turned to his now confused partner.

"You, Chief, get to go undercover." If at all possible, Blair got even more confused.

"Like as one of the buyers? But won't the crooks know everyone who's going to be there?"

"Yup, which is why you get to play the part of the lowly street bum." Jim teased.

For a moment, Blair just sat there. Then a low moan could be heard from him as his head dropped into his hands.

"Don't worry, with these curls, you'll fit right in with the rest of them." Jim continued, lightly pulling on Blair's long, brown curls.

Swatting the hand away, Blair moaned into his hands again. Simon smiled at Jim and then went back to the meeting, which was for all intensive purposes, done. All that was left to do was double check to make sure that everyone knew where they were going to be stationed.

Placing his hand on his partner's arm, Jim hearing spiked again. He could hear him muttering something about dirty partners and mean captains.

Leaning in, Jim whispered, "I can hear you."

Blair's head shot up. The rest of the room didn't seem to hear what he had been saying, but that was probably because they were all filing out. But, he had been so sure that he was whispering. Then it hit him; Jim had turned his hearing up so he could hear what he had been saying.

"I don't listen in on your private muttering." Blair snapped a little louder than he had meant to. Glancing around to see if anyone had heard him, he continued to talk to his partner, missing the look Simon sent their way. "Why are you listening in on me anyway?" Blair snapped.

To which Jim shot right back. "It's not like I did it on purpose. One moment I'm listening to Simon, the next, I'm tuning in to you. Sorry."

"Don't worry. I'm not mad. Do you do that often? Tune into people's conversations?" Blair asked. Seeing the argument forming on his partner's lips, he continued, " I know you don't do it on purpose. What I mean is, am I the only person that you did this to, or do you do it to other people as well?"

For a moment, Blair watched the Sentinel think. Let's see. If he says yes, then this will be the second time he's tuned into me. Once while he was sleeping, and now. Of course, he could just do that all the time. Wonder if there is a reason it keeps happening to me? A slight movement to his right brought him out of his musings.

"So far Chief, you're the only one that I do it to without thinking about it. Otherwise, I have to focus to make my senses extend that far. And every time I do that I tend to zone so I haven't done it in, like, three weeks. So no, I'd have to say you're the only one I've done that to unconsciously."

Now where does that leave me? Twice he's done that. I'll have to go through my notes and see if anything is written there like that. Maybe in the time I spent with the other sentinel...

"Still there?" Jim's voice pulled him out of his musings.

"Yup, I'm still here. Just trying to figure out why this is happening. When we get back to the loft, if we ever get back," he said, throwing a smirk at the Sentinel, "I'll go through all my notes I took while I was still at Rainier. They should be able to help. I hope. "

The last two words came out so soft that Jim had trouble hearing them. Patting the younger man on the knee, he got up and headed out to the bullpen. Sighing, Blair followed his partner out to their desks.

Flopping down in his chair, Blair nodded when Jim asked if he wanted any coffee. For some reason, he couldn't shake the dream from last night. It kept coming back into his thoughts. Like there was something about it he should be seeing but he just wasn't. Sighing, he leaned back and watched the other people in the room with him. They had seemed a little surprised when they heard Jim had agreed to a partner. From the sound of it, it seemed that Jim hadn't made very many friends in the station. Yes, he had some, but the other people in the place just seemed to avoid him. Sighing, he leaned his head back and waited for Jim to come back.

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

Pushing open the doors to Major Crimes, Jim watched his partner for a moment. If, yesterday morning you had told him he would be partnered with the new detective, and letting him stay at the loft, you would have run, fast, scared for your life. Now, here he was, ex-Army Ranger, partnered with the most unmilitary man he had ever meet. Funny how life worked. One moment you're perfectly happy, set in your ways, with no intention of changing. The next moment, everything is so totally out of whack that all you can do is hold on and ride it out.

Shaking his head, he placed his coffee on his desk and handed Blair his. Poor kid, he looks lost. Oh well, it's not like he can help me with my reports, he wasn't there. Guess I can lend him to the bullpen for the day; he can be our little gofer. Gofer this, gofer that. Laughing a little at this thought, he turned to Blair.

"Chief, I need you to do me a favor. Run down to Records for me and get the files on these guys. They're who we believe to be the local suppliers."

"Sure, anything else you need?"

"Try asking the others, see if they need anything else while you're going," he said, trying to keep a straight face. The people in Major Crimes were notorious for not wanting to get off their butts and go get something. Usually, whoever was going anywhere ended up bringing back way more than they set out to get.

"Ok. I'll be right back."

Don't laugh. Don't laugh. Must keep straight face. Can't let him see me smile or he'll know something is up.

"See you in a few."

"Jim, where's the kid going?" Simon asked, as he and the detective watched Blair offer to pick up cases and such for people. They both tried to hide their grins as the unsuspecting newest member of Major Crimes was handed list after list from his fellow detectives.

"Down to Records," said the now-smiling Sentinel as his partner walked out the door, a now confused look on the young man's face.

He had several papers in his hands and was muttering something about police brutality to new detectives. The Sentinel couldn't hold it in any longer. Laughter rang out in the bullpen. Not soon after, several other voices could be heard joining in. Over the noise a single voice could be heard.

"Just you wait till I get back, Ellison. I'm going to kick your-" the last part cut off as the elevator doors closed. The laughter just got louder.

About an hour later, the doors of Major Crimes opened up. In the doorway stood a fuming Blair Sandburg, an enormous stock of folders in his arms. By the look of it, there had to be at least fifty plus files there. Slowly, he walked to each of the detective's desks that had asked him to get something and put the packets on their desks. When that was done, he walked over to his desk and put the last of the files on Jim's desk and sat down at his. Pulling a stack of blank paper out of one of the drawers, he picked up a pencil and began to write. Slowly at first, then with greater speed. The thing that bothered Ellison the most was the fact that the kid wasn't talking. In the few hours that he had known the kid, he had rapidly figured out that you couldn't shut him up if you tried, so the silence was a bit unnerving.

"Hey Chief, what you writing?"

"You'll see."

Two-word answers. At least he's talking. Oh well, he asked for it. He never should have offered to get the other detectives' files. True, I should have told him, but he's the newest rookie. at least in this department. I wonder what he's writing. He's been at it for a while now and hasn't stopped.

"Chief, what are you writing?" No reply. "Chief, come on, tell me."

"Like you told me about how the people of Major Crimes love to go down to Records. How they will put it off and put it off until someone breaks and then give them all their stuff. How that person has to carry fifty, no, more like sixty plus files back with them. Tell you? You're lucky I don't believe in hurting unless I have to. But in your case, I'm willing to make an exception."

"You wanted to help." Jim said. The look that was shot his way convinced him that he wasn't going to win this one. "Fine, I'm sorry. I should have warned you before I told you to offer to go down. Happy?"

Sighing, Blair put down the pen. "No, but it'll have to do. For the moment." Jim gulped.

"Good. Now, what have you been writing for the last twenty minutes?" There was an odd gleam in Blair's eye.

"Tests." Jim decided that the odd glint in his partner's eye was definitely not a good thing. And that particular word only proved his theory.

"Tests?"

"Tests."

"Why do I suddenly have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach?" I knew that glint wasn't good. I knew it. Oh well, I'm an ex-Army Ranger. What can the hippie do to me?

Shooting a hurt look Jim's way, Blair frowned. "I wouldn't do anything to hurt you. The tests are just to get an idea of how well you have control over your senses. I can't help you very well if I don't know where to start." Smiling a little evil smile, Blair continued, "Besides, tests never hurt anyone, yet."

Looking at the smile that crossed the younger man's face, Jim took a deep breath and swallowed.

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

Watching from his office, Captain Simon Banks smiled. He knew that the two of them would make a good pair. They complemented each other. Jim, with his stubborn, rush-in-guns-a' blazing nature, was the perfect person to partner with Sandburg's wait-and-try-to-talk-it-out nature. This was a pairing that bore watching. He wasn't sure that this partnership was going to be as temporary as he originally thought. He was reasonably sure that lone wolf Ellison had just found a permanent partner.

Whatever the case, the two detectives clicked. Of that, he was sure.

END

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