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.

Warning: Reality has stepped out to lunch! <naughty grin>

Taggert says

by Shedoc

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"How the Sam Hill did this happen?

Ok, ok, I know how it happened. Can't a man ask a rhetorical question?

Obviously not.

I guess you want to know what's going on? I guess you want to know why I'm ranting and raving like a loony? Well hang onto your hats folks - cause this is one heck of a ride.

It started like any other day - I woke up next to the most beautiful girl in the world, who is also my wife. We had breakfast together, compared schedules, arranged to meet at her favorite theatre for a movie tonight and then went to our various jobs.

At the station Blair Sandburg - technically the newest detective in Major Crimes, though he's worked with us for years, but you know that - handed me a file from a case he was working and asked me for an opinion. That's what I like about Blair. His IQ is triple mine - at least - but he's not afraid to own up when he's stuck. That and the fact that he's tamed the wildest, angriest most uptight detective in the squad - namely Jim Ellison. But you know that too, right?

I had to partner for Jim while Blair did his thing at the Academy and let me tell you now Jim is no picnic to work with. Don't get me wrong, he gives credit where due and if I was going into Hell itself, Jim is the man I'd want at my back. But he's also got this gift? Curse?

Jim has five heightened senses and he needs a partner who can watch his back and pull him out of the trouble those senses inevitably lead him into. And a rescued Ellison in a grumpy Ellison. God knows how Blair put up with him all those years, but Blair stuck by Jim through thick and thin - even when Ellison screamed hateful things at him in front of all of us. Sorry - you know that too. Why are you asking me what happened if you know all this? Ok, ok I'll tell you what happened!

So anyway - the file. Someone is blowing up containers. Mailboxes, wood boxes - anything that you might find outside a suburban home that is used to hold something. One lady had a peg box blown up, taking her clothesline with it. Bomb Squad is stumped so the Commissioner throws it to Jim and Blair - cause that's what they do best. They take a case with nothing to go on and solve it with Jim's senses and Blair's insight. Don't get me wrong, Ellison is a brainy guy - heck, most the people in Major Crimes went to college before joining the military or the PD. It's something our department is famous for. We should change our name to Major Brains.

So I'm looking over the file and frowning at the forensics report because the explosive is unusual and likely homemade. Jim's picked up some strange smells and a weird pattern traced lightly into the ground at each site and Blair says his 'spider sense' is tingling. Rafe overhears that comment and tells the bullpen at large to start stocking up on holy water and life insurance. Blair's 'spider sense' brings trouble. Learned that one the hard way.

I tell Blair I'd need to see a scene to get a real idea of what's going on and Jim comes over to tell us that they've just had another report. Blair nods at his partner and invites me along. I agree to meet them at the docks where it happened and we all head down to the garage.

The place is fairly well destroyed - it seems that a couple of those big shipping containers were too inviting to pass up. The EMTs are working frantically over some guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got hit with shrapnel. There are too many sirens and shouts and lights and smells - and my senses are normal. I look over to see how Jim is doing - it was my job for a little while and I can't seem to give it up - and he's busy looking at the scene without any sign of discomfort. Blair's next to him as usual, hands in his pockets as he talks to Jim quietly. The ambulance screams away and Jim nods to Blair before turning to look at me. He makes a little head jerk gesture and heads out into the scene. Blair and I follow behind.

I listen as Blair discusses with Jim this program he watched the night before about a tribe in New Guinea. Not once does he refer to the scene or the case we're here to solve. From the way Jim is moving I can tell he's using his senses, but Blair doesn't touch or direct him at all. I'm kinda jealous that what was such hard work for me is so easy for Blair.

Then Jim catches a scent that's common to all the scenes' and still very fresh so he follows it away from the docks for about two miles to some deserted warehouses and you guessed it - we got jumped. It was - you guessed it again - a trap. We get gassed first and then the stuffing is beat out of us and then we're dragged off to captivity.

Jim and I get stuffed into a small cage - there's no other way to describe it - and Blair gets dragged over by two goons to some weirdo in a feather suit and war paint. Did I mention that this is the weirdo magnet of the world? And every damn weirdo who comes here wants a piece of Blair or Jim or both.

Jim is having spikes from his senses - the drugs really messed him up - and I'm trying to calm him down while keeping an eye on the weirdo and Blair. Mr. Feathers is apparently a Shaman and he was drawn to Cascade by the entrails from the chicken he cooked for dinner one day. He arrives only to discover the power traces of another Shaman and decides he will challenge that Shaman for the territory that is Cascade.

The goons help him out because he promised to make them rich. Good to know that some things never change in this city.

So anyway Jim wakes up properly - the drug was enough of a dose to daze Blair and I but like I said, Jim is special - just as the Shaman forces a concoction of his own brewing down Blair's throat. Blair gags and fights but I guess enough goes down to whack him right out of it. The goons throw him into a little cage of his own while Jim yells and screams and rattles the bars of our cage and I'm right there with him.

After a little while Blair starts to convulse and groan in pain, with Jim flinching at every movement and sound. Mr. Feathers - we never learn his real name and it's too late now anyway - cackles and piles wood into the space in front of our cages. The goons go and sit at one of those giant cotton reels people use to ship cable and turn on the radio there. They start playing cards while Mr. Feathers is piling wood up in front of our cage.

He starts hooting and shaking and generally thrashing about for ten minutes or so and at the end the wood catches fire and he stands back all proud and full of ego. He yells the weirdo equivalent of 'bet you can't do that' to Blair and folds his arms confidently.

Blair stops convulsing, gets up and steps through the impossibly small space between the bars of his cage. The radio starts playing 'Beautiful Day' by U2 and Blair smiles then sings along. He sort of dances too - a kind of swaying shuffle. Mr. Feathers smashes the radio to the floor, but it keeps playing, despite the fact that the batteries are now all over the place and so is one speaker.

Blair dances past Mr. Feathers and gets shoved into the fire. Jim and I go nuts, but we can't get out and the flames flare up - hiding Blair from us. Mr. Feathers struts off while the broken radio keeps playing and there's a weird sucking noise. The fire sucks itself into nothingness and there is Blair, dancing on the coals, still singing along to the broken radio. The two goons yell and head for the door.

Blair throws his head back and howls and this geyser of fire erupts from his throat. It takes the shape of a wolf and round up the two goons. Mr. Feathers is gibbering but Blair just smiles serenely and points at the lock on our cage. A line of fire stretches from his finger to the lock and it melts - letting us out.

Mr. Feathers goes ape and heads for Blair and Jim goes ape, grabs me and heads for the door. The two goons are cowering outside and we arrest them as the whole warehouse erupts in flames. They know better than to resist arrest too.

We read them their rights and the roof of the warehouse falls in. I scream and Jim just grabs my arm and points. There's Blair walking through the inferno totally untouched. The wolf is flickering beside him and the flames are bowing to him and swirling out of his way.

Then he's out and jogging over to us like nothing happened. The fire brigade and an ambulance show up and Jim and Blair load me into it and send me here.

And that's how the Sam Hill it happened."
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"Despite his rambling, Captain Taggert has suffered no lasting injury, Captain Banks. The delirium is caused by a combination of fumes from the fire and the concussion. His wrist was broken - but it's a minor break and will heal just fine. We'll keep him tonight - maybe tomorrow as well."

"Good to hear, Doctor. How are Sandburg and Ellison?"

"Minor smoke inhalation and some bruising. They can go home tonight. I understand a wino died in the fire?"

"Yeah - the two suspects were the ones bombing all those mailboxes. They claim they were bored with their usual fun and I guess they decided to up the ante a little."

"The things people do for fun, eh?"

End

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