Tis-chan: Another story. And before anybody starts complaining that we should end the 'Sentinel at Hogwarts Series' before
starting anything new: This piece is actually a bit older…
Lime-Chan: We are just trying to distract the readers. Claiming to be creative and all…
Tis-chan: Writers block is hard to fight after all.
Lime-chan: And then there are all these cute little bugs you always manage to hint in your stories. Look: there's one. And there another. And another…
Meanthis starts to glare
Lime-chan: …there is a bug, too, an another…
Lime-chan notices Meanthis playing around with her hammer
Tis-chan: *smiling evilly* Like I said, this is an older piece of work, sitting around on my hard drive gathering cobwebs. The idea for this AU piece came like most of our ideas.
Lime-chan: Due to my madness?
Tis-chan: That too. It was a dark night…
Lime-chan: … we should have already been asleep …
Tis-chan: …Since it was about 3:30 in the morning
Lime-chan: …and we were talking…
Tis-chan: …which is ALWAYS a dangerous situation in itself…
Lime-chan: …and because of reasons better staying unknown: we thought about combining Blair with several werewolf stories we knew…
Tis-chan: … and another insane idea was born. Enjoy!
Lime-chan: And DON'T forget the feedback!
Tis-chan: Before the story starts: a BIG thanks to Shedoc for putting up with our unique interpretation of the English language. THANK YOU!!!
Lime-chan: And now, finally, to the story:
Werewolf in Cascade
by Meanthis and Lime-chan
Key: <yadda blah> = telepathic speech
italics = private thoughts
Free. Running. The unique feeling of cool night air stroking through his fur while he was gaining speed. Next to him was Swift, her fluffy white coat tousled from the wind, running just like him just for the feeling of it.
<We are acting like cubs> he thought towards his companion with an internal smile and jumped gracefully over the trunk of a fallen tree. The thick underwood of the Forest didn't stop the two of them in their dash through the trees. There was nothing else, just the feeling of freedom.
<We aren't exactly old yet, are we?> she retorted with an equally transmitted smile. In perfect sync they continued running towards their destination. The shining full moon gave more than enough light for them to find the way without tripping once and despite the fact that they were running with high speed through a thick forest, nearly no sound was heard. These two knew how to move in the woods without making unnecessary noises, predators, hunters, fast passing shadows in the nightly woods of northern Washington State.
<I don't remember the last time I simply ran like this. I nearly forgot how wonderful it is>
His warm, happy laughter echoed in her mind. It was good that he was happy like this.
<Perhaps you should join the meetings more often. You made yourself pretty scarce.>
He slowed down from his run falling into a comfortable walk. Deep in thought he followed the invisible trail until she started to fear that she had offended him. She knew why he didn't come to the last meetings after all. Suddenly he raised his head and his ice blue eyes met her green ones.
Startled she didn't know what to say for a few moments.
A wicked gleam appeared in his eyes suddenly and a grin bared his teeth.
And with that he was off running again, fast like the wind.
He is acting like an overgrown cub! she thought while starting the chase. He had always been fast, but she wasn't called Swift for nothing. At the edge of the clearing they had been heading for she had caught up with him again.
They weren't the first to reach the meeting place. Already a large group had gathered around the big cabin. One of the elders turned at the sound of the two younger approaching. A small smile crept on his lips.
"Swift, Dreamer, it is good to see that you found your way to the meeting, too."
The two young wolves stopped closely behind the forest edge and bowed their heads in a respectful gesture to the elder. Then, without warning, the change began. Slowly the fur disappeared, the features and bodies transformed. After a long minute two young humans were standing there instead of the wolves.
"It's good to see you again, uncle," the young man said with a genuine smile, slowly walking towards the older man, who was smiling just the same.
"It was about time that you came back to the pack, Blair."
"Hey, Chief, wake up!"
Blair mumbled something, even for his Sentinel unintelligible, and buried himself deeper in his bedcovers. He was tired and had absolutely no intention to leave his warm bed without a fight. First of all it was Sunday and then he hadn't gotten any sleep the previous night. What time was it anyway?
"Rise and shine, Sandburg! Gotten rather late on your date yesterday, huh?"
"Shut up, Jim!" Blair mumbled from under his pillow, then risked a short glance towards his alarm clock.
Frustrated Blair curled into a ball under his covers and tried to go back to sleep. No way he would get up now! He should have known that Jim was much too persistent to give him this chance.
"Come on, Chief, get out of bed."
With this words Jim yanked Blair's covers away, an action that triggered a flow of curses (in several languages) from the anthropologist.
"Why, o great and mighty Sentinel should I get up now? On a Sunday? I don't think the sun is even up yet."
"You could open your eyes and look." Blair could practically hear the smirk in the voice of his friend and seriously considered telling Jim exactly what he was thinking about him right now. But on the other hand, this wouldn't be such a good idea. Jim was bigger and stronger than him most of the time and knew at least one hundred ways to kill and then hide his body.
"Seriously, Sandburg, Simon called. A body was found and we have to come in."
Blair yawned and sat up. Blinking he looked at Jim and stretched in the hope to wake up. He had gotten to bed only a few hours ago and was appropriately tired.
"I need a shower and a coffee. In that order."
"You better hurry up. I promised Simon we would join him in twenty."
Blair send a glare at his roommate, but stayed silent. While under the shower he considered to take some extra time, just to come back at Jim, but then decided against it. In the end, it would only make Simon mad at him, something you were better off trying to avoid. What had Jim said? Another body was found. If Simon "dared" to call Ellison in on his free day, then it had to be rather serious. Blair had a very bad feeling about this already. A murder victim before eight o'clock in the morning was not something that improved his general mood.
Ten minutes and two cups of coffee later Blair was ready to leave the loft. Jim was already waiting impatiently for his partner, the keys for the truck in hand.
"Did Simon give you any details?" Blair asked after a few minutes of silent driving.
"Not really. All he said was that this isn't a normal murder."
"Is there something like a normal murder, Jim?" Blair asked quietly.
Jim didn't answer immediately, but seemed to think this comment over for a moment, then he said: "I wish there wasn't, Chief, but you know what the books call a normal murder. Simon sounded pretty unnerved, so it has to be something rather gruesome."
"Good thing I didn't eat any breakfast, then." Blair whispered softly. The rest of the trip to the crime scene was made in silence between the two.
The scene wasn't hard to find, the many police-cars around the apartment building would have tipped everybody off. The place was swarming with cops, forensic personelle and reporters (which were trying to get a statement or a photo, but were denied either). An ambulance car was standing not far away, obviously too late for the victim.
The murder itself had happened in a small alley between two buildings and Blair noted with a sinking feeling that the people who came out of the street were mostly looking rather greenish in their face. He realized also something else: he knew this building. Two friends of his were living here. Perhaps they had seen or heard something?
Next to him, Jim groaned and made a face.
"What is it?"
"The smell, Chief. I can smell the blood even here. And there's something else…"
"What Jim?" Blair's voice was down to a whisper only his Sentinel could hear, while his hand was rubbing causally up and down Jim's arm to prevent a possible zone-out. "Try to filter the blood out, so you can analyze this other smell. Try to ignore the blood for now and tell me what is out of place."
"I don't know, it's very faint."
"But strong enough for you to notice over all the other smells around here. Come on Jim, try it."
Jim closed his eyes in concentration and Blair resumed the motion of his hand on Jim's arm.
After an endless moment, when Blair already feared that his friend had zoned, Jim opened his eyes again.
"I'm not sure, Chief, but I think it's an animal. I know that I smelled this before, I just can't remember where and when."
"Okay, file the smell away for later! Then you can try to remember."
Jim nodded and did just that. He was glad that his friend hadn't caught his little lie. He really did not know why he knew this particular smell, but something about it made him automatically think of Blair. Why did he associate a smell at a murder-scene with his roommate? Better keep this little piece of information quite for now.
Simon, furiously chewing on an unlit cigar, was coming over, very obviously in a foul mood.
"Ellison, Sandburg! Get over here!"
"The master has called." Jim quipped and started toward the police captain, Blair trailing behind him. The younger man was nervous, but not about the prospect of seeing the remains of a murdered human. Something else around here had set him on edge. It could have something to do with his two friends being close, but Blair didn't think so. This was much stronger and he had the feeling that he wasn't going to like it.
"Something new, Sir?"
"Nothing really. There isn't very much left of the body itself. It nearly looks like some kind of wild animal ripped him apart…"
While explaining, Simon led Jim and Blair towards the scene. The same moment he set foot in the alley, Blair could feel it. His whole skin started tingling and the hairs on his neck stood up. Just barely he suppressed a low growl which threatened to escape him when instincts, he normally held under tight control, flared unexpectedly. Someone threatened his territory.
Suddenly Blair had a very nasty suspicion what had happened here.
"Sandburg, you okay?" Jim asked suddenly and startled Blair out of his thoughts.
"Not really. I will never get used to something like this." The younger man replied hastily. It wasn't really a lie, but certainly not the whole truth.
Shit, of course he had to notice something. My heart rate and respiration must have been all over the place. Just lucky I had a good explanation… this time.
Blair kept back a few steps. What he was seeing of the victim from this distance was certainly enough to turn his stomach. His suspicion was growing stronger even if he really had liked to be wrong in this situation. Simon was still recapitulating what they knew about the victim:
"As far as we know, Native American male. Had an identification on him, saying his name were Richard Northstar, we…"
Simon got no further, because you didn't have to be a Sentinel to hear Blair's shocked gasp for air. No, this couldn't be right. It couldn't be Rich, whose body was lying torn and bloody in this alley, only a few feet from his home.
"What's the matter, Sandburg?"
Blair didn't answer Simon's question but continued to stare at the sheet that was hiding most of the body. Unconsciously he let his control go for a little moment in the hope to confirm, or better not to confirm, the identity of the murder victim. But it was Richard. The unique smell mixed with Cassy's was still there.
"Chief? Hey Blair, are you still with us?"
Jim's voice finally reached Blair who looked rather startled at his Sentinel and Captain.
"Do you know somebody with this name, Sandburg?"
There was a hint of concern evident in Simon's voice, not much, but it was enough. Blair nodded slightly before he said softly:
"Rich is… was… an acquaintance of mine. He lived here with his fiance, Cassandra. She and I are rather good friends… has anybody talked to her yet?"
"We didn't even know he had a fiance." Simon said, and started bellowing in the general direction of some poor officer who was supposed to find out this little detail. Before anybody could say another word, there was a scream from behind. A woman, probably in her late twenties, had apparently heard the last part of the conversation between the three men, and was now moving rapidly towards them.
To the astonishment of Simon and Jim, Blair moved first, and caught the woman in his arms.
"Shhh, Twinkle, calm down."
Murmuring nonsense Blair tried to calm the women who was crying violently.
"It is Rich, isn't it Dreamer? He wasn't there when I came home this morning, but I thought he just had a late night call. And now he's dead and…"
Hysterical, she started talking and just couldn't stop while Blair still held her tightly, making a slight rocking motion in the attempt to calm her. Simon and Jim were both at a loss what to do, besides the fact that Blair seemed to have the situation fully under control. After a while the woman's sobs started to ease, but Blair didn't stop holding her. "I'm going to call Micah, okay? I'm sure you can stay with him for awhile."
"But… but won't the police have questions?" Her voice sounded hoarse from crying and her eyes still sparkled with unshed tears.
Blair shook his head: "I'm sure they can wait a day until you had a little chance to pull yourself together."
Blair shot a glare over her shoulder towards Simon and Jim, daring them to say something different. They didn't. Blair was right, questions could wait another day, the woman obviously needed some rest. Reassured that Sandburg would take care of the potential witness for now, Simon and Jim turned their attention towards more pressing matters. So neither of them overheard the phone call Blair made a minute later.
A slightly British accented voice answered the phone. Blair, recognizing the voice immediately didn't waste time with pleasantries.
"It's Blair. We have a problem, Uncle Micah!"
-"Straight to the point, huh. What kind of problem?"-
The other man sounded amused at first, but grew serious very fast. He knew that his nephew wouldn't call like this, if it wasn't really important. Blair took a deep breath, suddenly not so sure anymore how to break the news to Micah.
"Richard Northstar was killed last night."
For a long moment there was silence on the other side of the line, then:
-"Who will take care of Cassandra?"-
The voice sounded a bit pressed, as if the other man had to force himself to talk. Blair could understand him. He himself had yet to fully realize the shocking event, but at the moment he had no time for a breakdown. He had to take care of a pack-member!
"I had hoped you could arrange something. She is in shock right now and I don't think she should be left alone. Then there is the little matter that the police will have some questions."
The thing with the police investigation troubled Blair a bit. He knew that Cassy was most likely one of the current suspects. The last thing they needed was a nosy detective (most likely Jim) to stumble over the Secret. Micah had to realize this too.
-"I agree it would be better if she was here at the lair…"-
There was a short pause, before Micah continued:
-"Why do I get the feeling that there is something else?"-
Again Blair tried to figure out the best way to tell this. It wasn't an easy think and he knew that Micah would like it even less than himself.
"There is, Storm. The killer was one of us."
-"What? Dreamer, are you absolutely sure about this?"-
Shock, disbelief and a hint of anger were evident in the voice which suddenly seemed ice cold. Blair shuddered a bit at this tone. A deadly tone.
"Believe me, I am sure. I wouldn't say something if I weren't. No human could do something like this. This looks like the work of a hunting pack…"
-"Are you aware what you are saying there?"-
The tone was still deadly serious, but had lost some of its coldness.
"Yes, I know. We will have to talk about this later. The most pressing matter at the moment is to get Cassy away from here."
-"I agree to this. I'll send someone to pick her up. Tonight we will meet and discuss the matters with the rest of the pack!"-
"You won't get an argument from me. I'll be there tonight."
-"Take care, Dreamer."-
A small smile crept on Blair's face when he heard these words, but it was very short-lived. "I will!"
With this promise Blair disconnected the line and cast a wary glance around. Cassy still sat a few meters from him, with a blanket around her shoulders, supplied by a medic. Someone had given her a cup of coffee, which sat now forgotten in her hands. She hadn't moved one inch since Blair had led her there, her eyes glazed over from the shock.
Silently Blair sat down next to her, pulled her into a hug and started to stroke her back again. Instinctively she leaned into his touch. How do you comfort somebody who just lost the person they loved the most? Blair didn't really know what to do; he was operating on instinct here. But this was after all his duty in the pack, to care for those who needed it.
While holding his distressed friend tightly in his arms, hoping to ease a little bit of her emotional pain, he looked around and spotted Jim who was busy interviewing some of the tenants of the apartment-building ("have you seen/heard something suspicious" etc.). Sometimes Blair wondered what Jim would say to his position in the pack. But to see this reaction, Jim would have to know about the pack at all and this was something that probably wouldn't happen in the near future. How do you tell your best friend that you are a werewolf?
A big, dark car pulled into the street and stopped a few meters away from the yellow police-tape that was blocking the street. A few police officers were eyeing the car with barely-hidden displeasure. They probably suspected another reporter, or worse, somebody from the FBI. The looks of the car most certainly fitted the stereotype, but Blair knew better.
A young, red-haired woman emerged from the car, looking around searchingly. A small, happy smile crept on Blair's face when he recognized her.
"Celeste! Over here!"
He hadn't called very loud, but she had heard him nonetheless and came over. Blair didn't realize that she wasn't the only one who heard. A few hundred meters away Jim Ellison crooked his head in his typical listening pose. It wasn't exactly nice to listen in on his friend, but Jim was just a little bit curious who this woman was.
"Dreamer! I didn't expect to see you again so soon."
Jim frowned. This was the second time today somebody called Sandburg "Dreamer". If this was such a common nickname for Blair, why did Jim not know it? And Blair seemed rather comfortable with this name so it couldn't be a brand new invention.
Blair walked towards the woman, never letting go of his friend.
"Hey, Swift! Forgive me if I say this, but I could have waited with the reunion, under these circumstances."
Swift? Jim's puzzlement only grew, when he heard this name. And, now that he thought about it, hadn't Blair called this Cassandra "Twinkle"? Were they all in the same student-club and had thought of some code names or what? If yes, they could have done better, Jim thought with a smirk.
"Thunder already mentioned what happened... are you really sure about the murder?"
Blair nodded solemnly
"I am as sure as possible. Everything around here points towards it."
The frown reappeared on Jims face. What were this two talking about? What was it that Blair was so sure about? And what exactly had he told his friend on the phone? Did he know something about this case he wasn't telling? No, surely Blair wouldn't do something like that, would he?
"Thunder is calling a meeting tonight, but I think you know that already. Whoever did this is not going unpunished."
The cold, determined words of the woman send a shudder down Jim's spine. She was absolutely serious about this, but it was Blair's answer that really chilled him.
"I agree with you. This can't go unanswered. But at the moment Cassy is more important than our revenge. Where are you going to take her?"
"To her family. Thunder can give you the address, if the police is going to need it."
She glared into the general direction of the present officers. It was clear that she did not like the police, but Jim was too caught up with another problem. What had Blair meant, when he said it couldn't go 'unanswered'? Hearing this words Jim felt like in a bad Mafia-film. Even if he hadn't been sure before, now Jim was convinced that something was going on here, and his partner was knee-deep involved in all this. But how to proceed further? Observing Blair and the woman leading 'Cassy' towards the car Jim thought about the possibilities. Of course he could always try the direct approach and simply ask Blair what was going on, but he got the feeling that this wouldn't get him very far. If Blair didn't want to tell, then he would find a way not to tell Jim, even if the detective asked him directly. The other option was to keep an eye on Blair and find out for himself and Jim wasn't exactly comfortable with this either. It would mean violating the trust Blair put in him to leave his private life private.
But what if Blair was really involved in this murder?
Turning back to the task of sweeping the crime scene, Jim tried to figure out what to do.
"So, you have another date tonight?" Jim asked while observing Blair who was getting ready to leave. He wouldn't tell him that he knew (or at last suspected) that he wasn't going to a date. Somehow Jim had hoped that Blair would tell him on his own what was going on, but the younger man hadn't said a word. He acted as if nothing was off.
No, that wasn't right. Blair had been a bit jumpy throughout the day, but you could always chalk this up to the murder-scene. It wasn't something even seasoned cops could easily stomach. But what made Jim so damn suspicious was the cold determination that shone in Blair's eyes since the identity of the victim had been confirmed. If it had been anyone but Blair, Jim would have said he was out for revenge. But Blair wasn't the type for self-made justice, was he?
"It's not exactly a date Jim, more like meeting some friends." Blair replied absently, lacing his shoes. Jim never took his eyes off his friend and roommate. Okay, he wasn't lying outright (something rather senseless with a Sentinel aka human lie-detector), but he wasn't telling the whole truth either.
"When do you think you will be back?"
Blair gave Jim a slightly mischievous look and asked:
"You playing concerned father now? Put the Blessed-Protector back in the closet, will you? I'm a big boy!"
Despite himself Jim started grinning. "I just want to know at what time I can start being worried."
"Seriously, I don't know when I will be back. Could get pretty late."
"Okay, so I will wait with the missing-person-report until tomorrow morning."
Blair mock-glared at his friend, but didn't comment. He simply grabbed his jacket and backpack and made his way to the door.
"I'll see you in the morning, okay. Bye."
Without waiting for a reply, Blair was out of the loft. Jim waited perhaps one minute before he took his own jacket off the hook and started to follow him.
It wasn't difficult for a Sentinel to follow somebody without being seen. Blair had driven to the other side of Cascade. Here the wealthier population of Cascade had their homes and Jim also knew that some of the big bosses of the organized crime had their homes here, too. The kind of people the police simply knew that they were involved in the crimes, but were never able to prove something. What the hell did Blair want here?
The Volvo stopped in front of the gate to a mansion. A short talk with the security guards, big, closet-type guys at least 6''4 tall and half as broad. Blair got through the gate without any problems. Jim remained in his truck, far enough away to not look suspicious. He didn't dare to stretch his hearing far enough to listen in on the conversations in the house. The risk of zoning was simply too great. For a few moments he considered trying to sneak into the mansion, but one close look at the security measures showed him that this wouldn't be a good idea.
He stayed where he was for another few minutes, before he decided to drive home, but not before he had written down the address for further investigation. Perhaps the police-computers would hold something useable about the owner of this mansion.
Blair had no problems in getting past the two security guards at the gate. He was still very well known as a member of the pack, even if he had withdrawn a bit from his responsibility during the last years. He really didn't think that he could cover his work at the university, the work with Jim at the precinct and his responsibility for the pack all at once. His days were a few hours short like it was now.
Going into the house that was big enough to be called a mansion, Blair could feel the presence of the others. It wasn't the threatened and challenged feeling he had at the crime scene today. These were members of his pack after all. No member of a pack would ever be a real danger for another member; it was like an unwritten law. Blair felt unbelievably safe here. The only other person who could make him feel like this, completely safe and protected, was Jim.
A little sting of guilt shot through Blair when he thought of his friend. He should have told him long ago about all of this. It wasn't as if he had to fear that Jim would betray his people, after all this man had more than one skeleton in the closet, too, and the Sentinel-thing wasn't the only one. Perhaps he had kept his silence for the last years, because at first he had never suspected to get so close to this particular ex-military hard-ass cop. Even when he moved in with Jim (for one week) he hadn't considered letting him in on this secret. Then, when their friendship deepened further, Blair had feared telling Jim. How would Jim react to the fact that Blair had hidden such a secret from him for such a long time? It was better not telling Jim than losing his trust over this matter.
And there was simply no way to tell something like this the easy way. Tell a cop who had a very hard time believing in supernatural things, even while being the walking, talking proof that there was more in this world than science acknowledged, that there was a whole subculture in his city consisting of beings out of dark legends and novels. Jim would probably laugh if Blair ever tried to tell him and think that his friend was pulling his leg.
It was a phenomenon in itself, that the world at large still had no idea about the existence of them. They lived among the people, strictly following the words 'live and let live'. Or, like Blair sometimes thought: 'You don't hurt me and I have no reason to make your life hell'. Because who ever was idiot enough to mess with the pack would soon enough find himself regretting his actions bitterly. But none of them had any desire to let the world know about the existence of werewolfs. Notwithstanding the fear of ending up in some secret government laboratory to be tested and dissected, there was also another deep-rooted fear. People in general had never reacted well towards things they couldn't (or wouldn't) understand. History clearly showed the results when this fear of the unknown turned into hate and no one had the desire to conjure a new version of the witch-hunts. So the second unwritten law was simply: Keep the secret!
While thinking, Blair had walked up to the great hall, where short-notice meetings like this always took place. It had been some time since such a meeting had been called, normally the monthly get-together were more than enough to take care of all problems concerning the pack. The last one had only been yesterday and Blair desperately wished this meeting hadn't been necessary.
Blair looked up startled. He had been so deep in thought that he hadn't heard Micah approaching. His name was proving true yet again.
A small smile crept on Micah's face. He had always liked Blair calling him this, even if he wasn't his real Uncle, not exactly. Micah was the cousin of Blair's father and the person who had explained to Blair what was going on with him when his heritage first showed itself. Needless to say that Naomi hadn't been very happy about all this. If somebody had asked her she would have said that her son would have nothing to do with these 'violent people'. But in this particular situation no one asked her opinion and Blair actually liked Micah from the first moment on.
"I'm glad you could make it so soon. Did you find out anything new?"
"No", Blair replied, shaking his head, "Nothing I didn't at least suspect before. The forensic team found a few hairs at the scene. Human ones, from both the victim and the potential killer and some wolf-hairs. They're still trying to figure out what this could mean. But these were the only things they were able to find."
"So you are sure, that the murderer was one of us?"
It wasn't really a question, more like a statement. Micah's expression had gone hard while saying these words. Blair's look mirrored his.
"As much as I wish that it were something else, I have no doubt any more. Not after being there."
"Come. You can tell us all the facts, Dreamer. Then we can decide what to do."
Blair followed his Uncle to the head of the room. A large, round table took most of the space having places for all pack-members. Everyone had his or her assigned place at the table, according to their rank in the pack.
The hierarchy inside the pack was a source of never-ending fascination for the anthropologist in Blair. Had his dissertation really been about closed societies, his time at the PD had been completely unnecessary. This was the absolute prime example of a closed society with all its special rules and little trip holes. Okay, maybe he was far too "native" to ever be able to write an objective paper. But it was fun nevertheless to look at the dynamics from his academic standpoint.
Blair himself held a rather high position inside the pack, something that still amazed him. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was a close relative of one of the elders. Family connections weren't important here, it was knowledge and ability that counted. And so it happened that Blair Sandburg had become, at the age of 23, a very respected member of the higher circle in the pack. Even if he wasn't present at most meetings after he discovered his sentinel, his reputation hadn't suffered. Everyone in the pack knew that if there was any problem they could still come to Blair for help, they just had to be a little bit more discrete.
Jim and the gang at Major Crimes would probably be rather surprised if they ever discovered that their resident Neo-Hippie-Witchdoctor-Punk also played trouble-line in his free time. But then, perhaps they wouldn't be terrible surprised, after all Jim accused him often enough of being just too helpful.
Justin, one of the council members, had spoken. His deep, rumbling voice carried easily over the murmur of many voices and had the desired effect. Everyone shut up. Obviously happy with himself, Justin, also called Blizzard, sat down and gave the word to Micah.
"I'm sure I don't need to say that it is a very serious matter we need to speak about tonight. Cassandra Steven's chosen mate has been killed…"
A shocked gasp ran through the present, but Micah wasn't finished yet:
"…But this is not the worst. Dreamer tells me that it was one of our people who committed the murder."
Now the shocked voices raised considerably in volume. It was something unthinkable. Despite what legends said, werewolves like them never had been too keen of killing for other reasons than to hunt. There was nothing even remotely as bad as killing a human. Sometimes Blair would really like to know where this gruesome legends about his kind had come from. They maybe had the ability to kill, but didn't use it other than for hunting.
What made the whole affair worse was that Richard had been a normal human, one of the few who knew about them. An honorable member of the tribe so to say, not exactly a common thing, but accepted. His murder was equally bad, if not worse, as if a normal pack-member had been killed.
"Are you sure, Dreamer?"
The man beside Justin, Blair could only remember that he was called Claw, favored him with a hard, hawk-like stare that send shivers down Blair's back. The man was famous for his no nonsense attitude.
"I am sure. No doubt."
"Then explain, what brought you to that conclusion?"
Blair couldn't loose the feeling that he was being interrogated. He stood up, cast a short look around, then started retelling what happened this morning.
"… The body looked horrible, I've never seen something like this before. Simon Banks, the police captain, said that it looked like an animal ripped Richard apart. When I came near the body I could feel that another one had been there. Someone not part of our pack. And whoever it was wanted to make sure that one like us would recognize that he had been there. I felt… I don't know, challenged. It was overwhelming! I could hardly restrain myself from changing. And then the forensic teams found some animal hairs at the scene. They're fairly certain that they are wolf hairs…"
Blair fell silent. There wasn't anything else to tell anymore. What he had told was enough to prove his point, more than enough. For an uncomfortably long time no one in the room said anything. The silence was scary. At last, it was Micah who broke the silence:
"I don't understand it. From what Dreamer tells, it sounds like a challenge for territory, but something like this hasn't happened in more than a century. And not even then someone would kill a human member of the packs. Never…"
Trailing of, Micah looked around the table. He couldn't shake off the feeling that this was just the beginning of their problems. He met the worried look of his nephew. No, the problems were far from over.
Jim Ellison hit his desk with all frustration currently brewing inside him. It didn't help since his hand was protesting against the abuse rather painfully. The other people in the bullpen cast wary glazes towards their college but weren't suicidal enough to comment. Ellison with a foul temper was something you better avoided, most of all when Sandburg was not around. Everybody knew that the hard-ass detective was way easier to live with when the grad-student was at the station and this hadm't happened very often in the last month. Combined with the fact that Ellison's current case was stuck, the man was like a disaster waiting to happen.
"Ellison! My office!"
Simon Banks' loud voice startled everyone in the bullpen. The captain wasn't in the best mood either and no one was keen to stand at the receiving end of the captain's wrath.
Grumbling like a bear with toothache Ellison made his way towards Banks' office. Shutting the door Jim glared at his boss who glared right back. The silence stretched for about ten seconds, then Simon asked:
"Any particular reason why you're trying to demolish the interior of the bullpen or has something happened that I should know?"
"Nothing happened, that's the reason. Absolutely nothing! Nearly a month of investigating and we are still standing on square one. We have no suspect, no motive, nothing!"
Jim had started to pace while venting off his frustration. This case was tearing at his nerves. Whatever possible leads they followed it turned out to be a dead end. It seemed as if Jim had encountered something he always denied believing in: the perfect crime! Whoever murdered Richard Northstar, he left nothing at the scene which could have led the investigators to him.
Apart from this Jim was still not entirely sure that Blair didn't know something about all this that he wasn't telling. Jim had checked the address of the mansion, but came up empty handed. The owner was a Micah Petrov, forth generation American with absolute no rap sheet whatsoever. Not even a speeding-ticket in the last twenty years. The man was suspiciously clean of any kind of crime, and Jim had still no explanation how Blair knew this man. But it wasn't this that kept Jim suspicious. It was Blair's behavior whenever they talked about the case. It wasn't something concrete, just a hunch. It was driving Jim crazy. If it hadn't meant admitting that he had been following Blair, Jim would have asked his partner about all this some time ago. But Jim Ellison was stubborn.
As if reading his thoughts, Simon asked this moment:
"And where the hell is Sandburg?"
Jim shrugged. "Ask an easier question Simon. All he said this morning was that he had something else to do and before I could ask any specifics, he was away. Like always during the last weeks."
Simon's eyebrows started to rise in surprise. So on top of a stressful case, Jim was having a fight with his friend? That could explain why the mood of his best detective had been dropping towards absolute zero during the last few hours.
"Did he have any intention of showing up today at all?"
"I don't know, he didn't say. I don't care either. If he has something more important to do then he should do it."
Translation: Jim Ellison's ego was hurt, because Sandburg had found something else beside the Sentinel-Project to occupy his time. A small smile appeared on Simon's features, which he tried to hide immediately.
"Listen to me, Jim! You are going to go home now and take a little break. It helps nobody if you're terrifying the other people in the bullpen."
"I can make this an order Ellison! Go home, rest and come back when your mood has improved!"
Jim glared at his boss once again, but had no real argument against his orders. It wasn't as if he was going anywhere while he was here. Grumbling he left Simon's office, grabbed his things and left. He wasn't sure what he would do at home, but perhaps he really would get a chance to get a little break.
Subdued Blair walked along the street towards the police station. He had needed a little time to clear his head and so he had left the car at the U and used the bus system to get to his destination. One would think that the walk in the rainy weather was the reason for Blair's gloomy mood, but it wasn't. It was the situation at the PD that was responsible for it. One month had gone by and the detectives of Major Crimes were not a bit closer to catching Richard's killer. Not that Blair had expected them to find anything, but he felt very sorry for his friends who were working overtime on this case and coming up empty handed. Most of all Jim seemed to be extremely frustrated with the situation, which gave Blair a slightly bad conscience. Sometimes he suspected that Jim's sense of responsibility was also enhanced.
The pack had gone out and investigated by itself, hoping that the various connections would bring more than the police could find out. And they had. Yesterday Micah had called and asked Blair to come to his house this morning. So Blair had thought of an excuse for Jim and went. When he reached his uncle's house another man had waited there, too. A were himself, but not part of the pack…
Upon spotting, more precisely feeling the man, Blair had frozen. He had never been particularly mistrusting of strangers since he had been a stranger in someone else's territory most of his life, but the events a month ago had made him suspicious. Remaining standing in the door Blair had glared at the man, trying to decide what to do.
I'm acting exactly like Jim when he gets territorial. He would never let me live this down.
"Calm down Dreamer! This one is a friend."
Micah's words had calmed Blair somewhat, but he had kept throwing mistrusting glances towards the visitor who had kept a respectful distance away from the young man.
"This is Runner, a friend of mine from Seattle. I called you dreamer, because there has been some development."
The man momentarily forgotten, Blair had transferred his gaze towards his uncle. "What kind of development?"
It hadn't been Micah who had answered but Runner:
"The murder that occurred here wasn't the first of its kind. We know of a few cases in San Francisco. In Seattle about five kills like this happened before it stopped. The targets were always humans in a relationship with a pack member or half-breeds. In Seattle we found out who was behind this, but sadly they escaped before we could catch them."
"A group of young ones. Apparently they think that they must protect the blood or something equally stupid; and so they go around killing. In my personal opinion they just needed an excuse for a blood-hunt."
Blair had swallowed hard. There had only been one blood-hunt in history and it had been a damn bloody affair.
"Do you have names?"
A nod had come from Runner.
"A few, but not all. But your pack should have a little advantage over them, for they don't know that you know about them. Perhaps you will manage to catch them before they do too much damage."
Thoughtfully Blair started to chew on his bottom lip, then turned towards Micah: "I also could try to give the information to the police, without them knowing were it comes from. When they start looking for them, perhaps they get careless and we can get our hands on them."
"And you can help your friends." Micah had said with a knowing smile on his lips.
Blair had blushed a little, but it was the truth after all. Jim and the others were working so hard on this; they deserved a little lead. At Runner's puzzled gaze Micah had explained:
"Dreamer here works part-time with the police. From his reports, they can't find anything."
Micah had agreed that Blair should try to lead Jim subtly towards the killers. Blair was still pondering on the question of how exactly he should do this.
While walking Blair thought about Runners words once again and suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. Runner had said the victims were all either humans or half-breeds. A sinking feeling settled in Blair's stomach. After all, he himself was a half-breed and held a pretty high station inside the pack. Swallowing hard Blair realized that he could be in considerable danger himself. However, he was living with a police officer and was related to the pack's alpha. Perhaps a bit too high-profile for these guys. He hoped.
So. Now he knew who was behind the murder and why, but how could he tell Jim without telling the Sentinel the rest of the story? Subtly Micah had said. As if this was so easy with a nonstop suspicious and at the moment stressed-out detective who had the advantage of superior senses.
Deep in thought Blair entered the police station.
On to part 2
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