The Wizard and the Sentinel
Part I: Blair's little secret
by Meanthis and Lime-chan
The sun was shining bright from the cloudless blue sky and it was warm. A truly beautiful day.
Jim Ellison enjoyed the good weather, an exception in the area of Cascade, while he sauntered through the park. Sandburg wasn't so lucky, he had to teach at the University today and so he probably couldn't appreciate the beautiful spring-weather. But on the other hand, it was probably not so bad that Blair was safe at the University and away from the momentary investigation, for the reason why Jim was in the park wasn't to enjoy an extended break from his work, not at all. He was looking for a certain person.
Only this morning the notice had come in that Sirius Black, one of the most feared criminals of the UK, had been sighted in the States. And now he had been seen in Cascade. The man was a dangerous murderer who had already killed many innocent bystanders. It was suspected that he was armed and naturally dangerous, so Major Crimes had received a heads-up notice. No, it was better that Sandburg wasn't here, his infamous luck would probably just choose this situation to strike once again. Blair had already dealt with too many psycho killers.
The Sentinel let his senses roam the park, looking for anything suspicious. If Black was somewhere around here, Jim would find him. After all, Blair regularly reminded him that he was the destined protector of the city and as such he would prevent any murder here.
Suddenly Jim stopped dead in his tracks. His hearing had unconsciously found this one, oh so familiar voice of his guide. Zooming his sight on the source of the voice he immediately found him, sitting on a bench at the shore of a little pond. What the hell was Blair doing here? And he wasn't alone. Next to him sat a tall, dark-haired man who kept looking around nervously. Jim felt his heart stop as he remembered the photo which had made its round through Major Crime this morning. A picture of Sirius Black. Was it possible that…
The man turned his face in Jim's general direction as if he could sense that somebody was looking at him. Oh heaven, it was Black! And he was sitting right next to Sandburg! Damn it all to hell, the Sandburgian luck had stuck again and like usual at the absolute worst possible moment. Whatever Blair was doing here in the first place, he seemed completely obvlivious to the danger he was currently in. Jim didn't doubt one minute that his friend and guide would end as a hostage (or worse) yet again if Black felt threatened in any way. Damn it all to hell!
Cursing under his breath, Jim pulled his weapon and started to sneak closer. What was it about Sandburg that he always ended up in such situations? When Jim was close enough to listen in on the conversation he got a surprise. This didn't seem to be a chance meeting. What was going on here?
"…I still can't believe that you're here, Sirius! I don't even want to know how you pulled this one off."
Jim held his breath. So Sandburg wasn't obvlivious to the identity of his neighbour. But why? And why was he so calm, when he knew who this man was? The two of them seemed awfully friendly with each other.
"I hadn't had much choice, did I? I have no intention to go back there…"
Black's voice was shaking. Whatever he was talking about, it had not been a pleasant experience. Blair laid a hand on his shoulder in the same calming way he often used with Jim. Black kept on talking:
"…I don't know what to do, Blair. No one believes me! They don't even listen to me!"
"I believed you, didn't I?" Blair interrupted, "I never believed that you were able to hurt James or Lilly, or any other person for that matter… but that Peter… he really is a rat!"
A bitter smile showed on Black's face at Blair's exclamation.
"You're right, he is. But it isn't important, we have no proof. They didn't care when you stood up at my trial for me, and they won't care now. Most certainly not now, when You-know-who is running rampant again. You're my friend and so you're biased…"
"Save that Peter was my friend once, too."
Black's laugh sounded hollow and bitter, his eyes were hard.
"Let's face it, they weren't interested in the truth, they just wanted somebody to punish. And that you kept away from us for so long was their favourite argument."
"Hey, what's so bad that I wanted to study here? It was my life and my decision."
Jim didn't understand what this talk was about anymore, but one thing was clear: Blair knew what Black had done and he believed the man innocent. Slowly Jim came closer. Now he really wanted to know what this was about.
"I still think it's lost time," Black just said grumbling, "You could have done so many things, but instead…"
"Instead I'm doing what I wanted to do all my live. You can stop the argument, I didn't listen to you guys back than, and I wont start now."
"I know, I know. Stubborn to no end. But this changes nothing at the fact that you are damn talented. Jumping grades and everywhere only As. You even managed to surprise Dumbledore."
"Stop right there! I won't change my mind. I'm happy with my life. But tell me, what are you going to do now?"
Black sighed and looked at his hands.
"I don't know, not really. I'll move on like before, until I get the chance to prove my innocence. They can't hide forever. Sooner or later I will get my hands on Peter again, even if this probably means that we will see his master again, too. I fear the day this happens. And in the meantime somebody has to look out for Harry."
Blair leaned back and stretched. He let his look roam over his surroundings and of course he discovered Jim immediately. For a moment the eyes of the two men met, Jim silently praying that his partner wouldn't do anything to clue Black in that somebody was watching them. No such luck. Sandburg jumped up, effectively startling Black, who recognised the situation and turned to run. Jim cursed loudly and creatively and started to follow. But he had lost side of Black. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw a dark coloured dog running away. He sent his senses out to find the criminal, but he came up with nothing. The man had disappeared.
"He isn't here anymore, Jim!"
Blair's calming voice came from behind him and he could feel the hand of his guide on his shoulder.
"I can see that," Jim growled, shrugged the hand off, obviously annoyed.
"Care to tell me what this was about? For your information, this guy is a wanted murderer, he could have done god knows what. And you just prevented me from catching him! Have you any idea what this man has done?"
Jim could hear how Blair's heart had started to beat rapidly and the younger man had a hard time to keep his breath even.
"Calm down, Jim. I can explain this to you…"
"I hope damn well that you can."
"But not here. Come on."
The door to the loft hadn't fully closed when Jim turned his glare towards Blair and said expectantly:
During the drive from the park the two friends had discussed if Jim should mention his encounter with Black in his report, or if he should even write a report at all. If he did so, it would raise some very unwelcome questions. Blair was involved deeply in this. The bare fact was, that he had helped a known and dangerous criminal to run. Theoretically Jim should have arrested his friend for this.
"I'm interested in your explanation. And it should better be a good one!"
Blair nodded curtly, disappearing shortly into his room, just to reappear with a small narrow case in his hands. There was a thick layer of dust on it, which Blair wiped off with his sleeve. Than he sat the case on the table, unopened, and sat down opposite from Jim on the sofa.
So now the moment of truth had come. This was the situation he had longed for and feared the same for a very long time. It wouldn't be easy to explain this situation to Jim, not at all, but for the time being it was more important that he would stop pursuing Sirius. If one normal person was able to catch him, it would be Jim Ellison.
Jim had sat down in the armchair and was still waiting for the promised explanation.
"Okay, okay, I'm at it already."
Blair jumped up and started pacing the room. A sure sign that he was nervous. He damn well better was, thought Jim grimly. He still couldn't believe that Blair had prevented him from catching Black. He better had a good reason for this.
"You can't arrest Sirius, Jim! He didn't kill anyone, he's innocent!"
"The report we got from London says different, Chief."
"I know, but they have no idea what really happened."
"And you do?"
No one could have missed the sarcasm in Jim's voice, but then his tone softened:
"Listen, Blair. From what I heard you and Black were probably friends at some point, but this doesn't change the situation, that this man is a convicted murderer."
"And there has never been an innocent in jail? And would you please stop interrupting me all the time!"
Now it was Blair's turn to be sarcastic. His heart rate was still high and he struggled to keep calm. Jim looked expectantly at his friend.
"Yes, I know what really happened. I just don't have any proof, or Sirius would be a free man already. All I have is what I know, but no one believes me."
Blair hesitated a moment, before he sat down again, his eyes fixing on the case on the table.
"I'll better start at the beginning. You will understand better then."
Jim raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything. Blair took this at a signal to keep talking:
"Jim, this will sound pretty crazy, but you have to believe me that everything is true… Jim, I'm a wizard."
Carefully he looked at his friend. He hadn't started screaming at him yet, a good sign. Then Jim looked up and Blair winced. The message in this piercing blue eyes was unmistakably.
"You pulling my leg, or what?"
Okay, that was carefully formulated.
"No Jim, I'm completely honest here. I really am a wizard! I went to Hogwarts, one of the most famous schools of wizardry in the world, for six years and I graduated."
"Stop! Time out, Chief! I lost you here, didn't you once tell me, that you never went to the same school for more than a few months, if you went to school at all? And now you're telling me, that you went to a school for wizardry?"
Even if I wouldn't put it past Naomi to sent him there.
There was silence for a long moment between the two, then Blair talked again:
"Do you really think I could have come to any Muggle-University with the credentials from Hogwarts? Nevertheless the marks I got, the people would have laughed themselves sick after one look at the subjects taught in Hogwarts. And then, it's kind off illegal to expose the existence of wizards and witches to the normal world. To say, that I never really went to school was the best alternative…"
Jim really tried to stay calm. The story sounded crazy, completely and utterly crazy, but he could sense that Blair was saying the truth. His guide was nervous like hell, but he wasn't lying.
"Sorry, man, my mistake. Muggle means not-magic-person."
"Okay. And what do you mean, that it is kind off illegal to reveal the existence of magic?"
"The same reason you don't want the existence of Sentinels known."
Blair's calm words gave a better reason than any long lasting explanation could have. Of course, if normal people found out about wizards it could have ended in a mass-hysteria or people would start to ruthlessly take advantage of them. Neither scenario was something you would wish for.
"And you can really work magic?"
"Yep! Didn't do it for a very long time though, to tell the truth."
"Why not?" Jim asked truly puzzled. A small, a tad sad smile appeared on Blair's features.
"'Cause it's easier to study here that way. It isn't so easy to live in the Muggle-world when you know that there is another, completely different world you belong to. If I had started working Magic here, I don't think I could have stopped. It can make things much easier."
Again there was a long pause between the friends. Blair finally sat back down on the couch. Jim studied his friend for a long moment, than said:
"That's all very nice, Sandburg, but I still can't shake the feeling that you're pulling my leg."
Blair looked up sharply. Jim's tone of voice indicated that the detective's mood was dropping dramatically. And he had used his surname in the way he would when he was angry with Blair.
Sighing he reached for the box, which was still sitting untouched on the table.
"I already expected that you wouldn't believe me. I can relate, I mean, when I got the letter… Anyway, I think a demonstration is required. But nothing too complicated. I'm a bit out of practice!"
"You're not sounding very reassuring, you know."
Blair sent a short, nasty look towards his friend, but then his typical smile was back in place.
"If you say so, Jim."
Without further words he opened the case and took out a slim, dark wooden stick, which had been embedded in soft purple silk. The moment Blair touched the stick a serene smile appeared on his features, an expression that was reserved for moments of true happiness.
"I take it that this is a magic-wand?"
Jim's voice still sounded doubtful and a little bit nervous. Blair nodded and grinned.
"Yes, without this, no magic!"
He looked around searchingly and spotted one of his thick meditation-candles, standing in the middle of the table.
"Lumina inflammo!" he said loud while pointing the tip of his wand at the candlewick. There was a protesting hiss from the wick, then it started to glow and finally it caught fire while hundreds of golden and blue sparks scattered around it. Jim stared.
Blair's grin widened at the awed expression of his partner:
"Looks impressive, doesn't it? And this is one of the easiest tricks around."
"And… and you did this with this stick?"
"No, not really. The wand is more like a catalyst for the power which is already inside me. Every wand has a special… medium inside it to help with the magic. In my case it is the hair of an unicorn…"
"Yes, Jim, unicorn. The beasts aren't even very rare, you just have to know were to look for them."
"Time out, Chief! Give me a minute here!"
Blair just grinned and rotated his wand around his index-finger, just the way he did it with a pencil sometimes. So this was were he had learned this.
"Okay, from the beginning again: You are a wizard, and I believe this piece of information after your little demonstration. You went to a school for wizards and witches and graduated. And you have a magic wand laying around with unicorn-hair inside it. Is this about it?"
Jim sounded completely calm, but he was a little bit pale. Blair wasn't as nervous as a few minutes ago, now that his secret was out.
"Yes, I think so."
"Mmmh. You just forgot one important detail, I think."
Blair looked puzzled, while Jim started to look slightly angry again.
"What does this all have to do with Sirius Black?"
Blair swallowed hard. Shit, he really forgot about this detail.
"You know Jim, you wouldn't have had a chance against Sirius if it came hard of hard. There is far more going on, than you can imagine."
"Meaning?" Jim asked impatiently. Blair looked at him with clear annoyance in his look:
"Man, I thought you were a detective, so put one and one together. What I'm trying to say is, that Sirius Black is a wizard, like me. And a damn good one. He is the only person ever who managed to break out of Azkaban, the wizard-prison. Fourteen years ago he was framed for a terrible crime and sent to prison. You see, if it had come to an confrontation between you two, you couldn't have possible won, but fortunately Si prefers to run instead of fight. So he used his abilities as an Animagi to get away…"
"And what the hell is an Animagi?"
"Animagi are witches or wizards who can change into animals. A rare ability, but Si has it."
Sudden realisation hit Jim. At least this bit made sense now.
"All right, I understand so far. But this doesn't change the fact that Black is a wanted criminal."
"I know. But Jim, I can swear under oath that Sirius is innocent. He didn't do anything of what they are blaming him for. And then, like I say, you wouldn't stand a chance if you really tried to arrest him."
Jim studied Blair intensely for a long moment. He could sense without a doubt that his guide was honest with him. Not only this, but he desperately wanted Jim to believe that Black was innocent. The conversation he had overheard in the park came back into Jim's mind. He couldn't really believe that a cold blooded killer could talk like this.
"Okay, I believe you. And I wont try to catch Black anymore…"
"But one of these days you're going to tell me what makes you so damn sure that Black is innocent."
Blair's grin was back full force when he heard the words of his friend. Jim noted that he still had his wand in his right hand, sill rotating around his fingers. As if Blair had totally forgotten that he held the stick.
"Anything else you want to know, now that I'm already explaining things? I take it, that you overheard a part of my conversation with Si."
Jim thought for a moment. Actually he had quite a few questions, but most of them weren't really important.
"Why did you stop working magic at all. I heard Black saying, that you were rather good at it."
"I was good, that's true. But you certainly caught my answer, too. I'm fascinated with anthropology. I heard about Sentinels before I ever heard of Hogwarts. This was my first dream, and I wasn't about to give it up. And I think I made the right decision. I found you, didn't I? I'm happy. And I found a opportunity to develop my abilities as a Shaman. You know, real Shamans are damn rare even in the world of wizardry."
Blair leant back, looking satisfied. Both friends kept silent for a few minutes, then Jim said:
"Sorry, Chief, but I need a drink now. That's a bit much to stomach."
"Believe me, I understand."
Blair was already on his way to the kitchen and came back with a cool beer from the fridge for Jim. Than he disappeared into his room without another comment. Moments later Jim could hear Blair writing on his Laptop. Probably another chapter for his dissertation.
A long time Jim stared at the slightly flickering candlelight, trying to get his thoughts together. So he was living together with a wizard.
"A Wizard and a Sentinel. Can this get any weirder?"
With a smile on his lips, Jim leant back, enjoyed his cold beer and accepted that the Sandburg-Zone could always get weirder.
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