by ljc


Summary: A hostage situation.

Warnings, Ratings: Oops, bad words. PG.

Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, Paramount and the SciFi Channel. No money is being made. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was written by ljc with the love of the show in mind.


The scene was one that no one present was ever likely to forget. That was especially true for Detective Jim Ellison. His enhanced senses took in everything. For a moment he allowed his hearing to become hyper-focused. He took in his partner's rapid heartbeat, his breathlessness ... and the dead quiet of nearly a hundred people present by design or accident that evening. He marveled at that ... the quiet. That was Sandburg's doing. Only 'he' could so shock a squad of SWAT, the Major Crimes Unit, uniformed officers, aggressive reporters, and gawking citizens into total quiet in the midst of a hostage situation gone wrong.

His enhanced sight caught the tableau. Everyone was as still as they were silent. Again, that was Sandburg's doing. Jim clearly saw the defiance in his partner's eyes. He wasn't bluffing and everyone there knew it. Sandburg was as cocky as he'd ever seen him. Cocksure, that word had been invented for Blair Sandburg. So self-assured and confident that no one doubted the reason he was there. No one doubted just what kind of offer he was about to make.

Jim hadn't wanted this to happen but he wasn't in any position to stop him. He was on the other side this time, a hostage. The only hostage. They weren't going to give up a cop, not these two crazy bastards. He listened as they planned, and he believed them. They were “goin' out in a blaza' glory” as one man said. Followed by, “I'm gonna take me some cops with me,” from the other one. They expected to die and one more cop would just be the icing on the cake. He struggled against his bindings again and earned a rifle butt in the ribs.

Sandburg had put himself into the middle of this for no sane reason. He'd defied Simon and SWAT when negotiations had fallen apart. It was then that Sandburg had taken his stand, for his partner, and against the authority of the Unit Commander presently in charge. He was certifiable. But knowing the SWAT Commander, their plans must have really stunk for Sandburg to pull this. The two crazies that held Jim would kill the kid just for the fun of it. He'd never get a chance to draw his weapon, if he'd even carried one into this situation.

Sandburg stood limned in the stark lights of the deployed units. Jim could see that he carried himself poised and ready. Then he started walking steadily toward the house again. He'd given the two perps, and the rest of Cascade, a chance to see him and now he was moving in. The perps knew they were surrounded and going nowhere, and their hostage was well aware of the possible outcomes.

Sandburg held his hands out away from his body, open and empty. His voice sounded as steady as a rock to everyone but Jim. “If you start this fight you know you'll never get out of here alive ... or you can put your guns down now and live. You can see all the reporters. You've got plenty of witnesses. If you show up with even a bruise, everyone will know.”

Blaza Glory said, “Ain't givin up to you. How stupid do ya think we are? We're not gettin outa here alive. We know how you work. That was decided hours ago. But you do make one helluva good target. You jest keep walkin closer.”

His Buddy just whispered, “Now? Can I take him out now?”

Not yet. Hey, cop. What else ya got up your sleeve?”

And damn if Sandburg didn't say just what I thought he would.

A swap. Me for him.”

These two jerks almost hurt themselves laughing. Jim growled softly and vowed that 'he' was going to hurt Sandburg if he ever got his hands on him again.

Blaza Glory got control of himself first, “Sure, we can do a swap. Just come on over.”

And damn if Sandburg didn't just start walking again.

Jim was frantic, but he finally threw his senses wider. Finally ... he caught some instructions from Simon.

Jim, I hope you're listening. Brown and Rafe are in the back. Can you create a distraction? They need a chance to move in closer. Jim? Anytime, Ellison. They're in position. DO IT! Before those idiots shoot!”

Jim Ellison dialed down his sense of touch and wrenched one hand free from the bindings that he'd been working on for hours, and took off a good amount of skin in the process and nearly dislocated something in the bargain. He dove for the wooden chair that had been just out of reach, swinging it in a wild arc onto Blaza Glory's Buddy. Buddy went down like a rock.

At the same time Jim yelled, “Sandburg, hit the deck.”

Brown and Rafe were quick. They were through the back door with weapons trained, but it always took a moment to get your bearings, and it was dark in there. They didn't want to shoot one of their own.

Blaza Glory screamed in anger, and for Jim the action seemed to slow, and then Jim was screaming too. He'd stumbled toward Blaza Glory, but he knew he'd be too late. The man got off one shot before a SWAT sniper took him out.

Jim's hyper-focused sense of hearing located the one thing he most wanted to hear. It was rapid but steady. Sandburg was alive.

Jim didn't waste any time. He paused only long enough to point out the perp struggling toward consciousness, and left him for Brown and Rafe to take into custody.

Rafe blurted out, “Is Sandburg okay?”

Jim was panting like he'd just run a marathon but managed, “Yeah, he's okay.” And thought darkly, 'until I get my hands on him.'

He was soon across the room. Jim stopped at the door to raise his hands, but when he was acknowledged by his fellow cops he advanced unsteadily to Sandburg.

You okay, Chief?”

Sandburg, who had thrown himself to the ground when Jim yelled, now seemed to be taking stock. After he climbed to his feet he swallowed hard and just nodded.

Jim was checking him out, too. Smoke from the gun swirled around his partner. His sight zeroed in to map his friend from head to toe. He didn't get far before he discovered an anomaly. There was a burnt smell, and smoke that didn't come from the gun. He followed it's path. He walked up to Blair and bent to pick something up off the ground. He stood and rubbed a tiny curl between his fingers. This would make one hell of a souvenir.

Holding it up for the kid to see, he ground out, “Sandburg, if you ever do that again, I'm going to tell your mother the story behind this.” That, of all things, scared him. Sandburgs.

Jim tucked the curl into his shirt pocket. He reached out and pulled on hair that was still attached to Sandburg. He held it so close to him that the kid's eyes crossed. Blair reached up to finger it himself, before looking to his partner.

Hey, negotiations didn't work. They were going to put SWAT in charge! Were you listening to their plans? What else could I do? Partners back each other up, man,” he said, starting to shake.

Oh yeah, the fall from this adrenaline high would be a doozy, for both of them. And tomorrow the brass were going to be screaming for Sandburg's badge for this ... well, he wasn't really too worried if he read the crowd right.

He and Sandburg made their slow, unsteady way past the witnesses who had once again fallen silent ... paying wordless tribute to the hero of the hour. And the brothers in blue stood tall and proud ... they all but saluted the kid. No, he wasn't worried. It was an election year. The powers-that-be would never go against public opinion.

Nope, the brass would probably give Sandburg a medal. He hoped they'd make 'him' Cop of the Year this time. It would serve him right!