Gen.  Rated PG.  Jim and a traumatized Blair try to escape from a waking nightmare.

Most heartfelt thanks to my betas, Trish and Sandy.  I was the last one to read the final version, so any mistakes are mine.


(c) Dec 2004  by Charlotte Frost


Blair was screaming.

Jim turned his hearing down even more. His anxiety would only slow down his meticulous work, so he blocked out the sound of Blair's torture as much as he could.

The worst of it was that he didn't even know what form the torture took. Blair was in another room -- and all Jim had heard for three days now were the screams.

He'd been angry, agitated... but neither of those reactive emotions helped. The only thing that would was freeing himself from the cell he was in. He'd been working on that for most of the three days, having taken the metal toe from his boot.  It was painstaking work, for trying to pick the lock meant he had to keep adjusting the shape of the steel. He was using a small rock and the cement floor to do so.

He didn't know who his captors were; the only thing he was certain of was that being here now didn't have anything to do with him being a cop. He and Blair had been on a fishing vacation in Idaho. They'd stopped one evening to help two ordinary-looking men whose car had broken down.

They'd both leaned in under the hood, Jim holding a flashlight, to see what the problem was. The next thing he knew he was struggling with the arms that were around him.  Breaking the hold would have been easy, save for the fact that he was passing out.

He awoke some time later in this damp cell with a massive headache and had identified the lingering scent of chloroform. The only light was a dingy bulb down the hall. He'd had to relieve himself in the corner. He'd only been given packaged food and bottled water that could be tossed through the bars, so there was no chance of his grabbing either of the men. It was still just the two of them he saw. He'd demanded they tell him what they were doing to Blair - for all he knew of his partner were the screams - and they had ignored him, as though he were an animal unworthy of attention other than basic care.

He had no doubt that whenever they were finished doing whatever they were doing to Blair, he would be next.

His existence had been reduced to getting out.

The screams had stopped. Once again, Blair had either passed out or was "allowed" to rest.

Jim's nerves were tingling with anticipation. He suspected that freedom was soon at hand. He inserted the makeshift pick into the lock on his cell, and felt the depression where the metal fit. The last time he'd tried this, the pick was still catching on the right side, so Jim had spent another hour filing it down. He'd been interrupted by an energy bar and a water bottle being tossed to him. He'd consumed the rations quietly, since his captors watched to make sure that he ate. They were following the usual routine, as it was only Man #2 who came to glance at him now and again. He assumed Man #2 was the assistant.

He'd cast his hearing about during his captivity but had only caught snatches of conversation between the two men which didn't tell him anything useful. It was as though they had everything planned out ahead of time and had little reason to discuss whatever they were doing to Blair.

Now, his hearing told him that Man #2 had left the area of his cell.


Jim released a heavy breath, aware of the sweat trickling down his back. The pants, shirt and jacket he'd worn when he'd been captured were all he'd had on for three days now, and the unwashed clothing was much more uncomfortable than the whiskers growing on his chin.

He moved the door to his cell and wanted to collapse with relief.

He was free.

He grabbed the water bottle that was still half full and tucked it in his pants, then slipped out into the dank hallway.

He was aware of an internal shifting to the laws of the jungle as he anticipated confronting their captors and freeing Blair. Kill or be killed. There was nothing else.

His senses moved ahead of him, straining for every bit of information.

Two heartbeats, one erratically fast. He followed their sound.

He came to a hallway that led to another room. Man #2's back was to him.

Jim could barely make out a table within his field of vision. He proceeded stealthily and Blair's nude body came into view.

Two heartbeats. No more.

Jim flexed his fingers.

Man #2 was standing beside the table where Blair was laying, reading notes.

The man turned just as Jim descended upon him.

A grunt, a groan, and then the snapping sound of vertebrae.

Jim let the body drop and turned down the fresh smell of urine and feces.

He moved to the table and stood over Blair.

Blair's eyes snapped open. They grew large as his mouth opened and he started to make the awful screaming sound....

Jim's hand descended over his mouth. "Shh," he said. Then, as tenderly as he could, "It's me, Chief. Coming to take you out of here."  He stroked the stringy, sweaty hair, then placed his hand on Blair's cheek and whiskered chin, certain it was the kindest touch Blair had received in all these hours of unspeakable acts.

Blair's wide, red eyes studied him, and Jim was certain there was recognition.

"It's me," Jim whispered. He started to pull his hand away, but Blair opened his mouth to scream again, so Jim quickly replaced his hand.

"Hey, hey," Jim said, trying to stay gentle in his impatience to get them free of this awful place. "You can rest now, Chief. No more screaming."  He leaned closer. "It's important to stay quiet."

Blair stared at him.

"All right?" Jim started to move his hand again. His other hand rubbed up and down Blair's arm. "It's all right now. No more screaming."

As Jim took his hand away,  Blair continued to make eye contact, though his expression seemed to be one of shock.

"Good, buddy."  Jim smiled at him and felt as though his face were cracking, after all the strain of these past days. "That's good. Let me get you out."

Keeping one hand on Blair's arm, Jim turned to the workbench, upon which there was a computer. The information on the computer could explain why this had happened, but nothing was more important than leaving as quickly as possible.

He spotted a ring of keys and stretched to reach it. Then he began unlocking the manacle on Blair's nearest wrist. That's when he noticed the wires. There were wires attached to Blair's fingertips - on both hands. Wires attached to his toes. Another wire disappearing beneath his crotch. Jim could smell burned flesh.

He wondered how Blair could possibly recover from something like this.

As he worked, he kept his hearing strained for the slightest noise, even as he tried to keep up a stream of murmured reassurances.

The manacles were released.

"Easy, buddy."  Jim placed his hand on Blair's thigh and pulled out the soiled wire that extended from the center of his body.

Blair didn't react.

"We can get out of here now."

Blair made no effort to move, though his eyes watched Jim's.

Blair was trembling all over... weak, debilitated... probably suffering muscular soreness and internal damage that Jim could only guess at.

He would have to carry him.

Jim looked around, trying to spot Blair's clothing. It was nowhere to be seen.

Along one wall was a narrow locker. Jim opened it, creating a loud scraping sound.

Blair let out a scream and Jim rushed to cover his mouth. "Shh, Chief, shh. It's all right."

Blair abruptly quieted.

"I'll just be a moment. I need something to cover you with."

Blair's eyes followed Jim's face, still with their startled gaze.

The locker hung open. Jim gently patted Blair's shoulder, then took a white lab coat that hung from a hook.

"Let's sit you up."

It was like handling a rag doll. Jim hauled Blair into a sitting position and got his arms into the coat. As he manipulated the cold limbs, Blair let out subdued, dry groans.

"I'm sorry, buddy, it'll just take a second."  He had the coat on Blair now, but it didn't cover nearly enough. It was late in October. A window high on the wall revealed that this was a basement and it was dark outside. It would be cold. Blair's legs and feet were completely uncovered.

Jim took off his jacket and put Blair's arms through it, then buttoned it all the way up to his chin. It would have to do for now.

There still weren't any noises coming from the floors above. "Water, Chief."  Jim supported him with one arm and sprinkled water on his chapped lips with the other. Blair drank eagerly and Jim let him have a few additional sips.

"There'll be more," he said, hoping it was true.

He stuck the bottle in the waist of his pants. Then he gathered Blair up, beckoning him to rest his head against his shoulder, and then lifted him from the table.

Where to go?

He started down another hallway that branched off from the room. Then he saw it - a door at the end.

It was locked, but turning the bolt was all it took to open it. Then they were out in the chilly night air.

He had to walk up cement stairs, no easy task when he hadn't had a decent meal in days and was carrying some 150 pounds.

Once on level ground, he started jogging as fast as he possibly could. Dogs barked, but they seemed to be penned up somewhere, for they remained at a distance.

When Jim left the manicured yard, he dared to look back. The house was large and stately - like an old mansion, surrounding by fields broken up by clumps of trees. All lights in the house were out except one in a corner, and he couldn't see anyone there.

He turned and went back to walking swiftly through the damp grass. His mind was racing frantically. Large house equaled money equaled important person in a rural area, equaled someone who might have a lot of power in a small community.

Jim could not risk trusting a single soul in this area - wherever they were.

Jim collapsed to his knees next to a tree, dropping Blair to the ground as gently as he could. He was exhausted and cold, and despair had set in.

Then he saw the house in the valley below.

The porch light was out. He couldn't spot any dogs. He cast his hearing out and listened.

And listened.

Nothing. No heartbeats. No voices.

This close to the mansion, he wondered if it were a caretaker's house. If so, nobody was home.

Jim turned his attention to his charge and placed his hand over Blair's mouth. "Chief? Blair?"

Blair's eyes and mouth flew open.

Jim pressed more firmly. "It's all right," he said gently. "You don't need to scream anymore."

He could hear Blair's racing heart. He waited, talking softly and stroking Blair's cheek, until the beating eased.

He leaned down to put his face an inch from Blair's. "Buddy, I'm going to see if I can get us some clothes and food. I need you to wait right here and be real quiet. Think you can do that?"

Blair gazed back at him, and Jim's sentinel sight was able to see understanding in their depths. He slowly removed his hand.

Blair's lower extremities were freezing. Jim took off his flannel shirt and wrapped it around Blair's legs. He shivered from having only a t-shirt on his own upper body. He then removed his boots, took off his socks, put those socks on Blair's feet, then replaced his boots..

He spent a moment rubbing Blair's feet and ankles. "That better, huh?"

Blair didn't say anything, only watched him in the light of the half moon.

Jim raised up and squeezed Blair's shoulder, feeling his shivering beneath the jacket. "All right, Chief. I'm off but I should be back in just a few minutes. Be real quiet."

He didn't get an acknowledgment, but he hadn't expected one.

Eager to warm himself, Jim took off at a run toward the house. He was aware of the weakness in his own legs, even though free of carrying Blair.

As he drew closer, he stayed low to the ground and continued to cast his hearing out. Only silence answered.

He went to the back door and was relieved that it was unlocked. He entered the house and wasted no time in finding a duffle bag. He went up to the master bedroom and retrieved a pair of black flannel pajamas. Further searching uncovered shirts and sweat pants. He found a second duffel and took it downstairs. In the refrigerator were some fresh fruit and leftover ribs wrapped in foil. An unopened carton of orange juice. A few cans of soda. In the cupboards he found an unopened box of crackers and some breakfast pastries.

He tried to be careful, thinking that the less ransacked the house looked, the longer it would take the occupants to realize they'd been robbed. He found a desk and, making sure the curtains were closed, turned on the lamp there, to spare straining his sight further.

Stationary was on the desk that named the town as Milford, Utah.


Where was Milford in the state of Utah?

His eyes fell on the clock on the shelf. 3:28. Whoever lived here must be out of town if they weren't home.

Three-thirty in the morning in Milford, Utah. At least now he had some sense of time and place.

His eyes fell on the rotary dial phone on the desk.

Dial the operator and this would all be over.

Or would it?

What if whoever had abducted them had enough money to pay off the entire sheriff's office? What if any help he called for was in cahoots with the mansion on the hill?

He stared at the phone a long time. And then shook himself, wondering at just how much Blair's screams had messed with his own mind, since in all his planning while on the run, he hadn't considered the obvious thing.

Jim picked up the phone and dialed one plus nine digits, feeling that it took a tortuously long time for the rotary wheel to return to position after each number.

"Cascade Police Department."

Jim wanted to weep. "Simon Banks, please. It's a personal emergency."  Would Simon be manning the office twenty-four hours a day with Jim and Blair not having returned as scheduled two days ago?

He was put on hold. And then the woman said, "I'm sorry, sir, but Mr. Banks is out of town right now. Can I get you Captain Taggart?"

Jim hesitated. Was Simon out of town looking for him and Blair? "Yes, please."  His voice choked at the expectation of hearing a friendly voice.

"This is Captain Taggart."

"Joel, it's Jim."

"Jim? Jim Ellison?"

"Yes, look, Blair and I are in danger and need help."

"My God, Jim, where are you? Simon went to Idaho to help the law enforcement there look for you. Are you all right?"

"I'm good. Blair's... okay. Look, Joel, I can't risk talking very long. What's Simon's cell phone number?"  He'd always kept it in the memory of his own phone and therefore had never personally memorized it.

He wrote it down as Joel read it off. Then he said, "I need a favor."

"Anything, man."

"I don't know who we can trust. As soon as I hang up, you call Simon and tell him that I'll be calling him in a few minutes. Tell him if he can't get alone somewhere, then he has to pretend it's not me when I call him."

"What are you saying, Jim? That we can't trust the Idaho cops?"

"I'm saying that I don't know who we can trust. Blair and I were abducted and taken out of state. We have no way of knowing who was in on it. Just do it, Joel. I'm going to hang up and wait a few minutes and then call Simon."

"All right. You and Blair take care, Jim."

"Thanks, Joel."

Jim hung up, finally feeling a sense of relief.

While he waited, he opened and closed the various desk drawers. He found a handwritten letter from an apparent relative who said she was looking forward to their visit. Perhaps that was where the homeowners were now.

He then found an envelope of cash labeled "Xmas Fund". There was over three hundred dollars. Though he felt like a heel, he pocketed it. Later, he would make everything up to these people - assuming they weren't part of what had happened at the mansion on the hill.

Jim braced himself and dialed the number he'd written down.


"Simon, thank God."

"Jim, where the hell are you?"

"Are you alone?"

"Yes. I'm in my motel room. It's the middle of the night."

"Blair and I are near some town called Milford, in Utah."


"Yes. I don't know how we got here. But we were chloroformed when we stopped to help a couple of guys with car trouble. Then we... I... woke up in the basement of some mansion, in a cell. And they were doing things to Blair."  His throat closed. "I could hear him screaming."  His voice trembled. "For days."

"Dear God," Simon said softly.

"We escaped earlier tonight. But..."

"Have you called the police there?"

"No. For all I know, whoever has the mansion is a relative of somebody in a high place. This is a rural area. I can't trust anybody, Simon. Nobody. I've broken into a vacant house and stolen some food and clothes and some cash I found. I'm using their phone."

"My God."

"I have to get back to Blair. I left him and it's cold and he has hardly any clothing. I don't think he's had anything to eat in three days."

"He needs a hospital - "

"I'll take him to one when I'm a hundred percent sure it's safe."

"Then let me come and get you."

"That's what we need. As soon as possible."

"I'll get right on it, Jim. How will I find you?"

"Hang on."  Jim found the envelope that went with the letter he'd skimmed. "The house I'm calling from is the Frothmans', 324 Route 78, in Milford. Find out where the Frothmans' house is, and we'll be hiding out within a couple of miles of it, assuming nothing makes us leave. If you yell for me from the road, I should hear you. In the meantime, I'll try to call you again if I'm able. This house might be vacant for a while."

"All right, Jim. I'll find a flight out tomorrow. The next day, for sure. Please be careful."

"You too. Don't tell anyone where you're going. Oh - and Simon - "


"We need supplies. Clothes. Blankets. Lots of blankets. Bottled water. Food.  A first aid kit."


"I've got to get back to Blair."  

"See you soon."

Jim hung up. He allowed himself the luxury of a deep, deep breath.

He moved through the house again, taking more provisions that could be useful, including a runner's sweat jacket that he donned. Then he switched off the lamp over the desk and slipped out of the house.

He ran back toward Blair, worried that he'd been longer than he'd intended.

He wondered if Blair were alert enough to comprehend the passage of time.

From where he lay on the ground shivering, Blair stared at the house in the valley below.

That's where Jim had gone. If Jim didn't come back - if he'd hallucinated this whole thing - then there would be only Nothingness. And then pain would probably return - in his extremities, inside his body - the men with the large glasses and notepads observing him and making notes as though he were an animal at the zoo.

They were pleased when he screamed. So he screamed as loud as he could and as often as he could, so maybe the next jolt of electricity wouldn't be as strong, since they would already be observing the level of pain that they'd hoped for.

He was free of pain now; or, rather, the tortuous pain. All he had to suffer now were muscles that couldn't relax. A diaphragm that hurt with every breath. Because of the cold, those muscles kept getting abused as he shivered.  His back was sore, too.

But he'd gladly suffer that, rather than the agonizing electrical charges - interspersed between tiny, teasing jolts - that wracked his body at the will of the Glassed Ones.


Blair opened his mouth to scream so they wouldn't hurt him so bad.

A now-familiar hand clamped down on his mouth. "It's all right."

Blair shivered harder. Jim was back. He knew he didn't need to scream anymore but it was too much work to curb the instinct - even though his throat was so raw that it burned.

"I'm right here."

Blair locked eyes with Jim. He could obey when he had that anchor of Jim's care and concern.

"We've got lots of supplies now, buddy. Food and warm clothes."  Jim sounded pleased.

Blair knew it would be easier if he could help. But he didn't know where he could draw the strength from. So, he let Jim take off his makeshift clothing and put on new ones.

Jim had said something about pajamas. These were black and very soft, although not near warmly enough. But then Jim covered him in blankets and that felt good.

Jim propped him upright and tied his hair back away from his face.

Something very refreshing - and which felt instinctively vital - went into his mouth. He thought Jim said it was orange juice. He drank from the paper cup - two or three times.

Then something smelled tasty under his nose.

"Can you chew some of these? They're crackers."

He bit down on what was offered.

Yes, this tasted good. But it took a lot of energy to chew.

Even as Jim continued to feed him crackers, Blair could hear that Jim was eating, too, using his other hand. The process sounded very aggressive, as though Jim were famished.

As Blair ate, he became increasingly aware of his hunger. After the crackers, Jim fed him part of a snack bar. With just a few bites, Blair felt full and turned his face away.

"All right," Jim relented. "You did real good there, Chief. Give me a minute and I'll get you more juice."

He rested back against Jim while Jim finished eating. Then more juice was brought to his lips and he drank that.

Jim spent a few moments rearranging the supplies. Then he said, "Time for sleep."

Blair was laid down on his side and his head landed on a bulky duffle bag. It felt good to have his head supported. He was covered up, tucked in, a covering placed over his head. Then Jim laid down facing him and drew yet more coverings over them both.

Blair could sense Jim's weariness. He knew he was a lot of trouble to take care of. There was something wrong with him that made it impossible for him to help himself, though he wasn't sure what it was.

The best thing he could do - the way of least resistance - was obey whatever Jim wanted. So, he closed his eyes and tried to relax. It felt good to be warm, to be on his side, to be so close to Jim. Blissful.

But his sleep was never a very deep one.

Jim raised his head to check the house at dawn but there was no sign of activity. He supposed he and Blair could have slept inside the house and been a lot more comfortable but it was too much to risk.

He glanced back in the direction of the mansion, spotting it two hills over. Part of him thought they should run as far away as possible. But he wouldn't be able to get very far with Blair in the shape he was in. Besides, if Man #1 was to come looking - or send out others to do it - surely they wouldn't expect Jim and Blair to have stayed so near.

Still, Jim checked both houses periodically. Blair roused and Jim put his hand over his mouth to keep him from waking up screaming. In the lightness of dawn, Blair's eyes were still red, and had a bug-eyed, startled look. He never stopped shaking. Jim knew now that it wasn't just from cold but also from nerves. Sometimes the shaking was less pronounced than at other times, but it was always present. He'd felt it as they slept, until he'd finally dropped off into a deep sleep of his own.

He doubted Blair had been that fortunate.

Jim squeezed Blair's arm. "You need to get up and piss?"  

Blair nodded and waited.

Jim got to his feet. "You think you can stand?" he asked, tugging on Blair's shoulder.

Blair was shaky and unsteady, but he finally made it to a standing position.

That was a triumph. Jim walked him over to a tree and braced Blair's hand against it. "You okay?"

In answer, Blair pushed down the pajama bottoms with the other hand.

Jim turned away and relieved his own bladder.

He pondered what they should do today. They couldn't go far because Simon would be looking for them in this area.

As long as the residents of the house in the valley didn't return, he didn't think they were in any more danger here than anywhere else.

What a relief it would be just to crash for a while. Eat and rest. Surely, Blair needed it even more than he himself did.

He half-carried Blair back to their belongings. "How about a little breakfast, huh?"

He sat Blair down and wrapped blankets back around him. Then he pulled out a couple of apples and cut them into bite-sized pieces. "Can you eat some of this?"

Blair picked up a slice awkwardly in his palm and put it to his mouth.

His fingertips are burned. He had taken a tube of ointment from the house for treating them, but getting rest had been more important last night.

Blair ate quietly, the startled look still dominating his expression. His eyes frequently sought Jim's face.

Jim kept giving him reassuring smiles and telling him he was doing fine.

When they were full, Jim picked up the tube of medicine and took Blair's hand.

Blair gasped and tensed.

"It's all right," Jim said in his gentlest voice. "This should help them heal."  He studied Blair's distressed expression. "All right?"

Blair stared at his hands while Jim put a little dollop of ointment on a thumb and rubbed it in.

Jim gave him a reassuring smile. "It's not so bad, is it?"

Blair shook his head.

Jim painstakingly moved from finger to finger. There had only been a small roll of gauze in the first aid kit and that wouldn't have been nearly enough so he hadn't taken it. "Try to keep from touching anything."

He applied more of the ointment to Blair's wrists, for the skin had broken where he'd strained against the manacles.

It was an effort of will to not let anger overtake him. Blair was already sensitive to his moods.

He gave the same treatment to Blair's ankles and toes, before carefully pulling his socks back on.

The sun came out.

"Hey, Chief," Jim said after he'd capped the tube. "How about we rest for a few hours beneath this warm sun?"  He gently pushed on Blair's shoulder.

Blair let himself be lowered down to the blanket he was resting on, his fingers open and spread.

Jim covered him up, then got back beneath his own blankets, pressing close to Blair.

He welcomed the sun as it warmed them and the surrounding earth.

He fell into a deep sleep.

As Jim gradually woke, he took stock before opening his eyes. Pressed against him, Blair seemed to be sleeping.

Jim hesitated to shift even the slightest. He could imagine how exhausted Blair was; with that thought, he wondered how much his mental state might improve with a deep sleep.

Yet, there were still the tremors - though mild now - robbing Blair's body of quality rest.

Jim opened his hearing and dozed while part of his mind searched for potential danger.   

It was a while later when he heard a car. He raised up on an elbow and turned to clamp his hand over Blair's mouth, for Blair's eyes had opened wide with Jim's movement.

"Easy. It's all right."  Jim slowly took his hand away. He looked down the hill where the road was.

A black Cadillac was moving away from the direction of the mansion. Jim zeroed in his sight.

It was Man #1.

Hatred filled him.

The man, the arrogant bastard, looked relaxed behind the wheel. He was focused on the road and didn't seem to be looking for them. Nor did he look to be grieving about the death of Man #2.

Maybe he and Man #2 were as much lab rats as Jim and Blair.

Jim snorted. That was being awfully generous.

Still, it was intriguing to think that someone else might be pulling the strings.

The Cadillac passed the house in the valley and then continued over the next hill. Jim would have loved to know where it was going. Was Man #1 meeting with somebody? Going to get help because their 'project' was in ruins? Was he perhaps seeing the sheriff about his partner being murdered? Surely, if that were the case, the sheriff would be coming out to the mansion.

Jim wondered if Man #1 might notify officials that his partner was missing, as a formal explanation of why he seemed to have up and disappeared, rather than draw authorities to the mansion by mentioning murder.

He wanted to believe that law enforcement in this area was on the right side of the law. But he couldn't trust anything until he had some facts.

There was a nudge at his arm and he turned to see Blair regarding him worriedly.

Jim clasped Blair's cheek. "It's all right. I'm watching for Simon because he's going to come and get us. It might not be until tomorrow though."

Blair blinked at him, and Jim couldn't be sure how good his comprehension was.

Jim managed a smile. "Did you get some rest?"

Blair gazed back at him, as though unsure how to answer.

"Do you want to sleep some more, or would you like to eat?"

Blair laid back down and looked at Jim hopefully.

Jim chuckled softly and laid down beside him. "That sounds like a good idea to me too."  He pressed near Blair, then put his arm around him. As they both started to relax, he realized that human contact was something they both badly needed.

When it was dark, he went back to the house and dialed Simon's cell phone.


"It's Jim."

"Jim, thank God. I'm glad to know that you're still all right."

"Where are you?"

"I flew into Provo a little while ago and now I'm driving South on Interstate 15. Milford is in the southwestern quadrant of the state. I think I'm still a good two hours away."

"Do you think you can find this house?"

"I have it marked on the map about where it should be. Are you calling from there again?"

"Yes. The occupants haven't returned yet. Assuming they don't, Blair and I will be..." Jim looked out the window, "within a half mile north of the house. I'll be watching for you. There's not much traffic here, so when I see headlights...."

"Good. I'm driving an SUV with the backseat down. I wasn't sure what kind of shape Sandburg is in."

"Physically, he's holding his own," Jim said levelly.

Silence hung in the air.

"Look, Jim, this is a federal matter since it crossed state lines. We've got to get the FBI involved."

"I know. But pick us up first."  Firmly, Jim said, "We aren't going back there."

"Of course not. But surely you don't think the FBI is involved in this."

"I don't know who's involved in it. That's the point:  I don't know who. If it was just two mad scientists getting their rocks off, or some experiment with some purpose that's going to benefit the locals, or some government-sponsored pain test that the FBI itself condones."

"You aren't thinking straight, Jim. At some point, we've got to trust somebody and let them know what's going on."

"You're right - I'm not thinking straight. And I won't be thinking straight until I know Blair and I are safe."  To emphasize his point, he said, "I don't know if Blair is ever going to be the same again."  The last came out choked.

Silence. Then Simon said, "I'm already going eighty. I'll get there as fast as I can."

"We'll be here."

Jim hung up. Now that he knew Simon would arrive within a matter of hours, he took the money out of his pocket and replaced it in the "Xmas Fund" envelope.

He raided the refrigerator again, but there wasn't anything left as filling as the pork ribs. He settled for taking potato chips from the cupboard. He and Blair had already finished off most of their supplies from last night.

Blair, at least, had a reasonably healthy appetite. It was no wonder, since he was burning up calories with the never-ending tremors.

They broke camp. Jim put their trash in one of the duffle bags and left it on the hill, knowing somebody would probably find it.

He carried the other bag with their extra clothing in one hand and tucked their rolled up blankets in the crook of his arm. He'd told Simon to bring plenty of provisions, but he knew that Simon might not have had time to stop.

His other arm was around Blair. Blair was moving reasonably well for someone who was very weak and had to be suffering from extremely sore muscles.

They were just twenty yards from the road now, where the brush was thick. "Now we wait."  Jim beckoned Blair to sit beside him, and then draped his arm around his shoulders. "You doing okay?"

Blair's only response was to lean closer against Jim.

Jim ran his fingers along the stringy ponytail. "Maybe we'll be able to get a hot shower tonight, get cleaned up, sleep in a real bed. Maybe have a greasy hamburger, some fries..."

From where his face rested against Jim's arm, Blair smiled, though his gaze was lowered.

Having run out of things to say, Jim spent some time rubbing Blair's back. He could detect the tiny flinches Blair made when Jim connected with a sore point, especially around his shoulder blades, from lying on the table for so long. He gentled his touch in those areas, but still tried to keep up the warmth and circulation.

He suddenly smelled salt and looked down. Blair's eyes were closed and his breathing was hitched. A few tears leaked from beneath the lids.

Jim couldn't claim to know what Blair was thinking. He resolved to remain soothing. "I'll be glad when this is over too, buddy."  He wondered if Blair was trying to communicate something specific. "You need anything, you let me know."

Blair leaned his whole weight against Jim, his hand coming up to rest against Jim's chest.

Jim thought he understood that one. "Yeah, I'm glad we're in this together too."

Half an hour later, Jim was relieved to spot headlights in the distance. "It's Simon. Stay here a minute, Chief."  He carefully moved Blair away from him, leaving him in the cover of the brush.

Jim crept toward the road, his body low. He wondered why Simon wasn't driving slower, keeping a lookout for them.

The SUV came closer. As Jim moved to the shoulder of the road, kneeling, he dialed up sight.

There were at least four occupants in the car.

He dove back into the brush, crawling on his stomach. He couldn't tell if they had gotten close enough to spot him.

As he continued to crawl, he heard the car slow down when it reached where he had been. He kept crawling as he listened. None of the doors opened. Eventually, the car moved on. Then he detected it pulling into the nearby residence.

The occupants were back. If they immediately realized they'd been robbed, and combined that with thinking they'd seen somebody on the road....

"Blair," Jim said, placing his hand over Blair's mouth as he reached him, for he knew Blair would pick up his heightened degree of tension. "We've got to get out of here. We've got to move fast, Chief. Leave everything except a blanket."

Jim wrapped a blanket around himself, then secured the one that Blair had around his body. "Come on. Stay low. We have to go on our hands and knees."

It was slow going, especially with Blair putting most of his weight on his palms and trying to keep his fingers elevated.

In the distance, Jim heard the slamming of a screen door. Then a man said, "I know I saw somebody."

A woman replied, "Call the sheriff. He could be dangerous."

"You call the sheriff. I didn't see a gun. I'm going after him. Keep everybody else inside."

"Blair," Jim said firmly, "we have to move."

As they crawled faster, Jim began to calculate. He didn't know if the man had a gun.  He hadn't noticed any weapons in the house, but he hadn't looked in all the closets. With the advantage of his senses, he could lie in wait and attack the man. Or they could keep moving away from the house and toward the road, and hope that the man couldn't find them before Simon came. Even if Simon did come, the man would see them being picked up.

There was a bend in the road ahead. If they could at least get around that, it would provide a degree of cover.

Jim paused and listened. Blair almost sounded like he was hyperventilating. Jim blocked that out and listened for footsteps. The man seemed to be slowing, as he was approaching the place where Jim had first appeared on the road. Looking up, Jim saw he had a flashlight. And a rifle.

"Keep going," he whispered to Blair.

He was certain Blair would continue to follow as long as he was physically able.

Finally, they reached the bend. Headlights were approaching from down the road.

Please God. Jim moved toward the road, wondering how he could wave down Simon without attracting the attention of their pursuer.

His hand landed on a rock the size of his fist. He picked it up, rose up on his knees, and watched the car approach. As soon as he saw it was an SUV, he threw the rock at the driver's door.

The car braked heavily, the black man at the wheel looking over at the side of the road, just before coming to the bend.

Jim rushed up as Simon rolled down the window. "We're being pursued," he said harshly. "I've got to get Blair, then turn this thing around and get the hell out."

He didn't wait for a response but went back into the grass where Blair was just now emerging onto the shoulder of the road. Jim grabbed him by the waist and hoisted him up.

Simon had the back door open with the seats down, and Jim shoved Blair into the opening, then followed him in.

As soon as the door was shut, Simon said, "There's nowhere to turn this thing around."  He turned in his seat and started backing up, the gears straining from the speed.

As Jim sat hunched over from the low ceiling, he studied the road behind the car as it backed up. "There's a little turnout ahead - on your side - that you can back into and turn around."

A noise began pounding in Jim's ears. After a moment, he realized it was Blair's racing heart. Then the screaming started.

"My God," Simon said, starting the car in a forward direction.

Jim put his hand over Blair's mouth. "Hey, Chief, it's okay. It's okay now. I know we had a scare there, but it's all going to be fine now."  He looked up at Simon. "Were you able to get any blankets?"

"There's some stuff in sacks back there."

Jim found them and began tearing open the wrappings. "Simon, you're going to have to slow down soon. The people at the house came home and called the sheriff, because they saw that they were robbed. They also saw me beside the road. The sheriff is sure to be coming this way."

"Great," Simon muttered.

What if they were being pursued by the homeowner from the direction they'd come?  

"Can't you turn the heat up?" Jim snapped. He had a bunch of blankets out and began wrapping them around Blair, who had started moaning.

Jim softened his voice. "Hey. Hey. Let's get you on your side, all right?"  Jim gently turned him.

The noise of the heater increased as Simon turned it up to the highest level. "Why can't he be on his back?"

Tersely, Jim said, "Because he was lying naked on his back on a table for three straight days with electrodes attached to him... and inside him."

"You mean they -- ?"

"Were torturing him with electricity, yes. I don't know why, but I'm going to damn well find out."  His voice softened again as he turned back to Blair. "Hey, there, nice and warm for once, huh?"

"Here's the sheriff," Simon said.

Jim laid down alongside Blair, who was shaking violently. A moment later, the red and blue flashing lights sped by him.

"As soon as you get over the next hill, Simon, gun it."

"Then what?" Simon asked. "Hospital?"

"Not any around here. I'm not trusting the locals."

"Then how about Provo? It's a large city but it's over two hours away."

"Simon, I robbed that house and I killed a man at the mansion with my bare hands. I can't risk the local authorities holding me for even a short time and leaving Blair without my help. We have to get hold of the FBI and get them to figure this thing out. At least they won't be as interested in bringing us in, once they hear the story, since they won't have any loyalties to the residents. In the meantime," Jim released a heavy breath, "we need some down time. Somewhere safe."

"I still say Provo is our best bet. Nobody will be looking for you there. If you're thinking of a hotel...."  He glanced back at them and lowered his voice. "What's Blair's condition?"

Jim didn't lower his because he had no interest in hiding anything from Blair. He rose up to lean against the front passenger seat, while staying close to Blair and keeping his arm around him. "He can't stop shaking. He doesn't talk. He's got burns on all his fingers and toes. His muscles are permanently tense. He's probably got some burns to his lower tract; that's what I'm most concerned about being checked out. When we're under FBI custody is when I'll allow a doctor to look at him."

"Let's make that call as soon as we're in cell range."

"Where does this road go?" Jim asked.

"It meets up with the Interstate. Then it's a straight shot north to Provo."  Simon turned his head back toward Jim. "There's water and some food in those sacks."

Simon shifted repeatedly as he filled the gas tank. The breeze was cold and it was now after ten at night.

They were at a truck stop and still a good thirty miles from Provo. The FBI had been called and they were going to send agents from Salt Lake City in the morning.

Before getting gas, Simon had driven through the drive-up window of a fast food restaurant. Jim had ordered two of their largest burgers and fries for himself, and a chicken sandwich for Blair. They were now eating in the back of the SUV.

Simon had never seen Jim like this. He looked like hell to begin with - smelling of dirt and sweat and sporting nearly a week's growth of beard. He had a tension about him that Simon was unaccustomed to. He wondered if it had to do with having to listen to Blair scream for three days. Or maybe it was because he was still in ultra-paranoid survival mode.

And Blair... through the back of his seat Simon had felt him shaking. Weird, knowing he was conscious but not hearing him speak, except he'd let out that chilling scream when they'd been frantically trying to get away. Thank God he seemed to respond to Jim's promptings and murmurings. For that matter, Simon had never before heard Jim speak so softly and gently.

Simon replaced the fuel nozzle and took his credit card receipt from the pump. Then they were back on the road.

Blair lay on his side in front of the fireplace, savoring its warmth. They were in one of those motels that advertised a "home" feel.

Jim had sat him in a warm bath and washed his hair. He'd soaped him, scrubbed him, shaved him, and massaged along his sore muscles. He'd spent a long time toweling his hair dry. Then room service came and they ate, Blair eager for the large helping of vegetables, though he filled up quickly.

Then Jim had carefully applied ointment and wrapped all his fingers and toes in gauze.

Now he was in clean sweats, wrapped in blankets, and lying on the hearth in front of a warm fire. He felt better than he had in a long time. He was just concerned for Jim, because he knew Jim was worried about everything. Jim had told him the FBI was coming in the morning, and that it was okay for Blair to talk and answer their questions, if he wanted; and equally okay to not talk at all, if he didn't want to.

Blair knew he should be able to talk, but the idea scared him. It was a lot more comfortable to not say anything at all. If he spoke, what would he say? He knew he'd start screaming because he wasn't sure how not to.

Jim was in the shower now, and Simon was sitting in a chair near Blair.

He knew Simon wasn't sure what to say to him.

Then Simon leaned down and put his hand on Blair's head. "Blair, son, if you need anything, be sure and let me know."

Blair nodded and went back to gazing at the fire.

Jim came out of the bathroom, and Blair turned his head to watch him. He was shaved and looked better. He was wrapped in a towel and came to kneel beside Blair. "Hey, Chief, I'm going to bed. You want to come to bed, too, or would you rather stay here by the fire?"

Blair liked it right where he was. But he wouldn't want to be here when it was dark and everybody was asleep. Besides, he knew Jim would rest better knowing he was near.

He started to get up.

Jim helped him, but Blair was able to walk pretty much on his own now. He knew he was really shaky, however, and that was why Simon kept looking at him with concern.

It didn't seem to bother Jim much.

Jim made sure he was settled into bed - such a luxury to lie on a mattress - and then Jim went around to the other side. He dropped the towel, pulled on sweat pants, and got in.

Blair moved close to him - for Jim's sake as much as his own.

It was all Jim could do to not fidget in the back seat of the FBI agents' car. The road they'd tried so desperately to escape on last night now looked harmless in the light of day.

Agent Sutton was driving and Agent Thomas sat in the passenger seat. They'd patiently listened to Jim's story and politely expressed their disbelief, but there was no denying Blair's injuries.

They had gone to the emergency room, and Jim had insisted on staying with Blair throughout the exam. He was relieved that, after his careful explanation of what needed to happen and why, Blair quietly bore the discomfort of an enema and having his colon examined. There were burns in his tract, and he was put on an IV of antibiotics and washed out with another solution. The prognosis for his physical injuries was excellent.

His mental state was another matter, and the doctors wanted him evaluated by a psychiatrist. Jim and Simon both argued that there was no point in starting such an evaluation in Provo, when they would be returning home to Cascade soon. The medical personnel relented to their logic.

Now that Blair had been given muscle relaxants, his body finally stilled enough to get some genuine rest. With the assurance that Simon wouldn't leave Blair's side should he wake up, Jim was agreeable to return to the place of their horrors.

There were two FBI cars and the sheriff. The latter represented a local presence but Agent Sutton had made it clear that this was the FBI's show and they were calling all the shots.

For once, Jim was glad to have the FBI in charge. Though it was looking less and less as if anyone other than the scientists had anything to do with what had happened to him and Blair, he still was reluctant to trust any of the locals until he had solid facts.

He knew the FBI was dubious of him, as well. He told them that he'd killed in self-defense.

As they approached the house in the valley, Jim said, "That's the house I robbed."  He'd already told them the full story, including the fact that he'd returned the Christmas money he'd first taken, and that he wanted to reimburse the family - and then some - for everything he'd stolen.

Thomas turned in his seat to look at Jim. "We've got another officer investigating the report that was given to the sheriff. They'll interview the family and collaborate their statement with what you've told us."

Jim nodded. Gazing up at the sky, he could see the mansion on the hill in the distance. "There it is."

Even in daylight, it appeared cold and ominous.

Blair's eyes flew open.

As Jim had instructed him, Simon placed his hand over Blair's mouth. "It's all right, son."

Blair began shaking all over, squeezing his eyes shut.

Simon resolved to remain calm. "Jim's fine. He had to go with the FBI to where... where everything happened. He'll be back as soon as he can."  He slowly took his hand away and leaned close, squeezing Blair's arm. "Would you like to go back to sleep until Jim returns? I can get the nurse and maybe she'll give you another dose medication."

Blair nodded adamantly.

"That's him," Jim said, feeling his heart pound.

They had turned into the circular drive in front of the mansion. A man with thick-framed glasses was out in the garden. He now turned around, looking shocked and surprised at the entourage that had descended upon his home.

Sutton opened his car door. "You wait here, detective, or I'll handcuff you."

Blair's return to consciousness was slow and lazy. He keyed in on Jim's voice.

"There's over fifteen bodies that they've found so far on the property. They've already identified one as a man who went missing from Illinois five years ago."

"Dear God," Simon said. "So this Percy Williams is going to roll over all the way?"

"He has nothing to lose," Jim said. "The Asian mafia has been funneling him money for nearly ten years to study torture on the human body. Now that he's been discovered, he fears for his own life at the hands of the mafia to shut him up."  Jim's voice became hard. "He'll never get the punishment he deserves for what he's done."

"I'm not sure punishment means anything to a man like that. He's got to have a complete lack of conscience to do what he does."

Jim seemed to agree. "They found all these journals documenting how much pain their victims were suffering. None of their words had any emotion whatsoever. " Now his voice quavered. "I guess I should be grateful Blair only got electro-shock treatment, considering what they did to some of their other victims. God only knows what they intended for me."

Simon sighed heavily. "You'd think they'd go after transients who were unlikely to be missed."

"They wanted healthy specimens, since those were the type of people the mafia would be after. They were careful to abduct people from all over the country, and drive them back to their lab, so that there wouldn't be any pattern to the disappearances."

"It's a wonder Williams didn't flee when you and Blair escaped. Surely, they saw from your ID that you were a cop."

"He didn't think we had a chance out in the elements. Plus, he told his mafia contact about our escape and they assured him that they would take care of tracking us down and eliminating us. But there hasn't been any sign of mafia activity."

"Maybe the mafia got what they wanted and decided it was time to 'dispose' of Williams, and let the FBI do it for them."

A snort from Jim.

"Did they find the body of the man you killed?"

"Yeah, Williams had buried him. He had no remorse about that either, other than it was going to be much harder to abduct people by himself, unless the mafia could find him another assistant."

"Unbelievable. I still want to think that, deep down, all of mankind is ultimately good - wants to be good. But after something like this...."

Blair finally opened his eyes and saw Jim rub his head wearily and answer with a subdued, "Yeah."  Then Jim looked over at Blair and broke into a smile.

"Hey there, Chief," he said, approaching the bed. He had whiskers again, but they weren't very long. "You been awake for awhile?"

Blair nodded.

Jim rubbed his fingertips along Blair's cheek. "You were so quiet."  

I wasn't screaming. Maybe the surrounding voices of friends had been comforting.

"You'll get released after breakfast tomorrow," Jim said, sitting on the bed. "We still have to stay here one more day to get everything tied up with the FBI. We'll stay back at that inn with the fireplace."

Blair smiled.

"Then we can go home."

Blair wanted to smile wider. Instead, his eyes filled with tears.

Jim leaned down and rested his face against Blair's. "I feel the same way, buddy. Exactly the same way."

Blair's eyes opened in the darkness. He was sleeping on the comfortable mattress, curled on his side, in the room with the fireplace. He'd enjoyed the fireplace most of the day, sitting in front of it with blankets and dozing, or listening to various conversations of the people moving in and out to talk to Jim and Simon. Jim had asked him once if he wanted to talk to the FBI now, and Blair had shaken his head. His answer didn't appear to disappoint Jim; in fact, Jim assured him that they had all the evidence they needed.

His fingers and toes were still wrapped but he could now apply pressure without them hurting so much. He had cream he was supposed to use after every visit to the john.

He was getting better. He knew that not just because of how he felt physically, but because his mind was more alert. It kept creeping back to what had happened in the cold place with the Glassed Ones, unspeakable agony mixing and meshing with conversations he'd listened to later.

He remembered Jim saying, "God only knows what they intended for me."

He and Jim hadn't done anything wrong. They hadn't deserved this. They'd simply gone on a fishing trip - which had been so much fun - and then....

Jim roused from his deep sleep and realized that somebody was screaming.

He reached for Blair, who was curled in on himself, though his head was thrown back as he gave a series of screeching cries.

Chilled to the bone, Jim clamped his hand down over Blair's mouth. "It's all right," he said automatically. "It's all right now."

Blair jerked his mouth away. "It's NOT ALL RIGHT!  It's not!"  

Jim's relief that Blair actually spoke was overshadowed by the anguish coming from him. He gripped Blair tighter and admitted, "No, you're right, it's not all right. What they did can never be all right."

He rubbed large circles across Blair's back.

Even as he buried his face in Jim's shoulder and cried, Blair was weakly pounding at Jim's back with his fists.

"I hate them," he finally choked out and then dropped his arms.

"Yeah, I do, too."

He was aware of Simon getting on the phone and apologizing to the manager if people in other units called to complain about being awakened by Blair's screams.

As Blair cried louder, Jim lowered them both down to the mattress. He felt his own tears fall and resolved to let it happen, telling himself that they both needed this.

After calling the manager and saying that someone in their suite had had a bad nightmare - but was fine now - Simon was at a loss as to what to do.

He wasn't sure if Jim and Blair needed anything from him.

He finally got back beneath the covers, feeling like a voyeur as he listened to Blair's sobs - though he couldn't be sure they were all Blair's.

His own eyes watered.

After a time, he heard murmuring from the other bed. Then Blair clearly said, "I heard you yelling at them, demanding to know what they wanted, what they were doing to me. I wanted so much to tell you what was happening; and yet, I was afraid they were going to do it to you too."  

Jim said something in reply that Simon couldn't catch.

With weary anger, Blair said, "I kept asking them why they were doing this, and they would never answer. It was like they didn't even hear me. They just kept... torturing me."  The last words were tear-filled and the sound of a loud sniff emerged from the bed.

Simon listened to the soft noise of tissue being pulled from a box, and then he heard them both blowing their noises.

He eventually fell back to sleep.

Jim watched Blair's hand shake as he sipped his coffee. Blair was in the interrogation room, giving his statement to the FBI before their plane left later that afternoon. The FBI had insisted on talking with him alone, though Jim and Simon could watch from behind the one-way mirror, and Blair had assured Jim that he was okay with that.

Whereas, since escaping, Blair's whole demeanor has been one of almost childlike dependence, now that he was talking there was a hard edge to his voice and expression.

Jim kept telling himself that it was a positive step forward in his healing from this ordeal.

The FBI was still digging up bodies. The case was making national headlines and the media was eager to talk to the only known people to walk away from "Murder Mansion". Jim had turned down all requests. He wondered if, after returning home, he and Blair were going to have to leave town again for yet another vacation, until the media interest died down.

As it were, Simon was volunteering to put them up when they returned to Cascade, since the media was probably waiting for their return to the loft.

"And then," Blair told Agents Sutton and Thomas, "Jim was standing over me. I-I wasn't sure if I was imagining him. But-but he was... kind. Gentle. He released me from that table and carried me out. I went along with it - the fantasy, I mean - because it felt good."  He gazed at the table. "Not all of it was good. I was so cold, even after he brought clothes and blankets. But he was helping me even though I was a burden and he seemed leery of lots of things. He wasn't himself."  He shrugged. "I'm not sure when I crossed into believing it wasn't all a fantasy. Maybe not until last night."

Blair sat silent. He leaned down to sip more from his coffee, so that the cup wouldn't shake so much.

From where they watched, Simon quietly said, "I guess that explains why he was so easy to deal with. In his mind, it wasn't real anyway. It was just a fantasy he'd escaped to."

Jim could understand that. Whatever was going through Blair's mind then, he was fully cognizant now. Angry. Nerves shot to hell.

"That it?" Sutton asked inside the room.

Blair nodded, clasping his hands on the desktop, the bandages around his fingers a stark white contrast to the dark table.  Then he said, "Williams won't fry, will he, since he's copping a plea?"

"No, we're not pursuing the death penalty."

"I'd like to see him fry. Be electrocuted. I'd like to watch when it happens."

"Dear God," Simon said in a shaky voice.

Jim couldn't help but come to Blair's defense. "I feel the same way, Simon. I'd want to throw the switch."

"But Blair's always been so... compassionate. So forgiving."

"We would too," Sutton told Blair. "But we wouldn't have found out everything about the Asian mafia that we have without his cooperation."

"Still," Blair said, "even with his cooperation, it's not like you're going to catch any of those guys."

"Probably not. But we're going to damn well try."

"They'll just move operations somewhere else and continue their torture tests."

Sutton looked squarely at Blair. "This hasn't all been for naught, Mr. Sandburg. Because of you and Ellison, we've gotten rid of two people who were responsible for at least twenty-seven deaths. I know it doesn't seem like much after everything you've suffered, but it's huge to however many dozens of more lives have been saved because Percy Williams and his deceased partner are out of business."

Sutton placed his hand on Blair's arm. "I hope that, some day, you're able to appreciate that."

Blair lowered his gaze.

"We're all done here," Sutton said, standing. "I'll bring your friends in. You can go whenever you're ready."  He turned toward the door, then paused. "Thank you for everything you've told us. I know it couldn't have been easy."

He and Thomas moved away, and Jim and Simon entered.

Jim placed his hands on Blair's shoulders. "You ready, Chief?"

Blair nodded and stood.

"I hope you're hungry," Simon said, "because we've got plenty of time for a decent meal before we need to be at the airport."

They moved down the hall and Simon said, "You two go on. I've got to make a pit stop."

Jim and Blair emerged into the sunshine. When they found the rented SUV, Blair leaned back against it and crossed his arms. He looked up at Jim. "I don't like myself right now. I can't feel anything."

"You mean compassion for Williams and that other creep?"

Blair nodded.

Jim drew a breath. "Maybe you need to give yourself permission to hate them. There's truly some people in this world who aren't worthy of forgiveness, Chief."

Blair gazed at him. "I don't want to believe that."

"I know you don't. But if you can find a way to reconcile forgiveness with what those monsters did to you... you're a better man than I am."

"Maybe in about a thousand years," Blair said, trying to smile and failing.

Jim put his hand on Blair's shoulder. "Chief, you're going to see a therapist back home, right?"

Blair studied him for a long moment. "I will if you will."

Jim started to protest, and Blair held up a hand that still trembled.

"Jim, you're not yourself. Any more than I am. It would be hell for anybody to go through what you did, but with your senses...."  He looked away and swallowed, then looked back up again. "You know as well as I do that listening to someone else suffer is worse than suffering yourself. It's the mark of a compassionate human being."

Simon emerged. "Are we ready?"

They got in the car, Jim getting in the front passenger seat, while Blair got in the back where the seats had been righted.

As they pulled out of the lot, Jim resigned himself to getting therapy.

He wondered how long it would be before they both were themselves again - or as close to such as they were ever going to get.

What he did know was that he and Blair were more bonded than ever been before.

There was a great comfort in that.

They were going home. To a future.



Comments to



Main Menu Sentinel Menu