Voices. So he concentrated.
"He had too much to drink. Figures. Knew he'd grow up to be an alcoholic......"
"Shut up, Alex....."
Maybe he wouldn't concentrate, maybe he'd just keep floating......
"Blair? Honey? Can you hear me?......."
"Come on, buddy, let me see those blues...."
Concentration was good. *That* voice was good. He opened one *blue* and saw an angel. He tilted his head, closed the one, opened the other and.....Glenda? The Good Witch?
"There's no place like home....," he murmured.
"Wrong story, sweetie. Think - Cinderella."
He opened both eyes and asked the obvious, "What happened?"
"The prince tripped you. Can you stand, honey?"
"Aren't I? Standing, I mean?"
His mother shook her head, "No, you're currently sprawled on the floor, amidst crab puffs, olives and caviar toast points."
"My butt hurts."
"Um, that would be the prince also."
"Naomi......", Jim warned.
Blair turned his head to follow the favorite voice and was delighted to see Jim's face, swimming right next to his. "Hey, man, how ya doin?"
"Me? *I'm* fine, Sandburg, and better still if you'd stand up."
"Oh, okay. Standing. That's where your feet are flat on the ground?"
"You got it, Chief Darwin. Care to give it a try?"
"For you....anything. Besides, I've been standing for years. Standing still, standing up, standoffish, standing at attention, standing in line, standing behind you, standing on principle, standing pat, standing around..........", and he would have continued indefinitely, except two strong arms were sliding around him and lifting, and his feet were flat, and he just kind of leaned back, and smiled up at Jim, and said, "See?"
"I'm so impressed."
Now that he was *standing* he could go back to focusing....and immediately wished he hadn't. He already felt rotten, but looking at the sea of weird faces around him......and the addition of what looked like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.......he swayed and Jim's arm tightened.
"Come on, let's get you out the limelight and try to figure out what happened." Jim began to lead him toward a door next to the bandstand, but unfortunately, the Addams family was following, along with Abe Lincoln, his mother and the Tweedles. And someone who looked like maybe, Rasputin?
"Uh, Jim? We're being followed. And it's scary. Do I know all these people?"
"You do." Jim got the door opened, and hustled Blair inside, and it turned out to be a men's bathroom, with a couch against a far wall. Jim quickly got him down and a man in a white coat was handing him a wet cloth, which Jim gently draped across Blair's forehead.
"White coat. The man is wearing a white coat. Does he have a net too? For me?"
"No, Sandburg. He's the nice attendant, you know, fancy hotel, fancy ballroom, fancy ball, fancy....."
"....bathrooms. Whew, I really thought I was on my way to the nut house."
"Don't be silly, dear. You've been living in one for over three years.....where else could you be taken?"
"Gee, funny, Naomi. You're a crack up here."
"Sorry, Jim. Just worried."
Everyone started talking at once then, but Blair just tried to zone them all out, and he noticed one man, the guy dressed as Rasputin, and he was watching *him*, and Blair thought he should know the man.....and a name came to him, Marchand......and then - Marchand Mansion, and then - Emily.
Auggie decided to take matters into his own hands and began shooing everyone out, starting with his own sons, except Jim stood then, mouth open, as a tall, blonde woman, who'd come in with either Tweedle Dee or Dum, stepped forward and said his name.
"Jim? Jimmy Ellison?"
"Jen? Jennifer Reynolds?"
The tall, willowy blonde nodded and then added, "It's Winters now. I'm Jennifer Winters. Alex is my husband which means I'm soon to be," and she made a motion at the still prone Sandburg, "his step-sister-in-law?"
Hasty introductions were done, as Auggie sheepishly introduced his sons to Jim, Megan, Rafe, Henri and Joel, and Jim introduced Caleb Marchand. Blair just lay there, floating again, completely unaware, watching the circle of people who now stood a few feet away from him, and he was glad Rasputin wasn't looking at him anymore, because he needed to leave.
Blair sat up, swung his legs over the edge of the couch, stood uneasily, and then once he had his balance, he simply walked out.
Blair walked through the ballroom, oblivous of the people, of the stares, or of a large dark shape that tried to stop him.
"Sandburg? Hey, Sandburg, where're you going?" But Blair just kept walking, and Darth Vader, aka, Simon Banks was momentarily torn between going after Sandburg, or going to get Jim. He opted for Jim.
Once outside, Blair kept going, walking north, and he should have been freezing, but he wasn't, he didn't even notice the cold. Or the rain. He just kept walking.
Simon burst through the door of the restroom, and slid to a shocked stop. The room was full, with everyone talking, but they seemed to be talking nonsense, and nobody seemed to notice that Sandburg was gone.
The man in question whirled at the yell, seemed to blink, gave a quick glance to the couch and yelled, "SANDBURG!"
"He's gone, Jim. He just *walked out*, just like that. What the hell were you all doing? Needlepoint?"
Simon was nearly trampled in the onslaught.
Everyone pushed and shoved their way out of the bathroom, with Jim leading the way. As they stormed through the door, no one noticed that one of them was missing - Rasputin.
Jim ran through the dancers, out into the lobby and out the front doors of the hotel, everyone following, talking, asking, hands waving. No one in the ballroom seemed to think it was at all unusual for the people of Major Crimes to act in such a fashion, they just shrugged and kept on dancing and eating, with the Mayor and the Police Commissioner smiling and nodding their heads knowingly.
Once outside, Jim came to a stop, cocked his head and listened. The whole gang came to a shuddering halt, just missing Jim. They waited.
Jim started to run.
The gang followed. And it wasn't easy. Some were in heels and it was raining.
Blair stood in front of the chain link fence and looked up at the Marchand Mansion. He needed to get inside. He didn't know why, just that he did. He looked to his right, then his left and saw it. A chink in the fence. He moved left and when he got to the chink, he pushed and it gave just enough to allow him to slip through.
The house, the grounds, the full moon, the black shapes, the perfect Halloween picture. But Blair didn't notice any of it. Because to him, the house was well lit, the garden well maintained, and the year was 1967.
He walked up to the front door, smiling at the carved and lit pumpkins on the porch, at the black wreath that hung from the door, and at the fake spider webs that graced the dark corners. He didn't knock or ring, he just opened the door and stepped inside.
Caleb Marchand had no difficulty keeping Sandburg in sight. The young man was totally oblivious to being followed. And Marchand *did* have to follow, he had to know what Sandburg had meant when he, no, when *Emily* had said, "The boy will leave the house, but not until he has held the truth up to the light of day." He had to know.
Jim had to stop twice, as the sounds of thunder had now been added to the normal city sounds. But each time, he concentrated, and each time he found that heartbeat again. Then he'd start running, and the others would follow.
The foyer was decorated for Halloween, with pumpkins on the floor, and gathered around a table in the middle. In the corner, stood a papiermache witch, surrounded by ghosts, and on the table sat a cardboard Frankenstein, legs hanging over the edge, and behind him, Dracula perched, looking ready to drink blood.
The whole house was alive and festive and Blair felt immediately comfortable. Until he heard the yelling. The voices seemed to be coming from the room to his right, so he turned and walked in.....
Two men stood, almost nose to nose, one dressed for Halloween, dressed to look like a zombie, the other in a business suit. It was the suit who was yelling.
"GOD DAMMIT, I'M YOUR BROTHER!"
"And you stole from *our* company. My God, Caleb, you've embezzled over a million dollars. The company is broke. What am I supposed to do? Roll over and try to slough it off as bad investments?"
The man called Emmett walked away from his brother and over to the fireplace, where he took a poker and flicked it into the wood, sending up new sparks.
"You should be the one to go to the board, Caleb. Confess what you've done. The family will stick by you. We'll manage, we'll find a way, help pay back the money. But you must tell the truth."
"It's so easy for you, isn't it? You've always had it all....the fame, the beautiful wife, the boys, everything. This will end my life, Emmett, end it. Do you understand?"
Emmett turned, shock written over his handsome face. "Is this what it's all about? Me? Some rivalry?"
"You and I had the same life, Caleb. Went to the same schools, had the same opportunities, the same struggles. How can you think this is easy for me? Or is this about Emily? Because she chose me? Is that it?"
"YOU GODDAMNED SELF-RIGHTEOUS MAN! SO PERFECT, SO GOOD. WELL NOT THIS TIME. IF I GO TO THE BOARD, IT WILL BE TO TELL THEM YOU DID THIS. YOU STOLE THE MONEY!"
"Caleb! They won't believe you, you know that."
Caleb moved toward his brother, slowly, menacingly, until he stood close enough to strike out, which he did. Hard. Emmett Marchand fell to the floor.
"Oh, yes, little brother, they *will* believe me." And Caleb Marchand pulled a gun from his pocket, knelt down next to his brother, lifted one limp hand, wrapped the fingers around the handle, placed the muzzle against one temple, put his own finger over Emmett's and pulled the trigger.
Blair tried to yell, to move, to stop it, but he couldn't. He was frozen in quicksand, his throat tight and his eyes wide.
The front door opening, and Blair turned, almost against his will, and saw a lovely woman enter, followed by two teenaged boys, maybe fifteen and sixteen. They were laughing, their arms full of candy.
Caleb didn't hear them, he was transfixed by the blood, and his hand, still wrapped around his brother's.
Emily Marchand walked, still laughing, into the livingroom, and she seemed to walk *through* Blair, who reached out to stop her, to warn, but the stricken faces of her sons caused her to turn.
"Oh, dear God."
Caleb whirled around at the voice, the gun coming with him.
Emily dropped the packages onto the floor and started to run to her husband, and Caleb, without even thinking, raised the gun and fired.
The lights went out, cold seemed to encompass Blair, the house was damp, musty, old.
He was back in 1999.
He shook his head, and realized that he was crying. And that he was grateful he'd been brought back before he had to witness the death of those boys. He put a hand to his face, felt the moisture, wiped, and gazed up at the portrait on the wall above the fireplace.
Emily Marchand. Wife, mother. Aged 36 when she was murdered by her brother-in-law. She and the boys had been shopping for Halloween candy, before the boys would be going out to their own parties. Shopping. Candy.
"You won't leave here alive."
The voice. The man, years ago. The voice on the phone earlier, and the voice at the party tonight. Blair slowly turned to face Caleb Marchand.
"Yes, I will. And I'll leave with the truth. *YOU* killed them. In cold blood. Your own family. Your brother, your sister-in-law and your nephews."
Caleb stepped in closer and hissed, "No proof. None. People going to believe *you*?"
"Proof here in the house, right? Somewhere? That's why you won't let it be torn down? Maybe?"
Blair looked around. Mind speculating.
"A boy slips in, over twenty years ago. He could find something. So you follow him, and he walks in here......," Blair moves away, walks to the fireplace. "Maybe in this room? The proof?"
"Maybe Emmett confronted you with the proof? Waved in front of your face? And after the killings, you hid it? But you could have burned it......so why didn't you?"
Caleb's eyes narrowed, and he was suddenly frightened. How.....did this man know?
And Blair just kept on thinking - out loud, mind whirling......
"Because you hated him, didn't you? Hated your brother? And you were more clever, you managed to steal all that money, and you wouldn't want to destroy your accomplishment. And you wouldn't want this house torn down, because it's a monument, isn't it? To how you beat him, beat your own brother."
"I'll bet you drive by here every day, and chortle. And gloat. But no more. It's over and Emmett's name will be cleared."
Caleb had no gun this time, no weapon of any kind, but he had his hands. He advanced on Sandburg, arms outstretched, and Blair just stood there, letting him come, and smiling.
The front door was shoved open, and Jim ran in, followed closely by everyone else, and just like twenty-two years ago, Jim tackled Caleb Marchand.
His body hit Marchand's like a two ton truck and both bodies were thrown backward and into Blair, who was, once again, tossed against the broken down chair.
Blair was on hands and knees, head shaking, as Jim and Marchand turned and twisted, and just like the party, everyone was talking at once.....
"What the hell?" ......"Who is that?"......"MYGOD, that's Caleb Marchand!" "Somebody help him!"........"Blair, honey?"........
"ELLISON, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?"
It was Simon Banks who finally ended it. His loud demand got Jim's attention, so the detective gave Marchand a quick jab to the jaw, and stood, brushing off his white slacks.
Blair got shakily to his feet, suddenly cold, wet, tired and completely baffled.
Simon took immediate charge.
"EVERYBODY, QUIET! NOW!"
"Well, just who does he think he is?" Alex whispered to Alan.
Simon whirled and hissed out of his Darth Vader helmet, "I'm *Captain Simon Banks, that's who. You gotta a problem with that?"
Two Tweedle heads shook in the negative.
"Good. Now listen up people. Rafe, get a squad car down here, pronto. Megan, cuff that bastard. H, don't move, and you stink. Is that costume made out of wool? Joel, take off your jacket and give it to Sandburg, he's freezing. And Sandburg, tell us what the fuck is going on.....".
Naomi and Auggie automatically moved to surround Blair, as if he needed more protection, but Jim beat them. As Joel wrapped his brown coat around Blair, Jim wrapped him in his arms.
"Hey, man, not here, not in front of everybody."
"This is family, Chief. Shut up and enjoy."
"Don't tell him to shut up, he has some explaining to do." Simon pushed.
"Here that, Lucy? You've got some 'splaining to do. So, 'splain."
"Well......Caleb stole a million dollars from their company, and Emmett found out and and confronted him on Halloween, and Caleb hit Emmett and he fell, right here," Blair pointed to the spot where Emmett's body had fallen, "and then he took a gun and put it in Emmett's hand and put the gun to Emmett's temple and pulled the trigger, and Emily and the boys came in and saw and he shot them too, and the proof is here, somewhere, and he didn't want the house torn down, because he's a sick bastard and he hated Emmett."
"Uh, that's about it. I don't think I left anything out. Oh, except, he probably would have killed me, all those years ago.....maybe because he was afraid I'd find something, but more likely he wanted to use a death to keep people away."
"Gee, Chief, is that all?"
Blair thought for a moment, face crinkled in consternation, then he nodded and answered, "Yep, that's all. Oh, no it isn't....the proof. You'll need the proof." And he pulled out of Jim's embrace, albeit reluctantly, and moved to the center of the room. Everyone stilled, eyes glued to the indian.
Megan had Marchand up, cuffed, but like the others, she waited....and watched. And Marchand shook, with rage and fear.
Blair pivoted. Slowly. Eyes taking in every corner of the moonlit, flashlight illuminated room, every possible hiding place. At least, that was what he appeared to be doing. In actuality, he was watching Caleb Marchand. Undercover, but watching. As his body turned to the fireplace, Marchand's eye twitched, but as looked down at the hearth, nothing. So he looked up.....at Emily. And Marchand blanched.
"Jim, check Emily's portrait. Maybe.....behind it?"
Jim didn't question, he just moved forward, waved Simon over to the other side, and both men carefully lifted. And Marchand went wild. He pushed with all his strength and Megan flew back, into Auggie's ready arms. Then Marchand, who was cuffed in front, threw his arms over the nearest person to him, namely, Naomi, and pulled her into his chest, arms tightening around her neck.
"EVERYONE BACK, DON'T TRY TO STOP ME OR SHE WILL DIE!"
It seemed silly to point out that everyone was already *back*, so Blair took a step forward, and speaking in low, soothing tones, using his best *guide* voice, he said, "You can't leave, Caleb. She won't let you. Don't you know that? She's controlled this for a very long time. She brought me here, she made sure I *saw* almost everything. I was here, Caleb, right here in this room when you shot your brother. And his family," as Blair talked, he moved. And kept moving, slowly, easily, "She's hardly going to let go now. Let *you* go."
"SHE'S DEAD. THEY'RE ALL DEAD. NO ONE CAN STOP ME. SO BACK OFF, OR SHE DIES!"
"Look behind you, Caleb." Blair spoke quietly, but firmly.
"You think that will work?", he hissed. "There is no one there, now shut the fuck up."
He should have looked. Everyone else did. And everyone else saw the shifting shape, the long, slender, white, shifting shape. Tendrils of white seemed to reach out, to enfold Caleb Marchand, and the room seemed to lighten, and the shape touched Caleb's neck, wrapped around him, and he screamed, and Naomi slid out from under his arms and into her son's.
Caleb Marchand contined to scream, even as the whiteness faded away, and the room darkened once more. And Caleb Marchand *stopped* screaming and dropped to the floor.
Megan was the first to move. She knelt beside him, checked his neck and looked up at Blair, stunned. "He's dead. He's - dead."
Lights, sirens, men and women moving silently, a camera crew filming......Barney the dinosaur explaining to several officers.....a huge, human cigar talking to the coroner......Morticia Addams being hugged by Gomez.....Glenda, the Good Witch being hugged by Abraham Lincoln..... and alone and forgotten, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, twiddling their fingers, with spouses/dates tapping impatient heels.
And on the front porch stoop, seated with head in hands, sat an indian, being comforted by Tony Manero.
"You want to talk about it, yet?"
The curly haired indian shook his head.
"Did you really see...."
The curly haired indian nodded.
"And she really did....."
The curly haired indian nodded again.
"And he really would have...all those years...."
The curly haired indian looked up, frowning.
"Damn. I just knew it. The only thing I really had to hold over you, and it's gone."
Tony Manero placed a hand on the indian's forehead. "Nope, you're not running a fever."
"I'm talking about the Blessed Protector crap. I've always prided myself on the fact that no matter what else happened, I *knew* that I had really saved *your* life first. See?"
Tony Manero shook his head.
"The friggin garbage truck. Only now, it seems you really did save my sorry ass first. Damn. I mean, it's not like I have a great deal going for me here, you know? I *needed* that."
"Weeelll, we could go back in time, take a "do-over", and I could *not* save you. But that would be rather pointless, cause then, you wouldn't be around to save me first....if you get my meaning, doofus." And with that, Tony Manero swatted the back of the indian's head.
"Still, you do have a great deal going for you...like your ass, and your mouth, and your......ass....oh, and me. You've got me going for you."
"Like a ton of bricks."
"Yep. Wanna go home and shore up some bricks?"
Blair looked over to the sidewalk, where the Tweedles were standing, and shook his head. "I have some unfinished business that I'd like to take care of first. Do you mind?"
Jim followed Blair's line of sight, and nodded sagely. "No, not a bit. Can I help?"
The squad cars, coroner's wagon, news media and lookie-loos were gone and quiet reigned once again. There was only a slight drizzle now to mar what was left of Halloween. Cars had been retrieved, and now waited for owners.
Jim had briefly conferenced with the gang from Major Crimes before they all took their leaves with waves and yelled good byes to Blair.
Jim was standing next to Auggie and Naomi, talking quietly, heads occasionally turning toward Blair and nodding. Blair remained where he was, sitting on the stoop, trying to figure things out, while at the same time - plotting.
"Hey, Sandburg, long time no see."
He looked up to see Tweedle Dee standing in front of him, foot resting on the top step.
"Alex, isn't it? Or is it Alan?"
"Alex. Busy night. How did I know your life would be anything but normal?"
"Probably the same way I knew yours would be boring."
Brown eyes narrowed before Alex spoke again, "Seems we can't stay away from this place, uh? Still spooks you, doesn't it?"
Blair was saved from answering by the appearance of Jim, Naomi and Auggie. Jim stepped behind Blair and rested one hand lightly on his shoulder.
"Chief, your mother and Auggie are going to join us for dinner tomorrow night. How does that sound?"
Auggie walked up to his son, and added, "And so are you, Alex and your brother as well. We're all about to become a family, and this is a perfect opportunity to get to know one another again." He turned to Blair and asked, "What time would be good, and can we bring anything?"
"I'm easy. How about seven? That'll give us time after work. And just bring yourselves."
A few mumbled comments from the Dum's and Dee's, a jovial good-bye from Auggie and Naomi, and a sudden kiss on the cheek to Jim from Jennifer, and Blair and Jim were alone.
"I may have to kill her."
"Nah, not worth it. Long ago and far away."
Jim reached out and gave Blair a hand up, and they stood, looking up at the house.
"You sure you want to do this tomorrow? Especially after tonight?"
"I'm positive. And what was so strange about tonight? Seemed perfectly normal to me, for us, that is."
"You've got a point there, Chief. But what exactly did happen? I'm getting old and your life seems to be passing me by..."
Blair wrapped one arm around Jim's waist and they started walking to their car.
"Well, you see......it was a dark and stormy night, and a handsome anthropologist cum thwarted detective was minding his own business when all of a sudden........"
"Are you sure this is going to work? I mean, I just don't see those two men falling for this."
Jim was standing across the kitchen island as his love drained pasta. Blair turned on the faucet, rinsed out the pot, and plopped the pasta down onto a plate.
"Jim, of course they wouldn't fall for anything, but I have do have an ace up my sleeve. You."
"Hey, I know I'm cute as hell, and a Sentinel, but how exactly does that help you tonight?"
Blair scooped the pasta into his homemade sauce, then covered it, to simmer, before turning back to his Sentinel.
"Boy, you sure are dense today. See, it works like this......"
The table was set, candles waiting. The wine was open and breathing on the counter, and the loft was filled with the aroma of simmering Pasta ala Sandburg and garlic bread. In the livingroom, seven adults sat uncomfortable, talking chit-chat.
"So, Chief, isn't dinner about ready?" Jim asked, surpressing his sense of desperation.
"Yeah, let's go eat, folks."
Everyone got up and drifted to the dinner table, where Jim poured wine, and Blair served.
The meal went - well, it went. Auggie was clearly disturbed at his sons lack of enthusiasm and Jennifer did nothing but flirt with Jim through the entire meal. Alex shot daggers, and Alan sniggered while his date, a hot brunette named Cindy, just looked bored. Naomi did her best, but every conversational gambit failed.
The meal finally ended and Jim went into his "script".......
"So, Auggie, I understand from Naomi that you're into classic cars and trucks?"
Auggie was perched on the arm of the couch, his arm draped around Naomi's shoulder. He nodded happily, his own "script" well rehearsed. "Yes. I love classics, cherried out, why?"
"Maybe you'd like to go down and look at my '69 truck? And Jeff Smithson, a neighbor, has a cherried out 1965 Fiat Spyder."
Auggie stood and waved his arm, "Let's go!"
"Wait just one minute, you're not going without me. Boys? You interested?"
Alex and Alan looked at their future step-mother as if she were an alien creature with three heads. She smiled and said, "Well, I guess not. Come on Jim, lead the way."
The door closed behind them, leaving Blair to "entertain" his remaining guests. Alex spoke first. "So, you and the cop an item, Baby Blair?"
Blair had been starting to feel guilty about what they were planning. That guilt just died a quiet death. "Yes - Alexbaby."
Jennifer's eyes blazed as she said, "I don't believe it for a minute. Jim Ellison is not gay."
Blair turned and sweetly addressed her, "You're right, he's not."
She blinked rapidly, her mind trying to take in his words, combined with her husband's....."But if you and he are a couple.....then that would make him gay....right?" She looked to Alex and then his brother for confirmation.
"Not at all. Both partners don't have to be gay, you know. *I'm* the gay one in this relationship."
She looked from one to another, and back again. Alex's jaw was twitching in anger, but Alan was trying very hard not to laugh outright and trying *not* to like his soon to be step-brother.
"Alex, honey, is that true?"
"Oh, for God's sake, shut up, Jen."
Blair got up and walked over to where Alex stood, behind the couch.
"You know, I owe you two, big time. I say it's time I collected."
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"You took me to Marchand Mansion all those years ago, and you left me. I was eight years old, Alex. Eight years old. You should have been taking care of me. But I was responsible too, I knew what you were both doing, but I wanted desperately to fit in....so I went."
"Well, water under the bridge, right? But I wonder, if now, after all that's happened, if you and Alan could go back into that house, alone, tonight? Could you?"
Alex's eyes narrowed, then he smiled, "You're joking, right? Like that would be hard?"
"So, you're willing to do it? Go back? Now?"
Alan stepped up to his brother and took his arm, "Alex, don't be ridiculous. It's pointless now. Let it go."
But Alex was angry. He felt *bested* by this man, and he'd made a fool of his wife. Who was still flirting with Ellison.
"I'm willing. No big deal."
"Good, let's go. Jim and your Dad will be down there a while. We can go and come back before we're even missed. You game?"
Alex nodded and turned to his wife, "Jen, you stay here with Cindy. We'll be back in no time."
But Jennifer had other ideas. "Fuck you, Alex. This is asinine. You are not going back to that house. You hear me? And furthermore, we're leaving. I don't like it here. I don't like *him*." And she pointed to Blair, who just smiled benignly.
"You will stay here, and Alan and I will back."
"Speak for yourself, Alex. I'm not going back into that house and I'm not afraid to say it."
Alex whirled on his brother and hissed out, "We're twins, you have to come with me."
"Gee, Alex, with logic like that, how can I refuse. All right, I'll go. But I want my protest logged."
"Consider it logged, Alan." Blair answered.
The three men stood outside the fence and looked at the empty house. Clouds obscured the moon, and a chilling November wind was stirring up leaves and howling through the trees.
"Well, go on, go inside."
"Alex, this is stupid. We've nothing to prove."
"Bro, shut up and follow me."
He pushed open the fence gate, and walked up to the door, Alan trailing behind him. Once up on the porch, Alex flicked on the flashlight, ripped at the yellow crime scene tape and pushed open the door. He stepped inside, closely followed by his brother.
Back on the sidewalk, Blair just waited. And if he had a slightly smug expression on his face? Who could blame him?
Once inside, Alex immediately turned to the livingroom, following the flashlight. He stepped over the threshold, and stood in the middle of the room, breathing harshly.
"Alex, how long are we supposed to stay here? And does it matter?"
"Fifteen minutes, and it matters to me. I won't let him get the best of me. Not that bastard."
Alan shook his head in disbelief. "Alex, he already *has*. The moment you agreed to this charade, he got the best of you. And to be truthful? He got the best of us twenty-two years ago. When we ran. When we left an eight year old boy to face God knows what."
"Oh, for crying out loud, we were kids. We didn't know any better."
"But now we do. And I knew then."
Alex was about to answer when an unearthly green glow seemed to come out of the wall from their left. It shimmered and brightened and moved toward the two brothers.
Alex stood rooted to the spot, but Alan was grinning, and admiring Blair's handiwork.
"This is so cool. How did he do that?" But before Alex could answer his brother, a disembodied voice seemed to surround them....
"Who are you to trespass? Leave now, or prepare to face the consequences."
Alex took an uncertain step back and Alan, who'd definitely decided to *like* his step brother, smiled hugely.
The green light seemed to spread out, to take the shape of a man, and he seemed to move toward Alex, who stepped back again, but the shape followed, and a hand seperated itself and lifted and pointed. Alan scratched his head and tried to figure out *how* Blair had gotten the green light to follow Alex.
"Leave now, do you hear me? You offend me. Now go, or stay forever."
Alex stumbled back, shot a desperate look at his brother, who smothered his smile and tried to look confused.
"Alan.....let's go. Now."
"I don't know, bro. We made a bargain with Blair....fifteen minutes and we've only been here five. You want to look bad in front of him?"
The green light now went deep purple, it's edges darkening, as if in anger. It moved toward Alex, hand outstretched.....
And with those words, Alex bounded out of the house, running fast, and leaving his brother behind.
Alan turned to the purple light, made a motion as if doffing his hat and said, "Good job, Blair, very good. I think I'm going to like being your brother."
The purple light went green again, then seemed to bow, and ghostly laughter followed.
As Alex ran down the steps and the walkway, he finally looked up and saw Blair standing just inside the fence, with his father and Naomi on each side.
He skidded to a halt.
He'd been thoroughly tricked. By a master. He glanced back and noted his brother, smiling, as he came out the front door.
"Damn, and double damn."
Auggie went forward and addressed his son, "Alex, you deserved it. Accept it."
Blair offered his hand. Alex took it. Alan came up and offered his, and he and Blair shook, both grinning from ear to ear.
"So, how did you do it?" Alan asked.
"Trade secret." And a Sentinel in your pocket, Blair added silently.
Auggie beamed down at his wife to be, then at his three sons. Life was good. Very good. And second chances were even better.
Blair stood on the curb, waiting for Jim. His mother, Auggie and the twins had left, with spouses and dates in tow, and now Blair was alone, waiting for Jim to unhook everything and pick him up. He glanced back at the house, and smiled. Emily should be happy now, and hopefully with her sons and husband? Their murder had been avenged, so surely she could finally rest.
The sound of the truck brought him back to the present.
"Hey, cute stuff, want a ride?" Jim said, as he leaned to his side from the driver's seat.
"Gee, I don't know. I'm dating this buff cop, and if he catches me, well.....".
"Fuck the buff cop, hop in and I'll take you for a ride you won't soon forget."
Blair seemed to ponder, then jumped in.
They looked at each other, eyes brimming with love, smiles plastered on their faces.
"Busy Halloween. Busy day after Halloween. Ghosts, murderers, brothers, fathers....."Jim said.
"Just another typical day in the life of....", Blair added.
"Blair and James Ellison," Jim finished.
"James and Blair Sandburg," Blair corrected.
"Man, you are so picky when it comes to names."
"This from a man who has difficulty using my first name. How many nicknames are you up to now?"
"Seven. But my favorite is, *Stud Muffin*."
Blair shook his head, giving every indication that Jim Ellison was a lost cause.
"Come here, let me kiss my Stud Muffin."
"I'll put you *out* to stud, if you keep this up."
"Oh, baby, trust me, I can *get* it up and I can *keep* it up."
He reached over and pulled his love into his arms and they kissed, long and deep, savoring the moment. Jim inched Blair back, until he was resting against the door, and as his tongue wrapped itself around
Blair's, his hand began to fumble with a zipper, and Blair moaned into his mouth. Finally Jim pulled away and scooted down, until his mouth was lined up with Blair's now fully erect cock. Before Blair could so much as breathe, Jim took him in.
"Shit, Jim, man.....truck here...oh, god, public, arrested....oh, yeah, like that, god, you're fantastic..... you're fucking crazy, NO! Don't stop, are you crazy? Oh, god, yeah, please, Jesus, Jim, dying here, what did you say? Shut up? Right, shut up....."
The house watched, and if Blair had been looking at the house, instead of the top of Jim's head, he would have seen four people at the window, gazing out, arms around each other. A blonde woman, her husband and their two teenaged boys. All smiling.
End - Revenge is Sweet. and thanks to Lyrade/k9 for loading and correcting my errors!
May she live in Blairheaven for the rest of her life. I kiss her feet. Blech!