Rating: R, but, but, but, what can I say? There is sex, okay? Relax.:)
Pairing: Let me guess.....uh, J/B?
Category: is there a category called weirdalyworld? if so, this belongs there. Otherwise, first time.
Date: June whatever
Series/sequel: probably a sequel
Archive: Yes, please
Other website: www.skeeter63.org/k9kennel
Disclaimer: I claim The Sentinel in the name of all slashers everywhere and everyone else can go jump in the lake. <aly, planting Jim into Blair
for all posterity>
Warning: Bought one of those small finger massagers. You know, the ones that say they're for massaging your temples? Well, I opened the damn thing in front of my mother and she asked what it was and I told her and she said what's it called and I said, "FUKUOKU 2000". Well, that did it. She gave me this look and said, "Surely you're not that stupid?" Hell I'm not. Damn thing works too.
Summary: Wherein a woman is scorned and something happens. Takes place after Sentoo.
Warnings/disclaimer: yep, but forgot to say, permission granted for all discussions. :))
NOTE: There is a note at the bottom of this, but not necessary to read until you get to it. :)) In fact, don't read until you finish part one.
He cowered in the deepest, darkest corner of the alley, body quivering, heart racing. Was it safe yet? Dare he venture out? Try to make it to the loft? To Jim?
He curled into himself, trying to listen, trying to determine if it was safe.....
Okay world, this is angry. Are you watching?
Jim Ellison - angry.
He strode to the balcony, anger and impatience in every line of his body. He pushed open the windows and stepped out.
Late again. The game started in twenty minutes and Blair was late again, no doubt due to a woman.
He was going, period. Without Sandburg. He stomped back in, grabbed his stuff and made damn sure he slammed the door. Yeah, so effective on an empty loft.
Safe? He could hear no gravel crunching underfoot, no other breathing, besides his own labored panting....
He should try now. He peeked out slowly, tentatively and found the alley empty.
Now. His chance was - now.
He unfolded his cold, cramped limbs, gave a little shake and slunk from his corner.....
He'd run. As soon as he was sure, he'd run, the whole way - he was sore, but he could do it. He peered around boxes....could see the street and it was so close, appeared - clear. It was time..... He took off.
He shot out of the alley, onto the street, ignored the vehicles, the horns blaring at him, the screeching brakes as he zig-zagged around cars, onto the sidewalk and finally he opened it up, legs pumping and he could see their building and he was almost there....
....but - no truck, no - Jim ---- and he didn't have keys, and.....
The lobby, at least he was in the lobby.
He skidded to a stop, gazed frantically around, need to hide...needed to hide, until Jim came....
There - in the corner, the dark corner.....he curled up tightly and waited....
Jim's fingers drummed an angry melody on the steering wheel as he waited in traffic. The fingers slowed....
He should go back. Blair would have called - something was wrong. He checked his left mirror, there was an opening, he signaled, shot over, made a hasty left, u-turned and headed back.
He pulled up in front of the building and damn, no Volvo.
Fuck. What an idiot he was, he climbed out of the truck and headed inside.
Footsteps. Angry footsteps. Jim's footsteps.
Blair uncurled himself, stood, and waited.
Jim strode in and over to the elevator.
Blair bounded over, thudding against him....
Jim could smell Blair - as if - he were close.
"Whoa! What the hell? He glanced down to see what hit him. "Hey, little guy, where did you come from?", his voice trailed off.
Leaning against his leg was a small, reddish brown terrier stood, but
what caught Jim's attention were the two earrings gleaming up at him
from the silky ear and around the shaking dog's neck, a leather cord,
· exactly like Blair's.
And, and, dear lord, those eyes - those - blue eyes?
"Good - God."
Jim cocked his head. The small dog cocked his.
Jim tilted his head in the other direction. The dog did the same.
Okay, how many small, reddish-brown-golden curly haired terriers had blue eyes? Any? Jim didn't think so. No, definitely not. But the alternative...
"Yip." A paw was lifted delicately and placed on Jim's shin. Then the paw - pushed.
"Nice - Blair doggy?"
"woo-woo!" The paw pushed again.
Okay, sentinels, guides, ghosts. But transmutted guides? On the other hand, this pup was wearing his partner's jewelry so the clue to his missing partner....
He bent over to scoop up the dog, but the puppy, guessing his move, made a daring leap and landed in the crook of his arms, still squirming, tongue lolling and tail wagging.
"Yes, well. Upstairs then."
Holding the dog under his arm, he inserted the key and turned. As the door swung open to reveal the loft inside, the dog began to wiggle, the result of a tail happily out of control.
Jim stood stupidly inside as the door shut behind him.
He had a dog in his arms. He gazed down at his floors. After three years, Blair Sandburg still wasn't housebroken, so what chance did his hardwood floors have against the canine version of said partner?
Still uncertain and somewhat stunned, Jim set the dog on the kitchen table. No, he didn't know why, except - his hardwood floors. He loved them.
He sat down and studied the dog who was
looking back at him with anticipation.
So - how?
Jim shook his head. If he was asking how, he must, to some extent, believe that the fleabag in front of him was indeed, Blair. Viewing the phenomenon from his detective persona, the evidence was somewhat, maybe, kind of - irrefutable. Sort of.
Unless he were hallucinating - a sensory weirdness that only the weird Sandburg could figure out. But - Sandburg was apparently a dog - at the moment.
He could be going insane. How long had he lived with Sandburg now? Going on four years?
Yes, insanity was a distinct possiblity. Not to mention years of lusting after said roomie, of solo salami-slapping while fantasizing about the whacky, weird and wonderful Sandburg.
Could it be possible, he wondered somewhat abstractly, that masturbation didn't cause blindness at all, but actually caused a canine fixation on the object of required masturbation?
Enough already, he needed a Plan of Action.
Okay, while waiting for sanity to return, he'd play along, find a cure, restore his partner and then take the salami-abstinence pledge.
"Um, was this an accident, Chief? Some weird anthropological translation gone awry?"
The dog had been sitting on its haunches, head cocked, ears up as he watched Jim think, but at the question, he crouched down, growled and nipped Jim's thumb.
"O-kaay, so this wasn't an accident?"
The pup sat up, his tail wagging happily as he gave another woo-woo.
Note for veterinarians everywhere; Woo-woo obviously meant yes in dogese. Assuming that the dog actually understood him.
Sure, why not.
"So something happened to you?" Another low growl told him, *duh and you've only got it half right*. Well, he wasn't Detective of Year for nothing.
"So, some one did this to you?"
Another woo-woo and a small jump told him he was correct.
"One of your many juggled girlfriends, Chief?"
"OW! You bit me!" Again. "Fuck you're touchy as a dog."
Said dog promptly nailtapped his way across the table to place his paw on one of the books sitting open on the table. Jim stared at the book, then at the dog, then back at the book and marquee lit up over his head as a memory struck.
"Uh, Chief, you were tutoring someone tonight, right?"
This time he got both a woo-woo, a yip and a slide as his paws danced on the tabletop.
"So she did this? Your student?" Now the dog started dancing on his hind legs, moving in circles until he got dizzy and - fell over.
"Ouch, that had to hurt. But I'm guessing I got it right in one." Then Jim froze as the import of what he'd just said made it into the important part of his brain.
A student at Rainier had turned his partner into a dog.
She'd turned him into a dog. He couldn't stop thinking about it. Someone had actually turned Sandburg into a dog.
A terrier. His partner was some sort of mutt-like terrier. With earrings. And his necklace. No clothes, but his jewelry. Weird. Oh, yeah, like he needed to make that observation. As if someone would think it were normal? Well, maybe the student.
"Was it accidental, Chief?"
Head down, ears back and another fierce growl told Jim it was no accident.
"She did this on purpose?" He asked incredulously. A menacing growl directed at the absent student said yes.
"So what did you do this time?"
Jim realized the moment the words left his mouth that he'd made a mistake. He fully expected another bite so was surprised when the dog's eyes grew impossibly round and seemed to fill with tears.
He'd just hurt the feelings of a dog.
No, he'd just hurt - Blair's feelings - again.
"Shit, Chief, I didn't mean it that way. Of course you didn't do anything to warrant this or any other action. You were just doing a favor for another T.A. - I'm sorry."
Blair dropped down, legs splayed out, chest heaving.
Damn, he looks cute. Jim shook his head, trying to dislodge the fact that he'd just said Blair looked cute - as a dog.
"Chief, why did she do this?" Good idea, move back into detective mode.
Blair sat back up, hope in his blue puppy dog eyes. *And wouldn't that
expression take on a whole new meaning in the future?*
With surprising grace, Blair trotted almost - seductively - over to Jim and in a move that could only be called sexual, he dropped into Jim's lap and began to nuzzle Jim's - crotch.
Frozen and stunned is my world, Jim thought.
Okaaay.....Blair is nuzzling my crotch. Nice. But he's a - dog. And he's - telling me something.
"She came onto you?"
A smothered woo-woo floated up to him. "And you turned her down, being the responsible TA that you are." No woohoo followed, just - harder nuzzling. A new way of saying yes? He could handle that. Hell, he was about to slide out of his fucking chair.
His body actually did slide as his bones started to disintergrate which was when he came to his senses - all five heightened senses. He grabbed the nymphodog and stood so abruptly, he overturned the chair. Bringing the mutt nose to nose, he stared. And received a lick for his troubles.
"Oh, sure, now you kiss me - with tongue. Where were you a few weeks ago when wet dreams were the order of the night? Uh? Answer me that?"
"Yip." The tongue snaked out again, but Jim plopped the animal, no - plopped Blair back down onto the table before he could get smacked by dogslobber - Blair or no Blair, dogslobber was dogslobber and a rose was a rose.....but for a dog, he had excellent breath, now that Jim thought about it.
Blair sat down and promply rolled over onto his back. His head tilted back, ears flopping backward, paws scratching the air.
He fucking wants me to rub his fucking stomach. No way in hell, Jim thought even as his hand reached out and started to rub....
As he rubbed, he asked, "Okay. So, this student morphed you. How?"
Blair growled even as one paw shoved Jim's hand lower on his tummy.
"I should know this?"
"Swell, I should know this. Okay," Jim mused, "She had something magical? Like a wand, maybe?"
Shit, the dog actually snorted. And damn if it didn't sound exactly like the patented, "Left your brains by the bed?* Sandburg snort.
"Okay, no wand. No thing. What does that leave? Oh, wait, spells. She cast a spell?"
Blair was up and dancing immediately, nails tapping the tabletop.
"Yes, that would be a yes. Spells. So she's a - witch?"
Jim sat down - hard. It was catching up to him.
He was having a conversation with a dog.
Who'd been his partner. Until a witchy-woman scorned turned him into a fourlegged flea trap that apparently understood english, liked his crotch and smelled pretty damn good.
Jim Ellison needed to commit himself. Happy Dale Farm, maybe?
A small, rough, pink tongue scraping the stubble from his cheek brought him back. He turned his head and found himself staring into the blue depths of his partner's eyes and as he stared, he saw - sadness. A deep, soul wrenching sadness. The small furry head butted up against his arm and buried itself in the folds of his shirt. Blair was trembling.
"Jesus, Chief. Jesus."
As the sounds of their city swirled about them, Jim Ellison sat at his kitchen table petting a forlorn and shaking terrier named Blair Sandburg.
Jim wasn't quite sure when it had happened, but somehow Blair had wound up curled in his arms, silky head still buried in the crook of Jim's arm, but now his whole body was burrowed into him, curled into itself and still trembling.
And when had Jim started to pet Blair?
The loft was in darkness, the only illumination being the lights from Cascade. Jim looked down at the small body and shook his head.
"Blair, what are we going to do?" He whispered, his voice tinged with a bit of fear and a great deal of wistfulness.
He hadn't expected his words to be heard, but the small head lifted and his eyes had no difficulty seeing the wide blue orbs staring so trustfully up at him. Shit.
"Okay, somehow, you need to find a way to tell me who this woman is. Can you do that?"
The tail started to wag, thumping against his forearm and it felt ridiculously good. Blair started to wiggle in his arms so Jim stood and placed him back on the tabletop. Blair promptly trotted over to his books, bent his head, nudged some over and away until only a thin, small black book was left. With his teeth, he grasped the edge and began to tug, doggy butt in the air, tail saluting Jim, who couldn't help his response to the sight. He laughed. A good, solid belly laugh.
Blair dropped the book and whirled to face the laughing Sentinel. His eyes narrowed, his small, furry dogface scrunched up, lips curling back over small, sharp teeth and he growled. A low, deep rumbling growl. A warning growl. But Jim ignored the threat, his laughter uncontainable.
One silky ear lifted, followed by the other as Blair got an idea.
He lifted one of his back legs.
Jim caught the movement and puzzled, tried to stop the laughter as tears rolled down his face. What the heck was Sandburg trying to tell him now?
Blair growled again and lifted the leg higher.
Jim got it.
"Now wait one minute, Sandburg. You eat off this table too. Don't even think about it. I mean, I'm sorry I laughed, but damn, you just looked so cute, tugging on that book, your little butt in the air.....um, well, maybe I shouldn't," embarrassed, his voice trailed off.
The leg slowly dropped back down as Blair snuffled into his muzzle, the small goldenbrown hairs around his chin wuffling with the movement. He turned his head back to the book and made a small chuffing sound. Jim, feeling that he was forgiven, reached over and picked up the book. Blair's address book.
Wouldn't you know it would be black?
"Okay, Chief, are you telling me she's in here?" He tapped the book as he asked.
The curly head shook impatiently. How Jim knew it was an impatient shake was up for grabs. But he knew. And if her name wasn't in this book, then someone who knew her was.
"So, someone who can help identify her is in this book?"
Jim sat back down and opened the book.
"Okay, I'll flip the pages and you stop me when I get to the right page, all right?"
"woo-woo." Blair trotted over to him and plopped down by his arm, one paw resting on his wrist, his head cocked expectantly. Jim sighed and began to turn pages. When he got to the f's when Blair pawed him.
"Hey, careful there, that's sentinel skin you're trying to scratch off and I take it that meant I should stop in the f's?"
"Okay, I'll say the names, you stop me when I say the right one. And this time, just woof." He rubbed his wrist absently, then started reading names. When he got to someone named Susan Fielding, he heard a strong, commanding woof, a sound almost - wolfish in nature. It got Jim's attention immediately.
"So, Susan Fielding. She can tell me?"
"Woo-woo," Blair said excitedly. Jim nodded, pleased that they'd come so far. He got up, picked up the phone, brought it back and dialed the number from the book. A few moments later, a lovely, low voice answered.
<<yes, this is Susan Fielding>>
"My name is Jim Ellison and I...."
<<of course, you're Blair's partner. What can I do for you?>>
Slightly taken back and wondering if he'd met her at one the many soiree's Blair had drug him to over the years, Jim stuttered a bit in his answer. "Well, I, if you, I mean, would you know who Blair is tutoring tonight?" He finally finished, lamely.
<<No one that I know of, but he was tutoring Mindy Collins earlier this
afternoon. I can't honestly stand her and Blair kindly took over for
"Do you have an address for this Mindy Collins?"
<<Um, sure, just a minute. Detective Ellison, is something wrong?>>
Not sure what he could possibly tell her, he decided to lie. Man, he'd been around Sandburg way too long.
There was a muffled sound, then;
<<Here it is. Mindy Collins, 1666 Coven St. number 13A. Do you need her
telephone number too?>>
"No, this is fine. And thank you, Ms. Fielding. I really appreciate this."
<<Oh, my pleasure. We all know how much you mean to Blair and I must
say, you two make a perfect couple>>
A perfect couple?! He and Blair? Oh shit.
"Yes, well, thank you again."
They said their good-byes and as he put the phone down, he gave a hard look at his partner. Who immediately sneezed.
"Bless you. You twit."
Blair sneezed again, his small head shaking, his ears flopping.
"Are you catching a cold?"
"I should have guessed. No twenty layers of clothes. What am I supposed to do? Put one of those little doggie sweaters on you?"
Blair growled and lifted his leg again.
"Hey, don't get snippy with me. I hold your life in my hands right now. Not to mention your future meals. Feel like a little horsemeat, puppy?" Jim taunted, while sitting back and away since he was fully expecting another bite. But all Blair did was to - let loose.
"Ah, dammit, Blair," he muttered, even as he hurried into the kitchen for a ream of paper towels and disinfectant.
Blair finished and trotted over to the far edge of the table, lifting each paw delicately, ensuring that he didn't mess his fur. He sat down, tail swishing and watched, a fully satisfied air about him.
Jim mopped up the small yellow mess then spent over twenty minutes disinfecting, disinfecting and more disinfecting. Blair snorted several times and for his efforts, got a spray of the stuff aimed in his direction. He blinked a couple of times, sneezed again, then using his paw, he swiped at his face.
Jim put the paper towels into the trash, tying the bag and setting it just outside their door. He put the Lysol away and stood glaring at the animal on his table.
"Just for that, Sandburg," and he pounced, capturing the dog before he could move. He held the now squirming animal up and away from his body as he walked resolutely over to the balcony. He pushed open the window and set the dog down. "You act like a dog, you are a dog. You can just stay out here, you mutt."
He was about to close the window when Blair, using his superior brain power and smaller size, scooted past Jim with a graceful leap, back indoors and ran full speed ahead up the stairs to Jim's bedroom.
"OH, NO YOU DON'T YOU MONGREL!" And the chase was on.
The chase lasted all of one minute which was the time it took for Jim to scramble up the stairs and skid to a stop in the middle of his room, where he found Blair poised and ready to strike again. Right smack dab in the middle of Jim's bed.
"So, this is war, is it?" Jim's eyes narrowed and unconsciously his body hunched forward, ready to spring into action like the feline predator he was.
Blair responded in kind. He lowered his head, curled his lips, and snarled.
Jim took one threatening step forward. Blair growled low in his throat.
Jim took another step forward, his own growl matching Blair's. Blair's front paws began to dig into the bedspread, as small sounds of anger filled the room.
Jim took - one - more - step, and yowled.
Blair lifted his back leg again.
"You couldn't possibly be able to go again, not after that load you dumped on the kitchen table."
The leg lifted higher.
Jim quickly raised both hands in supplication.
Shit, it was bad enough to lose to the kid when he was human, but as a fucking dog? He'd never this down.
"Okay, I'm sorry. That crack about the doggie sweater was way out of line. I apologize." He put every drop of sincerity in to his voice, but the leg didn't budge.
"Okay, I maybe shouldn't have said anything about - horsemeat. And I probably shouldn't have tried to put you outside. That was - wrong and selfish and insensitive."
The leg remained steadfastly at attention. Jim wracked his brains....
He dropped his head in shame. "I should never, never have called you a - mongrel. Or a mutt. That was - beyond reprehensible."
He lifted his head slightly, just to get a quick peek and the leg was lowering slightly.
"I'm an anal retentive jerk who isn't good enough to lick your - shoes. I don't deserve you, I take you for granted and don't appreciate you nearly enough." The leg moved no lower.
"And of course, I realize the seriousness of this situation and we still
have to find out how to get you back into human form." <Don't snort,
The leg dropped a bit more.
"I mean, this is totally unacceptable. How dare she turn my partner into a dog? She'll pay, Chief, I promise. And we will get to the bottom of this."
Blair sat down and sneezed again. He lowered his head and gave a little yip.
Then, before Jim could move, Blair toppled over.
Jim sat in a corner, the small, shaking bundle in his arms wrapped snugly within the confines of Blair's blanket. He gazed dazzedly about him, at the other patients and owners and shook his head, as if trying to wake up. This had to be a dream. Had to be. There was no way he was sitting in a veterinarians office with Blair, as a dog, wrapped up in his arms - and sick. No way.
Jim stood, the body curled up in the blanket trembling even harder than before. In a stupor, Jim followed the green clad assistant into the examining room.
Jim carefully unwrapped his shaking partner as the doctor entered the room from the other door.
In the short time since Blair's collapse on Jim's bed, his breathing had worsened, as had his sneezing. Now he burrowed into the folds of the blue blanket that surrounded him, his small whimpers tearing at Jim's soul.
"Well, Mr. Ellison, what seems to be the problem with," he glanced at the chart in his hands and finished with, "Blair?"
"I, well, we were, um, kind of - well having a game of chase, so to speak, and he ran upstairs and - just - collapsed. I bundled him up and shot right over. You can help him, right?"
"I'm sure we can, Mr. Ellison. But there seems to be some information missing from his chart. Can you tell me how old this pup is?"
Jim did some quick mathmatics in his head and piped up with, "He's about - four and half years old. About."
"Um, looks a mite younger. Very puppyish. Must get lots of exercise.
Keeps a dog young."
"Uh, yes, loads of exercise. Never stops moving, actually. Talks up a storm too."
The good doctor smiled in appreciation and as he put the chart down, he began stroking the silky soft fur even as practised fingers investigated. Blair wasn't able to stand without wobbling so he lay by Jim's arm, his head resting on Jim's open hand, those blue eyes closed in weariness and pain.
Dr. Schmidt put on his stethescope and checked Blair's heart and lungs, frowning as he did so. "I'm going to have to turn him, I need to check his eyes, ears, nose, mouth and throat. I'll be careful."
Jim helped and together, they got Blair scooted around on the stainless steel table. The doctor lifted Blair's head and turning it, checked one ear, then the other, got his mouth open with some difficulty, peered inside, checked his teeth then lifted his eyelids and took a step back.
"Um, he has - blue eyes. I don't believe I've ever seen - blue eyes like that on a terrier. Or for that matter - on any dog. I mean, there are blue-eyed dogs, but not on a terrier and not blue like - these. This is amazing."
"Yes, well, Blair is an amazing - dog. Very special, you know?"
"Yes, I can see that. Well," the doctor humphed importantly, "Let me get on with this. I'm going to take his temperature, so if you'll just hold him...."
He turned and picked up the thermometer, shook it, lifted Blair's tail and took aim.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!?!" Jim screeched in abject horror as Blair whimpered pitieously.
"I'm, well, naturally, Mr. Ellison, I'm going to take his temp."
"Well, for heaven's sake, do it the normal way. You trying to scar him permenantly? He'd never recover from such an indignity!!"
Dr. Schmidt shook his head in bewilderment. He'd seen a lot of weird owners in his time, but this guy took the cake.
"Mr. Ellison, dogs and cats will bite down on the thermometer, and that could kill them. Now, just let me do my job and we'll find out what's wrong with your pup."
"Excuse me, Dr. Schmidt, but my dog will not bite down on that thermometer." Jim puffed out his chest and added, "He's special. Now just stick the god damned thing in his mouth and take his temperature."
The doctor began to shake his head and to lift the tail once more, so Jim simply took the thermometer from his hand and said, "Open wide, Chief."
Blair opened wide and Jim rested the thermometer under his tongue as Blair closed up. He waited. The doctor waited, stunned.
After two minutes, Jim repeated,"Open wide, Chief", and once again Blair opened and allowed Jim to remove the thermometer and hand it to the doctor.
"Um, it would appear - I mean, evidently, your dog is running, what would appear to be, the equivalent of a human fever. I'd say, about - 102."
"And that means?"
"Well, I'm going to need to check out a few more things, take blood, and let's hope this isn't distemper. He has had all his shots, yes?" Jim lifted his chin stubbornly and aswered, "Of course."
Jim wondered if having shots for all sorts of third world diseases counted?
As the examination progressed, Blair seemed to worsen. His trembling increased as did his whimpers. Jim actually felt tears threaten as the thought of all that they'd been through in the last years and that maybe, this was how....
Jim shook his head and muttered, "no way, Jose."
"Did you say something, Mr. Ellison?"
"Um, no, nothing. How is he, Doc? He definitely appears to be getting worse to me."
Dr.Schmidt stepped away from the table and the small bundle of shaking fur, reached for something, then changed his mind.
"Mr. Ellison, I must be honest here. I've checked him and everything seems - quite contradictory. His - responses are - very unusual, and well, I'm puzzled. I think it best if you leave him with us overnight, let me do some more tests and hopefully, I'll have an answer for you in the morning."
That was all Jim had to hear. He gently rewrapped Blair and lifted him into his arms.
"No way is he staying overnight. No way. He hates hospitals. And in a cage? Nuh, huh. Ain't happening."
"Mr. Ellison, his condition is serious. Critical even. In spite of the contradictions in the test results, my best guess is that your dog is - dying. Let me help."
"SO YOU CAN PUT HIM DOWN? I DON'T THINK SO, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!"
With those words, Jim strode out and never looked back.
He couldn't start the engine right away, his anger almost palpabl, his hands shaking. He needed to calm down, stamp down his fear and gather his wits. Blair was in his lap for the simple reason that Jim was afraid to separate from him in any manner.
As he petted, stroked and calmed, he kept up a litany in his brain.
He isn't dying, he isn't dying, he isn't dying....
But Jim knew - Blair was dying.
Was it part of the spell? Like - maybe if he wasn't returned to human form in so much time, he died? Or maybe the puppy body simply couldn't handle the human contained within? Or maybe he'd seen too many horror movies as a child? Or he'd been around Blair and his open mind too long?
A whimper floated up to him and he glanced down to see pain-filled, dulled blue eyes gazing at him with so much trust and so much love that it took Jim's breath away.
With shaking hands, he started up the truck and soft music from the radio filled the cab. He started to turn it off, but the words of the song stopped him.
*All the while you were in front of me, I never realized, I just can't
believe I didn't see it in your eyes.*
It had been there all this time - Blair's love for him and he hadn't seen it. Been completely blind and deaf to the proof that stood beside him day in and day out. But not seeing it in Blair hadn't stopped him from crashing into love himself. And like the song said, he had crashed into it. It hadn't been slow and easy and gradual, no, it had been hard, tumultuous and fast. And sometimes - like now - painful.
God, so painful.
He would not lose this. Would not lose him.
Not again, not ever again.
"It'll be okay, Blair, I swear it. I'll find, no, we'll find a way out of this and you'll come back to me and our lives will be as they should be."
A tired, but hopeful, woo-woo was muffled into his leg. He smiled.
They would beat this.
Didn't they always? Damn right they did.
He pointed the truck in the direction of Mindy Collins.
Somehow, someway, this would end tonight.
The building that housed Blair's witch was a very small, unassuming quadraplex on the westside of town. He parked in front and sat in the truck staring up at the building. "I'm not sure how to do this, Blair. I'm afraid to take you inside, but don't want to leave you here, alone and sick." He looked down at his partner, hoping for an answer. "Tell me what to do, please?"
Blair struggled up, his body swaying slightly as he tried to perch all four paws on Jim's right leg. The blanket fell around him and he bravely lifted his head and gave a weak yip.
"Okay, we do this together. Like there's any other way? Not for Ellison-Sandburg, right partner?"
But somehow the idea of walking into that woman's home, with Blair in his arms, didn't appeal to Jim. He needed another way....
His gym bag.
"Chief, I think it would be better if she didn't know that I know what she did, okay? So how about I put you in my gym bag? It's in the back and I can make it nice and comfy, okay?"
"woo-woo," came the tired reply.
"Right then." He placed Blair on the seat, climbed out, reached back and grabbed up his bag. He took everything out, placed the blanket inside then carefully lifted Blair and tucked him in. He fit perfectly. Snug as a Blair in a rug.
"You okay in there? Plenty of air?"
"Okay, here we go. And don't make a sound."
He knocked on 13A and was wondering how a building with only four apartments could have an apartment 13 and was that number 13B across the hall when a young woman of about twenty answered.
She was lovely, Jim acknowledged, in a cold kind of way, with jet black hair, pale, creamy skin and dark, dazzling blue eyes.
"I'm Mindy. And you are?"
Her voice, when she spoke, was reminiscent of - Blair's. Silvery, low, and guidelike. The richness of it surprised Jim but he found himself almost - hurting because of it. As if her voice was the same but the opposite of Blair's. One was good and healing, the other - well, the opposite.
"I'm James Ellison, Blair Sandburg's roommate? I believe he was tutoring you today?"
"Yes, Mr.Sandburg was here earlier today, why?"
"Well, he hasn't come home yet and I was worried and remembered his tutoring job and thought maybe his car, well, his Volvo is not exactly dependable. I take it, he's not here?"
"No, Bl-Mr. Sandburg left hours ago. He was in quite a - hurry actually." She grinned and that smile sent shivers up and down Jim's spine.
Jeesh, she was a piece of work.
"Would you mind if I used your phone then? He might be home by now."
"Of course, it's right over here." She walked to a small table by the a half-door that appeared to lead to into a small kitchenette, lifted the cordless phone and handed it to Jim.
As he dialed, he gave a sneaky shove to his bag, effectively shifting it further behind him.
He let the phone ring, let the answering machine pick-up and stood silently as Blair's spiel regarding Detective Ellison being *unavailable due to his need to detect dirt on the ants that might trek inside his pristine home* and Mr. Sandburg being unavailable *because he was having too much fun watching Ellison catch ants* was followed by the requisite, "At the sound of...."
When he heard the beep, Jim said, "Sandburg, pick up, it's me." He waited, showing just the right amount of impatience and worry, then shrugged helplessly at his hostess and finally hung up.
"Well, I guess he's still not home."
Making a show of fluffing up the pillows on her paisley couch, Mindy smiled benignly and said, "Probably had a hot date. You know how our resident Lothario can be."
"He might have been a Lothario once, Ms. Collins, but now he's a one man - man and I'm the lucky man."
Her expression was all that he could have hoped for in dropping his little obfuscating bombshell. Maybe if she thought there was a damn good reason for his turning her down, namely that he liked men, well, maybe she'd undo her 'spell', maybe.
"I didn't - realize. I mean, he's so - so..."
"So?" Jim asked in his most helpful voice.
"You know. So - male."
Jim winked and nodded. "Yes, I do know."
Mindy actually blushed. But the blush turned suddenly ugly as her face took on a look of disgust.
"I should have known," she sneered, "And believe me, that certainly explains a great deal about the great Mr. Sandburg."
He was about the shoot back a retort when a whine from somewhere behind Blair's witch filled the small apartment. Mindy hurried to another door and opened it. As the interior of the room on the other side of the door was partially revealed to Jim, he used everything he had, vision wise, to investigate.
He glimpsed candles, a large drapped mirror and a small shelf below the mirror. On the shelf were dozens of jars full of things Jim didn't even want to guess about, but he'd bet a year's salary that Blair would know every item.
Concentrating his sight on the room, he failed to note the huge animal that bounded out and headed straight for Jim.
"HEEL MACHO, HEEL!"
The animal thudded to a stop and sat, head up, nose quivering as the creature sniffed the air.
"I'm so sorry, Detective. This is my dog, Macho Man. He's a bit - protective." Then she smiled a particularly cold smile and added, "Blair didn't like him at all."
In spite of his size and skill, in spite of the gun tucked into its holster, Jim backed up as the monster slobbered before him.
"Um, beautiful animal. I don't recognize the breed."
Jim's eyes widened. He was well aware of bullmastiffs, the department had several in their K-9 unit, but this - animal was huge.
"Your dog seems to be, quite a bit - larger than most I"ve seen."
"Yes, he does, doesn't he." Her smile was the same cold grin she'd given a moment before.
Suddenly, the said bullmastiff lowered its head and began to growl. The sound was enough to raise the hair on the back of Jim's neck. It was the most gruesome sound he'd ever heard.
"I'm sorry, he doesn't usually act like this - he seems to be interested in your gym bag. Maybe if you'd lower it and let him sniff, he'd know it was harmless."
Jim was feeling uneasy, his skin prickling, his senses spiking. This was no walk in the park and it was time to face her down.
"I don't think so, Mindy. My partner wouldn't like that."
Puzzled, she said,"Your partner?"
"Um, yes, " he shifted the bag to the other shouder, thus giving him access to his gun, then added, "my partner, Blair. And he'd appreciate it if you'd change him back and by the way? So would I."
She could have hemmed and hawed, played innocent, but instead;
The dog stood at attention, ears back, teeth barred, but he didn't move.
"I think you should go, Detective."
In one swift, fluid motion, he pulled his gun and levelled it on the dog's head. "I don't think so. Change - him - back - now."
Casually, Mindy glanced at the slim, jeweled watch on her left wrist. "Detective, Blair has been in canine form for over six hours now. He's dead." She gazed steadily at him, a small, satisified smile on her pale, cold face. "I don't actually like to - kill. I let my spells do it for me. And he knew that all he had to do was come back. He knew that after five hours - poof, he'd be dead. Of course, if I'd known about you two, I'd have simply turned him into the most despicable creature I could think of and then I'd have stepped on him, not tried to keep him."
The tiny beating heart in the bag told Jim she was lying. Blair was still alive, but for how long?
"If he's dead, then you should have no problem turning him back. Do it."
"Not possible. Once the soul is gone, it's too late."
Neither one of them noticed the barely perceptible movement of the mastiff. He'd begun to edge closer to Jim and closer to the bag.
His growls deepened and Jim, finally noticing, stepped back and commanded, "Call him off - now."
"My, he is interested in that gym bag." Her head tilted slightly and her face brightened. "Well, I'll be damned. He's in the bag, isn't he? That's why Macho is so interested. A nice tasty morsel for his supper."
The bag began to jerk against Jim's shoulder as a small array of growls greeted them. The sound was all the mastiff needed. He charged.
At the moment the behemoth charged Jim, teeth headed straight for the detective's throat, Blair literally flew from the bag, his much smaller body tumbling like a cannonball to thud against the side of Macho Man. The two dogs rolled, fur flying, until the great dog shook wildly and with one fierce sweep of its powerful paw, sent Blair reeling. The terrier rolled into the far wall, but was up almost immediately, head shaking.
The mastiff whirled and with one strong thrust from its hind legs, launched itself back at Jim.
The distance was too close and Jim couldn't get his gun back up in time. His back was against the wall and he had nowhere to go. He was about to become dogmeat.
What Jim didn't see was Blair. The small pup lowered his head, his eyes narrowing as he dug into the carpet with his front paws, and with ears back, pounced.
Mindy's scream had to have been heard around the world as a small, reddish brown terrier with angry blue eyes latched onto her ankle and bit down hard.
His plan worked.
The bullmastiff, hearing his mistress' cry for help immediately whirled mid-air and did a masterful job of redirecting his huge body.
At the same time, Jim attempted to take aim on the beast, but Mindy began to move her hands and Blair, seeing her fingers moving, and hearing her strained voice as she muttered, "si, mung chuff, devar..." immediately released her ankle and with a jump that only a terrier or Blair could have pulled off, rose effortlessly into the air and latched onto her wrist.
Jim couldn't believe what he was seeing.
Mindy's screams had grown and she was now shaking her right arm, trying desperately to dislodge the Blairgnat attached to her wrist while at the same time, Macho Man was trying just as desperately to get his jaws around the wiggling matt of fur.
In Mindy's efforts to dislodge Blair, she swung her arm back and slammed the dog into the wall. A horrifying yelp rose from Blair as his body connected and with a sickening, almost surreal slowness, his poor body slid to the floor in a heap.
Thick, bright red blood was dripping from Mindy's wrist onto the white carpet and the bullmastiff seemed to be fascinated by it. He moved slowly forward, his nostrils flaring.
Mindy backed up, her other hand clamping down hard on the injured wrist.
"STAY, MACHO, STAY!"
But the dog continued it's slow progression, stopping once, head lowering, tongue flicking out to lap up droplets of blood.
Jim felt his stomach churn as the need to empty it almost overwhelmed him. But his concern for Blair overrode the morbid fascination for the tableau before him. Keeping his gun trained between the dog and the witch, he moved quickly to Blair's side and kneeling down, he placed one hand over the barely moving chest.
"Come on, Chief, stay with me here." But there was no response. "Blair?
Come one, don't do this to me."
Even as Jim spoke and tried to coax Blair into waking up, the bullmastiff was closing in on Mindy, eyes never leaving the trail of blood now seeping through clenched fingers.
"Stop him, Detective, please stop him."
Jim glanced up, saw the naked fear in her eyes and said, "Change him.
She shook her head desperately and pleaded, "Please, I can't change him, I swear it. Please, stop Macho, stop him."
Jim might have moved at that moment except that the body under his hand ceased all movement.
No rise and fall, no sound - nothing.
NOTE: Now that you know the secret of this story, I can thank Jane Mailander for her wonderful Jim/Blair dog snippets, which inspired this story! I just wish she would do a whole story around them!!!