"This is Dan Haas reporting from Cascade City Hall, where several hundred demonstrators are picketing in protest of proposed new regulations allowing bonded Sentinel and Guide pairs to work in all areas of law enforcement. Currently these enhanced individuals are limited to support positions and crime scene investigation. Let's get some comments. You, sir, what's your opinion?" The reporter shoved his mike into the face of a tall man with piercing blue eyes who was struggling to get through the crowd.
"Back off, Haas, or I'll shove that thing up your a--"
"Excuse me, Detective Ellison, I didn't realize it was you. I'm sure you are trying to get to court," Haas interrupted quickly and let the detective from Major Crime go.
"You, sir, your opinion. Should sentinels and guides be allowed to work as police officers?" Haas had obviously picked the most prejudiced man he could from the crowd of protestors.
"We already have to accept forensic evidence found by sentinels. Do we want to them to be allowed to gather evidence without a warrant, as well?"
"The Supreme Court has ruled that enhanced senses do not constitute unreasonable search and seizure methods, since sentinels do not use anything other than the senses they were born with."
"Say that when one of them starts listening in when you are talking to your lawyer. And what about having to pay two people to do one job? What does a guide do, anyway?"
Haas suppressed a grin. Just what his producers wanted to hear.
Jim Ellison reported in and settled into a seat outside Judge Martin's courtroom. He would be called when it was his turn to testify.
Jim had heard the poison being spewed by the crowd on the street. His dentist was going to have a field day if Jim didn't stop grinding his teeth in frustration. It was the same shit over and over. One group gets acceptance and the world finds another to hate. He tried desperately to tune out the chanting crowd.
It had been all that he could do to hide the symptoms of enhanced senses coming on line during the Switchman case. He'd barely solved the serial bomber case without major loss of life or property damage. How was he was going to stay on the streets if the new regulations didn't pass?
"Excuse me, Detective Ellison?"
Jim looked up into the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen and promptly zoned-out.
"Shit!" The young man dropped to his knees beside the detective and took one of Jim's hands and pressed it against his chest. "Come back to me, Sentinel," he whispered.
Jim gasped and seized the young man's shoulders.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"I'm Blair Sandburg. I've been called as a witness against Veronica Sarris." Blair got up and took a seat next to Jim.
"You were on the bus. You told me to listen for the bomb. You're a guide." Jim realized.
"You were over-focusing. I had to help you."
Jim was on verge of panicking. He had been guided in the use of his senses on that bus. The other passengers must have noticed Sandburg.
"Why were you called as a witness? Do they know that you're a guide?"
"It was a tour bus, Ellison. Most of the passengers were from out of town. I was one of the few who were from Cascade. The prosecution isn't interested in me except to testify what happened between you and Sarris."
"But what about the other people on the bus? What if one of them mentions how you helped me?"
"Why would they? None of them heard anything."
Jim stared at Sandburg as if he had grown an extra head.
"I barely whispered the suggestions to you, man."
"What you are suggesting is crazy, Ellison. I know things have changed in the last twenty years, but you would rather have your co-workers think that you're sleeping with me, than you're a sentinel and that I'm your guide?" They met after court at Ellison's loft for a beer and to talk.
"I can't be a detective and a sentinel, Sandburg. Not unless they pass the new regulations. I can have a lover with beautiful hair that I like to touch." From the sofa, Jim watched Blair wander about the spartan loft. There was something right about Blair being here -- in his domain. "You could teach me to control my senses and help me regain control. We could meet for lunch whenever possible so that I can ground myself."
"You are willing to commit fraud." Blair turned from Jim's bookcase to face him squarely.
"I'm not letting a accident of genetics keep me from doing my job."
"How is it that no one knows that you are a sentinel, anyway?" Blair wanted to know.
"Never been tested. The Army started testing while I was lost in Peru for eighteen months. I left the Army as soon as they cleared me after they brought me out. The PD assumed that the Army had tested me. I didn't realize I had any enhancements until I was on stakeout on the Switchman case. What about you? Why don't you have a sentinel?"
"I just never met anyone I clicked with." Blair shrugged. He walked into the kitchen to dispose of his empty beer bottle. "You respond to my voice and my touch now. That's a good sign."
"Yeah, but do you think you could live with me?"
"What's wrong with here?"
"Looks like no one really lives here, Ellison."
"Maybe the place was waiting for you the same way I was," Jim said thoughtfully.
Blair quirked a eyebrow at him.
"Just what makes you think you can convince anyone we're lovers?"
Jim put his beer bottle on the coffee table, got up and crossed the room. He lifted Blair bodily by the front of his shirt and backed him into the wall so they stood eye to eye, chest to chest, Blair's feet a few inches off the floor. Jim caught Blair's mouth in a fierce kiss.
It was only when Blair realized that his arms were around Jim's shoulders and he was tasting Jim as deeply as Jim was exploring him that Blair pushed Jim away.
"Point taken. When can I move in?"
Jim chuckled. He and Blair had a lot more to talk about.
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