Disclaimer: Brimstone characters belong to FOX. The Sentinel characters
belong to Pet Fly Prod. No monetary units have exchanged hands for this

Warning: Spoilers for the Brimstone ep.  "Ashes"

Demons at the Gate
By Summer Rain

 The alleyway was quiet except for the occasional scratchy noises of the
various rodents passing by. The homeless man huddled against the dumpster
clutched his worn blanket to his chest, trying to keep warm against the
chill in the air.

  He was used to this alleyway and he purposely came there because it was
quiet and still, unlike the other places he knew where people gathered for
shelter. He was used to the quiet. He liked it.

  Tonight was different though.

  Tonight the quiet was unnatural. The chill in the air was due to more
than the cold. He didn't consider himself to be a foolish man normally and
tonight was no exception. Gathering his blanket up he stood up from the
ground, left his shelter and scurried away from the alley.

 He missed the flash of light and the body dropping from the sky to land
where he had just been sitting.

 Had he been there he would have looked up to see the man, leaning out of
the window, smiling knife in hand. But he wasn't there and he didn't see
those things, and because of that he was able to live another day.


  Blair looked up as he heard a loud noise to his left. He looked around,
wondering if anyone else had heard it but the sidewalk appeared to be
pretty deserted. He peered into the alleyway. He could see something large
in the shadows next to a dumpster. There was just enough light in the alley
to know something was there but not enough to know what that something was.

  The anthropologist stepped forward and then paused, wondering if
satisfying his curiosity was worth stepping into a dark alleyway. He took
another step forward, gaze flickering upward at a movement in the window
above the weak source of light for the alley.

Whatever it was he didn't get a good look at it, but in looking he had
stepped further into the alley. He gasped as he saw what he now knew to be
a person on the ground. The dark stains of blood covering their clothing.
He took another step forward wanting to see if the person was okay but his
training, from having worked as a consultant to the Major Crimes department
at Cascade PD, won out.

He ran back out of the alley knowing full well that whoever had harmed that
person might still be in the alley, perhaps in some dark corner where light
could not reach. He ran in the direction of the truck, which was parked, a
block away, where Jim would still be waiting for Blair to return from the

He called for Jim and stopped as he saw the Sentinel already running in his
direction alerted by the urgency in his voice.

Jim was already pulling the gun out of his holster as he reached Blair and
Blair turned to run with him back to the alleyway. Sentinel sight scanned
the weakly lit alley, a muttered curse escaping the Sentinel's lips as he
viewed the body by the dumpster.
  Jim started forward slowly, gun at the ready in front of him, his Guide
at his back, a gentle touch to his shoulder keeping him focused.
They reached the body, Sentinel and Guide both grimacing at the condition
of the corpse.

  "Chief, call it in" Jim said as he took in the surrounding area of the
crime scene.

 The Sentinel spotted some blood on the wall in a few spots where the body
had apparently bumped against it, as if it had been thrown down. He looked
up further to see movement in the open window above where they stood. A man
who looked to be in his thirties with short hair and a pale face looked
down at him, gun drawn.
 Correction, he looked down at the body and then his gaze swung back to
Jim's, his shadowed eyes narrowing accusingly.

  The sounds of police sirens blasted Jim's hearing distracting him. It
only took seconds to recover but by that time whoever had been in the
window was gone.


  "You're getting sloppy Stone"

 The words were whispered into his ear as he sat staring as his cup of
coffee. He swore as the contents sloshed onto his pants, his hand shaking
as he was startled from his reverie. He turned to look at the bane of his

  The Devil.

  He shook his head and grimaced, as he usually seemed to do when talking
to his...employer...benefactor. He wasn't even sure you _could_ put a label
on their relationship.

  He shook his head again rubbing his eyes and blinking rapidly as if
hoping the Devil would disappear once he opened his eyes fully. It didn't
work of course and he found himself looking at the same smiling face.
  He dabbed at the spilled coffee and turned to face the other...man.

 "I know, I let him get away" he said, his voice soft and gravely. "That
man was killed because I couldn't stop the demon in time," he added
regretfully as he placed the now empty cup on the table.
Ezekiel watched as the Devil's lips tightened into a thin line before he
spoke again.

"I'm not interested in whatever guilt you are wallowing in right now. You
are here to do a job and you are failing. Remember Ezekiel, if you want
redemption all the lost souls must be returned to me." he said softly
leaning in until he was just inches from the Detective.
  "That is, unless you _want_ to spend eternity with me?" the Devil queried
his lips just scant inches from Ezekiel's.

  Stone ignored the shiver that went down his spine as the Devil spoke to
him and moved back in his seat to create some distance between them.

 "You'd better get back to work Stone. I didn't give you your life back so
you could sit around drinking coffee. It's not like you actually need to
eat or drink. _You're dead Stone_. When are you going to accept that?"

  Ezekiel sighed and looked away, annoyed. The Devil never lost any
opportunity to remind him that he was no longer counted among the living.

 By the time he looked back the other man was gone.

  *I hate it when he does that* he thought to himself as he threw some
money down on the counter.
He smiled to himself as he felt the change jingling in his pocket. One thing he didn't have to worry about was money. He had died with $36.27 in his pocket and that's what he started every day with. It wasn't a lot but it was enough for a room, albeit in a seedy hotel.  

It would have to do; the alternative would be to get a job and he didn't think employers were too eager to hire someone who had been dead for fifteen years.

Ezekiel stood slowly and walked from the diner, hands in his pocket
shoulders hunched into his coat. If he were physically capable of being
tired no doubt he would be dropping from exhaustion at the moment.

As it was all he could do would be to square his shoulders and continue
seeking the latest demon.
  The tall man, with the ice blue eyes, who was standing over the body when
he had looked outside the window. Now all he had to figure out was what the
role of the shorter man with the long hair had been.

He doubted the demons were working together, demons not exactly being known
for their teamwork. Or maybe he had it all wrong. Maybe it was the younger
man himself who was the demon. The younger man wasn't as powerfully built
as the taller man, but Zeke had learned long ago that appearances meant
nothing. And sometimes what seemed like the obvious choice turned out to be
the wrong one.

 He continued to walk back to the crime scene going over in his mind what
had happened last night.

It had taken a long time to figure out the Devil's usual cryptic message
and by the time he arrived the demon had already killed. Before he was able
to confront the men standing over the body the police sirens had wailed and
he had had to leave.

As he had reemerged on the other side of the alley and milled around in
the crowd he had been able to observe several of the uniforms coming up to
the two men and speaking with them. They seemed to be accepted at the
scene, he could only surmise that they were police officers.

He shook his head lips tightening into a thin line as he once again came
upon the crime scene. Officers. This was going to be tough. How do you
investigate a police officer without him knowing *and* without the police
officer turning around and investigating you?

He tried to blend unobtrusively into the crowd, hunching down a bit to
hide his lanky frame.


Jim growled softly to himself as he surveyed the crime scene. He had been
hoping that in the light of day he would be able to spy something that he
had missed the night before.

No luck.

Even Blair's soothing presence hadn't been enough to orient the
heightened senses that were behaving erratically. For a moment he let his
senses stray over to the young anthropologist. Blair's unique scent curled
around him.
Jim could feel Blair's warmth as the young man stood behind the Sentinel.

He focused in on Blair's heartbeat for a moment to try and anchor his
hearing and his other senses.

It worked.

He had felt on the precipice of a zone as he strained to gain something...
_anything_ from the crime scene. He sighed slightly, feeling the tingle in
his body at the nearness of his Guide. If only he could get closer, and
closer still...
  He shook his head to clear it of those thoughts. They were torturous and
served no purpose since nothing more than friendship would ever exist
between himself and his Guide.

Jim snapped his attention back to the crime scene. The body had been
removed overnight but the blood from the victim still covered the alleyway.
There was nothing more to be seen there. He turned around slightly to Blair
and inclined his head in the direction of the window over the crime scene.
He walked away trusting Blair to follow behind him.

At the entrance to the building he inspected the floors, growling in
frustration as he realized the floors had been recently washed. Whatever
evidence might have been there had been cleaned away or at the very least
disturbed. Even if he were able to detect something with his heightened
senses it would be useless if forensics was unable to detect the same
  If the trial went to court they would need cold hard evidence.

He walked up the stairs, Blair directly behind him. They had been together
long enough that Blair instinctively walked in his footsteps so as not to
disrupt a relatively fresh crime scene. They reached the landing. The
apartment they needed was directly across from the staircase, which would
have made for an easy escape for whoever had thrown the body from the
  The door was slightly ajar, the yellow police tape stretched across the
doorway. He was gratified not to detect any cleaning fluids, which
hopefully meant an undisturbed crime scene.

He ducked under the tape and stopped immediately on the threshold. He could
see half of a bloody footprint in front of the door. Raising his head he
saw that the footprints extended to the opened window. The scrapes of blood
along the windowsill indicated where the body had been hauled over the sill
and then tossed below.

  Jim scanned the apartment. What there was of it. It was only a one-room
apartment. There was a door off to one side, which he assumed led to the
  There was no weapon on the floor and no sign of struggle. The only things
really out of the ordinary in the apartment were the traces of blood.

Jim walked over to the closed door in the apartment, hand ready to reach
for his gun, just in case. By extending his senses he could tell there was
no one in there but it was force of habit that had him at the ready. He
snatched open the door, scanning the small room quickly and finding nothing
unusual. He turned back to the apartment. The cover on the bed was turned
back as if the victim had gotten out of bed calmly.

He frowned as he considered the state of the bed. If the attack had
occurred in the bed, the covers would be in more disarray, as if there had
been a struggle. There was no trail of blood besides the bloody footprints
and even then there were only one set of footprints. If the victim had
struggled there would be more blood on the floor and more than one person's


  Blair didn't need to ask what was wrong. He had gained enough experience
at crime scenes to know that this one was going to take a lot of figuring
out. It had more to do with his ability to read Jim than anything else. The
Sentinel was scanning the place thoroughly; senses on full if the strain on
his face were any indication.
  Jim's jaw was clenched tight, body tense as he took in the scene. The
frustrated exclamation and the confusion in his eyes as he turned to Blair
let Blair know that things were not going to go well in this case.

  "Talk to me, Big Guy," he said to Jim knowing that talking the case out
sometimes helped Jim to focus. He kept quiet as he watched Jim's nostrils
flare as he focused his senses on his Guide.

He knew what Jim was doing; he was anchoring himself using Blair's scent.
Jim thought Blair didn't know this but the truth was that Blair had been
aware of it for quite some time.
And as usual a small thrill went through him to know that he was this
important to the Sentinel. His thoughts were refocused on Jim as the
detective began to speak.

"This is strange. There are no signs of struggle in here," Jim stopped,
sighing in frustration.

"And?" Blair prodded.

  "Well, look at the condition of the body Chief" Jim paused as Blair
shuddered in remembrance. "Multiple stab wounds on an otherwise healthy
adult male. Why would he not have struggled?"

  "Maybe he was on something. There *are* a number of drug users in the
area" Blair suggested.

 "If he were high wouldn't he be moving around or just the opposite he
might be in bed. He had obviously been in bed that night but no struggle
took place there, instead the killing was at the window."

  "That's another question then isn't it?" Blair added "How did the killer
get into the apartment and to the window so fast and kill him so quickly
that he wouldn't have time to struggle?"'

Jim shrugged, having no answers and turned back to survey the window.

Blair watched as Jim's nostrils flared and his head cocked to the side
slightly. An endearing habit the Sentinel had when he was trying to focus
on something. Blair kept quiet as he observed the Sentinel, all the while
thinking to himself that this was one of those things that he couldn't
possibly portray on paper. No dry research paper could possibly do Jim
Ellison, the Sentinel, justice.
He leaned forward as Jim leant forward, forgetting for a moment that he
probably couldn't detect whatever Jim was detecting.

"What is it Big Guy?" he asked softly, when Jim stood upright again.

"I don't know Chief. There is a certain smell at the window..." he paused
and sniffed again "It's odd but familiar."

  "Someone's cologne? A particular chemical?" Blair offered.

  Jim thought about it for a moment and then shook his head. "I don't know
Chief. I can't catch it right now," he said frowning. Finally he stepped
back from the window. And inclined his head towards the doorway motioning
for Blair to follow.
 "Come on Sandburg, there is nothing more I can get from here. Lets go over
to the morgue and see if they've got anything on our John Doe."

They left the apartment quickly making way for some forensics techs that
had just reentered the apartment.
  Blair kept quiet on the way to Jim's truck, letting the Sentinel sift
through all that he had smelled and heard. He was so into his thoughts that
he didn't notice the Sentinel had stopped until he bumped into him.

Jim didn't even budged as his gaze swept the crowd of people at the mouth
of the alley.

"There is that smell again, Chief," he said softly.

"Could it be from yesterday?   Maybe whoever it was in the apartment had
been down in the alley previously"

"No, this is a little newer" the Sentinel answered thoughtfully. He
scanned the crowd again his intent gaze falling unerringly on a familiar

"Shit! That's the guy who was in the window last night" he called out as he
pulled out his gun. His suspicions were confirmed as the man turned and
ran, trying to escape into the crowd.

Blair took off after the detective, watching from the corner of his eye as
some of the uniform cops in the area turned to observe the chase before
drawing their guns and joining in.

The chase went on and on, some of the uniforms dropping back in the
process after having gotten a late start. A few twists and turns left Jim
and Blair the only ones in the running, the remaining uniforms having been
left behind. Since it was mid-afternoon they couldn't risk firing after the
other man for fear of injuring another civilian. Calls to halt were ignored
for the most part.

Jim shook his head as sweat poured down from his brow. He was quickly
running out of breath and yet his enhanced hearing told him that the man
they were chasing was barely out of breath.

In fact, he barely breathed.

Jim blinked, vision clouded momentarily as sweat fell into his eyes. When
his vision was restored it was to see the man they pursued, turning around
with gun drawn as he stood in the center of the road. He fired at the other
man hitting him square in the chest just as the suspect pulled the trigger.

It was all Jim could do to turn to Blair and knock him to the ground as the
bullet sped towards them. As he fell he looked up as he heard the sound of
the bullet he had fired, impacting flesh.  The bullet the other man had
fired at them whizzed past so off the mark, that it was obvious it was more
a warning than anything else.

The other man staggered, looking down at his chest in shock before
stumbling away out of the path of an oncoming truck. A wheeze from his
partner beneath him reminded him he was probably squashing the young man
causing Jim to roll off his partner, dragging his attention away from the

By the time he looked back up the other man was gone.


 "Shit! First my coat gets charred and now I've got a bullet hole in my
sweater" Ezekiel mumbled to himself as he ran down the street.

He didn't even bother to look beneath the sweater knowing that the bullet
hole in his body had already healed. He could only hope that the detective
had been to busy dodging to notice that he had succeeded in shooting him.

He stopped running, knowing there was no way the detective could have
pursued him this far. He was surprised that the chase had gone as long as
it did. Then again if the detective was the demon he was after, chances
were they had similar endurance.

"What's this thing you have about ruining clothing Ezekiel?"

The words spoken softly into his ear caused him to whirl around suddenly.
A ghost of a touch at his waist caused him to still as he stared into the
eyes of his tormenter. For a moment he thought he had imagined the touch.
But the too innocent look on the Devil's face told him that the touch had
likely been real.

He backed away from the Devil, looking away to hide the slight
nervousness at the other man's nearness.

"It's not my fault he shot at me" he explained tightly, not in the mood
for his employer's games. "You're the one that let him slip away," he
added, turning back.

  "Him?" the Devil queried softly, smiling at Stone's narrowed eyes.
"You're making a lot of assumptions here Ezekiel," he said as he circled
the other man. He licked his lips, chuckling as the detective turned with
him to keep him in his sights.
"I thought you were a detective, aren't you supposed to investigate before
jumping to conclusions. Or have your fact-finding abilities left you now
that you are dead?" he taunted.

 Ezekiel closed his eyes briefly as he tried to think of a comeback. When
he opened his eyes the other man was gone. He chuckled to himself, the
beginnings of his anger leaving him. He just couldn't stay mad at the other
man's antics. Well he _could _ stay mad but he had learned to deal with it, it
was not the same roaring fury he had held in when he had first been
returned to Earth.

The chuckle turned into a grimace as he thought about what his employer
had said about him making assumptions. It was true in part. He had
immediately zeroed in on the older detective as the most likely candidate
for demonhood.

Perhaps because the man had been powerfully built and had spotted him right
away unlike his partner. That meant nothing, he knew. Appearances meant
nothing. Most of the demons he had sent back to hell looked like average

  That's what made them dangerous.

  He looked around at the people on the street as he smiled to himself,
wondering if any of the people realized that the devil himself had been on
the street conversing just moments before.

He creased his shirt slightly to hide the bullet hole and turned to make
his way down the street. He thought back to the other man who had been
chasing after him. The other man was just below average height with long
brown hair and with a stocky built. The fact that he had been able to keep
up in the chase meant that he was in good shape. Ezekiel nodded to himself
as he noted that not once had the man drawn a gun. Did that mean he didn't
have one? What police officer traveled with no gun?

True, he'd been dead for 15 years but he didn't think police procedure
had changed so much that an officer was at a crime scene unarmed. And he
doubted that everything he had learned in his career in NYPD had been
thrown out the window in Cascade's police department.

The man had been the only one to keep pace during the chase even as the
uniforms had fallen back.
  *He never lead the chase though, he always followed his partners lead,*
he thought to himself as he rounded the corner.
 He gasped as he looked up into the ruins of a burned down church. It was a
reminder to him of someone who had not been what she appeared to be,


The thought of her brought him a wave of pain. He hadn't known, hadn't
even suspected that she could be so dangerous.

*Yeah Ezekiel, you're first lesson in the dangers of making assumptions* he
thought to himself. *Face it Ezekiel, you don't know all the answers.
You're going to need to go back to that crime scene and look things over.
Don't assume, and don't take for granted.*
  The question was; when would he return? It was only a matter of biding
his time until there were not so many people around.

Particularly the two detectives who had chased him earlier. Somehow the older man had zeroed in on his presence though he had tried to be unobtrusive.  He couldn't take the chance again of being discovered.


Jim lifted himself up off the ground, arms trembling slightly in fatigue
as he swore under his breath. He turned concerned eyes upon his partner as
Blair let out a wheezing cough.
  "You okay Chief?" he asked.

  The other man smiled ruefully, nodding in the affirmative and extending a
hand for Jim to help him up off the ground.
  "I'm okay Jim, just got the wind knocked out of me for a second there,"
he explained.

  "Sorry, he had a gun I had to..."

 "Hey it's okay Big Guy, it's not the first time you've thrown yourself on
top of me" Blair said, face heating at the thought of Jim's body covering
"So where did he go?" Blair asked, to divert his own thoughts.

 Jim shrugged in frustration  "I don't know Chief, I lost track of him
after I..."

 Blair stood open mouthed as Jim suddenly cut off, tensing and running into
the middle of the street.
  Blair ran over after a momentary delay as Jim turned round and round in
the street.

"Damnit! Where is it?" the Sentinel practically growled.

"Where is what, Jim?"

"Blood. I shot him, he should have bled onto the street"

"Are you sure Jim? Maybe it missed" Blair asked, even as he himself
scanned the street for signs of blood.

  "I heard it as it hit him, Blair"

  Blair grimaced at the mental image but nodded in acknowledgment.

 "Anyway, even if it didn't hit him, where is the bullet?"

 Blair said nothing, knowing that Jim was thinking out loud. He grabbed
Jim's arm and pulled him over to the sidewalk as a passing car honked its

Jim reached around and jammed his gun into his back holster as he eyed the
street in frustration.  No blood, meant no trail to follow.
  "Well, we can put out the word to local hospitals. I got a good look at
him, hopefully he'll go in to treat the gunshot wound and we can get him
that way."

  "Do you think he's the one Jim?"

  "I don't know Chief but I'll tell you what, he sure was eager to get
away. Why wouldn't he talk to us unless he was hiding something?" he shook
his head
"Anyway, lets get back to the scene and collect the truck. We've still got
to get over to the morgue and standing out here won't get us any answers"

 It was a long walk back, though they were lucky enough to hitch a ride
with some uniforms that had come to look for them.
 It illustrated to Jim just how far the chase had gone without the other
man even breaking into a sweat.

The ride over to the station was quiet for the most part, each man lost in
his own thoughts. Jim parked the car and entered the building, finding comfort in the presence of his Guide at his side.

They went straight to the morgue. Jim could hear Blair's heart rate increase slightly as they neared their destination but his Guide's steps did not falter in the least.

Blair took a fortifying breath as they stepped into the room to find Dan bending over the table in front of him where the body of the murder victim lay.

Jim's nose twitched as a familiar smell reached him.
He realized now what it was that had bothered him at the crime scene. What it was that smelled so familiar to him.
It was the smell of death.
Or more accurately the smell of decayed flesh.

To a Sentinel's enhanced sense of smell, it permeated the morgue no matter how much cleaning fluid and disinfectants were used to cover it up.

"What is it Big Guy?" asked Blair, noting the incredulous look on the
Sentinel's face.

 "That smell at the crime scene...I know what it is now"
 He turned to face his Guide fully, "Smells like a dead body."

"So what are you saying Jim? That the guy was way dead when they dumped
his body over the windowsill?" Blair asked shivering at the thought of
someone mutilating a corpse.

"Not possible" Dan said, having heard the last part of Blair's question.
"Our John Doe died just recently, within the last 24-28 hours"

"Are you sure Dan?" Jim asked.

The look the ME gave him had Jim smiling slightly and holding up his hands defensively.

Jim stepped in closer to the body, sniffing the air as unobtrusively as
It was difficult trying to detect the older scent since the scent of John Doe was more overpowering.  He leaned in closer to the deceased man realizing that sight might be more effective than smell in this case.

Leaning in he zeroed in on flesh beneath the victim's fingernails.

"Hey Dan, did you check this out?" he asked the ME.

"Yeah, looks like flesh beneath the finger nails. Pulled some out just
before you came in, was just about to look at it. I've got the sample laid
out," he said inclining his head towards the microscope on a nearby countertop.

They went over to the counter, Blair looking over Dan's shoulder as the
coroner examined the sample.

Jim didn't bother having already seen what he needed to see. What he
needed at the moment was the coroner's interpretation and expertise.

"Yeah looks like human flesh. Probably scraped off during the attack." Dan
said as he stared into the microscope.

"Anything unusual about it?" Blair asked, asking the question before Jim

"You mean besides the fact that it appears to have come from a corpse?"
the ME asked, smiling slightly as he looked up from the microscope.

"What?!" both men exclaimed at the same time.

Jim had known something was odd but the last thing he wanted to hear was
that a dead person had killed his victim.

"Okay, okay" Blair began, pacing a bit at the counter, finding he was no
longer able to keep still.
Jim noted with some amusement that Blair's pacing managed to keep him a
safe distance from the John Doe.

"What if this guy worked in a morgue? Or as an undertaker or something,
would that account for it?" Blair asked.

"Well it's possible of course but it wouldn't account for the flesh to be imbedded so far underneath his fingernails. Whoever it was he dug in deep, my guess would be that it happened during the struggle," Dan said.

"That's just it Dan, there was _no_ struggle."  Jim said, exasperated.

"I don't know what to tell you Jim, all I can tell you is what I see," he
said, pointing towards the man on the table "That man over there has
decayed flesh embedded in his fingernails, where it came from I don't know"
he said, shrugging his shoulders.

 "Why do I get the feeling it's gonna be one of _those_ cases Jim?" Blair
asked, turning to look up at his Sentinel.

 "I don't know Chief, but I think I'm gonna trust your instincts on this
one" he answered, shaking his head.

The rest of the time spent at the morgue was anticlimactic after that.
Nothing was found that could help them, and the incongruity of finding decayed human flesh under the fingernails of the corpse occupied their thoughts.

They exited through the double doors and headed back for the truck. They didn't need to verbally communicate to know that they were going back to the scene. By this time the crowd would have died down, and in any case there would be nothing to be gained by going up into the bullpen. All they would be doing up there would be tackling paperwork, not what Jim considered a productive way to spend the afternoon.

Brown and Rafe were also participating on the case and were doing a follow through on trying to establish the identity of the John Doe. After Jim and
Blair did a little more legwork they would return to the bullpen to participate in the search, providing no information had been found in the meantime.

Dan in the meantime would work on procuring the answer to the question of whose flesh it was, embedded under John Doe's fingernails. Jim didn't kid himself into thinking the results would be coming any time soon, however.
He watched from the corner of his eye as they entered the car and Blair's hand raked through his hair in a nervous gesture.

 The young man, so still earlier now seemed to be vibrating with nervous
 Jim smothered a slight smile as he observed his Guide.
 Blair was thinking through this case. As ghastly as the crimes they
investigated could be, there was no doubt that along with the pursuit, came
the adrenaline surge.
 And it was amazing what that adrenaline surge did to Blair Sandburg.

It was the fight or flight reaction and neither one of them were quitters and that meant fight. For Blair that meant to think things through and explore the angles. This analysis was what helped him be an anthropologist and what had proven to be helpful time and time again in his work with Jim.

Jim surmised that by now Blair would be mentally reviewing textbook information to see any possible cultural or historical connotations. The possibility of cult activity might very well enter his mind and the possibility of involvement of various specific cults would be discarded or carefully considered.

They had been driving for about 15 minutes before Blair turned to Jim to
share his thoughts.
"Okay, I've been going over the possibility of cult acti...." Blair broke
off as Jim gave a soft chuckle. "What?"

"Nothing, just thinking of something else. Go on."  Jim said aloud. *It's amazing how well we can read each other sometimes Sandburg. Doesn't work all the time though, like when I try to read how you feel about me* He gave a mental shrug, realizing this was not the time to pursue the line of thought.
"What have you come up with, Chief?"

"Well as I was saying before being interrupted," Blair began looking at him quizzically "I thought about cult activity just as a possibility but can't really see it here."

Jim nodded in agreement, going on his own gut feeling that this also was not a factor in this case.
"What makes you think so, Chief?" he asked needing to hear the logic behind his own instincts.

"There was nothing ritualistic about this killing. Nothing that was immediately apparent anyway. The condition of the body and the multiple stab wounds," here he paused so they could both shudder, "weren't in any particular logical pattern or part of the body," he concluded. "Usually in the case of cult involvement something like this would mean something. This didn't have that appearance just seemed like a brutal killing.

They arrived back at the scene swiftly enough. The earlier crowd had dissipated though the scene was still roped off. A few officers milled about keeping watch.

This time when Jim noticed the peculiar scent he tried to zero in on it nonchalantly not wanting to alert anyone should it be the subject they had chased down earlier.

He extended an arm in front of Blair to stop him from walking to the crime scene and they stayed across the street from the scene, where he had parked the truck.

Looking around he finally spotted the suspect and watched curiously as the man loped down the street.  To anyone else he appeared to be walking slumped over, bone weary and oblivious to the world around him. Jim however could read the lines of tension in the other man's body. 
The man was wary.

He looked like someone you could get the jump on but Jim already knew as evidenced by the earlier chase that the man had a lot of stamina not readily evident in the lanky frame.

Jim pointed in the direction of the other man and Blair's eyes widened as he saw what had caught Jim's attention.  He waited patiently as Jim focused in on the other man as he walked up to the uniforms at the scene.

Jim tensed and readied his revolver when the suspect reached into his pocket as he stood in front of the uniformed officers. He breathed a sigh of relief as the man pulled out a wallet instead of the gun he was expecting.

He wanted to get closer to the suspect in case he took off but was afraid to move from his current position in case any movement should alert the suspect.
 He listened in as the other man opened his wallet.

"Hi I'm Detective Ezekiel Stone, mind if I look around?" the uniform glanced at the ID quizzically but after a slight shrug, stepped aside to let him through.

"What is it? What did he say?" Blair asked as he saw Jim stiffen beside him.

Jim frowned down at his partner before shaking his head and taking out his cell phone. His eyes narrowed as he focused in on the badge as Stone closed the wallet, noting before it disappeared from view that it was a New York badge. "Says his name is Ezekiel Stone, a Detective" he finished incredulously.

"Who are you calling Jim?" Blair asked curiously, watching the suspect enter the building.

"Calling in a favor with someone I know. I need background info on this guy and info on what a New York Detective is doing in Cascade investigating a murder almost as it happened."

"Curioser and curioser" Blair mumbled to himself as Jim placed the call.

"You got that right Chief" Jim said as the clambered up to follow the
mysterious Detective Stone. "Lets just go in and check it out, if we alert
the uniforms we might inadvertently alert Stone."

"Why would a New York Detective investigate a local murder and then take
off running when the local PD shows up?" Blair asked as they showed their
ID and slipped inside the building.

"Lets ask him Chief" Jim said with a smile that looked suspiciously as if
he were baring his teeth as he readied his gun and stalked after the
so-called Detective.

Blair shook his head and stifled a smile, wondering if Jim knew how close
to his animal spirit he appeared to be at times like this. His mouth curved
down into a frown as he followed Jim's lead up the stairs, moving as
silently as they could.

They reached the landing, Jim looking to make sure that Detective Stone
wasn't standing in the doorway where he could spot them. He put a finger to
his lips to warn for quiet and pointed to Stone's location, making a motion
for Blair to stay behind him.

Jim reached the landing and went to stand quietly in the doorway observing
as Detective Stone inspected the room. His lips tightened into a thin line
as he caught sight of an apparent bullet hole in the other man's shirt.  It
looked to be about where he would have gotten hit by the bullet from Jim's

*How does someone get shot but then continue to walk around as if nothing
has happened? And earlier during the chase, he was barely breathing hard,
even after all that running* Jim thought to himself. Sudden movement from
Stone alerted Jim to the fact that he had been detected. He aimed his
weapon at Stone at the same time that the man pulled out his gun and swung
it towards him.

Jim heard the soft gasp behind him as Blair watched the sudden standoff
taking place above him.

"Cascade PD! Drop your weapon!" Jim shouted, jaw clenched as he awaited the
other man's reaction. He felt his own heart pounding as adrenaline pumped
through him, his body preparing to fight for survival, all senses on alert.

"You're a cop?" the man asked in a smoky voice. His voice was raspy yet
soft and he spoke slowly; lending even more credence to the weary
appearance he projected.

"Yes I am, and at this moment I want to know exactly what you are doing
standing in the middle of a crime scene." Jim said, not allowing his gun to
waver in the least. He knew that he was holding a gun on an officer but
there was something very strange about this man, and he was not letting his
guard down until he got some answers.

 "You're a cop?" he repeated. He shook his head, a crooked smile creasing
his face. He let the gun dip and held his other hand up as if in surrender.


 "Put the gun down on the ground slowly, then we'll talk" Jim demanded.

 For just a moment Zeke hesitated. He could see the cop's partner standing
away from them and realized that he was outnumbered. He shrugged mentally
and set the gun down. Because each year spent in Hell gave him more power,
he possessed greater than average strength. It would serve him well should
one or both of these men turn out to be a demon.

 "Okay now you can talk" Jim said as the other man stepped away from the
weapon. He re-holstered his weapon and motioned for Blair to come forward.

 "I'm Detective Zeke Stone, NYPD. I'm here to investigate the murder that
occurred here yesterday."

 "Why did you run away from us?" Blair asked, standing slightly behind Jim
in precaution.
 Jim and Blair waited, as the other man kept silent. Jim could see his
throat work as if he wanted to speak and yet the man said nothing, simply
looking at them as if sizing them up.

 "I'm not working in an official capacity," the man began reluctantly
before being cut off by Jim's ringing cell phone. The story he had
concocted died on his lips as Jim reached for his weapon again, giving him
a hard glare in reaction to whatever was told to him on the phone.

 "Who are you really?" Jim asked, jaw twitching in irritation.

 "I told you, I am Detective Ezekiel Stone, NYP..."

 "Try a different identity buddy, there is no Zeke Stone currently serving
in NYPD. The Zeke Stone matching your description died over 15 years ago,
which means you can't possibly be him! So, I'm asking you again, who are

 "I'm telling the truth"

 The simple statement caused a chill to race down Jim's spine, because for
a moment he had believed the man.
 Just for a moment.
 It was easy enough to prove whether or not the man was telling the truth,
however. He listened in for the heartbeat of the man standing in front of
him to try and determine whether or not he was lying.

 And froze.


 Zeke watched as the horrified expression on the officer's face slipped
away into a blank mask.
 The cop's partner ran forward reaching for the gun in the officer's hand
at the exact moment that Zeke reached down to recover his weapon, he raised
it just as the shorter man grabbed his partner's weapon.
 The blank mask was still on the taller man's face.

 "What's wrong with him?" he asked suspiciously. For all Zeke knew this was
some sort of demon trickery.

 "Its nothing you need to be concerned about" the younger man said, "the
more important question is, what are you going to do now?"

 Zeke kept the gun raised pointing at the two men. He was in a quandary.
The younger man didn't look like he was going to try to attack him, all his
concern seeming to go to his partner.  Zeke wasn't so sure he could trust
him _not_ to attack though if Zeke didn't decide to lower his weapon.

 They stood silently eyeing one another, Zeke musing to himself that he
could wait an eternity whereas the other man could not.
 It was only a slight sag from the other man that caught his attention as
well as that of the younger man. He could see the indecision on the smaller
man's face as he tried to gage Zeke's mood. Finally he straightened his
shoulders and deliberately turned his back on the former New York
Detective, one hand going up to cup his partner's cheek.

 Zeke stepped closer as the young man whispered to his partner, wondering
what was so important that this man was willing to turn his back on someone
who had him at gun point.

 "...back to me. Please Jim, we're in trouble here, I need you to come back

 Jim heard the whispered words as they filtered through his consciousness.
In short order he catalogued the nervous beating of his Guide's heart as
his senses began to come online.

 He blinked and straightened, shoving Blair out of the way with one hand as
he pulled back the trigger on the gun which was still trained on the
so-called police detective.

 "I told you to drop the weapon." Jim said through gritted teeth as he
blinked trying to gather his scattered thoughts.

 "Are you really a cop?"
 Jim's eyes flickered to his left; surprised that Blair had spoken to the

 "Yes I told you..."

 "You're lying" Jim spat out, advancing on the other man in frustration.

 "Jim let him..."

 "No Chief, there is something not quite right about this guy" he said "he
didn't...you didn't...I didn't hear your heartbeat!"

 "What? How could you...."?
Jim watched as the other man trailed off in apparent confusion.

 "And the bullet. I know I shot you, so what happened? I can see the hole
in your shirt where the bullet went through...where is the injury?"

 The other man appeared startled for a moment and opened his mouth as if to
answer when at that moment commotion sounded in the hall.
  Jim was distracted just long enough so that when he turned back around it
was to see the other man move forward, finger pressing on the trigger. Jim
fired first striking the other man in the shoulder.

 "Oh shit!" it was Blair's voice but it echoed his sentiments exactly, at
what happened next.

 They watched as Detective Stone shook his head, his mouth quirking
slightly in a ghost of a smile before clutching his injured shoulder and
jumping out of the window behind him.

On to part 2
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