Disclaimer: Not mine, no money made
A/N: this is a completed story, so it will go up fast.
"Ellison," the low voice said in a French accent. Jim's hand froze an inch from the light switch. He ran a dozen operations in his head in the three seconds before he answered. In every one Michael had back up and in every one someone ended up dead. More specifically, he and Blair ended up dead.
After that brief hesitation Jim finished the gesture and flipped the light on.
"Wait here, Chief," Jim said as he put a hand on his partner's shoulder before stepping into the loft. The less Blair saw the better. Blair shot him a confused look and opened his mouth to argue, but then he stopped. Jim had no idea what made his talkative partner suddenly fall silent, but he thanked god for it.
"Have him come in," Michael said softly, but then Jim had never heard Michael speak any other way.
"He's not part of this." Jim replied just as quietly. He really didn't need for this to escalate.
"Have him come in," Michael repeated. Jim would have argued except that two men now appeared at the far end of the hallway.
"Jim?" Blair asked uncertainly as he looked from the two armed men coming down the hall to Jim.
"Come on in, Chief," Jim said as he stepped into the loft. He kept his body between Blair and Michael. The agent stood next to the window looking exactly like he had looked on that mission seven years earlier: a phantom who put fear into the hearts of even the most jaded covert ops soldier.
"Put your weapons on the table," Michael suggested in a voice that hid the danger under that calm exterior.
"What's this about?" Jim asked carefully as walked over to the kitchen table.
"They want to talk to you." Michael said as he turned toward the window and Jim carefully pulled his weapon from this holster and set it on the table. He wasn't fooled by Michael's appearance of inattentiveness.
"Jim, man. What are you doing?" Blair whispered incredulously, and Jim could hear the desperation in his voice. He didn't answer as he reached down and pulled his back up gun and knife out of his boot and set them on the table next to his main weapon.
"Let's get this over with then. Blair, just stay here and don't call anyone," Jim said as he took a step away from the table and back toward the door. Glancing as his partner's suddenly mutinous expression, Jim growled an order. "I mean it. No one!" He had no illusions about being able to fight his way past Michael, and he didn't want anyone else getting pulled into this.
"He's coming," Michael said, his voice barely a whisper, but to Jim those words seemed louder than alarm bells.
"Leave him out of this."
"I can't. I have orders." Jim felt his stomach knot at those words. If Michael had orders to bring in Blair, then Jim couldn't do anything to change his mind.
"Turn around," Michael said while still looking out the window. Jim knew what was coming, but he could hear multiple footsteps on the fire escape and hear the heavy breathing of the two goons in the hall. Jim stood still, struggling with his instincts that said to grab the guide and run and his logic that said they would both be dead within three steps. "Please," Michael added as he turned to look at Jim. In those cold hazel eyes, Jim could see the agent's willingness to kill both him and Blair without remorse.
Slowly, Jim turned around. Without waiting for the order, he put his hands behind his back. Turning left him facing Blair who watched with wide eyes from next to the square pillar that divided kitchen from dining room. He felt warm hands deftly slipping wide plastic straps around his wrists before pulling the loops tight.
"Just give me a second to talk to Blair," Jim asked quietly. He waited silently until finally Michael's hand let go of his forearm.
Jim walked over to Blair whose eyes stayed focused on Michael. Jim used his hip and shoulder to herd his partner to the far side of the kitchen by the refrigerator.
"Jim? What the hell is going on?" Blair finally asked, those blue eyes snapping to Jim's face.
"Blair, just calm down and listen," Jim whispered as he felt his own guilt rise at the panicked look in those blue eyes. It was his job to protect Blair, and he had obviously failed in a monumental way.
"Who is that guy?" Blair demanded.
"Michael. Look, I can't even tell you what branch of the government he works for, but our paths crossed back before Peru. He's the boogey man that makes covert agents turn on the lights and check under the bed." Jim didn't want to panic his partner farther, but he couldn't let Blair underestimate these people. "Chief, I've seen him take out a dozen armed terrorists by himself, and I've seen him shoot one of his own people in the back of the head for breaking a rule. Don't argue with him."
"Oh god. Jim. Shit. Okay, we can get through this." Blair ran his hand over his face and then pushed his hair back out of his face in a nervous gesture.
"Chief, tell them whatever they want to know."
"Wha--. Oh man, you so do not want these people to know about your senses. I..."
"No!" Jim cut Blair off before he could say more.
"The very fact they want you means they probably know most of it, but you need to tell them the truth about *any* question they ask. I know you'd try to hold out, but Chief, no one holds out against these people. They'll get the truth anyway, and I don't want you hurt."
"No, Darwin. You give them everything you know, everything you suspect, you tell them every theory that every crossed your mind about Sentinels about me about any damn subject they ask about."
"It's time," that soft voice with its deceptively tender tone said from next to the door and Jim clenched his teeth as he realized that his choices had disappeared the minute Michael had reappeared in his life. For one second he leaned his body into Blair, trapping him between Jim's body and the refrigerator in a mimic of a hug. It was all Jim had to offer.
"Just tell them what they want to know and they'll have no reason to hurt you," Jim said as he rested his forehead against Blair's, fearing that he was lying even as he said the words. A hand closed around his forearm, pulling him away from Blair, and Jim cooperated since fighting Michael wasn't really an option if he wanted his guide to survive this.
Michael moved him to the wall by the door before letting go, and Jim waited, focusing on his hearing as he placed the sounds of at least a dozen unfamiliar bodies outside the loft.
"Turn around." Michael's voice ordered, and Jim could hear Blair's heart start to speed up. He flashed on the memory of Blair duct-taped by a militant survivalist and chained by a psychopath and tied up by a killer. Now a government assassin was putting plastic cuffs on his guide, and Jim just wished Blair would have never found him. He would rather be in an insane asylum trying to rub his own skin off than have to listen to Blair's heart speeding out of control as Michael pulled him toward the door.
"Chief, calm down. Deep breaths," Jim said as Michael stopped with Blair so close that Jim could reach out with shackled hands and brush the edge of Blair's flannel shirt.
"Sure, I'll get right on that," Blair said sarcastically, and Jim closed his eyes in pain. He had put Blair in this spot.
"Michael, Blair has panic attacks sometimes. You need to be aware of his heart and breathing," Jim said as he faced the coats hanging on the hooks by the door. He wouldn't be surprised if they were gagged, and he didn't want Blair choking accidentally. However, Michael didn't answer as he opened the door and gestured with a hand.
Jim stepped into the hall, not surprised to find his neighbors missing as he walked toward the two goons from earlier. When he reached them, each took an arm and walked him down the stairs. As their hands closed over his arms tight enough to leave bruises, Jim was grateful that Michael seemed to be handling Blair whose speeding heart he could hear behind him.
Once they reached the street, Jim found a black van with the back doors open and the street empty. He climbed up awkwardly with his hands cuffed, and two agents in back pulled him up. Once he sat, he could see Michael half lifting Blair into the back of the van.
One of the goons pulled a chain across Jim's waist, chaining him to the wall, and then Michael put Blair next to him before putting a chain on Blair. Jim pushed with his leg into Blair's leg, and his guide looked at him with wide, desperate eyes and a weak smile that was meant to reassure him. Jim felt another stab of guilt as a blindfold went over his eyes.
Jim pushed out with his thigh, telling Blair he was here. Then a prick at his neck warned him only seconds before he started losing consciousness. He was only barely aware as the van pulled away from the curb.