Jim and Blair set up position behind some scaffolding with dropcloths draped across it—the same place they had waited for the last two nights. Hardly any light shone through the windows. It was a cloudy, moonless night. Blair could hardly see a thing, but he was certain Jim could see just fine. Tonight that was a comfort. It wasn’t always. It was great that Jim was learning to use his Sentinel abilities better, but sometimes Blair felt like he didn’t have any privacy around him. Jim knew what food he’d had for lunch, what women he’d talked to at the station, what time he came home, what conversations he had with Rafe and Henri in another room. He’d had to alter the way he went about his daily routines. Blair noticed, not for the first time, how his life seemed to be changing to suit Jim’s. Was that a good thing?
Blair saw Jim tense. He was staring at the skylight. “What is it? Do you see something?”
“Movement on the roof. There’s a man up there matching the description you gave us of Seward.” Jim whispered into his headphone mike. “He’s here and he’s coming in through the roof. I’m going to wait until he goes for the painting. Everybody into position.”
Blair squinted and could just make out a human-like shape now coming down through the open skylight on a rope. The shape swiftly slipped down the rope. Blair could tell from looking at Jim that he could hear Jack’s every quiet gesture.
Blair had been right on the money. The guy smelled like hamburger meat. Jim began to study him carefully—so intently that he could see the lines of concentration on the older man’s face, his small practiced movements. Everything else seemed to fade into the background as he stared at him.
Blair’s whispering voice was insistent. “Jim. Listen to me. We don’t have time for this. You need to focus on the sound of my voice. Come back, Jim. Breathe, slow, breathe. That’s it.”
Jim blinked rapidly as he came back to his senses. He could tell by the slightly panicked look on Sandburg’s face that he’d had another zone-out. Would he ever get them under control, or would he always have to depend on Sandburg to keep him from permanently going catatonic? He looked up to see Seward moving stealthily towards the painting. He spoke into his mike. “This is it. Everybody move in.”
Jim jumped out from the shadows, gun drawn. “Freeze! Cascade PD! You’re under arrest!”
Seward turned and headed back towards the dangling rope in a vain attempt to get away. Jim shot the rope in two near the top. The long piece of rope fell to the floor at the thief’s feet.
“Hands on your head and get down on the floor! Lay flat! Now cross your legs and don’t move!” Jim gave the ok through his headphone. Lights were now shining in the windows as the other officers moved in. Jim pulled out his handcuffs and restrained the prone thief, all the while reading him his rights.
Blair hadn’t been able to see Jack well in the dark, but as Jim pulled him to his feet, the lights bouncing around the room randomly illuminated his face. He was so much older than Blair remembered, but his eyes were the same—kind, gentle, full of life and humor. He was staring at Blair with a puzzled look on his face. He seemed totally unconcerned with the fact that he’d been caught.
“I say, young man. Do I know you from somewhere?”
Blair stepped closer, nervous.
A smile crinkled around Jack’s eyes and mouth, making him look younger. “Shadow, my boy! I thought perhaps I was seeing things! Don’t tell me you’re a police officer.” He said it with a slight teasing disdain.
“No. I’m an anthropology student at Rainier.”
“Strange time of night for a field trip, isn’t it?”
“I’m working on my dissertation. It’s about closed societies like the police force. I…I’ve been…riding with Detective Ellison…” He nodded at Jim.
“Ah. Let me guess. You occasionally can’t resist the urge to help out, as it were.”
Blair expected him to be mad, but he sounded sort of amused. “Well, um…”
Jack inclined his head knowingly towards Blair. “I congratulate you on a successful venture, my boy. You’ve neatly done what some of the best law enforcement officers in the world have not been able to do—ensnare ‘The Prince’.”
“But that’s only because I knew you!”
“Well, not everyone can be so fortunate, lad.” Jack glanced at the man who still gripped his arm. “Come now, Detective, I’m an old man and I’m not getting any younger. Let’s proceed with the arrest, shall we?” He gave Blair a wink. “Come see me when you get the chance. We have a lot to catch up on—I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time for visitors.”
Javert and Gerard burst in, ready for action. Javert seemed disappointed that Seward was going quietly. He walked up to the older man, a sneer etched on his face. “Well, well. You’ve given us the slip for quite a number of years. It looks like we finally got you.”
Seward put on his most aristocratic, arrogant airs. “I beg your pardon? You did not get anything, impertinent boy. The Notorious Prince was captured thanks to the efforts of Blair Sandburg, Anthropology Student Extraordinaire…and, of course, the Cascade Police Department.”
Jim led Seward away before Javert lost his temper and did something everyone would regret. Ellison also didn’t want the Interpol agents to see him grinning.
Blair stayed at the station even though they wouldn’t let him see Jack. They didn’t want him to see anyone until his lawyer arrived from Paris. Simon finally convinced Blair to go home and get some sleep. Jim dropped him off and then went back to the station. Blair sat in his darkened room, emotionally and physically tired. He was so relieved that Jack didn’t hate him. Blair thought about the way Jack practically took over his own arrest—ordering Jim around and insulting Interpol. Blair started to laugh. He couldn’t help it. He laughed long and hard until tears streamed down his face and his laughter turned to sobs.