No choice but one
Simon tugged out his cell phone as he pulled out of the CPD parking garage.
"Jim. Simon." He took a deep breath. Jesus Christ, how do I tell him? "Sandburg's body, someone took -"
"I know." Jim's voice was oddly flat. "I did." There was an odd *cricki* noise on the line.
"Ellison, are you *nuts?*" Simon cringed. Great use of words, Banks.
Jim's voice was low, almost rational. "Yes." Almost. "I'm sorry Simon. I was insane to think I could ever do this to my Guide." There was that noise again.
"Jim." Simon's blood ran cold as he finally identified the strange sound. Bullets being loaded into a gun. One by one. "Jim. Don't do this. Let me help."
"You can't help me Simon. No one can."
Simon heard the unspoken 'except Blair' on the end of the sentence. "Jim. Jim, wait. If it's about the Sentinel thing..."
"This isn't about the Sentinel thing, Simon. This is a personal thing."
Simon heard a click on the other end of the line. "Jim?!"
"Still here," came the too-calm voice. "I should have realised Simon. When it started. I didn't tell him about the fishing trip. 'Sorry kid, need some time off, hope you understand.' " There was a catch in the Sentinel's voice. "I should have seen it Simon. I hurt him then, and he got sick..he could have died. It was a warning, but I didn't listen." Another bullet slid into the clip. "I didn't listen."
"Jim." Simon turned the wheel frantically, trying to overtake a carload of teenagers. "Jim, I -"
"Then there was his thesis." The cold, flat, dead voice coming out of the phone made the police Captain shiver. "I don't know what happened, why I did it. That was the deal. It was always the deal. Sandburg did his thesis, I got control of my senses. Then I got rid of him. The Deal." He laughed, a cold sound that chilled Simon to the bone. "The Deal didn't include him becoming my Guide. The Deal didn't include him becoming the Shaman of the great city. The Deal didn't include death, and heartache, and way too much time spent in hospital. The Deal didn't include him moving into my home, my life." Jim paused. "My heart."
Simon gripped the phone tighter as he swung past another car turning into Prospect, knuckles turning white. "Jim." it was a plea.
"So I made him destroy it. No. I didn't make him. He offered. Blair offered to destroy his entire academic career for me. Part of it was pride, but he would have done it in a heartbeat if I'd asked. But it still wasn't enough. I had to be sure he wouldn't leave. I wanted more and more. That's what drove him to Alex."
"Alex is dead, Jim. We found her in..."
"In the fountain," there was a scratching noise as Jim nodded against the handset. "I know. I killed her. There's only one thing left." He dropped the phone carelessly to the floor.
"Jim." Simon jumped out of the car and charged up the steps. "Jim!" he reached the door, banging hard with his fist. "Dammit Ellison, open up!"
"Goodbye." Jim loaded a final bullet, into the chamber. He held the gun, weighing it in his hand, eyes fixed on the figure laid out so peacefully on the couch in front of him. He leaned forwards and brushed the curls back one last time, his touch a kiss, a benediction on the cold marble skin.
"I'm sorry Chief."
Simon was pulling out his keys when the gun fired.
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