Blame this one on Dawn. She wrote that I needed to explain Mr. Sing. I wrote back about the real person upon whom (isn't English grand?) I based the character; including the name. I still don't explain him fully, but, I guess I'm leaving it all up to you to figure out. The real man was just as enigmatic; giggled when he talked, always seemed to know just what was needed, and when. Of course, David was nearly six feet tall. R.I.Eaton The rest of them aren't mine and I'm not making any money at this, so please don't sue me. Not that I have very much anyway.



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He ran. Just as fast as he could. Knowing better than to look back. If you look back, you'll let them get closer. He was starting to gasp for breath, a stitch forming in his side. He dared not slow down, however. If he did, they'd catch him for sure. He rounded the corner and dashed down the street. He was definitely in trouble. It was getting late, and he was getting further and further from any place he would be able to get help. Then he spotted it. The light in the little shop. He jumped for the door. Once inside, he ducked out of sight and watched as his pursuers ran past. He was gasping in exhaustion.

"You are in trouble. You want use phone?"

He looked up from his hiding place at the elderly Chinese man, obviously the proprietor. His English was hard to understand, until he realized that the man was giggling as he talked.

"I...I'm sorry. Yes. I..." He started shaking from reaction. The old man reached down and helped him up. He was surprised at the strength of the elderly gentleman. When he was vertical, he tried to stand on his own, but he was shaking too hard.

"You are safe, young man. They will not find you here." He pulled the young man into a hug, patting him on the back. "You come with me. Use phone. Call your father. Yes?" Gently guiding the boy toward the back of the shop. "You have name?"

"Yes, sir. Daryl Banks. Thank you, for helping me."

"Here is phone. You call. I go lock up." He let go of the young man and went back to the front of the store to lock the door. He watched as the half dozen teens and young adults came back past his shop. They were arguing loudly about their escaped victim. They never even looked toward the shop and the elderly man, right in plain sight, standing and watching them. He smiled.

"Captain Banks, please." He was getting his breathing back under control. "Dad?"

"Daryl? What's wrong?" Surprised to hear from his son. He checked the time, he'd only just gotten out of school about an hour earlier.

"There were these guys. They, they tried to sell me some drugs and I said no. Then one of them remembered you were a cop and they decided I was a narc and chased me." He was calming down, now. Between the safety of the quiet shop and the caring proprietor and the fact he was actually speaking with his dad, his panic was subsiding.

"Where are you?" Worried.

"I'm...I don't know. Hold on, I'll ask." He turned to the shopkeeper. "Excuse me, where are we?"

"Tell your father you are at Mr. Sing's. He will know."

"I'm at Mr. Sing's?"

"Elderly Chinese man, has a shop down in the waterfront warehouse district?"

"Uh huh."

"They chased you an awful long way."

"Yes, sir. I thought they were gonna get me for sure. I just kept running. I kind of lost track of where I was. They just wouldn't give up. Then, I came around a corner and saw this shop was open and dashed in. I ducked out of sight and they ran past. Then Mr. Sing? He told me to use the phone and call you. So I did." His panic was gone. He was safe.

"Good. I'll send a car for you. You stay put. Is Mr. Sing there?"

"Yes, you want to talk to him?"


Daryl handed the phone to the shopkeeper.


"Thank you for rescuing my son, Mr. Sing. I've got someone on the way to pick him up." At least he would as soon as he got their attention and handed them the note.

"Is no problem. He is safe here. Six boys chase him. They go back. Very angry he get away. Two of boys older. Twenty-two, twenty-three, maybe. I see all time. They sell drugs. Very bad boys."

"Could you identify them?" Simon asked in surprise.

"Oh, yes. Oldest boy is Eddie Charles. Very bad boy. Live on Washington. Other older boy is Tommy MacAfee. Not know where he live. Others are school boys. High school." Mr. Sing informed the captain.

"That's great, Mr. Sing. Thank you. For everything." Simon had finally gotten the attention of their observer, Blair Sandburg. He motioned for the young man to come. When Blair popped into the office, he opened his mouth to ask what was wanted, but Simon held up a note to him. Blair turned his head to read it, his eyes widening in surprise. He looked at Simon who nodded at him and motioned for him to get going. Blair returned the nod and headed back out to the bullpen.

"Jim? Let's go." He grabbed his jacket and headed for the door. Leaving the startled detective gaping after him. Jim cast a puzzled glance at the captain's office, stood up, grabbed his jacket and chased after his partner.

"What's up, Chief?" He asked as he caught up at the elevator.

"Daryl's at Mr. Sing's. Some punks chased him after school. He's OK. Just needs a ride home."

Jim nodded. "Works for me."

Daryl was sipping tea when his ride arrived. He was glad his dad had sent this particular pair. As soon as Mr. Sing had let them in, he threw himself at them, demanding hugs from them both.

"You OK, Daryl?" Jim asked, while Blair gave him a hug.

"Yes, sir." Daryl replied, shifting over to Jim for his hug. Mr. Sing watched benevolently from the side.

Blair smiled at the old gentleman. "I thought you were closed on Wednesdays, Mr. Sing?"

"Yes. I have new shipment." He shrugged. "I needed to sort through it, make decisions. So I come in today."

Jim wondered at the old man's penchant for pidgin English. Noticing how, at times, he seemed perfectly able to speak, and at other times he seemed to barely know the language.

Mr. Sing caught Jim staring at him in curiosity, and smiled. He gently pulled the much larger man aside, while Daryl told Blair of his adventures.

"You wonder why I speak pidgin, yes?"


"It is very good for customers. They think I am a very simple man, which I am, of course." He smiled broadly, up at the detective, who returned the smile. "When they think I am a fool, they make fools of themselves. It is most amusing." He watched for a reaction from the policeman. A little surprised that there wasn't an obvious reaction.

"You are a student of human nature and behavior, aren't you, Mr. Sing?"

"Yes. Very much. It fascinates me at all the different kinds of people there are. Take your friend, Mr. Sandburg. His is a most generous soul. He cares more for others than he does for himself. A sweet child, if you will. All enthusiasm and bounce, yes?"

Jim grinned. "Yes. That fits very well."

"He is also very deep. He knows much without knowing. Do you understand?" Piercing eyes searching the larger man's face.

"Yes. I guess I do." That description definitely fit his guide, knowing without knowing.

"You, on the other hand, are just as you appear. The guardian of the city."

Jim stiffened at that. Eyes narrowing at the old man, wondering...

"You care deeply for others, but you do not know how to tell what you feel. You try to repress your feelings for what you think is expected of you." He smiled, softly. "Yet, you will, on occasion, go out of your way to do a kindness for someone, preferring they not know of your generosity." The smile broadened at Jim's faint flush of embarrassment. "You and your friends are a formidable combination. We are all most fortunate that you guard our city."

"I've been here once, with two of my colleagues, how do you know all this?" Jim's naturally suspicious nature peeking out.

"You bought the jade statue for Mr. Sandburg. You are the Sentinel. It was only obvious. He is your guide."

"What!" Jim hissed in shock.

"The statue? It's title is Sentinel and Guides. You are a police detective. You stand as Sentinel, Guardian, if you will, to the city. I found the resemblance to the two of you fascinating." He frowned in confusion. "There is truly nothing mystical to it, I simply have a talent for puzzles. Putting people together with the object that suits them. I was most pleased to know that you were purchasing the statue for Blair. It was his. Just as the necklace was for your friend's wife, or the kaleidoscope was for you. You did like it, didn't you?"

"Yeah, it's beautiful." He blushed again, "I use it a lot, it's great for stress relief."

Mr. Sing chuckled. "Yes. It can also serve as a focus, by mesmerizing yourself with watching the colours and shapes, often you will find a solution to the problem that is worrying you, yes?"

Jim smiled. "Yes."

They were interrupted by Blair and Daryl.

"You ready to go, Jim?" Blair asked. His anger at the drug dealers was obvious.

He looked at Mr. Sing. He was going to have to continue this conversation at a later date. The elderly gentleman smiled, nodding.

"Wait. I have gift for young man." Dropping back into his pidgin. He moved over behind a counter and opened it, removing a soft leather bag. He looked closely at Daryl. "This is very old. More than one hundred years. Not valuable. Is for warrior. Masai." He opened the bag and removed two objects. The first was a carved ring. "This ring, carved from leg bone of lion. Is for courage." He reached out and placed the ring on the middle finger of Daryl's right hand. "Is for strength. To do right." He admonished. Daryl stared at the beautiful ring. It had sharp points on it, he could imagine the damage it could do in a fight. He looked at Jim and Blair for a hint of what to do. They were just smiling at him.

"Mr. Sing, I can't..."

"You can." Mr. Sing said sternly. "You will." He added softly. He picked up the second object in the bag. "Necklace is made of copper, inlayed with stones. You see?" Holding it up for the young man to examine.

"Oh, cool. A lion."

Blair looked at him, confused. "I see a baboon,"

Jim frowned, "I see a cheetah." They all turned to Mr. Sing, who only smiled.

"I see turtle." He shrugged. "I have been told that each one sees a spirit. A lion for strength and courage. The baboon is an animal of wisdom, the cheetah was kept as a guard animal and hunter. The turtle?" He smiled, "Age." Then he chuckled.

The others all looked again at the pendant, each struggling to see what the others saw.

Oh!" Jim exclaimed. "It's one of those optical illusions. I can see the baboon and the lion." He glanced at Mr. Sing, "But not the turtle." He reached out and traced the patterns in the pendant, until the others could pick out the different animals, as well.

"Oh, man, that is, like, so cool." Blair said, his inevitable bounce back.

"Mr. Sing. I can't take these. I..."

"No. They are for you." He looked at Jim for support. "They are yours. Do you not feel it?" He took the pendant and handed it to Blair to fasten around the teen's neck.

Blair only hesitated for a moment, then did as he was bidden. The pendant rested just below the juncture of Daryl's clavicles, the one and a half inch disk immediately picking up the warmth from his body. It felt right. Daryl reached up to touch the picture, finger unconsciously tracing the lion pattern.

"I...Thank you."

Mr. Sing smiled. "Story of necklace and ring say give owner power of lion. You need lion's strength. To face the evil ones. You be strong. You see."

Daryl looked from Mr. Sing to Jim and Blair. "Yes, sir. Thank you." Mr. Sing smiled, nodding. Giving Jim a rather enigmatic look that asked if he understood. Jim nodded.

"Come on, guys. If we don't get back soon, Simon's gonna have an APB out on all of us." At which moment, Jim's cell rang. Shaking his head in disgust, while the others burst out laughing.

"Yes, Simon. He's fine, Simon. He's right here, Simon. Would you like to talk to him?" He knew he was going to hear about the way he answered his phone later, but he was grinning anyway, as he handed the cell to Daryl.

"I'm fine, Dad. Honest." Daryl rolled his eyes in mock martyrdom, causing louder laughter from the others.


Three months later, Daryl understood his need of the necklace and ring, as he sat (the fingers of his right hand tracing the figure of the lion that only a very few people could see) in the witness box, giving the testimony that sent Eddie Charles and Johnny MacAfee to prison for six years. The other four boys were placed on probation, and the drug ring they had worked for had been broken up, all thanks to Daryl.

He'd endured the snide comments from classmates about being a narc; he'd had a few fights about his stand against drugs, he'd have probably had to fight a lot more, had it not been for the damage the lion ring could do. The carved teeth may have been small, but they were incredibly strong and very sharp. Of course, the fact that after his first fight Jim had taken him out and taught him some self defense hadn't hurt, either.

Whenever anyone hassled him, he had taken to touching the pendant; or when faced with a possible fight, the ring. They served as reminders that, sometimes at least, right made might. He also discovered he had a lot of friends he hadn't known about before. The kids who were afraid of the dealers. The ones who wanted to take a stand, but who had been afraid to. With Daryl publicly denouncing the druggies and willingly going to court against them, the battle lines were firmly drawn. He was a little surprised to discover most of his fellow students were taking a stand with him on his side of the line. He had figured that most of them would have straddled the fence. Not caring one way or another.

Two weeks after appearing in court, he came racing into the squad room. He ran past Jim and Blair, motioning them to follow him. They stood and followed him into his dad's office. He was so excited that he was laughing and crying at the same time.

"You won't believe it. I don't believe it."

"Believe what, son?" Simon asked, looking askance at Jim and Blair.

"I'm a freshman, right?"

"Yes. So?"

"So. Today, in school. I was voted to be student body president. I wasn't even running for any office. I won as a write in. Can you believe it? They voted me for student body president. That's always been a senior's job." He was bouncing excitedly as the adults congratulated him.

"This definitely calls for a celebration." Simon announced, then they started making plans for a serious party. One involving the police department and the school.

Sometimes, nice guys do finish first.

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