Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

The First Hour

(Sequel to A Minute Ticks By)

by Leesa Perrie

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It felt strange. To walk, albeit slowly and with crutches, into my office at Hargrove Hall after all this time. It's fortunate that there is a back entrance with a ramp, and an elevator to get to other floors, or else I would have had to go backwards up the steps on my backside. That would have been really embarrassing.

I'm trying to remain positive. This is the first hour of truly getting my life back together. But the looks, the pity, the staring… I'm sure I'm making it out to be worse than it is. It just feels like everyone is watching me, pitying the cripple. No, no, I shouldn't use that term. I am physically challenged. Yeah, right.

I suppose I should just keep looking on the bright side, hard though it is. After all, I'm not stuck in a wheelchair, like Kelso. Now I feel guilty. Who am I to complain? He won't ever be able to walk again, and here I am, on crutches, but walking. And eventually I won't need the crutches. Just walk slowly. And awkwardly. And, oh damn. I can't get my head around this. I'm trying to be positive, but my thoughts keep going negative, which makes me feel guilty. This isn't fair!

And that's just it, isn't it? It isn't fair. It's not fair that I can't be Jim's back up in the field anymore. That I can only help him when he is at the loft, or in the precinct, but not out in the field. That's the real bummer. The real downer.

Okay, it's all been sorted out. We brought H, Rafe and Joel into the Big Secret of Jim's Senses. And now that Joel has transferred into Major Crimes, there are three people, four if you count Simon, who can help back Jim up in the field. It's not the same, but so far it has worked. But I should be out there with Jim. I should be Jim's back up, his guide as Brackett put it. And I can't help but feel I'm failing him. He says I'm not, but I don't really believe it, not deep down inside.

I think I could live with all of this if I was just a grad student. But I'm not. I'm a guide to a sentinel.

Damn. So there we have it folks. Blair Sandburg is full of guilt and frustration and self pity. Oh, and not to mention, a wonderful self image, too!

I look at the clock. I've been here for 45 minutes. So much for this first hour, it's going real swell. Not. Sitting at my desk, doing nothing but thinking. Well, no, that's not entirely true. The first 20 minutes were spent talking to various well-wishers, trying to get them out of the office as fast as I could without being rude. Trying not to think about the pity they must be feeling.

I suppose I should do some work. But I really don't feel like immersing myself in anthropology right now. Much rather immerse myself in self pity. Or guilt. Or frustration, or…

Oh. Well, there goes my mug, shattered on the wall next to my office door, just missing Jim, who chose that moment to walk in. Sorry about that, Jim, man.

And Jim just sighs, and starts to clear up the mess. Poor Jim. I know I'm a mess right now, and not exactly easy to put up with, but he's been very patient with me. Okay, there was that argument yesterday about me coming back to Rainier today - he thought it was too soon. I guess he was right. And the argument a few days before that, when his patience ran thin with my surliness. But on the whole, he's been okay. It's me who's been a pain in the neck.

He's cleaned it all up now. I've said I'm sorry. He's said it's okay. But I know it's not. Not really okay. I'm not really okay. I think I want to get away from here. Oh, did I say that out loud? Obviously, as Jim agrees.

And now he's talking about taking a camping trip for a few days, maybe do some fishing, kick back, relax. I'm not so sure about this. But Jim insists I'll be fine. I'll have him along to help me if the terrain gets a little rough. Oh, and Simon, and Daryl. Okay, looks to me like it's a done deal. No point in arguing.

I've been here 55 minutes. I don't think I'll be back for a long time yet. Too soon? Too right.

Jim helps me out to the truck. And helps me into it. He's already packed. Simon and Daryl will join us at the campsite. I guess this first hour is ending okay. Well, okay for me, how I am right now, that is.

The End

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