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.

Summary: Final part of my AU. Blair goes camping with Jim, Simon and Daryl.

24 Little Hours

(Sequel to A Minute Ticks By)

by Leesa Perrie

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So, yesterday, we reached the campsite. Not quite out in the wilds like we used to go, but still off the beaten track a bit. I managed the terrain, with a little help.

Simon, Jim and Daryl set up the campsite while I watched. Then they went fishing. I watched. They cleaned the fish they had caught. I watched. They made the evening meal. I watched. I also ate.

Then Daryl did some truly wicked impersonations of his teachers at school. I had to smile. Then he impersonated Jim. We all cracked up, though Jim tried desperately to look upset. Then Daryl impersonated his dad. Simon tried to look unhappy, but the laughter was infectious. I don't think I've laughed so much for, oh, a long time now.

Then Daryl did an impersonation of me. Not me, now, but me before the accident. Jim and Simon looked unsure of my reaction. I laughed and laughed. Then I cried.

I vaguely remember Simon and Daryl going off together, leaving me crying my eyes out on Jim's shoulders. I don't know how long I cried, but I guess it was a long time. Jim never said anything, just rubbed circles on my back, and handed me some tissues when I had finished.

I guess I needed to cry.

And now, it's the end of the next day. And what a day.

Daryl apologised when I woke up. He was embarrassed that he had made me cry. I told him it was okay. And it was okay. It really was.

So, after breakfast, we went fishing. I was going to watch again, but Jim and Simon set up a chair on the river's bank and hustled me into it. Next thing I know, there's a rod in my hand. What could I do? I cast a line.

Well, I caught two fish. Jim helped me - it was difficult to reel them in from a sitting position. I realised I was enjoying myself. It felt strange. Like I shouldn't be. But I was.

Simon and Daryl had wandered down the river a bit, but were still in sight of us. It was after a quick lunch that it happened. Another defining moment in my life. I looked and realised that Jim had zoned out on something. He was doing the statue impersonation, not the puppet with cut strings one, which was good.

I was going to call Simon, but I realised that I couldn't. Daryl wasn't in on the Big Secret yet. So, it was down to me. Me, the damaged guide.

I carefully got up and made my way over to Jim. It wasn't easy, as he had waded out into the shallows. I had to be really careful where I put my crutches, testing each placing to make sure they wouldn't slip and dump me in the river. I was scared, make that terrified, of falling. Of hurting myself even more. But Jim needed me.

I made it to his side with no mishaps, just one close call. I had to drop one of the crutches so that I could touch Jim. I patted him and talked to him, and within a minute he was back. He was surprised to find me in the water with him, but soon realised what must have happened. He smiled, said thanks, and helped me back to my chair, after retrieving my fallen crutch.

I spent the afternoon thinking. Pretending to fish, but really just thinking.

I had thought I was no use to Jim. Or at least, not a great deal of use. Not anymore. But I could still help him. I could still be his guide.

I guess I had an epiphany of sorts. Because suddenly life didn't seem so bleak and hopeless. Hope flared. It was still a small flame, but it was there. And I was going to cling to it.

It's late now. I've been in bed, well, in my sleeping bag, for some time. Just thinking about life. You know; life, the universe and everything. And the answer isn't 42. It's doing the best you can. Making the best of a bad situation. It's not giving up. And I had, almost, given up.

Tomorrow, we will be heading back home. I can't wait to get to physio. I have a lot of work to do, but I'm going to ditch the crutches. I'm going to walk unaided. I'm going to go back to Rainier and get on with my life there. I'm going to be Jim's guide at the station, and maybe out in the field a little. I mean, interviewing witnesses should be okay. Going to crime scenes once they are secured would be fine as well. And maybe I can find other ways of sneaking out in the field with him. I'm not just going to sit at his desk and do paperwork - no way.

You know, there's a song that I can't get out of my mind. Don't remember who it was by. It goes something like; 'what a difference a day makes, 24 little hours, and the difference is you.'

Yeah, 24 little hours can make a big difference. But in this case, the difference is me. The real me. The me I used to be. The me Daryl impersonated. Cause he's back now, that me. Oh I know there will be set backs, times when the depression hits, but I'm not going to let it win. I wouldn't be me if I did, after all.

The End

‘What A Difference A Day Makes' - Words & Music by Maria Grever & Stanley Adams. Recorded by Dinah Washington, 1959

Author's note: I'm not writing anymore, sorry folks. But if there is someone out there who would like to either continue the story, or fill in the blanks, then, so long as it isn't slash or heavy smarm, and you let me know about it, I'm happy for you to go ahead.

Comments, criticism, suggestions? Please e-mail Leesa.

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