Disclaimer: Jim and Blair don't belong to me, but if Pet Fly is willing to sell, I got eight bucks in my back pocket. This is NOT, I repeat, NOT a Slash story. I don't write those. I have nothing against people who do write those, but I won't. Beta-ed, but all mistakes are mine.
by Wolf Guide
It was around two in the morning, and neither James Ellison nor Blair Sandburg had gotten any sleep. It had been a stressful week that had threatened the sanity of both Sentinel and Guide.
Monday had brought a murder/suicide. A husband had come home drunk and, in a fit of rage, killed both his son and wife. He then turned the gun on himself. The thing that got the most to every one at the scene wasn't the amount of blood. It was the way the mother and son were found. She had tried to shield her baby, that much was evident from the deep gashes on her back. She had crouched over the little boy, sheltering him until his father went and got his gun. After that...
Tuesday brought rain, same as always. With the rain, came another case. A body was found in a storm pipe. The swelling water had pushed against it until it clogged the drain. DPW had found the body and called the police. The body was identified as that of a jogger that had gone missing several weeks prior. The next two days were spent trying to figure out what happened. After lots of legwork and a very long stakeout until two in the morning, it was discovered that the man's partner had killed him so as to be able to gain complete control of their joint business. He was arrested and trial was in a few days.
Thursday saw both Sentinel and Guide knee deep in mud. After finishing up the jogger case, they were nearly broad-sided by a red porch; being driven by a bank robbery suspect, on their way back to the loft. The ensuing three-hour car chase through the streets of Cascade put the Sentinel's driving skills, or lack there of, to the test. After realizing that he wouldn't lose them in the city, the suspect tried to lose the police in the woods that surrounded the city. Driving over bumps, through puddles that were the size of small ponds, and nearly hitting several rather large trees, the suspect's car died in the middle of a large swamp. Putting his hands up in surrender, the man declared that he was trapped. Sighing, both Sentinel and Guide were forced to wade out to the car to rescue the stranded man. When the car had landed in the swamp, his legs had become entangled under the dash and he couldn't move. After several hours, they managed to free him from the wreck. As a result Jim came down with a slight cold.
That wouldn't have been a problem, if on Friday; he didn't have to spend six hours holding on to his partner as the younger man tried to convince someone that jumping off a building wasn't a good idea. In the end, the person had decided not to jump, but the damage was done. Jim's cold had decided that just sitting back and annoying him wasn't as much fun as actually knocking him off his feet.
So, here he was, sick as a dog, trying to get some sleep. But his cold just wouldn't have it. Every time his head stopped hurting, his stomach would start rolling. Then his room would start to spin, and then it would start all over again. He could hear his roommate downstairs. I don't know what I did to deserve him, but God, don't let me lose him.
Blair, even though he was dead on his feet, insisted on taking care of Jim. He had fluffed his pillows, made him soup, and then held the bucket as the soup came back up. And not once, during the entire time, did the younger man complain. Not once did he shirk away as Jim puked his guts into a bucket. Not once did he complain, as he had to go to the store to buy more tissues since Jim had used them all blowing his nose. He just grinned a tired grin, hold out another tissue, and said, 'That's what friends are for. You'd do the same for me in a heartbeat and you know it. So stop whining and let me be the one who takes care of you for once. It's the least I could do after all the times you pulled my fat out of the fire.'
Sighing, the Sentinel reached out with his hearing, trying to locate where his Guide was. It took him a moment, but, from what he could gather, it sounded like the kid had fallen asleep at the kitchen table. He'll never go to bed if I tell him. There's got to be something I can do to get him sleeping in a bed. Ah, ha. That'll work. Time for Operation Good Night to begin.
"Bwair, Bwair. Where are you?" Damn cold, can't even talk strait. Good thing my thinking isn't as screwed up as my nose.
"BWAIR! Wher you? I need you!"
"Wha? Jim?!?! Jim, what's wrong? You sick again? Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep. I'll be right there with the bucket."
"Bwair, I donth need the bucket. I need you."
"Me? What's wrong?" the voice paused and slowly got closer as the still clueless Guide headed toward the staircase.
"My sensez are all messed up." That ought to get him up here fast, and it isn't a total lie. He couldn't seem to stop his hearing from catching the tail end of every conversation in the building. He would try to turn his hearing down, but it would creep up slowly on him till every noise was deafening.
He was right. As soon as the word senses came out of his mouth, Blair was off like a shot, racing up the stairs.
"What's wrong? Which one's are giving you trouble? I should have known this would have happened. You and colds just don't mix." As the young Guide continued to ramble, his Sentinel moved on to the next part of his plan. Good, I got him up here, now, to get him to lie down.
"Bwair, come here. Iths easier if you near. Thath way, I can use you as a base to fix my sensez on."
"Huh? Oh, right, coming." That's right, my little guppy, come and lay down. If you don't, I got a funny feeling you'll fall, soon. I mean. Look at you. If the bags get any bigger under your eyes, you could pack all of Cascade in them. Time to get some sleep.
Trying to cover a yawn, Blair sat at the head next to Jim. Putting a hand on the Sentinel's shoulder, he began to talk. At first, it was nonsense. Then it turned into a description of one of his Guide's many trips abroad. That evolved into another story, then another, then another. Slowly, so that Blair didn't even notice what he was doing, Jim got Blair to lie down on the bed. Finally, after the anthropologist had been rambling for about forty-five minutes, Jim put a hand over the still talking man's mouth. He could feel the blush creeping its way up the smaller man's face as he suddenly realized where he was, lying on the bed, right next to the older man.
"Mumught. "<Pith>" Uh, Jim, what are you doing?" he stammered, trying to figure out how he had ended up where he was.
"Iths easier wif you here. Besides, donth want you to go." Please don't go. I really don't think you could make it down the stairs as is. Just sleep. Get better, or you'll be as sick as I am, then we'll really be in a fix.
"OK, if it's easier with me here, I'll stay. Where would I go? You're sick; you need me. My place is here." Jim felt a pang near his heart when he heard that. Such loyalty. What did I do to deserve that? I put you in danger, I get you shot, I get you killed. Why would you stay?
"Jim, you zoning?"
"No. Just tinking."
"Oh." <Yawn> "What about?"
"I was wondering why you stay. Why, time afta time, you get hurt, yet you come bak. Why you just donth pack and leave. Can you tell me, what I didth to dezerve that woyalty?"
The only thing he got in reply was the gentle sound of his Guide's breath, flowing in and out of his lungs. Grabbing the blanket, Jim pulled it up so that it covered both of them.
Sleep well Guide, the Sentinel stands watch. Always and forever.
With that, the Sentinel joined his Guide in the land of dreams.
Comments, criticism, suggestions? E-mail Wolf Guide.