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.

And finally…

by Shedoc

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End of a long night. Happy, but long.

We swore Sandburg in tonight - and I do mean we. He got back to Vice from his last night of stakeout and Jim collared him, marched him up to Major Crimes and stood beside me as I swore his partner in. The rest of my people stood behind us, serious faced and silent until Sandburg accepted his shield from me and his gun from Jim. Then they roared their approval while Sandburg looked a little shocked at the gun in his hand before slipping the shoulder rig on and his coat over it.

We all headed for Bobbies - a local haunt we all liked and had a few beers. Nothing boisterous, but fun none the less. At midnight the majority went home, leaving Ellison, Conner, Taggert, Henri, Rafe and I with Sandburg at a big table in the back.

There was a comfortable silence going as we finished our drinks before heading home. I treasure times like this - knowing only too well that out job is dangerous and any one of us could get hurt tomorrow. Memories like this one will get me through the stress and pain of that.

"Hairboy?" Henri asked quietly as Blair idly turned a coaster in his hands. I reflected that Sandburg will never live down all the nicknames he's earned as our observer - in fact the list is likely to grow longer. Blair grinned at Henri and bobbed his eyebrows in a 'yeah?' gesture.

"I gotta ask," Henri continued after a moment and my stomach knotted up. Please don't ask about the Sentinel stuff! Don't ruin this moment!

"I thought you hated guns - what changed your mind?"

I wanted to kick my detective - that was a much worse question! Sandburg grinned as everyone except Ellison looked at him. Ellison was focussed on two men over by the door, muttering to each other and looking around shiftily. I couldn't hear them but I'm sure Ellison could.

"In all the time I've observed with you guys I've held guns for others. I even fired a rifle," Sandburg began - obviously he's put a lot of thought into this, "But it's never been who I am - a part of me. If I'm in trouble I talk, or use a hose, or throw a baseball. I don't automatically reach for a gun to solve my problems - I'd probably be dead if I did. I don't need a gun to do my job."

Sandburg put a hand on Ellison's arm automatically and I saw some focus return to his face. Taggert relaxed a little beside me. Zone averted.

"But I have to carry a gun as part of my job. I'll use it if I have to - but it's always gonna be a last resort," Sandburg explained, "I still believe in gun control. I still believe violence doesn't solve anything. But I'm not a pacifist and I'd never let any of you get hurt on my watch."

The conviction was obvious. Sandburg sounded like he was swearing an oath - one that we all knew he'd die to keep. There was a profound silence - how do you respond to that?

"That's enough oaths for one day," Ellison said firmly, "C'mon we've gotta get some sleep. Can't be late for your first day on the job."

"Yeah, I hear the boss hates waiting," Sandburg cracked and dispelled the mood. I hit him with my best scowl and watched it slide off him like water off a duck's back. Totally unfazed he got up with the others and set about paying his share and collecting coats.

I linger behind and watch the Sentinel steer his Guide out to the truck, hand on his shoulder. They're independent, I realize, but like any symbiotic creatures they do better together than apart. If you know how to look you can see their connection to each other and their protectiveness.

And tomorrow - finally - they're working for me to protect their city. As my son would say: awesome!

End

Author's note: I hope I got this right - Simon is a complex character: gruff yet compassionate. I didn't mention his family or anything else in this story because I was borrowing Simon's voice to tell Jim and Blair's story - mostly Jim's.

I won't be writing from Simon's p.o.v. again - he's told me what he wanted to say and is happy now J

Let me know what you think!

Shedoc

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