Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Everyday Life Series

Summary: A cold weather front, two flat tires, and no one in sight.

Robyn asked for a "cold-weather-stuck-away-from-the-loft snuggle" so I paused long enough in the midst of writing that OWW crossover sequel (which is rapidly on its way to becoming an epic) to write this. And, yes, this is smarm/warm fuzzies/friendship moments/etc. for the most part. You have to ask? ~grin~

One Cold Night...
by Becky
August 1999

It was cold, Blair decided. A moment later, as he stared down the dark, empty road lit only by the headlights of the truck, he changed his mind.

It was really cold.

Blair alternated between rubbing his hands together, blowing into them, then rubbing his hands over his arms, trying to generate some heat. His long-sleeve t-shirt and light windbreaker just weren't cutting it. He paced the few feet back to the truck where Jim was muttering vague imprecations and promises of revenge against the store he'd purchased his most recent set of tires from.

They had been driving back late from doing some out-of-town questioning for a case in one of the smaller towns in the mountains when two of those tires had blown out, sending them skidding off the road and into the woods along the side. The driver's side window had shattered and cracked into pieces where a tree limb had struck it. The cold air had infiltrated the cab in moments, sucking all the warmth away -- as well as Blair's more pleasant frame of mind. While neither of them were injured, they were now stranded on the side of a country road.

During a surprise and freak cold weather front that had blown in that late afternoon. No rain, just freezing temperatures.

After sundown on a deserted road without a working flashlight.

And dead cellphone batteries.

It was really really cold.

"J-j-j-im, come on. S-s-s-staring at the t-t-truck isn't g-g-gonna change anyth-th-thing. Let's just g-g-go, man! It's d-d-d-dark and I'm f-f-f-freezing!" Even his hair, pulled into a tangled ponytail at the nape of his neck, felt cold.

Jim glanced back at him, seemingly and annoyingly unbothered by the cold temperatures. "Keep moving, Chief. I don't need you to turn into an icicle on me." His breath puffed out in front of his face, partially blocking the concern his eyes, but not all the way. He turned back to the truck, opening the passenger cab door and sticking his head inside.

Blair shivered, clutching his arms around himself more firmly as he started jogging a little in place. "T-t-t-too late for th-th-that, Jim." He blew into his hands, half-wondering why he didn't see ice crystals forming in mid-air. "One Blair-cicle c-c-c-coming up."

"I think you're exaggerating, Chief." The truck lights flickered off and Jim pulled out of the truck cab, stuffing a few pieces of paper -- the car ownership papers, Blair assumed -- in his inside jacket pocket. He locked the door and shut it, patting the roof of the truck before hopping back over on the road to join Blair. "It's not that cold out here. I mean, it's cold, but not that bad." Draping an arm around Blair's shoulders, he pulled him to his side, off-setting his words with a gentle rubbing of Blair's arm.

Blair inched closer to Jim, craving the warmth the bigger man's body exuded. "Maybe n-n-not to you, b-b-but I st-st-still think it's f-f-f-freezing out here." A huge shiver went through his body and he clutched at Jim's coat with one hand.

Jim chuckled softly, but pulled Blair closer at the same time. "Well, come on, then. I think I saw some kind of structure a couple miles back or so. We can check it out. If it's habitable, we can stay there until this passes over and walk to the nearest town tomorrow morning."

They started walking down the road, Blair still held close to Jim's side, depending on his sentinel's night vision to guide them both in the darkness. He asked, "And if it's n-n-not?"

A moment passed, then Jim replied quietly, "Well, then we'll see how much I remember about building a lean-to."


What felt like a very long time later, after Jim had pronounced the tiny, one-room, abandoned cabin livable and acceptable, Blair made himself relatively at home on the thin, moth-eaten mattress in one corner of the room. He listened in the darkness as Jim braced the door with a piece of wood he'd found outside. The two windows were already boarded up, so they didn't have to worry about those. The wind battered at the small building, whistling through tiny cracks, but for the most part the cold stayed outside. For about the fifth time, Blair looked longingly in the direction of the fireplace, wishing it was usable. Unfortunately Jim had checked it out and found that it was good and plugged all the way down. So no fires. But at least they were out of the wind.

He heard Jim took another circuitous route around the room, then walk over to join Blair on the mattress, plopping down next to him. They'd dragged the thin thing -- the only piece of "furnishing" in the cabin -- to the back wall, the wall with the least air leaks and which was mostly sheltered from the heavy winds by the trees towering over them just outside. Listening to the high winds whistle past in shrieks and whooshes, Blair shivered, feeling them chill him, even if he did know his reaction was more psychological at that point. He actually was feeling a bit better with each moment.

"Still cold?" His partner shifted on the mattress as he leaned against the wall.

His legs pulled up under his chin, Blair nodded. "Yeah. Just gonna t-t-take me a b-b-bit to warm up." A moment later, a hand touched his back, latching into his windbreaker and tugging him backwards. He glanced behind him, imagining Jim sitting there comfortably, head tilted back, eyes closed. As he resisted Jim's pull, he felt his partner sit up and Blair could almost feel the look given him -- the one he'd secretly labeled as Ellison Look #12 -- the "don't give me none of that nonsense" look.

"Come here, Chief. You're the one who always tells me I'm a human heater." He stretched his other arm across and grasped Blair's arm, give him a gentle pull.

With a soft smile and rush of gratitude, Blair went. Within seconds, he had two arms wrapped around him, holding him close to the warm body of his friend. Legs and cold feet curled up under him, one hand curled into Jim's coat, the other tucked up close to his own body for warmth, Blair rested his head on Jim's shoulder and closed his eyes. If he ignored the lumpy mattress underneath him and the strong winds roaring just on the other side of the wall...he could almost feel like it was one of those late night stakeouts in the truck.

Well, only then he usually had a better coat...and coffee...and a working cellphone...and Jim didn't normally agree to be a human pillow on those things either. But other than those tiny little details...

Another gust blew past, rattling against the door, shaking it. Blair's eyes flew open to stare across the pitch blackness of the tiny cabin. He tensed as the wind and the door fought for several long moments. Expecting the door to burst open and let the cold air in to abduct the small amount of warmth available to them, it took a second for Jim's soothing voice to register in his ears.

"'s gonna hold. Don't worry. Come on, close your eyes. Just pretend like we're camping or something."

Blair snorted, but closed his eyes anyway. "It's never gotten this bad when we've been camping, Jim. We run across poachers and rednecks, bad guys and mobsters, and who knows who else when we've gone camping, but never bad weather." He paused a moment, then re-opened his eyes. "And how you'd know my eyes were open?" He tried to push himself upward, but Jim held him firmly to his side.

Jim chuckled. "I could tell you that I heard your eyelashes move or something, but that wouldn't be true since I've got everything turned down. Just human nature for you to open your eyes. Now, will you just relax. We're gonna be here all night and I think we ought to get whatever rest we can so we can hike outta here tomorrow morning. Okay?"

Mock grumbling for a moment about cynical and order-loving sentinels, Blair shifted a little, then resettled against Jim's side, curling just a bit closer. He sighed out heavily and closed his eyes, realizing abruptly that his shivering had finally died down a little.

"You comfortable, Chief?"

"Are you?"

"Mm-hmm. I'd suggest laying down, but I don't think this mattress is big enough for both of us." He paused a moment, then added, "And I'm beginning to think the wall is actually more comfortable. This thing has more lumps in it than most of the places I've gone camping."

Blair laughed softly, then released Jim's coat long enough to pat him on the chest. "Well, as long as you're comfortable, I'm comfortable. And I think I'm getting warm again too. Thanks."

Jim tightened his hold on Blair momentarily in a kind of a hug. "No problem, buddy. Now try to rest and think warm thoughts."

Smile flitting on his face, Blair relaxed further, still feeling residual shivers as he drifted, but not enough to impede sleep as it encroached in on him. He felt Jim's head tilt to one side and come to rest the top of his, Jim's breath blowing outward over his hair.

Outside, the stormy winds blew on, raging against the night; inside, warmth settled around two souls, protecting them and keeping them safe in the night.

- The End -