Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

Guide Posts Smarm Challenge Response
by Becky
June 1997

A brisk breeze of too cold air washing over bare sensitized skin woke Jim in the early hours of a Saturday morning. He took a deep breath, turning down the dial against the chill, then pushed himself up to look around. Balcony's open again. Sandburg, what does it take for you to remember to close that thing before you go to bed?

He fell back on the pillows, willing himself to go back to sleep, but the cold air persisted and he finally gave up. Yanking on his robe, he padded barefoot downstairs, frowning when he noticed the books and papers scattered across the couch and on the floor. Sandburg had been up half the night -- as usual -- grading papers and writing tests for one of the classes he was teaching this quarter. Things at the station had been busy and Blair hadn't had much of a chance to do much of it of during the day and so was relegated to doing his schoolwork in the late evenings and wee hours of the mornings, especially on the weekends.

Deciding just to ignore the mess for the moment, Jim headed over to the balcony and pulled the open door shut, latching it firmly. As he turned to walk back upstairs, he automatically glanced toward Blair's bedroom and opened his hearing to check on him. A slow heartbeat, deep breathing, and vague sleepy murmurings answered him. Along with those sounds came the feeling of more cold air. Sandburg must've opened the back door as well. Probably trying to keep himself awake. No wonder it's so chilly in here.

He debated with himself for half a second, then sighed and headed toward the small bedroom, pushing on the glass french door to peer inside. Blair was curled on his side, only the sheet covering him, the blankets kicked restlessly onto the floor. In his sleep, one of his hands was fruitlessly searching for something to pull on to cut down the chill of the room.

Jim shook his head and walked softly across the room and shut the back door quietly, locking it. Turning, he reached down and gathered up the blankets lying in heaps next to the bed. He shook them out, then draped them along his partner's form gently, pulling them up to rest across his shoulders.

Blair stirred slightly as he mumbled almost incoherently, "Thanks, Jim," before he drifted back into a heavy sleep, snuggling deeper amidst the covers. Jim blinked once, then smiled slowly to himself. Even in sleep, his partner seemed to know who was taking care of him. What did that say about Blair's perceptions of Jim and their friendship?

And what does it say about my perceptions?

Seemingly of its own volition, Jim's hand strayed from his side to brush back dark curls from Blair's forehead. He stared at his partner for long moments, just watching and listening to the younger man sleep, his fingers resting lightly on Blair's head.

Jim had always considered himself a solitary person, never needing anyone else. Even marriage hadn't done much to change that fact, something Carolyn had realized quickly enough. And now, here I am with a partner who isn't even a cop, someone I've allowed into my home, into my life, and into my .... heart.

Straightening up sharply, he examined his choice of words carefully. My heart? Is that right? Is that what I mean? What do I mean? He rubbed a hand across his forehead. It was too early for such deep thoughts and he was too tired to think straight. But now his mind was going and wouldn't shut up until he sorted this out.

He turned to look out the back door into the alley below, trying to sort out his thoughts. Blair is my partner and my friend. He glanced back at the sleeping man as he rolled slightly in sleep. And he is my family, the only one that really matters to me anymore. He smiled again, a bit wider this time, feeling strangely at ease with the realization of how important Blair was to him. I guess that means I have allowed him into my heart.

Jim reached down and tugged the blankets up around his partner's shoulders again. Touching Blair's head once more before turning to leave the small room, he whispered, "Night, Chief."

His heart supplied its own words.

Goodnight, my partner, my friend, .... my brother.

- The End -