Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Drama
Summary: A collection of baby vignettes starring Jim, Steven, Blair, and their parents, written around a famous lullaby. Spoilers for Remembrance. This is a pre-TS by BS story, although it could be taken to have a little foreshadowing by astute readers who have seen the episode.
This story was written to the tune of the traditional melody "Hush Little Baby", arranged by Jim Brickman and sung by Carly Simon on Jim Brickman's album "Destiny." For the full effect, read this story while listening to this version of the song.
Note: The dates and ages in this story are approximate since they haven't been well-established by canon. And who knows whether Jim's mother's name is Mary, Margaret, or Grace? <G>
Additional author's note: Thank you to Becky for beta-ing and Iris and Shiloh and Beth for their friendship and encouragement. Jane, the last scene is dedicated to you. To my readers, I hope this story makes you feel loved.
Diamond Ring Turned Brass
A 1957 Ford Fairlane, only a year old, pulled into the driveway of the big white house. The late summer sun cast early evening shadows among the bushes and trees in the yard as the car door opened and a man in his late twenties stepped out of the car, pulling his briefcase behind him. The man's brown hair was neatly parted and combed to the side, he wore a plain brown suit, and he walked with the stride of a confident and successful young businessman who was already making it big in the world and providing for his family. As William Ellison purposefully made his way across the lawn to the front door, his stomach rumbled and he thought about how much he was looking forward to eating a big dinner of steak and potatoes and then relaxing with his newspaper in front of the television afterwards.
He sighed as he turned the key in the front door's lock. The once-familiar scenario of a hot supper waiting for him after a long hard day at work had ended two weeks and three days ago. That was the day Mary had told him "it was time." He'd driven her to the hospital and 18 hours later baby Jimmy had been born. Mary and the baby had stayed in the hospital for the standard four days before the proud father had been able to bring them home, but that was when the sleepless nights had begun. It wasn't just the 2 am feedings that had exhausted both of them. For some reason, every little noise seemed to set the baby crying. They'd no sooner get him to sleep, and the neighbor's dog would bark or an airplane would fly overhead. One time the only thing they could find was the bathtub faucet dripping. It seemed a little frustrating to the new parents to have ended up with such a colicky baby.
William pushed the front door open quietly, in case his wife was sleeping. A quick glance around the living room revealed that she was -- her head leaning against the corner of the pink and blue flowered couch. She must have put the baby to sleep in the nursery upstairs and then come downstairs to rest, the young father concluded. Even though his stomach rumbled again in a demand for food, William didn't blame her -- she had to care for the baby all day and still hadn't regained all her energy yet. Unfortunately, no grandparents were available to assist them, either.
It was only after he'd set his briefcase down by the door and removed his jacket that William noticed the music playing very softly in the living room where he stood and his wife slept. A soothing female voice came out of the small record player in the corner.
"Hush my little baby, don't say a word
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird..."
He frowned. The record of lullabies was a life-saver, and Mary had taken to playing it for little Jimmy while rocking him to sleep. She had probably forgotten to turn it off after putting the baby down for a nap. Still, William didn't like wasting electricity, and the record player going when everyone was asleep was no exception. Besides, the music was barely audible. Rolling up the sleeves of his white dress shirt because it was warm in the house, he strode over to the record player and unceremoniously lifted the needle from the spinning black vinyl disc.
A satisfied look on his face, William turned away from the record player, intending to head for the kitchen to see what he could find for dinner. However, the sudden cry of the baby stopped him in his tracks. No dog. No airplane. I just checked all the faucets yesterday. What now? he thought, a little annoyed. Mary stirred on the couch behind him, mumbling something as she tried to wake up. On impulse, the young father whirled, flipping on the record player again and replacing the needle on top of the record. The melody resumed, drifting softly around the room again.
"... And if that mockingbird don't sing
Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring..."
The crying stopped.
Coincidence, right? Part of his mind told him to just be thankful and accept the nice result as one of those rare, unexplainable, lucky respites that parents of a newborn should definitely not complain about. But the other part of his mind told him there was no way baby Jimmy could have heard that barely audible song on the second floor at the end of the hall. Something made him reach out and slowly lift the needle off the record again. Holding the needle's arm poised in midair, he waited, holding his breath.
A few seconds passed in silence. Then the slowly crescendoing cry drifted down the stairs again.
"What're you doin', William?" his wife's sleepy voice came from the couch.
The young father didn't answer. Again, he replaced the needle and the song played once more.
"Hush little baby, hush little baby,
Hush little baby, don't you cry...."
Again, the crying stopped within seconds of the soft music resuming.
William just kept staring at the record player, listening to the tune.
His wife came to stand behind him. "What is it, Will? Something wrong?"
"No, Mary. The player's fine." He paused again, taking one last look at the player, then up the stairs. Then he turned, giving his wife a kiss on the cheek before heading out of the living room. "What do you want for dinner?"
The ticking of the dresser clock and chirping of spring crickets were the only noises in the darkened bedroom, lit only by the dim moonlight coming in through the white-framed windows overlooking the driveway where the seven-year-old '57 Ford was parked. A baby lay on his back in the white basinet, stomach full from a feeding an hour ago. The pastel animal mobile dangling above the basinet hung still.
Then, the clock's ticking and crickets chirping were slowly joined by quiet whimpering and baby noises.
In moments, a small figure appeared at the doorway of the dark nursery. The five-year-old-going-on-six boy gracefully tiptoed into the room in his thin Superman pajamas, blue eyes wide and pupils dilated. He moved to the side of the basinet, reaching in with one hand over the basinet's edge to touch the baby. Gently, he began to rock the crib back and forth with his other arm.
"Shhh, Stevie. Shhh. You'll wake mommy and daddy. Big brother Jimmy's here."
The baby cooed and waved his arms and legs at the contact with his brother.
"You don't need to be scared -- I'll take care of you. Shhhh."
The baby whimpered once more, then quieted. His eyes opened wide, looking in the direction of the comforting voice even though he could not make out the face in the dark.
His hand still on the baby's chest, the boy grinned down at his baby brother, fierce pride and protection on his face. He rubbed the baby's chest lightly for several moments. Then, in his five-year-old voice, he started to whisper the words of a song he was sure would put his little brother to sleep.
"And if that looking glass gets broke
Mama's gonna buy you a billy goat..."
The boy paused, looking down at his little brother whose eyes were starting to look sleepy.
"And if that billy goat won't pull
Mama's gonna buy you a cart and a bull..."
Slowly, the baby's eyes drifted closed. The boy fell silent but continued to rock the basinet ever so gently.
Once more, the ticking of the clock and the chirping of crickets were the only noises in the bedroom.
A young woman with long straight red hair held back by two barrettes sat on the bed in the small room. She wore a simple yellow dress trimmed with white eyelet. The room was crowded with a few piles of neatly folded, brightly colored clothing, candles, and all her other belongings. It wasn't much, but the loaned room from the elderly couple for whom she'd house-sat was a warm, safe place. Moving her little baby from her breast to her shoulder, she supported his head topped with a little mass of short, soft brown curls. She gently patted his back to burp him after the meal, then sat him down on her knee so she could see his face. His wide, dark eyes looked up at her innocently, then his forehead wrinkled and his eyes squinted shut as his little mouth opened in a large yawn.
Naomi laughed at the her baby's comical expression. "Somebody's ready for a nap," she said. Lifting him again to lean against her chest and shoulder, she began to rock back and forth, her eyes falling closed. Her clear voice began to sing a familiar melody, drifting out of the open bedroom window.
"...And if that cart and bull turns over
Mama's gonna buy you a doggie named Rover
And if that doggie named Rover don't bark
Mama's gonna buy you a horse and cart..."
She felt her baby sigh against her, perhaps yawning again. Softly, she continued.
"...And if that horse and cart fall down
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town."
The baby's breathing was even now.
"Little Blair," she whispered, turning her head so she spoke into his ear, "I love you."
On the street outside the window of the room where the young mother and her baby sat, an 11-year-old boy riding by on his bike on his way to football practice caught the last strains of the song floating out of the window. For a moment, the serious look on his face turned into a smile as he passed by.
The hour was late when the doorknob of the loft's front door clicked softly as it swung open. A tall man stuck his head in the door as if checking to see whether the light was on inside. It was. Still, he remained quiet as he opened the door all the way and stepped inside the living room, softly lit by one of the small lamps beside the blue couch.
After hanging up his jacket, Jim moved silently across the floor toward the couch. A book in his lap, Sandburg sat slouched against the back of the sofa, his eyes closed and mouth slightly open, breathing slowly and evenly. His reading glasses lay loosely grasped in one hand, unusual since Blair usually didn't remember to remove his glasses before falling asleep.
Jim smiled fondly at his partner. Leaving the couch's side for a minute, he soon returned with Blair's pillow and comforter. Taking the glasses from his friend's hand and the textbook from his lap, he set them on the coffee table. Then, gently touching his partner's arm and helping to swing the younger man's legs up onto the couch, he urged his sleeping friend to assume a more comfortable position. "C'mon, Chief," Jim murmured, "you'll thank me in the morning." Blair mumbled something incoherent in his sleep but obediently shifted to lay down on the couch. Jim tucked the pillow beneath Blair's head, then spread the comforter over him, tucking it softly around his neck. A sigh from Blair told Jim his partner was okay, and the bigger man smiled satisfactorily as Blair shifted once more to lay on his side, the side of his face pressed against the pillow, mouth still slightly open.
As he watched his friend sleep, a familiar song came to Jim's memory, and he remembered how he had used the tune to lull his younger brother to sleep so many years before.
Jim took one last look at Blair to make sure he was comfortable. The woman's voice began to sing in his mind, and as he ascended the stairs to his own room, he found himself humming the melody softly.
And if that diamond ring turn' brass
Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass...
Hush little baby, hush little baby,
Hush little baby, don't you cry...
~ The End ~