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

Summary: Thoughts from both Megan and Jim about Blair's place in Jim's life.

Originally I wrote this most of this scene to go into another story, but then I found it wouldn't fit. So I changed a bit here and there and decided to just thought post it as a smidgen of a story anyway on its own. And for any B5 fans out there, no, the title has nothing to do with those ... things. ~grin~ A little smarm, a little sap, a little humor. What more can you ask for?

Keepers
by Becky
January 1999

Jim fell into the sofa with a tired oomph, closing his eyes as he rested his head on the back of the cushions. Behind him he could hear Blair puttering about in the kitchen, filling the coffeemaker. Good. Coffee is always good. Especially after tonight's rather hectic bust -- most of which Blair had spent in the truck, out of harm's way. Not that Blair had been terribly thrilled about it, but Simon had laid down the law and that was that. So Jim had gone in with Conner as his backup. And while the inspector and him were learning to get along and work fairly well together, there was always the occasional confusion. Nothing major, fortunately.

A small chuckle emanated from Jim's chest, remembering something he'd accidentally overheard just after the bust went down. Blair's voice floated over to him.

"What? You think of something funny?"

Twisting on the cushions to face his guide who stood behind the kitchen counter, searching for a few clean mugs, Jim grinned, still chuckling. "A little, yeah. Conner went in with me during the bust--"

Blair interrupted, giving Jim a "duh" look. "I was there, Jim, if you remember. And I did have a mic so I knew what was happening."

Jim waved a hand in the air. "I know that, Chief. Just let me finish. Anyway, she hasn't quite figured out how I work yet. Afterwards, I heard her muttering something about how you were more than welcome to the job of taking care of me. Too much work, she said."

The younger man blinked, then laughed, shaking his head, but not saying anything.

"Don't know about you, Chief, but I'm beginning to think she considers you my keeper or something..." Jim forced a little huffiness into his voice.

Blair's laughter only got louder as he repeated the word "keeper" a few times.

******************

{a few weeks later}

"Jim? Can I ask you something?"

The detective nodded, pulling his eyes away from the staked-out house long enough to shoot a brief look across the cab of the blue-and-white pickup. "Sure."

A gloved hand gestured toward him. "Why did Sandy come with us tonight?"

Jim shifted his eyes from Megan and her curious and bemused smile to Blair who sat between them. Blair who was currently slouched down in the seat, bulky coat wrapped around him for warmth, head resting against Jim's shoulder, one mittened hand on top of a book and a red pen in his lap.

Fast asleep.

Megan continued, her voice quiet and a little concerned. "I mean, he's obviously exhausted and has things he needs to do. Didn't he think we could handle this on our own?"

Chuckling under his breath, Jim returned his attention to the house and managed to shrug without moving the shoulder that subbed as Blair's pillow. "Oh, he probably thought we could, but I don't know that he was sure we'd both make it to morning without trying to kill each other." He shot a quick pointed glance at Megan.

She laughed softly in response. "There is that..."

The smile remained on Jim's face for a bit as he remembered Blair's response to the idea of just him and Megan on the overnight stake-out in the truck. His guide's incredulous voice rang in his ears -- 'You! And Megan! Just the two of you on a stakeout all night long! Oh, man, what was Simon thinking... Gimme a few minutes here, Jim; I'll just grab a book and a pen. And a coat...it's freezing outside tonight... Don't you dare leave without me, man...'

Nothing Jim had said could persuade his partner to stay home, read his book in the warmth of the loft, and catch up on some much-needed sleep. Nope, none of that for Blair "Guide and Shaman to the Sentinel of the Great City" Sandburg. You know me too well, Chief -- You know all my arguments and exactly how to counter each and every one them. Maybe you really are my keeper... He stifled a grin at the thought. But that would probably make me your keeper as well. Or maybe I already am and just don't know it yet.

Blair shifted a little against his side, drawing Jim's attention away from the house momentarily. You're probably gonna be a little upset at me tomorrow, aren't you? For letting you sleep like this. With Megan here to see it. The young man sighed but didn't waken. His book, however, began to slide away, heading for a certain-to-be-loud crash on the floorboards of the truck. And that would definitely wake you...

Not knowing which way to move to grab the books and still not wake his friend, Jim hesitated. Megan took the initiative and quickly grabbed the book and red pen, sliding them away from Blair. She set them gently on the dashboard of the truck.

Jim waited until Blair was resettled, then flashed a smile at Megan. "Thanks. He'll probably want to strangle me tomorrow when he wakes up, but he needs the rest."

Megan smiled back at him, reaching out a hand to push away some the curls falling over Blair's forehead. "Sandy told me that academic life was getting a tad busy right now." She pulled back her hand, looking up at Jim again.

"It is. Between his teaching duties, his own classes, and working on his dissertation, well, I'd have been more surprised had he not fallen asleep." Jim glanced down at the curly head, not able to see Blair's face from that angle. "Fortunately for both of us, my cases have been pretty light lately. I don't think he could handle..." Jim paused, then shook his head. "No, that's not right. He could handle it, but I don't want him to have to handle it."

A comfortable silence fell again, broken only by the gentle breathing snores of a deep sleeper. As the two detectives continued to watch the house for movement, Jim found himself using Blair's warmth along his side and the feel of the younger man's heartbeat pounding against his arm as an anchor. He stretched out his senses cautiously, neither wanting to be caught unawares by a randomly barking dog or accidentally zoning on something with Megan watching him.

Still nothing. Damn.

He sighed and pulled back into himself, Blair's presence a tether to reality. A tether. Hmm...I'll have to remember to tell him that one. He'd like it -- if he doesn't already know about it. And considering how his brain works, he probably does. Blair shifted again next to him, burrowing a little closer. Jim had to smile, withholding a small chuckle. I need to find you a battery-operated heating pad, Chief. Maybe insulated clothes or something.

Megan spoke again into the quiet. "Jim, why is Sandy your partner?"

The honest desire to know in the simple question, the lack of probing Jim had come to expect when asked, and the friendship that Jim could feel developing between the three of them, prompted, for once, an honest answer.

"Because I want him to be." He glanced at Megan, saw the confusion in her eyes, and tried to explain. "I can't really go into all the details of the hows and whys, Conner, but that is the truth. I never used to want a partner, never thought I needed one. And, truth to be told, I don't think anyone really wanted me as a partner. I wasn't the easiest person to get along with. But then along came this college kid," he smiled down at Blair's head, "bouncing all over the place, truly living and enjoying life. He was so different from me, different from everything a cop -- and a cop's partner -- should be. I didn't know what to make of him. But as time went on, things changed. I changed. We became friends, good friends, and he is the only partner I'll ever want..."

His voice trailed off, his thoughts adding what he couldn't say aloud. The only partner I'll ever need. My guide and my shaman.

"...brothers."

He realized abruptly that Megan was speaking, catching only the last word she said. Blinking, he looked back at her. "I'm sorry. What did you say?"

She smiled tolerantly, gentle amusement in her voice. "I said it would've saved you both a lot of time if you had been born brothers. Considering how you two act around each other, that is."

Not expecting to hear that particular insight from the Australian inspector, Jim didn't say anything for a long time. He turned his head to stare out the truck window again, pondering the rightness of her statement.

"Jim? I didn't mean to offend..."

He held up a hand. "No, no, it's okay. You just ... took me by surprise, that's all." Looking at her over the head of his asleep friend and guide, he smiled. "You're right, Conner, you're absolutely right."

Friend ... partner ... brother. You're all three, Chief. And you're most definitely a keeper -- someone I plan to keep just as long as you'll let me.

- The End -