Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

Need's Companion
by Becky
December 1998

Forehead resting on Blair's shoulder, face buried in the loose hair above the plaid shirt, Jim tuned all his senses onto the smaller man, absorbing the comfort given him so freely. Everything else faded, overpowered by this man's simple presence within his arms. How did he know? How did he know that all Jim needed at that moment was just the embrace, with no words falling between to distract him from the warm comfort?

No questions.

No comments.

No trying to figure out what was wrong, if it could be fixed, if it was something work-related or personal.

Just the hug he'd been half-afraid to ask for, unsure if Blair would understand his need. The fear wasn't for the hug, no -- Jim knew Blair would always be ready to give him what he needed, no matter what. But rather, he'd feared that the young man, always the scholar, always the guide, always someone filled with curiosity, always on the search for more knowledge, especially when it came to Jim's well-being, would not understand the need for no questions. He wanted to just experience, to live in the moment of that simple act of ... being.

Blair shifted in his arms, drawing Jim's attention back to the physical world. Tightening his arms a little, Jim whispered, "No, not yet..."

The younger man shook his head against Jim's chest, stroking one hand down his back. His voice, muffled by the press of his face against Jim's sweater, floated up to his ears. "Sh, sh, I'm not going anywhere, Jim, just getting a better grip. I won't let go until you're ready for me to."

Jim sighed and sunk back into the embrace, relaxing his desperate grip, feeling Blair willingly take on more of his weight.

"That's it, big guy. Just let it all go. I'm here and I'm not leaving." With one hand resting on Jim's lower back, Blair used the other to soothe tense muscles along Jim's spine.

A sudden shiver tore through Jim's body, causing both men to hold on just a little more tightly to the other.

"Jim...?" Blair moved his head against Jim's chest, his voice changing its tone from quiet comfort to quiet concern.

Breathing out again in a soft sigh, Jim finally raised his head just enough to give Blair a small reassuring smile. Blair answered it with one of his own. Sliding one hand up Blair's back, he gently pressed the younger man's head back to his chest, his fingers entwining themselves in the curls hanging loose around Blair's neck.

Then, turning his own head slightly, Jim rested his cheek on the top of Blair's head, feeling the curls crunch and catch on the roughness of his face. He stared out of the balcony windows, not really seeing anything. Realizing this, he closed his eyes and again concentrated on Blair, tuning out the outside world of traffic, pollution, crime, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Jim could hear his guide breathing, could feel his ribcage rise and fall against his own, in a soft cadence. He could feel Blair's heart beating, thudding in a well-known rhythm, soothing him even when words failed.

Blair's hand drifted across his back, fingers circling in no particular pattern, just drawing aimlessly, using touch to keep him grounded. Jim wondered idly if Blair did it knowingly or just instinctively.

Opening his eyes again, Jim took a breath, then spoke softly, not wanting to break the reverent silence surrounding them. "Do you want to know?"

Jim listened as Blair inhaled, then paused before replying in an equally quiet tone. "Only if you need me to know. If this," he brought one hand around to lay on Jim's chest, "is all you need, then I can give you this without knowing."

Blair started to move back and this time Jim let him, lifting his head so he could meet Blair's eyes, but not releasing his hold, one hand still tucked against Blair's neck, fingers threaded through his hair. Blue looked upon blue in silence, words unspoken and unnecessary passing between them.

A soft light touching his face, shining forth from within, Blair lifted a hand and touched Jim's cheek lightly once with the back of his fingers, echoing Jim's earlier movement. Then he dropped his hand back down to lay on Jim's chest, rubbing his thumb over Jim's breastbone. "Whatever you need, Jim."

Jim smiled, one side of his mouth tipping up crookedly as he leaned forward to brush Blair's forehead with his lips in a gentle kiss. Blessed. He was blessed. Blessed with a friend like no other, one without compare or equal.

As much as they differed, as much as they could sometimes forget how to get along, as much as they could argue and disagree, there were other times when they fell perfectly into sync. It warmed him from the inside out, soothing soft fingers of love and care caressing his soul.

"Thank you."

Turning them so they could both look out the balcony windows, Jim again rested his cheek on Blair's head, pulling the young man to him in a loose embrace, not yet ready to part, to become two parts of a whole. Blair leaned into him, his own sigh of contentment echoing quietly in the sentinel's ears.

Together, wrapped in the warmth and safety of their friendship, they watched the dark night sky become alive with the brightness of a million uncounted stars.

- The End -