Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

Summary: Just a little sleepy smarm.
The gorgeous artwork is by Laurence.

Now I Can Sleep
by Robyn
January 2000

One foot in front of the other. One foot in front... I stubbornly concentrate on the repetitive thought, reassuring myself that I'm almost there. Almost to the loft. Almost home. Just down the hallway, and I'll be home.

Beyond exhausted. That's all I can describe myself as right now. You know -- when you're so tired, so sleep-deprived that you're past sleepiness. Past drowsiness. Past being able to relax, into that twilight zone where exhausted people exist. A whole day and night by myself, staying awake because I had to, but without my friend to keep me company. Yep, my mind and my body are beyond exhausted.

At last. I fumble with the doorknob, but the door swings open before I can manage to coordinate the key to unlock it. He opens the door wide, a warm smile on his face. Such a welcome sight. He ushers me in, closing the door behind me, his voice softly teasing me, saying something about how I look like I've been through hell and back just overnight. Believe me, he doesn't know how well that describes what I feel like right now. I grin tiredly back at him and grunt in agreement. It's all I can manage right now, but his returning smile tells me he understands.

I turn in the direction of my bedroom, just wanting to go to bed, but now he's muttering something about how I'd better take a quick shower and get the grime off myself unless I want him to do it for me, outside with the hose we use to wash the truck. I think not. Before I can protest, he marches me down the hall, shoves a clean pair of boxers into my hand that I hadn't noticed he was carrying, and warns me that if I'm not out in 10 minutes he's coming in after me.

Amazingly, I make it through the shower. One can sometimes continue to do the most rote tasks while in the Zone, I realize. I shuffle out of the bathroom feeling clean and a little more relaxed. I aim myself in the direction of my bed again, but he intercepts me as I pass the kitchen, draping my robe around my shoulders and ushering me to the couch. I try protesting this time, actually getting a few muttered words out, grumbling because he can't see I just want to go to bed.

"Drink this and you'll be able to sleep better," he says, pressing a mug of steaming herbal tea into my hands. "You haven't drank any water in the past 10 hours, have you?" he points out.

Can't argue with that one.

I sip at the tea, using both hands to hold the mug because they're trembling a little from fatigue. He sits beside me on the couch, facing me, talking quietly about his day. Nothing earth-shattering or terribly important -- he seems to know I'm not capable of absorbing much right now -- so I let the sound of his voice simply wash over me like gentle waves, soothing me. I can feel my mind and body finally relaxing.

Vaguely, I realize that he's probably been in the zone of exhaustion before, too. That's why he knew I needed to be rescued from it.

"Your eyelids are drooping," he reports with a chuckle. Taking the almost-empty mug from my hands, he helps me to my feet, reaches a supporting arm around my shoulders, and we both shuffle across the wood floor.

He pulls back the covers and I crawl into bed. He snatches the robe from my shoulders just before I do -- good thing, since I'd forgotten I was wearing it. I stretch out as he replaces the covers on top of me. Sighing, I realize how nice it feels to have clean skin and hair and boxers against the cool, clean sheets. Ahhh.

My eyes droop closed without further ado and I breathe out, feeling my entire body relaxing as I rapidly move toward unconsciousness more easily and painlessly than I would have had I been alone and just fell into bed the moment I got home.

"Thanks," I mumble, snuggling under the covers.

There is no reply save an ever-so-light touch on my forehead as I feel a stray wisp of my hair smoothed to the side and a soft pat on the blankets above me.

Far away now, I hear the quiet movement of steps moving away from me. The steps pause for a moment and I hear him whisper softly, "Good night. Sweet dreams."

As the lights dim, I smile to myself. Thanks to my partner, I am no longer in that Zone.

Now I can sleep.

~ The End ~

by Laurence