Summary: Well, it isn't about Jim and Blair dancing.
Warnings: None at all.
Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, Paramount and the SciFi Channel. No money is being made. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was written by ljc with the love of the show in mind.
Jim Ellison's senses were tuned to his guide as Blair flew up the stairs of 307 Prospect St. Blair Sandburg was 'guide' to Jim, a 'sentinel'. Jim had been desperate enough to seek out medical specialists when his enhanced senses had come on line, but Blair's enthusiastic confidence and 'guidance' had given Jim the control he needed to keep his job, and to keep his sanity.
Blair rushed into the loft, “Hey, sorry man. I got held up after office hours. Mid-terms have got the freshmen terrified. They were lined up outside my office, down the corridor and even around the corner. That last one,” and Blair gave a little shudder, “didn't have much of her fingernails left. I sent her to the clinic. I hope they can do something for her, and I don't mean just antiseptic and bandaids.”
Jim shook his head in commiseration, “It's alright, Chief. Dinner's already in the oven. I figured you'd be late tonight. It should be illegal to have so many students in your classes, even introductory ones.”
When Blair turned toward the table, he saw that it was already set for the evening meal. He let out a deep sigh. “I'll make it up to you. I promise.” He hurried to hang up his coat and sling his backpack into his room before joining Jim in the kitchen. “Is there anything left to do?” he asked.
Jim pretended to take a deliberate look around and turned back toward Blair. “Not a thing that I can see,” he said lightly. “Hey, since you've got time before dinner, why don't you go take a shower. That way when you wake up tomorrow morning ... with just ten minutes before you have to leave ... you won't have to do much more than get dressed.”
Blair grinned, “It takes me more than ten minutes ...”
Jim interrupted, “Yes. I know. Just remember, I won't fix any speeding tickets.”
“Jim! Would I ask that of you?”
Jim didn't answer, just looked at him and crossed his arms.
“Okay, maybe I'd ask,” Blair admitted cheekily, and went on to mutter softly, “but I sure know what the answer would be.” Blair then ducked into his room and grabbed some clean sweats from the laundry in the basket beside his closet. Just before he ducked into the bathroom he said, “Hey! You did the laundry. I know it was my turn ...”
“I know. Go take your shower.”
When Blair finally came out he looked much more relaxed. He had toweled his hair dry and managed to comb the tangles out of his curls just as Jim was setting the casserole on the table.
“That smells like Naomi's recipe, tofu eggplant Parmesan. I 'love' that!”
Jim gave a little shiver and muttered softly, but loud enough that Blair would be sure to hear, “It's the only one of hers that I could stand.”
Blair ducked his head and grinned but didn't fail to dish out a large helping for himself.
After Jim finally struggled through his portion, he told Blair that he'd written down some messages for him that he needed to take care of soon.
Blair said, “Nothing too urgent I take it, or you'd have told me before dinner.”
“Well, 'they' considered it urgent, but I knew it could wait until after you'd eaten. Just a couple of students that need some calming down.”
Blair sighed and his shoulders slumped, “I should have known. There's always a couple. I'll call them after I clean up the dinner dishes.”
“No need. It was just one baking dish, and a couple of plates. I'll take care of it. You need to take care of those messages so you'll have time to study for your own test. Go on.”
Blair grimaced, “I remember when I lived in the dorm. There'd be kids wandering around all night, terrified they were going to fail, even if they were good students and had done all the readings and assignments. I just hope I can ease their minds a bit.”
Jim kept watch on Blair with his senses as he pretended to be totally engrossed in a Seattle Seahawks game. He intentionally kept the sound so low that Blair couldn't hear it so he wouldn't be bothered by it.
After Blair returned the calls, he looked over to see that his laptop and backpack were already on the kitchen table. Jim allowed himself to relax when he finally saw Blair settle at the table where he would have plenty of room to spread out his various books and notes for study.
The evening passed quietly. Blair's attention was focused on his studies. He didn't notice when Jim got up during a break in the game and stretched, then made his way to the kitchen. Blair hardly noticed as he downed the bottle of water that Jim had casually set beside him before he returned to the game.
As the empty water bottle was replaced a half hour later, Blair distractedly said, “Thanks, Jim.”
Later some grapes were added.
Blair glanced up quickly, pushed his glasses up, and said absently, “I'm not really hungry, but thanks, Jim.”
... then some nuts.
... later still, some pretzels.
They were all easy finger foods and everything disappeared without apparent notice. But Jim knew that Blair had noticed in his absentminded-professor way. When he finally came up for air he admitted, “Gee. I didn't realize I was even hungry. Thanks, man.”
By then it was getting late, and a steaming mug of a favorite tea soon found it's way to Blair's study table.
“Oh, man. I needed this,” Blair sighed as he wrapped his stiff fingers around the welcome warmth.
Blair dove back into his notes until his study alarm went off. He looked up in surprise and then grinned at Jim, “I know 'I' didn't set it, but really, I have a lot more to go over ...”
Jim shook his head, “Chief ... I've been keeping track. You've been over everything on that table three times. You've studied. Now you need some sleep. If you insist you can leave everything there and get up an hour early to look it over again but I don't think you really need to, do you? Isn't 'your' test in the afternoon? You can look over your notes in the morning sometime.”
“But Jim! You know how things go sometimes. I might not get a chance ... Wait a minute ... did you just say what I thought you said? Did you say I could leave it here ... all night?” and Blair's wide grin received an answering one from Jim.
“Only if you insist! We both know you'll do better if you get some sleep before the test.”
Blair leaned back and sighed dramatically then ran his hands through his hair, roughly shaking out his curls. He said reluctantly, “Okay, have it your way.” He pushed the chair back from the table and stood. He stretched and groaned softly. He struggled to hide a yawn, then muttered softly, “Maybe you're right.”
“I'm right!? ... I heard that you know,” said Jim, chuckling softly.
When Blair reached his bedroom he whispered, “Going to bed now, 'Mother Ellison'.”
Jim was standing beside Blair's bed when his roommate awoke to his alarm for the third time. He watched as Blair tried to hit the snooze once again and failed. He smothered a chuckle as Blair slid his hand searchingly under his pillow, evidently thinking that he'd shoved it under there the last time it went off. When Blair couldn't find it there he managed to raise his head about an inch and looked blearily out of one eye to see if he'd knocked it on the floor.
“Oops,” Blair whispered, when he saw Jim holding the clock out to him. Blair squinted and then made a half-hearted grab for it so Jim held it closer ... close enough for him to read. “Oh, no! Why didn't you wake me up, Jim!?”
Jim sighed in exasperation, “I am, Darwin ... get ... dressed.”
It took Blair ... about ... ten minutes. He finally, hurriedly, pushed his arms into his jacket and grabbed his backpack.
Jim walked unhurriedly up to him and with exquisite timing held out a covered coffee mug and a bagel just as Blair reached the door. He said, “There's a bottle of water in your backpack, some granola bars, and 'an apple for the teacher'.” He grinned as he grabbed Blair's arm and made him stop for a moment, “Take it slow, Chief. Remember I don't ...”
“... fix speeding tickets. I know. I'll remember. I'll see you tonight. And I'll fix supper, too. I owe you.”
Jim stood in the doorway and watched as Blair dashed down the steps. He said softly, “No, Chief. I still owe you.” Blair didn't see Jim smile as he shook his head and turned back into the loft.
Jim had a lot to do before this evening, and he relished the challenge. Taking care of Blair required a certain finesse and almost as much planning as a military op or a police bust. So far, he didn't think Sandburg fully understood the complexity involved and that it necessitated the talents of an expert; someone willing to go to great lengths to compose and orchestrate this little dance; someone like Jim, who was a master of covert operations ...
Jim suddenly stopped his contemplation and turned toward the balcony. He had just realized that he hadn't heard the Volvo start yet. When he moved outside he could plainly see Blair give a jaunty wave before he stepped into his car. Just before it revved to life he heard, “Thanks, Jim.”