by ljc


Summary: A chance meeting.

Note: Maybe there is such a thing as 'possession' because this isn't the story I sat down to write. The one I intended to write is titled, “Not a Chance”.

Warnings, Ratings: none.

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.


She sat as if posed for a portrait, all elegant lines. The light, in it's wisdom, seemed to have found it's natural focus, on her. It lit her pale skin and blue eyes to perfection. Her red hair was highlighted by the sun and wisped by the slight breeze. The vision of her simply took his breath away.

She was entrancing, and as he thought this he felt himself sigh. He was too old for this. Too old for that rush of emotion, of infatuation. Yet he couldn't deny that he felt a bit lightheaded just at the thought of approaching her. And that was what convinced him to try a bit of foolishness.

He noted the drink by her hand and ordered two more. One for him, so he'd have something to do in the awkward moments to come. There were sure to be awkward moments because he was going to meet her. He was going right up to her and talk to her. At least that, if nothing more.

The drinks came and he lifted them from the table and carefully made his way to hers. It seemed interminably far and yet suddenly he was there ... “I hope I'm not intruding.” Then gathering his courage he said, “I - I saw that your drink was nearly empty and I brought another ... for both of us.”

Even though she turned toward him, she was not yet wholly distracted by her inward turned thoughts. Now, suddenly drawn back to the present, she looked almost lost in despair and his heart clenched at the sight. He started to apologize for the intrusion, but a slight, gracious smile from her stopped him in mid-word.

You're not intruding, not exactly. I'm afraid my head ... and my heart ... are focused somewhere else this morning. I have an engagement to attend in a few hours and I don't know exactly how I'm going to manage ... It's going to be difficult. My own fault though, not yours.” She seemed to take a moment to summon an inner strength, an inner calm before she added, “I would welcome the 'intrusion'. I'm just not sure if I'll be good company.”

He felt a warmth and a protective feeling intensify toward the lady as he joined her at the table. “I'm sorry you will be facing a difficult time. I don't wish to disturb you. I only wished to meet you. I - I saw you and, well, I'm very sorry that I intruded, but if you'd really like some company for this time, I would be happy to sit here with you.”

Though her smile was modest, his breath caught at it's radiance. It lit her face although her eyes still remained clouded. Her hands slid down off the table where her fingers twisted and twined together as her inner turmoil demanded acknowledgement yet again. He was dismayed when he realized that with the return of remembrance, her anguish had returned full force.

He boldly reached out to lay his hand on hers as they twisted and twined. Her startled glance proved her return to him. She managed to hold her tears at bay and gifted him with a tremulous smile.

She said, “Thank you. Perhaps I need that 'intrusion' more than I thought.”

They sat in the sun and the slight breeze for a time. The murmur of other conversations in the café were unheeded as they chatted about inconsequential matters, anything but the difficulty to come. They sipped their drinks and ordered something lighter, he - coffee, she - tea, and their fingers found the warmth a balm, he - to his enchanted soul, she - to the

easing of her anguish.

Time passed too quickly for them both. He didn't want the enchantment to end. She, the same. She had come here because she couldn't stand to be alone with her thoughts. To her surprise she had found a steadfast companion which was unexpected, and so very welcome. But now, this time must end.

Thank you ... for this,” she said as she extended her hand in a gesture of farewell.

He took her hand, clasping it securely with both of his, “It was my pleasure. I don't remember when I've spent a more pleasant ... visit.”

She smiled, less strained than before. She leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek. “It was more than pleasant, for me. It was a comfort, and something I needed very badly.”

Could - could I escort you to this ... engagement? Would it be a comfort, or would it just be awkward for you?”

She truly smiled at his offer but he could already sense the answer. “That is so sweet of you, but this is something I must do alone. 'My fault', remember? I have to face the consequences of my actions.”

Do you really think it will be as bad as you fear?”

I hope not.” She had tried to say it lightly but failed in his estimation.

As do I. May I see you later? After ...”

I - I don't know,” she whispered. “I think 'they'll' be 'celebrating'.”


For my - my son. He's graduating ... from the police academy.”

Oh! ... Naomi?”

She looked startled then said, “You know me? How?”

He sighed heavily, “It seems that we both have sons that insist on choosing their own path, no matter what we say or do. Or maybe it's despite it.” He thought for several moments then asked, “Please. May I accompany you? I never got to see my son, Jim, graduate from the police academy. I - I think it's time that I showed support for his decisions after all these years.”


Shall we go?”

... his decisions ...” she said musingly. “I thought Blair was just trying to make me feel better about this when he insisted that it was 'his' decision.” Naomi began to slowly smile as William's statement suddenly crystallized her understanding of what Blair had been trying to say. How could she have such a brilliant son, and be so slow-witted! The insight seemed to lift a weight from her spirit. She said gratefully, “Thank you, William. You're absolutely right. It is time to support 'his' decision. To show him that I accept his choice, his judgement.”

William smiled in relief. He was surprised at the lightness he felt, as if a burden of his own had lifted, as if the rift between he and Jim might have a real chance to heal after all this time. The allowed the smile to turn into a slightly mischievous grin as he said, “You know, don't you, that they'll be shocked to see us together?”

Naomi's grin was broader still, and she chuckled a little before she confessed, “I remember Blair's reaction when I met Jim for the first time. But then, I hadn't met Jim's very handsome and distinguished father yet.”

Both were smiling and chatting together like old friends when they entered the auditorium arm-in-arm.