Grief and Going Forward
Summary: Sorry. It's a death story – but it's one of 'those' – you know, they're never really parted and they reunite in the hereafter.
Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, and Paramount. All stories are written with the love of the show in mind. No money is being made. All stories are property of the author.
I know this will probably end up in a collection of my private papers. I hope whoever reads it will treat it with respect, and will only release it if he or she thinks it necessary. That said, I must put these last papers in order, for my time is short. Jim told me. Guides and their sentinels will understand, but everyone else will probably think I've become a crazy, eccentric old coot! Well, let them. Maybe they'll be right in their assessment. I am old. I am eccentric. And I think I went a little crazy the day Jim died.
But my mind is clear. And I remember it as if it were yesterday. The pain is that sharp. It was a horrible, senseless accident. My friend, Jim, died without a word of goodbye.
Or maybe he did say goodbye in his own way. Jim just wasn't big on long speeches. He was better with actions. Just five days before, he woke from sleep with a cry I heard in my room downstairs. I ran up to find him shaken, and shaking. It scared me to see him so upset. I tried to get him to tell me what it was about. No deal. Tough guy, through and through. I was so mad that he would still shut me out but then I let it go. Jim had been trying harder so I decided to give him some time. But later I found out he'd updated his will that week, added my name to all his accounts, paid off any outstanding debts – and some of mine, too!
Two days before he died we were on stakeout. Everything was casual and we were bantering back and forth. I was making some comment about funerary rituals and Jim came back with, ' You know Blair, I'd really hate all the formalities of a police funeral, but it's tradition, you know. It's for the family and for the friends left behind.' The 'Blair' caught my attention and I stared and held my breath. 'But if I go before you ... ' and then he turned to mock glare at me, 'I said IF,' then he turned away again and was more solemn than I've ever seen him. He continued, 'I want you to have another press conference. I want you to do it for me, and for you, and maybe for anyone else out there. You will promise me, won't you Blair?'
Of course I promised. I was shaking now. Why didn't I ask him if there was something I should know. If I had known I'd have been with him that day, that's for sure. My friend Jim, I wouldn't have let you go alone.
I did what he asked, I held that press conference. Then I retired to the loft for a week, with the drapes drawn, and the phone off, and all the doors locked and bolted. I didn't know what I was going to do then, but I had this great loss to 'process'. What a word, how do you 'process' that kind of life altering loss? Let me just say it this once, <I wanted to die.>
There was a knock on my door several times every day. Simon was the first and last, with Rafe, Henri, Megan, and Joel taking turns in between. I never opened the door. I'd just lean against it and tell them I was alright, I just wasn't ready.
Then, after a week, Simon camped at the front door. I heard him muttering to himself as he settled in for the duration I guess. It got my attention. It made me curious. When I finally gave in and opened the door, there he was with his cigar, a thermos of coffee, a stack of papers, and a camp chair. I just hung my head and was surprised at the warm feeling. I hadn't felt warm inside for over a week. I think I even smiled a bit. I'd forgotten our other friends. Silly of me, after all these years together. It wasn't just my partner and me.
Simon pretended to look gruff, but when he saw the grin he mostly looked relieved. He said, 'Sandburg, it's a good thing you didn't keep me camped out here any longer.' Then he grabbed me in a bear hug, practically smothered me, and hung on while I ... we ... shared our grief.
It's been years since then. Mom, Simon and Joel are gone. Daryl and his family are – family. Megan and the guys have stayed close, too. I cherish their friendship.
But when I came out of my grief, there was work and there were friends to keep me busy and keep me company. And then the messages began. And heartrending letters. The University even sought me out. They'd been fielding inquiries too, to their chagrin. Chancellor Edwards and I were never great friends. Heck, things were quite 'frosty' between us right up until her retirement. But I think she respected me in the end. At least she had to pretend to, because the protectors, the sentinels, were coming forward.
With economic upturns and downturns, self-serving politics, wild technological growth, terrorism, and plagues, the world may seem a different place. As a student of society, let me just say that things may change, but people stay the same. There are good people and there are bad, there always were, and probably always will be. That said, with the resurgence of the protectors the world got lucky.
At first it was the children, because parents feared that they'd be labeled 'freaks'. Oh Jim ....
But that was probably for the best, that it was children that were found first. Laws were enacted to protect them, and quickly. I had lots of contacts with rights activists, and I hounded them mercilessly. Then the adults stepped forward hoping for help from the 'expert'. No pressure there.
Between the University and Simon's politicking experience, we did what we could to assemble a team to train and teach. And protect the protectors.
Jim said we did everything right. He's been right at my shoulder all the way. 'WE' did everything right Jim. Thanks, my friend.
Now it's time to go.
Well. It's blue.
Jim appeared on the path ahead. It didn't take an instant to grab him and hang on for what I hoped was eternity. I'd waited for years for that hug.
<Well ... Jim.>
<Well, Chief. You were never a man of few words.>
Blair looked around, <What now, man?>
<Blair, you started something back there. We don't want them to forget their past again or take a wrong heading. I think there's a lot we could do to steer them along the way. How about it, partner?>
<Partner. Good word.>
As Jim wrapped his arm over Blair's shoulder, Blair's arm wrapped around Jim's waist. Blair's other arm waved in excitement as he embarked on the description of a plan to further incorporate sentinels and their guides ...