Summary: Jim shouldn't have, but he was glad he did.
Warnings, Ratings: Bad word.
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.
One of Blair's journals was revealed as Jim lifted an old anthropology magazine. He looked at it contemplatively before restoring the magazine to it's place on the bookshelf. Blair had been a cop for a while but his reading habits and uh, neatness habits, hadn't changed much despite Jim's 'training'.
Blair was out for the evening, enjoying himself, he hoped. He settled on the sofa and reflected on their partnership. It had gone surprisingly well since Blair had become a cop. They continued to work well together, no surprise there. He'd told Blair he was the best cop he'd ever known, before Blair even 'was' a cop, but their previous odd moments of friction had disappeared almost entirely. What remained were two good friends, that worked and lived together in harmony. It was good. And that's what bothered Jim. Maybe there was too much harmony.
He wanted to look in the journal and knew he shouldn't. He knew Blair still wrote in it occasionally. He winced inwardly at the rift that had formed between them when he'd read the first chapter of Blair's dissertation. He'd nearly blown their partnership that night. He'd thought he was better than that now, and yet the journal still beckoned.
He really didn't care what Blair wrote about him any more. Blair had sacrificed too much for Jim to doubt him again. What he really wanted to know was how Blair felt about his own life. Is he where he truly wants to be or is it a concession to what everyone else expected? He wanted to know if Blair was happy, or had he just settled for a life he didn't choose.
He'd tried subtle, as subtle as an ex-Ranger-now-Detective was ever likely to be. But Blair had obfuscation down to an art form, and he could assume another persona as quickly as a chameleon. And Jim didn't feel right about using his 'lie detector senses' on him either. Locating him or checking him out to see if he was sick or hurt was one thing. Even that was an invasion of privacy. But reading his journal? He didn't have the right.
It was then that his senses spiked, and the smell of salt tears on the journal overcame him for a moment. Rationalization could be a bitch. He bit his lip knowing that this could be the absolutely wrong thing to do but he couldn't stop himself.
He flipped the little book open to the last entry. He was surprised because it was dated almost a month ago. He had thought Blair had worked on it several times at least since then, the latest being last night. But thinking back he remembered that Blair hadn't been writing, he'd been reading. And not flipping pages, just looking at this last page.
A guide needs to touch, to speak, to see - use his own poor senses to protect .... How do I protect Jim? I'm there. I'm his backup. But I'm pretty poor protection. Jim's the protector. I'm so scared I'll mess this up, too.
Jim's vision hazed as he felt the bottom drop out of his world. Blair wasn't just unhappy. He was doubting himself and his place in Jim's world. He questioned his job as a cop and his ability to protect his sentinel. Didn't he know?
How would he know? Jim knew he was stingy with praise. It had never been his father's way. It wasn't his. But it was Naomi's way. It had taken him a while to understand that Blair 'needed' words. Words that encouraged and praised. Unambiguous words. And if Naomi had been generous with praise ... he had to wonder if someone had used words to hurt Blair.
Jim looked at the journal again. Blair had had a month of contemplating that last short entry. He was dismayed to know that Blair counted that as truth, that he had dwelled on this, surely to his detriment. But what could he say or do to fix it?
He stared for a while at the nearly empty page. If the words didn't come easily in speech ... did he dare it?
You wrote ... 'use his own poor senses to protect' ... You have a guide's senses, Blair. With 'my' senses I can see the guide for what he is. A sentinel sees all. That's a joke, Blair. I hope you can smile at it someday, and I hope you can forgive me for reading this. All I wanted to know was if you were happy, and I'm devastated that you aren't.
You were always telling me that I expected too much, or too little from my sentinel senses. I think that may be the case with you right now. Maybe you need to understand things from my perspective because, looking back, I don't know what I would have done without the Guide's Senses.
I know you see, not just with your eyes, but with your heart.
I know you hear, but you also listen with compassion.
I know you feel mercy, honor, purpose, commitment.
You wrap all this in strength of will.
You bring harmony to those in your charge.
You're still the observer.
You're still the teacher.
You protect and you serve.
You are my partner, my guide.
You are my friend.
Please talk to me, Blair.
When Blair came out of his room the next night Jim was waiting for him in the kitchen. He'd been puttering aimlessly, knowing that Blair was again looking at his journal. That left Jim to wonder if he'd finally destroyed the best friendship he'd ever had.
When Blair came out, his eyes were red. He'd made an attempt to wipe them dry, but Jim wasn't deceived. Jim decided that Blair had made the first move by coming out. He wanted the next move to be his. He moved to embrace his friend. He hoped that was an ... unambiguous ... beginning.