Night Train Epilogue
Summary: Complete here in two parts. 1. The morning after the cold medicine. 2. Several weeks later, a truth is told.
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.
Jim moaned as he came to awareness. His head ached with a fierceness he couldn't ever remember experiencing before. He tried to crack an eye open. Serious blunder. His stomach began its journey up his throat, with everything contained within it. He felt like his loft bedroom was the deck of a ship in high seas and he tried to negotiate the stairs by feel. He called on his considerable will to keep his stomach from fouling his living quarters. He barely made it to the bathroom. After doing what nature bade him, he cleaned himself up and stumbled to the kitchen where he could find a bottle of water and that miracle of modern medicine: aspirin.
The front door opened and Blair strode through, throwing his coat at the coat rack, where it actually caught. 'All Right', he thought with a grin. “I went down to get bagels and muffins for breakfast ... ” He stopped in the process of dumping his purchase on the counter. Staring at Jim, he thought his friend looked a little green. “Hey Jim are you okay, man?” he asked. Jim leaned forward with both elbows on the counter, clutching his head. Blair Sandburg performed admirably, that is to say, he projected the 'sincerity' of a concerned friend while smothering a snicker. “You should have taken my herbal remedy for your cold, man. Modern medicine is mostly PR. You see the ads every day.”
“Are you bucking for 'Witchdoctor', Sandburg?” Jim ground out between waves of pain.
A grin made its appearance. “Got a headache Jim?” asked Blair with a blatantly false air of innocence.
gave him an evil eye, only one, because the other one refused to
cooperate at the moment.
Blair took in Jim's paleness and the crinkles around his eyes. He'd teased him enough. “Come on Jim. Take your aspirin and lay down on the couch.” Jim didn't have the energy to resist that, so he did as told. Blair went to get a cold compress and plumped up a pillow for his friend. Positioning himself at the end of the couch, he pulled a kitchen chair to him and began massaging Jim's shoulder and neck muscles. Blair's ministrations had Jim softly snoring in minutes. The problems they'd encountered last night on the train along with his cold and his reaction to the cold medicine had worn Jim out. Blair felt bad about teasing him. He'd be a good little 'Chief' and work quietly and let Jim rest.
As Blair plugged away on his laptop Jim would occasionally become restive. At that point Blair would stop, so motionless as to be barely breathing, hoping that Jim would settle down again. It worked too, at least the first few times. Then Jim woke and rubbed his red eyes and sat up slowly. He seemed to sway a moment which worried Blair a bit.
Jim felt like crap. He rubbed his face again and stood, turning toward the kitchen. Everything looked a little hazy and his ears were ringing. He turned and saw Blair. “What are you doing here Sandburg?”
Blair grinned, “Just catching up on a little work. I hope I didn't wake you.”
“No, no. I mean, what are YOU doing HERE? I can see what you're doing.” Jim had spoken harshly and he felt his anger rise as the kid played dumb. “You got your information for your thesis and then you left. Why are you here in my home? If you broke in I'll have you in the lockup so fast it will make your head spin.”
“Jim, man, what are you talking about? I haven't finished my thesis. I live here man, I have for three weeks now. What's going on? Are you pulling my leg because I was teasing you before?”
“That's bull. I've barely known you for three weeks. There's no way I'd ever let you move in with me. You wanted info and said you'd help me with the senses. After that you left. There's no way you'd stay in one place any longer than you had to. I've heard more stories about your travels than anyone your age could possibly have lived.” Sarcasm colored his words, “But you always did like to 'obfuscate'. Right? What's the story this time? Come back for a sequel? Dumped by another girlfriend? Low on cash again? All of the above? You're a piece of work Sandburg. I heard enough from you while we worked together that I knew you'd never be in it for the long haul. But I didn't think you'd try to scam me. Get out of here. Now. Before I call a squad car and have them haul you away.”
Blair's face went from white to red to white again. He clutched at his chest, sure the pain was a panic attack in the making. “Jim, you don't know what you're saying, man. We're friends.” This can't be happening! He doesn't remember the past weeks? Wait, wait, wait ... there's proof, “When my place burned, you let me move into your spare room. Hey, look at it yourself. You can see my stuff in there. Look Jim, please man. Please .... ”
Jim knew the kid was lying but he moved toward the spare room anyway if only to call his bluff. After a look intended to be just a quick glance he saw the contents of his 'spare room'. With disbelief he turned to stare at Blair. His head swam. The room did a three-sixty and Jim Ellison passed out like a swooning matron.
Jim awoke on the couch with a very worried friend hovering only inches away. He was in the process of replacing a cold compress on his forehead. “Hey Chief. That massage really helped. I must have drifted right off to sleep. I could really go for some coffee and breakfast, if it isn't already lunch time. I think I'll go take a shower first then we'll see what we can throw together. See you in a few.”
Blair sat staring at the bathroom door. His knee bounced to an internal rhythm of shock. It must have been the cold medicine. Probably. Maybe. We'll figure it out. But what he said ... is this what he believes? Is this what he thinks of me? Doesn't he trust me to stand by him? To be there for him? Is that what he thought a few weeks ago? And is it what he thinks now?
Several weeks later
Blair struggled to remain upright. It wasn't easy with a drunk Sentinel plastered to his back. But he hung on heroically to Jim's arm slung over his shoulder. “Man, Jim. You've been eating too many Wonderburgers.” He slowly eased the door open and Jim through it, tossing his keys at the basket on the table by the door and kicking the door shut behind him. He shuffled over to the couch and got Jim settled in the middle figuring that he could fall over either way and still get both ends on the couch. “Jim, come on my big tough sentinel, lift your arm, that's it, slide the jacket off. Now the other arm.” Blair bent down to take off Jim's shoes. Being the designated driver wasn't bad unless the 'drunk' was bigger than you.
“Hey Chief, ah think ahm drunk,” Jim said as he slowly leaned left. “Are we home yet Buddy?”
“Jim, my friend, you're very very drunk. You're a cop and a sentinel. You know better. You know you have to be careful. You could have a reaction. Or you could just open your mouth around the wrong people.” Blair sighed a weary huff, thinking that trying to lecture a drunk wasn't a very smart thing to do. Jim knew the risks, so why did he lose control like that? Well, hopefully, he felt safe enough to let go for a while with me there to back him up. “Never mind, Jim. We're home safe and sound. We'll talk in the morning.” They still hadn't talked about that little cold medicine hangover. He didn't know how to bring something up for discussion that Jim didn't even seem to remember.
“Ya goin' to be here? Right Blair, Buddy, Chief? Ya not goin' anywhere?”
Blair looked curiously at his friend. Jim had been out of control that night too. He knew he shouldn't pump his friend while he was drunk but, “Where would I be going?”
“Ya been lotsa places. World Traveler Blair. Cascade's jus' a little city. When ya going to leave Blair?”
Blair was afraid to ask, but he had to know. “Do you want me to leave Jim? Should I find my own place?” whispered Blair.
“Made room for ya here. Wouldna dun that if I dint want ya to shtay. Will ya shtay Chief?” Jim asked as he finished his leftward slide to rest, softly snoring on the arm of the sofa.
Blair smiled at his friend, “I'd like that, Jim. I'd like that a lot.”