Thanks, Chief

by ljc


Summary: Purely smarm. No plot. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warnings, Ratings: None. G.

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, man. You don't have to stay. It's late. I 'know' you heard the doctors. I'm fine. So go home. Get some sleep. Just don't forget to come and get me in the morning or your guide will find you, wherever you may hide,” grinned a pale Blair Sandburg from his hospital bed.

Jim knew Blair would be alright. Intellectually. But even before Blair called him his Blessed Protector Jim had felt a need to watch out for his trouble prone friend. So it just didn't feel right to leave. He sighed as he told himself to ease up. Blair would be fine, and they both needed sleep.

Then Jim worried that Blair might sleep better if he was near, if he knew that Jim was watching over him. Then he felt a little embarrassed about feeling like Sandburg's guardian angel. An angel he was not! And he certainly wasn't Blair's guardian! He felt a surge of respect for Blair's single parent mother, Naomi. Somehow she had managed to get Blair to his sixteenth birthday in one piece. After that, as Blair had told him often enough, he was in college and pretty much on his own. Some of the hair raising stories he told of his college exploits made Jim shiver in profound relief that he had survived all of that too.

“Come on Chief. It's early yet. I'll just sit with you for a while longer, until you go to sleep. Maybe I can bore you to sleep with my stimulating conversation,” grinned Jim.

“Now what made you think your conversation could be that boring” ... “snore,” as Blair struggled to hide a grin of his own as he feigned sleep.

“Hey ... no ignoring your partner, Sandburg!” said Jim as he gently, but carefully, shook Blair to wake him from his 'snooze'. Jim silently cataloged his friend's vitals with his senses yet again. He'd never tell Blair that his enhanced senses got quite a workout just watching out for him. Jim hoped Blair would drop off to sleep soon. He really did need the rest.

Jim made a playful grab for the remote from Blair then settled into the chair at his friend's bedside. He set it on a sports channel before Blair could set it on something educational. That would put Jim to sleep before Blair. The two friends chatted quietly for a while before Blair started to drift off.

Jim watched his friend for a while. The light from the television flickering across his features made him look even more ghostly pale. Blair was just lightly sleeping so he didn't want to move and disturb him, so he just watched, and thought.

The holidays were fast approaching. He wondered what Blair had in store for surprises this year. He was always planning something special as a gift for Jim, and not just presents. Blair wasn't rolling in money, especially since the dissertation mess, but he had a job. With Jim. And he seemed to be content. Jim hoped so.

He slowly reached out and encircled Blair's hand with his own. He gently rubbed his thumb over his knuckles, sadly thinking that Blair's hands had gained calluses from the shooting range. Jim sat very still for a moment, just watching. Then he whispered, “Chief, I wish I could just face you and tell you this. I ... I'm really glad you're my partner. I'm really glad you stayed. I wish I could say it would be alright with me if you needed to leave ... but I can't. I think I knew right from the start that you were something special. That the real gift wasn't the senses or even the guide that taught me so much. It was the friend that came and stayed, through some very bad times. That risked everything he had. I've needed to tell you this for a long time. That I do 'get' it. That it really is about friendship. But tonight you need your sleep. Get better, because tomorrow I need to take you home.” And with those words he gently laid the hand down and slipped out of his chair, dimming the lights and turning off the television on his way out.

At the elevator Jim turned and smiled toward his friend's room.

A moment later a very faint sigh left the patient on the bed, as he brushed at the moisture on his face.