by ljc


Summary: AU after “Sentinel Too”. Simon's POV. Death story. Non-consensual bonding/partner betrayal (not graphic, only briefly described).

Note: In my opinion non-consensual bonding IS partner betrayal, and a bond is something 'shared' not something 'forced'. This isn't like my usual stories. It DOES NOT have a happy ending. If you don't like the subject matter, please don't read this. I have given you fair warning.

Warnings, Ratings: There's a little profanity, but for the subject matter listed in the summary: death story, non-consensual bonding (partner betrayal): Fan Rated Suitable for Mature Persons.

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.


Simon sat in the growing darkness. The glass in his hand was empty, and the bottle was nearly so. Simon felt numb, but unfortunately, it didn't slow his thoughts. Grief and his own feelings of guilt twisted his insides forcing him to once more reach for the bottle. Once the glass was filled, he knew it was a futile escape and in despair he pushed it aside.

Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg ... the sentinel and his guide. Simon had been their boss and their friend but circumstances had made him their confidant. Simon had felt privileged to watch their relationship form. He hadn't understood the connection these two had, but he had known that the sentinel had needed his guide. Jim had needed Blair so much that he'd found some ... way ... to bring him back from the dead, from drowning, by another sentinel.

In the aftermath of that situation, Simon had hoped that they would remember their friendship, not just the sentinel/guide thing they had between them. He couldn't help wondering if he had overstepped the bounds of friendship by interceding on Jim's behalf. Had he let his own confusion, anger, and fear for them both, influence his decision and the words he'd directed at Blair?

Once again, he went over past events, hoping to convince himself that he'd done all he could.


Simon slept late the morning after their return to Cascade from Sierra Verde. He didn't have any reason to expect the loud knocking that woke him, and he was especially concerned when he discovered it was Jim Ellison.

Jim didn't waste words but pleaded with him, “Simon, Sandburg's camped out in his office at the university. I tried to talk to him but he said he won't come back! I - I was hoping you'd have a talk with him.”

Simon sighed deeply, trying to contain his exasperation. “What do you think I can do, Jim? What am I supposed to say to him? He nearly died. Maybe he needs a little space, you know 'process', as he says.”

Jim looked shaken. He looked almost as bad as he had at the fountain when they had all thought Blair was dead.

Simon. Please. I ... I ...” Simon could see him try to pull himself together before he continued, “You saw us that day at the fountain. Something .. happened to us. Maybe Blair could explain it, but I can't. When I saw him later in the hospital, Sandburg ... Damn, I turned him down, Simon! I shouldn't have. I know it now. Now I ... feel this ... compulsion, obsession ... whatever it is, I need it ... and I need Sandburg.” He gave a raw sounding laugh, “I think we 'have' to be together now.”

Simon could see that it was an admission Jim clearly didn't want to make. For him to finally admit that he needed someone was disconcerting. How serious was this connection? What would the consequences be if they split up? Simon didn't hesitate for long. What else could he do? Jim had asked for his help but Simon thought he'd be helping them both.


Simon went in search of Sandburg. He watched Blair for a moment from the hallway outside his office. The duffel and backpack that he'd used to travel to Sierra Verde were sitting next to the wall. He knocked softly, but Blair was startled anyway. Simon thought he almost looked afraid, but surely not of him. The disquiet he felt grew.

Oh, Simon. Uh, come on in.”

Sandburg. Okay if I sit?”

Blair started to get up but Simon waved him back down, and cleared a place to settle.

What's up, Simon? Is Jim okay? Or did ... did Jim send you?”

Well, I'd hoped to sleep in this morning, but Jim came knocking at my door. He seemed pretty upset that you wouldn't move back home. He asked if I'd talk to you. I tried to tell him that you might just need a little time. You've gone through a lot.”

Simon had learned long ago that Blair could be convincing when he needed his position heard. This time however, his strength was undermined by his exhaustion.

That's not going to happen. In fact, I - I've decided to leave Cascade. I'm joining Dr. Stoddard in Borneo. He's gotten the permits necessary to continue his research.”

Simon had heard a lot of shocking things in his life but he had never expected to hear this from the kid. In alarm, he said, “Sandburg, I thought this sentinel thing was important to you.”

Yeah, Simon, ... it is. I need to get away for a while. Jim should be fine. We both know that he hasn't zoned for a long time.” Simon thought Blair seemed to be begging him to understand when he said, “I need this, Simon. It's been too hard ... since the fountain. Jim denies that anything is wrong and I can't stay in Cascade if he won't work with me to fix it.”

Simon ignored the entreaty in Sandburg's voice and spoke in anger, “'You' need this and to hell with Jim, is that it? I thought you said Jim couldn't do this without you? I tried to tell him the same thing but he was too stubborn to listen. I know he doesn't want to admit it, but he needs you. I know you watch out for him. I've seen you work together. I finally got it through my head that you're his backup. Do you really think he'll be okay when he can't even handle an over-the-counter cold remedy? You're the expert. You tell me!”

I - I'd hoped you or Connor ...”

Simon slowly, grimly, shook his head as he answered, “We'd try, of course, but I think we'd lose him. We're not you, Sandburg. Explain this to me ... how are you going to fix what's wrong between you if you run away?”


Simon's anguish pushed him to his feet to pace as he remembered the look of bleak surrender on Blair's face. Should he have interfered? He'd been so relieved when Blair had agreed to stay. In fact, Sandburg had moved back into the loft that same night. Later, in the dark hours of early morning, Simon had received a call from the hospital. When he'd arrived he'd found Jim had been admitted to the ICU. His doctor had declared him brain dead and had placed him on life support. The doctors were just waiting for family members to come to say their farewells, and for authorization to 'pull the plug'.

'And where was Sandburg?' he'd thought, because he wasn't at Jim's side and that's where he'd always found him before. Sandburg was Jim's 'family', too. They'd made it as legal as possible.

Simon had finally found his way to Blair's own hospital room. He'd been told that Sandburg had called 9-1-1 but had collapsed before the EMT's had arrived. He was in shock and the emergency room doctor had admitted him. Sandburg had been in such bad shape that he hadn't argued.


Simon was horrified when he finally saw him. The kid looked like he'd been in a barroom brawl. Bruises covered his arms. Simon swallowed with difficulty as he recognized the bruises on his face. Bruises where strong fingers had brutally gripped him.

Simon needed to know what had happened. He sat watch at his bedside until a sliver of light appeared on the horizon. A new day was dawning and Simon was already grieving for one friend when Sandburg woke.

Blair's eyes fluttered and Simon leaned in closer, taking the kid's hand in his own. “Blair?”

Simon gasped when those eyes finally opened. He could have understood if he'd seen confusion, despair, grief ... any of those things, but Blair's eyes were dull, dead.

Blair. Do you hear me?” and those dead eyes turned their focus toward Simon. He dreaded telling him about Jim. “Blair, Jim's in ICU. Can you tell me what happened?”

Blair gave a shallow sigh, “Don't blame yourself, Simon. You were right. He couldn't do it alone. It was way too late for that. I couldn't do it alone either. I guess I was like Jim in not wanting to admit it ... and I 'was' running away.”

Simon leaned in closer to hear those soft words, not even realizing that both his hands now clasped Blair's. His own feeling of guilt made him say, “But you would have left Cascade if I didn't come to talk to you. What happened tonight at the loft? Tell me, kid. I have to know.”

Blair's attention seemed focused elsewhere when he said, “Is Jim dead? I can't feel him like I should.”

Simon was confused but guessed, “You can 'sense' each other?”

Since the fountain. We ... took a step on a journey.”

I don't understand, Blair, and I think I need to.” Simon could only cringe at the depth of the sorrow he saw in those eyes.

Blair hesitated a moment, then those eyes again sought his, “I can't explain why or how, but we bonded Simon, mind to mind. I felt closer to Jim in that moment than at any time we've been friends, but Jim fought it, denied it was real.” A deep sigh followed. “Until tonight. Tonight he wanted it all, and he wouldn't wait. I told him I needed a little time, that I was tired and sick but he wouldn't listen. I told him 'no' but he wouldn't stop. He forced me down on the floor and he took my face in his hands ...” Sandburg had tears leaking down his face and gave no notice.

Simon flashed back to the morning at the fountain, saw Jim's hands on Blair's face, forcing him back to the land of the living.

I'd come back to the loft like he wanted. Oh, God, Simon. I swear, I never meant to hurt him.” With a sob, he went on, “He forced me down, tried to force me to open my mind to the bond.” Blair continued in a harsh whisper, “He used his strength and his training against me. But neither of us knew that I could block him from my mind. I didn't know I was stronger than him. The power he directed at me ... I sent back to him. He didn't expect it, and he couldn't stop it. It felt like my mind was torn in two and now ... one half is empty.”

Blair's questions tore at him, “Why did he hurt me, Simon? Why wouldn't he wait for me? We were friends. We shared something precious, a bond that transcended all others. All we had to do was let it grow. He didn't have to take it by force. Was it all a lie, Simon? Were we ever partners, equals?”

Simon had felt his world lurch when he understood what Blair was saying. He listened in shock as soft sobs of grief shook Blair. He didn't know what to say to him. His own anger, grief, and guilt warred with the comfort he wanted to give. He was reprieved on that score when a nurse came to tell him that he was needed in ICU. He absently patted Blair's hand and said, “I ... I'll be back soon, Blair. I have to see about Jim,” and he left.


Had that been a mistake, too? Would it have made a difference if he'd stayed?


When he arrived at ICU he saw the activity in Jim's room. A code blue had been called and Jim never revived. Time of death was called and Simon was allowed to say a final farewell.

He walked with heavy steps back to Blair's room, not knowing how he was going to tell him. He swiped at his eyes as he settled into the chair at his bedside. He leaned in once again to wrap his hand around Blair's, but then he knew the truth, that Blair was gone, too.


The bond that had begun years ago in friendship, had dissolved in desperation and betrayal ... in fear and pain. It had destroyed them both.

It took a long time before Simon could let go of Blair's hand. It would be longer still before he could let go of his grief.