Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

Dedication: To Kitty and Martha for Beach and the gorgeous depiction of the friendship and brotherhood between Jim and Blair that is prevalent in everything they write. Thank you, gals.

Beacon
by Becky
August 1998

Leading the slow advance into the seemingly abandoned building, gun out and ready, all his senses high and on alert, Jim heard the click of the timer a moment before anyone else did. In that moment, he realized he was physically safe, but wholly unprepared for the explosion.

Sound, smell, sight, touch, even taste -- all spun crazily out of control, yanking him out of control. The heat of the fire scorched his skin. The smells of plastique and burnt timber overpowered the scent of the morning dew, distilling into an acrid, unwanted flavor on his tongue. Intensely painful whiteness squeezed underneath tightly closed eyelids. Echoes of the roar of the explosion continued to play on in his ears, drowning out anything else.

Thought of his guide and his hopefully safer position with Simon spun through his fractured awareness once before he surrendered to the maelstrom of sensory overload. And plunged....

....falling....

....descending....

....into nothing and everything....

....forever....

Or so it seemed to the sentinel as he drifted, searching vainly for a beacon, something to guide him to ... somewhere ... anywhere other than the blank nothingness filled with the pain of too much of everything.

Time lost all meaning.

A soft touch of sound slid across his awareness, and he shivered with the impact on his senses but turned instinctively toward it, seeking it out, feeling the difference between it and the chaotic streams of input crashing down on him.

....jim....jim....jim....

The gentle yet insistent voice called to him. Beckoned to him. It sang of comfort, of safety, of help, of complete trust, of knowledge, of protection, of home, of love.

....come back....listen....feel....

Invisible fingers whispered across his skin, leaving a silvery trail of soothing coolness in their path. The delicate touch disappeared, and he cried out inarticulately, reaching out, a sudden loss falling over him. A moment later, the voice returned, calming him, surrounding him; fingers stroked across his skin, resting on his forehead.

....i'm here....you're okay....breathe, jim, breathe....please....

Remembering the hot, dry air that had burned his throat and lungs, he flinched back from the request-command to breathe. But a deeper part of him knew he could trust that voice, that soul. And so he took a hesitant breath, stiffening only slightly at the warmish air that filled his lungs.

....there you go....good....good....again.....you have to come back to me, Jim....

His name. That was his name. Jim Ellison. Sentinel. Detective. And the voice... He knew that voice. Who...?

Memory slammed back into him, making him gasp, eyes flying open to see his partner and Guide leaning over him, one hand on Jim's chest, the other on his forehead, fingers moving softly in calming circles. Jim held those dark blue eyes with his own only a moment before his senses reminded him - quite painfully - that they were still quite overloaded. Flickering flames, skewed colors, echoing voices, cracking timber, general stench of a burning building, taste of acrid fumes in the air.

Squeezing his eyelids tightly closed, Jim groaned, shakily lifting a hand to cover Blair's hand on his chest, anchoring himself. "Oh, man."

Blair pressed down with just a touch more pressure on Jim's forehead, leaning down, shielding him from any prying eyes, whispering softly to him. "Hey, there, Jim. Wasn't sure you were coming back or not for a moment."

Jim could hear the small stutter of pushed-aside panic and fear in Blair's voice, and he curled his fingers around Blair's hand. "Actually, I wasn't so sure myself."

Focusing on the presence of his guide sitting on the ground next to him, Jim dialed everything back down to a more manageable state. Smell and taste receded back to nearly nothing. Sound he moved back to just above a normal person's level, ignoring the chaotic noise of cars and people around them. Sight went way down, his eyes stinging with the overload of fire and smoke. Touch he kept focused only on his partner

Cautiously, he reopened his eyes, and when everything stayed normal, he started to get up, realizing he'd been moved quite a ways away from the building, laying in the shadow of his truck. Blair's hand slid from his forehead to the back of his neck, supporting him.

"Easy, easy, go slow. You went down pretty hard." With his other hand, the younger man grasped Jim's arm, keeping in physical contact with him as he moved.

On his feet again, a little wobbly at first but okay, Jim stared around them, realizing finally that the skewed colors were the strobe lights of emergency vehicles. Turning his head, he scanned the crowded area, spotting Simon at the front of the building, filling in the emergency fire crews' captain. "Was anyone hurt?"

Fingers rubbing Jim's neck, then sliding down to his back, Blair answered after a moment. "No, not really. Mostly just bruises from being thrown back from the blast. You -- you were the closest." Jim looked over at Blair, meeting those wide dark eyes as the younger man stumbled on with the story. "From far away, it looked like you got knocked unconscious. Somehow I didn't think, no, I didn't feel that was the reason. And after Simon finally let me go to you and we brought you back here, I knew I was right. You'd zoned so far and so deep I didn't know if I could reach you, could find you." He paused to swallow, finishing in a horrified whisper. "I thought you were lost...forever."

Jim put his hand on Blair's where it still rested on his arm, wrapping his fingers around Blair's wrist. "I was lost. But not forever. Not with my Guide to call me back."

Shifting on his feet, Blair bit his lower lip. "But, Jim, what if...? What if one day I can't --?"

Shaking his head, Jim interrupted. "You're my Guide, Chief. You can. And you always will." He paused, then smiled. "You're my beacon."

Blair blinked up at him. "Your beacon?"

"Yeah, my beacon. To tell me which way is home. Even in the worst storm, the deepest zone-out, I can always find it." He watched his partner for a few moments, seeing the understanding flow across his face, through his eyes, and into his soul. "I can always find you."

After another moment, Blair returned Jim's smile, his eyes glowing with gentle warmth and a little embarrassed pleasure at being so described. "I--I'm not quite sure what to say to that."

Jim released him, then reached up to softly pat his cheek, his fingers sliding down the skin as he dropped his hand to Blair's shoulder. He squeezed the shoulder tightly, rocking the younger man on his feet. "You don't need to say anything, Chief. Just accept it. I did a long time ago." He lifted his other hand and rested it on the Blair's other shoulder, facing him firmly, eyes calm and steady. "It's who we are. Maybe it's who we were always meant to be. I don't know. I just know that it's true and that it works. That's all I need to know." His fingers stroked over Blair's shoulders, soothing the knots he felt under the jacket.

Blair didn't say anything, just nodded once, his tense frame relaxing under Jim's tender and knowing fingers.

Catching sight of Simon heading toward them, Jim released Blair's shoulders with one last squeeze. "Simon's on his way over to make sure we're okay, and I think," he paused a moment to look at his captain, "I think he wants us to go home for the day. And considering my senses are still quite a bit off, it's probably a good idea." He dug his truck keys from his pocket and dangled them in front of Blair. "You up to driving?"

Taking the keys, Blair grinned. "You sure you trust me driving your classic?"

"As long as you get us home, I won't care."

Blair paused, then said softly, "Home. I can do that." Jim met Blair's eyes and returned his guide's brilliant smile before turning to greet Simon. Blair moved to stand closer to his side, one hand resting on his lower back.

Anchoring him.

Guiding him with only a touch.

Calling him home without a voice.

Jim knew, deep down inside, where he could feel the strong unbreakable connection with the younger man, home lived only one heartbeat away from his own.

- The End -