Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

Just a short, little musing. Smarm for the sake of smarm.

Embrace
by Becky
May 1998

Warmth. Closeness. Security. Affection. Safety. Friendship. Reassurance. Stability. Comfort. Protection. Brotherhood. Love.

So many words. So many meanings. And none of them quite right, quite complete. None of them fit the complex feelings and emotions that tore through his heart, his mind, his soul. No simple words ever could. It was beyond description, beyond the understanding that mere words could provide, beyond anything he'd ever learned in any class or from any book.

It just...was.

And right then, it was the only thing that mattered to him, the only thing he cared about. Names, dates, faces, places, circumstances, none of those were important. Only the warmth that he was tucked so closely to. Only that.

But slowly, a bit at a time, other things began to filter back in, beating back the panicked relief that had overtaken him. Those names, dates, faces, places, and circumstances that made up his own life and that of his partner and friend. Along with them came the clear, distinct memories of what happened that night, of why he was standing with his arms thrown so tightly around the larger man, of why that man was returning the embrace so warmly, so unconditionally, so openly.

Jim. Oh, god.

A shudder ran through his frame as Blair realized he'd almost lost the source and recipient of those feelings, those emotions. Again. It had been so close. Too close. Way too close.

Strong arms tightened around him and Jim's low, quite voice whispered soothing words in his ear while a hand rubbed his back. Slowly he relaxed tense muscles again, forcing himself to unclench his fists and flatten his hands out on his partner's back. Other than that, he didn't move, didn't raise his head where it was pressed into the other man's chest. Despite the chaos and voices of others around them, the hand kept rubbing and the voice kept murmuring to him, telling him that it was okay, that everything was fine.

Maybe it was, but the all too-recent memories of the dark night kept repeating through his mind, powered by adrenaline and fear. Left in the truck when his partner had gone out to take a quick look around, Blair had, at first, been glad. It was cold out, colder than inside the truck. Then the bullets had streaked out without warning, shattering the silence of the stakeout. Within moments, he'd lost sight of his partner when Jim had disappeared behind a stack of crates on the docks. Unable to leave the dubious safety of the truck cab because of the bullets flying around, Blair had done the only thing he could -- called for backup.

And then he'd waited, scrunched down as far as he could get. Hiding. Wincing as bullets popped against the grill of the truck. Wishing he knew where Jim was. Straining to hear a voice, a shout, anything, and not. Hoping that he was okay.

Praying that he was okay.

The minutes before backup finally arrived and took control of the situation were some of the longest minutes in his 20-some years of life. As soon as the shooting had stopped, he'd jumped out of the truck, nearly scaring Simon half to death when he'd walked over to check the truck for occupants and find out where his best detective team was. However, Blair had ignored the captain's insistent questions and ran to where he'd last seen Jim, dodging around other officers as they led out the bad guys, safely disarmed and cuffed.

And then he'd found him. Sitting on the ground, a hand held to the side of his head where he could see a faint streak of blood where a bullet must have clipped him, sending him to the ground in a half-daze, still able to shoot, but not able to move. At least when the shooters were still around. But after he'd been found, Jim had stood up, leaning partially on Blair for balance.

That had been when everything had finally caught up with Blair, making him begin to shake, begin to realize just how close Jim had been to being killed. Jim had seen it immediately and tried to calm him, tightening his grip on his shoulders. But Blair had needed more and had cautiously leaned in toward the older man, unsure if Jim would understand what he wanted, what he needed, and be willing to give it in the middle of crime scene, where other cops were milling around. Cops that knew both of them. Cops that might not understand.

He shouldn't have doubted.

Jim's response had been to pull him into a gentle, warm, firm, comforting embrace, rocking him slightly on his feet, letting him bury his head in Jim's chest without comment. Well, without comment except for actually holding him closer, wrapping his arms around him more tightly, whispering to him that everything was okay, that they were both okay.

And now . . . Now he sighed out heavily, head still tucked under Jim's chin, feeling the man's breath blow gently over the top of his head, ruffling the curls. He turned his head, resting his cheek against Jim's chest, staring out at the outer docks, not ready to look inward to where he knew the other cops, including Simon -- and the newly-shot-up truck -- still waited. Jim's heart beat under his ear. A calm, restful beat. A beat that meant life.

Jim's voice came again, still quiet, still patient, as if he would stand there as long as Blair needed. Which he probably would. "You doing okay here, buddy?"

Finally, with a little reluctance, he pulled away to look up at Jim, smiling. "Yeah, I'm okay." He hesitated, then finished in a whisper. "Thanks. I, uh, I needed..." He trailed off, not quite sure how to phrase what he'd needed.

But Jim understood and slowly released him after patting him one last time on the back. "I know. I needed it, too. Come on, what do you say we wrap this up and go home?" He slung an arm over Blair's shoulders and directed them toward the truck, where Simon stood awaiting them, ever-present cigar between his teeth.

Blair walked beside him, hands shoved deep in his pockets, leaning in toward Jim, already feeling the cold air bite into the warmth that had absorbed into his body from Jim during the long embrace. But nothing could touch the inner warmth that Jim had given him as he'd held him, comforted him. A contented smile spread across his face. Nothing at all.

- The End -