Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Missing Scenes Collection
Summary: Epilogue to Sentinel Too, part 1. Spoilers for Sentinel Too and a mention of Cypher and Blind Man's Bluff. Also, some images pulled from Flight and Warriors. Written the morning after S2, part 1, this story is now firmly in the AU camp...
Note: I sorta stole the title of this piece from a song by the Christian vocal group, The Heritage Singers, from their album entitled Peacekeeper. The actual title of the song is Blessed Are the Tears and though the song has nothing to do with the story, I figured I'd better mention it anyway - just to be on the safe side.
Blessed Be the Tears
epilogue for Sentinel Too, Part One
Jim let the arms hold him for a moment longer, then ripped away, roaring his hurt, his anger, his despair. "Noooooo!" He shoved aside those standing between him and Blair, uncaring that he might injure someone, that he probably did, in his unthinking rage at Blair's death.
This can't be happening. He can't be dead. I won't let him be dead. Oh, god, the last time I saw him, I basically told him I never wanted to see him again. I can't . . . Oh, god, Blair, what have I done?!?
Dropping to his knees, he collapsed, hauling up Blair's body, cradling it in his arms, rocking back and forth. He buried his head against Blair's, pressing their cheeks together. Simon touched his shoulder, trying to pull him away.
"Jim, please, it's over. Let him go."
He only held on more tightly, growling out a negative, not even really using words.
Simon tried again. "Jim . . ."
Jim shook his head, forcing out a few desperate, hurting words. "No, not yet. I can't . . . Please . . ."
A moment passed and Simon withdrew his hand. Jim heard him clearing the others away from him, heard their meaningless murmured words of sorrow and regret, but none of it was important to him. None of it ever would be again.
Blair . . .
Tears leaked from between tightly closed eyelids, trailing down his cheek and onto Blair's. He buried one hand in his partner's wet hair, holding his head closer to him, pressing it to his own. He stretched forth his senses, tried to listen, to feel, to sense some sign of life. But it didn't seem to be working. He couldn't hear anything.
No! I won't believe that! I won't!
He pushed harder. Still nothing. Again, he pushed harder. And harder still. Until he could go no further.
And he zoned.
His arms suddenly and achingly empty and bereft, Jim jerked to his feet, spinning around in panic. Around him was the Peruvian jungle. Why here? Why now? The last time he'd seen this place was in his nightmarish vision of himself shooting the wolf and then watching it turn into Blair. Where was his partner?
<<Your partner is dead, Sentinel.>>
Jim swallowed hard and turned at the echoing voice, hearing the defeat and the blame in those few words. Before him stood the shaman, staring at him impassively. He whispered, "I . . . It wasn't my fault. He didn't tell me about Alex. I didn't know in time."
<<You were warned, Sentinel. You were warned that this could happen.>>
"You mean the dream? The vision where I . . . where I killed Blair? But I didn't kill him! I couldn't do that!"
<<You left him alone, naked, and defenseless against a foe he could not defeat. You wounded him and left him helpless. Look!>> He pointed to the side with his tall staff and Jim followed his gesture with his eyes and saw . . . himself, in hunter garb, aiming and then shooting the wolf with a crossbow. He watched as the wolf fell to the ground, injured, hurting, crying. His hunter-self disappeared back into the jungle. For a moment, all was still, silent, except for the pitiful cries of the wolf.
And then he heard the growls he'd been hearing for the past week in Cascade -- the growls of the spotted jaguar.
"No . . . He's hurt. He can't defend himself." He turned back to the shaman angrily. "You can't let this happen!"
The shaman sadly shook his head. <<I did not. You did. And it already has happened. Time cannot be reversed, Sentinel.>>
Immense sorrow tearing his words, cracking his voice with so much raw pain, Jim shot out, "Then why did you bring me here? Why am I seeing this now if there's nothing I can do?"
<<Because the battle is not yet over. Watch.>>
Reluctantly, Jim looked back at the wolf just as the spotted jaguar leapt out of the cover of jungle trees. The jaguar paced and stalked around the injured wolf, a low growl in her throat. The wolf struggled to its feet, slipping a little, but managing to get all four legs beneath him. Stares and growls passed between the two animals as the standoff continued.
And then the jaguar attacked. Jim's breath caught in his throat and he strained to go forward, to help, but he couldn't move. Neither could he tear his eyes away as the jaguar gained victory over victory on the wolf, biting and clawing, leaving blood-rent fur in her wake. The wolf finally fell, dazed, too hurt to go on, unable to defend himself anymore. He lay on the ground, panting, crying, bleeding.
Dying, Jim's mind whispered at him. No, Blair!
The jaguar stalked forward slowly, ready to kill, lips curled back, long sharp teeth exposed, glistening in the dim light. The wolf only lay there, whimpering in defeat and fear.
Jim choked, closing his eyes, turning away. "I can't . . . I can't watch this. I can't watch her kill Sandburg."
<<Then stop her.>>
"What?" He stared at the shaman in disbelief. "You said time could not be reversed."
<<It cannot. But this is where time stands now. There is still a chance. It is your choice, Sentinel. It is your fight. Do you let him go or do you save him? Do you have the strength to save him?>>
Jim blinked once, the looked back at the wolf and the circling jaguar. He whispered, "I have to. There is no choice."
"But how? I don't. . ."
The shaman vanished, his last words lingering in the air. <<Listen. Let go. And become.>>
Jim stood still for a long moment, puzzled over the cryptic words. Listen? Let go? And become? Become what? He looked back at the two animals and the answer came to him. Become. Yes. Yes!
He rushed forward to where his battle awaited him. Between one moment and the next, he slipped from being Jim Ellison, detective, Sentinel, a man, to being the sleek black jaguar that leapt gracefully over rocks and uneven ground to attack. The other jaguar whirled at his approach, growling, lips curled back, teeth showing. The black jaguar roared his outrage at the attack on his friend.
And the battle began.
Growls, bites, blows, and claw swipes were exchanged as they wrestled and fought on the ground. The upper hand was gained and lost by each in seconds, neither seeming to be winning or losing in the long minutes. The wolf panted slowly, eyes glazed as he watched the two jaguars fighting, his own life hanging in the balance, depending on which jaguar won. His eyelids drooped and he struggled to stay awake, to stay aware, to stay ready, gaining a little strength to use if his champion needed him.
The spotted jaguar suddenly roared, charging, knocking over the black jaguar, clamping her teeth around his neck. The black jaguar fought back, struggling to get free, to get lose. Nothing seemed to be working. Abruptly the weight of his opponent shifted, falling away. He surged to his feet, ready for attack again.
The wolf, injured and badly bleeding, had somehow managed to throw himself at the spotted jaguar, sending her off-balance, knocking her away from the black jaguar. And now he would pay the price as she pulled back on lethally clawed paw for the kill.
She never got the chance as the black jaguar attacked, sending her flying away from his injured friend, putting himself between them. Relentlessly he swung at her again and again, shoving her back, until she lay helpless on the ground, quivering under the onslaught of blows, unable to defend herself, panting in agony.
Without conscious thought, Jim found himself back in his own body, a loaded crossbow in his hands. He raised it and aimed, staring at the spotted jaguar at his feet. "This is for Sandburg." And he fired. The arrow struck. The jaguar screamed in pain, her form shimmering, and then she vanished.
A low cry of pain from behind him grabbed his attention and he swung back around to stride to the wolf's side. The shaft of the arrow in the wolf's shoulder had been broken off long ago, but the arrow point still remained embedded. Dropping to his knees, tossing the crossbow aside to land unwanted and broken against a tree, Jim ran a hand over the wolf's wet fur. He stammered, "I don't know what to do." The wolf whimpered and shuddered under his touch, but didn't pull away.
<<Who is he to you?>>
Jim didn't turn around. Knowing the shaman was there was good enough. "Help him."
<<Who is he to you? What is he?>>
"What do you mean? He's my friend. He's helped me figure out all this Sentinel stuff."
<<That is not enough to save him, Sentinel. Who is he?>>
Jim paused, a hand stuck deep in the wolf's fur. He bent down, pressing his forehead against the wolf's head, feeling the animal's cold nose against his cheek. "He's my friend. My best friend. I can't do any of this without him. I don't want to lose him."
<<You left him. You abandoned him in his greatest hour of need, Sentinel. Why should he be returned to you?>>
"Because . . . because I need him. Because I want him back. Because he can't go. Not yet. Not now. Not this way. It isn't right." Tears fell from his eyes and soaked into the fur beneath his face. "It just . . . isn't right."
There was no answer. He whispered, "Please don't take him from me."
A gentle hand touched the back of his head as if in benediction. <<A second chance is given, Sentinel. Do not make such a mistake again.>>
"I won't. Not ever again."
Jim pulled back as the body underneath him shifted and shimmered. He gasped, tightening his hold on the fur. "No." But the fur vanished out from under his hand, smoothing down to skin -- human skin. The whole body was changing. He focused his eyes on the wolf's own closed eyelids, willing them to open as the features shifted into the more familiar face of his partner's.
Then all was still again. Only his own breathing and a gentle breeze making any noise. He tentatively touched Blair's face, running his fingers down to his throat, absently feeling for a pulse. His heart froze when he didn't feel one. But then . . . but then . . .
Thump. A long pause. Thump.
Jim wilted over Blair's unconscious form, whispering his thanks to whomever had listened to his pleas.
And from somewhere beyond him, he heard a voice calling him back from the edge of oblivion.
Jim jerked up, almost losing his hold on his partner's body as Simon's voice cut through his turbulent emotions. He blinked, trying to orient himself, discordant images of jungle and various animals sliding in and out of view. What . . . ?
Simon's hand fell on his shoulder, shaking him. "Jim, are you with us again?"
Memory hit him at the same time that the body in his arms shuddered and shook, inhaling a gasping breath. He clutched Blair closer, forcing words out from a throat still swollen with tears. "Simon, get the paramedics."
"Oh my god." Simon turned and yelled for the paramedics to get back to them, shouting that Sandburg was still alive, that he'd just taken a breath.
Jim ignored him, concentrating on Blair as he alternately tried to breathe and cough out the water in his lungs. Tenderly, carefully, Jim turned the younger man onto his side, facing him, arms still half around his now shivering body. Jim rubbed one hand over Blair's back. With the other, he shoved away the wet hair from Blair's face. He murmured low sounds of comfort, not really words, just something to let Blair know that he wasn't alone. He didn't know if he could actually form words right then anyway.
After what seemed like an eternity of coughing, bringing up mouthful after mouthful of water, Blair slowly opened his eyes, blinking, eyes blank. Jim swallowed and cupped his hand against Blair's cold cheek, whispering, "Hey, there, buddy." The blue eyes didn't move at first, then flickered upwards, only a bare hint of recognition in their depths. Eyes wet, Jim smiled encouragement at him, hearing the paramedics nearing them to take over. He wanted a word, a nod, something, anything, from his partner before he had to release him into others' hands. "You're gonna be okay, Chief."
Still no response other than the glazed look. Finally, slowly, Blair opened his mouth. Jim leaned forward, concentrating his hearing. It was only one barely audible, barely croaked-out word. But it was all he needed to hear.
"Jim . . ."
Jim's throat closed up again. He shifted his hand from Blair's back and found one of his hands, squeezing it tightly. "Yeah, Blair, I'm here."
Blair squeezed his hand back, then forced out another word. "Okay?"
Jim rested his forehead against Blair's, hunched over his partner, uncaring that his body would be yelling at him later. "Yeah, you're okay, Blair. And so I am. We're both okay now." He felt Blair's eyelashes droop back down, shuttering over those blue eyes for now as he fell back to unconsciousness. But he was alive.
Alive! The word echoed through his mind like one of Blair's mantras.
Jim closed his eyes as well, feeling more tears seep from beneath his eyelids. But this time instead of tears of sadness, or of pain, or of pleading, they were tears of joy.
Hours later, Jim sat in the chair next to Blair's hospital bed, staring at his alive, sleeping partner, reliving those moments at the University in his mind over and over. Turning from the doorway into Hargrove Hall and seeing that familiar windbreaker in the fountain was one of the most terrifying moments of his life. One he would always remember and never ever forget. More terrifying than seeing Blair locked in Lash's awful dentist chair. More terrifying than seeing him drugged-out on Golden, shooting up the garage. More terrifying than anything he could possibly ever think of.
Sighing, he scrubbed a hand over his face, then scooted the chair forward to take Blair's nearest hand in his. He wrapped both of his hands around it firmly, soothing his tortured thoughts with the feeling of Blair's pulse jumping against his fingers. Then he leaned his head against the edge of the bed, closing his eyes, trying to figure out where he had gone wrong and what he needed to do to fix things again.
This was my fault. I kicked him out of the loft, told him he betrayed my trust, made him leave. He should've been with me, at my side, all the time. Instead, I left him unprotected, alone, a ready target. I should've known! This never should've happened. Never!
The doctors hadn't known what to think. Blair had been dead. But then he just came back to life -- with no signs of any brain damage or any other problems. He'd fallen back asleep fairly quickly after those first few moments when he woke up in Jim's arms and hadn't been able to answer any questions. But from the destroyed appearance of his office, it looked as if Blair had put up quite a fight, throwing everything he had at his assailant as he tried to get away.
Alex, Jim's mind provided. His jaw tightened. But she was gone. No sign of her anywhere. It was as if she had just . . . vanished. To Jim's mind, she had. But he wasn't prepared to accept that until he saw her body.
A hand touched his head, running over his short hair in soothing motion. He raised his head from the bed, opening his eyes to see his partner awake and looking at him. He moved one hand to brush away the hair from Blair's face. "Hey."
Blair swallowed once, then whispered in return. "Hey."
"How are you feeling?"
"Like I've had the crap beaten out of me."
Jim nodded. "Well, if what your office looks like is any clue, I'd guess you're right."
Blair looked puzzled for a moment, then his eyes widened and his heart beat faster. Jim could see the memories returning all in one burst. Blair's voice shaking and hoarse, the words tumbled out almost faster than Jim could understand. "Alex! Oh, god, she came after me, said she was gonna kill me. She had this gun. She . . . she got ready to fire. I ducked at the last second, grabbed this book and threw it at her." He swallowed again, his eyes closing. "We fought. I tried to get away, but, I don't know, she was so strong. I ran outside, but she caught me at the fountain. She . . . she . . ." He couldn't finish.
Jim squeezed his hand. "I know. I got there too late, but I know what happened. I'm sorry." Blair didn't reply, just closed his eyes tighter. Jim waited him out, stroking a hand over Blair's forehead. "Sh-sh. She's gone now. It's okay."
Finally Blair opened his eyes again and stared up at Jim. "I was dead, wasn't I?"
Jim nodded. "Yeah, you were. But we brought you back." He swallowed, then whispered, "I am so sorry, Chief. This was all my fault. I should've listened to you. I knew something was wrong. But I was just so upset that I couldn't see anything, anything beyond my own . . . selfish jealousy."
Blair shook his head. "It wasn't all your fault, Jim. I had my part in this, you know."
"I know. But you've already done your apologizing, so just be quiet and let me finish."
That brought a small smile to Blair's pale features, something Jim was extremely glad to see. "Okay. I'm listening."
Jim pulled his hand away from Blair's forehead and wrapped it back around Blair's hand that he had captured. His thumbs stroked his partner's hand absently, some part of him just absorbing the feel and touch of the warm skin and steady pulse beat under the skin. Another part of him was still giving thanks. He focused on those hands as he spoke. "I told you that you betrayed our friendship, the trust between us. I was wrong. You didn't. I did. First, I throw you out of the loft, then I tell you that I can't trust you anymore." He paused, then forced himself to finish. "To be honest, Chief, I don't know why you would ever trust me again. I let you down. I let her get you. I let her . . . oh, god, Blair, I let her kill you." He tried to pull away, but Blair wouldn't let that happen.
Blair's other hand came over to rest on the others, squeezing tightly, holding on. He leaned forward in the bed, his voice intense, cutting through Jim's despair and self-hatred. "Jim, come on, don't do this to yourself. I'm alive. I'm right here. And I'm not planning on going anywhere. You got scared, you were upset, you were angry, and you acted accordingly. I know that. Please, Jim, look at me."
Jim lifted his head, meeting Blair's eyes. They stared at each other in silence, a million things being said by look and by the connection of their hands that words could never express.
After a long time, Blair said softly, "I'll forgive you, Jim, if you'll forgive me, okay?"
The older man tried to protest, but Blair shook his head and Jim relented with a heavy sigh. "Okay. Done and done."
Blair smiled happily and leaned back into the bed, shifting and trying to get comfortable again. He asked, "So, does this mean I get to move back into the loft?"
Jim answered Blair's smile with one of his own. "Yeah, you can move back in. You can help me get the furniture back inside too."
Rolling his eyes, Blair laughed a little, as much as his hurt body would let him. Jim's laughter in response was another balm to his soul that still hurt a little. It wasn't the issue he really wanted to talk about, but he knew the trust thing would come up as soon as Jim felt ready. He had his own answer to the inevitable question already prepared. Weariness catching up with him, he was just about to close his eyes again when Jim spoke up in a quiet, hesitant voice.
"Do you still trust me, Blair?"
Blair responded quickly, moving his head to look at Jim. "Do you trust me, Jim?"
"Yes." The answer was instantaneous.
"If you can trust me again after what happened, then I can trust you. I never stopped trusting you really." He paused, vague memories filtering through his mind. "You brought me back, didn't you?"
Jim frowned. "I told you that already, Sandburg."
Blair shook his head, lifting a hand to wave it in the air. "No, not that. I mean you personally. You brought me back. You . . . fought her, didn't you?"
Jim stared at him. "You remember?"
"Parts of it. Not much." He yawned, blinking, holding his eyes open wide by force of will. "We've got to talk about it, Jim. You can tell me what I don't remember. You can . . ." He yawned a second time, his brief dose of adrenaline dying off.
Jim interrupted gently. "Later, Blair, we can talk later. Just go to sleep now."
Blair shifted under the blankets and let his eyes close. "Okay. Just don't leave."
"I won't. I'll be here. I'm not going anywhere. Now rest." Jim watched as his partner drifted off to sleep, listening to his heartbeat, his breathing, his very being. He settled back into the chair, hand still firmly clasped around his partner's, and then closed his own eyes.
Later they would talk. But for now, they would rest.
And from somewhere outside themselves, he heard an approving growl.
- The End -