Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

Smarm, warm fuzzies, whatever your preferred term is... A "palate cleanser" for Robyn.
Not beta'ed.

Tender Touch
by Becky
January 2001

~~~~~~
...in the lingering hush of eve does the essence of friendship show its truest colors...
~~~~~~

He stood alone.

Gazing upward, he took a breath and let it out slowly, then leaned forward, resting his arms on the balcony railing. The sun had long since slipped away and the residual light was slowly fading as well. Street lights flickered on. Car lights followed. Voices drifted through the streets as mothers called their children in for supper.

"Hey."

The man turned, watching his friend lean against the partially open balcony door. An afghan hung off one shoulder and the tasseled edges dragged along the floor as he shifted his weight once. "Hey yourself. I thought you were asleep."

"Asleep? So early? During the news?" His friend snorted. "Not likely. I was...I was resting my eyes."

He raised an eyebrow. "Resting your eyes requires snoring?" A hint of a smile tugged at the corner of his lips and he staunchly bit down on it, resisting the urge to give in.

"I do not snore."

"Uh-huh."

The silence between them held as they exchanged knowing looks and tiny tight smiles. Then a loud horn echoed and he took it as an excuse to look away. His friend's voice dragged him back.

"Um...look. I'm sorry. About what I said. At the station. I know you were only...worried about me. But I worry too, you know. About you."

~~~~~~
...in the soothing echoes of music does a gentle voice offer assurances of peace...
~~~~~~

"I know." He kept his eyes focused upward. "It's just that you almost...I almost..." Shaking his head, he raised one hand to cover his eyes, blocking out the light. "It was too close."

In regret, his friend replied in quiet voice. "I know. It was. I know I...scared you. I scared myself. But..." There was a pause, then, "But it didn't happen. It didn't."

"Almost only counts in horseshoes, huh?" He laughed wryly, a touch of anger edging into his tone. He lowered his hand and turned, again facing his friend. "Is that it?"

Shadows of answering anger flickered across blue eyes. "No. That's not it. We--I--We should've been more careful. Then Simon wouldn't have yelled at either of us and this..." He gestured a hand between them. "This wouldn't be happening."

The anger vanished. "No, I guess it wouldn't." Blue eyes met and held, then he added, "Another mark in the ‘live, learn, and never do again' column?" A small smile painted itself across his lips.

"Yeah." A matching smile decorated the face of his friend.

~~~~~~
...in the reflected light of a thousand stars does a beacon call forth memories of hope..
~~~~~~

"You think we'll ever stop doing this the hard way?"

The resulting low chuckle gave him all the answer he needed. "Now why would we do that? I thought the hard way was our way."

He grinned. "Maybe."

A hand stretched out and pointed at the darkening evening sky. "Look."

He looked. A star twinkled back at him and he smiled. "The first star."

"Hmm...you making a wish?"

"Are you?" He glanced back and caught a glimpse of the familiar mischievous twinkle in his companion's eyes.

"Most wishes I make don't come true, but...yeah."

"Maybe you should try wishing for a better vehicle."

"Hey!" The indignant response made him laugh. "Don't knock my classic. It's better than yours."

"Is not."

"Is too."

~~~~~~
...in the enclosing arms of unconditional love does sorrow transmute into joy...
~~~~~~

Laughter bubbled up and drowned out the playful argument, leaving them grinning over the silliness of the repeated debate. The laughter softened to chuckles and finally to soft relaxed sighs. Silence again stretched between them but this time no awkwardness accompanied it. Rather the silence encompassed them, cushioning them against the outer noise of the world.

"So..." His friend spoke up quietly, reverently. "Are we okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah, we're okay."

"Good." His friend pushed away from the door and stretched one arm out, his palm up. "Come inside? It's getting a bit chilly out here." He smiled. "And you wouldn't want me to worry, would you?" The afghan shifted, nearly sliding from his shoulder.

Moving forward, a hand clasped the afghan, catching it before it fell. Fluffing it to fullness, he carefully draped it over his friend's shoulders and arms, waiting until he knew it was secure in his grasp before releasing it. "No, I wouldn't want you to worry."

Before he could move totally away, two afghan-draped arms closed around him, holding him firmly, securing him. Ducking his head, he wrapped his own arms around his friend, reciprocating the embrace, sharing it, relishing it, savoring it, absorbing it.

Completing it.

~~~~~~
...and in the tender touch of a hand does the stillness of our souls bloom into life ever-abundant...
~~~~~~

He stood alone no longer.

~ The End ~

Notes: All "poetry"-like lines are mine. And, actually, no, I didn't have either guy in mind for either part. It's up to the reader to decide who's who. ~grin~