Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Smarm

For Robyn, who asked for a 'sleepy smarm' story; for Shiloh, who keeps us both continually enthralled and enchanted with her wonderful stories of Jim and Blair's friendship; and for Angie, a true smarmaholic.

Notes: Pre-TSbyBS. Smarm warning as well.

To Sleep...
by Becky
July 1999

"A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart."
-- The Little Prince

"....mmm...."

The soft groan floated through the air, tickling the ears of the sleeping man sprawled on the couch in the darkened loft. In reaction, the man frowned a little, his forehead furrowing as part of him strove to wake up, ignoring the rest of his body's call to remain in the deep, heavy, dream-free sleep.

"....mmm....no...."

Distress added itself to the quiet groans, giving a bit of urgency to the sounds as they spilled forth from the partially open french doors. Blinking slowly and groaning a little himself, the man on the couch slowly awoke and laid still a moment, staring at the ceiling, wading through the fuzziness in his head, trying to remember why he was still dressed in dusty jeans and a t-shirt and was sleeping on the couch...

"....mmm....no....mmm...."

A bit louder, the low voice broke off the groan, only to replace it with a muffled whimper of pain and fear. On the couch, the man quickly looked to one side, staring at the downstairs bedroom. Blair. Shifting forward and shoving aside the ache his sore muscles and bruised body sent at him in protest, Jim stood, wavering a bit on his feet. He raised one hand to touch the side of his head, wincing as his fingers came in contact with the large lump hidden under his hair. While he didn't have a concussion, the headache was still banging away at him, feeling and sounding vaguely like the last tape of 'jungle music' Blair had unearthed from underneath his bed.

"....no....mmm...."

Hearing Blair's mumbled tone rising in volume, along with rustling of bedcovers, Jim pushed himself forward, stumbling toward the bedroom doors. His muscles yelled at him, hurting from the long foot chase and longer struggle to subdue Mark Carthage, resident thug-for-hire who towered over even Simon. Both of them had taken quite a beating from the huge man as they tried to subdue him. Carthage had walloped Blair several times across the torso with a hefty branch, cracking a rib or two, and then pummeled Jim as they rolled back and forth on a very rocky, very hard dirt road near Cascade Beach. Just as Carthage had managed to get a good grip on Jim's gun, Blair had managed to knock the man out with that very same branch. Back-up had, of course, arrived just a few minutes later after Jim had handcuffed the unconscious Carthage and had stumbled over to sit next to his panting partner in the dirt. Simon had taken one look at them and ordered them both to the hospital to be checked out. Somehow they'd managed to stand and wobble toward the arriving ambulance, though Jim wasn't quite sure just who was leaning on who.

"....no....no....mmm...."

Jim pushed open the door the rest of the way and made his way inside, using the moonlight streaming in through the windows as a guide, too tired to use his own version of night vision. Blair lay on his back on the bed where Jim had left him several hours earlier after helping him change clothes, settling him into bed, and dosing him with pain medicine. Jim had a vague memory of leaving, then sitting on the couch a moment to rest before heading up to his own room. Obviously, he'd never quite made it. A good thing it appeared. A light sheen of sweat glistened on Blair's forehead as he twitched away from whatever dream images he was seeing, low indistinct murmurs spilling from his lips. One of his hands, resting on his chest above the covers, moved restlessly, fingers tightening into a fist, then releasing spasmodically.

"....no...."

Carefully, Jim lowered himself to sit next to Blair on the small bed, wanting to wake his friend, but not wanting to startle him too much as he did so. He put his hand on Blair's and curled his fingers slowly around the warm hand, stroking his thumb over Blair's fingers.

"Chief...it's okay. Wake up. It's just a dream. You're okay."

"....mmm....no....Jim...."

He squeezed Blair's hand and moved his other hand up to touch Blair's shoulder, shaking him just a little. "Yeah, that's right, buddy. It's Jim. You're okay. Come on, now, wake up."

With another soft moan and murmur, Blair's eyelids flickered, then slowly opened to stare into the darkness, blue almost eaten up by the expanding black of his pupil. "Jim?"

Jim rubbed his thumb across Blair's fingers again, tightening his hand for a second. "Yup. You okay?"

Blair's eyelids fluttered closed a moment, then reopened again, blinking sleepily at Jim. "Yeah. Okay. Bad dream. Sorry."

"It's okay." He paused a moment, then asked softly, "Carthage?"

"Yeah." Blair shifted on the bed, trying to move, only to clutch hard at Jim's hand and moan with pain as his ribs complained mightily. "Ow, ow, ow." His eyes squeezed shut, fine lines appearing on his forehead.

Jim raised his other hand to touch Blair's cheek with two fingers. "Pain medicine wearing off?"

A tight nod was all that Blair could manage in response.

"Okay, hold tight a moment. Let me get the pills and some water for you." He withdrew his hand from Blair's hand, patted it gently, then rose from the bed, padding quietly out of the room. A few moments later, he re-entered, carrying a glass of water and two pain pills. He set both on the table next to Blair's bed, then sat down again.

"Think you can sit up a little if I help you so you can take these things?"

Blair slitted open his eyes and peered up at Jim. "Yeah, just give me a hand."

"How 'bout two?" Jim inched forward, moving both hands to support Blair's torso as he shifted upwards on the bed. One arm wrapped around his ribs, Blair gasped a little in pain and clutched at Jim's arm with his other hand, but he didn't say anything to stop him. Moving one hand away from his friend's back, Jim snatched a few pillows and stuffed them behind him as he settled Blair again. Eyes closed, Blair pressed his lips together tightly, breathing heavily through his nose. Jim grasped his hand, holding it tightly, feeling Blair's fingers tighten in return, then he raised his other hand to rest his palm on Blair's forehead. "Breathe through it, buddy."

Blair blew out a breath in a noise Jim recognized as an attempt at a laugh. "Easy for you...to say. Man...this hurts!"

Jim slid his hand down to Blair's shoulder. "I know." He released his hold on Blair and reached over to pick up the pills. Then he took Blair's free hand (the other still wrapped around his ribs) and turned it over, dropping the pills into his palm. "Here." As Jim snagged the glass from the table, Blair lifted his hand to squint at the pills in the near-darkness of the room.

"Are these the...sleepy ones?" Blair tilted his hand into the moonlight to get a better look. "They are." Shaking his head once, he moved his hand back at Jim. "No, don't want them. Can't wake up...with them. Make me dream."

Jim gently pushed Blair's hand back to him. "Blair, you need them. You're hurting. A lot. You're not gonna be able to sleep without them."

"Don't wanna...dream." He let his open hand resting against his torso cautiously and stared at the pills.

"About Carthage?"

Blair looked up at Jim, then nodded shortly. "Yeah. Him." He shivered once, then winced at the brief strain on his ribs. "I mean...I know he's in...jail, but he nearly...he got your gun...if I'd been a second...later...." He shivered again, his hand trembling a little.

Closing his hand over Blair's, Jim shook his head. "But you weren't. You stopped him. The good guys won and we're both here to brag about that fact."

A smile flickered on Blair's face. "Brag? Since when...do you brag, Jim? You hate...publicity."

Jim grinned. "Didn't say I'd be bragging about me. You're the one who took out Carthage." Blair blinked at him a few times and Jim's grin widened, then he nudged at the hand that held the pills. "Come on, swallow those things so you can get some sleep. I know you're hurting."

But still Blair hesitated, looking at the pills in his hand. "Can't I have...aspirin or something? The dreams...."

"Dreams can't hurt you, buddy. Your sentinel's on duty here."

After another moment's pause, Blair downed the pills, chasing them down with the water. He leaned back into the pillows, eyes closing, fine pain lines still evident around his mouth. Jim waited a minute or so, then carefully helped Blair resettle onto the bed on his back, pulling the blankets and quilt up around him, tucking him in. Blair watched him from half-shuttered eyelids, a half-smile pulling at his lips.

"No story?"

Jim chuckled. "No, afraid not. You're not gonna be awake long enough for a story." He touched the back of his fingers to Blair's forehead, then his cheek, checking his temperature before sitting back to rest on the edge of the bed.

Blair reached out and grabbed his retreating hand, latching onto his wrist. "Jim...wait...."

"What is it? What do you need, Chief?" He curled his fingers around Blair's hand.

After swallowing, Blair whispered slowly, "Stay? Till I fall...asleep?" He shifted, trying to give Jim more room, ignoring the brief pain that echoed through his torso.

Understanding his partner's need for reassurance and his presence after the day's close call -- and feeling much of it himself -- Jim nodded, smiling softly. "Okay. Give me a few moments to get rid of these jeans, okay? I feel like a dust bunny."

Blair laughed once, quietly, eyes flashing with humor. "'Kay."

Jim patted the top of Blair's t-shirt covered chest. "Don't go to sleep without me. I'll be right back."

After changing out of the dusty clothes -- and leaving them in a pile on the bathroom floor next to Blair's -- and into a clean pair of boxers and a t-shirt from the laundry basket sitting near the couch, Jim returned to the small bedroom. He stood over the bed and watched his guide for a moment, thinking he was asleep already, but then Blair peeled open one eye and peered blearily at him before clumsily patting the bed next to him.

"Room enough for one mother-henning sentinel if he doesn't mind a little bit of coziness."

Jim chuckled and pulled the covers back, slipping in next to Blair on the narrow bed. "I can do coziness." He carefully shifted Blair a little further over on the bed. The young man barely twitched, the pain medicine having kicked in and dulled the twinges in his torso. Jim settled himself on his left side next to Blair, then pulled the covers back over them, tucking them in as best he could from the inside. He stretched his left arm over the top of Blair's head, resting the other across the top of Blair's chest, fingers curling around Blair's arm for a moment.

"Sleep. You're safe. We're safe."

Blair turned his head toward Jim, a smile curling up the edges of his lips as his eyes closed. His hand reached out across his body, worming under Jim's encompassing arm, to pat Jim on the chest. "You too. Sleep -- together." He let his hand drop back to his side. Then one more breath and he was out, drifting back into the land of sleep and no pain.

Relaxing his frame, Jim rested his head onto the pillow, watching Blair sleep for a few long moments. Then he leaned forward and down to press a gentle kiss on the top of Blair's head, on the somewhat dusty curls. "Yeah. Together." Closing his eyes, warm and cozy and safe beneath hand-stitched quilt on his guide's small bed, said guide tucked up next to him in a pain-free rest, the sentinel slept.

- The End -