BMB missing scene
Originally posted to SA list

Quiet Desperation

Lisa. Too young. She had been way too young to die. He could still see her face as she'd slipped out of the jacket, smiling sweetly up at him as she'd plummeted to her death. She believed she was going to a place of beauty and golden light. Who knows? Maybe she had made it there.

He stared up into the golden-nothingness. Maybe it was right that he was now blind. Maybe he deserved to see nothing but that child's face in his mind for the rest of his life.

He closed his eyes. Blackness was better than the golden swirling light that did nothing but give him a headache. He wished he could immerse himself in the darkness and let it drown out everything else -- including that one, pristine memory.

He stayed there in his bed for some indeterminate amount of time, listening to everything and nothing. Cars on the highway a mile away. A dog barking somewhere. A radio. Someone typing two floors below.

And Blair's soft, gentle snoring. His steady heartbeat. Jim swallowed and squeezed his eyelids harder, making a miserable attempt to push back the well of despair that threatened to swallow him whole.

I let her die. I tried to hold her, but she got away from me. Got away. Someone's child. One moment between life and death. If only I'd moved faster...

But I didn't. I'm old. Too old. Is it supposed to get better? But it doesn't. It just gets worse. New memories. More pain. The bad stuff doesn't go away inside, it just keeps piling up. I wish I could make it stop. I wish there were some memories I could just erase. Trash the bad ones and keep the good ones.

Like Blair seems to do.

How long has it been? A year, roughly? When I first saw him, I thought 'what an annoying punk.' He looked so young. So carefree. So goddamned clueless.

So happy. Not a touch of darkness inside. I wanted to punch his face in. But, God, what I wouldn't give for a taste of that.

He still has it. Not quite as overpowering as before, but he still has it. How long, though, before it fades? Look what he's already seen just by hanging around me. Look what he's been through. Abducted by a serial killer. God, I can still see his face when he saw Susan Frasier's dead body in that bathtub. Now the darkness has touched him, too. It'll pile up with age, just like it's done inside me. First one hellish memory, then another, then another...

Then will he hate me? It's his choice to stay, but he's young and foolish. Enthusiastic. Visions of glory dancing in his head. He doesn't
know where he's heading. I know. I've been there. I was young once.
Never as carefree as Blair, though. Never.

I couldn't save that girl, but maybe I can save Blair. I should call this whole Sentinel thing off. Let him get his dissertation another way. I don't want him to realize one day what he's lost. I don't ever want him to feel how I feel right now. And I know if I let him stay, someday he will feel like this. He'll see something, experience something... maybe he already has. Lash was pretty bad.

He'll realize it one day, though. He'll look at me and know that I knew this would happen to him and didn't warn him. He'll hate me. Maybe not consciously, but somewhere deep inside. I would if I were him. How could he not? Whenever he thinks of me, he'll see the darkness. The nightmares. Resentment. Guilt by association.

God, help me, but I need him. I hate that I need him. He's just a damn kid. What the hell am I doing depending on a kid?

So maybe it's better that I'm blind. One sense down, four to go. Death silences all. The clock's ticking. All I have to do is wait it out.

I hear a rustling of covers. Blair's breathing shifts. He mumbles something in his sleep. I focus on the rhythm of his heart.

My, how things have changed. Before Sandburg, it was quiet in the loft. The only heart beating was my own. Lonely. So lonely. I never realized
just how lonely until Blair came along.

I need to talk to him. I can't sleep. I wish I knew what time it was. It's sleeping time, that's all I know. Blair's sleeping. I should leave him be.

But I can't. I need to talk. I've never had someone to really talk to before. Now I do.

But I haven't really let myself talk to him. There's something inside me that pulls back. Why?

Hell if I know. I'm not a shrink. Sandburg would probably have a theory, though.

So get up, Ellison, and talk to him. Fine. Here I am, pulling myself out of bed. Groping. There's the rail. Watch out for the first step. One. Two. Three. Four. Keep going. Watch me fall and break my neck.

Ah, here's that last step. The wood floor is cold beneath my bare feet. I shuffle slowly across the room, navigating around the furniture via
the map in my brain. Groping again. My hands in front of me. Ironic, isn't it? From sentinel vision to blindness. Helpless.

I hate feeling helpless. I listen to his heartbeat and let it steer me toward his room. My fingers contact the glass of the French doors. Cold and smooth. I let my hand drift down until it finds the knob.

I get ready to, but I don't. I can't turn it. What will I say? 'Hey, Chief, wake up. If I can't sleep, you can't sleep.' Or how 'bout, 'Wake up, Chief, I'm scared and I need someone to talk to'?

Yeah, right, Ellison, like you're a little boy scared of the monster in the dark, wanting to crawl into your momma's bed. Pathetic.

Shit, but now I have to walk all the way back across the room and up the stairs again. This time I'll probably stub my toe on something and
wake him up. Then he'll shuffle out, bleary-eyed, hair wild, and ask me what I'm doing up and if I need some help and I really don't want to
play twenty questions with him right now...

Even though I do. I do kind of wish he'd wake up and come out here and force it out of me. Maybe I'll make some coffee, clang around, spill
stuff. That ought to wake him.

Damn. Listen to me. I really am pathetic.

And tired. Too damn tired to make it back across the room and up the stairs. Forget it. I'll stay here. Turn around, slide down the door. It rattles a bit and I hear him shift beneath the covers, a slight hitch in his breathing. I tense. Maybe he's waking up...

No. His breathing steadies and he slips back into a deep sleep. Damn.

What the hell's wrong with you, Chief? Always underfoot when I don't want you to be, but snoring away when I really need you.

Shit. Here I go again. The Ellison pity party. Like the kid's never supposed to sleep. Like he's supposed to be a damn psychic. I'm not
angry at him, I have to face that. I'm a grown man. No use hiding from the truth.

I'm mad at myself. I failed. A girl died. My sight's gone. What if it never comes back? I can't function as a cop like this for very long. What'll happen to me? A check from the state every month - paying me to sit on my ass and listen to the mindlessness of whatever happens to be on television. Sandburg sure as hell won't be around. He signed on to study a sentinel, not to care for an invalid the rest of his life.

I press my back harder against the door and pull my legs up. I never really noticed it before. How soothing Blair's heartbeat can be. I guess
I can understand why newborn pups quiet when they're close to another heartbeat. It's comforting at a very deep level.

I don't feel so alone right now. Strange. I rest my chin on my knees, my eyes closed, and just listen. I feel myself drifting. Sleep. Ah, there
it is.

Thanks, Chief.


The End.
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