This came to my mind after a really bad week, and it's been written as a thanks to my AAF girls for all the support. Very unusual for me - going light on the drama factor. (-;

Thanks to Annie for the quick beta!

True Luxury

By Demeter

EMAIL: Demeter

The lights are on inside the loft; so I know that Jim is already there and I start rambling the moment I exit the elevator. Of course, I could have started the moment I left the grounds of Rainier, and he possibly could have heard -- but I didn't want any more people to think I've lost it than it may be the case anyway, you know?

"You wouldn't believe this woman! Where does she get off, man?" Hell if I know. I open the front door with my key, not missing a beat in my monologue, "and I tell you, she knew exactly how important this grant was for me. Now, tell me--"

I step inside, shrugging out of my jacket, leaving it on the counter. I'm not in the mood for such mundane things now - I consider it an enormous display of self-control that I don't hurl it across the room. That, I would be in the mood for!

"Tell me how can you make a judgement like this in one single day? Two. Okay. Guilty as charged. Two fucking days."

Jim waits 'til I have to take another breath, then he asks patiently, "Chief, what are you talking about?" He has hung the jacket on the coat rack as well.

Which gives me a moment to appreciate the sounds of music playing softly in the background, and the smell of cooked food. Hell, it doesn't solve the problem, but it's sure nice to come home to this -- all things good for a Sentinel are helpful for anybody's frazzled nerves.

"Edwards, man. She did all she could, and succeeded in the end, to keep me from getting that grant. That would have seen me through until -- ah, just forget it. It's gone." Speaking it out loud, the unfairness of it all comes back to me, and I seriously consider going back and having a -- another -- word with her. Or throwing myself to the floor and bawling like that kid did in the grocery story half an hour ago. This has certainly not been my day!

"What's it with the two days?"

"That's what she argued," I explain. "If I had missed two days less - and it doesn't matter that I missed them because I'd been shot - she would have reconsidered it. What kind of shitty argument is that?"

Jim regards me thoughtfully for an instant. "Okay, I get you," he says, and, with a straight face, "Do you want me to shoot her for you?"

There's a moment of silence, before we both crack up with laughter. God, that feels so good. I've had to wait all day for this moment to finally realize that my life does not totally suck. Oh, well, parts of it certainly do, and I really, really needed this grant. Still...

"Thanks, but I don't think it would be worth all the trouble."

He shrugs. "All right then. Let's not have her spoil the rest of the day, too. Dinner is almost ready."

Is he ever right!

Before we sit down to eat, Jim pats my shoulder in a gesture that's almost half an embrace - of course, he can't turn things around, but it's sure good to have him listen, some of my anger already dissipating. It comes to mind that when the damage is done, all you can do is to hold on to what's good for you. Like friends. And that's the true luxury.

The End