Be grateful for your Guide.

(The Gabriel Tales 02)

by JustJeanette

EMAIL: JustJeanette

GENERAL DISCLAIMER: The characters of The Sentinel are the property of Petfly and Paramount. This fanfic was written for my own and others' enjoyment. No money has been paid and no copyright infringement is intended.

Own Disclaimer: not mine. Special thanks to Becky's transcript site. Spoiler's for 'Night Shift'.

Category: General/Episode Based Spoilers: Night-shift. Series: The Gabriel Tales.

Warnings: Beta's by Annie and Desmond. Any mistakes that that remain are mine.

Summary: Jim is reminded that he should be grateful. This story acts as a companion piece to The hard part of a miracle.

 


"I call it a violation of friendship and trust." The words were harsh, spoken in haste; a classic 'fear-based response', if Jim had been inclined to consider his reaction. Of course, Jim, naturally, didn't stop to think, or the fact that he'd read something that Sandburg had specifically asked him not to read: a basic violation of trust in itself. No, Jim just stomped off, letting his anger stew. 'Damn kid, where hell did the Sandburg get off writing about him having a fear of intimacy? He'd been plenty intimate with plenty of women, he wasn't afraid of intimacy.'

Blair just watched his best-friend; at least he still hoped that Jim was his best-friend, walk away. Trying hard not to think about the violation of trust Jim had committed by reading the first chapter in the first place, Blair followed after his Sentinel and wondered about his place in the older man's life. 'Fear-based responses, remember the man is driven by fear-based responses.' Funny, but that thought didn't really make him feel any better.

Seeing the elevator door close in his face was just another nail in the coffin as far as Blair was concerned. It wasn't like Jim couldn't have known he'd be following after him, the man was a detective as well as a Sentinel after all, but could he hold the elevator for his friend? It seemed not.

Riding the elevator up to Major Crimes, Jim tried to forget the look that had crossed Sandburg's face when the elevator door had closed but he just wasn't in the mood to be trapped in a box with a ticked off Blair; particularly when the kid might just have a justifiable reason to be ticked. Jim knew he shouldn't have read Blair's work without asking first. He knew if the roles had been reversed he'd have given the kid more than just a verbal dressing down, and yet he'd hoed into Blair without a moments thought and then fled the scene. Talk about taking the coward's way out.

By the time the elevator had reached the seventh floor, Jim had calmed down a bit. Pity the same couldn't be said for Blair Sandburg…

"Hey, you also got a fear of courtesy?" Winded after the long climb and still major league unimpressed with his Sentinel Blair was not really surprised to see Jim ignore him. Some days he really wondered why he put up with the man. 'It's about friendship, man. Remember that.' Friendship with a truly amazing individual was worth the occasional brush against said individual's temper.

Blair would have followed after Jim, but Simon stopped him. It seemed that Simon had information for him about their 'angel', so Blair followed Simon. Anyway, Blair figured, it gave him an excuse to give Jim a bit more space. If there was one thing Blair Sandburg had learnt about his friend, was that Jim needed to 'process' almost as much as his mother did. The only difference was that Naomi admitted to the need. Mind you, knowing Jim needed to 'process', didn't prevent Blair feeling the need of a bit TLC himself.

Unaware of the turmoil in the heart of the department's 'observer', Simon handed over a buff file envelope. "According to records, his name is Harold Blake. He taught a semester of ancient history at Fordham."

"Ah, guess that would explain him knowing Aramaic. Unmarried, no family. His employers reported him missing two years ago; never heard from again. That is, of course, until now." Blair paused in reading the file allowed, "You sure this thing's right?"

As Simon crossed the Bullpen, heading for the sanity of his office, he commented to the frustrated observer, "Yeah. Fingerprints don't lie. I do wonder how he ended up in an alley living out of a cardboard box."

'So do I', Blair thought to himself as he considered the report; it was a logical explanation for Gabe's knowledge of Aramaic. Still, Blair thought it better to go see the man himself. His 'instincts' screaming there was more to the story. Also, given how he was feeling at the moment, post-Jim stress syndrome, a chance to sit with the 'angel' was just what the ABD ordered. Gabe 'read' as gentle to the man, guide, and Shaman that Blair was; and for some reason Blair felt the need for a safe place to rest a while before the storm hit.

 


Simon wasn't a happy captain, men like Kaplan pinged his crook-dar but they hadn't been able to nail him for anything… yet. Looking up at Jim, who was stalking about the office like a caged cat, Simon growled around the unlit cigar that was part and parcel of his Captain persona, "Man, that guy is a real piece of work. Look, I had social services send over Johnny Macado's file. Maybe there's something here you can use. If we don't get the kid to roll over on Kaplan, we don't have a case."

"Yeah. Maybe the kid's hungry."

The non-sequitur caught the Captain by surprise but before he could do anything about it, Jim Ellison was exiting his office like a man on a mission.

 


The PD is in chaos, and where did Jim find Blair? Where else, but in the middle of it; handing out food, left, right and centre, in the break-room. The young observer seemed to thrive on helping others. A disquieting thought to the older, more jaded man, particularly on top of what he'd read. Was that the reason Blair stuck around, to fill some warped need to be needed? Was the friendship line, of so long ago, nothing but obfuscation?

Still, the detective knew he should be grateful for all of Blair, because that is what you got with Blair, all of him. The man gave, and gave and then came back and gave a little bit more. But the fact that was, he still needed Blair and seeing the first chapter written was like seeing the start of the count-down to good-bye. So, instead of being grateful, he'd over-reacted… maybe a little bridge building was called for.

Picking up a tray, and the nearest sandwich he could find that smelt a little off, Jim smiled to himself as Blair reacted predictably.

"Uh... I'd probably stick to the tuna if I were you."

Jim, pleased that Blair was still watching out for him, used Blair's comment as an opening gambit to some of the things he needed to say. "All right. Look, Chief, uh... you know, uh, I... maybe I... maybe I overreacted."

"Maybe?"

Jim almost stepped back from the barely contained fury that his companion infused into a single word. 'That's what I get for forgetting that Blair could quell a noisy lecture theatre by stance and attitude alone. "I know I shouldn't have read your dissertation, and I'm sorry for any transgressions but, I'm... you know, I thought we were friends."

"Right."

Apparently Blair wasn't buying the attempted apology. "It didn't read that way to me." Jim tried explaining.

Finally noting that Jim was at least 'trying', (very trying, sometimes, hell most times), Blair calmed a little and tried to explain. "Jim, I said that most of your life choices are fear-based. It's not as bad as it sounds."

Now it was Jim's turn to lose it, again, which he did with pin point accuracy. If Jim's eyes had been lasers, then Blair would have been a smoking pile of dust. "Are you kidding me? It makes me sound like a coward."

Blair spoke calmly, pity his heart rate was sky-rocketing in front of the human heart monitor. "Well, that's the way you read it."

Jim predictably picked up on the increased heart-rate and read that as an indicator that Blair was obfuscating, again.

Blair, unaware that Jim wasn't 'really' listening anyway, lowered his voice so that strays ears wouldn't pick up on the rest of the, "Come here. You chose to be a Sentinel. And the way that you deal with your fears, all of them, is based on that choice. Fear can be one of your greatest allies. Now, you can choose to bottle it up inside or we can work on it."

"After this?" Jim didn't plan on budging from his high horse; Jim was angry and afraid, not that he'd admit it, and that meant others had to bend before his will. Jim also knew he was in the wrong. Unfortunately, Jim failed to remember that Blair Sandburg was about the only person he knew that didn't bend just because Jim Ellison thought it should happen.

"So, what do you want to do?" Blair's question was not completely rhetorical. "Just want to call it quits? I can do that if that is what you want."

No, it wasn't want he wanted. He didn't know what he wanted. But there was an itch between his shoulder blades, like a storm was coming, and forgetting the fiasco that had been Clayton Falls, Jim decided he's apologised and that ought to be enough. So instead of answering, Jim stood and looked at his guide and assumed that everything would go on like before.

Blair, on the other hand, wasn't thinking what Jim though he was thinking. Blair was just aware the pressures at the station that night made talking seriously to Jim impossible. So, like always, he gave Jim and out. "Ah, maybe you're right. Maybe I've, uh...lost my objectivity. I'll tell you what - I'd rather just be friends. So why don't I go destroy my notes? How about that?"

Fear, then guilt. If Blair could have picked the worst possible way to handle Jim then the 'out' he proposed would have been near the top of the list. But Blair was tired, and stressed, and just once he wanted to be cut a little slack. The Universe however, it seemed, had other ideas. After a long, drawn out silence, Blair turned and walked away.

"You didn't answer him." Gabe, possibly the arch-angel Gabriel, whispered to the Sentinel. "What good does it do for a man to have ears that will hear a thousand miles away if he cannot listen to the whispers of his own heart?"

"Wha…?" but the homeless man no longer stood beside the Sentinel, but in front, invading his personal space. Jim… almost… took a step back from the painfully honest aura.

Gabe turned sorrow-filled eyes towards Jim, "You should begin by listening to the hearts of others." There was a storm coming for the Sentinel and Guide, Gabe could see it, but there was nothing he could do but watch and pray; so pray he did, the words of an ancient blessing not heard on Earth for over a millennia rolling off his tongue. Pity no one nearby spoke Aramaic, so the fact that Gabriel was praying for safe passage to the watchman and his companion went by unnoticed.

Jim, unaware of the true import of Gabe's words, simply stared at the man for a moment before wandering off to deal with more important things; like Kaplan.

Gabriel sadly watched the Sentinel walk away… 'Earth, Air, Fire and Water are in your future, Watchman. Be grateful for your gifts, they are the only thing standing between you and the loss you fear most.'

 


Chaos reigned supreme. Smallwood, a brute of a man, ugly, cold eyed and hunting Johnny Macado, moved through the milling crowd that was trying to exit the building after Smallwood's little explosion had set off the fire alarms.

Brown, in accordance with standard evacuation procedures, had landed the short straw; checking the interrogation rooms and escorting anyone there out of the building. Most of the rooms were clear, the strike had meant that the PD's resources hadn't exactly been chasing down criminals today but Johnny Macado was still there… And yelling loudly.

Concentrating on letting the young man out, Brown didn't notice the hired killer, Smallwood, arrive. The first indication the black man had that anything was amiss was the sharp pain in his skull as Brown's head was smashed into the door.

'Easy as,' Smallwood smiled to himself as he stepped into the room.

Johnny wasn't about to become the latest crime statistic; grabbing a folding chair, he threw it at Smallwood, taking the distraction as an opportunity to leave, post haste.

Smallwood wasn't about to let his latest homicide statistic get away. Gun in hand, he gave chase. Firing off rounds, accidentally killing, or injuring an innocent bystander, didn't make a blip on Smallwood's moral radar. The large man continued to hunt down his target.

"Watch out! Excuse me! Everybody get down!" Jim tried to force his way through the crowd. He could see Johnny running hell for leather towards him and that meant that Smallwood wouldn't be far behind. Jim was right.

Time appeared to stop when, in a split second four events occurred; one of them a miracle.

Johnny ran past the detective. Johnny's back an open target.

Blair arrived just in time to see muscles twitch in the gunman's neck. Regardless of the danger to himself, the anthropologist sprang forward, knocking the man's aim aside.

Gabe stood as the frightened young man ran past him.

Smallwood fired as he fell under the onslaught of the anthropologist's attack, his aim askew. Instead of hitting Johnny in the back, Smallwood's shot hit the 'homeless' man who had stood in the wrong place, at, most definitely, the wrong time .

Time resumed its normal pace.

Smallwood, needing an out, grabbed the anthropologist, ready to use the smaller man as a shield. Gun to Blair's head, and his arm secure about Blair's neck, Smallwood looked down the corridor at the detective who had him firmly in his sights. Smallwood smiled wanly, daring Jim to take the shot.

"Back off! Don't shoot, or I'll off your buddy! Don't shoot!"

The silence was deafening. 'What good does it do for a man to have ears that will hear a thousand miles if he cannot listen to the whispers of his own heart?' Gabe had asked the detective an instant and a lifetime ago. Right now Jim would have given anything not to be able to hear things less than 10 feet away; Blair's heart rate accelerating, the catch in his best friend's breath as he fought not to panic, the sound of pores opening as sweat poured from his guide's body, the minute rattle of metal against metal that sounded loudly from the gun pressed to Blair's head.

He couldn't lose Blair, not this way. Not with so much left unsaid. For once in his life, Jim Ellison let the man rule the cop. The Sentinel might have made the shot, but 'might have' was too large a margin of error. Jim let his gun drift right, holding it away from his body. Jim was rewarded as the killer took the chance to escape, pushing Blair away, and ducking into the stairwell.

Normally, Jim would have been after Smallwood like a shot, but Gabe had been shot and Blair would be worried about the 'angel'. Bending down, Jim touched his hand to the man's neck; to observers it looked as though he was checking for a pulse though he could still hear the man's heart beating.

Jim looked up to see Blair racing towards them but was distracted by a soft whisper. "Don't let fear rule you, Sentinel, and be grateful for your Guide. If you don't, I will see you again sooner than I'd like."

 


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