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Between the lines

by Lyn

Author's website: http://brothersinarms.tvheaven.com

Sing along with me. The characters of The Sentinel do not belong to me. This fanfic was written for my own and others' enjoyment. No money has been paid and no copyright infringement is intended.

I'm not kind to Carolyn in this one. Then again, I never am.

Missing scenes for Blind Man's Bluff and Night Shift, epilogue for Night Shift.

Between the lines

Present Day:

Blair didn't acknowledge Jim's entrance into the break room where the anthropologist was helping to organize the food donations. Jim picked up a tray and sauntered over to choose a sandwich for Johnny Macado. Blair reached out a hand and rested it on Jim's, but what he wanted to say suddenly stuck in his throat. He pointed to the sandwich in Jim's hand. "I'd probably stick to the tuna if I were you," he finally said, feeling lame.

"All right." Jim put the sandwich back and took the one Blair offered. Placing the tray on the table, he sighed. "Look, Chief, you know, I...maybe I...maybe I overreacted."

Blair raised an eyebrow. "Maybe?"

"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."


"It doesn't read that way to me."

"Jim, I said that most of your life choices are fear-based. It's not as bad as it sounds."

"Are you kidding me? It makes me sound like a coward."

Blair shrugged. "Well, that's the way you read it." He stepped to one side of the room and motioned for Jim to join him. "Come here."

Looking around to ensure they were alone, Blair continued in a low voice. "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?"

"So, what do you want to do? Just want to call it quits?" Blair's shoulders slumped in defeat and dismay as Jim looked away and studied the far wall. "Ah, maybe you're right. Maybe I've 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?"

His appetite suddenly gone, he turned quickly and walked from the room. In the corridor outside, he slowed his step, waiting, hoping that Jim would call him back but only silence followed him.


"You didn't answer him. 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?"

Jim jumped, startled by the voice close to his ear, unaware that anyone else had entered the room and concerned now whether they'd overheard his and Blair's altercation or any mention of sentinel senses. He turned his head and relaxed somewhat when he recognized their resident 'angel', Gabe.


Gabe smiled at him as though he were a slow-learning child. "You should begin by listening to the hearts of others."

Jim stared at him for a moment, then the full import of Blair's words came to him. He watched, dumbfounded, as Gabe wandered away, chanting softly in Aramaic, then hurried out of the break room. Looking around, he could see no sign of his partner. Before he could look for him, Simon appeared and waved him over. Jim cursed, Blair's problem, his and Blair's problem would have to wait. First he needed to convince Johnny Macado to open up to him, then he needed to do some soul-searching of his own. Before he could talk to Blair again though, all hell broke loose.


Making his way back into the bullpen, which was thankfully deserted Blair walked over to Jim's desk and sat down. Picking up his introductory chapter, he leafed desultorily through it, wishing he'd been able to explain just how his conversation with Carolyn had come about.

Tossing the notebook onto the desk, Blair leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes, his mind drifting back to his unplanned meeting with Jim's ex-wife. It certainly hadn't been the friendly tete-a-tete that Jim envisaged.


Eighteen months before:

It was two weeks after Blair's Golden overdose. He'd been released from the hospital a week before and the flashbacks that had plagued him had finally begun to recede. He had been hesitant about returning to the PD after the incident in the garage, imagining every cop in the place looking at him with derision or distrust.

Finally, Jim had pleaded that he needed to return to the scene of an armed robbery and was concerned that he'd miss vital clues without Blair's help. The detective's sight was still not back to full clarity after his blinding by the drug but Blair saw through the simple subterfuge and appreciated the gesture for what it was.

To his surprise, Blair found most of the officers to be genuinely pleased to see him and it took the two men sometime to make their way from the elevator to the bullpen as several people waylaid them, asking after Blair's health. By the time they were ready to call it a night, Blair was feeling pleasantly buzzed from all the attention.

He blotted up the last muffin crumbs on his plate, smiling as he remembered Katy, the refreshment girl shyly pushing the sweet treat upon him when he told her how pleased he was to be away from hospital food. Jim had gone in to see Simon with the report from the robbery scene so Blair stood and took the plate and his coffee cup out to the break room.

"You're back! I thought this last one would have scared you off for good."

He spun at the voice behind him, one hand going to his chest as his heart pounded in surprise. "Carolyn! I didn't know you were back."

Carolyn Plummer shrugged and stepped into the room. "I'm not. I was in town on personal business and thought I'd drop by and say hello to Simon and Jim." She hooked a thumb over her shoulder. "I ran into Henri in the elevator and he was filling me in on all the excitement that's been happening while I've been gone." She lowered herself into a chair and watched as Blair washed the cup and plate. "So, you're better? I hear that stuff can screw you around for a long time. Then again, not having anything to do with drugs myself, I wouldn't know."

Blair dried his hands on a towel and turned to face her. "Neither would I," he replied, trying to keep his tone even. "The doctor can't be sure about flashbacks, but so far I'm good."

"You've developed quite a track record for attracting trouble since you became Jim's sidekick, haven't you? Let me see, a siege by terrorists and you save the day your first day on the job by pushing the gang leader out of a helicopter. A serial killer who decided that you were his poster-boy, your warehouse blows up, that was drugs too, wasn't it?" Her eyes narrowed. "Lucky Jim had a spare room at the loft, isn't it? Now, stoned on drugs, shooting up the police garage."

"It wasn't like that..."

"That reminds me," Carolyn continued as she stood and straightened her skirt. "I must go see how Sarah Kelly is doing. She's lucky your bullet only winged her."

Blair didn't hear the coffee cup clatter to the floor from suddenly numb fingers. "I shot someone?"

Carolyn shrugged. "Apparently it was a ricochet. Same difference to poor Sarah." She walked around the table, trailing her perfectly manicured nails along the top. "I don't understand why you're still here. A ride-along is for ninety days. I left six months ago, yet I come back and here you still are."

Blair sidled around her and headed for the door, his heart pounding madly in his chest.

"What did you say your thesis was on?"

Blair's mouth was dry, his forehead wet with sweat. "Police subcultures," he rasped.

"And you're Jim's cousin. I thought I'd met all his family."

"It's on his mom's side," Blair hedged. "Second marriage." He gestured out into the corridor. "I've got to go. Jim's waiting for me."

Carolyn, it appeared wasn't ready to release him just yet. "I know all about you. I've seen your type before." She stepped up to stand beside him, lowering her voice as someone walked by and glanced idly in at them. "First you're his ride-along, his partner," she spat the word out as though it was distasteful. "Then you weasel your way into his home, his life. It won't work, you know. You'll never get anything out of him. As soon as he realizes you're trying to get close, he'll push you away too. He's afraid of commitment, of intimacy, of caring for someone else. Why do you think our marriage didn't survive? It wasn't through lack of trying on my part. He doesn't care about you. Just as soon as he realizes you're only there to get what you can out of him, he'll discard you too. What's he getting out of the partnership anyway except a grad student who can't seem to stay out of trouble?"

Blair thought back to the moment four days after being dosed with Golden when he'd woken in the hospital, attached to a ventilator, terrified, seeing Jim leaning over him, the Sentinel's face lined with fatigue and strain as he whispered reassurances.

He thought back to a few nights ago when he'd woken screaming about the fire people that danced on his bed to find himself being rocked like a child in Jim's arms.

He turned back to Carolyn and smiled serenely, enjoying the look of uncertain confusion that passed over her severe features. "Jim gives me as much as I give him, Carolyn, maybe that's why our partnership has made it this far. It's called give and take. You should try it sometime."

Whistling cheerily, Blair left the break room and went in search of his partner.


Present Day:

Now, in the solitude of the bullpen, Blair cupped his head in his hands and closed his eyes. Perhaps Carolyn had been right all along, though for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps Jim had read Blair's true feelings between the lines of his dissertation that claimed that a sentinel's fear of intimacy had a sound scientific basis. Blair knew that even as he'd been writing it, he'd been praying that he was wrong.

Jim's aversion to getting too close to people could be a simple self-defense mechanism as a sentinel protecting himself against the onslaught of too much sensory input from others. They'd worked on the sense dials with Blair fashioning a visual cue that Jim could pull up now with the merest effort. They'd almost completely eradicated the zone-out factor, with learned responses that Jim did automatically with just a touch from Blair.

The problem was that it was Blair now who relied on and yearned for that simple grounding contact with his sentinel. The one thing that Blair finally had to admit even as he offered to destroy his life's work was that he had fallen in love with Jim. And fear of intimacy and paranoia aside, Jim didn't have the slightest clue.

Blair jumped at the touch on his shoulder and sat back, realizing that he'd almost drifted off to sleep. He looked up into the concerned face of Simon Banks.

"You all right, Sandburg?"

Blair nodded and scrubbed his hands over his face in the vain hope it would refresh him. "Where's Jim?"

"Gone to talk to Johnny Macado again."

"Okay." Blair pushed himself to his feet. "I'm going to go talk to Gabe again. Some of his riddles are starting to make sense to me now."

Simon shook his head. "Why doesn't that surprise me."



In the aftermath of it all, Jim wondered how long he'd known. Though it hadn't exactly come as a great revelation, it had certainly been an epiphany. Earlier, watching as Blair supervised Gabe's stretcher being loaded into the back of the ambulance, Jim suddenly realized what he risked losing if Blair walked away. He felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, that here was someone he needed and wanted to stay close, to share the rest of his life. Perhaps the most surprising part of it all was that he felt immensely comforted and excited by it.

Climbing into the truck, he drove home silently, making off-hand small talk, aware of the thoughtful looks directed his way by Sandburg. He waited until they stepped into the elevator before he spoke. "So what do you think happened to Gabe?"

Blair shrugged, but smiled gently. "Laugh all you like, man, but I believe in angels."

"Not very scientific, is it?"

"I'm not a very scientific anthropologist." He stepped out of the elevator in front of Jim, unlocking the apartment door, then following Jim inside. Closing the door, he leaned his back against it. "Look, that stuff Carolyn told me, if you'd rather I left it out, I'll rewrite the chapter. If I can't make it work...." He shrugged. "I'd rather keep our friendship."

Jim turned to face him and smiled, his heart breaking at the sadness, hope and fatigue washing Blair's eyes and deepening the lines around his mouth. "I can't let you do that."

He stepped close enough that he could feel Blair's breath puffing hotly against his cheek. He stretched out his hand and ghosted it over the bruising he could see disappearing under Blair's collar from Smallwood's chokehold. "If I've been reading you right these past few months...I can't see our relationship surviving with something like that hanging over us. One of us full of regret, the other torn up with guilt."

"Relationship? Jim, are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"Please don't tell me I'm barking up the wrong tree here, Chief." It was Jim's turn to take a deep breath and he shifted his hand so that it rested splayed against the door next to Blair's head.. "I don't know why I've been so afraid to tell you, but I've fallen in love with you. I don't know why it took me so long to admit it to myself, or to you."

Blair's eyes widened, then a beaming smile wiped the weariness from his face. "If I'm dreaming, don't wake me up."

"You're not dreaming."

Blair's happy expression faltered. "Are you sure about this? I mean, it's a hell of a big step you're taking. I mean, you knew I was bi, but I always thought you were straight.... I wonder if it's a sentinel thing and you being a sentinel and all, there's that personal space thing, yours has to be as big as the Grand Canyon...."

Jim did the only thing he could think of to stop Blair's verbal onslaught. It was making him dizzy trying to keep up, and he could think of much better things for Blair to be doing. He took Blair's mouth almost savagely, letting his lips do the talking for him. At the soft moan that followed, he pulled back a little, allowing Blair the right of reply. A pink tongue snaked out, swiping across Blair's full lips, then it was Jim's turn to be surprised as Blair reached out and hauled him closer, Blair's arms wrapping tightly around his waist, his hands dropping to massage Jim's ass. Blair's mouth opened and his tongue pressed against Jim's lips, seeking permission to taste.

Jim groaned and pushed Blair back against the door, covering the smaller body with his own, his heartbeat pounding as he felt the hardness of Blair's erection pressing against his thigh, his own need swelling to rub enticingly along Blair's hip. He pulled back to take in much needed air. "You want to run some tests on my senses, Sandburg?"

Blair was panting, his cheeks flushed and his lips wet. He frowned. "Now?"

Jim smiled. "Upstairs?" He leaned forward again, getting as close as he could to his Guide. "See just how big a personal space I'm going to need around you." He pressed his face to Blair's neck, just below his ear. "See if it includes smell." He took a sniff, savoring Blair's unique scent, mixed now with a heady touch of musky arousal.

"Taste." Snaking out his tongue, he licked a wet swathe over Blair's lobe, lightly tugging on the silver hoop with his teeth.

"What about touch?" He reached down and scraped his fingers over Blair's denim-covered arousal, smiling as Blair sucked in a gasp and groaned.

"Hearing. See how I handle hearing you moan for me." Stepping back, he took Blair's hand and led him toward the stairs.

"Sight," he said as he put his foot on the first step. "I think that's going to be my personal favorite. Watching you come."

He laughed out loud as Blair gave him an unceremonious boost from behind and pushed him up the stairs.


September 30th, 2002.

End Between the lines by Lyn: townsend297@ozemail.com.au

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