CANDLE ON THE WATER
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DISCLAIMER: All characters from The Sentinel and portions of the following dialogue are the property of Di Meo, Bilson and Petfly. This story was written purely for enjoyment and no money has changed hands.
SPOILERS: Sentinel too, parts one and two.
AUTHORS NOTES: Written in response to Sentiwheel challenge. The song lyrics are "Candle on the water" sung by Helen Reddy in the movie, "Petes Dragon" provided by Carla. Hi Carla (waves), hope you like it.
This is a trio of missing scenes and an epilogue for Sentinel too.
Blair tried to swallow the disquieting lump in his throat as Jim moved the gun from the grad students face and went back to stirring the sauce on the stove. Trying to stick to banal conversation after that greeting was going to be difficult.
"So, hows the arm?" Blair asked the detective and was relieved to hear Jim telling him that he would be back at work on Monday. Thats probably all it is - the guys going stir crazy.
Blair knew hed be pleased when his partner was back on duty, opening your front door to a gun in your face was so uncool.
"Oh, hey, I was down at the station doing some work, and I met this woman," Blair told Jim, smiling. Jim was going to love this.
"Look, Chief, why don't you spare me the details?" Jim replied, looking impatient.
Or not "I'll tell you later."
"Whatever." He brushed by Blair and walked up the stairs to his bedroom, leaving his partner staring discomfortingly at his back.
"Okay," Blair said softly.
He turned back to the stove and turned off the burner beneath the sauce just as a decidedly burnt smell began to emanate from the pan.
"Great," he muttered. "Ill order in a pizza."
He scrabbled in his jean pockets, finding just enough cash to cover the cost of the food and sighed. Payday was a week away yet and he was already behind on the rent. Maybe he could deduct the cost of the pizza from it.
Walking to the phone he smiled a little to himself. Hed mention it to Jim after the detective returned to work. Blair picked up the phone and began to dial, then stopped suddenly, his brow furrowing in concentration.
"Come on, man, think. Youre a scientist, whats wrong with this picture?" Looking up at the loft bedroom now in darkness, he thought back through the minutes since he had come home.
"Oh man, of course," Blair said, smacking his forehead as though emphasizing his thoughts. "How come you didnt know it was me, Jim? You can pick out my heartbeat, my scent from a mile away. Maybe that explains the dark moods, if your senses are out of whack."
Getting up, Blair began to pace; something else tugging at a small corner of his mind. There was something hed read somewhere. Blair sighed again. "Jeez, Jim why dont you tell me when youre having problems? Thats what Im here for, isnt it? Im your guide, not a mind reader."
The grad student came to a decision, eat first, then sleep. He felt like he hadnt slept in a month, which was probably not that far off the mark. Blair picked up the phone again and began to dial. Hed tell Jim his theories tomorrow and then hed do some more research, he was sure there was something else he should be remembering.
Blair trudged up the stairs to the apartment, hoping not to have it opened this time by Jim and his gun.
The grad student had had a fairly productive day. Hed spoken to Alex Barnes at length in the afternoon after doing some research to try and discover why Jim had not been able to identify Blair from behind the door a few days ago. He hadnt come up with anything more than hed already known and decided to broach the subject with Jim tonight, provided Jim was speaking to him of course.
Hed been amazed to discover the detail of Alexs dreams, and doubly excited to discover her descriptions closely matched the carvings discovered by Santiago three years before. He was still convinced his decision not to bring the two Sentinels together was a wise choice, at least until hed done some more reading and gotten to know a little more about Alex and her background.
Blair shook his head in near disbelief as he fished for his keys, two sentinels in one city. There had to be some sort of synchronicity going on here. Pity he couldnt tell his mother about it. Naomi Sandburg was the quintessential 60s flower child, shed be sure to tell him it was mystical.
Blair opened the front door and stared in surprise at the boxes littering the floor. "Hey, Jim. What's up?" he asked curiously.
"It's just getting a little too claustrophobic around here for me, Chief. I'm sorry," Jim answered, not looking at Blair as he dropped another box to the ground.
Blair felt his chest begin to tighten and the dinner hed just shared with Alex began to churn in his stomach as he slowly skirted the boxes and comprehension dawned. "Well... wait a minute, Jim... This is all my stuff. What's going on?"
"I just need a little space. I feel like the walls are closing in." Jim was a vision of motion, still arranging the boxes, not once looking at his partner and Blair felt the uneasiness begin to grow.
Blair swallowed and said the words he didnt want to hear the answer to. "Are you kicking me out?"
Finally Jim stopped and looked at him."I can't have anybody here right now," he said softly.
"Hey, wait a minute. Jim, we just got to sit down and we got to talk about what's going on with you," Blair said desperately.
"I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to analyze it. I just need you out of here by the time I get back," Jim replied firmly. With that he grabbed his jacket from the hook and walked out the door.
Blair stood in the midst of the mess, still stunned by Jims outburst. The panic hed fought to control now threatened to overwhelm him and he stumbled to the couch, breathing heavily. "Oh man, what the hell is happening here?" he muttered. "Shit, Jim. Is this it? Just like that, its over? What about your senses man? What about my research? What about our friendship?"
Blair took a deep breath and stood, moving back to the boxes, his boxes. Okay he thought. first things first.
He grabbed his keys from the small basket by the door and bent to pick up the first box. Hefting it closer to his chest, he staggered out of the front door, hoping the elevator was working. It was, but Blair was still sweating and exhausted by the time hed finished loading the last of the gear into his car.
Standing in the doorway of the loft, he tried to put his confused thoughts in order. He didnt want to impose on any of his friends at this late hour and he still wasnt comfortable enough with any of the detectives to unload on them. He thought he probably had enough credit on his card for a cheap motel room. Hed slept in worst places, though he seriously doubted hed be getting any sleep tonight.
Tomorrow hed talk to Jim, find out what the hell was going on. Finally taking a last long look around the loft, he placed his door key on the cupboard and closed the door.
Blair sat in his office and replayed his conversation with Jim in his mind.
Earlier that morning:
"I was only thinking about myself and about my work and somewhere along the line, I lost track of my friend."
"Well, Chief, I don't know what you want me to say. I don't know if I can get past this. To me, it was a real breach of trust and that struck really deep with me," Jim replied.
Blair threw his hands up in exasperation. "Gimme a break here. How was I supposed to know she was a criminal?"
"Chief, this isn't about her being a criminal. Ive got to have a partner I can trust."
Blair stared at Jim in disbelief. He didnt like at all where this conversation was going. Jim didnt trust him?
He tried again. "I know I made a mistake, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get past this, but if youve got to hang on to it " Blair paused a moment. "You know where to find me."
He scrubbed at his tired eyes and leaned forward in his chair studying his precious monograph once more as though the answers were buried deep within the text. In a sense, perhaps they were. There was one thing of which Blair was certain, Alex had pushed Jim into asserting his territorial imperative and the casualties of this war were Jims implicit trust in Blair as his guide and more importantly as his friend. Alex had won.
Blair heard his door open and looked up, hoping that perhaps the war was not yet lost. "Alex."
Blair Sandburg stood at the rotating luggage pickup waiting for his backpack to appear. He shook his head ruefully as he realized that in his rush to get to his partners side, hed brought nothing more than a change of clothes and a toothbrush with him. Blair looked up and watched Jim talking animatedly to Megan and Simon, restlessly casting his suitcase from hand to hand.
Its over, he thought to himself. Alex is locked away safely, we got the canisters back and Im alive again. So why the hell do I feel so bad? Because it's over.
Blair looked over again at his partner and smiled sadly as Jim caught the stare, holding his gaze for a moment then looking back at Megan. Because I dont think things will ever be the same for him, for me or between us. Because Alex chipped away one small link of the bond of trust between us, between Sentinel and Shaman, between friends.
"Finally." Blair snagged his bag off the platform and moved over to the small group, trying to stifle the cough that welled up in his throat. As he opened his mouth to speak, his irritated throat rebeled and he doubled over, coughing harshly, clutching at his bruised ribs.
"Easy there, Sandburg," Jim said, placing a supporting hand around Blairs shoulders. "You okay, Chief?"
Blair nodded and tried to catch his breath as Megan Conner hurried off to find a glass of water. He took the small paper cup from the inspector gratefully and took a couple of small sips. The coughing finally subsided but Jim frowned at the slight wheezing accompanying his partners breathing. Blair looked thin and pale, his face sheened with sweat.
"Come on, Chief, why dont you sit for a minute and get your breath back," Jim said, indicating the long row of plastic seats lining the wall.
Blair shook his head and gently disentangled his arm from Jims grip. "No, Im fine, really. Just a coughing fit. No big deal."
Jim took a small step back and looked uncomfortably at Simon and Megan.
Simon finally took the initiative to break the awkward silence and turned to Blair. "So, Sandburg, I dont want to see you at the station for at least a week, clear? Get some rest, get better."
Blair nodded at the captain. "I dont think youre gonna have a problem there, Simon. Look, Im gonna go find a cab." With a vague wave of his hand Blair turned to leave then turned back, startled by the sudden clamor of voices, all offering him a ride.
"Look, Sandy, you came with me," Megan said, "Ill give you a ride home...um...wherever youre heading."
"Thanks Megan, I appreciate it," Blair answered.
Jim spoke up loudly. "No, dont worry about it, Conner. Ill give Blair a ride home."
Megan looked from Jim to Blair. "Sandy?" she asked.
"Simon, Megan, just give us a minute would you?" Blair finally said. Depositing his backpack on the floor, he motioned Jim to a small passageway.
"Its okay, Jim. I can crash at the motel until I find a place to rent. I think I left some stuff at your place but its nothing important. Ill come pick it all up in a couple of days when Im sorted out. I know I owe you some back rent, but if you could just hang out for a bit longer, Im pretty sure I can get it to you by the end of the month."
"Breathe, Sandburg." As Blair obeyed the order, Jim continued. "I was an asshole Blair, Im sorry. Your home is at the loft, if you still want it. God, I dont know what I was thinking kicking you out like that. I got you killed."
Blair suddenly glared at his partner. "So this is because you feel guilty? I dont need your sympathy, man."
Jim shook his head vehemently. "No! No! Its not that. Of course I feel guilty, my head was so mixed up, I cant remember half of what I said or did. Shit, I cant remember where I put the rest of the furniture."
"You said youd lost your trust in me," Blair whispered.
"God, Blair, Im sorry. I didnt know what was happening. All I knew was that there was some threat out there and then you told me that youd known about her all along. Youre supposed to be the expert on all this Sentinel stuff, Chief. I couldnt understand why you didnt tell me about her," Jim answered, running a hand through his hair.
"I tried to, Jim."
Jim held up his hand. "I know that now. Look, Blair, Simon asked me if I could handle the Sentinel thing on my own. I cant, I know that, you know that. You said back at the temple that the difference between Alex and I was that she had lost her way. So did I for while, but you guided me back. You said youd got past it." Jim shrugged "Give me a chance to prove I have too. Please come home, buddy. Dont break up the team."
Blair thought for a long moment before slowly nodding. "I think we both screwed up here, Jim, but hey, theres no text book for this. Were setting a precedent here."
Jim smiled at his partner. "So well learn by our mistakes?"
Blair nodded agreement and then doubled over in another coughing spasm. Jim moved quickly to support his friend. "Hang on, Chief, Ive got you," he said. "Keep holding on, youll make it."
"The basement," Blair choked.
"Whats that, Chief?" Jim said, feeling Blairs forehead, wondering whether a trip to the ER on the way home was a necessity.
Blair finally gained control of his breathing and straightened up. "Thats where the rest of the furniture is, man, in the basement."
"Candle on the water" sung by Helen Reddy
I'll be your candle on the water,
my love for you will always burn
I know your lost and drifting, but the clouds are lifting.
Don't give up you have somewhere to turn.
I'll be your candle on the water,
till every wave is warm and bright.
My soul is there beside you,
let this candle guide you,
soon you'll see a golden stream of light.
A cold and friendless time has found you.
Don't let the stormy darkness pull you down.
I'll paint a ray of hope around you,
circling in the air, lighted by a prayer.
I'll be you candle on the water.
This flame inside of me will grow.
Keep holding on, you'll make it.
Here's my hand so take it.
Look for me reaching out to show, as sure as rivers flow,
I'll never let you go.
I'll never let you go.
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