They sat on the low tidal wall at the edge of the beach, neither
saying much, content just to be there, watching the sun slide into the ocean.
They'd buried one of their own that day. A Major Crime detective. Not from their own shift but still one part of the whole and the whole was less now because of his death. They had attended the funeral, though he hadn't been a close friend, out of respect.
It hadn't been a violent death, he hadn't been killed on the job. A youngish man, thirty-six, who died in his sleep lying beside his wife of twelve years, his two young daughters asleep in the bedroom down the hall. Heart failure, an unknown stalker until it was too late.
They'd come here from the cemetery to reconnect to the life flow. The soft rhythm of the waves was soothing, peaceful, giving a feeling of continuance that brought with it hope and let them contemplate the past with fond memories, enjoy the present with contentment and believe that the future held the promise of something better.
The wind from the sunset brought the scent of the ocean and lifted the shoulder length hair of the slighter man. Placing his hands on the stone wall on either side of his legs, he closed his eyes with a sigh and leaned into the wind and with a slight smile lifted his face into the dying rays of the sun.
Beside him the larger man turned his head and watched, his pale enigmatic blue eyes impossible to read. Without meaning to, he heard himself ask a question in a voice so soft, so low it might have been a part of the twilight. "You ever think where you want to be in fifty years, Chief?"
And lulled into the same safe, peaceful place the man beside him answered in the same tone. "Doesn't matter where it is, Jim, as long as you're by my side."
Jim Ellison turned back to the sunset, dialing his sight back a bit because the blood red fire dancing across the waves was suddenly a little too bright, a little too exquisite to look at. Seconds grew into minutes before the heartbeat of Blair Sandburg picked up, not racing, just a little too fast to Sentinel ears, his breathing a little too quick.
Opening his eyes, the younger man drew a long deep breath and his heartbeat slowed back to its normal pace. "I said that out loud, didn't I?" he said squinting into the sun.
Ellison gave a long slow nod. Never turning his eyes from the glory being painted on the skies before him, he moved his hand until it covered his partner's. "Yeah, Chief. You did." He shifted the younger man's hand until he could thread his own longer fingers through the shorter ones.
"We on the same page here, Jim?"
Ellison gave the same long slow nod again. He lifted the hand he held to stare for a moment at the intertwined fingers. A gentle smile pulled at his mouth. "Same book. Same page. Same paragraph," he said in satisfaction and pressed soft lips against the back of his partner's strong hand, his eyes fluttering closed in a moment of ecstasy at his first wind-salted taste of the man beside him.
This time Blair Sandburg's heart did race, his breath quickening. And they sat together, content, until the last edge of the flaming disk sank into the water and the sky slowly faded into a velvety dusk, the wind picking up as the first stars appeared in the night sky.