Disclaimer: The Sentinel is the property of Pet Fly.


Bugged
by
Besterette

Besterette@aol.com

 

James Ellison woke, listening for whatever had disturbed his sleep. Nothing but the sounds of home: the refrigerator humming, warm air moving through the vents from the furnace, the steady breathing and heartbeat of Blair Sandburg asleep in his room below, the faint sound of a television on in one of the other apartments.

CHIRIP

Ah. Cricket. The sentinel identified the sound and decided it wasn't a threat. Blair had left the balcony doors open all afternoon to let in some fresh spring air; apparently that wasn't all he'd let in.

He snuggled back into his pillow and drifted back toward sleep, hoping he could recapture the dream... a white sandy beach, a beautiful redhead kneeling beside him, rubbing oil into his back, while Blair sat perched on a promintory rock, flirting with the blonde mermaid and taking notes...

CHIRIP. CHIRIP. CHIRIP.

One bloodshot, sapphire blue eye opened and glared at the alarm clock on his nightstand. Three a.m. Three o'clock in the morning. He sighed. It had been a long day. A very long day. A very, very long, exhausting day. Sandburg would probably tell him that sitting around a courtroom and then in the truck on stakeout wasn't any more exhausting than running down leads and interviewing suspects; that it was all in his head. All Jim knew was that a wasted day left him feeling weary and useless; most long days wore him out but at least he'd accomplished something.

He listened intently, but there was only blessed silence. Crickets had to sleep sometimes, didn't they? Or maybe it had crawled out under the door. Whatever. At least now maybe he could get some slee—

CHIR-CHIR-CHIRIP. CHIRIP. CHIR-CHIR CHIRIP.

That did it! The covers were thrown aside, his feet hit the floor and one tired, irritated sentinel went on the hunt. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Jim, clad only in his boxers, padded down the stairs without turning on a light. He listened to Blair sleeping with something close to jealousy, briefly considered waking the younger man up to join the bug hunt. Blair and his 'fresh air.' Ah—there it was, no sense disturbing the kid's rest too.

Keeping one eye on the small black intruder, he moved silently into the kitchen, grabbed the sports section of the Times out of the recycling bin and rolled it up as he stealthily approached his target.

WHAP! "Damn. Little bugger can jump." He stood absolutely still, searching, eventually spotted his prey by the kitchen island. WHAP! Down the hall to the bathroom. WHAP! Back in front of Blair's room. WHAP! Over by the couch. Moving as silently as his Ranger training had taught him, he crept up on the cricket. WHAP! "Dammit!"

He waited again, listening, watching, growing more and more irritated with each passing second. There it was. Over by the balcony doors. He circled around, watching his prey carefully. A cricket. An insignificant insect. A tiny little black noisy bug. No match for six-foot-two and two hundred pounds of ex-Ranger cop. He stooped, reaching out... WHAP! "Hah!" Just a short hop this time. He lunged forward...

... And the fact that he was half-asleep and completely exhausted robbed him of his usual cat-like grace, causing him to lose his balance and stumble into the telescope, knocking it over with a loud, rattling crash and the expensive-sounding tinkle of broken glass.

A light came on in Blair's room and the grad student emerged, wide-eyed, wearing a pair of boxers, with his bare feet shoved into unlaced sneakers, carrying a baseball bat. He stood in his doorway, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, nervously peering into the shadows for heavily armed attackers, until he spotted his roommate sprawled on the floor amidst the wreckage.

Blair came toward him, concerned, the makeshift weapon dangling forgotten in his hand. "Jim? What are you doing on the floor in the dark, man? You okay? Oh, God, are you having a heart attack? A stroke? Answer me!"

But Jim could only stare with fascination at the cricket on the floor between him and Sandburg's approaching sneakered feet as Blair came closer, and closer, and squish!

"Jim?"

He groaned and let his head fall back to the floor.

~ End ~


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Page last updated 8/15/03.