Disclaimer: The Sentinel is the property of Pet Fly.

Cold Care



Roberta leaned over Blair's desk, giving him an enticing view of her cleavage. "So we're all meeting at Grounds For Dismissal for coffee. Want to join us?"

"I'd love to, but I can't tonight." Aw man, the one night I have to get home...

She pouted prettily, and wriggled away. Blair watched regretfully, and then finished stuffing his papers and the books he needed that night into his backpack. Truth be told, he was getting a little worried. Jim had been sick for a month, and the cold wasn't getting any better. In fact, he was getting worse.

Jim was sitting on the couch wrapped in his black velour bathrobe, watching television with a disgruntled expression. Simon had forced him to take time off. Jim looked up. "Am I feberish or izzat a dog in Romeo add Juliet?"

Blair glanced at the set. "Yeah. That's Wishbone. It's a kid's show."

"Cruelty to abinmals." As Blair hung up his jacket and took his backpack into his room, Jim let out a volley of sneezing that merged into a thick, choking, congested cough. Blair came out and watched Jim struggle for breath, tossing a handful of tissues into the wastebasket by the couch.

"You okay, man?"

"Jus wunnerful." Jim coughed again, quickly grabbing a tissue and wiping his running nose. Blair nodded and took a bag of homemade soup out of the freezer for dinner.

"You want some more juice?"

"No. T'anks."

Blair nuked the soup in the microwave, then put some water on to boil. Turned to watch Jim with concern in his eyes as Jim coughed and choked, sitting up to spit thickly into a tissue. When dinner was ready, he served Jim on the couch, studying the bloodshot eyes and the raw, red nose. Jim was wiping his nose almost constantly. He sniffed ineffectually as he took the tray from Blair, peering suspiciously at the teacup.

"Whad's dis?"

"Tea. Chamomile and hibiscus, with lemon and orange blossom honey."

"At's nod tea, 's podpurri."

"Drink it. It's good for your throat."

For once, the sentinel didn't have the energy to argue.

After dinner, Blair washed the dishes and worked at the table, keeping an eye on Jim. Sniff. Wipe. Cough. All night long. Sniff. Wipe. Cough. It was really beginning to worry him.

"Hey Jim," he said hesitantly, coming over to sit on the arm of the couch. "Your cold sounds pretty bad. Maybe you should see your doctor again."

"Itd's jus a code," Jim argued. Sniffing.

"Yeah, well, it sounds like it's turning into pneumonia or something. I don't want you passing out on me, man, I'll have to call an ambulance because I couldn't move you without a block and tackle rig."

"Okay." The fact that Jim was giving in because he was too exhausted and miserable to argue was pretty scary in itself. Jim began to cough again, and reached for his tissues. Blair blinked, looking at the box, and leaned forward to grab it.

Unable to speak, Jim glared at him. Blair absently passed him a tissue and turned the box upside down. He waited for the retching to stop, and asked mildly, "Jim? Where'd you get these tissues?"

Jim shrugged. "Frob de store. Dey were on sale."

Blair took a deep breath. "These are the kind with lotion in them."

Bleary blue eyes looked back at him innocently. Blair closed his eyes briefly and ran a hand through his hair before continuing. "You got sick and started using these tissues, kept on using them, wiping your nose, getting more of this stuff up into your sinuses, irritating the mucus membranes, getting sicker and sicker... Labels, Jim, you've got to read the labels." He shook his head, and started to carry the box over to the trash in the kitchen, then stopped. They were still good, it was just that Jim couldn't use them.

He put them on the table, ran into the bathroom, grabbed a roll of toilet paper and tossed it to Jim. "Use this until I get back from the store." He shrugged his jacket on and picked up his keys.

Jim watched him, feeling weak and light-headed. His headache was so bad his whole face hurt. And Sandburg had made him soup, and tea, and was running to the store to get him the right kind of tissues. It was kinda nice, having someone around who cared whether he was healthy or sick, comfortable or miserable. "Hey Chief..." He fought to clear his throat, as the kid looked back over his shoulder. "Thanks."

"No problem. That's what friends are for."

~ End ~

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Page last updated 8/15/03.