Disclaimer: The Sentinel and his universe were created by Pet Fly Productions; just borrowing 'em.

The Sentinel and the Guide



It was Blair's turn to make dinner, and a cold, rainy, blustery day. Common to Cascade. He let himself into the empty loft, musing over menu options. He wanted something hearty, and warming, something that would have leftovers and keep for a few days. Something very simple.

Along with his responsibilities as a Teaching Fellow at Rainier University, riding along with Jim, and working on his own dissertation, he'd started helping a friend. Nancy was an Elementary Education major, and Blair had skipped an afternoon at the police station to proofread a paper on mythological archetypes in fairy tales for her Children's Lit class.

Soup, he decided. The leftover rye bread bought yesterday to make sandwiches out of the remains of the roast beef from Jim's last dinner-day should still be fresh enough. Buttered rye bread and a bowl of hot soup. Not canned, though, and not from scratch either...

Blair froze for a moment as he went through the cupboard store of dry soup mixes, and an idea for a test of Jim's sentinel abilities was born.

He couldn't.

He shouldn't.

Shouldn't he?

The possible new avenues of research this would open were irresistible.

He did.

Jim got in late after a stakeout. It was raining again. Cold Cascade rain that made the soul itself feel soggy. Tired, he trudged up the stairs to his loft apartment, and paused for a moment in the open doorway.

Before he'd taken the grad student in and rented Blair his spare room, he'd have been coming home to a cold, empty, dark loft. Instead, it was warm, the lights were on and there was a fire going in the fireplace.

The rich starchy smell of bean soup filled the air and went straight to his stomach, making it growl in anticipation. The TV was on, some old sitcom, and Blair offered him a cheery greeting and a bowl of soup.

Excellent meal, and company, an hour of mindless television watching... as tired as he was, Jim should have just dropped right off to sleep.

He didn't.

He spent the night tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable.

The next morning, he stomped down the stairs grumpily, glad that it was Friday at least, and the weekend stretched out ahead of him, free time to rest up and sleep late.

He glared at people a lot all day, and found little things incredibly irritating. Blair came in from the University, and having someone to gripe at helped. Blair just smiled at him, and frequently pulled out his notebook. Jim gritted his teeth at the scraping sound of pen traveling across paper.

They got home, and ordered pizza to eat while watching a Jags game. Jim allowed himself a second beer, in the hope it would help. When he caught himself dozing off sitting up, he excused himself to Blair and had an early night of it. Or at least he tried to.





On his right side.

On his back.

On his left side.

On his stomach.

On his right side.

In the middle of the bed.

Where Carolyn had slept.

One pillow.

Both pillows.

No pillows.

He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and got up, stomping downstairs. Couch. Afghan throw. Patchwork pillow...

Blair had just finished setting up the test when Jim got home. As they ate, Blair began to feel like it had been a really stupid idea... something he'd never have done if he hadn't been a little slaphappy from overwork himself.

Unfortunately, he didn't want to admit to doing something this silly, so he couldn't stop Jim from going up to bed. He'd planned to take care of it quietly the next day.

Only... when Jim came down red-eyed and grumbly, it was obvious that the improvised test had worked! Blair said nothing, just collected the data from the experiment, and tested one more night.

Saturday morning, when he got up he found Jim sprawled on the couch, snoring. He started coffee, and the heavenly smell woke the slumbering sentinel. A breakfast of eggs and toast was consumed while Blair read the paper and Jim tried to find a way to combine yawning and chewing that didn't require the Heimlich maneuver.

Blair started doing the dishes, as Jim wandered back upstairs, and came down with the laundry basket full of his crumpled sheets. Jim complained about his sudden insomnia, announcing his intentions to wash his bedding and turn the mattress. He went upstairs.

Blair hesitated, then got the whisk broom and dustpan, and followed Jim to his bedroom.

Jim had just wrestled the mattress off his bed and was staring in disbelief at the pound of dried split peas evenly scattered around the king-size box spring.

"Sandburg!" he growled.

Blair tried not to laugh. "Hold on, 'princess,' I can explain..."

~ End ~

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Page last updated 8/15/03.