Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters are completely the property of Paramount and Pet Fly Productions. I use them out of reverence, solely for fun and not for profit.

Author's Notes: It's angst and smarm with a high sugar content, so cerebral diabetics might want to think twice.

Rank and File



He stared at the two of them, the one in the hospital bed, white-faced, and the other at the bedside, whiter-faced.

Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before one or both of them bought it. He assigned them the heavy-duty cases, the ones no one but a Sentinel and his Guide had a prayer of cracking—or surviving.

Bitterly, their captain shook his head. He, Simon Banks, depended on them, exploited their commitment to protecting the Great City of Cascade, jeopardised them routinely, never without counting the risk but always deeming the risk 'acceptable.'

And the kid nowhere near official, Simon castigated himself. As if risking either of them, regardless of any official capacity or not, would ever be acceptable to his inner self... were it not for duty.

Then the man in the bed opened his blue eyes and stared into the blues of the man holding his hand. Two identical smiles of tired gladness lit the room with more candlepower than Niagara Falls would generate in this millennium and the next.

When they turned the glow on him, it was reflected back in the warmth trickling down Banks' face. "Nothin' like you," he mumbled to himself, turning away for a moment.

For those were tears of joy on his cheeks, not of chagrin or selfish relief from guilt. Their two smiles had included him; these men were not only each other's best of all friends, but Simon's own true friends as well. They trusted him daily, in too many ways to count, no matter how many dangers he assigned to them, and delivered on his trust in them, always.

They were smiling for his sake, too.

When Simon looked up, his own smile beamed free for a second. Then the police captain remembered his rank and his position. He filed the smile away.

Later. Maybe.

~ End ~

E-Mail Ismaro at ligela@sympatico.ca
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Page last updated 8/15/03.