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While You Were Sleeping



Jim Ellison woke suddenly from a deep sleep, not knowing what had awakened him. A quick glance at the clock radio showed it was 3:17 AM. He immediately starting scanning the loft. No unfamiliar sounds or smells came to him. He continued scanning until he found the heartbeat he knew as well as his own. It was beating in a strong, steady rhythm that immediately calmed his nerves. But it wasn't coming from the room directly below him, where he assumed it would be at this hour. Peering over the railing of his loft bedroom he spotted his grad student partner sprawled out on his back on the larger of the two couches in the living room. Still wearing his glasses, an open notebook on his lap and a pen dangerously close to falling from his fingers, the only visible movement was the steady rise and fall of his chest, indicating that the young man was in a deep sleep. Several other books, some open some closed, were scattered around. A large, heavy looking textbook was sitting at an odd angle beside the couch. Jim concluded as he looked over the scene below him that it was probably that book sliding off Blair and hitting the floor that had woken him up. He frowned as he descended the stairs and crossed over the floor to stand over the sleeping man. Blair Sandburg, friend, partner and Guide to the Sentinel should have been in bed hours ago. The fact that the noise of the heavy textbook landing on the floor right beside him had not woken him up showed Jim just how exhausted Blair must be. And knowing that Blair was staying up to do research to help him with his latest sensory problem only added to his sense of guilt.

He had been having unexplained problems with his senses lately. Not enough to be a real hindrance but still enough to be annoying. Sudden small spikes of one sense or another without warning. The spikes didn't last very long or cause him much difficulty but ever since they had started around two weeks ago Blair had been a man on a mission. He had first conducted an exhaustive study of every food, cleaning and personal hygiene product in the loft to check if one might contain a new ingredient or chemical that could be causing the problem. He then had thoroughly questioned everyone Jim came in contact with on a regular basis to see if anyone was wearing a new perfume or aftershave or anything else different that might account for the new, troublesome spikes. And now, despite a full workload at the University and helping him at the station with a particularly trying case Blair, after finishing his University paperwork and going over any new case files with him, was staying up way too late up almost every night researching countless books hoping to find anything that might be the least bit relevant to this new sensory problem.

Jim watched his tired Guide sleep. He had told Blair that the spikes weren't that bad, they really didn't bother him that much. He could easily wait until things settled down a bit for Blair to be doing all this extra work looking for a solution. He should have saved his breath. Blair had been going non-stop for two weeks straight. So much so that by the look of things, as of right now even though his mind apparently wanted to keep working his body had obviously had enough.

Who takes care of the Guide? The thought suddenly popped into his mind. Blair had often stated that it was the Guide's responsibility to take care the Sentinel. Ever since he had moved into the loft Blair had constantly worried about him and tried to make sure that everything was all right. Whenever something was wrong he wouldn't rest until he had the problem solved. Like now. But who looked out for Blair? Sure he would protect Blair with his life. Push him out of the way of a speeding car? No problem. Step in front of a bullet? Without hesitation. But what about the day-to-day things? Like the small daily ways his Guide watched over him without even thinking about it. Testing everything from laundry detergent to food to medication before allowing Jim to use it. Making sure he ate right, at least most of the time. Trying to see to it that he got enough sleep. And all the other countless things that Blair did for him along those lines. He looked down at the pale face and the dark circles under the closed eyes emphasizing the lines of exhaustion that were now also there. Obviously no one was doing the same thing for Blair. It wasn't that he didn't care; God knows nothing could be further from the truth. Blair now meant more to him than almost anyone he could remember. Unfortunately his childhood, life in the military and as a police officer didn't exactly teach him how to be a caring, nurturing person. Except for his brief marriage he was mainly used to only having to worry about himself, there wasn't anybody else he had felt the need to worry about. It just never occurred to him to even think about such things.

He was startled out of his musings when Blair made a small noise and shifted around a bit but then he settled back into sleep, never fully waking. When he was still again Jim reached down and carefully removed the wire-framed glasses and placed them on the coffee table. Then he picked up the notebook and pen and laid them aside too. After tenderly placing a sofa pillow under the curly head he straightened back up and picked up the afghan from the back of the couch. Who takes care of the Guide? He gently covered the sleeping form. From now on, I do.

~ End ~

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Page last updated 8/15/03.