Shoulder to the Wind by Juliet Benson

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Shoulder to the Wind

by Juliet Benson


Rating: G
Category: Episode Related: Sentinel Too/S2P2, angst
Series/sequel: Yes, third in the Close to Eden series.
Summary: Jim's thoughts at night.
Disclaimer: If you looked in my wallet, you'd plainly see I'm not making any money off of this 
Spoilers: S2


Jim had never wanted his enhanced senses, and he had never bothered to hide that fact. However, lately he was blessing them with his every breath. They had saved Blair. And as a bonus, he’d come out of this a bit wiser. Learned a lesson. He never intended to let anything like this happen ever again.

 Jim sat up in bed and moved so his legs were over the side, feet on the cold floor. He bowed his head and clenched his hands. He had tried to force himself to review the last few weeks several times, but shame or guilt or this Sentinel thing or something had seemed to close it off. Maybe after some time passed and he had distanced himself from the situation he could analyze it.

 Jim shifted, his mind uneasy and troubled. He reached over to his bed stand and pulled the book off the top. Letting the book fall open, he reached out with his fingertips and lightly ran them across the top of the page. He could feel the texture of the paper, the “darker” spots where the ink was. Sandburg had taught him how to do this, read in the dark. With his fingers. ‘At least they’re good for something,’ Jim thought, staring down at his hands, running his eyes over the tiny indents that made up his fingerprints. He sometimes felt invincible, these senses giving him the edge to make him a super hero. With these hands he had stopped bombs, fired guns that ironically saved people’s lives, and done so much more. But that day, he had kneeled there next to the fountain. And his hands could do nothing. Oh, they had tried, tried hard. But it had been in vain. At that moment, all of the good he’d done, all the lives he’d saved, had meant nothing. When the moment hit, his hands failed. He couldn’t save the one life that was most important.

 He propelled himself to his feet with one angry move, throwing the book harshly onto his bed. Had it not been night, and Sandburg not been asleep he would have broken something, stormed around. But, as it was, the clock glowed two in the morning and he made his steps unheard as he trekked downstairs. ‘Tea,’ he mentally mumbled. He quickly went about making it, his mind blank, not allowing himself to think. It wasn’t until he had the cup in his hands that his thoughts started to meander again.

 But he had saved Blair, hadn’t he? No, he denied, that had been his Spirit Guide. It was no secret he couldn’t control it. It was like Sandburg, he compared, smiling. Letting him think he was in control, but really being the one to pull the strings. Not that he’d want it any other way. Leaning against the island in the middle of the kitchen, he reflectively sipped his tea. And Alex… the thought of her chilled him to the bone. Once he was back in Cascade it felt like a bucket of freezing water had been thrown over him, and every feeling of reprisal, hate, and murderous rage toward her came awake with full force. ‘I must have caught some kind of fever,’ he thought, trying to see a bit of humor in this. Jungle fever. He sighed. It wasn’t that funny.

 He walked silently to the entrance of Blair’s room, and leaned against the door. He observed Sandburg- the Observer being Observed-, fingers absently playing with his tea cup. With a surprised start, he looked closely at the cup in his hands. It was one of Sandburg’s, with a fancy symbol on one side, and the face of an ancient, weathered man from a South American tribe on the other. But that wasn’t what was unique about it. Jim had borrowed it once before, and accidentally broke it. He’d been sorry, because it was obvious it was one that Blair favored. Upon retrospect, Jim realized he had never actually apologized for breaking it. When Sandburg had come home from the University, he had shown it to him, explaining what had happened.

 “It’s OK, Jim,” Blair had said with a smile, taking it from his hands. “I can get another.” Looking back, Jim figured Sandburg must have known he was sorry, because he hadn’t seemed upset. After living with and knowing Sandburg for so long, Jim had come to realize the way he worked. He recalled on incident where a student had borrowed one of Blair’s masks and dropped it. A sliver of a crack was the result, running from the top right side to the middle, marring the face. Blair was angry, and Jim asked it there was some way they could fix it.

 “That’s not the point, man,” Blair explained. “The kid wasn’t even sorry about it! He just handed it back with an ‘Oops. Now lookee here, what are you going to do?’”

 Maybe he had saved Blair’s life, Jim thought, moving closer and studying the peaceful face. Maybe like Blair, his Spirit Guide was part of him, was him. Maybe his Spirit Guide realized what his mind hadn’t; some things just can’t be replaced.

 The End

to be continued in the next installment…


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