"If you love something, let it go."

Sentinel

Jim glared at his clock, then rolled over to stare up at the ceiling. Past 1, and he still couldn't sleep. Like so many things in his life, even sleep had left his control.

The detective sighed and rubbed his hands over his face; first scrubbing eyes, then carding through hair to bring his hands to rest behind and supporting his head. Admit it, Ellison. You got control of your senses and that's it. Not like that's anything to brag about either.

When had it happened? When had his cherished grip on reality changed to a panicked chokehold on a handful of sand?

The fountain incident? He fought back a shudder. No, that horrible moment had been a catalyst, not a defining moment. Catalyst. Jeeze, can tell I've been spending too much time around the kid.

The kid - Blair. Maybe that was it. When the crazy grad student had bounced his way into the examining room as "Dr. McKay" with a slender, impossible hope....

Ah, hell. Or why not the Peru mission, or Bud's murder, or even the moment he'd been born a Sentinel? The important thing was that now, somehow James Joseph Ellison was losing control of his life.

Maybe it wasn't so much "when" as "how". His hands tightened into fists, pulling clumps of hair taut from his scalp as if that physical pain could keep the emotional, the SPIRITUAL pain away. He knew the answer to that one. It resided downstairs, heartbeat and quiet breaths now a constant in Jim's world.

Three years of both the anthropologist's friendship, and no control. Not that he blamed Blair - God, he COULDN'T blame Blair! - after all, the grad student had helped him get a handle on the Sentinel thing.

But the price.... oh, God, the price.

It had hit him that day at the fountain, when his senses located Blair, but not that special heartbeat. It hit him when he realized Blair was dead, between those awful moments of attempting CPR and that freaky vision.

It hit him when he realized that Blair Sandburg's death could and would only lead to his own. Somehow, that - what had he called him? Oh yeah. - "neo-hippy, witchdoctor punk" had gotten past all his barriers, beaten down walls that had stopped friends, colleagues, even his wife. He'd taken up residence in a place Jim had thought gone after his father's campaign of competition had driven Steven away. And in that process, Jim had lost control. If the miracle hadn't happened, if Blair had died... Jim knew he would have followed. Maybe not eating a bullet, or some other immediate drastic measure, but a vital part of him would simply give up. It probably wouldn't take too long for some accident to happen in the field, a suspect who would think he'd been lucky enough to take a cop down when really it was just that the cop... no longer cared enough to dodge. If Blair had died, the anthropologist would have taken something vital from Jim with him.

The detective sighed and shifted, trying to move past that thought. He'd been doing a lot of that lately, moving on. Well, he'd tried to. Gently and not so gently pushing Sandburg away, trying to get the anthropologist back into his own life - and out of Jim's. Get him used to doing his own thing again, make the eventual separation easier. Jim swallowed the reoccurring lump in his throat. Ok, so that wasn't a pleasant option either. He liked having Blair around. In a weird way it was... fulfilling. Parts made whole, stronger for their joining. But he couldn't do that anymore, risk the break that was sure to come. It had to. It was inevitable. Nothing lasted, family always broke apart eventually. Better to prepare, to get used to it now. It'd hurt less in the long run. It wouldn't be so bad when he lost Blair.


Guide

Once burned, twice shy.

And unfortunately, twice as devoted.

I still recall when I first realized people are out to use you. I was maybe seven at the time, the scrawny little hippy geek. One of my teachers took a special interest in me, lending me books, getting into actual discussions... was great. Combination mentor and best friend.

But in the end, he was only interested in Naomi. Could've been worse, I mean, he could've been a child molester or something, but... damn, that hurt. Looking back maybe he did care about me, just a little bit, but all told I was just means to an end.

It's funny. Jim sometimes acts like I'm such an innocent. No, I'm not that, not at all. Squeamish maybe, but not na´ve; just... accepting. Go in knowing they want something, figure out what you're gonna get in return, and go on from there. From an anthropological standpoint, it's amazing what people want and - well, trade, basically. Ideas, material goods, affection... it's one big game of give and take. Trying to figure out the exchange is part of the fun. Yeah, fun. It's too depressing to think of it otherwise.

I've lived this philosophy for so long, sort of a... a wandering trader, exchanging then moving on. Hell, I still do it a lot. My love life seems to embody it. But my personal life.... Dear God, I should've moved on months - no, YEARS ago.

But I can't. I physically, emotionally cannot go. God alone knows when or how it happened, but somehow, I got addicted. Yeah, yeah, that's the word for it. Addicted. I've been shot, kidnapped, drugged, killed, and all 'cause I'm a James Ellison junkie.

It didn't start that way. We were both after something at the time. Me and my diss, and Jim was after control of his senses. Tit for tat, even trade. Even when I moved in with him 'for a week,' it was trading; I did cooking and some cleaning, keeping the place up. It was supposed to be transitory. But the deadline came up, and we just sort of pushed it aside, ignoring it. I started the rent checks, though it never did get cashed until I started asking him about it.

Trading, that ended in something more, something so much greater. Not just friendship, not just a partnership.... You know, I don't think English has the right word for it.

Whatever it is, it hasn't been there in awhile.

No, admit it, it hasn't been there since Alex. Since I died. I'm not certain what he's afraid of, but somewhere in that thick head of his my Sentinel is just acting on another one of his fear based responses to that bitch invading his territory.

My Sentinel. Yeah, I do think of him as that. Egotistical as hell, not to mention it makes him sound like some sort of puppy I dragged home. And since the only puppy I can imagine Jim as is a year old Russian Wolfhound, he'd be more likely to drag ME home. And he did, dragging me and Larry into his home, his life... and I thought his heart.

Well, not Larry, but.... Whoa, sounds like a sappy romance novel moment. It's not like that. It's just.... he's like the older brother I never had, or maybe a father figure, although that's pushing it. He let me into his life, and now I don't think I could get out even if I wanted to - which I so do not want. The drug is in my system, and I'm happy having it there.

Huh. Why? Well, it's not the adrenaline rush I get when we bust some bad guys, protecting the tribe. It's certainly not a sexual attraction. It's a... a NEED. I need to be near him, to help him, to make sure I'm a part of his tribe. God, I'm obsessive.

But I mean it. Do you know, Jim? Do you have any idea what I would give up for you, my brother, my Sentinel? Why do you keep pushing me away when I'd give any- and everything up for you? I miss you, man.

*sigh* Hello, my name is Blair Sandburg, and I'm addicted to Jim Ellison.

Yeah, I can see it now. Me and a quarter of Cascade's female population, all in group therapy together. Hope they do hug and talk sessions.

* * *

Still grinning faintly at the thought, Blair glanced upwards at the dark ceiling. The smile faded as he gazed off into the night. DO you know, man? I need you, Jim. Not just the Sentinel, not the cop... but Jim. The friend. I thought... I thought you needed me too. He curled up underneath his blankets, eyes closing in pain. I need you, but - well, I come after the tribe. If you need me gone - A shudder and faint whimper wracked his frame. Then I guess I'm gone. I just hope you know that it's been the best damn trade in my life.



Let me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home

I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive

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The Sentinel, Jim, Blair, and any basically everything but the fic itself belongs to Pet Fly and Paramount. No infringement intended.