Title: A Time to Heal: Comfort
Pairing: Jim/Blair, Steven/Michael, Rafe/Lee, (preslash) William/Daniel
Summary: Letting go is never easy.
Beta: By my sister Anna. All remaining errors are mine.
A Time to Heal: Comfort
“We’re not gonna to fit, I tell you.”
“Of course we’ll fit. You haven’t been eating. A toothpick is fatter than you.”
Jim rolled his eyes. “I’m not that skinny. So shut up. And we’re not going to fit. We’ll break this lounger thingie.”
Steven sighed unhappily. “Picky, picky, picky. Alright help me up.”
“Because dumbass, I want up.”
Jim helped his brother off the lounger carefully. Very mindful of the broken ribs and stitches. Once on his feet Steven swayed unsteadily.
“Dizzy, that’s all. Gimme a second.”
“A second for what?”
Steven shook his head sadly. “Dang Sentinels are all denser than…” He thought about it, unable to come up with something. “Hmm, whatever is really dense.”
Jim held Steven’s arm awkwardly as they began walking. His crutches getting in the way. “What’s that suppose to mean.”
“Oh, I don’t know-that you’re all-stupid.”
“I’m not stupid, I’m just mentally challenged,” Jim told him with a smile. “I think I’ve already told you that.”
“Do you even have a mind to ‘be’ mentally challenged?”
Jim stuck his nose in the air. “I’ll have you know I have a brain and I can use it whenever I want.”
Steven turned to look at him, almost losing his balance. “Ah, that explains it,” he said, nodding knowingly.
“Nothing, Watchman. Nothing.”
“Where are we going anyway?”
Steven pointed over toward the spot recently vacated by Rafe and Lee. “Over there.”
“Because I want to make sure you sleep and to do that I’m gonna watch over you the same way you do me.”
“You don’t have to do that. I promise I’ll sleep.”
Steven looked down at the blanket. “Shit.”
Steven grimaced. “I’m going to have a hell of a lot of fun getting down there.”
Jim tangled his fingers with his brother’s. “We don’t have to do this, Stevie. I’ll sleep. I swear to you I’ll sleep. I’ll go inside and lay down on my bed. I’ll sleep.”
Steven smiled. “Who said you were a stupid Sentinel?”
“Hmm, I think that was you, if I remember right.”
“Damn straight. But right now you’re smarter than Rodney McKay.”
Jim rubbed his nose. “Hmm, okay. That’s cool, I guess. What’d I say? And do you know you’ve been watching way, way too much TV lately?”
Steven rolled his eyes. “Never mind. You’re still dense. Let’s go inside. Your bed’s big enough for both of us. And for Blair if he wants to lay down too. And besides there’s not much to do when you can’t really move around much.” Jim hobbled next to Steven, keeping a careful eye on him so he didn’t stumble. His eyes filling with tears as he watched his brother carefully make his way toward the cabin. “Stop it.”
Jim startled. “Stop what? I’m not doing anything.”
“You’re watching me like I’m gonna fall flat on my face any minute now.”
“No I’m not.”
“You are. Stop it. I can walk all by myself. I’ve been able to do it since you helped me learn how.”
Jim smiled. “You remember that?”
“Of course I do. I was what-one?”
“Yeah, Mom said you were kinda slow.”
Steven waited for Jim to open the door. “Slow? I’ll show you slow.”
Jim’s smile grew as he remembered how he’d coaxed a cute, very unsteady Steven into walking. Offering encouragement and support as he took his first very tentative steps.
“You fell on your bottom,” he whispered softly.
“Yeah, but I got right back up and tried again.”
Steven chuckled. “Good thing I had lots of padding back then.”
“I was so proud. I still am.”
Steven turned to look at his brother. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. How do you wanna do this?” Jim asked as they went into the bedroom.
“I can’t lay on my back yet. So you lay down first and I’ll follow.”
Jim laid down on the bed, tossing his crutches out of harm’s way. Offering his arms to Steven, helping him onto the bed. He sighed softly when Steven rested against him, a casted arm over his stomach. “This is nice.”
“Yeah,” Steven replied, resting his head against his brother’s shoulder. “Close your eyes now and go to sleep.”
“Alright. I still am, you know?”
“Very proud of you.”
Steven rubbed his face against a cloth-covered shoulder. “I’m proud of you too, Watchman.”
“I don’t like it when you get hurt.”
“I know you don’t. You never have. I don’t know who cried more, when I fell learning to walk. Me or you. Or when I would scrape my knees playing ball. I swear you’d get hysterical if I got a hang nail.”
Jim gently stroked his brother’s soft hair. “I want you to be safe and never have anything ever hurt you.”
“I can’t live in a bubble, Jimmy. I wasn’t made to be in one. I’d pop it trying to get out.”
“A glass house?” Jim asked hopefully.
“How about a well placed chair?” Steven offered in response.
“A gilded cage?”
Steven thought about that one. “Hmm, maybe-till I figured out how to open the door.”
“I’d bring you food and water every day.”
Steven chuckled. “Dumb ass. I’m not a pet. Can you bring up the blanket?”
Jim did as he was requested, gently covering them both. “I hate it when you get hurt.”
“That’s kinda obvious. You’re to overprotective. You have to let me be, Jimmy.”
The young Sentinel sighed. “It’s not that easy.”
“I was at the hospital when you were born. I don’t think I ever told you. You were the tiniest thing I’d ever seen. All wrinkled, red and screaming, giving everyone heck. Not much different than now.”
Steven snorted. “Thanks.”
“No problem. Mom tried to calm you, but all you did was scream louder. Then Dad tried and the same thing happened. I asked if I could try. Mom and Dad weren’t to sure about that. Maybe they thought I would drop you or something. But I begged and pleaded until they finally gave in. They gave you to me. Know what happened?”
Steven looked up, meeting his brother’s glistening eyes. “No. What?”
Jim gave him a watery smile. “You stopped crying.”
Steven reached out and gently wiped at the tears. “Yeah?”
“Yeah and you gave me the biggest smile and no it wasn’t gas.”
Steven chuckled. “Wouldn’t dare suggest that it was.”
“I thought you were the prettiest baby I’d ever seen.”
Steven snorted. “How many had you seen up to then? One-me.”
“I didn’t need to see that many to know you were the prettiest. I made a vow to you that day.”
“What did you vow?”
“That nothing and no one will ever hurt you. N…not ever,” he sighed, wistfully.
“What is it? What’s the matter?”
“You won’t let me keep my vow,” Jim replied, sadly.
“You know why I can’t let you do that.”
“You could at least let me try,” Jim said, indignantly.
Steven chuckled. “You’re such a sap.”
“And I love you, too.”
“We worked that out already, Jimmy. You can’t stop me, but you’ll always know what I’m doing.”
Jim grunted. “Don’t treat me like I’m an idiot. I’m not, despite your teasing.”
“What’s that suppose to mean?”
“You’re only going to let me know what you’re doing as long as it convenient for you.”
Steven frowned down at his brother. Ignoring the scowl he was receiving. “Jim, you can’t have me bound to you. You have a life. I have a life. You have to start letting go.” He watched his brother’s blue eyes fill with tears all over again. Unhappy he was the cause, but he couldn’t let Jim have his way, not in this.
“You can. Let go, just enough so that you don’t suffocate me. That’s all I’m asking.”
“You can. You will.”
Jim gave him a rueful smile. “Or what? You’ll kick my ass?”
“Yeah, but not to hard, because I know what your doing is out of love. Might be a bit obsessive, controlling and stuff, but it is out of love and I understand that.”
“I do love you.”
“I know you do. But you need to let me be. I’m going to be alright.”
“Like now?” Jim asked bitterly. “Like with the earthquake and the aftershock.”
“You can feel the break in my ribs healing can’t you?”
“You can feel where my skin is healing-where the stitches are?”
“Okay, my ass. You can’t even go to the bathroom without help.”
“Bring that up why don’t you?”
Jim gave a harsh, bitter laugh. “I just did.”
“Jimmy, know what we have to do?”
“We need to start over.”
Jim looked up at his brother. “What?”
“We need to start over.”
“So you’ll freakin’ let it go.”
Jim glared at Steven. “Never. I’ll never let it go. Not ever. You’re my brother. To love and protect. If I could, I’d make all the hurt go away. Everything that fuckin’ earthquake did.”
Steven sighed. “What’re you going to do? Reaching inside of me and fix the ribs? Heal the cuts? Fade the bruises?”
“Can I?” Jim asked, hopefully.
“Would it help?”
“Maybe, but I’ll never be able to forget.”
“Jim. Jim. Jim.”
Jim smiled at his exasperated brother. “Steven? Steven? Steven? What?”
“You’re a stubborn ass. Did you know that?”
“Yeah and you’re my brother.”
“That gilded cage is starting to look better and better.”
“Na, just pullin’ your chain,” Steven replied, chuckling softly at the look Jim gave him. “I do love you for the thought.”
“Ha. You’ll kick my ass for having it, first chance you get,” Jim said ruefully.
“What are we gonna do then?”
“I don’t know. Even with everything the Powers That Be have given you, it isn’t helping. You seem to be having trouble getting past the fact I got hurt.”
Jim wrapped his arms around his brother protectively. “Yeah I am. I’m having a real hard time dealing. I really, really don’t like it when you get hurt. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it.”
“We’re just going to just have to work through it then, but that’s for later. For now…”
“Close your pretty, blue eyes and go to sleep.”
“That I can do.”
After a moment. “Well?” Steven asked, exasperatedly.
“What?” Jim asked, happily nuzzling Steven hair.
“Oh, you meant now?”
“No, next year. Dumb Sentinel,” Steven replied, affectionately. “Close. Your. Eyes.”
“Is that an order?”
“Yeah, that’s an order. Do it.”
Jim tightened his arms around his brother, know exactly how much pressure he could safely apply. “You’ll be here when I wake up?”
“I’ll be here. Now sleep.”
“Okay. I love you, Stevie,” Jim replied sleepily, finally giving into the weariness that had been plaguing him. “Even if you won’t let me have my way.”
“Love you, too. Sleep.”
Jim yawned, allowing Steven a good glimpse of his tonsils. “Okay. Stay?”
Steven chuckled at the unappealing sight. “Yuck, now that’s just gross. Dense, Sentinel. I’m not going anywhere. SLEEP.”
Just to make sure the young Sentinel wrapped his arms around his brother, banding him. “I’ll know if you leave,” Jim warned softly.
“I know you will. Now for the last time, close you eyes and sleep.”
After a final warning look at Steven, Jim did as he’d been order. Quickly falling into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Steven watched him for a moment before laying his head back down, he muttered an affectionate, “Brothers.” before following Jim into sleep.