Title: Hide and Seek
Fandom: The Sentinel
Pairing: Jim/Blair(very, preslash)
Note: I've messed up on the timeline.(sigh) I've fixed it in Hide and Seek. But I made the mistake in To Love and Protect and got worse in zoos. I will go back later and fix it in To Love and Protect. It was just a couple of sentences toward the end of the story, but enough to throw everything off a tad. I most humble apologize for the boo-boo. Blair and Jim have been together eight months as of this story. If I start to sway off the timeline again feel free to hit me with something. Even if I say-Ow!(o:
Beta: My sister Anna. All final errors are mine cause I tweek a lot. Making my sister crazy, but she'll beta anyway. She's nice that way.(o:
Hide and Seek
“What are you doing?” Steven asked from the couch he was sharing with the kittens. Wofie was on his stomach and Blackie stretched out on his legs. Jim had just walked, no more like ran into the living room acting all squirrelly. Looking around the house like it was on fire or he was desperately looking for something or someone. Steven put his comic book down to stare at his weird brother. Sitting up he carefully placed Wofie and Blackie on the back of the couch.
“Playing hide and seek with Blair.”
Steven sat up. “Isn’t that a little unfair considering you’re a Sentinel?”
Jim had the oddest look on his face. “You’d think so, but even with me being a Sentinel I still can’t find him.”
Steven sat up straighter. “What do you mean you can’t find him?”
Jim gave him an annoyed look. “Just what I said, I can’t find him not even using my heightened senses.”
“Well, that’s weird.”
“You’re telling me.”
“Hi fellas. What are you doing?” Simon asked curiously, walking into the living room carrying a file. He’d been moved in for a while now and was quite at home in the Ellison household. In fact he loved being here. He’d never known a house so full of love and laughter.
“Jim’s playing hide and seek with Blair,” Steven answered.
“Hmm, isn’t that a little unfair?”
“You’d think so,” Jim said, uncertainly.
“I can’t find him.”
“You’re a Sentinel, how can you not find him?”
Jim had a really lost look on his face. “I don’t know. I think he’s figured out a way to block me.”
“That’s not possible,” Simon said, moving closer to the unnerved Sentinel.
“Then why can’t I sense him at all?”
“Hmm, let’s try again. First use hearing. Filter everything out. All the house noises, all the people in it. The animals as well. See if you can hear his heartbeat. Anything?”
Jim had tilted his head to the side. “Nope. Not a thing.”
Simon frowned. “That’s really weird. Okay try smell. Filter everything out just like before and see if you can smell the scent that is uniquely Blair’s.”
Before Jim could filter all the scents he gagged. “Whew, man-gotta change the cat litter. That’s really disgusting,” he said, wrinkling his nose. Silence for awhile as he tried to locate his missing little Guide, before he turned to Simon. “Nothing.”
“Maybe if you piggybacked scent and hearing?”
Jim tried. “Hmm, nope. Nothing. I’m telling you, he’s blocking me.”
“He can’t be blocking you. It’s just not possible.”
Jim smiled tightly. “Well you did say that Blair was different.”
Simon rubbed his eyebrow contemplatively. “Yeah, I did. But how the hell is he able to block you?”
Jim shrugged. “Don’t know. I have a better question for you.”
“How the hell are we going to find him?”
“Well, the normal way I guess. We go Blair hunting,” Simon told him.
“I already did that. I’ve looked everywhere,” Jim said impatiently.
“Don’t get snippy with me I’m only trying to help.”
“Sorry,” Jim said contritely.
“Hmm, let’s look again. He can’t have gotten that far he’s only three.”
Just then William walked in carrying Blair in his arms.
“Blair! Baby, where have you been?” Jim said, relieved beyond belief.
“He was outside, sitting on the steps,” William answered, handing the little Guide over to his son. Who was reaching for him anxiously.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you. I was so worried,” Jim told Blair, kissing his little face over and over.
“Play hide and seek?” Blair questioned, puzzled.
“Yes, but you blocked me.”
Blair furrowed his brows. “Jim cheat?”
“No, no, I wasn’t going to cheat. Well not too much.” Jim amended, with a guilty smile at the very, annoyed look Blair gave him.
“Blair, how did you block Jim?” Simon asked, moving closer to the Sentinel/Guide pair.
Blair shrugged his shoulder. “Don’t knows. No want Jim cheat ‘cause he Sentinell.”
“Okay, but how did you do it?” The little Guide gave him a silent, wide-eyed look. “I’m not going to get a straight answer out of you. I wish you were fifteen or even twelve, maybe then you’d be able to talk to me,” Simon said, with heartfelt sigh.
William smiled. “Must be killing you, huh?”
“And how,” Simon replied returning the smile. “Knowing he can do something no other Guide can do and not knowing exactly how is nerve-wracking. It’s going to drive me crazy by the time he’s ten.”
“Baby, how did you keep me from sensing you?” Jim asked, trying to help Simon at least a little.
“Tell you. No want you cheat,” Blair told him, impatiently.
Jim looked over at Simon. “He didn’t want me cheating,” he said, shrugging his shoulders apologetically.
“Oh, well. Remind me to ask him how he did that when he’s older,” Simon requested.
“You got it,” Jim promised solemnly. Noticing the way Steven was staring at Blair “Why are you looking at Blair that way?”
“Hmm, I think it’s time to get Blair a hair cut.”
Jim looked at his little Guide. He didn’t see anything wrong with him. Soft, curly hair framed a really cute, pale little face. “Why?”
“He’s starting to look like a girl,” Steven replied, with a hint of disgust.
Jim smiled at him. “What’s the matter, Steven-have a thing against looking like a girl?”
Steven rolled his eyes. “Well, *yeah*, if you’re a BOY. Geez, now that was a really stupid question.”
“Wanna get a hair cut, Blair?” Jim asked his little Guide, who shrugged his little shoulders.
“Blair doesn’t care. Do you think he needs a hair cut, Dad?”
“Hmm, might not be a bad idea. It’ll be easier to keep clean if it wasn’t so long.”
“That’s true. It might not have taken a week to get all that cotton candy out of it if it’d been shorter.” Jim gave Steven a huge smile when his brother moaned. He still smiled when he remembered his brother and friends cleaning out Wofie and Blackie’s litter box in penance for not taking care of Blair at the zoo while he’d been in the bathroom. “Okay, I’ll take him on Saturday. Blair wanna get something to eat?”
“No play hide and seek?”
“Hmm, no,” Jim told him hurriedly. “I…I hmm, need some Blair cuddling. I really got scare when I couldn’t find you.” He’d been scared witless actually at the thought of having lost his little Guide. He couldn’t deal with another round of Hide and Seek. Not right now.
Blair made a sympathetic sound. “Poor Jim.” Stroking his cheek with a tiny finger.
“Yeah, poor me,” Jim said softly moving his face into the gentle caress. “I need you so much. More and more, since the day you bonded me and I miss you a lot when you’re not with me.”
“That reminds me, Jim. How long have you and Blair been bonded?” Steven asked, frowning slightly as he remembered he’d wanted to double check something.
“I think it’s been about eight months,” Jim replied, nuzzling Blair’s soft curls.
“Are you sure?” Steven’s frown deepened.
“Pretty sure. Why?”
“Simon and me were thinking it’d been going on two years. Right, Simon?”
The Doctor nodded. “I could have sworn it had been that long.”
William rubbed his ear thoughtfully. “I think, Jim’s right. I’ll have to check the paperwork, but I’m almost positive that it’s eight months as well.”
“How could we have gotten the timeline so wrong?” Simon asked, an extremely puzzled look on his face.
“It’s easy to do, Simon. There was a lot going on. It may have just seemed like two years,” William said smiling ruefully. “Plus you may have had a lot on your mind as well. I know for me it feels longer than eight months too.”
“There was a lot going on. That’s true. But to have gotten it so wrong. Confusion thy name is Simon Banks.”
Jim smiled at Steven, face half buried in Blair’s hair. “And Steven’s excuse is that he’s just a really, really big dweeb.”
Steven made a face at Jim. “Yeah, yeah and I love you too.”
Jim blew him a bunch of kisses. “Love you too, little bro.”
Steven decided the best thing to do was to completely ignore his brother after sticking his tongue out at him. Steven turned to his Father. “Dad?”
“Saturday’s my birthday.”
William smiled at his young son. “I know. Do you still want to go to the Fisherman’s Warf?”
“Yeah. Maybe we could go after Blair gets his hair cut? Simon you’re going with us right.?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Steven smiled happily. “Cool.”
“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have a birthday party? Invite all your friends?” William asked, pulling his soon to be ten year old son into a hug.
“Na. Rather hang out with my family.”
“Okay,” William said, him kissing the top of his son’s head. “One birthday celebration at Fisherman’s Warf coming up. Don’t forget to tell me what you’d like for your present.”
Steven smiled up at his father. “I’m kinda leaning toward a computer. Is that okay?”
William returned the smile. “Whatever you want. You’re only ten once.”
“Cool. You’re the best father in the whole world.”
William chuckled. “I know.” He replied, rubbing his son’s back affectionately.
Saturday afternoon found Blair sitting in Jim’s lap getting his first hair cut. He wasn’t scared, instead looking around curiously as the rest of the Ellison household got a hair cut as well. Well except for Sally who sat in a chair over by door reading a magazine.
“Okay, so how do you want it cut?” Mr. Beans asked Jim. Their barber for what seemed like forever.
“Hmm, not to short. But short enough so that it doesn’t get in his face to much.”
Mr. Beans smiled. “You got it. So what’s it like being a Sentinel?”
“Hmm, well it’s not too bad once you learn how to filter out everything that could make you gag, go blind or deaf you. Blair’s been a great help. Wait, wait, could I have that?” Jim asked the barber as he was about to drop a tuff of cut Blair hair to the floor.
“Sure thing.” Mr. Beans said amicably.
Steven had just finished his hair cut came up to them brushing his neck for stray hair asked. “What do you want it for?”
Jim looked at him defensively. “Because I do. Got a problem with it?” He challenged.
Steven shrugged. “No problem. Don’t get you nose all bent out of shape. Geez.”
“Well fine then. Go away,” Jim told him, accepting another tuff of cut hair from the Mr. Beans.
Steven gave his brother a hurt look. “Is that any way to treat me on my birthday?”
Jim gave him a tiny smile. “Sure is and if you don’t go away I’m going to give you a birthday licking to go with it.”
Steven gasped in horror. “You’d beat me up on my birthday.”
Jim nodded. “Yup. Just to show you how much I love you.”
“I’d rather have a new game for the X-Box. Thank you very much.”
“All done.” Mr. Beans, broke in use to this kind of squabbles between the two younger Ellisons. Nothing had changed since they’d starting coming to him at the age of three and four respectively
Both Jim and Steven looked at Blair. Jim’s blue eyes widened in wonder. “Oh, Blair you look so cute.”
Mr. Beans had cut Blair’s hair in such a way that it seemed to have made Blair’s hair even curlier. The tight curls framing his cute little face and making his eyes seem even bluer. And it wasn’t even that much shorter.
Blair smiled at his enchanted Sentinel. “Jim silly,” He giggled, shyly.
“No, you do. You look so cute. Doesn’t he, Steven?”
“Yeah well at least he doesn’t look like a girl any more. Can we go now? I’m hungry.”
“Geez, you and your stomach,” Jim said as he pulled Blair into his arms, kissing his little Guide on the forehead.
“Shut up. It’s my birthday and I can be hungry if I want. Hey, Simon-hmm, nice hair cut.” Steven told Simon as he came up to them.
“It’s not to short. It’s to short, isn’t it?”
Steven looked at Simon critically. “Well to tell you the truth I don’t really see any difference.”
Simon sighed in relief. “Good. Then they did a good job.”
Steven rolled his eyes. “You’re just as weird as my goofy brother,” he said watching Mr. Beans place tuffs of cut Blair hair in a small box as Jim watched anxiously. “Is that a Sentinel thing?”
Simon looked over at the Sentinel/Guide pair. “Hmm, yeah it is. It’s an instinctual thing. If for some reason Blair and Jim are separated Jim will use those little tuffs of hair to ground him and keep him from zoning until Blair can get to him.”
“He’s not going to save all the hair from every hair cut from now on is he? If he does he’ll have enough hair to have Sally knit him a sweater by the time Blair’s fifteen.”
Simon smiled at Steven. “No, it won’t get that bad. This is the first hair cut since they’ve been together and so it’ll be more than enough. Jim and Blair will be having a lot of firsts together.”
Steven narrowed his blue eyes. “Is this one of those things I may not want to know about? Dad hasn’t had THE TALK with me yet. You do know that, right?
Simon chuckled. Steven was a character and one of the reasons he loved living at the Ellison household. Steven was always ready with a wisecracking comment and always one step ahead of everyone else. The youngest Ellison had gone out of his way to make him feel welcome. That in itself meant a lot to Simon and had earned Steven a special place in his heart.
“Yeah, I know. It’s not too bad and I know that you want to know how best to help your brother and Blair. So there’s nothing wrong in being educated in Sentinel ways,” Simon said, knowing how deeply Steven loved his brother and Jim’s little Guide. And would do anything for them.
“I guess. Hey, look Dad’s ready. Let’s go eat.”
DINNER AND A ZONE
They had to wait for the restaurant staff to ready their table. While they waited Jim showed Blair the tank where all the lobsters were held. Laughing softly as Blair proceeded to name each and every one of them.
“How can you tell the difference?” He asked his little Guide, holding Blair close in his arms as they looked into the tank.
Blair pointed. “See der- that Mickey. He gots a white dot on hand.”
“Claw. That’s a claw.”
“Claw. And Benny gots a dark red spot on forehead. Ands Ralphie he gots cross-eyes.”
Just then they were called to their table. Dinner was a lively, happy affair. As they all joke and conversed as any family would on a special occasion.
Blair was happily feeding his Sentinel croutons when their waiter brought William and Simon’s food.
Steven was the first to notice something was wrong. He was sitting across from Blair and Jim. He noticed Blair’s blue eyes getting bigger and bigger, beginning to fill with tears as the little Guide stared over at the lobster tank and then at the two plates in front of his Dad and Simon.
He cussed inwardly. “Jim, look there’s a Koi pond over there, why don’t you take Blair to go see it?” He said, hurried before Blair could freak any more than he was about to.
“But our food will be here any minute,” Jim protested.
“Go. Go now. Hurry,” Steven urged. Trying his best to show Jim with his eyes where the problem was without making things worse. And his dense brother wasn’t getting it. Until finally…
“Oh, shit,” Jim hurriedly got off the chair and practically ran with Blair to the Koi pond. While Steven told his Dad and Simon to get rid of the lobsters quick before Blair came back.
“Look Blair aren’t they pretty?” Jim asked, trying his best to distract his little Guide.
“Will and Simon eat Ralphie and Mickey?” Blair asked, bottom lip trembling.
“No, no it couldn’t have been them,” Jim denied. Damn. He should never have showed Blair the lobsters.
“Dey eat. Dey on plates. Ralphie and Mickey no tank,” Blair said, the trembling of his bottom lip increasing. Tears beginning to fall from those big, blue eyes.
Jim didn’t know what to do. Lie or tell the truth. He could lie and tell him that his Dad and Simon weren’t about to eat two of the lobsters he’d gotten to know and name. But that wasn’t the truth and he couldn’t do that to his little Guide.
Jim sighed heavily pulling Blair into his arms. “I’m sorry, Baby. They didn’t know. Really they didn’t. They aren’t going to any more. They’re going to get popcorn shrimp like Steven, you and me. They’re sorry. They’re really sorry.”
Blair buried his head against Jim’s neck snuffing wetly. “No like,” he said, sadly.
“I know, Baby. I know. I’m sorry,” Jim replied, running his hand up and down his little Guide’s back. As Blair wrapped his arms around as much of Jim as he could, seeking the comfort his Sentinel readily gave.
Finally calmer Blair pulled slightly away from Jim. “Are you feeling better, Baby?” Jim asked softly. Hating seeing those big, blue eyes all swollen and red.
Blair nodded. “I is better.”
Jim kissed Blair’s forehead gently. “Wanna look at the Koi for a little bit?”
Blair nodded again. He smiled slightly watching the large colorful fish swimming back and forth in the pond. Suddenly he stiffened. “Will and Simon no eat?” he asked, bottom lip beginning to tremble, eyes filling with tears all over again.
“No, Baby. Will and Simon no eat.” Jim promised solemnly. “Don’t cry. I swear they won’t.”
Jim pulled his little Guide to him. “You can name them, Baby.”
They knelt in front of the pond, arms around each other as Blair proceeded to name all the fish.
Suddenly the lights in the restaurant flickered, sending a bright, colorful flash of light into the pond. Jim caught in its rays as it bounced off the water, stiffened.
From the table William, Simon , Steven and Sally watched as Jim comforted his little Guide. Having gotten rid of the lobsters. That was the last time they’d ever order lobster around Blair. Sally hadn’t had to worry she’d order a fish sandwich. Which she mentioned to them several times.
William noticed first. “Oh, my God…Jim…he’s zoned.”
They approached the Sentinel/Guide pair quietly. “Don’t do anything?” Simon instructed softly. “Let Blair do what he has to. What he was born to do.”
They watched. As did everyone in the restaurant. No one talked. No one dared make a sound as they watched. Sentinels and Guides were rare. To have the privilege of seeing a pair up close was true honor. Especially a pairing as young and rare as Jim and Blair.
Blair had felt Jim stiffen. He turned to look at him tilting his curly head to one side as he contemplated his Sentinel. Reaching out a tiny hand, he ran a forefinger over the bridge of Jim’s nose. And with the simplicity of that touch brought his Sentinel back from a potentially fatal zone.
“B…Blair?” Jim questioned shakily. “W…what happened?”
“You zoned, Son.” William told him as he knelt in front
“I…I zoned?” Jim asked dazedly, pulling Blair to him with a weary sigh. His little Guide began releasing scent. Jim moaned softly as it ease his frayed nerves. Weakly he buried his face against the side of Blair’s neck.
No one answered as they waited for Blair to do his magic. It took a few minutes before Jim felt strong enough to pull away slightly.
“Better, Jim,” William asked his still trembling son.
“A…a little bit.”
“Do you know what you zoned on?” Simon questioned.
“T…there was a light. A real bright light and then a flash off the water. That’s all I remember.” Jim pulled Blair to him even tighter. Sighing as he felt his little Guide’s hands gently rub his back. “Thank you, Baby.” He said, kissing Blair’s forehead.
Jim gave his worried little Guide a smile. “Much better, Baby. Thanks to you.”
“I glad,” Blair replied, kissing Jim’s nose.
Simon looked at the little Guide. “Blair, what did you do?” he asked not really expecting to get an answer he could use.
“I help my Sentinell.”
“Dang it. Why did I ask? I know better. Yet I keep setting myself up,” Simon ranted.
William laughed. “Yes, you do. And weren’t you going to wait until Blair was at least twelve to ask him questions?”
“Yes. I was, but nine years is along time to wait,” Simon said, sighing sadly, wistfully.
“Are you alright?” The manager of the restaurant, a tall, blond man asked Jim worriedly.
Jim looked up at him, blue eyes still slightly glazed. “I…I’m better. Thank-you.”
“I don’t know what happened. The restaurant lighting must have flickered. I’m so sorry. We appreciate your business and to keep it, your meals are on the house. And the next time you come in, I assure you, we will be Sentinel safe.”
William helped his shaky son to his feet. “Thank-you. That’s very nice of you, but not necessary. What happened was an accident and no ones fault.”
“We want to make sure of it. An electrician will be called in to check it out.” The manager said with a smile. “It is quite an honor to have the world’s youngest Sentinel and his little Guide here at Fisherman’s Wharf.”
“You know about Jim and Blair?” William asked in surprise.
The manager nodded. “Oh, yes. Their names and pictures were in the papers awhile back. They’re celebrities here in Cascade.”
“Simon? Do you know anything about this?” William asked the Doctor, frowning heavily.
Simon had the good grace to look slightly guilty. “Hmm, yes. When a Sentinel/Guide bond it’s printed in the local paper. They’re extremely rare, William. Nothing to hide or be ashamed of.”
“We agreed that they were to grow up as normal as possible, Simon.”
“Yes, we did. And they will, but in case something happens there’ll be a city looking out for them.”
“How can you be so sure that everyone will have their best interests at heart?”
“Law of averages. If there is someone looking to do them harm there is no way they’ll be able to get through a city of two million who want only the best for them.”
“That’s the most convoluted logic I’ve ever heard. But we will talk about this at home. Let’s celebrate Steven’s birthday shall we?”
“God, finally. Someone remembers me, “Steven said sadly.
William pulled his youngest son into a bear hug. “No one has forgotten you, Steven. Least of all on your birthday. Come on let’s go back to the table.” William glared at Simon. “And you and I will have words back at the house.” He promised the Doctor.
Simon nodded. Not looking forward to having a discussion with the over-protective father. “Alright.” He replied, quietly following the family back to the table.
The celebration had lost a little of it joviality, but it quickly came back as everyone at the table and all over the restaurant watched as the little Guide became extremely protective with his shaky Sentinel.
The restaurant gave them new meals to replace those that had gotten cold. Plates of popcorn shrimp all around except for Sally who still wanted a fish sandwich. Which she reminded William and Simon about again when Blair looked at their plates suspiciously and then over at the lobster tank. Making sure all the lobsters were still there.
Blair sat on Jim’s lap carefully feeding his trembling Sentinel. “Poor Jim,” he said as he gently stroked Jim’s face with his tiny hands. “I make better,” he promised.
“I know you will, Baby,” Jim told him, sighing as he gave himself into his little Guide’s healing touch.
William looked around the restaurant when he heard someone near them utter an audible ‘Aw.’ He chewed on a cheese biscuit angrily. “This is not good. Not good at all. I really wish you’d told me about the newspapers, Simon. So that I could have put a stop to it.”
Simon looked over at the young Sentinel/Guide pair. Jim’s face buried in Blair’s neck keening very, very softly. Oblivious to the fact they were being watched by everyone in the restaurant. “I didn’t think it would be a problem.”
“Obviously there is,” William told him harshly. “I will not allow Jim and Blair to become objects of interest to the general public. What next? Do we sell tickets so people can come into our home to view them? I won’t have it.”
“That won’t happen. I assure you, that won’t happen, William.”
“Can you guarantee that, Simon? Unequivocally?”
Simon took a drink of his coffee. It would seem this conversation would not make it to the house. He gave Steven an apologetic look. The younger Ellison shrugged his shoulders.
“Yes,” he answered softly.
“Cascade is the only city to have a Sentinel/Guide pairing as young as Jim and Blair. Do you know how rare that is?”
William brushed that off. “You have mentioned that before and it does not answer my question.”
“The world knows about Jim and Blair, William. There was no hiding the fact when they bonded. And Cascade has them.”
“What is that suppose to mean?”
“When Jim came online and he was the youngest Sentinel in recorded history to do so. Alex can be included in there somewhere, but let’s not talk about her. Word spread like wildfire. Potential Guides came from all over wanting to bond with him. But then a little munchkin the size of an ant waltzed right in and took him for himself, right under their noses.”
“William, I’m not sure you know exactly how much is riding on this Sentinel/Guide pairing,” Simon told him softly.
“What the hell are you talking about?” William asked impatiently.
“William, Jim is already showing signs that he will be one of the best Watchman the world has ever know.”
“Simon…” William sighed heavily. “Just spit it out. In an English I can understand.”
“Alright. Jim has been tested constantly, much to his very vocal distaste. He can already sense volcanoes getting ready to erupt, earthquakes about to take place continents away and he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. He will be Watchman not only for Cascade, but for the planet. But because he was born and will be raised in Cascade, the city has first dibs on where he will be stationed when he is of age.”
“Simon, Jim wants to be a policeman. It’s a dream he’s has had since he was very small.”
“Yes,” Simon nodded slowly. “I know.”
“I won’t have his dreams squashed as if they never existed.”
“They won’t be.”
William glared at Simon. “You better believe they won’t be. I’ll pack up my family and disappear off the face off the earth before I allow that to happen. Do you hear me, Simon?”
The Doctor gave William a tiny smile. “Loud and clear, William.”
William nodded. “Fine. Tell me the rest of it.”
Simon looked over at the Sentinel/Guide pair still cuddling close. Blair feeding his Sentinel food in between kisses. “Offers are coming in from all over the world, William. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Offers of full scholarships to the best schools. Offers of money, cars, homes. You name it, it’s being offered to woe Jim into going to their city and be their Watchman.”
“Jim is eleven years old, Simon. There is no way he can make a choice like that right now. Look at him. He’d rather be with Blair and his friends. He has plans on playing football next year. Which I will fully encourage.”
“I know. That’s why I haven’t mentioned it before. And many of the offers are not only for Jim but for Blair as well. They think if they can get to the Guide the Sentinel will follow.”
“Simon, Blair is three. Three years old, God damn it. Sorry, Blair,” He automatically apologized when the little Guide looked over at him and growled softly. “I go into the lawyer’s office on Monday to sigh the adoption papers. Blair will be one of my sons and I will not have him be a pawn in some sort of game.”
Simon sighed heavily. “I know that as well, William. That’s why I haven’t said anything sooner. I knew you’d get upset.”
“Upset doesn’t even begin to cover the way I’m feeling right now, Simon.”
“I know, I know.”
William turned to his youngest son whose birthday dinner was now ruined. “I’m sorry, Son.”
Steven smiled at his father. “That’s okay, Dad. Its better that this all get fixed and besides, I’ve got a great new computer at home. So I’m happy. Can I ask something though?”
“Sure, Son, what is it?”
“If all these really cool offers are coming in for Jim and Blair what happens to them until Jim and Blair are old enough to decide what they want to do?”
Two pairs of blue eyes looked at Simon curiously. “They don’t have an expiration date if that’s what you mean,” he answered softly.
“Can you keep a record of everything that their being offered? Well, actually can we look at the offers?” Steven asked.
“Well, because I think that Jim might like to look at them eventually. Well when he quits being so mushy with Blair,” Steven answered, looking over at his brother who had his face buried in Blair’s newly cut hair. “Maybe we could put all the best ones in a folder or something. Ones that fit into what Jim and Blair might want to do when they get older.”
“That’s a great idea,” William said, smiling at his smart son.
“That’d be kinda hard right now though considering Blair’s still a baby,” Steven said, biting his lip thoughtfully.
Blair turned to glare at him almost dislodging Jim who still had his face buried in his hair, purring away happily.
“I no baby. I tree.”
Jim looked up, no longer purring. “Yeah, he’s tree, you fool,” He added, voicing his displeasure as well.
Steven rolled his eyes.” I know you’re three, Blair,” He said ignoring his stupid brother. “This is for when you’re a lot older. Right now you’re still too little. This is for college and stuff like that.”
“College what?” Jim asked, still slightly disoriented.
“Haven’t you being listening to anything we’ve been talking about?” Steven asked in exasperation.
Jim gave him a goofy grin. “Nope.” He said before burying his nose on Blair’s hair once again.
Steven rolled his eyes again. “Geez. It’s a good thing you’ve got me looking out for you.”
“Yeah it is,” Jim readily agreed.
Steven’s blue eyes widened in astonishment. “You’re admitting it?”
Jim shrugged. “Why not. It’s your birthday after all.”
Steven narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “What are you after?”
“Nothing,” Jim replied, sitting straighter in his chair now that he was feeling better. “Can’t I show my appreciation for my brother on his birthday?”
“And?” Steven prompted, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“And nothing. You’re my brother and I love you.”
Steven felt his eyes fill with tears. “Y…you do?”
Jim smiled at him. “Yeah. Just don’t let it go to your head.”
Steven returned the smile, blinking away tears. “Okay,” he said happily. “That’s way better than the X-Box game you gave me. Thanks Jim.” He turned to his father. “Can we have ice cream now? Ice cream would make this the best birthday yet.”
William blinked away his own tears. He’d known that his sons were close, not until tonight had he realized exactly how close. He reached over and gently tucked his son’s hair behind his ear. He had the best sons in the world, Blair included. “You can have whatever you want, Son.”
Once they’d gotten back from the restaurant Jim had carried Blair up to the bedroom and was now cuddling with him on the bed. Happily listening to the gentle beating of his little Guide’s heart, allowing it to sooth his frayed nerves. Zoning hurt, it really hurt in a way that was hard to explain to someone who wasn’t a Sentinel. It was as if every sense he had, be it hearing, sight, scent, touch, sparked, sending a flash fire of pain through his nerves overloading them, then there was nothing. Nothing until a tiny touch across the bridge of his nose brought him back to look shakily into the worried blue eyes of his little Guide.
Jim purred contently as he listened to Blair’s heartbeat, rubbing his head against the soft flannel cloth of Blair’s shirt. Feeling tiny, gentle hands stroking his hair. His little Guide was releasing scent, slowly and steadily. Healing the part of him that had been hurt by the zone.
He knew that zones were dangerous. Could in fact be deadly if a Sentinel stayed in one to long. Simon had told him as much, but all he knew was that he didn’t like it. Not one little bit. But he sure did like the cuddling he did with Blair afterwards.
He looked up at Blair, careful not to dislodge the gentle hands still stroking his hair. “I love you, Blair.”
His little Guide smiled at him. “I knows. I luvs you too.”
Jim sighed. “Will you always love me, Blair?” He asked, laying his head back down on Blair’s chest, right over his heart.
“For always.” Blair answered softly. It was all Jim heard, lured into sleep by the gentle beating of his little Guide’s heart and the scent that was visible prove of Blair’s love for him
WHO HIDES, WHO SEEKS
Steven walked into the living room carrying a plate with a huge sandwich Sally was nice enough to make for him. It was Sunday the day after his birthday and all was right with his world. He plopped down on the couch next to Jim. Who was sitting on the couch arms crossed staring at the TV.
“Don’t know.” Came the short answer.
“Oh. Where’s Blair?”
“Playing hide and seek with Rafe.”
“Oh.” Steven looked at the TV screen. “Cartoons?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Before he could take a bite of his sandwich, he turned startled eyes toward Jim. “Are you growling?”
Jim turned to glare at him. “And what if I am? Wanna make something out of it?”
“No,” he replied, handing Jim half of his sandwich. Taking a bite of his own. “You could try tracking him you know?” he said.
“And if I don’t want to?” Jim asked taking a vicious bite of the sandwich, making Steven wince.
“He’s your Guide,” He told him softly.
Jim sighed unhappily. “I know.”
“Then whatcha worried about?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you jealous of Rafe?”
Jim nibbled on his sandwich thoughtfully. “Maybe. Would that be wrong?” he asked looking at his brother, blue eyes dark with worry.
“Not really. At least that’s my uneducated thought.”
“I don’t know what I feel. Blair’s mine, right?”
“No one else can take him from me?”
“That’s what I’ve heard and read,” Steven reassured him.
“Then why do I feel so funny every time Rafe gets near Blair?”
“Don’t know. Don’t worry about it so much.”
Jim sighed. “I can’t help it. It’s getting to where I don’t like Rafe much anymore. Especially when he’s near Blair, but I can’t keep him from him. They’re friends.”
“Yeah, that would be bad. Whatcha going to do?”
“I don’t know. Got any suggestions?” Jim asked hopefully.
“Well, keep letting them be friends, but for now, how about trying to track Blair?”
“I couldn’t do it last time. He blocked me, remember?”
“Yeah, but now you have a secret weapon,” Steven said smiling.
Jim perked up at that. “Yeah, what?”
“What did you do with Blair’s hair from his haircut?”
“It’s in the nightstand between our beds.”
Steven’s smile grew. “Go get it. Let’s see if we can get you to track Blair with it.”
Jim returned the smile as he hurriedly got up from the couch, he ran upstairs coming back a few minutes later with a tiny box held carefully in his hands. He handed it to Steven. “Now what?”
“Okay, first can you sense Blair?”
Jim frowned as he concentrated. “Nope,” He said, shaking his head.
“Not at all?”
“Nope. Just Rafe trying to find him in the back yard. Dad in his office, typing away at his laptop. Sally making cookies-hmm smells really good-chocolate chip cookies. And Simon in his office going through a pile of papers six inches high mumbling about over- protective fathers and their ideas of normal life. What’s that suppose to mean and does he mean our Dad?”
“Yeah he means our Dad, but don’t worry about that now,” Steven told him, opening the box carefully. “Okay, I want you to focus your senses on the hair. Concentrate on it. Sort of like it was a string leading you to Blair. Follow it.”
“What if I can’t?”
“Try, dumbass. How are you going to know you can’t, if you don’t even try.”
Jim frowned at Steven, but did as he was told. Concentrating with everything in him to find something, anything that would lead him to his little Guide. Suddenly there was something. There. Just out of reach. He grasped at it time and time again only to have it slip out of his hands and move away from him.
“I can’t. There’s something there, but I can’t reach it,” Jim said in frustration.
“Try again. Concentrate. You can do it.”
Jim watched the string or whatever it was and just as it started to moved away he jumped on it, grabbing hard he pulled it towards him. Suddenly he found he could sense Blair. He knew where he was. He could feel his little Guide. He could feel him. Jim opened his eyes to look at an expectant Steven.
“I can sense him. I know where he is,” Jim said happily. “Oh, God, Steven I know where he is. Where he’s hiding.”
“Great, “Steven told him. “Wanna go get him?”
Jim furrowed his brow as he thought about it. “Naw. I know where he is and that I can find him no matter where he hides so I feel better. And besides where he’s hidden himself Rafe will never find him. It’s a great hiding place,” Jim said admiringly.
“Where is he hiding?”
“The cubby under the stairs.”
“Cool. I never would have thought to look for him there,” Steven replied, smiling at Jim.
“Yeah, me neither. He’s coloring in his coloring book right now as he waits for Rafe.” Jim took the box filled with tuffs of Blair’s hair and carefully placed the cover back on it. “Thanks, Steven. I feel lots better now.”
“Yeah, well don’t sweat the small stuff and for the bigger stuff I’m here and I’ll help you with whatever you need.”
“I know and I am grateful,” Jim told him smiling. A smile that lit up Jim’s whole face now that he knew he’d be able to find Blair no matter what and he had Steven to thank for that.
“Yeah, well don’t let it go to you head.” Steven told him, punching him hard in the arm.
“Okay.” Jim said, rubbing his arm. “Wanna watch Rafe try and find Blair?” He asked, his smile turning mischievous.
“Yeah, but you make the popcorn.”
Jim stood up. “Alright. Do you want a soda?”
“Yeah. Dr. Pepper, please.”
While Jim was gone Simon walked into the living room caring a big stack of paper. “Is that the stuff people have being sending in to bribe Jim and Blair?” Steven asked curiously.
“Yes. Want to have a look?”
“Yeah. Has Dad had a look at it yet?”
Simon handed the bulging folder to Steven. “Yes, but he’s not interested in any of it.”
“Hmm. Jim will be right back and we’ll go through it see if any thing perks his interest.”
“Okay.” Simon looked around the room. “Hey, where’s Blair?”
“Playing hide and seek with Rafe.”
“And Jim’s not having a major cow over it?”
“Well he was, but we figure away around that,” Steven told him smiling.
Simon sat down. “How’s that?”
“Jim brought down his little box with Blair’s hair in it and I had him use it to track his little Guide with it.”
“And it worked?”
“Hell, yeah. Make Jim real happy too,” Steven told him, chuckling. “Now Jim’s making popcorn so we can watch Rafe try and find Blair. Wanna watch. Should be good for a laugh or two ‘cause Rafe’s never going to find him.”
Simon laughed. “Yeah. Sounds like fun. And how do you know Rafe’s never going to find Blair?”
Steven looked at Simon blue eyes twinkling. “Cause we never would have thought of looking for him there.”
“Oh. Guess that makes sense.”
“Yeah. Hey, wanna soda to go with the popcorn?”
“Sure. A Dr. Pepper.”
“Hey, Jim,” Steven yelled, deafening Simon. “Simon’s gonna watch with us. Bring him a Dr Pepper, too.”
“Okay.” Came the muffled shout back.
Simon looked at the youngest Ellison, rubbing his ringing ears. “He’s a Sentinel. You could have whispered and he would have heard you. I’m deaf now,” He said chidingly.
Steven gave him a sheepish grin. “Oops, forgot about that. Sorry.”
All three watched as Rafe tried furtively to find the hiding little Guide. Sharing popcorn and soda as they looked through the folder Simon had provided at the same time.
“No luck, Rafe?” Steven asked the fifth time Rafe came into the living room.
“No. The little turd sure hides good,” Rafe replied, taking a drink of soda from Steven’s glass.
Dark eyes stared at the unconcerned young Sentinel as Jim munched on popcorn. “You know where he is don’t you?” Rafe accused.
Jim nodded, tossing more popcorn into his mouth. “Yup.”
“Care to share the location?”
Jim gave Rafe a tight smile. “Because Blair’s not playing hide and seek with me.”
Rafe sat down on the loveseat. “Is he alright?”
“Yup. He fell asleep about twenty minutes ago. Want some popcorn?”
“Thank,” Rafe replied reaching into the bowl. “I hate you. You do know that right?”
“Hmm.” Came the unconcerned reply.
“Okay then. Just so you know. What are you guys looking at?”
“Bribes Jim’s getting ‘cause he’s a Sentinel,” Steven replied.
“Cool. Are there any good ones?”
“Yup. Hey Jim do you want a laser red Mustang?” Steven asked, looking at a pamphlet.
“Hmm, I guess I would, if I could drive.”
“Yeah, that could be a bit of a problem,” Steven chuckled.
“Wow. There’s offers of full college scholarships with room and board for both you and Blair in here.” Rafe said in awe as he looked over some of the pamphlets.
“Yeah, there is,” Jim replied. “But it’s in places I really don’t want to live. Like Alaska. Not that there’s anything wrong with Alaska, but have you ever tried to surf in Alaska?” Everyone in the room shivered. “See.”
Steven looked at Jim. “Hey, what do you care about surfing anyway? You don’t surf.”
Jim returned the look hauntingly. “Dad, promised me surfing lessons for my next birthday so there,” He replied, sticking his tongue out at his brother.
Steven laughed. “Oh and how old are you going to be, two?”
Jim tilted his head sideways as if listening for something. “Good he’s still asleep. Screw you, Steven,” He said succulently.
Steven gasped. “Oh, I am so going to tell on you.”
“Oh, and who’s Blair going to believe, you or me?” Jim told him. “I am after all his Sentinel.”
“He might not believe me, but I’ve got witnesses. Huh, Simon? Huh, Rafe?”
“Don’t involve me. This isn’t my fight,” The Doctor told Steven, smiling.
“Oh. Hmm, you’ll back me up won’t you Rafe?”
“Snitch,” Jim hissed at Rafe, earning a big grin from his friend.
“You better believe it. Think of it as payback for not telling me where Blair is.”
“Hey look at this,” Steven said breaking into Jim and Rafe’s conversation before it could get ugly and it could considering the way Jim was starting to feel about Rafe. “The state of Nevada is offering you a free trip to Las Vegas. No strings attached. Just so you can see their beautiful state and might choose to live there. Their words, not mine.”
“Yeah?” Jim asked, slightly interested despite himself, still glaring at Rafe, who glared back.
“Yeah, you can take as many people as you want. Stay wherever you want for one week. Even the cost of food is thrown in.” Steven gave Jim an awed looked. “Wow! They really want you.”
Jim shrugged. “I guess. But what if I don’t want to move to Neveda when I’m older and besides none of us can gamble. Well, except for Dad, Sally and Simon.”
“You deweeb, didn’t you read the pamphlet? There’s a lot of other things to do in Las Vegas besides gamble.”
“Don’t call me names. Like what?”
Well, let’s see here,” Steven said looking over the pamphlet. “Caesar’s has The Fall of Atlantis. The Luxor has a display of the kid king, hmm Tutankhamen and lots of other old dusty history stuff. The Hilton’s got the Star Trek Experience. There’s all kinds of things to see and do,” Steven added looking at his brother hopefully.
Jim smiled at him. “You really want to go?”
“Yeah. We got spring break coming up soon and this sure beats staying home not doing anything.”
“I don’t know. Wouldn’t that be kind of like taking advantage? Blair and I may not even decide to go to Nevada. What if I want to stay here in Cascade and be a cop like I’ve always wanted to?” Jim asked, looking over at Simon who was quietly listening.
“It doesn’t hurt to leave all your choices open, Jim. You’re still very young. You’ve got many years ahead to decide what it is you want to do with your life. Look through the offers you’re receiving and see if anything interests you. You’re not committing yourself, you’re just keeping your options open.”
Jim sighed biting his lip thoughtfully. “That’s true.” He turned to Steven. “Do you think we can talk Dad into it?”
Steven gave him a huge grin. “Piece of cake. We’ll just use our secret weapon.”
Steven nodded. “Blair. All he’s got to do is give Dad ‘the look’ and it’s a done deal. Is he still asleep, by the way?”
Jim tilted his head to the side, listening. “Yeah.”
“You know you’re not freaking cause he’s not within eye shot?”
“Yeah, I think you helping me figure out how to track him helped,” Jim told him thoughtfully.
“How did you come up with the idea?” Simon asked curiously.
Steven smiled at him. “Something you told me about the tuffs of hair and what a Sentinel does with it. If Jim’s going to use it to keep from zoning when Blair’s not around there’s no reason he can’t use it track him down. It’s kinda like following the trail.”
“Ah. Guess that make’s sense.”
“Are you going to put that in your book?” Steven asked, grabbing a handful of popcorn.
“Hell, yeah,” Simon told him gleefully.
“Cool. I get to be in a Sentinel book and I’m not even a Sentinel.” He offered Jim the bowl of popcorn. “So who you gonna take to Las Vegas?”
Jim nibbled on a kernel. “Hmm, Blair, you, Dad, Sally. Can you get time off Simon and go with us?” Smiling at the nod the Doctor gave him.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Cool. Hmm, wanna go to Las Vegas, Rafe?” Jim asked, forgetting he was annoyed with Rafe.
Rafe forgetting he was annoyed with Jim as well. “Sure, sounds like fun.”
Jim nodded. “Cool. We can ask H and Carl if they wanna come, too. I think that should be about everyone.”
Simon chuckled. “This is going to cost the state of Nevada a pretty penny.”
Jim’s blue eyes widened . “Too much? Do you think it’s to much?”
Simon shook his head. “No Jim it’s not too much. Nevada won’t mind. They’re trying to woe the youngest and potentially most powerful Sentinel the planet has ever known. They’ll pay for your trip without even blinking their collective eyes.”
Jim smiled slightly at Simon. “Dad’s not going to like you talking that way. ‘Cause it might go to my head.”
“I doubt that,” Simon scoffed. “He’ll make sure of that.”
Jim, Steven and Rafe chuckled at that, knowing it to be true. Jim suddenly tilted his head. “Blair’s waking up. I better go get him before he starts to get scared. Steven, you get to tell Dad about this trip you want to take.”
“You betcha,” Jim told him as he rose up from the couch. “Blair’s waiting for me. See ya.”
Jim reached into the cubby to pick up his sleepy little Guide. “How you doin’, Baby?”
Blair rubbed his face sleepily against Jim’s chest. “I is good.”
Jim kissed the top of Blair’s curly head. “Good. Wanna go to our room and cuddle?”
Jim carried his little Guide up to their room carefully laying him on the bed before toeing off his shoes and climbing on top. He gathered Blair to him with a happy sigh.
“I love cuddling with you, Baby.”
“I like lots, too.”
The room was silent for a long moment before Blair moved out of Jim’s arms to climb on top of his Sentinel, straddling his chest. He peered down into Jim’s face.
“How you find?”
“Huh?” Jim asked dopily, already lost in Blair’s warmth and clean scent.
“How you find?” Blair asked again, getting right in Jim’s face.
“Hmm, Steven helped me,” Jim said with a weak smile.
Blair’s beautiful blue eyes narrowed. “Steven help Jim cheat?”
“Hmm, yes?” Jim questioned sheepishly. “I love you, Blair,” He offered, hoping Blair wouldn’t get to angry.
Blair tilted his head to the side looking at him cutely. “I luvs you, too, but not nice cheat.”
Jim smiled up at him. “I know, but you know what?”
“I can play hide and seek with you now and not be afraid.”
Blair gave him a brilliant smile. “Really?” Showing Jim that Blair truly missed not being able to play his favorite game with his Sentinel.
“Yup,” Jim told him. “I didn’t want to play because I was afraid I’d lose you and wouldn’t be able to find you. Steven helped me find a way to track you when you block me. I don’t have to be afraid.”
Blair kissed his nose. “No need be afraid. Ever. Ever. I here.”
“I know,” Jim sighed softly. “But I was still afraid.” He pulled Blair to him wrapping his arms around his little Guide. “But I’m not any more so I’ll play hide and seek with you whenever you want and I’ll only cheat when I have to. Deal?”
Blair smiled at him, kissing his nose. “Deal. Play now?”
“Later. Cuddle now?”
Blair nodded his curly head. “Cuddle now,” he replied settling himself contently on top of his Sentinel. Murmuring happily when Jim began purring, telling him in a way words could not that everything in their world was good.