Title: Tug of War
Pairing: Jim/Blair (very preslash)
Note: Beta by my sister Anna. All remaining errors are mine. With apologies.
Note 2: Part 8 in The Littlest Guide universe.
Tug of War
“Mommy,” Blair yelled happily, scrambling to get off the couch, accidentally hitting Jim on the nose with his casted hand.
“I sorry,” Blair said, touching Jim’s nose regretfully.
“It’s okay, Baby. Go see your Mom,” Blair looked at him for a moment as if unsure if he should go or not. “Go. Your Sentinel will be alright.”
Jim smiled at him. “I’m sure. It’s okay. Go.”
After a moment Blair bounced off toward his mother. “Mommy.”
“Sweetie,” Naomi bent down gathering her son to her in a tight hug. “I’ve missed you,” She said kissing his forehead.
Blair returned the hug. “Miss you too, Mommy.”
“Where have you been, Naomi? We’ve looked everywhere for you,” William asked frowning.
“I’ve been in
Jim paled visibly when he heard that. “No.”
Steven who’d been handing Jim a Kleenex for his bloody nose told him, “It’s okay, Dad’ll never let that happen.”
“I don’t think so, Naomi. You’ve been gone what-eight, nine months? In all that time you have made no attempt to contact your son. Now all of a sudden you come waltzing in here with intentions of taking Blair. I don’t think so. You lost all rights to Blair. He’s my son now.”
Naomi stood with Blair in her arms. “I told you I was in
William crossed his arms as he glared at the pretty redhead. “I find that hard to believe that in all this time you never came across a phone or a post office.”
“I don’t care what you believe. Blair is MY son and he’s coming with me.”
Blair wiggled in her arms. “No, Mommy, no. I Guide.”
Naomi smiled at him. “Not if I can help it, Sweetie. You’ll be free to live your life the way the Goddess intended.”
Jim turned scared blue eyes toward his brother. “Steven.”
Steven squeezed Jim’s arm. “Not going to happen. Dad won’t let it happen.” Hating the look in his brother’s eyes, he glared at Naomi.
“But what if he can’t stop her from taking him? What am I going to do without Blair?”
“Shh, don’t panic. We’ll think of something. It’ll be okay.”
“You’re not taking Blair anywhere, Naomi,” William told her angrily.
“I can and I will. I’ll break the bond and set my son free.”
Simon moved closer. “It’s impossible. I already told you the bond is unbreakable. The only possible way is if Blair chose to break it and that’s not going to happen. Blair loves his Sentinel.”
“It will happen. I’ll take you to court if I have to-to free Blair,” Naomi threatened.
“You can’t win, but feel free to try, in the meantime Blair stays right where he’s at.” William looked at the struggling little boy in Naomi’s arms. “Blair, son-go to Jim, please. He needs you.”
Blair looked over at Jim who was visibly trembling, renewing his struggles to free himself from his mother’s clinging arms.
“Mommy, let go. Jim need me,” He said, frustrated when she wouldn’t release him.
Naomi reluctantly let him go, watching him run toward Jim as fast as his little feet could take him. “See, that’s what I mean. He’s three years old and shouldn’t have this kind of responsibility. He should be enjoying his young life free from burden.”
“Blair doesn’t see Jim as a burden, Naomi. When are you going to get that through your thick skull?” Simon told her in disgust.
“I’m taking Blair to
William opened the door. “Feel free to try. For now please leave.”
Naomi looked over at Blair who was gently stroking his Sentinel’s head, murmuring softly to him. “I’ll be back. I’ll be back for you Blair.” With that she was gone, not noticing that Blair didn’t respond, lost in comforting his trembling Sentinel.
William slammed the door. “What an infuriating women. If it’s a war she wants, it’s a war she’s getting.” He went to kneel in front of the young Sentinel/Guide pair. “Jim? Son? Look at me.” His heart broke when he met Jim’s tear-filled eyes. “She won’t take Blair away from you. We won’t allow it. By the end of the day there will be a restraining order not allowing her within ten miles of either of you. Don’t worry,” He said softly, wiping the tears coursing down Jim’s pale face.
“What if you can’t stop her? D…dad, I can’t live without Blair. If she takes him, she takes my heart.”
William kissed Jim’s forehead gently. “That’s not going to happen, Son. I won’t let it.” With that he rose from the floor. “I’ll be in my office if you need me. Steven, take care of your brothers, please.”
“Okay, Dad,” Steven replied quietly.
“I’ll be in my office as well. Get the
When the adults left the room Steven turned toward Blair. “Baby brother-I’ve got to ask you a very serious question. Answer me the best way you can.” Blair nodded. “Do you want to stay with Jim?” The little Guide nodded again. “Even if your Mommy wants to take you away?”
“Jim, my Sentinell. Mine to protect. Mine to love.”
“Do you want to stay with him?”
“For always.” He replied softly, hugging his still trembling Sentinel.
Jim returned the hug. “I love you, Baby. Very, very much. But that may not be enough. He turned toward Steven. “What happens if she comes back and we find out she can take him?”
“What do you want to do?” Steven asked, not liking the haunted look in Jim’s eyes. Wanting to do whatever it took to make that look go away.
“I don’t know. I just don’t know. I can’t let her take him.”
Steven bit his lip hard as he thought about it. “Okay. Okay. We’ll think on it. For now do you need to bond?”
Jim nodded. “Y…yes. She’s scared the crap out of me. Sorry Blair.”
“Okay come on. You can bond in our bedroom while I think over a few things.”
Jim rose from the couch holding on to Blair tightly. “What are you planning?”
“Hmm, don’t know yet. All I know for sure is that I’m going to do what Dad told me and take care of my brothers.”
Fight or Flight
Steven watched quietly while Blair fixed Jim. Thinking of what to do. He already had some ideas. He needed to go out for a while and talk to some people though.
“Better?” he asked softly, not really liking how pale Jim was.
Jim nodded shakily. “Y…yeah.”
“How much money you got?”
“Hmm, about a hundred. Saving it to buy Blair a birthday present. Why?”
“I’ve got seventy-five,” Steven said, nibbling his bottom lip thoughtfully. “That won’t get us far.”
Jim looked at Steven in shock. “We can’t run.”
“Of course we can,” Steven replied. “problem there is a hundred and seventy five bucks isn’t going to get us far.”
Jim shook his head. “No, Steven. We can’t run. We’ve got to have faith that Dad will be able to stop Naomi from taking Blair.” He smiled at his brother. “Besides what will we do when the money runs out? Hold up a sign on the street corner ‘Sentinel/Guide pair on the run, please help’?”
Steven rolled his eyes. “No, moron. More like have you sell your worldly good.”
“What worldly goods? You know I’m gonna wait for Blair. I don’t know shit. Sorry, Blair. You know more than I do.”
Steven narrowed his eyes. “You expect ME to sell my worldly goods for YOU.” He shook his head. “I love you big brother, but I don’t love you that much. And besides what makes you think my worldly goods are any more experienced than your worldly goods?”
Jim smiled at him. “Well, I have heard talk around school about you.”
“You have? What kind of talk?”
“About your worldly good experience.”
Jim smile widened. “Yeah.”
Jim blew him a kiss. “Love you too.”
“Geez.” Steven replied, rolling his eyes. “I’m gonna get a haircut.” With that Steven walked out the bedroom.
Jim turned to Blair a puzzled look on his face. “Didn’t Steven get a haircut last week?”
The little Guide shrugged his slight shoulders.
A week passed. Then two. Everything seemed calm, but there was a tension in the air that was hard to ignore. Everyone was feeling it. Especially Jim.
Steven walked into their bedroom. Shaking his head, he smiled when he saw Jim bending down by Blair’s bookshelf. “Whatya doing, big brother?”
“N…nothing,” Jim replied hesitantly.
“Nothing, huh? This the same nothing that color-coded, size-coded, material-coded the closet?”
“Is this the same nothing that did the same thing to the shoes in the same closet?”
Jim shook his head. “Hmm, no.”
“Is this the same nothing that alphabetized my comic books by hero, villain and writer?”
Steven sat on his bed. “Is this the same nothing that has all the underwear, socks and t-shirts in the drawers rolled up into tight little balls you can’t even tell what the hell they are?”
Jim sat down on the floor in front of Blair’s bookshelf. “Are you trying to tell me something, Steven?”
Steven shook his head. “Hell, no.” He waved a finger. “Is this an anal retentive type of thing or a Sentinelie thingy you’ve got going here? Or maybe just a nervous twitch?” he added with a wryly smile.
“Is there something wrong with keeping the room neat and tidy making things easier for Sally?” Jim said defensively.
“There’s a difference in keeping the room neat and tidy and there’s what you’re doing. What next-you gonna scrub the bathroom with a toothbrush?”
Jim sat up straighter. “Why, you think it needs it?”
Steven gave Jim an incredulous look. “You’re kidding right?”
Jim smiled at him. “Yeah.”
Steven looked around the room. “Hey, where’s Blair?”
“Changing the kitty litter with Sally’s help.” Jim tilted his head. “He’s done and he’s coming up the stairs carrying a plate of chocolate chip cookies Sally just took out of the oven.”
“Cool. Is there enough for all of us?”
“Hmm, yeah. There’s eight on the plate.”
Steven looked at Jim, eyes narrowing. “How the hell do you know that?”
Jim rolled his eyes. “Duh, dumbass. Sentinel here.”
“Did you count the chips in the cookies too? So that you can get the ones with the most chocolate chips?”
“Ooh, great idea. Done. Don’t get the ones on the left side of the plate. I call those.”
“I hate you,” Steven told him with feeling.
“Yeah, yeah. Hmm, there’s three glasses of milk on the counter. Blair couldn’t carry them up here with him being only three and having a broken arm. Wanna get ‘um?”
“Ooh, bossy Watchman.”
“Oh, come on.”
“What are you gonna be doing while I go down and get the milk?”
Jim smiled at him. “Eating cookies with Blair.”
“I hate you.”
“So you keep telling me. Hurry up before the cookies get cold.”
Steven rose from the bed. “Alright, Alright. Why can’t you go get the milk?”
Jim held up his bandaged left hand. “Don’t wanna get my stitches wet.”
Steven sighed as he rose from the bed. “Oh, alright. Geez.” Steven eyed one of the drawers that Jim was working on, conveniently left open. “Oh, Jim?”
“Yeah?” Jim asked, looking up from organizing Blair’s coloring books, next came the colors. Even the broken ones were going to be organized. They were still good after all. To see Steven reach into the sock drawer tossing them all up into the air. Sending socks all over the room. He gasped in shock. “Steven, that took me an hour to organize. How could you?”
Steven smiled at him, an evil glint in his eyes. “Easy. As easy as doing this,” Saying that he reached into the t-shirt drawer and did the same thing.
“I’m going to seriously hurt you,” Jim threatened, reaching for him.
Steven smiled. “Ha,” He replied, easily skipping out of harms way. “Hey, little brother. I’ll be right back with the milk.” He told Blair as the little Guide entered the room. “Don’t let Jim get the cookies on the left, those are mine.”
Jim took the plate from Blair. “Wanna wait for Steven to come back with the milk?”
Blair nodded as he climbed on to the bed. “Yups.” He tilted his head to the side as he quietly contemplated his Sentinel. Finally. “Sad?” he asked softly.
“Yeah. A little,” Jim answered truthfully as he joined Blair on the bed.
Jim tucked a stray lock of hair behind his little Guide’s ear. “I don’t know. I…I was sort of hoping that when your Mom came back that she’d like m…me.” His breath hitched.
“I never really knew my Mom. All I remember was that she smelled really good and she would sing to me at night, before I’d go to sleep. I was kinda hoping…” his voice trailed off unable of finish the sentence.
Jim looked up to meet his little Guide’s sad, blue eyes. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Baby. It’s your Mom that doesn’t like me.”
Jim tugged at a lose piece of thread on their blanket. “You think so?”
“Blair?” Jim looked up, blue eyes suddenly vulnerable. “When you look at me what do you see?”
The little Guide tilted his head to the side again. “Pretty.”
Jim blushed. “You think I’m pretty?”
Blair shook his head. “Nope.”
“No?” Jim questioned, oddly disappointed. He felt a tiny hand caress the back of his as he continued to pull on the lose thread.
“No. Jim not pretty. Jim bee-u-t-full.”
Blair gave him a brilliant smile. “Yup. Bee-u-t-ful. Colors pretty. But Jim bee-u-t-ful.”
“My aura is pretty, but you think I’m beautiful?”
Jim smiled shyly at his Guide. “I think you’re beautiful, too,” He replied, stroking the side of Blair’s face with the forefinger of his left hand.
“Oh, God. If it wasn’t bad enough that they get mushy at the drop of a hat now their flirting. Gag,” Steven said, walking into the room carrying three glasses of milk.
“Oh shut up. Blair thinks I’m beautiful,” Jim told him, a goofy, little smile on his face.
Steven handed him a glass of milk. “You’re his Sentinel. What else is he suppose to tell you? That you look like something Wofie threw up?”
Jim gave him a look. “One day I will hurt you SO bad.”
Steven helped himself to a cookie. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. So Dad’s going to be taking us to school tomorrow?”
Jim handed Blair a cookie. “Yeah. It’s his turn. He said that until the whole Naomi problem is solved. Either Sally, Simon or him will be taking us to school and picking us up. He said that even though the restraining order is in place sometimes it’s not enough.”
“Really?” Steven asked, nibbling on a cookie.
“Yup. He’s even hired guards for the school,” Jim replied, helping Blair get a drink of his milk. “Simon has taken over an empty classroom in the school to be closer to us.”
“That’s something I’ve got to talk to you about?”
Jim looked over at Steven curiously. “What?”
“I’ve got an ‘in case’ thing going on too.”
Jim’s eyes widened in surprise. “You do?”
“Yeah. I won’t tell you the details. If and when you need it, I’ll tell you what you need to know.”
“Thank-you, Steven,” Jim replied softly, eyes misting.
“You’re welcome. Pass me another cookie.”
Sleep for Jim was a long time in coming that night. They had dinner, watched TV and did all the same things they did before Naomi. Blair had-had his bath. Now he lay tightly curled against him and Jim still couldn’t sleep. There was something nagging at him. Something was going to go wrong he could sense it. Something he wasn’t going to be able to stop. He sighed heavily.
“No can sleep?” His little Guide asked hoarsely. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes with his fingertips.
“Nope,” Jim replied, sighing again.
“Yup. A little bit.”
Blair sat up in the bed. “I luvs you.”
Jim looked up. Seeing the pale little face staring down at him. Worry clouding those big, beautiful, blue eyes. “I love you, too.” He reached a trembling hand to caress the side of Blair’s face. “I don’t know what I’d do if your Mom took you away from me.”
Blair moved his face into the gentle touch. “Mommy, no take. No let.”
“You’re so little, Baby. You may not have a choice.”
“No let,” Blair said, determinedly. “No let. Ever.”
“I love you, Blair.”
Blair smiled at him. “I knows. I knows what Jim needs, too.”
Jim returned the smile. “Yeah, what?”
Blair moved as close to his Sentinel as he could possibly get. Wrapping his little arms around as much of Jim as he could, he began to hum softly. Gently rocking Jim he began releasing scent as well.
Softly, gently, he lured his troubled Sentinel in to sleep.
It worked. The soft humming, the gentle rocking motion and the calming scent did their job, Jim close his eyes and slept. After many minutes the humming stopped as did the rocking, the little Guide joining his Sentinel in sleep.
Across from them, in the other bed Steven wiped furtively at his eyes. Vowing to do whatever it took to keep Jim and Blair together. Naomi would not win. He’d do everything he could to make sure she didn’t win and break up his family. Not ever.
“So, where’s Blair?” Steven asked as he came up to Jim. Who was leaning against the wall just outside one of the classrooms.
“He had to go to the bathroom real bad, but I had to finish taking a test so Rafe and H took him.”
Steven leaned against the wall near his brother. “Are you feeling any better about Rafe?”
Jim sighed. “Hmm, not really. The only reason I’m still hanging around him is because of Blair.”
“Do you think it’ll ever get better?”
“No.” Suddenly Jim’s eyes widened.
“What is it?” Steven said in worry.
“Naomi. Naomi is here and she brought people to try and take Blair. We got to stop them.” With that Jim took off like a bat out of hell. Steven running after him.
They came to a stop in the hallway right in front of the bathrooms to find Blair backing away from his Mother.
“No, Mommy. No.”
“Come on, Sweetie. I’m not going to hurt you. Come with me,” Naomi said offering her hand.
Blair kept backing away fearfully. “No.”
“Blair. Come here,” Naomi said forcefully.
“Leave him alone,” H told her, picking the little Guide up in his arms. Backing them both away from the crazy lady with red hair.
“Give him to me,” Naomi told him angrily.
“Like hell. You’re not even suppose to be here. Isn’t there a restraining order against you?” H asked, continuing to back away from Naomi and the people she’d brought with her. “Rafe, hit the panic button. Hurry up. We can’t hold them off for to long.”
Rafe reached into his pocket and pulled out small black box, pushing the red button on it quickly. It would alert security, the police, Simon, and William that there was trouble. It had been Simon’s idea. All of Jim and Blair’s teachers had one as well as all their friends. Rafe then placed himself in front of H and Blair blocking the adults as best he could.
“Blair,” Jim said, running toward them. Quickly gathering his trembling little Guide in his arms.
“What are we going to do?” H asked. “There’s too many of them and they’ve already blocked the exits.”
Jim looked around frantically. “Where’s the security guards? Where’s Simon?”
Just then Simon came rushing in as did the six security guards William had hired. “What the hell do you think your doing?” Simon bellowed at Naomi.
“I’ve come for my son.”
“He’s not your son any more. You lost all rights to him.”
Naomi shook her head. “I can never lose my right to him. I gave birth to him. He is my son.”
“The law says different.”
Naomi sneered. “Law. I don’t listen to any laws.”
“I suppose so, since you lost your bid to get Blair through the system. You really didn’t think you could win did you?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll take him by force if I have to.”
“Like hell you will,” Simon hissed at her.
William came running into the hallway. Seeing Simon and the bodyguards blocking Naomi and a bunch of strangers from reaching his terrified sons.
“What the hell is going on here?” he said angrily, quickly checking on Jim and Blair, making sure they weren’t hurt, before going to stand in front of Naomi.
“I’ve come for my son?” Naomi said again.
William sighed. “You’re starting to sound like a broken record, Naomi. You have no son.”
“I’ve brought someone with me that can break the bond,” Naomi said as if William hadn’t said a thing, motioning to the man standing near her.
William spared a quick glance toward the tall, green-eyed man watching quietly. “I think not, Naomi. The police are on the way. You have finally crossed the line. I’ll have you arrested for this. You’ve broken the restraining order.”
“Do you actually think a jail cell can keep me? I’ll get out and I’ll come for my son again and again. You won’t always be so vigilant.”
Jim with Blair in his arms, had backed further and further away from the melee. Until they were up against the back wall. He turned frightened blue eyes toward Steven.
“Steven, did you hear her?”
“Yeah,” Steven shook his head. “That’s one crazy lady.”
“Steven, what am I going to do? If she doesn’t take Blair today she’ll get to him one day. What am I going to do?” Jim asked, terrified beyond belief.
Steven turned toward him. “Listen to me, Jim. Come on focus,” He whispered urgently. Finally Jim turned dazed, blue eyes toward Steven. “Okay, do I have your attention?” Jim nodded. “Okay, this is what I want you to do. “Go to Mr. Beans. Tell him this one word. Tell him ‘flight’. He’ll know what to do. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
Jim nodded again. “Yes.”
“Okay. Go. Right now, while they’re busy arguing with one another. And no one’s watching you.” Jim turned toward the nearest exist. “Watchman?” Jim turned back. Steven touched his ear. “.”
Jim understood. “Alright.” With that Jim and Blair were gone.
Steven slumped against the wall sliding down it, burying his face into his bent knees he began trembling violently. H and Rafe, knelt in front of him worriedly.
William as if sensing something looked back. Seeing only one of his sons, he frantically looked around the hallway. Not seeing Jim or Blair he rushed to Steven.
“Steven? Son-where’s Jim and Blair?”
Steven launched himself at his father, sobbing. “They’re gone.”
“What do you mean, gone?” William asked, pulling his nearly hysterical son into his arms. “Gone where? Steven? Please, Son-answer me,” He asked, gently cupping Steven face in his hands. “Where are your brothers?”
“S…someplace where they can be together, Dad. A…and Naomi can’t d…do a…anything t…to h…hurt t…them,” Steven replied, bottom lip trembling violently.
William pulled Steven tighter against him as his one remaining son began crying even harder. He looked over at Naomi. “See what you done? They’ve run because of you and I’ll see you in hell for this, if it’s the last thing I do.”