Okay, they're not mine. We all know that. We also know I'm not making any money here, though if anyone were crazy enough to want to give me money for this, I would be sorely tempted to take it, and wouldn't that mess up my karma?

This is a bit of absurdity inspired by...well, a lot of things, and nothing in particular. There are spoilers for S2, if there is anyone left in the universe who hasn't seen or heard about it. Rated PG-13 for a couple of bad words.


Thanks, Jo.



S2, Brute?

by Susan L. Williams

Jim Ellison broke away from the arms holding him back and flung himself down beside his guide's body. Shoving an EMT out of the way, he smashed his fist into the unmoving chest.

"Breathe, Sandburg! Damn it, you can't do this. You don't have any right to do this. Breathe!"

Someone tried to pull him away, but he shook the hands off and pounded Blair's chest again and again.

"God damn it, Sandburg, get back here!" He seized Blair's shoulders and shook him. The younger man's head snapped back and forth, but there was no response. Ellison backhanded him. "Breathe, you rotten little bastard!"

Blair coughed. He gagged, and vomited water all over himself, still coughing. Jim dropped him and sat back with a satisfied smile. "It's about time."

Blair lay in the hospital bed, accepting the well-wishes of half the Cascade Police Department with a weak smile and uncharacteristic silence. Jim leaned against the wall, watching. He'd been there since the doctor left, never moving, never speaking a word to Blair. That was all right. Blair knew he didn't deserve to have Jim speak to him ever again.

Finally, Jim stirred. "Out," he barked. "Everybody out. Now."

Everyone obeyed, even Simon, though the Captain gave Blair a sympathetic squeeze on the arm before he left. Jim approached the bed, loomed over Blair with his arms folded and his expression stony. Blair studied the sheet covering him, unable to meet Jim's eyes.

"I'm sorry, man."

"Really," Jim deadpanned.

"I am, Jim. I know this was all my fault. I should never have worked with Alex, no matter how badly she might have needed my help. You're my sentinel, not her. You're the only one who counts. I should have just let her go crazy.

"But I didn't. I thought I could help her, and in the process, maybe help you, too. I thought I could learn more about sentinels, maybe get some new insights that might help you function better. Not that you don't function perfectly already. I mean, I just thought.... But I was wrong. I never should've gone near her."

"What about your dissertation?"

"My diss? My diss doesn't matter, Jim, it's garbage. I don't need a career. All I need is to be with you, where I belong, watching your back. I'm supposed to be your guide. That means total dedication, man, 24-7. I don't have room for a life. I don't need one. I don't know why I ever thought I did. I must have been crazy."

"Must have," Jim agreed.

"I am so sorry, Jim. I swear, I'll never think of anyone or anything but you again. You don't have to let me move back in to the loft. Of course, I won't be teaching anymore or working on my diss, so no more money, but that's okay, Jim, I can live on the street, or maybe in my car until it rusts out. You were right to throw me out, man. I betrayed you with Alex. Sure, when I tried to tell you about her, you didn't want to hear it, but I totally understand that, Jim. Your territorial instincts were on overdrive. You couldn't hear me. I should've tried harder. I should've made you listen to me, so you'd know who the threat was, even though I didn't know she was a threat at the time. I should've ignored the fact that you stuck a gun in my face and gone after you. I mean, maybe you might have shot me, or hit me or something, but what difference does that make? Getting you the information was what was important, and I didn't do that. I failed you, Jim. And I am so, so sorry. If you forgive me, I swear I'll devote the rest of my life to making sure you're okay. I'll never ask for anything; I can eat your table scraps; you don't even have to speak to me, unless you're having a problem. I swear, Jim, I understand now. It's not about friendship: it's about you. You're the center of the universe, Jim. I just didn't get it before."

Blair risked a glance at Jim. Ellison's position hadn't changed. The powerful arms were still folded tight across his chest; his expression was still cold and unreadable. Blair fought back tears. Swallowing hard, he whispered,

"Please, Jim."

Jim's jaw twitched. Regarding him like the bug Blair knew he was, Jim said, "All right, Sandburg. I'll give you another chance. You can even move back in to the loft. It's more convenient for me that way. But that crap you call your stuff goes in the trash. All of it. I'm what's important here. You concentrate on me, and nothing else. You got that?"

Meekly. "Yes, Jim. Thanks, man. I know I don't deserve this, but you'll never regret it, I promise."

Ellison snorted. "I'd better not, Sandburg. I know where there's a fountain with your name on it."


The End