Fanfiction Library ~
GW & Guests


Photo Albums

Trekkers Over
and Around 40
Floridaze ~
Buffett, Key West,
& Things Parrothead
The Key West
Foreign Legion

Half Aft
Bar Stage

Warren Zevon Other Ports



No Sexual Situations
No Violence


If you've seen one fountain, will you see all other fountains in the same way?

This tale takes place shortly after "The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg." I offer it as thanks to Amy, who introduced me to "The Sentinel," and to Alyjude, whose wonderful stories defined and endeared these men to me before I ever saw them onscreen.

This story takes place after "The Sentinel, by Blair Sandburg."

With thanks and apologies to Pet Fly, Jackson Browne, Stephen Stills, and Meyer Dolinsky, and proceeding under the assumption that forgiveness is easier to ask than permission ....

Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small
Though it hasn't really been that long a time
What I was seeing wasn't what was happening at all
Although for a while, our path did seem to climb
But when you see through love's illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light



It had been a grueling day at the Academy and, as he'd become accustomed to during the weeks of training, it had left cop wannabe Blair Sandburg feeling weary and isolated and a bit futile. Toughing out the Academy was hard enough, pariah that he was to his instructors and fellow cadets. Doing it alone was worse. And lately, evenings at the loft left him feeling just as weary and isolated and futile as days at the Academy did.

Blair didn't understand it. The fountain in front of Hargrove Hall was only a few feet wide, only a few inches in depth. But somehow its shallow pool had become fountainhead to an unquiet ocean of discord that had spilled over its concrete perimeter and stayed with Blair even after Jim had pulled him from its waters. That dark tide had risen steadily since then; Blair had hoped that the press conference might push it back, but he'd stepped away from the podium into water up to his neck. Blair feared his friendship with Jim was going under, and he despaired of rescue. It wouldn't come from Jim. No one knew better than Blair did how much Jim feared deep water.

His own fears ebbed and rose ceaselessly in the back of Blair's mind. Just now, though, his despair was moving back toward low tide, thanks to the small yellow "Notice of Attempt to Deliver Mail" clutched in his hand. He chanted the return address to himself like a mantra: "Naomi Sandburg, c/o Ramona Castille, 1014 Horizon Avenue, Venice, California." Welcoming the promise of contact with his mother and the excuse to delay returning home, Blair stopped at the post office after classes and collected the package.


That evening, alone in the empty loft, he unwrapped it. And swallowed hard, choking on surprise and sadness, and the memory of rancid water, and fear.


When Jim came home Blair was still sitting on the couch, motionless, staring at the box that nestled on the coffee table in a blossom of torn and crumpled brown wrapping paper. Jim followed his eyes and, equally stunned, felt his knees lower him unsteadily to the cushions next to Blair. Afraid to look away from the box for fear of looking at each other, together they silently read and reread the brightly-colored wording on the top.


Bring the soothing sounds of the world's most popular outdoor ornament right into your living room with the TRANQUILITY TABLETOP FOUNTAIN. This box contains everything you need: basin, pebbles, fountain pump and spigot, plastic tubing, non-toxic waterproofing caulk, and wiring that plugs into an ordinary wall outlet. Safe and easy to assemble -- just add water!

And on the table next to it, the note in Naomi's spidery printing, which Blair had already memorized and which Jim's sentinel eyes had no trouble reading from his position on the couch.

"Blair, I know we've always agreed that any gifts we exchanged should be words and deeds, not material things that needed to be carried with us, or left behind. But I saw this and thought of you. Considering the new career you've undertaken, I thought you could use some tranquility in your life. We'll call it a peace offering ... pun intended. I hope you and Jim both enjoy it. Love, Mom."

Jim was the first to break the silence.

"What the hell was she thinking?"

The cold anger in his voice shocked through Blair and touched off a sudden reciprocal fury. He stood quickly and walked to the french doors, needing the distance.

"She didn't know."

"Didn't know?"

"Didn't ... doesn't know."

"Doesn't know."

Blair shook his head.

Jim drew a deep breath. "Why not?"

"I never told her."

"Why not?"

Their eyes met at last as reflections in the glass. Blair turned to face Jim.

"Why would I?" His voice was harsh. "No one else wanted to talk about it. The school only wanted to hear that they weren't gonna get sued. The doctors really didn't want to know. Simon's been very careful not to bring it up, and Megan and Joel and the others seem to feel the same way. And you sure weren't interested in discussing it ... hell, you shut me down right there in the hospital. Why would I take it to Mom?"

Jim dropped his eyes. Blair walked over to the coffee table, lifted the box from its nest of paper, and headed for the basement door.

"Where are you going?"

"Storage unit, man. Maybe we can give it to Simon for Christmas. He can stock it with little plastic trout. Or use it for an ashtray."

"He won't want it."

"Why not?"

"For the same reasons we don't." The voice was quiet, almost a whisper.

"Oh?" Blair froze in his tracks. "And what reasons are those? You don't know my reasons ... and I don't know yours. Since we never talked about it."

Another whisper answered him. "There just didn't seem to be much to say."

"Oh," Blair said again. He hefted the box onto the kitchen counter and returned to the living room to stand, hands in pockets, back to Jim, gazing out the window and frowning as if trying to remember. "Let's see ... I died. You brought me back, and I thanked you. You told me that there were easier ways to meet nurses and reminded me that I owed you rent. I told you about my vision and you told me that you saw it too. Then you told me that Incacha guided you through it, which made it clear that I wasn't your guide. And then you fired me as your shaman." He took a deep breath, shrugged. "Guess you're right ... nothing much to say, after that."

Jim straightened on the couch and fixed troubled eyes on Blair. "Now wait a minute, Chief. First of all, that's not what I was saying to you. And anyway, you didn't pursue it."

"Wasn't much time to harangue you into talking about it, was there, Jim? You left me in the hospital to go chasing after Alex. And when I followed you to Sierra Verde, I found out that things hadn't changed at all. You still didn't want to talk to me. You still needed Incacha to guide you. And you still wanted Alex." Blair continued to gaze out the window, and the words he'd spoken so many times in the quiet of his mind spilled out without conscious thought.

"This thing between us ... I thought it was the dissertation at first. Then I thought it was about friendship. Then some sort of mystical sentinel/guide thing. But the vision we shared told me what it really is. Something else. Something bigger. I saw ... I felt ... it. But you didn't." Blair's voice fell below a whisper then, but pain forced the words out nonetheless. "I don't know why you even bothered to bring me back, except ... I guess ... because you're a sentinel. You would have done the same for anyone."

"God, Blair!" Jim gasped, got his feet under him, took short savage steps across the room. Blair shied away and Jim fought visibly for control, fists clenched and skin stretched taut and white across his face. "How can you...?" He put a shaking hand to his eyes. "God, Blair."

Blair put his own hands up, palms out, and moved away.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."


Blair's hands moved again in a forlorn gesture of surrender. He'd said too much, far more than he'd intended, and the water was rising again ...

"I'm sorry, Jim," he repeated, tasting chlorine in the back of his throat, trying not to choke. "You were right. There really isn't any more to say. And it's okay ... I'm okay with it."

"You don't sound okay with it."

"I am. Okay with it. Okay with me, I mean. And I hope with you. You trust me on the basic stuff ... the day to day things. You know I'll be a solid backup for you. The rest of it ... it's water under the bridge. So to speak. Let's just forget it."

He walked quickly to the kitchen, picked up the box and, before Jim could collect his thoughts, he had disappeared through the door to the basement.


They didn't talk about the fountain ... either fountain ... again. But avoidance wasn't difficult; there wasn't much opportunity to talk about anything for the next few weeks. Jim was caught up in a difficult case and putting in long hours, and Blair was in the intensive final month of Academy training. They saw each other rarely.

Then, on the same day, Blair finished his last exam and Jim's case ended with a confession. Chance brought them together in the lobby of their building, in front of the elevator. Directly beneath the "Out of Order" sign.

"Jim ... home early?"

"Blankenship confessed. Final?"

"I think I aced it. Dinner?"

"Yeah. You start it ... I'll grab the mail."

Blair climbed the stairs and opened up the loft and went into the kitchen. And he wondered, as he laid out vegetables on the cutting board and took the knife in hand, when it was that he and Jim had begun speaking in shorthand. Naomi's gift had made things worse, it was true, and Blair knew that was his own fault. But the water had been rising for a long time, and now it was drowning their words as well as their feelings; an undertow slow but unrelenting, pulling him away from Jim, carrying Jim away from him.

Blair shivered and decided that unanswered questions and unresolveable problems belonged in storage, with The Box, and with the memories of the way that he and Jim had been before Alex. So he put them there and closed his heart and started chopping vegetables, and didn't look up when Jim came through the door.


The notice marked "Blair Sandburg, 852 Prospect, #307, Cascade, WA, CONFIDENTIAL" shook a bit in Jim's big hand.

Blair put down the knife and wiped his hands on a dishtowel. The sealed document was carefully and neatly torn along its perforations and unfolded and silently read through. And equally silently, with a hand that trembled so subtly that only a sentinel would notice, Blair handed it back to Jim. Ellison read it and didn't smile, just nodded, but the nod was one that Blair understood held pride and satisfaction and no surprise at all.

"Good job, Sandburg. Detective Sandburg."



Jim Ellison pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to reach the spot behind it that was the source of his headache. It was a useless gesture; the pain was deep behind his eyes, entrenched securely in his skull, where it had grown with a deceptive subtlety that had allowed it to creep up and seize him before he'd been aware enough to forestall it with aspirin. And now it was too late, and Blair wasn't there to help, and he was condemned to the pain, at least until he could get home.

And then Blair would help, or try to. And if Jim could overcome his resistance to that help, Blair would take care of him and soothe the pain away, and he might be spared another sleepless night.

Or not. His own pain was not always the source of his insomnia. The night before, Blair had dreamed again.

The ache in his head ratcheted to a new level. Jim blinked and reached for his coffee, took a sip, and replaced the cup on the desk blotter. The coffee shivered with the motion, and Jim looked at it and saw horror. The dark, murky waters of the pool in the Temple of the Sentinels, and his guide's pale face just beneath their surface, sinking, disappearing, being swallowed by the shallow blackness. And he was powerless to reach in and pull him out...

"Hey, Ellison!"

Jim looked up into the worried face of Joel Taggert. A face that looked as haggard as he felt. Eyes tight with anxiety met his own.

"Ellison? Jim?"

And Jim realized that he'd zoned.

"Damn, Jim, are you okay? You had me scared there for a minute."

Jim nodded, rubbed the back of his neck and straightened in his chair. "Yeah, okay. Better than you are, I think. God, Joel, you look like shit."

"Rafe's down."

"Oh god."

Joel rubbed his face with a big hand. "Damn stupid. He and H were off duty, in the Quick Stop at Government and Front, picking up stuff for Brown's wife. Some fool tried to hit the place, panicked when they called him out, and put a bullet in Rafe's shoulder."


"They say he'll be okay. I'm not sure about H, though." A weak smile. "I'm just here to get Brown's emergency bag. He's spending the night at the hospital."


"So damn stupid," Joel said again. He shook his head, then glanced at the empty chair next to the desk. "How's our boy?"

"Okay," Jim replied, and hoped he wasn't lying. "Passed his exams with flying colors. A cop now ... ah, soon."

"I heard he did himself proud."

Jim nodded and allowed a small smile. "Yeah. He worked his butt off. The physical stuff was kind of hard on him, but you know Custer ... never give up."

"Custer died, Jim."

Jim winced.

"Yeah, Joel. I know." He'd heard the faint wheeze in Blair's breathing when he'd come home at the end of the tougher days. Joel didn't miss Jim's reaction and kicked himself, but Jim let it go. "Simon's given him some time off," he continued, "but he's back with me starting next week."

"Be good to have the kid around again." Joel had more to say but hesitated, unsure of how to proceed. "He had a rough ride as a tagalong, Jim. And you can't make him stay in the truck any more. Watch out for him."

"I always watch out for him, Joel."

"Used to be, you did. But to tell you the truth, I think you've been more trouble to him than any perp he's run up against."

Jim looked at Taggert with surprise and anger at war on his face, but Joel didn't back down. "I know it's none of my business, Jim, but this thing with Rafe.... You know what I'm talking about. Whenever something goes wrong with you, Blair fixes it. We've all seen it. It's his way. And something's wrong now, been wrong between you two for a while. But he can't seem to fix it this time. So maybe it's your turn."

Jim sagged back in his chair, wordless. The big captain's honesty was a direct blow to his heart, too close to the raw wound already there that Jim himself had been picking at for months now. The truth stung like salt and Taggert saw it and thought for a moment of mercy. But concern won out and he finished what he'd started.

"You owe him, Ellison. And I don't mind telling you that there are people around here, friends of you both, who'll do what they can to make sure you do right by him."

"I know, Joel. I know."

"Well, uh ... I gotta go."

"Yeah. Tell Rafe I'll ... we'll be by to see him."

"Will do."

Ellison's eyes strayed back to his coffee cup and again he saw the dark waters of the Temple, heard again Incacha's voice. Do not be afraid to walk through your dreams. You must allow your spirit to speak. And all the time Blair was sinking, the darkness swallowing his light, and his sentinel was letting it happen....

"Ellison! In my office!"

He jumped, blinked, looked over his shoulder.

"In this lifetime, if you don't mind."

"Yes, sir."

Wrapping one big hand around the cooling cup, Jim pushed away from his desk and stood. His back cracked and his bad knee throbbed with the dull ache of being too long in one position, and he limped a little as he made his way through the bullpen and into his captain's office. He put his mug down and used both hands to lower himself into the chair facing Banks' desk.

Simon closed the door behind him, circled his desk and sat down in his own chair, where he fixed an assessing gaze on his detective. Dead air finally prompted Jim to speak. "Captain?"

Wordless, Simon pulled open a desk drawer and withdrew a small package wrapped in silver paper and bound with gold cord. He placed it on the felt desk blotter and with deliberate care used one finger to push it across the desk toward Jim.

Again, it fell to Ellison to break the silence. "Sir?"

"It's a graduation present. For Sandburg."

"Ah ... I'm Ellison."

"I know that."

"Then why give it to me? Sir."

And Jim was amazed at the expression that shadowed across Simon Banks' face. Fleeting, but he'd seen it, he was sure. He just couldn't figure out what it meant.

"Tell him I'm sorry that it's late."

"Late? Sir, he hasn't graduated yet."

Again, that enigmatic grimace.

"Graduation ceremonies were last night, Jim."

Now the dead air lay undisturbed between them for a long moment.

Last night?

"He didn't tell you, either?"

"Simon, he was home last night. He didn't ... he never said...."

Jim's eyes strayed back to his coffee cup, and he fell back into the temple, watching his guide slipping away. A soft voice stayed the plunge and he tried to concentrate and let it hold him.

"Jim? Jim, come on. Come back."

"Yes, sir," he breathed.

"Good. Good." Simon took a deep breath and rubbed his temples. "I found out from Lee Castro, Blair's firearms instructor. He called this morning. Jim, did Sandburg talk to you at all about the Academy? How things were going for him?"

"He didn't seem to be having any problems. And I saw his grades ... better than mine. Except for the marksmanship. But he was damn close on that."

Simon made an exasperated sound. "Not how he was doing in class, Jim. How he was doing out of it. How he was doing with the instructors, with the other cadets, with the whole experience."

Jim's silence gave Simon his answer.

"Look Jim, I don't know what's wrong with him, or what's wrong between the two of you. But whatever it is, I want you to fix it, before it gets one or both of you killed. Again."

Simon saw the flinch, and sighed.

"Fix it, Jim," he repeated, gently.

"I don't know how to, sir."

"Yes you do. The same way he always does. Just talk to him." Simon picked up the graduation gift. He stood, walked around his desk and placed the small box in Jim's hand, folding the nerveless fingers over it one by one.

"Take this. Go home. Don't come back until Monday. And when you do come back, I want to see him standing next to you, and I want to see that lunatic grin on his face. And I want to see one on yours, too."


"Out of Order." Still.

Blair glared at the sign on the elevator, sighed, and hefted the groceries. Story of my life, he thought, starting up the stairs and shifting the bags for better balance. And my life isn't gonna get fixed any sooner than the damn elevator.

An old song lyric ran suddenly through his mind.

So we cheated and we lied and we tested, and we never failed to fail, it was the easiest thing to do....

He hesitated outside the door to #307, knowing that Jim was home, knowing the question that would certainly be his greeting, knowing that another argument would follow and that he wouldn't rise to it as he always had before. Instead, he'd take the anger and the guilt that Jim would throw at him and store them away, deep down inside with all the anger and guilt already there, folded like bubble-wrap around all of the things that had never been talked about. It seemed the only option left to him. Blair had precious little left in his life, but he still had this home, and he'd do what he could to keep it. Fight for it or, as was more often the case these days, not fight for it.

Carefully, he set the grocery bags on the hallway floor, took several deep breaths and with some effort determinedly assumed a cheerful attitude. I can do this, he chanted. I can. A quick fumble in his jeans pocket produced the key; he slipped it into the lock and listened for the heavy sound of the deadbolt's release, hefted the groceries, built a big grin on his face, and opened the door.

"Hey, Jim! Pavilions had a two for one sale on -"

He froze. He choked. He dropped the bags, and didn't hear the fracturing of glass as they hit the floor.

Jim sat at the kitchen table, which was covered with newspapers. And on the table was The Box, which had been out of sight, if not out of mind, for the past several weeks. And strewn around it were the various parts and pieces of the TRANQUILITY TABLETOP FOUNTAIN.

"Jeez, Chief!" Jim slid his chair back and circled the statue his roommate had become. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Do you have any idea what pickle juice will do to the finish on this floor?"

"Pickles?" murmured Blair, his eyes and mind focused on The Box, rereading the words printed on it. Bring the soothing sounds of the world's most popular outdoor ornament right into your living room....

"Pickles, Sandburg. Nice of you to have bought 'em. Too bad we won't get to eat 'em."

"Pickles." This box contains everything you need....

Jim swung the dripping grocery bags into the sink and returned to the scene of the crash. He knelt gracefully and swept a crumpled pile of paper towels through the puddle until the floor was dry, then stood and waved the fragrant wad under Blair's nose. "Pickles." A smooth pitch landed the sopping mess in the sink with the groceries.

"Pickles," Blair whispered. Safe and easy to assemble....

"I think we've settled that, Chief." Jim returned to stand in front of his partner, between Blair and The Box. He hesitated a moment, then lifted big hands and dropped them on Blair's shoulders.

"Graduation was last night." It was not, yet was, a question.

"Yeah." Blair's eyes closed. Just add water....

"Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you go?"

"It's not a drawing, Jim. You need not be present to win."

The hands tightened on his shoulders, almost painful in their sudden tensing. "Blair."

The name made his eyes fly open. Jim rarely called him that.

"We need to talk."

Blair couldn't choke back the snort of surprise tinged with bitterness. Jim's fingers dug into his flesh and Blair winced in reflex. He heard the quick exhalation and the hands released him immediately but didn't leave his body; instead they slid from his shoulders to rest open-palmed, fingers outstretched in a gesture of "no harm," on his upper arms.

"I thought ... you know, we could put this thing together. And talk while we do it."

Blair looked up into Jim's eyes and saw their gray-blue color pitched darker by a mournful mix of sadness and guilt. He dropped his head.

"Okay," he said. Just add water....


Somewhere during the course of the afternoon it began to rain. Neither man really noticed. The darkening at the windows, the slow patter becoming a steady beat against the glass, the occasional flash of distant lightning and the low rumble of thunder served only to enhance the feeling of disconnection from the outside world.

But there was light, there was connection growing in the loft, arcing between the bent heads of Jim and Blair as they worked together on the "easy to assemble" TRANQUILITY TABLETOP FOUNTAIN.

And they talked.


"Chief, use the putty to hold the motor in place. They should have put some of that stuff in the kit. Did I ever tell you what Gabe said to me? He told me that it didn't matter if I had ears that could hear a thousand miles, if I couldn't hear the whispers of my own heart. That I should start by listening to the hearts of others. I should have taken that advice."


"I can't read this, Jim. Why do the instructions have to be in six-point type? Jeez. Look, I know you trust me with the small things. But it hits me up the side of the head when you don't trust me with the big ones. I fucked up, sure. But how could you think for a single moment that I'd intentionally put you in jeopardy?"


"Wait a minute, Edison. I'll handle the connections. You and electronics scare me. That thing with Alex ... it was weird. Like living in a bad dream, watching things happen and not being able to stop them, or wake myself up. And now, it's like Peru ... I can't even remember a lot of it, and what I do remember, I wish I didn't. I should have talked to you, told you everything. And you should have talked to me."


"Hey, let me do the waterproofing. That caulk is nasty stuff, don't get it on your hands. You said that my dissertation made you sound like a coward. Jim, there are a thousand different kinds of fear, and a thousand different reactions to it. You fear things, but you don't let your fear cripple you; at least, you didn't used to. You want to know my fear, Jim? I'm afraid that I will cripple you. That I'll fail you by not being able to guide you; that I've failed you already. How's that for fear-based responses, Jim?"


By the time they finished, evening had fallen behind the curtain of stormclouds and taken the darkness to a midnight pitch, broken only by the light from the kitchen, a small fire growing in the grate, and the increasingly frequent flashes of lightning from the intensifying storm. Together, Jim and Blair hefted the weight of the fountain and carried it to the fireplace, settled it carefully on the brick hearth and turned it so that the cord was hidden behind the basin and reached to the wall outlet. Jim rose, stretched, and headed for the kitchen while Blair remained on his knees, smoothing the gravel and arranging the pebbles that surrounded the small pump.

A moment later, the aluminum watering can heavy in his hand and dewed with condensation, Jim watched as Blair pulled a stone from his pocket and placed it carefully in the fountain. In the flicker of firelight, he could make out the shallow engraving of a jaguar's head.

"What's that, Chief?"

Blair didn't look up. "Just a rock I found. At the Temple."

"Isn't it illegal to remove artifacts from places like that?"

"Yeah. But it owed me."

"Owed you?"

"Yeah." Blair rocked back on his heels, still staring at the stone. "I lost so much there. A lot of me. A lot of you. Almost all of you. I figured the Temple owed me, so I took the rock. To remind me of some things."

"What things?" Jim asked softly.

A soft sigh. "That I failed you. That when you needed help, I hadn't helped you at all. That I'm not your guide, or your shaman."

"Oh, Chief." He took a step forward, reached out with his hand for the bowed head, and stopped. Do not be afraid ... allow your spirit to speak....

Jim took the last few steps toward the young man kneeling by the fountain and let his hand fall to rest lightly on the curls. "Don't you see? At the Temple, Incacha was guiding me; but only because I hadn't let you do it. And all he did was guide me back to you. He said I needed to face the darkness and find the light. And when I did, I saw your face."

Slowly he knelt on the floor next to Blair, and set the watering can between them. He reached out and took Blair's hand and placed it on the cool metal handle and wrapped his own fingers over it.

"Let's do this part together," he said quietly. Blair nodded, and together they lifted the can and released the water. As it reached the brim of the basin the stream hit the stone from the Temple; deflected by the engraved face of the jaguar, the flow was broken and a scattering of drops spattered out onto the hardwood floor.

Blair's gasp and the spike in his heartbeat cut Jim to the quick. He tightened his grip on Blair and with his free hand reached for the water beaded on the polished wood. Slowly, carefully, he dipped his finger into one glistening cabochon and brought it up to Blair's face. Gently, he traced a damp cross above the troubled eyes.

"Marked against evil," he whispered.

"Hair of the dog?" Blair whispered back. Jim frowned, and Blair flashed a tense grin. "Water, man. From a fountain, no less."

"Ah." Jim leaned forward, followed the power cord to the outlet and plugged the fountain in. Blair jerked reflexively as the sound of splashing water filled the room, a counterpoint to the drumming of the rain outside.

"I remember the last time we were together in front of a fountain," Jim said softly.

"I don't."

"I know."

"But I heard, man. Megan told me, a little. And I saw a little, too. The jungle, anyway. The panther ... and the light."

"You said the vision showed you that this is more than a sentinel/guide thing, Chief. What did you mean?"


"Tell me."

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"Because ... Look, Jim. Things are okay now. They're gonna be okay, anyway. Why invite trouble?"

"Because that's what you say I'm doing every time I don't talk to you. And now you're not talking to me. Give me this one chance to throw your words back at you, eh, buddy?" Jim forced a lopsided grin, and Blair responded in kind.

"You're way too far behind for one 'I told you so' to make a difference, Jim." Then, quietly, "Just let it lie."

"No." He looked down at the splashing water, and then back up at Blair. "This is what happened the last time we were together in front of a fountain."

And he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Blair's ... briefly, lightly ... and then backed away.

"Except it wasn't like that," he said quietly. "Not that day. I don't want it to ever be like that again. And if the only way I can prevent that is to be the guide, in this one thing ... well then, I'll damn well do it."


As if on cue a flash of lightning lit the room and for a moment Jim's eyes were glowing, unearthly. Like a cat's are, at night; like a panther's might be, in a dream. Or a vision.

And then as the thunder crashed through the loft, the power went out. The lights were gone, the refrigerator ceased its hum, and the fountain stopped.

And for Blair, so did time.

Instinctively he reached for Jim in the dark, only to find the big hands already on him, holding him steady, keeping him safe. Another lightning strike flared through the darkness and in it Blair saw Jim's face, fierce and tender and full of love. And the reality of what he had seen and felt in the vision crashed through him like the explosion of thunder that found him in Jim's arms. The next bolt of lightning torched the dark around them as their lips touched for the third time in their lives, and everything in their lives changed.

Different, they found, to come together in the undiscovered country of their altered existence. Different. Vastly deeper, impossibly tighter, searingly hotter, and amazingly closer. Different. Better. Best they'd ever been.


Sometime during the night the power was restored, and in the morning Blair woke to the gentle patter of rain against the skylight and the beat of Jim's heart beneath his ear. And downstairs, the soft splashing of the TRANQUILITY TABLETOP FOUNTAIN. The soothing sounds of the world's most popular outdoor ornament, right in his ... in their living room.

Everything you need, remembered Blair. Just add water.

The sentinel had used water from a fountain to mark his guide against evil; in gentle requital of the magick, the guide used water drawn from a fountain of his own. He lifted one finger to his cheek, then touched it to the sleeping sentinel's forehead.

And smiled. What he'd told Jim, in that hospital room so long ago, was true. The water was nice.


Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to struggle, you've had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you've got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright

~ 30 ~

~ Return to "The Sentinel" Page ~

~ Return to The Library ~



Fanfiction Library ~
GW & Guests


Photo Albums

Trekkers Over
and Around 40

Floridaze ~
Buffett, Key West,
& Things Parrothead
The Key West
Foreign Legion
Half Aft
Bar Stage
Warren Zevon Other Ports