Adventures in Guidesitting
Author's webpage: http://www.squidge.org/~stageira/alex
Author's disclaimer: All things related to The Sentinel belong to PetFly and Paramount. This story is strictly for fun and not profit.
Adventures in Guidesitting
"Chief, I'm not leaving you alone."
Jim Ellison sat on the edge of the couch, looking firmly at the figure beside him. Buried under the pile of blankets that Jim had brought down from the bed, his Guide was barely visible. He reached out to pull up another blanket as blue eyes managed to focus on him.
"Jim, you have to testify at the trial today. If you don't, Simon will finish what this flu has started- he'll kill us both. And the fact that he infected everyone with this miserable bug won't make any difference to him," Jim sighed, knowing the truth in that mumbled statement.
Two weeks earlier, Captain Simon Banks had come down with an exceptionally nasty flu bug. Despite this, he had insisted on coming into the office and thus had shared his illness with most of the staff. One by one, nearly everyone had succumbed, sometimes taking turns racing for the bathroom.
Blair had become the latest victim of "Influenza Simon", as the Captain was now called, two days earlier. The doctor had confirmed the diagnosis, and started Blair on the usual antibiotics. Only so far, there had been little effect beyond adding to the misery.
Jim had nursed Blair from the start, not leaving him alone for a minute. But he was scheduled to testify in an important trial that afternoon. He had been arguing with Blair ever since the younger man had woken up that morning. Jim insisted that he should stay with him; Blair insisted that he should go. Stand off.
"Jim, for crying out loud. I'm sleeping most of the time anyway. And testifying won't take that long. Just leave some juice on the table and go. Even the doctor said I just needed rest."
The Sentinel frowned. "And what if your fever goes up again?"
"What if it does?" Blair practically whined. "I've already taken my medication, remember? You shoved it down my throat an hour ago. I'll sleep, drink some juice, and sleep again. I'm not planning on going out and partying."
Point taken, Jim sighed as he stroked the dark curls on the pillows. "I just don't like leaving you alone," he said finally.
Blair managed a smile. "I know," he said. "And I love you for it. But I really think that your overreacting here."
"I just wish I could find someone to stay with you," Jim said. "I'd feel better."
"Yeah, well, I'm a big boy. I think I can manage a few hours by myself." Then he launched into a round of coughing.
Jim was about to argue again, when he was suddenly aware of an arrival in the loft. Two arrivals, actually.
A growl greeted his ears as the panther appeared from behind the couch. The wolf was right behind him, and both animals worked their way between the Sentinel and the Guide.
"Hey guys," Blair said groggily. The wolf nudged his hand and he automatically scratched behind the ears. "Jim, I think my babysitters just arrived."
"What!" Jim glared at the cat. "I'm not leaving you with these two."
Both animals immediately took offense at that statement. The panther growled in distinct irritation.
<We will watch him>
Jim quickly backed down a bit from the insulted Spirit Guide. "I know you can," he said. "But-"
"But, I mean if he gets sick...how can you-"
It was practically a shout in his mind, this time coming from the wolf, who had crawled up onto the large couch to snuggle beside his human. Blair smirked at Jim as he cuddled down with the canine. He had obviously heard it also.
"Bye, Jim," he yawned, closing his eyes.
The Sentinel knew when he was defeated. Grumbling under his breath, he brought out pitchers of juice and water and put them on the nearby end table with a glass. "He needs to drink whenever he's awake," he instructed the animals, hardly believing what he was doing and saying. "I don't even want to know how you're going to handle that, just make sure he drinks, okay?" A purr from the cat answered him in the affirmative.
"I'll be at the courthouse...well, hell, you know how to get a hold of me if you need to. That's obvious. Now that I think about it, it's better than a 911 service. Look, the main thing is to make sure he drinks plenty of fluids and sleeps, got that?" More reassuring thoughts from both animals entered his mind.
Jim tucked the blankets around the human and now the wolf that also occupied the couch. The panther curled up on the rug nearby. The Sentinel kissed Blair's forehead, noting that his temperature had gone down.
"Bye-bye," Blair mumbled happily, obviously more asleep than awake, and under the influence of the drugs. Jim smiled.
"Bye," he whispered. At the door he turned to look one more time, wondering just how crazy he was to leave his Guide's care to two animals. But, perhaps he was not giving them or their abilities justice. They were not ordinary animals, and they had saved Blair from a killer once before. Surely they could handle this. Still, the Blessed Protector had to be sure.
"One hair," he warned the Spirit Guides. "If one hair on his head get's hurt, we're talking neutering, understand?"
The panther viewed him through distinctly narrowed eyes, not justifying such a comment with a reply. The wolf whimpered.
"All right, just so we understand each other," With one last look, Jim grabbed his coat and left.
The wolf sniffed in the general direction of the Sentinel's disappearance, and the panther yawned, unimpressed. Really, sometimes this Sentinel was just too cautious, even for a cat. How much trouble could one small human be?
It was easy. At first.
Blair slept for an hour, enjoying the warmth and cuddling from the animals, the panther having joined the other two on the couch. Real animals would have been far too heavy to lay on the human, but being Spirit Guides had distinct advantages. Such as not being too heavy to snuggle with their Human Guide. Blair just felt a light weight that was soft, and warm and comfortable.
The animals' confidence continued after Blair awoke. He obediently drank some juice, and the wolf didn't mind that some spilled from the glass onto him. Always eager to try a new taste of human food, he happily licked up the spill and decided that while orange juice was all right, he really preferred jerky.
Then Blair groggily rose, only half-awake. And it started to go downhill.
Unknown to all, Blair was about to experience a reaction to the new medication. His cells were battling mightily, but to no avail. An exceptionally nasty side-effect was delirium. And it was about to fully kick in.
He staggered to the bathroom, the wolf accompanying him. Blair started water running in the sink, and bathed his face. Water splashed a bit, but the wolf just shook himself, not worried about such a little thing as a few drops of water.
The Spirit Guide was puzzled, however, when the Human started the shower. Well, all right, he wanted to get even more wet. Humans were a bit strange, but this was still tolerable. A sound made him glance in concern at the sink. Water was still running, and since Blair had tossed a hand towel in the sink, it had clogged the drain, and water was starting to rise. He waited optimistically for the human to shut off the tap. He waited in vain.
Blair climbed somehow into the shower, dragging the curtain shut. He was in before the wolf realized that the human still had his clothes on. The panther entered the room, his whiskers twitching in distaste at the sound of running water.
<Where is he?>
<In the water?! He's getting wet?!>
The wolf turned puzzled eyes to the cat. <Yeeees?> he answered slowly, wondering what the big deal was.
<You're letting him get wet! Are you insane?> The panther reared up and snagged the shower curtain in his claws, pulling it aside.
Blair had chosen that moment to slip. Trying to regain his balance, he gripped the shower head and it turned- aimed out of the shower. The panther was hit by the force of the water directly in the face as the curtain opened.
The cat stumbled back, colliding with the wolf behind him, and they both hit the sink, causing a pool of water in the basin to slosh out and dump on them. Blair had also hit the shower control to full open and the animals were practically pinned by the force of the water- like a small fire hose.
The Spirit Guides finally managed to recover enough to scramble away. The wolf charged into the fray and pushed against the shower faucet, shutting of the water. Blair started to slip more and opted for falling forward, landing on the wolf. They tumbled out of the shower onto the floor of the bathroom.
The panther, hissing and yowling, was trying to avoid more water. However, since the bathroom was fairly well flooded, it was impossible. He seized the back of Blair's sweatshirt and dragged him out to the hall, moving like his life depended upon it- and maybe it did.
Finally reaching dry ground, he released Blair. The wolf scrambled out after them, and was about to move when a feline screech stopped him.
<Don't you dare!>
Shrugging, the canine went out to the kitchen and vigorously shook himself. Somewhat dryer, he returned to the hallway, where the cat was desperately trying to dry himself. Just as the cat thought he couldn't get any more wet, Blair sat up and shook his head. The long hair sent drops flying.
"Hey, I'm all wet," Blair observed in wonder.
<You think??> Cats were masters of the sarcastic come back.
"Better get dry," Blair continued, and began to pull of his clothes. The wolf peaked into the bathroom, but quickly determined that no towels in there were salvageable. Blair stood up and opened the closet. He took out towels for himself, and then, trying to be the helpful host, shook out Jim's huge beach towel.
"Here you go, kitty," he said, and dropped the towel over the cat, covering him.
The wolf couldn't resist a distinct snicker as the cat shook off enough of the towel to reveal his head. The black head and pointed ears were a stark contrast to the orange beach umbrellas that adorned the purple towel.
<You were about to say something?> the cat inquired dangerously.
The animals eventually got their human charge dried off and into fresh clothes. Blair even sat still while the cat furiously licked his hair dry. The action calmed the panther a bit- he had always enjoyed grooming a cub. Finally satisfied that the human's long fur was dry enough, he gave it one last swipe and then even purred a tiny bit. The human was ill, after all. He wasn't trying to be difficult.
Blair, having used up his limited patience quotient, climbed up again. He moved out to the kitchen. He started up the tea kettle, this time remembering to shut off the tap. He did not, however, remember to shut off the stove when the tea was ready. A pot holder he left on the burner promptly caught fire. The wolf howled, trying to pull his human away, and the panther actually found himself looking for some water.
"Whoa! Not good." Blair threw the contents of the kettle on the stove. There was a loud hiss, and thankfully the small flame was put out. He reached over to shut off the burner. "Have to start over, now."
Both animals jerked Blair away, deciding that the kitchen was too dangerous. They propelled him into the living room, trying to guide him to the couch. But Blair resisted. "Gotta get a book," he mumbled. He staggered off to his old bedroom, which was now the study. The animals watched him go in, and took a minute to rest.
Several minutes later, they were still waiting for him to return. <You don't think?> the panther ventured. They trotted over and looked in the room
The fire door was open. Blair was gone.
They raced out onto the fire escape. Blair had already wandered up to the roof. The Guides charged after him. "Hey," he greeted them. "Have you seen my book on...on...on something?"
Blair was eventually coaxed back inside. He found a banana on the kitchen table and happily pealed and ate it. Entering the hallway, he started to slip on the water still on the floor. The wolf moved to break his fall and instead slipped himself on the banana peel that Blair dropped when he started to fall. He skidded into Blair and they both collided with the panther.
Trying to untangle himself, Blair gripped the wolf's tail. <Yip!>
"Sorry," Blair apologized. He managed to get up.
The panther, who was now wet again, dragged himself away for a minute. His whispers were drooping as he tried to regain his dignity. The wolf joined him.
<How much longer?>
<I'm afraid to wonder>
For the next hour or so, the animals split Blair-watching between them. When one was being tripped over, splashed on, or in general suffering, the other caught their breath. At one point, meeting in the hall, they compared notes.
<I'll never be dry again> the cat complained. He had received yet another soaking when Blair had spilled his juice over him. The Spirit Guide had quickly learned that apple juice was even harder to get out of his fur than water.
The wolf was practically crawling on the floor. <I can't feel my tail> he admitted.
<I know> Then the cat's ears perked up sharply. <Where is he?> Blair was nowhere to be seen.
The panther looked desperately at the wolf. <I thought you had him>
<Me? I thought he was with you!>
<This is ridiculous! It's all your fault>
<How is it my fault? You were the one who decided we needed to stay with him to help the Sentinel>
<He's your cub>
The bickering was cut off by a sound from the balcony. Both animals rushed out to find Blair wandering around, about to trip over the plants.
If someone had been watching the balcony at the moment, they would have been treated to an unusual sight. A man was walking around, apparently looking for something. Suddenly, his body jerked back, as if someone had grabbed his hands and was dragging him inside. But since he was alone on the balcony, it would have been impossible. Strange.
The panther and wolf, each with one of Blair's hands carefully gripped in their mouths, backed into the living room. Once Blair was inside, the wolf released his grip only long enough to push the door shut, then returned to help the panther pull Blair toward the couch.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Blair said. "Wanna play tug-of-war? Is that it? Okay." He happily dug in his heels and tried to resist the animals' pull.
<Get him on the couch>
<I'm trying!> The wolf pulled with all his might.
Blair's feet chose that moment to slip on the wood floor. He flew forward, the momentum from the pull sending him into the couch and continuing a surprisingly graceful flop over the back of the furniture. Both animals released their grips just in time to avoid being dragged over with him. There was a thud, then silence.
It took several minutes for the animals to gather the courage to look. They both put their front paws up on the couch and hesitantly looked over- afraid of what they might see.
Blair was lying peacefully on the couch, having landed perfectly upon it. His head had even landed on the pillow. He was sound asleep, and looked perfectly innocent.
<Quick! Get on him while he's not moving>
Both animals leaped over the back of the couch, frantic to catch the human while they could. The wolf threw himself over Blair's legs, while the panther covered his chest. Blair just made a happy sound, and snuggled into the warmth they provided.
Several minutes passed before the animals were finally convinced that the Guide was going to stay down. Still, they didn't move, determined to make Blair stay, knowing they wouldn't survive another chase around the loft. After a while, the panther lifted his head to gaze down at Blair's sleeping face.
<He looks so harmless when he's asleep> he marveled.
Jim opened the door cautiously, wondering what he would find. He could hear Blair's steady heartbeat and knew by the equally steady and even breathing that he was asleep. 'Maybe it went all right', he thought. Um, possibilities here. He wondered how much a Spirit Guide would charge for babysitting.
Blair and the Guides were asleep on the couch. It didn't even look as if Blair had moved, Jim noticed with relief. He was snuggled down under the animals, looking perfectly content. Like an angel, Jim thought fondly. The cat and wolf were sprawled on top of him, almost looking as if they were holding him down. 'Cute,' Jim admitted to himself.
The Sentinel was puzzled by the fact that neither animal had stirred. They were usually alert to anything. Who would have thought that they could be lazy? They hadn't even opened an eye since he had arrived. If he didn't know better he would have thought that they were exhausted. Ridiculous thought.
As Jim hung up his coat, he noticed a strange smell in the kitchen. Something...burned. He frowned as he saw the remains of the pot holder. He was putting it in the garbage when he noticed a pile of clothes on the floor by the bathroom. Puzzled, he went over and found some of Blair's clothes, dripping wet, and his own beach towel equally soaked. He followed the trail of water into the bathroom.
It was a disaster. Water everywhere, everything soaked. The sink tap was running, overflowing a bit as the hand cloth clogged part of the drain.
"What the-" Jim broke off as he spied the mess, then saw the door to the balcony was pushed shut, but not locked. "What happened here?" he wondered aloud. He turned to confront the animals.
They were gone. Blair was still lying peacefully, but there was no sign of either Spirit Guide. They had seen a chance for escape, and taken it.
"You can't hide forever," Jim warned them aloud, knowing that they were listening. "We are going to have a long talk about this."
<Not if we can help it> a thought filtered thorough his mind.
The End (?)