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The ground is not comfortable. No matter how many clothes you wear or how your twist your body, sleeping on the dirt floor of the jungle is not conducive to sleep. Blair shifted and fidgeted until he curled himself into a fetal-like position and was still by sheer force of will. He was tired, his body needing the rest but his mind wouldn't stop racing. Jim had shot him down, again, when he was trying to find out more information regarding his senses. It's not that Blair liked to pry, he didn't, but he needed that background; if he didn't, he wouldn't push, but he did so he pushed and Jim pushed back.

It'd been the story of Blair's life for recent months. He wanted and needed Jim to cooperate in order to gain more insight for controlling his senses, but there seemed to be more and more reasons to stop pushing Jim, the opportunity with Eli Stoddard at the top of the list. Blair had been so ecstatic about being singled out that he did forget about Jim only for a moment, although it had been enough; Jim's face had closed down so quickly after Blair confessed the amount of time that was needed. He still wanted to go, badly, but there was no way he was going to leave Jim.

Even though Jim was gruff and uncooperative most of the time, Blair considered him a close friend, and he wanted to stay and support Jim if only for that reason. Of course Blair had other reasons: the dissertation, the personal accomplishment he'd feel once Jim was able to handle himself without the dangers of over stimulation, and working with the police. The center of everything was Jim but Jim didn't see that, all he saw was how Blair was so excited after the phone call, that Blair wanted to go. Of course Jim was the type to allow those he cared about to walk away, he would never stand in Blair's way if that's what Blair really wanted.

Blair shivered as a soft breeze drifted over his body. He really did want that expedition, but he also really wanted Jim. Blair wanted to be for Jim what everyone else from his past was never able to be: a friend, someone Jim could count on time and again, a partner and family... However, Blair was tired. He put himself out there over and over and each time Jim batted him down it was harder for him to find the energy to do it again. Jim had a horrible habit of attacking first, asking questions later, and making a grand gesture in hopes of soothing the feathers Jim knew he ruffled from the beginning. Blair was worn-out and the cold, crisp, almost condescending voice of Jim telling him to `go' from that morning continued to run through his head, giving him no comfort.

He sighed and tucked his arms in closer to his body and heard a rustling come from the area across from him and knew Jim was also shifting to find some comfort. Blair was sure there wasn't much more he could do to convince Jim that he could be helpful. Blair respected Jim's need for privacy, however, if there was a time when Jim needed him, it was now. Their friends were missing; they were in the middle of nowhere with only each other to rely on, yet Jim dismissed him as though he was some rookie that was assigned to him.  Blair knew he wasn't a cop, would never been seen like one and had no desire to fit the stereotypical mold, but he felt as though he earned enough of Jim's respect to acquiescence to his knowledge where being a Sentinel was concerned.

It was obvious that Jim didn't hold the same opinion, at least not at the moment, but Blair was trying to find the confidence to continue to fight with Jim until he won. Jim may have won the most recent battle but Blair was convinced that he would win the war eventually. He would show Jim the error of his ways. Blair grinned to himself as he realized how silly that sounded, but it did lighten the load he felt resting on his shoulders. Blair was happy to attribute Jim's latest bout of surliness to having a hard time adjusting to the jungle and was worrying about his friends; he was certain Jim would come to him when he was ready and Blair would be waiting.

Blair knew, even though minutes before he was shadowed in doubt, that he would always be waiting for Jim, on those thoughts he fell asleep confident in the fact that Jim would be there in the morning and Blair would try again.


Jim stared at the campfire listening to the sounds of Sandburg's squirming, at normal volume. Eventually, they settled to silence and the night sounds of the jungle overwhelmed the sound of Sandburg. It had been a long time since that had been the case. He tried extending again and found the same muffled screechings and rustles that he'd been hearing all day still off then. He wrapped his arms around his upraised knees and rested his chin on them, flicking his eyes over the prone form of his pet grad student, just to make sure he was still there.

He was still a bit freaked; the wobbling in and out of his senses had upset him almost to the point of nausea at times, sound and scent zooming in and out, his eyes drifting out of focus whenever the hell they pleased no matter what he was doing at the time. And he knew Blair was trying to help, he knew he wanted Blair to help. That was the whole point of this exercise wasn't it? Sandburg would help with the senses, Jim wouldn't go nuts and Sandburg would get to be a doctor... Well there was no point in even going there right now. He wanted the things fixed! The problem was that every time Sandburg asked, he either asked at the absolute worst time or he asked the wrong things.

Half the time Jim didn't even have a way to describe how things were going wrong. And mostly he was worried about Simon and Daryl. They'd been down here for days and his feelings of unease grew when they found that the helicopter was a royal mess with the pilot's body showing definite animal damage. The only encouraging signs were that there was no other blood in the wreckage and the sheer number of footprints sounding the mess. One clear bootprint in the loam showing Simon's favorite hiking boots headed away from the crash site.

So here he was, ass deep in the jungle going after one of his best friends while pushing away and pulling on his other best friend. He sighed and laid back on his bedroll. This crap with his senses scared him. And the damn ghost cat didn't help; the last time he'd seen it, his senses had snapped online and everything had come roaring up to full strength. The life sounds and scents around him, Blair's heartbeat and breathing, his sight had zoomed in on the cat and then there had been nothing. Just a big dark shape with glowing eyes in the distance and Blair asking why he'd suddenly stiffened up.

He was sorry about the way he been treating Sandburg, he really was. It was a problem with his temper he knew he was doing it but couldn't stop himself sometimes. The delight in Sandburg's voice over the Borneo trip had been unmistakable and he remembered the pleased feeling he'd had for his friend when he told him to go. Surely at this point he could deal without the coaching for a couple of weeks. It'd be like a vacation. And then the fun had been steamrollered out of that thought by Sandburg's time correction. And yet, who was he to stand in the way of someone's career? Wasn't that what the whole Sentinel project was about? And yet if the Sentinel project was everything why was he so interested in running off to Borneo for a year?

But people leave that's just what they do. He'd learned that a long time ago and the lesson just kept being shown as true.

But he wasn't happy about it and took it out on the kid before he could control himself, and then the news about Simon dropped into his lap a minute and a half later. Jim closed his eyes and positioned himself differently, understanding now why it had taken Sandburg so long to settle down.

This wasn't getting him anywhere and tomorrow was going to be a long day of tracking. He sighed and closed his eyes, again listening to the muted sounds around him. Take the goals one thing at a time, the army had taught him. First, find Simon and Daryl; second, leave with Simon and Daryl; third, convince Sandburg to stay home; fourth, fix his senses. With the objectives defined, he felt like he could sleep.

He turned over, pillowing his head on his arm and vowed to be better with Sandburg but really wondered if, or rather, for how long that private vow would hold. Still, it was something. Satisfied with that and checking the location of his weapons, Jim drifted off to sleep, wondering if he'd heard the sound of a big cat way off in the jungle.

~End~