New Friends

"Danny, please come in here before you go to your room."

Danny Jackson sighed as he swung his backpack down. He'd learned from experience that it was never good when he was singled out in the boisterous foster home he was staying in this time. He found his current "mother" in the kitchen, cooking. She turned to him with a smile, running her hand through thick black hair. Out of all the families he'd been with lately,
Danny thought this one to be the best. At least most of them were pleasant .

"We have another child who just came in today," She ruffled his hair affectionately. "I thought he'd do best sharing a room with you."

Danny groaned inwardly. Great, Someone new to pick on him. Oh well, maybe this one wouldn't be as bad as John, his last roommate.Maybe, just maybe, this one would actually be nice. He could hope anyhow.

"He's a little shy right now" Mrs. . Adams went on to explain. "CPS is trying to track down his Mom right now." Danny saw the flash of sympathy in her deep brown eyes. "He's been hurt Danny"

She added softly, her eyes pleading for understanding from the thirteen year old boy. "He needs to feel safe right now and I know you can help more than anyone else.

Danny drew himself up, proud that his foster parent trusted him so much. His quick smile seemed to reassure Mrs. Adams that she had made the right decision. He walked to his room and knocked softly at the closed door. There was no answer so he entered quietly. The room
was dark, that was unusual as Danny always left his reading light on when he left.

He carefully laid his pack on his bed and checked out the unmoving figure on the other twin bed in the room. All he could really see was a riot of dark curls. A soft snore let him know his roommate was asleep. He noted a leather backpack, not unsimilar to his own , sitting next to the bed. A well worn book peeked out of the top. Ancient History of Egypt. Hmmm. . . Maybe it wouldn't be horrible after all.

A couple of hours later, Danny heard the soft knock at his door. He looked up as Mrs. Adams entered with a smile.

"Has he been sleeping all this time?" She nodded towards the figure huddled under a pile of blankets.

"Yeah, he hasn't moved at all. I was trying to be real quiet so he could sleep."

"Well, they gave him some pretty strong pain meds at the hospital, so I guess he's just sleeping them off."

"Pain meds?"

"Yes Danny, he was pretty badly beaten where he was staying. Apparently his Mom left him with a friend who drank a bit more than he should have. Anyhow, he's been in the hospital for the past three days."

"What happened? Will he be ok?"

"I think so, with a little time and a lot of patience. He needs to rest right now though so why don't you come downstairs and eat?"

Danny felt a sudden surge of protectiveness towards his unseen companion. "Why don't I just eat here instead? I'll get him a plate too. He's probably hungry by now."

Mrs. Adams smile lit the room. "That's a wonderful idea. I'll bring up two plates right now. Why don't you see if you can't get Blair to wake up?"

"Hey, kid" He shook a thin shoulder gently. "Come on, it's time to eat."

A bedraggled head appeared out of the nest of blankets and two bright eyes peered anxiously at Danny. The kid started to draw away fearfully. Danny smiled winningly and held out his hand. "Its ok, I promise. No one's gonna hurt you here. He laid his hand gently on the curly head. "Hi, I'm Danny." No answer, but the kid seemed to relax minutely. "Mrs. Adams said you were Blair. You're my roommate for now I guess."

The blankets were pushed aside and a boy of about eight climbed gingerly out. Danny winced as he caught sight of the plaster encased right arm. Deep bruising was visible on the boy's face and both of his upper arms. He moved slowly , his left arm held tightly against his chest as if his ribs hurt too.

"Ouch, someone really did a number on you didn't they?" He helped the younger boy to sit on the side of the bed. For a moment he eyed the plate doubtfully. "Ok, how are we gonna manage this. You can't exactly feed yourself like this so how about I help you some?"

The boy looked down as if ashamed. Danny shook his head and grinned as he pulled a chair next to the bed. He laid the plate on the bed and smiled.

"I saw the book in your pack" he said as he cut the food into bite sized pieces. "I haven't read that one so maybe we can read it together sometime huh? "

Sad blue eyes looked up quickly as if deciding whether or not the older boy was serious.

"I have a lot of books to. My parents were both Egyptologists and I want to study Egypt too."

"I went there last year," the boy whispered almost inaudibly. "My Mom and I went to the pyramids."

"Really? Cool, I've been there too."

As Danny helped the kid eat the meal Mrs. Adams had brought, the two of them talked more about Egypt. Danny actually did most of the talking as Blair surveyed his surroundings. Finally the younger boy yawned and crawled back under the pile of blankets. Danny grinned as he switched off his light and crawled into his own bed. This one he could like he decided happily.

"Nooo. . .no more please" The anguished plea pulled Danny from a sound sleep. He looked up to find his roommate thrashing around the bed, fighting off an invisible attacker.

"Shhh. . .it's ok Blair," he comforted as he gathered the younger boy to him gently. Come on, wake up. It's ok I promise."
Blair awoke sobbing, Danny just held him murmuring soft reassurances. He remembered his own nightmares after the death of his parents." Its ok, Blair, he won't hurt you anymore. I won't let him." He continued rocking the boy gently til the crying slowed then stopped.

"I'm sorry" Blair murmured softly.

"Nothing to be sorry for. We all have nightmares sometimes." He climbed into the bed next to Blair.

"How about I just stay here til you get back to sleep? I can tell you a story if you want, or read to you."

"You'd do that?"

"Sure, that's what friends are for. I have the perfect book too." He reached over to the desk and pulled a book from his pack. Blair leaned against him as he read aloud to him. Soon he heard the soft snores that heralded Blair's drift into sleep.

Over the next two weeks Danny and Blair fell into an easy pattern. Danny would walk the younger boy to school every morning and pick him up in the afternoon. Thy studied together then ate dinner. There were two other children in the foster home, but they didn't really have much to do with the two boys. Finally, at the end of each night, Danny and Blair would huddle together while Danny read more of the book to Blair, who listened avidly. Unfortunately all good things came to an end. One day when they came home a tall redhead met them at the door.

"Blair honey. . . Are you ok? I've been so worried about you!"


Blair's things were quickly gathered together. Danny helped carry his bags out to Naomi's old station wagon.

"I'll miss you Danny." Blair whispered, unshed tears glistening in his eyes.

"I'll miss you too Blair."

Blair pushed the book on Egypt into his friend's hands. "I want you to have this to remember your parents by." Danny sniffled as he took the book.

"Hold on a minute" he begged Naomi as he ran back into the house. He returned with the book he and Blair had been reading from. "I want you to have this one too. My Dad gave it to me."

"But. . .your Dad.."

"It wasn't something he was real interested in. I think someone gave it to him. I know how much you like it so it's yours. "

Blair gave him a watery smile and a quick hug. "Thanks"

"We'll see each other again someday Squirt" Danny grinned "I want to hear all about your adventures then ,ok?"

Blair sat beside his Mom as they drove west. California this time Naomi had said with a overly bright smile. . . Disneyland maybe. He read quietly as she chattered on.
Daniel's voice echoed in his head as his fingers traced the cover gently. " Sir Richard Burton. . .it's about sentinels Blair. Protectors. Everyone should have a protector don't ya think . . . "