The Fleeting Feet
by Laura Picken
Summary: One dark night, Jim's senses go just a little out of control...
Hi all! This little ditty was inspired by reading Red Falcon's story Blood Moon. Don't ask my _why_ Blood Moon inspired this, it just did. Consider this my little Halloween gift to those on the list.
Disclaimer: Jim and Blair don't belong to me. They belong to Pet Fly Productions and Paramount. This story occurs just after the events in "Hear No Evil", and contains spoilers to said episode herein.
Jim Ellison was having the most frustrating night of his life. [Every time I think I have control,] he thought, [something like this happens.] It was like the first night after he had his ears cleaned: exhausted from a thirty-six hour stakeout, he could hear every sound for miles around the loft; his ears, for some reason, suddenly no longer content to consider the white noise generator enough of a barrier to allow the Sentinel some quiet in which to rest comfortably.
Sleep, if it occurred at all, tonight, would be a long time in coming.
He had tried everything his Guide had taught him, to no avail. Deep breathing, turning the dials in his head, distractions, even a cup of Blair's famous chamomile tea. Even repeating "I am relaxed, I am relaxed, I am relaxed…" as a mantra didn't help - all it did was make him cold. His mind was to fogged from exhaustion to focus properly, but if he didn't find some way to focus, he would never get any sleep. He muttered to himself, "hell of a Catch-22 you've gotten yourself into here, Ellison," then put a pillow over his head. Even his own voice seemed excruciatingly loud to his uncontrolled ears.
Idly he wondered if he should wake Blair up downstairs and tell him what was going on, then he immediately dismissed the idea. Blair had been up most of the weekend grading papers, then went straight from getting a mere two hours of sleep per night for almost a week to helping Jim on the stakeout they'd just finished. The kid was beyond exhausted, and even if Jim could wake him up (which he didn't consider likely), he didn't want to. The young man led a complete double life solely for the purpose of helping Jim, and he didn't want to begrudge his partner some much needed rest simply because his hearing had chosen that exact moment to go haywire.
It was just at the exact moment when Jim had resigned himself to an evening of muted late-night television that he heard it. Two sets of feet, running fast across a floor, accompanied by what sounded like a little girl's screams. It sounded close-like it was coming from somewhere in the building. Quickly pulling on some clothes, he grabbed his gun and slipped quietly out the door, all of his senses now on full alert to try and track the potential danger he was hearing.
He ran down the stairs to go outside so he could better pinpoint exactly which apartment the noise was coming from, then stopped as he realized that he could no longer hear the sounds he had just been focusing on.
Concentrating again, he listened, and was immediately able to pinpoint the sounds again. They were coming from his own apartment! He ran back up the stairs, gun drawn in case of danger, but with the safety still firmly attached so he wouldn't accidentally shoot Sandburg.
He opened the door quietly, every sense poised and ready to locate the whatever was causing the noises he was hearing. He heard the sounds again, but they were faint - like they weren't coming from his apartment. He looked around the loft, but even in more than enough moonlight for him to see the entire room clearly, he could see nothing that could possibly be the source of the disturbance. What was going on here? He was having trouble controlling the range of his hearing, that much he knew. But was it now playing tricks on him, too?
He crept silently around the lower floor of the loft, trying to pinpoint the location of whatever might be causing the noise. He picked up on a scent he didn't normally associate with the loft, and tracked the smell into the living room. Immediately picking up on the perpetrator, he released the safety on his gun, aimed, and fired.
Blair woke with a start to the explosion the gun made as it went off. His first thought was that an exhausted Jim, fast asleep and dead to the world, might possibly have been shot by some mysterious intruder.
He ran out of his room toward the living room just in time to see his partner, smoking gun in his hand, looking down over whatever it was he had just shot. In the light of the full moon, Blair could just make out the older man's statement.
He was smiling.
As Blair moved around the couch, Jim collapsed into it, the smile giving way to exhausted, frustrated, hysterical laughter. Confused, Blair followed the trail Jim's eyes were making to the floor…
…and started to laugh himself. As he found himself feeling the definite need to sit down and catch his breath, Blair exclaimed, "okay Jim, I'll make a deal with you. Next time you find rats in the apartment, call an exterminator, okay?"