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01 June 2011 @ 11:34 pm
Fic: Laud and Tarnish 21/?  

A new - and longer - part!  Mostly what I thought it would be though the muse gave me some additional things as I pondered that I hope work okay.  Not sure if I'm happy with the end of it, but I'm still uncertain about how these two characters would interact.  Maybe they'll talk to me later for future parts of this saga....

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previous parts:
{prologue} {one} {two} {three} {four} {five} {six} {seven} {eight} {nine} {ten} {eleven} {twelve} {thirteen} {fourteen} {fifteen} {sixteen} {seventeen} {eighteen} {nineteen} {twenty}

Disclaimers: TS belongs to Paramount/Pet Fly. NCIS belongs to Paramount/Belisarius.

Laud and Tarnish - TS/NCIS crossover

{twenty-one}

~drip-drip~   ~drip-drip~   ~splish~

Nose wrinkling, Blair wiped a hand absently over his face as he struggled to open weary eyes.  *Did I fall asleep in the shower?  No, that hasn’t happened since, well...best left forgotten.* He blinked a few times and slowly his eyes focused straight up at...very damp leaves and the distant overarching cover of a dark and oddly familiar jungle.

“Okay.”  He swallowed when his voice broke off with a scratchy croak.  “Where--?” 

Memories surged, surrounding him, blocking out the jungle and leaving him gasping and dizzy.

...finding the bad guy in Cascade...phone call from Mom...lawyer...airplane to DC...bank...shooting...hospital...

Jim.

“Jim!”  Blair jerked upright, scrambling to his feet, reeling and stumbling into the nearest tree as the expected head-rush hit him.  The bark bit at his clutching hands but instead of letting go, he tightened his grasp, solidifying his hold on the rarely visited mystical world.  Eyes squeezed closed as he waited for the dizziness to abate, he listened, picking up the call of a lone bird over the nearly overwhelming thunder of a waterfall.  He straightened away from the tree as he opened his eyes to take a better look at what was waiting for him.

Lots of darkness.  Bits of unnaturally still light forcing its way through cracks between the leaves.  A damp, foggy, cloying smell.  A weird cold.  A short burst of yellow-blue streaked overhead and Blair could feel the electricity dancing over his arms.  He touched the tree again and hissed when the sharp edges sent a snap of static through his fingers.

*Jim’s in pain.  Sensory pain.  More than--* He pursed his lips unhappily, cursing the multitude of events that had pushed them both to this point - the guide for not noticing his sentinel’s weariness and the sentinel for not realizing it for himself.  *No wonder the sentinel retreated here for such minor injuries.  Jim pushed too hard and fell.  Just not in the way I first thought.*

Leaving his hand on the tree, Blair closed his eyes and breathed out slowly.  Jim was here...somewhere.  They’d never been able to see each other here, but their connection...he could still help him.

Breathe.  Once.  Twice.  Three times.  “Focus, Jim, find the dial.  Picture it...”

Gradually, a warm light pulsed in a steady beat beyond his eyelids.  The roar of water dimmed and another bird call echoed. 

Breathe in.  Out.  Breathe in.  Out.   Breathe--

The pulses fractured, losing rhythm, losing light.

“Careful, Jim.  Too far.”  Another flutter.  Focusing to retain his own calm, Blair leaned forward, forehead pressing against the sharp exterior of the tree.  Wet.  Mossy.  Dim.  Fraying.  Beckoning numbness.  “No, Sentinel, come back. Jim.  Please.”

A hint of reflected questioning.  There and gone almost before he felt it.

One last stutter and the light stabilized.  Cracking open his eyes, he blinked a few times as a slowly rising sun cast stripes of yellow gold through the damp trees, revealing a winding pathway leading out of the tangled jungle.  Stepping carefully around crackling branches and algae-filled puddles, he followed the pathway towards the sound of the waterfall.

A clearing arose and within it, the massive sentinel temple.  Blair stopped at the foot of the stone steps that led upwards.  A shaman staff - representing the guide, him - and a crossbow and full quiver - representing the sentinel, Jim - rested atop the steps.  The jungle’s version of a neon “do not pass go; do not collect $200” sign. 

His eyes longingly followed those stairs upwards, wondering if he’d see--  Yes, she was there.  Alex’s fuzzy, indistinct silhouette flickered in the shadows of the entrance.  He was never quite sure if what he saw was wishful thinking - that some part of what Alex could have been was there - or if her ghost was hovering as a warning or a guard - or if she was waiting to welcome them when their time was up - or to keep them out.

It would be easier to feel one emotion for her rather than this muddled palette of pity and anger and hate and loss.

Shaking his head, he forced himself to turn away from her and the temptation of the temple - the anthropologist in him simply itched to see inside.  Somewhere in front him, falling water echoed as it cascaded off a cliff.  Between it and him, a barren clearing spread out in a rough circle.  To his eyes, it appeared empty.  But he knew Jim was there...just in a slightly shifted plane of existence

He could almost hear Jim’s teasing and annoyed voice the one time they tried to describe it to Simon and Megan.  *“Different realities?  Dimensions? Planes of existence?  Intersecting mystic realms?  Chief, you’ve been watching Star Trek with Conner again, haven’t you?”*

Blair smiled to himself and looked out into that apparently empty clearing.   Jim was waiting.  Waiting to be led home. 

“I’m here.  We’re both safe.”

He moved forward and sunk down easily into a cross-legged meditation pose, hands draped over his knees, palms facing upward.  Eyes closed.

“Just hold on to me.”

He had a few seconds to bask in the resulting peace before he felt eyes upon him.  Someone...somewhere...was watching him.  *Can’t be Simon or Megan - they’re the only ones who know about this.  Hospital...*

Assured that Jim would follow him back when his senses has recovered sufficiently, Blair took a breath, another, a third, the air shifting from wet, mossy, clean--

--to stale and dry in the space of three heartbeats.

*Eugh.* Pushing himself up slightly from resting on the edge of the hospital bed, Blair coughed and looked immediately to the doorway.  As the last of the “spirit realm” faded away, his vision swam and the figure at the door blurred into a shadowy form of--   He blinked and the figure returned to normal, the secondary image slipping away before he could identify it.   *That’s--*   Another blink brought the person at the door into focus. 

*Gibbs.*

He sat all the way up, stretching his back as he shifted his grip to Jim’s other hand to keep physical contact with him to guide him back. 

*Figures he would show up.  Gibbs reminds me a gruffer, much less talkative Simon, his caring for people hidden really, really far down, but it’s there.*

“Agent Gibbs?”

Gibbs inclined his head towards Jim.  “How’s he doing?”

“Better.  He should wake up by tomorrow.”  Blair smiled.  “Complaining about uncomfortable beds, scratchy sheets, bad food, and the lack of decent coffee.”

“Been there myself.” 

Blair looked back at Jim, thumb resting against the pulse beat on Jim’s wrist.  He could feel Gibbs’ eyes on him, overtly assessing him.  It was something Blair was familiar with - *who is this guy who is not a cop but is obviously trusted enough to be a fully-fledged partner of a detective? what does he do? why does the detective want or need him specifically? And how do we--?*

His thoughts were cut off when Gibbs spoke up again.  “And you?”

Blair shrugged. “Tired.  But not as...disconnected now that Jim will be okay.” 

“Good to hear.”  A pause.  “Wanted to let you know I asked DiNozzo to give your captain a call with an update.”

Blair’s eyes widened and he shot a harried glance at the backpack dumped forgotten at the far wall.  “Oh, no, Simon is going to kill me.  It totally slipped my mind.”  He looked at Gibbs.   “DiNozzo... is that Tony or Tim?”

Gibbs’ mouth quirked in some kind of secret bemusement.  “Tony.  Tim is Tim McGee.

“Okay.”  He nodded absently, trying to affix the names and faces together in his distracted thoughts.  “Thanks for getting word to Simon...Captain Banks.’

“You’re welcome.”  A bit of silence and Gibbs’ tone unexpectedly softened.  “Abby tells me you’re here in DC because of a friend’s recent death.  My condolences.”

Blair blinked, at first surprised by the gentled warmth that crept into Gibbs’ voice. 

And then he blinked again as the words impacted.  The reason for the trip to DC - or at least the emotions defining it - had been misplaced somewhat in the last few hours.  *Jeff.  I’m sorry.  I forgot.*   He swallowed.  “Thank you.”  Words spilled out, answering the question he knew Gibbs wanted to ask but wouldn’t.  “He was...killed in a car accident a couple weeks ago.  I missed the funeral, but the lawyer said Jeff left me something in his will and that I had to come to DC to retrieve it.  So here I am.  Not really what Jim and I had in mind after the Luke Anderson case.”

tbc...

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go to part twenty-two


 
 
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Tron Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk
 
 
 
farfeletfarfelet on June 3rd, 2011 07:23 am (UTC)
Nice chapter! I really enjoyed your vision of the "other" world. J&B not actually seeing each other there is a nice touch : it makes the whole thing more realistic, at least more believable somehow. I love the "mystic" aspects of The Sentinel, but the mystical can be so tricky to play with... This is subtle, well done.
The interaction between Blair and Gibbs seems OK to me, but then I don't follows NCIS a lot, so I'm probably not a good judge. I was going to write that Gibbs seems a bit nicer than in my memories, but after re-reading the piece I'm not sure anymore. The dry manner of speech is his, no doubt. His amusement at Blair's use of first name feels very in character, too. He does seem to show unusual concern for people who are not in his team, but you explained earlier that he was curious about them... maybe you could add a little something somewhere (not necessarily here) to reinforce that Gibbs was also fishing for information. I'm going to put Blair's pretty accurate perception of Gibbs' character on his shaman abilities, given that he was not exactly in a mental state to notice things in his previous interactions with him...
All in all, it's a good chapter. You can be proud of yourself!
Beckyelisabec on June 3rd, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
part 21
Glad that it worked for you. I've always enjoyed writing the "mystical" parts of TS, though I try not to write it too often in fics so it doesn't become overdone.

I'll have more interaction between Gibbs and Blair and/or Jim further on and hopefully develop them a bit more. From watching NCIS, Gibbs tends to be a bit nicer to people who aren't suspected of doing anything wrong. Plus Blair (and Jim) were protecting Abby which gives them an automatic plus in Gibbs' book. :-)
Black Rook: Jim&Blairgrachonok on August 28th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Well, I've just discovered this, read it in one gulp and now want more:). Wonderful story, and everyone is absolutely in character! Good luck with writing more!

And I'm using this opportinuty to thank you for the TS transcripts on your site, they helped me a lot while watching Sentinel (English is not my first language). And I also want to say that I enjoyed all your Sentinel stories very much, and hope there will be something new someday!
Beckyelisabec on September 6th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you've enjoyed my own little writing workshop as I try to revive my muse. I keep meaning to get back to this, but haven't had the energy.

And you're welcome for the TS transcripts. I do know that many people have found these very useful.