(sound of body moving sluggishly through loft. water running, table creaking, head falling into hands)
(sound of larger body duplicating movements of first body)
"I would appreciate it if you would stop breathing, Chief. Sounds like a hurricane in here."
"You stop screaming, I'll stop breathing."
"I put the coffee on."
"Just call me Sandburg, in public."
"Jim? It's gonna get rough when the water starts to boil."
"May I suggest...ear muffs?"
(sound of chair scraping back, body pushing itself up with great difficulty)
(sound of rummaging, sluggish body moving back to kitchen)
"Here, this should help."
(sound of smothered laughter)
"Gee, Jim, if I'd know how good you look in red ear muffs? I'd have used those instead of the white noise generators."
"You know? I could easily and quietly kill you and have the rest of the day alone and peace and quiet."
(sound of mugs clinking, spoons stirring)
"Chief, must you stir so loud?"
"Loose lips sink ships."
(sound of mugs being set down, followed by desperate slurping)
"Sandburg, do you remember anything from last night?"
"Joel got lucky, you didn't, wet butts, crooked stairs and my father."
"Why didn't you tell me before?"
"Does, "Jim, you never mentioned a brother, ring any bells?"
"I repressed him. Not the same thing."
"Jim, you don't repress a brother."
"We're talking about you...something that is rarely done."
"So, I'm supposed to tell you something I haven't even admitted to Naomi?"
"I tell you stuff no one else knows."
"Only when I drag it out of you."
"So you drag and I have to get you drunk?"
"You don't have to get me drunk, just ask."
"Okay, I'm asking. Something's puzzling me...if you didn't know Running Bear was your father, why did you think he was your grandfather?"
"Oh, yeah, skipped that last night, didn't I? Well, everyone on the reservation thinks Standing Elk is my father...and people talk and they talk around six year olds...adults seem to think if your little, you're also deaf. It's amazing what little kids pick up...."
"So until you heard Naomi and Running Bear talk when you were ten, you thought Standing Elk was your father, Running Bear your grandfather and Two Feathers, your great-grandfather?"
"That's about it."
"Pardon me, Chief, but you seem to have taken all this pretty well...."
(sound of chair scraping back, body rising)
"Need to shower, Jim. Mind if I go first?"
"Jim, let it go, man."
"So you can dig until I spill, but I can't?"
"You never have."
"Chief...shit...go take your shower. And leave me some hot water."
"Showers all yours, Jim."
"I'm in a towel here...."
"The heater's on...sit, I've got a problem."
"Sure, anything I can do...is it your senses?"
"Blair, I let you pry, cajole and dig because I knew the information was needed for your dissertation and because I knew that you're that kind of person, that kind of friend...But now I'm not so sure...Was it all just research?"
"You believe that?"
"What should I believe? You won't share with me...unless you're drunk... friendship is a two way street, I give, you give."
"Since when? I don't recall any previous interest on your part about who my father was, who I am, what I am...my therapy, my school...and in all honesty, I didn't expect any. You have enough on your plate...cop, sentinel, so who or what I am isn't part of the equation. (voice gets hard) and if you really believe that my interest in you was just research? Then I guess we have nothing more to say."
(sound of footsteps, opening doors)
"I'm getting dressed. Take your shower, Jim."
LATER - KITCHEN
(shower off, door opening, wet, hurried footsteps)
"Chief? What happened?"
"Nothing, just sliced and diced my finger cutting a bagel...uh, Jim? You're dripping all over the floor...and...no towel."
(sound of hurried, wet footsteps and door slamming - hard)
"I HEARD THAT, SANDBURG!"
HALF AN HOUR LATER:
(two men on the couch)
"Sandburg, we need to finish our conversation."
"So, you, me, friends, thesis."
"Jim, I live with you, work with you. You're my best friend. If there were no thesis, I'd still want to know all I could about you. And because you're a sentinel, and that must sometimes feel as though the whole world rests on your shoulders, well, at least all of Cascade...I try to help anyway I can...to relieve some pressure, to help. That's it. Period."
"Well, that makes me out to be a real shit."
"Why? Because you don't show the same curiosity? No one says you have to feel the same way...or the same degree of friendship. I think you reserve that for people like Simon. I'm kind of out of your realm...not someone you'd ordinarily be friends with...."
"Where do you get the idea...I mean, hell, Blair...I've let you get closer than any other human being...."
"And it was okay, because it was part of a deal. You got help with your senses and you knew I'd get my doctorate...you operate best when you know that someone who is helping you is getting back something...hence, I was no threat. And that's okay with me...I understand the risk you'd be taking...."
"RISK? Now we're back to your "fear based" psycho-babble, right? I'm back to being a coward in your eyes... jeesh, it's amazing to me that you stay... I'm obviously a prick."
"God, Ellison, do you ever listen? Think about it, Jim. Everyone you've ever cared about let you down...or left you...or betrayed you...hurt you...you don't think someone with that kind of history wouldn't put up walls? Wouldn't be reluctant to trust again? Add to this your uniqueness, a sentinel with a responsibility that would crush anyone else...how else could you protect yourself?
Don't let anyone too close, keep control...can't risk getting hurt again...your father, Steven, Lila, Incacha, your unit in Peru..."
"Whoa, wait a minute here, my unit? How dare you...."
"Jim, they died. They left you."
"THEY DIED. You think I'm angry about that? They had no choice...You think I'm so stupid...."
"They died...and you didn't."
(body collapsing onto couch)
"Jim, I can only imagine what it must have been like... then coming home, having to bury it all in order to survive....and five years later? A stupid stakeout and you're back online....but this time? No Incacha to help you....when I think...."
"Chief, I had you."
"I wasn't...I'm not Incacha. He was older, wiser - a true Shaman... you could rely on him, trust him...and what was I? Somehow I don't think that when you first met Incacha, you called him "a neo-hippie, witch-doctor punk".
"Relinquishing control to Incacha was easy for you, Jim...but to have to put yourself in my hands?
"Scary...(chuckle), but I did, Blair. I did."
"Yeah. But that was as far as you dare go...that was as much control as you were willing to give up... and...you resented me for it, for even having to give up that little bit."
"Chief, why do you stay? Why do you want so much from me? If it's not just the thesis."
"I already told you...you're my best friend."
"And you don't think that was risky for me? To let you in?"
"No, Jim, the risk was mine. The more I got to know James Joseph Ellison, the more obligated I became."
"To be the best friend I could be...and if I fail? I lose you."
"That's not true...I could never...."
(shifting body stands)
"Yes, it is true. It's been happening for months...you're angry with me now... barely holding on to that superior control of yours...I betrayed you big time... with Alex... and then I almost died, almost left you... and I don't know..."
(sound of footsteps, front door opening, jacket slipped on, keys rattling)
"...If your anger is because I almost died...almost left you....or because - I didn't."
A LOCAL P.D. HANGOUT
"Sandburg, what are doing here?"
"Hey, Joel, just taking a break."
"Ellison in the men's room?"
"You're here alone?"
"Yep. Care to join me?"
(sound of body sliding into booth)
"I don't believe I've ever seen you here without Jim, I mean...."
"Alert the media, Sandburg is without Ellison."
"Uh, Sandburg, you okay?"
"How much have you had to drink?"
"A couple of beers."
"You know, I would have expected you to go someplace near campus... uh, you know, one of your regular hang-outs."
"Joel, this is one of my regular hang-outs, in fact, it's my only regular hang-out...unless you count the station...that's kinda regular now."
"What's wrong Blair?"
"You ever experience unrequited love, Joel?"
"Yes, it's painful.
"Tell me about it...of course, there's an added dimension when there's a possibility that the person you love actually might, like, hate you...on some level...and love you...and is maybe...just maybe, a little afraid of you."
"I don't think Jim hates you, Blair. And afraid of you? No - just afraid of giving again."
(sound of beer being expelled from mouth)
"Hey, Sandburg, watch where you're spewing!"
(long pause while guide silently stares at companion)
(sound of napkin brushing material)
"I've known Jim Ellison a long time. He's crazy about you... I was a little worried about it at first..."
"Me being a guy and all...." (sarcastic)
"Hardly. But I didn't know you...you were young...different...not..."
"Yeah, not his type. He's always gone for tall, cool, quiet...strong men... mysterious women...and usually unattainable."
(sound of beer once again being expelled from mouth)
(sound of body sliding out of range of possible future "spewing")
"Women and Men?"
"Hell, Sandburg, I assumed you knew...shit."
"Joel, I've got to go...."
"Wait, Blair, look...."
"It's okay, Joel... you made things better...not worse. Provided I cool down enough and think twice about this surprising inclination I have to murder him."
"Come on Blair, you could never sneak up on him...never get close enough... covert ops and all."
"Oh, but trust me...I could get close enough, oh yes, I could definitely get close enough...."
"I do believe you could, but hopefully? When you do? You'll find something more constructive to do that close? And Blair?"
"I know you now...and there'd be no one better for him...no one."
(sound of guide making a hurried exit and... can Joel make a noise when he sits back with a very self-satisfied grin?)
(Sentinel hearing picks up the sound of Volvo parking, car door slamming, angry footsteps, elevator)
(sound of front door opening)
"Blair! God Dammit! Where have you been? That was a hell of a way to end a conversation. You...have you been drinking?"
(sound of keys hitting basket, jacket hitting floor)
"You smell like a brewery."
(whoosh...guide collapses on couch)
"Jim? Do you want me to leave? Is it time? I've been in your personal space quite a while now."
"Do you want to...get your own place?"
"Typical Ellison response. Let's try again...Use your Sentinel hearing. DO - YOU - WANT - ME - TO - LEAVE?"
"Shit, Sandburg, you don't have to yell."
(sound of guide pushing himself up, determined footsteps, French doors opening, sound of drawers opening, closing, clothes pulled out)
(frightened footsteps to french doors)
(body inside pauses)
(French doors opening, footsteps advancing on large mass at door)
"Jim, why are you always attracted to women you can't have?"
(Sentinel backing up)
"Look at your history, man. They're either criminals, killers, married to mobsters, engaged, recently divorced, move all over the country, belong to someone else...."
"Sandburg, I don't think..."
"And what about the men? Uh? They all fit the same categories?"
(sound of sentinel stumbling against couch)
"What - the - hell - are - you - talking - about?"
"You. Men. Women. Men. Hit and run Ellison. Men."
"No, it sounds like we're talking about "Love 'em and leave 'em Sandburg."
"I may love 'em, but *I'm* not the one who leaves...and with only two exceptions? The women I have been with are still friends...not that there have been all that many in the last few years...thank you very much. So, Jim? You got an explanation?"
"Damn. What's with you? First you tear my psyche apart, then you drop that bombshell about thinking I actually might wish you'd died...then you want to know if you should leave and now this?"
"Hell, I'm always digging into your psyche, it's what I do...and you have been mad...what was I supposed to think? God, Jim, you have this habit of seeing the world, of seeing me, in black and white...and life isn't. It's shadows, and quiet corners and shades of grey and people who are scared and courageous and vulnerable and weak and let you down...and screw up and...hurt you...and leave you...and some who never want to leave...never would leave if they had a choice...but can't maybe be
what you want...."
"Shut up, Sandburg."
(sound of two exhausted bodies collapsing onto the couch)
"You were right, Blair. I'm afraid. And when I'm afraid...I get angry...because I'm not in control. And yes, I'm angry...mad at you."
"I'm sorry, Jim. I'd give anything to go back, change things...change what I did, to handle it better."
"I'm mad at you because you almost died. God, I'm so careful, try to keep you safe...and I blew it and you let it happen...and I nearly lost you. No, that's wrong...you didn't let it happen, but shit, I'm not making any sense, am I?"
"About as much as me."
(sound of body shifting, pulling)
"Look, I need to...hold something, you...while we talk...okay?"
(sound of bodies aligning)
"Blair? You okay with this?"
"Oh, yeah, I'm very okay with this."
"We'd probably be more comfortable, er, reclining? Somewhat? I could...brace you against my chest?"
(sound of shifting bodies again)
"Okay, Jim, different, but...okay."
"So. Where were we?"
"Weeell, I was at that end of the couch and you were.... OW!"
"I might just be a bit too close? If you're going to pinch me...."
"Right. Neither of us were making much sense."
"Sense. Strange word for us. I have five heightened senses that you have to constantly work on, but neither of us can make any. Sense that is."
"That was weird."
"Your laugh. I felt it...in my chest, along my hands and arms...down my legs...."
(low chuckle, sustained)
"Where were we?"
"You. Me. Five heightened senses. Not making any. Sense that is."
"I found out something, Chief. I found out I won't make it if you leave. But you will. It's inevitable, can't stay here forever...probably sooner than later...I could maybe, survive, if you got your own place...wouldn't like it, don't want it, but, if you leave permanently? Leave Cascade? Get married....
"I'm not leaving, Jim. If you get married? I'm staying...I'll hate it, hate her/him, but I'll stay. You move? I'll follow. You kick me out again? I won't go. Not - ever - again. But, I can't promise not to die. I can't promise that."
(long gentle silence)
"I can accept that. So if I move, to say, the North Pole? You'll follow?"
"You gonna keep me warm?"
"I can do that."
"I can see you now...Sentinel of the Great Penguins...nifty tribe, Jim."
"I can see you...all bundled up, you'd fit right in."
"Even bundled up, I - don't - waddle."
"I know a way to get you waddling, Chief."
(dead silence and two very still bodies)
"Not your type.... *I'm* attainable."
(guide holds breath - sentinel lets out a relieved breath)
"Hey, I can change, break old patterns. I have an excellent guide."
(sound of shirt material rustling)
"Jim, I said I'm attainable not easy."
"Blair, you are so easy...."
"Okay, but only...ummm...oh, mmmm, for...you."
(sound of bodies moving, squirming, buttons landing on floor, zippers lowering)
"This feels...mmmm...god...(heavy breathing) I...whoa...jim...oh...god...."
"Love...you...Blair. Like this?"
"Hair smells...so good...feels.... Where's the nipple ring?"
"Oh god...uh? What? Jim? Jim?"
"Where's - the - nipple - ring?"
"Don't (quick breathing) wear it anymore... Could you go back...to doing...what (breathing normalizing) you were doing?"
"Do you still have it?"
"You're fixating on my nipple ring?"
"Well, I have been, um, fantasizing...sort of."
(sound of highly aroused body crawling off couch...stumbling steps, sounds of rummaging)
(sound of highly aroused body running, body leaps over couch)
"Voila! Happy now?"
"Oh, yes, you are...happy... so, um... oh, yeah...um do I... lose... god... pull...yes... some attraction... (moan -pant)...without...OH GOD...the ring?"
(sound of teeth on metal)
"Jimmmm, uh, Jim?... lots of...mmmm...women have them...you know....oh god...you are a...talented...sentinel...wow...nipple rings...I mean..."
"But they're not (tug, pull, chew) you."
"Yes...dear god...ummm, there is...that...."