Author=s Note: This is a small bit of smarm that occurred to me during a chat one night. (It happens every once in a while or so <G>) Those who were there that night (and you know who you are ;-) ) enjoyed it and hopefully you will to. Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and such, especially ego stroking. <G> Enjoy.
A Brother by Choice
by Wendy Myers
The truck cam to a stop at the beginning of the woods. Jim and Blair planned on camping this weekend and this weekend was made even more special in that they had brought Stephen along. Jim had planned this weekend after the hectic week of cases he and Blair had been through and he wanted to rebond with his brother.
Blair didn=t feel real comfortable with Stephen coming along but he never told Jim. They got out of the truck and started unloading their packs.
AThis is gonna be great!@ said Jim, smiling. AFishing, hiking, fresh air. . .@ He took a deep breath to emphasize his point.
Blair and Stephen smiled and Blair laughed.AYeah,@ chuckled the anthropologist, remembering the previous times he and Jim had gone camping. AHopefully this time we=ll actually get through this.@ His remark was rewarded with a glare from the detective, whose eyes were laughing and a look of confusion from Jim=s brother.
Blair chuckled again and they continued to unload the truck.
The camping trip was going very well. Jim and Stephen were showing Blair more about fly fishing and Blair showed them his recipe for cooking fish. The next day was planned for hiking. But when Jim got up, he grabbed his fishing pole and started heading toward the river.
Blair looked at him.AI thought we were going hiking.@
Jim looked up.AYou two go ahead. I=m gonna see if I can catch some more fish for dinner tonight, ok?@
Blair=s face fell for a second and quickly replaced it with a shrug. AOkay,@ he said and followed Stephen as he started on the hiking trail.
Jim smiled as he watched the two of them go and felt a swell of pride for them. There went his brother, whom his father disallowed any brotherly relationship to mature, and Blair, his partner, his guide/shaman, his brother by choice. Smiling to himself, the Sentinel turned his attention to his fishing.
A few hours later, his fishing was interrupted by Stephen=s shouting. Jim looked up instantly and saw his brother running back down the trail towards him.
AJIM!!!@ he yelled.
Jim left the water and dropped the pole.AStephen?!@ he exclaimed, looking around. AWhere=s Blair?@
Stephen came to a skidding stop, his breathing labored.AWe. . .we-were. . .j. . .just. . .@
Jim placed his hands on his brother=s shoulders. AJust calm down. Calm down. Take a deep breath.@
Stephen complied and as soon as he had calmed down enough, Jim repeated his question.ANow, where is Blair?@
Stephen took another calming breath, then started to tell Jim what happened.AWe were walking along the trail, enjoying the sights,@ he explained. ABlair stopped to admire the sights from a nearby cliffside. He was telling me how you and he went on all sorts of camping trips and how he was amazed with the sights each time he came.@ Seeing Jim=s impatient glare, Stephen skipped to the problem. AAnyway, there was a crack and the tree he was holding onto snapped and he fell over the side.@
AHE WHAT??!@ Jim exclaimed.
Stephen raised his hands.AHe=s still alive, Jim,@ he assured the detective. AHe landed on the ledge.@ Steven started back up the trail. AC=mon. This way.@
Jim grabbed the climbing gear and followed his brother back up the trail.
Steven led his brother to the spot where he had left Blair.
Jim looked over the edge and saw his partner laying unconscious on the cliff ledge. There was loose gravel showering around the young man and his sentinel hearing picked up cracking sounds. Looking back at Stephen, Jim started unraveling the rope and the gear. Handing his brother the rope=s end, he ordered. ATake this. Tie it around a thick tree.@
Steven complied with a nod and returned after a few moments.AWhat=s happening, Jim? Is he all right?@
Jim nodded.AHe=s alive, but the ledge he=s on isn=t gonna last.@ Jim started putting on the climbing gear. AI=m gonna go down and get him. You stay and grab him as soon as I get him up, ok?@
Steven looked concernedly at his brother, then the ledge Blair was on.AAre you sure that ledge will be able to support your weight and his, Jim? I mean, if it can=t, both of you could die.@
Jim clenched his jaw.AI can=t just leave him there, Stephen!@
AI=m not suggesting you do that, Jim,@ he said. AI=m saying that maybe I should go down instead.@
Jim looked at him.AWhat??@
ALook, I=m lighter than you so the ledge should be able to hold both of us long enough for me to get Blair and come up, okay?@
Jim glanced down at his partner and then back at Stephen. He didn=t like it, but Stephen was right. If Blair was to survive, Stephen would have to be the one to go down to him. Handing the climbing gear to his brother, Jim looked directly at him. ABe careful.@
Stephen stopped putting on the gear for a moment to look into his brother=s ice blue eyes. AI will, Jim.@
Once the gear was on, Stephen walked over to the edge of the cliff. Jim grabbed the slack and prepared to help his brother descend to the ledge. Then Stephen eased his way over the edge.
As soon as he got to the ledge, he shouted,AHe=s alive, Jim! But he=s unconscious! I=m gonna strap him to me and climb back, ok?@
Jim turned up his hearing slightly to monitor the two men. The cracking sound was getting louder.AYeah!@ he shouted back. AJust hurry, ok? I don=t that ledge will hold much longer.@
Stephen strapped the unconscious anthropologist to him so he wouldn=t fall on the trip back up and began to climb. Jim felt the strain of the added weight on the rope and quickly compensated by shifting his weight. As soon as Steven started climbing, Jim heard a tremendous crack as the ledge gave way and crashed into the river below. Suddenly worried, Jim yelled, AAre you two all right? STEPHEN!!@
A reply came as a hand reached the ledge.AYeah,@ Stephen grunted. AHelp me get him up!@
Jim quickly ran over to pull Blair up and laid him gently on the ground then returned to help his brother. While Stephen took off his gear, Jim quickly assessed his friend=s situation.
Stephen rushed over to Jim=s side. AIs he going to be okay?@
Jim gathered Blair up in his arms and stood up.AYeah,@ he said. ABut we have to get him to the hospital.@
Blair woke up to bright lights and a bed.>This isn=t the loft,= he thought. >Where am I?=
Blair looked over to see Jim and Stephen sitting beside him. The young man was confused.AHow. . . ?@
Jim moved to sit on the bed and Stephen sat in the chair beside him.AYou fell off a cliff, Blair,@ Stephen explained.
Blair looked at Jim for confirmation.
Jim nodded.AI thought you weren=t taking any more swan dives, Chief?@ said the detective with a smile. AThe doctor said you have a concussion and a few scrapes and bruises, but nothing broken. He wants to keep you here for observation and then you=re coming home to rest.@
Stephen looked at Blair.AIs it always like this?@ he asked.
Both Jim and Blair smiled.
ASo far,@ Blair joked. AOne of these days we=ll get a nice, peaceful camping trip with no problems.@
Jim chuckled.AOnly if you stay where I can keep my eyes on you. You tend to get into trouble at the best of times.@
Blair sent him a glare, but followed with a smile.
The nurse came in to check up on her patient for the night and the brothers left as soon as Blair went to sleep. Out in the hall, Stephen turned to Jim.AI=ve seen how you two interact in just the short time we=ve been together this weekend. Is that how you want us to be?@
Jim looked directly at Stephen and sighed.AListen, Stephen. Our dad did crappy things to us that ruined things at the time for any brother relationship,@ Jim explained. ABut that=s all in the past.@ He laid a hand on his brother=s shoulder. AFinding you again did open the wounds that Dad inflicted and Blair has filled that void that Dad caused between us. But I know that we=re brothers, that=ll never change and we=re becoming friends. But to compare what I wanted with you and me and what I have with Blair is something I can=t explain and can=t copy.@
Stephen looked away and nodded.
Jim looked at his brother.ALook at me, Stephen.@ When he complied, Jim added. AThanks for what you did today. I really appreciate it.@
Stephen smiled.AY=know, he=s very talkative.@
Jim smiled and chuckled.AYeah.@
The brothers went back to the loft and spent the night talking about their new addition to the family --- a brother by choice.
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