Spirited Advice - Senseless pt 6
A/N: Part 6 of 'Senseless'. Earlier parts can be found here.
Jim ushered his sleepy guide to his room. Blair began to disrobe, following Jim's patient instructions. He slipped his shirt off first at Jim's direction and then waited.
"Just like last night, Chief, and the night before," Jim stated encouragingly.
Blair studied him intently and then hesitantly sat on the edge of the futon and toed off his shoes, never taking his eyes off Jim.
Jim smiled. "That's it, kiddo. Wanna leave your socks on?"
Blair nodded jerkily and reached for the top button on his jeans. He was about to pop it open, then paused and looked at Jim.
"Yup, jeans next," he prompted.
Blair unbuttoned his jeans, stood just enough to slide them down over his butt and thighs, then plopped back down. He pushed the pants to his ankles then stopped. His brows corkscrewed quizzically as he stared at his feet. Jim was just about to kneel down and help him, when Blair pulled his right foot up, placed it on the pooled clothing and then levered his left foot up and out and kicked the jeans aside.
He glanced at Jim and smiled.
Jim grinned and pumped a fist excitedly. "Yes!" he exclaimed happily.
He sat next to Blair and wrapped his arm around him, pulling him close to his chest. "You're doing great, kiddo," he whispered hoarsely. "Just great."
It didn't matter that he didn't sound the least bit convinced; Blair rarely showed any reaction to Jim's enthusiastic comments whether they were good, bad or indifferent.
Jim helped Blair crawl under the covers and waited while Blair curled himself into the tight little ball he always slept in.
Then Jim talked to Blair for a few minutes, nonsense stuff mostly, about groceries that needed buying, bills that needed paying, sports events that needed to be watched. It didn't matter what he said. It only mattered that he talked.
And Blair watched him attentively each night, his eyes roaming across Jim's features, searching, wanting...Jim didn't know what.
When Blair yawned and started blinking his eyes in an attempt to keep them open, Jim took it as the signal to tuck the covers snuggly around his guide, say, "Good night, Chief, sleep well," and wait to hear a few of the handful of words his formerly verbose guide had reduced his vocabulary to.
"G'night Jim," Blair murmured before closing his eyes and drifting immediately to sleep.
Jim slipped out of the room, leaving the French doors open.
Blair had developed an extreme aversion to closed doors, adamantly refusing to close the doors to his bedroom or the bathroom when he was in those rooms.
The shrinks had handed Jim a bunch of psycho-nonsense to explain the strange behavior, just like the selective amnesia bull they'd pronounced that afternoon.
Jim meandered over to the couch and slouched down into the cushions. He let his head fall onto the couch back and closed his eyes.
It had only been two weeks since Blair had come out of the catatonic stupor he'd been in for a little over three months. He was capable of doing things for himself, but only if he was told to do it. And if anything involved more than a three-step process, he couldn't manage without further instruction…or wouldn't, Jim wasn't sure which.
He took an extended leave from the PD to take care of Blair. He'd take as long as his guide needed. Jim's frustration vibrated throughout his entire being. It had been a long two weeks.
He'd felt it while he'd cradled Blair earlier…the hidden fear, the buried danger.
And he ached for his guide, groping for a way to coax the secrets into the light so they could be purged, so he could fulfill his promise of Blessed Protector.
He scrubbed his hands across his face vigorously and rolled his neck, popping the kinks. He sat back up and rubbed his tired eyes before opening them. He looked across the room and froze.
Blair's spirit guide was huddled in the corner, trembling. The wolf's eyes skittered around the room before meeting Jim's and then he quickly lowered his head, looking away, and retreated into himself.
"It's all right, fella," Jim whispered. "We're taking this slow and easy. Whatever he needs, buddy. But I gotta tell ya, I could use a little help here."
And then the panther walked through the wall and sauntered up to Jim. He sat at Jim's feet and stared at the sentinel, his tail swishing impatiently. He cocked his head as if to say, 'You've got to be kidding me.' Then he trotted over to the wolf and nudged it hard. The wolf didn't respond, so the panther pushed harder, shoving the wolf with its large paws. The wolf tried to ignore the panther, turning away and curling up, making itself smaller. The panther just became more insistent, shoving and pushing, prodding and poking and finally nipping at the wolf's flank.
The wolf jumped to its feet and turned on the panther, baring his teeth and snarling menacingly. The panther kept at him, circling him. The wolf tried to bolt, but the panther left no avenue of escape and nipped harder still, backing the smaller animal into a corner. The wolf yipped and growled, pacing in agitation. Then the panther lay down and watched the display, his eyes darting between Jim and the wolf.
The wolf's yapping soon dissolved into distressed yelps and cries. And only then did the panther offer comfort, pulling the wolf to him and nuzzling him protectively.
The panther looked at Jim again and then the two animals faded away.
Jim stared at the empty space for a minute, letting the message sink in. He looked over his shoulder, through the open doors, at his sleeping guide and decided what needed to be done.
"It's time to try a new approach, kiddo," he whispered.
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