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Summary: Why did Blair throw his career away in The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg?

Author’s Note: Written for Sentinel Thursday Challenge #34, ‘Senses’.


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Cry Me A River Award


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Just a Sham
By Fluterbev

March 2004



Incacha once called me a shaman. But he was only half right. The first half. Because in reality, what I am, is just a sham.

On that terrible day when Incacha left his mortal remains bleeding all over our couch in the loft, I had my hands full dealing with Jim, at first as he vented and grieved, and afterwards as I pushed him into re-connecting with his animal spirit so he could take back control of his senses. The last thing on my mind at the time was the legacy that Incacha's bloodied hand had imbued upon me: the title of shaman.

Then, once Yeager and the others had been taken into custody, there was still so much else to deal with. The Chopec had vanished as furtively as they came, except, of course, for Incacha, whose body and a few arrows were the only visible reminder that they had existed at all. As an anthropologist, I couldn't help but marvel at Jim's dedication to the observation of appropriate ritual in the disposal of the shaman’s remains. He once again proved that still waters run deep, regressing into Chopec warrior mode. For the first time, I understood just how profoundly the time he spent in Peru had affected the person he had become.

For my part, guilt over my culpability for Janet's death hit me hard. It was a long time before I could find any forgiveness for myself, despite the assurances given me at the funeral by Janet's mother: that she had died as she had lived, never compromising her principles and doing the right thing. With all of that going on, I didn't feel ready to face Incacha's bequest and what it actually meant. To tell the truth, I really didn't want to face it; it scared the shit out of me.

But I drew a lot of comfort after that in the time I spent with Jim. Once things settled back down, we seemed to be on a roll. Our friendship was stronger than it had ever been, and Jim treated me more and more like a real partner. I even went undercover a few times, and man, we were a crime fighting machine, putting down poachers, mobsters, dirty cops and serial killers. Even when I screwed up, like during that whole Iris thing, Jim backed me up, making sure that, even though I was arrested, I got to spend my four hours in custody in Simon's office rather than in lockup. During that whole ordeal, I never once doubted that he'd come through for me. It was like we were an unbeatable team. Solid. Unbreakable.

Looking back, I think it was after Lila died in Jim's arms that our bubble began to deflate. Every issue Jim had about betrayal had been thrown in his face yet again, and he started to shut me out. It was like he suddenly realized how much trust he had invested in me, and he began to back off, to push me away; scared of getting burned again, I guess. Who can blame him?

I have to confess, at the time I did. He pushed a few of my buttons too. I don't deal well with rejection, and I reacted like I always do when I feel threatened - I pushed back. When he wanted solitude, I got in his face. When he got antsy about the diss, I goaded him about it. To make a long story short, shit happened, we both got hurt, and I ultimately ended up being forced to face the whole spiritual aspect of our lives from the inside.

Once we got back from Sierra Verde, I finally took my blinders off, declared myself ready to face the whole shaman issue, and got ready to begin some research. I decided to start with basic definitions, so I looked up ‘shaman’ in the dictionary. I mean, I know what a shaman is, sure. I’ve even met a few. But it does no harm to get down to basics, right?

You know what it said? It said that a shaman is ‘a member of certain tribal societies, who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world, and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events’.

I had a profound revelation when I read it, and my research never got any further than that. My involuntary dip into the fountain had simultaneously prompted my one and only involuntary dip into that ‘invisible spirit world’. But who had adeptly leapt into the jungle after me, to drag me back into the ‘visible world’? Which of the two of us had possessed the power to reverse a significant natural event (my death), and the ability to use his animal spirit to heal?

Which of us is truly a shaman?

Two weeks ago, Jim solved a forty year old crime by communicating with the spirit of a murdered woman; a spirit that despite all my longing, and all the Ghostbusters-style equipment I’d filched from the parapsychology lab, I was unable to perceive on any level.

I was reminded during that case of what I once heard Jim tell Corinna Santiago, the Santeria priestess. When she told Jim that she didn't expect anyone to understand her spirituality, Jim had replied, "A lot of us walk in different worlds, Corinna. Sometimes we're not sure which world we're in."

He was right, except for one thing. It's not a lot of us. It's just him.

I used to believe that sentinels had five heightened senses. Now I know the truth. They have six.

Sentinel.

Shaman.

Same thing.

Now, as I mount the podium, the precipice from which my entire life's work will be cast to its death, I feel oddly calm. This sacrifice is necessary. Because, out of the two of us, Jim Ellison is the valuable one. The one who is worthy of a chance, a way out of this mess. A way to go on being what he is.

He is a sentinel. He is a shaman. He is unique, precious, incredible, irreplaceable.

Me? I'm just a guy who studies sentinels. A guy who followed Jim around for the last three years, trying to be his partner. A guy who screwed up one time too many.

Not a shaman.

Not a cop.

Just a sham.

I take a deep breath, and step off into the abyss. "Hi. Thank you all for coming. I just have a short speech prepared here. Um... In our media-informed culture..."


The End





Comments are welcome, but absolutely not necessary - all of my stories are offered freely and without obligation. If you do wish to comment below please sign your name/pseudonym if you are not logged-in to Dreamwidth or Open ID, or alternatively you can email me at fluterbev@gmail.com



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Date: 2007-08-03 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klgrem.livejournal.com
Aw. :( Poor Blair. *hugs him* Good story. :)

Date: 2007-08-04 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fluterbev-fic.livejournal.com
::hugs Blair too:: Glad you liked it! :-)

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