Blair was silent as he sat watching over his charge. The long, slim body was still. The only movement was the gentle rise and fall of the chest with each breath. The breaths followed a quiet pattern, all nearly silent in rhythm. In until the belly moved upward, a slight pause and then out until the belly became a concave hollow. The only odd sound was the occasional hitch as the lungs adjusted themselves to the slight discomfort of pumping the cool oxygen rich air of the O2 tent. And he thanked God for a competent union rep who had taken on the insurance company to cover that expense. Sentinels recovered so much faster in their home environment.
A fine tracery of light crept through the room – not enough to wake the sleeper, just enough to allow the guide to see. The pale skin seemed to shimmer in the faint moonlight. He knew it was caused by nearly transparent hairs as they caught what little light the curtains allowed into the room. The shadows playing over the sleeping form leeched all color from the fair skin.
If the eyes were open, Blair knew he would see pale blue, thoughtful irises. How anyone could put so much emotion, so many words into their eyes was beyond his comprehension. Even when the tongue could or would not work, those pale eyes spoke volumes – telling him of hurt and joy, fear and exultation, wordless emotion reaching to the very soul of the guide. And now, in repose, hidden under translucent eyelids, they showed nothing but calm and peace.
He caught himself staring, again. Watching … again. Wondering… again. He shifted uncertainly, torn between leaving and staying. He caught his breath as the sentinel stirred restlessly.
“Shh. I’m not going anywhere. Go back to sleep.” He murmured softly, barely vocalizing the syllables.
He watched as the heavily lashed eyes fluttered closed again. The dark brown eyelashes formed a shadowy fan against pale cheeks. He gave in to the desire that had been eating at him for so long.
The skin under his fingertips was soft, silken. Although the pale cheek looked like it was carved out of the finest marble and illuminated by moonlight, it was warm and full of life. He let the backs of his fingers follow the gentle curve of the cheek, grinning at unconscious instinct that had the sleeping sentinel follow the movement. He let his hand brush against the cheek again and softly whispered, “Sleep.”
“Hey, Chief.” Jim’s whisper came from the doorway. “You zoning on the baby again?”
Blair looked up, noticing the time. He had lost a couple of hours. Sheepishly, he admitted, “Yeah.”
“Thought zoning was the sentinel’s job – not the guide’s.”
“Yeah… well…” Blair could feel his own cheeks flush. The baby sentinel’s eyes opened, seeking out both her father and her uncle. Both men instinctively crooned to her and she relaxed, drifting back into sleep.
“Come on, let’s get out of here before someone wakes up.”
The guide nodded reluctantly and flipped on a white noise generator. He watched silently as the toddler stilled, the sentinel relaxing as the soft murmuring sounds soothed her ears.
Jim’s whisper broke Blair’s concentration on the small figure. He shook his head as was gently but firmly pulled from the room. One of these days he’d try to explain the fascination but he thought Jim probably knew it. He had seen the sentinel watching the toddler as she slept – his face a picture of conflicting emotions and rapturous discovery. He peeked back inside the nursery to see his wolf sitting at attention, totally focused on the tiny sentinel. He grinned to himself, nope, this was definitely a guide thing.