When my father worked nightshift and slept during the day, we kids continued to play as normal. As loud as we got at times, he never woke up until Mom came in and told us to be quiet. I always thought there was a plot bunny hiding in there somewhere.
Special thanks to TAE for her beta work and for her help with the ending.
Disclaimer: Neither Jen or I can claim any of the following characters. We are just extremely thankful to those who created them and allow us to borrow them.
Jim gently shut the door behind him and leaned on it.
Meagan noticed her husband's mood and quickly met him at the door. "You look beat, Jim. Come in and sit," she motioned towards the living room. "Do you want anything to drink?"
Jim waved her off, "Actually, I think I'll just head up to bed and lay down for a bit."
"Do you want me to call Blair?" she asked as she followed Jim to the stairs.
"Nah, he has an important meeting with the new department head, today. I just need to lay down for a bit and I'll be fine."
Meagan pulled the covers up over her husband and headed back down the stairs and then went straight to Simon's room where the boys were playing.
"Was that Daddy?" Simon asked.
Megan smiled, "If you'd been listening, you'd know that was your father."
Tyler bounced over to his aunt, "We were seeing if we could get the dials where we wanted. Did you know that Simon can turn it down so that he can't hear anything but me?"
With all the times Megan had to repeat that it was bed time, she had no doubt that Simon could tune her out. Luckily she managed to keep that thought from spilling out of her mouth. Instead, she picked Tyler up and said, "That's a good trick."
"Let's go tell Dad," Simon said walking up to his mother.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Honey. Dad has a headache and needs to sleep." Megan explained. "Why don't you two go play over at Tyler's, okay?"
"Sure, Mom." Simon grabbed his friend's hand when his mother set him down.
Megan watched the two boys head out the door and sat down on the couch. She glanced up to the loft where her husband was trying to sleep and picked up one of the files that she'd been reading.
Tyler grabbed Simon's arm as he reached up to the doorknob to the Sandburg loft. "You don't suppose Uncle Jim is having trouble with his senses, do you?"
Simon gave his friend a concerned look, "Probably. That's why we need to be quiet."
Tyler didn't release his friend's arm, "But Daddy's not here to help him with the dials."
The young Sentinel remained quiet.
"Do you think that I could help Uncle Jim, like Daddy sometimes helps you?" Tyler asked quietly.
Simon smiled, "I don't think it would hurt to try."
Simon peeked through the crack in the door and then turned to his friend. "Mom's busy reading files from work."
Tyler nodded, "She's like my Daddy. When she starts reading she doesn't notice much else."
"But we still need to be really quiet," Simon said and held a finger up to his lips.
Tyler just nodded and followed his friend through the door. He crept across the floor until he was hidden by the couch, then waited for Simon to close the door and join him.
They were just about to head for the stairs when Megan put down the file she was reading and stood up. The two small boys froze in place as they listened to her stretch before heading for the kitchen.
When she started looking for something in the fridge, the boys made a break for the stairs. They were at the top by the time Megan had found a soda and headed back towards the couch.
When they were sure that she was engrossed in her reading again, they headed over towards the bed where the older Sentinel was trying to sleep.
Simon kept watch as Tyler climbed onto the bed with his uncle.
Feeling the bed shift, Jim rolled over. He was about to ask Tyler what he was doing, but remained silent when the young Guide held up a finger and shushed him. "We don't want Aunt Megan to find us," the little boy whispered.
Tyler made himself comfortable next to his uncle, "Now just close your eyes and relax. I'm going to help you with the dials."
Jim couldn't help but smile at the self assurance in Tyler's statement. "Oh you are, are you?"
Tyler looked sternly down at the elder Sentinel, "Yes, now close your eyes and hush."
Jim swallowed a laugh and did as he was told.
Seeing that the Sentinel had done as instructed, the young Guide set to work. Tyler tried to remember everything that his father had taught him. He kept his voice soft and low and used a soothing rhythm as he talked the Sentinel through setting the dials.
Tyler was so engrossed in his task that he ignored Simon as the younger Sentinel climbed onto the bed and snuggled next to his father.
When the young Guide had gone through all the dials, he started on a relaxation technique that his father had taught him. A large hand came to rest on his shoulder and pulled him down to lay on the bed.
Megan looked up from her paperwork, which she'd brought home from the station, when she heard a knock on the door. She rushed over to keep whoever it was from knocking again.
She opened the door to see Blair waiting patiently. "Hey, Megan . . . "
"Oh, Blair, I'm so glad you're here," Megan whispered as she pulled him inside. "Jim came home with a headache and I think he could use his Guide."
Blair immediately switched to Guide mode and headed for the loft bedroom. The two adults tiptoed up the stairs, knowing that any noise would disturb the Sentinel above.
Expecting to find a tense and grumpy Sentinel, they weren't prepared for what they found. Jim was sound asleep and looked very relaxed. There was even a slight smile on his face. On one side was his son, Simon, and on the other was Tyler.
All were sound asleep.
"Megan? Blair?" Aislynn hesitantly called from below.
Blair raced over to the railing, shushed his wife, and gestured for her to grab the camera out of the drawer and join them upstairs.
Confused, but trusting her husband, Aislynn found the camera and crept up the stairs. Upon seeing the sight before her, she understood completely, raised the camera, and snapped a few pictures. Then all three friends stood quietly, enjoying the vision before them.
Jim slowly woke a few hours later. He was about to move when he felt the two boys snuggled up against his sides. He smiled as he remembered Tyler telling him that he would help with his senses. The kid was just like his father when it came to getting him to do something.
Next to him, Simon shifted and opened his eyes. He grinned when he saw his father watching him. "Hi, Dad."
"Hey, Sport," Jim whispered.
Jim watched as Simon concentrated for a moment. "Uncle Blair is making chili!" he said happily.
Jim grinned. "What else?" he asked.
"Salad," Simon added, wrinkling his nose.
"And? It's a tricky one. He tried to hide it." Jim asked.
Jim waited while his son searched for the dessert he had smelled. Soon Simon grinned again. "Chocolate pudding!"
"Good job," Jim said as he ruffled his son's hair.
Simon peeked over Jim to look at Tyler, still snuggled up against his uncle, buried under the covers so only the top of his head was showing. He smiled and leaned over his father to tap Tyler's head gently. "T.J., wake up." he said.
Tyler just burrowed deeper under the covers.
Jim chuckled softly and reached down to pull the sleeping boy out from under the covers and up into his lap as he sat up. "Hey, Squirt, time to wake up."
Tyler muttered in protest, but stayed asleep.
"Wake up Chief, Uncle Blair made chocolate pudding," Simon said.
Tyler yawned and his eyes blinked open and he reached up, to rub them with his fists.
"You awake yet?" Simon asked.
"No." Tyler said.
"Wake up!" Simon said pulling his friend closer and giving him a noogie.
"HEY!" Tyler squealed. "I'm awake! I'm awake!" he exclaimed as he tried to push Simon's hands away.
Jim just laughed at the boys' antics. He got up and threw one boy over each shoulder and carried them laughing downstairs to the kitchen table where Blair, Megan and Aislynn were already seated.
"Hey, Chief, does this belong to you?" Jim asked as he placed first one then the other of his giggling burdens in their chairs. "You'd better keep an eye on him or you'll be out of a job."
Blair snorted. "And have my son start eating donuts and bad coffee? I don't think so," he said half seriously.
"Oh, all the things I could teach the boy," Jim said, grinning evilly.
"If I go with Uncle Jim, then Daddy would have to go to school with Simon." Tyler leaned closer to his dad and continued in a whisper, "Watch out during recess. The bullies like to pick on the little kids."
"Don't worry, Uncle Blair, I'll look out for you." Simon added seriously.
Simon and Tyler just looked at each other in confusion as the adults began laughing hysterically.
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