The folks from the Sentinel and the Mag 7 don't belong to me. Beau and Dev on the other hand have claimed me. My deepest thanks to Pookwana, KT the Opinionated, and The Sound of the Flute without whom this story would be much less understandable.
I guess the old reflexes are still good, the sentinel noted. Jim stood crouched, weapon in hand, before sleep entirely cleared his mind. Beau's terrified screams filled the air. A quick scan revealed nothing out of place in the loft. Just a nightmare, poor little guy. Returning his weapon to the top of his closet, he rushed down the stairs.
"Hey," Blair acknowledged Ellison's presence.
Jim frowned as Blair knelt in front of the French doors to his bedroom. Beau's screams had quieted to terror filled whimpers. "Blair?"
"Dev won't let me in," Blair explained calmly. "I don't think he's awake."
"You're bigger than he is," Jim reminded with a huff.
"He's got two knives and I'm pretty sure he knows how to use them." Blair's voice had dropped into the soothing 'guide' tone. "Where'd he get knives? Who'd teach a little kid to use them anyway?"
"I'd say he came with them. Junior's been in some bad places, so he'd have taught the boys how and when," Jim answered sadly.
"They're just babies," Blair growled.
"So was Vin, and he doesn't want his boys to be helpless the way he was," Jim answered with a slight edge to his voice. Ellison moved behind his guide where he could see into the room. "Dev's eyes are wrong," Jim muttered.
"I know. It's just the way the lights catching them, making them glow like that, right?" Blair asked for reassurance.
"His pupils are slit like a cat's," Jim corrected in disbelief. "What do we do? If Beau keeps screaming this way, somebody is going to call the cops on us."
"You're the Alpha, maybe he'll respond to you," Blair said thoughtfully.
"Dev, you need to calm down. Let's take care of Beau, alright?" Jim moved closer to the door, only to freeze at the warning growl from within.
"He's not hearing me," Jim told Blair very calmly.
"Get the door, Blair. It's Carrie from across the hall," Ellison ordered, never taking his eyes off Dev.
Blair opened the door at the hesitant knock.
"What's wrong?" Carrie whispered. "Anything I can do to help?"
"Beau is having a doozy of a nightmare. Any ideas would be appreciated. They're awake but still in the nightmare." Blair winced as Beau screamed once more.
"My sister would put her's in the shower when they wouldn't wake up," Carrie suggested.
"No good, we can't get in the room. Dev's . . . guarding them," Sandberg hesitated.
Jim looked over his shoulder and studied Carrie intently. "Red, it's RED."
"What's red?" Blair blinked.
"Carrie's hair. It's almost the color of Shannon's. Do you happen to sing?" Jim demanded.
"Best lullaby crooner west of the Mississippi," Carrie answered calmly.
Blair breathed a sigh of relief and drug Carrie into the apartment. "We need an expert, please?"
"I'm no expert, but I'll try. He's so scared," Carrie's voice broke.
"Blair, do you still have the medicine bag?" Jim asked softly.
"Why didn't I think about that?" Blair huffed, yanking the bag over his head.
"This is going to sound nuts, but I want you to empty this onto your lap after you sing for a little bit," Blair told Carrie.
"Hey, I live across the hall from you two. I know you're both nuts, in the nicest way possible." Carrie Andrews smiled warmly.
"Any idea what might have triggered this?" Carrie asked softly.
"The only thing I can think of was daycare. Beau and Dev had some trouble with one of the caregivers. They seemed fine though," Blair answered.
"Don't beat yourself up over it. You never know what will set a kid off." Carrie patted Sandberg's shoulder as she headed for the children.
"Not too close," Jim warned, catching Carrie's hand and stopping her.
"I see your problem. Protective isn't he?" The woman's voice stayed calm despite her widening eyes. "Any requests?"
"Shannon, their mother, was Welsh so I'm not sure what kind of lullabies she'd have sung," Jim muttered.
Carrie's sweet voice filled the air singing 'Hush-a-bye'. Beau's screams eased into frightened whimpers, and then soft hiccupping sobs as the music soothed him. Opening the medicine bag, she poured the contents onto her lap. Dev's tense posture eased and the knives lowered. For almost half an hour Carrie sang to the twins in the darkened room.
"Momma?" Beau appeared behind his twin.
Jim sighed in relief as Dev's eyes returned to normal.
The knives clattered to the floor. Dev's small frame shook violently as he cried silently. Beau crept out from behind his brother and rushed into the welcoming arms.
"Oh Baby," Carrie rocked the crying child and rubbed his back.
Slowly Dev approached, lifting a shaking hand, he stroked Carrie's hair and tears dripped to the floor unheeded. Carrie reached out intending to pull Dev into her arms only for the child to back away. Returning to the darkened room, he carried out Beau's stuffed wolf and his quilt.
"Thank you, Sweetie. Why don't you come sit down with me?" Carrie coaxed.
Dev's nostrils flared and he jerked back, shaking his head. Jim followed the little sentinel as he searched the entire loft. Giving Carrie and his brother a wide berth, he slipped past the woman to reach the balcony door, struggling desperately he tried to open it.
"Easy Dev, let me help," Jim soothed. Opening the door, he followed the boy into the night.
Carrie snuggled Beau close and rocked the now silent child.
Beau pulled away reluctantly. "Thank you," he whispered.
"No problem kiddo. I'm Carrie and I live just across the hall," Carrie introduced herself.
"Elevator." Beau nodded. "Dev?"
"Jim's with him out on the balcony," Blair calmed.
"Let's find something so you can blow your nose. Do you need a drink of water?" Carrie asked gently.
"Uh huh," Beau fidgeted.
"I'll be right back." Blair hopped up and headed for the kitchen.
"Beau honey, do you need help to change your jammies," Carrie whispered.
Beau looked guilty and flushed brightly. "I had an acthident," he admitted tearfully.
"If I had a nightmare like that, so would I." Carrie hugged the little boy. "I'll take care of things while you go change."
Beau looked into the darkened room fearfully.
"Why don't you tell me where your pajamas are, and I'll get them for you while you get a quick bath?" Carrie asked calmly.
"Blue backpack," Beau muttered before hopping up and hurrying to the bathroom.
"Carrie?" Blair walked over to look in the now well lit room. A pile of bedding lay on the floor.
"Oh man, how humiliating for the little guy," Blair sighed.
"Let me take him the clean clothes while you remake the bed and dispose of the evidence," Carrie ordered.
"Dev?" Jim knelt and gently grasped the boy's hand when he began hitting the balustrade.
Dev trembled and rocked for several minutes before turning into Ellison's arms, laying his head on Jim's shoulder.
Sitting down, Jim lifted the boy onto his lap and simply held him. No tears, no sobs, yet misery radiated off the small form. Slowly, the stiff body curled closer to him.
"Are you with me here little man?" Jim coaxed.
"Talk to me mini-Tanner," Jim ordered.
"Momma?," Dev signed.
"No Dev, that's Carrie from across the hall," Jim answered sadly, tucking the little boy closer.
"Momma where?" Dev pulled away and signed, looking hopeful.
"I'm sorry Dev, she can't come back," Jim whispered hoarsely.
"Smelled Momma," Dev signed angrily.
"We used the medicine bag," Jim sighed.
Dev seemed to shrink at the words. Wrapping his arms around himself, he rocked violently for several minutes. One last shudder and he stood up and headed inside.
"Dev?" Jim asked worriedly.
"Beau needs," Dev signed before opening the door.
Jim watched as the boy straightened while he walked towards the bathroom and slipped inside.
"You got him settled, big guy?" Blair held out a cup of hot tea.
"No, I need to talk to Vin. Dev was hunting for Shannon. He hasn't accepted she's gone," Jim said shakily.
"Nothing we can do about it tonight." Blair patted Jim's shoulder. "Help me make sure I got everything back in the medicine bag, alright? I don't want anything left out to upset him."
"Carrie left?" Jim cocked his head.
"Yeah, she didn't want to embarrass Beau. She was kinda hoping he'd think this was all part of his dream," Blair answered as he leaned against Jim's back to anchor him while Ellison scanned the loft for any reminders of Shannon.
"Dream?" Jim frowned.
"Beau wet the bed," Blair explained softly.
"So? He was terrified," Jim growled protectively.
"Jim, it's a big deal when you're four," Blair huffed.
"Are their quilts alright?" Jim asked.
"Yeah, so are the stuffed animals." Blair yawned widely.
"We can camp out in here or they can sleep with me again," Jim muttered.
Jim carefully slipped out to the bedding and tucked the entwined twins back in. Groaning, he stood up and walked into the kitchen.
"Hey," Blair whispered, handing the other man a cup of coffee.
"Will you be alright?" Ellison studied Blair.
"Not the first time I've pulled an all-nighter, big guy," Sandberg reminded.
"No telling what they'll be like when they wake up," Jim huffed.
"We'll manage," Blair soothed.
"I'll be in court, so you won't be able to reach me by cell phone," Ellison scowled.
"I've got Simon, Joel and Carrie on speed dial," Sandberg reassured his sentinel.
"They seemed fine, happy, comfortable even," Jim muttered, studying the two small forms sleeping on the rug in front of the couch.
"Hey, don't blame yourself. Dev acts steady as a rock and Beau . . . Hell," Blair huffed.
"Smoke and mirrors. Beau let us see what we wanted too," Jim growled.
"Get your shower. I'll fix you something to eat," Blair ordered. "We need to tell Vin about this. Depending, he might need to change the psychologist."
"Why?" Jim demanded.
"You heard Beau the other night, they don't 'tell' the psychologist anything," Blair snorted.
Jim's jaw flexed and he headed for the bathroom.
"Jim, they've only been asleep three hours," Blair protested as Jim started to wake the twins.
"I'm not leaving without them knowing about it," Jim growled.
"Yeah, Man your right. The last thing they need is another person 'disappearing' on them," Blair groaned.
Ellison gently shook the small boys. Sleepy blue eyes blinked up at the sentinel.
"Unca Jim?" Beau sat up abruptly. Shaking fingers stroked Ellison's tie.
"I wanted to make sure you knew what was going on. I'm going to be in court most of the day. As soon as I can, I'll come home." Jim stroked the soft curls.
"Oh," Beau wrapped his arms around himself. Dev scooted closer to his twin.
"Blair is off today because of his knee, so he'll be here with you," Jim reminded.
"'Kay," Beau nodded cheerfully.
Ellison frowned at the boys' calm acceptance.
Dev shook his head and signed behind Beau's back.
Jim nodded faintly. So Beau doesn't remember the nightmare.
"We'll thtay wit' Unca Bear," Beau agreed.
"Dev?" Jim held out a welcoming arm.
Dev cuddled close and signed slowly. "Momma's dead and won't come back. I just wanted her."
"Yeah I can understand that, son," Jim stroked the disheveled curls.
"Will Tad come taday?" Beau asked hopefully.
"I don't know. I do know he'll be here just as soon as he can," Blair promised.
"Thouldn't you have yer leg propped up?" Beau scowled at the other guide.
"Busted," Jim laughed and stood up. "I'll call during court recesses."
"Leave your handcuffs," Dev signed.
"What?" Jim demanded.
"How else am I going to watch two guides?" Dev signed sharply.
"Simon's on the speed dial." Jim looked concerned.
"Look guys, my knee feels much better. I'm going stir crazy just laying here. It's not swelling or anything. I'll take it easy, but I'm out of fresh ginger and I need some tea. I wanted to fix stir fry for supper and . . . " Blair's voice trailed off as he faced the scowling twins.
"Yer thuppothe ta thtay off'n tha knee," Beau huffed, tapping his toe impatiently.
"We could rent some movies and you guys could run off a little energy," Blair pleaded.
"Yah cain't uthe tha car'th clutthh with yer knee," Beau responded.
"We can use the bus or even a cab," Sandberg coaxed.
"Yah ain't got no cruttheth." Beau smiled triumphantly.
"In the closet in Jim's room. And Jim didn't say I have to use them," Blair grinned.
"Ah Thhit," Beau snapped.
"Don't curse, it won't help," Sandburg corrected.
Blair blinked at the open cell phone Dev pushed into his hands.
"What?" I'm safe, Jim's in court.
"What's going on? Who's hurt?" Simon Banks worried voice was easily heard.
Oh Man! He called Simon. "Hey Simon, nobody is hurt. Dev is just having a slight disagreement with me and called for back up," Blair huffed.
"What are you getting into Sandberg?" Simon demanded.
"Why do you automatically assume I'm getting into . . . " Blair pulled the phone away from his ear and scowled as the laughter rang through the speaker. "There's no need to be rude," Blair huffed into the phone after a minute.
"I'm a busy man Sandberg, what are you trying to talk the boys into?" Banks asked in a calmer tone.
"Taking a cab down to Chinatown so I can get some spices and noodles for supper tonight. I'm fixing stir-fry. Are you coming?" Blair asked sweetly.
"Sandberg, quit trying to con me. Stir-fry?" The growl from Banks stomach could be heard over the phone.
"Lo Mein noodles too," Blair coaxed.
"Jim's gonna kill me. Alright, you take a cab. No more than three hours. You will rest during that time," Simon huffed.
"No he won't. Cab it is. That ought to be plenty of time. I'll treat the twins to lunch and prop up my leg." Blair's happy smile brightened the room.
"Dev, call me if anything seems wrong," Simon ordered before Blair ended the call abruptly.
"Beau, get me the phone book please. I need to call a cab," Blair ordered.
"Keyth?" Beau demanded.
"Check," Blair answered.
"Wallet?" Beau asked.
"Check," Sandberg patted his pocket.
"Grothery litht?" The little guide questioned.
"Grocery list, check." Blair sheepishly picked the list up off the counter.
"Phone?" Beau tapped his foot.
"Check." Sandberg felt along his belt.
"Ith it tharged?" Beau demanded.
"Full charge," Sandberg crowed.
"Blair, where'th yer thhoeth?" Beau looked pointedly down at Blair's bare toes.
"Ah man, the cab will be here just any time." Sandberg started looking for the wayward shoes only to have Dev drop them by his feet. "Thanks Dev."