Title: Silence Speaks
Series: general crossover universe
Author: akire
Email: akire@mailcity.com
Status: C/U
Category: Crossover: Highlander/The Sentinel
Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe?  Fine.  Oh
yeah, weíre a Clan Denial fanfic.  The Sentinel, post S1 ep ĎVow of
Silenceí
Disclaimers:  D/P and Pet Fly really DO own them.  If you donít
recognize it, its probably mine.  If itís silly or crazy, definitely is
mine.  But if anyone sends the lawyers after me, Iím sending out the
boys with swords ;)  Oh yeah, and imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery.  If you recognize a specific fanfic creation, it belongs to
its author (when this series is finished, I may tally them up). 
Rating: PG, prob.  Hey, Iím not offended by much, if it should be rated
higher, tell me! 
Content Warning: purists beware.  Language may offend some readers.
Writing is getting worse, people! 
Summary:  After their abortive trip to the monastery, Blair remembers
pleasant times and tries again to find the words. 
Dedication:  To Tamy, for helping me prop up the bar 
Notes:  Just a snippet that I had to write after learning that Blair
was a familiar face on Holy Ground ;) 
On with the show! 

~~##~~

"I think I need a holiday to recover from my holiday," Jim griped as he
sank into the couch and ground the heels of his hands into his eyes.

"Oh, come on man, at least it wasnít boring.  You were even enjoying
yourself there for a while."

"Yeah, before the body count started rising, you mean."  Jimís arms
flopped back down to his sides.  "Hey, if academia doesnít work out,
maybe you can become a monk...Brother Sandburg has a nice ring to it, I
think."

Blair retaliated by pelting Jim with a cushion.  "Pass!  I like my
wine, women and song too much."

Jim grinned at his flat mate.  "Of course."  Stretching his arms high
over his head, he yawned widely.  "I think Iím going to get some
sleep."

"Night, man."

"Goodnight, Blair."  Blair sat on the couch, nursing his tea and
listening as Jim thumped around his upper floor bedroom, getting ready
for sleep.  A click, and the top half of the loft went dark.  He waited
for another half an hour, sipping his cooling drink and meditating on
the troubles that had followed him to his favourite local refuge.  

He could remember when he had first discovered that little refuge, so
many years ago.  Before he called Seacouver home.  Before he called
anywhere home, actually.  When he and Naomi were just two free spirits
with no barriers between them and the open road before them.  

Naomi had gone to some womenís only meeting, and he had a whole weekend
alone to look forward to.  Alone, Immortal, and in a strange town.

He had followed his nose for hours and found himself walking up the
dusty path, head tilted back to take in the bright, clean bell tower.

Holy ground.  He could find it anywhere, it was a gift.  

Smiling to himself, he ambled towards the building, enjoying the sense
of peace that seemed to permeate the very air of the place. Which
shattered between one footstep and the next as the familiar buzz of
another Immortal penetrated his consciousness.

He continued on the path without breaking stride.  Holy ground would
give him the luxury of time to assess this possible opponent.

The crunching of gravel from behind his left announced the approach of
another person.  Slowing to a stop, Blaer admired the line of the
tower.  From the corner of his eye, he saw a robe-clad monk step up
besides him.

"Greetings, Brother."  The softly spoken salutation carried no hint of
threat that Blaer could detect.

"Greetings.  I hope you donít mind, I just felt the need for a bit of
quiet."  Turning fully, he assessed the other Immortal for a long
moment before mentally labeling him Ďno threat,í as he had been taught.
In fact, he looked vaguely familiar

The monk nodded slightly.  "I understand fully.  I am Brother Marcus." 
A slight pause as the monk looked around to ensure they were still
alone.  "I have no interest in the Game, and all I request is that you
respect the peace of this sanctuary."

Blaer returned the slight bow.  "My name is Blaer.  And Iíve come to
enjoy the peace, not destroy it."

Brother Marcus smiled.  "Then be welcome, and pax."  He followed
Blaerís gaze to the tower.  "Would you like the grand tour?"

Blaer smiled broadly.

The two Immortalís walked for nearly two hours, first seeing the
highlights of the monastery, then merely talking, blowing the breeze as
only Immortalís can.  Comparing friendships, places been and events
witnesses.

A ringing bell interrupted their increasingly companionable banter.
"The call to meal," Brother Marcus identified.  "Would you care to join
us?  All are welcome at the Lordís Table."

Blaer shrugged.  "As long as your brotherís donít mind a non-Catholic
breaking their bread."

Marcus laughed and began to steer his guest towards the refectory.  "I
hope not.  I only moved onto Catholic Holy Ground about twenty years
ago.  Before that I was Greek Orthodox."  He grinned broadly.  "I
actually started out training as a pontifex."

That kickstarted a conversation in Latin about the merits of various
cities in the Empire as the pair moved to join the other monks.

 ~##~

Blaer held the candle aloft as he cast its flickering light into the
bare corners of his cell.  What had possessed him to accept Brother
Marcusí invitation to stay the night?  True, his dear Naomi wasnít
expecting to see him until they met at the markets tomorrow, but...

He shrugged to himself and returned the candle to the plain wooden
desk.  Why not?  This was Holy Ground, and the cell door could be
latched from the inside.  His instincts were telling him that Marcus
was no real threat.  He was probably safer here than anywhere.

He moved to the narrow window which overlooked the garden two floors
below, and the belltower in the distance, glowing faintly by the
moonlight, its fresh whitewash gleaming in the silvery glow.

He breathed deeply.  Holy ground.  If he concentrated, in this silence,
he felt like he might hear the distinctive tone that was at the
back of any Immortalís brain as soon as they crossed the threshold.

Muscles he didnít even know were tense began to relax.  He grinned to
himself, and his face was reflected back to him in the distorted glass.
Naomi was always telling him to unwind.  He should have known that the
only place he could truly rest was Holy Ground.  He smiled as he
thought of his travelling companion.  Naomi was so cool about his
Immortality, but it was unrealistic for him to expect her to truly
understand the rigours of his lifestyle.  How it was to live every day
expecting a Challenge...

A knock at his door pulled him out of his reverie.  "Who is it?"

"Brother Marcus."

Smiling to himself, Blaer crossed the floor in two paces and pulled the
heavy latch bar off the door.  "Yes, Brother?"

"I was just turning in for the night.  I wanted to see if you had
everything you require."

"Iím fine, thankyou."

Marcus smiled and bowed again.  "Very well.  I hope our call to prayer
after midnight wonít disturb your sleep too much."

Blaer smiled broadly.  "I think my problem will be waking up."  That
much was true.  In such a place of sanctuary, he could afford to sleep
deeply, to not let any little noise waken him.  The thought of rest
translated into a yawn which split his face.  "Oh, sorry," he blushed
as he put a hand belatedly over his mouth.  "Itís not the company, it
was just a long day."

Marcus seemed amused.  "Iíll leave you to your bed then.  Goodnight,
Brother Blaer."

"Goodnight, Brother Marcus."

As he anticipated, Blair slept the sleep of the dead Ė or the truly
safe.  By the time groggy eyes opened, the sun was high over the
horizon.  Groaning slightly to himself, he rose, and scratching idly,
found the small wash-basin and pitcher for his morning ablutions.

Washed, dressed, and reasonably awake, Blaer lifted the latch to his
cell door and stumbled out into the corridor.  He needed to find
Brother Marcus, thank him for allowing him to stay, then it was time he
got going.  It was a long walk back to the markets, and Naomi always
got worried if he was late for a set rendezvous after that nasty
challenge in the Haight last year.

"Brother Blair!"  Turning, he spotted the tonsured head of the monk he
sat next to last night at the meal table.

"Brother Michael, good morning.  Have you seen Brother Marcus?"

The younger Brother smiled and nodded.  "A fine morning it is, too.
Brother Marcus instructed me to tell you that he could be found in the
gardens this morning."  He noted the small carisak Blaer had slung over
his shoulder, the coat with its discretely wrapped sword in one hand.
"Will you be leaving us today?"

Blaer smiled sadly as he reached the crest of the stairs.  "Iím afraid
so.  I have to meet my sister in town today, and she frets if Iím
late."

Michael fell into step besides the Immortal and the pair descended
together.  "She sounds like a fine lady then."

"Oh, she is!" Blaer agreed with a knowing smile.  "My best friend."  It
felt good not to have to lie outrageously about his personal life.

Coming down into the small landing on the ground floor, Michael turned
and offered his hand to Blaer.  "Well, I enjoyed your company."  The
shaken hand lifted in automatic blessing.  "May you go with God."

Stepping out into the bright morning sunshine, Blaer followed the path
around the main buildings to the large gardens behind the monastery.
The Immortal buzz rose and subsided in his brain as he walked past
vines and stalks to the small herb gardens tucked in the corner.

Inhaling deeply, he sang quietly to himself.  
Are you going to Scarborough Fair
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme...

He trailed off as Brother Marcus appeared.  "Good morning, Brother
Marcus."

"Good morning.  Please donít stop on my account."

Blaer blushed, not accustomed to singing in public.  He felt his voice
was barely good enough for singing a drinking ballad or two, nothing
more.  "Actually, I need to get going.  Naomi Ė a friend Ė is expecting
me at the markets in town at noon, and if I donít leave soon, Iíll be
late."

"And she will expect the worst, no doubt?" Marcus added with a knowing
tilt of the head as he inspected the leaves of a rhubarb plant.

"Thanks for letting me crash here and everything."

"It was my pleasure.  I enjoy not having to choose my life over
anotherís.  I find it most peaceful here."

Blaer nodded with a wishful sigh.  "Peace.  It would almost be worth
being stuck in one place to feel peace."

"Wanderlust can be a powerful thing, especially when we are young."
Blaer grinned again as he scuffed his worn sneakers in the ground.  As
was the courtesy amongst Immortals, the subject of relative ages never
came up, but he had gauged Marcus to be of the Roman era, maybe a bit
earlier.  The name Marcus certainly suggested something of that period.

"It certainly can be," he replied non-committedly.  

"But perhaps youíd care to save your legs for another day. A few of the
other Brotherís are taking some of our produce to market.  I am certain
you could..." he paused slightly as he found the right combination in
the modern vernacular.  "Hitch a lift, man."

Blaer laughed out loud.  "If itís not too much trouble..."  His
concerns were waved away with a careless gesture.

"It was they who suggested to me to make the offer.  But come, I know
they will wish to leave shortly." In silence they moved through the
garden to the access road that lead from the gates to the barn that
served as a garage for the monasteryís vehicles.  As he predicted, the
monks were industriously loading the last of the pallets and crates
aboard an ancient-looking flatbed truck.

Blaer turned to shake Marcusí hand.  "Thankyou," he repeated sincerely.

Slowly, with ritualistic care, Marcus embraced him and offered the
fraternal kiss of peace, which Blaer returned with due solemnity.  It
had been nearly ten centuries since he had last been offered such a
token of brotherhood Ė not since the fall of the Order.  Smiling with
the bittersweet memories the sincere gesture had recalled, he looked
his new friend in the eye.  "Pax, Brother Marcus."

"I hope you find yours," he replied with a twinkle in his eye.  "But in
the meantime, feel free to come visit and sample ours.  All I ask is
that you respect the sanctity of our holy ground, to bring no violence
with you, and you will always be welcome here."

Blaer nodded, his hands still on the other manís shoulders.  "I am so
down with that."

Marcus laughed and began shooing him towards the bus. 

 ~~##~~

The noises of a truck backfiring in the street below pulled Blaer back
to the present with start.  Cursing silently as he slopped the cold
dregs of his tea over his fingers, he wiped his hands on his jeans as
he got up and headed towards the kitchen.

First thing tomorrow, when Jim wasnít around, he would write a letter
to Marcus and apologise.  It may have been nearly forty years since
that conversation, but he had still broken his word.  Even though, he
admitted to himself, it was as much the fault of that hitman as his
own, he had still been involved in bringing violence to the monastery. 
He just hoped Marcus wasnít the kind of Immortal who nursed a grudge.

ĎOh well,í an inner voice that sounded suspiciously like his huji said.
ĎIf worst comes to worst, you could probably take him in a fight.  The
guy probably doesnít even know where his sword is anymore.í

Snorting to himself as a mental image of Marcus searching for his
weapon and apologising for keeping his opponent waiting formed in his
mind, Blaer rinsed out his mug and set it on the rack to dry.  The
smiled died as the mental voice continued on to chastise him.  ĎAnd
when was the last time you got in some practice.  Need I remind you
that your skills are the only thing between living and dying?í

ĎItís hard,í he mentally replied, turning the monologue into a
dialogue.  ĎI never did learn how to practice sword fighting around a
Sentinel who thinks Iím a dyed in the wool pacifist.í

ĎBut you did learn how to improvise!  You claim to have a brain, use
it!í

ĎMaybe I should just tell him everything?í

ĎWhere do you want to start?  With the fact that youíre nearly as old
as his religion, the fact that there are a couple of hundred guys out
there whoíd like nothing more to see your head come away from your
shoulders, or the fact that you want exactly the same for them?í

ĎWell, have you got any better ideas?í

The hand which landed on his shoulder nearly scared him into orbit.
"Jee-zuz!  Donít sneak up on me like that, Jim!"

"Sorry, Chief."  Jim yawned, obviously barely awake.  "What are you
doing still up?"

Blair tossed a glance at the clock on the microwave.  Nearly 3am.
"Sorry, man.  I got to thinking and kinda lost track of the time."

Jim favoured his best friend with a warm, sleepy grin.  "Obviously,
Einstein."  The hand on his shoulder migrated north to ruffle his hair.
"But why donít you go to bed."

Blaer paused, the words on the tip of his tongue despite the lateness
of the hour, despite their long and weird weekend.

"Everything okay Sandburg?"

Jimís voice shattered the fragile moment like sugar-glass.  "Yeah man,
just fine.  Go back to bed."

Blair paused at the threshold of his own room as he listened to Jimís
measured steps thump back up to his own room.

It wasnít the right time for that conversation.  Later.  It will be
easier in the morning.

Surely.

 ~~##~~