By Enola Jones

Simon Banks was up long before his new roommate Michael Rafe. He moved quietly into the living room, hands reaching to make sure he didn't run into anything. He frowned again as a hand reached to his face -- and felt only skin. The bandages had been removed the day before.

But his world was as black as ever.

He was starting to wonder if his sight would ever come back. He shook his head and moved on into the kitchen, his forehead creasing in a deep frown. "It better come back, " he told himself firmly. "You can't live like this forever."

He wasn't referring just to his blindness. He tilted his head and listened, smiling gently as he heard Michael's heartbeat, strong and steady ---

Simon froze. He gave himself a mental shake that translated into a shudder.

No! No, he would not do this! He would not start using these damnable strong senses his blindness had cursed him with. Jim was the Sentinel, not him!

But you used your smell the other day, came the accusing thought.

"There was a reason for that," Simon gritted out. "Jim couldn't. I won't use these.... things ...just because they're here."

Simon took a deep breath and resumed making his breakfast of cereal and fruit. He smiled tightly, comforting himself with the fact that human beings had five senses. Because he was blind --- correction, temporarily blind -- he only had four functioning ones.

"What's with the smile?" came Michael's gently accented voice as he walked into the kitchen, his words punctuated by a yawn.

"Just comforting to know I'm not a true Sentinel."

"That's right," Michael said as he sat down. "You're a pseudo-Sentinel -- caused by the blindness."

"Not just that." His grin was delighted. "It hit me this morning -- out of four functioning senses, I've only got three enhanced ones -- smell, hearing, and touch."

A pause, then Michael's voice held a grin. "That's right! And even a blind Sentinel has four enhanced senses!"

Simon nodded, a grin of triumph splitting his face. "So I have nothing to worry about!" His grin remained in place as he took a huge bite of his cereal.

And froze, the smile vanishing like it had been stricken off his face.

"Simon?" Michael touched his arm. "Simon, what is it?"

Simon found his napkin and spit the cereal into it. "Nothing, I hope." He took a bite of strawberry.

Then he jerked from the table after the berry joined the cereal in the napkin. Michael stood as well. "Simon?"

Simon was standing stock-still in the middle of the kitchen, his blind eyes huge and his hands covering his nose and mouth. Only his rapid, ragged breathing signaled to Michael he hadn't slid into a Zone. "Simon, talk to me!" Michael ordered, concerned.

He began to tremble. He lowered his hands and his mouth worked, but nothing came out for a moment. Then he whispered, "......rough......and sharp...."

Silence. Michael laid a hand on his arm, to try to centre him. "Simon...what are you trying to tell me?" He, too, spoke in a ragged whisper.

"Four for four....oh G-d, it's four for four..." Simon's knees buckled and Michael grabbed him, pulling him to the kitchen chair.

"Easy, Simon, you're going to hyperventilate on me!" Without even thinking about it, Michael rubbed Simon's arm, keeping him focused and grounded. "Four for .... all of your functioning senses are what Blair would call online?"

Simon nodded sharply and leaned forward, burying his head in his hands. "No....nonononono.....what's happening to me, Michael? JIM is the Sentinel -- not me! Oh, G-d, not me.....

"Please....not me....not m-me too...."


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