|Pairing:||Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg|
|Prevalence:||most popular slash pairing|
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Appeal of the Pairing
The relationship between Jim and Blair, be it friendship or something more, is one of the central ingredients of the show, arguably more important than Jim's super senses.
As (not-quite-official) police partners, they quickly develop into an efficient crime-fighting team, each protecting the other in his own way: Jim with his superior strength, fighting prowess, and physical skill; Blair with his smarts and his understanding of Jim's supersense-related vulnerabilities. Each admires the other's strengths and compensates for his weaknesses. As co-conspirators, they are drawn closer together by the secret (Jim's powers) that they share and try to protect (easily understood as a metaphor for homosexuality). It is also heavily implied that Jim's supersenses are guided by a mystical force which also has a plan for Blair, and which supports and encourages their partnership. As roommates, they enjoy many cozy domestic scenes, cooking food for each other and bickering good-naturedly. They also seem to take most of their vacations together, to secluded woodsy spots.
In the glimpses of them we see outside of adventure, they frequently joke and laugh, and clearly enjoy each other's company. They are physically affectionate with each other, frequently touching, and though they never go so far as to hug, they often stand very close together. The threat of being torn apart by cruel fate renders them both unable to speak or look each other in the eye on several occasions. This open affection led to a proliferation of smarmy stories, vids, and other fanworks, all examining their friendship, their struggles, and their love for each other.A fan wrote:
I often ponder why the relationship between Jim and Blair is so powerful to me; my interest in it far exceeds my interest in any other pairing. I mean, it's not just that I think the actors are cute or that I'm a hopeless romantic or even that I like the whole heightened senses thing, which I do. It's more than that.
Their relationship *means* something to me. It's almost like it's become part of my belief system. It provides a strange sort of solace and reassurance, in the same way that real life couples who seem devoted to one another sometimes do. Only it's more profound with Jim and Blair, because this is fiction, and they can only leave each other and spoil the illusion if I read certain kinds of stories, which I won't.
I think my own anxiety about the future--this worry I have that nothing lasts forever, that even though people love each other it's still so easy to break apart, despite the best of intentions and even the best of efforts--has everything to do with why I find the idea of Jim and Blair's relationship so comforting and compelling. Story after story in this fandom includes some little mention of how Jim and Blair will always be in each other's lives, no matter what, because they are Sentinel and Guide and this is forever, a true commitment, an immutable connection. In a world where so many things are ephemeral and so many commitments falter, it warms me inside to think that these two people, fictional though they may be, will always have a soul-deep bond between them.The sense of certainty I have about Jim and Blair renews my faith in what is possible, not just for them, but for me. 
Slash fans can find evidence in every episode, but here are some of the major points.
- In 1x04 "The Debt," Blair begs to move into Jim's house for "one week" after his own apartment is destroyed. He never leaves; they live together in cozy domestic bliss for the rest of the series and neither of them ever question the arrangement (with a notable brief angsty move-out scare in season 3 finale "Sentinel Too, Part 1.")
- In 2x01 "Flight," both men get a little tear when Blair considers an opportunity to leave for a year on another research project. He finally turns it down, explaining to Jim with wide, clear eyes, "It's about friendship."
- In 2x12 "Blind Man's Bluff", known as the Golden episode not for its quality but for the drug with which Blair is maliciously dosed, giving him paranoid delusions. In a much-vidded and screencapped scene, Jim talks him down from the hood of a cop car where he is waving a gun around, whereupon Blair collapses in his arms, and Jim gently cradles him and rocks him.
- In 3x01 "Warriors," Jim loses his superpowers, and both men get choked up thinking this eliminates the basis for their work and life together. Blair admits he's been stalling on his project in order to stay with Jim longer.
- In 4x01 "Sentinel Too Part 2," Blair is drowned by a bad guy and declared dead by the paramedics; Jim refuses to let him go and insists, to the horror of onlookers, of continuing to give him mouth-to-mouth. While so doing, Jim has a vision in which the animal spirits representing Jim and Blair (the panther and wolf, respectively) leap into each other, merge, and become one. Blair wakes up.
- In 4x08 "The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg," Blair finally completes his dissertation on the subject of Jim; Jim, however, still doesn't want his secrets to be published. When his dissertation accidentally falls into the hands of the outside world, though, Blair gives up a ridiculous number of honors, awards, and prizes, and gives a press conference in which he falsely claims to have made up all his data, destroying his academic career to protect Jim.
Trends in Fanworks
Sentinel fandom was unusually rich in AUs, a trend which was reflected, perhaps to a lesser extent, in its slash stories. The AUs would often feature exotic locations, sometimes future societies with social structures which accommodated or repressed sentinels or guides in interesting ways, and sometimes tribal societies in an imagined past, often where the sentinel was a high-status position. This in addition to the more common call-boy AU, and suchlike.
Many slash authors imagined in their stories that the relationship of Sentinel and Guide might create some kind of special bond, perhaps psychic, psychological, or biochemical, which might force a sexual relationship. This was not generally presented as noncon. Sometimes, Jim was portrayed as having an intense need for Blair, arising from his sentinel instincts or biology; these stories were somewhat more likely to shade into noncon.
(The fandom also had many stories which kept the relationship strictly on the material plane.)
- Sanctuary by L. Bright, establisher of early Guide fanon
- Hunger by Kim Gasper, the sex stories that taught everyone how to do it.
- Detour by Em Brunson, an AU where Jim and Blair don't meet as planned.
- Changes by Jean Kluge, sequel to "Ever After" by Myrna -- every fandom needs one long brain-damage story
- Out of Whack by Bone and Aristide
- Life Lived Like a Mentos Commercial by Mallory Klohn
- Territorial Imperative by Bone Passionate and intense firsttimer, and beginning of a series.
- Major Crimes by Merry Lynne Light-hearted and witty first-time story
- The Bond by Josephine Darcy They visit Peru and find out more about their mystical bond
- The Nature Series by Francesca Blair gradually gains powers comparable to Jim's.
- Paper Cranes - Dierdre by Dierdre Blair pines, Jim finally catches a clue
- Not Exactly Funny by Helen Classic amnesia first time
- True Minds by Lanning Cook Long post-Alex fixit + case story + rape/rape recovery. Whew!
- Lie Perdu by Sihaya Black Jim's abilities make "close your eyes and think of his" difficult
- Salt, Tequila, Lime by Lyrica Red hot sequel to Bone's Territorial Imperative series.
- Everything You Need In One Convenient Location by Julad
- Salsa by Penelope Whistle Classic h/c leads to love
- Then an Image by Laura JV
- To Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Dangermouse
- The Farraday Cage by Gloria Lancaster
- Unspoken by Helenish (2000?)
- Into the Summer Sea by Audra Rose (2013)
Jim/Blair rec pages
- Sandy Justine maintained a recs page in the early years of the fandom; now long gone from the internet, it can be found via the Internet Archive: Part 1, followed by Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
- Jim/Blair of The Sentinel by lamardeuse and misanthrope7842, an introduction to the ship posted to Ship Manifesto.
- The Gayest Show On Earth by joandarck, a video essay on the slash subtext of season one.
- Future Possibilities, Present Loves, by Annabelle Leigh