I should move.
It's too quiet.
Too quiet? Now there's something I thought I'd never say. There is never quiet when you're a sentinel. There is no such thing as silence. Even when tuned out, I'm aware, subconsciously, of every noise. I catalogue it, store it, use it or discard it. But there is always - sound.
Tonight there was sound and it was silent. A lesson learned for a man who can hear a thousand miles away, but can't always listen to his own heart and I need to listen, to hear. To hear even when Blair isn't talking.
He's disturbed, unsettled. We haven't touched each other in days, haven't really approached each other or had a conversation that wasn't forced, even when joking. I tried to reach out today - to reach out and touch him. Once. Tried to touch his arm and thus his heart. Or his soul. It was the wrong move so I gave it up. Let my arm drop to my side.
Leaning back into the spray Blair rinsed his hair. It felt good to be warm and clean. Letting the water careen down his back, he wallowed in the heat for just a second. The skin on his neck prickled and a cold wave pulled over his thigh and across his butt. Eyes flashing open, he spun, ready to defend himself against that cold hand that stroked him.
Blinking water out of his eyes Blair peered around the communal shower. No one there. And yet he knew he had felt a hand on his butt. Reaching behind him, he shut off the water and looked around again. No one. Maybe it was a flashback? After all Jim had mentioned the assault down here and this was the first time he'd been in the shower alone. Shaking his curls he grabbed his towel and moved to the locker room.
He stopped. A bench ran down the row of lockers separating the two sides. And on the bench sat his backpack. Empty. Aligned neatly like little soldiers, lay each of the items he usually packed. His laptop, a notebook, two textbooks, a pocket guide to Latin America, pens, pencils, highlighters, a calculator. Blair's eyes continued down the row of benches: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant stick, gum, baggie of trail mix, extra reading glasses, sunglasses, water bottle, wallet. No, correct that, empty wallet. He knew it was empty because all of his credit cards, ID cards and money were neatly aligned in piles toward the end of the row. Slowly, the coins started to roll off the bench. Falling like raindrops to dance on the locker room's tiled floor. The clatter of change continued and then finally died out, echoing through the room. One lone penny rolled to Blair's feet, tipped and wobbled back and forth several times before the room settled back into silence.
"Okay..." Blair glanced around the room. "Molly? Is that you?" Great he thought, even if it was, it's not like I could hear her answer. He leaned up against the wall and thought about what to do. How was he supposed to deal with this? Running upstairs to Major Crimes naked accept for a towel, was not an option. He could scream for Jim, but that wasn't very fair. There was no immediate danger here, well at least he didn't think so. And if it was Molly, the only person who could deal with her would be Jim.
He needed clothes and he needed escape. So, first up: pants. Grabbing his towel firmly by the hand, Blair vaulted over the bench and grabbed at the latch on 168. Pulling fiercely, he struggled with the locker as the latch stuck. Letting go of the towel, he pulled with both hands. Finally the latch slid free and the door swung open. His clothes were missing.
Buffy who? It's Blair the Vampire Slayer--and his own personal angel is named Jim.
Ellison pushed back, tightening his grip in Blair's hair, arching the young man's head back so that he could deepen the kiss. Blair offered no resistance, no struggle. It seemed the most natural thing to do, the right thing to do. He lifted his hands, and brought them up to Ellison's zipper, intent on having more, knowing more, giving more...
The elevator doors opened with a whoosh.
Blair didn't notice. All he noticed was the loss, the loss of touch, the loss of warmth. He leaned against the elevator wall, breathing hard. Ellison was still standing close, letting him catch his breath. Blair ran a shaky hand through his hair. Ellison chuckled and reached out to adjust Blair's coat and vest.
"Think you can handle the assignment, Chief?" He patted Blair's face and exited the elevator.
The smug bastard wasn't even breathing hard.
"Why are you here, James?" Blair whispered, moving slowly around Jim, one fingernail lightly trailing over his arm and back.
"I needed...that is...I wanted to talk to you more about...your helping us find Sinclair."
"My team." Jim didn't turn to face Blair, almost afraid that he couldn't. He felt paralyzed, not with fear, but by the finger slowly moving around his body.
"You couldn't have come in the morning?" The warm voice was amused.
Blair appeared before him again. "It's almost midnight."
"I'm sorry. I...I didn't realize what time it was." Yet, Jim made no movement toward the front door. "I...I...."
Blair looked up into his face, his pupils huge in the moonlight. "Were drawn here?"
"Did you put a spell on me?" Jim asked, barely breathing.
"I guess the door on this part of my life has closed. I just don't know where to go from here." Blair turned his gaze downward, drops of rain still running off his clothes and collecting in a puddle on the floor.
"Chief, I know it's been hard -"
Blair interrupted, loud and angry, "Hard? I'll tell you about hard! Hard is watching your lover run off to be with the bitch who had only recently succeeded in murdering you! How was I supposed to handle that one, huh? What was I supposed to think was left of our relationship? Our partnership? You told me you needed a partner you could trust, well I need one who's committed!"
"Blair, wait -" Jim tried to get a word in, to soothe his ranting partner, but to no avail.
"Jim, I just don't think we're very good for each other anymore."
Inside the loft, candlelight danced wildly on the walls, and Jim had to turn away for a moment to adjust his hurting eyes to the shifting intensities of light in motion. He hung up his jacket and dropped his keys in the basket, where they met Blair's with a quiet clink, and scanned the room with pained vision.
There. On the floor in front of the coffee table, where a semi-circle of dying votives guttered in their glass chimneys. A dark heap of flannel shirt, gray sweat pants, mismatched and tattered socks, a bird's-nest tangle of hair and uneven, strangled snoring.
"Blair." The name whispered from his lips, loaded with soft sadness, and Jim took a deep breath of wax-scented air and shook his head. He rounded the couch and leaned over to blow out the candles, one by one, then reached down and curled his fingers around one cotton-covered arm. He inhaled sharply at the heat, moved his hand to Blair's forehead, and cursed softly. The fever that had been almost gone was back, burning bright and hot and dewing the pale skin with unhealthy damp.
Blair continued to cajole and encourage one step at a time, with Jim leaning heavily on him all the way up the path. Several times they had to stop to rest, Jim becoming more and more affectionate as they neared the house. Blair cackled as he pulled Jim's wandering hand off of his ass. "You're never gonna live this down, man. I've never even imagined you this drunk. This is gonna be worth a ton of blackmail. Not that you'd ever believe me, 'cause I don't think you're going to remember a whole lot of this tomorrow," he teased.
They stopped just below the porch to finish dusting off the sand, Blair doing all of the work, then cautiously proceeded up the steps. They made their way to the small downstairs bedroom, as quietly as was possible with a snockered sentinel who was shushing crickets half a mile away. Blair sat Jim on the edge of the full size bed and pulled off his shirt, while Jim tried hard to return the favor, but Blair slipped easily out of his grasp. Next he removed Jim's shoes and socks before pushing him to lie flat on the bed to undo his pants. With a wrinkle of his nose, Blair figured out why Jim's new friend was so upset.
"Oh, Jim," he said with a grin. "You're going to hate yourself tomorrow."
Jim had arranged to take the morning off under the guise of helping Sandburg at school. The bullet hole was relatively fresh and Sandburg was still wobbly on crutches. Jim wanted Blair to stay home and take it easy, but the grad student had insisted that he had to proctor the exam in his class himself and just couldn't miss his office hours again. Jim had decided it was the perfect time to observe his observer.
And test the waters.
While Blair had an uncanny knack for fitting in and being accepted by other societies and enclosed groups like Major Crimes, Jim wasn't sure he could do the same thing. Could a straight-laced ex-military and in-training Sentinel have a place in Blair's world? If he was going to pursue this new soul deep connection between the two of them, he felt it was a valid question which he needed to answer for himself.
When Simon comes across a lost piece of jewelry, little does he suspect what it will reveal about a certain detective and his partner. Question is, how will Simon react when he finds out about Jim and Blair's relationship?
He picked up the unaddressed envelope, and flipped it over in his hands a couple of times. Weird, nothing but the vibe that it was from a Sentinel.
He held it up to the light, and checked the ends for a silhouette to show which end could be torn off. Finding it, he did so and slipped the letter from its shroud.
He sat there reading the short message over and over. Trying to get a reading off of it as to the intent of the writer. Short, terse, and clinical, the letter was suddenly ripped from his hands.
"Trolling for more Sentinels, Guide? One isn't enough? Or did you decide against me?"
"Oh, man you scared me!" Blair fought to regain the breath he had expelled when the Sentinel startled him. "Look, the lady sent me a response. I just got it, and I feel it's only polite to respond. But, I am so not interested. She's cold, -- like a fish."
"You're Detective Ellison, right?" Blair stood up and held out his hand. "Blair Sandburg. Nice to meet you."
Jim Ellison grabbed the hand in a simple handshake and instantly cataloged a few important details about his possible future.
Damn it. I don't want to die. Not yet. Not this way.
After thirty-eight years, Major James Ellison didn't want it to end like this -- suffocating in a hole all alone.
Please, somebody, help me.
Who are you?
Jim jerked upright and nearly fell off his precarious perch. He searched the surrounding darkness for the owner of the voice. But he was alone. He was going crazy. Still, if he was going to die, even an imaginary voice was better than being completely alone.
Who the hell are you?
Although Jim had no clue if this voice was real or not, he couldn't deny the warmth of an amused chuckle as it caressed his thoughts.
Shit, his figment had a name. Where the hell had he come up with that? If he was going to make up a friend, he sure as hell wouldn't name him Blair.
Hey, man, you still there?
Shocked, Jim's heart began to race. This was no imagined person -- Blair Sandburg existed. Somewhere.