Home > Juliet Benson > Shallow Regret

Shallow Regret

by Juliet Benson

Category: Angst, humor
Rating: PG
Summary: My take on Blair's new haircut.
Disclaimer: Not mine, all I have is a pile of Blair's shed locks. Pet Fly owns everything else, including Donald Trump.

Blair sat alone in his room, fingering the scissors in his hand, anticipation settling in his stomach. This was it, he was actually going to do it. He swallowed hard, pushing the bile at the back of his throat down. His hand was shaking. Closing his eyes, he breathed deeply through his nose several times. No more. No more agony, no more painful what ifs. No more Professor Sandburg. He was going to be a cop now. Lifting the scissors- his hand was a bit steadier now, he noticed- he gently snatched a curl with his free hand. He ran his fingers lovingly down the length of it, stretching it to its full extent. No more shadowed reflections on Alex and the fountain. He cut the curl and gathered another. No more sulking over various arguments. No more torment over his dissertation. He severed that spiral and started snipping easier, relaxing slightly. Before he knew it, he was halfway through. With each lock that fell, an old anguish fell with it. He was shattering the past, or at least the painful parts.

He ran a slightly tremulous through his short- oh man, it was *short* now- hair. Getting off the floor, he went and looked in the bathroom mirror. At first he felt nothing. Having prepared himself for the worst, he was not at stunned as he might have been. Slowly, a weight dissipated while a new feeling settled over him. Not regret, really, but a kind of fond sadness.

It was choppy, which was expected, since he had been working without a mirror. He had just wanted to get the hardest part over with before working with styling and shaping. Lifting the scissors again, he went to work. His mouth quirked up as he recalled a memory from his childhood. He and Naomi were in Texas- was it Texas? He paused, pursing his lips and rolling his eyes toward the ceiling in thought. Whatever, it was someplace warm. He was around ten, and had managed to convince a small girl that her hair was much too long for the heat. He mouth relaxed and smiled as he remembered the finished product. It really hadn’t looked *that* bad. A small tress drifted down onto the floor and joined the minute pile. He remembered telling Jim about the time when he had dyed his hair a terrible green with Jell-O. His teeth gleamed as he grinned. He could hear Jim’s voice as he teased him countless times about the house rules. The time he had been exhausted, and accidentally called a hermit a Hamlet. (Jim was *never* going to let him live that one down.) He thought about teaching Jim the relaxed mantra. All the excuses for Jim’s senses flashed through his head, and he chuckled. Trying to instruct Jim on accents. Laughing, he finished his haircut and laid down the scissors. Smiling tentatively at his reflection, he relaxed when he realized he could face what he saw.

“Well,” he said aloud, exiting the bathroom to get the broom. “It looks like the hardest part is done.” After he had disposed of his hair, he got on his coat. Before leaving his room, though, he hesitated, and walked to his nightstand. He sat down on his bed and opened the drawer. Removing what he had just put in, a moment of doubt enveloped him. With his thumb, he absently caressed the curl that was tenderly tied with a string. Should he keep it, or just get rid of every trace of his old life? Leave nothing on this path to distract him. After a moment of quiet introspection, he returned it to its spot and firmly shut to drawer. That gentle reminder wouldn’t hurt him. Besides, it could serve as a benediction. Or a memento of the good spots of his life concerning this sentinel thing, like his first and second meetings with Jim. He zipped up his coat. Or both.

He drove slowly to the station. In the elevator, he stared intently at the floor numbers as they glowed. ‘Almost there.’ He bounced on his toes. This was crazy, why was he so nervous? ‘They all knew this was inevitable at some point or another.’ The floor dinged and the doors opened. Blair took a deep breath and exited.

He entered the bullpen, which was back to normal, all reminders of the shoot-out erased. No one noticed him. At first.

“Hey Hairboy,” Brown called, and promptly did a double take, mouth dropping open. “Holy shit!” That made Rafe look up, and spit instantly out all his coffee.

“Blair?” he sputtered, wiping the coffee and saliva from his chin. Blair couldn’t suppress his grin.

“No, you’re talking to Fabio,” he replied in a deep voice, striking a mock pose. The two were next to him in a second, playfully tugging on his short hair and exclaiming.

“You look better than me, Blair!” Rafe pronounced, pretending to be deadly serious.

“I bet you lost, what, six, seven pounds by cutting that all off?” Brown asked.

“He needed it,” Rafe said, and both nodded solemnly.

“Well, kid, I can’t begin to tell you how much your romantic life is going to suffer from all this.” Both cops shook their heads in regret.

“Hang on! I can’t wait till Joel gets a load of this. Hey Joel!” Rafe darted away and soon reappeared, dragging Taggart behind him. Joel, mouth open to complain good-naturedly, looked at Sandburg and froze in shock. Blair, Henry and Rafe all laughed.

“Well,” Joel said, slowly shaking his head. “Well.”

“What is going on out here?” Simon thundered. All but Joel jumped in surprise. Brown and Rafe instantly moved to block Sandburg from their Captain’s sight. “Why are people not working?” Jim was standing behind Simon, arms crossed, watching them in something like mirth. Brown cleared his throat dramatically.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, humans and Rafe. Today we have a special and stunning surprise for you.”

“That’s right, H, we’re reporting live on scene, in the Major Crimes department of Cascade.” Rafe took over, holding up one hand like a microphone, the other next to his ear, as though listening to an ear piece. “A new species has just surfaced. Care to explain, Detective Brown?” Blair rolled his eyes at their antics. Simon didn’t look the least impressed. Jim looked slightly amused, however.

“Thank you, Rafe. I first spotted the creature at approximately-” he glanced at the clock. “four fifteen p.m. I managed to learn its language and converse with it, even though its intelligence was obviously lower. My first suspicion that it was here to take over the Earth-”

“Not much of a loss.” Rafe added helpfully.

“-but I soon was proven otherwise. Rather than global domination, this creature strives to subdue the female population.” Rafe wolf-whistled. “Taggart, you also saw this creature, what do you have to say about it?” Brown shoved his “microphone” toward Joel. Joel just looked at him.

“Thank you for your help, detective.” Rafe said. “Without further ado, we would like to present to the public the new, improved Blair Sandburg!” Both Rafe and Brown stepped out of the way with a flourish, applauding, and Blair bowed deeply, eyes twinkling with humor. Simon’s cigar fell out of his open mouth and onto the floor. Jim looked thunderstruck. Megan walked by to get some papers. Before she left, she paused and surveyed the group.

“Hello Sandy. Need to trim above the left ear a bit more.” She left before he could reply.

“Well,” Simon said, eyes not leaving Blair’s face. Brown snapped his fingers.

“I see *now* why Captains get their positions,” he told Rafe. “Their vocabulary is so impressively extensive.”

“Absolutely,” Rafe replied fervently, nodding. “Indubitably.”

“You look great, Blair,” Simon said sincerely, ignoring Henry and Rafe.

“Yes, you do,” Joel added as well, his voice soft. Jim’s face had gone from shell-shocked to absolutely blank. Taggart noticed and cleared his throat.

“Blair, why don’t you take Jim out for a snack?” he suggested. Blair was about to protest, saying he wasn’t hungry and, on top of that, had no money, when he felt a bill pressed discreetly into his hand. He looked up and met Joel’s eyes.

“That sounds great,” he said, his gratitude evident in his face. “Come on Jim.” He propelled Jim out of the room and down into the car. They were both silent on the way to the deli Blair had in mind. He saw Jim staring at him unashamedly out of the corner of his eye. ‘I didn’t ask Simon if he could leave,’ Blair suddenly realized in horror. Oh well, Simon was really understanding where Jim was concerned. And he’d talk to him once they got back. Just in case.

Soon they were seated across from each other, both waiting for the other to say something. Blair finally cleared his throat.

“Are you okay?” he asked. Jim slowly shook his head, keeping his eyes fixed on Sandburg’s face.

“I should be asking you that,” he sounded a bit dazed.

“I’m fine with it, Jim. I got over any regret I might have had. I’m ready.” Jim said nothing more as they ate their sandwiches. As they waited for the check, however, he reached over cautiously and touched Blair’s head. A small smile found its way on his face.

“It looks good,” he said. A brilliant grin broke out on Blair’s in response.

“You think so?” he asked hopefully. Jim nodded.

“I really do.” Blair relaxed in his chair, feeling more light-hearted than he had in ages. Now he was ready.

The End

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