Home > Juliet Benson > Spin


by Juliet Benson

Rating: PG-13
Category: Episode Related: The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg, angst, drama
Summary: Another Alternative Ending to TSbBS. Sorry, guys. Not simply content to trash Blair emotionally and psychologically, I had to wound him physically, as well.
Disclaimer: Not *yawn* mine. Pet Fly's.
Spoilers: TSbBS, other episodes (just a mention of the Bad Guys and Evil BOTWs)
Warnings/Notes: Guess who just rewatched TSbBS? :-) Now, the first time I saw it, as soon as I saw Simon and Megan go down, I just kept waiting for Blair to get hit at some point. Not because I like seeing Blair in extensive pain *looking at ceiling and whistling*, but because I thought it would make following up on the foreshadowing from S2P2 more... complete. After all, Jim's nightmares were all coming to life, why not Blair's getting hurt? So, I obligingly hurt him for the good of us all. ;-) Explaination: The song is from "The Fix"
Another note/dedication: I'd like to dedicate this story to Gray Wolf and Mpala, both of whom have invited me to their page and made me feel so welcome. *mwah*

Part I

Grit your teeth,Sell the lies.
And boom,
How they burn, dear,
Those flashbulbs in your eyes.

Jim hesitated, seeing Blair talking to a doctor. The doctor moved off and Blair caught sight of him.

"Hey," his voice was still shaking. As was the rest of him. Jim felt something in him tighten and bury itself deeper. He had done this; caused Blair to be on the verge of an emotional breakdown. There was so much inside him, wanting to come out, but all tangled up. And of course words were deserting him. He tried to convey what he felt to Blair through his eyes, but neither of them could seem to make contact for more than a second. "The doc said the surgery went well and the bullet missed major organs on both of them, but, uh, he said they can leave in about a week or two." Poor kid’s heart was racing.

"Thank God," Jim replied. Blair blinked a couple of times, nodding.

"So, I heard you guys probably got Zeller."

"I don't know. Somebody probably got him. We still got Bartley to contend with. I don't know which one's worse." Jim paused, staring at Blair’s profile. "I saw your press conference."

"Thanks", the only reply Blair had given him. Jim felt unsettled. What had he done wrong? Was he supposed to say something more?

"Are you ready to get busy?" he asked, and they headed for the elevator. There was silence on their descent. Jim felt frustrated. He’d apologized, and he’d meant it. Everything was supposed to get better now. Why was there still this tension between them? This uneasiness, this silence? Why couldn’t they get out of this perpetual hell?

Jim closed his eyes and shuddered. Again and again he relived that moment when the shot from Zeller had been fired. And he remembered; the Eye of God. That bullet had just been inches from hitting Blair, as well. What if it *had* hit him? With all this between them? For the first time in days, Jim was thinking clearly. It was if he had awakened from a fever.

"Jim? Jim?" he blinked at the sound of Sandburg’s voice. They were in the garage, sitting in the car. Where was Blair’s car? "Did…" Blair stopped. *Did you zone?* was the unspoken question, Jim knew. Before all this, Blair wouldn’t hesitate to ask. "Are you ready to go?" Sandburg asked instead. Jim started the car.

"Yeah, Chief, let’s go."

Blair watched absently as Jim went to talk to Bartley. Jim’s words kept running around in his head. It was all Jim had. Or at least, all he could say. Was it enough? He sighed and dropped his head, hunching his shoulders.

A sudden noise exploded throughout the room, and Blair was able to identify it as intense gunfire. He automatically dove to the floor, protected by a desk. With bullets and glass raining down upon him, frantic screams in the air, and no idea of whether Jim was all right or not, it was the scariest moment of Blair’s life. Abruptly, there was silence. He heard Joel shakily calling out for Jim and cautiously peered up. He looked around, heart pounding and feeling sick. Chaos; people were either wounded or trying to get out. Bullet holes were everywhere, glass was shattered, the place in shambles. A movement caught his eye. Zeller was back, and Joel was out in the open. He launched himself forward without thinking.

"Joel!" he bellowed, knocking into the larger man, sending them both to the floor. He was a split second too late to avoid the shower of ammunition that came down for the second time. A bullet hit him, and pain exploded through his body, spiraling him down into unconsciousness.

Jim raced after Zeller, following him to the roof. Three shots were rapidly fired at him, and he ducked behind a wire grill. Zeller was fumbling with a rope, his plan apparently being to go over the side. Jim jumped out, pointing his gun at Zeller.

"Freeze, Zeller!" he called. "It’s over. You missed Bartley." Zeller dropped the rope and pulled out his own gun. He aimed it at Jim.

"You’re lying!" he yelled, haphazardly pulling the trigger several times. Jim dropped and rolled, getting up on one knee and firing his own gun. One bullet. He wiped his forehead, staring down at Zeller’s body. What had happened to the man’s finesse? Stress? Panic? Had he just given up? Jim shook his head, turning away. He ran down the stairs, ready to help aid the wounded and send someone for Zeller.

"Jim! Jim!" he turned toward Joel’s frantic voice, and his heart stopped as a feeling of colossal dread engulfed him. Joel was bent over Blair, tears running down his scared face unnoticed. He had his hands pressed against Blair’s chest, blood pooling around him. Blair was unconscious.

"Where are the paramedics?" he bellowed, sinking to the ground beside Joel, who flinched at the tone of Jim’s voice. "It’s OK, Blair, you’ll be OK…" He continued talking, though he didn’t know what he was saying. All his attention was focused on the faltering breathing and fading heartbeat underneath him. At the edge of his consciousness, he was aware of his voice saying something about "need" and "sorry, so sorry", but he was sinking into a black and gray world with no sound, and no end.

"I was scared out of my mind when it was just me and Blair, Simon, but when Jim came… I was terrified." Joel ran a badly shaking hand over his face. "You should have seen him… I’ve never known that kind of terror or grief, Simon. There are no words for it." Captain Banks slowly nodded.

"I know what you mean all too well, Joel. At the fountain…" his voice caught and he was forced to pause and clear his throat. They were both silent for a while.

"Simon, I think… I think if Blair were to die, Jim would die very shortly after." Taggart said slowly, looking at Simon’s profile. Banks swallowed hard.

"I think you’re right, Joel," he said softly. That day, after they had hustled Blair off, the hospital had been oddly still while Joel was waiting. Every now and again, a nurse would bustle out, but then soon would be gone. Now he was in Simon’s room, who was coherent but still weak. It was three days after Zeller’s shoot-out, and Blair still hadn’t woken up.

"I’ve never seen a connection like this one between them, captain. Do you think it’s because of the Sentinel thing?" Taggart’s voice had gotten quieter as he ended his sentence, even though there was no one around to hear them. Simon sighed.

"I don’t know, I just don’t know. This is partially my fault, you realize. Ever since this whole mess started, I was just waiting. Waiting for Blair to end up with a bullet in his back or water in his lungs. I should have done something."

"It wasn’t your fault, Simon. It was everyone’s and nobody’s, as stupid as that sounds." There was another pause. "He saved my life, Simon. He saved mine, Jim’s, yours… We owe him a lot. We owe him everything, perhaps. Have you heard… that sometimes a person can survive or die due to will? If they want to live, it will increase their chances or surviving? What does Blair have to pull him through this, now?" Simon closed his eyes and Joel sighed. "I’m sorry, captain, I don’t want to wear you out. I’ll stop talking about it."

"It’s not that, Joel. It’s just that I don’t have any answers."

"You’re not the only one," mumbled Taggart, sinking down in his chair wearily.

It couldn’t be a vision, Blair rationalized, because he never got visions. The only time he had been close to one was at the fountain, and this didn’t feel anything like that.

For one thing, he wasn’t in a jungle, he was in Major Crimes. Besides, there was no blue light around, instead, it was glaringly realistic. So, it must be a dream.

"Jim?" he called out timidly. "Simon? Joel? Anyone?" The place was empty. The desks were there, but they were stark. His voice echoed. A fog began swirling around in front of him. He took a step back in surprise. A pair of cold, black eyes glared out at him from the mist. Blair swallowed hard, several times. A nose emerged along with a forehead. In the thundercloud below the forming face the vague outline to a body appeared. In the cloud he saw Janet, dead. The picture changed. Emily Watson, dead. That image faded to show Lash’s victims in rapid succession. The body from that rig. Roy. The fog gently blew away. Grey skin stretched over a skull. Wisps of white hair, blank, black eyes too large and sunk in his face, thin lips pulled back to revel rotting teeth. He wore a black tux too big for his thin frame and a black cape. ‘Who wears capes these days?’ wondered Blair peripherally. The man smiled, and that was even more horrifying than no expression.

"Who are you?" Blair asked tremulously and mentally kicked himself for showing weakness.

"I’m what you see when you look in the mirror," the man had a low, scratchy voice.

"What?!" Blair yelped. Cracks suddenly ran through the man, light peeping through the hairline marks. Chancellor Edwards’ image spread over that of the man. "What’s going on?"

"For however long you live, I’ll never leave you," she still had the man’s deep voice. Cracks raced through her image and Sid Graham came forth.

"What do you mean?" Blair’s breath was coming fast. Zeller emerged next, smiling straight at him. The anthropologist’s heart rate spiked.

"This… nightmare-" Maya came next. "-will never go away, you know." Maya morphed into Francine Barrett. "I live *inside* you. You’ll always have me with you." Francine disappeared to produce Quinn. Quinn cracked into Kincaid. Kincaid into Jim when he was at his coldest. "There’s no escape." Jim turned into Brad Ventriss. Ventriss slid into Iris. Iris transformed. Galileo.

"There has to be!" Blair cried, watching Galileo turn into Lash, wearing his clothes and that cursed, cursed wig. "How can I get out of this?" Lash stayed long than the rest, smiling softly and advancing. Blair backed away blindly. Between one step and the next, Lash split into Brackett.

"There’s no escape," the voice repeated, Brackett shifting into Chapel. Chapel, too, stayed slightly longer. Chapel suddenly started to burn. Golden, golden. Golden fire, golden arms reaching out. Sobs clawed at Blair’s throat.

"No!" he wailed in denial. The fire’s burning lessened and Alex took form.

"I live inside you-" Alex started to advance, to stalk.


"With the devil and all his demons."

"Nooo!" Stumbling over to Jim’s desk- it *had* to be Jim’s desk, it *had* to be, please let it be, please- and pulled out his backup .38. He was shaking, crying so hard he could hardly aim. "I have to get rid of you somehow!" He fired. Alex laughed. The bulled passed through her. He stared, licking his lips and tasting salt. He turned the gun on himself. It disappeared from his hand.

"No," this time sobbed. Suddenly angry, he glared at the man. Alex was gone, consumed by this figure. The ultimate embodiment of his fears and demons. "I won’t let you control me."

"Too late," the figure stepped to him, *in* him and the started swirling around, disappearing into him, into nothing, leaving Blair on his knees.

"I think he’s waking up!" Seven pairs of eyes focused on Blair’s pale face, seven lungs eagerly holding in air. Pain twisted Sandburg’s face, and his eyes screwed tightly shut.

"Blair?" Jim called gently. No reaction. Then Blair relaxed and his eyelashes fluttered up. Dull eyes took in seven shining faces. The lines of pain increased and he sank back into sleep.

"He’s up!" Naomi rejoiced, her red-rimmed eyes glowing. "This is good, right?"

Part II

It’s a good time.
It’s a great life.
That’s your lot;
You wrote the book,You rule the biz,
You aim to win.
It’s a fine day.
It’s a swell year.And when it’s not
You make it look
As though it is,
You give it spin…

Blair gritted his teeth as he settled back against the headboard of the hospital bed. Jim’s hand felt heavy on his shoulder, but Blair didn’t want him to move it. It felt reassuring in a way, and who knew how long it would be before something else nuclear exploded between them? Until then, he wanted the comfort.

"How are you feeling?" Jim asked, moving around to face Blair, twisting his hand as he went. Blair forced a smile onto his face.

"A little winded, embarrassingly, but good," he grinned up at Jim’s haggard countenance. It felt plastic-like. Jim gave an answering fake smile and squeezed his shoulder. He returned to his chair and started playing absently with a corner of the bed sheet. Blair allowed his eyes to slide shut. This stay was much like his last, after drowning. No emotional conversations, Jim struggling to show how he was feeling. They sat like that until the nurse came to give Blair his meds. Jim excused himself and exited the room. After the nurse had left as well and Blair was finally alone, he dropped his head forward so his chin rested on his chest. His forehead knotted in pain and he clenched his jaw.

Hearing someone at the door he quickly cleared his face and lifted his head. Simon cautiously poked his head in.

"Hey, Simon," Blair greeted, smiling slightly.

"Sandburg," Banks returned the greeting and entered the room. He was using a cane and had to move laboriously.

"I thought you’d seen enough of this place," Blair said lightly. Simon carefully lowered himself into Jim’s chair.

"I thought I had too," he replied gruffly. "How are you feeling, Blair?"

"All right, considering." Simon nodded.

"Glad to hear that." He played with his cane. "When are they letting you out of here?" Blair smiled.

"Well, some of the nurses are holding a sit-in to protest my departure, but I should be out by Thursday." Simon laughed a little too long.

"That’s good," a pause. "Everyone misses you at the station." Blair swallowed a retort.

"That’s nice to hear," he settled on saying, quietly.

"You’re coming back, aren’t you?" Simon asked, looking at him full in the face. Blair was silent.

"I really don’t know, Simon." Simon sighed through his nose and dropped his eyes to the floor.

"I’m really sorry, Blair, about this whole mess. If I had acted sooner-"

"It wasn’t your fault, Simon. As I recall, you were laying unconscious in the hospital when Zeller went gun happy at the station."

"Not just that, Sandburg, but ever since this started, when the media found out." Blair let his head drop back against the board. The position hurt his neck, but he welcomed the new pain. It gave him something to focus on besides the burning in his shoulder.

"No one could have known how it turned out, Simon. What’s happened happened. Let of the past and all that jazz."

"It’s just…" he paused, staring at the floor, eyes unfocused. "I wish it hadn’t been you."

"You’re not the only one," Blair replied, trying to lighten the mood. Anymore of this mushy stuff and he was going to cry.

"You’re right, I’m not," Simon was still all seriousness, looking right into Blair’s eyes. Just when Blair thought he was going to break down, Jim reentered the room.

"What did I miss?" he asked, one of those fake smiles they all seemed to have handy.

"Just talking," Blair said, and the topic moved onto mundane things.

It was a month later. Blair was out of the hospital and at home resting. ‘Not like I have anyplace to go,’ he thought languidly, watching a bird outside on the balcony. Jim was in the kitchen, making spaghetti. Every now and then, he would pause and look at Blair, as though wondering what to say, or to do. In the end he would do nothing, simply go back to stirring the simmering noodles or adjusting the heat over the sauce. ‘What’s that phrase from Ecclesiastics?’ Blair wondered, drawing unseen circles with his finger into the arm of the couch. ‘Everything is meaningless.’ He had never felt this way before, never. Not even when he was laid up as an energetic child with a broken arm or some sickness. Never this blackness, this despair… depression.

"Chief?" he looked up at Jim’s gentle call. "Time to eat." Blair nodded and eased himself off the couch. Jim paused by his chair, hovering uncertain, like a hummingbird. Energy to fly to Blair’s side if he should so much as twitch wrong coursed through his body. After a second of hesitation, he took a seat. He had been rejected too many times to risk trying to help again. After much needless agony, Blair lowered himself into his own seat. He was moving somewhat easier these days.

"Look’s good," he commented. Jim smiled. Just a bit.

"Thanks," he replied, offering the bread basket to Blair. There was silence as they started eating, Jim doing his pause-stare-hesitate-eat-pause-stare-etc. thing. Finally he cleared his throat.

"Blair, I think…" a pause, a quick look, a quick breath. "I think you should find a girl. You know, socialize. I think… I think it would be good." Blair continued eating slowly, not even gracing Jim with a look.

"Oh you do?" he finally asked. "Where would we go? I can barely move around the loft, let alone a movie theatre."

"Well, I was thinking," Jim was playing with his bread absently. Tearing it apart into small bits with his fingers, letting the crumbs fall unto his empty plate. "Someone from the University, or someone who wouldn’t mind coming here and just sitting and talking." Blair laid his fork down with extreme care.

"I don’t think anyone from the University would want to talk to me, Jim," he replied.

"There must be someone," Jim insisted. "Just think about it, OK?" Blair’s mouth lifted in a half-smile, almost scornful.

"This from the man who constantly ragged on me for the train wreck that was my love life?" Maybe it was a bit bitter. Jim looked shocked, his mouth opened in that way that was oh-so familiar.

"I never "ragged" on you," he protested. "I was just concerned."

"Concerned?" Blair was on a roll now. "More emotions from the powerful James Ellison, who doesn’t need anyone? Doesn’t need emotions? Will I get another heartfelt speech?" Jim flinched and looked so hurt that acid regret piled at the back of Blair’s throat. It didn’t stop him. Heavem help him, it should have. "Besides, you’re one to talk. I haven’t seen you for a girl in ages. What’s the matter? Run out of ghosts? Or married women?" For a second Jim looked angry, but then it faded and his eyes dropped to his plate, letting Blair rain down cruelty. Perhaps he felt he deserved it. Blair stood up suddenly, knocking his chair to the ground. Pain waved over him, and he felt dizzy for just a second, but he was to angry, at himself and at Jim, to notice. "Well, Mr. Detective, once you figure out your screwed up life, you can come work on mine." He disappeared into his room with a grand display, slamming the door behind him.

Three hours later Blair cracked open his door and peered out through the slit. The loft was dark and quiet. He didn’t know if Jim had left or was just in bed. Creeping out, he headed for the bathroom. On the journey, he noticed all the dishes carefully washed and put out to dry, in typical Jim style. For some reason, that made his eyes sting. He had been unreasonably barbarian, inexcusably nasty. That wretched feeling of despair crashed down on him, ten times worse. Instead of helping things, he had made everything worse.

Another month passed. Blair was slouched over a beer, in a place he had only been once before in his life, as a wide-eyed child, barely 18. A sleazy club, known for it’s women. ‘I’m a fine one to talk,’ he threw his words from weeks earlier back at himself. ‘I can’t seem to stay away from prostitutes.’ One girl finished dancing and bowed to cat calls, winking at one man, thrusting out her tongue at another and wiggling the tip. She slinked off stage.

"You’ll like this next one," said the waiter, refilling Blair’s cup. ‘Molten gold,’ Blair thought sluggishly, watching the bubbles fizz up. "Her name’s Kristen. She’s real hot." ‘What kind of name is Kristen for a hooker?’ Blair mused, drinking his beer heavily. Kristen came onstage and Blair’s eyebrows rose. She was gorgeous, but there was a certain air about her that attracted Blair. Dangerous, dark. Sure. She sang some sort of song about taking away loneliness and disappeared. After she was gone, so was Blair. He felt woozy and had had enough of the dark, smoky room. He waited outside, shivering, trying to catch a cab.

"I can take you home," a dark chocolate voice said. Blair turned and felt a smile tugging on his lips.


"I’ve been thinking Joel."

"Yeah, Simon?"

"About what you said in the hospital a few months ago. About what Blair had to live for." Joel nodded intently, lifting his mug of steaming coffee to his lips. "We can be what Blair will live for."

"And die for," Joel interrupted dryly. He earned himself a glare from the Captain.

"Ever since he’s woken up in the hospital he’s been drawn into himself. Closed off. And we haven’t done anything to get past that. We’ve given him his space, and I think that’s been the wrong thing to do. We need to close in, be there."

"So what do you suggest?" Joel asked.

"Visit him. Thursday night. Will you join me?" A brilliant smile lit up Joel’s care-worn face.

"Wouldn’t miss it for the world."

Part III

Spin for the gov’ner
To make him look pure.
Spin for the doctors
Who spin for the cure.
Spin for the troubles
You’re desperate to mend.
Spin for the player
Who’s game’s at an end.

Jim was at the gym, pushing himself hard. He’d been spending most of his nights there, ever since Blair blew up at him that night over supper. It was good, he kept telling himself. Blair’s cleansing himself, letting go of the pain. Getting in touch with how he feels. Sorting things out. It didn’t feel good. At all. It felt like hell. He sat up from doing sit-ups, and wiped sweat from his forehead. The thing was, it didn’t look like they were going to get past this one. Maybe they should move on, separate. Keep the good memories and look back fondly on their time together. ‘Not likely,’ he thought, a wry grin twisting his face. He stripped off his sweat-soaked tank top, preparing to hit the showers. Either they were going to slowly kill themselves or each other, or they were going to live in tense silence for the rest of their lives. Either possibility was better than the alternative; separation.

Blair smiled as Kristen laughed at something he said. ‘Maybe Jim was right, maybe this is the best thing.’ He was feeling a bit more alive. Who knew they would last more than a one-night stand? So far it had been a week. Joel and Simon had also started hanging around the loft more and more. It was nice to see them, and they never stayed too long, but just enough to make his day a bit more worthwhile. Come to think of it, they had been slowly increasing the periods of time spent at the loft. ‘Duped again,’ he thought, smiling. A glow of something akin to happiness lit up in his chest. Just small, like an ember, but it was there.

"I’ve got to go, baby, but I’ll see you tomorrow," Kristen got up from the table and kissed Blair good-bye.

"Bye Kristen," he grinned goofily after her and paid for their bill. Walking out through the door, he had an inane urge to whistle. He moseyed on his way toward the loft, not really concentrating on where he was going.

"Hey," a voice came behind him. He turned, tensing. "If it isn’t Professor Sandburg, the national fraud." The guy was drunk, but his partner wasn’t. His friend licked his lips nervously.

"Come on Jake, let’s go," he pleaded.

"Not ‘til I get my say," staggering forward, Jake stopped right in front of Blair, who was standing stiffly, looking resolutely forward. He figured it would be best just to let the guy have his say, then let them both leave. Jake spat in Blair’s face. Blair flinched, but didn’t move to wipe it away.

"It’s scum like you who make this world a bad place," Jake slurred. Blair nearly laughed at the irony, but wisely kept silent. Jake blinked, looked at Blair closely and seemed to sober.

"You ruined lots of peoples lives, you know?" he said. The drunken slur had left his voice, and this stunned Blair. "My son… he used to be in your class. Thought the world of you. Now this…" Jake shook his head. "I can’t stand to look at you."

Blair stood still for a long time after they had left, in that same spot.

"Where’s Blair, Jim?" Joel asked. They were at the loft on one of their, what Blair had once bitterly termed "charity visits", but Blair was nowhere to be seen. Jim ran a weary hand over his face.

"He’s with that chick he’s been seeing… Kristen. I don’t get it guys, he was getting better, looking happier and eating more. Then one day, *bam*! He goes back into his shell. And now he’s eating his time away by hanging around this… woman."

"I thought you urged him to get a date?" Simon said, crossing his arms.

"I did, but this isn’t what I expected. I don’t like her." Jim kinda laughed. "He sure knows how to pick ‘em." Regardless of the words, it was said with soft affection.

"Maybe it’s just a minor low point and he’ll come back out of it soon," Joel suggested.

"It is expected," Simon added. Jim went to the windows and looked out, not responding.

"I can’t believe how low I’ve sunk," Blair said to Kristen. They were at her place, on the couch. Her apartment was small and shabby. "This drunkard can’t stand to look at me." He buried his face in his hands. Kristen massaged his shoulders.

"It can get better, baby," she whispered in his ear.

"How?" he asked plaintively, looking up. She got up and disappeared into her bedroom. For a moment he thought she wanted him to join her, but she came right back out, carrying something. It wasn’t until she was closer that he saw it was heroin. He sat in stunned silence. She pressed the spoon into his hand.

"It can take you someplace else, baby. Away from here, and all the pain. Trust me." Blair felt slightly nauseous, his mind reeling back to that incident with Golden. That was hell. He lifted the spoon. This could be heaven. A long moment passed. Then he stood up and pressed the spoon back into Kristen’s hand.

"I’ve gotta go."


Part IV

It’s a tough call
It’s a long haul
Before it’s done;
OK, it stinks,
But then you knew
That going in.It’s a rough ride
On the back roads;
That’s half the fun
Iron out the kinks,
That’s what you do,
You give it spin.

Blair stopped seeing Kristen. The temptation to give in a become a druggie was to great. ‘At least then people would have some valid reason for hating me,’ he thought bitterly, sipping his beer. He was sitting cross-legged on his bed, staring at his anthropology books, pondering what to do with them. Without ceremony he stood up, and dropped the nearly empty bottle to the ground, where it tilted and the few contents it did contain slid over his floor. Ignoring it, he gathered his books into his arms and walked down to and deposited them in the trash. A news reporter came up to him, spewing forth questions, but Blair pushed by him, not listening and walked back up to his room.

It was rather funny, he supposed. After the press conference the media had been waiting for him at both the loft and the police station. Luckily, he and Jim had beat them to the latter. While he was in the hospital they had spent the first few days buzzing around the doors. When he didn’t wake up, they had slowly left. Once he was released, they were back with a vengeance, at the loft and the police station. When he didn’t come out they had once again gotten discouraged. Jim had pulled the phone plug out so the calling would stop. Then he started to move around, but where he was going befuddled them. They never caught on he spent all his time at a bar or with a virtual prostitute. Now he was back to staying hidden in the loft, and they were still waiting for their, oops, his story. But thankfully, there weren’t swarms of them now, just one or two everywhere he turned.

Blair tugged on his coat and grabbed his keys. Though he might be digging his own grave, he was going to the station. To see Joel and Simon. He felt terrible about the way he had treated them when they had last shown up. He had been curt and callous, finally retiring to his room without being excused and slamming the door, refusing to emerge. He had been like a five year old brat, he reflected, swallowing hard.

He made it into his car fine, slamming the door in the reporter’s face and pulling away without so much as a backward glance.

"When did it become so," he mused aloud to the silent interior. "That I should care more about Simon and Joel’s feelings than Jim’s?" But that thought made him want to cry, so he pushed it away.

There was another reporter leaning against a police car, waiting for him. He snapped to attention eagerly when Blair got out of his car.

"Mr. Sandburg, is it true that you lied about finding a Sentinel?" Blair shot a withering glance at the young man.

"Did you watch the press conference?" he asked. The kid nodded enthusiastically. Instead of being intimidated, he was practically jumping for joy. This was the first time Blair Sandburg had spoken to a reporter!

"Then you should know the answer to that," and he slammed the door behind him, ignoring the young man’s deflated look. His heart started beating faster as he came closer to Major Crimes. This would be the first time he’d been there since the shooting with Zeller. Wiping his hands on his jeans, he steadied himself and walked in.

"Hey Blair!" Brown wrapped an arm around his shoulders in a half-hug. "It’s great to see you! How are you feeling?"

"I’m doing good, H," he smiled up at the larger man.

"Sandburg!" Rafe noticed him and looked around for someplace to set his coffee and files. Dropping them onto a desk, he came quickly up. "We’ve missed you. How are you doing?"

"Sandy, it’s about time you showed up," Megan came next, trying to look mad, but a large smile split open on her pretty face.

"Sandburg!" Dazed, Blair watched Nelson, a man he had chatted with a few times come up. "How are you? It’s been lonely around here."

In the end, it wasn’t his grave after all, but a balm to his spirit. Jim sat at his desk, unnoticed, watching everyone shaking Blair’s hand and pounding him on the back. A tiny smile appeared at the corner of his mouth before fading. He looked down at the papers on his desk and took a deep, sad breath.

"I was glad you came by the station today," Jim said softly later. They were back at the loft. Jim stood in the kitchen, watching him uncertainly, wearing that ridiculous apron and knotting his hands in a dishtowel. Blair felt a wave of affection crest over him at the sight.

"Me too," he offered a small smile. Jim responded with a shy one of his own. Blair’s grew larger. So did Jim’s. They sat there for a second, smiling widely at each other. After the bruising weeks of silence, this serene quiet between them felt like paradise.

Part V

Spin for the genius
Who fixes what’s broke.
Spin for the mirrors
And spin for the smoke.Spin for the lady
Who lives in the shoe,
Gone through the battles,
But still she gets through.And spin for the piggy
Who fakes it on cue.
Who patches the cracks
And then sniffs at the glue.
And spin for the piggy
Who hazards the cost
But never admits
That the game has been lost.

"Have you got that?""Yeah.""Careful!""I am. Stop worr-" crash"Stop laughing, Jim."This isn’t funny."Fine! Pick it up yourself." Blair had a huge grin on his face as he considered the man in front of him. Jim was sitting on the floor, laughing helplessly. It wasn’t even that funny, but Blair realized that all the suppressed emotions from months and weeks of strain and tension were finally being released. From both of them. He sat down and began to laugh too.But appearances count.

And on that count
You’re richer than sin.
It’s a good time.
It’s a great life.
No, no, really,
I mean it.

The End

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