Blair sat alone in his room, gnawing absently on his lower lip. He had
just spent the last hour or so cleaning it out. *Really* cleaning. The down-with-a-mop,
plastic-gloves, search-and-destroy-all-living-and-non-living-organisms, even-a-Sentinel-can-find-no-fault
cleaning. Rocking back on his heels, he surveyed his room, feeling helpless now
that the work was done. It was near noon. Jim was at the station, naturally, and
Sandburg found himself alone in the loft. So what did he do with he now oh-so-plentiful
free time? Did he read? Did he sleep? No, he *cleaned*. He *hated* cleaning! Always
That was one of the nice things growing up; Naomi would
hustle him from one place to another, never giving him enough time to settle down
and actually make a mess. So why had he spent the whole day on his hands and knees,
scrubbing away at the already speckless floor? Simple: he was afraid of getting
kicked out. Ever since this whole mess had started, Blair had just been waiting
for the time to come where hed walk into the loft and find all his stuff
in boxes, neatly labeled, ready to go, will that be all sir? please pull forward
and have a nice day. Ridiculous, he kept telling himself. Jim
wouldnt do that to you again. Still, that didnt stop his hands
from sweating and his heart pounding with anticipation every time he pulled out
his key to the door.
Getting up, he moseyed on out to the center
of the loft. Blinking, he eventually found himself standing in front of a bookstand
where all his books sat, patiently waiting for him to pull one out. At the end
of one row, he saw one of his clay jars propping up the books. He carefully maneuvered
it out then repositioned the end book so it wouldnt fall over. Studying
it as he carried it back to his room, he unconsciously walked around furniture
and obstacles without looking up. Sitting back down at his original spot, he turned
it over in his hands. The corner of his mouth quirked briefly at the memory of
persuading Jim that he *needed* to keep it in the loft, and later that he *needed*
to have it out in the open. However, the smile was gone before it really started.
He hadnt smiled much lately. Not in a while, come to think of it. Placing
it on the floor, he returned to the living room and soon came back carrying another
artifact. A long time later, he blinked, feeling like he was coming out a sleep.
A pile of his stuff from all over the loft sat before him. His mouth opened slightly
in confusion and his brow furrowed, trying to remember how they had snuck in here.
He vaguely remembered gathering them up one by one, but it seemed like a distant
memory. One from when he was a little boy. He shook his head sharply.
a grip, man," he said out loud. Sticking his cold hands in his pockets, he
wandered back out into the living room. And, big surprise, found himself drawn
to the bookcase again. He abruptly collapsed down on his rear and scowled sulkily.
He was no idiot; he knew what he subconsciously doing.
I dont *want* to leave," he whined. And found that it was true.
the first in his life, he wanted to plant down roots. Ha! Too bad the other resident
didnt want him there. He sighed heavily and raked both hands through his
hair. He should have been more alert. Should have taken a hint.
never had a problem knowing when hed worn out his welcome before, why now?
Probably because before it had never been one-sided. Hed always wanted to
leave, before. Before. B. S. For Jim, Before Sandburg. For him, Before Sentinel.
Well, Bull Shit either way. They could never go back to before.
fell onto his back. When had it started? Probably from the second he moved into
the loft. No, focus, focus. In retrospect, hed probably pinpoint The Beginning
(Of The End) with that whole mess when Jim needed some space.
was when Jim had actually flat out said he was in the way. Sandburg frowned. He
had said that, hadnt he? His memory of that time was foggy, but he could
still definitely remember Jim saying something to that effect. Of course it had
happened. Eventually, people got sick of him, the one and only Blair Sandburg.
Yes, what an honor. Please step forward and accept your trophy. Well, Id
like to thank the academy
Id like world peace, Id like a little
respect, but hey! who doesnt want those things? His mental attempt
at humor fell flat and pain tightened his chest when it hit him that he *could*
be giving an acceptance speech. For the Noble Prize.
dragging his thoughts away from there and back to his initial depression- first
come first serve, dont cha know- he continued his reflection. Um, yeah,
at that teeny town with the "disease" running rampant. Blair was not
one to dwell on the past, but that had hurt. You dont say things like that
unless you really mean them. He should have packed up right there. Maybe
it even went as far back to that thing with the rig. Jim had complained at him
for his messiness quite insistently. There was the first major time they addressed
the dissertation, when everything was so crazy with crocodiles, angels and whatnot.
But it took having it actually spelled out for him, in the form of boxes packed
and waiting for him to realize the gravity of it all. And then dying. Well, moving
past that. Needless to say, one would think he would have got it when he witnessed,
with his own eyes, right in front of him, Jim making out with his murderess. As
if that wasnt enough, it appeared that he loaned out his Blessed
Protector to the enemy for the week. Drat, just the time he needed him most. "It
should have been me," he said suddenly. He noticed breathing had become harder
and there was an odd feeling in his throat. And then the Ventriss thing. He had
felt so alone that whole time, felt like Jim was so cold. Or maybe that was just
*him* finally thawing out. But, no, the kicker was when he realized that Jim still
didnt trust him, still thought he would have betrayed him.
on, man," he said, almost startling himself with his own voice. "Maybe
thats too harsh." Jim had trusted Sandburg with his *life* on more
than one occasion, so he must be wrong, right? Blair sat up and groaned. His eyes
fell to the bookshelf. "How perfect," he said, reaching and selecting
a book. Harper Lees To Kill A Mockingbird. One of his favorites. Flipping
through it, he came to the quote he wanted. "You never really understand
a person until you consider things from his point of view
until you climb
into his skin and walk around in it." Well, Blair *did* understand Jims
point of view. He truly did.
Fear-based responses, man. And while
he might not be able to fully climb into Jims skin because of the Sentinel
thing, he certainly was close. And *man* had Jim been through a lot. Just trying
to place himself where Jim was overwhelmed him.
Yes, he understood.
And no, he didnt blame Jim. But that didnt erase the fact that Jim
was tired of him, that it was time to let go and move on. It didnt erase
the fact that despite all hed, theyd, everyone had been through, who
was left to defend him? To stand up for him when the darkest of times descended?
Simon, thanks man!
Oh, youve got Jim covered? Um, well
Megan! What? Oh, thanks for the advice. Joel? Joel? Hello? Rafe? Brown? Anyone?
Well, guess Ill have to watch out for myself. Yeah, just like last time
when I ended up face down in a fountain.
erase the fact that Jim still thought he would so easily stab him in the back.
How could he just go and accuse him of something like that? Surely, *surely*
Jim knew what he meant to Blair.
"Well, Im sure Judas
loved Jesus, too." He closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath.
am I doing this?" he muttered. "I am *so* not bitter
" After a few minutes of breathing exercises and meditating, he
felt at peace with himself. Gathering up To Kill A Mockingbird as well as his
other books, he deposited them in his room and went down to the basement to get
those damn boxes. Blair stood back and surveyed his work for the second time that
day. The scene was chillingly familiar. All his junk, packaged up
his lip, he looked at the clock. Jim wasnt due home for another three hours.
He couldnt be such a cad and actually just take off and leave, could he?
He sighed. Of course he couldnt. A while later he got in the
Volvo, all his boxes shoved in a cheap storage place. He had filled the car with
gas, withdrew all his money from his bank account and was well and truly moved
out. He wasnt sure where he was going to go; out of Cascade definitely,
and out of state hopefully. He still had some time left to figure it out and after
he did hed tackle with transporting his boxes.
the police station and got that nervous feeling that hits when youve got
to give a speech in front of hundreds, or when you have to go on stage in a play.
boy," he mumbled and got out of the car.