Three months with Blair.
Three didn't seem to be good number for Jim lately.
Three weeks and three hours, since Blair had left him. Yeah, he'd counted! What of it? He was dying...all be it slowly. Blair had been his life and, he guessed, quite possibly his death.
Three months as lovers until the day Blair left. It had seemed so impossible to Jim that it could have happened. They had been so in love. Blair had even said so the day he'd left....
"I'm so sorry Jim, but I have to go," Blair said as he grabbed his suitcase,"I'll send for the rest of my things."
"I don't understand! Why do you have to leave me, let alone move out? If you want to break up we can, just...don't move out...I need you Chief. Here." Jim felt tears form.
Blair was just to the door and was about to turn the handle when he heard the quavor in his usually stoic lover's voice. He had tears running down his cheeks as he turned around and ran into Jim's arms. He felt Jim wrap his arms tightly around his waist. "You don't love me anymore?" Jim asked, his voice muffled by Blair's hair.
Blair pulled back a little and held onto Jim's face, forcing eye contact."I do love you Jim. I do...I just...I can't stay. I can't. But don't ever think I don't love you...please? Please don't ever think that?" He put his arms back around Jim's neck and held on. He hoped Jim would forgive him but this was just something that was completely unavoidable.
"Okay...I love you so much. I don't want you to go." Jim sobbed a bit.
"I don't want to go either but I have to, Jim. Please understand." He looked hopefully into Jim's eyes.
"I'm scared Chief." Jim whispered. "How do I keep going? What...what about my senses? You're my guide you can't just leave me." Jim's eyes were so brite with hope Blair couldn't help but smile a little. Jim didn't care if they were lovers or not anymore he just wanted Blair to stick around. Blair wiped away a few tears from his lover's cheeks then grew serious again.
"We both know your senses are pretty much under control now and maybe Simon can partner you up with Megan, and-"
"NO! You're my partner! No one else! Please Blair, don't leave me?!"
Blair just smiled sadly and leaned up to kiss Jim's lips softly. "I love you Big guy." He turned to walk away, but stopped by the door and looked back at Jim."I'm sorry." He turned the knob and left not missing Jim's soft words that tore through his heart,"Your all I've got, Chief."
What Jim had said was true, Blair was all that Jim'd had left. //Now how the hell should I keep going?// He asked himself for the thousandth time since Blair'd left. Three weeks and he hadn't snapped at anyone at work, was still eating, and was still using his senses. He'd told Simon and the others at work what had happened but refused to give in to what everyone thought he'd do. He tolerated their sympathy and choked down food when it was given to him. He spent his off-time roaming the streets of his city in hopes of coming to an conclusion for why Blair had, grudingly, left him.
Today was another of those days. He roamed around the little shops next to the ocean only mildly aware of the nice day. Although he'd noted that it was a day Blair would love to be out on, a nice breeze with just enough sunshine to keep the jackets off, he otherwise kept his head down. People were all around him. Everyone doing their own thing but everything seemed too calm. As if they all knew his grief and were being respectfully quiet.
Jim lifted his head a bit and froze.
There walking towards him was Blair. He was looking out at the ocean so he didn't see Jim. He looked just as beautiful to Jim as he did the day he left. He had his hair pulled back and sunglasses on. But Jim could see the tiredness in his ex-lover's stature, and the seemingly serene expression carefully placed to mask the saddness. It all made him ache.
Blair was closer now and finally turned his head and froze too.
They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. The crowd around them seemed to stop what they were doing also, but neither of the men noticed. They could only see eachother.
Blair smiled hesitantly and Jim returned it. He watched as Blair glanced around nervously then start walking towards Jim. Jim smiled bigger this time and Blair jogged the rest of the way and straight into Jim's arms. Jim wrapped him up tightly afraid that this wasn't real.
He smiled when he felt Blair relax and wrap his arms around Jim's neck. "Chief?"
Blair pulled back and looked up into Jim's eyes. Jim pulled the sunglasses off Blair's face and placed them on his head. Then he brushed a few stray curls back from Blair's face and put their foreheads together.
"I miss you Chief."
"Yeah? I miss you too Jim."
Two girls, that couldn't be older than 15 or 16, one short with dark brown hair and one tall with sandy blonde hair watched the two men reunite. The blonde, who had been taking pictures of the ocean and people all day, smiled and glanced at her friend.
"Should I?" She pointed towards the men with her camera.
The shorter girl grinned and nodded enthusiastically,"Yeah! Take a couple and we'll give 'em your address so they can get copies too!"
The blonde nodded, smiled and raised the camera.
The two men broke apart regretfully. Jim looked down into the sad face of his ex-lover and wondered what the hell Blair was doing this to him for. //and why does he look so sad?// he thought bitterly, //he left me and yet he looks so tired and unhappy//
"Can we talk Chief?" Jim asked after awhile.
Blair hesitated a bit and looked around for something or someone, then said, "Yeah."
Jim smiled a bit and led them towards a picnic table.
Jim and Blair sat at a picnic table staring into eachother's eyes for long minutes until Blair looked away with a little chuckle.
"Thought we were gonna talk." He smiled.
Jim took a closer look at Blair then and noticed a few fresh bruises on his arms. "Yeah, sorry. So...what've you been up to?"
"Um...not much really. Teaching you know the usual." Blair covered his arms with his hands, looking down at the table.
Jim sighed in frustration."Why, Chief? Thats all I want...all I need to know is why?" Jim hated to do this but he really did need to know. For his sanity he needed to know.
Blair stared at the table still as he answered."I...I met someone else."
"Look at me Chief." Blair didn't raise his eyes."Please Blair." Jim begged.
Startled at the use of his real name Blair looked up and straight into the eyes of the saddest man he'd ever seen. Tears instantly sprung to his eyes and reached out and grabbed Jim's hand and stared down at their hands.He looked back up and smiled bitterly. "What do you want me to say Jim? I already said I was sorry." Another tear rolled down his cheek and looked down again.
"Why are you crying? Your supposed to be happy. You said you'd met someone, aren't you happy with them?"
Blair gathered himself and raised his head."Yeah Jim, I am really happy. In fact Ray is around here somewhere." He said looking around a bit.
Jim had heard the forced happiness in the statement but wondered if there really was a "Ray". He looked up when he saw a man heading towards them. The man was at least 6'5" and was very bald. Taking a chance that "Ray" may exist he let go of Blair's hand before the man got into 'normal' eyesight and could see. Blair looked a little hurt but studiously avoided Jim's eyes. Jim noted that the man was now within earshot and decided to play as 'just friends'. "So how has class been?"
He glanced up at the man that was now an arms length away from Blair and was surprised to see a huge amount of anger in the man's eyes directed to the back of Blair's head.
Blair looked a little confused at Jim's oddly 'normal' question and was about to say something about it when he felt a big hand grip his shoulder. Instantly fear took over his eyes widened. Jim saw, smelt and heard Blair's fear and his Blessed Protector instincts went up. He shot the man a glare and began to rise but Blair beat him to it.
"Hey Ron! This is an old friend of mine Jim Ellison. Jim this is Ray Lewis."
The two girls paled a bit and glanced at eachother when they saw the iron grip the bald man had on the smaller man. "Geez that's a friendly grip huh?" the blonde said, cradling her camera closer to her body unconsiously.
"Oh yeah...I don't like it why don't you take a few pictures of that guy and everything, just in case. You know?"
"Yeah. Let's move a little closer, I can't get a clear view of their faces this far away."
They moved a little closer and the blonde, again, raised her camera.
Jim reached a hand out warily to the other man."Nice to meet you."
Ray just kept glaring at Blair."It's time to go Blair." He began to pull Blair around and Blair shot a regretful, sad glance at Jim.
"Bye Jim." He said a little quietly.
"Bye Chief." Jim said just as quiet.
Jim watched them walk away. Ray now had his hand on the back of Blair's neck. Jim dialed his sight up and saw that it probably was a very painful grip. His thoughts were interuppted when two girls sat down at the picnic table rite across from him. They were both smiling sympathetically. He noted the camera in the blonde's hands and the slinky in the other girl's hands. He briefly wondered why someone'd be playing with a slinky by the ocean, but dismissed it.
"Did you girls want the table?" He asked hesitantly, not wanting to leave the last place he'd seen his guide just yet.
"Nah, we just wanted to stare at ya!" The shorter girl with the slinky said sarcastically.
Jim chuckled a bit.
The blonde smiled and shook her head."I'm Cassie and the short one is Gina. She's a little on the weird side."
"Hey! Oh...wait...never mind." Gina said laughing a little.
Jim grinned."So what can I do for you ladies."
"It's not what you can do for us, it's what we can do for you. Did I get that rite?" Cassie said to Gina.
"I think so...ask someone else." She replied.
"Anyways...we saw...well...all of what just happened. I sort of took pictures too. When you guys hugged we just thought it looked so good that I couldn't resist, and then when that man showed up I didn't like the feeling he gave me so I took pictures of all that too. Well I could give you my address so you could come and see the pictures. If you want to that is." She said quickly, anxious to get it out. She didn't want him to think they were spying.
"You two got a weird feeling from the guy too?" He asked anger clear in his voice.
The girls both nodded, a bit of anger in their eyes.
"So what was that address?" Jim smiled at them pulling out a buisness card for them.
"911 Prospect Avenue Appartment #9" Gina supplied helpfully.
"You know I know where I live rite?" Cassie said to Gina.
"Uh huh." She grinned happily.
Jim laughed and handed the girls his card."Looks like we're on the same street as eachother."
"Heh, imagine that...weird. Well I'll call you when I finish developing the pictures, Detective Ellison?"Cassie said staring at the card. "Your a cop?"
"Yeah and just call me Jim."
"Alright then Jim." Cassie said.
"We've gotta go Jim. Talk to ya later." Gina said. They stood up and with a final wave left Jim sitting there contemplating the strange girls.
Three hours later found Jim sitting at home staring at a Wonderburger that he didn't seem to have any desire to eat. He re-wrapped the burger and stuck it in the fridge. After grabbing a beer he made his way towards the couch but his journey was stalled when the fone rang. He quickly grabbed it before it could ring twice.
He was greeted by what sounded like two girls giggling.
The laughing stopped."Oh I'm so sorry Detective. This is Gina. I was laughing at a joke. I didn't think anyone would pick up so quickly." She laughed and Jim could here Cassie laughing hard in the background.
"That's ok. What's up?"
He heard more giggling followed by sshhing. "I'm sorry it's so late Jimmy, but-" She was cut off by a great amount of laughter and Cassie saying "You called him Jimmy?!" Followed by more giggling from them both.
"Are you girls drunk?" He asked smiling.
"That's the sad part! We haven't had a thing to drink at all today!"
"Yeah we're that Pathetic!" Cassie chimed in.
Jim laughed out loud. He spared a brief moment to be amazed at that. He hadn't done that since Blair'd left.
"Anyways, the pictures are ready. Cassie said to come by to get them whenever. Alrite?"
"They're done already?" Jim asked amazed. He didn't expect the pictures to be developed that quick!
"Umm...Yeah. Well see we get a little impatient sometimes..." Gina said shyly.
"Sometimes??" Cassie said in the back, then laughed out loud. "Yeah sometimes. Riite"
Jim laughed and said, "So when would be a good time?"
"Whenever. Now even. You live close rite? Plus I just really want you to see them!" He could hear the smile in her voice.
He looked at his watch and frowned."It's going on Midnite. You sure you want a stranger there at this time?"
"You're a cop rite? Aren't we supposed to trust you?" He heard a murmerd "he doesn't have dead eyes though" from Cassie and wondered what 'dead eyes' were.
"Yeah I suppose...You sure you don't mind me coming over rite now?"
"Yeah we're sure. Come on over." She sounded excited.
He smiled and said his goodbyes.
Absently putting his coat on and grabbing his keys, he wondered what Blair would have though of the girls. //Probably have loved them.// He thought affectionately.//Well they're growing on me.//
Smiling, Jim left the loft, eager to meet with the only people that could make him smile at this time.
By the time Jim returned to the loft it was after 2am and raining heavily outside.
He rushed inside and locked the door. He'd managed to barely get wet and was thankful for that. He took his coat off and dropped his keys onto the table along with the package of pictures the girls had given him. As much fun as he had had at Cassie's place, he was worn out and was looking forward to some sleep. He began locking up and headed upstairs. Out of habit he paused and extended his senses to check on his building. He nearly zoned out of shock when he heard the very familiar heartbeat standing outside the door. Hurriedly he went back downstairs and threw the door open.
Blair stood there drenched to the core, shivering.
"Chief?" Jim quickly pulled Blair into the loft."What are you doing here?"
On autopilot Jim took Blairs soaked coat and hung it up. He then sat Blair down in one of the kitchen chairs. He turned and went into the kitchen to start some tea.
Blair smiled weakly at him,"I'm sorry it's so late Jim...I was the U and the Volvo broke down. I tried calling Ray but...he was working and his house is across town...so I just decided to come home and see if you were up and maybe I could get a ride?"
Jim had his back to Blair and grinned hugely when Blair said the loft was 'home', "Breathe Chief." He turned around and got a good look at his beloved's face and nearly gasped at the huge bruise on Blair's cheek. He went over and kneeled in front of Blair."Shit, Chief. What the hell happened?!"
Blair winced a little and said, "I ran into a door?" He tried for a smile but failed.
Jim closed his eyes for a second, he put his anger in check and forced himself to look at his guide. Blair had tears rolling down his cheeks. "Aww damnit Chief. Why don't you tell someone? What was this for? Is this the first time? Damnit why didn't you say something? Are you hurt anywhere else?"
"Breathe BigGuy." Blair smiled at there sudden role reversal.
But Jim didn't seem to hear him, "fuck, fuck, fuck. I should have known..." He muttered under his breath looking down at the ground.
Blair raised Jim's face to meet his gaze, "It's. Not. Your. Fault. Jim."
"It's not yours either Chief." Blair let go of his chin and looked away. "Stay here tonite?" Jim was desperate, anything to keep his guide safe. "You said Ray was working tonite how late is he working?"
Blair never looked up when he murmered, "Till Noon tomorrow."
"Stay here and I'll get you back before Noon." Jim was ernest. If he couldn't keep his guide here forever he could at least keep him for one nite. Blair smiled and started to shake his head but was stopped by a hand in his hair. "Jim..." He said weakly.
"Sshh...I just can't let you go back tonite. Besides it's cold and raining...You don't the rain remember? Please?" Jim looked hopefully up into Blair's eyes.
Blair sighed. He knew couldn't win this. Besides, being away from Ray for a nite would be nice. "Okay Jim. I'll stay..."
Jim smiled and stood up to get the tea ready.
Blair stood in the doorway of his old bedroom. Nothing had changed. He'd never sent for his stuff like he said he would. That day he'd only taken clothes. He left all his books, reasearch notes, and most importantly book on sentinels by Burton.
He turned away.
"You okay Chief?"
"I'm beat. Wanna head to bed?"
"Oh yeah...um Jim?"
Jim was heading up the stairs. He turned back around. "Hmm?"
"Um...where do I sleep?"
"Oh..." He glanced up to his bedroom then smiled ruefully down at Blair, "Didn't really think about that...you wanna sleep upstairs or downstairs?" He held his breath.
Blair looked into his room then back up at Jim. "You mind if I sleep up there with you?" He asked hesitantly.
Jim smiled and extended his hand, "Nope."
Blair took the hand and smiled.
Upstairs they undressed to their boxers and slid into bed. They both laid there stiffly staring up at the skylite. Jim turned his head and looked at Blair, "Can...can I hold you for tonite Chief?" He sounded sad.
Blair smiled and nodded. He turned over and sighed as he felt Jim spoon up behind him. Jim held onto him tightly and breathed his scent deep. "Love you Blair" and with a kiss to the back of his love's neck he drifted off to sleep.
"I love you too." Blair sobbed a bit but soon found himself sound asleep.
Jim woke to probably the most annoying ray of sunlite he'd ever had the joy of waking up to. No matter where he turned the damned thing was there!
Then he remembered last nite.
Where was Blair anyways. Jim scanned the loft but found no guide. He sat up and peered over the rail. No Blair. //Duh Ellison// He extended his hearing and found Blair's rapid heartbeat slowly decending the stairs. Blair was obviously trying to get back to his house without Jim. Jim smiled a bit evilly. //At his rate, I could catch up to him in no time.// Jim got up quickly and threw on some clothes. He jogged downstairs and grabbed his keys.
Slowly going down the stairs while making sure he was far enough away from Blair to not be detected, Jim came up with a plan.
He'd follow Blair to his new home so that way, if need be, he could go and check up on him. Just in case. //Who are you kidding Ellison. You just want to know where he lives so you can run a thurough check on this Ray guy.// Jim grimaced. //Also so you can see him when you miss him dimwit.// Jim smiled this time.
He rounded a corner just in time to see Blair exit the building. Jim stopped at the door and watched as a cab pulled up in front of Blair. Blair turned around and looked up at the building and said, "I'm sorry Jim. I love you." He squeezed his eyes shut and climbed in the cab.
Jim watched the cab turn a corner then hurried to his truck and began to follow at a safe distance.
He briefly wondered if this was a good idea, but remembering the bruise on Blair's face he decided it was.
Absent mindedly following the cab Jim thought about Ray. He was Jim's height but smaller in build. Blair was still smaller than both of them. He figured that if it had been him who'd hit Blair, like that would happen, he'd probably have knocked the kid out cold. Jim shivvered. //I should kill Ray. Fucker dosen't deserve to live.// He thought angrily.
The cab pulled to a stop in front of a building that looked it had seen better days. He pulled over to the curb a few feet away and watched Blair pay the driver. Blair turned and headed up to the building. Jim scribbled the address on a napkin.
He listened until he knew Blair was safely inside and alone before he drove away.
Continued in Part II.