Rating: PG (mild language)
Summary: Blair makes a decision
Amazing, just how quickly four years of hard work goes up in literal flames. But as Blair Sandburg crouches over the cheap metal wastebasket taken from his bedroom, watching the last sooty fragments of his dissertation on sentinels surrender themselves to the hungry flames, the small hitch of regret tightening his chest is easily eclipsed and squeezed down into insignificance beneath the heavier weight of weary relief coursing through his body now with every heart beat.
Close; it had been so close. If he hadn't returned to the loft just in time to stop Naomi from snooping into his life's most important work to date, God only knew what sort of mischief his well-meaning but too often misguided mother might have gotten around to. Hell, he wouldn't put it past her to fax the whole damned dissertation to one of her overly ambitious publisher friends on the east coast, thinking to herself as she did so that it was a GOOD thing she was doing. Never realizing in her inimitable Naomi fashion--at least not until it was much too late, of course--just how severely damaging the repercussions of her indiscretion might turn out to be for Jim.
Oh, God...Jim. How--how in the WORLD--could I have been so blind? Blair thinks now on a black wave of self-loathing. How completely and utterly delusional could I be, deceiving myself all this time that the revelations in my dis would never be traced back or connected to my partner? Jim's always known, though; Blair's come to realize that on some level Jim must have feared almost from the start the public exposure of his abilities, must have spent these past few years loathing and resisting and dreading the inevitable invasion and disruption of his life, his privacy, his career, all at the hands of his overly eager and all too short-sighted roommate. But despite any personal misgivings, Jim has always given Blair the benefit of the doubt where Blair's dissertation is concerned and has exercised admirable restraint and self-control in not demanding a closer look at Blair's opus magnum in all its dubious glory, with its horrifying possibility of utterly ruining a good man's life--Jim's own life--forever lurking in the background of their friendship.
Well, that's never gonna happen, Blair vows grimly to himself now as he dribbles a glass of water over the smoking, sodden remains of hundreds of pages of intense, meticulously documented research and revelation. Jim's never going to end up caught in the merciless crosshairs of a scientific and media frenzy; someday, maybe--when the time is right--someone will reproduce and publicize the data Blair has accumulated with such loving, painstaking care, and then the world will know that sentinels are real; and at that time the world will hopefully also see that, rather than being some sort of freakish anachronism set down in the midst of today's 'modern' civilization, the sentinel's protective and vigilant presence in urban society is as vitally needed as that of any major metropolitan police force.
Blair is doubtful that he will be the one to reveal on that mystical day the existence of sentinels to the rest of the planet, and he won't deny to himself that the thought of someone else stepping forward with the documentation he's gathered FIRST does indeed rankle a bit; but all he has to do is contemplate Jim's face in his mind's eye and the aching vulnerability beneath the detective's stoic, macho exterior, and Blair realizes that it really isn't difficult at all to lift the still warm to the touch wastebasket and carry it and its utterly destroyed contents down to the garbage, his thoughts already shifting purposely ahead to the new dissertation he's going to have to scramble like hell to get approved and written in the time he still has allotted. "The Thin Blue Line"...yeah, that's doable. Or it WILL be once Blair Sandburg, anthro grad student extraordinaire, is done with it.
Jim will definitely have questions about the abrupt termination of sentinels as Blair's dissertation topic; but Sandburg knows that deep down the older man will likely feel relief and maybe even a touch of grudging gratitude for his partner's seemingly inexplicable change of subject matter. Of course he'll give Blair the third degree, genuinely concerned for his roomie's mental and emotional state and needing to be sure that Blair has no regrets about switching his topic almost at the last minute; all Blair has to do is polish up his most convincing bit of obfuscation ever, and it's in the bag. Now is not the time for sadness or regrets, Blair lectures himself sternly as he trudges back up the stairs to the loft he's shared with Jim for the past four years. Now is the time to refocus and rechannel the manic energy he's known for into a completely different avenue; and he has a feeling Jim is going to be delighted at the chance to see Blair grilling all their coworkers in Major Crime for this new dissertation, just as he himself has been so mercilessly studied and scrutinized for the past few years. Sure, juggling the egos of a whole department might be just a tad trickier than dealing with one mulish, strong-willed sentinel; but as he heads for his computer with renewed zeal singing through his veins, Blair is certain he will manage them all just fine.