At His Side

By Annie



EMAIL: Annie

The usual disclaimers apply.


Set immediately post TSbyBS.

PAIRING: J/B

RATING: PG


He'd given up so much for me, for my privacy, for my life and now here he was, once again sacrificing everything that made him who he was just so he could stay with me.

I wasn't sure Blair wanted to be a cop, even though he'd be a damned good one but he'd smiled and acted happy about it when we'd sprung the surprise on him. Not that he'd had much choice. I mean, we'd thrown him a detective's badge in front of a room filled with other cops (and his mother, who was doing a helluva good job of acting thrilled - color me surprised). I mean, what was he gonna say?

"Hey guys, thanks, but you know after 4 years of being kidnapped, beaten up, drugged, shot and treated like shit by Ellison, the last thing I want is to join the ranks of Cascade's finest."

And he didn't, of course. Just gave me that self-deprecating grin, the one that had melted my heart ever since I'd known him and said he didn't deserve it. When Simon had said I'd be looking for a permanent partner, he'd smiled shyly again and asked, "Yeah?" as if he thought I'd want any other partner but him. Actually he probably did doubt it. I'd given him plenty of reason to think he was the last person I'd trust to back me up, just in the last few days, not to mention all the other times I'd accused him of betraying me over the four years we'd known each other.

He'd laughed along with everyone else when Simon had said he couldn't have the badge till he did his weapons training and I was the only one who heard the sudden acceleration of his heart at the words.

Blair's no coward and he's taken out guys with implements ranging from a vending machine to giant wrenches in his time with me, but he hates the thought of carrying a gun. He's done it, though. Fired them too when he's had to (and once when he didn't have to, when he was drugged out of his brain on Golden) but I know it's probably the thing he dreads the most about becoming a cop. Not carrying the gun so much, but having to make that decision every cop dreads - deciding when to shoot to kill.

Then he'd let me pull him into a mock-headlock and give him a noogie, while I made a stupid joke about making a Blair-skin rug. Everyone laughed again and then went off to do their own thing and Blair had pulled himself free of my arms and looked into my eyes.

And I knew. I wanted to grab him and haul him off somewhere private so we could talk but then Naomi was there, throwing her arms around him and telling him that of course she was happy he was going to be a pig... sorry, cop... and no, she really didn't mind, as long as he was happy. He hugged her and looked at me over her shoulder and I could see the misery in his eyes, even while he was assuring her that he'd never been happier in his life.

I walked away then and I knew he thought I was rejecting him again but I really just couldn't stand to see how much pain my selfishness had caused him. I loved Blair with all my heart, yet I had never told him and all I ever seemed to do was allow him to be hurt because of me and by me.

I was heading for the roof of the building to think things over when I heard running footsteps behind me. I'd know those footsteps anywhere, so I slowed my pace and let him catch up to me.

"Jim?" His voice was a little unsure and he reached out a hand and hooked my elbow, pulling me to a halt. "You okay?" he asked, as I turned to face him.

"Yeah, I'm fine, Chief. You okay?" I asked, my eyes fixed on his.

"Yeah, sure." He nodded, a little too heartily, and grinned, the smile not reaching his eyes. "So, where you going? Everybody's going for a drink."

I shrugged. "Just needed some quiet time. Tell them I'll join them later."

"Can I come with you?" The question was hesitant and I hated the fact that he still thought I didn't want him around anymore.

"Don't you want to go with the guys? And your mom? She probably wants you to herself for a while, anyway." I wanted nothing more than to drag him up to the roof with me, away from everyone else and tell him how I felt about everything he'd done for me, tell him how sorry I was for everything I'd done to him but I wasn't sure I had the right. At least the guys and his mom hadn't accused him of selling them out. That distinction fell to yours truly, alone.

"I'd rather be with you," he said.

"Okay." I led the way into the stairwell and up onto the roof, feeling him behind me all the way, at my back, where he'd been from the beginning.

Standing right up against the wall surrounding the roof, we looked out at the skyline of the city I'd been the sometimes-reluctant Sentinel of for the past four years.

I heard Blair inhale a little jerkily and extended my hearing to find his heartbeat. It was a little fast and that reminded me that my Guide really hated heights so I moved us back a few feet and sank down with my back against one of the air conditioning vents that jutted out onto the roof.

Blair sat down beside me, still not saying anything but at least his heart rate was within normal limits now.

"Blair?"

He turned and looked up at me and I wondered how I'd never noticed before how beautiful he was. Not in a pretty boy way. With that 5 o'clock shadow, Blair could never be considered pretty. His beauty is in his expressive eyes and the gentleness and vulnerability of his full mouth. I'd been attracted to him physically ever since I'd shoved him up against the wall in his office, but this was more than mere physical attraction, more than lust.

"You don't have to do this, you know? Become a cop. We can probably set up some sort of paid consultant position or something..."

He shook his head. "If I'm a consultant, it means I'd probably get loaned out to Homicide and other departments. I just want to be your partner, Jim. It's all I've ever really wanted," he said, blue eyes gazing steadfastly into mine.

"You didn't look happy about it," I said softly.

"I'm not really."

"Why?" I asked.

"I'm scared I won't ever be able to do this again," he whispered.

And then he leaned across and kissed my mouth gently, tenderly,passionately, and I kissed him back and knew in that moment that wherever Blair Sandburg went, and whatever he wanted to do with the rest of his life, I was going to be there, at his side, where I should have been all along.

The End

December 23rd 2004