At His Side


by Annie


EMAIL: annieb1112003@yahoo.com.au

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