~~~~~~
The Law of Friendship
~~~~~~

Blair flung the loft door open and stormed toward his bedroom. Jim slammed the door closed, breaking into a run and grabbing Sandburg's arm. He spun the young man around and grabbed his shoulders, resisting the urge to shake him.

He was going to kill the kid! "What the hell were you thinking?"

Blair pulled away from him, his eyes hot with anger. "Back off, man! You've got no right to judge me." He spun around and headed back toward his room.

Jim maneuvered in front of the younger man, blocking his path. "I've got no right to judge? You get yourself almost busted for possession and now you don't want to talk about it?" He tightened his grip on Blair's arm. "Well, I hate to break the news to you, Junior, but you're GOING to talk about it. You're going to explain to me what the hell you were doing with a bag of marijuana!"

Blair's arms shot up and he pushed Jim back. "I tried to explain it to you back there, but you were too busy going off on me! Now, I'm telling you man, just back off! I'm tired of your shit. This has nothing to do with you, and right now I'm SO not in the mood to listen to you rant. You wouldn't listen to me before, and no matter what I say now, you're just going to yell. No way." He slid past Jim. "Not tonight. I've had a hell of a day all ready."

Jim bolted for the open French door and slammed it shut before Blair could slip into his room. "You're treading on dangerous ground here, Sandburg! The only reason you're not in a jail cell is because Officer Mason did me a really big favor that could cause him a lot of trouble if it got out. He and I are both on the hook for you, so you're going to talk if I have to..."

"What?" Blair's chin snapped up. "What are you going to do? Beat the shit out of me?" He jerked away and stomped toward the front door. "Since you didn't arrest me and you CAN'T now, I'm outta here."

Jim had just about all he could take. He propelled himself forward and grabbed Blair's arm, spinning him around. His anger got the better of him for a moment, and, the next thing he knew, he had Blair pinned against the back of the door.

"You're part of the police department, civilian or not. That means you don't go around carrying drugs or dealing drugs, or whatever the hell it was you were doing with the drugs."

"I wasn't dealing, goddamnit!"

"It was on you and you admitted you knew it was on you, so what the hell were you doing with it?"

"I told you it was --"

"-- for a friend! I know!"

"Let me go, Jim. Right now." Blair's eyes flashed dangerously. "I swear..."

"What?" Jim tightened his grip on Blair's arms. "You think you can
threaten me?"

Blair took a deep breath, and Jim felt some of the tension leave the young man's body. After a moment's pause, Sandburg spoke, his voice calm. "Let go of me, Jim. If you calm down, I'll tell you now what I was trying to tell you back there."

The steady determination in Sandburg's eyes and the calm confidence in his voice broke through Jim's anger. He released his hold and took a step back.

"Talk."

Blair leaned against the wall and rubbed his arms, looking suddenly very weary. "My friend has cancer." He paused to clear his throat. "The chemo is hard on her. The medicines don't help. Even though marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes, the doctor won't prescribe it because of the AMA controversy. Actually, most of the physicians in Cascade shy away from
it. But it helps her. It helps her pain, her vomiting, and her nausea."

Jim took another step back, his anger fading further as he listened to Blair's story, hearing the raw emotion behind the words.

"She had another chemo treatment. She has no family here. She was miserable and too sick to do anything for herself. She begged me to pick it up for her. She has a supplier on campus." Blair took a deep breath, his cheeks flushing. "I couldn't refuse her, Jim. You couldn't know... You didn't see her... I knew it was illegal, of course. I knew how bad it would be if I got caught, but I had to do it. It was the only way I could help her." He swallowed hard. "She's terminal, Jim. She's not getting any better, and she's always hurting so much. We've been friends for almost ten years. When she begged me to do this for her, I couldn't say no."

Jim's shoulders slumped as the tension drained from his body. Of course. He should have figured it out. Blair would do almost anything to help a friend. He cleared his throat. "Okay. I'm... uh... I'm sorry I didn't let you explain earlier, and that stuff about you dealing..." He glanced away. "I guess I owe you an apology for that, too." He took a deep breath and looked back at Blair. "But you know this is bad, don't you? Rumors are bound to start spreading around the station."

Blair nodded solemnly. "I know. I'm sorry it happened this way -- that I put you and Mason on the spot."

Jim shrugged. "Yeah, well... I'll talk to Mason first thing tomorrow morning and explain things. Because he's on the spot, too, I doubt he'll be inclined to start any locker room gossip."

Blair lowered his gaze. "Thanks, Jim." He looked back up at his friend. "But... uh... I never did get to Mary. She's expecting me, and she's not in good shape, Jim. I have to go to her."

Jim nodded and released a long sigh. "Okay. How 'bout I drive?"

Blair managed a relieved smile. "You know my car's still back at Rainier."

"I know." He slapped a hand on Sandburg's shoulder and opened the door. "We'll stop and pick it up on the way back."

"Thanks, Jim."

"You're welcome, Chief."

"So we're okay? I mean, you've stopped planning my murder, right?"

Jim chuckled as he closed the door. "Well, let's just say I've put it on hold for the moment. Keep to the houserules, and I might forget about it entirely."

"You know you're anal, Jim, don't you?"

"That's all a matter of perspective."



Feedback is always very much appreciated.
Dawn