Originally posted to SA September, 2004.

This is my offering for the September Themefic for Lyn. The request is to "bring back a previous character from an episode. It can be a bad guy or good, lover interest or not, family or friend. Make them just as bad as they were or worse or maybe they've had a change of heart. Maybe it's someone who returns to ask Jim and Blair for help or to exact revenge for past deeds."

What I've decided on is to bring back Steven Ellison. After the brief introduction we had of him in "My Brother's Keeper", I thought he needed to be explored more thoroughly. I came up with this short story, showing Steven wondering if Blair has replaced him as brother to Jim.

Lyn, I know it's not much. But I hope it fits the bill for your themefic request.


By Debbie Tripp

EMAIL: Debbie


SUMMARY: Steven Ellison questions Blair's place in Jim's life

DISCLAIMER: Don't own them and I'm getting no payment from this except the satisfaction of writing it and any feedback I may receive from the writing of it.

Not beta'ed. Just spell-checked. All mistakes are mine.


Steven Ellison didn't understand it. Why was this longhaired 'kid' hanging around his brother? Steven was sure that his brother wasn't...no, his brother was always a ladies' man. And anyway, it didn't seem like Sandburg was his brother's type. Jim had mentioned that the 'kid' was a graduate student at Rainier. In anthropology of all things. Anthropology? Who studies anthropology? Apparently, this guy. Steven had tried to get Jim to let him in on what Sandburg had on him. That was the only thing it could be -- Sandburg had some dirt on Jim he didn't want out. There was no other way his brother would allow such a person to mooch off him, live at his place, and hang around him almost 24/7 without having some good dirt on Jim.

Steven just wanted some time alone with Jim. After all, it had been almost 20 years since they had been close. And Steven thought this was the perfect opportunity. But not with Sandburg constantly there. Every function, every outing. Jim automatically invited Sandburg and he always agreed to tag along. Steven didn't feel comfortable talking in front of Sandburg about their memories of growing up and what they used to do. Sandburg would hang onto every word. And whenever Steven suggested it just be him and Jim, Jim always said that he knew Blair would enjoy whatever they were doing.

Steven decided he needed to go to the source himself to confront Sandburg and find out why he was hanging around Jim. Steven found out where Sandburg's office was and went there one afternoon. He had been able to find out that Sandburg had classes until 1:00 and then he'd have office hours until 5:00.

Steven arrived a few minutes before 1:00. He could hear the music playing inside the 'office'. It looked more like a closet. It was in the basement and there wasn't even a proper nameplate on the door. Just some masking tape with Sandburg's name on it. Steven almost turned away. But he needed to find out what was going on between Sandburg and his brother. He knocked on the door.

"Come in. The door's unlocked."

Steven opened the door and walked in. It looked like a paper factory had exploded in the room. Steven looked towards Blair, sitting in the middle of it all. Blair looked up and smiled."Steven!! Come on in. What brings you here?"

"I was wondering if we could talk."

"Sure. Have a seat."

Steven looked around and just stood there. There was nowhere to sit down. Blair suddenly got to his feet and picked up the files that had been sitting on the one chair visible in the room. Blair turned and tossed the files on the couch there, which was already covered with books and papers. Blair gestured to the chair and Steven cautiously sat down. Blair went back to sit down behind his desk.

Blair gaze fell on Steven, seemingly piercing through to his soul."What do you want to talk about?"

"Can I be blunt, Sandburg?"

"Sure, Steven. But call me Blair. Okay?"

"Okay, Blair. What are your intentions for my brother?"

Blair actually burst into laughter. He knew that Steven Ellison was dead serious and the look on his face was one of shock as Blair burst into laughter. Blair tried to control his outburst, but it had just been too funny. Finally, Blair was able to control his laughter, although he was still amused by what Steven had said."Sorry, man. It was just too funny. My intentions? I'm not sure what you mean, Steven?"

"I didn't mean that they way it sounded. I'm sure my brother isn't...But if you are, I understand."

That remark just made Blair laugh even louder. Steven discovered he was starting to understand the attraction of Blair Sandburg. How addictive it was to be around him and wanting to be around him. As a friend. He didn't seem to prejudge people. He mostly took them at face value. Soon, Steven was laughing with Blair.

"I'm not. And neither is your brother. Your brother and I are friends. Good friends. Possibly even best friends. He took pity on me when my place blew up. He took me in. He didn't have to. But he's a generous guy."

"Yeah, that's Jim. He's always been like that. At least, he was that way when we were kids. He always looked after me. Sort of a big brother type of thing."

"Hey, I can totally relate to that!! But, not having any siblings growing up, I sort of like the feeling. It shows he cares about me."

"Can I ask a favor, San--Blair?"

"Sure, Steven. What do you want?"

"Can I have some alone time with my brother? After all, we're trying to reconnect here. And, not that I don't like you or anything, but it can be a little awkward with an audience."

"No problems, Steven. I think Jim is a little insecure about all this. I'm not saying he doesn't love you or anything, but he doesn't want to screw things up between the two of you. He knows there is a lot to make up for. The next time you two are scheduled to do something, I'll make myself scarce. All you had to do was ask, Steven."

"Thanks, Blair. I can see what Jim likes about you."

"Well, things aren't perfect all the time. Jim likes things done his way, at his time."

"He's always been that way. You won't change him on that."

"Jim just wanted me there with the two of you to act as a buffer. In case something went wrong. I should have realized that maybe you wanted some time with him alone. But I've never dealt with siblings in my growing up. It must have been awesome to have Jim as a brother?"

"Yeah, it was. And is. He was only a few years older than I was, but it was like he was my hero and my brother all wrapped up in one. And when we were growing up, Jim taught me the ways of the world. At least the ways of the world for kids growing up. When he left to join the army, it hurt. We weren't on the best of terms when he left, but he was still my brother and I still missed him. And I felt he was abandoning me. When I saw him at the racetrack, I knew I was given a second chance. But I became jealous when you were there all the time. I didn't think I had a chance with you in the picture. I had even entertained the idea of doing something drastic to get you to leave."

Blair stared at Steven. It seemed like the two brothers had a lot in common.

"But I never would have done anything. Jim would kill me if anything happened to you. I could tell that he valued your friendship that much."

"You're right on that account. Just give me a heads up when you want to spend time alone with Jim." Blair handed Steven one of his business cards. "You can call me here at the university. I always check the messages."

"Thanks again, Blair. And maybe in the future, you and I can get to know each other better?"

"I'd like that, Steven. You can be my big brother, too."

"Big brother. I like the sound of that."