Notes: Inspired by the song 'Savin' Me' by Nickelback. I always thought it would make a great soundtrack for a Prisoner X story, but instead, this happened. Life after TSbBS isn't easy...

Thanks to Lyn for the beta!

Savin' Me

By Demeter

EMAIL: Demeter

Heights.

They scared Blair even though he tried to downplay it, had in fact come pretty far trying to conquer this fear. He simply was like that, brave, idealistic, approaching obstacles head-on.

Like those times when he'd made Blair climb trees, oblivious in a way he shouldn't have been.

Sentinel, right?

He'd done a crappy job, acted like a bloody amateur. Too bad that he'd had to deal with Alex who had by no means been an amateur as a criminal, and no matter how they'd had turned around the hands of fate, they'd lost anyway, in the end. If not to her, to the impossiblity of living a 'normal' life in this society; two men who didn't fit into the general notion of a male biography, sharing too many secrets that the world just didn't care to try and understand.

Up here on the roof of a 32-story high rise, Jim could feel some of the weight of all this baggage lift. He'd never been scared of heights; maybe because his senses provided him with an extraordinary sense of balance too.

As he stood on the ledge, there wasn't a bit of trembling in his legs; he was totally in control. He had recovered from Zeller's attack.

Blair probably recover, career-wise. And who were they going to blame in the end, for the fact that there just wasn't any peace for them? Jim knew his share of guilt... He hadn't killed Blair the way Alex had at the fountain, but he had destroyed the life that his younger friend had aspired to, once and for all.

He hadn't thought it was kind to let him stay at the loft. No, Jim hadn't really thought there was anything special about it. Sure, he had to acknowledge the damage that was done, but it still seemed normal. They were used to this arrangement, drew comfort from it after they'd cleared things between them. Or at least Jim had hoped they had; he wasn't so sure now.

He balanced one, two steps on the ledge, feeling carefree in a way he hadn't felt in... actually, he couldn't remember. Not so damn tired anymore. One wrong step, one slip could kill you -- Jim was used to that kind of situation in his life. He could handle it.

The everyday stupidity of people around them - he wasn't entirely sure if he could handle it much longer. The glances, the intentional talk behind their backs, because they suspected he could hear them. And Blair, who put on a brave face, but was trembling with anger when there was just another stupid gag gift on his desk, put there by cops, for chrissakes, who were worse than high school bullies. Being afraid, not for himself, but for Jim, because of rumors spun by narrow-minded, homophobic folks.

Jim knew all about it, had tried to shield Blair from this crap since day one, but he found that it was getting out of hand.

The gang was still on their side, of course, but they were the minority.

If that one slip happened, what would Blair do? Would he move on and find peace somewhere?

Jim opened up his vision and hearing until he could see the faces of people down on the street, hear their voices over the noise of the traffic.

There were memories... he'd seen the result of bodies falling from a great height, and often enough, the people first at the scene, professionals or not, needed counseling. All the damage, it was hard to look at, even if it was your job.

He took a deep breath, calming and relaxing, in the way Blair had taught, and that Jim had always snorted at before. Senses opening wider.

Taking one more look down, then up at the sky, breathing in the scent of the wind, Jim stepped down from the ledge. There was so much he could hear, feel, but it became background noise against the hurried footsteps and the rapid heartbeat.

Jim sat on the ledge, his back against the low railing, waiting for Blair who had been running up those stairs.

Blair was gasping for air from the exertion, his body vibrating with all the emotions that he hadn't yet breath enough to voice. Anger, sadness - relief.

He just leaned forward and embraced Jim, his hold tight and angry, and it took away the last bit of the exhaustion Jim had felt when he'd come up here. There had to be one place in this freaking world where they could live together, and not be bothered by people's assumptions. Jim ran his hand down Blair's back, comforting, soothing.

"Damn you."

Blair's voice was muffled against his shoulder; their closeness reason enough to have all those voices raise up again, but Jim didn't care. He carefully catalogued away the still present smell of fear, and the hint of tears.

"I wouldn't have," he said. "I promise."

The arms around him tightened even more, almost robbing him of breath, although the embrace felt good.

"Then tell me, how the hell could I have known? Really known what you were up to when you came up here?" When Blair finally pulled back to look at him, his eyes were bright.

He didn't know yet of the plans Jim had just made in a heartbeat, thoughts of a new life in another place that seemed more and more intriguing. Jim reached out, intending a friendly pat, but then just let his fingers rest against Blair's cheek.

He was reminded of what Blair had told him, during that crazy night shift only a couple of months ago - Carolyn's interview, Blair's analysis of her statements.

Blair and Carolyn had both been wrong about him.

There *was* intimacy in friendship. And he wasn't afraid of it.

"You've always been saving me, Chief. Come on now. I've got an idea."

"Probably one I've been dying to hear," Blair muttered, but he couldn't hide the smile, and Jim flung an arm around his shoulders, before they went back down.

Heights would never scare Jim.

The End