Let Go - Conclusion
Summary: Conclusion of "Let Go" Notes: I posted dues on Sept 17 2006 #145851. Many people asked for more. This is the more. Plus, as this story can stand on it's own, it is also being posted as my dues, although a little late. **Never beta'd...all errors are mine**
Ellison arrived home after making a few stops. It had been over a week since his dismissal. In the evenings, when Blair came home from work, Jim and Blair discussed their next move. They decided Jim had many options from private security to the two of them moving to a new city and starting over there.
Ellison took the steps two at a time until he arrived at the top floor and opened the apartment door. As he entered the phone rang. He threw his keys in the basket while reaching for the telephone.
"Heard you were fired," the gravelly voice replied.
"Good news travels fast. Who is this?" Ellison remarked angrily.
"Someone who could use somebody like you," the voice countered. "You have any prospects? Are there people standing in line waiting to hire an abusive ex-cop? Face it-"
"Look, I don't know who you are," Ellison interrupted, "but I don't usually take a job without knowing exactly what the job entails! This call is over, don't call back. You want to hire me; we do it face to face. You know who-"
"Yeah, I know who you are. You don't need to know who I am. Only need to know I will be the one paying you. There's not going to be a face to face," spat the voice. "This is a one time offer. Take it or leave it."
Ellison let the phone drop to rest on his shoulder then bent his head to look at the floor. So it begins, he thought. Sighing, he put the headset against his ear.
"What kind of job?" Jim queried quietly.
"The kind that requires the ability to think on your feet, change plans at the last moment and avoid certain, how shall I say it, legalities. That's all I'll tell you," the voice seemed to sound confident in its offer.
"Just because I've been let go from the police department what makes you to believe I am willing to take a job that, from the sound of it, involves breaking the law?" asked Jim as sagged into a kitchen chair. The conversation was beginning to take its toll on the ex- detective.
"Because of the who you beat up. Kind of a career ending move to assault the police commissioner's brother, don't ya think? Not saying he didn't deserve it, just the move most cops would make if they liked their job!" the voice concluded smugly.
"He was resisting and I-"
"Like hell he was! From what I heard the video shows you pounding on the guy the moment you two were alone in the interview room!"
"He was dirty! But his brother was going to get him lawyered up and then he would have walked! I couldn't let it happen! I had to convince him to tell the truth about his dealing!" Jim vented at the mysterious voice. "Politics! The commissioner was going to make sure his brother's record would stay unblemished. I knew that. Happens more times than-" Ellison paused. Taking a deep breath, he continued. "Look, we have nothing left to talk about."
"We do indeed have more talking to do. This job is mobile and requires you to be the same," the voice assured. "Call me in two hours at 555-0985. You're just what I need for this position."
Jim started to respond as he heard the click of the stranger hanging up to end the call. He looked at his watch, 4:45pm. It appeared he had a new, probably illegal, job offer pending. Time to move on, he told himself. I better get packed before Blair shows up. He'll try to talk me out of this. I need the action, he convinced himself.
He bounded up the steps to his bedroom. Grabbing a duffle bag from his closet he quickly packed some clothes. His army training helped him to pack only the essentials. Jogging back down the steps to the bathroom, he quickly tossed in the supplies he would need from that room. Exiting the bathroom, he walked into the kitchen. He made himself a sandwich, wrapped it and put it into a lunch bag with an apple and a bottle of water. Finally, his last duty, a note to Sandburg. He didn't want to leave without saying good-bye, even if he couldn't say it to his partner's face.
He grabbed the notepad usually left out to make shopping lists and started to write. The words on the paper sputtered out. Try as he might, the phrases would not flow onto the paper. Still, five minutes later, the note was written and left by the laptop computer on the kitchen table.
He picked up the duffle bag and walked out of the apartment. It was time to start a new life. One without his best friend and companion. Looking back would have only made it more difficult. The slamming of the door echoed in the loft.
"Hey Jim, I'm home!" Blair yelled as he entered the loft. "Jim?" Blair started to run up the steps to his partner's bedroom, when the folded paper next to his computer caught his eye.
"Jim?" Blair repeated quietly, his eyes never leaving the paper. His hand reached out for the offending piece of stationery without cognizant thought. No Jim. What did you do? he wondered shaking his head. He unfolded the paper and recognized his friend's careful script. Silently he read the note. Short, concise, to the point, just like his partner.
"No Jim, no!" he shouted to the rafters. "We could have moved on together. A sentinel without his guide, a soul without his other half - we are not complete. We need each other my brother! Don't do this!" he moaned.
Blair dragged himself to the couch and dropped bodily to the soft cushions. He buried his head in his hands. Blair shook his head and remembered one section of his dissertation that Jim had found offensive. Fear based reactions, he mulled. Even though he knows about them, he still lets them run his life. Blair thought his friend had moved past that level of self-doubt. Thought that Jim was finally able to talk about his emotions and concerns. Wrong again, Sandburg, he scolded himself. Remember what they say about the person that assumes. Okay, now what? he asked himself.
Blair opened the note again. Painful phrases exploded off the page like *can't stay - job offer - times change - never coming back * burnt his eyes, making them water. He mentally hugged the warm remarks like *best friend - kept me sane - always remember - your brother* close to his heart. He closed the paper again, the words already committed to memory. Standing slowly, his muscles tense, he walked to the kitchen. Withdrawing a beer from the refrigerator, he moved unsteadily to the balcony. He stepped out onto the balcony and stared at the darkening sky. The charcoal colored clouds matched his gloomy mood.
Jim had left him. The sentinel had left the guide. The soul is now divided into two parts. A light mist started to fall forming small glistening drops on his hair. Taking a swig from the bottle, he looked out at the bay. Where did you go Jim? he wondered. Pools formed in the corners of his eyes, masked by the falling mist. Blair raised the bottle to take another swallow when he heard the phone ring.
Hoping it was his partner, he quickly opened the French door and strode over to the phone. "Jim?" He squeezed the receiver in anticipation.
"Jim! I hoped you'd call, man. Come back home," he pleaded. "Whatever you're planning-"
"Sandburg. I just called to say good-bye. Leaving a note was the coward's way out I must admit."
"You're not a coward, Jim," Blair countered. "How can you pick up and leave like this? We can still find something to do together. You don't need to go!"
"That's the one thing I do need to do, Chief. There's nothing left for me in Cascade, except you. Leaving you, my best friend and guide is the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. But I am going to do it! Our paths go in different-"
"No Jim, our paths go together, always! Please Jim, please." Blair slowly slid down against the wall, his body resting against the cold bricks like a limp balloon. Softly, he continued, "Jim, if only for your own safety-"
"My safety?" he asked hotly. "I should crawl back to you for my safety? You believe that the sentinel is vulnerable without the guide? That I can't walk down the street without - without," Jim paused, "you holding my hand? Get real, Sandburg! I've been fine and zone free for over a year! No, it's time for me to leave the nest!" Ellison fumed.
Silence filled the air. Blair could only hear the background sound of the traffic wherever Ellison had been standing. He knew he had to say something; convey his thoughts in some way that would keep his friend from fleeing away from him.
"Sandburg," then quietly, "Blair. Where I'm going is no place for you. What I'm going to do is not something you would want to do."
"Jim," Blair repeated softly. "What are you getting involved with?"
Blair waited for Jim's response. Seconds moved into minutes. Ellison finally sighed. "Blair, there's nothing for me here - except you - and that's just not enough anymore." Silence again followed by a click.
Blair heard the click and knew he had lost his friend to some unknown element. He felt the tears slowly wash down his face, forming pools at the corners of his mouth. Unbelievable, Blair mulled over. Jim thought he had a market on abandonment. He conveniently forgets that until I met him, I didn't stay in one house more than a year or two at a time. My own mother left me in a steady stream of well meaning strangers. I thought, he gasped, the tears flowing freely, I thought Jim would never desert me!
His unsteady hand reached for the counter and pulled himself up. Blair rested his head on the crossed arms resting on the counter top.
"'Bye Jim." Blair raised his head. "I won't look for you but I hope you change your mind. This is home, for both of us."
Blair dragged the emotionally racked body to his bedroom and shut the door.
Jim stared at the phone in his hand. Ending that phone call was like severing a lifeline. He knew Blair would survive without him, but he was not certain he would endure without his friend and guide. Blair was right. They really did function better together than apart. Still, he had to move on and his guide did not belong where he was going. His friend was everything good, unsoiled. Ellison on the other hand knew there was nothing clean about himself. Knew his past, the black ops, the secret missions that were still classified within the military. No, the die had been cast, his past would help him survive in this new future; a future where the only person he could trust was himself.
Six months later.....
"Sandburg, my office," Simon Banks bellowed from his office.
Rafe and Henry looked at the startled junior detective. "What did you do now, Hairboy?" Brown quizzed jokingly. "Simon sounds pretty upset about something."
"Got me, H. I'm sure all my reports have been handed in, follow up calls made, interviews scheduled and my teeth are brushed. Guess--"
"Sandburg, that was not a request! Now!"
Not wasting any more time with Rafe and Henry, Blair walked over to Simon's door, knocked and entered the room.
"Shut the door, Sandburg," Banks requested without looking up at his detective. He heard the door click then continued. "Blair, take a seat."
"Blair? Now it's Blair? Only moments ago you blasted my last name across the bullpen and now it's...." Blair stopped. He appraised his captain's body language. Not liking what he saw, Blair continued, "I'm not sitting here because of something I've done, am I?" he asked softly. "Is it Naomi? I'm sweating here man! C'mon, just tell me so I can-"
"It's about-" Banks paused. Why did he volunteer to tell Blair? he thought then spoke aloud, "-it's about Jim. He's-" Simon wiped the perspiration from his forehead as he saw Blair's eyes drill holes through him. "He's at Cascade General. He was found during a search of a warehouse in Seattle."
"W-what warehouse? What was he doing?" Blair was visibly distressed. "How long has he been in the hospital? Why-"
"Just hold on a moment, Sandburg," Banks interrupted. "I'm telling you this against his wishes. He didn't want-"
"H-he didn't want me to know he was in the hospital?" Blair rose and slammed his fist on the desk. "What the hell is going on Simon? I haven't heard from him for over six months and you -you-not only have spoken to him but know he's hurt! He's in a hospital! Do they even know about his allergies? Simon-"
"Just hold it a minute, detective! I am still your boss and you will speak to me -"
"Yeah, my boss and I thought my friend. But I guess you're just my boss, huh? Cuz my friend would have told me about our mutual friend before now. He would have told me about our mutual friend long before now because he knew it was the right thing to do. You know how Jim is when-"
"When what, Sandburg? Aren't you even a little curious why he was found in a warehouse and why it was being searched in the first place? Do you even know what he's been doing these last almost six months? Do you care for the man or the sentinel? Do-"
"How dare you, Captain," Blair vented as he began to pace the room. "Yes, I am curious, but I thought seeing him was more important than knowing what put him there. I figure that I'll be told everything at some point. I just NEED to see him. The man and sentinel are the same person. I know that and so does he, why don't you? I have missed him," pausing as the tears began to well, "really missed him all these months. Now I find out he's hurt. All I want to do is see him, Simon. That's all. The rest will be revealed in time." Blair returned to the chair, plopping down on the seat exhausted.
Simon walked around his desk and then leaned back on the front of it. "Sandburg, Jim insisted you not be told. He was in an undercover op all this time. The whole dismissal scenario was set up to get him into a human trafficking gang. It was going well until two weeks ago. He was caught sending a report to his contact. The contact was killed. Jim was left for dead. The doctors aren't sure why he lived. Anyway," Simon took in a much needed breath. He looked at the pale face that waited for him to finish. "I told the doctors he was too stubborn to die. He -"
"Simon, I need to see him. Please. Let me go, now." Blair begged softly. "Whatever condition he's in, I need to see him, help him. He's my family, Simon!"
"Which is why we are even having this conversation. I know all that, Sandburg. I just want you to know what you're facing." Holding a hand up to stop his young detective's interruption, he continued. "He has 2 cracked ribs, bruised kidney, broken left leg, three fingers broken on his right hand and - he's blind."
"I'm leaving now. I'm going to be staying with him so put me on medical or personal or just a personal leave. You can tell me later why no one thought they could trust me with the knowledge that Jim was undercover. That is beside the point now." Blair stood up, turned and exited the office.
Rafe and Henry, who overheard the loud exchange, moved out of the way of the determined man. "Blair-" Rafe ventured, "-if you need anything -"
Blair gathered his personal items from his desk, put them in his backpack then glanced up at Rafe. A small smile graced his face. "Thanks guys, I appreciate it." He lifted the pack over his shoulder, headed for the stairwell.
Jim sat up in his bed. A familiar sound was coming near. I told Simon, he thought, told him to keep Blair away. Lost in the thought, he suddenly sensed he was not alone in his room. "The ears still work, Chief. I know you're here. You've seen what you came to see, now, get lost." He turned his head away from the doorway.
"Nice try, Jim, but I'm staying. You can insult me all you want but I'm not leaving. The doctors seem to believe the swelling on the optic nerve will decrease with the drugs they're giving you now. Your body has a lot of repair work to do and then there's the physical therapy. So, my friend, I'm here for the duration."
Blair strolled over to sit in the typical hospital room chair that was next to his friend's bed. "So, not talking, eh," he murmured as he picked up the left hand of his friend. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed you couldn't tell me you were going undercover. I was worried sick about you when you left. I was sure..."
Jim abruptly turned his head toward his visitor. "Sure of what? That I wouldn't be able to take care of myself without you? Guess you feel justified now, don't you? Guess I can't be left to my own devises without the almighty guide to watch over me! Well, you've had your moment to gloat. I can't bear feeling your sympathy! I screwed up, okay? Happy? My contact lost his life because of my screw up! I survive, again, just like in Peru!" Jim ranted, his face red with anger.
"Jim, there was no screw up! Don't even think that, man! Your survival is not some form of punishment! If anything it is a reminder that there is a higher power - that things don't always happen the way we think they could or even should. I understand that you don't want me as your guide; that you can take care of yourself. But please understand that I need you as my friend, my brother, my soul mate."
Blair felt Jim slowly wrap his fingers around his hand. "Are you sure," he questioned. "Are you sure you really want me back in your life? I left you, alone, knowing others had also abandoned you before without any explanation. Then I turn around and do it to you too. Blair-"
Blair squeezed gently on the hand encircling his own. "Yes, I'm sure. You had an assignment and a cover to create and maintain. I can accept that. Yes, I want you in my life. I want to be here for you. Whatever it takes. You are my family," he emphasized. "Just hang onto me, man. You don't need to go it alone anymore. I've got your back."
Jim relaxed back onto his pillow, exhaling a breath he didn't realize he had been holding. "Ok, sounds good, just -"
"Just what, Jim?'
"Just, don't let go, Chief. Don't let go."