The 11th Commandment 1/3

By

Sineag

Disclaimer: The usual not mine, no money etc etc.

Warning: Child Abuse, Trauma, major angst

Blair sat at his desk looking over the roster for his anthropology 101 class, which would start on Monday. He found himself looking forward to the start of a new semester. The first couple of weeks were always interesting as he started to recognize which students took the class because they thought it was an easy way to fill an elective, and the students who were really interested. Blair looked at this beginning course as a challenge, an opportunity to open the world of anthropology to new students. As Blair began to look at the names, he smiled to see that Daryl Banks was signed up for this class. This should be interesting he thought. He began to look through his notes for the first day lecture when he heard "you got mail" from his computer. Opening the mail he noticed that he had an email from Dr. Stoddard, his mentor and a leading anthropologist in the field today.

Blair I hope you had a good break. I have made an addition to your list of student advisee’s. Her name is Cricket McDonnell. I know after your experience with Alec you probably are not going to be happy with this but I am sure that you are the best choice for her considering her special qualities and needs. I will return to campus in three weeks, and we can discuss it then if you wish. If you contact my secretary, Betty she will give you the password to access her files. Please be careful with the information, and when you meet her, try to remember how you were when you first started at Rainer. I am sure that you will recognize the potential in this student, and help her adjust to campus life. I have also notified the appropriate people in Seattle that you will be the contact person, for this student, and any major decisions will have to go through you. I realize that I should have talked to you before I left for Israel, but we were still unsure at that time whether she would be attending Rainer. I hope you can understand why I have selected you to work with her. Well I will talk to you soon.

Eli.

Blair groaned to himself, //this is all I need another Alec. Well I guess I had better find out what her story is//

He called Betty and got the student I.D. number and the password to access her files. When he opened up the file on Cricket, he was immediately intrigued. Cricket McDonnell; age 14 was being admitted as special status freshmen. A photograph had been scanned into the computer file. Blair looked at the girl’s photo; she was an attractive child with long red hair and freckles, and however she looked younger than fourteen except for her eyes. Even through the digital scanning he could see that the girl’s bright green eyes were full of anger, and a hardness that was out of place for any child, especially one this young.

//Fourteen man I thought that I was young. //

According to her records Cricket was a ward of the state of Washington. She had been born in Cascade but after the death of her father when she was nine, she had gone to live with her Grandfather in Seattle. A year later she had become a ward of the state, and had resided in twelve foster homes, until coming to Rainer. There were references made to previous involvement by social services, but that information was not available to Blair. What was missing told more about this child’s life than what was written. There was no information about the child’s Mother, and no explanation why she was no longer living with her grandfather. A brief paragraph stated that the child was unable to bond with any of the foster families, and had eventually been placed in a residential treatment center, for the last four months. The contact person was a social worker in Seattle. According to the personal information Cricket would be residing in the co-ed freshman dorm.

//Fourteen-year-old college student in a co-ed dorm, this had disaster written all over it. //

//Why would a fourteen-year-old girl who grew up in foster homes, be allowed to live in a co-ed dorm at Rainer University? What were they thinking man; she is way too young to be on her own. God were they idiots, she was just a child, and needed to be living where adults would look out for her. //

He remembered how he had felt when he entered college at sixteen, and he at least had a mother, even if she was not consistent. Twelve foster homes, Blair knew that children often were bounced from one foster home to another but twelve in five years. That was a lot of upheaval for a child. How did she ever manage to keep things together enough to pull off graduating from high school at such a young age, especially when she did not have a family to provide the support a child of that age needed. He knew what it was like not to have someplace that could be called home, to feel like you did not belong anywhere and always feel alone. Until he had met Jim Ellison, and ended up moving into his apartment, he had never felt like he had a home.

"Oh well" said Blair, "how much trouble can one fourteen year old cause."

Blair chuckled to himself, and thought I did not just say that, I have now cursed the gods that protect fools, children, and anthropology/ guides. Speaking of home, I had better get going I have to stop and get groceries since it's my night to cook. He grabbed the file on Cricket, and left for home.

Jim parked his truck and got out. Man I'm beat he thought to himself, I wonder if Blair has started dinner. He knew he was home because the Volvo was there. He extended his hearing, and found his partner's heartbeat. He could hear his roommate pacing in the loft, and it sounded like he was cursing in dialect’s that were probably no longer spoken. As he opened the door he saw Blair sitting on the couch, with several pages of a computer print out, spilling over to the floor.

"Damn it Stoddard why are you doing this to me".

"Hey Chief what are you so upset about" Jim asked as he walked into the apartment

Blair jumped and looked at Jim,

"God Jim you trying to give me a nervous breakdown here" he said, quit sneaking up on me".

"I wasn’t sneaking up on you were just to busy cussing out Dr. Stoddard to hear me".

"Don’t even get me started on him." Blair replied, and before Jim could say a word Blair was on a roll walking around the apartment threatening dire action against Stoddard and making very unflattering comments about Stoddard’s genetic lineage having come from a flea infested sheep, or at least that is what he thought Blair had said. Jim was pretty surprised to see his roommate this angry, usually Blair managed to blow things off, and not let them bother him. Jim tried to remember if he had ever seen Blair this angry before, especially since Dr. Stoddard was somebody that Blair admired greatly.

"Blair" Jim said,

Blair did not even miss a beat; he just kept walking around the room talking about stupidity, lack of responsibility, and general manipulations of one esteemed Dr. Eli Stoddard.

Jim walked over and grabbed Blair by the shoulders, "Sandburg" he yelled

"What man you don’t have to yell" Blair whirled on Jim holding a red marking pencil in his hand like a spear

Jim raised his hands

"Okay I’ll surrender quietly" he said.

Blair looked at him for a minute, and then started laughing"

"Is it safe for me to put my hands down now"? Jim joked

"Go ahead laugh I am glad somebody can" Blair said but his voice lost some of its intensity. Blair looked at the files, and just dropped on the couch and put his head in his hands.

"Can you just shoot me Jim, please you can hide the body and they will never know"

"Sorry can’t do that it is your night to cook remember"

"Oh shit, dinner, I’m sorry I’ll fix something right now"

"Don’t worry about it, how does Pizza sound".

"Great thanks Jim".

Jim went to phone in the order and give his roommate some time to settle down. When he came back in the living room and looked at Blair, whose face had lost most of the anger and was replaced with a look of sadness.

 

 

"What’s up chief he asked gently?"

"Nothing" Blair said, looking intently at the syllabus for his Anthro 101 class. "Just regular school crap"

Jim gently put his hand under Blair’s chin and forced him to look at him.

"Hey I’m the human lie detector remember, so how about you try again" he said with a smile."

Blair looked up to see Jim’s light blue eyes looking at him with concern.

"It’s not that big of a deal he said I got an email from Dr. Stoddard today letting me know that he had made me an academic advisor to an incoming freshman."

"You have been an advisor before right?"

"Yeah but this student is special".

"In what way?"

"Well for one thing Cricket McDonnell is only fourteen."

"Cricket McDonnell?" Jim asked his face getting very still and pale. Blair didn't notice and continued.

"Jim she is only fourteen years old, and is a ward of the state. Man this girl has been in 12 foster homes in the past five years, and now she is living in the dorm at Rainer. I just keep wondering how could the state put a child in a dorm at that age. I mean man it was so tough when I was sixteen, and I at least had a parent. This child is fourteen man, and she has nobody. I mean even her social worker is in the Seattle office of children services. Who is going to watch out for this kid?"

"Jim?" Blair glanced at Jim who was staring at the floor with a vacant look on his face.

"Jim hey man what's wrong, are you zoning on me here?"

"What did you say her name was?"

"Cricket McDonnell, why".

Jim stood up and walked over to the balcony, and stared out at the city.

"Jim? What is going on here, do you know this kid." Jim rubbed his face and put his head against the glass.

"Jim?"

Jim looked at Blair, his eyes full of pain.

" Yeah"

"How?"

"It was five years ago, and I was working in vice. Andy McDonnell was a detective with Narcotics, and I had backed him up on a couple of cases. He and I had talked some, while we were on a stakeout, and he told me about his daughter. Her name was Cricket", Blair started to say something, but Jim just held up his hand, and continued talking. "James had gotten custody of his daughter, after it was discovered that his ex wife was selling the girl to men for sex. Andy was concerned because Cricket was having a really difficult time, and was refusing to talk or eat much. I did not think much about it at that time in my life, I was pretty angry at the world, and had walled myself off from everybody, so I just blew it off. Another kid molested and hurt, I mean what else is "new". It wasn’t until that day that I realized what life had done to her"

"What day asked Blair?"

Five years earlier.

Vice detective Jim Ellison was headed home when he heard the officer down call on the radio. The location was only few blocks away, and he made a U turn in the middle of the road, and quickly drove to the location. As he got out of his truck he noticed the group of people, and the EMTs. As he got closer he noticed that one of the EMTs was trying vainly to convince a young girl, to let go of the man on the sidewalk. The child, was about eight or nine years old, and was holding on to a stuffed panda, and covered in blood. Jim recognized Kenneth Helms one of the paramedics.

"What’s going on Ken?"

"Man this sucks Ellison, the child refuses to let go of the man I believe it is her father, every time we try to get close, she becomes hysterical. Someone recognized the man and told us he was a cop, so we called it into dispatch. Do you recognize him"?

Jim looked over at the man lying on the ground, with a spreading pool of blood under him.

"Damn"

"You know him?"

"Yeah that's Andy MacDonnell how is he?"

"He is still alive, but the girl is so traumatized that every time we approach him she just freaks out"

"She is a child, man just move her"

"Well that might be somewhat easier if she did not have a gun pointed at us."

"What"

Jim looked over at the child again and noticed that behind the panda the child was holding a service revolver. "We have called in a crisis counselor, but they have not arrived yet. We need to get to her father, although I doubt it will do any good, he was shot in the neck and has lost a lot of blood. I don’t thing the girl was hit, but I can’t be sure until we can examine her"

"Let me see if I can get her to let go of him".

Jim started toward the officer on the ground. He knelt down next to the man.

"Andy it's me Jim".

"Leave him alone the girl screamed, don't you come near him."

She brought the gun up and pointed it at him, "go away, go away".

"You promised Daddy, you promised, please get up". Jim moved slowly as to try and not panic the girl any further,

"Hey sweetheart my name's Jim and I work with your daddy, what's your name?"

"Cricket" the little girl sobbed, "please don't let him die"

"Well how about we let these people here work on him, and try to help him okay" "Can you give me the gun Cricket?"

Cricket looked at the gun, and then looked at Jim, then dropped the gun, and curled up into a tiny ball. Jim grabbed the gun and slid it across the ground to a uniformed officer.

"Jim" came the low whisper from the man on the ground.

"Yeah Andy it's me, you hang in there okay"

"Jim please take care of her man, she has nobody now."

"Hey you'll be back in the saddle in no time".

Andy grimaced and said, "you and I both know better, than that Jim. Please make sure she is taken care of".

Jim looked into Andy's eyes and saw the truth in them.

"I will Andy." Jim moved over to Cricket who was still curled up on the ground next to her father, "Cricket, how about you come with me, and we will go to the hospital, and wait for your Dad?"

Cricket looked at him with eyes that were way too old for a child,

"He’s going to die isn’t he"?

"I don't know"

"Yes you do your just lying, he is going to die and leave me like everybody else has".

With that Cricket threw herself into Jim's arms crying hysterically. Jim held her and awkwardly patted her back. "It's going to be okay Cricket, but he knew deep inside that for this little girl, it was never going to be okay

Present Day

Jim felt Blair’s hand on his shoulder and looked down and saw the concern in his friend’s eyes.

"I went to the hospital with her, and she did not say a word. I tried to talk to her, but she just stared straight ahead without saying a word. When the doctor came out, he knelt down in front of her, and he told her that her Daddy didn't make it. She did not make a sound, and her facial expression never once changed. She just sat there and withdrew further and further into herself"

"What happened to her Jim?"

"Well social services came and got her, and she stayed at a shelter for a few days. I visited a couple of times but she just sat there with this blank look on her face, and didn't make a sound. I had seen that hopeless look on soldiers while I was in the Rangers, but man when it is a nine year old girl, the memory doesn't go away. At her Father's funeral she just stood there, she did not make a sound. It was like there was no child there anymore; it was just a shell. A couple of days later, I stopped to see her and they told me that they had found her maternal grandfather, and that he would be there to get her later that day. I tried one more time to talk to her, but she would not respond. I gave her my card, and told her to call me if she ever needed anything, and I never saw or heard from her again. I never followed up, chief never checked on her grandfather, or anything. I just walked out the door and never looked back".

Blair looked at Jim and felt like part of his heart was breaking. Jim big strong Jim his sentinel, the master at repression, had tears in his eyes. Jim looked back out the window and just stood there in silence for a long time.

"Jim it wasn't your fault" Blair started to say, and Jim just looked at him and said

"Yeah chief it was, I failed her and I failed her father".

He then opened the door and walked out onto the deck.

"Jim listen man".

"Blair please, I can't talk about this right now, I just really need to think."

"OK. man, but I'm here if you need me".

"I know" Jim said smiling a little, "you always are, you would have been there for her as well".

 

 

Blair smiled at him and then said

"One more thing and then I'll leave you alone, if it is her Jim, you can still fill the promise to her father, and you can make sure that she is okay"

Blair left and Jim heard him go back to his room. Jim sat on the deck for a long time, and then said

"I'm sorry Andrew, I really let you down, but I am going to make sure that she knows she has somebody. I won't let her continue to feel like she is alone".

Monday afternoon Blair watched as his Anthro class started to come in the door. He smiled as he saw Daryl come in. "Hey Professor Sandburg how are you sir", Daryl grinned with that cocky grin that made his face light up.

"You just remember that respect there Daryl", Blair grinned.

As the classroom began to fill, he noticed a student of slight build entering his class, wearing dark jeans, and a black sweatshirt, with the hood pulled up, and dark sunglasses, go to the rear of the class and sat down. Blair watched for a minute but the student never looked up, so Blair could not see whether the student was male or female. He looked over the rest of the class, and then said,

"okay everybody grab a seat and let's get started. My name is Blair Sandburg and I am a doctoral student in Anthropology, and I will be teaching this class, I am not a professor and I don’t answer well to Mister so you can call me Blair. He walked over and handed a student in the front row a pile of papers. If you will each take a copy of the syllabus and pass it down, we will discuss the expectations for the course. First however I would like to take roll, so that I can put some faces with the names. He then started calling the roll, when he called the name Cricket McDonnell; he heard a soft voice say "here". He looked up and realized that the student in the black sweatshirt was she. Other students looked around to see who the student who sounded so young was. Cricket just slunk lower in her seat and never looked up. Blair did not give any indication that he knew how old the girl was, and just continued calling the roll.

After Blair had given out the class syllabus, he began the day's lecture by talking about the relevance of anthropology to society today. He noticed that some of the student's were only half listening, while others seemed very intrigued, he smiled to himself, as he saw Daryl scribbling furiously in his notebook trying to get every word. As the class came to an end, Blair asked the students to look at the second page of the syllabus.

"As you can see, there is an assignment due on Friday." He smiled, as there were several groans, from the students.

"It's amazing how homework can ruin your college experience huh", he quipped, and most of the students started laughing.

Blair noticed a shadow at the door, and turned to look, NO surprise, Jim was standing right outside the door. Blair looked at Cricket, but there was no sign of her having even seen him. "For the assignment on Friday, I want you to give me a paper, maximum of 10 pages, explaining why you took anthropology and the relevance it has for you today. For those of you who feel really creative I want you to think about what an anthropologist would say about you a hundred years from now. A word of caution here, the I took it for an easy elective, and it has no relevance, statement, is probably not the type of paper; I am going to want to read. I want you to think about how the past has shaped the future of society in general, and also address the impact on you specifically. You do not have to cite sources, but you may use the classroom readings, or reading from other sources to give you ideas or to prove a point, just make sure you cite them. okay guys I will see you on Friday."

As the class started to rise and leave the room, Jim came into the room, smiled at Blair, and then leaned against the wall, waiting for Cricket to leave. Cricket grabbed her backpack, and started towards the door.

As she got next to Jim, he said "Cricket?"

Cricket looked at him, "yeah".

"I’m Jim Ellison, do you remember me"?

Cricket looked steadily at the man, "yeah I remember you, you were there the day may father died, what of it"?

Jim was a little taken back by the total lack of emotion in her voice, "I just wanted to see how you were doing and to let you know if you ever need anything you can call me".

Cricket looked at him steadily "Don't worry detective Ellison, I don't need anything from anybody, I learned that a long time ago". With that Cricket headed out the door, as she reached the door, she turned back.

In a voice that was much too hard and cold for a child, she said "Ellison, isn't it a little late to be concerned about my needs now, where were you five years ago, or three years ago? You can ease your conscience now, because you have seen me and made that little speech like you did five years ago. It meant nothing to you them and I am sure it means nothing to you now."

With that she darted out of the class, and started walking down the hall. Jim watched her and noted the slump of her shoulders as she walked down the hall. His guilt over what had happened five years ago had not gotten better if anything it had just gotten worse.

"Jim" Blair asked softly, "you okay"

Jim looked down into the concern that was so apparent in those dark blue eyes," I don’t know Blair I just don’t know".

"I need to find out what happened to her, the past few years."

"Why?"

"I have to know, I can’t fix things if I do not know what happened."

"Jim even if you find out, what difference do you think it will make, there are some things that can not be fixed, what has happened to her has happened, you can’t go back and change that."

"Don’t you think I know that? But at least I can try to help her now. I would think that you would understand that Blair, as her advisor, don’t you have an obligation to her?"

"Who are you and what have you done with my partner" Blair chuckled.

Jim just glared at him.

"Jim would you listen to yourself, you are always telling me that I should distance myself from my students, and not get involved in their personal lives. I think the famous Ellison quote, is "You are not their social worker, you are their teacher. I do have an obligation to my student, to be her academic advisor, and help her make choices around her academics. I will watch out for her, and will let her know that I am here for her, if she needs me, but beyond that it is up to her. If I find out she is having problems, than I will do what I can to help her, until then we need to allow her to reach out for help if and when she wants to. Trust me on this Jim, if you try to force her to trust you, you will push her even farther away."

Jim just sighed smiled wearily at Blair,

"Yeah I know".

"C’mon Jim, what do you say we go out for lunch, your choice".

"Wonder burger" Jim said hopefully.

"I should have seen that one coming" laughed Blair. "Okay. It’s your fault, though if your arteries harden"

Jim grabbed Blair in a headlock, and rubbed the top of his head with his knuckles.

"Jiiim how many times do I have to tell you to not the hair" Blair laughed, as he twisted free, and bounced out of Jim’s reach, "hey man you’re slipping you getting old?"

"I’ll show you old Jim growled.

"You have to catch me first Blair taunted, and dashed down the hall, See I told you those Wonder burgers are gonna kill you."

"Will see who kills who, Darwin"

Laughing at each other both men got in the truck and drove away, never seeing Cricket, watching them with tears in her eyes. Quit being stupid she thought to herself as she turned away, if he had ever really cared he would have kept his promise to daddy, and kept her from having to go and live with her grandfather.

Cricket headed back to the dorm already dreading the reception she would get from the other resident’s of the dorm. As she got closer to the dorm the pain inside of her grew. As she walked down the hall to her room she could hear the other students laughing at her, and talking about the baby freshman. Cricket forced the tears back, and refused to let any of them see the pain and loneliness that were her constant companions. She opened the door to her room, and once again was thankful that she had her own room. At least there is one advantage to being the local freak; nobody wants to share a room with me. I guess I might as well start on that paper for Mr. Sandburg.

For the remainder of the week, neither Jim nor Blair talked about Cricket, but it was obvious that, that Jim was still feeling like he had failed Andy McDonnell. Any attempts made to try to cheer him, up or to get him to talk were met with the famous Ellison glare and people just walked around him. Blair was unsure how to help his partner deal with the guilt and the memories of that night five years ago, and Jim had made it clear that he did not want to talk about it.

Late Friday afternoon Blair walked into the bullpen expecting to help Jim go over the latest crime scene in a string of sexual assaults. The victims had all been Rainer students, so Blair felt a strong need to find this guy as soon as possible.

"Hey Hairboy" H said, where have you been all week?"

"At the university H, you know doing this small thing called a job"

"Well we missed you here; Ellison has been a bear all week, what is up with him?"

Blair just shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Why is it you always expect me to understand the enigma called James Ellison?"

"Because you have all those brain cells you might as well use them."

"H I am not sure anybody has enough brain cells to understand him at times. Anyway where is he, we were supposed to go out to the last crime scene".

"He left a couple of hours ago, but I am not sure where. Simon might know but he is in a meeting."

"Well I'll just wait, I am sure he will be back soon".

Blair sat down at Jim's desk, and looked at the stacks of paperwork, and just shook his head, and grabbed a file off the top and started to work on reducing the stack, before it all toppled over. As Blair started the paperwork, his mind went back to the anthropology papers that his student's had turned in earlier that day. He had not read many of them but he had looked at a couple. Daryl's had been very well thought out, and at times even humorous. He smiled to himself as he recalled Daryl's view of what anthropologist, in the future would think. According to Daryl, anthropologists would deduce that Daryl Banks had been genetically predisposed to be a cop, and break the hearts of all freshman women.

 

 

As Blair thought about Cricket's paper, he felt that stab of pain, that had occurred when he first looked at it had not lessened much. Cricket had written that she had taken the class because she wanted to try and understand what made people act the way they do. She also added that nobody would ever really want to know about her, because she had nothing really to offer. The impact that anthropology had on her life was it showed that the past was destined to repeat itself over and over. Her life had proved that theory to be true in that for generations her family had followed the same pattern, generation after generation. Cricket stated that her life could be measured by how many times she had been left alone because she was unwanted. She also wrote that if her life was examined 100 years from now the one thing that would define her, was that she was her mother's biggest mistake, and her father's deepest regret. Blair shook his head, remembering feeling that way himself once. He had always felt that the only thing that validated his existence was his intellect. In fact if he was honest with himself, he sometimes still felt that way. Blair worried about how Cricket was going to stand up to the rigors of college. Academically she would do fine, but emotionally it was going to be hard. Cricket was an enigma, while she seemed so cocky and full of attitude; there was a sense of sadness about her that never went away. Blair had seen her around campus several times, and she had always been alone, dressed in her usual black, with a baseball cap and sunglasses on.

Blair hoped that she would keep her appointment to meet with him on Monday. She had not shown up for the two that he had scheduled earlier week. She had been so elusive this week and had gone out of her way to avoid him, and made sure that he never had the opportunity to talk to her.

Blair wished that he did not get a protective feeling whenever he saw her, dressed in her usual uniform of black jeans, sweatshirt, baseball cap, and of course the sunglasses that she never took off. She always seemed to be constantly watching everything around her at all times. A couple of days ago he had seen her sitting on the quad, reading, yet she seemed to have the ability to know whenever anyone had come close to her. Even though she never actually looked up from her book you could tell that she knew someone was there, and the tension in her body was noticeable clear across campus Well maybe she would open up to him on Monday, until then there was not a lot he could do.

When Blair finished with the stack of paperwork, he noticed that it was already 7.p.m. Where is Jim he wondered? He called Jim's cell, but got no answer, he then called the loft and just as he started to leave a message Jim picked up the phone. Jim what’s going on man? You were supposed to meet me here at the station four hours ago.

"I’m sorry Blair," Jim said in such a low voice that Blair could barely here him. "I'll be there in a few minutes." Blair was concerned; he had never heard Jim sound so defeated before.

"Jim don't, it’s cool, I will just head home, want me to pick up some Chinese on the way?"

That would be great, "Blair, I'm sorry,"

 

‘No problem I will be there in about half an hour, you doing okay "

"God Blair, No I am losing it I. I.. please come home"

Blair grew even more alarmed. "Jim are you okay"

"No I uh I need you Blair", Jim said his voice cracking. Blair heard him choke back a sob.

"I'm on my way big guy, hang in there it is going to be okay Are you hurt, do I need to call an ambulance"?

"No I'm not hurt"

"Okay I'm on my way".

Blair grabbed his stuff, and started shoving his files into his backpack.

"Sandburg, my office" Simon bellowed.

"Not now Simon I have to get home"

"Now Sandburg"

Blair looked at Simon and saw the concern in his eyes, which belied the anger in his voice. Walking in to Simon's office he said

"What Simon, I really need to get home"

"Where's Ellison"

"He is at the loft; I need to get to him"

"What's going on Blair?"

"I don't know Simon I have to go".

"Wait I will go with you"

"Simon I am not sure"

"I'm going; I have some questions to ask him?"

"What's going on here Simon?"

"I'm not sure Sandburg; the department of children's services in Seattle called today, wanting to know why a Cascade detective was looking for information about a Cricket McDonnell. You want to fill me in here."

"Man Simon, it really is not my place"

"Save it Sandburg, talk to me".

"Okay did you know a detective named Andy McDonnell? He died about five years ago"?

"Yeah I knew him why"?

"What do you remember"?

"Not a lot, I just remember that a sniper killed him in on his day off. McDonnell, this kid any relation"?

"Yeah she's his daughter."

"So what's the story"?

"Simon I am not going to say anymore, you are going to have to ask Jim"

"Sandburg" Simon growled"?

"Intimidation is not going to work here captain, this is Jim's story to tell if he wants and Cricket is one of my student's I am not going to discuss this".

"Nothing further was said as they drove the rest of the way to the loft".

Sandburg was out of the car and running up the stairs, before Simon made it out of the car.

"Jim" Blair yelled as he ran through the door.

He looked around the loft, and wondered what had happened. Bookshelves had been turned over, dishes broken, and Jim was sitting on the floor.

"Jim" Blair said softly there was not reaction from Jim, and Blair realized that he was caught in a zone.

"Jim" Blair said again laying his hand on his friends shoulder, "come back to me man".

Simon reached the doorway and his eyes took in the damage to the loft and the condition of his best detective.

"Is he okay Blair",

"I don't know Simon; get me something to clean his hands ok".

Simon noticed the condition of his friend’s hands; they were scraped and bloody.

Damn, what in the hell is going on? Simon wondered as he went into the bathroom and got a bowl of warm water and some rags, and first aid supplies.

Coming back, he knelt down beside Blair as Blair continued to talk to Jim in a soft voice.

"C’mon Jim you’re scaring me here. Follow my voice back, man you can do this, it's going to be ok".

//He heard the voice calling him back, but he did not want to leave this dark warm void where nothing hurt him, he kept trying to fight the voice, but then he began to hear the heartbeat, and knew that he needed to go back. That heartbeat told him he was not alone, and Blair would be there.’’

Blair just pulled him closer to him rubbing his back and continued to talk softly to him.

"Blair"?

"Yeah Jim, it's me welcome back big guy’.

Jim just sat there with his head of Blair's shoulder and began to cry. Blair and Simon were both alarmed; they had never seen Jim this way. Blair just held him murmuring reassuring nonsense telling him it was going to be okay Fifteen minutes later Jim became aware of the odor of cigars,

"Simon"?

"Yeah I’m here Jim," Simon said softly, I'm going to clean up your hand's okay".

"I don't" Jim struggled to try and talk but Blair looked at him and noticed the tears starting again and the look of despair on his face.

‘Its okay man just relax your safe here. Jim did somebody break in here"?

"What?"

"Well the loft is pretty trashed, man",

"No I did it" Jim said softly.

"Man Jim" Simon started, but noticed the look in Blair's eyes and stopped.

"Don't worry about it I will take care of it Simon stated softly. Let’s get the hands cleaned up okay"

Simon continued to work on Jim's hands, "I don't think anything is broken, but I can't be sure. They are pretty swollen; it looks like he has been punching the wall"

"Well we can find out later, Help me get him up to is bed okay Simon.

C’mon big guy lets get you upstairs and you can get some sleep"

A couple of hours later Blair and Simon had finished cleaning up the loft, and Blair had called and ordered some Chinese food. While waiting for the food, Blair sat down on the couch, and for the first time noticed the stack of computer print outs on the table. He started looking through them, without even really thinking about what he was reading until he came to several pages of pictures. As he looked at the pictures he realized that they were pictures of Cricket, several years ago. As he looked at the pictures, he felt his stomach started to roll and he barely made it to the bathroom before his stomach began to revolt. Blair kept gagging, even after he had lost all of his stomach contents. As he finally stopped and sat there, just gasping, he heard Simon talking to him in a low reassuring voice.

"It's okay Blair just relax"

Simon handed Blair a glass of water, and a cold washcloth. Blair took a couple of sips of water and washed his face.

"Thanks Simon", he said softly, I guess you must think I'm a real wimp huh?"

"No one thinks you’re a wimp" came a voice Blair knew as well as his own.

Simon stood back and let Jim come into the bathroom.

"It's okay Chief, you saw the pictures didn't you?"

"Yeah God Jim",

Blair felt his stomach start to revolt once more and he promptly lost the few sips of water he had swallowed. Jim sat on the floor and pulled Blair close to him.

"God Jim do you ever get used to this" Blair asked in a small shaky voice?

"I hope not’, Jim replied, "If you ever get used to this, I will really start to worry about you. I have never got used to it, and I hope that I never do. If I do then it is time for me to leave the force. Nobody should ever get used to it"

 

"So what happened here tonight," asked Simon.

"I am not really sure, I was looking at her file, and I couldn’t control the anger inside of me. All I could think of was Andy making me promise to take care of her, I sure did a shitty job of it huh?" Then I lost it, and the next thing I knew Blair was on the phone.

"Jim it is not your fault, you did not do this" Blair exclaimed!

"No I just didn't do anything to stop it"

"Stop Jim this is not going to help"

Jim just pulled Blair closer to him, and they remained sitting on the floor of the bathroom both drawing comfort from each other.

Simon he went into the living room and sat on the couch and began to look at the file. Cricket McDonnell, age 14. He looked at the pictures of the child, and felt his eyes fill with tears. God I am too old for this he thought to himself. The eyes of the child that stared out at him were totally empty, with absolutely no expression or sign of life.

Even though the pictures had been faxed, the vacant look in the child's eyes was apparent. Looking at the grainy black and white images the bruises and welts that covered the child were noticeable. As he continued through the papers, he found pictures of the child, and an older man, in a variety of sexual situations. Underneath one of the photos was the information that the child was 10 years old when the photo was taken and that the man in the picture was a Walter A Strauss the maternal grandfather to the child.

The rest of the file documented one placement after another in foster homes, and finally a residential treatment center. Simon looked up as Jim and Blair came into the living room.

"Simon" Jim said, and Simon looked at his friends and saw through the tears in his own eyes the tears in theirs. Simon opened his mouth to say something, but the words seemed to be stuck in his throat, and he just shook his head.

"I know said Jim, I know".

There was a knock on the door, and Jim looked up surprise showing on his face, he had been so distracted that he had not even heard anybody coming.

"That is probably our dinner I ordered Chinese" Simon said.

"I don't think I can eat anything now Blair murmured

"Yeah I know", Simon replied, me either.

Simon went to the door and paid the deliveryman. The smell of food caused Blair's stomach to roll and he dashed back to the bathroom. Jim followed him; telling Simon to just put the food in the fridge for now.

"Can you stay for a while", Jim asked tentatively.

"I'm not going anywhere Jim," Simon said in a voice that was so full of concern and sadness that Jim turned to look at him.

Simon had turned toward the kitchen, but Jim noticed the slump in his shoulders and heard the effort Simon was making to talk without any sign of the tears.

"Thanks Simon, I'm sure will be out soon".

Simon just nodded his head, as Jim headed to the bathroom to take care of his partner.

An hour a later Jim, Blair, and Simon were sitting in the living room drinking a beer and Jim was filling Simon in on his history with Cricket.

"So this girl is only fourteen, and they have her living in a dorm on campus why would they do that Simon questioned?"

"Well according to her file, she has not been able to make it in a foster home. The families that she lived with were not able to deal with a child who would not talk, or interact with anybody. When she was placed in the residential treatment center, they discovered how intelligent she was. According to this file, she completed all of her high school requirements six months ago. While she was at the center some education student’s doing their internship from Rainer tested her. She has an IQ of 158, and they did not know what to do with her. She has finished high school; and while she was not a behavior problem at the Center they felt that there was not anything that they could do for her. She has finished school, and Rainer offered her a full time scholarship, and apparently Dr. Stoddard has some pull at the center, because he assured them that they would be able to keep an eye on the girl"

"And how are they going to do that? Simon asked, I mean c’mon she is living in a dorm with students. There is no supervision, and she is going to be interacting with students that are four and five years older than she is."

"Yeah I know", said Blair, "but I guess they felt it was the best they could do for her."

"Dr. Stoddard seems to think that she will be fine, and told the department of social services that I would be her advisor and look out for her. I don’t understand a lot of this myself, I mean why didn’t anybody realize what was going on with her while she was with her grandfather, and remove her from the home before all of this damage was done.’

"Well CPS has a lot of cases and she was just another one, Plus she was living with a blood relative, so they would not follow up unless there was a report that indicated that the child was at risk" stated Simon."

"God how am I supposed to work with this kid"? Blair asked as he continued to read the report from child protective services. Blair had discovered that if he did not look at the pictures he was able to distance himself from the pain that the child had gone through.

"Well I would think that you would be the best choice" Jim stated, "you know what it is like to be placed in a situation where you are younger than anybody else."

"Yeah I can understand that said Blair, but this". He motioned to the pictures, "how does a child survive this.’

"The very best they can" Jim replied as he stared at the picture of the girl, with the vacant eyes, he started remembering things that he had never wanted to think of again.

Blair shook his head, and then said "well guys it is pretty late I think that that I am ready to go to bed."

Jim looked at the clock, "man it is almost midnight."

Simon got up from the couch and headed for the door. Blair said goodnight and disappeared into his room.

Simon looked at Jim, "Are you going to be okay he asked quietly"

"I don’t know Simon, I feel so helpless. I should have done something"

"Jim stop it, this is not your fault. I know that you wish you could have done something different, but I doubt there would have been anything you could have done. You would not have been able to stop a blood relative from gaining custody of her. She was caught in a system that is bigger than you."

"I promised her father, Jim said in a low voice"

"Simon was shocked at the depth of agony in Jim’s voice. He put his hand on Jim’s shoulder, to his surprise his touch seemed to release some door inside of Jim, and once again the tears that he had been struggling to hold inside, broke free and began streaming down his face. Simon instinctively reached out and pulled Jim close just like he had done so many times with his son Daryl.

"It’s okay Jim, he said softly rubbing his friend’s back. You do not have to always be strong, just let it go, it will be alright." Simon continued to hold Jim and murmuring reassurances that it would be okay

Fifteen minutes later Jim pulled away from Simon,

"I’m sorry sir," he said refusing to look at Simon,

"For what" asked Simon, "for being human, for hurting when you see the harm that has been done to a child"?

Jim shrugged refusing to look at Simon.

"Look at me Jim"

Jim continued to stare at the carpet.

"Jim I said to look at me" Simon said in the tone of voice that was universally recognized by sons everywhere, the tone of voice that demanded compliance.

Jim looked at Simon and the embarrassment in his eyes was easy to see.

"It is okay to be human Jim, and to feel. Do you think any less of Sandburg when he allows his feelings to show"?

"Of course not" Jim said.

"Then why is it not okay for you to show how you feel?"

"I don’t know it is just so hard to do"

"I know it is but it hurts more if you keep it locked up inside"

Jim just looked at the floor his shoulders still shaking from the effort to keep the sobs inside.

Are you going to be o.k"? Simon asked him softly

"I don’t know" Simon, "I really don’t know".

Blair came out of the room and looked at Jim with concern.

He looked at Simon with eyes that were full of anxiety.

"Look why don’t I stay here tonight?" Simon said

"I can’t ask you to do that said Jim

"You didn’t" Simon replied.

"You don’t need to do this Simon".

"Jim I am your friend, you would do it for me right."

Jim just looked at him with eyes that reminded Simon of a child who had been hit one to many times.

"I’m staying, he said, I will sleep on the couch"

"Simon why don’t you take my bed and I’ll sleep on the couch, I’m a lot shorter."

"I don’t want to ask you to give up your bed Blair"

"You didn’t Blair said with a smirk on his face. Just let me get some things out of my room.

"Jim why don’t you get Simon some sweats and a T-shirt to wear".

"Okay" Jim said as he went upstairs.

‘Thanks for staying Simon, I have never seen him like this, if he starts to lose it I don’t know that I could handle it."

"Well you don’t have to alone, kid." Simon looked up the stairs "I have not seen him this lost since Jack died. Why is this affecting him so badly?"

"I am really not sure" Blair said.

"Here Simon" Jim said as he tossed some sweats and a T-shirt to Simon.

As Simon walked to the bathroom Jim put his hand on his shoulder "Thanks Simon."

"Anytime Jim".

As Jim walked up the stairs to his room Simon watched him with a sad look in his eyes. The empty haunted look that was in Sandburg’s eyes was also present in Jim’s eyes. It was still very rare for Jim to admit that he needed anybody. Simon felt honored that Jim and Blair felt that they could look to him for support and friendship, outside of the office. Sometimes with them he could relate to them as friends instead of their superior officer. Listen to me he said now I am sounding like I have been in the Sandburg Zone to long.

Within ten minutes all three men were asleep, exhausted by the emotional roller coaster the day had been.

Simon woke up in the middle of the night, at first not recognizing where he was, then just as he remembered the event that had occurred earlier he heard Jim’s screams. Simon grabbed his gun and barreled out of the door just as Blair jerked upright on the couch. They both could hear Jim screaming as they raced up the stairs. Blair hurried over to the Bed and touched Jim on his shoulder.

Simon realized just as Blair touched him what was going to happen, but before he could warn Blair Jim bolted up, shoved Blair across the room, "Don’t touch me again" he yelled in a voice that sounded very young and very frightened.

Blair lay against the wall stunned and disoriented. Jim jumped out of bed and huddled against the wall, curling up into a ball.

Simon looked at Blair, who looked stunned,

"You okay Sandburg he asked?"

"Yeah just give me a minute".

Simon put his gun down on the dresser and approached Jim slowly.

"Jim" he said softly

"Don’t touch me," Jim cried.

"No one is going to hurt you Jim,’ Simon said. "I need you to wake up here okay"

Jim did not reply he just rocked back and forth. Blair moved next to Simon and sat on the floor just out of Jim’s reach.

"Hey Jim its okay." he said in a soothing voice, "I’m here, your o.k".

Don’t let him hurt me" Jim said in a voice that belonged to a five year old, rather than the strong man he was today.

"No body is going to hurt you Jim" Blair said softly, "can you try to wake up for me."

Blair looked up at Simon, and back at Jim.

"Simon why don’t you sit down. I don’t know what is going on in his head, but it might help if you are sitting down."

Simon just nodded and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Jim its okay your safe", Blair murmured softly continuing to coax him awake with the soft soothing voice that Jim called his guide voice.

"Blair?" Jim asked

"Yeah it’s me buddy"

Jim looked at Blair and at Simon sitting on the bed "what’s going on?"

"Well were hoping you can tell us big guy"

"Huh, Jim looked at his hands, I don’t know"

"Well it sounded like you were having a dream can you tell me about it" Blair asked softly"?

"I don’t remember Jim said, "I’m sorry I woke you guys up"

"No problem Blair said," Do you want some tea or water"

"No I just want to go back to sleep"

"Okay do you want me to stay with you"?

"I’m a big boy Sandburg I think I can sleep by myself"

"Okay Blair said and got up; I’ll be on the couch okay"

Simon got up and headed for the stairs following Sandburg.

"Blair Simon said, why don’t you use the white noise generators so Jim can sleep better?"

Blair looked at Simon, with confusion in his eyes,

"Jim might sleep better if he is able to block out any noise"

"Yeah I guess your right" Blair said. "

"Jim I am going to set these up, so that you can sleep as late as you can tomorrow okay"

Jim just nodded. Blair set the generators and started down the stairs, Simon started to follow him.

"Simon?"

"Yes Jim?"

"I’m sorry "Jim said

Simon looked at Jim, and smiled; "It’s okay Jim, I’ve had my share of bad dreams to".

Simon started down the stairs, and then went back into Jim’s room. "Jim,"

"Yeah"

"Where is your gun"?

"Why?"

"I want you to give it to me for the rest of the night"

"Why would I do that Simon"?

"Do you remember what happened few minutes ago"?

"No"

"Well you were pretty out of it; I think it would be safer, if you let me have your gun in case you have another dream".

Jim looked at Simon; "Did I do something"?

"It’s not that, Jim, but you did not know who we were", Jim looked at him for a few minutes, then got his gun out of the drawer of his nightstand, and gave it to Simon.

"Thanks Jim"

"Simon, I don’t know what to say"

"There is nothing to say everything is going to be fine".

"Will you check on Sandburg for me"?

"Yeah but he’s fine Goodnight".

Simon turned and walked back down the stairs, and saw Blair staring at him, the anger barely controlled.

Simon raised his hand and said "not now. Let’s fix some tea".

As Sandburg started to turn on the faucet, he looked at Simon, and then whispered. "Why did you take his gun, are you afraid he is going to hurt himself or me?"

Simon looked at the anger burning in Blair’s eyes and thought to himself, I thought Jim was protective.

"No I don’t think he would hurt himself or you as long as he knew who and where he was, but what I saw upstairs scared me. I just don’t want something to happen, because he did not wake up enough to stop himself."

"He would never hurt me? Blair retorted angrily.

"Blair he threw you against the wall, man he did not know who you were. I don’t want to risk him responding to a noise, before he is awake enough to realize who and where he is. ‘Okay."

Blair and Simon both just looked at each other for a few minutes, defiant angry dark blue eyes looking up to meet brown eyes that were filled with compassion, understanding, and unyielding determination.

"I’m sorry," Blair whispered brokenly, "I just don’t know how to deal with a Jim, who seems so lost"

Blair looked at Simon and his eyes filled with tears.

Simon reached out and pulled the young man close, as Blair just started shaking.

"Its ok son you are both going to be fine he said softly". He felt the tears that the younger man shed, and again was amazed at how these two men, had somehow found a place in his heart, that only Daryl had ever possessed.

"Shhh your okay he said softly, rubbing Blair’s back.

"I don’t know how to help him Simon," Blair sobbed, "He has always been the strong one, I’m the one who falls apart all the time, not Jim."

Simon laughed softly

"You know for someone, who is so smart Blair, it amazes me how clueless you can be sometimes."

"Thanks Simon that makes me feel so much better" Blair growled, pulling away from Simon, and walked out onto the deck.

Simon rolled his eyes, //way to go ace he said to himself, that came out really well.//

"Blair he said stepping out on the deck, don’t you realize how strong you really are? Why do you seem to think that you are always going to be found lacking in some way?"

C’mon Simon, Jim is the strong one here, he always takes care of everything, and always knows what to do"

"There are a lot of different types of strength Blair, Jim may have the more obvious appearance of strength, but you have a strength that few people have in this world".

"Yeah-right" Blair mumbled under his breath

"Blair would you just listen for once, You have the type of strength that allows Jim and the rest of your friends, and I hope that includes me, to manage to dig deep inside of ourselves, and find a reason to just go a little further, and try a little harder. I don’t know how many times I have seen Jim, Joel, and the rest of the team, try just a little harder, or try just one more time, because you believe that they can. How many people would have inspired the loyalty that you have in the entire major crimes unit? You have the gift of making people believe in themselves and others and that is a strength that comes from deep inside, and is not something that is easily gained. You have proven over and over to all of us, how strong you are, and if Jim is going to get through this, you are the person he needs. You do not have to do anything different than what you have done over and over again, you just have to be you, so quit doubting yourself, and putting yourself, down, or I am going to get seriously pissed off. Do I make myself clear here young man?"

Blair’s eyes widened in shock and he just stared at Simon.

"Do you really mean that sir" he asked shyly?

"Do I make a habit of saying things I don’t mean Simon said in his usual growl"?

"Uh no sir" Blair said uneasily looking at the ground.

"Go back to bed kid, we need to sleep "Simon said gruffly, steering the young man toward the couch.

"Good night Sir" Blair said quietly and he settled back down on the couch.

"Now he calls me sir" Simon said as he went back to bed

"I heard that Blair said impudently"

"I figured" Simon said dryly "go to sleep"

 

The 11th Commandment part 3

A couple of hours later Simon woke with a start. Looking around the room he was unsure what had woken him. He looked at the clock; it was still way too early to get up. As he lay there listening he could hear no sound coming from the loft, yet somehow he knew that something was different. He quietly got out of bed, and automatically grabbed his gun. He quietly opened the door to the rest of the loft, and looked out. He could see that Blair was still sleeping. He looked up towards Jim’s room but could see no movement. He started to go back to his room, but somehow he knew that something was not right. He quietly went past Blair noting that the young man was in a deep sleep. He quietly climbed up the stairs and looked over towards Jim’s bed. The bed was empty, and Simon looked over at the rest of the room, but Jim was not in the room. Simon cursed under his breath, and wondered where Jim had gone. He headed back down the stairs intending to wake Blair and then go to look for Jim.

As he got to the bottom of the stairs, he noticed Jim standing out on the deck looking over the city. Simon noticed the slumped shoulders and the dejected air about his friend. He quietly moved into the kitchen and grabbed two bottles of water out of the fridge. As he went out to the deck and closed the door behind him, he handed Jim one of the bottles of water, and then sat down in one the wicker chairs. Jim opened the water and took a drink then just continued to stare out at the city. For the next fifteen minutes neither man spoke. Finally Jim sighed and turned to face Simon.

 

Simon was shocked at the tear tracks that were still apparent on his friend’s face as well as the sky blue eyes that full of pain and unshed tears. As Jim started to talk Simon felt like his heart would break at the anguish in his best detective’s voice.

"Have you ever felt like you didn’t know what was real and what was a dream" Jim asked quietly?"

Simon just nodded, not able to trust his voice yet, and afraid to break the spell that seemed to finally have given Jim the freedom to talk.

"I keep having this dream that I am afraid is real. It is different than the dreams I have had of Incacha or the dreams I have had of somebody I love being in danger," Jim said quietly. "This feels just as real but in a horrifying way".

"Can you tell me about it?" Simon asked quietly.

"I’m afraid to" Jim admitted.

"Why."

"Because of what you will think about me," Jim answered unable to look at Simon.

"If what I am remembering is true, then it changes everything about who I am, and what kind of person I was, he admitted."

"Do you trust me Jim?" Simon asked

"You know I do."

"Well then why don’t you tell me about it?"

Jim stared out over at the city for a few minutes, and then started talking,

"I think that the reason my Mother left when I was younger was because of something that she found out about me and my father" Jim said, the sound of tears in his voice back again.

Simon winced in his mind and had a really bad feeling that Jim was going to say words that he did not want to hear.

"What was that?" he asked his voice low and calm, not betraying the anxiety he felt inside of him.

"In my dreams tonight, I saw this whole scenario, but I think it was real" Jim said quietly

"Do you want to tell me about it?" Simon responded quietly.

"I am lying in my room and hearing my parent’s yelling at each other. My mom sounded like she had been drinking again, and I could hear her throwing things. I heard my Dad hit her, and then the next thing I know is he is opening the door to my room. I have had this dream so many times, but tonight for the first time I did not wake up at this point".

"Go on"

"Tonight my Dad came into my room and lay down next to me. He started talking about how much he loved me, and how much he needed me to take care of him. This must not have been the first time because I told him I did not want to do this anymore and he said if I didn’t he would have to hurt my Mom again. I started crying and told him that it hurt, and he just got angry and told me he was going to make a man out of me yet, and that he would teach me not to cry. God Simon it hurt so much, and I just started crying harder, then my Mom opened the door and just stood there. I remember thinking that she would help me, but she didn’t, she just said that she was not doing this anymore and shut the door and left. The next morning she was gone. God Simon she just left me, she knew what he was doing and she just left. I knew then how much I disgusted her. For years after if I tried to tell my Dad no he would remind me that I owed him since I had made my Mom leave, and if I would not do it, then he would have to start teaching Steven how to make him happy. God Simon, I was such a monster that I drove my Mother away"

.

With those words the tears just started streaming down Jim’s face. It was such an alarming site to Simon, to see the tears falling, but absolutely no sound or expression on his friends face. Simon felt at a total loss as to how to handle seeing Jim in this state. He had known that life had not been good for Jim growing up but he’d had no idea how bad it had been.

Simon stood up and moved to stand next to Jim, as he walked across the deck he noticed Blair standing in the shadows just inside the door. Simon realized from the stricken look on Blair’s face and the tear tracks on his face that he had heard everything Jim had said. Blair sank down the wall and hid his face in his hands.

Simon decided that Jim needed him the most at this point, and went to stand next to him. He put his arm around his friend’s shoulders, and pulled him into his arms. Despite Jim’s size Simon was taller and strong enough to hold Jim even though Jim struggled initially.

"Stop" Simon, said softly, "For once just let it go, you do not have to be in control right now, I’m here".

Simon continued to murmur softly to Jim, and rub his back, just the way he had done with Daryl, during the many night he had held the boy when the dreams about what had happened when Kincaid had taken over the station, had woken the boy. While he knew that Jim was in no way a child he seemed to respond to the reassurance and calmness that Simon conveyed, even though it was an act, and was in no way an indication of the feelings that were churning inside of Simon.

Time seemed to stand still for the two men on the balcony as well as the man inside the loft. Blair’s mind was reeling with what he had overheard Jim tell Simon. He had not intended to eavesdrop on his friends, but he had woke up and realized that Jim was outside. When he went to check on him, he saw that Simon was also out there with him. He had started to go back to the couch when he hears what Jim had said about his Mother leaving and why. He sat on the floor of the loft and felt like everything he knew to be solid in his life had been ripped away. He felt like all of his knowledge both as an anthropologist and as Jim’s guide did him no good at this time. How was he going to help Jim through this? Could he help Jim or should he pretend to not have heard. He decided that for the time being he was going to go back to the couch and not tell Jim he was awake. He was pretty sure Simon had seen him, but he had not heard him say anything to Jim about it. Feeling like a coward he quietly went back to bed and hid his head under his pillow so that if Jim came in hopefully he would be unable to smell Blair’s tears.

Out on the deck Simon continued to reassure Jim, but he was beginning to feel alarmed as he felt the tears continue to fall on his shoulder. Jim was still making no noise, and Simon was beginning to wonder if Jim had fallen into a zone. He was not sure whether or not he should get Blair, but felt like Jim should make the choice as to what he wanted to say to Blair. Simon knew that Blair had heard most of what had been said, but Jim seemed to be unaware of his presence on the other side of the glass door. After what had seemed like hours, but in actuality had only been about thirty minutes, Jim’s tears began to slow. Simon just continued holding him and reassuring him that he was there, and it would be OkayThis time when he felt Jim start to pull away he let him, and grabbed Jim’s water bottle and handed it to him.

Jim turned to look out at the city and neither man said anything for a few minutes

"I’m sorry sir, this was inexcusable" Jim said quietly.

Simon just looked at him.

"Would you care to explain that statement," he asked in a calm non-judgmental voice.

"This is not your problem," Jim said slowly. "You are my boss not my therapist, or a shoulder to cry on."

Simon was quite for a minute, thinking about how he wanted to respond to that statement.

"That pisses me off Jim" he said slowly, "I had always thought that we were friends, but you are telling me that I am just your boss?"

"That’s not what I mean Simon," Jim said looking very uncertain and confused "I just damn I don’t know what I mean he said quietly."

Simon looked at his friend and detective, but what he really saw was the little boy Jim must have been. The kid who had never had anybody he could count on. He had not been angry at Jim’s statement, and in fact understood it. He knew how hard it must have been for Jim to show any sign of emotion and uncertainty in front of him. He would have felt the same if it were he.

"Jim do you remember when Kincaid hung Daryl out the window at the station?"

"Of course, who could forget that?"

"Do you remember my reaction when I first held Daryl after that?"

"I don’t know what you mean."

"I remember crying for a really long time, and it was you who stayed with me, while the Dr’s checked Daryl out. I was waiting in the ER and, and you sat on a couch with me and put your arm around me and just stayed with me while I cried. You never told me to be a man or to act like your captain, you acted like my friend, and that is what friends do. I know that we may never be really comfortable with this emotion stuff, but that’s Okay when I need a friend you and Blair are the first person I think of, and I would hope you and Blair would also feel like I am that kind of friend for you."

"Simon I didn’t mean that you weren’t my friend" Jim’s voice trailed out as he struggled to find the words to express what he was trying to say.

"Jim you are a great friend, I have seen you give of yourself over and over to a lot of people especially to Blair. I have also seen you become so scared by your emotions, that rather than deal with them you attack the people you care most about. The funny thing about you is that no matter how hard headed belligerent or plain exasperating you can be or how much you piss all of us off at times, we still are your friends and we still care about you. We do this because we can see beneath the bullshit that you spread when you feel like your emotions are to close to the surface. You are important to all of us, and you need to get over this fear you have of letting people close to you."

I just feel like I should be stronger than this, this happened to me years ago why does it matter now."

"I am not real sure Jim Blair is probably better at understanding this than I am but I would guess that it has to do with one meeting Cricket again, and seeing the pictures and reading about her life. The second reason probably has to do with the fact that you never dealt with this as a child, so when you saw all of those pictures it just brought up the memories and feelings all over again. I do know you need to work through this."

"I don’t even know where to start" Jim replied quietly.

"I think tonight was a good place to start" Simon replied.

"What do I do now" Jim asked?

"Well for now do you think that you can get some more sleep?" Simon asked, "you must be exhausted"

"Yeah I will be in a minute, I just need a few minutes alone" Jim said.

"Ten minutes, if you are not in your bed by then I will come and put you there. he said with a smile in his voice.

"Yeah right" Jim said, with a little of the usual spirit in his voice.

"You want to test me on that" Simon growled.

"No not tonight, Jim responded.

"Good cause you would lose" Simon started back into the house.

"Simon"

"Yeah"

"Thanks"

"Your welcome" Simon said softly squeezing Jim’s shoulder, as he went back into the house.

Simon walked back to the living room where he saw Blair sleeping on the couch with his head under his pillow.

Simon lay down on the bed and stayed awake until he heard Jim come in and go up the stairs to his room. Simon thought about the love and safety that he had experienced as a child in his family, and realized that he needed to call his Mother tomorrow and tell her how much he appreciated the childhood she had given him.

Within five minutes all were asleep in the loft exhausted by the emotional upset of the evening.

 

Jim woke to the feel of warmth on his face from the sun shining through the skylight. Looking over at the clock he saw that it was after ten a.m. He lay there for a minute wondering how he was going to face his partner and his boss who currently were in the kitchen making breakfast. Deciding that he would have to get up sometime he forced himself to go downstairs.

"Morning Jim" Blair smiled at him and handed him a cup of coffee. "Eggs will be done in a few minutes o.k, but you have time for a shower if you want."

"Um thanks" Jim murmured glad for the excuse to head into the bathroom.

When Blair heard the water start he looked at Simon.

"I am not sure what to do he confessed, looking at the counter. I heard you and Jim talking last night, but I don’t know whether or not I should say anything to him"

"Maybe you should just give him time and see if he broaches it himself. He will figure out that you heard him soon enough."

"I guess so. God Simon how can people treat children like this they are so defenseless?"

"I don’t know Blair, but sometimes it just happens, and nothing that people do stop it? I am going to head home now; I have some phone calls to make. Call me if you need me okay?"

"Yeah I will thank you for being here last night"

"Anytime Blair, anytime" Simon responded sadly, looking at the bathroom door, "take care of him okay?"

"I will" Blair said softly.

Jim finished his shower and came out into the kitchen, a few minutes later. Blair was sitting at the table supposedly deep into reading a magazine article. Jim grabbed some food and sat down across the table from him.

"Chief, I know that you heard me and Simon last night."

"Yeah I figured you knew that" Blair replied not even looking up from his magazine.

"Chief can you look at me" Jim asked quietly.

Blair looked at him and was surprised to see tears in his best friend’s eyes

"What is it Jim" he asked softly.

"I know you must thing that I am really some kind of freak…"

"Shut up Ellison Blair growled. You are not a freak and you never have been and I never want to hear you say that again. I was not looking at you because I don’t want to make this harder on you then it already is. I don’t know what to say to help you deal with this, but it is not now nor has it ever been your fault. This is what your Father did not you. He is the freak do you hear me."

Jim had a look of surprise on his face as he listened to his friend; despite what he had heard last night Blair still thought he was worth defending.

Blair looked at him and sighed.

"Did you really think that I was going to think badly of you because of this?"

"I don’t know "Jim said quietly, "I think pretty badly of myself right now, I should have been able to stop it somehow."

 

"Jim do you feel that Cricket should have been able to stop it from happening to her" Blair asked quietly.

"Of course not" Jim said indignantly

"Then why should you have?"

"I was a boy man these things don’t happen to boys."

"Jim one out of every seven boys in the United States are victims of sexual abuse.
This is not something that just happens to girls, it also happens to boys, but due to some Macho crap we guys have, boys have a harder time telling anybody that it happened to them. This has nothing to do with your being male, it has to do with your being a child just like Cricket was, and is."

Jim looked at Blair recognizing the truth that was written in his eyes.

"So what do we do now" he asked quietly

"What do you want to do" Blair asked, "I will do whatever I can to help you through this, just tell me what I can do. I think that you need to talk to somebody about this, and if you want I will go with you."


"I don’t think I can do that yet," Jim softly responded.

"Okay Blair stated calmly, then until you can know that I am here for you and will always listen, okay."

"Yeah chief I hear you, how bout we get out of here today, and go hiking."

"Works for me" Blair smiled, "I will be ready in a few minutes."

"Blair" Jim asked "what do you think we can do about Cricket."

"At this point nothing. I know the Resident advisor in the freshman dorm and I will ask her to keep an eye on her. I also have a meeting with her about her schedule next week. I think for the time being the best we can do is to just keep tabs on her, and try to establish a relationship that she can trust so when she needs somebody she knows where to turn. Plus since Stoddard made her the responsible adult for her I can check on her often."

"I wish we could do more Jim," said quietly.

"I know" Blair said gently, "I wish so to, but all I can do for both of you is to try and be your friend."

Jim reached out and pulled his friend into a hug, "Sometimes Blair that is more than enough" he murmured into his friends curls, "more than enough."

 

 

The 11th Commandment

Thou shalt not kill

Thou shalt not steal

Thou shalt not take the lord's name in vain

Thou shalt not cause thy children pain

God does not overlook it

What ought have been written

The eleventh commandment

Honor thy children

Honor thy children

END

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