Can You Hear Me?
Missing scene for TSBBS
Time: The evening before the press conference.
Warnings: This is told from Jims POV. Most of the stories that I have read about the dissertation fiasco have focused on how Blair had been hurt and betrayed by Jim.
Takes place before the night of the press conference
Thanks to Lyn for once again editing and correcting multiple mistakes. All mistakes are mine.
"Thanks for the tea."
"Jim, come on man, dont walk out like this, we need to work this through."
:"What is there to work through, Sandburg? It's all been said and done?"
"So you are just going to walk out again, and refuse to confront the issue."
"Sandburg, how can I refuse to confront the issue? How am I supposed to confront it? It is out there now. I don't have a choice on whether or not to deal with this. Do you have any idea what the amount of damage your dissertation has caused?"
"I did not do this."
"Sandburg, please just leave it."
"Fine, go take your righteous indignation and walk away. It's what you do best anyway."
Jim turned and stared at Sandburg. "Do you really want to hear how I feel?"
"Yeah I do."
"Okay, I will meet up on the roof in ten minutes. But Blair, if you are not prepared to listen to me, don't bother showing."
Ten minutes later Blair came up to the roof. "OKAY, I'm here, Jim, tell me
how you feel."
"I feel a lot of things, I feel angry, scared, and damn it, Blair, I feel like I was used as a meal ticket for you,"
" Jim, you know that I dont feel that way about you. You're my best friend."
"Blair I want to believe you, I really do, but this hurts."
"You dont think that this hurts me? You've treated me like shit since this first broke. You accused me of doing this just so I could "grab the brass ring." How do you think that made me feel?"
"Once again this is about you. Every time there is a problem between us, it becomes all about you."
"NO! For once I would like you to really listen to me, and not try to theorize or make deductions, which helps you to avoid listening to me. I know that I am not as good with words as you are and I dont express myself as well as you do, but would you at least try to listen to me and understand what I am feeling? I am not asking you to agree with me but at least listen, please."
Blair looked at Jim, and for once saw the pain in the man's eyes.
"OKAY Jim, I'm listening," he said, trying to keep the sarcasm out of his voice but not totally succeeding.
//Jim looked at him and once again felt like he was being judged. While he valued his friendship with Blair more than anything else, he really needed to try to make him understand and hopefully work this through for himself as well. //
"OKAY Please just try to hear me out, and hang with me. I know I don't do this well. I know that you have heard this before but I am not trying to make excuses, I am trying to explain to you how this feels inside of me."
"Three years ago when I came to you, I was going out of my mind. I felt like everything I had ever known was gone. I could not stand to live in my skin, to go outside, to eat or anything else. When I first went to your office, you were telling me that I was some kind of genetic throwback, that I was some sort of freak."
"Blair, please just let me talk. I need to say this, and not get sidetracked"
Blair just nodded.
"While I was in your office, for the first time in weeks, I felt somewhat normal. I mean my skin quit scratching, and the sounds reduced to a tolerable level. I couldn't understand why when I did not even know you. Let's face it Chief, when I saw you in that office, heard what you had to say my first impression, was that there was no way that I could get the answers from you. You were so different from me and I did not think that you could begin to understand who I was. All of my life I lived by a strict set of rules and expectations and your lifestyle was totally opposite of mine. I did not want to need you because I knew you would never understand who I was."
Jim paused and took a deep breath.
"When I left your office after treating you like some kind of perp, I could not believe that you risked your life for me when you saved me from being the hood ornament of a garbage truck. Somehow over a period of time, you began to grow on me and then you became the most important person in my life. When you moved in for a week that first night, I knew that I did not want you to leave. Even thought I made the comment about the courtship ritual and that you were out after a week, I was still trying to protect myself from how right it felt to have you here. When I went to sleep that first night, I would occasionally hear you downstairs, and it felt so right to not be alone again. I have never regretted that you lived with me. I deeply regret that I threw you out, without explaining to you why. I know we talked about it, but that dream terrified me. The thought of you dying because of me was something I could not live with."
"When you didn't go to Borneo, you said it was about friendship, and I wanted to believe you, and I did come to believe you. However, this dissertation has always been there in the back of my mind. How would you describe me? How would people perceive who I was? Blair, you're right about fear based responses. I was terrified that I would be seen as a freak once again. Even you see me as something different- your holy grail or whatever you call it. I know that you never have said that in a way to demean me, but it still at times triggers that response inside of me of feeling like I have to hide these senses."
"That night in the truck when you made the comment about how it was pretty funny, but you could not let me read it, because I was the focus of the experiment, I felt like a lab rat."
"I should not have read it and I know that, but when I found out that you had talked to Carolyn about our relationship, I felt like my whole life was once again exposed to the world. "
"That is not what I was trying to do, Jim, I told you why I did it."
"Blair, please, I am not trying to make judgements here, although I am sure that it sounds as if I am. I want to work this out. You are important to me, more than you will ever know, and not just because of my senses. You have been there through some pretty tough shit with me. You invaded my neat ordered sterile world, and introduced me to a whole different world. Many times I may have teased you about it, or made jokes and hurt your feelings and I am truly sorry about that. You brought color into my gray world, taste into bland, well, except for the tofu" Jim looked at Blair with a sad smile on his face. "What I am trying to say is that you are important to me, but I do not know how I am going to work this out. Yes, I am angry, but that does not mean that you are no longer important to me. I know that I made you feel that way today and I am sorry, but honestly, Blair, I was just trying to hang on. "
"All I could think of was that once again the people I cared about were going to think I was a freak."
"Jim, you know you are not a freak why do you feel this way?"
Jim sighed and walked over to the edge of the roof
"Growing up, I always realized that there was something different about me. Nobody wanted to be around me. You know that my Mom left me when I was young but I never told you why. She did not want me, because I was too much trouble. I cried all the time, screamed when they touched me, could not stand to have the lights on. This went on for about five years, and then as soon as she had Steven, she left. When I was about eight, I found a letter that she had left my Dad. She said that she did not want to spend her life being tied down by a brat that was always screaming. My Dad came in and saw me reading the letter, and after he beat the shit out of me, he told me that I had already caused him embarrassment by causing my Mom to leave. I was informed that if I told any more lies about seeing or hearing things, that he would make sure that I would feel enough pain that I would not have the opportunity to see ever see anything again. If that did not solve the problem he would make sure that I would be able to hear Stevies screams, and I would be able to see the bruises, because I would have to stand there and watch."
"God, Jim, why didn't you tell me. "
"Because I was afraid, Blair, that once you found out that you would leave me just like everyone else has. When I made the mistake of telling the police about what I saw, my Dad was out of control. He beat me so bad I though I would die. I used to be able to detach from my body when my Dad was beating me, I had plenty of practice, but this time I could not detach, and I felt like a thousand knives were being pushed into my skin when he hit me. My saying what I saw seemed to break something inside of him, and he spent the next eight years making sure that I knew how much of a freak and a disappointment I was. He made sure that Steven knew it as well. He continued to beat me for years until I finally left home. What was worse though was the constant derision and belittlement that he would carry on and encouraged Steven to do as well. He would reward Steven if he could make me upset. The rest of the relatives also treated me the same way. Everybody hated me, Blair, because of who I was."
Jim stopped for a few minutes and took several deep breaths, trying to keep the tears at bay.
"I have finally started to have a relationship with my brother now, and this is going to destroy it. I know it should not matter but it does. I have lost so much due to these senses. I learned not to love people or to let them get close. My experience was that love hurt too much. I really loved Caro but I lost her because I was not able to allow myself to be close to her. Until I met you I had pretty much given up on life."
"Blair, I do care about you and you are the most important thing in my life, but how am I supposed to handle this, tell me, Blair, please, what do I do now? Everything is gone, you are going to get everything you want, fame, fortune and you deserve all of it, but I am going to lose everything. I am probably going to lose my job, and my friends. To be honest, they are not my friends they are yours. No matter what happens unless you are happy, I will be blamed for it. In the grand scheme of my world, which is you, and the PD, I am not important, you are. You are the one everybody likes. You have what I have wanted most of my life. People who love you for who you are."
Jim turned and looked out over the city as the tears finally fell.
Blair stood and walked over to where Jim was standing.
"You have not lost everything Jim, you still have me. You are the brother I have never had. You have given me the only home I have ever had. I wish I could undo this but I cant. I am sorrier than I can ever say that Naomi sent this out. I never thought that I could not trust her. I dont know what to do next, I really dont, but I will fix this."
"Jim turned and looked at Blair, and Blair felt his heart break at the lost little boy that he saw, not the big strong man that the world saw. Jim pulled Blair to him like a life preserver and continued to cry. Blair shed his own tears over the damage that his Mother had done. Somehow, he was going to find a way to fix this. He was going to make their world okay again, because nothing was as important as the relationship and love between him and his Sentinel.