Disclaimer: The usual not mine, no money etc etc.
Warning: Child Abuse, Trauma, Death, and Suicide of a Child. Major Angst
This story is a sequel to Concrete Angels. It is not necessary to read Hell is for Children or Concrete Angels, but those stories are referred to, and it might make more sense. This story deals with child abuse, and painful memories. If you are a Naomi fan, you might want to skip this one. I was not very nice to her.
One Year Earlier
"How can you do this, Blair?" Naomi shouted at him, her face twisted in rage.
I have spent my life sacrificing myself for you, and this is how your repay me? God, if you were not my son, do you really think anybody would love you?" Do you really think that overbearing, stupid, fascist pig that you live with really cares for you, and if so, how long do you think he will,? I cant believe that you are that stupid."
Blair looked at his mother as if he did not even know who she was. With a voice that was full of determination and pain, he replied, "I am not running away. That's what you do. I'm staying here, with Jim, and I... I'm taking the job and I will be a cop and a good one. I love you, but I will not allow you to destroy my life."
Naomi looked at her son and realized that she had pushed too far, there would be another time, another place, so she would wait.
"Im sorry, sweetie, that wasn't fair," she said, forcing her eyes to fill with tears, "I love you and I just want the best for you, please forgive me."
"Naomi, I love you and of course I forgive you, but it is not that easy. I need you to get your stuff and get out. Please don't call me for a while, I need some time to figure all of this out. I mean it, Naomi I need you to leave for now, and give me some time."
Naomi's smile was cold and hard and did not reach her eyes, but Blair did not notice.
"I hear that, sweetie, I'll call you when I get back,. Im going to go somewhere so I can process all this. I do hope that you will forgive me,. I do love you, Blair and I only want what is best for you."
"I know, Mom but please go, you have done too much damage for this to be resolved easily." Blairs eyes filled with tears as he watched her walk out of the apartment.
Jim walked up the stairs to the loft since once again the elevator was not working. As he got to the top of the stairs, he noticed that there was a box sitting outside his door, with Blairs name on it. As Jim unlocked the door to the apartment, he reached down and picked up the box. The return address was from Naomi Sandburg, Nepal. 'I wonder what she is doing there?' Jim thought to himself, and he entered the apartment. He set the box down next to the key basket so Blair would see it when he came in. Jim got a bottle of water out of the fridge and got his workout bag. After leaving a note to Blair, that he would pick up dinner on his way back, he left to get in a much needed workout.
Two hours later Jim returned home with take out from Blairs favorite Chinese restaurant. He was still worried about his partner. Blair acted as if everything was okay but there was a sadness in his eyes since Amandas death, and he had refused to talk anymore about the memories that still assaulted him during that whole time. Jim still felt a stab of pain in his heart whenever he thought about what Blair had lived through as a child. He wished he could convince Blair to talk to somebody but Blair refused to talk about that night at all. Jim felt like he was sailing in uncharted waters, usually he was the one who refused to talk about things. Jim knew Blair had a strong stubborn streak, and on this issue, he was unmovable. Since Jim had promised not to tell anybody, he could not even talk to Simon about it, 'Oh well,' he thought, ' hopefully he would talk about it soon. Jim had no idea just how soon it would be.
As Jim got to the top of the stairs, he heard the sound of breaking glass coming from inside the loft.
"God damn that bitch," he heard Blair say. "What the Hell does she want from me now.?"
Jim set down the bag of take out, and listened closely to the sounds coming from his apartment. He could not detect anyones presence besides Blair's.
As he entered the apartment, he saw Blair curled up into a ball on the end of the couch.
"Blair," he said quietly to his partner and guide "Whats wrong?"
Blair looked at Jim with eyes full of anger and hate, his face still showing the traces of the tears he had shed.
"That bitch that is regretfully my Mother," he spat out.
Jim was shocked to hear the venom in his voice. Even after the dissertation disaster, Blair had not blamed his mother but accepted that no matter what damage she had caused, her intentions had been good. Jim had not been so sure of that, but he did not want to upset Blair, so he had never disagreed with him, and had even gone as far as to tell Naomi that he understood.
"What did she do,?" he asked Blair quietly, noting with concern the lack of color in his guides face, and the rapid beating of Blair's heart.
"See for yourself," Blair spat out, "everybody else is going to. I have to get out of here. Im sorry, Jim," he said sadly.
Blair grabbed his keys and was out the door before Jim could say anything to him.
Jim looked at the box he had found earlier, and noticed there were several photo albums, as well as a letter, and videotape. Jim sat down and reached for the letter.
Blair, I had thought you would have come to your senses by now, and realized that you are wasting your life. You were destined to be so much more, than macho Jim Ellisons tag along pet. All your life you have persisted in trying to get people to accept you, but they never really did. Why do you suppose that is? How long do you think it will be before that idiot fascist storm trooper that you live with will decide he has kept you around long enough and kick you out? What will you do then, Blair? When you were a kid, at least when you had made the people around you crazy to the point that they forced us to leave, you still had me. I have always loved you, and accepted you, even when you were a royal pain in the ass. Since you seem to once again, place yourself in situations, where you are not wanted or only wanted for one thing., I have to clean up the mess, and make sure you realize where you belong, and that is with me. I will be in Cascade tomorrow (you know where I will be) and will stay for 48 hours. I expect you to pack your bags and be ready to leave Cascade and Ellison forever. Just in case, you are still deluding yourself into thinking that you belong with those pigs you call friends I will send a copy of the photos and the videotape, to Banks, and to the news stations. So you need to think about what kind of life you will have once they know how dirty and depraved you are, and were, even as a child. Will you ever be able to show your face to them again once they see all of this? Remember that I am your mother and I love you know matter what kind of person you are. However, if you are not ready to leave with me, I will leave without you, and you will never hear from me again. What will you do then, Blair? You will never be able to hold your head up in public again. In addition, just in case you do not think I will do it, do you really think I did not know what would happen when I sent your dissertation to Syd? I had figured out that Jim was a sentinel, and knew that you were going to sacrifice your life for him. You threw all of my love and my attempts to save you back in my face the day you accepted the badge from Captain Banks. I am still willing to forgive you for that betrayal but after 48 hours, that forgiveness will be gone. Do not throw away this last, chance that I am giving you.
Jim stared at the letter in shock,. How could she have done this to her son? Blair had always defended his mother, and she was doing this to him. What was she talking about, he thought, as he looked in the box, where he saw a scrapbook, and videotape. He reached for the scrapbook, but he was unsure whether he should open it or not. He felt like he was invading Blairs privacy, and he had a strong feeling that he would not like what he would see. However, Blair had told him to look, and he was going to need to know what was going on so that he could help his partner through this. Blair was not going to leave, not like this; he would not allow Naomi to destroy her sons life again.
Jim opened the scrapbook; the first page was full of pictures of a beautiful little toddler with wild curls and the trademark dark blue eyes, which even then sparkled with intelligence and humor. As he turned the pages, he felt his heart growing heavier and colder as he saw the hell, the child had gone through. The pictures were a child pornographer's dream. That little boy, with the dancing eyes was gone, and left in its place was a child with dead eyes. The scrapbook also showed Jim what had caused the death of the childs spirit. His eyes began to fill with tears, as he saw the horror of what the adults in the pictures were doing to the child. Jim dropped the book on the floor and began to sob, when he saw the picture of Blair when he was not more than five or six, being raped by a large man. Jim found himself trapped staring at the picture of Blair, and the pain on the face of his friend. He sat there with tears streaming down his face, and did not hear the footsteps coming down the hall, or the smell of cigars that always signified the arrival of his friend and captain, Simon Banks.
Simon stood outside the door, and wondered why he was here. When he had arrived at his home, planning on nothing more than just relaxing and watching t.v. ,there was a message on his machine from Sandburg, asking him to go to the loft and check on Jim. Blair had said that he was afraid Jim was going to need somebody, and Blair was not going to be there for him this time. He remembered the pain in Blairs voice when he had said, that he would understand when he arrived at the loft. Blair went on to say that if he never saw Simon again, he thanked him for all he had done. He also hoped that someday Simon would be able to think about Blair without, hating him, but for now he understood he had lost Simons respect and friendship. Simon was scared to find out what had happened and prayed that both his friends would figure this out. They had gone through so much, and the last year, had been a good one for them, until the night they had discovered Amanda and the other children.
Simon knocked on the door, but did not get a response. He knew Jim was home, his truck was parked outside. "Ellison," he shouted as he pounded on the door. With his heart in his throat, he used his key to open the door to the apartment. As he stepped in the doorway, he found himself terrified at what he might find. He stopped frozen in shock at the sight of the big detective. Jims whole body shook from the sobs that were coming from somewhere deep inside of him.
"Jim," he said softly as he crossed over to the couch, "whats going on?"
Jim did not answer, and at first Simon thought he was in a zone, but looking closer, realized that Jim was crying so hard, he was not able to respond. Without thinking Simon sat on the couch and gathered the big detective into his arms, as if he was a three foot child rather that a six-foot man.
"Shh," he murmured softly, "I need you to calm down, so we can sort this out, its okay, Jim, its okay."
Jim was still unable to respond so Simon just continued to reassure him likeJim was a child who had woken from a nightmare.
"Simon," Jim asked in a voice that sounded like it belonged to a three-foot boy, rather than a six-foot man.
"Yeah, its me," Simons said in a soft low tone, rather than the usual bellow. "Whats going on, Jim?" he asked quietly.
"Naomi," Jim replied
"God, what now?" Simon said asked tiredly
Jim handed the letter to Simon and continued to stare at the photo that was looking back up at him from the floor where he had dropped it.
"Damn that woman!" Simon snapped "What the hell is she talking about?"
Looking up from the note, he saw Jim staring at the floor,and following his gaze, he felt like he had been sucker punched in the stomach when he realized what he was looking at.
"Shit," he whispered to himself. Why would Nomi send kiddie porn pictures to her son? he thought to himself. Then with a realization that stole his breath away, he realized that the child was Blair.
"Jim?" he asked. "Where is Blair?"
"I dont know," Jim whispered, "he took off, he just threw the letter at me and took off."
Suddenly Jim looked at Simon with a look of panic on his face,
"Why are you here, Simon?" he asked quietly.
"I got a message from Blair, saying you needed me," Simon replied softly, not wanting to think about what the rest of that message meant.
"What did he say, Simon?" Jim asked quietly?.
Simon just continued to look at the pictures, and shook his head sadly.
"He just said that he thought you might need me." Simon picked up the video tape and looked at Jim
"Have you watched this?" he asked quietly" "No, it doesnt seem right to watch it," Jim said. "It feels like I would be invading his privacy even more. Besides, I really need to find him." "What else did he say on the message, Simon?"
Simon rubbed his face with his hands, and tried to figure out what to say.
"He left a message that he was afraid that you were going to need somebody, and he would not be here for you. He said that I would understand when I got here. He also said that he hoped that someday I would be able to think about him without, hating him."
"God, Simon, I have to find him."
"Where do you think he might have gone?" Simon asked.
"I dont know."
"Do you think he might have gone to meet Naomi?" Simon asked?
"Maybe, but I dont think so, the letter said 48 hours, so I think Blair would go somewhere and try to figure out a way to handle this first."
"So where do we start?"
"Well, I guess first maybe we should try to find Naomi, just to make sure that he did not go there. Besides I have a few things to say to that bitch,." Jim said a quiet and deadly voice.
"Jim, I know how angry you are, and so am I, but you need to keep it together. If you go off on her and I have to arrest you, that will make it even worse for Blair to deal with all of this."
"I know, Simon, but, man, this is so sick. I cant understand why she would do this to her son. Man, why didnt Blair trust me with this? Why did he leave?"
"What do you think you would have done if you had been in his place?" Simon asked quietly.
"I dont know," Jim said quietly, "probably the same thing he is doing - running."
" Where do we start looking.?"
"Lets drive, around while I try to think," Jim said as he got up and grabbed the keys to his truck.
"Well take my car," Simon said when they got outside."That way you can concentrate on where he might be."
Jim got in the car and closed his eyes, //Where are you Blair? // Jim tried to reach out with his hearing and listen, but could not hear anything. //Damn, Chief, why didnt you trust me enough to come to me,? Don't you know I would have helped you with this?// Jim tried to think about where his partner would have gone. All of a sudden, he got a picture in his head of Blair sitting on the ground next to a large stone.
"The cemetery, Simon," Jim said excitedly,. "He's at the cemetery."
"How do you know that?" Simon asked in a voice that was full of skepticism.
"I just know," Jim said, "but I dont think we have a lot of time."
"We just dont, hurry, Simon."
Simon quickly drove to the cemetery, which was quiet and peaceful at this time of the day. As he and Jim got out of the car, Jim started toward the back of the cemetery. Simon remembered being here a few weeks ago when they had buried Amanda.
As they got closer to Amandas grave, Jim heard his partners voice.
He stopped just out of sight of the grave and listened to his friend.
"I dont know ,Amanda, I didnt understand at first why you killed yourself, when you were finally some place safe. I guess youre smarter than I am. It never really does get any safer and it never goes away. I just wish that I could solve this without hurting the people I care about. You know, Amanda, I forgot how bad it hurts when the person who is supposed to love you more than anyone, really doesnt. I guess you know all about that, huh.? Maybe you were the brave one in all of this. You chose to end the pain, before it could touch the people around you. I dont understand how I managed to forget what my mother did, and now I am going to hurt the people I care about, no matter what I do. Damn, kid, when did life get to be so hard,? Maybe it always was?. I dont know what to do; any of the options I have will hurt Jim. You probably dont remember Jim; he was there that night when we found you and the other kids. He is this incredible man, my whole life, I had dreamed of finding my sentinel, and I actually did find him. Man, it was a hell of a ride."
Simon looked up at Jim, and noticed the tears silently falling down his face. He had tears in his eyes as well as they stood there listening to their friend.
"You know, Amanda, with Jim, I had finally found a home, maybe that's why I forgot all the things that had happened to me. We had some bad times, a couple of them were really bad, but we always worked through them. We were quite a team; both of us operating out of fear, except I couldnt even see the fear in me. Most of our friends blamed Jim for Alex and the dissertation disaster. It was both of our faults but it really didnt matter. For a while, it was bad, but somehow we always managed to work it out. I guess you could say we were family by choice. I really dont want to do this, Amanda, but I dont know that I have a choice. I cant live with my mother again, not knowing what she is, but I cant let her release this information to the press. I already embarrassed Jim and my friends enough when I said I was a fraud, what will they think now.? I dont know what to do, Amanda,. I had stopped thinking of killing myself years ago, but now I cant see anyway out of this. I cant let Jim be hurt this way, but I cant live being alone again, I just cant do it."
"You dont have to, Blair" Jim said as he and Simon came and sat next to him.
"You werent supposed to find me, Jim,. Simon, I asked you to take care of him," Blair said in an accusing tone.
"I am, Blair, but the best way to take care of him, is to help you."
"There is nothing anybody can do, you need to leave, and let me do what I have to do," Blair said quietly, wrapping his arms around his knees, and hiding his face with his hair.
"Blair, do you really think that I am going to let you kill yourself,? Don't you know how important you are to all of us?" Jim asked quietly.
Jim put his arm around his friends shoulders and pulled him close. "Its like you said, we are a family and families stick together, no matter what. Blair, you are the most important person in my life, and I am not going to let anybody, including you take that away, do you hear me?"
I dont know what else to do Jim,. I cant leave with Naomi, I just cant ! I cant live like that ever again."
With those words, any control Blair had vanished, and he broke down and started crying. Jim pulled him close and held him, and the tears he had been holding back began to fall. They sat there for a long time, just holding each other and crying. After a while Jim began to gain some control. He looked over and saw Simon looking at the angel on top of Amandas tombstone. His face showed signs of the tears that he had shed as well.
"Blair," Simon said, "where can I find Naomi"?
"I cant tell you," Blair said.
"Why, Blair?" Jim asked quietly?.
"She is still my Mom, Jim" Blair said quietly, "no matter what she has done, I still love her. I know you cant understand that, but it is how I feel."
"I do understand, Blair, I do, I would feel the same way if my Mom came back."
"I dont know what to do," Blair said, tears tears running down his face, "I cant let her destroy your life again. I guess I'll have to go with her."
"No!" both Simon and Jim said quickly.
"We'll work it out, but we are going to have to talk to her, you understand that, dont you?" Jim asked softly.
"I dont know what to do," Blair said quietly, "I have to figure out how to handle this, how can I keep her from doing this."
"You dont have to," Jim said.
"What do you mean,? I have to figure a way to stop her from doing this."
"Not you," said Jim, "we."
Blair looked into the eyes of his best friend, and then into the eyes of his boss and friend.
"Hes right, Blair," Simon said. "You are not that little boy anymore, and you are not alone. You have a lot of people who think of you as family, we will figure out a way to stop her, you are not going anywhere, and I dont ever want to hear you talk about killing yourself again. Do you understand me, young man?" Simon said in his best, "I am in charge here" voice.
Blair didnt answer and just ducked his head, covering his face with his hair.
"I asked you a question, Blair?,"Simon said sternly.
Jim looked at Simon and started to say something but the look that Simon gave him, stopped the words before they came out. Jim found himself feeling like a boy who had been called to the principals office.
"I am waiting for an answer, Blair," Simon said gruffly.
Blair looked at the large man, and found that despite the sternness in his tone, the compassion and acceptance in his eyes was easily seen.
"Yes, sir," he said quietly.
"Good," Simon replied.
All three sat there for a little while; Blair seeming to need the comfort that was offered by Jim continuing to hold him. Finally Simon turned and looked at Blair.
"Blair, look at me, son," Simon said softly.
Blair looked at him; Simon cursed Naomi in his mind for what she had done to the incredible person that was Blair Sandburg.
"You are not alone here, kid,. You will never be alone again. We will figure this out together, we are your family now, and I will not allow anybody to tear that apart. I want you to tell me where Naomi is. I will do everything I can to stop her without arresting her, but I cant just ignore this."
Blair was quiet for a while, but Jim could feel the tremors that were continuing to run through the younger mans body.
"Blair, you need to let us help you," he said.
I will tell you, but only if you promise that you will not talk to her, that you will let Simon and the rest of Major Crimes deal with it," Blair said quietly.
"Why?" Jim asked.
"Because I dont want you to lose your temper and do something that I know you want to do. That would mean she has won, promise me if I tell Simon, you'll stay out of it," Blair whispered.
Jim looked away from Blair, his jaw clenched so tightly Simon wondered if his would break his teeth.
"Okay," Jim said quietly, "if that's the way you want it".
Simon got up from the ground, and reached out his hand to pull Jim up. "Lets get you guys home," he said quietly.
Jim helped Blair up and kept his arm around him as they headed to Simons car.
Once back at the loft, Blair gave Simon a piece of paper with an address on it.
"She should be there tomorrow morning," he said quietly.
Simon nodded, and pulled the younger man into a hug. "I'll take care of it"; he said softly, letting himself out of the apartment.
Blair went and sat down on the couch, and noticed the photo albums where Jim had left them.
"Jim, would you build a fire for me please?" Blair asked the big man.
"Sure, you cold?" Jim asked, unconsciously monitoring his friend's vital signs.
"Im fine,Jim, quit checking my temperature and blood pressure," Blair said with a small smile.
"I want to get rid of this stuff," he added.
Jim reached over and took the box from his friend.
"Not yet, Blair," he said sadly. "We need to keep this in case we need evidence to discourage your mother."
Blair looked at him, and saw both the compassion and anger in his friends eyes.
"Im sorry," he said quietly. "I wasnt thinking."
"Its okay,dont apologize for it. Dont you ever apologize again for any of this. This is not your doing. How about I box them up, and put them in the storage container for now, and then tomorrow we can put them in a safety deposit box."
"Okay," Blair said quietly, and watched as Jim packed up the box.
"Ill be right back, okay?" Jim said as he left the apartment.
"When Jim returned after a few minutes, Blair was still sitting on the couch, with a look of sadness on his face, that pierced Jims heart. Jim went over and sat next to his partner.
"How ya doing, buddy?" he asked quietly
"God, Jim, I cant believe how bad this hurts, I'm an adult, she shouldn't have this much power over me."
"Parents always have the power to be a source of strength, or a source of pain, no matter how old the child is. It's okay to feel hurt by this, this is some major shit, that she is putting you through again. It was bad enough to do it to you when you were a child, but she is just repeating it by dredging it all up again."
"Jim, I am so sorry about the dissertation, I..."
Jim reached over and pulled Blair closer to him, "it doesnt matter Blair, I am not the one she hurt, this is not about me, it never was. I am sorry that I ever let it be about me. The dissertation, and all of this, is about you, and what was done to you, so please don't apologize for any of this, it wasn't your fault, do you hear me.?"
Jim felt Blairs body begin to shake, and smelled the tears, before he saw them sliding down Blair's face. "Aw, Blair, its going to be okay. She will not hurt you again. You have nothing to feel sorry for or ashamed of, this is about her, okay?"
Blair started crying in earnest, and Jim tucked the curly head under his chin, and pulled the soft blanket that was laying over the back of the couch over his friend. Jim just sat there and held his friend close, and felt him slide into sleep. Jim felt himself sliding into sleep himself, lulled by the sound of his partners heartbeat.
Jim woke up when he heard the elevator start, and carefully eased himself out from under Blair. Blair murmured in his sleep, and Jim soothed him quietly, until he was back asleep. As he headed to the door, he smelled the cigars that indicated Simon was coming up. Jim opened the door, and met Simon at the door. He led him into the kitchen, and put a pot of coffee on.
"How is Blair, doing"? Simon asked quietly,
"He's been asleep for quite a while. So have I, what time is it, anyway.?"
"It's about 9:30. Rafe, Henri and I went to see Naomi this morning."
"How did it go?" asked Jim as he reached up to get the coffee cups.
"Well, it was pretty ugly, and I told Rafe and Henri, to be selective about what they told Blair. She left this morning, and was told that if she made any attempt to contact Blair, she would be arrested for child endangerment, sexual abuse of a minor, and extortion."
"The child endangerment,and abuse charges wouldnt stick now."
"I know that," but she doesnt. "Simon said with a devious look on his face. " She said a lot of really negative things, and some really hateful things. Blair was right in not allowing you to come along. It took both Rafe and Henri to keep me from going off on her, and I dont think we would have been able to stop you from doing the same or worse.."
"Probably not, she'd better stay away, I honestly want to kill her right now." Jim started to pour another cup of coffee,. "Blairs waking up," he said.
Simon had a hard time keeping a smile off his face as he saw his young detective come alert. Blairs curls were all over the place, and sticking up in places. His eyes were still swollen from the previous evenings tears, and he looked all of ten years old. Blair looked around in confusion before the memory of the night before came rushing back.
Jim cursed Naomi in his head, when he saw the pain and anguish come back into his friends eyes.
"Hey, sleepyhead, I brought you some coffee" he said as he sat down on the couch next to Blair.
"Simon," Blair said, "did you ?"
"She left Cascade this morning, Blair, and she will not be back. I told her I would arrest her for extortion if she got in contact with you, before you wanted to see her. Its over, kid."
"I hope so but for how long,? What if she comes back."
"We'll worry about that together, if and when it happens,", Jim said quietly, "but for now we'll go on with our lives, and work through what you had to deal with in your life. When you're ready, we'll find a therapist to help you. For now we'll drink our coffee, and then get on with the rest of our lives, the way we always have together.