Warnings, Kid Fic High sap content. The child in this story is real including her name but we call her Sigh. This story is pretty much how J reacted the first time he saw her. She is now our daughter, and is definitely a red haired imp. J has definitely proven that the song "Tough Little Boys" is very true.
Tough Little Boys
Blair grabbed his partners phone, while juggling a stack of folders. "Detective Ellisons desk. Detective Sandburg speaking."
"Is Detective Ellison available," a smooth cultured voice asked.
"I'm sorry, he's in a meeting. May I take a message for him?"
"Yes, please, my name is Gavin Campbell and I am a barrister with Campbell, Mason and Moore barristers. I need to speak to Detective Ellison as soon as possible. Tell him it is regarding Katelyn McDonald."
"Okay, I'll give him the message."
"Please tell him it is imperative that I speak to him as soon as possible".
"I'll do that," Blair assured him. He hung up the phone and wondered what was going on.
An hour later, Jim walked into the bullpen, looking exhausted.
"Have fun with the DA?" Blair smirked.
"Someday, rookie, you'll have learned enough that they might ask you to testify," Jim teased.
"Oh, man, I cant wait," Blair, replied.
"So did you find anything on the Morrison trace?"
"No, man, he must have disappeared into thin air. Oh, you got a message from a law firm. They said that it had something to do with a Katelyn McDonald. Said they need to talk to you as soon as possible. Had an overseas exchange, sounded Scottish."
"Must be my cousin, Katelyn, I think she married somebody from Scotland. Wonder why someone is calling about her. I haven't seen her since I was in elementary school."
"So why don't you give him a call?"
"I'll have to wait until later tonight; they won't be open now. I'll call from the loft."
At ten p.m., Jim called the law firm and asked for Mr. Campbell.
"Mr. Ellison, thanks for returning my call."
The message was that you needed to talk to me about Katelyn McDonald."
"Mr. Ellison, As you know your cousin Katelyn and her husband were killed in an auto accident last week. ~Katelyn is dead~ Jim closed his eyes, feeling a stab in his heart as he remembered his cousin and the fun they'd had.
"Oh God," Jim whispered quietly
"I'm sorry, sir, I thought you had been notified."
"No, I hadn't heard. I lost touch with her years ago".
"Well, we are the firm that is managing your cousin's estate and she has made you the beneficiary of her estate under certain conditions."
"What are you trying to tell me, Mr. Cambell?"
"Well, did you know that Katelyn had a daughter?" Cambell enquired.
"No, as I said I have not talked to my cousin for many years."
"Katelyn had a four-year-old daughter named Seorlaid. In her will, she listed you as the guardian ad litem."
"What?" Jim exclaimed. "Why?"
Blair was looking over some case files, when he heard the sadness in his Sentinels voice.
"I am not sure why," the lawyer replied. "I do have a letter here for you that she had written several years ago to you. If you like, I can fax the letter to you and then you can call me back later today or tomorrow if you wish."
"Thank you, our fax number is 589-648-8739, I will call you soon."
Jim hung up, not sure how he felt. He remembered the good times that he and his cousin had shared before his Mom left. He barely remembered his Aunt Bridget but somehow Katelyn had left an indelible memory on him. Even twenty-five years later, he could still remember her fiery red hair and green eyes, and how much trouble the two of them could get into.
Blair became concerned by the look on his friend's face, and had started to ask him a question when he heard the fax machine come on. Jim grabbed the fax and sat down on the couch to read it. As he looked at the paper, he noticed the picture of the little girl. As he stared at her face, it felt like she was talking to him, then nothing.
"C'mon back, Jim," Blair coaxed in a quiet voice, "whatever it is, we'll deal with it. It's okay. I'm here."
Jim could hear the voice calling him as though he was a long distance away. He tried to find his way back but felt trapped.
Blair was getting anxious. He could not remember when he had seen Jim go this deep. He continued to talk to him while rubbing small circles on his back. He could see the picture of the girl on the fax but could not read any of the information. Whatever had happened, it had been a shock to his partner.
It took about ten minutes before Jim came out of the zone.
"Hey, big guy, what's going on? I haven't seen you this deep in a long time. What do you think you zoned on?"
"Memories, I guess," Jim replied softly.
"Memories of what?"
"A time in my life where everything was good," Jim answered. "Have I ever told you about my cousin, Katelyn?"
"No, I dont think so."
"She was my cousin on my Mom's side. She was about two years younger than Steven was and used to follow me around asking questions and she bounced a lot. When I imagine you as a child, there are many similarities between the two of you."
"Man, she was so funny, she could do these imitations of my folks and her mother that were right on. I really missed her after my Mom left. When I asked my dad, he said that her Mom would not let her come over anymore. I knew that her Mom did not like my Dad and was always talking to my Mom about how she could do so much better. I kind of forgot about her most of the time. I knew she had gotten married to a man in Scotland. That was the last I had heard of her until today."
"Was that what the lawyer had called about?"
"Yeah, she and her husband died in a car accident last week and she left me something."
"What do you think she left you?" Blair queried.
"Her daughter," Jim said sadly.
"What?" Blair asked, the shock in his voice evident.
"Yeah. I know, she made a really bad pick here."
"No, she didn't," Blair replied forcefully, "you'd be a great Dad."
"I don't understand why she chose me; you think there would be better choices. I guess she wrote a letter a few years ago, which is what the lawyer faxed to me."
"Well, I'll leave you alone while you read it."
"You don't have to do that. Whatever it is, you are my family now."
"Okay, as long as you are sure."
Jim picked up the fax off the floor and passed the one with the picture of the girl over to Blair.
"Man, she is a cute little thing," Blair said. Even in a faxed copy of the photo, her eyes seem to dance all over the place.
If you are reading this, it means that I have died, and left you my most precious belonging. I know this must be a shock and you may even be angry with me since I dropped out of your life. I wanted to stay in touch with you but after Aunt Grace disappeared, my Mom refused to let me have anything to do with your family. I think she always blamed your Father for her disappearance even though she knew Aunt Grace had left of her own accord. I do not know if your mom ever came back but I doubt it. She was too much like my own Mom. I guess twins are really alike. Anyway, by the time, I was old enough to contact you on my own you were MIA, and when you came back, I felt like too much time had passed and you really would not want to see me. I know most of this was my fear and not you but it was what I felt at the time. That was a hard time for me as my Mom got sick right after that and she would have never forgiven me if I had reacquainted myself with you. I got married soon after she died to a wonderful man who loves me very much, he is well known in Scotland as a politician, but still was just a regular person. I sent your Dad an invitation and he sent us a lovely gift, but stated he would not be able to attend. Anyway, I have been living in Scotland since then in a beautiful home in Edinburgh, and have a home in the Highlands. We had a beautiful little girl named Seorlaid, who is now two years old. Eric's parents died two months ago and there is nobody else to watch over my daughter now, except for some elderly distant relatives AZ, who have never met her, or if your mother is still around and will find out about her and try to get custody. I don't want that to happen to her, Jim. I know that you may not want to raise her as your own but I hope that you will at least consider watching out for her and try to find her a good home if the need arises, and get to know her. I would like her to get to know her Uncle Jim; I have already told her stories about the Uncle that always knew what was for dinner or when Sally was baking cookies. I dont want her to be alone, with only a lawyer who remembers her mama. I want her to be loved for who she is not for who her father was. If money is an issue, I do have a trust fund for her that came from my Mother, if somebody manages it well, it should provide for her future and living costs if somebody needs the money to help raise her.
I hope you are doing well and know that I have always missed you and always remembered you with happiness. I hope that you always remember me as somebody who loved you.
"Wow!" Blair sighed, "she sounded like she really missed you."
"I missed her too; I wondered what had happened to her. I knew she had married and I found out a few years ago she had moved to Scotland but I did not know where. Nobody seemed to know. My Dad said he had not seen her since my Mom left. He said she had gotten married but did not know her married name. I was afraid to push too much as there was so much anger towards my mother. I always said that she left because of my Dad but I just wanted to make him the bad guy rather than admit my mother left because she did not want to be part of our family."
"So what do you want to do?" Blair asked.
"I don't know," Jim sighed. "I am going to have to think about it for a while. I will fax the lawyer and let him know I need a couple of days to think about it and will let him know."
"Whatever you decide, Jim, I will do anything I can to help."
"Thanks, Chief, I think I am going to take a walk and then go to bed."
"Okay, I am turning in as well, good night."
Blair fell asleep before Jim got back and they had very little time to talk the next day. Jim was scheduled to be in court again, and Blair was still working on the Morrison trace. Blair was still at work when Jim called to tell him he would pick up Chinese on the way home.
An hour later, Blair arrived home to find Jim sitting on the floor of the living room looking at the picture of Sigh.
"Hey, buddy, how ya doing?" Blair said softly.
"I want her, Blair," he said quietly. "I really want to raise her. I never thought I wanted a child but I do."
"Well, whatever you want to do, I will be there."
Jim looked up at Blair and his eyes were shiny with unshed tears.
"God, Blair, I'm afraid, not only of what could happen to our friendship but also whether or not I have the ability to be a good father. I know that many times I have hurt you and other people because I am so scared to let anybody get too close. God, what if I turn out like my father?"
Blair sat down by him and turned his head toward him
"Why do you feel that way being a father to Sigh would change our friendship?" he asked quietly.
Blair did not say anything else; he just sat and waited for his partner to talk. He had the feeling that Jim needed to talk about many things, but he knew if he pushed, Jim would just shut down.
When Jim did start to talk, he spoke very quietly. "Before I met you and my senses were off line, I was not a person that people wanted to know. They thought I was cold and unfeeling, and basically, a pain in the ass they had to put up with, and they were right. What they were wrong on was the reason. Everybody thought that I felt like I was better than they were; Blair, I have been scared my whole life and that is how I protected myself. I learned very young that if you got close to people and cared about them, they would hurt you. What if I treat our child this way? Look at how bad I have hurt you over the years. I don't want to lose our friendship, you are my brother in more ways than Steven. I don't want to screw this up." He sighed and rested his head in his hands. Moreover, to his mortification, began to cry and quickly got up and went out to the balcony.
Blair came out and stood next to him without saying anything until Jim began to regain control of his emotions.
"I am so proud of you, Jim, and I know that you will be a wonderful parent."
"Why would you be proud of me?" Jim asked, his voice still hitching at times
"I know how hard it is for you to talk about this stuff and I am honored that you would share it with me. You will never be like your father and you will not treat your child with anything but love. Besides, you will have Uncle Blair here to help with that. I will always be there to listen if things are hard and I won't push if you don't want to talk."
Jim looked at him with his eyebrow raised and obvious amusement in his eyes.
"Okay, okay, I will try not to push, but if it is getting in the way of your relationship with this little girl, I will kick your ass to get you back in line."
"You probably would," Jim retorted, as a small smile began to spread on his face.
"Oh, you can count on it," Blair replied. "Now I don't know about you but I am ready for that Chinese food you got. I hope you remembered to get the right kind."
"Yes, I got your vegetable whatever. Total waste of good Chinese food to have it always be vegetable. Man, you are not going to turn my niece somebody who eats weird food."
"For all you know, man, her favorite food may be Haggis."
Jim shuddered. "Even I don't think I could handle Haggis."
Later that night, Jim lay on his bed, looking up through the skylight. His mind was racing with both hopes and fears. He listened to the sounds of Blair settling into his room for the night. He smiled as he heard the words coming from below.
"It's all good," Blair whispered as they drifted off to sleep. "Your guide has spoken."
The next morning they were up early to call the lawyer in Edinburgh and arrange to fly over there. It would take some time before they got all of the appropriate paperwork done and the home inspections completed and sent to the lawyer before the Scottish courts would allow them to adopt her and allow them to bring the child back with them to America. There was also a hold up in getting Jim's passport renewed. In total, it had taken almost six weeks before they were able to leave for Scotland. They had wanted to talk to her on the phone but the case manager Ms. Hagen felt that it would be to confusing for Sigh due to her young age, and not really understanding exactly what was happening. The lawyer informed them that the girl would be staying in an orphanage in Edinburgh and they would go directly there to meet with her case manager and meet Sigh for the first time. They had planned to stay for a few days to help her adjust to them and allow her time to visit her home again if she wanted.
During this time, they had worked out an agreement with the owners of the loft next door to use the small storage room that both units shared. They had knocked the wall out and created a perfect room for the child. They had also added a window and a window seat so that there was plenty of light. The room looked out over the park behind the loft, and was close enough to Blair's room that he could hear her at night if Jim was not there.
They had then set up the room for her. They decorated the room in soothing, calm earth tones and one wall held bookshelves filled with stuffed animals, art supplies and storybooks. Next to the shelf was a comfortable rocking chair and a lamp that flooded the room with soft light. Blair had gotten lucky one day and had found a child's size antique canopy bed at a garage sale. Jim had spent hours stripping the green paint someone had used and sanding it so that it looked almost like glass. They had then applied a beautiful cherry finish. They then found a beautiful quilt with pictures of baby animals on it, and the canopy was a mixture of pale green and blue hues. Blair had gotten a friend of his to do a picture to hang on the wall over the bed. It had a baby wolf and a baby panther.
Finally, the day arrived and Megan picked them up to take to the airport.
"Up all night?" she asked, smiling
"Yeah," Blair said, while Jim smiled sheepishly.
"Well, this is a big step for both of you. Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked quietly.
"Yes!" Jim said quickly as if he was afraid that this opportunity would disappear before his eyes.
Thirteen hours later they were approaching the small orphanage where Sigh was staying. As they were ushered into a small waiting room by a young girl, she smiled as she asked them to wait and told them Ms. Hagen would be with them soon. Jim both alternated between sitting and pacing the room while Blair tried hard not to smile at his usually stoic partner.
"Chill, man, you are going to give yourself a heart attack if you keep this up."
"Am I doing the right thing?" Jim asked, looking at Blair with a look of panic on his face. "What if I suck at it?"
"We have been over this a thousand times, you will not suck at it, I promise."
"I hope so," Jim sighed, "Man, I hope so."
"Hey, listen to me, I am always right, after all, I am the guide here and we all know the guide is the brains of this relationship."
"Yeah, right," Jim snorted.
"Hello, gentlemen, I am Ms. Hagen, I apologize for keeping you waiting, but I had a six year old in crisis, her favorite shoes were missing, and no others would do. I guess that you will probably experience some of that yourself. One thing that is constant about children is nothing is constant. Well, if you follow me, we will go to my office first to sign some paperwork and I'll fill you in on the newest member of your family."
Leading them to a small office that was decorated with hundreds of children's drawings, she asked them to be seated. After asking them if they wanted coffee or tea, which they declined, she smiled, and said, "Well, let's get started then. Mr. Ellison, as per your request we have added Mr. Sandburg as co-guardian. You will both have the same rights and responsibilities as her adoptive parents."
Blair looked at Jim with shock on his face. "Jim?"
"I'm sorry, Blair, I should have told you, I honestly just forgot. When you said you would be around to help and wanted to be part of her life, I wanted her to have the security of knowing that you were as much a member of her family as I am. If you don't want this, we can change it."
"No, I don't want to change it. I 'm honored that you would want that," Blair whispered tears filling his eyes.
"Well, gentlemen, let's get started. As you know Seorlaid or Sigh, which is what she is usually called, is four years old. The adoption has been approved by the Scottish courts since that is what her parents wanted. However, she will continue to be a dual citizen and maintain her Scottish citizenship. The adoption however is recognized in the United States, and all you will need to do is complete the appropriate paperwork once you arrive home. If you like, you can give our number to your lawyer and we can work directly with him."
Blair smiled and Jim let out a sigh of relief.
"She is experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," Ms Hagen continued. "She has nightmares sometimes, and also wets the bed. She is frightened of people leaving, as she is afraid that they will not come back. Right now, she has pretty much blocked out the accident and has asked very little about her parents. She knows they are dead but due to her age, it is not a clear concept for her. We are not sure how much she really remembers about that night, if anything. She was in the car when the accident happened. She was strapped into a car seat and when the officers got to the scene, she was sleeping. They figured she had been there for most of the night."
"Oh, my God!" Blair said his anguish very clear in his voice, "she could have seen her parents die."
"Yes, she could have and probably did," the social worker replied. "I do believe that with a lot of love and patience, she will get through this. However, it may take some time. Do you think you can handle all of this? If you cant, that is understandable but we need to know that now. I dont want her to be placed in your home and start to attach to you and you decide it is too much for you to handle."
"We can handle it," Jim said confidently.
"Well, how about we go upstairs to the playroom so you can meet the newest member of your family?"
Jim and Blair stared through the one-way mirror and they immediately fell in love with the little girl in the other room.
"God, Blair, she is beautiful. Look at that hair."
Blair smiled as he looked at the little angel coloring at a small table. Beautiful green eyes, freckles, and long red hair that was just as curly as his.
"Well, let's go meet our angel," he replied and he and Jim walked into the playroom.
"Good morning, Sigh, "Ms. Hagen said as they walked over to the table, "how are you doing this morning?"
Sigh looked up and smiled. "I be good," she giggled, her accent making the words sound like music.
"I have two people who came a very long way to meet you," Ms. Hagen said as she smiled down at the girl. "This is your Uncle Jim Ellison and Mr. Sandburg. Do you think you could say hello to them?"
Seorlaid looked over at the men; she got up and walked over to both of them. Jim and Blair both knelt down so that they were on the same level as the little girl.
"Hi, do you want to color with me?" she asked shyly.
"I would love to color with you," Blair said, smiling at her. "What are you coloring?"
"I like to color rainbows and butterflies," she smiled.
"Well then, let's go make a new picture together," Blair said, smiling gently at the girl.
Sigh smiled at Jim. "What do you like to color?" she asked him.
Jim smiled. "I haven't colored for a very long time; do you think you can teach me?"
"You don't color?" she scowled with her hands on her hips, shaking her head back and forth. "Not good, not good at all. You must color. It is the law. My Mommy said so!" she said, emphatically nodding her head, with her red curls bouncing around her head. "Come on, I will teach you how to make beautiful pictures."
Jim smiled at her, and let her lead him to the table.
After about ten minutes in which Sigh instructed the six-foot Sentinel on the correct way to color a butterfly, she finally decided that he was not a good colorer.
She looked up into his blue eyes. "Are you going to take me home with you and take care of me, and be my new daddies?" she asked quietly. "My mommy told me if anything ever happened to her that Uncle Jimmy would take care of me and be my new daddy. She didn't say anything about you," she said, looking at Blair, but she would like you, I know she would. I promise I will be very good; I don't want to stay here."
Jim could see the tears welling up in those beautiful green eyes.
"Yes, we are going to take you home," he said quietly, reaching out gently and wiping the tears from her eyes. "And we want to take care of you. Do you think that would be okay?"
"Will you let me color?" she asked, "and tuck me in at night and tell me lots of stories?"
"Yes, we'll let you color all you want, we even have a lot of art supplies already and we will get anything else you need to make beautiful pictures to put all around our house, and Blair is a great storyteller. I am not so good at that but maybe you can teach me, about how to tuck you in the right way. We've made a room that is just for you and full of books and toys and will get you anything else that you might want."
She looked at them both with a serious expression on her face. After a couple of minutes, she seemed to be satisfied with what she saw. "Okay", she said. "You can be my new daddies," and grinned at them.
"Well, then, I guess we should go home, huh?" Blair said with a grin on his face.
"Works for me," replied Sigh, as she got up and rushed over to the door before either Jim or Blair had stood up from the table.
"Well, come on," she said. "I have waited for a new family forever," she said as she bounced up and down.
At that point, Jim's future was inscribed in stone. He instantly fell in love with the freckled face, the small gap in her teeth, and the Scottish accent. He was totally captivated, and knew that he would spend the rest of his life protecting his family and tribe that now included the freckle faced imp who had just stolen his heart.
He looked at Blair and smiled at him, his eyes filled with tears of happiness and with a look of hope and contentment, that Blair had never seen before.
"I have a feeling that your tough guy image just went out the door," Blair laughed and they walked out the door with their little girl. As they felt her putting one small hand into each of theirs, they knew they had just taken on the most important job in their life: being daddies.
Tough Little Boys
(Don Sampson/Harley Allen)
Well I never once
Backed down from a punch
Well I'd take it square on the chin
Well I found out fast
A bully's just that
You've got to stand up to him
So I didn't cry when I got a black eye
As bad as it hurt, I just grinned
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.
Scared me to death
When you took your first steps
And I'd fall every time you fell down
Your first day of school, I cried like a fool
And I followed your school bus to town
Well I didn't cry, when Old Yeller died
At least not in front of my friends
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again
Well I'm a grown man
And as strong as I am
Sometimes its hard to believe
That one little girl, with little blonde curls
Could totally terrify me.
Well I didn't cry, when Old Yeller died
At least not in front of my friends
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again