SEEING WITH THE HEART
DISCLAIMER: Jim and Blair are the property of Petfly and Paramount. This story was written for my own and others' enjoyment. No money has been paid and no copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I've been mulling over this themefic for some time now, wondering just where I could send Blair, and what he would do. And I admit that it saddened me somewhat to finalize the partnership, but how long really, could Blair live in Jim's spare room? Then it came to me, what better place to send him than downunder to me! <g> Hope you like this, Carol.
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"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Set immediately post-TSbyBS.
An October 2003 themefic for CarolROI.
Jim stared in surprise at the boxes cluttering the living room when he came downstairs. "What's all this, Chief? You having a rummage sale?"
Blair looked up from fastening a box with tape, his expression startled and a little wary. He placed the tape and box cutters on the coffee table, then shook his head. "No. I, um, I did some thinking last night about Simon's offer."
Dread struck Jim like a physical blow to the gut. "I heard you pacing half the night. So, what did you come up with?" He wasn't entirely sure no, he was certain he didn't want to hear Blair's reply.
"I'm leaving," Blair said simply.
Jim's eyes widened and he felt the blood rush to his feet, leaving him feeling dazed and shaky. "Why? Because you don't want to be a cop? That's not a problem. We can work something else out "
Blair held up a hand to halt the flow of words. "Wait, please. Jim, let me try to explain, okay?" When Jim nodded, he went on. "I told you once that giving up all of this would be like jumping off the roller coaster and climbing back on the merry go round, and it would be - "
"Then why - "
"Let me finish." Blair began to pace. "It would be," he repeated, "but this is your life, not mine. Having a badge and a gun and a license to shoot people I don't know that I could do that. The adrenaline, that's been fine to now, kind of exciting, because you've always been there to protect me, to rescue me from all the crazies."
"I still would be," Jim interjected.
"This isn't what my life was supposed to be," Blair said firmly. He picked up a folder from the coffee table - his thesis - "This is was my life."
Blair shook his head vehemently. "Let's not go there again. It's over." He walked over and stood in front of Jim, his eyes glistening with tears but his shoulders squared and straight - determination oozing from him. "You don't need me anymore. You haven't zoned in over a year. I can't remember the last time I had to guide you in using your senses "
"Because you've been there beside me."
"No, because you're okay now. Together we figured out the bits and pieces of this sentinel thing, made it work. Now it's time for you to get on with doing your job, and time for me to find out where my life begins from here on. Its what I want."
"You said once it was about friendship," Jim said quietly.
Blair reached up and gripped Jim's shoulders with surprising strength. "And it still is. I mean, I'll stay in touch. Any problems, anything you need to know, I'll just be a phone call away."
Jim shrugged Blair's hands off and strode to the window. He stared out unseeing at the horizon, for long moments before speaking again. "So this is it, huh? You've done your bit, so you're moving on."
"If you want to put it like that, yeah," Blair replied in resignation. He stepped up behind his partner. "Look, Jim, the sentinel thing is over, for me, at least. It's time for us both to get on with our lives. What happens if you meet someone? I mean how long do you think your wife would be happy having me living in the spare room? I mean, Carolyn hated me being here, and she was your ex."
"She didn't hate you, Chief," Jim said automatically. "You just annoyed her a little."
"Yeah, like a snake annoys a rat," Blair muttered. "Jim Jim, look at me." Jim did as he asked. Blair sighed and scrubbed a hand through his unruly curls, loosening several strands from his ponytail in the process. "I need to figure out what to do with my life now and you need to get on with yours. You've got these incredible senses, use them to make a difference. You don't need me for that any more."
"Where are you going to go?"
Blair shrugged. "I haven't quite figured that out yet. Megan told me once that I should check out Australia - the far north - Uluru, The Olgas. She has a friend," he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, "who works with the Aboriginal tribes there. He said he'd try to get permission for some of the elders to talk to me, about the Dreamtime, their beliefs and cultural history. It would be a great opportunity for me." He smiled; excitement at the prospect already shining in his eyes.
Jim nodded, a part of him shriveling up inside at the finality of Blair's words. "It sounds like your mind's already made up. When do you plan on leaving?"
"Well, it'll be a couple of weeks, before I know for sure, but if not, I'll find something else. I need this, Jim." He waved a hand at the tribal mask that sat on the floor, too large for any box. "This is who I am." He walked back over and picked up the packing tape, then stared for a moment at the paltry collection of boxes; his life packed up in a matter of hours. "You'd think after four years I'd have a little more to show for my being here."
"You have," Jim said softly. "Friendship." With that, he pushed past Blair and strode back up the stairs to the loft.
Jim lay on his bed and stared up at the ceiling, his sight automatically dialing up to take in the even brush strokes and the patches faded by sunlight.
He thought back to that fateful first day in Blair's office, when the grad student had offered what appeared to be at the time, a simple deal. Blair would study Jim's sentinel abilities, committing to paper the secret Jim had buried for so long, and in return, teach Jim how to use his hyperactive senses to his benefit.
It had come to be so much more than that. The basic quid pro quo they had both envisaged at the beginning had never really eventuated. Blair's dissertation and research often had to take a back seat to the more pressing demands of Jim's job. His guide's knowledge, limited though it was on the subject of sentinels and his innate gift of being able to think outside the square when it came to Jim's senses had become invaluable. The grad student's seemingly inborn ability to get in the firing line of any crazy or perp in Cascade with a chip on his shoulder, meant that he had been hauled over the carpet on numerous occasions for his sometimes unexplainable absences from the university.
Blair had taken it all in his stride, bouncing back from heartaches over lost loves, the horrifying deaths of friends and strangers alike, injuries and his own death at the hands of an enraged sentinel with a grudge. Even the worst of it all, the loss of Jim's faith and belief in him, the fracturing of their friendship and bond as Sentinel and Shaman of the great city, had been dealt with, mourned over, then put aside, with Blair returning faithfully to his sentinel's side. Like Like what? Jim thought now, some kind of obedient puppy?
Blair was right. They both needed to move on. Blair, especially, deserved the chance to live the life he had abandoned in Jim's favor, from the time he said no to Eli Stoddard and set in motion what had become routine and expected to them both; that he would put Jim's needs first, always before his own.
He could hear Blair moving around downstairs, the scrape of a dining room chair against the hardwood floor. Blair's laptop computer powered up and after a moment, came the soft clicking of computer keys, the rustling of pages being turned in a book, and above it all, the soothing cadence of his guide's heartbeat.
Resolutely, Jim dialed down his hearing, until all that was discernible was the sound of his own breathing and the rustle of the bedclothes on which he lay. His decision made, his conscience assuaged, he drifted to sleep.
"You got everything, Chief?" Jim hefted Blair's suitcase in one hand and fished in his pocket for his truck keys with the other.
Blair stopped in the middle of the living room, a look of intense concentration creasing his forehead. "Yeah, I think so." He performed a slow full circle, his eyes taking a final look at the place that had been home to him for so long. Finally he nodded and walked to the door, stooping to pick up his backpack from the floor. "I'm going to miss this place," he said softly.
"There's always a spare bed if you want to come back for a visit," Jim replied. He dropped the suitcase with a thud when he was suddenly enveloped in a bear hug from his friend.
"I'm gonna miss *you*," Blair whispered hoarsely in his ear.
Jim hugged his guide tightly to him, reaching up to tousle the wild curls. "Ditto, Chief." He pulled back and waggled a finger. "I am not, however going to miss your typing at two in the morning, your never-ending and bottomless font of obscure information, your algae shakes or the hair in the bathroom drain." Grinning, he pushed Blair in front of him and pulled shut the front door.
"You make sure you stay out of trouble down there, Chief," he admonished as Blair pulled a wry face at the out of order sign on the elevator and headed for the stairs.
"Who, me?" Blair asked in mock indignation as he clattered down the first flight.
"You have a reputation to uphold," Jim continued. "Remember, you're the Shaman of the Great City."
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