Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Drama

Angst, warm fuzzies, even a little humor...

A Moment's Loss
by Becky
January 1998

Jim winced as the loft door slammed shut with a force hard enough to rattle the balcony windows. Well, that was dumb, Ellison. Real intelligent. Falling back onto the couch, he dropped his head in his hands and sighed. He couldn't even remember how the argument started. Probably some inane comment by one of them that got taken wrong, but which quickly escalated into a shouting match, ending in Jim yelling those fatal words.

"Why are you still around here anyway, Sandburg?!? I thought you had everything you needed for your dissertation. What good is it for me to put up with you and your mess?!?"

Oh, yeah, real smart. Genius.

Two seconds into the loud silence that followed, Jim's brain had finally caught up with his mouth and he realized what he'd said. But by then it had been too late. Blair had gone from red to white and back to red in moments, his mouth hanging open, then snapping shut. Jim had reached out, but Blair had shoved him away and whirled toward the door, storming out, barely remembering to grab his backpack, but purposely dropping his house key on the ground, his intent clear. If Jim wanted him out, he'd be out.

And then he was gone. Even now, Jim could hear Blair's car starting up and pulling out and tearing down the road in the early morning sunshine. For once, it was working properly and it took Blair away from the loft. Away from Jim.

Damn.

***********************************

Blair marched into his office and shoved the door shut with one foot, dropping his backpack on his desk. He paced around the office, absently shoving books and papers around on the shelves, muttering darkly under his breath. Sure, he'd been pre-occupied lately. He did have other stuff to do besides Jim's police work. And it wasn't like Jim could claim that he'd never been pre-occupied. The man got distracted by things no one else could hear or see on a daily basis. No, that wasn't fair. That was the Sentinel part of Jim, the part that was always looking for hidden danger. And Jim had been stressed lately about their current case.

But that still doesn't give him an excuse for taking it out on me! I've given up half my life for him. Doesn't he get that yet? That man is so, so, so.... Unable to find the right words to give proper vent to his feelings of hurt and anger, he growled and shoved both hands into his hair, holding onto his head. Damn, I hate this. I can't go to class like this. I can't teach in this frame of mind. He dropped into a lotus position on the floor, forcing himself to breathe deeply, looking for some inner peace to get him through the morning.

And, eventually, he found it. But it didn't make the hurt inside go away.

***********************************

Jim tapped at Blair's office door, but no one answered. He tried the knob, but it was locked. After a moment's hesitation, he dug out his keys and rifled through them to find the copy of Blair's office key that he had given him several months ago. 'In case you need to get in sometime when I'm not there. Wouldn't want you to have to hang out in the hallways distracting co-eds or anything.' Jim had to smile again at the memory of the teasing in Blair's voice that day. But the smile faded when he remembered their more recent argument of that morning. He pushed open the now unlocked door and stepped inside.

"Blair?"

No one answered. His senses told him that no one was inside, but there were times he still didn't believe them. He spotted Blair's open backpack on his desk, papers spilling out of it, emptier than it looked this morning. Probably had to take some books out for a class or something. He looked up at the corkboard above Blair's desk, finding Blair's teaching schedule. Finding the room number, he left the small office. Time to apologize to his partner. If he would let him. And after what I said this morning, I wouldn't blame him if he refused.

***********************************

Jim slipped inside the doors of the large auditorium-style classroom easily, his eyes automatically adjusting to the darkness of the room. He couldn't see Blair anywhere, but he heard his voice at the front of the room, stopping in mid-sentence.

"Whoever came in, please pull shut the door so we can see the slides. Thank you."

Jim did so and found a seat at the back row, smiling politely at the heads that had swivelled to look at him when he entered. Then he pointedly turned his attention to Blair's lecture. He wasn't quite sure at first what it was about, but he was content to listen to his partner's voice. There was no anger in his voice at all. He was in what Jim had always declared his "lecturing mode."

Blair could still sometimes amaze him with his ability to switch back and forth between different tones of voices and modes of talking. There was the teasing friend mode when they were both in good moods, the pseudo-cop mode when they were on-duty and working on a case, the teacher mode when grading his students's work, the researcher mode for his own schoolwork, and, most important, the Guide mode for helping Jim with his senses.

And let's not forget this morning. That was the hurt and angry mode. The one you don't like to see because it makes you feel hurt as well. And this time it's your fault. Don't forget that now, Ellison.

Jim shook off the melancholic thoughts and settled back to listen to Blair's lecture. He already knew what he needed to say to Blair, now he would just wait.

***********************************

When the lights came back up and the bell went off, Blair rose from his seat in the front row, turning to face the students, "We'll finish this tomorrow. Read Chapters 24 and 25 by Friday." His eyes widened and his voice caught when he saw Jim at the back of the room. What does he want? He swallowed hard and went on quickly. "And don't forget, quiz on Tuesday." Tearing his eyes from Jim, he gave his attention to the students at the front of the room who had a few questions to ask him.

Before Blair was ready for it, the classroom had emptied out, leaving he and Jim alone. He focused on stacking up his books and papers, straightening them for an abnormally long amount of time. As he heard Jim descend toward him, he tensed slightly. He forced a light tone into his voice, asking, "So, what are you doing here? Have a sudden desire to hear anthropology lectures or something? Or maybe you wanted to collect my observer's ID?"

"Blair..." A hand fell on his shoulder, turning him around. "Blair, look at me." He resisted that soft voice at first, not wanting to expose himself to being further hurt. "Please."

He sighed and raised his eyes to meet Jim's. "What? What do you want, Ellison? Haven't you done enough today?"

Jim lifted his other hand to rest on the other shoulder, both hands squeezing warmly. "I'm sorry, Blair. What I said was wrong, was unforgivable. I don't want you to leave. And I do know why you're here. You've told me often enough. Sometimes I just don't listen. Blame it on my thick skull, if you will."

Blair just stared at Jim, blinking a few times. When he got his voice to work again, he asked in a whisper, "Why, Jim? Why did you say those things? They...hurt."

"I know. I'm sorry." He slid one hand around to the back of Blair's neck, rubbing it absently. "As for why, I don't know. Temporary stupidity, I guess. None of what I said is true, Blair. You're my friend, one of the few people I can trust totally and completely with every part of who I am. I just hope I haven't ruined everything in a moment's loss of intelligence."

"I -- No, no, you haven't. Just don't --"

Jim interrupted softly. "No, I won't do it again. I promise." He drew Blair forward into a warm embrace. Blair wrapped his arms around Jim's middle, soaking up the solidity of his friend's presence, feeling it soothe his hurt soul. He sighed out heavily once against Jim's chest, and Jim's arms tightened around him a fraction more before releasing him.

"Oh, I have something for you."

Blair looked up, blinking away the moisture in his eyes. "You do? What?"

Jim dug around in a jeans pocket, then pulled forth a key, holding it out. "I think you, uh, dropped this."

"Oh, yeah, I guess I did."

"You have your keyring here?"

Blair fished it out of his pocket, "Yeah. Here, let me put --"

Jim plucked the keyring out of his hand and threaded the loft key onto the ring, then let the key drop to clink against the other keys. He dropped the keyring back into Blair's palm, closing his fingers around it. "There you go. Please don't take it off again. I wouldn't want you to lose it. It's irreplaceable."

Hearing something different in Jim's voice, Blair looked up from the keyring to meet Jim's still-concerned eyes. They stared at each other a moment, then Blair smiled. "No, I won't lose it. Thanks."

Jim smiled softly, reaching out to tap Blair's face with one hand, not saying anything for several moments. The warmth of friendship in his eyes said everything that he couldn't put into words.

Blair gathered up his books and they headed toward the door that would lead back to Blair's office. He said as they exited the room, "Temporary stupidity, eh? Can I get Simon to write you up on that?"

"Don't push it, kid."

"Just checking."

- The End -