Rating: PG

Pairings: J/B

Warnings: m/m, song lyrics

Archive category: Romance

Disclaimers: All recognizable Sentinel characters are copyright of Pet Fly Productions and Paramount. No infringement intended on my part.... just doing some wishful thinking. :-) The lyrics to "Chasin' the Wind" is copyrighted to Chicago and their record label.

Notes: { } indicate thoughts

Summary: After breaking an important promise then lying, Jim struggles to hold on to Blair's love and trust.

Date completed: October 25, 1998


Another Chance

by Barbara Nice-Miller



Four days.

He'd been gone for four days.

Ran as fast as he could with as much as he could carry in his backpack, leaving behind a message in a song.

That damn song.

Jim Ellison pounded his fist against the glass of the balcony doors, wanting it to break, needing to feel the pain of the glass shards biting into his hand. Needing to feel...something. Another hit, harder this time, the vibrations in the glass growing stronger, fast approaching the shattering point.

Like his heart.

Like Blair's heart.

{And who's fault is it, Ellison?} he berated himself {Yours, you stupid son-of-a-bitch! Because of your manly ego, your fucking pride, he's gone. The only person you ever loved, the only person who ever truly loved you back is gone}


The broken cry, half sob, half scream, reverberated inside the pitch dark loft as Jim pounded both fists on the glass, forehead pressed tight to the cool pane. Lightening flashed strong and sharp, briefly illuminating the loft and the broken man standing at the window who watched one storm raging outside while another raged inside.

So this is what it felt like when love died.

Jim turned and sank to the floor, knees drawn up in front of him, head resting against the balcony door.

Oh, god, he'd give anything to turn back time, to take back the promise he never should have made, the lie he never should have told that Blair never should have heard. All because he'd panicked, his fear turning their love into a joke. The devastation Blair must have felt, overhearing Jim's comment in the bullpen that day. Too caught up in his own fear, the Sentinel never knew his Guide had been standing around the corner at the vending machine. Hadn't known until he'd returned home that night to an empty loft and a song.

That damn song.

Four days later and it still burned in his brain as it had that night he'd come home to find Blair gone, the CD on repeat, his friend's version of a goodbye note.

Did the best I could
To make you mine
If you ever felt anything for me
Well, you never gave a sign

{The signs were there for you, Blair - the quiet nights we spent in front of the fire, candles and dinner, listening as you told me about your days at the university, making love to you in every way I knew how - the signs were there for you, only I couldn't show anyone else what you meant to me. I'm so sorry...}

Thought time would make you change
Make you want me
But baby, I never had a chance
Now I know that there's just some things
Just not meant to be

{No, dammit! You're everything to me, Blair. Everything. I want you, need you, with a need like I've ever known, so much that it scares me. We are meant to be, but I destroyed that with my careless, hurtful words}

No use
Making you care about me
No way
That I'm gonna win
Oh darlin'
I might as well be
Chasin' the wind

{God, Blair. What have I done? I've been hiding for so long. Our love was so new... I got scared}

Opened up my heart
Let you inside
If love was what you were looking for
Well, I guess it wasn't mine

{You gave me everything, Blair. Made me a new person. A whole person. Your love turned this tired, damaged, life-weary cop into someone who could smile again, trust again, love again. And how did I repay you? By breaking a promise. By lying. By making you think that you, and our love, meant nothing to me}

"I love you," he whispered to the rain outside. "I'm so sorry..."

The key turning in the lock was gunshot loud to Sentinel ears and Jim's entire body jerked. Frozen in place on the floor, he could only stare as the door opened and light from the hallway spilled into the darkened loft, the figure in the doorway only a silhouette.

A very familiar silhouette.

Breath catching in his throat, Jim struggled to his feet, wiping away the silent tears he hadn't known had fallen. For three days he'd searched for this man, giving up only when he realized that forcing him into talking about what had happened before he was ready could only be disastrous. He needed to come back on his own. If he ever did.

"Blair..." he breathed.

Blair Sandburg stepped inside the loft and softly closed the door, his calm movements belying his anger. For four days he had warred with himself about coming here. About confronting the man to whom he'd given his heart, only to have it handed back to him in pieces. But in the end he realized he needed closure, and he wasn't going to get it if he didn't go back.

Blair walked a few more steps into the dark loft, the moonlight shining through the rain the only illumination, the only sound distant thunder. Jim took a few steps toward him and Blair stopped, holding up his hand.

"Don't," he commanded.

Jim froze, heart constricting in his chest at the coldness of his lover's voice.

Blair lowered his hand to clench them both at his sides. He looked straight at Jim, his blue eyes broadcasting pain and anger at the man he had called friend and lover.

"I hate you, Jim," he began, voice tight and strained. "I hate you, but god help me I still love you. And it's because of that that I came here tonight. I need answers. I need to know...why?" he finished in an anguished whisper.

Seeing Blair standing there, his pain and confusion radiating around him, asking Jim to explain, trying to understand, brought everything rushing back to Jim with startling clarity...


Four days earlier

He and Simon were standing alone near the end of the bullpen hallway, discussing a case, when his captain made a sudden, drastic topic change.

"Jim? Are you and Sandburg romantically involved?"


"I'm sorry, that wasn't the best way to ask that," Simon apologized. "And you certainly don't have to answer me, but lately...people have been talking, Jim. And it hasn't all been rosy. I just think that you need to put the rumors and speculations to rest once and for all. One way or the other. The longer the rumors continue, the more damaging it can get for both you and Sandburg." Simon reached out, clasping Jim briefly on the shoulder. "I'm your friend, Jim. I hope you know you can talk to me about anything."

Thrown completely off balance by Simon's unexpected question, Jim panicked, the promise he'd made to Blair only yesterday vanishing from his memory like smoke in the wind. Only one thought was running through his head.

{Oh, god, I'm not ready for this. I can't do this. I can't let anyone know. What will they think of me?}

So he lied.

He forced out a laugh, sounding high and tinny to his ears. "Come on, Simon. Look at me. I don't swing that way. Let me set the record straight right now. Sandburg and I are not involved and never will be. He's my friend. Nothing more."


A flash of lightening and Jim was back in the present, struggling to find words.

"I'm sorry--"

"You're sorry? You stood there and deliberately lied to Simon. Lied about you and about us. I won't be your dirty, little secret, Jim. You know that. I told you right from the beginning. You promised me and I believed you. How--" his voice broke, "how could I ever trust you again?"

How was it possible to be standing only three feet from someone yet feel a million miles away? And have to rely solely on words to bring you closer?

"I was scared, Blair. I know I promised you we wouldn't hide our relationship. But we've only been together for a month. I'm still getting used to our relationship. Still getting used to us." He sighed, eyes dropping to the floor. "I've been hiding for so long, Blair. And suddenly, with Simon's question, it was all going to be out there." He held up his hands, gesturing. "Jim. Ellison. Is. Gay. Like a fucking neon sign hanging above my head. It was just too much too soon. I couldn't tell him. Because it would have opened the floodgates and thrown me into the spotlight. Being gay is hard enough as it is. But being gay and being a cop?" He shook his head. "So I lied. Dying inside because I knew I was betraying your trust in me, but I couldn't stop myself. I'm sorry, Blair," he whispered around the lump in his throat. "I thought I could keep the promise I made to you."

"And I thought I could compete," came Blair's tired, sad reply. "But I should have known better. Being a cop is everything to you. It's who you are. You're a Sentinel. It's in your genetics to protect people. To be the strong one, the one people look to. But to admit outloud that you're gay and in love with a man would change everyone's perceptions about you. It would destroy a fundamental part of your life." Blair paused, steeling himself against what he was about to say. "I could never make you choose between your job and me. I can't. I won't. So I'm choosing for you. I'm leaving Cascade."


Jim was across the room in a heartbeat, closing the distance to grasp Blair's arms. The young man struggled, trying to pull away, but the bigger man prevailed, hanging on until his lover sagged against him, forehead on his chest.

"Jim, please...don't make this harder than it is. This is the only way."

"No," Jim whispered fiercely, "No, it's not."

Blair raised his head. "Jim, listen to me. I love you. God, I love you. But sometimes that's just not enough. It nearly killed me when I heard you deny what we mean to each other. God, Jim, that hurt so bad. You need to stay in hiding and I can't. I told you that right from the start. I'd spent too long hiding my feelings for you and I couldn't do it any longer. And you agreed. We were going to be open about our relationship." Blair pulled back and this time Jim let him go.

"Why did you lie to me?" he whispered brokenly. "Why did you make me a promise you never intended to keep? If you'd only told me how strongly you felt about this, we could have talked about it. But you agreed so readily. How was I to know? And that's what hurts the most. That you weren't honest with me. And if you weren't honest with me about this, how could I trust what you'd say to me in the future?" He shook his head, fighting back the tears. "It's just not going to work between us. I can't go back to being just your friend and I'd never force you to do something you didn't want to do. So I'm leaving. It's the right thing to do. For both of us."

Jim swallowed thickly, heart pounding, knowing this would be his one and only chance to convince Blair he'd made a terrible mistake and to plead for his forgiveness.

"That's where you're wrong, Blair," Jim said gruffly, trying to hold it together long enough to finish what he had to say. "I want you to force me. I need you to help me get past this mindset. If I've ever needed you to guide me, now's the time. I was wrong to make you that promise so quickly. But it meant so much to you, and I thought I could do it. But, Blair, despite what I said to Simon, I want to keep that promise. I want to shout from the top of Mt. Rainier that I love you and not give a damn what anyone thinks. It...it's just going to take me longer than I thought to get to that point. Don't give up on me, Chief, please." He paused, Sentinel sight picking up on the unshed tears shining like crystals in his lover's eyes. "I know I destroyed your trust in me when you heard me lie. I know it'll take a long time, but let me prove to you that your trust, your love, wasn't misplaced. I'm asking you for another chance. You took one when you told me you were in love with me. Take another chance on me... please...don't leave..." He held out his hand, trembling, knowing without a doubt that his world would collapse around him if Blair's pain went too deep for him to forgive Jim.

For a long moment, the only sound was the rain beating against the balcony doors, and, to Sentinel ears, two heartbeats racing wildly out of control. And then, after a faltering step, Blair was in Jim's arms.

"Oh, god," Jim breathed, trembling, tightening his hold around his lover's shoulders. "I'm so sorry...I never meant to hurt you."

Blair buried his face in Jim's chest, arms wrapped securely around the bigger man's waist. "I know you didn't. But I hate it that you're ashamed of yourself, of who you are."

"Then help me, Blair...please. Teach me, show me how you're able to deal with this, accept this so easily."

Blair looked up at Jim. "I will, but Jim, we have some healing to do first."

Jim tenderly kissed Blair's forehead. "I know, baby..."


Midnight found Jim sitting on the couch, gently running his fingers through Blair's curls. About an hour ago the young man had finally fallen into an exhausted sleep in Jim's arms after they had simply sat there in the dark, holding on to one another, not saying anything.

Blair had agreed to stay, to give Jim another chance, but there was still a rift between them caused by Jim's lie, his broken promise. Jim just thanked God that he hadn't killed their love because of his actions. It was wounded, but not dead. And Jim knew he needed to be the one to start the healing process.

Lightly grasping Blair's hand, careful not to wake him, Jim used his other hand to snag the cordless phone off of the side table, dialing a familiar number.

"Simon? It's Jim. Mind if I come over? There's something I need to tell you..."



Thanks for reading! Comments are always appreciated. :-)

Barbara Nice-Miller