Title: In Memory

Author/psuedonym: alyjude

Email: alyjude@webtv.net

Category: Drama

Pairing: J/B - N/S

Rating: NC-17, eventually

Date: June 23, 2000

Archive: Yes, when complete

Other website: www.skeeter63.org/k9kennel

Disclaimer: Well, I already claimed them for them for us all, so now we need a home for them on network television.


Summary: A woman waits for news and remembers. She is soon joined by two others with memories of their own.


In Memory

by alyjude


 Unmoving, Naomi Sandburg sat in the same chair she'd occupied since her arrival some seven hours previously.

She was comfortable in the overstuffed chair, as comfortable as she could be under the circumstances. The room that housed the chair and coincidentally, Naomi, was a small but luxurious room with large bay windows that overlooked the Canadian Rockies. The view was spectacular, but no one was looking.

Naomi lifted her head and scanned the room, almost as if ensuring that nothing had changed since the last time she'd looked. No, there were still seven others occupying space as they waited. Her head dropped back down as she drifted into the past.

As Naomi left the present, staff members wandered through the room, passing out coffee, tea, blankets, offering counselling and gentle words of comfort.

Naomi heard none of it.




Early September, 1968 - Free clinic, Berkeley, Ca.


The waiting room was crowded and Naomi had to stand against the wall. Her natural curiosity took precedence over why she was in the doctor's office so she let her eyes take in the wealth of people around her. As she took in each woman, her fertile imagination supplied the history.

The blonde with the two toddlers was definitely into her tenth month or second century of pregnancy, of that, Naomi was certain. Can you say Cesarean section?

The tiny brunette seated with the beaming soldier was maybe, four or five months and definitely a first pregnancy, first marriage and a virgin prior to the wedding night to boot.

The rather hefty, middle-aged woman across from Naomi looked to be seven or eight months gone but judging from her tired expression and lackluster appearance, she had at least four children at home and a husband she never saw because he was working at least two jobs to feed his ever growing family. This doctor's visit was probably her only peace.

Naomi's eyes continued around the room and stopped at the raven-haired beauty seated next to the door. This girl looked a bit older than Naomi, her stomach just as flat. The two skinny girls smiled smugly at each other. They would never look like any of these women.

Of course, Naomi didn't know yet, that was why she was here - to get the results. She popped her gum and placed her hand over her tummy. No one would believe her if she were tell them that she did feel an energy when she touched herself. As if she could feel the embryo growing. She knew she was carrying. Her only real question was whether to keep it.

Can an it give off such energy?

"Naomi Sandburg?"

She stepped away from the wall and followed the nurse through the door....


"Well, Naomi, you're pregnant."

How funny she thought. She'd known the answer but hearing it spoken out loud kind of kicked her for a loop. Suddenly she realized the Dr. Petrie was talking again....

".....that we discussed last week."

She lifted her head and caught his steady gaze. "Um, yeah."

"I know we discussed the possibility of an abortion, Naomi, but I want you to understand that you have some time. A week, a bit more. You seemed pretty adamant last week that yes, you did want one, and I'm ready. But, again, you have time."

She heard his words, knew what they meant and it brought her back to the question of the energy surrounding her stomach and was it really possible that her ba....that an embryo was responsible?

She turned her head away for those searing brown eyes belonging to Dr. Petrie and fixated on the door. She was startled to see a young boy standing there, unwavering blue eyes regarding her with such solemnity. He looked to be about ten years old, with blonde hair and he was wearing a football uniform. She smiled at him and he smiled shyly back and said, "Yes."

Puzzled, she cocked her head. "What?" But the boy just nodded and smiled, then pointed to her tummy and repeated, "Yes."

"I said, you have time, Naomi," the doctor reiterated, thinking she'd been talking to him.

"Oh, not you, Dr. Petrie, him," and she pointed to the boy - who was no longer there.

Natuarlly he followed her finger and saw nothing. "Who?"

"There was a boy standing there. He's gone now, but he seemed to be trying to tell me something, but it doesn't matter." She turned to face the kind doctor once again. "I've decided to take you up on your offer to wait."

He smiled and said, "I'm glad. You know I'll support whatever decision you make, Naomi."


On her way home to the commune, she stopped at Hyde Park to gather her thoughts and try to figure out what to do with her life and the baby she was carrying. She chose a spot near the pond but under a large spreading oak tree. Sitting down cross-legged, elbows on her knees, face resting in the palms of her hands, she watched several children play at the edge of the lake.

The kids were offering food to the ducks and swans, trying to entice them closer so they could sneak a quick petting. Their giggles floated over the young girl and she smiled at the innocent sound.

She was only sixteen, but would be seventeen, barely, by the time the baby came - if she had the baby.

She was a child herself, even if she was on her own. And of course, she didn't have a clue who the father could be. It could be Tommy, or Chuck, or even Evan. But, she thought helplessly, it could also be Brian or Gault.

Free love wasn't so free after all.

But did it really matter who the father was? He wouldn't be around anyway. None of them would care enough to be a part of this baby's life; hell, they were kids themselves, Gault being the oldest at nineteen. They were real hippies, nomads, on the move, following their own paths, users, sweet but - children. If she had this child - she would be alone.

She continued to watch the children play and noticed that one stood out from the rest. He was small boy, curly haired, with bright sparkling blue eyes. He stood apart from the others, but was avidly watching. She wondered why he didn't join in.

Naomi glanced around, hoping to find who he belonged to...but no one seemed interested.

She stood and waved to him. He saw her and smiled the most beautiful and gentle smile she'd ever seen as he trotted over to her without question.

"Hi, I'm Naomi." She held out her hand and his slipped into it easily, even as he blushed. He said nothing as they shook, so she asked, "What's your name?"

He gave a cute little grown up shrug, exaggerating it with a big grin.

"You don't know your name?"

He shrugged again and gave her hand a tug.

She dropped down beside him as he plopped onto the grass. He pointed at the pond and giggled. She followed his gaze and noticed a mother swan swooshing her goslings, trying to gather them up and under her massive wing.

Together they watched and laughed because everytime the swan thought she had them all under wing, one or two would swim back out and she'd have to start all over again.

Naomi found herself laughing delightedly, the small boy hiding behind one hand as his own laughter erupted. Suddenly, a distant voice cried out, "BLAIR!" and the boy was up and running.

Naomi stood frowning as the small sprite disappeared. Well, at least she knew his name now. Blair. And she liked it.

She started to walk home, happy and whistling because of course, she'd made up her mind.

Lovingly, she stroked her tummy.




The Present -


Naomi shook herself and shook the memories that flooded her mind.

"Mrs. Sandburg, would you like anything to drink or eat?"

"No, but thank you. Any word yet?" She knew the answer, but had to ask anyway.

"No, I'm afraid not. The weather hasn't changed. I'm sorry."

She nodded and the young woman moved on to another one.

Naomi had been sitting for hours and her legs were cramped. She stood and walked stiffly to the large picture window to gaze out across the serene forest. Here, it was clear. No fog, no rain, just bright blue skies. Bright blue - like his eyes.

Blair. Her son. Out there somewhere. And she had to believe that he was still alive. She had to. But everything told her he wasn't. She knew the odds and judging from the posture of everyone in this room, so did they. A small aircraft, crashing into the Canadian Rockies. Survivors highly unlikely. That was a fact supported by statistics. Tons of statistics.

She placed her hand over the glass and leaned in.

Her son. Her child. Born thirty years ago to another child.


"Push, Naomi, push. Just once more, just one more push, you can do it."

He'd been saying that for what seemed an eternity. Just one more push. It was always one more. How many one mores could there fucking be? Her mind screamed that he was an asshole, but she pushed.

"He's crowning, Naomi, I see his head. He's almost here, finish the push, girl. I know you're tired, but this little guy is anxious."

She gave it her best grunt, bearing down one last time and was rewarded with, "I've got him, that's it, Naomi." She dropped back, exhausted, her face covered in sweat.

"Don't you want to see him?"

She opened tired eyes to see Dr. Petrie holding up a red, wiggling mass of flesh, small fists waving uselessly and just as she opened her mouth to say something, the wiggling mass opened his and bawled loudly.

"Great set of lungs on this little fella. You've got a winner here, Naomi. And look, look at all the hair."

The baby was cleaned, wrapped in a warm blanket and nestled into her waiting arms. It felt - awkward.

She gazed down to see a scrunched up face, no longer red, but kinda puffy and with wonder her finger traced over the top of his head, feeling the downy softness of the dark swirling hair. So much, she thought. Was this normal?

And it felt so - good now. And he smelled so - sweet.

"He's so tiny," she whispered in awe.

"He is. He's underweight, but we discussed that. We had some close calls with this little one, but he's stubborn. Just plain refused to give up."

It had been a rough pregnancy, with Naomi nearly losing him several times and in her last month, she'd been confined to bed in order to ensure that she would be able to bring him to term. She hadn't, at any time after making her decision, allowed herself to even consider losing him. Not after deciding to keep him. No karmic justice for her, no sir. This baby was hers and he would be born.

"he is going to be all right, isn't he?"

"He's going to be fine. He's beautiful, Naomi. Truly beautiful."

Yes, yes, he was. Now that his face wasn't all scrunched up. His skin was smooth and satiny soft, his small fingers squeezing, his lips puckering, and then - he opened his eyes.

"oh, god."

"Now, Naomi. All caucasian babies have blue eyes when they're born. This may be his natural color, but then again, they may turn."

"like puppies."

He chuckled and said, "Well, that's as good an analogy as any other."

"Have you come up with a name yet?"

She hadn't. But everyone else at the commune had. But in spite of her youth, in spite of being a hippie, she had no intention of saddling her child with a name like, Freezone, or Earth, or Moonbaby. But she still hadn't come up with one on her own.

As she studied his face, at those blue eyes staring so intently up at her, she recalled a voice at the pond....

"Blair. His name is Blair. Blair Sandburg."

"I like it, Naomi. Blair Sandburg it is."




The Present -


Her hand came up to her mouth, trying to stifle her moan of pain. He can't be gone.

As she fought the tears, the agony, she remembered taking Blair to the park in Berkeley on their way to Sacramento. He'd been - four?

He'd seen the park from the front seat of the Carmen Ghia and had started bouncing immediately. He had to say good-bye to the ducks and swans, he just had to. She'd pulled over and lifted the wiggling wart into her arms, wary of letting him down since he tended to run immediately. They'd walked down to the edge of the lake and he'd quieted, eyes wide with childlike wonder as he'd watched the ducks, swans and geese.

Naomi wondered why she was remembering this now. Why would a park and a lake take precedence in her mind while she waited to see if her child was dead or alive?

Because - she'd almost lost him that day - that was why. He'd gotten away from her.

Like a million mothers before her and a million mothers after, she'd let her attention stray and with the snap of a finger, he was gone.

She'd called endlessly. Searched fruitlessly. Her fear growing every minute he didn't respond. Every nightmare she'd ever had came to her that day. Kidnapped, molested, strangers looking for just such an innocent child...

She'd stopped, calmed herself and breathing deep, she called out one last time...


And suddenly - he'd been there. Running happily toward her, his curls bobbing, little legs chugging. He'd launched himself at her, his arms and legs wrapping themselves around her as he cried out breathlessly, "Did you see, mommy? the swan? she lost her babies, kept trying to get them and they kept swimming away, it was so funny, mommy."

Naomi gasped at the memory.


A distant voice yelling, "Blair", a park and a pond.

What had happened?

In her mind, she compared her Blair to that little boy she'd met on her way home from the doctor's....but of course, no comparison was necessary.

They were the same little boy.

"blair." She rested her head against the cool pane.


Handid Airport - Canada

The car pulled into the parking lot, found a space, which wasn't easy, and after the engine was shut down, two men climbed out. They both stretched, arched their backs, then reached back and pulled one garment bag each. Swinging the bags over their shoulders, they started toward the front door of the small building.

Getting to the front wasn't any easier than finding a parking place. The entire property was swamped by people in the form of the media. Reporters, cameramen and video crews took up every square inch of space. Every major network, newspaper and magazine was amply represented. But the news hungry group ignored the two men, instinctively knowing that they were unimportant in the grand scheme of the day's major news story.

Once inside, both men breathed a sigh of relief. One man said, "I'll go find out what I can, Jim. See if I can find Naomi."

The shorter of the two just nodded.

Simon wandered off, in search of help, leaving Jim Ellison standing in place, not moving.




Captain Simon Banks walked into the main portion of the small, exclusive charter airport and up to an attractive woman behind the faux marble counter.

"I'm very sorry sir, there are no flights today."

"Yes, I know. That's not why I'm here. The airplane crash? One of my --- detectives was on that plane. I'm Captain Simon Banks, Cascade Washington, Major Crime Unit." He flashed his identification.

She was clearly flustered, but recovered nicely. "I'm sorry, Captain Banks, we weren't informed. Please, right this way. We have the friends and relatives sequestered in our VIP lounge."


"There are two of us. Just give me directions and we'll find it."


"I can't do that, sir. We have to escort you. Please understand, the plane was chartered by Sweetwater Films and the other passengers were, " she paused, realizing her incredible error and quickly changed her wording, "Are, the other passengers are quite famous. The media has been trying to to get to them all day."

"I understand. Let me go get him then."

Simon went back the way he'd come, got Jim and together they walked back to the counter.

Seeing them, the woman came around the corner and indicated that they should follow her.

"You must be here for Mr. Sandburg? He was the only one on the flight that was not attached to the film crew."

"Yes, Detective Sandburg."

They arrived at a door marked VIP and she quickly slid a card into the lock and pushed it open.

The two men found themselves inside a lovely, comfortable room, boarded on one side by a set of picture windows. There were approximately eight others in the room, including - Naomi.

"We're keeping the press away, we have everything for your comfort and rooms are available at the Twahnee Lodge. We'll be shuttling anyone over as needed." She gazed around the room and added, "But so far, everyone has preferred to stay here. If you need anything, let me or one of the attendants know."

"Thank you Miss?"

"Watkins. Mrs. Watkins."

"Thank you, Mrs. Watkins."

She nodded and left.

Simon turned to Jim and smiled. "Well, I don't think any of the press will be bothering us, do you?"

"Doubtful, Simon." Jim said the words, but his eyes were on the woman standing by the huge window. He prayed no one remembered who Blair Sandburg was now. That was one thing none of them needed at this moment.

He walked over to Blair's mother and placed one hand on her shoulder.

"Naomi?" She turned slowly and with a small whimper, went into his arms.

Simon watched, his heart in his throat.

Now that they were here, it was real, inspite of his prayers that it be just a bad dream. He tore his eyes from the sight of Jim comforting Naomi and gazed about him.

He recognized the famous actress seated across from him, hunched over, another man comforting her. And he recognized the man sitting by himself in the far corner as the famous director of some of the all time greatest action flicks in film history.

Simon had to assume that the others were relatives, friends and personnel of the production company. As he understood it, the second unit director was on the flight as well as the male star of the film and two supporting actors. The passengers also included the star's manager, the cinematographer, two other crew members and - Blair Sandburg.

Simon moved to Jim's side and cleared his throat. Naomi lifted her head and gave him a wan smile.

"Simon, you came."

He nodded, unable to find the words.

"Why don't we sit down and you can tell us everything you know?" Jim suggested gently. She agreed and they moved to the chair she'd occupied earlier. Jim and Simon took seats on the couch next to her.

"I'm not sure where to begin. I got a call from Blair and it made no sense, Jim. He said something about starting a new job in Tacoma in a couple of weeks and if maybe there'd be a chance for he and I to connect beforehand. Why Tacoma, Jim? What's going on?"

"He didn't tell you anything else?"

"He wouldn't. Just that he'd like to see me. I told him I was on my way here, to the retreat and suggested he - join me. He said - yes." Her voice broke then as she once again realized that that was why they were all here. Because Blair had been on his way to meeting her. If only she'd gone to him....

"This isn't your fault, Naomi. If anyone is to blame, it's me."

Before anyone could delve into that statement, Simon asked, "How did he end up on this flight?"

"He booked a regular flight for Handid, but when he arrived at the airport in Seattle, they told him Skyline had cancelled all their flights. They arranged for him, as the only individual who couldn't be accommodated any other way, to hitch a ride with Sweetwater through AirMobile Charters. I was here, waiting for the flight when a young woman came up and asked me to join her in here." She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and went on.

"That's when I was told that the AirMobile plane had gone down between here and Seattle. They were in communication with the pilot just moments before she went down. You already know about the weather problems. They haven't been able to get search planes into the air because of fog on the US side and storms on this side."

Both men nodded. The disappearance of AirMobile Charter flight #16 had made major headlines because of who was on the flight. The entire world was watching and waiting for the first news.

Jim had been sitting in his living room, lights off, television running for no reason, when they'd first announced the story. He hadn't given it a thought, concentrating instead on what he'd done, how he'd driven Blair from his life and Simon's words of wisdom. Then later, the call from Naomi.....


<<Jim? It's Naomi. Please, you have to come. His plane, it's gone


"Naomi, what are you talking about?"

<<Blair's plane. He was on that Sweetwater charter plane. Jim, please,


Ellison's hand shook as Naomi's words penetrated. His heart started thundering within his chest, blood throbbing in his head, explosion imminent.

Blair's plane down. Blair on a plane that had gone down.

"Naomi, where are you?"

<<At the airport. It's the Handid Special Services Airport, just north of Twahnee.


"I'm on my way."

<<Jim, there are no current flights into Handid, you'll have to drive>>

"No problem. I'll be there as soon as humanly possible."

After hanging up with Naomi, he'd called Simon and given him the news. He wasn't surprised when Simon offered to drive up with him, not after all that had happened the day before.....


Major Crime - Friday

Jim Ellison sat down at his desk and turned on his computer, not knowing if this was a godsend or not. The whole department had been without their computers for three days following the love virus, but supposedly, everything was a go and he booted up. As he waited, he glanced over to the space that had once been reserved for his - partner, Blair Sandburg. The tightness in his chest, the one present for the last several weeks, squeezed hard, leaving him almost breathless.

Blair had been gone for weeks. Gone.

His fault.

Jim missed the voice, the laugh, the stories, Blair's very presence, energy and life force.

Why hadn't he known how much he'd miss him? How could he have not known? That was a far better question. The man had been in his life for three years, entrenched in every aspect of it, so much a part of Jim Ellison, it seemed that he hadn't known where he ended and Blair began.

As he stared at the empty space that had once been occupied by Sandburg, his computer pinged, letting him know he had mail. He clicked on the mailbox and noted that after three days offline, he still only had one piece of mail. He clicked again and frowned; Riverside, Idaho? He didn't know anyone in Idaho. He read the email addy:


He clicked on the envelope and the letter appeared. He noted that the email had been sent the same day the system had crashed and then his breath caught as he read the words:

<<Hello, asshole. How the hell are you? Long time no see, but that's a good thing, right? I'd say 'Wish you were here' but that would be a lie and I like my nose the exact length that it is.

Hey, it's been too long since we last saw each other - oops, there I go again - lying. Oh, wait, I haven't lied yet, have I? Oh, well, first time for everything, which is kinda what I said when we fucked like bunnies and then you left my bed and spent the next three weeks pretending I didn't exist. Gee, do I sound pissed? Sorry.

Give me a second here, just gotta get something off my chest.....YOU ARE A JERK, an asshole, a dickwad, a dipstick, a pervert and apparantly I didn't leave Cascade early enough because I hate us both. I sincerely hope that you are miserable, you miserable sack of shit, and I hope you're pining away for my body, my lips, my dick and my ass, but alas, I suspect you couldn't care less.

Okay, feel better now.

Bet you're wondering why I'm writing you?

Because I need - help. Big time. And years of indentured service to the Sentinel of the Great City should have given me some rights. You may not care or believe, but dammit, you couldn't have done it without me and I've never asked for anything until now. Gosh, I guess I'm not asking for help in the best possible way, am I? Insulting you and all. But hell, you're used to that.

So on with the request. I'm trying to get on with the Riverside Police Department here in Riverside Idaho, but well, they're a little bit - hesitant, to take me on. Gee, I wonder why?

I've tried everywhere, from Washington to California, had it almost made with the Tacoma PD, but unfortunately, my reputation caught up with me and at the last minute - so no go. I've been to Idaho before so I caught a plane, interviewed with Captain Wilson and basically he requested a letter from you and Simon.

Yeah, this is hard, asking you for anything. But I have to work and I'm a cop now. I have no real pride left - I need to work. I'm heading back to Tacoma, then on to visit Naomi for a bit and to break the news that I'm not going to work in Tacoma after all. Right now, I'm at the Montgomery Motel and the fax number is: (632) 545-1157. Today is Wednesday, I leave for Tacoma on Friday and to visit Naomi on Saturday. If I could get the letter to Captain Wilson before I leave, well, I might have that job by the time my visit with mom is over. You can also fax the letters to the Captain directly at:

(632) 545-8867.

I don't know if you'll do this, maybe you'll just delete. Hell, who am I kidding? You'll do it, it's who you are. Fuck, I did it again, didn't I? Tried to tell the great James Ellison who he is. My most humble apologies.

Well, I'm signing off now, gotta go.

Yours truly,


Blair Sandburg, aka; Chief, Sandy, hairboy, Darwin, Tonto, misfit,

nuisance and one lousy fuck.>>

Jim sat back and let his breathing calm as he wiped the sweat from his upper lip. He scanned the area around him, relieved that no one was paying any attention.

Dear god.

Blair had never received any reply let alone a reference letter and it was now Friday. Jesus. He let his eyes come back to the letter, read it again, sighed and slowly rose. He started toward Simon's office.

Jim knocked and at Simon's barked order to enter, he pushed open the door and faced his Captain.

"Simon, I need a letter of recommendation. ASAP. And I need it forwarded to the Riverside Police Department, care of Captain Wilson. Today. Now."

Simon Banks looked up from his paperwork and immediately bit back a sharp reply. Jim's misery was evident. "You aren't joking."

"No, sir. But it's not for me. It's for Blair. He's trying to get on with the Riverside Police."

Simon's eyes narrowed at the mention of Blair Sandburg's name and he pushed himself up and out of his chair to say, "This is a joke."

"Simon, he's tried everywhere, he can't get a job."

"Shit, how do you know this? The last time I checked, you two weren't exactly on speaking terms."

"Email. Just received. He needs our - help, Simon."

"I see. So the great and wonderful Sandburg can just up and desert you, leave one day before he's to become your partner, disappear from the face of the earth, but the moment he yells for help, you do backflips for him?. Do I have any of this right?"

"No, sir, you don't. I drove him away. I made it impossible for him to stay."

"And just how did you do that? You supported him, convinced me to let him try the academy, how exactly did you make it impossible for him to stay?"

Jim sat down, the weight of the world on his shoulders. He'd spent a lifetime running, pushing those who mattered away, refusing to accept their love, seeking out instead, those who he could never have. And now....

He swiped a hand over his eyes, letting his fingers dig in, rubbing, trying to rub away the truth. He told Simon instead.


Four months previously -

"This looks pretty bad, Chief. I remember the academy as being a bit rough, but not so rough I came home with bruises like this."

"You came from the military, not academia. Slight difference, wouldn't you think?" Blair shifted uncomfortably as Jim applied some aloe to various other bruises that he couldn't reach.

"I'm not exactly Mr. Athletic, you know."

Jim smiled and said, "Oh, I don't know, you can sure run fast when you need to, Chief."

"Hell, I can run like a house afire when needed, but self-defense is a bit more complicated."

"So, maybe I could help? We could do a bit of training off hours?"

"Thanks Jim, I appreciate that, but I want to do this on my own, you know?"

The next few days found their evenings spent at the gym and Blair discovered that learning how to protect himself without a horde of cadets watching and laughing at his every move was far more productive.

The first few lessons saw an amazed Jim. He knew that Blair was athletic. He was sturdy, strong and agile, his size often a plus in self-protection. But the Blair he was working with nightly was clumsy, wearing baggy sweats and a too large sweatshirt that hampered his every move. There was no way his normal agility could assert itself.

Finally, after another clumsy attempt at stopping a rampaging Ellison and falling flat on his face, Jim had had enough.

"Okay, Sandburg, what's going on here? I know you, remember? I live with you. You are most definitely not clumsy and what's with the baggy sweats? I mean, I know you favor the layered look, but not while working out!"

Blair stood, bent over, hands on knees, breathing hard. He glanced up, giving Jim a weird look. He straightened, retied his hair and said, still slightly out of breath, "Jim, do you have any idea how tall the average cadet is?"

Jim shrugged, clueless.

"About six feet, Jim. Six feet. That would make the average cadet about five inches taller than yours truly."

"And do you have any idea how they're built? Like a brick house. I'm not. I'm five foot seven and weigh in, soaking wet, at 145. I look like a, " he stopped, searching for the right word but Jim interrupted him with, "Blair, you may be shorter that the average cadet, but trust me, you're built just fine. Very fine, in fact. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of."

Jim stopped at the expression on Blair's face. Oops.

"So. You think I'm built - fine?"

The older man nodded helplessly, checking the ground, hoping for that hole to make a miraculous appearance and swallow him whole. Bad choice of words.

"I see." Blair stepped closer, peering up at Jim, trying to see his expression. He moved closer and whispered, "jim?"

Ellison gazed around them and said hoarsely, "Let's talk about this at home."


Blair followed Jim upstairs, his heart beating a mile a minute. He tried taking deep breaths, knowing that Jim could tell he was nervous, but this was too important, too big a change in their relationship and dammit, he was nervous.

Nervous as hell.

Jim got the door open and stepped aside, allowing Blair to precede him, more from the need to prolong than in any kind of deference.

As the door closed, Blair said, "Jim?"

"What do you want me to say, Sandburg?"

"God, you're hopeless." Blair walked over to the older man, pulled on his shirt, bringing the man's face down a bit, then he kissed him. Blair had never kissed a man before; this was a major first. It was also major - good.

Jim let it happen for the first few seconds, let the tongue invade, explore, but then he pulled back just enough to talk. "Chief, are you sure?"

"I'm sure."

Ellison dropped his mouth back down onto Blair's, sucking in the thick lower lip, his tongue running along its sweetness, hands moving up to grasp Blair's head, to hold it steady....

The next several minutes were quiet, only the sounds of ragged breathing filling the loft.

Somehow they'd both managed to make their way into Blair's room, to land on the messy bed and before Blair knew it, both he and Jim were skin to skin. Jim's body was above him, his eyes a deep midnight blue, and this amazed Blair, that Jim should look like this because of them, because of this. His own body shook with need, hot, wanting, his skin on fire everywhere Jim happened to touch....

For Ellison, it was a fantasy come to life, to heck with tomorrow. Blair Sandburg was under him, his body covered in sweat, needing him, wanting him, only him, responding to his touch, his kisses, but Jim wanted it all, needed to hear Blair scream his name and he set about to make that happen.


Blair buried himself deeper under the covers, instinctively seeking that warm body, the body that should be next to him. His hand came up bodiless. Fuzzy blue eyes opened and found half his bed empty. No Jim.

He rolled over, listened, heard nothing, checked his bedside clock and confused, got up and padded out into the living room. It was only a little after six and the front door was still bolted from the inside, Jim's keys still in the basket.

So. Jim was here.

Blair walked to the bathroom but as soon as he saw the open door, he turned back around.

Which left only one place Jim could be

· his own bedroom.


Blair remained where he was, uncertain of his next move. Sometime in the middle of the night, Jim had left Blair's bed to go to his own. A coldness settled over him and the cold had nothing to do with the weather.

He moved silently toward the stairs, stopped at the foot, gazed up.

Should he? One foot landed on the bottom step and he froze.

Jim had left him. He hadn't awakened him, hadn't suggested they both go upstairs, no, he'd just - left. Blair took three more steps up, pausing again, suddenly frightened. His heart was beating hard enough to blow through his chest like some escaping alien being and he wondered how in the world Jim couldn't hear it. He felt the sweat break out on his face and his back as the fear took hold.

Because, of course, Jim wouldn't be sleeping through this. And he wasn't - saying anything.

Blair Sandburg turned around, walked back down and into his own room, shutting the french doors behind him.


Blair sat at the kitchen table, a cup of tea in front of him. He'd gotten up thirty minutes earlier, showered, shaved, dressed and found himself truly alone in the loft.

As he took a sip, the front door opened and Jim walked in, arms full of groceries.

"Hey, Chief, you're finally up. You forgot it was your turn to do the shopping. We didn't even have bread for toast."

"Sorry, how much do I owe you?"

"Don't worry about it. You hungry?"

"Not really, the tea is enough."

"Well, I'm starving. Eggs, bacon, potatoes, the whole breakfast thing.

It's just as easy to cook for two, Chief."

"No, really, not hungry."

"Okay, but don't say I didn't offer."

Blair watched in amazement as Jim set about frying bacon, scrambling eggs and frying hash browns.

"Uh, Jim, I..."

"Oh, by the way, don't forget that I promised to meet dad at the country club this afternoon. Probably won't be having dinner here."

Blair blinked.

Jim scooped eggs onto his plate, took several pieces of bacon, spooned up crispy potatoes and plopped them down next to the eggs, picked up his glass of juice and sat down opposite Blair. As he ate, he unfolded the newspaper and began to peruse the sports section.

Well, thought Blair, aren't we just Saturday cozy? And obviously fucking him had given Jim a huge appetite. Thank god he was good for something.

Jim finished the last of the eggs, wiped his mouth, picked up the plate, gulped down the last of his juice and took the whole thing into the kitchen. He spent the next fifteen minutes cleaning up.

Blair stayed where he was, watching in amazement. This was giving the phrase, the morning after a whole new meaning.

When it looked like Jim was done, Blair said, "Jim, could we...."

"Damn," Jim exclaimed, looking at his watch, "I've got tons of shit to do before meeting dad. Look, could you do me a favor? I promised Mrs. Roberts that I would fix her sink since Costello is down with that bad back. Could you take care of that today? I'll never get anything done if I spend time with her, you know how she talks."

Blair blinked again.

"Jim, are we going to talk about last night?"

"What is there to talk about? We fucked. It was a mistake. Forget about Mrs. Roberts, I'll do it now."

Blair watched Jim pick up his keys and walk out.

Unaware that he'd been holding his breath, he let it out as the door shut with a resounding, so there.

A mistake. That's what Jim had said. That Blair was a mistake.

Okay, nothing new there. Heard it before. Too many times to count. Hell, he'd even heard it from some of his mother's friends, that keeping him had been a mistake. Of course, she'd never known that he'd heard them, but he had. He'd been so small and he could sit with adults for hours and they'd forget he was there. They'd say anything.

Like men telling Naomi that this is a mistake, that they didn't want a built-in family. Wanted their own son, not some bastard. And now, Jim. Saying, in essence, the same thing.

But last night had been more than Blair had ever dreamed. He'd felt things he'd never felt with a woman, with anyone. And now - it was over.

Slowly he rose, put his cup into the sink and turned back to the living room.

God dammit to hell.


The next three weeks were barely livable. His lessons with Jim stopped as the older man came up with more and more excuses why they couldn't meet. The academy was actually getting better, easier, and the closer he came to the end, the more his own natural abilities came to the surface. By the end of the last week, he could beat the shit out of anyone.


After the final shoot-out at the firing range, he packed up his stuff and headed home. He was done, a cop. And in true Sandburg fashion, the Volvo broke down. He called the Auto Club and as they were riding back into town, the Volvo trailing behind, Blair happened to glance to his side and spotted Jim's truck, two lanes over, also stopped at the red light.

But Jim wasn't alone. Next to him sat a man Blair had never seen.

This wouldn't have meant much, as he knew Jim was working with the Feds on a case of post office bombings, but as Blair watched, the other man brought his arm up, laid it across the back of the seat and let the back of his hand brush against Jim's cheek.

Blair tore his gaze away, focused on what was in front of him, his mind shutting down.

When he got back to the loft, he walked into his room, pulled out suitcases, filled them, closed them, carried them down to the lobby, walked back up, spent the next hour boxing his belongings, tagging them, then sat down to write Jim a note.





I can take a hint. It may take awhile, but eventually, I get it. I've boxed up my stuff and tagged them. You can sell them for all I care. I just didn't want them cluttering up your home.

I've left the spare room just as I found it.

You said that night was a mistake. I'm guessing now that maybe the last several months, since Alex, were the mistake. I've never hated anyone in my life, that's why I'm leaving Cascade. I don't want to hate you or myself and I'm damn close to both.




He didn't sign it, gave it no closure. He folded it and left it on the table. He dropped his key next to it and walked out. He never looked back.


The words of the letter Blair had left behind still swam before Jim's eyes. After reading it, he'd carried all of Blair's things down to the basement and tucked them into a corner. Something on his cheeks had gotten in his way and he remembered brushing them away.

The next day, telling Simon that Blair had gone had been hard. Underneath, Jim had been able to see Simon's anger and hurt, but like the men that they were, they both brushed it away.

Now, sitting in Simon's office, the wreck of his life all around him, he had only some comfort in the telling.

"You see? I gave him no choice, Simon. What I did, can't be forgiven."

Simon sat back in his chair, stunned by what he'd just heard. He'd spent the last several weeks almost hating Sandburg for ditching them all. For running out on them, when in reality.....

"Jesus, Jim. Why did you do it? If you didn't love him, why the fuck did you do it?"

"That's just it, Simon. I did love him. Do love him."

"I don't have a clue what to say here. I mean, okay, I admit it, I thought you two were already a couple - hell, everyone did."

"Sir, Blair is straight. I don't generally go around seducing my straight friends, let alone my partners."

"But you did. According to you."

"Yes, I did. He made it clear that he was interested and that was all I needed. No, that's unfair. He made it clear that he loved me, that he wanted me as much as I wanted him."

"So what the fuck happened?"

Jim found that he couldn't meet his friend's gaze, so he shifted sight to the window. "I woke up in the middle of the night, in his bedroom, in his arms and I - panicked. Original, uh? Jesus, Simon, he's straight. And everyone I've ever..."

"No one you were ever anything - was Sandburg. You are one sorry son of a bitch, Ellison. You try to keep the bad things, and throw away the good. At times like this, I could almost hate William Ellison. So, now what?"

"So now, we need to send our letters of recommendation to Riverside, Idaho."

Simon took off his glasses and cleaned them with the edge of his shirt, a testament to his complete and utter confusion.

"Ellison, how could someone with all the advantages you have, be so obtuse?" He put his glasses back on and said, "Go to Riverside, fix this. Tell him the truth, Jim. You're a good man, and you both need each other, and I'll tell you this - Blair Sandburg needs you more than you need him."

Jim knew that Simon hadn't been telling all the truth when he'd said that, but it worked anyway.

Except that by the time he'd arrived home, all his best intentions had flown out the fear based window. And on Saturday - the call from Naomi.




Jim dropped back to the present. To a small airport in Canada.

Nothing had changed. The small plane carrying Blair had still gone down and as yet, no search had begun.