Thank you very much to Lady Dagger who so graciously allowed me to use a
part of her wonderful story *Purple* in this story. Thank you again, and
for those who'd love to read the original, please go to:
December 22, 1998
Blair Sandburg arrived at Major Crimes to find Rhonda, Taggert and Connor decorating for the holidays.
Small, artificial trees graced each desk and a larger version, as yet undecorated, stood in the corner next to the main doors. Red, green, silver or gold foil trimmed each desk and Christmas lights adorned the main door, Simon's door and the coffee station. At the moment they were busy "snowing" everything in site and Connor was putting a small holiday village on the top of a filing cabinet.
As Blair headed over to Jim's desk Rhonda caught site of him, clapped her hands in glee and yelled over, "Blair! Great! You'll help us decorate the tree, won't you?" She waved her arm at the other detectives, "These *scrooges* won't lift a finger to help."
"Yo," piped in Connor, "We need you, mate."
Blair ducked his head and quickened his pace to the desk and once there dropped his stuff and reached for a file....any file.
"Uh, guys, maybe later? Real busy here...".
Heads swiveled and jaws dropped but before a chorus of "What?" could assault the young man, Connor stepped in.
"That's okay Sandy. Understood." And she stared pointedly at each detective, daring them to say anything.
Blair glanced up, knuckled some hair back behind his ear and gave Connor a weak smile of thanks, then quickly dropped his head back to the task at hand.
As Blair went over the files, not really reading a word, he found himself wondering what "was" wrong with him. Christmas and Chanukah were just around the corner and he didn't feel a thing.
The holiday spirit was definitely passing him by this year. Of course, the entire last month, starting with Thanksgiving, had been a month of Murphy's Law for the anthropologist. Everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong.
It started with a phone call from Naomi. Originally he and Jim were planning on spending the Thanksgiving holiday with Jim's father and brother....a kind of Ellison family reunion. Then Naomi's call.
"Honey, I'm flying in late on Wednesday and back out again Thursday evening, but we can have the whole day."
Okay, he and Naomi hadn't had a holiday together in over five years....so plans changed. Jim would go to his dad's and Blair would stay with his mother.
Except...there was another call.
"Sweetie, I'm so sorry, just met up with some old friends, haven't seen them in years. They've invited me to Vermont. You don't mind, do you honey?"
What could he say? No, he didn't mind," maybe next year, mom." But he did. Mind. And he didn't tell Jim. He'd felt all along that Jim should have the weekend with his relatives without Blair tagging along and besides, the elder and younger Ellison's were, for some reason, very uncomfortable around Blair. So he just said that Naomi would be in later than originally planned and Jim should go have fun.
So Blair spent the holiday alone. Completely. And it wouldn't have been so bad except that since moving in with Jim, there hadn't been a single holiday that they weren't together.
And the "good times" just kept coming.
A paper for his Police Science class that didn't get turned in on time....small matter of a kidnapping. But this put him at the head of his Professor's shit list. Jim *was* dating. Between his new classes and his work with Jim, Blair had no life. Jim was *dating*. His beloved Volvo had finally died and Blair was forced to get around Cascade by bicycle. In the winter.
*Jim* was dating.
They'd just come off case of escalating harassment and vandalism against the Mayor's son, Michael Goddard, a studen at Rainier. In the beginning, when he and Jim had interviewed Clementine Taylor, Goddard's ex-girlfriend, Blair had "known" she was the perp. He'd expressed his opinion and been thoroughly shot down. Cops could have hunches, but not Observers.
They had chosen instead to concentrate the investigation on one, Robert Heywood, a rival of Goddard's. Until "Darling Clementine" decided to up the ante by trying to kill Michael. Fortunately Blair was with young Goddard, trying to get more information on Ms. Taylor when she showed up with gun in hand. Blair managed to get her attention and just as she was about to hand the gun over to him the family butler rushed in and "Clemmie" panicked and started shooting. Blair had grabbed up a vase, a very expensive vase, and thrown it at the woman.
He saved Goddard's life, got a bullet through his arm, a lecture from Jim and Simon "and" a lecture from Mrs. Goddard about using her expensive vase to save her son's life! Ain't family grand?
*And* Jim was dating.
Any wonder the holiday mood was escaping Blair? But he wasn't feeling sorry for himself, exactly. Rather, it seemed to him that his life had finally caught up to him and that this was the life he was used to. The life he deserved.
And Blair found himself thinking for the umpteenth time why he'd ever been born.
December 24, 1998
Jim Ellison pulled into a parking space in front of his home and was surprised to see the lights on in the loft. While it was 5:30 and Blair certainly should have been home, the detective still hadn't been expecting it. Sandburg had been using his winter break to play "catch up" with his school work and spending almost every available moment at the library.
Since Blair had started back at the University, going after a Master's (and eventually a Doctorate) in Forensic Psychology, Jim had noticed a real difference in the younger man. His confidence, his normally assured nature, natural exuberance and good humor had seemed severely dampened. Jim knew that Blair was aware of the challenge he'd set for himself....the challenge of starting over, pursuing a new degree, a new doctorate. And Jim had given him his full support. But it had only been a few months and already the strain was evident. Jim was worried.
And he didn't have a clue how to help. He was very afraid his friend was headed for a major crash. Jim pulled the keys from the ignition, locked up and headed in.
As the elevator took him up to the third floor he concentrated his hearing on his partner. He could hear the muttering and the pacing. Not a good sign. Just has Jim got to the door the phone started ringing and as he entered, Blair was answering.
"Hey, Simon......what? Oh, yeah, just a minute, he just walked in.....here he is." Blair raised an eyebrow as he handed Jim the phone. Jim shrugged and turned his attention to Simon.
"Yeah Simon......when? Right. We're on our way." He put the phone down and addressed Blair.
"We've got a murder, Chief. You able to join me?"
"Hey, no problem, let's go."
Jim pulled a jacket off the hook and handed it to the other man and they headed out.
As Jim pulled into the circular driveway of the old but elegant victorian house, representatives of the press immediately moved towards them, surrounding the truck. Jim and Blair got out and moved through the mass of bodies, cameras, microphones and lights as if they didn't exist. Jim looked straight ahead, ignoring the stupid questions and keeping Blair to his left and slightly behind him.
They hurried up the steps leading to a large, open, ornate oak door. Jim flashed his badge and Blair his pass and the officer moved aside to grant them access.
The first person they saw was Simon. He was standing in the foyer talking with a woman who appeared to be a servant. She was clearly frightened, gesturing frantically and talking rapidly in spanish. When Simon spotted Jim he immediately turned the woman over to another officer.
"Well, Merry Christmas gentlemen. We have ourselves a grisly one here."
He indicated the large room off to the left and the three men moved to the entrance of what appeared to be the livingroom.
"The woman I was talking with is Maria Salgado, the housemaid. She found the body of her employer, Daniel Cummings", he paused to let the name sink in and Blair didn't disappoint him.
"Daniel Cummings? "I can get it for you wholesale" Daniel Cummings?
"You got it Sandburg. Ms. Salgado came home from last minute Christmas shopping and found him on the floor, next to the fireplace, his head bashed in."
The livingroom was full as officers collected evidence, photographed the scene and dusted for prints. The body was already bagged and being wheeled out as the men entered. Jim started to put his senses to work as he moved into the livingroom. As he turned from Simon, he banged into Sandburg, pushing the man against the frame of the archway.
"Jesus, Sandburg, watch yourself." Ellison snapped.
"Sorry man, just tune everything down for a few minutes until you acclimate yourself."
The response to his cautionary words and understanding of Jim's tone was met with steely blue eyes. Blair shrugged and let Jim and Simon walk past him, then followed, as usual.
Jim began to walk the room, his eyes moving constantly, Blair following behind, talking softly. In the far corner, next to the massive fireplace, Blair spotted Connor.
She was looking down at the floor with a puzzled expression, then she seemed to stumble, but then Jim froze and Blair bumped into him.
"Sandburg!" Jim's voice rose this time and several officers turned to look at the two men.
Blair dropped his hands, which were resting on Jim's back and mumbled a sorry.
"Sandburg, maybe you'd better wait outside?"
"Look, you're exhausted, you're just going to get in the way....go on, wait in the truck, catch a few winks." Then Jim turned back to what he'd been looking at earlier. With a supreme effort, Blair managed a mask of indifference as he turned to leave.
As he headed out he noticed Connor waving him over. With a quick look at Jim, he moved to join the Aussie.
"Sandy, he's in a bit of a tizzy, don't let him get you down." And she reached out and pulled him towards her. At the same time the photographer, who had been kneeling beside the fireplace, moved to get up. Connor quickly pulled Blair behind her, narrowly missing another collision. But as Blair stumbled back his foot came down on something and he heard the crunch underfoot. He gave a little hop so he could get his shoe off what ever he'd stepped on and looked down. He started to bend over, not to touch, just to look, when Simon bellowed, "SANDBURG, DON'T TOUCH!"
Blair quickly stood back up, a flush creeping up his face.
"Simon, I wasn't going......", he didn't finish as Jim grabbed his arm and pulled him past Simon.
"Simon, I'll take care of this."
"I just hope this wasn't evidence!"
Jim pulled the younger man out of the livingroom, out of the foyer, out the front door, gave a look around and moved the two of them into the relative quiet and shelter of a large elm tree.
"Sandburg, whats with you? You know better than to walk around like that. You *know* better."
"Look Jim, I didn't.....", again he wasn't allowed to finish as Jim cut in.
"Sandburg, here", and he held out his keys, "Take the truck. You need rest. I'll ride back with Simon and we'll talk later."
Before Blair could respond, Jim was walking back to the house, completely unaware of the damage he was leaving in his wake.
Under normal circumstances Blair would have fought back. Told the detective what he could do with his keys. But these were not normal circumstances. The camels back had been pretty well beaten down and Jim had just provided the straw.
Blair stood there for several minutes, the shock and hurt evident on his
face. Slowly he made his way to the truck, got in and drove off.
As Blair headed back to town he was alternating verbal abuse of himself with physical abuse by pounding the steering wheel with his hand. As he turned onto Masters Ave. a light snow began to fall. Just as Blair reached over to turn the wipers on a small child darted into the street.
Blair had to pull the wheel sharply to the left to avoid the child, but with the slushy roads the truck hydroplaned and went shooting up a bank and through a fence, finally coming to rest on someone's lawn.
Shaking, Blair got out of the truck. The little girl was nowhere to be seen. As he rested against the door he tasted blood. He brought his hand to his mouth. A cut lip. He let his hand travel further up and more blood. He also had a cut above his left eye. Blair knew he was lucky. And so was the little girl.
He finally got up the nerve to look at the truck and immediately wished he hadn't.
//Oh, God, this is it. Jim's going to kill me.//
The front bumper was gone, the hood up and seriously "crunched" with steam rising up much the way Blair's soul would once Jim got a hold of him. The windshield was cracked, the wipers completely gone and both headlights shattered.
"Shit, I'm out of the loft now....and if I'm lucky, I'll be allowed to leave on my own two feet as opposed to being carried out in a body bag."
He let his hand run along the side of the truck and could feel the pain he knew Jim would experience.
Suddenly he was spun around to face a very angry, 6'5, 250 pound man who was yelling at the top of his lungs and using Blair's chest to punctuate every word.
"You God Damn Hippie Freak! Look what you've done to my fence, my yard. You'll pay for this.....I'll sue!"
The anthropologist tried to reason with the man, holding his hands up and trying to calm the angry man down, but nothing was working and Blair's own anger was begining to surface. When it made its way to the top, Blair grabbed his wallet, opened it and threw the whole thing at the idiot in front of him.
"HERE YOU NEANDERTHAL, TAKE IT! MY LICENSE, MY MONEY, ALL OF IT, IT'S YOURS! EVER HEAR OF TRYING TO GET BLOOD FROM A TURNIP, YOU TURKEY?"
And he stalked off, leaving behind the stunned "neanderthal", the truck and his wallet.
When he got to the corner he began to run. He needed to run. He didn't know why, just that running seemed the right thing to do. He ran up Madison, cut over to fifth, then down Lacy. It was snowing harder now but Blair just kept running. He didn't stop until he reached O'Neils Bridge. He came to a shuddering stop half way across. He leaned, exhausted, against a post and looked out over the creek. Blair didn't notice the cold or the tears of frustration coursing down his face, he just looked out at the dark churning water and cursed himself and his life.
"God, please.....", but his voice trailed off as he looked down again at the black water below him. Everything was so wrong now.....He could help no one, contribute nothing. He stared, mesmorized. It would be so easy.....no one would miss him.....he was an obligation to some and a nuisance to others.......so easy.
"Marcus, get me Bodile, she's needed."
"Yes Mr. "C"."
Bodile was sitting on a cloud, # 9 actually, reading. She was a "healthy" rubenesque woman who'd come to Heaven by the back door. She hadn't earned her wings yet, but she was certain she'd have the opportunity any day now, hence her current perusal of "The New Angel's Handbook and PPM".
A disembodied voice interrupted her reading.
"Bodile, Mr. "C" wants you. I think this is *it*. You "Go Girl"."
Bodile snapped the book shut, brought her arm and elbow down, hand into a fist and hissed,
"YESSSS". She immediately thought of Mr. "C" and in the space of a celestial breath she was standing in front of the "Head Angel".
"Ah, Bodile, it looks as though you're about to have your chance to earn those wings."
Bodile began some rather "substantial" bouncing.
"Bodile, calm down. This will be no cake walk, believe me. Someone is in desperate need of our help and if you fail.....well the earthly world will suffer grave consequences."
She ceased her bouncing and regarded the angel in front of her. Mr. "C" was a legend up here among the clouds, thanks to a rather unique method he'd used to get his wings.
"I'm ready sir. Who am I helping?"
He parted the clouds to reveal a young man standing disconsolately at the rail of a bridge.
"This man. His name is Blair Sandburg and he is a Shaman. He is under the protection of the Great Chopec Spirits."
Bodile looked at the face. He had a strong boned look, broad forehead, square jaw, long curly hair framing a handsome face. Yes, definitely handsome.
"This is a shaman? But there is nothing of the shaman about him, sir.
And he's young, not yet thirty."
"You must learn to look deeper. Take a closer look."
There it was. She saw it now. The gift. The wisdom and the power. But it was currently surpressed by great confusion, pain and something else...something she couldn't quiet put her finger on.....
"Yes, I see it now. But there is so much in the way. The dear man is hurting. And there is something else....I don't have it yet.....".
With those words, Mr. "C" knew he'd assigned this delicate case to the right novitiate.
"Good girl, you saw what few others have seen. Come, let me show you a bit about our young shaman."
He guided Bodile to a large wall of clouds where with a wave of his hand, pictures began to move across the white billows. In Technicolor, of course.
A beautiful young girl, red hair flying behind her as she runs across the grass, a tall, handsome young man running after her, finally catching her and they tumble to the ground, kissing.
"The young woman's name is Naomi. She is Blair's mother."
"She's beautiful. And so in love. Is the young man Blair's father?"
"Yes, Bodile. His name is Thomas Magnum."
The same young woman, alone in a hotel room.
She is sitting on the couch and there is a piece of rubber around her arm. She is pulling it tight with her teeth. In her other hand, a hypodermic.
"Oh, no, please don't tell me...she's not?"
Before Mr. "C" can answer, the door of the hotel opens and Blair's father steps in. Only now he is wearing a naval uniform.
Bodile gasped as she saw the hurt and pain cross the man's face.
"Naomi, you promised. You swore you were clean....Oh, God, Naomi, why?"
"You're leaving, what do you care", she spat out, "You're off to Viet Nam, to kill......or be killed.....get out. Leave me alone."
The scene faded.
"What happened? Did he leave her?"
"Yes, he did. He had no choice, he was under orders."
"But what happened later? Did they get together? Marry?"
"I'm afraid not....their paths led elsewhere. But in the future? Who knows? And no, Blair does not know who his father is."