Rating: G

Pairings: J/B

Series/Sequel: None

Warnings: m/m, song lyrics

Archive category: Episode related, 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 "Without You" are copyright to Motley Crue and their record label.

Author's notes: SPOILERS for TS by BS. After reading some truly great post-TS by BS stories, where Blair goes on to be an excellent cop, I decided to go in the opposite direction. This one's for Cheryl, Beth and Kim, who will never be able to accept Blair as a cop.

Episode spoilers: The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg

Date completed: June 6, 1999

Summary: When being a cop doesn't work for Blair, it tears he and Jim apart.


Without You

by Barbara Nice-Miller




I think deep down I knew I'd never be a cop.

But when your entire world, your entire life, has just fallen down around your ears, and someone gives you an opportunity to build it back up again, you jump at the chance without giving it a second thought. Looking back now, though, I realize that I was unconsciously rebelling against my choice at a law enforcement career from the beginning.

My hair was the first thing. I wasn't kidding when I said I wouldn't cut it. I figured Simon had pulled enough strings to get me this far, he could pull one more. And I was right. I don't know if I was happy I got to keep it or disappointed because it would have given me an excuse not to go to the Academy.

So the hair stayed and I stopped tying it back, stopped looking so serious. It felt good to have it hanging across my shoulders again. I also started wearing my earrings again and stopped dressing like Jim's clone. My worn, slightly faded and slightly ripped jeans were back, along with my vests. Except at my Academy classes, where we all wore regulation navy blue sweatpants and grey Cascade PD t-shirts. Especially during our hand to hand and firearms training.

And no, carrying a weapon was not the reason I couldn't remain as Jim's partner, though it was a big part of it.

Yes, I've held a gun before. Yes, I've fired a gun before. Probably more times than some veteran cops. But I always gave it back when I was done. But after I graduated from the Academy, even though my heart wasn't in it, with the entire Major Crimes department and my mother looking on, that weapon was now to become an extra, permanent appendage of my body.

I started off with a regular hip holster and quickly learned how heavy a Sig Sauer gets after eight hours with it strapped to your side, and how awkward it was for me as I continually banged my arm on it. So I abandoned the hip holster and tried one on my back, like Jim. Now I couldn't sit down. I don't know how Jim does it. My last option was a shoulder holster. Now I could sit down and not bang my arm on anything, but it was like wearing a bra with a cancerous growth emanating from my armpit.

Cancerous growth. What an apt term to describe my new career. It slowly killed me.

If I thought people outside Major Crimes resented my "position" in the department before the disaster with my dissertation, it was nothing compared to their attitude after I shot through the Academy and was immediately handed a gold detective shield upon graduation. They had to put in years of service and work their way up through the ranks for that position and I'd had it handed to me on a silver platter. To say the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife was an understatement.

I know I look and act outside the norm, and I've always let other people's comments and attitudes toward me roll off my back, but having to worry every day if my backup would show began to take it's toll on me.

Besides the gun and the ostracism, the cancerous growth also ate away at two vitally important things: my love of academics and my relationship with Jim.

I never realized how true the old adage of "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" was until I packed my university life into boxes and into storage and slipped that gold shield into my pocket every morning. Yes, I had lost my love to complete my dissertation, I was stalling, I had "gone native" and subconsciously I sabotaged it by using Jim's real name instead of John Doe. But that didn't mean that I'd lost my love of academics in general. Of gaining knowledge and then passing it on. But what was I learning or teaching now, as a cop? Learning more and more about the travesties mankind commits against each other and teaching myself how to "check my humanity at the door"? At least before I could escape the police work by burying my nose in a dusty tome at Rainier. But now I didn't have that escape.

Then there was my relationship with Jim. We both hoped, both needed my new career to work, to assuage the guilt we both were carrying around. Me, for not putting an end to my dissertation sooner and avoiding this disaster, and Jim for thinking that it was his fault for having enhanced senses in the first place and thus being the cause for me ruining my life.

Needless to say, my new job did not provide the solutions we wanted, instead causing more problems.

It was obvious for anyone to see that my "Detective Sandburg" persona did not suit me well. Jim and I both knew this wasn't working, but instead of trying to talk about it and try to make it better, we both just shut down. We let the wedge between us widen further and further. We stopped communicating and we stopped sleeping together. Lovers for only a month and now it was over. One month of blissful happiness and love before all hell broke loose and then we just stopped touching each other. Half of my soul died the first night we slept apart. Our bond, our link, had been broken and I'd never felt more lost and alone in my life. There seemed to be no stopping that cancerous growth.

So I did the only thing I could think of to try and salvage my life, Jim's life and the life we had built together: I turned in my gun, my badge and my resignation to Simon three months after I graduated from the Academy. Then I moved out.

It was an amicable separation all the way around. Simon knew my heart wasn't into being a cop 24/7, and Jim knew we needed the separation. We both needed to reconnect with ourselves if we had any hope of reconnecting with each other, and we couldn't do that living on top of one another. He even helped me pick out an apartment.

But it was up to me to pick out a job. Unlike Jim, I couldn't hop right back into my career after the media circus died down. Which was about a week for Jim. After my press conference, denouncing myself as a fraud and Jim as just your average, run of the mill guy, the cameras basically disappeared. A few diehards hung around, but after they realized Jim wasn't faster than a speeding bullet and couldn't leap tall buildings in a single bound, they abandoned the "Sentinel" story in search of greener pastures.

After settling into my new place, I applied for teaching fellow positions at various universities across the country. Why I bothered I don't know. Just an ounce of checking up on me will reveal my dismissal from Rainier and the reason behind it. I don't expect to be going on any interviews in the foreseeable future.

But that didn't mean I couldn't get a job. Because I did. I'm working at the library near the university. Back among the books where I belong. I'm tutoring, too. A lot. My former students tracked me down and convinced me to get into tutoring. I have more kids coming in and out of my apartment than I ever did at my office at Rainier. I'm learning again and I'm teaching again. And I'm happy again. No, this isn't the career or the life that I picked out for myself when I was sixteen. But it's a start on getting that career and that life back again. I've got my feet back under me, and that's the most important thing.

Two months of working at the library and tutoring had left me feeling almost like my old self, except for the half of me that was missing because I wasn't with Jim. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other in those two months since I'd moved out. But that didn't mean that I didn't think about him every waking and sleeping moment. How could I not? I loved him. And I knew he loved me, too, and if we were truly meant to spend the rest of our lives together we'd be able to work through this. No matter how long it took. Now that I was getting my life back on track, I was willing to give our relationship another try. But was Jim? And who should make the first move?

I found the note the following day after work.

A piece of yellow legal pad, neatly folded, placed in the center of my pillow in my bedroom. It wasn't signed, but after living and working with Jim for four years, I identified his handwriting easily.



Without you, there's no change
My nights and days are grey
If I reached out and touched the rain
It just wouldn't feel the same

Without you, I'd be lost
I'd slip down from the top
I'd slide down so low
You'd never, never know



He was ready.

I sat there on my bed for a good long while, staring at the note, my heart flip-flopping in my chest. We were really going to give it another try. And it had been Jim to instigate it, to make the first move. In a most unusual way, too. He wrote me a poem? Did I suddenly take a detour into the Twilight Zone? Jim Ellison did not write poetry. But the more times I read it, the more familiar the words started sounding. In the end I decided it didn't matter, all that I cared about was that Jim still thought we had something worth saving.

It wasn't until I read the second note that I found on my steering wheel the next morning that I put my finger on it.



Without you, without you
A sailor lost at sea
Without you
The world comes down on me

Without you in my life
I'd slowly wilt and die
But with you by my side
You're the reason I'm alive
But with you in my life
You're the reason I'm alive



Song lyrics. They were song lyrics. Where Jim came across them I didn't know and I didn't care. Jim had always found it difficult to express himself, and if this was the way he wanted to do it, it was fine by me. At least he was trying.

I found the third note on my desk at the library.



Without you, my hope is small
Let me be me all along
You let the fires rage inside
Knowing some day I'd grow strong

I could face a mountain
But I could never climb alone
I could start another day
But how many, just don't know



God, Jim. I love you. I miss you.

I found the last one in my mailbox at my apartment that night.



You're the reason the sun shines down
And the nights, they don't grow cold
Only you that I'll hold when I'm young
Only you...as we grow old

Without you in my life
I'd slowly wilt and die
But with you by my side
You're the reason I'm alive
But with you in my life
You're the reason I'm alive
But without you, without you....

Dinner. 8pm. The loft. Please?



Wild horses couldn't keep me away.

Words can't describe how good it was to see Jim again, to be back at the loft again, but awkward didn't even begin to describe dinner. We were like two nervous teenagers on our first date; not sure how to act around each other, trying to make small talk, avoiding the real reason why we were both there. But then dinner was over and the dishes were washed and put away and we found ourselves sitting on the couch, facing each other, our knees barely touching.

Again, Jim surprised me by talking first. We quickly learned that the separation had done us good. It allowed us to clear our heads and look objectively at what had happened. He apologized for not trusting me when my dissertation got out and that if he'd known I was going to call that press conference he never would've let me. That we would've found some other way to deal with it. But he said he let his emotions get the best of him and because of that he felt he'd left me no other option than to call myself a fraud. And he couldn't forgive himself for that. Because it forced me into something I didn't want because it was the only option I had. It changed me, and not for the better. And along the way it changed us. The question was, could we change back to what we had? Because he wanted to try. Because without me, he was lost.

Then it was my turn. I apologized for letting my dissertation hang over our heads for so long, for letting it come to this. It never should have happened. But I let it and I deserved everything that happened to me. What I'll never forgive myself for is nearly destroying his life in the process.

Jim once told me that he didn't need me telling him who he was. Then he told me he did need me to tell him. It took all of this for him to really, truly find out who he was. All by himself. It also took all of this for me to find out who I am. All by myself.

Jim's a Sentinel and a cop. I'm a Guide and an anthropologist.

We found ourselves, and that was the first step in finding us. We loved each other and we were going to make this work. One step at a time.

We talked all night. About everything and nothing. About my job and his, what we'd been doing in the two months we spent apart...just reconnecting with each other. God, I missed his smile, his laugh, his touches.

I excused myself around dawn to use the bathroom, and when I came out, Jim was standing there, something clutched in his hand. He didn't say a word, just put his arm around my shoulders and led me out onto the balcony. The sunrise was breathtaking, bathing us both in soft shades of pinks and yellows. A new day was beginning.

He smiled at me and opened his hand. My apartment key lay in his palm. I smiled back and nodded. He turned and threw the key as far as he could off the balcony.

Then he kissed me.

I never knew it was possible to pack so much love, hope and promises into a simple kiss. But we did it. And we knew that just because we were back together didn't mean everything was Ok. I was determined to get back into anthropology, and we were both determined that we would work together again. And I had no doubt that we'd eventually accomplish both goals. Two heads were always better than one, and we were the best team, the best partners, the best friends there ever was.

United we stand, divided we fall. We had to learn that the hard way, but the lesson won't ever be forgotten.

Sentinel and Guide.

Without each other, we'd be lost.



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

Barbara Nice-Miller