New Arrivals
Author-Alicia
Titles

The Art of Miscommunication
by Alicia

Summary: If you thought Jim and William had trouble communicating, wait until Blair and William try to come to an understanding about their place in each other's lives! This takes place about 10 days after Reconciliations.

Disclaimer: I do not own the charcters of TS. If I did I'd take much better care of them! They are owned by Pet Fly and Paramount.

Notes: If this story seems rambling or jumpy it's meant to be -- this is an emotional, verbal confrontation between two people who are not at their "emotional" best! I'm not happy with this draft, but I've all ready rewritten it about 5 times -- I give up!

Without looking up from his computer screen Blair called out to the person knocking at his office door. "Come in, it's open."

When the expected student plea of -- 'Mr. Sandburg I need…' didn't immediately follow the opening of the door Blair looked up, surprised to see William Ellison standing there.

"William! What are you doing here? Is something wrong?" he asked in concern.

"No. Nothing is wrong," William assured his youngest son. "I had some business to take care of in town…thought I'd stop by…but I see you're busy…"

"This? Oh, this is just a bit of the never-ending research that goes with being a grad student…nothing that can't wait," he said with a smile, coming around his desk to clear off a space for William to sit. "Jim will tell you I always have my nose in a book."

Blair dumped the pile of books on the floor and gestured William towards the chair. "Have a seat. Can I get you anything? I have tea and bottled waters…"

"I'm fine. Thanks." William answered, taking the offered seat.

Blair went back to his desk and busied himself shuffling through the 'clutter' on his desk, all the time eyeing his "father", who was busy taking in the mess that made up the young man's office.

"Yes," Blair commented with a sigh and a chuckle, "it always looks like this. Drives Jim crazy."

"I'll bet it does." William chuckled. "He was obsessively neat as a child, too."

William finally broke the awkward silence that passed between them. "My business in town actually had to do with you. I went to see my lawyer, reorder me affairs…"

"What do your 'affairs' have to do with me?" Blair interrupted.

"I came here to give you this." William said, reaching into his suit pocket and pulling out a folded piece of paper.

"What is it?" Blair asked with uncertainty, leaning forward in his seat.

"Take it please." William said, holding the paper out to Blair.

Blair hesitantly took the paper and slowly unfolded it, shocked to discover it was a check made out to him for the amount to twenty-five thousand dollars. "What the hell…what's this? I don't need your money. Is that what you needed to arrange with your lawyer -- a payoff or something?"

"That is not what this money is about BJ…" William started to explain.

"My name is Blair."

"Fine. Blair." William corrected. "But let's get something straight right here and now. Your mother ran from me, I did not run out on her -- or you! When I did catch up with her she refused to let me help her out in any way -- afraid I'd try to make a claim on you I suppose. I know you've got a lot of student loans -- use the money for that. Hell, see it as back child support; it doesn't matter. But you are going to keep it, it's the least I can do."

Blair snorted and shook his head, running his hand through his hair as he paced the small confines of his office. "Is that the least you can really do or the most your willing to do?"

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" William asked angrily.

Blair stopped pacing in front of his window, looking out onto the campus he sighed heavily and said, "I don't want you money…I want…I thought you had come here to, well, maybe talk, give us a chance to get to know each other. I want a chance to get to know the man my mother fell in love with. I want to know how that man could possibly be the same one that put Jim and Stephen through so much hell."

The young man turned from the window and faced the man that was his 'biological' father. "The thought that I could have grown up in a household so cold and devoid of compassion and feeling -- that scares the hell out of me, man."

Sighing tiredly under the burden of his past William answered his youngest son the best he could. "It was like I was two different people. My job, my position in the community…certain things were expected. It was all ready hard enough -- being a divorced man in the '60's, trying to work and take care of two young sons. But then came Naomi. She was so different, an unrestrained spirit. So loving and free…"

"You could have tried some of that 'unrestrained love' with your son's" Blair interjected.

"I didn't know how. Not without Naomi." William said, shaking his head sadly. "Look, I know I made mistakes in the past…failed in many ways with Jimmy and Stephen. I just thought that with you…"

"That you could what…take up where you left off," Blair questioned sarcastically. "No thanks man. I am not a cardboard cut out -- I am Naomi's son all the way."

"I'm beginning to get *that* picture very clearly." William said flatly.

"And you say that like it's a bad thing?" Blair shot back, reaching down on his desk to pick up the check, "Naomi gave me what this could never do. She gave me unconditional love and support…let me explore and find myself and didn't try to mold me into an image of herself."

"Didn't she. Look at you, scraping by on nothing -- no security, no respect for authority. No concept of how the 'real' world operates."

"Oh, and what exactly is the 'real' world? Where the quest for the almighty dollar is more important than family? Where status is more important than love…or understanding. Did you *ever* try to understand Jim at all? It takes more than money to make someone feel secure."

"Why do you keep turning this back to Jimmy? This is *not* about Jim…or Stephen, this is about you," William said tightly.

"Because he is my friend. Because I didn't need you and my mother's little 'revelation' to make me feel like I had a family -- a brother." Blair shot back.

"So, because *I* tried to instill a solid work ethic and give my son's a sense of responsibility I am the heavy here." I

"I have goals," Blair practically yelled. "I'm working on a damn doctorate for gods sake. You don't think it takes self-discipline to get this far. What in the hell do I need to do -- own the whole damn school?"

"That's not what I meant and you know it." William snapped.

"Do I? That's just it man, I *don't* know…and this," he waved at the check on his desk, "is not the way for me to find out. And you, you only think you know me. I am Naomi's son but I am not Naomi, do you understand that?"

"And do you have any understanding that it takes more than "love" to be a good parent. I may not have played 'daddy' to the boys as much as I should have, I had a responsibility to provide for their futures…" William shot back.

"Yea, and look where all that 'responsibility' got you…a future without your sons. Perhaps you should have thought more about their present."

"Oh, and I suppose you call what your mother did responsible. You call it responsible to traipse all over the world with a child, take that child away from a stable home, take him away from his father and his brother's. I could have given you and your mother everything…" William raged.

"You still don't get it do you. If it doesn't revolve around the almighty dollar it's just not in your frame of reference is it," Blair railed in exasperation. "Naomi gave me what *I* needed, man, she gave me love!"

"Love, right! She loved you so damn much she dumped you at Rainer when you were sixteen and never even slowed down."

"Damn you," Blair shouted. "Get out."

"Like hell I will," William threw back, coming up out of his chair. "Naomi took you away from your family once, I'll be dammed if she does it again -- you are *my* son…you are an Ellison."

"Sperm doesn't make you a *father*," Blair shot back snidely.

Blair's comment hit William like a slap in the face, the anger faded from him and he slumped tiredly into a chair. "Your right. It doesn't. I am so sorry. Things should not have turned out this way."

Some of Blair's anger faded at seeing the defeated look on his "father's" face and after a moment he asked pointedly, "Are you sorry *I* happened or in how I turned out without your *guidance*?"

William thought for a moment, not sure how to answer Blair. ""Your upbringing was so very different from what Jimmy and Stevie got…the things I could have given you. Your mother exposed you to such…"

"So you are sorry this all happened?" Blair interrupted impatiently.

"That what happened? Meeting Naomi?" William tried to clarify Blair's question. "I am not sorry I meet your mother…I love--d her."

"What about me?" Blair pressed.

"What about you?"

"How do you feel about me? Are you sorry that I was born?"

"No. God, no." William rushed to reassure his youngest son. "I love you. I tried to be your father…wanted to be your father."

"I believe you, at least for the time I was a child," Blair said. "But I'm not talking about then, I'm talking about now. I'm a grown man and I am diametrically opposite of everything *you* were raised to believe in. Can you honestly tell me you haven't considered all the ramifications of this little revelation…about how it will look to your country club set to suddenly have a long-haired, neo hippie, Jewish bastard fall out of the old bone closet after thirty years?"

"I can deal with it if it ever comes up."

"If: *if* it ever comes up? Was this your way of dealing with it?" Blair asked holding up the check. "Was *this* supposed to make sure it *never* came up? Because if it is it won't work, man; you don't want another son, fine with me but I will not give up what I have with Jim or what I might have with Stephen."

"I don't recall asking you too." William said in exasperation. "What do your want from me? Do you want me to go running through the streets and shout it out?"

"What do *you* want from me," Blair yelled back. "One minute your saying you're my father and the next your criticizing my very existence, man."

"That's not what I'm doing." William said. "You're my son…I would like to be your father, if you'll let me…"

"If I'll let you? Do you really want to be *my* father?" Blair asked pointedly. "Can you really accept Blair Sandburg as your son? I can't change who I am."

William shook his head and sighed heavily. "Why am I the villain here? I'm trying to get past all this…"

"Get past what? What is there to get past?" Blair asked emphatically.

"That's your problem man, you feel there is 'something ' to get past. It's all out there, man, in living color. We can't change any of it—but we can go forward with it."

"Why are you making this so difficult? I just can't seem to get through to you…your upbringing with Naomi; hell, it's hard to tell what Jimmy…or Stevie have all ready put in your head…"

"That's it, I cannot deal with this anymore right now," Blair said going to his door and opening it.

William shook his head and got up to leave. He was stopped in the doorframe by Blair's parting comment. "For your information we are grown men…Jim, Stephen and I."

William just nodded grimly and headed down the corridor and out of the building. Blair watched him go before slamming his office door.

Blair paced the confines of his office, trying to decide if he should be angry or upset. His eyes came to rest on the crumpled check lying on his desk and he decided for the moment that he was angrier. He went to his door, opened and slammed it again, before going back to pacing.

The young man was so agitated he didn't hear the quiet rap on the door or notice when it opened slightly. "Chief? *What* is the matter with you? You sound like you're about to have a stroke!"

Blair turned, startled by the voice. "Damn, Jim, scare me to death why don't you!"

He ran his hands through his hair and went right back to pacing. Jim moved into the office and closed the door behind him. "Settle down before you fall down. What is it that has you so wound up?"

Stopping to look at his older brother he spouted, "That…that, man! How did you do it? If it doesn't revolve around the almighty dollar it's not valid…"

"Who…Chief, are you talking about my…our father? He was here?" Jim asked in surprised. "What did he say to you?"

Suddenly deflated Blair went to his desk and plopped heavily into his chair. "Is twenty-five thousand a good trade for a father?"

"What? Twenty-five thousand…dollars? He offered you money; for what?" Jim was confused and starting to get a little angry with whatever was causing Blair this much agitation. "Did he threaten you?"

"What? No." Blair seemed to suddenly be aware that he was actually talking to another person. "Seems I don't measure up to the old Ellison standard…I can either become the perfect Ellison boy he never got or I can take the pay off and crawl back into the closet."

He actually said that to you?" Jim asked incredulously.

"He didn't have to…but the intent was clear." Blair said tiredly.

"Damn him," Jim said, his jaw clenching in anger. "How long ago did he leave?"

Blair jumped up from his seat. "Oh, no Jim. Stop that train of thought right there. You've got your own problems with your…our…that man to work out. Do not take on mine!"

"I'm sorry chief. The old man just hasn't changed."

Blair began pacing again. "He went after my mom, man. How could he say those things about her if he loved her; why was he even with her to begin with?" His agitation growing he never stopped to consider he next words before they came tumbling out, "He even said he couldn't reason with me because you'd all ready poisoned me against him."

Jim filed away his father's 'judgment' without comment. "Come on chief, you've had enough for one day. Let's go home."

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

Next Day

It took every bit of control James Ellison had not to throw his father up against the wall of his study. Instead he withdrew the crumpled check from his pocket and threw it on the desk. "What the hell was this about? Some sort of payoff…"

"A pay off?" William said in confusion.

Seeing the look of confusion and hurt on his father's face, Jim took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, reigning in some of his anger. "It may not have been how you meant it but is sure as hell how he took it. Couldn't you have sat down with him, talked to him and tried to get to know him? You don't just walk into some ones life after twenty-eight years and try to take over; especially, not one Blair Sandburg!"

"I tried, Jimmy. I thought it was a gesture in the right direction. I wasn't there for him for twenty-eight years, I want to be there for him now." William pleaded.

"Then why…why didn't you say that to him." Jim said pointedly leaning over the desk. "Why did you have to throw money in his face? Blair has lived by the seat of his pants his whole life…you should have know from Naomi that money is not important to him. What he wants…no, what he needs is your emotional support not your money."

"I don't think he wants either one from me now," William said quietly.

Jim straightened back up. "Dad, he's smart; too, damn smart for his own good sometimes. You won't find a more caring, compassionate *or* forgiving person. He is so full of all the traits that must have attracted you to Naomi to begin with."

"So, I should try again?" William asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, I think you should." Jim agreed. "This time listen to him, accept him for who *he* is and don't blame him for what you think Naomi took away from you. He is and always will be Naomi Sandburg's son…but he is an Ellison, too. He is not like me, or Stephen, but *he is* one of us just the same. He is…unique!"

"That he is." William said with a quiet chuckle, surprised when his son returned the chuckle with an unfamiliar glint to his eye.

"Let me tell you just how unique." With that statement Jim launched into the tale of how one neo-hippie witch doctor punk had saved his sorry ass from becoming one with the bumper of a garbage truck.

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

Three Days Later

Blair was sitting hunched over his computer, putting the finishing touches on a class syllabus, when a knock at the door startled him from his deep concentration.

"You expecting someone?" Blair asked Jim.

"Nope. But you are." Jim answered as he threw down the dish towel and went to the door.

"What? Who…I'm not expecting any…" Blair started to protest when Jim opened the door to reveal William standing in the hall.

"Jim." William greeted.

"Dad." Jim returned the greeting, stepping aside to let his father in the loft.

Now standing, unsure of what was going on Blair asked uncertainly, "Uh, Jim, what's going on here?"

Jim just grinned and placed a hand on his father's shoulder, gently urging him over to stand in front of Blair. "Now -- William Ellison meet Blair Sandburg; grad student, college professor, police observer, 'little' brother and all around free spirit."

He then turned to Blair. "Blair Sandburg meet William Ellison; business man, distinguished gentleman, establishment man and father."

William kept his eyes on Blair, who in turn was staring wide eyed at Jim; and Jim for his part was just kept grinning. "Now, if you two will excuse me, I have a date."

'A date! Jim has a date!' The alone was enough to break Blair out of his stunned stupor. "What? Wait, Jim." Blair called after Jim's retreating figure. "You've got a date? With who?"

Jim never turned back to Blair, just waved as he made his way to the stairs. Blair stood there a moment longer before swinging the door closed and turning slowly to face William, still incredulous, "He's got a date?"

Jim kept his hearing tuned into the activity in the loft as he made his way out of the building and climbed into the car of his middle brother -- Stephen.

"Well, how'd it go?" Stephen asked. "I don't hear ambulances and you didn't drag either one out in cuffs…"

Jim just chuckled. "The night's still young."

Stephen raised an eyebrow questioningly. "So? Do we stay or go?"

Still listening to the two people in the loft Jim answered. "Let's wait a few minutes. I want to make sure Blair doesn't jackrabbit out of there."

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

William Ellison stood quietly at the kitchen island, watching several emotions play over Blair's face. The young man was so free and open with his emotions -- so like Naomi, and so unlike himself.

"Uh, so what brings you into Cascade?" Blair finally asked, sitting back down in front of his computer.

William saw and recognized the ploy, the apparent disinterest his young son was trying to display, and said casually, "I came to see my son and look past the…how did it go exactly…the 'neo-hippie, witch doctor punk'."

"Oh, man," Blair, groaned. "Jim came to see you, didn't he? He shouldn't have done that. Our problems are between us. You two, you and Jim, have your own demons to get past."

"No, he was right to come and see me; set me straight on a few things he knows that I don't." William explained. "I shouldn't have tried to rush in and try to make things right with money…I should have known…you're Naomi Sandburg's son too…possessing all those qualities I so loved in her…but in those qualities that made her who she is…she took something from me…I could only look at you and see what I felt she'd taken away from me. Listen to me rambling, I don't even know what I'm saying anymore."

"Believe it or not, it does make sense to me." Blair said. "Look, it goes both ways. I should have known you were handling this the best way you knew how. After all this time with Jim I should have been more prepared for the Ellison way of dealing with all this 'emotional' stuff."

"And I should have been prepared for the Sandburg way." William agreed.

Taking a deep breath and removing his coat, William moved into the living room. "Now, young man, we are going to start this all over again."

With raised eyebrows and no small amount of trepidation Blair followed his father into the living room, plopping down on the opposite couch. "Okay."

Outside, a Sentinel smiled, turned to his other brother and said quietly. "Let's go."

That same crumpled check again made an appearance as William waved it in the air. "This was not in any way, shape or form a 'pay-off' to you young man. I saved for my son's educations. Jim never went to college but Stephen did, and to grad school; and I paid for it so that he could concentrate on getting the best grades he could and not on where next semesters tuition was coming from…"

When Blair tried to interrupt William held up a staying hand. "Stop right there, don't say a word. You are going to school, working on a master's degree -- a doctorate' and I am very proud of that. You should not have to be worrying about tuition or grants, either!"

William stopped speaking for a moment to look into his son's face, almost pleadingly he continued, "Please, son, give me the chance to be your father in one of the only ways I know how." He chuckled at Blair's speechlessness. "Money isn't all evil you know."

"It's not that," Blair started, jumping off the couch to pace. "It just feels so…not right, you know. I don't want your money…I don't want to take things from you…"

"And your not taking anything…I'm giving, freely. I know you would never ask, probably never *think* to ask, even if you needed too. You are my son and I love you -- Naomi's influence and all."

Blair started to snap back at the man to not bring his mother into this again when he noticed the twinkle in William's eyes. "But I'm a grown man, you don't have to feel responsible for me…"

"Now that son is where you are very wrong." William corrected his son. "Whether, 28, 38 or 88; whether a highly decorated army ranger and police officer, who we both know can take care of himself, or the CEO of a company…or a soon to be Ph.D., a parent always feels a responsibility to their children and their well being."

After several quiet moments William asked, "So, are we okay here."

"I guess so…"

"And you're not going to give me any more grief about the money?"

"But…" Blair started to protest, then saw the look on his father's face. "I'll think about it…"

William raised an eyebrow. "Wrong answer."

"All right, all ready." Blair said, throwing his hands up in defeat. "I'll use the money for my student loans, satisfied. But I don't want this to be the only thing this relationship is based on -- you trying to make up for things that neither of us had any control over."

"Fair enough." William agreed. "Let's see, the last time I saw you, you were just learning to walk. So what have you been up to since then son?"

"What? You want to talk about all that now?"

"Why not?" William smiled at Blair. "Unless you have a date too, that is?"

"As if." Blair grumbled, "Jim knew I had to get this syllabus and class outline put together this weekend."

Blair eyed his father suspiciously for a moment. "Just whom did Jim have a date with?"

"Nobody…female that is. He and Stephen went out to dinner."

"Damn, he's a sneak."

"He informs me he learned from the best," William commented. Giving Blair a knowing look.

"Yea, well I have a few new things I'll be teaching him. Just wait." Blair pouted.

"To that I have no doubt." William laughed. "But for now how about teaching your old man about his son…"

So into the late hours of the night they talked, they listened, they shared memories -- both good and not so good and even argued in true Ellison fashion; and in doing so bringing a father and son that much closer to understanding one and other and how that might today fit into one and other's lives.

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

Jim slipped quietly into the loft, easily adjusting to the lack of light in the dim room. He could easily make out his father asleep on the couch, his brother's snores attesting to his being soundly asleep in his own room.

As he made his way up the stairs to his room a quiet voice whispered through the darkness, "Thank you son."

Jim smiled. "Goodnight dad."

*The End*