by Ice Bear
Summary: Blair reflects on his friendship with Jim.
Disclaimer: All things Sentinel belong to Pet Fly and Paramount.
He looked younger, the face softened by sleep, Blair thought as he returned to the living room after changing into his favorite sweats, and found his roommate asleep on the couch. Jim’s tie was undone as were three buttons on the white dress shirt – showing the remnants of the tan he’d acquired on their vacation in California six weeks ago. The normally imposing figure was curled up, one hand under his chin. Blair couldn’t help the sad sigh that escaped as his eyes focused on the black silk sling binding his partner’s left arm to his chest.
He covered him with the afghan and settled on the floor, back to the couch, knees pulled up to his chest. Damn it had been a long three and a half weeks. He remembered how angry Jim had been when he got home from work that night – the night it all started. Seems the feds had asked specifically for the Major Crimes detective to help babysit a witness. Knowing it wasn’t his partner’s favorite activity – he was a man of action, after all, and hanging with the feds rated up there with having his finger nails removed – his anger was still out of proportion to the event. At least he thought it was until Jim explained the assignment could last as long as six weeks and that it was 24/7 – no coming home; no phone calls; and no Guide. And if it went longer than three weeks, he’d miss his roommate’s big night.
He smiled to himself, recalling the feeling of warmth that flooded his body when he realized why his partner was so upset. His efforts to placate the big man were in vain, though. And when he downplayed the significance of the awards dinner – at which he would receive recognition from the American Anthropological Association – Jim had left no doubt as to its importance. In fact, Blair was pretty sure the entire block was aware of the significance of the event once his Sentinel completed his rather loud oratory on the issue.
He’d forgotten that while words were his tool, his partner had little faith in them. Jim had been hurt too many times by words from people he cared about to trust them. The ex-Ranger believed in letting his actions speak for him. And that, the observer realized, was why Jim had been so angry about the possibility of missing the banquet – because it would deny him the ability to show his support for his best friend.
The detective had packed that night and left for his assignment. Captain Banks had provided updates every few days, but the Guide found he missed his Sentinel and had a vague sense of uneasiness about the entire affair – but he put it down to the separation. He couldn’t remember when he and Jim had spent more than a long weekend apart since he moved into the loft.
Five days ago the safe house, where the federal witness was being held, had been the site of a deadly shootout. Someone – most likely a fed, according to Banks - had disclosed the location and seven heavily armed men had stormed the place. Blair had read the report filed on the siege. One FBI officer had been killed and another badly injured. Jim held off the assault by himself for almost thirty minutes, despite taking a bullet in his shoulder, while waiting for backup that was extremely slow in coming. The detective had found a hiding place for the witness and injured agent. When the remaining gunmen had finally gotten inside, they had beaten the detective in an effort to learn the witness’ whereabouts. By the time backup arrived, Ellison was unconscious, but his witness was alive and unharmed.
Blair held a vigil at the hospital to ensure his partner did not wake up alone, and to help him adjust his senses to the pain and the scents and sounds of the hospital. Jim had gotten himself discharged yesterday afternoon following a rather ferocious discussion with Simon Banks behind the closed door of his hospital room.
Earlier today, as Blair was returning from an errand, he ran into Simon leaving the loft, grumbling loudly. He had no idea what the problem was until his roommate asked him upstairs. He found Jim dressed in his tux, sheepishly holding up the tie and asking for help. He’d forestalled the lecture, making it clear he was going – end of story. The only issue the older man was willing to debate was whether he had to wear a cummerbund as he couldn’t get it hooked with only one hand.
The banquet had been wonderful. It had felt so good to have his best friend beside him sharing in his excitement and joy – the warm hand on his shoulder when his name was called and the loud cheering - as he accepted his due.
He turned and sat up on his knees, looking into sleepy blue eyes. He had to smile again as he helped the bigger man sit up, before escorting him up the stairs; a supportive arm around his waist. He eased off the dress clothes, trying to hide the sharp intake of breath as he took in the full extent of the bruising. A hand on his cheek forced him to look up, away from the damage, and into sky blue eyes. “I’m so proud of you, Chief. Thank you for letting me share this special night with you.” He received a one armed hug, before the older man settled carefully onto his bed.
Downstairs in his own room, Blair ran a hand briefly over the award sitting on his desk before getting into bed. Lying on his back, his thoughts returned to the sleeping man upstairs. “Thank you for being there, Big Guy,” he whispered before closing his eyes.