Summer of '99
Summary: Post-TSbyBS, Blair takes a trip to attend Woodstock, and the boys talk when he gets back.
Disclaimer: The concept of The Sentinel and it's related characters are the property of Pet Fly Productions.
Dedicated to my mother, Ruth, who always supported me no matter what choices I made.
"Oh wow man, that sounds cool!" Blair Sandburg said, excitement edging his voice. "You guys sure you want me to tag along?"
At the affirmative answer he received from the other end of the telephone line, Blair smiled. "Okay, great. I'll meet you in Seattle on Tuesday morning, the twentieth.
As he was hanging up the phone, his roommate walked out of the bathroom, toweling dry his hair. "Who was that Chief?"
Turning to him, Blair couldn't hide the thrilled look on his face. "That was an old college buddy of mine, Todd Green. He and a bunch of other guys are heading to Rome, NY next week and want me to go with them."
"Rome, NY? I never heard of it. What's in Rome?"
Blair gave his friend an exasperated sigh. "Where have you been, man? Woodstock is happening there, next weekend. Todd's sister is lives near there and was able to get some free tickets. We're going to stay with her, so the only cost is the airfare to get there."
"Woodstock? I thought that took place about thirty years ago?"
"It was, and they had another one five years ago, on the twenty-fifth anniversary. This one's going to be held on an old Air Force Base that was closed several years ago." Handing Jim a piece of paper, Blair continued. "It's going to be blast man. Take a look at the line up of bands. Three days of non-stop concerts."
Perusing the paper, Jim said, "Let's see, I recognize Willie Nelson." As Blair rolled his eyes at him, he laughed. "Okay, okay, I do recognize some of these bands. But others I gotta say I have never heard of. Jewel, sure, even Alannis Morriset, but come on, who the heck is Insane Clown Posse?"
Grinning, Blair grabbed the paper from him. "Hey can I help it if you're a little behind the times, old man? Anyway, I told Todd that I'd meet him at his house in Seattle next Tuesday morning. The plane leaves Sea-Tac at noon."
"Seems like an awful long way to go for a bunch of concerts, Chief."
"Aw, but it's Woodstock man!" Walking past Jim, Blair said over his shoulder, "Besides, I've been to both of the previous ones, it would be a shame to miss this one."
"Excuse me? Sandburg, you weren't even born when the first one was held."
"Well, yeah, that's true, but Naomi was pregnant with me at the time, and she was there, so it kinda counts. Five years ago, a bunch of my friends from Rainier rented a van and drove across the country." Making his way toward his room, a wistful look entered the young man's eyes. God, we had a great time."
Following his friend, Jim said, "You know, it's still a long way to go for a concert. I mean if you want to see some of the bands, I'm sure they'll be playing in Seattle or even Vancouver some time. We could go then."
Blair stopped and turned to look at him. "Jim, you know how much you hate going to those things. Heck, sometimes they're too loud even for me. With your senses, it would absolutely kill your ears."
The Sentinel's expression told him that the man remained unconvinced. "Look, the next class at the academy starts the first week of August, so let's just look at this as a chance for me spend some time with some of my old buddies, and relive the glory days of my youth before real life sets in."
Reaching out, Jim gave the smaller man a pat on the shoulder. "Yeah, you're right Chief, go ahead and have a good time."
Simon Banks exited the elevator on the third floor and began walking toward his detective's apartment, frowning when the door to the loft swung open before he could even knock.
"Damn it Jim, I hate it when you do that."
Smiling, the detective said, "Sorry about that Simon, I do it to Blair sometimes, but it doesn't seem to bother him."
"That's because he lives with you and has gotten used to this whole Sentinel stuff."
Making his way into the kitchen, he pulled out a six-pack of beer and placed it on kitchen table. "I figured we might want a couple of brews while we watch the game."
The loft had seemed empty since Blair had left for New York, and Jim had volunteered to work overtime so he could spend as little time as possible there. Simon had sensed his detective's melancholy mood, and had asked him to join he and his son for dinner a couple of nights during the week. Now It was Sunday night and Jim had reciprocated by inviting Simon over for pizza and to watch the Seattle Mariner's game with him.
"That sounds like a good idea sir. Go ahead and switch it over to the game. I'll call and order the pizza."
Moving into the living room, Simon picked up the remote control. Glancing at the screen, he stopped as he saw pictures being broadcast. "What are you watching Jim, looks like some sort of news special."
Hanging up the telephone, Jim responded, "Actually I had it on MTV, they've been broadcasting from the Woodstock concert where Sandburg is. Every once in a while I switch it there so I'll have some sort of an idea of what he's talking about when he starts telling me stories of his exploits."
"Well, this doesn't look like a rock concert to me, it looks more like a riot. Are you sure it's MTV?"
Jim moved to stand next to Simon. Staring at the television, he recognized the overhead view of one of the large stages that had been set up for the performers. But where a few hours ago there had been thousands of people sitting around watching Jewel, there now were two huge bonfires and scenes of people looting.
"What the hell?"
"Jim, don't tell me this is Woodstock. Blair's not there, is he?"
"Yeah," Jim said grimly, "He is."
Jim sighed as he unlocked the door to the loft and walked in. God, he was exhausted. He and Simon had spent Sunday night watching MTV until they had stopped broadcasting from the concert. They had then both attempted to watch the rest of the baseball game, but neither of them had been able to keep their minds on it.
Unable to sleep, Jim had gone into the police station early, to find Simon already there. The police captain had also had trouble sleeping and had decided to make some telephone calls to his counterparts in Rome, NY to check on Sandburg's well-being. He had been relieved to find out that there had been no deaths stemming from the rioting and that Blair seemed to have escaped unscathed.
Now, Jim had finished up his long day and was home, feeling better because he knew that Blair would be home sometime this evening.
He was sitting on the balcony, enjoying the warm summer evening when his Guide finally walked through the door.
He heard the young man drop his bags by the door, and join him outside.
Dropping into the chair next to Jim, Blair said, "Hey, man."
"Hey yourself. Welcome home. How was the concert?"
"We all had a real cool time. Well, except that it was hotter than Hades there. And then there was the problem with the porta-johns, and the water supply. But otherwise, it was great."
Jim rolled his eyes, "Sounds like a blast. I caught the 'final act' last night. Or at least what happened after the final act."
"Oh yeah, man that was intense. Gotta tell you, there were some pretty scary moments there."
"So you were still there? I had hoped all of you had the sense enough to get out of there." Jim said, frowning.
"Well, we had planned to stay around and see the mystery grand finale. But when things started getting out of hand, we decided to leave. Only problem was, it took a while to get back to the buses, and we once we got there, we had to wait forever for them."
"Good to have you back Chief, safe and sound."
"Aw man, there was never any doubt of that." Smiling he said, "Just wish I'd cut my hair for the academy before I left for Woodstock, this mop sure the heck didn't help beat the heat!"
Jim sighed, "Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. Are you sure you want to go through with that? Not just cutting your hair, but the academy and everything. I know that you want to work with me, be my partner and everything. But I don't want you to become a cop just because you think you have to do it for me. I mean, we can try to work something else out."
Blair looked at him, surprise evident on his face. "What's this all about? I thought we'd been through all this. I've told you a hundred times that I want to go to the academy. Sure it might not be the career I originally chose for myself. But I'm really excited about it. And I think that I'll make a good cop."
Jim patted his partner's shoulder. "I know you'll make a good cop, Chief. And I want you to know that I've never doubted that. I meant what I said in the hospital, after Simon and Megan got out of surgery. You've been the best partner a cop could ever want. It's just that I feel bad that you've given up so much for me already. It seems like you've molded so much of you life in the past four years to fit mine. It just isn't fair to you, and I guess I'm afraid that somewhere down the line, you'll end up regretting your decision, and maybe resenting me."
Stunned, Blair looked at him. "Jim, you should know me better than that by now. I don't do anything that I don't want to do. Being a police officer is what I want. And as for resenting you. I promise you, I could never do that. Man, what brought all this on?"
"I don't know, I guess I keep thinking about something you said before you left for Woodstock." Jim answered.
"Before I left? I don't remember saying anything about having second thoughts about this."
"No, it wasn't exactly that. You said something about how much fun you and Todd were going to have. How you were going to 'relive your glory days before real life set in'. And I couldn't help thinking that this version of real life may not be what you really wanted. I mean, if you hadn't met me, you'd still be in college, or have your Ph.D. by now, teaching somewhere, and hanging around with your old friends, like Todd. Face it kid, it's my fault that your whole life got screwed up."
Now it was Blair's turn to sigh. "Jim," he said quietly. "Did you ever stop to think that maybe I don't want to hang around with my old friends? I mean don't get me wrong, they're great guys and everything. And I will keep in touch with them. Maybe meet up with them for a concert or a game or something. But the truth is, I'd rather hang out with you. You know the whole time I was at Woodstock, I kept thinking about Cascade and you. Wondering if the weather was cooler here, if it was raining, like it usually does. Wondering what you were up to. Hoping that Simon and Megan were keeping you out of trouble." Smiling, he went on. "If you were watching the concert on TV, then you know that there was a lot of nudity around there. There were quite a few times I almost turned to make some remark to you about that, or something else. I'll be honest with you, I had a great time, and I can't say I actually got homesick. But I sure as hell did miss you."
Continuing, he said, "Like I said, five years ago, if you'd told me that I was going to be heading off to the police academy in a few years, cutting my hair and becoming a detective, I'd have asked what you were smoking. But then again, five years ago, I never dreamed that I'd actually find an honest to goodness Sentinel, either. And you turned out to be more than just all my theories come to life. You've turned into my best friend. And I wouldn't give that up for anything."
Placing his hand on Blair's arm, Jim said. "You do know that the same goes for me, right? I can't begin to thank you for everything you've done for me in the past four years. You're my best friend too, Chief, and I will be as proud to have you as my official partner as I am to have had you as my unofficial one."
The younger man placed his hand over Jim's and smiled. "I know you are man. And I promise you, I will wear the badge proudly."
Both men looked out into the night sky and then down on the city that they would soon both be sworn to serve and protect.
Smiling over to his guide, Jim repeated his earlier greeting. "Welcome home, Chief."
Smiling back, Blair answered him, "Glad to be back, Jim, glad to be back."