Blair gets an owwie. Jim keeps a vigil.
It wasn't easy getting Sandburg from the truck up to the couch after the meds kicked in. He may be smaller than me, but he's still a pretty sturdy guy. The doc tried his damnedest to get him to stay overnight for observation, but Blair hates hospitals and I can't blame him. He's seen way more than his share of them in the past few years.
The years he's been with me.
So, there he is, stretched out on the couch, out like a light. Doped to the gills on pain medication, so he'll get the rest his body needs to begin healing.
And, here I am, keeping watch over him. Damning myself for the millionth time for getting him into this life. At the same time, I send up a prayer of thanks that the bullet only grazed him. So that tomorrow, he'll be okay and we can go out and do it all over again.
So I won't be without him.
I know what you're thinking, and you're right. I am a selfish bastard. When it comes to Blair, I want it all. All of it. All of him.
I want to wake up every morning to the strength of his heartbeat and the sound of his breathing. The weight of his leg, heavy over mine, and his hand resting warm on my belly. To that wild-assed hair of his tickling my face.
I want to wake him up every day with my hands and my mouth and watch him go through all his morning stages. From sleep-heavy to the way he grouses and tries to bury down under the covers for more sleep to the way his body begins to respond to what I'm doing to it. To when he starts reaching for me and arching up under me and coming alive with hungry little moans and groans, right through to the last lazy stretch and sigh and husky "I love you, Jim".
I want to have breakfast with this man. I want to be able to half listen to his tirades against the evils of cholesterol while I'm shoveling down bacon and eggs. I want to make disgusting faces when he mixes up his godawful herbal shakes. I want to brush up against him at the kitchen counter just because he's washed his hair with that papaya or whatever stuff he uses that smells so good.
And I want to stand at the front door and yell at him to get a move on, just to see him tear through the loft like the fucking Tasmanian Devil, looking for keys and jacket and backpack and all the stuff I've already gathered up for him. And the reason I want to be waiting at the door, see, is because he always....always...stops to kiss me on his way out. Not one of those have-a-nice-day-dear kisses, either. Nope, not Blair. No, he more like wraps his whole self around me and gives it everything he's got, all hard body and sure hands and hungry tongue. It's like it covers me with an invisible Sandburg Shield that I can carry with me all day, through all the nasty shit that can be my job at times.
My job. The reason, I guess, that he's lying there now with his ribs taped up. Again.
Hell, I can't even remember exactly how or when my job became our job. According to Sandburg, at the time, it was all about research, observation...strictly observation...and the thin blue line. And me, well, hell, I don't know when my good sense flew the fuck out the window. I just know that one day it was "Ellison" and the next it was "Ellison and Sandburg".
I tried, honest to God I did, to keep him at arm's length. Even after he moved in with me, I figured, you know, it'd only be for a while. He'd help me with the sensory stuff, I'd let him write his paper, and we'd be done. He'd go back to school, I'd go back to work. End of story.
And, I guess maybe if it'd been anybody else, things would have worked out that way. I just didn't figure on Sandburg being Sandburg.
I had no way of knowing that he'd basically just give his whole freaking life over to me. How he'd somehow always be there, always know exactly when I was having trouble, and exactly how to help me out of it. On how he'd literally teach me how to live again. From what to eat to the clothes I could wear to how to treat a fucking head cold to how to catch the bad guys and keep myself alive and sane. I mean, who knew all his anthro-babble, Sentinel and Guide shit was for real?
And all the while, he was digging his way under all my walls, until before I knew what was happening, I couldn't be without him.
I tried to hate him for that. For making me need him so much. Fat chance. Sandburg's un-hateable.
So, you know, things rock along. I work while he observes. Until I zone out or fuck up. Then he teaches while I observe. And somewhere along the line, he starts working instead of watching. Kind of gradual like, you know, just giving suggestions and insight. Damn brilliant insight, on some really tough cases. And, before you know it, he's just a part of Major Crimes. Nobody from Simon on down blinks an eye when I'm sent into a life threatening situation and Blair just climbs into the truck and goes right along with me.
Sandburg's not the first person to ever do a ride-along with the cops. But he's *my* first ride-along, and I tried to go by the book, you know? I recited rules. He ignored them. I mapped out boundaries. He ignored them. It was frustrating as hell. I mean, what part of "Stay in the truck, Chief" is so fucking hard to understand?
The hell of it is, is that there've been more than a few times when, if he'd stayed behind like I told him to, I'd have gotten my damn head blown off. Don't think that's an easy thing for me to admit, either, because it definitely is not.
So, why does this peace-loving, academic man regularly fling himself into potentially fatal situations? It's not because he's stupid, he's one of the smartest men I've ever known. And it's not because he's fearless. He's scared of a shitload of things.
It's because he loves me. Ask him, and that's what you'll get. Whither thou goest, and all that. He doesn't run headlong into a hostage situation, or try to convince a madman to put down his gun, or try to difuse a bomb in under five seconds because he follows his brain, or his instincts. It's because he follows his heart. Which is apparently huge and has my name on it.
How do I fight that, huh? I mean, all my Covert-Ops training, all my survival techniques, and soldier's bravado and cop know-how is worth zilch. I can rant and rave and yell and even shove him and he just digs in and yells and shoves back. And goes on ignoring my boundaries and knocking down my walls and saving my ass, thank God.
I've been in more battles than I care to remember and I hate like hell to ever abandon one. But I also know when I'm licked. On the fight to get Blair to stop risking his life on my account, I laid down my guns a long time ago.
I know now that being a Sentinel is not just what I do, it's who I am. There's no getting around it, no giving it back to whatever sensory God decided to have fun with me, no not protecting the tribe. So be it.
Number One in my tribe just happens to be lying in front of me, hurt, but getting better. And the son of a bitch who dared to take a shot at him is cooling his heels in hell, and don't expect me to feel remorse about sending him there. Sandburg once called me his Blessed Protector. I laughed at him then, but secretly, I wake up every day and pray to be able to keep him safe.
Don't ask me how Blair and I got assigned to be caretakers of our particular world, cause I'll never understand it. But, it seems that's the way it is. So okay, we'll muddle through, try to make sense of it when we can, and go on gut instinct the rest of the time.
I can't keep him from throwing himself in front of speeding bullets for me. But I can do my damndest to make sure they don't get to either one of us. And, after it's all over and the bad guys are put away, I can bring him home and show him who's the real hero in this house.
He's beginning to stir now, I guess the sedative is wearing off. I'll make him some soup, take him to bed, keep him warm, and hold him till morning.
When he's better, I'll yell at him again for what he did today. He'll let me.
Like he said once, "it's all about love".