Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

Summary: The sixteenth story of my summer writing project, a missing scene from True Crime.

1961

by Twilight (Dawn)

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He only had one left...one original anyway.

Over the years when he had a little extra money he would purchase another piece for his collection, but it was not the same.

Blair sat on his futon, and held the baseball card close to his face, imagining he could smell the aftershave that used to cling to the soft cardboard and he smiled as the memories came flooding back from the summer of his eighth birthday.

Hot afternoons spent in the back yard, the smell of fresh cut grass tickling his nose and the buzzing of insects about his head, a stiff leather glove in his hand and the hard ball thrown to him over and over until he was catching it every time.

A gentle hand guiding his own arm, teaching him to point where he wanted the ball to go and then to follow through with his throwing arm...learning to bat, resting the wood on his thin shoulder, to keep his eye on the ball, to swing just at the right moment and to hear the wood connecting, to send the ball sailing across the yard and over the fence into the field beyond.

After a few minutes he pulled the card away and looked at the worn surface and the man on the front, the great Nolan Ryan, struck out more batters than any other pitchers in 1961.

His smile slipped as he placed the card back into its protective sleeve and dropped it back into the box with the other baseball cards. He had close to a hundred, plus the bat that rested at the back of his closet, but most of his original collection had been lost over the years, cards picked out together on lazy Sunday afternoons were forever lost.

He had so many good memories of that time, but a lot of painful ones too. That was when Blair learned that he couldn't let himself get close to anyone, because it wouldn't last, it hurt too damn much.

Detach with love, Naomi's favorite phrase, but it was a principle Blair learned to live by.

"Dinner's ready in ten," Jim called from the kitchen.

And Blair looked up from the box, reconsidering his words. "Be right out," he called.

Blair slipped the box back onto the closet shelf and closed the door to his past. 1961 was a good year in baseball and in his youth there was a man who loved him, took an interest in him and took the time to just be with him, but on the other side of the French doors he had a true friend and dinner was waiting and so was his future.

"Hey Jim...you like baseball..."

The End

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