Wanted to write a continuance on an episode that most writers passed on. This is my version of making a mountain out of a molehill. Hey just how big is a molehill anyway!?!
Thanks to Starfox for a home and thanks to little sis for pushing me to write.
He told him that friends were supposed to help one another. "That's what we do." Still he couldn't shake the feeling that Jim would never let him enter his private personal world. Oh, well Sandburg, he doesn't even ask you everything. He's allowed to have a personal life.
Hey, stop this, he did ask you to watch over his father when he thought the man was in danger. He trusted you while he ran after the suspect. So what if he never really introduced you to the man.
Sandburg was suffering from a bad case of being snubbed by one James Ellison and he was determined to try and let it go. He wasn't succeeding.
James Ellison stepped out of his father's home noting the uncomfortable feeling he got from being there. It was just a place where he grew up, nothing more. It was just a place from his past, which held very painful childhood memories. Memories best forgotten.
His father had asked that he go to the store and pick up some medication the paramedics suggested he take for the bruises he had suffered. Jim agreed. Meanwhile, the elder Ellison was busy being interviewed by the news media. Mr. Ellison enjoyed being in center stage. Nothing ever changes.
Sandburg watched his friend exit the pristine home and noticed the tension in the older man's shoulders. He braced himself for whatever would happen next. Jim usually let out pent up aggression by getting upset about mundane things. The young TA would ignore the words, his friend needed to cool off and, well, that's what friends were for - Right?
Unknowingly the detective proceeded as expected.
"Sandburg, did you even attempt to remove some of that dirt from your shoes before you got in my truck? Ellison shook his head, not waiting for a reply. Sometimes the TA could be so inconsiderate.
"Sorry Jim." He carefully kept his feet closed together and on his side of the truck. Hoping to keep the other calm and at ease. He silently vowed, at all cost, to avoid asking questions for the rest of the day. "Uh, are we going home now?" Well except for that one.
"Why, you got something urgent to do?" Ellison had told Sandburg to leave with Simon. Still the guy wouldn't budge. Sometimes he was like a tick. Relentless.
"No - I was just curious." The observer decided to stick with the initial plan. No questions. Besides his head was killing him and the quiet helped.
"Look, I am going to the drug store to get some medicine for my father and then we are out of here." Ellison didn't feel like talking and said nothing further as the two rode to the drug store.
Ellison parked and exited the truck without looking back. Hoping, yet again, for a moment alone. Unfortunately Sandburg decided to tag along, he needed something for the horrific headache that seemed to be growing behind his right eye and wasn't about to ask his roommate for anything.
As Ellison went toward the rear of the store, his tagalong set about looking for some natural herbal medicine. Natural was best. Figures, this store only provides commercial medication. Aspirin would have to do.
Unknowingly, as the younger man scrutinized the products around him, he had attracted the attention of the store manager mainly due to the fact that people from this area dressed better.
The manager smirked. This guy has to be trouble. "Excuse me sir, can I help you with anything?" Best to keep an eye on the creep.
Blair smiled pleasantly at the white shirt, black tied man who looked at him as though he were a bug on his windshield of life. Yeah, Jim Ellison is definitely a product of his environment. "No but thank you for asking. I'll just go up front and pay for this." Sandburg remembered that he needed to get some juice to wash the medication down and headed towards the coolers. His headache was making him feel really dizzy and a bit nauseous.
The store manager continued to follow the little weirdo towards the beverage area; mildly surprised the man did not buy beer, since he was obviously tipsy already and seemed the kind of person who liked substance abuse.
Oblivious to the suspicious stalker, the young observer quickly paid, exited the store and went to stand near Jim's truck. He didn't have a key and was determined not to ask the older man for anything. His roommate didn't need or want his company and right now Blair was not in the mood to push. He opened the pills, patiently dug out the cotton and decided now was a good time for some relief to the pain throbbing from his right temple.
The storeowner noticed the strange grunge-type loitering in the parking lot and leaning on a customer's vehicle. It looked like the other was getting ready to mug someone. Figuring he'd prevent trouble before it happened, he pulled out the phone hidden beneath the front register area and made a quick call to his brother-in-law, a.k.a. the local sheriff. "Yeah, he's just loitering outside my store. Nah, just scare him off."
Ellison stood in the back of the store waiting for the prescription to get filled. Idly, he wondered where Sandburg had gone off to. God, first I want him to leave me alone then I get upset for his not being around. The kid meant well.
He leaned against Ellison's truck, enjoying the cool feeling of the metal against his back and wishing to go inside so he could close his eyes. Jim could ignore him all he wanted - no problem whatsoever. Meanwhile, lost in thought, Sandburg didn't notice the squad car pulling up beside him.
"Hey, you know there is no loitering in this parking lot." The sheriff had to agree, the guy looked suspicious.
"What? Oh, hey man, I'm just waiting for my friend to make his purchase and let me into his truck," Sandburg really didn't want any trouble and wished just once he didn't always attract such attention. People and their book-covers.
The sheriff exited his car and sized the smaller man up. He seemed basically harmless but, "Tell you what, you're looking a bit down, let's go inside and see what is holding your friend up."
Sandburg decided not to argue and walked back into the store, wincing as each step seemed to cause his head to throb more. Jim is really going to love this.
Exiting the store at the very moment the sheriff and his missing friend were prepared to enter was the detective who, upon seeing the two, wondered why Sandburg couldn't be just like everyone else. The guy could drown in the middle of a desert.
It took less than five minutes to clear the situation with the sheriff. Ellison walked back towards the truck with the other trailing behind him. "Sandburg, just once I wish you could be a little inconspicuous. Is that too much to ask?"
Sandburg decided not to answer. He had definitely had enough of the Wonderful World of Ellison. People here were too judgmental. Bad for the Karma and bad for one tired anthropologist.
Ellison drove back to his father's home and exited the vehicle once again without saying a word to his passenger.
At least I can fall asleep here. Far away from the glaring eyes and indifference. His mind drifted and Idly, Blair wondered what would happen if Jim decided to move in with his father. Hey it was a thought.
Instead of quiet, calming sleep, his mind continued to wander. The internal voice constantly speaking and questioning everything. Would Jim revert into the cold police officer he first met? Why hadn't he introduced Blair to his father? Naomi was more than pleased to meet Jim. Maybe he was embarrassed to introduce a person like Sandburg to his parent. It doesn't matter; let it go. Besides, the only thing the exhausted observer wished for right now was for this darn headache to pass. He stilled his body and slowed his breathing. Maybe now, please?
Inside the large, pristine home, the detective suddenly realized that it had been almost an hour and a half since he left Sandburg in the car. It was then that he wondered if he should bring the other inside. He winced at the idea, knowing that there would be numerous questions from his ever-inquisitive friend. The detective decided he just wasn't up to it. All he wanted to do was to make certain his father would be okay and leave.
As the last of the reporters vacated the Ellison estate, Jim went to give his father his medication and to assist him prepare for bed.
"Jimmy, I really don't want to go to bed right now," The older Ellison was not accustomed to giving or accepting help from his son. He didn't believe in showing weakness. "I just called Bob Jamison, he thinks we can make some money with this exposure I am getting. The old man still has it, eh Jimmy boy?"
"You just won't change. You were attacked, you were injured and you need to rest." He sighed in frustration and then looked at his father, "Just take this medicine and Sandburg and I will be out of here."
The pills were taken but failed to slow the other down, "Say, Jimmy, what is with that guy? How could you be traveling with someone who obviously has no goals? Just look at his appearance and he told me he isn't even a cop for chrissakes." Mr. Ellison was in rare form this evening. "I thought I raised you to hang around a better crowd than that. Image is everything, young man and I assure you working with someone like this Sandburg is extremely poor form."
Jim had taken all he could. "Poor form. Is that what you said? Poor form? That man out there is the reason I even came to visit you in the first place. He knows about my abilities. Abilities that you made me ashamed of having and made me feel like a freak in your home. But you know what pops? Sandburg made me realize that they are a gift, not a hindrance. Not something shameful but something to be used and honed."
The frustrated son looked away, trying to calm himself and failing. "He's even made me bridge the emptiness that you created between Steven and I. We talk now, even laugh and maybe soon we'll be a lot closer." Anger continued to flow through the younger man and he could barely suppress it, "I don't mean any disrespect. You are my father but by birthright only. Never by action or deed. By honor and action Blair Sandburg has earned a place as my friend, my brother and is what I consider the only true family I have. So, please if you have something bad to say about him don't say it to me."
"Jesus, Jimmy. If you felt this way, why leave the guy in the truck all this time? I just thought you were ashamed of him too. Maybe it's you who needs to rethink his actions."
Stunned, Jim realized that that's what it must look like to Sandburg as well. God, he had some apologizing to do. It was time to go. "Maybe you're right, pops. I was wrong to leave him out there but my reason was simplistic I just didn't want you saying the wrong thing to him." He walked to the doorway and paused, "All my life, I've hidden things that were special to me from you because in the end you've always turned them around on me. Nothing is good enough for an Ellison. Now it seems I may have given my friend the wrong impression, again because of you." He sighed, "Call if you need anything."
"Jimmy I-I'm sorry."
"Yeah, so am I. So am I." He walked out of the doorway and headed towards his future.
Nearing the truck he noticed that Blair had fallen asleep against the window. His vision zeroed in on the passenger and he also noticed a bump had formed on the side of his friend's forehead. That's when he remembered that Sandburg had struck the window with his head during their mad chase to assist his father.
As the door on the passenger side of the truck opened, the sleeping figure almost fell out of the cabin. "Oh, hey, Jim, what's up? Do you need me?" Sandburg saw such concern in his friend's eyes that he forgot the day's past events. "You all right?"
Jim didn't hear the questions; he was focused on the blue bump forming on his friend's temple. Carefully he probed it, "God, Chief when were you going to tell me about this bump? When I drive you to the hospital?" It did look serious.
Sandburg was trying to escape the exploring hands of his friend, "Easy man, it hurts. Owww. Look I am alright, just a headache, that's all."
The older man looked into Blair's eyes; they were slightly dilated but nothing serious. The hospital was ruled out but rest was deemed the next course of action. Satisfied with his evaluation of the other's condition, he quickly got into the truck and headed home.
Ellison followed his roommate closely and noticed the slight sway in his walk. His roommate was dizzy. God, the kid never once complained. The thought caused him to wince from the twinge of guilt that passed through him.
The minute the door to the loft opened, Sandburg went straight to his room. I just need to sleep.
"Chief, you have got to eat something and I want to check you out one more time."
"Jim, look, I know that you didn't want me tagging along with you when you were visiting your Dad. I'm sorry. But right now I just need to be left alone. I am really tired and all I want is to sleep this headache off."
"Chief, head injuries, serious or mild are not to be ignored. Now, please sit on the couch and let me check this out. I promise, once you eat a little, I will let you sleep."
Blair just didn't have it in him to fight so he slumped down on the couch and waited for the examination to proceed. What does he care? I'm good enough to ignore all day. Why not ignore me now? Blair was thankful that Jim's Sentinel ability didn't include reading minds. It wasn't a habit of his to be so petty. Sure, tt was true that his roommate also had a rough day and Blair knew he was being unfair. God I am so tired.
Jim sat beside his friend on the couch and checked his eyes again. The examination halted for a moment. Something more important needed to be done here. He spoke softly and hopefully earnestly, "Blair, I want to apologize for the way I treated you today. God, you must really be angry with me." He paused when he saw sadness in his friend's eyes. Did he put that there?
"Jim, I'm just glad everything worked out and that you and your father are okay," It was true and he meant it.
Satisfied once again with the condition of his friend, Ellison set out to heat up some chicken soup. The younger man felt it was the only soup that contained truly healthy nutrients. It was something the kid liked and though the detective knew it wouldn't make up for his behavior today, it gave him something good to do for the other. The one thing he hated was guilt trips.
When the soup was ready Blair unsteadily walked to the counter. He barely looked at his friend and began eating. "Jim?" Blair hesitated, knowing he was about to break his silent vow, but he just had to ask, "Are, well I mean, why didn't you ask me into your home to meet your father?" That sounded so weird, like I'm his date or something, but still, "Simon said he seemed like an okay guy."
Leave it to the kid to point out that Simon met his father and had even spent some time with the man. Again guilt crept into his gut. This whole day served to prove that he was behaving exactly like his father's son, something he thought he had changed, as he got older. Apparently he had more work to do.
The younger man misread Ellison's frustration and wuickly tried to recover the calmer atmosphere, "Jim, never mind. It's none of my business anyway. Uh, I'm going to go lie down if you don't mind. Thanks for the soup. I'm just really tired. Good night." He went into his room and closed the door behind him. Again the voice of his inner thoughts began to chatter. Jeez, Blair, you're such a whiner. If Jim wants to pretend he only knows professionals in front of his father what does that matter? Meeting his father is not such a big deal - is it? You did meet him in a way. The dude didnít seem receptive to your presence so why the need to be introduced as a friend to his son? Sandburg sat on his bed and suddenly he felt very alone. Worse was the fact that sleep was avoiding him. It called, teased but never came.
Frustrated he closed his eyes and allowed his thoughts to continue their constant chatter. This wasn't the first time a friend hid associating with him from public knowledge. When he was a child, he never was at the same school for very long. So he was often the strange dude, weirdo, the tramp's son and so on. He had learned earlier to ignore the taunts and name-calling. Burying himself into his studies. Books were a safe haven. One book easily became the way to escape any negativity. Open a book and for hours you were a hero, an explorer, a beloved family member and even the friend everyone wanted.
College and life in general were often the same way. Friends came and went. No one wanted to stick around like they did in the buddy-buddy movies and Blair had come to accept that this was all fiction. Then Jim came along. Sure the guy was never the mushy type. He was a tough guy but Blair saw something in the man that made him seek the heart of gold hidden in the other. He was a friend. Just not the fictional kind.
Since his head wouldn't stop - thinking, he began to look around his room for a good book to read. Maybe a Rex Stout or an Alexie Sherman novel. Something so the chatter would stop.
Ellison opened the room door and saw proof that Sandburg was definitely bothered by today's event. The little guy was obviously tired and here he was rummaging through his so-called 'escapism books' when he should be sleeping. Something needed to be said - Blair was too important to him, he didn't want the kind of relationship he shared with Steven to happen here. This was his home, their home and Blair was closer to him than he could ever admit.
He knocked, "Blair, can we talk for a second?"
"What? Jim! How long have you been standing in the doorway?" Sandburg was once again grateful that Sentinels couldn't read the minds of their Guides. He quickly pulled a book out and walked over to his bed.
Concerned eyes tracked his every move. "Not long Chief."
"Well, uh, come on in." Blair avoided the other's gaze as he sat down on the bed only to be joined by his stoic friend. The younger man was afraid to look directly at the other. Afraid his eyes would betray his true feelings of unease and right now Blair felt like an open book.
"Chief, I didn't introduce you to my father because ...", Ellison wondered why this was so difficult. His conscience answered. Because it's right and you need to do this.
"Jim look, I understand. Really. If you feel the need to keep this part of your life private I should just mind my own business. No judgments." Blair looked up at his friend, hoping he had said the right thing and a bit afraid that Jim would come out and say he was ashamed of their friendship. Something he couldn't deal with.
"Chief," Ellison placed his hand on the other's shoulder, "I didn't introduce you to my father because I was ashamed of him."
"What?" Sandburg really didn't expect this. Now Ellison received total attention.
"You are my family Blair. Before you, I only heard what it was like to share feelings and not be made a fool for doing so. Chief, no one ever made me a promise without somehow breaking them; it was what I had come to expect. I just didn't want you to see this side of my life. Afraid you might see the man I may become. I was ashamed of my father for a lot of reasons but mostly for what he would say to you or make you feel. I just wanted to keep this part of my life - you, safe. Undamaged."
"Jim, each day we exist means a chance to distance ourselves from the negative effects of the past." Blair scooted closer to his friend. Loneliness had been banished. "You will never be like your father. You are stronger and way better than that and, well, I believe in you." Blair smiled, hoping he had eased his friend's pain.
"Thanks, Chief." He needed family more than he cared to admit. He gazed at the dark blue eyes that sparkled with inner warmth, "How's your head?"
"Good, why?" Blair hadn't even noticed but he suddenly felt much better.
"Well thanks to this little discussion, I feel the need to go back and apologize to my father. I want to show him that I'm better than he is. That I can forgive and, well, I want to introduce him to you. The way a good friend is supposed to."
"Are you sure? I'm fine with this as it is." He had the family he always wanted. Naomi and, of course, Jim.
"I just want to show my Dad the type of man I've become and I need you there to back me up. Will you join me?"
"Any time, big guy."
"Chief, thanks for being there every time I need you. Even when I act like a putz."
"Hey no one talks about my family like that. So watch it." Blair was definitely feeling better. "Hey Jim can I see your old room when we get there?"
"Chief?" Again the trepidation at his friend seeing a side of him that he wanted to forget made him feel shame.
The eyes held no judgmental overtones. Only trust. He had no reason to hide from this man. He could trust this person with his life. It shocked him to realize that he already did. "Never mind. I'll give you the grand tour."
The two men exited their home minutes later. Jim had only one hope, that someday all his family members would welcome each other easily.
Sandburg had only one thought. FAMILY - YIPPPEEEE!!!!
- The End -
So - did you like my molehill? Oh, and to all of you who are requesting a second part for Senti-One. It is already in the works. Hey, what can I say? Iím a multi-tasker. Thanks for the fabulous feedback. I love you all.
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