Seize the Day
Summary: Written in a moment of madness and unbetaed as a result *g* (like I'd ask for *this* to be betaed!). Blair's having a bad day. Where have we read that one before?
Blair paced up and down in the loft, debating what to do. Frustration was building and he was going to have to do something drastic. Kiss or kill? Kill or kiss? Kill himself or kiss some major ass if he'd got this wrong, that was for sure.
Kiss. Yeah. He wasn't as au fait in methods of body disposal as his target. But then that caused a few problems in itself. Namely, he was a neat and tidy five seven, whereas Jim was a hulking great and totally abnormal six two. This meant that unless Jim co-operated fully, he'd be planting a kiss somewhere around Jim's shoulder and not on his lips. It had to be his lips or else he'd never shut the man up when he screamed, "SANDBURG! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING THIS TIME?"
A stool. He needed a stool. Or a step. A box? Anything! Dammit, why wasn't there something available? It's not as if he could drag Jim over to the stairs, was it? No, that would be a bit too presumptuous. After all, he just wanted to get the point across. No point in trying to get himself invited upstairs - at least not tonight.
Thundering around the loft, looking for something suitable, he ran through the events of the day in his mind, most specifically, the ones that had precipitated this mood.
It had been a bad start to the day. Still sore from the night before - namely, one super boring stake-out, hours in a cold truck cab hunched over barely readable research notes and having the piss taken out of his woolly hat by said current target; followed by one suicidal car chase, one homicidal sentinel who insisted on slamming his arm against his praying guide's chest every time he went around a corner, oh, and not to mention the chase on foot which left him a) wet; b) muddy; c) wet (it was raining) and d) bruised when he tripped, skidded like a skateboarder along the muddy path and bowled the three perps over in one go. The resulting yell of "Sti-i-i-rrrike!" by said sentinel had done nothing to assuage said guide's opinion that the man was FUCKING INSANE!
And waking him up by yelling, "Hey, Flintstone, wanna come bowling with me tonight?" at stupid-o'fucking clock in the morning and leaving him with COLD water to shower in hadn't helped one bit.
Neither did the sentinel's hysterics when he emerged, slug-like from the bedroom.
"Fuck, Chief. How many times have I told you not to stick your fingers in a live socket?"
So? He had bed head! Who doesn't? Balding sentinels excepted, natch.
It had got worse. Blair had noticed the look in Jim's eyes when he finally got to the breakfast table, shivering from the cold shower and looking positively miserable as he was. The bruise on his cheek and the black eye Blair had got from one of the perp's elbows just added to his air of misery. Jim felt sorry for him. Sometimes, this could be a "good thing". Today, it hadn't been. Jim was trying to make it up to him. This was the thing that got to Blair every time. Jim's Blessed Protector mode sometimes made the older man look like he felt more for Blair than he usually let on.
The waffles had been edible - quite nice in fact. Blair had enjoyed them. He really should have insisted on Jim not making up the algae shake though. Jim offered. Blair said, nah, it was okay, he'd have one the following day. Jim looked hurt, so Blair - the village idiot - had caved. Jim put all the stuff in the blender, then suddenly went quiet. Recognising the signs of a zone, Blair had gone quietly up to him to see what had caused it. Following Jim's eye, he saw something glistening on the shelf in front of him. One of Blair's gold earrings. How had that got there? He picked it up and then went to speak to Jim, who just as suddenly came out of the zone and his hand slipped on the power button. Unfortunately, he hadn't got as far as putting the lid on.
Whilst Jim cleaned the kitchen, Blair returned for a second cold shower. A few minutes later, Mr. 'Cold and wet is my world' Sandburg emerged, shivering more violently than he had been after his earlier wash. Attempts at apologies from Detective 'I'm really sorry Chief, I don't know what happened' Ellison were met with a stony silence.
Thinking that things could only get better, Blair picked up his old, much-loved, well-travelled knapsack, stuffed to the gills with books and notes as it was and slung it over his shoulder. Unfortunately, the old, much-loved, well-travelled knapsack had some sort of major organ failure and died. Muttering curses at the gods of ineptitude, Blair picked up his books, growling at Jim when he tried to help. He didn't want any help. He certainly didn't want to end up in the ER.
Of course, that was the day that the Volvo decided that it wasn't going to break down on the way in to Rainier, it just wasn't going to start in the first place.
The one bright light was that Jim hadn't gone yet and he (tentatively) offered him a lift in. Warily, Blair had accepted. He later wished he'd got the bus.
Or crawled over broken glass.
Or hitchhiked (serial killer as the picking-up driver optional).
It would have been less painful.
There was a bank robbery going down and they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Stay in the truck!"
Well, duh. After the night before he was going to do something as stupid as get out? Not bloody likely. At least not until Jim came hurtling back out of the bank, straight into the path of - you guessed it - a garbage truck. Which he wasn't noticing as he was still looking into the bank and totally focussing on the guys in the masks.
The Barbie masks.
Just why? Was it the shock? Too much pink? What?
Of course, Blair had to do the 'get out of the truck and flying tackle the Incredible Bulk until he crashed to the road' thing. Again.
"Man I hate it when you make me do that!" he screamed at his bewildered sentinel when the truck had passed over. He got up and started calling Jim all the stupid and idiotic names he could think of - and in as many languages as he could manage. As he did, he jumped up and down, yelling and generally looking like a raving madman. So much so that a patrolman that had been sent to assist in the robbery situation had taken him out at the knees with his baton.
Blair was not amused.
The bank robbers got away. As far as their get-away car anyway. Their driver had all of a sudden been overwhelmed with the need to pee, got out of the car - taking the keys with him as you never know who's out there, the streets being filled with criminal types these days and all - and wasn't there when they arrived. They'd piled into the car before they'd noticed and were suddenly surrounded by three armed cops and a large German Shepherd named Sweetpea. One look at the lovely Sweetpea's sharp teeth and drooling lips had been enough to convince the robbers that giving up would be a 'good idea'.
Blair limped back to the truck, waving off the apologies of the garbage truck driver, the cop and the very embarrassed Jim, hauled himself inside and scowled all the way to work.
"I'll pick you up?" Jim offered.
The look on Blair's face was enough to convince him that he'd better not insist on it.
The safety of Hargrove Hall beckoned. Blair made his way to his cupboard, er, office and shut the door behind him. Of course, being one of those days, the lock suddenly failed and he was stuck. He had a class to teach in an hour and there was no way out. Frantic phone calls later, he was finally released from his prison and ran to his class, arriving only ten minutes late. He'd ignore the bruise he got on his shoulder when he'd skidded to a halt and crashed into the big wooden door, he thought. He could cry later.
Naturally, he had the notes for the previous week's lecture.
He wouldn't have minded except nobody noticed.
Things actually improved before lunchtime. In other words, nothing else went wrong. His computer started, didn't crash, singularly failed to catch some mutant virus and he managed to get the grades he'd marked into it and saved them before the power cut to the building. Something went right!
He even got a lift to the Precinct to meet up with Jim with someone who wasn't a cop, wasn't Michael Andretti or Evil Knevil and had no built-in guide-killing instinct.
Blair sighed as he walked up the stairs to the sixth floor (with his luck that day, he wasn't chancing the lift). It wasn't as if Jim was trying to hurt him, it was just that whenever he tried to protect Blair, things went wrong. Perhaps that was it? Maybe if Jim didn't try to protect him, he'd live long enough to see his thirtieth birthday? It was a theory. But then that caring and loving look that Jim gave him when he was in his Blessed Protector mode would be gone and Blair would miss that. Look or life? Tough call.
Blair was not surprised to be taken hostage by a convict in the process of escaping when he reached his goal. Neither was he surprised to see Jim looking like he wanted to rescue him. Jim, however, was surprised when he heard, in sentinel soft tones, the words, "Come after us, Ellison, and I'm going to have to hurt you."
Back down the multitude of stairs, (156 plus 12 landings - he'd counted!), a knife at his side and an arm around his throat, all Blair could think of was that his books and papers were scattered over the corridor floor on floor six. Sentinel research at that.
"Jim, pick up my books, would you?" he whispered. "It's either that or you're going to be 'outed', pal."
Simon looked on in shock as instead of charging after the escaping crook, Jim was lovingly picking up after his guide.
They got down to the garage level and emerged, only to find themselves surrounded by about twenty armed and dangerous cops.
Back up the stairs, and Blair was looking a touch miffed. More so when his loving sentinel produced a new bag for his books. He wouldn't have minded, in fact, he'd have been totally awe-struck and touched at this tender gesture, if the bag hadn't had a picture of Barney on the back and been bright purple.
"Sorry, Chief," Jim said sheepishly, "it was the only one in the shop. I'll get you a new proper one this weekend," he offered.
It was only Monday.
As he was currently bagless, and therefore optionless, Blair accepted the bag with as much dignity as a man could muster. The near hysteria from Rafe, Brown and the others didn't help.
"Let me buy you lunch, Chief," Jim said hopefully.
Still in a daze from the morning's events, Blair made the fateful decision to go. Needless to say, he regretted it.
Jim actually took him to a vegetarian restaurant and let him pick his own meal without any interruption or teasing about his choice. He checked on Blair's health, making sure that the various bruises weren't hurting and so on. Blair told him that the biggest bruise had been to his ego, but that was used to being manifestly abused on a daily basis, so he'd get over it pretty quickly.
They'd got halfway through their meal when the inevitable happened.
A large, large man stood in the doorway to the restaurant, giving the distinct impression that he'd been following the men and knew exactly where they were. If that were the case, Blair wondered, just how in the hell had Jim missed him? He was HUGE. Beyond big. Enough to make Simon have inadequacy issues in the height department.
"Sandburg," the giant growled. "You and I are going on a trip."
"Wwwwwha'?" Blair replied intelligently.
"You were the one that had my son put in prison, so now you're going to pay."
Jim stood up and pointed his hand gun at the man, telling him in no uncertain terms to back off or get his head blown off. Nobody laid a finger on his guide.
That was the point at which the big man pulled out a very impressive MP-5 from behind his back, giving Jim the inadequacy issues, but this time in the weapons area. Still, being Blair's Blessed Protector and all, he snarled at the monster and pounced...
...tripped over Blair's Barney backpack, dropped his gun and knocked himself out cold.
To avoid the entire restaurant being shot up, Blair acceded to the behemoth's demands and left with him.
The restaurateur had sneaked into the back and phoned the police by now and Blair found himself with his hands tied in front of him, inside the man's pick up truck, sitting next to the gun and doing about twenty miles an hour down the freeway, followed by a whole convoy of police cars, blues and twos in evidence. Flashbacks to one of those 'This really happened to the police' shows ensued and Blair had to fight the giggle that he had building when he remembered the story of the little old lady that had hijacked the disabled buggy and was chased down the street by a couple of squad cars - police helicopter and all. The laughter of the flying cop had been in evidence all throughout the film, especially when she turned down a small alleyway and lost her pursuers.
"Uh, not to encourage you to drive faster or anything," Blair said, "but why aren't you going at least at the speed limit?"
The titan grunted and said, "I've had a bit too much to drink. If I go any faster, they'll spot me."
Twisting around to see the fifteen or so cars with flashing lights and sirens wailing all around them, Blair had to laugh out loud. This day was getting more surreal by the moment.
He wondered if this was a karma thing? Or was it just a day when shit happened? Did he, as Jim stated, have a magnet inside of him that attracted weirdoes? Did he have a flashing neon sign on his head that said, 'nutter convention centre'? If so, was there any way he could switch the fucking thing off because it was getting mighty tiresome.
"Man, I have so gotta go," he complained as he saw a sign for a rest stop.
"Can you hold it?" came the answer.
"Uh, where are we going?"
"Canada!" The poor fool sounded so pleased with his brilliant idea of fleeing the country that Blair almost felt sorry for him. Almost - he'd missed his dessert because of this jerk and Jim had promised him a treat.
"No way, man. I mean, you don't want the cab to stink, do you? I had dandelions in my salad and they're, like, a diuretic."
"You need insulin?" came the shocked reply.
"Diuretic, not diabetic," Blair muttered. "It means I gotta piss, man."
"Oh, okay. But no funny stuff."
"No way, I've seen your gun," Blair said, his 'I'm such an innocent' face plastered on.
Conan the Moron pulled into the rest stop car park, got out his gun, led Blair to the toilets and let him go into a cubicle all on his own. He was still there when Blair climbed out of the window above the cistern and said to the police that had arrived, "He's all yours, guys. Still armed, by the way, but I managed to take this from the gun when he wasn't looking."
He handed the cartridge magazine to the dumbstruck traffic cop but didn't tell him just how or when he'd learned to be so sticky fingered. Blair just grinned and cadged a lift off one of the city cops and went straight home.
A call to Simon had put his mind at rest about Jim. He was okay, had a lump on the side of his head the size of an orange, but he was fine and on his way back to the loft. No concussion either.
That returned him to his present problem. Where to find a step.
AH HA! He knew that the piece of carved wood given to him by the Watchamacalit tribe in darkest Arizona for rescuing the chief from a herd of rampaging buffalo would come in handy one day. Well, they weren't called that really, and he had bought it at the reservation's gift shop, but that wasn't such a good story.
About seven inches high, ten inches wide, the 'thing' had a dual purpose. Door stop - and now sentinel kissing step. Yeah, way cool. He could go with that.
Next thing, where to put it? He took it out to the living room and put it near the front door. He had to catch Jim before he said a word. Stopping for a moment, using at least half of his IQ, he removed it from the STUPID place he'd just put it and placed it on the kitchen floor. Good. No door to knock him out.
He was just stepping up on it to give it a trial run when the door burst open and one extremely anxious and scared sentinel came rushing through it, desperate to make contact with his guide after the traumas of the day.
He made contact all right.
When Blair picked himself up off the floor, fending off all offers of help from the now bewildered and extremely sorry sentinel who had barrelled into the kitchen and sent him flying, he had had enough.
"Stop there!" he ordered.
Jim stopped dead.
Carefully, Blair stood back on the block of wood and found that he could look Jim straight in the eye. Something was going right!
"Come here," he said. "Slowly," he added as an afterthought.
Jim took the single step towards him.
"Don't move and don't speak."
This was the moment, Blair thought. Now or never, carpe diem, seize the day and all that crap. He could do this. Self-confessed coward or not, he was a braver man than that. Wasn't he? So why were his hands shaking?
Slowly, he lifted them up and placed one on each side of Jim's face, then he pulled the big man closer to him. Blair turned his head a bit to one side and took his life in his own hands and kissed Jim.
It wasn't an earth-shattering kiss, wasn't a Hallmark card or a Kodak moment. All Jim could think of was 'what the fuck?' and all Blair could think of was 'he's not killing me!'.
When Blair let him go, Jim stared hard at his roomie, best friend, guide and personal cross to bear.
"May I speak now?" he asked quietly.
"Uh, yeah," Blair answered, feeling a touch deflated.
"What was all that about?"
Blair's shoulders dropped and he got down off the step.
"Sorry, man," he said, starting to walk away from Jim. "Please, ignore it. I guess it's just one other thing that's gone wrong for me today."
"Says who?" The answer came after enough pause to let Blair get halfway to his room, and far enough into his thoughts about having fucked up a beautiful - if dangerous - friendship, that he didn't hear him.
"SAYS WHO?" Jim yelled, just to make the point.
Blair stopped dead. He turned around to face Jim, a look of incredulity on his face.
"Blair," Jim started, took one step towards Blair, then stopped, thinking that at that moment, maybe a little space wouldn't hurt. "It's okay, pal. I was just surprised, that's all. I didn't think you could feel the same way about me as I do about you."
"You love me?" Blair whispered, stunned.
"Well, duh," Jim shrugged. "Why else would I happily drag an insane anthropologist around, have him live with me and eat weird foods, use God only knows how many towels after a shower...?" His voice was light and teasing and Blair smiled.
Jim continued. "You love me then?"
"Well duh," Blair echoed with a shrug. "Why else would I happily get dragged around by a psychotic cop, live with him, watch him eat such bad food and listen to him complain about how many towels I use after a shower?"
Jim beamed at him and put his arms out, holding them wide. "So, what are you waiting for?" he said. "Get back on the block, Sandburg, I want a repeat of my welcome home."
So Blair gave him one. But instead of falling off the block this time, he tripped over the Barney book bag that had been dropped by Jim on his entry to the loft and hit his head on the side of the table.
His last thought for that day was, "Fuck. I just knew I'd end up in the ER today."