Just Right - Beau Geste 5
Notes/Warnings: see part five, lmao. And yeah, I foresee at least one more part to satisfy my slashy little heart.
Handing Blair a brandy, William sat on the sofa beside him. William was of the opinion that Blair was in shock and wondered how Jimmy had missed it. Must be the difference in seeing somebody every day versus not seeing them in weeks, he supposed, half convinced he should put a blanket around the younger man's shoulders.
"You saw Joe Mooney's press conference, didn't you?" He asked after Blair had finally taken a couple of sips of the brandy.
"Yes, sir. Jim thinks you were behind it."
"Jimmy's right. He doesn't know it, but Joe Mooney and I have been friends since high school. In fact, Jimmy's named after him- James Joseph. Joe was glad to help, and I knew he'd protect Jimmy like his own children."
"And the president of Rainier?" Blair asked, finishing his drink. He made no protest when William filled his snifter a second time. William was relieved to see a little color in Blair's face, alcohol-induced or not.
"You had Chancellor Edwards fired," Blair charged next.
"Oh, yes. What she did to you was against university policy and Andy Mitchell agreed with me." William caught Blair's doubtful frown. "You need to realize something. I didn't tell either one of them what to say. The only thing I did was acquaint them with the facts, and I'm not talking about Jimmy's senses. You didn't deserve-"
"I did. I did deserve it. It was my fault. I didn't take Jim's name out of the diss. I left my laptop unsecured. The whole thing was an accident waiting to happen and I- I let it-" Blair clamped down on whatever it was he was about to say, tossing the brandy back instead before turning an unhappy gaze on William. "I don't understand... and Berkshire... Commissioner Mooney said they settled? Settled what?"
"I asked my legal team to handle Berkshire. A lawsuit was filed on your behalf. Berkshire was in the wrong, they knew it, they settled. Your check is in the mail, as the saying goes," William said with a faint smile that Blair didn't return. "You didn't deserve what Sid Graham did, or what Marie Edwards did, Blair," he said more firmly, speaking to the terrible guilt Blair was carrying.
"I still don't understand why you- why you-" Blair's fist knuckled over his eyes as he ducked his head and turned away. Something about the gesture reminded William of when Jimmy and Steven were children, which steeled William's resolve to be a better father now than he'd been back then.
Reaching out, he grasped Blair's arm and gently turned the younger man back towards him, his throat aching at the defenseless grief in that watery blue gaze.
"Blair, son, it's what dads are supposed to do," he rasped, giving the slightest of tugs, trying to show it was okay even though this particular territory was as foreign to him as it was to Blair - and it must have worked, because Blair leaned into him with a shuddering sigh. William closed his arms around Blair's shoulders and patted him awkwardly, but determinedly."I don't know anything about what dads are supposed to do," Blair confessed in a shaky whisper.
"That's okay, I'm still learning, too," he said wryly, pleased when Blair responded with a faint chuckle.
Blair eventually straightened, looking calmer and more present than he had earlier, much to William's relief.
"Yeah. Thank you. It was just- I thought everything was over, then it wasn't. I couldn't keep up," Blair explained with a shrug. William let it slide, understanding that need to shut down better than Blair could imagine.
"I felt the same way when I found out Jimmy was alive."
"Jesus," Jim whispered, rubbing at his face. Sally handed him a glass of water while Steven squeezed his shoulder and gave him a nudge, their combined efforts thankfully distracting him.
"Hearing something bad about yourself?" Steven asked quietly when Sally went back towards the stove.
"Something like that. You're okay with this?"
"Which 'this'?" Steven asked with a snort. "The sentinel this, the you and Blair this, or the Dad acting like Ward Cleaver this?"
"I would have said Ben Cartwright, myself," Jim corrected seriously. Steven gaped at him just before they both started laughing, holding onto each other in a sudden wave of giddy hilarity.
"Something you wanna tell me about you and Little Joe, Adam?" Steven gasped out, winning a retaliatory poke in the ribs from Jim.
"Don't go there, Hoss."
Sally Wong watched the four men around the dining room table as she served their meal.
The guardian's companion was waving his hands about as his unlikely story had the other three snickering. She had to smile, too, pleased to see the guardian himself looking so relaxed and happy; finally finding comfort in the presence of his family.
At long last, all was as it should be... and if she amused herself by making comparisons to Hop Sing and the Ponderosa Ranch, well, that was nobody's business but her own.
"Stay tonight, Jim," William urged quietly, reminding himself for the hundredth time to use the short version of his son's nickname, once Jim had reluctantly admitted over dinner that he really preferred it.
Jim glanced over at Blair, who was curled up in a corner of the sofa and dozing unabashedly. Steven was already gone, citing an early meeting that couldn't be missed, and Jim had to admit he was both tired and sore, his wounded leg throbbing like a toothache.
"Blair's exhausted and your doctor hasn't released you to drive yet, has he."
"You know, Dad, that's a good idea. Seems like you've had a lot of them lately," Jim noted with a remarkable lack of sarcasm. "I heard what you said to Blair."
"I expected you would."
"He blames himself because I blamed him," Jim admitted painfully. "I said some things..."
"We all do that. We all say things we wish we could take back the second they come out of our mouths. He doesn't hold it against you."
"He never does." Jim gave a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't come see you as soon as I got back from Peru. I didn't think you-"
"You didn't think I cared," William said with his own sigh. "I understand why you felt that way. I made a lot of mistakes as a father, but I loved you then, Jimmy, and I love you now."
"I know you do," Jim breathed, actually believing it. It felt good. "I love you too, Dad."
"tha's so nice... now dial it down an' go to bed, jim," Blair mumbled, stretching out on the sofa without ever opening his eyes.
Laughing silently, William stood, pausing to kiss the top of Jim's head and ruffle Blair's hair.
"Use the guest room. The bed's bigger."
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