Anniversary for Guilt
by LKY




Spoiler for my story 'Slipping under the Radar'



One more load and Jim was ready. He eyed the assortment on his bed; fishing pole with case, soft sided tackle box, and his lucky fishing vest. As an afterthought, he tucked his favorite pillow under his arm before gathering up the equipment.

Blair still sat at the kitchen table, industriously typing. He hadn't moved an inch from that chair since Jim got home from a full day of court appearances and paperwork. Jim had told Blair to take the day off and enjoy.

“This is the last of my stuff, Chief. You ready?”

Blair leaned back with a heavy sigh. “Oh, man. You know what? I'm gonna have to pass.”

Here it comes. Jim glanced at his watch. It was after six. They had a five-hour drive - if the Friday night traffic wasn't too bad. Since the following week was spring break just about everywhere, Jim expected the traffic to be bad.

Blair continued to play the part of the frustrated and reluctantly duty-bound student. “It's just I've got so much on my plate. What was I thinking? I can't take off for a week. I've got obligations and deadlines.

Just this morn –“ Blair's head spun in surprise. “Hey, what are you doing?”

Jim was halfway back to his bedroom. “I'm putting my fishing stuff away.”

The sound of a kitchen chair scrapping the floor made Jim wince. The hardwood floor was overdue for a sanding and varnish. If Blair kept that up, he was going to get the job. He tossed his pillow back where it belonged and carefully stowed his equipment in the closet.

Blair's upper body became visible through the railing, having backed up until he could watch Jim. “Why?” he called out in exasperation.

“You just canceled the trip, Einstein,” Jim answered lightly. It was important not to look upset or disappointed.

“No I *didn't*!” Blair threw both arms up, dropping them theatrically to his sides again. “I just said *I* can't go. You can still go. Take Simon. Uncle Buck will be disappointed.”

Jim jogged down the stairs. He unbuttoned the cuffs to his flannel shirt and carefully rolled back the sleeves. “Simon and Buck will have a good time. I'll just call Simon and let him know.”

Blair's hand slammed down over Jim's, sending the cordless back into its charger. “No! Don't do this, Jim!”

“Do what?”

“This!” With hands on Jim's chest, Blair shoved hard.

Jim allowed himself to fall back a few steps. “Sandburg, knock it off,” he growled.

But his roommate showed no signs of backing down. “You... go...! Got it?”

“Gee, Blair,” Jim replied, keeping the sarcasm light. “Last time I checked, I was an adult, too. If I don't want to do something on my vacation, I don't have to.”

Blair crossed his arms. “This isn't about you doing what *you* want. This is about guilt tripping *me* into doing what you want.”

“It is?”



Blair opened his mouth to reply and then snapped it shut. Executing a turn worthy of a Marine Sergeant, he marched into his room and closed the door. Damn, for a minute Jim thought it was going to work. He returned to the cordless and picked it up. It appeared he really did need to call Simon Banks and explain they weren't going to be showing up. Frankly Jim wasn't surprised.

Tonight was the three month anniversary of the day Blair had been forced to shoot someone. It was a righteous shoot. Jim had been shot and was down, unable to protect them. If not for Blair's actions, neither one of them would be alive. Although Blair's victim - a VA doctor – had survived and been listed as stable, he ended up dying a few days later from complications.

To put it bluntly, his roommate was not the same.

Blair had thrown himself into his studies; into helping Jim with his enhances senses and helping out at the station. Dates, dinners out, anything that resembled recreation in any shape or form had gone out the window. At first, Jim figured it was because Blair felt compelled to play nursemaid. But even after Jim had returned to full time duty, Blair's behavior didn't change.

With a sigh, Jim hit the speed dial button for Simon's cell phone. Maybe his boss could take Henri. Jim could cover his sifts, maybe even save his vacation time. It was a shame to waste a perfectly good one-week cabin rental on a blue ribbon steelhead river.

God, this was going to be a tough phone call.

The door opened, Blair reappeared with a duffel back slung over one shoulder. Mouth in a tight lipped line and scowling, he brushed past Jim and threw his bag down by the door.


“Fine! Let's do it!”

Jim set the phone down with a sigh. This was going to be *so* much fun.





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