A/N: Jim contemplates Blair's changes, then institutes one his own. Pretty rough, sorry, but I'm out of time; I'll be offline for about a week & a half. See you for challenge #33! :-)
Oh my god -- what has he done? And why? He knew Simon was arranging a dispensation for him, based on his experience in the field -- some people just naturally trust him with that long-haired boyish look.
He always said he wouldn’t do it! So why did he go and do it anyway? He should have asked first. It’s like he’s been... de-Sandburged or something. Who is this weird-looking short-haired guy, and what has he done with my partner?
OK, so I might -- might -- understand the reasoning. “I want to blend in -- I’ll have enough strikes against me as it is, I don’t want to piss anybody off by getting any more special treatment,” he explained. “The instructors will understand,” I told him, and he laughed at me. “It’s not the instructors I’m worried about, man!” he said. OK, I get it.
But... he looks weird. He smells the same, he sounds the same, but... he just doesn’t seem the same anymore.
People look at him differently now. When we went to the hardware store this morning, the old guy working in the tool place went right up to him and started talking drill bits -- normally they ignore him and talk to me.
Afterward in the truck he was all excited about it, saying he was “one of the guys now.” Well hell -- wasn’t he one of the guys before? It was really strange hearing him sounding bouncy and animated like his old self -- it was like when the TV and the VCR are out of whack and you’ve got the video from one channel and the audio from another, his words and pictures not matching the sound of him.
He’s making me crazy.
If I look carefully, I can see that it’s grown out a little. Even to average eyes it looks different than it did at first -- it had been sticking out in strange directions, but now the waves fall into place and he doesn’t look like the barber was half blind and all drunk when he did it. I guess Sandburg was right when he told me he had it done a couple weeks before the term starts at the academy so it could “remember how to be short again.”
It’s not just old hardware guys that see him differently. We had our lunch in the park today to take advantage of the good weather, and there were plenty of women giving him the eye. I heard two talking, and the usual adjectives -- cute, sweet -- were not what they were using this time. Hmph.
No! I will not have this thought! But... I can’t help it -- it’s so thick, so shiny, so wavy, I can’t help but wonder what it would feel like if I -- no! No.
He might not seem like the old Sandburg anymore, but this new Sandburg is somehow more... Blair. I was watching him talk to Simon today and I realized that without the distraction of the hair, you can really see the rest of him -- the bones of his face, his eyes, that mouth... I mean, it shouldn’t be news that he isn’t just a pile of hair, but the hair sort of represented him. Now he represents himself.
Aw hell, I’ve been with him too long, I’m getting way too philosophical.
I am so confused.
Every day I seem to be reacting to him differently, seeing some new aspect to him. I keep thinking “Who is this guy?” -- but I can’t avoid the obvious anymore. He’s Blair Sandburg. It’s not just a matter of him getting a hair cut, it’s that getting his hair cut somehow took the blinders off my eyes.
Damn -- where is some healthy repression when you need it? Because I didn’t want to see him. I didn’t want to so hard that I let my image of him become my reality of him. And now that that image is gone, I have to face the true reality of him. I’m not sure I’m prepared for that -- and what it means to me.
Shit, I’m not cut out for all this introspection. It’s giving me a headache.
“So, Blair, tomorrow’s the big day.”
“Oh shit -- what’s wrong?”
“Oh god, I can’t handle this stress right now -- just tell me!”
“Tell you what?”
“What’s the matter.”
“Nothing’s the matter.”
“You called me Blair.”
“It’s your name.”
“You never use it.”
“Sure I do.”
“No you don’t.”
“Well... maybe you’re right.”
“Oh god -- are you dying?”
“Jesus, Sandburg, what’s the matter with you?”
“OK, OK, much better. Back to normal. Good.”
“Blair, things really aren’t that normal right now, between this and that.”
“What and what?”
“I mean, you start the academy tomorrow, no more Rainier, no more hair -- you know, I don’t need to tell you.”
“Hair? Are you still on about the hair? I don’t understand -- why should it matter one way or another to you?”
“Of course it matters to me -- though trying to work out the whys has gotten me living me in my head way too much lately, let me tell you. But I think I’ve finally figured out why.”
“Why I cut my hair? I already told you.”
“No, no, all of it. Why you cut your hair. Why I care. Why you’re going to the academy. All of it.”
“You’re scaring me.”
“It’s really pretty straightforward, once I thought it through.”
“You know, Chief, I think you are as guilty of seeing just what you want to see of me as I have been with you.”
“I’m sorry -- I’m just really surprised here.”
“It’s OK. You know why?”
“Because I love you. And you love me.”
“It does sound rather simple when you put it that way.”
“Yep. Of course it took how long to finally figure it out?”
“Quite a while.”
“Well, we’re here now. Right, Chief? I’m kind of baring my soul here for you...”
“I love you, Jim. That’s what it’s all about.”
“Good. So... can I finally see what that hair cut feels like?”
“Sure thing, man.”
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