In from the Cold
Author Notes: Final part of my Blair in Canada Series. The happy ending.
As it happened, I couldn't leave immediately. Bear creek wasn't like Cascade, with public transport on every corner. The supply plane wasn't due for another couple of weeks but I went into Bear Creek anyway to book passage out and to give notice on the cabin to Ben, the owner.
I was touched at how sorry everyone was when they heard I was leaving and they all made me promise to come back in the spring, which I was happy to do. They'd become a second family to me; the guys in Major crime were my first after Naomi.
The phones were down so I cabled Simon to let him know I hoped to be there in time for Christmas. I'd celebrated Thanksgiving in October this year, which was weird, but then, my philosophy was 'When in Rome'.
To my surprise Simon was waiting at the airport for me. I'd let him know I'd be there on Christmas Eve but I hadn't really expected him to be there personally. I was even more surprised when he enveloped me in a bear hug. I was then thrust away from him and subjected to an intense scrutiny.
"You're lookin' good, Sandburg."
"Hey, nothing but fresh air and fishing, Simon, you should try it." My cheek earned me a cuff round the head. "Mind the hair, man."
"Couldn't afford a haircut, Sandburg?"
"It was Canada, Simon. Cold. That means the more hair you have the warmer you keep."
"That all your bags?" Simon picked up my duffle.
"Uh huh." I followed him out of the airport and got in his car. "I've booked in the Best Western on Fifth, Simon."
"We'll stop there and cancel, Sandburg, you're staying with me."
"No arguments, Sandburg, you've stayed with me before, remember?"
I did indeed remember, it was the night I got drunk and confessed to Simon how much I loved Jim. I thanked Simon quietly.
"No problem." He put the car in drive and we travelled in companiable silence to his place.
"You want to take a shower and change and then come in with me? They all know I picked you up." Simon put my bag down in his spare room.
"He knows, Blair." Simon pulled out a cigar and clamped it between his teeth. "He's back online."
"About a month ago he was on stakeout with Connor. She went down with appendicitis, and I couldn't spare anyone else so he was on his own for a week, just like the Switchman case. He insisted he'd be fine so I let him stay out there. A couple of days after he got back he zoned on my tiepin. It took me twenty minutes to get him back and I was all for contacting you immediately. He asked me not to, said he was sure he could get it under control and make it go away again."
"Simon, it's not something he can switch on and off at will."
"He did before."
"He had Julia in his life, a reason to want normality as he sees it. He doesn't have her now."
"Well, he's had a couple of zones since then and the last one was bad. That's when I sent you that request."
"Order, you mean." I grinned.
"You never followed my orders before. Why now?"
"I realized that running away never gets you anything but farther away from the ones you love."
My heart was hammering when I finally stepped out of the elevator and through the doors of Major Crime.
"Hairboy!" H saw me first and in seconds I was surrounded by detectives and having the stuffing almost squeezed out of me.
"That's Dr Hairboy, to you H."
I was disappointed when I looked round the bullpen to find that Jim was nowhere around. I think Simon noticed and dispersed the crowd with a few sharp words. With his hand on my shoulder he guided me into his office and closed the door.
"He didn't want your first meeting to be witnessed by the entire department, Blair. He's waiting at the loft for you."
The lobby of 852 Prospect was decorated for Christmas and all of the doors had wreaths on them, except number 307. I took a deep breath and raised my hand to knock but before I could, Jim had the door open.
"Hey." I slowly lowered my hand.
"Chief. Good to see you." Jim stood aside. "You want a beer?"
"Sure." I followed him into the kitchen and took the beer he handed to me. I let my eyes roam around the loft, trying to ignore the fact that Jim was watching me like a hawk.
"I hear you got your doctorate." Jim finally broke the silence.
"Yeah." I'd got out of the habit of talking to fill the silence while living in Canada.
"I suppose Simon told you my senses are back."
"Yeah." I took a sip of beer. "Have you found your new guide yet?" I wasn't going to let him off easy.
"What, Jim? Did you think I'd come back to be your guide again? I stopped being your guide when you decided to stop being a sentinel."
"Don't be like this, Chief, I need you."
I was suddenly incredibly angry.
"Well fuck you, Ellison. I don't need you." I slammed the bottle down on the counter and turned towards the door.
"You never have, Chief."
"What?" I stopped dead.
"You've never needed me as much as I've needed you." It seemed that for once Jim was going to be the one to talk.
"You were always the strong one in our partnership. I didn't listen to you when you tried to tell me about Brad Ventriss, and by the time I got my head out of my ass you'd distanced yourself from me. I only had myself to blame." Jim put his beer down and came to stand in front of me.
"It seemed you were only staying because you thought I needed your help with my senses. I didn't want you to end up resenting me, so I convinced myself that I didn't want to be a sentinel and used Julia as an excuse to be normal."
"You've always been normal to me, Jim."
"I know that now, Chief. I just wanted you to know that I'll never take you for granted again. That is, if you'll come back."
"And what, be your guide again?"
"Only if you want to be. I missed you, Chief, you're room's here if you want it."
For once I didn't know what to say; I only knew that I couldn't go back to living as I had before. I had to tell Jim how I felt, that I loved him; that I was in love with him. I had to know if there was a chance he could return my feelings one day. I was prepared to wait if he wasn't sure, but I couldn't just move back in as if nothing had happened.
"I love you." Oh man, I couldn't believe I'd just blurted it out like that.
"I love you, Jim. I'm in love with you and have been for years."
Jim was looking at me as if I'd just grown another head.
"Look, I can't live here with you again and not tell you how I feel." There were butterflies in my stomach now. "I'll understand if you can't mmph..."
Jim was kissing me! He'd closed the distance between us and his hands were tangled in my hair, holding me still while he almost devoured me. I was running out of air when he finally let me go, but not too far.
"Jesus, Chief." He wrapped his arms round me and held me tight, his nose buried in my neck.
"You really know how to make a guy feel bad."
"Uh, you feel bad for kissing me?" He wouldn't let me pull away.
"No, I feel bad for treating you like shit, and you still love me after everything that's happened?"
"She knew, you know?"
I didn't think it was possible that Jim could hold me any tighter, but he managed it.
"I wouldn't let her redecorate your room, we had our first argument about it."
This was something that I knew we'd have to talk about later but for now I just wanted to bask in his arms.
"So, does this mean I can have my old room as a study?"
I felt Jim smile against my neck.
"I thought a weight room."
"Weights. You can study me lifting weights."
I could see the merits in that and I was rewarded for my agreement with more kisses.
"So." I said when Jim finally let me go. "It's Christmas Eve and this place isn't looking very festive, we had more decorations up in Bear Creek." I looked round the bare walls of the loft.
"What do you say to some last minute shopping." I couldn't believe it was Jim-I-hate-malls-Ellison saying this. "After I pull my Christmas Cracker."
As he herded me up the stairs I resolved to work on his seduction technique; as soon as I stopped laughing. Maybe New Year, or Valentines…
Send feedback to Sunglow
Go back to Story Page
Go back to Home Page