Lessons Finally Learned

By Ainm


Rating: PG-13

A/N: Because I'm so behind on reading the pieces here, I didn't realize until just a little while ago that this is not the only "neighbor" entry to this challenge... it's a different neighbor though at least. :-)


When the kid first moved in, about six months after I did, I assumed they were sleeping together. Why else would Ellison let this long-haired weirdo live with him? He had a monkey, for god's sake.

Mid-life crisis, I figured. When I was first looking into leasing this place, I was told that the upstairs neighbor, Jim Ellison, was a quiet guy, divorced, a cop. Until monkey-boy showed up, Ellison had certainly seemed to be a regular, white-bread kind of guy. Mid-life crisis, definitely. A hippie boy-toy that would last a little while, until one of them woke up and realized it was crazy, and then this Sandburg and the monkey would be gone.

But... that's not how it turned out. The monkey left, thank god -- it drove me crazy when it would get all revved up and race back and forth across my ceiling like it was on speed, at least once a day -- but the kid stayed.

And I didn't see -- or hear -- any sign that they were actually doing it. I saw them together, yeah, and while they were obviously close, I never saw them together together, never saw anything that could be seen as intimate rather than affectionate.

Which left the question of what the hell the kid was actually doing up there -- though at least he wasn't causing me any trouble... he looked stranger than he turned out to be. He was associated with Rainier -- student, teacher, I didn't know -- but he was always coming and going with Ellison on apparent cop business. It remained a mystery.

I thought they were both leaving when Ellison moved everything out a few years ago. But they both came back, a bit worse for the wear... I stopped thinking of Sandburg as "the kid" after that -- he had a haunted look for a while, and never bounced quite the same afterward. I really wish I knew what that was all about.

For all that I watched them, I never really talked to them much... I'm not very outgoing and they're always preoccupied. Whenever I saw Sandburg alone, he'd smile and nod, or make a comment about the weather, but whenever they were together, Sandburg's attention was always on Ellison. I never even heard his first name -- Ellison never uses it and it's just never come up.

There were women now and then, reinforcing the impression that the two guys weren't lovers, even though none of the relationships seemed to last very long. They made bizarre roommates, but that seemed to be all they were.

At least, that's what I thought until the press conference. I didn't see it myself, but another neighbor told me about it. I never quite got the whole story, and I'm thinking that what I did hear got kind of garbled, because it really didn't make much sense given what happened afterward, but it was something like Sandburg wrote some paper that said Ellison was a superhero but really he was lying.

I don't know the deal there, but it certainly brought home to me the fact that their relationship was more complicated than I'd come to assume, as Ellison obviously wasn't that upset about whatever Sandburg had done because Sandburg didn't leave.

Not only did he stay with Ellison, he apparently turned into a cop as well. The first time I saw him with his shorter hair, I dropped my mail all over the lobby floor. I made some lame comment about having a clumsy day, but I could tell by the sad little smile that he knew the truth. It's not that it looked bad, it was just the shock of the thing -- I guess I wasn't the only one who had a similar reaction.

So once again I was wondering what the hell was up with these two. I could argue it both ways -- on the one hand, of course they're not sleeping together, they're both cops now, but yet on the other hand, they must really love each other for Sandburg to go from an academic to a cop and for Ellison to accept him after the whole superhero mess.

I had resigned myself to never knowing the truth. I mean, it's not like it's any of my business anyway... but for some reason I've been fascinated with this pair since the beginning. My own Odd Couple enacted above me.

But... that was yesterday. This morning, well, let's just say that I'm not the only one that learned a few things last night.

I learned that they really hadn't been lovers after all. All this time, it's just been friends and roommates and colleagues -- no hanky-panky going on up there between the two of them.

At least, not until last night, when all three of us were surprised to learn that the two former not-lovers couldn't make it to a bed and, after what sounded like a fall from a sofa, ended up making up for years of lost time right there on the floor.

And I finally learned Sandburg's first name: Blair. Also referred to as "Blaaaaiiiir!" by the startlingly vocal Detective Ellison.

I can only hope that they learn to make a little less noise in the future, or I'm going to feel even more the voyeur than I already did before they finally made my initial assumption about them a reality.


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