Tug of War
Notes: This is for Snglow, who has been waiting patiently for me to finish it.
Warm, California sunshine shone down on the redhead as she meandered her way through the lively back street of San Francisco. It was an eclectic mix of shops and cafes, with locals and tourists mingling together to form a vibrant mix of cultures. Sitting down at an outside table, she tapped her fingers restlessly as she waited to be served.
It had been a week since she’d left Cascade; left her baby to the mercy of the pigs. Oh, she’d put on a good show of being pleased, that this was what she wanted for Blair; but she’d had his plane ticket in her bag when she’d gone to the precinct to collect him. It had been a complete and utter shock to her when Jim had tossed him the badge and started talking about her baby becoming his permanent partner. No! This wasn’t how it was supposed to play out! Blair was supposed to leave with her and be safe for once!
Eyes scanning the milling crowds, her nose wrinkled at the overt display of some of the couples. For all her outward show of tolerance and peace and love, her ditzy front was just that; a front. A white, middle class upbringing and a teenage pregnancy that had driven her from home had left bitterness deeply ingrained on her psyche. It had been that that had made her leave Blair with various strangers over the course of his childhood, letting her pursue her own goals. It hadn’t bothered her to leave him; he had been such an easygoing child that he managed to fit himself in anywhere. He was always glad to see her, and surely he would have said something if it had bothered him, wouldn’t he?
Across the street, her eye was drawn to an art gallery, or rather the display in the window. Grabbing her bag, she left the table and slipped through the crowd, pushing open the door and entering the cool interior.
“May I be off assistance, Madam?” business was sufficiently slack enough to get her immediate service.
“Yes, the sculpture in the display. Can you arrange for delivery out of state?”
“Certainly.” Dollar signs lit up the salesman’s eye, “where would Madam like it delivered to?”
“To Detective Jim Ellison, Apartment 307, 852 Prospect Avenue, Cascade, Washington.” Naomi said with great satisfaction. If this didn’t drive Blair from his side, then she would have to admit defeat in the face of a greater enemy.
It had been a good two weeks for Jim. Still convalescing, he hadn’t been able to go to the precinct since they’d offered Blair the badge. He’d known instinctively that Blair was gong to leave that day, and a hurried phone call to Simon had gathered everyone together to give him a fait accompli. It had also given Jim enough time to work out an alternative to the Academy, knowing deep down that it wasn’t really what Blair wanted. He wasn’t arrogant or stupid enough not to know that the press conference wouldn’t have consequences, should they force Blair down the cop route. All he had to do was prevent Naomi from taking his guide and best friend away from him, and he’d succeeded. Naomi was gone, and Blair was still here.
They’d finally talked that night over half a bottle of Jack Daniels, and agreed that the Academy wasn’t the place for Blair. Once everything had died down and Jim was back to full fitness, they were going to take a break and decide what their options were. Jim had tentatively offered to go public, but Blair had soon nipped that idea in the bud. He was happy for the rest of Major Crimes to know, if only to safeguard Jim when he couldn’t be there, and had even brought up the subject of consultancy work. Forensic Anthropologist had been tossed around, but that would involve going back to Rainier, and Blair wasn’t sure that he’d ever be able to step through those doors again.
The biggest surprise had been Jim’s father coming forward and demanding that Blair sue the university. He’d had all the paperwork prepared and Jim had watched as a stunned Blair had signed power of attorney over to Bill, as he’d insisted on being called. He hadn’t forgotten the way Blair had taken care of him that time, or the way Blair had encouraged Jim to spend more time with his father and brother. It had been quite an emotional moment, and Blair had retreated to his room for a while.
The quiet “Thanks, Dad,” had raised a huge smile on Bill’s face, and he’d left after bestowing an awkward paternal hug on his son. The new warmth between them had been in direct contrast to the chilly departure of Naomi. She’d had her bags packed and waiting when they got back to the loft, and not even the dismayed look on her son’s face had persuaded her to stay longer. Not that Jim was bothered. As far as he was concerned, she’d done enough damage over the last few days and he couldn’t wait to get rid of her.
Which brought Jim back to this moment in time. Blair was with Bill and his lawyer, hashing out the details of his case against Rainier, and Jim was relaxing on the sofa, debating whether to order Chinese or Pizza tonight. The doorbell ringing had him struggling up from the cushions and limping over to the door. “Detective Ellison?” The UPS driver held out his clipboard for Jim to sign.
“Yes.” Jim scribbled his name and stepped aside for the man to wheel the large parcel in. As soon as he was gone, Jim scrutinized the box, wondering who would be sending him something as big as this. Finding the dispatch note, he spied the name of the sender - Naomi. Now what was she up to?
Tearing open the tape, he dug through the packing chips and encountered smooth, cool metal. It was a strange shape, and he bent down to lift the object out. After placing it carefully on the floor, he searched for the note that would tell him why she’d sent him it. Finding a letterhead from the gallery, he read her looping handwriting, frowning slightly as he realized this was the latest round in her war with him.
Blair had never noticed the battle for him going on between Jim and Naomi; they had been very careful to keep him unaware, but Jim had seen through her façade the minute she’d stormed into the bullpen and started to berate Simon. Then her blatant hypocrisy when she’d insisted on getting involved in their case, followed by her attempt at seduction. All designed to come between him and Blair.
It hadn’t worked though, because even though it had been rough for a while, Blair wasn’t willing to give up on him. Jim wondered how he’d react to this though, and decided that now was the time for the final battle. If Blair stayed after this, then Naomi had lost and she’d never have the power to hurt them again.
Putting the letter down on the coffee table, he picked up the sculpture and took it upstairs where he could appreciate it in the light from the skylight. He was still up there when Blair came home to find packing chips scattered over the floor and Naomi’s letter abandoned on the table. Gingerly picking it up, he read it, heart pounding in his chest as the words sank in.
“Up here, Chief.” Jim called down, and waited as Blair slowly made his way up the stairs.
“I…er…see you got a package from Naomi.” Blair hovered nervously at the end of the bed, ready to bolt should Jim react badly.
“Mmmm. What do you think?” Jim was in the same position he’d been in the time his mother had shown him Blair’s baby photos, propped up against the headboard, legs stretched out in front of him. His attention was focused on a polished pewter sculpture of a man’s torso. At first glance, it was a fairly innocuous piece, until you noticed that the hand spread over the heart from behind was another man’s.
“It’s a nice piece.” Blair said cautiously.
“It is, isn’t it?” Jim held out his hand and beckoned Blair down on the bed next to him.
“Does it worry you?”
“That your mother thinks we’re a couple.”
“What about you? Does it bother you?” Blair perched on the side of the bed and wondered where this was going.
“Oh. Good, good.” Blair’s leg jiggled nervously and Jim clamped his hand on his knee, feeling the flesh tremble under his fingers.
“I’m not a homophobe, Blair. The fact that you’re bisexual isn’t news to me.”
“You think Simon wouldn’t have had you investigated when you first came to work with me?”
“I don’t have a problem with that, Chief.” Jim twined his fingers through Blair’s and tugged, pulling him down so he was leaning with his back against Jim’s chest. Blair held his breath as Jim rested his chin on his shoulder, his hand mirroring the sculpture over Blair’s heart.
“I don’t want this to affect us, Jim.” He whispered.
“Of course it’s going to affect us, Blair. For the better.” Jim pressed his nose into the fragrant curls resting against Blair’s neck and gently kissed the pulse beating there, giving Blair plenty of time to pull away. He was relieved when Blair relaxed against him and covered Jim’s hand with his.
They lay there together on the bed, and gradually Blair slid around until his head was pillowed on Jim’s chest, Jim’s arms folded around him and making him feel secure. He wasn’t going to question why this was happening now or Jim’s apparent about-face in his sexuality. He could feel deep inside that Jim loved him, and it looked like he had his mother to thank for it. He’d have to write and tell her that.
Jim tightened his arms around Blair and allowed a smile to curve his lips. Naomi had once again underestimated him and it was going to cost her dearly. Her assumption, based on her own prejudices, that Jim would throw Blair out in a homophobic rage had backfired on her. Blair wasn’t ever going to leave him, or stop loving him; he knew that now. And he was going to make damned sure Blair knew that his love was returned.
Naomi didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever separating them now.
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