Photographs and Letters
by Rhianne





Notes: This is my first posting to sentinel_thurs, so I hope I've done this right! This fic will also be posted to my site,, but is as yet unbetad. Gen fic. Feedback welcome.

Summary: What's going through Blair's head after Jim throws him out of the loft in Sentinel Too?


Blair flinched as the door slammed behind him, and he was left alone in the loft. He stood there for an eternity, staring blindly around him at the boxes, at the meagre evidence of his life here packed away like someone’s unwanted junk.

Which it was, it seemed. Unwanted by Jim, at least.

He half expected to hear footsteps in the hallway outside, for Jim to burst back into the apartment with a grin on his face, announcing that this was some kind of misguided practical joke, or a cruel April Fools Day prank a few months too late.

But deep down, he knew that wasn’t going to happen. Jim had never been that cruel, that thoughtless, and suddenly Blair realised, truly understood that this was real, that Jim had meant every angry word.

He moved away from the boxes, feeling somehow dazed, as if he was watching this from somewhere else, as if it was happening to someone else.

If you ignored the boxes by the door, the loft was as clean and tidy as Blair had ever seen it. Back to the way it was when he had first moved in, when the bare walls and carefully placed furniture had told him more about Jim’s mental state than a thousand words could ever have done. Somehow, however hard he’d tried, he’d never quite managed to be as tidy as Jim had been, back then.

Of course, he’d needed the walls to talk to him, then, because Jim hadn’t been able to open up to him, not then. As he reached the doorway of the room that was no longer his, Blair started to wonder if Jim had ever felt able to talk to him, or if he’d simply been deluding himself these last three years that he was truly making a difference, that he’d uncovered the sentinel and been blessed with a friend.

His small room was empty, save for the furniture. Empty drawers, empty shelves, and everything that had once been on them, that had made the room feel like home to him, carelessly dumped in any one of a dozen boxes. Operating more on instinct than real thought, Blair knelt down by his bed, lifting the mattress and reaching for the brown envelope tucked between the wooden slats of the bed. Keeping the letters under his bed had been a childhood indulgence that Blair had never quite been able to rid himself of, and while in his youth they had been wishes, promises, letters to Santa that he’d write and jealously hide from his mother, now they were letters from Naomi, from a few of his real friends dotted around the country who hadn’t yet discovered the joys of e-mail.

For a fierce second Blair was both surprised, and glad, that Jim hadn’t found them in his obvious haste to get rid of everything that reminded him of his roommate. These letters were too important to him to be sullied by the distrust and hatred he’d seen radiating from his partner for days.

Not that Jim was his partner anymore. Hell, if the man didn’t want him at the loft, then he sure as hell wouldn’t want him at the station.

He sighed, hauling himself wearily to his feet, the envelope clutched in one hand. There was nothing else in the room that belonged to him, perhaps none of it ever really had. Blair had lodged with people before, crashed in spare rooms and on sofas, sometimes for months on end, but this had been one of the few places that Blair had ever allowed himself to feel at home, where he’d not been constantly aware that he was encroaching on someone else’s hospitality.

Heading back towards the door with a sigh, Blair caught sight of something under the corner of the desk, glinting in the light streaming in through a window that no longer had curtains to screen out the sun.

He knelt again, gingerly picking up a piece of thin, broken glass, barely the size of his thumbnail. Jim must have broken something in his haste to clear the room, but not picking up every single piece of glass wasn’t like him at all. If Blair had noticed the glass without even looking, then surely Jim must have been able to see it.

He dumped the glass in the kitchen trashcan, automatically putting away a cup that lay discarded on the side before realising what he was doing and moving away with a bitter laugh. This wasn’t his home any more, he didn’t have to adhere to the house rules. He didn’t have the right.

But there had to be a way out of this, an explanation for Jim’s behaviour that went beyond the fact that Blair hadn’t told him about Alex. Jim had been acting crazy for days, and Blair had been driving himself nuts trying to work out why – they hadn’t changed detergent, or shampoo, or any of the other things that usually affected his senses, but never had he thought it would come to this. This was the thing that his nightmares were made of – it wasn’t supposed to actually happen.

He dropped the envelope into the nearest box, and knelt down to pick it up, hoping it wasn’t going to be too heavy to get out to his car. He froze as he took his first good look into the box in front of him, before reaching in with his fingers to pull out the framed photograph that had once been given pride of place on his desk.

Jim stood facing the camera, one arm round Blair, who was holding up a fishing net with a proud grin on his face. In the photo Jim was laughing, an indulgent smile gracing his features, and Blair already knew, could remember without having to try that it was Simon behind the camera, that the picture had been taken the day they encountered the bear poachers up by Jim’s favourite catch-and-release fishing spot.

That had been such a great morning, before Jim’s work had butted in and taken over as it always did, and with the memory came a thousand others like it, times when there’d been no senses, no sentinel, no murders, just Jim, Blair and more often than not, Simon, three friends messing around and having fun.

This was where the broken glass had come from, and unbidden, Blair’s thumb brushed against the cracks, where the photograph had obviously been thrown in the box with enough force that the frame had shattered. He’d have to throw it away, he realised, this one was beyond repair.

With an aching heart Blair began to realise just how much of his life had come to revolve around Jim, just how much he had lost. He didn’t want to think about just how hard it was going to be moving on from this. There would be no gentle detaching, and no processing would make it any easier to deal with, no matter what Naomi would have said. Jim had become his world, his entire focus had been his sentinel, his friend. Fond memories wouldn’t be enough to help him through this.

Picking up the first box, Blair elbowed the door open, glancing back into the loft with a catch in his throat, before turning away and starting the long journey down to the street.





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