Notes: Follow on from Letting go, the final part will be in Holding on which should tie them all together. sunglow66 was my Muse for this, so she can take the credit for this series.
Blair bent down and picked up his worn backpack, swinging it over his shoulder as he straightened and started walking towards the door.
"Whoa!" he swayed as a wave of dizziness hit him and he steadied himself on his desk, waiting for the now familiar feeling to pass. He'd been having these spells for the last few weeks, but a CAT scan and X-ray hadn't given any clues as to why they were happening. Even a new prescription for his glasses hadn't stopped the headaches, and he was seriously considering getting a second opinion. His healthcare plan with the school was good enough, and a wry smile crossed his lips at the thought.
Three years ago it had been doubtful he would ever need such a plan, and he fingered the scar at his temple again. No matter how hard he tried, three years of his life had been forgotten in the blink of an eye. He still couldn't believe he'd been studying the police, not after all his years of searching for a sentinel, but the reality of reams of paper didn't lie. It hadn't been a wrench to leave Cascade for warmer climes, not after what had happened, but he'd been surprised by the amount of visitors he'd had in the hospital.
The captain, Simon Banks, had agreed to put him in touch with the Bakersfield PD and he'd continued his studies, finally gaining his PhD six months later. His years at Rainier had gained him a place on the fast track programme, and he'd graduated with honours, his new friends at the PD in the audience to cheer him on. The only regret he had about Cascade was his most treasured possession, The Sentinels of Paraguay, going up in the explosion of his warehouse. That, and Larry, his Barbary ape. Oh, and the Corvair.
The dizziness passed, and he locked the door after him, making his way through the quiet corridors of the school and over to the Jeep parked in the shade of the trees. It had been a sort of graduation present from the guys at the precinct, a steal from the impound yard that had only cost him a thousand, and he did his best to keep in touch with them all. He wondered if he'd had such a rapport with the cops in Cascade, but couldn't imagine the hard ass investigating officer to his shooting ever relaxing enough to veg out on a sofa with beer and pizza.
Turning the key in the ignition automatically switched on the cd player and Aboriginal drums blasted from the speakers. Moving in time to the haunting strains, he pulled out and headed downtown to his small apartment complex, already planning the weekend ahead. He stopped at an intersection and let his mind drift along with the music, not really knowing why this particular cd was his favourite, just that it was. He frowned as a dark Explorer passed in front of him, and that, combined with the music, caused something vague to shift inside him. Hands suddenly shaking, he wiped them down his thighs and then took a deep breath. It was nothing, he thought. Nothing at all.
Blair shot awake, sweat pouring from him and he lurched to the bathroom, images of fire and bullets swirling in his head; images that burned behind his eyelids as he retched over the toilet bowl. Slumping back against the bath, he rested his head back on the rim and ran a shaking hand over his clammy forehead. His temple throbbed and he leaned over the bowl again, dry heaving and shaking.
He heaved himself to his feet and splashed cold water over his face, rinsing his mouth to get rid of the bile in his throat. Short hair clung in damp curls around his face and over his nape and for once he was glad the hospital had taken most of his hair off. It had looked weird with half his head shaved, and long hair was a damned nuisance in the warm Californian summers. Blair soaked a flannel with cold water and wiped his face, staring at his reflection in the mirror and seeing himself in a different bathroom in a different time. It was like watching through a veil, and images of jungles and water and helicopters fast-forwarded in front of blank eyes and he held onto the sink with a death grip, willing the dizziness to pass.
It could have been minutes or hours before he came to on the cool floor, a headache pounding and he took a deep breath before attempting to stand. His stomach lurched again but he fought the nausea, thinking that Jim wouldn't appreciate having to clear up a load of his vomit. He stilled, mind racing as reality and memories slammed into him. Ohgodohgodohgod! He curled into a tight ball and rocked back and forth, eyes screwed closed as the last six years played in full Technicolor detail in his mind. Whimpers escaped from behind clenched teeth and he let out a keening wail as everything crystallised in those few moments.
The hard floor eventually registered and he slowly unfurled and crawled into the living room. Flat out on the sofa, he took stock and came to a decision. The enormity of what Jim had done was finally registering and a slow, burning anger started in his gut. Checking the time, he groped for the phone and made a phone call. Then he rolled off his seat and went back to the bathroom, stripping off his sweats and t-shirt. A long shower later and he was dressed again, muttering about idiot partners and control freak cops as he stuffed clothes into his duffel. His hands started shaking again and he had to sit down on the bed, rubbing sweaty palms up and down on his thighs and struggling to breath, throat tight and eyes burning with tears. Angrily scrubbing at them, he reached for the phone and dialled his supervisor, explaining that an emergency had come up and that she'd need to get a substitute in for a few days. Then he punched in one more number and waited for it to connect.
Four deep, steadying breaths later and a familiar voice answered.
"Long time no speak."
"The one and only."
"Where is he, Simon?"
"At the loft."
"Good. Make sure he's at work on Monday, Simon. I'm coming home."
~To be continued in Holding on~
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