Warnings/spoliers: Blair as cop
The interior of the bar was dark enough that Jim had to pause and dial his sight up. Blair sat in a corner, by himself, drinking. He had seen Blair drunk a few times, but it had always been a by-product of having a few too many with other people who were having a few too many. Never a solitary, determined attempt to get smashed. It wasn't Blair's nature.
He'd apparently been running his hands through his hair, because parts of it stood up in tufts. Until Blair had cut his hair, Jim had never realized that he kept it long for reasons other than how it looked. Not only could he hide his facial expressions behind it when he wanted to, but the weight of the long hair kept it laying down relatively flat. The short hair emphasized the size of his eyes, making him look younger than he was and, when coupled with the tufts of hair that stood straight out, had many people likening him to a cranky teenager, a comparison Blair detested.
Jim though that he looked like a drunk junior mad scientist at that particular moment, an observation he kept to himself.
Jim eased into the booth across from him. "Hey, Chief, what's going on?"
Blair blinked, surprised. "Jim? What're you doin' here?"
"Ollie got a little worried about you and gave me a call."
Blair swiveled to glare at the bartender. " 'm not drunk, Jim."
Jim watched Blair's movements, slow with the exaggerated caution of the truly drunk. "I think you are, buddy."
"Nuh-uh." He shook his head. "Know why I'm not?"
"Go ahead and tell me. This oughta be good."
"Because. Ask anyone. They'll tell you. Blair Sandburg is a happy drunk. And it's true. He is. I am."
Jim sighed. "And right now you are not happy, so you can't be drunk."
" 'Zactly. Not happy, so not drunk. Ipso facto. Wait, can't use Latin. They'll say it again. Stupid egghead, not a cop. Not. A. Cop. Ellison's little useless tag-along, must be screwing Ellison and Banks together to get that place in Major Crime." He smiled slightly. "I'm too short for that, man, you guys'd crush me."
Jim's jaw tightened. He'd heard all of it said before; never to his face, but he made it a point to selectively tune his hearing so that he overheard anyone mentioning Sandburg's name in the PD. He had graduated from the Police Academy with some of the highest academic marks ever achieved, and his weapons training and physical scores had been respectable. But he had risen from new academy trainee to detective in less than time than anyone else and it had caused trouble, especially in the ranks of patrol itching for a shot at detective.
"Should be happy. Have a home with my Senlnel... Senninel... you. Some friends, good friends. A job. For now. Until I get someone killed."
"What happened today?" Blair pushed the empty glass away and Jim replaced it with a large glass of water. "C'mon, talk to me, buddy."
"Don't bullshit me here, Chief. What happened while I was in court today?"
Blair rolled his head to relieve the tension and Jim could hear the tiny clicks and pops as tightly strung muscles and tendons released. "Went out on a call with Brown. Shots were fired. I called for backup. Nothing happened."
Jim waited. Blair looked up at him and then back down at the table. Jim growled. "What do you mean, "nothing happened"? Who was the shooter?"
"You don't know who the shooter was, nothing happened, and you are drinking yourself under the table on," Jim cautiously opened his sense of smell up and sniffed, "pure tequila."
Blair pinned Jim with red-rimmed but strangely blank eyes. "Brown almost got shot. We were pinned down. I called for backup and it never came. Because I was the one who made the call."
The picture became sickeningly clear. Jim hadn't wanted to believe that the whispers against Blair would result in something this serious, that one of their own would deliberately fail to back him up. Now that it had happened, though, it was easy to believe. "Ahhhh, Christ, Blair..."
"Can't do this anymore, Jim, next time it's gonna be bad, I know it, I can feel it..."
Jim leaned back in the booth and closed his eyes. It was time, it was past time, to put an end to this. Blair had tried to salvage their lives by giving up his academic life and his dissertation and accepting a new life in the police department. It wasn't going to work. Now it was Jim's turn to do the same. He let the moment of doubt and anger wash through him and then opened up his eyes.
First things first: he had to get Blair home and pour him into bed, make a few calls and then get ready to say goodbye to this life. And then figure out what the hell they were going to do next..
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