Just a little bit ago, CarolROI posted a Fic called "Bent." Carol had told that she had gotten "stuck" while writing the story and needed a "Jim Line," so I obliged her. Only, there was this little gremlin of a muse inside my head that kept whispering… "Do Jim's take on the whole thing. Do Jim's Point Of View." <sigh> Okay, so I'm basically weak and bowed to the desires of the Gremlin Muse.
Carol? Honey? This one is YOUR FAULT! (But I love you for letting me play with the story.)
Thanks to BethB for the fast Beta Job.
On with the story….
A Murder 101 missing scene
Rating R for bad language
Spoilers Murder 101, Sentinel, Too, Switchman
Summary: Jim's take on Bent. <G>
Note: The song "Angry" comes from the album "Mad Season" by Matchbox 20
Angry (aka Bent Too)
Suisan "Sue" R.
10 August 2000
I pull my truck to a stop at the curb in front of the loft, then glanced at my shivering passenger. "You sure you don't want to come down to the station? Should be an interesting night."
Blair Sandburg shook his head, the ends of his damp hair slapping his face like tiny whips as he responds. "Yes, I'm sure, Jim. It's been a long day and I'm tired. And wet."
I shrug, not quite understanding the resentful tone in my friend's voice. "Suit yourself. I'll be home late. That punk is going to confess by the time I'm through with him." I'm really going to ream Brad Ventriss a new asshole. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. Smart mouth little punk.
Wincing as Blair slams the door shut, I put the truck in gear and head towards the station. Thinking I hear him mutter something, I try to tune my hearing, only to have a car blow its horn, sending a shooting pain through my head. Maybe whatever is bugging Sandburg will be out of his system by the time I get home.
Three in the goddamn morning. Hell, I knew I'd be late, but not this damn late. I slip my truck into my customary parking spot, right next to Sandburg's Volvo, and climb out of the cab. I stand beside the open door and stretch until I feel my back muscles scream in protest, but it feels wonderful. I feel wonderful. The Ventriss punk didn't exactly make a full confession, but Suzanne Nadine rolled on him, and gave Joel Taggart and I everything we need to make sure that the Prosecuting Attorney can go after him to the fullest extent of the law. I reach out to close the door while I glance up towards home. The lights are on. "Huh? What are you still doing awake, Chief? I figured you'd be out by now."
Quickly crossing the empty street, I enter the building and take the steps up to the loft. With everything Sandburg's been through the last few days, today especially, he should be sound asleep and snoring loud enough to wake the neighbors. Slipping my key into the lock, I give it a twist and push open the door. I nearly trip over the boxes stacked in my way. Catching myself before I can fall, I look at the boxes. All of them bear address labels, carefully addressed in Sandburg's cramped script, and from the looks of things, most of them are going to Rainier while the rest are labeled for shipment to someone named "Owen & Elizabeth Sandburg" in Hewitt, Texas.
No sign of him, but I know he's here. Okay, time to bring him out of his room. I raise my voice, not too difficult to do when I'm scared half to death that this isn't just him cleaning out that rat's nest he calls a room. "Sandburg! What in the hell's going on?" There he is, wearing my old Cascade PD sweatshirt and a pair of ratty looking jeans. "Sandburg, what's the meaning of this?" I'm trying very hard to keep my emotions from showing. I cannot allow my fear to show, to let him see it.
"I'm leaving." What the hell! He's serious! I feel my heart clench in fear, the bands around my lungs turn to ice, making it hard to breathe.
"What!? What do you mean you're leaving?" I'm moving closer to him, my hands clenching into hard fists as I try to stifle the voice of fear that is screaming in denial in the back of my mind.
"There's no reason for me to stay." He sounds so damn calm. Doesn’t he realize that my whole world, my reason for living, is falling apart? "I don't have a job." Is that what this is about? The meeting with the Chancellor that he had yesterday? Got to make him see reason.
"But what about school, what about your degree? What about the Sentinel stuff?" Uh-oh, I'm in trouble. That sounded almost like I'm begging. Or whining.
"I can't afford to stay in school without a job. And I realized tonight I can never turn my dissertation in." He's moved slightly away from me, his voice still annoyingly calm. I'm not giving up without a fight.
"So you're willing to just piss it all away? All of it? Your career, the teaching, your work with the PD, me?" Whoops, didn't mean to raise my voice like that, but I've got to get him to see reason, to make him realize that there's more to life than that damn paper.
"Yeah, just pissing it all away. It's not like you expected much else from me!" His arms are flinging wildly. He's clearly agitated. What the hell is up with him?
"I don't understand, Chief. I thought we had something here, a partnership. I..." My thoughts trail off, as I pause in my pleading to sniff the air of the loft. Shit! He's been drinking, the last of the Jack Daniels by the odor. "You're drunk. I've never seen you drunk. It's not attractive, Chief."
His mouth pulls into a sick parody of a feral grin as he practically snarls at me. "There's a reason I never get drunk. I'm not cute or nice when I'm drunk. I say what I really feel. Most people don't like that."
I sigh as I look at Sandburg. He's right, he doesn't make a very nice drunk. In fact he's downright surly. Recalling the number of younger men in my Army unit that I took care of after a long weekend of off base liberties, I calm myself and try to reason with him. "Chief," I snap my jaw shut as he turns on me, rage flaring out of his deep blue eyes.
"Don't give me that 'Chief' crap! You call everybody Chief! You called that freaky car thief Chief! So don't call me Chief! My name is Blair!"
"Okay, okay, *Blair*. What's your hurry? Why the rush to leave tonight? Why don't you stay the night and we can talk things over in the morning--"
Blair is almost violent in his physical reaction to my plea, his finger stabbing the air like a knife. "No! I'm not staying. I'm not going to let you sooth me with promises of how things will be different. Things are not going to be different, Jim. Things didn't change even after I fucking *died* for you! You were *scared*. You couldn't take that extra step, couldn't join me in the water, because that would have been about *me*! And it can never be about me, can it? It's always about you, about Jim! Well, you're not the only person with needs! I need respect and praise and admiration, too, man! I can't survive on swats on the head or cracks about my appearance or my love life! A goddamn thank you would be nice!"
Is that what this is all about? I didn't thank him for helping take Ventriss down? "Thank you." Damn, he's not going to let me get a word in edgewise this morning.
"You don't have a frigging clue what you just thanked me for! Face it, Jim, you need to work on being a compassionate human being. But I am not sticking around for you to practice on anymore. I've been banging my head against your brick wall for three years, and damn if it doesn't feel good now that I've stopped!" He's standing there, his chest heaving as if he just got done running a 100 meter dash. His heart is racing and he looks like he's about to drop from an aneurysm.
Okay, pleading with him isn't going to work, how about I try another tactic? "But I need you as my
Guide--" Damnit, just once I'd like to be able to finish a sentence, but this time words escape me and I can't seem to finish my thoughts.
Maybe that was the right move to make, he's actually standing there, a pensive look on his expressive face. The sound of an airhorn, like those you hear from 18-wheelers, sounds in the street below and Blair turns to face me. "You don't need me, Jim. You've never needed me, only tolerated me. And toleration just isn't enough anymore." He picks up the duffel bag, the one that he once told me he only used when he wanted to travel light and in a hurry, as he moves towards the door.
I've got to stop him. "Chief, Blair, wait! We can work this out--" Please, let me help you, us, work this out. I'm not sure I can be a Sentinel without you.
He's digging into the pocket of his ratty jeans, pulling out the key ring I gave him when we found out that he'd lost his after Alex damn near killed him. Then he's turning to face me -- maybe he's changed his mind? No, the resolve on his face tells he's serious. He's leaving. For good. Not on some field trip or to visit relatives, permanently, forever, as in never to return. I barely manage to catch the keys when he tosses them to me. "Sell the Volvo. That should cover whatever back rent I owe you." Then he's gone, through the open door and down the stairs.
There is a huge purple 18-wheeler sitting at the curb when I get there. I followed him, hoping to make one last ditch plea with him to stay. The passenger door swings open and he's climbing inside the cab, following his duffel bag. From where I stand on the sidewalk, not trying to hide from Blair, I watch as the bearded driver returns the hug that my Guide gives him. I open up my hearing wanting, no *needing*, to hear his voice one last time.
"Good to see you again, Blair," the driver of the rig greets my friend, affection for Blair clear in his voice. "Just toss your stuff in back and make yourself at home. I'm going to start back toward Hewitt. Get some rest, and you can drive later."
"Okay, Uncle Owen." Oh, God. He sounds so happy. I've lost him. I step out into the street, thinking of stopping the driver before he can leave, but it's no use. He's gone. Like so many others in my life, Blair Sandburg has left me.
Turning back to walk up the stairs towards home, I feel the intense need to just shut down, to drown my grief in the bottle of Famous Grouse scotch that I bought a week ago. Walking into the place I once considered home, I feel the tears escaping my eyes and I don't try to hold back. I carefully remove my gun from its holster, placing it in the lockbox that I rarely use, and seal the damn thing up. Then I walk into the kitchen and pull the bottle of scotch out of its hiding place above the refrigerator. Taking a small juice glass down, I pour about three-finger's worth of the potent liquor and then slam it back in one massive gulp.
Carrying the bottle and the glass into the living room, I sit down on the couch and pour enough of the liquor this time to fill the glass. Carefully placing the bottle on the table in front of me, I pick up the remote for the stereo and turn it on. Finger on the volume control, I turn it down so as not to wake the neighbors, and listen to the song that is playing…
"So scream you, out from behind the bitter ache
Heavy on the memory, you need most
still want love, ugly, smooth and delicate
not without affection, not alone
And instead of wishing that it would get better
man you're seeing that you just get angrier
And it's good that I'm not angry
I just need to get over,
I'm not angry, anymore
Cry when you cry, run when you run
love when you love
represent the ashes
that you leave behind
And instead of wishing that the road had shoulder
man you're seeing that you're sinking over time
And it's good that I'm not angry
I just need to get over
I'm not angry
it's dragging me under
I'm not angry
I'm not angry it's never been enough
it gets inside and it tears you up
I'm not angry but I've never been above it
you see through me don't you."
The tears are flowing freely now, and I'm thinking dangerous thoughts for a cop to think. Where did I drop my damn keys, and what in the hell was I thinking when I locked up my gun? I stagger to my feet, and suddenly I realize that I'm in the same shape that Sandburg was. I'm drunk. Small wonder, it looks as though I managed to drink half a bottle of scotch, and on an empty stomach. Stupid, Jim. Just plain stupid. The room spins around me as I fall to my knees, and I welcome the pain and the dark abyss that beckons me into its cold embrace. Hmm, seems I hit my head on the coffee table when I fell to the floor. Great, maybe I'll just lay here until I bleed to death. Without Blair, I'm no longer a Sentinel. I don't want to be. Giving up, I fall, gratefully, into the darkness.
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