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Death of a Beloved





With a long-suffering sigh and a shake of his head, Jim turned off the television when he heard Blair leave his room.  Turning, he watched as his roommate ventured into the loft, standing indecisively for a moment before heading into the kitchen.  The dejected slump to Blair’s shoulders brought a slight smile of fondness to his face. 

"Hey, Chief," he greeted.      

"Yeah, whatever," came the mumbled response. 

Rolling his eyes, Jim turned back to the television and studiously ignored the sounds coming from the kitchen. 

Taking a peek over his shoulder, seeing that his audience had deserted him, Blair set the kettle down harder than necessary on the stove.  The resulting noise didn’t earn him even a glance from Jim and, a scowl marring his face, Blair reached into the cabinet and brought down his canister of tea. 

Carefully keeping his eyes off of the man behind him, Jim watched Blair’s reflection in the darkened television screen. 

Once the water was heating, Blair finally gave up all pretenses and stalked over to the couch.  "You know, you could have at least a little bit of sympathy."  He stood in front of Jim, hands planted firmly on hips, and glared down at the older man. 

Despite his best efforts, Jim couldn’t contain the smile any longer.  "Sorry, Sandburg, I just don’t see what the big deal is.  I mean, it’s just a—"

"Don't even say it," Blair interrupted, hand raised in warning.  "I'm so not in the mood right now."  Beginning to pace, he continued to rant.  "I can't believe this happened…and at the worse possible time, too.  Spring break just started, things are slow at the station…  This would have been the perfect time to sit back, relax, and do a little web surfing.  Or get caught up on some papers I've been wanting to write.  But am I going to be doing any of those things?  Am I?  Huh?  Huh?  No, I'm not.  And it's all your fault!"

"My fault?" Jim repeated, voice raised.  "How is this my fault?"

"Because you…you…you…" Blair stammered.  "It just is, all right?"  He plopped down onto the couch.  "It's like I’ve lost a part of myself."

"Oh, for crying out loud…  Sandburg, it was just a computer." 

"Yeah, but I've had it forever, man."  Blair sighed.  "You just don't understand.  I kept my grades on it.  I did my papers on it.  Hell, sometimes I did your paperwork on it.  Not to mention reading all that fan—  I loved that thing.  And it died, Jim.  My computer died!"

Hearing the utter desolation in the younger man's voice, Jim couldn't stop himself any longer.  He laughed.  Hard. 

"Fine, be that way."  When the kettle began to whistle, Blair stood up.  Walking around the couch, he grabbed a pillow and lobbed it at the back of Jim's head on his way to the kitchen.  "You are such a jerk."   

"Hey, Jim," Blair greeted when his roommate entered the loft the next afternoon.  "Where did you take off to?  When I woke up this morning, you were already gone."

Jim took off his coat and hung it up before turning to face the younger man.  "Look, Chief, I did some thinking—"

"Hope you didn't overload the old hard drive there, Jim," Blair retorted, sarcasm lacing every word.

"Real funny, Sandburg."  Jim scowled.  "Do you want to hear this or not?"

Blair shrugged.  "Whatever."

"I kinda felt bad about the way I acted last night.  I still don't understand why you're this upset over a computer, but I shouldn't have laughed at you, okay?" 

"Thanks, man, that means a lot."

"So, I…um…." Jim walked over to the door and picked up the bag he'd deposited there when he entered the loft.  "I got you something.  Just to keep your mind off of the computer and all.  Something to keep you occupied." 

Giving the older man a suspicious look, Blair walked over and took the bag.  An excited yelp filled the air when he peered inside.  "I don't believe this!  This is fantastic!"

Jim shrugged self-consciously.  "Every Monday and Friday night, you're glued to the screen.  I thought that you might like being able to watch them anytime you want."

Smiling widely, Blair began pulling out the DVD sets.  "You got me the first eight seasons of Stargate SG-1 on DVD. This is…  I don't…"  Blair was silent for a moment, staring down at the floor before looking up to meet Jim's eyes.  "Thank you, Jim.  I really appreciate this.  I've been wanting these forever. "

"I…I thought maybe we could watch them together."  Jim's voice was soft.  "You've been trying to get me hooked for a while now, so here's your chance."

"You're going to love it, I just know it.  We'll start with the first season tonight."  Blair bounced excitedly.  "I can't wait to hear what you think." 

Jim smiled, glad to see the younger man happy again.  After a moment, he cleared his throat.  "There's, um, something else in the bag, Sandburg."

Blair glanced up in surprise.  Setting the DVDs down on the table, he peered into the bag again.  Seeing some papers at the bottom, he pulled them out.  "What's this?"

"Look and see." 

For several seconds there was silence as Blair tried to assimilate what he was seeing.  "Is this…?  You…  I…  Oh.  My.  God!"

"I take it you approve?" Jim asked.

"Approve?!" Blair exclaimed.  "Yes, yes, yes!  Thank you so much."  Blair stared down at the papers in his hand—the papers detailing the new, state-of-the-art computer system that his roommate had ordered.  "This is too much, Jim.  I can't—"

"Don't even try it," the older man interrupted.  "I wanted to do it and I did.  That's all there is to it." 

"I just—  No one has ever—  Thank you."  For a moment, there was a serious expression on Blair's face, but then he grinned wickedly.  "Tell me something…how did you know what to get?  Computers aren't exactly your thing."

Jim laughed.  "Where do you think I've been all day?  I went to the station and talked to Scott down in tech support.  He explained some stuff to me.  Then he explained it again.  Then I told him to just order the damn thing himself.  It's supposed to be here sometime next week.  After that, I spent the rest of the day tracking down those DVDs.  Do you know how many stores I had to go to?  I ended up going to," Jim shuddered, "Wal-Mart.  I went to ten different stores just to avoid going to that place, but it was the only store that had season three.  And I thought the jungle was bad.  Believe me, I'd rather face down a horde of wild boars, go skinny-dipping with a school of piranha, and tangle with a swarm of fire ants rather than go there.  Kids running down the aisles, people going every-which-a-way, announcements blaring from the speakers, the oppressing stench of body odor and perfumes….  I hate that place."

"But you went there, anyway." 

Jim shifted uncomfortably at the smile on Blair's face and the look in his eyes.  "Yeah, well, you know how I am.  It would've driven me crazy to get all of them except that one.  I did it for myself, really."

"Yeah, sure you did, Jim." 

"So…maybe when you get the new computer, you can show me some stuff," Jim suggested, trying to change the topic. 

"Sure," Blair agreed.  "I'd like that."  Smiling, he gathered up the DVDs and moved toward the television.  "Say, Jim," he called out as he started opening the season one set, "you ever heard of fanfic…?"

The End