Disclaimer: Jim and Blair belong to Pet Fly not me FUDGE!!! This was written purely for enjoyment. Yadda, yadda, yaddaÖ Also for my dues. This is dedicated to my very dear friend Roseanne. Hope this cheers you up. This is for you sweetie. I hope you enjoy it. Please send feedback. J
Captain Simon Banks looked over the crowded conference room; pleased everything had gone so smoothly. He hated annual reviews but it was something that had to be done. Tomorrow Major Crimes would be next going under review. His deep smooth voice filled the room.
"Ok everyone, I want all reports finished and on my desk by the end of the day. Things have been relatively quiet so thatís in our favor. I want this review to go as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Also, tomorrow night we meet at Charlieís for Officer OíTooleís surprise birthday party. We still have to come up with an excuse to get him there. So lets get cracking guys. Ok, lets get to work."
At the mention of a surprise birthday party Blair perked up. He had only been with Jim as an observer for a few months. Blair had started an alternate dissertation "Police: A Closed Society" after the incident with Brackett. It was then that he realized that he couldnít publish his dissertation on Jim. It was just too dangerous. He felt so close to Jim he worried about what would happen if that information were ever released. No, this was the best way. Jim didnít even know about the second dissertation. Blair watched how police officers took care of each other. He envied that. He was still an outsider looking in. Oh, he had some friends in Major Crimes but he still had problems from other officers. He would never tell Jim that he had to show he could hold his own. How he wished to be part of this group. His own birthday had just passed, unnoticed and uncelebrated. His relationship with Jim was still new. Maybe next year he would get a surprise party. He had always wanted a birthday party. His mom was never big on celebrating anything. He remembered as a child when he was invited to other kids birthday parties, how he secretly wished he would get one. Praying that one day Naomi would just change her mind and give him a party with balloons and cake. But that was one of the many wishes that was never granted. Oh well, he looked up into Jimís blue eyes.
"Hey Sandburg, you zoning on me or what?" Jim asked with a smile.
"Oh, sorry Jim, what did you say?"
"I said lets get cracking, like the boss said."
"Yea, yea, yea. Hey, do you guys always give each other a surprise party here?" Blair asked almost shyly.
"Well, usually it is something small. A cake something like that, but OíToole has had a tough year. He just lost his dad and his granddad two months before, so he has been pretty depressed. We wanted to do something to make him feel a little better. You know, try to cheer him up."
"Cool. So itís tomorrow night?"
Jim seemed a little uneasy.
"Jim whatís wrong?"
"Just for the officers." Blair finished for Jim. Donít let him see how upset you are. You knew you were still on the outside looking in. Donít be surprised, man. Blair sighed. Oh well, he pasted on a smile.
Looking at Blair, Jim felt a twinge of guilt.
" Hey, no problem man. Iíve got my hands full at the University. I have quite a bit to keep me busy."
"Hey, no big deal, ok."
Blair wiped all emotion off his face.
"So weíre ok?"
"Yea, Jim." Blair smiled "Weíre fine."
The day passed quickly. Blair tried not to let being left out bother him. But it did. It bothered him a lot. He was stunned to realize how much it hurt. It hurt so badly. Well, serves you right, you knew you were not a part of them, not a part of their group. Blair sighed. When will he learn?
The following night found Blair in his office. He was getting a lot of work done but it was slow going. His thoughts kept wandering back to Jim and the party. How he so wanted to be a part of that. Not just the partyÖbut to belong somewhere. No matter where he went or what he did in life he just didnít fit in. He looked at the clock. 11:30 p.m. Well, he was almost done. He just had to finish grading the rest of these exams and post the grades. Then he would be all caught up. Well, grading and entering the marks took longer than he thought. When he was done he looked up at the clock. It said 2:30 a.m.
Blair packed up and shut off the lights. He slipped out into the night.
Jim wasnít really enjoying himself at all. His thoughts kept going back to Blair. He couldnít get that look out of his mind when he told Blair that he basically wasnít invited. Why not? He was Jimís partner right? Wasnít that enough? Another voice in his head shouted back
//But heís not a cop! //
It was like he had a good Jim and evil Jim on each shoulder arguing back and forth.
//So what heís not a cop, heís your partner. //
//Since when do you care so much for the kid? //
//Since he has done so much for you. Since he saved your butt more times than you can count. //
//So what itís for his stupid paper anyway. He said so himself. //
//Itís more that than and you know it. //
Jim shook his head and downed the rest of his beer. He felt the beginnings of a headache. His watch read 11pm. Time to head home. He wasnít having any fun anyway. He said his goodbyes and wished OíToole a happy birthday again and left. When he got to the loft it was empty and quiet. For some reason that made him feel worse. Maybe he would take Blair out to dinner tomorrow night. Yes, he decided to take Blair out and let him pick the restaurant. Jim smiled to himself and went off to bed.
ONE YEAR LATER
Blair was having the worst week of his life. He had two classes of exams to grade. He promised his students heíd have the grade posted the day after tomorrow. He also had a paper due tomorrow, which was almost done. He already had the rough draft, and he also had his own exam to study for that was due to be given tomorrow. He had put so much time in with Jim at the station that he was seriously falling behind. He had just finished a meeting with the dissertation committee. He just handed in another chapter of "Police: A Closed Society" and so far it has been good. Well, the board wasnít complaining and he was happy for thatÖhappy and late. He was supposed to meet Jim; he looked at his watch, FIVE minutes ago. SHIT! He got in his car and turned the ignition key and nothing happened.
"Oh no, no, no please, please, please donít do this to me now."
But his car was dead. SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! He got out and ran to the bus stop only to have to doors close right in his face. The bus passed him and splashed a puddle of muddy water all over him.
Ok, deep breath, relaxÖoh fuck, Jim was going to kill him. He started to run. He was able to catch the bus at the next stop. Ok, ok, this is good. Ha, not!!! The bus was stuck in traffic for the next 25 minutes. As the bus inched its way towards the station, Blair decided it would be faster to walk the rest of the way. Two blocks from the station the sky opened up like you wouldnít believe came it all came down upon him. By the time he got to the station he was soaked to the bone. He made it up to the seventh floor and found his way to Jimís desk.
" Hey Jim, Iím soÖ."
"Save it! Do you know youíre almost an hour late! I told you I needed to go over that crime scene again before it rained, Sandburg! BEFORE!!! Do you see how itís coming down out there? By the time I get there I donít think the rain would have left anything useful. Do you?"
Blair turned red as Jimís voice drew a few stares his way.
The captainís door opened.
"Ellison, Sandburg! My office. Now!"
Blairís shoulders slumped; he so did not need this now. They walked into Simonís office and stood in front of his desk. Then Simon laced into Blair.
"Sandburg this is a police station, not your personal playground.
You cannot come and go as you please."
"I know butÖ"
Simon held up his hand.
"Look I can understand you being lateÖbut an hour!!!! Jim needs you to help him focus his senses. He could have found something important for this case, little chance of that now. The rain has probably washed any useful evidence away."
Blairís shoulders slumped with every word Simon shouted at him.
Both Blair and Simon looked to Jim as he cleared his throat.
"Um, Sir, Iíd like to try taking a look anyway. We might get lucky."
Simon shook his head.
"Ok, go ahead. But give me a few minutes."
They turned to leave.
"Sandburg, you stay."
Jim glanced quickly at the soaking anthropologist. He just walked out the door leaving him to his doom. Blair turned his attention back to Simon. Simon took a good look at Blair and saw the dark circles under his eyes and lines of exhaustion. His face and his anger disappeared.
"Look Sandburg, I know your schedule is hectic. But I need Jim 100% on this. Which means I need you 100%. I know you have a lot on your plate right now but we need to catch this killer before he kills again. So please just try to be on time when you say youíre going to help."
JUST TRY TO BE ON TIME!!!! Blair couldnít believe Simon just said that. Like he went out of his way to be late. And he didnít even work for the man!! Oh man this is just too rich. Blair sighedÖ. just go along with it Sandburg. Jimís already pissed and making Simon mad isnít going to help, besides there is no way to win this.
"Fine sir. Is that all?"
Simonís eyes almost fell out of his head. FINE SIR! The kid never calls him sir its always Simon or Captain. Ok, something was definitely wrong here.
"Sandburg, are you alright?"
"Yes sir, just fine. Can I go now?"
Yes sir twice! Simon almost fell out of his chair. He was speechless, so he just shooed Blair out of his office with a wave of his hand. He was going to have to talk to Ellison later. Blair walked out of the office to find Jim waiting at the elevators. Jim noticed Blair was soaking wet but didnít say anythingÖ. his damn car was probably stuck again. He should have gotten rid of the damn thing a long time ago. He just didnít understand. They drove to the crime scene in silence. Jim knew he was being too hard on Blair but damnit he wanted this guy. Ok, he would let himself calm down and then maybe tonight they would talk over dinner. However, all thoughts of being nice fled as they reached the crime scene and Jim couldnít find anything. He was just about to explode when he caught something off to his left. He dialed up his sight. There was a thread caught in a bush. Jim took out an evidence bag and quickly deposited it. Then he also found a dark stain that was being quickly washed away by the rain. He gathered a sample of that also. If it wasnít the victims it was surely the killers. Well, at least they had something. Jim turned to find Sandburg behind him Soaking wet and shivering. Oh, Sandburg what am I going to do with you?
"Look, you are dripping wet. Why donít I drop you off at the loft and Iíll bring these back to the station. You can change and get warm I wonít be long. Ok, Chief."
Blair sighed //great now he doesnít want me with him. //
"Sure Jim, no problem. Iíve got some stuff to finish for the University anyway."
Jim didnít like the way Blair sounded. Well, the kid did look tired and wet and cold.
"Ok, lets go chief."
As Jim pulled up to the loft he turned to Blair.
"So Chief do you need anything I can bring back on my way home."?
Blair didnít even answer. He just shook his head no and exited the vehicle.
Jim worried that Blair wasnít really talking. A quiet Blair was not a good thing. Well, maybe he is really tired, thought Jim as he drove off. Blair got to the door of the building and turned to watch Jim drive away. As Jim turned the corner Blair whispered "Oh, by the way, happy birthday, Sandburg." He almost wished Jim heard him. Well, looks like another year with another birthday uncelebrated.
//Damn it, Sandburg why do you do this to yourself? You should know better by now. Why do you want a stupid party anyway? Because, it would be great. //
Blair felt his eyes mist and he went into the elevator and presses the button for the third floor. Man, he was beat. Once he got into the loft and changed his clothes he put on the tea kettle and settled down to finish his paper and finish grading test and finally study for his own exam. He made his tea and settled himself down to work.
Jim returned to the station and dropped off the evidence to Forensics and went to talk to Simon. He and Simon talked for a long time while trying to figure out what was bothering the kid. They finally decided to have their weekly poker game at Ellisonís. It was suppose to be at Simonís place tomorrow but they figured it might cheer Blair up having the guys there. So they told everyone who was going that it was at Ellisonís. They were going to hope to cheer up Blair. Jim left feeling much better. When he got back to the loft he found Blair at the table working and somewhere he found time to cook dinner too. The kid never ceased to amaze him.
"Hey, chief, something smells good."
"Thanks, well it is my night to cook. Garlic bread and pasta with marinara sauce just sounded so good and easy too, so you hungry?"
Jim nodded and helped as Blair cleared the table of his books and work and set the table for dinner. As they were eating, Jim told Blair that there was a change of plans and they were going to have the weekly poker game at the loft. He smiled as he watched Blairís reaction smiling to the news. Yep, this would help the thought. Not know he was setting Blair up for the biggest fall of his life.
Blair was so happy as he went to sleep that night. He finished his paper, finished marking all the exams and studied for his exam and he was going to get a Birthday party! Why else would they change it from Simonís place to the loft? He was so excited. So what it will be a day late as his Birthday was today but he didnít care. He went to sleep smiling.
Jim liked the way Blair looked when they parted ways this morning. Blair had that bounce back in his step and although he still did look tired he looked happy.
Although they werenít together today Jim had a great day. They finally got a break and got a lead that caught the killer. With the evidence that Jim found the other day, the fiber matched the killers jacket and the killers blood matched the sample Jim found. The detectives all mentioned how the poker tonight would be a great time to celebrate. Jim couldnít wait to tell Blair.
The day couldnít pass fast enough for Blair. He was so excited. Tonight he would have the party he always wanted. He entered in his studentís grades, turned in his paper and was currently taking his exam. He was flying through it. He couldnít believe how easy it was for him. Maybe because he was so keyed up. He looked up at the clock, 3:30. After this he had office hours. He thought about canceling it but changed his mindÖ. he didnít want to show up too early for his party. He was giddy. God he never felt so happy.
Well, it turned out longer than he expected. As he was leaving one of his students caught him before he locked the door and kept him there for another hour. But he helped her through her problems and helped her sort out her schedule. He was supposed to be at the loft at 7:30. It was going on 8:30 now. He smiled this was going to be great. He was lucky today and found a spot right in front of the loft. He went inside and made his way up to the 3rd floor, opened the door to 307 and-- surprise? His jaw just about hit the floor. Oh Blair was surprised all rightÖbut it so was not a good surprise. This was no birthday party going onÖno surprise party and more importantly there wasnít anything going on for him. He felt his heart sink. There they were playing poker. POKER! It really was just a poker game. Well, Jim said it was a change of plans. Blairís shoulders slumped and felt a depression like never before sweep through him. He said hello to the guys and made his way to his room to deposit his things and thought I canít sit here through this. I just canít! He called one of his friends and begged them to call back in 10 minutes and to say that they needed his help. They had to ask for help because he told them the phone call would be monitored. In case Jim listened in on his phone call. He didnít want Jim to know. He went out and said hello to everyone and sat down. He noticed the odd look that Jim gave him and sat down to join the group. As the cards went around Blairís cell went off. He excused himself. They all heard the conversation and heard Blair promise he would be there. He came back out with backpack in hand.
"Sorry guys I got to go, maybe next week. Have a good one guys."
He all but flew out the door not giving anyone a chance to say anything.
Jim and Simon watched Blair fly out of the loft and looked at each other as if to say "ok what just happened here?" H looked up and said,
"Is it me or did Hair Boy seemed shocked to see us here. Jim, you did tell him we changed the poker game from Simonís, right."
"Yea, of course I did. He seemed happy about it yesterday. I donít know why but he seemed upset by something. Now I have to figure out what."
"Why is nothing simple with that boy?"
Jim shuffled the cards thinking about Blair. What could have upset him he seemed so happy about this yesterdayÖexcited even. He was sure everything was fine yesterday, so what changed? He started to deal the cards and the phone rang. He finished dealing and the answering machine kicked in. He went to answer it, Naomiís voice filled the loft.
"Hi sweetie, Hi Jim, hope all is well. Iím sorry I didnít call yesterday, honey I hope you had a happy birthday."
Jim stopped dead in his tracks-BIRTHDAY!
"I couldnít get to a phone yesterday, I miss you, sweetie. Big kiss and Iíll get in touch with you soon. Happy Birthday, baby. I love you and Iíll get in touch with you soon."
There was a silence in the loft. Jim couldnít believe it was Blairís birthday. He thought back to how happy Blair was when he told him the poker game would be at the loft, Blair must have thought they were going to celebrate his birthday. Jim felt sick. Oh Blair.
"I didnít know it was Blairís birthday." Said Rafe.
Jim turned and looked at the men at the table. And Simon knew from his look that including everyone at the table. Jim had no clue it was Blairís birthday either. Simon sighed and said,
"I think we are all guilty of that Rafe. Jim did you know that it was Sandburgís birthday?"
Jim looked shell shocked. He couldnít talk. He just shook his head no. He could only imagine how Blair felt.
"Jim", Simon called, "Come here and sit down."
Jim walked over to the table and sat with his fellow detectives he never felt so low in his life. Suddenly he exploded.
"DAMNIT!!!! What kind of friend am I? Blair has done so much for me. Hell, for everyone at this table! And I canít even remember his birthday."
"Calm down Jim. Weíre going to fix this." Simon said determinedly. "Yes, Jim he has done a lot for everyone and itís time we give some back. But not like this. Blair has found a special place in my heart, and if anyone of you tell him that youíll be busted down to patrol officer. This is going to be special." Simon smiled at everyone.
The detective put their heads together and started "Operation Chief".
Blair ran out of the loft and made his way to the only place he knew he had to go. He went to his office. He made up the couch and made himself comfortable and as he lay down he let himself think about tonight and he started to cry.
// Well, I have to say you deserved this. Thatís what you get for thinking that you belonged. You donít belong, you never belonged, and you never will belong. You idiot, Sandburg! //
The tears came faster and he let go of the wish he made as a child. He cried and cried until there was nothing left. He made himself realize that this was something he would never have. Well, he could have had a party for himself but what fun was that. Another year gone, but he vowed next year would be different. He would do something for himself on his birthday. Go somewhere special, do something special. He owed himself that much. He had finally calmed down and fell asleep. Yea, things would be different. He would protect himself from getting hurt like this again.
The days passed quickly. Plans were made and gifts were bought and everything was ready for Saturday night. Blair went back to his old self. ÖBut he was a little quiet. Jim didnít like a quiet Blair. A quiet Blair was never good. He looked over at Blair sitting next to him in the truck. He couldnít wait to give Blair his gift. He couldnít wait to see the look on Blairís face when he gave him the brand new computer with all the trimmings, printer and scanner. It was expensive, but worth it. They were on their way to the station; Simon said he had the perfect excuse for getting Blair to the party. Jim could hardly wait.
Blair was sitting quietly beside Jim. Things were different just like he promised himself. But he missed being close with Jim and sharing his day with him. But he couldnít let himself get hurt like that again. No, this was the best way. Maybe he should start looking for his own place. Man, he didnít know what to do. He wished this depression would go away. He looked up puzzled at Jim as they pulled into the station garage.
"Jim, I thought we were finished today. Why are we back here?"
"That was Simon on my cell phone. He said he wants everyone here for a quick meeting."
"Does he say what it was about?"
"You know as much as I do, Chief."
Blair fell silent again as they went up to the 7th floor. He followed as everyone gathered in a conference room. He sat beside Jim. As everyone walked into the room and got comfortable.
"OK people listen up. This was just sprung on me so Iím springing it on you. There is a mandatory workshop tomorrow night at the Fox Manor and I expect everyone in this room to be there."
Blair smiled as everyone around him moaned and groaned Jim included he leaned over and whispered to Jim.
"Gee, not how you planned your Saturday night, huh?" Blair chuckled. He straightened up as he heard Simon bellow.
"Iím so glad you seem happy about this, Sandburg, because I expect to see you there too."
Blair almost choked.
"Me!! Why do I have to go?"
"Well, you always say you donít feel like a part of Major Crimes, well, now you are part of it." Simon said with a smile.
The other detectives chuckled and Sandburg just grumbled.
"Oh man, there goes my Saturday night."
Jim looked over at him.
"You had something special planned for Saturday night Chief?"
"Yea, there is this great special on the Learning Channel on indigenous tribes that I was really looking forward to seeing."
"Well, you could always tape it Sandburg."
"Yea, well I guess I have to."
Oh well, I could always tape it like Jim suggested and watch it on Sunday. The meeting ended with Simon telling them he wanted to see every one there at 7:30 on the dot. No one was to be late. He looked directly at Sandburg. Sandburg just shrugged his shoulders at Simon. Sheesh, you would think I made it a point to be late. I canít help the strange things that happen to me. They climbed into the truck and headed back to the loft.
Jim came down from his bedroom to find Blair on the couch reading a thick anthropology text.
"Hey, arenít you going to get dressed? We have to leave in 40 minutes if we want to be there on time."
Jim knew that everyone would be there at 7:00 and that bringing Blair half hour later would give everyone enough time to get there.
"Yea, Iíll get dressed in a minute. I just finished setting the timer on the VCR for the special and I want to finish this chapter."
"Ok, but just make sure you get dressed soon. I want to leave here by 10 to 7. You remember what Simon said."
"Yes Jim, I remember. Iím going, Iím going, already. Man your pushy."
Blair got up and went into his room to get ready. He came back out 15 minutes later dressed in a pair of black jeans, a blue t-shirt and several flannels. Blair went to the bathroom to tie his hair back and brush his teeth. He announced to Jim he was ready. He grabbed his ever present backpack and they were on their way. Because of traffic, it took them longer than they thought it would. Blair looked at his watch.
"Oh man, Jim Simonís going to kill us itís 7:45 he said to be there by 7:30 on the dot. Oh man, he is so going to blame this on me."
" Relax Chief, Iíll tell Simon we were stuck in traffic. Heíll understand."
"Yea, thatís what you think, you heard him yesterday." Blair imitated Simonís voice, "I want everyone there at 7:30 on the dot. And then he looked directly at me. Jim, I just know he is going to blame me for this. Oh man!"
"Relax Chief, everything is going to be fine, trust me."
Blair just smiled. Well, it was out of his hands. They got to the Fox Manor and it looked deserted. They made their way up to the second floor where they were supposed to meet.
Blair turned nervously to Jim.
"Hey man, are you sure this is suppose to be the place. It looks deserted. There is no one here."
"Nope, this is the right place. Just go right through that door."
Jim pushed Blair in front of him and Blair pushed the door open. It was dark inside. As they got to the middle of the floor the lights came on and a room full of people shouted,
Blair almost had a heart attack. He couldnít believe it. Whose birthday was it? Surely it couldnít be for him, could it? Blair felt the beginning of hope stir in him he looked over at Jim who was smiling at him. Simon was smiling too. He was quickly surrounded by the gang who were patting him on the back and saying "happy birthday". Blair couldnít believe it. He was stunned. Everyone was saying happy birthday. He turned and looked at Jim and then finally asked.
"Whatís going on?"
Jim smiled and went over he enveloped Blair in a big hug. He pulled back and looked in his eyes.
"Your birthday party, what does it look like?"
Simon came up behind them and put his hand on his shoulder and said,
"I told you Sandburg, we take care of our own."
Blairís eyes misted at that and he hugged Jim tight.
"Thank you," his lower lip quivered, "youíll never know what this means to me."
Simon joined in the hug.
"OK, let this party begin." Simon hollered.
And party they did. There was dancing, music; food, lots and lots of food and when the cake came, Blair almost fainted. It was huge, it was a cake he always dreamed of, and he almost cried looking at it. He loved what it said,
He looked over at Jim and whispered sentinel soft,
"Thank you so much Jim. This is great."
Jim nodded his head at Blair, acknowledging that he heard him.
Then Rafe stood up.
"Ok, now its time for the presents!"
They sat Blair in the middle of the room and presents were piled high. Jim loved that Blair was so happy. Yea the kid deserve this. Blair received everything from clothes to computer programs and some gag gifts. All in all it was a wonderful evening. Everyone called it quits around midnight. Jim and Simon helped Blair pile all his gifts in the back of Jimís truck. They said their good byes and Jim and Blair headed home. Once they got into the loft Jim turned to Blair.
"Hey Chief, I havenít given you my gift yet."
"Oh Jim, I thought the party was my gift, which is more than enough. You didnít have to get me something."
"Yea, well, I wanted to. I hid it upstairs. Come on."
They climbed the stairs and Blair saw a big pile covered with a sheet. Jim urged him to pull the sheet back. Blairís jaw dropped at what he saw. It was a computer complete with printer and scanner. Blair looked at Jim he didnít know what to say his eyes welled as he said,
"Thank you Jim. This is great, but itís too much."
"No chief, its not enough. I wanted to do this. You deserve it," All of a sudden, Jim looked serious.
"Iím sorry Blair, I didnít know it was your birthday," Jim held up his hand as Blair tried to respond,
"Hear me out Chief, it was Naomiís message, thatís how I found out. Iím sorry. Youíre always there for me, helping me, guiding me, taking care of me. I wanted this night to be really special for you. I want you to know you are the most important person in my life and I love you."
There he said it. Blair was in shock; Jim just shared more with him tonight than he had in the whole year that they had been together. Blair felt something he never felt before, he felt like he belonged. He leaned over and hugged Jim.
Jim embraced Blair and whispered in his ear,
"Happy Birthday, Chief."