Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Drama

Summary: What is trust? Post-TSbyBS.

Author's notes: Set in my own little "Blair is not a cop" universe and after my previous story, Penance. Definitions from The American Heritage Dictionary, second edition. And the thingy at the end is mine.

Beta'ed by the lovely Iris. Thank you!

Trust
by Becky
November 2000

~~~~~~
Trust: To imply depth and assurance a person will not fail.
~~~~~~

Simon stood next to Jim in silent vigil behind his half-shuttered office window that looked out onto the bullpen. He watched Jim watch Blair talk to Brown, Rafe, and Joel. In the month that had passed since Blair's sentinel dissertation had been inadvertently released and the chaos that had followed, Simon had noted that Jim stayed on the alert for anyone he considered a threat to Blair. That included fellow cops and friends as well as the occasional persistent tabloid reporter or Rainier University officials.

But right then, in the wake of finally receiving permission to submit a different dissertation on the way to getting his Ph.D., Blair Sandburg didn't seem to realize that he should be worried about anything beyond the next few minutes. Perched on the corner of the desk, his hands moving in the air to punctuate his words and a smile lighting up his face, he had the three cops laughing in a matter of minutes over whatever tale he was weaving about his and Jim's latest adventure...or perhaps some odd tribal custom he'd come across in his studies...or even something he saw while on the way to work that morning.

"I take it Sandburg is in high spirits this morning?"

Jim chuckled. "Oh, yeah. He's flying up there somewhere in the stratosphere. Keeps nattering on about the 'thin blue line' diss."

Groaning aloud at Jim's last comment, Simon commented, "Don't tell me he's planning to name it that."

The detective only shrugged, a half-smile still on his face.

Simon nodded to himself as Jim's shoulders relaxed, some of the constant tension in the detective's frame dissipating.

Good.

~~~~~~
Trust: To believe
~~~~~~

"...and just plucked it away!" Blair gestured with one hand, snapping it upwards

"What?!"

"You're joking!"

"Right from Jim's hand?"

"I kid you not! So there we were -- Jim, with his empty napkin and open mouth, staring mournfully at the glazed crumbs left behind, and me, tracking the flight of that...that...pterodactyl as it swooped away with Jim's donut!" Blair sighed dramatically over the laughter of Brown, Rafe, and Joel. "Bad morning had by all, I tell you."

Rafe just laughed harder and Joel managed a feeble "Blair" as he thumped the younger man on the shoulder before falling into Jim's chair.

Brown wilted against the edge of the desk, holding one hand against his side. "Oh, man. That must've been one huge bird, Sandburg. That or you've got Jim eating at Donuts Lite or some such place." He snickered at the thought.

Blair laughed and swung his feet slightly. "Not a chance, H. That man lives on donuts. Especially on Tuesday. Every Tuesday like clockwork -- down to the donut shop for his weekly repast of a glazed buttermilk donut. I think they bake one especially for him so it's piping hot as soon as he walks in the door."

Calming down though a smile still decorated his face, Rafe said, "To keep a man from his donuts is a terrible thing, Sandburg. You should know that."

"Trust me, I know. The man gets..." Blair paused and glanced toward Simon's office, seeing Jim watching him from inside. "He gets testy, to put it nicely. Being dive-bombed by, what did he say, the 'black god of death,' before he could even get a bite...well, that didn't help."

More laughter echoed and Blair chuckled with them. He raised an eyebrow at Jim and flicked his hand once, motioning for him to stop hovering. I'm okay, Jim. Talk to Simon. I won't disappear on you. And these guys won't do anything worse than razz me about my hair.

~~~~~~
Trust: To be confident
~~~~~~

Inside the office, Simon chuckled softly. "Think you've been caught, Ellison."

Jim's smile widened. "Hmm." He nodded once before stiffly moving away from the window to fall into a chair, leaving his back to the inner windows. Hooking the cane he still had to use on the back of the chair, Jim stretched out his legs beneath the conference table. Wincing just a bit as not-totally-healed injuries complained, he shifted in the seat, trying to get comfortable.

Simon remained at the bookcase for another few moments, watching Jim in silence, wondering just how to deliver his news. He's moved away from the guilt, but not the regret. Or the need to reassure himself that Blair isn't leaving him. He glanced back at Blair through the windows and found the younger man already absorbed into conversation again. Steeling himself, the captain pushed away from the bookcase and edged around the table to sit across from Jim. He lowered himself carefully, only just having been cleared for full duty the day before. The twinge in his shoulder and back told him he still needed to take it easy. No high speed chases for awhile.

As he settled into the chair, Simon realized that the sentinel had deliberately chosen to face away from the door. Curious. You would think Jim would want to know what's happening and keep an eye on--

"He wants me to trust him." Jim's quiet voice interrupted his thoughts.

"What?" Simon frowned and stretched back in the hard chair as Jim's eyes met his own.

~~~~~~
Trust: To place in the care of another
~~~~~~

"So, Blair," Joel began as he relaxed in Jim's chair. "When are you coming back here full-time again? I know the chief hasn't quite pulled your riding pass with Jim thanks to some fast talking by Simon, but it just isn't the same in the bullpen without you."

Rafe interjected, "Yeah, no one to deflect the wrath of Ellison on a bad day."

Blair grew serious and glanced once more at Simon's office before asking quietly, "Has Jim been okay? I mean, he hasn't been...too distracted or hard to work with or anything, has he?"

The three cops exchanged looks, then Brown answered for them. "He's okay. He gets a little snappish every now and then, but we're used to that. We're keeping an eye on him, making sure he's safe in the field and all. But I think...I think he misses having you here. We all do."

Concentrating on his hands where they rested in his lap, Blair replied, "I miss being here. I wasn't sure how often I should show my face at the station right now. Things are still a little...raw and I know there's gotta be some who think Jim should just get rid of me. I didn't want to cause him any problems."

"Blair..." Joel protested in a soft voice.

Looking up, Blair continued without letting Joel speak. "There are days I think I should've taken the offer to go to the academy when I could. I don't think Chief Warren would go for it now, not after I turned him down."

Joel stood up and placed a hand on Blair's shoulder, squeezing it to get his attention. "Blair, don't you pay any attention to any bozo who tells you that you don't belong here. You do. And you know what else? If you don't want to be a cop, then you shouldn't be. And you know that Jim doesn't need you to be one." Joel fell silent and looked at Brown and Rafe before adding "He just needs his partner back."

~~~~~~
Trust: Reliance on something in the future
~~~~~~

A grin on his face, Jim repeated, "He wants me to trust him. Trust that he can handle himself and whatever comes up. That he has other friends than just me. That he is, and I quote, 'a big boy, Jim. I can take care of myself. I don't need you hovering like some prehistoric, cudgel-wielding caveman ready to pummel anyone who crosses their eyes at me.' Unquote."

Simon's snort of laughter turned into a chortle and morphed into a full belly laugh. Jim joined him, though keeping his amusement to the chuckling level. Shaking his head, Simon said, "Cudgel-wielding. Just how many reporters did you beat off with that cane of yours anyway?"

Jim lifted one hand and pretended to count on his fingers in silence, then shrugged as a smile pulled at his lips. "Don't know. And who said I beat off any of them? They should know better than to crowd an injured man with a bulky cane. Might get their toes stepped on."

"Hmph. I hear it was more than toes, Jim."

The detective only blinked innocently.

Waving away the topic, Simon moved on. "In any case, while your partner is out there entertaining the troops, I thought I'd let you know I got a call from Chief Warren this morning."

All merriment dropped from Jim's features and a different kind of tension returned. "What did he say?"

~~~~~~
Trust: To hope
~~~~~~

Feeling oddly calmed by Joel's words, Blair took a breath and blew it out before smiling at the ex-bomb squad captain. "Thanks."

Joel patted his shoulder. "It's just the truth, but you're welcome anyway." Brown and Rafe nodded their agreement to Joel's words.

Blair straightened, a bit of hope coming back to him that maybe things would still work out. "We're hoping that once I finish my new dissertation the chief will be amenable to offering some kind of consultant's position or something. At least that's what Jim has told me Simon's told him."

Brown raised an eyebrow. "New dissertation? On what?" Those closest to Jim and Blair knew that some sort of deal had been struck with Rainier, but details as to what the deal entailed were sparse.

"Uh, police subcultures. Though it really isn't new, I guess." Blair chewed on his lower lip and stared into the distance. "A lot of what I already have fits in very nicely with this one. Modern day watchmen keeping an eye on the tribe with the aid of technology, police training, and cop senses. And they have their code of conduct, their own justice system, their own way of doing things, their own pecking order, their own..."

Chuckling, Rafe held up a hand. "Whoa! No need to convince us, Sandburg."

"Huh?" Blair blinked a few times, then smiled sheepishly. "Oh, sorry. I think I'm still riding high on getting the 'okay' from Rainier to finish. Jim says it's all I talk about. He swears he can hear me mumbling about it in my sleep."

~~~~~~
Trust: To expect with assurance
~~~~~~

Simon leaned forward and folded his hands on the table top. "He said he wants to see us in his office first thing tomorrow morning. Us meaning you, me, and Sandburg. He said that if we can explain how we can hire someone who has professed to being a fraud and who has turned down a very generous offer to be placed in the Academy, then he'll consider giving permission to create a position for a paid consultant. Knowing that Sandburg will be submitting another dissertation to Rainier should help. But it won't be something that'll be solved overnight. It'll take a few months. You know how red tape goes." The captain looked past Jim to the bullpen and then back again.

"However, his biggest concern is that Blair is a civilian. Regardless of what happens, Chief Warren is adamant that Sandburg take a firearms course. He doesn't need to carry a weapon, but if he's going to work here full-time, he has to know how to use a gun. Properly."

Jim nodded silently. "We'll deal with that when the time comes." Then he leaned forward as well. "Have you told Warren anything...specific?"

"Some. I had Rhonda pull some statistics on the cases you and Sandburg have solved. That impressed him. I explained Sandburg's...unique approach to cases and what he brought to them." He paused, then finished quietly, "And I told him that if Sandburg leaves, there was always the possibility that we might lose you as well."

"You told him I'd leave, Simon?" Jim raised an eyebrow, surprise lighting his eyes.

Simon raised a hand and waggled it in the air. "Not...in so many words. But I wanted him to understand that you work better with Blair than with anyone else."

"Hmm. True." Jim spread his hands on the surface of the table. "What about the sentinel...stuff?"

~~~~~~
Trust: To rely
~~~~~~

"I just wanna know one thing," Brown said as a grin tugged at his features. "Does this mean we're gonna have to call you 'Dr. Sandburg'?"

Pretending to ponder the question, Blair tapped a finger on his lips, but then shook his head, laughter bubbling up. "No, no, I won't make you do that. Wouldn't want to crimp your style, H. Besides, 'Dr. Sandburg' sounds so," his face took on a pained expression, "old."

Rafe patted Blair on the shoulder. "You better get used to it now, Sandburg. I have a feeling the captain plans to use it whenever he needs to impress the brass."

Blair snorted. "Yeah, right. Like Simon is so thrilled with how things are going right now." Sighing, he dragged a hand through his hair. "I'm sorta surprised he hasn't chewed me out over this whole mess."

Joel said softly, "You're missing the point, Blair. Simon wants you back here, cop or not. He knows that Jim needs you, so he's willing to deal with 'this whole mess' as you put it." He paused to chuckle. "Just wait until you're back here full-time. He'll take out his need for chewing somebody out then and you'll have a front row seat."

Brown laughed. "Oh, yeah. The captain will be in fine form. 'Where's Sandburg? I have a bone to pick....'"

A few moments later, Blair joined in the group laughter, finding a bit of healing in the frivolity of his friends.

~~~~~~
Trust: The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one
~~~~~~

The captain held up a hand. "He didn't ask and I didn't say anything. I think he's content to let that pass as fiction, just as Sandburg intended. Your secret's safe, Jim."

Jim's eyes flashed. "It's not--" He broke off at Simon's pointed look and sighed. "All right, maybe I'm a little worried about that. But it's not just that. It's more. Blair..." His voice trailed away.

"I know," Simon said. "Anything about this sentinel stuff also puts Blair in danger. I know."

Sighing, Jim stared past Simon to the outer windows, eyes unconsciously tracking dust particles as they floated through the air. "He gave it all up, Simon. For me. He took me out of the limelight and put himself there in my place. Anything that happens now falls on him first. Not something I'm comfortable with." His lips curled into a smile and he shifted his gaze back to Simon. "He said someday we'll tell the world what I can do, but the timing just isn't right at the moment. And for now, he can handle it. Can handle what's happened to him. To us. He wants me to trust him. He needs me trust him."

Simon held Jim's eyes for a long, long moment. Then he asked quietly, "And do you? Can you? Can you be sure this isn't going to happen again sometime down the road? I don't think any of us can go through another Alex or another Ellison-Sandburg breakdown."

~~~~~~
Trust: To entrust
~~~~~~

"What's all the hubbub about?" The guys turned and saw Megan standing in the doorway of the bullpen, hands on her hips and a smile on her face.

Blair waved and slid from the desktop onto his feet. "Hey, Megan."

"Sandy!" Her smile widened and she walked over to join them. She placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed warmly. "About time you showed up here again. Lately, I only see you when we're chasing after some perp in Jim's truck." Megan drew him into a quick hug.

"Yeah, usually with Jim yelling," Blair chuckled as Megan released him, then he imitated Jim's scowl. "'Drive faster, Sandburg; they're getting away! And don't scratch the truck -- only I'm allowed to do that!'"

The others laughed and Megan added, "I'm just glad you were driving instead of him the other night. You actually slowed down to make that U-turn."

Rafe raised an eyebrow. "Doesn't everybody?"

Blair shuddered. "You, my man, have obviously never been with Jim when he's behind the wheel and chasing a suspect. Slowing down just isn't done. Doesn't matter if it's a car, a truck, a boat, a train..." He trailed off and sighed melodramatically. "I told him once I should invest in a crash helmet."

The cops looked at each other, each pursing their lips in seriousness. Brown nodded slowly. "I know a few places. What color?"

Joel suggested, "Blue and white to match Jim's truck?"

Megan countered, "Or dark blue to match Sandy's eyes?"

Rafe added, "Don't we need to measure his head first? Or are helmets one size fits all?"

~~~~~~
Trust: Confidence in the integrity, ability, character, and truth of a person
~~~~~~

Jim gave him a quiet smile, not reacting as a burst of laughter echoed in the bullpen. Over the detective's shoulder, Simon could see Blair joking with the guys and welcoming Megan into their group as she entered the bullpen. He raised an eyebrow as Megan placed a hand on Blair's shoulder, leaving it there as she and Blair exchanged bright smiles. Then the two shared a brief hug. Hmm... Wonder what's going on there?

"Yeah, I trust him, Simon." Jim's voice brought Simon's attention back to their conversation. "I can't guarantee that we won't have the occasional...flare-up. After all, Sandburg says I have 'issues.' Lots and lots of issues." He chuckled, then sighed.

More laughter poured in from the bullpen. Simon saw Blair hold up his hands, warding away Megan who seemed to determined to judge his head size.

"But I trust him."

~~~~~~
Cradled in the arms of a trusted and trusting friend, we live.
For it is with trust that we grow beyond that which we are
to become that which we might be.
And together we challenge the winds of destiny.
~~~~~~

- The End -