William's Boys by Patt

William’s Boys - Patt

The loft was quiet when the ringing of the phone invaded the darkness. Jim fumbled for the phone and said, “What?”

“Jimmy, this is Steven. Dad had a heart attack and he’s at Cascade General. I’m up here waiting to talk to the doctor. I thought you would like to know.”

Jim wiped his large hand across his face, hoping to wake up a little more. “How is he?”

“I don’t know, Jimmy. The doctor hasn’t talked to me as yet.”

“Do you want me to come down?” Jim asked.

“Well, I figured you would, since this might be the last time we see him,” Steven said, sounding quite upset.

“I’ll be down in an hour or two. I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Jim answered.

“Don’t bother, Jimmy.” Steven closed his cell and became very angry with his brother. How could he even think about staying at home at a time like this? Didn’t he have any feelings for their father at all?

&&&&&

Jim hung up the phone and sat on the edge of the bed. Blair rubbed his back gently and said, “Your dad?”

“He had a heart attack and Steven wants me to go up there and sit with him. He got mad when I asked if I should come,” Jim explained.

“I don’t blame him for getting mad, Jim. You, Steven and your dad have grown quite close in the last six months. I can’t believe you even considered staying home after hearing this news,” Blair ranted as he got out of bed and began to pace.

“Steven was always his favorite, Chief, you know that and I know that. Why should I rush up to see him? His Golden Child is already there.”

“You sound like a five year old, Jim. Now get your ass out of bed and get ready to go. This might be the last time you get to see him. Get ready and I don’t mean maybe. I’ll go with you,” Blair ordered.

“You go back to sleep. I’ll take care of it myself. Don’t worry about it,” Jim said as he stood up from sitting on the bed.

“I’m going. Don’t argue with me again,” Blair said angrily as he pulled his clothes out to wear to the hospital.

Jim jumped in the shower, finished, and was followed in by Blair. Blair glared at him and said, “Don’t you even think about leaving without me.”

“I’m waiting, I’m waiting.”

Blair hurried as quickly as he could and exited the bathroom, steam following him.

“I just need to get my shoes on, and I’ll be ready.” Blair rushed up the stairs and put them on and rushed back down the stairs again. He walked over to Jim and hugged him close and said, “I love you.”

“I love you,” Jim replied.

“Now let’s go and see how your dad is doing.” Blair bossed, sweetly this time.

The drive to the hospital was quiet and fast. Jim hit all of the easiest routes to the hospital, so that it wouldn’t take long.

As they got closer to the hospital Blair said, “Do you think it will look odd if I’m with you?”

Jim looked over at him and said, “If Steven doesn’t like it, tough. But I can’t imagine my dad even knowing that we’re there this morning.”

“He’ll know it, Jim. You wait and see. He’ll be thrilled that his boys came up and wanted to see him get better.”

They drove into the hospital parking lot and Jim found the closest space and pulled in. “Chief, I just want you to know that I might be an ass tonight. I’m really upset about this. I know you can’t tell, but I am. I don’t want him to die, especially now. I was going to tell him about you and me next weekend when I went over to visit him. I really want him to be around for that talk.”

“Jim, don’t worry about me. Just worry about your dad and your brother. He’s going to need support too. He needs his big brother to help him cope.”

“I suppose so. Did you bring a book?” Jim asked.

“Yes, I did. I know I’m not going to be able to see him, so I figured I would just be there for moral support. You can rely on me for anything, Jim, anything at all.”

&&&&&

Jim walked up to Steven on the seventh floor and said, “Have you seen the doctor?”

“Not yet. I’m still waiting. Thank you for coming, Jimmy.”

“Hello, Steven. I hope your dad will be just fine,” Blair said kindly as he shook Steven’s hand. Then Blair whispered Sentinel soft, “Hug, him.”

Jim went over to his brother and hugged him and Steven stayed in Jim’s arms for quite a while. When he finally composed himself, he pulled back and said, “The nurse said they had to restart his heart four times.”

“Jesus…” Jim almost whispered.

“It’s fucking scary, is what it is. Why don’t you tell your roommate that you’re fine here? He can leave,” Steven suggested.

“Steven there isn’t any good time to tell you this, but Blair is my life mate and he’s here for moral support.”

“Oh God, we can’t tell dad if he survives this. It would kill him for sure. Promise me you won’t tell him, Jimmy.”

Jim was getting pissed off and wanted to strangle his brother, but instead he said, “I’m not going to tell him on his death bed. But I do plan on telling him once he’s better. I should have told him before. Blair is the best thing in my life. You and dad would be better for knowing him. He’s the one that suggested that I see the two of you again and try to remain close. He’s a good man, Steven, so give him a chance.”

“I will give him a chance, Jimmy. I just don’t want dad to know right now. It might give him another attack. If he gets better, then tell him. But if he doesn’t get better it wasn’t meant to be.”

“I’ll play it by ear, Steven. Don’t worry about it,” Jim said coldly.

Blair watched Jim’s defenses come up and could see the wall between Steven and Jim. Blair knew he was going to have to do something, he just didn’t know what.

“Jim, I could take a cab home. That way you and your brother could talk about things,” Blair volunteered.

“No, I want you to stay here for me. I need you,” Jim pleaded.

There was little Blair wouldn’t do for Jim, so he smiled and said, “Then I’ll stay. Don’t worry, I’ll be here all night or as long as you need me by your side.”

Steven started to pace up and down the hallway and Jim let him. It was better than them arguing over Blair. Jim pulled Blair into a much-needed hug and Blair was so grateful. Jim really was a good man; he just had to be reminded of it now and then.

&&&&&

Jim and Blair were sitting and Steven was still pacing when the doctor called their names.

“My name is Dr. Spenser and I have some good news, I think. If your dad makes it through the next six hours, we’ll do triple bypass surgery this morning. We need him a little stronger than he is right now. So I would like for you to be very uplifting when you talk to him. He’s awake and in Cardiac ICU. We’ll keep him there until the surgery. Do you have any questions?”

Steven asked, “What if he doesn’t want to have the surgery?”

“Then he’ll probably have another attack in a week or a month and this time he might not make it. He has coronary blockage. His heart is weakened at this point, we need to get it stronger and replace the veins surrounding it. We do this every day of the week. I don’t want you to worry about the surgery, instead concentrate on keeping him alive. It’s going to be a long six hours. If he’s doing well at 9:00 this morning, I will be in charge of his surgery. I’m on call right now so if anything happens, I’m here in the hospital already. So don’t worry about him. Just keep him calm and we’ll do the surgery in six hours. He already signed the papers for it. He’s lucky to be alive,” Dr. Spenser said.

“What about upsetting him in any way, would that make his heart worse?” Steven asked. Jim knew what he was talking about and wanted to slap Steven.

“Don’t upset him. Now go and spend some time with him. Take care and I’ll see you at 9:00.” Dr. Spenser left the hallway and Jim said, “What room?”

“732,” Dr. Spenser called out over his shoulder.

They all took off for room 732 and Jim said, “Just shut up about me and Blair. Don’t start trouble, Steven,”

“I wasn’t going to say anything. I figured you would say something since you’re all open about it and all. Dad’s going to wonder why Blair is here. It’s not like he’s a family member,” Steven said hatefully.

“Jim, I’ll wait right here in this waiting room. Come see me when you need a break,” Blair suggested.

“That’s bullshit, Blair. You should be able to see him too,” Jim countered.

“He knows he wouldn’t be welcome, Jim. So leave it at that.”

Blair walked into the waiting room and pulled his book out of his backpack and pretended to read. He even made it look interesting.

Jim said, “Steven, don’t talk to me anymore. Let’s just get this over with and be done with it.”

Steven glared back at Jim and said, “That’s so much like the usual Jim Ellison crap.”

Both men didn’t even realize they were outside the door of their dad’s room. William said, “Boys, stop the arguing and get in here.”

Jim walked in first and looked embarrassed. “Hi dad, how do you feel?”

“What are you boys arguing about?” William asked, ignoring Jim’s question.

“It’s not important dad. The important thing is you get better and stronger for the surgery. So don’t worry about me and Jimmy.”

William looked at his sons and knew something was up. “Where is Blair?”

The question took Jim by surprise. He recovered and said, “In the waiting room down the hall.”

“Is that what you boys were arguing about? Whether to tell me about you and Blair? I already know, Jimmy, so go and get him so he can see me too. I’d like to say hello to him.”

Jim smiled sheepishly and walked out of the room. Blair was sitting there with his head leaned back against the wall, eyes closed and doing deep breathing exercises. Jim sat down beside him and said, “He wants to see you.”

Blair jumped about a foot off the sofa. “You’re kidding. Why in the world would he want to see me?” Blair asked.

“He said he already knew about us and he wants to say hello to you. So come on, Chief, get the lead out.”

Blair followed Jim into the room in ICU and the nurse came walking in and said, “You can’t all be here at the same time. One person, per hour, for fifteen minutes. Now, two of you get out here.”

William said, “I would like to talk to Blair first.”

Jim and Steven looked surprised and Jim said, “We’ll be in the waiting room, Chief.”

The two brothers left the room and knew that they needed to be in there, but had to follow the wishes of their dad at the same time.

Blair walked up to the bed and touched William’s hand. “It’s good to see you, Mr. Ellison.”

“Please, call me William.”

“Okay. How are you feeling right now, William?”

“Like someone is standing on my chest. But that’s not important. I want to ask you to promise that you will take good care of my son if something happens to me. He’s a good man, Blair. But he gets a little lost sometimes. Maybe you could help him find his way.”

“I would be happy to help him find his way. But you’re going to be fine. You’re going to have the surgery in six hours and feel like a new person.”

“I hope so, Blair, because I’d like to see my sons more. Thank you for getting us all together.”

“It was my pleasure, William. Now let me leave you to sleep and Steven can come in next. Then Jim. How does that sound?” Blair asked.

“That sounds perfect. I’m exhausted, so I will go to sleep for a little while, but tell Steven to wake me up when he comes in. I want to talk to him too.”

“Be well, William. Goodnight.” Blair walked out of the room and smiled all the way down to the waiting room.

When he walked in, Steven jumped up and said, “Why are you here so soon? Did something happen?”

“No, he was tired. I told him to sleep for a while and you can see him next. He wants to talk to you. So give him an hour and then he wants you to wake him up,” Blair explained.

“Oh right, like I’m going to walk in and wake the dying man up,” Steven said hatefully.

“You know what, Steven? You can hate me all you want, but be civil to Blair. After all, he’s the reason that I have anything to do with you and dad. It was his idea. So keep the remarks coming my way. Leave Sandburg alone.”

“That’s so typical. You take a friend’s side instead of your dad and your brother. Classic Jim Ellison once again,” Steven said sarcastically.

“Just shut up, Steven. Don’t go in there and upset dad. Leave him be. If he can accept me and Blair then leave him alone,” Jim ranted.

“I’m an adult, Jimmy. I can do or say anything I please. So just shut up yourself,” Steven spat back.

Blair quietly said, “Both of you shut up. You’re acting like five year olds. Knock it off.”

Both men did just that. They both seemed a little embarrassed, as well they should have been. Their father was fighting for his life and they were fighting in the waiting room.

Jim finally said, “So what is your problem, Steven?”

“I can’t believe you chose this lifestyle. You seem like a normal man to me, but to find out this…it threw me,” Steven said softly.

“I’m still Jim Ellison. I just chose to be with a man, rather than with a woman. I thought you would understand.”

“Well, I don’t. I can’t believe you’re doing this and then to find out that dad already knew about it, makes me wonder if that’s what gave him the heart attack,” Steven said.

“Oh give me a fucking break. He seemed fine with Blair. It’s you that didn’t want to tell dad. He has accepted the fact; you could see it on his face.”

“Well, don’t expect me to accept it, because I think that it’s sick and perverted. You do whatever you want with your life, Jimmy, but don’t expect me to like it. And I’m not going to pretend to either.”

“Fine, you stay away from me and I’ll stay away from you,” Jim said coldly.

Blair stood between the two men and said, “Grow up, both of you. Think about your dad now, not this. We can discuss this anytime after the fact. But right now we need to keep your dad strong for the surgery. Steven it’s time for you to go and see your dad. It’s your fifteen minutes.”

“Fine, but don’t think you can boss me around like you do Jim. I think it’s sick,” Steven said as he walked out of the waiting room.

Jim just sighed and rubbed his hand across his face.

Blair sat down next to him and said, “Jim, this arguing has got to stop. It’s time to think about who is most important right now and that’s William.”

“I know. As always, you’re correct, Chief. But Steven’s pissing me off and I can’t stand him right now.”

“Again, Jim, what is most important right now? Is it you and how you feel about Steven? Or is it your dad and his heart problems?”

“I don’t know how you can stay so calm while he says bad things about us,” Jim wondered.

“I’m thinking about William and concentrating on that. I haven’t got time for either one of you right now. Straighten up, Jim.”

&&&&&

Steven walked into his dad’s room and he was already awake. “I can hear you boys arguing in my room.”

“Sorry, dad. It won’t happen again.”

“Steven why do you think we’re a family once again?” William asked.

“I know, it’s because Blair talked us all into it. I know that. And I’m grateful to the man, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the idea of him and Jimmy being together. Because I don’t.”

William looked thoughtful for a moment and said, “Then you’ll probably lose him as your brother. Do you really think that Jimmy being with a man is as important as having a brother?”

“Dad, why are you so forgiving and understanding. That’s not your usual MO.”

“Steven, I’ve made a lot of mistakes with you boys through the years and I don’t want to make any more. I’ve finally got both of you in my life and I’d like to keep you there. I think if you made an effort to talk with Blair and Jimmy together as a couple, you would understand them more.”

“Dad, I don’t want to understand. I think it’s gross and perverse,” Steven mumbled.

“Then you’ll lose your brother. I was hoping if I make it through this surgery, we could all be a family again. Except this time, Blair would be included. I guess I’ll have to see them privately,” William said sadly.

“I can’t help it dad. I don’t like gay people and I don’t want to understand them. I could care less,” Steven explained.

“Fine… Now would you send Jimmy in? I’d like to talk to him,” William asked.

“So are you pissed off at me now, dad?”

“Steven, you’re my son and I love you. Now go and get Jimmy.”

Steven nodded and left the room. He walked into the waiting room and said, “Dad wants to talk to you.”

“I’ll be right back, Chief.”

Jim headed to the room and walked in smiling. William was glad to see the smile on Jim’s face. “Hello, Jimmy.”

“Hello, dad. How do you feel right now?”

“I feel more rested and I feel better. I think I can do this, Jimmy. But I wanted to tell you that if I don’t, you’re the executer of my will. My lawyer has all of the instructions. Blair is even in my will. And Steven will fight that, I want you to be ready if I don’t make it.”

“Dad, please don’t talk like that. You’ve finally gotten back into my life, I don’t want you to leave,” Jim pleaded.

“It’s very nice to hear this from you, Jimmy. For years, I was a bitter old man and thanks to Blair, we are now a family again. I’ll owe him a debt for the rest of my life, however long or short it may be. He’s a good man, Jimmy. You made a good choice. I even had him checked out when I realized that you two were an item. I’m sorry about that, but I was afraid he wanted to be with you because of the Ellison money.”

“Dad, I don’t have that much money,” Jim joked.

“But I do, Jimmy. I needed to be sure he was a good man and not some slick individual that would try to take you for everything you had. I like him a lot. And if I do make it through this surgery, I would like to have dinner at your house every Sunday instead of mine. I’m old, I’d like to be invited somewhere from time to time. Steven can come, or he can stay by himself and be an ass.”

Jim smiled and sat in the chair next to the bed. William held his hand out and Jim took it. Before long, William was asleep. The nurse walked in and said, “As long as he’s sleeping so peacefully, I’m going to leave you in here for the time being. He’s doing very well.”

Jim leaned back in the chair and listened for Blair.

&&&&&

“So Sandburg, what do you want out of this entire thing?” Steven asked.

“First of all, my name is Blair and I would prefer you call me that,” Blair answered.

“I heard Jimmy call you Sandburg, what’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is, that’s Jim. You’re not. So call me Blair, please.”

“Fine, Blair, what do you think you’re going to get out of this relationship? Jimmy isn’t the type who sticks. He can’t stick anything out. He wasn’t good at marriage and he isn’t good at relationships. So I have a feeling that you’re going to be dumped and hurt in the process. Why would you stay with him?”

Blair stood up and started to walk as he talked. “First of all, how long do you think we’ve been together?”

“A month?” Steven answered.

“Try two years. We’ve been very careful because he never wanted to upset your dad. But your dad knew all along. Shows what we know. I think Jim is good at relationships, just not with everyone. He and Carolyn didn’t work, but that doesn’t mean he and I won’t. He’s a wonderful man, Steven and I’m totally in love with him. He accepts me with all of my faults and I accept him with his. We’re a good couple. We both have flaws, but we both work at them all the time. He wanted to tell you at one time, but I refused to let him. I didn’t think you were ready to hear it and I guess I was right. But now I realize that you would never be ready to hear the news. We don’t need your permission, Steven, but it would be nice if you continued to have a relationship with Jim and your dad, together. I don’t have to be around. I was hoping some day that you would allow that, but I can accept your feelings and stay in the background. I don’t mind, because I love Jim that much. I want him to be happy and have his family. As long as I don’t come around, do you think you could still be part of his life?”

Steven thought for a second and said, “Give me time and I might learn to accept you two. It was quite a shock, Blair. But I’m listening to you and I like what I hear. You love my brother enough to stay in the background, while he has a relationship with his family. This is a man that truly loves the other one. So, give me time. I’m going to think on everything and try and work things out with Jimmy.”

Blair bounced in place and said, “Thank you for giving us a chance.”

“It’s no problem. I think I’m an ass for not listening to you before. I’m sorry for being so rude,” Steven said.

“Hey, it was a shock. It was a shock when it first hit me too. Believe it or not, we danced around our feelings for a very long time. Both of us were afraid to tell the other one. Now I look back on those days and almost laugh. We were such wusses.”

Steven started to laugh and said, “You know. I think my dad will make it and it’s partly because of you. He smiled when he talked about you, Blair. He likes you very much.”

“I hope everything works out all right. I wish you all well,” Blair said happily.

The two men both sat down and began talking about William. They both wondered what had happened to Jim, but neither of them said anything about it.

&&&&&

William woke up at 6:00 and smiled at his sleeping son, still holding his hand. “Jimmy, you can go home now.”

Jim stirred and then smiled. “Dad, you’re going to have surgery, I’m not going anywhere.”

“I don’t want you fighting with Steven. Can you promise me to get along, even if you don’t mean it?” William asked.

“Well, I was listening to Steven and Blair and Blair, as usual, talked Steven into giving us a chance. He spoke from his heart and Steven listened. So I think we’re going to be just fine. You don’t have to worry, dad. Have the surgery knowing that Sunday’s will be at the loft for dinner every week. We’ll cook healthy for you too,” Jim added.

“That sounds boring,” William teased.

“We’re going to get you back in shape, dad.”

Dr. Spenser walked in and said, “You’re doing great, William, so we’re going to go ahead and do the surgery in about 30 minutes. We’ve got to get you downstairs to get ready for it. I’m afraid your son will have to wait in the waiting room.”

Jim stood up and hugged his dad as well as he could with William being hooked up to monitors and in a bed. “Good luck, dad. See you in a little while.”

“I’ll keep you posted after the surgery is over. Are you going to be in the waiting room on this floor?” Dr. Spenser asked.

Jim smiled and said, “Yes, we’ll be waiting.” He smiled once more at his dad and walked out of the room. He was scared shitless, but he didn’t want his dad to see that.

&&&&&

Jim walked into the waiting room and found Blair and Steven having a great conversation about the Aka and Mbuti Pygmy Tribes in central Africa. Jim was always amazed at the things Blair could get people to listen to. Steven was totally into the speech. Steven glanced up and looked shocked to see Jim there.

“Where is dad?” Steven asked nervously.

“They just took him down for his surgery. It’s going to be about three or more hours before we hear any news. I told Dr. Spenser that we’d be right here. If any of us have to leave, let’s always leave someone behind to watch for the doctor,” Jim stated.

“Did the doctor sound optimistic, Jim?” Blair asked.

“Yes, he did. He said dad had done really well all night long and they hoped for a full recovery.”

“Gosh, I can’t wait until the surgery is over. This is enough to make a person chew their nails,” Steven admitted.

“Don’t be scared, Steven. He’s in good hands. I asked the nurse if he did this surgery often and she said, ‘only every day’. So I’m not as worried now. I’m going to go to the gift shop and see if I can buy some cards. We could play some 5000 Rummy. Does that sound good to anyone else?” Jim asked.

“That would make the time go really fast,” Blair agreed.

“But I wanted to hear the end of your story about the Pygmy tribe in Africa. Couldn’t we do that first?” Steven asked.

“I’ll tell you the rest of that story while Jim is buying the playing cards. Go ahead, Jim, I’ll keep Steven busy,” Blair said.

“Okay, as long as you two are getting along, I’ll leave,” Jim said.

“Yeah, we made up and come to find out, he’s an interesting dude,” Steven confessed.

Jim gave a bark of laughter and walked out of the room. He knew that Blair could win anyone over, but he didn’t know how quickly he could do it. Blair was good. And he was interesting. Jim had to agree with that.

&&&&&

Jim smiled all the way down to the gift shop and found it closed. He rushed to his truck to run to the Quick Mart around the corner and buy a deck of cards. He knew when he got back there would be no parking left for him and he would have to hike in, but that was the way life went sometimes. He bought a deck of cards, a tablet and some pencils. He was quite proud of himself that he remembered all of that. Once it was paid for he drove back around the corner to the hospital and low and behold his spot was still there. He thanked God for that and pulled in and locked up his truck.

Jim took a quick moment to ask God to watch over his dad. Jim wasn’t a very religious man, but he needed help.

He took the elevator upstairs and found Blair and Steven still talking about Pygmies. It almost made Jim laugh, but he kept that to himself.

“All right, who is ready to get their butts beat in the card game?” Jim asked as he started to shuffle the cards, handing the tablet to Blair to keep score on and Blair said, “Did you want me to sharpen the pencils with my teeth?”

Steven started laughing and said, “He’s a hard one to keep up with Jimmy.”

Jim pulled a pen out of his shirt pocket and handed that to Blair. They began to teach Steven how to play 5000 Rummy. The rules weren’t hard to understand and it was a fun game on top of that. They played for about four hours, all of them aware of the time passing and worrying inside.

Dr. Spenser came walking through the doorway and Jim and Steven stood right up. “He made it through the surgery, but he’s in a coma. This isn’t commonplace, so we’re a little concerned about that. He’s going to be in Cardiac ICU until he wakes up and he’s on a vent. He can’t breathe on his own yet. So for right now, I say just stay here and pray for your dad. Every hour one of you go in there and try to reach his subconscious. If he wakes up, he’s got a chance. If he doesn’t, he might be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. We want to see him wake up. If there is anyone that needs to see him, they should probably come now. I will keep you posted throughout the day. I’m sorry I didn’t have better news. But as far as the surgery went, it was smooth as silk. If and when he wakes up, he’s going to have a new lease on life.”

Dr. Spenser walked out of the room and both Steven and Jim looked scared to death. Blair knew he was going to have to help with this.

“Jim, why don’t you take the first visit, while I keep Steven company? And then while Steven visits him, I’ll keep you company,” Blair said.

“We can lie on this sofa and take naps in shifts, how does that sound, Steven?” Jim asked.

“I have to call work and tell them I won’t be in for the next few days,” Steven said.

“I do too,” Jim replied.

Blair said, “Jim, I’ll take care of Simon. You go in and visit with your dad. Do a lot of talking. If it’s all right, I thought I would go third and tell him how well his sons are doing.”

Steven smiled and said, “He would like that.”

Jim smiled too as he left the room to go and sit with his dad.

&&&&&

Blair went on to tell Steven about the Mbuti Pygmies in Africa. He told Steven how small they were, how much he respected their tribes and where they lived. Blair was surprised when he found they lived in a very sunny section of the jungles of Africa. You think jungles and you think dark and gloomy, but not so in this case. The jungle where they lived was bright and very colorful. Blair continued to tell Steven all about this story and it was keeping Steven more than busy. Steven was interested and asking questions. Blair was pleased.

&&&&&

Jim walked in and saw his poor father on the ventilator and wanted to cry. His father didn’t deserve this for the end of his life. Jim sat down and held his father's hand once again.

“Dad, you’re not going to believe this, but Blair has not only brought Steven over to our side, but Steven seems happy with all of us. I’m telling you, Blair is a miracle worker. I know you like him, everyone likes him. He’s a very likable guy. But I want you to know that I love him more than life itself. He’s my better half and I will be by his side until I take my last breath. We’ve been together for a long time dad and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier about us. I should have, but I was being a chicken shit as usual. I’m a very strong man, usually, but when it comes to you, I become little Jimmy Ellison again. I wanted to please you and I didn’t think this type of news would do that. Who would have thought that you would accept Blair and welcome him with open arms? Not me. Dad, you were never really open about anything, so I’m still in shock about all of this. I’m so glad that Blair talked me into getting together with you and Steven again after all those years. Wasted years, is what they were. We could have been a family the entire time. We’re not going to do anything like that ever again. Understood, dad?”

Jim was quiet for a moment and just listened to the monitors and the vent machine and looked at his frail looking father.

“Dad, it’s almost time for me to leave. I want you to know how much I love you and that I would be lost if you didn’t wake up. So please wake up. Okay?” Jim leaned down and kissed his dad on the forehead. Then he left the room.

He knew that in 45 minutes, it would be Steven’s turn to try and get some type of reaction out of him.

Jim walked in and found a sleeping Steven on the couch. Jim walked over to Blair and kissed him. He didn’t care who saw him, he needed Blair at that moment and Blair held on to Jim for dear life. That’s exactly what Jim needed. He finally pulled out of Blair’s arms and said, “I love you so much, Chief.”

“I know you do,” Blair answered.

“He didn’t even know I was in the room,” Jim said sadly.

“He knew Jim, but he just can’t come back yet. Give him time. We’ll let Steven sleep until it’s his turn to talk to him and then we’ll let you sleep,” Blair said.

Jim couldn’t help it, he kissed Blair again. “I don’t know what I would do without you, Chief. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Why thank you, man. That’s a really nice thing to say. I love you, too. We were just meant to be together.”

Jim sat down with Blair and they waited until it was time to wake Steven up to see William.

&&&&&

In William’s room the nurses fussed over him and tried to make him as comfortable as they could. They knew that chances were, he wouldn’t join them again in this lifetime. They had seen this so many times before. As they walked out, Steven was walking into the room. He smiled at them and saw the look of pity on their faces. This pissed him off.

“Hi dad, it’s me, Steven. I’ve been sleeping in the waiting room, while I waited for my turn to come in and talk to you. First of all, thank you for making it through surgery. I didn’t want to lose my dad today. I don’t want to lose my dad any day. I know logically that you won’t be around forever, but I’d like to think you’re going to be around to see if I ever get married and have children. You’ve always said you wanted grandchildren. Looks like you won’t get any from Jimmy. So, it’s up to me now. Talk about pressure. I have someone that I’d like you to meet. Her name is Frances Miller. She’s a children’s lawyer and she is so nice. She is 32 years young and is totally in love with me. I’ve been dragging my feet for over a year now, but it’s time that you meet her. I’d like Jimmy and Blair to meet her too. She’s beautiful and quite charming. You’re going to love her. She comes from a large family and they are all very close. This is one of the things that bug’s me about her life. She adores her family and wants to stay close to them. I guess I just don’t get it. But today I’m learning how nice it is to have my dad here with my brother and me too. I just wasn’t looking in the right places. You both were there all along. All I had to do was reach out. I’m sorry for being so closed off and cold, dad. Some of it was your fault, but most of it was mine. Once I got older, I just didn’t want to change. But then I met Frances. She’s so nice and she loves me even with all of my faults. Yes, she does want children and I think if I were going to have any, she would be the perfect mom. Wait until you meet her, dad. It’ll give you something to look forward to. She’s going to knock your socks off.

I talked to Blair and found out that I don’t mind them being gay as much as I thought I did. It’s all a matter of getting used to it and I wasn’t giving them a chance in hell at first. But I’ve come around, dad. I love Jimmy and I want him to be happy. Geeze, sometimes I wonder what Blair sees in Jimmy, because he’s so damn smart and interesting, Jimmy just doesn’t seem like his type. Not that Jimmy isn’t interesting, he’s just not as interesting as Blair is. But then I see how they look at each other and know why. They’re in love. They were kissing when Jimmy came out of your room earlier. It didn’t freak me out near as much as I thought it would. I just pretended that I was asleep and let them do their thing. They talked softly to one another while I was resting and I realized they sounded a lot like Frances and me. There is no difference when you love someone, you love them. It doesn’t matter who it is.

My fifteen minutes is up, dad. I need to go out and let you rest some more. Please wake up, okay? Jimmy and I wouldn’t know what to do without you in our lives. Besides, life has just gotten really good for all of us. We need to try it out. This being a family might have some merits after all. I love you dad. Now rest and get better, quickly. Bye.”

&&&&&

Jim heard most of what Steven had said and he was moved by all of it. Steven had taken a 90-degree turn that was for sure. He could have been an asshole the entire day, but instead, he was being kind to both he and Blair.

Jim sat up and looked at his brother as he walked through the door. “I suppose you heard everything I said, right?”

“Shhhh. Blair is sleeping. I want him to rest before he gives 15 minutes to dad. He’s good, so I’m betting that if anyone could wake him up, it would be Blair.”

“You’re very cute when it comes to Blair. I just shocked myself. Did that just come out of my mouth?” Steven laughed.

“Sit down, lean back and close your eyes. It’s a nice way to relax a little in between visits. I’ll wake Blair up when it’s time.”

They both leaned back, side by side and rested their weary eyes. Jim didn’t even hear Simon walk in the door.

He touched Jim’s shoulder and whispered, “Jim.”

Jim almost jumped and asked, “What are you doing here, Simon?”

“I came to see my best friend in the world and see how his dad was doing,” Simon remarked.

Jim got up and said, “Follow me.”

Simon followed him to the elevators and they got on. Jim said, “I need some coffee. I can tell you about my dad in the cafeteria.”

They were quiet all the way down to the cafeteria and sat with their coffee at a table for a few moments.

“I take it he pulled through surgery just fine,” Simon assumed.

“Not really. He’s in a coma. He can’t breathe on his own and he’s not doing that hot. So things aren’t going as well as they had hoped. We’re taking turns going in and talking to him every hour on the hour. It’s Blair’s turn in ten minutes. That ought to be interesting. Thank you for coming up, Simon.”

“Joel, Henri, Rafe and Connor all said to tell you hello and wished your father a speedy recovery. Honestly, I think they really miss Sandburg. You do know that he sort of keeps things together in the bullpen, right?”

“Oh yeah, I know him well. He’s like a force of nature. You just can’t do anything about it, so get used to it.”

“We better get back up there, Jim.”

“Thank you for listening, Simon.”

Both men smiled as they got back on the elevator again. “Tell Sandburg, I said hello. I’ll come up tonight after work and see how you’re all doing.”

“Thank you, Simon. Now I need to get Blair up for his visit with my dad. See you tonight,” Jim called out over his shoulder as he left Simon on the elevator.

Jim walked in and said, “Chief, did you still want to talk to my dad?”

“Oh yeah, man, I did. Wow, how long have I been sleeping?” Blair asked.

“About an hour is all, Blair.”

“I’ll be Bach,” Blair said in his best Arnold Swartzanegger impression, as he walked towards William’s room and Steven and Jim both started to laugh.

“You have to love him,” Jim said quietly.

“I understand that now,” Steven replied.

&&&&&

Blair walked into William’s room and pulled a chair up close to the bed. He took William’s hand in his own and held on for dear life.

“William, I have often wondered if you were who Jim got his senses from, since you said you knew about them when he was young. Did you have the same problems with senses when you were young? I think you might have had some heightened senses and didn’t know what to do with them either. You learned to cope because yours might not have been so heightened, or having less of your senses acting up was easier. But I have a feeling that that’s what you’re doing right now. You’re in a zone, William. You need to come out of that zone now. Take deep breaths as much as you can with that machine doing the work for you and try to focus on me. Do you sense me, William? Do you hear me? I wish I knew what senses were heightened on you so I could work on those ones first. I’m going to go with hearing and sight for right now. Do you hear my heartbeat? Jim can hear it in a crowd. He recognizes it from anyone else. I don’t know how he does it, but he can find me anywhere. I’m hoping you can do that same thing. I need you to find me, William. Focus on that heartbeat of mine and try to squeeze my hand.”

Blair waited patiently and felt a small squeeze from William’s hand. “Good, now we need you to wake up and start to breathe on your own. We don’t want that stupid vent on you any longer then it has to be. Open your eyes, William and start breathing.

The nurses came running in and said, “He’s trying to breathe on his own. We need to get the tube out of him now. Can you leave?”

“He wants me to stay. Concentrate on me and my sound, William. Don’t listen to them and just take deep breaths.”

They took the tube out and William was breathing on his own. He finally opened his eyes and looked at Blair and smiled.

The head nurse said, “Let me go and get the doctor, he is going to be very interested in this.”

They left the room and Blair went closer to William and said, “Are you in a lot of pain, William?”

“Yes,” William croaked.

“I’ll have them give you something as soon as possible. I’m so glad to see you again. The boys are probably both sleeping and they’ll be pissed that they missed out on the action,” Blair teased.

William smiled again. He wasn’t quite up to laughing, but he could at least smile.

“Would you like me to go and get the boys?” Blair asked.

“You have to promise…” William said sounding exhausted.

“Promise, what?”

“He can’t know about me, Blair.”

“I can’t make that promise, William. I don’t lie to him and if he asks what happened I would have to tell him the truth. Please don’t make me have to lie to my best friend and lover.”

“Try to break it to him gently. I never wanted anyone to know.” William said softly.

Dr. Spenser walked in and said, “I can’t believe this. You are showing us all up aren’t you? I didn’t expect you to come to for some time yet. Now how is the pain?”

“It’s bad,” William answered, barely audible.

“Carrie, could you please bring me the morphine I had set aside for him just now, he needs it. We’ll give it to him in his IV so that it will go to work faster and he can rest easier.”

The nurse named Carrie left the room quickly and came back with a shot and put it in William’s IV.

Blair could see the pain leave William’s face and said, “Can I go and get Jim and Steven now?”

“Yes, they can come in at the same time and visit him before he goes back to sleep again,” Dr. Spenser said happily.

Blair shot out of the room and rushed into the waiting room to find both Ellison’s sound asleep and woke them up gently, but quickly and told them the news. Both boys went rushing for the room to see their dad.

They were gentle with him when they went in the room, but they hugged him none-the-less. They were so grateful to have him back with them. Blair stayed in the waiting room for them to join him again. They were in there for about 20 minutes and William lost the battle and had to go to sleep. Jim and Steven left with a new spring in their steps. The doctor had said he was doing beautifully and he would be transferred to cardiac surgical floor in two days tops. Maybe one.

&&&&&

Jim and Steven both came in and hugged Blair. Steven said, “You did it. Jimmy said if anyone could wake him up, it would be you, but I didn’t really believe it. But I do now. I believe in the power of love, faith and healing. I can’t begin to thank you enough for all that you’ve done for us.”

“It was my pleasure. I like William. I always have,” Blair said softly.

“Chief, the doctor said to go home and rest because dad is doing well, so let’s go home for now. We’ll come back up in a few hours.”

“Sounds good to me. I miss our bed,” Blair said.

“Well, I’m going to shower, go and find Frances and tell her the news and then get some sleep,” Steven said as he stretched his arms over his head and yawned.

“Wait a minute. Who is Frances?” Blair asked.

“You’ll meet her tonight. I’m going to bring her up to meet dad. I’m going to ask her to marry me next week, I think. I just decided that this second, so that’s not for sure yet.”

“Oh wow, what does she do for a living?” Blair asked.

“She’s a children’s advocate lawyer. She doesn’t make a whole lot of money, but she loves her job and she’s really good at it. If you ever know a child that needs help, call for Frances.”

“Congratulations, Steven. I can’t wait to meet her,” Jim said as enthusiastically as he could with getting no sleep to speak of.

“Listen, we’ll see you here tonight. Talk to you then,” Steven said as he headed for the elevator.

Jim and Blair gathered up Blair’s backpack and the notepad and cards and walked to the elevator.

“I can’t believe I’m going to be resting in our own bed,” Blair said happily.

“I have some things to talk to you about on the way home,” Jim said.

“Sure.” Blair could tell Jim wasn’t that happy with him.

They got into the truck and Jim started the drive home and he said, “Were you ever going to tell me that he has Sentinel abilities?”

“Whoa, how did you know this?” Blair asked somewhat surprised.

“The nurse said you kept talking to him about being in a zone and he needed to listen to your heart and wake up. I put two and two together and figured it out. Don’t you think it’s something you should have told me right away? Don’t you think it’s something I should have heard from you instead of the nurse?”

“Jim, he only has two senses that are heightened. He’s had them under control for years and he just needed some help this time. I didn’t think it would be that strange to know that the senses came from him. You never mentioned that your mother had them, so I guessed it might be him. It is genetic, so I’m surprised you didn’t figure it out before I did. ”

“I still don’t like being told this shit by someone I don’t even know. And now she thinks my dad is some sort of freak or something,” Jim said fuming.

“That’s all in your head, Jim. No one thinks anything about anyone. You just feel like a freak, so now you think people think your dad is one too. Just stop it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You got your dad back today, so that should be enough to keep you going, but it’s not. You’ve got to complain about it until I want to strangle you.”

“Just shut up, Blair.”

Blair looked at Jim and realized that he was really angry. Blair also knew that he had no right to be. “Jim, there wasn’t time to tell you. The doctor told me to go and get you guys, so I did. If I would have slowed you down to tell you the story, you would have been upset about not seeing your dad right away. I can’t win with you. And you shut up.”

Jim pulled into the parking lot at the loft and turned off the truck. “I didn’t mean to say shut up.”

“Well, you did. And I think you did mean to say it. You have some thinking to do, and it’s not with me around. I’ll be sleeping in my old room. Thank you, very much.”

Jim sighed as Blair stormed off for the stairs to the loft. Jim knew that he could fuck up things faster than anyone else. It was up to him to un-fuck this.

Blair showered and got into his old bed and was asleep within moments. He was really tired. He thought he wouldn’t be able to sleep because he was angry with Jim, but his body took over and he went right to sleep.

Jim took a shower and looked in on Blair after he was done. Blair was so fucking sweet when he was sleeping. Jim got into the small bed with Blair and began to kiss Blair on the neck and moved around to kiss his chest.

“Oh no you don’t. I’m pissed off at you and I’m staying that way. Now, get out of this bed,” Blair demanded.

“I’m sorry, Blair. I’m truly sorry. I love you more than anything and I can’t live without you by my side. Forgive me and we’ll start over again. I promise I won’t be a grump this time and I won’t holler, I won’t yell and I will love you forever.”

“In that case, let’s take this upstairs, this bed is too fucking small,” Blair said as he dragged Jim off the futon and they rushed up the stairs as quickly as they could.

Once upstairs, Jim and Blair both were naked within seconds and kissing one another, everywhere you could imagine kissing a person. They were both right on the edge and Jim asked, “Can I fuck you, babe?”

“Fuck me now,” Blair replied.

“Slow down, I need to get you ready.” Jim pulled the lube out and began a slow but steady stretching routine that they were used to, but Blair seemed in a hurry tonight. That was one thing Jim never hurried was his lovemaking.

Once he was ready, Jim pulled Blair’s legs up around his waist and pressed his cock into Blair’s hot, tight, hole. Jim never tired of this. It was like coming home every single time. Blair was moaning and begging making it even sexier then it was usually. Jim knew he wasn’t going to last long. He reached down and started fisting Blair’s cock and within moments Blair came, throwing his head back, moaning Jim’s name. Jim plunged in three more times and came forcefully as he growled, ‘Blair’.

They cleaned themselves up, told each other how much they loved the other one and then went to sleep in one another’s arms. Jim set the alarm for 6:00, so they wouldn’t sleep too long and that was the last thing he remembered.

&&&&&

Steven went home and found Frances there looking worried and upset. “We had plans last night and you never came home.”

“I’m so sorry, Frances, my father had a heart attack and I’ve been at the hospital since then. I should have called you, but I was so worried that something was going to happen, I didn’t call anyone. Not even my boss. He probably wonders where I am too,” Steven admitted.

“Oh babe, I’m so sorry to hear that. Call your boss really fast, explain to him what happened and then we’ll talk.”

Steven was never so grateful to have someone waiting at his house. Yes, he was going to ask her to marry him as soon as he bought some type of ring. Maybe Blair could help him shop for one. He seemed to know about almost everything else.

Steven called his boss and took a week off. Then he went and sat by Frances and told her all about the night and morning. When he was done, she said, “Let’s go to bed. I’m tired just hearing about it, so I know you must be exhausted.”

They did indeed go to bed, but Steven made quiet love to his woman to let her know how much she meant to him. He had never loved her in this way before and she cherished it. Then before he even thought about it, he said, “Will you marry me?”

She got tears in her eyes and answered, “Yes, I will marry you and make you so happy you’ll never leave me, ever.”

“I don’t plan on it, Frances,” Steven said.

“Good, now let’s get some sleep.”

And they did just that.

&&&&&

At 6:30 that night, Jim and Blair were already up, dressed and ready to go back up to the hospital. Jim knew that that’s where Steven would be also. Their dad had his drawbacks, but he was a good dad now. He took time for each of them and spent all of his extra moments getting to know them over again. It was like a new beginning for all.

The drive up to the hospital was quiet. Blair was still half asleep, but Jim was quiet because he had been an ass earlier.

“Chief, do you forgive me for telling you to shut up earlier?”

Blair burst out laughing and said, “Jim, did it shut me up?”

Jim smiled and said, “No. But I still had no right to say, shut up to you or anyone else. I told that same thing to Steven. What is wrong with me?”

“Your dad had a heart attack, man. All is forgiven. Now concentrate on getting your dad better and less on worrying about what you did or said.”

“I really had a good time in our bedroom this afternoon. God, I love being with you. I think that Steven thinks you’re my first guy. I got that impression.”

“Really?” Blair asked.

“He acted like you were the one that turned me at first. Before he got to know you,” Jim said.

“Oh yeah, I came on to you and said, ‘come here you straight man and let me fuck you,’ like that was ever going to happen in real life,” Blair said.

“I don’t know, Blair, you’re pretty damn cute and persuasive.”

Blair burst out laughing and said, “I’d like to tell him that you were my first. I wish we were each other’s firsts. That would be something. But real life got in the way and reminded us that we love men.”

“Don’t you mean, loved?” Jim asked smiling.

“Yes, I mean, loved. I only love one man now and he’s forever,” Blair said as he blew a kiss to Jim.

Jim smiled all the way to the hospital. Blair smiled knowing he had put that smile on Jim’s face.

&&&&&

Jim and Blair arrived at the parking lot at the hospital, exactly the same time as Frances and Steven.

Steven got out and held her hand as they walked over to the truck. “Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg, this is Frances Miller. Frances, this is my brother Jimmy and his lover, Blair.”

“It’s so great to meet you both. I’ve heard all about you all evening long. Steven is quite taken with you, Blair. He said you’re one of the most interesting people he’d ever met,” Frances said.

“He is interesting,” Jim replied.

“I think that Steven just likes hearing stories about little short men in Africa.” Blair laughed when he saw the look of horror on Steven’s face.

Jim and Frances laughed too.

“He was telling me about that. When were you in Africa?” Frances wondered.

“Oh, I wasn’t. I was just trying to keep his mind off his dad just having a heart attack. That method seemed as good as any that came to me at the spur of the moment,” Blair teased.

“So you’ve never been to Africa?” Steven asked.

“Nope, can’t say as I have. Now, I have been to South America. I loved being in Peru. I love Canada and Mexico. Ask me about those places, Steven,” Blair dared him.

Steven looked at Jim and Jim said, “He has been to many places, so you never know with Blair. He’s been to Europe, South America, Mexico, Peru and God only knows where else. Oh yes, Canada. Can’t forget Canada.”

They all walked into the hospital and got onto the elevator. When they got off on the 7th floor, William’s room was empty. Jim found the nurse quickly and asked where his father was. “Oh don’t worry, Mr. Ellison, he’s on Cardiac Surgical. That’s the 8th floor and he’s in room 805. You better hurry; it’s almost the end of visiting hours.”

They got back on the elevator, and took a quick trip up one floor and found 805 and walked in. William was sitting up in bed smiling.

“It’s about time you boys got here. I was getting tired of sitting in one spot. You missed all of the excitement. I was able to walk to the bathroom by myself, so they moved me right up here and said I was too healthy for ICU. It’s good to see you all, but I’m afraid I don’t remember who this lovely lady is.”

“Dad, this is my fiancée, Frances Miller. I asked her to marry me tonight and she said yes, even though I didn’t have a ring. We’re going to shop for a ring together. We decided on the drive over here that would be a perfect way to get exactly the right ring,” Steven said happily.

William said, “Finally, a wedding. Will it be a large one?”

Frances smiled and said, “I have six brothers and four sisters, so it’s going to be fairly large just for my immediate family. It’s so good to meet you, William. I’ve heard so much about you and wanted to meet you, but was afraid that I was being too pushy.”

“You have to be pushy with my boys. That’s one thing I know for a fact. Push and they will do what you want them to. Just call me next time you wonder about anything. I plan on being around for a good long while,” William joked.

Jim hugged his dad and said, “I’m glad.”

Steven, not to be outdone by his brother hugged his dad too and said, “I love you, dad.”

“I already told him while he was sleeping,” Jim said.

Blair said, “Is it just me, or do they sound like competing five year olds?”

“Yes, that’s exactly the way they sound,” Frances agreed.

“Well, I wouldn’t have them any other way. They are my boys and I love them no matter what. Thank you all for coming up tonight, but I’m tired. I’m going to get some sleep and hopefully the four of you will too. Oh, Jimmy, Simon stopped by and saw me for about a half hour. It was nice of him to stick around and visit with me. I think he didn’t know how to get out of it. So call him tonight and thank him, okay?” William asked.

“I’m going to go to work tomorrow, dad. I’ll visit you at night, if that’s all right,” Jim asked.

“That’s fine, Jimmy. Maybe someone could bring me something to read,” William said.

Blair pulled his backpack off his back and opened it and handed a book to William. “This will get you started William. She’s a very funny writer and I think you’ll like the stories. She has 16 books in the series, so I’ll bring you one every few nights. Now relax and get a good night’s sleep. We’ll talk tomorrow evening.”

Frances said her goodbyes and walked out with Steven. Then Blair and Jim did the same.

As soon as they got in the truck, Jim said, “If I wasn’t dating you, I’d make a run for his girlfriend.”

“I’m going to run you, big boy.”

“Oh goody.”

And Jim knew that Blair would do just that.

The end

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Notes: This story is for Bee, aka Bianne Bobbitt. She gave me tons of story ideas, but this one she really wanted. I didn’t get it written in time before we lost her, so it’s for her now. I know she’s in heaven smiling down having some new Sentinel fic to read that she inspired. We miss you, Bee. Betaed by Alex, Kelly, Kerensa, Debbie S and Susan. Cover art done by Zelempa.