When Love and Hate Collide by Patt

When Love and Hate Collide - Patt

~~~

Prompt by: Escargoat
Prompt: You've gotta destroy the evidence.

~~~

Blair was happy to be home from the station but wished Jim was home with him. Poor Jim was working an all night stakeout, so Blair had the loft all to himself the whole night. Which wasn’t such a good thing sometimes, such as when he had too much time on his hands. And tonight there was nothing but time to share his company.

Blair had had Jim on his mind all day long, not because of the usual reasons, but because the other man had seemed so removed from everyone and quiet as of late. Quiet even for Jim Ellison. Blair thought about it and wondered if something had happened at work that he didn’t know about it. Did someone say something about me still living with Jim? he wondered. People talked about that stuff all the time, but Jim kept telling him that he didn’t have to worry about it. They ignored everything that was said since Jim insisted on not being out at the station. It all came down to the fact that there was something wrong and he didn’t know what it could be. He hoped that it wasn’t someone hassling him about being gay. That’s all Jim would need right now. Why couldn’t the people at the station just mind their own business?

Blair decided he needed to get some help on this. He dialed Megan’s number and was a bit relieved when she answered on the first ring.

“What?”

“Wow, you answer the phone a lot like Jim does,” Blair joked.

“Hi Sandy, what’s up?” Conner asked.

“Have you noticed how quiet Jim’s been lately?” Blair inquired.

“He’s always quiet, Sandy. It’s Jimbo, he never says too much. Although… the other day I told him a joke that was very funny and he didn’t even smile. He just walked away from me. Usually Jimbo likes my jokes; he says Aussies have awesome senses of humor.”

“So you noticed him being quiet too?” Blair asked once again.

“He probably has some family thing on his mind, don’t you suppose with the holiday coming up and all,” Conner suggested.

“What holiday?” Blair wondered aloud.

“Mother’s Day, you twit. Did you forget? It’s in three weeks. That’s got to be one time of year that Jim doesn’t like to remember,” Conner reminded.

“Oh my god, I forgot all about it. You’re probably right. Do you think I should ask him about it? Get him to talk about his mom to me?”

“Sandy, I don’t think that Jim wants to talk about his mom to anyone. If he did, he would have brought it up years ago. He just wants to leave it alone and I say, do just that. Leave him be.”

“What if I did some research and tried to find his mom for him. What do you think of that?” Blair questioned.

“I think you’re insane. Jim doesn’t want to know about his mother or he would have done it himself before now. At the least he’d have mentioned something by now to you. Let him be, Sandy.”

“Well, I gotta go. Take care,” Blair said before hanging up.

~~~~~

Conner hung up her phone and just knew that Sandy was going to make trouble. He had a way of getting himself wrapped into your life and not letting go until he had helped you in some way. He was going to do that with Jim, she just knew it. She was sure that Jim didn’t want to know about his mother, or he would have done so himself. So why would Sandy think he should do it? Sighing she got up to get herself a beer and sit down and watch the basketball game. She would love to watch it with Sandy, but she knew he was going to be busy tonight looking up things on the internet. She was going to stay out of it, if it killed her. At least he didn’t ask me to help him this time. She took a swig of the ice cold beer and when the Jags scored she hollered and forgot all about Sandy’s dangerous curiosity.

~~~~~

Before Blair got busy on the computer he stopped to think a few things through.

He’s not some puzzle left behind by a culture. He’s your lover and best friend, and he’s a private man. Jim was a private man, but he usually shared everything with Blair, so this could be something that he too worried to bring to him. Which bothered Blair even more...

He’s held so much in that he repressed most of his childhood. I just want to help, if I find her I’ll leave it up to him… Blair thought. But deep down, he knew that he wouldn’t just leave it up to Jim.

Maybe he repressed it for a reason, and this will end badly …or maybe it will end well, and Jim will be happy with the outcome. Even in his head it sounded like a flimsy stretch.

It’ll help me help him through this mood if nothing else, he rationalized reaching for the laptop and heading into his old room, now his in house office. Whether Jim likes to acknowledge it or not, he sometimes needs help. Setting the computer on the desk he was confident with his decision.

Until a familiar voice spoke up.

You can’t obfuscate to yourself , this is just about you wanting to know why someone would just up and leave him…and if he could do the same.

It stopped him mid motion. It had really hit the nail on the head now. He worried that some day Jim could leave him for no apparent reason. What if Jim just leaves me like she left them? Blair loved Jim more than anyone in the world and couldn’t imagine his life without Jim in it. So again this was leading back to a deep seeded problem within him.

“Enough,” he said aloud, ordering his thoughts to silence. He was going to look for Grace and figure out what had really happened. Maybe he could get the entire Ellison family back together. He could feel a doubt willing itself up but he quashed it in its infancy.

Blair fired up his laptop, closing the office doors a great deal so that if Jim came home he wouldn’t catch that he was sneaking around into his family’s past behind his back. He was only doing it for Jim’s own good. Jim probably missed his mother and wondered why she left him and Steven. They only had William’s word for why she left, it could have been something else completely.

Blair started his search by looking up Grace Ellison through the usual search engines and worked backwards from there adding details to narrow the searches. He searched for a long while before he was starting to give up not finding anything that matched up to the specific stats of dates and obvious locations. Then he decided to look and see if she had a record on file. She might have gotten a bunch of tickets or something and didn’t pay them. That would give Blair some place to start. He pulled up the Cascade court dockets through old public records typed in what he knew about Grace and was surprised when it showed she had been in court around the time she’d left the family. He cross checked records when he saw the case wasn’t labeled properly. He was shocked to say the least that the records showed she was sentenced to serve a prison sentence. Blair stood up for a little while to pace.

Prison? Why in the hell would she have been in prison? Is that why she left? Did she leave willingly or did something or someone force her to leave?

He then went back to searching, pulling up the Federal Prison Inmate Locator and started to do another search on what the charges had been. Strangely, he found her in no time. It was The Department of Corrections had pointed him in the right direction. It helped that Blair had the police database programs and his computer registered as police equipment connected to their servers. Jim told him it might come in handy some day, and he was right. Blair pulled up when Grace did prison time. When her file came up and he saw the charges he almost fell over from shock, his stomach dropping to the ground floor. She’d served time for two charges of child molestation. It didn’t say who, but Blair could guess on the who part. Fuck…No wonder William kept it a secret.

Blair printed up all of the information that he would need to help find her, although he wondered what he was going to do with that. It wasn’t like he could tell Jim, Hey Jim, guess what? and have life go on as it was before.

Blair didn’t know what he was going to do. He put the papers in his sock and underwear drawer. He knew Jim never went into his dresser in the office. Jim wouldn’t think of looking for anything in the office since he‘d moved upstairs to what was now their bedroom. Plus, it just wasn’t in his nature, Blair was the one that was nosey and had to learn everything about everyone. You would think that. Blair wasn't the detective and Sentinel, but he was the nosey one, while Jim made sure to be mindful of other’s privacy.

What if it was Jim that was molested? Does he know? Did he repress it like most of his life? Should anyone tell him about his mother? All valid questions, but Blair wasn’t ready for any of the answers until he found out more about Grace. What had happened to her for all of these years? Blair was going to find out and see if he could bring some of this to light or if there were even deeper reasons why it had been buried so deep in the dark. What he would do with the information once he had it was another story.

He looked for her on the National Sex Offender Registry and found out that she lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That she had lived there for the last 25 years.

Why didn’t Jim look up his mom? Didn’t he wonder about her? Or did he look it up and found the same thing that I’m finding?

More valid questions that needed answers, but not now. Now wasn’t the time. Blair printed up the next pages so that he had an address. Not that Jim was probably ever going to use it, but just in case he had questions, it would all be in the folder he was going to make up.

Blair did notice that her name was now Grace Benning. She must have married or that was her maiden name.

Blair put all of the papers with the others and sat on the futon to think. Could he ever tell something like this to Jim? Would Jim even want to know, if he didn’t already know? Blair didn’t think he would. Blair was going to do a little more research at a later date, then once he had more of the pieces he could decide what he was going to do with the entire puzzle.

Blair suddenly felt a little guilty about doing any of this. He had no right to search into Jim’s background. He had no right to look for Jim’s mom. Jim had every right to his privacy and that’s what Blair finally decided on.

He turned off the program and got off of his computer. He walked into the kitchen to get himself a beer when Jim walked in. Blair’s heart was beating triple time and Jim noticed right away.

“Chief, it’s just me. What’s up?” Jim asked in good humor.

“Why are you home already?” Blair asked a bit harshly.

“Gee, it’s good to see you too,” Jim answered chuckling.

“Sorry, I just wasn’t expecting you this soon. How was the stakeout?” Blair asked hoping he sounded normal. You aren’t normal, you moron. You did something you shouldn’t have and now you‘re freaking out in front of your sentinel lover.

Jim grinned at him, “It was a dead stakeout.” Jim laughed like he had just told the funniest joke.

“The guy died?” Blair inquired.

“Yeah, we waited and then Emergency got called to his apartment by the girlfriend. She found him dead of an overdose when she got there. Not that it matters that much, but I wouldn’t put it past someone to murder him. He was a scumbag. Even his girlfriend thought so. He was a child molester. I hate them far more than anything else in the world, don’t you?” Jim asked.

“Oh yeah, I sure do,” Blair replied trying not to fidget.

“Okay, what’s wrong with you? You’re jumpy and nervous. Did someone come by or call while I was gone?” Jim wondered.

“No, I only talked to Conner. That might be it. She makes anyone jumpy, know what I mean?” Blair teased.

“We’ll drop it, for now, but if you need to talk to someone, you know where I am, right?” Jim questioned.

“Oh yeah, man. I know I can rely on you for anything. Just like you can rely on me. You could tell me anything. I‘m always here for you,” Blair answered knowing he was blabbering.

Jim grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat down in front of the television, turned it on and asked, “So, who’s winning the game?”

“Hell if I know. I forgot the game was on,” Blair replied.

“You got a fever or something, Chief? You never forget the games. Come on, sit down and watch it with me,” Jim said as he patted the cushion next to him. He had missed Blair all evening and couldn’t wait to just sit with him and watch the game.

Blair sat down and drank his beer, fairly quickly. “So you got one dead child molester off the street. That’s a good day’s work, right?”

Jim looked strangely at him and said, “Blair, it’s not like I killed him or anything. He died of an overdose of heroin. But yeah, we’re glad to have one more off the street.”

“That’s what I meant, it just came out wrong,” Blair stated.

They watched the game in silence for the next half hour and Blair said, “Well, I need to get ready for bed.”

“Chief, the game only has about twenty minutes left. I think you can hang on that long, don’t you agree?” Jim joked.

“Hell yeah. Let’s have some popcorn with our beer,” Blair got up to make the popcorn.

“Don’t make any for me, I lost my appetite earlier. Just sit here and watch the game with me,” Jim patted the cushion again.

Blair sat back down next to him. Jim could tell that something was up with Blair since he’d walked in. He was extremely nervous and it was putting Jim on edge.

“So what did you do tonight?” Jim asked.

“I read a book in the office. Good book. Fast read,” Blair answered far too quickly and bereft of his usual verbose explanations.

Jim turned and looked at Blair and finally said, “How about a kiss hello? You haven’t touched me since I got home.”

“Oh man, I’m sorry,” Blair said as he went into Jim’s arms and gave Jim a much needed kiss. But Jim could tell there was something seriously off, Jim could feel it and taste it. Now, Jim was officially worried. What was making his Guide so nervous?

“What book did you read tonight?” Jim inquired.

Blair looked at Jim and knew Jim was questioning his answer so he said, “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen. I loved it so much the first time, I decided to read it again. I mean, I didn’t finish the entire thing, but I still laughed during most of it. Didn’t you love that one?”

“Yeah, I did love it. I’m glad you had something to do tonight to keep you out of trouble,” Jim said.

Blair was taking a drink when Jim mentioned him staying out of trouble and couldn’t help it. He started choking on the beer.

Jim patted his back and said, “Chief, are you all right?”

“I’m fine, just went down the wrong pipe,” Blair answered as quickly as he could between breaths.

“It can’t go down the wrong pipe, there is only one pipe,” Jim corrected Blair in a teasing tone.

“Yeah, whatever.”

The buzzer sounded for the end of the game.

“I knew the Jags were going to win tonight. I just knew it,” Blair said happily.

“I had a feeling,” Jim agreed.

“Rafe owes me twenty bucks. Do you believe it? He bet against our team?” Blair bragged trying to sound normal once again.

“You’re taking bets in the bullpen now?” Jim asked.

“No, not in the bullpen. It was in the break room. Time to get ready for bed, huh?” Blair asked.

“You can go first, Chief,” Jim replied, “and don’t think I forgot about the making bets at work.”

Blair ignored the remark and went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth, twice trying to get the taste out of his mouth. Telling lies gave him a foul taste. It was one of his weaknesses. He scrubbed his face and dried off and opened the door to find Jim standing there.

“Geeze, you scared me,” Blair said startled.

“I was just waiting for my turn, but I didn’t think you were ever going to finish brushing your teeth,” Jim teased.

Blair blushed and pushed by Jim.

“Why are you blushing, Chief?” Jim wondered.

“Sometimes it bothers me a little when you listen in on me when I’m in the bathroom. It freaks me out, man.”

“Sorry, Chief. I’ll try and be good from now on. See you upstairs,” Jim shut the door and began his nightly routine.

Blair climbed the stairs and hoped that Jim wasn’t in the mood for any sex that night because it was the last thing on Blair’s mind. Blair couldn’t think straight and wasn’t going to be able to until he went downstairs. You’ve gotta destroy the evidence, his conscience and guilt ridden inquisitive nature screaming in unison.

Jim locked up the loft, climbed the stairs and slid into bed beside Blair and cuddled with him. “Man, am I beat,” Jim said casually.

“So am I. Let’s just get a good nights sleep tonight,” Blair said as he turned to give Jim a kiss good night.

Jim kissed him and once again felt bad because he knew that Blair’s heart wasn’t in it. He also knew that Blair was lying about something. He hoped that Blair would come to him about it soon, so it didn’t drive him crazy, but he had a feeling that Blair was holding in something big. The prospect of what it might be worried Jim to no end.

Before long both of them fell asleep wrapped in each others arms. Or at least Blair thought so.

~~~~~

Blair woke up at 3:00 and heard soft snores coming from Jim’s side of the bed. He snuck out of the bed and tip toed down the stairs as quietly as he could. Once inside the office, he shut the doors and turned on the light. He went directly to the dresser in the office and opened the top drawer. He pulled out the papers and started ripping them up one at a time. He wasn’t going to use the shredder because then Jim would ask him what he was doing. He didn’t want Jim finding them or knowing about them at all. When he was done, he shut the light out and climbed back up the stairs and crawled into bed.

When he got there he noticed that Jim wasn’t softly snoring anymore and he looked over at his lover's face in the dark and saw his eyes open. Oh, fuck. he thought almost cringing. “Hey, what are you doing?” he asked as calmly as he could.

“Waiting for you to get done whatever you were doing, since it’s bothering you so much tonight.”

“I just remembered something I forgot to do. That’s all. Everything will be fine,” Blair said as he scooted back against Jim’s body and snuggled.

Jim decided to let Blair off the hook for then and held him close. Jim said, “I love you.”

Blair sincerely replied, “I love you.”

Suddenly Jim wasn’t so worried anymore. He knew that Blair meant exactly what he had said. So whatever was bothering him had to be something non-personal. This made Jim feel much better and he was lulled into sleep by the sound of Blair’s heartbeat next to his own.

~~~~~

The next day at the station, Jim noticed Blair looking at him oddly now and then, but that was the only difference he could see. Jim wasn’t going to raise a fuss about it, because he’d rather believe that things were fine. Blair would come to him when the time came. Jim hoped that there would be nothing to even come to him about. Ellison, you need to get your head out of the sand.

~~~~~

Conner walked up to Jim’s desk while Blair was getting coffee and said, “Hey Jimbo, did Blair discover what’s wrong with you?”

“What do you mean, what’s wrong with me? There’s nothing wrong with me,” Jim answered almost too quickly.

“Well, he’s worried about you being so quiet lately and I’ve noticed too. You seem a little better today. Are things all right?” Conner asked.

Jim looked completely puzzled, “I told you, I’m fine. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh…Well forget it then,” Conner said and moved off to her desk, cursing the entire way.

Blair got to his desk and sat down handing Jim his coffee. Jim took it from him then asked, “So, why didn’t you tell me you were worried about me?”

Blair glared at Conner. He knew she must have said something. Damn, she was a menace. “You’ve just been so quiet lately, I was just wondering if she noticed. No big deal.”

“Blair, if you’re worried about me, why didn’t you come and talk to me? Why would you talk to Conner first?” Jim questioned.

“I’m an idiot. Why else? I’m sorry, I called her while you were on stakeout, but she didn’t know what was wrong with you either, so it’s not like we traded secrets,” Blair admitted.

“So you called her while I was on stakeout? Was something bothering you that much?” Jim asked.

“No, I just hate when you get all quiet in the bullpen, and you have been kind of detached lately, so I asked if she noticed. That’s all,” Blair replied.

“Chief, from now on, ask me. Don’t call Conner. Okay?”

“Okay…” Blair said quietly.

“I’m not mad at you, Chief.”

“Oh good, because I hate when you’re mad at me,” Blair answered truthfully.

“Let’s get some work done so we can go home sometime today,” Jim said as he pulled out a file, effectively changing the subject in an attempt to lighten the mood.

~~~~~

When they got home, Blair began collecting all the trash in the house. The next day was their usual trash day and Blair didn’t want the evidence around one minute longer.

Jim watched his lover’s suspicious behavior and asked, “How come you’re doing my job, Blair?”

“I didn’t know it was just your job. I thought it was something we shared,” Blair replied dumping a small bin into the large bag.

“Blair, when was the last time you took out the trash?” Jim asked daring Blair to make something up.

“Fine. I was trying to help. Take it yourself,” Blair huffed as he handed the big bag of trash to Jim already knotted.

“You’ve taken it this far, may as well take it the rest of the way,” Jim said.

“Nope, I’m not in the mood now. Do it yourself,” Blair walked away, washed his hands and started making dinner.

Jim growled something under his breath and walked down the stairs with the trash.

Blair was making stir fried chicken for dinner and he was trying to keep his mind on the recipe while listening for Jim to come back up stairs. He had a deep seeded fear that Jim was going to go through the trash. Blair started laughing when he realized how stupid that sounded. He got back into the swing of getting dinner done. He wasn’t certain how much time had passed when he heard Jim come back up talking to one of the neighbors.

When Jim walked through the door, Blair was singing a sweet love song that almost made Jim smile. But the urge passed with the pain of the other things on his mind.

Blair smiled at him when he saw he was back. “It took you long enough. Did one of the neighbors trap you into talking or something?”

“Mr. Nelson from next door was on the elevator with me. He had to fill me in on the latest gossip for the building,” Jim said quietly.

Blair said, “You all right?”

“I thought I might lie down before dinner. Will you wake me up when it’s time to eat?”

“Sure, go relax, I’ll come and get you,” Blair promised having no idea that he had turned Jim’s world upside down.

Blair finished dinner; cooked the white rice and made a wonderful salad. He walked up the stairs and found Jim facing the other way. He touched Jim’s shoulder and said, “Time for dinner, babe.”

“I’ll be right down,” Jim answered.

Blair walked back down the stairs, not knowing that his lover was on the edge of breaking in two.

Jim walked down the stairs and sat at the table next to Blair. They began to eat but Blair noticed that Jim wasn’t really eating his food, he was just moving it from one side of the plate to the other.

“Jim, what’s wrong?”

“We’ll talk after dinner,” Jim replied softly.

Blair looked scared to death and said, “No, we’ll talk now. What’s wrong?”

“Have you ever wondered why I don’t talk about my mom?” Jim blurted out.

Blair’s face fell. He knew immediately that Jim had looked through the trash. Fuck, fuck, fuck…

Blair finally gathered his nerve to say something. “Jim, I’m so sorry. I just wanted to help you. I thought...”

“You thought that bringing my mother back into my life would help me? Even after you saw the charges? When did it occur to you that this was none of your fucking business?” Jim almost shouted.

Blair pushed his chair back when Jim raised his voice. Jim never yelled at him, but this time, Jim had a really good reason to yell. Jim had a perfect reason to break up with him for good. Blair hoped and prayed that Jim wouldn’t leave him over this even though he‘d clearly screwed up this time.

“Christ, I’m so sorry Jim. Conner said something about it being Mother’s Day soon and maybe that’s why you were so quiet. I took it upon myself to find out where she was in case you didn’t know. I truly did want it to be good news. I wanted to be able to tell you where she was and that we could go see her if you wanted to. I’m so, so, so, sorry.”

“Blair, I’ve never thought about hitting you but when I saw what was in the trash, I wanted to. I wanted to make sure you knew how I felt about it. But then, of course, logic took over before I ever hurt you. Why didn’t your logic take over before you hurt me?"

“If you want to hit me, I would totally understand, Jim. I mean it. I would let you. I would feel better if you did hit me,” Blair said, on the verge of tears, but not wanting to break down in front of Jim.

“I don’t want to talk to you anymore tonight. I might say something I could never take back. I’m going upstairs and I want to be left alone. Understood?”

“I understand, Jim.”

“I’m glad one of us does,” Jim said as he marched up the stairs.

Blair watched his lover leave him so easily and it broke his heart. He really felt like Jim wasn’t going to forgive him for this.

He cleaned up the dining room table, put the food away and then washed the dishes. He was trying to stay busy but didn’t know what else to do.

Staying away from the stairs he went and sat down on the sofa to flip through one of his old Anthropology books. He wasn’t paying attention to anything really. Everything in him wanted to be upstairs with Jim, but he knew he couldn’t push the man he loved any more then he already had.

He heard Jim tossing and turning in the bed above and again wanted to go up there, but felt he didn’t belong anymore. Instead he grabbed his jacket, his car keys and left the loft. He needed some fresh air. Jim needed some time alone and he needed to be away from Jim before he ruined things even further.

~~~~~

Blair sat in his car downstairs watching the cars that drove by. He wasn’t going anywhere. He just wanted to be out of Jim’s way. He had a feeling that Jim was going to break up with him over this. Jim wouldn’t be able to trust him any longer. Not that Blair blamed him. He had pushed Jim as far as a person could be pushed. Blair doubted that they would ever survive this.

Blair laid his forehead on the steering wheel and sighed very loudly. The sound echoed back to him and he felt it captured his mood quite well, forlorn, dejected and ready to kick himself. He stayed in his miserable position until he heard someone knock on the window. Blair jumped and almost screamed like a girl. He would have, had it not been for the fact that it was Jim standing on the other side of the glass.

He rolled the window down and said, “I was trying to give you space.”

“Come back upstairs. I’ve had enough space. Come on,” Jim said as he opened Blair’s door. “Why is your door unlocked? I could have been some weirdo.”

“You are some weirdo,” Blair teased.

“Yeah, but I’m your weirdo, right?” Jim asked nervously.

Blair got out of the car and went into Jim’s arms. “You’ll always be my weirdo. I love you so much, it hurts.”

“Come on upstairs and we’ll talk,” Jim put his hand over Blair’s hand and they walked that way up to the loft. Blair was shocked. Jim had never showed an open display of affection at the loft. Neighbors could see them and Jim worried about that. He wasn’t tonight and for that Blair was glad.

Once inside the loft, Jim softly said, “Sit down and I’ll tell you my story. Then we’ll never bring it up again.”

“Jim, you don’t have to tell me anything. I don’t deserve to know,” Blair remarked.

“You deserved to know before tonight, but I’ve never felt like I could tell anyone. The only people that know are my dad, my brother and the courts. It was all taken care of quickly and quietly. She was sentenced without having us testify. She wanted it that way and Dad had demanded it be that way. She wanted to see us before she left but my dad of course wouldn’t let her,” Jim took a deep breath, then pushed on. “She sexually abused me for two years and Steven for one. When I found out about her and Steven I went to my dad and told him. I didn’t think he would believe me, but he marched into Steven’s room and found my mother with Steven. He called the police right away and told us we could never tell anyone, not our friends, our teachers, no one, or they would look at us differently. He was ashamed of all of us. My dad got quieter and colder as the years went on. I think he never forgave me for making him see it. Then again, you’ve got me and my dad talking to each other again and he doesn’t act like he used to when I was young. Steven and I never brought it up to each other again. He’s never asked me anything about it and I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask him anything. We were both very ashamed. It’s a terrible, and shaming thing to go through. I don’t wish it on any child.”

Jim began to pace and took a deep breath, never really looking at Blair. “My grandparents, my mom’s parents, tried to talk dad out of pressing charges. They said they would take care of things, but my dad said no, he wanted her in prison. No one was going to touch his boys. I think he actually meant it too. He didn’t know how to show his affection, especially after that. So when he said that, my mind remembered it. Then my grandparents said it was my fault, I had caused all of it, and they were going to tell everyone in court that I asked for it. But my father went to see my mother and they made a deal. She could do less time if she pleaded guilty without a trial. So that’s what she did. That’s about all there is to it, Blair. There is nothing else. I’m sorry I didn’t let you know, and that you felt the need to go behind my back. I know you were trying to do the right thing, but it doesn’t always work out that way does it?” Jim finally sat down next to Blair and gave him a sad smile.

“Jim, I love you so much. That’s all I can really think of to say. I think your dad did a poor job of handling it back then, but I think he did the best he could for who he was. He was afraid that others would find out. You’re right, people make it shameful. It’s not. It’s only shameful for the person that does it to the kids. The family is always left to suffer. Your dad might have blamed you for a number of years because his wife was gone because you spoke up. He wouldn’t feel that way today, but that was then, this is now. I’m sorry I searched for her. I’m sorry I dug into your past without asking. I’m sorry I brought up all of these bad feelings. I’m sorry I couldn’t just leave well enough alone. I’m sorry. Are we all right?” Blair asked unable to keep his fear from his voice.

Jim pulled him into his arms and said, “I was afraid that you wouldn’t want me anymore. Damaged goods and all that. God, I’m such a basket case sometimes.”

“Babe, you’re always going to be in my life. It would take a hell of a lot more then this to break us up, right?” Blair asked still in Jim’s arms.

Jim kissed Blair’s neck and answered, “Yes, a lot more than this. I love you too.”

Blair leaned back into the sofa pulling Jim along with him. “I’m exhausted, are you?”

“Yes, I’m ready for bed whenever you are,” Jim replied.

“Let’s go to bed then and hold each other. We need to remind one another of what we mean to each other. We can show that with lying in each other’s arms all night long. I don’t want you to let me go even once,” Blair ordered.

“I won’t let you go. I promise to never let you go,” Jim said solemnly.

They walked up the stairs together, hand in hand, stripped their clothes and defenses then slid into bed. Jim was the first one to reach out and take a hold grabbing Blair and holding on for dear life. Blair was certain that Jim wasn’t going to ever let him go. Not just in bed, but in life. He held on just as tight, banishing not only his own fears but Jim’s deep hidden ones as well. Blair smiled as he fell asleep, Jim following close behind.

The end

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Notes: Thank you to Lisa for naming this baby and thank you to Escargoat for the prompt and finally thank you to Jen for doing the Give and Take Prompt again this year. A huge hug for my beta’s, Kelly and Trixx, who help me out more than they will ever know. Thank you to Amy for the gorgeous cover. A special thank you to Trixx who pushes me when I really need it and helps me through the nervous breakdown, that’s called my life.