Run, Naomi, Run
Summary: Naomi deals with many regrets.
Warnings, Ratings: It's after TSbBS and Blair is 30 and a cop. Fan Rated Suitable for Teenagers
Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, Paramount and the SciFi Channel. No money is being made. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was written by ljc with the love of the show in mind.
Naomi clutched her ticket tightly as she stood looking out of the rain lashed windows. Even with the bad weather the airport was busy this weekend. She'd taken standby just to get out of town, out of Cascade. She needed to go.
She'd thought this trip would settle some of the pain of the dissertation mess. So had Blair, she'd learned. She reached into her handbag and retrieved the gift Blair had given her. It was just a small framed photo but ... it had seemed too painful somehow ... too evocative of memories long buried. She'd barely unwrapped it before she'd made her excuses and left for the airport. The picture was of her and Blair at the Police Academy graduation. He was so proud of himself, and he'd been so grateful that she'd come to show her support. Of course, she couldn't stay then either. She'd left right after the ceremony, only giving him the flimsiest of excuses, like she had tonight. She knew that she had hurt him again, but she couldn't stay.
She ran her fingers lightly over the embossed figures of the frame. It was wonderful craftsmanship; spare and simply carved mother and son figures reminiscent of the pendants you see everywhere.
A gust of wind drew her attention back to the window and the wild squall that battered and drenched the airport in dismal darkness. She shuddered at seeing the rain. She tried to stay in sunnier, warmer places. Somewhere that didn't bring back memories of one certain rainy day. But the memories were coming and she felt perhaps that she deserved to remember the pain, because ... wasn't it all her fault?
She leaned into the cold glass and stared into the darkness. She never noticed her tears, but she remembered the tears she'd shed that day. It was the day she turned fifteen. The doctor at the clinic had told her she was pregnant and that he'd have to contact her parents.
She'd been in shock for a while, and she'd walked home in the rain. Her frantic thoughts sped through her mind; memories of 'him'. She'd tried so hard to stay away from 'him', but he was Daddy's friend. She knew her mom and dad were planning her birthday party for that evening, but she couldn't go. 'He'd' be there ... and she couldn't explain. He'd already threatened her to keep 'their' secret. He'd threatened not only her, but her Dad and Mom. But worst of all, he'd told her what she had no trouble believing, that they'd take his word over hers anyway.
She wrapped her arms about her middle as she walked the rainy streets that day. She thought of her cousin, Emma. She knew that they'd sent her away to have her baby, and she'd come back so pale and sad. They'd finally sent her away to school. Naomi had written her several times but had never received a reply.
She wept, because what she planned to do would destroy the life she'd known. She went into her home through the back door. She packed some things and decided that she had to leave a letter. She couldn't leave without telling them that she had taken Daddy's money; the little stash he kept for emergencies. She explained, too, about the baby, but not about the father because she was afraid of what 'he' would do.
After Blair was born, she called them. Daddy was stiff and formal. He asked if she needed more money. He never asked to see Blair. He never asked if she wanted to come home. He never even asked who the father was.
She'd told him she was doing alright but it was tough raising a child alone. She'd hoped for forgiveness, or something, maybe just a hint of understanding. She wanted to come home, but she wouldn't ask. Instead, Daddy told her he would set up an account she could draw on if she needed it. She knew it was more than she deserved. It was all her fault so there was no going home. She just said, “Thank you, sir.” That was it. The last contact they had. The next contact she attempted was too late. They were both gone in a terrible accident.
After that she contacted her grandparents. She felt that Blair should know some of his family before it was too late. That was the first time she left Blair for more than a few hours. It was so good to ... to be free for a while. Not for long, because she came back in a couple of days. Not for long, because she hated herself for feeling that way, but the freedom of it was wonderful.
She'd had a child ... too young. She'd tried to care for him ... alone. Too young, too alone ... it was too much. Was it wrong to feel that way? She found herself desperate for relief from the burden, and God help her, she did feel that Blair was a burden. Anyone that seemed enamored of her lovely, bright child was eyed as a possible caregiver, however temporary. Oh, she knew from her own experience that adults were not always to be trusted. She did her best to be careful. But the relief she felt when she escaped those little hands, when those grief stricken wails faded in the distance, when she didn't have to dress him, feed him ... be there for him ... how could she have felt that way? He was abandoned at any whim, to strangers that didn't love him, but at least to people that she believed would feed and shelter him. She loved him, she did, but it didn't ease her guilt because it was all her fault.
It became the pattern of her life, and unfortunately, Blair's. She wanted to be a good mother. She tried so hard. She saw other hippie girls as they carried their children on their hips with hardly a care, it seemed. Yet every time she held her child she could see the accusation in his eyes, hear the reproach in his cries, feel the guilt until she had to run away from the burden once again.
She sought relief from many quarters. The hippie lifestyle let her try many things without reproach. She tried to find love, but it always seemed to slip away. She threw herself into causes, always searching for something, trying to connect with something important, something to redeem her, something to lessen her guilt.
She thought it would be better when he grew a little older, that he'd surely come to understand. Instead he tried to hide his pain, made excuses for her when she had to leave, and told her he had a wonderful time while she was gone. He didn't cling any more. He knew she didn't like it. He thought it was his fault that she abandoned him. He tried so hard to be 'grown up' because he thought it was his fault. He blamed himself for his mother's abandonment ... and she let him. But the fault was hers!
It was such a relief that he wanted to go to college early. She knew he'd do fine. He was good at fitting in. But what kind of mother would leave her sixteen year old child at college to fend for himself? She'd called, sometimes. She even visited for a few days here and there. But holidays were too hard. Birthdays, too.
'Mother and Child' ... she could never again say that he was her baby. He had grown up to be a gentle and caring person, but she'd only begun to see his real strength, his inner strength, when she'd confronted Captain Banks months ago. Now, he was thirty years old and a cop, and he roomed with a cop.
She was so glad he had Jim. She really was. She chuckled hysterically ... half sobbing ... because she thought that Jim was probably a better mother to Blair than she'd ever been, and she'd almost destroyed that, too.
Blair had always been so glad to see her, but lately there was an air of desperation. She remembered once again the child trying so hard to be an adult, trying so hard not to cling to her, so afraid to need her too much that she would run away and never come back.
She remembered when he was eleven or maybe twelve. He'd tried to show her that he didn't need her at all. He'd pushed her away. He'd gone from project to project, from stranger family to stranger family seemingly without a thought. He'd been punishing her by rejecting her and her abandonment of him.
But that didn't last long. He wasn't that cold or unfeeling that he could hide his feelings for long. He allowed the need to show again but it was muted, and he didn't cling anymore when she returned. He could send her on her way, because she needed it, and he welcomed her when she could stop running and give her love again. She thought he'd learned to 'detach with love'. She couldn't remember now why she thought it was so important to learn that, but she knew that it was her fault that at sixteen he was so grown up.
He'd tried so hard to be grown up.
But he didn't find a home until he was 25.
Tears. She'd never cried for herself or for Blair before. Why now when Blair was settled and happy and had a home, none of which she had provided for him? She cried because she was happy for him, sad for herself. He'd found by staying in one place, what she'd been searching for her whole life ... a place, or a someone, that could be home.
She put the photograph back in the box. Why had Blair given it to her? Was it a statement of love? An apology? Forgiveness? Could she face him again? She'd thought about her decisions during her life and was having a hard time explaining them away even to herself. She picked up her suitcase and cashed in her ticket and headed back to the loft.
Jim opened the door. She knew Jim was a sentinel. She knew he heard her coming; had heard her outside their door for almost ten minutes before she could get up the courage to knock. She was grateful that he gave her the time to compose herself because she wasn't running anymore and she was a little afraid. She was grateful for the time, for the consideration, even though she knew the consideration was for Blair, to make sure she wasn't going to run away again.
Jim could be so ... unreadable; his face so impassive, not like Blair at all thank goodness. But Blair loved him like family, like he loved her maybe. She surprised Jim by dropping her bag and giving him a gentle hug, one that a big strong man like Jim could easily have broken if he wanted. She whispered so softly, “Thank you for giving him a family.”
Then she turned to Blair with her tears running freely. That was so unlike her, that she cried so easily tonight. She faced her son, “I've stopped running ... at least I'm going to try. That doesn't mean I'll never move from place to place again, but I'll try to be here when you need me. I know it's kind of late and I know I have a lot to answer for. Most of all, I know I need your forgiveness. I think I've finally grown up enough to ask for it. I know I can never make up for all that we've missed, but I want to know the man that my son has become, and if I don't stop running I never will.”
Blair didn't deny any of it. He was too smart for that. But she saw his hope as he said, “Please stay, Mom. Stay.”