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Turning Point

by ljc

6/05



Summary: Maybe Blair had lots of anger. After TSbBS and Blair is a cop.



Warnings for some uncomfortable situations between adult and child; also very brief allusions to previous child abuse.



Rated PG-13.



Unbetaed.



Disclaimer: All characters, places, and objects from The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly Productions, UPN, and Paramount. All stories are written with the love of the show in mind. No money is being made. All stories are property of the author.



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Blair's heart beat faster. Breaths panted in quick succession. Running. Running. Toward the light. Yes. There. Home.



“Blair. Wake up Chief. Come on buddy. Easy does it,” Jim spoke gently and dodged a flailing hand.



Blair's eyes popped open and the frantic breaths stopped altogether as he stared into the darkness.



Jim wasn't too alarmed at first, but Blair had gone from limply thrashing to still and breathless, and it continued for longer than Jim felt it should have. He grabbed Blair's shoulders, giving one shake, two, then several successive small shakes. Nothing relieved the rigidity, or the stark fear in his friend's face. Compulsively he roughly embraced Blair, trying to melt the stiffness against his own body with little result. He was beginning to consider CPR when a sob tore from his oxygen starved friend. Jim slowly rocked and patted Blair, trying to soothe the panic, as his friend left bruises on his back.



“Buddy. It's alright. It's okay. Just breathe Blair, okay? Steady now. Breathe deeper.” Jim continued seemingly endlessly as Blair took long minutes to settle. Jim was worried about the cause of this little episode. Kincaid, Lash, Quinn, Alex. Even Golden swept through his mind. There could be too many causes. He'd have to wait for Blair to clue him in.



<>-<>



“It was just a generic running-from-the-monster nightmare, Jim. Jeez, I hate to say it but I have run up against a few,” Blair did hate to say it. Especially since it wasn't the reason for the nightmare. How could he tell Jim it was because Naomi was coming for a visit?



<>-<>



It's funny Sandburg didn't tell me his mom was coming for a visit. Maybe it slipped his mind after the nightmare. Jim had pressed him pretty hard about that. Jim sighed, maybe he didn't want to talk to him at all.



Academy training had been tough but they were through that and had settled into their 'cop' partnership with only a few strains. Damn it, why didn't Jim realize Blair would NEVER stay in the truck after he graduated? That was a strain on the partnership Jim hadn't realized he, himself, would have to deal with.



The gun Blair was required to carry wasn't as much of a concern as some of the others. Jim knew that Blair had long ago dealt with the fact that it was the person behind the gun that was the killer, not the gun. Blair had said once, half kiddingly, “Cops weren't often 'pigs'. They were the defensive line between the unknowing civilians and the bad guys.”



The real problem in Jim's mind was ... Blair. Blair, trying to prove himself. He wasn't a fraud, damnit! But he had to let everyone believe that he was a reformed fraud. That he was trying to make over his life, to 'redeem' himself in the eyes of his colleagues. What a crock of bs ...! Jim was terrified for Blair. This mindset was so totally wrong he hardly knew how to attack it. He'd tried a straightforward approach and Blair had just agreed. “Of course,” he'd said, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Then he'd gone on just the same, trying to 'prove himself'. To make himself accepted. And Jim knew ... he knew Blair was right. It was just so wrong.



The knock at the door startled Jim from his circling thoughts. He hadn't heard Naomi come in the building, or even approach the door. He greeted Naomi, but Blair hadn't come out to see her.



“Hey Chief, your mom's here,” called Jim. When there was no answer he went to lean in the open doorway. “Chief? I said your mom's ... ”



Blair swung his backpack up onto his shoulder as he flew through the doorway, nearly knocking Jim over, which was not an easy thing to do. “Gee, sorry Jim, Mom. I forgot an errand. I have to go. Be back soon. If not I'll call. Don't wait up.” He barely waved toward his mother on the way to the door. Didn't look once at Jim. Grabbed his keys and was gone, pelting down the stairs two or three at a time.



Naomi and Jim stood, shocked. Not by a flying Sandburg, but by the abruptness with no real explanation. Don't wait up? Naomi seemed to wilt onto a convenient chair and Jim stood, white faced, and hands clenched in ... fear.



Of course they waited.



<>



Naomi knew it was her arrival that had prompted Blair's departure. But why? Or, better, why now? The mess with Sid Graham and the dissertation had seemed to be behind them. But was it? Maybe she shouldn't be here when he came home. So he 'could' come home. Home. She gazed at the loft with more understanding than before that fiasco. This was her son's home, with his friend Jim, his partner, his sentinel. Perhaps she'd better go, for now at least. Blair hadn't seemed angry with her when they'd talked. If he was still angry, well, that couldn't be good for his aura. Maybe they just needed some more time and space apart then. If there were problems, they could work them out. Naomi said her goodbyes to Jim and left a short note with a contact number for Blair.



<>



Jim waited till midnight. He walked the block, up and down Prospect but there was no sign of Blair. He called a few of their friends but gave up when it grew late. He just hoped Blair knew he could come home. If it was a problem between them, Blair had to know he'd do his best to fix it.



<>-<>



Blair drove ... to an alnight mall. He didn't have a destination in mind when he left. But when he drove in and parked he thought, why not. He just needed a place that he could walk, pace really, where it was fairly safe and he wouldn't be found. He needed thinking space. Away from his concerned friend and Naomi.



He loved his mom. So much. And he was still so angry. But he couldn't say it. Not the anger. He couldn't. That was something you didn't do around Naomi. All that negative energy wasn't good for your karma or aura or whatever.



He remembered his nightmare from earlier in the week. Running to the light. To home. Not to Naomi. But to Jim. Was that weird or what? He knew his home now was with Jim, but Naomi was his mother!



And he knew he hadn't just been running toward home ... but away from Naomi.



And for years it had been ... Naomi. Not Mom. Oh God, Naomi! Why did you have to try to help? It was for him, Sid, wasn't it? Blair couldn't help wondering. He was sorry if Naomi had really been trying to help Blair, but he couldn't help thinking that Sid Graham had been a 'close' friend. Good old 'Uncle' Sid. Maybe Naomi was just looking for a way to get back together for awhile.



Blair wandered the mall until the security guards took notice. He did his best to be innocuous until he saw a fellow Academy graduate. He stopped to make small talk. Ted Bellows was just trying to make a little extra money moonlighting, for the coming addition to the family. Blair was glad for him and offered his congratulations. He asked Ted to warn off the security guards, to tell them he was a cop. When Ted wondered aloud, but quietly, if it was a stakeout, Blair had to confess that he'd needed a bit of distance from his roommate and a certain lady. He didn't tell Ted it was his mother and why he needed the distance. Then Ted jokingly warned him to watch out for the mall-walkers, this was one of their nights to walk for exercise. The gray-haired ladies were always in good spirits and they'd been known to scoop up unwary strollers in their midst.



Blair actually smiled for a moment as he continued his circuit of the mall. He walked for another hour before heading for some coffee. It seemed a good way to dodge the mall-walkers who had arrived enmass. He sat at the furthest cafe style table. There wasn't much business at this hour but he wanted to be alone with his thoughts still. He nursed his coffee till it was cold. By then it was nearly ten o'clock. He heard a small, tired child fighting his mother's hold on his hand.



“No. Please. Lucas, stop it. I can't carry you tonight. Mommy has too much to carry. Behave Lucas. Come on honey, I know you're tired ...”



The mother's litany dwindled into the echoing distance of the mall, leaving Blair with his own thoughts again.



**********

**********



“Come on Sweetie, it's just a little farther.”



“ 'have, Mommy. 'have,” said her tiny son.



Naomi was distracted by fatigue and worry and only tugged at her son's hand, “Yes, Sweetie. You do behave. You're a good boy. You always behave for Naomi don't you?”



**

**



Blair didn't know why they were running that time. He wasn't even two years old. But he sure knew what 'behave' meant. It meant that if he wasn't good Naomi would be mad. And he wanted his mother to love him, not be mad at him. He had tried so hard to keep up. To not be left behind.



**********

**********



“Oh Jack, stop it Jack,” giggled Naomi.



“Mama. Can I play too Mama?” asked the little boy.



“No Sweetie. Go read your books. You behave, like a good boy. Right baby?” Naomi whispered in Jack's ear.



**

**



Walking in while Naomi was fooling around was more embarrassing for him now than it was then. He hadn't really been old enough to understand. But Jack made him understand. Oh yes.



**********

**********



“Come on Sweetie. I'll only be a month, maybe two. Surely before school is out. Then we can take off to Arizona. You behave. Be a good boy for auntie Sunny. Bye. Love you,” as Naomi ran down the steps to Uncle Jordan.



**

**



She always seemed to be running away. And she didn't seem to mind that he was always left behind. No matter how well he tried to behave.



*********

*********



“Have you been good while I was away Sweetie? Don and I want to take you to Aspen with us. Oh, Blair. You will behave won't you? I told Don you were a good boy,” Naomi smiled but looked worriedly over her shoulder at Uncle Don.



**

**



Blair remembered him real well. He could never understand why Naomi stayed with him as long as she did unless she was afraid of him. He wondered if he ever hit her, too.



**********

**********



“Sweetie, didn't you miss me? Jesse said you were a good boy for her. That's my sweet Blair. Come here and give me a big welcome home hug. Now there, stand back so I can see you. My, how you've grown in just a few months! Well, now we can head down to Mexico for a little retreat. You remember my friend Maria? She said she'd be glad to have your help on the farm this summer. What do you think? We could be together on the weekends. Won't it be grand? Oh Sweetie, I missed you so much,” Naomi chattered on happily.



**

**



Oh God, Naomi. He had missed her so much. He had tried his best to be good all those years, all those times she left him with people he hardly knew. What else could he do but be a good boy, behave?

He'd tried to make the best of it. Each time he moved he had carefully put up the few photos and books he called his own. That was home until Naomi came to collect him again like a lost piece of luggage.


He wondered now what Naomi would have done if he hadn't behaved. If he hadn't welcomed her with open arms and a big smile when she finally got enough of ... whatever ... whoever, and went back to retrieve her good boy?



**********

**********



“Oh Sweetie you look so handsome. Are you sure you have everything settled? You took care of the scholarship papers and arranged the dorm and everything, right? Are you sure your campus job will be enough for spending money? Well Blair, you be a good boy ... Well I can't call you a boy now, can I? You're sixteen years old, and all grown up. I'll miss you Sweetie. You have my contact number? I should be there in a week or two. I'll try to be back to visit before the holidays, okay? Bye. Behave now,” and Naomi gave one last wave as the taxi drove off.



**

**



Blair had waited for her to turn around, to wave again. But she didn't.



<>-<>-<>-<>



Blair waved to Ted as he headed toward the exit. Naomi's ability to 'detach with love' was a painful reality in Blair's life. It was how Naomi lived her life ... for the moment. No luggage. No baggage. And that included her son. He figured it would always hurt. But he would always be the one to have to forgive and accept, or lose the one parent he had. 'Stability' was not on the Sandburg family crest, that's for sure.



He'd always tried to please his mother, always hiding the hurt and the anger. At least until the diss mess overwhelmed his automatic responses. He could hear the echo of that tiny Blair's tearful cries, “'have, Mommy. 'have.” And feel the fear of being left behind again and again. She had been his only family. The ties to her had been the only ties he had and if he had lost those ... he would have been alone.



But it wasn't like that now. Now there was Jim, and being a guide and a cop. But was Jim his one stable tie now? Had he transferred his 'biddable child' routine to Jim? Was there independence in that relationship? Was this just another version of his childhood fear of abandonment? No. The diss had shaken him badly. Shaken his confidence. His judgement. Made him doubt himself. But Blair had control of his own future now. He'd freely chosen it. Well. Maybe not exactly freely chosen ... but it was where he chose to be. He could have left if that was what he had wanted. He'd never been afraid to stand up to Jim. Never been afraid to show his anger, as Jim would surely testify. But he was still tied to Jim. He needed Jim, the friendship and the partnership, both sentinel and cop. But Jim needed him too. Like family needed family.



Naomi didn't need Blair. Never had.



With Jim there was friendship. And Blair had stability in his life now. He had a home and friends and a job that was rewarding. And he was a shaman/guide to a sentinel. Maybe he didn't need to 'behave' anymore. He didn't have to pretend to a happiness he didn't feel. He didn't have to hide the anger that had simmered so painfully just below the surface. It was safe to be himself now. He was Blair Sandburg: Detective, friend, guide. He was ... Sandburg, Blair, Chief, Darwin, Einstein, Guppy, neo-hippy witchdoctor punk. And that was plenty.



<>-<>



Blair walked slowly to his car. He glanced back at the mall and smiled. He'd sifted through some pretty painful memories in there. But hopefully he'd turned a corner. He felt somehow lighter, calmer, freer. He stared up at the moon and what few stars managed to outshine the city lights. Maybe it was time to just let the anger go. It had never served a useful purpose, except to distract from the hurt, the pain, and the fear. And if the anger was gone, maybe the rest would wither too.



Maybe he'd go home. Naomi would be gone on her way by now. And Jim would be waiting. He was sure.



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finis