I Can Always Pretend
Words Don't Make It Real
Author: Clea Saal
Fandom: The Sentinel
Rating: 13+
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Words Don't Make It Real

It was almost 2:00 A.M. by the time Blair made it back to the loft. He tried to let himself in quietly, even though he knew Jim would hear him. He wasn't expecting Jim to be still up.

"Where have you been, Chief?"

"Jim, what are you doing? You startled me, man!"

"I was waiting for you and you didn't answer my question."

"I needed to think. No big deal."

"Yes, I imagine you did. Are you ready to talk?"

"About?"

"About whatever it was that caused you to attack a defenseless wall unprovoked."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't lie to me. You are the one who taught me how to detect a lie remember?"

"OK, so, maybe I do know what you are talking about, but it's still none of your business... and how did you learn about the wall?"

"Scent, plus I found a shard of your mug... wasn't too difficult to piece the whole scene together. I know what happened and how it happened, now I just need to figure out why it happened."

"This isn't some case, man. There's no crime here... last time I checked breaking a mug was not a prosecutable offense. If it were the whole PD would be swamped."

"Blair, cut it out. I'm not in the mood for games. What happened?"

"Nothing."

"And if you say that often enough you may end up believing it."

"I don't know, OK? One moment I was making myself some tea and then the next thing I know I got really pissed for no real reason."

"Why?"

"As I said, no real reason."

"Can you define no real reason?"

"Funny, Jim."

"Wasn't supposed to be. What were you thinking?"

"That something should be different."

"Different how?"

"I was trying to see if there was anything different in my life and I couldn't find anything."

"I'm still not following you."

"I'm not following myself."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I don't know what happened. I don't know why I got so upset, I just did. I've been trying to clear my head for hours and it's just not working."

"OK, forget the lack of provocation, and tell me what happened."

"I forgot about Naomi. How could I forget?"

"About what happened to her?"

Blair just nodded.

"And then what happened?"

"I just started looking around, trying to see if anything was different, but I couldn't find anything... something should be different and I just couldn't take it."

"And that's when you threw that mug."

"Yes."

"And then what happened?"

"I cleaned it up. I didn't want you to know."

"Why not?"

"I guess I was embarrassed."

"And then you took off."

"I just wanted to clear my head, I never expected to be out for so long. I'm sorry."

"It's OK, I chose to wait up for you, so it's not your fault."

"Can we go to bed now? I'm beat."

"No."

"What do you mean 'no'?"

"This can't go on any longer, Blair. We have to talk about it."

"Can't it at least wait until tomorrow?"

"I'd rather do it now."

"Why?"

"You really want me to answer that one?"

"I'm fine, Jim, really."

"The wall begs to differ."

"You should know." Blair mumbled, knowing that Jim would pick it up.

"It's not going to work, Chief. You are not going to distract me or piss me off. We are going to talk."

"And what do you want me to say?"

"I want you to stop trying to push me away."

"I'm not doing that. I just have some things I have to work out on my own first."

"No, you don't. You are not alone. What do I have to do to get that through to you?"

"It's not that simple. There are things I need to understand."

"Have you considered the possibility that you are thinking too much? You are trying to deal with your mother's death almost as if it were a logic problem. It's not about..."

"Don't say that!"

"Don't say what? What is it that you don't want me to say?"

"THAT!"

"What? 'Your mother's death'? That's what you don't want me to say? We've been tiptoeing around those words for weeks, Blair. I know you don't like hearing them, and I'm willing to bet you are doing your best to think in euphemisms, but that doesn't change the facts. You want to work things out? Then the first thing you have to do is come to terms with those words. It happened, nothing can change it, and all the embellishments you can think of won't make a difference. Naomi is not 'gone', she is dead and it's time..."

"STOP IT!"

"Why? Because me saying it makes it real? It is real whether I say it or not."

"I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THIS!"

"I know you don't want to, but I think you have to."

"That's rich coming from you!"

"Yes, well, that should tell you how strongly I feel about this. You can't go on hiding."

"I just don't want it to be real."

"It's not the words that make it real, Chief."

"I know that, at least on an intellectual level, but still... I mean, I hate that I have to keep reminding myself about it, you know? I want to forget, but then I feel guilty about forgetting, and it just won't stop!"

"I know, Chief. This all came about in the worst possible way and I know you've been trying to cope, but you don't have to do it on your own."

"I just want a chance to say goodbye, you know?"

"And why don't you?"

"Why don't I what?"

"Give yourself a chance to say goodbye."

"Well, it's not like I can."

"Why not? I mean, I know you never got a chance to attend her funeral but that doesn't mean you are not entitled to say goodbye in your own way... I'm not saying that a trip to Cambodia is necessarily the best idea here, though I'm willing to go with you if that's what you want, but maybe you can think of something you can do here."

"Like what? I mean, I know Naomi wouldn't have wanted a somber memorial service or anything like that."

"We'll think of something, Chief, either something you can do alone, or something we can share with our friends, that's up to you. Just remember that you are not the only person in Cascade who wants a chance to say goodbye."

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Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, I don't own the concepts, I make no money, I make no sense and I get no sleep. This is done for fun and I promise to put the characters back where I found them once I'm done playing with them.


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