Disclaimers: The standard dress characters are not mine, but Pet Fly's. I get no money for this, but have a great time doing it.
Special thanks to Arianna, my beta, who keeps me on my toes.
Thank you to wolfpup for the amazing home.
Spoilers: TSbyBS definitely.
Warnings: Could definitely be considered AU
Special Notes: Wrote this in a bit of snit, sorry for the mood. Takes place about 7 years after TSbyBS.
Read these stories in the following order. 1: "The End of A Guide" 2: "Last Letters" 3: "Fight for Control". 4: "Another Life"
"Dad, mom says if you don't get up right now, you're gonna be late," the young girl exclaimed, bouncing on the bed.
"Alright, alright Danica," her father croaked out drowsily. "I'm up!" He dragged himself from the bed and grabbed a quick shower and went to join his family for breakfast.
Kissing his wife, he took his seat at the table and reached for the butter for his toast.
"Liam, please don't forget to pick the kids up at school today. I have that meeting that I can't get out of," his wife begged softly planting a kiss on top of his head, rifling through his short brown curls.
"I won't, but you guys better be ready," he teased, shaking his finger at his kids, smiling.
"We will, daddy," Aaron promised, bouncing in his chair.
"Okay and you two don't give the preschool any trouble today," he ordered playfully, turning to the younger children at the table.
"We promise to be good, daddy," Simon and Anya cooed together.
"Okay, I'll see you guys at three," he said, rounding the table and planting a kiss on his wife's beautiful lips. "Love you, Suz. See ya tonight."
Before leaving for work, he kissed each of his four children on the head as they tried to wiggle away from him.
"Daddy!" Anya giggled as he mussed her long curls.
"Gotta go," he called out, heading for the dark green Expedition parked in the drive.
Liam walked through the door of his office, setting his briefcase on his desk. "What's on the agenda for today, Michael?" he asked his tall, lanky assistant.
"Well, sir. You have meetings at 10, noon, 2, 4, and 5 o'clock today," he clucked happily, smiling at his boss. He loved his job. Mr. Jacobs was very understanding about his family obligations and had been one of the best men that he had ever worked for.
Liam paused as he considered his schedule. "Wait a minute, Michael, see if you can bump the 4 and 5 o'clock meetings back to tonight after 7 or tomorrow. I have to pick up the kids from school today," he replied with a smile.
"I could do it if you want me to, sir," Michael volunteered helpfully. "I have several errands to run later this afternoon."
"No, I'm kinda looking forward to it. Too many meetings, not enough time with the kids. In fact, bump those two meetings to tomorrow. I think we'll have a family night. You and your family are welcome to join us, Michael," Liam extended the invitation.
"Thank you, sir, but my wife has been trying to get me to spend one on one time with the kids and I have to baby-sit so she can go out with the girls," he said, his expression caught between a smile and a grimace. "We received another letter from the Cascade Police Department. They're requiring your services on a case, sir. The letter's from a Detective Jim Ellison. He is very insistent that you answer the summons," he paused as he watched his boss and friend flinch at the name. "Sir, are you okay?" Michael voiced with genuine concern.
"I'm fine, Michael. Could you hold all my calls for the next hour, please?" Liam asked, a lump firmly lodged in his throat. Oh, God. Now there's a name I thought I'd never hear again, Liam thought sadly, trying to regain his balance.
"Yes, sir. What should I tell Detective Ellison? This is the fourth communication we've received in two weeks. He did threaten to subpoena you, if necessary," Michael warned, still surprised that his boss did not do any business in Cascade. Two years ago, Rainier University had needed an appraisal on some artifacts brought in from Central America and his boss flat out refused.
"Very well. Tell Detective Ellison that I will meet him tomorrow morning at 10 and then please clear the rest of my calendar for tomorrow. Now, Michael, I need a few minutes, please," Liam finished, shooing off his assistant, the pain of the encroaching headache almost too much to bear.
Liam Jacobs took a deep centering breath. Why now? he thought wildly. I spent years putting my life back together and now when I can forget that Blair Sandburg ever existed, the past comes back and bites me in the ass.
Liam threw himself into the files for the morning meetings. He was running appraisals for several Universities on the East Coast as well as a few well-known corporations. He couldn't afford to let himself get distracted. He would have to think about the whole mess later on.
Calling Michael into his office, he decided to resume his day. Given the circumstances of his meeting in Cascade, tomorrow would be even more difficult, if not nearly impossible.
Liam laid on the bed next to his beautiful wife. He couldn't sleep.
"Liam, what's the matter?" Suz whispered, her fingers lightly tracing his face.
"I'm sorry, Suz. I can't sleep. I have a meeting in Cascade tomorrow," he informed her quietly, picking at the blanket with one hand as he twirled his fingers in her hair with the other.
"Are you okay?" she asked quietly, knowing he hadn't been to Cascade in a very long time.
"I'll be fine. It's just a lot to process," he whispered into her hair as he teased her neck with gentle kisses.
She giggled at his attention. "Liam, you don't have to go," she reminded him gently, rubbing her hands over his bare chest.
He shuddered as her cold hands moved gently across his chest. "They've threatened to subpoena me if I don't. It'll be okay, Suz. I promise," he said, kissing her brow, losing himself in her scent and the touch of her delicate fingers.
Liam walked into the Cascade Police Department and began his ascent up the stairs to the 6th floor, the location of Major Crimes. Detective Ellison had accepted the meeting time thankfully.
He was met at the door by a Detective he didn't recognize. "Good morning, my name is Liam Jacobs and I'm here for a 10 o'clock meeting with Detective Ellison." Liam couldn't believe how nervous he was.
"Right this way, Mr. Jacobs. Ellison asked me to show you into the Captain's office. They had court this morning, but they should be back any minute," the detective advised him, leaving him to sit in the office alone.
Liam paced the office nervously as he waited for them to arrive. Simon's office had scarcely changed. The pictures of Daryl on his desk were a shock as he realized for the first time that Daryl was no longer a boy, but a man. A police officer, from the uniformed picture on the Captain's desk. He allowed the memories to wash over him, hoping that this meeting would not go as badly as his overactive imagination had imagined.
Ten minutes later, he was looking at the books on the bookcases as the door opened.
"Mr. Jacobs, sorry to keep you waiting," Captain Banks apologized politely. "Thank you for finally meeting with us. We understand that you are very busy..."
"Blair?" Jim asked hesitantly, Simon looking at him as if he'd lost his mind.
Liam Jacobs turned to face them. "Hello Simon," he responded as he took in the surprise on the Captain's face. "Jim, how have you been?" he whispered, suddenly stunned by the long dead emotions that coursed through him.
"What the hell?" Simon cursed, his eyes wide with shock.
"Something like that. There was a reason that I didn't want this meeting. You threatening me with a subpoena kinda made it necessary. Sorry," Blair apologized, reveling in the fact that they were at least as blown away as he was by this meeting.
Jim and Simon stood open mouthed unsure of where to proceed.
"I take it you need me to authenticate the artifacts being left at this latest string of ritualistic murders," Blair asked all business, his eyes moving from one man to the other.
"I think we need a little more than that!" Jim snapped, the classic Ellison charm working overtime.
Blair took a seat. He knew he'd been wise to clear his schedule. His cell phone rang. "Excuse me, gentlemen," he said, stepping to the back of the office. "Yes, Michael, what is it?" he asked irritated at the interruption. This meeting would be difficult enough to get through without drawing it out.
"Yeah, put her through," Blair paused, his face paling. "Mrs. Danzinger, is she alright? Did you call for Aaron? Good, keep them in your office," he ordered gently. "No, don't call her. She's in meetings all day and is unavailable. I'm in a meeting in Cascade. I'm leaving now. I should be there in about an hour," he paused turning toward the two stunned gentlemen.
Jim's stance stiffened as he realized that Blair was leaving.
"I'm sorry, but I'll need to do this later," Blair informed the two stunned men.
"I don't think so, Blair," Jim managed, his voice tight with emotion.
"Look that was my daughter's school. She had an attack and I have to get there. Now excuse me," he snapped, gathering his things without a second glance at the two men.
"We'll go with you, Sandburg," Jim replied, grabbing his coat.
"NO! Look here's my card. We can set up another appointment. Now I need to get to my kids!" Blair exclaimed, heading for the door.
"We need the item authenticated. We'll bring it along and follow you out there," Simon explained, not taking no for an answer.
They rushed out the door and were on their way.
Blair tore through the school, focused on getting to his daughter and relieved that Simon and Jim agreed to stay in the car. It never looked good to show up at your children's school with the police in tow. He turned the last corner and ran into the nurse's office. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Danzinger. I got here as fast as I could. How is she?" he asked, barely able to catch his breath.
"She's sleeping. Aaron's with her now," the nurse replied directing him to the small room in the back of the office. "Simon and Anya should be here soon. Their teacher was informed that you would be here early," Mrs. Danzinger assured him with a smile.
"Thank you," Liam replied gratefully.
Aaron came charging from the room at the sound of his father's voice. "Daddy," he cried running up to the worried man.
"Aaron, are you and Danica okay?" Blair asked worriedly, pulling the young boy into his embrace.
Aaron smiled at his father's presence and answered wearily, "We're fine, daddy. Just wanna go home," he pleaded, as the teacher's aide brought in his two younger children.
"Okay, let's get your sister and the little ones and then we'll head home," Blair replied, heading toward the other end of the school.
Blair gathered his children up and headed for the Expedition. Once home, he settled the kids in the family room. "I need to go talk to those men now. You kids behave, okay? No interruptions, except in an emergency," Blair cautioned them as Jim and Simon looked at the kids with awe.
"Daddy, who are they?" Danica's curiosity finally got the better of her.
"Sorry, kids. This is Captain Simon Banks and Detective Jim Ellison. Daddy knew them a long time ago. Jim, Simon these are my kids Danica, Aaron, Simon and Anya," Blair introduced the children warmly.
"Kids, I meant it when I said no interruptions, okay?" Blair asked, paternal sternness evident in his voice.
Simon smiled as he thought of all the times he had used that same tone with Blair in the bullpen.
"This way," Blair directed, leading them down the hall to his office.
"I can't believe you have four kids," Simon whispered, his eyes wide with shock.
Blair smiled warmly. "They're great. Aren't they?" he asked rhetorically.
Blair entered the office quietly and turned on the white noise generator on his desk. Jim shifted uncomfortably as his ears popped.
"What's going on, Blair?" Jim and Simon demanded simultaneously.
"Sit down, it's gonna be a long story." Blair gestured to the sofa in his office. "Sorry about the white noise generator, but I don't want the kids to hear this," Blair began a bit shakily.
"After the dissertation fiasco," he continued, looking up at both men, "I realized I couldn't be a cop. I knew in my heart I could never pick up a gun and fire it at another human being," Blair paused, his voice heavy with emotion. "As I thought about it more and more, it began to eat away at me."
"Chief, why didn't you say anything?" Jim demanded, his voice thick.
Blair raised his hand to command their silence. "I tried to talk to you, Jim. Don't you remember? You just kept pushing me away. I couldn't take that hurt anymore," he whispered, his eyes filled with remembered pain. "You were always pushing," Blair reminded the Sentinel, meeting his steel blue eyes. "One day, you pushed too far. I vaguely remember packing my bag and writing the note that would take me from your life," Blair continued.
"But..." Jim interrupted.
"No!" Blair exclaimed, holding up his hand to still the coming protest. "MY heart, my soul couldn't take the pain of your coldness... your indifference. I didn't feel like I had anywhere else to turn. My mother was out of the country moping about her screw up and nobody at the University or the Station made me feel like they wanted me around," Blair finished.
Simon sighed. "Blair, I'm sorry that..."
Blair interrupted him. "It was a long time ago, Simon. I'm not that man anymore.
Jim's face twisted in remembered anger. "Yeah, I noticed. I tried to find you, Chief. It was like you disappeared off the face of the earth." Jim slapped his knee. "I know that I screwed up, Sandburg. I wish it could have been different. After you left," Jim paused, remembering the emptiness that plagued him with the loss of his Guide, his friend. "After you left, I couldn't seem to get a handle on the senses," Jim admitted aloud for the first time. "I had to sleep in your room for six months until my senses started to level out."
"I wish I could be sorry for that, but I'm not. You pushed me away, not the other way around. I tried with everything I had. You have no idea how much it killed me to walk out that door and never look back. NO IDEA!" Blair yelled, his voice strained.
"Why change your name?" Simon inquired.
Bringing his emotions back under control, he answered, "I tried for nearly a year to find work. Amazingly, nobody wanted to hire a self-professed fraud and a liar," Blair spat, his laugh hollow. "I couldn't get work at a 7-Eleven."
Jim and Simon nodded perceptibly, their expressions pained.
"Well, anyway. Jim, you remember my mentor, Eli Stoddard. He approached me and offered me a second chance. I'd known him since I was 16 and he was enraged that I would piss away my career."
Blair chuckled as he remembered Eli's reaction. "Eli suggested that I change my name and turn in my dissertation. I changed my name to Liam Jacobs," Blair told them as he laughed. "You know Liam means 'unwavering protector'?" he asked, making eye contact with both men. "Given the circumstances, I thought it appropriate. I wanted to keep some part of my name so I changed my last name to Jacobs," he finished, sighing deeply.
"That was the hardest part. After 30 years as Blair Sandburg. Coming up with a new name and identity is not as easy as it looks. Well, anyway. Eli arranged for me to finish my doctorate as long as the public was unaware, of course. Chancellor Edwards would not waver on this," Blair recounted, his voice dripping with disdain.
"How did Eli do it?" Jim asked curiously.
"Eli convinced her that since I never turned the dissertation in, I could sue her and the University for wrongful dismissal and a bunch of other crap. In the end, she relented and allowed me to defend the diss in a closed session," Blair reported a bit coldly.
"Once I received my PhD, I moved to Seattle to begin my new life as an antiquities appraiser about 6 years ago. I met Suzanne 3 months later and we married within the year. The kids, of course, came later," he finished, smiling at the memory of seeing his kids for the first time.
"Not to be indelicate Sandburg, but two of those kids are a little too old to be yours and what kind of condition does Danica have? She seemed fine," Simon interrogated.
"She's a Sentinel," Jim replied knowingly. "Aaron's her Guide."
Blair nodded in confirmation. "Suzanne is a social worker and found Danica before it was too late. She noticed that she was calmer when Aaron was around. We decided to adopt them as our own. Danica is 12 and Aaron is 8," Blair explained. "The two younger ones are Simon James who is 4 and Anya is 3," he finished, smiling as he saw their stunned expressions.
"Simon James?" They asked in unison, smiling.
Blair looked at the floor before meeting their eyes. "That was my test," he began. "See I had a lot of unresolved anger about the diss and the circumstances surrounding it," Blair explained, pausing as if to decide to finish. "Naming my son after the two of you helped me to deal with the negative emotions I was still feeling. I needed to forgive to rid my heart and soul of the anger that was slowly poisoning me. After all, you were two of the best men I'd ever known and even the best men make mistakes," he stated without bitterness.
Jim looked into Blair's eyes and couldn't reconcile the loss, he had seen there. "I'm sorry for all that I put you through, Blair," Jim apologized, knowing it could never be enough.
"I should have been more supportive," Simon self-deprecated, unable to meet Blair's eyes.
"Really guys, it's okay. I have a great life here! I love my beautiful wife and kids and have a job that I love doing," Blair beamed, his eyes twinkling. "But please, call me Liam. Blair Sandburg died 6 years ago and I vowed that he would stay dead," Blair explained.
Jim and Simon flinched at the conviction in his voice.
"Does your wife know?" Jim asked quietly, hating that Blair had to deny his own name.
"Yes, she knows everything," Blair replied evenly.
"Mom's home," Danica hollered from the next room.
"Speak of the devil," Blair whispered under his breath.
"I heard that," Suzanne Jacobs teased from the office door. "Liam, what's going on?"
"These are the men from the Cascade PD that needed me to authenticate those artifacts," Blair explained uneasily, unsure how she would react.
"I'm Suzanne Jacobs, you must be Simon Banks," she introduced herself shaking his hand. "And that make you, Detective James Ellison," she finished a bit coldly. "I'm warning you both, if you came here to hurt my husband, you'd better think twice because that is not something that I will allow," she warned sternly, her eyes blazing.
"We have no intentions of hurting him again," Jim replied quietly, barely able to meet her fiery gaze.
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Detective," she responded. "Just make sure yours are honorable as well. That being said, would you like to stay for dinner?"
"My wife's a hell of a cook!" Blair beamed, his arm around his wife's waist as she stood next to him.
"Sure, We'd love to," Simon replied warmly.
"It's been a long time, Chief. Are you sure that you want to...?" Jim asked, hoping that he was getting the additional chance he didn't deserve.
Blair nodded affirmatively. "Yeah, I'm sure," he replied gently.
Suzanne smiled as she realized her husband seemed almost relaxed. "Great, we're having vegetarian lasagna. Dinner will be ready in an hour. Why don't you boys get reacquainted," she offered, kissing her husband lovingly before leaving to make dinner.
"Thanks Suz," Blair caressed her face as she pulled away from him.
"You're wife is something else," Jim mentioned with a smile.
"That she is! She's the best thing to ever happen to me," Blair admitted openly. "She believed in me when I couldn't even believe in myself."
"Where did you two meet?" Jim questioned.
"At a shelter that I was working at in Downtown Seattle," Blair responded, warmed by the memories. He remembered how steadfastly she defended anyone who came to the shelter. It was that determination and spiritedness that won his heart. That and her brilliant smile. Her legs were pretty nice too. He chuckled at the thought.
Simon, Jim and Liam spent the next hour getting to know each other again. Talking about the lives they had led since they'd last seen each other. The tension had dropped away and there was genuine friendship shining through. For the first time in years, Blair felt as though he'd made peace with his past.
"You should come to the department and visit some of the guys. They all missed you when you left," Simon suggested.
"Maybe you guys can come here for a barbeque, but I can't go back to the department, Simon," Blair admitted, meeting his eyes. "Blair Sandburg's life was the department, mine isn't. My life is my wife, my kids and artifact appraisals. Feel free to call me when you need an appraisal done, but my life is here," Liam finished firmly.
Simon nodded his understanding as Liam took in the pained look of his Sentinel's eyes. Yes he still considered Jim his Sentinel and could even admit to himself at times that Jim had been his holy grail. But that covenant was broken long ago and although a Guide and a Sentinel at the beginning of time were inexplicably bound forever, he knew that he and Jim could survive apart and had for the past seven years.
His wife pulled him from such heavy thoughts when she announced that dinner was served an hour later.
Jim smiled warmly at the new life his Guide had created from the rubble of his past. He knew that Blair was strong. He knew that at one time, he needed his Guide almost as much as he needed oxygen. His senses did seem a bit clearer, if not stronger in Blair's presence, but over time he had learned to adjust to prevent the zone outs. Shaking himself from his thoughts, he joined Blair... Liam and his family at the table.
Liam looked around the table taking in his wife, children and two very old and dear friends. He couldn't believe that it had only been seven years since his life fell apart and six years since his rebirth. Looking from face to face around the table, he had never been so content. He had a beautiful wife, Suzanne, and four wonderful children. He had friendships worth rekindling. He felt a warmth pervade him and knew to be grateful.
He had walked through the fires of living hell and had done more than survive. He'd built a life that he was proud of - a life that he loved.