Disclaimers: Boys not mine; I just borrow them from time to time when the muse moves me.

Special Thanks to my Beta Queen, Zoe, without whom I'd be doomed to a life of grammatical inaccuracy. Also God bless my beta Ari, who has the kindness and tenacity to ensure that what you read is worthy. Last, but most certainly not least, for my beautiful friend, Heather, whose incredible command of the English language allows her to provide me with individually needed words at a moment's notice.

Thank you to wolfpup for giving my work a great home.

Warnings: Death Story, H/C, Angst, Smarm, Some violence, and usually a bit of colorful language.

Spoilers: None to my knowledge.


Sam Mallory

I, I don't wanna say it
I don't wanna find another way
To make it through the day without you
I, I can't resist
Trying to find exactly what I miss
It's just another day without you.
Jon Secada

Blair sighed as he looked out over the water that seemingly stretched on to forever.

"You doin' okay kid?" his aged companion asked gently.

Blair lifted his blue eyes to meet the man's concerned gaze.

"Yeah, thanks Ruck. I'll be fine. It's just another day, you know. At least that's what they all keep telling me," Blair replied in a hollow voice filled with pain.

Rucker shook his head sadly. "Not to you, kid," he mumbled under his breath, unaware that he had been overheard.

Blair smiled at the sentiment. "No, I suppose not. I've been meaning to ask you..." Blair chimed in an attempt to alleviate the heaviness in the crisp sea air. He continued as Rucker looked up at him. "We've known each other for years now and you still call me kid. You do realize that I'm on the fast track to 40, right?" His eyes gleamed mischievously.

"That may be, but you'll always be the kid to me," Ruck baited, an enormous smile overtaking his rugged features.

Blair smiled in response. "Well, one of the great mysteries of the universe has been solved," Blair grumbled wryly.

Rucker patted him on the shoulder. "Well, now. I better get back to work before Andy calls in search and rescue to come get my ass. Take as much time as you need. And Blair?" He waited for those ocean blue eyes to look into his old tired ones. "You know he loved you, right?"

Blair's eyes glistened as he turned back toward the glistening water. He solemnly nodded, trying to retain what little control he had over his churning emotions.

Rucker squeezed his shoulder gently, then walked up to the lighthouse in search of Andy, shaking off his own morbid memories of this day.

Blair stared at the waves crashing below him. He'd come here right after it happened. Storm Island had been his refuge when he felt he had nowhere else to turn. The loft had become too quiet, almost the sacred silence like that of a mausoleum. Blair had sought refuge from the reporters, but mostly from his friends who kept assuring him he was not to blame. It was just another day in the life of a cop.

Blair trembled as he remembered the day with clarity. He could remember everything so clearly, from what they ate for breakfast that last day to the shots which ended his partner's life.

Jim had gone to question a witness about the death of her employer. Unbeknownst to anyone was the fact that she was obsessed with him. The man, Jason Wainright, owner of Wainright Industries, had entertained a brief, but damaging affair with the young woman. Felicia, the slighted young woman, had taken particular offense at being discarded by the older gentleman.

Blair blinked away the tears as the day came to life before his eyes.

"Come on, Jim. Let's knock off a little early so we have plenty of time to get to the Jags game. We can swing by Wainright Industries and finish that last interview with Felicia Ragsdale and then head over to the game. Grab some dinner on the way, you know?" Blair begged mercilessly before pulling out the big guns. "We haven't had a day off in over a week. Remember down time, Jim?"

Jim chuckled and caved under the constant pressure. "You win, Chief. One last interview and we call it a day. What do you want for dinner?"

Blair winced as his Sentinel's words came back to him. "One last interview," he remembered painfully. Damn, if we'd only known, he thought ruefully.

"Ms. Ragsdale, you were Mr. Wainright's personal assistant is that correct?" Jim's deep voice rang through his memory.

"Can you tell me where you were on the night in question."

"How often did you work late for Mr. Wainright?"

"What was your relationship to the victim?"

That was the question that was forever burned into my brain. It was the last question that he would ever ask a witness. It was her bitterness, anger and absolute bile that led to my Sentinel's death.

"Victim? He was no victim," she hissed, the venom dripping from each and every syllable.

Picking up the gun from out of an open drawer, she had opened fire on us with those simple words.

I remember being cocooned in warmth as Jim shouted.

I remember the force of the blows as each bullet hit his body.

I remember him returning fire, able to squeeze the trigger three times before collapsing to the floor on top of me.

I remember the copper tang of his blood as it rained down around me.

I remember him gasping for breath as severely damage lungs tried to take in breath.

I remember his groan of pain as I pushed my way out from under his body so that I could save him.

I remember every single gasp as I tried to stop the bleeding.

Lastly, I remember the moment when I forever lost him, his eyes fixed on my anguished face as I desperately tried to keep him with me. His steel blue eyes, trapped forever zone-like on the one who should have protected him. The one he gave his life for. Me.

I often wonder what his thoughts were as he clutched my bloodied shirt in his trembling hands.

Did he know that he had saved me?

Did he know that I would have done anything for it to be me instead of him?

Did he know that in all of my life, I would never find anyone to take his place?

Did he know that he was my brother, my friend, my Sentinel?

Did he know how much I would miss him?

Did he know that I love him?

Blair sobbed as the questions tormented him again. He fingered the fetish around his neck. It was the last birthday present he had ever given to his Sentinel, a pewter fetish with a black panther carved into its face and a wolf watching over. He smiled softly as he thought about the good man that was his friend on the one-year anniversary of his death.

"I miss you, Jim," he whispered into the wind as he wiped the tears from his face and turned to go to the only home he had ever known.

The end