One to Many Times
Blair is having issues at the University, Jim doesn't see the problem.
One to many times
Blair's Volvo in front of 852 Prospect
What a day. If anything could go wrong it did. The Dean had called me into his office to discuss with me the last semester's absences due to my riding with Jim. With fifteen weeks of class each day I missed 18 days. Mind you that was stuck in the hospital for nine of them. The Dean reminded me, though Jim was my subject matter for my dissertation, I still had obligations at the University. This semester I was teaching two classes of freshman classes, though easy to teach, they were double classes, eighty students per class. On top of that I was taking two upper level classes. With that noted I stopped off at Professor Fielding's door and picked up my midterm paper. I got a C! I needed an A so bad. Reason being, the paper was to be ten pages long, and mine was eight. I lost a letter grade per page missing. What a lame thing to do. I never got a C before. After that wonderful present I had a quiet lunch with Valerie. It was nice having someone to talk to about the trials of being a TA without being made fun of. Lately at home, I had been getting belittled by Jim lately because being a student wasn't good enough for him. *sigh* It's like I'm not real. After returning to my office to work on second test to give the freshman class I discover I am missing my test disk, a disk with 200 questions that I would pick 50 to make up the test. Gone. I started work on the test that would be given next Monday and Tuesday to my classes.
Now I'm home, looking up at the loft dreading going in. It was late and I was supposed to fix dinner. Being late and not calling was bound to have Jim give me some grief. Like I need that now. I feel a cold coming on and I can't miss any more school, not now, not after the Dean getting on my case. I'm having a bad day and it's about to get worse.
No use sitting here, it won't go away. Face the music then say I'm sorry then go to bed. Maybe tomorrow will look better. ~Right~
Blair pulled his keys out of the ignition and opened the door to his car. Pulling his backpack across the seat he closed and locked up his car and headed towards the door.
Face the music, face Jim.
** ** **
Jim had walked in at 5:30. He had expected to find Blair at home already, dinner in the oven and being there to share his day.
It was Tuesday. Normal day for his roommate was class 9 to 10:15, office hours till noon. Normally Blair took a lunch then came home to have quiet time unless Jim called him to the PD for help.
With a scowl of his bad day, Jim checked the machine and found no messages from Blair stating that he would be late. Jim sat down to watch the news thinking that Blair was out goofing off again, not taking his responsibility for home again.
Laying his head back on the couch Jim partially relived the hell of the day he had had. Simon had been on his case for not one, but two, lost reports. A suspect that was a dead ringer did a plea bargain to turn over his boss. He had gone out to question a few witnesses for a murder scene he had been to the day before but was coming up empty.
He had been looking forward to having Blair cook one of his infamous meals and relax at home.
By seven he had given up on Blair and fixed himself a sandwich and was getting agitated by the minute with his roommate not calling.
He cocked his head when he heard the Volvo park below. Like Blair's heartbeat, he was tuned into the car. He waited for Blair to come upstairs and see what excuse he had for tonight's missed meal this time.
** ** **
Blair took the stairs, he didn't even bother looking to see if the elevator was working, knowing his luck it would stop with him in it and he was so not looking for that to happen.
Slowly he made his way up the stairs and to his floor. He figured Jim already knew he was home. It was a bitch living with man with heightened senses. No sneaking in on him. No way.
Standing at the door he took his keys out and unlocked the door. Stepping inside he saw the tv on. Dropping his keys into the basket, he dropped his bag onto the floor and took off his coat.
"Nice to see you finally come home Chief." Jim said in a sarcastic voice.
Okay starting already. A throb came to his Blair's head. He needed aspirin to survive this ordeal. He headed towards the kitchen for water and pills.
"Forget what day it is? It's Tuesday. Blair fixes dinner day." Jim commented in regards to the duty roster of the loft.
Blair went to the refrigerator and took out a bottle of water. He turned to look at Jim who was standing at the end of the bar. Spying the sandwich that Jim was eating made him realize how hungry he was but then the thought made him queasy.
"Sorry Jim, things were not good at school today."
Jim didn't understand it. How could Blair not have it good? He taught school, a class a day and the rest of the time holed up in his closet/office talking to students and or working on his dissertation. How hard could it be?
"What do you mean, not a good day? A bad day for me is having Simon get on my case about two missing files and reports. Had to retype the two reports over that you helped me with Friday."
"Did you look in your 'out' bin?" Blair asked. He had finished typing them and put them in the new bin.
"Maybe because they were supposed to be picked up by the inner office people to deliver to the DA."
Jim didn't think on that. "And Kleeson is going to walk. Made a sweet deal with the DA's office in turning over on Kegle. Which means by the end of the week I'll have another homicide on my hands."
"Drug and mobsters make terrible company," Blair agreed.
"So I come home looking forward to a home cooked meal and what do I find. Nothing."
"Like I said, bad day at the U."
"Sandburg, its only school."
Blair looked down. That was what Jim always said. He never thought that the University meant more. It was a place for him to hang till he was needed for Jim and his work.
"Whatever man. Discount the U. Discount me. It's like I go there to inconvenience you. You're a cop and I'm nothing." Blair looked at Jim. "You know I'm really tired of having to talk to you, beg you to understand that the University is my job. To you, it's like nothing. If I tell you or Simon that I have class or something, it's a personal insult.
"My job definition is I'm Blair Sandburg, Rainer student and Teacher Assistant. That's what I fill in on my taxes. That's my title. Yet right now though, it's looking pretty grim." Blair finished his water. "I guess I know where I stand with you. I'm going to get some sleep. Later."
Jim watched as Blair picked up his bag and went to his room. He wondered what just happened.
Blair sat up and thought for a moment. It wasn't working. Jim didn't seem to want to care about him and his life. To him Blair was just someone to guide him through his senses and that took time and effort from everything else. Blair wondered if Jim knew what his life entailed, his responsibilities. He did them well when having the proper time. Which as of late was not enough. He sat there in his room looking around him, wondering how he could get it all out without Ellison knowing. He knew it was the easy way out but things were so wrong that he didn't think it could get worse.
Packing a bag of clothes then his backpack he left his room. Thinking that Jim had gone to bed, he found him on the couch.
"Going somewhere Chief?"
Standing up tall he looked to see Jim sprawled on the couch.
Blair had been hoping what should he think, it was a bad day, all over. "I'm giving us some space. I have to concentrate on my schooling right now Jim and it's not happening here. I'm heading to my office so I can get some things done."
"Are you coming to the PD tomorrow?"
Wednesday's Blair normally came in for the afternoon.
"I don't know. I'll call you tomorrow after class."
With that Blair put on his jacket, found his keys and left with his two bags.
Jim hadn't commented on the extra bag. He knew what it was, heard him pack it, yet he let him leave.
Jim was confident that he would return. This was his home wasn't it? All his belongings were there.
Wednesday came and Blair called at eleven. He wouldn't be in. Had to see the campus doctor, he was getting sick.
That night he hadn't come home. Jim didn't expect him too. At least, not yet.
Jim called and left a message for Blair at his office to have him check in with him at least once a day to know he was okay.
Blair would be back, he had to come back.
** ** **
Blair passed out his test papers and sat at his desk.
"Time," he announced. The test would be for the full fifty minutes. New questions. He hoped he covered the material.
He picked up a tissue to blow his nose. The cold had taken hold with a vengeance.
He had gone to see Valerie's on Wednesday and crashing on her couch.
Each day he felt worse. He didn't understand it.
Looking out over the sea of students with heads bowed, working on their tests, Blair reflected how the last week had been with no Jim, bullpen, or Simon in it. But he had to if he wanted to survive the next five weeks. His academic career depended on that.
** ** **
"Ellison!" Simon called out from his door to his office.
Ellison stood and walked slowly through the bullpen to Simon's office.
"Sit down." Simon ordered.
Jim sat before Simon's desk. "Sandburg called me first thing this morning, said he would be unable to assist in any cases till end of term. Know anything about this?"
Jim was shocked. "Unable to assist?"
"Seems that he got into a little bit of trouble with the Dean for to many absences last semester. And his grades are suffering. If he is asked to step down he would owe 5,000 in grant money back to the school."
"Shit." Jim thought, "Tuesday, it happened last Tuesday."
"He came home late and I got on his case."
"Where is he now Jim?"
"What do you mean?"
"Jim, I've known you long enough to know something is not right. Sandburg hasn't been here for a week. You are growling and not speaking to anyone. To me that tells me Sandburg left the loft."
"I was mad for him not being home Tuesday to make dinner."
"Tuesday? The day you couldn't find the files that I needed for the DA and the plea bargain."
"Well Blair usually comes home early and fixes dinner. I was looking forward to a nice evening at home relaxing with my friend."
"He wasn't home, didn't call. He looked like hell when he came in but I still jabbed at him."
With a loud sigh, Simon stated, "Jim."
"He didn't call. Hell I didn't know what was going on."
"Because you never ask him. You assume. Being a college student is not easy Jim."
Jim didn't know anything about that part.
"I have an assignment for you. First go talk to Sandburg then I want you to be with him for a week. Do what he does, try to help him if you can. You are never going to know what he lives if you don't try it."
"Simon I have two cases."
"Which I'll give to Rafe and Brown. I need you at your best and if Sandburg is not with you one way or another, you won't be at your best."
** ** **
Blair carried the box of tests to his office. He kneed the box to the wall as he unlocked his door. Walking across the room, to his desk and dropped the box. He sat down in his old rolling chair. His head felt like it was swimming, his nose was running non-stop. He felt awful.
In his misery, he didn't hear the door open and close. He jumped when a hand touched his forehead.
"Jim! Give me a heart attack."
"Man you don't look so hot."
Blair pulled away from Jim, pushing back on the floor to move the chair. "Well, the cold is being stubborn. All the doctor was tell me to rest, drink and vitamins."
"Sounds like a good advice."
"It would be if I didn't have to read two books for next week for a test and grade 160 tests and post grades by next Monday."
Sitting on the edge of the desk Jim looked at Blair. "Simon told me about your call."
"Figured. Jim, I really need to concentrate here. I'm about to lose it, everything."
Blair shivered from his cold. He pulled the wool blanket that he had in the office and put it around his shoulders.
"Dean Watson told me I better not miss anymore of my classes this semester. He didn't like I missed so much last semester."
"You were in the hospital or at home on doctor's orders."
"Because of you," Blair pointed out. "I need to stay here and take care of matters Jim. I can't lose this."
"I'm beginning to realize that."
"Well that's why I'm here. Simon gave me a new assignment. To become you for the rest of the week."
"I'm to hang out with you for the rest of the week to see what makes a Grad Student named Blair Sandburg."
** ** **
Blair couldn't believe it. Jim was to shadow him for a week to find out what he does. If he didn't feel so bad from the cold he would have thought it was cool.
"What makes me? That's a good one."
"Honestly Chief, I'm here to assist you, observe you, if that makes any sense. I know lately that I've been putting you down."
"Big time putting me down." Blair asserted.
"Well I'm here to see what makes you tick and what you have to deal with."
"Cool, a slave to do my bidding. There might be hope for me yet this week." Blair felt a sneeze coming on. He turned and sneezed away from Jim.
Jim found the Kleenex box in the large box on the desk. He pulled out a tissue and handed it to Blair. "Thanks." With a long blow, Blair disposed of the tissue. "This really sucks. A spring cold."
"And a low grade fever." Jim commented.
"Well, if you are shadowing me, I'm putting you to work."
They sorted the tests; Blair had used a two-test system. The tests were numbered, odd were one test while the even were another. After sorting them, Blair handed Jim the answer key to the first half of the test, multiple-choice questions. Once Jim graded his part, Blair started grading the short answer section.
While grading tests, Blair had several students stop in. Three students stopped in for reinforcement on certain sections that would be tested. A female student stopped in to ask for help on a personal matter.
Jim looked up and listened as the girl explained that her boyfriend was starting to physically hurt her. She was being isolated from her friends and she was scared to call things off with him. Between sneezes and sniffles, Blair got her an appointment with the campus advising office, that would help her decide what she really needed to do and help her do it safely. One never knew now a day about boyfriends. If he was a control freak, she needed help.
Jim was surprised what Blair did in his office hours. Blair brought it to a point. "Being a teacher is also being there for your students, not just in subject matter but there for a person. Many of my students are freshman, first time from home, and dealing with issues that they never faced before. This is Springtime, love is in the air and hormones are flashing. The suicide rate rises this time of year. Being there for them is part of the job."
** ** **
Valerie stopped by the office at one and was surprised to find Jim there.
"Valerie, you remember Jim." Blair made quick introductions.
"Hope you came to talk some sense into this long haired babe. He needs rest."
"And I'll be getting it soon. I'm almost done grading these tests."
"So you'll be going home tonight?"
Blair looked over to Jim. "He's coming home. It was stupid to leave in the first place."
Valerie laughed; she heard Blair's side of things but knew there had to be more to it. "Well I think you can live without your stuff tonight. I'll drop it off tomorrow." She took a step towards the door then turned back. "Get some rest Blair, I know this past week has been rough on you."
"I will Val. Thanks for all the help."
"No problem. What are friends for?" She smiled and left.
Blair brought up his class disk and entered the grades. Out of 82 students, 75 showed up, five had called in to make arrangements and two were no shows. One of the two students had been having problems. He looked up their number and called finding an answering machine. He left a short message of concern and hung up. The other student hadn't been in class for three weeks, most likely a drop out.
By three he was ready to fall asleep anywhere that he could.
Jim closed up office and escorted him out to the parking lot and to his truck. Settling in the passenger seat, Blair was asleep before leaving the parking lot.