Rainy Days Don’t Always Get Me Down
Written for Sentinel Bingo
Prompt: Rainy Day
Summary: The week from hell turns out to have a rainbow at its end.
It had pretty much been the week from hell, Blair Sandburg decided, what with finals and his partner, Jim Ellison, overloaded on cases, meaning Blair was expected to be in at least two places at once. Every time he’d gotten an aggrieved phone call from Jim demanding to know why he wasn’t at the station or a crime scene, helping Jim go over clues and evidence, his reasoned excuse that he had to be at the university sometimes had been met with a snarky response that this sentinel thing had been Blair’s idea and if he no longer wanted to help Jim or get information for his thesis, then that was fine with Jim.
Except it wasn’t, Blair knew. They’d barely spoken to each other all week, apart from those phone calls or when Blair was guiding Jim through a sensory examination of something, and even then the both of them were impatient and snapping at every perceived sarcasm.
Frankly, Blair was exhausted, pissed off and feeling totally taken for granted. In fact, when Jim had mentioned briefly as he’d raced out the door that morning on his way to court that their regular camping weekend couldn’t come soon enough, Blair honestly wasn’t sure if he wanted to go. They’d always had a great time before, but he was worried it would end up being a weekend discussing his shortcomings, and that any time he mentioned sensory tests – which Jim usually didn’t mind when they were out in the country – would be shot down with a withering “I didn’t think you were interested anymore” from Jim. Okay, he was probably… definitely exaggerating there and it was probably… definitely because he really didn’t think he could be bothered going at all.
The Volvo gave one final disheartened chug, spewed smoke from the exhaust and died. Blair managed to coast it to the side of the road, grateful for the small mercy that it hadn’t chosen to take its final breath in the middle of a busy intersection.
He leaned forward, resting his head on the steering wheel, feeling totally disheartened. He didn’t even have the energy or spirit to smack the dash or punch the steering wheel. Jim was gonna be so pissed… make that even more pissed when Blair called him to ask for a ride. Sighing, Blair pulled his backpack over and opened it, fishing inside for his cell phone, immediately getting a memory of putting it on his desk but having no memory of picking it up again. “No! No no no!”
Frantically, he picked his bag and upended it onto the passenger seat. No phone. No wallet either. So that ruled out the bus or a phone booth. “Shit!”
As if empathetic of his mood, the sky suddenly darkened even more and a flash of lightning speared the sky, followed by a huge rumbling explosion of thunder. Then the heavens opened and rain poured down. Blair was tempted to give in and have a good old pity party for himself. Then he drew in a breath and straightened up, allowing his anger to give him strength. “Fine! A little rain isn’t gonna hurt me.”
With that, he grabbed his keys out of the ignition, threw open the car door and climbed out, dragging his backpack with him. He shivered as the rain drenched him immediately and another flash of lightning lit up the sky. It wasn’t all that far to walk. He’d be there in no time.
It seemed as though he’d been walking for hours. Granted, the rain had slowed him down. At one point he could barely see a step in front of him, the downpour was so heavy. He was soaked to the skin, chilled to the bone and befuddled from exhaustion but he was home. Now that he was, he noticed the rain had stopped and the storm appeared to be moving on. “Of course it is,” he croaked as he stepped into the foyer and squelched across the floor. He stood in front of the elevator for a couple of minutes before his eyes focused on the ‘Out Of Order’ sign posted across the doors.
“Of course it is,” Blair muttered as he headed for the stairs. “Why wouldn’t it be out? Everything else has gone to hell in a handbasket today.” He continued his muttered litany of woes all the way up the stairs and until he was standing in front of the loft door. Taking a moment to catch his breath, he rested his head against the door… and toppled forward into Jim’s arms as the door opened.
“Whoa!” Jim staggered back a few steps, bringing Blair along with him then set him carefully back on his feet. “Little wet there, Chief,” he remarked, pulling his now damp sweater away from his body and grimacing. “I thought the storm blew over.”
Blair nodded, aware he was dripping on Jim’s polished floor. “It did, just as I got here.”
“Bad timing, huh?” Jim said over his shoulder as he walked into the bathroom then came out with two towels that he tossed at Blair… who didn’t see them coming and just stared at them where they landed on the floor.
“Mop up, Chief, then go have a shower. Wait, you didn’t get that wet just crossing the parking lot!”
“The Volvo died again.” Blair bent down and started to blot up the water at his feet. He held up a finger to halt the expected lecture. “Yes, I know I need a better car, and as soon as I win that lottery, Jim, I’ll do just that.”
“Good to know,” Jim called from the kitchen, no sign of lecture mode in his voice. “Why didn’t you call me to come get you?”
“Left my phone in the office, along with my wallet.” Blair stood, bundling the towel up and wrapping the other around his dripping hair. “It hasn’t been a good week, man. I’m gonna go take that shower.”
“Don’t take too long.” Jim waved a wooden spoon at him, and Blair suddenly smelled the tantalizing aroma of Jim’s favorite beef stew. “Don’t want this stew congealing in the pot.”
“You made stew? And mashed potatoes?” Blair asked hopefully.
“Been kind of a crap week for me too, and I know I’ve been giving you a hard time the last few days. I know you have to split your time between Rainier and the station but I was drowning in evidence and reports. Really could have done with you full time.”
“Sorry,” Blair began, “I feel really bad about it—“
Jim waved his apology away. “Water under the bridge, Sandburg. I figured some comfort food and a couple of beers would do us both the world of good. I am really looking forward to packing up and getting out of Dodge for a few days tomorrow. Glad that storm didn’t hang around.”
“You still want to go camping?” Blair asked.
“You don’t?” Jim put down the spoon and came around to stand in front of Blair. “I mean, if you’d rather not, that’s fine. I guess I can go alone.”
He wasn’t exactly begging but there was that little worried frown lining his forehead, the same expression he’d had when Blair had told him he was considering going to Borneo with Eli Stoddard. Blair looked over at the dining table, set for two, at the pot of beef stew bubbling away on the stove and remembered the words he’d said when they’d got back from Peru after rescuing Simon and Daryl.
It’s about friendship.
“Are you kidding, man?” he replied, grinning. “Of course I’m coming… but I’m packing my wet weather gear, just in case.”
“Well, go shower already,” Jim said with a matching grin. “I am ready for a beer.”
The weekend was already looking brighter.