Disclaimer – Pet Fly owns them, not me. Damn.

A/N: Response to Challenge #48 on Sentinel Thursday LJ community – 'Proverbs'

All's Well

There was a lull in the impromptu celebration in the bullpen, and Naomi Sandburg took advantage of it to slip away. Only a sentinel heard the whisper of flowing garments and knew that his partner's only relative had left the building. A darkly humorous stray thought about how perhaps she'd known Elvis crossed his mind, and he made sure that Sandburg hadn't noticed her leave.

Seeing that Blair was surrounded, Jim slipped away too, ignoring the ache in his leg as he did his best to beat the elevator down before she was gone for good. The throb reminded him he would pay for his haste tonight, but at the moment preventing Naomi from getting away was all that mattered to him. He'd seen the look in her eyes when he'd tossed the badge to Sandburg, and for all her smiles and eager praise, she hadn't been happy for her son. The tight lines around her mouth had given her a pinched, mean look and Jim knew she'd be gone before they got back to the loft that afternoon.

"Going so soon, Naomi?" he called just before she was about to push through the main doors of the station. "Not coming back to the loft for a celebration?" it had been agreed that the gang was going to meet up tonight for pizza and beer.

"Um.. I.. just thought I'd head back to make sure the place was tidy." Naomi pinned a bright smile to her face, but her eyes, although wide and innocent looking, held dark shadows.

"I already took care of that, you know." Jim leaned on his cane, favouring the damaged leg.

"Yes, I do." Her lips thinned and they stared at each other, mentally circling around each other like two cats; Jim's panther spirit looking disdainfully down at the alley cat Naomi reminded him of; hard with no morals whatsoever. Jim realised now that he'd never really forgiven her for calling him a pig that first time and that her utter disregard for Blair's feelings over his dissertation had just compounded that feeling. His opinion must have briefly shown in his face, because comprehension dawned on hers and her eyes narrowed.

"He won't stay, you know, Jim. I know my son."

"No, you don't, Naomi. You never have." Jim was supremely confident about that. "You'd never have deserted him otherwise."

"I never deserted him!"

"What do you call dumping him on anyone you could find, then?" he took her arm in a firm grip and pulled her to one side out of the way of the door.

"You'd know all about dumping him, wouldn't you Jim?" her voice swiped him viciously and he recoiled, dropping her arm.

"That's enough, Naomi!" Blair stepped forward and placed a calming hand on Jim's back, silently supporting him.

"Blair! Sweetie!" Naomi fluttered forward, hands reaching for him, "All's well that ends well, eh sweetie?" she darted a look behind him to see if anyone was staring at them. Blair stiffened beside Jim, a flash of hurt in his expressive eyes.

"All's well that ends well? Is that all you have to say?" Blair felt curiously numb as his mother effectively dismissed her actions of the last few days.

"Sweetie…"

"Please don't call me that." He drew back, perhaps seeing her clearly for the first time. "That comment just about ranks right up there with 'It was for the best' and 'Look on the fucking bright side', Naomi."

"I was only trying to help, Swee..Blair, honey." She shot a venomous look at Jim, who, with Blair's hand warming his back, stared impassively back.

"Yeah, well, we all know how that turned out, don't we?"

"But Honey, you said you forgave me..that you still love me.." Naomi let one fat tear roll down her cheek and she dabbed delicately at it with a wisp of chiffon. Blair hardened his heart at her display of feminine weakness; he realised she'd played this role numerous times in the past when she'd 'needed' to get away, usually when he'd really needed her support.

"I do, but just now I don't like you very much. I need you to keep your distance this time, Naomi, and if you want to get in touch with me, then you can leave a message at the station. I don't think I want you calling me at home for a while."

"But Blair…"

"I'll have my key as well." Jim held out a hand and waited as she twisted the key to the loft from the ring in her purse. Her mouth twisted as she slapped it down onto his palm and knew that she'd lost this round. Without Jim behind him, Blair would have hugged and petted her, usually not able to bear seeing her upset, but he was, so he didn't. Blair watched as the various expressions flitted across her face and it was almost as if he was finally experiencing Jim's enhanced vision. And he really didn't like what he saw; a woman past her youth, but still desperately clinging to the belief that her physical charms would always smooth the way, selfishly assuming that Blair would always put her first, regardless of his feelings. She was shallow, self-serving and manipulative, and one day she was going to be very lonely, because unlike him, she didn't have James Ellison to come home to.

"Goodbye, Naomi." He said gently, and stepped forward to open the door for her. Her attempt to hug him was forestalled by him stepping out of her way and into Jim's personal space. With a toss of the head, she stepped back.

"Just don't come running to me when he doesn't want you anymore." She spat.

"That will never happen." A large hand closed around Blair's shoulder and squeezed softly. He took a shuddering breath and finally relaxed, the tension draining out of him in a sudden rush as he was pulled gently back against Jim's chest.

"Goodbye, Naomi." He said again and watched as she disappeared out the door. Jim squeezed his shoulder again to attract his attention.

"Ready to go home Chief?"

"Yeah. The guys still coming?"

"Later. Let's go." He urged his partner forward and down to the garage where the truck was parked. Blair got behind the wheel and waited until Jim was settled before taking a deep breath, ready to start automatically apologising for Naomi. Jim didn't need sentinel vision to see what was coming, and placed a finger on Blair's mouth to stop him.

"Don't, Chief."

"But.."

"It's not your fault." His thumb stroked over Blair's jaw and he felt the pulse leap, the heady scent of just Blair filling his nostrils.

"You really want me?"

"More than anything."

"Beggars can't be choosers?"

"I'd choose you anyway." Jim hitched closer, eyes finally seeing what had been there all along. "Plus, actions speak louder than words." His other hand sank into soft curls and pulled.

"You going to quote any more cheesy proverbs?"

"You never know, I can think of quite a few." Jim cocked his head and leaned closer.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, like never look a gift horse in the mouth."

"Am I the gift or the horse, because I'm thinking stallion here.." Blair's own hands worked their way under Jim's coat.

"Definitely stallion.." Jim closed the distance between them and sealed his mouth over Blair's.

"Love is blind, eh Jim?"

"No, love conquers all." Jim tightened his arms and buried his face in the curve between Blair's neck and shoulder. Blair felt the grin against his skin and wondered what was coming next, apart from possibly him. "Love will find a way, Chief."

"Love sees no faults either, Jim, and so help me if 'Love lift us up where we belong' comes out of your mouth.." he felt Jim begin to shake and he started to smile himself, a grin blossoming over his face as he realised everything was going to be okay between them. Jim sat up and a wicked smile crossed his face.

"Let's go, Nicole."

-End-