KNITTING A SWEATER

by SHUN DI ANDROMEDA

Summary: Jim travels to New York to attend a conference. Blair stays at home.

Special note: Thanks to all the fandom for giving me hope and feelings.

Disclaimer: Jim Ellison, Blair Sandburg and all of the characters belong to PetFly and Paramount.

"No, sweetie. First, you have to make a ring and then attach it to tighten. So you're just making a mess. "

With infinite patience, Naomi sat at the kitchen table, surrounded by soft, colorful balls of wool, brandishing a knitting needle as a weapon. Nestled in the chair next to her, Blair seemed seriously on the verge of choking with these balls, as he was unable to weave together the colored wires to finally give shape to his project.

The young anthropologist glared at her mother as she tried to free his wrists, "Mom, I can see even from me that this idea was the worst of my life," groaned, "And I have to finish this ... this ... shapeless heap of wool by tomorrow morning! "

With ease, Naomi freed the younger's wrists and began to rebind the ball, a nice deep red one, before placing it among others: "I had proposed to buy one, or I could make you one. During the thirty hours I've spent on the bus from Riverside, I could make at least two." she said.

But Blair shook his head violently, leaning forward to see the open book in the middle of chaos and muttering something under his breath as he tried desperately to move the knitting needle in the correct way: "I've decided that it must be hand-made by me and so will be." Blair exclaimed, keeping his eyes fixed and focused on the book," Jim will return from New York the day of his birthday, so I called you, Mom."

The woman smiled tenderly, "I know, Blair. In fact, I gave up the meeting in Riverside just to come to rescue my sweetie boy. I'm sure we'll made in time."

Blair sighed, unsure whether to feel reassured by her words or scared to death: it was true, the idea of giving Jim an hand-made sweater as birthday gift was him, aided by the fact that just one of the sweaters that the Detective loved so much wear had a tragic ending, though not his fault - anyway, the guy who had think to use Ellison as a moving target for training in shooting had taken possession of his new quarters in the prison of Cascade not so long before - but the anthropologist would never have thought it would be so difficult to make even the base point!

"Come on, let's try. And this time... "

"I know, I know, Mum. First, the ring."

JBJBJB

Exhausted as he had never been in his life, Detective James Ellison entered the hotel room to plunge himself heavily on the bed without even bothering to take off shoes or jacket.

Wasting a whole day, warming up an uncomfortable plastic chair and listening to a succession of speeches and talk without any sense, had put a strain on his nerves: that trip was making a mess with his senses enough without the help from a bunch of renowned specialists and their useless chatters to aggravate his conditions, and all in order to follow Simon there in NYC.

Blair was at home and Jim was paying the consequences of that: his senses, usually quite manageable and tolerable - with the firm and supportive presence of the anthropologist to instruct him on how to use and ready for every eventuality - in those few days tended increasingly to get out of control. He was already fallen in a zone twice.

But of course, The Sentinel's concern and frustration were not due solely to that.

Although, at least in public, he would never admit it or shout out loud, he was worried for his Guide: Jim was not very happy to leave Sandburg alone at home after less than a week from his hospital release

Yes, of course, the Golden effects were no longer present - at least not too much - though some golden flashes still bothered the anthropologist, causing him some trouble falling asleep easily, but Jim was not so happy with the idea of a Blair alone at home in case of need.

Simon had tried, and so him, but the organizers of that series of conferences didn't agree so Blair stayed home.

Alone.

The doctor had strictly forbidden to Blair, when they left the hospital, giving lectures and taking as much as possible rest, which also meant to stay away from the station to avoid the risk of being involved in something dangerous. Or worse.

He shouldn't have left Blair.

What kind of Blessed Protector he was?

"Don't worry Jim, I'm fine, really. A bit tired but... However, I'll record on tape all the Jags' games while you and Simon will be in the Big Apple. Say hello to the Empire State Building!

The words Blair said to him just before the detective left, combined with an encouraging smile, reassured the older detective at the time, but the effect lasted very little and that night, the only thing that Detective Ellison hoped was to hurry up and go home.

JBJBJB

"Yes Mom, don't worry. The sweater is ready and I'm not died during the night. Yes, just kidding... Jim should be here in time for lunch so I have to go for cooking. Have a good trip."

At the airport, Naomi sighed as she greeted her son on the phone; she was holding one very colorful scarf in her hand, the one Blair made to familiarize yourself with the instructions.

It was pleasant to touch and remembered her how she had spent those two days with her son: in less than 48 hours, she had seen with her own eyes Blair's enthusiasm in learning stubbornly to use knitting needles.

And all for what?

For a gift.

"The best things are always the simplest".

Once more, the life had shown her that truth.

Yes, maybe Jim was not the most adorable guy in the world, he could be a bit gruff but Ellison really loved her son, he was sincerely attached to Blair, and he was returned.

The woman hung up, not before making herself sure that Blair remembered to give Jim her regards.

Then, Naomi walked towards the boarding gate with her trolley.

She was happy to have been able to spend some time with her son, seeing that he was finally happy: Naomi knew that, for the young student, living in Cascade was everything, in particular staying at the loft, split between police work and his anthropological research at the University, and she also knew that the sum of the people who Blair loved and which contributed to help, including Jim, gave shape to his happiness.

And she, as a mother, would protect that happiness and she would have done everything to protect it.

JBJBJB

When Blair hung up, he remained motionless for a few moments, his eyes closed and his face turned towards the open window of the balcony: the chest was filled with a funny and unfamiliar warmth.

And it was happening more and more often.

When Naomi hugged him before she left for the airport.

When he and Jim were in the bullpen together, after a long and tiring day and Blair, after a while, fell asleep with the head on the desk - or on the keyboard of the word processor - only to wake up in the passenger seat of the truck, with Jim driving alongside him and mocked him, pretending that the jacket in which he was enveloped was not him.

When Joel greeted him with a mighty pat on the back, sending him to drown in the coffee he was drinking.

Heck, even when Simon congratulated to them after another survey completed: it was not pride, not only enthusiasm. It was something more, perhaps a feeling of belonging.

And it was only thanks to Jim and his task of Sentinel, only thanks to the role of Blair as a Guide for the Sentinel, that he could be genuinely happy.

Blair wanted to thank Jim for everything, and wanted to make it so that Jim understood that it came from the heart.

Placed the gift on the coffee table, Blair walked in the kitchen, humming a little song he heard on the radio that morning: the menu had already chosen, he just needed to get to work.

But when the lunch-hour passed without Jim had showed up, neither at the door or on the phone, Sandburg panicked.

The fear for his best friend – he was no longer ashamed to think it of Jim - and Simon was great but his rational side was trying to keep it at bay, justifying the absence of the detective in the most bizarre and almost impossible ways.

He spent the afternoon on the couch, watching another basketball game and recording it, bouncing nervously at every noise in the hallway beyond the door.

The now cooled lunch was still on the table but he was not going to clear the table.

He preferred to wait.

"Jim will be back soon and I'm sure he will be hungry. Heating something already done is less hard than redo it again."

But Blair was too tired, exhausted: with the amount of medication they had given him in hospital, together with the general weakness of which his body was victim... He needed to sleep.

With the little strength he had left, Sandburg grabbed the pack and moved unsteadily toward the stairs leading upstairs.

"I'll leave the gift on the bed then I'll go to sleep ..."

The anthropologist walked slowly up the stairs, holding the railing, then he entered cautiously the room: Blair made it to the bed and left the pack above. But, soon after, while Sandburg tried to stand up, he felt his body numb and, unless crawling on his elbows, he could hardly to regain his room.

Almost without realizing it, Blair fell asleep with his hands wrapped around the gift.

JBJBJB

Hours later, when the clock in the kitchen marked 02:30 A.M. the door of the loft finally creaked open.

With the duffel in hand, the Sentinel took a step forward incipient darkness, attracted by the hint of spices and cooking still hung in the air: with the little light that came from the hallway, he managed to turn the light on.

Now, the comfortable silhouettes of sofas and furniture were entirely visible and his attention was drawn to the arranged table, where he found a lot of dishes carefully covered with towels to protect them from dust.

Jim felt his heart tighten: he failed to warn Sandburg about the robbery and the hostages they were taking care about the night before their departure from NYC, hostages who had been held there throughout the day until the Sentinel himself, after breaking into the bank assaulted by robbers, was able to disarm them before releasing all the prisoners. Then, he and Simon had finally reached the airport, where they waited for a direct flight to Cascade but, even there, Jim wasn't able to call home to reassure Blair.

Yes, he definitely felt guilty.

"It 's a strange feeling to be loved. Right, Enquiri?"

Taken by surprise by what was surely the voice of Incacha, even if only in his head, Jim startled.

The detective sighed, taking off his jacket and leaving it on the couch before slipping into Sandburg's room, which, however - once the head of the Sentinel had slipped through the creak of the doors- appeared deserted.

"Where the hell did he go?" he grunted.

Once out in the living room, Jim looked at the stairs leading to his room.

Blair couldn't be there, right?

His feet moved mechanically and in a few seconds, he had climbed up the narrow staircase, his ears filled with the slow breathing of the figure curled up and asleep on his bed.

Being careful not to make too much noise, Jim went to the bed and instantly noticed two things: the too pale Sandburg's face and the package he held between the fingers, together wih the card, written in the messy handwriting of his roommate.

Jim managed to take the gift without waking the younger for luck, and take it in his hands.

It was fairly light.

He felt like a child on Christmas morning.

With the urgency that vaguely remembered had as a child in that same day, Jim opened the unexpected gift, finding his fingers dipped in soft and warm wool.

A sweater.

Blair gave him a sweater.

His heart knew that the only responsible for everything was just Blair, that the sweater must have made by him and, even if the gift was not perfect, even if it was a little jagged and sagging ...

It was the best one he had ever received.

With a sigh, Jim gave a gentle pat on the back of the Guide: "What shall I do with you, Sandburg?" he whispered: "Thanks, Chief."