Five Reasons Jim Ellison Has to Feel Guilty
Rated SAFE
Written for Sentinel Thursday

After yelling at Sandburg for the hundredth time, Jim discovered that he didn't really care about the damp towels strewn across his bathroom floor or the neglected backpack sitting exactly where it would trip him or the ever-spreading pile of papers or the cheese grater in the sink with traces of Bierkase cheese clinging like dried yellow snot. He yelled because he wanted to see Sandburg scramble to clean whatever he had left behind in a trail of disorder. Only when he could watch Blair scrubbing that grater with the green dish pad could Jim truly believe Blair wanted to live with him. After all, if he didn't want to stay in Jim's life, he would have long ago told Jim and his house rules to fuck off.

While other men complain about the ex-wife, Jim knows he carried the bulk of the blame in that failure. He would get frustrated and angry and come home to take out his frustration by yelling at Carolyn. Even if she'd had a hard day, he would criticize her until she would yank the warming spaghetti sauce off the stove and fling the full pan into the sink hard enough to send splatters of red across the counters. He'd have some case that ripped at his heart, and he would come home, drop his keys and walk straight up to bed without a word, shutting her out even though he could hear her soft cries before she would grab her own keys and leave the loft. Instead of talking to her, he would turn on the television and pray for her to come to his side so he could wrap his arms around her and show her how much he needed her. But when she chose to sit at the table with her work around her, he never figured out how to invite her over to the couch.

Despite the fact that Blair would be safer in another life, as the perpetual student or the absent-minded professor or the globe-trotting hippy, Jim thanks god that Blair is his trouble magnet. Blair has to duck bullets and has been tied up more times than that woman from the 1920's serial who kept finding herself tied to the train tracks and rescued by the hero who rode up at the last second. It isn't that he wants Blair hurt or captured, but rather that he wants to be the one who comes to Blair's rescue and earns that look of devotion on Blair's face. He still remembers Blair's wide-eyed relief as he sat chained up in Lash's warehouse, and he'll do anything to earn the unconditional trust and love he saw in Blair's eyes.

He once slept with a partner's girlfriend, but Jim honestly doesn't feel that guilty about the sex. Emily and Jack had enough problems that their relationship had no chance, and he hadn't ever lied to Emily to lure her away from Jack. However, at night he feels the pain of guilt because he'd been safe and happily rutting while his partner had been on that dark road alone, waiting for him. No matter what woman had shared his bed that night, he would have felt the same. The guilt reminded him of the dull pain of walking away from a helicopter crash that had killed his best friends. It brought up the even more distant pain of surviving a mission when several of his buddies had been abandoned in an unmarked mass grave with the bodies of dozens of locals, stripped of all personal effects and clothing so that the unit's presence couldn't be traced. And yet he survives.

When he first met Blair, he slammed him into a shelf, which is not really in and of itself a reason to feel all that guilty, but it's the reason he did it: the reason he gives his partner noogies and grabs his arm and pushes him back into the wall and puts a hand on him to push him lower to the ground when they're hiding behind a car or a half wall or a bush. From that first moment, Jim wanted to touch Blair. And really, this isn't even worthy of that much guilt because a lot of people at the station spend time trying to touch Blair. His guilt comes when Blair cries. Even though he can touch his partner at any other time, he finds himself backing away from the raw emotion at the very time that he wants to envelop Blair in a hug and protect him from the world. After all, that's not very manly.


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