By Raine Wynd
The club looks the same on the inside as Blair remembers, and he hides a smile as he realizes they're having a "retro" night. The music calls him to the dance floor, and for a moment, he holds back, remembering a time when the song was new, when hearing it didn't make him remember he'd been brave and crazy and half in love with an idea – or was it an ideal – and far, far too trusting that his life wouldn't end horribly somehow. He lets the song wash over him, waiting for the next tune, willing his memory to not take him even further down the emotional minefield of this day.
He's relieved when the music segues to something that simply reminds him of nights in this club, dancing to relieve the sheer insanity of juggling school and work and sex and living on this side of the poverty line. He steps out onto the dance floor, and lets the music take him away to a place where who he is — or what day today is — no longer matters. He's just another body on the dance floor, someone who looks like he knows something of how to dance to this music, and he's peripherally aware that he's attracting attention, but doesn't let it show. He's not interested in a partner tonight — his partner's waiting patiently for him to work this tension out so that he doesn't snarl at him and say things that he'll regret the instant he says them.
He knows today's been rough on both of them. It's gotten easier over the years to not look at the date and remember how he'd sacrificed his professional life, but Fate apparently hadn't wanted today to go unremarked — a case had taken them back to Rainier, and for one wild moment they'd both seen a vision of that horrible, fateful day, and how much worse it could have been. Jim was dealing in his own way; dancing was Blair's.
He's not aware of the time passing, but when he finally gives in to the urge to find a drink, he checks his watch and sees he's managed to while away the better part of two hours. He steps up to the bar and orders a nonalcoholic cocktail; the music's enough of a head rush that he doesn't need anything else. Out of long habit, Blair watches the bartender fill his glass, reminding himself that paranoia had its uses, and pays for it before sipping it while he gives in to the urge to study the crowd.
There's a mix of people and ages here tonight, and he doesn't stand out as the oldest man in the crowd. He breathes a silent sigh of relief, and lets the drink cool him down while the music and the barely-audible-over-the-music conversations swirl around him. He finishes the cocktail and sets the glass back on the counter, waiting again for the right tune to pull him back out on the floor. He doesn't wait long.
The music's like a drug in his system, and he lets it fill him, lets it take him away. This time, he doesn't stay nearly as long out on the dance floor, and his legs feel like rubber when he finally stumbles out to the parking lot. Strong hands catch him before he can fall, and he braces for a struggle when he hears, "Easy, Chief, I got you."
"Thanks," Blair replies, and lets Jim guide him to the truck. "You weren't waiting long, were you?" he asks after they've seated themselves inside the vehicle.
Jim shakes his head, denying it, but Blair knows better, knows that Jim's been waiting at least an hour if not more. Once, Blair had tried to get Jim to come along, to dance with him, but the noise and the crowd had been too much for Jim to handle, even with Blair to guide him. Watching over Blair tonight is Jim's way of dealing with it; it had taken a lot of cajoling to get Jim to agree to even this much distance.
Jim starts up the truck and then glances over. "Was it long enough? Or would you rather go back?"
"My legs feel like rubber," Blair admits. "So yes, it was long enough, and no, I don't want to go back." He breathes out a tired sigh, and adds, "Thanks."
Jim shrugs and pulls the truck out of the parking lot. "You're welcome."
Blair leans his head against the cool glass of the truck window, willing his heartbeat to stop pounding. He knows this night doesn't change a damn thing — it's the anniversary of the day he died but for the belief of one man and a hell of lot of Sentinel/Guide mojo neither of them speak of much, if at all — but he knows he at least won't dream of dying now. He half-smiles, looking forward to going home and the reassuring arms of his savior, his life's dream, his best friend and lover. Tonight, another rhythm will be set in motion, but for now… now all is right in the world.
Finis June 2, 2008