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The Sentinel/General/062. Melancholy

Title: Return To Cascade
Fandom: The Sentinel
Characters: Blair Sandburg, Simon Banks, William Ellison, Jim Ellison (in spirit)
Prompt: 062. Melancholy
Word Count: 2199
Rating: PG-13
Warnings/Spoilers: DEATH STORY!! Angst.
Summary: It's been one year since Jim's death and Blair decides to return to Cascade to see how things are. This is the fourth and final story in this arc which includes: 1) A Broken Heart 2) Almost Gone and 3) Moving On Past
A/N: I do not own The Sentinel or any of the characters. This was written for 100moods

Return To Cascade

Blair had been able to find a small apartment in Berkeley, California. No one knew him intimately here, which was the beauty of the city and the situation. He had been able to enroll at the university there. He was on his way to getting his doctorate in anthropology, even though he was still mourning the loss of his best friend. He knew Jim would want him to do this. They had talked many times and Jim didn't want Blair to abandon his life's work.

Blair finished the paper he was working on and saved it on the computer, shutting the machine down. He got to his feet to get something to eat. His eyes moved over to look at the calendar there. The date registered in his mind. It was almost the first anniversary of Jim's death. The sense of melancholy dampened his earlier accomplishment of finishing the paper. He abandoned the planned lunch and left his apartment. He needed to go for a walk.

Once he had arrived in Berkeley, Blair had learned to get around the city and found it a fascinating place to walk around. He lived close enough to the university campus that he usually walked to classes. The weather was a big improvement over the weather in Cascade.

Blair walked towards the farmer's market several blocks away. He needed some fruit and produce anyway and he needed the walk to clear his mind.

He saw several people who knew him by sight and he nodded when they spoke. It would do no good for him to ignore them because they would just keep at him until he acknowledged them. He didn't have to speak, which was a good thing. He didn't feel like talking too much after his earlier shock.

As he looked over the fruits and vegetables, he was thinking about returning to Cascade for a visit. He hadn't spoken to anyone from there since he had left. As far as he knew, no one knew where he had run off. At least, there hadn't been any detectives tracking him down, looking for him. He knew how the ones left behind would react to him returning. They would chide him for leaving without a word, but still welcome him back for a visit.

Blair made several purchases, enough to get him through the day. He had made up his mind to return to Cascade. If he started tomorrow, he'd get there on the day of the first anniversary. He had a break with school, so he could take several days. He'd go to Cascade, see everyone there and prove to them that he was a survivor. And maybe he'd be able to convince himself most of all.


Blair reached the city limits of Cascade and pulled his car over to the side of the road. He was here and it was the morning of the first anniversary of Jim Ellison's death. The emotions were right on the surface and Blair discovered this was harder than he thought it would be.

Blair had purposefully avoided talking to Jim, but he knew Jim knew what he was doing. There was a connection between the two of them, which somehow had become stronger over the past year. Blair didn't fully understand it, but he was never one to question why or to deny it for very long.

Blair finally started his car again, driving to the cemetery first. He wanted to stop at the grave first. He pulled into the cemetery and drove where the grave was. He sat in his car a few minutes and then got out, walking towards the grave. He saw the headstone there, which hadn't been in place before he had left Cascade. He reached out, tracing the letters and numbers.

"I couldn't stay away, Jim. It was like a siren's song, calling me back. It's not even home anymore, but I can't stay away. And it's not as if any part of you is even still here anymore. You've gone on to a better place. I know because I've seen it. I guess that maybe I came back because of the ones I left behind, who I didn't tell that I was leaving. I just hope they don't think too bad of me and can forgive me for running out. I best go see them."


Blair got a visitor's pass to go through the police station. He got into the elevator, nodding at the officers there. He knew a few of them, but they didn't recognize him. It might have had something to do with the fact that he had his hair short and wore his glasses constantly these days. Gone were the earrings and the flashy dress. He just sort of blended into the scene, no longer standing out.

He got off at the sixth floor and saw the entrance to Major Crime. He could see inside, seeing Brown and Rafe talking with two others Blair didn't recognize. Blair moved forward, not wanting to postpone this any longer. He walked into the bullpen.

"Well, you two look about as busy as when I was in here last."

Both Brown and Rafe turned at the voice. "Blair!" Both of them said it at the same time. Brown moved forward, enveloping Blair in a bear hug and several playful slaps to his back.

"What are you doing here?" As soon as the words came out of Rafe's mouth, Brown jabbed him in the side.

"It's okay, guys. That's why I'm here. I wanted to let everyone know that I'm alive and thriving in fact."

"Where are you living?"

"Berkeley, California. I'm going to the university there, getting my doctorate in anthropology."

"Well, at least you're not a goof off." Blair looked over as Simon Banks came towards them.

"Uh… hi, Simon. I'm sorry I left without warning. But there was no way I was going to be able to stay here. I've gotten my life back on track and I'm thinking I'll do okay."

"That is good to hear, Sandburg. I was worried when you up and left and then there was no word from you at all, as to where you had gone. I thought maybe you had dropped off the face of the earth or worse." Simon pinned Blair with a look, which Blair understood totally.

"I'd never do that, Simon. I've got too much to do, to finish, to explore."

"Good. Glad to hear it. How about we all go to dinner tonight? We can catch up on the past year."

Blair agreed to the dinner plans, happy to be reconnecting with old friends.


Blair did most of the talking during dinner, which didn't surprise him in the least. He knew the others wanted to know what he had been doing with himself over the past year. Blair could tell they were just pleased he was still alive and willing to return to Cascade at all. Simon asked Blair if he was planning to see William and or Steven while he was in town.

"I wasn't planning on it. I'm not part of their family."

"William told me that you had been named in Jim's will. That Jim had left you some things, including the loft."

"He shouldn't have done that."

"Jim considered you a part of his family, even if you didn't feel that way."

"Oh, I felt that way. It was just I knew the reality of the situation. We weren't related. He had family members whom he had become close with before…"

"You should go see William, Blair. He was worried about you when I told him you had taken off and that we didn't know where you had gone."

"Okay, okay. I'll go see him."

The rest of the evening, Blair spent worrying about going to see William Ellison.


That night, Blair went to talk to Jim again.

"Your father wants to see me. What did you put in your will?"

"Just that I wanted you to have something, just in case. I wanted you to have a place to live, especially after all the heartache I put you through before."

"You didn't need to do that, Jim."

"I know I didn't need to, Blair. But I wanted to. I wanted you to know just how much I appreciated you, how much I valued you as a friend."

"I don't look forward to seeing your father."

"Don’t worry about my dad, Chief. His bark is worse than his bite. Like father, like son."

"Okay, I'll go see him."


Blair stood outside the imposing house. He remembered how Jim had described the house as intimidating and overwhelming when he was growing up. It was all status in the community for William Ellison and his sons were expected to live up to the same standards. Both Jim and Steven had been hard pressed even to come close to the expectations of their father.

Finally, Blair rang the doorbell. The door was opened a minute later. Sally, the Ellison housekeeper, stood there. She recognized Blair immediately and smiled.

"Come in, Blair. Mr. Ellison has been waiting for you since you called."

Blair walked into the house, followed Sally through the house, and stood behind her as she knocked on a closed, wooden door. He heard the call, 'Come in' and opened the door, ushering Blair inside before her.

William Ellison turned from the window and smiled. "Blair, my boy! I'm glad to see you! Sally, get us something to eat and drink. What do you want, Blair? We have almost anything."

"Tea is fine, if it's not too much trouble." Blair looked from William to Sally.

"Sally, bring Blair some tea and I'll have a cup of coffee. And bring us some of those homemade cookies that you just made. You'll love them, Blair. They're chocolate chip that just melt in your mouth."

"I'll be right back," announced Sally, as she turned to leave the study.

"Have a seat, Blair. I was sorry to hear that you had left town. I'm happy to see that you are doing okay. You are okay, right?"

"Oh, yes, sir. I'm fine. I returned because of the date… the first anniversary and all."

"Yes. It still hurts to know I've lost one of my sons. I stopped by the cemetery yesterday to pay my respects."

"I stopped there when I got into town. The headstone is beautiful."

"You left before the reading of the will. I've kept what Jimmy left you here at the house. He made you beneficiary of his pension and insurance. Those I placed in the bank and they are making money. He also left you his truck, which is in my garage. Also some small mementos that had been in the loft that he wanted you to have."

Before Blair could respond, there was a knock on the door and Sally came in with Blair's tea, William's coffee and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. She handed Blair his tea and offered him a cookie. He took one, biting off a piece and smiled.

"They are delicious, Sally."

"They were Jimmy's favorite. He used to stop by after he was grown to get me to make
him cookies. I could never refuse him."

"Thank you, Sally. For the tea and the cookies."

She left William and Blair alone.

"So, what do you want to do with what Jim left you?"

"I don't need the money, Mr. Ellison. I -"

"Blair, I want you to call me William. I feel we know each other well enough to use first
names. Okay?"

"Okay … William. I was thinking, can you establish a memorial in Jim's name for a
scholarship to the police academy? I think that would be appropriate."

"There's a lot of money in the account, Blair. How about a scholarship at Rainier in
yours and Jim's names? I had been thinking about that also."

"Sure, as long as Jim's name is on it. The truck can be sold and the money put towards
the scholarships also. The other things I guess I can take with me."

"Good. I'll put everything in motion, you can give me your address, and I'll let you
know when everything is set. I wanted to tell you that I appreciated all that you did for
my son throughout the years. After we had become close again, he told me how much he
relied on you and trusted you to do the right thing."

Blair actually blushed and drank his tea, eating another of the cookies. He decided to ask
Sally for the recipe. Maybe she would share with him. Since they were Jim's favorite.

Blair left William's house with a newfound respect for the older man. He even promised
to keep in touch after he returned to Berkeley. Without meaning to, he had become one
of the family. It felt good.

As he left Cascade to return to Berkeley, Blair discovered his melancholy that had
descended over him when he had arrived had miraculously lifted. Some of his pain had
eased and things were becoming better. They would never be perfect again, but there
was hope.


Jim?, You mean that
These are my stories chronicling the continuing adventures of Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg, Sentinel and Guide, partners and friends.

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