This story is based on the televised episode Murder 101, and assumes that the events of that episode took place pretty much as televised. In order to understand Blair's reactions in this story, you need to read the stories in the "Dying Series" first, especially the first story in the series, Dying. The other stories in the "Dying Series" are, in order, Heartbeat, Zone, and Dialogue.
For reasons that will be immediately obvious upon reading this story, from this point on, the Peru Universe diverges greatly from the televised episodes.
I'd just turned 16 when I first came to Rainier.
Now I'm 30. And now, I'm leaving.
Simon and Sydney tried to talk me out of it. Sydney even said he'd pay my registration fees. That was the only time Jim said anything.
"We can afford the fees," he said.
Other than that, he just sat there, listening.
Simon kept glancing at Jim like he expected him to speak up, to say something, but Jim never said a thing. He sat, and listened.
In the end, I agreed to keep registered, mostly so I could get Simon and Sydney off my back, but also because I saw their point. What would it hurt, after all? It's fifteen hundred bucks a year, and it leaves me the option of completing my doctorate if and when I feel like it. The way Sydney was going on about it, he'd talk the dissertation committee into giving me a PhD if I just turned in a fucking sentence.
If I do, it won't be about Jim.
Who knows? Maybe I'll actually do the "Thin Blue Line" diss.
Simon is right that having my PhD will open more doors for me, even if I'm not looking for a career in academia. He's right. At the least, a PhD will let him wring higher consultant fees from the PD for me.
But it's not about money, and it's not about careers.
It's about me, and what I want to do in my life.
I was 16 when I first came to Rainier. Now I'm 30. That's almost half my life. And for most of that time, Rainier was home to me. Not so much the dorms, or the succession of apartments I shared with a succession of ever-changing roommates, but the hallways, the classrooms, the dusty stalls in isolated corners of the libraries, the Student Lounge, the dining rooms, the walkways, the tree in that secluded spot under which I first kissed a girl, even the fucking fountain.
The campus was home to me, the grounds were my backyard. I could close my eyes and trace every inch of the place in my head. Even when I was on expeditions, even when I was traveling by myself in some remote corner of the world, I was always Blair Sandburg, of Rainier University. That was where I belonged, that was how I identified myself to the world.
Until Jim became home to me, until his arms became my anchor to the world.
Until I found myself thinking of myself as Jim's partner.
Not Blair Sandburg of Rainier University.
Not Blair Sandburg, anthropologist.
Just plain Blair, Jim's partner.
Jim's partner, and everything that it entails.
When I first met Jim, I blurted out something about him being my Holy Grail.
How right I was, even though I didn't realize it then.
Finding the Holy Grail requires the total surrender of oneself. The knight who found the Grail -- he didn't come back.
So I found myself absorbed by Jim, absorbed into Jim, into his heart, his soul -- his life.
The University, my doctorate, a career in academia.
They were important to me once, they were my goal, once.
Or so I thought, until Jim.
Jim became home to me, his arms became my anchor to the world.
Being at his side became my purpose in life, loving him the reason for my existence.
I am leaving Rainier. It is time. Time to leave old dreams behind, time to leave an old love behind.
Love -- oh, I loved Rainier. I loved the trees turning color in the fall, the bustle of students in the hallways, the steady quiet of the library stacks, the enthusiastic heat of late-night discussions, the hours spent basking on the grass during the summer.
I loved the grind of exam week, the joy of new discovery, of fresh insight, the excited glint in a student's eye when they got a point they didn't understand before. I loved grabbing sandwiches at the cafeteria, roller-blading on the driveway, ambushing a prof with a question nobody had thought of before.
I loved Rainier -- and she betrayed me.
Or did I betray her first?
It doesn't matter. It is time. Time to break free of old dreams and old habits. Time to break the pretense. Time to face up to the truth.
This case has been hard on both of us. More than either of us are willing to admit.
Simon and Sydney have finally left. Simon will put in a proposal for a consultant position into the next budget, then make sure I get the job. Sydney will shuffle around his TA assignments, maybe even take over the teaching of my section himself. My registration is current and paid for for this semester, and next semester, Jim will pay the registration fee, and I will go to campus for a day to get registered. I might work on my dissertation, I might not. Sydney is willing to let me keep registered indefinitely, and Jim is certainly willing to pay the fees indefinitely. Of course, once the consultant position comes through, I guess I could be paying the fees on my own, but it's a long time since Jim and I bothered to figure out whose money is whose. Only time we think about it, really, is when we file our tax returns.
Tomorrow we will go clean out my office. Together. Maybe I will cry when I leave. Jim will hold me, keep me in one piece.
Tonight, I need Jim to hold me, I need him to make love to me.
Tonight, I need to work through the anger and frustration that's built up in me, release the impotent rage that screams to get out.
We nailed Brad Ventriss for murder, but he will never be held accountable for the rape.
My soul screams at the injustice of that, my heart cringes at the outrage.
Brad's already going down for murder, the rape charge isn't likely to add to the time he'll spend in prison.
Yet no matter what anybody says to me, no matter how much reason tells me that this is for the best, my heart and soul cannot stop screaming, with sorrow, with grief, with rage.
Murder is a worse crime than rape. A murdered victim will never come back to life. A rape victim can, in time and with proper care, recover.
I remember the sorrowful face of Jennifer Olson, the infinite sadness in her eyes as she talked about Dennis Chang. Dennis Chang will never come back to life, Jennifer will never get him back.
And yet my soul cries, not even for Jill Gordon, whom Brad raped, but for myself.
Tonight, I will lie in Jim's arms, I will press back against his body, demanding silently for him to take me.
He will soothe me until I relax, he will take his time preparing me, he will love me with his fingers until I am lost in pleasure.
I will revel in the freedom and security of his arms, gasp in delight as he enters me, let myself be overtaken by the unrelenting rhythm of his thrusts.
I will cry out my rage and sorrow in Jim's arms, and somehow, it will be enough.
How close I came to losing this, how close my world came to shattering into pieces.
Jim says he stopped because I love him, I think he stopped because he loves me.
Nevertheless, it was the most horrifying moment of my life.
Never mind it was Jill, not me, that Brad violated, I still feel it in my bones.
Never mind that Jim knew what was going on in my mind, he still doesn't feel it.
To come so close to having my world shattered to pieces, to come so close to losing my anchor.
The horror doesn't fade, the outrage doesn't fade.
Rainier, you betrayed me, you chose Brad over me.
For that I turn my back on you forever, I banish myself from your grounds forever.
Jim will hold me together, he will keep me in one piece. He will be my anchor, he will be my harbor. I will stay at his side, I will love him, I will keep him safe.
Tonight I will lie in his arms and cry out my sorrow and rage.
Tomorrow we will go and clear out my office.
Maybe I will cry as I leave my old home, as I leave my old love.
Jim will keep me together, he will keep me in one piece.
Rainier, I loved you, but you never loved me back.
You were once home to me, but now it's time to leave.