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Title: Of Rain and Rainbows
Summary: Post TsbyBS, a shared domestic moment.
Style: Gen
Size: 1870 words, about 4 pages in MS Word.
Warnings: None
Notes: Written March, 2004
Feedback: Not necessary, but every comment is treasured.
Email: If you prefer not to post a note that everybody can see, you can reach me at starwatcher -at- dreamwidth.org





Of Rain and Rainbows

by StarWatcher





Blair Sandburg hunched his shoulders, trying to prevent the water from trickling down his neck as he dashed toward the building's entryway through the drenching summer downpour. Naturally, all the close parking spaces were already taken. "I suppose I should be grateful it's only wet, not cold," he muttered sourly. Sometimes it seemed like Cascade's weather was nothing but rain.

His mood lightened and he grinned briefly as he stood just inside the main doors and vigorously shook his short curls -- his long hair had been sacrificed for the Academy -- imagining that he must look like a drowned poodle. Oh well, unlike the Wicked Witch of the West, he was in no danger of melting. He'd relax with a good hot shower, then start dinner. Maybe lasagna; he felt like creating something hearty and satisfying, and Jim would appreciate it.




As Blair slid the large pan into the oven and set the timer, he noticed the brightening light; the storm had passed and the setting sun, now dipping below cloud level, was shining through the balcony doors. He grabbed a beer and walked out onto the balcony to enjoy the freshened, cooled air, a welcome break from the earlier heat of the day. He listened to the faint rumble of thunder in the distance as the storm continued moving out to sea, then watched in wonder as a rainbow began to form, its colors dim at first, then glowing ever more brightly.




Jim Ellison had been following the enticing scent all the way from the parking lot. He closed the door behind him and tossed his keys into the basket, supremely grateful that Blair had started dinner; it would help him forget this long, frustrating day. His senses were workable without Sandburg by his side, but difficult. He was keeping a mental count. Just thirty-seven more days, and guide and sentinel would be official partners. He was looking forward to it, along with everyone else in Major Crimes.

As he hung his coat on the hook, Jim sniffed appreciatively. "Smells good Chief; when will it be ready? Do you need me to run out and pick up some garlic bread?"

When there was no answer, he looked around the loft, and finally noticed his partner on the balcony, unusually still. Wondering what was going on -- if he didn't know better, he'd think Sandburg was zoned -- Jim reached in the fridge for a bottle of beer, then went to join his friend.

"Hey, Chief, what's up?"

Blair started slightly, then relaxed. "Hey, Jim. Glad you're home. Nothing much man, just... contemplating."

Jim frowned thoughtfully and examined the area. Sandburg's skills as an observer, previously impressive, were now even sharper after some of his Academy classes. But the Sentinel didn't see anything suspicious. There were a few people walking in the late afternoon sunlight, a few cars splashing through puddles; nothing that seemed worthy of such deep consideration.

"Contemplating what, Chief? There doesn't seem to be anything too exciting to hold your interest."

"I've just been thinking what a miracle rain is." Blair waved vaguely outward, apparently encompassing everything within sight.

"Miracle? This from the man who hates cold and wet? I don't think I've ever heard you say one kind word about the rain."

Blair grinned a little ruefully. "Well, yeah, I don't like being wet, and I hate splashing through puddles and spending the day with damp feet, and it's a real pain in the ass trying to keep books and papers dry if they won't all fit in my backpack. But, just look at it, man." Another expansive wave outward. "The leaves are glistening and washed clean, the air smells purer; even the buildings look less grimy. It's refreshing, you know? And take a look at that rainbow; isn't it the brightest one you've ever seen?"

It was probably a rhetorical question, but Jim answered anyway, "Close to it, I guess. I saw some pretty spectacular ones in Peru."

"Yeah? This one is so clear and bright that I can actually see all seven colors, and I don't, usually; it's pretty damned amazing. Makes me wonder, though..." he cast a quick sideways glance at his friend, "...not running tests or anything, just curious; how many colors can you see with sentinel vision?"

"I don't know, Chief; I've never bothered to try." He focused for a moment. Sandburg was right; shades upon shades, and the deeper he looked, the more variations there were. And they kept shifting as the angle of the sun changed, fluctuating, brightening, dimming, almost substantial enough to swim in...

"Jim? Hey, Jim!"

Whoops! Enough of that. Jim shook his head slightly as he pulled himself back from the edge of a zone and gave his friend a reassuring smile. "I'm here, Chief. As to the colors..." he looked out again, "I really can't say. It's not separate colors so much as different shades. Or if each shade could be considered separately, there are no names for them. Like, you see indigo and violet, right?"

Blair nodded silently, intent on Jim's words.

"I know some people who can't tell the difference; to them they both fall under the heading of 'purple'. Right now, I see over a dozen gradations between those two, and really can't tell where 'indigo' stops and 'violet' starts." He shrugged. "Basically, I see more than the average bear, but you already knew that."

Blair nodded again. "Yeah, I know; it's just one more piece of sentinel amazement, I guess. Hey, did you know that rainbows don't have a backside?" He grinned at Jim's raised eyebrow. "Honest, man. It's all to do with angles of light striking the suspended water droplets in relation to where the observer is standing. I remember, Naomi and I were driving with some friends when I was a kid, and up ahead of us there was this huge rainbow that bridged the highway. I was so impressed as we got closer and closer; I just knew it would be so cool to drive between the 'legs' of the rainbow, and couldn't wait to see what it looked like from the other side." He bounced with his enthusiasm. "Well, we drove between the legs, all right, and God, Jim, it was stupendous -- these huge pillars of colored light on each side of us, seeming almost solid." He frowned briefly. "Of course, knowing now what I just told you about the light angles and such, I don't see how that could have really been. But that's the way I remember it." He shrugged. "Anyway, when we passed, I turned around to look out the back window, and there was nothing there; plain blue sky and open prairie. After I got over my disappointment, I started pestering Naomi about what had happened to it." He shook his head briefly and took a swallow of beer. "Come to think of it, that may have been the first time I got interested in the scientific aspects of the world; I was pretty young."

"Tell you another one, Chief," Jim offered. "If you're up in a plane, rainbows aren't arches, they're circles, suspended in the atmosphere." It was Blair's turn to raise an eyebrow, and Jim chuckled. "Sentinel's honor. Apparently we see the arch when we're on the ground simply because the horizon gets in the way. I've seen rainbow circles twice, after flying above or around thunderstorms."

"That is so cool! I wonder if it would be possible to charter a plane and go rainbow-chasing, to see that? Well," he snickered in self-deprecation, "maybe when I win the lottery."

Jim punched him gently on the shoulder. "Don't forget, it means you'd have to go up in a small plane. Is your scientific curiosity worth that?"

Blair considered briefly. "You're right. It's probably better -- certainly cheaper -- to just keep my feet right here."

"So, rainbow-gazing has kept you out here for..." Jim cast a quick, measuring look at the bottle in Blair's hand, "two-thirds of a beer?" He couldn't help the worry, never far from his mind, that maybe things weren't going as smoothly at the Academy as Blair claimed.

"Not entirely. When I heard the thunder, it just got me thinking -- where would we be without rain?"

"Dry?"

"Not 'we' as in you and me," Blair snorted. "'We' as in all of mankind. I remember a quote I read once. 'Humankind owes its existence to six inches of topsoil -- and the fact that it rains'. That's just awesome, man. Did you know that the Sahara was once a jungle? The climate changed, it stopped raining and, voila! Uninhabitable desert. And the Anasazi -- they had the most highly-developed culture in what is now the American southwest, and then they just disappeared. No one really knows why, but the speculation is that the climate changed and repeated seasons of drought made it impossible for them to stay. When you actually think about it, it's just mind-blowing."

"Which is why I'll leave such thinking to you, Professor," Jim replied dryly. "I don't want my mind blown; it works much better in one piece."

"You are such a Philistine, man," he grumbled, good-naturedly. "How the hell did you make Cop of the Year if you don't use your brain?" Blair ducked the anticipated head-whap.

"It's because I use my brain for things that are really important. Rainbows and weather patterns won't solve crimes."

"I don't know; haven't you ever heard the theory that knowledge is never wasted? It might come in useful someday."

"Ri-i-ight. The next time a knowledge of rainbows helps me solve a case, I'll be sure to give you due credit in the report."

"And I'll get a blast out of saying 'I told you so'," Blair retorted comfortably.

Jim lifted his head. "The oven timer just went off, Chief. Is dinner ready?" He turned to follow as Blair strode toward the kitchen.

"Nah, that's the ten-minute warning," floated back over his shoulder. "Time to put in the garlic bread. Care to set the table while I toss the salad?"

As Jim pulled out the plates and silverware, listening to Blair's continued chatter, he reflected that the idea of rain and rainbows actually summed up their situation rather nicely. They'd passed through several stretches of personal 'rough weather', and a couple of storms so all-encompassing that it had seemed their world would be destroyed. But the storms had passed, their -- dingy -- connection had been washed clean, and the rainbow promised fair weather ahead.

He sat across from the man who was his best friend, brother, partner, and guide, and once again gave silent thanks for his continued good fortune. There might be more rough weather ahead -- life was never easy -- but from now on, he'd be aware of the gathering clouds. With forewarning, they might be able to avert the storm, or at least raise an umbrella against it. Never again would sentinel and guide -- or Jim and Blair -- face the elements alone.

"Chief ?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

The glowing smile was all the benediction he needed.

"You're welcome, man."



The End



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