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Quarter Bag
By: Lady Shelley

A dark side to the Sandburg psyche.

Rated G     March 3, 2001      30K

Author Notes: This is for DawnC, who wanted stories about the dark side of Blair Sandburg.
Story beta read by Toni. Thanks Toni!
internal thoughts in italics

~~~~~~~~

The addiction had started innocently enough. He had been offered some on campus and before he knew what it was, he had swallowed it. It was a short journey from sampling to having to have it to keep up with classes and papers. He found himself squirreling away money in order to be able to afford the next bag.

He knew he was addicted. In the privacy of his own mind admitting it wasn't an issue. But the circumstances had changed in the last year. He was now living with a cop; a cop who could sniff things out better than any dog. If Jim ever found out, he was dead meat.

His stash was hidden in his room, buried under a myriad of other things in the hopes of keeping its presence a secret from his roommate. It was the main reason he did most of his schoolwork in the small room with the door firmly closed rather than out in the living area. Under the cover of shuffled papers and very strong peppermint tea, he had kept his addiction a secret.

Until now.

~~~~~~~~

Blair hummed quietly to himself as he sat in the living room, papers piled in drifts around the sofa. Jim was out of town at a police conference so he had time to catch up on school projects and not go into the station.

As he sat writing, every few minutes his hand would dip to the bag on the table and he would get another boost. In a sad way, it really did help him to concentrate.

The measured thumping outside the loft door took a moment to register. With a start, he realized it was footsteps and made a dash to his room with the bag. He heard the door open and his roommate drop his keys in the basket on the table.

Almost frantic, he buried the bag in a drawer, picked up a book at random and walked back out to greet his friend.

"Hey man, I thought you were gonna be a few days at that conference." Did that sound casual? Does he suspect?

"Yeah, we got lucky. The hotel had some new kid working the bookings and he double-booked the conference hall. We all took a vote and decided to let the dentists have their pow-wow instead. We all came home," Jim answered taking a closer look at his roommate. Sweating, hands shaking. Oh yeah, I got you this time, Chief. "So what have you been up to?" he continued, taking a casual look around the living area.

"Oh you know, school stuff. Papers to write, papers to grade. Nothing too spectacular. Give me a sec, and I'll get this cleaned up," Blair said, moving over to the sofa and gathering papers and books. "You probably want to watch TV and unwind, so I'll just make some tea and work in my room." There, that sounded pretty good.

Jim made a non-committal grunt and headed up to his room with his duffel bag. He spent the next twenty minutes unpacking, putting clean clothes back in their proper places, the rest into the hamper. He kept his hearing tweaked a little above his normal and listened to the click of porcelain and running water. That's it, Chief. Get settled in, nice and comfy. I know you're up to something and I think it's about time I found out what.

~~~~~~~~

Blair moved around in the kitchen getting his tea made. While he waited for the water to boil, he cleaned up the rest of his papers and books out of the living room. Giving the area one last check, just to make sure he hadn't left anything incriminating around, he went back to the kitchen and finished making his tea.

Once he was safe in his room, he slowly let out the breath he was holding and collapsed on the bed. That was close. Way too close. He knows something is up, I can tell. Hopefully he'll be too tired from the trip to bother investigating.

After a few minutes, he got up, grabbed the books off the desk and started to work on his paper again.

It wasn't long before he found himself needing a fix. He was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate on the subject at hand and his eyes kept wandering to the drawer where the bag was hastily stashed. Man you have got to be nuts. Jim is like right outside, and you know he's listening. Just ride it out.

He went back to his paper and tried to think about the cultural significance of Western mores on primitive cultures, but it was useless. After another thirty minutes, he gave up and opened the drawer. Being as quiet as he could, he reached into the bag.

Once the first one hit his system, he relaxed on the bed and savored the next few.

Looking back later, he realized it was the relaxing that did him in.

~~~~~~~~

Jim sat on the sofa with a beer watching the new XFL football on television. In one sense he was interested because he wanted to see what all the hype was about. But he had too many other things on his mind to pay much attention to the action on the field.

The second quarter was just beginning when he heard the sound in the small room. It was just a slight crinkling sound, but he knew he had the kid dead to rights.

Rising slowing and making his way stealthily to the French doors, he made another sensory sweep of the bedroom. There, that smell. He couldn't believe it. Not only was he doing it in the loft, he actually thought he was going to get away with it.

Tapping once, just for the appearance of manners, Jim opened the door, and stopped dead in the doorway. There was Blair lying on the bed, a look of total contentment on his face.

"Sandburg!"

Blair started up from the bed, a guilty look smeared all over his features.

"I can explain, Jim. Really I can!"

"I'm not sure I care to hear it, Chief. I can't believe this. You, who touts all those health nut ideas of ‘my body is a temple' and here I catch you. What is really left to explain?" Another look at Sandburg looking very guilty on the bed and he focused on Blair's fingers. I don't believe it. Oh, this is just too good.

Blair looked from his hands still holding the evidence for anyone to see, then back up to his friend. Jim had an absolutely devilish grin on his face. I know that look. I really hate that look. Maybe I can call in dead tomorrow. Nah, it would never work. "I guess there isn't anything else," Blair said out loud. "What are you going to do?"

"Chief, I'm your friend, I care. I'll see about getting you some help. But I will have to tell Simon about this."

"No, Jim, please don't."

Before Blair could continue, Jim interrupted, "I'm sorry, but he really will need to know about this. I mean after all the speeches you've given him and everyone else for that matter about the dangers of Wonderburger and junk food and I find this. It's out of my hands, Chief."

Blair sank back onto the bed with a sigh. "I can't talk you out of this?"

"Nope. I imagine he will want to have a long talk with you tomorrow about this. I'll be as diplomatic about it as I can, but he's gonna want to know when to expect you." So we can have everything in place.

Blair gave another sigh. "Better to get it over with, I guess. I have a morning class, so I'll be in around noon. But I really wish you wouldn't tell him, Jim."

"I can't do that, and I think you can guess why. I'll tell him you'll be in around noon." Jim walked out of the room, the smirk still firmly in place.

~~~~~~~~

Blair walked into Major Crime with a feeling of dread. He was not looking forward to what was coming. He'd given a passing thought to calling Jim and saying he was sick, just to postpone the inevitable. But halfway through dialing the number, he'd hung up. Better to just get it over with.

The bullpen was mercifully empty, and the door to Simon's office was closed. Maybe this won't be so bad after all. Maybe everyone went to lunch and I can still keep some dignity.

Turning to Jim's desk, all hope of dignity went out the window.

Piled all over the surface were orange bags, some small, cheap ones and others the super-size variety.

Blair groaned aloud as he heard laughter coming from the direction of Simon's office.

"I never would have guessed it, Jim." Simon's booming voice overrode the laughter and guffaws. "But looking at his face, I guess it's all true. Sandburg, I can't believe you are a closet Cheetos fiend."

"Oh it's true, Simon," Jim said with a wide grin. "And the lengths he went through to hide it were as good as any junkie. I thought he was gonna have a heart attack when I came in last night. I'd never seen him so pale."

Blair walked over to Jim's side and lightly punched him in the arm. "You had to tell him, didn't you," he said with a grin. " You couldn't just keep this to yourself."

"I told you last night Simon would want to know about this," Jim said, also grinning widely. "Look at it this way, Sandburg, now you won't have to hide form us anymore."

"Right," Blair said shaking his head. Turning back to the desk piled with Cheetos bags, he was just in time to see Brown sneaking a bag for himself.

"Hey, those are mine! Go get your own, man!"

***end***


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