"Who said I was thinking? The only thing I did during those first couple of months was apply to the police academy. I didn't *need* to do anything. I had so much back pay coming to me that I could live for *years*...and you *know* I don't have to work, anyway."
Blair nodded. Somewhere in some bank, Jim had a couple of trust funds gathering dust. He refused to touch them, didn't even know how much was in them any more. "But you applied to the academy?"
"Yeah. Had to...which is why I'm *still* one, I guess."
"Why all the...the..."
"I was scared. And confused. And...numb. It was like I couldn't feel *anything*, except when I had sex. And...in Peru, I'd been with women as well as men, so I knew I *could*. They all wanted my kids back in the tribe...nothing *ever* took, thank God."
Blair got up and knelt beside Jim. He hugged him gently. "Good thing. You wouldn't have left otherwise."
He just nodded.
"Jim...we'll talk later, but I think I know what you were doing. Why did you *stop*?"
"The academy. It required a physical, including an AIDS test. And the moment the doctor said those words, I...I came to my senses. The days I waited the result were a *complete* nightmare. Remember, Aunt Melly?"
"I will never *forget*, Jimmy. You came to us positively *shaking*, asking if you could stay with us until you knew. Of course we let you. We wouldn't have let you go."
"Thank you *both* for that. You kept me alive."
"Then you were gone again. Even when you were in vice and working and playing *here*, you really weren't."
"I *had* to be in the closet. If I didn't have the record I have, and my friendship with Simon...I'd be off the force *now.* Or dead. Or...like poor Matt."
"Do you *still* believe that band of brothers stuff you two were talking about?"
Jim pursed his lips. "Please, *don't* ask me that. I *can't* think that way. I *just*...I don't know."
"It's hard, I know. They've been your family for *so* long."
"*Blair's* my family. And you, Aunt Melly."
Melly bit his lip. "Blair, yes. But...when you became a cop, we *all* knew you had to be loyal to them...and we all *knew* you had to be a cop."
"I haven't done a fabulous job of taking care of you guys."
"No? I read the papers, you know. We *are* a part of this city, and you've saved the city more than once, baby girl."
"It is *no* excuse. I've been back for a *year*. No one told me, and I didn't even *try* to see. I mean, I knew that Vice was hitting you guys hard, but I'm in Major Crimes and...I'm so sorry. It's all my fault." Jim pulled away from Mel and Blair and began to pace.
Blair looked at Melly. He wanted to go up there and calm Jim down but he knew it wouldn't work. Jim had to work through this himself, no mat