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Blair Sandburg - Not a Wimp!
by Elaine

Anthropologists background:

Anthropologists study the origin and the physical, social, and cultural development and behavior of humans. They may study the way of life, archaeological remains, language, or physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world. Some compare the customs, values, and social patterns of different cultures. Anthropologists usually concentrate in sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, or biological-physical anthropology. Sociocultural anthropologists study customs, cultures, and social lives of groups in settings that vary from unindustrialized societies to modern urban centers.

(From Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Scientists, Other)

Blair’s background

During the show run, working on completing his Ph.D. in Anthropology.
Minored in Psychology. Dead Drop.
Started college education at Ranier at an early age. Smart Alec.
Has studied interior decorating. Mirror Image

Job Experiences
Welder in sheet metal plant two summers. 'Fastest torch on his crew'. Dead Drop. *

From Nightowl’s Website

*Also knows how to drive an eighteen wheeler truck.  Spent a summer driving cross-country in his uncle’s rig.  (Mentioned in Spare Parts)

The subject of this column is about some of the unflattery version of Blair that had been seen in fan fiction.  The information above gives both the background of an anthropologist and Blair’s own background as glen from cannon. As noted, Blair appears to be a highly skilled young man, and his anthropologist background gives him the abilities to think on his feet.   Yet some of the fan stories seem to have the impression that all the kid does is give lectures and grade books.

Unfortunately Jim himself seem to occasionally have the same impression:

Jim: I can't believe Sandburg's in the middle of this. Before he started tagging around with me, the worst that could happen to him at the university was a paper cut.

(From Dead Drop.  Source: Becky’s Sentinel Site Episode Transcripts)

Oh, right!  Blair was in the building to get a figurine appraised for the university.  It had nothing to do with being Jim’s friend, guide, partner, etc.  (And as for the paper cut line, Blair is an anthropologist who goes on field trips, he was seen passing one up in Flight, so he does have other things to worry about beside paper cuts.)

"Right." Blair nodded. "Just nice and safe in Borneo. Caught between loggers and oilmen with guns, villagers with guns, aboriginal people with spears who still eat their enemies' hearts to gain courage, and about 40 billion disease-carrying mosquitoes. Real safe, Jim."

(From The Scars That Remains by Jane Mailander) (Slash)

That may be one of the reasons Jim’s and Blair’s relationship occasionally shows such strains.  Jim has this mistaken impression that Blair needs to be protected because he’s an academic and has no skills to defend himself.  Not only is that a stupid assumption (and as a detective Jim should know better) it’s an insult to Blair.  It gives the impression that he wasn’t able to take care of himself those 16 odds years he’d been a student at Rainer, and going out on expeditions to the far parts of the world.  And lets not forget the times he had to be on his own, with Naomi coming and going during his childhood.

Daniel (of Stargate SG-1) takes Jim to task for such assumption of Blair’s apparent ‘helpless’ in Sheila Paulson’s Limits Of Trust.  As a scientist himself, he had been through the same thing with his Stargate teammates, and their tendency to be overprotective.  But the difference is that they had learned better (not an easy task since Daniel’s teammates are from the military).  It seems to take a little longer for Jim to get the message.

(Limits Of Trust by Sheila Paulson) (x-over with Stargate SG-1) (Gen)
As an anthropologist Blair had to learn to get along with other people and their culture.  To ‘blend’ in with the ‘tribe’ he was studying.  That means accepting things that would be consider ‘normal’ by these people standard, which might be considered weird or strange (or even perverted) by others.  That requires a person with an open mind and flexibility. (Traits Blair probably got from his free-spirited mother, Naomi)

Perhaps that’s why Blair wasn’t really put off much by hanging out with Jim.  In view of his time in the jungle, desert, and/or forests, tagging behind a detective might be consider a ‘cake walk’.  Not to mention the various places he had been by just traveling with his foot-loose mother, prior to entering Ranier.

Blair shown great grace under fire in Rogue when the Conference Room was filled with smoke.  He calmly orders his students to leave the building as well as remained in the doorway until he was sure Jim was leaving as well.   He faced down bank robbers with an improvised weapon of a water hose. (Love And Guns).  He was seen beaming a crook with a baseball (True Crimes).

Even in moments of extreme stress that boarded on panic, he still managed to keep his head.  Scared though he was, Blair managed to push a vender machine on one of Kincad’s thugs (Siege).  Ambush by the hunters who shot at them earlier, Blair managed to give them a cock and bull story about Jim being dead so he wouldn’t be endangered.  When he escape and managed to literally run into Jim, he still was able to tell him what happened despite being so upset.  (Survival)  In the asylum he was able to spin a yarn to Warren even with the madman’s hand on his throat.  When he ran into Jim later, he was still able to give a coherent statement. (And agreeing with Jim about pulling out, the kid is to be given credit for knowing his own limits)  (Mirror Image) Faced with a dying man bleeding before him, he still managed to try to help him.  (Waiting Room).  He backed up a blinded Jim with nothing more than a pen light, communicator and binoculars during a drug buy.  (Blind Man’s Bluff). With his hand held over the open flames Blair shouted to Jim not to tell Gustavo’s men Myra’s location.  (Second Chance).  How many of us would be able to show that kind of courage?

Botta’s True Confessions sum up Blair’s cannon accomplishments neatly, when Jim is willing to mention them before a live audience on a talk show:

"This man is my partner. That means when I lay my life on the line, he's the one guarding my back. It means when I'm in a fire-fight, he's the one calling for back-up. It means when I go undercover, he's the one on the other end of the wire."
He paused and looked around again. "I put my life in his hands every day. Every time we go on a case, I depend on him to keep me, and us both, safe and alive. You heard a lot about what I've done for him, but you haven't heard *anything* about what he's done for me."
He gave Blair a look that held something akin to awe. "He's stood down a terrorist, brought down a helicopter with a flare gun, jumped out of a plane, tossed himself over a waterfall, knocked out a guy with a vending machine. He's weaseled his way undercover to warn me of danger, he's followed me through fifteen miles of forest with a concussion without complaining, he's been trapped in a elevator by some wacko. He's been smoked out, shot at, kidnapped, whacked on the head, drugged, nearly drowned, almost blown to bits, tied up, and shot. He has gone to the wire, risked his life for me time and time again. The guy I thought would be scared right out of the bullpen on his first day, has shown more courage, more loyalty and more *guts* than any trained cop coming out of the academy today."

From True Confessions by Botta (Gen)

Yet there are fan stories written in which Blair acts more like a teenager than the mature young man he is. There had been stories in which Blair when faced with danger curl up in a frighten ball, becomes a frighten, crying wimp.  Stories in which he is so despondent over the fall out of TSBS that he consider or had attempted suicide (there had been an distressing number of those) No, I won’t name names, since the examples are uncomplimentary.  I pretty much dismissed them as soon as I come across them.

 This is not discounting moments in which he is upset and crying.  Pressure and near death incidents can cause that for anyone and Blair is as mortal as the next man.  Also, his enthusiastic personality tends to make him occasionally act younger than he actually is.  Again, that is part of his personality. (One of the fears of some fans is that he will lose that joy of life on facing the harsh reality of police work.  Yet his spirit had survived the three years with Jim with only minor battering and he had been seen to bounce back.)

The ‘brain storming’ sessions in True Crime (when the boys was examining the videotapes of the bank robberies) and Ice Man (when they was trying to figure out Amber’s location) is a wonderful example of how well Jim and Blair can work together.  One has to wonder if this is what Blair can do during his ‘observer’ status what will he be capable of when he receives full training at the Academy?  

As mentioned in several episodes Blair had traveled the world and observed many exotic customs and tribes.  Human nature being what it is, one can assume that not all those trips were simple ‘walks in the park’.  (Though it would seem that Blair and the crew would be more endangered by the so-called ‘civilized’ people and wildlife than the natives. On the other hand, not all natives treat outsiders peacefully.)

Trouble Magnet by Rimilod and The Scars That Remains by Jane Mailander both gives a glimpse in the kinds of risks and dangers Blair’d faced pre-Blessed Protector.

Trouble Magnet by Rimilod  (Gen)

The Scars That Remains by Jane Mailander (Slash)

And while one is on the subject of Blessed Protector:

Blair: You know, the Chinese believe when you save a man's life you become his blessed protector and it's your duty to do that for the rest of your life.

(From Cypher.  Source: Becky’s Sentinel Site Episode Transcripts)

With the above quote in mind, then Blair was the first Blessed Protector, since he saved Jim’s life by pushing him out of the path of the garbage truck in Switchman.  (And not just pushing him, but knocking him down and shielding his body as the truck goes over both of them.  A guy he barely knows at the time.)    It appears some of the writers forget that Blair is just as fierce a defender of Jim’s safety and well being as Jim is of his.  (That is what partners do after all.)

In fandom there had been stories that has shown that Blair is just as willing to give his all to protect Jim, as Jim is to protect him.

In For You, Julie giftfic, there are two incidents of Blair showing fierce courage in defending Jim: 

At that moment, Blair, who'd been wrestling with the ropes tying him to the chair, leaped at Leland, knocking the gun from his hands and knocking the man down. Leland grabbed Blair by the jacket and slammed him into a wall. Blair slid down with a groan, barely managing to remain conscious.
When Leland turned, Jim was pointing his backup gun at him and ordering him to surrender. Leland looked at him, looked at the shotgun, looked at Jim.
"Don't do it, Leland. Don't make me shoot you--damn it, Leland!" Jim fired as Leland leaped at the gun, his bullet hitting Leland in the shoulder and knocking him backwards.
Jim eased forward, kneeling down beside Leland and pulling out his handcuffs. As he grabbed Leland's bad arm to move behind him, Leland twisted and knocked Jim to the floor, knocking his gun away. Leland managed to straddle Jim, hands wrapping tightly around his throat.
Jim tried to loosen Leland's hold, but failed. Punching him in the kidneys also failed. Just as Jim felt he was about to pass out, Leland was gone. Jim sucked in a deep breath, looking up to see Blair straddling Leland's chest, hitting him in the face, over and over, a wild look in his eyes.
"Blair! Enough!" Jim finally managed to call out.
Blair stopped, fist raised. He looked at Leland, who was out for the count with a bloody nose and split lips, then at Jim. Blair scrambled to his side. "Jim? You OK?"
Jim nodded. "Yeah, I'm OK. How about you?"
"I'm good."

He saved my life, Simon," Jim said quietly. "You should've seen him. Leland's at least as big as me. He was hopped up on acid, throwing both of us around like rag dolls. He had me down, strangling me. I thought I was a dead man. And then he was just gone, and I could breath again, and I look up, and Blair's sitting on this guy, pounding him for all he's worth. I don't think he would've stopped if I hadn't called him off."
"He was protecting you, wasn't he?"
Jim gave a little nod. "Yeah, he was." A smile played at the corners of his lips. "I guess...that makes him...*my* Blessed Protector, huh?"

(From Faith by Shawnee) (Gen)

Minutes later over the radio came a maniacal laugh. "Your officer is mine!" the madman laughed.
"NO!" Blair yelled. He raced for the building, Rafe right behind him, Simon thundering behind them both.
Fifteen minutes later, Brown was showing the coroner where the madman's body lay. Blair was finishing pulling Jim from a Zoneout while Rafe, Megan and Simon guarded them from prying eyes.
"What...what happened?" Jim asked softly.
"You missed all the fun," Rafe said with a grin. "Idiot called that he'd got you ---"
"That's when we figured you'd Zoned --" Megan put in.
"And Blair shot up the ladder like a guided missile," Rafe went on.
"He found you and the perp threatened him with a gun," Brown said, walking up.
"And he picked up a piece of rebar and hit him upside the head!" Rafe chuckled. "Gun went flying!"
"And it went off when it landed," Megan said. "Shot the perp right in the heart!"
Blair and Jim had both been listening with jaws slowly heading South. At long last, Blair said, "I...did...WHAT?"

(From I Did What? by Enola Jones) (Gen)
As the excerpts show, Blair can be every bit as dangerous as Jim when his sentinel is threatened. Jet’s fanzine story, Hollow Man, (printed in the fanzine Sentry Duty) shows the length Blair will go through to help his friend.  Jim had been kidnapped and drugged.  He managed to escape, but Blair must help him fight the effect of the drug (and how they are affecting his senses) and protect him from the hit man that is after him.  (Those who are familiar with the series Starksy And Hutch, think of the episode ‘The Fix’.) The fans that have faith in Blair abilities to defend Jim against any threats will not be surprise at what he does in the story.

(Email JET at: for inquiry about the fanzine story.)
The Post-TSBS story, One Thoughtless Act by Starky had Jim getting nailed in the one place one would think he was safe, among his co-workers in Major Crimes.  One of the new detective, not believing the ‘rumors’ of Jim’s abilities, decided to prove it by setting off a Screamer (a subsonic device use to discourage animal from invading a yard).  The ‘sound’ from the Screamer put Jim in agony and drove him into a near fatal zone out.   When Blair found out who was responsible, he had that detective push against the wall with his hand around his throat.  (Blair is the youngest and shortest of the detectives in Major Crimes, not that his physical appearance had stopped him when it comes to protecting Jim.) 

"Sandburg what the Hells going on." Banks shouted only to stop as he saw his best detective kneeling on the floor in convulsions.
"I don't know" he shouted back "its some kind of spike help me get him into the office." Just as he grabbed his partner Ellison shuddered then like a puppet with its strings cut, slumped in Sandburg's grasp. Cursing Blair hauled the semiconscious man towards Simon's office. Meeting him half way Banks picked up his detective like a father would his son and carried him gently into his office. Sandburg was right behind the captain but someone grabbed his arm pulling him back.
"Oh god, Oh god, I'm so sorry I didn't know, I didn't think." Maze babbled in horror shoving the screamer into Blair's hands.
His mind still focused on his Sentinel is took Sandburg a moment to realize what he'd been given, shocked horror surged through him as he realized what torture Jim must have gone through. Looking up at Detective Maze who was still mumbling how sorry he was, that horror quickly burst into searing hot rage, with a shout he threw the subsonic emitter across the room shattering the glass window making several stunned detectives duck. Then like Jim had done when they first met the enraged Guide seized Maze and threw the much heavier man against the wall. "Do you know what you've done?" he howled slamming the detective repeatedly against the wall.
Maze gulped as the normally cheerful peace loving kid tagalong whom he out weighed by 70 pounds held him up three inches from the floor shaking him like a dog with a bone with no apparent effort. "Please I don't…..…"
"Your dead" Blair hissed with a furious crazed look in his eyes, and wrapped one hand around the mans neck started to choke the foolish man.
"Blair this isn't helping" Taggert pleaded trying to pull him off the other man, quickly several others jumped in to help, Blair casually shook them off ignoring their efforts fully intending on eliminating this threat to his sentinel.

(From One Thoughtless Act by Starzy) (Gen)
And speaking of Detective Sandburg, there are those who don’t believe Blair would make it as a true detective because of his aversion to guns.  He had no problem holding the gun and facing down Veronica in Switchman.  He may had been a bit nervous in Night Train, but the gun was pointed firmly at the door and he show every indication of being willing to shoot if he had to.  He fired a weapon in Storm Island, despite ‘you know how I feel about guns…’ issues.  He also handled a gun in Four Point Shot.
Blair never said that he didn’t know how to use a gun.  (Something the kid firmly points out to Jim in the fan story Harborfest by Quiltaday.) He only said that he wasn’t ‘packing’.  (Mentioned in Killers)

Harborfest (Gen) by Quiltaday

If Jim were in a situation in which he can’t defend himself, Blair handling a gun wouldn’t even be debatable.  In both fandom and cannon one had seen the kid use a weapon (gun or otherwise) in defense of his partner or for others who cannot defend themselves.  Which should be the only reason a gun should ever be use.

And for what it’s worth, (in view of Naomi’s probable apprehension) being a detective is less dangerous than being patrol policeman walking (or riding a beat).   Detectives tends to show up after the shooting is over (not that detectives hadn’t been recruited to do patrol police work, as was seen in cannon).  Indeed, it’s usually a detective’s job to find the cause of said shooting (or other illegal activities).  So following up on crimes (not all of them violent) isn’t quite as risky as patrolling and looking for trouble, which is what a beat cop does.      
Luckily there’s more writers who portray Blair as the strong, capable young man seen on the series.  Below as excellent example of writers of stories which features a strong Blair:

Brook Henson (Gen/Slash)  (she also does great first person Jim stories)

Sue Wells (she portray Blair as the intelligent scientist, researcher that he is)

D L Whiterspoon (she is also know for doing a strong Jim, her Blair can push back when Jim pushes and usually is as solid as a rock)

Vision (another writer who has a Blair who can give as good as he get with Jim)

Shedoc (Gen/Slash)
(She does a Blair who is very commandant as Jim’s partner and assisting Major Crimes in general.)
(Her slash stories are archived at 826 Prospect)

 Lanning Cook (Gen/Slash)
(Another writer who has Blair gives as good as he gets.  Usually during some rather harrowing events.)

In cannon one sees him growing up.  The kid that flinched under the gunfire in Survival has matured to the person who could calmly talk on the phone with his mother in Private Eyes while the bullets are flying around himself and Jim.

Anyone who had watched the series would notice that Blair is far from helpless.  From the very first episode, Switchman, in which he threw himself over Jim to save him from being run over by a truck to the moment in TSBS when he willingly gave up his academic career to protect Jim, Blair had show courage and determination far beyond most people his age.

Blair is an intelligent, capable young man, who is just a fierce a Blessed Protector to Jim as Jim is to him.  Whose compassion allows him to go through great lengths to help those who need it.  (Which makes a good counter to Jim’s own sometimes-cynical worldviews.)  It is a welcome relief that most writers do portray him that way, instead of an immature child.

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