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Water Below and Blackness Above

by Juliet Benson
(Written: 12-99)

Category: Episode Related
Summary: Missing scene from Murder 101. Was anyone else as suprised as me that Blair jumped into the water so easily after drowning?
Disclaimer: They aren't mine. Be grateful. Spoilers: "Murder 101" and "Sentinel Too"
Note: I hope ya'll like it... Hey, it's Blair angst! *g* And I truly do adore Jim with all my heart, but I just gave him a gentle kick.

Blair clenched his mouth shut, pushing down the nausea and blackness that threatened to overwhelm him. He treaded water rhythmically, keeping a death grip on Brad. ‘Don’t think about it; you’re dry, you’re safe, you’re on firm ground…’ Brad thrashed suddenly and Blair submerged briefly, but it was enough to nearly send him into hysteria. ‘Calm down, calm down!’ he shouted at himself, frantically gasping. He jerked Brad backward hard. ‘Hurry up, Jim or Simon or *someone*. I’m sorry for everything these past few days, I’m sorry. I was just angry, I didn’t mean it, I’ll do better…’ His frenzied mental babbling was interrupted with the sight of a boat heading toward them. He felt a surge of anger when he saw that only Jim and Simon occupied the boat; Jim must have stopped and dropped the girl off. ‘Thanks for running to my rescue, Jim,’ he thought sarcastically. The boat pulled alongside them and Jim cut the engine. Simon grinned at him.

"Need some help, Sandburg?" he asked, leaning further out and extending his arm.

"Yes," Blair gasped. "Yes, hurry, please." He saw both Jim and Simon frown at his begging tone, but didn’t really care. He was too busy trying *not* to think of the water lapping at his mouth and ears, the taste of it in his mouth, the feel of it running down his face. He pulled Brad over the boat and shoved him forward. Simon grasped the boy’s arms and dragged him up, then turned him over to Ellison, who began reading him his rights with a satisfied gleam in his eye. Simon looked over side of the boat and right into Sandburg’s huge, terrified eyes. The amount of fear he saw staggered him. The kid was pawing frantically at the side, looking like a cat trying to climb up glass. Concerned now, he reached down and much more carefully helped Sandburg in. He collapsed the second his feet landed.

"You okay, Blair?" Simon asked quietly.

"No," whispered Sandburg honestly, wiping at his face. Simon was again shocked; tears were mixed in with the water there. Despite it being uttered so quietly even Simon, who was standing over the kid had to strain to hear it, Jim looked at them sharply. He forcefully shoved a sulking, handcuffed Brad into the nearest seat.

"Simon, watch him," he barked, going to the controls. Simon squeezed Blair’s right shoulder and gave him another once-over before obeying. The engine roared to life.

"I don’t want to ever hear you order me around again, Ellison," he called over the rushing air. Blair shivered and curled up, pressing against the side of the boat. ‘I am not going to break down in front of Ventriss. I am not going to cry in front of Jim and Simon. I am not, I am not…’ he chanted to himself, blocking off his mind from going to that spot it most wanted to go. ‘Picture yourself in Rome, in a café…’ he pulled out every trick he could think of, but his mind continued to skitter around the hole looming in his head, threatening to drag him into memories. After an eternity, he felt a large hand swallow his shoulder.

"Blair? We’ve hit land." Simon’s surprisingly gentle voice broke through his fragile reverie.

"Th-thanks Simon," he managed between violently chattering teeth. When had it gotten so *cold*? He staggered to his feet, took a deep breath and hopped over the side into the knee-deep water. As soon as he made contact, a scream nearly erupted from his throat, but he choked it back with a small sound. ‘What is *wrong* with me? Gotta get to land…’ He rushed toward solid, dry ground, arms wrapped tightly around his middle. Jim and Simon shared a look and followed. Ventriss was pulled away by two other cops, shouting curses and threats at Sandburg. They soon faded, but Blair didn’t even notice. He stood, eyes closed, hunched in on himself, clearly working on breathing normally.

"Chief?" Jim’s inquiry appeared to go unnoticed. He and Simon shared yet another glance, both concerned. Suddenly Blair folded up and dropped to the ground, moaning. Both Jim and Simon followed.


"Blair?" They spoke at the same time.

"C-cold," he moaned, eyes screwed shut. "Wet. No. Alex, n-no, please d-don’t." Jim jerked back as though an electrical current had shot through him. Simon’s jaw went slack.

"Shit. I didn’t even think…" he sputtered.

"Y-you don’t h-have to d-d-do this, Alex. Stop. Please." Blair’s voice dropped lower. "No!" It was shouted, and both cops jumped. "No! Jim, I’m s-sorry. I d-didn’t mean… b-betray you…" Then he went suddenly, horribly slack and terrible choking sounds emitted from his throat.

"Blair!" Jim grabbed his shoulders and shook him. "Blair, wake up. Snap out of it. You’re OK, she’s gone, she can’t hurt you…" His face was white.

"Sandburg!" Simon tried, reaching over and gently slapping Blair’s face. "Come on, Sandburg, don’t do this." Blair went limp and silent for a second, not breathing, then stiffened. He rolled over abruptly and threw up. Jim rocked back on his heels, relief flooding his face. Simon ran a hand over his face. Jim gently rubbed Blair’s back.

"You’re okay, buddy, just keep breathing." He was surprised when Sandburg jerked away from him.

"So now you c-care?" he mumbled, eyes closed and then looked profoundly shocked at himself. Jim’s jaw clenched.

"What’s that supposed to mean?"

"I didn’t mean that, Jim, I’m s-sorry…"

"What’s up, Sandburg? First you go into this traumatized… bout and stop breathing, then the first thing you do when you come to is start sniping at people?" Blair shrank into himself, still shivering, eyes half closed, looking miserable. Simon took pity on him and interfered.

"Look Jim, back off. He’s had a hard day and is scared and confused, and has just suffered a flashback to a very bad situation. If he says he didn’t mean anything by it, then he didn’t." Jim’s expression softened.

"I’m sorry, Chief. Here," he gently helped Blair to his feet "let’s get you home." Simon moved to Blair’s other side, but saw that Jim had Sandburg well supported. Blair suddenly blinked and looked around with glazed eyes.

"S-simon? Are we in Sierra Verde?"

"No, Blair. We’re in Cascade. You just caught Brad Ventriss, remember?"

"Ventriss?" Blair’s brow furrowed, a look of intense concentration on his face. "I should be in Sierra Verde, helping Jim."

"I’m right here, Chief," Jim spoke up. Sandburg jerked his head toward him as if just noticing he was there.

"Hey man," he greeted wearily and promptly passed out. Jim grunted as he was suddenly left to support Sandburg’s weight by himself. Simon moved quickly to help.

"He’s lost weight, Simon," Jim said quietly. "Why didn’t I notice that?" Simon didn’t respond, knowing Jim was mentally kicking himself.

"Let’s get him home and warmed up."

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