Blair shivered, suddenly realizing the touch was gone. They
were coming back! He was alone again and they were coming back---back to
kill! He had to stop them, but he didn't know how---how to stop something that
was supposed to be dead already. He had to protect Jim---Jim couldn't see them---only
Blair could see them. Why? Why couldn't they see them coming? There was
one right in front of him! It was trying to trick him---get him to drop the gun---but
Blair knew---he knew he needed the gun for---he needed the gun---why wouldn't
it work? It had to work, it was all he had! What could he---if he let go of the
gun, how could he---who would stop them? No! It's a trick---a trick to get him
to put the gun down---it won't work! No, he's trying to trick me---but---I
don't want---I can't---No!
"Blair, it's okay, take it easy, I'm here."
Blair was trying desperately to get away from them, he wanted to shoot one,
it was too close, but he couldn't. He knew he couldn't. He could feel his heart
racing, and he was breathing heavily, trying to get away from them. He had to
stop them, but he knew...somehow he knew if he fired the gun now, he'd kill himself.
Finally, the touch returned, and it was accompanied by a voice. It was a voice
Blair knew. One he recognized from somewhere. He didn't know why, or how, but
he knew it was a voice he could trust. The sound of it immediately calmed his
racing heart, and instinctively he turned towards it, noticing how the golden
beings disappeared when it spoke. The hand stayed on his arm, and Blair used it
to bring himself awake, concentrating on the touch and the voice, using them to
pull himself out of the fog he had been in for so very long.
became aware of other things. He realized he was lying down, and he was so tired!
His heart was alternating between racing and skipping beats, but it seemed to
be calming down now as the voice continued to speak to him. Something cool touched
his forehead and he willed it to stay there. His neck was wet with sweat and his
face was hot, but the coolness on his forehead began to spread, wiping the heat
from his face, his neck, his throat. Blair swallowed, turning his head slightly
towards the voice. He wanted to open his eyes, to see who it was that had chased
them away, but he was too tired again. For the first time in so long he felt safe,
as if someone else was in control, and he could stop worrying. The voice was telling
him to sleep. He did what he was told.
into the room in ICU, knowing full well he'd find Jim still sitting next to Blair's
bed. And he was right. There he was, looking like hell all over again, with one
hand on Blair's shoulder. Simon had talked Jim into coming with him to the station
for a shower and shave, then kept him there by working on the case. And now that
it was over, here he was again, glued to that chair. "Jim, have you been
here all night?" He crossed the room and looked down at Blair's sleeping
form. They had taken Blair off the respirator when he drove Jim back here the
other night, and he seemed to be holding up.
"Captain. I didn't realize
what time it was."
"How is he?"
"Better." Jim stretched,
glancing at Blair. "He had a rough night, but the worst seems to be over.
The doctor says there's no permanent damage."
"Good, that's good."
Simon moved over to stand beside Jim's chair. "What about you? You haven't
slept in two days, Jim. Let me take you home."
Jim shook his head. "No,
Simon I want to be here when he wakes up again."
"Jim, he's in a
hospital, he's being taken care of. You need to take care of yourself. You've
been through hell, you know. And you're just now getting your sight back. You
should be seeing a doctor yourself and getting some rest."
Simon sighed, rubbing his eyes. "Okay, Jim. Have it your
way. But at least let me take you downstairs for some breakfast." He knew,
short of a direct order, he'd have trouble getting Jim out of the room. There
was a time, Simon could have sworn, when Detective Jim Ellison wouldn't have given
the time of day to someone like Blair. But now they were inseparable. And it no
longer seemed one way. Maybe it never really was. He had always seen their relationship
as Blair following Jim everywhere he went, like a kid with a new big brother.
But, now that he had taken some time to really notice, he was forced to admit
it went both ways. He could no longer recall a time when Jim wasn't accompanied
by his new partner. Somehow, they seemed a perfect match. It was almost as if
they had been meant to work together. Maybe it was this Sentinel thing. Simon
still didn't understand that completely, and probably never would. Or, maybe it
was just the fact that Blair had wormed his way in to Jim's loft, and Ellison
just didn't have the heart to kick the kid out. Whatever it was, it had taken
a rogue cop, Simon's best detective, and made him even better. "Come on,
Jim." He had to reach down and take Jim by the arm before the man relented
and stood up, giving Blair one last look before following him out of the room.
"Hang on just a minute, Simon." Jim indicated the mens room across
the corridor, then went inside.
Simon waited in the hall, facing the window
that looked in on Blair's room. He was glad to see him off the respirator, and
most of the monitors and IV's had been removed, but not all. His face no longer
held that vacant, close to death look, even though Simon could still tell by looking
at him that all was not well. He wasn't just in there, sleeping off a bad day.
He had been attacked, no less brutally than if someone had come into the station
with a gun and started shooting. It was worse than that. It was random, and meant
to kill as many as it could. Had Jim not been able to sense the Golden, even Simon
would have fallen victim to it. And no telling how many others. But Blair wasn't
a cop, he had no business being exposed to revenge of this kind.
Simon." Jim had come out of the mens room and was standing beside him, glancing
into the room.
"Great, let's get something to eat." Simon led the
way down the hall to the elevators. The hospital cafeteria was on the lobby floor,
and they rode down the 8 floors in silence. Jim looked like he was asleep on his
feet, and maybe if he could get his friend to eat, he'd realize how tired he was
and let Simon take him home. "How are your eyes?"
Jim replied, blinking once. "Still fuzzy, and very orange, but I can see
now." The elevator doors opened and they stepped out. "At this rate,
maybe they'll be back to normal in a week."
"Good. That's good news."
Simon found an empty table against a far wall and led Jim there. "Until then,
you're on sick leave. Here, sit down. I'll get us something to eat." He didn't
wait for Jim to protest, but pushed him towards a seat then went to the counter.
After filling two trays with a substantial breakfast, he returned to the table
and sat down. "Jim, you're asleep on your feet. Why don't you let me drive
you home for a few hours rest?"
Jim poured milk in his coffee and shook
his head. "I'm fine, Simon. This drug...it never did to me what it did to
Blair. I only got a minute amount directly into my eyes, and maybe a little up
my nose, but this...God, he nearly died."
Simon's heart ached at the tone
of helplessness still noticeable in Jim's voice. "Jim, this wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was."
"No, Simon, it was."
Jim's voice had risen; he glanced around and lowered it. "If I hadn't insisted
on staying on the case, this never would have happened."
bull and you know it." Simon leaned over the table so he wouldn't have to
raise his voice in the crowded dining hall. "Listen, if it's anyone's fault,
then it's mine. I should have kept you off the case. The only reason I didn't,
was because even blind, you and Sandburg were a better team than anyone I could
send in cold." He paused, hoping his words were sinking in. No, it wasn't
Jim's fault. He was the Captain. He should have forced Jim off the case, and sent
him straight to the hospital until his sight cleared up. It was a miracle no one
had been killed. And if Blair had died, Simon would have taken all the blame.
If Blair had died, what would have happened to Jim?
"I don't know, Simon.
All I know is, he's alive, and the freaks who did this are off the streets."
Jim drank his coffee, but seemed to be ignoring the food.
"Eat, Jim. It's
getting cold." Simon watched while Jim reluctantly began to eat his breakfast.
He avoided any further conversation until Jim had eaten most of the food. Doctors
and nurses were coming and going all around them. At one point the cafeteria seemed
to empty out, only to fill back up again with different faces. Simon had just
finished his coffee when he noticed the odd, sort of blank look on Jim's face
as he sat, staring out the window with unseeing eyes. "Jim?" He didn't
respond, didn't even flinch. "Jim?" Was this one of those times Blair
always talked about? Was he supposed to do something? And if so, what?
"Jim, what is it?" Simon was just about to reach out and grab Jim by
the arm when he blinked and turned towards him.
"He's awake, Simon."
Jim moved to get up and Simon grabbed his arm.
"Wait a minute, Jim. How
do you know?"
"I just do, Simon."
"You can't possibly
hear all the way up to the 8th floor." Simon refused to release Jim's arm.
He knew Jim's hearing was incredible, but there was just no way.
his head. "It's not that, Simon. I can't hear him, I just know." He
stood then, oblivious to Simon's attempts at keeping him there.
Simon had to
scramble to keep up as Jim hurried to the bank of elevators. The car they got
in was empty, and Simon hit the button for the 8th floor. "Jim, how do you
know, if you can't hear that far?"
"I...can't explain it, Captain."
Jim shook his head, watching the numbers flash by.
"Well, try," Simon
insisted. This connection between the two of them had been driving him nuts lately.
There was something there, something he couldn't put a finger on, but definitely
something he hadn't seen between Jim and Jack. Or for that matter, between any
of his officers and their partners.
"It's hard to explain." Jim shook
his head again, gesturing his helplessness with both hands. "It's this Sentinel
thing. I don't know if it's part of the sensory enhancement, or if it has more
to do with Blair being a Guide. But I can...I can feel him." He
paused, shrugging apologetically. "I don't expect you to understand it. I've
never even talked to Blair about it, but it's there. "
Simon sighed, shaking
his head. "I don't. But that's all right. There's a lot about this whole
Sentinel thing I don't understand. Most of it, in fact." The elevator doors
opened and they stepped through a small group waiting to get on. When they were
clear, Simon glanced at Jim. "As long the two of you understand it."
They reached the room and found the doctor and a nurse in with
Blair. Jim was forced to wait in the hall with Simon until they finished. He was
right, his partner had woken up not long ago and was now being given a more thorough
examination. Simon kept talking to him, making him split his attention between
eavesdropping on the exam, and replying to his Captain. Jim began to suspect he
was doing it on purpose, knowing Jim was listening in on something he maybe shouldn't.
After an eternity passed, the doctor finally came out of the room, shutting the
door behind him.
"Detective, I thought maybe you had gone home for some
rest." Dr. Mickleson returned his pen to his breast pocket.
been trying to get him to do just that, but he won't budge," Simon said,
glaring down at Jim.
"How is he?" Jim ignored them both.
sighed, nodding his head slightly. "He's coming around. I'm satisfied now
that there's no permanent brain damage. His body is recovering well, now we'll
just have to work on his mind."
"How so?" Jim definitely didn't
like the sound of that. He expected it, but he didn't like it.
a shock, not to mention what they call a very bad trip. When the mind hallucinates
like that, the psyche has no way of distinguishing reality from the visions it
is seeing. So, when the body has recovered, the mind is left with a very confusing,
and often upsetting mixture of memories. These memories are all very real, whether
they are of something that was actually happening, or not. Imagine yourself having
a vivid dream, a very frightening vivid dream. You wake up just before death,
and for a moment or two, your mind isn't sure what memory was real, and what was
a dream. Now, in a case of hallucination, you can multiply that effect by one
hundred, and have repeated incidences where your mind cannot remember which part
was real, and which wasn't. These repeated incidences are more commonly called
flashbacks, where the mind suddenly recalls the incident, by a purely random set
of circumstances, and the memory is brought back full force. This not only happens
with drug-related problems, but is common among anyone who has had a hallucination
of any kind. Right now, he's still working out what actually happened from what
he thought happened, and his memory of what he thinks he saw is rather sketchy.
It will come back, in bits and pieces, but right now, he's got some sorting out
The doctor paused and Jim felt his heart ache again, remembering
the sound of Blair's voice as he stood on the hood of that car, desperate to save
himself and everyone around him from golden fire people that only he could see.
The vision had been so real, so desperately real, as to make Blair not only take
Jim's service revolver, but fire it several times. God, he could have killed
himself right there if...
"But he will recover?"
people like you helping him, I should think so, Detective." The doctor smiled,
glancing at Simon, then back to Jim. "Although I'd like to see you take it
slow. Maybe just one of you stay with him for now. Give him some time to come
to terms with what's happened."
"Thank you." Jim nodded, and
Simon shook the doctor's hand. After he left, the nurse came out of Blair's room,
smiled at them both, then followed the doctor to the station at the far end of
the corridor. "Simon, I think..."
The Captain put a hand on Jim's
shoulder. "You go ahead. But I'm coming back here this afternoon and driving
you home. No argument." He released his hand when Jim nodded reluctantly.
"Just tell him I was here, okay?"
"Thank you, Simon." Jim
waited until the Captain had turned to leave before he stepped back inside Blair's
room. The bed his partner was on had been raised up slightly, and there was now
only one IV left, trailing from a bag behind the bed to Blair's left hand. He
was awake, and from that raised position could see Jim as he entered the room,
closing the door behind him. Jim smiled, trying desperately not to notice the
look in Blair's eyes, or the exhaustion showing plainly on his face. "Hey,
buddy. How you feeling?"
Blair said nothing at first. He dropped his gaze
to the blanket covering him, not looking up until Jim was once again beside the
bed. "Hey, Jim." His voice echoed the look of hopeless shame on his
Jim sat on the edge of the bed, forgoing the chair. "How
you feeling?" He kept his voice quiet, encouraging. He could only imagine
how Blair was feeling, but if the expression behind his eyes and on his face was
any indication, then the doctor was right.
Blair raised his eyebrows momentarily
and glanced up at Jim. "I'm not sure, Jim." He looked back at his hands,
picking at the blanket a little, then he suddenly looked back up, knitting both
eyebrows. "You can see?"
Jim smiled, nodding. "Yeah, started
coming back when we were busting the dealers. Just like you said, I was trying
to remake the connection, and it worked."
"That's great." There
was a brief flash of relief, but it was quickly replaced by a very pained expression,
which in turn melded into the scared, confused look Jim had seen when he came
back into the room. That was something that still fascinated him about Blair,
his tendency to show everything that was going on behind his eyes...on his face.
Jim had even learned to recognize Blair's wall of BS, and get behind it. "Jim...what,"
Blair looked down at his hands again, then back up. "What the hell happened?"
Jim sighed, putting a hand on Blair's leg. "Listen, Blair, that wasn't
you. It had nothing to do with you. It was a random attack on the Station, and
you just happened to be the only one they managed to hit." He paused, feeling
the guilt well back up inside him. Blair's eyes were searching his desperately,
and he hurried to reassure him. "What happened was the result of that attack,
Blair shook his head, pursing his lips in doubt. "It
is more, Jim."
"No, Blair, it isn't." Jim knew then that
even if Simon did return, he wasn't leaving any time soon. "Listen to me,
none of this was your fault." Blair glanced around the room, as if expecting
to find they weren't alone. "Blair, you've had one hell of a shock, physically
and mentally. You just need to take some time and get some rest. Everything will
sort itself out if you just let it." Blair was looking at his hands again,
so Jim moved forward and put a hand on his shoulder. He waited until his friend
was looking him in the eyes again before continuing. "Trust me, Chief. It
will all sort itself out. You just have to remember this was not your
fault." Blair nodded slightly, and looked down again. "You need to rest,
partner. Get some sleep, we can talk about this later." He gave Blair's shoulder
"I've been asleep for a couple of days, Jim," Blair replied,
but he couldn't hide the exhaustion in his voice.
"Yeah, and you look
like you could sleep for a few more." Jim got off the bed and sat back down
in the chair he had become intimately familiar with. "Come on, get some rest.
I'll be right here."
"Jim, you don't have to..."
be right here, Chief."
Blair sighed but said nothing. After a few minutes
of fumbling with the blanket he was still picking at, he laid his head back down,
and stared at the ceiling. Jim was quiet while Blair lay there, searching the
ceiling tiles for whatever it was he needed to find. A few minutes later, he reached
out and put his hand back on Blair's shoulder. His partner closed his eyes then,
and was sleeping ten minutes later.