He was beginning to remember some parts of the ordeal more clearly
now. Visions of golden, glowing shapes that came up from the floor, and through
the walls, kept flashing across his mind. With the flashes came sudden bursts
of panic, fear, hatred...terror. Blair cleared his throat, trying to push the
thoughts away, to focus on the game that wasn't holding his interest. Jim kept
looking at him, and to hide his confusion, he would reach up and push the hair
from his face. He knew Jim felt bad about what had happened, even though he hadn't
been the one who had taken a gun to the garage and tried to shoot things that
Blair tossed the blanket off of his legs and started to get
up, hoping he had some energy stored up from 3 hours of sitting there.
"I need to use the bathroom, Jim." Blair raised
a hand to stop Jim from getting up. "I'm fine, really." There was no
dizzy spell this time, and he managed to get to his feet without any trouble.
The trip down the hall was easier than he'd expected, and he only bounced off
the wall once before he reached the door. Once inside, he turned on the tap and
splashed cold water on his face, trying to wash away the last of the unwelcome
flashes that were hounding him. The doctor had warned him about this...and the
flashbacks he could expect. Was this what he had meant? God, he hoped so. This
was bad enough. Surely they wouldn't get any worse? One minute he was sitting
there, watching football, the next minute something golden and flaming was standing
right in front of him, reaching out, trying to...
reached up to rub his eyes, trying to push the vision out. It was hard, when he
opened his eyes and still saw everything through a golden haze that hadn't dissipated
yet. But it was clearing up, slowly but surely. What must this have been like
for Jim? He had gotten the drug directly in his eyes. Blair let out a huge sigh
of relief at the thought of Jim's sight coming back. In all his confusion, he
hadn't really taken time to think about that. He'd had plenty of time to think
about what to do if Jim never recovered. As a Sentinel, Blair was certain Jim
could have compensated incredibly well, as they had demonstrated to Simon. But
as a friend, the idea tore at Blair's heart. And what would he have done
if....No, Jim was fine now. He was recovering just like Blair was. It was over.
There. That seemed to work. Concentrate on Jim, and his recovery, and you kept
the visions away.
"Sandburg, you okay?"
finished up and came back out, finding Jim standing in the kitchen. "Hey,
I think I'm gonna go to bed."
Jim nodded. "Good idea. I'm gonna make
a few phone calls then do the same. It's been one hell of a week."
laughed shortly, shaking his head. "That's an understatement, Jim."
But he appreciated it.
"Listen, you need anything, you call out.
Okay, Chief?" Jim was holding the phone while he stood in the kitchen, looking
at Blair. "I'm here if you need to talk about this some more."
nodded. God, he didn't want to talk about it anymore. He didn't want to have
to talk about it anymore. But, at least if he did... "Thanks, Jim."
It took Blair half the time to get out of his clothes that it had taken him
earlier to get in them. By the time his head hit the pillow, he was half-asleep.
He could hear Jim talking to Simon, and he listened as best he could, using the
distraction to lull his mind. After that call, Blair wasn't sure who he was talking
to, until he heard the name.
"Oh, man." Margaret. Now that Jim could
see... "Aw, hell." Why not? Keeping them apart for purely selfish reasons
was stupid. If they hit it off, great. If not, well, he'd just have to deal with
it. Maybe Jim wouldn't bring him in if their relationship went sour. It wasn't
like Jim to air his dirty laundry anyway, even with Blair. No, he'd just have
to let them continue, sink or swim. He reached up and brushed at his nose groggily.
For some reason, the end of his nose felt bruised. His memory was still pretty
sketchy, and he hadn't yet recalled a reason for it.
Jim rolled over, opening his eyes and focusing all of his attention to the
room directly below his. Had he heard something, or not? He lay still, listening,
but only the sound of Blair's steady breathing greeted his ears. Jim had been
sleeping lightly all night, waking up with every change in his partner's breathing
pattern, every sound from below. But Blair had slept through the night. He turned
to the clock, not trusting the excessively orange sunlight streaming in from the
windows. It looked like sunrise, but then, so did everything else. Just after
8:00 AM. Jim stretched, grateful to have spent the night in bed, and not in a
chair again. Granted, he could have slept in that chair for as long as he needed
to, but he was glad to be home. He was glad they were both home. Jim stretched
again, luxuriating in the sensation of grateful muscles. Blair would most likely
be sleeping late. And they weren't needed for a few more days, so Jim rolled back
over, got comfortable once again, and fell back asleep.
Several hours later,
when Jim was just finishing up the eggs, his partner came slowly out of his room,
yawning mightily as he made his way across the hall to the bathroom. Jim used
his sense of smell to determine the stage of the eggs. With everything still so
golden, it was hard to tell if something yellow was cooked. The coffee was easier
to handle, and the toaster being preset was also a sure bet. Man, he hoped these
special effects would end soon, or he'd have to get Blair to cook again. Not that
it was such a bad idea, as long as he felt up to it. His partner came out of the
bathroom and went back into his room. He was moving slowly, but seemed to be steady
enough on his feet now.
"Hey, Chief. You want some breakfast?"
Jim, I'll be right there."
"Take your time." He turned off the
gas and brought the pan to the table, dishing up both plates. From the bedroom,
he heard Blair mumble something about time and having just slept the equivalent
of two straight days. Jim chuckled a little under his breath as he returned the
pan to the kitchen and picked up the coffee pot. It was nearly noon, but who was
"Hey, Jim." Blair came out of his room, dressed in jeans
and a sweatshirt.
"Sleep okay?" Jim already knew he had, but Blair
still had a look of tiredness about him.
He nodded, sitting down. "I'm
a little tired of being tired, though."
Jim poured coffee for both of
them, then sat down and left the pot on the table. "Don't knock it, Sandburg.
It's not often we get some time off to do nothing." He put a forkfull of
scrambled eggs in his mouth, glad to find his nose had been an accurate judge
of his cooking.
"What about the dealers? You said you got them?"
Blair was picking at his eggs, but he was at least eating now.
we did." Jim nodded, recalling the bust that seemed like weeks ago now. "We
got all of them, Chief. Simon's a little sore at me, though."
up, raising his eyebrows. "What? Why?"
Jim laughed a little, rolling
his eyes. The memory sent him grinning wickedly, even though Simon still didn't
see the humor in it. "I wrecked his car."
Blair set his fork down, looking at Jim, eyes wide.
"Had to be done, Chief.
One of them was in that stock car of theirs, and I was the only one in a car."
"Jim, could you see anything when you did this?"
Jim shook his
head. "Not too much." He laughed again, remembering how stupid he had
been. Stupid, but desperate. And he hadn't actually gotten anyone hurt, although
he had meant to tell Simon the airbag on his car hadn't deployed when it really
Blair picked up his coffee and shook his head slowly. "I
don't know about you sometimes, Jim."
They finished breakfast, and Jim
did the dishes while Blair sat on the couch, flipping through channels looking
for some news. When he finished, Jim went to the living room and sat in the chair
opposite the couch just as Blair gave up looking for news and clicked off the
"How we doin', partner?" Jim asked.
"I'm okay, Jim."
His words and his tone were exact opposites. "I'm not convinced here,
Blair looked at him, eyebrows raised. "Yeah, well, neither
am I, Jim."
"So talk to me, Blair. This isn't something you need
to keep to yourself."
Blair shook his head. "No, I'm fine, Jim. Really.
I just need to get past this. I'll be fine."
"I know you'll be fine,
Chief. But you're not going to get past this if you just let it sit there."
Jim paused, waiting for Blair to look at him again. "Listen to me, this wasn't
your fault. There isn't a man or woman at the Station who doesn't know exactly
what happened and why." Blair glanced around the room, and Jim waited until
he was listening again. "The only thing you're going to find when we get
back to work, is a Precinct full of people concerned about you. We all took this
personally, Blair. Each and every cop there. We were all targeted by that Golden
on the pizza, and you're one of us." He paused again while Blair seemed to
digest that. "Listen, how would you be feeling if it was another officer?
What if Brown had been the one to eat the pizza, and go downstairs with a gun?
Would you think less of him?"
"No, of course not. But.."
no buts, Chief. It's no different."
Blair was quiet for a few minutes,
considering what Jim had said. "Okay," he said, finally. "I need
to get some work done." Blair stood, pushing himself off the couch.
on, where are you going?" Jim reached out to stop him.
"Just in my
room. I gotta get some of this sensory stuff down while it's still fresh in my
mind...so to speak." Blair patted Jim's hand that had caught hold of his
arm. "It's okay, I'm just going down the hall, man."
Blair's arm. "Sandburg..."
"No, Jim, I'm fine. Really."
Blair stopped and turned back to face him. "Thanks, man. I'm okay now."
Jim nodded, then watched him walk to his room. Blair left the door open, and
sat down at the desk with his computer. After a few minutes, he seemed to fall
into the pattern Jim had come to recognize as his intense study mode. Blair's
ability to all but zone out on his projects fascinated Jim. It was no wonder,
having seen him get so wrapped up in his work he'd forget to eat, that his partner
had to set alarms to remind him to go to sleep. How he remembered to set an alarm
to remind him, was still a mystery.
Blair stretched and shut
off the computer. He knew he had been at it too long, when he found himself wishing
they'd had time to test Jim's compensatory abilities while his sight was gone.
No, what he needed was some down time. Maybe some out time as well. He'd made
a quick phone call from his room while Jim was on the cell phone in the living
room. Now, it was time to get some air. Jim was on the couch when he came out
of his room, putting his coat on.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Jim asked, noticing the coat.
Blair held up a reassuring hand. "Not far,
man. I just need some air. I'm gonna meet some friends down at the coffee shop
at the end of the block."
"I don't think that's a good idea, Chief.
You just got back from the hospital yesterday morning."
Jim. I'm fine. I just need to get out for a few minutes. Not long." He pulled
his hair out from under his jacket. "The end of the block, Jim. That's all."
Jim nodded reluctantly. Blair felt like he was asking permission to go out and
play, but he would have stayed in if Jim insisted. "How are your eyes doin'?"
"Almost clear. Just have this, you know, residual kind of fringe...glow"
"Glow." Blair echoed. He still knew exactly what Jim was seeing.
But it seemed to be clearing up.
"...to it, yeah." Jim nodded. "It's---kinda
Blair shook his head. He was about to reply when there
was a knock on the door. "That'd be Margaret." He motioned towards the
door with his head as Jim jumped from the couch.
"What is she doing here?"
"Well, you know what, I just realized it's crazy for me to try to keep
you guys apart, so I'm giving you both my blessing." Blair sketched a cross
in the air in an exaggerated gesture of dismissal, then moved around Jim to the
"Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait---" Jim was holding out his hands.
"What's the matter? Are you afraid that her inner beauty just isn't going
to be enough for you, Jim?"
"Oh, come on, I-I-I lied to her, I mean,
I deceived her a little."
Blair laughed lightly and reached out, clapping
Jim on the shoulder. It was finally his turn to give the advice. "So make
it up to her."
"Tell me, honestly, Blair, man, how unattractive is
she?" Jim shook his head suddenly. "No, forget it, forget it, I don't
care, I mean---No, should I?"
Oh God, how was Blair supposed to admit
he had---exaggerated? It was only out of a desire to keep them from ever dragging
him into the middle of a failed relationship, that he had allowed Jim's misconception,
that he did perpetuate maybe just a little, to manifest itself. He opened his
mouth to explain, and changed his mind.
"No. You shouldn't." He reached
out for the doorknob.
laughing a little at Jim's insecurity. "You ready? You ready?" He took
three puffs of air, trying to pump his friend up as he turned the knob. Before
Jim could reply, he opened the door, smiling at Margaret, who was standing in
She glanced at Blair, then looked at Jim. "Hi."
Blair eased himself past her and into the hall, glancing back
at Jim for just an instant before he left. No, they'd be fine. And it might even
work out. If it didn't, well...he'd just deal with that if and when it happened.
In the meantime, if Blair had to face a Precinct full of officers who had witnessed
him trying to shoot phantom golden figures with Jim's gun, then Jim could face
the music and come clean with Margaret. Who knew which one would be harder to