Many appreciative thanks go out to my beta, BJ Kira!
Synopsis: Takes place early in the series, actually early in the first season. After Jim looses his temper, can he find Blair in time to make amends?
Joel Taggart winced as he watched the storm front wearing the face of Jim Ellison burst through the doors of Major Crime, followed by a scrambling Blair Sandburg. Inwardly, he sighed; he was almost starting to believe that Ellison was over these dark moods. Ever since that kid showed up he'd seemed a little more in control of himself, a little less defensive, but today the terror incarnate was in full force. He felt bad for the kid; no one should have to put up with that, regardless of the reason. He remembered hearing from someone that they were living together now, and shuddered.
Across the room Jim stood behind his desk, shuffling through papers and folders as a diversionary tactic as he rose his voice menacingly towards his partner. "This issue is closed to discussion, do you understand me? Don't you have classes you should be teaching or something?"
"No way, man! I am not letting you just drop this-"
"Sandburg!" Jim's tone of voice was at its most dangerous, but Blair didn't back down.
"No! Jim, I-" his words were cut off as Jim started to brush right by him. Being smart enough to not try and be the immovable object which halted the unstoppable force, Blair tried to back away on his own accord. As he stepped back though his foot caught on his backpack, absently discarded by Jim's desk earlier during their confrontation. The combination of his tangled feet and Ellison's push sent Blair tumbling into one of the filing cabinets, landing painfully on the floor. Jim paid no attention, instead flipping through the stack of faxes coming off the machine.
While the dramatic entrance had attracted the attention of several of the other people in the bullpen, now virtually all eyes were on Ellison and his tag-along partner. Blair sat crouched on his hands and knees on the floor, eyes wide, expression grim. Slowly standing up, he grabbed his bag and determinably strode towards the exit.
Joel, having watched the whole incident, stepped in front of Blair, placing his hands on his shoulders and blocking the young man's hasty retreat. He eyed Ellison carefully as he spoke to Blair. "Blair, come on, let's go to the break room, I'll get you some coffee."
Blair closed his eyes and sighed, the soft sound stealing Taggart's attention away from Jim as he noticed how much Blair was leaning into his supportive hands. Opening his eyes, he looked right into Taggart's. "Joel, please, just let me go."
Joel stood stunned for a moment at the intensity in those eyes. "Ok, but take care of yourself."
When Blair nodded slightly, Taggart stepped reluctantly aside, letting him pass through the doors to the hall.
Back inside, Simon Banks had come out of his office in response to the raised voices. Now he was glaring towards Jim. "Ellison! My office, now!"
Making a show of throwing the stack of faxes onto his desk, he stalked right past his captain into the office. Simon followed close on his heels, slamming the door behind him.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid." Blair repeated to himself, walking aimlessly down the street. He should have backed off sooner. He should have taken a different approach. He should have been able to see just how upset Jim really was, even if he didn't really understand why.
Absently pushing a hand through his hair, he winced at the wet stickiness he found there. His head hurt. A lot. He wondered if maybe he should bother trying to make his way to the hospital, though the way he'd hit the cabinet corner it had been more sharp then hard; there was blood but he really didn't think it was all that bad. Without his car it would have been a rather tedious walk anyway. He'd just go home, have a hot cup of tea, put on some music while Jim wasn't there to protest, and catch up on some of his university work. Yeah, right, he thought, like he could get any work done with this killer headache.
Suddenly he stopped and looked around. Where the hell was he, anyways? Was that the Burger King a block down?? Blair shook his head, immediately regretting it. Maybe I should go get checked up after all, he thought, gritting his teeth against the pain. How many people accidentally wander around with no idea where they were going?
Having decided on visiting the nearest open clinic, he'd just turned back towards the intersection he'd just crossed when something knocked him forcefully to one side. Landing hard on his back, the impact stole his breath. Blair lay there for a moment, trying to convince his lungs to breathe. A hand on his shoulder pulled for his attention though, and he opened his eyes to see the face of a teenager above him, her expression a little frightened and a little shocked.
"Oh, jeez, I am so sorry! I didn't see you until you stepped out from behind that building," the girl gestured weakly to the office building on the corner of the street. "Are you ok? Should I call someone?"
"Hun?" Blair said confused as he was helped to sit up. Call someone? "Uhh, no. I'm alright." He closed his eyes, trying to control the pounding in his head and the blackness at the edges of his vision. Suddenly he got the impression that he wasn't supposed to be here. He was going somewhere, wasn't he?
"You sure?" she said hesitantly. She didn't want to leave the man if he were hurt, but as the same time she really didn't want to get in trouble for biking so quickly on the sidewalk.
"Yeah," Blair said, standing up with her help. "Don't worry about it."
The teen just watched for a minute as he wandered off towards a more suburban area of the city. Looking down, she saw the backpack Blair had been carrying before she'd hit him. "Hey, mister!" she looked up again to where he'd wandered off, but he was gone. Sighing, she debated what to do; she'd already been late before hitting him. Sighing, she picked up the bag and rode off in the opposite direction.
"Now do you want to tell me just what the hell went on out there?" Simon Banks yelled as he paced behind his desk. As he turned to glare at Jim he was surprised to see him seated in the chair across from his desk, head in his hands as if fending off a headache. Taken a little off guard, he started again. "Jim-"
"I'm sorry, Captain. I didn't mean to bring personal issues onto the job."
Simon paused and studied his detective a moment. "What did he do?"
"Sir?" Jim said, sitting up.
"Sandburg. What did he do to get you so riled up? I though you two had a good thing going. You've even been almost pleasant to work with lately. Now you come in, ready to take someone's head off. Now whatever got you so defensive-"
Simon could almost see the walls slam into place. Damn, he though, went a little too far on that one.
Jim stood up to his full height. "With all due respect, sir, that's between me and Sandburg, and I would thank you to stay clear out of it."
Matching Jim's glare with one of his own, Simon went back into pissed-off-captain mode. "Well, whatever it is, I suggest that you find that kid and deal with it immediately, and you are dismissed for the rest of the day." His looked dared Jim to argue.
He scowled. "Yes, sir," he snapped.
Simon sighed and shook his head as he watched Jim storm out his office and the bullpen with as many theatrics as his entrance.
This was definitely not his day, Blair thought as he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Where was he going again? The loft? The warehouse? The hospital? Everything was too fuzzy; it hurt way too much. Just keep going, he told himself, you're almost there. Almost where, he asked himself, but the question was lost in a blur of pain and confusion. Just keep going, his mind called. You're almost there.
Jim sat on the couch, beer in hand, trying to nurse away the persistent headache and going over the last 24 hours in his mind. The fight with Carolyn had pretty much set things off, he decided. Since having dinner with her a couple weeks ago, he'd been thinking about how they'd been before things went wrong, and about how much better things were then. While he gave the front of being more than content on his own, he really did miss the friendship, the company, not to mention the sex. Deciding he might be able to do things right the second time, he'd been trying to spend more time around his ex-wife, hoping to rekindle some sort of relationship.
She'd reacted badly.
Well, maybe he'd reacted badly to her new boyfriend she'd been going on about. The resulting argument led into a blunt and brutal dissertation on 'trust issues', and 'fear of intimacy', and several other reasons for exactly why Carolyn thought their marriage hadn't worked, and it was obvious that she didn't think she had anything to do with it. Afterwards, he'd gone out, gotten drunk, and had brought back some nameless, faceless young woman back to the loft.
//He awoke the next morning to a very loud alarm, very hung over. Slowly, he got up, threw on a robe and made his way to the stairs, only to stop dead in his tracks halfway down. Last nights memories crashed into him full-force. He could still smell her presence in the loft, specifically in his room behind him.
Suddenly ill, he ran to the bathroom, barely getting the door closed as the retching overtook him. Several minutes later, he stood in front of the mirror, trying to get himself together enough to face his temporary houseguest.
He certainly didn't remember her being so young, or for that matter so slutty-looking. He was almost surprised she hadn't charged him for the evening. Realizing the stupidity in the act of trying to hide in his own bathroom in his own home, he dried his face and took a steadying breath, silently resenting the presence of the man who made him want to stay where he was.
Walking out to the kitchen, he found a glass of water and a bottle of asprin waiting for him on the table.
"Interesting girl," Blair offered as Jim sat down.
He'd heard the underlying question in the statement, but chose to ignore it; the last thing he wanted to do at the moment was explain himself to some kid, who as far as he could tell right now was just disrupting his personal space and privacy. He chose to answer the offending remark with silence.
Blair continued to clean up the dishes. "Do you want some breakfast? I ate with Chantal before she left, but everything's still out, it wouldn't be a problem to put together some eggs and toast."
Chantal? He didn't remember if he'd ever asked her name. "No, thank you," he replied curtly. More silence followed, but Blair pressed on.
"You know, I never would have pegged you for that type-"
"What time did you get in last night? Aren't you usually still in bed right now?" Jim shot back. Feeling as bad as he did it disgusted him that Blair, of all people, was up and dressed.
"Actually, I just got in about an hour ago, I'm surprised I didn't wake you. I was working really late at the University last night. Ended up taking an unintentional cat nap at my desk."
Jim nodded, swallowed two of the asprin and headed for the shower hoping, to avoid any more questioning looks or double-edged small talk.
It had been successful until they were trapped together in the truck on the way to the station, where Sandburg had figured he could ask questions without having Jim ignore him. Giving up on the casual approach, he went with a more blunt-force line of questioning.
"You know, you've been acting kind of weird lately. Is there anything you want to talk about?"
Jim grimaced. "Chief, I assure you that there's nothing wrong, and I would thank you to stop with the questions."
"Yeah right. You bringing home eighteen year-old cocktail waitresses is just an everyday occurrence, I'm sure."
Jim snorted, "You're one to talk."
Blair ignored him. "I think you were subconsciously trying to prove something to yourself, and I just think it would help if you talked about it, that's all. I'm here to help, man."
"I am telling you that I'm fine! And even if I weren't its absolutely no business of yours to go poking around in my personal life. I don't need your help, I don't need your concern, and I will remind you that you are still a guest in my home, and your week is up. I think it's time you got off your ass and started pulling your weight in this relationship, because if you even come close to trying to interfere with my life again, you can go looking for a new guinea pig, got it? I'm sick of having you around like this," Jim growled dangerously at the man beside him.
"Hey, man, I think I've helped you out rather significantly here," Blair defended himself with a hurt tone. "Would you rather still believe you were going crazy?"
"I Don't Need Your Help." Jim denied vociferously. "Actually, maybe you should find someone else to study. The whole idea of this is starting to make me sick anyway. I want you out of the loft and out of my life by tomorrow, got it?" He focused his steely blue eyes on the road, making a point of ignoring his passenger.//
Jim sighed. The truth, he was starting to realize now that he'd calmed down, was that Blair really had helped him. He'd had no idea what he was or what was going on, and had almost given up the last thing in his life that held any interest for him, being a cop. Now he was starting to get a hold on his life, and was starting to use his abilities to solve cases, and as a result save lives.
He thought back to the asprin waiting for him on the table that morning when he'd gotten up. Few people in his life had ever shown him the concern and consideration that Blair did, regardless if it was something that seemed to be built directly into his personality or not. That morning he'd been upset at himself for his weakness and lack of judgement, and embarrassed that Blair had been there to witness it. He'd never let himself realize that Blair had been trying to support him.
He wondered when Blair would be getting home. It was almost three, and he knew the kid's teaching schedule let him off any minute now. Remembering that Blair didn't have a ride home, he reached over and called the University, planning to offer to pick him up, if he'd let him.
Blair never remembered going to Ireland. He knew he'd been all over the world-- to Africa, to Greece, not to mention pretty much everywhere in South America, but he never remembered Ireland. Yet here I am, he thought as he looked around. Pretty.
He sat down heavily, trying to put together exactly how he got here. His head hurt. He couldn't remember his head not hurting though, so he dismissed that. His arm hurt. Looking over at his shoulder he saw that his jacket was torn all the way down the sleeve. He wondered if his arm was torn up too. He'd have to look into that later, he decided, and went back to admiring the field.
Suddenly a branch snapped in the woods. Woods? He hadn't noticed those, he thought as he picked himself up, his attention focused somewhere in the trees off to the side. Trees. He blinked up at them blankly then nodded as he walked in past the first couple.
He could swear that he was hearing voices from further in. Abruptly he remembered camping. Was he camping? He remembered sitting around a fire with some of his friends from college, laughing and drinking his friend's home brew. Maybe he was just drunk. That wouldn't be so bad, and that would explain the numbness he was feeling. He closed his eyes and tried to remember where the campsite was.
"You know, I think beavers are a very underrated species," said a voice off to the right. Blair looked up from the fire at his old friend Joey, then around at the hysterical grins on the faces of Brian, Sheldon and Robyn off to the left. Joey took a drink from the mug in his hand and continued. "If beavers got really advanced and started cooking their wood-"
Were there beavers in Ireland? Why not, he thought fuzzily, I guess they have as much right to be here as I do. Blair's thoughts and Joey's words were cut off by a shriek of laughter from Robyn.
Sheldon looked towards her, shaking his head, barely containing his own laughter. "Shh! Calm down!" he grinned conspiratorially, "Besides, I think he has a point. You could do a lot with a small army of beavers."
"I think they'd run away." Brian said from behind his beer.
"Loyal beavers." Robyn said between shrieks.
"You couldn't get loyal beavers, they're fucking beavers!" Blair looked up suddenly. Brown? He didn't remember ever going camping with Henry.
"Ooghh," a new voice said thickly, drawing Blair's attention away from the smiling face of Henry Brown. "Marshmallow-too-much-overload."
Jim? Blair knew he'd never been camping with Jim. For some reason any social association with James Ellison seemed very foreign right now. Blair wondered if something had happened to make Jim hate him; he kept almost remembering something about that, but couldn't quite grasp it.
Then everything shifted, and he was looking at the forest floor again. He wondered where the campsite went; he wanted to go back there and talk to Jim, fix whatever had gone wrong. Almost desperately he stumbled forwards, trying to get back to his friends and his partner.
Jim sat in his truck furrowing deep lines in his brow. He had just completed another sweep of the neighborhood without finding a trace of his partner. When he called the University they had told him that Blair had never shown up for his classes, and hadn't tried to contact them. Feelings of dread had surfaced in him, and he'd gone out in his truck to try and find him.
He'd been searching for a frustrating hour and a half, without even the slightest idea of what Blair's favorite hang-outs were. To top it all off, his headache was playing havoc with his senses; he had to consciously focus to keep his vision from blurring.
Jim scowled when his phone rang. "Ellison!" He was in no mood to be polite, although the hesitant, young voice on the other end was not what he'd been expecting.
"Uh, hi. I'm sorry if I caught you at a bad time, but you see, there's this guy, I think you know him, or at least he knows you."
When she hesitated again, Jim spoke up. "I'm kinda busy right now, could you get to the point?"
He heard her take a steadying breath. "Ok, well, his name's Blair Sand-"
Jim cut her off, "Do you know where he is?"
"Uh, no, not really. You see, I sort of hit him with my bike, and I was just wondering if he was alright. I've got his backpack here- he dropped it, but he's not answering his phone. I found his police observer's pass, and your card, so I thought maybe you'd know..."
Jim doubted Blair had changed the contact numbers in his wallet from the warehouse to the loft. Sighing mentally, he beat back his frustration as not to over intimidate the girl. "He hasn't been home yet, I'm actually out looking for him. Where did you see him last?
"Um, well he was heading off towards that new development west of Dearbourne," she said.
What? Jim thought, That's on the other side of the city, what the hell was he doing over there? "Thank you, miss." He shut his phone, taking a sharp left at the next intersection. He had a bad feeling about this. Opening his phone again, he dialed Simon at the station, knowing he'd still be there.
"Yeah, Simon, it's Jim. Listen, I'm trying to find Blair, he never came home and-"
"Jim, he's probably just out with some friends or something-"
"I got a call from a girl who said she'd hit him with her bike. I also called the University, who said he didn't show up to teach today. I think he might be wandering around hurt and dazed somewhere on the west side of the city. Is there anyone still there you could send out to help me look for him?"
Simon was silent a moment, then said, "I think Rafe and Brown are still hanging around finishing up some paperwork. I'll grab them and head out. I'll have Rhonda call the hospitals."
Blair stood at the edge of the cliff, staring into the valley below. He felt oddly calm. Heights. They usually scared him, but now... nothing.
After meeting Jim Ellison, who had gone through so much in his life, he'd felt disgusted by his fear. Back at the first crime scene they'd ever been to together, he'd forced himself to climb that tree when Jim had asked, hoping both that the Sentinel's abilities were not developed enough to hear his racing heart, or know him well enough to see though his enthusiasm to the terror underneath. That would soon get harder and harder to rely on though the more they worked together.
He was becoming more and more worried that his childish phobia would eventually compromise their working relationship in some significant way, not only endangering the people he works with, but losing any chance he had at respect from his partner.
Here, standing on the cliff, it seemed to be the perfect representation of his situation. Fall back to safety, giving into his fear and changing nothing, or he could step forward, facing his fear and setting himself free. He thought about Jim and how he was always asked to stay back, how he was talked down to at the precinct. He wanted to prove both to himself and to Jim that he could be an equal in their relationship.
He looked out again, making his decision. He closed his eyes, and let himself fall forward into the air, succumbing to the oblivion that had been calling to him over the past couple hours.
Jim pulled up in front of the newest residential area at the edge of the city. It felt odd, looking at the half-finished houses alongside the finished ones, where families had moved in and children were playing on the sod in front. He got out of the truck and looked around, noticing the field off to the right where the construction hadn't reached yet. He started to scan for any sign of Blair, when his vision became blurry and distorted and his headache returned full-force. This wasn't working; he had nothing to focus on. He flashed back to the last time Blair had pulled him out of a zone. He'd been preparing a pitcher of lime-aid, one of his favorites from childhood, when he'd absently popped a slice in his mouth. He didn't remember zoning so completely on the taste of the lime, but he did remember Sandburg having to pull him out of it.
//It was a kind of pain/pleasure feeling, tasting the citrus on every taste bud, feeling the acid making his mouth both burn and water at the same time. It was incredible, and all consuming.
Slowly though, another sensation started to interfere. The slight feel of a heartbeat. He tried to push it away, not wanting to give up the intoxication of the fruit, but soon another sensation followed, overlaid on the slow rhythm- the sound of a voice softly calling to him. Curious now, he concentrated a little on the sound, trying to hear what it was saying to him. Gradually, he was able smell the weak scent of herbs and a faint musk he was certain he was fleetingly familiar with.
He could hear the voice now, slow and even, asking him to come back. Soon he recognized the voice as Sandburg's, and opened his eyes to see what was going on. "Sandburg?"
"Yeah, Jim," he'd sounded relieved. "Welcome back, man."//
It turned out that Sandburg had just walked into the loft when he saw Jim starting to sway. Rushing to catch him, he'd been just in time to get pinned under the larger man as he fell. The zone had been so deep that Blair hadn't been able to just talk him out of it. Trapped as he was, he'd been left with little resources. Eventually he'd tried to disrupt his focus on his taste by trying to counter-zone him with his other senses on the only thing within reach, himself.
Jim hadn't failed to notice the way he'd been limping slightly the rest of the day, or the way he'd been coddling honey and chamomile tea, trying to soothe his raw throat. If Blair hadn't been there when he had, there was no telling if he'd even be around now to talk about it. To top it all off, he'd never remembered to thank him.
Just add it to the list of jack-assed ways he'd treated his 'partner', he thought.
He took a couple deep breaths, concentrating fighting through his blurred senses. Remembering back to that night, he focused on seeking out that heartbeat, that breathing, and that scent.
There! He reached into the truck to call Simon and the others on the radio, and ran off towards the construction.
The noise penetrated the haze that was Blair's consciousness and drilled into his brain. Semi-conscious, he considered his situation. He seemed to be floating through an inky black sky. He was cold, but in a good way. He'd never experienced good cold before; he'd always just assumed it was bad. Maybe he'd just been closed minded about it.
What was that? His heartbeat? No, it wasn't coinciding with the throbbing in his head. Maybe it was Jim's heartbeat. He listened a little longer as it consumed his universe. Maybe he was zoned, he thought. It this what it was really like? Maybe he was experiencing higher senses somehow. That would explain why he could hear Jim's heartbeat so far away. Maybe Jim sensed somehow I was in trouble and gave me his powers, he though. Like a guide protection thing. It was like they had switched places; now he was the sentinel, and Jim was the guide. Hadn't he seen something like that in a documentary somewhere? Or maybe it was some random movie on the SciFi station; he couldn't remember.
The image of Jim trying to talk him out of this killer zone flashed in his mind and he smiled mentally. Good luck. You just try filling my shoes and see how far you get, he thought. No, this isn't a zone, he decided, he was thinking too much. This was more like meditation. It's like he was trapped inside his own head, sensing the world spin and distort around him.
He tasted blood in his mouth. He hoped his wasn't getting blood all over Jim's floor, he'd be royally pissed.
He had to be close, the feel of him was almost palatable. He walked through the piles of construction materials scanning anything in range. Taking a calming breath, he filtered out the noise of the machinery and concentrated on Blair's heartbeat.
There, by the sand piles, he had to be there. Jim raced over to the top of the slope where the ground had been dug away to keep the level of the houses even. Looking down, he saw Blair's body about five feet below, partially buried in sand that had spilled over the edge. He barely noticed as Simon, Henry and Rafe caught up behind him.
"Blair!" Trying not to dislodge any more sand, Jim slipped down beside Blair. He carefully brushed back the hair that covered his face and checked his pulse while listening to his breathing. Quickly checking him over for any serious injury, he'd just decided he was ok to move, when he heard Blair moan and open his eyes. "Blair, can you hear me? It's Jim."
"Jim?" Jim watched as Blair tried to focus on his face and eventually gave up, then his eyes widened as if he realized something. "Jim! Thank god I found you!" his voice was a hoarse whisper, but the intensity wasn't lost on him. "I did it, man! I really did! I beat the fear!"
"Shh," Jim said as he fished Blair's legs out of the sand. "It's ok, just relax, we're going to get you to the hospital."
"Jim," the severity of the tone and the weak hand on his arm brought his attention back to Blair's face. "I did it for you, so you wouldn't have to worry about me." He pointed in the vague direction of the drop off. "Heights. I thought you would forgive me."
It took a second for that to register with Jim. Heights? Did Blair have a fear of heights, and had... Oh my god, he thought. Blair purposely fell off that drop to prove something to him? To get him to forgive him for their fight this morning? It sounded crazy, but Blair was sounding pretty messed up right now, and he didn't put it past him.
"I forgive you, Blair," he said as he watched him slip again into unconsciousness. "I only hope you can forgive me." He carefully gathered Blair into his arms, pillowing his head against his shoulder. He looked even younger now, like a child sleeping comfortably in strong embrace. He made his way back up the side of the dug-out and joined Rafe and Simon at the top.
"Brown's bringing my car around; I'll drive you to the hospital. If you give your keys to Rafe he'll drive your truck there if you want."
Jim looked up from Blair's face now, seeing the honest concern in Simon and Rafe's eyes. He nodded appreciatively at the two as Brown pulled up a couple of yards behind them on one of the construction roads. Brown jumped out and opened the back door of the car and helped Jim position Blair in the back seat so he was lying with Jim supporting his head. He thanked Henry and passed his keys to Rafe as Simon got into the driver's seat. Soon they headed off towards the hospital.
Consciousness wasn't coming quickly for Blair, but it wasn't leaving him alone either. He could slowly start to make out a very annoying humming which made him want to turn back towards the oblivion he was leaving, but his body had other plans for him.
Soon he could feel the pain, and the uncomfortable, too-hard mattress below him. He could also sense the bright fluorescent lights trying to creep in from behind his eyelids.
Jim's voice. There was something about Jim he was supposed to remember. He tried, but all recent memories were way to fuzzy, and he soon gave up.
"Blair," the voice continued softly, "open your eyes, I know you're awake."
He did, and was surprised at the intensity in the bright blue eyes that met his. He'd always known Jim could pierce your soul with a glance, but before it had always been in anger. Now it seemed to be brought on by guilt and genuine concern, and it was very humbling. "Jim?" He felt Jim take his hand and rest them on the bed.
"Yeah. You're in the hospital, you've been here about two days." He paused, trying to stop the overwhelming guilt from showing on his face. "It's good to see you awake," he said simply, not trusting his control enough to say more, and not really knowing how. Feeling uncomfortable, he stood slightly to reach the call button.
"Oh." Blair didn't know what else to say. He tried to think of the last thing he remembered, trying find the reason why he was lying in a hospital bed, and why Jim was so overly concerned about him. "We were fighting in the truck…" Had they crashed, he wondered. Maybe Jim blamed himself for an accident which put him here.
Jim just nodded. "Is that the last thing you remember?"
They were interrupted by the doctor coming through the door. He proceeded to check Blair's vitals, ask him for information like what his name was and what year was it. It was a full 15 minutes before they had the room to themselves again.
"Listen," Jim said, anxious to get the air cleared. "I was wrong. I'm really sorry I blew up at you like that, I know you were just trying to help." He paused, gauging Blair's reaction and attention to what he was saying. "I'd been fighting with Carolyn and-"
"It's ok," Blair interrupted, his expression understanding, "You don't have to tell me."
Jim almost lost it right there. What had he done to deserve someone like Blair? It was certainly beyond him. He took a quick, calming breath, and said purposefully, "Thanks."
Neither of them said anything for a moment, then Jim spoke up. "I was talking to the nurse while the doctor was here. We can leave tomorrow. Is there anything you want from home until then?" He purposely used the word 'home' instead of 'the loft', even if it sounded a little uncomfortable, but he wanted to make sure Blair knew he was still welcome.
He shook his head slightly. "No, thanks. And thanks for finding me."
"You remembered?" Jim wondered if he remembered diving from that ridge. They definitely had some things to talk about when Blair was feeling better.
"No, the doctor told me."
"Oh, ok." Jim said, trying not to sound too disappointed. Blair would probably remember more later anyways, and even if he didn't, it wouldn't make much of a difference.
Blair sighed, suddenly having difficulty keeping his eyes open. "Hope you don't mind if I drift off here."
Jim grinned down at his partner, "No, go ahead. I'll be here when you wake up."
Blair smiled at that, and was asleep in seconds.
Jim stood and watched him for several minutes before settling back down in the chair next to the bed and picking up the discarded magazine. Tomorrow things would be different. Tomorrow their relationship would start anew, and they would both be better for it, but for now, Jim was more than content just listening to Blair sleep, knowing that he'd found him in time.