November 22 (Jim's apartment – h 2 a.m.)

Blair awoke around 2 a.m., confused and frightened. He was not in his cell at the hospital but in a large bedroom, a regular one, composed by a comfortable bed (where he had been resting) and night tables, two wicker chairs where multiple layers of clothes had been deposited, a dresser and a wall mirror; a door on the left wall indicated where the wardrobe was. The big bed was positioned against the wall with its night tables; from his position Blair could see, in the shadows, the chairs at the feet of the bed on his left and right side, the dresser against the wall on his right, the mirror and the wardrobe door on the left wall. In front of him there was a iron banister. The room was illuminated by the city lights filtering from the very tall windows of the sitting room, connected to the bedroom by a stairway. The place gave him a sense of peace and quiet; in fact, after a while, he was able to relax and listen to the sounds filling the apartment: there was a light buzzing coming probably from the fridge and a soft snoring coming from the sitting room, where Jim was sleeping on the couch. Blair had always had a good instinct and now he was feeling confused – because he didn't recall leaving the hospital, entering the apartment where he was, least of all going to bed – but there he felt safe; he decided to trust his instinct and got up, finding out someone had dressed him in soft sweat pants and shirt, too big for him but definitely comfortable. Someone that could be only Jim. He descended the stairs as silently as he could, because he needed to use the bathroom and he did not want to wake the man downstairs, but Jim woke up suddenly and Blair, caught by surprise and deathly scared, let out a scream and run away from the older man, finally sliding down against the wall, near the main door. Jim, angry at himself for having fallen asleep and for scaring the kid, was on his knees at his side immediately but maintained a security distance, so not to startle him even more. He spoke to him as he had learnt to speak with crime victims, forcing himself to remain calm.

"Blair, it's ok. You're safe. I'm Jim, Jim Ellison. You are in my apartment. I took you here after leaving the hospital, yesterday evening, do you remember?"

Blair couldn't speak, his heart was thundering in his chest and he could see only shadows. He knew he was scaring Jim, he remembered him but he could not talk at the moment: his mouth was desert dry and breathing was hard too. He could hear the man speaking to him in a soothing tone but the terror that had gripped him at his sudden movement prevented him to understand his speech. After some minutes, Jim stood up and switched the lights on. Five minutes later, Blair was calm enough to actually answer Jim's questions. At 2.30 a.m. both men were sitting on the couch.

"I'm sorry if I woke you, you were asleep. I just needed to use the bathroom… I still need it!" Blair smiled shyly.

After having released himself, he returned to his place in front of the windows.

"You have a nice place. It fits you very well!" Blair declared to broke the silence.

Both men were embarrassed because of the tense atmosphere between them. Jim had promised Simon to take the kid to the hospital the following day but wasn't sure how Blair would react to his request. He had many questions to ask him too. He just didn't know if he was able to answer him, Jim feared a hysterical reaction from the younger man, since the subject they were going to face was sorrowful. He adverted Blair's tension and realized he had spoken.

"Sorry, Blair, guess I was lost in my mind." He cleared his throat nervously. "You think you're up to answer a few questions?"

Blair's eyes widened. He felt dizzy and lightheaded from fear and exhaustion. He would had preferred to forget the events of the last month, but they were engraved in his memory and he knew it was better for him to talk to someone. Plus, Jim was a police officer, maybe he could help him to arrest the men responsible for his confinement.

"I think so. But I am kind of confused right now, I can't remember how we met. Did we know each other before I was put in the hospital?... I know I must sound really pathetic now, I'm sorry, I just… I just sense I can trust you but I don't remember who you are… I mean, I know your name is Jim because you told me but I can't remember this place… God, I am a mess!" he replied softly, avoiding Jim's gaze.

The detective felt his heart melting at the kid's words. He reassured him and explained him how they met in the parking space in the rain and what he felt and what he did the following days, until he was able to free him. And the reason for he was admitted in the hospital, the evidences he found in his apartment and in the alley where the student was killed. When he was finished, Blair had tears in his eyes.

"It must be hard on you, Chief, I'm sorry. How do you feel?"

"I'm fine… Half of the things you told me… I thought they were dreams! And the other half is confused… in that cell, I lost conception of time and those drugs they gave me… they made me so sleepy and I couldn't think… I feel disconnected! And I don't know what I am going to do with my life… I don't even have a place to stay…"

"Don't worry about that right now. You can stay here as long as you need, until you feel better and you find another apartment."

Blair tried to reply but Jim silenced him gently.

"Would you do me a favor? I promised Simon to take you to the hospital tomorrow, to have you checked up. Just to be sure those orderlies didn't hurt you too bad. But I will not force you if you don't feel up to… Anyway, I think you should go… God knows what drugs they give you in these days…"

Blair, at this point, was fighting hard to get his emotions under control. Jim's attentions, his unconditional loyalty and friendship, made him feel safe like ha had never felt in long time. How could he deny the man anything?

"It's the least I can do for you, Jim."

"Good boy! What would you think if I come with you? Or is it a problem?"

Blair was glad the man had asked him because he didn't know if he could do it alone.

"It's ok. I'm glad you asked me. Don't make me wrong, Jim, but knowing you'll be with me already makes me feel better. Who's Simon, anyway?"

Jim answered all Blair's questions. The kid was actually full of questions. At some point, Jim suggested to continue the conversation upstairs where Blair finally, around 4, fell asleep in his bed.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 7

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