Comfortably Numb

By Zulugirl

A/N: I was going to post this to 852, but Admiralandrea suggested it might fit this challenge. My first ever story posted anywhere. Not really gen, not really slash, exists in a category of it's own! Thanks to Sheila and Caro for the beta work.
Warnings: Very dark, contains Jim!owies - mentions rape/non con/torture but not particularly explicit. Plenty of h/c, though.


Jim Ellison had been kidnapped several days ago. He had worked this out from the number of times his captor had left him alone for long periods, presumably while he rested from the strain of torturing his prisoner. Several of the instruments used to rape him were in a corner of the room and the blood that covered them had dried from glistening red to dead black, lending further weight to Jim's theory he'd been there a while.

The dead black matched Jim's mood, as he slowly lost hope of being found alive. He knew that his colleagues in Major Crime, particularly his partner, Blair Sandburg, wouldn't give up looking for him. But as thirst and deprivation weakened his system, he began to believe they would be retrieving a corpse, not rescuing a live victim. The hellhole he was in was permeated with the stench of Jim's waste and the miasma of fear and pain, all of which worked on Ellison's heightened senses, making them difficult to control.

He lay face down across a table; his wide-stretched arms bound to its legs. His legs were spread widely apart as well, but they were fastened to metal rings set in the concrete floor. The position made it difficult to breathe, even without the addition of the gag stuffed in his mouth.

The skin of his back felt as if it was on fire, where it had been repeatedly flayed with some kind of multi-tailed whip. His ass was throbbing where various objects had been used to rape him, before being discarded in a corner of the room, constantly visible because he hadn't been blindfolded. The guy hadn't once spoken since he had captured Jim, but he hadn't needed to. Jim had recognized him immediately as the brother of a serial killer the Major Crime unit had helped to capture some time ago. Kevin Phillips had been present for every day of his brother's trial, cold gray eyes fixed on the detective who had led the task force searching for Jonathan Phillips.

Jim's senses were all on overdrive, he seemed incapable of dialing them down, the way his partner had taught him. At the moment, he really wished he could turn them down, or better still, off. The scents and sights of the room he was in were getting to him in a major way and he had no desire to throw up while gagged. The thought of choking on his own vomit in no way appealed to him as a way to die.

At the moment, the only good thing his senses were telling him was that this guy wasn't getting off on what he was doing to Jim, but Ellison found that cold comfort in the circumstances. Jim knew that he was badly damaged inside, and that he was going into shock. Despite the warmth of the room, he was shivering and he knew that he had suffered a significant amount of blood loss.

He only hoped that when they found him, Sandburg wasn't there. He really didn't want his partner's last memory of him to be the sight of him bound across this table, body battered and abused. Realistically, he knew the chances of that were small, but he clung on to the faint hope that Simon would be able to keep Blair away from this place. Right now, that was the only hope he had left. He was resigned to a slow, lingering death, rather than the quick end he'd always imagined. Maybe this was some kind of payback for his survival in Peru, where all his team had died. That debt seemed to have finally come due.

Hearing the creak of the door opening and knowing it heralded the return of his captor, Jim closed his eyes and imagined Blair. He wanted his final image, the one he took with him into whatever awaited him on the other side, to be of his partner, rather than the bloody instruments of his torture.

Footsteps crossed the room and he tensed himself for whatever blow was sure to come. He was surprised when, instead, a blanket was thrown across his body. He flinched, the weave feeling like agony on his wounded skin.

"Medics, here, now!" The bellowing voice seemed surprisingly familiar. Then he heard the person move around the table, and gentle fingers removing the ball that was stuffed into his mouth. He moaned as his jaw spasmed in pain, sore from being so widely stretched for so long.

A gentle hand rested on one shoulder. "Jim." The whispered voice was definitely Blair's and Jim opened his eyes slowly, hardly daring to believe the truth. He blinked slowly and carefully focused past the tears that suddenly filled his eyes. Sure enough, the much-loved face of his partner was in front of him, and Jim inhaled, desperate to replace the stench of the room with the scent of Blair.

"Careful Jim, just dial it all back. Go down to a three." The voice coached him quietly and he managed a vague nod, finding the dials easily with Blair there to ground him.

More footsteps sounded behind him and he couldn't help flinching. "Sh, it's just the paramedics," Blair soothed. "That guy's gone, now, dead. He ran right into Simon and went for him with a knife. I'll be right here while the paramedics check you out, I promise."

Jim closed his eyes and used the somewhat impersonal attentions of the paramedics to gather some self-control. He was aware of being unbound, his arms in agony from being stretched in one position for so long. His legs weren't much better. Through all the following treatment, as they prepared him for transport, Jim was aware of his partner's calming touch, his presence soothing Jim's senses and mind alike.

He knew that he had a long, difficult road ahead of him, both physically and mentally, as he recovered from what happened to him, but the thought of Blair's being there for him to lean on, made the prospect less daunting that it might otherwise have been. He knew he could trust Blair absolutely to see him through the weeks and months ahead. It had taken a long time for him to rely on that trust, but now he knew that Blair would always be there for him and was glad of that fact. Blair was the one who would never abandon him, not like so many others had before. To his horror, more tears leaked from his eyes as that realisation filled him.

As the paramedics, aided by Simon and a couple of other Major Crime detectives, moved him face down onto a gurney, he felt Blair's hand touching him constantly, lending support with his presence. Finally, they were moving out of the room, the cops helping to lift and carry him up the rickety staircase out of the basement hell hole he had been kept in for countless days. Blair was by his head, warning him in a whisper to dial down his senses again. He seemed to know instinctively that Jim had somehow lost control of them in the time he was being treated.

They emerged from the dim room into a hallway and the paramedics were now able to wheel him along, out of the house, to their waiting ambulance. Blair climbed in right behind the medic, who didn't say a word, just accepting his partner's presence. The door closed and soon they were moving away, no sirens, luckily for Jim's still troubled senses and finally, Jim relaxed, believing at last that he truly was safe again.

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