Putting the Clues Together

By Calic0cat


Sequel to "Cluing In"


Blair groaned and glared at the elevator's "Out of Order" sign. For a few seconds, he semi-seriously considered sleeping in the Volvo.

Nah. He'd end up all stiff and sore. Oh, wait, he was *already* stiff and sore. Well, he'd be even more stiff and sore.

Plus, with his luck, somebody'd try to steal the damn car. Either that or he'd get run in for vagrancy.

Suddenly, the stairs didn't seem quite so unappealing. Wearily, Blair turned and limped towards them.

Trading help with the theory courses for help with the hand-to-hand training had been a good idea but he was starting to think they should start the study sessions with the physical stuff. Sherry's frustration with the theoretical work that they currently started off with translated to a little too much - enthusiasm - during the defence training. Her petite size together with her broad martial arts background had made her an ideal tutor for him; her fighting style relied on speed, agility, and unpredictability rather than size or brute force. It wasn't like he'd been totally helpless in the first place - just in need of some additional techniques and a lot of practice. He'd learned a lot from Sherry already and could pretty much hold his own against either her linebacker younger brother or her musclebound bouncer boyfriend.

Sherry, on the other hand, could still kick his ass. Ouch.

Gingerly rubbing said ass, Blair finally reached the third floor. He wasn't surprised to find the loft dark and silent; it was pretty late. At least it was the weekend. No need to get up early for classes at the Academy.

On the other hand, the weekend meant that he and Jim would be both be home, which was a decidedly mixed blessing. Half the time, Blair was incredibly grateful that Jim had forgiven him for not being more careful with the dissertation and couldn't help wondering whether the fact that Jim had forgiven him - rather than holding a grudge for years which seemed to be the more typical Ellison response to a perceived betrayal - meant that just maybe Jim might finally be close to actually getting that damn clue he'd been missing for so long.

The rest of the time, Blair was unbelievably pissed that Jim had believed for a single second that Blair would deliberately betray and endanger him like that. And even more pissed that Jim still wasn't willing to discuss the whole damn disaster. Or any of the other - problems - that they'd experienced over the past year or so, starting with the day Alex Barnes had crashed into their lives. Blair shook his head, still unable to understand how Jim could possibly think that they could mend the tattered mess that was their friendship - their partnership - without ever facing the things that had damaged it so badly in the first place. Lack of communication was what got them into all that trouble to start with.

Not bothering to turn on any lights, Blair headed for his bed. Despite assorted aches and pains, he fully expected to be asleep before his head even hit the pillow. Unfortunately, there was a slight obstacle in the way. Blair stared disbelievingly at his futon's occupant. "Jim?!"

Okay, something was definitely wrong. Really wrong. Not only was his roommate sound asleep in his bed, said roomie didn't even react to his voice. Considering that the aforementioned roomie was a totally anal Sentinel who forbade flushing the toilet after 10 pm because the noise would wake him, that was definitely not a good sign. He switched on the bedside light and repeated more loudly, "Jim!"

No reaction to either his voice or the increased light in the room. Shit. Considering that Jim wasn't wearing his sleep mask or - a quick glance confirmed - his white noise generators, that meant two below-normal senses. Mindful of prior warnings regarding the inadvisability of touching sleeping ex-Rangers, Blair backed away from the bed and tossed a wadded-up sock. It bounced off of Jim's shoulder, jolting him awake. "Chief? Is that you?"

"Yeah, Jim. What's going on?" Blair demanded, moving closer to the bed.

"Blair?" Sitting up, Jim turned his head, eyes blankly staring in Blair's general direction. His nostrils flared slightly and he repeated, "Blair."

Well fuck. Sight was evidently completely out. No wonder Jim was actually calling him Blair. Nothing like a little desperation to put folks on a first-name basis. "Yeah, that's my name alright. Now that we've established that little fact, could you maybe, like, tell me what's going on? C'mon, man, you know the drill."

Jim just stared blankly into space, face frozen into immobility save for a single twitching muscle in his jaw.

Sighing, Blair hung his head wearily. He was so not in the mood for this. Reaching out, he put one hand on Jim's shoulder and gave him a gentle shake. "Jim, man, it's been a damn long day. For once, could you, like, not make me drag it out of you? Just tell me what's up, okay?"

As Blair spoke, Jim cocked his head but no sign of comprehension crossed his face. Blair groaned as he realized that hearing was evidently just as fucked up as sight. "Aw, man..." he muttered. "Blind and deaf. Great, Jim. Just great. What the hell is with you?" Taking Jim's hand in his, he traced a question mark on Jim's palm.

Jim opened and closed his mouth a few times. Unfortunately, no actual words were uttered.

Great. Blind, deaf, and voluntarily mute.

Well, Jim was just going to have to talk whether he wanted to or not. Blair couldn't help him if he didn't know what had caused sight and hearing to both go on the blink. He drew the question mark again, tapping the point at the bottom forcefully for emphasis.

Jim grimaced, opened his mouth again, and - yawned. Blair took a closer look at his Sentinel and realized that Jim wasn't exactly in peak condition. His eyes were shadowed and bloodshot, his face drawn and lined with exhaustion. Far more than one bad day would account for, Blair realized guiltily. Meaning that Jim had been in trouble for a while and he hadn't noticed. Fuck. He was tired, impatient, and - well, feeling pretty guilty. Jim was tired, tense, and... well, probably feeling guilty too; he knew better than to let things get this bad without telling his Guide.

Blair shook his head and sighed. "Jim, man, we have *got* to start communicating better..." he murmured to himself.

"Chief? I..." Blair laid a finger against Jim's lips, halting his struggle for words. Neither one of them was in any condition to deal with Jim's wayward senses right now. They needed sleep.

Scooping up his pillow, Blair pressed it to the side of Jim's head. Jim caught his wrist and held onto it. "Okay, Chief. Maybe sleep will help..."

Blair gaped as Jim started to lie back down on his bed. Uh, okay. Maybe Jim didn't want to tackle the stairs in his current state. No biggie. He could sleep on the couch. Or maybe indulge a fantasy and borrow Jim's bed since Jim was in his...

Except Jim still had hold of his wrist... Err, make that his arm... And...


Okay, make that Jim had hold of him. And now they were both in his bed. And Jim was kind of, well, wrapped around him. And he couldn't even demand a fucking explanation because not only was Jim currently blind and deaf, the sneaky bastard was already asleep. How - convenient.

Well. This was certainly an - interesting - turn of events. Maybe the big lug had finally gotten a clue?

Maybe. He was just too damn tired to think about it tonight. But in the morning...

"In the morning, Ellison, you've got some 'splainin' to do..." Blair muttered as he drifted off to sleep. "A whole damn lot of 'splainin'..."


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