A/N: Here is the second, but perhaps not final part of the fic I posted on the 31st. For all the lovely readers who requested it. Feedback is love. And would anyone like to beta?
Jim sighed, swirling hospital coffee around in his styrofoam cup. Simon was dealing with the press. They all wanted a chance at the detective who had caught up with Lash. And his latest victim. Jim was dwelling on this last thought. All this Sentinel-Guide crap had turned an innocent bystander into a psycho magnet. But Blair was still the best thing that had happened to Jim in years. The kid wasn't so much a ray of sunshine, as a roaring bonfire-all warmth and welcome. Despite his complaining, Jim had grown attached to the moss colored shakes, the dusty artifacts and the piles of books which had invaded his apartment. Chaos and life injected into forced sterility. Jim gave Sandburg shit about it, but he remembered before: staring at blank white walls, trying to tune out barking dogs and car alarms, and thinking "This is my life." And started not to care. Blair was in his face, at his work with mythological pathological insane babble, cracking his shell and widening his horizons. Blair, coaxing him, "C'mon, Jim, just try the tsushi. This kind won't kill you." Blair announcing to the bullpen, "Whoa, he almost smiled, guys. Break out the cameras!" Jim couldn't decide to throttle him or kiss him, and in just try the the end, did neither. But Sandburg's constant counterpoint of optimism to stoicism, laughter to scowls, and generosity to apathy had become essential somehow. Crazy and uncontrollable, but essential.
No wonder Lash had been attracted to it. As he was. He was attracted to Blair. But whether Blair would forgive him for this latest crisis, seemed a matter of divine mercy. After all, who forgave a friend who put them in harm's way?
Blair knew he was alive because he had to pee. It was just one of those insistent biological functions that seemed to come up at the most inappropriate times. Insistent, biological…alive. Oh man. He could really deal with alive.
He opened his eyes, for once hoping desperately to take in Cascade General's white and mint green schema. Success! Blair tried to sit up, but gasped at where Lash had pounded into him in their last round at Jim's apartment.
Where was Jim? How was Jim? If Lash had got him… This is pain. This is agony. But this is life.
And almost before he can call out, before he begins to fall back, Jim is there. And Jim is smiling. Strong arms enclose his shoulders, and two fingers press against the pulse point inside his elbow. Blair swallows a couple of times. Wanting to ask: how, when where, why? Wanting to kid about knights in shining armour. Wanting a free pass to that smile, whenever he wants it. But then he looks closer. And sees the lines in Jim's face, tension and sadness, and that the smile doesn't quite reach Jim's eyes. And suddenly, his new hope is unsteady. What comes next? How could he fix that smile. First things first, though.
"Jim, thanks. Didn't want to wallop my skull by accident, there."
"No problem, chief." Jim starts to straighten the blankets and sheets, critically eyeing the pin-tight hospital corners. But Blair has remembered his original problem.
"Jim, don't…I have pee. Badly enough to make my eyes cross."
"I'll see if I can find,"
"No, dude, they're probably all busy, and my legs still work. Couldja just get this IV worked out here?" Carefully, Jim transferred the IV bag to a rolling stand, and helped Blair untuck himself from a welter of blankets. He winces in sympathy as Blair slowly makes his way to the toilet. On the way back he hovers, if a six foot something man can really do that, and Blair senses…guilt, anger. Uh oh.
Safely in bed, he turns a suspicious stare on Detective Ellison.
"Jim, are you doing okay?"
"I didn't ask just for the sound of it, tough guy. Tell me what's up."
Jim shifts at his perch on the end of the bed. "You don't want to hear it."
"Maybe I do."
"Dammit, Jim. Lash was fucked up, but at least he talked to me."
Jim was off the bed, across the room. A quivering form of furious tension. "Don't you dare compare him to me."
"Jim, I dare because I care. There's a lot of emotional shit floating around, and unless you and I can talk," Blair heaved a sigh. "I can't be with you man."
That threat could not be ignored. Jim stalked over to the bed, trying to intimidate its occupant, and failing. "You care? Sandburg, I can't believe you care. I almost just got you killed…you sit there, in pain…and you tell me you care ?"
"Talk about revisionist history here, you also rescued me and knocked off a dangerous murderer. I'm in your debt, and we seem to be living in each others pockets," his voice dropped softer and he reached out a hand, "so yeah I care."
Jim couldn't believe it. Blair, beaten and bruised, had offered absolution. He sighed, and took Blair's hand. "Alright, chief I'll talk, so long as you'll stay. So long as you'll be here." He couldn't help reflecting Blair's mischievous smile "I can see you aren't going to make this easy."
"Nope, but if you try" Blair sighed as Jim gripped his shoulders and pressed their foreheads together. Eye to eye, as they should be. "I'll stay."
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