By Alyjude



WARNING: Reflection on non-con...


Blair spotted it first, which was odd considering that he was traveling with a sentinel. He hurried his pace, his exhausted legs allowing the extra effort because the goal was the opportunity to sit down.

"Sandburg, slow it down, what's your hurry?" Simon asked, his voice low and without inflection in spite of the question.

"Bench. Sit. Rest." Blair really didn't have the energy to say more. A few moments later, he found bliss. He sank onto the metal bench, sat back and closed his eyes.

"I think we're taking a rest stop, Simon," Blair heard Jim say in the same quiet monotone.

"Looks like. Also looks as though we might have left the hills far enough behind us that this damn cell will work."

Blair didn't open his eyes, but he mentally crossed his fingers that Simon would be successful. He didn't know how many more miles on this back road they'd have to travel to connect with traffic, but he knew he didn't have much left in the way of energy. Thank God for the old bus bench and the slight awning that shaded him.

"Joel? Tell me this is really you? Thank God. Listen--yeah, we're -- okay. Just listen. We're out on Eighteen, south of Paduka. Right now, we're at an old Mainliner bus bench. Get here and get here fast. What? Yes, I repeat, we're okay. You'll need to send somebody to the Wilson meatpacking plant, since it's out of our jurisdiction. Yeah, State police. Joel? Not now. Just -- hurry. What? No, they don't have to worry about armed men. They'll only find -- bodies."

Blair winced at that, but kept his eyes closed. He heard Simon clip the phone shut, followed by a whispered, "Thank God," from Jim, and he wondered how he could keep his eyes closed. Why no visions or flashbacks? Not that he was complaining, mind you. No, he most definitely was not complaining.

"Chief, why don't you lie down? We have a wait ahead of us, but at least they're on their way," Jim said, his tone solicitous.

Blair nodded, took off his jacket, balled it up and tucked it into the corner. He lifted his legs, situated himself on his side, bent his knees and rested his head on his jacket. No one had to tell him twice to lie down, no sir. He felt something drop over him, but he didn't move. Probably Jim's coat -- or Simon's. A creaking from behind let him know that both Simon and Jim were now seated on the bench that was backed up to his.

A small breeze wafted over him and he shivered slightly. The sun would be down in another couple of hours, and he hoped that Joel would be here by then. He told his body to relax, and thanks to the blackness of his own mind, it obeyed.

No thoughts.

If he could just continue in the same manner --


Simon stared at his dusty shoes. They needed polishing. He'd do it tomorrow. Tomorrow was Saturday. Maybe he'd finally get around to cleaning out the rain gutters. Of course, chores would have to wait until he returned from the station, what with reports and all. He sighed. Damn.

How the hell was he supposed to write this one up? But that really wasn't the question. The real question was: could he live with what had happened?

Okay, honesty time. There was no way that the report would contain one word even remotely linked to reality. He was ready to accept the fact that he'd have to lie. But whether the truth was on paper or not, Simon knew it. Could still see it. And the man next to him had not only seen the same thing, but Jim had heard it too.

"Jim," he whispered, "you okay?"

The man beside him nodded. "You?" Jim whispered back.

Simon played with the idea of lying, but in the end, he told the truth. "No."

"Me either," Jim said so softly, Simon almost believed he'd imagined it.

"What are we gonna do, Jim?"

"I don't know. I just -- don't know."

The two men stared out over the expanse of dry, brown land, each lost in their own horrible thoughts.


Blair was drifting mindlessly, his body and brain stuck in the gray limbo between sleep and wakefulness. He was vaguely aware of his surroundings, but equally aware of how close he was to slipping into the land of Nod. Gee, that almost sounded -- poetic. Wasn't he just so full of it? Blair licked his lips and almost gagged. Yep, he was. Would he ever get the taste out of his mouth?

Aw, God, what must his breath be like for Jim? Fuck. Maybe he had some gum. Moving his hand under the jacket, he felt in his pockets and found nothing. Okay, his jacket. He slipped his hand under the jacket serving as a blanket and into his own jacket pocket. First one, then the other, but nothing. One last spot, the inner pocket -- and hallelujah. He took out the small packet and, with eyes still closed, shook out a piece and stuck it in his mouth. He chewed like crazy and almost smiled. Much better.


Jim sniffed the air, his brow wrinkling as he concentrated. What the hell? Cinnamon? He cocked his head and listened. His expression changed to one of understanding. Blair was chewing gum. Then the import of the act hit him and he almost cried out in pain. Simon must have sensed Jim's discomfort, because he immediately said, "Jim?"

Jim dropped his head into his hands. "He's -- chewing -- gum."

Puzzled, Simon pondered why that information should upset Jim, then the truth slammed into him like a freight train, immediately followed by a frigid shiver that coursed through his body. With sorrowful eyes, he glanced up at the sky and wondered how they'd survive this. Could they survive this? Would he ever be able to look Blair Sandburg in the face again? Simon squeezed his eyes shut and tried desperately to block the memories, and failed just as desperately.

He could see Blair on his knees in front of Eddie Falcon -- for them. To stall their execution, to buy them time, to give them the time. Falcon's dirty fingers were buried in Sandburg's hair, keeping Sandburg's head in place while he pumped into Sandburg's mouth, pounding the younger man with each thrust.

In--out, in--out, and Simon could feel his hatred again, the same hatred he'd experienced as he'd been forced to watch, hands tied behind his back, struggling against his bindings until it had ended.

Only to worsen.

//Falcon pulled Sandburg to his feet and his expression said that Simon and Jim were about to die. They were on their knees, each with a gunman at their side, muzzles pressed against their temples. Simon prepped himself, thought of Daryl, and finally of Sandburg. And just when he was certain it was going to end, when he was positive a bullet was about to find a home in his brain, Blair moved in close to the drug runner, rubbed his body into the bigger man's, and whispered, "You don't have to take what I'm willing to give."//

Simon felt the heat of memory rush to his face and he had the insane desire to cover his ears, to try to keep from hearing Sandburg's voice as he'd whispered his invitation to Falcon. But then he wanted to cover his eyes, or maybe poke them out with a stick to avoid seeing what had come nextů.

//Blair turned his back on Falcon, pressed his ass into the man, and rested his head on Falcon's chest. Just that. Nothing more. Falcon's breathing quickly shortened into lust-filled pants. He waved at his men, shook his head, then with fingers wound around a huge hunk of Sandburg's hair, he took him from the room.

The door closed and they were alone with their two guards. Funny, Simon thought. With all that happened, and was probably happening, all he could think was that Falcon had just made a very bad mistake. On the other hand, it was exactly the mistake Sandburg had been counting on. After all, any good bad guy knew that you simply didn't leave Simon Banks and Jim Ellison alone with just two men, even if Banks and Ellison were tied up, a fact nobody knew better than Sandburg.

Simon continued to work his bonds, knowing damn well that not only was Jim doing the same, but that his number one detective was listening to everything that was happening between his partner and Falcon.

Simon had never been so grateful *not* to be sentinel.//

Simon rubbed at his eyes, as if he could rub what they'd seen away. But he couldn't. He never would.


Jim was lost. Sitting on a stupid bench in the middle of nowhere and all he could hear was Blair's crooning voice, the low sultry timbre of it promising heaven on Earth for Falcon. Jim's stomach churned and, for just a minute, he thought he was going to lose it. Through sheer willpower, he held on, maintaining his cool and the contents of his stomach.

No matter what else, Jim had to admit one thing; the sound of that voice and of Falcon's preparations had served as the superhuman catalyst for him.

//He barely felt the hardness of the floor on his knees as his ears were tortured by Blair's voice. When he heard another zipper being lowered, strength poured into him and, in one fluid motion, he broke his bonds and sent his fist smashing into the nose of the guard next to him. He almost smiled at the sound of bone and cartilage shattering.

A blur of motion alerted him to Simon, who, though still bound, used Jim's attack to throw his body into his guard. Less than a minute later, it was over and two of Falcon's men lay dead at Jim's feet.//

Jim scrunched his eyes closed but the sounds of Blair and Falcon rammed their way into the picture.

//Jim moved through the door, mind and senses focused on only thing: his partner. He knew instinctively that Simon was following. He felt a gun pressed into his hand by Simon, who'd picked it up from the floor, but that barely gave him pause.

They came upon two more men and took them out as silently and efficiently as Jim had taken out the previous two. Without thought, they moved up the stairs and crept stealthily down a long dingy hall until Jim came to a stop.

"Jim?" Simon whispered at his back.

"There's -- something wrong. I've lost him. A smell, I can't--"

"Yes, you can, Jim. If the smell is in your way, then do that hearing thing."//

"Jim, you okay?"

Jim shook himself and brought his mind back to the present. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine."


Blair could hear the low murmur of voices and figured Jim and Simon were probably talking about him. He wondered if they'd be able to deal with what he'd done. He knew on an intellectual level they were already putting today in some neat little cop compartment -- it was what they both did. But emotionally? He suspected that Simon would go gruff and avoid him while Jim would go stoic, repress it all, then avoid him. Either way Blair had lost them.

Scrunching further down under the jacket, Blair wondered if he could handle losing both men. One his best friend and someday - before today - more, while the other, the father he'd always claimed he'd never missed. But hey, they were alive, right? And wasn't that all that mattered?

A cold spot in his belly started to spread outward.


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