Jim opened the door to the loft, and he and Blair stood staring at the mess. He had forgotten how wrecked the place had been. Blair broke the silence.
"Oh, man. Oh, man, Jim. I didn't realize how bad it was. I'm really, really sorry."
Jim felt his jaw clench. The kid was apologizing for fighting the bastard? He tossed his keys in the basket and hung his jacket on the wall. Blair circled the loft, as if unsure where to put his feet. "Yeah, well. You were preoccupied. Don't worry about it. Bit of elbow grease, and it'll be good as new."
Blair stooped, and picked up a book that lay open on the floor, pages ripped from its spine. "Great, that's a library book. There goes thirty bucks." He tossed the ruined book back onto the floor. "I'll go get a broom. Watch out for glass. I wouldn't take your shoes off."
"Chief, take it easy. You just got out of the hospital for crying out loud. You'd be there now, if I had my way." Jim was still a bit unsure about the wisdom of Blair's insistence on returning to the loft. The doctor said the drugs were quickly processed, and sure enough, two hours after he was brought to the hospital, Blair was ready to leave.
Jim still remembered the frightened blue eyes that stared at him when nothing else could move. Paralysed, Blair couldn't talk, and had been working his way into a full-blown panic attack when Jim made his way back up from the lower story of the warehouse. But that was all past now. David Lash was dead, Blair was okay, and like after all the other cases they had worked on, life would continue on.
Jim returned to the present and growled in irritation as Blair puttered about, righting tables, straightening the books and sweeping up debris. He stalked over to his roommate, pulling the broom and dustpan from his hands.
"Sit." Blair sat, picking up a journal, and Jim pulled the book from his hands. "Don't move. Just relax, okay? Let me clean up the worst. Tomorrow we can take care of the little stuff."
Blair nodded, and that's when Jim noticed the minute tremors that were shaking Blair's hands, moving up his arms and down his torso. "Blair, you okay?"
Blair looked up, eyes impossibly wide. "Oh shit, man. I can't stop shaking!" He held out a hand, palm parallel to the floor. "Look at me! God, why can't I stop shaking?"
Jim knew that there was a reason that Blair shouldn't have been released so quickly from the hospital, and now he had his proof. The last thing he needed was a panicking partner. Jim figured he'd let the adrenaline burn off, but thought twice when Blair's breathing became erratic and the trembling increased. He dropped the broom, crouching before Blair. He grabbed the hand with one of his and with the other pulled Blair's chin down so he was looking at him. "Blair, listen. You just went through something that you just don't rebound from. It's not like you can pretend it didn't happen."
Blair tugged his hand away and moved off the couch, hands moving erratically in the air, nervous energy pouring off of him in waves. "It's just that.... He was crazy. I mean crazy. And...and I couldn't move. And he was touching me. I...I...I thought I was going to die. God, I mean, he was going to kill me! He wanted to be me! How nuts is that? But then I keep thinking of his dad and what he went through as a kid. But I can't get his face out of my head, and I keep feeling him touch me!"
Blair continued to babble, running hands through his hair. Jim stood by, uncertain as to whether to let it run its course or to intervene. "And when you fell down the stairs, and I couldn't move...I couldn't talk. And you fell though the fucking floor, man. The fucking floor! I could hear everything...but...but I couldn't move! And when I heard the shots...oh, man. I thought he'd killed you!" Blair was practically vibrating about the living room, pacing back and forth. He fell silent, staring at his shaking hands. "Why can't I stop shaking, Jim?"
The plaintive sound broke Jim's indecision. He was next to Blair in a second, wrapping his arms around the quaking form, urging him back down to the couch. The fear that he had felt upon seeing the 911 pager message returned in full force. He patted Blair's back. "Relax, Chief. Relax. Deep breaths. You did everything right. You did everything you could. It's all catching up with you is all. Deep breaths."
He continued to murmur and rub circles beneath Blair's shoulder blades, closing his eyes as he felt Blair slowly relax. Blair's breathing evened out and the shaking slowly eased.
"Sorry about this, Jim. Didn't mean to get all freaked out." Blair peered up at him from under his wayward hair. Wrung out by his ordeal and the remnants of drugs and the adrenaline coursing through his system, Blair closed his eyes, his head lolling onto Jim's shoulder.
"No problem, Chief. You can't check everything at the door, 'specially when it happens to you." Jim remembered the feelings of utter helplessness that had coursed through him when he had frantically been trying to find Blair. Checking his emotions at the door indeed. Jim listened as Blair's breathing slowed. When he was convinced the exhausted young man was almost asleep, he gently eased him down onto the couch, pulling the afghan off the backrest and covering him.
"Mmm. Good to be home, Jim." Blair's soft murmur teased at the edges of Jims hearing, blurry with sleep. "Thanks."
"That's what friends are for, buddy." Jim began sweeping up the debris littering the floor, determined to make the loft home once again.