EVOLUTION OF FRIENDSHIP part 7
"Trainwreck Of Emotion"
AnniePLEASE INSERT STANDARD DISCLAIMER HERE <g>.
Betaed by Tate. Thanks, kiddo!
Thanks as always to Lyn for her support and encouragement to do this stuff.
Do not archive, thank you.
This is part 7 of the "Evolution Of Friendship" series and is a missing scene/epilog to "Love & Guns". Although it should stand alone, there is a brief mention of an incident from an earlier Evolution story, so it may be helpful to read those first. No warnings I can think of, except if you're a diabetic you might o.d. on the smarm <g>. The title comes from a song on a Lorrie Morgan CD I have and seemed to fit.
Jim rolled onto his back, pulling free of Vargas' body. For a moment he lay stunned, unsure whether he or Vargas had been shot. He felt only the pain of the scattered cuts from the broken glass they'd just crashed through and realized he was basically uninjured. It took a few moments for him to gather himself together enough to push himself laboriously to his feet but then he remembered that Blair was still in the glasshouse, possibly injured or Shaking off the morbid fear that his friend could be dead, he bent and checked Vargas' pulse - nothing. Not sparing a second glance at the corpse he headed back in to find Sandburg. He could hear sirens screaming as back up and ambulances pulled into the property and he figured Drennan would be taken care of. Right now, his only thought was for Blair.
Maya was sitting on the ground a few feet away from Blair's sprawled body and despite his urgent need to check on his partner, Jim forced himself to stop next to her. "Maya? Are you all right?"
She nodded, wincing a little at the motion then looked up at him, her eyes still wide with fear. "I think so," she managed. "But Blair Vargas hit him again. I think he's dead "
Tears spilled over and ran down her pale cheeks and Jim grasped her shoulder gently. He looked over to Blair, seeing the young man's chest moving up and down slowly. "He's not dead, Maya, but he is hurt. Can you go and tell the medics to come in here? I need to stay with Blair."
"Yes." She nodded again and allowed Jim to help her to her feet. Then she stumbled out the door of the greenhouse as Jim knelt next to Blair.
He managed to undo the knots binding Blair's arms behind his back and remove the gag, then turned the unconscious man onto his side, making sure his airway was clear. Blood was trickling out of Blair's mouth and Jim pulled his lower lip down gently, grimacing in sympathy as he realized Blair had bitten a chunk out of the inside of his lip.
Blair moaned softly as he returned to consciousness.
"It's okay, Chief. Try to lie still. Help's on the way." Jim stroked his hand across Blair's forehead, pressing down gently as his partner tried to sit up. "Keep still, Chief."
"Maya! Where's God, my head! Where's Maya?" Blair fought against the hands holding him down, his eyes wide with either fear or the result of the concussion Jim was sure he was suffering from.
"Hey, hey! Calm down, Sandburg!" Jim finally pulled his partner to a slumped sitting position, resting his knee against the injured man's back to support him. "Maya's okay, all right? She went outside to wait for the paramedics."
Blair leaned forward and rested his head against his bent knees. "Oh man, my head's killing me. And my mouth " He wiped a hand across his lips and looked down at the blood coating his fingers.
"You bit your lip, buddy. Don't think you'll need stitches though." Jim took Blair's chin in his hand and angled the younger man's head up so he could check out his pupils. He nodded. "I think you've got a kingsize concussion there, Chief. How many times did that bastard hit you?"
Blair shrugged then grasped his head in pain. "Don't know can't remember once outside, I guess. That's how I ended up in here. I think he came back again Sorry, man, it's all sorta blurred together. Oh " Blair's faced went white and he pushed himself to the side and threw up.
Jim simply grabbed hold with one arm and held Blair's hair out of the way with the other. "You've got a concussion, all right," he observed mildly, once the retching had stopped. By now he could hear voices and footsteps coming closer and he eased Blair back down to the ground. "The paramedics are here, Chief. You'll need to go to the hospital and be admitted for observation-"
"No!" Blair pushed himself upright against Jim's restraining hands. "I need to see Maya. Please, Jim..."
Jim sighed. "Look, if I bring her back in here so you can see she's okay, will you let them take you to the hospital?"
"All right," Blair acquiesced sullenly, allowing Jim to push him flat again. "Vargas hit her too, Jim. I just need to know she's okay and to tell her I'm sorry."
The last words were muttered but the Sentinel heard them and he gave Blair's shoulder a reassuring squeeze as he stood to make room for the paramedic. "I'll go find her, Chief. You behave, now, you hear?" Leaving his Guide in the medic's capable hands he headed outside to find Maya.
Maya was sitting on the tailgate of one of the ambulances, her head resting in her hands. She looked up as Jim approached. "Is Blair all right?" she asked.
"He will be, with time. He's badly concussed, I think. How are you doing?" Jim asked, noting the pallor of her face.
"I'm okay. Vargas hit me but I was only out for a few seconds, I think," Maya replied. She looked past Jim's shoulder as the maid's body was placed in a black body bag then put on a stretcher.
"Listen, Maya," Jim said, trying to divert her attention, "Blair won't go to the hospital until he's seen you're okay."
"Oh my God!" Maya was on her feet now, pushing past Jim's restraining hand. "Consuelo! You killed Consuelo?" She turned hard flinty eyes on Ellison.
"She shot at us, Maya. We had no choice."
"She was like another mother to me!" Maya collapsed to her knees. "I can't talk to Blair now. I've lost too much Tell him tell him I'll come and see him later, after I've spoken to my father."
Jim reached down and helped her to her feet then handed her over into the care of one of the uniforms. "Take her downtown but she's not to see her father until he's been charged. You got that?"
He ignored the heated look Maya shot at him and turned back to check on Blair.
Jim could hear Blair trying to convince the paramedic he didn't need to go to the hospital as soon as he got back inside.
"Mr. Sandburg, listen to me. You've been knocked unconscious two or three times in a short time, by your own admission. You have a concussion and you could develop serious complications as a result. You have to go to the hospital and be admitted," the medic was saying as he held Blair flat on the ground with one hand and tried to key his radio mike to call for assistance with the other.
"I'll be fine," Blair replied, finally managing to twist out of the man's grasp and make it to his knees.
Jim reached him just in time to stop him from falling flat on his face as his body went boneless and he collapsed into unconsciousness again. Rolling Blair to his side once more, Jim looked up and gave the medic a rueful smile. "Let's get him onto a gurney and into the ambulance while he's out," he suggested.
"You got it, sir," the medic responded. He stood up and headed for the door. "Um, you okay for a sec? I'll go grab some help."
Jim nodded and waved the man off. Sighing he looked down at Blair's pale face and stroked a hand across his forehead. "What am I gonna do with you, Chief?" he asked softly.
Blair regained consciousness while he was being examined in the ER and predictably, began demanding to be allowed to go home. Jim could hear the argument from the waiting room and eventually gave in to his need to be at his Guide's side and entered the cubicle.
"Finally!" Blair said as he pushed the doctor's hands away from his chest and made an attempt to sit up. His effort to prove he was fine was somewhat marred by the fact that he almost fell off the gurney and only the doctor's quick reflexes stopped his abrupt descent. "Jim, please tell this guy you can keep an eye on me at home, will you?" he said pleadingly, as he allowed himself to be pushed down to the pillows again.
"Tell you what, Chief, how about we let the doc finish up his exam and then we'll decide?" Jim suggested, moving up to stand next to Blair.
Blair huffed a frustrated sigh then seemed to give in, lying quietly while the doctor finished his examination.
"You need to have some skull x-rays taken " the doctor began, then raised an admonishing finger as Blair tried to interrupt. "You have a concussion. However, if the skull series comes back clear, I am prepared to allow you to go home if your partner doesn't mind keeping an eye on you and doing neuro checks for the next 12 hours. Detective Ellison, you know the drill? Mr. Sandburg tells me you've had some training as a medic."
"Yes, in the army," Jim agreed. "Are you sure about sending him home though? He took a couple of really hard knocks to the head "
"Aw, man, Jim, say yes, please," Blair said. He was using the puppy dog eyes, Jim noticed with amusement.
"All right. If the x-rays are okay, I'll take you home tonight."
"Thank you," Blair said feelingly. He closed his eyes, seemingly exhausted now and didn't say another word till the x-rays had been done, were pronounced clear and they were in the truck, at last, heading for home.
Jim pulled into his parking spot and hurried round to help Blair down. The anthropologist was still pale, lines of pain webbing out around his eyes and his still bloodstained mouth. As soon as his feet hit the ground however, he pushed away from Jim's helping hand. "You promised I could see Maya before you dragged me off to the hospital," he said sullenly as he entered the building ahead of Jim.
"I'm sorry, Blair. She said she wouldn't come see you till she'd spoken to her father," Jim replied, placing a hand on Blair's shoulder to steer him into the elevator. "Then you passed out again I'm sorry, buddy. At the time I was worried about you, okay? She said she'd come by later. Give her a couple of days, Chief. She's got a lot to process, too."
Blair just nodded as they exited the elevator on the third floor and he waited for Jim to open the loft door. Once inside, he headed for his room. "I'm gonna try to get some sleep before you have to wake me up, man, all right?"
"Sure, Chief, you do that. Blair?"
Blair turned. "Yeah?"
"I am sorry things went down the way they did for you and Maya."
"My own fault, man. I shouldn't have lost my objectivity." Blair raised a hand in a goodnight gesture as he went into his room.
Blair's mood had gone downhill from there. He'd endured the hourly neuro checks, responding monosyllabically to Jim's questions, then rolling over immediately afterward and going back to sleep. Jim hadn't wanted to push him to talk. The guy was hurting after all, and not only emotionally so the detective let the one-word answers and the grumpy exterior slide for now.
Then, two nights later, Maya finally showed up. Jim wasn't sure what he was expecting to happen once that occurred but that the visit would send Blair spiraling even deeper into depression wasn't the main outcome he'd had in mind.
Drennan had left after an early dinner. Jim supposed that his constant anxious glances at Blair's doorway had given her the hint that his mind wasn't totally on her company. But she'd been gracious about it, kissed him at the door and told him she hoped they'd see each other again sometime. Then she'd looked pointedly over his shoulder at Blair's room and said, "Take care of your partner, Jim. Good ones are hard to come by. I know."
After she left, Jim had stood in the doorway to Blair's room, watching his friend sleep. Blair was turned on his side, tear tracks still visible on his face, his breath still shuddering every now and then in the way people did when they'd cried themselves to sleep. Jim thought about waking him up, asking him if he wanted to talk about it but then he remembered the way Blair's eyes had shut him out earlier and he didn't think he could bear to see that emptiness again just yet. So he'd pulled the blankets up over Blair's shoulders and stroked a stray hair away from his face. Then he'd made his weary way upstairs to his own bed, convinced he'd fall asleep the minute his head hit the pillow.
Two hours later Jim was still wide-awake which is why he knew exactly when Blair left the loft. He got up, dressed in his clothes from the night before and quietly followed his partner down the stairs, making sure to stay at least one flight of steps behind him.
Out on the street, he watched as Blair headed to his car and cursed quietly. If Blair was driving, it would be harder to follow him without being detected. But then Blair simply unlocked the car and pulled a sweater out, then closed the door again and trudged off down the street, seemingly oblivious to the Sentinel shadowing him.
As he followed his partner, Jim wondered why he was doing it but then simply shrugged off the question with the acknowledgment to himself that Blair was his friend and tonight Blair needed him. He might not know that now but when he did, Jim planned to be there.
Finally Blair turned into the park he'd gone to the night he'd thought his week at Jim's place was up. He meandered along the paths then stopped at the edge of the lake and sat down, pulling his knees up and resting his head on his bent arms.
Jim stayed in the shadows of the trees for a short while, trying to decide what to do. If Blair wanted to be alone, perhaps it had been a mistake to follow him. Then he saw his friend's shoulders begin to shake under the weight of tears and without thinking he moved forward, his need to be there for his Guide overpowering any desire to give Blair privacy.
Blair didn't look up as Jim sat down next to him, but the quiet sobs stopped. "She said she loves me, but she hates me too," he whispered. "How is that possible?"
"I don't know, Blair," Jim responded, equally quiet.
Blair lifted his hand and swiped away the evidence of his loss of control. "I am such a wuss, Jim. I don't know why you put up with me," he said, laughing shakily.
"You're my friend, Chief," Jim said. Then he reached out and placed an arm around Blair's shoulders and pulled him close against his side, holding him there as they watched the sun come up over the Cascade skyline.