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The atmosphere that played that afternoon in Major Crime was quiet enough, one of those rare occasions in which the detective was usually pawned to end the tiresome and usual reports, to formalize the deposition of some witness or to have a chat with his colleagues. Even the telephones were less troubling than usual, a fact particularly valued by Jim, who, otherwise, must constantly dial down his hearing to avoid going insane.
Even Capt. Banks was in a good mood after he had received the nth declaration of credit and eulogy from Chief Warren, and a general encomium for all the members of his division for the very good arrest record and for the effort and dedication spent in the brilliant resolution of some difficult cases.
Already, there were a lot of reasons to consider oneself satisfied, and Ellison was all the more so because his unorthodox partner, for the first time, was quoted as an active member of the team. Even if as a civilian, he had given his contribution in the accomplishment of that very good success that followed.
Of course, the quotation was purely symbolic, it wasnt sufficient to modify the status from simple observing into that more official and above all paid, of consultant.
The Sentinel, though, was sure that this last certificate of his guides competence was another point in his favour. When Blair graduated, his observers pass would inevitably be revoked.
One way or another, he and Simon would have to think of something to fit Sandburg into Major Crime, without him having to compulsorily attend the academy.
Any further reflection about the subject was interrupted by the telephones high-pitched ring.
"Hey, Jim, I hope I'm not bothering you."
Noting a hesitation in the students voice, Jim was immediately concerned.
"Chief, whats up? Are you ok?"
"Well, yes, Im alright, its just that..."
"Just WHAT, Sandburg? Would you mind being more explicit?"
"The truth is that Im stuck at Cascade Generals E.R! The doctor here doesn't want me to come home unless I have someone with me. It hasnt bled much. I told him that you were a medic in the army and that you'd be able to take care of me, but nothing, he wont listen to me, so he has forbidden me to hail a taxi, TYRANNICAL, so, naturally, I had to call you "
"Sandburg, first of all, breathe, then I want you to tell me exactly whats happened to you. Then, WHY wasnt I informed immediately, WHY you didn't call me first and HOW, in one way or another, did you manage to inflict new traumas to that, thanks to God, hard head of yours?
"Do I have to answer the questions in that precise order, Detective?"
"Cut it out, Sandburg "
"Allright Jim, chill: In brief this is the history: I went to the university, I slipped, landed bad, bashed my head, Im passed out, I think, for a few seconds. They took me to the hospital and now, they dont want to let me go End of the story, are you happy?"
"Ecstatic, Sandburg! Listen to me, stay where you are, dont move, are Do you understand? Give me just time to get there and then you will do me the favor of telling me everything again, with plenty of details and antecedents this time "
"Kay Jim, thanks!"
"You are welcome, Chief"
Deciding to inform personally Simon personally of the little mishap that had occurred to his friend, the detective went to his superiors office and knocked at the door.
"Hey Simon, I want ask you if I can leave a bit early today. Sandburg has asked me to pick up him, so
"No problem Jim, go, today its rather slow, I mean, Im not complaining here, on the contrary Do you have time for a cup of coffee? Its a new blend..."
"Actually, Sandburg is expecting me "
"That heap that he obstinately continues to label as a classic left him again in the lurch again?"
"No, this time the Volvo is innocent. He has had a little incident at the university. An argument between his head and the floor, and the last has had the better of course. He is at Cascade General now, and the doctor wont let him go home unless there is someone to keep an eye on him so he has had to call me".
"Is it serious?"
"I dont believe so, not that he has told me very much, just that he has bumped his head and fainted for a few seconds.
"Fortunately the kid has a hard head! Alright Jim, go."
"Captain ? "
"Let me know how our trouble magnet is, you understand?!"
After about an hour, a worn out and quiet Sandburg was sitting in the truck that Jim was steering toward the loft.
"Hey Chief, how are you going?"
"Im ok Jim, Im fine."
"Headache?" insisted Ellison, not convinced of his partners affirmation.
"A bit. "
The Sentinel took advantage of a red traffic light to look more closely at the student. Other than the plaster on the anthropologists forehead and some other bruises scattered here and there, there wasnt any other physical consequence from his accident suffered a few hours ago. An unpleasant and unexpected incident that had involved a teacher and his Guide, precisely. Blair had offered to help the young woman with her work and with shifting into new premises as she was in the final stages of her pregnancy. Getting off some steps, a sudden dizziness throw her off balance and without thinking of the outcome, Sandburg, instinctively, had generously tried to cushion the fall with his body. His goal, among other things, reached.
Apart from a fright, both had gotten away with comparatively very little damage. A mild concussion and some contusions for Blair and a sprained wrist for Janet. She, however, had been kept in hospital and submitted for foetal monitoring, as a precaution.
Jim pinned his friends melancholy on his great concern for Janet, more than his physical state.
Probably a hot shower, a bit of rest and the assurance that his friend and the baby in her womb were in good health, were the only things of which Blair needed at the moment.
Feeling as though he was being watched, Sandburg turned to find himself actually under Ellisons careful glance.
"Hey Jim, the traffic lights."
"The traffic lights are green, all clear, go ahead."
Parked in his usual place, the detective was about to get out of the truck when a hand on his arm halted his movements.
"Are you allright, buddy?"
"Yes Jim, Im ok, really, just tired, you know..."
"In a little while, you can rest in your bed, though you know the procedure "
"Of course, " answered the student with resignation. "As soon as I go to sleep, or perhaps while Im dreaming to be in sweet company, my friend, Ellison the pest will arrive punctually to crash the party.
"Oh my God, Jim, Im so sorry, I didnt meant it the way it sounded. Please, Im sorry, youll think that Im a real ungrateful, given that to wake me up every hour, you have to have practically a sleepless night, you have to have a sleepless night when instead you could be sleeping and .
"Chief, halt! Stop it or youll end up out of breath. I understand perfectly that its exhausting to be woken up all the time so you have to try to have more consideration for that first-class brain of yours, in the future." The smile which he gave the young man, confirmed if it was still necessary, that Blair was worth any sacrifice to safeguard his well-being, and a sleepless night was a really minimal price in comparison with the dedication and unconditional love that Jim had received since their first meeting.
The long night passed in an alternation of short naps and the brief but accurate neurological checks that Ellison subjected every hour his bored but grateful Guide to.
In mid-morning, however, something changed.
"Hey Blair, wake up, Oh come on, buddy, open those baby blue for me. "
"No more, Jim, please I had enough. I cant stand it any more. Before you told me that that would be the last time. I want sleep, understand? And with those words Blair buried himself further under the blanket.
"Blair, Im sorry but I cannot allow you. On the contrary, you must get up. Look, breakfast is ready and I left you plenty of hot water."
"Please, Jim, Im really exhausted, I have a headache. Actually, I have aches everywhere, for pitys sake, let me sleep a little longer, I want just to sleep. 'night."
"Chief, Im still sorry but I can't let you do that. You and me must go to meet someone."
"Well, then go by yourself or take Simon with you, I havent the least intention to move for any reason in the world." Blair answered in a petulant tone, by now irritated by the detectives insistence.
"Blair, listen to me, " tried Ellison with a patient tone. "I know that at the moment you not feeling on top the world, but I think that youll be happy to know the little one that you saved earlier has been born.
Two dull blue eyes peeped from under the fluffy cover.
"What are you talking about, Jim?"
"Well, Im happy to have finally captured your attention. All right, lets start again. About half hour ago, Eric Maxwell phoned from the neonatology ward of the Cascade General because he wanted that you to be the first to know that at 8.37am of this morning has come to light little Nicholas Blair Maxwell."
"You mean that "
"That's right, Chief. During the night your friend Janet started labour and since she and the baby were in good condition, the doctor decided to let the birth proceed and now it's all over. "
"Are you sure that the baby is allright? I mean, Janet was only eight and a half months, so that means he is premature?" asked Blair practically bouncing on the bed.
"About 7 pounds lively and healthy!"
"Oh Jim, its wonderful. "
"It really is, thanks to you"
"What have I got to do with it? It's Janet and the doctors who should get the merit. "
"Yeah, but if you hadnt decided to improvise, in your, shall I say, very good interpretation of a cushion, Janet would have run the serious risk to lose her child.
"Are you serious? If Janet had fallen to the ground rather than on me she would have really risked..." Blair couldn't finish the sentence.
"Don't go there, Chief. Alls well that ends well. Janet, little Nicholas Blair and you are safe and sound, and this thats all that's important. Now, how about we eat, take a shower, then go and meet this little child?
"I run, on the contrary I flyyyy "
In the rush to jump out of the bed, forgetting his various aches, Blair nearly fell again and instinctively he clutched at the hands readily coming into his aid. That sign of support turned into a hug when Sandburg, worn by emotion rested his forehead on the Sentinels chest, then Jim, automatically, wrapped his arms tightly around his Guide, offering that comfort that the student seemed to need.
Many things had happened in a few hours.
A small, banal incident had occurred with very serious potential consequences to the three people involved but thanks to God or to destiny, or whatever, everything had turned out well, and this morning a new life had into the world, a young woman was experiencing the joy of motherhood, and his little brother, who, through his kindness had helped in this miracle, was there with him, safe and whole.
And for Jim, it was his personal miracle.
March 20, 2002