Inspired by a true story, with special thanks to Sheffield for her hospitality and generosity.
Most Household Accidents Occur
After over 24 hours of traveling, thanks to mechanical difficulties and a postponed flight, Blair was happy to finally be in England. He'd seen a lot of airports in his time, but Gatwick was well . special. It was a miracle he and Jim had gotten out alive. At one point, he was convinced the extra dose of X-Ray radiation from being thousands of miles in the air had transformed him invisible, because people didn't seem to even realize he was THERE as they rushed their baggage carts through the space he occupied. Everyone else seemed to know exactly where they were going or needed to be, making the confused meandering Jim and he had done as they attempted to navigate their way outright dangerous.
Now, he was just looking forward to a shower - a nice long, hot shower. Pulling the curtain aside, he eyed the tall tub. The edge came up to his hip. At first he thought it must be marvelously deep, but as he stepped in, he realized the bottom was raised.
Wasting no time, he started the shower, taking a few extra minutes to figure out the foreign jumble of handles. Within moments, soothing hot water was cascading over him. He took time washing and conditioning his hair, in no hurry to leave the steaming bliss, and his thought turned to the itinerary Jim had planned. Three days at the military base reminiscing with Jim's old army buddy, Captain Ronald Brown. Then off to Stonhenge, which Jim referenced as a "bunch of old stones." Stonehenge had been all Blair's idea. He'd told Jim he wasn't going all the way to England without visiting Stonehenge. It was something he'd wanted to see almost all his life, even if it was just a "bunch of old stones." Blair suspected, though, that Jim was almost as interested in seeing the ancient site as was he and merely feigned disinterest as leverage to spend a full day of their meager two-week vacation touring the wonders of the military base upon which they had permission to stay - escorted of course -- for 72 hours.
Realizing he was cleaner than any man had a need to be and was in danger of using up all the hot water, Blair reluctantly ended his shower. He turned off the water and yanked the shower curtain aside, his mind still on Stonehenge, and stepped over the rim of the tub. He placed his foot down on the floor, where habit told him it SHOULD be, and remembered as he felt himself falling forward that the floor was actually several inches lower than the bottom of the top.
He hit hard. The entire room seemed to shake. He lay in mild shock, on his side, for several seconds, and then slowly his brain began to catalogue what his body was telling it, and the thing it was saying loudest was that his knee hurt.
He rose to a sitting position slowly as the sound of footsteps pummeled up the stairs of the small, two-story base apartment.
"Blair," Jim's urgent voice filtered through the thin door, "are you okay? Did you fall?"
Blair felt his cheeks growing hot. `Just great. Not even a day in England and I've already injured myself.' There was NO WAY he was letting Jim, or anyone else for that matter, in to see him lying naked on the floor.
Grabbing a towel, he replied, "Yes, I fell, and yes, I'm fine."
"Let me in."
"No." He was firm about that. "I'm fine." He eyed his knee. It was already red and puffy, with little beads of dark red around his knee cap. Not quite blood, but definite bruising.
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, just open the door."
"Uh, not going to happen. I'm fine Jim."
"Is he okay?" Blair heard Ron ask.
"He says he's fine," Jim answered.
"I'm fine!" Blair affirmed. "I'll be out in a minute."
"Okay, Chief. Sixty seconds. Clocks ticking."
Blair rolled his eyes. "Bite me, Jim."
He heard chuckling, then, "Yeah, he's fine all right."
Finally, he heard footsteps descending the stairs, and he released a sigh, happy to finally has some modicum of privacy, though he knew Jim could still be keeping tabs on him with those sentinel ears of his.
Carefully, he pushed himself upright, keeping pressure off his injured knee until he was stable and had a hand on the wall. Then, carefully, he put some of his weight on his injured leg. The knee hurt like hell, but it didn't seem in danger of buckling. He took an experimental step, and sent a silent prayer of thanks to whoever was listening that he was, at least, able to walk.
He grabbed a towel and dried himself off, and it was then that he noticed the toilet seat. It sat askew on the bowl, and he winced. Damn. He'd probably hit that on his way down and damaged it. He'd have to remember to buy their host (or, rather, the U.S. Military) a new one.
It took him longer to get dressed than it otherwise would have, and he was careful to keep as much pressure off his knee as possible. Finally done, he brushed the knots out of his hair and dried it the best he could, then put it back into a pony tail. He wasn't about to worry about gel or a hairdryer. The bathrooms didn't have outlets for anything other than a shaver, anyway, and he wasn't about to ask CAPTAIN Brown of the U.S. army where he could plug in his blow dryer. He'd never hear the end of it.
Opening the door, he startled momentarily when he saw Jim at the head of the stairs, leaning casually against the wall, a slight grin on his face.
Blair frowned. "I thought you went back downstairs."
"Ron did. I thought I'd stay up here and make sure you didn't take a header trying to make your way back down the stairs." Jim's gaze dropped to Blair's denim-covered knee. "How's the leg?"
"How'd you know I hurt my leg?"
"You're favoring it, Einstein."
Blair took a breath. "I banged up my knee a bit, but I'll live."
"There's a hospital on base. We can have it looked at."
Blair shook his head. "It's Sunday, which means non business hours if I try to call that pathetic insurance I have through the school. I don't even want to try to navigate the nightmare of reimbursement, and I don't even know if I'm eligible."
"Forget it. I'll charge it. You can pay it later."
"Jim, this trip is costing me more than I have. At a two-to-one exchange rate, there's no way I'm going to a hospital here."
"The military base uses U.S. currency and charges pretty decent prices since it's government. I'm sure we can get you seen. Consider it an early Christmas present."
Blair shook his head again and hobbled toward the older man. "No, I'm fine. I can walk on the knee. It's fine."
Eight hours later, Blair threw Jim a glare as he pushed his way out of the wheelchair, his left leg in a cast.
Jim stared straight ahead as he handed Blair the crutches.
"Great." Blair grabbed the crutches and hobbled toward Ron's SUV. "This is turning out to be a fantastic vacation!"
"You'll live." Jim held the door open and helped Blair into the back seat. "We can still do everything we planned.:" His lips twitched upward.
"What are you smirking about?" Blair snapped.
Jim grinned, "Oh, just something H said to me before we left."
Blair's eyes narrowed as he set his crutches on the floorboard and looked back up at Jim. "What?"
"He figured, given our track record, one of us would end up in a hospital during our vacation. I think you just won him twenty five bucks."
With another glare, Blair closed the door on Jim.
Chuckling, Jim slid into the front passenger seat as Ron started the car and steered them back to the apartment.
A week later, full of painkillers, Blair was happy to be in London. The city was a bustling, active place with more things to see than they could ever hope to visit in a week's time.
They were on their way to the Jack the Ripper walking tour, which was another one of Blair's ideas. They stood on a cement island between two rows of traffic, and Blair pushed the walk button. Jim turned his head to the right, then waved to Blair.
It took Blair's drug-clouded mind a second too long to realize what Jim intended, and he shouted as Jim stepped off the curb. The taxi cab came from the left, barely clipping Jim but sending him crashing to the blacktop.
"Jim!" Blair dropped his crutches and lowered himself on top of Jim. "Oh god oh god oh god." The miniscule car behind the taxi had come to a stop, slowing the rest of the traffic as cars carefully maneuvered around, and for that Blair was grateful.
The driver of the tiny vehicle rushed out. "Is he okay?"
Blair looked up at the man as Jim groaned and tried to sit up. "I don't know. Lay down, Jim!"
Jim shook his head. "I'm fine. Just got the wind knocked out of me Ouch." He looked down at his left leg. "Damn. Help me out of the street."
Taking all the care possible, Blair and the stranger helped Jim back onto the cement island. By this time, a crowd had formed, and Jim was gruffly pushing away Blair's inspecting hands. Sirens sounded in the distance.
"What were you thinking, Jim?"
"Obviously, I forgot where I was and looked right when I should have looked left." Jim shot Blair a glare. "So can it, Darwin."
"You took ten years off my life. You couldn't have waited a few seconds for the green?"
The ambulance arrived in what seemed like record time. Within minutes, Jim was on a stretcher and Blair was in the back of the vehicle trying to stay out of the way.
Seven hours later, Jim and Blair hobbled their way out of the hospital, each with a cast on their left leg and crutches under their arms. As they hailed a taxi, Blair couldn't help but chuckle.
"What's so funny, shortstuff?" Jim asked as he opened the cab door.
Blair cast an amused glance upward at Jim. "Does this mean H wins $50?"
"Well, at least I know why they have the words `Look Left' or `Look Right' on the streets for pedestrians. It's for stupid foreigners."
"You want a matching cast on your other leg, Chief?"
Blair grinned as he lowered himself into the waiting taxi. "This really is turning out to be one hell of a vacation. I think when we get back, we're going to need another vacation to recover from this one."
P.S. You can thank the above fic on my recent trip to England. Yes, there was a real fall from the tub (though no crutches resulted), and while there was a close call with a car due to my sis looking the RIGHT way for the states and the WRONG way for England as she tried to cross the street, thankfully, the cab missed her by a whopping two inches!