Not exactly a missing scene.
So.... major spoilers for Cypher and BMB.

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Friends
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It had been nearly a year since Lash, so why now?

Blair closed his eyes and leaned against the wall of the bathroom stall. Propped precariously on the closed toilet, he drew his legs up and hugged his knees, trying to take slow, deep breaths even as his scrunched position made it hard to expand his chest.

But he remained curled in that near-fetal position, trying to make himself small. Very small. Inconspicuous.

Because being conspicuous could be a very bad thing. It was what made Lash notice him. Choose him.

He shivered and clenched his eyes tighter. It had happened so suddenly. He just hadn't expected it, and that's probably why it hit him so hard. The class he TA'ed for was starting, the students filing in. One, in particular, caught his eye. A woman. She looked too old to be a traditional undergrad, but Rainier sported several non-traditional aged students. But he knew from the first glance that she wasn't one of his students -- dark hair, dark eyes. Hers was a face he would never forget.

Susan Frasier.

She looked like an angel, tinged with a faint, yellow light. He gasped, his chest tight. It felt like all the air had been suddenly sucked out of the room. He blinked, not trusting his eyes.

And she was gone, or, rather, he realized it had never been Susan Frasier to begin with. Just someone else -- Deborah Carol, a second-year English major -- one of his regular students. She also had brown hair and brown eyes, but that's where the resemblance to Susan Frasier ended.

It took him nearly ten minutes, but he finally attained a measure of calm. Slowly, he uncurled and pushed himself onto unsteady legs. Like an idiot, he'd left the class abruptly, asking Todd to take over and start the film. Now, he had to get back to class and hoped no one realized just how badly he was shaking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

By evening, Blair had almost put the incident behind him. He stood in the kitchen stirring a pot of sauce. It wasn't until the doorknob jiggled that his terror rose again, his heart leaping into his throat. He spun around, the plastic, sauce-covered spoon clattering to the floor.

The door swung inward and Jim walked in, tossing his keys into the basket. He turned, slipping out of his coat, and froze halfway through the act when his eyes locked with Blair's.

"Sandburg?"

Blair's knees weakened, and he faltered, grabbing the edge of the sink for support. Jim. It's just, Jim. God, I'm such a moron.

The detective finished removing his jacket and hung it on the hook, then moved quickly into the kitchen. "What's wrong, buddy?" His eyes darted quickly to the discarded spoon on the floor, then back to Sandburg.

Blair tried to find his voice, but his throat was tight. He felt the heat of Jim's hand on his back along with a slight pressure that urged him forward. The next thing he knew, he was seated at the table, with Jim in the chair next to him.

"What's wrong, Chief?"

Blair shivered, feeling a trickle of wetness creep down his neck. Why was it so cold? And if it was cold, why was he sweating? He forced himself to take a deep breath, but his chest hurt from the effort. After a shuddered exhale, he swallowed and forced himself to meet his friend's eyes. "I... uh..." He wasn't quite sure how or where to begin. He really didn't want to go over what had happened at the university, but it wasn't like he could weasel his way out of this now. He took another deep breath, then continued. "It's kind of stupid, really. I... I was in class today and as the students were filing in, I thought... Well, uh, I thought I saw Susan Frasier."

Blair waited for Jim's reaction, but the older man's face remained impassive. Only the slight twitch of his eyebrow gave any indication that he'd heard Blair.

Finally, after several excruciatingly long minutes, Jim placed his elbows on the table and leaned forward. "Go on."

Blair finally looked away, unable to meet the intensity of Jim's gaze any longer. "Well, it wasn't her, of course. I mean, it was just one of my students who has dark hair and dark eyes. It really got to me, that's all. I guess I just didn't realize how much it shook me up until I heard the doorknob jiggle. Then it all came back to me. It was like a flashback, or something. I was back in that night and Lash was at the front door." His voice was trembling now, and he felt his cheeks grow hot.

God! He'd thought he was over this. Another shiver jolted him, and he felt his heart pounding in his chest, flinging itself against his breastbone like an angry bull seeking escape. His body rocked with each beat, and he was sure Jim was well aware of just how fast his heart was beating.

Jim rose silently from his chair and placed a gentle arm on Blair's shoulder, then moved to the sink to pick up the spoon from the floor. He tossed it into the sink, grabbed a dishrag and wiped the mess off the floor, and then walked back to the table and returned to his chair.

Blair swallowed and decided to go forward with the last bit of information. "There's something else..."

Jim raised his eyebrows, but waited for Blair to continue.

"I, uh... Well, when I thought I saw Susan, it looked like she had this golden light around her."

Jim stiffened visibly, and Blair sank lower in his chair, his gaze falling to the table as he continued. "Then I blinked and it wasn't Susan, anymore... and there was no more yellow light."

After a brief silence, Jim stood. "How are you feeling now?"

"Uh... just a little shaky." He sighed, feeling a bit light-headed. When he spoke, his voice was a whisper. "Susan Frasier... Billy Bright... Adam Walker... Blair Sandburg... Lash's friends. I'm the only one still here, and I didn't even know them. But we all knew Lash."

He heard the increase in Jim's breathing and looked up at his friend. "You okay?"

Nodding, Jim wrapped a hand around Blair's arm and urged him from the chair. "We'll go see the doctor in the morning. Right now, you're freezing. Let's get you over to the couch."

Freezing? Blair shivered again - but whether from cold or the 'suggestion,' he didn't know. He allowed himself to be steered to the couch, then warm hands on his shoulders pushed him down. Something heavy was draped over his shoulders, then wrapped around him. He looked down to see the brightly-colored afghan covering him.

"I'll turn up the heat." Jim shuffled over to the thermostat and slid the dial to the right, then moved back into the living room. A soft woosh indicated the hot air moving through the vents. Blair leaned back into the warmth of the cushions.

He felt tired all of a sudden, his eyelids heavy. Man, "what's wrong with me?" His heart was still beating rapidly, but no longer pounding. Instead, it felt sort of feeble, as though it had lost its energy.

"Here lay back." Jim placed his hands on Blair's chest and shoulder and guided him onto his back, then propped his feet up on the arm of the couch and placed a pillow beneath his knees. "You're just a bit shocky, that's all. I'll keep the heat up for a few minutes, then turn it off. I don't want you to overheat."

"Thanks." Man, he was really tired. It felt like there were bricks on his eyelids, and they began to drift closed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He awoke sometime later to a dim loft and the thick odor of... what? He inhaled a deep breath. Chicken? Soup? Yawning, he grabbed the back of the couch and pulled himself up, spying Jim in the kitchen near the stove.

The Sentinel turned and looked at him, cocking his head slightly. "How are you feeling, Chief?"

"Uh... fine." He glanced at the clock on the microwave. 8:20 p.m. He was pretty sure it had been around six when Jim got home.

Jim turned off the burner. "I called the doctor while you were sleeping. You've got an appointment for 9 a.m. tomorrow, but he didn't sound too concerned. It's only been a few weeks since that Golden crap got out of your system. There might still be some traces or lingering effects, he said."

"Oh." He wasn't quite sure what to say. Maybe his 'flashback' really wasn't anything to be concerned about... but maybe it was. That scared him - the not knowing. Better to just know one way or the other so he could have an idea of what to expect... so he could plan for whatever awaited him.

He wiggled out of the afghan and rose to his feet. He no longer felt tired or cold, so that was an improvement, at least.

Jim grabbed a bowl from the cupboard and poured the soup into it, then set it on the kitchen table and gestured to Blair. "Sit, Junior. You missed dinner, and the doctor said once you're awake and looking okay, you could eat something."

He walked over to Blair and placed a palm on his forehead. "Your skin's not cold and clammy anymore, and your pulse is back to normal, so I'd say you're okay."

Blair managed a weak smile and moved away from Jim's touch to the table. "Thank you, Doctor Ellison." He sat down at the chair, and Jim went to the strainer to retrieve a spoon, setting it down next to him.

"You want anything to drink?"

Blair nodded. "Yeah, I'm kinda thirsty. Water would be fine. Thanks."

"I'm a doctor and a waiter, it looks like." He smiled and headed to the refrigerator to fulfill Blair's request.

"And a good friend." Blair ducked his head shyly and avoided looking back at Jim. "Thanks."

A brief pause. "Don't mention it, Chief."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair hopped off the exam table. "So you really think I don't need to worry?"

Doctor Crawford shook his head. "Not at the moment. Let's give it some time. If you have any more 'episodes,' let me know. Right now, I think you just need to give your system a bit longer to fully recover."

Blair nodded, but there was still something that kept bothering him. "Why would I see Susan Frasier, though?"

Because she's part of that trauma you went through, and the Golden was also a trauma. Flashbacks are often triggered by traumas, and it's not surprising that you'd flashback to a prior stressful experience."

"But I was just teaching. Why did it happen then?"

The doctor sighed. "Because it's all still fresh. Maybe something tugged at your subconscious. The dark hair and dark eyes of your student. Or a sound. Or a smell -- like perfume -- or something that you weren't really aware of but that reminded you of that time."

"Okay." Blair nodded. The explanation made sense, and for now he wanted to believe it. "Thank you, Doctor. I'll let you know if anything else happens."

"I hope I don't hear from you."

"Me too."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim drove him from the hospital to the university, insisting that it would be better for Blair not to drive until he'd seen the doctor. The ride, however, was made in relative silence... until Jim pulled the truck in front of Hargrove Hall.

"You okay?"

Blair looked over at his friend and smiled. "Yeah." He'd already given Jim a brief report of what the doctor had told him, but there wasn't much more to say. "Thanks for last night... for... well, just thanks."

Jim smiled, his eyes soft. "You're welcome, Chief. Now get to class before you're late."

Blair mocked a salute and opened the door. "Yes, sir. See you at two."

"See you."

Blair grabbed his backpack from the seat and stepped to the pavement.

"Oh, Blair?"

He looked back at Jim. "Yeah?"

"Thanks."

Blair knotted his eyebrows. "What for?"

"For sticking with me after Lash... and after the Golden. You're tougher than you look, Junior."

Blair blinked, a surprised smile touching his lips. That was actually a genuine compliment. From Jim. "You're welcome." He closed the door and turned away from the truck, grinning as he made his way to class.

~~~~~~ The end ~~~~~~~


It ain't much, I know, but now I have *got* to study... or organize my sock drawer, or something :-) Now, you *could* send feedback, but why would you.... oh, just b/c it *might* make me write some more? *GRIN* That's not really a reason, is it? (More like a reason not to, right?!) LOL!