Okay, I have the task, as promised for those who provided lovely confirmation for my OT question, of combining a Jim owie (hi, Mary Ellen!) with a sleepy Blair to satisfy two very helpful people. <g> I think we can probably all guess who wanted the sleepy Blair <g> (hi, Jane!)

And, you know, I've had to flex some seldom-used creative muscles to come up with a Jim owie. :-) I think that deserves at least a couple of gold stars. Real gold, of course <wink>

CYPHER Missing Scene

A Hard Day

 

 

The glass shattered around him, and Jim felt himself going into free-fall. He landed hard, pain shot through his side and shoulder. The gun clattered out of his hand. Blackness teased the edges of his vision, and he was vaguely aware of Lash moving away.

Shaking off the pain, Jim pulled a spare gun from his back holster and moved into pursuit. He extended his hearing, listening, and heard Lash's heavy breathing. His eyes caught a reflection of the killer in the glass, but before he could make his move, Lash was on top of him, swinging. The gun sailed out of Jim's hand, and Lash took off as Jim lunged for his weapon. He raised it as Lash came toward him, brandishing a piece of wood like a bat.

Jim fired, emptying five bullets into the man. He stood there a moment, breathing heavily, the pain shooting hot through his back, side, and shoulder. Wincing, he turned, holding his gun at his side, and looked up.

Blair. He bolted into a run but staggered after three steps. A new pain shot through his ankle, and he cursed as the sudden limp slowed him down. He must have twisted the ankle when he fell on that bad step.

He hurried as fast as he could to Lash's lair. Quiet greeted him, and he saw Blair hanging limply in the chair, chains dangling from his wrist and ankles.

Jim took a breath, gasping as pain sliced through his side. Damn. He must have cracked a rib.

Limping forward, Jim moved closer to Blair. Carefully, he reached out and felt along the kid's neck. The pulse was slow but steady. How much of the drug had Sandburg ingested?

"Hey." Jim gently tapped Blair's cheek. "Come on, Chief. Wake up for me."

A low groan answered him, and Blair's eyes fluttered open, fluctuating up and down lazily as his eyes moved sluggishly around the room.

"Hey." Jim slid his gun back into its holster and leaned over Blair, trying to capture the young's man's gaze. "Lash's dead. Are you okay?"

"J-Jim?" Blair slurred the name. His eyelids fell closed. "Wha.... Jim."

"It's okay." Jim's gaze dropped to the chains. He had to get those off of the kid. "Hang on a second."

As he moved to the work table, his sensitive ears picked up the sound of Simon and the SWAT team moving in. He'd tossed his ear piece earlier, so he had no way of communicating verbally with the men.

He'd simply have to wait for their arrival. God knows, they had to have heard the shots. They'd be coming in on high alert, so he'd have to be careful.

Spotting a set of keys on the work table, Jim snatched them up and returned to Blair. Kneeling, he stifled a curse at the pain the motion caused and began trying key after key in the chain lock. On the third one, the lock clicked and opened, and Jim dropped the keys and began extricating Blair from the restraints.

Another low, muttered groan escaped Blair, and his head bobbed up as his eyelids struggled open again.

"Backup's on the way, Chief." Jim yanked the chains off Blair and let them slide to the floor. He rose to his feet and once again leaned over the young man. "You with me?"

"Jim?" Blair's head lulled to the side, and his body started to follow.

"Easy." Jim reached out and held the young man. The ribs in his shoulder and side tugged painfully, but he ignored the discomfort. "I can hear the SWAT guys now. They're almost here."

"Jim." Blair tilted his head and squinted up at Jim. He raised a hand and grabbed Jim's arm, his grip weak. "Lash?"

"Dead." Jim cupped Blair's cheek in his hand, and Blair leaned into the touch, his eyes closing.

"Ellison!"

Jim looked over his shoulder to see Simon at the top of the stairs, his eyes darting around the room as the gun in his hands slowly lowered.

"It's all clear, sir." Jim turned back to Blair. "Lash is dead. Watch out for the step near the bottom."

"How's the kid?" Seconds later, Simon stood next to Jim, and SWAT guys filled the room.

"He's fading in and out. Are the EMT's here?"

"On their way."

"S-Simon?" Blair's eyes cracked open.

The captain holstered his weapon. "How're you doing?"

Blair's brow furrowed. "Tired. Tried...Couldn't breathe."

Jim clenched his jaw and shot a look at Simon. "Lash forced some of that drug down Sandburg's throat."

"Don't...Don't want... bath," Blair mumbled, leaning forward, his eyes closing again. "Please...."

"Easy, Chief." Jim carefully guided Blair against the chair, easing his head back. "Everything's all right now."

"What about you?" Simon turned to Jim. "You don't look so good."

"I took a fall, but I'm okay."

"Well, the EMT's will look you over when they get here."

"Yeah, sure." Jim kept his hearing tuned to Blair, listening to the sluggish, labored breathing and slow heart beat. "Where are those para--" His ears started ringing, and he shook his head.

The room spun, and he felt himself falling...again. The floor slammed into him, knocking the breath from his lungs, and pain shot through his side and shoulder.

"Jim!"

Simon's face appeared above, his brow wrinkled with worry.

"Sir, I...." His tongue felt heavy in his mouth, and his eyelids seemed to be drifting closed of their own volition.

"Jim, what's wrong?"

He tried to answer, but darkness claimed him.

~~~~~~~~~~~

"Shit." Simon knelt next to his detective. "Where the hell are the medics?!"

"Here!"

Simon looked at the top of the stairs to see three young men and a woman dressed in blue jumpsuits descending the stairs.

"What do we have here?" The woman asked, stopping in front of Simon.

"The kid's been drugged with Chloral Hydrate. He might be injured. I don't know." Simon moved away from Jim to give the paramedics room.

"Detective Ellison here passed out. I'm not sure what's wrong, but he had a confrontation with a madman, so I'm guessing he's got injuries. He told me he took a fall."

"When did he pass out?" the woman asked, kneeling next to Jim as two of her companions moved to Blair.

"A few seconds ago."

"Was he coherent prior to losing consciousness?"

"Yes, completely."

"J-Jim." Blair's slurred voice intruded into the conversation.

Simon looked up to see Blair struggling weakly with the two paramedics, his glazed eyes hovering on Jim's limp form.

"Just take it easy, Sandburg." Simon rose to his feet and moved to the young man, pushing him gently back into the chair. "Jim's going to be fine."

"No." Blair's head dropped forward. Stray strands of hair hung out of his ponytail, hiding his face. A yellow scarf dangled around his neck. "Jim...hurt. Fell."

"Fell?" One of the male EMT's asked.

Blair's head bobbed chaotically in response. "Gunshots."

Simon patted Blair's arm carefully. "Jim's not shot, Sandburg. Don't worry. There's no blood, and he's wearing a vest."

"S-Sorry." Blair swallowed, his eyes closing.

"You've got nothing to be sorry for, Sandburg."

"Loft trashed." His voice faded. "Tell Jim...Sorry."

Simon sighed, a tiny smile lifting his lips. "Don't you worry about that, kid."

The tension drained from Blair's body, and his head fell back against the chair.

"He's out," the male EMT announced, and Simon shot him an annoyed look.

"Thanks for the tip." With a sigh, Simon moved away from the chair to give the men space.

His gaze drifted around the room, and his gut clenched as he took in the various trophies Lash had collected from his victims.

If Lash had succeeded, what would he have put on display to commemorate Sandburg?

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

A soft, steady beeping prodded him toward consciousness. The pungent odor of antiseptic, bleach, and tobacco assaulted his nostrils, giving him an instant headache. The beeping became vicious, pounding against his skull like a tambourine.

"Jim?"

He opened his eyes and turned his head toward the voice, blinking at the blurry, dark figure. After a moment, his vision cleared, and he recognized Simon's concerned face.

"Cap'n?" Jim swallowed. He really needed some water.

"It's about time you woke up."

Jim's brow furrowed. What had happened. Where...? "Blair!" He bolted upward, but pain shot through his head and side, and hands pushed him back down.

"Easy, Jim." Simon stood over him. "Sandburg's fine. See for yourself." He jerked his chin to the other side of Jim's bed.

Jim turned his head to see Blair lying in a neighboring bed, snoring softly.

"Doc said he has to sleep it off. They're watching him to make sure there are no complications. Apparently, some times the drug can affect the heart. So far, though, everything looks good, they say."

"He's okay?"

"Yes, Jim. He's okay."

"What about...?" Jim swallowed and closed his eyes, picturing the devastation to the loft. "He put up quite a fight. Any broken bones?"

"Nope. He did have a minor head wound, but they can't really tell if he had or has a concussion because the drug's keeping him pretty out of it."

"How long have we been here?"

Simon dropped into the empty chair next to the bed. "About five hours. Turns out, you cracked a rib, sprained your ankle, and pulled a muscle in your shoulder. You also gave yourself a pretty good knot on the head."

Jim nodded and closed his eyes. "I get work comp for this, right?" A smile tugged at his lips.

"Oh, I think you've pretty much busted the city's bank when it comes to work-related injuries."

A groan from Blair's bed pulled Jim's attention back to the young man.

"Chief?" Jim carefully lifted his head. "You waking up, buddy?"

"J-Jim?" Blair opened his eyes and turned his head toward Jim. His brow furrowed, and his eyes looked glassy. After a second, the heart monitor spiked, and he bolted into a sitting position.

"Woa!" Simon shot to his feet and moved around Jim's bed, catching Blair just as he began to topple toward the bed rail. "Easy, kid. It's all right."

Blair pulled away from Simon, squinting as his eyes darted around the room. "L-Lash..."

"Dead, Chief." Jim eased himself up, eyeing the rail keeping him in the bed. "Simon, take this rail down for me."

"Just stay where you are, Detective."

"I thought that stuff was supposed to be short acting."

"Doc said he got an overdose, and he thinks if Sandburg sustained a concussion, the cumulative effects of the two kept him out."

"Get this rail down for me, sir."

Simon sighed and popped Jim's bed rail down. "Will you take it easy, please?"

Jim swung his legs over the side of the mattress. He paused a moment, taking a breath, and kept an eye on Blair. The young man had his legs pulled up and his head forward. He was trembling, rubbing the back of his neck, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings.

"Blair." Jim eased off the bed. His bare feet touched the cold tile, and a shiver ran through him, but he walked the few feet to Blair's bed and slid on to the mattress. He placed a hand on Sandburg's shoulder and pulled him forward. "It's okay, Chief. He's gone."

Blair fell against Jim's chest, shaking. "Sorry."

"It's okay. This is a natural reaction. Don't worry about it. You did good back there."

"You...." Blair raised his head to look at Jim, his eyes wet and puffy. "You okay?"

Jim smiled and nodded. "Yeah, just a bit banged up."

"You saved my life."

Jim didn't know quite how to respond to that, so he simply shrugged and gave Blair's shoulder another pat.

Blair took a breath and pulled back, wiping a hand across his eyes. "Thank you." He shook his head. "How did you find me?"

"Duck waste." Simon answered, a hint of disbelief in his voice. "He smelled duck waste in the bath water we got from Susan Fraiser's bathroom, so we started searching for duck ponds."

"It doesn't really matter now." Jim gently tapped Blair's cheek.

"You're okay, and Lash is out of the picture. That's all that matters."

Blair nodded slowly, his head dropping forward to rest on his knees. After a moment, his eyes closed, and Jim guided him carefully back to the bed.

"He'll be okay, Jim." Simon grabbed Jim's arm. "Now, get your ass back to bed."

With a tiny smile, Jim nodded wearily and allowed Simon to steer him back to the mattress. He cast a final look at Blair and took a deep breath.

It had been way too close, but the kid was all right. He'd bounce back. Jim vowed to make sure of that.

~~~~~~~~~~

The End.

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