Siege Missing Scene
"This isn't, like, a typical day for you, is it?"
Jim laughed, shaking his head as he walked off.
Blair yelled after him, his voice tinged with hysteria. "Well, is it?"
Jim stopped and cocked his head, hearing something beneath Blair's voice that caused him to turn around. Sandburg's breathing sounded strained, and his heartbeat remained alarmingly high. At first, Jim had attributed Blair's accelerated vitals to the adrenaline rush, but now that he listened closer, he wasn't so sure.
He studied Blair's face, noting the pale complexion and thin sheen of perspiration on his forehead. Jim's eyes traveled down to the tear in Sandburg's jacket sleeve, and his sentinel eyes picked up the tiny beads of blood clinging to the edges of the fabric. Then his gaze traveled to Blair's hands, and he noticed the redness for the first time. Looking closer, he saw the nearly invisible flakes of glass embedded in the cuts on the kid's palm.
Blair just looked at him with wide eyes and repeated his question, sounding more breathless than he had a moment ago. "So? Come on, is it?"
"Chief, you okay? You look a little pale."
"Huh? Fine, man." He chuckled nervously and took a few steps forward. "Never better...." He stopped suddenly, his right arm sliding close to his ribs. "Oh man...." His face lost its remaining color and his eyes rolled back as his knees folded.
Jim lunged forward and caught him, easing his descent. "Sandburg?"
He lowered Blair's head gently to the floor and looked over his shoulder toward the staircase. Thankfully, a single uniformed officer remained, heading toward the entrance.
"Hey! Get some EMT's up here!"
The uniform turned around, surprise flickering over his face as his eyes dropped to the fallen young man. "Aye, sir!" He spun around and dashed into the staircase.
Jim turned back to Blair, scanning the kid's vitals with his senses. Sandburg's heartbeat sounded weak and rapid and his breathing shallow.
"Damn." His medic training took over and he sat on the floor, pulling Sandburg's legs over his own to keep them elevated. He wished he had a jacket or something warm and heavy to drape over the young man to protect him from the cold breeze.
He heard the stairwell door open, and footsteps hurried toward him. He glanced over his shoulder to see Simon approaching, the older man's face softened with concern.
The captain crouched next to him. "What happened? How is he?"
Jim shook his head. "I'm not sure. Shock, I think." He
pointed to Blair's sleeve. "He got nicked. His palms are also cut up, but not too
badly. He may have bruised some of his ribs, as well." He leaned over, somewhat
restricted by Blair's legs, and carefully lifted the young
man's layers of shirts, revealing a collection of shady, developing bruises along his right side. "Yep. Looks like he got banged up. I think after the adrenaline began to fade, it all caught up with him."
"Damn." Simon rose to his feet. "You think the kid's gonna want to hang around after this? First day here and he almost gets killed."
Jim had to smile at that. "Yeah, he wanted to know if this was a typical day for me."
Simon's smile faded, and he glanced back toward the stairwell. "Thank God it's not."
Jim nodded. "Yeah, but you know something?'
The captain looked back at him. "I'd like to think as captain I know a few things." He managed a smile. "Or did you have something specific in mind?"
Jim grinned, jerking his chin toward the silent helicopter. "He kept his cool up there." A chuckle escaped him. "He managed to *persuade* the pilot to lower the chopper. I think he used a flare gun, but he convinced the guy he'd flown Apaches in Desert Storm."
Simon laughed and shook his head. "Him? Military?" He looked down at the unconscious, long-haired grad student. "I don't think so."
Jim cocked an amused eyebrow. "Yeah, well he had the pilot convinced."
A weak groan pulled his attention downward, and Jim gently patted Blair's knee. "Hey, Chief, first day and you're already sleeping on the job. You wanna open your eyes now?"
Blair groaned again, his eyelids fluttering open to reveal dazed blue eyes that drifted lazily toward Jim. "Huh? What happ'ned?"
Blair's eyes widened. "I did?" Pink colored his cheeks. "No, I didn't, man." His brow furrowed. "Did I?"
Jim and Simon chuckled just as the stairwell door opened to reveal two paramedics carrying a stretcher between them.
Sandburg lifted his head to peer at the approaching EMTs. With another groan, he laid his head back down and closed his eyes. "Great. Just great."
Jim gave Blair's knee another pat. "Don't worry about it, Darwin. You had a rough day."
Blair nodded and opened his eyes, peering at the immobile chopper. "Tell me about it."
The paramedics crouched next to the group, setting their toolbox on the floor. One grabbed a stethoscope and listened to Blair's heartbeat while the other started asking questions.
"What seems to be the problem here?"
Simon stepped back. "I'm going to head back to Daryl. Let me know how he is."
Jim nodded. "Yes, sir."
Blair grimaced. "The problem is a bunch of psychos took over the building and somehow I ended up falling from a window that was, like, 20 stories high *and* getting taken hostage in a helicopter." He looked back at Jim and managed a shaky smile. "Heights are *so* not my thing, man."
Jim cocked his head. "This building doesn't have twenty stories, Sandburg."
Blair closed his eyes again and let the paramedics check him over. "Yeah, well, it was high enough, man. Definitely high enough."
Jim's chest tightened uncomfortably. He didn't know exactly what had happened to Blair while the young man was trapped in the building, but he hadn't even suspected a fall from a window. Although he didn't know Sandburg all that well, the thought of this over exuberant, immature grad student dying sent his heart into his throat. He was just a kid, for chrissakes. A very foolish kid who seemed to thrust himself into the heart of danger. A kid with no damn sense whatsoever. Jim had only known Sandburg a few days and already the young man had thrown himself beneath a moving garbage truck to save him. Then there was the whole Switchman deal. What on Earth had possessed Sandburg to follow Veronica on to that bus?
And then, somehow, this same scrappy grad student had managed to wind up in the middle of a terrorist takeover *and* had also managed to do some damage of his own.
The paramedics completed their examination and began packing up their equipment. "Everything checks out fine, but we're gonna run you in just to be safe," the younger of the two remarked. "Your ribs look pretty banged up. but I don't think anything's broken. They'll also take care of the cuts on your hand. Looks like you might have some glass embedded there."
Blair opened his eyes, looking much too tired to put up a fight. "Okay, I guess, but I don't need to ride in the ambulance, right?" He moved to a sitting position and Jim shifted from beneath Blair's legs. "I mean, I know there are other injured down there way more needy than I am." He glanced at Jim. "I, uh, don't supposed I can bum a ride to the hospital?"
Jim smiled. "No problem, Sandburg. But you're sure you don't want the ambulance?'
Blair nodded. "Yeah, no point man. I'm fine. Just a bit wobbly is all. No sweat."
"Uh-huh." Jim helped Sandburg to his feet, recognizing the bravado as false. Blair looked five time worse than he had just before he'd collapsed. His face was still pale and his eyes were bloodshot and slightly glazed. "Come on, Conan, let's get you checked out."
"Thanks, Ellison. Sorry to be a pain." Blair leaned heavily on him, and Jim wondered if the kid realized just how close he was to taking another dive.
"It's not a problem, Sandburg." He kept a firm hold on Blair's uninjured arm, ready to catch him should his legs give out.
"You know, man...."
"What?" Jim guided his new 'partner' into the staircase.
Blair grinned up at him. "You're not as much of a tight ass as I first thought."
Jim raised his eyebrows, a smile playing at his lips. "You're not half bad yourself, kid."
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