AUTHORS NOTES: This is a 'Blind Man's Bluff' missing scene with Jim helping Blair cope with the aftermath of his exposure to Golden. Originally posted to the SentinelAngst list 10/2002.
Jim Ellison was becoming concerned. Ever since he had been released from the hospital, Blair Sandburg had been holed up either in his bedroom or on the couch in the loft. He barely spoke to Jim and he seemed to only exist in his own little world. It had been over a week since Blair had been allowed out of the hospital. And, while the doctor had told him to take things easy after the Golden incident, Blair had taken the doctor's words to heart and had done nothing. He had called the university, asking for and being given, a leave of absence. Jim didn't know how long the leave had been granted for.
Blair also avoided Jim's line of sight as much as possible. Blair hadn't even mentioned anything about returning to the station. Jim suspected why. Other than a few jerks that didn't know any better, no one blamed Blair for what had happened in the garage of the police station. Blair had been under the influence of the drug and had no control over his actions. Blair had listened to Jim when he explained those things; both in the hospital and when Jim picked him up to bring him home.
Jim was still on medical leave himself as a result of his own involvement with the drug. So he had to endure Blair's lack of communication. Jim watched as Blair came out of his bedroom and walked to the bathroom. Blair kept his head down and his breathing was still shallow, as Jim noted with his Sentinel hearing. Blair had been placed on a respirator after being transported from the garage of the Cascade PD to the Cascade hospital.
Jim remembered every terrifying moment as it unfolded. Even now, he was taken back to that moment in the garage. Jim had put his complete faith in the fact that Blair wouldn't shoot him. But a small part of him was afraid of what would have happened had Blair pulled the trigger. Jim shook himself from that thought - Jim knew Blair wouldn't shoot him. Jim was able to take the gun from Blair. Then there had been the collapse on the floor of the garage and Jim listening frantically as Blair's breathing and respirations got softer and softer and seemed to disappear. Jim could only hold onto Blair's body, hoping that he stayed with them long enough to get to the hospital. Jim heard the skipped heartbeats, as it seemed like an eternity before the paramedics were prying his hands away from Blair's body. Once free from Blair's body, Jim felt adrift and lost. Until Simon got him to his feet and into a car to go to the hospital.
The wait at the hospital seemed twice as long as normal. Jim still only had fuzzy sight at best with a lot of golden glow. He couldn't pace back and forth and he couldn't sit still. It was several hours later when the doctor came out to talk to JIm and Simon. He told them the news - Blair was on a respirator and the amount of Golden he had ingested was more than enough to kill the average man. The drug would have to work its way through Blair's body. It would take time. Jim sat by Blair's bedside, waiting for the first wakeful moments. It had been several days before Blair came to. Jim could hear the change in breathing and the rustling movements to alert him that Blair was coming to. Jim patted Blair on the arm to let him know he was there.
"You're on a respirator, Blair. You scared the crap out of me. But things will be okay. I've got to buzz for the nurse. I'll stay until they kick me out."
Jim had stayed by Blair's side until he was more coherent. The doctor was able to remove the respirator a few days later. Blair was making remarkable progress. He would be able to return to normal activities after a few weeks. Even in the hospital, Blair was more quiet than normal and seemed to be introspective.
"Did I hit anybody?" The question came out of the blue.
"No. No, Blair. No one was hit." Jim was reassuring.
"It wasn't your fault, Bliar. It was the drug. We knew that it reacted differently in every person. It just brought out the Rambo in you." Jim chuckled and knew immediately it had been the wrong thing to say.
Blair turned away from Jim and mumbled, "Can you leave me alone?"
"Blair? I'm sorry. I didn't mean that crack. I was just trying to lighten the mood. Get some rest. I'll be back tomorrow."
"How's your vision?" Blair sounded sincere.
"Still a golden aura around things. Simon isn't letting me back to work until it clears up completely."
"So? Are you cleared to drive?"
"Not yet. I'll call a taxi to take me home. I'm really sorry about that crack, Chief. You know I was only joking, right?" Jim used his most pleading voice.
Blair closed his eyes which was Jim's clue to leave. Jim left and called for a taxi to take him home. He thought of how insensitive he had been to Blair. There was no call for that kind of remark. He could tell Blair had been really upset about what had transpired in the police parking garage. But no one held it against Blair. They understood that it had been the drug, not the person. But Jim was wondering how he could make up for his insensitivity.
Jim was at the hospital the day Blair was released. Jim had advanced enough that he had limited driving priveleges, which included driving Blair home from the hospital. Jim had brought clothes for Blair to wear home. Blair had put them on without a word and it was then he had started avoiding Jim's gaze. Jim asked him about it.
"Is something wrong, Chief?"
Blair only shrugged his shoulders and didn't say a word. He finished getting dressed. Jim let the whole thing drop.
As the week progressed, things had gotten worse. Blair avoided all conversation with Jim. And when Jim tried to bring up either the university or the police station, Blair would walk away towards his bedroom, in a classic avoidance tactic. Jim had finally given up. He suspected Blair would eventually talk about things. Blair always talked about things. It was how he coped with what happened in his life. He had done it before. After Lash...the mere thought made Jim shudder. Blair had talked nonstop after Lash and what he had done. So, why wasn't Blair talking now?
Jim was brought out of his thoughts as Blair came out of the bathroom. Jim noticed Blair was in his boxers and a t-shirt. He hadn't even bothered to get dressed yet. Blair walked over to the kitchen and got a glass out of the cabinet. He opened up the refrigerator and got out the milk, pouring himself a glass full. He put the milk back in the refrigerator and sat down on one of the chairs at the kitchen island. He raised the clear glass and looked at it for the longest time. Jim knew what Blair was seeing. He saw the residual golden aura around the edge of his vision, just like Jim did. It was the only consistent symptom of the drug. Blair finally drank the milk. Jim decided to try one more time to get through to Blair.
"I was thinking about going to the grocery store and stocking up on some things. You want to come with me?"
Blair sighed. "Nah. I'm tired. I think the doctor was right."
Jim tried to remember what the doctor had said. He couldn't. "About what, Chief?"
"That I need to see someone. A professional. I've done it before. Just not for some time."
"If that's what you think is best. You know I'll stand beside you. Right?"
"Yeah, I know. Thank you. I don't deserve it."
Jim frowned. "Why would you say that, Chief?"
"Because of what I did. Everyone must be either laughing at me or waiting to kill me." Blair looked away.
"That's not true, Blair. I told you. It wasn't your fault. It was the drug. You had no control over your actions. You didn't intentionally shoot up the garage."
"I almost shot you."
It was said so softly that Jim wouldn't have heard it without his enhanced hearing. He got up from the couch and walked over to Blair. Blair was looking down at the counter. Jim placed his hand under Blair's chin and raised it so that Blair was looking at Jim. But Blair had closed his eyes.
"Blair? Open your eyes. Please."
Blair slowly opened his eyes. Jim could see all of the pain there. This was the crux of Blair's distress and lack of communication.
"I knew you wouldn't shoot me. A Guide can't shoot a Sentinel. Isn't that in the manual?"
"Manual? What manual?"
"The manual you've had since the beginning. Sentinels and Guides 101 or whatever its called. You mean there's not a manual?"
"Hardly, Jim. I told you I was guessing as I was going along. A manual?" Blair actually started to chuckle a bit. Then he looked deep into Jim's eyes.
"I could have killed you."
"No. I was there to guide you this time. I had complete faith in my ability to help you and in your ability to know right from wrong. You had to listen to me. After all, I'm the Sentinel."
"But the gun could have discharged accidentally."
"Not with you holding it. You listened to me. Don't think about what could have been. That didn't happen. This is the reality. You're here and I'm here." Jim released Blair's chin, but Blair continued to look at Jim. "There's no reason to live in the past. You can't change things. You don't want to change things. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Okay?"
Blair chuckled again. "How did you get to be so smart?"
"It rubbed off from you, Blair. You better now?"
"Yeah. Was that true?"
"That you would stand beside me?"
"For whatever you need me for, Chief."