At The End Of The Day - 2
God, I'm tired.
Actually, tired doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I'm exhausted. Nope, past that, too. I slump down on the stairs leading up to Jim's room and fiddle with my shoelaces, attempting to unsnarl the knots. It only takes a second before my mind drifts away from the task and I find myself zoning on the intricate weave on the toes of my sneakers.
"Problem, Chief? You want me to untie your shoes?"
Oh, right. I forgot Jim followed me home from the university. My car's been acting a little weird and Jim offered to swing by on his way home from work and follow me home in case it died again.
"Nah, I got 'em." I pull ineffectually at the laces once more then give up and stand. It takes me a moment to find my direction. Blair's bedroom, that way. Got it. I only hit the doorframe once navigating my way into my room.
I turn at Jim's questioning tone. He hooks his thumb toward the stairs. "You sleep with me now, remember?"
Befuddled, I stare into the bedroom and see a desk, desk chair, a portable TV sitting atop my old dresser. "Right."
I'm bored... and wide awake. Jim's snoring softly beside me, which only makes me more depressed. Nothing worse than having someone lying right next to you, enjoying a peaceful slumber while you struggle in Morpheus' arms. I barely made it up the stairs under my own steam, but once my head hit the pillow, that was it. I haven't slept at all and it's now... I turn my head and squint at the alarm clock... three am.
For the umpteenth time in the past hour, I struggle to turn onto my side without waking Jim, wincing as the bullet wound in my thigh protests the movement. I still find it weird to think of something punching a hole in my leg. I can still remember the sensation of the blood gushing from the wound, the agonizing pain as Jim wrapped his belt around my leg, the nausea and lightheadedness... I'm not helping myself here.
Reaching out, I stroke my fingers down Jim's back, hoping the rhythmic, hypnotic sensation might help me drift off. Jim sighs and shifts back toward me, nestling his ass against my groin. At least part of me is enjoying the attention.
It's no good. I finally admit defeat and sit up then carefully swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand. My bad leg gives way momentarily and I grab hold of the bedside table and regain my balance. I've been out of the hospital for weeks now, off the crutches for two, yet it seems to be taking forever for my leg to fully heal. It also means that I'm stuck trying to be Jim's back up from a mostly seated position, either at his desk or in the truck. Never before have the words, 'Stay in the truck, Sandburg', been as despised as they are right now.
Once I'm sure my leg will take my weight, I limp downstairs and head into the kitchen to make tea. For once, I manage to grab the kettle before it starts whistling, saving myself from a weary Sentinel's wrath. Cupping my hands around the steaming mug, I walk over to the couch and lower myself down. I rest my head against the back of the sofa and stare up at the darkened ceiling. My frustration at not being fully recovered has as much to do with what happened while we were chasing Quinn as it does with my inability to be my normal hyperactive self.
After I cracked my head on the rock in the river, I knew I couldn't keep going at the pace Jim was setting. His little joke about me being a spineless goober didn't bother me at the time. Not until I came to in the hospital after having my wound cleaned out and sutured, and remembered my terrified screaming as I'd been choppered away from Jim and Simon. My face heats even now at the memory of my loss of control. I remember wondering if I'd done the right thing by insisting on staying with Jim. Even though he'd left me that night when I told him I couldn't go on, I know he would have had to split his focus, keeping some kind of track of me, and searching for Simon at the same time. Even once I got away from Rooker and his buddy, I slowed him down, stumbling, almost passing out from fatigue and a concussion. But my crowning performance had been my breakdown as they'd lifted the rescue hammock into the air. I still couldn't look at a helicopter without going weak at the knees.
All this has made me wonder, excessively and pretty much nonstop, if I'm really doing Jim any favors riding along with him. I mean, sure, he gets help with his senses but that's something he probably would have figured out for himself eventually. Does he really need some wet behind the ears wuss slowing him down, getting hurt and kidnapped and drugged with monotonous regularity?
"Tea's getting cold," Jim says from behind me.
I give myself credit that I only spill a few drops into my lap when I jump at the sound of his voice. With exaggerated care, I place my cup on the table, turn and glare at him. "You just stole about ten years of my life, man! When are you going to remember not all of us have heightened senses?"
He looks a little crestfallen and I realize my tone did sound unnecessarily sharp. "Sorry," I say and he gives me a small smile, waves away the apology. He comes around the couch and sits beside me. "Sorry I woke you," I add.
He reaches out, grasps my hand and carefully kisses each knuckle. "Da nada," he replies. "I don't sleep properly if you're not there anyway."
I give him a grin and a full body nudge. "What am I? Your teddy Blair? Big tough detective needs a woobie?"
"I'll give you..." he threatens and before I have time to react - only because I'm so tired, of course, my reflexes are usually lightning fast - he's on top of me, those nimble fingers of his finding all my ticklish spots.
Finally, I push him away and try to catch my breath. "No fair," I accuse him, holding ribs that ache from so much laughing, "no fair taking advantage of your heightened sense of touch."
"No fair you making fun of the big, tough detective," he counters.
I slump against him, wrapping my arms around his waist and resting my head on his shoulder. God, how I love this man!
"You know," he says casually, scooting out from under me, ignoring my protest, "if you were having trouble sleeping, you should have woken me. Maybe we could have done something to make you sleepy." He tries for a lascivious look by wiggling his eyebrows at me, but he looks so comical, I can't help laughing.
"Sorry," I say when he tries for a mock pout. "You keep cracking me up like this, I'm never going to get any sleep."
He pretends to think then nods. "Okay, no more laughing. How about..." He reaches for me and I go willingly into his arms. He lies back and stretches out on the couch, bringing me to lie on top of him. Then he makes love to me, with his hands and his mouth and every part of him, using those special gifts of his to ensure my absolute pleasure.
When our passion peaks, he pulls me down onto the floor and brings me to the precipice of climax, hurtling over it with me.
Lying there twined together, sated, sleepy, I stare out at the starlit sky. Jim presses a kiss to the back of my neck. "I'm so proud of you," he says quietly. "Those days chasing Quinn... I couldn't have done it without you and when you were shot..." He trails off. "You have no idea how scared I was when I saw all that blood." He pulls at my shoulder and I obligingly roll over to face him, settling back into his embrace.
I can't hold back the concerns that have plagued me these past weeks, that have made sleep so elusive. "I'm sorry," I whisper, feeling my cheeks heat at the admission, "for being such a wuss in front of everyone when they took me up under the chopper."
"No!" He puts a finger under my chin and lifts my head so that I'm looking at him. "My fault," he says. "With the blood loss and the other injuries, I just wanted you at the hospital as soon as possible but I should have insisted on another way, or a Lifeflight chopper."
His words make me feel a little better but still... "You were right. I should have gone back to town. Getting hurt in the river, then getting shot, you had to split your focus instead of concentrating everything on Quinn and Simon."
"If you'd gone back to town, I'd probably still be out there, wandering around," Jim says with a smile. He leans in and kisses my mouth, chaste and sweet. "Don't you get it yet? Brackett was right, you are my Guide. Without you, these senses are worth nothing. I just feel guilty for needing you with me, knowing the danger I'm putting you in."
"Would it help if I told you I don't care?" I lean up and rest my head in my hand, stroking the other down his chest. "I knew what I was getting into when I signed on for the ride along, then when we... committed to each other... Well, let's just say I took all that whither thou goest stuff literally."
He smiles and pulls me down against him. I can hear his heart beating beneath my ear. "I'm glad."
I yawn, exhausted beyond belief. Jim stands and holds out his hand, taking mine in his. He leads me up the stairs to our bed and makes love to me all over again and then, finally, I sleep.