Home

By: Lyn

EMAIL: townsend297@gmail.com

RATING: Gen.

Missing Scene for Cypher.

As the chains binding him to the chair were released, Blair sagged forward against Jim’s chest, his body boneless, his drugged mind vaguely registering the aches and pains from his earlier struggle with Lash. He was cold, couldn’t seem to stop shivering. Large, hot hands cupped his icy face, tilted his head up. He blinked lazily and Jim’s face swam into sight, blurred but blessedly real.

"Come on, Chief. Let’s go home."

Home. Just moments before Blair had thought he would never go home again and the thought caused a lump to lodge in his throat. Hot tears spilled unbidden from his eyes, dripping off his chin. He gulped a sob of abject sorrow mixed with relief and Jim frowned.

"Where does it hurt?"

Blair shook his head and tried to get his mouth to work. "H… ome," he finally managed in a scratchy voice that sounded alien to his ears.

Jim seemed to understand. He smiled, stroked a tear-damp strand of hair from Blair’s cheek and helped Blair stand… or rather lean against him, holding him up, which was a good thing, Blair decided woozily, because his legs seemed to have disappeared.

~o0o~

The doctor finally removed his stethoscope from Blair’s chest and pulled up the hospital gown. Blair still couldn’t get warm and Jim once again seemed to read his mind, removing his jacket and draping it over Blair’s shoulders. Sighing in pleasure, his eyes already drooping closed, Blair huddled gratefully into the warmth.

The doctor’s voice buzzed over his head but Blair gave up trying to decipher the words. Jim could take care of it. All Blair cared about was that he was warm, he was safe and he was…

"Come on, Chief, you’re good to go. Let’s get you home."

Home. Again the word caused a flush of pleasurable heat to wash over him, vanquishing the icy chill and drawing him down into a cozy oblivion. As he gave in to his exhaustion, he heard the welcome sound of Jim chuckling.

~o0o~

"You with me, Sandburg?" A gentle patting of Blair's cheeks accompanied the words.

Blair forced his heavy eyelids open and gazed around him. His sight was still a little blurred, softening the edges of his vision. He didn’t remember getting here though a vague memory tickled, a sensation of floating, of looking at Jim’s back, of watching his own hands flopping rhythmically against Jim’s shirt. Jim can’t have carried him, surely. Jim was a strong guy and all but Blair was hardly a lightweight.

He looked up at Jim mutely - his brain appeared to have turned to mush while he was in Lash’s clutches. He was certain he’d spat out the entire dose of the drug Lash had attempted to force down his throat. Maybe he was just really tired. Being kidnapped really took a lot out of a guy.

"Come on, Sandburg, or do you want me to carry you over the threshold as well?"

Oh. That explained the floating then.

He stepped through the doorway and stood in the living room, swaying slightly, taking it all in, in a detached, addled way. The living room was a shambles, books and papers strewn all over the floor, the coffee table smashed, the front door locks broken, the door itself leaning drunkenly against the wall.

It looked far more welcoming than Blair could ever remember. Blair felt Jim’s hand on his shoulder and he looked up at his sentinel, his blessed protector and smiled. "Home."

EPILOGUE:

Jim slapped the button down on the alarm the moment it sounded. Listening in on the occupant in the spare bedroom downstairs, he relaxed when Blair's heartbeat remained steady, his breathing slow and deep. Pushing off the covers, Jim stood, stretching out his aching muscles. His ankle was still tender where he'd tripped on the stairs at Lash's warehouse and he could feel the heat of bruising on his chest and back from his fight with the killer.

He was still tired too. Blair had suffered a seemingly never-ending run of nightmares throughout the night, never fully waking when Jim prodded him gently back to awareness with a few comforting pats and soothing words, but appearing reassured enough by Jim's presence to go back to sleep, only to repeat the cycle over again. It had been almost dawn when Blair had finally succumbed to his total exhaustion and slipped into an apparently dreamless slumber.

Pulling on his robe, Jim was about to head for the shower but stopped at the foot of the stairs and looked at the debris scattered through the living room. He walked over and pulled the chair from under the front door handle - the only quick way he'd figured the previous night to secure the door until he could fix it. The lock was broken away from the door, the chain wrenched from its housing and the frame splintered. Jim swallowed dryly as he thought of the terror that must have filled Blair when Lash had come bursting in.

He closed his eyes. Too late - he had almost been too late. With his warehouse destroyed in the drug lab explosion, Blair had come to call this place home, and Jim had been happy enough to let him stay. The topic of Blair overstaying his initial one week had never been brought up. Home. Blair expected to be safe here, and yet when his partner had needed him most, Jim had been too far away to do anything.

Shaking off the disquieting thoughts and what-ifs, Jim turned his attention back to the door. It was too early to do anything about it yet and Jim was reluctant to wake Blair with noisy repair work after the trauma he'd suffered, but he could make sure there was no other reminders of the frightening night left for Blair to see when he woke.

Gathering cleaning supplies, Jim set to work with a vengeance. There was little real damage to any of their belongings, Jim noted as he picked up the strewn papers and books, placing them in a pile for Blair to go through later. He righted the coffee table and bent to check out the TV, when a small smear of blood on the table edge caught his attention and sent him spiraling into his own nightmare of coming home, opening the door to be greeted by the mute evidence of Blair's life or death struggle with Lash, by the resounding silence when he called Blair's name.

He'd seen too the physical evidence on Blair's body at the hospital, the bruises and abrasions that peppered his chest and back - the memory of that suddenly brought a small smile to his lips. Blair had a nipple ring; sometimes he felt as though he was constantly discovering new layers to his partner.

Finally happy with his clean up, Jim showered and fixed breakfast then phoned Simon to arrange to come in with Blair in a few hours so their statements could be taken. There would be an interview regarding Jim's shooting of Lash but he wasn't bothered by it. It had been a righteous shoot; his partner's life and his own had been at risk.

Jim stood in the doorway of Blair's room and performed a quick sensory check. Blair was still sleeping deeply, Jim remembered the doctor telling him that the side effects of the chloral could last up to twenty-four hours. Making a decision, he scribbled a hasty note and propped it against the coffeepot then hurried out the door.

~o0o~

Blair was just coming out of his room when Jim got back with the supplies he needed to fix the door. As the door opened, Blair flinched, his face losing any color it had then he visibly relaxed. He smiled wanly at Jim and gave him a half-hearted wave before yawning widely. "Where have you been?"

"Hardware store," Jim replied, placing his purchases on the dining table. "Wanted to get the door fixed before we go in to the station."

"Oh. Okay." Blair hooked a thumb over his shoulder. "I'll just… take a shower."

"You feel up to giving your statement today?" Jim asked, noting the hesitant note in Blair's voice.

"Yeah. I mean, I have to, right?" At Jim's nod, he continued, "It's just… it's not really something I want to go through again, you know?"

"That's understandable." Jim walked over and stood in front of Blair, placing his hands on Blair's shoulders. "I'm sorry I didn't get here in time, Chief."

"But you did," Blair answered. "You tracked down the warehouse and the duck pond. That was pretty incredible work, man. I knew you'd come for me and you did. You got there before… before anything bad happened."

"Not entirely," Jim countered. "I'm sorry you had to go through what you did. You did everything right last night. You kept Lash talking, kept him off-balance, gave me time to get to you."

Blair smiled. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Jim reached up and tousled Blair's unruly hair gently, mindful of the cut he knew was hidden beneath the curls. "Now go shower and I'll fix some breakfast."

Blair looked around suddenly as though seeing the living room for the first time. "You cleaned everything up," he said slowly.

Jim shrugged. "You know me - neat freak." He sighed. "I didn't want you to be reminded…"

"Thanks, man."

Jim turned Blair to face the bathroom and gave him a swat on his rump. "Shower, Sandburg. We can talk over breakfast."

"I'll help you with the door."

"Deal."

Blair stopped at the bathroom and turned back, a smile on his face. "It's good to be home, Jim."

END