SNEAKERS

By Lyn

EMAIL: Lyn

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Just a little piece that came to mind after today's discussion on Sentinalia about the TS eps.

SUMMARY: Missing scene for BMB. Someone returns a bonus.

It had been hours since Jim had finally been allowed to sit with Blair but there was still little change in Sandburg's condition. The doctors were cautiously optimistic, saying Blair appeared to be recovering from the Golden overdose but warning there was still some way to go before they could be certain of his full recovery.

Jim was exhausted, edgy, and pissed off. His sight was still pretty much non-existent, making it all the more frustrating. He was no help to anyone working the case when he couldn't see an inch in front of his face. Worse still, he couldn't see Blair and had to rely on the doctors assuring him that his partner really was recovering. His other senses seemed to be taking a hike at the moment as well, and all he could do was sit at Blair's side, squinting at the magazine he held in his hands, in the vague hope that doing what Sandburg had suggested, making the connection, would restore his sight.

It wasn't working though. All it was doing was giving him a headache, and if Blair didn't wake up soon and prove he was okay, Jim was certain he was going to break someone's neck. Preferably the assholes who'd manufactured and sold the crap that had killed god knew how many, stolen his sight and put Blair here on life support.

"Detective Ellison?"

He looked up and toward the sound of the familiar female voice. "Yes, Cathy?"

"There's someone here who says he's a friend of yours. He said it's important that he speak with you. Frankly, he looks a little worse for wear but he insists it's important…" Her voice trailed off for a moment then she added, "Something about Mr. Sandburg's shoes."

Jim shook his head. His friend was dying and someone wanted to ask about his shoes? Clarity struck a second later and he held up a hand. "Sneaks?" he asked.

"I think so. Look, he's obviously a vagrant. Maybe he's someone you arrested at some time. I'll ask him to leave."

"No, it's fine. Is it okay if he comes in for a minute?"

She hesitated a moment then spoke. "It's family only allowed at the moment, Detective. Apart from you and Captain Banks, of course."

"He's family," Jim assured her. "Blair's brother."

"Oh! In that case, I'll send him right in. I'm glad you were able to contact him. It will be good for Blair to know his brother's here."

Jim nodded. "Yes, it will."

While he waited, Jim turned back to Blair, tracing a hand gently over Blair's forehead, smoothing the hair back from his face. "You have a visitor, Sandburg," he said. "How about you wake up and say hi?"

The only sound was the soft noise of the ventilator and the regular beeping of the heart monitor. Still, it was reassuring, letting him know that Blair was still hanging in there.

"Detective Ellison?"

Jim recognized the voice immediately and he turned so he was facing the door. "Sneaks. What the hell are you doing here?"

"Not sure myself," Sneaks said, his voice quiet, his normal verbosity absent. "I don't like hospitals. I heard about your associate… Blair. You know how it is on the street. Word gets around."

Jim heard his footsteps padding closer. "Yeah," Jim replied. "He's getting better. Doctor's pretty sure he's gonna make it."

"That's good to hear."

There was another long silence and Jim prompted, "Why are you here, Sneaks?"

"I brought him his shoes," Sneaks said softly.

"What? Why?" Jim asked.

"Didn't seem right," Sneaks said. "I mean, I deserved the bonus for the info I gave you, right, but when I heard about this, it didn't seem right."

Something was placed on Jim's lap and he reached out a hand and traced the shape. Blair's Nike Severes. "Take 'em, Sneaks," he said. "You earned them." He took a note out of Sandburg's school of obfuscation. "Blair wanted you to have them."

"Can't," Sneaks replied. "Kid's laying here through no fault of his own and I got his favorite shoes. If he dies, he might want to be buried in them."

"He's not going to die!" Jim growled. A lump rose in his throat. "He's getting better," he croaked. "He'll be fine."

"From your mouth to god's ears, ya know," Sneaks replied. "Anyway, if he gets better, he's gonna need a fine pair of shoes to walk around in, and these are the finest."

"You sure?"

"Hell, no," Sneaks replied, sounding more like himself, "but if my mother found out I took shoes from a dying man, she'd kick my ass good."

"He's not gonna die, Sneaks."

"Right. If he did though, he could bequeath them to me, couldn't he? No, don't answer that." Sneaks gave a deep sigh. "I want him to have them back."

"Okay, thanks, Sneaks. I'll let him know when he wakes up."

"Good. So, I should go." There was the sound of rustling and the bed jiggled a little. "Still," Sneaks added, "these Nikes in the basket… They're his, right?"

"Yeah."

"They're not top of the range but they're in pretty good condition… Now he's got his Severes back, you think he's gonna need these?"

Jim couldn't help smiling, as tired and strained as it felt. "I think he'd insist you have them, buddy."

"You think?"

"I know."

"Okay then."

A hand touched Jim's shoulder, squeezing gently for just a second. "Tell the kid I'm sorry… and thanks for the shoes."

END