To The Rescue
Stealthily Jim crept down the hallway. His senses maintaining a constant surveillance on the surroundings, ready to alert him to any approaching danger. Hearing a slight noise, he pressed back against the wall and withdrew into the shadows. Laying in wait, ignoring the ache in muscles that were coiled and ready to strike out at the threat, he silently waited for the chance to spring upon the enemy. Finally, his patience paid off as a looming figure rounded a corner and began to approach his position. Smiling, a feral expression spreading across his face, Jim waited for the unsuspecting person to come closer. Calculating a plan of attack, knowing that it was not only his safety that was at stake, he held his breath and leaned back further to eliminate any possible chance of being seen.
Just as the enemy had taken a few steps beyond his position, Jim rose up and came up behind the man. Movements swift and sure, he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around his opponent's neck. Squeezing, he cut off the struggling man's oxygen until the captive slumped forward. Not releasing his hold, Jim backed up until he reached a door. Scanning the area, assuring that no one was inside, he opened it and dragged the unconscious man inside. Dumping his captive, he checked the man's vital signs. Sure that the man wouldn't be awakening anytime soon, Jim nodded to himself and then left the room to enter the hallway again.
Tilting his head, he tuned into the heartbeat again and began down the hallway. Willing himself not to hurry, fighting to remain cautious and not simply rush blindly ahead, Jim allowed himself a small measure of relief as he found the guiding heartbeat steady and calm. Crouching down again, he withdrew his gun.
Not encountering any other sentries, Jim proceeded as swiftly as possible under the circumstances. Finally reaching his destination, he growled softly under his breath. Testing the doorknob, he was slightly surprised to find it unlocked. Not willing to let his guard down, he slowly opened the door and, with gun at the ready, entered the room.
Gun extended, he did a quick sweep of the room. Finding no other threats, he lowered his weapon as his eyes settled on the figure sitting behind the desk. "Chief! Thank God I found you. I've been so worried."
Stepping further into the office, Jim shut the door behind him. "Let's get you out of here. Once you're safe, I'll come back and take care of the bastards that did this to you."
* * *
Having been surprise at Jim's sudden entrance, Blair sat in his chair. A half-eaten sandwich held in one hand, mouth opened to take a bite, he didn't notice as a blob of peanut butter and sprouts slipped from the bread to splatter on the open book lying on his desk. "Jim?"
His confused brain finally registering the feeling of a slimy mixture running down his hand, Blair dropped the sandwich onto his desk. Absentmindedly, he rubbed the coated hand on his jeans to get rid of the greasy residue. "What in the hell are you doing here?"
Watching on in alarm, Blair was aggravated when Jim merely placed a finger against his lips. Starting to stand, the motion aborted after receiving an irritated glare from Jim, Blair plopped back down into the chair. "Tell me that you did not just shush me."
Growing angry when Jim didn't respond, Blair started to stand again. This time, he ignored the look Jim gave him and completed the movement. Stunned, he continued to stand behind his desk and observe as Jim crouched down and started towards the windows. Not sure whether to be amused or annoyed, he watched as Jim proceeded to creep to each window and close the blinds. "Okay, this is starting to freak me out just a little bit. Tell me what's going on!"
* * *
Responding to the demanding tone of Blair's voice, Jim went over to the younger man. Once arriving by Blair's side, Jim re-holstered his weapon and then started to run his hands over Blair's body. Persisting even when Blair tried to move away, Jim continued until he had conducted a thorough check. "Thank God. I thought that they might have hurt you, but I can't find any injuries."
Stepping back from Blair, Jim withdrew his gun again and went over to the door. Cracking it slightly, he peered out into the hallway. Not willing to trust their safety on merely an auditory scan of the area, he visually confirmed the absence of any nearby enemies. "I think that it's safe to move out now."
When Blair made no move to join him, Jim eased the door shut. Wincing as the seemingly loud click echoed within the quiet room, he did another auditory sweep before making his way back over to his partner.
Reaching Blair's side once more, Jim laid a hand on the other man's shoulder. Bending down slightly, he peered into Blair's face and asked, "Are you okay? Because if you're ready, we really need to make a move now while nobody is around."
Tightening his grip, he maintained his hold when Blair sunk down into the chair and then stared up at him. Alarmed, worried that some injury might have somehow escaped his notice, Jim knelt down beside Blair. "Are you okay, Blair? Are you injured? Did I miss something?" Receiving a quick shake of Blair's head in reply, Jim continued. "I promise you, Chief, as soon as I get you to safety, I'll come back and make these guys pay for what they did. Nobody gets away with kidnapping my guide."
* * *
Even more confused than before, it was a moment before Blair could form a partially coherent sentence. "Kidnapped? Guide? Safety?"
Hands coming up, Blair wildly gestured around at the room they were in. "Do you even recognize where we are? This is my office for crying out loud. This is Rainier. Nobody kidnapped me, I'm…."
Turning to look at Jim, Blair didn't finish his statement as he finally got a good look at Jim's face. Now that he and Jim were on the same level, Blair was able to see that something was wrong with his partner. "Jim, what happened?"
When Jim gave him a puzzled look, Blair reached out a finger and gently traced one of the red, inflamed welts covering the other man's face. Instantly withdrawing the light touch as Jim hissed in pain, Blair asked, "Did you come in contact with something?"
Met only with harsh breathing and a slightly unfocused gaze, Blair reached for the telephone only to have Jim restrain him. Wincing as the pressure increased to the point of becoming painful, Blair stilled. "I just want to call Simon. He'll be able to help us. C'mon, let me go so that I can call and get us some help."
* * *
Releasing his hold on Blair, instantly stroking his fingertips over the reddened skin, Jim turned sad, remorseful eyes towards the other man. "I'm sorry, Chief. Look, we don't have time for this right now. We have to get out of here before they get back."
Standing up, Jim gave Blair an expectant look. "Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go."
Sighing in frustration when his guide continued to remain seated, Jim crouched down again. Laying his gun on Blair's desk, he reached out and grabbed the chair. Turning Blair until they were face to face, Jim sat back on his heels and looked up only to find himself pinned by two eyes that held a multitude of emotions. Unable to decipher the expression on Blair's face, Jim transferred his hands from the chair to Blair's knees. "It's okay now. I'm here and I'm going to get you to safety."
* * *
Affected by Jim's choked tone, not to mention the sincerity evident in the words, Blair didn't immediately reply. In the silence following Jim's pledge, Blair intently studied his sentinel's face. His own flesh itching in sympathy, Blair took note of the sporadic twitches wracking the usually stoic visage. Realizing that Jim must be having a reaction to something, Blair knew that he had to proceed carefully. "I don't think that they're coming back, Jim. Maybe we should just stay here for now. We could lock the door and barricade it. Then once we have the perimeter secure, we could call Simon for backup. I mean, if those guys really are still around, wouldn't we stand a better chance if we had some reinforcements?"
Holding his breath, Blair waited to see how Jim would respond. Nervous, his eyes keep sliding to the phone. Sensing movement, he tore his gaze away from his only hope of assistance and saw Jim nod. "Good, Jim. That's good. Tell you what, why don't you do lock the door while I call Simon."
Letting out a breath when Jim complied, Blair reached out a shaky hand and picked up the phone. After messing up twice, he was finally able to accurately dial the number. Drumming his fingers on the desk, he muttered, "C'mon. Pick up the freaking phone."
Concentration on the phone broken when he heard a scrapping noise, Blair looked up and saw Jim pulling a bookcase towards the door. Offering up an unsuccessful attempt at a smile when Jim glanced his way, Blair let out an uneasy chuckle. "Just make sure that you don't break anything, okay?"
Hastily averting his eyes when Jim scowled at him, Blair was overcome with relief when his call was finally answered. Not wanting Jim to become suspicious, knowing that the sentinel was most likely listening to both sides of the conversation, Blair said, "Don’t talk, Simon, just listen. A few minutes ago, Jim showed up at my office so that he could rescue me for the guys that kidnapped me. I convinced him that we should wait here and contact you so that you could bring in some reinforcements. He agreed and he's barricading the door right now so that we'll be safe until you get here. I really think that you should haul ass down to Rainier because we could definitely use the help right now. So, Simon, in case I haven't made it clear, get your ass down here right now and tell me what in the hell is going on."
Slamming the phone down, Blair was startled when Jim suddenly appeared at his side. Nervously, he chuckled as he pushed some hair behind his ear. "Simon should be here soon. We'll be okay until then."
* * *
Reacting to Blair' distress, Jim fought against the haze that was starting to cloud his mind and senses. Unsteadily, he pushed aside some books and leaned against the desk. Spotting his gun, he berated himself for having forgotten it earlier. Reaching over to pick up the weapon, he gasped as the world tilted and started to go black. Just as he started to fall forward, he felt two hands come up to brace him and gently ease his backwards.
Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and struggled to re-orient his senses. Only marginally successful, he opened his eyes and looked at his guide. Seeing Blair's concern, he offered his guide what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "I'm okay now."
Willing himself to maintain control over his senses and his body, Jim pulled away from Blair's supportive hold. Feeling more in control, albeit only a little bit, he tried to display a confident image to Blair as he once again reached for the gun. Successful in his attempt this time, he clutched the gun in his hand as he straightened up. Driven to protect his guide and their territory, Jim stood up and began to pace the small confines of the office. "You can relax, Chief. I'll stand guard until Simon gets here."
* * *
Seeing Jim's unsteadiness, Blair stood and began to inch his way towards the other man. Stilling as Jim came to a halt and turned to stare at him, Blair raised his hands. "Ease up, Jim. Our territory is secure. We're safe."
When the agitated sentinel gave a soft growl in response and started pacing again, Blair shadowed his movements. Matching the other man step for step, he trailed along behind Jim and tried to gather some information. "Talk to me. How did you know that I'd been kidnapped? What made you come here? How did you get those welts? Tell me something."
Throwing up his hands in frustration when Jim didn't say anything, Blair marched back over to his desk. Sitting down, he put his elbows on the desk and leaned forward to place his head his hands. Eyes downcast, he gaze settled on the book that was still lying open on his desk. Spotting the now hardened glob marring the page, he pulled out a napkin from the paper bag his lunch had been in and began to dab at the stubborn stain. "This is just great."
Unaware of the attention he was receiving, Blair threw down the napkin in disgust. "I'm a dead man. Professor Johnson is going to kill me."
* * *
Bristling at the perceived threat against his guide, Jim approached Blair and demanded, "Who in the hell is Professor Johnson?"
Leaning over the desk, Jim locked gazes with Blair. "If someone has threatened you, I'll… Just tell me who he is."
Startled, Jim looked on as Blair slammed the book shut and stood up. Continuing to watch Jim couldn't help smiling when Blair then looked down at the book, an expression of dawning realization on his face, before looking up at Jim again. Chuckling, Jim reached out a finger and wiped a smear of peanut butter from the corner of Blair's face. "Well, I'd say that it's going to be even tougher getting that book clean now."
Sobering, Jim was worried when Blair sank down into his seat and began banging his head on the desk. "Um, Chief, doesn’t that hurt?" On the next painful sounding bang, Blair left his head lying on the desk. Sneaking a peep at Blair, making sure that the younger man couldn't see him, Jim hastily wiped his finger off on Blair's desk before placing a comforting hand on Blair's head. "Now, tell me who this Johnson guy is."
* * *
Turning his head to the side, Blair peered up at Jim. "You have got to be kidding me, right?" Straightening up, dislodging Jim's hand from his head, Blair raised his own hand to rub his forehead. "This… You're… You know, in the time that I've know you, I've had to deal with some really bizarre situations but this… this is the most strange, confusing, totally… totally…" Blocking Jim's attempts at examining his forehead, Blair wildly flung his arms about. "You… I…"
Standing up, Blair pushed past Jim and began imitating his partner's earlier movements around the room. Pacing, Blair kept up a steady stream of complains. "I don't believe this. He comes barging in here, making no sense at all, positive that I've been kidnapped. Welts all over his freaking face, about to pass out one minute and getting all blessed protector over me the next. Wanting to know whom Professor Johnson is; well I'll tell you something, Johnson is the guy that isn't going to be too pleased when I return his book and he finds out that it's now a peanut butter and sprout sandwich. That's who he is." Spinning around to face Jim, Blair asked, "Any more questions?"
When Jim shook his head, Blair persisted, "Are you sure? I mean we've got some time to kill here, don't we? So if there's anything else that you'd like to know, feel free to fire away. It isn't like I've got anywhere to be and I just love spending all afternoon cooped up in my office with a slightly deranged sentinel."
* * *
Offended by Blair's sarcastic tone, not to mention his words, Jim said, "Now wait just one damn minute, Sandburg. You…"
Tilting his head to the side, Jim trailed off and then held up a hand to silence Blair when the younger man started to speak. "Someone's coming." Rushing over to Blair, Jim dragged his guide back over to the desk. Crouching behind it, dragging the protesting man down beside him, Jim pointed his gun towards the door. "Stay down. I'll take care of anyone who tries to get in here."
Tracking the footsteps coming down the hallway, Jim became fully on alert when they stopped outside of the office. Finger tightening on the trigger, he was just about to fire when a weight slammed into him and sent him crashing to the floor.
Staring up at Blair, Jim started to say, "What the fu…" Unable to finish, he slumped back against the floor as unconsciousness overcame him.
* * *
Leaning his head down, Blair rested his forehead against Jim's shoulder. Not bothering to look up, he listened as the door was broken down and the barricade pushed aside. Finally, he sighed and disentangled himself from Jim. Sitting up, he looked over at Simon. "Well it's about time you showed up."
Hours later, Blair sat and maintained a watchful vigil over his sleeping partner. Scooting his chair closer to the hospital bed, he picked up Jim's hand. Fingers stroking over the chilly skin, he didn't bother to turn around when he heard someone enter the room. Feeling a hand come to rest on his shoulder, he wearily greeted, "Hey, Simon."
Walking around to stand opposite Blair, Simon stared at Jim's still, silent form before looking at Blair. "How is he doing?"
Never taking his eyes off of Jim, Blair's voice was hushed when he answered. "According to the doctor, Jim is going to be fine. His vital signs are stable now and he seems to be resting comfortably. The welts have disappeared, so whatever caused the reaction must have worked its way through his system."
"I might know what caused all of this."
Finally looking away from Jim, Blair stared up at Simon. When the captain began to shift on his feet slightly, clearly uncomfortable under Blair's gaze, the younger man became suspicious. "Really? Well maybe you'd like to let me in on it then."
Clearing his throat, Simon averted his eyes. "Hell, Sandburg, I think this is my fault."
Anger clearly conveyed although his voice remained low, Blair hissed, "What are you talking about."
"You know how we were talking about trying that new Cajun place downtown?"
"Yeah, and I specifically remember telling the two of you that Jim shouldn't eat there until I get a chance to check it out." Eyes narrowed, Blair added, "So I know that that the two of you would never go there after I told you not to. Right?"
"Well how was I supposed to know it would cause him to act like that?"
"You just might have if you'd done what I said." Releasing his hold on Jim's hand, Blair stood up and walked over to Simon. "Why do you still insist on disregarding what I say when it comes to Jim and his senses? Why can't you ever just listen to me? Hell, Simon, Jim could have died!"
"Don't you think that I know that?" Shoulders slumped; Simon let out a weary sigh. "I didn't intend for any of this to happen. I wouldn't do anything to hurt Jim. You know that."
"Look, I don't want to get into this right now. Why don't you just tell me what happened? I need to know what Jim had to eat and drink if I'm going to figure out what caused this reaction."
"Since we were still on duty, we just had water to drink. We both had some blackened catfish and gumbo. Nothing that I haven't seen him eat before."
Shaking his head, Blair replied, "But you hadn't seen him eat it there before. There's no telling what kind of different ingredients were used. Every place is different. That's why I always go check out any new restaurants that Jim wants to try." Turning to look at Jim, he added, "I just can't figure out why he went there anyway. Usually, he's fine with me checking a place out first."
"That's probably my fault too," Simon confessed. "I was sort of giving him a hard time."
"What? Asking him why he was letting 'the kid' tell him what to do?" Taking Simon's silence as assent, Blair ordered, "Just tell me what happened after you left the restaurant."
"We went back to the station and got back to work. Honestly, I didn't pay that much attention to what he was doing until we received a report of a…"
"Well, um, a kidnapping." Pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket, Simon wordlessly handed it over to Blair.
Turning the paper over, Blair found himself looking at a picture of a young man with blue eyes and long, curly hair. "Are you telling me… Oh man, you sent Jim out to investigate this and he what? For some reason go this guy mixed up with me and thought that I had been kidnapped?"
"It's the only thing that makes sense. Though I don't know why he went to the university."
Handing the picture back to Simon, Blair said, "He knew that I was supposed to be at the university today, so maybe he figured I was grabbed from there. If he was tracking me, that'd be the place for him to start out at; pick up on my scent and see where it led him."
"Well, I guess we won't be able to find out anything for sure until he wakes up." When Blair nodded and then walked back over to sit down beside Jim again, Simon said, "I'm going to get out of here now. I assigned the kidnapping case to Brown and Rafe and I need to go see what they've come up with so far. I'll check in with you later."
"Take care of him."
"I will, Simon. Just like I always do."
Taking a final look at Jim and then Blair, Simon left the room.
Waiting until the captain had left, Blair reached down and laid his hand on top of Jim's. Smiling softly, he warned, "When you wake up, we're going to have a long talk about this, Jim. Don't worry though, I'll wait until you feel better before I start in on you." Leaning forward, Blair rested his head on the bed. Stifling a yawn, he tilted his head and looked at the sleeping sentinel. "And even though I didn't need it this time, thanks for coming to my rescue once again. Thanks for always coming to my rescue." Closing his eyes, able to give in to the exhaustion created by the day's events now that Jim was safe, Blair joined his partner in sleep.