"Hold it right there!"
Cringing, Jim muttered, "Shit, busted," as he closed the door and turned to face his roommate.
Hair standing out in all directions, red nose and chapped lips clearly visible to sentinel sight, Blair crossed his arms over his chest. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Going to work, what does it look like?"
"Oh no." Blair shook his head. "I don't think s... s... ACHOO!" Pulling a crumpled Kleenex out of his pocket, he blew his nose. "Man, you heard Simon." Sounding congested and nasally, Blair said, "He told both of us to stay home today. He doesn't want either one of us to infect everybody else."
"Hey, I'm not the one sick, Rudolph."
"No, you were just the one up all night coughing and running into the bathroom every five minutes."
Jim scowled, but didn't try to deny it. "What are you doing out here anyway? I thought you were going to go take a shower."
"Well, evidently my nose isn't quite as stopped up as it was earlier. And, Jim," when he had his partner's attention, he continued, "this time you're the one who forgot to use the spray." He waved a hand in front of his face. "I told you those burritos were a mistake, but would you listen? Noooo. And now thanks to your toxic fumes, I can't even go take a hot shower and get rid of these chills." Grumbling under his breath about stubborn sentinels, Blair went into the kitchen.
Thinking he could sneak out while the younger man was preoccupied, Jim reached out for the doorknob.
Without turning around, Blair warned, "Don't you even think about it. You're stuck here today just like I am so you might as well go get into something comfortable." Turning, seeing Jim's jaw clench as the older man hunched over slightly, he added, "And next time, don't forget to use the damn spray. Some of us can't dial it down."
Grumbling under his breath about know-it-all guides, Jim wrapped his arms around his stomach. Then, body held tight, he hurried across the room, already undoing his pants.
"Ah, man, why did I have to take that decongestant," Blair moaned, as he heard the noises begin to emerge from behind the closed bathroom door.
"Is this all that comes on during the day?" Jim took a sip of his Ginger Ale. "Soap operas?"
"Well, there's the court shows." Blair stuck a throat lozenge in his mouth.
"Yeah." Picking up the remote, Blair changed the channel. "I like Judge Judy the best, but this guy is okay too."
"Judge Joe Brown?"
"Shh, it's starting."
"Oh, give me a break! That guy got a broken finger and he's suing for five thousand dollars? C'mon."
"Quiet down, Joe's about to tear into this guy and I don't want to miss it."
Leaving his enraptured roommate behind, Jim went into the kitchen to freshen up his drink. Once there, he saw the bottle of generic diarrhea relief medicine sitting on the counter. He'd seen Blair take a dose of it earlier but his guide hadn't allowed him to take any, not knowing how it would affect him. Sneaking a peek over to the couch, seeing that Blair was engrossed with watching 'Joe' yell at the hapless defendant, Jim quickly unscrewed the cap and downed a good-sized swallow of the nasty, mint-tasting liquid. Belching, he put the lid back on and set it back down on the counter. Then hoped and prayed it would kick in soon as he rushed to the bathroom again.
When he finally emerged, ten minutes later, ignoring the knowing smirk on Blair's face when the younger man saw how slowly and carefully he was walking, Jim raised an eyebrow when he saw the other man was on the phone.
"Yeah, he's right here, Simon." Wordlessly, Blair held out the phone.
Sitting down on the couch, immediately shifting position, Jim asked, "What did you want, captain?" As he listened to the deep, baritone voice, he stared off into space and didn't even wonder why he was seeing the multicolored lights arching through the air. "That's pretty nice."
Hearing muffled yelling; Blair looked over to see that the phone was hanging in Jim's slack hand, which was resting in his lap. Worriedly, he grabbed the phone. "Um, Simon, I think Jim is going to have to call you back." Hanging up on Simon's bellowed response, Blair asked, "Jim, yo, Jim, you all right?" He snapped his fingers in front of the sentinel's face, not liking the dazed expression in the other man's eyes.
Grinning, Jim turned to look at Blair. Then, he frowned and leaned forward to sniff at him.
A wary look on his face, Blair drew back. "Um, Jim, you okay?"
"You're sick!" It sounded like an accusation.
"This is new how? And I hate to break it to you, but so are you." Pulling out a Kleenex, this one only slightly crumpled, Blair blew his nose.
"GERMS!" Jim shouted, jumping up from the couch. "You're covered in germs. I can see them."
"Don't worry, buddy, I'll save you." Leaving a stunned Blair behind, Jim dashed off into the bathroom. In a few seconds, he returned with a wet washcloth and a large bottle of anti-bacterial soap. "Well, what are you just sitting there for? Stand up and strip."
"I've got to get those germs off of you. And then after we get you clean, I can sanitize the rest of the loft." Jim looked around. "I tell you I can see them everywhere. They've invaded the whole place. But I'll get rid of them, don't you worry."
"Of course, I'll have to go out and get something a whole lot stronger than this." He held the soap up. "But this is an emergency and it'll have to do for now." Looking down, seeing that Blair was still seated, Jim shook his head and set the bottle down on the table. "What's the matter with you? Do you have a fever? Are you delusional?"
"Am I delusional? I'm not the one on some crusade to eradicate all forms of bacterial life."
Rolling his eyes, Jim dragged Blair to his feet and began to tug off his shirt.
Jerking it back down, Blair pulled away. "Look, Jim, it's not that I don't appreciate what you're trying to do. Really, I do. But I think it's okay. See, I'm getting better. Pretty soon the germs will be all gone and everything will be okay. In the meantime, why don't I just go call Simon? I hung up on him earlier and I imagine he's pretty worried."
"Yeah, yeah. Call Simon. Have him stop off down in Forensics. They're bound to have some heavy-duty chemicals in there. I'm sure it will kill all the germs." Jim started to reach for the soap and let out a loud, horrified gasp.
Phone in hand, Blair asked, "What? What's wrong?"
Jim began to frantically scrub at his arm. "Germs! I've got GERMS on me, Blair. GERMS!"
In any other circumstances, Blair might have laughed when Jim began to strip off his clothes and pour soap all over his body. But he knew that something had seriously affected his friend. "Jim, it's all right. Calm down. I..." His attention was caught by Simon's voice coming from the phone. "Hey, Simon, it's Blair. Um... I think you should come over here right away. Something's up with Jim."
"Oh, I gotta go." Blair hung up on the captain again and then threw down the phone. "Jim, don't do that!" he yelled when he saw Jim grab the Comet cleanser and start to pour it over his arm. "Stop now!"
"But... but the germs, Blair. I have to get rid of the germs."
"It's okay, Jim. We'll get rid of them." Moving slowly, Blair walked over. Gently and carefully, he eased the cleanser away from his friend. "I know of a way to get rid of the germs. Trust me. There won't be any left at all."
"Really? You mean that."
Blair patted him on the shoulder. "Sure do. Look, just let me run into my room and get something real quick and I'll be right back." He started to walk away but came back when he saw Jim's hand twitch as he glanced over at the Comet again. "Hey, why don't you come with me?"
"Okay." Meekly, Jim followed after Blair.
"See, we just need this," Blair announced once they were both inside his room. He opened a drawer and pulled out some incense.
"What good will that do?"
"This is special incense, Jim. It's got some medicinal properties that eradicate any and all germs. It'll have the loft cleaned up in no time. Let's go back into the living room and I'll show you."
A skeptical look on his face, Jim nodded. "All right."
Wasting no time, Blair lighted up the incense. Soon, a pleasant scent began to fill the air. "It's working already."
Hesitantly, Jim began to look around the room and then soon brightened, the smile returning to his face. "You're right. They're going away. Thanks, Chief."
"No problem." Throat dry, Blair said, "I'm just going to go get a drink real quick. You stay right there, okay, Jim?" Keeping an eye on the older man, Blair went to the sink. As he reached for his bottle of water sitting on the counter, he saw the bottle of medicine, noticing that there was now greenish liquid running down the side. "Jim, did you take some of this medicine here?"
Holding the bottle, Blair turned around. "No wonder, you're freaking out. I told you not to take any." But seeing the forlorn expression on Jim's face, he couldn't stay mad. "I guess we'll just have to ride it out." He sighed. "Just promise me you won't take it again, okay?"
Noticing the trail of soap trickling down the side of Jim's face, Blair shook his head. "Man, we need to get that stuff off of you. C'mon, into the bathroom."
"Don't worry, this incense will get rid of germs everywhere."
"If you say so, Chief, then I know it will."
"Good, now let's get you cleaned up." Blair walked over to Jim. Grabbing the older man's arm, he led him into the bathroom.
Leaving a now dried, soap-free Jim to get dressed, Blair went to answer the front door. "Oh, Simon. Hey."
"Don't 'hey' me, Sandburg. What's going on here?"
"Well, you see -" Blair started to explain as Simon barged past him and charged into the loft.
"GERMS!" Jim yelled as he emerged from the bathroom and spotted Simon. "He's bringing germs into the loft. He's going to infect us, Chief."
Groaning, Blair buried his head in his hands as Simon yelled, "Get that soap away from me, Ellison!"
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