Good Night, Sweet Screams
missing scene to "The Girl Next Door"
by Wendy Myers
Dishes done and company gone, Jim sat back on the couch, content and full, and fliipped through the channels on the TV before settling on a movie on cable. He glanced over to watch the young man he called his partner put away the guitar for the night and start to carry the case back to his room. "How come you didn't eat dinner with us, Chief?" he asked.
Blair just shrugged and headed back to his room with the guitar case. "Wasn't hungry." he replied simply. Truth be told, his stomach was still doing flip flops from his "adventure" and the prospect of food didn't sound appealing at the moment.
"You feelin' ok?" Jim asked, concerned.
*No, I'm not feelin' ok, Jim.* Blair wanted to say. *I spent 24 hours being tossed between Bonnie and Clyde and nearly got shot by "the girl next door". My nerves are shot and I'm exhausted. No, I'm not feelin' ok.* But instead, he replied, "Yeah, sure, Jim. I'm fine."
Jim shrugged and turned his attention to the television and the movie.
Blair put the guitar away and turned to head back into the living room, but stopped in the doorway and silently watched the detective sitting in the living room. This man had tracked him down and rescued him from Artie and Iris at the train station. And Blair had known he would do so. That's why it just seemed fitting to feed him, Simon and Joel the dinner he had originally planned for himself and Iris.
"Blair? You all right?"
Jim's voice filtered through to the haze of Blair's thoughts. Shaking himself from the fog, Blair nodded that he was okay. *Man, he was suddenly tired.* "Uh, yeah," he said quickly. "Um, listen, um, I'm gonna go to bed early, ok?"
Jim looked at him with concern, then said, "Ok, Chief." Blair had certainly been through a lot in the past 24 hours. "G'night."
"Stay away! Leave me alone! JIM!!"
Jim sat up in his bed, instantly alert. The screams were coming from Sandburg's room. Grabbing his gun from under his pillow, the Sentinel rushed quietly down the stairs and over to the young man's room, ready to defend him from any intruders. There were no other heartbeats in the loft, save his own and that of his partner, whose was racing with fear.
Jim entered the bedroom and, replacing the safety, placed the gun on the nightstand. Blair was twisted in his bedsheets in the throes of his nightmare. Jim grabbed the young man's shoulders and gently shook them. "Blair!" he said, trying to wake him. "Blair!"
Blair screamed and threw out his arms, trying to throw off his assailant. Jim quickly dodged them and grabbed them in his own hands. "Blair!" he said louder, stronger. "Wake up! It's me, Jim!"
Blair sat up with a loud gasp. Sweat was pouring off his face and his heart was pounding. Strong, unseen hands were on his arms and he began to struggle. "Let me go!" he cried. "JIM!! JIM!!"
Jim had forgotten that the young man couldn't see him in the pitch dark of night. "Relax, relax," he soothed. "It's me. It's Jim." He felt his partner stop struggling and relax a bit.
"J-Jim?" his voice was shaking and his heart was still racing.
The older man released an arm and turned on the little lamp beside the bed. "Yeah. It's me," he said, taking the frightened look of his friend. "It's all right," he soothed. "Just calm down."
Blair took several deep, ragged breaths, trying to calm his racing heart. After a few moments, his breathing and heart rate became controllable and he calmed down.
Jim placed a hand on his shoulder, concerned. "You wanna tell me about it?" he asked softly.
Blair looked down at the mussed up blanked that covered his legs, collecting his thoughts before responding. The nightmare was so real and very fresh in his mind. His heart rate increased slightly at the remembrance of it and he shivered. After a few moments, he looked at the detective, preparing to speak when a sudden, loud noise rang out. Blair let out a fearful yelp and jumped into Jim's arms, the shivering now uncontrollable.
Jim, although surprised by the action, immediately wrapped his strong arms around the small, shivering figure. The noise was nothing more than a car backfiring, but it was enough to send Blair into hysterics. "It's alright, it's alright." he soothed, gently rubbing Blair's back. Blair's breathing was shallow and his heart rate was trying to win the Indy 500. "Shh..." Jim started gently rocking back and forth. "Calm down. It was just a car backfiring."
"G-gun.....gun.....p-pointed........at.....at...me......" Blair was hyperventilating now and spots were dancing in front of his eyes. "G-gonna....sh-shoot.....I.........c-ca...can't.....bre.....breathe....."
Jim shifted his grip, keeping an arm wrapped around Blair's shoulders and laid a hand on the smaller man's chest. Blair's heart was beating extremely fast. "Just calm down," he said. "You can breathe, but you need to calm down. Concentrate. Take deep breaths." He felt Blair take one deep breath, then another. "That's it." he soothed, keeping his voice calm and soft, similar to the way Blair used on him when putting the Sentinel into a relaxed state. "Take it nice and slow.....that's it...."
Jim continued this pattern until Blair started to respond and calm down. Soon Blair had calmed down his breathing and his heartbeat returned to a more normal rate, but didn't move from the comforting embrace. Jim gently rubbed his back, unashamed at comforting his young friend.
*Must've been one heckuva nightmare.* Jim thought. Then he said gently, "You wanna talk?"
There was a long moment of silence before Blair responded. He didn't move from the warm comfort of the larger man as he started to describe the nightmare, the memories flooding his mind.
~~~~~Running. Blair was running. He had escaped from Artie at the rest stop and started running down the railroad tracks. Then the scene changed and he wasn't being chased by Artie or Iris. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a gun. There was a gun chasing him now. And the tracks had changed to warehouse where Lash had kept him prisoner. Everywhere he turned, there was the gun, pointed directly at him. Then he ran into a dead end with lit candles everywhere. Nowhere else to run. Blair turned and faced the gun that was still approaching him. As it got closer, however, the gun suddenly shapeshifted into David Lash.
"It's Hairy Blairy," said Lash, taunting him like he did when Blair was chained to that dental chair. "Where are my friends?" he asked. "What did you do with my friends?"
Blair raised his hands to ward off the approaching figure. "I don't know." he said, his voice shaking with fear. "Go away."
"Awww," Lash said, sadly. "That wasn't what I wanted to hear." He slowly reached into the pocket of the jacket he had stolen from the anthropologist's closet that night and pulled out, not the wig Blair had seen him wear the night he was kidnapped, but a gun! The gun that Artie used on him at the rest stop. Pointing it at Blair and moving closer, he said, "Ok, now. Where are they?"
Blair bumped his back into the wall, hands still raised. "I don't know." he said. "Just...just stay away."
Lash's face contorted with rage and fired the gun. The bullet ricocheted off the wall near Blair and he flinched, then sank to the ground cringing as Lash moved even closer. "Please," Blair pleaded. "Go away.....Leave me alone....."
"Sorry Blair," Lash said softly. Then he reached out and caressed Blair's head, running his fingers through the mass of curls. "I can't do that. I've got to make you one of my friends." With that, he raised the gun to Blair's head, cocking it and....~~~~~~~~~
"...and that's when you woke me," Blair finished. He had moved from Jim's embrace and was hugging himself. "And then that car backfired.....I guess it was just too much, y'know?" Blair extracted one arm from around his waist and began plucking at a piece of fuzz on the blanket. "Must think I'm some sort of wuss, huh?" he said quietly.
Jim had listened quietly while his friend told of his nightmare. *No wonder he's frightened.* From the statements he had read of Blair, Iris and Artie, Blair had a rollercoaster ride on the ride of fear. Worst of all, that ride had dredged up flashbacks of Lash. He brought his hand to rest on Blair's shoulder. This brought the young man's gaze up to the unwavering ice blue eyes of the detective. "You are *not* a wuss, Sandburg," he said gently, but firmly. "You are one of the bravest men I know. You have managed to keep your head in many dangerous situations that would have many others dead. You are no wuss." said Jim, then added, "I'm proud of you."
Blair looked into those ice blue eyes and knew that what he said was true. Jim wouldn't lie to him, would he? "Yeah?" he asked, looking for affirmation from the man he looked up to most.
Jim gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze and smiled. "Yeah," he said. "A wuss wouldn't have done what you did out there. Besides," he said with a smile, "unwritten house rule here has no wusses allowed." He gave Blair's shoulder another squeeze, then asked, "You gonna be all right now? You think you can go to sleep now?"
Blair looked sheepishly at his friend and nodded. "Yeah," he said, "Thanks, Jim." He burrowed into the mussed sheets and smiled as Jim tucked him in, the Brother mode having kicked in. "Thanks for everything." He watched as the older man smiled and reached over to switch off the lamp and retrieve his gun. Blair spotted it and his heart skipped a beat as he flashed on Artie pointing the gun at him at the rest stop and the recent nightmare.
Jim heard Blair's heart skip and immediately sat back down on the bed, resting a hand on his partner's shoulder. "You ok, Chief?" he asked, concerned.
Blair swallowed and calmed down before nodding. "Yeah," he said. "Just flashed. I'm ok now." Looking at the now dark figure beside him. "Really."
Jim wasn't entirely convinced. "You want me to stick around til you fall asleep?"
Now Blair felt uncomfortable. He knew Jim meant well, but he didn't want to be treated like a kid who was afraid of the bogeyman. And yet, at the same time, he didn't want the Sentinel to leave just now. So he compromised. "You don't have to."
Jim smiled and pulled over a nearby chair to sit in. "No problem." he said. "You just relax. There's nothing here gonna hurt you and if there is," he added, looking for Blair's reaction. "Your Blessed Protector will knock its ass down seven flights of stairs." He smiled as he got the expected chuckle from his young friend.
"G'night, Jim." Blair yawned and curled up on his side, settling into sleep.
Jim settled in his chair and listened as Blair's breathing settled into that of a sleeper. "G'night, Chief."
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