Redhawke.org
Something About Sandburg
By: Lady Shelley

Blair is in a car accident in a bad part of town.

Rated PG       March 17, 2000         21K

Warnings: None (Any Volvo babes might want to cover their eyes though <g>)
Spoilers: None
Thanks to Toni for beta reading. Thanks Toni!
Internal thoughts are in italics

~~~~~~~~

It was a dark and stormy night.

Blair looked at the journal entry, and scratched the line out. The entire page looked the same, line after line crossed out in frustration. He had hoped writing things down would calm him down in the process, but he was still too wound up to think clearly. He knew he had to get himself under control before Jim came home and heard his heart rate going a mile a minute.

~~~~~~~~

Earlier that afternoon

Leaving the university, Blair remembered it was his night to cook. He wasn't in the mood for Chinese or Italian, and decided to try one of his 'witchity grub' recipes out for Jim. There was an ethnic foods store over on Downing that would have everything he needed. He just wouldn't tell Jim he was going to that part of town for the special chilies and other spices he needed for his chicken recipe. Blair didn't see the danger in the older part of the city; he had lived only a few blocks north of the area up until a year ago. But any time he mentioned going into The Point, as it was called, Jim would make a face or mention something about the "high crime in that part of town" or how "no matter what the police did it just wasn't safe". Blair decided not telling Jim how often he was in the area would be easier for both of them. Jim wouldn't worry and Blair wouldn't have to listen to the lectures.

Turning from 6th Street onto Downing, Blair was thinking of the ingredients he would need for supper, the lecture he needed to give in two days, and when he would fit time in at the station with Jim when he heard a horn blare just before the front bumper of his car collided with a green Buick coming from Downing.

Rubbing his wrist from where it hit the window, Blair got out of the car to inspect the damage. The driver of the Buick was already out of his car, along with three very large men that screamed 'bodyguard.'

"You color blind or somethin'?" the driver yelled at Blair shoving him back against the Volvo.

"Hey, man, back off," Blair answered giving a shove of his own. "It was an accident." The Volvo was relatively fine, nothing a little bodywork and paint wouldn't fix. The Buick, however, wasn't going anywhere without a tow truck. The front bumper was bent up into the radiator and coolant was leaking onto the pavement.

Blair turned back to his car intent on calling for the tow and police, when a hand clamped down on his shoulder and spun him back to face the driver.

"That's my ride, Mr. Flower Power. And I got business that can't wait. So, since it was your fault in the first place, I think we'll just be taking your car, P.O.S. that it is, and be on our way."

Blair tried to protest further, but was grabbed by one of the toughs while the other two transferred what looked like silver briefcases from the Buick to his car. He could only imagine what was in the cases and the type of business that could be handled in this part of town. The Point was in an older part of town that had yet to see the redevelopment boom. It was mostly boarded storefronts and the occasional pedestrian.

The driver, who Blair had dubbed Slime Ball #1, came back over to him with a knife in one hand and Blair's backpack in the other.

"Now then, we don't need any official interference in our business, so I think you will have to disappear."

Blair jerked out of the hold of Slime Ball #2 and tried to make a run for it. Unfortunately, Slime Ball #2 was faster than he looked and grabbed Blair by the wrist he had hurt in the accident.

With a grimace, Blair tried to twist out of the hold, with no luck. Thankfully, the owner of one of the still-open shops chose that moment to investigate the goings-on in the street.

"Hey, what's going on out here? I don't want to see no trouble, so you all better just take your argument somewhere else before I call the cops!"

One of the toughs got out of the Volvo and headed over to his boss as the storeowner went back inside.

"Come on, man. We're late as it is. Cut him if you're goin' to and let's get out of here."

Slime Ball #1 glanced at the store windows around him, and put away the knife.

"Next time, man, you won't get off so easy," Slime Ball #1 threatened. Looking at his hired muscle holding on to Blair, he continued, "Give him a lesson in paying attention to where he's going and let's go."

Before Blair could defend himself, Slime Ball #2 drove a fist into his side and let him drop to the pavement. He hit the asphalt with his knees hard, and rolled into a ball as he tried to catch his breath. He heard the Volvo start, and managed to roll out of its path to avoid being hit by his own car.

~~~~~~~~

Present time

Jim pulled the truck into the lot for the loft. Getting out, he noticed Blair's Volvo was nowhere to be seen.

Chief, you better have a good excuse for not being here when it's your night to cook, Jim thought to himself.

For once, he reached the elevator as it was opening on the ground floor. He greeted Mrs. Peterson and held the door open for her, and once she was out, he pushed the button for the third floor.

Unlocking the door to the loft, Jim was surprised to hear the slow, regular heartbeat of a sleeper coming from Sandburg's room. Definitely not the sounds of dinner being prepared. The next thing he noticed was the wet jacket dripping onto Blair's backpack, a backpack looking the worse for wear since this morning.

Before he could check his roommate, the phone rang.

"Ellison."

"Jim, please tell me Sandburg is with you." Simon's voice came through the line sounding agitated.

"Yeah, Simon, he's in his room. What's the matter, the computer in your office crash or something?" Jim said with a slight laugh.

"No. I just got a call from Traffic that a Volvo matching the description and license plate of your partner's car is being dragged from the river. Since it's registered to a member of Major Crime, I was notified. I'm on my way to the site now. I want the two of you to meet me there."

"What? Simon, I need to call you back." Jim hung up the phone before Simon could say anything further. Stopping only long enough to set the phone down on the kitchen table, Jim knocked on the doors to Blair's room.

"Chief, I need to talk to you." Not waiting for a response, Jim opened the door and stepped into near darkness. Clouds obscured what little light would come through the window, and the only light on in the room was the tiny bed light Blair used to read by at night.

Blair himself lay curled on his side facing the window. His journal lay near the foot of the bed. Jim glanced at the book and did a double take at the scrawled mess of the left hand page. He then zeroed his sight in on the right hand page and his partner's thoughts:

Oh man, is Jim going to be pissed. I can see his face now all scowled up and hard at
yet another Sandburg mis-adventure. "How many times have I told you not to be in that
part of town when it's getting dark" Blah, blah, blah. Here's a news flash for you Ellison,
I'm not a child. Just because I happen to be in school does not mean I'm some kid who
needs a keeper.

Of course, this argument will hold absolutely no water once Jim gets home and sees me.

Good grief, would it kill you to at least listen to him once in a while?

"Hey, Sandburg. You want to tell me how you got home if your car is in the river." Jim tried to sound humorous and unworried as he closed the journal and moved it to the desk.

"Jim? Hey, man, I didn't hear you come in." Blair's voice sounded quiet compared to his usual boisterous self.

"Chief, look at me," Jim said, turning on the main light in the room. Turning from the light switch back to the bed, Ellison was shocked by the appearance of his friend. Blair's clothes were damp and muddy, and his skin was pale.

Jim moved over to the bed as the younger man rolled onto his back. "Jesus, Chief, what happened to you?" Receiving no answer, Jim grasped the man by his left wrist intent on getting him out of the wet, dirty clothes he was wearing and into the shower. As soon as he grabbed the arm, however, Blair gave a yelp of pain and pulled his arm free.

Rubbing the sore wrist, Blair looked up at the older man, his brain catching up to something Jim said a few seconds ago. "Did you say my car was in the river? Oh, that's just great. First, it gets stolen and now it's in the river? I'm pretty sure water damage is not covered in my insurance." The attempt at humor fell flat when he tried to take a deep breath and gasped a little from the pain.

When Blair looked up, Jim got a better look at the bruise forming on the left side of his face and pain lines around the man's eyes. He also noted that Blair was holding his left wrist gingerly and his posture was hunched.

"The car can wait, Sandburg. You wanna tell me what happened to you?" While he was talking, Jim coaxed Blair off the bed and into the bathroom. He was about to check Sandburg's injuries further when the phone rang again.

Leaving his partner perched on the closed toilet seat, Jim left the bathroom to pick up the phone.

"Ellison," he said walking back into the tiny room.

"So, is he all right?" Simon's voice asked.

"I think he will be, but I need to run him over to the ER. His wrist might be broken and he's acting like there could be a problem with his ribs. I haven't had a chance to really check him over yet."

"Has he told you how his car ended up in the river?"

"No, not yet. Look, Simon, I really need to get him taken care of here. I guess meeting you where they found the car is out. I'll call you later."

"Don't bother. If you're heading to the hospital, I'll meet you there. Someone needs to get the kid's statement."

"Fine, we'll see you there," Jim said and disconnected the call.

"Jim, I'm fine, man, I don't need a hospital visit. I'm just really tired and a little sore. Some tea, aspirin, and sleep and I'll be good as new," Blair said as soon as Jim was off the phone.

"It's the ‘little sore' part I'm worried about, Chief. Your wrist might be broken so it needs X-rays at the very least. You're looking better than when I first came home, so grab a shower and some dry clothes and we'll head over. Do you need any help here?"

"No, like I said, I'm fine. Really." Blair stood and started to remove his shirt. Jim was walking out of the bathroom and closing the door when he caught the other man's reflection in the mirror. A large blackish purple bruise covered Blair's side.

"If I wasn't sure before, I am now, Chief. As soon as you're done in here we're taking a trip to the emergency room," Jim said closing the door.

~~~~~~~

Blair was sitting on the bed in one of the ER cubicles and Jim was in the chair next to him when Simon found the pair an hour after his last call to the loft.

"So, what's the verdict?" Simon asked pointing to Sandburg's taped wrist and hunched position.

"A broken wrist and two bruised ribs," Blair answered. "Thankfully I don't need to stay long enough to sample the cuisine. All we're waiting for is someone to come by and put a cast on me and I'm free."

"Then this would be the perfect time for you to tell us what happened this afternoon. And how your car ended up in the river."

With a sigh and a look toward Jim, Blair started telling his story. "It started out so simply. All I needed was some stuff to make dinner from that little grocery on Downing."

Part way through his account, an orderly came in to cast Blair's arm. Once he was finished, he told Blair the doctor had some final instructions for him and then he would be released. Thanking the man, Blair concluded his story.

"After my car left without me, I tried to get into one of the stores around and call you. Slime Ball #1 had taken out the battery for my cell and I couldn't find a pay phone. Everything was closed though, so I started walking."

No wonder he looked so pale. And of course he just had to go to a store in The Point. How many times have I told him it's not safe down there, Jim thought to himself.

"You're telling me you walked all the way back across town in the rain?" Jim asked, incredulous. "There had to be a pay phone somewhere, Chief, why didn't you call?"

"I didn't walk all the way home; there was a bus stop about two miles from where the Volvo and I parted company. And there wasn't a pay phone that worked in that part of town."

Blair ducked his head away from Ellison's stare and thought to himself, That's right idiot, give the man more rope to hang you with.

Out loud, he said, "I do not need a lecture here, Jim. I'm well aware of where I was and I don't need you getting pissy about it right now."

Jim was taken aback by the tone. Blair was many things, but surly usually wasn't one of them. What does he think I am? A keeper? Treating him like a kid? Jim thought to himself remembering the journal entry. Does he expect me to just not care about someone who's been living with me for the past year or so? Some misunderstandings here need to get cleared up, fast.

Simon was startled at the tone the observer used, but before he could say anything, the doctor came in and effectively ended the conversation again.

"Mr. Sandburg, you're free to go. I have a prescription for painkillers here. Those bones are going to start to ache soon, so I suggest you fill it." The doctor paused as Jim took the slip of paper and pocketed it.

"Don't worry, it will get filled. Anything else?" Jim asked.

"No, not really. Just be sure to keep that cast dry, Mr. Sandburg, and your ribs taped and you should be fine. You'll need to see your regular doctor in about a week to make sure your ribs are healing and the cast should stay on for at least four weeks." The doctor made a few more notes in Blair's chart, handed over a stack of forms for Blair to sign, and left.

Tossing aside the papers, Blair moved toward the second chair in the room, the one that held his clothes. "Come on, guys, this isn't a peep show."

Jim rose from his chair and motioned Simon to leave the room. To Blair he said, "I'll go get your prescription filled and bring the truck around while you finish up here."

~~~~~~~

Jim unlocked the door and let Blair precede him into the loft. Blair slowly took off his jacket, hung it up, and headed for his room.

"I've had a long day to say the least, man. I'm goin' to bed."

Jim looked at the softly closed doors for a moment then moved into the kitchen. Glancing at the clock on the microwave, he realized why he was suddenly hungry: it was almost eight-thirty and he hadn't had anything to eat since lunch. Remembering Blair's comment before they left for the hospital, Jim set the teakettle on a burner to heat water. Hunting around in the freezer, Jim found some chili for a late supper and started it thawing in the microwave. Turning to the cabinets, he got down bowls and a cup for Blair's tea. Not a sound was heard from the downstairs bedroom through the entire process.

When the kettle started to whistle, he poured a cup, and walked back to the lower bedroom. Knocking softly, he opened the door and set the tea on the desk.

"Here's your tea, Chief. The pain meds say you need to take them on a full stomach. I've got chili thawing out. It should be ready to eat in another ten minutes or so." Jim paused before leaving again to see if Sandburg would say anything. Receiving no response, he went back to the kitchen to check on the food.

After a few seconds, he heard movement in the bedroom. Jim could hear the scrape of the cup sliding off the desk and a soft "Thanks, Jim." from his partner.

Jim nodded to himself. He would get Sandburg to eat something, and take the pain pills. Tomorrow they could talk.

***end***


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