Bullets Fly By
by Kimberly Workman
Summary: Jim saves Blair from a criminal's bullet, but the outcome may be the end of the Sentinel. #1 in the Broken Spirit Series.
Disclamer: Not mine.
"Why don't you ever listen to me?" Jim asked his Guide as they sat in the darkened truck facing a warehouse across the street and down the block, on a late night stakeout. "I told you that it's no big deal!"
"No big deal? Your hearing is dulled and you say it's no big deal?! I can't believe you!" Blair was animate.
"Calm down! It's nothing. Maybe I just need some down time," Jim explained.
He was right about that. Jim had been working way too much, pulling 18 hour days for the past month trying to catch the criminal Paul Genard. He was the reason for the stakeout tonight. Genard had been transporting drugs from a warehouse down on Main, but he always seemed to be clean when the police searched him. Jim was tired of the case and was sure tonight was the night they were going to catch him. Tonight was Blair and Jim's turn on stakeout, Simon had already assigned three other teams to the detail, but all had come up empty-handed. Suddenly, movement in the warehouse window caught Jim's eye.
"There's our guy," Jim said as he pointed to a second story window.
Blair looked up and saw a shadowed figure. They both watched as the figure walked away from the window, the light going off upstairs, and minutes later Genard came out the front door carrying a suitcase.
"Got him! There's cocaine in there, I can sense it," Jim said as he cautiously smelled the air. He knew not to open his sense of smell full blast or else the results could be dire.
"Stay in the truck, I'm going in," Jim said as he eased out of the truck, gun drawn. He tossed Blair the cell phone before he left, giving Blair his regular "not-a-cop" job.
"Cascade PD, freeze!" yelled Jim as he bounded out of the truck towards Genard. Genard looked up shocked, threw the briefcase down, and retreated back into the warehouse. Jim followed, leaving Blair without a clue as to what was going on inside.
'I can't stay here. What if Jim needs me or what if his hearing really will be a problem?' Blair thought. "I've got to go in," he said as he grabbed the cell phone; hurrying out of the truck and up the street.
Blair stopped at the warehouse door and peered silently through the crack to see what was going on. Jim was off to the side with gun drawn, trying to find sight of Genard. He caught a glimpse of Blair and whirled around.
"Don't point that thing at me!" Blair exclaimed in a hushed tone.
"What are you doing here?" Jim whispered. "I TOLD you to wait in the truck!"
"And miss all the excitement? What kind of a deal is that?" Blair asked smiling, his voice gaining a slight volume. He was stopped from saying anymore as Jim waved his hand at him.
"He's here, I just haven't seen him yet. My hearing's not picking up much either..." Jim began, but bullets started firing and he stopped his explaination.Blair and Jim ducked behind an empty crate just in time to miss a fatal bullet.
"Whoa! That's too exciting for me, man," Blair said. "I think I'll go wait in the truck, like you said." Blair started to rise, but the gun fired again, causing him to duck down behind the safety of the crates.
"Genard, you don't need to put up such a fight. You might as well surrender, we've got the place surrounded," Jim lied.
Silence. Jim started to come out of their hiding place and Blair followed. Just then Jim turned his head, hearing a gun trigger being cocked. He scanned the room and focused on the gun just as it was being fired...straight at Blair!
"Chief!" Jim yelled as he tackled Blair and started firing rounds at Genard. At the same moment he felt a searing pain enter his back as the bullet found a mark. Jim crumpled to the ground beside Blair.
"Jim! Oh no...Jim!" Blair yelled. There was silence in the warehouse. He didn't know if Genard was still there, he didn't care. His Sentinel was hurt. He could see the blood from Jim's back start to soak his shirt.
"Jim, I'm calling an ambulance," Blair said as he unsteadily opened the cell phone and dialed 911. As he completed the call and shut off the phone he saw that the Sentinel was in great pain.
"Jim? Can you hear me?" Blair asked, frightened.
"Oh Chief, it hurts," Jim hissed, sucking the words in through his teeth.
"I know it does, but you have to stay calm. Dial it down. The ambulance will be here any minute."
Minutes that seemed like hours slowly ticked by. Blair heard sirens and then Simon rushed through the warehouse door as medics soon followed.
As the medics rushed to help Jim, Simon pulled Blair up and questioned "What happened here?" Blair started to recount the events, finally pointing to the gunman's firing position. "Jim got off a few rounds, but I don't know if he hit him. Simon, Jim's hurt bad, man," Blair said almost in tears.
The medics had strapped Jim to a stretcher and were getting ready to transport him out. "I've got to go with him," Blair said as he began to walk away from the Captain. Simon watched as Blair raced out with the stretcher and then he went to get his car in order to follow them to the hospital.
The ride to the hospital was unbearable for Blair. He held his Sentinel's hand, never letting go. He kept telling Jim to breath, dial down the pain, but he could see the Jim was in a state of unbearable hurt.
When they arrived at the hospital Blair was ordered to stay out in the waiting area while they wheeled Jim into the ER. Blair was not alone for long, as Simon blew in soon afterward.
"Anything yet?" Simon asked.
"No, they just told me to wait here and they'd come back when they knew something," Blair said as he sat in the plastic green waiting room chair, wringing his hands.
Simon sat next to him. "I know this is hard, but just keep calm. Jim's a fighter, he'll be okay," Simon assured Blair.
Simon's cell phone rang, making both men jump. Blair paid little attention to the one-sided conversation, deciding to focus on the metal swinging doors that separated him from Jim. Simon shut the phone and turned to Blair.
"Well, it looks like Jim got Genard. Brown said that they found the body along with $5 million worth of cocaine in that warehouse."
"Great..." Blair said flatly. Simon decided not to push him for more conversation.
They sat out there silently for over four hours, with Simon getting hourly reports on the crime scene situation. Blair paced the floor, collapsed in the chair, and paced the floor again. He repeated this routine the whole time. Moments after the fourth-hour update a doctor entered.
"Anyone here for a Detective James Ellison?" the doctor questioned. Blair and Simon jumped up. "Okay, we've removed the bullet and there doesn't seem to be any severance of the spinal cord, which we were afraid of. That's the good news. The bad news is that there is extensive swelling, so the spinal cord is being pinched," the doctor explained.
"Translation?" Blair questioned.
"At the moment, Mr. Ellison has lost motor function in his legs," the doctor replied.
"You mean paralysis," Blair said as he sank down in his chair again, color draining from his face.
"Yes, but it should be only temporary. Once the swelling goes down the pressure should relieve the pinching," the doctor said. He waited a few seconds then said, "I've got to get to my other patients. Mr. Ellison is being set up in Room 412. You can go see him in about an hour. If you have any further questions, please have me paged." He then left the waiting room without a word from either Blair or Simon.
"Paralysis, Simon. He said paralysis," Blair stammered, still white as a ghost.
"Yeah...but he also said it's probably temporary. Jim's going to be fine, you know that," Simon assured him.
"He's got to be...for both our sakes," Blair countered. The whole time he waited Blair repeated his previous routine of pacing/collapsing/pacing. After about an hour of misery, Simon pulled Blair up from his seat and despair.
"Let's go see him," Simon said.
Blair walked silently in front of Simon to the elevator. Riding up in silence to the fourth floor, he exited and searched for Jim's room. When they found it Simon stopped.
"I'll wait out here, you need to go in there alone right now," Simon told Blair.
"No, Simon, I can't..."
"Yes you can, now go...That's an order!" Simon pushed Blair towards the door.
Blair stopped and took a deep breath,then opened the door to see his partner, his Sentinel, lying motionless on the hospital bed. An IV ran into his right arm and monitors beeped around him, monitoring his breathing and his heart rate. Blair cautiously walked over to the bed.
"Jim? Jim, can you hear me?" Blair asked.
Jim moaned and turned his head to the sound. His eyes timidly opened half-way. "Chief?" he whispered.
Blair felt a wave of relief mixed with great sadness. "Hey there Jim," he quietly said, trying to smile. "How you feeling?"
"Like I've been run through the wringer one too many times," he replied. "I messed up big time. I should have heard him, he was right there and I didn't hear him in time. What good is being a Sentinel when the one sense you need fails you at the most critical time?"
"No! You are not at fault here, if anything it was me. I should have stayed in the truck." Blair knew he was right. If he had only stayed in the truck, then Jim would not have had to protect him. What good was being a Guide when you failed your Sentinel, causing him such great harm?
"Sandburg, you could never stay in the truck. You're like a little antsy kid, gotta be where the action is!" Jim smiled.
"Yeah, you got me pegged...You got him though. Simon said they found his body and the cocaine."
"Well, that's one good thing that came out of this." Jim reached down and laid his hands on his now useless legs. "I guess I'll get that down time now."
It was almost too much for Blair, but he put up a brave front. "Don't get too used to it, man. Before you know it you'll be up and at the station again. Simon is not going to let you stay out for long, you know" Blair half-smiled.
"Yeah," Jim said half-heartedly, "Whatever you say Chief." Jim looked away, thinking about what he was going to do next. A Sentinel's no use when he can't even walk. Forget the Sentinel part, more importantly he couldn't be a cop. His life was over.
"Hey, you're looking a little tired. I'll let you get some rest. You want me to get some things at the Loft and then come back here or what?"
"No, you go on home. I'll be fine. Just come back tomorrow, okay?" Jim needed to be alone, to sort out all the events that had occurred. Besides, Blair looked worse than Jim felt, so he needed to go home.
"Of course I will, whatever you want. I'll see you tomorrow then. You just rest," Blair said as he left Jim's bedside. He entered the hall where Simon was waiting.
"Well, how is he?"
"Alot better than I am," Blair said as he crumpled against the wall. "He told me to go home until tomorrow, but I don't know if I can face that empty Loft though." Blair slid down the wall to the floor. Blair knew that Jim could hear everything he said, but he was both too tired to care and, in a way, needing for Jim to hear his true feelings.
"Come on Sandburg," Simon said as he pulled him up and put an arm around Blair's shoulder, "I'll take you home. You have to be brave for Jim's sake."
"Yeah Chief," Jim said silently to the wall as he lay in his bed, listening to the outside conversation, "Be brave for me because I'm going to need your confidence. I can't do this alone and I certainly don't want to."
Blair and Simon walked down the hall as Jim lay awake in his bed, thinking. All three wondered what the future held for Jim Ellison, the Sentinel, their friend.