RATED PG-13 FOR LANGUAGE.
Jim lay in his hospital bed, looking over at the next one where Blair slept. He watched the steady rise and fall of his partner's chest -- and he let his mind wander.
Jim watched Blair and asked himself, How did this happen? How did a long-haired Neo-Hippie with a nonstop motormouth and a perpetual motion machine inside him worm his way into my life like he did?
He sighed as, once again, the truth reached out and tickled him between the eyebrows. The reason behind Blair's behavior toward him became suddenly crystal-clear once more.
Blair loved him.
That was why Blair disobeyed his orders to stay in the truck. That was why he seemed to be compelled to stay by Jim's side. It went beyond Sentinel and Guide. It even went beyond friendship.
Friendship was powerful, but it had to be some kind of friendship for Blair to do what he did today -- throw himself in front of Jim and take the bullet from that druggie's gun that was meant for Jim. It had to be some kind of friendship for Blair to stay with him -- it had cost him his position at the university; it had cost him his reputation, which he was still rebuilding; hell, at one point, it had even cost Blair his life!
But Blair still stayed.
Because he loved Jim.
A smile crossed Jim's face as his thoughts turned to his own feelings. He felt the same way.
Oh, sure, he was all bluster and guff, but when it came right down to it, he loved Blair too. Why else would he have pulled Blair to him and covered both his eyes and ears as the druggie turned the pistol on himself? Why else would he have reacted so strongly when the doctors in this little backwater town the truck had broken down in had run out of the blood necessary to help Blair heal? Why else would he have begun to change himself -- to loosen up?
Because he loved Blair.
Brothers, Jim thought as he watched Blair sleep in the next bed over --- as he watched Blair finally begin to heal from the failed robbery attempt. Brothers in all but blood.
Jim's eyes trailed to the long, thin tube that connected him and Blair across the chasm between their beds.
And now, Jim thought with a smile, we're even brothers in THAT.
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