Disclaimers: Boys not mine; I just borrow them from time to time when the muse moves me.

Special Thanks to my Beta Queen, Zoe, without whom I'd be doomed to a life of grammatical inaccuracy. Also God bless my beta Ari, who has the kindness and tenacity to ensure that what you read is worthy. Last, but most certainly not least, for my beautiful friend, Heather, whose incredible command of the English language allows her to provide me with individually needed words at a moment's notice.

Thank you to wolfpup for giving my work a great home.

Warnings: H/C, Angst, Smarm, and usually a bit of colorful language

Spoilers: Takes place right after the incident with the Golden.


Sam Mallory

It was another Monday. God, how could he face another one. Could anything more go wrong today? Blair wondered depressingly.

Trudging up to the loft, his backpack weighing him down almost as much as his worries, he finally approached the door.

"This door is all that stands between me and a hot shower," he whispered, prodding himself into moving forward. It's all about baby steps, he thought, chuckling to himself.

His key scraped loudly in the lock as it found its mark and slid home. He pushed open the door, willing himself to drag his aching body through the door.

It had only been a week since leaving the hospital. The Golden was out of his system and he prayed to every deity he could think of that the flashbacks would be minimal. His body ached from all the acrobats in the garage. Fighting golden fire people could be a full time job, he thought ruefully.

"Oh, yeah. You are way too tired here, man. Now you're talking to yourself. Out loud, even," Blair chastised openly, shaking his head in almost hysterical amusement.

"Who you talking to, Chief?" Jim asked, his brows knitted in confusion.

"Myself, sorry. I'll have to take a rain check on the game, Jim, but I am completely wiped out," Blair relayed with drooping eyes.

Jim sighed. "That's okay, Blair. I know how tired you must be."

Blair dumped his backpack just inside his bedroom door and made his way into the bathroom. Heating up the water, the steam building, he climbed into the near scalding water and sighed as the drops pelted his body.

Jim strolled over to the balcony doors after turning off the game. It had been a week since he'd almost lost his Guide and he felt like he hadn't gotten him back yet.

Something happened when Blair woke up in that hospital room. Jim was so busy falling to his knees with relief that he didn't realize until later that the light that made his partner Blair Sandburg had died.

He took a long pull of his third beer of the night. Shrugging off the sudden chill, he diverted to the phone when it rang. "Ellison."

"Jim, you sound tired."

"More than you know, Simon. What's up? Do we have another case?"

"No, Jim. This is actually a courtesy call. Several officers within the narcotics division are being investigated by IA and I thought I'd give you a head's up since you did a lot of work with them when you were in vice," Simon stated very carefully.

"Am I on the list?" Jim asked, his jaw twitching.

"Haven't seen it and you know I couldn't tell you that if I had. I just didn't want one of my best detectives putting some pencil pushing putz through a wall when he comes to work in the morning and gets a bit of hassle after breakfast," Simon warned, the smile evident in his voice.

"Now, Simon. Would I do that?" Jim asked, the portrait of innocence.

"You bet your ass. Don't mess with me, Ellison. I know my men! Now speaking of my men, how's Sandburg doing?"

"Hell, I don't know Simon. He's shut himself off and he won't tell me a damn thing. I don't know what to do, Simon. It's like he's just not there anymore. I feel like I've lost my Guide," Jim confided, then stepped over to the balcony and lowered his voice as he continued. "My senses have been spiking all over the damn place, Simon, and I want to talk to the kid, but I'm afraid if I do, it'll be game over. He'll leave me, Simon and I can't survive without him. I will lose my fucking mind if he leaves me," Jim finished, choking up a bit.

The soft gasp behind him caused him to turn around rapidly. "Oh shit! Simon, I gotta go. I'll see you tomorrow and I promise not to throw IA out the window as long as they stay on my good side," he finished, his eyes never once leaving his Guide. Jim hung up the phone.

"I'm sorry, Chief. I didn't mean to lay all that on you. I thought you were still in the shower," Jim apologized, scrubbing his hands across his face.

"Why did you say all that?" Blair asked defiantly.

Jim sighed and took a really deep breath. "Because... because it's all true," he replied, looking into the surprised eyes of his Guide.

"But, but I thought that you wanted me to leave," Blair gasped out, unable to meet his partner's eyes.

"What! Why in the hell would you think that?" Jim demanded angrily.

"In the hospital," Blair began quietly. "You said you wished that you had never met me. You said that you would give anything to take back that moment," Blair explained dejectedly.

"Ah God, Chief. I meant that if you had never met me that you wouldn't be laying in a hospital bed in a coma. And I can tell you right now that if the price that I had to pay for your friendship was your death... Well, it's just too damn high, Blair," Jim choked out. "I could never pay that price, Chief. You just mean too damn much to me."

Blair smiled and looked up at his Sentinel with glistening eyes. "You know what, Jim. I think that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."

Jim returned Blair's smile knowing that sometimes the nicest things in life were the ones that you would give up anything to have.

The End