No Bed of Roses by Patt

No Bed of Roses - Patt

Warnings: Angsty, violence and very much a Jim Owwie story.

When Jim was in the locker room beginning to clean up after finishing up a very messy case, two officers confronted him. He felt somewhat uncomfortable wearing only a towel.

“Ellison, do you think your kind should be in our locker room?”

Jim knew that there would be problems when they were accidentally outed at the station but he was hoping for at least a week to prepare for it. Sighing, he turned and said, “You got a problem, Landers?”

“I sure do, Ellison. I don’t think that you belong here anymore. Why don’t you do us all a big favor and quit?” Landers growled out as he was walking by.

“Well, I was good enough to save your ass last month, wasn’t I?” Jim asked getting right up into Landers’s face.

“I would have rather died than have been saved by a fag. God, you fucking make me sick to my stomach. Don’t you know how much the guys around here hate you?” Landers asked.

“You’re such a fucking whiner, Landers. Grow up and shut the fuck up,” Jim said.

Before Jim even had a chance to think, four men his size held him against his will and shoved him up against his closed locker. “You think you are so cool, Ellison, don’t you? Well, we could show you how helpless you really are.”

The four men then drug a kicking and fighting Jim into the shower and held him under the very hot water until Jim yelled out, “You son-of-a-bitch. Do you think I won’t tell Captain Banks or IA?” Jim was still fighting them and giving them a run for their money.

“So tell. There are four of us, one of you. Who do you think they’ll believe? Four upstanding cops or the fag cop,” Landers said, finally letting go of Jim, but his friends still had a tight hold on Jim.

Conner walked into the locker room and just stared at all of them, and she saw Jim being shoved further into the shower. She just stood there. Jim pleaded with Megan with his eyes but she turned away and walked out of the room. Jim struggled as the four men once again held him against his will, handcuffed him to the pole in the middle of the room and then proceeded to strip the towel off of him. Jim fought them off as well as a person could that was handcuffed. It was not an easy task. Jim continued to fight them with the strength of two men. It still wasn’t enough when there were four, just as strong. “Landers, you had best watch your back because I will fucking kill you,” Jim said with such hatred that he hoped Landers would believe him.

They all laughed as they walked out of the room and Jim was left there wet, cold and naked, handcuffed to the pole. No way out until someone would set him free. Jim was still in shock about Megan Conner. She was one of Blair’s best friends. She and he had never been close but Blair and Conner had always been best friends. Jim just leaned his head into the pole and tried to take deep breaths until someone got there.

He heard someone coming into the room and saw it was Rafe and Brown. Both men ran over to Jim, Brown un-cuffing him and Rafe giving him a towel. “Who did this, Jim?” Brown asked.

“It doesn’t fucking matter, Brown. I’ll take care of it,” Jim said savagely.

“It does matter, Jim. Simon will have to hear about this,” Rafe said.

“They want me to go and whine to Simon. That’s what they’re waiting for,” Jim said, getting dressed into his change of clothing from his locker.

“Where's Hairboy?” Rafe asked.

“He’s fine, Bri, he’s with Conner,” Brown said.

“What do you mean he’s with Conner?” Jim questioned.

“He’s upstairs doing the paperwork from the case they were working on. Don’t worry so much, Jim. We’ll keep our eyes on him,” Brown stated.

“Thanks, guys,” Jim said as he started out of the room, then turning back he said, “Will you guys keep this to yourselves? I don’t want Sandburg to know.”

“Jim, that’s not a good idea,” Rafe argued.

“Rafe, how many times have I helped you when you needed it?” Jim asked.

“Fine, but if something happens to you, it will all come back to this and he’ll fucking blame me and Henri,” Rafe assured Jim.

“Don’t worry so much, Rafe,” Jim said as he left the room.

Jim felt as low as he had ever felt in his life. He could never look his friends in the eye again. That was past embarrassing. He was helpless when those guys had him. They were right; they could do anything to him. Big Jim Ellison wasn’t as tough as he thought he was. In fact, he was pretty fucking pathetic. With shoulders slumping a little more with each step, Jim made his way up to see if Blair was all right. And what if he isn’t? You couldn’t help yourself. What makes you think you could help him? Blair deserves better than that.

~~~~~

“So what the hell was that about?” Rafe asked Brown.

“Who knows? I mean, you know Ellison. He’ll never tell us who it was,” Brown said.

“I still think we should tell Simon,” Brown suggested.

“Yeah, I do too. Let’s wait for Jim to take off and we’ll tell him,” Rafe said. “I’m afraid that Jim will end up killing one of these men or something. I would guess there's more than one. Not even on a good day could I take him out on my own.”

“Agreed. I think there had to have been at least three or four. Was anyone around here when we were on our way down? Do you remember?” Brown inquired.

“Henri, it was Landers.” Rafe said, “As we came down the stairs, he and his pals were going up.”

“Good, now we have a name. I wonder how long they’ve been hurting one of ours?” Brown wondered aloud.

“I think maybe we should watch them for a few days and then go to Simon,” Rafe said, “What do you think of that idea, Henri?”

“No, I think we should go to see Simon tonight right after Jim leaves,” Henri stated, sticking to his guns.

“Okay, we’ll do that then. I hope we know what we’re doing,” Rafe said as they walked out of the room.

Brown and Rafe were each left to their own thoughts as they walked back up the stairs to the bullpen. Brown was thinking he never thought he’d see the day that Jim Ellison would look like he was giving up, but today he saw that. Rafe was thinking that he’d never seen Jim so quiet and that scared the fuck out of Rafe. When someone like Jim Ellison got that quiet, he could crack and kill someone. Not that Rafe would blame him one bit.

~~~~~

Jim got up to the bullpen and sat at his desk and his partner smiled from his desk and said, “Where have you been?”

Smiling and trying to stay calm, he replied, “I was changing in the locker room.”

Conner walked into the room and Jim stood up and said, “Conner, could I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure, Jim, we’ll go into interrogation room 3. No one's in there,” she said.

Once they got into the room she turned to him and said, “What do you want?”

“Conner, I thought we were all friends,” Jim commented.

“Ellison, we’ve never been friends. Never. I’m friends with Sandy, not you,” Megan pointed out.

“But you know how much we love each other. How could you do this to him?” Jim asked incredulously.

“Ellison, get real. No one cares about you. You’re giving the rest of us a bad name and you’re ruining Blair’s chances of getting anywhere. They’ll start on him soon if you don’t drop him,” Conner warned.

“Conner, they can’t do this. It’s against the law. You know that better than anyone,” Jim remarked.

“Think about it, Ellison, because it won’t be long and they’ll treat him the way they do you. Do you want this to happen to Sandy?” Conner asked Jim flat out.

Jim didn’t answer and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Blair caught up with him and said, “Hey, man, what’s up? Why are you and Megan fighting?”

“Just agreeing to disagree, Blair. Nothing to worry about,” Jim said sadly.

“Is everything all right, Jim?” Blair asked looking at Jim’s face with such love, that Jim almost melted on the spot.

“Yeah, I’m fine, Chief. Want to go out for dinner tonight?” Jim changed the subject.

“Sure Jim. I just need to go get cleaned up and change my clothes,” Blair said heading for the locker room.

“We’ll go home first,” Jim said quickly as he led Blair to the elevator and they got on. Blair glanced over at Jim, seeing the nervous look on his face and knew that something had happened today that Jim wasn’t sharing.

~~~~~

As soon as the two men left, Henri and Rafe walked to Simon’s office and knocked on the door. “Come in,” Simon bellowed.

“Sir, we have something to report,” Rafe said.

“So report it,” Simon said chewing on his cigar and getting short with them, knowing this wasn’t going to be something he wanted to hear.

“Sir,” Brown said, “we found Ellison naked and handcuffed to a pole in the locker room today. We saw the main person as he was leaving the locker room and walking up the stairs.”

“Is Jim all right?” Simon asked. “And why didn’t you report it then?”

“Sir, he made us promise that we wouldn’t tell you,” Brown said nervously.

“But now you are? Why? Why change your mind now? I have to have Ellison sign papers for this, you know that, right?” Simon asked.

“Well, he’s going to have to get past the embarrassment part and realize that they did something to him that shouldn’t have been done to anyone. They’ll go after Hairboy next,” Brown believed.

“Well, I’m going to fill out the paper work and stop by the loft later and see if I can talk to him,” Simon said.

“Sir, maybe you could wait till morning, because Jim didn’t tell Sandburg,” Rafe said quickly.

“Fuck this shit. Sandburg needs to be aware of his partner being accosted at the station. Don’t you agree?” Simon yelled at the two men.

“Yes, we totally agree, sir,” both men answered at the same time, getting ready to make their leave.

“I’ll take care of things, don’t worry,” Simon said shutting the door after the two retreating officers.

Simon sat down at his desk and wondered, how in the hell, this happened, under his nose, his precinct without him hearing about it. He needed to really talk to Jim and Blair about this. Simon got up and walked to the file cabinet to get the paper work needed for this, and threw his cigar across the room. Goddamn you, Ellison. Why did you have to go and out yourself and ruin all of our lives? Banks, get a grip. You’re yelling at the wrong person. You’re supposed to be his friend; their friend. Don’t say or think these things, old man.

Joel appeared at Simon’s door and knocked. “Simon, everything all right?” he said sticking his head in the door.

“Joel, you’re just in time, I could use someone to talk to. Someone that might help me understand what I should do or not do.”

Both men sat down and Joel waited patiently as Simon just chewed on a new cigar, trying to figure out how he would say this to Joel.

“Joel, do you ever get angry at Ellison for sleeping with Sandburg?” Simon inquired.

“Of course not. I think they make a great couple,” Joel said in all honesty.

“Never once, did you think that Ellison might be ruining something that shouldn’t be messed with?” Simon still wanted to know.

“No, Simon. Never. I think from day one, they were meant to be. Blair calmed Jim all the time. He could control him right off. I saw love in their eyes even before they knew,” Joel remarked.

“Well, I have to file a report with IA and I’d like your help on this. I don’t know how to get Jim to go along with it.” Simon said.

“Something happened to Blair?” Joel asked worriedly.

“No, it was Ellison they got in the locker room,” Simon said sighing loudly.

“Who got Jim in the locker room?” Joel asked standing up, immediately going into his protective mode.

“It was an officer from downstairs, and I have his name. But Jim was leaving it be. He’s not filed a report. Rafe and Brown came to me. They want something done. They found Jim naked and handcuffed to a pole in the locker room,” Simon confessed.

“Is Jim all right?” Joel asked concern written all over his kind face.

“He’s fine, I didn’t even know about it. But now I have to do something. Now I need someone to help me talk Ellison into it,” Simon stated.

“You can count on me, Simon.”

“You want to go and grab some dinner and I’ll fill you in on it? I can also get these reports ready to go,” Simon asked.

“Sounds good, Simon,” Joel said as they each walked through the doorway. Joel knew that things would never be the same for any of them as of this day. He found that very disheartening

~~~~~

The drive home for Jim and Blair was very quiet. Once they arrived Blair jumped into the shower and asked Jim if he wanted to join him. “No thanks, Chief, remember, I just showered at work?”

“Jim, get your ass in here,” Blair demanded.

Jim walked into the bathroom and looked at his semi-naked lover and tried not to think about sex. “What do you need, Blair?” Jim asked calmly.

“Okay, you rarely call me Blair unless you’re in trouble or you’re saying you love me. What’s going on? I want to know right now.” Blair began to get dressed, he wasn’t in the mood for a shower any longer.

“Chief, there's nothing going on. I had that argument with Conner and it put me in the wrong frame of mind,” Jim said truthfully.

“What are you and Conner fighting about?” Blair asked watching Jim’s face to see if he would lie.

“Chief, does Conner act all right around you since we’ve been outed?”

“Yeah, she’s one of my best friends. Why would that change?” Blair inquired.

“She’s not happy with me. She thinks I’m wrecking your life,” Jim said.

“Man, you must have misunderstood because she knows how much I love you. I’ve told her about us,” Blair admitted.

“Chief, contrary to popular belief, most people at the station aren’t happy about you and me being a couple,” Jim said sadly.

“Man that pisses me off. What's their problem? We’re not hurting anyone. We’re happy. Why should they care, right?” Blair wondered.

“Don’t worry about it now, Chief. Maybe they’ll come around,” Jim added as he walked over to make dinner.

“Want some help there, big guy?”

“No, that’s okay, just sit down and relax. I’ll make dinner tonight,” Jim said as he busily started pulling pots and pans from the cupboard.

Blair knew something was up because Jim hated cooking dinner unless he had to and it wasn’t Jim’s night. So, something was going on. “Hey, Jim, I’m going to go and get us some wine for dinner, okay?”

“Sure, Chief. Be careful,” Jim answered.

As Blair shut and locked the door Jim was left to his thoughts, which sometimes was a very scary place. He sure didn’t know what to do with them. Those men would have to be dealt with or they would end up hurting Blair. Or Jim would have to leave Blair. Could he do that? Yes, he could. He had to. He would have to do what would be best for Blair’s safety. If that meant, they would just go back to being friends, then so be it. The thought of having to leave Blair as his lover made him want to cry. God, you are such a wuss, Ellison. Real men don’t cry. Blair deserves better.

~~~~~

When Blair got to the store, he picked out a nice wine and went to pay for it. Then as soon as he got back in his car, he just sat in it and called Conner on his cell phone. “Conner,” she answered.

“Hey, it’s just me. What’s going on?”

“Nothing much. What are you doing? Are you home?” Conner asked wondering why he was calling her now.

“No, I needed to get some air. So I’m at the store buying some things and decided to call for a second. Are you busy?” Blair asked.

“I’m never too busy to talk to you,” Conner replied.

“Conner, how do you feel about me and Jim being together?” Blair asked quietly.

“You want me to be honest?”

“Yeah, I need you to be honest because, for some reason, Jim's really upset tonight and I need to know why,” Blair pleaded.

“Okay, I hate it. So do most of the other officers in the station. They feel like Jim has ruined your chances of moving up,” Conner confessed.

“Wait a minute! So everyone's mad at Jim?”

“Well, more or less. We all know how he is when he wants something. You probably didn’t even know what you were getting into,” Conner said trying to sound like his best friend.

“Conner, I can’t believe that you of all people would think that? Guess what? Jim’s never been with a guy before. Guess who has been?” Blair barked.

“No way,” Conner said shocked to her very core.

“Conner, it was me. I came on to Jim and it took awhile to talk him into it but I’m like a pit bull when I really want something. I don’t let go,” Blair declared.

“It doesn’t matter, Sandy. They'll still blame him. That’s just part of life,” Conner said.

“Why can’t they just leave us alone and let us be together?”

“Sandy, grow up. This is real life. They don’t like gays on the force. It’s as simple as that,” Conner stated the truth.

“So we won’t be friends anymore, I guess, since you seem to agree with them. You said something to Jim, didn’t you? I know something is going on,” Blair guessed.

“Sandy, he was upset because I didn’t come to his aid in the locker room. I figured if he was so macho he could take care of himself,” Conner shouted.

“He didn’t tell me anything about this. What did someone do?” Blair asked getting angrier than he had ever been in his life.

“I don’t know. When I walked in, they were just shoving him into the shower. Nothing major, Sandy. Jim’s a big boy; he can take care of himself,” Conner spat out.

“No, he can’t. Especially, if there was more than one person. How many were there Conner?”

“There were only four, Sandy. He could take care of himself,” Conner said.

“Stop saying that. We’re supposed to watch each other’s backs. I can’t believe you knew this was going on and didn’t say or do anything. God, I fucking hate you right now. I never want to talk to you again,” Blair said. He shut his cell phone and felt like crying all the way back to the loft, but he didn’t. He needed to be strong for Jim. When he got there he composed himself and walked up the stairs.

Blair opened up the door, walked in and didn’t see Jim. He walked into the kitchen and saw Jim sitting on the floor. Jim was sadder then he had ever seen him. Blair went down on his knees beside him and said, “Jim, I love you so much. No one's going to break us up. Ever.”

“I’m sorry, Blair. I’m so sorry. I wanted your life to be better than this. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m sorry,” Jim got up and walked up the stairs to their bedroom.

Blair just stood there with his mouth hanging open. Did Jim just more or less break up with me? I think not. Blair rushed up the stairs like a man on a mission.

Jim was on the bed, with his back to Blair and said, “I really want to be alone.”

“Tough shit. We’re going to talk about this now. I’m not fooling around here,” Blair demanded.

Jim turned on his side and looked into Blair’s face. He saw that the man he loved was angry. Not at him or even with him. Just angry at the world for not being different. Hell, Jim wished the world was different too.

“What do you want to talk about, Chief? Want to talk about how when they’re all done with me, they’ll start on you? Want to find out how people you’ve worked with for years won’t even look at you now? What?”

“I want to start with you not telling me about the locker room today,” Blair said, voice shaking.

“Fuck… Brown and Rafe said they wouldn’t tell you. Why did they tell you?” Jim asked.

“They didn’t. Conner said something,” Blair said. “What happened that Brown and Rafe would make that kind of promise to you about?”

“It doesn’t matter, Blair. It’s over with now. I’ll take care of things my own way,” Jim promised.

“It matters to me, Jim. Do you love me?” Blair asked as he slid into Jim’s arms.

“Of course I love you. You could never doubt that.”

“Then you have to tell me what’s going on. Jim, I’m not someone that has to be sheltered. Tonight I talked to Conner and I told her to more or less fuck off. I never care if we talk to her again,” Blair explained.

“See, this is what’s going to happen. Soon, we won’t have anyone at the precinct,” Jim said sadly.

“Well then maybe it’s time for us to get out of the business. We could open up our own agency. What do you think?” Blair asked hoping this would give Jim something to think about.

“Blair, you gave up your whole life. You’re now a cop and you’re going to give that up? I don’t’ think so,” Jim stated.

“Jim, you don’t seem to understand what I’m saying. I don’t’ want to work with those assholes. Anyone that would hurt you doesn’t deserve to ever be around you,” Blair said looking deeply into Jim’s eyes.

“Chief, we’ll see if we can’t work it out at the station first. Don’t make me sorry I told you this stuff.”

“Jim, you didn’t tell me anything. Now fill me in on what the guys helped you with in the locker room,” Blair pleaded.

So Jim told him what happened and he watched as his lover got up from the bed and started pacing. He knew that Blair wasn’t mad at him. He was just mad.

“We watch each other’s back from now on. Understood?” Blair asked.

“Understood. We’ll try it your way and see what happens,” Jim agreed.

“Things will either work out or we’ll leave the station. It’s not the end of the world. I’d follow you anywhere, big guy,” Blair confessed.

Jim pulled Blair back onto the bed and said, “Blair, love me.”

“I can do that,” Blair said as he slowly took his clothes off and began taking Jim’s off next. Tonight was going to be a slow lovemaking night. There would be no rushing around. He wanted Jim to feel as if he was worshipped because, after all, he really was.

They would take one day at a time, at the station. Things would work or not. Just like Blair had said. Jim smiled as his lover made him feel like a man with no problems. I can’t believe I considered giving him up.

Jim pulled Blair into his arms and said, “I just want to lie here with you in my arms for a short time. Could I do that?”

“Sure, babe. You can hold me for as long as you want,” Blair agreed.

And hold him, Jim did. They fell asleep knowing that their love was the one thing they could both count on for the rest of their lives. Things would work out. Either one way or another. It didn’t matter.

~~~~~

They were sleeping when Simon and Joel got there. Simon pounded on the door until finally Sandburg opened it up and said, “What the hell is going on, Simon?”

“Well, I need to talk to the two of you. Do you think maybe you could get dressed?” Simon asked. Blair looked down at himself and realized he was standing there in his boxers.

“Oops, sorry, sir. I’ll get Jim up and we’ll be right down,” Blair said as he climbed the stairs.

Five minutes later, Jim walked down the stairs like a man, awaiting his death sentence. Joel smiled at him and said, “Hey Jim. We needed to talk to you.”

“Well shit, Brown and Rafe told you, didn’t they?” Jim asked.

“Yes, Jim they did. I want to know why you didn’t come to me!” Simon asked

“Sir, I wanted to handle it on my own. I really didn’t want to make a big thing out of it. It was totally embarrassing,” Jim said head, hanging down.

“Stop it right now, Ellison,” Blair said sharply.

“Do you know about this Sandburg?” Simon asked.

“He told me two hours ago. He didn’t say who, but he said what,” Blair answered.

“Excuse me, I’m still in the room. Don’t talk over me, like I’m not here,” Jim said angrily.

“Sorry, Jim,” Blair said quietly.

“The reason we’re here tonight, is we need you to sign the paper work for this report,” Simon said.

“No fucking way,” Jim said jumping up and pacing in front of the balcony doors. “I’m not going to do this so they can all know about it and laugh their asses off over it. No way.”

“Jim, do you want this to happen to Blair? To Brown, Rafe, me or Simon?” Joel asked.

“Of course not. It was one of the most degrading things I’ve ever had to deal with,” Jim answered.

“Then let’s file these papers. They can’t take your dignity from you. You’re a good, strong and proud man and will remain that way,” Joel said moving closer to Jim.

“Jim, listen to Joel,” Blair commented.

“Jim, we need you to sign these papers and at least get the ball rolling. That way, IA will know who to watch out for and go from there,” Joel advised.

“Fine, give me the paper and I’ll sign,” Jim growled.

“Jim, I only have one name. I need the other three names,” Simon said.

“Tough, I’m not giving them,” Jim replied.

“Jim, it would make sense so they could watch them more closely,” Joel said.

“No, my mind is made up. I’ll give the ring leader’s name, but that’s it,” Jim said standing firm on his decision.

“We have the ring leader’s name. Now we just need you to sign, so I can take care of this in the morning,” Simon said.

As he slid the papers over to Jim, he watched Blair and Simon realized he’d never heard Blair this quiet in his life.

“Sandburg, you okay?” Simon asked. Jim looked up when his boss and friend said that and watched his love to see what was wrong. He seemed fine to Jim. But Simon must have seen something.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just want those fuckers,” Blair said.

“And we’ll get them, kid,” Simon said.

“Don’t call him kid,” Jim said flatly.

“Sorry Jim, I know how much you hate that. Hard to break old habits,” Simon said smiling at Jim.

“Jim, I hope you don’t mind, but we’re all going to have to take extra precautions to watch each other’s backs. So, we’re going to have a meeting about this at the station,” Simon informed both of the men.

“Oh great, more people to know about it,” Jim said as he lowered his head in his hands and sighed.

“Jim, I think that we need an awareness training class on how to deal with discrimination,” Simon said.

“Whatever, Simon. I’m not going,” Jim said.

“Thank you, guys, but Jim’s really tired. We’ll see you both tomorrow,” Blair said getting up and waiting for the two men to do the same. They got up and walked to the door and Simon said, “Blair, it won’t go away just because it embarrasses Jim.”

“I don’t fucking care about anything except Jim. So, I’ll do anything you want. But I also have to keep him safe and protect him or we’ll be out of there so fast, your heads will spin,” Blair warned.

“Now don’t go talking about leaving, that’s plain foolish,” Joel said.

“Is it? I don’t think so,” Blair answered. “Gentlemen, we’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight.”

“You might have won this round, Sandburg, but not everything. We’ll talk tomorrow,” Simon said as he walked out the door. “Night Jim.”

“Night Simon,” Jim answered.

Joel said, “Jim if you need anything, please call, okay? Goodnight both of you.”

“Night Joel,” Both men said together.

Once they were gone, Blair shut and locked the front door. Shit this was going to get ugly, he could tell already.

Following Jim up the stairs, Blair remained quiet, waiting for Jim’s reaction to all of this. They climbed into bed and Jim pulled Blair into his arms. Not a word was spoken by either man. Jim finally fell asleep in Blair’s arms.

Blair was very sad. His lover was so fucking strong and brave, he hated that he felt like he was falling apart. What kind of help could he be if he couldn’t keep this small thing inside? Whatever happened, they would face this together from now on.

~~~~~

Simon went home to a job he didn’t really want to do, but knew he had to do it. He finished the report, filling in everything he could from Jim’s statement. Simon did know one thing for sure; he needed to watch Sandburg. He saw the hate in his eyes and didn’t want Blair to lose it with the jerks that hurt Jim. He’d be sure to tell Brown, Rafe, Conner and Taggart tomorrow. Everyone could watch each other’s backs.

Once he was done with the report, he made copies for Jim, himself, the station and then faxed the finished report to IA. It isn’t that I don’t want to file the report, I just didn’t want to file it for one of my men. Their sexual lifestyle shouldn’t be made available for anyone to know about. They should have been more careful. Great, Banks, now you’re talking to yourself.

With that, he got ready for bed and slept what little was left, until he had to be at the office again. Oh I can’t fucking wait. Simon thought as he fell into a light sleep.

~~~~~

As soon as Simon got to the station, he went to IA to see if they had received his report. Captain Nelson called him into his office. “Simon, come on in.”

“Thanks, Bob,” Simon replied as he sat down. “I’m sure you’ve heard about the trouble we had, and I need to know that you’ll take care of this quickly and cleanly.”

“We already put two officers on it. They’re investigating right now and will call Landers in this afternoon,” Nelson said.

“I’m glad to hear that you’re taking it seriously,” Simon said getting up to leave.

“Simon, I just need to tell you one thing. Chances are nothing will come of this. It’ll be on Landers’s record, but it’ll also be on Ellison’s. Just letting you know.”

“You don’t think he deserves to be helped do you?” Simon asked.

“It’s not my judgment call. Just because I don’t like someone’s lifestyle doesn’t mean I condone what they did to him. So, I’m going to push this, because it gives all of us a bad name,” Nelson said.

“Well good. I’ll let you get back to work. Keep me informed, please,” Simon asked nicely.

As Simon got on the elevator, he wondered, Will they really do anything, or will it be swept under the rug?

~~~~~

Jim and Blair went to work as usual the following morning but Blair had something on his agenda. He intended on finding out who helped Landers hurt Jim and he was going to hurt them back. Blair had taken as much as he could with the shit they had been dealt. They weren’t hurting anyone. It isn’t like they made out in public or anything. Not that it was a bad thing but everyone acted like it was.

First stop was Brown’s desk and he said, “Hi, Henri, can I talk to you for a minute?” Brown looked around to see where Jim was and found him in Simon’s office. Turning to Blair he said, “Sandburg, what do you want?”

“Cut the shit, I know about the locker room. Now I need some names.”

“Sandburg, he’ll kill us if we talk. I mean that. He was really embarrassed. He’ll take care of it.” H said.

“Brown, do you think I’m less of a man than Jim is?”

“Hell, no. Sometimes you scare me even more. He’s kind of the action type of guy. You’re more into using your mind. You could screw someone over before they even knew you were doing it,” Brown said smiling.

“Are you going to tell me or not?”

“Fine, but don’t say one word to Jim. Do you follow?” Brown asked.

“Of course, I won’t. Now who is it?”

“The main person's Officer Landers. Jim saved his life a month or so ago. What a prick,” Brown said savagely. “The other three work with him, but we don’t know their names. Landers won’t name them and I know Jim won’t either.”

“Well hell, I already knew about Landers. I wanted the other names,” Blair remarked.

“Sorry, I don’t know them,” Brown answered.

“Brown, I need you to start a rumor. Think you can do that?”

“Why do I feel like I’m going to be really sorry about this?” Brown asked wiping the sweat from his forehead.

Blair whispered into his ear and Brown smiled and said, “I’ll take care of it. I’ll tell Rafe and we’ll get right on it.”

“Thanks, Henri.” Blair said as he walked away and sat down at his desk.

Conner walked up to him and said, “Sandy, could I talk to you in private?”

“No,” Blair replied.

“Sandy, I really need to talk to you,” Megan pleaded with her best friend.

“Too fucking bad. Fuck off, Conner.”

“Sandy, I thought it over last night and if I apologize to Ellison, will you talk to me?”

“No,” Blair answered stubbornly.

“What can I do to make it right? I have to make this right,” Conner continued pleading

“Conner, you can march into Simon’s office and tell him who the four men were that attacked Jim in the locker room and then you can apologize to Jim.”

“You know I can’t do that, Sandy. I'd be implicated along with them because I didn’t do anything to stop them,” Conner snapped.

“Exactly. That's the problem. So, no matter what, it’s not going to work. Go find another best friend. One that isn’t gay,” Blair said and stormed into the break room.

Jim walked out of Simon’s office and Conner said, “Ellison, could I speak to you?”

“No.” Jim mumbled and walked over to his desk and sat down.

“Ellison, if I tell Captain Banks who the men were and say I witnessed it, will you talk to me again?” Conner asked.

“Conner, why would you do that? Then you’ll be an outcast, too,” Jim said coldly.

“Because he’s my best friend and I hurt him. I might not like what you’re doing but I love him.”

“Well, that’s not good enough, Conner. I want you to stay away from him. In fact, don’t speak to us again unless it has to do with work,” Jim warned.

“Ellison, you can’t tell me who I can or can’t talk to. He’s a grown man. He can make his own decisions. When he hears that I tried to make this right he might forgive me,” Conner said walking away.

Jim had a terrible feeling that he would lose on this one. Conner was right. Blair was a kind gentle soul and he would forgive her and things would go back to normal, even if Jim didn’t want them to.

Blair came into the squad room and sat at his desk to start paper work. “Hey, how’s it going?”

“Everything's fine, Chief. Don’t worry so much, okay?”

“Yeah, I’ll do that the same time you stop worrying about me. Deal?” Both men started laughing and continued their work. At about noon, Landers came storming into the squad room and went up to Jim’s desk and said, “Ellison, I'll make your life so fucking miserable if you don’t tell everyone that the rumor is a lie.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Jim asked.

Landers could tell that Ellison knew nothing about it and then he looked at Sandburg. Fuck… The little asshole thinks he can play with the big boys, eh?

“Sandburg, you have a choice. You can tell everyone it was your idea of a joke or we’ll take care of some things with Ellison right here and now,” Landers threatened.

“So take care of them.” Blair said standing next to Jim.

“You fucking fag! What did you do?” Landers asked.

“I didn’t do anything.” Blair said honestly.

“What do you think my partner did, Landers?” Jim asked

“He spread a rumor that he’s pissed off at you because you slept with me.” Landers spat out and made a gagging motion and noise.

Jim looked over at Blair and said, “Chief, please tell me you didn’t say that.”

“I didn’t, Jim. I swear... I never said a word,” Blair said sweetly.

“Landers, get out of here. Next time have your facts straight before you come whining to us. Oh wait, you won’t be able to if you’re not straight.” Jim said laughing as he walked away from Landers.

Jim had no warning, Landers, jumped him and Blair was on top of Landers in the next moment. Simon came rushing into the bullpen and said, “Gentlemen, I suggest you all get up off of the floor before I call IA and have this investigated.”

Jim got off Landers and so did Blair as they straightened their clothes. Simon yelled, “So who started this?”

Both Blair and Jim pointed to Landers and Landers said, “You’re going to believe them, right? Figures.”

“Landers, come into my office and we’ll talk about what happened,” Simon said as he opened his office door.

“Captain Banks, they started it and I knew you would take their side because they're your boys,” Landers spat out.

“Excuse me?” Simon said.

“Well, everyone knows how tight you are with those two. So I’m not surprised at all,” Landers said, not even realizing he was playing with the wrong person for sure.

Simon picked up the telephone and dialed a number and said, “Michael. This is Simon Banks. I need you to send that officer to investigate the problem in Major Crime.”

“What’s going on, Simon?” Detective Michael Mann, a top IA officer, asked.

“I was in there this morning talking to Captain Nelson,” Simon said. “About the problem down here. Today Officer Landers jumped one of the men right in front of the rest of the squad. I need this taken care of.”

“Fuck you, Banks,” Landers jumped up and yelled.

“You're suspended, as of right now, Landers. Give me your badge and gun,” Simon demanded. “I’ll notify your superior of what has happened.”

Landers threw his gun and badge at Simon and stormed out of the office.

Blair called out, “See ya, Landers.”

Jim smacked him on the back of the head and said, “You’re cruising for a bruising, Sandburg. This isn’t that funny.”

“Well, it is to me.” Blair said walking away.

Simon called everyone into the office when Detective Mann, got there. He ran a full investigation within one day and decided that Officer Landers would be suspended without pay for six months. He could only come back with approval from a shrink. Things looked like they might work out. He was still being investigated for the attack on Jim in the locker room. The suspension was for attacking Jim in the squad room and lack of respect for a superior.

~~~~~

Two Weeks later:

Blair walked into the bullpen and said, “Rafe, seen Jim this afternoon? I can’t find him.”

“Hairboy, I’m not in charge of watching him today,” Rafe said smiling.

“Well, shit, I wonder where he is? We were supposed to go and question some suspects. It was important. I’m a little worried,” Blair said pacing in front of Rafe’s desk.

“Sandburg, I’m sure he’s fine. What could happen to him in the last few minutes?” Rafe asked.

“Rafe, I haven’t seen him since this morning. We were supposed to go to lunch but he called and said he couldn’t make it.”

“Sandburg, he hasn’t been here all day. I haven’t seen him at all and I’ve been here all morning and afternoon.”

The phone rang on Blair’s desk and he rushed over to answer it, “Sandburg.”

“So, hot shot, wonder where he is yet?” Landers asked laughing wickedly.

Blair covered up the phone and told Rafe who it was and then went back to business while Rafe started a trace.

“What do you want, Landers?”

“I want your kind out of our workplace is what I want. You think you are so cool, don’t you, Sandburg? Well, you won’t think you’re so cool when you see what we did to your boyfriend.”

“Landers, where is he?” Blair asked, looking scared for the very first time to everyone in the bullpen.

“Not such a hot shot now, are you?” Landers asked.

“Where is he? I’ll do anything you ask.” Blair said.

“I want you to resign. And I don’t mean just say you did. I want to see it in writing. I have people in Major Crime that'll be watching you and you'd better put your resignation in right away or you won’t see him again.”

“Landers, you must know that you won’t get away with this. You’ll never be able to show your face again without being arrested for kidnapping. Why are you doing this?”

“I want you both out of there. I don’t think we’ll have a problem with your boyfriend, he’s been pretty cooperative today.”

“Before I do anything, I need to talk to him and see if he’s all right.”

“Fine, I’ll put him on but you’re not going to get anything out of him. Believe me, we’ve scared him this time.”

“Sandburg?” Jim said as strong as he could.

“Jim, are you all right?”

“I’m fine, Sandburg. Now I want you to do two things. First, tell Simon what’s going on and second, tell them to fuck themselves. Do you hear me? Tell them to fuck themselves,” Jim yelled as they pulled the phone away from him.

Blair could hear them punching and hitting Jim and winced every time he heard a sound. “Jim?”

“Your boyfriend isn’t as smart as I thought he was. So, now we’ll make him suffer again. Now you be a good boy and go do what I said.”

“I will, right now.” Blair said jumping up when they closed the connection and almost running into Simon’s office. Simon had listened on another line so was aware of what was going on. Blair rushed into the room and stood there like a lost child. He didn’t know what to do. Simon walked up to him and said, “Sandburg, the FBI has been called already. You need to sit down now and let us take over for you.”

“I need to give my resignation, sir. I told him I would.” Blair said in a shaky voice.

“Sandburg, sit down. Were you not listening to your partner? He asked you to tell me about this and not to resign. Did you hear Jim when he said that?” Simon asked in his best ‘I am the boss’ voice.

“Sir, with all due respect, he’s mine not yours. And I’ll do whatever they want.” Blair shouted.

“Sandburg, this is what they want. Chances are they’ve hurt Jim already and he’s willing to be hurt more until we figure out where to find him.”

“Simon, this is my fault. I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to make a big joke out of it and now they’re hurting Jim. Shit… Fuck…”

“Sit down, Sandburg and I’ll get you a cup of coffee,” Simon said handing him a cup once it was filled.

Taking the cup, he tried to relax by smelling the mocha coffee. Blair looked at Simon and said, “So who do you think he was talking about when he said he had someone here?”

“I don’t know, Sandburg. It could be anyone. We can’t go around guessing,” Simon said staring at Blair. “You are not going to try and figure out who the person is. We need to concentrate on Jim.”

“You don’t need to tell me this, Simon,” Blair said sadly.

Brown and Rafe walked into the room and Brown said, “Don’t you worry, Sandburg, we’ll find him and bring him home. No one hurts one of ours.”

Blair got up and said, “Simon, I’m going to run to the break room. Do you want anything?”

“No, Sandburg, I’m not hungry.” Simon said looking at him strangely. Simon knew that Blair wasn’t hungry. He knew that he wouldn’t be getting food. So what exactly did Sandburg want?

Simon told Rafe, “Go and keep an eye on him. Don’t let him too far out of your sight.”

“Yes, sir,” Rafe said and hurriedly left the office and found Sandburg talking to Conner. Rafe stood outside the room listening.

“Conner, I know you know who's behind this. Who is it?” Blair pleaded.

“Oh now you’ll talk to me? Go fuck yourself, Sandy,” Conner said and started to walk away.

Blair grabbed her and pushed her up against the wall and said, “I need to find him. Now. You’ll help one way or another.”

“Sandy, you can’t make me tell you anything. In fact, I wouldn’t tell you if I did know.”

Rafe heard a punch and wondered why Conner hit Sandburg.

“Now, you stupid bitch, you either start talking or I’ll hit you again,” Blair snarled.

Rafe walked into the room and said, “Hey.”

Megan Conner was trying to get her breath back from the punch in her stomach. “What do you want?”

“Conner, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll tell us what you know,” Rafe said.

“What I’m going to do is go and tell Simon that Sandburg just attacked me in front of you and you did nothing to stop him,” Conner said.

“Fine. Go ahead, be my guest,” Rafe stated as he stepped back. As Conner walked by him, Blair grabbed her again and said, “I’m going to beat the answers out of her, Rafe.”

“Sandburg, I can’t let you do that,” Rafe said as he grabbed Blair’s arm and pulled him towards him and away from Conner. She glared at Sandburg and said, “You’ll never find him, you little fucker.”

Blair twisted and tried to get away from Rafe but Rafe didn’t let go. “Hey, she’s just pushing your buttons, Blair. Calm down. You need to find Jim, not fight with Conner. She’s still mad at you about not talking to her. She’s just mad. She wouldn’t really hurt Ellison.”

“You swear that you don’t think she would hurt him?” Blair asked.

Rafe said, “We’ll find him, Blair. We’ll find him.”

Blair said, “Thanks, man. That would have been really ugly. I lost my head.”

“Understandable. Now let's go put our thinking caps on and find Jim,” Rafe suggested as they made their way back to Simon’s office.

When they walked in Conner was sitting there on the sofa. Blair looked at her and said, “What do you want? You won’t be happy until he’s dead?”

Simon walked around his desk stopping Blair from advancing on Conner and said, “Sandburg, she just gave me four names. I’m running them now. We’ll hopefully have a place to look soon.”

“Conner, what made you change your mind?” Blair asked.

“No matter what I think, Sandy, you’re still my friend and I would never hurt Jim. I might not like what you two are but I would never agree to hurt him in any way. But I was asked to join a group.”

“Do you know what they planned on doing to Jim?” Blair asked.

“No, at the time he was still here, so I didn’t know what the plans were. I’m sorry that I didn’t join now. I could have used the inside information,” Megan commented as she looked out the window. “Captain Banks, down in the parking lot, is a white step van. What's it doing there?”

They all walked over to the window and Simon said, “Conner, no one would be stupid enough to keep Ellison on the property.”

“Sir, I beg to differ. We’re talking about some men that don’t care about anything and they figure they’re safe here. No one would look in the parking lot. They probably made the step van sound proof.”

Simon yelled at Rafe, Sandburg and Brown to follow him. Conner followed Blair and said, “I’d like to help, Sandy.”

“You've already helped. I don’t want you involved,” Blair said as they got some more officers and went downstairs.

By the time they got to the parking lot there were 12 cops looking for Jim. They all fanned out and surrounded the van. Simon had a nightstick and used it to hit the window, breaking it out.

Simon was the first one into the step van, and found Jim, barely alive. They had beaten him within an inch of his life. “Call for an ambulance, right now,” Simon yelled out.

Blair jumped into the step van, knowing it would be bad but wasn’t ready to see Jim so badly beaten up. His eyes were swollen shut. His nose was badly broken and looked like his jaw might be broken, too. Blair remained very professional even though he wanted to grab Jim and hold on to him forever. He knelt down next to him and started talking to him. “Hey, Ellison, you in there. Can you hear me?”

“Chief,” Came a whispered reply.

Blair leaned in closer and said, “I’m right here, Jim. I won’t leave your side. I won’t leave you, ever.”

Again, the semi-conscience man said, “Chief.”

“I’m right here, Jim. I’m not going anywhere,” Blair said as he heard the ambulance arrive.

He moved when they had to work on Jim but as soon as they loaded him in the ambulance, he was right there with him. The EMT said, “He’s in rough shape, Sandburg, so give us enough room here. We’re not going to fight you on leaving his side but give us room to work.”

“Thank you, guys,” Blair said quietly as he began his long vigil beside Jim. He knew they were in for some rough stuff.

~~~~~

Once they got to the hospital, they rushed him in, saying his blood pressure was dropping. This time, Blair wasn’t allowed to be with him. Simon came into the waiting room and put his arm over Blair’s shoulders.

“Everything will be fine, Blair. Just hang in there. He needs you strong,” Simon stated.

“I know, sir. I’ll be here for him every step of the way,” Blair answered.

A doctor walked and said, “Are either of you here for Detective Ellison?”

“Yes.” Blair and Simon both said together.

“Well, I just wanted to let you know that we have to go and repair some damage to his lung. When they broke his ribs, one punctured a lung, so we have to inflate it and get him healing there. His jaw isn’t broken, but his nose and a cheekbone are. Both of his eyes are damaged but we think that will heal. We can’t tell yet. So, basically, he’s doing much better than he looks. He’ll be here awhile though.”

“Thank you, Doctor. When can we see him?” Blair asked.

“I’m aware of the situation and won’t try to keep you apart. Once he’s in ICU, I’ll call you up and you can sit in there and make sure no one comes around him.” the doctor said.

“Thank you, Doctor.” Simon said shaking his hand.

“Yes, well, we’ll call you as soon as he’s in his room upstairs. I suggest you get some coffee.” He paused by the elevator before getting on, and said, “Oh and Captain, there is a Doctor Dan Wolfe here to take pictures of Mr. Ellison, is this the proper procedure?”

“Yes, I sent for him, we need this for the charges to be brought. We need pictures of each and every part of his body that is hurt,” Simon remarked.

Very quietly, the doctor took Simon aside and said, “Some of the damage is done to his privates so do you want pictures of that?”

“Yes, everything, Doctor. Thank you,” Simon replied.

Simon said, “See, I told you he’d be all right.”

Blair couldn’t help it. He started pacing. Simon pulled him into his arms and just held him. Brown and Rafe walked into the waiting room and seeing them like this thought the worst. Both men wrapped themselves around Simon and Blair. Simon looked over at them and said, “What're you doing?”

“Did something happen to Jim?” Rafe asked.

“No, they told us some good news,” Simon said almost smiling at the scared detectives. He was thrilled that most of his men and women would be thrilled to know that Jim would be all right. “Now I need volunteers to stay up here at the hospital until Jim is better.”

“Rafe and I will be on the first shift, sir,” Brown volunteered.

“Good, glad to hear it. Now, I have to get back to the station. Will you stay with Sandburg until they call him upstairs?” Simon asked already knowing they would.

“Of course we will, sir,” Rafe answered.

“Go find those bastards,” Brown said.

Simon glanced down at his pager going off, on the way to the elevator and made an ugly face when he saw who it was. Sheila Irwin, from IA was someone he really didn’t want to talk to. Ever. She was such a bitch and he wasn’t in the mood. But he also knew that he’d have to do something about it. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed her number. She answered on the first ring, “Irwin.”

“Yeah, this is Simon Banks, what did you need?”

“Very funny, Captain. You’ve got a man in critical condition and you make a joke?”

“What do you want? I have things to take care of. Important things,” Simon growled into the phone.

“Well, you’re going to come here and answer some questions first, and then we’ll see where you’re going,” Irwin said sounding power hungry.

Simon hated her so much, but he knew he had to play by their rules for right now. “Fine, I’ll be there in a few moments. I’m leaving the hospital now.”

“Good, I’ll see you in the next hour then,” Sheila said hanging up the phone.

Simon punched the button and thought to himself, nothing good can come of any of this.

~~~~~

Rafe, Brown and Sandburg all sat down in the waiting room outside the ICU unit. Blair wanted to be close by in case they missed them. As they sat there, Brown saw Blair shaking and Brown put his arm around Sandburg and pulled him closer to his side and said, “Sandburg, its okay to be scared. I’m scared, too and I’m not in love with him.”

This made Blair feel somewhat better.

“Blair, we’ll get them and we’ll take good care of both of you.” Rafe said quietly.

“I know you will,” Blair said just as quietly.

Blair almost fell asleep leaning into Brown as the three officers waited for news on their fellow officer. Brown wondered why they hadn’t heard any news yet. What the fuck was taking so long?

As soon as that thought was on his mind, he saw them wheel a gurney in with Ellison on it. God, it doesn’t even look like Ellison. Jesus, how's he going to get over this?

Brown didn’t have to tell Blair that Jim was back. Blair perked up immediately and jumped up and ran to Jim’s side and waited for the doctor to say something. The doctor finally said, “He’s going to be out of it for a long time yet. So don’t worry. He’s doing pretty well. He had more damage to his lungs than we'd thought. He’s not going to be able to return to full duty. He’ll have to stay on desk duty.

Blair didn’t say anything but knew that Jim’s life had ended in more ways then one. He glanced over at Brown and Rafe and saw the same thing on his co-worker's faces. This was going to be so fucking hard. What would Jim do? He wasn’t a desk jockey.

When they got him settled into his room, Brown and Rafe joined him there to watch over their friend.

Rafe broke the silence and said, “Sandburg, have you ever thought of a business that all of us could open up and work at?”

Blair looked over at him and said, “He wouldn’t expect you to leave the PD for him.”

“I’m not staying there, Blair. Not after this. I don’t think Simon will, either,” Brown said. “He had that really insane look in his eyes that told me he was madder than he’d ever been.”

“Well, first let's get Jim all better and then we’ll worry about it,” Blair said as he sat holding his love’s hand.

“We’ll be right outside if you need us,” Rafe stated.

“Thanks, guys,” Blair said to their retreating backs.

“Well, big man, you have good friends all around you. When you’re better I’m going to tell you all about it. For right now, I’m going to tell you all about the first time I noticed I wanted you. You’re going to be the first person to know how soon it was that I figured out I was in love with you.”

Blair talked for hours until he fell asleep with his guards outside the door. Jim still hadn’t woken up but his vitals were good. The doctor’s were optimistic. Blair was, too.

Tomorrow was a new day.

~~~~~

Simon wasn’t happy with his meeting with Sheila Irwin. He could tell she was going to drag her feet, even though Michael and Bob were willing to push everything. So Simon decided that it might be time to call in the big guns. Simon sat at his desk and found a number he had hoped he would never ever have to use. Some time ago, a man had saved his life and he asked if he could do something in return. Well, it turned out that the man was a reporter and asked for a major story some day. He wasn’t pushing for one, just wanted Simon to keep him in mind. Well, this was a major story and they needed an enterprising reporter on the case. That might push things with Sheila Irwin and IA. He picked the phone up and dialed Timothy Martin. He filled him in on what was going on and Timothy said he would meet him up at the hospital the next day. Simon felt like he might have made a major mistake, but there was nothing he could do. He wasn’t sure what he should do about all of this. But he had to help his friends.

Next, he looked up the number for the ACLU and dialed it. When he got the answering machine he left a message and asked to have someone call him back. Within ten minutes, the phone rang and it was their office.

“Captain Banks?” Sandra Marshall asked.

“Yes, this is Captain Banks, and you are?”

“My name is Sandra Marshall. From what you said on the message, you’re in deep need of some help. That’s what we’re here for. So, let’s set up a meeting with the officers right away.”

“That would be great, but it has to be with just Sandburg, because Ellison is still in a coma.”

“Would tomorrow sometime be good for you? We could talk to you first, and get a feel of this case and move on from there. That would leave Detective Ellison to heal more,” Ms. Marshall said.

“I would love to fill you in on that as soon as possible. Thank you for calling me right back,” Simon replied.

“No problem, you give me a call tomorrow and we’ll meet for lunch and make plans from there,” She said.

“Goodnight, Ms. Marshall,” Simon said before he hung up.

When he got ready to leave, he felt like he had made some headway. Not much, but enough to take some of the pressure off Jim and Blair. As Blair would say, tomorrow is another day.

~~~~~

Blair woke to the doctor checking Jim out first thing in the morning. “Good morning, Mr. Sandburg. How are you holding up?”

“The question is, how's Jim? We didn’t really get a chance to talk much last night,” Blair inquired. Blair started to get up and the doctor pushed him back into the chair.

“May as well stay sitting. I have quite a bit to tell you. He’s got five ribs that were cracked. He’s got the broken nose, his left hand's sprained, his left shoulder's out of place, his right leg has a fracture and there's a specialist coming in to talk to you about recovery from these types of injuries. Oh, and I almost forgot, he has a concussion. We’ll have to wait and see how he does with waking up. Right now, we’ll just keep an eye on his vitals and watch for swelling in his brain. He’s actually doing pretty well considering. You’re very lucky to have him here at all. One more thing, he wasn’t sexually assaulted. In case you needed to know that for yourself. I filled out the paperwork for it.”

Blair hadn’t even thought about that. It never occurred to him. Why hadn’t it? Was he so out of touch with reality that he couldn’t even think any longer? “Thank you for telling me Doctor, it never entered my mind. I feel like shit for not asking that,” Blair said looking down at the floor.

“I didn’t tell you to make you feel badly, Mr. Sandburg. I told you to make you aware of something that hadn’t entered your mind yet. But believe me, it would have. I’m just helping you, by staying one step ahead of you.” The doctor said calmly.

“Thank you for everything,” Blair replied.

“There is so much we have to do here. Can I call you Blair?” the doctor asked.

“Yes, that’d be great.” Blair said smiling for the first time that day.

“We’ll have specialist coming in from all the different departments. Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and finally his very own, Psychologist,” Doctor Connelly said.

“Why a speech Therapist?” Blair wondered aloud.

“Because, the broken cheek bone and bruised jaw are going to affect his speech a little. And his nose will affect how he sounds to himself. He’ll need help with that.”

“Well, he’s going to fight everything, go ahead and warn everyone up front. Okay?” Blair asked.

“Sure, but we have to do this stuff for Jim’s sake. So you’re going to have to make him do things he doesn’t want to. We’ll all have to be patient with him. Someone is going to have to be the tough guy. You and I will have to take turns. Sound fair?” Doctor Connelly said.

“Sounds more than fair, Doc. What do you think his chances are of waking up soon?” Blair asked almost afraid to hear the answer.

“He won’t be waking up for a day or so, at least. He’s got a lot to recover from. Then, keep in mind, he’s got to get over the fact of being attacked by fellow officers. That would not be a good thing to want to wake up to.”

“But you think he ‘is’ going to wake up, right?” Blair asked in a very frightened voice.

“Yes, Blair, he’s going to be fine once we get him healed. But this recovery's going to take a lot of hard work. This man's in most excellent shape and he’s not going to like giving up the work-out’s. But he’ll get used to doing things a little slower as time goes on.”

“So, you don’t think he’ll be able to resume his old job as a police officer?” Blair asked.

“No, not in the same capacity. He’s going to have to change his life.”

“Thank you, Doctor. I’ll talk to him when the time comes.” Blair said, getting up to shake the nice doctor’s hand.

“Try not to worry so much. He’s going to be fine. He just looks really bad right now. Things will look better in a few weeks. How about a shower in this bathroom? I can bring you some clean scrubs.”

“Doctor Connelly that would be so great. I don’t want to go far from his side.”

“No problem, Blair. I’ll be right back with the clean clothes.” He said as he walked out the door.

A few moments later he brought in fresh scrubs and also some strong and very hot coffee. “Thought you might want some coffee.”

“Thank you.” Blair said accepting the coffee, drinking it slowly because of the temperature. God, it tasted so fucking good. It was almost like it reminded him of normalcy again. The thought made him shiver. “I’ve got to see who’s on duty this morning and ask them to sit with Jim while I shower.”

“I’ll see you later.” Doctor Connelly said.

“Well Jim, that's one fine doctor. He’s taking care of both of us. You’ll like him, babe,” Blair said quietly to his lover, who slept on, even though Blair thought he might be able to hear him.

Blair opened up the door to see Officer Dalton and said, “Hey, Cole. Could you do me a favor?”

“Sure, Blair. What do you need?” Dalton said.

“I need to shower but I don’t want to leave Jim alone in the room. Could you come in here and sit with him while I’m in the shower?”

“Sure, no problem. Go and take your shower.” Dalton said smiling as he sat next to Jim’s bed and started talking to Jim. “Ellison, you’re in luck. Your partner's going to finally get in the shower. You won’t have to smell him all day long.”

“Ha ha,” Blair said, “I almost forgot to laugh. Thanks, man.”

Blair stepped into the hot shower and felt like a new person already. He scrubbed off the old blood smell and washed his hair three times before he felt clean. If Jim would just wake up he’d be even happier. There was a soft knock on the door and he heard Henri Brown’s voice. “Sandburg, can I come in?”

“I’m all right, Brown. I’ll be out in a moment,” Blair called out but was ignored by Brown as he opened the door and walked in. Henri grabbed a towel and handed it to Blair and once he was dried off, Henri hugged him and said, “It’s okay to be upset Sandburg. He’s your friend, your partner and most important, the love of your life.”

Blair leaned into Henri and said, “Thanks, man.”

Henri said, “You okay to get dressed now, Blair?”

“Yeah, thanks again, man,” Blair said to the retreating figure.

Finally cleaned and dressed in the scrubs, he sat down next to the bed. Blair took Jim’s hand into his and smiled at Rafe and Brown both.

“What’d the doctor say, Blair?” Rafe asked.

Blair went into the whole long story of everything that was wrong with Jim right now. He noticed that both men seemed to be getting angrier as the time went on. Rafe finally said, “I need to call Simon now. He said to call as soon as we knew what was what.”

The door of the room opened and in walked Simon Banks. He wasn’t dressed in his usual dapper dress clothes but instead a polo shirt, jeans and boots. “Good morning, men. How's Detective Ellison this fine day?”

Blair again went into great detail about every known injury that Jim had. Simon listened the whole time and said, “Well, I’m glad that we’ll all have so much time to spend here.”

Blair looked at all of them strangely and said, “What do you mean, Simon?”

“We don’t work for the Police Department any longer, Sandburg. I expect you to resign also.”

“Why would all of you resign?” Blair asked, honestly confused.

Rafe stood up and said, “Blair, do you think we could stay in a place that allowed this to happen to one of our friends?”

“Guys, I think you should give it some more thought. At least wait until Jim wakes up so that he can tell you not to do it,” Blair said.

“Sandburg, what’s up with you?” Simon asked.

“I don’t want you doing this so that Jim will feel guilty and think it’s his fault for the rest of his life,” Blair answered.

“Sandburg, we’re doing this for ourselves. IA came in this morning and they were assholes. We can’t stay. Sheila Irwin has been put in charge of the case and she could care less about Jim. They want to wipe this all under the rug.” Rafe said.

“Rafe, they can’t wipe kidnapping under the rug,” Blair said incredulously.

“They’re going to sure as hell try. They’ll try and talk Jim into dropping charges as soon as he’s awake. That’s why we left,” Brown said.

Blair stared at their friends, mouth hanging open, not really knowing exactly what to say. He settled on, “Thank you.”

“You're welcome,” Rafe replied.

“Blair I also talked to someone from the ACLU and they’re coming today to talk to you about you and Jim’s right’s being violated. I hope you don’t mind that I made some calls last night,” Simon stated watching Blair closely for his reaction.

“Good call, Simon. I didn’t even think of the ACLU. What a great idea. Thank you so much,” Blair said with a real smile on his face. Simon knew that Blair meant it.

“Well, before you get too carried away, I need to tell you something else. I also gave an enterprising reporter some of the information and he wants an interview. He’s also going to interview all of us. He thinks the city will want to find out why one of the best departments in town, lost all of their people in one day. Because I’m telling you now, Blair, they’ll sweep that under the rug too,” Simon remarked.

“Simon, I’m not mad. Honestly. Thank you for being such a good friend. So Joel will tell you what’s going on at the station from time to time?” Blair asked.

“No, Joel left too, Blair. We all left. Well, except for Conner,” Simon said.

“Man, you guys are too much. Enough of this, guys, I have to think for a few minutes,” Blair said.

“Okay, let's just sit and talk to Jim for awhile,” Simon said pulling a chair over to the bed and starting to talk softly to his best friend. The other two men stood vigil while their captain did what made him feel better.

They did this every single day. There were police officers watching the room for the next four days but that wasn’t enough for Simon, Rafe, Taggart or Brown. They insisted that one of them be there with Sandburg at all times. It helped Sandburg a great deal. On the morning of the fifth day, Simon was sitting and talking to Jim when Jim opened his eyes.

“Jim?” Blair asked quietly.

“Blair?” Jim said back.

“Now that role call's over, how are you feeling, Ellison?” Simon asked trying to lighten the mood. He saw the tears in Blair’s eyes and knew Sandburg was close to losing it.

“Like shit, Simon. Like shit,” Jim whispered. A nurse came walking into the room and said, “So you decided to join us again, have you?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Jim whispered again.

Blair leaned down and kissed Jim’s forehead.

“How bad do I look, babe?”

“It doesn’t matter, Jim. You’ll heal. You’re going to be fine.” Blair said.

Jim turned to Simon and said, “How bad is it, Simon?”

“Jim, you have a lot of broken and battered parts of your body but nothing that won’t heal. Let’s focus on that,” Simon stated, taking charge of this situation.

“Did you get them? The men that did this?” Jim asked.

Jim, we haven’t had a chance to talk to you until right now. You know all of the men’s names?” Simon asked.

“Yeah, Landers and three of his goons had me in a step van. They wanted to kill me. I think they intended on doing it, too. You must have busted up the party,” Jim said trying to smile but it didn’t come out right since his face was so swollen. “Niles, Pearson and Richards are the other three that were involved.”

Simon was writing this all down as Jim was talking and intended on seeing that something was done.

Jim touched his face and had a very odd look on it when he pulled his hand away. “Chief, what’s wrong with my face?”

“Jim, they did a number on your face. Your eyes are swollen badly and your nose is broken. They even found a broken cheekbone in there. A lot of swelling but nothing that can’t heal. Are you listening?”

“Chief, why am I in the hospital?”

“Jim, they hurt you bad. I guess you don’t remember it,” Blair said, happy for once that Jim’s repression skills were in tact.

“I want to go home, okay, Chief?” Jim asked with such a sound of hopeless despair that it was breaking everyone’s hearts.

“We can’t go home for awhile yet, Jim. Sorry,” Blair said sentinel soft. And big Jim Ellison started to cry softly.

For the first time in his life, Simon felt like he was going to cry just from watching another do it. God, his heart was breaking and knew what this must have done to Jim to bring him to this place. Simon vowed to himself to get these bastards.

Blair touched him and said, “Jim, it's okay. Everything's going to be all right. We’ll get through this. I love you, babe.”

“Please, Blair? Take me home?” Jim begged.

“Jim,” Simon said, standing next to Jim’s bed, “you can’t go home yet. You can’t get around. You aren’t healed enough to even leave the hospital yet. We’ll see how soon the doctor will let you out, though.”

Jim took a hold of Simon’s hand and pleaded, “Please, Simon. I need to get out of here. I don’t want to be here anymore.”

Simon looked at Blair with a confused look on his face. Actually, none of the men knew why Jim was so adamant about leaving the hospital. “Jim, why do you need to get out of here so fast?” Simon asked.

“I want to have Blair close to me in our loft. They’re going to kill both of us,” Jim said matter of factly.

“Jim, you know we won’t let anything happen to you guys, right?” Simon asked.

“Just like they weren’t supposed to hurt me in the first place, Simon. I can’t let them get Blair. I won’t,” Jim said trying to gain some strength in his words as he pulled himself up. But instead he felt all of the pain and broken body parts and cried out.

“Jim, knock it off. They’ll make me leave you if you hurt yourself,” Blair said trying to calm his love.

“Blair, you can’t be here all the time and when you leave, they’ll go after you,” Jim said close to a panic attack.

Simon moved closer to Jim and said, “He won’t be alone until you’re out of here Jim. Don’t worry, we’ll be here the whole time.”

“Simon, you have to work. When you’re at work I can’t trust anyone else,” Jim said.

“Well, now that you brought it up I don’t have to worry about work anymore. I resigned. So, I’ll have plenty of time to help you both,” Simon said smiling over at Jim.

“Jesus, Simon. You gave up your career because of me?” Jim said still on that edge of panic.

“Not hardly, Ellison. I quit because we’re surrounded by assholes and idiots. I couldn’t see this kind of thing happening again and standing by. So... I left. It’s as simple as that. But I want something from you.”

“What?” Jim asked.

“I want to know that you won’t go back. I want to know that maybe you and I can open up that security place that we talked about all of those years ago,” Simon said hopefully.

“You want to go into business with us?” Jim asked.

“Yeah, I do. Well, that’s not all. Brown, Taggart and Rafe need a job, too,” Simon added.

“Shit, you all left?” Jim asked, “What were you thinking? Blair, where in the hell were you when this was taking place?”

“I was sitting at your bedside, tough guy,” Blair said as calmly as he could.

“You didn’t need to stay here. They could have gotten you here,” Jim said.

“Yeah, well, they would have had a hell of a time getting past the nurses and these four guys who have been here since day one,” Blair said smiling at his friends.

“Thanks, guys.” Jim said looking at all of them. “Chief, is my eyesight going to get better? 'Cuz I have to tell you, it sucks right now?”

“Yeah, Jim, it’ll get better as you get better. The doctor said not to worry.”

Rafe walked up to the bed and said, “Can I talk to Jim alone everyone? I need to ask something.”

“You can ask it with us in here.” Blair said flatly.

“Simon, this is really personal and I need to speak with him alone,” Rafe continued.

“Come on, Sandburg, let's go and get some fresh coffee. We’ll come right back. Rafe won’t let anything happen to him.” Simon pulled Blair towards the door. Jim saw the look of fear on Blair’s face and said, “Chief, it's okay. I wanted to talk to him anyhow. Go with Simon and take a break. I’ll tell you about it later on.”

As they left the room, Rafe began to pace and finally got the nerve up and said, “Jim, I need to ask your doctor if they did a rape kit on you. But I need your permission to talk to the doctor. I didn’t want to upset Blair.”

“Do you want to talk to him right now?” Jim asked looking as scared as Rafe did.

“I’m going to go and find him, Jim. Then we’ll get that over with.”

“Rafe, I don’t know. Shit… Could you keep Sandburg away from here for awhile?”

“Yeah, I’ll get the doctor right now.” Rafe said as he walked out of the room.

When he came walking back in the doctor was with him.

“Good news Detective. I did an exam on you after the surgery. You were not penetrated. Then I did blood tests too.”

“Thank you, Doctor, I needed to know,” Jim said gratefully.

“Of course. You had a lot of damage done to your penis and testicles but we made sure nothing else happened. Let me also warn you that someone from the PD was here and they took pictures of all of your injuries.”

The doctor was still talking to Jim, when Blair pounded on the door. “Open up Rafe. What’s wrong?”

Rafe opened the door and Blair flew in and was at Jim’s side before Rafe could say or do anything.

“Its okay, Chief. Rafe had to check one more thing before the case could go on.”

“What?” Blair asked.

The doctor said to the guys, "Why don’t we leave these two alone for a short time so they can talk?" The four men walked out of the room, and Jim held on to Blair’s hand. “Chief, I’ve got a lot of pain in my cock and balls so I was afraid that they did something sexual to me.”

“Oh, fuck. And you did this without me here. What were you thinking, Jim? I’m supposed to support you through these things not be out having coffee.”

Jim looked like he was going to cry and that was the extent of Blair’s anger. He quickly kissed Jim anywhere his face wasn’t beaten or battered. “I’m sorry, Jim. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. God, I love you. What did the doctor say?” Blair already knew but felt it was something Jim needed to tell him.

“I have damage done to my cock and balls but I wasn’t penetrated.” Jim said looking away from Blair. “He had tested me after the surgery. He didn’t do it today. He also told me that the PD took pictures of all of my injuries for the trial.”

“Can I see what they did to you?” Blair asked.

“Blair, I don’t want you to see me like this,” Jim said, pulling the cover up as tight as he could.

“Jim, please let me see what they did to you. Then I won’t be so shocked in court. After that I know how much damage to do to them,” Blair said. “No, don’t worry, I don’t mean physically. I’ve been looking for a lawyer and I think I found one in the coffee shop.”

Jim finally let go of the sheet and turned away from Blair. “Jim, look at me. This is not your fault. They abused you. You didn’t ask for it. Remember how much I love you, okay?”

“Okay, Chief.” Blair pulled the sheet down and lifted the gown. He wasn’t prepared for the type of brusing and swelling that he was seeing.

“God, Jim, I’m so fucking sorry,” Blair said softly.

“Blair, don’t leave, okay?”

“Leave? Where would I go? I'll live here with you until you go home,” Blair said holding on to Jim’s hand again, and with his other hand, pulled the cover up. “I’m sorry I had to see that, Jim. I know you didn’t want me to. But I need to tell the lawyer all about this and the only way is to see everything.”

“I love you, Chief. I love you so fucking much. You’ve had to put up with so much shit since you met me and now this,” Jim said sadly.

“Well Jim, if you want someone to blame, blame me. I thought it was so fucking funny teasing that fucker. And he lost it and made you pay. I’ll never forgive myself for that. I’m really sorry, babe.” Leaning over, Blair kissed Jim’s cracked and split lips. But Jim didn’t seem to mind. He was so thrilled that Blair still wanted to kiss him that he didn’t care about anything else.

“Do you have any questions, Jim? About anything before I let everyone else in?”

“Do I look as bad as I feel?”

“Yes,” Blair said and moved to the door to open it.

“I love you, Blair,” Jim called out to his love and Blair hearing it, turned and said, “And I will always love you, Jim.”

Blair opened up the door and found all four men standing in the hallway waiting to come back in. “Come on in, guys.”

They entered the room and Simon said, “We’ve figured out a schedule so that Blair can leave and sleep in your bed at home once a day for at least four hours. Don’t even try to argue, Sandburg. We’ve worked this out, and this is the way it’s going to be.”

“Simon, thank you for taking care of both of us,” Jim said.

“No biggy, Jim. There'll be one of us up here at all times. I’m taking the second half of the graveyard shift. Taggart will do the first half. Rafe will have the day shift and Brown will have the evening shift. Sound okay to you, Ellison?”

As long as someone's with Blair at all times I don’t care what you do,” Jim said.

“Well, we figured out that he could sleep when you’re sleeping. At least for the next week or so. Then he’ll go to the loft and Rafe and Brown will take turns staying at the loft sleeping. He won’t be alone ever,” Simon explained.

“Simon, thank you.” Blair said.

Rafe asked, “Jim, did Blair tell you about the lawyer he met in the cafeteria? She thinks she can help all of us. And we’re all going to sue.”

“Yeah, he started to tell me about it. I’m glad we’ll have someone in our corner. Sounds like IA is going to try to do the usual let's pretend it didn’t happen,” Jim said angrily.

“You got it. You wouldn’t believe what idiots they are. At least we have the names now and we’ll go after them. The only thing I ask is you resign. I don’t want you to have to go that place ever again,” Simon suggested.

“Yes, dad,” Jim said smiling for the first time since he woke up.

They all started talking and looked over at the quiet Ellison and saw he was sound asleep. “God, Simon, this is going to be hard,” Blair murmured.

“Yes, it’s going to be very hard but we have to move on and help Jim get through this. You up with that, Sandburg?” Simon asked.

“Yes, sir. I’m more than happy to put those fuckers behind bars and make them pay,” Blair answered.

Rafe handed a card to Blair and said, “The lawyer came while you were in the room. She said to call her tomorrow anytime and she’ll be here in a flash. She seems to know what she’s doing. She said she has talked with ACLU and they are working together. ”

“Thanks, Rafe. I’ll call her soon. Thank you all. Now, I need to rest a little bit with Jim. He sleeps better if I’m close to him and sleeping, too.”

“Okay, well we have to start our shifts anyhow. Talk to you soon,” Brown said.

After everyone left, Blair allowed himself to be sad for the pain and anguish his lover must have had to deal with. He’d never be able to make up for this, ever. Blair knew that their lives would never be the same again. Part of this was his own fault and he’d have to live with that too. How Jim could continue to love him was beyond his comprehension.

When Simon arrived home, he answered the phone and it was Conner, “They arrested the four men, on charges of attempted murder, assault, assault on a Police Officer, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, terroristic threats, harassment, violation of Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg’s Civil Rights. ACLU has been called in. IA has been charged by FBI for negligence and obstruction of justice in the role of their duties. And last but not least, the CPD has been sued by some lawyer hired by the ACLU for Civil Rights violations.”

“Well Conner, you pissed me off, but this is very good news to hear. I can’t wait to repeat all of this to Jim and Blair,” Simon said as he was writing it all down.

“I sent you a fax sir of all of the charges. And Timothy Martin called me about these charges and I accidentally faxed him a copy too. He works for the newspaper. I don’t know how it got sent.” Conner said almost evilly.

Simon couldn’t help but smile at this admission. This was going to work out pretty good. The newspapers would go wild with all of this. “Thanks for the help, Conner. I know you’re trying to make it up to Jim for the damage you caused. It helps. Believe me.”

They talked a while longer and then Simon hung up the phone and tried to sleep for awhile. He had to relieve Joel in five more hours. Simon hated graveyard shift.

At the hospital things were quiet and a little on the boring side. Joel kept getting up and moving around and then walked up and down the hallways to keep himself awake. This shift wouldn’t get over soon enough. A nurse walked up to Joel and said, “Would you like some coffee? I made a fresh pot for us and you’re welcome to some.”

“Why thank you. That’d be very nice.” Joel said following her to the desk. He could see Jim’s doorway from there, so he wasn’t neglecting his duty. He would never let anything happen to his friends. Joel stood talking with them, watching the doorway the whole time, for almost three hours. Then when they got busy doing their rounds, Joel went back into Jim’s room and sat down. Jim was awake when Joel came in.

“Hey Jim, ya all right?” Joel whispered.

“Yeah, just couldn’t sleep. Everything seems to hurt more during the night. I don’t know why.”

Joel pulled his chair over to the opposite side of the bed of Blair and started talking with Jim.

“Jim, what do you think of this issue of us all being in the same business?” Joel asked.

“Joel, I think that we could make a go of it. We get along well, so we don’t have to get used to each other. We already know what pains we are,” Jim said smiling at his friend. “Thanks again Joel, for everything.”

“Nothing you wouldn’t be doing for us, Jim. We love you guys,” Joel said as he patted Jim’s hand. Jim grabbed Joel’s hand and just held it and Joel realized that Jim wasn’t only in pain; he was probably scared. This was a lot to take in. Joel pulled his hand back and instead rubbed the tops of Jim’s big hand. Jim’s eyes started shutting at Joel started talking to him and rubbing his hand. Must have relaxed him a lot. Joel looked at his friend and realized for the first time that Jim Ellison wasn’t quite as tough as he would like people to think. He was more like the rest of them. This endeared Jim to him even more.

As Joel sat there and watched his friends sleep, he thought about the upcoming trial that would no doubt happen. This was going to be very hard on Jim and Blair both. He hoped that Simon had found out many things while he was at home. Looking at his watch, he realized that Simon would be there in about ten minutes. Joel also wondered if he was truly included in the work proposition or if Jim was just being nice. It wasn’t like Joel worked with the rest of them in the bullpen. He was a Captain of another department. He wasn’t sure he was going to be accepted, so he wasn’t going to get his hopes up at all.

About 20 minutes later, in walked Simon looking exhausted. “How are things going?” He asked quietly.

“Everything is fine. Jim was a little upset earlier, but I held his hand and he calmed down,” Joel said and Simon looked at him as if he was insane.

“You held his hand?” Simon asked.

“Yeah, he held mine, actually. I think he had a bad dream and it made him feel better to have it held. So what did it hurt?” Joel asked defensively.

“Nothing Joel. I’m not being judgmental. I just can’t believe that Jim Ellison let you hold his hand.”

“Simon, do you think because he acts all tough, that he’s never hurt or scared?”

“Of course not Joel. I know that he is human after all.”

Almost as if he knew he was being talked about, Jim started moaning in his sleep. Blair woke up and started talking to him calming him down and before long Jim was back into the deep sleep.

~~~~~

The next four weeks, was like a walking talking nightmare. Jim was put through rigorous physical therapy that hurt him like he’d never been hurt before. But the fact remained that he had to get back in shape before the doctor would release him for any reason.

On that morning of the fourth week, Megan Conner decided to come in for a visit. She’d been a big help to the lawyer for the law suit, but she hadn’t come and seen Jim yet. It was time. She needed to suck it up and see him. She really needed his forgiveness.

Knocking on the door, she walked in when Jim said, “Come in.”

Rafe stood up and said, “What do you want?”

“Jim, I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to see that you were all right in person. I feel terrible. I’m so sorry,” Conner said with tears in her eyes.

From behind Conner, came Blair’s voice, “Well, it’s too fucking bad, Conner. He’s not going to forgive you. Now get out. We don’t want to see you again.”

“Sandy, please. I’m so sorry. I just want things to be like they used to be.”

“Oh, you want someone to beat the shit out of him again? Well, it’s not going to happen. Now get out of here,” Blair almost yelled.

“Jim?” Conner begged.

“You’re upsetting Blair. We’ll talk once I’m home and doing better. Now you had better leave,” Jim said calmly.

Once Conner walked through the doorway, Blair turned to Jim and said, “What the fuck was that about? Please tell me you’re not going to let her get away with this.”

“Chief, I can’t go on with all this hatred. It can’t be good for a person. I really wish you would drop some of it too.”

“Jim, she doesn’t deserve to be forgiven for what she did. She didn’t help you in the first place. I’ll never forgive her for that. Not to mention she hates gays.”

Jim turned to Rafe and said, “Rafe, I know that you like us, but how do you feel about us being gay?”

“What?” Rafe said clearly shocked that he was brought into this.

“Just tell us how you feel about us being gay and don’t worry about it,” Jim continued.

Rafe cleared his throat and said, “Truth?”

“Truth,” Jim replied.

“Well, when I first found out I was disgusted. I thought you were both insane. It didn’t bother me to a point where we wouldn’t be friends anymore. But at the same time, it made me rethink many things I used to do all the time. Like hug Sandburg, or touch him now and then. I stopped doing that, because I didn’t want anyone thinking less of me. I’m sorry guys.”

“No, this is what I meant. Do you still feel this way?” Jim asked.

Rafe hugged Sandburg and said, “I don’t think so.” All three men started laughing at that one.

“Rafe, why didn’t you come to us when you were so confused? We could have talked about it,” Blair asked.

“Oh yeah, I could see it now. Hey Jim and Blair, the thought of you guys together makes me ill,” Rafe commented.

“So, you’ve come to terms with it?” Jim asked.

“Oh yeah. We all have. Henri was confused too. We spent many a night at the pub getting wasted wondering what the hell happened to you two.”

“I’m sorry that we weren’t there to help you through it. We should have been more open with you all and talked about it more,” Jim said.

“Jim, we’re talking about you. You don’t talk that much. This is the most I’ve heard you say in months,” Blair said smiling.

“I could say, shut up, Sandburg,” Jim said smiling back.

“Nah, you wouldn’t, because you love when I talk.”

“Yeah, I do. I love you,” Jim said suddenly.

Rafe was so used to this now that it didn’t seem odd to him at all. “If you guys are going to start to make out, could you warn the het guy, so he could get the hell out of dodge?”

All three men started laughing until there was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Jim called out.

Ms. Meg Parmeter came walking into the room and said, “I’ve got some good news men.”

“What?” Blair asked as he sat down on the bed next to Jim.

“Well, I had a meeting with the DA, IA and a judge. They’ve come up with something I think you can live with. Well, I hope you can live with it.” Meg said.

“I’m ready for some good news,” Jim said hoping she was right.

“Okay, here goes. The judge said they have to all do time, no way around that. They kidnapped an officer of the law. So, he said he’d let them do five years each in the section for cops. They’ll lose everything, their pensions and no chance of ever go back to work for any state, city or county job. Next, IA will agree to this, if you settle out of court for a monetary amount, so that the papers don’t know all about it. The DA was happy with everything they came up with. Now, you tell me what you think of this before I tell you how much money is involved.”

“Shit, Meg, you mean, they get a lousy fucking five years for what they did to him? They ruined his life,” Blair said angrily.

“Blair, they didn’t ruin my life. They just delayed it a bit. I’m going to be fine, I just know it,” Jim said sadly.

Rafe said, “So what happens next?”

“Well, I need Simon, Joel and Henri up here, so we can discuss all of this. No more talk until they get here,” Meg said and she was still smiling.

Jim called Simon, Joel and Henri and told them to come up. In the meantime, they all sat and talked and Rafe said, “Would you like me to run and get some lunch stuff?”

“Yeah, that would be good. Leave me your gun, please,” Jim said.

Rafe handed over his weapon and walked down the hallway to the elevator.

Meg asked, “Why did you ask for his gun? And why does he have a gun, he isn’t a cop anymore, am I right?”

“Because, there are still people that would like to see us hurt or dead. And those guys won’t go to prison if we’re dead. No, he isn’t a cop anymore, but he’s still licensed to carry a weapon, same as Blair and me,” Jim answered.

“My god, you’ve been living on edge all the time, I never even thought in those terms. I’m so sorry for not seeing this sooner,” Meg said.

“Not your problem. Do you think that five years is enough for what they did to me, Meg?” Jim asked seriously.

“No, I don’t Jim. But I think that if we take it to court, the jury will be sympathetic. They’ll hear about Blair taunting them and think that Blair asked for all of it. Hush, Blair, I know it’s not true, but they’ll think that. Once these men have gone to prison, they’re lives are more or less over,” Meg said.

Rafe got back with Wonderburger for all of them. Although he didn’t want to totally piss Sandburg off, so he picked him up a salad too, just in case. But Blair ate the damn hamburger and seemed like he really liked it.

They all sat talking about different things until Henri, Joel and Simon came walking into the room.

“Hey everyone,” Brown said as he came through the door.

“Hey yourself, H,” Rafe said laughing.

“So what’s this all about?” Simon asked pulling up a chair and sitting down.

“Well, I have some things to talk to all of you about. Now, first of all let me tell you what the DA, Judge and IA are willing to do, charges wise.” Meg said.

She filled them in on everything that she had told the other men so far. Simon stood up, very angry and said, “That’s bullshit. Five fucking years, for almost killing Jim? Not to mention they kidnapped him. What the fuck is that judge thinking?”

She then told them how they thought the jury would be sympathetic about the taunting by Blair and it might be swayed in their direction.

“It’s still fucking bullshit,” Simon said sitting back down.

Jim looked at his friend and smiled and said, “Thanks, Simon.”

“Okay, gentlemen,” Ms. Parmeter said, “this is the deal. You can take it now, or go to court. It’s as simple as that. If you’re not happy, you know I’ll fight like crazy to take care of this.”

All of the men were sitting and watching her as she began pacing. “Simon, for you having to give up your rank after all of those years, they’re going to offer you, $3,000,000. Joel, for you giving up your rank and job, they are offering you 2,000,000. Rafe and Brown, for your jobs and anguish, they’re going to offer you each, $1,000,000. Blair they’re willing to offer you $6,000.000. and finally Jim, they’re going to offer you this one time settlement for the pain, injury and suffering that you have had to deal with. There will be no extra medical. So, this has to pay all of your medical expenses that will come up over the years, they took that into consideration. The amount is $30,000,000.”

Everyone in the room was sitting there with mouths agape. “Well gentlemen, I don’t know if this is good or bad. Why doesn’t someone say something,” Meg said.

Simon finally said, “Jim, is that enough in your mind?”

“I never dreamed they would give us this much,” Jim answered.

“So what do you all think?” Meg asked.

Jim said, “Where are the papers to sign. I’ll settle for this. Shit, we can open our business. Are the amounts all right with you guys?”

Meg interrupted and said, “Jim I just want you to know that I had asked for much more, but this is the best offer I could get out of them. I’m really sorry about that.”

Simon started pacing and said, “Jim maybe we should go to court. These guys still kidnapped and tried to kill you. They’re only going to get five years. They’ll be out in five years, to come and get all of us.”

Rafe said, “How about if we all move?”

Simon looked at him and said, “Move to where?”

“Somewhere warmer,” Blair said smiling.

“I like that idea. We could all move, not that they wouldn’t be able to find us, but it might be harder,” Jim agreed.

“So you all would just up and move? What about my son? You don’t have any kids, but I do,” Simon said.

“So bring him along. I’m sure no matter where we go, there will be colleges,” Blair said laughing.

“Guys, guys, guys. Slow down, do we have a deal here? Because if you agree, I have all of the paperwork and we can get this show on the road,” Meg said.

“Yeah, it sounds fair to me,” Jim said.

“I like the idea,” Rafe said.

“Jim, do you know how to use money in stock markets and things like that?” Brown asked.

“Yeah, I’ll help you invest wisely so you won’t have a worry in the world,” Jim said.

“I can’t wait to get out of here,” Blair said.

“Okay, let’s get this paperwork signed, sealed and then delivered,” Meg said smiling.

Everyone signed their papers and Meg Parmeter went to the court house to file all of the paperwork and talk to the DA and Judge.

When she left, Jim said, “Where are we going to move to? California?”

“That’s a thought. I love Cali,” Blair said.

“So do I,” Rafe said.

Brown frowned and said, “Too many earthquakes there. I hate that.”

“I have to agree with Henri. I think somewhere nice would be Arizona, Nevada or New Mexico. What do you think?” Simon asked.

“Oh, I love New Mexico,” Blair said.

“I do too, I’ve been there a few times,” Rafe said.

“I love New Mexico,” Brown said.

“Sounds like a nice new plan to me,” Joel admitted quietly, not knowing exactly where he stood in this story.

“I’ve never been there, but I could check into the colleges around there for Daryl,” Simon said. “Which part of New Mexico?”

“Oh I know. Santa Fe. It’s not that far from Albuquerque, but far enough to keep us away from the smog and traffic. Plus this small town is filled with rich people. We’d have a lot of work there,” Blair said smiling for the first time in ages.

“What do you think of that idea, guys?” Jim asked smiling back at his love.

Simon looked over at Jim and said, “So Jim, you never said how you feel about this. How do you feel?”

“About moving? About the settlement? About those assholes? What?” Jim asked.

“All of it, Jim,” Simon answered.

“Well, I like the idea of a warmer area. God, I’m sick of rain and cold. The settlement is good, I think. It’s enough for me, anyhow. Those assholes will never suffer enough as far as I’m concerned, but there’s nothing I can do about that. Does this answer everyone’s questions?”

“Yeah, that tells us how you’re feeling, Jim,” Blair said lying down next to Jim and hugged him hard.

“Geeze, get a room,” Rafe said laughing.

“I know, they’re worse than newlyweds,” Simon teased.

“Newly weds get to fuck, so we’re not like that,” Jim said. “If you’d get out of here, maybe we could take care of some of that.”

“Jim!” Blair said turning crimson.

“We don’t need to be told more than once. We’ll be right in the hall. We won’t let anyone in. Have fun,” Simon said laughing as they walked out of the room.

Jim pulled Blair into his arms and said, “I asked the doc and he said, as long as I was careful and didn’t do anything too strenuous, we could fool around. I’m hot for you, babe.”

Blair pushed Jim’s gown up and started kissing his nipples to hardness and Jim started moaning. “Jim, do I need to put a pillow over your face. I’d like to not advertise this,” Blair said smiling into his lover's eyes.

“I’ll try to be good, but Jesus, I’m horny. Please touch me, babe,” Jim begged.

Blair took off his jeans and boxers and crawled on top of Jim and started rubbing their erections together. Jim pushed Blair harder and harder into his body. Both men wanted it so bad, that they knew it wouldn’t take long. Blair kissed Jim’s ear and whispered, “If you’re good, tomorrow I’ll tongue fuck you.”

Jim came with a shout. And Blair followed right after as his cock slid in and out of Jim’s warm come. Blair got up and cleaned them both off, got his clothing back on and then got Jim all settled in bed and then crawled in next to him and they both fell asleep.

The three men in the hallway had heard Ellison come with a loud yell, so they were waiting for the door to open up, but no one came out. Finally Simon said, “I’ll see if they’re ready for company yet.” Opening the door just a crack, he saw both men, decent and sound asleep.

“It’s safe, come on in,” Simon said.

“So Simon, are you really okay with a move?” Rafe asked.

“Yeah, I am. You know you all are the best friends a person could ask for. I’d probably follow any of you, anywhere.”

“Thanks, Simon. We feel the same way about all of you,” Brown said.

When Jim woke up, everyone was gone, except for Brown. “Hi H. Did we scare everyone off?”

“Not hardly,” Henri answered. “Simon wanted to get some sleep for tonight’s shift. And Rafe and Joel just wanted to think.”

“It’s a lot to think about isn’t it? The move I mean. If you don’t want to move, then we can stay here. We should have made that clear,” Jim said.

“No, Jim, we’re fine with the move. Rafe just met someone knew and he’s sad about that. But he wants to come with us,” Brown said.

“Well, tell him to ask her to marry him,” Jim said.

“I think he might. How do you feel about having a wife in this group?” Brown asked.

Blair smiled from Jim’s arms and said, “Well, I’m like Jim’s wife, so I guess she wouldn’t be the first.”

Starting to laugh, Jim said, “No way. I would never call you that, babe.”

“Okay, sorry, Jim’s my wife, so Rafe’s woman wouldn’t be the first,” Blair said and got a swat as he jumped and ran from the bed.

Brown smiled at the loving that was coming from the two men. It was almost back to normal. He had hoped that things wouldn’t change too much. It looked like it might work out okay.

When Brown left, Simon came on. Jim and Blair readied for bed and said goodnight. During the night, Jim heard Simon in the bathroom talking on the telephone. He was talking to Daryl. When he walked out, he saw Jim was awake and he said, “Sorry Jim.”

“It’s all right. How is he taking the news?” Jim asked.

“He said he’s going to start packing right now. So, I guess it wasn’t all that traumatic for him. Maybe it’s harder for me, and not at all for him,” Simon answered.

“Well, Simon, it’s a big fucking step,” Jim whispered. Jim slid out of bed and sat down in one of the chairs next to Simon. They ended up talking till almost morning.

The doctor came in first thing that morning and said, “Good morning, how is my patient today?”

“I’m fine,” Simon joked.

Jim laughed and said, “He’s such a smart ass, isn’t he?”

“Yes, that he is. How are you feeling Jim? Have you been up for long?” The doctor asked.

“Well, I had some things to discuss with Simon, so yeah, I’ve been up for about four hours,” Jim answered. “I feel great. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

“Well, today is your lucky day. Your therapists said you’ve gone past the limit they were expecting, so you can get out in three days. I just need to have more blood work done and a few other things. Then you’ll be free.”

“Thanks doc. Not that I don’t appreciate you all, but I can’t wait to get home to my own bed,” Jim confessed.

“The feeling is mutual. If things go right, you’ll be out of here in three days,” Doctor Connelly said.

Blair was going to be so fucking thrilled. Blair hated the damn hospital more than Jim, if that was at all possible. Jim couldn’t wait to have the next three days over and done with.

Rafe walked in and said, “How goes it Ellison? Good morning Doctor. Morning, Simon.”

“Good morning, Mr. Rafe,” The doctor said.

“Morning, Brian,” Blair said waking up.

“I’m doing pretty good, Rafe. And guess who might get out in three days?” Jim asked.

“Oh shit, why do I always miss the good stuff?” Blair inquired.

“Man, that’s not what you said last night,” Jim said laughing.

Blair tapped Jim on the shoulder as he got out of the bed. He went into the bathroom, to get ready for his day. But not before Ellison was able to swat his ass as he walked away.

“Rafe, are you okay with the idea of moving? Because if you’re not, we’re understanding. We could stay,” Jim said.

“I was torn, but it was over a woman and I asked her to marry me last night. She said yes,” Rafe said glowing with happiness.

Jim grabbed his hand and shook it saying, “Congratulations, when do we get to meet her?”

Simon grabbed Rafe’s hand next and shook it. “Rafe that’s wonderful news. Tell us all about her.”

“Let wait for Blair, because he’ll be hurt if I don’t tell him too,” Rafe said.

When Blair came out, Rafe told him and he hugged him immediately. Rafe laughed and said, “Shit, I was almost afraid to tell you guys that I was bringing along a woman. But you all seem okay with it.”

Simon said, “Well, Jim and Blair are considered a couple, so you won’t be the first.”

“Oh yeah, right. I forgot,” Rafe said laughing loudly. “Who’s the wife?”

“Fuck you, Rafe,” Jim said laughing.

“God, you guys are so mature,” Blair said sticking his tongue out at Rafe and laughing along with the others.

“Have you told Brown yet?” Simon asked.

“Yeah, you know I tell my partner everything. He knows her and likes her, a lot,” Rafe answered.

“This is great news. I say we celebrate with Wonderburger for lunch. What do you say?” Jim asked.

“No way. You just ate something the other day from them. Don’t press your luck, Ellison,” Blair said kissing Jim’s lips.

“Jim and I talked about a lot of things last night. We’re all going to stay at the loft until we leave town. Well, except for Rafe and his new lady. But Brown and I will stay with Jim and Blair. Remind me to tell Brown,” Simon stated.

“Sir, you might want to ask Brown about that, cuz I think he’s going to ask his lady friend to marry him too,” Rafe said.

“I didn’t know they were that serious,” Simon commented.

“Well, he’s crazy about her, but whether she’ll leave or not is another thing,” Rafe said.

Jim walked over to the bed to lie down and fell asleep. “Is he all right, Blair?” Rafe asked.

“My guess is he was talking with Simon all night long instead of sleeping,” Blair said giving Simon the evil eye.

“Sorry, Sandburg. He couldn’t sleep. He’s afraid he’s not doing the right thing,” Simon replied. “Now, if you’ll all excuse me, this old man needs to go and get some sleep. See you tonight, Sandburg.”

“Thanks for everything, Simon,” Blair called out as Simon was walking through the doorway.

Blair curled up on the bed with Jim, pulled him into his arms and went back to sleep. Got he loved sleeping with Jim. And he loved holding him. It was Blair’s way of making Jim feel safe.

When Jim woke for the second time, Rafe was sitting there alone. “Where’s Sandburg?”

“He went to get us all some lunch. Don’t panic because Brown came in early. He’s not alone,” Rafe said calming Ellison down right off.

Jim picked up the phone and called Conner’s house and a stranger answered. Jim asked, “May I speak with Megan Conner, please?”

“Who is this?” The male voice answered.

“I’m Detective Jim Ellison, a friend of hers and wanted to see how she was doing,” Jim replied.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you, sir, but she took an overdose of pills and committed suicide sometime during the night.”

Jim just sat there with a horrified look on his face and Rafe grabbed the phone and said, “What’s wrong with Conner?”

“I was just telling her friend, the detective, that she died of an overdose. I’m sorry to have to give you this news. She left notes for numerous people. Do you happen to know who Rafe, Brown, Taggart, Ellison, Sandburg and Banks are?”

“Yeah, that’s us,” Rafe said quietly.

“Well, the letters will be at the police station,” He said.

“We’ll have our lawyer pick them up for us,” Rafe said before he hung up the phone.

Blair came walking into the room with Henri and said, “Well, okay, you guys are in for a treat now. This is a new Chinese place and they have the very best food you’ve had in ages.” He walked around and set everything up for Jim to eat and finally said, “Jim, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. Just missed you,” Jim said smiling.

“Eat up, big man,” Blair said knowing damn well something was up, because Jim had such a sad look on his face Blair didn’t know if he wanted to know. “Jim, it’s not my mom is it?”

“No, babe, your mom is fine.”

“Oh good. Okay, eat up and we’ll talk after lunch,” Blair said.

Rafe was amazed at how in tune he was to Jim’s moods and feelings. Rafe also knew that Blair would be upset, because no matter what he said, he and Conner had been best pals.

They all ate lunch in silence, seeming to know that bad news would be coming soon enough.

Once lunch was done, they all sat down and Jim told the two men about Conner. Blair just sat there with his mouth hanging open. “Jim, I never meant for this to happen,” Blair said as he rushed into the bathroom and Jim could hear him throwing up his lunch.

“Man, I knew he was going to take it hard. They were good friends,” Rafe said.

“He’ll blame himself so we’ve got to watch out for him now,” Jim almost begged.

“We would do no less Jim. Don’t worry about Blair,” Brown said. “Shit, I can’t believe she did that.”

“Well, she couldn’t live with her actions. It’s too bad,” Jim said sadly. Jim hadn’t rushed into the bathroom when his lover had started throwing up. He knew Blair needed some space.

After about an hour, Jim decided that Blair had had enough space and he knocked and walked into the bathroom. Blair went right into Jim’s arms. “God, Jim I was so mean to her. I was so fucking mean to her,” Blair said.

“We both were, Chief. But she decided this on her own. It was her actions she couldn’t live with, not ours,” Jim reasoned.

“How do you know that?” Blair asked sadly.

“I don’t, but I can only imagine. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had done what she did.”

Jim got a wash cloth and washed Blair’s face and said, “Come on Chief, come on out here.”

Blair followed Jim out and sat down and looked at the floor. Rafe said, “Jim, I called and left a message for Simon on his machine, letting him know.”

“Thanks, I was going to do it, but got sidetracked. You all know that she chose this road. We didn’t pave that road for her, she did,” Jim said.

Blair realized that Jim was trying to convince himself and he could hear the slight tremors in Jim’s voice.

“Rafe and Brown, could I be alone with Jim for a short time?”

“Sure, Sandburg, we’ll be in the hall,” Rafe said getting up and moving out there as fast as he could. Rafe could see Jim Ellison losing it too. He sure as hell didn’t want to be in the room when he did.

They got out to the hallway and Brown said, “Shit, this is going to be bad, isn’t it?”

“It might be,” Rafe said.

Both men were somewhat surprised to not hear any sobbing or yelling come out of the room.

Simon walked up at that moment and said, “How is Jim taking this news about Conner?”

“Shit, she’s hurting him even now,” Rafe said.

“The ultimate plan,” Simon said shaking his head and knocking on the door.

He walked into the room without an invite and said to Blair, “I want to see Jim alone.”

“Simon, I don’t want to leave him,” Blair pleaded.

“You know I’ll take care of him,” Simon said.

Blair got up and moved towards the door and said, “Jim, you call if you need me.”

“I will Chief.”

Blair walked out the hall and started pacing. Before long, Rafe and Brown were doing it with him.

The nurse came up and said, “Is something wrong with Mr. Ellison?”

“No, we just had some bad news and he needs some time,” Blair said.

“Okay, I’ll come back to do his vitals in a half hour,” She said.

“You know what’s really weird, guys?” Blair asked.

“What?” Rafe asked.

“I was thinking of calling her this week and telling her that we’d try and work things out. I really liked Megan,” Blair confessed.

“We all did Sandburg. She did something stupid, but this was past stupid. This time, she was trying to hurt all of us,” Brown said angrily.

A man walked up to the door and Rafe said, “Can I help you?”

“Who are you? And why would you stop anyone that goes in to see Mr. Ellison?”

“I’m his friend and he’s had death threats, so no one gets in there without our okay,” Rafe said.

“I’m Detective Morgan, from Major Crime. I wanted to ask you all a few questions.”

“Shoot,” Brown said.

The Detective sat down in one of the chairs and said, “We have reason to believe that Megan Conner was murdered for her testimony for the case at hand.”

“Murder? I thought it was a drug overdose,” Blair said.

“We did at first, but the Coroner said it wasn’t. She put up quite a fight. We have four suspects right now. We need to know if you know any of them,” Morgan asked.

“Who?” Blair questioned.

“They were the four wives of the men that are going to prison as of tomorrow.”

“I don’t know any of them, no,” Rafe said. “Brown, did you know them?”

“Nope, I never ever met them. I didn’t even know they were married,” Brown said.

“I didn’t know them either,” Blair agreed.

“Well, I thought I would talk with Jim Ellison, since this whole thing has to do with him and wondered if he knew the woman and had any ideas,” The detective said.

Blair took the detective into the room and filled everyone in on what was going on. Needless to say, Simon and Jim were surprised, shocked and saddened to know that four women would now be going to prison too. Jim answered all questions he could and then they left him alone. Blair looked over and Jim said, “Actually I know this sounds weird, but I’m glad that someone did kill her. I find that easier to take than her taking her own life.”

“Jim, I think she was going to take her own life and these women interrupted,” Blair said. “Why else would she have written the notes?”

“Well, I for one am not reading any notes. I’m just not up to it now,” Jim said sadly.

Jim’s door opened and in walked the doctor and the nurse. Blair said, “I’ll be back in a few. “ Blair leaned in and gave Jim a quick kiss before leaving.

The doctor said, “Well, Jim we got all tests back quicker than we figured and I think you can go home today. Would you like that?”

“Shit yeah. I want out. No offense,” Jim said beaming at the prospect of being in his own home again.

“Well, I’ll get everything done, you have Blair go and get you something to wear home. I’ll need to see you in two weeks and then you’re free to go to any doctor you choose to.”

“Thanks, doc. You’ve been great,” Jim said and turning to the nurse said, “You all have been fabulous. Putting up with all of my stuff daily must have driven you all nuts. Thanks.”

The nurse was so pleased. They rarely got the recognition that the doctors did. But here was this kind man saying such wonderful things.

They both left the room and Blair came back into the room and said, “The doc said you had good news. Do you get to come home?”

“Yup, I need some clothes, Chief. I don’t want to wear scrubs.”

“Not a problem. I had Brown get your things last night, to keep up here. I’ll have him go down to the car and get them now,” Blair said bouncing.

“You excited there, Chief?” Jim asked laughing.

“You bet your sweet ass I’m excited. I’m telling you, Jim, you are mine when we’re home.”

“Chief, I’m always yours. I don’t need to be home for that.”

“Jesus you are such a romantic. I love that about you.” Blair said hugging the man to him and kissing his lips gently.

Blair walked out to ask Brown to get Jim’s clothes when Meg walked up and said, “Good morning, there must be good news. You all look pretty happy, considering.”

“Jim gets to go home today. Is something wrong?” Blair asked worriedly.

“No not at all. I just came by to give you all your paperwork. “She said walking into the room after Blair.

“Hello Jim.” Meg said. “Hear you get to go home today.”

“What’s up, Meg?” Jim asked with a look of fear on his face that scared the woman.

“Nothing, I brought up everyone’s paperwork. You’ll all have your checks in one month. So, you’re almost there. They can’t go back on it either. That was part of the deal. No appeals or anything like that.”

“That’s great news. We’ve all decided to move to New Mexico, well, I think,” Jim said laughing.

“I think a move would be wonderful for you all,” Meg said.

“So everything is already done?” Jim asked.

“Yes, they had to do this very quietly, or they’d be front page news. But now, they have their hands full because the wives all are suspects in a murder. No way are they going to keep that quiet,” Meg said.

“And this won’t affect the money, the case or anything else?” Jim asked.

“No, it’s all finished, Jim. Don’t worry. Nothing will come out about you. If they question the women and they talk about anything, they’ll be sued by the city and will lose all contact with their children. Believe me, the City is right on top of this. They’re going to call it a crime of passion,” Meg said looking out the window. “It’s just so sad that they had to do that.”

“We’ve noticed that most people are sad. Especially when they feel that they’ve been wronged,” Blair said.

“Well, gentlemen, I’ll talk to you later. Where should I send the checks?”

“To our loft, unless we leave town. In which case we’d let you know. But I can’t see that happening that quickly. Rafe wants to get married first and maybe Henri,” Jim said smiling.

“So something good has come out of all of this. Glad to hear it. Bye, guys.” Meg called out on her way out. Seeing the men in the hall, she talked to them for awhile before leaving.

~~~~~

Simon, Brown and Rafe all came walking into the room and said, “You ready to go, Ellison?”

“Let’s blow this pop stand,” Jim said smiling. Today was a major day.

~~~~~

The ride home was pretty quiet. They had a lot on their minds. They were trying to figure out how to go to the funeral services without everyone talking about them. Then Blair reminded them that she’d probably be going home to be buried with her family.

When they got inside the loft, they all sat down and talked about the upcoming move. Jim finally asked, “So Rafe and Brown, do you want to get married before or after we move?”

Rafe said, “Before. I want to take my wife with me.” They all looked at the beaming face and started laughing.

“What?” Rafe asked.

“It’s just that dopey love look. Ellison and Sandburg have it too.” Simon said laughing.

“Oh thanks for that, Simon.” Jim said.

“How about you, Brown?” Simon asked.

“She doesn’t want to move. I talked to her till I was blue in the face, but she won’t listen,” Brown said sadly.

“Brown, don’t feel like you have to move. If you want to stay here with her, that’s fine too,” Jim said, trying to give his friend an out.

“No, I want to go with you all. I think we could make a kick ass team,” Brown said. “Someday I’ll meet someone new.”

Jim vowed to talk to his girlfriend, but first he’d have to find out what her name was. Rafe was sure to know. Jim looked at Rafe and asked, “So Rafe, when do we meet your new wife-to-be?”

“Jim, her name is going to knock your socks off,” Rafe said laughing.

“Why?” Jim asked wondering why it had anything to do with him.

“Her Grand-Father’s name was Ellison, so they named her after him. Her name is Ellison Anne Parker,” Rafe said smiling brightly.

“Now that is odd. But I like it. What do you call her?” Jim asked.

“Well her family calls her Ellie, but I call her Ellison or Elle. You’re going to love her. All of you,” Rafe said.

Blair said, “Call her up and tell her to come for dinner tonight.”

“Okay, I will.” Rafe went into the study to make the call. Jim followed him in and shut the door. Rafe lifted his eyes up and asked, “What’s up, Jim?”

“Do you know Brown’s girls name and number? I thought I would try calling her.”

“Yeah, I’ll give it to you later on tonight,” Rafe answered.

“I’d like to call right now. Maybe she’d come over and meet us and see we’re not so bad,” Jim said.

Rafe wrote down the number for Jim and Jim left the room while Rafe called his Elle for dinner.

Walking up the stairs, Blair said, “Jim, want to lie down for a little while?”

“Yeah, I think I could use a short nap. Chief, could you bring my cell phone up with you?”

“Sure,” Blair said as he grabbed it and went to tuck his main man in. He climbed the stairs and then into the bed with Jim. “Chief, I’m never going to nap if you lay here with me.”

“Who you going to call Jim?” Blair asked, knowing that Jim was trying to sidetrack him with the sex remark.

“Brown’s girl. I’m going to see if she’ll come for dinner tonight. I’ll tell her to give us a chance.”

“Jim, Brown never said she wouldn’t like us. She doesn’t want to move.”

“Yeah, but Chief, she might be afraid to move with perfect strangers. That’s why I want to invite her.”

“Do whatever you want man, but don’t get all pissed off when she says no.”

“I’ll try not to. Now go downstairs and make something wonderful for dinner,” Jim ordered laughing.

“Yes, master,” Blair said as he kept bowing in front of the bed and backed away to the stairs. Both men were laughing by this time.

Jim called the girl, named Rae. When she answered he talked to her for about an hour about how great Henri was and how badly he wanted to go with them, but he wouldn’t leave with out his Rae. Then Jim asked her to dinner to meet everyone and make up her mind for good. After agreeing that it might not be a bad idea, she got Jim’s address and hung up. Jim fell asleep and slept until Blair woke him up for a shower before dinner.

Everyone was there and they all helped in the kitchen. There was a knock at the door, and Rafe opened it and let Elle in. He introduced her and then she sat and watched all of the men do their thing in the kitchen. She couldn’t believe how well they all seemed to work together. Jim walked up to her and said, “It’s scary isn’t it?”

“What?” She asked.

“How well, we all seem to fit in each others lives. Sometimes it’s almost too good. We’re so damn grateful to have each other. All of us,” Jim said smiling at her. “And we’re really glad that Rafe won’t be alone anymore. Now if we can get Brown, Joel and Simon married off we’ll all be happy.”

Laughing she said, “Oh god, could we have fun or what?”

Jim loved this woman, she had a great sense of humor. She accepted everyone and never questioned anything.

There was a knock at the door and a gorgeous black woman stood there and he said, “You must be Rae?”

“And you must be Jim,” Rae said smiling, liking this man instantly.

“Come on in and meet everyone. Jim made the introductions and Brown was thrilled to see her. He kissed her hard and whispered, “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Henri,” Rae answered.

The dinner went surprisingly well with all of the cooks in the kitchen. And the two women really liked each other. They had many things in common. They realized they had a lot in common with Jim too. They chose him as the wife. Both women laughed when they talked about that. Jim heard them and at first thought this was weird, but someone had to be it, why not him. He smiled at Blair.

“Listening to things you’re not supposed to be listening to?” Blair asked going into his arms.

“Yup, and I found out that the girls think I’m the wife of this arrangement.”

Howling Blair said, “You’ve got to be shitting me?”

“Nope, they think that I’m the wife. What’s wrong with that, Blair?”

“Nothing I guess. I just never expected you to take it so well.”

“Babe, I don’t mind being your wife or anything else you want me to be,” Jim said as he leaned in for a kiss.

“God, you are so romantic. I love that about you.”

After dinner, Brown asked Rae is she’d marry him again and she said yes. Brown walked out into the living room and said, “Everyone, Rae and I are going to get married this week at the court house.”

Everyone got up and shook Brown’s hand and then hugged Rae. “Brian, I’d like you to stand up for me.”

“Sure, I’d be honored.” Rafe said. “Now I have something to tell all of you.”

“What?” Blair asked, wondering how he could top the news.

“Elle and I got married two weeks ago. We didn’t want anyone to know right away, because we’re having a baby,” Rafe said.

“Holy shit, Rafe. You really know how to make an announcement,” Blair said hugging him and then hugging Elle.

Rae said, “Oh god, I adore babies. Jim, do you like children?” Blair almost laughed at the way they were acting.

“As a matter of fact, I love kids. It’ll be nice if you’ll allow us to be the uncles in their lives. We’d be honored to be that in all of your children’s lives,” Jim said hugging Elle.

Blair thought to himself, he is the fucking wife.

As they sat there, Blair said, “I’ve been looking on my laptop for property and homes in Sante Fe. I found some great places. All not to far from each other. I’m looking for eco-friendly homes, so you all have to be too. They call them Green Homes. So if anyone is interested, I’ll show you on the computer. “

“Well of course we all want to see them and I’ve always wanted to get a Green Home,” Elle said.

The night went by quickly with talk about moving and such things. Jim noticed that Simon was really quiet. Walking out to the balcony, he asked, “What’s up, Simon? Do you know where Joel is tonight?”

“Daryl doesn’t want to go with us after all. He’s started school here and he’s happy. So, I guess I’ll be staying here. I talked to Joel today and Joel said that he’d really like me to stay here and move in with him.”

“Well Simon, it’s not like you need a place to live. Right? And why isn’t Joel considering going with us?” Jim asked.

“Actually I sold my house when this whole thing happened because I didn’t want to lose it. So, I just wanted to tell you that I won’t be going. Joel felt like since he was from a different part of the station, he wouldn’t fit in with us.”

“Simon, will you at least think on it some more? I can’t imagine this move without you. I’ll even talk to Daryl. Look how I sweet talked Rae. Want me to try? Then I’ll talk to Joel. Don’t you worry about Joel, he’s going to be moving for sure.”

“No, that’s okay. Jim, it’s best this way. Everyone is going to be starting their families and I won’t fit in.”

Jim looked over at his friend, seeing the sadness and said, “Simon, what if we talk Joel into moving with us for sure? He needs to be one of our partners. What do you think of that idea?”

“Well, I don’t think you should think about it until you talk to everyone else.” Simon said looking hopeful for the first time.

Jim walked in and asked everyone to sit down. “Who would mind if Joel went to Sante Fe with us? Hands up anyone?”

“I just figured that Joel would be going with us, I didn’t realize that he didn’t know he was part of us. He’s going to move with us and we’ll all be one happy family,” Blair said smiling at Simon.

Brown and Rafe both said, “All right.”

Then Rafe said, “We’d love for Joel to go with us. Tell him we could never leave without him. God, this is like a big family move.”

Jim smiled at Simon and said, “Satisfied?”

“Yeah, but I think you and I need to talk, Jim,” Simon remarked.

“I thought we were, Simon.”

“Jim, I’ve been sleeping with Joel for about a year now,” Simon said.

“No shit? I think Blair knew already, he kept smiling all night at the idea of Joel moving. Are you afraid that the guys won’t like it?”

“Well, yah. I mean, everyone loves Joel, but not that way, you know?”

“So go in and tell them,” Jim said.

Simon figured what could he lose? Oh fuck, just the very best friends in the world is all.

Simon called Joel over and asked him if they could tell everyone. Joel drove over in record time.

When he got there; they all were talking about the move and how exciting it was when Simon said, “Could I have your attention?”

Everyone stopped talking and Simon and Joel stood next to each other and Simon announced, “I wanted to tell all of you that Joel and I have been a couple for about a year now.”

“We know that,” Blair said.

“Yeah, who didn’t know?” Rafe said laughing.

“Congratulations on coming out,” Brown said shaking Simon’s hand.

Jim just stood there in shock and said, “Simon, I never had a clue.”

“Jim, you and I are almost always clueless,” Simon said laughing.

The talking continued until Jim tired and they were all reminded that Jim had just gotten home from the hospital. They knew that they would have a lot of time to make all of these plans. But at least they knew that they’d all be together.

Life might be no bed of roses, but it was exciting, fun, filled with love and adventure. None of the huge family would ever give up any of it. Jim and Blair knew that they had a lot of crosses to bear, but also knew that they wouldn’t be doing it alone. They were loved, and they in turn loved many back.

This is what life was supposed to be.

The end

Back to the Slashdex

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Lisa for hosting this older story that has been updated.

Notes: This is an old story that I decided to fix. Hopefully you’ll like the changes I made.