Warnings: Coarse language.
Author's notes: This story was first posted to the Sentinel Angst list and benefited from the comments of list members; I am grateful for their help. Please send feedback and criticism to DCStreets@aol.com.
"Jim! Oh god, man, wake up, okay? Come on, Jim, come on back. Come back--"
"...one of us keeps his cell-phone charged, because I finally got through. H says it'll be at least a few hours until..."
"...s'okay, Jim. All gonna be okay, man, just...."
"...get you cover'd up bit more, man. More cover more...come on, Jim, help me out here a little, 'kay? Help...help...come on..."
"...okay, got 'nother call, Jim. Gon' be okay. Sim'n says, man. Gonna be okay, Sim'n says. Says bout six...about six...six hours, Jim. We'll be...we'll..."
"Don' know...zoning. Don' know. Don'...you 'kay, Jim? Come on, man, tell me...tell...s'all gonna be..."
"Warm now, Jim? Any warmer now? Any warm? warmwarm...m'right here, okay? Gonna be....Righ' here. Gonna be...gonna..."
"Righ' here Jim"
"Jus' for sec'nd. Just rest a sec...Jim..."
"...s'kay man. 'im? 'kay? shhh..."
"...into OR immediately! Has somebody paged Wilson?"
"Pulse is dropping..."
--loud harsh bright--
"...minimal trauma, Doctor. Seems to be some sort of severe catatonic..."
"...hard to believe, Doctor Tsosie, but I think I know what's keeping Detective Ellison under. If it's okay, I'd like to sit with him, talk to him, see if I can't bring him back."
"That'll be fine, Captain. Like I said, we don't know why he's still out. He does have a couple of broken ribs which will keep him primarily flat on his back for a few weeks. Other than that, he's physically okay. None of our tests..."
"...not being difficult, Captain, although you seem to insist on believing otherwise. I can't give you any information on your other man because I don't have any information. His case is being handled by Dr. Wilson, who is..."
"...with you two anyway, Detective? A weekend hike, and you both end up in the hospital? I don't deserve this crap. I hate getting all nervous over you two. Wake up so I can yell at you, okay? Dammit, Jim..."
--tempting, but no--
"...work is piling up, and I think you can do paperwork from flat on your back if you have to, don't you, Detective? Jim, if you don't come out of it soon, I'm going to forget everything the kid told me about bringing you out of a zone and instead go with Conner's technique. Don't think that just because you're unconscious in a hospital-bed, I'll hesitate to slug you. Sandburg doesn't know everything when it comes to..."
"...then I'll bring Daryl in. That kid could talk someone into a coma, I swear. I think his mother's letting him have too much sugar. Don't make me bring in the big guns..."
"...there will be no mercy--dammit, Jim, this is getting old. Come on back, or I swear I'll light up this fine Cuban that I've been keeping for a special occasion. See how that smells to a Sen--"
"Shit! Jim? Spilled my coffee all over...dammit, Jim, welcome back."
"You couldn't do the whole 'fluttering eyelid, where-am-I' thing, could you? No, had to shout loud enough to scare a statue. Lie back down, Jim, come on, I'll call the doctor--"
"Simon, where's Sandburg? Where's Blair?"
"He's not here right now, Jim. Just lie back, let the doctor take a look--"
"Dammit, Simon, I'll go through you if I have to. Where is he? Something's wrong--"
"Lie down, Detective! That's an order."
"Simon, you've got to tell me--"
"And I will! Just stop setting off all those damn alarms. Yeah, Doc, he's awake."
"Welcome back, Detective Ellison. How are you feeling?"
"Homicidal! Simon, you tell me what's wrong with Sandburg or I take this nice doctor hostage and force--ouch!"
"Yes, you'll be a very effective hostage-taker, I have no doubt. However, as your doctor, I'm suggesting that instead you lie flat. You'll find that your broken ribs hurt a lot less when you do that. You seem fine...that is, unless he's usually even-tempered, Captain?"
"No. This is standard Ellison."
"You have my sympathies. Try to keep him lying flat. We can transfer him to the other room whenever you want."
"Would you two stop talking about me?"
"Thank you, Doctor. We'll call if we need any assistance."
"Thanks, Jim. Now she'll finally give me some credit, because she realizes the cross I have to bear. Of course, she gets to leave--"
"Yeah, okay. Sorry, Jim, but it's been a tough day."
"Is Sandburg okay?"
"He's going to be fine. It was touch and go for a while when you were brought in, but they've got him listed as stable now, in good condition. Doc Wilson says he should be waking up in the next few hours, and now that you're back among the living, you can move down to his room. You've got to stay here a few days, so you two might as well be in the same room making each other miserable and leave me out of the loop."
"What do you remember?"
"I remember how much I hate guessing games. Dammit, Simon--"
"I just want to know where to start."
"Sandburg and I were hiking. We went off on Billygoat trail. There was some erosion since the last rains...damn dirt-bikers beat the hell out of the trail. We got close to the top, I know, because I remember showing Sandburg the little trail that leads off to the peak. Then what?"
"Obvious signs of erosion, so you both stand together near the edge of the trail? Remind me again why you're my best team."
"God...we went over?"
"Yeah. As far as we can tell, Sandburg didn't want to move you, just covered you with his jacket and went back up the trail until he could get a signal with your cell-phone. He told H the situation, and the emergency rescue team got to you about five hours later."
"Internal bleeding. Not bad, but bad enough over six hours, plus the walking he did. To top it off, the idiot kid piled his jacket, hat, shirt, and scarf on you."
"Sounds like that idiot kid saved my life again; show some respect."
"Yeah, well that's a little tough to keep in mind when I find out that the exposure was almost worse than his injuries. They found him curled up next to you, in shock. You, by the way, were warm as toast."
"Not your fault, Jim. He was trying to take care of you. Probably didn't even know he was hurt. Just got tired and fell asleep."
"And damn near didn't wake up again!"
"Could have happened, but didn't. Like I said, Wilson's expecting him to wake up this evening. He should be home in a week, and up and about annoying the hell out of both of us in less than a month."
"Dammit, Simon. Goddammit. Can't we get a break? Take a goddamn hike?"
"Jim, watch your--I'm sorry, he's had a tough day."
"Not hurting me none, brother. Let's get Sleeping Beauty in with his friend, okay? Have ourselves a little reunion. Come on Mr. Smiley, you put up with me, and I put up with you."
"What the hell--"
"No, I am the man who's going to transport you to heaven...or at least to your friend, who is right now coming off his happy-drug trip and wanting a Mr. Jim. And I'm thinking that would be you, Smiley."
"Don't be looking to my brother over there for rescue. You want to see your friend, you have to ride with Joe."
"Fine. Simon, this is not funny."
"Sure it is, Smiley. My brother over there recognizes the joy in life. You could learn from his example."
"Yeah, I could learn a lot from a dummy, too. Dammit, Simon--"
"Come on, now, Sleeping Beauty. Ride your chariot down the hall--wave to the nurses, hello ladies!--"
"Joe, you gonna bring something that pretty to my room some day?"
"Some day, Darlin'. Some day Joe himself bring you your prince on a white gurney."
"My knight in shining hospital-gown?"
"Darlin', if that's all you need, Joe bring himself!"
"Goodbye, Detective Ellison. I am sending you on to be Dr. Wilson's problem. Never darken our sheets again."
"Yeah, very funny. Everybody's a comedian. Simon, you are in such deep--"
"Now, now, Sleeping Beauty; ladies present."
"This is not funny, Simon."
"It was far from funny, despite what Simon may try to tell you. So how about you wake up again, Chief, so that Crazyman Joe can call somebody else Sleeping Beauty? Hell, you two will probably hit it off. You'll find out he's the Shaman of the Inner City and end up in some long debate about spirit guides. I warn you now, his is a laughing hyena. Come on, Blair, how about coming back? This is getting kind of boring. No? Well, then I guess I'll have to tell you what Simon told me about the McMillan case. If I had to listen to it while unconscious, I think you should too. So Simon tells me that H and Rafe have figured...Blair? You with me?"
"It's okay, Chief, you're in the hospital."
"Yeah, you're going to be fine. Just lie still while I ring the doc--"
"No; you 'kay, Jim?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine, Chief. I've just got a real good excuse to lie around for a while. You still sound pretty beat. Why don't you go back to sleep 'til the doctor comes?"
"--'ounds good. You really 'kay?"
"I promise. Cross my heart, word of a Sentinel. Now lie still and rest, or I'll call Joe in."
"Never mind, long story. Just rest. I'll be right here. No, just lie still. I promise--we're both okay. Yeah, that's right. Just rest. Yes ma'am, he just woke up."
"Doctor Wilson will be in as soon as he can. Is everything okay until then?"
"Yes, thank you. See, Chief, you've got a while to rest. That's right, just go back to sleep. Everything's okay now."
"Shh, what Chief?"
"Thanks, Sandburg. Simon, don't encourage him."
"Hell, he doesn't need any encouragement! Goodnight, Jim, I'll see you tomorrow. Take care of your partner."
"Go to sleep, Chief. I'll be here when Wilson comes in, okay?"
"Good nigh', Sleeping Beauty."
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