Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

Fractured Tranquility

by Twilight (Dawn)

Summary: Most household accidents occur...

Notes: This is an updated version of one of the first stories I have even written. The plot was stolen with permission from a good friend Peggy who writes in the X-File fandom. Originally posted to the SA list.

********************

The sweet smell of vanilla and spice filled the small bathroom. Blair inhaled deeply, relaxing a fraction as he lit several more candles, placing them around the sink and bathtub. With the door closed, the room was cast in a soft golden glow, the hot steam rising steadily to cloud the mirror and warm the small room.

He watched silently as foamy water filled the tub, the puttering sound relaxing his frazzled nerves. He filled it to just under the rim, the crystal bubbles catching the candlelight.

Stepping to the sink he lathered his face, using his straight razor, careful of his curves, he pulled his cheeks and jaw line taut, the slight scraping of the razor over skin the only sound.

He rinsed his face, taking a minute or two to find a tie back for his hair and then unbuttoned his shirt, dropping it from his shoulders before pulling his t-shirt over his head, all the while humming "It's a Small World".

Damn commercials. Late the night before he had seen a Disney vacation segment, his sleep-deprived brain playing the song over and over in an endless loop.

His hands slid into his waistband, pushing his sweat pants down and off, then reached over to the door to grab his robe. The fabric was a little scratchy against his skin; the brown robe had seen better days.

Pulling his ratty robe tightly around him, he moved out to the living room in search of his book. The novel was borrowed from the campus library on his way home. The idea of relaxing with a good mystery in the tub was appealing. It had been ages since he indulged in such a luxury.

Usually, he settled for a quick shower, trying to get in and out before Jim needed the bathroom. But tonight, he had the loft to himself. Jim had called and told him that he and Simon were going to grab dinner before going to Simon's place to watch the Jags game. His friend had asked if Blair wanted to tag along, but he declined, the idea of some quality time alone was a little exciting.

He scanned the dining room table, searched his bedroom, and looked on the coffee table before remembering it was still in his backpack. Pulling it free from the tangled straps, he headed back to the bathroom. Placing the book on the closed toilet seat, he stretched his back a little, twisting from side to side and reaching high above his head, trying to work out a few kinks.

He wasn't sure why, but his back was stiff and his neck muscles were a little sore, probably from spending too many nights on the couch or at the table in front of his laptop.

The past week had really taken a lot out of him. He had a ton of papers to grade before classes let out for spring break and Jim kept them both busy with his recent robbery case.

Elderly people's homes were being invaded and the occupants were being tied up and left until someone realized that they were missing. One poor woman, in her late eighties, didn't have a family or anyone to realize she was gone. Jim took that one hard, finding her frail body tied to a chair in her dining room.

Blair had spent most of the past week with Jim, trying to uncover some kind of lead, searching for something that was missed. That's why Blair wasn't surprised when Jim finally snapped at him, he just happened to have been the closest target. And even though they hadn't really said much about it, Blair understood Jim's frustrations.

Searching the tiny linen closet, Blair found his pillowed headrest. A small smile graced his lips as he thought about the evening he had planned...a nice relaxing bubble bath, followed by some light reading, maybe a little web surfing, answering his mail, and then there were the movies he'd rented from the Quick Pick on the corner.

Finally, a night with nothing better to do than relax.

Suddenly the front door handle jiggled and then the door creaked open, startling Blair. An irrational fear swept through him and he shivered, gooseflesh prickling his arm as he listened to the approaching footsteps.

"Hey, Chief." Jim's voice called from the other side of the partially closed bathroom door.

"Yeah." Blair stepped forward a little; bath pillow still in his hand, wondering what Jim was doing home already.

There goes my night.

"What are you doing in there?" Jim's voice held a hint of suspicion.

"Well, man...I think they call it taking a bath," he chuckled, tossing his pillow in the direction of the tub before reaching to turn the doorknob.

Jim stuck his head in; looking around briefly as Blair turned away to search the linen closet again, unable to find his green tea bath bar. He always kept his bath supplies in the closet, not wanting to clutter the shower stall, not wanting the hassle of dealing with Jim if he should go off on a Mr. Clean spree.

"I came home to change and I...well I thought I'd check with you again." Jim came fully into the room, standing in front of the sink. "You know, see if you wanted to come to dinner or at least go to Simon's for the game?"

Blair glanced over his shoulder, smiling a little at the apology that was being offered. "Um...well, I don't think so, Jim. I'm really tired."

Jim sighed, picking Blair's novel up from the closed toilet seat, sitting on the lid. "You sure?" He asked, fanning the crisp pages of the book. "I mean...Simon and I would like to have you, you know..."

Blair turned, a half a bottle of green gel clutched in his hand. "Thanks, but really, I could use a night to myself." He looked at Jim, eyes pleading, knowing that he would go if Jim insisted, but his roommate just smiled and stood, and placed the hardback novel on the counter near the sink.

"Okay. Simon and I are going to hit the road then." Jim moved swiftly to the door.

"Simon's here?" Blair asked, his voice going up a notch.

"Yeah," Jim smirked. "Why?"

"I just didn't -- I mean I'm in my robe here and we are having a conversation in the bathroom..."

"Calm down, Chief. Simon's raiding the refrigerator for beer and once I find something more comfortable to wear, we'll be out of your hair."

"Yeah," Blair sat his bottle on the rim of the tub, crossing his arms over his chest, shivering. A cool breeze was drifting in from the open door. "Okay."

"Well, I'll leave you to your bath then." Jim turned, smiling once and then closed the door tightly behind him.

Blair wasted no time sinking into the bubble-filled tub, shifting to pull the tap out, adding some more hot water.

"Mmm...That's niiiice." Blair sunk down farther, humming the same tune from earlier.

He let the water swish around him, moving slightly to let the heat soak into his neck muscles, closing his eyes. After a few minutes, he startled awake and pushed himself up a little with his foot, looking around the bathroom for his book. Maybe a little reading and then he would sack out on the couch and channel surf.

The book was sitting on the counter beyond the toilet, just out of his reach. He sighed, pulling himself up and over the edge of the tub, reaching out with wet fingers, stretching but still unable to grab it. He hiked his body up a little more, his fingers just barely brushing the spine. He stretched even more, inching the book closer to the edge with his fingertips.

Just a little more...almost got it.

Frustrated, he rose up on his knees and reached out with his hand, leaning precariously over the rim of the tub. His fingers brushed the edge one more time, knocking the book to the floor on the far side of the counter. "Damn."

He stood up then, leaving one foot in the tub and bent way over the rim to get the book. Once he had it firmly in his grasp, he shifted, starting to sink back into the waters welcome warmth, but his foot slid and he reached out to grab something, anything to stop from falling. The book flew up in the air, landing on the damp floor with a loud thump and he pin wheeled backwards, hitting the bottom of the tub hard, splashing water and bubbles on the tile floor, soaking the throw rug.

Stunned, he reached up and felt the side of his head, fingers coming away bloody.

"Oh shit," he muttered, sliding back against the cold porcelain and then his world went black.

********************

Jim was putting the keys in the ignition, a goofy grin on his face. He had been listening to his friend mutter and hum on the way down to his truck. Simon's voice buzzed in the background, asking him where he wanted to eat, but he was tuned into Blair, hoping that his friend was really just tired and not still upset with him. He had been pretty harsh with the kid, but sometimes...

He sat behind the wheel, truck idling, and waiting for Simon to buckle his seatbelt, when his head jerked up.

"Something wrong, Jim?"

At first, he could only make out a few huffs of breath and then a grunt accompanied by a large splash of water.

He hopped back out of the truck and ran into the building.

"What's going on, Jim?" Simon was right on his heels.

"It's Blair. Something's wrong." Jim took the steps two at a time, pausing only to jam his key into the lock, barreling through and running to the bathroom calling Blair's name.

He pushed the door open, finding his unconscious partner sprawled in the tub. Kneeling, he quickly pulled the plug. "Come on, buddy. Wake up."

"I should call an ambulance." Simon darted from the room before Jim could stop him, but maybe an ambulance was in order. Blair was out cold, lying nearly sideways in the tub, his right leg bent at a weird angle under him. His right arm was pinned under him also and his left leg and arm dangled limply over the rim.

"Come on, Chief, You're scaring me here. Wake up." Jim moved his hands over his friend, ghosting over his cooling flesh, looking for any broken bones.

Simon returned, clutching a phone, repeating the loft address to the operator before snapping the phone shut.

"Jim, maybe we should get him out of the tub and cover him up...keep him warm."

Jim stood, moving swiftly toward the closet. "There are some towels and blankets in there."

********************

Blair's hand twitched, he shifted a fraction, groaning as the light hit his eyes. After a second, he slammed them shut, the overhead light far too bright, sending waves of pain crashing through his skull.

"Oh, man."

"Where does it hurt?" a disembodied voice asked.

"Jim?" Blair's eyes darted around the small room. "What the hell happened, man?"

"You slipped. I don't think anything's broken, but the ambulance will be here in a few minutes. I can hear it coming."

"Ambulance?" Blair felt a little groggy.

"Yeah, Chief. Just relax. Simon's getting some towels and then we'll see if we can get you out of there." Jim accepted the linen from his captain, laying out a blanket on the cool tile floor.

"I don't need an ambulance, Jim. Just get me out of here." Blair slurred, pulling his left leg into the tub and pushed off with his foot, trying to get enough leverage to stand. A bolt of agony shot up his spine. "Owwww."

"Just hold still, Sandburg." The captain's booming voice stopped him and he looked down to find Simon rubbing briskly at his legs. Thankfully, Jim had tossed a towel over his lap, sparing him the extra embarrassment.

"Let me look you over again. If I don't find anything too serious, then I'll get you out. But you're going to the emergency room. You hit your head and you were out for a few minutes."

Blair nodded, watching his partner's every move. Quite an accomplishment, considering the walls wouldn't stop pitching and spinning.

"What hurts?" Jim was running a towel over his chest and arms.

"Um...my right ankle and elbow, umm, my lower back...my head hurts a little."

His roommate perched on the rim of the tub, running his fingers slowly through Blair's damp curls. He winced, sucking in air through clenched teeth when Jim touched a tender spot. "Sorry, Chief. Do you feel dizzy or sick?"

"Um...a little bit," Blair admitted.

Next Jim checked his neck, pressing slightly. Seemingly satisfied that there wasn't anything broken, he moved his hand down Blair's back, feeling his spine. "I think your back is okay. How far down does it hurt?"

"Lower," Blair whispered. "I uh...I think I broke my ass."

"What?" Jim stared at him, eyes totally blank. Blair could feel the heat rising to his face, cheeks prickling with embarrassment.

"I said my lower back -- way lower. When I tried to stand up just now, it really hurt, man." The bright red spread, radiating down and across his shivering chest.

Was it possible to die of embarrassment?

"Okay." Jim said slowly, the grin he was trying to suppress won the battle.

"This is so not funny, man."

Great, this is just great.

Jim stood, turning his back. Blair could see a tiny shudder shaking his friend's shoulders.

"Simon, can you give me a hand?" at least he was trying to control his voice, the request sounding more like himself.

Blair could only watch as his friend's spread out a thick blanket, completely helpless, not able to get out of the tub under his own steam.

"Okay, Blair. We're going to get you out. Let us do all the work here." Jim leaned over, grabbing him under his arms. Simon moved to the foot of the tub, sliding his hands under Blair's left knee.

"On three?"

Simon nodded and Jim counted to three. They lifted him quickly up and out, the cool air engulfing him. Fine tremors ripped through him, his whole body quaking as they lay him on his side. A tiny hiss leaked from his lips, his shaking quieting when another blanket quickly covered him. He greedily pulled the flannel up and around his chin, the warmth seeping into his cold bones.

"Ambulance is here." Jim said cocking his head to the side.

"I'll meet them." Simon stood, giving Blair a small pat before leaving the tiny room.

"How about your right leg, Chief? Does it hurt now that it's not under you?" Jim crouched by Blair's head, leaning over so Blair wouldn't have to move to see him.

"Not too bad," he admitted. "Just sort of aches."

********************

Three hours later, Blair was still waiting to see a doctor, lying on his side on a narrow exam gurney. The curtain was half way open, Jim paced the length, looking up and down the hall on each return circuit.

The sigh just escaped, he was completely miserable. The ride to the hospital took forever, each turn and stop jostling his bruised body. Even the tiniest bit of movement sent a white-hot trail from his tailbone up his spine. Not to mention he was still a little pissed about the whole situation.

I mean, God Jim...if you hadn't come home...

But that wasn't fair, Jim was checking on him. Sure if his roommate hadn't come home, he probably would be snug on the couch by now, channel surfing. It might even be a little funny, if it didn't hurt so damn much.

Jim just kept circling and it was really getting on Blair's nerves. "Pacing isn't going to get the doctor here any faster, man."

"I know," Jim sighed, sinking into the nearby chair. "I just hope it doesn't take too much longer."

"Look, Jim. Why don't you go on to Simon's?"

'Cause you are missing the game after all.

Blair wanted desperately to shift just a fraction of an inch. His movement was aborted by the scraping sound of the curtain being pulled back.

A young guy, a really young guy in a lab coat breezed into the room. His tall frame and elegant features out of place with shaggy blonde hair and oval shaped glasses. His frames were bright green and perched precariously on the end of his nose.

"Mr. Sandburg?"

"I'll wait outside." Jim whispered to Blair moving past the doctor.

"That's me, man."

"I'm Dr. Scott. Can you tell me what happened?" The doctor pulled a strange pen from his pocket and hooked a stool with his foot, pulling it over to the bed.

"I fell in the tub."

"Okay. Maybe you can elaborate?" Dr. Scott smiled, showing a perfect row of white teeth, absently running his fingers through his hair.

"Uh, look Doc." Oh what a surprise, Jim was back. "He fell and hit his head. He was out cold for a few minutes." Jim moved closer, arms crossed. "And I think he may have hurt his back...um lower back. Oh and maybe a sprained ankle."

"Well, let's have a look, shall we?" The doctor pushed the stool away with his foot and pocketed his flashy pen.

Jim nodded at Blair before slipping from the room.

Dr. Scott pulled a penlight from his lab coat and directed Blair to open his eyes wide. "Do you know how long your were out?"

"Not long, um -- maybe just a minute or two." He squinted his eyes, trying to avoid the bright light, head protesting every movement.

After a time, the doctor pocketed his penlight; hands moving up to feel Blair's scalp and neck.

"I'm going to examine your back now," Dr. Scott explained, pulling a pair of purple gloves from a box mounted on the wall.

"I won't hurt you. Just try to relax." The young man moved around to the other side of him, slipping his hands under the sheet, starting at the top and tapping his way down.

Blair jumped when he got to almost the tip of his tailbone. "Sorry," the doctor murmured. "Definitely could be a fracture. I'm going to order an x-ray and see what we've got."

"Okay, then what?" Blair asked, craning his head around to see the doctor. "I don't have to stay, do I?"

Dr. Scott pulled off the gloves and tossed them into the red trash container, before moving to the sink to wash his hands. "That depends on the results, but I really think you'll only be here for a few more hours."

"Oh, good. Yeah, okay." Blair watched the doctor dry his hands; he carefully dried in between each finger before tossing the towel in the can.

"I'll have a technician come get you for the x-ray. Until then, try to rest."

After the doctor left, Blair shifted his hip, trying to find a more comfortable position. His back was a little achy, but a steady, sharp pain took up residence in his tailbone.

"Man, this really sucks." Blair pounded his fist into the thin mattress, shifting forward a little, trying to relieve the pressure on his backside. "Why does stuff like this always happen to me?"

********************

"Easy there, Chief." Jim smiled, listening from the waiting room.

"What?" Simon looked at Jim, sipping luke warm, very bitter, vending machine coffee.

"Nothing...wait..." He cocked his head again and heard Blair talking to himself.

Just one peaceful, uneventful, weekend, Jim...Is that too much to ask for?

Blair had had several x-rays before, so he wasn't worried. The trip down the hall was smooth, wheels squeaking on the linoleum floor. He was pushed into a darkened room, it was unusually cold and the constant throbbing of his ass was making him squirm.

"I'll be right out," the tech called from behind his enclosed work area.

Blair drifted while he waited, trying to stay as still as possible.

"Hello, there," a man in green scrubs said, reading through Blair's chart. "I'm Tommy, the x-ray tech. I need you to help me get you onto this table here."

Blair looked over his shoulder at the steel table in the middle of the room.

Not going to happen, man.

Tommy manhandled him until he was sitting painfully on the edge of the gurney. A little shifting and he was on his feet, being led by an elbow to the x-ray table. Pain waves shot down his legs and he almost stumbled. The tech grabbed him, helping him to turn around to scoot onto the surface. He was urged to lie flat on his back on the cold, hard table, and a hiss of pain escaped his lips.

"I know that it's uncomfortable, but the sooner we get done, the sooner they give you the good drugs."

"Oh, goodie." Why the hell was everyone so damn cheerful? Or maybe they were just trying not to laugh at him?

A few pictures of his rear, as well as his ankle and arm, and Blair was done.

God, he needed to roll over.

"Okay, I brought reinforcement."

Blair stiffened as the tech and orderly each took an end.

"Okay, on the count of three..." By two they had Blair laying flat on the gurney, his gown up around his armpits.

"Hey, what happened to three, man?" Blair grounded out, his whole world centering on the pain shooting around his lower back.

"Well, some people do one, two, three, go. But around here we like one, two, go on three." Tommy smiled brightly; Blair rolled his eyes.

Everyone's a comedian.

They covered Blair, helping him roll to his side and then rolled him back into his cubicle at the ER.

Jim came in while Blair was struggling with his gown, pulling one side at a time, unable to get it any lower

His friend swooped in, swiftly tugging until his attire was in the desired location. "So, what they say?"

Blair shook his head, "have to wait and see." His eyes drooped, a small frown pulled at his lips.

"Hey, Chief. You still with me?"

"Where else would I be, man? Where else would I be?"

********************

Jim watched as Blair drifted in and out of sleep, someone had been in to hand him some pills, something to help Blair relax. He was a little surprised when they were swallowed without even asking what they were.

He was reasonably sure that Blair would be fine, but a pang of guilt worked through him each time Blair shifted in his sleep, brow creased whenever he tried to move.

Simon popped his head around the curtain "I'm heading out. Just tell the kid I stopped by and I'll check in on you guys at home tomorrow."

"Will do, sir. Have fun watching the game without me." Jim followed Simon down the hall.

"It's just a good thing that Daryl was home in time to tape it." The elevator came and Simon boarded, cigar already in his mouth. "Don't worry, Jim. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow." Simon was still smirking when the door closed.

Very good, sir.

Heading back to the cubicle, Jim caught sight of Dr. Scott, a few x- ray films in his hand. He beat the doctor in, patting his roommate on the shoulder.

"Wake up, buddy. The doctor's here."

Blair mumbled something, rolling onto his back, moaning. "Oh, man. Why'd I do that?"

"Let me help, Chief." Jim carefully maneuvered Blair, stuffing a pillow behind his back, plumping the filling in a gesture of comfort.

At least he was only feeling a dull throbbing now, the sharpness fading with the drugs he was given

The doctor turned on the lighted console along the far wall and snapped Blair's x-ray films under the clasps. "I got your x-rays here," he said, scanning the films.

"Good or bad?" Blair asked, glancing at Jim. His friend was staring intently at the films as well.

"A little of both, I'm afraid." The doctor sighed, turning and sitting on the stool to be eye level with Blair. "The good news is that your ankle has just a minor sprain, will give you a soft splint to take home with you. I suspect you have a mild concussion, so you can expect some headaches, dizziness, that sort of thing, but it should resolve quickly."

Blair sighed audibly. "Okay. So what's the bad?"

"You did manage to fracture your coccyx, the small bone at the end of your spine."

So, what did that mean? He could tell there was an "and" coming.

"There's a small complication...the fracture is more displaced than I'd like to see. I want to have an orthopedic surgeon look at you."

"A surgeon...as in someone who operates?" Blair paled, eyes wide. He glanced nervously to Jim.

Man, can this day get any worse?.

"So what does all this mean?" Jim asked, his voice irritated, eyes going back to the x-ray film.

"Well, I doesn't necessarily mean you need surgery," the doctor explained. "I just want to get a consult to be sure."

"Sure of what?" My God, my voice actually squeaked.

Dr. Scott pushed up from his seat, pulling his pen from his jacket pocket, pointing with it to the x-ray. "You see this area? It's the piece that's fractured and it's directly behind the rectum. Now if it's displaced too far forward, it can press on the rectum causing all kinds of complications, not to mention pain."

He slipped his pen back into his pocket, turning to give Blair his attention. "If the surgeon decides the break will heal on its own, we'll send you home with pain meds and instruction for care."

"And what if it won't heal on its own?"

What was he saying about the day getting worse?

"There are a couple of things we can do. It may need to be removed or wired back into place. The least invasive is to just reduce it -- push it back to where it belongs."

"Push?" He could feel the blood draining from his face, a hard knot forming in his stomach.

With my luck...

"Just relax, Chief." Jim rubbed his shoulder, but it wasn't calming him. "He might not need anything special, right, Doc?"

"Absolutely. We'll just have to wait and see what the surgeon says." The doctor picked up Blair's chart, jotting down his notes. "I've already paged the Ortho department. Who ever is on call will be in to see you."

********************

Ten minutes later, Blair was moved to the treatment room at the other end of the hall. Jim was dozing in the chair, head tilted to the side, mouth slightly open.

Blair smiled at his friend, really glad that Jim stayed with him.

His stomach rumbled and Jim's head jerked up.

"Sorry, man."

"Don't be." Jim sat up straighter, rolling his shoulders and neck. Blair imagined that his friend couldn't be too comfortable sitting on the hard chair. "How about I go see if I can find you something to eat. The vending room should be open."

Once Jim left, Blair carefully pushed himself up. He really had to pee and wanted to be done before Jim got back.

He slowly pushed off the exam table and shuffled to the bathroom across the hall from the room. Little pains made themselves known, his ankle tingled and when he sat up his butt hurt, but that pain was fading with each step. It was strange that his tailbone didn't hurt when he was standing and lying down, but getting up and down or sitting, man that was excruciating.

He was just opening the bathroom door when a petite hand closed around his elbow. "Where do you think you're going, Mr. Sandburg?"

"I need to use the bathroom," his words came out a little slurred, standing still made him feel a little lightheaded.

"You should be in bed," the newcomer said, "Let me help you."

"No!" he pushed away her helping hands. "I'm almost there and I am not going in a urinal. This day sucks enough."

"Okay, okay," she soothed. "Here, lean on me." The small woman put her arm around his waist, helping him maneuver through the men's room door and into a stall.

"Um, I think I can handle it from here, thanks." Blair closed the stall door, using the handrails to lower himself down, not wanting to stand because he was feeling a little dizzy.

That's all I need. Taking a nosedive in the bathroom.

Surprisingly, he was comfortable sitting on the toilet and he could relax enough to take care of business.

As soon as he was out the door, Jim was there, helping him back across the hall. He didn't say a word, which was fine by Blair. The nurse who had helped him was in the treatment room talking to a redhead in a lab coat. Between the three of them, he was back in bed, pillows placed, and blanket smoothed.

"Hello, Mr. Sandburg. I'm Dr. Hoffmann, the orthopedic surgeon." He shook her offered hand. "How are you feeling? Are you still in pain?"

"I'm okay, I guess," he rubbed at his eyes, suddenly feeling drained. "It still hurts some, but it's not as bad."

"Well, let's have a look. Your friend can wait in the hall."

Jim nodded, "I'll be right outside, Chief."

The doctor, probably in her late thirties, smiled kindly. She and the nurse moved around the room, getting whatever supplies they needed. Blair closed his eyes, letting the noise wash over him.

"Okay," Blair could feel her moving the sheets down and over his hip. "Try to relax."

The doctor ran her hands up and down his back, pressing firmly. Her hands moved down gently probing the bony tip of his spine. "Does that hurt?"

Surprisingly, it didn't. "No."

He could hear something being torn open, papers moving and latex being pulled onto skin.

Then her hand was back, finger moving around the end and just to his opening. "How about here?"

Blair shook his head, breathing in deep, trying to relax.

And then she moved more, pressing into him. God, he always hated that particular part of his yearly check up.

"And here?"

"Oh God," he nearly levitated off the exam table, eyes squeezed tightly shut, feeling a few tears leak from the corner of his eye. "What the hell was that?"

"Found the fracture. Sorry."

A few more minutes of probing and the exam was finally over, the ache dulling, more manageable.

Dr. Hoffmann disposed of the gloves, washed her hands and picked up Blair's chart to write up her findings.

"Okay, Mr. Sandburg. The coccyx is displaced further forward than is safe. I want to try to reduce it. Even if it can't be reduced all the way, it can be pushed back far enough to allow normal bowel function without pain."

"No surgery?"

Dr. Hoffmann smiled. "Nope, the whole procedure will only take a few minutes and then we can send you home with some pain meds and a tush cush. You'll be good as new in six to eight weeks."

"Eight weeks?" God, there goes the squeaking again. Way to go, Blair.

The doctor looked at her patient, smiling. "Don't worry, Mr. Sandburg. It's not as bad as it sounds. You'll be up and around in a few days. But whenever you sit, you'll need the tush cush. It's a donut-shaped pillow that will take the pressure off your tailbone. You will probably be sore for a few weeks, though."

Man, I need to keep my big mouth shut. How can it get worse, riiight.

********************

Jim came in when the doctor stepped out. Blair looked at him, misery oozing from every pore, and the smell of fear permeated the air. "It'll be okay, Chief."

Blair didn't answer, just closed his eyes and curled his legs up further to his chest.

A short while later the doctor came back, a nurse trailing along slightly behind. "You ready, Mr. Sandburg?"

His partner blew out a calming breath, and nodded his head.

"Do you want your friend to stay?"

Another nod and Jim moved the chair closer, sitting with his hand between the safety rails, lightly grasping his partner's hand.

He divided his attention between Blair and the doctor. She moved around behind his friend, shifting bedding, reaching for the needle the nurse handed her.

"Okay. First I'm going to inject a little numbing medicine." A cold swab was pushed between his butt cheeks and Blair jumped, reflexively squeezing Jim's hand.

"Just an antiseptic...relax."

Blair nodded, darting a look at his friend. Jim smiled, patting his hand. "Just breathe."

"Just a small stick and then a little sting." The doctor's voice was light and gentle and Blair found it extremely annoying, but taking Jim's advice, he closed his eyes, breathing in a deep, steadying breath.

Minutes passed. "Can you feel this?" the light voice startled him.

"Umm...just pressure."

"Okay, Mr. Sandburg, I'm going to try to move the tip of your tailbone back into place. If you feel anything more than pressure, let me know."

"Not a problem." Blair mumbled. "I'm not into pain."

He could hear her shifting her position behind him. His rectum felt odd, full, but he was feeling no pain. He dared a glance at Jim, but his friend was watching the doctor, a determined look on his face.

Time passed, but nothing was happening. Dr. Hoffmann asked the nurse to move around to the front, but Blair wasn't sure why.

Suddenly, a bolt of agony shot up his spine. "Mmm...that hurts..." he ground out, squeezing the heck out of Jim's hand.

"I'm sorry, almost there," she soothed. "Hold his hips for me?"

Oh god, oh god...that didn't sound good. He could feel his stomach twisting, his heart picking up pace. A fine sheen of sweat broke out on his face and neck.

Jim still held his hand, using the other to smooth back his hair from his neck.

Man, I'm hot...

The steady pressure on his tailbone was quickly becoming unbearable.

"Blair?" The doctor called, but he was in his own mini zone.

Holy shit, it hurt. Ow, ow, ow became a sort of mantra in his head. "Chief? Listen to me. Relax. You have to relax or it's only going to hurt more."

"I ca can't..." He was shivering in earnest, now. "Owwwwww."

A second later, a small pop rocked his body, but the pain was gone. He lay still, panting, wondering if the doctor had managed to snap his spine.

"All done," she announced, pulling the cover over his sweaty body.

Jim patted his hand and Blair released his death grip. "Sorry, man."

"Nothing to be sorry for."

"I'm sorry that was so painful, Mr. Sandburg, but the bone was really jammed." She walked to the sink, the nurse slipping from the room. "How does it feel now?"

Blair took a second to catch his breath and assess his pain. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt that much, it just sort of ached. "Not bad."

For the first time that night, he smiled.

********************

Epilogue

"Man, whoever invented this thing was a freaking genius." Blair smiled brightly, sitting on the sofa; his bright pink tush cush resting comfortably under him.

"I'm glad you feel better, buddy." Jim sat across from him on the loveseat, watching the over due movie with him. "Almost time for your ice pack."

The night before, after Blair had finally managed to get dressed, the doctor returned with his discharge papers and instructions. She gave him a prescription for pain medicine, and handed him the donut shaped, inflatable pillow. He swore that he wasn't going to use it, but Dr. Hoffmann was adamant, telling him he would be grateful to have it in the morning.

Blair shifted a little, wincing, watching as Jim went into the kitchen, pulling the pack from the freezer. "You ready for a little ice?"

"Not my favorite part, man. When did the doctor say I could start using heat?" Blair took Jim's offered hand, biting his bottom lip, standing up and sitting down was still pretty painful.

Jim wrapped an arm firmly around him, letting Blair lean on him. "Maybe tomorrow."

He pulled a little from his friend's hold. "Wait, man. I think I'm going to use the bathroom before I lay down."

Once back in the hallway, they shuffled together to Blair's room. He sank down to the mattress, quickly rolling onto his stomach.

Jim leaned over him, placing the ice pack in his hands. "You going to be okay? I can always help."

"Ah...I think this is one mission I can accomplish by myself, but thanks for offering." Blair slipped the pack between his boxers and sweats, already shivering from the cold.

"Come on, Sandburg. It's not like I've never seen your ass before."

"Funny, man. Real funny."

"Oh, I almost forgot." Jim went into the living room and brought back a wrapped box.

"What's all this," Blair pushed himself up onto his elbows, watching as Jim pulled the lid of the box.

"I thought you could use this stuff the next time you decide to take a bath." Jim smirked, laying the package within Blair's reach.

The small box contained a few vanilla scented candles, a new bottle of green tea bath salts, a paperback version of the book Blair was trying to read and something else.

"Umm...Jim?" At first he wasn't even sure what he was looking at, then it registered. "Cow decals? Why are you giving me rubber cow decals?"

He craned his neck to see Jim walking through the French doors. "Jim? Jim!"

"You know what they say, Chief." Jim's disembodied voice drifting in from the living room. "Most household accidents occur..."

The End

Comments, criticism, suggestions? Please e-mail Twilight.

Back to Twilight's page.