He might as well have spent the night in the hospital for all the good that bed did him. He spent most of the time he should have been sleeping worrying about Blair and what his life would be like if Blair were actually brain damaged. But when he did sleep,the images were very different.

His brief dreams were filled with pictures of Blair - Blair sleeping on Jim's bed; Blair cooking in the kitchen; Blair dressed in professorial tweeds, his graying but still long hair tied back from his face; Blair beside him in the truck, his hands dancing in animated discussion; Blair naked and sweaty on the living room floor; Blair with white curls sitting on a rocking chair with a child that looked like Daryl Banks on his lap. They were visions of a future that might not come to pass, and when he would realize that, he would wake up again.


"Mr. Sandburg, you have to eat."

Jim walked into Blair's cubicle in ICU to find a nurse trying to feed him from a tray of what looked like mush.

"Jim!" That smile was pure Blair.

"Hi, Chief. What's the matter? Not hungry?"

"I don' wan' de nursse t'fee me." He banged his arms on the blanket. "Da' has don' wor."

Jim looked at the nurse in panic.

She smiled reassuringly. "Mr. Sandburg's speech problems are common to people who have suffered hypoxia. He's actually sounding quite well."

"And his hands?"

"We don't know. Mr. Sandburg.."


"All right, Blair. Blair will be transfered to Neurology today, where his doctor will test to see just how much function he has. Meanwhile, he has to eat his breakfast."

"Wan' Jim to fee' me."

Jim shrugged. "I'd be happy to feed him."

"I'm afraid it's not quite so simple...Jim, is it?"

"Jim Ellison. I'm his partner." She nodded.

"Blair, your speech problems are caused by a deficit in motor control." Jim sighed in relief. That meant that it wasn't his mind. "It's possible that you would have trouble swallowing. I'd rather I fed you right now."

"She has a point, Chief."

"You ca' stay in d'roo' an' wa'ch. You ca' show Ji' wha' t'do." Jim and the nurse looked at each other.

"It could work. Anything to get your friend to eat."

"Okay, Chief, I'll help."

"No a'rp'ane jo's, kay?"

No airplane jokes? Oh, open the hanger, here comes the...He grinned. "No? Not even once?"


"You're the boss, Blair."

Blair just nodded, smiling.

Jim and the nurse changed places.

"Now, then, Mr. Ellison, let's start with a very small bite - less than half a spoon of that applesauce, say."

He dipped the plastic spoon in to the sauce and brought it up to Blair, who had no trouble swallowing the tiny portion, though he did make a face.

"I' nee'z cinna'n'n. I ma' a goo' appasawse, righ' Ji'?"

Jim, who was concentrating on taking a small piece of egg, nodded.

"I ma' i' wi' Granny Smith's and lea' i' chunky. S'good wi' latkes."

"Open up." The egg went in easily.

"Try the toast, Mr. Ellison. Let's see how he can chew."

"Yuck! I hae' col' toas'." But he had no trouble chewing it.

"Excellent. Give him larger bites. Blair, you are doing very well indeed. I have had patients who had to be taught how to chew again.