"No! This can't be all."
I bent to pick them up. "I'm sorry, Chief. Your friends searched everywhere."
"I have to see again! I'm going to be a *cop*. Who ever heard of a blind cop? Damn!"
He began to rage and curse, pounding on his bed, his pillow...me. I let him. He kept going until he collapsed in my arms, still hitting me weakly. I held him until he fell into an exhausted sleep.
I blinked myself awake. "Ch...chief? You okay?"
"I don't know, but...I gotta live with this, right?"
"We don't know..." I ran a hand over my hair. Blair's was tangled and his beard was getting long. I'd have to get hold of a razor and take care of that for him. Blair hated looking unshaven. I'd have to get him a comb, too. I couldn't help hoping he'd let me take care of it for him. It had been a long time since I'd brushed his hair.
"Yeah, well, whatever I do won't hurt if I do see again."
I nodded and then hit myself. "Point. What do you want to do?" Blair was sounding more himself - at least the himself of the past few weeks.
"Find out when I can start learning to, you know. Live with this. Function. Get on top of it, maybe. And you...you find me books on the subject. Please?"
"Anything you want, Blair." I took his hand again. "I'll be here."
"You're going to have to go back to work."
"I've done the paperwork on Manzo. They found the last bunch of gems hidden in his mattress. The insurance company is paying the jewelers off. I'm free. Simon's giving me vacation."
"You got that coming, I guess."
"And when that runs out, I'll take a leave of absence."
Blair sat up. He scrunched his face against the pain and dizziness. When that wore off, he turned to me. "You will do no such thing. Once I start, you know. Learning....I'll be busy. You might as well work."
"Simon'll chain me to a desk without you." I forced a laugh.
"Good. Then I won't have to worry about you." His laugh sounded forced, too. "I'll bet there are all sorts of gadgets I can use...even stuff I can add to my desktop to make it more usable. I have students...had students...who couldn't see. They managed. I'll manage."
He did manage. His therapists and instructors were amazed at how fast he progressed. I wasn't. This was Blair, after all. He was going to get on top of his blindness.
"Hey, Ellison! Where are you."
"Right here, Sandburg. Just ten feet away."
There were chairs and a table between us. Blair knew that. He didn't know where they were.
"Just keep talking, man. I'll get you."
"Hurry. Man-eating shark behind me. Save me, Sandburg!"
Blair laughed and, using his white cane, poked and prodded the obstacles, confidently walking around them and towards me. As he did, I kept yelling how the sharks were coming closer and he had to hurry.
He was walking normally, picking up his feet. He'd shuffled the first day, but hated the way it felt and sounded. So, he changed it.
And then he found me and I hugged him. "You saved me!"
"You idiot!" He gave me a huge smile and a bigger kiss. "I love you, you know."
"Never would have guessed." He tilted his face up at me. I tried to look at his eyes. Individually, they were still beautiful, but all of their animation was gone. Blair wasn't there anymore. I held him tight.
"They're letting me go tomorrow, you know."
"They're springing for good behavior. This means I can survive in a h