After a while, Jim straightened and eased Megan away. Blair was awakening - he didn't know how he knew, didn't care how he knew, only knew the knowledge that his friend would be waking up alone and in pain.
Approaching that door took almost all the courage he had, the image of his friends body tortured and bloody tearing at his mind, his soul, the daemon of reality hidden behind that smooth wood he pressed his hands to, the cold metal knob that turned under his fingers, the narrow bed in the centre of the room that smelt of blood and sulphur powder, water hanging in the air like tears, torn strips of bandages rolled neatly on the chest of drawers under the cross of a god that had deserted them and destroyed them so many times.
Megan had tied a sheet around the man in the bed, the corners fastened to the bedposts and suspended above the prone figure so the touch of the material wouldn't irritate the torn flesh and still provide some measure of comfort, but Blair still shivered in the warmth of the room, body shaking with pain and tears.
Hesitantly, Jim squatted by the bed and stroked Blair's hair. He was so unsure now, baby steps, he didn't know what to do, how to act, what to say. The danger was over, his driving force, the sureness dissipated and the danger gone, leaving only the memories, the aftermath.
Blair shut his eyes tight, lips curled inwards tightly against his teeth to still the cries and Jim touched his cheek, concerned by how cold the soft flesh was. Stripping off his own clothes and pulling away the sheet, he warmed the smaller the only way he could think, skin to skin, gladly giving his own heat. Gently easing his arms under Blair he lifted him and slid onto the mattress as a buffer, each cry and moan as he shifted him tearing at his soul, until he was below the younger man, cradling him to his chest, feeling every blunt, chopped end as he stroked his hair.
"I'm sorry..." Blair whispered, over and over like a mantra. "..so sorry..." tears grew from the blackened eyes to trickle down the bruised and cut cheeks.
Jim caught each tear between his fingers like precious jewels. "There's nothing to be sorry for," he replied in like voice, each touch a gentle ghost of sensation. "Never."
"Oui," he looked down at his splinted and bandaged hand, raised it to touch the burns on his arms, the marks on his face. "I didn't...die."
"I am...wrong. Sale." He turned his face, trying to hide from the man holding him so gently. "So dirty....I should have gone. Died, un sacrifier for the resistance....cleaned with my blood..." he sobbed openly, shivering, alternately clutching and pulling away from the Leftenant. "Don't look at me, Jim, please. Don't!"
"Blair…" Jim gently took his face between his palms. Turned it to face his own. Leaning up, he gently pressed his lips to the high forehead in a kiss, not sexual, not wanton, in the tradition of Blair’s own country, or perhaps a father to a frightened and hurt child, a benediction, feeling the desperate trembling slowly leave the thin frame.
"Shh..." he gently pressed a hand to the back of Blair's head, urging him to lie still. "Rest. Heal, mon 'tite cochon," he felt the other man's eyelids blinking at his chest, like little butterfly whispers, slower and slower. "That's it," he breathed, slowly stroking his fingers over the few patches of unbroken skin left. "Rest...."
With a final exhalation Blair relaxed completely, the pain from his wounds and his own jumbled mind finally breaking into blessed oblivion.
Jim shifted slightly, careful of the other man, bringing one hand up to cup the back of his skull, the other drifting down, fingers splaying to gently rest on a bruised hip. Blair was in his arms, safe, alive. And Jim was going to keep it that way, even if it meant killing every single German left in the world, even if it cost him his life.
Even if it cost him that single precious fragment of his soul he had so jealously guarded throughout the war.
He made a soothing noise as Blair shifted, his thumb brushing away the subtle lines of pain present even in sleep. No matter what it cost him, he would see Blair safe. It was a promise he swore with his entire being. One he meant to keep.