by VampyrAlex


Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Jim/Blair
Category: First Time
Note: A huge thank you to Sherri and DarkCherry for beta'ing this for me. Any final mistakes are mine. This story was first published in the zine 'CTYS' #22 available through Agent With Style.
Summary: Blair gets trapped inside a burning building.

10:10 am, Cascade

Detective Blair Jacob Sandburg walked wearily along the office corridor of the Russell warehouse department store building, feeling bone-deep tired.

He'd finally interviewed the last of the witnesses on the Tanner murder case. After two days of interviewing an incredibly extensive list of people, he and his partner, Detective James Joseph Ellison, had been forced to separate to speed up the process. They were finally done. But no closer to finding out who had killed the fifty-year old lawyer.

Blair walked inside the old-looking service elevator -- the only access to the office floor besides the stairs. He wasn't exactly happy to be inside another elevator, but was too exhausted to go down four flights of stairs. Ever since the Galileo affair, he'd avoided elevators like the plague, but after forty-eight hours with barely any sleep at all he was too tired to worry about it.

He lowered the heavy steel door, closed the wooden door and pressed the first floor button with a sigh. Six months since he'd become a cop and Jim's official partner. Life was slowly returning to normal; he had fewer friends, true, but the ones remaining more than made up for it. He had a good partner, colleagues he trusted with his life, a good boss -- even if he was a little grumpy -- and he was still Guide to his Sentinel.

So why did he feel so... lonely? Even when surrounded by all his friends, all the people he worked with, he'd never felt so alone. It was a terrible thing, loneliness. And such a difficult thing to admit to. Even to yourself. Because once you admit to being lonely, once you tell someone, they immediately think you are weak in some way, defective somehow. That it's your own fault you feel that way. It has to be, because nobody else is lonely, just you.

So he kept the loneliness tucked away and pushed the growing desperation aside with false smiles and silly jokes and no one saw past the facade. And that hurt as well, because deep down he wanted someone to notice how badly he was hurting. He wanted someone to hear his silent cry for help. And no one did -- not even Jim, his best friend, his partner, his Sentinel. So back came loneliness, and all the hurt anew. It was a vicious circle he couldn't seem to get out of.

He was brought back to the present as the light in the elevator abruptly wavered and went out, leaving him in the dark. The elevator gave a sharp jolt, then stopped.

"Oh, shit!" Blair whispered, his heart hammering in his chest. "Please move. Come on, come on, come on..."

As if propelled by his plea, the light came back and the elevator continued its slow descent.

"Thank God!" he breathed, relieved.

The elevator had just passed the second floor when it happened again. Blair waited a few seconds but this time the light didn't kick back on.

"Man, what's with me and these damned contraptions?" He fell silent as he heard what sounded like crackling and electric-wires short-circuiting. "This is so not good!"

Blair pushed the wooden door open and tried to see through the small window in the steel door. All he could see was the stone wall that surrounded the elevator shaft.

"Hey, is anyone out there? I'm stuck in the elevator!"

There was no answer, so he opened the steel door. The base of the elevator was barely on the first floor, with only a small opening allowing any light inside, and Blair felt his panic rising. Crouching on the elevator floor he realized he'd never fit through the opening -- there was barely enough room for his arm, let alone his whole body.

Controlling his fear, Blair looked through the opening, hoping to see someone who could help him. The corridor was deserted and eerily silent.

"There's something wrong," he whispered, a sense of dread washing over him.

The sudden sound of running steps on the floor above him made him remain silent and alert. He sucked a startled breath as he suddenly realized what he was hearing -- a male voice frantically shouting: "Fire! Fire! Everybody clear the building! Fire!"

"Oh, no! Hey, somebody! Hey! I'm trapped in the elevator!" he shouted, banging on the steel door. "Somebody help me!"

There was no one left to hear him. He was trapped alone in the burning building.

10:15 am

"Jim, how is the Tanner case coming?" Captain Simon Banks asked the detective sitting in front of him.

Jim shook his head wearily. "We don't have any solid leads yet. I just don't get it, Simon. The man was killed in broad daylight, in the middle of a department store. Over forty people were shopping there! And still we've got nothing to help the investigation." He ran a hand over his short-cropped hair. "Some people are just too afraid to talk to the police, we have three different descriptions of the killer." He shrugged. "It's a damn mess. I tried to match those descriptions to a name in hopes it would steer us in the right direction, but I came up empty."

Simon nodded in understanding. "Where's that partner of yours?"

"Talking to the store owner. Russell agreed to meet him first thing this morning. He's our last witness. Blair should be here --"

The phone rang abruptly, interrupting the conversation. Simon reached for it. "Banks."

"Captain, it's me," a voice stated softly from the other end.

Simon pressed speaker so that Jim could also hear the call. Something in his newest detective's voice spelled trouble for them.

"Sandburg, where are you?" he asked.

"At the Russell department store. I, uh, seem to be caught in a sticky situation."

Simon and Jim shared a knowing look and Jim rolled his eyes. They both knew what a trouble-magnet Sandburg could be. He didn't even have to go looking for it, all he had to do was sit still and trouble came knocking on his door.

"Hey, Chief," Jim greeted softly, his hearing having caught up with his partner's irregular heartbeat. "What's wrong?"

"Jim!" There was no mistaking the relief in Blair's voice. "I'm so glad you're there, man!"

"What's wrong, Blair?" Jim asked anew, a frown beginning to mar his face.

"Well, I'm stuck in the elevator and the building's on fire."

"What?!" both men exclaimed, rising from their seats and leaning forward as if being closer to the phone would help them see the other man.

"Yeah. Just my luck, huh? I'll *never*, *ever* get into another elevator as long as I live! I don't care if I have to climb forty flights of stairs," Blair quipped weakly. "Anyway, I already called the fire department, I can hear them outside. Just thought I'd let you know..."

"We'll be there in ten minutes, Chief, okay? Just hang on."

Both men grabbed their coats and were out the door rushing for the elevator before Blair could even say another word. Two minutes later they were in Jim's truck with the sirens blasting to clear the way.

10:25 am

Blair sat on the elevator floor waiting for the firemen to reach him. When he had made the call he'd mentioned his location, so all he could do was sit tight and wait. He squeezed his eyes shut as he heard the shattering of glass from the floor above; the fire was coming dangerously close now. The intense heat was already sapping what little energy he had left.

"Oh, God!" he moaned suddenly, opening his eyes and glancing through the small opening. The whole floor was beginning to fill with smoke, making his eyes water and breathing difficult. Trying hard not to panic, Blair removed his shirt and covered his mouth with it, trying to breathe slowly to minimize the smoke inhalation.

The sound of approaching steps and a voice calling his name cut through his silent panic. "Detective Sandburg? Detective, are you okay?"

"Yes," he replied, uncovering his face and giving a weak smile to the fireman looking up at him. "Took you long enough."

"I'm sorry. We've been trying to control the fire on the upper floors. I'm Dylan Thompson, by the way," the fireman said through his mask. "We're doing everything we can to get you out of there. The walls are steel, so they'll keep the flames away."

"Yeah, but what about the heat? I feel like I'm stuck in an oven!"

Dylan nodded. "I know. The others are on the second floor as we speak looking for the elevator shaft. They're going to send jets of water down the shaft -- it will cool the air. I'll stay here with you while they figure out a way to get you free."

Blair smiled gratefully at the young fire fighter; he really didn't want to remain alone in the sea of flames surrounding him. And where the hell was his partner when he needed him?

10:37 am

Jim parked his truck just as a shower of glass and debris fell from the front of the burning building. It was a vision of hell; the three upper floors were completely wrapped in flames and the whole structure seemed about to collapse.

"My God..." Simon breathed, as he watched the chaos of firemen, curious bystanders, and reporters crowding the area. Looking around, he identified the fireman in command and stalked towards him, Jim hot on his heels. "Captain Simon Banks, Cascade PD. This is Detective Jim Ellison. One of my men is inside."

The fire fighter shook both their hands as he nodded. "Stan Marshall. Detective Sandburg, we know. I just talked to one of my men. He's still trapped in the elevator, but he's okay. Apparently, the power went out just as the elevator was reaching the first floor. He managed to open the security doors, but there's not enough room for him to pass through."

"So what are you doing to get him out?" Jim growled. He knew it wasn't the man's fault, but his partner was inside that burning hell and he wanted something done. Fast. Before he took matters into his own hands.

"Everything we can, Detective," Marshall replied, understanding clear in his voice. "I won't lie to you. The conditions inside that building are unbearable. It's an old structure, it doesn't respect the legislation regarding fire hazard, nearly every material in there is flammable... And besides being out of control, that fire has been eating away at the warehouse for over twenty minutes now. I've had to get my men out of the third and fourth floors already. But I won't give up on your friend, Detective."

Jim nodded, a feeling of guilt washing over him. He looked up at the burning building. He couldn't lose Blair now, not without telling him... Not without saying how much the young man meant to him, how much he loved him. God, Blair had lost so much already because of him. His job, his friends, his whole world had fallen apart to save Jim, to protect his secret.

And now he could lose his life as well.

All because he'd refused to leave Jim's side, to leave when he had every reason in the world to do so. He'd even become a cop in order to keep being Jim's partner.

And now, after all Blair had given up for him, Jim might never have the chance to tell him he loved him, that he was lonely too. Because he'd seen the love and loneliness Blair tried to hide from everyone. Part of him wanted to reach out and never let go. But the other... the other knew what a terrible thing it would be to tie a brilliant, beautiful human being like Blair to someone like himself -- scarred, battered, afraid to love.

He'd always thought Blair needed someone more like himself, someone free, young, vibrant. And Jim knew that if he allowed himself to reach out, Blair would meet him halfway. And then he would stay and love him in that whole-hearted way Blair did everything in his life. And there was no way Jim could keep up with him, no way he could be that open, no way he could reveal that much.

But now... Maybe it didn't matter. If they loved each other, maybe those differences would balance each other, balance their relationship. Maybe he'd been wrong to hide his love from the younger man, maybe he'd been a fool. No, he'd definitely been a fool.

"God, please... Let me make it up to him," he whispered softly.

Just then, a fireman ran up to them, grabbing everyone's attention. "Sir, I think we found a way to reach Detective Sandburg," he panted. "Simpson found the stairs leading to an old machine-house in the basement. There's a way to lower the elevator a few feet manually. If someone joined Dylan on the first floor and then as the elevator went down pulled the Detective out..."

Marshall nodded. "Could work. Is Simpson still in the basement?"

"Yes, Sir. He's just waiting for the order to go ahead."

"Okay, do it. I want you with Dylan."

"Yes, Sir!"

Both Jim and Simon watched the fire fighter go with their hearts in their hands. Jim knew it would be Blair's last chance at rescue. Marshall had sounded the alarm to clear the warehouse -- the whole building was expected to collapse at any minute.

10:44 am

Blair watched as a second fire fighter joined Dylan and waved up at him. "Detective, I'm Bill Tyler. We've found a way to get you out of there. I need you to turn your feet over to us, so that when the time is right we can pull you out, okay?"

"Okay," Blair replied weakly, even as he obeyed. "What's the plan?"

"We have someone in the machine-house who's going to lower the elevator manually. We can't risk letting it descend all the way, there's no way of knowing how long the cables would hold. So, we're going to lower it just enough for you to fit through. We need you to get ready -- feet first if you can. As soon as we can reach you, we're going to grab you and pull you out. Got it?"

"Got it."

"Okay, I'm going to tell my colleague to lower the elevator. Get ready."

Seconds later Blair felt the elevator jolt, and then everything happened in a blur. Two pairs of strong hands grabbed his legs and pulled, and he slid into the arms of the two firemen. Too tired to stand on his own, he felt them carry him out the building and into the capable hands of the paramedics waiting outside.

Blair was laid down on a stretcher, an oxygen mask finally allowing him to breathe much-needed air. He felt the gentle brush of a hand on his forehead and opened his eyes, looking straight into the too-bright eyes of his partner.

"Jim..." he breathed.

"Hey, Chief," Jim whispered. "They're going to take you to the hospital to check you out. Mind if I go with you?" he quipped weakly.

Blair smiled. "Not at all, man. Not at all."

The stretcher was loaded into the ambulance and Jim climbed in, leaving Simon to follow in his truck. Everything was going to be fine now -- he had his guppy back.

11:23 am, next day

Blair woke up to the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen. He snuggled back down on the bed with a sigh, happy to be back at the loft and his own room.

He'd refused to stay at the hospital any longer than necessary, so they'd returned home the day before. The last thing he'd needed was to spend another night in the hospital. He'd had more than his share of those since meeting up with Jim. So, after a warm bath to remove the smell of smoke, and a light meal, he'd gone straight to bed. According to his watch, he'd slept for over fourteen hours.

He got up and left his room, joining his partner in the kitchen. Jim had a cup of coffee waiting for him on the counter and was busy making them breakfast.

"'Morning, Chief!" he greeted, without turning back. "How did you sleep?quot;

"Like a log. Shouldn't you be working?"

"Simon gave us both a couple days off. And before you say something, he gave the Tanner case to Rafe and Henri."

Blair sat down wearily and took a sip from his coffee. "Wish I could say I'm sorry."

"Well, don't get your hopes too high. It's only for the two days we're off, then it's back to us."

"Oh, joy!" the young man muttered.

Jim turned, handing a full breakfast plate to the young man. "Blair, we need to talk."

"Sounds serious," Blair remarked, as he watched his partner cautiously.

"It is," Jim confirmed.

Blair nodded. "Okay. How about we have breakfast, I take a fast shower and get dressed, *then* we talk?"

Twenty minutes later Blair was sitting on the couch as he watched Jim pace nervously in front of him. "So? What's this about, Jim?"

"I love you," Jim blurted out.

"Excuse me?" Blair gasped, certain he'd heard wrong.

"I said I love you. I'm in love with you."

Blair remained silent for a long minute. "Just like that?" he asked abruptly. "You suddenly realized you love me?"

"It wasn't sudden, Chief. I... I've been feeling this way for a long time now, I've just been too much of a coward to let you know."

"Why?" Blair asked, suspiciously.

"Because I knew you'd say yes and I'd be too weak to refuse what you had to offer."

"I don't understand -- that doesn't make any sense!" Blair said, arms folded across his chest in a clearly defensive gesture.

"You have your whole life ahead of you, Chief. You're gorgeous, brilliant, and so... full of life! I knew you loved me and I was afraid that if I told you I loved you back, you'd stay. I've watched you lose everything that mattered to you in the last few months; I couldn't let you make a bigger mess by staying emotionally tied to me. I was wrong. It took me a while to realize that even if I never said the words, you'd still stay. Because that's who you are -- loyal, protective, ready to give everything you've got, even when you get nothing in return. And I realized that you'd always be miserable, because you wouldn't know how I feel about you." Jim took a deep breath and closed his eyes wearily. "I'm sorry, Blair. For everything. For all the mistakes I've done these past years, for all the things I should've said and didn't. I'm sorry."

Blair got up, his hands waving in the air as he struggled to understand what Jim was telling him. "God! I... I... Why now? What is it you see in me anyway?" he asked angrily. "The happy, easygoing, easy-lay Sandburg? Because if it is..."

"Loneliness," came the whisper.

The younger man sucked in a startled breath. "What?"

"Loneliness. I know you love me. I can feel that love in everything you do. But it's loneliness that I see every time I look at you. And I want to make it go away."

An angry frown crossed Blair's face as he scowled as his partner. "Well, you're wrong. I'm not lonely."

"Yes, you are. I've sailed in the same boat, Chief," Jim smiled gently. "I know what it feels like going home and not having someone there to share the little things that happened to you. I *know*! I know what it feels like to want to reach out to someone, to feel all alone even when you're with other people. Been there for years, even Carolyn didn't make that void go away. But ever since you came along... It changed. I *have* that someone when I get home. Hell, I spend most of the day with that someone -- you. So yes, I know what you're feeling, I know what it's like."

"Why now?" Blair whispered, his walls beginning to crumble at the look of love directed his way.

"Because I'm a moron. And as clichéd as it is, life really *is* too short to waste. I realized that much yesterday," Jim replied as he moved closer to the young man. "I love you," he whispered, his lips brushing over Blair's in a gentle caress.

Neither was certain how they reached the upstairs bedroom, or how they ended up in bed with no clothes on, but they made the best of it. Blair settled his body on top of Jim's muscled frame as they kissed feverishly, only breaking apart when the need to breathe became too strong.

As soon as their lips parted, Blair seized the opportunity to lick his way across the beautiful chest beneath him until presented with a nipple that just demanded to be nibbled until it pebbled. When he had Jim moaning and writhing continuously, he moved on to the other and gave it the same treatment until Jim growled in ecstasy.

"Nice!" Blair purred with a grin. "Want to hear you make that growling sound again, my Sentinel."

Matching words to action, he began to move down the expense of Jim's body, nibbling, licking and sucking every bit of creamy skin he could reach, without paying any attention to the hard flesh begging for his touch. Chuckling at Jim's groan of dismay, Blair nipped the inside of his lover's thighs, enjoying the pleading moans from above. Finally he relented, taking the head of Jim's shaft into his mouth, swirling his tongue around it before swallowing it to the root.

"Shit!" Jim yelled. Blair smugly swallowed all of the seed flowing into his mouth as he watched Jim in the throes of his orgasm, with his head thrown back and sweat glistening on his face as he moaned Blair's name over and over again.

When Jim collapsed back onto the bed, Blair crawled back up his body and kissed him softly. "Love you."

Jim smiled. "Love you, too," he replied, then moved Blair aside and snatched a tube from his nightstand drawer. "Make love to me?" he asked, moving to lie on his stomach.

"You sure?" Blair blinked, surprised.


Blair nodded, pouring some of the tube's contents into his hand before gently inserting one finger into Jim's puckered opening. The older man groaned, his body tightening around the digit.

"Jim?" Blair asked concerned.

"I'm okay, Blair. It's just... I've never done this before. I mean I have, but never on the receiving end," Jim explained, a light flush covering his face.

"Maybe we should wait..." Blair hesitated. He didn't want to hurt the other man, not for anything in the world.

"No! Blair, I want this. I want *you*," Jim stated, looking over his shoulder at the young man. "It's okay, Chief."

Blair nodded. "I'll take it slow then," he promised softly.

He waited until Jim relaxed before adding another finger, and then finally a third, slowly stretching and preparing his lover to receive his shaft. When he was certain Jim was ready, Blair removed his fingers.


Jim nodded and gave him a reassuring smile. "Ready," he whispered.

Ever so slowly Blair eased the head of his cock into Jim's virgin opening, watching for any sign that he was hurting the other man. When he was certain he wasn't causing Jim any pain, he kept moving until he was all the way in. He waited for Jim to adjust to his impalement, then slowly pulled out and thrust back into his lover's tight channel in one long thrust, knowing he'd found Jim's prostate when he heard the growling sound again.

They found a steady rhythm, thrusting against each other as sweat dripped from their bodies and mingled on the sheets. Blair felt his climax approaching and reached for his lover's cock, stroking in time with their frantic movements. Jim suddenly cried his name as he came for the second time, his spasming body triggering Blair's release as well.

When he could breathe easily again, Blair kissed Jim's shoulder blade tenderly, then eased out from the plaint body underneath him. He felt himself being pulled into a warm embrace.

"That was amazing, Chief," Jim practically purred.

Blair chuckled. "Yeah, it was."

They snuggled together, sleep beginning to overtake them.



"You really light my fire."




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