Category: AU, First
Summary: Jim finds himself attracted to a man
for the first time in his life.
This story first appeared in My Mongoose Ezines. Thanks to
everyone at MME, I'm enjoying the experience immensely. DarkCherry and
Sue, thanks for the amazing beta-ing. Finally, thanks to Barb and the
artwork department gals for totally ruining my keyboard with their amazing
Love is fire that burns without flame,
hurts and can't be felt,
causes madness without hurt
Luis Vaz de Camoes, 16th Century Portuguese
"It was a nice wedding," Simon stated, lighting a cigar.
Henri nodded with a grin. "it was."
"Well, I for one can't believe
your brother actually did it, Ellison," Rafe remarked as he gazed at the
older man. "I mean, getting married?! Tying the knot?"
wrong with that?" Jim asked as he watched the newlyweds waltzing on the
dancefloor. It felt good to see his brother so happy. "He'd been living
with Kathy for over a year. They just felt it was time to take that final
It was a good day for a wedding; the mid-summer sun was high
in the sky, a soft breeze flowed through the lush-green gardens where the
party was being held, making the heat bearable. His father had rented a
mansion especially for Stephen's wedding party and Jim had to admit
everything looked great. Huge white tents spread throughout the grounds,
there were bubbling fountains everywhere, a small pond with exotic fish,
mountains of food and beverages, and loud music.
you going to follow your brother's footsteps, Jim?" Henri joked. "You've
been divorced for more than two years now. In that time you've dated most
of the women in the PD, not to mention half of Cascade's female
population. It's time to settle down, get the house with the picket fence,
the 2.4 kids."
Jim snorted. "Yeah, right! After Carolyn the last
thing on my mind is marriage, H. I'm quite happy the way I am right
"Are they going on a honeymoon?" Rafe asked.
Two weeks in Hawaii. Should be heading out soon, the plane leaves in a
couple of hours," Jim replied with a grimace. The noise was starting to
give him a headache. He'd be glad when the bride and groom finally left so
he could make his own escape. "I need a drink."
He moved to the
largest tent just as the bride was throwing the bouquet. Caught off-guard
by an unexpected push from an over-eager matronly woman, Jim stumbled and
fell -- right into the person next to him, both of them landing on the
hard floor. When his vision cleared, Jim found himself gazing into the
deepest blue eyes he'd ever seen, belonging to a face framed by long,
chestnut curly hair.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled to the young man
The other cleared his throat. "Uh, no problem. Nice to
Jim chuckled at the impish grin directed his way.
"Likewise. I'm Jim Ellison, by the way."
"Blair Sandburg. Ellison?
Are you --?"
"Ah," Blair said
intelligently, and Jim watched as a sudden flush began to cover the other
man's face. "Think you could let me up now?"
Jim felt his own face
heating as he realized they were still on the floor and that he was still
laying on top of Blair. "Sorry." He practically jumped to his feet, then
extended a hand to help the younger man up as well.
Jim," Blair grinned. "See you around," he said, then walked
Jim looked around, relieved to see no one had given them any
attention, then after getting his much-needed drink, joined his friends.
"Who is that, any of you guys know?" he asked, nodding towards
"Blair Sandburg, friend of the bride or so I've heard," Rafe
replied. "He's also a TA at Rainier. Seems he's somewhat of a genius,
started there at the age of sixteen."
Without knowing why, Jim
spent most of the day watching Sandburg. There was no real explanation for
it; his eyes just seemed to follow him around of their own volition. He
was powerless to stop them. He watched Blair move around, dancing,
laughing, talking excitedly, his whole body giving out a level of energy
that was enough to exhaust just by looking at him.
It was getting
dark, the newlyweds long gone, when he realized he'd lost his unaware
siren from sight. Thinking Blair had left already, and seeing that most
guests had gone as well -- including his friends -- Jim decided to take a
stroll through the now silent gardens.
He found Blair sitting on a
bench, looking up at the sky. He approached quietly, studying the upturned
face, trying to understand what was drawing him so much. Not able to reach
a conclusion, he simply sat on the bench.
"Hi," he greeted
Blair smiled at him, "Hey, there! Not going to throw me on
the floor again, are you?"
"Not planning on it," Jim replied,
unable to smile back.
"You know, my mother always told me never to
talk to strange men," Blair joked.
Jim chuckled. "Well, if it makes
you feel better, I'm a cop."
"You are? Oh. That's different
A comfortable silence settled between them as night slowly
replaced day, a full moon bathing the gardens with its light, giving
everything a silvery glow.
"You play poker?" Jim asked
"Next Saturday I'm hosting a poker
game for some friends. I thought maybe you'd like to come."
stared right into his eyes, looking for what, Jim did not know. Finally,
the young man smiled, "I'd like that. Should I bring
"No, that's okay. Just be there at eight," Jim told him,
giving him a card with his address and phone numbers. "If by any chance
you can't make it, let me know."
"Okay. Thanks for the
"It's the least I could do after throwing you on the
floor like that," Jim quipped, and his heart missed a beat as Blair
"You mean your way of making it up to me is asking
me to a game where I'm sure to lose my life savings? Gee, thanks!" Blair
huffed, but there was amusement shinning from his
"Blair!" a voice shouted from the direction of the
mansion. "We're leaving! Blair!"
"I've got to go," Blair said as he
rose. "See you next Saturday," he promised as he shook Jim's hand.
It was a long time before
Jim found the will to rise and leave the mansion gardens to go home. It
had been a very nice wedding indeed.
Blair reached apartment #307 on 852 Prospect wondering if he wasn't
making a mistake by coming to the poker game. The only person he would
actually know was Jim, and he'd only met the man once. A week earlier.
Chances were the other man might even have forgotten he'd been invited.
There had to be something wrong with his head for agreeing to do this, he
He could hear men's voices and music coming from
inside, so he knew he was probably the last one arriving. He was about to
knock when the door suddenly burst open and a wide grinning Ellison waved
"Hey, Chief! I wasn't sure if you'd come," Jim stated
as they shook hands, but Blair was too busy trying not to stare at the
other man to listen. Ellison was wearing a pair of well-worn jeans and a
black -- and very tight -- tee shirt, showing off the powerful
Forcing his brain to work, Blair swallowed, "Yeah," he
breathed, holding the other man's hand a little longer than necessary.
Finally shaking himself out of his haze, he released Jim's hand and asked,
"How did you know I was here?"
If anything Jim's grin grew
wider. "I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya. Come on in, let me
introduce you to my friends."
"Okay," Blair replied quietly as he
looked around the loft. He noticed a young woman sitting on the living
room, surrounded by four men, all of them arguing rather
"Guys," Jim called out, and everyone quieted down. "This is
Blair Sandburg. Blair, this is Megan Connor, Joel Taggart, Brian Rafe,
Henri Brown and Simon Banks."
"I'm also their boss," Simon chimed
in. "I'm here to keep them in line," he added, ignoring the snorts that
greeted his last statement.
"Okay, since we're all here, how about
we get started?" Henri asked, rubbing his hands together. "I feel lucky
Rafe thumbed him on the back, "Hey, there's a first time
for everything, H. Maybe you'll actually win something
"Ha ha! I'm laughing to tears here, Rafe. Just shut up
and deal already!"
"So, how's your brother? Any word from them?"
Megan asked, looking as the cards were being dealt.
their honeymoon, Connor. Might as well be MIA for all we've heard of
them," he replied to the others snickering. "I'm guessing they won't see
much of Hawaii, except for their room's walls. What kind of hand is this?
Rafe, you're not trying to cheat us, are you? Nobody gets such a lousy
hand by accident!"
"Hey, man, I don't cheat! Don't need to, you're
all such big losers!"
The evening wore on and Blair lost most of
his money to the detectives, the talk lively as the game kept going. He
was surprised at how much he was enjoying himself. His poker companions
were extremely entertaining and he suddenly felt as if they'd all been
friends for years.
"I'm out," he finally admitted. "You
people cleaned me out. Aren't you supposed to be the good
"Not when it comes to poker," Taggart grinned. "All's fair
in love and poker, son."
Blair chuckled, "I see. I'll know better
than to trust you guys next time."
"Hey, Sandburg, next month it's
my birthday and I'm going to throw a party," Rafe told him. "Consider
The young man smiled, "Thanks, I'll be
"Great! One more present," Rafe smirked, making the others
Blair remained at the table watching the game, his eyes
drifting towards Ellison occasionally. Every time he looked, Jim was
gazing back at him, their eyes locking until one of them was forced to
look away. He felt his blood run cold. It was a mistake to feel attracted
to Ellison, the man's whole body language screamed heterosexual, but Blair
felt helpless to prevent it. He seemed to be drawn to the other man like a
ship to a siren's call; he'd felt it at the wedding as well and it seemed
to be growing stronger.
When Megan finally won everyone's
money, they decided to call it a night. Blair said his goodbyes to the
detectives and Jim escorted him to the door.
"Thanks for tonight, I
had a great time," Blair told the older man.
"Even if we left you
without a penny to your name?"
Blair laughed, "Even
"Good. Listen, next week the poker game will be at Simon's
house. He already asked if you wanted to join us."
The young man
grimaced, "I'm sorry, I can't. A friend of mine organized a viewing of a
few of Fellini's most famous movies and I promised I'd go."
okay. No problem."
Blair couldn't resist Jim's forlorn expression.
"Uh, maybe you could go with me? I mean, you don't have to, there's the
game, I didn't mean... uh, it was a stupid idea, I'm
"Actually, I'd like that," Jim told him with a smile.
"There will be other poker games, they won't miss me."
Blair exclaimed, nearly vibrating with excitement. "Maybe we can go for a
beer afterwards?" he asked, hesitantly.
"That would be great. Where
will we meet?"
"Can you pick me up at my place at six? My car is
having some problems, I'm taking it to the shop first thing Monday
"Cool. Here's my address," Blair gave him
a card. "Goodnight, Jim."
practically ran out of the building. Maybe he was making a huge mistake,
but each time he looked into Jim's clear blue eyes he felt a draw to the
man he was unable -- and unwilling -- to resist. He would just have to
Jim stared at the young man sitting in front of him sipping his beer.
Surprisingly, the Fellini film viewing hadn't been all that bad. They'd
watched a total of three films -- La Dolce Vita, Satyricon and Amarcord,
and although a little too artsy for his taste, he'd actually enjoyed
Or maybe it was the company.
He wondered if he
ought to tell Blair his secret. He felt he could trust the other man, but
he wasn't sure what Blair's reaction would be and he wasn't ready to
destroy the friendship that seemed to be growing between
He himself had trouble believing it all sometimes.
Heightened senses, Sentinels and Guides, protecting the tribe. Everything
that Incacha had told him while he lived with the Chopec seemed like a far
away dream. But he could control his senses enough to work and his closest
friends knew. It would be enough until he found his destined guide as
Incacha predicted would eventually happen.
amusement in the other man's eyes, Jim decided it could wait. "What were
you so excited about when I arrived to pick you up?" he asked
Blair's face lit up like a Christmas tree, "My anthro
teacher and one of my old archeology professors are planning a huge
anthropological exhibit to take place in a few months time at Rainier and
they asked for my help. I still can't believe it, man. They asked for *my*
help! God, it's going to be *so* cool, Jim!"
He kept babbling about
the future exhibit and all he would have to do, while Jim only
half-listened to what he was saying. Instead he gave his senses free
reign, allowing them to catalog everything about Blair; the soft voice,
the musky scent, the excited gesturing.
"Want to go out again
next week?" Jim asked abruptly, silencing the other man's
Blair blinked, clearly surprised, then nodded, "Sure. Why
"Well, since you picked the movies we got to see
tonight, next week I'll get to pick something."
Blair grinned. "Oh,
yeah? And what will we see? Rambo?"
"Funny, Junior. I'll let you
know on Saturday."
"That's low, Ellison," Blair chuckled. "But
"Good. I'll take you home, then. Come on."
climbed into his truck and Jim drove them to the warehouse district where
Blair was living. They hardly said a word, just listening to the music
pouring from the radio, but once again it was a comfortable silence. Jim
suddenly realized he hadn't felt that relaxed in years. And it was all due
to the man sitting beside him.
Blair couldn't help laughing as Jim and Henri tried to 'gargle' happy
birthday to Rafe with their mouths full of whiskey. It was way past
midnight and most of Rafe's guests had left already. Considering the
amount of whiskey still going around, it was amazing that the remaining
partygoers were still standing -- himself included.
wickedly at the last survivors, "I've got an idea. Why don't we play the
dice game Megan gave me?"
"What are the rules?" Simon asked,
obviously sober enough to smell a rat.
The birthday boy opened the
small box containing the dice and picked up a card with the rules, "Okay.
We need lost of space, preferably on the floor. The idea is to make a
circle and throw the dice. Once we start the game, we can't stop until
either everyone passes out drunk or ends up naked."
"What do you
mean, 'naked'?" Rhonda asked, a blush settling over her already flushed
"This is an adult game, Rhonda. What do you think?" Megan
answered for Rafe. "Read them the rest of the rules, mate," she added with
a wicked grin that matched Rafe's.
Rafe chuckled, "Here it goes:
each person takes a turn rolling the dice. If you roll one, everyone takes
a shot of something. Tequilla, whiskey, wine, beer, etc. Since we only
have whiskey left, it's a shot of whiskey. If you roll two, you strip an
item of your clothing. If you roll three, you pick two players to kiss. If
you roll a four, you pick a player to strip an item of clothing. If you
roll a five, you pick a player to take a shot of whiskey. If you roll a
six, you pick a player to kiss."
"Are you insane?" Samantha
scowled. "That kissing scene... I might end up kissing Rhonda or Kicki.
And one of you guys might end up kissing another guy!" she exclaimed,
giving him a 'eww' expression.
"Come on, cuz," Rafe chided. "Don't
be a spoil sport. We're all adults here, right? It's just a kiss. A mouth
is a mouth whether it belongs to a girl or a guy. What do you guys
"I'm in," Megan stated. "Sandy?"
Blair startled, his
brain having ceased functioning as he realized he might actually have to
kiss Ellison, "Um..."
"Great!" she crooned. "Sandy's in, I'm in,
and Rafe's in. Who else? Come on, mates! It's just a game!"
guess I'm in as well," a new cop from Vice called Becky added. She looked
at her partner. "Kicki, what do you say, girl?"
"Might as well,"
the other shrugged. "God willing, I'll be too drunk to remember any of
this in the morning!"
"Okay, so we have Blair, Megan, me, Kicki and
Becky," Rafe counted. "H?"
His partner sighed, "Why the hell not?
"Count me in as well," Simon added.
as one by one, everyone finally gave in and decided to play. They moved
the furniture to the side and sat on the floor in a circle. To make it
more interesting, they alternated between man and woman. Jim, Kicki,
Blair, Rhonda, Rafe, Megan, Simon, Becky, Henri, Samantha. Rafe gave each
one a shot glass and brought two more bottles of whiskey with him and the
game was on.
An hour later, Rhonda and Kicki were sleeping it off
on the floor, H had a pillow to cover his 'modesty', Samantha had been
forced to french kiss a giggling Megan, and everyone else was more than
half-drunk and half-naked. Becky hiccupped as she rolled the dice. The
seven players left groaned as she drew a one and were forced to take
another shot of whiskey. Samantha swayed slightly in her seat and Rafe
tried to steady her.
"'M 'kay," she assured her cousin just before
passing out face down on the carpet.
Since she was in the
way, Rafe and Megan moved her to lay with the so-far four losers. The
others adjusted their positions in order to make a smaller
"Who's next?" Simon asked.
"I am," Blair replied,
rolling the dice. His heart nearly stopped beating when he got a two. He
was already down to his jeans, that would leave him in his boxers
"Come on, get on with it!" Megan leered. "Take them off! Take
them off! Take them off!"
"Alright, already! Keep your pants on!"
he scowled, causing the others to laugh hysterically. "It's not that
funny," he pouted, as he rose to take off his jeans. He shivered as he
felt three very hungry gazes settling on his body. That Becky and Megan
were two of them didn't bother him much, but that the third belonged to
Jim... He shivered again, and nearly fell on his butt.
Next one to
play was Jim and he also got a two. The man had been extremely lucky,
clothing-wise. Only his shoes and white socks were gone. On the other
hand, he looked about ready to keel over, Blair mused with an inner
chuckle. His chuckle soon turned into a pant as Ellison got rid of his
shirt, uncovering his hairless chest and powerful torso, causing his
wayward lust to go off the scale.
When Rafe rolled a three everyone
left in the game stopped breathing, "Oh, I love this," he purred evilly.
"Okay, who hasn't kissed yet? Ellison, you haven't kissed anybody yet,
"Nope," Jim replied as he shook his
"Great! I want you to kiss... Blair!"
enough time to suck in a breath before Jim was all over him, arms wrapping
possessively around him as his mouth was taken and ravaged in a hungry
kiss. After what felt like forever and just a few seconds at the same
time, his lips were released. He blinked to clear his foggy brain, but all
his remaining cells were happily bathing in whiskey and he couldn't make
sense of the noise surrounding him. It was only after a moment that he
realized the others were clapping and whistling enthusiastically at their
"Shit!" he muttered, and the world turned dark.
"I can't believe I'm doing this!" Jim muttered to himself as he stared
at the pizza box in his hands.
It had been a week since Rafe's
birthday party, and he was unable to forget about that night. Or the kiss.
And the way Blair had felt in his arms. Of course having someone pass out
right after you kissed said person to distraction wasn't exactly
flattering, but he was certain it'd been the whiskey, not
Reaching the ancient-looking warehouse, and grinning
inanely, Jim rang the bell.
"Who is it?" Blair's voice called out
through the intercom.
"Pizza," he replied, disguising his
"I didn't order anything."
"Isn't this Blair
Sandburg's house?" He could almost see Blair frowning before the door
"I can't believe you did that!" Blair laughed as he saw
him, box in hand.
"I had to see you," Jim stated, immediately
regretting his words when the amusement was replaced by a guarded
He was surprised when Blair actually joked,
"Haven't you heard harassment is against the law?"
"Really? Well, I
have a pair of handcuffs right here," he replied, relieved when Blair
smiled and stood aside to let him in.
"Is that pizza?" a male voice
called from the couch. Jim eyed the other man wearily, feeling a strange
pang in his heart as he took in the red hair and wide green eyes in the
handsome forty-something face. He looked like a librarian, soft spoken and
obviously well bred. "Good idea, Blair. I'll fetch us some
"Who's he?" Jim asked as soon as the man disappeared into
"Aaron Newman. He's the archeology teacher I told you
about, the one who asked for help with the anthro exhibit. What are you
doing here, anyway?"
"I thought we might go out, being Friday and
all," he said, his explanation sounding lame even to himself.
can't, Jim. I have to work."
"Honest. I'm sorry,
man. If you'd called before --"
"How about tomorrow?
Blair chuckled. "You're not going to give up, are
"Fine, tomorrow then. Pick me up at nine,
"You got it, Chief. See you tomorrow."
Jim went back to his truck feeling a myriad of confusing
emotions. He knew he was interested in Blair, but the fact it was the
first time he had even looked at a man sexually made him feel uneasy. And
the wave of emotion he'd felt when he saw Newman made him feel even more
uneasy. The only reason to be jealous of someone was if love was involved.
And he wasn't sure he was looking for that kind of relationship.
Especially with another man.
Blair regarded Jim with a mix of annoyance and amusement, "Why don't
you tell me where we're going?"
"I told you, it's a surprise. We're
Not five minutes later Blair recognized the gardens
where they'd first met. Jim stopped the truck and they got
"Surprise," Jim said softly as he led him to a patch of lush
It wasn't the grass or the beauty around them that caught
Blair's attention, though. It was the neatly set table, the dinnerware,
the wine breathing, the tape recorder playing soft, romantic
"Your dinner awaits," Jim gestured towards the
"Trying to woo me, Ellison?" Blair asked, unable to keep the
steel out of his voice. "I'm not one of your women."
genuinely puzzled, then chagrined. "I didn't mean it that way, Blair. We
can leave, if you --"
Blair sighed wearily. "No, it's okay. I guess
I over-reacted. Let's eat, I'm hungry," he lied easily.
They sat at
the table and Blair forced himself to smile and make small talk as they
ate the splendid dinner by candle light. He knew the other man meant well,
but he also knew that all that apparatus was something that Jim had
probably tried more than once on his female dates. He didn't need the
hearts and flowers, he just wanted Jim to be true to him and to himself.
He didn't need a staged romance, he wanted spontaneity.
definitely be easier if he loved someone like Aaron, who had no problems
admitting his bisexuality. Just the day before, Aaron had hinted he was
interested in something other than friendship. But what could he do? He
did like Aaron, enjoyed being with him, but as a friend.
on the other hand, was his idea of the perfect companion, the person he'd
choose to spend his life with. Someone who accepted him for who he was,
who helped him relax by just being there, who made him happy by smiling at
something he'd said that wasn't even particularly bright or
Once the food was out of the way, Jim rose from the
table. "Dance with me?"
Blair took his hand, allowing the other man
to lead as he laid his head on a strong shoulder, "Jim, I like you a lot.
I really do."
"But?" Jim prompted into his ear, causing him to
"I can't do this. I talked to your brother. You've been
married and all your dates have been with women. You've been straight all
of your life. I don't want to be just an experiment. I especially don't
want to get hurt."
"I don't want you to be an experiment either,
Blair. And I won't hurt you, I promise."
"Don't make promises you
can't keep, Jim," Blair chided softly, staring into the clear blue eyes
looking so affectionately at him, and feeling his defenses weakening.
"Fine," he finally sighed. "But I have one condition."
"If you're really interested in me, you'll wait. If you're
able to resist women, *any* women, for the next six months, I'll give
myself to you."
Jim nodded, his eyes soft as he cupped the young
man's face, "You've got yourself a deal."
"Good," Blair brushed his
lips over the older man's mouth softly as a thank you, then grinned.
"Professor Newman is having a little get-together next week for the people
involved in the exhibit. I can bring a friend. Want to come
"Do I have to?" Jim teased with a
"In that case I'm all yours,
"We'll see, Ellison, we'll see."
A week later Jim was certain the whole world was out to get him. He was
barely out of the PD to go home and get ready to meet with Blair, when two
idiots decided to rob a convience store. He'd been the closest police
vehicle when the call came through and was forced to respond. He'd caught
the perps, but then had to question them, write the report and finally
hand it over to Simon.
Running to the loft with only a few
minutes to spare, he showered and shaved, got dressed and was out the
door... only to discover some joker had slashed his front tires. When the
taxi he'd called arrived twenty minutes later, Jim could almost feel the
smoke coming out of his ears.
He payed the cabbie and gazed at
Newman's house through cop's eyes, wondering how someone on a teacher's
salary could afford such a Hollywood-type mansion. Making a note to check
the man first thing in the morning, he told himself it had nothing to do
with the fact that he'd met the man at Blair's house.
door opened almost as soon as he rang the bell and Jim blinked as he
recognized his sister-in-law grinning up at him. "Kathy! What are you
"Hey, Jim. Blair asked me to join the team, the one
responsible for the exhibit. You know about it, don't you? Stephen's here
too, by the way. Come in."
"Where's Blair?" Jim asked as soon as he
was standing in the large hall.
"Upstairs talking with Professor
Aaron and Professor Sophie. You can go up."
"Thanks. I'll meet up
with you and Stephen in a minute."
He climbed the stairs two at a
time, wondering behind which of the many doors visible would he find
Blair. He was about to use his senses to track the young man when he
noticed a woman speaking on her cell phone in the varanda. She had her
back to him. All he could see was a long head of raven hair, and the slim
and curvy figure covered by a black dress that clung to her like a second
Approaching silently, he heard her end the call and
guessed she was probably the 'Professor Sophie' that Kathy had mentioned.
When she began to mutter under her breath, he moved
"Are you alright?" he asked, touching her shoulder
Obviously not expecting him to be there, the woman gasped
and turned suddenly, dropping the phone right into the pool below. A pair
of extremely angry grey eyes glared at him. "Are you a moron or something?
I don't believe this! What am I supposed to do now without my
"Uh, I'm sorry, ma'am. I can give you mine, if you'd like.
After all this is all my fault."
"Of course it's your fault! I have
all my important numbers in that phone!" she gestured towards the pool.
"Why would I need yours?"
"I'm truly sorry," Jim apologized anew,
feeling like a total jackass. The day couldn't possibly get any
"There you are, Sophie! We were starting to wonder what had
happened to you!" a familiar voice stated from behind them, and Jim turned
to see Newman walking up to them. Blair was standing just a few steps
back, frowing slightly.
"I see you finally made it, Jim," the young
man remarked flatly.
"Yeah. Sorry I'm late, today just hasn't been
"Or mine," Sophie muttered. "I seem to have dropped my
phone into the pool," she added as both Newman and Blair gave her confused
"You know each other?" Newman asked
"Not really," Jim replied. "I was looking for Blair when
I sort of stumbled into..." he gestured towards the woman standing next to
"Oh, I'm sorry. This is my friend Jim Ellison. Jim, my former
archeology professor, Aaron Newman, and my anthro teacher, Sophie
Introductions made, Newman tilted his head as he looked at
Jim, "Your face looks very familiar. I know you from somewhere, don't I?"
Before Jim could open his mouth to answer, Newman shook his head.
"Nevermind, it'll come to me. Let's go back downstairs and begin to plan
everything. We're already behind schedule."
Once downstairs, Jim
soon got bored with all the technical talk, and after spending some
minutes speaking to his brother wandered outside. His eyes fell on the
phone laying at the bottom of the pool and he made a decision. Kneeling
down by the edge of the pool, he tried to reach it, but his arm was a few
"You know, you really don't have to do that," he
heard, turning to see Sophie smiling down at him, all anger gone from her
eyes. "It was actually quite funny, after I cooled down enough to realize
"I owe it to you," Jim replied, his grin matching
hers. "I really am sorry for all of this. I'm not usually this
She chuckled, "I'm glad, or I'd be afraid to come near
"Give me your hand," he asked, abruptly.
stared at him suspiciously.
"Maybe I can reach it with a little
help from you."
Smiling slightly she knelt beside him and gave him
her hand, "Go for it, then."
He was just about to touch the phone when Blair's startled
voice echoed in the night, "Jim!"
He heard Sophie give a little
surprised yelp and suddenly he was diving head first into the cold water.
When he came back for air he was laughing, Sophie's phone safely tucked in
his hand. "This is definitely not my day!" he sputtered as the woman
laughed with him.
"Are you insane?" Blair snapped.
just trying to get Sophie's phone," Jim replied, still chuckling
"And he did!" Sophie exclaimed happily. "Thank you, Jim!
You're a life saver."
"No problem. Like I said, it was my fault in
the first place," he got out of the pool, accepting the towel Newman
brought with him as he approached them.
"Well, now that I've got my
precious phone back, I really have to be going. Thank you again, Jim, if
nothing else, for a very interesting evening. I hope you don't catch a
cold because of me," she quipped. She kissed him briefly on the cheek and
with a parting wink was gone.
"Now I remember you!" Newman
exclaimed. "You're the pizza guy!"
"Maybe you should go home to
dry," Blair stated, ignoring Aaron. "After all, we wouldn't want you to
catch a cold, would we?"
Something in his voice made Jim freeze for
a moment. Blair sounded almost like he was jealous. But that didn't make
any sense; he hadn't done anything wrong. Before he could utter another
word, Stephen and Kathy were there. And before he knew it, he was being
ushered into their car and driven home. Time to think about it all later.
All he wanted at the moment was to get rid of those wet clothes and forget
that day had ever happened.
Blair left his office for the lecture hall with a heavy tread. For the
first time in the two months they'd known each other, he hadn't seen or
heard anything from Jim in over a week. Not since that night at Aaron's
Maybe he'd brought it down on himself for his petty
reaction, but it hurt to see Jim standing so close to Sophie, go to all
that trouble for her, to see the unconscious way he interacted with her.
He couldn't really fault Jim's interest in Sophie; she was a beautiful
woman. Not to mention in her early thirties and the right sex.
sighed. Maybe he was seeing too much in the whole thing, maybe he was
simply seeing something that wasn't there. He really should call Jim when
he got back home. They needed to talk.
Reaching his destination, he
peeked inside. The hall was full to capacity and Sophie's lecture was
already in progress. He was about to go in when a familiar face caught his
attention. Ellison was sitting right in the front row, eyes following
Sophie around, slight smile playing on his lips.
intentions scattered away as Blair realized that while the two of them
hadn't been talking that week, Jim certainly had been talking to Sophie.
Forgetting all about the lecture, he strode away in a
fury, leaving Rainier and driving home. As soon as he arrived, he
disconnected his phone and set out to finish whatever pending stuff he had
to work through. He didn't accomplish much; his thoughts kept straying to
a certain blue-eyed detective currently driving him insane.
Jim frowned down at the cards in his hands. It was Saturday
night, he was playing poker with his friends, he should be having fun.
Instead he couldn't shake the feeling there was something
When his last dollar fell into H's greedy hands, he
excused himself from the game and walked over to the
"What's wrong, Jim?" Simon asked from behind
"Don't know exactly," he shrugged helplessly. "Lately my
life's just one problem after another."
"Is Sandburg one of those
problems?" Jim turned, startled by his friend's insight, and Simon
chuckled. "Don't look so surprised. I was a detective before I ever made
Captain, Ellison. I've seen the way the kid looks at you when he thinks no
one's watching. I've also seen the way you look at him."
mess, Simon," Jim admitted with a sigh. "When we're together I feel happy,
relaxed. I can be myself. I feel close to him, sometimes it's like I've
known him for years, not just two months. I'm also attracted to him,
sexually. But... last week I met this woman, one of Blair's teachers. I
don't feel any of the other stuff, but the attraction's there as
"How long since you've seen Blair?"
"About a week.
You know how hectic this week has been, case after case, the Malloy court
case... I went to the university yesterday to see him, but the teacher I
told you about saw me and invited me to one of her lectures. Said Blair
would be there too. He wasn't, and I've spent all of last night and today
trying to call him, but his phone's always busy."
"Jim, I like to
think of myself as an open-minded person. I'm also your friend, and as
your friend I have to tell you that I like Sandburg. A lot. Although if
you ever tell him that, I'll deny having said it. Just think carefully
about what you're going to do. Don't destroy what might as well be the
best thing that happened to you these past years for a good fuck," Simon
said crudely. "Go see Blair. Talk to him, make things right between you.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try and win my money back from
Jim stood gazing out the window for a long time, thinking
about what Simon had said. It was too late now to go to Blair's house, but
first thing tomorrow he'd be knocking on the young man's door. They were
going to have a long talk, or his name wasn't Jim Ellison.
"Good morning, Chief."
Blair turned with a groan as he
heard Jim's voice. The man was leaning against the warehouse wall, a
bright smile lighting up his face, the muscled body clad from head-to-toe
in black. He groaned again. It was just too early in the morning for a
confrontation with the other man.
"I'm late for a meeting,
Ellison," he scowled, hoping the cop would take the hint and
He wasn't that lucky.
"I'll go with you," Jim
replied, the smile still bright on his face.
irrational moment, Blair felt like hitting him. "No, you
"Chief, I'll just follow you around all day if I have to,"
Jim told him, all amusement gone from his eyes.
"What do you want,
"Ever heard of a new invention called
"Been trying to call you since Friday night. Kept
getting the busy signal, so I thought I'd try it in
"Couldn't you have tried sooner?"
Blair. I had a full week. Cascade seems to be turning into the most
dangerous city in America. I was up to my neck in cases and
"Amazing how you managed to make some room in your busy
schedule for Sophie's lecture, isn't it?" Blair heard the sarcasm in his
voice, and didn't mind one bit.
"That was just a coincidence,
Blair. I went to Rainier to see you, not her. She caught up with me when I
was looking for your office. She invited me for the lecture, that's true,
but she said you'd be there."
Blair felt some of his anger draining
away. "You went looking for me?" he asked, softly.
whispered, his hand brushing over Blair's cheek gently. "I wanted to ask
"Really. So, what about it? Dinner next
"Sure. That'd be great."
"Good. I'll call you
during the week to work everything out. Now, how about a ride?" Blair
nodded and they climbed into the older man's truck. "Where to?" Jim
"Rainier, James, and don't spare the horses," Blair ordered,
happy when Jim chuckled.
"You're going to work on a
"I knew what I was getting into when I accepted Aaron's
offer, Jim. It'll be worth it when the exhibit is done."
was light and it took less than fifteen minutes to arrive at the campus.
Blair got out of the truck, followed closely by Jim. "There you go, safe
and sound," Jim grinned at him.
Blair grinned back, "Thanks for the
"Don't mention it. I'll call you."
Blair stood watching by the entrance as Jim got back to
his truck. The detective was opening the driver's door when another car
parked next to him. The young man held his breath as he saw Sophie getting
out of the car, sauntering over to Jim and kissing him on the cheek. He
watched them exchange a few words, then Jim waved goodbye and drove
Sophie walked over to him, shades firmly tucked into
place, "Good morning. Beautiful day, isn't it?" she queried with a smile.
"I love summertime!"
"Blair, tell me
something. Jim's your friend, isn't he?"
"Yes," he replied
cautiously, not liking the look on her face.
"You know if he's
"I think so."
"Is it serious?"
it matter?" he asked back, his patience wearing thinner by the
She sighed, "Of course it does. If he's not in a
serious relationship, maybe he won't mind going out with
"Don't you care about what the person he's seeing might
"I'm not getting any younger, Blair. Jim is the kind of man
every woman dreams about -- handsome, strong, dependable, honest. It pours
out of him in waves. I'll probably end up marrying the opposite type of
man. So if I can at least have some fun, make a few good memories with a
man like him... Besides, what is the saying? All's fair in love and war? I
just want to borrow Jim for a while."
Blair couldn't help being
surprised by the bitterness in her voice. A woman with so much to offer
both physically and mentally shouldn't have any reasons to feel that way.
He felt almost sorry for her. Almost. She didn't mind playing crooked and
that he couldn't tolerate. Especially when it was Jim they were talking
It was a pain trying to sleep in an unfamiliar bed, Jim decided after
spending the last two hours rolling from side to side on the uncomfortable
mattress. If he didn't know any better, he'd swear Aaron had given him
that room on purpose. He, Blair and Sophie were spending the weekend at
Aaron's country house, a celebration of sorts for the four of them. The
anthropology exhibit was finally ready. Next Wednesday there would be a
press conference for the media, Saturday it would open for the general
The last three months had gone by in a flash for Jim.
Between his police work and spending time with Blair he couldn't really
complain of boredom. The only down about the whole thing was that Blair
had spent most of the time working, which meant Jim had been forced to put
up with Aaron and Sophie's company.
Two things bothered him
about that; one, Sophie was permanently coming on to him, even after he'd
mentioned he was seeing someone; two, Aaron was interested in Blair. It
was hard not to miss the hungry looks, the smiles, the
a-little-too-friendly pats on the back. It was hard not to pounce the man
and punch his lights out, but he was a cop after all, and he was sure
Blair wouldn't enjoy the caveman routine.
Finally giving up on
sleep, Jim got up. He needed to go to the bathroom, then maybe he'd take a
stroll in the woods surrounding the house. Summertime had given way to
autumn, but the weather was still warm and sunny, an unusual event for
Cascade. It was almost as if summer were waiting for something to happen
before letting the next season take its rightful place.
He left his
room, swearing under his breath as he realized he didn't remember where
the bathroom was located. He was fairly certain it was downstairs; but
they'd only arrived a few hours earlier and he'd too busy ogling Blair --
and escaping Sophie blatant seduction attempts -- to pay any attention to
Aaron's tour of the house.
"Guess I'll just have to wing it," he
muttered, trying the first door to the left. It lead to the living room.
He moved silently through the corridor, thankful for
Sentinel sight, until he reached the next room. It wasn't the bathroom
either, it was Sophie's room. She was behind a desk working on some
papers, but he must've made some noise, because she looked right at him. A
slow, sensual smile grazed her lips, "Jim," she whispered softly, tongue
licking her bottom lip delicately. Jim felt the temperature
"Sorry, I was looking for the bathroom," he said,
She chuckled, "It's not here."
"I gathered that
already, being a detective and all," he quipped. "Still working at this
"I don't consider it work, I love anthropology. My
grandfather's fault really, he's also an anthrolopogist. When I was a
child we used to sit together for hours and he'd tell me fascinating tales
about other cultures and peoples. We still do it occasionally."
better go and leave you to it then," Jim said, moving to the
Sophie left the desk and walked over to him, "You could stay,
Jim smiled, somewhat dismayed at her insistance. It was
getting harder saying no. "It wouldn't be right, Sophie."
looked into his eyes for a moment, then nodded, "I understand. But if you
ever change your mind..." she added as she hugged him tightly to her
Jim allowed his senses to focus on the soft, fragant female
in his arms as he hugged her back. Then with a regretful sigh he moved
away. His heart might belong to Blair, but his body still responded to the
allure of a beautiful woman.
"You too, Jim.
He left the room before he did something he'd regret for
the rest of his life. Finding the bathroom he relieved himself, then went
for his stroll in the woods. He needed some time to get his raging
hormones back under control.
Blair smiled as he heard the door opening quietly. He'd been unable to
sleep, aching inside, knowing Jim was so close and yet so far away. He
should have known the other man would be feeling the same and would act on
He remained by the window, gazing up at the stared sky,
listening as the soft footsteps grew nearer. Strong arms wrapped
possessively around his waist and he leaned back against the other man
with a contented sight.
"Knew you'd come," he whispered. "Weren't
able to resist sleeping under the same roof, were you? I thought about
going to your room too. But I need to be sure you're ready for this,
The arms embracing him tightened unexpectedly, and the
startled gasp from behind him, made him turn around. "Aaron! What are you
"I thought --" even in the darkened room Blair could
see how pale the other man looked.
"You thought? You thought what,
Aaron?" he gritted out furiously. "That it would be okay for you to walk
into my room univited and, and --"
"It would've been fine if it had
been Jim," Aaron interjected with a hiss. "You're making a mistake with
that man, Blair. What can he give you that I can't? Not to mention he's as
hetero as can be! Have you seen him and Sophie together? What are you
"What I think or don't think is none of your
business, Aaron! Get out of here!"
Without another word, he watched Aaron leaving the room. All
his happiness had vanished in a haze of anger. He knew what he was risking
with Jim, knew it every time he saw the older man with Sophie, talking,
laughing together. He didn't need anyone else reminding him or twisting
the knife any further. But he couldn't help feeling hopeful. Over three
months had gone by since they'd made their 'no women' deal and Jim had
kept his word so far. Maybe it was going to be alright after all.
The walk in the woods had been just what Jim needed. Not only was his
body back under control, but he was feeling mellow enough to be able to
sleep. He was closing the door to his room when he saw Blair's door
opening. Thinking that it might be the young man coming to see him, he
stayed silent, waiting for his chance to drag Blair into his room for a
little snuggling session.
He wasn't prepared to see Aaron
walking out, clad in a tee shirt and boxers. He tried to think of any
reasons why the man would be leaving Blair's room at three in the morning
wearing close to nothing, but only one thing came to
"Damn..." he whispered brokenly, closing the door and
leaning his weight against it.
It was a long time before he
managed to fall asleep, his mind bringing forth erotic images of Blair and
Aaron together in a loving embrace. He hated the way it made him feel.
Blair stared tiredly as Jim spoke on his cell phone. Something was
wrong. Sometime during their stay at Aaron's place things had changed
between them and he had no clue as to why. All he knew was that Jim was
acting distant, colder. He was losing the other man and he didn't even
know what he'd done.
The press conference was about to begin and he
wanted the other man close. It was a little intimidating standing before
all those cameras and microphones and he needed the support.
Jim's phone had rung a few minutes earlier and he seemed to be involved in
an intense conversation with whoever was on the other side. He couldn't
hear what was being said, but a name slipped through the noise surrounding
him. Sophie. Jim was talking to Sophie. She was supposed to be there as
well. They were all waiting for her to start the conference. And she'd
With a sick feeling in his stomach, Blair waited for
the call to be over and for Jim to approach him.
"I have to
go," Jim told him, and Blair could almost believe the regret in his
"Police work. You know how it is."
expecting the lie, it still hurt. Now he was beginning to understand Jim's
behavior since the weekend. The six months deal was off.
know how it is. You better get going," he said softly, the weight of the
world resting on his shoulders. It was true when people said love hurt;
but nobody had told him it would hurt that much.
"Where's he going?" Aaron asked as he
joined him at the table.
"Ah. Damn, where the
hell is Sophie? We need to start the conference!"
"We should start
without her," Blair stated, trying to appear interested. "I don't think
"Very well. The two of us should be enough anyway,"
Aaron remarked. Tapping the microphone in front of him, he began, "Good
afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the press. As you know, we're here
today to speak about..."
Blair tuned Aaron and his surroundings
off. The happiness he so craved was slipping through his fingers and there
was nothing he could do about it. All he could think as the press
conference procceeded, as he flatly answered whatever questions flew his
way, was that at that moment Jim was probably in Sophie's arms.
"I don't like having to lie," Jim told Sophie as she let him into her
"I know, and I'm sorry. I just... I don't usually do
this, but I needed to talk to someone," she led him to the living room.
"Want anything? Coffee? Beer?"
"No, thank you. What's going on,
Sophie? What was so urgent?"
To his surprise, her eyes filled with
tears. "I'm not usually remiss in my obligations like this, Jim. I know
people think I'm a shallow bitch, but... I needed... My grandfather died
and I..." The tears fell and he couldn't resist her
Wrapping his arms gently around her slim waist, he let her
cry, carding his fingers through her silky hair as she let her pain
"It's my first, you know?" she told him between sobs.
"All my close family is still alive, my parents, brothers... I wasn't
expecting it. It hurts so much."
"The first one is always the
worst," Jim said quietly. "It gets easier."
"I hadn't seen him in
months, and God, I missed his birthday. I wasn't there for him! I never
got to tell him how much I loved him, how much he meant to me, how much he
influenced my life."
"He knew, Sophie. You chose to follow in his
footsteps, you shared his love for anthropology, you stayed together for
hours just talking about everything and nothing. That told him all he
needed to know, believe me."
She leaned back a little in his
embrace, just enough to look at him. Blue eyes locked on grey and suddenly
they were kissing frantically, tearing at each others' clothes, falling on
the carpeted floor in a tangled heap. Half of his mind was screaming at
him to stop, the rest of him was just too far gone.
sanity returned, he was laying naked beside her, body sated, mind in
turmoil. "I have to go," he finally said when the silence became too
awkward to stand.
"You have to go, or you want to go?" she observed
wisely, no judgement in her tone.
"I want to," he admitted
"I'm sorry," he sighed, giving her a
parting kiss before getting dressed and walking away.
Blair looked at the other man as if he'd grown a second head, "You woke
me up at two in the morning to ask me about the press
"Not exactly, no."
watched Jim pace the room restlessly for a moment, then turn to face him,
"I came to tell you I failed."
Blair stared down at the floor, his
heart breaking as his suspicions were confirmed. "Sophie," he whispered.
He forced himself to stand tall as he looked straight into the other man's
eyes. "Get out," he ordered softly.
"Blair, please let me explain!"
Jim begged desperately.
"Explain what? You really think there's any
explanation for what you did?"
"Probably not, I don't know. I
failed you and God, I'm so sorry! But damnit, I'm only
"Christ, you've got some nerve, Ellison! What did you
expect me to do? To hear you say you fucked Sophie and then tell you
everything was going to be okay? That nothing would change between
"What about you and Aaron?" Jim snarled at him.
"I saw him leaving your room when we were at his place.
How can you get mad at me when you've been with him behind my
Blair opened his mouth, closed it again completely
speechless. "You mean that's why you've been acting weird all week?" he
finally asked. "Because you thought Aaron and I were... You bastard!
Nothing happened and I could've told you that if you'd only asked! Yes, he
wanted it, and yes, he came to my room. But I sent him away! I can't
believe you actually thought I could do such a thing, man," he said in a
rush, the hurt clear in his voice. "I love you, you moron!"
sorry, okay? I'm sorry!" Jim gushed out tiredly. "Look, I never said I was
perfect. I make mistakes just like everyone else. I spent the afternoon
with a beautiful woman and I felt nothing. All I could think about was
you, I wanted to be with you, I came back to you. What does that tell
"That I'm second best," Blair replied despondantly. "A
consolation prize. I can't do this, Jim."
"Blair, I'm sorry.
Please, just --"
Closing his eyes to Jim's suffering, Blair gritted
out, "Too little, too late, man. Too little, too late. Go away, leave me
alone," he finished with a whisper.
When he finally opened his eyes
again Jim was gone. Fighting back a sob, he slid down to the floor,
letting his head fall to his knees. He'd lost.
Jim wandered aimlessly through the gardens, paying little attention to
his surroundings. He hadn't heard from Blair in two weeks and was feeling
miserable. He ached to see the younger man, to be with him. He didn't know
what made him return to the gardens where they'd met; maybe it was because
he had good memories of the place.
A noise to his left caught his
attention and he moved closer to its source. Blair was sitting on the
exact same bench where they'd talked during Stephen's wedding, staring up
at the sky just like that day. He seemed lost in thought, an aura of
sadness about him that made Jim's heart break because he knew he was to
"I'm sorry," he found himself saying.
around, visibly startled, "Jim!"
"I'm sorry," he said
His eyes followed Blair as he got up from the bench, "I
"I do, Blair. I'm not sure if I had to go through
all of this to finally understand, but everything's crystal clear now. I'm
one hundred percent certain it's with you that I want to be. I love you,
I'm *in love* with you. I want to change... with you. Help me, please?"
The young man stood silent for a long time. "No," he
finally whispered, and Jim felt his new found hope vanishing in the night
He watched as Blair moved closer, until their
bodies were a heartbeat away from each other. "No. I'll change with you,"
he replied with a smile and Jim felt his own smile shining
He cupped Blair's face gently and proceeded to kiss his
breath away. He felt Blair's arms embrace him tightly as they gave
themselves over to the kissing, letting their pent-up emotions tumble
through and set their bodies on fire. It was then that Jim realized it was
raining. It was finally autumn.
Blair couldn't help moaning when the head of Jim's
erection touched his well-lubricated opening. It was finally happening;
they were making love. He watched awed as Jim pressed inward, slowly,
giving him time to adjust to his impalement. The clear blue eyes were
closed, the lips parted as he panted for breath.
stop," he sighed happily.
He felt Jim pull back slightly, then pump
in deeper, repeating the rocking motion until he was all the way in. Their
eyes locked, foreheads pressed together as they stayed
"How does it feel?" Blair asked
"Fantastic. Like coming home," Jim replied softly,
wonder clear in his voice.
Blair grinned wickedly, shifting
slightly. His muscles tightened around his lover's cock, causing Jim to
groan helplessly. He did it again and again, until Jim couldn't stand it
any longer and began to move, slowly at first, leisurely movements that
pleasured them both. Soon it wasn't enough, his body craving more, a
deeper, harder contact.
His hands roamed through the hard
body blanketing him, urging him on, until finally Jim took the hint and
began to move faster and more forcefully inside him. A hand snaked between
their bodies, grasping his erection and Blair moaned, arching into the
maddening touch. Jim was stroking him in the same frantic rhythm he'd
established, driving them closer to the abyss and Blair pushed back
against the punishing thrusts and the hand, wanting to go on
Finally he surrendered to the other man's body and
will, shuddering and crying out Jim's name as his seed spilled over his
lover's hand. His orgasm was enough to drive Jim over the edge; one last,
hard thrust and Blair felt warm fluid invading his passage, before Jim
collapsed against him, gasping for air.
They remained silent for a
while, resting in each other's arms until Jim slipped from his body. Still
half-dazed from their lovemaking, Blair felt Jim roll over onto his back,
taking him with him, obviously reluctant to release him. Feeling pretty
much the same way, he snuggled up to the other man with a contented
"So, how was it?" he finally asked.
He could feel Jim
chuckling from his perch on the other man's chest. "Amazing. I'd forgotten
how different it is to make love instead of having sex. Of course, we
could probably do better. We should do it over and over again, just to be
sure we're making it right," Jim quipped.
"I'm with you,
man." He really wanted his brain to shut down for a few hours, but it was
not meant to be. Knowing he was probably going to ruin the mood, he asked,
"Now we sleep. And in the morning..."
prompted when Jim hesitated.
"In the morning we'll talk about our
Blair felt a huge smile grazing his lips,
"It will be, Blair," Jim replied, and Blair knew he
wasn't talking about their conversation. "It will be."
Final Note: "Love is a fire that burns..." comes from
one of my favorite sonnets by Camoes. I've read the 'official' English
translation, but I felt it lost something along the way, so the
translation used is my own. So sue me, I'm not a poet. <g>
This was originally published by 'My Mongoose Ezines', The Many Faces
of Blair issue. If you want to see the artowrk done for story or if you
want to read any of the other stories in the ezine, click on the