"Far out." There was no mistaking the note of awe in Sandburg's voice.
"What's far out, Chief?" Jim asked almost absently, not really tuned in on his partner's wavelength.
Blair closed the magazine he'd been reading with a guilty look. "Oh, nothing. It's a surprise."
"I hate surprises."
"No, you don't. You hate change. There's a difference."
"Why don't you explain it to me someday, Einstein? I'm all agog." Jim snapped his newspaper to attention. It wouldn't dare defy the Sentinel's command. Unlike Sandburg.
"Mmm...maybe." Blair licked his lips, probably more from nerves than anything else. Suddenly Jim was riveted. Lately he was having a devil of a time trying to control his reaction to Blair. It was the little things that were nearly his undoing. Things like a careless head toss, that fall of dark auburn hair cascading before his eyes like a silken waterfall. Or the tip of his pink tongue innocently protruding between his teeth as he concentrated particularly hard on a paper he was grading.
"You...uh...got plans for tonight, Chief?"
"Nothing special, Jim. Why?"
Jim shrugged. "No reason. Just wondering."
Blair raised an eyebrow, obviously waiting for further explanation. Shit, how could a man be intimidated by a single quirk of an eyebrow? Granted, it was attached to his undeniably beautiful partner, but-wait a minute! Did I just call Blair beautiful?
Blair grinned from ear to ear and Jim knew he was in deep trouble. "To my face, man. I had no idea you felt that way."
"Felt what way?" Jim inquired blankly, sure that he had just detoured into the Sandburg Zone.
"No, I don't know."
"Yeah, you do."
"I'm telling you I'm clueless here, Chief."
"You're telling me," Blair huffed.
When Blair started to get up, Jim could feel his resolve weakening. Grabbing the younger man's wrist, he said softly, "Please don't go."
"Give me a good reason to stay, Jim."
"Can't you think of one yourself?"
"Sure I can. But," Blair continued in a tone that was laced with melancholy, "why I want to stay and why you want me to stay are probably two different things."
"Why do you say that?"
"Oh, come on, Jim. You know, sometimes I think I might as well be talking to the wall. I'd probably get better answers."
"Nice try, Sandburg, but you didn't answer my question either," Jim said triumphantly.
"Guess you win." Blair tossed the magazine aside and stood up. "I'm going to take a shower, then head on to bed."
Jim stared at his partner. "You don't want to stay up and watch the game with me?"
Blair shook his head. Immediately Jim was transported by the sight of his unruly curls bouncing back and forth, the rhythm somehow hypnotic. He knew he was dangerously close to zoning, but he couldn't look away.
Recognizing an imminent zone-out, Blair touched Jim's cheek with the palm of his hand, his long, sturdy fingers absently stroking the bare skin there. "Jim? Jim...don't do this, man. It's no big deal. I'm just tired, that's all. I'm not mad at you. I'm not...anything," Blair's voice, normally firm and quietly confident, faltered, then trailed off.
Coming to with a visible start, Jim's expression suddenly softened as he continued to gaze at the young anthropologist. "Oh, no, you're definitely something, Chief." Jim's voice was an audible caress to Blair's frayed sensibilities.
"Go take your shower. Then come back here. I'll help you comb out your hair."
Blair's blue eyes widened. That was an intimate task he reserved for himself and, in the past, an occasional lover. It was also astonishingly un-Jim-like. "You will?" he asked, seeking confirmation.
"Uh huh. You look like you need to relax, Chief. You let me do all the work for once."
Blair decided not to mention that the idea of Jim working his fingers through his hair was hardly relaxing. In fact, it was, well, erotic. If Jim thought that stroking and petting him was going to put him to sleep, he was sadly mistaken.
Blair worried his lower lip, unaware that the restless motion caught Jim's attention. If he had seen the uncontrolled heat that leapt into Jim's lambent blue eyes, Blair's fear of venturing into uncharted territory alone would have been assuaged.
Blair made it as far as the bathroom door before Jim called out to him. Glancing shyly over his shoulder, Blair had no idea that he was under renewed romantic scrutiny. The older man affected a casual stance, one hip higher than the other, his jeans drawn more tightly across his groin. "You never did tell me what the surprise was, Chief."
An unabashed grin pulled at Blair's mouth. "That's why it's called a surprise, Jim."
"So you're not going to tell me?"
"In due time, Jim. In due time."
Jim nodded, apparently unconcerned. But his Black Ops-trained mind, honed by years of experience in stealth and covert missions, was already miles away. What if I just take a peek inside that magazine while you're in the shower, Blair? Will I be furious and amazed? Or will I be helplessly hoping and aroused?
All in due time, indeed.
Jim lay back on the couch and closed his eyes, letting his mind roam freely, filling in the blanks as he listened to Blair shower. The wet slap of a hand against bare skin, Jim could only guess where, provoked such a wave of longing that he sighed loudly. All right already, he told the suddenly rambunctious nerve endings in his groin, I admit it, I want Sandburg. Adjusting himself surreptitiously, though there was no need to, Jim resisted the siren call to fantasize about his partner. If there was any justice left in the world, he would get to experience the real Blair Sandburg up close and personal in just a few more minutes.
A drop of cold water trickled down Jim's arm, startling him awake. He opened his eyes slowly, only to find that Blair was leaning over the couch, his wet curls disarmingly tangled around his face. "Jim? That offer still good?"
"Sure, Chief." Okay, when had his voice suddenly grown so husky?
Jim sat up and waited for Blair to come around the couch. To his amazement, Blair didn't move at all. Jim cocked his head and studied his partner. If he didn't know better, and if he wasn't absolutely sure that he was the Sentinel and Blair was the Guide, he would think that Blair was zoning.
But that didn't make any sense. He'd have to be intensely focused on something, and frankly, Jim couldn't think of a Goddamned thing that interesting. Except...
...well, there was him. Jim.
But that would mean that-
Oh, Chief. If this is a dream, and you never really woke me up, don't. Cause I like it here.
Using Blair's state of non-awareness to unfair advantage, Jim turned his face up, as if expecting a kiss. Another droplet fell, landing just below Jim's right eye. His skin sizzled where it lay, his sense of touch so high, Jim could feel it grow warm, sending its wet heat out along his nerve endings like so much sleepy fire.
"Blair..." he whispered, his voice a shiver that crept gently into Blair's subconscious.
Blair's eyelids fluttered, then stayed open, his smoky blue eyes impossibly dark now, as his pupils fully dilated. "Jim?" he asked, as though he didn't quite recognize the man on the couch.
"C'mere," Jim softly entreated.
Like someone spellbound, Blair slowly moved in Jim's direction until he was hovering above Jim's lap. Jim mentally chastised himself for thinking with his dick and spread his legs, creating a space for Blair to sit, his back to Jim's chest. Pulling the sodden strands through his fingers, Jim asked, "Did you bring the conditioner?"
Blair visibly started at the sound of Jim's voice so close to his ear. "How do you know that I didn't already do it?"
Jim gathered Blair's thick curls in his hands and pulled them off his neck, exposing one of the most kissable napes he'd ever seen. "I didn't smell jasmine...and green tea...and chamomile," Jim said, each pause punctuated by a small puff of breath to Blair's bare skin.
Blair bit his lip to keep from crying out at the sensation. Jim's lips were almost touching him. Oh, please, he prayed, just a tiny bit closer.
He handed the conditioner and a wide-toothed comb to Jim with trembling hands, hoping that Jim would be too preoccupied with smell to notice the fine vibrations running through his Guide's body.
Jim poured a quarter-sized dollop of conditioner into his hands and started to rub it into Blair's scalp. If Blair hadn't been teetering on the edge of coming from the feel of Jim's hands on him, he would have relaxed and fallen asleep. But there was no way he could do anything but sit up, pay attention, and pray.
The gentle tugging of his hair continued until Jim had worked all of the conditioner into it. With a finesse Blair never would have attributed to Jim before, Jim deftly separated Blair's curls, taking great care to detangle the mane he secretly coveted.
When he was done, he grieved the loss of all that silky hair flowing through his fingers. By Blair's uncharacteristic silence, Jim assumed that the younger man had fallen asleep. Much to his surprise, however, Blair was not only awake, but impatiently twisting his body to face him.
"That was...amazing, man," Blair said in an awestruck tone he usually reserved for rare anthropological artifacts.
Jim braced his hands on his partner's shoulders, unaware that they then slipped down his arms, seemingly of their own volition, caressing and gently massaging. "You're amazing, Chief."
"Me? What'd I do, Jim?" Blair asked, sure that Jim would make a wisecrack of some kind, lightening the unspoken tension between them. That's one thing Jim could be depended on to do, bring things back to normal.
"You know what I want, but you give me what I need," Jim said in a hushed whisper.
Figuring he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't, Blair decided to go to Hell in a fast car. "What do you need from me now, Jim?" he inquired, his full, sensual lips parting as if they were contemplating which part of Jim to kiss first.
Jim began to smile. "For once, what I want and what I need are the same thing, Chief. And you know what? You're still the only one who can give it to me."
"What is it, Jim?"
They moved towards one another with a certain inevitability, their lips meeting for the first time in a kiss that bespoke the love and affection that had been the hallmark of their relationship from the very beginning.
They were best friends, destined to be lovers, each one in his own way charged with the protection of the other.
They were lovers, destined to be the one who came to stay for a week and stayed and the one who watched over all of Blair's hair and fingers and toes.
"I love you, Chief."
"I know, Jim."
"You know how insecure I am. Could you whisper the words to me just once like you really mean it?"
Blair smiled, his eyes crinkling at the corners, which made Jim want to kiss him all the more. "I love you, Jim," he said quite plainly, not in a whisper at all.
He really meant it.
"By the way, Blair," Jim murmured against his lover's cheek. "What was in that magazine that made you laugh? You never did tell me the surprise."
"Someone played a practical joke on me, Jim. I thought it was you."
"Me? No." Jim shook his head. "I don't have the reflexes anymore for all that gameplaying, Chief."
"Someone cut out the head on this big, buff guy and replaced it with a pic of you."
"Oh?" Jim frowned. "How come that made you laugh, Chief? What was this godlike being doing exactly?"
Blair whispered something in Jim's ear and Jim started to chuckle. "Well, now, it's been a while, but I do take requests."
Tell Silk how you liked it!
Back to Story Index