"Seemed like every man Naomi met would fall in love with her."
"Come on, Jim. You'll love her."
"You know, Blair, Naomi's a very attractive woman."
Blair stood alone on the first floor of the loft, the darkness breached by a scattering of candles. He felt a fist squeeze his heart as he listened to the quiet murmur of voices upstairs.
All of a sudden unbidden memories flooded his mind and heart. Jim staring at his mother, his eyes tracing over Naomi's slender beauty. Jim kissing his mom, expressing his hope to see her again. Jim saving his kidnapped mother, his Sentinel senses cataloging her well being.
Blair stood there, his love for Jim screaming to be heard. His fear of losing Jim to his mother, suffocating his heart.
I'm his Guide.
He's my Sentinel.
I'm his friend.
He's my partner.
We belong to each other.
We need each other.
Blair shook his head, unshed tears faltering on his long lashes. Words struggled to escape, to be heard, to be acknowledged.
I love him.
I want him.
A feminine laugh followed by a husky male sigh stabbed Blair's heart with a pain that nearly stole his breath.
Blair flew up the stairs and felt his world crumble into pieces around his feet.
Jim. Naomi. Together.
A couple. Sharing memories.
On Jim's bed.
The bed where Blair wanted to be.
Wanted to be . . . with Jim.
The young anthropologist tried to smile, tried to join in the festive moment. Tried to be the friend, the son who was surrendering his dream to his mother.
Silently Blair watched Jim. Observed the way his friend smiled at his mother, touched his mother, listened to his mother. Each touch, each smile ripped away another piece of Blair's heart.
The food turned to ashes in his mouth, the drink souring on his tongue. He dropped the glass he held on the bed, the piece of meat slipping from his fingers to the floor.
"I can't . . . I can't do this."
Blair turned imploring eyes on his mother, wordlessly pleading for his love. A maternal smile misunderstood his request, turning instead to bestow its beauty on Jim.
His heart rebelled, determined to stake its claim.
"You can't have him. He's mine. MINE!"
Two pair of startled eyes turned on him. A confusion of blue examined Blair's face, searching for the answers to his outburst.
The anthropologist took a step back. Then another one. Soon Blair was crowding the wall near the stairs.
"I . . . I . . ."
Insecurities overwhelmed Blair, Jim's silence speaking louder than any words he could offer. He turned and almost fell down the stairs in his haste to escape.
Jim watched his partner run. He turned his gaze toward Naomi, seeking the answers her son had fled with.
"Naomi? What . . . ? Why?"
The redhead beauty smiled gently, her hand reaching out to touch the Sentinel's heart.
"Open your heart, Jim. The answers you seek are there. Have always been there."
The slender woman gathered up the dishes and stood up. "Listen to them; they will give you my son."
Jim sat on the side of the bed and opened up his senses, allowing his heightened hearing to track his partner.
The roof. Blair was on the roof.
The detective flew down the stairs, hesitating at the door. He looked over to where Naomi was putting away the food.
"Does he . . .?"
Naomi laughed, the lyrical sound easing the doubt in the Sentinel's heart.
"Do I really need to answer that?"
Jim offered his own laugh to the redhead. With a nod, he went out the door.
Blair stared into the darkness, wrapping the night around his wounded heart. His whispers barely broke the silence.
"Love . . ."
"I love him."
Blair looked up at the stars, waiting for the falling angel that would come and fulfill his wish. Closing his eyes, he uttered his prayer.
"Let him love me."
The silence answered back.
Blair turned around and found his body enfolded into an embrace that chased away his doubts. Jim held him close, tight, the man's fingers tangling in his long curls.
Blair buried his face in the softness of Jim's shirt, his hands scrambling over the detective's frame in an attempt to confirm the reality of his dream. The dark crimson fabric bore witness to his tears of joy. The young man pulled back slightly, his gaze searching the Sentinel's face for the truth.
Jim smiled, his fingers tracing Blair's features, his touch gossamer light on the young man's lips.
"I love you, Blair. There's never been anyone else. Never could be anyone else."
Blair cupped his hands around Jim's face. He pulled the older man's head down.
Hope shimmered in Blair's eyes and Jim saw it. He leaned forward, his gaze slipping from the endless depths of blue to the lips that parted in anticipation.
The Sentinel tenderly kissed his beloved Guide, breathing his words into Blair's open mouth, their warm promise declaring his love, securing their future.
"Always, Blair. Always."
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