In the three years that I've known Blair Sandburg, I've learned a lot of things. I've learned how to control my senses. I've learned to live with a roommate-slash-partner that leaves a mess wherever he goes, be it wet towels in the bathroom or Rainier papers all over the living room, or God only knows what he might be growing in the fridge at any given time. I've learned that no matter how many so-called house rules I impart upon him, there is really no hope that he'll ever listen and follow them to the letter. Or even close to the letter.
I've learned that it's important to have friends; he's taught me to be more - socially amicable - towards my co-workers, and I've managed to forge friendships with people, through Blair, that might never have come about if I'd been left to my own devices. I mean, shit, come ON. I'd been the living embodiment of the very word 'loner' since way before my divorce - if I'm honest - and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, here comes this…this kid…and he'd wormed his way into my existence and managed to turn my life upside down from day one. Okay, so maybe he helped turn my life back upright, but still. The very idea that this one young man managed to insinuate himself into my mind, as well as into my entire life, has boggled me for some time. Three full years, actually.
It all became clear tonight, though. What a fucking epiphany; it slammed into me like a freight train once the realization dawned, and it was unmistakable in its force. The very force that hit me three years ago when that hippie-wannabe Anthropology graduate student managed to keep us both from being run over by a garbage truck in front of Rainier. From the first touch of his hands on my shoulders, I knew that I was hooked. I'd never felt anything for any man before in my entire 34 years of existence. But when Blair knocked me to the ground and put his hand on the back of my head and pushed it down so that it wasn't ripped off by that truck, I knew that my life had changed irrevocably.
Sure, I've tried to fight it. In fact, I've treated him like a piece of shit for most of the duration of our so-called partnership, and I feel damn guilty for that now - especially as I sit here on the couch in the way-too empty and quiet loft by myself. Alone, as I had spent so much of my time pre-Sandburg. These days, I can't picture myself without him by my side. He grounds me. He makes sense of these fucking Sentinel impulses, and he keeps me sane. I can't believe I never saw it before tonight. I can't believe that after three fucking years, it's only taken three little words to make me see how much Blair Sandburg really means to me.
See, it's Friday night. And like so many other Friday nights since Sandburg overtook my life, I expected us to just hang out and watch a game on tv or something. But tonight, everything changed. It's all different now, and even though he just walked out twenty minutes ago, I'm lost without him already. Christ, I think to myself as I run my hands through closely shorn hair that recedes a bit more every week - no doubt a product of coexisting with Sandburg - when did this happen? Surely it wasn't just tonight. It couldn't be. I mean, all he said was…just three little words. But those words…I mean, it's been the two of us for so long now, and I guess I took it for granted that we'd always do everything together.
Yeah, we've both dated on and off since he moved in. We've both had our share of disastrous relationships in the past three years…but no matter how things turned out with the women, we've always been there for each other, ready to pat one another on the back and toss back a beer together. Last week, Maya destroyed Blair for the second and last time, and he's been keeping to himself ever since. There hasn't been any male-bonding going on; no high-fives, no shared stories of failed relationships - nothing. Nada. Just Blair coming home from campus or the station and retreating to his room without a word. He's not eating, he's not sleeping - yeah, I fucking monitor him at night - okay? He's my Guide, what am I supposed to do?
Anyway, tonight he came home and went into his room, as usual, and closed the doors. This time though, an hour later, he came out dressed in snugly fitting blue jeans and a black tee-shirt, the usual red and black flannel fitting loosely around his shoulders, auburn hair cascading down from his scalp, and he vaguely noted my interested look as he said three little words. "I'm going out."
"Uh, okay Chief," I said less-than intelligently, my mind screaming at me to do something - anything - to keep him here instead of running out to meet someone new to once again annihilate his feelings. "Have fun, Junior. I'll be waiting up for you," I told him jokingly, hoping that he'd notice the erstwhile tone of concern in my voice. Hell, he'd taught me that emotion; why didn't he catch it now, I wondered?
"I'm sure you will be, man," he responded - almost sadly - as he headed out the front door. He paused for a moment in the hallway once he'd locked the door behind him, his heartbeat accelerating a bit, and I wondered for a split second if maybe…just maybe…he was waiting for me to come after him. I actually stood up from my spot on the sofa, but a moment later he walked away towards the elevator, and I froze where I stood, a mere footstep away from the doorknob. I had had every intention of opening the door and calling him back, but no clue of what I might have said once I'd gotten him here. Yeah, okay, so in all honesty I knew what I wanted to say…but no idea how to put it into words. I guess I had more to learn from him after all.
I paced around the loft for about an hour, wondering miserably where in the hell Blair might have gone, wondering if he'd had a date or something. Wondering if he was out getting drunk and might need a ride home. Wondering if he'd somehow gotten ahold of Maya and was getting his heart ripped to shreds all over again.
I couldn't take it anymore. I ran upstairs to my room and changed my clothes; somehow, khaki dockers and a yuppie sweater just didn't seem right for me to go out after him in. Switching into my most comfortable denim and a black turtleneck, replete in black leather jacket, I headed out of the loft and down to the truck, listening intently for my roommate's heartbeat. Yeah, it's cheating because I'm a Sentinel; so fucking what?
It only took me about twenty minutes to filter out all the sounds of the city and focus on that sound; that steady, 'thump-whoosh-thump' that secretly lulled me to sleep most nights reverberating in my head, and leading me towards my Guide. I followed the sound, trying to mask my concern - and my frown - as the beat got faster; he must be dancing with someone. He must have seen someone that turned him on. It couldn't take him all that long to find a new woman to take Maya's place; for Christ's sake, Sandburg is a fucking God. All those thick, gorgeous curls. That full and always pouting lower lip. That little hint of chest hair coming up through the three shirts he always wears. That ass in those always more-than-a-little-snug jeans…Christ, why am I sweating?
Managed to get a grip on my raging libido long enough to finally track Sandburg the rest of the way to his final destination. I parked the Ford two blocks away and hopped out cautiously; this is not the best part of town, and surprised as I am to find Blair here, I'm also hopeful. Cascade has many seedy spots, and this is one of the seediest; worried as I am about Sandburg, I'm also not-so-secretly thrilled to find that he's come here.
See, I'm in the abandoned warehouse district. Home of underaged raves, S & M leather bars, and…and not-so-covert gay bars. This is where the most beautiful men in Cascade come to find the OTHER most beautiful men in Cascade. The fact that I've tracked Sandburg here is not lost on me. In fact, I find my own pulse racing a bit as I show my license and allow my hand to be stamped before entering Club Fuego. The Fire Club. Where all the finest flaming boys in Cascade can be found, on any given night of the week. Or weekend. And I can hear that familiar 'thump-whoosh-thump' calling to me. I wonder suddenly how Blair will react when he finds that I've tracked him here. More importantly, I wonder if he'll be flattered - or just plain pissed off.
As I walk slowly into the bar, I take in my surroundings; queens and guys that should be queens ordering drinks at the bar. Tight jeans and topless torsos decorate the dance floor, and I find myself apprehensive that Sandburg…my partner…is one of those men. Unable to locate him visually, I order a gin and tonic at the bar, wincing a bit as several different men pinch my ass while I wait to pay for my drink. Ignoring my many-dissed suitors, I delve further into the club, that 'thump-whoosh-thump' once again picking up in intensity as I search for my partner. My roommate. The man that has so innocently become my complete and entire other half.
Suddenly, reality hits me; what if he's pissed that I've come after him? What if he's repulsed to find out how I feel about him? Hell, I've only just tonight realized what he means to me; what if this isn't at all what he wants from me? What if he only wants to study me for his paper? And why, after three years, am I suddenly worried that he'll…that he'll just…dump me? Why did it never bother me before when he'd say he was going out? Shit. I'm losing my mind. I know that for an F-A-C-T. Lost in my thoughts and practically Zoned as I am, I don't even realize it when Blair Sandburg almost magically materializes in front of me, eyes quizzical - but accepting, I note - those beautiful full lips pulled up in an errant grin as he says, "Jim? What are you doing here, man?"
"Uh, hey Chief," I manage. Good one, Ellison; you are such the master of smoothness - NOT. "Just, you know, grabbing a drink and checking out the scene, y' know," I tell him as I reach out and shove his shoulder a bit in partnerly comraderie. 'Tres weak, Ellison' I mutter to myself as I watch my partner's face morph from almost comfortable to immediately doubtful. Dammit. He's onto me.
"Jim? How did you know I'd be here, man?" He pauses a moment, then nearly spills his drink all over himself in his excitement, "Oh my God. Jim…did you track me here? You did, didn't you? Shit, man, this is, like, so wayyy cool," he says as he bounces in front of me. I feel like the biggest moron in the universe. He's so excited about the fact that I've tracked him here, but he has no clue about why I bothered to do so. Or does he?
"Uh, yeah Sandburg. Way cool. Man," I finish sarcastically, noticing that he's ceased his bouncing and has resorted to studying my forced-to-emotionless face and strained features. I can practically see the recognition dawn on his face as he realizes that he is the reason that I'm here. Blair Jacob Sandburg is a student of life, and he knows when he's been duped. In fact, he refuses to ever BE duped on account of that very fact.
So it's the same moment that he sees my way-guilty expression and pieces together the fact that I've managed to track him all the way here out of…duty-induced partnership…when he decides to play dumb. Just to make me happy. I swear to God and all that is holy, I've never felt this way about another human being, and I'm sure I never will again as I drop down onto a red velvet sofa that is conveniently resting behind my knees, gasping as Blair plops down next to me. He's taught me so much these past three years, I remember staunchly as I look into his dark blue eyes, that lapis gaze burning into me with all the intensity of the sun on its brightest and longest day.
He sets his drink down on the floor at his feet, looking back up at me with the sweetest mix of innocence and devilishness crossing his features, those blue eyes never leaving mine. I toss back the rest of my Gin and Tonic and hold the glass in my hands, twisting it uselessly back and forth as I wait for him to speak. I know he will; it's what he does - and I'm not disappointed mere moments later when that silky voice emanates from the sexy figure beside me.
"Come on, Ellison. What gives?" He asks me, his blue eyes boring into my own like white-hot lasers; I can't lie to him. Not this time. Not now, and not ever again. I have no choice but to confess, and I nearly kick my own ass as I hear the words tumble from between my lips; never before in my existence have I felt the need to expel all of my innermost feelings and thoughts. Until now.
"Blair…I fucking love you, okay? There, I've said it," I tell him, my entire body shivering with the force of letting go of such repressed emotion and feeling, "I followed you here because I…I want you, Chief. And I don't want Maya or anyone else to ever hurt you again…and I'm so fucking glad that you've been with me all this time and you've never given up on me, not once…and you've helped me figure out who and what I am and you've stuck with me and…"
I didn't stop talking because I wanted to. I didn't stop revealing my innermost thoughts and delighting in my newfound revelation because the words refused to come to me. Nope, not on your life. I stopped making verbal contact because one Blair Jacob Sandburg…my partner…my roommate…my Guide…had begun kissing me.
He leaned towards me, closing those huge blue eyes that threatened to swallow me whole and instead devoured me with those lips. Those full lips that had been the epitome of my every fantasy since I'd first lain eyes on him in Cascade General three years ago, when he'd stumbled into my room and insisted that he could help me with my sensory problems.
I slid my hands into his hair; that thick mass of curls that had tantalized me for so long finally becoming mine, and I sighed into his now-opened mouth as he drank me in, and I took every nuance of him into myself. I let myself breathe in his scents; his aura; his very being, and before I realized it, we were wrapped around one another on the red velvet couch in the middle of the bar, oblivious to all the stares and sighs of contentment that emulated around us.
Finally coming back to reality some ten minutes later, both of our lips kiss-swollen and cheeks flushed in arousal, we found ourselves surrounded by a somewhat captivated audience, quiet applause greeting us as we separated from one another.
"Come on Chief, let's go home," I smiled at him as I stood and offered him my hand to help him up. I grinned at him as he took my hand and smiled back up at me, beaming with happiness as he allowed me to pull him up and to me in a loose embrace. We wrapped our arms around one another and met with one more chaste kiss before our audience dispelled, Blair wrapping his arm around mine before accompanying me out to the truck.
Once we reached the Ford at the curb, Sandburg pulled me bodily against him, wrapping his arms around my waist and looking up at me with such love and trust in his eyes that I found myself choking around a lump in my throat. "What is it, Blair?" I managed to grind out as I looked down at him with what I hoped was equal affection.
"The next time I tell you that I'm going out, will you just come with me?" he asked me, the moonlight gleaming in his azure gaze.
"Absolutely, Chief," I assured him, bending down to kiss him once more as I wrapped my hands in his hair and pulled him closer to me. I was certain that from now on, not only would I have complete and total control over my senses and the rest of my life - I would never be alone again - on a Friday night, or any other time.
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