Laying It On The Line by Bumpkin and Karieauthoress

Laying It On The Line - Marns AKA Bumpkin and Karieauthoress

Note: Jim’s thoughts and words are written by Karie, Blair’s thoughts and words are written by Marns.

"You're 26 and single, I'm 36 and divorced, what are we doing wrong?"

"Wrong? Who said that my being single was wrong?" Blair looked up from what he was working on to look over at Jim questioningly. "I mean I get that you might feel that you have messed up somewhere with the whole divorce thing since y'know, marriage is supposed to really be a commitment for life and all, but why would you think that my unattached state would be considered something undesirable? Or not of my own choice for that matter?"

"What if one day you look up and decide 'Hey, I think I'd like to settle down and have kids.' But you've hopped so many beds that no lady will have you for it?" Jim walked over and snagged a beer from the fridge, popped the top and took a swig before continuing. "Yeah I know, you're still young, long life ahead of you and all that. I'm not looking to settle down either, I've done that and it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. But I'm pretty hard to live with anyway, you've seen that."

"Hmm." Blair started to organize his papers and put them away. This, it seemed, wasn't going to be a short conversation. It didn't take him too long before he was finished putting his things away, mostly neatly, and he was wandering over to claim a beer for himself before settling in beside Jim. He opened his beer and took a drink of it before he finally answered in a level, calm voice. "Well, let me address your points in order, but then I think we should break them down a bit and maybe go back and address what and why you brought this up in the first place, man."

"First, kids - to tell you the truth, they aren't something I have ever wanted. I wouldn't have the first clue in how to parent anyone! The practicalities of the very idea are alien to me with how I was raised by Naomi, because much as I go on about how my childhood with Naomi was fine and I survived just fine, I don't think that would have been the case if I hadn't been a genius." Blair fell silent after revealing the last bit, the connotations had been rather clear. Dark, but clear.

He took a drink from his beer regaining his calm before he continued, "And as for the second thing, the bed-hopping that you seem to think is an issue, it's not. Not in this day and age, not in my generation. As long as you are clear of illness and you use protection, there is no stigma associated with sex anymore - not when it's voluntary on both sides." Grinning Blair raised his beer and said, "Vive la Sexual Revolution!"

Jim stood against the kitchen counter, beer in hand and friend by his side. He thought about Blair's words and the emotions that sat behind them. "I keep waiting for you to get tired of hanging out with me. You mentioned your mother and her parenting techniques, but you fail to mention her wandering ways. I wonder some days that you might be waiting for that moment when you can't stand to live in one place anymore."

He stepped away from the counter, beer left behind for a moment, and threw his arms wide. "It's not like I have a lot to offer you in terms of a stable home life. But maybe you don't want that after all."

He caught sight of the frown Blair shot his direction and changed gears. "I'm not looking for you to go anywhere, Chief. I like having you here. But I look around this place and think, If it weren't for Blair, this would be nothing but white paint on the walls and bare wood floors. I'm glad you are here, but how long will you want to stay just like this?"

Blair stared at Jim blankly for a moment and then laughed a bit darkly. "Jim, I don't think you understood what I was saying when I mentioned surviving my childhood with Naomi only because of being a genius. Frankly, it was like living a mixed bag of wonder, terror, fun, and over all – a never-ending run of sheer mind boggling insanity that didn't end until I escaped to Rainier at the tender age of fifteen."

Blair shook his head as Jim looked at him with an uncomprehending expression on his face and said, "Alright, to give you an idea of what I was feeling when I got to Rainier after living with Naomi my whole life - you know how most people are overwhelmed when they get to University, right? Well to me, even at fifteen and having to cope with a learning environment I'd never before dealt with, it was an oasis of peace." Blair snorted, "It really pissed off some of my peers how well I dealt with it all actually."

Thoughtfully staring ahead, Blair took another drink from his beer. "In fact," he started to say slowly. "I was almost starting to get bored until I met you. Bored and restless. I'd been an ABD for so long that I was beginning to think of chucking my topic, taking a break and finding something new to focus on."

Turning to Jim and smiling brightly Blair said, "Except I got that fax, met you, and you know what happened from there. I started to split my time between Rainier, our work, and the Station. Bonus, I even got a sweet place to live with a great roomie. As far as I am concerned, I'm set. Everything I could possibly want to keep me entertained, busy, intellectually stimulated and living comfortable in one person." Blair stopped there and seemed to have a mini-debate with himself. Tilting his head as if he'd conceded to his invisible debate partner, he continued in a blithe tone, "Only thing missing is sex, and if you were interested in sharing that with me too, I wouldn't be opposed."

Jim felt the urge to swallow, hard. Sex? With Sandburg? Well he couldn't very well say the thought hadn't crossed his mind once or twice. But it had not gone beyond the thought of I wonder what Sandburg tastes like. After all, Jim had the senses thing going for him and the enticing scents and sounds of his friend had him curious.

But sex had never really occurred to him before. Sure, they had gone through the I'm bi, how about you? thing when they had first moved Blair into the loft. And Jim had admitted to the occasional tryst when he was in the military before he went to ranger school, but that was years ago and Jim didn't think it was like riding a bike where once you've done it you never forget.

What the fuck am I thinking? I'm not even his TYPE. Sandburg likes long legged brainy chicks, not washed up old cops with crew cuts and baggage. Jim shook off the mental images he had been entertaining and turned to address the offer left open by his roomie. "You wouldn't be opposed, neither would I. But we both know that I'm not what you usually look for in a bed partner. Although I do appreciate the boost to the ego you gave me there, Chief."

"It's not really an ego booster, Jim. I'm serious." Blair shifted so that he was facing Jim and his body language couldn't be misinterpreted. "You may not be what I would look for in a casual bed partner, but you are exactly what I would look for in a mate. I know that you want to know why now, why I would make this proposition now and well, it ties in with some of the things you mentioned earlier; you thinking that you are hard to live with, how I have a long life ahead of me, how you don't feel the home you offer me is stable or something precious in and of itself. All I can say to those is that you are so wrong." Jim snorted but didn't say anything.

Blair shook his head with Jim's pigheadedness but continued lightheartedly, "You are not hard to live with. Maybe a bit anal and quirky, but I am sure many others would say the same about me and the strange things I do if they have to share living space with me for any length of time."

This time Jim did chuckle and Blair knew it was because he was remembering the many things he had complained about over the years they had lived together. Again, Blair only continued with what he'd already planned on saying.

"The mere white painted walls and bare wooden floors you disparage are so much more when you consider that they are the longest I have lived anywhere. That they have held and sheltered us both for so long that they have ceased to be a place to live and have instead become home. And as for the long life ahead of me, having a long life is only good when the life is worth living."

Jim thought over what Blair was implying. A life worth living. That’s something that Blair had given him ever since they had met. The whirlwind that was Blair Sandburg had swept into his life when he needed him most and had changed it so much for the better. Now every day Jim woke up was better than the last and he had Blair to thank for that. The only thing that could make it better…

Meeting Blair’s eyes, he saw the play of emotions cross that expressive face. Everything about the man spoke of caring, understanding; and most of all desire. A lot of desire. Desire that Jim wanted badly to answer. And honestly, what was he waiting for? Blair was more than desirable and Jim himself appeared to be desired.

He didn’t let himself think about it any longer and reached out for Blair, wrapping him in his arms and staring into those blue, blue eyes. “So like I was saying Chief. You’re 26 and single, I’m 36 and divorced. We’ve seen both sides of the spectrum and know the troubles with that line of living apart, what are we doing wrong that we aren’t together? ”

Blair's eyes lit up at Jim's words and his mouth opened as he started to reply but before Blair could say anything else Jim leaned in and kissed him. Blair didn't fight him; he just melted into the kiss and let Jim know through it how happy he was with this development. Jim was pretty happy himself, his gamble had more than paid off and he had a feeling this was the start of a new chapter to his and Blair's lives.

-the beginning-

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