Love at First Sniff by Kerensa

Love at First Sniff - Kerensa

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Notes: This is for Patt, who wanted a first time fic for her donation to the Moonridge Auction. Sentinels and Guides are known in this story; known and revered.

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The front door was trashed.

Decimated. Beyond all hope. Deader than a doornail. Can doornails be alive?

If he was going to be honest, which he was—most of the time, anyway—Blair Sandburg would have to admit that the door hadn’t been in the best of shape, even before someone apparently decided to run a tank into it. That’s what it looked like to the grad student, anyway.

There were gouges in the old wood and places where it looked like something had clawed at the panels. Large splinters stuck out, resembling nothing more than a piece of abstract art, not that Blair wanted anything like that on his front door.

“Or inside my place,” Blair muttered.

Blair cautiously pushed on the door to open it. He wasn’t entirely surprised when it fell over, but the sound of the big, heavy door crashing to the ground scared the crap out of him and made his already racing heart try to jump out of his chest. Again, not something he wanted to see anytime soon.

Looking around carefully, the anthropologist stepped over the fallen door and into the building. He stopped just inside and waited, listening to the noises to see if anything sounded out of place.

'Nope,' he thought to himself. 'Building creaking and settling and generally sounding like it's going to fall on my head any moment. Rats, and who knows what else, scurrying around, their feet making light clicking noises against the concrete.' Blair shuddered as he listened to just how many house guests he really had. 'All normal on the home front.'

Staying in the middle of the stairs, since that's where they seemed the sturdiest, Blair crept up to his main living area. He stopped and stared at the room in dismay.

Standing in the one spot, Blair could see most of the 'living area'. The warehouse that he rented consisted of 10,000 square feet, but Blair only utilized a fraction of it. It cost way too much to heat the little bit that he managed, let alone the whole place.

His couch had been shredded like the front door, making Blair wonder if a cougar had broken in and mauled things. The television set lay on its side on the floor; the screen had been broken in and bits of glass fanned out from its plastic carcass. What food he'd had was destroyed; bags torn open, cans crushed and the contents decorating his kitchen floor.

Blair looked at his food supply and groaned. He had just bought groceries and those few staples would have lasted him the better part of a month. As it was, Blair didn't have the money to replace them and he wasn't sure what he was going to do for food until his next stipend check rolled around.

"Oh, man," Sandburg said when he saw the space heaters that he owned and realized that they too were destroyed. "Crap! I can't stay warm sitting right in front of them, I'm gonna freeze my ass off with no heat."

The grad student ran a hand through his curly brown hair and sighed. This was beyond vandalism, he had to call the police. Blair snorted as he picked up the receiver.

"Figures, man." The phone was one of the few things that wasn't destroyed.

++++

Patrolman Denny Jarensen looked around the room, his lip curled and a sneer on his face. His attitude made it clear that he thought they—they being he and his partner, Kenny—were wasting their time. He turned back to look at the complainant and gave another sneer as he looked Blair up and down.

'Punk,' Jarensen decided internally. 'Probably a queer, too,' he pronounced seeing the earrings and longer hair that the student wore. Denny recognized, even if he would never admit it, that Blair was a good looking man. Being of only average, if that, looks, Jarensen automatically despised anyone who was better looking than he was. Considering his looks, that included a lot of people.

Jarensen crossed his arms over his chest and shifted so he was standing on one foot, his opposite hip cocked out. His belligerent stance was noticed by Blair and by Jarensen's partner. Blair glared at the patrolman in annoyance, Kenny Carson groaned, knowing that the other man was going to cause trouble.

"Soooo," Denny drawled out. "Just what do you do?" he eyed Blair up and down. "Sir," he added with a sneer. He twitched his head in order to flick a lock of hair out of his eyes. Denny thought it made him look cool. However, since his hair was lank and slightly greasy, it flopped back in his eye, making him look more like a street punk than Blair ever could.

"What do I do?" Blair asked incredulously. Sandburg crossed his arms, just like Jarensen had, but it looked different, possibly because the cop preferred tight shirts that only accentuated how skinny and underdeveloped his muscles really were. "Are you telling me that my job might be the reason someone trashed my place and stole my laptop?" The scientist's voice was dripping with disdain, as only a teacher who had heard all kinds of excuses can do.

"Uhm," Kenny cleared his throat. "Actually, sir, it just might, depending on the people you work with."

Blair started to protest and then actually thought about it for a moment. "I guess you're right." The anthropologist relaxed his defensive stance and looked at Carson; he ignored Jarensen as much as possible. "I'm a grad student at Rainier. I also teach several classes," he explained.

"I see." Kenny wrote the information down in a notebook; Denny hadn't bothered. "Can you think of any students who might have been dissatisfied with the grades they got?"

Blair snorted and shook his head. “There aren’t many students who are satisfied with their grades.” Blair sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I can't think of anybody specific though," he admitted.

"No one's threatened you lately?" the young police officer queried.

"No, it's the middle of the semester. No one's gotten a bad grade yet."

"What about 'extra credit'?" Jarensen asked snidely, emphasizing what he was saying and leaving no doubt as to what he meant.

"And what exactly does that mean?" Blair asked, eyes narrowed and hands on hips.

Before the obnoxious officer could answer, someone spoke up from the front door, or rather from the remains of the front door. "I'm sure he didn't mean anything, sir." All three men turned to look at the newcomer. The cop was a tall, good looking man with close cropped hair. His stance and hair indicated a former career in the military.

The two younger cops stiffened to attention, Blair just got hard. The older man was exactly his type, tall and buff.

"Isn't that right...," the older cop paused to read Denny's name off of his badge, "Officer Jarensen?"

"Yes, sir, Detective Ellison," Jarensen agreed readily. "My apologies, Mr. Sandburg, if I've offended you." The younger cop's eyes were darting around the room, as if looking for an escape route.

"No problem, man," Blair agreed, letting him off the hook. "People jump to conclusions about me all the time."

Officer Jarensen flushed in embarrassment; his partner just looked relieved, hoping that this incident would tame some of Denny's crappy attitude. Blair felt sorry for Carson, because he sincerely doubted that Ellison's dressing down would do any good. In fact, it might even make things worse.

"I'll finish taking Mr. ...."

"Sandburg," Kenny supplied helpfully.

Ellison nodded at the officer. "Mr. Sandburg's statement. Why don't you two canvas the neighborhood, see if anyone suspicious is hanging around."

"Uh, yes, sir." Neither officer looked happy at those orders, but they complied.

Blair gave a snort. "Something funny, Chief?"

The anthropologist smiled at the nickname. "All they'll find are suspicious characters," he said with a little laugh.

"I know," Jim admitted.

The two men turned to face one another and looked each other in the eye for the first time. Sapphire blue eyes met sky blue and the world around them stopped turning on its axis. Blair forgot to breathe. He wasn't even sure if his blood was circulating any more. One thing was for certain, though, his heart was going strong, because it was about to pound out of his chest.

Never before had Blair felt anything remotely like this. Don't get me wrong, he had been attracted to guys before; a lot of them! Women, too. But this feeling was so intense that the anthropologist literally didn't have eyes for anybody else.

'Is this what they call love at first sight?' he asked himself.

Blair didn't believe in love at first sight; he wasn't even sure if he believed in love at all. Naomi, Blair's mother, had claimed to love lots of different men during Blair's lifetime. She would declare her overwhelming, this is it, love for all times...and then a few months, or even weeks later, she would quickly and easily 'detach with love'. Blair had seen how devastated the men generally were and how easy it was for Naomi to dump them, so he had never let himself get that close to anyone, fearing being treated the same way. And also, deep inside his mind, Blair was worried that he would end up being just as callous as his mom sometimes was when leaving.

For his own part, Jim felt himself drowning in the blue ocean of the younger man's eyes. Drowning, and he was going down willingly, happily. Ellison also didn't believe in love at first sight. He had met his ex-wife, Carolyn, that way and look how that had turned out! But somehow this was different. Jim wasn't sure what exactly was different, but he knew deep in his gut that what he felt for this curly haired man made his feelings for his ex-wife pale to insignificance in comparison.

"Chief," he whispered, taking a step closer. His eyes dropped down and locked onto the full lips that he wanted to latch onto.

Feeling the pull of their attraction, Blair also closed the distance between the two of them. "Yes?"

Blair's question snapped Jim out of his self induced trance, luckily before he could grab the younger man. Not that the idea didn't have merit, but kissing the life out of him wasn't a good idea in the middle of a crime scene, especially when two uniforms might reappear in a few minutes.

"I-I need to take your statement." Ellison took a step back and pulled out his notebook and pen.

Sandburg blinked, stunned at the sudden change. "Okay, man," he agreed, trying not to sound too disappointed.

Jim cleared his throat, trying to cover up how out of sorts being around Sandburg made him. “Tell me what happened, from the beginning,” he requested.

++++

Ellison’s mouth was hanging open. He stared at the young, curly haired man in astonishment. The detective, armed and trained in hand to hand combat would have hesitated to walk across the parking lot, let alone enter a building that had so obviously been broken into, but that was exactly what Blair said that he’d done. Jim couldn’t decide if that made the younger man incredibly brave or stupidly foolish.

Eyeing the handsome man with the waving, talking hands, Jim decided that it was a combination of both. Even as he listened to Blair’s interesting, and rather lengthy, discourse, the ex-Ranger glanced around Sandburg’s living quarters—he refused to call this pit a home—uneasily. The young teacher had to have balls the size of Texas to live in this dump in the first place.

After Blair finished his statement, he stopped. Stopped talking, stopped pacing around, and stopped waving his arms in the air like an animated pinwheel. To his astonishment, Ellison found that his missed the animation.

Jim was amazed; he wasn’t ever drawn to someone this quickly, he just didn’t allow himself to be. To cover his dismay, Jim glanced around the rundown, run over, building with a jaundiced eye.

“So, to summarize,” he said, turning to face the younger man. “You don’t know who trashed your place or why.” Sandburg shrugged one shoulder in agreement. “Your front door has holes punched into it and is lying on the floor, to boot, making this not the safest environment. And, from what I can see, this place was none too secure to begin with.”

Blair ran a hand over his curly hair and blushed. “Pretty much, yeah.”

Ellison nodded decisively. “Grab your stuff, Chief,” Jim ordered. He picked up the backpack lying on the couch and began to stuff any and all papers and books he could see into it.

“I, what?” Blair asked, in understandable confusion. “What? Why am I… Wait a minute. Chief?”

Ellison looked up in time to see a smile flit across the grad student’s face. Jim could see how happy Sandburg was at the nickname and vowed to use it as often as possible.

Blair carefully picked up a box that had ‘artifacts, masks, etc.’ written on the side in black magic marker. Jim looked around for a suitcase or more boxes. He found a couple of duffle bags and began to stuff them full of clothes.

“Uhhh, why are we doing this, anyway?” Blair finally asked.

“It’s not safe for you here, Chief.” Again with the delighted grin, the one that made Jim’s heart sing and his jeans dance. “You’re coming home with me,” Ellison stated with a finality that made Blair hesitate to complain, but then again, this was Blair.

Blair’s eyes widened dramatically at the declaration. “Whoa! Your home?”

“No, the President’s,” Jim said sarcastically.

“And why would I do that?” Sandburg asked, although Jim was quick to note that he hadn’t put the box down yet.

“Even if we catch whoever did all this,” Ellison gestured to the mess, “you would still have no protection,” Jim waved a hand, “from the rest of the neighborhood.

Blair looked at the door, which was still lying on the floor, and winced. “True,” Sandburg admitted. “But,” he shrugged helplessly. Jim continued.

“Also, a) your place is a wreck, b) the neighborhood makes a war zone seem peaceful, and c) your front door is lying in pieces on the floor.” Ellison knew he was repeating himself, but really, the door was a mess.

Blair looked at the door, which wasn’t actually in pieces, but was awfully holey, and conceded that the detective had a point. He glanced around the living area and decided to get out while the getting was good.

“That way I can make sure you’re safe.”

“I…” Blair’s mouth opened and shut a few times, but no words came out. The detective ignored Blair and continued to pack the younger man’s things.

‘Not that there’s much to pack,’ the ex-Ranger thought. ‘I’ll have to change that,’ he thought happily to himself.

Unaware of the growing sense of propriety that the older man was starting to feel, Blair grabbed up another box and went to put them in his car. If the super independent grad student had realized what Ellison was thinking, he might have changed his mind.

Then again, maybe not.

++++

Blair relaxed back against the sofa. His eyes slid closed of their own accord, a silent testament to how strenuous the day had been and how comfortable he was here. Sandburg opened his eyes reluctantly and looked around the loft.

‘This is nice,’ he mused, his thoughts echoing what he’d said to Jim earlier.

While not nearly as big as the warehouse, Ellison’s apartment was also rat free and thankfully included an intact front door. Just little things like that helped Blair relax, that and no gunfire from outside.

Hands landing on his shoulders had Blair jumping, his eyes opening in fright. The view was worth the anxiety, though. Jim was wonderful to look at, even upside down. The detective began to massage Blair’s neck and shoulders.

“Oh, man, that feels good,” Blair said with a moan, letting his head falling back to lay on the couch.

Ellison bit back his own moan. The blissed out look on Blair’s face and those little, contented noises he was making in the back of his throat went straight to Jim’s dick and made it stand up to attention.

The Sentinel dialed up his sense of sight, touch and smell, all the better to revel in Blair with. The scent of the student filled his nose and lingered on the tip of his tongue, like an intoxicating wine. The smell of Blair, like cinnamon and oranges, swirled around the Sentinel’s head in a cloud. And the way he looked! Blair, up close and in minute detail, was even more mesmerizing than he was at a distance.

“Hey, man. Are you okay?”

Jim let his vision slide back down to a more normal level and saw that Blair was watching him with a worried expression on his mobile face. Ellison ran a finger over the slight pucker between Blair’s eyes and was pleased to see the frown level out.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Ellison cleared his throat, embarrassed at how thick his voice sounded.

“What happened, Jim?”

The detective reluctantly released the other man’s shoulders and moved around the couch to sit down beside him. He gave a small sigh and looked at the anthropologist out of the corner of his eye. This—explaining everything—generally went either one of two ways. The explainee was supportive, but distanced themselves quickly, or reacted with anger, and got the hell away even faster. Except for one or two atypical reactions, there wasn’t much middle ground. Simon, his friend and commanding officer, quickly sprang to mind. Jim glanced at his temporary—not if he had any say in it—housemate, wondering what the younger man was going to do.

“Have you ever heard of Sentinels?” Ellison asked tentatively, bracing himself for the negative response.

Blair’s eyebrows shot up and his mouth fell open comically. Then…he laughed, a sudden explosion of sound in the quiet of the loft.

Jim blinked. ‘That was unexpected,’ he thought.

“Have I heard of them?” Blair grinned. “Oh, man. I’ve been studying Sentinels since I was like seven years old.” The grad student shook his head. “Why do you…” He stopped and gave Jim a searching look. “No way!”

“Way,” Jim admitted.

Blair’s eyes sparkled like sapphires as he looked Ellison over closely. “That is so cool!” he enthused.

“It is?” To say that Jim was stunned was like saying that Madonna liked sex a little. In all of Jim’s 37 years, no one had ever been happy that he was a Sentinel.

“Oh yeah!” Blair sat forward on the couch and reached out a hand to touch the Sentinel’s knee. “To be able to see and hear the things the way you can. That must be so cool.”

Jim grinned; Blair’s enthusiasm was contagious. “It can be a pain in the ass sometimes.” He glanced down at the strong, warm hand touching his leg and smiled at the warmth he could feel spreading out to the rest of his body. “But yeah, it is nice.” Blair glanced down and blushed; touching Jim had been an unconscious act. Still. Blair peeked back up through the curtain of his hair and saw that the detective didn’t seem to mind.

“Yeah, really nice,” Blair admitted, licking his suddenly dry lips.

“More than nice.”

Sandburg gave a little gasp when Jim materialized on the sofa beside him. The Sentinel had moved so fast, or he’d been out of it, that it hadn’t seemed like Jim even moved. However it was done, Jim was sitting beside Blair; very close beside him, in fact.

“So you know all about Guides,” Jim stated, leaning in closer so that his breath ghosted over Blair’s face.

“Uh huh,” Blair agreed, closing his eyes to enjoy the closeness. “Wait.” His eyes flew back open. “Me?” he asked in a squeak.

Jim nodded. “That’s right, Chief. It didn’t dawn on me at first what I was sensing, but you are my Guide.” Ellison’s lips brushed against Blair’s neck.

Blair gasped, his head dizzy with all the new sensations. This was happening so fast! Just a few hours ago he’d been walking into his broken into, dump of an apartment, and now he was being—oh wow!—felt up by his own Sentinel.

Ellison leaned back and Blair mourned the loss of his lips. “We can slow down, if you want to,” the Sentinel offered. Blair realized that he must have said out loud what he’d been thinking.

“No!” he stated unequivocally. And, if that wasn’t enough for Jim to get the idea, Blair grabbed Ellison by the hips and jerked his body back down on top of Blair’s. The Sentinel grinned at Blair’s enthusiasm. “We can talk…later.”

Jim agreed. And they did talk.

Eventually.

The End.

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Acknowledgements: Betaed by Bobbie and art done by Patt.