Learning To Fly - VampyrAlex

PART 1

~~In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far, to change this lonely life
I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me
I'm gonna take a little time, a little time to look around me
I've got nowhere left to hide, it looks like love has finally found me~~

*****@*****

San Francisco, 1996

James Ellison looked out the window watching the heavy rain pouring down from the sky. He sighed wearily, his finger tracing a falling drop against the glass.

"Why Cascade?" he asked softly to the person behind him.

Stephen shrugged slightly. "Why not? We haven't been there in years, bro. It's our hometown, the place where we grew up. And we haven't been on vacation together since we were kids," he replied softly. "You can't go on like this, Jim. You don't go out anymore except to go to work. You spend most of your time locked in your room staring out the window... You have to start living again. Carolyn wouldn't want you to waste your life away."

Jim's heart contracted painfully in his chest at the reference of his dead wife. It seemed like only yesterday since she and their unborn child had died in that damned car accident, but in reality, three years had gone by. Three long years in which life stopped having interest; in which nothing mattered except his pain.

Stephen moved closer, resting his hand on his brother's shoulder. "There are other cops in Frisco, Jim. Let them take care of the bad guys for a change. Matt can keep an eye on things at the race track for me while we're away. Come on vacation with me... please, bro?"

Jim looked at his younger brother and tried to smile in spite of the pain inside him. "Okay, Stephen. I'll go back to Cascade with you."

*****@*****

Cascade, a few days later

Blair watched the group of people settling down in their seats and smiled brightly. "Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to Cascade Tours. My name's Blair Sandburg and I'll be your guide for today. We will be traveling through some of the most beautiful and picturesque sights in Cascade, Washington. I hope you have a pleasant visit."

His eyes fell on the soulful face of a man looking blankly through the window. From what Blair could see he was a tall man, possessing a powerful body, muscled and with broad shoulders. His clear blue eyes seemed to see right through you, and his chiseled features and set jaw combined, gave his face a strong and beautiful look. Blair was no stranger to the male sensuality but it had been a while since he'd seen such an amazing specimen.

He checked the passenger list and found the man's name was James Ellison, and that he was traveling with Stephen Ellison, probably his brother. It was against his better judgment to get involved with the tourists but he couldn't help the wishful thinking. Ellison was definitely the type of man he would have liked to get to know better.

During the tour, they stopped several times to visit some museum, park or other tourist attraction, and Blair couldn't help watching Ellison closely. The sadness surrounding the man was so strong it was almost a living thing. Somehow, the sadness he saw in Jim drew him in. Maybe someone had broken his heart just like Sam had broken his.

Sam had finally left him after two years of sharing their lives, their hopes and their dreams, and he was feeling terribly lonely. Truthfully, their relationship had been doomed for a long time, they were too different, and soon after they got together the fighting had started. It was a blessing that they never got married like they'd planned in the beginning.

But after two years of living with someone, he was feeling the loneliness and emptiness of his life with a vengeance. Maybe that was the same kind of pain Ellison was feeling, maybe in a way they were kindred spirits. Blair couldn't help thinking he wished he could find out.

*****@*****

After the tour ended Stephen dragged his brother around Cascade, taking him to the places they used to hang around while growing up. They even visited the house where they'd lived as children, but there was no one there. Stephen wasn't quite sure if he was disappointed or ecstatic about his father not being home. Things between them were difficult. William Ellison was a hard man to get to know and neither of the brothers had seen their father in over ten years.

They were walking back to their hotel when a voice called out to them. Both Stephen and Jim turned to see the tour guide, Blair Sandburg, run towards them with a camera in hand.

Stephen tried to stifle a smile. His plan was beginning to take form. As soon as he'd boarded the tour bus he'd noticed the young tour guide and how handsome he was. Beautiful face, with long auburn curly hair, huge ocean blue eyes and a nice sturdy body to match. Knowing about Jim's bisexuality and noticing the glances Sandburg kept throwing his brother, Stephen decided to do a little matchmaking. He'd left his camera on the bus and prayed the right person came to return it. Apparently, his prayers had been answered.

"My camera!" he exclaimed, hoping to sound convincing. "Thank you, Mr. Sandburg. I keep forgetting it everywhere. It's a miracle I haven't lost it yet!" he chuckled slightly, ignoring Jim's confused frown.

"Blair, please. And it's no problem," the young man replied, returning his smile. "I spotted it in your seat when I was leaving the bus and decided to bring it myself."

"Well, thanks anyway. May I be so bold as to ask what you're going to do tonight?"

Blair blinked, clearly surprised at the question. "Uh... Well, I'm a little tired, so I was going to go home and make some dinner," he answered, softly.

Stephen raised an eyebrow, knowing he was grinning like a moron, but not caring in the least. "What? No way, Blair! What do you say if I take you both out for dinner? It's the least I can do after you so kindly returned my camera!" When Blair remained silent, he pressured. "Well?"

"Uh... I... um... sure..." Blair stammered, obviously not expecting being steam-rolled into having dinner with the two brothers.

Stephen slapped him affectionately on the back. "Great! That's settled then. I'll just go up to the room and get a coat, then we can go. Jim, you want anything?"

"Um, no," Jim replied, looking a little shell-shocked himself.

"Okay, be back in a minute then," Stephen told them, running to the elevator.

He pressed the button for their floor, but instead of going to their room, just stood in the corridor. When he thought enough time had gone by, he went back down and met with the others, with what he hoped was a regretfully enough expression.

"I'm sorry, guys. I won't be able to have dinner with you after all. I just got a call from my assistant, Matt, he's having some problems at work and I'll have to help him through. I'm supposed to call him in ten minutes so we can start," he turned to Jim, "but Jim can go with you, Blair. Can't you, bro?"

Jim sighed and gave his brother a murderous look. He should've seen that coming. Stephen knew he wouldn't be immune to the charm of a good looking and seemingly intelligent man like Blair, but to just throw him like that at the other man... His little brother could be really pushy sometimes. They were definitely going to have a long talk. Later.

"Sure, why not?" he replied, giving Blair a small, but genuine smile.

"Have fun!" Stephen grinned inanely as he watched the two men leaving the hotel.

As soon as they were out of sight he went to the bar and asked for a drink. He felt too energized to go to his room and he wasn't all that tired. Actually, he was feeling quite pleased with himself. And it wasn't like Matt was really waiting for his call, he thought with a rueful smile.

*****@*****

Jim looked around the 'La Cueva', the Peruvian restaurant Blair'd brought them to. He hadn't been able to remember any good restaurants, so he'd let the younger man choose.

"Why a Peruvian restaurant?" he asked curious, as they were shown to a table.

Blair smiled brightly. "I was in Peru a few years ago. I love the South American culture, so when I finished college I decided to go there and just traveled aimlessly for a while. I lived with a few tribes, made a few friends, then got homesick and came back," he grinned. "Their food was one of my favorite things. Some of the more spicy stuff can give you indigestion, but if you know what to pick..."

Jim smiled back. "So, what made you decide to become a tour guide?"

"Well, I really enjoy connecting with different people, different cultures. This was as close as I could get without having to travel the world. Plus, as anyone who knows me would tell you, I love to talk," he grinned impishly. "Give me a small group of people and I'll talk their ears off for days if they'll let me. Anyway, what about you? What do you do?"

"I'm a cop in San Francisco," Jim replied, half expecting the young man to grimace or make some kind of remark. Nowadays 'cop' seemed almost like a dirty word. You confessed to be one and people immediately looked down on you.

But Blair merely gave him a inquisitive look. "Really? What's it like being a cop?"

"It has its ups and downs. Mostly downs these days, it seems," Jim replied, feeling a thread of his depressive mood returning.

As if sensing the dark cloud hovering over them, Blair turned suddenly serious eyes on him. "How about you telling me some of those ups?"

Jim chuckled, and shook his head ruefully. "Oh, there's been a few. Um, let's see... I remember this woman who called us with a complaint that she had been burnt in a drug deal. She claimed that a man had sold her a rock of crack cocaine but when she brought it home, it looked like baking powder. We tested the rock and verified that despite its appearance, it really was cocaine. Obviously, the woman was arrested for drug possession," he grinned as Blair began to laugh.

"I can't believe she actually called you guys and complained about the drugs she bought! How stupid can you get? Got anymore like that?"

"When I was a rookie detective, I was partnered with this guy called Jack Pendergrast. We caught this thief once and no matter how hard we worked on him, the guy refused to name his accomplices and where they kept their stash. So my partner decided to trick the moron. He placed a metal colander on the guy's head and connected it with wires to a photocopy machine. He then placed the message 'HE'S LYING' in the copier and pressed the copy button each time he thought the thief was lying to us."

"You're kidding!" Blair challenged incredulous.

"Nope," Jim grinned. "And believe it or not, the guy believed that contraption was a lie detector and confessed to everything we wanted and more!"

They laughed softly for a while before a comfortable silence settled over them. "So, you have anyone in your life at the moment? Romantically speaking, I mean?" Blair asked suddenly.

Jim took a deep shuddering breath. "Um... Not anymore, no. My wife... she died three years ago in a car accident. It's really weird how life works, you know? One minute you're a happily married man, soon to be a father, and all of a sudden... your life just blows up in your face."

"I'm sorry," Blair grimaced. "Open mouth, insert foot."

Jim shook his head and tried his best to smile. "It's okay, you couldn't have known. What about you? Married? Single? Single but spoken for...?"

"I was together with someone for a couple of years but she left me some months ago. Said she wanted her freedom back and I was in the way," Blair shrugged. "So I let her go."

"Sorry to hear it."

"Like you said, it's okay. It's time to look to the future and make a new start," Blair stated with a smile, his dark blue eyes locking with Jim's for a long moment before looking away.

They left the restaurant not long after that and Jim took the young man to a quiet bar for a late drink. They spent a lot of time talking about themselves, what they liked and didn't like, finding they had more in common than they thought at first.

Both were surprised with the feeling of familiarity they felt towards each other, like they knew each other for years and not only a day. For the first time in years, Jim let himself relax and just enjoy being in someone else's company. A man that seemed to have seen his fair share of the ugliness in the world, and yet, had retained his humanity and his zest for life.

*****@*****

It was close to three in the morning when Jim walked silently into their hotel room, not wanting to wake his brother up. His efforts were in vain though, because as soon as he sat on his bed, Stephen turned on the light.

"So, how was dinner?" he asked with a smirk.

"You're terrible, Stephen, you know that?" Jim grinned at his imp of a brother, then let out a deep breath. "It was... nice. I... he's a good man. I won't bother denying that I feel attracted to him."

"You're saying that like it's a bad thing, bro."

"It is. You know I'm bi, being with another man wouldn't be a problem. But... Stephen, you know I'm not a one-night stand kind of guy. For me it has to mean something, I'm too old to fuck around. I don't know if I'm ready to face it all again; dating, getting to know the person, getting involved. Besides, we're here on vacation, not permanently. My life, my work, everything that means anything to me now is back in Frisco."

Stephen shook his head at his brother. "Jim, you're making a big deal out of nothing. I'm not saying you have to marry the guy! I'm just saying it's time you started to enjoy life, to take chances. I saw the way Blair was looking at you the whole day, bro, and I can see you like him as well. Take the chance, you're too young to just let yourself die like you've been doing. You both feel the attraction so go with it. Don't expect too much and don't expect too little, but enjoy what you can with Blair whatever the outcome might be. If you don't, you'll spend the rest of your life asking yourself 'what if'. Get what you can out of life, man."

Jim threw him a mock-glare. "What is that? Stephen Ellison's life philosophy?"

"Definitely! I should write a book; I'd make a fortune. And so you know, it's never failed me before. Through all the good and bad times it's been worth it."

Jim nodded, then grinned ruefully. "I guess if you feel that way, you'll be pleased with what I'm about to say."

His brother just raised an eyebrow quizzically and waited.

"Tomorrow is Blair's day off so we're going out. He's showing me some of the sights the tour didn't include and also his favorite places in Cascade. Maybe it'll jog my memory and I can show him some of my old favorite places."

Stephen's wide grin was answer enough that he was happy with the news. He winked at his brother. "I want to know all the details afterwards..." he said with a smile, and Jim laughed.

"Stephen, you and I are definitely going to have a talk about your meddling in my life. Which reminds me, how's Matt?"

"Matt?" Stephen asked softly, feigning a completely unconvincing innocent look. "He's fine. Why?"

"Are you really trying to make me believe that you spent the night on the phone with him working? Or that the carelessly forgotten camera on the bus was an accident?"

Stephen sighed. "No," then he grinned. "But it worked, didn't it?"

Jim growled and threw him a pillow. "Go to sleep, Stephen!"

"Yes, sir! Going right to it, sir! In fact, I'm asleep already, sir!"

"Moron!"

*****@*****

The next week went by in a blur. The two men spent all of Blair's free time together, going out and just enjoying each other's company. Blair had taken the other man to the Grandview Zoo, the Chinese Gardens, to Chinatown and Little Havana, with a little stop in Little Russia for some traditional cuisine.

Jim was returning the favor, driving Blair's car through the Cascade forest roads, remembering past camping or fishing trips, both enjoying the conversation and the music coming from the radio. Suddenly, Jim's senses went on overload. One moment everything was normal, the next the radio was too loud, the light was too damn bright, the earthy smells were making him nauseous, and his clothes were too heavy and harsh on his skin. He managed to stop the vehicle at the side of the road before completely losing control.

Blair looked at him frantic, seeing the older man nearly collapsed in his seat. "Jim! Oh, My God! What's wrong?!"

The sound of the young man's frightened voice drove Jim's hands to his ears, trying to block the noise, his eyes squeezed shut against the light. "Please..." he pleaded in agony. "Help me, Blair... I can't..."

The young man didn't know what was going on or what he should do but something made him whisper back. "What's wrong with you?"

"E-everything is too high... the light, the sounds..."

Blair blinked stunned. It couldn't be. What Jim was describing... Feeling his heart about to explode in his chest, he forced himself to calm down and think about what to do for a few minutes. He wanted desperately to reach out to the other man but was unwilling to cause any more pain. All of a sudden an idea came to him.

"Got it!" he exclaimed loudly, making Jim moan. "Sorry," he whispered softly. "Jim, I want you to picture something that you can control.... picture a dial."

"A... dial?" Jim gasped.

"Yes, like in a radio or a television. Go with me on this. Picture a dial."

"G-got it," the older man stammered through gritted teeth.

"Okay. Now, underneath that dial is the word 'sound'. I want you to imagine yourself turning it down, sort of like the volume control on a television set. I'm going to start talking in a normal voice. I want you to turn the dial down until it sounds normal. Can you do that?" he asked, already with his usual voice tone.

"Yeah... I think it's working... keep talking..."

"Has this ever happened to you before?"

"Yes, before this vacation with Stephen... a surveillance job... stayed alone for almost two weeks in an isolated cabin in the woods. I thought it was my body just... reacting to its surroundings..." he let out a deep breath. "Sound is okay now."

"Good, let's go to another sense then. Picture the dial, this time with the word 'sight'. Do the same thing, turn it down until the light feels normal to your eyes."

During the next half an hour Blair helped Jim control his senses through the dials on each one. Finally exhausted, both fell back on their seats.

"God, I'm exhausted!" Jim huffed. "How did you know what to do?"

Blair shrugged. "Instinct, I think. Jim, you said this happened before. What happened exactly? Loud noises that shouldn't be loud? Smelling things that no one else could smell? Weird visuals? Taste buds off the map, right? A hyperactive tactile response?"

"A what?"

"Extra sensitive touchy-feely."

Jim flushed slightly, but nodded. "Yes. All that happened to me. What's wrong with me? And why is it happening?"

"Well, I think that for some reason your surveillance job as you called it, brought your senses online. Had this happened before the time at the cabin?"

"Yeah, when I was a kid. But I guess it went away after a while. What... I mean..."

"Jim, when I was in Peru, I stayed with a tribe called the Chopec. It was there that I first heard of Sentinels."

"Sentinels?" Jim interrupted, a confused look on his face.

"Yeah. The idea goes something like this -- in all tribal cultures every village had what was named a Sentinel, someone who patrolled the border."

"A scout."

"No, more like a watchman. This Sentinel would watch for approaching enemies, changes in the weather, movement of game. Tribe survival depended on it."

"Okay. But what's this got to do with me?"

"A Sentinel is chosen because of a genetic advantage. A sensory awareness that can be developed beyond normal humans. Now these senses are honed by solitary time spent in the wild. The Chopec had a Sentinel, Enqueri, and the tribe's Shaman, Incacha, was his Guide. Enqueri was just like you."

Jim stood silent for a long time. "Okay, let's say I buy this. Why is this coming back now?"

"I don't know exactly. But it was caused by the time you spent in that cabin alone."

The older man let out a deep breath. "This is too much information at a time. Can you drive us back to Cascade? I'm better, but I still don't trust myself behind the wheel."

He turned to the young man when he realized his senses were a bit high again and all focused on Blair. They seemed to be under control, but he could hear the young man's heartbeat, feel the heat coming from the lithe body or smell the wonderful scent that was unique to Blair. It was a little enervating.

Unaware of the inner turmoil going on within the man next to him, Blair looked into the clear eyes locked on his and nodded. "Sure, Jim."

Jim moved and Blair sat behind the wheel of his car. An hour later he was leaving Jim's hotel after making sure he was okay and going back to his loft to rest. He was beyond tired but feeling a new strength inside that made him feel wonderful. He was finally breaking through Jim's protective walls and now he would get to help him with his Sentinel abilities. Life couldn't get much better than that.

*****@*****

PART 2

~~I can't fight this feeling any longer.
And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow.
What started out as friendship,
Has grown stronger.
I only wish I had the strength to let it show.
I tell myself that I can't hold out forever.
I said there is no reason for my fear.
Cause I feel so secure when we're together.
You give my life direction,
You make everything so clear.
And I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
It's time to bring this ship into the shore,
And throw away the oars, forever~~

*****@*****

The next day Blair went back to Jim's hotel room to check on the older man. Jim smiled brightly when he saw the young man and let him in.

"Hey, Jim! How are you feeling?"

"Hey, Chief! I'm doing okay. You want a beer?"

"Sure. Where's Stephen?"

"Went to visit some old friends. Told me not to wait up for him, so I'm guessing he'll have dinner with them and then go out somewhere."

They sat on the couch sipping their beers. Jim turned to the other man and sighed softly. "I suppose there's no chance of getting rid of this thing, is there? My senses?"

Blair shook his head. "I haven't got a clue on how to turn them off, sorry. But maybe I can help you control them. I've been thinking about a number of tests we can do to help you. You game?" he asked, with a smile.

Jim couldn't help but smile back. "I'm game," he answered softly.

They spent most of the day doing tests and learning how to control Jim's senses. After a few hours he was able to dial them up and down easily or piggyback two at the same time to increase their use. Thanks to Blair's energy and sense of humor, they managed to have a fun time, and both were relaxed and content by the end of the day.

"God, and to think my brother had to drag me on this vacation!" Jim chuckled, shaking his head. "I've been having such a great time, and I found that no matter what, I still love Cascade."

Blair turned to him and smiled softly. "I hope you're loving me a bit too..."

Their eyes locked, clear blue on ocean blue, and Jim swallowed loudly. "Blair..."

Blair kissed him then, moist, warm lips capturing his and possessing him thoroughly. There was a faint moan from the mouth against his, then a pair of surprisingly strong arms wrapped around him and Jim was kissed like he'd never been kissed in his whole life. He tightened his own grip on the young man and pressed Blair closer to his body, unable to feel anything but the heat of the mouth on him.

When Blair reached for the buttons on his shirt and began unbuttoning them, Jim came back to his senses and grabbed hold of his hands, lacing their fingers together. "Chief, wait," he begged, breathlessly.

"What's wrong?" the young man looked up at him with a worried expression.

"There's nothing wrong. It's just that... I like you a lot, actually, I think I like you too much," he stated with a rueful grin and was pleased to see Blair grin back. "But this is all going too fast. We just met and I... uh, I wasn't expecting this, it took me by surprise. Would you be too upset if I asked you to slow down a bit?" he queried, almost fearfully.

Blair shook his head and smiled gently. "No, you're right, Jim," he sighed. "I just got a little overwhelmed for a moment. It's been a long time since I felt such a connection with anyone, if ever. I certainly never felt anything like this with Sam or any of the people I dated before. We'll take it as slow as you want Jim. I promise."

"Thanks, Blair," Jim smiled gratefully, then grinned mischievously. "Can we cuddle for a while?"

Blair chortled, "Sure, Jim."

Jim gathered the young man in his arms and they snuggled together in one of the twin beds, enjoying each other's warmth and looking at the world outside through the window of the hotel room. They stayed that way for a long time, hands caressing lazily, both lost in thought. Finally, after a while, Blair couldn't take it anymore.

"Penny for your thoughts."

Jim chuckled softly. "They're not worth it, Chief. I was just thinking about life. In less than a month I'll have to be back to Frisco, get on with my life. I don't want..."

Blair's fingers on his lips stopped him. "Shhh... It's okay, Jim. I know. I don't want you to go either. Let's not think about it for now. Let's just think we have three long, infinite weeks, ahead of us. Let's make the best of it. Live each day at a time."

*****@*****

During the next three weeks, they spent every waking moment together, getting to know each other better, learning each other's secrets, falling in love with the other.

Blair had never felt like this before, not even with Sam. He felt ecstatic, nearly drunk on love. Jim made him feel loved, safe, so very happy, so alive... He couldn't stand the thought of losing him, but denied himself the need to ask the older man to stay. It was Jim's life and Jim's decision and he wasn't going to influence him, no matter how hard he wanted to.

Jim, on the other hand, had found in Blair the perfect mate. Someone to love, to share his life, his dreams, to be by his side through the good and bad times. It was as if the accident in which Carolyn died had broken his wings and now he was learning to fly again. And all he could think of was soaring in the skies with Blair by his side. But... would he be able to?

*****@*****

It was their last night together. They enjoyed a nice, romantic dinner at Blair's loft and were on the balcony watching the darkness taking over Cascade. The young man felt all his resolve crumble to pieces and turned to the other man, grasping his arms tightly as he spoke.

"I promised myself I wasn't going to ask," he began, trying to keep the desperation out of his voice. "but... Jim stay with me in Cascade... please. I know every relationship has obstacles to overcome, especially if you're in a same sex couple. We'd have to face a lot of bull and I know you have a life back in San Francisco, but dammit... I love you!"

Jim's sorrow-filled eyes regarded him sadly. "And I love you, Chief. But like you said, I have a life back in Frisco. I have a job there, my brother, my friends..."

"And your memories," Blair finished, sounding defeated. "I can't fight against a dead woman, Jim. That's not fair. You're so afraid to let her go, to love again, of getting hurt again... I'm not saying our love will last forever. My mother always told me that in love never and forever don't exist. I don't believe that. I want to spend forever with you. I can't promise we'll be happy ever after but unless we try, we'll never know."

The other man shook his head. "It's not that easy, Chief. I'm sorry, I can't."

"And if I go with you?" Blair ventured hesitantly.

Jim looked the younger man in the eye. "You'd do that? Give up everything and go with me?"

"Yes, I would. Nothing means more to me than you, Jim."

"I don't want you to do that, Blair. This is where you live, work, where your whole life is. If you went with me, you might end up resenting me for making you give up everything. I wouldn't be able to live with that."

"But..."

"Blair, please..." Jim whispered softly.

He started to walk inside but Blair grabbed his wrist gently. "Wait. Please... stay the night. I just want to hold you one last time..."

They stayed in a loving embrace for a long time, both looking up at the stars and wishing they could stay that way forever.

*****@*****

Everything was packed and ready to go. Jim was looking out their hotel window while Stephen finished getting dressed. He was thinking about Blair and everything he'd said the night before. How the real reason why Jim wouldn't stay in Cascade was because he was afraid to let go of Carolyn, because he was too afraid of loving again, of hurting again. Blair was right, deep down he knew that. He really was afraid. What he didn't know was if he was strong enough to fight that fear.

"Bro, you done packing?" he heard is brother ask.

"Yeah," he replied flatly.

His heart began to beat painfully in his chest at the thought of having to leave Cascade, at the thought of having to leave Blair. Maybe he could fight the fear after all. He turned to his brother suddenly.

"Stephen... I'm not going back to Frisco. I'm staying in Cascade... with Blair."

"Finally!" Stephen exclaimed, then smiled and hugged Jim tightly. "Then go. Love makes the world go round, bro. Don't let it escape your grasp. Go to Blair and let him make an honest man out of you. It's about time," he grinned widely.

They stayed in each other's arms for a moment, then Jim left. No more running. Like Blair had said before, it was time to look to the future and make a new start... Together.

*****@*****

Blair was seated in front of the television watching mindlessly some old movie and feeling miserable. He'd tried calling the hotel in a last desperate attempt to change Jim's mind about staying or letting him go with him to San Francisco but he had checked-out already. Two minutes too late. The best thing in his life was gone for good.

A sudden knock on the door brought him back from his misery. He rose from the couch and opened the door, freezing at the sight before him. A pair of sky blue eyes laughed at him and a sexy purr queried softly, "You think there's room in there for one more?"

"Jim!"

Before he could utter another word, Jim hugged him tightly, spinning him around the living room, both laughing like lunatics. When he finally got too tired, Jim set Blair down gently.

"You're staying?" the young man asked, fearfully.

"I'm staying. You were right. I am afraid of getting hurt but with you I'm willing to take a chance. I have to. I love you, Chief."

"I love you too, Jim," Blair replied with a huge smile, pulling the older man to the stairs and into the bedroom. "Come on, let's begin our future together. I've been wanting to do this for a month," he grinned cheekily and Jim chuckled.

Once upstairs, they divested themselves of their clothes and tumbled back on the bed. Jim landed on top of the young man, moaning at the erotic slide of their naked bodies against each other, at the feel of Blair's legs wrapping around him, pulling him closer. They were both frantic, hands and mouths touching wherever they could reach, mapping new territory for safe keeping.

Jim felt Blair's hands slide down his back to his buttocks, squeezing his cheeks gently until he gasped, his hard cock throbbing between their bodies. His greater weight pressed Blair down on the bed, one thigh sliding between his partner's legs, but Blair didn't seem to mind judging by the needy moans and whimpers coming out of the arched throat.

He heard Blair groan out loud, lifting his hips to grind them into Jim's, spreading his legs wide in an invitation Jim couldn't refuse. The young man handed him a tube of KY taken from the nightstand and Jim began coating his erection thoroughly, then poured some more onto his fingers. Locking eyes with his lover, Jim began to caress Blair between his legs, fingers teasing the opening to the young man's body. He slipped a finger inside; Blair's ecstatic moan was the sexiest thing Jim had ever heard.

The older man shuddered as Blair moaned again as the second finger went in. Jim added the third finger, stretching his partner, arousing him and preparing him for the moment when they would be as one.

There was a little pain as Jim slid in, so he held still and waited until Blair had adjusted to being filled by his cock. He pushed a little deeper and Blair's hips bucked involuntarily letting him know he was ready. Jim took the hint and started fucking the other man for all he was worth, unable to hold back any longer, driving deep into him, pounding him into the bed with every thrust. Blair rose up to meet him, matching his need and his thrusts with equal force, his cries of pleasure echoing in the bedroom walls.

Finally, their pace was too much. Blair's body arched back and with a hoarse shout, he spent himself in a long, trembling orgasm, his seed covering both their stomachs and chests. His muscles clamped tight around Jim and after two hard thrusts the older man groaned and climaxed inside his lover.

When he had his breath back, Jim made as if to pull out but Blair stopped him, reaching out to catch his hand. "Don't... not yet..."

Jim nodded in understanding. It'd been too long since he'd felt so loved and he wanted to keep the connection between them for as long as possible as well.

*****@*****

EPILOGUE

Six months later

Blair left the Cascade Tours office feeling tired but happy. It had been a good day; lots of tourists, new people to meet, and he even ended up trading recipes with a Norwegian cook. He smiled as he saw the Explorer parked in front of the building, Jim leaning against it.

"Hey..." he whispered softly, as he grew nearer to the older man.

His lover smiled back. "Hey, Chief. Had a good day?"

"Yeah," he replied, as Jim began to drive them home. "Come on, don't keep me in suspense here! Did you tell Simon or not?"

Jim chuckled. "Oh, yeah! I told him... The whole thing. About Sentinels, Guides, everything. I thought he was going to swallow his cigar!"

"God, I wish I'd seen it! So, what did he say?"

"He agreed. There was nothing else he could do. As of tomorrow, you'll be my partner and a Cascade PD police observer. You'll have to come to the station in the morning to fill out all the paperwork to make it official."

"Alright!" Blair exclaimed happily, then he turned serious. "You think we can trust Simon to keep quiet about your senses?"

"Yes. He seems to be a good man and besides, I owed him. I'd still be waiting for a transfer from the San Francisco PD if not for him. The best thing that happened to me was him asking me to join the Major Crime team."

"Well, he owed you, too. If not for us, he would never have caught Veronica Sarris. God, and to think I worked with her for so long and never knew she was The Switchman! Good thing you decided to go with me that day and heard the bomb she planted on the bus," he sighed wearily. "So, anyway, no second thoughts about this... about us?"

Jim smiled at his young lover. "No. It would be a mistake not to use the Sentinel abilities to help people. You said it yourself, I'm a walking crime lab with organic surveillance equipment," Jim remarked. "I feel like I can really make a difference here, do something useful, and as long as I have you by my side, it will always feel right."

"Then it will always feel right because I'll always be by your side," Blair replied softly.

His hand caressed his lover's knee and he rested his head on Jim's shoulder. It had been hard for Jim to surrender to his feelings, but Blair was glad the older man had found the strength within himself to do it. They were together and their love for each other seemed to be getting stronger everyday. And together they would stay, because their love would defeat any danger that might come their way. As Sentinel and Guide, or just as lovers, their destiny was the same.

The end

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Author's notes: The lyrics "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner, and "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon, are used without permission.

Acknowledgements - Thanks to Patt for the invitation to join this project, Lisa for all her hard work, DarkCherry and Mary for the amazing beta-ing, and to Amy for the exquisite artwork.