Keeping Brilliant - Fire Frog

Keeping it brilliant, that's what tattooist's say when they don't want lines to run on their work. Jim knew his lines had bled awhile ago, but he still had hope of saving the bleed, or at least making himself a new picture. Getting it brilliant. With Sandburg. Today was the day he was going to make it happen.

The buff detective's most recent case, involving a street hustler named Jocklan, had become a little complex with the introduction of a fifth player, the man's father - a high court judge. Responding to the need for more information, namely - was Jocklan still in close contact with his father, or did he hang exclusively with his 'street' family? - Simon Banks had sent his best detective to contact Cascade's most informed informant.

Note the word, informant. Not snitch. Definitely informant. Blair Sandburg was far more intelligent than the average snout, and too well liked by the crime squad to be referred to as just a snitch.

Blair owned and operated Acquiescence, a tattoo parlor run from the back of his twenty-four hour café - Speakeasy. The café was fully licensed, it served both alcohol and coffee, while offering several walls full of books to browse through as you quietly sipped your poison of choice.

Out of the way, secure and full of interesting little nooks and corners, it was the clandestine meeting place of choice for everybody from scheming civic leaders to well known drug lords. So long as they all kept the peace, Sandburg let them come.

Neutral territory was hard to find in Cascade, the so called 'most dangerous city' in America. Thanks to connections made through his father, a crime lord in his own right, the Café cum tattoo parlor was off limits to criminal activity, and so about the safest place in Cascade. Many of his fathers friends still came here to catch up with 'the kid' and gossip.

Maintaining the place was easy, the Speakeasy was staffed by convoys of college students eager to make a buck. Their youthful energy kept the place hip and the presence of gangsters and the like made it seem dangerous and alluring. A great combination. Blair relied on his staff to look after the bar/café, while he kept to his back room, working and listening. Always listening.

From his den he could keep a weather eye on the city's many doings. Thanks to his eves dropping, gossiping and general thirst for knowledge, Blair was the proverbial font of information.

Information that he had been requested to share with Ellison's former partner, Jack. It had been a minor case involving arranged dog fights, and Jack had been eager to shut it down. Sandburg hated the blood sport and had the goods to take it down, due to the involvement of a family member; his father.

Blair's dad 'Doc' Marco Ramstien was a lead player in almost every form of gambling in town. But that wasn't good enough for him, he wanted to expand. It was his drive to reach out into new avenues that had caused the split between he and his only son.

Blair was the product of a wild fling in Marco's youth with a beautiful but foot loose traveler. Introduced by her bookie brother at a race meeting, sparks had flown between them and Blair had been the result. Doc Marco had claimed the boy, brought him up to be a reflection of his own image, but something in Blair had rebelled.

Blair had taken his mother's last name shortly after the split with his old man. They had never been a close father son team, Sandburg being disinclined to participate in the family trades less savory pursuits.

Then Blair had lost what little respect he had had for the man that had sired him when he began organizing gambling based on blood sports. He'd given Jack what he could, enough to close down the dog fights, not enough to convict Marco. Doc Ramstien covered his tracks far too well.

After that initial contact Blair had willingly joined in the information game, delighting in being able to help solve crimes. In fact, he'd often rock up to let the station know things they hadn't asked about. It always paid to listen and be patient with the guy because Blair had an uncanny habit of taking two dissimilar rumors, a slip of evidence and some local background knowledge, and turning it into a solved case.

As the area Jim worked in was 'Major' Crimes, he couldn't afford to let someone like Blair Sandburg go to waste. Major Crimes had certainly been keeping the kid busy since Jack recruited him two years ago. Jack had retired now, gone to sell surfboards in Surfers Paradise, so the contact had fallen to his partner, one Jim Ellison. And Jim Ellison had then fallen for Blair.

Don't be fooled, it hadn't happened over night. Blair Sandburg was cute, Jim had admitted as much even after their first meeting. Now, after knowing him for two years, Jim could admit the guy was unconventional, but hot. Very hot.

Blair was short, stocky, and always dressed in faded black denim and buckle-demented biker boots. His hair was long, curly and the color would be called auburn by nine out of ten romance novelists. The other one would just call it brown with red highlights. Philistines were every where.

To Jim's private amusement and continuing fascination, Blair tended to wear a lot of tribal jewelry, bright necklaces and hair fetishes that added to his exotic looks. One item he always wore was a white bone American Indian choker with a silver bullet centerpiece.

It had given him his nickname, Chief, which Jim rather liked. Blair's face was exotic even without the tribal gew-gaws. A blend of masculine and feminine; defined cheekbones, strong jaw and full mouth somewhat overshadowed by the biggest eyes Jim had seen on an adult male, ever. They were huge and brilliantly blue, a depth of color hidden in them comparable to a well cut sapphire.

But Jim wasn't in the habit of chasing somebody just because they were cute, or even 'hot'. It had taken time and shared experience to point out to his subconscious that - 'Hey, that guy Sandburg. Might just be the one.'

Not surprisingly, the detective had resisted the implication. Besides having a shadowy past, Blair was ten years his junior, and a massive flake. He liked incense and meditation and herbal medicine and crap like that. So, okay, that stuff didn't seem so weird when Blair was explaining it all, but still...

Things wouldn't have gone any further if it weren't for Simon. Jim's boss had been round a time or two, and he could put clues together fairly well, what with being head detective and all. He had seen his best investigator growing antsy around Blair, seen the significant looks and then their previous closeness break down to a stilted attentiveness.

He had also witnessed Jim's courtship of Caroline Plummer, his now ex-wife. There were certain similarities to his behavior then and now. Simon could well imagine too, the difficulty Jim would now have expressing himself should he fall in love again. Caroline, well, it had not ended on a good note. And then there was the other matter.

Simon Banks had struggled briefly with his conscience. He could help Jim out, but it would require he break someone else's trust. Naomi Sandburg was one sassy lady, and he didn't like to cross her. Despite being railroaded from her son's life at an early age, she'd kept an eye on him. Enough that when he'd left his father and started a life of his own, she'd seen danger there. Doc had contacts that could make his son's break away from him very difficult indeed.

Naomi had known enough to come to Simon, a former lover, for help. It wasn't a coincidence Jack had turned up on Blair's doorstep when he had. Nor was it entirely Doc Marco Ramstien's influence that kept the Speakeasy the neutral meeting ground that it was. Naomi had talked a lot about her son to Simon, and she had shared with him several of his secrets. One of them could ease Jim's fears and open the way for him to make his move. But would that be best for both Jim and Blair?

He had thought on the matter, then cornered his friend for a talk. And an interesting talk it had been, Ellison had had quite the revelation. He'd always felt Blair had a secret. Now he knew it was the same as his and the worst he could do by pressing his suit was to get laughed at for thinking an aging cop could float Sandburg's far more youthful boat. And at best...

Simon had come to the conclusion they would make the perfect match, so had risked the necessary information and had then gently prodded his detective in the right direction. Hence this visit.

"Hey, man, how you going?" Jim turned towards the voice, scanning the Speakeasy's late afternoon patrons and two harried waitresses before zeroing in on Blair. The younger man was coming from behind the bar, a tall mug of Irish coffee in one hand, impish laughter in his eyes.

"I'm going good, Chief." The cop assured him, thinking he felt nearly as good as Blair looked but reining the words in automatically. No need to show his hand just yet.

"Step into my parlor." Blair grinned, wiggling his eyebrows as he headed over to his workroom. Jim followed, admiring the view.

Putting his drink down on a bench half hidden under dog-eared tattoo books, Blair turned to face his friend, casually leaning one hip against his dentist like work chair. He flicked his hair back, revealing an ear loaded down with silver jewelry. The other was equally arrayed, and Jim guessed at a few different body parts as well, though he hadn't had the nerve to ask.

Despite his line of work and a natural inclination to adorn himself the only tattoos Blair had were the Celtic armband on his left bicep, a tribal eye on one palm and a stylized wolf's head Jim had glimpsed on Sandburg's ankle.

Ellison broke off his reverie on Sandburg's jewelry habits, ink art works and possible piercings with the realization that Blair was trying to get his attention.

"Earth to Jim, you in there, guy? The lights are on..." From the twinkle in his eyes he'd guessed the taller man had been lost in contemplation of his chest. But the small grin and subtle hand at the bottom of Blair's shirt pulling the material taunt over the suggestion of defined muscles and peaked nipples invited the look, and maybe something more. Reacting to the invite Jim couldn't help but flex subtly back at him, earning himself a wider grin.

"Ah, you are home. I was beginning to wonder."

Jim smiled, something of a rare event for the often-stoic cop, and leaned next to the tattooist, copying Blair's pose. He hoped it looked as sexy to Sandburg as he felt the Chief's stance was. Jeez, those hips...

"So, you come in for a tatt or what?" Blair asked lightly, but a frown of puzzlement shadowed his face. Unless he was mistaken, Jim was totally checking him out, something he'd never done so openly before.

Sure, they'd flirted, almost from day one. Nothing ever came of it, though Jim did tend to let him into his space, like now as they leaned on the chair. The detective usually kept a wide perimeter, nobody got closer than a foot or more unless he was preparing to take them down, except Blair. He wondered what had happened to make Jim show his interest, especially as the cop had been so standoffish lately. "You finally gonna let me use that canvas for the ultimate dedication to Major Crimes?"

It was an old joke and Jim shook his head in exasperation. "Tempting Offer, Chief, but I'm afraid it's 'or what' again. Simon sent me to find out if you had anything more on Jocklan."

"Boss works you hard, man." Blair slipped his thumbs through the loops on his belt, fascinated to see Jim's eyes follow the movement and linger.

"Yeah, Simon's a real live dragon. Blows smoke and everything. He'd love to sort you out if you ever agreed to come work for the unit." He reached over and tweaked a lock of Blair's hair playfully, thinking how the long hair would irk Banks no end. And that Sandburg would get away with having it long any way.

Jim trailed his fingers down the lock of hair he'd caught to tweak, watching it curl round them as he pulled. Odd how he always ended up touching Blair every time they met. He just seemed to need the physical contact. It didn't phase Blair, who kept on talking as if some big cop weren't standing right next to him, playing with his hair. He was used to it.

"Not that again. Jack already tried to talk me into becoming 'Detective Blair Sandburg', huh, I don't know why you guys bother. I won't go armed, Jim. Never carry a gun, man, ergo, I'll never carry a badge."

"We could protect you better. You wouldn't have to carry a gun, not all the time. Just get the training." Jim murmured, distracted. "How is your arm, anyway?"

Blair regarded his right arm thoughtfully, holding it out a little for inspection. "Not bad, just a little achy. But guy, I am 'so' not pushing you out the way of an explosion again. For one thing, you weigh a ton."

"I'm a lean mean fighting machine, we don't come light." The twist of hair left his fingers and Jim straitened a little, becoming more focused. "And don't risk your life like that again, Sandburg. It saved my ass but it's not your job." He gave the other man his best 'I mean it this time, pal' scowl and crossed his arms. He had nothing to lose, he'd been told he looked sexy when he scowled, and you never know, Blair might just listen to him this time. Yeah, right.

"So if I became a detective you'd let me, right? Then it would be my job." Blair side stepped Jim's flirtatious comment and went with the more important issue first. He also mirrored Jim's move of crossing his arms, raising one eyebrow in enquiry.

"Ah..." Shit, caught. No - Jim wouldn't want Blair taking the lumps for him, even if it was his job. This last incident had been bad enough.

Blair had taken him to meet a reluctant eyewitness called Donna Sprinks. She was a friend of his from school, they had similar connections. One of those connections had just murdered another one, and Donna had seen it all. She was caught in the middle of a nasty web of family deceit and criminal activity and needed help to extract herself and turn the murderer in as well.

Blair had arranged the meet at Ramsbottem's alehouse, a place easy for Donna to get to. Ramsbottem's boasted a real English beer garden surrounded by a high hedge, with live musicians playing at one end and a game of skittles going at the other. A more relaxed place couldn't be found, and Donna had needed to relax, she was wound tighter than a bowstring.

Their meeting went well, and Donna had agreed to testify in return for inclusion in a witness protection plan. Jim got up to stretch his legs and incidentally check up on some suspicious activity in the corner of the garden, he suspected Donna had been tailed.

He was correct, but unnoticed by Jim one of the group had moved away to the tall hedge along the beer gardens perimeter. From there he took aim with his gun, hoping to wing the cop and scare Sprinks into keeping her mouth shut.

Thankfully Blair had seen him taking aim and launched himself, ramming the oblivious detective out the way.

The bullet had zinged overhead, hitting an outside water heater and blowing it sky high. Despite having had a soft landing on Jim, Blair still managed to get hurt. First when Jim had instinctively rolled on top of him to protect him from any further gun play (the guy really did weigh a ton) and second, when a pot plant that had been sitting on top of the water heater crash-landed on his outstretched arm.

Jumping up and gathering Ms. Sprinks into protective custody, Jim and the beer garden's other patrons had been privy to a world class round of swearing, most of it in foreign languages. It had been rather impressive.

Luckily, the arm wasn't broken, not so luckily the bruising interfered with Blair's ability to do fine work with his tattoo needle and several customers had had to be turned away. He'd taken this personally and helped track the gunman down, turning him over to police only, Jim suspected, because the law already knew of his involvement.

The tattooist obviously didn't want to take any heat over any 'accident' that might have occurred to the gunman, not when it could be so readily traced back to him. Besides, the guy had targeted a detective and was sure to get a stiff penalty. If he wanted to later Blair had some fairly shady contacts, friends from his youth and acquaintances of his father who could enact any revenge he wanted done for him in prison. Not that he'd ever do something like that. But he had the means, if he wanted to. Every now and then Blair had to struggle against his darker side.

And once more, Jim had led Blair into danger, only to have the younger man pull them both out. Imagining him being able to do it on the job gave him chills, despite the extra protection such an arrangement might ensure.

"Thought so." Blair said, nodding to himself. Jim was way over protective at times, the guy just couldn't get it through his head that Blair could look after himself.

Actually, Blair 'had' been attracted to hooking up with Major Crimes. Even way back when Jack had first recruited him, before he saw the kinds of crazy and explosive situations the job put you in. He'd liked the camaraderie of the bullpen, the ideal of justice, working for the overall good, being part of the team.

However, more than that Blair liked to walk the edge of things. He'd seen the dangers of being a cop first hand, but that didn't scare him, he found danger attractive. Once a month he took off to the wilds surrounding Cascade in search of that danger, that excitement. He claimed to be searching out books for the café, poking around in attics and cruising the second hand shops. He did do a lot of that, prowling garage sales and basements, even flea markets and auctions. But mostly he explored the hidden places, sought out the forbidden knowledge, hunted the shadows.

It wasn't in his nature to be static. Being a cop might offer a world where excitement came in dangerously large lumps, but it had its dull moments too. Like paper work, and rules and regulations that had to be followed.

His work in the café and tattoo parlor was equally as exciting, without the added benefit of nut jobs trying to off him quite so often as the detectives seemed to get. Speakeasy saw every kind of customer, every sort of deal and covert op. And the type of person that came in for a tattoo varied a lot more than most people imagined. A lot more. Plus, he had the freedom to just take off. No, he was happy in his choice of profession.

"So, what's the word on Jocklan?" he asked, reaching over to snag his Irish coffee and take a sip. Mmmm, nice. He nodded sagely as Jim told him about the hustler's father, frowned a little in thought and then started tossing out ideas like a machine gun.

Boy, can he talk. thought Ellison, nodding encouragingly to keep the words flowing. Blair could talk the balls right off a bandicoot as the new detective, Megan Conner, would say. Jim wasn't sure what a bandicoot was, but Blair probably 'could' talk its balls off. He could certainly talk Jim's ears off sometimes. Jim had perfected the knack of letting the younger man's words wash over him while his subconscious sifted out the important stuff from hypotheses and speculations.

Bottom line in the end came to Blair didn't think Jocklan kept in touch with his old man. His 'sister' on the other hand...there was the link they'd been waiting for. By tomorrow Jim would have checked Blair's theory and most likely have a conviction. Who'd have thought the daughter of a high court judge would be the mastermind behind a group of blackmailing hookers. Too bad the murder had stopped her scam, it looked like it had been a good one.

"Hey, Chief." Jim interrupted Blair's recital of why high powered people often had their kids go wrong, smiling faintly at his 'yeah, what' look. "I think we've got what I came for. But, maybe not." He lent in a little closer and met Blair's eyes, searching them briefly. "What say we discuss it over dinner at Chence's, my treat. Then we can go back to my place it over some more."

Discussing the case was definitely not on Jim's mind and he hoped his look relayed that. He held his breath as he waited to see if the boy genius had picked up on his meaning.

Blair's mouth had dropped open in surprise. Ellison had actually invited him on a date! Hot damn! And unless Blair was mistaken, he'd been invited to a little something afterwards as well...

"Hm, depends." He said, trying to sound nonchalant as he noticed Jim tensing up expectantly. "What ya serving for breakfast?"

Jim exhaled at the gentle tease and quickly listed the courses of a full American breakfast that started with pancakes with syrup and ended with hash browns. Blair looked impressed, and slightly nauseous.

"Uh, I'll just stick with the pancakes, man. All that cholesterol - it's not good for you." Blair made a face.

Externally Blair looked calm and collected, internally this was not the case. Jim was willing to stop the circling round they'd been doing from day one, so it was time to face the inevitable. God, he hoped this didn't ruin everything. "Pick me up at seven." He said.


Six o'clock had seen one of Cascade's finest rip through his wardrobe and declare pitifully, and in great disgust, that he had nothing to wear. Eventually he'd tried on everything he did own and decided to go with the hounds tooth jacket and blue tie with dark dress slacks underneath, and after much debate, respectable white briefs under that. The yellow g-string would just have to wait for later.

Slicking back his already short hair, Jim ran one last critical eye over the loft. Good, he thought, everything was clean and tidy, ready to be trashed by two energetic men trying to reach the heights. Not that he was expecting...Who was he kidding? There was going to be sex tonight, and it was going to be great. No mystery there, Blair had said as much with his breakfast comment. It was what happened afterwards that had his mouth dry and hands shaking. Would Sandburg stay the night? Could their friendship transmute into the romance he wanted it to be?

Shit, could 'he' loosen up enough to let it happen? He wasn't sure, but by god, he was willing to give it a try.

He was way past willing by the time they got home. Dinner had been great, though he couldn't have said what he'd eaten. Blair had sparked like a forest fire, and for once, Jim had sparked right back at him. They'd played innuendo games with the food, Jim all but choking to death with what Blair did to the asparagus. He'd retaliated with a 'Tom Jones apple eating' routine on a bread roll, cracking Blair up so much he nearly fell off his chair.

The waiters had been glad to see them go. Much eye rolling had been going on in the kitchen, Jim was sure. He'd overheard numerous comments to the effect that new love should be banned from exhibiting itself in public. He'd had to grin at that.

Blair decided to distract them both on the way to the loft by trying to pry the secret of Jim's legendary coffee out of him. Tales of the lethal stuff keeping entire divisions of detectives awake on stakeouts abounded in the bullpen, and Blair declared he could flog the stuff off to overworked grad students. They had eventually arrived at 852 Prospect in a somewhat calmer frame of mind, Blair still pleading his café's case.

Smiling, Jim led him up the stairs then opened the door to his home and let him through. Blair had never been invited up before, Jim hadn't trusted himself.

"Wow, you own this?" Blair took in the immaculate, somewhat barren loft, noting the stair that led to an upper bedroom for later navigation. He was impressed.

"All mine, the whole building. I just live here though, and rent out the rest."

Jim took off his jacket then retrieved Blair's from the couch where he'd thrown it and hung the two on the rack behind the door. Blair wandered from the balcony to the kitchen, making little humming noises as he went.

"Wow, this is totally awesome. You know, I could really do something with this place. I did an interior decorating course once, ya know. Actually, I designed Speakeasy and Acquiescence myself. It was fun, but doing this place would be better."

Jim felt a little shiver of unease at the thought, Blair did have a pink Labrador statue he used as a hat stand in the tattoo parlor after all. But then, the café and Acquiescence were both extremely comfortable places to go to. This despite one of them being the regular staging ground for inflicting severe pain on its customers (and he wasn't talking about Blair's coffee).

"I could handle that. Want to be my interior decorator, Mr. Sandburg?" Jim drew close and slipped his arms around the shorter man's waist, smiling down into the blue eyes.

"Certainly, Mr. Ellison. My advice to you right now would be," he paused and searched the paler blue eyes looking down into his own. "to kiss me."

Never slow on the uptake that's just what Jim did. Gathering Blair in he moved to cover the lips he'd been dreaming about for weeks now. They felt velvet soft, hot and demanding on his own.

Blair balanced himself against Jim's solid form, busy hands pulling the tail of his shirt free and running under it to feel the curve of Jim's back. He was unable to stop him self admiring the smooth skin and wondering if Jim would ever let him use it as a canvas. Something along the Cascade badge idea he'd originally tried to talk him into, but intertwined with a more flowery script round the edge, maybe a name, some thing like, say, Blair.

"Upstairs?" He asked when they finally parted to breathe. Jim nodded and took his hand, leading him up to his bedroom. There, in the pale glow from a skylight, they made love. To both of their surprise, it wasn't the lust-crazed marathon they'd been anticipating, but a slow, passionate, heated merging. It lasted hours and was over too soon.

Afterwards, they lay entwined, glistening with sweat, panting for breath. The rumpled silk sheets on Jim's bed stuck to them in odd spots, making Blair smile as he pulled them off. "Jim?" his voice came husky in the dim light.

"Yeah?" Jim's voice was about the same, only it held a note of worry in it that wasn't entirely unexpected.

"There's something I've got to tell you." Blair slipped out of Jim's arms and sat up. The night felt suddenly chill now he didn't have the other man's heat to warm him. Sighing, he braced himself; he'd left this till last knowing that if the excrement hit the rotating blades, at least he'd have the good memories to take home with him.

Jim was sitting up now too, eyeing his bed companion warily. "What is it? Whatever it is, Blair, you can tell me." Jim's voice was steady and reassuring as the man himself, Sandburg felt sure that he 'could' tell him any thing.

Actually, Blair didn't tell him. He showed him instead. First, his eyes grew luminescent, still remaining eerily blue. Then a shimmer started in their center, it grew outward and spread backwards down and over his body. When it was finished Jim blinked, feeling a shift in the weight distribution across his legs.

A wolf sat on his bed, looking at him with intelligent blue eyes. Shit. Well, that explained the silver bullet on his choker. Blair truly loved to walk the edge.

The shimmer started up again, then it was Sandburg sitting on the bed, looking at him with worry in his eyes. Before Jim could speak, Blair shot up and began pacing the floor. In a monologue almost to rapid to follow, he outlined his father's family curse which affected the first born in every generation.

Jim tried to interrupt several times but Blair was determined to tell his story before he got kicked out. Ellison's words got run over by stories of old family power struggles, voyages by sea, infanticide, loyalty to the pack, betrayal and madness.

Nervous as hell, Blair finally reached the end of the story and turned back to the bed. He'd come to rest besides the stairs, a good thing as he now clutched its railing in shock. There, sitting on the bed, was a black panther. Silk sheets wrapped around its lower torso and for a moment Blair actually thought the cat had eaten Jim, but then the shock passed and his mind started working again.

The big cat slid off the bed and came to stand before him, flowing upwards in a dark stream that reformed itself into one self-satisfied cop.

"What's the matter, Chief? Cat got your tongue?"

"Uh..." Sandburg blinked, still trying to figure out what had just happened.

"Simon really is a dragon, you know." Jim said conversationally, reaching up to wrap his fingers in Blair's long hair. "He's about a hundred years old and can tell a wer at fifty paces. He picked you, but didn't let on. Not to Jack. Not to me, not even when he started up the new division at work. First all wer crime fighting unit outside of Europe."

Blair still looked a little lost so Jim kept speaking, hoping all the younger man needed was time.

"There's three werecoyotes, a bear, a tusked bore and a new girl over from Australia called Megan Conner who's a weredingo. You could say the lady's a real bitch."

"Hey!" Blair protested, giving him a half hearted thump. Jim's lips twitched, just the reaction he was hoping for. "Us pack animals stick together, Ellison, so leave off the dog jokes!"

"Pack animal, Chief?"

"Yeah, pack. It's good to belong to one. I haven't, not for years. But once a pack accepts you in and you go to them, that's it. We stick together, loyal to the end. Once we bond, we bond for life." His voice had lowered as he spoke, and Jim felt the last words all the way down to his toes.

"Bonding, Chief?" he asked irrepressibly, nudging Sandburg with his hip. Blair rolled his eyes, allowing himself to be corralled back towards the bed.

"So, ah, you were expecting me to be a wolf, then." Blair muttered as Jim lowered him down and began a slow and torturous exploration of his torso.

"Mmm, nope." Jim nipped at one of Blair's nipples, then pulled back to observe it. "From Simon and Jack's description of you three going fishing, I fully expected you to be a wereguppy." He grinned evilly and sank down on Blair's other nipple just in time to coincide with Sandburg's indignant squeak.

"Bastard." Blair growled, arching his back into the suction.

"Hmm, the wolf tattoo was a dead give away, Chief. And who but a werewolf would wear a silver bullet round his throat? Is it true only a silver bullet can harm you?" Jim contemplated the golden skin under his hands, trying hard to ignore the images of violence his mind conjured up for him.

"Almost, man. But we can be done in by sexual frustration, too. So, ah, if you could get back to what you were dooooooing..." Jim had.

A little later and Blair lay drawing circles on Jim's arm, an urgent question forming in his head. Seeing that Blair had recovered somewhat, Jim rolled over and covered his body with his own, kissing hungrily at the delicious neck, rubbing himself slowly over the lightly furred body. He found the lube tangled in the sheets and poured some out, moving lower on the bed as he did so.

"Uh, just one other thing, man. Before you ah, do what you, ah, have planned down there."

"Hurm?" Jim's reply was muffled, so Blair asked his question quickly.

"Is this wer thing, 'oh god'," he paused to recover from the sudden burst of pleasure, "is it, uh, what made your ex-wife leave?" Despite the rather nice situation he found himself in, Blair remained troubled. The last thing he needed was the former Mrs. Ellison deciding she could handle claw marks on the sofa after all and coming back to claim her man. "Did she freak at the, 'oh wow', the werecat thing?"

"Nope." Jim looked up at him with good humor sparkling in his eyes. "Actually, she was cursed at the same time I was, only she wasn't so lucky." He paused to lick at Blair's stomach, delighting at the way the muscles fluttered under his touch.

"So what did she become? Coyote, raven, uh, bear?" Blair craned his neck to see what Jim was doing, shivering when the cop's answer whispered along a sensitive part of his body.

"None of those. Caroline got the worst wer you can be." Finishing what he was up to Jim ran his hands along Blair's sides, scraping the skin lightly with his nails. He gave Blair's hips a little lift and the younger man obligingly brought his legs up and hooked his ankles into the curves at the top of Jim's muscular shoulders.

"What...oh...what w...was that?" Blair held on to his control by a thread.

"Weregoldfish." Came the reply, and sharp white teeth shone briefly, before Jim moved to descend on his speechless lover.

Oh My.

The End.

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Acknowledgements: With thanks to Patt for conscripting me and jai and Mary for beta reading me.