Fantasy Is Reality - Kaitelynn
Jim Ellison looked out of the side window of the airplane. Below the plane he saw a waterfall that ended in a sparkling pool of water surrounding by lush greenery and colorful flowers. He shook his head as he thought again how odd it was that he was taking this trip. It wasn't something that he normally would have considered. Although the thought of spending a week on a tropical island wasn't something that he really minded, the reason for choosing this island made him wonder about his sanity. Then again, him doubting his sanity is something that he's been doing a lot lately.
Jim was a detective with the Cascade Police Department in Washington. He has worked for the Major Crimes department for the past four years. He had one of the best arrest records in the department but lately he had been questioning his sanity. Jim had discovered that his senses had been going haywire. He was seeing things that he couldn't possibly have been able to see. Hearing things from people that were nowhere near him. There were days when his clothes felt like they were burning his skin and there was no way possible for him to eat. Even some smells were enough to make him want to just lock himself away in his loft apartment. All together it made for a none too pleasant living experience. And it was for those reasons that he was on a plane, landing in the middle of a lagoon, on a tropical island. All on the suggestion of his captain and friend, Simon Banks.
Jim looked over at the other couple that he shared the plane with. They both looked so in love and happy. He had overheard that they were there as sort of a second honeymoon, but Jim detected that the woman was also there for another reason that her husband knew nothing about. Something that she was afraid to share with the man that she had devoted her life to. Jim smiled inwardly at the thought of settling down with someone. Loving someone enough to want to spend all your time with them and only them. To be loved that deeply. It was something that he had always desired, but also something that had always been denied him.
Jim watched as the door to the plane opened, allowing the couple to deplane before him. Jim waited a few minutes before following. A beautiful island girl, who placed a lei over his head and gave him a kiss on the cheek, immediately greeted him. He walked down the short walkway where he was lead towards one side and handed a drink. He saw two men; one tall and distinguished looking, the other short and looking as if he was born on the island and both dressed in white. He took a sip of his drink as the two men talked amongst themselves.
"Boss, what is his story?" The shorter man asked. He looked at Jim who was dressed in an expensive black suit that was made of all natural materials. The way the man was looking around at his surroundings, as if he was expecting something to happen even in the peaceful setting that he was in.
"Ahhh, yes. Detective James Ellison."
"Detective?" The younger man squawked. While it wasn't unusual to have a policeman on the island, there was something in his boss' voice that made him think that there was something different about this visitor. Something that marked him as having a special reason for being on the island. Something different than their normal guests.
"What's a detective doing here? Does he want to finally solve that one case that got away?"
"No, actually, the complete opposite. It seems that Detective Ellison would like nothing more than to have a normal vacation complete with fishing and camping. He is looking for a very relaxing time while he is here."
"Then why did he come here instead of going somewhere else? He can get that any where else."
"Well, it seems the young detective has the natural ability to attract trouble. He's been forced into a lot of hard situations that would make lesser men give up, and that includes the times he has taken time off. He is very good at his job and so is assigned to many of the more difficult cases. And recently he has had other problems coming up that he hasn't been able to figure out how to handle, although he hasn't said anything about those directly."
"What kind of problems?"
"Heightened senses," was the simple reply, causing the other man to gasp.
"You mean he's a Sentinel?"
"Yes. But he doesn't know that yet. All he knows is that his senses aren't normal." An island girl brought over two drinks to the men, who raised them to their guests. "I'm Mr. Roarke and I want to welcome you to Fantasy Island." Jim Ellison looked over at the two men as he took a sip of his beverage, thinking about the conversation he had just inadvertently overheard and wondered just what he had gotten himself into.
"You wanted to see me," a young man said as he entered Mr. Roarke's office.
"Yes, Blair, come in and have a seat," Roarke offered, putting down the file that he had been holding to look at the new arrival. Blair was dressed in a pair of well-worn blue jeans and a colorful print shirt. His long curly hair was pulled back with a leather tie and his sparkling blue eyes appeared to be much older and wiser than someone of his twenty- six years should be.
"I have an assignment for you."
"What do you mean, an assignment," Blair questioned.
"There's a guest I would like you to meet. I want you to show him around the island."
"Why me?" Blair looked at Roarke, trying to detect some sort of ruse on the older man's part. While he trusted Roarke with his life, he knew that there were often times that the other man kept things to himself because of some sense of right and wrong. "I've never really dealt with any of the guests. At least, not since I was a kid and new to the island and what went on here."
In fact, Roarke usually took great pains to keep Blair away from the guests when they were involved with their fantasies. It was one of the promises he had given to Blair's mother, Naomi. So instead of helping the guests as one of Roarke's assistants, Blair was giving the freedom to do whatever it was that he wanted, and the usually meant investigating the island. In fact, Blair is probably the only person who knew as much about Fantasy Island and the many secrets it held as Mr. Roarke himself.
"I know, but I still believe that you are the best person to help our guest," Roarke explained. "For what he wants, you are perfect for it."
"What exactly is going to be required?" Roarke smiled at the nervousness Blair was showing. The younger man held a special place in his heart, the reason for which only two other people knew.
"Nothing that you wouldn't be willing to do freely," he assured Blair. "In fact, I believe that its something that you've been wanting to do since you arrived here."
At this statement, Blair looked up in surprise at Roarke. "Blair, not once have I ever thought that your position here depended on your willingness to help out with our guests. In reality, I knew that it would never make you happy. That's why I've given you so much freedom to do as you please."
Before Blair could say anymore, a knock was heard. After a brief pause, the door opened to what Blair could only describe as the perfect specimen of male.
"Ahhh, Detective Ellison, welcome," Roarke greeted the new arrival. "Thank you for coming."
"No problem, Mr. Roarke," Jim said, turning to face the other man in the room. Jim found his breath stolen from him by the beauty in front of him. The man's long curly hair made him want to run his fingers through it to see if it was as soft as it appeared. He saw the muscles in the body that was hidden by jeans and a T-shirt. And his eyes, so blue that it reminded Jim of the water's off a Caribbean island and Jim swore he could lose himself simply by looking in them. There was something about this man that made Jim become instantly fascinated by him. Jim shook his head, not sure what was going on. He had never felt that kind of connection with anyone before, let alone another male.
Blair, for his part, was equally enthralled by Jim. He could see the power in the other man. Blair had always prided himself on being able to tell quite a bit from other people, even without knowing a thing about them. His instincts never led him wrong and right now his instincts were telling him that the man that stood in front of him was not one to trust easily. As Blair looked into the pale blue orbs of Roarke's guest, he could see someone that had been betrayed before by people that he had given his trust to and now he was reluctant to do so again. Blair cursed inwardly at the fools that had hurt this man and became determined to make up for their stupidity.
Roarke smiled at the connection being made between the two men. While he never discouraged a resident of the island from becoming involved with a guest, he knew in this case that this would have to be the exception. It was something that had to be done, not only for the sanity and happiness of these two men, but also for the good of others. The time had come to fix what someone else had tried to prevent. At first he thought that it would be more difficult to get the two of them to accept each other. Blair, while a trusting soul, didn't have a whole lot of experience when dealing with outsiders. The boy, no, man Roarke corrected himself, had been on the island since the age of ten and was only used to the people that had helped raise him. And Jim tended to keep things to himself, not wanting to open himself up to the kind of hurt that could only come from letting others into his life.
"Detective Ellison, I would like you to meet Blair Sandburg, a resident of our island.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Sandburg," Jim said pleasantly, offering his hand to the younger man.
"Blair, please," he answered, taking the offered appendage. When their hands met, a shock went through both men. They stared at each other, drawn to the other man. 'Damn, what is going on here?' Blair thought to himself. 'I've never felt this drawn to anyone before. This makes no sense.'
"Jim." Roarke smiled as he noticed the connection between the two, quickly schooling his features before they noticed.
"Detective, I know that you wanted, what you considered a normal vacation, and I thought Blair would be a perfect guide for you." Blair and Jim turned to face Roarke, having almost completely forgotten that he was there.
"Guide?" Jim repeated, suspicion suddenly in his voice. He hadn't made it as far as he had just accepting things on face value. "What do you mean guide?"
"You see, Blair knows this island better than anyone," Roarke began to explain. "You said that you were interested in doing some fishing and hiking and camping and I thought Blair would be a perfect companion for you. He can show you quite a few spots here that are off the beaten bath, shall we say."
"Yeah, no problem, man," Blair replied excitedly, more than willing to spend time with the handsome stranger that had just suddenly entered his life. "There's this great place on the other side of the island where the fish line up to get caught. And the sunsets over that side are breathtaking." Blair's voice proceeded to sound more and more enthusiastic and he went on to describe the things that he could show the other man.
"Sounds great. When would you like to get started?"
"Hey, anytime is great with me. I just have to go over to my place and grab some stuff. I've even got a tent and some other camping gear we can use so that's not a big deal."
"Why don't we go get your stuff and then we can sort through what I have and then take off?"
"Cool. If we hurry we can catch the sunset tonight and there's supposed to be a meteor shower over the island tonight, too."
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go." Blair and Jim turned and headed out of the office, having completely forgotten that Mr. Roarke was still there. But the older man didn't mind. In fact, he was inordinately pleased.
"Boss, wasn't that Blair I just saw leaving with Detective Ellison?" Tattoo asked as he entered Roarke's office. The older man nodded his head.
"Yes. Blair is going to show the good detective around the island."
"Is that wise? Remember what Naomi said."
"I remember exactly what Naomi said, but I think it's a very good idea for the two of them to get to know each other."
"She won't be happy about it."
"That's why she won't know about it. Besides, Naomi is currently in the outback of Australia, so she's unreachable. Anyway, I have a feeling that everything is going to work out just fine." Tattoo looked at his boss, wondering just exactly what was going on in Roarke's mind. He knew the reasons that Blair had come to be part of the island's family and was curious as to why Roarke seemed to be completely disregarding Naomi Sandburg's reasons for sending Blair to them in the first place.
"So tell me, Chief, what is it you do around here exactly?" Jim asked as he watched Blair put the things he figured he would need for a camping expedition into a well-worn backpack. The younger man's jeep was already filled with their supplies, including a two-person tent and a couple of fishing poles.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, do you work for Roarke or what?" Blair looked in thought for a moment before answered.
"Well, I don't really do anything," he answered truthfully. "I never had to. Mr. Roarke pretty much lets me do whatever I want. I've got a lot of freedom here. And I use it. Most of the time I just go exploring the island. No matter how many times I may go to one place, I always seem to find something new. This place holds so many secrets, it's amazing."
"How long have you been here?" Jim was curious about the younger man that stood in front of him. Jim already felt more comfortable with him than he did with anyone else he had ever known, including his ex-wife. And this was only after a few hours of knowing him.
"Since I was ten," Blair answered absently, looking around his room, making sure that he hadn't forgotten.
"Where are your parents?"
"Well, I think my mom's somewhere down in Australia or something. I'm not really sure. Naomi's kinda hard to keep track of."
"What about your dad?"
"Don't have one, at least, that I know of," Blair replied, his voice telling Jim that it didn't really bother the younger man that he didn't have a normal family.
"What do you mean?" Jim was intrigued by the puzzle that was Blair Sandburg.
"Well, Naomi, that's my mom, right, she's kinda free spirit. The total flower child hippie. She was totally into that whole free love thing in the sixties. Hell, she's probably still into it for all I know," Blair laughed, thinking back on some of the adventures his mother had told him. "According to her, she doesn't know who my father is. It could be any one of a number of guys."
"I'm sorry. No one should live their lives without knowing their parents." There was something in Jim's voice when he said that that made Blair look at the older man, making him wonder about the detective's own home life and the reason he was on the island.
"It's not really that big of a deal," Blair shrugged. "I mean, Naomi did the best that she could and I know that she loves me. And Mr. Roarke has been almost a father to me. He's taken good care of me since Naomi left me here."
"What do you mean, left you here? Didn't your mom raise you?"
"In a way. For the first ten years, it was just me and Naomi and whoever her latest boyfriend was. She took me everywhere. I was the most well traveled five-year-old in school when I finally started. But then, something happened. I'm still not sure what. We had been living in Sedona in this retreat that was owned by a couple of friends of Naomi's, when she said that we had to leave. The next thing I know, we were here and she was asking Mr. Roarke to take me in and raise me."
"Didn't she stay with you?' Jim was flabbergasted. He couldn't imagine anyone wanting to leave their child in the care of someone else, certainly not this particular one. His opinion of Naomi was extremely harsh, and that was without even meeting her as of yet.
"Nah, Naomi never was one to stick around in one place so long," Blair said nonchalantly, although there was a hint of the hurt little boy that had been left behind by his mother apparent in his voice. It made Jim want to wrap Blair up in his arms and make him feel safe.
"I'm sorry," Jim told him. "I know what it's like to not have your mother around." Blair looked up from his backpack and stared at Jim for a long time, trying to figure out what the detective's comment meant. Jim noticed and continued. "My mom took off on my brother and I when I was ten."
"Oh man," Blair said, closing the pack and joining Jim on the couch. "That must have been tough."
"Yeah it was," Jim nodded, memories of that day, so long ago, coming back to him. "I never understood what happened. I mean, all I know is that one day Steven and I left for school and mom was there, and then when we got home, she was gone. Sally, our housekeeper, pretty much took care of us after that."
"What about your dad?" Jim shrugged his shoulders.
"He was there," Jim answered, his voice hard.
"That's not saying a lot," Blair joked, albeit weakly, trying to break the tension that was threatening to overwhelm the two men.
"Yeah, well, if you knew my dad, you would understand." At Blair's quiet nod to continue, Jim went on. "My dad didn't take my mom leaving well and he took it out on Steven and I. I don't mean physically," Jim was quick to point out. It was more emotional than anything else. Dad liked to pit Steven and I against each other. He would always reward one of us, all the while punishing the other."
"Oh man, that's harsh. How can anyone do that to their kids?"
"Don't know and I don't really care anymore. It was a long time ago and I learned to depend on myself from it."
"What about your brother?"
"I haven't talked to either of them in over fifteen years. Not since I left for military school my senior year while they were in Europe. Dad pretty much told me in his own way how he felt about me and my little brother did the same thing."
"But they're your family," Blair protested.
"Not anymore, Chief," Jim informed him. "I haven't needed them in my life and they've made it perfectly clear that they don't want to be a part of it anyway."
"That doesn't make it right."
"No, it doesn't," Jim agreed. "But that's life. It's not right for a father to pit his sons against each other and it isn't right for mothers to leave their boys to fend for themselves." That last comment covering both men. "But it does make us who we are." Jim took a deep breath and slapped Blair on the knee. "So, what say you show me this fantastic camping spot. I don't know about you, but I can use a good bit of nature right about now."
"Sounds like a plan, big guy. Let's go."
"You were right, Chief. This place is absolutely wonderful," Jim commented as he set down the final load of gear he and Blair had brought with them. Blair, for his part, was busy putting up the two-man tent that they were going to use. "I've never seen anyplace like it."
"Yeah, it is cool here," the younger man agreed. "It's one of my favorite places on the island. I like to come here when I want to think about things or I just want to be by myself for a bit. It's like my own little slice of Fantasy Island. You're the first person I've ever brought here with me." Jim looked at Blair, touched at the sincerity in his voice.
"Yeah," Blair nodded his head. "I've never really wanted anyone to know about this place. This was mine but," Blair shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. It just feels right, being here with you. And I'm sure that sounds completely stupid. I'm sorry man."
Blair turned away from Jim, focusing on finishing his task. Jim took a few deep breaths as he realized just what it was exactly the younger man was saying. 'Damn, he feels the same connection I do. He knows that there's something between us.' Jim went over and touched Blair's arm.
"Thanks," he said quietly. "I think that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me." Jim watched as Blair turned a bright pink from the compliment.
"I'm sure that's not true. I bet you have a ton of people who care about you back home."
"Not really," Jim admitted. "I mean, I have friends, acquaintances, but nobody that really cares for me."
"What about your girlfriend?"
"Don't have one," Jim answered. "Had a wife once but that didn't turn out too good. We got divorced after only two years of marriage." Jim gathered some wood and began a small fire. Blair came over and joined him, the two of them moving around each other, not getting each other's way, as if they've been doing it their whole lives. "I've dated some since then, but nothing really serious. My life is too messed up and it wouldn't be fair to expect someone else to have to make sacrifices for me."
"You mean, you being a cop and all?"
"Yeah, that's part of it," Jim sighed wearily. Jim added some more fuel to the fire, wanting to make it hot enough to cook the steaks that he and Blair had brought with them. "Being a cop is all I really know. I pretty much live, breath and eat it and that means that I can't really devote the kind of time and energy to a woman that they want. At least, that's what Carolyn told me."
"She's your ex, I take it." Jim nodded.
"We met at work. She works down in Forensics," he started. "I won't say that it was love at first sight. We were friends first and thought that it could be more than that. For awhile it was, but things fell apart. I can't even say we fought. Wait, let me amend that. Carolyn fought, I just listened. Then one day I came home and she was gone. I could say it was a shock but it wasn't really. I knew she as going to go. She hated the loft and the sterility, as she called it, of what it was. We got a divorce quickly, she didn't want anything from me and I just wanted it over with. We've remained friends and I think that's all we should have ever been."
"It's a good thing that the two of you are still friends," Blair observed. "I bet it makes it easier at work. But, come on man, are you telling me that since then you haven't found someone that you wanted to risk allowing yourself to truly care about?"
"Not really," Jim answered. 'Until now,' he added silently, looking over at his partner. "Look, Chief, there are a lot of things about me that people have trouble dealing with. Hell, I have trouble dealing with them. How can I be expected to let other people in?" Blair moved closer to the detective, choosing to sit by his side, their legs brushing up against each other occasionally.
"I'd like to help you," he whispered. "I mean, that is, if you'd like me to."
"You don't even know what it is that I'm going through."
"Doesn't matter," Blair shrugged. "If it's important to you, then it's important to me." Jim looked over at the young man that he had just met a few hours ago. He felt himself wanting to tell him things that he had never told anyone. Not Carolyn. Not Simon, his best friend. There was something about Blair that just made him want to open up to him. Something that called to him.
"You mean that, don't you?"
"Of course I do, big guy," Blair replied. "Look, I know we haven't known each other that long, and you have absolutely no reason to trust me, but I like you. I feel closer to you than to anyone I've ever met, including Naomi."
"I know the feeling, Chief." Both men went about getting their dinner ready, working in tandem. Once the steaks were on the fire, Blair stood up and motioned for Jim to follow him.
"Come on," he said. "The sun's almost down and there's this great spot just a little ways down that's perfect for watching it." Blair held out his hand to help Jim stand and was pleased when the offer was accepted. He was even more pleased when the other man didn't release it immediately afterwards. Blair led Jim towards the beach that was just beyond their campsite. The two men watched in quiet solitude at Mother Nature's natural light show. "You know, man, no matter how many times I see this, it's like it's always the first time."
"It's beautiful, Blair," Jim said in a hushed voice. "Thank you for sharing it with me."
"Thank you for being here to share it with." Jim and Blair turned their attention from the sunset to each other, both losing themselves in the blue eyes of their partner. Jim felt this sudden urge to kiss the younger man but squelched it, not wanting to push anything that the other man might not be ready for. Although, if he were honest with himself, Jim was pretty sure that Blair would be more than willing to give the detective whatever it was that he wanted to take. The two men continued watching the sunset before heading back to their campsite and enjoying their first dinner together and wondering just what exactly it was that fate had in store for them.
The next morning found Jim and Blair getting up early, even though they had spent quite a bit of the night before talking and getting to know each other. Jim told Blair about his time in the military, and how he retired as a Captain of the Rangers after he came back from Peru where he had been the sole survivor of a mission. Blair listened in silence as the former military man described having to bury the seven men that had been assigned to follow him and then was required to live in the jungle for eighteen months. Luckily, the local tribe there, the Chopec, had taken him in and helped him complete his mission. He told him more about his relationship with Carolyn and why it didn't work out. Jim found himself talking more to the young man that he had just met in one night than in the two years he had been married to Carolyn.
Blair for his part described living on the island. He talked about his mom, Naomi, and what their life had been like before she had decided that he should live away from her and dropped him off in the care of Mr. Roarke. He talked about the places that he had visited before settling on the island. Blair told Jim that while he loved the island and the people that were there, he still felt that there was something more for him. Something that was missing and Blair had a feeling that to find it, he would have to leave his home. Jim was intrigued by the young man whose only real home was at the resort where his mother had left him and wondered once more how much Naomi truly cared for her son to just leave him like that. Jim thought that Naomi's leaving Blair with Roarke and Jim's own mother deserting him when he was also ten was one more thing that he had in common with Blair.
"Come on, Chief," Jim encouraged Blair as the young man finally emerged from the tent. Jim smiled as Blair made his way directly to the coffeepot that was resting on top of the remaining embers from the fire. Blair groaned as he took his first sip of caffeine before finally opening his eyes and grinning at the detective.
"I take it the coffee meets your approval," Jim teased.
"Oh man, I don't care what time I get up," Blair said. "I refuse to even open my eyes until I have some coffee in my system. Trust me when I say it isn't a pretty picture if I can't get some before dealing with people."
"Well, I'll keep that in mind for later." Jim chuckled as Blair began to wake even more as he continued to sip at his coffee. He loved watching the islander and couldn't seem to get enough of him. There was something about the hyperactive man that just calmed Jim. Finally, Blair noticed Jim's focus was on him and called the other man on it.'
"What? Is there some big bug crawling on my head or something?"
"Excuse me," Jim asked, shaking himself out of the zone he had felt coming on.
"I was just wondering why you were staring at me." Jim looked down at the coffee cup in his own hand, his face turning a faint pink as he realized that he had been caught.
"I'm sorry," he apologized. "It's just that...."
"Come on, man, talk to me," Blair encouraged, covering Jim's hands with one of his own, the touch sending an electrical charge through both. Jim looked back up at Blair's face and couldn't help himself. He leaned over and covered Blair's lips with his own in a gentle kiss that held promises from both men. Then they finally fell apart; they couldn't say anything, only able to stare at the other. "Wow."
"Yeah, wow," Jim agreed.
"What was that for, not like I'm upset or anything. I'm just surprised." Jim chuckled again as he brushed a lock of Blair's long curly locks behind his ear.
"Probably almost as surprised as I am at doing it. I've never even felt the compulsion to kiss another man, let alone actually doing it," Jim admitted.
"Same here, but what a first kiss," Blair answered. This time, it was the younger man that leaned forward to kiss the other. This kiss was even longer and more passionate than the first. Arms wrapped around the warm body of their partners, pulling them closer until they couldn't tell where one ended and the other began. Hands began to roam, charting the unfamiliar territory of someone else's body. Finally, when air was becoming an issue for both of them, they pulled apart, not completely leaving the other's personal space. Jim bent his head, leaning his forehead until it touched Blair's.
"What's happening here, Jim?" Blair questioned quietly, not wanting to disturb the silence of the forest around them, afraid that it would break whatever spell it was that was weaving its way around them. Only the sounds of nature broke through the dense foliage to their little piece of the world.
"I don't know, Chief," Jim whispered, honestly. "I've never felt anything like this before. No one has ever made me feel this way. I've told you things that I've never told anyone."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"No," Jim hastened to reassure the younger man. He could see the insecurity in the islander's face and wanted to make sure that he knew that Jim didn't mean anything he said as a bad thing. "You have to understand, I've been accused of being a tight lipped son of a bitch." Blair chuckled. "Carolyn told me once the she could get more out of the toaster than from me. That I wouldn't know passion if it bit me on the ass."
"Bullshit," Blair said succinctly. "I might not have a whole lot of experience with all of this, but I don't know what the hell she was talking about, you definitely don't have anything to worry about not knowing about passion. You have so got that covered." Jim placed another small kiss on Blair's lips.
"Thanks, Chief," the detective replied, accepting the compliment as it was intended.
"Anytime Jim," Blair answered.
"Roarke, how lovely it is seeing you again," a very feminine voice said as the guide met her airplane. "Thank you for meeting me."
"It was my pleasure, Naomi," he greeted the sparkling red head. "I was quite surprised to receive your message saying that you would be arriving today. To what do we owe this pleasure?"
"Well, its Blair's birthday tomorrow and I thought I would come and celebrate it with him." Naomi Sandburg looked around, as if trying to find someone. "So where is my son, anyway?" Tattoo looked over at his boss from his seat in his window; apprehension written all over his face but Naomi didn't see it and Roarke just ignored it.
"I believe he went camping for the week," Roarke replied noncommittally. "You know how Blair is. He loves spending time away from everyone here at the resort. I think he's happier being out in nature."
"Well, do you know where he is?" Naomi asked. "I would love to see him and I'm sure that he would want to see me. AndI've waited for seventeen years for this day to come so that he can finally be free to live his life, without having to worry about him getting involved in something that would be bad for him."
"I know Naomi. I remember well why you sent Blair to live on the island with us."
"Then where is he?"
"I told you, as far as I know, he's camping. Probably somewhere on the other side of the island if I know that young man." There was something in Roarke's voice. Something that very few people would hear for what it really was and Naomi was one of those few people.
"Roarke, what is it that you aren't telling me," Naomi demanded. When the man in charge remained quiet, Naomi's voice grew louder. "Damn it, I want some answers. Blair is my son after all. I have a right to know what's going on with him."
"Yes, he is, but he is also a grown man," Roarke pointed out. "A man who is able to make his own decisions, even when they might disagree with what his mother, or anyone else, might want for him." Naomi's eyes narrowed as they looked at Roarke. She could tell that Roarke wasn't telling her anything and yet telling her everything at the same time.
"What have you done?"
"Naomi, you and I both know that what is fated will happen, whether we want it to or not." Before Roarke could go any further, the irate mother was in his face, her eyes shooting fire at him.
"Tell me you didn't. You bastard, you know how I feel about Blair becoming involved with one of them. How in the world did you let this happen?"
"I did nothing," Roarke replied calmly. "All I did was ask him to help a guest with their vacation. There is nothing unusual in that regards. I told you when you first asked me to watch over Blair and allow him to live here that I may have him interact with those that came to the island."
"What type of guest? Who is Blair with?"
"His name is Jim Ellison and he's from Cascade, Washington."
"And what exactly is he here for?"
"Just a little vacation," Roarke assured Naomi. "Just some camping, fishing and hiking. I promise you, Naomi. Blair is perfectly safe here. I would never do anything that would hurt him."
"Why is it that I don't trust you, Roarke?" Naomi questioned. "What is it about this Ellison character that you aren't telling me?" A thought suddenly came to her and she wrapped her hands around herself, as if she was trying to protect herself from something.
"Dear God, tell me he isn't a pig." When neither Roarke nor Tattoo said anything, nor would even meet her eyes, she repeated herself. "I said, tell me that Ellison isn't a pig."
"James Ellison is a detective. He works for the Major Crimes department in Cascade," Roarke explained. "He came here for a chance to just get away for a little while and I thought that Blair would be the best person to help him with what he wanted. There is no one on the island that knows it as well as Blair and Detective Ellison wanted to get away from it all."
"But I told you what I saw," Naomi whispered, fear tingeing her voice at the thought of her son involved with a police detective. "I told you what was in my vision and yet you still sent my Blair off with that pig. How could you do that? Blair's an innocent. He's lived almost his whole life on this island and even before that, when he was with me, I never let him know about the evil that was out there." Naomi's hands flew out, indicating the outside world. "And you sent him off with a detective."
"I asked him to go with Detective Ellison," Roarke corrected. "If Blair didn't feel comfortable being with him, I'm more than sure that he would have told me so." Roarke didn't mention to Naomi how he had seen the sparks that had flown almost immediately between the two men. He knew that Blair's mother wouldn't be happy to find out that her son was probably already well on his way to fulfilling his part of her vision, as was Jim. "Naomi, trust your son. Trust in his judgment."
"But I don't want him in that kind of life. Itís wrong," Naomi reiterated, but her voice had lost some of the conviction that had been in it before. She didn't want to admit it, but she had always known that in some way it had been a futile hope that what she had seen would never happen.
"Naomi, he's not a little boy anymore. You can't live his life for him," Roarke told her. "Let him do what he was meant to do."
"I don't know if I can," she whispered sadly. "I don't know if I can."
"Be careful, Chief," Jim stated as he continued to climb up the side of the cliff. "There's some loose gravel up here and the footing isn't that great."
"Don't worry about me, man. I've been climbing this rock since I was a kid," Blair replied, grabbing another handhold and pulling himself up the face. He and Jim were spending the day rock climbing, using the cliffs down the beach from their campsite for that purpose. Blair had spent the past two days showing Jim around this section of the island. It was a part of the resort paradise that no one, except for some islanders, ever visited, its remoteness guaranteeing them privacy to explore both nature's gifts and their growing feelings towards each other.
The two men had discovered, after those first kisses, that they were both falling and falling hard. Both admitted that they had never been with another man, never even having considered it a possibility, but were more than willing to see what might happen between them. Yet, neither of them pressed the other to go further than their necking and groping sessions that left both of them panting and, usually, needing a change of clothes. As much as they hated it, they knew that the time that they had together was limited. That, eventually, their week would be up and that Jim would be leaving Fantasy Island to go back to Cascade, while Blair remained, bound by his mother's wishes and Roarke's promise to her to keep him safe. And, as much as they both wanted something more than what they had, Jim and Blair both knew that it would be even more difficult for them to leave each other at the end of Jim's week on the island if they allowed their relationship to progress any further than where it already was. Blair knew that Jim couldn't stay on the island just as Jim was sure that Blair wouldn't be able to leave it.
"Damn, you were right Chief, this is a wonderful view," Jim whispered in awe as he stared out at the open ocean. The two had finally reached the top of the cliff. "I don't know how I'll ever be able to go back to Cascade after seeing all of this."
"This is the reason why I always come here," Blair told the older man simply. He watched Jim's face as the detective took in his surroundings. "It's like I can see forever. Sometimes I can even see a cruise ship out there."
"You mean, like the one over there," Jim pointed towards something in the distance. Blair tried to see what the other man was looking at, but couldn't see anything other than a small dot.
"What ship?" He asked. "I can't see anything."
"It's right over there," Jim stated, indicating the area where he saw the cruise ship. Blair still couldn't see anything.
"Jim, I can't see anything." Jim stared at the man that he was finding himself falling for and saw that he wasn't teasing him. 'Damn, I thought that they had at least gone back to normal while I was here. Why couldn't they have stayed regular?' "Jim, are you okay, man?"
"I'm fine, Chief," he lied and Blair saw right through it.
"No, you're not," he answered. Blair wrapped his arms around Jim's waist, turning the larger man so that they were facing each other. "What's on that mind of yours? Come on, you can trust me." Jim shook his head. He didn't want to tell Blair about his senses, afraid that he would think that Jim was insane. Blair could see the indecision on Jim's face and cupped his palm over Jim's cheek. "Please, Jim, tell me what's bothering you." The worry and love in Blair's voice was what made the decision for Jim.
"Sometimes I can see things that other people can't. My senses have this tendency of becoming stronger than most peoples," Jim finally admitted. "I can see things that I shouldn't be able to. Hear things that people are saying even though they are nowhere near me. My taste has gotten so sensitive that I can't eat half of the food that I love. I can tell what something is just from smell alone, even if it's been days since something has been there. Even my clothes make my skin burn." Jim looked out at the ocean, watching as the distant cruise ship finally left his sight. He didn't want to look into Blair's eyes, afraid to see the disbelief on the younger man's face.
"Wow," Blair exclaimed in a soft voice. "So have you always had this kind of reaction with your senses or is it something new?" Blair knew enough about Jim to understand that Jim would be very sensitive about his senses. Jim shrugged his shoulders in answer.
"I first noticed them when I was in Peru," Jim explained. "The Shaman of the local tribe, Incacha, helped me with them as much as he could. He tried to tell me that they were a gift and I used them to help the Chopec. They said it was one of the reasons that we had been able to hold the pass and defeat the drug smugglers. Then when I got back to the States, they seemed to disappear."
"Disappear?" Jim nodded his head.
"Yeah. One day everything was too bright, too loud, too everything and the next, everything was back to normal, but the damage was already done. Between the senses and finding out that my team had been betrayed, I couldn't live with being in the army anymore. You know what happened after that."
"You went back to Cascade and joined the police force there," Blair continued. "So, what brought your senses back online like this?"
"I don't know," Jim admitted. "I was on a stake out. There was this bomber that was taunting me. I was in the woods, alone, for a week and suddenly my senses started going crazy again. I could hear the water boiling for my coffee as if it were a loud radio. It got so bad that the suspect managed to get away from me. As it was, it was by pure dumb luck that managed to get to her before she did anymore damage. But, ever since then, my senses have refused to go back to normal."
"Oh man," Blair began to mutter to himself. "Oh man oh man oh man oh man. I don't believe it. I absolutely don't believe this." Blair pulled away from Jim, and started pacing along the cliff's side, constantly muttering things that not even Jim could hear. 'This is it. This is where I lose him,' Jim thought. 'Now Blair knows just how screwed up I am and he can't wait to get away from me. Well, at least it was good while it lasted. It just means it will be easier to leave the island at the end of the week, knowing that he thinks I'm insane.' Jim prepared himself for the moment when Blair would look at him with scorn on his face.
"Jim, man, this is like so amazing," Blair finally said. "I mean, I've read about people with heightened senses, even met a few with one or two of them, but I've never seen anyone with all five. Do you have any idea of what this means."
"It means that I'm probably going crazy, is what it means." Hostility laced Jim's voice as he thought of what his senses have cost him.
"No way, man," Blair excitedly replied. "Your senses are like a gift. The things they can help you do. It's amazing just thinking about it." Blair finally stood in front of Jim once more, and saw the resigned sadness in his friend's face.
"You don't understand, Chief," Jim sighed. "You don't have any idea of what it's like for me. I can't control them. I have no idea of when they are going to act up and I can't keep working with them like this. As it is, Simon had to put me on desk duty until we could figure out a way to control them. I can't do the job I was meant to do because I can't control what my senses are telling me."
"Jim, look, I know it sounds weird, but I can tell you what I think is going on." At Jim's non-verbal agreement, Blair led the other man over to a boulder and seating him there. Blair went back to his pacing, using the time to gather his thoughts. Once he figured out what he wanted to say he began to explain his theory to Jim.
"Richard Burton, the explorer not the actor, wrote about a group of tribal watchman. They had been chosen because of a specific genetic ability. They had heightened senses. Now, these senses helped them track game, predict the weather, and protect the tribe from their enemies. In essence, they were the tribe's guardians or, as Burton called them, they were Sentinels."
"Yup, and from everything you've just told me about your own senses, it sounds like you may be a Sentinel yourself," Blair said happily. "Even your choice in professions makes sense. First the military and then a cop. Hello, can we say protective mode there."
"But what good are my senses to other people if I can't control them?"
"Well, that can be a problem," Blair admitted. "But, if you're willing, I think I can do something to help you with that."
Blair came over and stood between Jim's legs. The detective looked into his partner's blue eyes and saw only a true desire to help him, with nothing else asked for in return. He wrapped his arms around Blair's waist and pulled him closer to him.
"Tell me what you want me to do, Chief?"
Two days later found the two men breaking their camp after having decided to spend Jim's last full day on the island back at the main resort. The past couple of days had Jim learning to control his senses, using what Blair called dials. Jim discovered that with the dials, he was able to decide how much or little he wanted a sense to work. If a smell was too bad, he would lower the dial until it became more bearable. If he wanted to see or hear something better, he would raise the dial until he was satisfied with the setting. It gave the detective hope that he would be able to function back in the real world and would enable him to continue doing the job that he loved.
Blair's excitement over the discovery of Jim's senses were contagious and the older man found himself looking forward to being able to use them in his job. He knew it would be difficult explaining to his Captain, but he would, especially since he knew that he was going to need someone to help him if he got overloaded. That was the one problem that they still hadn't been able to defeat. Sometimes, when Jim was concentrating too hard on something, he would become still, or zone as Blair put it. It had happened to him before and usually nothing could bring him out of it until he was ready to come out on his own, but with Blair, it was different. Instead of taking hours to come back, Blair was able to talk him back in only a matter of minutes. That is, if he couldn't prevent it completely in the first place.
The two men also found themselves growing incredibly closer. It was as if they had known each for years instead of just days. Both opened themselves up to feelings that they hadn't even been aware of possessing. They refused to think of the time when they would be forced to part, deciding to live in the moment, as if they were the only two people on the island. The day would find them hiking or swimming or working on Jim's senses, but at night, they would sit by the fire, holding each other as only lover's can do. Jim would wrap himself around Blair, neither having to really say anything, both content with just the feeling of the people that they held. Then, when they went to bed, they would make love, although they still would not do any actual penetration, knowing that if they did, they would never be able to leave each other and that would make things harder then they already would be when they would eventually have to.
"You know, I always hate it when I have to leave here, but today, I really despise it," Blair said as he looked around the campsite to make sure that they hadn't forgotten anything. He always made sure that the site looked the same, if not better, when he left then when he came. Jim came up behind him and wrapped his arms around his lover.
"I know the feeling, Chief," he murmured, dropping his head to place a kiss on Blair's cheek. "This place, it's like itís ours. Like this is our own little piece of paradise."
"It is," Blair agreed. "I don't think I'll ever be able to come back here and not think of you." Blair turned into Jim's embrace, resting his head against the taller man's chest, a quiet sob escaping him. "How am I supposed to come back here when you won't be here with me?"
"Oh God, Blair," Jim cried, running his hand over Blair's curls, kissing the top of his head. He knew exactly what Blair was feeling, as it was the same for him. Jim couldn't imagine going back to Cascade and trying to live his life alone, for he was sure that he had finally found his soul mate.
"I wish I could go back to Cascade with you," Blair whispered. "I don't think I can stay here without you."
"Maybe Roarke will let you leave the island," Jim answered softly. Blair shook his head against Jim's chest.
"He promised my mom that he would take care of me," Blair reminded Jim. "According to him, I'm here for a reason and, from what I got from him, I won't be allowed to leave until whatever is supposed to happen actually does."
"He can't hold you against your will, Blair."
"I know," Blair sighed, pulling back slightly so that he could look into his love's face. "But he took care of me, raised me, when Naomi either couldn't or wouldn't. I have an obligation to him to stay until whatever is supposed to happen does." Jim pulled Blair back to him.
"I know, babe," Jim bit back the tears that were threatening to fall. "I just wish there was some way that we could be together. I don't know how I'm supposed to go back to that lonely loft after knowing what having someone in my life that I love and that loves me back."
"I do love you, Jim."
"I know you do, Chief," Jim placed another kiss on the top of Blair's head. "Just like I love you. We'll figure something out. Just because I'm leaving, it doesn't mean that we can't stay in touch. We can write and I can certainly afford a high phone bill.' Blair chuckled.
"Like yours would be the only one that would be high," Blair laughed. "Trust me, I'll be spending every cent that I have calling the States. You'll get so sick of hearing my voice, you'll turn off that phone of yours."
"Never, Chief. Never." The two men just stood together, reveling in the feeling of peace that was surrounding them. Neither wanted to be the first to move, knowing that to do so would mean that it was time to leave their paradise and take that first step back to reality. A reality that would force their eventual separation. Eventually, they pulled apart, albeit reluctantly. After a brief but passionate kiss, they began to make their way out of the forest that had brought them what they both had wanted without even knowing it. Love.
"Well, we're back," Blair sighed as he dumped his backpack on the couch in his home, Jim following and doing the same. It had taken them longer to get back than it had taken to reach their campsite due to the fact that they were in no real hurry to return to the resort, knowing that once they did, it would only be a reminder of how short their time was. "Home, sweet, home."
Jim glanced around the room, taking a better look at the place that Blair called home and he noticed something that seemed out of place.
"Umm, Chief, since when did you start wearing pantyhose?"
"What?" Jim pointed to the pair of pantyhose that were lying near a chair. Next to it, was a floral suitcase. "Oh man, not now."
"Naomi," was the only word that Blair needed to say. Over the past five days, Blair had told Jim a lot about the woman that had given birth to him. About the things that she had tried to teach her only child. Jim had decided that, although Blair loved his mother and looked forward to seeing or hearing from her on those rare occasions when she actually remembered she had a son, Blair also dreaded those same moments. He hated knowing that, even though Naomi loves him, he wasn't her top priority. That Naomi preferred traveling and staying with various friends and lovers, then with spending time raising the son that she had brought into the world.
"What's she doing here?" Jim was curious as to why the woman who hadn't been to visit her son in five years had suddenly decided to come now.
"I would say for my birthday, but she's never been here before for it, so I can't be sure. It's not like it's a major milestone or something." Jim took Blair into his arms and placed a gentle kiss on his lips.
"Oh, I wouldn't say that," he said lovingly, nuzzling the smaller man's neck. "I would say the day that celebrates the birth of the most wonderful man in the world is definitely something of a milestone."
"You, my love, are biased," Blair teased.
"So? Doesn't mean it isn't true," Jim pointed out. "You are a wonderful, loving man and I am so glad that I even had the privilege of meeting you, let alone having your love." Blair's eyes showed the love he felt at the tender and heartfelt words coming from his lover's mouth. No one had ever made him feel as loved as Jim did. Not even Naomi. "So, I guess with your mom here, our plans for tonight and tomorrow are kinda down the drain, huh?"
"No way, man," Blair protested. "Just because Naomi decided to show up now, for whatever reason, it doesn't mean that I don't intend on spending as much time with you as I possibly can. Trust me, we are going to spend every moment we can together."
"But Naomi's your mother, Blair," Jim reminded him. "She came here to see you. It wouldn't be right to just ignore her."
"Who said anything about ignoring her?" Blair teased. "I plan on showing off the man I love to my mother. I want her to meet the man that has stolen my heart."
"It's only fair, since you stole mine." Blair and Jim kissed again, their arms tightening around each other, pulling the other closer to them. They could feel their erections brush against each other and sighed in contentment. Neither of them could believe that anything could feel as good. Before they could make it to the bedroom, though, someone clearing their throat interrupted them. The two men broke apart, turning to face the intruder.
"Naomi," Blair called out as he saw his mother standing in the doorway to his home. Next to her was an older gentleman that he had never seen before.
"Dad," Jim said in surprise, causing Blair to turn towards him.
"Wait a minute," Blair shook his head, looking between his mother, Jim's father and Jim.
"Hello, darling," Naomi greeted Blair, coming and pulling him away from Jim. Blair allowed her to do so, although reluctantly. "How's the birthday boy?"
"Older," he answered sarcastically. "What are you doing here, Mom?"
"What, is it so unusual for a mother to come and visit her son on his birthday?" Naomi answered casually, although Blair could sense something in her voice that wasn't right. "I just wanted to see how my favorite son was doing."
"Mom, I haven't seen you in over five years," Blair pointed out. "I haven't heard from you in over six months. You've never been here for my birthdays. You show up here with Jim's dad and you just expect me to think that something isn't up? Come on, Naomi, I know you better than that."
"Blair, I'm hurt that you don't seem to trust me," Naomi pouted. "Now, is that anyway to treat your mother. Come on, why don't we go for a nice walk and talk. It's been so long."
"Mom, I would love to spend time with you, but I've made other plans." Blair returned to Jim's side. The other man, for his part, was still standing in the same place Blair had left him, staring at his father. He turned his attention back to Blair at the first touch to his arm. "Mom, this is Jim Ellison." Blair hesitated for minute. "My lover."
"Lover?" William Ellison finally said. He looked over between the son he hadn't seen in so long and Blair. "Jim?"
"Yes, dad, my lover," Jim confirmed. "Dad, this is Blair Sandburg. Blair, my father, William Ellison."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Ellison. Welcome to Fantasy Island." Blair smiled at the other man, who found himself returning it. William had to admit there was something about Blair that just made him easy to like, even under the strange circumstances of this particular meeting.
"Thank you, Blair," William answered. "You have a lovely home here. You must have had a wonderful childhood growing up here." Blair shrugged.
"It was okay, although there were a few things that I missed." Naomi winced at the way her son pointedly looked in her direction with his statement. "So what brings you to the island?"
"Yeah, Dad," Jim joined in. "I wouldn't have figured this for your type of vacation spot."
"Actually, Stephen and I are here on business," William explained. "We were interested in building another resort on the other side of the island and came to discuss it with Mr. Roarke."
"I can just imagine his reaction to that," Blair chuckled. "You aren't the first people to come here with that agenda."
"So he told us, in no uncertain terms," the elder Ellison actually smiled. "He's a very interesting man, that Roarke. He always seems to know what you're thinking and feeling, even when you don't."
"Yeah, he has that nasty little habit," Blair stated. "It can be rather annoying at times, but sometimes, it's really nice not having to worry about explaining how you feel."
"So, Blair, how exactly did you and my son meet?" Blair looked between father and son, wondering just how much he should tell the other man and then decided to take his cue from Jim.
"Roarke asked Blair to show me around the island," Jim explained. "Apparently, Blair is the best tour guide around."
"Really? I wish we had more time on the island, maybe you could show me and Stephen around also." William seemed to make a decision. "I would very much like to get to know the young man that seems to have stolen my son's heart." Jim looked in surprise at his father. He never expected to hear his father say anything like that about anyone that Jim brought to meet him, let alone his male lover.
"Dad?" William walked over and stood in front of Jim, resting one of his hands on Jim's shoulder.
"Jim, look, I know I've made some mistakes," William began. "I'll be the first to admit that I didn't do right by you or Stephen with the way I raised you. And I can't say that I'm entirely comfortable knowing that my son appears to be in love with a man, but with that kiss that Naomi and I walked in on, I have no doubt it is love, but I also know that I've missed having you in my life. When I had heard you were dead, a big part of myself died. And then you were back and I thought I was being given a second chance, but you never contacted Stephen or I and we thought we had lost you again, but at least this time you were alive."
"Dad," Jim whispered. He allowed himself to be pulled into his father's arms in a hug that he had never thought he would get.
"I'm so sorry, Jimmy," William Ellison whispered. "Forgive this old fool for the way that he treated his son. I love you, Jim, and I am willing to accept everything that you are, including the fact that you have a male lover, if it means that I get to have you back in my life."
Naomi looked on at the two men embracing and at her son smiling at them and fumed. Things were not going as well as she had planned. She had hoped that William Ellison would be horrified to learn that his son was involved with another man. When she had run into him, she had been sure that it was a sign that Jim and Blair weren't meant to be together. She figured that the elder Ellison would convince Jim to just forget about whatever might be going on between the two men, but apparently that wasn't going to happen. Not only was he accepting Jim's choice in lifestyles, but also he was even willing to welcome Blair. That would just not do.
"Blair, I'm sure Jim would understand it if you and I spent some quality time together," Naomi suggested. "In fact, he probably would like to spend time with his family also. So why don't we go for that walk now?" Blair looked over at Jim and William and then back to his mother. He didn't know what was going on with Naomi, but it had to be something important.
"You go on, Chief," Jim said, kissing his lover, not caring who was in the room. "You go have some fun with your mom. We've still got all day tomorrow to get together."
"Are you sure?" As much as he wanted to talk to his mother and find out what was going on with her, Blair didn't want to waste any of the precious time he had left with Jim. "We had plans."
"I know, babe, but we'll just put them off until later. Call me tonight and we'll get together, okay?"
"Yeah." Another gentle kiss between the men sealed that promise. "I will talk to you later." Jim smiled and nodded, leading his father away from Blair and Naomi. Once they were alone, Blair turned on his mother. "Okay, Naomi, what is going on?"
"Blair, I think it would be best if you didn't have anymore contact with your friend, Jim," Naomi started as she and her son walked along the deserted beach. The two of them had just enjoyed a rather strained dinner. Naomi was working hard at reestablishing the mother/son bond with Blair, while he just wanted to know what was going on with her. She kept telling him that it was nothing, but he never believed her and now, three hours later; she was finally ready to let him in on whatever it was that was bothering her. And what she was saying made Blair turn to her in disbelief.
"I said, I think it would be better if you didn't see Jim anymore," Naomi repeated, knowing that Blair wouldn't like her suggestion at first, but she knew that he would understand and respect her wishes. After all, Blair knew that she was only telling him what was best for him.
"And just why would I want to stop seeing Jim?" Blair questioned.
"Because, Blair, he isn't right for you," Naomi sighed. "There are so many things going against you and him. So many, I don't even want to think about them."
"I know things won't exactly be easy for Jim and I, but we want to at least try and make them work," Blair patiently tried to explain.
"And how exactly are you suppose to do that, Blair," Naomi asked. "Jim is going back to Cascade in a couple of days and you're staying on the island. I can tell you from personal experience that long distance relationships don't work out."
"Naomi, no relationship works out when it involves you," Blair spat, causing Naomi to gasp.
"Blair Jacob Sandburg, what a horrid thing to say to your mother." Blair had the grace to at least look apologetic.
"I'm sorry, Mom, but just because you've had trouble making relationships work, that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't," Blair began again. "And I have to at least try to make this work. We know it won't be easy but I've already made arrangements to talk with Mr. Roarke about working off whatever debt he feels I owe him so that I can be free to leave the island."
"And then what are you going to do? Go to Cascade and try and be with your detective? What makes you think he would even want you there with him?" Naomi spat out, hating the anger in her voice but unable to control it. She could see the hurt she was causing her son in his eyes and wished she could take back the hurtful words, but she knew that she had to say them if it meant that Blair would be safe.
"Jim has already said that he wants me in Cascade with him," Blair told her, fighting back the tears that were threatening to fall at his mother's harmful words. "As for what I would do, I was thinking that I would like to go to school. Rainer's supposed to be an excellent university and I should have no problem getting in. Maybe study Anthropology or something. And, before you ask, yes, Mom, I would be living with Jim. He has made it clear that he welcomes me there."
"Sure he does, now when he knows that it's not even a possibility for you to leave the island," she continued her ranting. "But, trust me, Blair, that will change if you went there with him." Blair shook his head, refusing to believe in what his mother was saying.
"No, Mom, you're wrong," he denied. "Jim loves me and I love him. There's a connection between us. I don't know how to explain it, but it's there and it binds us together. It's like we've known each for years instead of only days."
"Oh, honey, that's just your emotions talking," Naomi reasoned. "You're infatuated with him, that's all it is. Trust me, once the two of you spend some time apart, you'll see that I'm right. Besides, just what kind of life could he give you? He's a detective. A Pig. I raised you to know better than to trust anything that one of them says."
"Mom, isn't it possible that there are some good cops out there," Blair asked. "Not all of them can be as bad as you seem to want them to be. Jim certainly isn't."
"How do you know that," Naomi insisted. "Because he told you so? Blair, he's here on vacation. He was probably just looking for someone to have a good time with and you fit the bill. Please, baby, don't fool yourself into thinking that it could possibly be more than that. You'll only end up getting hurt."
"No, Mom," Blair denied. "You're wrong. Jim does care for me. Just like I care for him. And maybe, if you're willing to spend some time with him and get to know him, you'll see it, too."
"Baby, I don't want to spend any time with him."
"In that case, I'll see you in two days," Blair informed Naomi. "Because I plan on spending every minute I can with Jim until he has to leave." And with that, Blair walked away from his mother.
"Oh, baby," Naomi whispered, watching her son walk away, sadness coursing through her. "I'm only doing what I have to in order to make sure you're safe. You'll see I'm right and that your Jim isn't the right man for you. I'll make you see that."
Jim arrived at the restaurant, wondering once again why he had agreed to meet his father and brother. It had been so long since the three of them had been in the same place and, back then, it had never exactly been of the pleasant. After Jim's mother had left her family, said family began to break down. His father preferred spending time at his job to his sons. Then, when he did pay attention to them, he would make it so that they would be going against each other. It had finally driven Jim from his home, first to military school, then the Army. But now, here he was, getting ready to see his family once more. And the knowledge that his father walked in on him and Blair making out in the younger man's home just made Jim wonder what exactly would be happening with this evening's meal.
'Damn, why couldn't Blair and I just be able to spend the night together. Was that too much to ask? We have so little time together, as it is, why do we have to waste it being apart.' Jim was so lost in his thoughts he didn't hear his brother come up behind him until Stephen tapped him on his shoulder. Jim jumped and spun to face his brother.
"Stephen," Jim said.
"Lost in thought, Jimmy," Stephen grinned. "What was it that had your attention? Or should I say, who?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Dad told me about your young man," Stephen explained. Jim searched his brother's face and body language for any hostility towards Blair, but found only open happiness. "I'm not going to lie and say I'm not a little weirded out by the fact that my, seemingly straight brother is apparently in love with another man, but I'm happy that you've found someone that makes you happy."
"Yeah, Blair definitely makes me happy," Jim agreed. The two men stood there for a few minutes, neither saying anything. Finally, Jim decided to give in and pulled Stephen into a hug. "Damn, itís good to see you, little brother."
"Same here, Jimmy. Come on, the old man's waiting for us at our table." The two brothers walked towards a table and Jim saw his father already sitting there. The eldest Ellison smiled when he saw his two sons together for the first time in over fifteen years. He never thought he would live to see the day when his family would be together again. "Jimmy, I'm so glad you could make it," William greeted, standing to greet his sons. "I wasn't sure if you would come."
"I said I would, didn't I," Jim challenged, instantly regretting the harsh tone in his voice. He didn't want to start off the dinner angry. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for that to come out the way it did." William waved Jim's apology aside.
"Don't worry," he told him. "I understand. I know that I haven't exactly been the best parent, but I did do the best I could under the circumstances. I'm sorry that it wasn't good enough. I never meant for you to leave home. Then when we heard that you were missing and presumed dead, I thought I had lost all chance of making it up to you."
"Then why didn't you try and contact me when I got back from Peru?" Jim questioned the buried anger he felt at his family's distance still in him. "Sally was the only one who contacted me. I didn't get so much as a phone call or letter from either of you." Stephen and William looked away from Jim's accusing face, unable to look into the blue eyes of Jim, ashamed for the way that they had treated him.
"I'm so sorry, Jimmy," William apologized again. "I know I should have contacted you. There's no excuse for the fact that I didn't. First, I was so shocked that you were alive and back with us. Then I began to question whether or not you even would want to hear from me."
"Same here," Stephen added. "And considering the way that we parted, and the fact that you never bothered to contact us after you left for school while we were in Europe, I thought that you would be just as happy if you never heard from us. I never meant to hurt you anymore than I already had."
"Jim, I know neither of us have any reason to ask, considering our past, but do you think it would be possible for you to ever forgive us," William finished. Jim looked between the two men, truly seeing them, maybe for the first time since his mother had left. He saw the people that had hurt them with their willing absence from his life, but he also saw two men that weren't perfect and were now willing to admit it. 'Who am I to be judgmental? Its not like I went out of my way to stay in touch with them.'
"Only if you can forgive me," Jim said. All three men smiled tentatively at each other. They broke off from their conversation when a waiter arrived to take their orders. Conversation was awkward at first, but they began to talk about the changes that had taken place in all of their lives. William told Jim about his retirement plans, that Jim wasn't surprised to discover included Sally, who was now his father's lover and well as caregiver. Stephen talked about his job and the woman that he was seeing. Jim was happy to hear that his brother was thinking of asking her to marry him and looked forward to meeting her once they all returned to Cascade.
Jim, for his part, discussed his time in the military, and even talked about Peru. He told them about how, when he left the Army, he had decided to come back home, to Cascade, even if he didn't have any contact with his family. He explained how he had come to be a detective, first about his time in Vice and now in Major Crimes. William told him that he had a scrapbook full of articles on his son, everything from his more high profile cases to his wedding announcement to Carolyn. Jim never mentioned his senses once.
"And that's been pretty much my life in a nutshell," Jim finished, taking a sip of the coffee that was in front of him. He was surprised to find that he had actually enjoyed spending time with his brother and father. Not once did either of them denigrate him or make him feel as if they looked down their noses at him because he chose to become a detective instead of going into some other kind of business where he could have made more money. He found that he enjoyed their company, but kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, having had that happen all too often in his life.
"So, Jim," Stephen began, "tell us about Blair." Jim looked up quickly at his brother and then over at his father. 'Here it is,' he thought. 'Here's where they start to dictate to me how I should live my life.'
"What would you like to know?" Jim was proud of the fact that he managed to keep his voice neutral.
"Well, how about how you two met?"
"Mr. Roarke introduced us," Jim explained. "I came to the island to get away from the city, maybe do some hiking, fishing, that kind of thing. Roarke figured that Blair would be a good tour guide for me as he spends most of his time here exploring the island. When I met him, it was like there was this instant connection between the two of us." Jim couldn't help but smile as he thought back to the moment he realized that there was indeed something special between himself and the younger man.
"Love at first sight?" William asked. "Sounds as if you got extremely lucky." Jim watched his father, looking for any sign of disgust but like before at Blair's, his father appeared to be happy for his son.
"I did," Jim agreed. "Blair is someone special and I'm glad that I got to know him. I just hate knowing that I have to leave in two days and that he isn't going with me."
"Why not?" Stephen wanted to know, wondering why his brother seemed so willing to leave the man he loved behind. "Why doesn't Blair come back to Cascade with you? It sounds like you wouldn't mind it if he did."
"I wouldn't and I've told him so," Jim admitted. "And, eventually, Blair plans on coming back to the States, but Blair wants to repay whatever debt he feels he owes Roarke for taking care of him. He doesn't think he can leave until he does so.
"It sounds almost like Blair's a prisoner here." Jim shook his head.
"No, not a prisoner. Just someone who takes his promises very seriously. Blair sees himself staying as a way to pay back Roarke for taking him in when Naomi didn't want him anymore." The disgust that Jim felt towards his lover's mother was evident in his voice. He made no attempt to hide it.
"Naomi did seem a bit flighty when I met her," William mentioned. "I couldn't understand half of what she was saying."
"What do you mean?" Jim asked. "And how exactly did you met her anyway?"
"I was at this little cafť near the beach and she came over and asked if I was William Ellison," he explained. "When I said I was, she told me who she was and informed me that you and Blair were friends and that she thought that we should get to know each other. She kept asking me about you, though, like she was trying to find out what kind of person her son was involved with. Then she started dropping hints that maybe it would be better for everyone if you and Blair didn't see each other anymore." Jim groaned at that, wondering if Naomi was going to try and convince Blair to leave him. Jim didn't know if he could handle that. In just the short time that he had with him, Jim already knew that his life would never be complete if Blair wasn't in it.
"What did you tell her?"
"I told her that you were a grown man, as was Blair, and that if the two of you wanted to be together, I wouldn't do anything to stop it." Jim looked gratefully at his father.
William saw it and smiled at his eldest child. "Jim, I know I've never been one to say it, but I do love you and want you to be happy. If Blair makes you happy, then the two of you should be together. I'll support whatever decision that you make."
"That's what families are for." And for the first time, that's what Jim thought he was a part of. A family.
Jim sighed as he made his way back to his suite. He was surprised to find that he had actually enjoyed spending the time with his family. He was even more surprised that both his father and brother told him that they would like to get to know Blair better, but would wait until the younger man could join Jim in Cascade, knowing that Jim and Blair would probably prefer to spend their remaining time on the island together and alone. Jim started to unlock his door when the sound of a heartbeat coming from inside came to him. He instantly recognized it as his lover's, having grown accustomed to listening to it when they were camping, and he quickly entered the dark room.
It took only a moment for his eyes to adjust and for him to locate Blair, who was curled up on Jim's bed, looking as if he were sleeping. Jim walked over to his lover, taking in his appearance and noticed the puffy eyes that made it obvious that Blair had been crying over something. And, remembering his conversation with his father and the elder Ellison's comment about how Naomi seemed to want Jim and Blair to separate, it didn't take Jim long to realize that she was responsible for Blair's distress. He sat on the edge of the bed, leaning over and placing a gentle kiss on the other man's lips. Blair moaned at the contact, slowly waking up.
"Who else, Chief?" Jim grinned. Jim brushed a strand of Blair's hair around his ear, brushing his thumb over the tear stained cheek of his lover. "What happened, Blair?"
"It was Naomi," Blair stated flatly. Jim nodded his head, having already suspected.
"What did she have to say?" Blair threw himself into Jim's arms, which instinctively wrapped themselves around the smaller man. Jim listened as Blair broke into sobs as he remembered what his mother had said to him about his relationship to Jim.
"She thinks it would be better if you and I don't see each other anymore," Blair cried, burrowing into Jim's chest, as if he were seeking the only source of safety afforded to him. Jim pressed him closer, his heart breaking as the words left Blair's mouth. He knew how much Blair cared for his mother and fully expected the younger man to abide by what she said.
"Did she say why?"
"She said she doesn't want me to become involved with a cop. She hates them all and swears that you'll only hurt me." Jim held Blair closer to him, trying to comfort the upset young man.
"I would never do that, you know that, don't you?" Blair nodded his head into Jim's chest.
"I know you wouldn't. I trust you," Blair confirmed. "It was just so hard hearing my mother tell me that you were only using me because I was here. Then she told me that you were just saying that you wanted me to go home with you because you wanted to get in my pants. She kept saying that you didn't really care about me."
"Oh God, Blair," Jim's heart broke at the pain that was in Blair's voice. He cursed Naomi Sandburg for doing this to her son and became grateful at the easy way that his own family seemed to accept that he wanted Blair in his life.
"You do want me to go with you, don't you, Jim?" Blair pulled away from Jim a bit, needing to look into his blue eyes. "You weren't just saying those things because you thought they were what I wanted to hear, were you?"
"Of course not, babe." Jim cupped Blair's face with his hands. "I love you, Blair Jacob Sandburg. I love you with everything that I am and I can't wait until the day that you can come home to me. To Cascade. I want to spend the rest of my life showing you exactly how special you are to me. You are the only person for me. I never thought I would feel this way for anyone, let alone another man, but I do. You make me feel special. As if what I do matters to people. As if I matter."
"You do, Jim. You matter so much," Blair said. "I love you, too. You're all that I want. I never thought that I would find someone to care for me the way you do and now that I have, I don't know how I will be able to stay here after you're gone. All I can keep thinking about is how lonely my life will be with you not in it."
Jim pulled Blair back to him; the two of them finding comfort in each other. They sat there holding each other, for awhile, not saying anything and yet saying everything at the same time. Blair kept thinking back to the things his mother had said to him, wondering what it was that had made her so angry towards Jim that she didn't even want to spend time with so that she could get to know him. Jim, for his part, was concerned that Naomi would do something to try and separate him from Blair and vowed to not let that happen. Even if it meant that he came back to the island to live if Blair couldn't come to Cascade. Finally, Blair seemed to calm down and pulled back from Jim, wiping the remaining tears away from his face. He smiled up at the taller man, remembering that he wasn't the only one who had had a run in with a parent.
"So, how did your dinner with your dad go?" Jim was surprised at the change of topics, but allowed it, grateful suddenly that at least one of their parents was supportive of them.
"Believe it or not, it actually went pretty good," Jim told him. "The three of us had a good time. I think we might actually be able to become a family again."
"Did he...did he say anything about us?" Blair stammered.
"Yes," Jim drawled, knowing exactly what was going through Blair's head. "Both he and Stephen asked about you. They wanted to know how we met and how serious it was between us."
"What did you tell them?"
"What else could I tell them? I told them the truth. That I loved you and wanted you in my life for as long as you could stand being in it. That I wanted you to come back to Cascade with me as soon as you can and that I planned on spending the rest of my life showing you just how important you are to me." Blair threw himself back into Jim's arms again, showering Jim's face with kisses. Jim laughed as he caught his lover, glad to see a smile on the younger man's face.
"God, Jim, I love you so much," Blair repeated over and over again, between kisses. "You have no idea how much. I don't know what I'm going to do when you leave. You are the most important person in the world to me. I can't wait until we can be together forever. I know we'll get through anything that people decide to throw our way."
"But what about Naomi, Chief?" No matter what Blair said, Jim knew how hard it must have been for Blair to listen as his mother ranted against his lover. He didn't know everything that had happened between the two of them, but he knew enough that it must not have been pretty.
"What about her?"
"Blair, babe, no matter what else might have happened, Naomi's your mother. I know how much she means to you."
"Jim, yes, Naomi is my mom and I love her. I always will. But it's you who I'm in love with. It's you who I want to spend the rest of my life with," Blair insisted. "Hopefully, given time, Naomi will accept the fact that you are a part of my life, but even if she doesn't, that's not going to change how I feel. There is no way that I am going to allow her to break us apart." Jim's heart nearly burst at Blair's admission and their lips met in a passionate kiss that spoke of love and promises of things to come.
The next evening found Jim and Blair walking along the beach, enjoying their last night together on the island. Their last night together until Blair could get away and come to Cascade to join Jim. Or for Jim to return to the island. Blair had been surprised by the detective's offer to move to the island. No one had ever been willing to give up so much for him and it touched him deeply.
The two men had spent the day just enjoying each other and doing the things that would make their last day together memorable. Blair had even insisted on meeting Stephen and William and Jim was pleased that they had gone out of their way to make Blair feel welcome. Both William and Stephen told Blair that they looked forward to him coming to Cascade so that they would have a better chance to get to know the young man that had stolen Jim's heart. Then they said that they would leave Jim and Blair alone, as they understood how it could be between new lovers.
Jim had asked Tattoo for help in arranging a special picnic lunch for Blair that included all of his favorite foods, which they enjoyed after a pleasant horseback ride. Jim had never felt more content in his life. For the first time, he felt totally at peace with himself and he knew it had everything to do with the young man by his side. The only downside to the entire day was the ever-looming presence of Naomi Sandburg. Even though neither man had brought up her name, she was still in both of their thoughts. Blair's because she was his mother and he hated doing anything that would upset her. And Jim's because he knew how much Blair loved Naomi and he didn't want his lover hurt because of her refusal to accept Jim in his life.
"Penny for them, big guy," Blair teased as he noticed his lover's silence. Jim smiled over at Blair, once again surprised that someone so unlike himself could make him so happy.
"I was just thinking."
"So I noticed. About anything in particular?" Jim shrugged his shoulders.
"I was just wondering what I would do with myself when I get back to Cascade," Jim answered. "Even though I've only known you a few days, it feels like it's been years. You've managed to find a place in me that I didn't even know existed and taken a piece of my heart that I don't think I'll be able to survive without." Blair felt tears come to his eyes at the heartfelt words coming from the older man's mouth. They were so close to his own feelings that it surprised him.
"I know what you mean," he said, allowing Jim to pull him against his chest so that they could sit and watch the sun set. "I don't think I've ever been this happy. I mean, I always suspected that there was someone out there for me, but I didn't think I would ever find them. Especially not with living on the island. But then you came and now everything seems right. It's like it was meant to be. I just wish..." Blair's voice trailed off and Jim was instantly aware that he was thinking of Naomi.
"You just wish your mother could understand that," Jim finished. Blair nodded his head. "She will, Blair. You just have to give her time. You're her son and she's just worried about you. I'd be more upset if she didn't worry for you."
"I know," Blair admitted. "It's just that I wish she would be more willing to listen to me instead of just trying to dictate to me how she thinks I should live my life. It's like I'm still ten years old instead of twenty seven."
"Blair, you're her child," Jim gently said. "Her baby. It's only natural that she wants to protect you."
"But that's just it," Blair protested. "I don't know if that's what she wants to do. It's more like," Blair searched for just the right word, trying to say what he was feeling. "It's like she wants me to remain a child forever. That she wants me to stay here and never have a life of my own. To never let me experience everything that the world has to offer me. Does that make any sense?"
"Perfect," Jim replied. "You think that Naomi doesn't see you as someone who has the right to decide for himself how he should be allowed to live his life." Blair nodded his head.
"Exactly. Naomi wants me to live my life for her, not for myself, and I just don't think I can do that."
"No one is expecting you to, Blair. You have to live your life, no one else's. Not mine, not your mother's, no one but yourself."
"You're right," Blair agreed. "It's just so sad. I love Naomi and all, but I can't just willingly sit by and let you leave me without doing my damnedest to be by your side. You're too important to me."
"Same here, babe. Besides, even if you wanted to get rid of me, don't think I would be too willing to go. As it is, I don't even want to get on that plane tomorrow, knowing what it is I'll be leaving here."
"And what would that be," Blair fished, turning his head to face Jim.
"My heart." Jim kissed Blair gently, allowing his love for the smaller man to come through it. Jim knew he was a man of action and not words, and he vowed to make sure that he always let Blair know how he felt.
"Well, in that case, it's only fair since you've had mine since I met you." Jim and Blair kissed again, this time longer and deeper as they felt the passion in them grow. They made quiet love on the beach that night under the sun, giving themselves to the other, knowing that it would have to sustain them on those long and lonely nights until they could be together again.
Jim looked around him once more, hoping to see the one face that he wanted, no needed, to see. Unfortunately, Blair was nowhere to be seen. Jim hadn't expected anything else, although he had been hoping that Blair would ignore the discussion from that morning where it had been decided that he wouldn't see Jim's plane off. They had said their good byes after spending the night together in Blair's home, making love and promises for the future.
The same couple that had been on the plane when he arrived were over by Mr. Roarke and Tattoo, smiling and shaking their hands. Whatever it was that had brought them to the island, obviously went well for them. Jim felt a sharp pain in his chest, wishing that it were he and Blair holding hands and exchanging loving looks. The detective was tempted to just go and tell Roarke that he wanted to stay on the island until Blair was free to leave with him, too, but he promised Blair that he would go back to Cascade and wait for him. Finally the couple left the two men and Jim approached them. Roarke smiled when he saw Jim and held out his hand to the departing guest.
"Ahhh, Detective Ellison, I hope that your visit here was everything that you had hoped it would be," Roarke commented.
"It was, and more," Jim said. "I'm almost tempted to stay."
"But our young Mr. Sandburg wouldn't appreciate you giving up your life for him," Roarke finished. "Yes, he can be a bit persuasive when he wants to be. He gets it from his mother, I'm afraid."
"Yeah, from what he's told me, Naomi does tend to be persistent. She certainly has tried her hardest to make sure Blair and I get separated."
"Her heart is in the right place," Roarke acknowledged. "But not everyone agrees with her. Not your family and certainly not anyone that knows Blair. He's a very special young man and we'll miss him when he goes. He's told us that he has every intention of joining you in Cascade once he pays off his debt to me." Jim nodded his head. Roarke could tell that Jim was thrilled at the notion that Blair would be with him one day.
"I just hope we don't have to wait too long for that too happen. But I'm willing to wait for him. He's worth it."
"That he is," Roarke agreed. "Detective, I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you."
"What is it?"
"Well, you see, there's a young man here. He was raised on the island, and he was recently accepted at a university in the States. He's never really traveled alone and I was wondering if you would be willing to make sure he got to his destination okay." Jim thought about it, not sure if he liked the idea of being responsible for someone who was able to leave the island when his Blair had to stay, but ultimately, he agreed.
"Thank you." Roarke looked over Jim's shoulder and smiled at something there. "Ahh, there he is now." Jim turned to see his charge and his face broke into a huge grin.
Standing in front of the plane stood Blair, back pack slung over his shoulder and looking over at Jim, joy written all over his face. Jim turned back to face Roarke.
"There was never any debt for him to pay off. We took him in because we loved him. And that's why we're letting him go with you, because of the love between the two of you."
"Thank you." Jim shook Roarke's and Tattoo's hands once more and then almost ran to Blair, picking him up and kissing him. They stood together, smiling at each other before turning once and waving to the two men remaining behind and then going into the plane.
"Naomi won't be happy that you let Blair leave with the detective," Tattoo began. "She assumed that you would be more than willing to keep Blair here. That's why she sent him here in the first place."
"Naomi sent him here because she was trying to prevent fate from happening," Roarke countered. "She should have known better than that. Blair and Detective Ellison were meant to be together. Naomi had no reason to try and dictate otherwise."
"Do you think she'll accept the two of them together?"
"I don't know, but I hope for her sake, she does. Blair won't allow her to come between himself and the man he loves." Tattoo looked over at the place where the two men had just been.
"Boss, do you think Blair will come back to the island?" Tattoo asked.
"Of course he will."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because, it's his destiny to take over for his father and run the family business." Roarke and Tattoo waved once more at the occupants of the plane. The one couple smiled and waved back, but another only had eyes for each other.
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Acknowledgements: Thanks to Kylia and Patt for their inspiration and to Mary for being a great Beta.