It Happened One Night - Silk

It was one of Cascade's finer restaurants. Not generally affordable on Jim Ellison's pay as a detective with the Cascade PD, it fell into the category of bridge-building. His date was Carolyn Plummer, head of Technical Support at the PD. But Jim knew her better as his ex-wife.

At the end of his stint in the Army as a Ranger, Jim was lost in the wilds of Peru for a year and a half. Hailed as a hero upon his return, he became a police officer, rising quickly through the ranks due to a significant closure rate. In search of that inexplicable something that everyone needs in his life, Jim quickly romanced and married Carolyn. They were just as quickly divorced eighteen months later.

Despite the fact that they never had all that much in common, Jim was reluctant to give up on his relationship with Carolyn. It wasn't so much denial as fear of being alone. Cast out. Misunderstood. That was something he was well-acquainted with.

Now that he was having trouble with his senses, he didn't know where to turn. As a detective with Major Crime, Jim worked for Captain Simon Banks, a gruff, cigar-smoking black man who would have towered over him, no matter how tall he was. Simon had been his mentor as well as his boss when Jim came into Major Crime from Vice. In so many ways, he had turned Jim's life around. When Jim was in Vice, he was set on a collision course heading straight for disaster. But Simon and Jim's partner, Jack Prendergast, changed all that.

But there was still no denying that Jim was a son-of-a-bitch to work with and even worse to live with. That was something that Carolyn would be glad to attest to. She loved Jim, but she was no longer "in love" with him. She wanted him to be happy, but in truth, she doubted that it was possible.

Still, she had her moments.

Like this dinner with Jim. She offered to pay for her half of the meal, but Jim wouldn't allow it. When she considered the man he had been, she found it hard to reconcile that man with the one he was now. Rigid, unyielding, unable to bend. But with all that iron control, if he were given one good push, he would shatter once and for all. And this time, she wasn't so sure he could put himself back together.

"Why are we here?" Jim looked weary. He hadn't been sleeping since his senses began raging out of control. Every little noise was amplified beyond belief, right down to the sound of his skin scraping against the woolen blanket, and he suffered from constant headaches, no doubt brought on by the overwhelming sensory bombardment.

"Dinner. And yours is getting cold." Carolyn gestured at his plate with her fork and Jim sighed.

"We haven't had dinner together since last July."

"I know. I just thought we should catch up."

She meant well. He knew she did. But he had no patience for any more conversation about her sister's wedding or her father's idiosyncratic way of coping with it. What in God's name did gutting salmon have to do with him?

"Look, I liked your sister okay, but right now I could give a rat's ass about the Plummer family newsletter." Jim rubbed his forehead with his fingertips and winced. Even that hurt.

"I'm sorry. I've asked you out before. You've always turned me down. Why tonight? Did Simon put you up to this? Are you supposed to get me to go back to work? Is that it?"

"No!" she automatically protested. The look on his face was compelling. "Okay, yes."

"It won't work."

"I know."

"So don't bother."

"I won't."

"Good."

Jim handed his wineglass to the waiter. "Could I get another one of these, please?"

Carolyn waited until the waiter moved away, eyeing Jim carefully. She thought she knew him, but then again, did she really know this man? "You know, Jim, you're not the first cop who's ever lost a suspect," referring to the incident that brought Jim to this point.

Jim's pale blue eyes flickered back and forth anxiously. "I don't want to talk about it."

"But if you did talk about it, maybe I could help you." She reached across the table and trapped his hand with hers. He stared at her hand. The smell, the textures, the pattern of the tiny hairs that grew on the back of her hand.... He was mesmerized.

"Jim? Jim!"

With a start, he shook his head and blinked sleepily at her. As if the intervening space between them did not exist. "Let's just drop it, okay?"

"Sure, why should I expect anything to be different?" she snapped bitterly.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jim's eyes narrowed their focus to Carolyn's face, but it was a struggle.

"Light's out. No one's home. Or if there is, how would I know?" Suddenly she stood up. "I give up."

"Good. I'd like to eat my dinner now."

Carolyn wondered what things might have been like if Jim had trusted her enough to let her in. That was the real problem between them. Not sex. The sex was great. What there was of it. But Jim always held back that piece of himself, that crucial piece, and that was what she needed for them to be truly intimate. Oh, what was the use?

Jim took a bite of his food, tasting nothing. "Where are you going?"

"Home. I can get more out of my toaster."

Carolyn's attempt at sarcasm was lost on Jim. He was too busy coughing and choking. Jumping up, he clutched at his throat, then grabbed his wineglass, draining it in one huge swallow. When that didn't help, he began moving to nearby tables, reaching blindly and knocking over glasses.

For all her experience as a police officer, Carolyn could do nothing but stand and watch. She had no idea what was going on. "He's choking! Jim! What's wrong?"

The same waiter who replenished his wine earlier ran to Jim's side. Jim pointed at the plate on his table. "What the hell is in this?"

"Herbs and paprika, I think. Do you have a food allergy?"

"No! Maybe this is your cook's idea of a joke."

Aghast at the suggestion, the waiter drew back. "No, sir."

Carolyn reached for the fork and took a tiny bite of Jim's food. She didn't taste anything unusual. "Nothing. There's nothing in your food, Jim. I don't know what's going on with you. Just-" She patted his arm, feeling completely useless, but damn glad to be on her way out. "Take care of yourself, okay?"

With that, she left. The only woman he had ever cared enough about to make some sort of a commitment to probably thought he was crazy. Well, so did he. His body still reeling from its peculiar reaction to his food, Jim realized that his anger had not dissipated. He still needed answers, dammit. And there was only one way he was going to get them.

The waiter hovered anxiously, anticipating that Jim would want to speak to the manager. However, Jim bypassed the dapper little man, preferring to go directly to the source. The cook.

Brushing by the manager and the waiter, Jim stormed into the kitchen, pushing the door so hard that it swung into the wall. The entire line of pots and pans hanging from the ceiling shook, then began to fall, one by one, with a terrible clatter. Jim covered his ears and groaned, doubling over from the pain.

When he could stand again, he was pale as a sheet, not to mention diaphoretic. Tiny beads of sweat stood out all over his face, but he wasn't hot. Oh, no. He was cold. So cold. He was dangerously close to slipping into shock.

And then it happened. He came. "Whoa, man, you are in serious danger of tripping out here. Lean on me. That's it."

Jim blinked. He didn't even know who this fool was, but he instinctively followed the direction of his voice. What did that mean?

"Who are you?"

Taken aback by the thinly veiled contempt in that voice, the cook took a step back. Glancing warily at Jim, he said, "Name's Blair Sandburg. What's yours?"

"Jim Ellison. I'm a detective with the Cascade PD."

Blair gulped. "Something wrong, officer?"

"Yeah, I'll say, Chief. I want to speak to the cook."

"I'm the cook, man."

"Riiight. Pull the other one, Short Stuff."

"I'm serious. I work here, man. I'm the cook."

Jim grimaced as though he smelled something bad. "You? You look like you couldn't whip up a cake in an Easy-Bake Oven, kid."

Sandburg seemed considerably younger than Jim. He looked to be about 25, tops. Jim scrutinized the so-called cook. He wasn't tall, perhaps 5'8" at best. Average weight for his size. No, compact, even muscular, to look at those thighs. Long, dark brown curly hair. Some kind of highlights, though he couldn't tell what exactly because of the overhead fluorescents. Dark blue eyes. A man could get lost in those eyes. And that mouth. Made for kissing. Or fucking. Jesus, what was he thinking? Is this what dinner with his ex did to him?

"I'm not a fucking kid. I'm 30."

"Oh, come on, I've got shirts older than you are."

"Can't say much for your taste in shirts then."

"Okay, sunshine, you're the cook. What did you put in my dinner?"

"Your--? Man, I don't even know you! Why would I put something in your dinner?"

"Look, I just had an allergic reaction out there in the dining room. I nearly choked to death! Someone put something in my dinner!"

"Do you have food allergies?"

"No!" Jim shouted, losing the battle to keep his temper in check.

"O-kay...."

"Don't patronize me! I'm not making this up!"

"I'm sure you're not, I just don't see what I've got to do with anything."

"You...you...I..." Suddenly Jim didn't know either. But he was blindingly angry and all that anger had no place to go.

Grabbing Blair by the shoulders, Jim shoved the younger man up against the wall, knocking down several more pots and pans. Jim's face so close that Blair could feel his breath on his lips, Blair struggled vainly to get free. But only for a moment. The truth was, Jim's fists clenched around the collar of his shirt was a powerful turn-on. All it took was one errant thought of what it might be like for Jim's hands to touch his bare skin, anywhere at all, and Blair was as hard as a rock.

"Listen, you neo-hippie witch doctor punk, I don't care if you put some kind of herbal concoction into my food or you cast some kind of fucking spell over me, but you'd better do something about it before I haul your cute little ass into jail!"

Blair could barely breathe, but he looked directly into those pale blue eyes and kissed his chances of an easy escape goodbye. He wanted to get caught by this man. "You think my ass is cute?"

"I-say, what are you trying to do?"

All at once Jim's senses quieted. As if someone had thrown a switch, all of the clicks, pops and whirs that flooded Jim's tortured brain stopped. "What did you do?"

"Um...excuse me?"

"What did you do? You must have done something! The noise in my head-it's gone!"

"You hear voices, man?"

"Sometimes," Jim replied absently. It didn't occur to him that might be a poor answer to give someone who thought he was crazy in the first place.

"Heh heh. Maybe it was my voice that did the trick."

"Are you hypnotizing me?" To Blair's astonishment, the detective took his comment seriously.

"Come on, man. What do you think, I have the magic touch?"

Jim's fists unclenched, releasing Blair from his precarious position. Cocking his head to the side, Jim listened. "The engaged couple at Table 4 want to thank you personally for your contribution to their future happiness," he intoned without inflection. "Hey, what did you do for them, sleep with the bride?"

"Helloo, Detective Ellison, I've been busy in my kitchen all night long. Just because you find me irresistibly attractive doesn't mean that anyone else does."

"Who said I find you attractive, Chief?"

"You are such a dick, man," Blair chuckled.

"That's detective to you."

"No, I mean you're a real dick, dammit."

"Takes one to know one," Jim teased. A moment later, he was wondering if he was feverish from his reaction to the food. Could this be the same angry man who stormed the battlements earlier?

Annoyed at himself for even entertaining the idea of sleeping with another man, and a young, irresponsible hippie wiseass at that, Jim said, "Look, you can't help me. Hell, I can't even help myself at this point. I'll just let you get back to your cooking."

"Wait, man. Maybe we can help each other."

"Do what, Darwin? You're a cook. I'm a cop. An about-to-be-fucked over cop, if I don't get my act together soon," Jim added under his breath.

"What's wrong?"

Jim raked a hand over his face, ordering his rampant arousal to stand down immediately before Sandburg noticed. "Umm...it's kinda hard to explain."

"Try me," Blair chirped brightly, his blue eyes sparkling.

"Do you always get so excited?"

Blair instantly became the very picture of contrition. "Jeez, I'm sorry, man. It's just...it's been a long time for me."

"For what?" Jim couldn't help but ask, wondering what the answer would be like.

Blair's eyes crinkled at the corners as he laughed softly, and Jim fought desperately against the pull of the attraction stretching between them. If he didn't know better, he would say he was falling in love. But that just couldn't be. It wasn't on his program. If there was one thing that Jim was, it was a creature of habit with an obsessive-compulsive streak a mile long. He didn't like change.

But he didn't think he was going to be given a choice this time.

"I'm a grad student in the Anthropology department at Rainier-"

"Thought you said you were a cook."

"I am. Now." Blair heaved a sigh and gestured with his hands, his energy crackling around him like an aura that Jim swore he could sense. "I'm studying for my doctorate, but my grant ran out. Sooooo...until it gets renewed, here I am."

"O-kayyyy, Chief, if you say so, but what does that have to do with me?"

"Were you really able to hear that couple out in the dining room?"

"Yeah. So what? It wasn't exactly a scintillating conversation."

"You're missing the point, Jim. Can I call you Jim?" At Jim's nod, Blair continued. "You heard a conversation that was taking place at least 100 feet away. Behind closed doors. With all the ambient noise that surrounds a busy restaurant."

"I have good hearing."

Blair snorted. "Evidently. Are any of your other senses like that?'

"Like what?'

"Enhanced. Hypersensitive." At Jim's blank look, he offered, "Extra touchy feely?"

Jim blushed at where his thoughts took him. Straight to bed with a vengeance. "Um, that's personal. Could we skip that part?"

"Sheesh, I didn't ask you whether you wanted to fuck me. Now that would have been personal." When all Jim could manage was a dumbfounded look, Blair coughed. "By the way, you do, don't you?"

"Christ."

"Not quite. I have been called a god once or twice, but no, I don't have any aspirations other than to get my doctorate."

He must have sensed that Jim was ready to bolt. Gripping Jim's arm, Blair said, "Talk to me, Jim. Tell me what it's been like for you."

To his surprise, Jim did just that. He described the way things had been going rapidly downhill ever since his senses went spiraling out of control. During the entire time that Jim was speaking, Blair regarded him avidly, even hungrily. It was as if he could not get enough information about Jim Ellison and whatever it was that made Jim Ellison tick.

When Jim was done, Blair's eyes were gleaming. "You don't know how amazing you are, do you?"

"What? We're not talking about me leaping buildings in a single bound here, Sandburg. So far all I've got is a lot of static on most of my wavelengths. How does that translate into a positive for you?"

"Well, sure, you're having problems. That's because you don't know how to control your senses."

"No kidding. And you do?"

"Well, no." Jim's face twisted with disappointment. "But I could figure it out. Hey, I'm a sharp guy. I know what's wrong with you. Hell, I oughta, it's the basis for my thesis."

When he felt that he had Jim's full attention, he continued excitedly. "Y'see, there was this guy. Sir Richard Burton. The explorer, not the actor. He wrote this monograph way back in-well, that's not important," he said, noting that Jim's eyes were starting to glaze over. "What is important is that Burton hypothesized that there were people who were given a certain genetic advantage. Burton called them Sentinels. These Sentinels used their enhanced senses to watch for approaching enemies, changes in the weather, movement of game. In tribal cultures, survival depended on them."

"Okay, but what does this have to do with me?"

"I've got hundreds of cases of people with one or two heightened senses. Not one with all five. You could be the real thing, Jim."

"And what do you get out of this?"

"My doctorate. My thesis, man. With someone like you as my subject, the committee might re-evaluate my grant status early, give me back my teaching position."

Jim's ice-blue eyes went dead. For a moment, Blair feared that there was something seriously wrong. Then he realized what he'd said. How he'd said it.

"Oh, no, Jim, I didn't mean that was like my only interest in you, man."

"Right," Jim said flatly.

He'd had him right where he wanted him. This close to letting Blair inside his carefully-erected defenses. But he'd blown it. Jim clearly thought Blair was an opportunist. Set to perch himself atop Jim's bones and pick him clean.

"Jim, I know how that must have sounded. I'm sorry, man. Let me explain."

"I've gotta go. Is there a back way out of this place?"

Blair tried to stop the older man, but it was like getting in the way of a train. Pushing open the back door, Jim stepped out into the alleyway. Behind him, Blair yelled, "Wait, Jim! There's something else I have to warn you about!"

A shard of broken glass glinted in the moonlight, catching Jim's eye. Suddenly he couldn't look away. The light was so incredibly...white.

A truck horn sounded, but Jim didn't move. He reached out a hand to touch the glass, oblivious to the truck bearing down on him. From out of nowhere, Blair appeared. Reacting quickly, Blair tackled the larger man, throwing both of them to the ground in time for the truck to pass over them with a huge whoosh.

Close. Close. That was too fucking close. Blair shuddered to think of what might have happened if he hadn't gotten there in time. Then he shivered to realize that he was lying on top of Jim, his forgotten erection surging to life with renewed purpose. Shit, he wondered what Jim was thinking. Almost run over by a truck and now another man's dick nudging the crack in his ass.

Jim rolled over, toppling the younger man to the ground. "Ugh." Blair jumped up, his feet almost dancing, as he tried to brush off the dirt from the alley. But that was a bad idea. Brushing his hand across his already over-stimulated cock only served to make him harder.

Jim lay there for a minute, looking up at Blair with wide-eyed wonder. "You saved my life."

Blair grinned cheekily. "Um, yeah."

He got to his feet slowly. "So...what happened?"

"That was what Burton called the zone-out factor. Sometimes a Sentinel gets so focused on the details, he loses sight of the bigger picture."

"So...you're saying that these Sentinels needed someone to watch their backs?"

"Exactly."

"Are you...volunteering for the position, Chief?" Jim moved stealthily, trapping the younger man within his embrace. His eyes looked anything but glacial now. His mouth, oh, God, his mouth was so achingly close to touching his that Blair wanted to cry out, Kiss me, dammit.

"Would you accept if I did?"

Jim smiled enigmatically. "That depends. Just how close did these Sentinels get with their...what would you call them?"

"Guides?" Blair could barely breathe. His heart felt like it was going to pound right out of his chest. He wanted to kiss Jim so badly, he could taste it, but he was afraid. Afraid of fucking things up again.

"Yeah. You want to be my Guide, Chief?"

"That depends. Just how close would you let your Guide get, Jim?"

Jim let his fingers trail along the side of Blair's face in an artless caress. "I wouldn't kick you out of bed."

"Oh, fuck."

"Kiss me first. I'm an old-fashioned guy."

***

Jim pulled the younger man behind him in an effort to clear a path to his truck as soon as humanly possible. Blair tried to get Jim's attention, but the detective was as far away as if he were zoned. Finally Blair was forced to dig his heels in and hope for the best. "Jim?"

No answer.

"Oh, Jimmm," Blair sang, trying to see if that did the trick.

"Jim!" he said in a soft but firm voice.

Like a well-trained dog brought to heel, Jim turned to face his would-be lover, a question in his eyes. "Yes?"

"I can't leave right now."

"Why not?" Jim sounded more than annoyed. He sounded seriously pissed.

"I'd lose my job."

"Fuck your job."

"Hey, man, that's easy for you to say. You're a big deal detective. I'm just struggling to keep a roof over my head. Besides, Larry would never forgive me if I didn't maintain him in the style he's become accustomed to, man."

"Who the fuck is Larry?" Jim demanded, his light blue eyes now tinted shards of ice.

Blair grinned unrepentantly at the older man. "We live together. Hey, you'd love him. Larry's a real sweetheart. He's got the nicest disposition and-"

"I'm not into threesomes."

"Oh, no, man, you've got it all wrong. Larry's just-"

"I don't give a fuck who Larry is. I want you all to myself. Is that clear? I don't share."

"Whoa. There's something you ought to know, Jim, before you go making exclusive commitments here-"

All at once Jim buried his face in Blair's deliciously scented curls. "I don't want you to belong to anybody else, Chief. I know we just met, and maybe this is scaring the hell out of you, too, but I've never felt this way before. Not even about my ex."

"That the uptight chick who was looking daggers at you all through dinner?"

Jim drew back abruptly. "You saw Carolyn and me?"

Blair had the grace to blush. "I...might have peeked...just a little bit. To see what all the fuss was about."

"Riiight."

"Okay, I was checking out my competition," Blair reluctantly admitted.

"Chief, I don't know if you realize it or not, but you have no competition."

"Wow. Way to turn a guy's head, Jim."

With a faint smile, Jim turned on his heel and headed back the way he'd come. Blair raced after him and got there first, insinuating his body between Jim and the door. "Where are you going now, man?"

"Inside. To see the manager."

"About what, man?'

"About you, Chief. What do you think?"

"Tell me you're not going in there to get me fired, Jim."

"Even the slaves got freed, Sandburg."

"How will I live? What about Lar-"

"You can come live with me in the loft. As for Larry, I apologize for what this sounds like, but frankly, I don't give a shit what happens to him."

"He's a poor defenseless animal, man."

"I don't care what he's like in bed, Chief." Jim winced as if the mere thought of Blair being with someone else gave him a physical pang. "I want you."

"Do I get a vote in all this? Or are you planning to run roughshod over me, too?" The last thing Blair wanted was to drive Jim away, but he wasn't about to become someone's rent boy either.

Jim took a half-step back, but Blair grabbed the lapels of his shirt, making further movement impossible. "Jim...I don't want to be your kept man."

"Isn't that what Larry is to you?" he countered almost angrily.

Blair rubbed his thumb over his eyebrow and began to smile. "Well, actually-"

"Well, actually what?"

"Larry's an ape."

"That's cold, Chief."

"No, no, I mean, Larry is a Barbary Ape. A monkey? Part of an experiment I'm running? Or was running, I should say, till the money ran out."

There was a long pause as Jim considered this last bit of information. "You're telling the truth?"

Blair nodded.

Jim heaved a great sigh of relief. As he relaxed, his entire body weight began to press Blair into the door, a fact that went unnoticed until Blair protested, albeit weakly. "You're crushing me, man." Chuckling under his breath, he continued, "Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. I could think of a number of situations where I'd seriously enjoy being crushed, um, under your body, I mean."

Jim kissed him, temporarily interrupting the flow of words. Winding his fingers through Blair's long dark hair, he whispered against his mouth, "Come home with me, Chief. Please."

Blair was nothing if not impulsive and well-used to relying on his instincts. Leaving his job was a big step to take on faith. But the minute he opened his mouth, he knew what he was going to say. "Okay, Jim."

***

Implying that he was doing his best to keep the restaurant from becoming embroiled in a major lawsuit, Blair obfuscated his little heart out. In the end, the manager was so grateful that Blair was going to take care of things that he agreed to take him back at some unspecified date in the future. Blair knew what people often thought about him. That he was incapable of thought beyond the moment. But he was far more complex than that. He wanted this relationship to work. Jim was worth sacrificing his job. But he wasn't stupid.

He had never been involved in a long-term relationship before. He honestly didn't know if he could make that kind of commitment, but he wanted to try. More than anything else, he wanted to try.

But as he rejoined Jim outside the restaurant door, he was struck by the magnitude of what he was undertaking. What if Jim just wanted a one-night stand? What if Jim, who admittedly was just coming off a bad marriage, was only experimenting with his attraction to Blair? What if Blair was putting his heart and soul on the line, only to find them in jeopardy?

What if, what if, what if. He silenced the dissenting voices in his head. He would seduce Jim. He would make himself necessary for his very survival. Because the truth was, Blair was beginning to think that the tall, well-built Sentinel was responsible for his survival.

***

Jim couldn't keep his hands off Blair. He was constantly touching his hair, his face, his thigh. It was as if touching Blair grounded Jim in some way, kept his senses within a bearable range. But he didn't want it to be that. Or at least, not only that.

He wanted Blair to be with him, to love him, Jim Ellison. Not some idealized version of himself. Not the embodiment of his life's work. Not some fictitious Holy Grail come to life. If they were two halves of the same whole, it would be a dream come true, for Jim suddenly realized that was what he needed. Not someone like him. But someone who could fill the empty spaces within him. And there were so many.

When they finally pulled up in front of the loft, Jim hesitated before he opened the door of the truck. "Come upstairs and see your new home, Chief," he said shyly.

"You sure about this, man?"

"100 percent."

Silence reigned in the elevator until it dislodged its passengers on the third floor. "That way," Jim indicated.

Jim gave his would-be lover a gentle push in the small of his back towards the door of #307. "That's my place."

They were no sooner across the threshold than Jim had the door closed and locked behind them. Blair opened his mouth to say, "Are you sure about this?", but the words never made it past his lips. Jim seized his mouth, his tongue plundering its way inside like the most rapacious of pirates.

"Mmm," the younger man sighed, wrapping his arms around Jim's neck. His long, well-shaped fingers clutched at Jim's short hair, the roughened pads of his fingertips intermittently stroking his nape.

Jim's hands slid down Blair's back to cup the curves of his buttocks. In seconds, Blair broke away, gasping for air, moaning, "No, too close."

"Already?" Jim smiled. He was no slouch when it came to making love, but no one, not even Carolyn, had ever tried to slow him down because things were getting too intense too quickly.

"Yeah," Blair answered huskily.

"I think I can fix that."

In one smooth movement, he lifted Blair and placed him on the kitchen counter. His hand went to the top snap of Blair's jeans and froze at the touch of Blair's hand on his.

"No, man, I want this to be mutual."

"So do I, Chief. But think of this as something extra, a way to take the edge off. You want to last, don't you? When I fuck you?"

If Jim's words were mesmerizing, his actions were even more so. He was licking a path from Blair's hairline to his neck. The young anthropologist-cum-cook squirmed in his arms. "Actually, Jim, I was hoping that you'd, um, let me fuck you."

"I...I don't know. I've never let anyone do that before." His voice was hushed, clearly laden with some emotion that he was unable to express.

Blair's face fell. "I understand, man. It's not like we know each other all that well-"

"Chief...Blair, I feel like I've known you all my life. The fact is, I have a problem with relinquishing control. Even the idea makes my dick go limp. And yet...I find that I can deny you nothing."

"So?"

"So if you're willing to risk a major attack of impotence here, I'll do it."

No one had ever trusted him like that. Not even his mother, Naomi. It gave him a feeling of power that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with love. "Oh, Jim. You are so fucking beautiful." With that, Blair reached up and kissed Jim quite tenderly, belying the obvious passion throbbing between the two men.

A moment later, Blair hopped off the kitchen counter, a man with an agenda. "You go take a shower, Jim. I'm going to make dinner."

"Dinner? I was trying to eat dinner when I had that allergic reaction, Chief. Maybe I shouldn't eat anything else."

"Maybe you should leave these things to the trained chef, Jim."

"I thought you turned out to be an anthropologist."

"I am. But I am a man of many talents, Jim, and if you're lucky, you'll get to experience several of them tonight."

There was no mistaking the sexual meaning Blair implied. Jim's mouth went dry at the prospect of the younger man touching him in his most intimate places. "I'll go take that shower now," he whispered.

"You do that."

***

Blair was in his element now. A full-sized, well-stocked, kitchen to work in. It was a cook's dream, and Blair wasn't wasting one single bit of the knowledge he had acquired in the past year.

He was going to prepare a feast. He was going to make a meal out of Jim Ellison.

***

Blair's talents did not lie exclusively in the field of anthropology. As soon as Jim walked into the living room, his lower body sheathed in a towel, he whistled. "Whoa, Chief! Suddenly I feel like I'm wearing way too many clothes!"

"You are," said the naked young man. He moved forward to pluck Jim's towel from around his hips, and the older man drew him into a fierce embrace. His lips buried in Blair's dark curls, he whispered something unintelligible.

Small dishes of delicacies and desserts decorated the living room. Some were sweet, some spicy, but all of them were within reaching distance of Blair Sandburg, chef extraordinaire.

Blair took Jim's towel and spread it on the carpet, creating a makeshift bed for them to lie upon. Once Jim was lying on his back, Blair straddled him, his half-hard cock resting on his lover's firm abdomen. "Oh, my God."

"You ain't seen nothin' yet, Jim."

He stirred the first container. It was filled with stuffed mushrooms. One at a time, Blair placed them on Jim's nipples. "Mmm, they look delicious."

"You look delicious," said Jim, his fingers caressing the cleft of Blair's ass.

"I meant, you look good enough to eat."

"So do you."

Bending his head, Blair took a mushroom into his mouth, the motions of chewing against his bare skin driving Jim crazy. When he was quite sure that he had licked Jim's now-erect nipple clean, he moved on to the next. This time, however, he held the mushroom in his mouth. Sealing his mouth over Jim's, he transferred the marinated mushroom by way of an incredibly intimate kiss.

"Jesus," groaned Jim.

They took turns feeding each other, popping the tasty morsels into one another's mouths, following each addition with a series of sizzling kisses. After they ran the gamut of nearly every item in Blair's repertoire, they were both breathless and yearning for union.

Slowly Blair began to ladle chocolate syrup down the center of Jim's body. It was chilled compared to the mushrooms, which were almost hot, and the shift in temperature made Jim's senses sit up and take notice. Along with his cock.

Blair shook the can of whipped cream before applying a small dab to his nipples, his armpits, and his navel. When he saw how Jim's eyes gleamed, he chuckled and traced a line along the inside of Jim's inner thigh. "You're going to kill me."

"Nope, I'm going to eat you."

Blair was a man of his word. He sucked and laved the rigid little nubs that threatened to pierce the cream. With a throaty growl, he buried his face inside Jim's armpits, tugging gently on the hair he found there. Then he began the inexorable journey down Jim's body towards his navel.

His tongue swirling around his navel, he paid particular attention to where the chocolate syrup had pooled. He circled his lover's dick with his tongue, teasing him by moving closer, only to dart away before making actual contact.

Carefully licking his way along the inside of Jim's thigh, he let his tongue flick out to caress the heavy balls there. When he could wait no longer to taste Jim's cock, he daubed a bit of whipped cream on its tip. After several tantalizing forays, he eventually swallowed his hardened length, warming it in his mouth before he began to suck in earnest.

Jim arched up off the towel, his groan of approval sounding overly loud in the otherwise silent room. By the time Jim was ready to come, Blair was panting, his own weeping dick letting him know that he couldn't postpone the moment. Breaking away from Jim with an audible pop, he heard Jim's discontented sigh.

"Don't worry, Jim, I'm going to make this good for us both."

Coating his straining erection with vegetable oil, Blair then quickly prepared Jim for its intrusion into his body. One finger, two fingers, three fingers. Jim was responding to Blair's touch with alacrity. It wouldn't be long now. He would be inside Jim.

"Turn over onto your stomach, Jim."

Jim shook his head. "I want to see you. See your face. Watch you fuck me. Watch you come."

"Are you sure?"

"Jesus God, do it, Blair! Please!"

Blair placed the oil-slicked head of his cock at the entrance to Jim's snug passage. Slowly he pushed, feeling the initial resistance of the ring of muscle guarding the inner recesses fade to nothing. Suddenly he was in.

Jim sighed again, but this time it was the sound of a man contemplating the fulfillment of his heart's desire. "Ohhhh, yesssss...."

Once Blair began to move inside him, Jim was lost. Thrusting his hips upwards, he sought completion and found it. When he came, he spattered Blair's chest, provoking Blair to wipe a finger through it and lick it. That led to an erotic overload that Blair simply could not withstand. Bucking wildly, he came inside Jim, his hot essence filling the narrow channel to overflowing.

Reluctantly withdrawing from him, Blair settled atop Jim's rock-hard body, his own senses suddenly all a-quiver. He was wet and slick and sticky...and he wouldn't change a moment of it if he could.

"Jim?" he whispered.

"Yeah, babe?" Jim mumbled sleepily.

"Did you, um, like it?"

"Like it? I loved it. Couldn't you tell?"

"Um, yeah, I guess so. It's just that-"

"Spit it out, Chief."

"Are we going to, like, do this again sometime?"

All at once Blair sounded so shy and so tentative that Jim realized his error. He had been so intent on letting go of his hard-won control that he neglected to tell Blair how he felt. Not that it would be easy. Not for Jim.

"Chief, I'm not as good with words as you--"

"Liar. There are very few words I want to hear with this kind of desperation. If you can't guess what they are, you're fucking hopeless."

"I want you to stay, Blair."

Blair snuggled closer, his mouth all but caressing Jim's chest. "Good start. More, please."

"I want us to be together."

"As?'

"As a real couple. I don't know if I'm ready to come out at work or anything like that, but-"

Blair kissed the underside of his chin. "You're doing great for a guy who doesn't grasp the English language. Keep going."

"I don't know what else you want me to say."

"Yes, you do."

"Well, maybe I do," Jim colored, "but I don't think I can say it."

Blair rubbed his face against Jim's bare skin, his long eyelashes brushing the tiny little hairs there. "Is it okay if I say it?"

"Can I stop you?" Jim asked, a smile softening his features.

"I love you."

"You sure about that, Chief?"

"Oh, yeah," he murmured, closing his eyes.

When he was certain that Blair was asleep, he cradled the younger man in his arms and huffed gently into his hair. "Then in that case, I love you, too."

Blair smiled in his sleep.

End

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Acknowledgements: My thanks to the powers that be: Lisa, Amy, Patt, Audrey, Mary. No one can do what they do the way they do it. And as always, this could not have happened without my Muse, Tinnean.