In Blair We Trust - Caro Dee
"Ow! Jesus, Sandburg, watch it!" Jim snarled, as a sharp pain shot through his right leg.
"Sorry, sorry," Blair chanted listlessly and inched Jim away from the banister. Feeling grumpy and sore, Jim silently cursed himself and watched Blair out of the corner of his eye. Jim was two days out of the hospital and, as far as he could tell, Blair was not snapping out of this depression. Something twisted in Jim's gut.
Ever since the press conference, Blair had been fading into the distance, step by slow step. Blair's heaviness grew with each book packed away, each xeroxed article thrown in the trash. When he wasn't hovering around Jim, Blair spent hours meditating or staring out the windows, the forgotten mug of tea in his hand growing cold. Even more disturbing was the way Jim sometimes caught Blair watching him with a defeated expression.
Jim wasn't sure how to fix things between them but he was desperate, so he used the one surefire way he knew to hold on to Blair: his need. He hated displaying his weakness, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
Blair responded as he always had. He set aside his own despair and anger and took care of Jim, even if it felt somewhat automatic and rote. Jim felt guilty but not enough to stop. It was working and that was all that he cared about.
He was careful not to overplay it: a slip of the tongue here, a wince there, a half-finished sentence, a reluctant confession. It was enough to engage Blair and turn that busy brain to deciphering Jim's needs.
Right now, Blair was helping Jim up the stairs to bed. It was a laborious procedure since Jim's leg was still weak from the gunshot wound. It gave Jim an excuse to hold on tightly as he hopped up each step. He felt the solid strength of Blair's shoulders, the warmth of his body pressed against his. A slight turn of his head brought him close enough to feel and scent Blair's hair. The pleasant familiarity was an ache in his gut.
He knew it was just a short term solution. Playing nursemaid to a cranky roommate was not adequate compensation for everything Blair had given up. There wasn't much left for him here in Cascade anymore and his leaving seemed inevitable. But it wouldn't happen today and Jim Ellison was grateful for small mercies.
They reached the top of the stairs and stopped for a moment to catch their breaths. Then Jim limped over to the bed and waited as Blair threw aside the covers and lowered him down. Blair went over to the dresser and pulled out a pair of boxers and a T-shirt.
Jim toed off his shoes and began unbuttoning his shirt, while Blair knelt to pull off his socks. Jim shrugged out of his shirt as he watched Blair bent intently over the work of his hands. He'd seen the exact same expression a thousand times, only bent over a book or a computer. He'd always thought of that as the essential Sandburg. Affection and despair surged through him. He wanted Blair to stay.
Glancing up, Blair asked, "Can you handle the belt? Then we'll get these pants off you."
Unbuckling the belt, Jim wordlessly handed it to Blair who got up and put it away.
"Okay, Jim, lift up."
Jim braced himself on his hands and lifted, while Blair pulled down slacks and boxers at once, carefully maneuvering the clothing past the dressing on Jim's injured leg. Even so, Jim hissed slightly in pain.
"Sorry." Blair waited for a moment, until Jim nodded, before continuing to ease the pants down Jim's legs.
Warm exhalations played over Jim's now naked skin like a summer's breeze, lightly stirring the hairs along his thigh. Goosebumps broke out wherever Blair's breath touched and his cock twitched and began to lengthen. Damned sentinel sensitivity. He shifted uneasily, aware of Blair's face only a foot away from his groin, but Blair showed no outward sign of noticing. His sudden racing heartbeat told a different story.
Blair leaned over to grab the sleepwear he'd set on the bed and casually threw the T-shirt at Jim. Jim grabbed it and made a production of pulling it on to hide the embarrassed flush on his face, while Blair quickly and efficiently slid the boxers on.
Blair gathered up Jim's discarded clothes and said abruptly, "I'll toss these in the hamper and be back up to get you into bed. You want some tea or anything?"
Jim nodded, "Water would be good," and watched his roommate escape down the stairs. He tracked the sound of Blair's movement to the bathroom where he shut the door and seemed to be having a mild, mostly silent panic attack.
Jim's eyes narrowed in interest. He'd realized early on that Blair was occasionally attracted to him physically, but since Blair ignored it, Jim had relaxed and let it go as well. Mostly, he'd just been relieved it wasn't going to be a problem. And it hadn't because, for all Jim's griping, Blair was never really the problem; more often than not, he was or knew the solution.
His mind went back to that moment when he stood in front of the TV at Major Crimes and watched, stunned, as Blair ripped his life to shreds to provide one more solution for Jim. Jim had really thought Blair would take the offer; it was exactly what he wanted when they first met. But he hadn't and Jim hadn't known why. But if Blair was in love with him...
It was the last piece of the puzzle clicking into place. Jim's eyes widened as everything he knew about Blair coalesced into a pattern that Jim had never consciously thought of before and suddenly he knew exactly what Blair meant to him, what he and Blair could mean to each other. Jim's mind raced. He'd never imagined this as a possibility, but maybe he might have something to offer Blair after all.
Blair loved him. Blair would want to have sex with him. Jim slipped a hand inside his boxers, dialed up while softly touching himself until he was completely hard, and thought about Blair.
Jim had always noticed Blair sensually. He constantly reached out to touch, he listened for his heartbeat and the sound of his voice from a distance, he noticed the smell of Blair lingering in the air when he'd gone. If anything physical about Blair had been offensive, Jim would have found Blair a place the very next day instead of letting him stay for years.
Now it occurred to him that Blair had a beautiful mouth, with lips as full and red as any woman. He knew it would feel warm and wet around his cock. Blair would make it so good.
The bathroom door opened and Blair walked out into the kitchen. There was the sound of running water. Jim took his hand out of his boxers. Pulse beating rapidly, sickly-sweet anticipation churning in his belly, Jim rubbed his suddenly clammy palms against the blanket and waited for Blair to return.
Blair slowly trudged up the stairs, a glass of water in his hand. At the top of the stairs, he halted, frowning. "Are you okay, Jim?'
Jim realized that he was staring a little too intently at Blair and lowered his eyes. Careful, he thought, or he's going to bolt. And Jim was in no condition to go after him. "I'm fine. Just a little tired."
Blair nodded. "Let's get you in bed then." He put the water on the nightstand within Jim's reach and held the blanket up for him to crawl under. Jim didn't move. "You need help with the leg?"
Jim nodded and Blair bent down to carefully position his hands on Jim's bare thigh in preparation for lifting it. This is it, Jim thought, swallowing against his nervousness, and reached out a hand to cup Blair's face. The five o'clock shadow felt prickly against his skin, but a thumb gently stroking over Blair's lower lip reported only softness.
Blair startled and looked up at Jim, eyes widening as he took in Jim's expression. Before he could step back, Jim slid his hand over to grip the back of Blair's neck and moved in to kiss him. It wasn't the greatest kiss in the world, since Blair wasn't responding, but at least the first kiss was over and Jim had nowhere to go but forward. He kissed Blair again, nibbling gently at that generous lower lip, and Blair sighed into his mouth before pulling away. Jim let him move back a few inches but kept his grip on Blair.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Taken aback by the hostility in Blair's voice, Jim tried teasing. "If you can't tell, then I must not be doing it right."
"No! Cut the crap." Blair shook his head violently. The muscles of his neck and shoulders were rigid under Jim's hand. "All this time and you've never, not once, expressed an interest. Now suddenly you're into me? I don't think so." He tried to pull back and Jim tightened his grip.
"Yeah, that's it, Sandburg. Now I'm into you. Can't a guy change his mind?"
"Because you're known for being just that flexible," Blair said flatly.
This wasn't working, Jim realized in despair.
"Damn it, Blair. Look at me!" Jim spread his uninjured leg as far over as he could and forcefully tilted Blair's head down until he was staring at the tent in Jim's boxers. "Yeah, look at me. One thing I've learned as a sentinel is that the body doesn't lie. Here's my truth." He cupped the bulge at Blair's groin and felt his cock stir at Jim's touch. "Here's yours."
Blair grimaced as he pushed Jim's hand away. "Hard-ons come and go. As a truth, it's pretty transitory, man."
"Then tell me what truth you do want!" Jim demanded.
Blair's smile was sudden, bright, and bitter. "Wrong answer."
He jerked out of Jim's hold and straightened up. Unwilling to let him go, Jim made a grab and caught him by the waist, pulling him in and pressing his cheek against Blair's crotch. Ignoring the hands pushing at his shoulders, Jim rubbed against the hard swelling inside the jeans, releasing the familiar scent of male arousal, and Jim moaned, turning to mouth Blair's hard-on. Blair gasped as his hips involuntarily jerked forward. As he tried to pull away again, Jim tugged firmly, trying to encourage him.
"Jim. Jim, stop."
Damn it. Panting slightly, heart thundering in his chest, Jim nevertheless stopped. But he didn't loosen his grip, just sat there, eyes closed, with the side of his face pressed against Blair.
Blair's voice was gentle. "Jim, let go."
Jim tightened his grip.
"Jim, we're in danger of bumping your leg here."
"I don't care."
Blair's hand stroked over Jim's head a moment, then he said firmly, "Jim, look at me."
He raised his head. Blair was looking down, eyes compassionate and stern. Jim's heart quailed. "Jim, think about it. Why now? The timing is off and I'm afraid you're doing this for all the wrong reasons."
No. If there was one thing Jim was absolutely certain of, it was that he was doing this for the right reason.
He never could pull anything over on Sandburg, but, as Jim continued looking up at this man who'd been the most important part of his life for almost four years and was most probably leaving him very soon, he knew he would never find anyone like Blair again. A life with Blair would everything he'd ever wanted. A conviction of absolute truth burst in his chest, spreading throughout his body, and he smiled, finally convinced himself. The body doesn't lie. "Would it make a difference if I told you I loved you?"
"It might if I believed you."
"Then believe me, Chief," Jim pleaded.
"I wish I could, but I know you're not in love with me."
He knew it! Blair was in love with him. "Let me suck you."
Blair's whole body jerked at his words.
"I want to," Jim said forcefully, holding his gaze, and unzipped Blair's pants to pull his cock out. One harsh intake of breath and Blair closed his eyes, looking oddly helpless and lost.
"It's going to be okay, Blair," Jim promised quietly and opened his mouth to take in Blair's cock. Blair shivered silently as Jim sat there for a moment cataloguing the new taste and texture of a man's penis in his mouth. He decided that he could do this. His tongue circled the head and Blair moaned helplessly. Jim hummed with satisfaction. He took Blair in deeper and added suction, concentrating on keeping his teeth away and imagining how good this must feel to Blair.
Suddenly, Blair was pulling away and pushing him down on the bed. Jim was startled enough to protest a moment, but the fierce look on Blair's face shut him up. Blair reached down and quickly, but carefully, swung his legs up and over until Jim was lying properly on the bed. Then he stood up and swiftly undressed, just dropping clothes to the floor.
Jim lay there watching him. Blair's eyes were blazing out of his pale face, with two spots of red on his checks. His hair fell around his face, making him look somehow more male, not less, like some barbaric warrior from the past. Jim followed the line of Blair's chest hair down, down to his pubic hair and the hard, eager cock. Very male. While he stared, Blair impatiently climbed on the bed and over Jim, tugging Jim's shorts down to expose his erection.
Blair hesitated, his arms braced and his legs spread wide apart to keep from accidentally bumping the wound. Jim was momentarily intimidated by the sheer amount of desperate longing he saw in his best friend's face, then he deliberately relaxed and lazily arched his back, offering himself. "Blair."
Blair swooped down, kissing Jim and grinding against him frantically. It was clumsy and artless, but Blair's hunger filled Jim with triumph as he grabbed Blair and thrust up against him as hard as he could. Blair moaned into the kiss, then broke off to kiss his way down Jim's torso, muttering, "Let me, let me, I want..."
"It's okay. Anything you want, Blair," Jim managed to say under the assault to his senses as Blair's mouth closed over his cock. It felt every bit as amazing as he'd speculated earlier. Jim clawed desperately at the sheets as the dials crept up. If this was what it was like, Blair could do this anytime, hell, all the time. Jim was not ever going to say no.
Within minutes, Jim was moaning through his climax, grasping at anything, the cracks in the ceiling, the noise of traffic outside, to keep from zoning. He hadn't even finished coming when Blair threw himself back on top of Jim, clutching him too hard and rubbing furiously against his hip. Jim held him as Blair moved faster and faster, eyes closed and face twisted with pleasure. Wet heat hit Jim's stomach and Blair collapsed.
Both men lay there panting. Jim smiled and ran a slow hand down Blair's back. That was nice, so he did it again. If he angled his head a little, he could lick Blair's neck. Jim chuckled silently. It must be love if he liked the taste of Blair's sweat.
Blair seemed to take the jostling from Jim's laughter as a signal to move. He sighed and then pushed up. Not quite meeting Jim's eyes, he climbed off the bed and said, "Be right back."
A minute later, he was back with a warm, damp washcloth to wipe up the sticky mess on Jim's stomach. Personally, Jim was just as glad to be clean but he liked the combined smell of their come. It smelled like the future. As Blair placed a pillow under his damaged leg and pulled the covers over him, he decided they needed to do this again first thing in the morning.
"Good night, Jim," Blair said as he started to turn away.
"Wait," Jim called out. What the hell? "Where are you going?"
Blair looked down with surprise that Jim was pretty sure was faked. "I'm tired. I thought I'd turn in."
Shit! The sex hadn't fixed anything. He lunged over the edge of the bed and caught Blair by the wrist. "Stay."
Blair tugged half-heartedly, staring at the floor. "Jim..."
"Stay," Jim wheedled shamelessly and pulled him back down on top of him.
"Watch it!" Blair said sharply, as he twisted to keep from jostling the bad leg. He landed half on Jim's torso and half off the bed and Jim let go of his wrist to wrap both arms tightly around his waist.
"Stay with me, Blair."
Warily, Blair stared at him. "Look, Jim. I really don't think you've thought this through." He grimaced and rubbed his forehead. "Hell, I can't believe I was this stupid. This is all mixed up in my head and I don't know what to think. Let's just sleep on it and we can talk about it in the morning."
"What is there to talk about?" Jim asked, not loosening his grip one iota. Blair was not getting away.
Blair was staring down very earnestly at a spot on Jim's shoulder. "I took advantage of the situation, Jim. It was a stupid impulse and now it's over. We need to examine it, figure out what it meant and what we're going to do about it -- you know, remain friends or... whatever."
Ah. Blair was giving Jim a chance to back out. Fat chance, Chief. You're mine now. "Okay, I'll admit it happened suddenly, but I'm okay with that. More than okay. I love you and I'm pretty sure you love me, and I think you should get back in my bed." In case Blair was still stubbornly and willfully misunderstanding, he added, "Permanently."
Blair stared at him. "Permanently," he repeated flatly.
Blair shook his head, then stepped in and shoved Jim back down on the bed. Blair crawled over and sat firmly on Jim's stomach, staring down on him. "You want me in your bed permanently."
That was the second time this evening. Jim was beginning to wonder where this hidden dominant streak was coming from. "Yes, I do."
Blair rolled his hips suggestively over Jim's cock, but his face was still expressionless. "You want to have sex with me."
Jim slid his hands up Blair's thighs and lifted his eyebrows quizzically. "Again?"
"Permanently," Blair said, unsmiling. "That sounds like we'd be a couple, Jim. Is that what you're telling me?"
Jim opened his mouth to respond, but Blair kept on talking. "So next poker night, we'll tell the guys. I mean, you probably don't want to make a big deal out of it at work but when it's our home and our friends, you want them to know, right?"
That hadn't occurred to him. Jim hesitated, but there was no way Blair would put up with being closeted, so he shrugged and agreed, "Sure. I want our friends to know."
Blair straightened up and stared at Jim with an air of bafflement. Then he learned forward and cupped Jim's face with both hands. "If this is what you really want," Blair said, fiercely, his grip tightening. "Then make me believe you!"
Despite the harsh tone of Blair's voice, his eyes said, please let it be true. Recognizing an ally, it was to Blair's eyes that Jim spoke.
"I love you." Trust you completely. "I want us to be together." Forever. Despite his discomfort, Jim forced himself not to hide, gazing up at Blair and willing him to read the truth in Jim's face and body.
"This has nothing to do with you feeling guilty."
Oh, Chief. Jim almost laughed out loud with relief. This was almost too easy. "This has absolutely nothing to do with guilt, the Sentinel shit or anything else except my wanting you more than I can say."
Blair's eyes flickered and Jim knew he was weakening. Striking while the iron was hot, he said, "I'm sorry, Blair."
Blair tilted his head. "What for?"
"For not believing in you. It won't ever happen again."
"Don't make promises you can't keep," Blair said wearily.
"No, Blair, listen to me. This isn't a promise. It's the way things are." Jim closed his eyes and turned his head to kiss Blair's palm. This was his truth and his commitment. It was self-indulgent and dangerous and Blair was far too perceptive, but he wanted to say it out loud just once. " I will never doubt you again. I can't tell you how much that means to me."
"I'm beginning to have an idea."
Jim's eyes popped open in alarm but Blair wasn't looking at him any more. He was sliding off Jim into the middle of the bed and bringing his arms up around his knees, as he stared off into the distance, chewing his lower lip thoughtfully.
"Shhh," Blair said and ignored him. He began rocking slightly and thoughts flew across his face in quick succession. At one point, he turned to gaze, frowning, into Jim's eyes, then looked away again.
Finally, Jim couldn't stand another second. He edged closer and put a hand on Blair's arm.
"Don't worry about it, Jim. I'm not going anywhere." Blair's voice was certain, with no hint of doubt or obfuscation. Layers of tension seeped away as Jim heard the implicit promise.
Jim closed his eyes. Oh, thank God. "That's good, Blair."
"Oh, like you weren't still worried, Ellison. I know you," Blair said, with an almost obscene satisfaction as he turned and slid down over Jim's body.
"So we are having sex now," Jim said, his toes curling at the thought.
"It was over too fast to really enjoy last time," Blair said, slowly rotating his hips in a way that had Jim's cock stiffening in a hurry. "I didn't think I'd get another chance."
"But you know different now."
"You did say permanent. That gives me all the time in the world." Blair lifted up to reach between them and adjusted their cocks into more comfortable positions.
Jim smiled and shifted to find the best position as Blair started rocking again. Jim wasn't sure that Blair completely believed him but he believed enough to give Jim his chance and Jim wasn't about to fuck this up.
Blair wasn't kidding about taking his time. It wasn't as intense as the blow job and Jim was having a hard time getting enough friction. But Blair was holding him and there was the comfortable intimacy of flesh on flesh and Jim couldn't bring himself to care. Blair was here and he was staying and, as far as Jim was concerned, things couldn't get much better than that.
"You can turn up the dials," Blair offered. "I've got you."
Jim was tempted for half a second, then he shook his head. "Next time. Right now, I want to feel you, not the senses."
That got him a kiss deep enough to drown in.
He opened himself up to Blair and it was a revelation how good it felt to let down his guard. He knew himself well enough to know he wouldn't always be able to be this open -- this vulnerable -- but for Blair he'd push himself to do it as often as he could. The look in Blair's eyes, as if Jim were the most amazing and precious thing he could ever imagine, was a gift all on its own, beyond what it assured him about Blair's feelings.
The pleasure built up slowly, bit by bit, until Jim was caught by surprise by the sudden imperative to speed up. His hands slid from their comfortable perch around Blair's shoulders to grab his ass hard. Blair got the message and they began struggling against each other. Jim was peripherally aware that his injured leg was protesting all the sudden movement but the pleasure was more urgent. Blair was moaning in his left ear and Jim flung his head back and then he was too busy coming to know what was happening to his partner.
Afterwards, Blair lay next to him and put his head on Jim's shoulder. Jim bent his head to kiss Blair's forehead and they lay there silently holding each other. Jim was starting to think about falling asleep when Blair said, "You're an idiot, Jim Ellison. You know that, right?"
Ordinarily Jim wouldn't have let that go, but the sleepy affection in Blair's voice distracted him. "Am I?"
"Yeah, but I'm kind of used to it by now."
Jim smiled in contentment but couldn't resist teasing. "You want to know what I do know?"
"Somebody's got to get out of bed and turn out the light and it isn't me."
Blair struggled out of bed and staggered over to turn off the overhead lights. As he carefully made his way back to bed in the dim light from the streetlamps, Jim shifted back to make more room and held his arms open. There was no hesitation in Blair's movements as he crawled back into bed and reclaimed his position on Jim's shoulder.
Blair fell asleep first and Jim lay there in the dark, watching Blair and thinking about the future. He really needed to talk to Simon as soon as possible. Blair had a reason to stay now -- Jim smiled, feeling smugly happy and possessive -- but he still needed a way to stay. Jim had some ideas about that.
Blair was going to have a good life. Jim would make sure of it. He'd take care of Blair, do what he could to make him happy, even learn to love Blair the way he wanted to be loved. And in return --
In return, Jim would have someone who he could trust completely. Someone who could weather the worst Jim could throw at him, who knew him inside and out and still loved him, and who would die rather than hurt him. Jim could let down his defenses knowing that the stab in the back was never coming. Jim had given up a long time ago on finding that perfect safety and he had almost lost Blair without ever knowing that Blair was the one. Jim's grip on Blair tightened to ward off the chill of knowing just how close it had been.
Thank God for Naomi's careless interference and the press conference that had shown just how far Blair would go to protect Jim.
Jim hadn't been looking at Blair because he was male and, for a moment, Jim felt regret for the loss of soft breasts and long, satin legs, but what Blair could give him was worth so damn much more. And the sex was better than he expected and could only improve as he got used to it. Jim grinned in the dark. Knowing what a horny little bastard Blair was, they'd be putting in a lot of practice time. It wouldn't take long before Jim knew exactly what drove Blair wild and Blair would never have a reason to become restless.
Love and trust -- a perfect exchange. We are going to make each other so happy, Jim thought with sleepy satisfaction, as he closed his eyes and drifted off with Blair's warmth still held tightly against his body.
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Acknowledgements: Mucho thanks to Arouette for pointing out where I went wrong in the first draft and Mab for graciously betaing at the very last second. A big thank you to K-9 and Pattrose for the truly gorgeous cover art.