The Closet by Silk

The Closet - Silk

"They asked you to what?"

Jim's eyes narrowed even as they darkened, a clear indicator that there was more anger buried below the surface than he was allowing himself to show right now. "Ssh," he hissed. "Not here."

"Then where?"

"Shut up!"

"Did you just tell me to shut up?"

Blair looked wounded, a suspicious welling of moisture appearing in his deep blue eyes.

Jim almost flinched. He didn't want to share this news with anyone, but then, Blair Sandburg was hardly anyone. "Over here."

Blair's eyebrows hit his hairline even as he scoffed, "That's a closet, man."

"I know."

"You want me to get into the closet?"

"Yes."

"With you."

"Yes."

"So we can...talk?"

Jim nodded, an economical movement that defined most of what he did. Blair squinted at his partner in near-disbelief, but he was pretty sure that Jim was not kidding.

"O-kay."

*****

"So...what's up?" Blair joked nervously. It was dark inside the closet. It was spacious enough for three people, if they wanted to get cozy with each other as well as the office supplies, but it was closer to Jim than he would have liked. As a detective, Jim was a skilled observer, but in his personal life, he could be practically near-sighted.

Jim closed his eyes despite the darkness and swallowed a sigh. "The department wants me to see a shrink."

"Yeah, see, that's the part I don't understand, man," Blair whispered. "I'm your guide. You don't need a shrink. In fact, it would be dangerous for you to, you know, talk to someone..um, who wasn't me."

"Do you think I don't know how to keep my mouth shut?"

"Don't you think they'll think something's up if you suddenly start giving them the silent treatment?"

"I can lie, y'know."

"Not to me," Blair said with a grin.

Jim could hear the congratulatory tone in the younger man's voice and shook his head. "You're not the shrink," he reminded Blair.

Pause.

"So why do they want you to see a shrink anyway?"

Wasn't that the $64,000 question? Jim drew a slightly shaky breath and blurted out, "TheythinkI'minlove."

Blair snickered. "Like when are you not, man?"

"They think this time it's...serious."

"Whoa." Blair didn't even take a moment to digest the thought. "Since when do they care if you're, um, y'know, in love?"

"When it starts to affect my job performance," Jim ground out between clenched teeth.

"Wow."

"Great, I've almost rendered you speechless," Jim muttered.

"Well..."

"Say something else, Chief. Jeez!"

Blair blinked back sudden tears and tried to wrap his mind around what Jim was saying. Focus, Blair, focus. "Congratulations?"

Jim heaved an exasperated breath that sounded unbelievably loud in their current close quarters. "Dammit, next thing I know you'll be wondering where your wedding invitation is--"

"You don't sound happy."

"I'm not," Jim clipped off.

"Aren't you supposed to be?"

"For someone doing graduate level work, Sandburg, you're pretty dense."

"Ohhh. You don't want them to know who you're in love with?"

"Something like that."

"Why? Cause they might object? Jim, they've got no reason to put their bureaucratic noses into your personal business--"

"No, Sandburg, because...he might object."

"He who?"

Jim was glad it was dark. It hid the unbecoming flush that colored his cheeks. "He," Jim repeated.

"Oh." Blair frowned. "You mean you're in love with a guy?"

"Right," Jim agreed, thinking the only thing worse than having this conversation with Blair would be having it with Simon.

"Wow."

"Again with the wow."

"Well, it's just, I thought, you didn't, I mean, and I thought maybe I would know something like that because--"

"Because why, Chief?"

"Because we're so close, Jim," Blair said huskily.

"You're upset cause I didn't confide in you?"

"Yeah," Blair whispered, and Jim could tell he was hurt.

Jim counted to ten and said, "I couldn't, Chief."

"Jeez, Jim, you can tell me anything--"

"Not this."

"You can. I swear you can. I won't get nuts or anything, I just, y'know, thought we were friends."

"You thought wrong, Chief."

"I-I did? Wow."

A few moments passed in uncomfortable silence before Blair spoke again. "Heh," Blair chortled softly, "I just noticed that this is where the recycling bins went to. I think Simon is mad at me after I went all gung-ho on Earth Day this year."

"Chief--"

"No, Jim, it's okay, you don't have to tell me anything. You just be careful what you say to that shrink, though. Never can trust those, um, psych types--"

"Chief--"

"I'm glad for you, really. I really, really am," Blair continued in a voice suddenly quavering with all the unspent emotion he was holding back.

"You don't have to be--"

"Jim!" Blair seemed honestly affronted.

"C'mere, Chief."

"What? I'm already here."

"Then get closer. I want to tell you something."

Blair nodded quietly. This was it. The end of everything he prayed and wished and hoped for.

"Something I can't tell the shrink," Jim said softly.

Blair swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded again.

Jim pressed both palms flat against the wall behind Blair's head and leaned into him. Blair looked startled, then allowed his body to flow along the length of Jim's like a slow pour of pancake syrup.

Jim kissed him, gently at first, then harder when Blair didn't turn away. "I love you, Blair."

"Me?" Blair repeated dumbly.

"You."

Blair sighed and sank his fingers into Jim's close-cropped hair. "Love you, too, man. Always."

"Maybe we should stay in here for a while," Jim suggested, nuzzling Blair's neck.

"Define a while."

"Long enough for the people listening outside the door to go away."

The End

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Acknowledgments: Thanks to Patt for the cover art.