Consent - Arrow
It came from someplace between us, I think—not all mine, and seriously not all his. Not sure he's aware of it. Your body and mind can play tricks on you, and Jim's play more tricks than most, so I'm not certain he even realizes how much he touches me all the time, little touches, nothing overtly sexual, but a lot more than most guy buddies do.
And me, I didn't want to push it. Too many risks, and what's the pay-off? I’m not the romantic at twenty-seven that I was at seventeen, and one night stands or my hand do just fine for me, most of the time. And don't tell Jim that I know, but I think his senses take care of things in his sleep. I guess one thousand thread count Egyptian cotton sheets will do that for a Sentinel.
So we really didn't need to do this.
Jim isn't my type, anyway. Too buff, too top, and too fucking gorgeous. I tell myself that, or I did. Until Malloy. Until Michelle "Party Girl" Malloy and her little trick at the Rainier TAs' Luau. I think she meant it for her boyfriend, although dosing your boyfriend at a party where you don't know all the guests is a pretty dumb move.
She was blabbing at the bar, swinging her blonde head around from admirer to admirer, and I got tired of waiting for her to move away from the punch bowl. I snagged the extra drink from in front of her when she wasn't looking—was pretty proud that I got away with it and was gone before she knew who'd done it.
I sipped it slow, because I prefer a good beer to too-sweet vodka punch. Was talking Hopi Kachinas with Atkins, trying to convince him he needs to take a trip out to Utah, when I started getting a little dizzy. Then more dizzy. When Jim showed up at the agreed-upon time to fetch me "for an emergency" (sneaking out of these socially required shindigs is getting to be an art) I was game to go.
It wasn't until we were in the truck that I started to feel really, really loose. Actually, it had been creeping up on me, but just as we were turning down Prospect, I realized that I had been feeling loose, which is a pretty strange experience—to gradually realize that I was well and truly fucked up.
Jim had to help me up the stairs. I babbled something at him, still tasting the punch taste in my mouth, trying to express this wasn't just Blair-drank-too-much-vodka, but the feel of his strong arm wrapped around my ribs distracted me. I love this guy, I thought to myself. I really love him.
He was muttering, "Swear to God, Sandburg," when he stopped at the door to prop me up and stick his keys in the lock. I took advantage of his distraction and toppled toward him on purpose, so he had to turn and catch me as he staggered backward through the doorway.
And while he was holding me, I thought, great time for a kiss. For kissing Jim.
So I did. Kissed those tasty lips, and he was so freakin' shocked he just stood there and let me stick my tongue into his mouth.
And that's where we got into real trouble. Because it might take a hundred milligrams of a drug to affect your average human, but Jim has these reactions to trace amounts of things. Like the traces still in my mouth.
As soon as I let him go, he threw his head back, his whole body going like iron. Since his arms were still around me, I got crushed up against his chest, which I wasn't going to argue about, no sir.
Instead, I rubbed my cheek there, humming a little at the feel of those pecs. Jesus, he's built. I hit a hard little nipple, mouthed it through his T-shirt, and that was all she wrote. He groaned like I'd bitten him, and suddenly lifted me up to get at my mouth, and he kissed me back, harder, rougher, desperate-feeling.
"God. Shouldn't. Shouldn't," he said, but he didn't slow down a bit, his mouth moving to my neck. I wriggled until I was back on my feet and pushed him toward my room, figuring closest available flat, soft surface. I was firing on all cylinders except the right ones, because I didn't realize Jim had been dosed by my kiss. I didn't figure that out until later. Much, much later.
Way too late.
First, there was the part where he got me naked, his eyes just fixed on me the whole time as if he were disarming a bomb. And then there was the part where he put his lips on me, all over, not licking but mouthing me, nipping at me. Until he reached my cock, and then he froze dead.
I think it was around then that a back part of my brain—the part that hadn't been swamped by the warm glow of the drug—started adding two plus two and getting oh, shit, but I didn't have the power to do anything about it just then. I just thought, I don't think he's done this before.
And from the fumbling mess of a blow-job he gave me, I was pretty sure I was right, but I have never been sloppy-sucked and almost-bitten by a hotter mouth, and even if he choked a little and spat out my come afterward I was floating so high from my orgasm that pretty much nothing else mattered. Except, I really, really, wanted to return the favor.
So I turned the tables on him and pinned him to my little futon and sucked him in, even as big as he is and as out of practice as I was. And I got one of my fingers good and slick and snuck it up his ass, and he made this fucked-up noise and came so hard I almost had stuff leaking from my nose after.
I fell asleep with my arm wrapped around him, and the last thing I remember was coming down some and feeling the guilt, and muttering, "I'm sorry."
The sound of Jim throwing up in the bathroom woke me up.
He hasn't come out since.
I pretty much feel like someone staked me out and used my brains to tan my own hide. It's been over an hour now, plenty of time for me to go over what happened, figure out what I got dosed with, and that I must've dragged Jim into it with that first kiss. And that he must fucking hate me. Because it doesn't matter if his body was into it—if his brain had been behind the whole thing this would've happened a long time ago. No way has the Sentinel been oblivious to my teenaged hormonal reaction every time I see him walking around in his boxers.
And he still hasn't come out.
As much as I need to pee, I decide to leave him to stew, so I get up and make a huge pot of coffee, about all I can manage to do at this point, because I am wiped out. I haul my laptop to the kitchen table and start looking up the best ways to encourage serotonin production, because I figure we'll both need some help there.
Finally, finally there's a click and the bathroom door opens. Jim is in his robe, and I barely get a glimpse of his face, pale and shuttered, before he disappears upstairs.
"There's coffee," I yell up, and shit, I sound shaky.
No response, just the sound of drawers opening and thudding shut a little too loudly. Then Jim is clomping down the stairs, fully dressed in a dark blue sweater and his khakis. White socks and black shoes.
God, I can't believe I've fallen for a buff, no-style dork in white socks and black shoes.
Can't believe I've fallen—
He comes and pours himself a cup of coffee while I'm still frozen with my hands on the counter. Both hands flat as if the earth is shaking. But it's me doing the shaking. I mean I knew I loved the guy, but this isn't that. And this isn't some huggy drug giving me the warm fuzzies.
This is me in love with Jim. Who can barely look at me as he silently sips his coffee.
I know he's waiting for me to say something, explain what happened last night. And I owe him that, at least, but have no clue how to bring it up.
"Your stomach doing better?" I say finally.
He just grunts.
"I think it was E. Someone dosed the drink I had at the party." I get it out in a rush. He needs to know this wasn't my fault. Or, at least, not intentionally. I'm scared to death he's going to kick me out again. And there's no way I'm going easy this time. Not now.
He slants his head toward me and his eyebrow goes up high.
"It was an accident," I tell him. "All of it. A stupid mix-up. I got a cup of punch intended for someone else. And I guess when I...well, I guess there was still some left in my...enough to dose you, too." I can tell my face is redder than red. I tilt my head down and let the hair cover my face.
Jim doesn't say anything for the longest time, and then the stool creaks under him as he shifts to face me. He takes the last sip from his coffee and then puts it down too deliberately.
"Who're you trying to buy the out for, Chief? Me? Or you?"
Then the bastard stands up and starts to walk away.
"Oh, no, you don't," I say, and I'm already up and grabbing his arm. He twists out of my grip and backs up a step, then crosses his arms.
I raise my hands. "What did you mean by that?" Does he blame me? Does that mean he's not going to let me off the hook?
Do I even want him to?
"You need a translation? Smart guy like you?"
"Trans—fuck! Jim, I don't get you, man."
"You get me." His expression is tight, not revealing a damned thing, just like always. Just like always I've got to fucking guess what's going on behind that blue glare. I swear he could be autistic the amount he actually communicates. In fact, I've often wondered if the Sentinel gene is linked somehow to autism.
Distraction. Not good. I try to pull it together. "All I get is you're pissed at me, and I totally understand that, because I brought this on us, not on purpose, but, Jim --"
I'm saying it wrong, something wrong, because he knots his jaw and starts to turn away again.
"I'm sorry!" I burst out.
It stops him, and when he turns back he just looks tired and a little sick. "Yeah, so it was your mess, and I guess you want me to clean it up again. Make it all neat and tidy? Clothes back in the hamper and fresh sheets on the bed?"
I swear he's broken into Tongan. Guy never talks, and when he finally decides to, he makes no sense at all.
"If you want," I say helplessly.
"What if I don't, huh?" He takes a step closer, and I feel weirdly intimidated, like I never am around him. "What if I don't want nice and tidy, Sandburg?"
My heart kind of lunges up for a second. "What?"
"Tell me this, what the hell has been holding you back if you were...all this time I've never seen you look at a guy, and it turns out I was wrong, wasn't I? You proved that pretty good last night. So, was it me you don't—? Was that just—" He waves his hand at my bedroom, and then rubs his face. "Never mind. I feel like shit. I'm going back to sleep."
There's this humming in my ears that's making it hard for me to hear him. But I could swear it sounded like—
"Forget it. Just stick the sheets in the hamper. I'm doing a load today anyway."
"Jim!" I stop him and turn him back. "You got it all wrong."
"What? What have I got wrong?" His voice is awful.
"The out was for you. For you, okay? I know you've never done anything like that before."
He screws his eyebrows together. "I didn't ask for an out." Leaning forward a little, he says, "Here's a news flash, Darwin: I wasn't dosed."
Brain freeze. "Wha—?"
"You heard me." His voice is dangerously low. "That wasn't the drug. That was me." Then he blinks and says, sounding sick again, "That was me taking advantage of you, in case you missed it."
Then he's gone again, a quick spin and up the stairs while I reel a little in shock, in I don't know what. Jim wasn't on the E. I kissed him, and he let me. I touched him, and he went down on me. Because he wanted to. Because maybe he'd been waiting for me.
Upstairs I can hear him undressing again, hear the double thunk as he kicks off those dorky black shoes.
I'm stripping off my shirt as I go up. When I near the top, he's already in bed, the sheet drawn to his waist. And he looks at me with such terrified want, I almost trip on the last step.
"You up for taking some more advantage?" I ask breathlessly.
He's smiling when he pulls me down.
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Acknowledgments: Thank you to Patt for the cover art. Previously posted on Arrow's Live Journal.