Just a Matter of Time - Tinnean
Jim Ellison and his partner and roommate, Blair Sandburg, walked into the store 'where America gets its photos developed,' disposable cameras in hand.
"Well, I guess Megan and Rafe thought this would be a good idea." Jim looked at the camera he held.
"I had fun at the wedding, Jim. Didn't you?"
"Yeah, but... "
"What? Were the perfumes the women wore too overpowering?" It was easy to see Blair was worried about him.
"Nothing like that, Chief." Jim smiled to himself. It always made him feel good when Blair reacted that way. Especially now that they'd become lovers. All the years they'd been together, each unwilling to say anything about their growing feelings for the other in case it proved to be the end of their friendship.
Oh, how wrong they had been.
He grinned, remembering his reaction when Blair had been kidnapped one time too many.
He stormed into the loft, followed by Blair, who kept trying to soothe him. "I'm okay, Jim."
And Jim whirled around, fisted his hands in Blair's thick curls, and pulled their mouths together in a kiss that curled his toes, raised his blood pressure, and, he was positive, caused a ripple in the Force.
Blair's soft moan brought him back to his senses.
"Oh, jesus, Chief! What have I done?" Jim braced himself, unsure if Blair was going to slug him or turn on his heel and walk out.
Blair's eyes were still closed, but his lips were slightly parted in a dreamy smile. "You kissed me!"
"Uh... yeah. I did."
"Do you plan on doing it again?"
"I... " This wasn't a time to waffle. It was time for him to stand up, to take a stand, to... "Yes. I do."
"Jim." Blair raised his hand, not to slug Jim but to rest his palm against Jim's cheek. "All I have to say is... " Jim held his breath. "It's about time!"
Yeah, it was.
And it just kept getting better.
"Jim, did the alcohol get to you?"
"Oh. No." He shook his head just to emphasize that he'd had no problem with the variety of mixed drinks they'd been served, including some that were directly from Down Under.
It had been Rafe's idea to have an open bar. 'After all, I'm only getting married once!' The man had been downright giddy that Megan Connor, the Aussie transplant, had agreed to make an honest man of him. And while, after the first couple of hours, things had gotten a bit raucous, they'd also gotten a bit blurred, and he wasn't too sure what had gone on.
"Nah. It's just the responsibility of taking the pictures. I'd have been happier if they'd gone the professional photographer route."
"Yeah, I have to agree with you, but Megan said it would mean more to them if their friends took the pictures. Everyone would be more relaxed."
"Maybe, but if one more flash went off in my eyes, I wouldn't have been responsible for my actions."
Blair patted his shoulder, and it was all Jim could do to keep from purring like his spirit animal. He did love when Blair put his hands on him.
They arrived at the photo counter, and the woman behind it smiled at them. "How can I help you today?"
"We'd like these developed."
"Okay. I'll need your phone number first."
"Why?" Blair asked.
"It puts you in our system."
He leaned next to Jim and whispered loudly enough for the woman to hear, "Big Brother is watching."
"I assure you, sir... "
"It's okay." Jim rattled off the number of the loft, and she keyed it into her computer.
"Ah. Mr. Ellison?"
"Jim, you've had a digital camera for forever." Well, since Christmas two years before when Blair had given him one. "When was the last time you used a camera with 35mm film?"
"Back when I was in Vice."
The woman had been listening with interest. "Oh, was that you, Mr. Ellison? Now that's a story I'd like to hear about!"
Jim blushed and Blair snickered. "So would I!"
"Uh, the film?"
"Of course. Are these separate orders?"
Jim glanced at Blair and smiled. "No, we're together."
She nodded, her eyes on the computer screen. "And you're dropping off 35mm rolls. Would you like more than one set of prints?"
"No, I think one will be enough."
"Okay. Would you like a CD with that? It only costs $2.99 more and you'll have all the pictures on it."
"No. This is for someone else. They wanted us to take pictures of their wedding - "
"That's so great!"
" - and it's bad enough we had to take the pictures. I don't need the added responsibility of making decisions about CDs. If they like the prints and decide they want the CD, would they still be able to get it?"
"We'll hold off on that, then."
"Not a problem. And when would you like to pick these up?"
"We're not in any rush. The bride and groom are on their honeymoon."
She smiled at him. "I can probably have these ready for you by about 2 this afternoon. Will that be okay?"
"Yeah, that's fine."
She keyed something into the computer, clicked on something else, and then handed him a piece of paper. "Your claim check, Mr. Ellison. I'll see you this afternoon. Or whenever you're ready to come in."
"Thanks." Jim took the claim check, draped an arm over Blair's shoulders, and turned to walk out. "Let's go get lunch, Chief."
"That's so cute," he heard the woman whisper to herself, and he could tell from her tone of voice she was serious.
He and Blair had decided to keep their relationship under wraps for the time being, but it was nice knowing there was someone on their side, even if she was a total stranger.
"Yeah, Chief?" They'd picked up the prints that afternoon and had returned to the loft, and were now going through them.
"Uh... I've got to be up front about this with you."
Uh oh. That didn't sound good. And on top of that, Blair's heart rate had kicked up, and his breathing was erratic. "What's wrong, babe?"
"You'd better take a look at these." He handed the pictures to Jim.
There were shots of Megan and Rafe standing before the minister who performed the ceremony, dancing together for the first time as husband and wife, feeding each other pieces of cake, kissing because someone had tapped on a glass until they had. "These look good."
"Yeah. Keep going."
Jim turned over a picture of the happy couple on the dance floor, wearing sunglasses and holding beer bottles - obviously a gag shot - and he smiled. There he was doing one of the line dances that no wedding reception seemed to be without.
The next picture, and every one after that, was of Jim. Sometimes he'd realized Blair was taking a picture of him, and he'd deliberately clowned for the camera. But sometimes he'd been unaware, and those pictures took his breath away: Jim dancing; Jim crossing to the bar to get a refill for both him and Blair; Jim in profile. As the sequence progressed, he could see the love in them. Not that he had revealed that emotion, but it was obvious from the care that had been taken, even with Blair three sheets to the wind, that he loved him.
"I... I must have had too much to drink. I'm sorry, Jim!"
"Why are you sorry?"
"We can't give these pictures to Megan and Rafe!"
"Sure we can. Oh, not the ones of me - and by the way, I love you too - "
"Jim, what are you talking about?"
"These... " He held up the majority of the pictures Blair had taken. "... they show how much I mean to you."
"Well, you do. But you didn't screw up."
It was easy for Jim to see Blair was working himself into a frenzy of remorse. "I don't think you screwed up. But we'll set that aside for the time being. Here." He handed Blair the photos he'd taken.
As with Blair's pictures, the first ten or so were of the bride and groom, Simon, Henri and Joel taking turns dancing with Megan, Rhonda, and even the Donut Lady dancing with Rafe. Jim knew exactly when Blair came to the prints he knew would make his point. Blair's eyes widened and his lips parted.
Jim was pretty proud of those pictures. They'd come out damn good, even if he'd been half in the bag himself. "I especially like these." Blair had been talking to a couple of Megan's Aussie friends who'd flown over especially for the wedding. Jim had snapped one picture after another in rapid succession, and he was tempted to fasten them together and flip through them, positive he'd see Blair in action, hands waving to emphasize a point, a smile flashing across his face, and finally turning to look for him.
"We've got about a couple of dozen good pictures of Megan and Rafe. We'll give those prints to them and tell them the flash crapped out on the rest of them - "
"On both our cameras?" But Blair was smiling.
"Okay. Works for me."
"And you know what? We can start our own photo album with the pictures you took of me. And the ones I took of you. I think that would be a good idea. Don't you?"
"I think it's a great idea, Jim."
Jim really liked the way Blair showed him how much he approved of that idea.
Savage Garden's 'I Knew I Loved You' was playing on the CD player in the newlyweds' apartment.
Our song, Megan thought happily, and she recalled how wonderful it had been to dance to it in her husband's arms. Her husband.
She smiled and picked up another stack of photos, this bunch taken by Simon, and leafed through them. She paused, studying one intently, then set it aside, and went on to the next bunch of photos.
"Hmmm." She found something similar that drew her attention, and again set it aside. "Rafe... "
"It's a shame Jim and Blair's cameras didn't work well, but they did get some great shots," he said as he placed them on the table, trying to get them into some kind of chronological order. "I guess we're lucky no one else had problems."
"We are that, love."
"Though I'm a little confused. Take Blair's pictures. There are shots of the ceremony, and when you threw the bouquet and I tossed your garter, but there's a big gap in the middle."
"Maybe he dropped the camera and that got the batteries working again."
"Maybe." But she could see he wasn't certain about that.
"Well, it isn't really important. We've got so many great pictures."
"Yeah. And at least everyone remembered they were supposed to take pictures for us."
"Rafe... " She noticed that he was staring at a picture. "What've you found, love?"
"Uh... Take a look at this." He handed her the photograph. It was of the members of Major Crimes. Simon, as best man, had just made his speech. They were all laughing and looking toward him. All except Blair, who, while he was smiling, was looking at Jim as if he'd found the Holy Grail.
She swallowed a smile. She'd known it was just a matter of time. "Maybe you'd better take a look at these." They were the photos she'd set to the side.
"Who took this one?"
"I'm not sure, but there are about half a dozen that are very similar." One was of Jim obviously aiming the camera at Blair. Another was of Blair doing the same. The others were of the two of them together, Jim with his arm around Blair, Blair leaning into him, and one where they were laughing into each other's eyes.
"Oh my god! Does this mean what I think it means?!"
"I'd have to say that's a yes. Does that bother you?"
"Well... well... they're guys!"
Megan frowned at him. "So you're saying just because they're men, they're not entitled to fall in love?"
"No, of course not... But with each other? Jim's dated one woman after another, and so has Blair for that matter!"
"And obviously those women didn't do it for them. Think about it for a minute, love. Who nearly fell apart when Jim was shot and had to be hospitalized for a week that time? And who almost went off the deep end the last time Blair was kidnapped?"
"You're right. But why didn't I ever see it?"
"Probably because they didn't want you to see it. Think about it, love," she said again. "If word got out that Jim Ellison was queer for Blair Sandburg, how likely would it be that backup would arrive when they needed it?"
"Yes, and I apologize. But that doesn't mean it isn't true. Maybe you and Simon and H and Joel would back them up - "
She watched him, waiting as he processed what she'd said. Then his shoulders slumped.
"You're right. Oh, we'd be there for them, I don't doubt that for a second, but others..." He sighed. "I just don't know."
"So we'll keep their secret until they're ready to reveal it?"
"Yes, Meggie." He looked at the picture of the gang from MC. "Do you think we should give these pictures to Jim and Blair?"
"No. We'll tuck them away in the back of a drawer. There's no need for them to know we know. And y'know what? I think we've looked at enough pictures for the time being."
"You're right! It's been fifteen minutes since I last kissed my wife!"
"Yes? Well, we can't have that, now can we?"
Rafe pounced on her and gathered her up in his arms, kissing her with a fierce hunger. She kissed him back with a hunger that was just as fierce, and he laughed in triumph and scooped her up.
As he strode toward the bedroom, she caught a final glimpse of the photo of Jim and Blair smiling into each other's eyes.
Oh yes, she'd known it had only been a matter of time.
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Notes: Thanks to Lyn for making sure I got the Aussie-isms right and for the suggestion of 'I Knew I Loved You' as Megan and Rafe's song, and as always, to Gail.