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FEEDBACK TO: Annie

DISCLAIMER: The characters of "The Sentinel" belong to Petfly et al (if it still exists). Either way, they're not mine, no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.

"I walked straight up to you, instead of circling round to avoid the shock of sensation, as I used (to)"

"The Waves" by Virginia Woolf

RATING: NC:17 m/m sex

CATEGORY: Angst; first time; h/c (Jim and Blair)

PAIRING: J/B

SPOILERS: small ones for TS by BS

Thank you Lyn for the beta and the helpful suggestions, as always. What would I do without you, sis? You're one in a million. And to Patt, for the gorgeous cover pic.

 

"Jesus, Chief, what part of 'Stay in the truck', didn't you understand?" Ellison asked, as he opened the door to the loft and ushered his partner in ahead of him. He turned and helped Blair take off his jacket and hung it up, then watched as Sandburg made his way to the couch and slumped down.

"I really don't feel like arguing about this right now, Jim," Blair replied wearily.

"Hey, who's arguing, Sandburg? I just asked a simple question," Jim responded as he headed toward the kitchen and began to check out the refrigerator to see what he could find for dinner. "Haven't been to the market yet. How about I order takeout? What do you feel like eating - pizza or Chinese?"

"Actually, I'm really not that hungry. I think I'll just go to bed. That shot they gave me at the hospital is making me feel really woozy." Blair pushed himself upright, swaying slightly as his body struggled to catch up to his brain.

In the next minute, Jim was at his side, pushing him back down to the couch. "Why don't you just sit here for a minute, Sandburg? Get your breath and relax, okay? Then I'll help you get to bed."

"I can put myself to bed, Jim. I don't need a nursemaid," Blair said indignantly, struggling ineffectually against the iron grip his partner had on his uninjured shoulder.

"Could'a fooled me, Chief," Jim smiled.

"Just leave it, Jim, will you? Once again you were right, okay? Happy now? I screwed up. That what you want to hear?" Blair spat.

Jim's hand dropped away and in spite of his anger, Blair felt suddenly bereft.

"Blair, what's the argument here? Listen, I told you to stay in the truck. You didn't. You came after me. You got shot in the arm. Film at eleven."

"I got grazed by a bullet, Jim. It's not even bad enough to call a flesh wound. I came after you because you zoned and the perp was sneaking up behind you with a gun in his hand and you didn't even know he was there. And he fired at you and hit me. Well, that's how I remember it happening, man. Correct me if I got it wrong," Blair said defensively.

"Whatever. Look, Chief, let's not discuss this now. You need to get some sleep. You've been pumped full of painkillers, you lost some blood, it was all pretty stressful for you..."

"Don't patronize me, Jim! I've been through worse than this and you know it. I am just so sick and tired of the whole 'you're not a cop, Sandburg; stay in the truck, Sandburg, routine!' " Blair could hear his voice rising but he couldn't seem to stop. He was tired and hazy from the drugs but he was also bloody angry. "I'm an adult, Jim. I've spent time in the jungle with you, and without you; I've been in remote villages, miles from civilization for months at a time. Just in the time I've been with you I've been drugged, shot, beaten up and still all I hear when something's going down is 'you're not a cop.'" He finally stopped, running out of steam, his eyes glaring accusingly at Jim.

"Well, you're not, are you?" Jim stared back equally accusingly. "You had your chance to be a cop after the stuff with your dissertation and you knocked it back, Chief. Simon swung it for you to become a paid official observer to the department instead, and now all you can do is bitch about not being treated like a real cop. Well, sorry, Sandburg, but if that's what you wanted you should have taken the job and gone to the Academy like a good little rookie."

"Yeah, and just before that happened I remember you telling me I was the best cop you knew."

"And I meant it, Chief. But that was before you backed away from the idea of actually becoming one."

"Fuck you, Jim!" Blair surged to his feet again and this time Jim made no move to stop him. "I'm going to bed."

"Yeah, that's right, Sandburg. Walk away. That's what you always do when you lose an argument, isn't it?"

"No, it's not, man. Walking away from the tough stuff is your thing, not mine. *You've* pushed *me* away before, but I've never gone willingly." He turned and headed for his room and heard Jim mutter something. "What did you say?" he asked as he swung back around. "You'll have to speak up, Jim. I'm not the one with Sentinel hearing, remember?"

"I said, 'I'm going out for a while'," Jim growled.

"Yeah, well, there you go. Guess you just proved my point. I'll see you in the morning, Jim. We can talk about it then."

"Nothing more to talk about, Chief. Can't you understand that I might be getting a little tired of sitting at your bedside in a hospital waiting for you to wake up?" Ellison stopped suddenly, clamping his teeth down on his tongue, but it was too late. The words were already out. "Sandburg... Blair... listen. I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I'm just really wired. It came out wrong," he murmured apologetically.

"No, it didn't, Jim. I think it came out just the way it was meant to," Blair said quietly, the hurt in his eyes twisting Jim's heart. "'Night, Jim." He ignored Jim's outstretched hand and went into his room.

Jim heard the creak of the bedsprings and the racing heartbeat. He walked to the doorway and looked at the still figure on the bed. Blair lay on his back, an arm covering his eyes. "Chief?" Jim whispered. Getting no response, he sighed deeply, then, grabbing his keys and jacket, headed out the front door.

He rode the elevator to the ground floor and left the building. He needed to walk, to burn off some of the stress, and clear his head at the same time. His mind kept replaying the night's events over and over, especially the moment when he'd turned and saw Blair go down. He kept hearing Blair's gasp of pain as the bullet grazed his arm and seeing the stain of bright red blood blossoming on his sleeve. The anger that fired him at the sight of it had been enough to give him the extra burst of adrenaline he needed to race across the warehouse floor and take out the retreating gunman. The relief when he'd gone back to check on Blair and realized he wasn't seriously hurt had been like a kick in the guts.

There had been too many close calls. Sandburg wasn't a cop and he shouldn't be risking his life on an almost daily basis the way he had been since he'd hooked up with Jim. But it was more than that, Jim realized. The thought of losing Blair terrified him. He'd rationalized that it was just the thought of losing his best friend, his Guide, but he'd understood tonight it was deeper than that. He stepped off the sidewalk and began to cross the street and half way across the truth hit him. He couldn't bear to lose Blair because he loved him. He would feel just as devastated if Blair chose to leave. The certainty of it stopped him in his tracks.

The next thing he was aware of, was the sensation of blinding lights bearing down on him and the ear splitting screech of brakes. He felt a solid thump in his knees and then he was skidding on his side across the rain-slicked street. He saw the curb rushing toward him, then he met it head on and the world grayed out.

~oOo~

"Jim, can you hear me? Come on, big guy, wake up."

The voice nagged at his consciousness and he tried to pull away from it, wanting only to keep floating in the cotton-wool world he inhabited right now. But it was relentless, following him down to the depths and he gave up and fought his way back to the surface.

There was some sort of klieg light in his eyes, strobing in unison with the hammering in his head. He clenched his eyes shut again, moaning with the pain of it, and heard a muffled curse. Immediately, he sensed the light had dimmed to a bearable intensity, though the headache remained, and he opened his eyes warily again.

"What happened?" His voice sounded scratchy. "Feel like I've been hit by a truck."

"Yeah... well, you were, Jim."

He traced the familiar voice to its source and saw Blair hovering over him, worry etched on his face.

"I was?" He struggled to remember what had happened, but his last clear memory was his revelation of his love for Blair. After that there were vague flashes of scenes that may as well have been dreams for all he could remember of them.

"You've got a concussion and some abrasions on your arms and legs but you were pretty lucky. The doctor says you can go home tomorrow morning," Blair assured him.

The silence stretched tensely between them until Blair finally stood up and reached a hand out to awkwardly pat Jim's shoulder. "Well, you get some rest, Jim. I'll come pick you up about 10 AM, okay? Simon's going to give me a ride home. He said he'll speak to you tomorrow, when you're feeling better."

Jim watched him leave, wanting desperately to call him back and tell him what he'd discovered, but he knew it would have to wait till he was home. Anything he said now was likely to be construed in the context of his injury. The next time he and Blair had a chance to talk he wanted to be damn sure the words came out the way he wanted them to.

He spent the night floating between dreams and wakefulness in that strange post-concussion haze he was all too familiar with. He tried to imagine how he was going to tell Blair that he was in love with him, for he had no doubt that he would. He knew he had to. It would explain so much of his behavior toward his Guide over the course of the past few months. He didn't even try to work out how long he'd felt that way. It didn't really matter. Somewhere, sometime, his love for Blair as his friend had moved immutably into love for Blair, the man. Jim knew he wasn't gay in the real sense of the word. He wasn't remotely interested in going to bed with other guys - just with one.

~oOo~

True to his word, Blair was there to pick him up the next morning. Jim's headache was almost gone and the abrasions on his arms and legs felt stiff rather than painful.

"So, Jim, what happened last night?" Blair asked, once they were on their way home. "Did you zone again? I mean, two zoneouts in one day! We should run some tests, find out what's going on in that head of yours."

*'It's not my head I'm concerned with,' * Jim wanted to say but he simply replied, "Not now, Chief. Wait till we get home, okay?"

"Sure, Jim."

They rode in silence the rest of the way, their only interaction a rueful grin shared between them as they jiggled their injured arms together getting into the elevator.

Blair headed immediately for the kitchen to make tea as Jim settled himself on the couch.

"Chief, forget the tea for minute, will you? Can you come and sit down here for a minute? We... I need to talk." Jim swallowed against the huge lump that was threatening to choke him, and stared down at his hands, clenching and unclenching in his lap.

"Wow, that's new! Ellison wants to talk!" Blair said sarcastically, as he perched on the arm of the couch.

"Just can the snide remarks for now, will you, Chief? I promise, when I've finished telling you this, you can laugh your ass off if that's what you feel like doing," Jim responded, thinking, *'More likely, you'll be wanting to knock me into the middle of next week.'* He took a breath and plowed ahead. "Blair, I didn't zone last night. I was thinking about the argument we'd had and I realized something that just threw me completely for a loop. I lost track of where I was and I guess I just froze in the middle of the road."

"I'm sorry, man. I didn't realise you were that bent out of shape by what I said. I was really tired and.…" Blair began.

"Blair, it wasn't anything you said. It was me, what I said to you," Jim interrupted.

"You mean that crack about waiting around in hospitals whenever I get hurt. Don't sweat it, Jim. I know it can get pretty old. I know I'm a klutz, man." Blair grinned self deprecatingly.

"Sandburg, just shut up for a minute and listen, will ya?" Jim sighed. The kid wasn't going to make this easy for him.

"Sorry. You were saying?"

Jim looked at him suspiciously. Blair's head was bent but Jim was sure he could see the trace of a smile lingering at the corners of his mouth.

"Look, Blair, the reason I've been so pissy about you refusing the job with the PD was because I thought that meant you'd leave. I mean, the dissertation's out the window, I've got better control over my senses now, thanks to you..." he smiled a little at Blair's pointed look, "Well, most of the time, anyway. But I don't want you to leave, Chief."

"Jim, that was months ago and I'm still here, aren't I?" Blair interrupted quickly.

"Yeah, and I'm glad." Almost unconsciously, he reached over and placed his hand on Blair's, then pulled it away suddenly as his Guide's eyes lifted and looked directly into his. He bit down on the inside of his lip, as Blair reached out and grasped his hand firmly in his again.

"Just tell me, Jim," Blair murmured as he dropped his eyes once more and focused on their entwined fingers.

"When you were hit last night... I didn't know how bad it was straight away. When you fell, I felt like I was back at that fountain again. I could hear my mind screaming, "Not again!" even as I was taking that guy down. I wanted to put him down hard and fast, so I could get back to you. When I saw you weren't badly hurt, I felt like I was going to zone again, just on the thought that you were okay. Like the feeling you get when a perp's got a gun on you and they pull the trigger, and the clip's empty."

"Why?" Blair whispered.

"What do you mean, why? Do I have to come straight out and say it?" Jim asked.

"Yeah, you do, Jim. Why?" Blair asked again.

"Because I love you. I'm in love with you and that's why I nearly got steamrollered by a truck last night. I'm sorry, Blair. I wasn't expecting this. You can laugh now, or hit me or whatever it is you want to do," Jim said miserably.

What he wasn't expecting were the fingers beneath his chin, forcing him to raise his head, or the mouth that bent and took his almost chastely.

He pulled back and looked steadily into Blair's eyes. "Chief, you sure about this? You don't have to do this, you know. I'm sure I'll get over it."

"Jim, shut up. One, I'm sure; two, I know I don't have to; three, I don't want you to get over it, ever. In fact if you do, I probably will hit you." Blair pushed himself down from the arm of the chair and straddled Jim's hips, leaning in to kiss him again. But this time it was anything but chaste. Blair's mouth spoke of heat and desire and lust and love, and Jim opened his mouth willingly and returned it all.

"How long?" he managed to ask between kisses, knowing Blair would know what he meant.

"Since I realized I was glad the warehouse blew up, because it meant I got to be around you all the time," Blair answered, his words blowing warm puffs of air into Jim's mouth.

"Was that why you said the dissertation was fake?"

"Mostly. You said it was my life, Jim, but it wasn't. Not really. The *subject* of the diss was my life, but everything was so confused back then, I didn't even know how to begin to tell you. I'd already lost my academic career and the respect of my peers. I couldn't have stood it if I'd lost you too. You know what they say? Unrequited love is better than no love at all." Blair pulled back and grinned at him.

"Who says that, Chief?"

"No one really. I made it up," Blair laughed. "So, what now?"

"Now? Bed?" Jim asked hesitantly, hoping he wasn't pushing this too fast, his doubts immediately calmed as Blair stood up and pulled him into a hug.

"I thought you'd never ask, Ellison," he said, his hands creeping under the hem of Jim's sweater and tracing lovingly across the muscles of his chest. "God, Jim, if you only knew how much I've wanted to be able to do this."

"Let's go upstairs, Blair."

~oOo~

They made it to the bedroom, divesting each other of clothing as they went; Blair laughing at Jim's blatant flaunting of the house rules as shirts and jeans landed where they'd been thrown. They stopped briefly to toe themselves out of shoes and socks and then Jim felt himself pushed gently down onto the bed, with Blair splayed across him. He felt soft kisses across his throat and collar bone, felt his body responding to the caresses as Blair moved down further. A tongue laved across his nipples and he shuddered, pressing himself into the sensation. He reached his hands down to cup Blair's buttocks, kneading and stroking as Blair moved further down, his tongue delving into Jim's navel, while his hands scratched gently through his pubic hair.

Jim moaned as Blair ignored his aching erection and bent his head to nuzzle his thighs further apart. Taking one of Jim's balls in his mouth, he softly traced the outline of the other within its sac with his finger. Then he licked a languorous trail up Jim's cock until he reached the head. He dipped his tongue into the slit and then sucked as much of the shaft as he could into his mouth.

"God, Blair," Jim groaned, as Blair sucked and stroked, his tongue one minute swirling around the top of Jim's penis, the next pressing it to the roof of his mouth.

"Don't stop," he murmured, anguished as he felt Blair release his hold on him.

"It's okay, Jim. Just relax. You trust me, right?" Blair asked softly.

"Yes," Jim moaned, every cell in his body aching for completion.

"It's okay, Jim. I love you. Trust me." Blair reached down and punctuated the words with a kiss. He moved until he was once more straddling Jim's legs. He leaned forward and reached for Jim's hand, then tenderly wrapped it around both their erections. Then he encompassed Jim's hand with his own and began to stroke, slowly at first, then as their need accelerated, faster and harder, his fingers white tipped over Jim's.

Jim felt his orgasm curling up from deep within him. He raised his head from the pillow, feeling his muscles beginning to spasm and as the climax flooded him he saw Blair astride him, head thrown back, his hair sweat dampened, and their hands joined together as their combined seed flowed between them.

~oOo~

"Why now?" Blair asked as he nuzzled gently at Jim's shoulder.

"You know those sensory spikes I get?"

"Yeah."

"For the past few months, ever since the... since Alex..." Jim stammered, unable to say the words coherently, "I've felt, I don't know, like mini spikes whenever I've been close to you. Like my senses were going into overload just being around you. So, I tried to avoid it. But then I didn't want to circle around you anymore, Chief. I didn't want to avoid the feelings. I wanted to be able to walk straight up to you and touch you."

"And the sensory spikes?" Blair asked, as he turned so they were spooned together.

"Gone," Jim whispered. "Now, I just feel everything is in place, where it's supposed to be."

 

THE END