EMAIL: libtanner2003@yahoo.com.au

Written for the TS LiveJournal Cliché/Senses Ficathon.

CLICHÉ : Blair dates a baddie.

SENSE : Touch


"It's not gonna happen, Sandburg, so let's just forget we even talked about it, all right?"

Jim's words resounded painfully in Blair's miserably aching, hung-over head.

*Shit!* Blair still couldn't believe he'd actually let his guard slip and told Jim the secret he'd been hiding ever since they'd known each other. The alcohol he'd drunk way too much of at Simon's birthday party had helped loosen his inhibitions and his tongue, that was true. But, he'd held the secret so close to himself for so long that he still couldn't believe he'd blurted it out.

It had been a good party… *No, a great party,* Blair amended. Lots of good food, lots of singing and joking, everyone letting their hair down, having fun.

Blair didn't usually drink that much. He remembered why now, as he bent dizzily over the porcelain god and offered up his stomach contents as atonement for his stupidity the night before. His head ached mightily, his thundering heart echoing noisily and painfully in his ears. He moved to the sink, rinsed his mouth and threw cold water on his face then scurried hurriedly back to his room, hoping that Jim had already left for work or that he was still asleep upstairs. Slumping back miserably against his pillows, he continued to replay the scene from the night before in his head, worrying at the details like a dog at a bone, wanting desperately to salvage some hope from it; some previously missed nuance in Jim’s voice perhaps, that he’d been too drunk to pick up on the night before.

"Why not?" Even to his own intoxicated ears, Blair’s voice sounded pleading, whiny even. "You’re bi, I’m bi. We care about each other -"

"Sandburg, watch my lips. I am not going to fuck you." Jim had leaned down into his partner’s personal space as he spoke, his breath blowing heatedly across Blair’s face, stirring the incipient hardness at Blair’s groin to instant flaring life.

"Oka-a-y," Blair drawled suggestively, "I’ll fuck you." He jumped as Jim reached a none too steady hand down and grasped his shoulder, giving it an impatient shake.

"It’s not going to happen," Jim said, his words as measured as they could be, given the slightly drunken slur alcohol lent them.

"Just tell me why?" Blair asked. He tore on, determined to get a reason. "You said you love me. I told you I love you. I just don’t understand why -"

"That’s exactly why, Chief." Jim collapsed onto the couch next to Blair and turned to look him more or less squarely in the eyes. "I’ve screwed up every single relationship I’ve ever had, except my friendship with you. And, I almost destroyed that too, on more than one occasion, if you remember. Blair, listen to me. If we did this… if we became lovers and it didn’t work out… how the hell do we go back to just being best friends again? I don’t have a lot of best friends, Chief. As a matter of fact, you’re it in the best friends’ department. I don’t want to risk that…" He placed a gentle hand on Blair’s cheek, cupping it in his big warm hand. "No matter how much I might want you."

Blair leaned forward, edging to within kissing distance of Jim’s mouth. Suddenly, Jim’s hand was gone and Blair toppled forward as his partner stood up.

"Sorry, Chief. Not gonna happen. I’m going to bed – alone," Jim said firmly around a yawn.

"Whatever," Blair muttered sullenly into the couch cushions, as his erection slowly deflated.

He felt a soft brush of lips against his temple. "I’m sorry, Blair. Get some sleep, all right?"

Then Jim went upstairs and Blair stayed sulking on the couch till the cold forced him into his own bed. He’d fallen into a restless sleep, every dream an alternate scenario where the sentinel finally capitulated to his guide’s not inconsiderable charms and they lived happily ever after.


"Hey, Blair, wait up!"

Blair turned and watched as Michael Davis, one of his fellow TA's crossed the road to join him. He had another man with him and Blair's breath caught in his throat as he looked the stranger over. The man was around Jim's height and weight, had the same muscular frame as Jim. Blair sighed as he wondered when he'd stop measuring every guy against Jim. Mike's friend had black hair and brown eyes though, Blair noticed. He was also running those dark eyes appreciatively over Blair's body.

"Hi, Mike. How you doing, man?" Blair greeted his friend.

"Great, Blair. Um, look, my buddy, Luke here asked me to introduce the two of you so… um… well, Luke, this is Blair Sandburg. Blair, this is an old school friend of mine, Luke Hayes." Mike stumbled to a halt, his cheeks flushing bright red.

"Hi, Luke, Nice to meet you." Blair shook hands with the other man then looked quizzically at Luke. "Um, you wanted to meet me?" he continued.

"Yeah, I did," Luke replied. His voice was deep and warm, Blair noticed, and he still hadn't released Blair's hand. "I hope you don't mind. I saw you a couple of days ago on campus and asked Mike who you were. I… well, I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me or something."

Blair took his hand back then glanced down at his shoes, his mind racing as he considered the possibilities. Luke looked great and he was obviously interested in him. That was all good but… Blair sighed again. He'd pretty much stopped dating anyone, male or female as soon as he'd realized he'd fallen in love with Jim. Hadn't helped though, he thought morosely, remembering the previous week's drunken debacle. He and Jim were no closer to sleeping together, to really being together, than they'd ever been. In fact, since that night, it seemed Jim no longer even touched Blair at all, not even the friendly cuffs on the head or pats on the back that had marked so much of their friendship over the past few years. It was as if the Sentinel thought that if he kept his distance from his Guide, Blair would forget about wanting him. Not much chance of that. Still… Blair looked up at Luke who was still patiently waiting for his answer. He grinned and nodded his head. "Sure, I'd like that. Tonight?"

Luke laughed, his face crinkling attractively. "Tonight's great. I thought for a minute there, you were going to tell me you were seeing someone but Mike told me you were single so…"

Blair shook his head firmly then looked over at Mike who still looked strangely uncomfortable. "Nope, not seeing anyone," he said firmly. "So, how about 8 PM at JimmyZ. I'll meet you there."

"Great," Luke replied enthusiastically. "8 it is. See you then, Blair."

"Okay. Hey, Mike, you wanna come too, bring someone? We could double date." Blair asked his strangely quiet friend.

"No!" Luke said quickly. "Mike was just telling me how much work he has to catch up on tonight, weren't you?" He looked intently at Mike and the young man nodded. "Yeah, lots of grading and stuff," Davis said quietly. "You know how it is this time of year, Blair."

"Sure. Okay then, bye, Mike," Blair said, looking at his friend in puzzlement. Mike just nodded and strode off back across the road with Luke at his side.


Blair made sure he was showered and dressed, ready to leave, by the time Jim walked into the loft that night. He'd chosen tight denim jeans, no artful rips in this pair, and a dark blue shirt that Jim had bought him for his birthday. It was the nicest shirt he had and he'd only ever worn it once before - the night Jim had given it to him, as a matter of fact. Jim had insisted on taking him out for dinner. It hadn't been a date, of course. Though even back then Blair had wished it was. But to his partner, it was just a buddy treating his best friend to a meal on his birthday. His mind drifted back and he found himself remembering how hot Jim had looked that night… then jumped as he realized Jim had asked him a question.

"Huh?' he asked.

"Just asked what lucky lady is getting your attention tonight?" Jim said, his eyes roving up and down Blair's body, with what looked like an appreciative gleam.

"No lady tonight, Jim. My buddy, Mike, introduced me to a friend of his who wanted to meet me," Blair replied, tucking his hair nervously behind one ear. He looked down, feeling his face flush a little.

"An anthropologist?" Jim asked smoothly.

"Um, no. Actually, I'm not really sure what Luke does. He'd seen me on campus and wanted to meet me."

"I see," Jim said, though Blair seriously doubted he did. "But, it's still a date then, right?"

Blair looked up as Jim pushed past him to get to the fridge, almost jumping back as he felt Jim's hand press slightly against his hip on the way. He shook off the feeling of heat the small touch had engendered and moved so he was standing behind the counter. "Yeah, I guess," he said.

"So what do you know about this guy, Chief?" Jim asked as he pulled a beer from the fridge, uncapped and stood with his back to the fridge as he sipped it.

Blair pulled his eyes away from the sight of Jim's mouth wrapped around the neck of the bottle and swallowed hard. "Not a …" he coughed, cleared his throat, tried again. "Not a lot. Like I said, he's a friend of Mike's. You remember Mike Davis. I introduced you to him a couple of times. His friend's name is Luke Hayes and Mike used to go to school with him."

"Do you think it's a good idea to go out with someone you know so little about, Sandburg? I mean, don't get me wrong but you've made some pretty poor judgement calls when it comes to dating people you've only just met. The name Iris ring any bells?" Jim spoke sardonically, a faint smile ghosting around his lips.

Blair saw red. "Yeah, well, I could name a couple of your less than stellar conquests too, Jim. How about Veronica or Lila or… or… what about Alex? Those names ring any bells in that great oh-so-perfect Sentinel brain of yours?" he turned to leave but was pulled up short by the grip Jim now had on his arm.

"Whoa, slow down. I'm sorry, all right? Look, I know I have no right to tell you who you can or can't date -"

"You got that right," Blair muttered, pulling his arm free.

"I'm sorry. Just… just be careful, okay?" Jim said, his voice soft now. "I don't want you to get hurt."

"I'm a big boy, Jim. I've been taking care of myself for a while now." Blair walked over and grabbed his jacket from the hook and opened the door. Then he turned back to his partner. "Thanks for worrying, man, but you already made it plain that you're not interested in having that sort of relationship with me…" He put up a hand as Jim began to interrupt. "Let me finish. That's your choice, Jim. I can't say I like it but I don't have much choice myself but to accept it. My feelings for you haven't changed but there's no point in me sitting around the loft moping over something I can't have. I just have to live with it. Luke seems nice, he's attractive. I just want to go out and enjoy myself, okay?"

Jim nodded. "Yeah, okay."

Blair closed the door behind him and headed down the stairs.


Jim looked around the loft as Blair closed the door and grimaced. He had yet another empty night ahead of him and he had only himself to blame for that. The night Blair had admitted his feelings for him, it had been all Jim could do not to pick his partner up over his shoulder, carry him upstairs and show him the place he held in Jim's life. But… Jim headed over to the fridge for another beer, dumping the empty in the recyclable container on the way, what if they'd found out they couldn't make the relationship work. More to the point what if Jim couldn't. He grabbed the beer, popped the top and went back to sit on the couch.

What he'd told Blair that night was nothing less than the truth, really. Jim didn't have a great track record when it came to long term relationships. Jim snorted a little as he realized that Blair's CV in that area was less than stellar too. *Yeah, well, there you go!* he thought almost triumphantly, raising the bottle to his insightful thinking. *Great relationship a pair of losers like Sandburg and me would have.* Downing the rest of his beer, he couldn't help the thought crossing his mind that he really wouldn't mind finding out if they could make it work though.

He settled on a sandwich for dinner and got up to pull the makings out. Ham, cheddar, mayonnaise - all the things to make a Sentinel's heart sing and a Guide go into lecture mode. He made a determined effort to tune out Blair's mandatory sandwich health warnings that seemed to have become hard-wired in his brain, then frowned as he realized he'd gotten out the light mayo instead of the one he preferred to use. Sighing, he slathered it on anyway, then took his meal over to the dining table and sat down to eat.

He took a large bite of his sandwich then frowned as his mind took up where it had left off. He did love Blair, more than Blair knew. Hell, he'd even held back from patting the kid on the back or giving him a gentle noogie the past couple of weeks, worried that he wouldn't be able to hide his growing attraction to his partner. Which then inevitably led onto why he was fighting it so hard anyway? It wasn't like Blair wasn't interested. He'd made it more than plain that if Jim said the word, Sandburg'd be all over him like Imelda Marcos at a shoe sale. *But what if…?* Jim's inner voice continued naggingly as he got up to turn on the TV, hoping to distract his thoughts. He glared at the perfectly innocent gameshow host flashing his molars at the camera and pressed the off button on the remote savagely. "What if we screw it up?" Jim murmured to himself as he went upstairs and threw himself down on his bed. "How do we go back to being best friends after we've been lovers?"

A memory flashed into his mind of him asking Carolyn how come they were better friends now they were divorced than they'd been before. Okay, so maybe you could be someone's lover and if you fucked it up, still be their friend.

He swallowed hard as another thought rose unbidden to take its place. *What if we don't screw it up? What if I'm… if we're missing out on the best part of our lives because I'm shit-scared?* He smiled a little then. "Fear-based responses, Jim," he could hear Blair telling him only a few weeks ago. "We all have them to some degree. It's just that yours are big enough to have their own zip code."

Dammit, had he missed his chance now, though? Blair was out with a guy he obviously was attracted to. *Hey, it's just one date* his subconscious reminded him. Jim grinned as he made up his mind. *You're the one who wanted more, Chief. Maybe, if I'm lucky, we'll both end up getting what we really want after all.*

He groaned as the phone rang and turned to scoop up the receiver. "Ellison," he grunted.

//Um, hi, ah, Detective Ellison. This is Mike - Mike Davis. I'm a friend of Blair's.//

"Yeah, I remember. What's up?" Jim jerked up on the mattress and swung his legs over the side, the phone held against his suddenly cold skin. "What's happened?"

//Nothing, I hope… well… um nothing yet…// the voice on the other end jittered.

"What's wrong?" Jim asked firmly and succinctly.

//My friend, Luke… well he's not really a friend, not anymore after what happened. More of a… well, that doesn't matter, I guess…"

"What the hell is wrong?" Jim stood up and gripped the phone so tightly he was surprised not see fingermarks appearing in the plastic.

"Look, Luke Hayes isn't a good person for Blair to be seeing. Can we just leave it at that? Please?" Mike's voice had a pleading quality to it now. "I should never have introduced him to Blair but I've always been gutless where Luke's concerned."

Jim bit down on his anxiety. "Look, Mike, Blair is, as he keeps reminding me, a big boy now. He's not gonna be thrilled about me busting up his date with your buddy." *Although it'd give me a heck of thrill to do just that* he thought.

"You don't understand, Detective. Luke and I were together once. I moved to Cascade to get away from him. He beat me up so badly when I tried to break it off with him, it put me in hospital for two weeks," Mike said forcefully. "I don't want anyone to go through that."

"Then why the hell did you set Blair up with him?" Jim yelled.

"I'm scared of him. He threatened me if I didn't. Look, that doesn't matter. Just go get Blair. I'd go myself but Luke'd kill me if I did. You're a cop. He won't mess with you."

"Wait a minute. You said he assaulted you. Did you have him charged?" Jim asked.

"Yeah, I did. He got a two year suspended sentence providing he left me alone. That was a year ago. Somehow he tracked me down, turned up in Cascade two days ago and saw me talking to Blair," Mike replied shakily. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't want this to happen. If Luke comes after me for turning him in, I'll just have to get the hell out of Dodge again. It'll be worth it if it means he doesn't hurt anyone else."

"That might not be necessary, Mike. You leaving Cascade, I mean. He's broken the conditions of his suspended sentence by coming to see you. Was he charged in Washington?" Jim asked, his mind already working on the problem.

"Yeah, in Seattle."

"Leave it with me, Mike. Where did Blair go?"

"JimmyZ," Mike replied.

"Okay, that's about a half hour drive from my place. Do me a favor and call me in forty five minutes on my cell, will you?" Jim recited the number then hung up and redialed the phone. "Hey, Rafe," he responded as his call was answered. "You and Brown are on duty tonight, right? Anything big going down? Nothing. You're bored? Hey, I've got the answer to your boredom problem, buddy."


Jim slipped through the door of JimmyZ and took a moment to adjust his senses. Blair was sitting in a corner booth with a guy who, Jim realized, with surprise, could have almost passed as his double. He sauntered casually over to the booth and stood next to his partner who seemed to be in the middle of a vigorous discussion with his date about something. "Hey, Chief," he said, his voice carefully neutral.

"Jim!" Blair looked up, his eyes widening and his voice rising at least an octave. "What are you doing here?"

Jim bent his knees and nudged Blair's hip with his thigh until his partner moved along the bench seat, allowing him room to sit down. "Hi, nice to see you too, Sandburg. Gonna introduce me to your friend?"

Blair frowned, then swallowed visibly and said, "Sure, Jim. Ah, Luke Hayes, this is my partner, Jim Ellison."

Luke smiled amiably even as his eyes narrowed and locked with Jim's. "Nice to meet you, Jim. Blair was just telling me about you."

"Yeah? He was? Good. So, Luke, what are you doing here in the wilds of Cascade?" Jim asked, keeping his thigh pressed up against Blair's and relishing the contact. He looked up as he caught movement from the corner of his eye and saw Rafe sidle in the door and take up a stool at the bar.

Hayes began to reply just as Jim's phone rang and Ellison held up his hand while he pulled the cell from his pocket and answered. It was Mike and he was about ten minutes early but that was okay. This way there'd still be no chance of Blair thinking Jim was only here to pull his ass out of the fire. Blair would think Jim had come because he'd changed his mind and was jealous and he'd be right about that.

Luke's eyes widened with something like fear as he listened to Jim's end of the conversation. Blair looked confused as he worked out who Jim was talking to and tried to make sense of what was going on.

As Hayes lurched to his feet and tried to stumble out of the booth, Jim flicked one hand over his shoulder at Rafe who came over at a run, spun Hayes around, bent him over the table and had him cuffed and Mirandised within a New York minute.

"You tell Mike he won't be able to run far enough this time, Blair. Fucking little slut! I'll kill him next time I find him!"

"Make sure you add those threats to his booking sheet when you charge him, will you, Rafe?" Jim remarked conversationally. He told Mike not to worry, assured him Hayes wouldn't get out on bail and that if he did, they move Mike to a safehouse then turned off the phone and put it back inside his pocket. Only then did he turn to look at Blair who sat speechless at his side, his mouth open doing a credible imitation of the guppy Jim had nicknamed him for.

Jim reached out with one finger and pushed under Blair's chin, closing his mouth then he leaned forward and kissed him softly. He pulled back and saw Blair blink then smile slowly. Leaning forward so their foreheads touched, he rubbed the back of Blair's head with a cupped hand. "I might be an unmitigated fool, Chief but I think I'm a fool in love. Let me take you home and prove it." He laughed out loud as Blair shoved him from the booth then grabbed his hand and pulled him up, towing him to the door, oblivious to the curious stares from the other patrons of the bar.


Jim smoothed his hand down the dark hair that covered Blair's chest, following the line of it as it arrowed down to his groin with one finger. He smiled as Blair shivered beneath his touch and bent forward placing a kiss on each of Blair's nipples. Thumbing one idly, he watched as it hardened and then did the same to the other.

"You didn't just change your mind about this because of what Mike told you about Luke, did you?" Blair asked hesitantly.

"You were there, Chief. Mike didn't call till I was already at the club."

Blair's eyes narrowed speculatively and Jim could virtually see the wheels turning in his partner's agile mind.

"Then why was Rafe there, too?" Blair asked and Jim cursed silently.

He shrugged. "Having a drink?" he offered gamely, bending down to capture Blair's lips with his own, wondering if he could divert him at least.

Blair shook his head and placed his hands on Jim's shoulders, pushing him away a little. "Rafe was working last night, Jim. Look, I'm just glad you changed your mind about us being together. I don't think I much care why. I was thinking -"

"Stop," Jim whispered, his mouth caressing its way down Blair's jaw to his throat, lingering possessively over the pulse throbbing away there. "Stop thinking, Chief. Just feel." He moved his hand down to grasp Blair's hard cock and pumped it gently. "Does this feel right?"

Blair gasped, arching his hips up and thrusting into the loose tunnel of Jim's fist, the pulse beneath Jim's lips racing now. "Yes," he whispered back. "Jim! God, don't stop."

Jim moved so he was resting against his lover, his own cock achingly hard against Blair's.

They moved together, sliding slickly against passion-damp skin till Jim pushed down one final time and came, feeling Blair thrust up hard against him as the warmth of Blair's semen pooled between them and mingled with Jim's own.

Blair arched one strong hand behind Jim's neck and pulled him in for a deep, tender kiss. "Feels perfect, Jim."