DISCLAIMER: Not mine. No copyright infringement intended. No money made.

EMAIL: Annie

BETAED by Lyn. Thanks again, sis, for catching all the silly mistakes.

NOTES: This could be considered a sequel of sorts to my last dues fic, "Honesty" but it's not necessary to have read that first. But if you'd like to, it's up at my site.

"Hey, Blair, you got a minute, man?"

Blair looked up from the paperwork he was completing and smiled at Jeff Davis. Jeff was one of the uniformed guys who didn't resent his presence in Major Crime. "Sure, Jeff, what's up?"

"Well, it's like this, Jessie's cousin just moved here and we were wondering if maybe you'd like to come on sort of a double date with us tonight."

"Me and Jessie's cousin?" Blair asked, glancing sideways at his partner, who was simply watching quietly.

"Yeah, um, her name's Tamzin and she's 25 and she's pretty, really pretty. She's been single for about 6 months now and she's finally ready to start dating again and we thought, you know, you guys might hit it off. She's a teacher at the elementary school. You'd like her, Blair," Jeff wheedled.

"Um, look, Jeff, man, I'm sure she's beautiful, if she's related to Jessie, but... well, see... it's just that... ." Blair looked at Jim in desperation.

"He's trying to tell you that he's already taken, Davis," Jim said, grinning at his tongue-tied lover.

"Oh, really. I didn't know you were seeing anyone, Blair. That's great. Don't sweat it, man. Hey, maybe if I can hook Tamzin up with someone, you and your girl could come out with us sometime, anyway. Okay?" Davis said, smiling.

"Maybe," Blair replied, his cheeks flushing. "Look, sorry, man. I've gotta go, you know." With that Blair pushed back his chair and headed for the office doors at a run.

Jim smiled grimly at a bemused Davis then took off after his partner, reaching the hallway just in time to see Blair ducking into the men's room. He paused momentarily, figuring out the best course of action, then shrugged and followed his partner in.

Blair was standing in front of the mirror, staring into it. He turned as Jim entered. "Sorry about that," he said quietly.

"Want to talk about it?" Jim asked.

"I think I just got an idea of how it was for you when Simon asked you if we were together," Blair replied. "I'm sorry, Jim. It was just... for a minute all I wanted to do was tell him the person I was with was you but at the same time, I was dreading he'd guess."

"I understand, Chief."

"Yeah, I know you do. That's what makes it worse. I mean, when I heard you deny our relationship to Simon, I took off, didn't even give you a chance to explain. Yet, here you are, after almost the same thing happens, asking me if I want to talk." Blair lowered his head, fiddling with the soap.

"It's not the same at all, Chief. You were right about that. Simon's a trusted friend. I should've been honest with him. He was pretty pissed when he found out I hadn't been."

Blair nodded. He remembered the night Simon had come over for dinner and been told that his best detective and his observer were lovers. Blair had expected Simon to be furious, disgusted, anything except what he had been. Banks was disappointed that neither of his friends had trusted him enough to tell him the truth, but he'd also been glad that they were happy. Their relationship was something the captain had long expected, apparently. As long as it didn't affect their work, Simon only wanted the best for his friends.

"This was different, Blair. Jeff's a good guy but neither of us knows him as well as we do Simon or Rafe or any of the Major Crime guys. I think Rafe already suspects, anyway and he'd never say anything unless we wanted him to. Maybe I shouldn't have jumped in. Hell, it might even be a good thing for you to go out with a woman now and then..." Jim's words came to an abrupt halt as he found himself pushed back against the rest room door by his partner.

Blair pulled Jim's head down and he latched onto his mouth passionately. Then he pushed the detective away. "No way, Jim. I don't want to 'go out' as you euphemistically put it with anyone but you."

"Geez, Blair, I didn't mean sleep with anyone, just as a cover..." Jim shut up again as Blair pulled him into another breath-stealing kiss. Moving away again, Jim grinned. "Maybe I should argue with you more often, Chief. Seriously though, you gonna be okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Let's get back to work, huh, before someone gets curious enough to know why the cop of the year is keeping the men's room door closed with his body." Blair smiled. "But, I am sorry, Jim. I understand now how tough it must have been for you that day."

"It's behind us now. You ready? Wait a sec." Jim held up his hand and motioned to Blair to wait as he checked out the corridor. For a minute, he could have sworn he'd seen someone move away from the door as he opened it. Looking up and down the hallway, Jim shook his head. It must have just been someone walking past. There was no point in listening for any other heartbeats. There were around twenty others just on this floor of the PD alone. He looked back and waved Blair through ahead of him then followed him back to the bullpen


"Hi, Sandburg, how you doin'?"

Blair looked up in surprise to see one of the uniform guys standing in front of Jim's desk. "How's it going, Officer..." he peered at the man's nametag, "Davidson? What can I do for you?"

"Um, well, see... look, it's like this, Sandburg. There's this kid who says he has information for us on a robbery case we been working but he won't speak to anyone but you. Says he knows you from when you were at the University. That's was bad, the way they treated you there, man," Davidson said sympathetically.

"Yeah, well, that's the way it goes, Davidson, um, sorry I can't remember your first name," Blair replied apologetically.


"Thanks, Tom. Just call me Blair, okay?" Blair smiled, wondering if this was the turning point that he'd been waiting for. Maybe Jim had been right. The dissertation and its fallout had finally been forgotten and the people he worked with were finally going to accept him in his new role - Major Crime's Official Consultant and Detective Jim Ellison's official partner. "So you were saying. This kid knows me? I taught him? What's his name?"

"Nah, I don't think you taught him. He's only just started at the U. But he knows of you, knows you work with us now and said you're the only guy he trusts to give the information to. I don't want to give you his name just yet, Blair. You know, privileged sources and all that..." Davidson replied.

"Right. I can understand that, I guess. Um, so do you want to bring him in here or..." Blair asked uncertainly.

"No way. He won't come here but I told him you could meet with him tonight. If that's okay with you, that is. Around 9 PM. In the North car park at Rainier. Kid reckons it'll be deserted then. I know it's short notice, Blair. But I'm worried if we don't get what we need from the kid now, he'll either go underground on us or the perps'll find out he was gonna help us and disappear him." Davidson looked at Blair pleadingly. "So, can you help us out?"

"Yeah, I guess. Jim's got a poker game at the loft tonight but I'll just tell him why I can't make it..."

"Um, it might be better if you don't mention it to Detective Ellison just yet. I mean, everyone knows how protective he is of you. Well, he's likely to insist on going with you or following you to watch your back and if the kid spots him..."

"Yeah, I get the picture, Tom. Okay, tell the boy I'll be there, and I won't tell Jim till you let me know everything's squared away. How's that?" Blair grinned at Davidson. Hell, he was a consultant, after all. This was just another aspect of his job. He'd smooth it over with Jim once the perps were behind bars. "Thanks for asking me to help, Tom."

"No problem, Blair. Glad to have your help," Tom said, smiling back, extending a hand out for Blair to shake.

Blair took it, absently noticing a small tattoo on the webbing between the man's thumb and forefinger. "All right then, bye."

Sandburg started in on the paperwork again, while trying to think of an excuse to give Jim and the others for why he wouldn't be at the poker game tonight.


Jim opened the door before Simon had a chance to knock, as usual. The captain gave him a mock glare. "You know, Jim, I've finally realized the only reason you do that is to hear me say it gives me the creeps when you do that, so I've decided not to even mention it anymore."

Jim just grinned and held the door open wide for Simon and the rest of the gang to come through. He already had the table set up with cards, chips and other munchies. Rafe had brought the beer tonight and Jim snagged one out of the carton as his fellow detective walked past him. "So, you guys ready to lose tonight?" he asked as he twisted the top off the bottle.

"In your dreams, Ellison. Even you don't stand a chance against Sandburg," Henri Brown said, laughing. "Hey, where is Hairboy?"

"He had another appointment," Jim replied easily. "Didn't say exactly what it was, just that he couldn't make it tonight."

"Um, another appointment with a young lady, perhaps," Henri said, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Hey!" he yelled as he felt an elbow in his ribs. He glared at Rafe. "Whaddya do that for?"

"Shut up, H, okay?" Rafe muttered.

"What? What did I say?' Henri asked in a hurt voice. "We all know Hairboy's record when it comes to the ladies, right, Jim?"

"Yeah, sure do, H," Jim answered. "So, since the wonder boy isn't here to rob us blind, how 'bout we play poker."

"Yep, let's get to it," Simon responded, snagging a beer for himself and seating himself at the table, waiting till the others joined him before taking the cards and naming the game.


Blair climbed out of his car and squinted around the parking lot. There were a few lights and he'd made sure he'd parked under one of them. So far, he could see no sign of anyone waiting for him. He paced back and forth for several minutes, deciding that if nobody turned up soon he'd call it quits and head for home.

"Mr. Sandburg?"

Blair turned at the sound of his name and saw someone standing in the shadows at the far end of the lot. It was darker there and Blair couldn't make out who had called him but he knew it had to be his contact so he made his way cautiously over.

"Mr. Sandburg, that you?" A young man stepped forward, glancing around in all directions. He was obviously on edge and Blair instinctively reached a hand out, grasping the informant's arm and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

"Yeah, it's me. " He thought for a moment. He was normally pretty good with names and although he didn't know the kid well, he remembered him hanging out with a couple of Blair's ex-students at the mall one day last week. The kids had introduced them. "You're Jesse, right? Jesse Cole?" Blair asked, softly. The kid was pale and shaking and didn't answer. Blair could see the evidence of his nervousness in spite of the poor lighting.

The boy looked over Blair's left shoulder and flinched. "I'm sorry, Mr. Sandburg," he whispered as he turned and sped off out of the lot.

Blair spun and was met by a crunching blow to his cheek as he turned. He grunted and began to sag at the knees, his head spinning, lights prickling across the darkness of his vision. He tried to focus as he felt himself hauled upright by one arm and saw a small tattoo decorating the hand that held him. He knew he'd seen it before but pain was robbing him of any coherence and it was as much as he could to stay upright even with the hand holding him in place. His breath left his body in a groan as what felt like a knee connected with his midriff. He doubled over, trying to protect his ribs and felt a fist punch into his temple. He was no longer able to hold himself up and crumpled to the ground. A foot kicked out and caught him in the ribs and he tried to roll with it, fighting the nausea that roiled in his burning gut.

Fragments of words pierced the darkness of his fleeting consciousness. "Fag!" "I'll teach ya." "Scum."

Eventually the words were borne away on the shreds of his awareness and the pain of the beating faded with it. Blair lay where he'd fallen, and let unconsciousness claim him.


Blair had no idea how much time had passed when he finally fought his way back to consciousness. Pain thundered through his head and stomach, bringing bile to touch the back of his throat. He managed to turn himself onto his side as he retched violently, expelling all his stomach held, the violence of it sending shards of agony through his bruised muscles.

He lay still for a while, panting heavily, trying to regain his breath without inhaling too deeply, knowing instinctively that would bring more pain. After what seemed like hours, but was probably only a few minutes, he managed to roll himself to his stomach and cautiously pushed himself to hands and knees. Blood dripped down his face onto the ground beneath him and he turned his head away again, feeling the nausea rising up. Taking as deep a breath as he could manage, he pushed the sickness back and shoved himself to his feet.

For a moment, earth and sky changed places and he felt sure he would crash back down to the ground again. He bent and placed his hands on his knees, closing his eyes and inhaled shallowly till he felt the dizziness begin to abate. Then he made his slow pain-filled way back to his car.

Once he reached it he was able to find his keys and unlock the door fairly quickly and then he was falling into the driver's seat, where he sat, head down on the steering wheel till he gained some semblance of control. The he started up the car and drove carefully out of the lot. He thought about calling the loft then decided if he drove carefully, he could make it okay. Going to the hospital was definitely not on the agenda. He could imagine the questions now. "Who beat you up, Mr. Sandburg?"

And the answers - "Oh, just some guys who apparently aren't happy with the fact that I'm in love with another man."

Wasn't going to happen if he had anything to do with it. Just making a decision about whether to tell Simon had almost destroyed their fledgling relationship and there was absolutely no way he was going to risk losing Jim because of a bunch of Neanderthal throwbacks who obviously had never heard of enlightened thinking or live and let live.

By the time he reached the end of his meandering thoughts and was beginning to feel the pain and dizziness trying to take over again, he looked around and realized he was only a block away from the loft. He found a parking spot right outside the front door and slowly pulled himself from the car.

It took another few minutes of taking small panting breaths, clinging to the car door, before he felt he could make it inside and up to the loft without falling flat on his face. He wiped a shaking hand over his cheek, trying to clear some of the blood away then pushed himself shudderingly upright and began his unsteady trek to home and Jim and safety.


Jim suddenly sat up straight in his chair, his head tilting slightly to one side in the listening pose that Simon had become accustomed to.

"Jim, you okay?" Banks asked.

"Blair's back," Jim replied, rising to his feet quickly and heading for the door. "Something's wrong."

The other men at the table glanced at each other uneasily. None of them had really believed Sandburg's press conference denouncing his thesis anyway. They'd all worked with Jim too long, seen things they couldn't explain and more importantly, they knew Blair. There was no way Sandburg was a liar or a fraud. So they'd accepted what they knew to be true and just never mentioned it. It didn't matter either way to them anyhow. Ellison and Sandburg were a hell of a team, super-senses or not and it was good to have them on your side.

Jim pulled the door open, then stopped suddenly, seemingly shocked into immobility. "Jesus, Blair, what the hell happened?" He reached forward and pulled his partner into his arms, then turned and kicked the door shut behind them.

The other detectives were already on their feet, surging towards the pair as one.

Blair mumbled something and then he was falling, his knees buckling beneath his weight. Rafe moved forward and grabbed him under one arm while Jim supported him by the other. Slowly, they moved over to the couch and maneuvered him down onto it.

Within seconds, the loft was filled with a sort of controlled chaos as Brown ran to the kitchen to fetch the first aid kit and wet rags, Taggart found blankets in the closet under the stairs and Banks picked up the phone, ready to call an ambulance if it was deemed necessary.

Blair's eyes were closed, his breath puffing out in small exhalations. Blood formed a trail down from his left cheek and snaked over his jaw, the track still wet as the gash continued to bleed. His arms were wrapped around his abdomen, his fists clenched. Small groans punctuated his whispered breaths.

"Chief? You with me? Can you open your eyes for me, Blair? I just need to see if you're okay." Jim's voice held a pleading quality Banks couldn't remember ever hearing before.

Blair's eyes opened slowly and his gaze drifted lazily around the circle of faces above him. He seemed barely aware, but he managed to stay awake, putting one hand up to the cut on his face and wincing as his fingers made contact.

Jim grabbed his hand, pulling it down, keeping it secured in his own large one. "Don't touch, Blair. It's still bleeding and your hands are covered in dirt. You're likely to get it infected. I think you'd better call an ambulance, Simon."

Sandburg's reaction made them all jump. He surged up from the couch, trying to twist his hand free of Jim's grip. "No! No hospital. You can't! No hospital!" Suddenly his face paled and he moaned with pain and slumped back onto the cushions, his eyes boring into Simon's. "Please, no hospital," he begged hoarsely.

"Jim?" Simon asked. Sandburg had been badly beaten, that much was obvious but forcing the kid to go to the hospital might do more harm than good if he was that adamant about it. Simon didn't need to be a sentinel to see Blair's pulse thundering against the skin of his throat or to hear the panicked hitching that had taken over his breathing. Jim's senses would be able to pick up whatever injuries had been inflicted and his training as a medic would help too. But if Jim decided his partner needed to go to the ER then that's where Sandburg would be going. Banks knew the Sentinel would take no chances with his Guide's wellbeing.

Jim looked closely at Blair, his keen vision taking in the tears shining in the younger man's eyes. This was about more than Blair's normal aversion to going to the hospital. His lover's jaw was clenched and his eyes pleaded with Jim's. "Okay, no hospital for now, Blair. But if I decide later you need to go, you do it. Agreed?"

"All right," Blair said softly. "There's nothing broken, though. Just some cuts and bruises. It looks worse than it is."

"No, it doesn't, Blair. It couldn't possibly look any worse than it really is. Let's get you cleaned up and then you can tell us what went down, okay?" Jim said.

Rafe walked quickly to the kitchen. "I'll heat up some water."

"Good idea, Rafe, thanks." Jim smiled his appreciation at the younger man then opened the kit and pulled out cotton swabs and antiseptic cream. "So, who did this, Chief?" he asked, as he waited for the water to heat.

"Um, I'm not entirely certain, but I think it was Tom Davidson," Blair replied hesitantly.

"Davidson from the PD?" Simon asked. "Why the hell would Tom Davidson want to beat the crap out of you. I mean, I know the guy's a bit of a Neanderthal, Sandburg, but I never thought he had a problem with you. What happened? Did you do something to piss him off?"

Blair cringed back into the couch cushions at the harshness of Simon's tone and Jim shot his captain a glare. Simon had the decency to look abashed and mumbled an apology before crouching down next to Blair.

"Tell us what happened, Blair," he said, more gently this time.

Blair looked around at Brown and Taggart, their faces showing their concern. He knew both cops liked him. He liked them too, which made this even harder. He didn't want to lose their friendship, didn't want Jim to lose it either. He shook his head, then winced as it made his head thump with pain. "I can't tell you right now. But Davidson has a small tattoo between his thumb and index finger and so did the guy who hit me. And I went to Rainier tonight because Davidson asked me to go talk to a kid who said he had information he'd only give to me. When I got there the kid was there, but he just said he was sorry and next thing someone's using me as a punching bag."

"It's not a lot to go on, Sandburg," Simon responded, turning to take the bowl of hot water from Rafe and putting it on the coffee table where Jim could reach it. "Lots of people have tats. And maybe the guy that beat you up was a mugger or the people the kid was gonna rat on. Besides, why would Davidson have it in for you? He hasn't given you a hard time before, has he?"

Jim began to clean the gash on Blair's cheek as gently as he could. Dialing up his vision slightly, he was able to see small specks of dirt in the wound and remove them, but he really thought the cut needed stitches. "Blair, I really think this needs to be sutured," he said, "otherwise you're probably gonna end up with a scar."

Blair shook his head. "It'll be okay, Jim. I feel better now. Just leave it, please."

"Talk to me, Blair." Jim looked deeply into his lover's eyes. "Give me a good reason not to take you to the hospital."

"Because..." Blair lowered his voice and his face flushed. "Because they said it was because of you and me," he whispered, casting a surreptitious look at the other men.

"Whoa, wait a minute, Sandburg," Simon interrupted. "You're saying you were beaten up because you and Jim are a couple?"

Brown gasped and Blair blushed even more.

Jim patted his shoulder gently. "It's okay, Chief. I really don't mind who knows anymore."

"I already guessed anyway, Blair," Rafe said, smiling at his friends. "Makes no difference to me.'

"Or me," Joel put in, leaning down to ruffle Blair's hair softly. "As long as you two are happy, that's all that matters. Mind you, Ellison, you better look after Blair properly or you'll have me to contend with."

Jim smiled back at him gratefully. "Thanks Joel, Rafe." He looked at Henri, who still looked stunned. "H? You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, man, I'm cool," Henri replied. "I'm just a bit surprised, I guess. I just didn't see it."

Blair looked down at his feet, not knowing how to respond. He jumped as he felt a warm hand on his shoulder and looked up into Henri's sincere brown eyes. "I'm happy for you, Hairboy. I'm more surprised I didn't pick up on it that's all. I mean, I thought I was a pretty good detective, you know?"

Blair nodded and smiled back. "Thanks," he husked.

"Tell us what you remember, Chief," Jim said.

Blair repeated everything that had happened from the time Davidson had asked him to meet with the kid until he'd finally managed to make his way home. By the time he finished, Jim's jaw was clenching and Blair could see the anger in his partner's eyes.

"Let it go, Jim. Let Simon and the others take care of it," he said pleadingly

"Uh-uh, no way, Chief. This asshole's gone too far." Jim stood up and headed for the door. "I know where he lives. I'm gonna bring him in."

"Stand down, Jim." Simon's voice was firm and he grabbed Jim's arm before the Sentinel could move away.

"No way, Simon, this guy's mine. You want to come with me and make sure I do this by the book, fine. But I am doing this."

I said, stand down. That was an order, Detective." This time there was an authoritative tone to the captain's voice and he looked Ellison straight in the eyes. "We do this my way. Last time I checked I was still in command." He turned back to the other men. "Joel, I'd like you to stay here with Sandburg. Keep him awake and warm. Try to get him to drink something-"

"If Jim's going to arrest Davidson, I should go with him," Blair interrupted, pushing himself up with a pain-filled groan.

"No way, Sandburg. And yes, that's an order too. You're under my command as much as your partner is. You stay here with Joel or you go to the hospital."

Blair sighed then settled back onto the couch with obvious bad grace.

"Good," Simon said, smiling sympathetically at the young man. "We're going to do this completely by the book, men. If Davidson did this, I want him out of the PD and behind bars as much as you and Jim do, but we can't chance messing it up because we didn't stick to procedure. Okay, Blair, what's the name of the kid you spoke to at the University?"

"Jesse Cole," Blair answered. "I don't know where he lives, though. He was probably too scared to go home anyway. He could be anywhere."

"Let us worry about that, Chief," Jim said, patting his shoulder reassuringly. He was antsy, wanting to get out and take Davidson down. Get him on the ground and wrap his hands around the scumbag's neck and choke the breath out of him. He took a deep breath and released it slowly, letting some of the anger go with it. It was an effective technique Blair had taught him not long after they met. He knew Simon was right. If they wanted Davidson to go down, it had to be done by the book.

"Rafe and Brown, get over to the university and roust someone out of bed. Get this Cole kid's address and see if you can track him down. Bring him in for questioning. Don't charge him yet. We'll hold him as a material witness for now. Maybe he'll roll over on Davidson if we go easy on him."

Rafe and Brown nodded and grabbed their jackets as they left the apartment.

"Okay, Jim, you and I will go bring Mr. Davidson in for a little chat. Then when Blair's up to it, Joel can bring him down to the station to give a statement and do an ID on Davidson and the kid. Okay, Sandburg? That tattoo you saw tonight when this happened, what was it?" Simon asked. He didn't for a moment think Blair was lying but confirmation of the tattoo would be another piece of evidence that would tie the case up nicely.

"I think it was a spider. I only saw it for a second or two and I was pretty groggy by then anyway," Blair answered apologetically. "I saw Davidson's tattoo today when he shook hands with me but I really don't remember what it was either."

"That's fine, Sandburg. You get some rest for a while, all right? I'll call Joel when it's time for you to come down to the station." Banks walked out to wait for Jim at the elevator, motioning Joel to follow him and give Jim and Blair a minute or two of privacy.

Jim knelt down next to the couch and reached out to gently touch Blair's cheek, avoiding the laceration there. Blair pressed his head into the embrace.

"Jim, promise me you won't get carried away, all right?"

"I promise, Chief. I'll do this right." Jim leaned forward and kissed Blair's mouth softly. "You sure you're gonna be okay? I could still get Joel to take you to get checked out." He wasn't surprised when Blair shook his head. "I'd better go. I'll see you soon. I love you, Blair. Everything'll work out, you'll see."

"I know," Blair said quietly, giving the palm of Jim's hand a soft kiss. "I love you too. Go on, don't keep Simon waiting. I'll be fine."

Jim nodded and stood up, grabbing his jacket and his holster and keys as he left the loft.


Jim snagged the phone before it rang twice, hoping that it hadn't woken Blair. It had been two days since the anthropologist had been attacked and although he claimed he felt fine, Jim hadn't missed the small winces of pain that accompanied any sudden movement.

"Jim, it's Simon," the voice on the other end said. "How's the kid?"

"Better, sir, thanks. He's asleep right now." Jim took the cordless and moved into the kitchen, glancing over at Blair, who hadn't moved.

"Good, I'm glad. I've got some news for him. We're not pressing charges against the Cole boy, seeing he's decided to testify against Davidson. IA is coming down pretty heavy on Davidson, too. Seems nobody wants the public to know that the PD has homophobes in its ranks, in these days of enlightened thinking and political correctness." Banks' voice sounded snide and Jim snorted in agreement. "Yeah, well, that's the main reason I'm calling. The commissioner and the Mayor both wanted me to pass on their sympathies to Sandburg and also their request for dealing with Davidson totally within the department. That means he won't do any jail time, he'll be off the force, of course, and lose his pension... Jim, you still there?"

"Yeah, I'm here, sir. Just thinking. I'm not sure how Blair'll feel about that. I'll have to talk to him about it and call you back," Jim replied.

"About what," came a sleepy voice from the living room.

Jim looked over and saw a pair of groggy blue eyes watching him. "Hey, Chief. Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up."

"S'okay, Jim. What's up?" Blair sat up slowly and carefully, wincing a little as his bruised stomach muscles made their presence known. He reached up and touched the butterfly bandages that held the cut on his cheek together, pleased when it wasn't as sore any more.

"Hang on, sir, Blair's awake. Look, I'll call you back in a while, all right. Right, bye, sir." Jim hung up the phone and moved over to perch on the coffee table in front of Blair. Leaning forward, he placed a soft kiss on Blair's forehead and then his mouth. "Okay, Chief, this is the deal. The Mayor and the commissioner want this case kept out of the public eye. Apparently it's not a good image for the force when one of their members goes around beating up another member just because one of them's gay. Sexual discrimination and so on. They both send their sincere wishes for your recovery and apologies for what Davidson did but in return they want you to agree to have it dealt with by IA and not the DA's office. That means Davidson gets the boot but he stays out of prison. You still get criminal compensation, which'll be enough to buy you some of those twelve pound books you're always reading or to fix your car. Probably both, as a matter of fact."

Blair put a hand on Jim's lips. "Tell them yes, Jim," he said quietly.

"You sure, Blair? You can take some time to think about this, you know."

Blair nodded. "I'm sure. Tell them yes. This way nobody outside of Simon and the guys and IA needs to know about us." He put up his hands to quell the expected interruption. "I know you said you don't care, Jim, but I do. Keeping the lid on the Sentinel stuff is tough enough. I really don't think it's a good time for our relationship to go public just yet. The people who care about us know and are happy for us. That's enough for me. I mean, you haven't even told your dad or Steven and I don't want them to find out like this."

Jim sighed. The decision whether to tell his father and brother about him and Blair was still something of a sticking point with him. After what had happened when Jim had lied to Simon about it and nearly lost his lover, Blair had told Jim to make the choice himself. Blair wasn't pushing Jim to acknowledge their relationship to anyone. He'd just prefer they didn't lie about it. It was this aspect of Blair's nature, his sheer unselfishness that was one of the main things Jim loved about him. "I guess you're right," he said finally. "Okay, I'll call Simon back and let him know." He came to a sudden decision. "I'm gonna call my dad and Steven too. Invite myself over for lunch on the weekend. I think it's time I bridged the gap."

"I'm glad, Jim." Blair reached a hand out and pulled Jim into a deep kiss. By the time they broke apart, they were both panting. "Go make the calls, big guy. I'll meet you upstairs." Blair winked suggestively and patted Jim's backside as the older man stood and turned away. Then he climbed off the couch and went to the bathroom to shower before going upstairs to their bedroom.


Jim climbed the stairs eagerly, his cock already half-hard at the expectation of what he'd find when he made it to the top. He wasn't disappointed.

Blair lay on his stomach on top of the bed. He was naked, the bedside lamp shining softly on his skin, turning his flesh golden. Jim licked his lips as his cock hardened even more and then Blair turned on his side and looked at him, a sultry expression turning his eyes a deep smoky blue.

"You just gonna stand there looking all night, Ellison?" he asked huskily.

Jim didn't answer, just walked to the bed and divested himself of his clothes. Once he was naked he pushed Blair gently back onto his stomach and straddled his body, his cock nestling into the crevice of Blair's ass. He reached over and grabbed the lightly scented massage oil he kept in the top drawer of the bedside table and took off the top. The he poured some into the palm of his hand, the excess dribbling onto Blair's warm back, the sudden chill of the liquid making Blair jump.

"Sorry," Jim muttered but Blair just sighed and put his head back down on the pillow. Jim began with a slow circular rhythm beginning at Blair's neck, then moving down to his shoulders and the broad muscles of his back, feeling the tension bleeding out of his lover's body beneath his fingertips. Then he moved down, feeling his penis and balls drag along the skin of Blair's ass, wrenching a groan from both of them. Straddling Blair's thighs now, he massaged the soft swell of his buttocks until Blair began to push back against his hands. Then he moved his finger between the cheeks, tracing up and down. Sighing, he left the tempting spot and finished by massaging Blair's legs and feet.

"Roll over, babe," he murmured, moving off Blair's legs to kneel beside him on the bed.

Once Blair was on his back. Jim leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on his lover's mouth. He poured some more of the lotion onto his hand and stroked his own cock a couple of times, feeling it lengthen and thicken beneath his fingers. Stifling a moan, he stopped pumping himself and placed a finger on Blair's nipple, circling the areola, and tugging gently on the nipple ring. Blair arched up a little at the stimulation and Jim pushed him back down, his mouth following his fingers and stroking wet circles on the tiny bud. Then he paid the same attention to the other nipple, finishing with a sweet kiss to the skin above Blair's heart.

Blair lay still, quiescent, breathing shallowly. His erection arched back toward his belly and Jim leaned forward and licked from the base to the head, dipping his tongue momentarily into the slit there. Blair's body tensed and Jim stroked his hands up and down his lover's body, smoothing the hair that covered Blair's chest and arrowed down to his groin.

Blair bent his legs up and let them fall apart in a blatant invitation. Jim didn't refuse him. He coated his hand in the massage oil once more then deep throated Blair's cock, feeling it thrust up into the moist cavern of his mouth. At the same time he used his other hand to caress Blair's balls, then moved the same hand further back, rubbing over Blair's perineum and then to the opening he sought. He traced it gently, even as his mouth kept up its rhythmic sucking of the hard shaft, then pressed a finger inside. Blair moaned, almost the only sound he'd made since they'd started and Jim hummed his pleasure, the vibration sending tiny blasts of pleasure along the nerve endings in Blair's cock.

Jim continued the massage of Blair's anus, bringing two and then three fingers to stretch the small opening. He took his time, feeling Blair's desire growing, tasting the pre-come on his tongue.

"Jim, please, take me," Blair whispered, his hands resting on Jim's head as if in benediction.

Jim released Blair's cock, planting one last delicate kiss on the sensitive tip then slicked the last of the oil over his own aching shaft. He moved between his lover's legs and lifted them carefully, placing them over his shoulders. He turned his head and kissed the inside of each of Blair's knees then pressed his cock against Blair's anus, never taking his eyes from Blair's face, wanting to see him as he was filled.

He pushed through the final band of resistance and moaned aloud as his cock was engulfed in the smooth damp warmth of Blair's body. Blair was panting now, edging his body down onto the cock impaling him with minute thrusts.

Jim began the long slow slide in and out, feeling the clenching of Blair's inner muscles around him as he moved. He tried to keep the motion slow for as long as he could but the long foreplay had aroused him as much as it had Blair and soon he found himself pounding faster and harder into Blair's ass.

Blair was groaning almost continuously now, his own hand on his cock keeping pace with the thrusts Jim was making. Suddenly, Blair arched his back and ground himself down harder onto Jim's cock as streams of semen jetted between them. The spasm of his internal muscles grabbed at Jim's cock, pulling his own orgasm from him and he cried Blair's name as he came.

They lay still for long moments, their bodies shuddering as aftershocks hit, their breath coming in heaving gasps. Finally Jim rolled off his lover and turned Blair so he was facing him, cocooned within his arms.

"I love you so much, Chief," he said softly, kissing Blair's eyelids between the words.

"I love you too, babe. We're gonna be okay, you know," Blair answered, his hand caressing Jim's cheek.

"Yes, we are," Jim replied. He pulled Blair's head against his chest and tuned his hearing into the reassuring beat of his guide's heart, letting it lull him to sleep.

The End

May 16th,2004