"It is the unheard in us that nurses our deeper sorrow. Yet it is also the unheard which carves our soul to form and fashions our destiny." ~~Kahlil Gibran "In the Garden of the Prophet"
Jim stretched his arm inside the cupboard of his bedside table, reaching to the very back, his fingers groping to find what he'd hidden there months before. Frustrated, he finally dialed his sense of touch up a fraction, smiling grimly as he quickly found what he'd been searching for. He pulled it out and ran his hand over the front. Then he straightened up and headed downstairs to the living room.
He strode over to the VCR, inserted the videocassette, then spun on his heel, and moved with a sense of urgency over to the couch. He picked up the remote and switched on the TV, then fearing he'd change his mind, abruptly jabbed the play button on the VCR control. Unlike any other time when he settled down on the couch to watch TV, he sat perched erect on the very edge of his seat. His back was stiff; his eyes staring fixedly at the image of the man on the screen. He found himself automatically casting his sensory net around the loft, seeking some sign of his guide, even as he watched him on the television. He knew he'd find nothing, just an emptiness that filled the apartment in much the same way it filled his heart. Blair was gone, probably for good. He hoped that by watching this, the press conference Blair had given when he'd declared his dissertation to be a fraud, that he might somehow find within it the reason why Blair had left again.
Sighing, he pressed the pause button and scrubbed his hands through his hair. He could feel a headache beginning to pound behind his eyes. He thought about getting up to take some Tylenol, but thought better of it. Perhaps it was only fair that he had this physical pain, because Blair was almost certainly suffering just as badly, in an emotional sense, right now.
He'd pushed Blair away before. Once, when the rogue sentinel, Alex Barnes had torn into their lives. Blair had said it was simply his territorial imperative asserting itself. Jim thought that the fact that he'd been able to bring his guide back from the dead, after Alex had drowned him, was probably the main reason Blair was able to forgive his behavior so easily.
But then Jim had done it again. After promising Blair he wouldn't read his dissertation, Jim had succumbed to temptation during a night shift straight from hell. Then he'd torn Blair a new one because he'd discovered that Sandburg had talked to his ex-wife about him. But somehow, Sandburg had overlooked the fact that Jim shouldn't have read the damn thing in the first place and they'd managed to put things more or less back together.
What was it that guy, Gabe, had said to him that night? Something about a man with ears that could hear a thousand miles, not hearing the whispers of his own heart? Well, Jim certainly hadn't learned that lesson well enough because only a short while later came the biggest disaster of them all, the one that had come within a inch of tearing apart not just their friendship, but the whole Sentinel-Guide bond at its very heart.
Blair's mother had sent his dissertation to a publisher and within days, the news of Jim's special gifts was headline news all over Cascade. It had enormous ramifications for almost everyone they knew. Jim had been so off his game that a hired killer had eluded him for days, eventually shooting and almost killing Simon and Megan when they got in the way of a bullet meant for him. Zeller had then managed to get into the precinct and turned the Major Crimes Unit into a shooting gallery that left Rafe and a couple of uniformed cops injured. Ellison himself had been shot in the leg before he'd finally cornered the assassin. Zeller had fallen to his death from the side of the building when he'd tried to shoot his way free and spliced his getaway rope instead.
Everybody had recovered physically but some of the worst memories for Jim were caused by his recollection of how he'd treated Sandburg when he'd found out the dissertation had been leaked. Instead of letting Blair explain, he'd gone into his instinctual 'breach of trust' spiel, which had the effect of convincing his friend that the only way to salvage their relationship was for Blair to hold a press conference and say that his dissertation was a fraud. That he was a fraud. Only once Blair had done that, had Jim gone and told him all was forgiven and apologized without actually saying the words 'I'm sorry' at all.
Of course, everyone felt bad for the kid, so they'd tried to assuage their guilt by offering him a position as a detective, as Jim's partner in the real sense of the word. They all conveniently ignored the fact that he'd been Jim's partner for the past few years anyway, and didn't appear to realize that Blair was the one who probably understood the meaning of the word, partnership, better than any of them. Sure, Blair had acted thrilled with the offer but Jim had seen how each day after that a little bit of the innate spirit of Blair Sandburg began to leach away. Eventually, he'd told them he didn't think he wanted to be a cop and Simon had finagled him a paid position as an official adviser to the department. That meant he stayed on as Jim's partner as well as offering advice to other units and teams based on his expertise as an anthropologist. Blair had once told him that their jobs were pretty much the same. It was just that his scenes of study had usually been vacant for a few hundred years. And God knew the kid certainly had plenty of first hand experience with wackos and psychos since he'd hooked up with Jim.
So they'd settled back into their relationship as though they'd never left it, Jim pushing to the back of his mind the fact that his guide had burnt his academic career on a sacrificial pyre of friendship. A career that had been his entire life since he was 16. A career that had led him to Jim and enabled him to help the sentinel come to terms with his unique abilities. Blair appeared not to mind. He'd once said it all came down to friendship anyway. But Jim knew it had to have hurt terribly.
Things had been relatively calm for the past few months until Jim had decided to start dating again. Blair had always teased him about his track record with women, probably as payback for the table leg jibe Jim aimed at the terminally let down in love anthropologist. Jim had to admit his history with women in the time Sandburg had known him had been pretty dismal, and Blair knew that Jim and Carolyn had only managed to stay married for a year before divorcing more or less amicably. But, apart from Blair giving him a piece of his mind when Veronica had come back into his life (Jim winced now as he admitted that Blair had been right about that fiasco), the kid had never had much to say about who he dated. Hell, Sandburg had even introduced him to one of his own friends once.
One night, when they were both drowning their sorrows over the latest dating disasters in their lives, Jim had told Blair he was bisexual. Blair hadn't said much about it at the time, or maybe, Jim was just too busy bemoaning his own lack of success in the sack to listen.
Then Rick had come back into Jim's life and they'd started seeing each other again. Rick was only going to be in Cascade for 3 months so they'd decided against pursuing anything physical for now. He was a nice guy. Jim had met him when they were both in Special Forces and they'd had a short relationship. Rick was never anything but pleasant to Blair, but Sandburg suddenly seemed to become the poster boy for Jealousy 'r' us and did a disappearing act or sulked around every time Rick came near the loft.
Finally, Rick suggested they invite Blair along on one of their dinner dates, telling him he could bring a friend. Sandburg had just nodded when Jim had asked him and then simply not turned up, no phone call, nothing. Of course, the sentinel had gone into Blessed Protector overdrive and dragged his date all over town checking ER's in every hospital, only to finally find Blair sitting in a bar on his own getting very drunk. They'd hauled him home and put him to bed and it was while Blair was out cold in his room that Rick had put forth a thesis that rocked Jim's world on its axis.
"Jim, I really don't think it's fair for us to keep seeing each other," he said.
"Don't worry about Sandburg. I'll talk to him..." Jim began.
"Jim, he's in love with you. Seeing you with me is eating him up."
"Sandburg's not gay."
"Maybe he is, maybe not. But he is in love with you and I think the fact that you've let him live with you for the past four years says more about your feelings than you're prepared to admit to yourself. I mean, the Jim Ellison I knew was the quintessential loner. Let's face it, that was the main reason it didn't work out between us. You needed your space and I needed a guy who needed me. You know, I heard about what happened with his dissertation." Rick's hand went up to stop Jim interrupting. "A friend here in Cascade knew that I knew you and he sent me a videotape of Blair's press conference. I don't know which of those stories was the truth, Jim. It doesn't matter to me either way. But something struck me when I watched that tape. The thing that tore Blair's heart out that day wasn't saying he was a liar. It was that he thought he'd lost you. Watch the tape, Jim. I'm sure you can get a copy. Then talk to Blair. He's a great guy, Jim, and you need someone like him. Don't screw this up, too."
Jim had found himself almost speechless. He didn't know what to say to Rick, but he promised he'd do what he'd been asked to. But before he'd had time to do it, the capricious God who watches over Sentinels and their Guides decided to take His eye off the ball for a minute, allowing Jim to put his foot in his mouth once again, and Jim's world had gone to hell in a hand-basket.
Jim leaned forward and turned the tape off. The closer he got to remembering the argument that had caused Blair to leave, the more his head pounded. He decided to take the Tylenol after all. He swore as the phone rang and contemplated not answering it, but he knew he'd be wondering afterwards if it had been Blair, so he walked over and scooped it up.
"Ellison," he said brusquely.
"I take it you haven't heard from Sandburg yet?"
"What makes you think that, Simon?" Jim asked.
"Oh, I don't know, Jim. The fact that you've started answering the phone in your pre-Sandburg voice might have something to do with it," the Captain replied more than a little sarcastically.
"Uh huh. Well, no, I haven't heard from him. And no, I don't know where he is. Why?" Jim asked.
"Oh, I've just been looking over the rosters for Christmas Day. You do realize it's only a couple of days away, don't you? Anyway, before Sandburg came along you always volunteered to work Christmas, then when the kid was there, even though I was under the impression he's Jewish, you started wanting to have Christmas Day off. So I was just wondering what you wanted to do this year?"
"I don't know, Simon," Jim paused, noticing that a lump appeared to have taken up residence in his throat, making it difficult to get his words out. "I guess, if any of the other guys don't want to work this year, I'll cover it. Sandburg is Jewish, by the way, but he has a thing for Christmas. He told me it was because of moving around so much with Naomi when he was a kid, never staying in one place long enough to celebrate a lot of holidays." The lump had now moved down to the region of his heart and taken on the characteristics of an icy boulder as Jim thought about the last few Christmases he and Blair had shared.
"Jim, you are going to go find the kid and talk to him, aren't you? I don't know exactly what caused him to take off, and I know your senses are pretty much under control these days but ... Damn it, I never thought I'd say this but I can't imagine you being without Blair now, you know." Simon waited for a response but there was none. "Jim?"
"Yeah, Simon. I'll see if I can track him down. We both needed some time to cool down, that's all." Jim finally managed to speak without feeling as if his voice would give away how he really felt.
"Look, I'm going to give you Christmas off anyway... you know... just in case. Take care, Jim. I'll see you tomorrow." Simon hung up.
Jim banged the receiver back down on its cradle and went into the bathroom. He found the Tylenol and swallowed two of the pills with a gulp of water straight from the faucet. He stared at his reflection in the mirror; seeing the lines pain had etched around his mouth, and the smudges under his eyes from too little sleep. "You look like shit, Ellison," he grunted.
Thinking that tea might give the Tylenol a kick-start in easing his headache he detoured to the kitchen and turned on the kettle. He grabbed a mug and spoon and opened the cupboard where the coffee and tea were kept. Sandburg's collection of herbal teas were still there. The day he'd left, Blair had only taken some clothes and books, saying he'd pick up the rest of his stuff once he'd found somewhere to stay. Jim found himself remembering Blair pottering around the kitchen making one of his weird tea drinks only a couple of weeks before, swearing that, even though it tasted funny, it was a sure-fire cure for the migraine the sentinel was experiencing. He reached a hand up to grab one of the packets then realized he had no idea which one it was. In a sudden burst of anger at himself, or at Blair, perhaps, he slammed the door shut then turned and swept the mug onto the floor, shattering it. Cursing, he switched off the kettle, then leaving the broken cup where it lay, went back to slump down onto the sofa.
He leaned his head against the cushions and let his mind wander back to the day Blair had left. He was surprised to realize it had only been two days. It felt like a week. A week of feeling first angry then confused, with the senses he had finally begun to have definite control over, gradually feeling as if they were going to spiral back into the mad confusion they'd been in before he'd met Blair.
Blair had stumbled out of bed the morning after Rick and Jim had found him at the bar looking like a national health warning against the perils of alcohol. He'd gone into the bathroom without a word to Jim, and proceeded to throw up what sounded like a good part of his digestive system. Then Jim had heard the shower go on. Seemingly indifferent to Jim's strictures to conserve enough hot water for the two of them, he'd stayed under the spray for a half-hour at least. When he'd finally thrown himself down into a chair at the dining table, he'd glared in answer to Jim's inquiring look as if daring him to criticize. Of course, that was a challenge Ellison couldn't refuse. And so it had begun - the war of words that had driven Blair away, words that Jim would give anything to take back.
Ah, but not just the words, Ellison, Jim reminded himself, screwing his eyes shut against the incessant thundering in his head. Let's not forget what you did to him.
It had started out calm enough.
"How you doing, Chief?" Jim asked. "You're looking a bit rough around the edges."
"I'm fine, Jim. Sorry I wrecked your date."
"It's no big deal. I just wish you'd called to say you didn't want to come. Would have saved a lot of hassle," Jim said, trying to keep his voice calm.
"I said I'm sorry," Blair replied defensively, rising from his chair. "What more do you want, Jim?"
Jim spun from the stove and crossed the kitchen in a couple of strides, stopping just in front of his partner. "Why don't you tell me what you want, Blair?"
Blair stepped back a pace. "I don't know what you mean."
Jim moved forward again, invading Blair's personal space until he was standing toe to toe with his guide. "Blair, Rick and I aren't going to be seeing each other any more." He said it quietly, watching Blair's face for any reaction.
A look of something like relief washed over Blair's face before he schooled it to impassivity. "Sorry to hear that," he said.
"Are you?" Jim asked. "Want to know why?" The question was rhetorical and he didn't wait for an answer. "Rick said you're in love with me. Are you, Chief? Is that what this whole thing has been about?" He waited a beat for Blair to respond but when he didn't say anything he pressed on. "Damn it, Blair, talk to me. Are you in love with me?" He looked into Blair's eyes and saw an expression of something there. Fear perhaps? But something else too. Extending his hearing and sense of smell slightly he could hear Blair's heart racing, smell the familiar essence of him mixed with the indefinable scent of arousal.
Suddenly, giving Blair no time to move away, he leaned forward and kissed him bruisingly on the mouth. For a moment, he thought he felt Blair's mouth begin to open under his, but just as quickly Blair's hands came up, pushing against his chest, causing him to stumble back. As he did, he saw Blair raise one hand and wipe it deliberately over his lips.
"Why did you do that, Jim?" Blair's voice was shaky but he looked Jim straight in the eyes. "Rick doesn't want you so, now you've decided you want me?"
"No," Jim answered, his voice now as ragged as Blair's. "No," he repeated, seeing the disbelieving look on his partner's face. "Blair..."
Blair jumped in, cutting him off. "I've gotta get out of here, Jim." He turned and headed for his room, Jim following in his wake, watching in mute shock as Blair grabbed his overnight bag and threw as many of his clothes into it as it would hold. Picking up his backpack, he crammed it with books, then pushed past Jim and went into the bathroom to retrieve his toothbrush and shaving gear.
As he came back out Jim grabbed his arm but Blair shook him off. "Leave me alone, Jim," he muttered. "I'll be back to get the rest of my stuff when I find a place to live. If you need help with your senses on a case Simon or Megan can help till I have a chance to sort everything out, decide where we go from here."
"Blair, wait. Don't leave. You never answered my question. Rick said..."
"Yeah, I know, Jim." Blair sounded tired now, all the anger gone from his voice and his eyes. "Rick said I'm in love with you. Why did you need Rick to tell you, man? You're a sentinel. Couldn't you see the signs for yourself?" Blair asked, a small mocking smile crossing his face. He headed for the front door, leaving Jim too shell shocked to follow.
"Can't we talk about this?" Jim asked, the reality of what Blair had said finally hitting home.
"What's to talk about, man? What do you want me to say? Okay..." Blair paused in the doorway, turning to face him. "Rick was right. I'm in love with you. But you're not in love with me. End of story." With that he'd spun around and left, the door crashing shut behind him.
Jim had stood frozen for what seemed like eons before he took off after him. But by the time he got downstairs, Blair was already driving off.
The next two days had passed in a daze. He'd called Simon and explained tersely that Blair had left, refusing to answer the captain's questions, simply asking for a couple of days off to make sure he could control his senses, without his guide, when he was on the job. He'd thought about going to find Blair but he needed time to process everything first. He smiled slightly when he thought about that now. Process. That was Blair's word. But it was true. Rick had told him Blair was in love with him and he'd been right about that apparently. Now, all Jim needed to find out was if Rick had been right about what else he'd said- that Jim was in love with Blair too.
It certainly felt that way if the sheer aching despair he felt at Blair's absence was anything to go by. This was a different sensation from all the other times he and Blair had argued. Different even from when he'd kicked Blair out when Alex was in town. Then, it had been something he couldn't control, something that really had more to do with him and Alex than with Blair. This time he felt as if his whole life had been ripped apart into fragments, leaving him overwhelmed with the loss of it, of Blair.
So, eventually, he'd pulled the tape out from where he'd hidden it. He thought to himself that he didn't really need to watch it now. Blair had already told him how he felt. But Rick had known how Blair felt just from seeing it and Jim needed to see for himself what he had obviously blinded himself to for months.
He sat forward and pressed the play button again, watching as the picture flickered into life. He saw Blair move to stand behind the podium and begin to speak, heard him say the words that destroyed his career and then suddenly he saw what he had refused to see before. He stopped the tape and rewound it a little then pressed play again. It had been right there in front of him all along.
"While my paper does quote ancient source material, the documentation proving that James Ellison..." Jim watched as Blair swallowed hard, seeming to force back threatening tears, his eyes gazing almost vacantly off to the side away from the intrusive camera, "actually possesses hypersenses is fraudulent."
He replayed it again, then paused it on Blair's face as he said Jim's name. The desolation in the blue eyes was heartbreaking. "Oh God, Chief, I'm so sorry," Jim whispered. He now knew everything he wanted to know. Blair did love him and he loved Blair. Suddenly it seemed so simple, so crystal clear. The realization of that made him smile, his headache all but gone. All he had to do now was find Blair and convince him of the simplicity and rightness of it, and ask him to come home. Ask? Hell, Jim would get down on his knees and crawl over broken glass with his sense of touch wide open if it would bring Blair back. Decision made, he stood and headed for the door, grabbing his jacket and keys. He flung the door open and almost bowled over the person standing on the other side.
"Chief? I was just coming to find you, to explain... I wanted to ask you..."
"Breathe, Jim," he heard Blair say, a quizzical smile tilting his lips. If he hadn't been so scared that he'd leave again, Jim would have laughed. For once it was Ellison doing the babbling and Sandburg telling him to calm down.
He took a few steps back inside the apartment, hoping against hope that Blair would follow, sighing with relief when he did. He saw Blair's eyes flick over to the TV. Damn, he'd forgotten to turn the tape off. He'd left it on pause and now it had resumed playing, Blair's words echoing in the silence.
"Chief, I was just watching it to see..." The words hung there. Shit, why had he thought this was going to be simple? He looked down, seeing for the first time that Blair's hand was resting on his arm, the way it did when he was guiding him. He looked up again, into Blair's face, seeing the blue eyes gazing into his. There was no anger there, just kindness and love. And he suddenly knew that maybe it was just that simple, after all. He waited, barely breathing, for Blair to speak.
"Jim, I had to come back to find out if it I was wrong about what I said before I left, about you not being in love with me. I was wrong, wasn't I?" The words were sure, holding no trace of doubt.
Jim felt as if he'd been holding his breath until this moment. "You were wrong. Blair, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it myself until..." Jim's voice was soft, his eyes pleading for the forgiveness Blair had given so willingly in the past.
A hand came up to press gently against his lips. "It's okay. I know."
Jim kissed Blair's fingers, then bent and kissed his mouth, tenderly this time, with no hint of the anger and need that had been there the first time he'd done this. He put all the love he felt into it, and this time Blair's lips opened under his and he knew the love was reciprocated. They stayed that way for a long moment, and then Jim pulled back, reluctantly. He trailed a hand down Blair's cheek, cupping it and tilting his head so he could look directly into his eyes. "I love you, Blair." The words were said quietly, soft as a caress and he felt Blair tremble slightly under his hand.
"I love you, Jim. God, do you know how much we almost lost?" Blair whispered the words, his breath warm against Jim's hand.
"Almost, Chief? You're staying?" Jim asked, although he was sure he knew the answer.
"Yes, I'm staying."
"Wait right here, Chief. I just have to make a phone call. Don't go anywhere, okay?"
"I'm not planning on being anywhere except right here with you for the rest of my life, Jim."
"Good, because that was my plan, too." Jim picked up the phone and dialed, hearing Simon's voice answer after a couple of rings.
"Simon, it's Jim. I just wanted to let you know I definitely want Christmas Day off." He smiled over at Blair, seeing a delighted grin light his partner's face.
"Blair's back," Simon said.
"Now how could you know that, Simon? Have I slipped back into post-Sandburg Ellison already?"
"You have, and I for one, couldn't be happier about it," Simon replied, laughing.
"Um, Simon, after Christmas there's something Blair and I need to come talk to you about. Something personal," Jim said, winking at Blair.
"This isn't more of this Sentinel-Guide stuff, is it, Jim? Because, you know, I told you..."
"I know. You don't want to know more than you need to about it," Jim finished for him. "No, Simon, not Sentinel- Guide stuff. This is Ellison-Sandburg stuff."
"Uh huh. You know, I'm not sure I'm going to like that any more than the other, Jim. Look, take tomorrow off, too. Spend some time with Blair, make sure everything's sorted out this time. I'll see you both in my office 9 AM sharp on the 26th."
"Thanks, Simon. We'll see you then. Goodbye. Oh, and Merry Christmas, Simon." He hung up and turned to Blair. "Do you have any idea how much I've missed you?" he asked, grabbing his partner into a hug.
"Yeah, I do, Jim. As much as I've missed you," Blair responded, his arms coming up to wind around Jim's neck.
Jim pulled him in closer, dialing up his senses to take in the scent of his guide, the sensation of his skin against his own, the sound of his breathing and heartbeat, the sight of Blair's eyes almost black with desire. Jim pressed his mouth against Blair's lips, his tongue flicking out to taste him. He felt like he was home and safe, as if his whole world was centered on the man in his arms.
"I want to make love to you, Jim," Blair said quietly, hesitantly.
"I want that, too, more than anything. But I think we should eat first. What do you think, Chief? I know you. You probably haven't eaten enough to keep a bird alive the past couple of days. I'll make us something, we'll talk and then..." Jim let his voice trail off as he waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"Yeah, I could eat something."
"Okay, I'm on it," Jim said, pressing a kiss to Blair's forehead. "How about you sit down on the couch and let me wait on you?"
They'd finished dinner and cleaned up together. Jim found himself prolonging the kitchen duties, just to keep Blair close to him. He was anxious about what would happen once they went upstairs. Part of him wanted it more than he'd ever wanted anything before but part of him was scared that Blair would suddenly change his mind and disappear again.
"Jim, you're not going to get the bench any cleaner, man. If I didn't know better I'd say you were nervous," Blair said teasingly, as he reached an arm around his partner's waist from behind. "Jim?" he whispered, his breath blowing warm puffs of air into Jim's ear, "Come to bed, please. I want you. I need to know this isn't just a dream."
Jim turned in Blair's arms. "I'm so scared I'll mess this up, too and you'll leave again," he whispered into the softness of Blair's mouth.
"Trust me, Jim. All right? I won't leave again, no matter what. We'll work it out. Please, Jim, come to bed." Blair's mouth met his, the kiss soothing away all Jim's fears.
With that, Jim grabbed Blair's hand and pulled him along behind him as he headed for the stairs.
Jim stripped off his clothes, then turned to see Blair standing motionless next to the bed. "Hey, Chief," he said quietly, moving to stand in front of his guide. "You okay? We don't have to do anything, if you're not ready. I'd be happy just being able to hold you and know that you were here, with me." He placed a soft kiss on Blair's forehead, then pulled back, gazing steadily into his partner's eyes. "Trust me, Blair. Tell me what you want. It'll be alright."
"I want to be with you, make love with you. I just... I keep thinking it's too good to be true, you know. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up any minute, and find out I'm still in my motel room and it's all a dream. Take me to bed, Jim. Prove to me I'm not dreaming." Blair reached up and kissed Jim's mouth tenderly.
Jim unbuttoned Blair's shirt and pulled it off, tossing it aside. He pressed the palm of his hand over Blair's heart, extending his sense of touch a fraction so he could feel the hammering beneath his skin.
"Blair, I love you. Do you believe me?" Jim whispered, lowering his head to nuzzle through his lover's hair.
"Yes." Blair's answer was a sigh. He moved his hands over Jim's chest, tracing the muscles, one finger searching for and finding a nipple. He moaned as he mapped it with his tongue, feeling Jim's fingers unzipping his jeans, releasing his burgeoning erection. He was pushed back onto the bed and his pants were pulled down over his legs and cast aside with the rest of his clothes.
Jim's body covered his and his tongue licked a trail from Blair's eyelids down to his mouth.
Holding himself in check, Jim bent and kissed his lover softly. "What do you want, Blair?" he asked.
"You. I want you," Blair muttered, grinding his cock urgently against Jim's hip.
"I want you, too. Will you let me make love to you, Blair?" Jim whispered the words against Blair's throat. "You know, I've just realized what Gabe meant. It wasn't only about not listening to my own heart. It was about not hearing what others were telling me. I didn't hear you, Blair. Let me make it right."
"Please," Blair murmured, the vibration of his voice thrumming against Jim's lips. "Make love to me, Jim."
Jim pushed himself down till he was kneeling between his lover's thighs. Blair's penis was erect, arching up toward his belly. Ignoring it for now, Jim's hands reached to splay over Blair's chest, smoothing the hair there, seeking out the flat nipples. He rubbed them with his fingers, feeling them harden, then bent and took first one, then the other into his mouth, using his teeth gently to nibble at them. He could feel Blair's hands stroking through his hair, the fingers moving restlessly to trace the tops of his ears.
He moved back till he was lying between Blair's legs, groaning as his cock rubbed against the mattress. Nudging Blair's legs further apart, he bent his head to flick his tongue against Blair's balls, hearing the satisfied moan above him as he did so. He lifted Blair's legs so they were bent at the knee, and took one testicle into his mouth, using his finger to caress the other gently.
"Jim, Jim." Blair's voice was a soft moan in his ears.
Jim pushed himself to his knees again and looked into Blair's passion-filled eyes then he swallowed his lover's cock to the root, hearing Blair's moans become a stifled scream of pleasure. He slid his lips back and forth over the hard shaft, sucking as he pulled back to swirl his tongue over the head, then licking lazy patterns on its underside as he moved back down.
Blair was keening almost continuously now, his head thrashing back and forth on the pillow, his hips thrusting his cock up into the hot mouth giving him so much pleasure.
"Jim... I'm gonna come," he panted.
Immediately, Jim wrapped his fingers around the base of his cock, squeezing firmly, as he reluctantly took his mouth away.
"Jim?" Blair's voice was almost comical in its disappointment.
"It's okay, babe. Just don't want this to end too soon. Can you hold a little longer?"
"Not if you keep sucking me like that, I can't." The voice was tinged with amusement now.
"Alright, let's do something else, then." Jim leaned forward and kissed Blair's mouth hard, his own erection leaking pre-come in drops across Blair's belly. He aligned his body so their cocks were rubbing against each other then placing his hands on his lover's shoulders began to move up and down, feeling Blair beginning to thrust against him. He growled as he felt the slide of the hard length beneath him, angling his body to meet it with his own, feeling the tightening in his balls.
They moved against each other faster, their movements becoming erratic, their mouths joined as they groaned their desire aloud.
Jim tore his lips from Blair's, turning his head to sink his teeth gently into his guide's shoulder. He pushed down urgently, feeling his orgasm building, grinding his cock against Blair's. He stiffened, every muscle in his body taut and then with another thrust he was coming, Blair's name a whimper on his lips, as he felt Blair climax a moment later. They shuddered together, moving slowly now, their mouths joined again as they exchanged hot breaths of air, gradually relaxing to lie exhausted against each other.
Jim moved to lie next to his lover, his hands petting absently at Blair's chest. "Okay, Blair?" he asked, as his breathing evened out.
"More than okay, Jim. I love you. That was wonderful," Blair whispered.
"I love you, too." Jim pushed Blair over so he was on his side, then pulled him back till they were spooned together, Jim's quiescent cock resting between the cleft of Blair's ass. He carded his hands through his lover's hair, soothing them both toward sleep.
"Happy Christmas, Blair," Jim whispered.
"It's not Christmas yet," Blair murmured sleepily.
"It is for me, Chief," Jim said, snuggling up against his lover's back. "It is for me."