EVOLUTION OF FRIENDSHIP part 8

LIVING LA VIDA LOCA

by

Annie

DISCLAIMER: Not worth the paper it ain't written on but <sigh> Jim and Blair don't belong to me (Oh, how I wish). The concept of The Sentinel and its characters belong to Petfly, Danny De Meo and Paul Bilson et al (et al is a cover everybody's asses, including your own, kind of phrase <g>. It's a legal term. No, really! Ask Dawn, she knows about this stuff.)

Feedback: Oh yes please. It keeps the muse and her slave (that's me) happy. Annie

No need to archive, thank you.

Oh yeah, it's an AU type epilogue to Attraction and I didn't think I'd ever be able to write it till Lyn (bless you, sis) gave me a little (okay, a BIG honkin') seed of an idea).

Jim Ellison felt like a fool. Worse than that like a man, no, make that an idiot, being led around by his… well, his body's overwhelming response to pheromones. Women's pheromones, to be exact. It might just be because of his Sentinel senses being back online and therefore making him more sensitive to such things (which was how Sandburg had explained it) but he still felt like a goddamned fool.

Everything that had happened with Laura seemed magnified in hindsight - the overpowering pull he'd felt to be with her, even in the middle of a crowded bar, while he was supposed to be investigating a case, while his *boss*, for God's sake, was waiting for him in the next room… The need to be close to her, to hold her, to kiss her had been so overwhelming that he hadn't cared about any of that. Even his initial embarrassment at being discovered by Sandburg in such a compromising position, in flagrante delecto, as a matter of fact, had paled next to the shaft of almost-pain he'd felt at having to leave her.

The worse thing was he'd really thought it was love or lust, or at least a combination of the two. That, at least, would have been half way dignified, would have made some sort of crazy human sense. After all, men have done stranger things in the cause of love.

But then Sandburg had turned up with that damnable wine glass wrapped in a napkin, with Laura's lipsticked mouth print on it and he'd known the moment he'd held it that the kid was right. Sandburg had done it again. Bang on target, as usual, just like he always seemed to be when it came to Jim's senses.

So, now, Jim was mortified, not just by the fact that it seemed that being a Sentinel gave you as many weaknesses as it did strengths, but also by the fact that Sandburg now seemed to be becoming privy to more and more of those weaknesses, day by day. And, being the private man Jim Ellison was, he didn't think he liked that one little bit.

And now he'd compounded that mortification a hundred times over. Made it worse, proved Sandburg's point, showed that a Sentinel could be led around by his… nose, so to speak.

He'd hit the kid. Belted him one right on the jaw, knocking him flying from where he'd been sitting next to Jim on the couch, to land on his butt smack up against the wall of the living room.

Blair's eyes had been wide with shock when he'd sat up, a hand coming up to cradle his jaw, blood seeping through his fingertips from what was probably a cut lip.

Jim, to his everlasting shame, hadn't waited around to find out where the blood was coming from. He'd stormed to his feet and almost run up the stairs to his bedroom and sat on his bed, trying desperately to make sense of the whole mess for the past fifteen minutes or more.

He stiffened as he heard Sandburg's footsteps coming up the stairs, keeping his head down, not wanting to meet the deserved outrage in his friend's eyes.

"Hey, Ali, next time we have a rematch, I get a free punch, okay?"

Jim's head jerked up involuntarily. Blair didn't sound mad. His voice was a little muffled, probably because of the icepack he was holding to his mouth but he sounded friendly enough, conciliatory even. The bed dipped as Blair sat beside him, a cautious few inches away from touching territory.

"You okay?" Jim asked quietly.

"Me? Yeah, I'm all right, well… relatively speaking." Blair chuckled. "Hell of a punch you've got there, big guy. Glad I haven't been on the receiving end of it before. I think..." Blair's voice became distorted and Jim looked over to see his Guide's tongue producing a bulge in his cheek as he probed at a tooth. "Yeb, you yoosened a mholarh."

"Christ, I'm sorry, Chief. Let me see."

Jim's guilt won out over embarrassment and Blair sat patiently as the Sentinel pulled the icebag away from his mouth, then poked at the offending tooth with a gentle, shaking finger.

"Yeah, it's loose all right. Let me see your lip."

Blair suffered stoically through having his lower lip pulled down and examined microscopically by his friend's enhanced vision.

"Id's nod dat badz, Jib," he mumbled, sighing with relief as Jim released him, replaced the icepack and moved away again.

"You probably won't need stitches. You'll need to go to the dentist, though. Get that molar checked out. I'll pay!" he said as Blair began to protest through his ice-numb mouth.

Blair pulled the ice pack down and sat it on Jim's bedside table, sighing long- sufferingly at the look of disapproval that garnered as water seeped from the pack onto the polished surface. He grabbed a pair of Jim's boxers out of the basket next to the bed and put them under the leaking bag. "Happy?" he asked, taking Jim's lack of response for approval. "Look, man, this was my fault. I shouldn't have pushed it. I was just trying to see if your *appreciation *," here his fingers wiggled parentheses around the word, "extended to only female pheromones or to pheromones in general. it was stupid, Jim. I apologize."

"Guess you got your answer, hey, Einstein?" Jim muttered.

Blair fingered his sore jaw. "Yeah, got the message loud and clear, big guy."

"I'm sorry I hit you, Chief, but when you did that, I just reacted, you know?" Jim said, his voice low with embarrassment.

"I know. Look, I really don't think you have anything to worry about. I mean, you were able to control your autonomic response enough to arrest Laura. I think your imperative as a Sentinel to protect the city eventually over-rode your body's autonomic response to her pheromones. It was just a joke, Jim. A dumb one, but really, I didn't mean anything by it. I mean, you're a great looking guy and all but you're missing a couple of the important things I look for in a date," Blair said, his own voice low, a small smile on his face. "It was a spur of the moment thing. You know, I'd asked you to see if you could sense anything different about my usual scent, because I'd sprayed a little of that new pheromone cologne stuff for guys on me before you came home and next thing I know you were right in my face, man, and I just did it."

"I was trying to smell what was different, Chief. It was pretty faint," Jim replied.

"Yeah, well, I didn't wanna overdo it, in case it backfired on me," Blair said, his face red with embarrassment.

"You kissed me, Sandburg," Jim said indignantly. "Right here!" He pointed at the right side of his face, just below his eye.

"Nah, that wasn't a kiss, man. That was more like a, um, a raspberry, like when you blow on baby's belly's to make it laugh. Really, Jim, it was a joke. I swear to God!"

Jim looked over at his partner. Blair's eyes were wide with innocence and … could that be fear? For the first time since *it* had happened, Jim smiled. "You know, Chief, this could do your reputation some serious harm around the precinct."

"What? No way! Jim, you wouldn't tell anyone, right? It was just a harmless joke, buddy. I mean, nobody got hurt… well, except for me!" Blair was on his feet now, his hands placed pleadingly on Ellison's shoulders.

"Tell 'em what, Chief?" Jim asked, standing as well and grinning down into Blair's face.

"That I kissed you, gave you a raspberry, whatever. You wouldn't do that, right? I am so sorry, man. I swear. Look, I'll wash the truck for you, I'll clean the entire loft. I'll… I'll cook dinner for the next month. Please, Jim, don't do this to me, big guy. I'm injured here, remember," Blair begged, his eyes contrite.

"Can the Bambi eyes, Sandburg. Tell you what, you cook dinner for the next month and clean up the kitchen every night as well and I won't tell anyone you kissed me, all right?" Jim said, grinning broadly as he picked up the watery icepack and his wet boxers distastefully and started downstairs.

"No problem, Jim. Thank you, thank you," Blair breathed gratefully as he followed Jim down. "I swear I will never do something like that again. From now on, it's the normal tests and that's all."

"Good. Glad we've straightened that out, Chief," Jim replied as he threw the icepack back into the freezer and dumped his boxers in the basket in the bathroom. "Don't forget to call your dentist in the morning. Get an estimate of the cost and I'll give you the cash before you go."

"You don't have to do that, Jim. Really. It was my own stupid fault. I'll get the money somehow."

Jim stood in front of his partner and gently touched Blair's cut lip. "No. I'll pay. No matter the reason, I shouldn't have hit you, Chief. I *am* sorry about that."

Blair nodded. "Okay. Thanks, Jim. You want me to start dinner, now. I was gonna make lasagne."

"That'll sting your mouth, Sandburg. How about we get takeout tonight, noodles or something soft like that, then you can start living up to your end of the bargain tomorrow night," Jim suggested, crossing to the phone and picking it up.

"That's really nice of you, man. Thanks. You are being unbelievably cool about this, Jim," Blair said, the relief evident in his voice.

Jim put the phone down. "I think I'll go and pick up dinner myself, Chief. I could use some fresh air." Jim shrugged on his jacket and grabbed his keys from the basket next to the phone. A smile quirked his lips as he headed for the door and opened it. "You know," he remarked conversationally, turning to face his partner, "I wouldn't have told anyone about you kissing me. I mean, it's no good for my reputation either. You know how those nasty rumors spread, even if I *was* the wronged party." He shook his head ruefully then allowed a low, evil laugh to escape his lips. "I'm simply going to spread the word that I have it on very good authority that you're a lousy kisser, Chief!" He quickly yanked the door shut behind him and sped down the stairs, hearing Blair's plaintive wail follow him to the truck.

"Ellison! Jim! You get back here, man! Hey, Ellison, don't forget, I know where you live! Jiiiim!"

THE END

February 13th, 2005 (Just in time for Valentine's Day <weg>!