Note: Just a little piece on the verge of slash (-; ... betaed by Lyn and Xasphie, thank you!
Break On Through
I hesitate on the top step of the stairs, unsure, as if this was the first time.
Jim lifts the cover in a meaningful gesture, and as though in slow motion, I walk over to him, sit on the bedside, and then crawl in next to him. He hugs me close, my back to his chest, and I'm rather glad he can't see my face at this moment. I'm worried - and kind of scared. About what's happening - and what's never going to happen.
Today, a bank robber held a gun to my head, and he would have pulled the trigger, no doubt about it, if Jim hadn't been so quick to react, making the shot from a distance no one else would have managed.
I don't want to bore you with the details. I'm not traumatized by today's events; it's not the reason why my thoughts are going around in circles.
"Thanks for going along with this." Jim's voice is serious, and a bit worried, too. Is he getting it, I wonder?
I wanted to be a Guide, no, wait *his* Guide more than anything else, but there's no denying, I got a whole lot more than I bargained for. For one, it turned out that being kidnapped and held hostage on a frighteningly regular basis is part of the deal. When things like this happen, it's great if you've got a friend who offers a shoulder to lean on, for sure.
Of all the things I never took a moment to consider -- Jim has his needs, too, among them some that the primal Sentinel demands to be satisfied. When the Guide's life has been threatened, he needs to make sure all is right afterwards.
Hell, nothing is right.
"Yeah, right. The things I do for you, man."
Hugs between friends are normal, nothing to insinuate there. But where would you draw the line? Me, lying here beside him, confused about my feelings, Jim's motivation, and the fact that I'm getting hard, and trying to pretend he doesn't know. Why does he insist on this scenario anyway, skin to skin like this?
"I appreciate them, Chief," he whispers, and I shiver at the feel of his breath ghosting over my skin like a soft caress. God. I want to slug him for doing this to me. I want to lean back and feel his lips on my neck.
Jim's hand rests lightly on my stomach, fingertips just about touching where my shirt rides up a little. I can't stand to be here, all hot and bothered; this is not what this is supposed to be all about. "I can't--" And then I'm rambling on, "Hell, I'm sorry. You can hate me now, but this is not just about being a Guide for me. You think I can be with you like this and not wonder -- shit, Jim." I abruptly end my speech, as I realize what I was about to say.
He is silent for a moment, as if all of this was news to him. I don't believe that - he's the Sentinel who can see through me all the way to the beat of my heart. His hand comes up to stroke my hair, and the tenderness of this gesture leaves me with a wild mix of emotions, anger, worry, and the want that can't go anywhere.
"I don't mind," he finally says into the silence, and the moment in between has been so long, I need a while to make sense of his words.
"You don't mind exactly what?"
"Whatever it takes to make you stop worrying." He turns my face to him gently, his eyes locked with mine for a moment. I wish I could read them, but at the moment, I can't concentrate well enough to even try. Where is this going to end? I have an idea. And it scares me, because it will turn the world as we know it, upside down.
Finally, he touches his lips to mine, very softly, but still my heart misses a beat.
This is not true; it can't be. Just one of those lonely, impossible dreams that is making my life hell these days, knowing it'll never turn real.
"Chief, don't zone on me," Jim warns amusedly.
I turn to him, and he pulls me even closer, and then I kiss him back, and I finally begin to realize that this is really happening.
Enough of living in the netherworlds between a growing friendship and an ancient heritage, this is *us*, and it is now. The world is shifting and settling again. It is safe to be with Jim, part of me has always known that. But does he really see things they way I see them?
"Why did you never say anything?" I admonish, when we interrupt the kiss for the sake of breathing.
Jim touches my cheek softly, his fingers feeling cool on my heated skin. So good. "I had to sort it out for myself, too. I figured if this was some weird Sentinel urge, and you'd be ready to follow me there, the rest would be easy."
I can't help but shake my head. "Man, what kind of reasoning is that? You must have noticed..."
"Yeah, Chief, I did. I'm sorry if I ever made you feel uncomfortable."
He sure did, at first, but I don't think this is the moment to discuss it. The most important step has been made. Uncomfortable? It's not Jim's fault that I've been quite infatuated with him right from the start. It makes me wonder sometimes, but I don't want to question it now.
"It's okay," I say, snuggling close to him, and it really is, because this has been the breakthrough, the moment where we stop pretending.