EMAIL: DemeterNotes: Previously posted to SentinelAngst for my first dues. Thank you, Orion, for helping with the choice, and getting me hooked on TS in the first place. I'm having a great time!
"Blair? Could you please sit down for a moment?"
I refrain myself from sighing. Lashing out in frustration is one way how Jim deals with the hated uncertainty. Revealing a softer side the other; you know, whenever he's calling me by my name it's a dead giveaway something's not right. Not that I'd need anybody to remind me, I'm very busy trying to ban my own fears about what will happen. With the case. And our future.
"Sure." I touch his hand briefly to let him know my position, even though I'm sure he doesn't need it; the information his senses give him as to my body temperature and heartbeat, are probably enough to locate me precisely. "What's up?"
"I've been thinking..." Jim begins. Pauses. There's something in his voice that keeps me from coming back with some joke at this moment. "You know that the blind have this method of..."
"But you're not going to stay blind!" I interrupt him, very aware of the hysterical undertone in my voice.
"There's a chance I could!"
Barely, I keep myself from flinching away from his frustration and fear, so much are they mirroring my own. He'd know. As usual, I've been talking too much. Bats and Echoes. Damn it. "Yeah, I know," I say, softly now, but my heart still does the jackhammer act. "So. They learn a lot through hearing, as we've talked about... and touch."
"Right." A pause. "It's silly, but I -- I'm afraid I'm going to forget... people's faces." His voice is strained, as if he was talking about something really embarrassing. And then I want to hit my head against the next available surface, because I realize how dense I've been. Of course he'd think it's a lot to ask for.
I take a few deep, conscious breaths, and then I say, calmly, "I don't think you're going to forget, but you're right, it's something that might become important." Choosing my words carefully. "If you'd like to experiment, no problem, man. I'm here."
Jim's shaking his head. "I know it's stupid. Hell, we're in the middle of an investigation here..."
"And the meeting's going to be tomorrow. So there's plenty of time."
"You don't mind?" he asks, rather incredulously.
"I'm fine. As long as you keep your hands in decent places," I joke.
Jim's smile is worth it. He rolls his eyes at me a little, but he's a lot more certain now that I've given him permission. I shift a little closer, trying not to think of anything.
He begins with running his thumbs across my hairline, fingers spreading, as if he's somehow measuring my face.
I let out a nervous chuckle at that thought, and he pauses, unsure. I smile, knowing he can feel the subtle shift of muscles. "It's okay," I whisper. "Go ahead." And he does, sensitive fingers tracing the contours of my face, temples, cheekbones, jaw line and back again. I can't help it, I'm blushing furiously though I can't even say why. There's no hidden erotic in this, nothing that crosses the boundaries of acceptable behavior between friends, and still it *is* highly intimate.
I close my eyes, my lids fluttering under the feathery touch. Still a bit nervous, as Jim is learning me anew.
There's a slight smile on Jim's face which has no doubt to do with the temperature of my skin rising under his fingers. "You okay, Chief?" he asks, the undertone of his voice teasing, gently. "Not uncomfortable?"
"Uh... no," I answer, and it's the truth. I'm not. It's really something different though. He's asked me. First. And I have the suspicion there won't be so many others. This, the realization how much I am to him, hitting me all of sudden like a freight train, almost makes me cry. "So. What do you say?"
"You need a shave," he deadpans, and we both burst out into silly laughter which takes off the razor-sharp edge of emotion, but it's still all a whirlwind in my head. What if he never sees again? No. Unaware of it, I'm shaking my head. There's got to be a way. Fate can't be that cruel.
"Tell me something I don't know. I meant... come on, you know what I meant. You feel better now?" I know, a stupid thing to say to a guy who's lost his vision. I have to ask though; this seemed so important to him.
"It's amazing," Jim says. "The other sensory input, it seems sharper, more defined somehow. More *precise*, you know?"
Well, I don't. "Really?"
He takes his hands away from my face, and the loss of warmth is startling, but then he settles one of them right over my heart. Oh man. At this rate, I might still cry some time this day.
"Yeah. It's so intense I can almost make believe myself I actually see you. I can feel your heartbeat even like this," he demonstrates it, holding his hand away from me a few inches.
I just stare in awe. Just when did he start imprinting me on his senses like this?
"Sandburg, you're still there?"
"Sure. Right here. I'm right here," somehow I feel compelled to say it again, my voice cracking, and then I feel compelled to do something else, namely to lean forward and put my arms around him. He's surprised, freezes for a moment, but soon relaxes into my embrace, that gentle smile still tugging at his lips as he hugs me in return. "You're going to beat this. One way or another," I promise to both of us, and Jim , for once, doesn't object.
There is no other way.
Only a moment later, a knock on the door interrupts this rather emotional moment. I get up to get it and give that person who has just dared disturbing this evening of fragile peace a piece of my mind.
PS: That must have been clueless Margaret...?