Summary: Time passes and injuries heal
Sequel to: Anguished
Warning(s): Established relationship, H/C
He leaned against the door frame, watching the man in the other room cautiously. A smile flitted briefly across his features as he noticed the black cord lying against the tawny skin of his mate's back. He was listening to his MP3 player then. A simple music player, acting much like a white noise generator and the Guide felt a sense of relief that he could observe his Sentinel unnoticed for a few minutes.
Letting Jim go out walking on his own had been tough, but Blair was glad he'd done it. Jim needed the sense of normalcy that simple act brought. He'd been dependant on his Guide for nearly everything for the past six months - since the horrible accident that had left him *pretty banged up*, in Simon's words. Pretty banged up turned out to be the understatement of the century, in Blair's opinion.
It had taken three months until Jim was healed enough to begin therapy. Three months of his Sentinel being confined to a wheel chair - and hadn't that been fun. Three months of Jim getting crankier and crankier until every word had been a barely contained growl. Three months until Blair had finally cracked.
When he'd walked out of the loft that day, he'd called Simon on his cell and told him he was leaving. Simon had talked him into taking a trip up here - to the mountains, and the cabin he'd inherited from an uncle he'd never known. It was here that he was finally able to reconcile the bitter man in the wheel chair to the caring man he loved with all his heart.
He had stayed away exactly two weeks - fourteen days. And when he'd returned to Cascade, he'd called the loft from his cell phone to see if he was still welcome in Jim's home - and in his life. He was surprised when Megan had answered the phone and her, "You'd better get your ass up here, Sandy," hadn't made him less confused, even if it had made him smile.
Of course the elevator wasn't working, but then he wasn't too fond of the damned contraptions anyway so taking the stairs wasn't really a hardship - even if he was lugging his duffle bag. Setting the bag on the floor outside the door to the loft, he took a deep breath. He fingered the key ring in his hand and then knocked on the door, still unsure of his welcome.
The door opened. "What the hell are you doing hanging out in the hallway, Sandy? Get your ass in here where it belongs!"
Blair walked into the loft and set his bag by the door. Looking around he noticed the place was neat and tidy. Someone had been taking care of business since he'd run away, feeling sorry for himself. He sighed softly.
"Don't beat yourself up, mate."
Blair blushed. "Am I that transparent?"
Megan laughed. "Sure are - to those who know you. Come on, let's sit."
Blair hesitated. "Um, where's Jim?" he asked, looking around. He could see the hospital bed in his old room, where he'd had it set up when Jim was about to be released from the hospital.
"He's taking a shower."
"A - a shower?" Blair stammered. "A - alone?"
Megan laughed. "Nah. After you left, we realized that there was no way we could take care of Jim on our own so we hired a nurse to come in. When he's not here we take turns." Megan stared into his eyes before smiling. "I don't know how you did it for so long - taking care of the grouch, I mean." She put her hand on his arm. "Blair, you shouldn't have had to do that alone. We had no idea what you were going through - until you walked out. And then it quickly became apparent that we couldn't do it without help. John has been a godsend."
"John?" *Some guy named John has been taking care of Jim? Some other man has been taking my place?*
"Yes, John. He's " She looked up as the bathroom door opened. "John! There's someone I want you to meet."
And that was when he'd met John - the male nurse the gang had hired. He was everything Blair wasn't: tall, built married. Blair smiled as Megan innocently mentioned the man's wife and grinned when he pulled out pictures of his two girls.
"Well, I'm outta here. See you tomorrow?" John asked in his musical Jamaican accent as he looked from Megan to Blair and back again.
Blair blinked, unsure of how to answer the question. Hell, he wasn't even sure that Jim would allow him to stay. Megan came to his rescue and told John to be there at his *usual time*.
After John had gone, Megan turned to the hallway and hollered, "Ellison, you're plenty pretty. Get your arse out here already."
A faint, "Yeah, yeah," sounded and Blair shivered as Jim's voice caressed him.
At Blair's questioning look, Megan shrugged. "He's turned it all off, Sandy. I bet he doesn't even know you're here."
Blair nodded and felt his eyes fill at the thought of his Sentinel existing without his senses, because he'd walked out on him.
Megan squeezed his shoulder. "Not your fault, Sandy. You needed the time. Hell, he needed it too." She smiled. "Go see him. I'm going to go home."
Blair froze. "Home? What - what if he kicks me out?"
"He kicks you out and he deserves to spend the night alone - in his damned chair. Now go. He won't kick you out. See you tomorrow."
And then she was gone and Blair started the longest walk of his life - to see if he still had a relationship with the man of his dreams.
And now here he stood. Another three months had gone by and Jim was up on his feet. Oh sure, he still had some issues, but he had healed well enough that his therapist had set him loose for a month. It hadn't taken them long to pack their bags and head to the one place they both could relax and unwind - the cabin.
Blair shifted slightly as he remembered the first few days at the cabin. His heart ached as he remembered the halting steps of his healing lover, the pain he endured every day as he pushed himself harder and harder. And he smiled as he thought of the little victories; the ability to walk from the living room to the back yard without assistance; the first time they had actually been able to walk all the way to the creek that ran through the woods surrounding the cabin. All the things they used to take for granted and Jim had fought so hard to regain. The walk this morning was just a culmination of months of grueling work on the part of his Sentinel.
Blair watched as Jim turned from his perusal of the inside of the refrigerator and looked out the window into the back yard. Blair stifled a groan as he watched Jim lift a water bottle to his lips and swallow, the muscles in his throat working rhythmically. Just then a slight breeze caressed him as it wafted through the bedroom at his back, ruffling his hair.
Almost immediately Jim turned, a feral grin on his face. He'd scented his mate. Blair pushed away from the door jamb as Jim began to stalk toward him. He noticed, but was careful not to react when Jim had to steady himself with a hand on the countertop as he rounded the edge of the cabinets. He barely had time to think that Jim's limp was more pronounced than it had been that morning, before his marathon hike, when the other man was in his face, pressing him back against the door and claiming his mouth in a heated kiss.
"Too many clothes, Chief," Jim panted softly as he moved his lips to Blair's neck, nibbling and licking at the tender skin.
Blair's fingers fumbled with the buttons on his flannel shirt. He moaned as Jim bit down gently, the fleeting ache sending a jolt of lust thrumming through his body. His neck arched and Jim took full advantage of the ease of access and attacked the bare skin with gusto.
Blair's hands fell away from his shirt front as his pleasure spiked. His eyes closed and he licked his lips. "Jim "
"What did I say about too many clothes?" Jim growled. And then Blair felt hands at his shirt as it was ripped open, buttons pinging off the hardwood floor.
Jim's hands fisted in Blair's shirt and Blair felt himself being tugged by the material. He looped up into his lover's eyes, seeing the love and lust there that he knew mirrored what was in his own gaze. And then Jim stumbled, his leg giving out as his foot caught on the plush rug that was next to the bed to save their feet from the cool floors in the morning.
Blair twisted them so they fell on the bed, Jim pulling Blair down on top of him. He grinned. "Going to have to work on your delivery, big guy. There are far easier ways to get me into bed with you," he teased.
Jim smiled. "As long as I get you in bed with me, the means don't matter, Chief."