Cover by Ankaree

Art by Lisa, Romanse, Ankaree, KAM

 

ACT ONE

It had been a long, stress-filled day for Jim and Blair. A day spent hunting down, arresting, and interrogating a man that they knew was responsible for the rape and murder of a stripper. After hours of questioning him, the guy finally broke down and confessed to the killing. By the time they left the precinct and had finally arrived home, it was late and Jim had a pounding headache. Blair, seeming to know exactly what his sentinel needed to relax, had guided him directly up the stairs to their bedroom. He had lovingly undressed Jim and instructed him to stretch out on his stomach on the bed before he removed his own clothing.

Now, after being the recipient to one of Blair's amazing massages, Jim lay face down on the mattress, totally relaxed and headache free, with his lover straddling his thighs. He groaned with pleasure as, once again, oil-slick hands gently massaged up his spine, across his shoulders then down his sides to his buttocks. The process repeated itself a few more times before those magic fingers concentrated solely on his ass, squeezing and stroking the firm flesh in small circles. He felt his cheeks being spread apart and then the feel of warm oil as it was drizzled onto his puckered opening. A fingertip gently rubbed over his hole before slowly pushing inside, and Jim let out a long groan, loving the sensation of being penetrated. Soon a second finger joined the first, sliding in and out, gently stretching him. He smiled softly, knowing that even after all this time of being lovers, Blair always took his time to carefully prepare him.

Breathing in deeply, Jim smelled his lover's arousal and the musky scent ignited his own as well, causing his cock to swell fully. He was panting hard when Blair moved over him to whisper in his ear, "You make me so hot, Jim. I have to have you now."

"Please." The word was a ragged prayer, nearly lost in the sound of Jim's heavy breathing.

"All fours, lover," Blair quietly commanded.

Jim obeyed immediately and as he moved upward, his lover's hands gently guided him until he was resting on his hands and knees. Fingertips reverently ghosted over his back, starting near his shoulders and slowly drifting downward, stopping when they reached Jim's buttocks. Blair shifted between his legs and Jim quickly spread them further apart, feeling his asshole twitch with anticipation.

Sure hands grasped his cheeks, kneading them a few times before easing them wide, exposing him. Jim couldn't stop the whimper that escaped from between his lips when the sensation of a warm, hot tongue licked across his sensitive hole. His hips were held firmly and that maddening tongue laved back and forth a few more times, nearly driving him crazy.

Jim gasped in pleasure when, at last, the tip of Blair's lubed cock pressed against his opening and eased inside. Once fully sheathed, Blair pulled out almost all the way and slowly slid back in again, the action causing them both to moan loudly. His lover set a long, hard rhythm, thrusting over and over again into Jim's body. Jim's arms began to tremble and no longer being able to hold up his body weight, he dropped down onto his elbows. The sudden shift made the angle of the trusts change and he cried out as the tip of Blair's cock pushed hard against his prostate. An arm slipped around his waist where a sweat slicked hand grasped his erection firmly and began to stroke in time with his mate's thrusts. He drew in a sharp breath and let the sensations flow over and through him, propelling his desire higher and higher. God, he loved this. Loved letting go and giving total control over to Blair. Loved letting Blair take him -- claim him. And loved that his guide knew him so incredibly well that he understood this was exactly what he needed.

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"You're mine, Jim. Always mine," Blair stated huskily.

"Yes," Jim returned, feeling his body react to the amorous claiming. "Yours, Blair. Only yours. Forever."

Thrusting even harder and faster into Jim, Blair murmured breathlessly, "God, you feel so good."

Jim could only answer with a moan as his body tingled wildly with pleasure. The sensations swirling through him were so wonderfully overpowering -- so intense -- that he closed his eyes only to snap them open again when he felt his senses spinning out of control. He forced his eyes to stay open, knowing that if he closed them again, he'd become lost.

"It's okay, Jim. Let your senses go. I've got you."

His guide's words washed over him and, just like it always did, that warm, sensual voice calmed him immediately. He knew it was safe to let go, to feel, to be consumed by everything his lover was doing to him. As long as his guide was here, he would never let anything happen to him. Closing his eyes, totally trusting in Blair, Jim allowed himself to become lost in the indescribable pleasures of their lovemaking.

"That's it. Let go," Blair whispered.

His lover thrust into him again, this time with a surging force that caused a fiery burst of ecstasy to explode within Jim. He cried out his pleasure, feeling Blair pound into him faster and faster, feeling his orgasm building and building, rushing him away on a fierce, never-ending ride.

"Yes," Blair hissed. "Come for me, lover. Show me how much you love this."

That was all Jim needed, he bucked widely, thrusting once into Blair's hand then pushing back hard, forcing Blair's cock deep within him. With a fierce, strangled cry, he threw back his head as his orgasm exploded through his body. At the exact same moment he heard his lover yell his name and Blair's hot seed burst free inside him, filling him, making him whole.

Suddenly, Blair sagged bonelessly against his back, his breathing coming out in short, hard gasps. Unable to hold his lover's weight, Jim's weakened legs gave out and his whole body collapsed to the mattress, bringing Blair along with him. They stayed that way for a few minutes, getting their breathing under control, gathering as much strength as they could in order to move. Jim's lips turned up into a smile at the feel of tiny kisses being placed on his skin that was within reach of his lover's mouth.

Once Blair's penis softened enough to slip from Jim's body, his lover slowly shifted off his back to lie next to him on the mattress. With a groan, Jim flopped over and gazed up through the skylight to the stars above. "God, Chief, you sure know how to make a guy relax."

"No," Blair chuckled lightly, "I know how to make you relax."

Jim shifted over again, this time covering his guide's body with his own. He looked down into smoky-blue eyes, eyes that always took his breath away, and smiled lovingly. "You sure do. You always know exactly what I need." Lowering his head, Jim devoured Blair's mouth in a soul-searing kiss until his lover was breathless -- and speechless Jim thought smugly.

Moving off the mattress, Jim made quick work of getting them both cleaned up then slipped back into bed, pulling the covers up as he lay down.

"I love you," Blair murmured drowsily, moving into Jim's arms.

Hugging his lover gently, Jim sighed, "Love you, too, Chief," before slipping quickly into a deep, relaxing sleep.

***

It was early morning when Jim slowly drifted toward consciousness. As he hovered on the precipice between sleep and awareness, he felt the weight and heat of his lover snuggled against his side. He released a small sigh of contentment. God, how he cherished waking up every morning like this, with his and Blair's bodies and limbs so completely entwined together.

Tilting his head to one side and gazing down, Jim could just make out the face of his partner. It always amazed him how much younger and how very vulnerable Blair looked when he was sleeping. His heart skipped a beat and it instantly filled with love and a fierce protectiveness.

Even though he knew he couldn't keep Blair safe from all the horrors and harm the world threw at him, because, God knew, he had tried everything humanly possible to do so, Jim still closed his eyes and pledged that he would do all within his power to protect this man who meant more to him than life itself.

Reaching a hand up, he tenderly stroked the head that was lying on his chest, his fingers lightly caressing through the soft curls. He'd always loved Blair's hair. Especially when he wore it loose. He loved the way it framed Blair's face, the way it flowed over his shoulders and the little 'swooshing' noise it made every time his lover moved his head. But most of all, Jim loved the feel of it. Wanting to intensify the feeling, he dialed up his sense of touch and luxuriated in the texture of the silky strands as they flowed through his fingers. Suddenly, everything around him started to grey out and he became only aware of the feel of Blair's hair. Unable to stop it, he felt himself begin to drift into a sensuous haze.

"Don't go too deep." Blair's sleepy voice reached his ears, snapping him back to awareness.

"How did you know?" Jim asked. Pulling his fingers away from the too-tempting feast, he slid his hand down to rest on his lover's buttock.

"Dunno." Blair yawned widely. "I just -- knew." With a contented sigh, he shifted, snuggling impossibly closer to Jim. "What time is it?"

"Ten after six."

"God," Blair groaned. "Why are you awake so early? It's our day off, remember? Go back to sleep." A hand lightly patted Jim on his stomach.

With a small chuckle, Jim wrapped his arms around his guide, placing a light kiss to the top of Blair's head. He sighed happily and closed his eyes, letting the peacefulness of loft and the scent of his lover wash over him.

Just as he was easing toward sleep, the sudden shrill of the phone made Jim tense immediately, his breath quickened and his heart began to beat frantically. It was at times like this, when he was so totally relaxed, that he would be caught off guard and the ringing of the phone would transport him back to the time he nearly took a nose dive off the PD roof because some voice on the other end of the line told him to do it. He wondered, for about the hundredth time, if he really would have taken that final step over the edge if Blair hadn't been there to guide him back. A shiver suddenly ran through him. God, what would it have done to Blair to have watched him fall to his death?

"It's okay," Blair soothed, interrupting his thoughts. "We'll always be here for one another." Using the back of his hand, his guide gently stroked along Jim's cheek, the light touch calming him instantly. Keeping one hand on Jim's chest, somehow knowing the contact would ease Jim further; Blair reached over him and snatched up the phone. "Simon, this better not be you," he grumbled into the receiver.

"And a good morning to you, too, Sandburg." Simon's gruff voice held a trace of amusement.

"You said we could have the day off," Blair stated and Jim smiled at hearing the slight whine in his guide's voice.

"I know, but we've got a dead body and I want the two of you on it."

Grabbing a pen and paper from the bedside table, Blair jotted down the address and directions to a cabin located in the Cascade Mountains.

"Isn't that a bit out of our jurisdiction?" asked Blair.

"The local sheriff was the one to contact us. Everything has been worked out."

"Okay, sir. Be there as soon as we can." After hanging up the phone, Blair turned to Jim. "Simon needs us-"

"Yeah, I heard."

"Right," Blair said with a chuckle.

"What?"

"It's just… it's funny, after all the years we've been together there are times that I forget."

When Blair didn't explain further, Jim raised an eyebrow in question.

"You're senses, man. I actually forget sometimes that you hear all, see all… well, you know…" Blair loosely waved a hand in the air.

Jim laughed, shook his head in fond affection and lightly slapped Blair on the ass. "Come on, Chief. We'd better get a move on. It'll take at least an hour to get out to the crime scene."

"Yes, sir." Blair grinned and raised a hand up to his forehead to mock salute. Quickly, he hopped off the bed just missing Jim's swing to cuff his head.

Before Blair could descend the stairs, Jim softly called his name. He waited for his partner to turn around then pulled him into his arms. "Last night was -- incredible." Dipping his head, Jim claimed his lover's mouth, kissing him thoroughly. When he pulled away, Blair moaned quietly and smiled, running his tongue slowly over kiss-swollen lips. That innocent -- or maybe not so innocent, Jim thought with a chuckle -- action looked so damn sexy that it caused his heart to skip a beat and he felt his penis begin to fill. He knew that if he didn't get them both out of the bedroom now, he wouldn't be able to stop himself from throwing Blair down on the bed and making love to every inch of that wonderful body.

***

Exactly an hour after leaving the loft, they were driving through a set of wrought iron gates and down a long, tree-lined driveway.

"Whoa! I thought we were going to a cabin, not a mansion," Blair exclaimed, staring out the window as they pulled up in front of an enormous log house situated near a crystal clear lake.

"You've never been to Sun Valley, Chief?" Jim asked, referring to the small community in the mountains that the predominantly wealthy used for their summer homes.

Blair released a snort of laughter. "Uh, that would be a 'no'."

Jim looked around and remained quiet for a second as an old childhood memory of happier times with his family flashed across his mind. "We spent our summer vacations in this area when I was a kid. I think the old man sold it once Steven and I left home."

Blair turned, giving Jim an incredulous look. "You had a place like that?" he asked, pointing at the house.

"Not me, Chief. My dad did." He grinned. "And it wasn't as big as that one. Actually, I have some good memories from the time we spent up here."

"Cool," Blair said enthusiastically. "I'd love to hear about it."

"Maybe later. Right now we need to find Simon."

They exited the truck and quickly walked between several police vehicles, the coroner's wagon, Simon's LTD and a silver Mercedes SLR McLaren. As they passed the expensive sports car, Jim smiled and shook his head when he noticed his partner slow his stride to stare at the car.

Stopping, Blair let out a low whistle of admiration. "Man, even if I saved my paychecks for the rest of my life, I could never afford a car like this one."

Dialing up his hearing, Jim detected the voice of their captain coming from the far side of the property. "This way," he said, tugging on Blair's arm. Steering his partner away from his perusal of the sporty car, Jim maneuvered them toward the area where he knew he'd find Simon.

"Good morning, Detectives." Simon greeted them.

"What have we got, Captain?" Jim asked, getting down to business.

"The crime scene's around back," Simon said. He led the way around the house to a large deck overlooking the big lake then over to where the body lay. "The local sheriff has already interviewed the live-in housekeeper. He said that she was awakened when she heard the sound of something breaking. She got up to check on the noise and found the deceased out here. Said she didn't touch anything, just ran back inside and called 911."

"Did she see anyone else around?" Blair inquired.

"No," answered Simon with a shake of his head, "no one."

Jim stared down at the dead man who appeared to be in his early fifties. He lay sprawled on the wooden decking with a large pool of deep red blood spreading out from his head. The light green bathrobe he wore was splattered with blood and a few inches away from his outstretched hand lay a shattered coffee mug, the dark liquid staining the wood where it had landed.

"Has forensics been over everything?" Blair asked, slowly walking around the dead man.

"Yes," their captain replied. "Dan and his team finished up out here a few minutes before you arrived."

Slipping on a pair of latex gloves that Blair had handed to him, Jim squatted down, eyes slowly traveling over the man's body; looking for anything that forensics may have missed. Taking the taut jaw between his thumb and index finger, Jim carefully rolled the blood soaked head until the wound was revealed.

He heard the small intake of breath come from Blair and he didn't have to look at him to know that he had grimaced and turned away. Jim couldn't stop his own face from scrunching up in reaction as well. It was a pretty gruesome sight. The entire left side of the man's head and face had been blown away from the impact of a bullet. Studying the wound for another minute, Jim then returned the head to its previous position and stood up.

A hand lightly pressed against his back and his partner quietly asked from behind him, "Notice anything out of the ordinary?"

"You mean besides having half his face missing?" Jim replied, glancing at Blair while removing the gloves. "No. I didn't sense anything else. That's a pretty nasty wound. I'd say caused by a shot from a high powered rifle."

"Dan's team did find the bullet." Simon stated.

"Good. We'll go talk with him."

"Do we know who he is?" Blair asked.

Their captain gave a brief nod before answering, "Name's Eric Bradford."

Jim heard Blair's heart accelerate slightly at the mention of the man's name. He turned around to address his partner, "You know this guy, Chief?"

"No, not personally, but I do know who he is. He's, like, the next Bill Gates. His computer software company, Netcom, is almost on the same level as Microsoft. I remember reading that he was in negotiations for a huge takeover of another computer company. Umm… I think the name was CompuCom."

"You know, Sandburg, your wealth of information continues to amaze me." Simon shook his head and chomped down on his unlit cigar.

"Hey, can I help it if I like to keep up with current events?" Blair smirked, bouncing in place.

"Come on, Einstein." Jim tugged lightly on a lock of Blair's hair. "Let's go talk to Dan."

They entered the house through the wide glass doors that led from the deck into the large airy living area. The spacious kitchen was open to the main family room and they saw Dan Wolf standing at the counter, looking through a stack of evidence bags. The ME glanced up and acknowledged Jim and Blair with a wave as they approached.

"Hey, Dan," Blair greeted. "We'd like to take a look at the bullet."

"Sure thing." Dan sifted through the small pile of plastic bags, pulled one out and handed it to Blair, who studied it for a second before passing it on to Jim.

Rotating the bag slowly around in his hands, Jim closely examined the bullet. "It's a .308 slug. If I remember correctly, it's restricted only to sniper rifles." When Jim turned to glance at his partner, he noticed that Blair was no longer standing next to him. Instead, he was slowly walking out the doorway, his gaze staring toward the lake. "Sandburg," Jim called, frowning when he received no response.

"Is he all right?" Dan asked, sounding concerned.

"I don't know." Tossing the evidence bag on the counter, Jim hurried after his partner and caught up with him just as Blair stepped off the deck and onto the grass.

"Sandburg," Jim called again but still Blair kept on walking. "Shit," he mumbled, wondering what in the hell was going on. Moving around in front of his guide, Jim stopped his forward momentum by grasping Blair's biceps and holding him in place. "Chief? You okay?" he asked and gave Blair a little shake. That seemed to do the trick and the movement suddenly snapped him out of whatever odd state his partner had been in.

Blinking a few times, Blair looked up, a frown of confusion creasing his forehead. "Jim?"

"The one and only." Jim grinned slightly despite his concern. "You mind telling me what's going on?"

"Man, that was weird." Blair shook his head a little. "One minute I'm standing next to you and the next, I'm being drawn toward the lake. Then, when I stepped outside, I suddenly got these images in my head of exactly where the killer was standing when he fired the gun."

Having learned his lesson from past experiences when dealing with his partner's 'sixth sense', Jim knew not to doubt what he said. He simply nodded and asked, "Where?"

Blair sent him a grateful smile before pointing at the water. "He was over there, on the far edge of the lake, just inside the tree line."

Jim looked out over the water, in the direction Blair had indicated, and dialed up his sight. The shoreline on the other side of the lake was at least three thousand feet away. It was a long distance and that suddenly made Jim uneasy because he knew that only the best sniper could make the shot from that far. As he looked around he wondered, who, exactly, they were dealing with. This was not some amateurish shooting, it was a professional hit. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to have Eric Bradford murdered.

"Did you see the killer's face?" Jim asked

"No, just images of where he was standing and the view he had of the house."

"Okay. Come on," Jim said, lightly patting Blair on the back. "Let's go tell Simon."

As they approached their captain, Jim noticed a handsome Latino man talking with him. The man appeared to be not much older than Blair and was about the same height and weight.

Simon quickly waved them over when he looked up and saw them. "Ellison. Sandburg. This is Sheriff Miguel Sandoval. Sheriff, these are my detectives from Major Crime."

"Nice to meet you." Sandoval gave a friendly smile, flashing perfectly white teeth. He held out his hand and both Jim and Blair took their turn shaking it and introducing themselves. "I really appreciate having you come out here. We've never had a murder like this in the area, so we appreciate all the help we can get."

After giving a small nod, Jim said, "We need a boat."

"A boat?" Simon frowned slightly. "Why?"

"We need to get to the other side of the lake and a boat would be much faster than on foot." Before Simon could question them further, he quickly added, "We believe that the shot was fired from across the lake."

"I can have one here in ten minutes," Sandoval said, snatching up a small radio from his belt and speaking into it.

True to his word, the sheriff had a small motorboat delivered and ready to go within the indicated time. Jim hopped in taking a seat next to Blair. With Sandoval at the controls, they quickly made their way across the calm lake, his partner directing the sheriff to the right area.

Once on the other side, Sandoval steered the vessel as close to shore as possible then cut the engine. "If we lift the motor, we can row right up onto the land," the sheriff explained.

"I'll get it." Blair carefully shuffled his way to the back and easily flipped the motor up out of the water. Within a few minutes, the boat was beached and the three men were standing on the shoreline.

Lightly placing a hand on Blair's shoulder, Jim asked, "Which way, Chief?"

His guide glanced around for a second before saying, "This way," then headed off to his left with Jim and Sandoval following close behind. A few feet inside the tree line Blair stopped. "Right here."

Turning around, Jim gazed out over the lake toward the house, his eyesight clearly zeroing in on the exact spot where Bradford would have been standing before a bullet had ripped his life away. "He had a perfect line of sight from here to the deck."

"How can you be so sure that the shot was made from this spot?" Sandoval asked, his tone curious.

"My partner had a hunch and they usually pay off." When he looked at Blair, his heart warmed at the pleased smile that lit up his partner's face.

Jim expected the sheriff to question them further, but he simply shrugged, seeming to accept the explanation. "Okay, Detectives, how do you want to work this?"

"We need to find the casing from the bullet and any other evidence that someone was here," Jim said. "Why don't you check out that area," Jim indicated to his right, "while Sandburg and I look over here?"

"Yes, sir." Sandoval saluted with an easy grin and headed off in the opposite direction.

"He seems like a nice guy," Blair said once they were alone.

"Yeah, he does," Jim agreed. With his eyesight dialed up, he scanned the area around them and suddenly a small bronze cylinder caught his attention. "Over here, Chief." Pulling on a latex glove, Jim carefully plucked the object out from a bed of fallen leaves and pine needles, and dropped it into an evidence bag that Blair held open for him. "You were right on. He was here."

"Did you doubt me?" Blair quietly asked.

Jim met his partner's gaze and spoke with assurance. "No. Never."

Not breaking eye contact, Blair smiled and Jim could feel the power of their love flow between them. Clearing his throat, he said, "We'd better look around."

"Right," Blair replied with a little chuckle, moving away slightly. He took a few more steps and stopped. "What's that?" he asked point at a small silver object resting on top of an old tree stump.

Jim hurried to his side and looked down at the item. "Looks like a dog tag." Still wearing the rubber glove, he picked it up, turning it over on his palm so it faced upward.

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ACT TWO

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