By: Lyn





NOTES: Written for the Cliché/Senses Ficathon. Cliche: An old flame returns to Cascade. Sense: Hearing.


Jim told himself he wasn’t eavesdropping. That a sentinel on the edge of sleep had no control over his heightened senses. That, in fact it was a part of his genetic make up, as Sandburg had told him: the Sentry protecting his tribe. Except tonight there was no tribe to protect, save one member who Jim could hear wandering around the living room, a soft mutter of words barely discernible to even Jim’s exceptional hearing.

"I trusted her," he heard Blair whisper. "I trusted her and she made a fool out of me. I should have listened to Jim."

Those words gave Jim pause. While he hadn’t exactly told Blair he mistrusted Maya, his very actions had been obvious enough, that he wasn’t happy at having the South American woman back in their lives. She’d caused Blair enough grief the first time around. Jim was prepared to take the blame squarely for that. He’d pushed Blair into spending time with Maya in order to get an idea of what her father, Hector Carasco, a known South American underworld figure was up to and it had backfired spectacularly on him.

Blair had fallen head over heels for the young woman, had been beaten and almost killed by Carasco’s henchman then suffered the ultimate humiliation when Maya had scorned him, telling him she hated him for spying on her and her father. Jim had thought Blair would never recover from that. He’d moped listlessly around the loft for weeks, refusing to come into the station and attending the university only when absolutely necessary. What had been worse were the hurt, accusatory glances he’d thrown Jim’s way.

Jim thought he’d atoned for his mistake the night Blair had come to him, asking for comfort. "I just need to forget for a little while, Jim," he’d said. And Jim, torn up by his guilt, relieved that Blair wanted him, had taken him to bed. It had never progressed from there. The following morning, Blair had kissed him gently, thanked him and gone back downstairs. They hadn’t even spoken of it since. It had been a buddy-fuck, that was all, a salve on raw wounds. Until Lila… But hadn’t that been all it had been about when Lila died too? For Blair, that much was obvious but Jim had wanted so much more.

He sighed and turned onto his side, punching his pillow into a more comfortable shape, and admitted to himself what he couldn’t admit to Blair. He hated Maya for what she’d done to Blair. Pretending to be a kidnap victim, she’d taken Blair’s renewed faith in her assurances that she’d forgiven him and tossed it in his face. Jim still wondered if it had been some perverted type of revenge for Blair’s past actions.

More than that, he’d hoped that Blair would turn again to him for comfort, knowing that there was another reason for wanting Maya gone from Blair's life: he loved Blair, wanted him for himself.

There had been times since then, when Jim had thought his clumsy attempts at seduction were being reciprocated. Times when he’d look up to catch Blair staring at him, with a thoughtful look on his face, a small smile upturning his lips. The way they sat together most nights, with Jim’s arm slung casually along the back of the couch, Blair’s long curls brushing seductively against his skin, their thighs touching. More often than not, when Blair became sleepy, he’d turn sideways in his seat and rest his feet unashamedly in Jim’s lap, apparently unconcerned by the erection that sprung to life at his touch, looking faintly amused at Jim’s blush. But when Blair took it no further, Jim gave up, returning his attention to the television, his heart pounding in his chest, glad for once that he was the sentinel and not Blair.

After Lila had been killed, it was Jim who turned to Blair, needing a release from the grief that threatened to drown him. Again, once morning came, they kissed chastely and went about their normal lives as though fucking your best friend was a natural part of life.

There was a faint suspicion of a sniffle from Blair and Jim sat up, unable to even pretend sleep while his friend was in such a state. He paused though and listened once more to the soft words Blair was uttering.

"I should have known she didn’t care about me. I was just a means to an end. God, I’m so stupid!" A sigh. "If only Jim…" Jim leaned forward, his curiosity now unashamedly piqued. If only Jim had what? "Would never have happened," Blair continued. "I was just seeing things that weren’t there. It was just a pity-fuck, that’s all." He snorted. "’Table leg Sandburg’, Jim said. Well, you’re wrong, man. After Maya left the first time, after we… I had hoped that we could… Never gonna happen. Stop fooling yourself, Sandburg. Maya saw what a fool you are, and she used that to get what she wanted. Jim was right about her and she was right too. You are a fool."

Jim’s heart clenched at the painful words and before he knew what he was doing, he was padding down the stairs to the living room. Blair sat cross-legged on the floor, gazing into the flames of the fire. "Guess an offer of noodles isn’t going to cut it this time either, Chief," Jim said softly.

Blair stiffened and he turned, his eyes flashing accusingly at Jim. "You were eavesdropping on me?"

Jim shrugged, unwilling to deny the obvious. "I was worried about you. I know what happened with Maya hurt you badly, especially knowing she’ll be deported."

Blair stared at him for a moment then turned his gaze back to the fire. "I thought… after we talked that night, I thought we had a chance."

"I’m sorry," Jim said. "Sorry you’re hurting."

Blair shrugged then stood and turned back to the fire. "I deserve it for being taken in by her. For believing she cared about me."

"You don’t think she does?"

"I think she said what she wanted me to hear. That it had all been a terrible misunderstanding, that she didn’t know what her boyfriend –" he spat the word – "was up to. I’m glad she’s gone."

Jim walked slowly over to stand behind Blair. He placed a hand on one of Blair’s slumped shoulders, his thumb stroking gently. "I’m sorry I was right."

Blair turned to face him. "Right?"

"About Maya. I thought it was jealousy but there was something off about the whole thing from the beginning."

"Jealousy?" Blair’s right eyebrow rose. "Funny, I’d wondered the same thing at first. That you were jealous of Maya and me. After that first time, when you… when we…" His voice trailed off and he leaned in, pressing a soft kiss to Jim’s lips.

"No." Jim pulled away, shaking his head, hardening his heart against Blair’s look of distress, refusing to give in to what he wanted more than anything. Not without… "I won’t do pityfucks anymore."

Blair took a step back, the hurt on his face at Jim’s bald words obvious. "Not pity," he said. "We’re friends. We comforted each other a time or two. After Lila –"

"No more buddyfucks either."

"Why? Why now?"

Jim reached out and stroked Blair’s cheek. "Because I want more than that from you. I’m not content at having just the sex, knowing that tomorrow one of us will walk away, find someone else."

"So that’s it?"

"Yeah, it is. I’m sorry."

Blair shook his head. "Don’t be. I… understand."

Jim felt suddenly exhausted. "I’m going back to bed. If you want to talk…"


Jim watched for a moment as Blair turned back to stare at the flames then, with a heavy heart, certain he’d screwed up everything, headed upstairs to his room. He sat on the edge of his bed and stared into space. He was so lost in thought, he didn’t hear the tread on the stairs, didn’t see Blair standing at the entrance to his room, didn’t notice him until Blair stood in front of him.

"I want you," Blair said simply.

Jim gazed up at him. "I told you I can’t do that any more."

Blair smiled and shook his head. "I know. I can’t do it either, knowing how I feel about you, how I’ve felt about you for the longest time."

Jim reached out for Blair’s hand, clasped it, interlocking their fingers. "Tell me then, what do you want?"

"You," Blair said again. Leaning down, he brushed his lips against Jim’s, the touch fleeting yet electrifying.

This close, Jim could hear the steady pounding of Blair’s heart and knew the truth in Blair’s words.

"I want you to love me," Blair whispered softly.

So Jim did.