NOTES: Written for the Cliché/Senses Ficathon. Cliche: An old flame returns to Cascade. Sense: Hearing.
Jim told himself he wasnt 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 Jims 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 hadnt exactly told Blair he mistrusted Maya, his very actions had been obvious enough, that he wasnt happy at having the South American woman back in their lives. Shed caused Blair enough grief the first time around. Jim was prepared to take the blame squarely for that. Hed 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 Carascos 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. Hed 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 hed thrown Jims way.
Jim thought hed atoned for his mistake the night Blair had come to him, asking for comfort. "I just need to forget for a little while, Jim," hed 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 hadnt even spoken of it since. It had been a buddy-fuck, that was all, a salve on raw wounds. Until Lila But hadnt 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 couldnt admit to Blair. He hated Maya for what shed done to Blair. Pretending to be a kidnap victim, shed taken Blairs renewed faith in her assurances that shed forgiven him and tossed it in his face. Jim still wondered if it had been some perverted type of revenge for Blairs past actions.
More than that, hed 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 hed 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 Jims arm slung casually along the back of the couch, Blairs long curls brushing seductively against his skin, their thighs touching. More often than not, when Blair became sleepy, hed turn sideways in his seat and rest his feet unashamedly in Jims lap, apparently unconcerned by the erection that sprung to life at his touch, looking faintly amused at Jims 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 didnt care about me. I was just a means to an end. God, Im 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 werent there. It was just a pity-fuck, thats all." He snorted. "Table leg Sandburg, Jim said. Well, youre 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."
Jims 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 isnt 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 shell 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."
"Im sorry," Jim said. "Sorry youre 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 dont think she does?"
"I think she said what she wanted me to hear. That it had all been a terrible misunderstanding, that she didnt know what her boyfriend " he spat the word "was up to. Im glad shes gone."
Jim walked slowly over to stand behind Blair. He placed a hand on one of Blairs slumped shoulders, his thumb stroking gently. "Im 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?" Blairs right eyebrow rose. "Funny, Id 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 Jims lips.
"No." Jim pulled away, shaking his head, hardening his heart against Blairs look of distress, refusing to give in to what he wanted more than anything. Not without "I wont do pityfucks anymore."
Blair took a step back, the hurt on his face at Jims bald words obvious. "Not pity," he said. "Were friends. We comforted each other a time or two. After Lila "
"No more buddyfucks either."
"Why? Why now?"
Jim reached out and stroked Blairs cheek. "Because I want more than that from you. Im not content at having just the sex, knowing that tomorrow one of us will walk away, find someone else."
"So thats it?"
"Yeah, it is. Im sorry."
Blair shook his head. "Dont be. I understand."
Jim felt suddenly exhausted. "Im 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 hed 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 didnt hear the tread on the stairs, didnt see Blair standing at the entrance to his room, didnt notice him until Blair stood in front of him.
"I want you," Blair said simply.
Jim gazed up at him. "I told you I cant do that any more."
Blair smiled and shook his head. "I know. I cant do it either, knowing how I feel about you, how Ive felt about you for the longest time."
Jim reached out for Blairs hand, clasped it, interlocking their fingers. "Tell me then, what do you want?"
"You," Blair said again. Leaning down, he brushed his lips against Jims, the touch fleeting yet electrifying.
This close, Jim could hear the steady pounding of Blairs heart and knew the truth in Blairs words.
"I want you to love me," Blair whispered softly.
So Jim did.