Kisses For Blair

By Lyn

Thank you, Patt, for the challenge. I enjoyed writing this.

 

Jim Ellison grinned in delight as he pulled the manila envelope from under his jacket and carefully opened the flap. Reaching in, he extracted the large glossy photo from inside and noticed immediately the small square of pink notepaper secured to it with a bright orange paper clip. Turning his attention first to the missive, he pulled it from the photo and began to read scrunching his nose up at the eye-watering scent of lavender that permeated the notepaper. Naomi. Jim shook his head. Like mother, like son. He'd sent a simple request, ordinary really but Naomi couldn't let it go past without running off at the mouth.

//Jim,
I hope you're not planning on embarrassing my son with this. Though I can't imagine how anybody could be embarrassed looking like this. He's just as gorgeous here as he is today. You take care of my son for me. He's all I have.//

Jim could almost smell the tears that had dripped onto the paper at this point.

//I wish I could be there tomorrow for his birthday, but I'd already planned this retreat and I couldn't let these people down. I knew Blair would understand. I celebrate Blair's birth every day and I don't have to be with him to do that. He knows how much the retreat means to me and after all, he has you now. I'm sure he wouldn't want me there spoiling your fun.//

And therein lie the problem, Jim thought, and the reason for his request to Naomi.

//Have a wonderful time and give my beautiful son a kiss from me for his 30th birthday. Love
Naomi.//

Jim placed the letter on the bed and picked up the photo. It had all begun the week before when Jim had walked into the loft while Blair was on the phone to Naomi. Jim automatically turned his hearing down the moment he saw the receiver pressed to Blair's ear. It was the least he could do, he thought, after all he'd been brought up to respect other people's privacy. He raised a hand in greeting to his partner, absently noting the fine lines of fatigue that framed Blair's eyes. Blair nodded somewhat tensely, Jim thought, then turned his attention back to his phone conversation. Jim watched him pace to the balcony doors and stand there, staring out into the night as he spoke.

"Come on, mom. When was the last time you actually saw me on my birthday?"

Jim busied himself pulling pasta and refrozen sauce from the freezer and uncorking a bottle of red, his ears still drawn to Blair's side of the conversation, regardless of his upbringing.

"I know what you taught me. Naomi, no, I don't want to repeat after you."

As though sensing Jim's attention on him, Blair glanced quickly over at him, pulling his face into a comical grimace that didn't quite disguise the pain on his face. Jim smiled and shrugged and turned away, ostensibly to rinse salad ingredients under the tap, but knowing he didn't want to see Blair's discomfort. The words couldn't be blocked out though and he heard Blair's voice, tight with tension, say the words that cut deeply into Jim's heart.

"It's just another day, it's not the day that's important. Yes, I know you love me. Mom! No, I don't expect you to buy me anything. I just thought it would be nice to spend some time together and my birthday seemed as good an excuse as any. Look, it's okay, it's not important, you're right. I gotta go, Jim's home. Yeah, I'll tell him. I love you too, Naomi. 'Bye."

Jim was concentrating so fiercely on the head of lettuce he was rinsing under the tap, trying desperately to drown out the hurt he could hear in Blair's voice that he jumped at the voice right behind him.

"Hey, Jim."

"Hey, Chief." Jim turned and slung the torn leaves into the salad bowl, forcing himself to look unconcernedly at his guide. His heart clenched at the emotion he saw in Blair's face. "Hope you're hungry," he said. "We've got spaghetti and salad."

"Actually, I'm not, Jim." Blair backed away even as Jim's hands came up in an unconscious gesture to pull him into a sheltering embrace. "I've got some study to do. I'll see you in the morning. Naomi said hi."

Jim nodded and folded his useless hands over his chest. "Sure. No problem. Don't stay up too late."

"I won't. 'Night."

Jim watched him go, the bounce that made Blair Sandburg who he was absent from his step. He turned to look once more at Jim as he pulled the door to his bedroom closed.

Jim had stayed up that night as late as Blair. He sat on the couch with the TV muted, listening to his partner study and mutter and cry. Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer and he went to the kitchen and made steaming mugs of tea. Stepping to Blair's door, he tapped as gently as he could with one foot. "Can you open the door, Chief? I've got my hands full here."

He could hear rustling of papers and bedding pulled back, the surreptitious blowing of a nose and the rasp of the tissue as it wiped over skin, then Blair was standing before him, his eyelids suspiciously red and puffy. "Jim? What's all this? I thought you'd crashed already."

He stood to one side as Jim stepped into the room. Jim tried to ignore the electricity that crackled as their bodies brushed against each other. Static electricity, he thought idly. He placed one cup on the desk and held the other one out to Blair. "I got caught up watching an old Western on TV, then I realized you were still up and I figured you could use some nourishment." He indicated the plate of sandwiches nestled by the teacup. "You didn't eat dinner," he reminded the anthropologist.

"Thanks. This is really nice." Blair sat down on the side of the bed and picked up a sandwich. Spotting the second cup on the dresser, he indicated the place beside him. "Take a load off."

Jim smiled and sat and picked up his tea. The two men sat in companionable silence for some time. Jim took the last sandwich at Blair's insistence, feeling that same static tingle as their fingers touched. When they were finished, he stood, gathering the cups and plates in one hand before heading toward the door. He heard Blair pull back the covers and climb into bed and turned back in time to glimpse the broad, hairy chest before the blankets were drawn up to his neck.

"Something else?"

The question startled him and he realized he'd been staring at Blair, or more precisely at Blair's body. "I, um, look, I overheard your side of the conversation with Naomi tonight and I wondered..."

"Jim?"

The voice pulled him back from wherever he'd gone and he licked dry lips and studied the mask on the wall. "Do you want to have some people over for your birthday? You know, the guys from the station and you could invite some of the people from the university, oh, and we should ask Bill and Martin, seeing they invited us to Bill's birthday party last month."

"You want to throw me a birthday party?"

"Sure. Why not? It'll be fun. It's just..."

"Just what, Jim?"

Jim finally turned to look at Blair, and the beautiful blue eyes of his partner bored into his soul. "I don't have a lot of experience with parties, so you might have to organize a lot of it."

"You don't have to do this, man," Blair said softly. He brought his knees up in the bed and wrapped his arms about them. "It's no big deal."

"I want to," Jim answered firmly, realizing suddenly that he did indeed want to. "It's important to me to do this for you."

Blair regarded him soberly for a long moment then finally a shy smile broke through. "Okay," he said slowly. "Thanks. I'd like it a lot. And I can organize the party."

That settled; Jim nodded and walked from the room.

0~0~0~0~0

Jim picked up the photo again and studied it. Blair's features were immediately recognizable, although in miniature. He traced a finger almost absently over the soft baby curls that framed a cherubic, rounded, smiling face. His fingertips brushed Blair's snub nose and his own mouth turned up in an answering smile in reply to the cheeky grin he could see in front of him as the baby sat on the beach, pudgy fingers clutching at the coarse grains of sand. Jim started as he heard Blair come in and he quickly slid the photo out of sight under his pillow.

"Jim? You home?"

"Yeah. I'll be down in a minute."

Jim stepped over to the railing and looked down into the living room. Blair was seated on the couch, his eyes staring vacantly ahead. "Hey, Sandburg. How was your day?"

Blair looked up and smiled briefly, then shrugged. "Oh, you know. It was just a day."

Jim frowned. "Something wrong?"

"Huh? Oh, no, not really."

"How are the party plans coming along?" Jim asked as he walked down the stairs and over to the refrigerator to pull two beers from within. He walked back and handed one to Blair, then sat down on the armchair opposite.

"Good. Look, Jim, you don't really have to throw me a party, you know? I mean, I'm not a little kid here."

"I know that, Sandburg, I'm not suggesting taking you to Wonderburger for an icecream cake, am I?"

"No. It's just..." Blair looked down and fiddled with a loose thread from the cushion cover. Jim waited patiently. It was not often that Blair was lost for words. "This hasn't got anything to do with what my mom said the other day, has it? And don't lie to me. I know you were listening."

Jim decided that evasive action was in order. "You don't want a party?"

"No, I mean, yes, of course I want a party. I just don't want you thinking that you have to throw me one." He risked a quick look up and lowered his eyes again when he saw Jim watching him closely.

"Okay."

"Okay, what?"

"Okay, I won't throw you a party because I have to." Jim grinned and tipped his beer at his partner. "How about we throw a party because it's your birthday. Cool?"

Blair smiled, really smiled and Jim felt himself comparing the features before him with the one in the photo. "Cool," he said finally.

"Don't get too comfortable," Jim groused. "It's your turn to cook."

0~0~0~0~0

After a dinner of stir-fry and noodles, Jim left Blair marking papers at the table and commandeered the shower before having an early night. He had a court appearance first thing in the morning and he wanted to be fresh. He slipped out of the bathroom fifteen minutes later, feeling refreshed and cuffed his partner amiably on the back of the head as he went past to his bedroom. "Don't stay up too late," he chided. "You promised to keep me company on that stakeout tomorrow night."

"Sure thing, Jim. No problem, man." Blair's attention didn't waver from the essays in front of him and Jim shook his head and retired for the night.

He pulled back the covers and the photo slipped from beneath his pillow. Picking it up, he pulled open his bedside drawer to put it inside, then paused to study the features of the toddler once more. This time, his forefinger ghosted gently over the smiling lips and up the chubby cheeks before stroking softly over the dark curls, shorter but still so similar to the man sitting below. Again, Jim felt a tingle of electricity in his fingers and he pulled his hand away from the photo and flexed his fingers for a moment. He went to place the photo in the drawer, then for reasons he could not voice, he slipped it back under his pillow. Switching off the bedside lamp and pulling on his eye-shade, he drifted into a quick, restful slumber.

0~0~0~0~0

"No!!" Jim shuddered as he watched Blair slam back into the wall, then look down in shock and reach to clutch at the blossoming red stain high on his chest.

"Jim?" Blair looked toward him now and then he slid slowly to the floor, leaving a wide bloodstain smearing the wall behind him.

"Jim?" The voice was whisper-soft now and Jim started awake and sat forward, rapidly blinking the sleep from his eyes. He swiped across his gritty eyelids with the side of his hand, then shifted forward to look at the drowsy man in the bed.

"Hey, yourself. How are you feeling."

The tip of a pink tongue snaked out to moisten dry lips as Blair considered the question. "I hurt everywhere," he said finally.

Jim smiled and picked up Blair's hand giving it a gentle squeeze. "You're alive, that's all that matters." Then his face grew stern. "We'll talk about what 'Stay in the car, Sandburg' translates to in that crazy head of yours later."

"Sorry," Blair said, then he reached up a hand to rub gently at his bandaged shoulder. "So, is the birthday party still on?"

"Yeah. The doctor said you can come home tomorrow afternoon, so I guess we don't need to cancel the party."

Blair's eyes were already drooping. "I'm sorry, Jim. I really screwed up."

Jim squeezed Blair's hand again. "It wasn't your fault, Blair. Go to sleep."

The anthropologist managed to open one eye and look at him, a dopey smile blooming on his face. "Blair? Must have really had you worried."

"Say goodnight, Blair."

"Goodnight, Blair. You gonna stay here all night?"

"Mm-hmm."

"'Kay."

Jim sat back and watched as his partner drifted off into a drug-filled slumber. He felt icy tendrils of shock creep up his spine once more as he realized just how close it had been this time. What should have been a simple stakeout had turned into a shambles when the drug dealers had spotted a uniformed officer, who happened upon the scene quite by accident. The dealers opened fire on the man who returned their fire and requested backup.

Jim was already out and running, flipping his partner a terse order to stay in the truck and call for backup. More gunfire had sent Blair scurrying around the corner of the warehouse and straight into the bullet of the rookie cop who panicked at the sound of approaching footsteps and opened fire. Jim had already dialed up his sight and watched now as the bullet tore through the many shirt layers Blair wore and then burrowed into flesh, blood gushing outward. The sentinel fought not to zone on the sight and lifted his eyes to see Blair's face change from concern for his partner to shock, then finally to pain and fear as he slid slowly down the wall. For a moment, time stood still and by the time Jim regained control of his senses, Blair was lying huddled on the ground, pale and still.

The bullet had gone straight through Blair's shoulder, causing blood loss and muscle damage but missing all vital organs. He'd been taken to surgery and stitched up, given fluids and pain relief and now lay swathed in blankets, still pale, still silent, but mercifully alive.

0~0~0~0~0

Later, Jim would say it was the wine though he'd done nothing but drink in the sight of Blair the entire evening of the birthday party. At the end of the night, when the last guest had been farewelled and the gift-wrap and other detritus from a thoroughly successful and incredibly good evening had been cleared away, Jim closed the front door. Blair stepped up and wrapped his good arm around the detective's waist, hugging him tightly.

"Thanks, Jim. For everything."

Jim reached up with one finger and tipped Blair's chin up, then lowered his head so that his lips brushed Blair's. In the moment, when time seemed frozen once more and electricity crackled between them, Jim wondered if he'd just taken a huge leap over the line. While he waited for the bottom to drop out of his world, Blair pulled back slightly and ran the tip of his tongue over his lips. Then he smiled gently and wrapped his good arm around Jim's neck and pulled him in for a searing kiss that Jim was certain blew every fuse in the place.

Blair groaned deep in his throat as he pushed his tongue into Jim's mouth while his hand stroked gently down Jim's back to rest lightly on his ass. His grip became surer now and it was Jim's turn to gasp as Blair pulled him closer and pushed a knee between the other man's legs. Just as he thought he would explode from lack of oxygen, Jim tore his mouth away from Blair's and studied him, both men flushed, sweating and panting for breath. "Blair?"

Blair nodded. "I love you, Jim."

Jim led the way upstairs but when they got there, it was Blair who took control, pushing Jim back toward the bed with little pokes to his chest with one forefinger. Jim felt the bed against the backs of his legs and collapsed onto the mattress, one hand grasping Blair's and taking him down with him. Blair sat up now and straddled Jim's middle, unbuttoning Jim's shirt and stroking his fingertips across his chest. "God, you're beautiful," he breathed.

Then he bent low and licked across one nipple. Jim arched up into the sweet heat, feeling his cock grow even harder at the sensation. He reached up and cupped the back of Blair's head, directing the maddening, incredible tongue where he wanted it, first lapping at one hard peak and then the other. Blair kissed his way down Jim's abdomen, then stopped and planted a soft kiss on the tip of Jim's boxer-covered erection. He sat up and looked seriously at the other man. "Make love to me."

Jim lightly touched the square of gauze on Blair's shoulder. "What about this? I don't want to hurt you."

Blair shook his head firmly. "You'd never hurt me. We can be gentle."

Jim didn't need a second invitation. He pushed Blair off and to one side. Standing up, he quickly divested himself of his remaining clothes, then lay down again, resting his arms on either side of Blair's head. He leaned in for a kiss, then moved his lips to map the rest of Blair's body, tugging gently on the nipple ring with his teeth and smiling at the groan the action tore from Blair's throat. He undressed Blair slowly, raking him with his gaze as he took in the body that was as beautiful as he knew it would be.

Jim splayed his hand wide and ran it the length of Blair's body, delighting in the soft hair that tickled his palm and feeling the muscles shiver beneath his touch. He reached down and cupped Blair's balls in one hand, rolling them with gentle fingers, then ghosting up to run a finger up Blair's cock. He fisted the hard length then and began to stroke firmly, loving the way Blair bucked beneath his touch. Tentatively, he bent his head and licked at the very tip of Blair's cock, tonguing the tiny slit, enjoying the bitter, salt taste of Blair exploding on his tongue. Opening wider now, he swallowed down Blair's length and moved his mouth up and down, sucking hard, then alternating with long strokes of his tongue and tiny nibbles with his teeth. Blair was murmuring incoherently now, one hand fisted tightly in the back of Jim's hair, the other clutching the sheet. Jim stroked his other hand between Blair's legs and pushed gently at his thighs. Blair opened up immediately, bending his knees slightly to give Jim better access. Jim stilled Blair's hand as it reached down between them to grasp his own aching cock.

"This time is for you," he whispered.

"But Jim, I want..."

Jim kissed Blair's fingers. "We have plenty of time, Blair. Let me give this to you." Seeing Blair nod his head, Jim continued to suck, then as he felt Blair's balls draw up, he pushed the tip of one finger just inside. Blair bucked up with a shout and came violently. Jim lay his head against Blair's belly and gently stroked the softening cock, his finger still inside feeling the final spasms of his lover's pleasure.

Blair pulled him up to lay beside him and kissed his forehead, grinning idiotically when Jim kissed the tip of his nose and said, "Happy Birthday, Sandburg." Now, they lay spooned together, Blair sated and spent, Jim's hand stroking mesmerizing circles through the soft hair on Blair's chest, his still-hard cock nestled in the warmth of Blair's ass. "Jim?"

"Yeah?"

"How long have you been feeling this way about me?"

Jim leaned up and rested his chin on one hand as Blair rolled to his back and watched him intently. "I don't know exactly. It's been a gradual thing. What about you?"

"Ever since you walked into my office that first day."

"Really?"

Blair nodded.

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"I couldn't risk losing you," Blair replied "I wasn't sure how you'd react if I'd told you." Blair rolled over now and pushed Jim until he was on his back, then threw a leg over and straddled his lover. "Why now, Jim?"

Jim sighed. 'If it was the time for truths, so be it.' Reaching under his pillow, he pulled out the photo and held it up so that Blair could see it in the soft glow of the bedside light.

"That's me. Where did you get that?" Blair pulled the photo from his hands and studied it closely before putting it to one side and observing his lover closely. "Jim?"

"I asked your mom to send it," Jim confessed. "I had this stupid idea that I could put it out at your birthday party and embarrass you."

"But?"

"But I couldn't stop looking at it, at how beautiful you were and I just needed to have it near me, so I could look at it whenever I wanted. Then you got shot and I didn't want to share it with anyone else. And I realized that I'd been watching you, wanting you for the longest time, only I didn't know it. I'm sorry."

"Sorry? You're sorry?" Blair leaned forward and dropped a chaste kiss on Jim's lips. "If that photo made you realize that you wanted me, then you can keep it under your pillow forever, man."

"I don't need to now," Jim said, his voice growing deeper with need as Blair slipped off to one side and lowered his beautiful lips to Jim's aching erection. "I've got the real thing."

FIN