Rating: NC-17

Pairings: J/B

Warnings: m/m, song lyrics

Archive category: Romance/Challenge

Disclaimers: All recognizable Sentinel characters are copyright of Pet Fly Productions and Paramount. No infringement intended on my part.... just doing some wishful thinking. :-) The song "I Will Always Love You" is copyrighted to Whitney Houston and her record label.

Notes: Thanks once again to my beta-reader, Cheryl, (look, Cheryl! Your name in print, again! <g>) thanks for the feedback, as always. :-)

Summary: This is in response to James' "Let a Little Rain Fall" challenge -- a sad story with a happy ending. Jim and Blair are letting other people's prejudices tear them apart.

Date completed: September 26, 1997


A Fresh Start

by Barbara Nice-Miller



It was with an odd sense of foreboding that Jim Ellison walked down the hallway to his loft. He knew something was wrong before he even opened the door. The first indication was that Blair's car wasn't outside. They had specifically set aside this night to discuss things. His lover wouldn't just blow it off, this was just too important.

The moment Jim opened the door his worst fears were confirmed. Before he could even process what he was seeing, his hand instinctively went to drop his keys in the basket on the table beside the door. But his knuckles brushed against something hard and he looked down, tearing his eyes away from the sight that had greeted him.

Inside the basket were two items -- a cassette tape with "Play Me" written on a piece of paper taped to it, and a light blue envelope with "Jim" written on the outside in Blair's handwriting.

Numbly, Jim dropped the keys on the table and picked up the items from the basket. He closed the door behind him then walked to stand in the middle of the living room. He turned his head from side to side, anger and fear and hopelessness building inside him.

The loft was practically empty. Every single thing of Blair's was gone. Every nicknack, book, pillow and throw blanket. He knew Blair's room would look the same.

"You bastard," he whispered as the first tear fell.

His first thought was to hurl the tape across the room and watch it smash against the wall. He actually had his arm back to throw when a tremendous clap of thunder and bright flash of lightening distracted him. The storm that had been threatening all day was finally upon them. With a vengeance. The weather matched the turmoil in Jim's heart.

He lowered his arm and relaxed his grip on the tape, turning it over in his hand. With a resigned sigh, he walked over to the stereo and inserted it. As much as he didn't want to listen to it or read Blair's note, he knew he had to. He turned up the volume, pressed the "play" button then walked out onto the balcony, mindless of the rain blowing in on him. He couldn't be in that nearly empty loft a moment longer.

As he opened the envelope and pulled out the note inside, the first strains of music drifted out the door, along with a beautiful soprano voice.


If I should stay
I would only be in your way


Jim's eyes gazed upon the writing, practically hearing Blair's voice as he began to read.....

     Dear Jim,
	I know this is the coward's way out, but it's also the easiest 
	and less painful way.  For both of us. If we would've talked 
	tonight, you would have tried to convince me to stay.
	I love you more than life itself, but I have to  
	leave. It's the best thing for us and you know it.


So I'll go
But I know
I'll think of you every step of the way


Jim ran a hand across his face, wiping away the tears.

"Oh, God, Blair...how did this all go so wrong?" he whispered into the night, then continued reading and listening to the music.


And I will always love you
I will always love you


	I just couldn't stand to watch anymore as your career 
	fell apart.  Because of me.  Because of us.  I love you 
	too much for that.   You're better off on your own, 
	but I'll never forget what we shared.  Never.


You, my darling you
Bittersweet memories
That is all I'm taking with me


Jim leaned against the low wall of the balcony, lowering the letter for a moment.

When he and Blair had decided to "go public" with their relationship almost a year ago, they thought it would be a good thing. No more sneaking around, no more trying to hide their feelings for each other from anyone anymore.

Little did they know how wrong they were. They were too much in love, too wrapped up in each other to even think about negative backlash. They thought people would accept. People didn't.

Jim raised the letter once more.

  	Jim, without me around, you can get back on track
  	with the department.  No more shitty assignments,
  	no more dirty looks, no more passed over         
  	Just let everyone think it was a fling, a mid-life  
  	crisis or something.  Everyone knows I was the one  
  	that pursued you.  I don't care what you tell 
  	them.  Just go back to being "normal" and you'll 
  	be surprised at how fast things turn around.
  	All I want is for you to be happy.


So goodbye
Please, don't cry
We both know
I'm not what you need


Happiness. There was something that had been in short supply for both of them for a long time now.

Why wouldn't everyone just leave them alone? Two men were in love. Get over it.

Jim had been with the department for years. He was a damn good detective. But as soon as he'd admitted he was in a same-sex relationship, things went sour.

Cops weren't gay. They were big, tough and strong and most certainly did not sleep with other men. He cursed his Sentinel hearing for picking up the snide comments said behind his back. The ones about Blair were the worst.

Then things between he and his lover started to go sour as well. The tension and stress were taking their toll on them both. They started fighting about the stupidest things, for no reason. Their love life became almost non-existent.

Then this morning was the last straw. Simon told Jim he and Blair could no longer be partnered together. Simon had been as good a friend as always through this, and was sympathetic, but could no longer put off the higher powers in the department. It was against regulations for husbands and wives or "life partners" to work together. Blair had to go.

Jim was furious, and immediately called Blair at the University. He explained the situation and asked Blair to get home as early as he could so the two of them could discuss this. Blair was dead silent for a long moment, then quietly agreed, whispering a heartfelt "I love you" before hanging up. Jim should've known right then something was up. His normally vocal lover should've been ranting and raving, not quiet and subdued.


And I will always love you
I will always love you


    	I'm leaving Cascade, Jim.  Don't come after me 
    	or try and find me.  Please.
    	And don't use your Sentinel abilities as some 
    	sort of mitigating circumstance, either.  You've 
    	long since had them under control.  You don't 
    	need a Guide anymore.
    	I've found another job at another school.  I'm
    	starting fresh and so should you.


I hope life treats you kind
And you have all you dream of
I wish you joy and happiness
But above all this, I wish you love


          I love you with every fiber of my being, Jim, 
          and I will miss you more than you'll ever know.  
          But I know this is the right thing to do.  And 
          in time, I hope you'll come to realize this, 
          Please, take care of yourself.  And be happy.
          For me.
          All my love,


And I will always love you
I will always love you


Jim crushed Blair's letter in his hand and threw it off the balcony into the stormy night. He slapped his hands down on the wall, hanging his head.

"Goddamn you, Blair," he cursed. "It's not going to end this way. I won't let it end this way," he vowed, then pushed himself away from the wall, heading back inside. He didn't even bother to grab his jacket, just snatched his keys off the table and stormed out into the night, a single goal in mind: find Blair and bring him back home.


Jim drove for hours, searching for Blair, to no avail. He stopped at the airport and bus station, showing the photo of his love that he kept in his wallet, but no one had seen the young anthropologist. Even his Sentinel powers were of no use. He could find no trace of Blair. In the course of a day, Blair had simply vanished.

Heartsick, Jim turned the truck for home, but at the last minute, decided to make a detour. He drove through the pouring rain to the park down by the water where he'd kissed Blair for the very first time. He needed to feel close to his lover.

Jim had no more than driven around the bend at the park's entrance, heading for the same spot he and Blair had parked at, when his headlights reflected off a vehicle with a small U-Haul trailer attached.

A very familiar vehicle.

Jim slammed on the brakes and came to a screeching halt, his truck sliding a bit on the wet pavement. He was out of the truck in an instant, soaked to the skin before he even reached Blair's car.

His Sentinel sight detected his lover curled up on the backseat, asleep, using his jacket as a blanket. Jim violently yanked open the car door, scaring his lover into wakefulness.

"Get out!" he roared, flipping down the front seat and grabbing for Blair, coming up with a handful of shirt, pulling.

Blair's eyes went wide and he tried to scramble backwards, but Jim had a firm grasp on his shirt and he found himself being yanked out of the car into the rainy night.

"Jim! Jim, man, take it easy!"

Once out of the car, Jim slammed the door closed and pushed Blair up against it.

"Take it easy?!" he shouted through the rain, letting his anger override his elation at finally finding his love. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Taking off, leaving me that damn note and tape!"

"I'm doing what's best for us and you know it!" Blair shouted back, beginning to shake from the cold and rain and his own anger.

Jim threw his hands up in frustration, then ran a hand over his face. He went to say something when he noticed Blair was shivering. He grabbed the young man by the back of his collar and propelled him toward the truck. "Come on, let's go," he commanded.

He opened the driver's side door to the truck and pushed Blair in, sliding in after him along the bench seat, closing the door.

Jim looked straight ahead, hands gripping the steering wheel, but his quiet words were directed at Blair.

"How could you do this?"

"Because I love you," was Blair's simple answer.

Jim turned to face him. "No! If you truly loved me, you'd never have left."

"And watch as our relationship destroyed your one true passion in life? I know how much being a cop means to you, Jim."

"You're right, Blair. It means a hell of a lot to me. But not as much as you. Never as much as you. I love you, Blair, but running away is not the answer to our problems." He sighed and reached a hand out to his wet lover. "Come here," he said softly.

Blair went eagerly into Jim's arms, burying his face in the big man's shoulder. "I'm sorry," he whispered brokenly.

Jim wrapped his arms tight around the young man, resting his cheek on the damp curls. "Don't be. For you to do this, sacrifice so much, just to try and make me happy...God, Blair, I can't even describe how that makes me feel. But you leaving is not the solution."

Blair pulled back slightly in order to look at his lover. "Then what is, Jim? Staying together doesn't seem to be working."

"That's because we've let other people's opinions and attitudes get in the way of our happiness. And that's going to stop right now," he vowed. "We've been too passive about this, trying to ignore what people say and do, instead of standing up for ourselves and this relationship. Let people know we are in love and nothing they say or do will change that. Accept it and move on."

"I like the sound of that, Jim, I really do. But it may be easier said than done when it comes to the police department. This might just make it worse."

"Ever since Simon told me we could no longer work together this morning, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my job." He paused. "Blair...I'm leaving the force."

Blair sat straight up. "What?! No! This is what I was trying to avoid! Why I was leaving! And what about all this stuff about not running away? It sure sounds to me like you're doing just that."

"Blair, calm down. I've given this a lot of thought. Unlike you, I'm not going to leave Cascade. I'm staying right here."

"But...what are you gonna do?"

Jim's eyes lit up. "Hear me out on this, Ok? I want to go into business as a private detective. With you as my partner. A real partner, not just an observer. This time we're the ones in charge. No more worrying about the brass upstairs, no more worrying about promotions or snide comments. When Simon said you had to go, I knew I couldn't stay. I need you with me. But law enforcement is in my blood, it's what I've always wanted to do. Even though, as a PI, I won't have the power or authority as a detective, I can still help people. Which is all I want to do. Now I won't kid you, it's gonna be rough at first, trying to get this business off the ground. But I know it'll be worth it, Blair. A fresh start. For both of us. But still here in Cascade. No one's going to run me off." He paused. "What do you think? Will you stay?"

Blair was silent for a moment and Jim held his breath, giving the young man time to process everything he'd just said.

"Wow..." began Blair. "You really have given this a lot of thought. You'd really do that? Leave the department?"

"For you, Blair. Only for you," Jim said quietly. "You mean everything to me. A job is a job, there'll always be another. But true love...that only happens once in a lifetime." He laid his hand on the side of Blair's face. "Please, Blair. Say you'll stay. Don't let other people tear us apart. I know this relationship is worth fighting for."

Blair covered Jim's hand with his own. "How could I ever leave after a declaration like that?" he teased gently. "Of course I'll stay. I never wanted to leave, I only wanted you to be happy. I would've been miserable five minutes after I left Cascade. Which is why I was here tonight. Stalling. Trying to convince myself I was doing the right thing. I'm glad you showed me I was wrong. You're right, Jim. We let other people come between us, their ignorance and hatred making ugly what's beautiful. I love you, Jim. With my heart and soul. I won't ever leave."

"You'll never want to," Jim breathed, before claiming Blair's mouth for a soul-shattering kiss.

Their mouths slanted across each other's urgently, tongues doing heated battle. Jim grasped Blair's head with both hands, while Blair worked open the buttons on Jim's soaked shirt. His cold hands met Jim's warm flesh and he moaned into the kiss. Then he broke away to roughly push Jim's shirt down off his shoulders.

"Make love to me, Jim," he pleaded, eyes dark with passion.

"Here? That's called indecent exposure, Sandburg."

"So arrest me," Blair breathed, before latching onto Jim's mouth once more.

All coherent thought fled from Jim's mind at that second kiss. All he wanted was to feel Blair's skin against his own, to bury himself deep inside his lover's body. To hold on and never let go.

Jim pulled both Blair's shirts off over his head in one swift move. He gave each dusky brown nipple it's due, till they were hard and tight from his suckling and Blair's hands were digging painfully into his shoulders.

He pushed the young man to lay on his back on the bench seat, one leg on the floorboard, the other bent at the knee, resting on the seat itself. He quickly removed both shoes and socks, then reached for the zipper on Blair's wet jeans, "accidentally" brushing against his lover's erection straining through the denim.

"Yesss..." Blair hissed. "Hurry, Jim, please...."

Blair was divested of his pants and boxers in short order, finally laying bare for Jim to see. His lover looked magnificent, legs spread open, cock laying proudly against his belly, begging for attention.

Blair caught Jim's eyes. "Touch me, Jim..."

"Hang on, baby. Open the glovebox, get out the tube for me."

While Blair set about his task, Jim quickly divested himself of his remaining wet clothes. He'd just finished when Blair stretched out his hand, offering him the tube. Jim took it, then squirted some of the lubrication on his fingers, coating them. He placed the tube on the dashboard, then turned to his lover.

He trailed his uncoated fingers down the inside of Blair's thigh, delighting in the young man's indrawn breath and closed eyes. When he suddenly placed his hand over Blair's balls and squeezed gently, his lover gasped and practically sat straight up.

"Jim! Please, man...don't tease, not now...I want you in me."

Jim's already hard cock jumped at Blair's demands, and he hurried to comply.

"Anything you want, baby. Anything you want," he replied, as he slid one coated finger into Blair without further ado.

"Ahhh, yeah..." breathed his young lover, trying to press down on the finger. "More, Jim..."

A second finger slid in, joining the first in preparing Blair, sliding slowly in and out. Blair's hips began to move, trying to get Jim to touch that special spot. Heeding his lover's unspoken request, Jim bumped Blair's prostate, watching as he bucked his hips up off the seat.

"Yes! Again, Jim!" he pleaded, hand reaching for his erection.

But Jim withdrew his fingers and pushed Blair's hand away.

"Not yet, Chief. We do this together. Now sit up for me."

Blair nodded and sat up as Jim reached for the lube again, this time liberally coating his engorged cock. That done, he slid into the passenger's side, sitting up, pulling Blair on top of him so that the young man straddled his thighs, facing him. Blair braced his hands on the seat, on either side of Jim's head as Jim reached down with one hand to hold his cock, the other on Blair's hip.

Blair dipped his head, capturing Jim's mouth and sat down at the same time, impaling himself slowly on Jim's cock. Both men groaned into the kiss as Jim's erection slid further inside Blair, until Jim was buried to the hilt.

Jim broke the kiss and leaned his head against Blair's chest. "Yes, baby...yes...you feel so good..."

"How's this feel?" asked Blair, as he raised up, only to slide back down again.

"God! So hot...so tight...more Blair, please..."

Blair began his motion again, sliding up and down, pulling up farther and farther each time till only the head of Jim's cock remained inside him. Both men's breaths were ragged by then, and Jim had had enough teasing. He gripped Blair's hips and pushed him firmly down on top of his cock, crying out at the sensation.

Blair increased the pace, knowing what Jim wanted, what they both wanted, needed.

"Harder, Blair...harder...want to lose myself in you..."

Jim kept his grip on Blair's hips, pushing him down harder each time Blair pumped up and down, thrusting his own hips upward to meet the downward thrusts of his lover.

"Oh, God...Jim...more..."

One of Jim's hands slid between their bodies to grasp Blair's straining erection, pumping it in counterpoint to Blair's motions. Just what he needed to send him over the edge.

"YES! JimJimJim...almost there....I'm gonna....come with me..."

Jim felt Blair's cock swell an instant before the young man came, squeezing his eyes shut and sobbing out Jim's name. As the warm semen splattered against his chest, Jim felt Blair's internal muscles contract with the force of his orgasm, tightening around his cock. He gripped Blair's hips with both hands and thrust upwards once, twice, then his own orgasm was upon him. He crushed Blair to him, calling out his name, feeling himself pump his seed deep inside his lover.

"I love you."

"I love you."

It was long moments later when they drifted back to themselves, Blair sprawled bonelessly on top of Jim, Jim's softening cock still inside Blair. Jim ran his hands softly up and down Blair's back until the young man stirred, his legs starting to cramp up. Jim let out a soft gasp as Blair moved and he slipped out of him.

Jim gazed out the windshield as Blair curled up next to him, head on his shoulder. The rain had stopped.

He wrapped his arms around his lover and smiled.

What a perfect beginning to their fresh start, in the same place where their relationship began.



Thanks for reading! Comments are always appreciated. :-)

Barbara Nice-Miller