Rating: NC-17

Pairings: J/B

Series/Sequel: Sequel to A Shot In the Dark

Warnings: m/m, song lyrics

Archive category: Romance/Drama/First Times

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 lyrics to the song "I Promise You" is copyright to Michael Bolton and his record label

Notes: { } indicate thoughts

Special thanks to Cheryl <waves to Cheryl> my ever faithful beta reader. Your input is invaluable.

Summary: Jim brings Blair home from the hospital and they must deal with the aftermath of the shooting, both personally and professionally

Date completed: October 22, 1997


A Shot In The Dark II: Promises

by Barbara Nice-Miller




Cascade PD
Late afternoon

"Jim, can I see you in my office?"

Jim Ellison looked up from his paperwork. "Sure, Captain. Be right there."

Captain Simon Banks nodded and walked into his office, leaving Jim to the mountain of papers sitting in front of him.

It'd been four days since Blair had been accidentally shot by Jim while in pursuit of a suspect, and the first day that the detective had been back to work. For once he'd actually taken the three days given to an officer after being involved in a shooting. He wanted to spend that time with the young anthropologist while he recuperated. Jim just thanked God that Blair had forgiven him for his horrible mistake. The guilt and fear would always be there, knowing he'd shot and almost killed his best friend, but the weight was lifted each time Blair smiled at him.

Jim hurriedly signed his name to yet another form, eager to finish up all this backlogged work, meet with Simon and get out of here. Blair was being released early this evening and Jim wanted nothing more than to bring him home and take care of him. Not to mention a few other things he'd like to do to him. Jim smiled at the thought. At least there was one positive thing to come out of this ordeal: it had been the catalyst that let the two men finally admit their feelings for one another. Funny thing about the possibility of death, it spurred you into action.

Jim closed the file folder and added it to the stack in his Out box before making his way across the bullpen to Simon's office. He opened the door to find his captain with his back to him, staring out the window, arms folded across his chest.

"Close the door, Jim," Simon commanded, not turning around. "And have a seat."

Jim was immediately wary by the commands and the tone of Simon's voice. He did as he was asked, then spoke.

"What is it, Simon?"

Simon answered, but did not turn around.

"I just got word this afternoon, Jim. I.A. is having you brought before the Shooting Review Board next week concerning the incident with Sandburg." He paused, then turned to face his detective. "This is serious, Jim. You shot an unarmed civilian who wasn't even the suspect you were chasing. Add to that the fact that Sandburg is an observer and never should've been anywhere near that building, let alone inside it."

Jim was shaking his head. "I can't believe this."

"Jim, this is seriously going to threaten Sandburg's status here. We know why he's really partnered with you, but I.A. doesn't. You're both going to have to defend Blair's 'evidence gathering at a crime scene' dissertation scenario to the Board, and make it sound good. And you're going to come under fire for putting him in unnecessary danger, then wounding him. Sandburg's supposed to be observing the aftermath of a crime, not smack dab in the middle of one."

"This is all my fault, Simon. A split second and I've jeopardized everything." Jim closed his eyes and hung his head back. "Will this nightmare never end?" he whispered.

"There's one more thing."

Jim opened his eyes and raised his head. "What now?"

"Starting tomorrow, you're on mandatory leave, with pay, pending the review and the Board's ruling."

Jim ran a hand across his face. "Perfect. Just perfect." He sighed. "Give it to me straight, Simon. What's the worst case scenario?"

Simon dropped his arms and put his hands in his pants pockets. "The Board's fickle, Jim. You're an excellent detective with an outstanding arrest record. You may get off with a slap on the wrist. But they may decide to make an example out of this. Sandburg could have his observer status permanently revoked and you may be temporarily suspended or find yourself riding a desk for awhile. I don't think they'd go so far as to bust you down to beat cop."

"Well thank God for small favors," Jim muttered, then said more loudly, "I need Blair with me, Simon."

Simon leaned back against the window. "Then you may want to consider telling the Review Board about your Sentinel abilities and the real reason for Blair's presence. It would clear up this whole mess."

Jim shook his head. "I don't think I can do that, Simon. I can't let it get out that I've got an edge."

"Don't be so quick to decide, Jim. Think it over. You've got a week before the review." He gave Jim a small smile. "Now go on, get outta here. Go pick up the kid. Then take some time to talk about this."

Jim rose slowly from the chair without a word and began walking towards the door. He had it halfway open when Simon spoke again.

"It'll all work out, Jim. You'll see."

Jim just looked at him, then walked out of the office, closing the door behind him.


Cascade Memorial Hospital
Early evening

Jim poked his head around the doorway to Blair's room.

"Hi, Chief," he said with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.

Blair didn't seem to notice. "Jim!" he exclaimed, his face lighting up. "Please tell me you're here to spring me from this place. I'm like so sick of lying in this bed."

Jim walked up to Blair's bedside. "Your chariot awaits," he replied, giving the young man a quick kiss. He held up a duffle bag. "Let's get you dressed, shall we?"

Blair swung his legs over the side of the bed and Jim hooked an arm around his waist, helping the young man down off the high bed. Blair's right arm was no longer immobilized against his body, but it was in a sling and his shoulder was still bandaged. Jim placed the duffle bag on the bed then unbuttoned Blair's pajama top, drawing the dark blue material off his body. Blair noticed Jim staring at the white bandages with a strange look on his face.

"Jim? You Ok?"

Jim tried to smile but failed. "I'm fine, Chief. Let's get you ready."

Blair looked unconvinced, but remained silent as his friend helped him into a fresh button-down short-sleeved shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Just as Jim finished tying Blair's shoes, an orderly arrived with a wheelchair.

Jim gave Blair's hand a squeeze.

"Let's go home, Chief."


By the time the two men reached the loft, Blair knew something was wrong. Jim was strangely silent the whole ride home, his mind obviously occupied with something else.

As the door closed behind them, Blair took Jim's hand. "Are you gonna tell me what's bothering you or are you gonna make me guess?"

Jim dropped the duffle bag at his feet, cupped Blair's face with his hands then rested his cheek on the top of the young man's head.

"I'm sorry, baby. This wasn't exactly the homecoming I had planned."

Blair smiled at the endearment, the first time Jim had used it. "Baby, huh? I like it."

"Good, because I plan on using it a lot."

"You still haven't answered my question."

Jim pulled back, dropping his hands. "Later, Ok? Let me start this homecoming over again."

Blair let the subject drop, for now. He arched his eyebrow. "Just what did you have planned?"

"This," Jim breathed, before capturing Blair's mouth with his own. His hands came up once again, this time to tangle in the soft curls.

Blair slanted his head, opening his mouth, an invitation that Jim gladly accepted. Both men moaned into the kiss as their tongues touched for the first time. In the four days Blair had been in the hospital, they hadn't had the opportunity for more than stolen, closed-mouth kisses. They never seemed to be alone for more than five minutes. If it wasn't a doctor in the room it was a nurse, or someone from the University or the station stopping by to visit. They planned to make up for lost time starting now.

As their tongues dueled, Blair's free hand came up to clutch at Jim's shirt. Jim could hear his Guide's heart thudding in his chest and knew the tempo matched his own. He turned up all his senses, trying to drink in everything at once. But it was too much to process and he broke the kiss, gasping for air.

Blair recognized the look on Jim's face through his passioninduced haze and spoke rapidly.

"Oh, man, don't zone on me now."

Jim smiled and shook his head, then drew Blair carefully to him, mindful of his friend's injury. He wrapped his arms loosely around the young man's waist as Blair rested his head on Jim's chest.

"Now that's better," Blair said with a grin.

Jim chuckled. "Welcome home, baby. Welcome home."

Jim and Blair remained in the embrace for a long moment, at peace, content just to be touching.

"Blair?" Jim asked softly.

"Mmm?" came the mumbled reply.

Jim smiled. "I had a little more planned for tonight. Are feeling Ok? I don't want to wear you out."

Blair looked up. "I wouldn't mind you wearing me out," he said with a smirk.

Jim's cheeks turned pink and he gave Blair's ass a playful swat. "Come on, Chief. Let's go."

Blair was confused. "We're leaving?" he asked as Jim opened the door to the loft.

"Yeah, but we're not going far," Jim replied cryptically over his shoulder. Curious as always, Blair followed him out the door.

Blair's interest grew as Jim led them up the stairs instead of down to the parking lot. They climbed as far as they could, stopping at the door to the roof, which was padlocked shut. Jim reached into his pants pocket and withdrew a key with a flourish.

"Hey, man, since when is the door to the roof kept locked?"

Jim arched an eyebrow. "Since I told our landlord that the Cascade PD needed the roof tonight as a vantage point for a stakeout," he answered smugly.

Blair just stared at him, mouth slightly open. "You never cease to amaze me, man," he said with a chuckle. "Now are you gonna tell me what we're doing up here?"

Jim took hold of Blair's left hand and opened the door at the same time, the warm summer air wafting in to caress the men. "Close your eyes, baby," he said softly.

Blair complied with a warm smile, tightening his grip on Jim's large hand. "Lead on," he breathed.

Jim guided Blair out onto the roof, pulling the door closed behind them, placing the padlock in the latch on this side of the door. Blair, eyes still closed, lifted his face up, breathing deeply, letting the breeze blow softly through his curls.

"It feels so good to be outside. Being cooped up in that hospital room was driving me nuts."

"I thought you might like this," Jim responded, placing a soft kiss on Blair's forehead. "Now stand right here and keep your eyes closed. This'll just take a sec."

Blair tried to decipher what Jim was doing, using his hearing. The only thing he could detect was a soft scratching noise, then the smell of sulphur reached him. Jim was lighting a match.

Now thoroughly perplexed, Blair waited patiently for Jim to return. The older man did so shortly, coming up to stand behind him, resting his hands on the young man's hips. He put his mouth close to Blair's ear, his warm breath sending a shiver down Blair's spine.

"Open your eyes."

Blair was rendered speechless at the sight before him. When he found his voice, all he could manage was a heartfelt whisper.

"Oh, Jim..."

"Do you like it?"

Blair just nodded. The setting sun bathed the rooftop and the city below in soft shades of red, pink, yellow and orange, transforming it into a place of romance.

There was a mattress in the center, covered in a sheet and blanket, with four pillows at the head. Surrounding the mattress were short, fat candles of all different colors, burning brightly. On the side closest to the men there was a small stool with a portable radio/CD player on top.

"This is incredible. I can't believe you did all this," Blair's eyes were wide with amazement and love.

"You deserve it," was Jim's simple reply.

"Maybe I should've gotten shot sooner," Blair joked.

But Jim pulled away, his warmth suddenly gone.

"Don't say that, Blair," he said, his voice strained.

Blair turned around. "Jim, please. We've already been over this. It was an accident. I'm fine. Let go of the guilt," he finished quietly. When Jim just looked away Blair placed his hand on the older man's chest. "You've put so much into tonight. Let's not ruin it. I'm sorry for bringing the subject up."

Jim sighed and shook his head. "Don't be sorry, Blair. You're right. You've given me your forgiveness. I need to get past this. But it's hard," he paused to swallow, "knowing I almost killed you."

"Then let me help you think about other things," Blair suggested, going up on tip-toes to kiss the big man.

Many passion-filled moments later they broke apart, their lungs demanding oxygen, hearts racing.

"I think that did the trick, Chief," Jim grinned. "Now come here."

"How in the world did you get this mattress up here?" Blair wondered outloud as Jim led him past it toward the low wall that surrounded the roof.

"You know Susan and Mark down the hall? Came home yesterday to find them pushing it out into the hallway. They were getting a new bedroom set and were getting rid of it. Inspiration struck and I gave them the same stakeout story, told them we needed something to sit on. Next thing I know they're helping me bring it up here."

"Since when did you become so good at telling white lies?" Blair teased.

"Since I had something important to say and wanted a special place to say it in," Jim answered seriously.

Blair's breath caught in this throat at the intense look in Jim's eyes. "Jim?"

Jim rested his hands on the wall and looked out over the city.

"Blair, I...I've never been too good at expressing what I'm feeling, and when I try it never seems to come out right. I didn't want to take the chance that I wouldn't screw things up tonight, so I thought I'd let someone else do the talking for me."

"Someone else?"

Jim turned from the wall and walked over to the CD player. He fiddled with the buttons for a moment, and when he straightened up a tenor voice filled the summer night.


I will promise you, yes I promise to
Love you for all your life
Love you every day and night
I will always be there for you
I'll be in your arms, you'll be in my heart


Jim walked slowly back to Blair's side, laying a hand on the side of the young man's face. Blair closed his eyes and leaned into the touch.

"I should have said those words long ago," Jim lamented. "I wasted so much time..."


I'll love you forever, I promise you
We'll be together, our whole life through
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
With all my heart, I promise you


"But from this point on, I promise not to waste another moment showing you and telling you how much I love you, how much I need you..."


I will take your hand, and I'll understand
Share all your hopes and dreams
Show you what love can mean
Whenever life gets too much for you
I'll be by your side, to dry the tears you cry


"I never want to let you go, Blair. I almost lost you forever by my own doing, and it shocked me into seeing how short and precious life is. And I want to spend every moment of mine with you..."


Oh, I will always be in your arms
And you'll always be the flame within my heart
There's nothing in this world I wouldn't do
I promise you


"I love you, Blair. With my heart and soul. Forever. I promise you..."

Blair opened his eyes as Jim finished speaking, the unshed tears making their blue depths sparkle in the fading sunlight.

"I...I don't know what to say. God, Jim...no one has ever loved me like this."

Jim brushed his thumb across Blair's cheek, wiping away the lone tear that had escaped.

"Good. It may sound selfish, but I like knowing I'm the first--"

"--last and only," Blair finished. "I promise you."

Their mouths came together, sealing that promise with a gentle kiss that quickly turned into two bodies trying to meld together. Blair reached between them and cupped Jim through his pants, squeezing gently, eager to explore everything that had been out of reach for too many years. But the big man stiffened and stepped back. His face turned red a split second later and he looked away.

"God, Blair, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that..." he trailed off, embarrassed.

"No, Jim, I'm sorry. It's my fault. I didn't mean to take things so fast."

"Don't apologize. It just took me by surprise. These feelings are so new for me, I've never felt like this before about..."

"...a man. I know, and I shouldn't have gotten carried away like that." Blair reached out and took Jim's hand. "This relationship is going to proceed at your pace, Jim. Starting right now. However fast or slow you want to take things is fine by me. And I want you to know that you can ask me anything."

"God, I love you," Jim whispered. "I just...wanna hold you tonight."

Blair's face lit up. "I thought you'd never ask."

Jim's answering smile was just as big as Blair's as he took him over to the mattress, which was illuminated by candlelight. The older man sat down, legs spread, arranging the four pillows behind him to support his back, then opened his arms to Blair. The young man was soon settled between Jim's legs, his back to Jim's chest, Jim's arms wrapped around his waist. The sun had completely set now, casting the city in velvet darkness and soft moonlight.

Blair suddenly pointed upwards with his left hand.

"Look, Jim. The first star. We hafta make a wish."

Jim smiled as he heard Blair begin the childhood rhyme.

"Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight..."

But his face quickly turned grim and he was thankful that Blair couldn't see it.

"...I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight."

For he fervently wished he wouldn't have to tell Blair that come next week their professional partnership may be at an end.


The loft
Monday morning

Blair walked slowly down the stairs from Jim's room, dressed in his boxers, running his left hand through his sleep rumpled curls, his right arm hanging straight down at his side. He spied his friend sitting at the kitchen table drinking orange juice and reading the paper. Dressed only in his boxers. Blair smiled at the sight until something struck him as odd.

"Jim," he called, stepping off the last stair. "You're gonna be late for work, man. Why aren't you dressed?"

Jim looked up from his reading with a question of his own. "Why isn't your arm in that sling?" he demanded too sharply.

"Good morning to you, too," Blair muttered, sitting down across the table from Jim, knowing the Sentinel had easily heard him.

Jim sighed. "Sorry, baby. I forgot the doctor said you could start moving it around today. I've just...got a lot on my mind."

"Yeah, I never would've guessed," Blair said, irritated. "You've been preoccupied off and on all weekend. Enough already, Ok? Tell me what's been bothering you."

Jim took a deep breath. Time to tell Blair about the Shooting Review Board. He hadn't wanted to ruin Blair's first weekend home with bad news, but he couldn't put it off any longer.

And what a great weekend it had been. Blair, finally exhausted, had fallen asleep in Jim's arms up on the roof not long after making his wish. Jim hated to wake him, but he didn't dare try to carry his friend all the way down to the loft, especially with Blair's injured arm. With a little prodding, he'd gotten a sleepy Blair downstairs, up to the big bed, undressed down to his boxers, carefully removing the sling, and tucked him in under the covers. He gave the young man a tender kiss goodnight and was at the stairs before Blair's tired voice caught his attention and brought him back.

"Jim? Where're you going?"

"I'm gonna sleep in your room, baby."


"Shh...I want to sleep with you, too, but I'm afraid I'll jostle your arm. You just spread out up here, you've got more room here than in your bed. I'll be right downstairs. Just whisper if you need anything, Ok?"

Blair was fading fast, but managed a sleepy, "When...?"

Jim smiled, running a finger down the side of Blair's face. "Soon, baby. You just get better first, Ok?"

Then Blair was asleep, a small smile on his face.

Saturday was spent outdoors, walking along the waterfront, a picnic and an evening concert in the park. Saturday night was spent on the couch, cuddling and kissing like teenagers, until they reluctantly parted for separate beds.

They went to the movies on Sunday, their first real "date", then Blair spent the rest of the day catching up on backlogged university work. He was going to resume his classes at the end of the week. The evening was once again spent in each other's arms, Jim becoming bolder with his explorations of Blair's body, much to the young man's delight. But when the anthropologist grimaced in pain as he moved his arm too far, Jim put an end to the evening's activities and sent him upstairs to bed.

Now he was awake and demanding an explanation for those times during the weekend when he'd caught Jim just staring off into space, then refused to tell him was bothering him.

"Blair," Jim began, "I'm on mandatory leave this week."

"Leave?" Blair broke in. "Why? You just started back on Friday."

"I'm on leave because an inquiry is going on and I'm being called before the Shooting Review Board this Friday."

"Ok, so? You've appeared before them in the past."

"Will you let me finish, please?"

"Sorry, man."

"This time it's different, Blair. Any other time I was involved in a shooting it was cut and dry. I shot the perp, it was quickly ruled a good shoot and that was the end of it. But this time," he took a breath. "This time, I shot you, an unarmed civilian."

Blair was quickly becoming uneasy with the conversation and shifted restlessly in his chair.

"We're in a serious situation here, Chief. You're an observer. Or at least you're supposed to be. Simon got you that status based on that bogus dissertation thesis. You are not supposed to be in the middle of a suspect chase. I never should've taken you there with me, it was too dangerous. And look what happened. You ended up with a bullet lodged in your shoulder because I wasn't paying attention."


Jim held up his hand. "Wait, let me finish. Because of my stupidity, you could lose your observer status permanently and I could be suspended, or worse." He paused. "God, Blair, I'm so sorry. I never thought this would happen."

Blair took a minute before responding. Not partnered with Jim anymore? This couldn't be happening. Not now, not after they just got closer. There had to be something they could do.

"First, stop blaming yourself," Blair began. "If anyone's at fault here, it's me. I never should've went charging in that warehouse. I knew better. Hell, you told me there were possibly two armed suspects in there. But I went blundering in anyway and deserved to get shot." Jim opened his mouth at that, but Blair kept going. "You were protecting yourself, Jim. You thought I was a threat and acted accordingly. Just like you were trained to do." He ran his hand through his hair. "There has to be something we can do here, something you can say to the Board."

"Blair, what can I possibly say, what kind of explanation can I give as to why I brought you with me at 2am to a volatile situation?" Jim asked, exasperated. "You're supposed to be observing evidence gathering." He shook his head. "No, this is never gonna work."

"Come on, man. Don't give up yet. I'll...I'll think of something," Blair replied unconvincingly.

Jim suddenly pinned Blair with an intense stare, blue eyes locked with blue eyes.

"There is one thing we can do to clear all this up. Tell the Board about my Sentinel abilities."

"What?! Are you nuts?" Blair shook his head. "We can't do that, Jim. You told me yourself the first day we met that we needed to keep this quiet. Have you thought about what will happen once the brass finds out about you? You can kiss your detective career good- bye for starters. You will literally be the walking, talking human crime lab I described you as. They'll treat you like a bloodhound, running from crime scene to crime scene. No more investigating your own cases." Blair was on a roll now. "Your face will be on the cover of every newspaper and magazine. You think I wanted to study you? Just wait and see how many scientists come out of the woodwork. No, Jim. Telling them is not the answer."

Jim threw his hands out to the side. "Then what is, Blair?" He pushed away from the table, nearly upending his chair, heading for the balcony doors. Halfway there he spun back around, his voice low and intense.

"I will not let them take you away from me. I'd rather take my chances telling them."

Blair stood and padded quietly over to his Sentinel. "And I will not let you be poked and prodded like a lab rat." He laid both hands on Jim's bare chest. "We have five days till the review. We'll think of something. We're not going down without a fight."

Jim gave a tired sigh. "I really messed things up, didn't I, Chief?"

Blair suddenly got a devilish gleam in his eyes. "Yes, you did. And we'll have to make sure it never happens again."

Jim's hands settled on Blair's hips. "Hmm...and just how are we gonna do that?"

"By imprinting me on you so you'll always be able to identify me." He leaned closer to Jim and the older man dipped his head down. "By the end of the day," Blair whispered seductively, "You'll know my touch...my smell...my heartbeat...my body...my taste..." He heard Jim swallow and looked up sharply, forgetting what he'd promised the older man on Friday, about letting him set the pace. "I'm pushing again, I'm sor--"

Jim placed a finger over Blair's lips, silencing him. "No, Blair, no... I want that. I want to know every part of you. And not just so I can always pick you out in a crowd or find you in a building. I want to because I love you."

Blair's smile was blinding, going straight to Jim's heart. "How 'bout we start with taste?" he suggested, stretching up for a kiss.

Jim shook his head. "Not here. I want you in my bed," he whispered.

"An even better suggestion."

Then Blair was gone, jogging up the stairs, right arm wrapped around his stomach, flashing Jim another smile. With a laugh, Jim went after his partner, chasing him up the stairs.

He caught the grinning anthropologist at the foot of the bed, hooking an arm around his waist. "Got ya," he said playfully, drawing their bodies together. Without Blair's arm in the sling, their bare chests made full contact for the first time, sending a jolt through both men.

Blair carefully wrapped his arms around the big man's waist, mindful of his stitches. "Now what are you gonna do with me?"

"Love you," Jim breathed, claiming the young man's lips with his own. He plundered Blair's mouth with his tongue, running it over his teeth, the roof of his mouth... He moaned as he dueled with Blair's tongue, sliding over the smooth surface, hearing the young man's answering groan vibrate against his chest.

Blair pulled them closer together, rubbing his groin against Jim's. He felt Jim's cock jump and the older man broke the kiss with a gasp.

"Oh, Blair..." He hung his head to kiss Blair's neck, hands coming up to splay against the smaller back.

Blair tilted his head to give him better access. "You...you like that?"

In answer, he felt Jim's hips buck against him, cock pushing against cotton boxers. Blair held on tight, cupping Jim's ass, holding him firmly to him. "Oooh...I'll take that as a yes..."

Jim raised his head, blue eyes hazy with desire, asking a question without words. Blair answered just as silently, stepping back, pulling his boxers down.

"Go ahead, Jim," he whispered encouragingly. "You can touch me."

Jim swallowed deeply and reached out a hand toward Blair's naked form, eyes taking in everything in a split second.

"You're...perfect," Jim breathed.

He saw Blair's forehead crease and a strange look cross his face.

"Hasn't anyone ever told you that?" Jim wondered, amazed.

Blair slowly shook his head. "No..."

Jim's fingertips came to rest on Blair's cheek, lightly skimming the surface. "You and I are going to teach each other, Blair. I'm going to teach you how special you are, and you're going to teach me what it's like to love a man."

"I want that, Jim. I want that."

Jim took Blair's hand, leading him towards the bed. "Then let's not waste any more time."

When the back of Blair's legs came in contact with the mattress, Jim gently pushed him down to sit on the edge. He expected the young man to lay back, but instead, he ran his hands up Jim's legs, up under his boxers. His hands cupped Jim's firm ass, gently kneading, watching in delight as the older man's eyes drifted shut. Blair longed to take Jim's erection in hand, which he was now eye level with, but wanted Jim to set the pace, to be in control, of their first time. So he let his hands slip down and used his left arm to push himself onto the bed, head resting on the pillows. Jim opened his eyes at the loss of Blair's touch to find his Guide resting comfortably on the bed, left arm extended.

"Come here," he beckoned.

Jim gladly obliged, stretching out on Blair's left side after hastily removing his boxers, barely giving Blair a peek at his body. Then Jim seemed to hesitate, and Blair sensed he was unsure of what to do next. So he decided to give the big man a nudge.

"Well...we've covered taste. How about--"

"Wait," Jim broke in with a smile. "I'm not done with taste yet."

"Oh, you're not?" Blair teased. "What else would you like to taste?"

"All of you."

And Jim did just that, starting with Blair's mouth for a breath-stealing kiss. Then it was on to Blair's neck, Jim's lips and tongue dancing up and down the smooth column, tasting. He nipped gently, listening to Blair's intake of breath at the action. {Ah, sensitive there} He moved his head farther down, finding a flat nipple in the soft chest hair. He brushed a thumb across it and Blair exhaled with a "Yeah...", eyes closing. Jim's tongue came out to flick across the nub, watched as it began to harden. He suddenly felt Blair's left hand trying to tangle in his short hair. "More..." he heard the young man say.

Once again, Sentinel obliged his Guide, sucking gently on the offered nipple until Blair started to whimper in pleasure, the sound music to Jim's ears. He removed his mouth and began to kiss his way across Blair's chest until the young man stopped him, pressing his ear to his chest.

"Do you hear that, Jim? Do you hear my heartbeat?" came the whispered questions.

Jim nodded against Blair's chest, turning up his hearing. "It's fast...loud..."

"This is what you do to me, Jim. Listen to the beats. This is me. Now you'll always know what I sound like."

"But it's fast...excited. Not at rest."

Blair smiled. "Since when am I ever at rest? I'm always excited around you."

Jim looked down at the evidence of Blair's excitement. "I can tell." He lifted up a bit, then started to reach for Blair's straining cock. But again he hesitated.

"It's Ok, Jim," Blair reassured him. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to. We can stop right here. I want you to feel comfortable about this."

"No, I don't want to stop. I'm just...this feels so strange. Like I don't know what to do."

"Well...you know what you like. Chances are I like the same things."

Jim let out a breath. "I love you, Blair."

"I know you do."

"Now I'm going to show you how much."

A thrill of excitement went through Blair at Jim's whispered words, anticipating what was to come.

Jim lay his palm flat on Blair's stomach, sliding it slowly downward until his fingertips brushed the tip of Blair's erection. He let his fingers dance over the head, swirling around the moisture he found there.

"Yes, Jim..."

Encouraged by Blair's words, Jim boldly encircled the young man's cock, pumping once. Blair's hips arched up off the bed, pressing himself into Jim's palm.

"Again, Jim...please..."

Jim smiled and commenced pumping Blair's cock with enthusiasm, watching the incredible expressions of pleasure cross Blair's face. He turned up his touch, reveling in the feel of the steel and silk of his Guide's cock in his hand. He varied his strokes, speeding up then slowing down, listening to Blair's quickened breathing and small gasps. He watched in fascination as Blair's balls tightened and drew up towards his body. Knowing the anthropologist was close to orgasm, he stopped his stroking, wanting to prolong the experience for both of them.

Blair's eyes opened wide as Jim stopped. He was so close...

"Jim?" he panted. "Please, don't stop."

"Wouldn't dream of it, baby."

Then he shifted, sliding his body downward, his face now even with Blair's groin. He inhaled deeply, drawing in the scent of Blair's arousal as his tongue flicked out across the swollen head of his cock, tasting the salty fluid there.

"God! Jim!" Blair cried out, a single thought running through his head, {I can't believe he's never done this before}

Then all coherent thought fled as Jim's hot, wet mouth engulfed most of his cock, sucking, as his hand pumped the stiff flesh. Blair bucked his hips up, trying to get Jim to take more of him in his mouth.

"Yes, yes, yes..."

Once again, Jim detected Blair's imminent orgasm and he increased the pressure of his sucking, wanting to see, hear, taste and feel his partner's climax.

"Jim, I can't...I'm gonna..."

Jim felt Blair's cock swell an instant before he came, his seed hitting the back of Jim's throat in long spurts.

"Ahhh!...God, Jim..."

Jim's own cock jumped at the sound of Blair's completion, the older man swallowing instinctively, the taste and texture foreign to his tongue, but not unpleasant, mearly strange.

As his friend's, now lover's, body relaxed, Jim let the softened penis slip from his mouth. He moved upwards and gathered a limp Blair to him, the young man's back to his chest. Jim rubbed his hand soothingly up and down Blair's chest, waiting for his breathing to slow and the young man to come back to himself.

Blair did so momentarily, blinking lazily, pressing back into Jim. The Sentinel lowered his head and kissed Blair's neck, smiling against it.

"You Ok there, Chief?"

Blair intertwined his fingers with Jim's, holding their hands against his chest. "More than Ok, man. That was incredible. I can't believe you've never done that before. It's like you knew exactly what I liked, what I wanted." He turned his head to kiss Jim deeply. "God, I love you."

Jim hugged him close and Blair felt the evidence of the big man's desire pressing into his lower back. "Hmm, I bet I know what you want," he smiled, twisting from Jim's embrace to kneel next to him.

"No, baby, I'm fine," Jim lied, worried about Blair hurting his shoulder.

But his body betrayed him as Blair ran a finger from base to tip up his erection, his body jerking at the sensation.

"Fine, huh?" Blair teased. "I don't think so, tough guy."

"Blair, no," Jim said firmly, the grin vanishing from his young lover's face.

"I'm sorry, Jim. I just wanted to...but I understand if you're not ready."

"God, no, baby. That's not it. I'm more than ready. But you've only been out of the hospital for three days. I won't have you hurting yourself because I have a hard-on."

The smile returned to Blair's face. "Jim, I'm fine." Ok, so it was a lie. His shoulder was throbbing from all the movement and activity this morning. But he'd be damned if he'd let it stop him now. "Now come here."

He rose from the bed, tugging Jim into a sitting position on the edge of the mattress. He put a pillow on the floor between Jim's spread legs, kneeling on it. In this position he could pleasure his Sentinel, yet put no strain or pressure on his injured shoulder.

Remembering that turnabout is fair play, Blair whispered into Jim's ear, "Now it's my turn to teach."

"You have an eager student, Professor," Jim replied, as Blair began placing hot kisses down his neck and shoulder.

He closed his eyes at the sensation, feeling Blair's right hand come up to rest on his hip, while his left hand found an already hardened nipple. Blair rolled the nub between his fingers, squeezing gently.

"Mmm, yeah..."

Blair smiled against Jim's skin at the Sentinel's words, letting his mouth drift downward, trailing kisses all the way. He lapped at Jim's nipple, then blew on it, listening with satisfaction at the big man's soft gasp. Blair shifted backwards a bit, letting his left hand drift over the planes of Jim's face, pausing to brush a finger across his lips. Then he continued downward to his neck, shoulder, chest, stomach and leg...seemingly mapping the surface of his lover's body.

Jim was awash in sensation. First the kisses, then the tongue and now the hand, drifting over every part of his body, except where he most wanted it. Keeping his eyes closed, he gripped the edge of the bed and moved his hips, his erection bobbing. He heard Blair's soft chuckle and knew he'd gotten his point across.

"What do you want, Jim?" his young love asked. "This?"

Then Blair's hand was on his cock and he could barely catch his breath. He forced himself to keep his eyes closed, wanting to use his other senses to their fullest, saving sight for later, for the end.

Blair stroked him gently at first, still in awe that he was finally able to touch Jim like this, then he gradually quickened the pace.

"More, Blair...please..."

"More, Jim? Like this?" Then without further hesitation Blair engulfed the head of Jim's cock, sucking and stroking.

Jim practically flew up off the bed at the first touch of Blair's tongue. "God! Blair!" he cried, hanging his head back. He let his arms slide back towards the middle of the bed, reclining his upper body slightly. Eyes still closed, he concentrated on the texture of Blair's tongue, the exquisite pressure of his mouth and hand, the sound of both their racing hearts...until Blair's right hand moved from his hip to cup his balls.

"Oh, Jesus, Blair...please..."

The sensation was so sweet, Blair's talented hand rolling his balls in their sac until they tightened up close to his body, Blair's mouth still working his cock. His hips started moving of their own accord, back and forth, wanting more of his cock in his Guide's mouth. He was painfully hard, aching for release, so close to the edge. He wanted to make it last, wanted to hang on just a bit longer but Blair was driving him towards the precipice with single-minded intensity until it became too much for the Sentinel.

He gave in, opening his eyes and looking down, the sight so erotic -- Blair, naked and on his knees between Jim's wide spread legs, sucking on his cock and squeezing his balls -- all he managed was a strangled, "Blair!" before his world shattered around him.

Blair drank greedily, taking everything his Sentinel had, eager for his first taste of the man he loved. It was long moments later before Jim's powerful orgasm subsided, the big man's arms finally giving out on him, his body dropping bonelessly to the bed.

Blair released Jim's penis, resting his head on the large thigh. My God, what an experience. And from the look of things, Jim was thinking the exact same thing. He crawled up next to his Sentinel, running his fingers through the short hair, gently kissing his forehead as his lover's breathing returned to normal. The older man's eyes opened shortly and the smile he flashed Blair spokes volumes.

"Well," Blair said softly, with more than a hint of amusement, "I think our first lesson went pretty good. What do you say?"

"What can I do for extra credit?"


There would never be another "first time" and both men were loath to leave the bed and the memories they had just created there. So it was there they remained, whispering words of love and promises until eyelids became too heavy to remain open and they slept in each other's arms, dreaming of one another as the day wore on.

Hours later, Blair shifted against Jim, waking the Sentinel. At first he thought his Guide was having a bad dream, for his forehead was creased and he continued to move his right arm restlessly. Then Jim realized what the problem was; Blair's injured shoulder was hurting him, the pain was starting to wake him.

{Dammit. I knew this was gonna happen. I never should've let him continue after I said no} he chastised himself.

He brought a hand up and ran it soothingly across Blair's cheek, softly kissing his forehead. "Shh, baby...go back to sleep. Relax... the pain's gone..."

{And whose fault is it that Blair's in pain?} Jim's inner voice piped up.

{Mine, Ok?! I know it's my fault} he answered himself as his lover's body went still once more, drifting back off to a sound sleep.

Jim's hand moved from Blair's face to the white bandage covering the row of stitches from the bullet wound. One of Jim's fingers reverently traced the outline.

"I will NEVER hurt you again, Blair," he whispered fiercely to the sleeping man. "I promise you."


The loft
Tuesday afternoon

Jim looked out at the dreary afternoon through the balcony doors. No sun, just gray clouds, fog and the occasional rain shower. Typical Cascade weather. And it suited his mood. He let out a deep sigh and turned to face his lover.

"Wanna go for a ride, Chief?"

Blair looked up from his book he'd been reading on the couch, removing his glasses.

"Oooh, what'd you have in mind, Jim?" he teased.

Jim smiled. Leave it to Blair to turn an innocent question into something sexual. Not that he minded, of course. Yesterday had been incredible. They'd only left his bed to eat lunch and dinner. And Blair had been right. By the end of the day, he'd been permanently imprinted onto the Sentinel.

"Just kiddin', man. I'd love to. Where're we going?"

"I'm going stir crazy in here. I wanna head over to the station and pick up some of my paperwork I can do here. Then I'll treat you to dinner."


"Only if I get to have you for dessert," Jim smirked.

Blair was off the couch in a flash, grabbing his jacket and heading out the door.


Instead of pulling into the Cascade PD parking garage, Jim stopped the truck in front of the building. At Blair's questioning look he explained.

"Simon'll have my ass if he sees me here. I'm gonna take a listen and see if he's up there before I go in. It's easier to do from out here than down below in the garage."

Blair nodded. "Sure, go ahead."

Jim closed his eyes and concentrated his hearing on the seventh floor of the building. He was immediately aware of the unusual amount of noise and activity in the Major Crimes bullpen, when Simon's voice boomed into focus.

"--pson, Brown, Rafe! You, too! Grab your gear! Saunders and Reardon were just spotted down at the harbor! I want these guys, gentlemen. Now move!"

Jim jerked in surprise at the names, losing his concentration, the movement not going unnoticed by his Guide.

"Jim? You Ok?"

Saunders and Reardon. The child killers he'd been after the night he'd shot Blair. Reardon hadn't been there, Saunders was the one he'd been chasing, the one who'd gotten away in the confusion following the shooting. They were still in Cascade, at the harbor. There was no way Jim was letting them get away a second time. These bastards were going to be brought to justice today. And after all the pain and grief they'd caused him, he was going to be the one to do it. But he had to move fast.

"--im, Jim! What's wrong?" Blair was shaking his arm, worried.

Jim snapped his head towards his Guide. "Get out. Get out of the truck."

"Wh--What? Why? What's going on?"

"I don't have time to explain, Sandburg," Jim snapped. "Just get out."

"Are you nuts? I'm not letting you run off like this! What the hell did you hear up there?" Blair demanded.

Jim pounded the steering wheel in frustration. After what happened the last time he went up against these guys, the last thing he wanted was Blair there again. But the squad would be rolling any minute now. He had to be the first one on the scene. He was supposed to be on leave. Simon would never let him near the situation if he didn't beat everyone there.

With a last glance at the determined look on Blair's face, knowing he'd never get the young man out of the truck, he slammed the vehicle into Drive and peeled out, tires squealing and lights flashing.


By the time they reached the harbor, Jim had filled Blair in on what he'd heard at the station. The anthropologist was not happy.

"Jim, don't do this," he told the detective, getting out of the truck. They had parked next to the radio car that had called in the sighting. "You can't take these guys on alone."

But Jim ignored his partner, striding up to the officer in his squad car, flashing his badge.

"Detective Ellison. What've you got?"

The officer pointed down towards the docks. "I'm on patrol and I spot Saunders and Reardon carrying supplies down the dock. The fog's so damn thick down there I couldn't tell which of the last three boats they got on. But none of them have left port and they haven't come back up the dock. I called it in and was told to wait for backup."

"Good job. Backup's on the way. Secure this location, wait for them to arrive then send them down."

"Will do, Detective."

Jim turned sharply and found himself face-to-face with an angry Blair.

"Get out of the way, Sandburg. I don't have time for this. And STAY HERE."

The moment he uttered those words a profound feeling of deja vu settled over the men.

{Look what happened the last time I told him to wait}

{I'm his Guide. I won't let him out of my sight again}

Blue eyes locked with blue eyes, understanding and realization crossed their faces. They couldn't let history repeat itself. No matter how dangerous this would be. They'd watch out for each other. The way it was supposed to be.

Two voices spoke in unison.

"I need you with me."

"You need me with you."

They clasped each other's arm then moved as one toward the harbor. Partners. Sentinel and Guide. Complete.

Jim detected sirens in the distance, knew they had to move fast. He withdrew his Sig from the holster at his back, told Blair to take off his sling. The docks were wet from the rain and fog. Blair would need good balance.

"Stay behind me and keep your head down, got it?"

"Got it."

"Ok, let's move."

The men crept silently down the dock, staying low and keeping close to the back ends of the docked boats. There were two empty dock spaces, then the last three boats. They paused there.

Blair switched to Guide mode. "Ok, Jim. Start with sight first. Can you cut through the fog?"

A moment later Jim shook his head. "Dammit, it's not working. I can't make anything out."

"Ok, hearing. Don't try to do them all at once. Pick one boat and focus, concentrate."

Jim nodded and cocked his head to the side.

"First boat...silent...no movement...no heartbeats."

"Ok, next one."

"One heartbeat...no voices...radio playing..." he shook his head. "They're not there."

"They've gotta be on the last one. Make sure."

"Yes...two heartbeats...fast...lots of movement...boxes..." his forehead creased. "One's on the boat, one's on the dock." His eyes opened wide. "They're untying, getting ready to cast off." He turned to Blair. "You've done all you can, Blair. Now stay here and let me finish this."

For a split second Blair hesitated, then he nodded his head, vowing to stay put this time. "Be careful," he whispered, his words an eerie echo of a week ago, as his Sentinel moved off into the fog.

But Blair broke his vow only minutes later as he heard Jim's aborted yell and the terrifying sound of a gunshot. He grabbed the first thing he found, a pole of some sort, and charged off down the dock, heart hammering in his chest.


Things didn't go quite the way Jim had planned. He'd planned on using his hearing and the fog to his advantage, wanting to sneak up on the suspects. And it probably would've worked if he hadn't of stepped on that loose plank. It creaked loudly, catching the attention of Reardon, who was standing at the bow of the boat. Saunders was nowhere in sight. All Jim got out was "Cascade Pol--" before Reardon fired off a round, jumping off the boat and onto the dock. Jim ducked instinctively, feeling the bullet whiz past his ear, giving Reardon enough time to charge toward the detective. With no time to fire off a shot of his own, Jim lunged forward, tackling the gunman, sending them both skidding along the wet wood.

Jim managed to keep hold of his gun, and after a short struggle, used it like a club, hitting Reardon in the side of the head. The man's eyes slid shut and Jim threw the perp's gun into the water.

He detected Saunders' presence a split second before the man emerged from behind him, coming around the bow of the boat, gun raised.

Jim, on his knees, threw himself sideways, rolling to the edge of the dock as Saunders' bullet impacted the wood where he'd been a moment before. In one fluid movement he rose to a firing position, sighted his weapon and pulled the trigger.

The bullet struck Saunders dead center in his chest, the body toppling backwards into the dark water with a wordless scream.

Jim hung his head, breathing deeply, and let himself sink to his knees, arms trembling slightly from the adrenaline rush. It was finally over.

"NO! JIM!"

Blair's terrified scream came from behind him and he whirled around in time to see a knife flashing downward toward him.

Blair swung the pole with all his might, feeling his stitches rip open. It impacted a now wide-awake Reardon's shoulder with a sickening crunch. The man screamed out in pain, dropping the fishing knife that had been in his boot, which he'd just tried to kill Jim with.

Blair dropped the pole in agony, his shoulder on fire. He went down on his knees then his back, hand clamped over his reopened wound, trying to staunch the flow of blood.

Jim saw Blair collapse onto the dock just as he threw Reardon down onto the wood, securing the man's wrists behind his back as quickly as possible, throwing the knife onto the boat.

"Blair! Blair!" Jim threw himself down next to his Guide just as pounding feet caught his attention. From out of the fog came Simon and half of the Major Crimes squad.

Everyone stopped short when they caught sight of Jim and Blair laying on the dock.

"Jim?! Christ! What the hell are you doing here?" Simon demanded.

Jim ignored the question. "Simon, get an ambulance, quick," he demanded, gathering Blair into his arms.

His partner's eyes were squeezed tight with the pain. "It hurts, Jim. Oh man, it hurts," he whispered.

"I know, baby," he whispered back. "Hang in there. Medics are on the way."

Simon crouched down beside the men, having called for the paramedics on his radio and ordering his men to secure the scene.

"What the hell happened here, Jim? Is Blair alright? Where's Saunders?"

"I'll explain everything later, Simon. Saunders is dead; he's in the water. And if it hadn't of been for Blair, I'd be dead, too."

Simon's eyes opened wide at the statement. He squeezed Jim's shoulder. "We'll talk in a bit. Just take care of the kid." Then he rose and began barking orders out to his detectives.

Jim turned his attention back to the man in his arms. Blair's eyes were open now, his face pale. The bright red of his blood stood out in stark relief against his light grey shirt. Jim ran a hand across the top of Blair's head.

"God, Blair. You scared me to death. Can you ever do what I ask? What were you thinking, charging down here like that?"

"Just...protecting my Sentinel," Blair said around the pain.

Jim chuckled. "Hey, I'm the Blessed Protector around here, remember?" Then he sobered. "You saved my life, Blair. I love you so much. And because I do, please... promise me you'll never do anything like that again. Reardon could've just as easily turned that knife on you."

Blair shook his head. "I can't promise you that, Jim...I'd do it again in a heartbeat."


The loft
Wednesday morning

The knock on the door interrupted Jim's breakfast preparations and he glanced over at Blair, who was resting on the couch.

"Expecting anyone, Chief?"

"No, not me."

The knock came again as Jim made his way to the door.

"Jim? It's Simon," came the voice from behind the door.

"Hey, Simon. Come on in," said Jim, opening the door.

"Morning, gentlemen. How're you doing, Sandburg?"

Blair looked down at his arm, now back in a sling. "Just fine, Captain. All stitched back together again."

Simon nodded. "Have a seat, Jim. I need to talk to both of you."

Jim warily sat down next to Blair. {This is when Simon drops the other shoe} he thought dejectedly.

"I had a talk with the head of I.A., Brad Underwood, last night. I told him everything you told me about what went on on the docks, Jim, while we waited for Sandburg in the emergency room last night."

"I'll just bet he was thrilled to hear that Blair and I were there and that he got hurt again," Jim broke in. "Oh man, Simon. The Shooting Review Board is gonna have a field day with this."

"Actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you about." He paused. "There isn't going to be a hearing, Jim."

"What?" Blair piped up. "Why not?"

"Because of you, Sandburg. You went above and beyond the call of duty as an observer or as a citizen and saved the life of a police officer. If you hadn't of been there, Jim would be dead. I brought up many of your other cases together, citing how you work as a team to get results and arrests. Mr. Underwood now realizes the importance of your partnership and the role you play in the department. But that's not to say he's happy with the amount of danger you're exposed to being partnered with Jim. He wants you to go through department-sponsored self-defense classes, for your own safety and protection. You do that and it'll go a long way towards making him feel better about letting you remain an observer."

With that, Simon turned and crossed the room, heading for the door, leaving his friends with their mouths practically hanging open with the turn of events. Before Simon closed the door behind him, he called out, "See you both bright and early Monday morning at the station!"

"I don't believe it," said Blair. "One minute I.A. is going to break us up and the next they drop the review completely."

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, Chief."

"Oh, I can think of something better I'd like to do with a couple of mouths," grinned Blair.

And for long moments there was silence in the loft, both men pouring out their relief, happiness and love in that single kiss. When they broke apart, Blair looked at Jim with an expression so intense, so hopeful, that it took the Sentinel's breath away.

"Partners, Jim? In everything? Forever?"

Jim fought to hold back his tears. Whatever did he do to deserve a man like this? A love like this?

"Partners, Blair. In everything. Forever."






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

Barbara Nice-Miller