Title: The Conversation
Rating: G (well, don't have a cow)
Category: Challenge. See notes below.
Date: March 9th 2001
Status: New. Complete
Series/sequel: Possible sequel, but let's not hold our breaths.
Disclaimer: Do I have to? Must I really disclaim them? They're so beautiful. Can't I pretend for a little while that they belong to me?
Warnings: Read notes. Really. You need to read the notes. Promise? Good.
Notes: My friend Adam is going into the hospital on Monday and today he called me at work to let me know. He was only slightly panicked and requested a story that he could print-out at work tomorrow. Well, needless to say - this constituted an emergency and this has NOT been beta'd. Read at your own risk.
This was also a challenge story that gives the reader the opportunity to supply their own background.
You get to decide *why* this is happening and whether or not Jim and Blair are an established couple or if this leads to a first time. All I can say is that it happens after season two.
Adam's challenge criteria was: It must open with, "How will I live without you?", must take place primarily *outside* the loft but not outside the building and the last line of dialogue must contain the words, "Happily ever after." Who says guys aren't romantic?
If you'd like to join his challenge - please do. He'll be in the hospital for over two weeks but his SO, Nanu, will copy out for him.
Okay, you can go read now, or delete on sight.
"How will I live without you?"
A hand froze on the knob as fingers tightened their death defying grip on the smooth metal.
So close. Ready to walk out, to step into the hall, body laden down with luggage, brain stuffed with baggage, and a car full of boxes.
He'd made the decision and in one more second - would have succeeded. But hey, still can, still ready, after all, those were just words, nothing more.
Blair kept his hand on the doorknob, turned a bit, ready to offer the *how* because naturally those words hadn't been meant in the manner in which Blair needed them to be meant. So he'd tell Jim how he could live without Blair and then he'd finish what he'd started - he'd get the door open, walk out into the hall, close the door and that would be that...
"Your senses are fine, don't need me for that and any help you might need can come from Simon or Megan or Joel. You *know* that."
He turned the knob knowing that there would be no further response because the words hadn't meant what he needed them to mean.
"How will I *live* without you?"
This was fucking ridiculous. This was fucking asinine, fucking ironic, fucking - just plain - fucking stupid.
He couldn't take his hand from the door, didn't dare. Words for Jim Ellison were just that. A way to simply say what he needed to say - simply. He didn't understand the power they had, or how they could be misconstrued or heard in a way not intended. Jim didn't comprehend how words could, when spoken by the right individual to another, lift that person up, give him the power of flight, send him to the moon, alter his life forever, change his compass.
Jim certainly didn't understand how words could drown, destroy and undermine. Which was odd, considering how many times Jim had been at the receiving end of hurtful, damaging words.
Blair on the other hand, lived for words. Words were everything to him. The Alpha and the Omega. What he felt was inevitably manifested in words, words punctuated by body movements.
Words were beautiful. Words, even one word, could have immense power. Ask any man. Try being a horny teenager with an erection that was threatening to kill and have the reason for the erection say, *no*. Then see how powerful one word could be. Oh, yeah.
But this is Jim. If Jim asked Blair *how would I live without you?*, that didn't mean *how *can* I live without you,* it meant *how *will* I?* and yes, that was a fine distinction, but an important one.
Blair turned the knob, swung the door open, moved out, closed it behind him. He swayed his way to the elevator, his luggage weighing him down and banging against his body. He leaned into the down button.
The door to #307 was flung wide and Jim stood silhouetted in the doorway, tall, dark, imposing.
The elevator was open and as Blair stepped inside, Jim's voice reached him.
"I *won't* live without you."
Now *that* was unfair. That was hitting below the belt. Blair pushed the *door open* button, let his luggage drop to the floor and then stepped out into the cold, drafty hall.
"You know, it's not easy being Blair Sandburg. Did you know that, Jim?"
The shadow at the door nodded.
"I mean," Blair went on as if Jim hadn't acknowledged him, "I'm kinda not normal."
"I know," the figure said quietly, then added, "and maybe you've noticed that I'm *kinda* not normal either."
"I'm more not normal than you. You've had entire periods of your life where you *were* normal. Stretches of complete normalcy. Years of normal. From age ten to what, thirty, thirty-five?"
"I've never been normal. Never *tried* normal. Couldn't *be* normal. I'm short, I'm sort of Jewish, sort of pagan and sort of John Lennon's Imagine, you know?"
"I'm too smart for my own good, I talk too much, I'm an insensitive bastard and we both know that last part is literal." Blair pointed up, in the general direction of his eyebrows and wiggled them.
"I have bushy, weird eyebrows, a stupid looking nose, too broad of a forehead, stocky legs, I nag like a fishwife and push too hard. I make lab rats yearn for escape or death, I have really odd beliefs, a mother who has to stay away for months at a time in order to continue to love me, but who is also fiercely overprotective. I'm heterosexually flexible, which while I consider that a blessing and completely normal, everyone else in the world considers it...."
"Heterosexually flexible, Sandburg?"
"You know - bisexual. I prefer heterosexually flexible. Less threatening for the more puritan among us. But still - not normal. Definitely not normal and the fact that my flexibility is geared more toward the gay end of the spectrum, well, that *really* isn't normal."
"Sandburg," Jim's voice sounded painfully tired, "where is all this heading?"
"You *will* live without me. You'll thrive without me. You *want* me to leave; you're just too stubborn to let go in the real world. So you throw out these dramatic pronouncements and then maybe you won't sound too selfish, to ignoble. You can tell Simon you tried, but that Sandburg left anyway. Not that Simon will ask, because he won't. Except in the most abstract way." Blair's voice lowered and in a surprisingly good imitation of Simon Banks, said, "Where's your shadow, Ellison? Oh? Well, maybe that's for the best, Jim."
Blair's hand was doing the Sandburg wave as his words tumbled over one another. His breathing had quickened to a dangerous pace as Jim remained in the doorway and listened as Blair told him how weird he was, how it was over for Jim now, how everything could go back to normal because the irritating gnat was gone. And maybe Jim could turn the spare room into a weight room so that he wouldn't have to go to Clyde's anymore and Blair knew exactly how much Jim hated Clyde's.
"Who says I hate Clyde's?"
"Well, you do. But it's the only gym on this side of town and the only gym between here and the station. And you hate to work out at the station because when you work out, you still have trouble blocking and the noise at the station is unbearable."
"You do realize that you're the only person who knows any of that, right?"
"Just thought I'd bring it up, part of the abnormality of Blair Sandburg, that he knows things about his roommate that no one else knows. Knows things about his roommate that his roommate doesn't even know. Knows things that his roommate never told anyone else before. And why is that, do you suppose?"
"It's a scientist thing. The Lab Rat Syndrome. Give the rat a cute nickname, learn all about it. You know, the usual."
"You gave me a cute nickname?"
"Well, no, I mean, as lab rats go, you don't really have the personality that would engender cute nicknames. I, on the other hand, apparently do. Darwin, Chief, Hairboy, Motormouth. Come to think of it, those aren't really - cute."
"Bubble Butt Sandburg."
"Darwin, Chief, Hairboy, Motormouth and Bubble Butt Sandburg."
"I suppose you think Bubble Butt is a cute nickname?"
"Well, yeah. Fitting too. Cute and fitting."
Blair twisted at the waist, lifted the hem of his jacket and inspected his butt. "I think my butt is the only normal thing about me, Jim. Just a plain old, everyday kind of butt. Good for sitting and good for keeping my jeans up."
"You have good hips too. Nothing normal about either your hips or your butt."
"Ah, well, there you go. Blair Sandburg, the definition of abnormal even down to his ass and hips. The absolute last thing Jim Ellison needs to have in his life. Jim Ellison needs to be surrounded by normal. To balance his life."
"Jim Ellison needs abnormal Blair Sandburg. Jim Ellison needs Blair Sandburg to live. Jim Ellison - *needs* - Blair Sandburg."
"You're not being fair, Jim. I'm ready to go here, don't you see? Do you have any idea of what it took for me to come to this decision, to screw up enough courage to do this? To be this unselfish? To destroy myself in order to make you happy? Fuck, man, it's taken me *weeks* to do this. Fucking *weeks*! You think I *want* to fucking leave you? I'm fucking in love with you, man.
"This is killing me. And then you go and say shit like how will you live without me and you *won't* live without me and not once in three fucking years have you even given a hint that you couldn't live without anyone, let alone me. I mean, the most you ever said was that Simon had an abiding tolerance for me and gee whiz, why didn't *that* make me jump through hoops , and in fact, everytime something went wrong, you fucking wanted to drop this whole thing, which means drop me because you have this irrational belief that I *am* this whole thing, that *I* did this to you, that *I'm* to blame and hell, maybe I am. Maybe I should have just kept my fucking mouth shut, but no, not me, because I'm not normal.
"But I did finally get up the nerve to cut myself up, to tear myself away from you and," his voice rose almost hysterically, "I'M FUCKING LEAVING AND THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN FUCKING GOOD, SO FUCK OFF!"
Redfaced with anger, pulse beating furiously at his temple, Blair turned and stomped into the elevator. He pushed *L*, the door shut and slowly the elevator moved.
Swell. He was crying. Fucking crying. A wuss. Could he be anymore lame?
A real lame-o, that was Blair Sandburg.
Standing in a fucking elevator and crying. God damn it, he hated Jim Ellison. Hated him. He did. The man was so fucking stupid, he didn't know a gesture when he tripped over it. Didn't *appreciate* a gesture when he witnessed one.
And it's not as though Ellison loved him, he didn't. Jim was just a creature of habit and for the last three years, Blair had been the habit. The bad habit. A habit Jim needed to break.
Naturally Jim believed he needed Blair. Didn't smokers believe they needed nicotine? Alcoholics need booze? Jim need Blair? Maybe the Betty Ford Clinic had a program for Jim.
*How to Kick the Blair Sandburg Habit in Twelve Easy Lessons*.
Most people only needed one.
The elevator dinged and the *L* lit up. Blair picked up his stuff, sniffled miserably and in spite of suitcases in both hands, he brought one up and wiped his nose on his sleeve, the suitcase bumping against his cheek.
God, he was pathetic.
The door slid open and with eyes downcast, he stepped forward.
Blair glanced up in surprise. Jim stood in front of him.
Jim stepped into his space, into the elevator, kept moving until Blair was bumped into the wall of the cubicle.
Somehow Blair managed to choke out, "jim, do you even listen?"
Ellison leaned forward and planted the palms of his hands on either side of Blair's head. "I listen to every word you say, every minute of every day. Stay." He then punctuated his request with his body, the body now molded to Blair's.
Men are so fucking weak. *He* was so fucking weak. Luggage dropped from nerveless fingers as Sandburg closed his eyes.
This was *not* happening.
"This isn't some song, Jim. And you *will* live."
"Living and surviving are not the same thing, Sandburg. I might survive your leaving me, but I won't live."
"What, you'll miss my mess that much?"
"I'll miss *you*."
"Big deal. People miss people all the time. Naomi misses me, so what?
People live, they move on, they survive."
"You're gonna make me say it, aren't you?"
Blue eyes blinked open. "Huh?"
"You're gonna make me say *I love you*, aren't you?"
"Nuh, huh. No way."
"Huh, uh. Way."
"Jim, you're just scared."
"Always, Chief, always. But not about this. I love you, I need you, you need to stay."
When no answer was forthcoming, Jim searched the handsome, puzzled face below his and what he found, stunned him.
"Hell, *you're* the one who's scared, Chief," he said in wonder.
"Fuck yeah. I thought you said you listened to every word? Every day, Every second of every day?"
"Well, to be precise, I said, *every minute of every day*. But let's not quibble."
"Whatever. The point is, what the fuck do you think I've been saying?"
"So all these words simply boil down to you being afraid?"
"Duh. No moss growing on you, man."
"What, afraid of committment? Afraid you'll have to give up the chase for the perfect table leg?"
Anger flared up and spread across Blair's face like wildfire. He brought up his hands and shoved hard.
"You fucking asshole. *That's* what I'm afraid of. Your rapier wit, your judicious use of words, your fucking inability to see what's right in front of your fucking sentinel eyes. You dumb fuck."
Blair kept pushing until Jim was out of the elevator, then he picked up his bags and stalked past the confused and flustered man.
"Blair, please? If it's not the idea of committment, then what the hell *are* you afraid of? Please?"
With an audible sigh, Blair halted, turned and said, "Jim, what's held you back all these years? What are *you* afraid of? And don't you suppose I'm afraid of the same things?"
"I don't think so, buddy. What I'm afraid of would fill a football stadium."
Jim stared at Sandburg, a small frown creasing his forehead. He nodded, almost as if giving himself permission, and said, "You might die."
"You might die. Check. Give me another one."
"You'll discover you don't really love me and you'll leave."
"You'll discover that you don't really love me and you'll ask me to leave. Check. Another?"
A smile tugged at the corners of Jim's mouth.
"You'll realize that I'm a lousy lay."
There was no answering grin from Blair as he said, "You'll realize that I'm a lousy lay. Check. Go on."
The smile faded.
"You'll find someone else. Someone younger, smarter, less anal, less afraid. Someone who knows how to keep their feet out of their mouth. Someone who doesn't risk your life every time you step out of the door."
"You'll find someone else. Someone taller, better built. Someone who knows how to shut the fuck up. Someone who thinks before they act and therefore can't get you into jeopardy. Someone normal. Someone who at least knew who both his parents were."
"You'll realize that you're confusing love with need and fear and you'll start to hate me. And you'll - die."
Jim took a tentative step toward Blair.
"The worst I could be accused of is confusing love with lust. And in all honesty, the lust *did* come first. I could have jumped your bones two minutes after we met. I *wanted* to jump you right there, in your office. While you were talking about humping that nurse, I was visualizing your desk, wiped clean by me...."
"Polished too, I bet."
"To a military sheen, thank you very much. And after the polishing, I used your body for the buffing. I threw you on top of the desk, stripped you, had particular fun with that vest and white shirt, I sneezed a lot, but decided to put up with the dust because all I could imagine was your mouth around my dick..."
"Jim, this won't work."
"Blair, it will."
Jim took another tentative step and felt a real stirring of hope when Blair stayed where he was. Three more steps brought the detective to Blair's side. He reached down and took one of the suitcases from rigid fingers.
"You're gonna regret this, Jim."
"How you gonna live *with* me?"
"How am I going to live with you, Sandburg? Why happily ever after, of course."
<><><End The Conversation><><>