Title: Couples

Author/psuedonym: alyjude

Email: alyjude@webtv.net

Rating: G, Yes, this is my first G rated story ever, and yes, it was difficult. Nearly impossible, but I succeeded in proving I could write a

story without sex! LOL!

Category: Um, first time? :))

Series/Sequel: Maybe, for the sex

Date: June 10, 2000

Status: New, complete

Archive: Nah, too - short

Other website: www.skeeter63.com/k9kennel


Disclaimer: I disclaim all knowledge of the Mission Impossible Force, er, I mean, of The Sentinel, who the heck is that anyway?


Warning: I NEED SEX! <ahem> <aly, clearing throat> Um, no warning.



Note: This story is about one hour old. I wrote a small snippet for senad and some wanted a different ending, but when I added, it grew to be too long for senad, so now you're stuck with it.


Summary: Wherein Blair asks an innocent question several weeks after S2pt2.



by alyjude


"Hey, Jim, did you and Carolyn ever take any of those magazine marriage quizzes?"

It was Sunday. It was raining. Jim was warm, comfortable, relaxed and knee-deep in his Sunday paper. He wouldn't want to answer that question under the best of circumstances, let alone now, when he was actually happy.


He didn't need Sentinel vision to see Blair sit up in his chair, interest sparkling over his animated face. "No kidding? Well?"

He would *not* put down the paper. He wouldn't. Not for anybody.

He folded the paper, set it on the cushion next to him and looked over at his roomie.

"Well what, Sandburg?"

With an impatient sigh, Blair rolled his eyes and said, "How did you do?"

Lifting his legs and stretching them out on the coffee table he said, "The answers were always the same. Carolyn should be married to Ronald Regan and I should never marry in a million years but should have a pet, preferably a snake."

"Har-har. The wit is just rolling off of you. When David Letterman retires, well, you'll slip right in." Jim shrugged. "Can I go back to my newspaper now?"

"After you answer one more question. How would we do if we took one of those quizzes?"

Jim knew he shouldn't have said it, but he did. Because he didn't *know* he shouldn't have said until *after* he'd said it. Typical.

"Sandburg, we're not married. Duh."

"Don't be silly, Jim. Of course we are. Jeesh, how dense can you be?"

*Now* Jim knew he shouldn't have said it. He scratched his head. "Uh, Sandburg, have I missed something? Like, a walk up the aisle?"

A huge grin split Sandburg's face. "Aw, Jim. That is like, so nice. You'd be willing to be the one to walk up the aisle to me? Who'd give you away? Steven? Simon? Or maybe - Naomi?"

Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do......He suddenly couldn't get that theme out of his head. Was it - The Twilight Zone? Or the Outer Limits? And did it matter at the moment? Twilight zone, Outer limits, Sandburg zone - all the same thing.

If he had half a brain, he'd get up right now and go to the club. Work out for one or seventeen hours, come back refreshed and ready to deal with Blair Sandburg. But he didn't. Have a half a brain.

"Blair, when did this conversation go south? Enter La-la land?"

"It was a simple question, Jim. I asked you how you thought we'd do on one of those quizzes and you said had you missed something, like a walk down the aisle and I said how nice of you, to be willing to walk down the...."

Jim held up a hand, "I *know* what we said, Sandburg. We couldn't *take* a quiz like that because we aren't *married*, okay?"

"But Jim, we are. That's my point. We are married. In almost every way."

"Yeah? Well, Darwin, I've got news for you. It's that little *almost* that tells me we aren't married. Got me?"

Blair blinked at him for several seconds and Jim could almost see *and* hear the wheels turning. And he *did* see the light come on.

Elvis is back in the building, folks.

"oh," Blair said, in a very small voice.

With a little sigh of relief, Jim went back to his paper. Fool that he was.

"Uh, Jim?"

Two lines. That was all he'd been able to read. Just two measly little lines.

Without looking up, he said, regrettfully, "Yes?"

"If that's all that's missing, well, I mean, come on, you know?"

For the second time in five minutes, Jim folded the paper, set it down and gave it a wistful good bye. "No, Sandburg, I *don't* know. Why don't you just tell me, you know?"

Now he *knew* he shouldn't have said *that*. But damn, the kid was pushing and Jim simply refused to be pushed. Call Sandburg's bluff. Works every time.

"Well, I'd be willing. You know?"

Jim crossed his hands over his stomach and stared, a small, challenging smile plastered on his face. He didn't say a thing. Just - smiled.

"Well, I would," Blair huffed.

Jim continued to smile.

"You don't believe me, do you?"

Jim smiled.

"You think I'm bluffing, don't you?"

Jim smiled on.

"Bet you think I've never been with a guy, uh?"

Jim's smile faltered - ever so slightly.

"Well, you'd be wrong. I have. So there. Plenty of times. Liked it too. Would like it better with you, though. So there."

Jim's smile faded and his right leg began to twitch.

"But I just bet *you* haven't been with a guy. You talk a tough game, but no way. But you've looked, oh, yes, you've looked. Not at me, mind you. But you've looked. And wondered. Bet my last dollar on it."

"You'd lose, Chief."

He said it so quietly, with so much - finality. Blair gulped. And stood, shakily.


Sandburg stared at his hands, then said, "Guess I'll go to bed."

He walked over to his room, went inside and closed the door quietly behind him.




Jim heard the doors click shut, but didn't move.

Because if he moved, their lives would change forever. Was he finally ready for that change? For that *trip*?

He listened to his home.

Really listened.

He could hear Mrs. Cariou down in 207 as she berated her husband on his choice of take-out. She was upset that he'd brought home burgers - again.

<<you'll have a heart attack and then where will I and the children be? In the poor house, that's where. you've got to eat better Lenny>>

Even from his couch, Jim could hear the love in her voice. She wasn't in the least worried about the *poor house*. But she *was* worried about a life without Lenny Cariou in her bed.

Across the hall, in 308, he could hear Alan Meyers. Was he talking to himself again? No, there was a second voice....

<<if you don't want me here, just say so. I'll leave, Alan>>

<<No, no, I want this, I want you. But, this is something, I mean...>>

<<I know. This is about Miguel, isn't it?>>

Jim had to strain to hear Alan's reply and he never once thought about the fact that he was spying....


Alan's voice was so - small, and muffled. Jim felt his heart constrict, his throat close up.

<<You loved him. I *know* that. Do you think you can love again? Give me a chance? Or am I just fooling myself?>>

<<It's like - I'm betraying him, being with you>>

<<Now that makes me mad. I *knew* Miguel. He wanted only the best for you. He'd want you to be happy, remember? He'd never see it that way>>

Jim could hear sudden movement, the sound of bodies connecting, then...

<<help me, please? help me, carl?>>

<<You only have to ask. I love you, Alan>>

Jim tuned out. He palmed his eyes, suddenly so tired, so bone-weary tired. He could hear the wind outside, the rain as it hit their balcony, splattering on the brick, plopping into the dirt surrounding the potted plants Blair had added....

He could hear Blair, moving around in his room, could hear clothing being pulled off, tossed, different clothing pulled on. Probably his

sleeping sweats. Yes, he could tell by the sound of the fleece as it slipped over skin....

Mustn't go there. Go back to the neighbors. He listened some more to their building...

<<come on sparky, you gotta eat. you heard what the vet said>>

Ah, Susie. In 211. Single, 40, a lawyer. Strange that she wasn't out tonight. She usually had a date through the whole weekend. Maybe

Sparky's little run in with the butcher's dog on Thursday was the reason.

<<Ah, that's better. My good little girl. You keep me sane, you know that? Can't make it without you Sparky>>


Jim heard the truth behind the words and it stunned him. Susan Mitchell seemed to be the epitome of the *new* woman. Attractive, single, a successful career, happy dating life. Hell, he'd been tempted to ask her out himself. Couldn't remember why he hadn't.

That was a lie. He knew perfectly why he hadn't....

<<Ah, baby. Just me and you tonight>>

Jim could hear the misery in her voice and it hurt.

<<I ran from him, did you know that, Spark? I ran from him. Why did I do that? What am I afraid of?>>

Jim knew exactly what she was afraid of. Exactly.

He refocused....

<<I'm sorry, honey. Look, I'm throwing the burgers out, see? Never eat Wonderburger again, I swear. Yicky. I'll have - cottage cheese.

Anything, just don't - cry. You know I love you>>

Something wet hit Jim's hand and surprised, he glanced down. A small drop of - wet. Slowly, he raised his hand and felt his cheek. More wet. Jim rubbed his eyes, got up, walked over to the french doors, knocked, then gently opened them.

The small light by Blair's bed gave the room a warm glow that seemed to center around Sandburg who was sitting with his back against the wall, knees up to his chest, head resting on them. As Jim stepped in and leaned against the doorframe, Blair lifted his head.

"I said, *you'd lose, Chief*."

Puzzled, Blair said, "I know."

"Because - I *have* been with men. And I *have* looked at you. Constantly. It's my primary job in life. To look at you. I'm addicted.

Just wish you didn't wear so many layers of clothing. Could look at you a lot better without all the flannel."

Blair didn't say anything, he just - stared. Open mouthed.


"And of course, you're right. For all intents and purposes, we are married. Happily it would seem. I know *I've* never been happier. And

all those quizzes Carolyn made us take? They never said I shouldn't marry. In fact, now that I think of it, a couple of them made mention of this curly-haired idiot I should be with. Yes, I'm sure they did. Name of Blair Sandburg, know him?"

Blair smiled. The kind of smile that could light up an entire continent. "Yeah, I've a nodding acquaintance with him. Bit of a jerk, if you know what I mean?"

"No, not a jerk. I'd never fall for a jerk."

"Jim, shall I count them up?"

Ellison walked over to the bed and gazed down at his spouse. "No need. Because I've never been in love until now. Until - you." He gave a

slight movement of his head, indicating the bed and asked, "May I sit down?"

Blair nodded and scooted so that Jim could sit down beside him. Swinging his legs up, he joined Blair against the wall, their shoulders just touching.

"I think you should know two things." He looked at Blair who nodded, a small crease of worry taking up residence across his forehead.

"Okay, first; I'm giving up Wonderburger. Forever. And second; I've been in mourning and I owe you an apology."

Blair wanted to move. Wanted to turn, cross his legs and *look* at Jim. But somehow, he didn't dare. So instead, he said, "Oh?"

Jim's right arm lifted and he casually, easily, dropped it over Sandburg's shoulders.

"Yes, you see, I've been mourning - you. Your death. Isn't that ridiculous? Because of course, you're alive."

Something welled up inside Blair Sandburg at that moment, but as yet, it didn't have a name. Without conscious thought, he moved closer to Jim, his body kind of just - slipping into place. Jim's right arm tightened.

"I *know* you're alive, but I guess I've been mourning more than your *physical* self. Does that make sense?"


"As long as you were dead, I didn't have to worry about you dying. See? So I went into mourning. But I'm better now. I realize that you're

alive, I'm alive. *We're* alive. Together. For always. See?"

Blair did see. And that something welling up was relief. Immense relief.

"Not to blow my own horn, Jim, but I always *see*. In fact, I sometimes wonder who the sentinel in this family really is."

"No mystery there, Chief. You are. So. Guess we really are married here, uh?"

"Guess so. Wanna make it official?"

"Oh, yeah," Jim breathed out. Making it official was *exactly* what Jim Ellison wanted. Consumation. Doing the deed with Blair Sandburg. Finally seeing that whole body, bare, in this bed, with him. Oh yeah, he wanted to make it official all right. As soon as humanly possible.

"Hang on one sec then." Blair bounded off the bed, ran into the livingroom where Jim could hear him rummaging, then with a muttered *ah ha* he was back and jumping into the bed. He dropped down on his stomach, his head just inches from Jim's hip and opened a magazine.

"Okay Jim. You ready? Here goes: Question number one: When your spouse comes home with surprise tickets, are they: A, sporting tickets, B, theater tickets or C, traffic tickets." Then Blair looked up expectantly and said, "Well Jim, which is it? A, B or C?"

Jim shook his head, smiled contentedly, pulled up a couple of pillows, snuggled down and said, "What, no Museum tickets?"