Laughter again.

Blair pulled the pillow over his head, until the smell of frying eggs got through to him. Morning.

One hand fumbled for his glasses, found them, slipped them on, stumbled out of bed and made his way out into the livingroom.

Jim was already dressed, casually, in jeans and a sweater, and was scrambling eggs as Brian, in *Jim's* robe, sat at the kitchen table and regaled Jim with his adventures on the New York subway.

Umph. Blair could top that. Headhunters. Headhunters who had a thing for long, curly hair. But then he realized how he must look, and he scrambled back into his room, grabbed up his jeans and a sweater and jackrabbited into the bathroom, where he proceeded to take the fastest shower in Blair Sandburg history. He toweled himself and his hair, shaved, dressed, spritzed with a leave-in conditioner, and headed out for breakfast.

"So, I tell the guy that I know how to kill a man fifty different ways and he scurries off, never to be seen again....".

Oh, great. The kill a man in fifty different ways all ex-Cover Ops guys have that story?

"Wow, Brian, sorry I missed that story. Hi, Jim."

Jim turned around to greet Blair, who was standing behind him. "Hey, Chief, good morning. There are some eggs left, and the bagels are in the oven, warming."

"Thanks, man." And for effect and to tell Brian Marshall just who was who in this household, he placed both hands on Jim's shoulders and gave a little squeeze. "That was thoughtful, man."

And he didn't miss Brian's look of speculation, or revision of his opinion of one, Blair Sandburg. It was in the raised eyebrow and the cocked head. And the little frown. Blair did a mental high five with himself and then sauntered into the kitchen, giving Jim what he hoped was a good look at his ass.

He was just buttering up a bagel when Jim pushed himself away from the table and got his jacket.

"Look, Bri, I'll be back in a couple of hours and then we can take that trip to the beach for a few hours of sun and surf, but I promised Simon I'd get this report done, and today is it. Maybe Blair can keep you busy?"

Blair looked up, smiling broadly. Oh, yeah, he'd keep him busy. He raised *his* eyebrow.

"No need. There are a few errands I could do this morning. What time should I meet you at the station?"

"Well," and he looked at his watch, "It's nine now, how about eleven? Late for good waves, but we can still catch a few."

"Eleven it is. But we'll have to cut our surfing short, I have another appointment at four."

"Well, why don't we go surfing now, then I'll go to the station, while you take care of your appointment?"

"Now that sounds like a plan."

Blair realized he'd better jump in quick.

"Hey, you guys got plans for this evening? How about we double date? I'll cook."

Jim shot a very surprised look at his roommate, then over to Brian.


"Sounds good. What time for dinner? My appointment should be over easily by five, five-thirty, Jim?"

"Yeah, I can be finished by say, six?"

"Well, then," Blair finished, "Why not, six-thirty?"

They all agreed and Jim and Brian headed back upstairs, Brian to get dressed and Jim to change. Twenty minutes later the two men had left, leaving Blair to clean up and make his plans for the evening ahead.

Oh, yeah, this would be good. Very good.


Blair was in the middle of grading papers, in the late afternoon, when Brian let himself into the loft. Blair turned to face his rival.

"Hey, Blair, forgot my notes for the appointment. Not interrupting anything, am I?"

"No way, man. How did the surfing go?"

"Fun. Jim is one terrific surfer, but then, I'm sure you know that."

"Yeah. He's good at everything."

Brian narrowed his eyes and decided it was time for a heart to heart with this little puppy.

"Blair, I think I should make something very clear."

Sandburg just smiled, staying where he was, and crossed his arms.

"You can't win."

Blair cocked his head and his grin widened.

"So, *Bri*, the truth. No more games?"

"No more games. Jim and I share a history, we have a great deal in common. And I have every intention of moving back into his life. And I seriously doubt that someone like you can interfere with those plans."

Brian lounged against the back of the sofa, *his* arms crossed, looking supremely confident. And for the first time, Blair really looked at the man. Brian was as tall as Jim, dark brown hair, straight, combed back, slick, with very nice hazel eyes. He was a very good looking man. Slender, not as muscular as Jim, but still, Blair could tell he was strong, sure and athletic. For just a moment, Blair felt inferior, like he had in school, when standing next to football players. But only for a moment.

"A guy like me?"

"Young. Naive. And let's face it, you just don't have the history or the experience. You can't win. And there's something else you should consider."

"And that would be?"

"A person doesn't forget his first love. That's something you can't fight."

Blair got up from the kitchen table and walked over to Brian, stopping just inches from the man. He had to look up, and some would have felt at a disadvantage, but not Blair. He was used to having to look up at people.

"You're right. You *don't* forget your first love. It's a very special memory. But I have this theory. You see, it's not the first love that counts. It's the last. And that would be me."

"Well, then. I guess it's the best man?"

"Um, yeah. And that would be me, as well."

"All's fair?"

"Oh, yeah."

Brian held out his hand, and Blair took it. The war was on. And all Blair could think was that poor Jim didn't stand a chance and poor Brian didn't *have* a chance.


The loft was ready, the smell of Blair's famous Country French lasagna filling the rooms. It was well after six-thirty, as Blair had expected. He'd known that somehow, Brian would manage to be late. So he'd put his casserole, one of Jim's favorite recipes, in late. There was no way this dinner would burn. He could outsmart an Ex-Ranger, Ex-Cover Ops guy any day of the week.

Now, what to wear. Brian had gone upstairs after their little 'talk" and come down with clothes on a hanger, under a garment bag. Blair got the message. Brian would do his best to look spectacular. But it wouldn't be enough.

Blair thought long and hard. And he had it. He moved over to his drawers and pulled out a very old pair of jeans. They were so old and so often washed that they were now almost the color of a summer sky, that was filled mostly with wisps of cottony clouds. Then over to his closet to pick out the right shirt. His fingers traveled over several shirts, but finally came to rest on one in particular, his powder blue and white flannel shirt. Perfect.

He looked at the clock on his nightstand. Almost 7:30. If he knew Brian, he and Jim would be here any minute. He quickly slipped into his jeans, sans underwear, pulled on the flannel shirt and sat on the bed to wait.

He didn't have long.

At 7:45, Jim and Brian arrived home. Blair stood, squared his shoulders and left his room.


Jim was just hanging up his jacket and dropping his bag on the floor when Blair came through the french doors. Brian was talking, apologizing really.

"God, Jim. I'm so sorry my appointment ran so late, the dinner is probably ruined now. You think Blair will be angry?"

"It doesn't smell burned, in fact, it smells like it's just about ready. And Blair would never get angry."

"Hey, guys, you made it."

Both men turned to look at Blair, and even Brian caught his breath and had a momentary feeling of having already lost.

Blair stood there, the flannel shirt *not* buttoned, just hanging open, revealing soft, silky chest hair and one gold nipple ring. The button of his jeans was also open, the zipper not quite up all the way. He was barefoot, and instead of the usual two gold rings in his ear, he wore a simple, sapphire stud. Simple as in a gift from Naomi, a gift he would never in a million years have worn, but hell, a man had to dress for success, right?

"Sorry, I ran late grading papers and haven't even finished dressing yet. The casserole is due out any minute, I'm like *so* glad you guys are late."

Then apparently forgetting that he wasn't "completely" dressed, he walked into the kitchen, pulled out the salad and the french bread, placed them on the table and invited Jim and Brian to sit, dinner was on.....

He got out a nice Chardonnay, gave it to Jim to open and then went back and pulled out the casserole, which as planned, was ready, hot and bubbling. He placed it on the table and took his seat. And waited. Brian didn't let him down.

"Uh, there are four place settings. Are we eating without your date?"

Blair dropped his head, then looked up, a brave smile on his face.

"I'm afraid I've been stood up. She called, said she had a toothache."

Brian should have seen the trap, shouldn't have fallen for it. But in his world, puppies were harmless. Of course, how could he know?

"Toothache?" he exclaimed, incredulously.

"Yeah." And Blair let his head drop again, his shoulders slumping.

"Hey, Blair, she's the one missing out, okay?"

He looked back up, into Jim's warm, caring eyes and nodded.

"Thanks, Jim." Then he dropped his bombshell. "But I knew I should have asked David. You guys would have loved him. Now let's eat."

Brian caught the look of surprise on Jim's face and once again considered that maybe he'd already lost. But no. He was stubborn. War was hell, but far from over.

Little did he know.

They ate companionably, laughing, trading stories, drinking wine. The food was excellent, Brian had to give credit where credit was due, but the way to a man's heart was below the waist and there was no way this little pipsqueak could top him there. No fucking way. So he bided his time, waiting for the end of the evening, for when he'd get Jim upstairs.

The meal was over and Blair and Jim moved in unison, clearing the table, joking, their bodies brushing, hands skimming over each other. They moved into the kitchen, Blair urging Brian into the livingroom to relax, telling Jim to go, he'd clean up. But Jim shook his head and together, in perfect synchronization, like millions of times before, they cleaned, Jim washing, Blair drying, and Jim telling him all about the waves.

Brian watched and realized he'd have to do something and pretty darn quick. And he knew exactly what that something was. So he sat back, smiling contentedly, letting Blair have his moment.


Jim and Brian sat on the sofa across from the window, Blair on the sofa opposite the fireplace, which Jim had turned on. All were partaking in a wonderful bottle of Hors d' Age, a very expensive cognac, whose purpose was not lost on Blair. He could have spent several minutes telling both men all about cognac's, Hors d' Age, especially, but he decided to drink it instead.

The conversation had petered out, all three feeling nice and muzzy, floating on the warmth of the cognac, when Brian cleared his throat.

"Jim. I have to.....confess something. This is going to be hard, but, and if you want me to leave, I'll understand." Marshall got up and moved slowly, painfully, to the windows, his back to Jim.

"Bri? What is it?"

Blair sat forward.

"I....Blair and I....well, we had a talk today. And it resulted in something I'm now very ashamed of....we kind of entered into a pact. Involving you." He turned to face his lover. His body language said brave, said strong, said "I'll take whatever is coming to me, I'm responsible."

"We both agreed that we loved you. That it was a fight, so to speak, to see which of us would win you."

There was complete, utter silence. Jim turned, stunned, to look at his roommate.

"Blair? This is a joke, right?"

"No. I love you. And I'm sorry too. It was unfair, and unethical and juvenile and you're so much better than that and if anyone should leave, it should be me."

Blair got up, suddenly feeling really juvenile and guilty and foolish. Brian was right, he wasn't up to this. He walked passed the men and went into his room, shutting the door behind him.

He stripped off his shirt and jeans, throwing them angrily onto the floor. What the hell had he been thinking? You can't manipulate people, no one knew that better than he did. How had he been lulled into this farce? How could he have done that to Jim?

In the other room, Brian stared at Jim and waited. Finally, he couldn't take the silence anymore.

"Jim? Should I stay?"

"I think it would be better if you didn't. It was great, reliving old times, but now, well, we're not the same men, we don't have the same ~ outlook. I'm sorry, Bri."

Brian frowned, took a step forward, put out his hand, "Please, Jim. Let's try again. We can get passed this. I made a mistake. I was foolish."

"No, it's not that. I'm actually flattered. But my life is different. Look around you, Brian. And, well, I *do* love Blair. I'm the one who should say he's sorry."

Brian had lost. He couldn't believe it. He should have known, the minute he looked into those blue eyes, downstairs in the lobby. He was defeated before he'd even begun.


Brian had left, both men feeling the nostalgia, the comradarie, but also the rightness of Brian's leavetaking. Now it was time to face Blair.

He walked over to the french doors and knocked.

"Come in, Jim."

He stepped in and stopped short. Blair was packing. He shook his head at the stupidity of the very brilliant man in front of him.

"You know, the unbuttoned jeans thing was brilliant. And how did you know Brian would make us late?"

Blair stopped folding and looked up, seeing only a smiling Jim, leaning against the wall, looking so damn sexy, arms folded across his chest, legs crossed at the ankles, his shirt sleeves rolled up, revealing the strength of those arms.....


"And making my favorite casserole? Although, I was betting it would be either that or you'd serve up Wonderburger under glass. You do have a perverted sense of humor."

Blair sputtered, coughed, snorted and finally sat down with a thud, on the floor, missing the bed by inches.

Jim hurried over, and when he saw that Blair was alright, he stood over him, that goofey grin on his handsome face.

"You knew? You bastard, you knew!"

"Well, I am a detective. And a Sentinel and your pheromones were wafting all over the place. And I gotta tell you, for a minute, I was really worried. I thought they were for Brian. Then, you walked out of your room tonight, and I knew that outfit was for me."

"You asshole. I slaved over that meal, over what to wear."

"Yeah, it's really funny, because all you really needed to do, was crawl into my bed."

"I don't think so. I value *all* my body parts."

"So do I, Chief, so do I."

"So, should I crawl into your bed tonight?"

"Well, that would be nice." And Jim held out his hand, which Blair happily grasped and he was immediately yanked up and into those very strong arms, and pulled against the very same chest he'd so recently been dreaming about, and the mouth that had been an equal star in his dreams, came down on his, and it was fucking fantastic, wet, smooth, long, deep, with Jim's hands quickly buried in his hair, and his hands holding Jim's hips, holding on for dear life as Jim hungrily sucked his tongue, and then they were fallling back, onto the bed, and Jim was ripping off Blair's shirt, and needily pulling at the sweatpants he'd changed into, and they were slipping over his hips, and down and he was kicking them off, and just as eagerly pulling at Jim's clothes and it wasn't so long before skin glided against skin.

He felt Jim's hard shaft, rubbing against his, and the sensation was like nothing he'd ever felt, and then Jim's knee was pushing his thighs apart, and his large body settled in and Jim sighed so happily, and they were kissing again, and humping, hips thrusting up, Jim's down, their bodies sliding, the sweat building up and running down Blair's face and he felt giddy, like a teenager, like his first love, his first time, and it was all of those things, because he *was* like a teenager, because he'd never had this as a teenager, and it *was* his first time with a man, and Jim *was* his first real love, and he felt it all churning, like a volcano, moving it's way up and his was going to come, like he'd never come before and he did, screaming Jim's name, his voice hoarse, his neck stretched back, his head bouncing against the headboard, and Jim latched on to his throat and bit, and this sent one final, tremendous thrust and he was empty, and Jim was coming against him, his arms wrapped around him, his cock grinding, and Blair's name was shouted out just before Jim fell back down, his body covering Blair's.

He didn't want to move, didn't want to move Jim. This feeling of having Jim's body over his was like a cold winter morning, when you're all snuggled down, under the covers and they're warm and soft and safe. His hand stroked down Jim's back and he remembered what he and Brian had discussed and Jim really was his first love, really, but more importantly, he knew that Jim was also his last.

One man, first, last and always.


The End