It's been six months. He's been my official and permanent partner for three of those six.
And I've got an ulcer.
Because - Blair is gone.
Chief is still here. But Blair is gone.
His eyes seem serious all the time now. He smells of gun oil, leather, ink, the darkness of our city.
When he looks at me, I see only now. There is no yesterday, no past, no future, only today. He says my name, and it's official - I'm a cop, his partner and sometimes - I'm his Sentinel, but even that is rare now.
He's so - quiet. Verbally, physically, mentally. His body moves like a well-oiled machine, the bounce is gone, the innocent step, that little catch-up trot that marked the many times we'd walk together, discussing a case, or my senses, and he'd be taking two steps to every one of mine - that's gone. He takes longer strides now, purposeful steps. I don't have to slow, he doesn't have to trot.
I miss that trot.
His eyes seem to be so very dark now. They've always changed, with what he wore, or his moods, his happiness or his sadness, but now, they're like - the bay at sunset of a cloudy day. Dark, unfathomable.
I miss those bright eyes, the paleness of his innocence, the dancing, shimmering blue that signaled his constant questing, questioning, searching, observing everything.
Now, those eyes search crime scenes and peoples reactions, their body language, the little hitches in their breathing, their shifting eyes. He no longer searches me. His eyes no longer look for traces of emotion in my face, or the twinkle in my eye. He now takes me at face value. No more - no less. If I want him to know something - I must say it. He's stopped playing guessing games. He's stopped trying to figure me out. If I say I'm tired, he just shrugs and goes into his room. If I say he's wrong about something - he shuts up. If we start to speak at the same moment, he backs down.
I know he's talked with Naomi, but he no longer shares the conversations. If he has any friends outside of the precinct, I don't know about them.
I can't remember the last time he had a date.
Yesterday, while eating lunch at our respective desks, he read the Classified section. When he got up to go into the men's room, the paper was folded over to the apartment listings. He's thinking of moving.
We both have the same disease - cancer of the soul. From too much secrecy, too much hiding. My secrets, my hiding. Not his.
As I sit here in my livingroom, I wonder if it's too late? He's sitting across from me, head bent over a book. It's good to see him reading. His hair is loose, which is a change. He's been wearing it in a ponytail everyday.
I see him smile and I have this sudden, deep wish that the smile was because of me. For me. But it's there because of a book, because of some words printed on a page.
Can I still make him laugh?
Maybe if I try, I can work up to something else.
Maybe I can bring back the pale blue eyes. The shimmer. The bounce.
After all - I took them away.
His head lifts as the phone rings and without asking, he rises to answer.
"Hello. Oh, Simon. Yeah, we're both here. Where? No problem. On our way." The phone drops back down as he turns and says, "Rafe became ill on that Winslow stakeout. Simon would like us to relieve he and Brown."
I stand and nod. Maybe I can make him laugh later.
It's nine o'clock and the Winslow home is quiet. If there is going to be any action, it won't happen for several hours. I glance over at my partner, who once again has his head buried in a book, a small clip-on light his only illumination.. His hair is still down.
"It's as cold as a witches tit tonight, Chief."
His body stills. The head comes up slowly, as the glasses come off.
He's watching me, uncertain.
"Winslow is something else, isn't he, Chief?"
Blair cocks his head at me, and I can almost see the wheels churning.
"A boil on the butt of humanity, Jim."
I smile in the darkness of my side of the cab.
"Yep. He should have learned - never rub another man's rhubarb."
The book is closed, the light extinguished and both placed quietly on the seat beside us.
"Well," Blair adds, "he wanted a larger piece of the ol' dick pie."
My smile widens as I note his eyes, watching me, his lips curling ever so slightly.
I rebound with, "He thinks he's as hot as a jockey's britches."
"What about Mrs. Winslow? She's got a heart that would freeze beer."
"She's got a rich disorder."
"Well, the snail's on the corn, God is in his heaven and the Sentinel is on watch. She doesn't stand a chance."
The smile reached his eyes, eyes that were now dancing with mirth as he added, "After you're through with them, Winslow will be so poor, he'd have to borrow money to buy water to cry in."
"He'll be as sorry as a two dollar watch."
"Cuz you're slicker than greased hog."
"But he's tougher than a one-eared alley cat, Chief."
"Aw, come on, Jim. You know you could coax another Turkey onto the road."
"But Chief, you could weave horseshit into Egyptian cotton."
"True, true, my kind of charm is as scarce as hen's teeth."
"And you're as purty as a speckled pup, Chief."
A small frown crossed his features as he blinked a couple of times, but then he jumped back into the fray, obviously deciding I was still playing.
"Don't you mean I'm so ugly, I'd run off the meat wagon?"
"No, but right now, I'm as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs."
I said it seriously, earnestly. But there was more.
"There are three things I need to say to you, Chief. No particular order, or maybe - well, maybe there is an order." I took a deep breath, I had his full attention, the pulsing at his neck telling me he was reigning in his emotions, but that he was afraid.
"I - please don't leave, Blair. Ever. And - I'm sorry. I love you."
His eyes widened as the air rushed from his lungs and he was rendered speechless. He stared at me, leaning forward a bit, trying to see me, to really see me within the confines of the dark cab.
His body suddenly stiffened and he sat back, turning away from me, his eyes frozen on something outside. For several minutes, neither of us spoke, but when he finally did, I wished he hadn't.
"So many times, Jim. I've said it so many times and so many ways and you never answered except to say you weren't willing to take that trip. It's too late, Jim. To little and far too late." His voice was so - resigned. So final.
I turned my own body toward the door, my own eyes staring over at the Winslow house. The window fogged up as my breath hit the cold pane. I brought my hand up to rub the moisture away and Blair said quietly, "I wouldn't do that, Jim, not here."
My hand froze as I sputtered out, "Wha?"
"Touch the window. Not here. Look above you, outside."
I did as I was told and saw - nothing, except dark, starless sky and inky dark branches. My hand was still up, next to the glass as I said, "There's nothing there, Sandburg."
"Yes there is. Look at those wires."
I looked. Okay, telephone wires. Big deal.
"Telephone wires, Chief. Big fucking deal." My words came out angrier than I expected.
"Okay, don't listen to me, go ahead and put your hand on the glass."
"Do you feel it now, Jim?"
Dammit, I didn't feel anything, just the cold window.
"No," I answered stubbornly.
"You don't feel the pane, Jim?"
He'd done it to me again. How is it that I can fall for the old pain/pane routine everytime?
"You know, Jim, you don't have the brains God gave mildew."
I'd been so angry with myself, I failed to notice that he'd moved, that he was so close. I whirled in my seat only to find myself nose to nose with my partner, who immediately chortled and said, "GOTCHA!"
I looked at the suddenly animated face, the laughter now bubbling up, unrestrained, free and I saw - Blair. My Blair. He was there, in the sparkling eyes, the manic energy as he bounced in the seat, delirious that I had fallen for the old window pane joke - again, and I saw something else - that he was delirious with love, for me.
He was back. Chief. Sandburg. Darwin.Hairboy. Blair.
"I love you," I said again.
The sound of his laughter slowed, but the mirth remained in the crinkled eyes as he nodded, cocked his head and said, "You know what I think, Jim?"
I shook my head, stupified.
"I think someone's playing with my dick and it ain't me."
A man my size doesn't just melt. Like hell he doesn't.
"Hey, guys, we're heeerrrreeee."
Both of us jumped, each turning to our respective windows to see Connor on my side and Taggert on Blair's. Our relief.
We turned back to each other and smiled and I said, "Saved by the bell, Chief." To which he replied, "In the nick of time, Jim. In the nick of time."
I don't really remember the drive back, but I do know I managed, somehow, not to be involved in an accident. It pays big time, this being a Sentinel. I could look at Blair, and drive.
We got upstairs, even got inside - just.
Clothes went flying, jackets landing on tables, shirts on lamps, shoes kicked off and jeans unzipped and torn down, quickly followed by boxers. And all without lips unattaching - much.
I somehow thought we'd end up on the floor, but I was wrong, mostly due to 150 pounds of Blair Sandburg that attached itself to me, driving me backwards to land on one of the kitchen chairs. He was straddling me, holding my head between his hands and navigating an exploratory course through my mouth and between his conquests, mumbling incoherent phrases like, "You're so goddamned slow" or "You're crazier than a run-over dog" and my personal favorite, "Your God's got a lot to answer for, bucko."
His dick and mine were making fast friends, getting to know one another, rubbing frantically until he shifted slightly and my dick bumped up against his ass.
To the moon, Alice, to the moon.
Blair moaned as I latched onto his neck and decided to take control of this shindig. And damn, he let me.
I manuevered us to the couch, don't know why, his room being considerably closer, but somehow, the couch seemed right and besides, the lube and condoms were under the cushion where I'd hidden them months ago, before all hell broke loose and I still had hopes of connecting with my erstwhile roommate. I was a Boy Scout - so shoot me.
I got him down, his back against the cushion and it was my turn to straddle him, my fingers in his hair, my mouth plastered to his, knawing on that lush, lower lip, the one I'd been dreaming about, and god yes, it tasted just exactly as great as I knew it would.
His hands started to roam, his lips eager to taste, but I lifted my head, captured his hot gaze and whispered, "no, let me do this." I didn't have to add the please, he could see it and more in my eyes.
He dropped his head against the back of the couch and gave me his hands.
The movement, the gesture, nearly undid me.
I took one wrist in each hand and pulled them out, then slowly, everlastingly, I made love to him. I owed him so much, my life, my soul, my heart, and I was going to give it to him, make him hear the words I couldn't say.
The more of him I tasted, the harder I became. I let my mouth, my lips and my tongue speak for me, in a way I've never used before, with anyone. I finally let his wrists go, because I'd reached his cock, full, throbbing and leaking. And Blair? A mass of twitching, moaning goo.
Blairgoo. My goo.
I was on my knees now, between his legs and with my hands on his hips, I took him into my mouth. His body jumped as I slowly deep throated him, his words coming in a nonsensical jumble. I milked him with all that I had and when he came, I sucked him dry.
I sat back and stared at him, his eyes at half mast, his lips slightly parted but his gaze fixed on me. I reached under the cushion, found the lube and condoms and when he spotted what I had, his eyes actually narrowed and he shook his head a bit as I said, "always be prepared."
I hauled myself up and took him gently into my arms to lower him as I carefully balanced myself over him. I wasn't sure which direction this was going to go, but I'd be happy no matter what. In fact, I was about to flip us both over when he pulled my head down and murmured, "i've always wanted to be had by a Boy Scout."
Shit. I almost came right then and there. But Jim Ellison is nothing if not iron willed.
Lube was opened and applied generously, the condom was laughingly rolled on by two men with two left hands each, both shaking like California during a seven pointer. Then the laughter stopped and those strong, sturdy legs were suddenly wrapped around me and his arms were pulling me down and we kissed, deeply, even as he lifted his hips and urged me toward him, and I was poised, but the need to see him outweighed the supreme joy of kissing him, so I pulled back a bit, my eyes glued to his face, his to mine.
As I started to enter, I watched his expressions, gauged his readiness by his body movements, his breathing and while we'd both done this before, were no strangers to it, it had never been like this. I used all of my senses to make love to him and he knew it. No words were necessary as we watched each other, as our breathing and bodies were matched, as our thrusts were in time, in perfect rhthym and I was buried inside of him and his eyes briefly shut, his head tilting back and a long, low, soft moan escaped as he said my name.
That was all it took. I won't say we came together, but it was close enough that I don't want to call it.
I managed to roll him over, to take the bottom, to bring him around to rest on top of me and as he nestled in and I took the opportunity to wrap myself around him, I realized that he was speaking so I listened and smiled.
"you may be older than the mountains and have twice as much dust, with half the ground cover, but man, you can make this violin sing."
Not to let him get in the last word, I rasped out, "you're as full as a tick, sandburg."
"And you are plumb tuckered out, so shut up and go to sleep."
I was and I did. And damn, he got the last word in anyway. But then - he was back.
· The End-