Yeeessss! He was still asleep. Slowly, carefully, Blair Sandburg scooted out from under the arm that rested across his chest, rolled onto his side, propped his head on his hand and stared - unabashedly.
Now this was cool - way cool.
Since beginning their extremely intimate exploration of every inch of skin and *other* areas, some four weeks ago, in Blair's new Mustang, they'd been playing "morning tag" with Jim the acknowledged winner. The game was simple. Whomever woke first - got to look. His fill.
Blair wasn't all that fond of the game, since he was the acknowledged loser, not to mention he knew damn good and well what he looked like in the morning, what with his hair pointing in every compass direction and several directions as yet undiscovered. His morning stubble was dark and heavy, as in painful for sentinel skin, and he was certain he drooled, and he *knew* he grumbled *and* twitched in his sleep. Sheets were rarely in any type of order, no matter how he'd gone to sleep the night before, and no matter how cold it might be, he still woke up with a tangled mess, with sheets and blankets tumbled, wrapped, askew, pulled from the mattress, often on the floor, pillows at the far end of the bed, and he always wondered how *that* happened. Hell, sometimes, *he'd* ended up at the far end of the bed......But now that he thought about it, since moving upstairs, he'd usually found himself too wrapped up in sentinel arms to move around much during the night, but still......he was a morning mess. Not a pretty sight.
And yet, morning after morning, he'd awaken to find Jim staring at him, this atypical smile on his face, a smile that could only be described as *angelic* and one hand somewhere on his body, one finger making some type of design and Blair had sworn himself to secrecy by promising *never* to mention to anyone that Jim traced little hearts on his skin in the morning.
So far, the score for this little tag game was:
Jim - 18
Blair - 0 (Hey, there were plenty of mornings when waking up was mutual and not a few mornings that started with *both* men humping a thigh or a hip.....)
But on this Sunday, Blair's eyes opened to a peaceful, sound asleep, slightly drooling Sentinel. The less than professional side of Blair the scientist kicked in and with a Machiavellian grin, he began to trace his own pattern on his lovers well-muscled and hairy arm.
Blair deepened the tracing.
Jim shifted again, and frowned.
Blair's smile broadened.
"you should have been an artist. damn fine rendering."
"mm, and we're tracing that particular object on my arm, exactly why?"
"and I passed?"
"Don't know. Yours or mine?"
"thicker - yours."
Blair leaned in and touched his lips to Jim's.
"Good Sentinel, very good Sentinel."
"well, I *am* now very familiar with said organ."
"Yes, yes, you are. Bet you could pick it out of a line-up."
"oh, yeah," Jim breathed out, "easily."
"Wouldn't even have to run a taste test."
"um, no, but would *want* to, just to make sure, you understand."
"Oh, of course. Double check. Confirmation. Every good detective would."
Jim opened his eyes, rolled onto Blair, and holding him down, he growled, "They'd better not!"
"Ooooh, so territorial."
"Not at all. Jealous. Plain and simple. And maybe, just maybe, a little...."
"Um.....that could be the word I was looking for....maybe."
Blair snorted, and was about to share just *how* possessive *he* was about Jim, when Jim's tongue snaked out and licked his bottom lip. They could talk possessions later......
"mm, yes," he mumbled as the tongue moved to his ear......"oh, yeah, shit, we should register that tongue.......god, um, with the cascade pd...."
"It is. I carry a special license."
"i'll just bet you do......better be labelled for restricted use....."
Jim had captured Blair's wrists and now moved them over the younger man's head, one hand encircling them, as the other impatiently unwrapped the sheets from around Blair's lower anatomy.
"capture the enemy.....", Jim whispered, as he pulled the last of the sheet off....
"enemy!?" Blair squeaked out, Jim's right hand having connected with his cock and giving it a nice, tight squeeze.
"military objective. surround, move in......"
"right, can't forget the supplies, the weapons....the tools....."
Blair was laughing uncontrollably, and as Jim's eyes raked over his captive body, Jim reared back, one eyebrow rising quizzically. "You find this maneuver funny?"
"I find the idea of me as a military objective hilarious. You twit."
"Ex-Rangers are *not* twits."
Unfortunately, further brilliant comeback lines were stalled by the ringing of the phone.
"Better answer. I can tell. That's Simon's ring."
Jim let go of Blair's hands with a "umph", and reached over him to snag the phone. "So you can tell his ring now?"
//Need you at Fortuna's, Jim. He's going to spill everything, and he
wants you there//
Jim glanced at his partner, who's expression clearly said, "told you so".....
//Now. Won't take long, Jim. Maybe two hours//
Jim did some quick calculations and figured the timing could work. "Yes, sir. Meet you in thirty."
He hung up, rolled off Blair and swung his legs over the edge of the bed.
"What?" Blair sat up, pushing hair back from his face.
"Art Fortuna, he's gonna spill. I've got to meet Simon."
"I'll get ready." And he jumped up with every intention of beating Jim to the shower.
"No, Chief. You stay here. Well, not exactly *here*. I, um, well, *we're* having brunch with Dad and Steven. At Tony's By the Sea. Twelve-thirty. You could go ahead, in case I'm late."
Jim's words.....his tone....."Uh, Jim? What's up?"
"I just think...it's time."
Blair played dumb. It was self-preservation.
Jim got up, pulled on his robe and managed to *not* look at Blair.
"Yeah, time. For my family to know."
To know. His family. To know. Blair gulped.
"Jim, it would have been nice if you'd shared this decision with me."
Jim finally connected with Blair and he wasn't surprised by what he saw. Fear. Stark. And anger. And a slight tremor in Blair's limbs. He quickly sat down next to him, one arm draping itself over Blair's shoulders.
"I knew you'd fight it. But it is time. I want Dad to know about us, about you."
The tremors increased. Tenfold. Jim hadn't seen a Blair panic attack in years, but if he didn't say something - quick, he was going to see one again.
"Loo, if you don't want me to tell them today, then I won't. We'll just have a nice brunch, with a nice ocean view, and maybe after, you and I can go down to the beach. Catch a few waves." "Your father already doesn't like me. What makes you think that *now* is the time to tell him? I personally would have thought waiting until you were pregnant would make more sense."
Jim hung his head and whispered, "I guess now is the time to confess.....I can never have your baby, Chief."
Blair pushed the man back with all his strength, and stood, hands on hips.
"You.....hussy. You.....harlot. You lied to me."
"Feel better now?" Jim quizzed, a gentle smile on his face.
"No. And I'd prefer that you didn't tell him today. Or ever, for that matter. Time isn't going to endear me to him. I don't wear well, Jim." Jim reached out one hand and took Blair's, pulling him back down to the edge of the bed.
"That's not true, Chief. I like you a *whole* lot better now.....and Simon's downright in love with you."
"Just promise to keep an open mind today, okay?"
"Me? Always open, man. It's not *my* mind I'm worried about. But you promise not to say anything if I give you the high sign?"
"Promise. And Chief? What's the high sign?"
Blair lifted his hand.
"Oh. Got it. Kinda rude for Tony's, though." Blair managed a swat to Jim's butt as the older man stood and walked toward the stairs.
Same day - 12:15
Blair had to admit, brunch at Tony's, on a beautiful day like this, was an inspiration. Every now and then, Cascade could make a man proud. Clear, sunny, warm, with just a hint of a breeze. The water was almost aquamarine, and the waves were breaking pretty well. It was the perfect day for a convertible Mustang.
The wind ruffled his hair, and he felt just a tad guilty about the Volvo. But only a tad. This car was an absolute dream, *and* had been properly christened. Blair smiled at the memory, and at the times since.......and wondered why the hell they'd never done *it* in the truck. Like he had to ask....they could get his Mustang all sticky but not the precious truck.....
He pulled into Tony's parking lot on Ocean, and noted that Steven was just getting out of his car and that Mr. Ellison stood on the walkway bordering the marina, waving at Steven.
Blair parked, sucked in his breath, let it out gradually, tied his hair back, straightened his jacket and tie, got out, pulled up the top and fastened it, set the alarm, took another deep breath and walked toward the two Ellisons.
As he neared them, Steven faced him, a huge Ellison grin on his face.
"Hey, Blair, where's Jim?"
Blair stepped up to them, shook Steven's hand, then Mr. Ellison's as he answered, "He'll be here, but he had to meet Simon. He sent me on ahead."
"I see. My son makes this arrangement, then proceeds to be late....interesting."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Ellison. There's a very important case and it looked as though they might be able to wrap it up today. I'm sure he'll be here, any minute."
"Hey, Dad, it's what Jim does. And we're early.
Let's just enjoy the view while we wait."
William Ellison nodded and the men began a slow walk along the wharf. Eventually, Mr. Ellison asked Steven about work, and they were off and running.
Blair walked slightly behind the two men, half listening, half watching the water, and really wishing that Jim was with him. After several minutes, the two Ellisons turned and began to walk back toward the restaurant and as Blair tried to catch up, he noted one boat, motor running, getting ready to set off. He watched, in envy, as a man in a three piece suit and a briefcase ran down the dock, toward the boat. Another man, heavyset, with long, stringy hair, met him and helped him aboard, while a third man threw off the ropes and as the Ellison men stepped up to the restaurant, the elegant boat pulled away. Blair watched it move out, wishing he were aboard.....
As he caught up with Steven and Mr. Ellison, Steven remarked that they might as well go in, have a drink at the bar, and hope that Jim would arrive in time for their reservation.
"Well, I think that went well, didn't you, Chief?"
"You gonna forgive me, anytime soon?"
"Right. Well. The brunch was good. The crabcakes were great. Oh, not as good as yours, of course, but for a restaurant, passable."
Blair turned to his lover and smirked. "Was that supposed to make me feel better?"
"Yes. Did it work?"
They were silent as they stood in the restaurant gazebo, overlooking the bay.
"We could go home and endlessly fuck. Would that make you feel better?"
"Well, it wouldn't hurt. Exactly. But you *are* in the dog house for several days, Detective Ellison."
"Shit, and I was hoping for a relationship *without* a doghouse."
"There is no such thing, not if you're half of the relationship."
"Hey, it didn't go so bad. He took it - well."
"He left, Jim. He got up, looked at me, snorted, and left. That's not taking it well."
"He apologized. He asked for time. He said he'd call.....and Steven thought it was great."
"You asshole, Steven *knew*."
"Now, you don't know that for sure."
Blair looked up at Jim, shaking his head. "God, you *know*. You know he knew. He figured it out before we did. Now we can go home? I have a little Sunday left. I'd like to enjoy it."
As he turned, Jim snaked an arm around his waist and said, "I'm really sorry, Blair. I thought my father would take the news better. I really did."
Blair turned in Jim's arms and said, "Jim, I'm upset for you, not me. I wish he'd taken it better too....I just wish you'd listened to me, that's all. And I hope this doesn't put your relationship with your father back a couple of notches."
"Come on, let's go home. Get cozy, watch some football."
Blair nodded, but he watched Jim, as they walked to their respective vehicles. He couldn't handle it if things got worse between Jim and his father - because of him. That had been his fear all along. Knowing your son was gay was one thing, seeing him with his lover another. And seeing him with someone like - Blair...well, that was another thing all together.
Wednesday - 1:00 pm
Blair gazed around the bullpen. The room was somber, with most of the detectives walking around like zombies, body language saying - Failure.
Simon had received word two hours earlier that the man who could bring down Efrem Frost, the city's number one *family* businessman, was missing. His name was Brad Corley and he was apparently a gifted man, a brilliant hacker and Frost's number one accountant. A man who'd gotten in over his head and was now willing to turn state's evidence. Except - he'd disappeared. He'd last been seen by his wife, Alicia, heading out the front door for a meeting with a client. And that had been three days ago.
Megan and Rafe, the primary detectives on the case, were tearing the city apart, hoping that Corley had just gone underground. Meanwhile, the rest of Major Crime went about working on their own cases, but very aware of what was at stake with bringing down Frost.
Blair gazed at his partner, and they both shrugged helplessly.
Simon put the phone down, staring at the item as though it were dangerous. And it was. The bearer of bad news. Worse than a telegram. And he would now have to give this news to his best detective. He pulled off his glasses and compulsively rubbed his eyes, wishing he were anywhere but here. But he was Jim's Captain, and his friend.
Slowly Banks stood, walked to the door and signaled to Jim, who frowned, glanced over to his partner, then stood and made his way to Simon's office.
"Sit down, Jim." Simon closed the door as Jim took his seat. He walked to his desk and rested against the edge.
"Jim, I just received a call from the fifth precinct. Captain Phillips is an old friend of mine. He recognized the name and called me immediately."
"Your father, Jim."
Jim blinked, focused, gave his head a little shake, then, "My father?"
"He was found.....early this morning. In an alley not far from his home.
The apparent victim of a mugging - gone horribly wrong. I'm sorry, Jim."
"Mugging? My father?"
Simon nodded, watching his friend closely. "His wallet, watch, a ring, credit cards, all missing."
"But, how....", Jim tried to collect himself, to regain his equalibrium.
"He was - stabbed. Evidently he tried to fight, Jim. There were, according to Mike Phillips, signs of a struggle."
"Where, I mean, God. I've got to call....."
"Jim, Steven knows. And your father is at the morgue. You know the drill - there has to be an indentification. SOP."
Jim couldn't seem to move. Sunday. Just three days ago. His father - gone. It wasn't possible.
Simon moved to his door, opened it, caught Sandburg's attention and waved him over. As Blair joined them, Simon said, "Sandburg, take him home. There's been - some bad news. His father was killed in a mugging. I'll get all the additional information that I can, and call you."
Blair almost fell back at the news, at the weight of it. Jim's father. Jesus. He moved to Jim's side, put his hand on his shoulder and said, "Jim?"
The head lifted, and stunned pale blue eyes gazed back at him. "Blair, he's - dead." Blair nodded, took his arm and helped him up.
"Come on, Jim, let's get home."
As Ellison got to his feet, he stopped. "No. You said he's at the morgue, Simon? To be identified? How did they know....I mean, you said his wallet, credit cards....gone, how did they know?"
"One of the officers summoned to the scene recognized him. Beat officer, Jim. But that's not an official I.D., only family can do that. Steven's on his way."
"So am I. Come on, Chief, we're going to the morgue."