Nothing's Changed

by alyjude

Petfly owns and once operated, I keep them alive in my heart, which simply does not fill my coffers. But man, I do have kinky dreams. :)

Thanks to TSL for all their inspiration.
This was originally a birthday snippet.


He's still Sandburg.

He looks exactly the same. Same hair, same flannel, same tacky jacket, same argyle socks. He's standing a few feet away, fingering a sweater he's thinking of buying for Conner, and I'm struck by how normal everything seems.

I watch his fingers rub the soft material, flip the label over, then skim down the fuzzy sleeve to the price tag. My eyes are fastened on those slender knobby fingers doing what they always do, living a life almost exclusive of Sandburg himself... and I'm in awe.

Those hands have pushed me, tested me, waved me away, held me up, alerted me to danger, and with palms raised upward, have told me that Sandburg was sorry, or that Sandburg had given up.

He's the same man I've known for three years... and yet, everything's changed because now I know what's under all those layers. I have an intimate knowledge of the body hidden by flannel and denim. Here, in this crowded store, all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see his skin glistening with sweat while taut muscles strain from beneath my body. I can see damp chest hair curling around hard tight nipples, and I can see stocky legs wrapped around me, tight and unyielding, as they send me a message I've needed to hear for so long.

Last night, the legs that are currently clad in 501 jeans, were locking me in place and telling me that he's never going to let me go, that I'm his, and that he needs me.

And yet today... he's still Sandburg.

Everything's the same, nothing's changed... yet everything is so much brighter today. How is that possible? Why should such a simple thing make the world brighter? Why do cars sparkle now, and diamonds burst from the asphalt as I drive? Why does the patch of grass that lines each side of the street seem so much edgier, with every blade a separate, shining green entity? Why do even my car keys seem alive today?

Because Sandburg and I made love? Because ... I'm ... in love?

Every breath I take now seems to be filled with him. He's been beside me for three years and I've breathed him in every day, so why so different now? Because I can smell myself on him?

Because I know every square inch of him, inside and out? Because now I know how he sounds as his body pumps his orgasm out of him? Or because today, every smile sent my way is veiled in meaning and love and is meant for me alone?

I've been in love before, been in the throes of the intoxication that comes with those first days and weeks of discovering each other. I've been there. But this, this is... different, and I have to ask myself, why? Why, if he's still Sandburg, is this so different?

I have to close my eyes and turn away, the beauty of the pain too exquisite to continue looking at him. I reach out and pick up the blouse I've been considering for Rhonda. It's silk and she'd call it shell pink. It's perfect for her. As I study it, I find it amusing that both Sandburg and I drew the only two women in Major Crime for the Christmas gift exchange.

I look up from the blouse to stare at Sandburg again, and even though I'm not entirely focused on him, I think that maybe the world would slide back to normal, but it hasn't. My whole body, every single cell and atom, is acutely aware that he's just a few feet away. If I were to try, I could listen to his hair. But I won't, or this blouse will never be purchased.

I can't believe he's still Sandburg.

Shouldn't he have been transformed into some heavenly creature after last night?

Shouldn't there be some sign that told the world what we did in the privacy of our home in the wee small hours of this morning? I have to look at him again. I have to. I turn, he's there, holding the sweater, turning it in every Direction as he tries to decide.

He glances over at me and ... smiles. It's the same old Sandburg smile, except that it's totally different. His face softens, his eyes crinkle happily, those incredible lips curve up, and... is he glowing? Does there seem to be an aura around him? An almost heavenly aura?

Suddenly I find myself glancing over my shoulder, looking at the people as they walk by us. Can't they see what I see? Hell, that smile could light up the country for a day. Can't everyone see it? Shouldn't they be transformed by it? Elevated by it?

No, of course not. It's just for me. I smile in return and nod my acceptance of his choice of a gift for Conner. I hold up the blouse. He nods in return and somehow, that smile widens. He winks.

The warmth that wink instills in me starts in my stomach, uncoils, then slowly and deliciously spreads its way outward. I can feel it now, in my hands and fingers, across my chest, in my heart, and yes, on my face. I suspect that I'm blushing.

Jim Ellison, blushing because Sandburg just winked at me.

Man, have I got it bad.



He's smiling that smile again. That lazy, special, "I've got eyes only for you", cat-contemplating-fucking-the-canary-and-wondering-how, smile. I'm getting very used to that smile. Woke up to it just this morning, and I'm really praying that it's the smile I wake to every morning for the next fifty years or so.

It's odd that the smile is coming from Jim Ellison, though, and odder still that it's directed at me. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. No, not complaining. I've seen variations of that smile on Jim before. Not that the versions I've seen have ever been quite this ... seductive, let alone as bright. But then, I'm probably just imagining that.

I shake my head as I think how strange it is that Jim looks so completely different today. He's so at ease that I didn't even have to twist his arm to get him to join me in looking for our exchange gifts. God, he even looks younger, not to mention so damn relaxed. I like this Jim Ellison.

Shit, Jim Ellison shopping for Christmas gifts. Who'd a thunk it? The old softie. My softie.

Man, how I like the sound of that.

My. Mine. My big old softie of a sentinel.

God, I can't believe how beautiful today is. It's like being on Golden again, only no fire people. Everything is surrounded by this lovely shimmering, brilliant golden haze. Must be the air. It's always so much brighter in the winter, you know? Yeah, that's it. This crystalline sparkle couldn't have anything to do with the fact that yesterday I was just me, and today, I'm me and Jim, could it? Nah.

I'm grinning, I'm in love, and it feels damn good, let me tell you. I've almost been there a couple of times, but unlike playing horseshoes, close doesn't count. I wonder if I'd have felt this incredible three years ago? Would I have appreciated it half as much or cherished it as I do now? Probably not.

I'm not saying I was too young or hallow, not at all. But my head was hell-bent for science and my heart was taking a breather. Even so, I could appreciate the friendship Jim offered, and the singularity of said friendship. The rareness of it. But love? Nope, not in the stars.

The sweater in front of me seems like just the ticket for Megan. It's sapphire blue, fuzzy and soft, and will undoubtedly cling in all the right places. I know I'm gonna get a kick out of the fact that I'll be the one responsible for Simon's panting looks when he gets a load of Megan in this thing. Man, has he got it bad.

My gaze is captured by my own hand as I run it up and down the sleeve. Last night, this hand ran up and down the length and breadth of Jim Ellison. This hand brought forth moans of such pleasure from Jim, that I could have come from those sounds alone. But man, oh, man, when he started sucking on my fingers? Holy shit. Jim Ellison sucked on my fingers.


My fingers.

His eyes were so god-damned bright and liquid and velvety blue, those long lashes just gracing his skin as he sucked and smiled and teased. I'm telling you, I was putty in his hands. And the things that man can do to me? Make me feel? I'm almost thirty years old and in one night, I experienced more love, tenderness and passion than in the last thirteen years, and all because of Jim.

I take the sweater off the hanger and turn it several times, then show it to Jim. He nods and there's that smile again. Only this one is even better, if that's possible. It's telegraphing all sorts of kinky, loving, incredible messages to me, but the one I'm hearing loud and clear is that he loves me.

All of this is mine. All of Jim is mine.

He holds up a blouse for Rhonda and it's my turn to nod and smile. I add a wink. His smile broadens.

God, this being in love with Jim is so cool. Everything's different, yet so much the same, and it's scary, but in a good way.

Together, we move to the check-out line, and appropriate for December 22nd, we're number eight and nine in the lengthy line. But I don't mind because Jim is right behind me, half his body up against mine.

I lean back just enough and it's heaven.

You know, Christmas lines aren't so bad at all.