Sands of Time
November 9, 2001
My mommy says I have to play nice so Petfly owns Jim and
You know, Petfly should sell them to me--for a penny. I'd take
Do NOT go into the basement with a pair of scissors. Jim gets
it's only hair.
Warning: To avoid spoilers, don't scroll down to the caveat. To be
Thanks so very much to Dolimir, Autumn Skies, DCPriestess,
beta! I have made changes so mistakes are mine, not Lisa's.
Jim takes Blair to a special exhibit at the Cascade Museum of
mystery and a mystery centuries old.
begins in Ancient Egypt and recounts a past life of J/B where they
and remain that way. <G> I've found that the only way for me to
similarity to Through Time and Space, but only in the idea of a
duties complete, Jacob left the palace, his heart beating fast at the thought of
what lay ahead. As he walked the great hall of his Pharaoh, Hatshepsut, the
torches casting long shadows before him, he thought back over his day of
miracles and what had brought him to his current life.
was the Pharaoh's personal physician, a duty he'd accepted five years ago, in
order to keep his family safe. His mother Naomi, while frightened, had been
proud that her son would serve the royal family.
The fact that he was, for all intents and purposes, a slave and a
prisoner, never seemed to penetrate her reality. Nor was she bothered by the
obvious: that neither of them were Egyptian, that they looked different,
worshipped differently, and spoke differently. As long as her son was in favor,
her life was good and certainly supremely better than that of their counterparts
who lived in squalor and worked at Deir el-Bahri.
the young prince, Tutmose III, had succumbed to another illness, one that had
the palace in an uproar and the Pharaoh screaming for her personal physician.
Ordinarily Jacob knew that any illness of her *son* would cause little concern
in his mistress, since most of these *illnesses* were but poor attempts at
getting attention. But rumors were flying that Hatshepsut had killed her half
brother and husband, Tutmose II and that in order to secure her throne,
Tutmose's son, by another, would have to be next.
that Hatshepsut spent a great deal of time convincing her people that she was
the direct descendent of Amon-Ra, well, murdering one's son (even one *not* by
her womb) would be very un-Godlike. So today, with the court tongues wagging,
she'd made sure that he, Jacob the Healer, was called to attend to Tutmose. And
attend he had.
two of his herbs and mixing them with water, he'd calmed the boy's stomach
enough so that he'd finally fallen into a restful, healthy sleep. Jacob had then
stayed by his side for much of the morning and later, had played quiet games
with the boy. By afternoon, Tutmose had his color back and was eager to get
outside for his war lessons.
everyone at court, Jacob and Jacob alone knew what really drove his Pharaoh and
it wasn't greed or power—exactly. She was a woman—in a man's position. She
was also a great woman. In a very short time, she'd improved the lives of her
people and even Jacob's. But the one thing she could not do was release Jacob
from the servitude imposed on him by her late husband. She simply couldn't
afford it. But she made up for it by making sure that he had as much freedom as
possible. Like tonight.
as he alone knew her secrets, she was the only individual who knew his and she
made every effort to *allow* them.
out into the warm night, breathing deeply of the fragrant desert air, he
quickened his step, heading out of the palace grounds and to the river. Stars
spread out across the inky blackness and with the full moon, lit his way. But he
had to be careful, dared not be seen, especially by Hapuseneb, the High Priest
of Amon-Ra. Another of the Pharaoh's necessary evils. And Hapuseneb was just
Jacob made his way to the river, he knew that he must talk with Hatshepsut and
soon. Already Tutmose was questioning his Pharaoh, thanks to Hapuseneb. All that
kept the boy faithful was his trust of, and love for, Jacob. Tutmose still
listened to Jacob over Hapuseneb. And Jacob knew that Hapuseneb would do nothing
to change that—for now. Because he coveted Jacob.
through the palm trees, he could see the Nile glittering in the silvery
moonlight and couldn't help but grin. Down at the river's edge, hopefully,
awaited his love. And his Achilles heel.
The Pharaoh's Captain. The man whose duty it was to protect the Pharaoh, to lead
her army to victory and to teach Tutmose how to be a soldier. And the man Jacob
loved above all else. In a few moments, they would be together, albeit briefly.
A few stolen moments, heated embraces, breathed out words of passion and
then—they would part. Until the next assignation. And it was enough—for now.
frowned at his captain and reached out for the man.
me you do not rush to meet him—again."
moved away and grinning, said, "I do not rush to meet him.
had been an almost playful moment between two soldiers and friends, turned on
those two words. Sennedjem spun about and glared at his second in command. The
tall Nubian glared right back.
took one step closer to his second and meeting his eye, said tersely, "If I
choose to meet him or anyone, it is my business and mine alone, Tahemet. Do not
is not just your business, Sennedjem. What you do affects us all. We
your men and we would follow you to death, but not for a—"
*not* say it, Tahemet. Do not say it."
is not one of us. And you know as well as I that Hapuseneb strives to bring him
into his fold and the High Priest is a powerful man, Sennedjem. He would destroy
you instantly if he discovered that which he desires, has chosen another."
anger leached from Sennedjem as he thought of Jacob and all that he *wasn't*.
But how could he make Tahemet understand? Choosing
his words carefully, Sennedjem said, "My friend, you are right, he is *not*
one of us. But then, neither are you. And right now, he keeps the peace in the
palace. Tutmose listens to him and as long as Jacob lives, Hapuseneb has limited
are playing with fire, my captain. Is he worth it?"
answer, Sennedjem asked, "Have you ever loved, Tahemet? Truly loved?"
dark man's eyes glittered in the firelight of their camp as he remembered his
other life. Had he loved? Yes. Dearly. And she, like his tribe, was gone. There
would be no other for him, his heart was a stone.
But warm memory could recall the fire of love, of feeling and caring for
another more than oneself.
have loved, Sennedjem. And I will never love again."
placed his hand on Tahemet's shoulder and said quietly, "Then you must
understand that I cannot turn from this. He is my destiny, old friend. My honor,
my life, all I would give for him."
is against all our laws," Tahemet said, trying to make his friend see
reason, using any tool he could.
our laws? You know better, Tahemet. Tatmose himself took men to his bed and if
not for the need to bring forth his seed, would never have lain with a woman.
And Hapuseneb certainly does not honor these laws of which you speak. He would
not only bring Jacob into the priesthood if Jacob would but say yes, he would
lay with him each night, take from him, and have him by his side each day, if he
could. Do not talk to me of laws. For us, they do not exist."
Sennedjem turned to leave, Tahemet said quietly, "You risk his life, my
friend. I realize that you would die for him, as we would for you, but are you
as willing to consign *him* to death?"
faced his friend, an odd smile gracing his lips. The firelight played over his
handsome, aristocratic features and for a moment, Tahemet saw more than that
which could be there. He shook his head and blinked. When he gazed back, only
Sennedjem stood before him.
know what we risk, Tahemet. And we know what we have. These times are not ours,
we know this as well. We take what we can, steal moments for a touch, and for
now, it is enough."
speak as if you see no future for either of you, Sennedjem!"
do not. Not here and not now. Do you truly believe we are that foolish? That
ignorant? The line we walk is narrow and fine. And dangerous. We serve a great
woman and as long as she can, she will protect him. But we have a strong enemy
whose one goal, if he knew of us, would be to tear us asunder and use Jacob to
destroy our Pharaoh."
eyes glazed over and Tahemet knew that at that moment, his captain was not with
so we take those moments together, Tahemet, for they are all we have. His voice
keeps me sane, the touch of his skin against mine, worth any death. To see him
as he gazes up at me, to watch his lips as he speaks, and his hands, Tahemet,
his hands. They do more than heal, they transport me. I cannot live without
these things. I will not live without them. Without him."
can be only one ending, then, my captain."
odd smile spread over Sennedjem's face again as he said softly, "Oh, no, my
friend, you are wrong. There will be many endings before the final one."
High Priest of Amon-Ra, stoked the fire that blazed at the altar, his face like
stone. Jacob had already left the palace and Hapuseneb waited for his servant to
tell him what he already suspected; that Jacob was meeting someone.
he stared at the fire, he could see only blue eyes. Strange eyes, with color to
rival the purest blue on the palette of the finest court artist. Eyes that could
look into a soul and know the truth, eyes that recognized deception and lies—
there *was* someone else, Hapuseneb would find this woman and destroy her. And
Hatshepsut would eventually, in order to secure her place, give Jacob to him. He
knew this. For now, she protected the young physician, but her reign was more
important, her *people* more important than a mere slave. Yes, when he had
Tutmose's ear, when her throne was in jeopardy, she would give Jacob to *him*.
his mind wander, lost in the fires of Amon-Ra, his imagination supplied him with
stood near the bank of the Nile, hidden by a small stand of palms and waited.
The breeze played with his bare skin and for a moment, he imagined that the
slight wind was Sennedjem's hands. He imagined that those powerful hands were
stroking up and down his arms as he rested against the broad chest, so different
from his own.
often wondered how Sennedjem could find his lighter skin and chest hair
attractive compared to the men around them. Or his unruly brown curls, compared
to the straight, shiny darkness of Egyptian hair. And his name. Jacob. To this
day, listening to the people of the Pharaoh's court attempt to say the simple,
two syllable word, always astounded him. Egyptians always made his name sound as
though it had at least five syllables and Sennedjem was no exception, other than
the fact that he also made Jacob's name sound as though it were the most
important word in this land.
a sound, Jacob glanced behind him, but saw nothing. The hair on the back of his
arms rose and he turned, took two steps forward and just there, was that the
shadow of a man? Jacob tried to make himself invisible, melting into the
shadows, praying to his God that it was nothing. Unless it was Sennedjem.
stood on her balcony overlooking her land. She'd seen Jacob leaving the palace
grounds earlier and knew his destination would be Sennedjem's arms. She ran one
hand down over the shendyt kilt that covered her lower torso, then raising an
arm, she touched the nemes, the official headdress of a Pharaoh.
was a woman—in a man's uniform. She ruled a kingdom, but not as a Queen. She
had dreams for her people, not herself. No, that wasn't exactly true—she
wanted—immortality. Not true immortality, but the kind that only greatness
could give. Her name, revered in history, a woman Pharaoh. A *great* Pharaoh.
woman whose death would not diminish her accomplishments.
the jackals were at the gate and they strove to destroy, to take that which was
not theirs. Tutmose was growing up and soon his own dreams and desires would
take precedent over what was right. And the flames of those dreams and desires
for power would be fanned by her enemy, Hapuseneb. She prayed to Amon-Ra that
she would not have to sacrifice Jacob to fight Hapuseneb. But she feared the
time drew near when she would be forced to do exactly that.
raised her face to the moon and whispered, "My father, protect your
daughter, and protect the man who heals your people."
will not listen, my love."
whirled about to face her own heart; Senenmut. Holding out a hand to the man,
she said, "And why not? Is this not what my father wishes?"
cannot protect someone that heals without Amon-Ra's blessing. Jacob does not
call out to Amon-Ra to bring relief to the sick, my Pharaoh. He calls to his own
God. Who cannot be."
in his greatness, must know this, Senenmut. Did he not send Jacob to us at a
time of great trial? Did Jacob not heal *you*?"
do not doubt Jacob's gift, love. Only that Amon-Ra will protect him.
fear to save Jacob, we will need more than we have."
moved into Senenmut's arms and rested her head on his shoulder.
need more time, Senenmut. And time is what I do not have."
moved quietly through the desert, his goal, the river. Even from his current
distance of several hundred feet, he could see Jacob in the shadows. He moved
faster. When he was a few feet from the man he loved, he whispered softly,
young physician turned and smiled and for a moment they stood content to drink
in the sight of the other. Their moments together were always too brief, and
yet, they did not move immediately into each others arms, choosing instead to
simply - look.
beat you," Jacob said, his grin widening.
But it gave me more time to observe you, my love."
Sennedjem answered by opening his arms and Jacob moved into them. They relished
the sensation of skin sliding against skin, the only object in their way, the
necklace Jacob wore that proclaimed him both a physician and a slave.
Sennedjem's hands were quickly buried in Jacob's hair and Jacob reached up to
remove the required black wig that Sennedjem wore. He let it drop to the ground
and ran his palm over the soft, short bristles of the man's real hair.
soft," he murmured as his hand rubbed gently over the back of Sennedjem's
thick," murmured Sennedjem in response, his own fingers carding through
Jacob's long curls. He fingered one of the thin braids that fell to the side,
then his eyes were drawn to Jacob's lips. He lowered his head and touched them
briefly with his own.
you, Jacob. Need you."
know, I know."
kissed again, deeper this time, enjoying the play of their tongues.
Slowly, they sank to the ground, Jacob maneuvering them so that he was on
top. As he kissed Sennedjem's neck and rocked against the larger man, Sennedjem
said, "I leave in two days, Jacob. Two days."
we have two days."
nights. We have two nights."
will win, return victorious and I will be here. Then we will have many
will have eternity, Jacob."
a cloud passed across the moon, Jacob lowered himself and they kissed again,
hands moving under the kilts they wore, finding hardness and stroking rapidly.
Moaning into each other's mouths, they set up a rhythm, their bodies so attuned
to the other that they knew when each was near completion. They were so lost in
their passion, they failed to see the shadow disengage itself and move off into
the darkness, his job done.
fine, soft sand beneath did not bother either man, rather it cushioned their
bodies and graced their skin. Jacob lay on his side, head propped up by a hand.
He watched Sennedjem sleep and marveled at the sight. Jacob allowed his free
hand to smooth over the strong, broad chest, then up to trace a line down the
moon, no longer protected by clouds, shone down on the two men, but left half of
Sennedjem's face in shadow and as Jacob watched, it appeared that Sennedjem was
two people, not one. One man, olive-skinned, here in this now, with Jacob, but
the other, pale and from another time. A
disquiet settled over Jacob's heart.
was unlike any person Jacob had ever known—a man special beyond understanding,
his gifts for all time. And Jacob? A stranger in this land, to be owned and
nothing more. He dropped onto his back and clasped his hands behind his head.
Staring up at the night sky, at the millions of stars that winked back at him,
he pondered his luck.
had found his other half and for that he thanked his God every day.
But to have found him here and now, in a time that did not favor their
union? In a place where said union could bring down a Pharaoh? And what of
Sennedjem himself? He was a great warrior who could lead Hatshepsut's people to
incredible power. He could protect her as no other. What right did Jacob have to
endanger all that?
when alone with his thoughts, like now, he wondered if giving in to Hapuseneb
would not be easier? Such a move would ensure Sennedjem's safety, Hatshepsut's
throne and the future for all. He could control Tutmose, keep him reined in,
thus allowing Hatshepsut to rule as she saw fit.
can hear your thoughts, Jacob."
Jacob turned his head to see his love, white teeth flashing in the darkness,
smiling at him.
wish you could, Pamiuw."
turned on his side to gaze at Jacob and grinning, said, "Pamiuw? I have a
nickname now, do I?"
Senenmut gave it to me. You are like a large black cat, graceful, deadly,
beautiful. Pamiuw. Simple, isn't it?"
ran a hand through the curling hair on Jacob's chest, his fingers tingling at
the delightful feel, then said, "And you are Tepemkau, the best of souls.
There, now you have an official name of the Pharaoh."
eyebrow arched as Jacob said dryly,"I am truly blessed."
snorted at that, then leaned in for a kiss. When they parted, slightly
breathless, he asked, "So what *were* you thinking?"
of consequence, Pamiuw."
think you hide the truth. And not well, I might add."
hide nothing from you, nothing."
fears. You hide those. Were they driving your thoughts?"
leaned into Sennedjem, trying to burrow into the larger man as if there, the
world would cease to be. As Sennedjem's arms came around him, he said, "We
have discussed this too many times, Sennedjem. Let's not use this precious time
to once again talk of that which we cannot control."
Jacob's temple, Sennedjem said, "You and your control. You don't wish to
discuss this, yet you rail against all that you can't hold, or contain! Let your
fears go, Jacob. Let them go. Be who you are, and be my love."
you know who I am, do you?"
heard the anger, the bitterness, and he tried to soothe it away with a kiss, but
Jacob was not appeased. Running a finger across Jacob's lower lip, Sennedjem
said, "Yes, I do. You are Jacob the Healer.
A man of peace and great knowledge. You have my heart, my soul, my life.
that not be enough? Or do you not trust my love?"
above, I trust your love, Sennedjem. It is the *only* thing in this
that I *do* trust. But I fear for your safety, for your life. We
more each time we meet and the risk is—"
have been down this road as well, Jacob. Many times. There is only death
*without* you. With you, there is life."
that his words had stanched the flow of anxiety for now, Sennedjem whispered,
"Love me, Jacob, love me now. tomorrow and forever."
do and will, Sennedjem." Then with a mischievous grin, he added, "But
I wonder, Pamiuw, if in one of our later lives you talk so much about, you will
will remember always. You are mine, Jacob the Healer, my Tepemkau. I will
was not alone, my priest."
face darkened, the obsidian eyes narrowing.
servant paled and took two steps back, then said softly, "He lay with a
man, my priest."
the servant expected an explosion of rage and horror, he was sadly disappointed.
Instead, Hapuseneb's expression changed to one of calculation.
man? You say that the *Queen's* personal physician was with a man?"
servant cringed. Only Hapuseneb dared call the Pharaoh - the Queen.
of his own people?" Hapuseneb asked quietly, sure of the answer.
Hapuseneb hissed out.
red veil seemed to pass over Hapuseneb's eyes and he closed them to his rage.
Hands turning to fists, he ground out, "Go. Leave me." As the servant
hastened to obey, Hapuseneb stopped him with a steely command.
river's edge, my priest. In a grove of palms."
walked to the altar and lifted the knife that rested on the edge. It was a
showpiece now, but tonight—
hurried from the palace.
watched his love walk away, then turned back to the river, not yet ready to
return to slavery. Sunrise was barely an hour away, yet he made no move to
return to his quarters for rest.
long he stood gazing at the river, at the ripples that seemed to carry him
beyond this land, he did not know, but finally a voice broke through his
whirled to find himself facing Hapuseneb. The man stood a few feet away, a cloak
hiding his body from Jacob.
did not believe I would find you alone, Jacob."
that is exactly how you find me, Hapuseneb. Alone."
You could not sleep, Jacob?"
I am here is not of your business. In fact, I shall leave you now, to return to
my quarters. The sun will be up soon."
started to walk past the man, but Hapuseneb shot out an arm, his hand grabbing
were with Sennedjem, Jacob."
eyes narrowed dangerously. The moment he'd dreaded was here, yet, he knew no
was alone, Hapuseneb. And Sennedjem would not have one such as myself. He is a
great warrior, I a mere slave."
surprising strength, Hapuseneb pulled Jacob to him, his fingers gripping tight
enough to bruise. "You lay with Sennedjem, Jacob. I have eyes everywhere,
Amon-Ra sees all and he informs his beloved priest."
could care less and you'd be the last person he'd confide in, Hapuseneb. If he
by the remark, Hapuseneb leaned in close enough for Jacob to smell the stench of
death. Mouth close to Jacob's, Hapuseneb warned, "I give you this one
chance. Come with me now, be *with* me, join me and Sennedjem will live."
will live whether I join or not. You cannot best him, Hapuseneb. Do not try. His
men are loyal to him and him alone. He is a favorite of the people and of the
Pharaoh and he is more than you will ever be, Hapuseneb."
dangerously low, Hapuseneb hissed out, "I am the High Priest of Amon-Ra.
Join me now, Jacob. Join. Me. Now."
than an hour ago, Jacob had been considering this very thing, yet faced with the
reality of it, he knew instinctively that Sennedjem would not be saved no matter
what Jacob did. Sennedjem's safety did, in fact, lie with his men. Feeling
incredibly strong with that knowledge, Jacob lifted his head proudly and
declared, "I will never join you, Hapuseneb. My love and loyalty belong elsewhere. You have lost."
left hand on the hilt of the dagger, Hapuseneb said, "No, Jacob, I have not
lost. You have."
those words, he thrust the dagger up and into Jacob the Healer.
eyes widened in surprise as a gasp of extreme pain was wrenched from the younger
man. With his hand still around the hilt, Hapuseneb drew the man to him, wrapped
his other arm around Jacob and held fast.
have lost, Jacob. But you will belong to me in death and in our afterlife."
pulled out the knife and the body slumped against him. Letting the dagger drop
to the ground, he pulled the amulet from around Jacob's neck and dropped it into
the large pocket of his cloak. Then wrapping his fingers in the thick hair, he
lifted the head, desiring one last look into those eyes. Warm blood flowed
freely and Jacob, still alive, his life's blood seeping into the desert floor,
whispered out one name....
was half way back to his camp when the moonlight, filtering through the palms,
caught a piece of jewelry on his hand. He paused and swore. The ring. He'd
intended to give it to Jacob tonight. He glanced back toward the river, his
vision flying as a hawk through the night to finally narrow down to his love.
Who was no longer alone. Frowning, Sennedjem listened and moments later—took
off on a run.
he ran, heart in his throat, bare feet making little sound as they hit the sand,
he felt tears stream down his face. He saw the dagger flash in the dark to be
buried in his love. He heard Jacob's gasp of pain, could smell the copper tang
of life as it poured from Jacob's body—and while still too far away, he heard
Jacob's final vow—his name.
tears that could not blind him, he watched the lifeless body drop to the ground
and the shadowy figure responsible move away to become one with the darkness.
Caring not, Sennedjem put on a final burst of speed, down the embankment to
finally come to a stop before Jacob's body.
spread out, a glittering earring, the pale skin, darkened now with blood, parted
dropped to his knees, the tears coming faster as he reached out a hand to touch
the man that such a short time ago had been warm, alive and full of love and
lifted him into his arms, felt the soft brush of the linen kilt, Jacob's only
clothing, against his skin. He cradled him to his chest and dropped kisses over
the still face, the lifeless, unseeing eyes, and finally, on the warm, full
Sennedjem's attention fully wrapped around the man he held, he failed to see or
sense the return of Hapuseneb. He never saw the dagger, once again in
Hapuseneb's hand, rise high above him, nor did he feel it as it was buried in
his vulnerable and bare back. But he did hear Hapuseneb's words—
him in death, here and now, for it will be your only joining. He is mine
words burned in his mind and releasing Jacob, Sennedjem rose, unheeding of the
still buried dagger, or of the blood coursing down his back. He had no weapon,
but needed none.
relentlessly toward the priest, he reached out and Hapuseneb, believing himself
faced by a man soon dead, did not step back. With a move Sennedjem should not
have been able to make, he leapt upon the priest and with a roar of rage, using
strength born of great loss and imminent death, he wrapped his hands around the
man's throat and with a quick snap, broke Hapuseneb's neck. With a snarl,
Sennedjem allowed the ragdoll of a body to drop.
the body hit the sand, all strength left the warrior and he turned, stumbled a
few steps toward his love, then fell to his knees. His head dropped forward and
the world swam before him. Sound diminished, sight faded, but he fought it,
needing to see Jacob once more, to hold him even as his own death claimed him.
dropped forward and crawled to the body, then stretched out beside him. Two
ragged breaths and the last of his strength allowed him to slide his arm under
Jacob, to pull the cold body to him. He tucked Jacob's head under his, let his
cheek rest against the soft, thick hair and he drew in the scent and smiled.
is no life without you, jacob, but together, there will always be life."
let go of his earthly bindings, knowing that on the other side, Jacob awaited.
Washington - present day
lay on his side, head propped up by his hand. Blair was sound asleep and that
was a-ok by Jim. He enjoyed these moments of quiet observation.
He ran his hand gently up and down Blair's chest, not actually touching
the skin, but enjoying the heat and *aliveness* of the man. He also found
himself marveling at the new muscles. Being a cop had certainly changed Sandburg
on the outside, but inside, thank God, he was still *Blair*.
moonlight shone through the skylight and bathed the bed in an almost ghostly
glow. Jim watched Blair breathe and noticed that the silvery light was doing a
strange thing to his partner, who almost appeared to be another— but that was
ridiculous. Jim dropped onto his back and clasped his hands behind his head.
up at what he could see of the night sky, he thought about his life since he and
Blair had become lovers and realized that Blair was nothing as he'd imagined.
*Being* with Blair was nothing like he'd imagined.
turned his head to gaze again at Sandburg and he smiled. Nope, nothing as he'd
imagined. Blair Sandburg was so different in bed, so different from anyone Jim
had ever encountered that even now, after six months, he was constantly amazed.
There was a commanding presence about Sandburg when they were alone in bed. When
they made love. He was so—God damned different. Being with Blair had turned
out to be a gift that sometimes seemed beyond Jim's ability to accept.
tried to pin down the differences, like the strength and the complete attention
Blair gave to making love to Jim Ellison, the sense of total absorption, and the
way he looked and acted—so in control and easy with it, so very *male* and so
was it—confidence. That was the big difference. Once they'd spoken up,
*declared* themselves, started sleeping together, doing together, Blair had
didn't think he was doing Blair a disservice by such thoughts, after all, the
*pre-Jim and sex* Sandburg had been confident—sort of. But not like now. Now,
there was a sparkle in his eye, slightly devilish, always erotic and always fun.
Didn't matter where or when, if Jim looked, that sparkle was there. They could
be ducked down behind the truck, avoiding flying bullets and Jim could catch his
eye and there it would be—that sparkle. They could be in Simon's office, heads
buried in mock shame while the man dressed them down for something Sandburg had
undoubtedly done and Jim would glance sideways at Blair and sure enough, there
it would be, the sparkle. Just for him. Because it hadn't been there for Sam or
Maya or anyone else. Although maybe a slightly altered version—for Naomi.
from thoughts of sparkling blue eyes, Jim rested his hand above Blair's heart
and said, "Morning."
blinked, looked up at the skylight, then back at Jim. His teeth flashed white in
the darkness as he said with a smile, "Morning? It's dark out."
two. That's morning."
then, morning right back atcha."
ya feeling, Chief?"
good, Detective Ellison. You?"
his own grin, Jim said, "Not bad, not bad at all."
turned onto his side and propped his head on his hand. "You know, we're
getting pretty good at this *making love* thing."
noticed that. I'm thinking—"
thing to do—"
know, but still. It's altogether possible that I love you."
*know* you do. You're so besotted that you're actually going to the exhibit with
Hell, *I* bought the damn tickets."
Besotted. Beside yourself with love and passion and need—"
scooted over and with a hand resting proprietarily on Jim's bare hip, he waggled
his eyebrows suggestively and said, "Wanna try some more of this *making
get to lead this time."
you *always* get to lead," Jim whined.
and I get to lead this time."
leading from the top or bottom?"
grin nearly blinded him. "Oh, hey, you can choose *that*."
snorted - against Jim's neck. Then went on to nibbling. And biting.
stuck his head over the rail, waved and asked, one eyebrow arched, "A
little impatient, are we?"
your butt down here, Ellison."
grabbed his black turtleneck sweater and pulled it on. He brushed back his hair,
checked himself out and nodded. He looked fine considering he was about to
traipse around a museum after hours.
still couldn't believe he'd purchased those very expensive, exclusive VIP
tickets. And Blair hadn't even mentioned the show. And it was all Eberhardt's
fault. If the man hadn't tried to take down the Mayor during a speech on the
steps of the city's capitol, Jim wouldn't have had to be in court six weeks
later to testify against Eberhardt and consequently, he wouldn't have been
anywhere near Beverly Sanchez. Who had spotted him in the cafeteria line and
after getting her own lunch, had joined him.
Jim, will you give this brochure to Sandburg, for me? I think he'll be very
had reached over and taken the item, then, his attention caught by the words on
the front that proclaimed *New tomb discovered in Egypt*, he'd opened it and
found himself equally interested. So much so, that the very idea of surprising
Sandburg had been to tempting and after court and testimony worthy of Clarence
Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, he'd gone to the museum and immediately
purchased the tickets to the VIP opening of the new exhibit.
be told, he had a special place in his heart for ancient Egypt, her rich
history, pharaohs, and tombs.
down the stairs to a wolf whistle from Sandburg, he smiled and held out the gold
envelope. "Here you go, Detective *Blair*, two tickets to the museum. Who
do you plan on taking?"
*Detective Blair*, very funny." Blair snorted as he snatched the precious
tickets from Jim's fingers.
you're the one who risked life and limb to rescue the old lady's cat. It was
quite heroic. It's not my fault that she was deaf and called you Detective
but it's your fault that now the entire squad is saying it.
it is marginally better than *hairboy*."
came up to Blair's side and wrapped an arm around his neck, tilted back the
younger man's head and whispered, "*I* like it, Detective *Blair*."
if it gets you calling me Blair, then so be it."
did a little chewing on Sandburg's ear lobe, then said, "How much time do
enough, Jim, not nearly enough."
should have thought about it twenty minutes ago when you were standing in front
of the mirror and wondering if you were developing a paunch. Which, by the way,
kissed Blair's temple, then said, "But when I do, you'll love me anyway,
almost danced away from the taller man and grinning evilly, grabbed his jacket
and Jim's, then opened the front door and said, "Ready, right?"
ambled over, took his good suit jacket, slipped it on and before Blair could
blink, he'd stolen the tickets from unsuspecting fingers.
Taking unfair advantage of their height difference, he held them out of
reach and repeated, "But when I *do*, you'll love me anyway, *right*?"
expression went from devilish to thoughtful as he eyed the tickets waving over
his head, then down to Jim's waistline, then back up to the tickets.
Jim," he finally said, pouring every ounce of sincerity into his voice,
"how can you think I wouldn't love you, paunch and all? What, you think I'm
shallow or something? That I just love you for your gym-created body? Geesh."
in, Jim lowered the hand holding the prize and patted his washboard stomach,
saying, "I'll have you know, this body is the product of excellent genes,
Sandburg. I go to the gym to ogle."
pounced, grabbed the tickets and moving quickly out into the
said, "Ogle? *Ogle*? With this," his hand moved from his neck down
his groin, "beside you in bed each night, you need to ogle? And I've
Steven naked, man, and that body of yours is *so* not the product
froze in the process of locking the door and turned, key in hand.
me? *Excuse me*? You saw Steven naked exactly when, Sandburg?"
his head while staring up at the ceiling, Blair mused, "Did I say naked?
Slip of the tongue. Seen the man in swim trunks."
are so—dead, Sandburg."
at each other, they moved into the elevator and as the doors
Blair asked, "We have three floors, Jim. Three floors. I can do
lot in three floors—"
to a man with a paunch?"
yeah. And balding. Don't forget balding."
Cascade Natural History Museum was on Parker Avenue and for the night's
festivities, Parker had been blocked off at both ends. The broad beams from huge
searchlights, placed strategically around the museum, traveled the sky over
Cascade proclaiming the event. In addition, four giant spotlights were aimed at
the front of the stately building where flags and banners announced the special
red carpet had been spread out from the sidewalk, up the twenty steps and to the
front set of double doors. From the grand archway over the entrance, the largest
banner had been hung and on it, a replica of the bust of Hatshepsut that had
been found in what was being called the greatest discovery of the century,
swayed in the gentle breeze that favored Cascade on this special night.
from film, television and sports, along with the rich and famous of Washington
were gathering for the opening. Mayor Quintana, even Governor McGowan would be
in attendance tonight as Cascade had been chosen to be one of only two American
cities that would see this exhibit before it was permanently housed in the
Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Jim and Blair walked up the red carpet, flash attachments going off in their
faces in spite of being a couple of *nobodys*, Jim glanced up and reading the
huge banner draped over the archway, asked, "What's ARCE, Chief?"
that's the American Research Center in Egypt. They funded the expedition that
uncovered what we're seeing tonight."
Jim prompted, knowing Blair had *way* more information.
they're kind of a consortium. Founded in 1948, made up of various universities,
scholars and the like. The ARCE is the only agency recognized by the Egyptian
government as the exclusive vehicle for facilitating research by Americans and
American institutions in Egypt."
that's why two American cities were allowed to host?" At Blair's nod, Jim
asked, "So why Cascade and Atlanta? Why not New York or Los Angeles?"
Canada is a major part of the ARCE and Washington, in case it had skipped your
notice, borders Canada. Add to that the fact that Cascade hosts one of only five
chapters of the ARCE and there you have it. As for Atlanta, well, that city is
the American home of the ARCE."
had reached the entrance and as they handed over their tickets and stepped
inside, Jim said, "Okay, that makes sense."
speech was temporarily impossible as they found themselves in the large main
foyer of the museum, crowded in with the elite of Cascade, barely able to move,
while all awaited the official opening of the *Hapshepsut Wing* of the museum.
nearly fifteen minutes, Blair wiggled a bit and tried to see over the elegantly
sheathed shoulder of the woman in front of him, but only got a huge lungful of
Channel Number 5 for his efforts. Jim glanced over at him and grinning, asked,
"You okay down there, Shorty?"
I gotta take you to the Comedy Club, Jim. Whole new career."
lowered himself just enough to whisper in Blair's ear. "We could grope, you
know. No one would be the wiser in this crowd."
winked cheekily and responded with, "Sure. You take the big bruiser on your
right and I'll grope the lady in Donna Karan in front of me."
rolled his eyes, then as he stared off over the crowd, he pinched Sandburg's
butt. Blair promptly jumped two feet in the air, causing the Donna Karan
clotheshorse in front of him to turn and destroy her perfectly made-up face by
giving him a look of such disdain that he was almost cowed. Almost.
ma'am. Can't take the man anywhere, you know? Complete neanderthal. And talk
about uncouth? Geesh."
elegant eyebrow rose as she glanced over at Jim, who smiled charmingly and said,
"Is this man bothering you? I'd be happy to take him out back
woman's eyes nearly bugged out before she turned away in a disgusted huff. At
that moment, a gong sounded and the huge doors, duplicates of the stone doors of
Deir el-Bahri, opened and the crowd began to move. Blair, as he was shoved forward, said, "Man, we are just
*so* grown-up, you know?"
already looking ahead and enjoying the sight, nodded and said, "Yeah, I
know. Ain't it great?"
they moved slowly toward the wing, Jim said, "Okay, tell me again exactly
what we're about to see."
Blair asked, incredulous.
it's going to be several minutes before the crowd thins enough to make any
headway, so yeah, now. Takes my mind off all the odors."
tell me you've turned everything down, like a good little boy?"
just give me the details, okay? And I try to never turn everything down
nowadays. I enjoy *you* too much."
tide of the crowd came to a sudden stop as one young man froze in his tracks.
People, after shooting disgusted looks at the obstacle, finally rerouted
themselves. Jim stopped and with a sphinx-like smile, simply stared back at his
I think that was, like, the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me, Jim."
took the younger man's arm and with a smug smile, led the way into the exhibit.
couldn't believe the attention to detail. The recreation of Hapshepsut's palace
was incredible, the museum having outdone themselves. He wandered down the
hallway, opening up his senses to enjoy the sight, the smells and the sounds of
the faux palace. Somewhere along
the way, he'd lost Sandburg, but he was fully aware of the man's location and if
he continued his present course, he'd eventually end up in Blair's neighborhood.
still didn't have a complete understanding of *why* the discovery of a new tomb
was so important, or what it actually had to do with Hapshepsut, but he figured
in about ten minutes, he'd have reached Sandburg and could ask.
he meandered his way through the replication, he studied the photographs on
either side of the hall, became fascinated by the flickering torch light as it
danced over the walls and for some inexplicable reason felt—at home. And
was a sense of familiarity about his surroundings, as if he'd been here before,
which was impossible. To his right, a large archway and a sign telling him that
just beyond was the Hall of Amon-Ra. Frowning, Jim turned and entered.
the museum had done an admirable job of recreation. A few people mingled in the
room, but several guests stood before what was apparently Amon-Ra's altar, their
eyes wide with interest. A young woman, dressed in clothing typical for the
court of ancient Egypt, stood next to the altar. She was speaking to her
listeners and Jim found himself listening—
Priest Hapuseneb has always been considered by historians to have been a staunch
supporter of Queen and Pharaoh, Hatshepsut. He was very involved in supervising
the creation of many of the buildings that today show the Pharaoh's progressive
and imaginative mind. However, we have now learned, through the discovery of the
strange tomb, that perhaps Hapuseneb actually worked against Hatshepsut."
young woman stepped up to the altar itself and lifted an ornate knife. She held
it over her head, the jewels catching the light and gleaming in the semi-dark
was found in the discovery we are now calling *Sennedjem's Tomb*.
It was once the sacrificial dagger of Amon-Ra and later served as a
decorative piece in the temple. The idea that it would be in the tomb of
Hatshepsut's Captain of the Guards is puzzling to the archeologists still
studying the incredible find.
what we do know," her voice dropped dramatically, "is that the mummy
Sennedjem, had a knife wound—in his back."
paused for effect, allowing her information to sink in as her audience gasped.
Jim stared at the dagger and winced, imagining how it must have felt to a
soldier like Sennedjem, to have been stabbed—
was Captain of the Pharaoh's personal guards, a mighty warrior, and tutor in the
ways of battle to young Tutmos III. His men revered him and the Pharaoh trusted
him with her life. Prior to finding his tomb, it was always believed that
Sennedjem died in battle, his body taken by the opposition. But now, history is
being rewritten and tonight, you have the opportunity to share in the
set the knife down and said in conclusion, "The real dagger is in the next
room, along with many of the scarabs, urns and jewelry found in Sennedjem's
tomb. Enjoy your tour."
to see the artifacts the guide had discussed, people began to move to a side
door, but Jim remained where he was, still enthralled with the altar room.
a man Jim Ellison could certainly relate to and identify with—murdered. Knifed
in the back.
walked up to the altar and stared at the dagger. Who would kill such a man? And
the answers elsewhere in the exhibit? And why did he care? Other than the fact
that a mystery to a detective was like a bone to a starving dog.
found that he couldn't take his eyes from the long elegant knife.
And it wasn't even the real thing. With a sense of unease moving through
him, Jim turned and sent out his hearing—
And he sounded—uncomfortable.
hurried toward the door that evidently led to the exhibition room alluded to by
the guide just moments earlier. As he entered, he spotted Sandburg standing
beside a large glass case and next to him, a dark handsome man in glasses.
do not find the explanations of Doctor Abib to be accurate, but then, I am but a
poor archeologist of little consequence."
at all, Doctor Ragab. Your reputation has preceded you. I have read your book on
Hatshepsut and was—I found it very interesting."
am surprised that an American detective would be interested in Ancient
moved a bit to his right as Doctor Sayyed Ragab stepped closer to him. The
archeologist was invading his personal space and the gleam in his eye was not
one of simple curiosity about an American detective.
well, we Americans love to surprise."
man chuckled deep and placed a hand on Blair's arm. "Perhaps you would like
a look behind the scenes?"
there you are. Have you seen the altar of Amon-Ra yet?"
glanced up at his partner, relief shining from his eyes. "Um, no, not yet,
Jim." Then he turned to Ragab and said, "Doctor, I'd like you to meet
my partner, Detective James Ellison. Jim, this is Doctor Sayyed Ragab. He was
with the team that actually found Sennedjem's Tomb."
stuck out his hand, saying, "It's an honor, Doctor. This is amazing."
shook and something happened—Jim felt pain, then anger, then loss.
Ellison, it is a pleasure to meet the partner of Detective Sandburg. I was just
offering to show Blair behind the scenes, so to speak. Please, join us?"
about what had just happened, Jim found himself nodding while at the same time,
pulling Blair beside him so that he now stood between Ragab and Sandburg.
this way, then."
followed Ragab to the end of the room and to a door marked *personnel*. Ragab
took out a card and slid it down the box to the right, then entered his personal
code and seconds later, the door swung open. He stepped in, then back to allow
Jim and Blair to precede him. Before
continuing on, he made sure the door had shut and locked.
can't be too careful, as I'm sure you understand. The artifacts here are of such
value and importance that the museum has taken very unusual precautions."
Ragab looked at his guests, he suddenly coughed and gave a small dry laugh.
"What am I saying? Of course you both would be very cognizant of the
safeguards taken tonight and for the next two days."
Doctor," Jim answered, barely concealing his dislike of the man,
"we're very *cognizant*."
again, Doctor Ragab held out an arm and gestured that they should proceed down
the hall. As they walked, he managed to maneuver himself so that Jim had to drop
back, allowing Ragab to insinuate himself next to Blair.
I'm about to show you represents the efforts of some of your country's finest
archeologists. The museum is showing less than half of those items found at
Sennedjem's tomb and in fact, we are still working at the dig as well as still
trying to piece together all that we've found."
any of the investigation going on here, at the museum," Blair asked, hoping
against hope that the answer would be yes.
we do have several items here that Doctor Abib is working on.
He and Doctor Kendricks, of Rainier University, are in constant
communication. They are trying to decipher the hieroglyphics on several urns, as
well as several rubbings taken from the tomb."
had reached the end of the hall and once again Ragab inserted the card and
punched in his numbers. This time when the door opened, they found themselves in
a typical museum lab.
one end to the other, work tables had been set up as well as several computers.
On the tables sat various objects, from jewelry to pottery. Against a far wall
stood several slabs what Blair realized must be actual pieces of Sennejem's
tomb. He was awestruck.
looking at Ragab and as he moved slowly and almost reverently to the stones,
Blair asked, "The Egyptian government actually allowed pieces of the tomb
to leave Egypt?"
but then, they had no real choice. Some of the equipment necessary to accurately
date and read the inscriptions resides here in Washington.
And of course, Doctor Kendricks is the foremost expert on Hatshepsut. As
the co-leader of the expedition and Director of the ARCE, he had quite a bit of
Jim nor Blair missed the sour note that crept into Ragab's voice as he discussed
standing before the slabs, reached out and ran a graceful finger over the
nearest slab and the figures that had been crafted into the stone. As he studied
them, Jim said, "Chief, do you know Kendricks?"
know him. I worked an expedition with him back in '92. He's a great man."
frowned and stepped up to the two men. "Excuse me, Blair? You worked with
Kendricks? How is this possible? You, a detective?"
turned away from the slabs and shrugging, answered, "A detective who also
happens to be an anthropologist."
an anthropologist? Why should I be amazed? In America, a detective who is also a
scientist? Of course. Do not also tell me that your interest lay in ancient
primarily, no. Mayan culture caught my interest. But I was
to work two expeditions in Egypt. The first, with Doctor
in '92 and then two years later with—"
paused a moment, then once again shrugged helplessly as he said, "Doctor
eyes glittered in the strange light of the lab and he smiled, an
feral grin. "My earlier comments regarding Doctor Abib must have
at all, Doctor Ragab. Not at all. As you said, there would seem to be evidence
to support both ideas right now and only time will tell which of you is
stated, Blair. Come, let me show you what we've found."
took Blair's arm and Jim bristled at the contact but without seeming to be a
jealous lout, there was nothing he could do but follow. And listen.
Ragab was *not* the lecturer that Blair could be. He had the interest, but his
voice was dry and with few inflections. Not even his accent could ease the
dullness of his words. But Blair appeared interested so Jim listened and waited.
The odd thing about the next fifteen minutes was that every few seconds, Blair's
attention would stray, his eyes flicking back to the slabs—
let the voice drone on, but finally a gasp from Blair brought him back in time
to catch Ragab's words and actions.
this will not be shown at all, not until its provenance can be
had opened a safe and from its dark depths, he'd pulled out a large pouch and
now, with his words, he emptied the pouch onto a velvet pad. As the necklace
gently dropped, Blair's eyes widened in appreciation. Jim stepped up to get a
closer look and as he peered over Blair's shoulder, it seemed that the room
swayed and the temperature shot up.
a curtain that couldn't be there, billowing in an impossible breeze, appeared
before Jim. As the thin material wavered, he seemed to be able to see beyond the
lab and to the other side of the curtain and into another room centuries past—
man. An amulet. The pendant swaying with his movements and two braids—
I know this symbol. Both of these, in fact. This is, of course, the symbol of a
physician and this, this identified the wearer as a slave of the court."
rich beloved voice, drawing him back and Jim blinked in time to see Blair
touching the amulet.
are correct, Blair."
there is no record of any slave healer in Hatshepsut's court."
are again correct. Is this not truly amazing? You begin to see the importance of
this find? And why would there be such an amulet in the tomb of Sennedjem? If
indeed, we have unearthed Sennedjem's tomb."
ran his finger over the amulet again and this time—warmth.
running up his finger to his shoulder—
would be honored if you could find it in your calendar to come by
tonight and I'm certain Doctor Abib would be delighted to see you
still at the dig, isn't he?"
And will be, for at least another week. Will you join us tomorrow?
is Saturday, surely you are not on duty?"
glanced at Jim, who shrugged. Turning back to Ragab, Blair, who could no more
have refused the opportunity than to stop loving Jim, said with a barely
contained grin, "We'd be honored, Doctor Ragab."
who managed to keep his smile in place in spite of Blair's obvious inclusion of
Jim, said, "Please, call me Sayyed. So tomorrow then, about eleven?"
"Very good. Come, let me show you more—"
you going to say anything?"
were on their way to the truck, the cold night air sending Blair slightly behind
Jim, allowing the larger man's body to act as a wind breaker. At Blair's typical
answering of a question with a question, Jim stopped and Blair, who'd been
walking with his head down, slammed into him.
Warn a guy, willya?"
what am I supposed to say and about what?"
supposed to explain Ragab and then praise your good sentinel for his superior
will power and restraint. Dickwad."
Blair reached up and patted the top of Jim's head. "Good Sentinel, very
Jim warned again.
like you need me to tell you about Ragab? The man has the disgusting hots for my
like a true scholar."
let me put it this way: Doctor Ragab reacted in a purely chemical
while in my presence. He found himself irresistibly drawn to me,
to the overpowering pheromones that my body just naturally exudes
I am within one square mile of my hunk of the month, my stud of
year, my body candy of the century—"
were doing pretty well until you got to the body candy part."
a pose that mimicked a Victorian Lothario, Blair intoned, "Let
away, O Stud of My Heart and let me show you how I can use my
tongue to lap the bodily secretions from your candy bar—"
are one sick puppy, Sandburg. But since you *do* have a hell of a
You idiot." Blair repeated his pose, this time adding a hand
out in supplication as he added, "My savior. My protector. The man
would fight for my honor, save my body from a fate worse than
Blair pushed Jim along until they'd reached the truck. Jim unlocked Blair's door
and being no slouch in the Victorian Lothario department himself, added an arm
sweep and said dramatically, "Your servant in love stands by the ready,
sat on the edge of the bed and slipped off his socks. He balled them up and with
the ease of practice, tossed them over his shoulder and listened as they landed
with a rewarding thunk in the open hamper next to the dresser. Damn, he was
stretched up and let his back unkink, then as the toilet was flushed downstairs,
he grinned. Body candy, huh? He'd see about who was body candy tonight, oh,
yeah. He listened as Blair crossed to the kitchen, opened the fridge and grabbed
a water, his usual nighttime need, then listened as Blair ran his own check on
the security of the loft. Jim grinned again.
guy knew damn well that Jim locked up tighter than a drum every night, yet,
since becoming a detective, he now followed a similar routine if he happened to
be downstairs after Jim. You gotta love a guy who does that.
anal and after only three and a half years with him.
Blair started upstairs, he said, "Just checking, Jim, just checking.
head appeared, then his body and Jim stood and slipped out of his boxers. An act
that to this day, never ceased to stump the short guy. And excite him.
no one takes off his underwear with the same aplomb as you, Jim.
must have been a stripper in a past life."
that be male or female?"
came up to him and running his hand over Jim's right ass cheek, said, "All
this would have been totally wasted on a woman."
I was a male stripper?"
I'd stake my reputation as a—what do I have a reputation as?"
supreme of a studly body candy?"
Good. I'd stake my reputation as a Licker Supreme of Studly Body Candy, that you
were a *male* stripper."
pressed closer to Blair, letting his dick rub over Blair's stomach and as he
leaned in for a kiss, he said, lips inches from Blair's, "Wanna see me
arched eyebrow was Blair's answer.
Jim started stripping—Blair.
wrapped his fingers in the hem of Blair's tee shirt and started to bring the
cloth up slowly, letting his
fingers just graze over Blair's heated skin. As Blair's arms rose, Jim carefully
and languidly rolled the shirt higher, his thumbs rubbing over sensitive
underarm flesh. He felt the goosebumps rise and smiled a half smile.
waited until Blair pulled his arms out of the sleeves, then he tugged the rest
of the way, but agonizingly slow, delighting in the flow of thick hair as it
tumbled out. Tossing the shirt away, he glanced down at Blair's sweat pants and
slowly untied the cord. He could see Blair's dick straining towards freedom,
tenting the fabric and the already growing circle of moisture.
bodies were almost touching, but both men held back, choosing to draw this out,
to enjoy the lazy erotic slowness of it. Jim rested his hands on Blair's hips
and gently pushed, the pants giving way and moving down. Blair's dick jumped out
and Jim bent down as sturdy legs were unveiled. Finally he had the pants to the
floor and Blair carefully stepped out of them.
stayed where he was as he shoved the sweats to the side and out of his way. On
his knees before Blair, he did what he'd been resisting since starting his
*strip* act, he began to explore.
sensitive fingers, he ran his hands up and down the flesh of Blair's inner
thighs. When he felt Blair's hands on his shoulders, fingers gripping hard, he
started in on the beautiful prize before him.
He lapped at the pre-come, then swirled his tongue around the head.
let his tongue bathe and taste, making sure he covered every inch.
Blair's body trembled and shook as Jim worked and by the time he took him
whole, Blair was a mass of quivering goo. But Jim wasn't much better. His own
hands shook as they moved up and down Blair's legs, and it seemed that the world
became warm and fragrant. His knees, which had been resting on hardwood floors,
seemed to suddenly be cushioned by silky sand. Silky warm sand.
could feel a warm breeze caress his bare back and he smiled in spite of a mouth
full of Sandburg—
had it been like this. His mind, his body, his senses, all were so full of Blair
that he'd never felt so alive. Jim moved his hands up and let his fingers move
through the soft, kinky pubic hair that curled around Blair's dick and the feel
of it, the sense of Blair's orgasm, almost undid Jim. He was shaking, and as
Blair came, so did Jim.
should have been over then—but it wasn't. As Jim allowed Blair's dick to slip
from his mouth, the younger man bent down and wrapped his arms around Jim's
head, then rested his own on top of Jim's. Jim found his arms sliding around
Blair's waist and they held on, their bodies still trembling with the after
closed, Jim let his head rest against Blair's stomach until Blair started
kissing his hair. He lifted Jim's face and rained small kisses on Jim's
forehead, his eyes, both temples—then he slid down so they faced each other,
both on their knees.
nodded and whispered back, "I know. I know."
didn't have to ask what Blair meant. "I felt it."
under my feet. A breeze, warm and fragrant—"
were both grinning foolishly. Then Blair cocked his head and said, that sparkle
in his eye, "You are one damn fine lover. You literally transported
cupped Blair's face between his hands and kissed him. Desperately, deeply,
needing more than he could put into words.
was in that state, that wonderful, comfortable state between sleeping and
wakefulness. He was drifting, still aware of the man who was draped across his
body, of the silky skin his hand was brushing across. He wondered if being in
the womb felt this good.
also knew that he and Sandburg needed to talk. The events at the museum, the
things Jim had experienced both here at home and in the exhibit of Hatshepsut's
palace—he needed to tell these things to Blair.
He'd learned a few painful, some almost deadly, lessons about not sharing
information and he wasn't about to repeat history.
let his eyes finally shut and smiled in the darkness. Everything was so right in
his world. So very right—finally. Blair shifted in his arms and moaned
slightly. Jim's eyes shot open and he glanced down, trying to see Sandburg's
face through the hair. He brought his hand up and brushed several silky strands
away and realized that Blair was waking. A few moments later, sleepy blues were
looking at him.
not," came the fuzzy reply, via a yawn.
Jim asked, "Not high on love, eh?"
rubbed his head on Jim's chest and said against his skin, "Hey, I'm draped.
I'm sleeping *on top* of you."
without the aid of bunk beds. We are simply amazing."
shared a laugh, both remembering the night they'd finally gotten together—
- six months previously
They're your team too, Sandburg."
didn't have to say it, Jim still heard the words—"but it's just a
gazed over at him, his expression one of mixed emotions. Some genuine sorrow for
Jim's loss and a healthy mix of whimsy at the idea that Jim could be this bummed
over a baseball game. But Blair figured he might have the cure. He stood quickly
and as he rushed to the door, he threw over his shoulder, "Be right back,
Jim. Got an errand to run."
Sandburg? It's late—"
worry, be right back."
he was gone. The door shut and Jim was alone. With his misery. The Seattle
Mariners had been slaughtered at the altar of the NY Yankees.
Blech. The World Series would not include his team this year. Damn.
considered moving, getting a beer, but decided against it. When one was about to
indulge in pity, one shouldn't move and he'd save the drunk part for later, when
Sandburg got back. He loved Sandburg's lectures about sentinels and drinking to
was really getting into his pathetic *feel sorry for me* mood when Blair
returned. Jim checked his watch and was amazed to find that only twenty minutes
had passed. And he *hadn't* heard Blair's Volvo. Or Blair on the stairs. Or
Blair in the hall. He'd have to share that with the guy. Sports pity muted his
was still considering that phenomenon when Blair bounded over the back of the
couch to land remarkably soft next to Jim. He shoved a greasy brown bag in front
of his face and said happily, "For you."
sniffed. Then sniffed again. Onions - grilled. Relish. Umm, ketchup,
cheese—double cheese. Mustard, Thousand Island dressing and two giant
And if he wasn't mistaken—fries, extra crispy.
was a saint. But he was ruining a perfectly decent pity party.
that Jim would turn down the heart attack in a bag. No sir, not him.
grabbed it and dug in.
watched, amazed, as the huge burger was cut by half in only two bites. He
trailed a small river of dressing as it flowed down Jim's chin and was
considering lapping it up for the man when Jim's hand wiped it away. Damn it.
he enjoyed his partner's glee in the burger and fries, he found himself
wondering about something. It wasn't new, this subject, but it seemed that maybe
tonight, well, maybe tonight would be a good time to bring it up? *After* Jim
finished the burger?
settled back, legs crossed Indian style, a magazine on his lap.
When a french fry was waved enticingly under his nose, he glanced up to
find the burger gone and only a few crispy fried potatoes left.
thanks, Jim. You enjoy them."
happily, Jim popped the fry into his mouth and chewed dreamily.
Blair watched as the last fry disappeared. While Jim wiped his mouth,
Blair decided that now was the time and asked, "Why am I here?"
didn't even pause in his cleaning routine as he said, "You know, after
three years, I get that question. However, I think you know why *you're* here,
so the question you're really asking is; why are you *here*."
know, Jim, after three years, I get that."
you might. So, why don't you answer the question of why *you're* here, then I'll
answer the question of why you're *here*. Deal?"
face scrunched up in the manner that told Jim he was looking for
a bear trap and a loophole. When he'd decided that there was no
and that he didn't want a loophole, he nodded. "Fair enough. Okay,
waited. He watched Blair's eyes travel the length of the loft, then come back to
rest on Jim.
here because I don't want to be anywhere else. I should be somewhere else. I
mean, after all, I'm thirty. I should have my own place now. I can certainly
thirty-eight, we're both way too old for roommates. But I simply don't *want* to
be anywhere else."
let his gaze move over Sandburg's face and he smiled at the familiar
countenance, the face that still, after all this time, could surprise him with
its never-ending number of expressions. Of course, there were a few Jim would
never see—unless this conversation went as he now hoped it would—
Right. Well, you're *here* because—"
next words would do it. Tip the conversation over, move it into a new realm.
Change them forever. Bombs away!
if you were anywhere else—I'd die."
found that he could only stare at his roommate. A roommate who'd just said that
he'd die—without him.
"We just—kinda—said some heavy things, Jim."
than the typical," he made a motion of flexing his muscles, "macho
type men and roommates might normally say, you know?"
gazed out the large windows and couldn't stop the huge smile that had started to
spread across his face.
know. I was just thinking of what I like best about living here."
the charming company?"
Jim, besides that."
smile got bigger. "I like—sleeping under you."
Jim managed *not* to squeak as he repeated, "*Under* me?"
yeah. I can hear you at night, turning over, the bed springs you know.
Sometimes, I can hear you punching at your pillows and I start to pity the poor
criminals of Cascade."
making a big deal of it, Jim scooted over until his shoulder was touching
know, I like the idea of you sleeping under me too, but to be honest, I'd prefer
what I'm thinking, yeah."
bit back a laugh as he said, "Beds R Us is running a special on bunk beds.
We could trade off."
could, but that's not really what I had in mind. Would you be
if I mentioned that the idea of you draped over me—well, you
*lying* on me—is a bit of a fantasy for me? It's not a fantasy
had about too many people—"
is Laurel and Hardy thing, isn't it?"
more of a Punch and Judy thing."
Judy, I'd never punch you. Punch you out, but never punch you."
flicked a bit of Blair's hair, then tweaked the earring in his right ear.
"You'd never punch me out and watch who you're calling *Judy*."
you think Stan Laurel draped himself over Oliver Hardy?"
big men get cold at night. We need our cute little bedrugs."
were staring at each other then, eyes locked, mouths twitching. Jim started to
lean down, stopped, cocked his head. Blair let the smile blossom and lifted his
hand to run a finger over Jim's mouth. "We're going to do this, aren't
gaze dropped to Blair's lips and he gave a small, half smile, the corners of his
eyes crinkling, as he said,"I love you."
realize this is new for you—"
in three years, I've never smelled a man on you, Sandburg."
kept his eyes on Jim as he pulled the man's shirt out of his jeans. "Well,
of course you haven't. I moved in with a cop. We both had enough on our plates,
so I simply abstained from same sex
relationships and contented myself with women."
time Jim couldn't contain the squeak as he said, "You've been in
a—you're—you've been with a guy?"
Jim, Jim. We're two men, we move in together, we do *everything* together, we
touch each other like it's going out of style, neither of us really had to
adjust and what, you think that's normal?"
point. Not a lot of heterosexual men out there doing this at our ages."
had stopped listening. His explorations under Jim's shirt had him thoroughly
watched the many expressions of Blair Sandburg in love and exploring. These were
new and pretty nifty. But really, it was time to get a little of his own, namely
those lips. He leaned in the rest
of the way, angled a bit, tried to get Blair's attention, and finally simply
swooped in and took it.
kiss was actually several small kisses, each man tilting their heads, smiling
into the kisses, changing position, finding the right angle until finally, arms
entangled, the kissing became *the* kiss. A long, deep, thorough kiss. Wet,
needy, tasting and dueling.
pulled away first and grinned when Jim, eyes still half closed, tried to follow
his mouth as if it were a suspect.
his head to avoid the air raid of Jim's lips, Blair said, grinning,
"Simon's gonna shit a brick."
the elusive Blair, Jim chuckled and with lips on the move, he
murmured, "He'll have to stand in line—"