The Coming Of Age

By K9

Staring open mouthed at the retreating figure of the gangly youth in blue denim, Blair audibly gasped. "That guy just cruised you!" he said incredulously.

Continuing to read his newspaper, seemingly oblivious, Jim Ellison was apparently barely listening.

"Huh?"

"That guy; the jailbait in denim who just breezed past, he was *cruising* you!" Blair's voice had risen, and he was still staring after the man.

"No he wasn't."

"Yes he *was*. Of all the cheek...he must know you're a cop too, you still have your badge on your shirt pocket, not to mention that you're here with *me*!"

"Sandburg, when you work in a job where the majority of the people you meet try to shoot you, having someone flirt a little is rarely too upsetting." Jim gave a small smile, and returned to his newspaper.

"I don't believe you're taking this so well! Why aren't you feeling the need to strangle him for so *obviously* flirting with you in public? Isn't he breaking a law, or seven?"

"That would be senseless violence, and pointlessly trivializing police procedure." Jim sighed, not taking his eyes from his newspaper.

"Oh brother, where's Jim Ellison, what did you *do* with him?" Blair chuckled.

"This is the 'new Ellison'," Jim replied with a smirk, "In control, calm, and reasonable, not to mention cutting down on his paperwork."

"But I liked the *old* Jim Ellison who was cranky, volatile, and *unreasonable*," the younger man sighed wistfully, "He had a certain na´ve charm and lots of Neanderthal muscle."

"So, you only want me for my body?"

"Yeah, of course...what else?"

"My winning smile?"

Blair thought for a moment, "Only when it's beaming down at me as I have my legs slung over your shoulders."

"Okay, that's good enough," Jim decided, and he straightened the pages of the sports section.

The sun was shining, and there was a gentle summer breeze wafting across the park as the two men sat beneath the trees enjoying the remnants of a Wonderburger, and a little break from police work.

Getting shot at, and maimed on a daily basis could be a real drag sometimes, and these quiet moments of reflection, and peace were worth their weight in gold to a stressed out cop, and his equally stressed out partner.

"I still don't believe that little creep was cruising in broad daylight in a public park, and hitting on a *cop*," Blair muttered again, fidgeting irritably, and picking the onion rings from his salad; knowing that the smell would send Jim reeling later in the day as they curled up for their evening game of tongue hockey. The smell of the accompanying Wonderburger, however, appeared to act as a serious aphrodisiac.

"Sandburg, will you please let it go?"

"Jeez, Jim he must have been all of fifteen!"

"He was easily twenty, now quit getting so paranoid."

"What do you mean, 'paranoid'?"

Placing the paper down, Jim turned to his partner; his face was unusually grim, and he had that steely look that Blair recognized as the warning sign, signalling 'a serious conversation is about to begin'.

"Do you realize that for the past few weeks you've been almost obsessed about getting older?" he asked, "Blair, you're thirty not seventy, why worry about getting old when there's no acceptable alternative?"

Blair paused in mid bite of burger, "I have *not*!"

"Yes you have. First there was that long discussion we had in bed about why I was attracted to you in the first place, was it because you looked so young 'back then'. Then we went on to the 'do you think I'd look younger if I cut my hair' speech..."

"When you threatened me with physical violence.."

"Better believe I did! I don't get it Sandburg, you're an attractive young guy. You're smart, and popular, why the hell are you getting so bent out of shape about adding a few years to the package?"

Blair looked away and shrugged, "I don't know, maybe it's a 'gay thing' you know?"

"No, I don't know. Enlighten me."

"Oh man, you know the score. Gay relationships are built on attraction, and lots of really happy couples drift apart after *years* together when the physical side of the relationship gets stale, or they stop getting turned on by their partner. Gay men don't always have the old society rituals of marriage, and children to bind them together through thick, and thin the way some straight couples do. I guess I've just been thinking about it."

Jim frowned, "That's *it*? You are such a *jerk*," he grunted, and stared back at his paper.

Shooting his partner a glare, Blair turned to face him, "Why am I a jerk? For facing reality?"

"No, for making the happiness we have *unhappy* with what 'might be'. Shit, Sandburg, I *might be* hit by a truck tomorrow!"

"You see, this is what I mean, I can't talk to you about this because you won't face the fact that someday we might just not want to be together."

"Is that what this is about, you're having second thoughts?"

Running his fingers through his hair, Blair shook his head wearily, "No!"

"So you're spending your days stressing out on what 'might' happen someday? Worrying over what we might, or might not feel at some time in the future?"

"Jeez Jim, that was pretty complex for you, man!" Blair attempted a smile, and wished he'd kept his runaway mouth well, and truly shut.

"Do *not* do that, Sandburg, don't try to push all of this aside with some smart ass remark. I'm getting really tired of this shit," Jim Ellison almost bristled with irritation.

Wincing from the underlying anger and hurt in his partner's voice, Blair shook his head, "I'm sorry. I just can't get it out of my mind. It's not like I don't know how dumb I'm being about this, but it won't go away Jim."

"If anyone should feel threatened about getting old, and being 'abandoned' here, it should be me!" Jim hissed. "What, you think this dumb old cop never thought about it? I suppose all of those hours I spend hunting down doughnuts, and beating confessions out of prisoners takes up all my thinking hours, huh?"

Rubbing his face Blair groaned, "Quit with that shit, will you?" he shifted uncomfortably, hating it when Jim pointed out that even Blair could occasionally be ambushed by stereotyping, a flaw that Blair would deny with his last breath despite knowing that it was, very occasionally, true.

"Oh, it's 'shit' when I do it, but not when Mr 'Gay Martyr' Sandburg spends his time dwelling on it?"

"Look, I'm sorry I mentioned it, okay?"

"No, you're not. It must be on your mind a lot for you to start getting paranoid when any guy out of diapers walks past."

Leaning back against the tree, Blair closed his eyes and sighed, "Yeah, it's on my mind a lot. I love you Jim, and I can't bring myself to look to a time when we might not be together. You're not just my lover, you're my *life*, man. The whole sentinel thing is all my life has ever been about. I was attracted to you as a sentinel even before I was attracted to you as a guy. It's frightening to think that it all might just end someday."

Jim rubbed his temple wearily, "Blair, you talk like breaking up as lovers would be like dying. So what if some day we called it quits as lovers? That doesn't mean we'd have to stop being friends, it doesn't mean I'd stop being a sentinel and stop needing you to help me with that. Life is *not* just about sex, no matter how much it feels that way sometimes."

A small grin began to play on Blair's lips, "You know, Ellison, I hate it when you play the 'good cop' role in this relationship and get all reasonable on me," he teased.

"Okay then," Jim shuffled the paper once more, obviously satisfied that he'd made his point, "So, just shut up Sandburg, and be grateful that you get laid regularly!" he grumbled a little more playfully.

Laughing now as the tension began to ease, Blair swatted at his partner, "That's the Jim Ellison I know, and love."

"Just promise me you'll let this go?" Jim asked.

"If you promise me that we'll be forever?" Blair replied, not meeting Jim's gaze but instead picking nervously at this fingers.

"I love you Blair, but I won't lie to you. I don't know that we'll last 'forever' any more than you do."

With a warm smile Blair looked up suddenly, his eyes radiating the love he was sure he'd always feel towards Jim Ellison. "If you'd given me any other answer but that one I'd have known you were lying, and I couldn't handle that. I love you *because* you won't lie to me, not even to spare my feelings."

Jim smiled, and barely resisted the urge to lean over and kiss his partner, here, in the city park in full view of everyone. "And I meant it when I called you a 'jerk' too," he complained lightly.

"Oh I know *that*!"

Unspoken words passed between them, and an uneasy truce was called. There was no simple, uncomplicated way out of this dilemma, and they both knew that.

"Heads up, Sandburg, the chicken has landed again!" Jim ducked his head back into his paper as the young man in the skin-tight denim sauntered back towards them, coyly reading 'The Advocate' and almost batting his eyes in Jim's direction.

"I don't believe some people," Blair muttered, "You think his mother knows he's out in a park all alone? Oh, and look, she forgot his Pampers too. Maybe the hospital *can* repair denim inflicted penile damage?"

"Meow"

"I guess he'll be okay looking when he grows up, and starts shaving!"

"Hairless can be sexy," Jim muttered.

Blair's head snapped around, and the previously soft blue gaze hardened, "You telling me you don't like hairy guys now?" he growled, but the banter had now become lighter, and more in keeping with their usual teasing.

"Gets stuck in my teeth."

"I guess it depends what you're putting in your mouth."

"He's got a nice body," Jim sighed, pretending to not really look at the kid but obviously having checked him out with sentinel precision.

"I've seen more muscle on a chicken wing!" Blair snorted, and deliberately eyed the young man menacingly.

"Muscle isn't everything, Sandburg, I didn't fall for *your* muscles!"

"No, you love me for my I.Q. Because 'smart is sexy'."

"No, it's your ass. You have a nice ass. Kinda round and squeezable."

Blair fought hard to keep up the angry stare, knowing that Jim was aware he was making him laugh, "Why thank you, I'm glad you appreciate it."

Just as the youth sashayed past, Jim whispered again, so low that only Blair could hear, "And your dick isn't bad, either, though I guess it could be a little *bigger*!"

Coughing up his soda, bubbles snorting down his nose, Blair almost choked, "You bastard!" he spluttered as Jim handed him a handkerchief to mop up his now damp jeans.

"I think I'd better take you home before you embarrass yourself even further," Jim helped him wipe his pants, "This is how it's gonna be when we're old you know? Sponging you down when you wet your pants."

Unable to stop the peel of laughter, Blair launched himself at his partner, punching playfully at the bigger man.

When they eventually climbed into the truck, Jim headed for the loft apartment before returning to the PD, so that Blair could change into dry clothes.

"We're gonna be okay, huh Jim?" Blair said at last, relaxing back into the seat.

"Never said we weren't, Chief."

"I love you, Jim Ellison."

"Like you said, Sandburg, you're a smart guy!"

 

 

The End

 

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