Confession Time


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Jim's hands are planted firmly on the table, nowhere near skin, nowhere near clothing. But his lips are close enough to the suspect's ear that Blair knows each word Jim's whispering, just loud enough for the tape to catch, is felt as well as heard.

And Jim's smile, the little catch of amusement darkening his voice, is like the scrape of a blade.

He's invasive, threatening, totally overwhelming like this. And now one hand is caressing the chin of the man who thought he could kill children in Jim's city, tilting the man's face so he can smile down into it, each word bringing Jim's face closer, closer, until the parody of intimacy twists past the point of endurable and the man cracks, babbling, trying to free himself from the promise of pain in that smile.

And Blair bites down on his knuckle, needing the gag of bone and skin to silence him, needing the pain to ground him, because Jim's killing him here and the thick, strong pulse of blood in his cock is shameful enough, given the cause, that he'll sleep alone tonight, a self-imposed exile Jim will worry over without asking him why.

Jim's never like this with him in bed or out of it. But Blair sometimes wonders what it would be like to stare up into Jim's eyes and see no mercy, no hope of release.

He thinks he'd like it and that stopped scaring him a long time ago.

Pity it would terrify Jim.


When he comes out of the interview room, blind with an anger he couldn't inflict on Owens while he questioned him, tainted just by breathing the same air as that, that thing in there, Blair's in the corridor waiting.

Hard. Aroused. His tongue flicking nervously, obsessively at his lower lip, at one place on it, a patch of wet, red heat.

All the fury he's held in boils up, spills over. He walks past Blair without meeting his eyes and as Blair turns, a puzzled "Jim?" on his lips, his hand reaches and grabs.

His fingers slide inside the collar of Blair's shirt and twist it, cutting off enough of Blair's air that the only sound to emerge now is a choked gasp. The corridor's empty, but it won't stay that way.

Doesn't matter. This won't take long.

He hauls Blair closer, watching the panic peak and level off. Because he's safe, isn't he? Sandburg's pet Sentinel. Sandburg's fantasy. Sandburg's wind-up, blow-up doll.

Sandburg's wet dream.

And here he'd thought he was Blair's friend and lover.

His fingers loosen, his knuckles caress chafed skin, and he smiles at the flushed face upturned to him, smiles kindly, reassuringly, normally. Just like Garry Owens had smiled at Tiffany, Sarah, Claire before -- "Hey, Chief."

"Jim?" There's a hint of a stutter there as Blair reaches up to cautiously massage his throat. A button's come undone and it's hot enough this August night that Blair's naked under the thin cotton shirt he's wearing. Jim's hand slides down to the exposed vee of skin and hair and touches it lightly. He's not paying much attention to how it feels; the soft push of springy hair, the damp heat radiating from Blair's sweaty, ripe body; he's listening.

He's got maybe five seconds before… yeah, Thompson, he can smell that cinnamon gum the guy's addicted to, comes around the corner. He's under pressure here, but when is he not?


His hand cups Blair's erection, an assessing, brutal squeeze, because he wants to be fair, wants to be sure…


Blair whimpers, making a sound that's new to Jim. Nothing he's ever done to Blair's body, nothing he's ever said, has given him that sound. He's had to hurt Blair to get it. Well, isn't that nice.


Jim steps back, his expression blandly neutral, leaving Blair on display, heated, hard, looking worked over, well used.


Blair hears the approaching footsteps and the panic's back and there's shame there, too, thank God, because Jim's not sure what he'd do if there wasn't something in Blair that knows just how wrong this is.

And because of that saving grace he puts himself between Blair and Thompson, gives Blair a chance to dive through the door to the stairs and escape.

When Thompson's walked on, after giving the interview room door a look of distaste and Jim's shoulder a passing pat, half comfort, half approval, all cop, Jim goes to find Blair.

He wonders if that's going to be easy or not, now.


Blair closes the loft door behind him, his breath coming in fast, shallow gasps because any calmness that the drive home has bestowed has fled in the face of what's waiting for him when he and Jim meet up again.

The loft is empty; Jim could have beaten him back easily enough; the man drives like Jehu, but he's picked up enough about the routine of Jim's work to know that there'd be reports to write after the interview; paperwork that couldn't be avoided, unless Jim, for once, this once --

He's no Sentinel, but he can hear the wheeze and creak of the elevator as it begins its return trip to the ground floor and he knows whose finger has pressed the button calling it back.

He could escape, take the stairs, (escape; why did he think of it like that, why does he feel pursued, hunted?) but he knows Jim well enough to know Jim's anger doesn't cool; it hardens. Blair's good at being not there when people are annoyed with him; not from fear as much as a dislike of confrontation, but that's not going to work this time.

His heart's thudding and he feels sick with nerves. Throw up when Jim arrives and hope that buys him some sympathy? Somehow, he thinks it'll just deepen the look of disgust in Jim's eyes.

Man, that had hurt.

And he doesn't get why, not really, but every guess he's made has left him increasingly certain that he's not going to be able to talk fast enough to get even a basic 'sorry' out before Jim's on him.

He shivers, and finds his fingers at his throat, pressing the tender skin. He'd seen the rough redness on his neck, peering into the rearview mirror at a red light, twisting and turning, and still hard.

Jim had hurt him. Scared him. Touched him. He remembers the feel of Jim's hand, dispassionate, assessing, and keens, a desperate, involuntary whine of lust that embarrasses him as soon as he hears it.

And when the door opens a second later, he knows Jim must have heard it, too.

Which should get this talk off to a good start.

He doesn't have time to do more than turn around before the slam of the door cuts off whatever he'd been planning to say. He's not sure what it was, anyway.

Somehow, he thinks asking Jim if they can fuck first because he's dying here, isn't going to go over well.

And then his reason leaves him, the way it does when he's getting shot at, when he's about to die, and he's, oh, he's in a primal space, man, fight or flight (submit, why isn't that an option? Oh, it doesn't matter, he's not wired that way, not when it counts, not when it's serious) because Jim's looking at him, eyes blind, all-seeing, a mask of concentration dropped over the familiar features, cutting Blair off from the Jim he knows, loves, the Jim who picks up Blair's discarded clothes and puts them in the hamper, who hand picks out cherries at the supermarket, cherries, dammit, when everyone else uses a scoop, accepting some will be soft-spotted. But not Jim, long fingers careful, because Jim knows Blair loves them and he wants every one to be perfect.

This is not that Jim.

It's not even the Jim who drives into him, cock hard, fingers bruise-tight on Blair's body, because that Jim kisses every mark he's left, every one of those accidental, incidental (treasured) marks; soft, apologetic kisses better that Blair wants to wipe off in case they work.

This Jim's the one he thought he wanted and he doesn't, oh, he doesn't, because his Jim's lost in there and it's all wrong --

And he wants to fall to his knees -- and he's dreamed of doing that, following the spun-out trail of his fevered, fervid, frantic thoughts until he's somewhere dark and private and strange (no, known, always known) -- but if he does Jim will most likely walk out because that's what this is about, isn't it? Twisted needs, kinked, bent out of true (but it's him, it's part of him, and Jim loves him, says so, not often but enough) and Jim, clean, heroic, oddly innocent at times, can't take it, can't handle it, can't -- isn't --

Jim's hand closes around his throat and squeezes and he's just got time to remember how, ultimately, those poor little girls died, before his vision grays and Jim's kissing the last breath out of him, stealing it from his mouth and leaving nothing behind but the taste of ashes, white ashes, cold and dead.


Jim watches Blair's eyes glaze and dim, breaking what wasn't really a kiss as much as an extension of the assault. He knows so many ways to kill with nothing more than bare hands and the weight and strength of his body; listing them would take longer than doing it. And because he knows how to do it, what it would take, and because he knows Blair's physical limits better than Blair does, he's safe, this is safe, Blair is safe.

It is. He is.

He's willing to bet Blair wouldn't agree with him but it's hard to argue without oxygen to back you up.

He lets his thumb slide up and down in an absentminded caress of Blair's throat, feeling Blair's skin drag against the ball of his thumb, damp and rank with sweat. And he puts his arm around Blair, cradling him as Blair starts to slip away into the darkness, rocking him as he lets Blair take one breath, then another, his hand lightly pressing now, no more.

Blair makes noises, strangled, painful chokes and grunts, his eyes wet, his mouth hanging open. He's looked better.

It's time to speak, but Jim's lost for words -- the right words that is; he has things to say, names he wants to call Blair, sure he does, but something tells him Blair would remember words long after he's forgotten what it feels like to have his air cut off, and Jim's not at the point where he wants Blair irrevocably gone from his life.

Close, though.

"Are you hard now?" he asks, his mouth shaping the words carefully because this feels important, these first words he says, and he wants to do it right.

Blair's head jerks from side to side, a stuttered no.

"Then why were you earlier?"

And, really, that's it, that's all, he's done now. Inside his head he's got a scream, a stream of conversation ricocheting around the cold, hollowed-out emptiness -- tell me why -- when I was -- him and you -- disgusting, vile, God, Blair, God, do you know how that felt? Do you know what you did to me, you, Blair, my Blair, do you, doyoudoyou? -- but he's not listening to it now because he doesn't want to miss a single word Blair says.

Blair lifts his hands, a slow, drugged drift upwards that ends with them resting on Jim's shoulders. Not on his already bruising neck, not to push Jim back, away; no, they rest and cling and grip, pulling Jim closer.

"Don't," Jim says and he doesn't sound calm now, he sounds scared, he can hear the fear quivering in his voice. "Get your fucking hands off me."

Blair's head moves again, rolling against the support of Jim's arm, and his eyes close, but his hands stay where they are and Jim can feel each finger's press, clear and distinct. Through the leather of his jacket (too hot, but it covers his holster), through the cotton of his shirt (the one that he wore, yes, it was this one, it was, the first time Blair kissed him, taking an argument --he'd been yelling, been pushing, hands on Blair, all over Blair -- and turning it into foreplay) through skin and bone and muscle, he feels them press.

He watches Blair swallow and wince and lick his lips and he waits.

"Fuck you," Blair says in a tired, furious whisper.

"Not an option, you sick little bastard." The words make Blair's eyes squinch tighter closed and then open wide. They're blankly dazed. "I asked you a question."

"I was watching you in there with him. The way you broke him." Blair's voice strengthens, unflinchingly honest when Jim wants a plausible lie. "You were hot, okay?"

He's seen Blair fight. It's scrappy, inventive, surprisingly effective sometimes, in a slapdash way. Blair's hurt people, more than maybe he would have wanted to, because he has no training, lavishly overestimating the force required to subdue, disarm, neutralise.

There's no excuse for him when it comes to words, though. Blair knows just what to say, always.

Hot. He'd been interrogating a man who had raped, tortured, strangled children and Blair had thought --

Jim steps back, shrugging off Blair's hands, swiping at where they've touched him, as if he's brushing off filth. He watches Blair sway, regain his balance, and knows he wouldn't have reached out to catch Blair if he'd fallen.

"Blair…" Broken? He's broken. He's lost. Both of them are.

"No, Jim. No. I don't know what you're thinking but, no, listen --"

Now they're not touching, Blair's trying to get to him with words, tying him down with a thousand threads, burying him under a million snowflakes, each one weighing nothing, nothing at all, but still so heavy.

He can't breathe.

"Jim! Stay with me, man."


"Listen to me."

Just did, Jim thinks. Look where that got me.

"You've got to tell me why this is freaking you out so much, Jim."


It's so… ludicrous that Blair doesn't know; Blair of all people, that Jim laughs, watching Blair flinch at the horrible sound.

"Okay. Sure. I'll tell you." It's like running downhill once he starts. Easy, fast, and heading for a crash. "I was in there and I was… I was forcing myself to talk to someone I just wanted to wipe out of existence. Destroy. For hours. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I had to make him tell me, for the record, what he'd done, and I wanted to scream at him to stop after thirty seconds. Less. But that wasn't the worst part. I could hear the way he got -- when he told me, he…" Jim stops talking, takes a deep breath. There's no satisfaction in this, no need for revenge in him now. Blair asked. He's telling him. "I was so focused on him, had to be. I was using everything I'd got to work him, push him, break him. I was wide open and he was -- his hands -- cuffed -- in his lap and he was rubbing -- until he -- I could smell him --"

Blair makes a sound too close to the one he'd made in the corridor to be bearable, his face twisted with distaste and sympathy.

"Like you, Chief," Jim says, moving forward, getting in Blair's face. He can feel his skin heat and hear the seashell rush of his blood. His voice is steady now, bitingly cold "He was hard. Like you. He was getting off on what he'd done to those kids, not me, but you were both using me the same way and I'm sorry if that's freaking me out, I'm sorry if I'm over reacting --"

"No, no, you're not," Blair says in a whisper, urgent, intense. "Jim --"

"I came out of there and I wanted to throw up," Jim tells him. "And I saw you and I was glad because you always make it better, you know that? Always make me feel clean again because it doesn't touch you, you just let it wash away, light a candle, meditate -- and it's New Age crap, but I don't care because you're happy afterwards and that's good, Chief, that's great, you know?"

Blair turns his face away as if he can't bear to look and Jim doesn't know what expression he's hung on his face that's so hard to deal with, but it doesn't matter. Jim brings his hand up and around, slapping his open palm against the averted cheek and jerking Blair's head around so they're staring at each other again. He keeps his hand there long enough to make sure Blair gets the message and then takes it away. His palm prickles with transferred heat and the roughness along Blair's shadowed jaw.

Blair stares at him. "I didn't know that. Any of it. I was only there at the end, for a little while. I didn't know, Jim."

"You knew who he was. What he'd done."

"That, yes, but it wasn't --" Blair grimaces. "It wasn't relevant. I wasn't looking at him, or even really listening. It was you. Just you."

"Now, see, that's just not good enough --"

"Would you have cared if I was getting off on you being that much in charge, that in control, and he'd just been a thief? A drug dealer?" Blair asks, overriding Jim's words, and he's so fucking calm now, so easy in his skin.

"I don't know." He can't lie to Blair. Has to match Blair's frankness.

Blair smiles, nods. "That's good. That's better than judging me. We can work with that."

"No, Chief, we can't." Jim stabs at the air with his finger. "I can't work with you. I can't be near you right now. You have to leave."

"And go where?"

"I don't know." Jim's voice is cracking open, dry and brittle. "Just away."

"That's not a good idea, you know." Blair sounds certain. "It's still you running away even if I'm the one who leaves."

"Spare me the philosophical shit, will you?"

"Look." Blair scrubs his hands over his face and then steps closer. "I'm going to forget you just compared me to a mass murderer -- yeah, yes, you did, Jim, God I can't believe you did that -- and ask you something. And then I'm out of here, if that's still what you want."

"Fine. Ask." If it's the fastest way to get himself some space, he'll bite. And he hadn't compared -- he hadn't meant --

"What happened when we met, Jim?"

It's like being dealt four aces.

"You lied to me and pretended to be someone you weren't." He gives Blair his best smirk. "Some things don't change, huh, Chief?"

"Funny." Blair licks his lips. Jim wishes he wouldn't do that because he still wants to kiss Blair; part of him does, anyway. The rest wants to get back to choking him quiet and feeling the flutter of Blair's pulse against the heel of his hand. It's going to disturb him later how much he liked bringing Blair to that point of silent and waiting for what was going to happen to him next. "Later. In my office. When you walked in, and sat down, staring at me. Like a cop, all cold eyes. And you know what came next. What you did to me when I pushed you just a little. You miss how hard that got me?" Blair demands, his voice rising. "Don't see how you could; you were standing close enough. You didn't get a clue back then? Didn't notice the times we had sex and I came just that little bit harder and louder because you'd left me no other choice and I loved it? It took today for you to get it?"

"Get what? That I'd hooked up with a cop groupie?" Jim says, not faking the scorn.

"Cop? No. It's you I get off on, Jim. Just you."

"It's fucking sick."

Blair gives an irritated hiss. "Don't make me list your triggers when it comes to me. Some of them don't fit your self-image as the normal one in this relationship, you know."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Jim snarls at him.

"Exactly what it sounds like," Blair says calmly. "If I'm sick, so are you, but don't worry, Jim, I won't make you feel like crap for getting off on coming on my face."

He remembers this feeling from fighting with Carolyn. The way intimacy, shared secrets, become weapons to be used, sharp-edged, poison-tipped. He'd never expected that ultimate betrayal from Blair.

"After all," Blair goes on, remorseless in the face of Jim's silent, scarlet-faced humiliation. "I like it, too, in case you missed that memo, and somehow I don't see how you could miss it when I'm lying under you begging for it."

Blair, gaze focused on him, looking up at him, a moan escaping from bitten-red lips, spread out and squirming on the bed as best he can given that Jim's straddling him, holding him down. Blair turning his head, chasing the chance to give Jim's dick one last lick, one last sucking kiss, before Jim starts to fist his erection, his hand blurring, because he loves fucking Blair's mouth with slow, lazy strokes that go deep, but he loves this more, watching his come shoot and splatter over Blair's flushed skin and babbling, begging, smiling mouth…

And suddenly, with a sharp, sweet shiver, Jim's as aroused as he's ever been and that's fine, he can hide it, he can ignore it, he can deal -- but Blair hasn't even glanced down and he knows, Jim can tell, and this isn't good, this isn't --


Blair doesn't know if anyone else would notice that Jim's at the point where sex has become as imperative a need as breathing. Jim's good at hiding that feeling. Good at denying it, suffocating his arousal under a smothering blanket of shouldn't, mustn't, can't.

Good at ignoring every 'I'm available' signal Blair had put out for months that had become years until -- well, even Jim can't hold out forever.

He's just not very good at hiding it from Blair.

Blair knows why Jim's like this -- hell, he's the one who mentioned one of Jim's more endearingly primal kinks --and when this is over, if they're still speaking, he's going to apologise for that, because Jim's at a disadvantage now, his attention split, and that's probably not the kindest thing Blair's ever done and all isn't fair in love and war, and this is both.

But he's not going to apologise, ever, for going to the observation room, feeling the obscure need to share in the hell Jim's been going through for hours. And he's not going to apologise for his reaction to what he found himself watching, dry-mouthed, dick happy, because Jim's had a bad week tracking this guy down, but it hasn't been easy on Blair, either. The stink of blood and fear at the crime scenes clung to Blair's hair and clothing as well as Jim's; the dead children walk, broken and bleeding, through his thoughts, too.

And if Jim refused to let Blair type up the reports in case something got missed, well, Blair had already read them and can't forget them.

Jim will get over this; will move on. He's too good a cop not to be able to do that and do it well; Blair's less able.

But it doesn't mean watching Jim work that son of a bitch over wasn't entertaining at a visceral level. And it doesn't mean the clean, familiar ache of arousal wasn't something Blair was glad to feel after a week of lying beside Jim, both of them tense, not touching, sleep, when it came, a choppy, restless sea to drown in not be rocked by.

It's been a lonely week. They're used to having each other to turn to as friends but as lovers? Not so much. That's new to them both, and it's not something they're doing automatically and the old ways don't work like they used to. Blair knows Jim's body now, as thoroughly and well as possible without a medical degree. Doesn't mean he's got a key to everything Jim; it's just one more piece of a fluid, shifting puzzle and sometimes he thinks the first time his dick slid into Jim he lost more than an ounce of bodily fluid and the skin off his knuckles (still doesn't know how he did that but, man, it was worth it).

And now, when Blair was hoping for respite, a chance to heal, they're as far apart as they've ever been. It's all a fucking mess and Blair doesn't like that.

Blair's a fighter. Always has been, always will be. It goes with being too short, too cute, too different. But he admires the strength that's as much part of Jim as his smile and if he gets off on having that strength and control applied to his willing body now and then, well, so what? He's well-adjusted enough to have worked through that particular issue even if his time knowing Jim has raised a multitude of others he's less able to deal with.

Jim's not the easiest person in the world to love. Lust after, yeah, sure. Love takes more than Blair was sure he had to give.

And now he's sure, if a little…restless, because the Jim he's jerked off over all this time turns out to be less of a sex god and more of a middle-aged man dismayed and disturbed by his attraction to a friend. Finally in love, and a few months later he's blown it. Jim can't take it. Jim's had as many illusions as he had and Blair's just not what he expected.

Oh, man, that just sucks. Blair hates disappointing people; it's the reason behind most of his lies.

And when it's Jim…

Blair lets his gaze go down and stay there, so that he's staring at Jim's groin when he says, "Want a timeout, Jim?"


"Want to fuck?" Blair asks, deliberately crude, wanting to -- oh, maybe just get Jim off-balance and see if it helps. He's never once said that to Jim. Never needed to. Jim always knows when Blair is in the mood -- or not -- and necking, sprawled out on the couch, becomes foreplay without discussion if Blair wants it.

Just as kissing the back of Jim's neck as he washed dishes can sometimes get him soapsuds flicked at him; sometimes get him a naked Jim in a surprisingly short space of time, again without more than an inquiring lift of an eyebrow and a mellow, wicked chuckle. Jim, serious, hardworking Jim, stubborn as hell and impatient with Blair's whims has turned out to be the kind of man who will spend the day smiling because of an unplanned, spur of the moment, encounter.

Blair hadn't taken long to figure out that Jim loved feeling loved. Simple as that.

They didn't need words.

He expects Jim's lip to curl but this isn't his Jim today and Blair's feeling the difference. Jim's mouth hardens and he jerks his head up towards the bedroom. "Sure, Sandburg. Why not?"

Sandburg. Inside the loft, since they became lovers, it's always been 'Blair', with the odd pet name thrown in now and then. Blair, for whom labels and names have significance, isn't sure Jim knows he's made that subtle change but he's sure Jim's using 'Sandburg' deliberately now.

He swallows, feeling a shiver of unease. "Maybe that's not such a good idea."

"No, Chief, you want it or you wouldn't have asked for it." There's a cold gleam in Jim's eyes. "You want what I gave Owens, right?"

"No." There's enough indecision in Blair's voice for Jim's eyes to darken. He still can't lose that fantasy, still thinks he's got an itch that's not being scratched. Still just a bit curious…

"Right." That disbelieving drawl dries Blair's mouth and he starts to shake his head, but Jim's there, crowding him, and Jim's hand --

"You're hurting me," he chokes out.

"Owens didn't whine that much," Jim observes, releasing Blair's chin and giving his nose a careless flip. "I guess he wanted to stay on my good side." Jim's eyes widen with fake concern that spills over into his voice. "Hey, don't worry; you can make it up to me, sweetheart. Want to pretend you've just started a five-year stretch and need to negotiate some special treatment with your very own prison guard? Promise I'll protect your cute little ass… when I'm on duty, anyway. Come on; get down on your knees and give me a taste of what you've got."

"I'm not into a scene like that," Blair says through his teeth, his heart pounding.

"You do know I can tell when you're lying, right?" Jim asks, his voice so normal that it takes a second for the implicit threat to break through the skin of casual.

Yes. He does. But Jim doesn't do that. It's an invasion of privacy; worse, it's bad manners.

"I'm not lying," Blair says, going on the attack. "My heartbeat's up; sure it is; I'm feeling emotionally disturbed right now. I'm feeling bad about what's happening here, Jim, why won't you accept that?"

"Heartbeat's just one factor, babe."

Jim moves behind Blair, a slow, tight circle of a move that leaves Blair facing empty air and determined not to give Jim the satisfaction of turning to face him. even though every instinct he's got is telling him that you don't turn your back on a threat.

He shudders as Jim's fingers scoop up his hair and lift it away, baring skin. His head feels heavy as if it wants to betray him, tip forward, turn the inward curve of his nape into a taut bow, an exclamation point of pale, hidden skin and the bony knob of his first vertebra. Keeping his chin, aching dully from the brutal pinch of Jim's fingers, jutting stubbornly up, takes more effort than he could ever have expected.

He's seen Jim do this to suspects. Seen and absorbed the rhythm of the attack, so that when Jim leans in and whispers in his ear, he's expecting it, can feel the rush of displaced air, the warm waft of breath, like gentle touches on his skin.

Jim's words aren't gentle. They're darkly sweet, rough-edged and filthy. They don't even make that much sense from a practical point of view but Blair's not listening to them to find out what it is he's expected to do. None of it's outside what he's willing to try, anyway. He takes a contemptuous comfort in that, adding a silent, scathing commentary to Jim's monologue.

Then he realises it's disjointed for a reason; that Jim's probing him for reactions with those slick, pointed words, abandoning anything that doesn't get him a hitch of breath, a quiver, and moving on. In the space of a few minutes, Jim's on the way to getting himself a shortlist of some of Blair's favourite things -- and whiskers on kittens aren't anywhere to be seen.

It's brutally effective, and it should be about as erotic as getting his teeth cleaned, but there's something about the way Jim's doing it, the way he's trying to get to the truth, to the hidden truths Blair's fooled himself into thinking he wanted Jim to know…

"Going to make you beg, Sandburg. On your knees, naked. Could keep you like that. Make you strip as soon as you walked through the door. Watch you shiver and whine to get close, get held by me…"
He imagines that and knows they'd never do it. Not like that, not always. But on a rainy Sunday, with the shades lowered to block out grey skies and the loft filled with the flicker of firelight and candlelight, a dozen tiny suns, scattered around… and Jim watching him, not touching him, not for hours, talking to him, smiling at him, his eyes frankly appraising… He'd be so fucking vulnerable, feel so exposed… Blair shudders at the thought, and then, because it's him, twists it around. Naked. On display. Hard, yeah, he'd be hard, and Jim would be watching that, would he? And keeping his distance? I don't think so, Jim, Blair thinks, with a savage smile splitting his lips. You'd be on me in, like, fifteen minutes and fucking me over whatever was handy.

"Do it," he says aloud. "Get it out of your system, Jim. Any of that. All of it. There's nothing I wouldn't let you do to me because I trust you not to go too far."

And really, that's all he needed to say and he should've said it sooner, spelled it out. Shouldn't have expected poor Jim to be a mind reader. He thinks, with a certain smugness, that fucked up though this has been, it might have been all for the best that they got it out in the open… and if Jim wants to take out any residual frustration with a walk on the wild side and fuck him right here, right now, Blair's more than willing to strip, bend, and spread.

Love to, in fact.

"Mistake," Jim hisses in his ear and okay, maybe Blair got his epiphany a little sooner than Jim, because Jim still sounds pissed as hell.

He tries to turn and Jim does something really painful to the inside of Blair's elbow that freezes him in place, and a moment later there's the not entirely unfamiliar sound and feel of a cuff clicking coldly closed around his wrist.

Mistake. Right.


Blair's standing still already, facing away from Jim (does he think I can't see him? He's reflected in that row of jars over there, seven wavering, distorted images; in the polish of that pan -- indistinct, sure, but I can see the stubborn tilt of his chin, the mutinous mouth. He can't hide from me and I like that more than I should) but the cuff locking around his wrist makes it the waiting stillness of a pond with a stone heading towards it.

That calm, that freeze, is going to shatter now, has to, and Jim's curious; is Blair going to face him, at last, or is he going to try and run?

He holds the other cuff in the curved cup of his palm and waits, ready to close his fingers over the metal and hold Blair in place.

"Why did you do that?" Blair sounds... Jim sorts through the wash of data flooding his brain, piecing stuff together, allocating weight to this factor, discarding that… It's automatic now and it doesn't take long for him to decide that Blair's a little turned on, a little curious, a little apprehensive, the emotions muted, as if they're inhibiting each other, canceling each other out.

Jim doesn't want mild, average, easily dealt with emotions. He wants Blair ripped apart by them, screaming. He wants Blair out of control, wild. He wants to be the calm one and this last week, these last hours, he's felt like he's about to fall apart like wet paper, mushy with despair, or explode, rage ripping holes in him.

"It's what I do," he says. "It's what I did to him." He can't say Owens' name again. Doesn't want its echo trapped, endlessly bouncing off the walls of his home. "Going to tell me it doesn't turn you on?"

"No." Blair's silent a moment, the fingers of his cuffed hand flexing carefully, making the bones of his wrist shift and expand within the tight, inflexible grip of metal. "Sometimes, I've wanted this."

"I know." Jim rests his forehead on Blair's shoulder, feeling tired. The cotton shirt's thin enough to let him feel like he's touching skin, almost, nearly, and he rubs his forehead slowly against it, then kisses the side of Blair's neck through the fall of his hair. "I know that, Blair."

"Then why didn't you ever fucking do it?" Blair's head turns and Jim's lips skate and skid across Blair's cheek before he jerks his head back an inch or two. They're staring at each other, so close that Jim can't see all of Blair's face, but he's only looking at Blair's eyes, so it doesn't matter.

"Ever think I might not want to?"

That hits home. He watches Blair process it and sees the spark of anger in Blair's eyes sputter and die.

"Ever think you've got no right expecting me to cater to your fucking kinks when you don't even tell me what they are? Ever think how it feels when I'm giving you the best I've got -- trying so fucking hard to please you, make it good for you, and it's not enough because you want me to do something that would kill me?"

He lets go of the open cuff, allowing it to dangle, swinging and heavy, and wraps his hands around each of Blair's wrists before forcing them out to the side and forward, bringing them together in front of Blair, a rough, fast grab and shove. He's snuggled up close to Blair's back now, in a parody of an embrace, and he pulls Blair's hands back slowly, deliberately, until they're pressing against Blair's dick, ignoring the soft, protesting grunt of shock Blair makes, holding them there. He's stronger than Blair; it's not difficult.

"Ever think how much it goes against my instincts to hurt you?" he says into Blair's ear. "Protect and serve, remember? Not hurt and dominate. Maybe we're the same…I don't know. You feel like more of a bully to me. But any way you slice it, you don't get that from me."

"Even if I want it?" Blair spits out, starting to struggle now, starting to lose it. "You know I don't want you to really hurt me, not really --"

"No. I don't. I don't know anything." Jim's breathing through water and salt now, each breathe stinging, burning. "Just that when I hurt you, you like it, and when I love you it's not enough."

"You're not that naïve," Blair snaps. "Not that unimaginative."

"Let's pretend I am." Jim bites down on Blair's earlobe, hard, not playful, not the sucking nibble that brings goose bumps springing up over Blair's arm and a happy shiver. Blair's got enough sense to stay still but his fingers clutch and grab and scrabble and there's a whine of pain caught in his throat. Jim eases up before the imprisoned blood breaks free, leaving deep, white dents in the baby-soft skin, and waits for the white to flush dark, purple-red before speaking again. "Was that good? Hit the spot?"

"That hurt," Blair says distinctly. "You asshole." He tries to rub his ear against his shoulder, failing because Jim's grip won't let him lift his shoulder high enough. "Is it bleeding? Did you make it bleed?"

Jim chuckles at the outrage Blair packs into the question. "Relax, Chief. No blood." He nuzzles into Blair's hair, getting a sick, unhappy thrill at doing it now, in the middle of this wasteland. The last time he'd done it, the thick, heavy curls silky against his lips, Blair had been lying on top of him, panting his way back from a climax that had left them both sweat-slick and smiling. "Want there to be?"

"No." Blair's tense now. Sentinel, cop, man; wearing any hat, Jim knows Blair's about to make a move. Judging from the way he's shifting his weight, it's going to be an attempt to lash back with his foot, bending forward, trying to bring Jim with him, off-balance and falling.

"You don't know what you want, do you, baby?" he murmurs, making it indulgent, insulting, deftly distracting. "Poor, mixed-up Blair. Want Daddy to fix it?"

"That," Blair says bitterly, "is not one of my things, man."

"No?" Jim says, already well aware of that. "Suppose it's one of mine? Going to play along?"

"No." Blair shakes his head and his shoulders slump dejectedly, making Jim sharpen every sense he has, the stink of a trap strong and acrid. "And, yes, I get it, right? I'm not stupid."

"Well, okay," Jim says. "I'd call that progress. Want a reward?" he adds casually, his eyes narrowing when he feels Blair's reaction, the ripple of arousal and interest. "Okay, since we're sharing, tell me why that got to you."

"What?" Blair sounds sullen, sulky.

"You like rewards. Treats for being a good boy. Why? How does it fit in with the getting off on being hurt?" He's sincere. He's also feeling as if the man in his arms -- his Blair, his known quantity, his certainty -- is a stranger and that's just not acceptable. "Look, I'm not angry, okay? Not now. We're past that. I just… I want to know. You have to tell me."

"You've got me cuffed and you're not letting me move. You just tried to bite my fucking ear off. This is you not pissed?" Blair screams suddenly, a full-throated howl, a loud, unexpected assault on Jim's eardrums, combining it with a fierce struggle, elbows digging into Jim's ribs, kicking, squirming. Jim rides the tiger for a few seconds and then lets go, stumbling back, shaking his head to clear the ringing in his abused ears.

Blair turns on him, and Jim flinches from the stark despair on Blair's face. "What's the point in telling you? You won't do it. You don't want to do it. Any of it. And, yeah, you don't have to, of course you don't. I fucked up there, and I'm sorry. I didn't -- Jim -- I don't want -- I thought I could just -- you wouldn't know --"

"I want to know!" Jim yells at him and it feels good to yell, feels good to be face to face. "I'm in love with you -- you know that. I love you and that gives me -- no, it doesn't give me, I just… I want to know who I'm in love with! Want to know you're real."

Blair looks stunned, which is a good look on him, but Jim's not really able to appreciate it. He's waiting, with a dull expectancy, for Blair to walk away. Everyone does. You let them down; they leave. He's let Blair down. Blair will leave. There's a Latin term for inevitability and logic like that, but it escapes him.

The cuffs swing and spin as Blair, forgetting he's wearing them, lifts his hands to push his hair back. The loose end narrowly misses his chin and Jim sighs. "Come here. Let me take them off you."

Blair twists his hand, watching the short dangle of chain and cuff. "They don't feel like I expected them to."

"You've been cuffed before."

"Yeah." Blair rolls his eyes. "Couple of times. But not recreationally and not by you."

"I didn't do a very good job," Jim points out, wondering at how quiet, how level his voice sounds. "One cuff… not really slowing you down much, is it?"

It's actually a fairly effective weapon. Blair could do some damage to Jim's face if he masters the angle and flick required. Jim had once broken free of someone trying to cuff him, the job half done, and used the open cuff to blind the man in one eye. As the man had done a piss-poor job of it because his other hand was holding a knife he was planning to use to cut Jim's balls off with, the guilt had been minimal at best.

"Not much," Blair agrees.

They eye each other over the space between them and it's awkward, yes, but it's not angry now. Jim feels the tension slip away from him in degrees, lessening with every breath he exhales that isn't accompanied by the sound of Blair's departing footsteps.

"Tell me something you want," he says, knowing the moment's not going to last. It's too intense; they'll retreat, Blair fastest of all, hide behind assurances, reassurances, build the barriers higher, thicker.

He'll lose Blair. The tension's back and he makes a stricken sound that brings Blair's gaze up.


"Tell me something you want," he says again, shoving the words at Blair with all the urgency he's got. "I don't want this to be for nothing. I don't want to lose you over this."

Blair moves forward, the intent to hug written all over his face, but Jim wards him off. "No. Not yet. Don't…I don't want the easy way out. I swear if you ask for something I don't want to do, I'll tell you. Like I always do. Like you do. This isn't any different than you telling me I can't rim you because you'd never be able to kiss me again without thinking about where my tongue had been." He compresses his lips together. Hard to admit that he's been so spectacularly wrong but it's got to be done. "It isn't different. I had no right to make you feel that it was. I'm sorry, Chief. I let the job get to me; get between us and that wasn't --"

"Jim. Stop talking." Blair's moving again and this time he doesn't stop until he's as close as he can get without touching Jim. "No; ask me again and then just say yes or no and if it's yes, we do it, if it's no, we try again. And if we run out of options, we just do what we usually do, because, Jim, that's fine, that's good and I don't want you ever thinking it isn't. You get me hot and you get the job done, okay?"

"You're such a fucking romantic, Chief."

Blair smiles up at him, confident and relaxed, and that's a good look on him, too. "Want me to tell you I love you?"


"Oh." Blair reaches up and cups Jim's face with his hands, a firm, sure touch. "I love you, Jim."

"Glad to hear it." Jim flicks the circle of metal hanging down. "So tell me where you want this to go."

"Around my other wrist?"

Jim considers that. "Not until you're naked. Strip."

Blair starts to do just that and then pauses, quirking his eyebrow. "Uh, you're not joining me?"

"I liked the idea of you naked and me not."

"I liked it, too, but right now I want to fuck."

Jim moves fast, clipping Blair's wrists together in front of him and grabbing Blair as he staggers. Blair's still wearing his unbuttoned shirt and shorts but he can work around that. Blair tugs at his cuffed hands and gives Jim an indignant look.

"You liked that," Jim tells him quietly. "And I didn't mind doing it. Let's work with this, okay?"

Blair nods slowly.

"Keep on undressing."

Blair hold up the cuffs in a mute reminder and Jim smiles. "You can do a lot with them cuffed, trust me."

The shorts come off easily enough, though Jim can't help the chuckle he gives when Blair shimmies them down, ass wriggling. Blair huffs and then hooks them up with his foot and kicks them at Jim.

"Shirt," he tells him, not bothering to duck, knowing they'll lose momentum and flutter, with a billow, to the floor.

"I can't," Blair says a moment's ineffective struggle later, his face pinking up, his dick hard, wet-beaded, red.

"Then ask me for help," Jim says equably.

"Jim, would you help me get my shirt off even though you can fuck me with it on and we both know it?" Blair bares his teeth, "Please?"

Why Blair thinks he likes being controlled, Jim doesn't know. It seems to be a delusion on an epic scale.

"Sure, Blair. Always glad to help." He walks behind Blair, hooks his fingers in the neck of Blair's shirt (not angry now, not sick with it, hating it, hating Blair) and tugs. The shirt slips off Blair's shoulders and Jim draws it down slowly until the sleeves are caught in the crook of Blair's elbows and his ass and thighs are covered.

"That made it worse," Blair says, but there's a remembered, familiar huskiness to his voice and Jim nods to himself. Blair likes it when he strips him. Fine. He can do that.

"Not really." Jim glances around. They're not really in the best place to do this and there doesn't seem any good reason to stay here. He slaps Blair's hip through cotton. "Get your ass upstairs. I want a bed handy."

Blair doesn't react to the slap; which tells Jim nothing; it had been the sort of non-minatory nudge he'd have delivered in front of Simon, nothing more. Blair goes to the stairs and begins to climb them. Jim, after rummaging through the kitchen drawers for a pair of scissors; cotton's tough to rip, follows him, catching up to Blair as he reaches the foot of the bed. He sets the scissors down on the night table, smiling slightly at the startled look that crosses Blair's face as he sees them, and goes over to him. Blair's cuffed hands are loosely clasped in front of him, the back of his knuckles brushing the head of his dick. Jim can imagine how that feels, the irregular bumped nudge against sensitive, yearning flesh; teasing, maddening, and wonders how often Blair's seen to his own torment, his own pleasure, unnoticed or misinterpreted.

How much has he missed?

He doesn't tell Blair to stop. He just walks behind him and uses both hands to gather the drape of shirt into a thick rope, twisting it up and tight, drawing Blair's hands higher. He keeps hold of the fabric with one hand and reaches around with the other, his face buried in Blair's hair, blindly exploring Blair's chest and belly with his fingers spread wide and his mouth kissing, making words he doesn’t speak, won't say. The bedroom's dim with reflected light from downstairs, but it needs to be darker than this for him to say them aloud.

They'll turn the lights out eventually.

Blair's gasping, his head tipped back, his throat waiting to be kissed. Jim scrapes his thumbnail over Blair's left nipple and then uses the ball of his thumb on the upstroke, feeling the soft smudge of flesh harden, defined, described.

"I could bite them," he offers. "Get them hard so they ache and throb. So they're still tender tomorrow when you get dressed and your shirt feels like sandpaper."

"That… doesn't count as hurting?" Blair gets out, sounding out of breath.

"Wouldn't have asked if I thought it did. Moving on --"

"No! Do it." Blair pauses. "Thank you."

"That's not something you need to say," Jim tells him, a little taken aback going to sit on the bed in front of Blair. "It doesn't work that way. It's not for you, not just for you. Or it shouldn't be."

"I think it can be," Blair says and there he is, dick straining, mouth bitten raw (when did he do that? What sounds did he want to keep inside?) and he's still able to stop and talk. "You've eaten food, watched movies, gone places you didn't want to just to please me; and I've done the same. Why is sex different? Why does it have to be unselfish? How could it ever be equal? How would you know? Who measures it? It's always going to be more fun for one of us and that's down to way too many factors to --"

"I get it," Jim interrupts. "God, Blair, don't make me gag you."

"I'd keep talking and you'd still hear me," Blair points out, unfazed by the threat and profoundly unaroused. Jim thinks of yellow cloth and frightened, furious blue eyes and winces. No gags. Good to find something they're both in agreement on.

"Yeah…" Jim sighs. "So could I ask you, as a favour, to stop yammering when I'm trying to seduce you?"

Blair grins and kicks Jim's foot gently with his bare one. "Job's done, Jim; I'm ready and willing."

Jim gives him a sour smile that tastes sweet. "And we're back to normal."

"No." Blair's expression is solemn. "Too much to process that fast. Going to take time. But I thought we'd run out of that earlier so I'm not complaining."

"I thought so, too."

They stare at each other, appreciating the truce, no matter how tenuous it turns out to be, and then Blair clears his throat and glances down. "I'm waiting…"

"I'd like to make you do that," Jim discovers. "For a long time…"

"You'd be waiting, too."

"You'd be worth it." Jim pictures a frantic, needy, desperate Blair released from… something… grabbing him, taking him, fucking him into boneless bliss, and decides that would work for him whoever was the one getting fucked. Hell, they'd probably both get a shot at it…

"You, my man, are showing hidden depths." Blair purses his lips. "Of course, so far, you're all talk…"

Jim rolls his eye, leans forward, swipes his tongue across the peeled-grape lusciousness of the head of Blair's dick and has his mouth -- and teeth -- around that scratched, scraped nipple before the taste's reached his brain.

He's not sure if Blair's yelp is down to the detour or the depth to which his teeth are sinking into skin.

He doesn't care. He wants that sound again, the one Blair made in the corridor. Wants to hear it untainted, cleansed. He very carefully licks and sucks until Blair's nipple is hard, slippery, and sets his teeth into it, just as carefully, and then holds Blair in place, his hands on Blair's hips, and tugs back experimentally, pulling the skin around it taut.

Blair makes an open-mouthed moan and sways back the fraction Jim's grip allows, increasing the stretch until Jim can't maintain the hold his teeth have and is forced to let go.

He looks at the scarlet, swelling skin and shakes his head. "Okay, I'm done there." He glances up and Blair nods and flickers a look at the hard-in-sympathy, untouched nipple, a question in his eyes.

"Not as much," Jim warns him, but when he's done, it looks about as bruised as its twin and Blair's dick is messy, wet, his balls drawn up tight and rounded. Jim's lost track of the dips and peaks of his own arousal; he feels like he's been close to coming for so long he's not sure a climax is possible; his shorts are clinging damply and the press of the zipper along his erection is approaching unendurable.

The shirt Blair's wearing is in the way now. Jim gets the scissors and, without making a big deal out of it, though he's sure Blair would like him to, shears through the cotton where the sleeves join the body, tossing it aside, then deals with the sleeves. It doesn't take long and Blair stands very still while Jim does it.

"Tell me what you want me to do to make you come," Jim asks when the scissors are back on the table, he's back on the bed, and Blair's naked. "Quick or slow; that's up to you."

Blair puts his linked hands behind Jim's neck and pulls Jim's head down. "Suck me. Don't let me move." His hands move away; Jim can feel them hovering. "Uh, sorry. If that's okay?"

"God, just come here," Jim mutters, contradictorily leaning back into Blair's hands until Blair gets the message and pushes Jim's head down again.

The bed's just a little high and Jim slides down to his knees, his hands still firmly clamped on Blair's hips, fingers biting into the solid muscle of Blair's ass. He knows, without doubt, that Blair wants him to leave marks. He's done that before and felt bad about it; there's a sharp sting of anger as he realises Blair could have spared him that guilt.

He turns his head before his mouth touches Blair's dick and bites down on a point of hipbone between his spread fingers, Blair's frustrated hiss all he needs to soothe himself down. The skin-warmed metal of the cuffs rubs against the back of his neck as Blair clenches his fists and Jim smiles, forgivingly, magnanimously, and lets his mouth kiss a meandering trail across Blair's stomach, wetting down dark hairs until they're lying dark and flat against skin. Blair's belly rumbles and Jim grins, giving it an affectionate, noisy smack of a kiss. "I'll feed you later, Chief."

"I'm fine," Blair snaps, trying hard enough to wriggle his dick closer to Jim's mouth that Jim has to really work to stop him, ducking out of the loop of Blair's arms and the cuffs and muscling Blair away, putting him almost at arm's length. "Jim!"

"You're not supposed to be moving," Jim says reprovingly.

Blair sighs and brings his hands up to scratch at his nose. "And you're supposed to be sucking me," he reminds Jim.

"I was getting there."

"Not fast enough."

"We on the clock here, Chief?"

"I don’t know; ask my blue and aching balls!"

Jim snorts with sudden amusement. "Got a better view of them than you; they're not blue."

Blair's hands drop down and he starts to jerk off, breaking Jim's loosened grip easily and stepping back. His hands, like this, are able to work his dick and cup his balls -- just -- and he's close enough to coming that Jim's not sure whether to duck or open his mouth.

He settles for saying, "Hey!" and slapping Blair's hands away, lunging forward to do it.

"Dammit, Jim!" Blair tries to gesture wildly, widely with his hands and grimaces as the cuffs remind him they're there. "I don't want to do it this way -- I told you what I wanted -- why won't you just --?" He ends on a dry sob of sheer frustration, and snarls, turning and kicking out at the shredded, ruined shirt. "Take these fucking things off and let me finish, will you?"

"No." Jim rocks back on his heels and waits for Blair to look back at him. When he does, Jim crooks his finger and beckons to him. "Get back here, Blair. I won't make you wait." When Blair walks over, his expression wary, Jim adds blandly, "This time," before putting his hands back where they had been, matching fingers to marks.

Then he murmurs, "Sorry" with his mouth touching the stretched, thin skin of Blair's shaft, hot skin, drum skin tight, and clamps down harder with his hands to stop Blair's hips from arching up even a little. He doesn't take his mouth away until Blair comes, breathing shallowly, swallowing the soft thick spit fast when he has to, keeping his lips and tongue and teeth on Blair, wishing this could take longer, but it can't and he's lucky he gets as long as he does. He feels the hardness forcing his lips round get harder still, and hears Blair's moans lose even a semblance of control. Then he feels the body he's holding quiver and jerk and fight him and chokes, gulping down one, two mouthfuls of spit and come and trying not to mind that his fingers can feel Blair's skin bruise and heat under their brutal grip.

Blair's hands are behind Jim's neck again and he pulls Blair down to join him on the floor, meeting no resistance. Blair puts his head on Jim's shoulder and then starts to bite and kiss at Jim's neck making sounds that aren't words. He's shaking, trembling, his body pressing as close as it can to Jim's.

Jim gives the nascent bruises a gentle pat -- he can't help it -- and then threads a hand up into the weight of Blair's hair to cup his skull. He twists his fingers into the thick mass and uses his grip to pull Blair's head up. "You're hurting me," he whispers.

Blair's eyes take a second to focus. "Fuck me."

It's less of a non sequitur than it seems, Jim supposes. "Thought you'd never ask."

"You were waiting to be asked?"

"Not really," Jim tells him. He fumbles in his pocket for the key to the cuffs.

"You can leave them on." Blair lifts his hands over Jim's head and studies them. Jim can see that the skin's chafed but no more than that.

"I'm not ready to fuck you with them on," Jim says and means it enough that Blair shrugs and doesn't argue, even though it's a day ending in 'y'.

"You're going to get undressed, though, right?"

Jim nods. "Yeah. If you insist." He gets out of his clothes, taking the zipper down with more care and attention than usual, watching Blair matter-of-factly get out a condom and lube and put them on the bed, after ripping the condom packet open along one edge. Blair's still half hard and it seems to Jim that he's getting hard again rather than relaxing into a satiated laxness. Fine with him.

He gets onto the bed beside Blair and stares at him in silence for a moment. "I don't know what to do," he says finally. "What I was doing wrong before. You're going to have to tell me. It'll make it awkward but to be honest, I'm not going to last long so we can write this one off anyway." He slides his hand into Blair's lifting them so he can kiss the roughened skin braceleting Blair's wrist.

"That for a start," Blair says. There's no anger there and no apology. "I like the way those marks look. Don't treat them like they're an accident, like they need kissing better."

Jim mouths them, biting down, flicking his tongue over the tiny, near-invisible abrasions, making the licks strong and fast, drawing the blood to the surface. "Better?" he asks, surveying the wet skin without satisfaction or guilt.

Blair kisses him, his hands hauling Jim closer, touching him in frantic, hungry, uncoordinated sweeps of palm against skin. "Jim -- get in me, get in me now, please --" he says between kisses that leave Jim's mouth stinging, tingling.

"I'll take that as a yes," Jim mutters, reaching for the lube and the condom and getting both where they need to be with Blair a twitching, impatient, distracting presence beside him. Suited up, he slicks his fingers and jerks his head at Blair. "How?" he demands. Rolling the condom down had meant touching his dick which had nearly triggered a climax. The potential embarrassment of an anticlimax like that -- and he could imagine Blair's amusement at the aptness of the word -- had worked wonders, but he wasn't going to last long.

Blair goes to his hands and knees and edges his knees wider, settling into position. Jim kneels behind him and runs a dry finger down Blair's spine, chasing a shudder.

"I'd normally open you up and slide inside you."

"Do it," Blair tells him. "But skip the first part."

"I'm not doing this dry."

Blair sighs and rolls over to his back, grabbing the lube and drizzling some over Jim's dick. He smoothes it around with merciful quickness and a light touch and then glares up at Jim. "You fuck me a lot. I'm used to it. Use some on the outside and go slow and you won't hurt me. That's not something I ever want because it'll stop us doing it again for a while and I'm not stupid. Don't treat me like I am."

"Fine," Jim says, feeling dismally sure this is going to be a disaster.

Blair's expression softens and he pats Jim's face with his clean hand. "We're writing this one off, remember? And you can do it the way you always do, just --"

"Just don't," Jim finishes. He rubs his forehead. "Blair, I'm not sure I can do this. You're asking me to relearn the way I make love after twenty years."

"No, I'm asking you to keep on being the considerate, hot as hell man you've always been," Blair says evenly. "Now you know what I want -- sometimes, doesn't have to be always, doesn't have to be a routine, either -- you'll give it to me because that's the way you are. You don't need me telling you like this, either, which is really killing the mood. You're not just an experienced man, you're a Sentinel; use what you've got, like you did downstairs. Pay attention to me -- and fuck me before we fall asleep debating it, will you?"

Jim gives in. He'll think about this tomorrow; Blair's making it sound way too simple, like always, but he'll sleep on it and spot the flaws, point them out and watch Blair's eyes light up as he scents an argument.

He closes his eyes and thinks, then leans over Blair, planting his hands on either side of Blair's head and dragging his mouth slowly across Blair's face, licking Blair's lips. "Taste that? Your come? I can. Will do for hours, did you know that? Remembering your dick in my mouth every time I swallow. I guess you need something to remember me by, too, don't you?" He reaches down and pinches Blair's nipple. "More than this. Much more. So roll over and I'll give it to you." He lets his hand go down to Blair's dick and squeezes it, an assessing, brutal squeeze he tempers with a kiss against Blair's parted, gasping lips, a kiss he doesn't give until Blair's made that sound again for him, a sound he knows he can get any time he wants.

The sound Blair makes when he's confessing; the kiss he gets as absolution.

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