by Jane Davitt

Warning: references dark, but consensual s/m.

Cascade is boiling, steaming, melting. The streets and parks are full of flesh, pinkened and peeling.

And Blair stands by the window and looks out at the city; stands in the shadows and smiles.

Jim can see him. Every curl of sweat-damp hair, every curve and line of Blair's naked body. The dark can't hide Blair from him and this isn't dark, this is dusk, with the setting sun pouring out the last drops of honey-thick light, heavy, sticky on a gasping city.

The heat wave has left Blair trapped here for three days. Too risky to go out wearing long-sleeved shirts, cuffs buttoned tight, over a high-necked T-shirt. People would notice, people might talk.

But now the marks Jim has left pressed into Blair's skin have faded and the only bruises Jim can see are in places that Blair can always easily keep covered.

Blair who never swims, showers outside his home, or sunbathes in public.

Blair's ass is never unmarked. Jim thinks he'll let it heal, give himself a pristine canvas to work on, but he can never wait that long.

"Tomorrow, you can go to work."

Blair shrugs one shoulder, still staring out at a city of sun-worshipers, devout and dedicated.

"I'm sorry it took this long, sweetheart." And he is. He doesn't like leaving Blair alone all day, but he had to work. They can't both stay here, naked in air stirred by languid breezes from an increasingly inadequate fan. And he's sorry he didn't know this heat wave was coming, because if he had, he would never have --

Blair turns and Jim sees what he's holding. He shakes his head. No.

And Blair walks over to him and puts what he's holding on the couch, where Jim can reach it, and kneels and begs him to use it, all of it, and Jim tries to be careful in the hours that follow, he does --

When it's over, Blair's marked again where it will show. Wrists, neck, a scatter of fingerprint bruises on the upper arms. He's lying still on the bed, and his tear-wet face is smiling.

Jim strokes across Blair's ass with his fingertips, gathering heat. It's not bleeding, but Blair's shoulder is; he'll take care of that before they sleep.

"I could have waited," he murmurs into the tangled silk of Blair's hair. "They say it's going to rain soon."

"It's going to rain tonight," Blair tells him without turning his head.

Jim thinks he's right. He can feel it now he's not distracted; there's a freshness to the air and, yes, he can hear it; the pattering thrum of rain falling on roofs a mile away, heading toward them.

"So that's why? You knew it was safe?"

Blair turns then and meets his gaze, eyes hazy with arousal still, his mouth soft with satiation. "No. I couldn't wait. It's been days -- I just couldn't wait."

Jim rests the back of his hand gently against skin still tacky with blood and confesses. "If you hadn't asked, I would have. I needed it as much as you did."

"Don't ever beg me."

There's a thread of panic in Blair's voice and Jim's quick to soothe it away. "I'd just tell you to bend over, sweetheart, I promise. I wouldn't beg. Ever."

They're both equally fucked up, he supposes, but he's damned if he's going to scare Blair that way.

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