Jim wandered around the video store feeling a familiar depression
descend. The movie he and Blair had -- finally -- decided they could
both stand to watch was, inevitably, not available and the low-voiced,
vehement bickering that had broken out had been… not all that dignified
for two grown men. He regretted it. Yeah. Little bit. He might even
apologise for some of what he'd said always supposing Sandburg was
still around and hadn't gone storming back to the loft.
Some of it. Not the part where he pointed out the folly of paying to
watch a movie Sandburg could quote from start to finish. And what was
wrong with car chases, anyway? People liked them. They wouldn't spend
so much money on them and shoehorn them into every possible… okay,
maybe Sandburg had a point…
He rounded the corner where Drama met Foreign Movies, and heard Blair
say reverently, "Oh, man," from the discreetly tucked away section
featuring the Adult Movies.
Sandburg was -- ? Oh, why was he even pretending to be surprised by
anything Blair did?
He got up close behind Sandburg -- really close, the back of Blair's
coat brushing his arm -- without getting any reaction at all, giving a
guy browsing a cold, unfriendly look when the man smirked a little
knowingly. Tapping Sandburg on the shoulder got him an abstracted,
"Hey, Jim," as Sandburg continued to study the back of a video, the
plastic wrapper torn, the lurid photographs promising way more than the
contents would deliver.
Some places, it was the other way around. Not here. It was all
relatively tame, and why the hell Sandburg was so absorbed in some
cheesy piece of porn that he'd even forgotten they were fighting was
starting to bug Jim.
"Chief? If you want to watch a movie with dogs, there's always the
Blair turned fast enough that Jim had to put his hand out to steady
him, his face flushed. Indignation, not embarrassment. "I want to watch
this," he said. "It's got a friend of mine in it. And Sherri -- she was
nice, okay? not a dog, and I expected better than
that from you, Jim."
Jim pursed his lips, re-evaluating the situation and discounting
Blair's dip into righteousness. He was damned if he was going to get
lectured on his behaviour by a man clutching a porn movie. Not that he
had any rooted objections to porn; it was just… inappropriate.
Sherri. Not a name Blair had mentioned before, which meant nothing. The
man picked them up, did whatever he did to them, and moved on, no
regrets, no backward looks. If Sandburg had a little black book --
which he didn't as far as Jim knew -- it'd be the size of the phone
Nice. What the hell did that mean? He started to think about how a
woman like that could be nice to a man and felt himself shrivel under
the salt-tang of self-directed disgust. 'A woman like that'? It wasn't
the label he'd slapped on as much as the automatic, unthinking way he'd
done it. Thinking like a cop.
Jim took the video from Blair, needing to tug a little harder than he'd
expected, and gave it a cursory look. Standard soft-core crap, cast of
about five, all of whom would probably end up fucking each other, in a
sublime disregard of plot or probability. One of the three women looked
like someone Blair just might have known, her face less vapid than the
others, her breasts reasonable enough a size and firmness to be real.
Jim tapped a finger against her photograph. "Sherri?"
Blair nodded. "It was the movie she was working on when I met her. I've
never seen it…"
"Friend of yours, you said?"
The man browsing snickered and muttered, "In your dreams, kid."
Jim held out his hand, badge gleaming from the shelter of his cupped
palm, without even bothering to look over at him. There was a pause as
a video got put back with a clumsy clatter and then an empty space
where the man had been. Jim found himself dwelling with a certain grim
satisfaction on that bit from the Bible about the guilty fleeing where
no man pursueth -- except if they were guilty, he damn well did pursue
"Yeah. Used to be. We lost touch. I think she moved to L.A. Look, Jim,
you don't have to watch it, but I'm still going to rent it, okay?"
Sandburg looked determined. Jim sighed, tucked the movie under his arm,
and headed for the checkout, not even bothering to pick up another
video to hide the porn under.
So he wanted to rent 'Dark Desires of the Amazons'. So?
And he'd never liked this video store anyway. Never going back to it
after Sandburg had returned the tape would be no hardship at all.
When they got back to the loft, Jim put the video on top of the TV and
went to get drinks and snacks. He wasn't keen on what Sandburg could do
with a bowl of popcorn -- he'd be vacuuming it out of the sofa cushions
for days -- but it'd make Sandburg happy and he'd seemed a bit down
recently for some reason. Plus, if they were really going to watch
porn, a big bowl in the lap might be useful. It wouldn't normally be an
issue, but it'd been months since he'd done more than jerk off and some
reactions were hard -- difficult -- to control.
Even for him. Hey, Sandburg; you know you're always wanting to
coach me? Help me out with my senses? How do I get this boner to go
Yeah. Not going there.
He wondered why the idea of porn and Sandburg was disturbing him. It
wasn't as if he hadn't done this before with another man. Men. God, no.
Maybe it was that he'd done it too often, and was sick of the need to
top crude comments with cruder until it all got just that little bit
Maybe it was that he didn't want to do that with Sandburg and he really
didn't want to hear Sandburg's oddly innocent appreciation of women
take on a darker, dirtier edge.
Or maybe it was just that like everything he did with Sandburg, it
wasn't going to be what he was used to, and he didn't like being
How would Sandburg be? Talkative, a little uneasy? Hiding any arousal
or flaunting it? No; not his style.
He gave up thinking about it and got down some bowls just as Sandburg
came out of his room, his heavy sweater exchanged for a green shirt
worn open over a white T-shirt. Guess he thought it was going to get
Blair slotted the tape in place and looked as if he was about to settle
down on the couch for the duration by the way he was arranging the
cushions. Jim frowned, feeling put-on, as if Blair had asked him to do
something when he hadn't, it had been Jim's own idea, all of it, down
to the good beer, the cold beer, the strong beer. "You could give me a
hand with this," he called out.
"What?" Blair turned his head and jumped up, coming over to join him.
"Oh, hey, Jim, sorry. I didn't see what you were doing."
"Too busy watching Sherri strut her stuff?"
He had to stop that. He wasn't even sure why he was getting in so many
digs at the woman. His time in Vice had left him with a queasy,
wrinkled-nose knowledge about what people did to get off that he
could've happily lived without, but he'd never felt much antipathy for
the people making porn as long as they stuck to the rules. It was a
job, and if it left some dead-eyed and diminished, he knew others who
genuinely didn't care that they were opening their bodies wide for an
indifferent, bored partner and, ultimately, an audience, as long as
they were paid in cash. Some who were proud of it, insisting on being
called actors, even if their lines could have been written on the back
of a napkin and their direction consisted of demands that they twist
and writhe and whimper with a bit more conviction.
Blair was looking at him with disappointed eyes. "It hasn't started
It had; music, with a deep, grinding beat, was already leaking out into
the loft. It didn't sound very Amazonian and Jim pointed that out, his
finger stabbing hard at the microwave as he started off the popcorn.
"No…" Blair's forehead wrinkled. "That's a shame after all the research
I did. They must have gone with the original score."
Jim absorbed that for a while, trying to be tactful and still get his
curiosity satisfied. "I didn't know they usually shelled out on
researchers for films like this, Chief."
That didn't sound too judgmental, did it?
"Oh, they didn't pay me," Blair said cheerfully.
Didn't think so.
"You were just helping out of the goodness of your heart?"
Blair grabbed a beer, twisting the top free and then playing with it
for a while, frowning at it with the absorbed attention of a cat with a
mouse until Jim flicked it out of his fingers and dropped it in the
"I want to know --"
"Well, no offence, Jim, but I don't see why I have to tell you." Blair
took a swig of beer, choked on it, and swiped at a trickle of foam
heading over his chin and down his neck. "Now see what you did!"
"Me?" Jim felt like choking himself. Pissy little brat… He picked up a
cloth and tossed it at Blair, a little harder than necessary, and went
to deal with the popcorn. "For the record, Blair,
you don't have to say a word. In fact, I'd kinda like that for a
"Sorry." Blair gave the most insincere smile possible. "Forgot you
superheroes get off on the whole Fortress of Solitude deal. Guess
something like an actual, normal conversation is asking a bit much,
"Oh, no." Blair's smile grew teeth. "'Cause then you'd scream like a
girl and screaming's noisy."
They ended up side by side, the popcorn between them, beer in hand, not
speaking to each other in a very loud way.
Jim was so annoyed, rehearsing a dozen different snappy comebacks he
could've used, that it took a moment or two for what they were watching
to sink in.
Not Amazons in a jungle; a lot of men in a dimly lit bar.
And no Sherri in sight.
He turned his head, biting back a comment when he remembered they were
fighting, and met Blair's equally puzzled eyes. They exchanged glances,
communing silently, and then Blair's expression hardened and he took a
handful of popcorn, scattering kernels all over the place, and turned
back to watch the movie.
Right. Blair was a sulker. Good to know. Jim grabbed the bowl -- his
popcorn, bought, made, and paid for, and his fucking
bowl -- and did the same.
Still no women, naked or otherwise. Lot of skin on display, though. And
leather. Jim chowed down defiantly on more popcorn than he really
wanted to eat, feeling his face flush as the men on screen got down to
it without bothering with anything like a plot.
I'm watching gay porn and until he says something, I'm not
going to -- oh, that's just gotta hurt…
Jim had watched movies like this before, rougher, much, much rougher,
but that'd been work-related, and he hadn't had Blair next to him, his
breath stuttering in agitation. What the fuck was the matter with him,
Jim wondered irritably. The movie might have been put in the wrong box
but it wasn't much more explicit than the Amazon one would have been.
There were some sloppy blow jobs, two guys on their knees in front of
two men leaning back against the bar, their legs spread, someone was
getting fucked over the pool table -- way to wreck the cloth, asshole
-- and yeah, off in the corner a guy was getting his ass spanked, the
camera going between the three scenes in such a way that you missed all
the good bits.
Jim washed down a salty, buttery mouthful of popcorn with a long, slow
swallow of beer and yawned. Blair's breath quickened. His heartbeat was
thudding away, irritatingly just out of sync with the soundtrack. Maybe
to distract himself, maybe as a challenge, Blair reached over into the
bowl on Jim's lap and scooped out some more popcorn, his eyes still on
Jim automatically slapped at Blair's hand at the exact moment a hand
descended on a scarlet ass, the two flat smacks coming simultaneously.
Blair yelped, and retreated to the corner of the couch, curling his
feet beneath him and leaving a scatter of popcorn to mark his trail.
Blair was upset. Jim sighed inwardly and abandoned the grudge match.
Maybe, for all his in-your-face liberal views, Blair wasn't that
comfortable with alternative lifestyles when they were in
his face. Jim wasn't that crazy about the close-ups
himself, reminded of the time when his sight had gone wild and he'd
been zooming in on some girl's zits, caked over with concealer,
bleeding from being picked at. He'd nearly lost his lunch.
"Want to see if we can catch the basketball highlights?" he offered as
a peace offering, along with the depleted popcorn bowl. Couldn't stand
to see the kid this way… although Blair biting his lip, cheeks stained
pink wasn't that hard on the eyes…
"What?" Blair flicked him a panicked glance. "Uh…Jim, this isn't what I
expected we'd be watching…"
"I know, I know." Jim smiled at him, delivering a reassuring pat to
Blair's foot. "Look, we'll -- I'll take it back and complain, okay? And
kick up a fuss until they track down the one you want to see with your
friend in it."
There. Not even a pause between 'your' and 'friend'; he was improving.
"Mmm?" Where was the remote, dammit?
"This movie… it's uh, it's by the same people who did Sherri's."
"Yeah?" Could have sworn it was on the table…
"And I'd kind of got to know the crew…"
Jim closed his eyes. "Chief, are you telling me if we keep watching I'm
going to see your ass on screen? Because if so, I'm not opening my eyes
until you've killed the TV, okay?"
Blair snorted which was enough to get Jim peeking again. "Jim, you've
walked in on me in the bathroom often enough --"
"I keep forgetting you're there," Jim apologised. "And, you know;
barracks life… it isn't that big a deal for me. Sorry."
Not a total lie.
"It's not a big deal for me, either," Blair assured him. "I spent a
summer at a nudist colony with Naomi when I was --"
"Stop right there." Jim winced. "I don't need to know that you know
what your mom looks like naked, Blair."
"You need to get out more," Blair said. "Out of the gutter, anyway. And
I was a kid, okay? But it… well, it's just skin, you know? See enough,
for long enough, and it stops mattering."
"Which is why you were drowning in drool that time we were at that
"That was different," Blair said without embarrassment. "That was skin
being sexy. And going back to what I was saying; you've seen me naked;
you can't seriously think I'd be in a porn movie."
Jim considered what he recalled of a naked Blair without needing to
take long over it because he remembered every detail. "No. You're not
"No," Blair agreed placidly. "You are, though."
Jim swallowed hard. "Uh… thank you?"
"Welcome." Blair nodded at the screen, back to normal, as far as Jim
could tell, whatever had upset him no longer mattering. "I
worked behind the scenes."
Jim frowned. "They can't have needed you for research on this one,
"No… I was, ah…" Blair gave him a considering look, as if he was
wondering if Jim could take it, which was just too fucking funny
considering who was the ex-Vice cop and who was the anthropology
student. Jim took another drink of beer. Beer helped. Especially as he
still couldn't find the remote and the grunts and exhortations were
coming over loud and clear. "Jim, do you know what a fluffer does?"
Beer sprayed over Jim's knees, the sofa, and, because there was justice
in this world, Blair's socks.
"Yes, Sandburg, I do," he said when he'd finished mopping ineffectively
at himself with his hand, the bottle set down safely. "And that's not
"Didn't pay well, either," Blair said. "But it got me access to the
"Oh, my God."
"Hey, I was a growing boy," Blair told him. "I wasn't into starving in
an attic, you know?"
"But you were into... that?" Jim shook his head in bewilderment.
"Sandburg, do you know how risky --?"
"Back then, no, I didn't. None of us did," Blair said succinctly. Jim
did some rapid mental arithmetic and worked out how old --
young -- Blair would've had to have been and felt
vaguely shocked. "But it was safe enough. I didn't -- it was just hand
"Mostly," Jim repeated flatly.
"The idea wasn't to get them off," Blair explained. "It was to --"
"I know," Jim interrupted before Blair went into
details. "Chief, I worked Vice, okay? I know. And you were lucky your
ass never got busted."
"It wasn't like that," Blair protested. "And I knew them." He gestured
at the screen. "That guy there, on his knees? That's John. Collected
stamps and had three kittens he'd rescued from a garbage can. We used
to smuggle tuna salad out in bags for them."
"Okay, Chief, I get it, they were a bunch of saints …"
"He could only get it up if I talked dirty to him, but he didn't like
anyone knowing about that." Blair eyed him. "Safe enough sex for you?
Me talking? Or is my mouth off-limits for that, too?"
"And the one getting spanked, well, yeah, he liked that scene and the
director knew it. Sean was kind of sleazy, I won't deny it, but he
wasn't stupid and he knew it'd come over good on film so he always let
Tony do that if the script called for it."
"'The script'?" Jim shook his head. "Oh, Chief…"
"Hey, you think it's just strip and fuck?" Blair demanded. "No way,
man. I'm not saying it was Oscar material but there was more to it than
you think." His eyes were challenging. "You ever watched porn and it
didn't work for you?"
"You ever watched it and it did?"
Jim squirmed a little. "Mmm, yeah, sure…"
"So we've established that some is better than the rest? It's not all
"Jesus, Blair, give it a rest, will you?" God, sometimes… "If it worked
for me, it was because I got off on the action or who was starring,
okay? Don't expect me to send the director flowers because it's not
"Fine." Blair was nodding his head so hard it was about to fall off.
"So what about this one?"
"What about it?"
"What is it that's got you hard about this one? Tell me, 'cause I'm
And just like that, Jim realised they were still fighting, hadn't
stopped, because that, that was a body blow.
"I'm not --"
Blair reached over and cupped Jim's erection -- when had he got hard?
When? And let it be before Blair announced his former job, please, God
-- and ground down gently enough to pull a moan out of Jim, not a
scream. "You feel pretty hard to me, Jim."
"We're watching porn," he managed.
"Gay porn," Blair countered.
"It's the principle of the thing," Jim said, his voice a husky whisper
because Blair's hand… his hand…
Blair moved even closer, getting between Jim's legs and pushing Jim to
his back, his hand still doing that remorseless squeeze 'n grind. Jim
found himself stretched out on the couch, staring up at a pissed off
Blair, all glittering eyes and scary as hell.
"So it's just watching sex that gets you off? You don't care who's
"I didn't say --" Jim exhaled as his parted legs let Blair run his
fingers down behind Jim's balls, pointed, stiff fingers, probing,
searching, jabbing in. He wasn't wearing enough layers to make it
remotely possible to ignore those fingers, right there. A suit of
armour wouldn't have been enough.
"I'm starting to think there's a lot you didn't say."
"Look who's talking," Jim countered. It made more sense in his head but
he had to say something… and speaking of which… "Did you really get
that guy hard just by talking to him?"
It wasn't that Jim didn't think it was possible; had to be, or phone
sex lines wouldn't be such a popular way of burning money. It was just…
Blair? Blair who could talk, yeah, whose voice could be this persuasive
lilt in your ear telling you -- making you -- do all sorts of things
you didn't want to until he dreamed them up but that was -- that didn't
mean -- they were just tests, not sex. Nothing to do with sex.
The shrug Blair gave was just arrogant enough to be provoking. "Sure.
It's easy. You just talk until you see you've hit a nerve and then keep
on hitting that spot. Variations on a theme, man."
Jim opened his mouth, more to make Blair stop talking than because he
had anything to say, and then closed it again when he couldn't force
out a single, coherent word.
Blair smiled down at him, an easy, confiding, friendly smile. "If you
weren't already hard, I'd show you." Jim felt his body react to that
threat as if it was a fist coming at him, or a bullet zinging overhead;
a prickle of sweat, a lurch as his heart skipped a beat, a silent calm
settling over him suddenly. No room for fear when the stakes were this
"You think you know how to turn me on?" Game on,
Chief. He relaxed back into the cushions, lifting his hips a little and
rubbing against Blair's invasive, invading palm. "I can get harder than
this. A lot harder. Take your fucking hand off me and do your best with
your mouth instead." Could have been phrased better, but Blair knew
what he meant. Always did. And then, because he was an idiot, because
he was certifiably insane, Jim added recklessly, "Hell, make me come in
my pants if you think you're that good at talking."
"I think you're full of it, Sandburg," he murmured. From this angle,
Sandburg was all curls and curves but no softness; his jaw was
clenched, his lips squeezed tight. He looked furious.
And then Blair smiled again and his hand moved away, leaving a
palm-sized patch of lingering heat soaking down into Jim's pants. Blair
settled down, kneeling between Jim's spread legs and forcing Jim's foot
to slide to the floor to make room. Which spread his legs wider and put
him on display. Blair's thigh was brushing the inside of Jim's, but
other than that incidental touch, they weren't in contact.
Jim took a steadying breath, pinned on a supercilious smile, and waited.
"Are you doing that on purpose?" Blair asked after a moment, his voice
so normal that Jim didn't realise Blair'd started the game until his
brain caught up with the frantic signals his body was sending out.
Husky voice, Blair leaning over just enough that his exhalations were
something to be felt warmly against Jim's face. "Showing me what I
can't have? Teasing me? You'd think I'd be used to that by now, but I'm
Jim started to reply but Blair tapped a butter-slick finger against his
lips. "No talking." The finger slid around to Jim's earlobe and was
joined by a thumb, tugging reprovingly. "Just listen, okay?"
And it wasn't going to be filthy crudities, suggestive and dirty, was
it? Because Blair didn't need to play around until he found Jim's weak
spot, his vulnerabilities. He already knew.
"I'm never going to get used to you, no matter how long I stay here.
Never going to stop getting hard when you walk out of the bathroom,
towel sliding off you, skin wet because you never dry yourself off
properly. Do you do that on purpose? Because you know how good you look
when you're wet? One of these days I'm going to be waiting right
outside that door, Jim, and I'm going to be thirsty. Going to lick
every drop off you while you stand there. You ever want that from me,
all you've got to do is look and I'll come over and do it."
Jim heard himself make a choked, desperate sound of pure shame because
he had done it on purpose, not always, but
sometimes, wanting to see something in Blair's eyes; admiration, envy…
"Ssh…" Blair's hand hovered, patting the air soothingly. "'S'okay, Jim.
I jerk off to that time your towel dropped and you didn't bother
picking it up, all the fucking time. It's okay, I
Blair's voice was pitched low enough that it was barely there. It
didn’t matter that Jim could still hear it, every syllable; it was the
aura of intimacy that counted. "Don’t mind any of the things you do to
me, even the ones that hurt."
This time the grunt was one of protest, because he'd never -- not
intentionally -- had he?
"You touch me, Jim. All the time. Your hand in my hair, tugging it
around your fingers, your hand on my back, my ass, pushing me out of
rooms, putting me behind you where I'm safe… hand on my face…" Blair
silent for a moment. "That's the worst. I can feel you, skin on skin,
and it's never for long enough, and it's so damn hard holding still for
you so I don't do something stupid where people can see, something…
He wasn't turned on by this. He wasn't. He was swallowing salt and snot
and he just wanted to give Blair what he wanted, all of it. Give Blair
his body and let Blair have him, if that was what he wanted. Hell,
where had Blair been that he didn't know he could have had Jim for the
asking for months now. Months.
"And I would hold still for you, Jim. If you told me to. Hold still if
you bent me over any piece of furniture in the place, though I'm not
sure I could once you were in me." Blair laughed, without sounding
amused. "I'm not that good."
Jim wasn't looking at anything but Blair's face but the pictures
slammed into his skull, just as Blair must have known they would. Pale,
curved ass and the tight, tense muscles in Blair's legs trembling as he
ran his fingers over them, rubbed the front of his thighs against them
as he got in close… over this couch, this very fucking couch, taking
Blair hard and sweet and deep until he was crying out, body jerking,
captive, held in place by Jim's carefully cruel hands.
He wondered what Blair was seeing as he stared down at him; how much
his face was giving away because he was hard now, yes, he was. Not
to coming, but hard enough that he wanted touching by more than the
impersonal press of clothing. There was nothing of triumph in Blair's
expression so maybe Jim was safe.
"I want you," Blair whispered on a sigh. "Want to get closer. Sick of
lying under your bedroom, trying to sleep when I know you're up there.
You think I can't hear the sounds you make? That close, I don't need to
be like you to know what you're doing. You're so quiet, Jim, but you
can't be quiet enough. I leave my door open and the little sounds you
make -- God, you trying to come in silence gets me every fucking time,
Jim. Every -- "
He was shaking his head now and if he'd been able to speak he'd have
been begging Blair to stop because he was lying here open, flayed, and
"I can smell you in the morning when you walk by my room. Sweat and
come, and if you think I want my mouth on you when you're clean, you
don't want to know what I'd do to you when you're dirty. I'd eat you
alive, Jim, I'd leave you wet and bitten and licked and let you come on
me, get me dirty, too."
"Stop it." His voice was thick with tears that weren't ever going to
get near his eyes. "Blair, you've got to --"
"Come for me," Blair said, his face jammed close to Jim's, his words
spat at Jim, like a scream after the barely audible murmur. "Just once
you fucking come and it be because of me?"
This close all he could see was the dizzying blue of Blair's eyes,
pupils huge in the dim light. "It's always you."
"You know that!"
He was struggling to sit up now, his hand scrabbling at the back of the
couch (where Blair's hand would be when he was being fucked, holding
on, holding tight, he could swear the fabric was hot there). He made it
and gathered Blair's shirt in his hands, shaking him until Blair's head
snapped back, his throat exposed. "You can't tell me you didn't know
that! We can't both be this fucking stupid --"
Blair licked at his lips, unresisting, passive in Jim's grip. "Guess we
It was too much. Jim put his head on Blair's shoulder and hid his
laughter, painful, uncontrollable, unwanted laughter, in the soft,
clean cotton. They rocked together, wordless, not quiet; hiccupping
sobs coming from Blair, that rusty creak of laughter from Jim.
Stayed like that until the credits rolled and the hiss of the empty
screen filled the loft.
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