Walk Away

This time he walked away for more than a few yards, more than a token widening of the already considerable distance between them, counting off the paces under his breath.

He needed space. He needed Jim so far behind him that six feet plus of muscle and bone (boneheaded anyway) became a dot, a freaking squish between your fingers dot.

Ungrateful, inconsiderate, argumentative, whiny -- why didn't Jim ever just cooperate? Why did it have to be such a battle to get him to do these tests?

First day they'd both been free in weeks, and it wasn't a good day, no, it was raining and, well, he'd had plans, but he'd put them aside because this was important and Jim had just been so --

He turned and snarled, "Can you hear me now? Three blind mice."

His cell phone rang and he answered it. "Three blind mice," Jim said. "But I couldn't hear it this time; I read your lips. You're outside my range." Jim took a deep breath, audible over the phone. "Look, Blair, when I said I had something better to do with my time today, I just meant --"

"What did you mean?" Blair pushed wet hair out of his eyes and shivered. "Because it sounded like, oh, I don't know, like you were saying finding out about your abilities was way down there compared with whatever thrilling activities you had planned like laundry or defrosting the fridge or --"

"I wanted to take you out for a drink."

"What?" In the short time he'd known Jim, that wasn't something Jim had ever done.

"In fact, Simon and a few others are probably wondering where the hell we are and halfway to getting drunk without us."

"Drink?" Blair repeated. He pressed the phone against his ear. "Why?"

"Because it's your birthday?" Jim said patiently.

"Oh, Jim, God, I didn't know you knew…"

"I'm a cop. I know everything there is to know about you from your shoe size up. Deal with it. Now get your ass back here, Sandburg, will you?" Jim sounded pissed but not convincingly so.

Blair turned off his phone and faced the faraway figure. "You're a pain in the ass, but I love you, man."

The phone rang as he was jogging back across the park to Jim.

"TMI, Sandburg." There was a pause, with his own jerky, panted breath loud in his ears and then Jim chuckled. "Love you, too. Now run faster, birthday boy and pain in my ass."

And the distance between them shrank to nothing.

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