Inferences and Innuendo Series

Summary: Jim and Blair finally get together, but the road there, as usual, is rocky.

Note: See part one, "Club Doom," for warnings.

A criminal always returned to the scene of his crime. So they said. And, truth be told, Blair believed it. It was not one of the more pristine aspects of human nature, certainly, this perverse need to revisit the site of one's unholy power, to relive, to revel in one's most egregious transgressions. But he could see it happening. He could understand it.

His own behavior, on the other hand, left him really quite puzzled. What did it mean to return time and again to the scene of one's worst nightmares, one's most harrowing danger, like some demented moth? He really didn't know.

It was called El Morocco now. And so the decor had a vaguely Middle Eastern flavor to it. There was a mosaic of brightly colored tiles on the wall behind the bar, a pointed archway that led to the restrooms, gauzy swoops of fabric that festooned the leather banquettes. It tried, a little too hard perhaps, to give the impression of summer nights and desert caravans and tents pitched alongside a burbling oasis. Apparently, this was someone's notion of a gay club.

Before its current Arabian Nights incarnation, it had been Cheeta, and everything had been covered in animal print. Apparently, that had been someone's idea of a straight bar. Before that, there was a Western theme, and it was known as Fandango. Before that, it had been...well, it had been Club Doom, so very aptly named.

He didn't know why, but somehow, he couldn't seem to stay away from this place. And it wasn't because he was doing anything wrong. Sometimes, he had to reassure himself of that. He wasn't a criminal. This was no crime scene. Sometimes, he wasn't quite so sure he believed it.

The music pounded around them like a seismic event, and the strobe lights flashed in time to it. He pulled his partner closer, his hands on the man's ass, fondling him appreciatively. The guy had dark hair, a little goatee and a great ass. He swivelled his hips, rather lewdly, rubbing his butt against Blair's hands. The guy knew he had a great ass, too, and he definitely worked it. But this little bit of vanity didn't bother Blair. With a backside that fabulous, he didn't see how anyone could keep from flaunting it.

The air felt heavy on the dance floor, both from exertion and lust. The cute brunette ground his hips into Blair's, both of them hard and bothered. The man smiled smugly, and Blair was pretty sure he had much the same expression on his own face. They were going to leave and go somewhere to fuck when the song was over, and they both knew it.

And Blair thought the same thing he always did whenever he picked up someone: I'm not doing anything wrong. This has nothing to do with Jim. It's just about me and figuring out who I am. It can't touch us. It doesn't mean anything. It's not because he wouldn't tell me. It's not revenge.

The last techno beats of the house music pulsed over them, and then there was a strip of quiet. The man leaned forward to whisper in his ear in that brief space, "So you want to?"

He nodded and let the guy take his hand to lead him from the floor. Away from the blare of the speakers, the man turned to him again. "My place?"

Blair shook his head. He never went home with any of them. That was something that would only ever be for Jim, no matter what else Blair felt he had to do.

"Your place then?" the guy asked.

Blair shook his head again, and the man looked confused. Blair motioned with his head toward the bathroom. The brunette's mouth twisted into a wry little smirk. So it's going to be a quick fuck in the toilet, is it? his expression seemed to say. But he simply shrugged and followed Blair as he headed in that direction.

In the few weeks since he had begun his education in gay sex here at the club, he had learned all the best places for stolen moments. There was the bathroom, of course. And two small banquettes near the back where the curtains hung so low almost nothing of what happened inside could be seen from the outside. There were any number of dark corners that would do for a quick blow job and a semi-private niche out in the alleyway behind the building that was good for a quick fuck. He knew this from personal experience. He'd visited all these spots, repeatedly, each time with someone different.

When they got to the bathroom, he and the brunette locked themselves in the last stall. There were a few guys at the urinals and some washing their hands at the sink. Bu no one seemed to give any thought to what they were obviously about to do, except perhaps to envy them. Blair still had trouble grasping the openness, hell, the sheer audacity, of the whole gay experience.

The cute brunette leaned forward as if to kiss him, and Blair quickly reached to unbutton the guy's shirt, to speed things along. He didn't want it to look like a rejection, but he never kissed the guys he had sex with. This was something else that he kept reserved for Jim.

"Just want to get down to it, huh?" the brunette asked, sounding bemused.

"Yeah," he admitted. "Is that a problem?"

Something flared in the man's wide, dark eyes. "No. No problem. How do you want it?"

Blair ran his thumb nail down the guy's fly. He smiled when he felt him jump. "I want this. Want to suck you." He ran his hand over the man's hip, around to the high, firm mound of his ass. He squeezed, and the guy gasped. "And then I want this. Yeah?"

The guy nodded. "Yeah." His shoulders hitched with his excited breathing.

Blair smiled. "Good."

He opened the man's zipper and pushed down the tight black jeans and the sky blue bikini briefs. The guys's cock bobbed free. Blair dropped to his knees. He licked his lips. The brunette rested heavily against the wall, already panting. Blair blew on the cock head, teasing, erratic little puffs. The man moaned softly. Blair swirled his tongue around the crown like it was an ice cream cone, and the noises grew more frenzied. When Blair finally opened his mouth and began to suck in earnest, the brunette went downright wild.

It was amazing what a person could develop a taste for. Blair thought this every time he gave head. And he didn't mean just some grudging tolerance, either. But a downright, honest-to-God, bone-rattling craving. When the Marine had tried to force him, he had been petrified, both of what it would be like and what it would mean about him. Just the thought of it had made him want to puke. After that, he honestly hadn't known if he could, ever, if he would want to.

This was why he had spent so many nights at the club having fly-by-night sex with strangers rather than staying home to make enduring love with Jim. He had to find out what was possible first. Because he couldn't touch Jim and balk. He couldn't take Jim into his mouth or inside his body and feel like less of a man for it. He couldn't make his fledgling journey into man love with the man he loved. He couldn't run the risk of ruining what was between them.

He couldn't have known when he started this whole thing that the worry would be largely for nothing, that a person could develop a taste for almost anything, as long as it was of their own volition. And, sure, it was an acquired taste, man love, in its earthiness, its angles and textures, the sheer male untidiness of it all. But an acquired taste like asparagus was. Or beer. Or olives. In fact, some of the best things in life were acquired tastes. And sure, the first time he had worked his fingers into a guy's ass he had been kind of squeamish about it. But there were plenty of things that where a little off-putting at first, that you returned to time and again anyway, that you learned to love, or at least to appreciate the necessity for.

Even the first time another man had sucked him had been a little disconcerting. The sandpapery jawline beneath his fingers, the sturdy, muscular shoulders he gripped to keep his balance, the big, strong hands that held his hips in place—it was all just a little bit strange the first go around. But then again, some of the things most worth doing in life took some getting used to. This was the key element he'd left out of his calculations of whether he could do this or not.

By this point, the brunette had moved beyond animal noises into total, ecstatic silence. Blair worked him more urgently, and the man's body seized and spasmed. Here was something else he could never have imagined: that having another man come in his mouth could feel like he was being given something, rather than like he was having something taken away from him.

The brunette slumped bonelessly against the tile and struggled to catch his breath. Blair got up from the floor and turned him around to face the wall. He unzipped his own pants and freed his aching cock. Come to think of it, want itself had initially taken some getting used to, as he remembered it from his adolescent days. There was nothing more confusing than the way that what felt so good could also feel so much like pain. He should have realized. He should have guessed. That sex with men would be different, but the process of discovery would be just the same.

He rolled on a condom and parted the brunette's tight cheeks, touching him, testing. He was ready, even slick inside. He must have lubed himself before going out that night. Imagining it made Blair even harder. He positioned his cock and pressed forward. Once inside, he began to move, to thrust more forcefully.

This part had taken no getting used to.

And yet, it was not like fucking a woman. There was something humid and pliant about female bodies. Moving inside them was like moving underwater—slow and easy and embracing, sinking into the warm depths. Men were all muscled resistance. Moving inside their bodies felt like an athletic accomplishment, even when the sex was gentle and easygoing.

The brunette began to whimper, and Blair began to move faster. He reached for the man's renewed erection and started to pump. He could feel the torsion in the arms braced against the wall. The man was very, very close, which was good because so was Blair.

"God!" the other man cried.

"Shit!" Blair said.

They both came.

Afterwards, Blair peeled off the condom and threw it away. They both cleaned up and rearranged their clothes. This was the part Blair enjoyed the least, always so awkward and so empty. He unlatched the stall door, and the brunette followed him out into the bathroom. They stood side by side at the sinks and washed their hands.

"Thanks for the wild ride." The brunette smiled into the mirror.

Blair smiled back. It seemed the thing to do. "No, thank you," he said, chivalrously.

"So maybe we could do it again sometime?"

Blair shrugged. "Sure. If we run into each other."

"Yeah. Okay." The ironic expression had returned to the man's eyes. He knew exactly what Blair was saying.

Of course, he didn't know why. He didn't know that Blair never had sex with the same guy twice. It was just easier that way, no messy entanglements. Plus, he had no intention of letting any of these guys fuck him in return, so it avoided arguments. He doubted there was any graceful way to explain that he was saving himself for someone else.

"Well, see ya," the man said.

Blair nodded, but he didn't immediately follow him out of the bathroom. He ran the water in the sink until it was as cool as it was going to get, and then he splashed his face. When he looked up again, into the glass, there was a moment of non-recognition, the briefest instant when he was a stranger to himself.

It was not the first time he had questioned why he was still doing this. But just as he'd always done before, he quickly cut off the question. He was not yet ready to consider what he might be afraid of.

When he got home later that night, Jim was upstairs sleeping. Or pretending to, at least. This was the ritual they'd fallen into. Jim would find some pretext to leave the loft before Blair went out for the evening, and he would make it seem that he'd already gone to bed when Blair got home. Of course, Blair knew there was no way his Sentinel hadn't waited up for him, wondering, worrying. But it made it easier on both of them, not having to see each other's faces—and everything that was revealed there—in the moments of Blair's comings and goings.

Blair went into his room and flung off his clothes. He left them littered on the floor, something he hardly ever did any more since coming to live with Jim. Tonight, though, he was just too tired to bother. He flopped down onto the mattress, rested his arm over his eyes and tried to hurl himself toward unconsciousness. But sleep giggled at him and dodged his every effort. His thoughts just wouldn't turn off. He sighed heavily.

He thought about the brunette. He thought about his body and his little goatee and how it had felt to fuck him. This eventually led to thoughts of the other men he had been with. When he'd first begun all this, he could remember them in perfect succession, like a line of paper dolls reaching back for him. Now, there were too many. They blurred into one another until he wasn't even sure any more exactly how many there had been. Occasionally, he would close his eyes very tightly and try to recall exactly what the sex had been like. Sometimes, he could actually manage to conjure it up, but weirdly enough, he never got hard, no matter how steamy the memories were.

The springs on Jim's bed squeaked as he turned in his sleep or perhaps in uneasy wakefulness. Blair couldn't keep himself from imagining what that looked like, his partner nude and sprawled on top of the coverlet. In his fantasies, this was the way Jim slept, pristinely naked, vulnerable, free.

He closed his eyes and concentrated. Perhaps Jim's cock would stir as he dozed, his body reacting to the tease of his dreams. Perhaps Jim would turn in his sleep, press his hips into the mattress and instinctively begin to move. His long legs would spread open, his strong thighs would part in his pleasure. His balls would sway very gently as he brought himself to completion, leaving behind a telltale wet spot on the sheets.

Blair was fully erect in no time and aching. His imagination shifted, and he was back in the bathroom at the club. Only this time, the man sobbing with need against the tiled wall was tall and broad-shouldered and perfect. He thrust his hips involuntarily, wanting so desperately to be inside that body. He imagined himself stroking his love to fevered pleasure, both from within and from without. He imagined Jim calling his name when he came, his voice hoarse and unforgettable.

Blair reached for his cock. He needed it so badly he hurt. But somehow he managed to stop himself. He groaned quietly and turned onto his stomach, pressing his hard dick into the bedding, willing his erection to subside. It went beyond not wanting Jim to hear or smell him. It was even more than not wanting Jim to have to wonder if Blair was fantasizing about him or some nameless conquest. He was walking a thin line, going to these clubs, doing what he was doing. He had known that from the outset, and so, he had also known that he would need boundaries, some ground rules. Two of the most important were: never confuse Jim with the strangers he slept with and don't take pleasure from Jim, even if only in his own imagination, without giving him pleasure in return.

Of course, this led to many frigid trips to the shower and more frustration than it seemed healthy for a man to bear. But they were his rules, and he respected their necessity, if he didn't exactly always appreciate their consequence.

He sighed. By now, he figured sleep wasn't just mocking him. It was rolling its eyes, sticking out its tongue, making rude noises. He sighed even more heavily and tried to make his peace with the fact that he would simply have to wait for morning.

They didn't talk about it the next day. That was also part of their pattern. They moved around each in the kitchen as seamlessly as ever. And didn't talk about it.

"Coffee?" Jim asked, in his best "it's just another day here at the loft" voice.

"Sure. Thanks, man," Blair responded, in his patented "I don't see any three ton elephant" way.

Jim took down a mug, poured the coffee, handed it to him. He took a sip, headed for the refrigerator. He pulled out the eggs, milk, butter, bread. Jim bent down to take a skillet from the bottom cabinet and set it on the stove for him. He fished out a mixing bowl and whisk. Jim started on the toast. They had breakfast down to a science.

It was only a few minutes later that they sat down at the table, ready to eat. Blair dug into his eggs. Jim slathered some raspberry jam onto a piece of toast. It was virtually indistinguishable from so many other mornings they'd spent in each other's company. And it suddenly struck Blair that this was the true test, that it had been all along. Not sex. Not even remotely. Because you could have sex with someone you fished out of a sea of strangers, and it meant nothing. He knew this better than anyone.

On the other hand, there were few people you could live your life beside with basically positive results. But that's exactly what he was doing with Jim. Each and every day, he struggled, laughed, sweated, succeeded and failed right alongside Jim, right where Jim could see it all, every clumsy detail, every unflattering angle. Filling out paperwork down at the station, scrubbing the bathroom, going camping, doing the grocery shopping, living their lives...this was what mattered, this meant everything. Going to bed wasn't the measure of how they fit together. It was that they could stay up twenty-seven straight hours on a stakeout and still be civil to one another. It was that Jim gave him noodles when he hurt so badly he thought he might die. It was that they could fix breakfast, lunch, dinner together, anything, and never once get in each other's way.

So what was there to be afraid of?

All these tumbled thoughts distracted him, and he didn't notice at first that Jim was staring. When he did look up, he caught his Sentinel's gaze, just for a second before he could look away. For the first time, Blair could see the shadows in Jim's eyes. Oh God! He thinks I'm punishing him. He thinks I'm doing this out of revenge. He felt a little sick at the thought. But I explained. God, at least I tried to.

And he had thought that Jim understood, but maybe he never really had. Looking back on it now, maybe he hadn't really made that much sense when he'd insisted that he wanted Jim to be the first, just not the first. Maybe it had been a terrible mistake to let shame get in his way like this. Maybe he should have come right out and confessed what had been true before his experiences at the club had overturned it: I'm afraid to be gay. I don't want to be coward about it. God, help me. But I'm scared. I don't know if I can do it, and I don't want to hurt you.

If only he had known before he ever started all this that a person could develop a taste for anything. That it was the small moments, anyway, that were really the test, not the sex, not at all.

They finished their breakfast in silence, and Jim got up to take their plates to the sink. Blair followed him into the kitchen and stood fidgeting by the counter. Jim had said that he understood when Blair first explained that he needed some experience before they could begin their relationship. Blair knew that he had genuinely tried to comprehend it. But the fact remained that he hadn't, not really, not at all actually. Deep down he thinks I'm punishing him. Am I? Oh, God. Would I do something like that?

"You want to dry, Chief?" Jim asked, throwing him a quick glance over his shoulder. His eyes were like bruises.

Oh, God! This was never what he had intended.

And suddenly he was in motion, heading for Jim, and this wasn't anything he had intended, either. But here it was, just the same. He stepped in front of his friend, not even stopping to think, especially not for that. He'd already done way too much thinking for his own good. He touched his chest to Jim's and wound his arms around his neck and pressed their lips together. For one stunned moment, Jim just stood there, and then, suddenly, Jim's strong arms wrapped around him. Jim's lips parted. His tongue came out to play. Jim's breath mingled with his own. Jim was kissing him. And Jim was still very, very hungry.

Blair pressed himself closer. Jim's chest was broad and strong, and the sheer power of his biceps would have been daunting if he had been anyone else. Jim was so tall he seemed to go on forever, and his body was as sturdy, as reassuring as an oak.

And it reminded Blair. Not of the bad stuff. Not of anyone else. But of his original desire, the spark that had sent him out searching in the first place. It had been Jim, as he had realized even back then, but it had been something else, as well. All those years watching and envying and yearning for the trees...that had been about him, about who he was. It had been so hard to admit that this...this thing, this desire had always been part of him. That it been searching and searching for the proper expression, that he had been searching, long before he ever met Jim, for the tender sway of branches that would embrace him. And this was another reason why he'd needed those nights at the club, to make a rocky peace with the facts of his own desire.

And now he could see exactly how futile all those nights had been. Sure, he had gone back to the club, but he had not returned to the forest. Instead, he had picked short men, slight men, men who looked like they had desk jobs. And even then, even if he had possessed the courage to reach for the sky once more, it still would have been meaningless. Because it really was about Jim, too, at least as much, perhaps far more, than it was about him. And no one else could ever take Jim's place. Of that, he was certain.

Jim moaned softly, regretfully, and broke the kiss to breathe.

"Chief," he said, holding Blair's face in his hands, running his thumbs over his temples, smoothing the hair behind his ears.

"Jim," he murmured.

"I love you, Chief."

Jim's eyes sparkled, and the way he said the endearment…God! Blair wondered if he'd ever taken the time to listen to Jim, really listen. Because there was so much in that one simple syllable, and looking back on it now, he realized there always had been.

Jim kissed him again, and for a rare moment, Blair stopped thinking.

"I love you, too," he finally remembered to say.

This made Jim smile, and it was a beautiful thing. It always had been. Blair wanted to tell him again and again, just to see it. So he did.

And Jim kissed him breathless.

When he pulled back, there was such a light hopefulness in Jim's face that it practically defied gravity. He brushed Blair's hair back behind his shoulders. He touched his face. He ran his hands down Blair's arms. He seemed to be trying to reassure himself that this was really happening.

"I've wanted you so much. You have no idea," Jim said.

"I think I do."

For a second, it looked like Jim might argue the point. But the determined expression was quickly replaced by something that reminded Blair way too much of a little kid about to ask for something for Christmas, something he was not at all sure he would get.

"You won't go back to that club any more, will you? I mean, not after... Not now that we..."

Blair felt his heart lurch. This was the thing that the self-help gurus never bothered to tell you. Sure, identifying that you had a problem was the first step, but it was only that, a first step. It was certainly no magic cure-all. Sadly, knowledge didn't always translate so efficiently into change for the better.

"I... Well—"

He was still scared.


He didn't know why.

"Blair?" Jim's voice was hard now and a little desperate.

"I'm sorry," he finally said.

Jim's face turned red, and he opened his mouth no less than four times to say something, only to close it again each time without actually speaking.

"God," Blair said.

Jim stared at him, his face opaque, flinty. And yet, there was something ignitable in his eyes, anger certainly, but also a challenge, like he was daring Blair to try to explain himself.

"I'm so sorry," he pleaded.

Jim shook his head and turned abruptly on his heel. Blair watched as he pulled his jacket off the peg and strode out of the apartment. He slammed the door so hard behind him that the walls shook and several pictures went askew. No matter how furious he ever was, this was something he never, ever did. Somehow, this left Blair feeling even more terrified.

That night at the club, he languished on a bar stool and nursed his drinks. He didn't want to be bothered by anyone, but he couldn't go home to Jim, either. So he'd ordered something they called a Moroccan margarita, the specialty of the house. He didn't think he'd ever tasted anything more foul, but this was exactly the point. The last thing he needed was to get drunk, even though there was a part of him that dimly regretted he wasn't going to do just that. Oblivion really was his only hope for feeling better. But his better judgment overruled this option, and the frighteningly red transmission fluid he was drinking kept the temptation conveniently at bay.

The familiar live wire energy ran through the room. He could feel the edginess in the men surrounding him, the trembling sense of expectation. He seemed to be the only one immune to it. He would have thought, as obviously miserable and disinterested as he was, that people would have given him a wide berth. But there was a Florence Nightingale complex in every crowd, even among guys, and no less than five selfless souls sat down to try to lift his spirits. He managed to chase them all off without being too rude.

He choked down his second Moroccan margarita and got up to go. It was pointless to keep loitering around the place. Whatever he'd been searching for...well, he finally understood that it had never been here.

Only a second later, he was proven completely wrong about this. The crowd parted, another Red Sea moment, just like years before, and another tall, eye-poppingly gorgeous man stepped up to the bar. He wavered for a moment, but only for a moment. He slid back onto the stool and watched and waited. Just like before, the other man took a seat on the opposite side of the bar, ordered a drink and stared at him in return. Blair felt his stomach turning cartwheels. What is he doing here?

He didn't have to wait long for his answer. The tall man made his move. Blair could feel his heart beating on his skin, as if it were suddenly too close to his chest. It seemed like it took an eternity for the man to make his way around the bar. But, really, it was only a matter of moments, and then the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen were staring into his face, asking all kinds of questions.

"Is anyone sitting here?" This was only one of them.

Blair shook his head. "Be my guest," he said. His mouth was suddenly very, very dry.

"Buy you a drink?" The man smiled, and even the sun had never given off more light.

"Sure," he said, a little shakily. He wiped his damp palms on his jeans as surreptitiously as he could.

The man ordered for both of them. No Moroccan margarita for Blair, either, but his favorite beer. The bartender set chilled bottles down in front of them both. They chinked them together and drank.

"You come here often?" the man asked.

"Uh, yeah. Actually, I guess I do." This wasn't what he had been expecting.

"Not me. Not really my scene."

"Oh." Blair stared down at the bar, not sure where all this was going, suddenly feeling very awkward.

"A friend of mine likes it here though," the man continued. "I never have understood why that is. Why he keeps coming back when there's so much more waiting for him at home."

Blair stared at Jim. He looked like someone who was merely making conversation. Blair had the sudden, uncomfortable sensation that he was talking to a stranger.

"Sometimes this is just easier," he said, quietly.

"But why?"

Blair shook his head. "I don't know. Look, it's not like I ever—"

"My friend," Jim broke in.

"What?" Blair blinked at him, confused.

"It's not like my friend ever..."

"Uh...yeah. I'm sure it's not like you're friend ever planned for it to be this way."

He was definitely caught in the twilight zone, and he had no real clue why they were playing this game.

"That doesn't really explain anything," Jim said.

Blair sighed. "I guess not. Like I said this morning, I really am sorry, Ji—"

But Jim shook his head. "Let's just keep it casual, huh?"


"Want to dance?"


"Dance. You know."

Blair's mouth hung open, and he was sure he looked like a dimwit. "Fine, man. Whatever."

He slid off the stool and stomped off toward the dance floor, trusting Jim to follow him. Whatever he was up to, it was beginning to piss Blair off.

Jim seemed completely unfazed. He simply scooped Blair into his arms and began to gyrate to the beat of the music. Blair wasn't sure what he found more stunning, this bizarre charade or the fact that James J. Ellison was dancing. Of his own volition. And he was good at it, too!

Jim's arms plastered themselves across his back, holding him tight. The two of them practically shared a pelvis they were pressed so close together. Blair was finding it just a little bit difficult to breathe.

"Mmm," Jim murmured in his ear. "You feel so good."

"What are you doing? What are we doing?"

He could feel Jim's smile, pressed against hair. "If you don't know..." Jim laughed. "I thought this was the way you liked it. All the action, none of the strings."

"Fuck...don't do this, okay?"

"What? You don't like it?"

Jim pushed back his hair and started to kiss his neck. No, that didn't even begin to describe it. Jim was making a meal of him like he was some kind of friendly, erotic vampire. One who fed on the little shivers and moans that Blair couldn't manage to suppress, no matter how hard he tried.

"See?" Jim mouthed against his skin, his voice both muffled and smug. "I knew you liked it."

Blair could only shudder.

This emboldened Jim, who began to branch out his explorations. He ran his hands sensually down Blair's back, flirting suggestively with the waistband of his jeans, before finally drifting down to his bottom, to cup his ass in hands, to pull him even closer.

"So sweet, so sexy," Jim whispered.

One hand slid between their bodies, found the nipple ring beneath Blair's shirt and began to play with it.

"God!" Blair's body bucked in its pleasure.

Jim's smile was supremely self-satisfied. "Yeah. Yeah, baby. So responsive. So hot." He began to suck Blair's throat, leaving a hickey like some horny teenager, leaving his mark like a territorial grown-up, like a Sentinel.

That's what this is all about. He's come here, to my territory, so to speak, to claim me. Oh, God. He's claiming me.

Just the thought would have given him an erection, if he hadn't already been so hard it brought tears to his eyes. He gave up any pretense of resisting. He wanted it too much. They would just have to work out the weirdness, soothe the hurt feelings, offer the apologies later. Years of longing had been unleashed at long last, like a dam that couldn't take it any more, that finally just gave way, releasing the raging waters, wiping out everything in its path. Blair felt vaguely bad for small villages downstream. But only vaguely, only for a moment. Then he locked his arms around Jim's neck and began kissing him ferociously and promptly forgot everything else.

And then it was Jim who was doing the shuddering.

After that, they could hardly be said to be dancing anymore. More like making vigorous, athletic love, standing up, fully clothed, in time to the beat. It was shameless. It was delicious. If Jim had wanted to take him right there, strobe lit, at everyone's feet, Blair wasn't so sure he would have said no.

So it was funny, then, that when Jim did mutter in his ear "come with me," his voice strained and urgent, Blair hesitated. It was only for a moment, but Jim saw it.

"It's okay," he said. "You know I won't hurt you. Please?"

Even in the throbbing light of the dance floor, he could see into Jim's face. Really see him. He could see the long, broad stretches that were completely open to him. He could see the closed doors. He could see all the things Jim was willing to share with him, and the few, the very, very few secrets he held back.

And he wasn't sure anymore why he had let this stand in their way all these weeks, because, if he was honest, there were things he could not, would not hold out for Jim's inspection. The club itself was a testament to that. So why had it bothered him so much that Jim kept this, whatever it was, to himself? Maybe, just because he never really had before, not in the long run, not if Blair had really wanted to know something. He had always capitulated, one way or another, sooner or later. It surprised and even scared Blair a little that this might not always be the case. And then again, it had also scared him how much he wanted to know Jim's details, how much he cared about everything that had anything to do with Jim.

All that fear seemed so far away now.

He let Jim take his hand and lead him, back to the shadows, safe ones this time. In the relative privacy of a darkened corner, Jim made short order of his clothes, unbuttoning his shirt, unbuckling his belt, unzipping him, pushing his jeans and underwear down over his hips. And then Jim was falling to his knees and clutching his hips and leaning forward. And then, Blair was on fire, a five-alarm blaze.

If he had been capable of anything even remotely resembling rational thought, he might have been surprised that Jim, Mr. Law Abiding Citizen, Mr. Detective of the Year, was committing an indecent act in public, fellatio for an audience. He might even have thought to be worried for him, for his career, his reputation, if they got caught. And he would have, really, if he had been capable of thinking. If he'd been able to do anything more than sob like a baby.

Because it was one thing to get your cock sucked. It was yet another thing to get sucked off by another man. But it was something else entirely to have the one person you most loved, ever, in your whole life, going down on you like your dick was his favorite flavor. It was indecent. It was the most indecently, wickedly, perfectly delivered blow job he'd ever had the honor, privilege and pleasure of receiving.

And that wasn't the end of it. There was also the way Jim handled his balls, so gently, so lovingly, like they were something precious to him. And the way he hummed, happily, like a man who had finally found contentment, as he took Blair's shaft deeper and deeper into his mouth. It was indecent, all of it. Because no one could possibly ever deserve so much pleasure, so much joy. Fortunately, Blair was just selfish enough not to give a shit about anything so tiresome, so mundane as what he might actually deserve. He only cared about what he wanted and what Jim was doing.

He closed his eyes tightly and held on. He closed his eyes and saw colors, stars, a whole fucking cosmos.

"Jim!" he cried as he came in his lover's mouth

Jim swallowed his come and gently licked him clean afterwards, carefully, knowing how sensitive a man was after orgasm. He gave Blair's cock a final, fond kiss and tucked him back into his underwear and zipped him up. He got to his feet and kissed Blair deeply. It was the first time Blair had ever tasted himself in a man's mouth, and it was Jim's mouth. It did something to him, touched something in him, his heart, maybe. Yes, that was it. It moved him. And it sure as hell fired up his desire again.

"Come home with me," Jim urged, between kisses.

With Jim pressed so close, Blair could feel the wet spot on the front of his pants. His head started to spin, like he'd just gotten off some topsy turvy carnival ride, like he'd lost touch with gravity there for a minute. Jim had come just from sucking him. Jim had come in his pants. Blair had never felt more weirdly powerful or more poignantly tender for someone in his whole life.

"Yes, yes. Let's go home," he said.

He clutched Jim's hand, almost frantically. It had been such a long, twisted, confusing road getting to this place, to this moment. He wasn't letting it get away from him now.

Blair would have thought that already having come once would have taken something of the edge off. It didn't. He was all over Jim in the truck going home, to the point that Jim threatened to pull over to the side of the road, almost sounding like someone's disapproving father. Almost. Blair figured it was Jim's fault anyway for insisting that they ride together, for promising to bring Blair back the next day to pick up his car. He also suspected that there were worst things that could happen to him than having his turned on, brand spanking new lover alone in the truck parked somewhere conveniently shadowy and out of the way.

Jim was all talk anyway. Blair kept right on mauling him, affectionately of course, and Jim kept right on driving, way too fast, a little like a maniac actually, apparently figuring that they would have more room and more privacy at home than in some deserted alleyway.

Somehow, they made it home all in one piece, still wonderfully randy, without traffic citations or summons for lewd and disorderly conduct. More evidence that miracles did, in fact, occur.

Blair had long known that there was a strong streak of quid pro quo running through his partner. In the elevator, Jim showed him a little something about payback, about blowing him while he was driving. By the time the bell dinged at their floor, Blair's shirt was pushed up around his shoulders. His fly was wide open. Jim's hand was inside his underwear. Jim's tongue was making a new home in his ear.

Somehow, they managed to unlock the door, stumble inside, close and lock it behind them—all without making so much noise that their neighbors, concerned about the uproar, came rushing out into the hall to check on the situation. Yet another miracle.

Jim broke their kiss, but only to say, "I want you upstairs."

Blair nodded. He would have agreed to just about anything right then. Fortunately, Jim didn't ask him for all his earthly possessions or his brain for science or anything like that. Just his body, for sex. This was something Jim could have anytime, anywhere, any way he wanted. Blair suddenly felt like an idiot for not realizing a long time ago that he really did feel just this way. He could have saved them both a hell of a lot of suffering.

Ah, well, live and learn.

And he certainly was picking up a lot of new facts. Like just how fast Jim could make it up the stairs when he was properly motivated. Or how quickly clothes could hit the floor when two people who knew each other very, very well worked in perfect sync to get each other naked. Or that time could actually pass in a blur. Because he really didn't recall exactly how they'd gotten from standing at the top of the stairs to lying sprawled on the bed. Just the next thing he knew, he was naked, on his back, his legs spread, Jim on top of him, moving in a needy frenzy, stringing kisses down his body.

"Okay?" Jim asked him, breathlessly.

"Mmm," he managed to say, already lost again.

And he had to revise his opinion from earlier that day. Sure, it was the small moments, the day-to- day living. But it really was the sex, too. Not the hit-and-run dabblings from the club. But this. The real thing. The take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred, carnal possession of each other's bodies. For keeps. For knowledge. For love.

"Please," he begged Jim.

He couldn't last, and he wanted it, finally, now that it was right.

"Are you sure?"

He nodded, panting.

"Have you ever..."

He shook his head. Jim stared at him, amazed.

"Nobody? Never?"

"Just for you." That was all he could manage to say.

Jim looked like he wanted to cry, so he must have understood everything that Blair meant by that. And Jim kissed him and kissed him and kissed him some more. Then, he flipped him onto his stomach, and Blair could feel him reaching for the bedside table. He could hear him rooting around in the drawer, pulling out something that he knew must be condoms and lube. And then, Jim was back, kissing, whispering, stroking and gentling.

He let out a sigh and spread his legs for his lover, something he had never been able to imagine doing, no matter how hard he tried. Jim's fingers were slick and a little cool, and they eased inside him one by one. And he really never could have imagined it, because nothing else had ever, would ever be like this, not if he lived until the end of time, until the very last second, ever. And he sobbed, because he felt, he really felt, and it was everything.

"Ready, baby?"

There was both patience and the complete lack of it in Jim's voice. It told Blair how much he wanted it, need it, right now, but not if Blair didn't, not if he was scared or uncertain. And he knew how it felt to want that much and he knew what such restraint cost, and it moved him that Jim would be that careful, that he would do that, for him.

"Please," he begged, his voice shaking.

Jim stretched out along his back. He kissed and caressed and talked to him. When Blair was truly as relaxed as he could be, he entered him. And nothing would ever, could ever be like that again, because there was only one first time, one virgin moment. It was astonishing, really, that anyone had ever used the thought of this act as a threat against him. With Jim, it wasn't like that, not at all. With Jim, it felt like something was being given to him, something unutterably precious, that nothing could be taken away from him, not now, not ever again.

Jim started to move inside him, and suddenly, it was not just the first time. It was the last time, too. The last time he feared this, because just as with everything else, it was surprisingly easy to develop a taste for, this being filled, being taken, being loved, utterly. In the split second, just after Jim began to climax inside him and just before he spiraled into the black void of his own orgasm, he was filled with the most intense regret. Even though there would be many, many more times in the future, for the rest of their lives together, he still couldn't help feeling so very, very sad that this one, irretrievable moment was ending.

He really must have blacked out, because the next thing he knew he was sticky and spent and cradled in Jim's arms. Jim was stroking his back and hair and arm. He felt so good.

"Are you okay, Chief?" he asked.


"I didn't hurt you, did I?" Jim's hand drifted down to his butt and rested there, lovingly, a little possessively.


He could feel Jim let out his breath. "Good. Good."

"I loved it," he admitted.

And he could feel Jim smile. "I'm glad."

"I wasn't sure if I would, after, well, you know..."

"Yeah. I know."

"That was why I did...what I did. I just needed to know I could before...well, you know."

"But you didn't. Not this, at least."

"Yeah, well, some things should only ever be between us."

"Yeah. I know what you mean."

"I love you."

"I love you too, Chief."

His head rested on Jim's chest, and he absently stroked Jim's belly. Such soft skin for such a strong man.



"There's, uh...well, there's something I need to tell you. I'm sorry I didn't before. And, hell, maybe this is the wrong time. Ruining the afterglow and all. I just... I don't know. I guess I need to. I guess I don't really feel right not telling you now that we're..."


"Yeah. Now that we're lovers."

Blair lifted his head from Jim's chest and braced his arms so he could look into his face. In Jim's eyes, he could see doors he had never glimpsed before, never even imagined, opening up for him. And he was strangely unafraid of what Jim was about to tell him.

"It was a long time ago, and I was a different person. And it wasn't even really the way I thought it was. But I still did the wrong thing. And I'm still sorry. And I still need to tell you."

There was something pleading in the way Jim said that.

"It's okay," Blair reassured him. "You can tell me anything." And it was the truth.

He held on tight and listened.


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