by Francesca

Author's disclaimer: Jim and Blair are not mine. Mia is mine. (In Italian.)

Author's notes: Jim Ellison meets the woman of his dreams — yes, guys, of course its a J/B story — you think I'm stupid or something? you think I don't know my audience? Geez. Relax and trust me already, I'll see you right. Anyway, hugs and utter devotion to Miriam for being the best beta ever. Feedback craved, thank you. (I'm not proud.)

Maybe it was stupid, but he could swear that the phone had a particularly annoying ring to it when Sandburg was on the other end.

Distinctly annoying.

Especially when it was 12:25 on a Saturday night and he was comfortably sprawled on the sofa in t-shirt and sweats, watching the last four minutes of the Jags game.

Jim ignored the ringing phone, and eventually it stopped ringing — god, they'd fucking lost the ball again, and now they only had two and a half minutes on the clock —

The phone rang again. Dammit! and he snatched up the phone more out of irritation with the Jaguars than for any other reason.

"What, Sandburg?" They'd called a time out — hell, they'd better!

"Hey," Sandburg said, and that got Jim's attention instantly, because it wasn't Sandburg's friendly "hey", or his concerned "hey", or his "hey, let me get your attention, here" hey, but rather, his "I've just drunk an entire bottle of tequila and wheeeeee!" hey.

Jim sighed, trying to focus on Blair's voice and tune out the background noise. "Sandburg, where are you?"

"Well, see, tha'sssorta why I'm — hi, Jim! Did I say hi?" Jim rolled his eyes. "Hi, Jim!" Blair repeated, and Jim wondered if he was waving at the telephone.

"Hi, Sandburg," Jim groaned, sitting up and muting the television. "Sandburg, where are you?"

"Well, I'm at this great party," Blair replied happily, and Jim rolled his eyes again. No, Sandburg, I thought you were down in the autopsy room. "And see, the thing is," Blair suddenly whispered into the phone, or rather, tried to whisper, because he was still damn fucking loud, "there's this girl here, right? and she's incredible, right? — like, you have no idea, man! And you know, I got to say, it's been a while, you know, since the ship's come in to shore — or port — or you know, on land, man!" and Jim groaned and let his head fall back against the sofa, " — or whatever, seaworthy — or you know, like a ship — but she — and I — "

"Sandburg, where are you?" but Sandburg was sort of singing Popeye the Sailor Man, and Jim put the phone down on the coffee table and went to get a beer, himself. This conversation was absolutely no fun for someone sober.

He came back to the sofa and picked up the phone. "Jim — Jim — are you there? Jiiiim," and Sandburg sounded really distressed now.

"I'm here, Sandburg," Jim said, pressing the cold bottle to his forehead.

"Jim — don't do that! I missed you!"

"I missed you too. Now where the hell are you?"

"I'm at this party, man! And see, there's this girl — "

"You told me that part," Jim interrupted.

"I did? Okay! Well, see, she — and I — well, I said I'd take her home now, you know? — she asked me to take her home, man! I mean, I said, you know? Said I would. And — But — Some crazy fucker took my car keys!"

Someone with an ounce of fucking sense, god bless them.

"Someone took — I can't find — " Blair seemed on the verge of tears. "So I'm calling the police, man! I'm calling the fucking police!"

"Sandburg," Jim said for what seemed like the fiftieth time.

"I want to report a theft!" Blair yelled.

"Sandburg — just tell me where you are."

"I told them I'd call the police — they're just — they're just jealous because — she went with me — she wants me to — "

"Sandburg, is there somebody else there I could talk to?" Jim asked wearily.

This stopped Blair short. "Somebody? Who?"


"Kyle's here — you want to talk to Kyle?" Blair sounded confused.

"Yeah. Lemme talk to Kyle," Jim said, pulling over a pad of paper and grabbing a pencil.

"But you don't even know Kyle!"

"Sure, I know Kyle," Jim said reasonably. "My old buddy Kyle. Lemme talk to Kyle."

"Well — okay." He heard Blair say, "Kyle — Jim wants to talk to you," and he heard Kyle's response: "Jim who?"

Jim sighed and glanced up at the television — the stadium was emptying. The Jags had lost. That figured. He heard the thump as the phone was dropped and picked up again and he snapped back to attention, gripping the pencil.

"Uh — hello?" said a confused sounding male voice.

"Kyle, hi, I'm Blair's roommate — could you tell me where the hell this party is?"

It was one o'clock in the morning when Jim pulled the truck up to the house — and the party was still hopping. He knew it was still hopping from the street, because the door was open, and people were spilling out onto the street, laughing and waving at each other. The lawn in front was littered with plastic cups, and he could hear the stereo blasting without even dialing his hearing up.

Amazing no one had called the police yet.

Well, except Sandburg, and that didn't count.

He threaded his way through the drunken people on the path to the door, averting his eyes from a couple of scantily clad girls who were stumbling out on the arms of a burly, athletic type. Christ, girls today really ought to wear more clothes.

He steeled himself as he approached the door — god, it looked like wall to wall people in there. He dialed down as much as he could and then began to shove his way inside — Christ almighty, there had to be two hundred people here, how the hell was he supposed to find Sandburg?

It seemed like every available inch of space was taken: couples were hanging out against the walls, were dancing wildly in the living room. These freaks were indeed chic, and he ignored the pounding advice to freak out. He scrutinized people's faces as he passed them, looking for Sandburg's height, Sandburg's hair, something Sandburgish.

Dammit, if Blair were with him he could turn up his senses more. Of course, if Blair were with him, he wouldn't need to be doing this in the first place.

Finally, he saw a face he recognized, anyway — there was a guy pouring punch at a small table serving as a bar, and Jim was pretty sure he was another TA, pretty sure that Blair had introduced them before. He pushed his way over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.

The guy looked up at him expectantly. Shit, was the hell was his name?

"Hey!" Jim said loudly, trying to be heard over the music.

"Hey!" the guy answered. At least he was sober — that was something.

"I'm looking for Blair Sandburg! — I'm Jim, Blair's roommate!"

"Oh, yeah, right!" The guy looked around, scanning the crowd, while he wiped his hands off on a small towel. "He's here!" the guy yelled back. "But he's pretty smashed, you know?"

"Yeah! I know!" Jim called back. Shit, this whole scene was giving him a headache. "He called — I figured I'd better come get him!"

"Good idea!" the guy replied. He fumbled for a moment in his jeans pocket, then produced what Jim instantly recognized as Blair's keys. "I was gonna take him home later myself! " he explained, handing the keys over to Jim.

Jim closed his fingers around the keys gratefully. "Listen — thanks!" he said, gesturing with the keys. "I appreciate it! Michael, isn't it?" Jim added, remembering the guy's name suddenly.

He nodded. "Michael, right!" Michael said. "And no problem about the keys, man! Blair's really smart, but sometimes he's not too bright, you know?"

Jim nodded wearily. He knew — boy, did he know. "I'm gonna go look for him!" Jim said loudly, and Michael nodded.

"Okay! I'll grab him if I see him!"

"Thanks!" Jim said again, and he began to shove his way toward the kitchen.

The kitchen was packed — thankfully he was taller than most of the people there, and so he was able to scan the room. Nobody looked the right height, nobody had the hair. He risked dialing up a little bit, just in case Blair was sitting, say, under the kitchen table — but none of the heartbeats sounded familiar, none of the scents were exactly right.

Jim worked his way through the dining room, into the hallway, and found himself at the bottom of a staircase. Some people were sitting on the steps — heads bent down, looking sort of green. But no Sandburg, and he picked his way among them carefully, working his way to the second floor.

The second floor was crowded too — people had worked their ways up here to talk. The hallway was jammed, and there were people in each of the rooms. He sighed, not even knowing where to start, and leaned back against the first available patch of wall, trying to calm his senses, wishing that he could find Blair already for more than one reason.

And suddenly the wall just wasn't there anymore! and he tried to regain his balance but he was dizzy already from the noise and the people and the myriad scents and the body heat — and he toppled over and fell on the bathroom floor before he could stop himself.

"Oh my god!" he heard a woman cry. "Oh my god — are you all right?" Jim groaned and looked up and saw that there was a slim woman crouched next to him, her short black hair falling into her face. "Hey," she said anxiously, reaching out to squeeze his arm, "say something, will you?"

"Ow," Jim said, and she smiled in visible relief.

"Thank god," she sighed. "Thank god... You're okay?"

"I'm okay," Jim confirmed, sitting up slowly. Some people in the hallway were looking at him curiously, and he glowered at them.

The woman glanced over her shoulder, saw the curious onlookers. "Shit — don't move, just hang on — " and she got up and shoved the bathroom door closed, shutting out the people and their noise. He looked up at her gratefully.

"I'm sorry," she said nervously, pulling a washcloth from a brass hoop and soaking it with cold water from the tap. "I didn't know you were there — "

"Not your fault," Jim said. He gently touched his head where he'd hit it. "I'm the idiot who was leaning on the door."

"Don't touch," she said immediately, and then she was there, again, kneeling beside him on the floor. She had folded the washcloth up into a make-shift compress. "Just hold still," she said, holding his cheek with one hand and pressing the cold cloth to his temple with the other. " I can send someone downstairs for some ice," she said, nervously.

"No, no," he said, reaching up to hold the washcloth into place against his head. "This is fine, this is great."

"I'm so, so, sorry," she said again, and he looked at her and her eyes were dark, too, dark like her short, shiny black hair.

"Really, it's okay," he said, though really, it wasn't — his head hurt like a motherfucker. "Just a bruise, I'm sure."

She sighed and covered her face with her pale, long fingers. "God, I'm so sorry! I really didn't mean to."

"I can't imagine you meant to," Jim replied honestly, and she dropped her hands and smiled.

Shit, Jim thought to himself. She's beautiful. And that surprised him, because he really didn't think he particularly noticed beautiful women anymore — but there was something about this one, something that made his libido sit up and take notice.

He smiled at her and moved to stand — and then cringed, because moving had just sent a stinging bolt of pain to his head.

"Don't move," she said immediately. "Just wait — rest up for a second," and he really didn't want to wait, he wanted to stand up because he felt like a dork sitting here on the bathroom floor, and shit, this woman was beautiful. But his head had other ideas, so he closed his eyes and scooted so that he was sitting against the wall, so that he could lean his head against the tile.

He heard her get up and open the door and say, "Frankie? Go downstairs and get me some ice, will you? Yeah — ice — " and he was in no position to argue. He could already feel the skin beginning to swell; he was going to have a bruise and a lump and — worst of all — he was looking like a serious dork here.

"Ice is coming," she reported, closing the door and sitting down beside him again. He felt her hand touch his — she had pulled his hand into hers and was rubbing it encouragingly. "We'll get you some ice," she said softly, "find you a place to lie down for a bit, and it'll all be fine."

Hell, maybe there were perks to this dork thing — he'd have to ask Sandburg about that. He opened his eyes and looked at her. "Okay," he said. "Thanks."

"Least I can do," she said, smiling at him again, and again he felt a bolt of heat go through him. God she was beautiful — and hell, she seemed to like him.

"I'm Jim," he said.

"Hi, Jim," she replied, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "I'm Mia."

"Hi, Mia," he said.

"Hi," she said, smile widening. "I don't think we've met before. Are you at Rainier?"

"No. Are you?"

"Yeah — American Studies." Mia pulled a rueful face. "Or in other words — would you like fries with that?"

Jim laughed. "Oh, I'm sure that's not true. American Studies, huh? Like — what — Thoreau? Emerson?" Hell, he had read books — just cause he wasn't at Rainier, didn't mean he didn't read books.

"No, I do mostly visual art. New York School — abstract stuff — Pollock, Rauchenberg, that sort of thing." She waved airily.

"Oh," Jim said, nodding. "Do you like the Beats?" and she grinned and nodded at him and he added quickly, "Cause I like the Beats. Hell, I love — "

He jumped at the knock on the door, and she looked startled and then said: "Oh! The ice!"

She got up and opened the door and was handed a large towel full of ice. "Thanks, hon," she said, kicking the door shut and carrying the towel to the sink.

Jim took a deep breath and then got to his feet. She turned around, surprised. "No, stay put — let me — "

"Let me help," Jim said. He handed her the washcloth and watched as she opened the towel and then wrapped a few cubes in the washcloth.

"You sure you should be standing?" she asked worriedly and he nodded.

"Yeah," he said, watching as she lifted her pale arm and reached up to press the icepack against his forehead.

And the ice felt cool, it felt great, and he let her hold the ice to his face, choosing instead to hold on to her waist for support, to keep himself steady. And he stared down at her and she was looking intently up at him, and he wondered what it was about her, what it was that was making him want her so much.

Because it was obvious, now, that he did. Obvious to him — and from her face, obvious to her now, too. He slid his hand around her waist and figured it was probably about time that they openly acknowledged the fact.

"This, uh," he began, somewhat nervously. "This, uh, isn't my usual pickup technique, you know?"

She laughed at that; god, she had a beautiful smile. "I can't imagine that it is," she said, finally. "I mean: you'd have a lot more bruises, for one thing."

And he couldn't help himself — he had his hands on her waist and he couldn't help himself, because it had been a crummy evening and the Jags had lost and Sandburg was drunk and missing. But Mia — Mia was beautiful and here with those big, dark eyes and she was somehow calling to him in a way that he couldn't really even begin to understand. So he let himself go, and dropped his mouth to hers, and kissed her.

And god, it was good to kiss her, she tasted — she smelled — god, how she smelled! Wonderful, he could drown in her smell, and he slid his arm around her and pulled her close to him and kept kissing her. He moved a gentle hand up her arm to her hand and tugged the ice-pack away, blindly dropping it into the sink. This freed up her hands and she slid her arms around his neck, just as he had hoped she would.

And god, how nuts was this? Making out with a beautiful American Studies grad student who did Pollock and Rauchenberg? Totally fucking nuts. He was thirty-eight years old and locked in a bathroom at a raucous party at two o clock in the morning on a Saturday night, making out with a beautiful pixie. But you know, yeah, it was nuts, but lots of things had been nuts lately, and mostly they had been no fun at all. This at least — this was fun.

And he hardly really knew how it happened but he was just so hungry, so hungry for her, he couldn't explain it, and his hands were suddenly cupping her ass, cupping her around the tight little skirt she wore and she was clutching him and kissing him back, and suddenly, wow, this was going fast, far and fast but he wanted it so badly, wanted her so badly. And It was all so weird that he wondered if getting hit on the head had anything to do with it, if only now, at the age of thirty-eight, he was discovering that he was a closet masochist.

He moved his mouth and started kissing her face, her neck, and he could hear the soft little breathy sounds she was making, and it was driving him wild, her sounds, her smells — and she was pressed up against him and he lifted her up, gently, by her ass, and slid her onto the countertop next to the sink. He began to pull on her cardigan, sliding it off her shoulders and letting it pool behind her, wedged against the wall. And then his hands were on her blouse, and it was white cotton — soft under his fingertips, or the skin at her collarbone was, and her small breasts were soft under his hands, and he bent down and put his mouth on them, wanted to feel her with his mouth.

She moaned again, and he slid his hands down her sides, to her legs, and he could feel the muscles in her thighs straining, because she was tensing, keeping her legs closed, but god he wanted her, he couldn't ever remember wanting anybody so badly, and so he caressed her thighs gently with his palms, letting just his fingertips slide up under her short skirt as he tongued a nipple.

He heard her sigh, and then felt her muscles relax, and shit, she was giving way, she was going to let him, and he slid his hands around to the insides of her thighs and began to press her legs apart, moving forward, sliding between them — and she took his head in her hands and pulled his mouth back up to hers and kissed him hard.

His hands were up under her skirt, and he slid his fingers up under the sides of her underwear and caressed her smooth, cold hips, and her tongue was in his mouth — and he couldn't stand it, couldn't wait, had to be inside her — now! yesterday! — and he pulled his hands back and unzipped his pants and what the hell was wrong with him, this was crazy fucking nuts! but he was hard, god, he was hard and he had to be in her, wanted inside her so badly.

And she was tugging at his shirt and she had wrapped her legs around his back, and god, he couldn't wait, couldn't even bother getting her underwear off, and he was sliding his hands up her thighs and shoving her skirt up and pushing between her legs, tugging the crotch of her underwear aside and just pushing past it, feeling the elastic scrape his erection as he pushed into her, as she pulled him in, as he pushed into her, and she was creamy and wet and she smelled just — god

She was plastered up against him and they were chest to chest, and he could feel her nipples, feel her legs warm around his back, and god, this had to be the best sex he'd ever had, and he wasn't even sure why, but it was — something about her — and he held her close and began to move in and out of her, in and out of her, feeling her heat around him.

"Ohhh, Jim," Mia said, and there was something about hearing his name that drove him wild, that made him lose what was left of his control, and he thrust into her roughly, speeding faster and faster as he heard the moans that meant that she liked it. And she was muttering his name and pulling his hair when she gasped suddenly and shuddered violently underneath him — and that was it, that was all she wrote, because his orgasm hit him like someone behind him had smashed him in the back with a bat — he swayed forward, suddenly weak-kneed, and buried his face into her neck, groaning as his come suddenly spurted out of him.

"Holy shit," he heard her say in a small voice, and he pressed his face deeper into her neck and muttered agreement.

"Jim...?" he heard her say after a few moments. "You okay?"

"Yeah," he replied, lifting his head up with an effort and meeting her eyes. "I think I need another icepack," he added ruefully.

She laughed, and he kissed her again. "Mia," he said, suddenly really taking in the situation, taking in her state of undress, his state of undress, the fact that he was still buried between her legs, "I think I'm losing my mind, here."

She let her hands rest on his shoulders. "Jim, relax, okay? Everything's cool."

"Are you okay?" Jim asked, cupping her cheek in his hand.

"I'm fine, I'm good," she replied, lips curling up sweetly. "I'm great — that was great" and he could feel himself reddening.

The reality of the situation was crashing in on him. "I — um — " he began, busying himself with pulling out and cleaning up so he wouldn't have to look at her. "I — uh — that happened a little fast and — "

She read his mind. "Jim, it's okay. I'm on the pill."

He couldn't contain his sigh of relief. "Okay, yeah. And I — I'm clean, I swear."

"I believe you," she said, seeming amused, and he turned away nervously as she got down off the counter and moved to clean herself up, to straighten out her clothes.

Jim bent over the sink and washed his face with cold water, being particular careful of the bruised skin by his temple. "Listen," he said, venturing a glance at her in the mirror, "do you want to go somewhere? Maybe, um, talk a bit, have a drink?" What the hell was the etiquette here?

"Yeah, okay, " she said, coming over and sliding her arms around his waist from behind.

"Okay," Jim said.

"You ready to face the world?" she asked wryly.

"I think so," he replied, turning around and taking her hand. "Come on."

The hallway was somewhat emptier now; you could move unimpeded here, anyway. The stairway to the first floor was more difficult; more and more people seemed to be needing to sit down. Jim went down first, picking a path for Mia, not letting go of her hand. What the hell were they serving for drinks, here, anyway?

And then they were down, and it was only few steps to the door, and Jim shoved his way through what was still a respectable throng of people and then crossed the porch, nearly tripping over a seated figure who turned out to be Blair Sandburg.

Jim stopped short, determined not to do another pratfall: one per evening was his limit. Blair was sitting on the edge of the porch next to Michael, and he looked up suddenly; he was deadly pale, and his hair and clothes were a mess, but he looked more together than he had sounded on the phone two hours ago.

"I found him," Michael reported, grinning at his own obvious statement.

Blair's face brightened in a beatific smile, and Jim was suddenly really really glad he'd come to get him, even if he had gotten maybe just a little sidetracked. He was here, now, anyway. "Hey!" Blair said, and this time it was his really happy "hey", which was a vast improvement. "Jim! Cool! I see you've met Mia!"

Blair stumbled to his feet, steadying himself with a hand on Michael's shoulder; Michael ooomphed at his weight. "Convergence, man!" Blair said, grinning. "Way cool! Now you can take us both home!"

Added to the list of things he decided he quite liked about Mia was the fact that she merely blinked, shot a quick glance from the one of them to the other, and kept her mouth shut. Blair moved toward her and slid his arms around her waist.

"Found him out here in the bushes throwing up," Michael informed Jim with a wry grin, and hell, Jim thought, that sounded like a plan right about now.

Mia glanced at him, and then back at Blair, who was focused on her like she was an ice-cream sundae with whipped cream and chocolate chips. "Well, I've sort of met Jim, yeah," Mia said tactfully.

"He's my roommate," Blair said blithely, still intent on making introductions. "And the best guy in the world. I still can't believe you came all the way out here, man!" Blair punched his arm and Jim jumped. "That's just great — you're a total pal."

Right. Great. Could somebody please point me to the gun room? "The, uh — " Jim said and then coughed. "Truck," he added a moment later. "Is over there."

"Cool, great," Blair said. He turned to Michael and said, "Thanks for everything, man. Great party," before grabbing Mia by the hand and dragging her toward the truck. Jim suddenly exhaled, remembering that he'd been forgetting to breathe. Mia twisted her head back and looked at him over her shoulder, and he sighed and loped after them across the lawn.

And god bless her, Mia wasn't saying a word; he admired a woman who knew when to keep her mouth shut. They got into the truck, Mia sitting between them, and listened to Blair's account of his last couple of hours. Shit, he thought, glancing at Mia, maybe this was all just going to go away? I mean, only he and she knew what had happened, and if he didn't say anything, and she didn't say anything, Blair would never have to know what happened, would he?

" — just all caught up with me suddenly. I don't really know what happened," Blair was saying. "I'm sorry for leaving you like that — I just really needed to get some air." The stupid kid was still grinning like a maniac, and he had his arm around Mia's shoulders. Jim swallowed hard as Blair leaned over and gave Mia a quick peck on the cheek.

"So, Jim, you been taking care of her?" and this comment was in such spectacularly bad taste that Jim nearly crashed the truck.

"Yeah," Mia interjected quickly, perhaps sensing his distress and wanting to get home alive. "Listen Blair, if it's okay, I'm sort of tired, you know?"

I bet, Jim thought glumly.

"Come on, it's still early yet," Blair said, and that was a pretty blatant lie, even for Blair.

Like he should talk — god, what the fuck had he done?

"Not as early as you think," she said, and Jim could hear the smile in her voice. Amen, sister, he thought. It's later than we all think.

"Okay," Blair murmured, and Jim gripped the wheel and stared straight ahead, not wanting to see Blair kiss her, not wanting to see her kiss Blair — not wanting to be anywhere in the state of Washington, actually, let alone in this particular truck with the two of them.

Goddammit, it was Blair's fucking fault — if he hadn't gotten drunk, if he hadn't called — and why the hell did Michael have to take his goddamned car keys — ?

Dear God, Jim thought, instantly horrified at himself, wanting to pull that last thought back, utterly aghast at the thought of Blair attempting to drive his car in the state he was in. God, no, I'm sorry. I don't mean that, God, I swear. Bless Michael. I don't care what happens now. Bless Michael for taking the fucking fucking car keys. Thank you, Michael. Thank you for Michael, God.

"Jim — Jim, it's here, on the left," Mia was saying, and he pulled the truck over abruptly.

"Lunch tomorrow then?" Blair was asking.

"Yeah, sure," Mia said. Jim was already getting out of the truck, since his side was closer to the curb, to let her out.

"Okay, cool," Blair was saying. "I'll pick you up at your office?"

"Yeah," Mia said, and Jim reached up and gave her a hand down to the street. "Thanks," she said quietly, looking up at him with those dark dark eyes, still holding his hand.

"No problem," he responded, equally quietly, and she smiled at him and squeezed his fingers gently, then headed toward the door of her apartment building.

Jim sighed and got back into the truck; Blair's eyes were on Mia, following her into her building. "She's great, isn't she?" Blair enthused.

"Yeah," Jim muttered. "Let's go home."

He really began to think he was going to get away with it, beginning to think that the whole thing was just going to blow over. God knows he had his fingers crossed — it didn't matter if he never got to see Mia again, just so long as Blair never found out about it.

But Blair seemed just fine; he had gone to bed and woken up happy and not the slightest bit hung over, which seemed pretty unfair, all in all. And almost to his dismay, Jim himself woke up to find that Blair had made him a pretty sensational breakfast — eggs, fruit, toast, juice, the whole enchilada — to thank him for coming out to the party and to apologize for having been a drunken pain in the ass.

"I'm really sorry, man," Blair apologized, for like, the fourteenth time. "It's just — you know, I'd had my eye on her for so long, and then finally, you know, I was making some progress — " and he did a complicated little gesture with his hands that looked like he was sculpting the Eiffel Tower out of clay, though Jim doubted that that was what Blair meant by "progress" — "and I guess I just started celebrating a bit too hard, too fast."

"That's okay," Jim said.

"I didn't mean to make it your problem," Blair said, turning around — and holy shit, he'd made bacon. Bacon, for god's sake... "Normally, I can take care of myself, you know. You do know that, don't you?"

"Yeah," Jim said, watching as Blair slid the bacon onto his plate.

"Normally, I'm not quite that much trouble, right?"

"Normally?" Jim repeated, looking up at him. "Normally, no."

Blair looked relieved at this. "Okay. I just — okay. Well, thanks. Eat your bacon," he added, moving to dump the greasy serving platter into the sink.

"Can I get that on tape?" Jim asked.

"No. Sorry. Today's special." Blair came back to the table and sat down in front of his own plate. "But tomorrow, man — " he added with a grin, " — tomorrow's gonna be a bitch."

That turned out to be exactly right. He dropped Blair off at his car, and then went in to the station; Blair went to school and then turned up at the station later. Unfortunately, Blair insisted on giving him a play-by-play of his lunch with Mia over coffee in the break room. " — so we're having dinner, tonight, too. Great, huh? Where do you think I should take her?"

Somewhere loud, Jim thought immediately. Somewhere freaking loud where conversation would be impossible. "I don't know,' he said, instead.

"Maybe I should offer to make her dinner at her place," Blair mused.

Jim got up. "I've got to go back to work," he said and Blair blinked and said, "Yeah, okay."

So he went back to work and later he went home and ordered some Chinese food while Blair dressed for his date with Mia. And then Blair left with a wave and a smile and Jim sat down in a chair and tried to read, wanting to distract himself, not wanting to worry about what was happening.

But he couldn't seem to push the situation out of his mind — he kept thinking about Blair and Mia. Blair and Mia. Talking over dinner, and god, that was a disastrous scenario. Not talking, back at Mia's apartment — and god, that was almost even worse; he just couldn't bear to think about Blair being with Mia...

He let the book fall onto his lap and closed his eyes. If he closed his eyes, he could smell her, he could still smell her, and the smell went straight to his groin. Shit — no. Can't do that. Won't do that. No.

The unbidden thought that chased his erection away was the image of Blair at the party, Blair drunk and happy, dragging Mia toward the Volvo, one hand clutching his car keys. That image sent cold shivers down his spine. What with everything, he hadn't even had a minute to yell at Blair about that — to tell Blair how completely, totally, and utterly stupid he was to even think about driving in that condition. Thank God for Michael. God, if Blair had gotten into that car...

He shook himself, realizing that it wasn't making him feel any better to worry about Blair killing himself in a car wreck. If he were going to be this panicked, he might as well just cut right to the chase and worry directly about Blair finding out that he'd fucked his girlfriend. "Shit," he muttered aloud, and got up to take a shower.

Still damp, he threw on some sweats and went to watch television, hoping that something really distracting was on. Something without car chases or a love interest. And thankfully, there was a pretty good hockey game playing, and he was able to lose himself in that for a couple of hours.

But then it got later, and later, and the situation started to nag at the back of his brain. Because the later it got, the more probable it was that they were either talking or fucking. And then it was past midnight, and Jim decided that they were probably fucking, and that Blair wouldn't even come home.

He knew he should just go up to sleep, but he just couldn't make himself do it — he was wide, wide awake; he was wired. So he settled into the sofa and watched the late movie and two hours later he was halfway through the late, late movie when he heard Blair come into the building and press the button for the elevator.

He thought about running upstairs, throwing himself into bed and pretending to be asleep, but then he might not know what had happened, and he didn't think he could stand that.

And then Blair's key was in the lock and the door was opening and Blair hesitated for just a second and in that second Jim knew that they'd been talking, not fucking.

Blair knew.

Blair came in and shut and locked the door behind him. "Hello," Blair said, not "hey", not this time. "Goodbye. I've got to get some sleep."

Some bright, warm, familiar light in Blair's eyes was now gone — there was a new, shuttered coldness there which made Jim feel vaguely sick.

"Uh...okay. Uh...good night."

"Yeah," Blair said, disappearing into the bathroom. He emerged a few minutes later and went straight into his room — and Jim jumped as he heard the door lock. Blair never locked his door.

Dammit, Jim thought, switching the television off. Goddammit.

And the next day, as Blair had predicted, was a bitch. Jim got up early and decided to try making Blair breakfast — sort of as a gesture, being that it was now his turn to apologize. But Blair came out of his room fully dressed, jacket and backpack and everything, and only glanced briefly at him and the table before saying, "I have to go, I'm late."

Which was a blatant lie, too — Jim knew his schedule backwards and forwards. "Just eat something," he said.

"No time," Blair said, moving for the door.

"Blair, wait," Jim said, and Blair turned to look at him. "Just wait," Jim said, not having any idea what to say after that.

"What?" Blair said, and it was barely a question.

"You talked to Mia?" Jim said, and that wasn't really a question either.

"Yep," Blair said, turning toward the door again.

"Blair — "

"What?" and that certainly wasn't a question, or if it was, it was, "What the fuck do you want from me, and why won't you leave me the hell alone?"

"Look — I just want you to know — that — I didn't know, okay?" He felt fucking ridiculous; he was still holding the fucking fruit salad he'd put together.

Blair laughed, which sent shivers up Jim's spine, because there was no laughter in that laugh. God, he had no idea Blair's eyes could be so cold. Blue — that blue went icy, like a lake in wintertime. "Yeah, well, Jim," Blair said, crossing his arms suddenly, "I'm sorry, but I don't really believe you."

And that shocked him, because he hadn't known, and he never would have if he had known, never fucking ever — and how the hell could Blair think that? Shock shimmered and turned into outrage. "You don't believe me? How can you not believe me? You really think I'd — "

"Yeah, I really think," Blair replied tightly. "That's what I really really think."

"Blair, come on!" Jim said, banging the fruit salad down onto the table. What kind of man did Blair think he was, for god's sake?

"Come on, nothing," Blair said angrily. "There were like a thousand women, there — like a thousand of them — and you just had to — I mean — you just had to have — the only one who — oh, just fuck off, Jim."

"Blair — "

"Fuck off, I said," Blair said, and left, slamming the door behind him.

God, what a mess...what a fucking fucking mess...

He sighed, and went to the telephone and called Simon to tell him he was going to be late. And then he dialed the main number at Rainier University, and found himself asking to be connected to the Department of American Studies.

"He had to be told," Mia said. She was sitting at the picnic bench on the far side of campus, just where she said she'd be. "I'm sorry," she said, as he sat down across from her. "But I just had to — "

Jim groaned. "Mia, you couldn't have just —

"Look, Jim, I tried," she said, running a nervous hand through her short black hair. "I did try, but Blair's really...persistent, you know?" Jim nodded: he knew. "I had lunch with him, but then he wanted to do dinner, and I said, fine, dinner, but then he wanted more, you know?" She scrubbed at her pale face with her hands. "I mean, what was I supposed to do?"

"I don't know," Jim said, and that was true.

"Look, don't take this the wrong way," Mia said, looking up at him. "I like him. I like you, too. But this is a fucking mess — I don't want to be anywhere near this, you know?" She sighed. "I just think it's best if we all go our own separate ways, now — "

"Yeah, well, that's all well and good as an idea," Jim said, irritably, "except Blair's my roommate — Blair's my friend — and I can't exactly go my own separate way, there." He smacked the picnic table with the flat of his hand. "God, couldn't you have given him some other excuse — boyfriend in Australia or something?"

"Doesn't matter now, does it?" Mia replied, and that was something else he liked about her: her ability to cut right to the fucking chase. "Listen, I'm sorry, Jim — I 'm really really sorry," and she reached out and touched his hand, and he stared at it for a moment, and then frowned.

Cause it was different.

Still a nice hand — pale, long fingers, warm. A nice hand, really. Nothing you wouldn't want to have touching you. But not the same, somehow. He looked up at her face; she was still a beautiful woman. But not the same woman, somehow. He couldn't now imagine doing what he had done, couldn't imagine being so damned fucking crazy for her. Cold light of day, perhaps.

He really must have been out of his mind. He sighed and took her hand in both of his and said, "Well, it's my fault too. Just — who knew, you know?"

She nodded and smiled sadly. "Yeah. Too bad, isn't it?"

And it was, really.

He went into the station and Simon had a case for him. But Sandburg wasn't there, and so he couldn't go. He spent a couple of hours working irritably at his desk , and then just gave up and went home, hoping that Sandburg would be there and they could just have it out, already.

He knew Sandburg was there the moment he pushed through the glass doors on the ground floor; he could hear Sandburg's rapid-fire typing. Okay, the first goal was to keep him there, in the apartment. The second goal was to get him talking — sheesh, you knew that there was something pretty wrong with the universe when you had to plan to get Sandburg to talk.

He unlocked the loft door and saw Sandburg sitting at the kitchen table; Sandburg looked up, annoyance written clear across his face as Jim shut and locked the door.

"You're not supposed to be home for three hours," Sandburg accused.

"Yeah, I know. I left work early," Jim said, hanging up his coat.

"Well, why the hell'd you do that?" Sandburg was saving his work, and then he shoved the lid of the laptop down.

"We need to talk," Jim said.

"There's nothing to say," Sandburg said, sliding the laptop off the table into his backpack. "I've got work to do — I'm going to go over to my office and — "

"You're not," Jim said.

"I am," Blair returned shortly.

"I can't handle this," Jim pleaded.

"You can't? Well, fuck you." Blair stood up.

Jim edged closer. "Blair, I swear to you by all that's holy that I didn't mean it, that I didn't mean to — "

"Yeah, right."

" — that I never would have even looked at Mia in a million years if I'd known you were interested in her."

Blair stared at him for a moment, and then said, tightly, "You are so full of shit. I can't believe that you'd shit me like this."

"I'm not shitting you," Jim said, with desperate sincerity. "I'm not — I swear I'm not."

"Think for a minute about who you're talking to, okay?" Blair said angrily. "You're a smart guy — just think for a minute before you try to pull this crap with me. I know you, Jim — remember that."

"You really think I'd do that to you?" Jim asked incredulously.

"I didn't think. No, I didn't. I — " Blair stopped, and his hands were clenched into fists. "But you did. I know you did. And I — I almost can't believe it but I know it."

"Well, you're wrong," Jim said firmly. "You are totally fucking wrong, then."

"God, I wish. I really wish I were," Blair said, his deep voice colored with hurt and anger.

"You are," Jim insisted.

"I am fucking not!" Blair yelled, and then suddenly he was up in Jim's face. "Are you saying that I don't know what I'm talking about?" he demanded. "Are you questioning my professional fucking credentials?"

Jim was confused. "Your what?"

"I've been studying you for three fucking years!" Blair was yelling. "Three fucking years — I've got four hundred pages on you," and to Jim's surprise Blair turned and kicked hard at his backpack, at the laptop, sending it skittering six feet across the floor. "So are you saying that I'm some kind of moron or something? That I don't know what I'm doing here?"

Shit, Jim thought. He wants to hit me — he's going to hit me. "Blair," he began, trying to get Blair to calm down.

"Let's get one thing straight here, okay?" Blair said in a voice that he had never heard before, a voice that was positively goddammed deadly. "I know you. I know you, James Ellison. I know you backwards and forwards, up and down, inside and out. I know what you can do, and what you can't — I've fucking tested it all six ways till Sunday."

Blair sucked in some air; he was shaking with anger, hands clenching and unclenching at his sides. "And I know some things you don't even know I know. I know that you listen to my heart beat. I know that you can smell me in a crowded room. I know that you listen to me sleeping, shitting, typing, jacking off."

Blair stopped again; god, who knew his eyes could be so cold? "And I know what I was doing with Mia on Saturday night before you had the good fucking grace to turn up. And I'm sorry, Jim, but there is no fucking way I can believe that you didn't know, okay? You knew, all right. You can fucking tell me what I had for lunch last Thursday, you can sure fucking tell when I've been all over a woman. So just cut your bullshit, okay?"

Jim took a stumbling step backwards, feeling the blood draining from his face. He did, in fact, have great faith in Blair's professional credentials. Hell, he'd put his life in Blair's hands; his life depended on Blair's professional credentials. Could it be true? Did he — had he known? Please let it not be true...

Blair was still talking. "I just — I just never thought you would do that, you know? I never thought you'd do that to me, that you'd be so — so — petty." Blair's jaw was tense, twitching — god, could it be true? "Three fucking years, watching you do all those fucking amazing things, thinking you were so fucking wonderful..."

God, please let it not be true.

Blair sucked in another deep breath and drew closer still. "Do you know the story of David and Bathsheba?" and Blair was right up in his face now, issuing the question like a challenge.

"Come off it," Jim replied tightly. "She's not Bathsheba, and I'm not David, and you're not — the other guy, whoever the fuck — "


"Whoever. Hell, I'm not even Jewish!"

"That isn't the point!" Blair yelled; his face was turning red.

I. Didn't. Know!" I didn't. I couldn't have. Couldnt — can't — be true. Can't.

"I. Don't. Believe. You!" Blair was tensing, tensing — shit, Blair was going to hit him — and Jim was tensing, too, waiting for the first blow. They were going to be at blows, soon — Jesus! "You've got everything — fucking everything — and you just had to have — "

" — You're out to lunch! — "

" — just had to prove — "

" — Quit it! — "

" — One fucking thing! — "

" — I mean it, goddammit! — "

" — One fucking thing that was mine. Mine. Mia."

" — Sandburg, shut — !"

"You were supposed to be my friend," Blair said. "My best friend," and Jim was so staggered by this whole conversation ("You knew" — "smell me in a crowded room" — "David and Bathsheba" — "you've got everything") that he never even saw it coming, just suddenly Blair drew his arm back and his fist was soaring forward and then bang he was reeling backwards, more shocked than hurt by the impact. And then Blair was on top of him, and he was trying to grab hold of Blair's arms, trying to restrain him without hurting him, and Blair was going at him like a wild animal, hair flying, arms flying, near tears by the sound of him, and Jim grabbed Blair's wrists in his hands and they struggled, stumbling backwards hard against the table, which skittered and gave way, suddenly, sliding a foot or two, sending them hard onto the floor.

And Blair used the moment to his advantage, pulling his wrists free and giving Jim a hard thump in the solar plexus, and Jim gasped and cursed himself for teaching Blair how to fight. He grabbed Blair around the chest, pinning his arms to his sides, and Blair was struggling and kicking and Jim used his weight to shove Blair down onto his back, to hold Blair down on the floor, and now he could see Blair and Blair was furious and near tears and could it possibly be true? could it possibly possibly be true? and Jim needed to get his breath back, he could hardly breathe, and he inhaled deeply and it was Mia.

And she was everywhere, all around him, in the sweat rolling down Blair's neck and in the bitter tang of his tears and in Blair's ragged, panting exhalations against his face, and he was dizzy with the scent of her. And Blair's mouth was red and swollen and bleeding slightly at the corner where he must have slammed against Jim's arm or his elbow and Jim suddenly tilted his head forward and kissed him, hard.

And shit, holy shit, this was the real dope, the crack cocaine, the hard stuff, to be sure. This was straight up, no ice — strong, heavy, and intoxicating. Mia undiluted, Mia mainlined, shot direct into a vein — and he could hear the rush of his own blood and feel the passion grip his limbs —

— and then the blast of searing agony, and he was rolling over, doubled over in pain and moaning and holding his nuts and Blair was gone, Blair was up and away and over on the far side of the room, bobbing and weaving like a nervous boxer. "What the fuck was that?" Blair stuttered anxiously.

Blair's scent on Mia's body — hell, he had known. He had known after all.

"What the fuck is the matter with you?" Blair yelled, and then the loft door was wide open and Blair was gone. Bolted. Gone.

Jim rolled to his side, still holding himself, desperately trying to breathe — and he could smell Mia, (Blair), Mia in every breath he took. Unfair. So fucking unfair — and he curled up against himself, feeling anguished and humiliated at the truth.

Blair not Mia. Blair was Mia.

Mia was a mirage, and he had run to her like the desperately thirsty man that he was. A mirage: Blair's chemistry on a woman's body. So unfair: a goddammed mirage, everything that he hadn't even known he'd wanted. Blair's chemistry on a woman's body, Blair as a woman, Blair in the right fucking shape. Blair on Mia.

The pain was pounding, he was having trouble dialing it down, trouble controlling his senses. And Mia — Blair — Blair was all around him, now that he let himself feel it. His senses were all thrown off, gone utterly haywire, because he'd been manipulating that dial, that one dial, that would have let him feel this, that would have transmitted this feeling to his conscious brain.

Blair not Mia.

And the smell of him was all around, was three years' worth of around, in the chairs and the carpets and his clothes and the air, and the pain was throbbing, throbbing, he couldn't seem to dial down, dials slipping away from him, so he just let himself go and gave into it, gave into the scent finally, letting it...so unfair...go....

"...it out! I mean it — cut it out!" and there were hands on his collar, shaking him, banging his head in little jostling bumps against the floor. "Jim!" Blair's voice. "Jim, come on, here!" Blair's hands. "Jiiiiim!" and he opened his eyes.

Blair was looming over him, looking nervous and sweaty. It was dark, suddenly — the loft windows reflected only blackness. "Don't fucking do that!" Blair yelled, letting go of his collar and bringing his hands to his face. "Don't fucking do that, okay? Jesus!"

"Blair, I'm sorry," Jim said, and his voice was scratchy.

"I came back to get my fucking stuff and you were — you were still lying here," Blair said, and he had clearly been frightened half out of his mind. "With the door open and... " He took a deep breath. "Oh my god."

"I'm sorry," Jim repeated.

"Stop saying that." Blair was rubbing his forehead with the back of his hand. "I hit you and you're sorry. There's something wrong with that."

"You didn't mean it," Jim supplied.

"No, I totally meant it," Blair corrected, looking rueful.

"Oh," Jim said.

"I wanted to rip your fucking head off," Blair confessed.

"Oh," Jim said.

"And piss down your neck."

"Oh," Jim said.

"Yeah," Blair said, nodding. "So much for non-violence. Maybe I've only been non-violent because nobody's ever really pissed me off before."

"I'm sorry," Jim said.

"Stop apologizing." Blair looked drained and sounded utterly exhausted.

"I'm not apologizing for that," Jim explained, and Blair frowned.

"Oh yeah?" Blair asked vaguely, looking away.

"Yeah," Jim said.

"So?" Blair asked. "So talk."

"You gonna hit me?"

"You gonna kiss me?"

"No," Jim said, taking a deep breath of air and sitting up. God, between the other night in the bathroom and Blair punching him and the thing with his nuts he felt like he could just check himself in somewhere and sleep for a week. "So. Well. Maybe I did know, you know? Like you said."

Blair shot him a glance, lips tightening. "Yeah. I know."

"But I didn't really. I mean..." Jim stopped and sighed. "I don't think I really let myself know it."

Blair was nodding slowly. "Yeah, well, you do that sort of thing, sometimes."

"And it wasn't...the way you think it was," Jim continued quietly.

"Oh yeah?" Blair raised an eyebrow. "How was it then?"

"It wasn't...me wanting what was yours."

"Oh, no?"

"No." Jim could see that Blair didn't believe him, but Blair was apparently too tired to argue about it.

"So what was it?" Blair asked, not really seeming interested in the answer.

Me wanting you, Jim thought — but he couldn't say that, couldn't admit to that. He swallowed hard. "I would never take something that was yours," he said, instead, avoiding the question.

"Yeah, well, good luck to you if you wanted to," Blair said with a hollow, short laugh. "I haven't got much left for you to take." He gestured off toward his room with a wave of his hand. "Nothing to take. So nothing to lose." Blair sighed and fixed his eye on Jim. "Aren't you going to explain anything?"

Jim looked away. "I can't," he answered finally, venturing a quick look back at his partner. Blair was nodding glumly.

"Didn't think so." Blair began to squirm around, like he was about to get up off the floor. Jim reached out and grabbed Blair's hand.

He examined it: it was a nice hand, square and callused — smaller than his, but strong. He reached for Blair's other hand and held that, too. Blair had digging hands, strangely workmanlike for an academic. Hands that had guided him through zone outs, made him breakfast, pushed him out of danger's way. He stared down at their joined hands, feeling an odd rightness here that had been absent this morning with Mia. Mia had smelled like shampoo and cosmetics and sweat, all of it good, none of it Blair.

He looked up and Blair was staring at him. "Jim?"

"What do we do now?" Jim asked, feeling that this was an important question.

"What?" Blair seemed distracted.

"What do we do now?" Jim repeated. "I mean — are we okay, here?"

Blair sighed, and shrugged. "We go on, I guess. We grow up and get over it." Blair tried to gently tug his hands away, but Jim tightened his grip, refusing to let go. Blair hadn't said they were okay.

"Blair, are we okay?" Jim asked again.

"I don't know. Yeah. We'll be okay, okay?" Blair replied quietly.

"So we're not okay," Jim said.

Blair glared at him. "Jim, do you think we're okay?"

Jim stared down at Blair's hands. "No. Not really."

"So okay, then," Blair said, but it wasn't okay, it wasn't okay at all. Because things were different now — he knew now — and this situation was always going to be here, always between them. Blair thinking that Jim was David, stealing his one ewe lamb, callously reducing him to nothing, with nothing to lose. And Blair would go on thinking that, even if he grew up and got over it; Blair would go on thinking that, even if he forgave Jim eventually.

So it would never, ever be okay between them. Not as things stood.



"It was me wanting you." He raised his head and looked at Blair and Blair hadn't moved, hadn't reacted; he was just sitting there with this blank look on his face. Jim waited for some sort of sign, and then began to wonder whether he'd actually said anything aloud. "Blair?" he prodded, finally. "It was — "

"I heard you."

"Oh," Jim said. "Good."

Jim stared down at Blair's hands, still clasped in his own, and waited.

Finally, Jim looked up again. "Blair?"



"I — I don't even know what to do with that."

Jim exhaled a long sigh of relief and nodded eagerly. "Yeah. Yeah. I didn't either — I still don't, actually."

Blair nodded back at him. "Haven't a clue."

"Me neither," Jim said, staring down at Blair's hands again.

"So...like...you're saying..." Blair began, finally.

"Yeah," Jim said, quickly, glancing up.

Blair frowned. "What yeah?"

"Whatever you thought I was saying, I'm probably saying," Jim said.

"That's a lot of control you're giving me, here," Blair pointed out, tilting his head to one side.

"Yeah, well, that's okay," Jim said.

"Hmph," Blair said. He sat there for a moment, and then squeezed Jim's hands once, gently. "So, I mean..." Blair said, finally.

"Do you have to ?" Jim asked, wincing slightly.

"Don't you think we should?" Blair responded, raising his eyebrows.

Jim shrugged. "I don't know."

"Well, I mean, I'd like to, you know?" Blair objected. "Just for clarity's" sake!"

"I don't know about clarity," Jim sighed.

"Clarity's good," Blair insisted.

"Not in my experience," Jim replied.

"Dude, it's my business, " Blair said, yanking his hands away. "Science and all that."

"Yeah, but — "

"Well, I mean, what are we talking about here, exactly? Are you suggesting that we just — you know — just get right to it?" and Blair was making that weird Eiffel Tower shape again.

"What the fuck does that mean, anyway?" Jim asked, irritably.

"What does it mean? You know what it means!"

"I do not know," Jim muttered. "Unless you want to go to France."

"France?" Blair looked superbly confused.

"Forget it," Jim said.

"But — France?"

Jim just reached out for Blair's face and pressed their mouths together gently. And hell, he'd lied to Blair again; he'd just said he wasn't going to do this any more. But Blair wasn't hitting him or anything, and so that was okay — in fact, Blair was sort of leaning into it this time, Blair's arms were coming up around him, pulling him closer...

And god, he'd thought he'd been crazy for Mia but that was nothing compared to this — this kiss left him weak and shaking and more desperate-feeling than he'd ever been in his life. And he was pressed up against Blair's chest, and he had his arms wrapped around Blair's back, and Blair's mouth was hot and wet and open under his...

He should have known it was Blair he wanted, should have known right from the start. He read books, even though he'd never been to college — he read books, and David loved Jonathan, didn't he? David loved Jonathan, and if Jonathan in this case was a young, Jewish anthropologist — well, stranger things had happened, really. Stranger things had happened to him this week, in fact.

Blair was pulling him down, pulling Jim down on top of him, stroking his back with those workmanlike hands, and he grabbed two fistfuls of Blair's hair and plundered his mouth, wanting him so badly, so fucking fucking badly. Suddenly his chest was tight, and he pulled his mouth away, needing to breathe, and Blair was holding him close and kissing his face and god, it was almost too much for him to take...

"I'm gonna go off," Jim hissed , burying his face in Blair's hair near his ear. "God, I'm gonna go off — touch me before — god, please touch — "

And Blair was rolling them onto their sides, still clutching him tightly, and then Blair's hand was between them, nimbly unbuttoning his pants, sliding into his fly. Blair's hand was on him then, cool strong hand on his erection, touching and cupping him and Blair's touch was just too much — Jim shuddered and shook and his cock jerked and he was coming hard, coming in pulsing waves, and he felt like he was dying, he could hear his own sick-sounding moans in the air, and Blair had an arm around his neck and was holding him close. "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay," Blair was murmuring, and god, it was like he couldn't stop — he kept seizing as wave upon wave of pleasure hit him, from Blair's smell hand voice skin, from the joy of the abstract scent of him made real.

"It's okay," Blair whispered again, and Jim moaned agreement and nodded. "If it's okay with you," Blair added, quietly, moving his hand to rub Jim's back, "I'm gonna take this as a compliment, okay?"

Jim laughed when he could, choking on it a bit, and then nodded, kissing Blair's ear.

"If it's all right with you," Blair repeated softly.

"It's all right with me," Jim managed to say, and then he slid his hand down Blair's chest, down Blair's abdomen, to his cock — because he had only taken the edge off his desire for Blair.

His hand traced the front of Blair's khakis, and Blair was only half hard. Nervous, Jim thought. Blair was nervous, he could sense that.

"Don't be scared," he murmured softly.

Blair's inhaled sharply and then muttered, "Okay."

He began to unzip Blair's pants, to pull them down over his hips: he wanted in there, he wanted to be where Blair's scent was strongest. Blair suddenly gripped Jim's shoulders, his body tense, and Jim stopped and whispered, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Blair said nervously. "Yes." He guided Jim's hand to his cock, and Jim stroked his length, once, gently . But he could still sense Blair's anxiety, and so he encouraged Blair to lay flat on his back and relax. Blair nodded and lay back — though Jim noted with amusement that he immediately threw an arm across his eyes, as if he couldn't bear to look.

Well, that was all right. He could look, and Blair was beautiful — Jim settled down between Blair's legs and began to tease him to full hardness with his hand. It took a while to overcome Blair's nerves, but finally Blair was really up and running, and Jim could sense the intoxicating smell of pre-ejaculate. He ran his thumb over the tip of Blair's cock, collecting the fluid, teasing the slit. He brought his thumb to his mouth and sucked on it. Liquid fire.

He held Blair's cock at the base and bent his mouth to it almost unconsciously, wanting more, barely registering Blair's sharp hiss of surprised pleasure. And Blair was hard in his hand, in his mouth, and Jim licked and sucked and teased, almost driven to it, craving the taste in his mouth. He dimly heard soft gasps and moans from above him, and he slid his mouth over the ridged lip of Blair's cockhead, wanting those moans to be louder, then gently reached down to fondle Blair's balls, wanting Blair to move, to want it, to thrust into him, to lose it as completely as he had lost it.

Finally, Blair's hips were shaking, and Blair was making soft, near-constant, pleasure noises, and then Blair was gasping, moving, thrusting up helplessly, fucking Jim's mouth, and Jim let him and then Blair made a sort of strangled sound and he was coming, flooding Jim's mouth, and Jim held on to Blair's hips with bruising fingers and started to swallow, wanting it all.

And then Blair yanked Jim's head up and kissed him, kissing his own stickiness off Jim's lips, and it was amazing, the combined taste of Blair's mouth and Blair's seed, and he was dizzy with wanting it, with wanting Blair. And Blair was holding him, clutching him, kissing him wildly — and when Blair finally broke the kiss and looked at him, the familiar light in his eyes was shining.

"So, hey," Blair said suddenly, and he was laughing, and it occurred to Jim that it wasn't any 'hey' he'd ever heard, ever.

End Mia.