I Had A Dream
Author's disclaimer: Nothing's mine, it's all theirs, blah blah.
Author's notes: The um, subtitle to this story is, um, (cough): "Fear Of A Gen Future." You know, kind of like Fear Of A Black Planet? <g>It's also my extremely belated New Year's story. Happy 1999, everyone!
"Jim! Jim, wake up!" and Jesus! what the hell was he doing here?! it had to be five in the morning! and he was still a little drunk and he knew from his senses that there was nothing objectively wrong in the loft, in the building, in the street, and so Jim Ellison pushed up his eyemask and glared at Blair Sandburg, who was sitting on the edge of his bed, shoving him in that totally annoying way.
"What?" Jim asked irritably. "What is it?"
"Jim, I had this dream. And you have to hear it," said Sandburg, switching on the bedside light.
"You're kidding, right?" groaned Jim, sitting up.
"I kid you not," said Sandburg firmly. "I'm dead fucking serious. It's important."
Jim turned up the voltage on his glare a couple of notches, and when Sandburg didn't back down, he sighed.
"All right, Martin Luther King: go ahead," Jim said, relenting.
"In my dream these ghosts came to me," began Sandburg. "First there was the ghost of New Year's Past."
"You mean Christmas Past," corrected Jim wearily, but Blair shook his head no.
"No, it was New Year's Past," Sandburg said, shrugging. "The ghosts must come to Jews on New Year's."
"Jewish New Year's in September, isn't it?" asked Jim.
"You want to hear this fucking story or not?" asked Blair, and then he rushed on as Jim opened his mouth to speak on that point: "You're not getting back to sleep till you do, so you'd better."
"Okay, okay. Ghost of New Year's Past," said Jim, settling back into his pillows and regarding his partner with a baleful eye.
"Right. And the ghost of New Year's Past took me back to the past, and it was January 1, 1996, and I was twenty-six, and it was my first New Year's living here in the loft. And it was like tonight, we went to that party at Simon's, and then came home and went to bed, and there was me, down there, in my room. I was really thin," Sandburg added wistfully.
"And I had more hair, I'm sure. And? The point?" pressed Jim.
"Yeah, well, that's what I thought: what's the point? But there wasn't any point there, it was only the first ghost, right? No biggie, just a little time trip — thin little me asleep in my room after a long night." Blair explained. "And then the second ghost came — the ghost of New Year's Present."
"I'm stunned," yawned Jim.
"Yeah, well, still: that's what happened. I can't help it if the ghosts are reading too much Dickens. Anyway, this was kind of dull, because the ghost took me to see tonight, or today, whatever — January 1, 1999 — and you know, we just did it, I was just there, so it was like 'All right, already: I remember! It was only a couple of hours ago!'"
"What, and so you yelled at the ghost?" asked Jim, grinning.
"I didn't yell — maybe I got a little fidgety, kind of like, 'Okay, I got it, get on with it'," said Blair, defensively. "But it was weird, anyway — I was sort of hovering in the air, watching myself sleep down there, and then plus, I knew that the me sleeping was also the me dreaming all of this — it was totally Twilight Zone."
"Those end in a half an hour, right?" asked Jim, glancing at the bedside clock.
Blair ignored this. "So there I was — and I'm twenty-nine now — asleep down there in my little bed in my little 90 square foot room. Sleeping the sleep of the just."
"Uh-huh," said Jim. "Please tell me that the point is right around the corner."
"Well yeah, it sure is," said Blair, crossing his arms and glaring at Jim. "It sure is. Because the ghost of New Year's Future was a bitch, man."
"Oh?" asked Jim, curious despite himself at this point.
"Yeah, he took me to see January 1st, 2019," said Blair, grimacing. "Twenty years from now, Jim. And god, it was ugly! Good god!" and Jim sat up again, seeing genuine horror in his partner's eyes.
"What?" asked Jim, more softly.
"Well the thing is," said Blair desperately, "it was just the fucking same! God, it was pathetic — I was fucking forty-nine years old, and you were like — "
"Older," snapped Jim, cutting that line of thought off. He hoped.
"Yeah, exactly, and I was totally gray, and still wearing flannel, and still living in that tiny fucking room down there!"
"So?" Jim wasn't sure he understood the problem; in point of fact, he found Sandburg's dream kind of reassuring.
"With the same furniture! The same horrible wallpaper. The same — -"
"I thought you liked flannel," said Jim, frowning.
"Jim, I like flannel fine, but I mean — " Blair sputtered, "I'd hate to think I lose all capacity for change! I mean, come on already — no one should be trapped in the same style statement forever!"
"Yeah, but — " said Jim, sitting up suddenly. "Sometimes you've just got to know what suits you," he argued. "You don't change something that works, right?"
"Jim, forget the flannel, okay?" Blair begged. "Believe me, that was the least of it. Because we had just gone to — yeah, you guessed it — Simon's fucking New Year's party. For the twenty-third year in a row or whatever! And Simon looked like hell, and he was coughing from all those damn cigars, and then we came back, and we had a beer, and you were complaining about some damn thing, and I was all crotchety, and then you sort of hobbled upstairs, and I went back into my room, and shut the door — and I won't do it, Jim!" and Sandburg was yelling now. "Forget it! You can stuff it! I have seen the future, Jim — and it sucks, do you hear me?"
"What do you mean?" asked Jim, swallowing hard.
"I mean that I am not going to be living in that room when I'm forty-nine, that's what I mean!" said Blair. "No way, Jose. I'm sorry, but no, okay? I have to have a life. I deserve to have a life."
"So what are you saying?" Jim whispered, and his face was tight and strained.
"I'm saying move over," said Blair firmly.
Jim blinked. "What?"
"Move. Over. Move over! Mover-o. Over-o. Now-o. Capische?"
"What?" Jim repeated.
"God, you can be so obtuse," said Blair, grabbing at the edge of the covers. "Move. The Fuck. Over," and Jim blinked again and moved over.
"Look, here are my terms," said Blair, climbing in beside him. "I want half of the bed — no cheating me because I'm short. I want downstairs as an office. I want to get laid on a regular basis. And I want you to cut back on your red meat consumption — I'm not doing this 'looking for a life partner' thing again, you got that?"
Jim blinked. "Cut back on red meat?"
"Dude, if you'd seen yourself in 2019, you'd know I had your best interests at heart. There's gonna be some serious new house rules around here, so watch out."
Blair pulled the covers up around his shoulders. "Pillow?" he demanded, and Jim pulled one of the two pillows from behind his head and extended it to Blair.
Blair folded it in half, tucked it under his head, and settled in, pressing his body close to Jim's. "Arm?"
"Huh?" Jim asked, frowning.
"Arm. Arm. Good lord," Blair sighed, reaching over to grab Ellison's arm, pulling it around himself like a blanket, pressing Jim's palm into his midriff. He reached out to switch off the beside light, then snuggled back against Jim's side tightly.
"That's better," murmured Blair. "Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Goodnight, Jim."
Jim stared down through the darkness at the lump of Blair Sandburg currently nestled in his armpit.
Felt the warmth of Sandburg's body.
Heard the escalating thrum of his heartbeat.
Smelled his arousal.