Nature's Visions

by Francesca

Disclaimers: Nothing's mine but the words; everything else belongs to Pet Fly. No infringement is intended, and I'm not makin' a dime. (Who needs money when you've got love?) (Well, okay, but I'm still not making any money!)

Summary: In which Blair and Jim drive around at night looking for something unusual, and find it.

Warnings: None.

Notes: Sorry, there's no sex in here, and before you ask, yes, Blair will be fine just as soon as he gets some sleep, because I say so and I wrote it. And look, just please picture me, dark-haired gorgeous me, sitting on the side of the road with a crudely lettered cardboard sign tied around my neck saying "WILL WRITE FOR FEEDBACK." So gimme gimme gimme!

Again, for Miriam — (waving) "Hi, Miriam! Yes, I've been drinking too much coffee, again!"

Lub dub.

Lub dub.

Lub dub, lub dub.

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lub dub, lubdub, lubdub, lubdub, lubdub, lubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdublubdub —

Jim Ellison opened his eyes, instantly awake, and looked at his lover.

Who was sitting straight up in bed, dark curls wild around his head, heart pounding.


Blair Sandburg slowly turned to look at him, wide eyes revealing dilated pupils, and whispered one word into the darkened room: "Fire."

Immediately Jim shot up, body tensed, his senses flying out — first, instinctively, to the kitchen below — (oven, stove, appliances) — and then outward to the rest of the apartment — (fireplace, bathroom, office, balcony) — and then further outward to take in their floor, the building, the block, the immediate vicinity.

No heat. No smoke. No sirens. No flash of spark, no roar of flames. Nothing. No fire.

Jim double-checked each of his senses, searching for the slightest temperature increase, the faintest smell, the softest crackle. But nothing. Nothing but normal sounds circa 3:47 a.m. on a quiet summer night on Prospect.

Jim snapped back into his bedroom, blinked, and turned to look at his partner. "No," he said softly, putting a hand out to touch Blair's arm. "No fire, Chief. You're having a dream."

"Yes," said Blair, body still rigid. "No." And then a shiver went up Jim Ellison's spine as he realized that Blair was speaking in the guide voice.

"Fire," the guide repeated quietly, staring at him with anguished eyes. "Screaming. Twisted....metal," he said slowly. Burning, melting, searing — searing people... People burning. Dead people. People crawling, crying. Fire. Fire. The tribe," Blair said softly, and his hands moved up to cover his ears."

"Sandburg," said Jim roughly, grabbing Blair's shoulders and shaking him hard. "Sandburg, stop it, okay? Stop it, you're scaring me."

The guide stared at him in the darkness and suddenly he was just Blair Sandburg, and Blair pulled back from him, face contorted, breathing hard. "I'm scaring myself," he said weakly.

"Sandburg, there's no fire, okay?" Jim said firmly.

"It hasn't happened yet," said Blair, surprising himself with the words. And Jim felt an icy hand grip his stomach because he believed Blair, believed him utterly, like he believed in oxygen, and gravity, and death. He groaned and closed his eyes.

Blair slid behind him, rose up onto his knees on the bed, and put a hand on each of Jim's shoulders. "You have to stop it," he said simply, urgently, speaking softly against the back of Jim's head.

"How?!" asked Jim. He clenched his jaw, tightened his hands into fists as Blair rubbed his shoulders, trying to dissipate tension even as it was created.

"I don't know," whispered Blair.

"Is it a bomb?" Jim asked, and Blair could hear the fear in his voice. "An explosion? An accident? Where? When??"

"I don't know."

Jim twisted around to look at Blair desperately. "What do I do?"

"I don't — " Blair stopped. "No, I do," he said suddenly. "We need to look for something — something unusual." Blair scrambled out of bed, grabbed his jeans off the floor and quickly hopped into them, pulling them up over his shorts.

"Something unusual?" asked Jim Ellison incredulously. "For god's sake, Blair, can you be more specific?"

"No. We look for something unusual, and when we find the unusual thing, then we'll know where we are. What to do, where to go, all that stuff." This last bit came out muffled, as Blair slid a t-shirt over his head. "Come on," he said to Jim, pleading. "There's no time!"

"We'll know?"

"We'll know, we'll know. Ellison, MOVE IT!" and moved by Blair's urgency, Jim moved it, and dressed himself quickly.

The air was warm and the street outside the building was eerily quiet as Blair and Jim moved through the darkness toward Jim's truck. "This is crazy," Jim whispered.

"Yes," said Blair. "Give me the keys."


"I'll drive, you look."

"For something unusual."

"For something unusual, yes." The two men got into the truck, and Blair pulled out slowly into the street.

"Where are we going?" asked Jim.

"I don't know," replied Blair. "Just...just sit back. Relax. Focus."

"On what?"

"On Cascade," said Blair bluntly. "Open your window," said Blair, rolling down his, and Jim complied. "Okay. Now just look. Listen. Hear the sounds, figure out what's normal for, whatever — 4:00 in the morning. Then see if anything strikes you, okay?"

"Okay," said Jim, and settled back in the truck. They drove around randomly through the summer night, speeding through the deserted Cascade streets. Jim felt the wind blow on his face, heard his guide's heart beat reassuringly next to him, and slowly dialed his senses up. There was mainly quiet breathing emanating from the houses, the sounds of deep slumber forming background noise, almost white noise, as Blair drove past. The occasional insomniac, flashing quickly through television channels. A baby crying, awake for her four a.m. feeding. Teens laughing, stumbling out to their cars, leaving a party. Now and then, the grunting and heaving sounds of sex.

"Anything?" asked Blair softly, after a while.

Jim looked at him, at how the wind blew his long curly hair back away from his face. "Nothing unusual," he responded.

"Okay," said Blair tiredly. "I think I need some coffee." He pulled the truck into an all-night gas station, and got out, leaned through the window. "Do you want anything?"

"Yeah, milk no sugar," said Jim absently, and Blair headed into the shop. The lights of the gas station were bright on Jim's eyes, and he closed them, and reached out with his hearing. He heard Blair ordering the coffee, heard the clink of change and the passing of small-talk; then, broadening his focus, he heard the blare of a car radio, and followed that to the highway, where he heard the whoosh of an occasional car, the gentle whirr of acceleration, the tick tick ticking of a driver signaling a lane change. Further, further, he heard the hum of the electrical wires criss-crossed over Cascade, and the rush of water at the river. Soothing, reassuringly normal sounds. Nothing unusual.

"Coffee," said Blair, and Jim opened his eyes and took the paper cup through the window. Blair sipped his coffee, bouncing up and down.

"Are you okay?" asked Jim.

"Yeah, fine," answered Blair. "Tired. Chilly."

"It's July, Blair!"

"Yeah, but its night-time and I'm cold, okay?" said Blair, cupping his coffee.

"I've got a jacket back there," said Jim. "Put that on."

"Muchos gracias," said Blair, handing Jim his coffee to hold, and darting round the truck. He reached behind the driver's seat, pulled out Jim's denim jacket and slid into it. "Great, thanks," he said, taking his coffee back and slamming the driver's door shut.

"I don't know how you're cold in July," muttered Jim.

"I don't know either. All right, let's go."

"What time is it?"

"Quarter to five," said Blair, and Jim groaned as they pulled out into the street.

"Blair, what if we don't find it? Whatever we're looking for."

"Don't say that!" shot Blair angrily, and Jim looked at him in surprise, unused to the tone. "Just don't, okay," said Blair, taking a deep breath. "We'll find it, whatever it is."

"Blair," said Jim gently.

"You didn't see it, man," muttered Blair, "you didn't see..."

"Blair, you're not fine."

"Jim, I am weirded out almost beyond belief, and I am currently in deep, profound, all-encompassing denial about it."

"Sounds reasonable," replied Jim, sipping his coffee.

"I'm going to loop us around the city limits," said Blair, signaling right. "Now you concentrate, okay?"

"Okay," said Jim. He finished his coffee, put the cup neatly into its holder, and sat back. "You said metal," he murmured, eyes closed, a moment later.


"Metal," repeated Jim. "You said...twisted metal, melting metal. What, like girders?" He opened his eyes and looked at Blair, who was staring out the front windshield, thinking intently.

"Girders. I don't know, maybe," he said meditatively. "They...they had rivets, I saw rivets...but it was all, well, mangled, and the fire blurred everything — " Jim could feel Blair's rising panic and put a hand on his arm.

"Okay, its all right," he said reassuringly, "just maybe spin us through industry city, first. Maybe we're talking about an industrial fire, here."

"Okay. Okay, right," said Blair, crushing his empty coffee cup and letting it fall to the floor. Jim opened his mouth, and then closed it again; sighing, he lay his head back and reached out with his senses.

But all was quiet in industry city. Blair slowed the truck as they drove around the factories and warehouses, and Jim sorted through the thrum thrum of machinery and the rustling of rats, listening for something — anything — that sounded wrong. He smelled chemicals and cleaners and soot, but nothing explosive, nothing dangerous. He looked at Blair finally, shaking his head "no" in response to the unasked question, and Blair cursed softly, and drove on.

Just outside the city limits, Blair pulled the truck up on the shoulder of a hill and turned the engine off. They sat there, for a moment, looking out into the darkness, seeing the lights of Cascade in the distance across the deep night sky.

"Do you want me to take over driving?" asked Jim.

"No," said Blair. He turned to his lover, reached out his hand, and touched the hard planes of his pale face. "You look like hell," said Blair softly. "This is hard for you."

"I'm all right," said Jim, putting his hand over Blair's.

"I don't know what to do," said Blair helplessly. "I don't know what to do now."

"Shhhh," said Jim. "C'mere." And Blair unlatched his seat belt, and slid over next to his partner. Jim put his arm around Blair's shoulder, bent his neck, kissed his forehead. "We do our best," he said quietly. "That's what we do, that's all we can do."

"Yeah, but — "

"Shhhh," said Jim, and Blair turned and buried his face in Jim's chest, fighting down the fear that was threatening to choke him, fighting visions of terror and suffering and fire.

"There are stars," said Jim softly, wonderingly, looking up as he stroked Blair's hair. "Look at all of them. It's actually really nice out. Maybe planets, even."

"I don't see any," said Blair, turning his head.

"Look north," said Jim, pointing. "That red one, that's Mars. And that," he added, "I think that's Venus, though I suppose it could be an airplane, I'm not sure. Is it moving?"

"I don't know," replied Blair, staring intently, "I can't — "

"Oh God," said Jim suddenly, and Blair sat up and looked hard at him. Jim's face was slack, his mouth slightly open.

"What?" asked Blair quickly. "What what what?"

Jim put up a hand, motioning for silence, and then listened — listened hard. Blair started to rock back and forth with apprehension, wanting to ask questions, knowing to be silent. Finally, Jim turned to look at him.

"Planes," said Jim. "There are no planes landing. I haven't seen one, haven't heard one, the entire time we've been out here." And suddenly, exploding into action, he got out of the truck, strode a few feet away, and stared intently into the night sky.

"What?" asked Blair, almost hysterically, scrambling to follow him. "What do you see?"

"They're circling," said Jim, lowering his head. "There's like, fifteen planes up there, all circling. Blair," he said, swallowing hard, "we've got to get to the airport."

Jim strode through the sliding doors at Cascade International Airport, and crossed the brightly lit atrium toward the information desk. Blair, who was, as usual, running behind, stopped suddenly, mesmerized before the flashing arrivals monitor.

AA435   New York        3:45    DELAYEDDT890   Los Angeles     4:00    DELAYEDAA778   Washington DC   4:10    DELAYEDVS339   London          4:15    DELAYEDTW550   Dallas/Ft.Wor   4:25    DELAYEDSR234   Cleveland       4:30    DELAYED
"I'm sorry, sir," said the desk attendant to Jim, cheerfully. "We have no new information at this time, if you'd just — " Jim flipped out his badge, saw the man's face change. "Oh. Sorry, Officer, how can I — "

"Why are the planes delayed?" asked Ellison tersely.

"There's a problem with the runway lights," said the attendant immediately. "They can't get them to work, so the tower's holding all the planes."

"Okay, how do I get to the tower?" said Ellison.

"Um...well, you can't do that either, because the power's out in the elevators. The tower is, well, cut off for the moment."

"Uh-huh. There are stairs?" suggested Ellison, eyes narrowing.

"Well, yeah. With, um, electric door locks." He smiled awkwardly. "Sorry."

"All, right, show me this elevator," said Jim, waving Blair over. "What's taking so long in getting everything fixed?" he asked as they moved behind the counter, through a corridor, into the heart of the airport.

"There's — well, my understanding is that parts of the electrical system are somehow missing. They've sent into town for replacements, but, after all, its the middle of the night and — "

"Uh huh." The doors of the tower elevator were propped open, revealing the empty, immovable, elevator. Ellison stepped inside, looked up at the hatch cut into the roof. He closed his eyes and listened, trying to pick up any echoes of conversation eight floors above.

Blair watched as his face grew tense. After a minute or two, Ellison opened his eyes and turned to the airport official. "Can you get me a ladder, please?"

The man nodded and left; Blair stepped closer. "You're kidding, aren't you?" he said worriedly.

"I've got to get up there, Chief," replied Ellison grimly. "They're holding the air traffic controllers hostage, and this one guy — sounds like the leader — he's trying to get them to bring a plane in." Ellison met Blair's eyes. "Into downtown."

"Oh no..." breathed Blair.

"The controllers are refusing," added Jim, "but — " He stopped suddenly, jerking in pain. Blair clutched him. "Jim! Jim, what?"

"Shots," said Jim softly, wincing, looking up. "I think — I think they've killed someone."

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," said Jim, standing upright and running a hand over his forehead. He looked up at the attendant, who had arrived with the ladder. "Blair, call Simon, tell him what's going on here."

"Jim, what are you going to do?" asked Blair, refusing to let go of Jim's shirt.

"I'm going to climb the cable," said Jim, looking up. "I can do that, Blair," he said softly, smiling. "That's like basic training."

"Basic training was a long time ago, Jim," said Blair, still not letting go.

"Are you saying I'm old?" asked Jim, pulling Blair's hand away from his chest.

"Yes," said Blair, empty hands clenching with worry. "And I'd like to see you get older."

"Call Simon," said Jim, climbing the ladder, pushing up the hatch.

"For god's sake, Jim, be careful!" pleaded Blair.

"I will, I swear," said Jim, and disappeared upward.

"I need a phone," said Blair, turning to the attendant. "Dammit!""

Jim gingerly stepped across the top of the elevator, rubbed his palms together, and grabbed the thick elevator cable. Slowly he began to pull himself up with strong arms, using his legs to steady himself. Hand over hand, muscles tensed to the breaking point, he ascended the dark shaft, inch by inch, foot by foot.

Blair slammed the phone into its cradle and sighed. He felt so helpless; he couldn't just stand there and wait while Jim faced...well, who knows what. Suddenly an idea struck him, and he turned to the airport attendant. "Hey, have you got a PA system that broadcasts into the tower?"

The attendant blinks. "Well, yeah, for announcements and — "

"Lead me to it," said Blair.

Jim gritted his teeth and pulled himself up the last agonizing few feet. Just keep going, he thought to himself, willing his body to respond. He ignored the pain in his hands, in his arms, trying to focus only on the murmuring voices which grew closer, ever closer. Reach, pull. Reach, pull. Reach, pull.

When he reached the eighth story he tightened his grip on the cable, ignoring the blood on his palms, and swung his legs away from his body, toward the small ledge which extended outward from the closed elevator doors. He missed the first time, and swung back outward, hanging dangerously over eight floors of empty space. But he clung on to the cable, ignoring the way that it bit into his flesh, took a deep breath, and swung his body toward the wall again.

This time his feet found the ledge, and his battered arms spasmed slightly with relief as his legs now supported some of his weight. Hanging diagonally between the door and the center cable, Jim scanned the wall beside the elevator door carefully, looking for something he could latch on to. He saw the handle which would manually open the elevator door, wondered if it would take his weight. There seemed only one way to find out.

Only one shot at this, thought Jim, and he eyed the distance carefully, tensed his muscles, and then used his legs and arms to push away from the cable, to launch himself at the handle, hoping he wouldn't miss it, praying it wouldn't simply snap off in his hands if he didn't.

His hands closed satisfyingly around the long metal bar, which shivered under the stress but didn't break. One of his legs had slipped off the ledge, but he quickly gained his balance and righted himself, pressing himself, spread-eagled, against the closed elevator door. He stood there, letting his muscles relax, gaining his breath, and then he heard Blair.


Yes, he thought.

<You're okay?

Yes, he thought. Barely. But yes.

<Affirmation received. Listen, wherever you are, stay put for a moment, I'm going to try something, okay?

Jim pressed his cheek into the cold metal of the elevator door. Okay, he thought.

And then he heard his guide's voice, outside of his head this time, echoing through the door. "Now, listen to me," said Blair firmly over the P.A., "I want you to put your guns down," and Jim closed his eyes and smiled. <Beautiful boy, he thought, <brilliant boy, as he listened to Blair Sandburg's voice softly coaxing the terrorists into submission, patiently explaining to them that they did not want to be morally responsible for suffering and pain and fire. He heard one, two, three, four guns clatter softly to the floor, heard enraged yelling as the remaining — three? — gunmen cursed and screamed and dammed their accomplices and their mothers.

"What the fuck is the matter with you, Andy?" yelled one, and Jim could hear Andy being shaken, and then slapped hard, and knew that Andy's face was calm, that Andy was in the grip of the guide voice, and that Andy was probably all right, somewhere deep down. Underneath. Andy, at least, would not be giving him a problem. Thank you, Blair.

"All right, all right," yelled another voice. "Ignore them, its some sort of trick or something. I don't need you to bring those planes down," he shouted. "They are coming down — I'm telling you, asshole — fucking down, do you understand me? Bill, give me that transmitter," and then Jim slowly, quietly pulled the handle that would open the door. The door gently slid open a few inches.

Jim Ellison slipped through the door sideways, then pressed himself back flat against the other side. He reached slowly behind his back, reached slowly for his gun, thinking hard at his partner. <Good, he thought intently at Blair, wanting to let him know that he had been effective, that he had eased the problem by half. But there was something else he wanted to communicate, and he took a deep breath and focused his thoughts, hoping Blair would understand what he wanted, as he had always understood what he wanted. He turned down his hearing and waited tensely, breathing silently, gun cocked and ready in his hands, barrel pointed at the floor.

Eight floors down, Blair Sandburg stared at the PA system and blinked, and then he put down the microphone and reached out, and twisted a dial, hard.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee went the feedback, screaming loud through the speakers, piercing the brain, skewering it with hard, sharp, metallic force, and the men in the tower all cringed suddenly, and bent over, hands going to their ears, and Jim Ellison took a step forward and shot the transmitter, which crackled in a cloud of blue sparks, and then he was in the room and had disarmed one of the men, hitting him hard over the head with his gun and sending him crashing into a second, and the three air traffic controllers were out of their chairs and struggling with the third, and when the gun went off no one heard it but Jim, and he ignored the pain in his arm and kicked the gun out of the man's hand, sending it skittering across the linoleum floor, and then the controllers were punching the man viciously and dragging him to the floor, and Jim shot a sharp kick into the solar plexus of the second man, who was struggling to get up under the dead weight of the first, and Jim grabbed him by the hair and knocked his head, hard, into the control panel, and still the feedback blared through the room, going Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

STOP! thought Jim, and Blair reached out and switched the PA system off.

The sudden silence in the tower was impossibly loud, startlingly so, and the breathing of the sweating, heaving air traffic controllers was deafening in the quiet. The three controllers stared at the unconscious men on the floor, at the four blank-faced others sitting still in a trance-like state, and then at James Ellison, who took a deep breath and flipped out his badge, wiping sweat from his forehead with the hand that still held his gun. The controllers nodded, and then ran for their chairs and reached for their headphones. Their hands flew over the panels and then they were bringing the planes down, carefully guiding the jets down along dark runways that gradually lightened as the sun slowly came up.

<You're hurt! Jim heard Blair cry from below, and he could hear the anguish in his lover's voice.

<I'm fine, he thought back, taking his shirt off and gathering the fabric together to staunch the bleeding where the bullet had grazed his shoulder. <I'm fine. It's fine. It's over, he thought, and Blair raced to the window and sighed as he saw the first of the circling airplanes gently descend and skim the ground. He closed his eyes, feeling Jim's aliveness, his energy, washing over him in waves, and Blair pressed his forehead against the glass of the window, and watched the sun come up, feeling calm, finally calm, for the first time in hours.

"Sandburg!" he heard Simon Banks growl behind him, and he turned around, and saw Simon's face soften. "Jesus, Sandburg," Simon said quietly, stepping closer, taking in Blair's appearance. Blair Sandburg looked as bad as Simon had ever seen him; his eyes were red and tired, surrounded by dark circles; he was unshaven, his hair had tangled from sleep and wind and endless, nervous, grabbing at it; exhaustion had settled deeply into his face; and he looked small and frail wrapped in Jim's overlarge denim jacket. "Oh, shit," said Blair and laughed, correctly reading Simon's expression. He reached into the pocket of Jim's coat and withdrew a crumpled baseball cap and sunglasses; he slid Jim's cap onto his head and put the glasses on. "Better?" he asked wryly. "Don't want to frighten the horses."

"What the hell is going on?" asked Simon.

"Well," said Blair, stepping away from the window and stumbling — Simon reached out and grabbed his arm.

"You need to sit down," said Simon.

"Sorry, its been a long night," said Blair, letting Simon guide him to a chair. "The short version," he said, sitting down hard. "Terrorists. Wanted to crash airplanes. Jim's stopped them. He's upstairs. Wounded but okay. You should get to him. Can I have some coffee, maybe a donut?"

"Terrorists?" asked Simon. "What terrorists? Who are they, what do they want?"

"I don't know and I don't care," replied Blair, pulling the cap's visor down over his face and letting his head fall back against the wall, tiredly. "That's your problem. Maybe cinnamon, that would be good. Or powdered." He yawned hugely. "Just no chocolate, I'm not in the mood for chocolate."

"All right, Sandburg," said Simon, and he turned to one of the officers standing behind him. "You — sit with him," he directed. "You — get him some coffee and a donut. Not chocolate. The rest of you come with me."

Blair woke up with a start an hour later when Jim sat down next to him and touched his arm.

"Hey there," said Jim, wearily. "What're you, in disguise?"

"Yeah," said Blair, forcing himself to sit up. "Deep cover." He looked at Jim critically, taking in his bandaged arm, his bandaged hands, his shirtless chest. "Good look for you," he said.

"Yeah, white's my color," said Jim, looking down at the dressings. "Is that your donut?"

"Yeah, gimme half," said Blair, and Jim ripped the donut in half and gave part to Blair. "Can we go home?" Blair asked, chewing.

"Don't eat and talk," said Jim.

Blair wiped powdered sugar from his lips with the back of his hand and swallowed. "I said, 'Can we go home?'"

"Simon wants to know what we were doing at the airport at 5:30 in the morning," said Jim.

"Ah," said Blair, taking another bite of donut.

"Is that your coffee?" asked Jim.

"Yeah, it's cold," said Blair.

"I don't care," said Jim, taking a sip. "Well?"

"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!"

"Come on, I depend on you for this shit," said Jim.

"Can't we just tell him that I was having apocalyptic visions?" said Blair.

"Yeah, I told him that, but we need something for the record. I told him you'd come up with something."

"Oh, fuck," said Blair, rubbing his forehead. "All right, all right, we were picking up my Aunt Rachel who's flying in from Chicago."

"You don't have an Aunt Rachel," countered Jim.

"Yeah, but they don't know that. She's an old friend of my mother's, but I call her "Aunt" out of respect, and she couldn't come after all because her cat got sick."

"What's the cat's name?" asked Jim, after a minute.

"Toodles," said Blair, "What the hell does it matter what the cat's name is?"

"I just want to make sure we have our facts straight," said Jim, getting up. "Okay. Rachel, Chicago, Toodles. How do we know she's not coming?"

"Because there was a message on the machine. Which I have, unfortunately, deleted."

"Okay," said Jim, moving away, "Rachel, Chicago, Toodles, deleted. I'll be back in a minute."

"Go get 'em, cowboy," said Blair, finishing the rest of the cold coffee.

Blair suddenly started laughing in the truck on the way home, though when Jim looked at him, all he could see was his own tired face reflected in his own sunglasses.

"Are you okay, Chief?" asked Jim.

"No, I think I'm hysterical," said Blair, still laughing. "Slap me, will you?"

"I can't, you know I can't," said Jim. "I'm too tired," he added, and then started laughing himself, which only made Blair laugh harder.

"Whooo, boy," said Blair, when he could breathe again. "Aren't we a pair."

"I need to sleep for a week," admitted Jim. "My whole body hurts."

"Amen," said Blair. He blew out a long breath. "Jim, what's happening to us?" he asked softly, seriously, his voice edged with fear.

"I don't know," murmured Jim.

Blair started giggling again. "Jim, I'm having a vision," he said, framing the picture with his hands. " double-parked at the mall," he said, and doubled over, absolutely snorting with laughter.

"Stop it," said Jim, but his face split in a grin against his will. He pulled the truck up in front of 852 Prospect. Blair was still bent over when he turned to look at him again.

"Jim," said Blair, between laughs, "I don't know how much more of this I can take, I really don't," and then Jim quickly wrapped his partner in his arms and held him tightly as he wept.  

The End