Senses & Sensibility

by Kass

his story was originally published in Crossroads. A million thanks to Seah and the zine's other editors for buffing this story to such a lovely shine. Also to the dedicated souls who beta'd this story in its many incarnations, including but not limited to Justine and Merry Lynne.
The boys are theirs, the words are mine, yadda yadda

The worst week of Jim Ellison's life started with a plate of scrambled eggs. He sat at the table, a steaming mug of coffee just in front of his placemat and two slices of wheat toast at the edge of his plate, onto which Sandburg had just dished a sizable serving of scrambled eggs. Perfect, by the looks of them: soft and fluffy, made with a little milk and a handful of grated cheese. And when Jim put them in his mouth, absolutely tasteless.

Weird. He tried another bite. Nothing.

"Chief?" he called.

"Yeah?" Sandburg said, coming to the table with two glasses of orange juice and his own cup of coffee balanced between his fingers.

"What'd you do to these eggs?"

Sandburg scrunched his brow slightly. "What're you talking about, Jim? They're just eggs."

"Hm." Jim took another bite. They were warm against the roof of his mouth, and gooey from the cheese. He could feel the slight graininess of cheddar that hadn't quite melted, but he couldn't taste a thing.

"Why? What's up?" Blair was standing at the edge of the table; his coffee was already half-gone.

"Can't taste 'em." Jim lifted a forkful near his face to sniff. "Smell like scrambled eggs, but they don't taste like anything."

"What, you want some Worcestershire or something?"

"You don't seem to get it." Jim scowled. "I can't taste anything at all."

"Oh!" There was a pause. "Shit."

"Yeah," Jim agreed.

"Try the coffee?"

No luck with the coffee. No luck with the toast. No luck with the orange juice from the fancy fresh-squeezed bar at the grocery store. No sense of taste at all.

"Okay, let's think: have you eaten anything strange lately?" Sandburg shifted into full professor mode before Jim's eyes, his own breakfast forgotten. Jim found it kind of endearing, actually, although he wouldn't have admitted it. "Anything that might make your senses go out of whack? Any medicine, or-"

"I know the drill." Jim knew he sounded irritable. Hell, he was irritable; there was a perfectly serviceable breakfast in front of him and he couldn't taste it. "I haven't come into contact with anything."

Sandburg tightened his lips, lost in thought.

"You gonna eat?" Jim asked.

"Nah," Blair said, still standing by the table. "I want to figure this out."

Jim stood and carried their plates to the sink. "Fine, Chief. Let's hit the road."

"You sure you want to work? With your senses out of whack?"

"Nothing says I can't work just because I've lost my sense of taste."

Sandburg raised an eyebrow as Jim moved to the door and grabbed his coat. "By the looks of that jacket, you've never had a sense of taste."

Jim laughed. If Sandburg could still crack jokes, the situation couldn't be that bad.

Tuesday morning Blair sat beside Jim, monitor blinking in front of his unseeing eyes, tapping a pencil between his fingers. He couldn't make sense of this. So to speak.

That almost made him smile, but he stifled it: Jim would want to know what was funny, and it seemed like a poor idea to admit that he was amusing himself with sensory humor instead of making headway on the Mystery of the Vanished Tastebuds.

Blair sighed. He couldn't begin to count the number of times he'd hidden his thoughts from his partner. And, if the truth be told, better to confess this than to confess what he was usually thinking, where Jim was concerned.

Thank God Jim's senses didn't extend to mind-reading. Blair didn't think Jim would react well to knowing he starred in most of Blair's fantasies. Thing was, the possibility of Blair tumbling into bed with Jim was somewhere below never. Hell could freeze, pigs could fly, and Jim Ellison would still never let another man near his dick, much less his heart. Better to focus on the sensory problems: at least those Blair had a prayer of solving.

Blair had hoped a good night's sleep would set things right, but it had been twenty-four hours now and Jim's sense of taste still hadn't returned. He'd joked to Blair that losing his sense of taste made bullpen coffee easier to stomach, but it was obvious he was distressed. It was barely ten a.m. and he'd already snapped at Rhonda, then at Rafe, for no discernible reason.

"Who the hell pissed in his Wheaties?" Connor whispered to Blair in passing, and Blair winced. Sure enough, Jim's head whipped up. He gave Connor a glare that would freeze hot water.

Okay: time to distract him before he beats the crap out of somebody. "Hey, Jim, I've been thinking. Maybe it's an anomaly." Jim placed his case folder neatly on the desk and looked at his partner. "Not the Jackson case," Blair said, quickly.

"The... the thing."

"Yeah, I know," Jim said. "Try again, Detective. This can't be happening at random; there's got to be a reason."

And a way to make it stop.

"You're sure you haven't come into contact("

"-I'm sure. Jesus, Chief, we've gone over this a hundred times. Nothing out of the ordinary."

"Okay." Blair was thinking out loud. "You know, if it's not-"

"Sandburg! Ellison!" Simon's bellow came in the middle of his sentence, as if on cue.

Jim grimaced and stood, tapping a finger impatiently while Blair closed the software he'd ostensibly been working in. "Let's get a move on, Chief." They headed into Simon's office.

"Here's what we know so far." Simon handed Sandburg a new case file. He'd initially offered it to Jim, but Jim's hands were full; he was holding a mug of coffee in both hands and breathing deeply.

Hell, if he couldn't taste the stuff, at least he could get some pleasure out of smelling it.

Except that, as Sandburg opened the case file and started riffling the pages, smell went missing too. The steam was warm on his face, but it was like steamy air. No, not even like air; air had a smell to it. This had nothing.

"Damn." Jim put the coffee down.

"What?" Two pairs of eyes were on him immediately: Simon's a little wary, Sandburg's concerned.

"I've lost smell."

"Oh, man." Sandburg put the file down on the edge of Simon's desk. "I was wondering if that was next."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Simon asked.

"I've lost taste and smell." Jim's shoulders slumped.

"What do you mean, 'lost'? They're not enhanced anymore?"

"No, sir," Jim said. "That's not it."

"Completely gone," Sandburg explained.

"Are you serious?" He didn't seem to expect an answer, so Jim kept his mouth shut. Simon looked at them, as if he were weighing something in his mind, then sighed and reached for the case file. "Of all the times," Simon started, then seemed to think better of it. "Forget it. Go home."

"But-" Jim started.

"But nothing," Simon said, firmly. "I'm giving this one to Connor, and you two are going home. I'm no sentinel expert, but there's something weird going on here and frankly, I don't want to be involved." He turned his attention to Sandburg. "Fix it," he said. "And fast; this is leave, not a vacation."

"Yes, sir," Sandburg said, and stood. "Shall we?" He offered Jim his arm.

"Very funny," Jim muttered, not amused, and walked out the door.

"You were saying something before," Jim said, flopping onto the couch.

Blair was behind him, hanging up his coat. "When?"

"Before Simon called us into his office. 'If it's not,' you said, and then he cut you off."

"Right! Right, I remember. So here's what I'm thinking." He sat down at the edge of the couch. "If the sensory loss isn't caused by any external factors," he waited for Jim to nod, "then it must be caused by something internal."

Jim looked at him with an expression Blair couldn't read.


"Yeah. I think this is something you've caused."

His partner closed his eyes and leaned his head back on the couch. "Way to blame the victim, Chief. Give me a break. Why would I do that?"

Blair took the opportunity to allow himself a moment to stare at Jim's throat, the way it curved, the way his Adam's apple moved when he spoke. He felt a faint stirring in his groin and resolutely pushed it away, as always.

"Not intentionally," Blair said. "Subconsciously."

Jim opened his eyes but didn't move.

"Look, last time you lost your senses you brought them back yourself," Blair argued. "You just had to choose them."

"That was different," Jim said. "I'd lost the heightened part, but I still had senses."

"Okay, maybe it's not exactly analogous, but I still think this is the only explanation that makes sense. I mean, assuming you haven't been exposed to-"

"-Sandburg, how many times do I have to tell you-"

"-Okay, fine, fine, you haven't come into contact with anything." Blair paused. "Which means it's got to be internal, Jim."

Jim steepled his fingers, contemplated them for a moment, then looked up. "Okay, Professor," he said. "If you're right, and I caused the shut-down, how did I do it?"

Blair took a deep breath. Jim wasn't going to like this.

"Is there something... big... that you're avoiding?" he asked.

Wednesday morning found Jim arguing with himself on the balcony. You have got to be kidding me, he thought, for at least the hundredth time. The wall behind him rasped against his shirt as he watched the city from his vantage point. Idly, out of habit more than anything, he scanned the surrounding blocks. Lady walking a small dog. Teenager talking on a cell phone. Idiot on a motorcycle without a helmet. Car with a busted muffler rounding a corner. Nothing out of the ordinary for a Wednesday morning.

This theory was the stupidest one yet. Repression? Hell, he knew about repression. He still remembered sitting in the darkened loft two years ago, Sandburg's voice easing him into childhood, the shock of memory. When he realized that his senses had been active when he was a kid, that he'd seen Bud's body (and Bud's killer)-

Just thinking about it made Jim shiver. It had been like leaping blindfolded into an icy lake.

At Sandburg's insistence, they'd repeated the process last night. A cold towel on Jim's forehead, Sandburg's low voice calming him, the long walk down his mind's corridors in search of doors that didn't want to open.

They'd found nothing, and by the time Jim came out of it he was exhausted. And hungry, but he couldn't make himself eat much. Without taste and smell, food was pretty nasty: just texture.

"Pretend it's C-rations or something," Sandburg had suggested.

Yeah. Whatever. The kid wouldn't know a military ration if it bit him on the ass. Jim had gone to bed, and if he'd had dreams, they'd vanished before he woke.

Now he was standing on his balcony, trying to think about anything except Sandburg's theory.

The annoying thing was, now that Sandburg had planted the seed, Jim couldn't seem to stop thinking about it. It was there, at the back of his mind. Not like a voice exactly; more like a thought indelibly printed on his brain. He couldn't make the idea go away.

Which was driving him crazy.

What the fuck would I be repressing? He thought again. And then, again, But what if Sandburg's right?

His mind was going in circles, which he didn't like at all.

Blair started the day pacing. Sometimes it seemed like he could think better when he was moving-as if it generated energy for his brain.

"You planning to wear holes in the floor, Chief?" Jim asked, coming in from the balcony.

Blair made a face. But since the pacing was obviously bothering Jim, he sat still. Took things to the opposite extreme, in fact, folded himself into lotus and tried to meditate. Sometimes complete stillness was as good as perpetual motion.

Unfortunately, stillness didn't seem to be working.

Every time he closed his eyes and slowed his breathing, Jim made some sound-a book being shelved, the refrigerator door closing, the splash of water in a glass-and Blair's eyes popped open of their own accord. So much for stillness.

Then there was the second problem: he was distracted by Jim's proximity. His dick seemed to be taking a particular interest. Every time he became aware of Jim's presence, he felt a surge in his groin.

Which was weird; they'd spent time in closer quarters than these and Blair had always been able to keep a reasonable handle on his libido.

Not today.

The third or fourth time he had to chase lustful thoughts away he got up and went into his own room to pace in privacy.

The solution had to be there. He had the feeling it was something obvious, something he was missing, but every time he tried to focus, to think about it, he found himself fantasizing about Jim instead.

By mid-afternoon he couldn't stand it: he announced he needed a nap, closed his doors, put on some quiet music to mask the sound, and took his half-hard cock in hand.

It didn't take much to bring him to complete arousal. The mild guilt he felt, lying in his room jerking off when he was supposed to be solving Jim's sensory problems, was rationalized away with the argument that as soon as he got this sexual tension out of his system, he'd be able to think again.

Sitting on the sofa, Jim stiffened. Something was strange, something....

A quick visual scan of the apartment ruled out anything obvious, but the hair on the back of his neck was prickling, and he could feel his heart starting to race.

So Jim took a deep breath and tried to calm himself, the way he knew Sandburg would calm him if he were awake.

I'll focus on Sandburg's heartbeat. Even if he's asleep, it'll get me under control. He dialed up hearing and listened for his partner.

And froze as he heard Sandburg's quickening heart, the almost inaudible hitches in his breathing, the shush of skin on skin. As if in sympathy, his own cock hardened, poking insistently at the seam of his shorts.

Realization hit him like a freight train.

He was flooded with memory, a thousand snapshots of Sandburg: in winter, in summer, playing basketball, drenched with rain. The curve of Sandburg's ass as he bent over to pick up a pencil. The ripple of his throat as he swallowed. The feel of his hair under Jim's palm.

Jim buried his head in his hands, as if the insulation of his fingers would keep the sounds and images out, but he knew it was no use.

God, this had been going on from the start. First a low buzz of attraction, nothing serious, nothing he couldn't ignore. And now he knew when that had changed, because the memory was right there. When the kid had followed him to the jungle, had jumped out of that fucking airplane, something had deepened. Changed. Intensified.

On their return to Cascade, Sandburg had sacrificed his trip to Borneo, had said it was "about friendship." Jim remembered that as Sandburg had stood in front of him, he'd almost reached to touch his face, almost closed the distance between them, almost kissed him.

There was something funny, in a sick way, about digging up these sense-memories using the skills Sandburg had taught him. Using Sandburg's tools to remember the heat from Sandburg's proximity, the trace of jungle soil in the air, the feeling of wanting-suddenly, irrationally-to kiss him.

His chest had felt like it was too full of joy, and there had been a tingling in his fingertips. He remembered deciding he didn't want to complicate their friendship with sex, because the goddamned research made things complicated enough. So he'd pushed away the impulse to kiss Sandburg, writing it off to relief and leftover exhaustion. Which had allowed him to avoid the whole messy fact that he was attracted to a man.

By the following morning he'd forgotten the issue was even there.

But now, looking back at the last few years, he could see it everywhere. Jim winced, remembering the string of women he'd slept with in hopes of proving to himself that women were still his bag. Laura. Veronica. Christ, even Alex: he might not have slept with her, but he'd certainly come close.

And he'd given Sandburg a hard time about his string of women, never admitting to himself how much women coming on to Sandburg bothered him. Or how much it bothered him when men did, for that matter.

They'd been walking to lunch a few months ago, going to that seafood place by the docks, when a tall black man had stopped them to ask Sandburg if he had the time. He was attractive; Jim remembered thinking that. He'd made eye contact, smiled, licked his lips a little-Jim could still remember the wash of pheromones off of him.

"I think that guy was flirting with you, Chief," he'd said afterwards.

"Eh, too bad for him," Blair had answered, sounding offhand-but his arms had tightened around his body, his posture had closed. Language Jim could read clear as day.

Jim shook his head, dispelling the memory. What he wanted to know was, if he'd been repressing this for years, why did the senses vanish now? Not for the first time he wished he could call up a jungle vision on purpose. They were cryptic, but at least they were some kind of help.

And then Jim groaned as the final piece fell into place. He'd woken up Monday with sticky sheets, again. And evidently it was just too much for his psyche to take, he'd repressed the desire one too many times, because that was when his sense of taste snapped.

He stared into space until Sandburg emerged from his room. It was a while before he could meet his partner's eyes.

"All I'm saying is that it might be worth taking another look at some of the issues that are upsetting you."

"What I might or might not be avoiding is none of your business." Jim looked solid, immovable, in front of the darkening window. Arms crossed, his body radiated fuck off.

"Like hell it's not my business." The beginnings of anger warmed Blair's gut, and part of him was glad. Yelling at least used up some energy, made him feel like they were doing something.

"Fix the senses but stay out of my private life."

"Look, if you don't cooperate there's a chance we're not going to fix this thing. This is a lot of pressure on me, you know?"

"Pressure on you? This isn't your future on the line, pal."

In the back of his mind Blair registered that Jim was lashing out. Mostly Blair just reacted.

"Not my future? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"It's not your senses going on the fritz. You don't know what it's like."

Blair's heart was pumping now. The anger felt good. "I can't believe we're back to this. Look, if I could trade places with you for a day, I would, okay? It's not my fault I don't know what it's like."

Jim was shaking his head.

"What, Jim?"

"I-I just don't feel like I can trust you on this one. I mean, if you leave-"

"What, you want me to leave?"

"Oh, come on," Jim pushed. "I can see it now. We don't get this fixed, you pack your bags and say 'hey, sorry, man, been a nice four years, time to be moving on.'"

"Fuck you." Blair grabbed his coat.

"Where are you going?"

"To the library," he said, not turning around. "Maybe some research will help. And at least it'll get me out of your space, since you obviously don't want me here." He took care to slam the door.

By the time he reached his car his anger had cooled to guilt. Jesus, Jim was going through something serious, and he'd just walked out. Done, in fact, exactly what Jim accused him of always doing, running out when things got tough. Way to be a good friend, there, he thought with disgust.

He glanced up at the apartment, but couldn't see Jim in the window-if he was in the window in the first place. Maybe he wasn't even watching.

Blair sighed, got into his car, headed for the U. He hadn't spent much time in the library since leaving school, and enough time had elapsed that he figured people weren't likely to stare at him-much. Maybe he could find a passage in one of the early monographs that could help, if he could just talk Linda into letting him into the rare books room....

Thursday morning found Jim pushing his spoon around a carton of yogurt, liking its coolness even without the taste. He'd made toast, but it had felt weird on his tongue and he'd thrown it in the trash. He'd given up drinking anything but water.

Sandburg came out of his room tousled and warm from sleep. Jim squelched his body's interest: the kid was off-limits. Doubly-so now that the shit was hitting the fan.

"Any luck at the library?" he asked.

Sandburg shook his head. "Either this didn't happen to primitive sentinels, or Burton didn't write about it," he said.

"Figures," Jim said.

"Look, we're going to figure this out," Sandburg said. As if saying so would make it true. "I've got a feeling. Thursdays are good days: we're going to get somewhere today."

"If you say so, Chief," Jim said.

Jim could tell it was going to be a long day.

"Aren't you going to eat dinner?"

Jim shook his head. Blair took a deep breath.

"You shouldn't," Blair started, and Jim cut him off.

"Give it a rest, Chief."

"Jim, I'm just worried-"

"-I'm a grown man, Sandburg. Leave it the fuck alone." Jim walked stiffly to the sofa and turned on the news.

I am letting this go, Blair thought. He joined his partner and for a while they didn't say anything.


"Yeah?" Blair asked, still looking at the screen. Crap was going down in the Middle East again and he wanted to see what was up with Syria. Besides, it was a distraction.

"Chief, look at me." Jim's voice was a little too loud. Blair felt a hand descend on his arm.

Blair turned. There was a hint of panic in Jim's eyes.

"I can't hear."

Blair turned off the TV, his heart sinking. "Okay," he said, finding comfort in the sound of his own voice. Speaking silently would have made the situation feel as scary as it actually was. "Can you read my lips?"

Jim tilted his head slightly, brow furrowing.

"Wait," Blair enunciated carefully, and stood. Jim's hand was like a vise on his forearm; he placed his hand over Jim's and gave what he hoped was a reassuring squeeze, then peeled the fingers open. He came back a moment later with a notepad and pen.


Jim nodded, picked up Newsweek, flipped a few pages.

Blair could feel Jim's eyes on him, flicking up from the magazine every few seconds. Okay, so Jim wasn't really reading. Who could blame him? He had to be terrified.

Hell, Blair was terrified, too. What if this were permanent? Jim needed him now more than ever, but would he be able to admit that? Communicating during crisis situations had never been their fortˆ©.

Last time you failed at important communication he boxed up all your furniture and you wound up in a fountain, a little voice reminded him.

He fought the impulse to panic, fought it hard. There's no point in writing scripts for the worst case scenario, he reminded himself. Jim's not going to kick me out (again, the voice pointed out, but he ignored it). That was an anomaly. There's no other sentinel here this time.

And I can help him. I can figure this out. I just have to think. I thought I was onto something with the avoidance idea. I really thought I was onto something.

But Jim clammed up and wouldn't answer me, so maybe I was wrong.

Or maybe I was right. If he's avoiding something this strongly....

He tapped his partner's knee. "Jim," he said aloud, out of habit.

Jim looked up.

"What are you avoiding?" Blair asked, slowly and clearly. Jim shook his head, uncomprehending-or was he just refusing to understand? Blair grabbed the notepad and wrote the words down.

"Drop it, Sandburg. I'm going to bed," Jim said, off-pitch, the voice of someone who can't hear his own sound. He stood, a little unsteadily, and went upstairs.

"Fuck you," Blair said into the unhearing loft.

Jim woke in the night and opened his eyes to check the bedside clock.


Force of habit drove him to dial up sight, but the darkness refused to resolve. Jesus Christ, he couldn't see.

"Sandburg," he called. His ears were stuffed with cotton. "Blair!" Silent darkness cocooned him, wrapped him in insulation, shut him off from the world.

"Blair, please-" He could feel his voice cracking. It was like having laryngitis, trying to speak but hearing nothing from your throat, and for a moment he was terrified he had lost speech, too.

Then there were hands on his arm, on his forehead, gentling him. The hands were warm, the fingers were steady. He could feel the whorls of Sandburg's fingerprints. He wanted to memorize them.

"I can't see." He hoped he was making sound.

He felt the mattress sink as Sandburg sat on the edge of the bed. He clenched Sandburg's hand. He didn't want to let go.

Blankets shifted, were pulled away, as Sandburg climbed over him and spooned their bodies together.

"You don't have to," Jim mumbled, and felt a finger press against his lips. Shut up, he could imagine Sandburg saying. He gave a small smile. "Okay," he tried to make himself say, and then he was curling up next to Sandburg, wrapping his arms around him, holding him close.

Some part of him knew this was dangerous. But he'd lost the world, and Sandburg was his anchor. He didn't want to let go.

I am one sick puppy, Blair thought.

Jim's having the worst nightmare of his life-and I'm lying here thinking how fantastic he feels.

Jim's body fit around his, he was breathing against the nape of Blair's neck (this is why people keep their hair short, Blair thought), his arms were warm over Blair's. His bare chest was smooth against Blair's back.

Slowly Blair relaxed. He can't scent my arousal, he thought. He won't be able to tell I want him.

The thought was comforting; he couldn't risk discovery, he couldn't risk having Jim be angry with him now. Jim needed him.

And some part of him liked that. Liked knowing that Jim needed him, even if only temporarily.

He set his mind to memorizing everything he could: Jim's heat against him, the sound of Jim's breathing, the feel of Jim's arms and legs and hips.

Jim tightened his arms slightly and felt Sandburg relax back against him, his ass brushing Jim's groin.

Oh, God. God, no, not now, not this-but he couldn't make it stop. He was getting hard.

He jerked the lower half of his body away, trying desperately to think of something unappealing, something unappetizing, something to wilt his cock to soft again.

To add insult to injury, there were tears hammering at the back of his eyes. He held on as tight as he could.

Blair felt an aching in his ribcage when Jim started to cry. He'd never seen Jim cry: not when he lost Danny, not when Incacha died, never.

"Shh," he said, helplessly. "Shh, it's all right," he repeated, more to hear the words himself than for Jim. Wanting to comfort with his touch, he pushed himself back snugly into the curve of Jim's hips-

-and froze.

Jim was shaking. "I'm sorry," he rasped. "I'm so sorry-"

Suddenly Blair understood, with a rush of emotion so intense he wasn't sure if he wanted to laugh or to cry. Jim had been avoiding something.

He'd been avoiding this.

"I can't even believe you're saying that," Blair started, then closed his mouth. Jim couldn't hear him.

He squirmed one hand out from Jim's steel grip, and Jim let his arms fall open. He was still crying, deep hitching breaths that broke Blair's heart.

Blair reached back and took one of Jim's hands in his, bringing it back around his body, placing it gently over his own erection.

Blair took his hand, and put it back on his body, put it right over the hot hardness at his crotch, and Jim's universe turned upside-down.

He pressed harder, still uncertain, and Blair ground his ass back into Jim's cock. He moved his hand, stroked up through Blair's sweatpants, and Blair's body relaxed into his.

And then Blair was gone, and Jim opened his sightless eyes, panicking, trying to see, trying to see-

-and then he felt hands pressing him onto his back, felt Blair leaning over him, felt Blair's mouth descend onto his.

Even without taste there was Blair's tongue, Blair's heat. He sighed into Blair's mouth.

Blair was licking and kissing his way down his chest, and the absence of his other senses seemed to magnify touch. Every nerve ending was on overload as

Blair nibbled a trail of fire from nipple to nipple to navel, pausing to pull Jim's boxers free.

A hand lifted his cock, and Jim strained up, groaning as he fell into perfect liquid heat.

The sounds Jim was making were driving Blair crazy. Beneath him he was still, letting Blair control the pace, and every suck, every swipe of Blair's tongue, resulted in a sigh, a gasp, a groan.

God, he sounded good.

Blair pulled back, teased the crown of Jim's cock with tongue and fingers, tasted the tiny slit, accompanied by Jim's breathless sighing. "Blair," Jim murmured, voice rough. "Blair, Blair-"

Blair slid his head down, and Jim's whole body tensed as he shouted and came.

Slowly Blair let Jim's cock slip from his mouth, wrapped his arms around Jim's hips, rested his head on Jim's belly.

"Wow," Blair said, a moment later.

He was shocked when Jim jerked away and scrunched his face up.

"Jim! Are you-" Blair started.

"Whisper," Jim murmured, pleading.

"You can hear me?" Softly.

Jim nodded, eyes clenched shut.

"Too bright," he gritted. "Too loud."

Blair's whole body exulted. "Okay," he whispered. "Take a deep breath, get yourself centered... okay, good, now picture the hearing dial... just turn it one notch at a time...."

As Jim's posture relaxed Blair let his voice grow louder.

"I'm speaking at a normal volume now," he said, finally. "This okay?"

Jim nodded.

"Okay, now it's time for sight." Slowly and patiently they repeated the process. A few minutes later Jim opened his eyes.

Blair was kneeling beside him on the bed. His posture was nervous, but he was smiling, a shy smile that made warmth blossom in Jim's chest.

"You figured it out," Jim said, softly. He could feel a tightness in his throat-had he been screaming? He'd have to ask Blair.

"This is what you've been avoiding," Blair said, seeming to want confirmation. Jim nodded.

"You stupid jerk," Blair said, not sounding angry at all.

"I thought-" Jim started, then stopped.

"What?" Blair asked.

Jim patted the bed beside him and Blair lay back down, propping himself up on one elbow.

"Remember when we went to lunch at Cappy's?" Jim asked. "On the waterfront?"

"Yeah." Humoring Jim's digression.

"That man asked you for the time," Jim said. "That black man. In the grey sweater."

Blair's brow furrowed, then cleared. "Yeah! Okay, right." There was a pause. "And your point is...?"

"I said he was flirting with you."


"You seemed... repulsed when I suggested it," Jim said, butterflies appearing in his stomach at the memory.

Blair exhaled, grinned. "You idiot. The reason I was totally uninterested in him was that I was so desperately interested in you."

Jim felt a grin creasing his face. "Really?"

"But I figured you'd freak. I was doing everything I could to fool you."

"It worked," Jim said, ruefully.

"Yeah, well, look who's talking." Blair laughed. "Mister I'm-avoiding-this-so-hard-I'm-shutting-down-my-senses," and Jim rolled on top of him and braced himself on his hands.

"I've got my senses back now," he pointed out.

Blair's eyes grew darker. "Yeah," he said. Jim could feel him, still half-hard, stirring.

"There's a lot here I need to taste."

Blair had spent many hours imagining making love with Jim. He'd imagined everything he could do to Jim, and most of the things Jim could do back. This, though, was the one thing he had never imagined.

First Jim's hands parting his ass, then the warmth of Jim's breath, then-oh, God-Jim's tongue licking him, so gently it was barely there.

Blair whimpered and strained up, his cock trapped beneath his body and throbbing, his nipples hard from a delicious eternity of biting.

"More," he murmured, and Jim chuckled and complied, his tongue slipping inside now, licking circles around the rim, now slipping inside again, reducing Blair to jelly.

Blair felt a fingertip follow the path of Jim's tongue, and he groaned as it pushed inside.

"It's okay. We can take this slow." The finger was moving in and out, maddening.

"More," he ground out, and Jim's finger returned slick and cool, slipping inside him easily now. Each penetration sent sparks through him, he was starting to breathe hard, starting to squirm beneath Jim's hand. He raised his ass in the air, mutely pleading.

"Do you have any idea," Jim murmured, his voice low and rich, "how good you look like this?"

Blair shivered, as much from the intent in Jim's voice as from the sensation of Jim's fingers, two now, moving inside him.

"Tell me," he said, hardly believing Jim was talking like this, hardly believing it was Jim's fingers making him melt from the inside out.

"You have the most gorgeous ass," Jim murmured, bending to place a kiss just above where his fingers were probing, and Blair felt knees nudging his legs further apart. "You're blushing, Chief, I think you like hearing this." Blair felt himself redden more. He'd never realized how badly he wanted to be seen. Blair pushed back with a little twist of his hips and Jim's voice changed, grew tighter. "Do that again and I won't be responsible for my actions," he said.

Blair grinned and pushed back again.

"God, I want to be inside you," Jim murmured.

"Please," Blair said. "Oh, Jim, please."

The sound of Blair begging was like wine. Jim was getting drunk on Blair's voice, drunk and hard as a rock.

He slicked himself and, as slowly as he could, he pushed inside.

Blair tensed and made a small sound that wasn't quite desire, and Jim held still. "It's okay, babe. Try to relax. I'm not going to hurt you."

Beneath him Blair took a deep breath, and then another. "Tell me," he managed. "Tell me how I feel around you."

Jim pulled back a fraction of an inch, then pushed in again. "God, you feel so good." Low. "Like being wrapped in heat."

Blair relaxed further, sighing. When Jim pushed in this time Blair clenched his muscles, just for an instant, and Jim groaned.

"Like... lightning up my spine."

"You're inside me," Blair said, in wonderment, as if the realization were just now dawning.

"Inside you," Jim agreed. He was drowning in pleasure, in the feel of Blair around him, the slight hitch that was re-entering Blair's voice. But it wasn't enough. He wanted Blair mindless with pleasure, not just getting off on Jim's arousal.

He braced himself on his arms, angled up, and thrust in again.

Jackpot! Blair's groan of pleasure was so surprised it was almost comical. Jim could feel Blair's body heating around him, warmth radiating from his back and his thighs.

"Oh, yeah," Jim said, and Blair moaned, wordless.

Jim reached one hand underneath and closed it around Blair's cock and stroked, once, twice, and suddenly Blair was writhing, convulsing around him, coming hard. The feel of it, the scent of his come and the sound of his heartbeat and the amazing, incredible feel of him rippling around Jim, brought Jim with him.

As the sun rose on Friday they lay tangled together, tired and sticky and almost glowing with contentment.

Until Jim's stomach rumbled.


"Yeah," Jim admitted. "God, I feel like I could eat a horse."

"You've barely eaten all week," Blair pointed out, spooning around Jim and placing a kiss on his shoulder blade.

"Didn't like food," Jim said. "Made eating less fun." He lifted one of Blair's hands to his mouth and nibbled at a finger pad. Even after the acrobatics of the last hour or two, even with his brain operating at half-capacity from lack of sleep, the feel of Jim's tongue was thrilling.

"I'll make breakfast," Blair promised. "I'll make something really good." He thought for a moment. "Eggs seem like a poor call, somehow," he said. "Maybe I'll make pancakes."

"Pancakes are good."

"Blueberry pancakes," Blair said, warming to the plan. "I'll get organic blueberries. And fresh buttermilk! We can go to the farm stand."

"Grocery store's closer."

"Yeah, but it won't have organic blueberries."

"We don't need-"

"-sure we do. We're eating organic everything from here on out, man. You've got your sense of taste back and I want to treat it right. Besides," he added, almost as an afterthought, "primitive sentinels probably ate organic everything."

Jim snorted. "What, you want to eat grubs like the Chopec?"

"Ah, no thanks, Jim. When I'm living in the developed world, worms don't enter my mouth."

"Even organic worms." Wryly.

"Even organic worms."

There was a pause. "Y'know," Jim started, voice pitched a little too casual, "we could always just pick up breakfast somewhere."

Blair had a feeling he knew where this was going, but he didn't say anything. Yet.

"Somewhere with, say, biscuits and sausage and hash browns."

"You're jonesing for Wonderburger, aren't you?"

"Hey, I haven't eaten all week, my body misses it."

"Your body doesn't know what's good for it," Blair grumbled, and found himself very quickly pinned beneath two hundred pounds of sentinel, arms framing his head, groin pressed to his.

"Oh, yes it does," Jim murmured.

"You've, ah, got a point there," Blair said.

It was a good point. A very good point indeed.

The End