Out Of Whack 1

Title: Out of Whack 1

Author: Bone & Aristide

Author's E-mail:

Author's URL:

Fandom: Sentinel

Category: Slash

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Jim/Blair

Archive: Do not repost, publish or link without discussing it with me first.

Disclaimer: The Sentinel characters belong to Pet Fly Productions and Paramount. Written for pleasure, not profit. For adult readers only, please. Contains male/male sex.

Summary: Econo-sized smut. Price Club size. Probably gets in Guinness for the world's largest pop-tart.

Notes: A first time story by two first time collaborators. The authors freely acknowledge that this is not so much a story as it is a long-winded and direct manifestation of Kinks On Parade. This is what happens when Bone and Aristide fight over who gets to write the naughty bits. Sincere thanks go out to Kady, Dawn, and Kat for beta bravery in taking on both of us at once. Due to length, this story has been split into two parts.

Jim checked his watch for the fourth time, grimacing while his stomach growled. Once again, Sandburg had managed to make a plan, pick a time, and then be late. For a moment, visions of low-blood-sugar vengeance danced in his head.

He sighed and looked around impatiently. There wasn't a whole hell of a lot to look around at, unless you were really into heavy brocade curtains. Chu Fu's Chinese Emporium had the distinction of being exactly halfway between the station and the university, as well as having the best spring rolls in Cascade, so it had become their ad hoc meeting place. The curtained booths also allowed for at least the illusion of privacy if police business had to be discussed over won ton soup and crab rangoon. He'd heard of more illicit activity taking place in Chu Fu's booths, but decided that the proprietor himself had started that rumor as a way of picking up business.

Jim desultorily opened his menu—he knew it all by heart. The egg fu yung sounded good, he thought, and he could smell it in the kitchen, fresh and hot, making his mouth water, but he could already hear the lecture from Blair: "Hello? Does the word 'cholesterol' mean anything to you? I don't even want to think about your arteries." With a sigh, Jim let his eyes drift to the less life-threatening side of the menu.

Just when he'd decided on the beef and broccoli, certain he could convince Blair that the beneficial properties of the broccoli outweighed the big bad beef, he heard a familiar tread on the wooden floor, accompanied by a heartbeat he sometimes thought he could hear in his sleep.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry," Blair said as he ducked inside the curtain. "You wouldn't believe the traffic."

"If you'd been here twenty minutes ago, you wouldn't have hit any traffic," Jim grumbled, handing his menu over.

"Bitch, bitch, bitch," Blair muttered.

"Are you going to say everything three times today?" Jim asked.

"Okay, okay, okay," Blair said, then clapped his hand over his mouth and laughed. "Guess so."

Jim smothered a grin. "What are you getting?"

"I dunno. Something quick," Blair said. He leaned toward Jim and said in a stage whisper, "I've got a date."

Now there was a shock. Sandburg on a date? Why, he hadn't been on a date since…the night before. Jim shook his head. "Any chance it's the same girl you went out with last night?"

Blair looked momentarily nonplussed, then waved his hand at Jim. "Melody? Nah. I mean, she was nice and all, but not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, you know?"

"I thought she was a post-doc chemistry student."

Blair looked up, scratching his forehead; eyes squinted as he went through the motions of trying to categorize his dating fodder, then shook his head. "No, no, no, that's Melanie," he said, with a look at Jim that said he should have known better.

Jim glared at him, wondering why he should be expected to keep track of the revolving door that made up Blair's love life.

Blair shrugged. "They're both redheads," he said, as if that both excused and explained everything.

"I don't know where you keep finding women who'll go out with you," Jim said.

Blair scoffed. "Are you kidding? They line up, man."

They probably did, Jim thought sourly. In the year since Sandburg moved in with him, he'd spent maybe half his nights in the loft. It sometimes occurred to Jim to wonder why he'd bothered giving the kid a place to stay; he was sure if Blair wanted he could have moved into any one of about a dozen women's apartments. Most men who talked about women and sex as much as Sandburg did were trying to compensate for a lack of the same in their lives, Jim had found. Not so for Sandburg. He didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk. Jim watched Blair's eyes flicker lightning-quick over the menu, and tried not to think about himself, about how hard it had gotten for him to do either.

His thoughts were interrupted by the waiter, and they gave their order, with Blair opting for Chinese vegetables and steamed rice, and Jim stubbornly sticking with the beef and broccoli compromise.

"So who's the lucky girl tonight?" Jim asked, but Blair shushed him, his head turned toward the side of the curtained booth. Jim put his hand out in the classic "What's up?" position and Blair answered with his hand sign for "Hang on a minute."

Curiosity piqued, Jim turned up his hearing and aimed it at the booth on the other side of the curtain.

"…another one bites the dust to Cock-of-the-Walk Sandburg," he heard a woman say giddily, and another immediately chimed in with, "You've been here six months and he's just getting around to you? Poor thing."

Laughter erupted, and Jim could pick out four distinct voices, all female. He glanced over at Blair, ready to deliver a pop to the side of his head, but Blair still held his hand up, obviously entranced. A vague thought of listening at keyholes and 'lest ye be vexed' ran through his mind, but he refrained from comment and decided just to watch Blair, who looked a little bit like a red setter on point.

"What's so funny?" he heard from a third voice. "Come on, Tina—talk."

"Pour me another one, will you? No, not the daiquiri; I'll try the mai tai this time." Jim heard the sound of a glass being filled, then the one he assumed was Tina said, "It's like a rite of passage at Rainier. Like papering the trees after finals, or tossing tapioca out the caf window. Getting laid by Blair Sandburg is practically a requirement for graduation."

More laughter ensued, along with some distinctly unladylike snorting, and Jim wondered how long they'd been there, and how many rounds of mai tais they'd had. When he looked back at Blair, he'd gone slightly pink, and a little smile played at his lips.

Jim felt his cheeks grow hot. Great. It wasn't good enough that he had to imagine what Blair did on all those dates—now it seemed he had to hear about it, too.

"You're in for a real treat, Steph," a third woman said, her voice sultry and vaguely slurred. "I dated a guy in high school like Blair, but I didn't know they came in the full-size version."

"What do you mean?" Steph asked.

"Oh, you know…didn't you ever go out with a guy who could—" her words dropped to a whisper, actually louder than her speaking voice. "Do it all night long?"

A cavalcade of giggles. Blair's cheeks were really pink now, but he was still smiling.

Jim heard Steph exhale. "You mean he keeps it up all that time?" she asked, the quintessential auditory picture of awe-struck innocence. "That sounds painful."

This time the laughter hurt Jim's ears, and even Blair pulled back a little.

"No, silly. He's like a slot machine—keep feeding him quarters and he'll spill all night." This contribution from a voice Jim hadn't heard before, but the other women chimed in with a clapping, whooping chorus of lewd but ringing endorsements, so apparently she wasn't just whistling Dixie.

Jim's empty stomach tightened uncomfortably. He should go. He should just go duck into the bathroom right now, and maybe wash his hands twenty or thirty times and then when he came out the food would be there, and hopefully the girls would have moved on to some bearable topic like menstrual cycles or bikini-waxing or—"We went through three sets of sheets one night," Tina said without a single trace of self-consciousness in her voice. Jim's face flushed hotter, but he didn't move. "The woman at the laundromat looked at me like I was crazy, but I think she was just jealous. I almost gave her Blair's phone number."

Hoots accompanied that pithy observation, and one voice, stridently drunk, added, "One thing's for sure—he makes up in volume what he lacks in staying power. Any guy who can come four times in a row doesn't need to worry much about how long he takes, does he?"

"It doesn't hurt that he's hung like a horse," someone said hysterically, but Jim had given up trying to attach names to voices because the whole thing was just making him dizzy, and he was probably going to have a killer headache in about ten minutes. Tight, gleeful whispers of hilarity and murmurs of agreement drifted through the curtain. "For a little guy like that, he's packing some serious meat." Jim looked at Blair again—he'd gone from pink to brick red, and the smug tilt of the lips had disappeared. Jim couldn't believe women really talked like that. Thank God they didn't talk that way about him, he thought, then his blood ran cold at the thought that perhaps they did—how would he know? He felt for Sandburg, he really did. It was one thing to overhear a comment or two, but this…this was turning into something else entirely.

"Speaking of staying power," Steph said. "I guess I shouldn't get my hopes up that this is the start of a beautiful relationship?"

Catcalls reverberated through the curtain, and Jim decided women and mai tais really didn't mix. "Honey, let's just say you better enjoy him while you've got him. That man goes through women like a starving man at a country buffet."

"So why do we let him get away with it?" Steph asked, just a little haughtily.

"Because he can make you come so hard your nipples sweat," Tina said, with some apparent (albeit tipsy) authority.

Snorts of laughter almost drowned out Steph's reply. "You know, I thought men only treated other men like that. It's not like we're hanging out in public restrooms looking for a quickie."

"Maybe we should suggest that to Blair for when he gets through shtupping the junior faculty," one of them said. "Then he wouldn't even have to buy us dinner."

"He doesn't buy us dinner now," Tina asserted.

Howls of outraged laughter, and then Jim just tuned them out. He'd heard all he wanted to hear; more than he wanted to hear, really. And Blair looked like he might hyperventilate any minute. He looked mortified, and a little queasy, but underneath it all, was that still a hint of pride he saw lurking? Jim thought about the tone the women had used. Not bitter, not even sour. They'd sounded knowing, and almost…affectionate.

Blair Sandburg, prize stud of Rainier U. No, Jim couldn't really say he was surprised.

An awkward silence descended in their own booth. Blair wouldn't meet his eyes, and he fiddled with his chopsticks, nervous energy finding an outlet in a staccato drumbeat on the placemat.

"Uh, Sandburg…" Jim started, but Blair cut him off.

"You know what? I'm not really that hungry," he said. "Think I'll go…do…something," he stuttered. He started to slide out of the booth, and without thinking Jim reached out for him, grasping his arm near the elbow. Blair looked at him then, and it occurred to Jim that, pride or no pride, the 'lest ye be vexed' part of the equation had kicked in full-force. He didn't really know what to say.

"I'll bring home the leftovers," he murmured finally. He worried a little about letting him go, but really, what else could he possibly do? It wasn't like the women had been spouting lies or anything. Some truths were maybe just a little harder to hear than others.

"Thanks," Blair said under his breath, still not making eye contact. Then he pushed through the curtain, leaving Jim to contemplate beef and broccoli and a whole mess of Chinese vegetables all on his own.


Ah, the academic life. Study and lessons and learning, and the constant, unremitting expectation to perform.

Blair didn't know exactly how it had escaped his notice that his sex life was drifting in the same direction, but it had. And now, looking back on it, he could only assume that he'd gotten his doctorate in that area several times over. With honors. Vale-fucking-dictorian. Literally.

And maybe, enough was enough. Maybe he was a little bit tired of being distinguished as outstanding in the field of waving his dick around.

His hand was still on his keys, which he'd placed carefully in the basket so as to avoid disturbing Jim. He clamped down tight on the sudden, senseless urge to throw them across the room, and made himself let go.

Hearing what he'd overheard had been a tsunami, an earthquake, a natural disaster of awareness that left him exhausted with the knowledge that he'd be cleaning up the debris for a very long time to come.

And Stephanie, when he'd met up with her, had behaved pretty much like any other of his dates—no speculative looks on her part, nothing to indicate that only an hour before she'd been privy to the most gratuitous assessment of his prowess. Nothing except a lingering taste of pineapple juice and rum, which he'd done his best to forget about.

She took him to bed eagerly, happily, and had been warm and welcoming and vibrant—like they all were. They were all like that. They all were. He thought about it while he brushed his teeth, used a washcloth on the parts of his body that most needed it, and bundled himself gratefully into his solitary bed.

She'd been just like the others, just like always. There were subtle differences, of course; the degree of roundness at hip and breast, different sounds, smells, tastes. Whether they liked it high and hard, or low and slow. Stephanie had been one of the low and slow ones; familiar to him, to his body, even though he'd never been with her before tonight. Even the things that made her unique, that had brought her to his attention in the first place, that had engaged his mind and excited his body, seemed familiar to him. The whole night had felt like a re-run.

He liked the women he dated; genuinely liked them, and he'd always thought they liked him, too. There had been women who seemed to dig him as much out of bed as in it…Molly, for example, and Katie. But he wasn't sure anymore. Wasn't sure about anything—maybe he'd been reading them wrong.

But for the most part, first dates usually turned into only dates, very occasionally followed up by a follow-up that never lived up to expectations and always made him wish he'd resisted the temptation to see if lightning could strike twice. Stephanie probably wouldn't be one of those. She'd been too much like the others, too much like always.

He himself, however, hadn't been just like always. Not at all. Hard to lose yourself in the pleasure of the moment when you have to keep one eye out for the scorecards. If he'd been one of those unfortunate individuals who suffered from test anxiety, he probably would have frozen completely.

But he wasn't. And he hadn't. He'd brought her off six times, competently and mechanically, observing with a continually deepening level of clinical dismay how he knew just how to do this. Against his thigh, under the heel of his hand, then his fingertip, around his tongue (twice), and on his cock, in that order. And during the last shimmying, dove-cooing spasm he joined in, just once, just to let go of some of whatever was in him that made him do this.

Just once. It was silent, an experience of unparalleled joylessness. A completely joyless orgasm, but he did it anyway. He hadn't really ever imagined a situation in which the words 'joyless' and 'orgasm' would live in the same sentence, and it sucked, big time, because prior to tonight, prior to the freaking final exam of Stephanie, fucking had been just about the most joyful thing ever.

And now, snug in his bed, despite his reflections on how disappointing it had been, he wondered if he shouldn't have gone ahead and done it a few more times. His body, after all, didn't really care what kind of upheaval was going on in his mind—his body had been fully prepped to do it up, to go all the way, to get funky until he'd funked himself out.

Buzzing with melancholia and mellow outrage and reluctant lust, Blair covered his eyes with his left forearm and reached slowly down under the sheets with his right hand. It was, of course, a familiar action, but not one that he usually engaged in while burdened with emotional upheaval—this was supposed to be fun, this used to be so much fun, like the greatest and most wonderful discovery in the natural world.

He knew himself, his body, his responses well—none better. He was an expert, after all, a prodigy, a freak of nature, a highly skilled craftsman who could make this good, good, good, and with one circular flick of his thumb he made it better and yeah, that was it—nothing like being pleasured by Blair Sandburg, nothing like coming and coming apart under Blair Sandburg's talented hands.

He swiped through the mess on his stomach and groaned softly. There was plenty more where that came from…

And again, for the benefit of those in the balcony without opera-glasses. Behind his closed eyes he saw Stephanie, Miranda, Jennifer, Crystal, Rachel, Beth, Tina; and he wondered what they gave him, what it was they took from him. Women, all those women, the way they reached for him and opened to him and came for him over and over…The way they smelled, the sweet hot stuff inside, the slip and slide of them—Blair gasped and shivered, and knew that whether or not he felt like getting up, he'd have to change the sheets tonight.

Round two.

Enthusiastic applause. Thank you, thank you very much. Be sure to tip your waiters. Not a bad performance, really. Nothing he hadn't displayed a thousand times before. But he still wasn't having any fun. Well, beyond the nominal, of course. But the nominal didn't seem to be cutting it; not anymore.

And in his ears, ringing soundly with the effort of holding his breath and trying not to make too much noise, he heard those voices again. Maybe he always would.

…I thought men only treated other men like that…

Do they? Is this what men do? Is this a man thing?

…It's not like we're hanging out in public restrooms looking for a quickie…

Were there men somewhere doing just that? Not caring about anything else but feeling like…oh man, like this?

There was more here, more to think about, more to consider; but he was already hot again and rolling over on his stomach, on top of his own slick fist, happy for the cool softness of pillow that muffled him. He buried his face in it and panted, taking it slow, drawing it out until the line between suffering and pleasure blurred to nothing, until the riot of his thoughts broke up and drifted away.

Rapid and unspecific pictures flashed behind his closed eyes, pressed with each gasping breath into smooth cotton—bodies to be satisfied, soft bodies, or, for the hell of it, for a change of pace, strong bodies to be filled, delighted; tight, trembling muscles fluttering on the sweat-soaked edge of exhaustion. To feel good—this was supposed to feel good, and oh yeah, it did, really did feel good. Uh-huh. His heat-slick grip on his cock never missed a stroke, never missed a single chance for sliding, squeezing torture while his other hand reached up and around over the flexing muscles of his ass and behind and brushed against, and then in—inside, suddenly inside with a huge shocking wallop of pleasure and thank God for the pillow because this time he yowled loud enough to wake the dead but he didn't care, couldn't care at all because fuck that was good, really good, that was it.


Oh fuck.

Oh wow.

He was lying in a puddle. His bed was a swamp. He should get up now, and fix this, before the whole mess set like jello. He should probably try to keep breathing before he just passed out. He should maybe think about what had just happened, and what the hell he was supposed to do about it.

He should.

…Fuck that was that was oh my God what was that…

He was still looking for answers to too many questions when he drifted into sleep, slumped in the swamp.


Jim had been patient. Really, he had. Ask anyone. Well, actually, it seemed unlikely that any asking would occur, given the situation.

At first, the first thing that had struck him, was that the whole thing was…well, weird. At the start, Jim couldn't remember Sandburg ever spending more than two or three nights in a row in the loft, and yet here he was, working on two solid weeks without a night out. Hadn't been out since their aborted attempt to eat at Chu Fu's. Instead, they'd sat around every night like an old married couple in their sock feet and rattiest sweats, watching TV, or reading.

In some ways, they'd been the most normal two weeks since Blair had moved in; which, when he thought about it, was weird but nice. In some ways, they'd been the strangest; which was just plain weird. And maybe a little disturbing. And now, for the eleventh night in a row, Jim lay on his back, eyes on the ceiling, listening to the sound of Libido Boy getting himself off. Repeatedly.

Repeatedly repeatedly.

Round one usually happened in the shower, where Sandburg probably felt his frantic activity would be masked by the pounding water, and the evidence washed away with soap suds and shampoo bubbles. Jim always kept half an ear out to see if there were any sudden mishaps, but no—apparently, Sandburg had mastered (so to speak) the art of self-love in a slippery environment.

Blair usually held off on round two until after the lights had gone out, until after Jim had stopped moving around. And then he waited a little longer. Jim hadn't meant to tune into him, but it happened anyway. He'd been doing his usual evening survey of the perimeter, and zeroed in on an unexpected source of heat in Sandburg's little cubbyhole. Heat, followed by increased heartbeat, harsh breathing, and finally, the sharp sweet scent of semen.

Rounds three and occasionally even four usually took longer—luxurious, drawn-out; accompanied by stifled gasps and muttered sex words, by the subtle rocking of the futon on its sturdy legs, by the sound of fist-grip strokes and fingers being sucked, and the ever-present aroma of spilled spunk.

Once he'd oriented himself into the peaks and valleys of this bizarre one-man orgy, Jim had found that he couldn't turn it off, couldn't tune him out. Whatever was going on down there, Jim was along for the duration, wide-awake in every bone in his body. After that first flushed and guilty voyeurism session, dialing it down just hadn't been an option.

He'd tried to. Tried hard. He'd gone so far as to try to zone himself out by staring at a ripple in the plaster of the ceiling; let his focus rest there and spin out and deepen—but the next thing he knew he was blind to everything but what was happening in Sandburg's room, twitching with reaction while Blair moaned desperately into a pillow.

It had begun as fascination—probably the same kind of thing, he had to admit, that drew people into the freak tent at the circus—that a guy could come that often, and that fast, and not just once in awhile but night after night after night…well, if he hadn't heard it himself, he would have said it wasn't even possible. If it had been him, there'd be no way he'd even be able to walk the next day, much less zoom around like a tornado on crack. He'd had serious thoughts about poking Blair with it—suggesting a change of thesis topic by pointing out that the rare nature of Sentinels had nothing at all on the miraculous fire-hose capabilities of what was stashed in his slacks. But things changed before he'd found a good way to slip it into casual conversation, and then he was involved too, and then it really wasn't funny anymore.

Not funny at all. What had started out as fascination with the freak show (and yeah, he'd happily eat tofu-and-wheatgerm surprise before he'd tell Blair about that little analogy) had all-too quickly evolved into fascination on a whole new level—Sandburg sounded so helpless, so lost in it, and that drew him closer and he didn't even notice when his own objectivity began to fade away, but it did and then he was helpless, touched all too deeply by something that he should have been able to ignore, should have been able to laugh off.

But he wasn't laughing, because it wasn't funny. He was an unwilling and guilty participant, spending night after night locked in the sweaty prison of his twisted sheets, wanting to rest but not resting; he just stared sightless into the dark, clearly envisioning the evidence his other senses told him.

It was shameful. And scary as hell. And utterly irresistible.

Incomprehensible. Especially since he refused to really let himself think about it, but couldn't seem to concentrate on much of anything else, leaving him wide open to night after night of staring at the ceiling.

Consequently, Jim hadn't had a good night's sleep in almost two weeks. Now that was something he could focus on, something real and definite that could easily be considered without the bright-glowing edges of unknown threat. No real sleep. In almost two weeks. Outrageous. Unfair.

Unfair that all these unsought feelings came surging into his wide-awake body, spilling out through sweat glands and the constant hardness of his own sympathetic erection. It wasn't fair: Blair whacked off happily below him, while upstairs, Jim just felt his whole life had gone out of whack. And you'd think, after all he'd been through, Sentinel-wise, that somehow he would have grown used to feeling like one big, exposed nerve. And he had, really; but he'd never had to deal with feeling like one big, exposed, aroused nerve. And therein lay the problem.

Early on, in the beginning, he'd told himself he was piggy-backing on Blair's amorous adventures. He'd felt a little ashamed of himself, but did it anyway. From what the mai-tai guzzling jury of his peers said, it sounded like the kid knew what he was doing, knew his way around a woman's body, and so imagining them doing the deed wasn't really that weird.

Was it?

So he'd tried to imagine what Tina looked like—tall, he thought, and brunette, with sharp cheekbones and a wide mouth. And then he'd put her with Sandburg in a bed, rolling on white sheets until Tina was on top, with Sandburg thrusting up from below. She'd be wriggling on top of him, pressing her hands on his chest, levering herself up and down, and he'd be moaning underneath her, his palms rubbing her nipples, his mouth a little open, and he'd be gazing up at her, watching her come, and then he'd hold her hips hard and jerk her up and down, his whole body convulsing, his eyes closing, holding his bottom lip between his teeth as he pounded up into her—

Fuck. Okay, maybe watching the Casanova Sandburg movie every night wasn't too weird, but who was the star of that particular show, anyway? The one who stole the scene, each and every time? Pretty much the same guy who provided the soundtrack, muttering 'oh yeah' into his pillow just down the stairs and around the corner.

Yeah, at first he'd told himself it was the women who aroused him. But not by night eleven. By night eleven, he had to admit that it wasn't imagining the women that had his cock rubbing restlessly against the sheet. He had to confess that when he pictured Sandburg on his stomach, thrusting hard into his poor abused mattress, he wasn't imagining a woman underneath him.

No, this time his stunned, disbelieving eyes didn't even need the black screen of his eyelids to clearly picture himself behind Blair, his own body thrusting Blair into the sheets, listening to the groans as if they were in response to something he'd done.

Done to Blair.

He wanted to do stuff to Blair.

He wanted Blair.

Well, wasn't that just peachy.

He was almost forty, and now a 30 year-old with a body that acted sixteen had forced him to acknowledge something he'd have been just as happy continuing to ignore.

And he'd gotten so good at the tuning in, at the imagining, that when Blair worked himself up for night eleven's round two Jim was right there with him, feeling the sheet like it was a tongue, like a wet finger on his cock, feeling the brush of cotton catching on the head, the friction from his microthrusts all his enhanced senses needed, coming hard without ever touching himself, coming hard right at the same time the bed downstairs shook, and the panting began.

He finally closed his eyes then, waiting to see if maybe all this would go away, if now that he'd gotten that out of his system the insanity would stand out more clearly, send him packing in the other direction.

Yes, it seemed pretty insane. No, it didn't put him off the idea. Not in the least.


And so here he was. Round two for Blair. Round one for Jim. Jim struggled to keep his own breath under control, reaching with a slightly shaky hand for the kleenex he'd learned to keep next to the bed.

Wiping up the mess, he twitched his nostrils, seeking Blair's scent—unbelievably compelling to him, and comforting and exciting and illicit all at the same time. Even in the very few dreams he managed to have these days, that pungent scent followed him. He sniffed again. Yes, there it was. A fresh batch, still hot. And they were only halfway through a normal night. He had to fight off a sudden urge to groan out loud.

Normal. What a laugh. Nothing about their lives the last couple of weeks had been normal.

A long, low sigh sneaked in Jim's ears. He dialed up his hearing again—his hearing always went offline when he came, something Blair would probably love to investigate as a scientific phenomenon if he ever found out about it—and heard Blair roll over, heard him reaching for his own kleenex.

"Fucking hell," he heard Blair mutter. "Jesus, do you have to make such a mess all the time?" Jim assumed he was addressing his dick—no one else in the loft had participated in that particular problem. He remembered the slot-machine analogy one of those awful women had used, and sympathy and irritation vied for space with the tight, terrible feeling in his stomach that was demanding to know what he planned to do about this.

Jim sighed, and shuffled everything inside him around until the part about lack of sleep was distinctly and triumphantly on top. This internal sleight-of-hand was actually fairly easy, performed smoothly and with the ease of long practice. Enough was enough. Eleven nights of not enough sleep and too many mental images that had profound physical effects was about ten nights too long. Something had to give, and he didn't think it should be him.

When he heard Blair get up and pad to the linen closet, he decided there was no time like the present. If he waited until morning, he'd lose his nerve, or Blair would already be chewing a granola bar on his way out the door, and then between case work and Blair's classes, and three square meals, it would be tomorrow night before he knew it, and he'd once again be tuning into to hear his roommate masturbate time after time after time. And to be quite honest, night twelve might be the death of him. Or of Sandburg, for that matter—it didn't seem like a far stretch to imagine that he might wake up some morning and find his roommate drowned in his own come—and he didn't really like to think about the explanations that might entail.

Jim's head spun dizzily when he stood up, so for a moment he simply stood there, holding on to nothing but his own conviction that, one way or another, this had to end. He clamped down tight on the sudden rush of panic that asked him what the hell he was doing, and shook himself briefly.

He was…keeping the peace. Only that. He'd help Sandburg to see reason, and then maybe karma would kick in with some reason for him in return. Wouldn't that be nice?


Blair had stripped the sheets off the futon, and was tucking a clean bottom sheet on the mattress when Jim walked through the kitchen and propped himself on the doorsill. Blair must have been thinking about something pretty hard, because he almost jumped out of his skin when Jim spoke.

"Home fires burning a little hot, Sandburg?" Jim asked, gesturing with a nod to the soggy sheets piled in a corner.

"Bite me," Blair muttered.

In the awkward silence that followed, Jim couldn't help imagining doing just that. He imagined walking over to Blair, pulling down his baggy boxers, and setting his teeth on Blair's cock until it hardened in his mouth. He pictured smelling up close and personal all those musky scents that had been driving him nuts up the distance of a flight of stairs. What would Blair do if he did? Would he push him away? Or pull him closer? He stifled the thought. Oh yeah. This guy with all the girls panting for what he could give them was just going to…what…flip a switch? Get a grip on yourself, Ellison. He swallowed. Sleep. He was here to talk about getting some sleep.

And now, now when he'd committed himself and actually brought the subject up, he suddenly found himself paralyzed—what the hell was he going to do, anyway, demand that Blair go find some willing woman and exorcise his demons? Tell Blair to look up some of his old Vice buddies so that he could score a reputable hooker? Tell Blair he was risking blindness and hairy palms?

Of course, he could always take the direct route; threaten to cuff Blair's hands to the bed…

Ah. No.

He should have stayed upstairs. He should have worn earplugs. He should have gone to the stupid restroom at Chu Fu's Chinese Emporium so he wouldn't have to keep wondering how big Blair really was down there. What he shouldn't have done was come to Blair's room at this hour of the night. Not when he could easily, with heart-pounding clarity, see the swelling on an incipient round three behind the opaque cover of Blair's shorts. Not when the smell of the room was enough to dizzy him, to make him want to see if he could work up a round two himself. He had to struggle to breathe normally, not to sniff the air hungrily like the dog he apparently was.

Without meaning to, he'd walked himself into one difficult situation. Difficult, and damned awkward, whether or not he could manage to stick to his agenda. Which he would.

Blair stood poised on the balls of his feet for a minute, as if he'd bolt if he thought he had a chance of getting past Jim in the doorway. He didn't try to hide his renewed erection, but he didn't call attention to it either. He just flipped the top sheet onto the futon and tucked it in, taking particular care to balance the length of the sheet on each side. It looked like something Jim would do, and the gesture softened something in him, made it seem somehow possible that there was a way to say this.

He took a closer look at Blair. He had dark circles under his eyes, and his hands were trembling. Looked like maybe the last eleven nights hadn't been a picnic for him, either. Jim hadn't really let himself wonder what had caused the precipitous change in the Blair Sandburg Social Calendar, but something obviously had, and if he had to guess, it all started when someone soused on mai tais described him as "serious meat."

He pulled himself ruthlessly back to center, back to the task at hand, back to the ideas of peace-keeping and reason-bringing and then deliberately leaned harder against the doorway, making himself comfortable. Maybe it was time to start asking some questions, instead of relying on what Blair would call empirical data. Looked like maybe the data was screwed…make that skewed.

Tamping down the last of everything inside him that was not pertinent to this discussion, he concentrated on Blair; who looked rumpled and sticky, and when you got right down to it, pretty miserable. Jim took a deep breath, summoned up whatever patience and courage were left to him after eleven nights of short sleep and a host of dangerous thoughts, and said, "Okay, Sandburg. What's going on?"


Bite me, he'd said. Bite me? What kind of thing was that to say to another man at three in the morning? Because it was one thing, even if it was odd and a little out of the range of his normal fantasy material, to look down at his own prick and imagine another man's hand on it, or reach behind himself and imagine another man's fingers stretching him, because, after all, he was flexible, he'd been born in 1969, he could do flexible. But it was a whole 'nother thing to look down at his pooked-out boxers and think of Jim down there doing anything at all to him. And yet think about it he had, with predictable results. Yeah, after an interminable couple of weeks, if anything was predictable, that was.

In some ways, it was a relief. Not the Jim appearing in his doorway thing, not the startling transformation of the amorphous anonymous men in his head to the solid reality of an irritated Jim in front of him, no, that had more the ring of a death wish, but the thought that he'd been caught, and maybe, could be stopped—that was almost a relief.

All good things must come to an end, and all that. Of course, Blair reflected, this hadn't exactly been a 'good' thing. A weird thing, yeah—and sometimes a frustrating thing and a sanity-seeking thing and occasionally a hot-as-blisters, heart-pounding, knee-wobbling wild thing; but not really a 'good' thing.

But, he supposed, it would still have to come to an end, for all that.

And from the look on Jim's face, this was the end of it.

Blair had gone on as well and as quietly as he could, hoping that Jim didn't notice, or, if he did, that he'd just understand, somehow; or, lacking that, that he'd just be too embarrassed to say anything about it. He knew it wasn't exactly the most courteous thing he could do, living with a Sentinel, but hey—it wasn't like he could help it.

He battled his own ill-tempered frustration, and dredged up a smile from somewhere. It felt tired and stretched on his face, but it was the best he could do for now. He reminded himself that he could do this. "Sorry, Jim. Let me guess—I've been keeping you up, right?"

Jim just nodded, lips pressed tight together. Even in the dim light from his one bedside lamp he could see the flush coloring Jim's cheeks, and abruptly he wondered how much chutzpah Jim must have had to summon up to actually come down here and talk about it. Someone with Jim's mindset and Jim's fears; the guy was probably terrified that Blair was going to lose control and rush him and try to hump his leg or something…

Smiling got easier. Poor Jim, eyeing his erection like a nervous virgin. Actually, it was pretty fucking funny, in a sick kind of way.

But not, after all, why he was here. "Uh…well, I've been trying to…work some things out, you know? And I think I know what to do now, so pretty soon I'll be back to…well, normal, I guess. A couple more days, definitely by the weekend, I think, and I should be set." It was hard not to babble, hard to do this halfway-talking-without-specifics thing, but given the color of Jim's face, it was probably his best bet.

Apparently his initial apology had defused whatever anger Jim had carried downstairs with him. Jim gave him one of those half-assed, understanding shrugs, and cleared his throat once more. "So. You…going to start dating again?"

Ah. This was the tough part. This was, actually, why it had taken him so long to make a decision. To tell or not to tell—and that wasn't even a question because Jim was a friend but he was also a Sentinel and a cop, and Blair didn't even want to think about the possible predicaments he could get himself into not telling. It was the first acknowledgement Jim had given to that dizzying conversation they'd overheard, and its impact on Blair's life. If Jim could bring it up, it seemed the least Blair could do to respond to it.

So—tell. Logical choice. Only choice. But, could he do it?

He swallowed. "Sort of." Well, that was a start, at least.

And obviously, not the answer Jim had expected. The blush was still fully in evidence, but there was an edge of puzzlement there, and possibly a hint of aggravation. Of course, if this was as aggravated as Jim got about this whole thing, he'd be damn lucky. "Sort of? What do you mean 'sort of'?"

There was something tight, tight and low and uncomfortable in the pit of his stomach, but God help him the discomfort didn't even start to make a dent in his current erection—he had to do this, had to get it done and over with so that he could go back to bed. "Actually, I've decided…I'm going with an alternative solution."

Jim's eyes rolled. "Jesus, Chief; and you tell me I'm close-mouthed…What, should I expect a mail-order bride on the doorstep? You're getting castration surgery? A Pamela Anderson blow-up doll? You've decided to—"

"Men," Blair interrupted, finally just going for it while the bottom dropped out of his stomach in that I-just-stepped-off-a-cliff way that he hated. "I'll be…uh…dating…men."

Jim's mouth was still open, his sentence unfinished. In that moment he looked so frozen and so profoundly wide-eyed that Blair thought for a moment that he'd zoned, and dismay gripped him as he realized that if Jim had, he was going to have to say it all over again.

But no. Not a zone. Apparently just plain old shock, and Blair couldn't blame him for that. He wouldn't have been at all surprised if Jim had pinched himself. Jim didn't, but he shook his head hard and fast, like a dog trying to clear his head of water.

"Men," Jim echoed reflectively, as if he'd never heard of such a thing. "Men. I see."

Blair watched Jim chewing at the inside of his cheek, his eyes narrowed and focused somewhere off to the left, evidently considering. When his gaze snapped back and his eyes locked with Blair's own, it seemed like he could feel the weight of it. "Have you lost your fucking mind, Sandburg?"

And thusly, Blair thought regretfully, the battle was joined. "No, Jim, I haven't—but I think I probably will if I don't…do something about this."

That was as close as he could get to describing what had been happening to him, how his self-gratification had become more and more desperate, less and less satisfying. He'd done it to stay sane, that was the bottom-line truth of it—and even the best he could give himself ultimately wasn't enough.

Jim still looked like he was wandering out there in the stratosphere somewhere. "And so your answer to that is…men?"

Now this was the sticking point—he'd thought about this, he'd gone over it time and again. He could soft-pedal this, talk his way around it—he could come up with at least three plausible theories without even really digging for them, each loaded with sociological data and credible backup evidence. He could do this, weave a convincing fabric of rationale and save himself the ignominy of truth…but really, when he thought about it, it wasn't a good idea. Others he could lie to, easily, glibly; but Jim knew him. And Jim…Jim deserved the truth.

He pulled in a deep breath. "Yeah, it is. I'm not ready to get married and settle down, and I'm not, like, at all willing to become a monk. I'm not willing to keep using women the way I have been, either, so I figured yeah; men."

To his amazement, Jim actually smiled. "Gonna try using men for a change, huh?"

Blair shrugged. "Well, I'm kind of flying blind here, but my understanding is that casual one-nighters aren't a rarity in the gay world. If the using is mutual…" He shrugged again. Swallowed. Found the strength somewhere to bring out the last of it. "Besides, once I started thinking about it, I thought it was…pretty hot."

That was it. If Jim was going to run, he'd do it now.

Jim didn't run. Jim just looked at him, no longer appearing shocked but only solemn. Blair could feel every single beat of his heart high in his throat.

"So you're going to go out and start sleeping your way through God-knows-how-many guys? Strangers? You have lost your mind, haven't you, Chief? Do you have any idea—"

"Hey, Jim—" Irritation had stolen upon him so quickly that it caught him totally by surprise, and he interrupted Jim without thought. "If you've got any other bright ideas, my ears are wide open. I don't know what else to tell you, except I've already kind of spilled my guts more here than I really felt like, and I've said I'm sorry, and I've told you I'm taking care of it. So freak out if you want, or kick me out, or else get over it, but I can really do without a lecture, okay? This conversation's hard enough as it is."

He'd expected Jim to explode. He really had—he'd been pulling out the big guns, here, and keeping a close eye on Jim's forehead, the clearest and earliest indicator of fury. There was nothing there, however; just a slight furrow of concern, and a deepening blush. When Jim raised his hand, Blair stilled.

"I'm not freaking out, Sandburg. I'm not freaking out and I'm not kicking you out of the loft. I just want to be able to get some sleep, and I don't want to think about what might happen if you start cruising leather bars."

"Jim—" he was ready, primed to take off again on one of the many lectures he'd prepared for this eventuality, but Jim just shook his head, cutting him off.

"Counterproposal, Chief." Blair braced himself. If Jim said one word about emasculation, he was going to find the nearest heavy object and throw it.

Jim looked around the room for a moment; restlessly, as if he couldn't decide what to look at, then with a sudden straightening of shoulders, met Blair's eyes squarely. "Fine. You want this? You think this is what you want? I'll tell you what—go right ahead, but don't be so stupid as to risk your life with a bunch of horny strangers. If you want to have meaningless sex with a man…if you want to use someone…use me."

Blair was falling off that cliff again, but this time he hadn't jumped.

This time, Jim had just sneaked up behind him and given him one real big hard fucking push.


"—Sandburg, earth to Sandburg, what the fuck, anyway—zoneouts aren't contagious, are they? Hello?—"

"Okay," Blair said, realizing belatedly that Jim had probably been talking to him for some time. "Just give me a second, okay? I'm with you, I'm just…"

He broke off, wishing that there was more light in the room because suddenly he really needed to see Jim, needed to see if this was a joke, or a dream, or what. He squinted. Jim stayed Jim, looking concerned and sleepy and still vaguely uncomfortable. Probably not a dream—Jim had on boxers and a t-shirt, which wouldn't be his first choice for a trip to Fantasy Central; maybe something more along the lines of nothing but a smile.

"Uh, Jim." That was as far as he got, at least for the moment. He'd heard people say 'it rocked my world' but he'd never really thought about what that meant, exactly—but now he knew. It meant this. This feeling of the whole world, the entire sum and span of one's existence, having been…well, rocked. He felt a little breathless. He supposed he was lucky he was still upright.

He cleared his throat and tried again. "Jim, I don't know if you know what you just said, or if you said what you said when you meant to say something else, or even if you really said what you just said—"

Jim's mouth quirked in annoyance. Ah, yes. Proof that this was no joke, no dream—the annoyed quirk was definitely real. "I know what I said, Sandburg." Driest of the dry. Jim being pissy, waiting for Blair to get with the program and…what? What the fuck were they talking about here? They were friends, Jim was his friend…

"You're my friend, Jim," he muttered, because that seemed important—Jesus, it was important, too important to be dealt with lightly.

Jim didn't seem to fully appreciate the enormity of the fact, however. He just dropped the pissy look, and shifted seamlessly over into calm and inquiring. "Is this some kind of revelation you're having? This is a surprise to you?"

"No, you asshole, it's not. But I don't…" There was no more to that, no further information to be prodded out of his shell-shocked brain. He settled for shrugging and waving his arms around a little, indicating that, whatever it was he'd been going to say, it was big.

"So that makes a difference?" Jim asked, still calm.

"I don't know; don't you think maybe it should?" Blair replied, wondering if you could have flashbacks from smoking four joints eight years ago, because they'd just wandered into way foreign territory.

Jim shifted his weight. "Then just say no, Sandburg; it's that simple. I'm not going to be crushed into the dirt just because you don't want to do the wild thing with me…"

Abruptly Blair wondered who this guy was, this guy who looked like Jim but whose expressions he couldn't read anymore, who seemed to be standing in his doorway, offering him…sex. Wild sex.

He felt the insidious smile creep back, the one that embarrassed him and made his face hot; but God he couldn't help it. He saw Jim register the smile, watched that anaesthetic calm break apart for a quick flash of annoyance. "What?!"

And oh, he shouldn't say this, really he shouldn't, not right now and not right here, but…hey, Jim was his friend, after all. "You. The wild thing. I'm just…um, wondering—how wild is wild? I mean…you're, you know…such a control freak…"

Jim's eyes narrowed. Direct hit, apparently—and yeah, it was below the belt, but that was probably appropriate, given the circumstances. "You like to push it, don't you, Chief?"

There was a real sound of threat in Jim's voice—too bad he couldn't stop grinning like an idiot. "Is this, like, a revelation or something?"

Jim in his doorway, head tilted and eyes scanning up and down—sizing him up, Blair realized, and he had only about one split second to get excited by that before Jim moved.

Towards him.

Blair's stomach tightened, and his half-hard dick went immediately to full-hard and throbbing; just to remind him who was the boss here, he guessed. Jim was moving slowly, but still—there was something about it that was kind of like being stuck in one place while a tank rolled implacably towards you.

A really hot-looking, sexy tank.

Jim's hands on his arms were warm and insistent, and the shock of that touch occupied him, kept him focused while the rest of him just went with the flow. Smooth steps. Backwards. Until there was a wall at his back and nowhere else to step to, nothing else to focus on except Jim, who was right in his face, tall and broad and—whoa!—really strong, really strong and really—oof!—dense, dense and solid and right up against him, crushing him into the wall.

"So you like to push me," Jim said mildly, hands like steel bands around his biceps, eyes glowing and dilated and drinking him up.

"Ag," Blair replied, since he couldn't breathe, and most of his brain was working on computing the fact that in addition to Jim's hard arms, and hard chest, something else hard, lower down, was pushing against him. Jim was hard.

"Uh-huh," Jim agreed amenably, and then pulled back a bit so that Blair could breathe but he was still right there, still staring deep into his eyes like he was looking for something. "Yes or no, Sandburg. No hard feelings. Yes or no."

And no, Jim wasn't asking him whether or not he was pushy. They both knew he was. Jim was asking him…about the other thing.

Huh. 'No hard feelings'—felt pretty hard to him; both of them, hard as frigging rocks. The rock analogy was good, the rock analogy was working—he was, after all, hanging onto this Jim-shaped mountain, here; this great big hunk of guy and of course he'd been with women taller than him before but this was something else, something massive, and he had no idea why that seemed like such a turn-on but God it made him want to go climbing without a harness. His arms and his mouth opened at the same time and he said "Yeah, yeah, let's do it, that'd be good—yeah," and then he couldn't say any more because Jim was kissing him.

And he hadn't kissed Jim before and he hadn't kissed a man before and he hadn't kissed anybody in what felt like forever so he had to keep swallowing, gulping back all this sudden excess liquid, spit that was trying desperately to get swapped while the swapping was good. Jim's tongue took a whirlwind tour of his mouth, one of those things where you have to get it all in one shot, no stopping to contemplate the view or wonder who might have been here before you but just Banzai! and gimme gimme gimme gimme. No accidental tourist here. This was one tourist who knew exactly where the fuck he was going. Thank God.

This silent message of want laid to rest any fears he might have had about Jim operating from purely altruistic motives—this was not the kiss of a nice guy doing a favor for his best buddy; this was the kiss of a guy who was ready (oh, really ready—hard and fierce and dry-humping him ready) to rock and roll.

"Rock and roll," he muttered insensibly when Jim's hot wet mouth pulled back a little. His voice was shaking. So was he.

"Is that a request for mood music, or just your way of bringing up the generation gap?"

"Fuck!" That was the best explanation he could come up with at the moment, because his body had just caught on to the idea that they were all systems go, that they were cleared for liftoff and green-lighted across the board, that he wasn't going to be having any solitary splashdown at the end of all this. One small step for man…

And because he was, well, up against the wall, here; and because he'd been thinking about this a lot (well, maybe not this-with-Jim-this, but this-with-Jim was a damn good this anyway, and he wished he'd thought of it, and he was certainly thinking about it now), Blair shoved any lingering doubts firmly onto the back burner, and decided to take care of his serious front-burner first. He managed to pry Jim's hand off his arm, holding tight to all those wonderful, strong fingers while he pulled Jim's hand down, wedging it between them so that he could get Jim…ohh…right where he needed him.

"Whoa," Jim said. Somehow it managed to sound profound when he said it.

"Yeah," he agreed, willing at this point to agree to absolutely anything except 'I've got a headache'. And it was sad and ridiculous and more than a little embarrassing but he couldn't even wait for Jim to start stroking him—all his body cared about was that Jim's hand was right there, and before he could stop himself he was pushing, arching up into Jim's palm, begging for more when he hadn't even had any yet. His own hands had attached themselves to Jim's shoulders, probably too tight but he really couldn't help that right now, he was too busy shoving into Jim's hand and trying not to bang his head on the wall out of sheer, unadulterated lust…

"Whoa," Jim said again, and it was obvious that this time it was an instruction and not an exclamation. Blair almost bit his own tongue.

"No-whoa," he gritted nonsensically, then took a huge breath and forced himself to stillness. "What, Jim? Why? I thought you were…I thought…" I am wheedling, he thought numbly. Complaining and wheedling to get Jim to touch my dick. What an amazing world we live in.

Jim's eyes, even dilated and aroused, were disturbingly steady. "Let me drive, okay, Sandburg?" And that was so perfectly, outrageously predictable that Blair would have throttled the bastard if he hadn't been seriously grossed out by the thought of necrophilia. He settled for a vastly impatient groan, and a silent promise to himself that he'd do his absolute best to level out Jim's karma at the first opportunity.

Jim kissed him again, and that did a lot of good because, while he was still hot and ready and looking for a certain hand to thrust into, the kiss was wet and slow and surprisingly sloppy, surprisingly nasty, and managed somehow to push him, push everything to another level—the level, of course, where Jim was driving.

And—what d'you know?—Jim was a really…really…skilled…driver.

At some point during the kiss, Jim had gotten one arm under his and around his back. That, and the pressure of Jim's chest pinning him against the wall kept him upright while Jim eased his boxers down and off, leaving his overheated groin at the mercy of the cool air, and the much less tender mercy of Jim's clever, wicked, startlingly knowing touch.

Blair gasped against his mouth. "Have you done this before?"

"No," Jim said, and Blair wondered why he didn't sound even a little out of breath. Must be the damn calisthenics.

"Then how come you know what you're doing?" he persisted.

Jim licked the corner of his mouth, raising chill bumps all the way down to Blair's fingertips. "Because I know there's a good night's sleep somewhere at the end of all this. I'm inspired."

Oh. Right. He was keeping Jim up. Blair rocked his torso against Jim and had time to think that yes, indeed, he was keeping Jim up, then that inspired tongue relinquished the corner of his mouth and resumed its exhaustive interior tour, and Blair quit groping for puns and started groping Jim instead.

He heaved against the wall, gasping around Jim's tongue in a way that might have been dangerous if it hadn't worked out so well. This was…this was not…oh not, not at all what he had expected—men with other men, being held up and jerked off by another man yeah, he had been there (if only in his head) and it had become a good place to go, but imagining it and actually doing it turned out to be lightyears apart. It occurred to him that that was a really stupid thing to just be figuring out. It further occurred to him that he didn't really care, as long as Jim didn't stop.

Jim showed no signs of stopping. He teased and kissed and stroked and nibbled and moved against him in a way that made Blair feel like he was going to just fucking explode, and Jesusgod what the hell had he done to himself, cutting himself off cold turkey so that a simple handjob suddenly felt better than the wettest, kinkiest, slip-slap in-out fuck-till-your-balls-fall-off sex he'd ever had…?

He didn't know. He only knew that he was never going to do it to himself again, as long as Jim could be persuaded to do it for him. He was going to ask Jim to do this a lot—not just birthdays and Christmas, no way; he was absolutely going to learn how to work 'hey Jim why don't you put me up against the wall and rub me off' into the middle of as many sentences as he could manage.

Damn straight. So to speak.

Blair moaned into Jim's mouth, shuddered, and squeezed Jim's shoulders as hard as he could, trying to find some way to communicate his appreciation that didn't involve giving up the sweet slick pleasure of Jim's tongue flicking against his own. Big, solid Jim with his strong, talented hands; down and up and down again and gently over his balls and up again and then more down and then up to squeeze and tease. He'd leaked so much that the whole thing was wonderfully slippery and dizzyingly smooth; and somehow Jim had managed to draw this out but there was a limit, of course, there were always limits, and Blair had already gone way beyond what he thought of as his own, so he thrust up furiously into Jim's diabolically perfect grip once, twice, and a third time, and then Jim displayed his capacity for compassion and pumped him hard-and-fast-and-tight-and-hot and fuck he was coming now, Jim was making him come, pulling it out of him so powerfully that the whole world, and everything in it, seemed to be going away…

And then, on that ragged edge of anoxia and blitzkrieg passion, something intervened, something brought the world back into excruciating focus because while Jim was holding him up and kissing him and making him come he was also going for it himself—close and hard and frantic against his hip—Jim coming, Jim was…Jesus Christ Jim was practically fucking him up against the wall here, and the last pulses of his own orgasm almost killed him with intensity, because Jim grunting and urgent and coming on him was such a major fucking turn-on that he felt spiked from mouth to groin with the hot buzz of already-renewed lust.

But he put that on hold, held that thought, and pushed all that aside while he worked on getting his breath back and silently cursing himself for all the years he'd missed out on this. Friction against his back informed him that he was sliding floorwards, and that was okay because Jim was, too; and Blair could get behind that—floor, flat, rest, boneless, lack of muscle resistance would be good, very good now, that would work. He went with it.

"Jim," he mumbled once he was safe on the floor, sprawled there in a tangle that made him feel like he had at least three arms too many. He said it because he wanted Jim to know that he was still alive and conscious, but due to air restrictions he was limited at the moment to one syllable at a time. "Jim."

"What, Sandburg." Not for the first time, he envied Jim's lung capacity.

"That. Was. Uh…" Oh, he didn't have a clue what he was talking about here, like he could ever put what had just happened to him into any acceptable words.

Jim sighed, and one of the limbs in the communal pile pawed briefly at his shoulder. "Not bad, for a first time thing." That was enough to get his head off the floor, despite the fact that his neck seemed to have taken a leave of absence. He peered around until he caught Jim's eyes, and studied very carefully the fervent gleam therein. "Not. Bad?" he asked incredulously.

Jim winked at him, and just kept on gleaming. "For a first time thing."

Blair gave in to gravity and dropped his head back to the floor, and wondered exactly what the hell he'd gotten himself into, here.


Not bad.

For a first time thing.


If it got any better, they'd be hauling his ass out on a stretcher. No point in confessing that, though. Not to a man who looked like he'd just discovered you could put chocolate and peanut butter together. No, he'd hold that little secret close, bluff this out like he knew just what the hell he was doing, like it was no big deal, no big thing. Just some meaningless sex with a friend. Just a way of keeping a guy from making some big mistakes with some other guys who would undoubtedly be bigger than he was, and up to who knew what kinds of crap. He decided he'd hit on something pretty spectacular here: a way to keep Blair happy, and himself happy, and now maybe they could both get some sleep for a change.

Talk about your win/win situations.

Just because it was Jim's first time for this particular first time thing…no reason for him to belabor that particular point, was there? Blair seemed content with Jim's efforts, and God knew Jim was happy enough—his body was singing high notes he thought he'd lost from lack of practice.

All right, then. All right. It's all right. All. Right. Nothing felt righter; nothing ever. Muscles Jim hadn't worked hard for months suddenly drowsed lax, replete. Muscles he used every day protested violently at being caught between the floor's rock and Blair's hard place. He felt like laughing, like running up a hill, like sleeping for a week. He felt more than he had in a long, long time, and for a man with enhanced senses to note the feeling of something, well, that meant a lot.

It had meant a lot, what had just happened. It had been a big deal. He might not have planned it this way; he might not have planned it at all, but there was something deeply satisfying, deeply right about finding himself in a heap on the floor with a stark naked Blair cutting off his windpipe.

He'd surprised himself, he really had. He'd managed to keep his darkest desires confined to the dark quiet of his bed, to the dark silence of his mind, but when Blair started talking about men, and dating them, and having them, his fantasy world and real world blurred, then blended, and before he knew it, the offer was on the table. He might have been able to retract it if Snot Boy over there hadn't decided to push him. Blair didn't seem to have learned a thing on the playground. Push somebody bigger than you and prepare to be pushed back.

Or maybe Blair did know that.

Maybe he'd pushed on purpose.

Maybe this was what Blair had wanted all along. He'd never know, because he could never ask. For the time being, for this first time (this not-bad first time, which had been so good he was lucky he hadn't ruptured something), it was enough to be here, still tangled, his hand still soaked in Blair's come, his clothes wet with it, his skin slick with it.

Christ, the kid could pump some water from the well.

Jim pulled himself up, staggered to the bathroom and returned with a warm washcloth. He swabbed Blair off, still shaking his head in amazement at the amount of junk the kid had spouted. The few times Jim had managed to go more than one round, anything after the first time was a trickle in comparison, but Blair obviously had overactive balls—he was a mess. Blair moaned after the first swipe of the washcloth over his crotch, and he pushed his hips up into the second pass, his penis stirring under the rough cloth. He looked up at Jim a little apologetically, but didn't try to hide the lust lurking underneath.

"Again?" Jim murmured, massaging Blair's balls lightly through the washcloth, enjoying the helpless little rolling thrusts pushing up into his hand.

"You mind?" Blair asked, then gasped when Jim circled his cock with the cloth and squeezed tight.

"Does it look like I mind?" Jim said, settling beside him, stroking rhythmically.

Blair groaned and closed his eyes, melting back on the floor like it was a feather bed. "You're the best friend I ever had. Evereverever had."

Jim grinned down at him, watching his face flush, watching his hands twitch on the floor. When Blair reached for him, Jim just brushed his hands aside. "Relax, Sandburg. This isn't a tit-for-tat thing. Some of us are normal."

Blair choked out a laugh, the sound a little desperate as he rocked his hips harder into Jim's grip. "No tits here, man. Not a tit in sight. No sir, what are tits again? Who needs 'em."

Jim nodded gravely, savoring the feel of Blair's penis growing under his fingers. He mapped the length of him through the cloth, brushing up and down until Blair thrust up hard, his hands slapping the floor.

"What do you want?" Jim asked quietly.

"Your hand," Blair gritted. "Bare hand."

Jim tossed the washcloth on the growing pile of laundry in the corner and obliged. Under his fingers, Blair felt hot, slick, and more alive than Jim had ever imagined a person could be. His crotch seemed to be its own life form—the strong, thick penis, the taut round balls, the fur cloaking the whole area. With Blair's eyes closed, he could indulge his desire to look, to really look at Blair, at his smooth skin, at the way his shoulders narrowed to his hips, so different from the shape of a woman, so…beautiful…in his own way.

Blair reached for him again, his hands stroking whatever part of Jim he could reach.

"Relax, Chief," Jim said, again brushing his hands aside. "Just lie there, would you? I've got it."

"Okay, okay," Blair muttered, and Jim watched him make a conscious effort to untense his muscles.

"That's it," Jim said, rewarding him by taking his balls in his other hand, rolling them lightly in his palm. Blair sucked in a deep breath and curled his fingers into the wood floor, letting out a squeak when Jim squeezed him a little.

"God, Jim, you're so good at that," Blair breathed. "Where'd you learn to do that?"

"Um, I have one too, remember?" Jim said, smiling when Blair started nodding.

"Yeah, yeah, I remember. I want to see it. Come on, Jim, fair's fair," he wheedled.

"It's almost three in the morning, Sandburg. Just let me do this, okay?" Jim said.

"No way, uh-uh. You don't have to, you know, do anything; just get naked with me, please?"

Had he ever resisted Blair when he really wanted something? No. And it seemed he couldn't start now, late hour or not. His spunk-soaked t-shirt and shorts added a splash of color to the laundry, and he made a mental reminder to be sure to separate out the lights and darks before washing them. Then Blair got a hand on his chest, and Jim managed to forget about the laundry altogether.

"Get over here," Blair said, his voice dark with promise. Jim stretched out beside him, aligning their bodies on the unforgiving floor, Blair's smooth, warm skin a sharp contrast to the cool wood. Jim propped himself on one elbow and continued his lazy stroking with his free hand, pumping slow and steady, his fingers sure of the motion, the reflexive squeeze and release that he'd always used on himself, which fortunately seemed to work just as well for Blair.

"Yeah, that's how I like it, just like that," Blair encouraged him. "Slow. Tight. Oh, yeah, that's so good."

Jim hadn't really thought about the running commentary that must naturally accompany Sandburg In Lust. It accompanied him everywhere else, from the kitchen to work to school and back, and hadn't he spent the last couple of weeks listening to Blair talk to himself while he worked himself up? The normalness of Blair chatter in the midst of this anything-but-normal night comforted Jim.

"You sure I can't…?" Blair started to ask, but Jim cut him off.

"I'm fine, Sandburg. Could you quit worrying about it, and just pay attention? I'm doing something here." Jim wondered how often Blair got to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Not often, it seemed. That made sense, he decided. Blair hadn't gotten the rep he had by being selfish in bed. In fact, it looked like maybe he wasn't quite sure how to just be there, being done to instead of doing. There was something…wonderful about that. That Jim could do this, could give Blair this, with every instinct telling him that he was the first to offer, the first to give, the first to receive the stunning gift of watching Blair soak it up. He shivered.

Blair obligingly screwed his eyes tight in concentration and linked his hands behind his head, probably the only way to keep them from again grabbing him somewhere, Jim thought. Good. He liked the look of laid-back Blair. He liked how relaxed he was, everywhere except where he had his hand on him. Now he had him. Jim leaned up, sneaked a peek at Blair's face, then stretched over and touched his tongue to the tip of Blair's erection.

The taste exploded in his mouth at the same volume as the shout that wracked his ears. As far as he knew, the taste was a shout, unable to distinguish one sense from another in the deluge of sensation. Blair's hands left their sanguine place behind his head and grabbed Jim's head instead, his knees jack-knifing up to push his penis harder against Jim's mouth.

"Fuck, oooh fuck," Blair gasped, every muscle in his body suddenly as rigid as they'd been relaxed seconds before. "Jesus, Jim, please."

And so Jim let him in, opened his mouth wide and did another of those first time things, trying to do it good, trying to be more than not bad for Blair, trying to get his mouth open wide enough to take in more than half of what Blair had to offer and barely succeeding before having to back off and breathe again. As soon as he got his breath back he went back for more; addicted already to the sound/taste of Blair in his mouth and ears, to the breathy gasps and whimpers, to the solid thump of Blair's bare ass on the floor as he thrust up and up and up into Jim's waiting mouth. Blair wrapped his hands around Jim's head, holding him in position, holding him just so, just at the right angle to plunge in and out, mixing saliva and pre-come into a heady brew, sliding slickly now, a warm wet piston in Jim's mouth.

Well, that's one way to solve the laundry problem, Jim thought a couple of minutes later, when with a last hoarse shout and a punishing clench on his head, Blair shot round four down his throat. His mouth tingled, the slippery stuff coating his mouth before he could swallow, and he licked around his lips to catch the excess. Of course there was excess, Jim thought ruefully, it was Blair they were talking about.

The human slot machine.

Keep feeding him quarters and he'll spill all night.

Right up to the part where he crashed, finally orgasmed out, Jim thought, smiling down at an apparently exhausted Blair.

"Bed," Jim said, dipping his tongue in Blair's belly button to see if he could make his penis twitch. Sure enough.

"Nice thought, man, but really, I think that last time just about did me in," Blair husked.

"Bed as in sleep," Jim clarified, amused that he'd finally gotten Blair to the point where he wasn't reaching for him anymore, wasn't trying to reciprocate. That seemed like progress, in a strange sort of way.

"Right," Blair said, pulling himself up onto the bed and sprawling across it. "Bed as in sleep. Got it."

Jim looked down at him, not sure whether he was supposed to stay or go. He turned to leave, wiping his mouth one last time, but a sleepy voice from the bed stopped him.

"Get your ass over here."

Blair. Bed. Sleep.

Sounded like a good plan to him.

By the time he'd settled in Sandburg's way-too-small bed, crowded onto what he considered less than his fair share given their respective sizes, Blair had dropped off already, sleeping so hard he never moved when Jim turned onto his side so he could get a better look at perpetual motion, finally at rest. Jim leaned over him and clicked off the bedside lamp, leaving the room dark and cozy. He took a deep breath, cataloguing the scents in the room, so different from the loft, so different from his own smells of Old Spice and gym socks. Here he could smell sweat. Patchouli. Tom's natural toothpaste—peppermint flavor. Semen. His own semen. And Blair's, too. Jim's nostrils twitched at the blended scents, all of them much closer to his sensitive nose than usual.

Much closer than he ever imagined smelling them.

The kid was something else, he thought, with a surge of pure affection. He'd jumped in the pool without even checking the temperature, let alone the depth; just cannon-balled in with a whoop and a splash. You had to admire that kind of adaptability, Jim decided, then thought that maybe after two weeks' close acquaintance with your own right hand, anyone else's might do.

Then again, maybe not just anyone's hand would do. Maybe it took a particular hand. Jim lifted his hand to his face, first sniffing, then licking, feeling an echo of the earlier sensation behind the residual flavor he tasted on his fingers, an aftershock.

He'd never held anything in his arms as vibrant and thrilling as Blair Sandburg in full erotic arrest. He tried to remember what it felt like to cup the heat between a woman's legs, but his hand curled unconsciously into the exact grip he'd need to wrap his fingers around Blair's erection instead. Serious meat, indeed. The kid was packing some serious meat. They hadn't compared erections (yet), but Blair probably had an inch or so on him, and he was thicker, the head big and puffy, fiercely delineated from the trunk. He had a gorgeous cock, Jim thought, and realized it was the first time in his life he'd let himself think of another man's penis that way. It felt weird, but he supposed if his body could adapt, so could his mind.

Blair had changed his life in virtually every other way; he guessed it made sense to make yet one more leap with him. Now the only question was how Blair would feel about it The Morning After. Jim looked him over. His hair was a wild tangle on the pillow, his mouth open for snuffling breaths. He looked…relaxed…and Jim smiled. He'd made Blair look like that.

Jim looked over Blair's shoulder at the clock. 3:08 AM. At best, they'd have about three hours sleep. Jim sighed. If they were going to do this—and God, he hoped they were—they'd have to start up earlier in the evening so they could get a decent night's rest. He stretched a little and grimaced at the ache in his lower back. And they were going to have to move the party upstairs to his nice big bed.

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