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Long Day's Journey Into Night

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It's been a long fucking day. The satisfying kind -- we got the bad guy, the girl's been returned to her parents, physically unscathed at least (and they seem smart enough to put her in therapy even if she seems okay) -- but all that running and diving away from bullets and slamming into walls is rough on the body. Hot shower helped, though.

When I come out, Jim's sitting on the couch in sweatpants, book face-down on his lap, left hand hooked around his right shoulder, pressing. Jaw twitching, as usual. Jim's always been tense, but it seems like it's been worse since I joined the force.

You'd think he'd know by now that it's impossible to fix your own shoulder like that. I've made the offer before -- not a neck rub, not a back rub, just, you know, some manly work on the muscles -- but he just gives me a strained smile and says "Thanks, but no thanks, Chief."

Well, there it is. I'm a bright guy; I know my limitations. Jim doesn't want me in his personal space, and I can live with that. I can tell he's uncomfortable, now that we're living together and working together 24/7. I don't want to make things worse, so I'm keeping some distance.

I know I'm lucky to have Jim in my life, as a housemate and a brother in blue; I'm lucky to be a brother in blue. I'm used to the fact that we don't touch, even the way we used to, before. In illo tempore, in the time before our lives jumped tracks. I gained him as a partner; I lost something of the friend I had, but it's okay. It's better to have him like this than not to have him at all.

I've given up on the shoulder: I'm just rotating my jaw in a circle, trying to work some of the tension out, when it pops so loud it's like gunfire inside my skull. I wince. It must've been loud outside my skull, too; Sandburg comes out of his room in that enormous terrycloth robe, his face broadcasting concern.

"Man, you okay?"

Experimentally I try opening my mouth and closing it. It feels weird, but not as bad as I expected. "Yeah, I guess. Something popped."

"Thanks, Nietzsche, I heard that part."

Okay, maybe it doesn't feel so great. He must see it in my eyes, because he's bustling off to the kitchen. "You need to relax the muscles," he calls. He turns on the faucet, runs the water for a moment, then comes over with a warm damp dishtowel. "Put this on your face."

What to do but comply? It helps a little, actually.

"Chamomile or whiskey?" His voice is dry, like he knows which one I'm going to pick. I consider opting for tea just to psyche him out, but chamomile's my least favorite herb. I stick with predictability.

"Scotch. And I can get it myself, Sandburg, you don't have to wait on me." I pour myself a short one and return to the couch, where he's ensconced himself at the other end. Like he needs to watch over me, which is a little exasperating, but a little endearing, too.

"This happened to a girlfriend of mine once."

Jim raises an eyebrow and makes a noncommittal sound, either because he doesn't really want to hear the story, or because he has the hot pack on his cheek.

"A few ibuprofen, some whiskey, and a backrub helped. And a good night's sleep." I can't help grinning at the memory. Not of her pain, obviously, but of how she'd done the jaw thing in the first place. Stress, like Jim. But hers had popped out of joint when she was opening her mouth to suck me. She was annoyed, but not half as annoyed as I was. Heh.

"What's funny?"

Whoops. "Ahh -- nothing. Just...remembering."

Jim gives me a piercing look, and for a second I wonder if he's guessed what I was thinking. I decide to change the subject quick. "You sure you don't want me to try to fix your shoulders? Those muscles are all connected, you know, so it might -- "

"I need a backrub, not an anatomy lesson."

Holy shit, he said yes! His voice is a little gruff, which sends shivers down my spine. I file it away for later recall; now is not the time to indulge my unrequited obsessions.

"Great! Okay, ah, where do you want it?"

He narrows his eyes slightly and I feel myself flush. Wow, okay, that didn't come out right. "I mean, do you want to turn that way, or sit on the floor, or..." I'm babbling. Fortunately he just tips the rest of his scotch back and turns to the right, with his back to me. I turn to match him, take a deep breath, and put my hands on his shoulders.

His hands are big. And warm, even through my t-shirt. Thumbs on the backs of my shoulderblades. I hold back a sigh.

"I know yoga isn't your idea of a workout, but I know some stretches that could really help with this," he's saying, and I basically tune the words out and listen to the sound of his voice. Smooth, and rich, almost a flavor, like strong coffee.

I tried saying something like that to him once, and he got all excited about what he called synaesthesia. Apparently I'm just like Nabokov. I didn't mention it again; I'm not sure he got it. It's not that the senses become each other -- at least, not unless I'm approaching a zone -- it's more like they blend together.

The voice has stopped. Whoops. I return my attention to the silence.

"Is this okay," he says, slightly too slow, like he's repeating himself. His thumbs have moved up my neck to cradle the base of my skull, and his fingers fan out around my neck, just beneath my jaw.

"'s fine." It's more than fine, actually -- it feels fantastic -- but I'm not sure I can tell him that. Don't want to scare him off.

There has to be a reason he hasn't made a move, after all these years. I smelled men on him, what, the week he moved in? So if he hasn't hinted at anything, it must be because he really doesn't like the idea of being with me. That way.

His hands on my neck feel incredible. I think they're actually helping. He's offered a few times before, but up 'til now I've always refused. I've been afraid of what I might do, relaxed and endorphin-filled from his hands on my body. It'd be so easy to make a move. My body wants it, but my mind knows it wouldn't work. And I couldn't take that rejection.

He touches me less, now that we're officially partners. Like he doesn't want there to be any confusion about what kind of partners we are. And that's okay, I guess. Not what I'd hoped for, but how often do you get what you hope for?

At least right now I'm getting a neck rub. I should fuck up my jaw more often.

His head's tipped slightly forwards, and his neck is starting to loosen a little. He's the one who had the whiskey, but I'm feeling a little drunk, just on the contact. All these minutes of touching Jim, one right after the other. God, he feels good.

And then I push particularly hard at a knot under one shoulderblade, and he makes this...this sound. A little gasp, breathy, almost a moan.

And all I can think of is, oh God, this is how he'd sound if I were making him come. I'm rock-hard in an instant.

My hands freeze.

Oh, Jesus. I didn't mean to make any noise. I didn't mean to; I just couldn't help it. He hit something and it felt so good I couldn't keep my mouth shut.

I wish to God his hands were on me in another way. Rubbing. Insistent. Inside.

But he stops moving, and I think I stop breathing for a second, and ridiculously my throat closes up. He's going to stop touching me again. We're going to go back to the manly thing, I blew my chance, and my neck isn't even fixed.

I can feel it tightening in the silence. Damn.

My hands are still there, but they're not moving. Of course, the longer we sit still like this, the more awkward it gets. I wonder if he can smell my arousal.

"You, ah, okay there?" My voice is thick. I'm expecting him to tell me to stop.

"Yeah," he says, his voice taut with tension. "Do that again, that thing, with your thumb."

Realization washes over me; he sounds tense because he's hurting, not because he can tell I'm rock-hard from the sound of one indrawn breath. I'm relieved, but I also feel like a moron.

"Yeah, yeah, sure," and I'm pressing in again. He half-gasps again, but this time I'm ready for it: I tell my dick to behave itself, because I'm not here to make him make that sound with my mouth, I'm here to make him make that sound when I fix his neck and send him off to bed. So I can jerk off the instant he's asleep.

"Harder," he says. God is torturing me, putting that word in that tone in Jim Ellison's mouth, but I comply. Both hands, now. One between the shoulderblades, one on the neck.

"Ohh, yeah." The words are hoarse. My dick leaps, brushing the terrycloth, and I bite back a moan of my own.

And then I feel something pop into place in the back of one shoulder, and he actually groans, and oh God I can't help it, I'm coming without even touching myself, just from the sound of his voice.

Oh God.

I bolt.

Five minutes later I'm still standing outside his door, listening. I'm tense again, from the roller-coaster of the last fifteen minutes. The intimacy of his hands on my neck. The sudden endorphin rush of feeling my right side pop into place. The sudden, overwhelming scent of semen. Sandburg leaping off the couch like it was on fire and yanking his doors shut. They would have slammed, if they had a proper frame.

My head is spinning, but the only explanation that makes sense is that Sandburg got off on rubbing my shoulders.

And he split so fast because he was embarrassed. Or terrified. Or both. I'm thrumming like a guitar string at the possibilities.

No sound from his room. He must be frozen somewhere inside, waiting for me to leave. Or go to bed. Or something.

I can't take it; I knock. "Chief?"

"Yeah?" His voice is higher than usual. Nervous. And right inside the door, from the sound of it. Jesus; we've been standing here like mirror images.

"Can I -- come in?"

I hear him moving back, away from the door. "Sure." He almost succeeds in sounding nonchalant.

When I push the door open, he's sitting on the edge of the futon, arms crossed over his body. Face a little red.

I'm trying to figure out how to begin when he looks down and opens his mouth.

"I can explain."

Jim waves a hand to shut me up, then pauses, like he's not sure what to say. I've really dug myself in deep this time. The thought of losing everything crosses my mind -- losing home, losing the job, losing Jim -- and it's all I can do not to panic. Because how am I going to explain?

I try again. "Look, sometimes adrenaline -- "

He cuts me off. "Chief. Please." Something like desperation in his tone makes me look up, and what I see in his face makes my heart pound, brings me even closer to a panic attack, because he looks...scared. Miserable. Like he's hurting, and not just from the fucked-up jaw.

He moves silently to sit at the far edge of the futon. There's a silence; he seems to be gathering words.

"Tell me," he starts finally. He takes a breath, slowly, and chuffs it out through pursed lips. "Fuck," he mutters, and spills the rest of the sentence all in a flood: "Could you ever be interested in me?"

He's staring at me, mouth slightly open, in disbelief. At least he hasn't outright denied it, yet. There might be hope. Oh, God, there might be hope.

Sandburg licks his lips and my cock surges at the sight.

"Interested? In you?" he repeats, hesitant.

I resist the urge to ask if he's developed a hearing defect. I nod. My fists have clenched in the fabric of my sweatpants. I may have a heart attack before he gets around to answering.

"You wouldn't mind?"

Mind? Would I mind? "Mind?" I close my mouth, momentarily staggered by the confirmation. My old theory was wrong; he hasn't been avoiding me for lack of interest. I think he's been avoiding me because he thought I would...mind. "Jesus Christ, Sandburg, I -- "

I'm so far from minding I don't know the words. I take a breath. "No," I say, quietly. I let my shoulders fall, let the guards down, let him actually see my face.

Jim wants me. It's written in his expression, in his body language, in the way he's looking at me. Like he's almost daring to hope.

I think my heart's going to break.

I move towards him, and he leans towards me, and then we're kissing. We roll onto our sides, and he's making tiny sounds into my mouth, and I'm not hard, I don't think I could get hard again so fast, but my insides are melting. I want him so much, I've wanted him so much for so long, and he's kissing me like it's the last kiss he's ever going to get. Needy. Hungry.

Let me be what you need. Please let me.

His hands are roaming over my back, my hips, and I grind against his dick and he breaks free and gasps. Oh, Jesus, that gasp. I push him onto his back and move down his body, yanking the sweats out of the way. Hardly believing this is happening. That half an hour ago I was fantasizing about the sounds he'd make with his dick in my mouth, and now I'm slipping my lips over the tip of his cock and, yes, oh, yes, he's gasping. And moaning. And when I rub a finger back behind his balls, he starts talking. Saying my name. In a tone I've never heard before, thick and desperate. It makes me ache.

And then he's spasming in my mouth, breathing hard, and there are tears in my eyes, which I write off to the sensation of a cock nudging my throat, even though I know better.

After a while he moves up my body and curls behind me. I breathe deep, inhaling the smell of him all around me.

"I was so wrong," he murmurs into the back of my neck. The vibration makes me shiver; I dial down, just a tiny bit, because otherwise his voice resonating all over my body is going to make me horny again.


"I never imagined -- I mean, I imagined plenty," and there's a grin in his tone, "but I never thought you'd actually..."

"That makes two of us, Chief," I point out. "I figured you were bi, but you never said anything. I figured you were trying to let me down easy by making sure it never came up."

He snickers and I squeeze his arms where they're wrapped around me. "That's not what I meant."

"I know." He places a small kiss on the back of my neck and I can't help sighing. I think he's discovered my neck thing.

Then again, the second I sigh, his dick stirs behind me. I think I've figured out one of his buttons, too.

"Hey, you want to finish that neck rub?" I ask. I can test my theory.

He rolls me onto my stomach and kneels over my ass. Hm. This could be interesting. When he rubs a thumb along one shoulderblade, I moan a little. Oh, yeah. He's getting hard again.

This is so good. Oh, God, this is so good. What did I do to deserve this?

It's been a long day. In a string of long days.

I think it's finally going to be just as long a night.