He’d figured out ages ago that it was no use trying to sleep before Sandburg got in for the night; might as well wait up and catch the Late Show or Craig Kilborn. Jim just couldn’t relax until his Guide was home safe from his dates.
At least Blair was home early tonight, stomping squishily -- squishily? -- up the stairs and swearing to himself. “The last time, man, the last fucking time. You’d think I’d know better by now, but nooooo, just had to tempt fate again. God, I’m never going to live this down. Please, please, please, God, let Jim be asleep…”
The door opened and Blair slunk into the apartment, freezing when he saw Jim sitting on the couch, gaping at him. “Oh shit.” He scowled at Jim. “Don’t ask, man, just don’t ask.”
Jim tried in vain to pick his jaw up off the floor. Blair was purple. A vivid violet glow suffused his skin, purple juices dripping from his clothes and pooling on the floor. The odd, astringent smell wasn’t chemical enough for dye… “Sandburg? What the hell happened to you? And if that shit stains the floor or gets on the carpet, there’ll be hell to pay.”
“I know, I’m sorry, just give me a minute to clean it up.” Jim watched, bemused, as Blair hurried to the bathroom and shucked off most of his clothes, coming out dressed in damp purple boxers and a purple undershirt, with a dark-colored towel to mop the drips up off the floor. Blair blushed when he saw Jim still gaping at him, adding an interesting fuchsia glow to his purple cheeks.
“Please, Jim, please, I really don’t want to talk about it. I’m just going to take a shower, okay?” Blair turned enormous puppy dog eyes on him. “How much is it going to cost not to have this be the main piece of gossip in the break room?”
Jim recovered enough to grin. “Are you trying to bribe an officer of the law, Sandburg?”
“Come on, man, have a little pity here.”
Jim looked him up and down. “Tell you what, I’ll lay off if you tell me what happened. This is out there even for you.”
Blair was blushing so badly even his ears were fuchsia. “No deal. I’m going to take a shower.”
“Jim! My office, now. And where’s your partner? He’s supposed to be in today.”
Jim coughed, relishing the moment as he eased into one of the chairs in Simon’s office. “Sandburg’s, ah, at home working on his Barney impression.”
“Is that a joke?” the larger man growled at him.
“Not … exactly.” Jim found it impossible to fight his smirk. “He, well, as far as I can tell, he had some sort of … misadventure last night, and now he’s purple. He used up all the hot water, scrubbed himself raw with a loofah, and there’s still no change. I overheard him freaking out on the phone this morning as I was leaving, something about two to four weeks.”
“Head to foot, sir.”
“For two to four weeks.”
Simon rubbed the bridge of his nose, under his glasses. “I don’t have time for this. I need you to follow up on this case Narcotics handed us; go over the murder scenes to see if there’s any way to track these dealers from the evidence. You’re going to need Sandburg. Even if you don’t zone, there’s too much loose cocaine all over everything; I don’t want you reacting to it.”
Jim swung by the house to pick Blair up before going to the first crime scene. At least the purple had faded a little, though it was still pretty vivid, even hidden by a turtleneck, a ski cap, scarf and sunglasses. “Well, if it isn’t the invisible man. So what did you tell the university?” Jim asked.
“I got Rick to take over my classes for a couple of weeks, and just told them I had walking pneumonia.”
“I guess you can't tell them you've got the blues,” Jim smirked. He turned his attention back to driving, but kept stealing glances at Blair. “So I have to ask…”
“No, Jim, you really don’t.”
“It’s just that I heard you talking to yourself last night about how this was the last time, and I’ve got to ask, what the hell were you doing that could dye you purple, and why on God’s green earth would you ever want to do it more than once?”
“Trust me, you don’t want to know, and I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Come on, Chief, you know all sorts of weird and embarrassing things about me. Turnabout’s fair play.” He stopped at a red light and pulled out the big guns. “If you don’t tell me, I’ll invite everyone back to our place for poker night some random time this week, so everyone can see your new look when you least expect it.”
Blair’s eyes held such agony that Jim wondered what the hell could possibly be humiliating enough to give that threat a run for its money. Finally, he turned away from Jim and said, “Okay. But only because if you invited the guys over, everyone would try and get the whole story out of me, and I really don’t want them to hear this.”
Blair tightened into a ball, knees bumping his chest, took a deep breath and started talking a mile a minute, desperate to get to the end. “See, I’ve taken Heather out a few times, and she really likes me, and I like her, and we go back to her place, and I’m thinking finally! and we start making out and she pushes me back onto her waterbed, and I sort of fall on her cat. And Snowball really freaks out and starts clawing me to death, and he shreds the waterbed, and there’s water everywhere, and I’ve got serious gouges, man, I’m fucking bleeding and it fucking hurts, and I’m trying to get away from the damn cat and my arm hits her bookshelf and knocks all her stuff onto the bed. Notebooks, papers, a couple of glasses, and a whole freaking bottle of henna, which hits the water and turns me, Heather, and her cat completely purple. Stop laughing, man, this is humiliating!”
Jim tried to get himself under control, but he couldn’t help it; the visuals were just too much: Blair thrashing around and howling protests in a giant, bed-shaped pool of henna. But then, as it often did, his mind distorted the details, and it was just Blair, squirming and moaning in bed. And Jim stopped laughing and just sat there quaking, praying that Sandburg couldn’t read his mind, because best friend or not, disastrous date or not, Blair would be seriously freaked out if he knew what Jim had been fantasizing about for the past two years, ever since he got enough of a handle on the senses to notice his new Guide had a mouth that was made to be kissed.
“Jim? Jim, focus on my voice, I need you to come back now.” And Jim blinked and became aware that the light was green and the cars behind them were honking angrily.
Jim found some odd traces of dirt and oil at the scene which led him to a used car lot the drug dealers had been using as a hideout, and from there, via the scent of Rapture body wash and the particular shade of a dyed blonde hair, to a local beauty salon and the owner of the hair, Gina Hernandez, wife of Julio Hernandez, missing leader of the drug ring. The hunt was going well.
And, as Jim discovered a few days into the investigation, the advantage of having a housebound, lavender roommate was coming home to salmon with a thin potato crust that looked like fish scales sizzling in a frying pan, and the smell of plum/lime sauce from a saucepan next to it. “It smells fantastic, Sandburg,” he said.
“I was bored out of my mind, cooped up in here; I figured cooking something complicated was a good way to burn nervous energy.” Blair sat on the floor, illuminated by his meditation candles, his eyes still closed. The purple skin, stretched over his Guide’s graceful body and illuminated by flickering candlelight, was so strange and enticing that Jim started to zone on its texture. His sight zeroed in on the subtle differences in tone by the nape of the neck and the sharp bone of the shoulder blade, and it was only when he felt smooth, pliant muscle under his hands that he realized he had crossed the room and knelt to touch his Guide. He was breathing against Blair’s neck, and Blair was shaking, making small, urgent noises, and then Blair turned and his mouth pressed sweetly against Jim’s, and opened to Jim’s tongue.
And that was odd, because Jim could smell scorched feathers, and couldn’t for the life of him think where the smell was coming from, until Blair yelled, jumped up -- knocking the meditation candles over -- and started swatting at the flames that had completely engulfed his curls. In his desperate lunge for the sink, his hand hit the handle of the saucepan, and a waterfall of pale green, lime-and-plum scented butter went sailing over his head to splatter the table and floor.
By this time, Jim was on his feet, skidding on the butter, and since Blair was blocking the sink, Jim threw open the fridge, grabbed the first container he could, and flung a half-gallon of milk in Blair’s face, dousing the flames. “Are you all right?” he demanded, checking Blair’s scalp for burns.
Blair just looked at him, smacking his lips and dripping milk all over the floor. “You kissed me.”
“Dammit, Sandburg, are you hurt?”
Blair switched off the burner under the salmon, turned on the cold water tap, splashed some water on his face, and ran his hand under the faucet. “Just burnt my hand on the pan a little. I’ll be okay. Probably have to cut off the burnt hair, though. Sorry about the table. Did I mention that you kissed me?”
Jim was more than a little dazed. “Yeah, I think you mentioned that.”
“You never said you liked guys.”
“Not something you tell homeless grad students who have no choice but to live with you. Doesn’t exactly inspire trust and friendship.”
“Heh.” And Blair wiped the mixture of milk and water off his face and tilted his head up to kiss Jim back.
When they came up for air, Jim remarked, “You’re being awfully calm about getting set on fire, Sandburg.”
“What can I say, Jim, you make me hot.”
He started pulling Jim’s shirt out of his pants and making encouraging noises as Jim walked him backwards up the stairs to his bedroom, until Blair's foot tangled in the guard rail and nearly knocked them both down the stairs. Jim’s Ranger training kicked in and he grabbed the rail with one hand and Blair with the other. “Are you okay?” Jim asked.
Blair took a shaky look down and wrapped his arms around Jim until his body relaxed again. “Every time I think I’m going to get over my fear of heights…”
Jim laughed and pulled Blair back up. Blair had been in boxers and a tee shirt for his meditation, and Jim made quick work of their clothes, using Blair’s damp tee shirt to wring dry his singed, milk-drenched hair. The sharp smell of burnt hair really bothered Jim because it meant he had to dial down his sense of smell altogether, missing out on the treat of Blair’s arousal. On the other hand, the earlier disaster had left Blair’s chest damp and cool with traces of milk for Jim to lick clean. The milk made Blair’s dusky, purple skin taste curiously salty and sour, and he arched his back and groaned when Jim licked his chest and moved to tease his nipples. Sensitive, healing claw marks from the vengeful cat made kissable little trails across Blair's wrist and belly; the man was so damn responsive that Jim wondered for a moment which of them had the heightened sense of touch.
Jim blindly grabbed condoms and lube from his bedside drawer and pushed Blair down on his back before rolling a condom onto himself. “Mmm, can’t wait this time, Blair, gotta get inside you now. I promise the second time we’ll take it slow.”
“Wait! Jim!” Blair scooted back out of reach. “Jim, you’ve got to give me a second here; I’ve never done this before.”
“You’ve never bottomed? It’s okay, Chief, don’t worry. I’ll stretch you first, you’ll be amazed at how good it feels.”
Blair’s purple cheeks were taking on that odd shade of fuchsia. “No, I mean I … I’ve never done it, man. With anyone.”
“You mean … you’re still a virgin? Table-Leg Sandburg? Chief, you’re almost thirty, for crying out loud, what are you waiting for?”
“An act of God!” Sandburg snarled. “Every freaking time I try to have sex, Murphy’s Law screws it up! You know how random shit just sort of happens to me all the time? Well, when I try and get in someone’s pants, the Sandburg Zone goes into overdrive.”
“Come on, Chief, it can’t be that bad.”
Blair started counting off on his fingers. “Six years old, I’m leaning forward to kiss Julie Danbush and I fall out of her tree house and break my arm. Which was nothing compared to what her mom did to me when she found out what I was doing up there with her little girl. When I was thirteen, Rainbow Markowitz and I started making out in what turned out to be a patch of poison ivy. At sixteen, Jordan got such a bad case of hiccups he was a moving target, and then later that year, Amy and I were half naked and I threw her up against the wall in what I thought was going to be a really passionate moment, except the dorms had been put together really shoddily and we went right through the wall and into the lounge. Eighteen, I’m parked and making out with Sarah when her foot hits the gearshift and sends us straight into the Cascade Reservoir. Do you want me to go on? I haven’t even gotten to the Chinese laundromat and the live ducks yet.”
Jim stared at him. Ducks. On second thought, he didn’t want to know. “Look, Chief, I like you, you like me, I don’t know how long we could live and work together without going crazy wanting to do something about it. We’re at home, in bed -- not a water bed, I might add--”
“Yeah, well, thirty percent of all accidents occur in the home,” Blair supplied darkly.
“See! We’re down from seventy percent to thirty; I like those odds. And,” he added, touching Blair’s singed hair, “We’ve already had our share of disasters for the night. I’ve got training as a Ranger and a medic. What’s say we live dangerously?”
Blair leaned forward again and kissed Jim’s smiling mouth. “What the hell, you only live once.”
For someone without heightened senses, Blair loved using his hands and mouth, finding surprising hotspots like the inside of Jim’s wrist, gently kissing and licking the pressure point there while Jim writhed in exquisite agony. And it turned out, for someone who had never actually had sex, Blair knew a hell of a lot about third base, running his nails up the insides of Jim’s thighs and kissing his belly before moving to taste the delicate ridge of skin behind Jim’s balls that made him go through the roof.
Then Jim got a good glob of lube on his fingers and gently pushed Blair aside. “If this is your first time, I want you to feel what it’s like to take someone,” he said, pressing his slick fingers deep inside himself. “I want you inside me, Blair.” He closed his eyes at the sweet sensation as Blair crawled up him to kiss and bite the hollow of his throat.
When he tried to open the other condom wrapper, however, his lube-slicked fingers slipped right off the package.
“Here, give it to me,” said Blair, but the lube now on the package transferred itself to Blair’s hands, so that not only could Blair not open the package, but when he searched through the drawer for Jim’s only other condom, he couldn’t get that one open either. “Jim! I’m dying here!” he pleaded.
“Can’t use fingers,” Jim thought out loud, “Can’t use scissors without tearing the condom … Chief! Bite down on the edge of the wrapper.”
“What good will that do?”
“Just trust me!”
Obediently, Blair put the wrapper in his mouth, and Jim bit the other end, pulling his head down until the wrapper gently tore open. Then Jim eased the condom over his partner’s hard, leaking shaft, taking the opportunity to kiss and nuzzle Blair’s beautiful collarbone before leaning back and tilting his hips up.
And then he let his breath out in a long, slow hiss as Blair pushed gently inside him, watching Blair’s face light up with a reverent joy. “Ohhhh God, Jim, I had no idea it could feel like this.” He stroked deeper, his eyes wide, biting his lip. “I can feel you holding me, all around me. God, Jim, you feel so good!”
Jim shifted a little and -- oh yeah -- now Blair’s cock was rubbing against his prostate deliciously slow, and Blair was moving in and out so slowly he barely seemed to be moving at all, and he rolled the other condom off of Jim’s cock and wrapped his hand around it and sucked Jim’s tongue into his mouth, and Jim was teetering on the edge when he heard the gun’s safety click off.
“Goddamn fag cop!” Julio Hernandez snarled. “You looking for me? You’ve made my life a living hell and screwed up a two million dollar deal I had going! Now no one is going to deal with me.”
“Oh, for the love of God!” Blair screamed. “Could you just wait two more seconds before you kill us? Just two more seconds and I can die happy!”
And while Julio Hernandez was blinking in shock over Sandburg’s attitude, Jim kicked the gun out of Hernandez’s hand and grabbed his own backup weapon from the open drawer with one fluid motion, aiming at Hernandez. And the sudden kick upward had opened him even deeper to Sandburg, who arched and screamed and shot jet after jet deep into Jim while Jim rubbed Blair’s singed curls with one hand and held the gun on Hernandez with the other, murmuring, “It’s okay, baby, I’ve got you, just let go,” and splattered his own climax over their bellies.
When Blair pulled out, he rolled over, grabbed Jim’s cuffs out of his pants and frisked and cuffed Hernandez like a pro while Jim held the gun steady. “I told you I was a walking test case for Murphy’s Law,” said Blair, yanking the cuffs so tight that Hernandez yelped.
“Hey, at least you finally got laid,” said Jim. “Let’s take him down to the station. The statement is going to be hell, you realize.”
Rafe and Brown’s eyes nearly bugged out of their heads when they saw Sandburg’s faded lavender skin and burnt hair, but Simon just took it in stride and ushered Hernandez into an interrogation room for questioning. That left Rafe to take Blair’s statement, which, from what Jim could hear, mostly consisted of pestering Blair about his appearance, rather than about the drug dealer who had broken into their home.
“Sooo,” asked Henri, his eyes gleaming mischievously. “I’ve heard it’s not easy being green, but purple? And what happened to Hairboy’s hair?”
“Long story, Henri, and trust me, you’re better off not knowing the details.”
“So tell me what happened. You and Blair are at home…”
Jim kept his ear open to hear what obfuscation Sandburg was coming up with and the ugly picture Hernandez was painting for Simon, trying to dance through a minefield without either perjuring himself or coming out to Brown. “Blair was meditating when I came in, and when he looked up at me, his hair caught fire on the meditation candles. I guess I was in such a hurry to put the fire out that I didn’t lock the door. I took him upstairs to my room to get the first aid supplies and some scissors to get the burnt spots out of his hair, and that’s when Hernandez came in. He pointed a gun at us and started cursing at us for getting in his way, and he was so upset and worked up that I was able to disarm him before he could fire the weapon.”
“So we have him on trespassing but not breaking and entering, threatening with intent, but not assaulting an officer, maybe attempted murder?”
“Don’t forget he confessed that we’d screwed up his drug deals; that and the physical evidence can tie him to the two murders and the drug possession and trafficking charges,” Jim pointed out. “I think we’re going to do okay with this one in court.”
When he emerged from the interrogation room, he found Blair talking with Simon in the hall. “I was just telling Sandburg,” said Simon, “Hernandez tried to spin this story about two cops screwing each other, breaking regulations, said he’d talk about it on the stand and make your life a living hell if we went through with prosecuting him. I told him it would be his word against yours, and no one would believe either you or Table-Leg Sandburg here would ever give up women. And adding in the fact that he claims Sandburg was purple and apparently drenched in milk -- and I don’t even want to know why he was covered in milk -- Hernandez would be laughed out of court.” He rubbed a hand over his weary face. “You two be good to each other, all right? Just keep it out of the office.”
Jim and Blair hurried downstairs to the truck, and Jim smiled and kissed Blair before turning the ignition. “Well, that was definitely exciting. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, Blair, but I hope next time isn’t as memorable as this time.”
Blair laughed. “Hey man, I finally did it! Maybe you broke the curse.”
“Maybe so, but just in case, Chief, you don’t get to bottom until you’ve learned firearms training and first aid. Oh, and that reminds me, I have to pick up some supplies on the way home.”
When they got to the drug store, Jim ran out and bought what he needed, then hurried back and handed the paper sack to Blair with a quick kiss. “For you.”
Sandburg peeked inside and drew out a fresh economy pack of condoms, and then laughed out loud at the next item: a small novelty candle shaped like a smurf. And at the bottom was a note in Jim’s tight script, Warning: Sex with Sandburg can be hazardous to your health! I don’t know what surprises are in store, but I’m so grateful to love someone who makes those surprises amazing and funny instead of disastrous. Thank you for being the best surprise of all.
Blair looked into his eyes and swallowed tightly before leaning over to kiss Jim. “Murphy rules.”