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"Hey. You look good, Chief." Jim stepped into the hospital room, catching the nurse leaning over his recovering friend, ostensibly to help him button his shirt. Jim looked over her back and shook his head.

Blair was grinning, his hands getting tangled with hers.

Finally it was done and she stepped away. Jim brought over the wheelchair and helped Blair into it.

"I don't need this."

"Hospital policy." Jim said. He stepped in front of the pretty nurse when she tried to take the handles and wheeled Blair out himself, so she walked beside, leaning close to whisper to him. Blair knew that Jim could hear it.

"You have my number. Call me." the last was accompanied by a wonderful wiggle that Jim wasn't too proud to enjoy.

Blair nodded, grinning widely.

"Haven't learned your lesson yet, have you?" Jim teased as he helped Blair into the truck, handing him his crutches.

"What can I say? I'm a slow learner." Blair settled back. "Man, am I glad I'm between semesters. I'd hate to have to do those stairs on these every day. The ones at the loft will be bad enough."

"Maybe you'll stay put for a while."

"Maybe I'll get a private nurse in for some TLC."

Jim got him settled on the couch with his laptop, a stack of magazines that had come in the last three days, and a beer.

"Hurt much?" he asked as Blair stretched the leg out onto a pillow on the coffee table.

"Not too bad. They gave me some stuff, but I don't need it."

"If they gave it to you, you need it." Jim said firmly. He got up and went to Blair's backpack, opening it and pulling things out. "What have you got in here, Sandburg?"

Blair looked up from the article he was reading, then lunged up from the couch, reaching for it.

"Jim! Don't!"

The propped leg threw him off-balance and he went sideways, to land on the floor between couch and coffee table, with a hissed sound of pain.

"What the hell are you doing?" Jim crouched beside him. "Trying to break your other leg?"

"I thought about just asking you to shoot it..." Blair panted, grimacing. Jim helped him back to the couch.

"What was that all about?" he picked up the backpack from where he had dropped it and held it out to his partner.

Blair took it, lowering his head and mumbling an answer. "Nothing...I just didn't want you to, you know, hurt yourself or anything." he reached carefully into the bag and pulled out a cloth-wrapped object, unrolled the wrapping. "It's obsidian. I was keeping it in my office, but it needs to be cleaned, so I brought it home and then I forgot it was there..."

Jim watched him, listening to his heartbeat.

He's lying. he thought, keeping the surprise off his face. Or at least not telling the whole truth.

"That's bull." Jim reached for the bag, but Blair clung to it. "What have you got in there, Sandburg. If you brought drugs into my home..." he trailed off, unable to complete the statement, to even consider it.

Blair let go of the bag, spreading his hands. "No, man, I wouldn't do anything like that, you know that..."

"So what is it?" Irritated, tired of the younger man's bullshit, Jim upended the bag onto the coffee table, the contents raining down over and around his propped leg.

"Shit!" Blair dropped the knife to the floor and reached, grabbing things and pulling them into his lap. "Jim, what are you doing?!"

"Looking for whatever it is you don't want me to find." Jim knelt beside the coffee table, sifting through the stuff.

"Books, papers, pens, pencils, condoms - condoms, Chief? - notebooks... AHA!" he grabbed a tiny battered spiral. Blair's heart rate had increased dramatically the minute he touched it.

"Give me that! That's mine!" Blair grabbed for it. Jim stood and went to the other side of the room, opening it. "Goddammit Jim!" Blair was struggling to his feet, hampered by the stuff that fell to the floor. "This is going too far!"

"Why, whatever can it be?" Jim teased, flipping a couple of pages and reading. "A diary? Like the one you let Shannon read?"

"Jim!" Blair sounded angrier than he'd ever heard him. He was standing now, unsteady, glaring at him, one hand on the back of the couch for balance.

Meaning only to tease, to get back a little at his friend for the trouble that seemed to follow him everywhere he went, Jim flipped a few more pages and started reading aloud.

"Tuesday night: Jim was ragging on me about the 'house rules' again. I get so pissed, and then I think about my dissertation...besides, he needs me. But sometimes lately I find myself staring at him...especially when he's walking around the house half-dressed or coming out of the shower in a towel. What is wrong with me? He's a man, for godsakes. I must be getting hard up if Jim is starting to look good..."

Jim trailed off, his voice getting softer and softer. He stared at Blair across the room. Blair stared back defiantly.

"I told you not to read it." his voice was sad, not accusing.

Jim looked from him to the diary, and back again. He flipped a few more pages and began to read again.

"This is the strangest sensation. I should be disgusted, but I'm not. I find myself finding more and more excuses to touch him...I know I'm straight. What in god's name is wrong with me?"

Jim threw the book at Blair, who ducked and let it sail over his head.

"So that's why you chase women the way you do. Fuck, Sandburg, why didn't you just tell me you're gay. I would've let you help me, given you the information for your damn paper. But now you've lied to me and you're fucking living in my Fucking house...! he realized that he was shouting and stopped, took a deep breath.

Blair's voice was quiet when he spoke into the silence Jim's voice had left. "I'm not gay, Jim. I don't have anything against those who are, but I've never felt that way about another man."

"Until me." Jim spat the words out.

"Not even. I look at you and I feel something...stronger. Lust. Need. It's nothing like love."

"So you've got the hots for me." Jim rolled the words like they left a bad taste in his mouth.

"I've read some things....I think it's a Sentinel-Guide thing. Probably a biological device to get us closer to each other, keep us together. Most of the Sentinel-Guide pairs I've managed to find good records of were man/woman."

"So I need a fucking new Guide?" Jim snarled. "Fuck that. I'm getting out of here for a while. You better be in bed when I get back, with the fucking door shut all the way."

"Yeah. Sure." Blair didn't say anything else. Jim grabbed his coat and keys and left, anger following him like a cloud.

Blair got his stuff into his room - it took three long, painful trips - and collapsed on the bed.

Despite what he'd told Jim his leg really hurt. He lay there and tried to meditate, to breathe through the pain and, eventually, it worked. He slept.

 

The next morning he got up late, bleary, head pounding and sweaty from sleeping in his clothes.

He smelled coffee, so that meant Jim was home and up.

It took twice as much time to get up and into the bathroom as it should have. He didn't see Jim anywhere, decided that he must have taken refuge upstairs, and felt relieved. He didn't feel those odd sensations except when Jim was actually in the room with him. That made it bearable.

He made it a point to be dressed when he came out of the shower - cold, Jim must have gone first - and saw that Jim too was fully dressed. In the kitchen, sitting at the table, stirring his coffee with a frown.

"hey." Blair poured himself a cup with one hand and maneuvered to the table to lower himself in a chair with a sigh.

Jim didn't answer.

Blair drank his coffee, mentally reviewing his list of friends in his head, choosing several who would let him crash with them for a few days, deciding which he was going to ask first.

"I could have killed you last night." Jim said, startling him out of his musings. He still sounded angry enough to do just that.

"I know it was a shock." Blair replied carefully.

"No, you don't." Jim snapped the words, pushed back from the table and began pacing. "There's no way you could have known."

"What are you talking about?" Blair turned to follow his motions, jumped when Jim crossed to him in two strides and grabbed him by the hair, tilting his face back to meet the eyes above him, dark and angry. "Jim-!"

The larger man leaned close, to whisper by his cheek.

"I thought it was just me, Sandburg. I thought I was losing it." he didn't sound any less angry. "Now you tell me that it's both of us and that you think it's fucking destiny." he jerked Blair's hair on the last word and Blair hissed in pain, anger distorting his face.

"So what? You're gonna kill me to protect your honor? That what you're gonna do, tough guy?" he sneered.

"I'm gonna get you out of my system." Jim snarled. Before Blair could process the meaning of the words Jim had yanked him out of the chair and was dragging him to his bedroom, an arm around the smaller man's waist to keep him upright.

"Jim..." Oh, fuck. Oh, shit. Blair tried to push him away, but Jim threw him on the bed and lay down beside him, hastily shedding his clothes.

"You want to look at me, Sandburg?" he shouted. "Here, have a good look! It's all fucking yours!"

Blair stared, and gulped. Fully aroused, Jim was a thing of beauty, but he knew that beauty was a double-edged sword.

"Jim...you don't want to do this, man." he held up his hands to fend him off, "Not like this." but Jim just grabbed them and held them to his sides, settling his weight on Blair's slender frame. "Oh, fuck, Jim..." Blair panted, trying to breathe, feeling his body's enthusiastic reaction. Jim felt it too and began slowly grinding his pelvis against Blair's.

"You do want this." he said. "Son of a bitch."

"Get off me!" Blair surged, trying to dislodge him, but Jim just grinned and rode him out. Finally Blair lay still, sweat tangling his hair into his eyes, glaring up at him. "You bastard."

"Think of it as another test." Jim said, and he sounded completely in control of himself. Blair stared and saw that Jim's eyes were clear, aware. "Only this one is for both of us."

Then he lowered his head and bit Blair's neck gently.

Blair howled with pleasure.

Jim held him down as he explored his Guide's body, and Blair let him. He didn't object, didn't protest and soon his body was reacting for him, his hips thrusting upwards as Jim stroked him, head thrown back, making desperate moaning sounds. When Jim suckled his tit Blair thought he would come right then. A scream tore form him and Jim raised himself, meeting his eyes.

Jim's eyes were sad and angry and hot. Blair felt tears well in his own.

"We don't have to do this." he whispered, even as Jim's hands began pulling off his jeans. Blair let him.

"We do. I do." Jim answered, his voice rough. Blair heard the tears in it.

"What will we become?" Blair asked, letting himself be turned over. Who will I be after this?

Jim didn't answer. Blair heard him working up spit in his mouth, felt the cool wetness on his ass, flinched. Jim held him down, leaning up to whisper in his ear.

"Be still. I don't want to hurt you."

Blair nodded, hands clenched tight into the sheet, nails cutting into his palms through the cotton fabric.

When Jim pushed the first finger into him he winced and closed his eyes. The second brought a gasp of pain and Jim stopped there for a few minutes, leaning forward to kiss the back of Blair's neck, nuzzling in his damp hair.

"Shhhh. Easy." he sighed on Blair's skin. Blair shivered and flinched again when the fingers started to move slowly in and out.

"It hurts..." Blair groaned, his whole body tense.

"I know." Jim kissed his neck again. "I know. It will be okay."

"Nothing will ever be okay again." Blair moaned, feeling the addition of a third finger, a stab of pain. Despite his words he realized that he was as hard as he'd ever been, that his traitorous body wanted this.

Jim laid a hand on the small of his back, holding him down as he removed the fingers. Blair caught his breath at the new pain of withdrawal, and then bit his lip, knowing what came next.

"There." Jim caressed his back tenderly, soothing him.

The Blair felt it. The intruder forcing it's slow way into him. At first it was just an external pressure, but that pressure built and became pain.

He shuddered, arms tightening, trying to pull himself away, but Jim held him easily, hands gripping Blair's hips tight enough to leave bruises.

"Oh, god...oh, god... Jim, it hurts..." Blair wailed as the pressure increased. He felt as though he were being torn apart, knew he was bleeding..."Jim, don't!" he howled as Jim lunged suddenly, burying himself deep inside Blair's writhing form.

Jim leaned over Blair, hands by his shoulders, on the bed to take his weight from his Guide. Beneath him Blair shuddered and moaned, struggling to stay still, to not fight him.

"oh, gods...please, somebody make this stop..." Blair pleaded with whatever deity might be listening.

"Almost over." Jim raised a hand to brush his hair away from his shoulder and began kissing it, holding himself very still, fighting back the urge to pump mindlessly.

After long minutes Blair's breathing returned. When he was no longer gasping in pain Jim did begin to move, but very slowly.

"You feel so good..." he surprised himself by whispering into Blair's hair. "So tight, so hot...I've never felt anything like this...Jesus, Blair, this feels incredible..."

Blair shuddered and shook beneath him, around him.

"I can feel your pulse...feel the blood in your veins..."

Jim muttered, becoming caught up in the sensations. Blair managed to gasp a warning to him.

"If you zone out now you'll crush me..."

"You smell so good...taste good.." Jim licked and bit at Blair's shoulders. "Do you feel me, Blair?" his whisper brought Blair's arousal back full force. "Can you feel me inside you? It's like I'm a part of you..."

Blair lowered his head and ground his face into the bed.

This isn't happening. This isn't happening. This isn't -

"Yes, it is!" Jim pulled back a little and increased his pace, beginning to pump in and out of the beautiful tight ass, panting. "This is real, Blair. This is me, Jim, fucking you."

The words and movement brought a new level of agony for Blair. But as he writhed against the bed he felt himself growing harder, hotter, his breathing shortened to gasps. He didn't understand, but Jim did.

"That's it, Blair...feel me in you...I can feel how close you are...c'mom, lover, give it to me..." he thrust harder, and then harder, faster.

Blair screamed in sudden agony and then the heat tore it's way through his body, seeming to come from every limb and converge in his dick.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" he screamed into the bed, coming with convulsive jerks of his hips, his body collapsing limply, barely aware of Jim's hoarse shout of satisfaction as Blair's body pulled him along.

Jim was very still for a long seconds.

Then he pulled his spent dick out of Blair, making the young man whimper in pain, and stepped off the bed, grabbing the corner of the desk to keep from falling as his legs threatened to give way.

Legs... the thought wormed it's way into his sodden mind and he sat back on the bed, beside Blair, who was just lying there, and his hands stroked the heavy bandage, finding no evidence of further injury.

But he could smell blood, and sweat and semen. His own and Blair's, the scents mingled together.

Bile rose on his throat. Jim lurched off the bed and stumbled to the bathroom, to find the toilet in the dark and vomit into it until he felt purged.

What have I done? he leaned against the bathroom wall on his forearm, shaking with nausea and aftershocks of the incredible sex.

He heard Blair's tears almost before they started.

He was torn...should he go to him and comfort him?

I raped him. the thought sickened him and he dry-heaved until he felt like he was going to puke up a lung.

Gradually the sounds of Blair's crying died down and Jim dared go back in the little bedroom.

Blair was lying exactly as he had left him, with his face twisted toward the wall.

Jim sat on the edge of the bed, a warm wet cloth in his hand. Tenderly, he stroked it across Blair's ass.

Blair flinched violently. Jim laid a hand on his shoulder, caressing, leaning to whisper into his ear, his attention briefly caught by the dangling earrings.

"I'm just going to clean you up. It's okay. Don't be frightened." the words made his heart clench. Blair had never been frightened of him.

The long sigh Blair released was his only reply. Jim carefully spread his cheeks and inspected the damage, trying to be clinical, but his voice shook when he spoke again.

"I'm sorry, Chief. I didn't mean to - to hurt you..."

There was no answer. Jim bathed his ass, cleaning off the bit of blood, seeing with relief that the tears weren't as bad as he had originally feared, not going deep or being very long.

He finished with a kiss to each cheek, covering Blair's lower body with the blanket he had thrown to the floor earlier.

"Do you want me to stay?" he asked gently when Blair still didn't respond.

The movement could have been called a headshake. Jim's guilt allowed him to see it as one.

"I'm going up to bed. Call me if you need anything."

This time it could have been a nod.

Jim got up and went out, leaving the desk light on to cast shadows deeper than a room this size had any right to.

 

He'd been laying awake listening to Blair for over an hour when he finally heard him move. Slowly, laboriously, the younger man was dragging himself out of bed. Jim wanted to go down and offer help, but knew it wouldn't be welcome.

It took Blair far longer than it should have to make it into the shower, even with his wounded leg. Jim hadn't bathed, had come to bed wearing only a pair of shorts and the evidence of what he'd done. The smell of Blair's body clung to him, he wanted to make it a part of him.

The water was running. The curtain pulled. Blair moaned softly in pain as the heat ran between his legs.

Jim heard a single sob, and then nothing.

No - wait. He turned it up, tuned in to that small space, focused past the rushing water...there. A sound; harsh, muffled, thick...

He was crying into a towel so Jim wouldn't hear him.

That was all Jim needed. He was off the bed and down the stairs in under a minute, stepping into the bathroom and right into the shower stall, taking Blair's trembling body into his arms, turning him, pressing him to his chest, pulling away the wadded-up towel.

"Shhh. Shhh. It's okay. Everything will be alright." he crooned, feeling Blair's body shudder with sobs torn from the depths of his soul.

His hands rubbed Blair's back and he held him tightly until the painful cries tapered off. Then he held Blair away from him, hands on his shoulders, and looked at him. Blair looked down, unwilling to meet his eyes.

"Look at me." Jim whispered. Then "LOOK AT ME! the shout bounced off the tiles, creating crazy echoes, and Blair raised his head.

He wasn't beaten, only tired. Defiance still shone from his swollen eyes.

"It won't happen again." Jim mumbled, resisting the urge to kiss his raw eyes. "I promise, it won't happen again."

"It will if I stay here." Blair answered, his voice surprisingly calm, though shaky.

"No...I won't let it." Jim insisted.

"It's predestined." Blair shrugged at Jim's frown. "Hard-wired."

"It can't be." Jim argued desperately. "That would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? To keep the Guide with the Sentinel?"

"If we were a man and a woman it would bring us closer."

Blair sighed and shrugged Jim's hands off, turning and stepping out. Jim couldn't help but admire the view and cursed himself for it. "You and me - it will drive us apart."

"But what about..."" Jim followed him out, his soaked boxers dripping on the floor.

"I don't know, Jim." Blair said heavily. "I just don't know."

Jim followed him into the living room, and then grabbed his arm gently, turning him when he would have gone back to his room.

"No, Blair, wait. Your bed's a mess...come and sleep in mine."

The look on Blair's face stated clearly what he thought of that idea. But he just nodded.

"Let me just grab some clothes." he said.

Jim watched him go in and close the door, hoping he came back out. He did, soon, wearing a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, struggling to put some weight on the bad leg.

"Let me help?" Jim offered his arm and Blair let him wrap it around his waist and help him up the stairs.

They lay side-by-side in the big bed, not touching, Blair on his side away from Jim.

"Blair?" Jim whispered into the darkness.

"Yeah?"

"I know I never really thank you...shit, half the time I ignore you and the other half I'm pissed at you...but you know you saved my life, don't you? Not just with the truck, but a hundred times since then." he paused. "I could never have survived this without you."

Blair didn't argue that.

"I'm saying that I need you." Jim said after hearing only silence.

"And I need you." Blair finally admitted in a whisper. "I don't want to...it scares me. More than that damn helicopter ride."

Jim grinned involuntarily, remembering Blair's wail across the sky. "Jim! Get me downnnnnnn!"

"That's pretty scared." he agreed.

"I don't know what to do about it."

"Maybe it won't happen again. Now that we know what's going on, maybe we can find another outlet for it."

Blair chuckled briefly.

"What do you think I've been trying to do?"

"Oh." Jim hadn't thought of that. Blair was a consummate ladies' man...the feelings he'd been having for Jim had probably thrown that into overdrive. "I'm not suggesting we become a couple or something."

"Can you see us buying matching outfits?" he heard the humor slowly creeping back into Blair's voice and wanted to shout with joy.

"Maybe if we just ignore it....or only give on to it when we absolutely have to..."

"I think I'll end up getting hurt again if we do that."

Jim had to agree, silently, that letting that pressure build again probably wasn't the best idea.

"So we just do it once in a while." he sighed. "We can go on with our lives, with this one change."

"It's a change that changes everything, Jim." Blair turned over and stared at him in the dark. Jim could see how serious he was, as if hearing it wasn't enough. "It changes who we are. How we think of ourselves. I don't know if I can ever integrate this with my self-image."

"Maybe if I let you fuck me next time." Jim couldn't believe those words had come from his mouth. Blair just stared at him thoughtfully.

"Maybe." he lay back down and curled over into his side.

"You're not going to leave?" Jim asked hesitantly after some time had passed. Blair sounded drowsy when he answered.

"I'm not going to leave."

Jim sighed again and lay back on his pillows, talking quietly to himself, knowing Blair was listening.

"We can go on in public like nothing happened. We're both so upset over it that shouldn't be a problem. And I'm not going to ask you to give up women or anything...I don't plan on doing that myself. This can just be something between the two of us, private. Something we do when we have to, to keep the pressure down."

"A dirty little secret." Blair said sleepily.

Jim didn't like the choice of words, but he was getting tired as well.

"Yeah." he yawned and stretched a little. His back was sore for curling over Blair like that. Well, he had a lot of nerve even thinking that after what he'd done to the younger man. He'd have to get some supplies so if - when - this ever happened again, they would be better prepared. "Goodnight, Chief."

"'Night, Jim."

The silence swirled around like darkness and they relaxed into it, welcoming it together.

~~ end ~~