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It had been, possibly, the weirdest three days of Blair Sandburg's life. And, possibly, the hardest.

He'd thought leaving for the summer was a great idea. Get away from Jim, from this compulsion that drove them into each other's arms; uncontrollably, irresistibly.

Take a group of seniors into the Amazonian jungle, spend ten weeks collecting data on changes in the local tribe, one that Blair had studied before. Get paid for it, get credits to add to his resume', and get away from Jim.

Of course, he'd known he would have to come back.

Standing on the balcony, the doors standing open to the light breeze, leaning over the rail, he let his head hang, his hair falling around his face in a protective curtain. He was chilled, wearing only boxers, but he didn't care, it cooled his overheated flesh.

{I shouldn't've gone. It gave me too much time to think.}

Now those thoughts were filling his mind again, even as the urge filled his body.

{I don't want to do this. I won't do this again...I don't care if it kills me. I'm not an animal and I won't act like one.}

That raised the specter of another thought....but then there was a sound from the bedroom above and he was saved.

Jim Ellison, his Sentinel, padded down the stairs, the pupils of his uncanny eyes dilated to black to see in the darkness Blair was inhabiting. He stopped at the foot of the stairs and stared at the younger man.

Or doomed.

"Sandburg? You okay?"

A shrug of square shoulders, elbows resting on the rail, hands hanging as loosely as the head.

Approaching from behind, the firm curve of Blair's ass accented by his position, Jim had to literally clench his hands together.

To not touch, not take.

"The funeral is in the morning, right, Chief? You should get some sleep."

"Maybe I should get a life." bitter sarcasm was harsh on the lips of a man positive by nature.

"What is it? I mean, I know what it is, but I thought we'd come to grips with this." a hand on his shoulder, holding just a little tighter than it needed to.

Spinning around, Blair jerked away from that touch and crossed the balcony, putting distance between them.

"Leave me alone, Ellison."

Jim stared, startled by the vehemence of Blair's reaction. He raised his hands in the classic 'okay' motion.

"Whoa, there, Chief. I wasn't starting anything. But you know we're going to have to soon..."

"NO." Blair snarled the word, both hands in his hair, shoving it back, gripping it in handfuls. "I won't do it, Jim. No more. That is Not who I am."

"You think it's who I am?!" shocked and angry, Jim shouted, not caring if he woke neighbors. "I don't want this any more than you do!"

"More than you wanted you sentinel abilities, though!" Blair shouted right back. "You were so fucking glad to get rid of them that you let my friend DIE!"

The sudden silence was utterly empty. No birds, no cars, not even the sound of breathing penetrated it.

Jim stared, completely, utterly stunned.

"I told you, Jim." Blair's voice dropped, not quite a whisper. "I kept telling you. If you'd taken back your senses we could have found that guy and gotten to Janet in time to save her."

"I..." his mouth was moving but no sounds were coming out.

{Was it my fault?}

"She was killed as soon as she got to the car, Sandburg." he said at last. "There was no way we could have gotten there in time."

"You don't know that."

"Blair..." Jim took a step toward this man, who was, first and foremost, his friend. Blair stood his ground, staring at him defiantly in the faint moonlight, crossing his arms insolently over his chest.

"Were you happy she was dead, Jim? Hey, another table leg Sandburg can't hump. Did you think it meant I'd get closer to you?"

"What the fuck are you saying, Sandburg?" another step, and still Blair just stared.

His eyes were colder than Jim could have believed possible.

"Your friend didn't give me much choice about that shaman thing. Nobody asked me if I wanted it. What the fuck did it mean, Jim? Is that what's causing this?!"

"I don't know!" the shout blasted across the balcony and rolled into the air beyond. "Just don't do it, then." his anger gone, drowned beneath a crushing wave of sorrow and sympathy, Jim Ellison tried to offer his friend what he thought the younger man wanted. "I'll never make you stay, Blair. If you -need to, you can leave."

The curly head bowed and the voice was low and angry as he spoke to the floor. "You know I can't."

Silently Blair fought himself.

Standing still, Jim tried to make sense of what was happening.

{He blames me for Janet's death...because it's easier than blaming himself? Or just because he's so angry now about this connection thing?}

Ever since that first horrible, violent night, Jim had fought the urges that drove him. They had come together one more time, by mutual agreement, before Blair had gone to South America.

By the time he'd come back, three days ago, Jim had been considering jumping off a bridge if he couldn't have him. He had imagined it had been as bad for Blair, and actually found himself looking forward to relieving that pressure.

That was why he'd made that hurtful, snide comment when he found Blair hugging that pretty woman and learned that she was an old friend. A friend Blair shared happy, loving memories with.

Not like the memories he now shared with Jim.

From inside the loft the phone rang. Moving quickly, Jim went to answer it, knowing it had to be work.


"What the hell are you doing, Jim?!" Simon's voice, angry and still smudged with sleep.

"Sir?!" startled by this middle-of-the-night bark, Jim couldn't think of anything else to say. He'd been pretty rough at the office during Blair's absence....

"I just got a call from the 911 people. They said there's been a report of a 'domestic dispute' at 852 Prospect. It came up as your address so they called me. Specifically the caller said 'that cop is yelling at his boyfriend really loud on the balcony'."

Closing his eyes in pain, Jim listened as Blair, drawn by curiosity, came into the living room.

"It's a good thing they called me to take care of it instead of sending a black-and-white." Simon snapped. "Look, Jim, I don't give a damn what you and Sandburg do on your off time -- I just don't want to hear about it at the station! Get your act together and let me and your neighbors sleep!"

"Simon....Sandburg and I...we're...oh, fuck. Yes, sir."

The captain hung up without another word.

Carelessly hanging up the phone, Jim turned to stare at Blair, standing a couple of feet behind him.

"That sounded like fun." Blair drawled. Then he gave himself a shake, like a shaggy dog. "I do have to get up in the morning." he said, almost to himself. Then, louder; "I'm going to bed. Is that going to be a problem for you?"

"Not if it isn't for you, Chief." Jim said as normally as he could.

"Good." Blair turned away, and then turned back. "You promised you'd never force me again, Jim. Are you going to live up to that?"

"I'll eat my gun first." a promise, serious, calm.

{And I may have to.} this time he watched while his Guide -- his Shaman -- retreated to the illusionary safety of his bedroom and closed the door. If he didn't touch Blair soon...didn't claim him the way he knew he was supposed to, they were both going to be in a lot of trouble.


Jim let them back into the loft. Blair entered, as silent as he'd been when they left that morning. Neither of them had slept after their fight the night before. Jim had listened to Blair as the younger man sat in meditation, probably trying to find a way to control the urge, perhaps cleanse himself of it.

{It would be good for him.} Jim acknowledged to himself. {But where would that leave me?}

"You want some lunch?" he walked past Blair and they both felt the energy that crackled between them.

Jerking back, Blair turned to his room, answering without looking at Jim. "I'm not hungry."

An uncomfortable afternoon passed. Blair stayed in his room. When Jim checked on him with his hearing and scent, the Guide was usually reading, or meditating. For his part Jim vegged in front of the TV, not caring enough to eat or work around the loft.

He struggled to calm himself. Practised the breathing exercise Blair had taught him. Tried to sleep.

None of it worked.

By twilight he took refuge upstairs.

Full circle.

Blair stood at the door of his room, gazing up at the platform that contained Jim's bedroom.

"i'm not going to do this." the whisper was loud in the room and he flinched.

He knew Jim wasn't sleeping.

Ever since this began Blair had fought it. Now he felt himself losing that fight and called on his only weapon...anger.

Bitter whispers flowed from his mouth in a venomous stream spite.

"if you had just left it alone. but, no, you think you're exempt from common rules of courtesy. dig in my bag, read my notes when i can't do anything to stop you...this is your fault, ellison. you did this to us..."

That was as far as he got. As silently as his spirit guide, the Sentinel appeared at the bottom of the stairs, staring at the Guide with enraged eyes.

Raising his head, Blair met those eyes. And continued.

"i'm a convenience to you, i know. little sidekick, anthropologist boy, gives big bad jim somebody to rescue, somebody to laugh at. do you know how tired i am of that? no, of course not, because you don't long as i'm there when you need me."

"That's not true." words choked on anger.

Dark blue. Sky blue. Facing off across their home. The first real home Blair had ever known. That realization brought his barely-heard tirade to a grinding halt.

"I've always done the best I could for you." Jim asserted, the rage actually helping, forcing the need down, if only for a moment.

"Yeah?" Blair taunted. "Like when you don't introduce me?"

There was no reply to that.

"Face it, Ellison. This is the most unequal partnership in the world. And I'm getting the short end of the stick."

Jim's voice dropped and cracked as he spoke again.

"I thought we were friends." He paused, uncertain. "You know you're my best friend, Blair."

Three feet away, Blair shook his head.

"I can't be, man. Not anymore."

Jim waited as Blair rubbed his head roughly, as if he were in pain.

"Because of this." Jim wrapped his arms around his torso tightly, wincing. Soon it would begin to hurt. He was as sure of that as he was that Blair was going to leave him.

And then Blair was there, in front of him, a shaking hand reaching to touch his face.

"Jim...this is crazy. I can't do it. I can't."

"Then you'd better leave now." the big man grated between clenched teeth. Ignoring him, Blair kept speaking, almost as if to himself.

"It's not that I want you to suffer...or that I really meant what I said. It gets into my brain, Ellison, and makes me crazy. My body wants one thing and my mind insists on do I reconcile that?" he actually looked at Jim as if he had the answers.

Hunching slightly against a burning sensation that was spreading through his body, Jim tried to answer.

"You run, Blair! Get OUT of here."

"But you're hurting." all concern now, Blair hovered near his friend, a hand in mid-air, vacillating.

Blackness rose up and threatened to blind Jim.

"you'd better go." he whispered, the tone becoming desperate. "blair, go."

"I can't." with a shrug he admitted what they both knew. "But I can't do that either."

"Sandburg, GET OUT OF HERE !!!" as it surged in him Jim screamed at his friend, and then lunged for him. Scrambling, Blair got the sofa between them. "If you don't leave I'm going to have" Jim glanced at his gun, hanging in it's holster on the rack by the door.

"NO!" with that shout Blair put himself between the gun and Jim. Shudders shook his sturdy frame, but he stood firm. "I'll do it, Jim. I will...."

"But you don't want to."

"You'll have to make me." Blair backed to the wall and pressed himself against it. Jim was moving toward him slowly, pulled against his will.

"I promised to never do that again."

Jim's eyes, the warm eyes of his friend, were being replaced by the eyes of a hungry animal. An angry, ravenous animal.

"I'm telling you to." Blair closed his eyes. "It's not the same if I tell you to."

Stopping inches away from the younger man, watching as Blair tried to become one with the wall behind him, Jim took a deep breath.

And was lost.

Blair's body had betrayed him again. The deep scent of his arousal, the thickness of pheromones in the filled Jim's lungs and he pounced.

Grabbing Blair by the arms, he tried to drag him close enough to kiss, but Blair shouted and kicked at him, one arm eluding Jim's grasp, fighting him.

"OH GOD!!!"

A hard kick slammed Jim's knee, made him stumble, gave Blair a chance to tear his arm free, sacrificing skin, and he ran past Jim. But the bigger man recovered quickly enough to spin and reach out, hand closing on the nearest piece of Blair...his long curly hair.

His head snapped back and he howled in pain, twisting around to grab the wrist of the hand that held him firm. Jim held him, standing lopsided as his knee swelled, and they both panted heavily.

Tears filled Blair's eyes as his hair was cruelly pulled. He worked a thumb between the little bones in Jim's wrist and started pressing there with the nail.

Wincing, Jim held on, took a step closer.

"It doesn't have to be this way." he said, his voice soft and rational, as it had the first time this happened. "Last time was so nice, Blair. Why do we have to do it this way?"

Ignoring the tears that streamed down his face and the pain in his head, Blair snarled angrily back.

"It has to be this way, Ellison!"

The painful pressure between Jim's tendons was growing, but he dialed it down and ruthlessly dragged Blair toward him, the smaller man resisting it with everything he had, twisting and planting his feet and yanking back with yelps of pain.

When he got close enough he began to kick again, but Jim was ready this time and deflected them with his free arm.

A furious yank snapped Blair's head back, his wide, terrified eyes staring up at Jim. Jim bared his teeth -- there was no way to call it a smile -- and wrapped an arm around Blair's waist, pulling him close to Jim's hard body.

Blair sighed, closed his eyes, and relaxed against him. Releasing his grip on the tangled locks, Jim rested his other hand on Blair's shoulder. Blair's head tipped forward to Jim's chest.

They stood motionless for a long minute.

Jim heaved a huge sigh and let himself slump slightly.

Blair exploded into motion.

Both hands shoved as hard as he could at Jim's chest, knocking him back to the wall, where he hit hard enough to rattle him. Blair whirled and ran for the door, going over the couch instead of around it...but he wasn't fast enough.

With a roar Jim was on him, tackling him to the couch, uncaring when Blair landed across the back with a whoosh as the air was knocked from his lungs. Seizing both wrists in one hand, fist closing like a vice, Jim forced him down into the cushions.

Blair's legs slid from the couch and his knees hit the floor hard.

Pressed face-down in the cushions, Blair was having trouble breathing. Terrified, he fought harder, wrenching his body from side-to-side as his vision blurred and his lungs began to ache.

Jim's free hand came around him to unfasten his jeans, but there wasn't enough room, so he pulled Blair up a little.

"AAAAAAAGH!! Don't kill me, you fucker!!" Blair's shriek of terrified rage was enough to make Jim pause.

He sat back on his knees, straddling Blair's ass, free hand lying there now, the heat seeping through to Blair's skin.

"I'm not going to hurt you." he said with soft sadness. "I promised I wouldn't."

Silent again, Blair waited. He didn't wonder what Jim was doing, he was too far gone in rage and lust for that.

Searching the room, Jim looked for something he could use as lubricant, something he could reach without letting Blair go. He was sure now that the younger man would run, and he would chase him down. Better to keep this in the privacy of the loft.


He sighed as he registered what he was looking at. Half-buried in the couch cushions off to one side was a tube of antibiotic salve. He'd used it several nights ago, bandaging a couple of small cuts on his hands received in a fall, chasing a suspect.

He went back to undoing Blair's jeans. It was awkward, but he got them tugged down to the younger man's knees, essentially tying his legs together.

Blair moaned, low and deep.

"Not going to hurt." Jim soothed. His grip on Blair's wrists never relaxed. He would be bruised after this. But, then, so would Jim. His knee was swollen and very sore.

He had to turn his tactile sense back up to feel what he was doing.

His body was on fire. He'd never been so hard or so desperate.

One finger, covered with salve, probed between Blair's legs.

"God Damn you!! Son of a BITCH!!" Blair screamed, struggling again. Jim rode it out, using the hand that held his wrists to apply agonizing pressure to the small of his back.

Blair didn't yell 'no'. So Jim didn't stop.

Quickly he thrust with one finger, then inserted two, getting rougher.

"Not again, not again, not again..." Blair began mumbling, repeating the words like a mantra.

Pulling out his fingers, Jim squeezed what was left of the tube over his cock and gripped one ass cheek with his free hand, pulling it away from his goal.

Beneath him Blair bucked and moaned, but it hurt too much to move.

With one smooth thrust Jim entered him.

Like a deflated balloon, Blair sagged to the couch, all the fight gone out of him.

Setting a hard, fast rhythm that matched their foreplay, Jim reached around Blair and found the other man's erection waiting for him, tip weeping copiously. It surged at his touch and he wrapped his hand tight around it, pumping harshly.

Blair had no words now and no mind to regret it. A broken moan trickled from his parted lips, not even changing pitch when his body tightened and his cock gushed hot semen over Jim's hand.

Jim let go of his cock, and pulled back to slam himself into the smaller man, as hard as he could, driven to TAKE him. Again, and again and AGAIN...and then his body bowed brutally backwards and his mouth opened wide in a soundless scream.

He remembered to fall to the side and not on top of his battered Guide.

Jim heard sounds, but couldn't put them together into a pattern that made sense. Rushing water and the brush of steam...he raised his head and looked around, then listened.

Blair had gotten up and gone to the bathroom to shower.

The savage animal that now lived within Jim took dark pleasure in the knowledge that Blair couldn't wash Jim's scent from him, not ever. It was inside him.

The man that had returned simply sighed, and climbed painfully from his unwieldy position, sprawled half-on and half-off the couch, and limped to the bathroom.

He wasn't crying this time, although Jim knew he had to be hurting after that. Just standing there under the hot water. Blair didn't even respond when Jim pulled back the curtain and climbed in with him.

After several minutes Jim reached past the younger man and snagged the bottle of shower gel. Squeezing some onto a hand, he spread it over both palms and then began washing Blair's back.

Blair hung his head forward, hiding again.

Jim washed him gently, checking his anus in passing to be sure there were no tears, spending extra time tenderly rubbing wrists where bruises were darkening, purple and black.

When he was done he washed himself, then stepped out. He was just leaving the small room, a towel around his waist, when Blair finally spoke. In a whisper only a Sentinel could have heard.

" best friend, jim. the only real friend i ever had. but if this keeps happening i'm going to hate you."

Pausing with one hand on the doorknob, Jim answered without looking back. "We'll fix it, Blair. We'll figure something out."

Blair said nothing else and Jim left, unable to say anything else.

Hours later, lying awake in the stillness of the dark loft, Jim heard something stir. He listened and then sighed, rolling over, half-sitting, and flipping back the covers beside himself.

Blair came the rest of the way up and slid in, curling over on his side. He sighed when Jim's arms came around him and hugged gently. Then they were both able to sleep.


"Jim, are you alright?" Simon crossed to his detective's desk instead of calling Ellison to him because he'd seen Jim limping around the bullpen all afternoon.

"I'm fine, sir."

"Did your Queawhatcha friends get home okay?" the captain mangled the name.

"The skipper called this morning to tell me they arrived safely.

Simon studied the man sitting in a chair at the side of Jim's desk.

Writing a report, Blair didn't look up when he felt the eyes on him. His hand shook slightly and he fumbled his pencil. It rolled to the floor and bounced. Blushing faintly, Blair turned in the chair and reached for it.

The sleeve of his shirt pulled up, revealing vivid bruises circling the wrist.

"What the hell?" Simon spoke softly, quickly kneeling and grabbing the arm just above the bruises.

Blair twisted his head away, refusing to look at him.

Simon grabbed the other arm and pushed the sleeve up. The bruises were swollen to the touch, brilliant purple bordered by depthless black.

Dark brown eyes came up slowly, to stare disbelieving at Jim's face. All the blood had drained from it, as if he were in shock.

Blair snatched his arms from Simon's grasp with an angry noise. Deliberately, he pulled the sleeves back down, and went back to the report as if nothing had happened.

Jim met Simon's eyes, his own bright blue ones admitting what the captain feared. Simon got up and went back to his office without a word. Jim was listening to Blair's heart race and thus didn't have to turn up his hearing to catch the younger man's whisper.

"i guess it's not such a secret anymore."


Jim knew Simon was watching him. He could feel it. Looking up, he watched the captain as he came across the bullpen toward Jim's desk.

"Where's Sandburg?" there was no friendship in that voice.

"He went to the university. Said he had some work to do."

Although his face was slightly pale, Jim met Simon's eyes steadily. The taller black man stared back, and seemed to make a decision.

Turning, he went into the office and picked up his coat. He didn't say a word to Jim as he walked past him to get to the door.

For his own part, Jim just kept his head down and kept typing. Aware of the deep ache in his bruised knee but keeping that sense high to assure that he really felt it.

He deserved that pain, if not others.


Going rapidly between the pages in a research guide and the computer screen before him, Blair worked intently. He was concentrating so hard that he almost missed the knock on the door.

Sitting back in his chair and wincing -- he was sore in places he didn't want to think about -- he tugged his sleeves down over his wrists and called out quietly.

"Yeah, come in."

And stared at Simon and Taggaert when they did just that.

"Captain? Joel!?" nervously he blurted their names.

His hands, always restless, searched the desk for a pencil, found one, began doodling random patterns on a sheet of scratch paper.

"Um, hi." was there anything else to say?

"Hello, Blair." Simon's voice was gentle and Blair winced again, from an emotional pain far greater than the physical ones.

"I think you know why we're here." Sitting in the empty seat before Blair's desk, he continued. "I brought Joel with me to corroborate what you say, if it comes to that."

"Comes to what?" tiredly the young man went back to work.

"The assault." Joel spoke up, worried. "You have to tell us who hurt you, Blair. If it was Jim, you have to let us do what we need to and get him away from you."

Blair stood slowly and turned his back to them. And he nodded, once.

"damn him." Joels' whisper was soft and pained.

Turning back around, his face going crimson with shame, Blair ran a hand into his hair, shoving a handful of it back, the movement letting the bruises show clearly. Taggert stared and the looked away like he couldn't bear it.

"It's not like that, captain." Blair said at last. "Yeah, Jim did it. I told him to."

"What?!" the anger, the confusion in that word cause Blair to blush hotter.

"I told him to. It wasn't abuse, Simon. It was"

the word came haltingly from his mouth.

"Blair, are you sure?" stepping forward, Joel laid a large hand on his shoulder, leaning to look into his eyes.

His own eyes steady, embarrassment obvious, Blair answered aloud.

"Yeah, Joel. I'm sure."

"Let me get this straight." Simon sounded frustrated, perhaps angry. "You and Jim have a shouting match on the balcony -- loud enough to wake the neghbors and worry them into calling us -- and then you come in today with injuries like that... obviously caused by restraint...and you want us to believe you asked for it."

Blair shrugged, letting his hand drop, unconsciously rubbing that wrist with the other hand.

"That's what happened." he said it calmly, steadily.

They all stood silent for several minutes, the Simon spoke again.

"You know I can press charges without your co-operation. I'm required to if I think it was a domestic violence assault."

Blair just shook his head.

"I'll make sure they don't buy it. I hurt him too."

"Jim's knee." Simon explained to Joel shortly.

"It was a mutual thing." Blair said urgently. "Jim didn't do anything I didn't tell him to."

"Then I guess we're intruding." with a sigh Simon gestured at Joel, who was still gripping Blair's shoulder and looking concerned.

"Blair...if it ever gets out of hand...y' call me, okay? I'll take care of it."

Looking at the floor with a renewed blush, Blair almost stammered his answer. "Okay, man. Thanks."

After they left he couldn't get back to work, so he went home, wondering what Jim was going to say when he heard about this.

Wondering what they were going to do when the next time came.

Admitting to himself, grudgingly, that there would be a next time...again.

~~ end ~~