For Emergencies Only
Author's webpage: http://www.e-fic.com/xfreak/
Author's disclaimer: The Sentinel, Jim Ellison, Blair Sandburg, & Simon Banks belong to Pet Fly Productions and Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended. This work of fiction is purely for enjoyment and no money is being made from it.
For Emergencies Only
Grumbling to himself, Simon slammed the phone down. Jim and Blair told him they would be home all day, but he couldn't raise either of them. Knowing their penchant for attracting trouble, he decided that a visit to their apartment was warranted.
Pulling into their parking lot, his brow furrowed and the worry multiplied exponentially. Jim's truck and Blair's car sat side by side in their usual spots. Digging out his cell phone while parking, he dialed 555-1014, letting it ring eight times. Next, he tried both cell numbers. Nothing.
Stepping out of his vehicle, he briskly made his way into the building where he ascended the steps to the third floor two at a time. Arriving breathlessly, he knocked on the door. Receiving no answer, he knocked again. Worry twisting into panic, he beat on the wooden surface with a closed fist, yelling, "Ellison! Sandburg!"
A neighbor peered out of her apartment, chain still engaged, prompting him to hold up his badge and identify himself. "Captain Simon Banks, Cascade PD." Smiling slightly as if that explanation worked for her, she shut the door, the lock snicking into place.
Turning back to apartment 307, he wished he could borrow Jim's sense of hearing for five minutes, just long enough to check for heartbeats without invading his friends' privacy. Fearing the worst, he dug out his keys, turning to the one labeled "E/S." Sliding it into the lock, the key turned easily, and he opened the door, hand hovering over his weapon.
Shoving his key chain into his pocket, he shut and locked the door behind him. Alert, he moved into the apartment, stopping short as his world suddenly tilted on its axis.
Ellison and Sandburg lay on the couch asleep, but the way they were situated froze him in his tracks. Both men wearing cut off denim shorts and nothing else, Jim lay half on his side and half on his back. Blair snuggled up to him, head resting on his chest, arm possessively hugging his waist, and knee tucked comfortably between his legs. A small puppy slept right along with them, lounging on both men.
Without warning, Jim jumped, sleepy blue eyes unerringly seeking Simon out. Blair stirred, but the other man tightened the arm holding him close.
Rubbing his eyes, the younger man roughly asked, "'S wrong?"
"We've got company," Jim whispered into his ear, nuzzling it for a mere second before silently reestablishing eye contact with Simon.
When Blair moved to investigate who their visitor was, the puppy raised its head as well, and Banks would have sworn the little thing actually scowled at him for interrupting its nap. It sniffed the air and he moved closer, holding his hand to its nose, rewarded with a warm lick for his trouble.
Blair's gasp drew Simon's line of vision back to his friends, watching the younger of the two try to push away. Jim's arm pressed against his companion's back again, his voice firm when he said, "No."
"Cat's out of the bag, Chief." At that, the younger man relaxed back into him, forehead against his chest.
"How long?" Simon finally managed to ask.
"About a year," Jim frankly answered.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"We wanted to, but as much as you're a good friend, you're also our boss," Jim replied, lazily lifting and releasing long strands of his lover's curly hair.
"I already keep this sentinel thing under wraps. Speaking of which, why didn't you hear me knocking or calling you?"
"We're off today. The ringers are muted and I dialed my hearing down so we could sleep."
Banks nodded, briefly looking away, then glanced back up to meet the penetrating blue gaze once more.
"That key was for emergencies only, Simon."
"I thought this was an emergency. I tried to call you for three hours before coming over here. Then, I saw both vehicles in the parking lot and tried again. When I got up here, I almost knocked the door down and still didn't get an answer."
Jim nodded and then squeezed Blair to him when the younger man tried to get up.
"I gotta pee, man." Turning to the dog, he gently tapped its back and said, "Let me up, Eli."
The puppy jumped down onto the hardwood, his nails clicking against the floor as he followed one of his masters to the restroom. "Sit," Sandburg instructed, pointing to the floor just outside the door. The animal inclined his head, then proceeded to trot between the man's feet into the bathroom. Sighing and rolling his eyes, Blair followed and picked him up, depositing him back in the hallway, motioning with a finger for him to stay as he shut the door. Eli plopped down onto his bottom, tongue lolling happily as he waited.
"What woke you if you had your hearing dialed down?" Simon asked after Sandburg disappeared into the other room.
Dispassionately, Jim said, "You disturbed the air."
"I disturbed the air?!" the captain incredulously repeated.
Sandburg and Eli returned to find Simon and Jim enduring a tense silence. The younger man sat down next to his now upright lover, taking care not to touch him. Ellison blew that out of the water, however, when he scooted closer and draped Blair's leg over his thigh until the bare foot rested between his own well-muscled legs.
Jim curled his arm around Blair's shoulders and pulled him against his side as he asked, "What's going to happen now?"
Simon's head jerked up, startled from serious introspection. "I have no desire to break up my best team. As far as I'm concerned, today didn't happen," he answered, somewhat shaken by Sandburg's unnatural silence, his deference to and confidence that Jim would sort the matter out for them.
Eli wandered back over to them, standing at his masters' feet. A pitiful whining sound overpowered the quiet when neither man moved. Jim bent forward and scooped the small animal into his large hand, curling his fingers under its belly. When released, the puppy crawled into the space vacated by Blair's raised leg and lay down, his small body once again in contact with both men.
Simon studied them, taking in the ease of the closeness between the two, thinking that this latest development shouldn't shock him, given their tendency to break down all personal space barriers in relation to each other.
"Are you all right, Simon?" Jim inquired.
Blair tilted his head, lowly speaking into his lover's ear. "I think he's having trouble applying the 'g-word' to us." The simple movement held so much intimacy, showed such comfort between them that it sharply brought into focus the realization that these two men belonged together, societal definitions be damned.
"Something like that," Banks agreed, swiping a hand over his face. "You two have seriously screwed my world view."
Grinning at the very Simon-like growl, Blair said, "Glad to be of service."
A rare Ellison smile broke out at that, and he turned to his boss. "Why were you calling us for three hours? You never did say."
"Aw, hell. I forgot all about that. I'm having a cookout tonight, and I wanted to invite you two."
"Does the invitation still stand?" Jim asked, his voice low and serious.
Narrowing his eyes, Simon pushed his coat back from his sides and planted large hands on his hips. "Well, of course."
"What time?" Blair inquired, employing his magical talent for dispersing tension.
"We'll be there."
"I'll see you then," Simon answered, turning toward the door. Retrieving his keys from his pocket, he looked back at his friends, who had already forgotten his presence. Mouths fused together and puppy dislodged, Blair pushed Jim down onto his back, gripping his hips as he aligned their groins. Ellison's loud groan quickly pushed the captain out the door.
Walking down the hall, he found that the thought of the two of them doing the deed didn't repulse him. Quite the opposite, actually. His mind tried to supply an image of the piercing blue of Ellison's stare focused on him, hot and wanting.
Shaking his head, he contemplated throttling himself. You just found out two of your closest friends are gay. You're projecting. He thought that if he told himself that enough, he might eventually come to believe it.
And just when the hell did Sandburg talk Ellison into getting that damn dog, anyway?