Author's website: http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/tinnssinns
Not mine. They belong to Petfly. The Roman gods belong to themselves.
Thank you, as always, to Gail for the beta.
Spoilers for Switchman and The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg. ~~~ indicates a break in POV. Lead arrows are for indifference, and I thought that might explain some of Jim's reactions to Blair on occasion. Also, Jim fell out of love with all those women in 60 minutes, because usually by the end of the episode that's what happened, and he walked away with Blair. Valentine's Day, 1999 fell on a Sunday. Inspired by the song, Little Arrows. This first appeared in Many Chapters of The Sentinel IV, the 2006 Moonridge Edition.
This story is a sequel to:
"There is a mortal I want you to shoot with your golden arrow."
"Oh, yes? Who."
She told me.
I sighed. "Ah, Mother. I've already shot the big guy. A few years ago, if I recall correctly."
"Well, he may have married the woman, but he divorced her just as quickly. Now, do something. I like him, and I want him to fall in love!"
As an Army Ranger, I couldn't afford to be distracted by sensations when I was on assignment.
The one thing I'd brought back with me from Peru, where I'd lived with the Chopec for eighteen months after the Huey my team and I were in was downed, was the ability to shut down pain or discomfort.
The first time I felt that sting at the back of my neck had been a few years before, when I'd met Carolyn Plummer. I ignored the sting, but then took one look at her, and I was a goner.
I was a goner for exactly eighteen months. Then we got divorced.
It wasn't the most amicable of divorces, so I decided not to take any more chances on love for a while. A long while. At least until my singed fingers had had a chance to heal.
Not that I didn't have sex. You didn't have to be in love to have sex. But actually - well, mostly - it was with my right hand. And... uh... some adult toys.
The second time I felt it, felt that sting at the back of my neck, was while I was sitting in an exam room in the hospital. I rubbed my neck, but there was nothing there, so I blocked out the discomfort and focused on my present location.
My senses had been going wonky, to put it professionally, and at first I'd thought I'd been drugged, but the test I ran on myself came back negative, so my next option had been an extensive battery of tests.
Hence, my presence in Cascade General.
The door opened, and Dr. McCoy - 'No, no, man! The correct Gaelic pronunciation is MCKAY!' -- strolled in. I couldn't believe that the sight of a white lab coat was getting me hard.
And those blue eyes ... Talk about a clich. It felt as if I was tumbling head first into a cool, clear, pool of water.
I shook my head to clear it. "So, uh... what are the results, Doc?"
"You don't need results." There seemed to be an air of excitement about him. I watched his lips shape the words. "You need information. See the man." And he handed me a business card.
Anthropologist par excellence
*Lover extraordinaire... *
"What the... " My mouth went dry and my dick got hard. Harder.
Well, Tartarus. A pretty, young nurse was supposed to have walked in with that clipboard, not that young, pretty - but male - anthropologist.
Although he did look interested...
No, that couldn't be right. The last time I'd looked, Ellison preferred women. I nocked a lead arrow to reverse the effects of the gold one, and let it fly.
I slapped at my neck, hoping to nail the little bastard of an insect that had the temerity to bite me not once but twice, but it was too freaking fast, and all I succeeded in doing was adding the slap to the sting.
I was about to question the doctor, but he was gone. I shook my head and read the card again.
Anthropologist par excellence
Artifact Storage, Rm 3, Hargrove Hall, Rainier University
Great. Now I needed to go to the lost and found to see if my mind was there, because I had obviously lost it.
The door opened, and a small, plump man in white walked in, distracting me. He was studying the clipboard he was carrying.
"Detective Ellison? Good afternoon. I'm Dr. McCoy... "
Well, at least I didn't have a fixation on lab coats. His did nothing for me.
I had no intention of tracking down this Blair Sandburg character. Nope. I wasn't going to go looking for him. I wasn't. Really.
I opened the door of Rm 3, Hargrove Hall and spotted the male figure bouncing in his chair. The jungle music he was listening to echoed in my ears and gave me the start of a brutal headache.
It was probably that, along with an annoying sting at the back of my neck, that fueled my irritation. Usually I was a very easy-going person. All the guys at Major Crimes could attest to that.
I scowled at the kid, but he just gave me this shit-eating grin and thrust his hand toward me.
"I'm Blair Sandburg."
I growled and tossed him against the wall.
And for a second, things wavered...
I was plastered up against him, nuzzling his long hair aside, tasting the skin of his neck, biting it just hard enough for him to realize I was in total control, and...
I scowled at the tableau before me. Ellison was supposed to be chatting with the pretty coed who sat at the information desk. Why hadn't the golden arrow taken effect when it was supposed to? I smoothed the scowl from my face - the god of love wasn't supposed to feel such emotions as irritation or disgruntlement - and set about remedying the situation.
The back of my neck stung, and I blinked furiously, really shaken - none of those things had happened.
"Whoa, man!" He stared at me with wide eyes. I dropped him as if touching him burned my palms.
"Neo-hippie witch doctor punk," I muttered and stalked out.
Sandburg came after me though, and saved my life when a red Frisbee distracted me to the point that a garbage truck nearly ran me over.
He got to his feet and held out a hand to help me up. "Man, that really sucked!"
I took his hand and let him pull me up. He was right. It did suck.
"C'mon. Let's get out of here." I was uncomfortable, and my neck was sore, but I was really good at blocking out discomfort, and that's what I did.
Sandburg explained about Sir Richard Burton, the explorer, not the actor. He explained about Sentinels and Guides and the zone out factor. He became my ride-along observer.
He moved into my loft at 852 Prospect when the warehouse he was living in was blown up, and yeah, it was only supposed to be for a week, but here it was, three years later, and he was still living in that little bedroom under the stairs.
Somehow, he'd become my best friend. When I became Sentinel of the Great City, he became the Shaman. He even gave up all hopes of a career in anthropology to protect me, went through the Police Academy, and now he was my partner at Major Crimes.
Everything was great, right? Right.
So why did I feel as if something was missing?
Why was it every time I shot Jim Ellison with a golden arrow, he somehow managed to fall out of love with the woman in the space of an hour? Either that, or else Blair Sandburg turned up, and Ellison fell in love with him, causing me to have to shoot him with a lead arrow to undo the damage.
At this rate, I was going to run out of lead arrows.
Venus arrived unexpectedly at my palace, interrupting an afternoon's delight.
The Mesopotamian godling with whom I was dallying gave a startled squeak and vanished, and I sighed and adjusted my tunic.
"Valentine's Day is coming up."
Our favorite day of the whole year.
"James Ellison needs to fall in love." She tapped her elegantly slippered foot against the marble floor of my palace.
"Again, Mother? I've lost count of the number of times I've shot him."
"Are you sure you hit him?"
"YES, I'm sure!" I frowned at her. Did she think I was born in the last millennia? Even as a little boy, I could hit what I aimed at.
"Well, apparently it wasn't your best shot! He hasn't had sex in three years!"
"You've been ... looking in on him?" It bothered me to think she'd been checking up on my work.
"Well... " She had the grace to blush and peek at me from under her lashes. "Only very infrequently, I promise you."
"Never mind me, darling. Just go out and shoot him again, please. And this time TRY hitting him where it counts!"
"You mean in the ass, Mother?"
"You're such an adorable scamp, sweetheart, but don't be crude." She patted my cheek. "And please make sure he falls in love to stay this time?"
But she was already gone. I strolled out onto a balcony and gazed down pensively toward where Cascade, Washington, USA, Earth was concealed by a wreath of cloud cover.
All I required was one very special arrow. It would need to be failsafe - guaranteed to make anyone, and THAT anyone in particular, fall head-over-heels, till-death-do-them-part, forever-and-a-day, happily-ever-after in love.
And in order to be that powerful, certain items would have to be incorporated into its crafting.
"Amor!" A small, winged boy appeared before me. "Fetch me an arrowhead and a shaft."
"Lead or gold, milord?"
He nodded and vanished, to return almost as soon as he had left.
He wriggled in pleasure and hovered at my shoulder, watching as I sank cross-legged upon a pillow and plucked a strand of long, golden hair from my head. I began carefully fastening the golden arrowhead to the slender golden shaft with it.
To stabilize this arrow's flight, I would use feathers taken from my own wings.
This time, I mused, it might be prudent to make sure that Blair Sandburg was nowhere around when I shot this arrow into Jim Ellison.
"Amor, find someone to keep Blair Sandburg busy for the next twenty-four hours."
And again, he nodded and vanished.
The phone rang, and I could make out the sounds of Blair muttering to himself as he rolled out of bed, wrapped himself up in a blanket and went to answer it.
Maybe it was his date, calling to cancel? I hoped...
Nah, it was too early in the morning.
And then I wondered what had got into me, to wish for something so rotten to happen to my best friend.
"Blair, it's Simon." Having control of my senses was great, especially since I was able to hear both sides of the conversation. "I need you and Jim to come in."
That woke up my roommate. "Simon, you gave us this weekend off."
"Yeah, well... " I could imagine Simon growling this around his cigar. "... criminals have no respect for holidays."
Not that Valentine's Day was much of a holiday in the grand scheme of things, but this year... We actually had dates.
Not to say that I didn't date. I did, but for some reason, it never led anywhere. The women always seemed to be psychotic or... psychotic.
Sandburg dated also, and while I joked with him that he'd even hump a table leg, his batting average wasn't much better than mine.
This year we were going to do it right, though - flowers, candy, and dinner at this new Italian restaurant called Amore's.
What I was actually looking forward to was having that dinner together with Sandburg.
"All right, Simon," I tuned in to hear him say. "I'll wake up Jim... "
"You mean the phone ringing didn't?"
"Ha. Ha. We'll see you in an hour, Simon."
"Don't push it, Captain."
"You're in a mood, Sandburg."
"Yeah. It's Valentine's Day. It always brings me down."
What was that about? I thought he'd been looking forward to the day as much as I was.
He said goodbye and hung up, and I listened to him pad across the floor to the bottom of the stairs in his bare feet, complaining under his breath about the cold floor every step of the way.
"Jim? C'mon, tough guy. I know you're awake. Get your ass down here. Duty calls. And we have to, too."
"Huh?" I wrestled into my bathrobe and walked down the stairs, my toes curled. Damn, the stairs were cold.
"Call. Face it, Jim. Our ladies won't be happy if we just don't show up."
Shit. "You're right, Chief."
The woman I'd been seeing on and off - although mostly off - for the last few months wasn't happy that I woke her either, but I didn't have time to soft soap the deal. "I'm sorry, Veronica, but that's what happens when you date a detective. But maybe I can pick you up after work, and we'll... "
"Don't bother." Her voice was a whine in my ear, and I wondered what had ever possessed me to continue seeing her. "I've been waiting for this for weeks! Valentine's Day only comes once a year. You promised me something special, and now you've spoiled it for me!" She slammed down the phone, and I winced.
"I guess that puts paid to our dinner plans, Chief. You and your girlfriend will be dining alone."
Surprisingly, Blair looked disappointed. "I really wanted us to be... " He coughed and cleared his throat. "... go together, Jim. I wanted you to meet Betty."
"Don't tell me it's serious!" My stomach turned over. Why did that thought suddenly make me feel nauseous?
He gave a small smile and shrugged, and picked up the phone.
Betty, a ditzy blonde - I knew she was blonde because Sandburg had come home with her hair on his sweaters, and Sentinels noticed things like that, and I knew she was ditzy because... well, just because - was already awake, and she giggled and coyly said she'd be waiting for him.
"I'll pick you up after work." He fared better with that line that I did. "Okay, dumpling?"
She agreed and made kissy noises over the phone.
He saw my expression, shrugged again, and gave a lopsided grin. "Get going, Jim. I'll cook breakfast while you shower."
I didn't argue with him. I was still trying to figure out why the idea of him settling down bothered me so much.
Finally, as I was dressing, I came to the conclusion that it had to be because I was used to having him around the loft, and I liked it. And besides, none of those women were worthy of him.
That settled more or less to my satisfaction, I went down to the kitchen.
Blair finished his coffee and put his mug in the sink. "I've already eaten, Jim. I won't be too long."
I ate breakfast while he showered, and washed the dishes while he dressed.
We arrived at Major Crimes, Simon brought us up to speed on what was going on, and we went out and caught the bad guys and wrapped up the case in record time.
Criminals might not have any respect for holidays, but they could also be incredibly stupid.
Simon was so pleased with us, he actually sent us home early.
"Why don't you try calling Veronica, Jim? We could still do dinner."
"All right, Chief."
Blair raised his eyebrow. My lack of enthusiasm must have been noticeable.
Veronica's phone just rang, and I sighed.
"She's not home. Or else she's screening her calls. I guess that's another relationship that's bit the dust."
"I'm sorry, Jim. Do you want me to cancel? I can cancel, if you want." He almost sounded hopeful.
"No. That's okay." Why should both of us be miserable? "I'll watch some television, maybe go up to take a nap."
"Do you want me to bring something back for you?"
"No, thanks. I'll make myself something later. Maybe egg foo young."
"If you're sure... " Blair went to shower and shave and came out of the bathroom wearing a towel around his waist. The faintest hint of Drakkar Noir clung to him, and I knew that was because he didn't want to overwhelm my senses. Thoughtful, that was my... roommate.
The thatch of hair that covered his chest was still damp, and I wasn't really shocked by the sudden urge to lick the stray drop that was caught on his nipple. Lately I'd found myself...
I turned away and got myself a bottle of beer from the fridge. I went into the living room, and turned on the television. Not that I could concentrate on anything on the screen. I was listening as Blair dressed.
"Ta dah!" He came out with his arms flung wide, and I almost swallowed my tongue. He was wearing black trousers and a white silk shirt, and between his teeth was a red rose. Red for lovers. "How do I look?" he mumbled around the rose.
"Good." I turned back to the television. "Have a good time, Sandburg."
"Uh... Thanks, Jim."
I could hear him put the rose on the table, slide his arms into his jacket, and leave.
"Chief... !" I started to call him back. He'd left the rose behind. I picked it up, brought it to my nose, and inhaled deeply, almost zoning on the heady scent. I shook my head and decided if he didn't notice he didn't have it, that was Betty's loss. I was going to keep it.
Blair Sandburg finally left, and I turned my gaze to Jim Ellison.
He stared at the door with something almost like desolation on his face, but I knew I must have been mistaking his expression. The only time he'd ever seemed remotely interested in another man was when one of my arrows hit him and Sandburg happened to arrive at the same time, and I had been really careful not to do that any more.
Although there was that time at Rainier...
I dismissed that thought. Things were working out splendidly. I'd have to make sure I gave Amor a big bonus.
I'd wait until Sandburg's Volvo left, and then I'd have someone really special show up at his door. This Veronica he'd been seeing ... I shook my head. Where did the man get his taste? Certainly there was someone in the world for her. His name just wasn't James.
I took the arrow from my quiver and nocked it. My special arrow would insure that this was one relationship Ellison wasn't going to make a mess of.
I clutched the rose in my hand - Blair had removed all the thorns - and listened as his footsteps went toward the elevator. It was out of order though, and I heard the door to the stairwell open. I kept listening until the outer door shut behind him, and then I stopped listening.
I took another beer from the fridge. There had to be some ballgame - football, basketball, hockey - on the boob tube.
All I could find was a soccer match between Argentina and Italy. Still, it was better than listening to the Mayor of Cascade hash it out with the County Commissioner. I kicked off my shoes, put my feet up on the couch, and watched, caressing my lips with the rose and taking the occasional sip from my beer.
In spite of myself I got involved with the match, and a rattle at the door startled me. I swung my feet to the floor and got to my feet.
And there it was again, that pain, and it really was a pain - it hurt like a son of a bitch - only this time instead of my neck, it was in my chest. For a second I thought I was having a heart attack.
I rubbed my chest in the hope that the pain would go away, and yanked open the door.
Well, this was a fine kettle of fish!
He was nowhere around, but I had a strong suspicion of where he was. I went straight to my palace.
"Amor! Where are you?"
I spotted him from the corner of my eye, but then with a flutter of wings he was gone.
"When I get my hands on you, I'm going to paddle your little round behind until it shines for Jove!" I shouted.
His naughty giggle echoed through my palace.
I'd deal with the little rascal later. There was nothing that could undo that golden arrow; I had to make sure that Jim Ellison didn't have his heart broken by Blair Sandburg.
Sandburg shouldn't prove to be as difficult a case as Ellison, though. An arrow that worked on normal mortals would work on him.
I went back to the loft at 852 Prospect, nocked the arrow, and then something about the stance of the two men caused me to pause.
"Yeah. Sorry, Jim." He looked sheepish. "I dropped my keys."
He also looked drop dead gorgeous. I'd never seen him look so ... adorable.
"Why did you come back?"
"The Volvo wouldn't start."
"Oh." I felt hollow inside. "You want to borrow my truck?" Well, I wasn't going to give him the keys. And I didn't care how much of a bastard that made me seem.
"Well, actually, no. I'm really not in the mood to go out. I called Betty and cancelled. Uh... you want to let me inside, Jim?"
He'd cancelled his date? He was staying home?
I hauled him into the loft, slammed the door shut, and shoved him back against the door.
"Yeah. It's Jim." I growled, my dick so hard I thought it would break the zipper of my fly. I wound my fingers into his, brought his hands to either side of his head, and leaned into him.
"Jim." My name was a soft whisper on his lips. They parted, and his tongue peeked out to lick them.
I groaned and dipped in to taste him. I could feel his body tremble against mine.
He twisted to free his mouth, and I suddenly realized the kiss was out of control. I was practically eating him alive. That shocked me out of the fog of lust that surrounded me.
"Oh, god!" I released him. "Chief, I don't know what came over me! I... " I met his wide, shocked gaze and zoned on the blue of his eyes.
"Jim. Dial it down. Come on, man! Listen to my voice. Come back to me."
I did, and I was okay for about a second and a half, but his voice was a temptation in itself, and the pheromones that scented the air... I dove in to kiss him again.
He turned his face so that my lips landed on his ear instead of his mouth, but that was okay. I was as willing to explore his ear as his mouth.
It was the soft hitching of his breath that made me stop the second time. I raised my head and looked into his face. He looked so unhappy, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
"Blair. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry! You don't want this." My erection deflated. I let him go and started to back away.
"Jim, wait!" He caught the front of my shirt and stopped me from moving, then rested his palm against my cheek. I had no choice but to meet his eyes, those blue, blue eyes. "Why did you kiss me?"
"I... I... " ... love you... But I couldn't get the words past my lips.
He sighed. "I get it. It was just one of those weird ass impulses that overcome you from time to time. Pulling me close, then pushing me away."
"What are you talking about, Chief?" If we talked, maybe I could stop thinking about how much I wanted to kiss him again.
"Every once in a while you look at me as if you want to... want to drag me off to bed and ravish me. But just when I think it's finally going to happen, you look at me again, and I know I read it all wrong."
I stepped closer to him, catching the hint of his aftershave. Mixed with that, over-riding that was the stronger scent of pheromones. It was enough to make me hard all over again, and I began to hope.
"Talk to me, Chief."
"If I do, it will be the end of our friendship, the end of our partnership."
"Talk to me. I promise it won't change the way I feel about you."
"You're the straightest man I know." He gave a sad laugh. "And me? The king of wishful thinking, that's what I am."
"Wanting what I can't have."
I was shaking. I licked my lips, swallowed, and finally got the words out. "What do you want, Chief?"
"I want you to be head-over-heels, till-death-do-us-part, forever-and-a-day, happily-ever-after in love with me. Because I sure as hell am with you."
I lowered the arrow, stunned. Blair Sandburg loved Jim Ellison, without the benefit of a golden arrow?
"What makes you think you can't have it, Chief?"
"What are you saying, Jim?"
I'd never really said it, having been a big proponent of the 'Ditto' or 'Me too' school, but this time, finally, I found it very easy to say. "I love you, Blair." I cleared my throat. "About me being the straightest man you know... "
I couldn't get another word out, because this time it was him kissing me as if I were the banquet and he a starving man. And interspersed with those kisses were the words, "I love you. I love you. I love you."
I put the arrow back in the quiver and returned to my palace.
"Don't be cross with Amor."
"It was your doing?"
"But he's my minion. He should have been unable to disobey me."
"He didn't disobey you. You told him to find someone to keep darling Blair busy. I simply pointed out to Amor that darling James would be more than happy to do that."
"In that case, why did you get me involved?"
"But sweetheart, that's your job!" She glanced beyond me toward my sleeping chamber, and a small smile curved her lips. "I believe I'll leave you to enjoy the rest of Valentine's Day." She kissed my cheek and vanished.
"My lord." Stretched out on my bed was the Mesopotamian godling. "I have been waiting for you."
Well, well, well.
I set aside my bow and quiver and joined him on the bed.
After all, Valentine's Day was for lovers.
Little Arrows by Tinnean: firstname.lastname@example.org
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