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The Price of Kissing

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The Price of Kissing

by PsychGirl

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Written as a belated birthday present for t_verano, and for the Sentinel Thursday challenge #194 - kiss
All Rumi poetry herein was translated by Coleman Barks
This story is a sequel to:

Kate was the one who had introduced him to Rumi, during his first year in grad school. A grad student as well, in her third year, in archeology; but she'd been interested in anthro stuff, so she was taking Field Studies 101. They'd bumped into each other in the library; studied together a few times. She had a sharp sense of humor and bright green eyes that shone when she laughed. By that time, he'd finally grown out of--well, mostly grown out of--the physical and emotional awkwardness that had plagued him throughout college, and so he'd asked her out right after the final. And she'd said yes.

The summer that followed had been one of the best of his life. They'd spent long afternoons lazing around on the Rainier campus, sprawled on a blanket, eating imported dates and reading poems to each other, commenting on Rumi's profound simplicity; how he could say so much so deeply in so few words. Kate had been his first serious relationship, intoxicating on both an intellectual and a visceral level, and that was the lens through which he'd thought he'd understood all that Rumi was talking about. Until he'd met Jim.

He looked over at the subject of his thoughts. Jim was sitting in the yellow armchair, reading. Right ankle on left knee, a sliver of white sock showing; the paperback nestled in his lap, one long-fingered hand resting on it, holding it open. His other arm was bent, elbow on the armrest, fingers resting gently against his temple. His face was calm, quiet with concentration, brow furrowed slightly. As Blair watched, Jim turned the page, the crinkle and rasp of the paper sounding loud in the quiet Sunday afternoon air of the loft.

Even after all these years, the poetry came back to him like it was yesterday. The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along. He and Kate had argued about that, in the polite, gentle way people who have just started dating argue with each other. She'd found it romantic; he'd argued that Rumi was just using a metaphor, that no one would want or be able to tolerate that level of intimacy, of oneness. He'd been a fool. He'd had no idea what he was talking about.

He shivered slightly as he remembered the first time he and Jim had kissed. He'd been swamped by sensation, almost a shock, as if a circuit had closed, as if some great karmic circle had been completed, as if he'd come home. When soul rises into lips, his memory supplied, you feel the kiss you've wanted. Yeah. No idea, back then.

Sometimes, like now, his feelings for Jim were so powerful, so overwhelming, that he didn't know what to do, how to express it; afraid that if he couldn't get it out somehow he'd simply come apart from the force of it. He clenched his hands on the book he was reading, anchoring himself. Another fragment from Rumi floated into his mind, and he wished that he could say it out loud. The way the night knows itself with the moon, be that way with me. Be the rose nearest to the thorn I am. I want to feel myself in you when you taste food, in the arc of your mallet when you work.

Jim raised his head and Blair was caught, helplessly, by that intense blue gaze. Jim frowned, focusing on him, and then his mouth curved in a long, slow, lazy smile. The look in his eyes became hungry, possessive, and Blair shivered again, feeling his pulse jump.

Moving slowly, Jim slid his bookmark into place and closed his book, setting it on the side table. He rose from the chair and stalked gracefully over to stand in front of Blair, never taking his eyes from Blair's face. Blair licked his lips in anticipation; Jim's smile lengthened and, without any preamble, he leaned down, resting his hands on the back of the couch, and kissed him.

Blair's book tumbled off his lap as he grabbed Jim's shirt in two fists and returned the kiss for all he was worth. Desire hummed along his nerves, making his body tremble. The price of kissing is your life, he recited to himself. Now my loving is running towards my life shouting, What a bargain! Let's buy it. And that was the last rational thought he had for some time.

Much later, body sated and mind drifting pleasantly, he murmured, Sentinel-quiet, against the smooth skin of Jim's chest, "Lightning, your presence from ground to sky. No one knows what becomes of me, when you take me so quickly," and smiled as Jim's arm tightened around him.


The Price of Kissing by PsychGirl:
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