"I told you, I can do this!" Blair exclaimed, irritated.
Jim stepped back, hands in the air even though his partner couldn't see it, and replied, "All right, all right. Go for it, Darwin. Just don't complain to me about more bruised shins. You can't do that bat echo trick, remember?"
Making a face, Blair held out the cane, took a breath, and slowly began to move from the door towards the bathroom. The cane went in sweeping arcs and he walked normally, counting the steps until Jim said, "Stop." Eleven. Wow. Jim wasn't kidding. He really did have short legs.
Snorting to himself, he turned right and stepped forward three paces until the wood floor changed to tile and he knew that he was in the bathroom. He counted three more paces until he bumped into the sink and memorized the pattern. It was only about the fiftieth one and he hadn't even left the loft; an idea that was getting scarier and scarier as time went on.
"Hey, easy there," Jim murmured, right behind him.
Jumping in fright, his heart beating even harder, Blair put a hand to his chest and snapped, "Don't fucking sneak up on me!"
There was a pause, then, "I'm sorry."
Taking a breath, calming down, Blair held out his hand and apologized, "Jim, man, I'm sorry. I know this is going to take a lot of getting used to, for both of us."
Jim took his hand and pressed it to his lips. "Blair, I'm sorry."
The guilt was plain enough that he didn't even need to see Jim's face. Sighing, they'd only been over this a hundred times even before he'd left the hospital, Blair flattened his hand against Jim's face, molding it to his cheek as he said, "It's not your fault, Jim, you can't keep thinking that it is."
"I said, right, okay? Can we drop it?"
Sighing again, Blair nodded and questioned, "Simon still coming over? He didn't call and cancel again?"
"T-minus ten minutes and counting."
Blair understood the wry tone all too well. Ever since he'd been blinded, Simon had been very skittish about being around him. As if it was contagious or something. He was disappointed in the other man, deeply so, but Blair wasn't going to force himself on someone who didn't want to be around him, whatever the reason. "We'll see."
"He's going to come around, Chief," Jim assured him.
Blair temporized with, "In the meantime, how about another round of blind man's bluff?"
Snorting, Jim answered, "After you."
* * * *
Simon hesitated in the hall, eyeing the rest of the short distance to the door. Jim wouldn't open the door for him this time, he could tell. This was one door that he would have to open on his own, but he wasn't sure if he could.
It wasn't even for the reasons that Sandburg was probably thinking, either, because his uncle had been blind when he was a kid. It wasn't something new to Simon. It was just...seeing Blair in this way, having to witness the frustration and the anger that came with losing one of his senses, it hurt Simon to see it. Blair was like a live wire these days, ready to explode if he came into the right set of circumstance.
Finally, after another few minutes of waffling, Simon stepped forward and knocked sharply on the door, which opened up almost before the first knock had died away. So Jim had been standing right there and waiting, the bastard. Gruff, he greeted, "Jim."
"Simon," Jim answered, stepping back and motioning for him to come in.
Simon walked inside and looked around, finding Blair on the couch, his head turned towards them, though he couldn't see. He moved over there and said, "Hey, Sandburg."
Smiling, Blair answered, "Hey, Simon. How are you?"
"Fine, fine," Simon answered. "You?"
Blair shrugged. "Pretty good. Almost got the loft memorized, though my shins are pretty colorful."
There was an awkward pause as Simon considered how to respond. Then he saw the faint twitch of the smaller man's lips and a grin surfaced as he realized that the little shit was teasing him! Clearing his throat, Simon replied, "Maybe we need to put a bell on you?"
Frowning, Blair asked, "What good would that do?"
"For your shins? Nothing. But the rest of us could run away when we heard you coming," Simon teased.
Jim laughed suddenly at that and Simon looked over at his other friend, grinning, as Jim said, "He's got you there, Chief."
Eyes rolling, Blair answered, "Fuck off, both of you."
Simon breathed a sigh of relief as he realized that everything was going to be fine, then demanded, "Where the hell's the beer? I was promised beer and basketball!"
* * * *
Curled up around Jim, Blair yawned and murmured, "It was a good day."
Jim nodded, his fingers massaging Blair's temple as he agreed, "It was. I'm glad Simon finally came around."
"Wonder what was going on with him?"
"I doubt we'll ever know, Chief," Jim replied, shrugging a little. He breathed in the spicy scent of clean, damp hair, and felt a tingle in his groin. Nuzzling the back of Blair's neck, he continued, "Simon's got some deep waters. Not big on the whole 'talking things to death' thing."
Snorting, Blair questioned, "Sound like anyone else we know?"
Laughing silently, Jim kissed the warm skin and licked slowly across the short patch of skin, pulling out an erotic shiver from his lover. They hadn't made love since before Blair had been blinded, though they'd been sharing the same bed and doing plenty of comfort cuddling. "This okay?"
"Very okay," Blair whispered back.
Relieved, Jim's hand moved down Blair's chest to rub over the firm abs in a soothing motion, even as his hardening cock fit into the groove of his lover's ass. He sucked lightly at the sweaty flesh and hitched as close as he could, his arms tightening around Blair possessively. "God, I love you, Blair, so much."
Blair twisted in his arms until they were facing, and even in the darkness Jim could see Blair's eyes locked onto him, though they weren't really locked onto him. It was frightening, how accurate the gaze was, even though Jim knew that he couldn't see anything. He could tell with how the pupils didn't contract or expand even an iota.
Then their lips were sealed together and thoughts of any kind were firmly banished under Blair's possessive command. He was shoved onto his back and Blair straddled him, hands gripping his chest and his ass pressed down hard on Jim's dick. Groaning into his lover's mouth, Jim tried to hold onto Blair, but his hands were caught and held above his head and Blair hissed, "Mine!"
Shuddering at the intensity in his lover's voice, Jim nodded raggedly and agreed, "All yours, Blair, always!"
Blair's head moved down to capture a nipple and Jim jerked in shock when the teeth bit him sharp enough to bruise. "Fuck!"
"Almost," Blair promised darkly, then started sucking, even as his hips rocked back and forth, dragging his ass over Jim's cock.
Jim tested the grip on his wrists, wanting to hold Blair, and found that there was no give at all. It didn't happen very often, but Jim never forgot that his Guide's strength could be used against him. Blair wasn't small, just shorter than he was, and very compactly built. There was lots of muscle under all the flannel he wore, which most people forgot. On top of that was the strength that came of natural endurance; of long summers hiking through rainforest, and winters spent trekking across mountains.
It was a serious turn-on and Jim shuddered at the continued use of his guide's will and strength against him. "Take me, Blair, mark me!"
"Yeah," Blair snarled, biting again hard enough to bruise, a matching one on both nipples now, that throbbed and smarted enough to remind Jim come the morning.
His arms were released, but Jim grabbed hold of the rails, knowing better than to try and reach for his lover. He'd done so once, and only once. He wasn't going to risk that again.
A nimble tongue licked his hard shaft and Jim moaned, his hips surging up and seeking more contact. Blair laughed, a low, dirty sound that did things to the pit of Jim's stomach even as his legs spread for more.
"Such a slut, Jim," Blair teased harshly. "Spreading your legs so any blind man could fuck you."
Then Blair was sucking on his cock and the world fell away all too quickly. He was pretty sure that he screamed with his release, but the darkness caved in around him so fast that Jim was a goner.
When he returned to the world, he'd been turned over and Blair was biting his ass, just before his tongue licked all the way up his crack, then back down again to probe his hole. Burying his face in the pillow, Jim pushed back into the tongue-fucking, desperate for more.
"Greedy shit, aren't you?"
Jim nodded into the pillow, then added, muffled, "Yes!"
Another of those dirty laughs and Jim nearly howled as his ass was breached unexpectedly by a thick, familiar cock. Blair pushed all the way in without stopping, pushing and forcing the inner muscles aside so rapidly that pained tears sprang to Jim's eyes. Panting, he wasn't even given time to adjust before Blair started fucking him, hard, and fast, and deep. His cock was filling and hardening against the mattress that he was being shoved into, the friction adding to the delicious sensations.
"Close your eyes, Jim. Just feel me."
Used to obeying all orders from his Guide, Jim did that and moaned as everything doubled. The sweat itching down his spine, Blair's wiry chest hairs, the tickling sensation of Blair's long hair when it drifted over him, the teeth biting into him at different intervals and patternless times. The creases in his ass were rubbed and scratched by Blair's cockhead, then soothed by the leaking pre-come as it was rubbed deeper into him.
Shifting restlessly, Jim tried to push onto his hands and knees, but a hand on the back of his neck kept him in place. With a growl of frustration, Jim stayed put, but silently demanded more by thrusting his ass back against the hard cock.
"Fuck, yeah!" Blair promised before sucking hard on his shoulder blade.
The angle changed then, and Jim shouted into the pillow as his prostate was hit, over and over. He was moaning continuously now, his gut tight and his ass clenching and unclenching involuntarily in encouragement, trying to draw Blair's orgasm out. It seemed like that was never going to happen, though, that Blair would keep going forever. Finally, Jim's body gave out on him, coming a second time and wiping him out with even more devastation.
Lying limp on the bed, Jim felt the difference when Blair really began plundering his ass, really let himself go wild, his lover's hips and cock snapping as deep into Jim as Blair could go, deeper really, than Jim was used to taking him. He vaguely made out words like, "Mine, never let you go, need you, always, forever."
Blair finally gasped with release, muffling his shout by mouthing the flesh at the juncture of shoulder and throat, almost breaking the skin. Blair's cock spurted into Jim, his legs twined around Jim's as he humped savagely into the pliant body at his command.
Jim shuddered with another, painful release that was pitifully small of fluid, but incredibly intense because it was pulled out of him by Blair's orgasm. He couldn't tell where he began and Blair left off, they were so connected and joined, fingers laced together as tight as the rest of them, though he didn't remember when that had happened.
Panting, sobbing a little, Blair lay full weight on Jim, face pressed to Jim's back, gently kissing the damp skin. Jim couldn't have moved even if he'd wanted to, which he really didn't. After an eternity, Blair started to pull out and Jim mourned the separation, even as he grimaced at the pain it caused.
"Sorry," Blair murmured, stroking Jim's back with soothing motions of his hands.
Jim yawned until his jaw cracked and grinned lazily as he replied, "I'm not."
Chuckling at Jim's completely sated voice, Blair climbed over him, away from the wet spot Jim noted wryly to himself, and plastered himself all over Jim, snuggling close. "Did I hurt you? For real, Jim."
Jim dialed up his sense of touch briefly to check, then shook his head. "No. I'm bruised, but nothing's torn."
Sleepy now, Blair also yawned and murmured, "Good. Love you, Jim."
"Love you too, Blair," Jim assured him, kissing the top of his sweaty head and closing his eyes again.
* * * *
Sara smirked as Jim moved carefully into the bullpen, eyeing his slow progress from double doors to his desk where he stared at the chair like it was going to bite him on the ass. She snickered to herself as she thought, It'll probably feel like it when he sits down.
Funny though, she'd always assumed that Jim was the top.
"I can hear you laughing from here, Pezzini, so just knock it off," Jim growled, finally looking up and meeting her gaze.
"Something wrong, Detectives?" Simon barked from his office.
Grinning outright, Sara shook her head and walked over to Jim's desk, Simon meeting her there.
Simon was obviously trying not to grin as Jim again reluctantly eyed his chair. "You know, I always thought you were the..."
"Don't even finish that sentence, sir."
Sara's chuckle was quickly converted into a cough as the glare transferred from Simon to herself and she recovered with, "Sorry. Must be coming down with something."
Snorting, Jim muttered, "Yeah. A case of BS."
"Didn't know Blair was contagious."
Both men groaned and Simon changed the subject with, "How's Bowman doing?"
It was Sara's turn to grimace as she answered, "Driving me insane. Thankfully, Danny agreed to babysit today. At least then Gabriel can start talking about Eastern philosophy and have someone keep up. I think Rafe and Brown were about to strangle Gabriel. Both of them."
"You know, I think Gabriel and Blair should have a nice long bull session. Alone," Jim suggested thoughtfully. "Blair's going a little stir-crazy, too, but he's not really ready to leave the loft yet."
Sara shrugged. "Couldn't hurt, that's for damned sure."
"All right, enough chit-chat. We've got a maniac to catch so Bowman can leave the apartment and Detective Woo can return to New York before his wife divorces him. Get on it, Detectives," Simon ordered smartly.
Jim and Sara nodded as the tall, black man walked away. Glancing at Sara, Jim asked, "So. You know Nottingham. What do you think his next move is going to be?"
* * * *
There was something about the young man that called to him. Something about the young man that was telling him to be close by. It was almost as if his father were nearby, as if his father were ready to return to the world of the living through some means Ian didn't know about and possibly couldn't comprehend.
It was, perhaps, the real reason that he'd been drawn to Cascade.
* * * *
Blair's hands trailed over the medallion thoughtfully and contemplated what he knew about the thing in his hand. His fingers sought out the rough grooves worn into the stone over time, as well as the smoothness. The chain was heavier than he remembered it being, and he was startled at how much strength it took to hold it up. Or maybe he was just weaker than the first time he'd worn it, which was also entirely possible.
Something slithered off to his left and Blair stiffened as his head turning automatically, and uselessly, to the sound. Cascade wasn't exactly known for its reptilian population, as diverse as the city was, so it definitely got Blair's attention.
Eyes straining, unable to make anything out of course, Blair got to his feet, cane in hand, and tapped out the area around him. Aside from the confines of his old room, he didn't 'feel' anything out of place. Slipping the pendant over his neck so he could have both hands free, Blair jerked in shock when an electrical current passed through him. It was a lot like the one when Pez had touched him in the hospital.
He fell backwards onto the old futon and hit his head against the wall as the cane fell from his hands. The pendant burned through his shirt to the skin beneath and he screamed, smelling the burnt flesh but unable to move to tear the icon away.
Whiteness flashed across his unseeing eyes and he moaned at the continued agony in the center of his chest. It seemed an eternity before the thing started cooling down enough to feel only hot and not burning. Not until it was back at a room temperature could Blair move again. Panting from the strain, he rolled onto his side and tore off the remains of his shirt.
The pendant was in his hands and almost over his head when Blair realized that he could see.
* * * *
Jim twisted awkwardly to rub his shoulder, having overdone it at the gym working out his frustrations. He hadn't meant to be so late, but he'd completely lost track of time, almost zoning in his workout. He had relished the purely physical sensations that had stretched him out and made his body his own again. Jim knew that he wasn't losing his strength, but sometimes he got the feeling that he was going soft anyhow. That the dreaded 'middle-aged spread' was going to jump him when he wasn't looking.
And even though he knew that it wasn't his physical strength that kept Blair with him, far, far from it, Jim needed to be strong. He needed to know that he could protect his lover if at all possible.
Not that it helped last time, he thought bitterly, turning off the truck's engine. You didn't do your fucking job then, did you?
Didn't matter how often Blair said that it wasn't his fault. Jim knew that he'd failed his guide and now the younger man was suffering for it. He hadn't even left the loft on his own once since the blinding. It was suddenly a much larger and scarier world for Blair to deal with, even if Jim or Simon were with him. A larger and scarier world that Jim had thrust him into, because he hadn't shielded his partner well enough.
Sighing, Jim got out of the truck and grabbed the folders on the other cases that had to be worked on so that justice didn't suffer while they were on a hunt for Nottingham. He half-smiled, half-grimaced at the relief of pressure from his ass. It was almost twenty-four hours later and he could still feel Blair with every twinge. Something that was definitely worth both the good-natured jokes and the snide remarks he could hear in equal measure.
Still, he was glad that the elevator was working because he didn't really have the energy for stairs. All he wanted was to get inside, kiss Blair silly, take a hot bath and go to bed...in that order.
Jim opened the door and grinned at the sight of Blair on his meditation pad. Things must be getting back to normal if it had been brought out. Relaxing subtly, Jim moved quietly into the apartment, locking the door and crossing to the table where he set down the files. Leaning against the counter, he stared at Blair and just took in the familiar sight.
Then Blair's eyes opened and a ripple of shock went through Jim. They were...changed...and Blair could see, Jim would bet money on it. There was some kind of haze over the usually bright blue of his lover's eyes, an almost iridescent quality that was bizarre, disturbing, and captivating, all at once.
Blinking a few times, Blair finally greeted, "Hey, Jim."
Mouth open, but with no sounds coming out, Jim knew he was making a really good imitation of a fish, but damn sure couldn't help it.
A faint grin surfaced as Blair got to his feet with a stretch and, "Yeah, it kinda surprised me too."
"Surprised, Chief? Hell no. Try shocked," Jim managed at last.
Stopping a couple of feet away, Blair looked up at him and asked, "You all right?"
"Are you? What's with the, ah, shine?"
"It's um, I think, a film that lets me see into both worlds."
Because the one they inhabited obviously wasn't enough. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Blair flinched at the harsh tone and his arms crossed defensively over his chest.
Holding out a hand, Jim apologized, "I'm sorry, Blair, I'm sorry, believe me. I'm just...freaking out a little here."
After a brief hesitation, Blair took the hand and allowed Jim to pull him into a hug.
Jim wrapped his arms around his lover and buried his face in the soft mane of hair, breathing in a subtly different scent that wasn't helping any. Pulling back, he cupped Blair's face in both hands and really looked into the eyes, clinically, like the field medic he used to be. The blue was still there, but there was a definite sheen over them, as with someone who had cataracts, but with that odd iridescent quality. "What happened?"
"I was in my old room, going over the pendant," Blair began softly. "I heard this weird, slithering noise, like a snake, so I stood up. When I put the chain on, some kind of electric shock went through me and the pendant began to burn."
"Burn!" Jim interrupted.
Squirming free from him, Blair pushed aside the pendant and pulled up his shirt to reveal a round, jagged burn mark on his breast bone that exactly matched the round pendant. "Still hurts like a bastard, too."
Jim's finger traced just outside the marking as he stated, "You treated it."
"Yeah, but the ointment's useless," Blair replied with a sigh.
Shaking his head in disbelief, letting the shirt fall, Jim prompted, "The pendent began to burn...?"
Blair nodded. "Right. And I couldn't move. All I could do was lie there in pain until it released me. I pulled off my shirt and was about to take off the pendant when it hit me that I could see again. Everything had this weird glow, but I could definitely see."
A silence fell as Jim took in his words. "And the...other world?"
Snorting, the dark humor back, Blair explained, "Well, so far I've seen three ghosts drift by outside, two women and a young man. They seem harmless enough and didn't seem to realize that I could see them. Thank God, because I don't know what I'd do if a ghost came up and asked me to contact someone. Whoopi, I'm not."
"And you don't know how to control this thing?" Jim questioned.
Blair shook his head and answered, "Nope. I've already been online to research it, but there really isn't much there. I found one lead that looked promising, but that's it. I think, I think it's permanent, Jim. I'm scared. What if it's permanent?"
Without thinking, Jim pulled Blair into his arms again and held him tight, pressing his lips to his lover's temple. Rocking gently, he didn't speak because there wasn't anything he could say. This went way, way beyond what little he'd learned at Incacha's side.